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.


57. Time of Judgement

Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe~ Alphonso X


"Everything was given the power to create. It started with the original, then from there it has worked its way down. Every creature - once old enough - can create. Creation is the ultimate power. It will always corrupt someone."

- Anon. (2187).


Time felt like it had reached a standstill.

"That's impossible." My mouth was flopping like a beached magikarp. What the creature said just didn't make any sort of sense to me. "I've seen it! I experienced every damn moment I was there in that godforsaken hellhole! You pulled me out of it! How the hell can you tell me I wasn't from the future?"

The celebi shrugged. It waved a hand and disabled all of my pokémon, placing them in an eerie stasis. "Easier to talk if I don't have them trying to attack me every few moments," it said simply. It looked at me, sighed and sat down on a ruined staircase. "You're not from the future. You never were. Everything you experienced was all just in your head." It pointed to its own turnip-shaped dome and made a crazy gesture. "It's quite amazing really, what can be done with the right influence."

I couldn't accept it. "That's not possible. I was there! Probably while you were floating in that stupid healing pool of yours to come back to life after trying to kill another one of your victims!"

"Projects," it said pointedly. "Every one of you humans I give a task to? You're my projects. It's quite simple really. That healing pool you mentioned? It's a divine gift from the first pokémon god there ever was. It heals any wounds over time by keeping you in a sort of stasis. The water in there sustains life, supplies things with everything they need to live."

"Bull," I growled. "How the hell does water manage to let people breathe?"

It shrugged. "Have you not been listening to what I've been telling you?" It pointed to itself. "Pokémon. I accept knowledge as I'm told it. I know the water sustains life. I don't know how. There's no need for me to know." It shook its head. "We keep you there. Every one of you people that we send on these tasks. We feed you images from the future we've seen. We give you enough so that you'll believe you're actually from there. Add a little detail here, something there and suddenly, the brain runs on its own and makes a whole story out of it.

"It's quite amazing really, how easily that fell into place. When the time comes, we just pull you out of there and teleport you to where we need you to be."

"But… that doesn't make sense! If I was grown in a little batch of mythical water somewhere, why the hell do I have scars that I remember getting?" I pulled up my top and showed it a few of the bullet wounds I'd gained. The ones I knew happened in my future. The one I was from.

It sighed. "You're not the first project we've had. A few of them sometime ago got so much closer than we would have thought to figuring out everything. They found where we keep the rest of you. They broke in and tried to kill as many of you as possible, all to make sure we couldn't carry on." It pointed at one of my scars. "What you remember… it is sort of right. The core memories are still there. Just strip away the framework of you being from the future. Those people got far enough to find where we kept you and shot a few of you. Yourself included. A few died, a few survived. But those of you that survived, you still didn't wake up. Everything in your brain created a story around what happened in order to make it form some sort of sensible situation."

I pressed one of the scars and felt my brain swim with memories. The ones of how I'd gotten the scars.

The ones I was now being told were all make-believe.

"Well then how the hell do you even know how to do any of this?" I snarled at it.

It smiled. "Mewtwo. The scientists that created him did exactly that to him. They gave him false memories of growing up somewhere. But mewtwo broke past them and saw that he'd really been bred in a lab. After he escaped, he wanted to seek revenge instantly. We found him and persuaded him that revenge takes time. He's the silent partner in most of our operations. Probably why you haven't had the foggiest idea that he was part of this. We might be trying to cause the end of the world, but we're damn good at what we do."

I needed to sit down. I collapsed to the floor and stared up at the creature. "But… why? Why keep it secret that mewtwo's the brains behind this?"

It smiled again. "Mewtwo is the most hunted pokémon ever. Every person that's high enough up to know about him, does. A lot are under his thrall, spies, as it were. They throw out the ideas that people need to find mewtwo. If anyone reports back with a good enough lead on mewtwo's location, they die and then mewtwo covers his tracks. Your good friend is going to be one of those people soon. She's only searching for celebi because one of mewtwo's thralls suggested that finding us would be key to their investigation." It winked. "She's good at her job. If she finds good enough evidence, she'll get found out and turned into a thrall herself. If not, well…" It pulled its hand across its neck.

