Regret

Death. War. Destruction. The world of the future lies in ruins. I got the chance to go back and stop it from ever happening, only to discover that I was the cause. This is how I destroyed the world.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5808527/1/Regret

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20. Prey

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread ~ Alexander Pope

 

-O-O-O-

"There are many things in this world we can never hope to even begin to understand. Why we became capable of looking to the stars and dreaming up constructions, whilst other creatures were content with where they were. Why some ghosts continue to exist on our plane, holding on and tormenting those of us that still live. Most importantly; why some creatures seem capable of vile acts, whilst others are not. Humans are not the only creatures to kill for fun, as many pokémon do so too.

I saw a lot when I was a travelling trainer, as do most people. I saw the horrors the world is capable of, and decided that I would do my best to try and stop such things from happening.

But sometimes, I can't help but wonder:

Should we have ever been trusted with the gift of dreaming, when all it leads to are nightmares?"

- Phoebe Narx, 49th Hoenn League Champion, Hoenn Elite Four Member 3005-3025. (April 16th, 3004)

-O-O-O-

I figured we had been in the caves for at least three days by the time we came across another cluster of elemental stones. Instantly I recalled Xander and Lacey to their balls, and left only Loki by my side. He cackled with delight and raced around the gems, their light reflecting in his greedy little eyes.

I felt a cold chill pass down me and resisted the urge to yelp.

They were becoming more frequent. I'd felt two the day I ventured into the caves; three the next, six the day after. And that was at least the tenth one that day. I couldn't kid myself anymore.

I was being followed.

I released the makuhita out of its ball and watched as it tensed itself, walking around with arrogant pride. He had healed well since Xander had battled him, and didn't seem to object to being a trainer pokémon once he'd seen Xander and Loki ready to attack again, and more importantly, the food I offered him. Lacey wasn't much of a help, but the moment he saw her, he shuddered visibly and cowered away.

It made me wonder whether pokémon could sense killers or not. Every pokémon that had met Lacey so far had reacted with palpable fear, no matter the situation. It was like she gave off an aura only they could see, and I guessed it had to be with her... hobby before I captured her.

Regardless, it worked in my favour.

The makuhita turned out to be a lot easier than Lacey to train, but still a fair sight harder than Loki or Xander. I was still struggling to get him to understand basic commands, and hadn't managed to break him out of his habit of attacking any opponent without a moment's thought. As soon as something tried to attack us, he would rush in and try to beat seven shades out of it. He was the complete opposite to Xander in that regard, though it was still a bad thing.

He growled as he walked around, holding himself up and flattening his shoulders. I realised he could see pretty well in the dark, and once or twice he would punch away a geodude everyone else thought was nothing but a rock. He also seemed to want to prove himself again to Xander, and would challenge the lotad every time we stopped to rest. More often than not, he was completely outclassed, though he did occasionally manage to get a few good hits in.

He also didn't seem to understand he wasn't able to physically hit Loki. He would constantly try and challenge the ghost, but every time Loki would let the attacks pass through him harmlessly. I knew any sort of fighting-based attacks didn't affect Loki regardless of whether he was in the shadows or not, and never really bothered trying to stop the makuhita. Loki thought it was all a game, and it was making him more reflexive in turning intangible.

I noticed though, the makuhita never attacked him from behind. He would always announce his intentions before attempting to pulverise him. I recalled that fighters wouldn't hesitate to pummel their opponent into a spot on the floor, though would never perform a sneak attack. I wondered just whether or not I could influence him to think otherwise.

I began wondering whether I should teach it the strange attack Brawly had all his fighters use on Loki. I had found it in the pokédex, and it detailed how it would allow pokémon to identify any sort of ghost, and would allow them to hit it with attacks that would otherwise pass through them.

But of course, I had no idea how to teach him it.

He growled again, and I noticed him pick up another geodude and fling it somewhere into the caves. Whilst I shook my head and worried about it coming back with a graveller or the like, Loki found it incredibly amusing, and tried it himself, though with much less success.

Once we cleared the strange area with gems, I released Xander and Lacey again. Once again the makuhita shied away from her, and I wondered just what was making it happen. If pokémon could sense her past crimes, I began to wonder if they could share such fear with their trainers.

Which meant, if someone adapted enough felt what their pokémon could, it might mean a few people would learn about Lacey's past crimes. I didn't have much of a problem with them, providing she didn't do it anymore, though knew other people might not see it the same way.

They could even find out that she helped me kill the Elite.

