Re: My Guardian Angel (PG-13) (Chapter 7 can be read now!)
Mark Antony, teeth gritted and eyes half-shut behind his goggles, pulled himself next to Pidgeot’s hidden ears. The bird’s cry was louder than ever, and he wasn’t sure he could hear the wind rushing around them anymore. The sergeant took a deep breath, willing his heart back to his chest if just for a moment, and uttered, “Tailwind!”
Something clicked in Pidgeot’s mind, and it forced its wings to straighten and its tail feathers to stiffen to produce one last gust. Unfortunately, they were both sent backwards from the unpredictably strong rush of wind that was released. Their forms were captured by the Twister once again. This time, the Shadow Pokémon’s wings were strapped to its sides by the winds. Now, they were too close to the ground for another attempt.
Suddenly, the Twister was broken by a downbeat of Charizard’s wings. Pidgeot’s own were freed just in time for both it and his trainer to crumple onto the ground, some last minute flaps saving them from a crash landing. The Johtonian rolled from his mount’s back and onto the ground. Mark Antony began to pick himself up, feeling the gravel beneath his fingers. Disoriented, he got on his knees and saw the rows upon rows of seats that surrounded the stadium. He stayed on his knees, the dizziness and nausea almost too much to bare. Pidgeot’s cry was now waning from the depths of his ears, and he thought he could hear the clanking of the chains that held up the battle arena above the mile-deep crevice dug into the desert. Mark Antony shut his mouth, tasting bile and feeling his heart still rapidly shaking within his rib cage.
A thump! that shook the ground and made the gravel jump told him that the Flame Pokémon just landed. Pidgeot ruffled its feathers and looked up as it got back to its talons, but Mark Antony could only crane his neck and hope that the sudden movement didn’t send his world spiraling again. He only got as far as seeing the trainer don a cap and jump from the Chairzard’s back when the lights of the stadium turned on. White bombarded his eyes and made him look down again. Eventually, the sound of crunching footsteps forced him stand up, albeit wobbly, and face his foe.
It was then that he noticed he was facing the famous Red.
The twenty-year-old tilted his red cap up to reveal dark-brown eyes too aged for someone so young. Red regarded the Pikachu that bounded from the stadium box, down the rows of seats, and onto the battle arena with a softening of his steely eyes. The yellow rodent rubbed against the blue jeans of his master affectionately then redirected eyes of dark amber towards Mark Antony, red cheeks sparking with electricity. Mark Antony gave the Electric-type a look of distaste then squared his shoulders and raised his chin towards Red. Despite being five years younger than himself, Red looked down at him with that unwavering stare of his. It made the Shadow Trainer growl in anger.
“I’ve heard stories about you,” he began, his words a tad slurred with the dizziness he still felt in his throbbing head. “Champion of Kanto. The one who defeated Team Rocket those years ago.” Something clicked, and suddenly, Mark Antony’s world was no longer shaking on its foundation. Perfectly-focused eyes narrowed. “They’ve sent you to stop me, haven’t they?” He wasn’t sure who “they” were exactly, but he had known, deep down, after that night in the lab, that somebody else was going to step up to try and take him down.
Red merely nodded, expression still stern.
Mark Antony raised an eyebrow, waiting for the champion to elaborate and give a reason as to why he thought he would succeed when countless others before him had failed. Red stayed silent and only pointed at Pidgeot. Mark Antony frowned and looked at his Pokémon to find the bird was holding one mangled wing close to its chest. Anger mingled with shock clung to his face. He glanced at the Charizard; that Pokémon was stronger than any other he had faced if his attack managed to break Pidgeot’s wing beyond usefulness. Still, he smoothed over his scowl.
“You may have forced me to stand and face you,” he addressed Red acidly, “but do not think I have already lost!”
The young brunet closed his eyes as though to say he would never think of such folly. Red’s Pikachu bounded to the center of the arena with his lightning bolt-shaped tailed twitching in anticipation for the battle he knew was coming. Mark Antony stepped up and fished out a Poké Ball from his belt, enlarging it with an expression of cold fury. Pikachu’s black-tipped ears were flat on top his skull when Cubone was released in a haze of dark-violet. Everything about the materialized Shadow Pokémon unsettled the mouse.
Cubone tipped its bleach-white skull so that wine-red eyes could meet Pikachu’s defiant stare. Its ash-gray skin blended almost seamlessly with the gravel at its feet, and its club was now stained with the blood of the numerous victims Mark Antony had ordered him to dispose of in the past three months. At the sight, Red’s eyes dangerously narrowed. Mark Antony smirked, glad he evoked some kind of reaction from him.
“Bone Rush,” was the simple, confident order.
Cubone chucked its bone club, and two more materialized in its paws. Pikachu rolled away from the real club and dodged the two new ones by jumping high into the air. Cubone conjured two more and ran up to the rodent. The rodent’s eyes widened when the Ground-type jumped to his height in a flash. Without so much as a grin of triumph, Cubone clobbered the Kanto Pokémon on the head with one bone then slammed the other into his stomach as Pikachu fell in pain. The Shadow Pokémon descended down with one last bone in its grip.
