Jarre tried his hardest to keep a calm composure, but it wasn’t easy when your insides were crawling with fear. “Easy, take a deep breath…” he commanded himself slowly. “Show no fear.” His beak turned up in a grimace, Jarre took the last few steps before halting in front of Balian. The steel penguin looked down with an icy glare.
“Long time, no see, Jarre. I’ve been waiting for you.” Balian’s beak curled into a malicious grin which the Torchic didn’t reciprocate.
“Watch it, Balian.” Jarre mimicked his first words again. Balian grinned wider and gestured to Scythe.
“Why? With her on the loose and your friends dead, what is there for me to be afraid of? A petty murderer like you couldn’t even leave a scratch on me
.” He emphasised the last word.
-murderer,” Jarre growled. “Unlike you,
I’ve mended my ways. It was a dark time…they can’t blame me for it.”
“Ah,” Balian sneered. “But they do. Rye has seen to that; the way he constantly follows you to protect that precious rat
-” he spat towards Zanna “-I wonder how long it will be before he finally snaps. I’d wager not very long, if he ever wakes, that is. Rakai made sure he was badly inflicted.”
Jarre’s eyes widened. “You planned it! You planned it all along! You’re a monster, you know that? Lucky for you Rakai’s dead!” Balian raised an eyebrow as he glanced towards Rye.
“Rakai?” he crooned. “Oh no, he is long
gone. The Weavile you killed was merely a decoy. And you know I’d hate to say I told you so, but-”
“SHUT UP!” Jarre shouted. A snort of flame erupted from his nostrils. “Leave now and perhaps I won’t kill you. I’m a little rusty, see, so if your death is horrible and slow, please
forgive me!” The Torchic’s voice ran with malice and Balian could see that it was no bluff. He took a moment to gather himself as Jarre inhaled a deep breath. “Right here, right now. Just you and me. Like old times, eh?” His beak twisted slightly and Balian sneered.
“You want me to just let them go?
How stupid do you think I am?!”
Jarre raised an eyebrow. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
“Arrgh!” The Torchic deftly dodged the wing that came towards him.
“Oooh,” he teased. “Who’s rusty now?” Balian hissed and lunged at the bird. Jarre shot a flamethrower from his mouth and just managed to escape the penguin’s metal claws.
“Don’t flee!” Balian called manically. “Fight me, Jarre! Which one of us is stronger?” He trailed off in a hysterical laugh as he scraped Jarre’s stomach. The Torchic gave a small yelp and doubled back.
“I’m not afraid! I have something to fight for, and you’ll never get them!” Blue hot flames surrounded Jarre’s body and licked at the air hungrily. Balian shielded his eyes momentarily.
“What?!” From within the ball of flames, Jarre glared at the penguin with loathing.
“Coward,” he hissed. “You don’t know anything of true friendship. I fight for those I love. You can never get me!” At that moment the flames lashed out at the penguin, engulfing him with ease. While Balian screamed, Jarre laughed. It was his very laughter that echoed through the room, and the same laugh that stopped almost as abruptly as it had begun. The Torhic’s eyes fluttered as his breath was knocked from him. The flames dissipated until a cool, almost icy-cold, feeling replaced them.
As soon as he could breathe again, he looked down at the ground far beneath him. Balian’s charred body glared up at him from where it crouched, smiling. Smiling?
Jarre tried to turn his head, but found that his neck was stuck, and the cool feeling around him grew tighter. The force that crushed his windpipe was attached to a tentacle, which led to a body, then a face. A face which was the last
thing he wanted to see right now; Deoxys.
“Hello, whelp,” the creature greeted him. “Pleased to see me?” Jarre growled in reply, but was cut short as he spluttered to breathe again. “Oh my, I was hoping for a warmer reception,” Deoxys crooned. “It’s not nice to ignore old friends.”
“We were never friends,” Jarre spat. “And I don’t plan on changing that.”
“Really now?” Deoxys turned to look around the room. It was only then that Jarre realised almost every one of his friends had escaped. All but one.
“Zanna!” he cried, struggling to move. “No! What are you going to do to her?!” Deoxys pulled Jarre close enough so that he could whisper into his ear.
“I’m going to take her with me, and then take back what should be mine. When I’m finished, she’ll wish she was dead!” He grinned wickedly as he turned Jarre’s head to face her. “And the best part will be knowing that you suffered, watching her being tortured, sliced and then…murdered!”
“No!” two howling voices screamed in unison. The front of the building then erupted in a loud crash. Smoke filled the room and surrounded Deoxys. Jarre took this opportunity and bit hard into the icy flesh that bound him. He vaguely heard Deoxys curse in pain as the tentacle withdrew. The ground rushed up to meet him much quicker than expected. The bird landed off-balance and tumbled across the harsh gravel before something cold hit him. Oh no,
he thought. Not Deoxys. Not again…
But as the haze lifted and he glanced up, two ruby-red eyes met his.
“Jarre,” a deep voice murmured. “Stay behind me!” The Torchic hastened to obey as Groudon set itself into a fighting pose. A sharp hiss came from across the room.
“Groudon!” Deoxys hissed. “Don’t be a fool!” He moved and changed rather abruptly. More tentacles flew from his body and whipped around him.
