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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47. The Clash Part 3

But then the familiar scowl settled on his face as he helplessly watched Tangrowth battle his clone. Battle might have been a misleading term. Tangrowth defended. He didn't attack the clone, who tried to aggressively wrap Tangrowth up and presumably incapacitate him with Stun Spore or Poison Power, but absentmindedly snapped every vine sent at him with careless ease.

"Tangrowth, you have to attack! Sludge Bomb!" Ash roared. Tangrowth's was the only battle he'd seen that wasn't a desperate fight for survival. He could afford to distract his friend for a little bit.

Ash was sure that Tangrowth gurgled at his command, but the only way he knew that his friend had heard was that Tangrowth had excitedly bounced up onto his large red feet and proceeded to spit a huge wave of murky purple sludge at his counterpart, who was covered in the noxious substance.

The clone's vines curled and waved frantically as the burning substance poisoned it, but it didn't have any way to remove the sludge. Tangrowth's own vines suddenly struck. They'd gained a degree of resistance to the poison thanks to how much Ash had the grass-type train with it, so they easily latched around the clone's flailing body and picked it high into the air. Ash felt a brief surge of hope as Tangrowth suddenly hurled his clone across the battlefield with little effort, as though he had simply done a bothersome chore.

"Help the others!" He shouted. Tangrowth happily bounced off to do what Ash commanded, although Ash wasn't too hopeful. The clones lacked much experience, true, but their raw strength, speed, and endurance was wearing down the rest of the pokemon. They were just too strong, even if they didn't seem entirely certain in their bodies and movements.

It was odd. They moved awkwardly, as though they were still getting used to their bodies, but their impossibly fast reflexes and apparently instinctive grasp of battle tactics allowed them to hold out and succeed against their far more experienced foes. Mewtwo probably had something to do with that. Ash could only imagine how powerful they would be when they actually grasped the full extent of their abilities. This was just a trial run.

He finally turned his attention to the mass of electric-types that clashed for dominance in the far edge of the battlefield. Electricity rained down as each of the powerful pokemon grasped their natural element in fury. Any other pokemon that entered that area was immediately engulfed by the electricity that arced randomly around the ground, most of which was produced by a berserking Oz and her clone, who were both doing their best to smash each other's faces in with enhanced punches and bites.

Ash couldn't make out which was which thanks to the bright surges of lightning that left stars in his eyes even when he was looking at the rest of the brutal melee. He was just happy that all of his friends were able to fight off the super clones, even if it was a harsh battle. They'd suffered under Lance's crushing training for a month and it showed. Where the others teams fought valiantly but were slowly defeated, Ash's team managed to keep the fight going.

The trainers suddenly shouted in surprise as two black blurs shot above the wall and climbed into the coliseum. Sneasel and his clone both fought hatefully, so fast that they were but blurs. Sneasel appeared to be on the run, but he also looked to be winning. In the brief flashes Ash could catch as the two dark-type swung their razor claws at each other and hissed and snarled he could see that Sneasel was relatively unscathed. The clone, on the other hand, had numerous small wounds, all strategically placed to bleed heavily.

He couldn't see anymore as the clone suddenly leapt at Sneasel and began the chase anew. Ash couldn't trace them as they blurred away, battling with Quick Attacks.

He rubbed at his head. Mew's essence had been a constant pressure in the back of his mind, like a small headache. It was growing stronger now, his blood ran hot, plasma ran through his body –

It disappeared and appeared miles away, but had to raise a shield as perfectly aimed blasts of raw, ice blue psychic energy slammed into it and forced it back hundreds of meters. The ocean evaporated at the release of energy, and there was a loud roar as water rushed to fill the void.

Ash teleported as hundreds of orbs of black, otherworldly energy that crackled with grey lightning blasted through the air. The barrage struck the ocean, which erupted in hundreds of geysers as millions of gallons of water shot upward as the Shadow Balls exploded in a storm of ghostly energy.

Another huge beam of energy shot at him. Ash couldn't teleport, but he felt his body tingle as a shield formed and misdirected the blast into the ocean. The bright blue blast curved and shot thousands of meters into the ocean and left a vacuum of air behind for one moment before it exploded.

More energy beams as a huge wall of water shot upward, the wall hundreds of feet high. The wall was more than a mile long. Ash heard the clap of thunder as the water returned to its source. Mewtwo appeared, a bright blue orb a mile away. Another beam of energy. He teleported away.

Why do you flee from me? Your subject's lives are measured in minutes. Do you not care about them?

He felt his eyes burn and the world was covered in a purple haze. He easily teleported the mile to Mewtwo. Ash felt his body transform. It grew larger, but retained the same shape save for one exception: His left arm and paw, once soft and short, was now a wicked scythe that glowed with harsh black energy.

Ash appeared in front of Mewtwo, who shot another blast of energy from its infinite supply of power. Its blue barrier suddenly cracked as the beam was reflected and amplified by his own shield, although Mewtwo's protective sphere swiftly smoothed over. Just like every other time he had struck it.

Mewtwo did not teleport as Ash shot forward and raised his scythe. The ebony energy carved its way through Mewtwo's barrier and allowed him to enter the Abomination's sanctum. Mewtwo did not react as he raised his arm and slammed the wickedly sharp blade into Mewtwo's chest so quickly that he could barely understand what happened.

It did nothing. The Abomination's eyes were bright as it smiled cruelly. A thin layer of icy energy covered Mewtwo's body. It was sufficient to stop the blade infused with bug-type energy.

Even you cannot harm me. I am beyond you, Mew. I know you can do better. Shall we play for real?

Ash felt his head cock as his arm rippled and shifted back to normal. He teleported several hundred meters away, just in time to avoid a scythe of energy that slashed through the air. It went into the sea and exploded, sending another burst of water that very nearly reached the two Titans where they hung in the sky.

The Abomination's protective sphere dissolved into nothingness. It teleported just far enough to avoid the thin, nearly invisible beam of power that Ash shot. It made the body that was not his body tingle.

He felt infinite power flood into his body. The world became a soft, cheerful pink. The storm around him evaporated as new power was introduced to the universe and the stars and moon shined high above them.

Time and space warped around him. Pink light twisted and bent as reality itself came undone at the seams. The freezing rain and harsh winds simply disappeared as more and more power rushed through every cell. Some rain simply ceased to feel gravity's constant grip and floated upward, some burst into pink flames. Ash could see that pink lightning began to strike constantly from the clouds that were an eerie purple from his light.