I pushed the thought away. I couldn't dwell on it. I focused on more present thoughts, like what to name the makuhita. He'd gone three days without one, and it was three days of constantly having to speak to him directly. I also wondered whether or not I should give him a sash or something to cover up. I knew people would give hitmonchan the strange purple dress-thing when they competed competitively, if only for reasons of decency. Though I'd never seen anyone else cover up any other pokémon – the machops I'd fought were both uncovered, as were all of Brawly's pokémon, for that matter.

If they didn't have to cover up their pokémon, I wouldn't either, I decided. Even if it was a bit weird to see my pokémon's genitals swinging around underneath it.

I glanced around the cave, swinging my light in every direction. I couldn't see anything new, and wondered whether or not we were reaching the end of it. After three days trekking through it, I figured we had to be nearing an exit somewhere. As much as I didn't like the heat, feeling the sun on my skin would be a nice change. It would mean I also wouldn't be going to the toilet in the dark anymore, which was always nice.

"Hey guys, you know if there's an exit around here?" I asked my pokémon. I was aware that I now had three pokémon that could see in the dark, one of whom that was native to these caves. I received a few negative grunts, followed by a shared excited murmur from Loki and the makuhita both. They'd found an exit.

My excitement was cut short as I felt another shudder. This time I couldn't help but yelp, and my body felt so incredibly cold for a moment. It was like I'd been dumped in an ice bath and then left in a freezer for a good week, and I collapsed to the floor, panting and shivering heavily.

If there was any doubt in my mind before, that killed it. Something was hunting me.

I picked myself up, aware of two of my pokémon trying to help me. The makuhita just looked confused, and Lacey just didn't care. I shook off Loki and Xander's concerns as well as I could, and instructed them with a shaky breath to lead us towards an exit.

If I was being followed, I would rather confront whatever it was in the light.

My mind was racing with panic as I followed my pokémon. Every shadow seemed to loom at me, every noise was a death threat to all of us.

It was borderline psychological torture.

What was that noise? Did it get a bit colder? A bit darker? Do I feel breath on my neck?

I was turning into a nervous wreck.

When Loki hissed, I stopped dead in my tracks.

My heart was pumping frost through my veins. I'd only ever heard him use that tone on the wurmple and Lacey. He'd found something!

I tried my best to keep my hands steady as I lifted the torch towards Loki, and then followed his gaze.

I found...

A brown pokémon, floating there unnaturally. It looked like nothing more than a dead shell, and I could see pieces of whatever made it up flaking off. It was dead, peeling and alive, all at once. There was a strange white circle above it; some twisted form of a halo, guiding its unnatural movements.

... I found a shedinja.

I screamed and dropped the torch as I fell backwards. It clattered noisily on the ground and bathed me in darkness. I couldn't see anything! I could only hear my heart thundering in my chest, threatening to burst free at any moment. My hands shook and scrambled over the floor, searching in vain for my source of light.

I heard footsteps pound the floor. The makuhita was attacking. I tried to scream at it to stop, knowing it couldn't hit it, but I couldn't find my voice.

There was silence.

And then horrible screaming.

I think I started screaming too as I scrambled for the torch. I finally found it and gripped it like it was salvation itself, lifting it up and basking the cave in erratic, shaking light. I needed to know what was happening. I turned the torch to where the shedinja was...

... and found nothing.

My breath caught a moment. Then the makuhita's headless corpse dropped in front of me. I screamed and jumped backwards along the floor as it fell backwards, spraying fluids everywhere.

"Holy fuck!" I screamed, scrambling in vain to find my feet. I felt cold fear flood me again and jumped backwards, only just avoiding the dead bug's lethal drop. I stared at it and wondered how exactly it managed to kill the makuhita. Then I saw the darkness coming out from inside its shell. I realised how incredibly dangerous the darkness was then. Whatever lived in the shed shell attacked from within darkness. In the dark, it could sneak out and rip its foes to little pieces.

It took every bit of will I had not to piss myself then and there.

I screamed again and jumped to my feet, worried for the rest of my pokémon. I heard Xander croak and Loki hiss nearby, and felt immense relief flood me at their continued existence. Yellow lights shone nearby me, and I knew Lacey too, was still alive.

I pointed my torch at her. "Get it!" I yelled. "You've got to know some dark attacks, get it!"

She turned to me and gave me a mutinous look. I understood then what it was about. She couldn't kill me, for fear that the poké ball would kill her too. But I had never said she would die if something else killed me first.

"Fuck!" I hissed, leaping back another step. I couldn't see the dead stalker. I couldn't hear it. I couldn't even smell it! I saw Loki and Xander out of the corner of my eye, and screamed at Loki to get the creature. I'd researched the pokémon in my paranoia, and found it could only be injured by specific attacks. Everything else simply washed off it with no effect. It meant Xander was completely useless against it.