I was too shocked for words. "So she dies or loses control of her mind?" I couldn't think of inflicting that on her. Despite the facts that we were at odds and always suspicious of each other when we worked together, I still thought of her as a friend.

"No, no, she won't lose her mind." The celebi grinned at me. "You see, the best thing about the thralls is that they don't realise they're under any possession. Mewtwo can lurk in the base of their brains, finding out what he needs to know, then occasionally take over and force them to do specific things. Then he creates fake memories for them, makes them think that they've done something else and gets away without them ever knowing.

"Of course, that doesn't mean he's all that powerful." The celebi fluttered up and stared at its nails once more. "He doesn't understand subtlety. Mewtwo is permanently angry, permanently afraid. It makes him rather like a wild card. Anything presses him to hard and he reacts in a way we can't expect. Like you really. That's where our inspiration came from."

I didn't like the fact I was being compared to a scientific experiment of a pokémon. "What's that supposed to mean?"

It smiled again. "Everyone else, we've given specific tasks to. 'Do this', 'do that'. They do it all perfectly. But sometimes, a little chaos is needed to grease the wheels a little better. That's where you come in. Anger and fear are two of the most powerful motivators. Mewtwo explained it all to us; he ripped it from one of the scientist's brains. You see, in both cases, adrenaline is produced. You do things that you weren't normally capable of, get to be a little stronger or a little faster. Now, fear retains your ability to think somewhat clearly. Anger? You're a lost cause."

It appeared in front of me, poked me in the forehead and teleported back to the stairs. "You're angry. Almost all the time. Every little thing angers you or scares you. Then we load you up with images of a horrible future, make you experience them all what you think is first-hand. Because of that, you carry the fear of that future happening. You get angry at anyone that might cause it to happen, or so you think. All you need is the occasional nudge in the right direction, then suddenly you're knocking down the walls while everyone else is disabling the security.

"You're a wild card, sent into the ranks to cause as much destruction and mayhem as possible." It smiled, disappeared and then came back into view seconds later, holding a new flute. It looked exactly the same as one of the ones the people had summoned it with. It winked, pulled it to its lips and played a little tune. "We make these, you know? Attune them specifically so that we'll be able to hear them, no matter what time we're in. They send out a signal, letting us hone in on them and appear in the right place. They used to have a better purpose. We'd give them to human or pokémon leaders and tell them to use them only when they came across something that was impossible to overcome.

"They were part of our original purpose. You see, the whole point to life is that everything can be overcome, in one way or another. It's like a puzzle, but occasionally, a piece is missing. So we go back through time and create that piece, so when it's needed, it's there and fits in perfectly. We made psychics a lot weaker than they were because their power was threatening everything. We made the magnemite species steel-like to help them survive. We even went back and changed humans. We made you stronger, used mew and spliced you with pokémon genetics."

It placed the flute down, disappeared and reappeared, this time with a book. "It's here, you see. I do love Sinnoh, they really do believe in the myths and hold them tighter than any other country. Listen to this." It cleared its throat and smirked at me.

'There once were Pokémon that

'became very close to humans.

'There once were humans and Pokémon

'that ate together at the same table.

'It was a time when there existed no

'differences to distinguish the two.'

"Pretty, isn't it?" it said with a smile. A flash of light and the book was gone, the celebi in the same place but with the flute in its hands again. "That's what we did. We went back and made humans almost the exact same as pokémon. That way, you were able to survive accidental injuries from pokémon. Before that, you used to be so much weaker. Now, you can take pokémon attacks, survive falls from greater heights, even take blows to the head without just dying! It's remarkable really."

"So humans… are pokémon?" I scrunched my nose up and felt subconsciously for a tail or a second pair of ears.

"Somewhat," the celebi said. "You can't breathe fire or anything like that, but because of that, you began to adapt to pokémon. Some of you could resist heat more. Some of you dried out faster, others sunk quicker in water or found they could jump higher than others. We had to do it quickly, you see. Some stuff happened in Sinnoh. The nation went crazy, our goat-lord got involved and eventually stuff happened. Nothing would have survived if we hadn't gone back to change things so they could happen right when they needed to. In less than a decade everything changed. Pokémon went from being nicer to a lot more violent, people became adapted to pokémon and well… the whole world changed."

I tried to process everything it told me. It was fast becoming too much for my brain to handle. "You're trying to distract me," I accused it. "Why am I a wild card? What have I got to do with all of this?"

