Jack had been preparing for his next match when Celebi’s message hit him on a psychic wavelength. His mind reeled at the implications and he fell to the ground from both shock and the mental intrusion.
Dory pulled him upright as he realized the murder they’d done, for nothing. There had never been a reason for everyone here to struggle and lose so much. Dialga had ruined their lives for his own sick purposes.
He turned to his Pokémon, who were all looking expectantly.
“Did all of you hear that?” A nod from each. “Then how about we go show Dialga what it’s like to be in a fight you didn’t want? Let’s make him fight for his life.” He turned and ran for the arena, his friends behind him.
He entered from the stadium seats, the battleground below him. The other trainers and their Pokémon were charging in too. Everyone wanted a piece of their tormentor. With a small army arrayed against him, Dialga started looking small himself.
This should be easy with us all united against him. But as Jack watched, Dialga tilted his head back and loosed a roar Jack could feel in his bones. His joints ached as he watched most of the assembled families disappear.
Jack ran down the stadium steps, Ayessel on his shoulder and Portent just behind him. He jumped down the arena wall and made to stand by the only remaining trainer on the field. Her Pokémon were already out. Five, no, four Pokémon surrounded her, she’d returned one. When Jack went to meet her he was tackled from behind.
Portent knocked him to the ground as a boulder the size of Jack flew over their heads. The other trainer had also dodged the attack. Crap, he’s trying to kill us trainers off directly this time. Jack released the other three team members from their Pokéballs, having recalled them when they weren’t able to keep up.
All but Aegis and two of his ally’s Pokémon disappeared in the tall grass swishing about Jack’s abdomen. Morse code foot taps sent Dory underground, safely hidden from the Legendary’s view. Aegis took a shot with Hydro Pump, not waiting for orders. The move struck, but only caused Dialga’s leg to lift momentarily in annoyance.
Two dark shapes zipped up Dialga’s huge body, taking advantage of his attention on Aegis. One Sneasel dropped icicles on his back while another breathed freezing air into his face. Dialga merely gave a great shake, scattering them from his body, not affected by the Ice-type moves. Great glowing boulders formed mid-air and hurtled down on the field.
Jack called for the other trainer to come to him and she hesitated only a moment before joining him and Ayessel behind Aegis’s Protect-enhanced shell. The Sneasels and Zoroark dodged the attack, Lumi used Psychic to smash her boulder into the ground just before it could hit her, and the Gothitelle seemed to redirect the rock with Psychoshock to bounce off Dialga’s steely scales.
Portent glowed with Future Sight and dodged just as deftly as the other Dark-types. Peering around Aegis, Jack saw her bark at them and receive a bark in return. Without pausing, the four shot off at Dialga. The Temporal Pokémon reacted much too slowly as they dashed between his legs, delivering four simultaneous Night Slashes to the back of his legs. Unable to ward against so many attacks at once the god dropped heavily to his knees.
He made to regain his footing as flame filled his mouth to scorch the Pokémon beneath him.
..-. .- .-.. .-.. Fall
Right on cue, the previously burrowed Dory burst from the ground, his fist streaming water. The uppercut parted the infant firestorm and slammed into Dialga’s jaw, shutting it. Jack cheered. It turned to a groan as Dialga flung a leg out, trying to rebalance after his head snapped back, kicking the falling Poliwrath. Dory tumbled into the grass, vanishing among the multicolored blades.
“Dory, are you okay?” A weary thumbs-up shot up out of the grass before sinking back down.
Dialga shook his head and glared in their direction. He rose into the air, hovering well out of a Digger’s reach. A smirk settled on his face before it was blown off by a purple blast of Psychic energy. Portent’s Future Sight had arrived. Dialga rocked to the side, only for a second Future Sight to slam into him from the other side. Jack whipped his head around to see the purple glow fade from the other trainer’s Gothitelle.
In answer though, purple smoke poured from the sides of Dialga’s mouth and a beam of energy cut across the field. In its wake explosions ripped the ground apart. Jack cowered with his ally behind Aegis, who had thrown up a late Protect. Jack felt his heart slow down as he watched the explosions, thankful Dory had been far underground. At the edges of the explosion he saw grass growing old and dying, while in other places it seemed to be un-growing, shrinking back into the dirt.