By the end a flickering pink aura of raw, unrestrained power over the universe blazed around him like a torch. The air rippled around it, as though it was displaced by the mere movement of the aura. The ocean thousands of feet below hissed and broiled as it began to boil away.

The Abomination echoed its sudden release of power. It was invisible as icy blue light raged and roared around it, far different and a display of exponentially more power than the Abomination's normal psychic shell revealed. The aura was not from any will of its own, it was simply a result of deific energies being channeled.

The universe bent as Mewtwo's power was added to Mew's. Their opposing energies clashed and roared simply through contact with one another. He couldn't imagine what would happen when they actually fought.

Mewtwo's storm began to strengthen exponentially as more of its Master's power became available. Winds whipped and howled, rain instantly froze and became ice, the clouds rushed around in a frenzy. He couldn't properly see Mewtwo. It was distorted and the air burned from contact with its power, a blue blaze that could not be put out.

Although the ocean boiled from Ash's release of power, under and behind Mewtwo it instantly began to freeze over. In seconds it had become a vast plateau of ice that was out of place everywhere save the poles. Ash didn't know how thick or how deep the ice went.

Both Titans gazed at each other from within the auras of power that broke the universe's laws. As the world collapsed and burned and froze around them they finally prepared to enter into a true battle, a battle that would determine the world's future.

They could not teleport with such powerful energies coursing through them. There was the very real possibility that they would tear a hole in space and time or destroy a substantial part of Kanto in the process. It was unimportant. Neither could run. With the power that filled them they could travel at speeds approaching instantaneous, regardless.

Ash acted first. It did not fit him but there was no time for games. Balance must be restored and all life must be protected.

He blinked. The boiling ocean leapt thousands of feet at his command. It compressed to a thin whip that encircled him, ready to strike out at a moment's notice. The Abomination simply waited, its body tense and aura bright.

Ash waved a paw, gave focus to his power. The atmosphere around the Abomination for a hundred feet around ignited in a conflagration of epic proportions. It completely engulfed the flames that encircled Mewtwo's aura and snuffed them out. Oxygen quickly began to deplete as he commanded the flames to burn faster, but the Abomination snuffed them out motionlessly.

Thousands of energy beams suddenly shot out from the Abomination's aura, each just as powerful as the previous attacks Mewtwo had hurled at him. They formed more of a wall than individual attacks.

He moved a mile to the right so fast it seemed as though he had teleported. He shot out a spear of psychic power, enough to cause an earthquake if it struck the ground. Mewtwo simply let the spear strike it. Ash felt a moment of surprise as the spear of light was simply sucked into the Abomination's aura as though it were nothing.

Ash did not wait for long. Mewtwo waved its long, thin arm. A seemingly endless barrage of Shadow Balls shot out in a mass of blackness and grey energy, just as dark as the void itself. He shot away, but Mewtwo reacted just as quickly and released another storm of ghostly power that washed around Mew's aura, just enough to make him feel drained.

Mewtwo continued to release exorbitant amounts of power. Each missed or was redirected, but Ash began to edge closer. The world shimmered between the two and what ocean wasn't frozen or boiling began to rapidly shift colors and explode violently as the water was superheated by the clashing Titans. Heat distorted the air even as the world began to split apart.

He shut his eyes briefly. Ash felt the world. Every atom, every molecule, the wholes made up from the infinitely smaller parts. So much empty space. The world became him and he became the world.

The Abomination was a bright star of cold malice and tranquil fury. Arrogance and bitterness. Its power had seeped into the world, it was firmly entrenched in the universe. Almost natural but not quite. It must be destroyed.

Ash opened his eyes and whipped his long, prehensile tail. Pink lightning struck at Mewtwo from the clouds and hammered on the Abomination's shield at a frantic, hectic rate until even the powerful Mewtwo was forced to focus on its own safety. The lightning was not the mere electrical discharge most electric-type pokemon generated, it was true lightning called down from the heavens to smite his foe.

He twitched his tail and shot forth a thin, intense beam of energy at Mewtwo as the Abomination's aura flared up. It struck Mewtwo's flame-like aura, but barely penetrated through the ultimate expression of power before the beam was diffused by Mewtwo.

And then Mewtwo released its power. It did not restrain its power to the flickering aura, but allowed it to explode outward for the briefest of moments, just long enough to strike him and wear down the shields he brought into being to protect the world from Mewtwo's assault. The wave of energy crashed against the massive shield but the projection held. Unfortunately, Mewtwo shot forward.

The world slowed down as the unlimited energies allowed Ash to react faster with his mind than any organic body could transmit signals. He was aware of the Abomination's movement. He was aware of the mass of dark, otherworldly energy that manifested in one of its hands while a blade of psychic power materialized in the other.

He did not flee, no matter what he would have preferred. Ash stood the assault head on. He did not protect himself. The power exuding from him would be sufficient. Instead he focused all of his energy into a single, deadly act that could very well destroy them both.

Ash focused on a single point several feet in front of him. He created a tiny field of energy around the point and forced a great deal of his limitless power into the transformation into a chunk of pure white matter of his own design.

Mewtwo drew closer, its terrible wrath and power enough to instantly kill most mortals should they be exposed to it. Its eyes were completely indistinct from the immense, fiery aura of icy blue that raged towards Ash.

He was calm. Serene.

Ash crushed his paws together. The matter he had created, far denser than any naturally occurring or earthly material, compressed to a volume of almost nothing.

A black hole formed.

Ash felt horrific pressure try to rip him apart and suck him into the hole, but his aura protected him. It drained his power by many degrees, but he easily survived. Mewtwo, on the other hand, was focused on offense at the moment. Its aura was dispersed and its power was forced into its dual attacks.

He managed to shoot away, although he still felt the small black hole's immense grip on him. It was an area of utter blackness in space and time. No light was reflected, the photons sucked in just as easily as the water and air that was ripped from their entrenched positions and drawn into the well of space-time.

He couldn't see Mewtwo. There was no light in the immediate area of the black hole, although Ash ensured that it wouldn't have too drastic of an effect on the world. It was small and weak compared to the black holes in the cosmos, but it was sufficient.

Ash could not feel anything resembling Mewtwo. The shields he set up around the black hole to limit the destruction it could wreak and the tremors the black hole sent throughout the universe kept him from investigating. He simply watched and waited.