"Nothing and everything," it said cryptically. "In the grand scheme of things, you'll be forgotten. You'll be a footnote on a footnote. But we've made sure that you were in the right place at the right time, all the time." It sighed and leant back against the stairs, looking at the ceiling, hands behind its head. "Do you remember your first battle?"

I frowned, unsure as to where this was going. "Yeah," I said uncertainly. "I won, didn't I? And Loki went a little crazy." I glanced at the little devil. He was still frozen, as were the rest of them. I wondered just how powerful the celebi was, to keep them like that for so long, whilst being able to concentrate on other things.

It smiled. "Remember anything about the trainer?"

I tried and failed. "Not really."

It sighed, shook its head and spun round to face me. "But that was one of the most important things you could have ever done! Don't you remember? You beat him. Badly. Still with that attitude that we programmed into you. And you know what you told him when you beat him?" I shook my head. "You said - and I quote – 'Pokémon live and pokémon die, but when they're under our control, they're weapons, no matter whether they're also our allies or tools.'"

I frowned. Distantly I could recall saying something like that. It was from the mentality I'd tried so hard to lose, yet kept creeping back up on me all the time. "That sounds like something I said."

"Sounds like," the celebi grunted with a roll of its eyes. "You told him that. He's taken that mentality with him since then. And you know what happens to him? Because of that, he starts a programme. It starts off small, disconnecting people from their pokémon, making them seem like tools of warfare. Over the years, it'll get more popular until one day, it's suddenly the attitude everyone has.

"You spoke to the professor here too," it said with a small chuckle. "You discussed so much about how military training would better people. He liked that idea. In fact, your government are going to pass it next year. And one of the main people that will do well? That kid you had your first battle with. Eventually, everyone's going to be military-trained, thinking pokémon as nothing more than a pistol.

"And then there's the one I doubt you'll remember at all." It made a shape in the air, almost like an S. "Slateport. When you were registering for your gym battle, you were amazed at how kids could go travelling based on their grades alone."

It rang a distant bell. "It still doesn't make that much sense."

"Well that started another snowball," it told me. "A woman overheard you. A powerful woman, with connections. Soon enough, schools are going to have a lot more focus on survival training. And then, they'll also tie into the military training you helped set up. Three simple little things, three simple little conversations and you've changed the world.

"And let's not even get started on Aaron. Or you blowing up that lab. Fear and anger. Fear made you kill an Elite and set the foundations for war between two countries. Anger made you blow up an entire building just to make yourself feel better."

My face burnt bright red. "The people in there killed Xander! He didn't deserve to die like that! Then Mia was in there too and she died! And you think this is all some brilliant plot to make the world fall into ruin?"

"But it is!" it shouted joyously. "You get so angry, it's perfect! We just give you a little nudge, the tiniest idea of what to do, then your anger or fear makes it the only thing you can think about! All it took was influencing that machoke to kill your little pokémon, then everything fell into place!"

If I wasn't already on the floor, I would have fallen onto it. "You killed them," I whispered, feeling increasingly dead inside.

"Well, things had to be done," it said with a shrug. "Those outbreaks that were so common a while ago? It's quite amazing what they were doing."

I couldn't get past the thought that it had influenced Xander's death. "What?" I snarled at it. I wanted it to finish talking. I wanted to pull its head off myself. But I knew I had to wait.

"That lab you blew up was behind it. They'd found a way to cut down the rates of stillbirths in pokémon and humans by something like sixty-seven per cent. But they got rejected by the government to produce it. Apparently there was no profit in it. So they spiked the water streams with it. A few people died from overdoses, but a lot of people were only affected a little. And now they're less likely to lose children late on in pregnancies."

I was amazed it was that. I'd always thought it had something to do with what I'd seen in the future.

What the celebi had made me see.

Suddenly, there was like a little light at the back of my brain. If it had made me see that, if it had influenced my decisions towards certain things… what if it had made me think those outbreaks were going to cause the end of the world?

"They were doing good," I whispered. "Helping people, even though a few people died in the process."

The celebi rolled its eyes. "Helping people, sure. Hindering us." I was confused. I looked up at it and caught the traces of a plotting smirk. "Ever actually wondered where you really came from? If you're not from the future?"