He knows a technique that distorts time? Of course he does. How are we supposed to stand against that? The other trainer was shouting commands to her Pokémon. How could she want to go on fighting this monster? Then Jack saw, Dialga wasn’t moving. His mouth hadn’t even closed. Whatever the attack was, it seemed to paralyze him after. A heavy cost that we’ll gladly take advantage of.
“Ayessel, use Tailwind to get everyone moving a little faster!” The Chatot hopped up into the air and began beating his wings furiously. The wind swirled around them and Jack could see the Dark-types taking advantage of the speed boost. Ayessel looked relieved. Jack could hardly blame him for not wanting to take on the Steel-type directly. None of his attacks were going to be helpful at all. He looked glad to be able to do this much.
Luminaire floated off to a side, looking unsure. Jack told her to use her Fire-type move and received a shake of her head (body?) in response. She pointed at the field with one of her arms and when Jack looked, he understood. There were a lot of allies milling around trying to attack their opponent and Lumi’s Inferno had never been the most accurate attack. She didn’t want to hit anyone else and hurt their chances of defeating Dialga.
Jack looked around for a solution. They needed all the help they could get and Lumi would definitely be that help. He watched as Dialga managed to kick the Zoroark in a glancing blow, while Portent and the Sneasels dodged a Flash Cannon. He could tell them all to clear out, but that would draw Dialga’s attention to Lumi, and Ancient Power was a problem. Telekinesis would hold him in place for Inferno…but he could still attack in retaliation…Oh!
.-. . .- -.. -.-- / -.. -.-- -. .- -- .. -.-. Ready Dynamic
“Lumi, use Telekinesis to slam him to the ground and hold him there!”
Finally with something to do, Lumi surrounded herself and Dialga with fuchsia energy. The Lampent was concentrating hard, actually being jostled around in the air by the effort. But Dialga would not come down without great effort, an effort Lumi did not seem capable of. With a toss of his head and a roar, the fuchsia energy shattered and Luminaire was sent tumbling. Immediate retribution came in the form of Ancient Power. Boulders formed in the air and flung at the Lampent.
“Lumi!” She managed to dodge two on her own, but the third slammed into one of her arms, bending it painfully. But she was not the only target. Jack turned at the other trainer’s pointing finger. Two boulders were being slung at them!
Aegis tried to throw up a Protect, only for it to fizzle after a moment in existence. He’d used it too often! Instead, he aimed his water cannons and blasted the first one away with a Hydro Pump. The second boulder was coming from a different angle, and was too close for Aegis to blast. He turned left to meet it, pushing both trainers to the ground with an arm. The rock slammed into his cannon, crushing it, but deflecting the attack.
Jack saw Aegis bellow in pain, and even though he couldn’t hear the cry, his heart filled with fury at the sound he knew was there. The cannon was cracked in several places and completely crushed. The Blastoise was still trying to provide cover for them, despite the pain on his face. Jack stood and placed a reassuring hand on Aegis’s shell.
“Thank you. Just a little more, I promise. Then you can rest.” Aegis nodded and turned his attention back to the battle.
Jack called Lumi over to him. He wordlessly examined the bent arm before asking if she could keep fighting. She nodded exuberantly.
“Would you agree that we need a boost in strength here?” A slightly sarcastic nod this time. Jack laughed and pulled a small pouch from his pocket. “Alright, then if you’re okay with this, are you ready to evolve?” He removed and held up the item in front of her.
Her eyes widened at the sight of the Dusk Stone before locking eyes with Jack. The light from a Future Sight illuminated her as she nodded solemnly and the plate atop her head opened. He hesitated a moment before dropping the Dusk Stone into her inner fire. The stone caught and was consumed like charcoal, and Jack considered that this was not how evolutionary stones were usually applied.
Luminaire’s flame grew bright enough it was difficult to look at. The light spread over her body and the changes came quickly. Her previously animated arms stiffened and curled up and in on themselves. The damaged arm came out slightly warped by the previous damage. Two protrusions grew from each arm, their tips igniting with a dark purple flame. Her body (face?) rounded out and the cover on top all but disappeared, leaving only a small crown. A spike shot out beneath her to balance around. Finally her body filled with that dark purple fire and a long tongue of it erupted from the crown on her head.
She made her flames grow and fall, ‘flexing’ her new muscles.
