A F T E R ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
T h e ¤ R P G / S
Based on the FanFic series
T H E ¤ L U G I A ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
By Anne Ruecroft & R. A. Stott
and the RPG
'TEAM ROCKET'S HAUNTED HAYRIDE'
Compiled, edited and rewritten by R. A. Stott
Contributing Authors for this chapter -
ArkNorth, PeanutbutterMewTwo, Baby
Jigglypuff and Charm
TEAM ROCKET'S HALLOWEEN VACATION
“PIIIIIIKAAAAACHUUUUUU!” the bundle of bone shrieked as it fired off a surprisingly large Thundershock.
M2 shielded everyone the best he could as the lightning lit up the field. But, he was surprised to find the energy had partly penetrated his psychic shield. He found himself being tossed to PBM's feet. She looked down at the heap.
“Pretty... eyes...” he said before passing out.
“The MewTwo is down! The MewTwo is down!” the zombie on her head called. “Now for the other one!”
The possessed Meowth’s words rattled through her head and made her temples throb.
“The OTHER one isn't going to let you do this, alley cat!” she shrieked at the psycho zombie attached to her head. “So go tell your boss to stuff it in his ears!” She swatted and batted at the bedeviled cat perched on her cranium as it did everything it could to remain up there. She glanced down at M2, then up at the eyes that were glaring down from the sky. Her blood boiled.
“NO ONE...” she bellowed, “and I mean NO ONE does that to a fellow MewTwo!”
“Oh, this just went from bad to a whole bunch more bad,” the android's head squeaked as it looked for a way to roll out of the way of the oncoming storm.
PBM charged a large ball of black energy between her paws. Lavender sparks shot violently about. The fighting stopped momentarily as the skeletal Pikachu sat down to watch.
“Take THIS!” she shrieked and she hurled the ball of psychic rage rather like a baseball pitcher! The Meowth was tossed to the ground, the Pikachu hissed violently and the red eyes vanished. Thunder rumbled across the sky, and further down the empty field, dark purple strobe lightening danced on the shadows. PBM wavered for a moment. “Annnd there's morrre where THAT came... ff..from!” she called out to the black sky as her eyes crossed and uncrossed. Then she too fell to the ground with an unceremonious thud.
“Damn!” North grumbled as he quickly moved to PBM's side and gave her a quick scan and pulse check. He sat back on his haunches and wiped his brow. “She's okay,” he panted. “She just exhausted herself.”
“Yea? Well what about us? I want my MOMMY!” Jessie loudly sobbed, which caught everyone who was still awake by surprise. Jessie normally was not one to show a lot of emotion, and her blurt sounded more like it should have come from James.
James was busy hyperventilating. Of course that was probably the reason why it had been left to Jessie to state the obvious.
The zombie Meowth crawled to its feet. It stumbled over to the side of the unconscious MewTwos and sat down. The red streaks on its paw were darker now.
“You...” it said staring blankly at no one in particular, “you did this to us. You spoiled us. You ruined us. Now we are not what we are meant to be. You spoiled the picture!”
It then howled, its red rimmed rheumy eyes spilling over. The skeletal Pikachu joined it in its rant, their voices becoming higher and higher, in a joined cry of both “Pika! Pikachu!” and “Nyaaaa! nya nyaaaaaaa!” until they silently stared at North, as if waiting for an answer.
“Don't look at me guys,” the scientist stated while holding his scanning rod out at them, “because I have no idea what you're on about... but I'm getting a feeling I'm about to.”
The wind began to whistle as all they now heard was the chirp of the device.
Her eyelids fluttered. Her bleary vision started to return as she could see that she was on the ground, the Meowth that had clung hard to her, was beside her turned to face the man that M2 seemed to know. Its back was to her.
She stabbed out with her sore paw and grabbed it by the scruff of its neck. As she lifted off the ground, she swung it high over her head. Her energy surged back, much to the surprise of the scientist.
“Amazingly short recovery time,” he wondered as he watched her levitate. “M2 could learn a thing or two from this one!”
PBM wasn't in the mood for an explanation of North's mumblings. She glared at her snagged zombie and flashed her eyes at it. “What did you do?” she demanded. “What did you do?” She shook it harder each time she yelled at it. The cat cowered. In its eyes was regret.
“Don't be mad at me,” it said in a small voice. “Not you... If you get mad it won't get better.” PBM stared at the cat she held then at North.
He shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he stated. “This furball isn't making much sense.”
She returned her glare to the cat she had at arm's length. “What has this to do with me?” she asked it.
The cat curled up a bit. “Muuma!” it said. “Muuma will listen to you! She'll do what you tell her! You can talk to her while the others can't!”
“We'll see about that,” North smirked as he wrapped up his extension line from his scanning rod's reader box and pocketed it.
“Only the Lady,” it reaffirmed. It then closed its eyes and said no more.
PBM looked at the limp body she now had dangling and gave it a little shake. “Ew... do you think its dead?”
North looked at the Meowth and scrutinized it closely without touching it like the MewTwo was. “You're a braver lady than I,” he told her. “I certainly wouldn't be holding it like that without gloves on, and don't tell me that you've got a shield between yourself and it, because I know you don't.” He waved his wand at her. “Please be more careful when picking infected things up in the future, ea? You never know where it’s been!” He gave it a quick scan then stuck a pinkly in where a skinny little neck met up with the creature's big head.
“Interesting...” he said. “From what I can tell, Meowth will be fine, though I find it interesting that he speaks better as a zombie than he does when he's not possessed.”
“This is our Meowth, Professor North?” Jessie asked.
“Oh, quite definitely,” he said as he looked at his finger he had been taking the cat’s pulse with and sniffed it. “The DNA scan matches. And whatever it is on his skin and fur is only camouflage... it's not even real... just a surface illusion.”
PBM looked at the limp cat. “Strange... What do you think he meant about Muuma? Just what is a Muuma?”
North pulled out a PDA/PokéDex and tapped it with a stylus. “Actually it’s a Misdreavus... Muuma is a name given it by the Japanese... it’s a ghost-type, much like a Will-o-wisp... they tend to live in caves and dark places though, and they feed on fear.”
“What does it want with us?” Jessie asked with a bit of fright in her voice as she grabbed North's jacket and began to shake him.
“Do you think it brought us here?” James added as he joined Jessie on North's other side to rock his world.
“MuuuuuuUUUuuuuuu!” they heard which stopped Team Rocket from the quake they were putting the scientist through. He managed to detach himself from their grasp and stepped forwards to look up into the black sky.
“I guess we're about to find out, aren't we?” he said as he waved the scanner about. He stopped at a point over Jessie's head roughly six feet up. There a wavy image of the small specter materialized.
“OH!” she yelped and ducked down. Then she blinked and looked up. “Is... is that it? Is that all we were supposed to be scared about?”
“MuuuuuuUUUU!” it said.
“Moo to you too!” Jessie yelled as she stood up and shook her fist at the rather small PokéSpirit.
“It is kind of little, even for a Misdreavus,” North noted, “but its power level doesn't add up right... it's too strong for its size, especially to be a conduit to all this.”
“Man! That thing is uuuuuuuuuuugly!” commented PBM. It hissed at her.