I heard Loki hiss and screech, and a flurry of movement I assumed to be him attacking. My breath caught, and after hearing no screams, I released it. He was still alive. It gave me hope, and made me figure out a plan.

I needed something to injure it. Between all of my pokémon, I was certain they didn't know anything to put it down for good. Loki had no moves from his nature, aside from darting into the shadows, and Lacey wasn't helping.

I needed fire!

I cursed. Where the hell could I get it? I only had a lighter on me, and nothing I could use as a torch. I kept moving as I rummaged in my bag, searching in vain for something I could use. Clothes, no. Books, no. Food. Water. Soap. Deodorant. Toothbrush.

Wait.

My breath caught.

Deodorant!

I snatched it out of my bag as quickly as I could and handed Xander the torch. He fumbled around with it, and I told him to try and find the shedinja as quickly as he could.

I jumped away from him and flicked at the lighter, trying to get it to work. "C'mon!" I hissed, flicking it again and again. Once. Twice. Three times.

Fire bloomed out of it.

And illuminated the shedinja in my face.

I screamed and fell backwards even as it shied away from the flames. My whole body shook as I grabbed the deodorant can and sprayed it into the flames, making a makeshift flamethrower.

The ghost hissed and backed away. I saw Xander chase after it with the torch, and Loki pull himself off the floor and chase after it. Lacey remained indifferent in the distance, and I saw the smug smile on her face when the light passed over her.

I put the thought away and searched for the ghost.

Where was it?

I sprayed more flames everywhere, coating the air around me in an orange glow. I couldn't see it! I couldn't see anything. I caught the barest flash of brown as Xander panned the torch.

There!

I leapt forwards and sprayed flames again. The shedinja stopped in its tracks, and I heard a haunting wail scream around the caves as it burst into flame. Its whole body caught fire, and I continued to spray it with flames until the spray of my deodorant ran out. Xander dropped the torch, and the only light between us was the shedinja flailing in the air, still aflame. It dropped suddenly, still burning on the floor, and I backed away, still fearful.

It wasn't dead. I couldn't believe that for a moment. It was a ghost. It couldn't die.

I recalled Lacey and Xander both, and shouted at Loki to find the exit. He nodded and raced along, near enough dragging me as we ran away.

We fled from the new demon stalking us, and the dead little fighter that was once part of our team.

It took barely a few minutes to reach the outside of the caves, but to me, it felt a lifetime. Sunlight basked down upon us, and I felt immeasurable relief upon feeling the sun on my skin. I didn't care how dirty I was, how much blood and who knew what else I was covered in.

I was alive.

I began panting, breathing hard and laughing all at the same time. Loki looked at me as if I'd gone mad.

In a way, I suppose I had.

I thanked him and recalled him back into his poké ball, giving him a little bit of rest. I'd have to talk to Lacey later on, and try to establish some sort of deal with her. She'd been quite happy to let me die in there. If I had, no doubt Xander and Loki would have turned on her. She'd slaughter Xander without any problem, though I knew she couldn't kill Loki. She'd end up injuring him, and then he would either turn bitter and twisted and hunt her down, or live wildly in the caves, attacking travellers that came too near.

I didn't want any scenario happening.

I caught my breath and drew my gun, not taking any chances anymore. The whole island was cursed, I felt, and didn't want to be on it a moment longer. The caves had let me out into the middle of a forest, and I had no idea of where I was, let alone how I was to get back to the main island and escape on a boat.

I settled into familiarity and evaluated my immediate surroundings. There was a hoothoot nest in a nearby tree, and there were enough broken branches and squashed berries around me to tell me it was something's nest.

I stepped forwards slowly, testing the ground. I was letting fear guide me, and it was the only thing keeping my hold on sanity at that time. I took a small step and recoiled before I stepped down on the small cluster of seeds on the ground.

"Oh... shit," I cursed, identifying them at once. Leech seeds. It meant a grass pokémon had set up its nest nearby, and was out hunting for food.

I considered what it meant for a moment. I had walked into a nest belonging to a sceptile, tropius, carnivine or a roserade. Everything else that used such a tactic wasn't native to Hoenn, so were effectively ruled out. I couldn't see any banana plants nearby, and the weather wasn't humid enough for tropius to thrive. That ruled them out. There weren't many bunches of flowers nearby, which meant roserade wouldn't be able to use them for camouflage.

It meant I was in the middle of a sceptile or a carnivine's nest. Neither was good, and both could kill me quite easily.

My head snapped up at the sound of buzzing nearby. Small flies flew around something in the near distance, buzzing loudly and swarming in greater numbers by the minute. They were feasting on something dead.

It was risky, but I knew if I saw what the prey was, I could tell what pokémon's nest I had walked into.