It was its turn to be shocked when Pikachu, seconds away from hitting the ground, flipped backwards and delivered an Iron Tail to the jaw. All Cubone saw was flashes of silver dancing among the lights of the stadium before he landed on the gravel. Mark Antony sharply looked at Red and knew he had given no command to his Pikachu. With an order of, “Bone Club!” to the mindless Cubone, he gave the Kantonian a glare that the younger trainer immediately turned to.
“Is that how the famous Red faces his opponents?” Mark Antony called to him. “Do you look down upon them so much that you don’t bother with Pokémon commands?”
The champion raised his head towards him, the brim of his hat casting a shadow upon his serious stare. “We trainers should not control a Pokémon’s every move. We are merely their guides in times of trouble. They are our friends, not our tools.”
Mark Antony gave him an infuriated look, as though the words had slapped him in the face. He had heard many people say the exact same thing, but hearing it from Red was much more angering. When Mark Antony met those orbs of brown, he didn’t see an accomplished trainer, a champion, a defender of the people. He saw a Kantonian with his self-righteous beliefs and his aloof attitude. He saw that superior look, that air around him that emitted confidence and cockiness. All of it made him think of the Kantonian soldiers that were currently making themselves at home in Johto.
The shaking of the gravel beneath his feet alerted him to the Pokémon fight. Cubone had Pikachu nailed to the floor with a bone against his throat. The trapped Pokémon growled and braced his hind paws against the Ground-type’s stomach. Cubone didn’t need Mark Antony’s command of, “Finish him off!” The reptile pressed the bone club more and more against Pikachu’s windpipe, sanguine eyes glittering in glee. Mark Antony stood back, his stirring anger making it difficult to enjoy the upcoming victory. He knew Red had more Pokémon in his disposal, but he also knew the champion would be too shell-shocked to continue the battle after one of his “friends” died before his eyes. In mere seconds, he would use Cubone and Croconaw to take control of Charizard and fly back to the lab.
But then Cubone’s pain-filled cry snapped him from his musings. It stumbled back and clutched its mother’s skull with trembling paws. No matter how loud it yelled, though, Pikachu’s Uproar still assaulted its ears. The aforementioned mouse jumped to his paws and took off with a Quick Attack that hit Cubone in the abdomen. Mark Antony took a step forward when his Shadow Pokémon was knocked down then sent skittering again with an Iron Tail. A glance at Red’s solemn face made his blood boil anew. Pride was rearing up its head.
“Cubone, do whatever you need to do to win!”
Mark Antony couldn’t help but step back when Cubone looked at him. Its eyes glowed like bloody rubies, and it emitted a strangled cry of joy. Immediately, Cubone dodged Pikachu’s Slam with a swift jump back. Pikachu looked up only to see the Shadow Pokémon hanging off of one of the colossal chains that connected the arena with the stadium’s stone structures near the seats. With that crazy, triumphant glint in his orbs, Cubone brandished its club and slammed it against the chain. Metal links shattered at once, and the arena gave a great upheaval as it tilted to the right and down to the darkness below. Pikachu tore off towards the crazed creature when Cubone jumped and ran in the direction of the next chain.
“STOP!” his trainer yelled, but the arena shuddered in warning and made him lose his balance. Now on his knees, he watched, horror-stricken, as the Lonely Pokémon climbed up the next chain. The sound of the torn link still echoed in Mark Antony’s ears like an out-of-tune chord, and he immediately rose to his feet and reached for Croconaw’s Poké Ball.
Charizard flew above him, already one step ahead, and Pikachu retreated back to his master. Cubone inclined his head at the sound of leathery wings and smiled under his skull. He jumped away to avoid Charizard’s jaws and threw his bone with all the strength he could muster when he was swatted away by the dragon’s tail. The chain was split in half, and the destruction trickled down so that links burst apart before everybody’s eyes. Mark Antony gave a cry of alarm when he was thrown on the floor and sent sliding towards the tilting half of the arena. The groaning of the floor and the sound of waves of gravel tumbling along with him drowned out his frantic heart. Mark Antony dug the heels of his boots and tried to stand up, but the gravel beneath him continued on sliding. The angle towards the crevice was becoming steeper and steeper, much to his growing horror.
Pidgeot’s screech joined the symphony of destruction. Mark Antony saw it tumble over the edge, its unbroken wing flapping uselessly as it was swallowed up by the darkness. Croconaw’s Poké Ball slipped from his fingers and was lost among the gravel. Cubone had jumped when Charizard went for his master, smiling proudly all the while.
He had finally been brave enough to take his own life.
The Johtonian looked up when a large shadow covered his form. On top of Charizard, Red held out his hand towards him, outright concern taking over his once solemn features. Mark Antony scowled up at him. He felt rather than saw the edge creeping closer and closer. Again, he tried to get up, but he was swept off his feet the moment he did so. Red leaned towards him, his frown taught.
“Don’t be a fool!” he shouted. Something in his eyes softened. “Please, Mark Antony. This is not your end.”
Mark Antony analyzed the Kantonian’s hand. No. There was no chance that he could grasp it and pull Red down with him as he fell. Already the ground was lost beneath his boots.
“Go burn in Hell!” Mark Antony spat. “And take your people with you!”
And he went over the edge.