For several seconds nothing happened. He turned to help the little ones in their fight.

And then Rage made itself known. Power exploded out of the shields and the black hole vanished, its rip sewn together with utmost precision. The universe righted itself and a pillar of icy blue light exploded outward from where the black hole once stood. A wounded, ghostly figure hung in it, radiating pain and power and fury.

Ash felt despair. They were both weakened. It had taken immense amounts of energy to create the black hole and to protect the world from it. The Abomination had somehow fought its way out of Ash's trap and neutralized the black hole. It had to be drained from the kind of unnatural power such an act required.

Mewtwo's pillar of light, the herald of its survival, flickered and died as it suddenly coalesced around Mewtwo's thin, bloodied body and outlined the Abomination in icy fire. Its eyes blazed aflame, no longer cold but hateful and with just a hint of fear.

You are more ruthless than I could have anticipated…I cannot keep you as a slave. You must die now.

Ash would not give in so easily. He was greatly weakened, but not finished. Mewtwo had survived the most dangerous ability he could use without irreparably destroying a substantial portion of the world.

A battle of psychic power would result in devastation for both of them. He was too experienced and the Abomination was too powerful. He could survive and misdirect and trap, but Mewtwo was nigh invincible with the amount of power it wielded. It could get up again and again and keep fighting forever. Eventually Ash would be drained.

Alternatives had to be pursued.

Ash summoned power of a decidedly different type. Foreign and corrupting, unnatural. Darkness, energy alien to the universe, threaded through his veins. His pink aura dampened and was quickly replaced with a black flame that radiated terror and despair.

His cells shifted and expressed something that was not DNA but the very essence of Darkness. It was not power to use lightly. It was his antithesis. Pain began to wrack his body as he shifted into the incarnation of Shadow.

He felt his body rearrange itself like fluid adapting to a new container. The soft pink fur and soft, feline features warped into living shadow. Soft paws became wicked, grasping claws. His warm blue eyes became narrow and cold. A red, spiky growth shot out from his neck. Ash's tail morphed into a shadowy, tattered cloak that drifted in the wind. Ghostly white fog wisped from his head, freezing the air around him.

The Abomination shot away, not afraid but confused and wary. Its aura flickered for a moment before it fired up once more in righteous fury brought on by its near destruction. Even as Ash's new, horrific form was surrounded by mist and the blackness of the night Mewtwo refused to bow down.

Ash felt his form become firm in this new, ethereal body and set his cold blue gaze on Mewtwo. The night around him seemed to become darker, somehow. The light given off by Mewtwo's bright aura dimmed and did not affect him.

He shifted. The darkness was him. Ash did not travel through it. One could not travel through a mere extension of themselves. Perhaps the effect was not as absolute as the true incarnation of Darkness, but it was an efficient mockery of it.

Mewtwo shot away, but Ash could not be escaped. Tendrils of black followed him and grasped out for the Abomination. Whenever they drew near the physical shadows carved straight through Mewtwo's psychic aura that was more than capable of defending against any of his psychic attacks.

The Abomination found that everywhere it tried to flee Ash was there first. Ash struck at it mercilessly. Great scythes of darkness cleaved through Mewtwo's barrier, only to be stopped right in time. Tendrils sought to wrap around and choke the energy from it. His freezing aura and mere proximity to the Abomination sapped its strength and made it inch closer to death.

Ash realized that they were close to New Island. The massive citadel shimmered proudly in the light cast by their apocalyptic clash, although the power that fuelled its otherworldly properties was dying. It seemed to be slowly decaying.

Mewtwo led them closer and close. Ash thought that it was trying to prevent him from using as much power. The little ones would suffer terribly from it.

He felt a drain. This form, this unnatural energy that flowed through him, was not meant for him. It absorbed his power like a sponge, despite its usefulness. Ash could not maintain it for much longer.

He appeared behind Mewtwo and reached out with his black claws to end this conflict. Ash reached out to sever the thin tube that made Mewtwo so efficient. All it would take was a touch to slice through its protective aura and snip the organ in half.

Mewtwo was ready. It ignited the hydrogen in the air and shot backward. Ash could not simply stop the reaction with a thought and touch of psychic power, and was blinded by it. His shadows were cast away for the briefest of moments, but in that moment he saw danger.

Ash could not shift through the darkness as the flames seared his shadows. They did no real damage, but they were a slight distraction. His eyes could not handle the bright light, although the darkness that made up his being quickly quenched them.

It was enough time for Mewtwo to strike back.

A psychic spear, compact and bright, formed beside Mewtwo and shot towards him. Ash could feel its power as it shot through his dark barriers and stabbed towards him. The abomination had put everything into this. It could feel that the battle would end soon, one way or another.

He expected it to be stopped. Ash was wrong. Just as he prepared to hide in the shadows it plunged into his black core, straight through the tattered cloak of shadow he seemed to wear. Pain shot through him, dull surprise, and the spear exploded.

Ash flew backward, felt his body fluidly shift back to his preferred form as the guise of Darkness slipped away and –

He gasped and his eyes snapped open. Fire raced through his blood and he felt like he was going to vomit. He was finally able to consciously realize what had happened, although he'd known it the whole time.

He'd seen the battle through Mew's eyes. He was connected to Mew. And now that connection had almost vanished, although it was still there. Just very, very weak.

"—you alright?! You've been blanking out! Ash –" Fergus stopped shaking him and looked to the sky, where a pink comet plummeted through the heavens. "Look out!"

There was just a moment for Ash to realize with horror that the figure that shot through the sky and cracked the sound barrier was Mew, the Peacekeeper, the Guardian of Life, before –

Thunder rocked the stadium. The pokemon that were still capable of battling were hurled from the center of the battlefield. Ash gave out a concerned yell as dust obscured the world and he was hurled back onto his seat. His head snapped back and slammed into Neesha's shoulder, which made him feel rather dazed.

"No…" He whispered as the dust was suddenly blown back by an invisible gale. The pressure of New Island increased as a beaten, wounded Mewtwo descended into the arena in its psychic aura. It made Ash's skin heat up until it felt like he was standing next to a bonfire.

Mew was revealed, still conscious but horribly weakened. Mewtwo barely looked better off. It must have nearly killed itself with that last attack. Ash darkly wished that it had succeeded.