“Did you understand it any?” North asked her. “Remember, the possessed Meowth said you'd understand it.”
Peanut shrugged. “So far it’s hissed at me and said 'Muu' - stimulating conversation, I must say!”
“W-where is the rest of it?” James sobbed. “It has no body!”
North shook his head. “It's a ghost! Where does it say a ghost has to have a body?”
“Yea, just look at me!” the head of the android said. “My body is over there and I'm over here! Do you see me complaining?”
The Misdreavus looked as if it were sizing up those below it. It nodded towards the skeletal Pikachu. They both started to approach the gathered.
M2 snapped upright, much to everyone's surprise, and slapped energy orbs around both of the attacking creatures. He fell back onto his elbows panting and grunting.
“A-Are you okay?” PBM asked seeing the angry look on M2's face.
He looked up at her and winked. He then returned his attention back to the orbs. Inside them, their contents were howling and spitting, and striking the spherical walls of their prisons.
“Careful,” North warned, “the Pikachu is about to...”
“CHUUUUUUUU!” it cried, illuminating its orb with electricity like a light bulb. Then it collapsed into a pile of bones. It slowly reformed itself. M2 stood up and dusted himself off. He then tapped on the clear ball causing the Pikachu to fire off only to collapse into its parts again.
“You can't see it, but I've made the inside of my orbs reflective to energy,” M2 smiled and tapped it again. “Interesting...”
“Trouble?” North asked then raised a hand to Jessie and James when he realized what he had just said. “And please, no mottoes right now... I'm already preparing for trouble...”
“You don't want to make it double?” James meekly asked
“NO MOTTOES!” North barked. “What's the problem M2?”
“This is not what I expected,” the MewTwo said as he moved towards the ghost's ball. “A Misdreavus is a spook. It's good for a scare, but not exactly what we're experiencing here...”
“Scare?” Jessie asked, now nearly recovered from her own experience.
“I'm scared enough for the GROUP of us!” James said, clutching Jessie. She rolled her eyes and decked him.
“Not that I'm challenging your friend, Professor” Jessie asked as she slipped her boot out of the twitching form of James' grasp, “but wouldn't a ghost of any kind be enough to cause this?”
“No, M2's right, there are some limiting factors still here...” North said, scratching his chin with his useless communicator. “What do you think...? Yamikarasu?”
M2 nodded. PBM cocked her head as just the sound of that name was enough to make her spine shiver.
“Yamikarasu... The Murkrow...” he explained to her, “...the stealer of souls, and the bane of travelers.”
North shook his head. “Fits the bill - Lead them astray… get them lost… steal their souls…”
“Murkrow! Murkrow! You will all be fodder for the Murkrow,” the Misdreavus said from its sphere.
M2 looked at PBM. “Wasn't it only supposed to be you who understood that thing?” he whispered to her.
“Hey, I'm just here for the ride,” she shrugged. She was still holding the Zombie Meowth by the scruff of its neck... or was she?
“Hey! Wha... what am I doin' here? I was wit' Jessie and James an' dat stupid wagon 'ting!”
PBM raised the cat Pokémon and looked at him. Sure enough, it was Meowth, looking his regular self.
“Hey, pretty lady! What gives?” he said, a sweat drop falling from his restored face.
“Meowth? What?” PBM asked startled by the sight of Team Rocket's chatty cat.
M2 looked at the cat as well then returned his stare to the Misdreavus. “What about the Murkrow, specter?”
North looked at the larger MewTwo. “All it did was howl... you understood it?”
M2 shot North a look. “You didn't understand it? That's supposed to be impossible!”
“I agree... when I was permitted the powers of understanding Pokémon, no one ever said there would be limitations...” North examined the Misdreavus closely.
“Muuma - She'll listen to you... She'll do what you tell her! You can talk to her while the others can't!” PBM quoted to herself, while putting Meowth down.
“Who said dat load of garbage?” the snide cat quipped.
M2 laughed. “You did, while under the Misdreavus' control.”
“I must’a been out’a my head,” he grumbled. “Oh yea, I was…”
PBM snapped M2 a shocked look. “You were awake all along?”
M2 shook his head. “Only partly... I was actually shocked back by the lightning temporarily shutting my Doorknob down,” he told her while tapping the psychic-blocking device that dangled around his neck. He then looked back at her with a slightly curious look on his face. “I'm surprised that the same zap didn't affect you as well...”
“What do you mean?” she asked. M2 reached for the pendant he wore and shut it off. He then looked at his paw and offered it to her. PBM looked at it as he shook it for her to take it. She tentatively touched his paw, then they clasped. She was a bit surprised when he did not let go.
M2 looked at the paw in his paw… then at its owner… then at the scientist.
“North? Take a look at this...” he said.
North glanced back at the pair and instinctively ducked down. He peeked between his fingers he had shielded his face with. With an expression of shock, then fear and finally curiosity, he stood back up and looked a bit harder at the pair. Seeing nothing happening, he dropped his hands and stepped closer.
“Umm, excuse me, but why are you two acting like a bomb should be going off?” Peanut complained as she started to get a bit miffed at the two of them. Her palm was getting hot as well...
“Hang on for a moment,” the scientist told her. “Is your Doorknob off?” he then asked M2.
The MewTwo nodded a yes.
“So? Dey look like a cute couple!” Meowth quipped as he went over to Jessie and James' side.
North smiled at the comment then took a serious look as he examined the pair. “That's not the point here, Meowth. M2 is not from this dimension. And the last time he encountered another MewTwo, they nearly blew each other up, and put a sizable hole into the side of Lavender Tower! He shouldn't be able to touch her… with or without the Doorknob being on or not.”
“Umm... what's that mean?” PBM asked now a bit uneasy at the paw holding her own paw.
“It means one of two things...” North said as he walked around them examining the clutched paws. “Either, M2 has found a MewTwo he can actually touch... compatible with, so to say... Or, we're really not here and this is a fraud…”
PBM looked around herself. “What... this is an illusion?” she asked.
James touched the ground, grabbed some grass, and yanked it out of the dirt. “It feels like we're here...”
North shook his head. “It doesn't matter. With proper manipulation, you can feel like you're here, when you're really somewhere else... I could still be on my plane, you could still be on that wagon... you name it.”
“Dis is bad... really bad...” Meowth mumbled.
“Tell me about it,” Jessie said as she shook her head trying to get out the cobwebs from being freed from her own possession.
“Don't worry Jessie. We'll get out of this... we always do...” James reassured her.
The professor snorted. “This is a bit more than just a problem Pokémon, I'm afraid.”
M2 stepped over to the Misdreavus. “What does the Murkrow want with us?”
The Misdreavus looked through the sphere at the MewTwo. “Murkrow wants souls... Souls for its master...”
M2 looked at North with a look of dread on his face. “Murkrow wants souls for its master,” he translated for him. “We've heard that before, haven't we?”
“But not yours...” the Misdreavus added.
M2 looked back at the spirit. “What do you mean by that?”
It spun about in its sphere. “Others... there are others... you were not supposed to be here... others in danger...” it said, its red eyes locking on M2.
M2 grumbled. “It says that my soul wasn't supposed to be taken because I wasn't supposed to be here...”