“His Attack Form…” Jarre whispered. This was going to get ugly. Balian cowered behind Deoxys, smirking. Scythe was attending to Raze who was still unconscious. Jarre noted how the Absol was back to her normal black self. What he couldn’t take his eyes off, though, was Zanna. She was now clutched tight within Balian’s wings, not that it would have mattered. She was that close to death that it wasn’t funny. The steel penguin gazed at the white mark on her tail and uttered something that was incomprehensible to Jarre. He tried to take a step forward, but Groudon stopped him.
“No, you can’t risk your life for her. Look what happened to the Elekid. Leave this to me.” The Torchic wavered for a moment but then nodded, taking a few steps back. Deoxys glared at the dinosaur with utter hatred.
“You chose the wrong side,” he hissed savagely. “The side of the condemned!” He didn’t even wait for an answer. Tentacles raised, he lunged towards Groudon who braced himself for the impact. When it came, he wrestled with Deoxys, shuffling a few feet back while trying not to crush Jarre.
“Demon!” he growled. “I’ll send you back to where you came from!” Groudon pushed against Deoxys and hurled him across the room. The blurred figure was quick on its feet and twisted in mid-air, touching the ground lightly and sliding back against the gravel. Deoxys gave a small hiss before he bolted forward again, this time changing to his Speed Form. Groudon lifted his head in fear, claws raised in defense.
Only a blur could be seen now, racing ever closer to the two Pokemon. Jarre doubled back from behind Groudon and eyed Balian. I need to get to Zanna!
But that was easier said than done. Deoxys would crush him if he tried to move even an inch. He’d have to get his timing right.
Groudon rumbled and hissed as Deoxys collided with him again. The two were sent sprawling backwards across the rough dirt. Twisting with rage, Groudon found Deoxys' neck and bit into it savagely. The space Pokemon cried out in anguish before lashing out at Groudon’s head. The dinosaur recoiled, irritated by the whipping heat that spread across him. Jarre watched in amazement and terror as the two kept lashing out, snarling and growling intensely. Deoxys then switched to his Defense Form and managed to slam into the side of Groudon’s face.
A horrible crunch was followed by a wail. A bone had just been broken. Groudon clutched at his jaw in agony before releasing a pure jet of fire from its mouth. Deoxys barely dodged the attack in time. The shockwave burned the Pokemon’s tentacles as a result. He changed back to his Normal Form and cradled an injured arm, glaring at Groudon. The massive dinosaur shook with rage. “Jarre,” it hissed. “In a moment you’ll have your chance to get Zanna. I will distract them for as long as I can, but…” He closed his eyes briefly. “I won’t be able to for long. Take the Light…and run!”
Jarre was about to protest when, to his shock, Groudon lunged forward not at Deoxys, but Balian. The steel penguin toppled and screamed beneath Groudon’s ripping claws. Zanna was tossed aside like a doll and rolled until she was just inches from Jarre’s talons. The Torchic hurried to her side and bent to drag her away, but something made him look back up. Deoxys and Scythe had locked onto Groudon’s movements. Both lunged for the dinosaur and both snarled with pleasure as its pitiful wail rose to a gurgle. Jarre closed his eyes and covered them with a wing before dragging Zanna carefully away towards the now half-broken entrance.
It made him sick to leave Groudon like this, and when firm paws took hold of Zanna, he tried to run back in to help him. Lani was the one to hold him back. “No, little one. He sacrificed himself for the good of the town – the world, even. Don’t make him regret that.” The tears flowing freely down Jarre’s cheeks didn’t stop, but his struggles lessened until he fell to the ground in a sodden heap.
His last image of Groudon was not that of a struggle, for Deoxys and his followers had made sure of that, but of a small smile that stretched across his jaw until is reached his dull, red eyes. As Jarre gasped for air, a gentle voice filled his head. We may make a warrior out of you yet...Always protect those you love, as I did for you and your kin…
The Torchic’s face creased with pain as the voice died away. Lani tried to comfort the sobbing bird, but to no avail. “Groudon believed in me…believed in us,” Jarre wailed. “Let’s show him that he was right!” The small words he’d uttered had given everyone courage. Lani smiled, Codan held Rye and Zanna tightly, and Kraal, Marilai and Quoll looked at each other in amazement.
The Torchic stood up brusquely and wiped the last few tears from his eyes. “If we have to flee, then so be it. But now Deoxys knows…we are not
to be messed with! The next time we fight, it’ll be to the death…and it’ll be his!” Jarre’s voice was laced with ice, but it was also strong. The quietened screams of the dinosaur faded into the distance as he turned to the others. “Let’s go. This isn’t over.”
“But where?” Codan asked slowly. “We have nowhere to
go.” But this only made Jarre shake his head. Though his feathers stood on end, he held his head high.
“The Marble City calls. You,” he turned to Kraal and Marilai. “You shall lead us to the Missionary. It’s time Deoxys learns what happens to those who cross me.” No one said a word while the two dogs led the way, but the glint in Jarre’s eyes and the smirk on his face said it all.
This war is far from over!
E N D..O F..P A R T..O N E :..U P R I S I N G