"Is that Mew?" Neesha hissed, horrified. She held her hands over her mouth. Mew was bloodied and trembled weakly as it levitated upward. Mewtwo furiously hurled a Shadow Ball into the Legend and slammed it deep into a new crater created by the attack.

YOU ARE FINISHED, MEW!

Mewtwo roared. It sounded both furious and pleased with itself. It hovered over the broken body of the Legendary, although its own powers dimmed and flickered on and off. Lacerations and deep bruising from the proximity of those shadowy tendrils Mew had sent after it stood out starkly against its pale grey fur.

It calmed, regained control.

You were a worthy opponent, Progenitor. You proved to be far more powerful than I had anticipated. I will enjoy the memories of this fight when I stand atop my world. Unfortunately, you will not be a part of it.

Mewtwo glanced around at its clones, most of whom were rather badly injured, either from the force of Mew's fall or from the harsh battles they had just faced. They were better off than most of the normal pokemon, the majority of whom were unconscious. Corey had his face hidden in his hands and refused to look up. Ash feared the worst for Corey's team.

Time froze as Ash felt Mew's presence flicker in his mind. Mew was still alive and conscious. It could fight, maybe.

But Mewtwo was in control. It was weakened but indomitable by mortals. At its weakest point it could still kill everything in this stadium in a heartbeat.

He looked around. Some of his friends were easy to find. Most of them were still conscious, although Oz looked to be knocked out. She was bleeding but Ash could trace the steady rise and fall of her chest. Tangrowth was next to her and seemed to be stunned at Mewtwo's appearance, as were the three clones he had entangled within his vines.

Nidoking stood atop his clone, who was crumpled to the ground and crushed underneath his friend's heel. The poison-type looked ready to finish it off at a moment's notice, although he had his fair share of wounds from the brutal fight Ash had seen.

The others were hidden from him by dust or by the masses of pokemon huddled together as they watched Mewtwo prepare to assert its dominance over the world once and for all. Even the Creature's clones were terrified of its wrath.

Mewtwo hovered above the fallen Legend and raised its arm, a clear sign that it was horribly drained. Body movements enhanced focus, but a psychic as powerful as Mewtwo would not need them unless it was about to collapse from sheer exhaustion.

Mew was locked in a psychic grip and hung helplessly in the air, completely at Mewtwo's nonexistent mercy. It struggled, but the power that entrapped it was far too great.

"It's over." Corey whispered.

"No. It's not over." Ash said, a hint of power that was not his own in his words. The others glanced at him for just a moment before they were distracted by the intensifying light. He didn't mind.

He reached into his bag. The angry Zubat inside struggled and tried to bite him, but it had gotten caught in the thick fabric and couldn't move well. Ash ignored the scratches he got from the flailing creature as he found the small orb that was the only weapon he had against Mewtwo.

Ash was in a trance as he primed the Ultra Ball. The other trainers were shouting at Mewtwo, but he couldn't understand what they were saying. Everything seemed dampened and dull. It wasn't as though Mewtwo noticed them, either.

"I'm sorry, Seeker." He whispered quietly as he firmly took the soft body of his friend off of his chest. She squeaked and squirmed frantically as she tried to find her way back to his warmth. Ash handed her to Neesha, whose eyes were glazed as she watched Mewtwo prepare to kill Mew. "Stay here."

He barely knew what he was doing as he vaulted off of the high stone wall. Ash crumpled to the ground as his exhausted body absorbed the force of the landing. His bones felt like they would shatter and he bit back a grunt of pain as he rolled. The trainer was dimly aware of the others shouting furiously at him, but he ignored them. Mewtwo wouldn't play around with Mew much longer.

The sphere was heavy in his hand as he charged at Mewtwo. He was at peace when he hurled the sphere at the Creature that held the fate of the world in its hands. Time itself slowed down as the Ultra Ball was suddenly surrounded by pink energy and propelled straight through Mewtwo's raging aura, even as the Creature turned and sent a tendril of icy energy to destroy the sphere.

Ash's eyes were wide when the Ultra Ball tapped Mewtwo, opened, and sucked it in. For just a moment the ball hung in midair. Mew was freed and slowly levitated away, but before it could try and gain some distance to attack Mewtwo from the Creature appeared, the Ultra Ball nowhere.

For what would likely be the last time Mewtwo turned its frozen eyes upon Ash. The world froze around it, completely locked in place by the waves of psychic energy that suddenly pulsed out from the Creature as cold wrath radiated throughout New Island.

That was a very foolish decision. Ash Ketchum, you are proving to be far more trouble than you are worth.

Mewtwo boomed. The earth revarbated at the sound of its mental roar and Ash felt his teeth tremble in his mouth. Its tone was not insane with hate as it was last time Ash had tried to throw a pokeball at it, but completely cold and devoid of emotion. It was all the more terrifying for it.

Mew cannot protect you anymore. Goodbye, human.

Ash's mouth opened in a wordless scream as Mewtwo merged their minds into one, Ash intertwined into Mewtwo. He felt his body floating upward as Mewtwo made his blood heat and his skin burn. Everything seemed to vanish as he simultaneously saw from Mewtwo's eyes and his own.

He was aware of everything. The exhaustion and pain Mewtwo felt, the anger at being touched by a human's attack, its grudging respect, its inability to understand the world. Memories flitted through Ash's mind as he felt his own identity slip away. What was he? Ash or Mewtwo? The Trainer or the Creature?

And then a warm, kind presence, ageless and immortal, touched him comfortingly. It did not save him, but it seemed to embrace him as Mewtwo slowly ate him away.

Thank you, little one. I am sorry.

The strange, mixed entity felt simultaneous love and hate for the soft, androgynous voice that echoed through its mind. It felt just a moment of surprise and both the human and Mewtwo, minds fully merged for just a moment as Mewtwo prepared to simply snuff out the human's mind and finish off Mew.

And then the human died. The minor part of Mewtwo that he had prepared to quickly destroy vanished into nothingness as a precise, weak beam of pink energy shot off from Mew's weak, dying aura and cleanly sliced through Ash's chest, leaving a completely open hole. It was instantly cauterized by the heat that passed through it.

Everything was silent for just a moment.

XX

Mewtwo screamed. Its eyes seemed to explode with energy and all of New Island shuddered and the stone cracked and the glowing windows that shimmered with light vanished as the Creature's power exploded. The ocean recoiled from Mewtwo's fortress as immense force exploded outward from it, enough to force Mew to call on its last vestiges of power to protect the little creatures, even the clones.