I hadn't. I'd barely even started to believe that myself. "Where?"

It smiled. "There's an average of about twenty-six thousand stillbirths each year from one continent alone. People don't miss what they think is dead."

My hands leapt to feel my pulse. "You steal dead children?"

"Why not?" It shrugged. "It's not like anyone will miss them. We still the dead babies, place them in the water of life, then slowly, they come back to life. We tamper with their minds, put into them what we need.

"Why else do you think we made you blow up the lab?"


"It's true," it said with a smile. "They were getting rid of so many of our potential projects. There's seventeen different types of pokémon. Darks are some of the rarest. We need dark adapted children for the project. Anything else and their minds are too weak, the psychic influence renders them brain dead. But because dark pokémon are immune to psychics, they make the adapted humans more resilient. It means we can go in with the force of a hammer, rather than a feather. There's maybe four or five of you that we can get each year. That lab was going to make that maybe two, at most." It scowled and snapped the flute it held in two. "We couldn't risk it. So that's where you came along. Make you think it needed destroying. Kill your pet, make you want revenge. Tell you how to get it and watch the fireworks go off!"

I tried to shut out what it was saying. I needed a way to attach myself to reality. Just something that would let me know it was lying. Because it had to be.

"I didn't think the lab was a threat!" I exclaimed, suddenly hopeful. "It was Adryan! He came to me and told me that something about it was going wrong!"

The pokémon smiled at me. "And how did he figure this out?"

I bit my lip. He'd told me it was information from his dad. But then I'd found out he'd been looking to the future. Either one was equally likely, though somehow, I knew which one of them was the actual truth. "He was looking into the future."

"Precisely!" the celebi laughed shamelessly. "Do you think we've only just started this gig? We're good at what we do, little soldier. Sure, the memories we gave you might not have been enough to make you act like an actual soldier, but we have other skills. You shared your memories with that friend of yours. Do you really think we'd let that go by unnoticed?"

I suddenly felt like I'd let Ayd into a world of trouble that I really didn't want him to be in. I had to escape and let him know.

"There's a little thing we put into your memories. Like a virus, but better. If you ever shared your memories with anyone, it would activate in their brain." It pointed to its head and mimed an explosion. "It makes them unable to think of anything but uncovering the truth. They have to find out everything they can about the future, so we feed them exactly what we want them to know. And eventually, it kills them."

So everything was a lie. The thing had been meticulous in everything it had done.

"So Adryan's dying for nothing?" I asked it.

"He's not dying," it said with a grin. "He's already dead."

I felt like someone had taken a demolition crew to my already shattered existence. There was this massive pain inside, then just nothing. It flickered between the two, hurting more every time the emotions drained away.

He was dead. All for nothing. All for the twisted schemes of a time travelling death seeker.

It snorted at me. "You honestly thought we hadn't planned any of this out? Anyone who got too close to the truth ended up dead. That's how it's always been. You're dead by the time we get you; we make sure you don't cause any trouble more than we want you to. You haven't understood it this entire time. We go back and make the tiniest of changes hundreds of years ago to change one thing in the future. You honestly thought we'd overlook the damage we can cause here?"

It lifted up a hand and started counting down on its fingers. "Where do I start? Well, you're sterile, so even if you do survive today, you'll never have kiddies that should never exist. You'll slowly go insane as everything we put in your brain slowly breaks down. Oh and you've also got that great big tumour on your brain too! And that wasn't even us!"

I flinched back from it. "Who was it then?"

It laughed and threw its hands up. "Mewtwo. Who else? He wanted to make sure that there was no chance of you causing any unwanted damage. You were never meant to exist. We're just making sure you do exactly what nature intended and died."

I stared at the floor. I couldn't find anything to say. My brain throbbed and so did my kidneys. My brain ever since that time in the Cluster and my kidneys since the first weird dream I had.

"And there's the last bit!" the celebi said. "You know how you originally died in the womb? Your kidneys were no good. They failed, you died. We brought you back to life, but the effects aren't permanent. Then a little nudge here and there, then suddenly you find yourself addicted to a horrible drug that's designed for poisonous pokémon. And that only makes your kidney problems worse." It teleported in front of me and sat on the floor, staring up with wide, grinning eyes. "And this is before we even get onto those magical dreams you've been having."