North nodded. “That makes sense, since you and I are down from Prime,” he quietly mentioned to the MewTwo.
“But what did it mean that the 'others' are in danger?” PBM asked. “What others?”
“Others?” James asked. He looked up the rise at the wagon that was sitting in the dark back on the path. “Oh no!”
“The CHILDREN!” Jessie yelped.
North slapped his forehead. “Damn! How many were on your wagon?”
“We had a'full load,” Meowth seemed proud to announce. “Twenty Five head o'brats! And dey all had at least two or three PokéBalls each! WOTTA HAUL!”
It suddenly got very quiet around Meowth. He noticed that everyone including the Misdreavus and the boney Pikachu were staring at him.
“Oh, dat's right,” he mumbled as he drew a circle in the dirt with his toe. “Dat's not good news right now, is it?”
“What's not good news? Where are we?” a voice croaked behind them.
The group turned. Standing behind them on the top of the hill was another pair of familiar faces.
“Butch! Cassidy! What are YOU doing here?” Jessie snarled at their rivals.
“Weren't you two driving Wagon Two?” James asked, quieting his partner's growling.
“We were...” Cassidy said, holding her head. She looked dizzy, and started to fall down the hill. Peanut shot a cushion of energy beneath her allowing her to slide down safely. PBM bent down to examine the Rocket at her feet and saw she was bleeding from the forehead with trickles of blood splattering across her princess gown she was wearing for their hayride.
On top of the rise stood Butch in his prince costume. He acted uncaring about the condition of his partner. He grinned with an evil look in his eyes.
“Uh oh...” Meowth nervously said. “Looks like we've got anoth'a possession heres!”
“You mean, just because he's turning his head COMPLETELY around?” James asked taking a few steps back while dragging Jessie in front of himself.
“BWAHAHAHAHA!” Butch pulled a long flat-edged sword that was part of his costume from its hilt and swiped it about in the air.
“Okay, that was kind of cliché ...” North grumbled as he took his readings while kneeling beside the wounded Rocket.
Peanut stared at Butch. He looked like an escapee from a cheap horror flick. Cassidy was staring up at him with an expression of horror and seemed to be trying to form words. Butch was simply standing at the top of the rise laughing malevolently. PBM's mind raced. Muuma... Misdreavus was in control here. “You can speak to her.” she whispered.
“You know, this should not be happening,” M2 barked as he attempted to subdue the out-of-control Prince-dressed Rocket. “The Misdreavus is contained!”
“Just means there's either more than one, or we really aren't here!” North called out as he avoided some of Butch's slashing with the sword while covering over Cassidy.
“Misdreavus!” PBM yelled in what she hoped was a commanding voice. “Release the human! He's worth nothing to you. Let him go!”
The phantom laughed, which was a disturbing sight indeed.
“Ooh, so the little one is back!” it taunted. “We thought we lost you a long time ago!”
The rebuttal had caught her by surprise. “What?” PBM asked confused.
“You're with them!” yelped James as he pointed an accusing finger at her. That earned him a slap up the side of the head from Jessie when North gestured her to do so.
“No! I'm not! I've NEVER seen this thing before!” she cried waving her paws about.
The Misdreavus floated its containment sphere closer to her - close enough to laugh in her face. A scent of death came with that laugh. “I think you ha-ave!” it sneered at her. “Oh, maybe you forgot that, dearie! Maybe you think it was just a baaaad dream!”
PBM shook her head. M2 gave her a poke as he paused in his chase after the rogue Butch. “Don't listen to it... It’s just trying to mess with your mind,” he whispered to her.
She nodded. Her nerves were fraying. “Misdreavus!” she cried again. “You lie. You try to prey on the helpless! You will find I am no kitten at your mercy. Now let the man GO!”
Misdreavus cackled. “But you were O-once,” it said in a singsong voice and flipped a few times. “Once you couldn't defeat me!”
“What are you blathering about?” spat the smaller MewTwo. “You never had me here!”
M2 finally managed to disarm Butch, but he now had leapt off the berm and began to claw at Cassidy, who shrieked wildly and caused North to fall back off his hunches. But without the blunt sword to deflect M2’s attempts to subdue him, the MewTwo was able to slap him into a bubble, where he began to shriek and curse uncontrollably. North signaled M2 with a twirl of his finger for him to start a spin cycle with Butch acting as the wet clothes.
“Not here, my pretty,” the malevolent spirit continued from its prison. “It wasn't here... it was far - far away and a long time ago. Yesss... you look different now, but I never forget a stubborn soul like yours, little Mew!” The dog-like face of Misdreavus split into a wide toothy grin.
An expression of shock swept across PBM's face. “What are you saying? Mew? Long ago? You...? I was not! You're lying to me, Misdreavus!”
Misdreavus rolled its eyes and howled. “Think what you like... But I can tell what happened to you, my little Mew!”
The orb was plucked from the air and held up to Peanut's slit eyes “I know very well what happened in my 'other' past and YOU had nothing to do with it!”
Misdreavus dodged a psyblast she shot at it, though it did burst the containment sphere. “Heh, you're a better shot than you were back then,” it giggled as it backed away from her, “but you were only an infant when last we met.”
M2 glanced questioningly at the other MewTwo as he slapped another containment field over the ornery Misdreavus. He was surprised to see tears glimmer in her wide dark eyes. But she would not let them fall.
Meowth still seemed totally disoriented from his ordeal. “What is dat 'ting?” he demanded of North. “Why is Butchy boy trying to off Cassidy? And how on Earth did I wake up in dat... dat... dat lady’s or whatever's arms? An' last bot not soitanly least, where da Persian are we?!”
North got down to the cat's level and put his arm over his shoulder. “Well, first of all... we're in a field...”
“Okay... uh huh...”
“And it's incredibly dark out... so dark that I don't even see stars - just that moon up there, which is our only light”
“Yeah, yeah... so where's are we's?”
North slapped him on the back. “Your guess is as good as mine!”
“My, sir! That was incredibly logical!” the head of the android said as it tried to access its body's backup systems.
PBM shook her head. Of the vague memories she had of her pre-past, a Misdreavus was in none of them. She knew she had been an experimental clone, and that her 'donor' had been a young Mew, of course, and that it had drowned somehow in the flooded Amazon basin - she had nightmares about that. In her dreams the water flooded into her mouth and choked her because she was too young to know how to save herself.
She snapped out of it. “Misdreavus, I care not what your vile kind have to say. I am the master here. YOU WILL OBEY!” She was shocked - was that her own voice? Why had she said that? Why had she said LIKE that?
The Misdreavus cowered. M2 glanced at PBM with a look of respect. She continued. “You WILL answer my questions. Why have you brought us here? Where are the human children? Why does the black crow fill the skies this night?”
The Misdreavus snarled. It had been defeated by a will stronger than its own.
“Pah,” it spat. “I never thought you'd be back. My master seeks you. The Murkrow! They want you all here! They want to peck at your torn carcass! They want the children's souls! They want you - you and all the others, bleaching skeletons in the sand here, dearie.”
M2 reached over and spun its sphere to face him. “Then where are those children, Misdreavus!” he spat.
The specter eyed him. “Perhaps you should find out yourself! I know where you came from as well, and it's an even better story than hers!” It then faded away like a puff of smoke leaving only a cloudy ball in M2's paw.