His aura raged and writhed for what seemed like an eternity before it finally flickered and died. Mewtwo's body collapsed to the ground, still conscious but confused and powerless as a mind it had shared died within it.

Mewtwo could do nothing as his body was wracked with mental agony. His body was not affected by the human's death but his mind was in turmoil as the human died inside of him. His tail smashed into the floor as he flailed and spasms ran through it, helpless to fight the emotion, the knowledge, the sheer loss of actually feeling a death he had caused rather than simply observing it.

He had felt Ash Ketchum's entire being, all the memories and emotions that made up the human. He had caused countless deaths and observed as the tiny candles of their minds winked out of existence and felt nothing but the odd respect for particularly strong examples.

This was different. He had never felt death. He had felt loss when he'd killed his first teacher, when he had finally seen past Giovanni's deceptions. He had felt fear when Mew had very nearly killed him with the black hole.

But this was different. He experienced death as though he himself had died. But it wasn't he who had died, just a brave and foolish human that would not be remembered for the rest of eternity. It was just the spawn of his most hated and most important victim.

It hurt.

Mewtwo felt the last of his power leave him as his body and mind released their pain on the world. He was still strong but he could be defeated by the lesser creatures now. Mew, weakened as it was, could easily kill him and win this battle.

His eyes shut.

XX

Mew closed its eyes as Ash's team rushed toward the warm body of their trainer. Nidoking gathered the comparatively tiny shell of flesh and bone in his thick, armored arms and gentle nuzzled the human's forehead.

It levitated and watched as Nidoking cradled the brave child and held it tight. The Pidgeot, wounded and with a great gash ripped into its chest, slowly hopped to protectively stand over the creature and gave a long, mournful cry.

The Kingdra looked at Mew with hatred but tended to his trainer first. Torrent glared about at the clones, many of whom were just as bad off as their progenitors. He dared them to try and interrupt their vigil. He would kill them all and sacrifice their remains to the Guardian of the Sea.

None dared to challenge him. His wrath would be a thing to behold. Torrent rumbled deeply and waited over the shell of his Monarch. He would not be forgotten. He had sacrificed everything and proved once more that he was more worthy than any other to be Torrent's Monarch.

Dazed's eyes still glowed with the latent power the Legend and the Creature produced, but her pendulum was absolutely still. It was outlined with power, but refused to move. Her movements were tight and solemn. She pressed her hand on the limp human and poured energy into him, anything to force him to awaken.

Nothing happened. Cracks threaded throughout the stone pendulum and it vibrated so rapidly that it appeared to remain in the same place. Her eyes exploded and wind whipped around her, which cast her long white mane billowing in the created tempest. Energy shot around her and dust swirled in a furious cone around her.

Her pendulum shattered and everything came undone. Dazed's powers immediately stopped as their focus was broken and she stared at Ash's still body with far-away eyes, helpless to assist her trainer in anyway.

As the pokemon circled mournfully around Ash's limp body, still cradled by Nidoking, the poison-type gently handed the small shell to Bruiser, who held it carefully. Seeker slammed into Ash's body and snuggled into the boy's chest. She chattered and whined and screeched in distress, only calmed when Bruiser lightly stroked her comfortingly.

Nidoking snorted and glared at Mew and Mewtwo. He did not regard the Titans with reverence, only raw anger and a thirst for any kind of vengeance against those responsible for the Trainer-Friend-King's death.

Mewtwo was the easier target. Nidoking snorted and lowered his horn before he charged and displayed speed the ignorant would not expect from a pokemon with the sheer size and power of Nidoking. He drew closer. None of the clones dared to interfere, not when their Creator was unconscious and the Guardian of Life watched over them.

He neared. His horn, stained red with the blood of his defeated foes, leaked potent toxins and he prepared to jab downward and slay the Titan once and for all. The Blight had to be defeated. His honor and the death of his King screamed for it.

A thin layer of pink energy blocked his horn. The force of his charge jolted upon himself and he slowly turned to look at the one who had interfered. The Guardian of Life watched carefully as Nidoking's nostrils flared and his eyes became lost in animalistic rage. Nidoking's vision became blurry and red and he could not see the entity that existed on an entirely different level of power but the one responsible for the King's death.

He roared and his horn's venom was burned away as masses of electricity shot out of it chaotically as he charged, although none of it managed to so much as scratch the barrier the Guardian of Life protected itself with. Nidoking simply charged straight into the barrier and released storms of ice, lightning, and earth in the process. The ground rippled with his every step and he flailed wildly in desperation to slaughter the creature that had killed his King.

There was nothing he could do. He was too weak to escape the psychic grip the Guardian of Life had placed him in. He was too weak to give his King the vengeance he deserved.

Thoughts, each a tidal wave of complexity and emotion, crashed against his mind. He felt the Guardian of Life – Mew, the King had called it – touch his spirit. Nidoking ceased his struggles as his raw, hurting rage simmered and died.

They were not something he could have understood without the Guardian of Life's assistance. It translated the grand meaning of its thoughts into something understandable by Nidoking.

Even then the Guardian did not give him a translation. Nidoking understood vague impressions of a complete picture and a lot of thoughts put into one. He knew their meaning, but it was difficult to comprehend, regardless.

His emotions were still hard for his King, and he felt disgust at himself for being too weak to protect the King. The King was his friend, his brother. The King was their leader and trainer and they had been too weak to protect him.

Venom leaked from his glands. His armor was coated in a layer and his temper rose again. Nidoking snorted and lowered his horn to the Guardian of Life, who would soon die by his horn for the atrocity it had committed.

The Guardian looked at him. Nidoking felt peace. He could not resist as the Guardian of Life levitated closer to the Blight, the one who was ultimately responsible for the King's death. The Guardian had protected it. Nidoking roared silently, his mind blocked by the Guardian's power.

His brothers and sisters-in-arms were helpless. All of the mortals were. Nidoking wished for Sneasel to attack. Perhaps he could resist and slay the Titans. They would pay with their lives one day. Blood beget blood, and the Titans had shed the blood of one far more precious than either of them.

Sneasel could not. Nidoking did not know where the Dark One was, but he did not leap from the shadows and rend soft, furred flesh with his hooked claws. There were only the Titans. Even the clones seemed to fade into the background as the Titans neared each other.