“All right, enough showboating. Go flex on Dialga!” Jack implored, pointing at the god who hadn’t paused his assault against the Dark-types to watch the now Chandelure’s evolution. How rude.
She turned, her small mouth curled up in a gleeful grin. The light of Telekinesis swallowed her and Dialga, and with a massive ground shaking the Temporal Pokémon was slammed to the arena floor.
“Quickly now, use Inferno!” The other Pokémon on the field wisely cleared the area. The flame was purple-blue as it erupted from Lumi’s torches, much hotter than the red-orange of her under-evolved form. The fire washed over the struggling Dialga, leaving nasty looking burns along his steel-plating. He reared his head back in rage.
-. --- .-- Now
In another spray of dirt Dory emerged from the ground, fist covered not in water, but a dangerous light. With an immobile target, the Poliwrath had no trouble connecting with Dynamic Punch. Explosions erupted where Dory struck, throwing the god’s head back again and again.
When his head came back down, his eyes were unfocused, angry. More of the same purple smoke from earlier began to issue from his mouth, a lot more. Realizing the scope of this attack, the Pokémon on the field began to scatter. The Zoroark made a beeline for his trainer, quickly picking her up and throwing her on his back before dashing off. A quick look at Aegis and Jack recalled the Blastoise to follow their lead.
Jack was much too big to ride on any of his Pokémon’s backs without slowing them down. So he sprinted after the Zoroark as well as he could. He was still far from cover when the attack launched. The beam split like water from a hose with a thumb over the opening. Where the beams hit grass withered, stone crumbled, even plastic seats broke down. Jack managed to leap into cover just as an explosion ripped behind him.
Jack tried to roll as he landed, but instead just collided with the ground with his arm painfully dragging underneath. He grunted as he stood and clasped his shoulder with his still good hand. Probably dislocated, brilliant. The other trainer and her Zoroark stood nearby in the shadow of the tunnel’s wall. Both were looking out on the field and Jack joined them.
The battlefield was a mess. Dirt and grass was strewn everywhere, and so were Pokémon. It didn’t look like any of the beams had hit them directly, but the explosions had sent many of them flying. The Sneasels were slowly helping each other to stand, and the Gothitelle just lay on the ground, barely moving. Lumi had been smashed into a wall, looking depleted. Small holes in her body let out guttering flames. The glow of Telekinesis had been shattered.
Portent was slowly getting to her feet, and even though she’d had Future Sight to guide her, she’d been caught heavily in an explosion. An attack that distorts time probably couldn’t be effectively predicted against. She managed to rise and the glow surrounding her faded. The Psychic attack slammed into the back of the immobile Pokémon’s head.
“Despite everything we’ve hit him with, he still doesn’t look the worse for wear. Just pissed off. What’s it going to take?” Jack turned to the other trainer and extended his hand.
“I’m Jack. I’m deaf, so please look directly at me if you need to say something to me.” She looked confused for a moment, a are we really doing this now? look on her face, before shaking his hand.
“Call me Fangs.”
At that moment the world seemed to fill with static. They both looked to the field and saw a freezing beam and a huge bolt of electricity slam into Dialga.
“Where did that come from?” They followed the path of the attacks to a point on the field. Just barely in view were two Pokémon and a trainer. A Porygon-Z and a Heliolisk stood on either side of a female trainer. Brown hair pulled back, she wore a red shirt and what looked like a lab coat tied around her waist.
Before they could call out to her, Dialga threw his head back in another roar and she vanished in the same static from before. Jack turned to the girl called Fangs.
“Was that one of the other trainers? I thought Dialga had made them disappear!” Remembering to look directly at him, Fangs responded.
“The sound he just made is the one he makes when he uses that beam attack. I think he’s put everyone in their own time bubbles, maybe? And he’s fighting them all too?”
That was possible, Jack admitted. With Dialga’s powers, who knew what he was capable of.
“Even if that’s true, we’ve still got to deal with him now. Looks like our Pokémon are mostly recovered, let’s go –“
The floor lurched suddenly, throwing the trainers to the ground. Fangs pointed and Jack could see the grass on the field disappearing. Well, in some places. A jagged iceberg erupted from the soil, freezing the area around it. Half the field became an enormous sand dune, while two platforms floated aimlessly over a deep but narrow pit. Dead center of the field emerged a climbing frame, covering the center of the field like a cage.