“NO!” cried Peanut. “We can't let it escape!”
M2 looked at the ball in its paw and crushed it. “That tears it!” he snarled. “That was outright impossible!”
North looked at the reading his scanning rod was giving him and nodded in agreement. “You're telling me, unless you're now a plant. This thing just told me that you're a rutabaga. This is telling me more and more that we're not really here. It's either that, or reality has taken a vacation.”
A single Murkrow let out a caw.
“I won't let them have those souls.” said the small MewTwo, clenching her fists. “I won't let them hurt those children! Not now or ever!”
“Yea? Well wot about us bright
eyes!” Meowth yelped from behind James' legs.
Meanwhile, in a nearby grove…
“What the hell is all of this?” a fiery red-haired member of the Rocket Elite pondered as she stepped on a pile of dried leaves. Her black leather jacket snapped in a gust of wind as the trees around her howled. She had just finished her latest mission and was making her way through the Viridian forest outside the Silph grounds when she noticed the unnatural look to the sky. She continued on towards the special 'back door' she would have used to enter the headquarters but found it missing.
“Crap,” she grumbled as she studied the altered surrounding. “All I wanted was a good night’s sack out.”
She took the bow that she was carrying off her shoulder and readied an arrow.
She heard a shifting of branches
towards her right. Two arrows of flame
were instantly in flight.
Back in the field, there was a huge blast to their left. Fire spread through the dark forest far beyond the wagon. It seemed to be now bursting in a second spot as the flames spread up the path.
PBM and M2 crouched down expecting another attack as North casually scanned the inferno that was swallowing up that end of the woods. At first they did not notice the figure streaking across the face of the flames, but then she exited the pyre she had created.
“She's getting quicker,” the scientist said out loud causing the MewTwos to twitch an ear each in his direction. “No doubt about it...”
She was short but fast. Her shoulder-length red hair flowed behind her with a strand dangling across her face. She wore all black that normally would have made her harder to see her in the dark confines they were in, but the bow she held in her hands now had flames running up its limbs to its nocks with a long dark arrow seated on the string waiting to be launched. When she finally noticed those at the bottom of the depression she snapped to, pulled back the black string and aimed.
“Who the hell are you?” the girl yelled to the group. “And what the hell is going on here!”
The droid had finally managed to get its body's backup systems to activate, and was planting its beat up head on the severed neck mounts when she demanded her question be answered. “Ah... another h-human,” it stuttered. “B-but my - my scANiNiERS scanners scanners s-s-s-s-ay that she is al-l-l - also a Pokémon? Diag... Diag... Diag... NOSTICS! I m-must run diagnostics as SOON as p-p-p-possible...”
North stepped around the two defending MewTwo. “Charm, what is with the bow and arrows? Not satisfied with the Black Katana anymore?”
The dark angry woman suddenly bopped up with a gleeful “Oh... hi Rob!” She spun the bow around, and like blowing out a match, it extinguished itself as she slipped it over her shoulder.
“Care to introduce us?” M2 asked as he and Peanut stood up.
“PBM!” the girl called out and high-fived the lady MewTwo. M2 watched a bit taken aback by this.
North cleared his throat. “Ahem... This is Charm, one of Giovanni's elite agents...”
“An independent agent,” she corrected him.
“An independent agent,” he concurred, “who happens to be a ShadowFlare Master... that's quite a barbeque you seem to have going on over there... anyone we know you're roasting?”
“Its zombie night at the grill!” she grinned. “What the hell is going on here?”
“You're guess is as good as mine, though we have some pretty good ideas,” the scientist said as he scanned beyond her. “And unfortunately, you being here kind of wipes out one of my theories...”
“Which was?” Jessie asked nervously.
“That this was all an illusion and we weren't here at all.” He shook his head and put his hand on the small gothic girl's head making her grumble. “Charm here works on the same type of dark energy that the Misdreavus work on, so they'd cancel each other out. The only way she would have come into all this is if she were to have come in on her own.”
“Diag... diagnostics complete... she is human... but... Pokémon? My scanners still read her as part Pokémon,” the droid said as it soldered some leads between its head and neck.
North knocked the droid’s head. “Charm IS human... but as a ShadowFlare Master, she can use Dark and Fire attacks as if she were a Pokémon.”
A gust of wind blew around them. An angry “MUUUUU!” cried out above them.
“Well, that was rude!” Charm said as she whipped the bow off her shoulder and lit its flames.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SISTERS!?” the Misdreavus bellowed as it reappeared overtop them.
“Stick that tongue out again... I want to see if I can pierce it...” Charm mumbled as she took aim.
“OOH! I like her!” Jessie cheered.
“She's so carefree and destructive!” James giggled.
Charm lowered her bow and glared at the two of them.
“We'll be quiet now!” they both whispered as they hushed one another.
“Dat's a promise!” Meowth added as he ducked behind them.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?” Misdreavus yelled at her, oddly no longer for the ears of the MewTwos as everyone understood her.
“That is a good question,” North said as he put his hand on her arm to lower it. “What are you doing here? You were half a continent away on an assignment.”
“You mean on another of Gio's 'You're probably not going to come back alive' trips?” she smirked. “I really despise that guy. What's he think I am? A pushover? Anyway, I finished early and was reporting in when I found all this going on!”
“I wonder if there are any other 'special agents' in here as well,” M2 mused.
North gurgled. “I hope not... look at what Charm did!”
“HEY!” she barked. “If I'm not wanted...”
North held his hands up. “No, no, it was never meant like that!” he said. “It's just that since you proved that we are certainly here, we have to be careful what we do to each other and those in here with us.”
Charm kept her aim on the specter overhead, but was visibly perplexed by what he had just said. “Huh?”
“Well, what were you shooting at in the forest?” he asked.
Charm gestured over towards the fires still burning, and the shadowy figures that could be seen. “Umm... them!”
Jessie and James wrapped themselves together in a tight bundle. “ZOMBIES! GHOSTS! THINGS!” they screamed. North shook his head and scanned them.
“Just as I thought... did you kill any of them?”
Charm scratched her nose on her shoulder as she continued to hold her bow over her head. “I may have baked their biscuits a bit, but I don't know... why does that matter?”
“BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT ZOMBIES!” the two MewTwos yelled.
“Thank you,” North commented to them. “They are correct though... these humans and some Pokémon are actually possessed. Killing them would not be a good thing!”
She shrugged. “No skin off my nose, but ShadowFire is always a good way to torch ghosts!”
The Misdreavus hissed at her. “You shall regret returning so soon then ShadowFlare Master!” It then vanished in a puff of smoke.
“Sounds like you two have a history,” North noted.
“Sh-shall I p-p-pull it up ffffrom the datatatata file sir?” the android attempted to say. North waved it away.
Charm spat as she lowered her bow. “Damn things... You'd think after defeating them once before they'd leave me alone!”
“I don't think you were on their list when this all started,” North suggested. “It's good to have you here now though... the more troops the better.”
“Can I get out of this now?” Butch asked as he continued to spin in his containment sphere.
M2 burst the bubble and dropped the dizzy Prince of a Rocket on the android.