Carefully I inched forwards, walking on tiptoes. The ground underneath me was wet and soft, which meant I had to tread even lighter, for fear of squelching down on the mud and alerting something to my presence.

It took a few minutes, but I finally made it to where the flies were feasting on dead flesh. When I saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes.

Two sceptile, dead and flayed completely of their skin. I couldn't see any trace of it on them, and all their organs were splashed around them, staining the ground and making the entire area stink. I gagged and pressed an arm to my mouth, trying to ward off the stench. It made me certain I'd walked into a sceptile's nest. They were top of the food chain in the forest.

It meant something else had killed them. Something had killed them and skinned them.

Realisation hit me full force.

"Oh fuck," I breathed, knowing instantly. Gardevoir! Some demons had set up nest here, and were going around killing everything. I heard a twig snap and whirled round instantly. The air exploded out of my lungs as something unseen picked me up and hurled me into a tree. Something snapped, and I hoped it was only the tree before I was slung into it again. I grunted a pained scream, blood trickling from my mouth before everything started to blur and fade.

I was out with the next blow.

My head was pounding as I came to sometime later. My throat felt incredibly dry, and my entire back ached with fresh and old bruises. My mind worked slowly, trying to piece together what had happened. I'd escaped the cave... then stumbled into a pokémon nest... I'd found two dead sceptile... and then something threw me into a tree.

I gasped and shot up full force. Gardevoir! I'd been captured by one of the demons! I had to have been!

I only just became aware that my arms and legs all felt dead. I struggled to move them and found that they weren't budging an inch. In fact, my entire body refused to move. I glanced around and felt my stomach drop as I saw the soft blue glow encasing my body.

Something was holding my body against a tree trunk.

It meant they were nearby! I glanced around and saw my gun on the floor, well out of my reach. I couldn't move enough to grab either of my knives, let alone my poké balls. I couldn't even reach the damn emergency release button I'd bought!

I began to fret, dreaming up stories and brutal fantasies of how I was going to die.

Then my brain burned with pain.

[Silly, curious human.]

I screamed as it burned at my head with white-hot pain, and thrashed uncontrollably against my bonds. The voice burnt into my skull, rasping in horrible, demonic, barely female tones.

[Did you never learn from that saying you have? Curiosity killed the delcatty... or something like that.] I felt it laugh within my brain, and couldn't stop the tears building in my eyes from the pain. [You humans have such strange ways with words. But they do seem to make sense.]

I saw movement from the corner of my blurry vision, and my stomach dropped once more as I identified it as a gardevoir. It near enough floated over the ground, and I saw its skirt only barely covered its knees. I knew then and there what was going to happen.

It was going to skin me alive. I was going to become a part of its demonic dress.

What was there already had the faintest tinge of green, and I knew it was the demon that killed the sceptile.

It stepped towards me and cupped my chin with its hell-born claws. I flinched and turned my face away, but it grabbed me again, holding me firm. It reached forwards and seemed to inhale before it stepped back, delight shining in its unnatural eyes.

[You'll do fine.]

I bit my lip hard enough to draw blood as it burned my brain again. I panted for a moment, trying in vain to collect some emotion that wasn't fear. "I'm... I'm going to kill you," I breathed.

It looked like it raised an eyebrow at me. [Really? And how do you plan on doing that when you're held under my power?]

I flailed again as pain skewered my brain, and the demon delighted in my agony. It kept probing and prodding, whispering words within my skull that I couldn't hear over the blistering pain.

I wanted to die then and there, just to make it stop.

It cupped my chin again and drew one long, creepy claw against my face. [Don't worry. You're not going to die yet. You're going to get a show first.]

I wondered just what it meant before it snapped its demonic hand, and a flash of light shone in the clearing. I squinted my eyes shut, and found that when I opened them, there was something else bound to a tree opposite me. It was a pokémon, and a good foot taller than me, as well as at least double my width in bulk and fat both.

It was a hariyama, and I had no idea where the demon had taken it from. But even the pokémon looked afraid of the demon in front of it, and screamed as it struggled against its bonds.

I saw the gardevoir float over to it, and instantly the fighter seemed to renew its efforts against the psychic hold. But nothing was working, and it thrashed in vain. I saw the demon stop before it and float up to meet its face. It cupped its chin, and moved the skin dress sideways a moment before it –

"Oh gods," I breathed.

It was raping it! The hariyama looked just as afraid and shocked as me, if not more, and it seemed to melt into the embrace as the demon pushed the emotion spike into its chest. I saw a trickle of blood come from its chest, and knew what it meant.

The demons could transfer feelings by the spike on their chest. It was transferring whatever it felt into the pokémon in order to complete its act.

Bile built in my throat. I was going to be sick.