I glared down at it. "And what are they about then?"

It smirked. "Your memories aren't real. They've been forced in there, over reality. Slowly, the walls inside your brain are coming down. You see, we never actually know when we're going to need you. So those memories your brain creates? We put blocks on them, so to speak. You only experience certain things once you've hit a certain age. Now you're free, so are those blocks in your brain. Everything's mixing around in there, becoming one big pool of imagination and reality.

"Those dreams are just you experiencing what you would have, were you still waiting for your purpose. And then occasionally, they blur with reality, which is why you saw your beloved lizard in one. You might survive today. You might find a way around the kidney failure. Maybe even the tumour. But eventually, reality's going to merge with fantasy. You won't know what time you're living in. Eventually it'll get so bad you'll be catatonic, reduced to having your brain being in both worlds at once."

I tried to glare at it, though my ears were burning with tears. "Why do you hate me so much?"

It laughed. "Hate you?" It sighed and shook its head. "Honestly? Far from it. You're the best damn tool I've ever had. It's just that you were meant to die. It's nearly eighteen years overdue now. We taught you everything you know, like it or not."

It was true, they had, in a way, taught me everything that I knew. I wouldn't have been able to survive, if it weren't for them.

They also taught me the best ways to kill certain pokémon.

And one of those just happened to be staring me in the face.

"So what do you say?" it asked. "Ready to die?"

I sighed. "Sure."

Then I ripped the antennae from its head.

It swore in languages I never knew existed as it floated into the sky, hands gripping its bleeding head. My pokémon were all suddenly free and they looked around, bewildered at what had happened.

I smirked, dropped the antennae and crushed them under my foot. "You did teach me everything I needed to know. Including how to kill a celebi."

Its eyes widened. "But we never-!" It swore. "Mewtwo! It had to be! Or the pinks! They must have interfered!"

"It's funny, isn't it? How terrifying the world feels when you realise someone set you up to die?" I grinned at it. "Not so confident now, are you?"

It glared at me. "I'll show you confidence."

There was a flash of light that made me see nothing but white. I heard sounds nearby me. I couldn't tell what they were. I couldn't even see what they were. I groped around blindly, searching for anything. I scrunched my eyes shut, rubbed them furiously and tried to see what I could. Everything slowly came back into focus, colours bland but sight nonetheless. I could see once more.

The only problem was that I couldn't see Alistair.

"One by one, your pokémon vanish through time," the celebi said to me. "Not so confident now, are you? Take away the slaves and suddenly the master is exposed. How does it feel? To know that your pokémon are going to suffer in some horrible place in time, cursing having ever met you?"

I bit my lip hard enough to draw blood. "Screw you," I growled at it. "Screw you and your insane plans. If you want to kill me, just do it! Stop fucking around with my pokémon and get this whole thing over and done with!"

It shook its head. "You really don't get it, do you? How often do you think I really get to do this? To raise something, bring it into this world and then destroy it? There's no feeling quite like it. Bringing down your pokémon one by one just makes victory all the sweeter." It landed on my head and whispered into my ear, "And yours is a death I will relish."

Then it tore my ear off.

I screamed and grabbed the bleeding stump just as my pokémon went to attack it. It teleported out of the way, appeared some distance from us and waved my severed ear like a trophy. "Poor little human, so lost to everything," it said into my removed ear. "I'll break you, little by little until there's nothing left but eyeballs and scraps."

Everything was throbbing. I pressed my hands as hard as I could onto the wound, trying in vain to stop it bleeding. Nothing was working. I pressed my hand gently across my head, trying to figure out just how far it had gone.

Loki snarled at the celebi. He burst into shadows and appeared above it, claws dripping little black tears. The celebi sighed, teleported out of the way and grabbed him from behind. He squeaked, spun around in the air and sliced at its face. The celebi recoiled as he vanished into his shadow once more.

Erra blinded the celebi as Loki appeared above it again, carrying Lacey. He dropped her onto it and cackled as she carved a thick line out of its face. It screamed and fell back just as Erra shot a bolt of electricity into the wound.

It snarled, gestured and all of a sudden, the weeds in the building came alive. The stretched to impossible lengths, grabbing and slicing at anything and everything they could find. Gemini stood near me, forcing little barriers to burst into existence. Every time something tried to hit her, she smirked and bit it off, growing a little bolder each time.