“I don't understand any of this,” Peanut stated as she pinched her eyes. “But no children will lose their souls as long as I draw breath.”
“Children? Brats? What are you talking about?” Charm asked.
“See what you miss when you're out of town?” North quipped as he handed her his copy of the vile memo that started all this mess.
“Oh crap, not this again!” she yelped as she opened the orange paper. “I didn't think Gio was doing me a favor by trying to kill me!”
“Nice... the fact of the matter is that the children and their PokéBalls are missing from the wagons, and we have to find them fast!”
Charm wadded up the note and torched it. She then looked back towards the burning forest and reloaded her bow. The shadow-figures were now starting to head in their direction.
“Say Jessie,” James asked from within their embrace, “aren't we missing something?”
“For the last time, I told you I set the VCR to record that!” she scolded him.
PBM looked around. “No! He meant Meowth! Where did he go?”
Jessie knew exactly what I meant,” James murmured as he grinned. “Oh no! Where
The chatty cat was following a strange scent he had smelled while hiding behind his mates. He had not realized just how far from the group he had strayed, but now it did not matter to him, for a new power had taken over his feet and would not hold him away. The power... of his stomach.
“Ummm... what is dat aroma? Its sweet and succulent... oooh, if I could only find its source!” he drooled as it dragged him willingly along.
A worried look flicked across Peanut's wide lavender eyes. “I get the feeling none of us should be wandering around alone tonight.” she said.
The droid nodded as it dumped the heap of Butch off itself. A few sparks shot from its neck as it did so, and it sighed. “I'm going to need a looong stop at the mechanics sh-sh-shop after this is all over.” it muttered.
“Meeeeowth!” called the MewTwo “Meeeeoooooooowwwwth?”
“Oh sure,” Cassidy muttered bitterly. “Call more attention to us, why don't you. 'Let the ghoulies get us... Stupid feline.”
PBM ignored her as she continued to circle the group as she, M2 and their newest arrival stood their ground as the zombied people and Pokémon continued to advance slowly. “Does any one know anything more about this Misdreavus or the creature it calls its master?” she asked.
“I - I do...I think,” James said nervously.
“You do?” Jessie asked with surprise. “How would you know about it?”
“I remember something about it in my 'Junior Pokémon Trainer's Guide' that I had when I was young... Mumsy got me all the volumes... Growlie and I would sit and read them all day long...”
“But WHAT DID THEY TELL YOU!” Jessie bark as she was annoyed by him reminding her of his rich upbringing... AGAIN...
“Well, I remember reading that it was supposed to deliver nightmares from the land of dreams to little children. It doesn't have any more power than any other ghost-type Pokémon in real life, but in the dream world it has real strength.”
PBM shuffled to her side. “So it’s an evil Pokémon?”
James scratched his cheek. “No, not exactly. It only delivers bad dreams, it never hurts anyone. It is said to be quite shy and harmless.”
M2 launched a flair burst. “Well these aren't,” he noted as the light showed scattered Misdreavus floating over the possessed below them.
“What is making them so angry with us?” Peanut asked as she watched the light dim.
North grimaced. “I've seen this in ghosts before, but there is normally a physical manifestation of sorts... there doesn't seem to be any with this one. They seem to be willingly following orders.”
“You mean of the Murkrow?” James asked.
“MURKROW!” Charm flared. “Those little witches? I HATE Murkrows! You think they're pulling the Misdreavus' strings?”
North drew in a breath and looked at M2, who had an ugly look on his face as well. “No, but we've got a pretty good idea who does...”
“Well, are you going to spill it?” Jessie barked.
Remember what the Misdreavus said,” North noted. “Murkrow wants souls... Souls for its master...” North closed his eyes. “I pray that I'm wrong, but so far...”
“...So far, all signs would point his way,” M2 finished.
“What?” PBM asked. “Who are you talking about?” She then saw the expression on the human's face, and the blood drained from her soul.
“Last year, one dimensional level above us, there was a battle. On the one side was, well, to put it bluntly, the good guys... A team made up of members of Team Rocket, the Stratus League, and the Pokémon League.”
M2 nodded. “On the other side was an evil that used ghost Pokémon as a means to steal souls and life energy from all living things then feed it back to itself...”
“We thought we had destroyed it... Burned it to a crisp...” North said, shaking his head. “We lost many friends...”
“We came down to this level as a break from the rebuilding going on up there...” M2 added. He dropped his head, and PBM could have sworn she saw him sob. “That... beast... he took my Mew!”
PBM gasped. “A Mew? I've heard that when a MewTwo and a Mew find one another...”
“...They either fight or they pair up,” M2 shook. “Because... a Mew is the closest thing we have to a brother, a sister... or a mate...”
She felt the hate swell in M2, and she felt his sorrow as well. The memory was tearing him apart inside. She placed a paw on his shoulder.
“Who? Who did that to you?” she asked.
M2 looked up at the sky and saw the eyes again - Deep red and glaring eyes. They were his all right.
“YOU!” he shouted, drawing every ounce of energy he could muster into a massive beam of energy that he blasted up at those eyes. But the energy simply went between them as they squinted in an evil chuckle.
“Ha ha ha, so, at last you have remembered me... how nice,” the eyes said. “You may try all you like with your fireworks... you can't get me with a simple energy burst... I've evolved!”
North stared at the eyes. “Impossible!” he called out. “You're a clone! A clone with a closed end helix within your DNA - You should have ceased to mutate any further!”
“Yes... a gift from my more mortal self,” it chortled. “But as a clone, whose life was started by a mistake - a crossing of a Haunter's energy and the DNA of my Lugian host changed that. I evolved even then, you pitiful fool!”
North scowled. “No, its YOU who doesn’t seem to understand,” he yelled. “You’re a closed chromosome. You CAN NOT EVOLVE! PERIOD! Yes, you can absorb the life-force out of your victims, but that’s not evolving. That’s living as a leach!”
“S-sir?” the android asked of his master. “You do understand y-y-y-you’re attempting to have an intellectual discussion with an insane murderous b-b-b-being from aaaaaa-NOther dimension?”
PBM watched the evil eyes look down on them. “Who IS that?” she asked again.
M2 held his paws as if his cat ancestry were baring claws. “Black Lugia!” he snarled. “The destroyer of my world, and all others up to the sixth level... responsible for BILLIONS of lives lost... and the killer of my Mew!”
“Tsk, tsk... Such a sorry story you bare upon me MewTwo of my home... But as I evolved, I became more than just your dreaded Black Lugia,” the eyes said. “I've moved on from that, yes! And I have you and your merry little band of heroes to thank for this blessing!”
“What?” M2 and North said together. That was not what they wanted to hear.
The eyes chuckled at their distress. “If you hadn't had all the Legendary Birds attack me when that Pikachu Angel bore through me, if you hadn't burned my essence, releasing the stored energy that I had built up, I would have never been able to move to THIS level and start anew as a simple energy being! And once here, all I needed to do was obtain new help from the Misdreavus and the Murkrows here to find new souls, new life for ME!”
“What about these Misdreavus?” North called up to it. “They don't seem to be influenced like the Haunters were!”
The eyes looked down on the spirits that were controlling the oncoming zombies. “I had little I needed to do with them to gain their support... they seemed quite willing to help out voluntarily. It would seem that they already felt betrayed by the humans and Pokémon on this level!”