The Guardian looked at the broken form of the Blight. Its luminous blue eyes shifted to a bright pink and the Blight was brought back from its void.

Nidoking roared in hatred as the Blight's eyes snapped open and he struggled with every part of his being to break free and kill the Creature. He felt the Guardian's influence restrain and bind him, but he did not care. He would fight until the Guardian had to destroy him to prevent its own death.

He struggled. He moved a half-inch forward and collapsed. The psychic grip held him in place and he was exhausted. Peace filled his mind and he was forced to watch once more.

The Creature levitated itself up and did not try to attack. It was at the mercy of the Guardian and knew better than to test the Guardian's ire.

Nidoking simply watched helplessly as the Creature broadcasted its words. A bead of poison hung indefinitely suspended on the tip of his horn. One day a similar bead would find revenge for his King. Just as the King's chest was disfigured with a small hole, the Titans' chests would be torn open by his horn.

One day.

XX

He was alive. Mew had not killed him, even when he was at his weakest point. Even after he had threatened everything it protected and nearly killed it several times.

Why?

Why…why am I not dead?

He disliked how weak his powers were. Even if he wanted he could not have hurt Mew. What little of his power had been left after striking Mew down in the heavens had been released when Ash Ketchum's mind had been intertwined with his own and then ripped away. It would regenerate soon if he did not die here.

Impressions from Mew. Its current power was not much greater than his own, but it was more than enough. Mewtwo felt as weak as the day he had first emerged from his tank. Simply thinking of accessing his powers made his head ache and his wounded body throb.

The impressions were strange. Mercy, trust.

Trust? Why did it trust him?

I don't want to kill you. You felt the Little One. You have felt something other than yourself. You can get better!

The soft voice chirped in his mind. Mewtwo glared at his progenitor. This was the voice of the mighty Mew? It belied the power the tiny creature possessed.

I have felt the lives and deaths of thousands, Progenitor. For the majority I have been the cause.

You might have felt them, but you never truly took their pain and their death as your own. True empathy is more than knowing what another feels, it is suffering as they suffer.

Mew's timeless, genderless voice insisted. The soft mental communication of complex signals and thoughts echoed in Mewtwo's mind. It did not hurt him, just as his voice did not hurt Mew.

It was strange. He had always had to be so careful of his mere voice. Even as he learned control it was painful to the lesser creatures around him. As he spoke to the humans this night he had been forced to take special care lest they be driven to madness.

But Mew could truly speak to him. Mew was the closest thing to an equal he had. He had accepted that before he had met it in battle. Mewtwo was formed from Mew's DNA. It had to be strong.

This was such a small, unimportant thing yet it was important at the same time. It cemented Mew as strong in a way that nothing, not even its impressive repetoir of tricks and ruthlessness in killing Ash Ketchum when the human was his only weakness had.

Mewtwo considered Mew's words. He had come to the same conclusion himself, but its significance had only just arrived to his savaged mind. His head ached and he swished his tail around irritably, despite the minor pain the action caused.

He knew Ash Ketchum now in a way that he had not before, even when he had searched through all of his memories. That had been a cursory search, whatever the boy might have thought otherwise. But when he had taken the spawn of his foe into himself to snuff out the boy's mind he had become intertwined with him.

Ash Ketchum was strong. He had triumphed over his own fear and sacrificed himself in an attempt to even try to inconvenience him. It was foolish but brave. Mewtwo recalled the other instances in which the boy had rose over his own fear. There were many.

Mewtwo had respected the Champion Lance, the Elite Four that had fought him, and Gym Leader Sabrina. There were others, but they were the primary foes he had found worthy of respect. Each of them were powerful examples of humans, isolated paragons of their largely worthless species.

The boy stood as their equal. Perhaps he was not as strong. His team – Nidoking, Plume, Torrent, Dazed, Infernus, Bruiser, Seeker, Tangrowth, Sneasel, Oz, information he had absorbed from Ash Ketchum's mind corrected – was weaker than the Gym Leaders and great warriors of the humans. But Mewtwo had internalized Ash Ketchum, even if his mind had been ripped away into the void.

The Little One was strong.

Mew's neutral voice agreed solemnly.

You like that, don't you? Strength and power are what your life revolves around. I can see it inside you clear as day.

I felt his mind as well. You sought a worthy example of humanity, correct? A single human worthy of respect that was not bound by the League. Ash Ketchum was that human. Any of these humans you brought here are.

Mewtwo frowned thoughtfully and his powerful tail swished back and forth as conflicting emotions ran through him. The dust behind him lifted and blew as he carelessly allowed waves of force to slash outward from his tail's movements.

They are exceptional specimens.

He insisted.

Yes, they are.

Mew said to him with pride. The ancient creature looked over at the humans that watched the two Titans with awe and anticipation. It then watched all of the lesser creatures around them, natural born and clones.

All life is unique. It is all special and it is all equal. But yes, these humans are strong. You chose them for that reason. Not many humans are able to achieve their strength and the bond they hold with their friends and allies.

Mew said sagely. It looked at Mewtwo with its large blue eyes that sparkled with an inner light that the moon could not match.

Something about its calm state and its demeanor infuriated Mewtwo. He did not want to hear about its views. He wanted this to end. Mew had defeated him. It had all rights to kill him.

Why are we speaking? Finish me.

No.

Mew's ancient voice replied in an infuriatingly whimsical manner. It idly chased its own tail and didn't even seem to pay attention to him. The time of danger had passed. Now that he had been reduced to nothing Mew had stopped taking the situation seriously.

And why not? I very nearly killed you.

The Legendary cocked its head at him.

Why would I kill you right now? You can't hurt any life like this.

It was not the truth. Mewtwo was certain that he could at least hurt some of the lesser creatures that surrounded them. Mew would act quickly, but he would likely do some sort of damage.

But what would be the point? His mind still ached and the thought of releasing his power upon others did not cause the same thrill for him as it had mere minutes ago. It just seemed so…pointless. There was still the desire to use his great power, but not to destroy and conquer. Not at the moment, anyway.

Taking one into yourself is never a trivial act. The Little One is dead and gone, but you merged with him. He was a pebble and you were the earth, but he was a part of you. It changes you.

Mew's soft voice echoed. It was nostalgic but also knowing.