A hand tapped Jack on the shoulder, and he turned to see Fangs trying to speak to him.
“– must have damaged the battlefield controls with his last attack. Are you sure you want to go back out there?” Jack nodded as he saw past her to his Chandelure weakly floating away from the wall. Portent was back on her feet, and that he couldn’t see Dory was probably a good sign.
“Aegis can’t fight anymore, I won’t let him. But I won’t abandon them to fight alone. They’re fighting for me too.” With that he strode out to stand next to his gathering Pokémon. Ayessel floated down onto his shoulder, having been dislodged during the run for cover. Dialga still seemed to be frozen, or at least slow to recover from his larger effort. They’d take every moment of rest they could get.
Jack stood next to Portent and gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. He reached down and placed a gentle hand on her horn.
“Portent, let’s start with Future Sight.”
The Absol covered herself in the purple light. Jack saw her eyes widen and she shook her head violently before the light disappeared.
“Portent? What’s wrong?” She merely shook her head again, frightened. Dialga began to move on the far side of the field. By this point they’d maneuvered so they were aligned on the long sides of the field. Dialga narrowed his eyes at Jack, locking on to his next target.
-.. --- .-. -.-- / .-- .- - . .-. ..-. .- .-.. .-.. Dory, Waterfall
The Poliwrath once more burst from the ground, a current of water following his fist, but Dialga must have seen this coming. He craned his neck, moving just out of the way of the attack only to blast him with a close range Flash Cannon. Dory was hurtled away, bouncing across the field and painfully across the top of the climbing frame. By the time he reached Jack he was slow enough for the trainer to catch and stop his movement.
“Dory? Please tell me you’re okay.” A sigh escaped his lips as the Poliwrath slowly opened his eyes and raised another tired thumb. He helped Dory to his feet in time to see the flare of psychic energy surround Portent once again.
This time it didn’t vanish and she only turned a sad glance in his direction. She returned her gaze to the field before her where Dialga looked to be readying another attack. One of the Sneasels and the Zoroark had reentered the melee and a Flamethrower was to be their welcome. Portent threw her head back to let out a howl that snapped Dialga’s attention to her. The flames died in his mouth as she barked at him, moving forward.
When she reached the climbing frame she crawled inside and sat in the center facing Dialga. A sickly red-black aura surrounded the Disaster Pokémon and she began to sing.
Jack knew she was singing, there was only one move of hers that looked anything like this. This was different though. He’d never heard her song the few times she’d sung it, but he felt this resonate through his body. She’d changed it to something much more threatening. Is this what you saw, Portent?
Dialga’s eyes narrowed and the flames returned to his mouth.
Faster than Jack could direct her, Luminaire darted in the way of the attack, her own Inferno meeting the Flamethrower. The attacks ended, but it was clear the Chandelure was struggling. Flames still seeped from her wounds.
Dory moved stiffly to stand beside the Ghost-type, defiantly glaring at their enemy. A flash from the Pokéball at Jack’s side and Aegis was making his way to stand on the other side of Luminaire. Even Ayessel left Jack’s shoulder to perch atop the climbing frame. Together they stood between Dialga and his target.
Fangs drew Jack’s attention.
“What’s going on?”
“Perish Song. Portent has made it deadly. Every Pokémon that can hear it will die, or at least be severely weakened. Even Dialga can sense it, so he’s going to throw everything he’s got against her to end her song. We’re going to keep him from doing that.”
“I can’t let them stand alone. But you should recall your Pokémon and get out of here. I can’t guarantee it won’t work against you too. I don’t want to be the only living thing left standing when this is over.”
Jack turned without waiting for a response and strode to take his place in front of and below Luminaire.
I won’t let anything through.
Enraged, Dialga formed Ancient Power and sent several boulders hurtling at them. To his left Aegis stopped a boulder with Protect, to his right an Ice Punch from Dory. Luminaire slammed one to the ground with Psychic, but two still came at Jack. He held his ground, determined despite the fear filling his guts.
Before they could hit, one was blasted to the side by a psychic blast while the other crumbled by twin Night Slashes. Jack turned his head to find Fangs standing next to him, guiding her Pokémon. She shot him a challenging look, and he smiled in gratitude.
Together, they turned to stare down the face of time.