The hariyama seemed to melt into the embrace, and I struggled in vain to escape. I prayed with all my heart it didn't have the same plan for me. Dying by the demon's hand was one thing, but I did not want to be violated by it before I died.

And the hariyama began to scream.

My head whipped up in time to see blood beginning to trickle down from its head. It was screaming more and more, even as the demon continued on it. Its skin began to peel away, and I could see the bleeding flesh underneath.

I snapped my head away, breathing quickly to try not to be sick. I could hear it screaming over everything, louder and louder. It was being skinned alive, and there was nothing I could do to stop it!

I could hear every scream, every rip of flesh.

My body shook with fear, real fear, far greater than any I had ever experienced before. I knew then that the island was indeed cursed, and began to truly believe I would never get off it.

The pokémon's screams became gurgles, and I turned back to see the state of it. The skin was peeling away from its neck, ever so slowly. I could see white fatty tissue being pulled apart as the skin fell away, and could see the hariyama trying to scream, though it no longer had any skin on its face or throat. Blood pumped from it, showering it and the demon both.

Its screams became gurgles, and then, nothing.

The demon removed itself from the pokémon and continued to skin it with psychic powers, going as slowly as before. I could see it falling away like a coat. It was peeling backwards, unfolding slowly and showing the gruesome horrors within.

I tried to look away, but something held my neck in place. The demon turned to me and winked.

[Don't be afraid. You've got this to look forward to.]

I was panicking again as the skin peeled away, ever so slowly. I could see everything inside the hariyama underneath the fat beneath its skin. Its heart was no longer beating, and its lungs no longer breathing. It was dead.

And the demon hadn't even offered it a quick death!

My breathing was erratic, and I was certain I was going to have a heart attack. All I could see, all I could hear... all I could smell was the hariyama's skin being removed from its body.

Tears were trickling from my eyes, and I felt nothing but fear. I knew I needed to get away, but my body couldn't break the hold the creature had on me. Even with its attention rapt on its victim, I was still bound completely.

The demon couldn't be that strong. The fact that it was only just collecting skin for its dress said as much.

My heart seemed to stop a moment. It meant...

It meant there was another demon nearby!

[Well aren't you a smart little human.]

Another voice burned in my skull, though this time I felt the smallest trace of male tones. The female demon spared the tiniest of glances towards a nearby tree, where I saw another demon sitting on a branch. Unlike the other demon, this one had its skirt starting from its shoulders, wearing it as more of a cloak.

It leapt down lithely from the tree and never touched ground, instead floating an inch or two above it. Its eyes were shining the same blue as that around my body, and I felt myself die a little inside.

I would have barely managed to escape one. With two demons holding me hostage, I knew I had next to no chance to live.

It floated towards me, a smug smile on its face as it stopped and regarded me. I felt like nothing more than an art exhibit, and wanted to just have the situation end. Whether it was by escaping, killing them or my own death, I just wanted it all to stop.

The male demon seemed to read my thoughts, and I heard something emerge from its throat like a laugh. [You aren't going anywhere little human. We caught you. You can't escape. You're at our mercy.]

I think I was crying. I didn't want it to end there. Every ounce of the fight I had in me had been stripped away, and I was chained by unholy forces to a tree, waiting to be violated and skinned alive by the other demon.

I was defeated, and without any hope. Afraid and beaten, I couldn't muster energy past whispering a begging, "Please..."

The demon laughed again, though this time it decided to back hand me across the face. My head reeled with the blow only as far as the psychic hold would let me, and I felt another bruise begin to form.

Another for the collection.

Not that it would matter soon.

[Please what?] the demon growled in my head. [Let you go? Don't hurt you? Let you run along and tell the other humans about us, so they come here and hunt us?] It pressed a clawed finger to its chin, seemingly mulling it over. [It would provide us with more victims, but I estimate you're the last one we need.]

I was crying that much snot was running freely from my nose, racing down my mouth and dripping from my chin. "Let me go," I begged, hanging my head as far as I could. I wanted so desperately to escape, but there was no fight left in me. "I'm still just a kid. I'm only seventeen."

The demon backhanded me again. I winced with the blow and felt blood pile up in my mouth, though said nothing back. [You are old enough by human standards to travel alone into the wilds. Thus, you are old enough to become the next victim.] It bared a fanged smile at me, and I felt myself shudder under its gaze. [Consider yourself lucky. It is the highest honour for anything to become part of the sacrificial gown of a gardevoir.]

Fucking demons, I cursed to myself. I swore if I ever made it out of there, I would make them all pay. I saw the male one float back a step or two, and saw the other attaching what remained of the hariyama's skin to its dress. It stitched it together with psychic skill, and it blended in flawlessly with the rest of it.