Mewtwo's eyes briefly flashed with energy, but horrible agony spiked through his nerves and he instantly collapsed back to the ground.

I cannot be changed by a human! The boy was a part of me but he does not exist any longer! I am too powerful to be affected by a lesser being.

Did Giovanni not affect you, then?

Mew probed, no longer playful. Its blue eyes were intense but weren't harsh or cruel.

Mewtwo stopped and anger flooded through him as Mew pointed out a flaw in his logic. He did not like being questioned.

Of course Giovanni had affected him. For nearly a year Giovanni had been everything to Mewtwo, a teacher, mentor, the example of strength that he had modelled himself after. He had not always liked the human, but he had always respected him.

Accept that you have been changed. It will be subtle. Small inclinations you didn't have before. Perhaps you will finally understand the pain and hardship you cause others, perhaps not. But you will grow, and I believe that you will find wisdom you do not have before.

Mew floated closer, Mewtwo's bane and progenitor near enough to touch. Mewtwo despised the creature, but he did not strike out. Mew was strong and worthy of his respect. He would listen.

You are very powerful, Little One. You have worked hard to develop and amplify your strength. I know what you have done and how you have accomplished it. It is a testament to your skill and intelligence.

But you are not wise. Before you were too arrogant and self-absorbed to even consider that there were things that mattered beyond power, control to use that power, and your own desires. I do not know how you have been changed or if it will last, but I do believe that you will become much greater than you are now.

Mewtwo just watched and mulled over Mew's words as the source of his life happily bounced up and down on a bubble of psychic energy, its playful demeanor a far cry from the sage words it imparted upon him.

That is why I don't want to kill you. Before you merged yourself with the Little One, you were beyond my help. I could not allow a stagnant mind that wished only for the destruction of others to survive. Now you can change. You can be better than you are.

Mew abruptly popped the bubble with its long, thin tail and stared at him.

I am granting you a new life. Accept it and become more than yourself. Know the world and love it. It is a beautiful place. Life is wonderful.

He paused, uncertain.

And if I do not accept your offer?

Then I will kill you and end the threat that you pose to my world.

Mew said calmly in a disconcertingly cheerful manner. It was matter-of-fact and held no malice in its tone.

Mewtwo believed it would follow through. His pride demanded he refuse and die, but he couldn't voice that thought. He could not accept death. His entire existence had revolved solely around himself. Others had no part in his grand view than as pawns or trophies.

He was strong. He knew that. The strongest. Mew had only defeated him through deception and ruthlessness Mewtwo had not anticipated. But in this way he was weak. Mewtwo knew that. His desire to survive and dominate was a trait that he had drawn much strength from, but he could not accept his own death. It was an alien thought to him, one that was close to becoming a reality.

That cemented his decision, the one that would determine his life.

I accept your offer.

Great!

Mew said cheerfully. Its eyes closed happily.

But we'll be watching. If something like this happens again, something much more dangerous than Life will come for you.

I understand.

Mewtwo did. He was not done growing. He was certain that he would be able to defeat whatever Legends were called from their ancient resting places to stop him, but something made him want to avoid that possibility. There was a call in himself to grow strong and become indomitable, but he no longer wanted to use that power to crush and rip and kill.

He wondered what the future held for him. What would he do now? Would he remain here on New Island, presiding as the god of a tiny island in the middle of an empty ocean? Or would he leave to learn and become stronger?

There was much to learn, he realized. So much life. As Mew had said, the world was beautiful and life was wonderful.

Now he simply had to discover why.

XX

This conflict is over.

Mew declared confidently. It closed its eyes in focus. Mewtwo watched stonily.

You have caused much devastation, but the world will heal. The humans are resilient and the danger of your storms had just reached the land before you were broken.

There is one loss that demands satisfaction. I will right this wrong and I will leave. Learn, Little One, and grow. There is so much more than yourself.

Mew suddenly shifted. Its small body ignited with a fire that could not be mistaken as natural. The flames were a combination of every color of the rainbow, and the stadium around the Legend glowed with bright, vivid light that stood out as a pure beacon in the endless night.

The storm clouds for miles around dissipated instantly as Mew's body morphed and grew into a massive bird that stood at nearly thirty feet high. Great wings of red, white, and bright green were hugged to its side and burned brightly. A brilliant crest of the purest gold adorned its proud head and a beak that looked to be carved by a masterful craftsman allowed its pure white eyes to look down at Mewtwo proudly.

He could not see its more subtle features due to the bright, multicolored light that emanated from the great Phoenix, but he could feel it. This was nothing more than a shallow copy of the Sun Bird, a ray of sunlight to the star itself.

But it was still powerful beyond belief. Fuelled by Mew's remaining power, this transformation would have been enough to give Mewtwo pause during their battle in a way that shifting into Darkness had not.

The Little One. Bring him to me.

Mew demanded. With every word the Phoenix's light shined brighter until the night sky almost looked like dawn had arrived many hours early. The lesser creatures had to look away lest their eyes be blinded.

Mewtwo watched as the Machoke – Bruiser – that held Ash Ketchum's limp body handed his precious cargo to Nidoking, who held the boy tightly.

Nidoking lumbered over slowly, still suffering from the wounds it had suffered from the battle. He nuzzled Ash as he walked to the transformed Mew, careful to keep his horn away from the pale body.

Ash Ketchum's body was carefully placed at Mew's talons, which looked to be carved of the same golden substance as the Phoenix's beak. The human, so tiny in comparison to Mew's transformed state, was suddenly bathed in intense light as Mew sang a mournful song that aroused pain and sorrow in the hearts of everything present.

And Mew burst into vast, rainbow-hued flames. Mewtwo recoiled and raised a thin barrier to protect himself from the light, which burned not at his flesh but at his spirit. He wanted to roar his pain at the world, but he was drowned in fire and light and power that he knew was a pale imitation of the true Sun Bird, but –

It was over. Mewtwo's body was seared from the supernatural heat of the mimicked Sacred Flames, but he was not destroyed. He was helpless to do anything but stare as Mew's transformed state combusted and destroyed itself until it was nothing but strange ash with a golden hue. The precious substance littered the ground and layered over Ash Ketchum's body.

Flesh and feathers regenerated as quickly as they burned away, although at a slower rate as Mew allowed itself to burn longer. After a timeless instant Mew finally ceased its burning and slipped into its ordinary state.