I'd collapsed to my knees. Nothing was stopping the bleeding. I needed to cauterise it. I had no fire on me. I called Loki back and tried to explain it all to him. He mumbled uncertainly, whispered something else and then fire burst into life on his fists. Another grunt, just to be certain I was sure, then he pressed it against my severed ear.

Any pain I had increased tenfold at that point. I lunged away from it with a scream, the smell of burning meat all around me. Loki gave me an apologetic look, vanished into the shadows and did it again. Once more he managed it until he decided enough was enough, then he lunged at the celebi, fists bleeding fire.

The celebi's eyes widened just before Loki drove his fists into them. It screamed, teleported away and let him drop to the floor. Lacey caught him just before he hit the ground and smirked as Erra chased after the blinded thing, zapping it with little bolts of lightning.

It vanished from view again. This time there was an unnatural stillness to the air. I was convinced we had to be in hell. Fighting this time devil had to be some form of eternal torture. Everything seemed to grow cold. It felt like the entire world had turned into an icy tundra.

There was a flash of green light.

Then I found myself staring at the face of an angry abomasnow.

The celebi was sat on its shoulder, fully healed. It glanced down at us and cackled. "Time travel is such fun! This here is Berry. I don't think that's her actual name. But I call her Berry. She's an angry pokémon, is Berry. In fact, you remember everything I told you about how a decade seemed to make the pokémon all a lot more violent?" He patted it on the side. "This one here is the cause of it all. A few deaths here and there, then suddenly the world got a little unhappy. She's angry, she's killed before and I think it's rather poetic that she's the one that kills you."

It laughed and slapped the abomasnow in the face. "Berry, get!"

Then hell seemed to freeze over.

The thing roared with enough force to send Erra flying back through the air. I cursed and pressed a hand to my badly treated ear. "Loki, fire! Erra, paralyze!"

The thing swung a meaty fist and caught Lacey in the side. She screamed, flew through the air and hit a nearby wall. She landed in a crumpled heap at the bottom, shook her head and only just rolled out of the way of another icy punch. She swore at it and slashed its back, fingers dripping thick, purple venom.

The abomasnow shouted and lunged for her. She leapt away, sprung off the wall and sailed over its head. It turned, eyes narrowed and blew a blizzard straight at her. The force sent her into another wall, frozen solid. It roared at her just as Loki appeared from beneath it and punched the thing between the legs with a fiery fist.

Its eyes widened and a little tear slipped out and froze on its cheek. There was silence for a long second.

Then it screamed vengeance.

Loki ran between its legs, desperately trying to avoid being crushed. The thing hissed as Erra shot electricity at it, batting the bolts away with a lazy hand. Loki leapt into his shadow, appeared in the thing's face and punched it again. It crossed its eyes at him, glared and swallowed him whole.

"Oh fuck," I whispered. "Get him out of there!"

Gemini bounced forwards, eyes glowing. The thing roared, clutching its head in pain. Erra leapt at it, biting its stomach, splashing its white fur red with blood. Out of nowhere, we heard Loki cackle.

He was stood atop Lacey, fists burning and defrosting her. He winked as soon as she was free, leapt into the shadows and appeared in the thing's face once more. This time his eyes gleamed. The abomasnow looked back into his eyes. Its eyes crossed and turned purple.

For a moment, everything was calm.

Then it roared again and went on a rampage.

I swore and ran out of the way as it stormed past me. Loki chased after it, popping in and out of shadows, punching and kicking its ankles. Gemini knocked it backwards with an ethereal barrier, right into the staircase the celebi was watching from. It popped into nothing and appeared further up, this time with a little bag of popcorn.

"Oh hell," I muttered as the abomasnow's eyes cleared. It glowered down at everything, took one big breath and blew out a beam of ice that froze the floor solid. It stomped down on the ice, picked up the largest slab it could and flung it at straight at Lacey and I.

Another barrier appeared out of nowhere. It seemed to bend with the strain of keeping the ice away from us. Finally it broke, just as Lacey grabbed me and pulled us both out of the way.

The thing roared again and aimed another icy beam, this time at the celebi. It teleported away, landed atop the abomasnow, then suddenly they both disappeared into nothing.