I prayed with all my heart that there wasn't any room left. That somehow, it had completed it. That some miracle would come down and save me.

No such thing happened.

The demoness floated towards me, speckled with blood and gore both. I saw it lift up a claw soaked in blood, and watched with horror as the other demon cradled the digit in its grasp and licked the blood off.

I was going to be sick. I felt it build up and would have vomited, if the demon holding me hadn't clamped my mouth shut and forced it back down into my stomach. That made me feel even worse, and I spent a minute or two repeating the process.

When the demoness came towards me, I suddenly felt the urge to flee again. I thrashed and struggled against my bonds as much as I could, but nothing seemed to work. I couldn't move, no matter how much energy I put into it.

I dropped my head, defeated again. I felt claws graze the bottom of my neck and lift my chin up enough to meet it in the face. The hell-beast stared at me with ravenous hunger, and everything inside me died all over again.

"Why?" I whispered, defeated and alone. "Why me?"

It laughed in my face. I saw a great number of fanged teeth in its colossal mouth, and flinched at the stink of its breath. It hooked a claw into my skin enough to threaten to break it, and guided my face forwards. [There are many reasons.] It cackled once more and took another deep breath, as if it were smelling me. [Most of all; you smell of death.]

I stared at it, numb for a moment. Then suddenly, I found the ability to speak again. "That's because I kill everything that pisses me off," I growled, as low and even as I could. "And when I get free, I'm going to make sure I kill you in the slowest, most painful way imaginable."

It laughed once more, and it was the one to strike me this time. I felt around my mouth with my tongue, checking to make sure my teeth were all still in place as it inhaled my scent again.

[You smell of that, but not completely. The death I smell...] I heard it laugh within my skull, and the pain increased tenfold. [You reek of the death of those around you.]

I glared at it, breathing deep and fast behind clenched teeth. "Well the only ones around me are you two. And I'll be sure to-" I was cut off suddenly as the other demon forced my mouth shut again, and I began breathing deep and hard through my nostrils.

The female hell-beast laughed again. [If only that were the case. You shall-]

The voice in my head cut off suddenly. I heard the other demon hiss, and abruptly the words in my skull died, leaving me completely alone and suffering in pain. I couldn't understand them anymore, and they communicated with primal growls, grunts and noises I could never hope to comprehend.

When they looked back at me, I knew what was coming. I thrashed against my bonds, desperate for some way to escape. I felt nothing but fear, and would have gladly given my life then and there if it meant I didn't have to suffer at the hands of the demon.

[Don't be afraid.]

I felt it coo within my mind, and try to reassure me in some way. I wasn't listening. The pain only made me more scared, and I tried to kick it away, to slap it, even to head butt it away.

Nothing was working.

I felt the demon's claws slide down my body and hook around my belt. I prayed to whatever god that was listening that nothing would happen, that it would become distracted somehow. It sliced open my belt and bottoms both, and they fell to the floor unceremoniously, exposing me to them both.

I couldn't help it.

I pissed myself.

I was a mess. I was crying, snot was dripping from my nose, and I had managed to wet myself in fear. The demons both laughed at me, savouring and embracing my fear. I dimly noticed that by some miracle, the emergency release button for my poké balls still hung from my bandolier, swinging around my legs as opposed to being attached to my belt.

Not that it mattered. In a few moments, the demon would try to rape me and then skin me alive. Unless it somehow managed to lean against the button and press it, I would just be left to suffer.

The demon advanced on me, and I could see it moving its skirt. I was about to be sick again, until the other demon forced it back down into my stomach yet again. I couldn't be sick, I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything but let it happen.

The demon moved on me, and I could smell its breath flood my nose. I felt its mouth close around my neck, and shuddered in complete fear as I felt its teeth and tongue graze against me.

I was going to be sick. And then it was forced down again. I thrashed, screamed and cried, and yet nothing would stop it. I felt the spike on its chest press against me and pierce my chest only a centimetre. But instantly, I felt a plethora of feelings rush through me, and despite my revulsion at it all, my body responded to them.

"No," I whispered, shaking my head as much as I could. I could see the demon grin, and knew I only had moments. I couldn't smack it away – I was too restrained for that. But somewhere in the base of my brain, I realised that I might be able to trick it.

"Please," I begged, and felt it stop to look at me in curiosity.

It laughed, halting its movements for a moment. [A bit too late to be begging for your life, isn't it?]

I shook my head. I already knew that plan was futile. But I hoped that the emotions it was pouring into me was enough to hide my train of thought. "Can you... release my arm?" I pleaded, and noticed the intrigued look in its eyes.

It seemed to fold its arms. [And why would I allow that to happen?]