“Great, a Pokémon with a grievance!” Butch croaked as he rubbed his head from where he struck the android earlier.
“We are in real deep doo doo!” the robot said as it adjusted a neck bolt. His head kept falling to one side.
“I wish you guys would get this re-acquaintance over with, 'cause these zombies are getting closer!” Charm yelled at them.
North stood back and glared up at the eyes. “Okay... so you've become more than the Black Lugia... What do we call you now? Darkening Skies? You sound like a weather front more than an evil being out to strip my life away!”
The group was surprised to hear another voice behind them. They all spun around to see who it was.
“Ah... okay, what are you two doing here?” North asked as he gaped in surprise.
Jessie looked up at the sight behind the group. Her eyes widening as she clutched James' shoulder tight.
“OW! Jessie! What is it?” he yelped in pain as she clung to him.
Her mouth hung wide, but she could only whisper, “Mother?”
“Myamoto!” North yelled. “Gett'um girl!”
Above them floated the form of Team Rocket's best agent ever, and Jessie's mother, Myamoto Lillis-Musashi. She acknowledged North, and returned her gaze upon the evil that was before them. Then a pink streak flashed by her and M2 felt an old feeling.
“A Mew! MY MEW!” he yelled, watching the pink shape get smaller and smaller as it climbed into the dark sky. It was the size of a small star when it suddenly snapped to the left, and began to make a sweeping arc around the eyes.
“Quickly M2,” Mya called down to the MewTwo. “Help your Mew! She needs to encircle Mauvais with an energy ring, and only your energy is compatible with hers!”
M2 nodded and was about to take off, when he stopped. He looked perplexed for a moment as he looked up at Myamoto. He crossed his arms, and stepped back as he settled back down to the ground beside his fellow MewTwo.
“What are you doing?” PBM whispered to him. “Didn't you say that was your Mew?”
North looked at M2. “No, he's right! It's a matter of memory! Myamoto and Mew of Level 14 were destroyed in the final battle with the Black Lugia!”
“What are you waiting for?” Myamoto angrily yelled. “Mew needs your help!”
North turned to her. “A moment, ma’am... Would you care to explain how you got here to help us? You yourself WERE destroyed fighting, what did you call him now, Mauvais...?”
“Professor North, what are you doing?” Jessie yelled. “Leave my mother alone!”
“Is it your mother?” he snapped back at her. Jessie stopped and looked up at the vision floating there as North returned his own sight on the woman. “You yourself should know how deceiving it can be to believe in your own mother at times.” 
Myamoto crossed her arms and glared at the scientist. “Do we have time for this?” she asked in exasperation. “Mew and I came to this level the same way Mauvais did, our remaining energy was deposited here!”
North pointed at Myamoto. “You were a spirit! A spirit can be renewed as long as there is even a smidgen of it left! But the Mew wasn't! When Black Lugia destroyed it, she should have been taken lock, stock and barrel!” he barked. “Quickly, name - rank!”
Mya rolled her eyes. “Myamoto Lillis-Musashi, Captain in Team Rocket...”
“WRONG!” North shouted. “You should have said MyamotoTwo!”
Jessie looked at North as if he'd just said that she had two heads. “W-what?”
“The Myamoto that helped us with Team Two was the spirit of a CLONE, and KNEW it!” 
“They're nothing but figments!” M2 added.
“NO!” Jessie yelled, sobbing at the vision before her. She stood up and started to run for the floating image of her mother, but M2 fired an orb of energy through it, dispersing the phantom, and leaving a strange smoldering sight indeed.
It flopped to the ground at Jessie's feet with a dazed look on its face.
North looked at the critter. “Well now... how about that... A Murkrow!”
Suddenly the field behind them made the sound of hundreds of cawing.
Meowth crept to the top of a ridge. The smell that had drawn him away from the others was coming from below, and even with all the strangeness happening above him in the skies, the aroma still commanded him closer to the edge.
He peered down. Below him he saw what looked like a gypsy encampment. And within the gathered caravan trailers were three of the other Hayride wagons. Nearby, he saw the children dancing before a large bonfire, whooping it up and having one heck-of-a party. The smell was coming from the cook wagon. It was nearly irresistible!
Shoot, it WAS irresistible! He was down the hill and into the chuck wagon before you could say Jigglypuff three times!
The food was incredible! Meowth felt like he had found the Gingerbread House from Hansel & Gretel. There were cookies and sweets and food galore, and all for the greedy little cat!
Then his sharp ears caught something - Two strange voices from behind the counter.
“Did you see how he's wolfing it all down?” one asked.
“Ha, let him! It'll save on stuffing him later!” the second said.
“Mmmm! What a delicacy! Roasted Meowth!” the first one said.
Meowth didn't wait to hear the second's response. He burned a trail back up the hill. After all, he needed to tell the others where the kids were!
The Murkrow twitched and the Mew-ring around Mauvais' eyes vanished. The others gathered around the fallen bird as James comforted his partner as she wept onto his shoulder. M2 continued to glare at where the reddish light had been with clenched fists.
“Bugger,” he grumbled. “Using my Mew’s captured frequency against me… I won’t let that pass, monster.”
North and Charm looked back at the eyes, as they gleefully watched the hurt it had inflicted on them.
“Charm, how are you at fighting a swarm?” North whispered to the fiery red haired lady beside him. M2 and PBM took notice and looked in North's direction.
“Depends,” Charm grinned, adjusting the arrow on her bow. “Ah, I see what you mean!”
“Peanut! Beside me!” M2 called as he snapped back into a defensive position.
PBM winced. She could see black shapes moving in the distance against the blue-black sky. They started to pass over the face of their only light – the overly large full moon. Then it started to dim as the swirling blob of black began to mass across its surface.
North grabbed the android and started to rummage through its deep pockets. He pulled a pair of binoculars out. Switching them to night vision, he was first to confirm what was coming.
“Murkrows! A huge swarm of them!” he announced. He then yanked the optics from his face as he was blinded by a flash.
“Are you all right?” M2 asked as he watched the scientist stumble.
“Yea,” North grumbled as he rubbed his eyes of the spots swirling there. “Something bright zapped me... just a second...”
“Look! Look at that!” PBM called out. A line of glowing red now stretched across the bottom of the mass of swirling black that was coming towards them.
North adjusted the power of the night vision and brought the binoculars back up to his face.
“Aw nuts!” he said.
“More doo doo?” the droid asked.
“Ohhh yea...” North said. “Red Haunters... In a strip wave pattern. And they're heading right for us!”
“What does that mean?” PBM asked M2, as she watched him concentrate on his defenses.
“The Black Lugia was a clone experiment by the Team Rocket labs of Dimensional Level 14. While they were energizing the DNA they had collected from that level's Lugia with a proton ray, a Haunter was captured by the beam's path, and was absorbed into the beast's DNA,” he explained. “Once he had been set free, it was found that he could control ghost Pokémon, turning them into what you're seeing here, red ghosts. They would attack living organisms, drawing off their life force energy, and leaving blackened husks behind. Their most effective attack pattern was what was called a strip wave, where a huge mass of ghosts would simply sweep down and wipe out all life within their path!”