It was still cold enough in the building to see my breath, yet slowly, the heat was returning once more. The celebi appeared in front of us again, grinning and surveying the damage.

"Well, she's a little pissed. Don't worry though, she's not coming back; she's got an appointment scarring a couple of kids for life. As for me, I'm just scarring you for what remains of your life."

It made a motion, almost like it was checking a watch for the time. "And now I think it's time for another step towards breaking you."

It vanished again. Lacey hissed as it appeared behind her. She slashed at it and caught it in the eye just as the both vanished completely.

I searched the empty air desperately for them both. Half my hearing felt like it was coming from the other side of a wall. I couldn't trust it enough. There was a shriek and a flash of light from behind me. I spun around to find the celebi once more, wings broken and covered in a number of deep wounds.

It shook its head and swore. "That didn't go as planned."

I was going to ask what it was talking about when the shadows behind it moved. I caught sight of a pair of yellow eyes before Lacey appeared behind it and tore its wings clean off. It shrieked, flailing in the air uselessly as she landed.

She smirked, threw them to the floor and made a gesture at the pokémon. It glared at her and moved into attack.

Just as it did, something flashed behind it. There was an almighty snapping sound then concrete shattered as the celebi crashed through it.

It pushed itself up on shaking arms as the shadow moved towards it and kicked it clean across the room.

When the shadow came into the light, my jaw dropped.

It was instantly obvious how much more muscular he was. More scars covered him and he seemed to carry the weight of extremely hard battles with him.

Yet undeniably, it was Alistair.

He teleported in front of the celebi and sliced at its face. The thing cursed, teleported above him and kicked him in the head. He took the blow, spun with it and punched it in the back of the head. It spun backwards in the air, caught itself in an invisible net and glared down at Alistair. The air went cold again as a little orange light formed in its mouth.

"You're alive," I whispered, dumbfounded.

He turned his head the tiniest fraction and winked. [I am not the only one, sir.]

The hairs on my arms stood up. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Time stood still.

Then a colossal orange beam of energy hammered into the celebi. It screamed and was punched straight through the wall of the old building.

My eyes and mouth were both wide open. I felt a breeze behind me, heard the sound of flapping wings. I turned my head to see just what had come to my rescue.

I found myself staring up at a huge orange dragon. Covered in small scars, thick, blue leathery wings and a bright blue flame burning atop its tail.

Even without glancing at the tell-tale wound above its hip, I knew just who it was.

"S-Scar?" I breathed, shocked. There was a long moment as he turned his head slowly to face me. He glared down at me with newer, older eyes. A cloud of acrid smoke belched out of his nostrils. He roared and covered me with blindingly hot breath that stunk of rotting meat.

Then he snorted and licked my head.

I flinched back then burst out laughing. "You insane old lizard," I said as I hugged his long neck. "How the hell are you even still alive?"

He growled something I couldn't understand. Alistair teleported beside him and smirked.

[The celebi is arrogant, sir. It thought by dropping us off in the past, we would be left to die. We survived for a number of years. Then when it appeared carrying Lacey, she injured it enough for us to ambush it. You see sir, it dropped both myself and Scar at the same place. We deduced it would do the same if it captured someone else.]

"Well isn't that cute?"

The walls of the building started to shake. My eyes shot to each and every corner, watching the dust and rubble falling, concerned as to whether or not it would stay upright. The massive holes in the floor and walls said it wouldn't last long.

The celebi floated back through the most recent hole, shining green. Its eyes leaking streams of bright blue psychic power.

"Play time is over! You've attacked the wrong pokémon now. I travel through time. Anything I want, no matter when it happened, I can have. You've fucked with time now!

"And time wants you dead!"

It flashed green.

Then a flock of aerodactyl tore through the ceiling. The floor rumbled and ancient pokémon crawled out from underneath, hissing and snarling all the while.

The celebi smiled. "Say goodbye to the life you should never have known."

It gestured with a hand.

And then a shotgun blast tore through the air.

A headless kabutops collapsed to the floor, bleeding violently from its shredded neck.

Behind it, a familiar figure smiled and pumped the shotgun. She grinned and tipped the brim of her trilby hat to the celebi. "After you say goodbye to your entire existence."

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