I dropped my gaze and stared at the floor. "I've never... I've never been intimate with anyone before," I lied, praying it would somehow work. I sniffed and didn't need to fake the tears. "If this is... to be it... can you at least let me pretend... it isn't exactly what it is?"

The demon pressing against me seemed to soften a moment. It glanced at the other, and I knew they were arguing about it. I knew it was my only hope to escape, and prayed that somehow, it had enough humanity to believe my pleas.

My mind burned again. [Very well human.] It was the male who spoke. [I shall release an arm. If you make a move for the contraptions of capture on your body, I shall break every bone in your body and make your body produce enough adrenaline to keep you alive until you are fully skinned.]

I gulped. That wasn't a threat to take lightly. If my plan failed, I knew I would be granted to immense pain and torture before I finally died.

I felt my arm drop loosely, and silently rejoiced at the working of my plan. The button swung around one of my thighs, and I knew the demons would suspect something if I made an instant move for it.

I took a deep breath, swallowed, and forced myself to touch the demon in front of me.

It was horrible.

The moment I touched its skin I felt like I had betrayed my entire body, and wanted nothing more than to flee again, or even better, to cut off my hand and pretend it had never happened. The demon ground against me, and I felt its teeth on my neck once more.

I'm amazed I didn't piss myself a second time.

Instead I grazed down the creature's body, hating every moment of it. I finally felt the button brush against my fingers, and felt hope soar within me. I gripped it as tightly as I could, and smiled grimly at the demon.

"Told you so," I breathed, and pressed the button.

All three of my pokémon appeared in a flash of light. The force sent both demons floating back a few paces, and they looked incredibly angry, whilst mine saw me and looked incredibly confused.

I didn't let them dwell on it. "Kill them!" I screamed, still attached to the tree. "Rip their fucking hearts out!" I shrieked, thrashing against invisible bonds.

Xander stayed by my side, blasting away the creatures when they came too close. Loki leapt at the male instantly, clawing and hissing all the while. In the middle of it, Lacey stood unmoving, seeing a second chance to let me die.

Her outright refusal let the demoness attack. It appeared before her and slashed her face, and I heard Lacey shriek in pain like I'd never heard before. She huffed, indignant and angry, and I saw her eyes darken in familiarity. She was going to kill the demon.

And I gave her my full support. "Get the spikes!" I yelled, and thrashed as the demon clamped my mouth shut. Loki bit down on its hand, distracting it enough to lose its hold on my mouth once more. "Rip out the spikes on their chests!"

The demons understood the threat instantly. Their eyes widened in unison, and they both redoubled their efforts.

Unfortunately for them, so did Lacey.

She leapt up and punched the demon in the face, hissing and rejoicing as she knocked it to the floor and continued to punch its face in. Blood and gore sprayed over her, and she continued to beat it, even as it tried to pry her off. Lacey cackled and grabbed the spike on its chest, and with resolute strength, she snapped it off.

The demon screamed like nothing I'd ever heard before.

It screamed and thrashed, bleeding thick, red blood everywhere. Lacey rejoiced as it splashed her, lifted the spike up and plunged it deep into the demon's eye. It pierced it and its brain both, and it thrashed in agony as it died, screaming the whole while.

The other demon seemed distraught that it had died. I saw its eyes cloud over in rage, and it spared the briefest moment to swear revenge on me and Lacey both.

The moment was enough. Loki leapt up and bit a chunk into the demon's spike. It howled in sheer agony, more and more as Loki began to shake the spike back and forth. He finally managed to snap it off, and plunged his claws into the demon's screaming mouth, pulling in either direction until something gave. He cackled in deathly delight as he fell backwards, holding the dying demon's removed jaw in his hands.

As the demon died, its hold on me vanished. I dropped instantly to the floor, adding a few more bruises to my already battered body. I burst into tears then and there, unable to move, and clutched myself for comfort. I heard Lacey stop beating the demon that tried to skin me, and managed to get myself moving enough to crawl over to my gun. I cradled it like it was my sole protector in the world.

Then I just laid there and cried.

I wasn't how long I cried for, maybe a minute, maybe an hour. But I couldn't stop. I trembled, sobbed and wailed, and all the while, I felt Xander and Loki both by my side. I couldn't see Lacey, but I could feel her somewhere nearby, and despite it all, I could feel something akin to sympathy coming off her.

When I heard movement nearby, I snapped up instantly. The gun was ready in my hands, and I knew I wouldn't hesitate to fire on whatever came out of the bushes.

I found it was a person.

He walked up, took a look at the two dead demons and pulled a face. Then he saw me with a gun trained on him and gasped as he held his hands up in surrender. "Whoa there! Don't go round pointing that thing. You don't know what sort of damage you might cause."