“And we've got a class one strip wave en route!” North said.
“Anything else I should know?” Charm asked the pair.
“Yea, the ghosts hate fire,” North said with a grin towards her.
M2 glanced behind them at the small orb he had left earlier. Inside was a perfectly fine looking Pikachu.
“North, the Pikachu is back to normal!” he said as he returned to the matter at hand.
North lowered the binoculars and looked back at it. “That's not good news...”
“He's food, right?” M2 said as he quickly released the Pokémon.
North nodded. “Damn... I was really hoping we weren't really here...” he said as he returned to scanning the approaching hoards.
PBM stared at the Pikachu for a moment as it shook its head and groused about having been cooped up in that sphere all this time. It certainly had a rather spicy Pokémon vocabulary for a Pikachu. But there was still something about this electric rodent... as if it was not quite right or the same about it over other Pikachus she had seen. She returned her gaze towards the wave of Red Haunters pondering.
“M2” she whispered “These are ghost elements, right? Psychic?”
He glanced questioningly at her. “Of course,” he nodded.
She smiled and drew in a deep breath. She threw her head back and called out, “Pikachu, to me!” Surprised, the electric Pokémon ran to her side.
“W-what are you doing?” asked Jessie as she wiped her face. PBM tapped her nose and winked at her.
“Pikachu, charge for an elemental stream,” she commanded. “Prepare to focus my energy.”
The Pikachu, who should have had no idea what she was talking about, closed its eyes and concentrated. PBM’s own eyes seemed to grow brighter, their soft purple pupils focusing on the incoming ghost wave.
M2 looked over at North who had switched his scanning from the incoming mass to the MewTwo and Pikachu. He gave his friend a motion with his hand to move aside a bit, which he quickly did.
Charm also stepped away, more because the MewTwo was bothering with her own concentration. “Get it over with already!” she grumbled.
“Now is the time...” she whispered. “Now... STRIKE!” she called.
“CHUUUUUUUUU!” the Pikachu squealed as it released its energy skywards. Peanut swirled her own energy around the lightning bolt and merged it, sending a cascading fury up to meet the Haunters
“DOUBLE EXCORSISM!” Her voice hit a high note and hung there. Above them, the now massive first wave of red ghost vaporized instantly. The Pikachu collapsed, completely drained of its reserves. PBM's eyes began to cross and uncross again as she staggered back into the arms of North and his droid copy.
“Well that was a new one...” he said as they put her down and examined her smoldering paws.
“What the hell did she just do?” Charm asked as she rubbed the spots from her own eyes and returned the bow to its launching position.
North pointed to the drained Pikachu the Female MewTwo was moving to pick up. “She used the Pikachu to add high voltage electricity to her own powers then tapped into the ghost's own attacks. She used that connectivity to turn their own power on themselves then added a blast of her own... They weren't expecting that, and it took quite a few of them down... Very creative.”
“Yea... creative... damn near blinded me...” Charm cursed.
“It's started a chain reaction,” M2 reported as the bursting red specters continued off to either side of the initial shot.
“Oog... my head...” Peanut muttered as her eyes rolled. “We wont be doing that one again soon, eh my little Pikachu?” she gurgled. “No we won't! No, no no!”
“What's with Miss Kitty?” Charm asked as she let fly with an arrow. It opened a blue void behind it that struck through the first line of Murkrow knocking them out of the sky and into the fields beyond.
M2 cleared his throat. “Ah, well... we tend to get a bit... punch drunk when we deplete our energy resources...” he mumbled. He added, “Nice shot...” as he watched the result of her arrow. He added his own salvo or two to the fray, knocking another section of dark birds from the sky.
PBM shook her head. She was supposed to be in a defensive position, not on the ground bobbing for Pikachus! “M2... you said you battled these, last year?”
“I fought the Black Lugia and the Red Haunters last year,” he said between salvos. “Not the Murkrows or the Misdreavus.”
PBM looked up at the attacking creatures. “Do you think that they may have discovered your energy signature because of that?”
M2 rattled off a series of psy-blasts at a strafing line. “Its possible... we know that the possessed ghosts we had to deal with would acquire a taste for a living thing if they had a sampling of it... but I never was touched by any during our first encounter with them.”
“No, but she might be on to something,” North said as he considered what she was thinking. “Just the simple fact of having been around a Red Haunter, or having been hunted by one, would have given the Black Lugia knowledge of us... our strengths, capabilities... the works!”
“There's your problem,” Peanut said as she got up and drew a breath. “If they know your energy signature, they can defend against it.”
“Damn!” he said as he continued a series of pin-point energy bolts at incoming targets that would stray too close to them. “What college did you go to, lady?” he smiled. He then continued pressing the fight.
Peanut smirked. “Hypothetically, my attacks as well as Miss Charm's here will be more effective than yours right now, since they don't know our signatures and methods!”
North and M2 looked at one another and nodded. “Have we become too predictable in our old age?” North asked.
“Speak for yourself,” M2 cracked. “I'm only four of your years old!”
Everyone looked at the MewTwo. It seemed odd for them to assume that he was older than he was, since he acted it. Mentally, he probably was, yet having been created as a modified clone, he could only be four and seem forty.
“Maybe it's time that we thought out-of-the-box,” he suggested as he continued the lob bolts at the marauders.
“What have you got in mind?” Peanut asked as she rejoined the fight.
“Something that I didn't do last year...” he said as he stood back.
“I hope it's creative and imaginative, 'cause, HERE THEY COME AGAIN!” James shouted as he dove down behind Jessie. She whopped him yet again.
“Charm, the range of you arrows, please?” he asked the dark gothic girl beside them.
Charm looked at her shaft. “Mmm, roughly six hundred yards, give 'er take depending if they're on fire or not...”
He nodded and looked around them. “Fire 'em up!” M2 said. “Shoot them off in a circle pattern around us.
Charm looked at him questioningly. “Do I hit anything?”
M2 shook his head no.
“Humph... waste of good arrows...” she grumbled. She tapped the bottom of her quill with the nock of her bow. A fresh load of arrows popped up like bread out of a toaster as it reloaded itself.
“Wait a minute,” North yelped as he looked at the arrow-carrying sleeve that she had hung over her shoulder. “That's one of my storage shunts! Where did you scrounge that up from young lady?”
She game him an evil little grin. “Last time I stopped by Tech Lab One... you had one sitting on the side table that you didn't seem to need...” Before he could complain more, she lit up her first arrow and aimed. North shook his head and he and the droid moved up the hill a bit to scan the re-grouping Haunters. PBM's shot had split them down the middle like a scythe, and the remaining had banked off in a curving twisty arc.
“Eight hundred yards! Hurry!” he called as he got a reading from his binoculars. He glanced down the hill at the group and saw James and Butch looking rather dejected.
Two sets of binoculars plopped in front of them.
“Come on gentlemen... tactical range duty! Butch, take left point, James, right!”
Charm launched her first arrow out in a fiery straight line.
“Three hundred, four, five, six, seven… seven hundred forty-five,” North rattled off the range as the arrow buried itself in the grass.
Charm was impressed. Better than she thought. She loaded another.
“Off that way,” M2 said, pointing slightly to the left.