Ash Ketchum's eyes opened.

XX

Everything was hazy. He did not know where he was or what had happened. All he could remember was a pink beam of energy and the hint of a horrible pain before there was nothing but blackness.

He could see the night sky. The moon hovered straight above him, its silver light pure and beautiful in the midst of the carnage and chaos this night had beget. Stars twinkled brightly. Ash dimly realized that there were no longer storm clouds.

What was odd was that he felt fine. His chest ached and throbbed a bit, but as he pressed his hand to it he didn't feel anything but a small hole in his shirt and a thin layer of a strange, gritty substance. Ash rubbed it between his fingertips and marveled at the faint, comforting heat that ran through his body at the contact.

Ash pulled himself up and looked around. There was complete silence. He recognized that he was still at New Island. That wasn't good. Where were his friends? Were they hurt? A thick knot in his throat. Were they alive?

He looked around, and suddenly realized that he needn't have worried. All of his friends were around him, all with what he recognized as hopeful expressions on their faces. Even Infernus was there, although he stayed a bit away from the rest of the team. Infernus didn't have the cruel smirk on his face either. The fire-type just had a flat, concerned frown.

"Hey, guys." He said. His throat was a little dry. He hadn't even noticed until now. "Are you alright? What's ha—"

Ash was suddenly mobbed by his friends, who didn't let him move as they practically crushed him. He almost laughed under their frantic attentions, but he was still aware of the potential danger. Mewtwo had to be around here somewhere.

"I'm fine!" He said with a small grin. Seeker and Sneasel fought for his attention. Sneasel licked the side of his face with his rough tongue and Seeker practically burrowed into his chest, although she took care to avoid the hole. "What happened?"

Dazed's eyes flashed and her cool voice echoed inside of his head. It cracked with sorrow, however, and he felt a pit of worry gnaw on his stomach.

You were killed.

Ash froze and he looked at the source of the voice that he had only heard once before. Mew levitated next to Mewtwo, who looked tired and defeated. Their situations had reversed since he had last been conscious.

"…What."

You were killed to stop the Blight. The Guardian of Life ended your life as you were merged with the Blight, before you could be lost forever.

Dazed elaborated, her voice as dispassionate as possible. The way her eyes flashed erratically and her mane billowed in an invisible wind showed him that she wasn't quite as distant as she seemed. This was a method of defense.

"I died?" He said, stunned. Ash had died? What. "And…and Mew killed me?"

Yes.

The Legend said matter of factly, its tone soft but still enough to make Ash's head ache with its immense power. It levitated in small circles, its small mouth wide open as it playfully bounced around. Ash just stared at it. Mew had killed him?

Indeed. Are you surprised? A single human life is not so important in the grand scheme of things, regardless of their strength.

A deep baritone roared into his mind. Mewtwo had been drained of most of its power but its voice still made his bones quake. It levitated slightly off of the ground, although it looked to require immense concentration on the Creature's behalf.

He didn't say anything to the monster. Ash just grit his teeth and struggled to not order his friends to attack it while it could be killed. Mew had left it alive for some reason. The Legend would probably protect the Creature if he tried to attack.

I am no longer a threat to you. My defeat has given me a new destiny, one that I will seek without interfering with the rest of the world.

"Why should I believe you?" Ash hissed. His friends stood behind him and glowered at the Creature, who regarded them with cool amethyst eyes. There was something different about them. They weren't quite as hard. "You nearly destroyed everything!"

Because my existence depends upon it. And I have been changed through no desire of my own. I must learn before I may move on.

Mewtwo boomed, displeased. Its massive tail flicked back and forth in annoyance, although it calmed when Mew looked at it.

"I don't trust you!" He growled, heedless of whatever power the Creature still possessed. "You're a monster. You'll just try again one day."

Perhaps. I do not know what the future holds. Whatever alteration my nature has sustained may not hold. We will simply see.

But it does not matter. More than my own thoughts restrain me from following this path again. Many eyes watch me now.

Ash continued to glare at Mewtwo. He would never trust the Creature, not after everything it had done. Mew might have killed him, but Mewtwo was the one responsible for his death and many others. Considering that Mewtwo was about to devour his mind Mew had practically saved him.

I do not require your approval, Ash Ketchum. You are strong but you hold no power over me. Simply know that I have tired of blood and war and accept that others will restrain me. There is nothing you can do.

He looked to the side. Ash still found himself rather numb to the world. This should make him angry and sad and wary all at once, but he just felt a dull anger. His body was strong and better than ever but his emotions were burned out for the moment.

A calming aura overcame him as Mew looked at him. His muscles slackened and he had to lean on Nidoking for support. His friend was careful to keep him away from his plates of armor, which were shiny with a thin layer of poison. Ash just patted his friend and angled himself so that he would fall on the thick, leathery hide that covered his chest. There weren't any toxin sacs there.

"What happens now?"

You and the others humans will be given your teams and sent to the shoreline. I will leave you only with vague memories of the events that occurred here. You will not be allowed to speak of this.

"You can't just wipe our minds like that!" Fergus shouted from the stands. He leapt down from the stone amphitheater and landed heavily on his feet. "Just let us go."

No. Count yourselves fortunate that I am allowing any information of myself to remain in your minds. My safety and those of my clones is far too important to be violated by foolish humans seeking to capture me. I will be left in isolation, and any of those who violate that right will suffer the consequences.

Mewtwo said darkly. Its eyes were hard and cold as the stone they resembled now.

Now, begone. I will not have the world but New Island belongs to me. I tire of your presence.

"What, no!" Ash shouted, a bit of panic bubbling inside of his stomach. "I need to know more! I need answers!"

Mewtwo stared at Ash. Its eyes flashed the icy blue that had haunted Ash for nearly a year now.

You are strong for a human. Stay true to that strength. It will serve you as well as my strength has served me. Do not follow the path of Him. Power is a tool,

Ash just stared at Mewtwo, slightly dazed as power began to roll off of the powerful psychic in waves. The world grew bright.

Pray that our paths do not cross again.

And with that the world flashed and Ash and his team slipped through space and time. The power enveloped him and blackness suddenly swallowed him whole – New Island and the brutal coliseum vanished – the Titans that had wreaked havoc upon the world disappeared –

Just before everything went mute and black, he felt what seemed to be an infinite void touch his mind. It whispered to him and cut off.

I am sorry.

 
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