I took in his appearance for a moment. Dirty blond hair cropped short. His eyes were dark and grey, and his ears stuck out from the sides of his long, pointy face. He wore a pair of brown slacks and a black t-shirt, and had a black bag slung over his shoulder. Though I noticed he wore a cloak, and on it I could clearly see the four swords of an Elite's emblem, and the small sigils of a latias and latios.

He was a Hoenn champion.

"I know full well what this can do," I barked, keeping my hands as steady as I could. "What the fuck are you doing here?" I hissed, hoping that he had been sent to save me or the like.

"Exploring," he said with a shrug, as if there wasn't a gun between us. "I wanted to see how my pokémon were doing." He looked down and pulled a face again. "Not very well, by the looks of things."

My blood boiled in my veins. "Those things were your pokémon?"

"'Were' being the operative word," he said, turning his head slightly to look at both of his pokémon. He whistled. "You really did a number on them."

"They deserved it," I hissed. "They were skinning things alive."

He waved one of his hands in a circle. "That's 'cause one of them just evolved. She didn't have the dress, so I let her loose with her partner to have a little fun and make her dress."

The pokémon were partners? I found myself in shocked disbelief. Nothing, pokémon or person would let their partner rape things before they eyes... would they?

The champion looked at me with a sneer. "Now I suggest you put that down. You've already caused enough damage."

I stared at him, unmoving. "They were skinning things alive," I hissed. I didn't want to say what else had happened. It hurt to think about it, let alone to say it.

He shrugged and kept his hands up. "I'd say they were doing a lot more than that. In fact-" he glanced down at me, and I was only just aware I still hadn't dressed after getting free. "I'd say they were doing a little more than that. So-" his sneer became a smirk. "Did you have a little fun before you killed them?"

It was a joke to him.

Those things had tried to kill me, and he saw it as nothing more than a joke!

He looked at me, and he laughed. He laughed at the fact the things had tried to rape and kill me!

He laughed.

And I shot him between the eyes.

He managed to barely take in a gasp before his brains exploded against the trees behind him. My pokémon jumped at the noise, and stared at me in alarm as the trainer fell to the floor, dead.

I lowered my gun, though didn't drop it on the floor. I looked around my pokémon, and found that after their initial shock, they didn't seem too bothered. I saw something I couldn't identify in Lacey's eyes, and it would take me a while to figure out what.

At first I thought it was fear. I later realised it was respect. She had hated me because she felt I used her to kill things when I couldn't. By killing the champion myself, I seemed to prove to her that I wasn't afraid to kill myself.

It's strange, the things you do that earn your pokémon's respect, isn't it?

I told Loki to look for my backpack as I stepped up to the dead trainer. He was clearly dead, and his eyes were still fixed in the same look of shock. I sneered at him and kicked his body over.

Served the bastard right.

I raided his backpack and found a pair of black combats that looked and smelt clean enough. I pulled them on and found nothing else of use in there, save for a few items of food and a few poké. I took them both and searched his wallet, cleaning it out. I didn't even bother looking at his identification whilst I was peering through it. In my opinion, he could die without a name for what he did.

I left them and collected my stuff from my belt and pants, still at the bottom of the tree. Loki returned a moment later with my pack above his head, and I thanked him and tossed him a fire stone in thanks. He cackled in celebration, and I placed the pack over my shoulders. I staggered up to the demons, and looked at them both, dead as their trainer.

Rage fuelled me completely. I screamed to the heavens and began to kick at their corpses, mutilating them beyond all identification. Bones crunched underneath my blows, but I didn't stop. I was so angry, so afraid, and so hateful towards them.

My rage spent, I staggered away from them and threw up in the nearby bushes. I ended up dry heaving for a good few moments before I collapsed once more, sobbing again. I couldn't stop crying, and wanted nothing more than to forget it ever happened.

Everything was a blur to me at that point. I managed to pack all my stuff away, feed my pokémon and trek back through the forest towards Dewford without ever being aware of it.

I knew I must have looked a state. I was covered in blood, bits of bone and who knew what else, but I didn't care. I don't think I slept in the days it took me to walk back to the town. Instead I was a perpetual zombie, staggering constantly through the forest, eating, drinking and pissing all without ever registering what I was doing.

I made it back to the town and was dimly aware that Lacey was walking alongside me, though I didn't care much.

I just knew I needed to get out of there.

I made way to the docks, and found that my ticket was only just valid. Another hour and I would have had to buy a new one. I think I laughed and ignored the crew member, and focused more on finding my room. Lacey helped me along the way, and eventually I found it, along the middle deck and tucked away from the large, crowded parts of the ship.

I got into the room, bolted the door behind me and collapsed, not wanting to ever suffer the horrors of the outside world again.

 
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