Charm let loose again. A slight down hill curve to the field made the arrow vanish at seven hundred sixty yards. She sent another to the right of the first arrow, which went only six hundred eighty. The next one to that she lobbed over the hill at short range.
“No problem... I can still feel it,” M2 said. “Get another one off to the left...”
“Here they come!” North said.
As Charm continued to lob arrows behind him, M2 held his paws out. His fingers glowed, and he made a sweeping move. The fire on the arrows flared as if struck by gasoline, and then swept across to the next arrow in line like a drawn curtain!
“YEOW! I just left dat barbecue fer anoth'a one!” Meowth yelped, as he just crossed the edge of the fire wall.
“Incoming cat!” James yelled. North turned his binoculars towards the right.
“Hope he knows to duck and cover!” M2 said as he formed a force field dome over them using the fire wall as an outer boundary. He then drew the flames over the shield.
“M2! You're over doing yourself!” PBM shouted, seeing the pain and sweat on the MewTwo's face.
He strained and grunted. “Must... do... this!” he snarled as he brought his powers to bear on his dome. “Elementals energize... YAAH!”
M2's eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head, as a surge of energy bolted from him. The Haunters and some Gastlys and Gengars had already been vaporizing against his dome of fire, but now it burst outwards in a ring of energy and flames. Ghosts popped like party balloons, as the ring spread upwards and outwards. Murkrows launched in a swarm from the fields in an attempt to avoid the pyre.
“That's seems to have worked well,” North said as he and the droid scanned the area. “All I see is a few out on the fringes... and they seem to be holding their distance.”
“Same here,” answered Butch from his vantage point.
“Ditto,” James acknowledged.
PBM came over to M2. He was laying face first, heaving and panting hard on the ground. She touched his back, and felt a slight shock.
“Oh, what a headache...” he said then collapsed the rest of the way. PBM looked up the hill at North, who was all ready coming down with a scanning rod humming.
“Geeze kid,” the scientist said. “You really did it that time...”
“What... what did he do?” she asked.
North looked at the MewTwo. “He took your hint is what he did... he forced a signal change... literally bent his frequency to a new range, then tossed an energy surge through himself.
“Had... to... oh, I hurt...” M2 said from his prone position.
“That's because you're half baked, buddy. What do you think you are, a Saiyan?” North chided the cat. He reached into the droid's pocket of goodies, and pulled a spray bottle and proceeded to coat the MewTwo.
“Yuck... super potion... I hate that stuff!” the psy-cat murmured.
“Well, close your yap and you won't have to taste it!” North continued with his bed side manner. “Help me turn him over,” he told to PBM, as he started to roll his friend.
PBM looked at her paws, then at M2. She had felt the tingle earlier when she touched him... would it happen again?
She grabbed M2's shoulders and a slight tingle ran through her. But as for North...
As soon as she touched M2, North had been shocked clear of them, back up the hill, as if he had been grounded when lightning struck. He looked up, adjusting his glasses.
“Shocking,” he said, noticing his hair was now sticking out in all directions. He brushed it back, listening to the giggles of the lady Rockets nearby.
PBM gasped. “Professor North!” she yelled.
He looked over at the MewTwos. “Oh damn...” he said as he jumped up and started pulling a few more medical items from the droid's pockets.
M2 was now on his back. A deep burned scorch mark ran up his belly to his chest.
“I thought I heard you say something about elementals...” North grumbled. “You took energy from the planet, didn't you?”
“Only way... only way to change frequency...” M2 moaned.
“You really did fry yourself, buddy,” North said, applying a foam spray to the wound. “Just because she has elemental strengths doesn’t mean you do!” North looked at a device he pulled from the pocket and swore again as he put it aside.
“What was that?” PBM asked as North continued to work.
“Wound healer... except it doesn't work on clones...” North snarled.
“Dat was some light show!” Meowth said, finally making it back to the group. “Whoa, big cat... you's went an' nuked yerself!”
“Shut up and put your finger here Meowth!” North growled as he had the small cat hold a wrap bandage he had yanked out of the droid’s pocket across M2’s chest.
“Shh!” PBM said as she cocked her head. “Do you hear that?”
They heard what sounded like slowed clapping coming from overhead.
“Oh bravo... Bravo! I must say, you do put on quite a show!”
“Mauvais!” PBM growled. She turned to look at where the eyes were before, but got a face full of the Misdreavus instead.
“Really!” the specter said in the voice of Mauvais. “The ring of fire energized by an Earthly power source, inspired! I applaud you!”
“You - YOU'RE Mauvais?” PBM asked, startled by the sight.
“What, this? No... I only use the Misdreavus from time to time as a vessel for my conscience. It helps me get around with the little people!” cackled Mauvais.
North semi-ignored the ghost. “Interesting choices of name there, BL... Mauvais? French for evil, isn't it?”
“Ah, you know your French, ea?”
“I have my dictionaries... I also have THIS!”
North pointed the wound healer at the Misdreavus.
“YAAAAH! WHAT - WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” Mauvais yelled.
“Stimulation of the energy of the being you're in,” North said rather matter-of-fact. “This device won't work on clones, but it works on any other life forms or energy... and the Misdreavus is mostly gas and energy... You don't belong in it, therefore, my guess is that it won't mind if I get you out of it!”
“RRRRRRRAHHHH! I WILL DESTROY YOU SCIENTIST!” Mauvais bellowed, until it shot from the Misdreavus into the sky. Once again, the eyes burned the night, and the Murkrows covered the stars. But then they seemed to morph into clouds, and lightning crackled across the skies.
M2 reached up to North. “You've done it now. He'll be coming after you next...”
North smiled, while continuing with his work on the wound. “Better me than you, boss.”
PBM looked at North. “Boss?”
“Figure of speech,” M2 said.
“Respect,” North added.
Meowth stuck his head into the conversation. “Listen you's guy, I don't wanna interrupt dis mutual admiration society, but I've got news! I've found da kids!”
“Probably found food too... I can smell garlic on your breath...” North said. “Where?”
“Over da hill - burp! - About a quarter mile dat way!” the cat Pokémon pointed.
North looked at his work. “James, Butch, Charm... start off. I've got to finish here. We'll follow when we can.”
North looked at PBM. “You too, ma’am,” he told her.
“But...” she started then found M2's hand tingling in hers.
“They'll need your help... go... please...” he told her.
“Will you two let go of each other?” the scientist complained. “I need to work, and I don’t need to get fried again!”
“Pika...” The Pikachu had come over, and had climbed onto PBM's shoulder. She looked at the human beside her with a worried expression.
“Get going...” North told her. “We'll be fine. Save the children.”
She nodded, stood up, and followed the group as they headed over the hill.
Once out of range, North looked over at the droid.
“Droid, what's your power pack like?”
“Int-t-t-tact sir... Auto r-r-r-r-rrrrr-restore on power systems. Fully charged.”
North nodded. “Set your auto destruct... just in case...”
“Acknowledged...” the droid said. “When?”
“On my command.” North continued with his work.
And the Roll Play Rolls On...
 – See “Fate's Game” by TiredGamer – FFN story #640818
 – See “The Myamoto Project” by Shadsie – FFN story #15431
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Edit – 1404.11