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Category: (Gen 3) Pokegirl Origins - Hoenn
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Disclaimer:

          This work is fiction. The work is presented under fair protection where applicable.

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Chapter 22

Awakening, Pt. 1

 

 

 

          “We have only minutes to talk. Tell me everything.”

 

          Latias talked. Nicholas listened as she described an abbreviated version of the creation story Celine had told him. “The first ones are more like humans than the rest of us. You share the same power. The second generation were those created by the first. Lady Rayquaza is one of them, and she and her sisters wielded both the power of those that came before them, and the pokegirls that would come after. From the third generation and beyond we only know the power of pokegirls. Unless a human can show us what we have lost.”

 

          “What would happen if Kyogre and Groudon were only awakened with primal energy?” Nicholas asked.

 

          “They would be shells of their true selves. Disastrous, but only on a local scale,” Latias replied. “Why?”

 

          Nicholas brought his gaze back to the ground flashing past him. “Just wondering.”

 

          “The keys are two orbs. One red, the color of fire and the magma of the earth, the other blue, the color of the oceans. Each holds the power of a primal within them. If Groudon can absorb her red orb, or Kyogre her blue, they will return to what they once were, and nothing short of Lady Rayquaza will slow them.” Latias banked ever so slightly as she aimed for the smoldering volcano. “The world will die.”

 

          “Well all we can do is hope that I make it in time.” Nicholas scanned the mountain as Latias circled. “How am I supposed to know where to go?”

 

          “The entrance to where Groudon is sealed is here.” Latias dropped, slamming into the side of the mountain and sweeping her sparkling red wing in front of her. With a blast of air the foliage and debris in front of them was stripped away to reveal a chasm in the solid rock. “I must not enter, Lorekeeper. My presence alone could cause her to stir.”

 

          “Thank you for bringing me here so quickly.” Nicholas stepped into the hole before looking back. “Latias. I release you and your sister from your oaths. Serve your Mistress’ legacy, not a foolish human who goes to die."

 

          Latias smiled at him and for the first time it seemed genuine and warm. “You will not die, Lorekeeper. We will celebrate your return.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. Turning, he dove into the yawning cavern before him.

 

          “Master, I have lost all contact with pokedex communications satellites,” Kalmiya reported as Nicholas moved deeper and deeper into the mountain. “We are alone here.”

 

          “Not alone.” Nicholas ran his fingers over his pokeballs before making his choice. Elaine and Bea materialized. “Girls. We’re here, and we’re moving fast. Elaine, you’re in the lead. Bea, you cover our back. Go!”

 

          A few minutes later Nicholas heard voices ahead of them. He let out his breath, focusing on his ring as Elaine charged ahead. They had no time to waste. He’d have to do this from the beginning.

 

          The Magma cultists in the cavern ahead of them screamed in fear when they saw the glowing Blaziken round a corner. Elaine didn’t hesitate in the slightest. The first cultist slammed into a wall, her head twisting unnaturally before she slumped to the floor. The next fared no better, Elaine’s flaming uppercut driving the human off the ground a few inches before he similarly dropped. The third, however, managed to release his pokegirl. A Numel. “USE EARTH-!”

 

          The cultist’s words died on his lips. Elaine lowered her leg, stepping past the twitching Numel and approaching the petrified cultist. By the time Nicholas rounded the corner it was over.

 

          He turned away from the corpses and pointed. “Let’s try that way.”

 

          “Are you displeased with me, Master?” Elaine asked quietly.

 

          Nicholas slowly looked back at her. This was Elaine. This was her inner self, what he brought out with his power. And she’d just killed three humans and a pokegirl without a second thought.

 

          “No,” he finally replied. “I remember your fear in Lavaridge. I remember how you saw these disgusting tamers and the way they enslaved their pokegirls. Some of these people might be innocent, pressured into doing evil things. But we do not have time to pass fair judgement on them all.” He motioned for her to take the lead again. “I will shoulder the consequences of what we do here today, Elaine. These are the kinds of people who abused you. Let them die.”

 

          Flames blossomed across the walls when Elaine roared. Nicholas quickly ran after her when she charged past, catching up to her right as she entered another room. He didn’t even think the flames she was burning with were her own anymore. It almost seemed that with every kick her skin ignited from the friction of the very air around her.

 

          “Bea!” Bea threw herself in front of him, taking the flamethrower before retaliating and dropping the Slugma that had been lying in wait. “Nice!”

 

          Bea clenched her fists a few times as she ran. This was the farthest she’d ever been underground. The walls around her… she could feel, something, hiding inside them. As she followed Nicholas a light trail of glittering dust broke free from the rock and followed her.

 

          Nicholas cursed when they emerged into a dead end. Elaine was already in action, crushing two pokegirls before charging at their tamers and Nicholas turned back. “Bea, get moving while Elaine cleans up!” He blinked when he saw the glittering dust circling her body. “Bea?”

 

          Bea lifted one of her hands to intercept the stream, watching in fascination as it curled around her fingers. “I don’t know, Master.”

 

          “Is it an enemy attack? Do you feel in danger?” Nicholas urged.

 

          Bea shook her head. “No, Master. I think… I’m doing this.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. “Okay. Well do it in the other direction.”

 

          They returned to the latest fork and took the other path, Elaine catching up with them within seconds and launching herself over their heads like a blazing comet. Bea helped subdue a few more pokegirls as they continued deeper until the three entered a tunnel lined with sparkling gems.

 

          Nicholas barely spared the walls a glance, but Bea found herself drawn to a halt. The feeling was stronger here and she wormed her fingers into the wall, breaking a few gems before she touched something that made her entire body feel warm.

 

          “BEA!”

 

          Bea ripped a chunk out of the wall and ran after Nicholas, shards breaking away from her clenched fist as she excavated whatever was clutched in her palm. By the time she’d caught up she could open her hand to see a shimmering gemstone laying there, the brilliant turquoise swirling with gold.

 

          “Wanted to make sure you didn’t lose us.” Nicholas blinked when he saw Bea staring at her hand. “You okay?”

 

          Bea closed her fingers around the stone. “Yes, Master.”

 

          “Good. This way.”

 

          As Bea ran the glittering dust began to wrap around her body, streaming around her breasts and over her shoulders. Before long the broken stream was solidifying into thin beams of silver metal, a new, refined version of the metal support she had created for her chest. And after a moment Bea lifted her hand to the x between her breasts, pushing the gemstone into the metal before it solidified completely.

 

          “Elaine!” Nicholas gasped, stumbling as he felt some fatigue from the mega evolution. When Elaine hurried back to his side he released the transformation, catching his breath as Elaine returned to normal. "Give me a few minutes. I’ll be fine, I just need to breathe.” He reached out to caress her cheek with a tired smile. “I’m sorry. I can’t hold it forever yet.”

 

          He was shocked when Elaine lifted her hand to his and she smiled back. “You promise, Master?” When Nicholas slowly nodded she kissed his thumb. “I promise to be strong for you.”

 

          Nicholas’ eyes filled with tears and Bea strode past the two. “I’ll keep watch. Rest, Master.”

 

          Nicholas slid to the floor and Elaine followed. “Elaine…”

 

          “How strong may I be, Master?” he heard Elaine ask, her voice breaking before she could finish the sentence. “Please. Tell me.”

 

          “I promise that you can be as strong as you want to be,” Nicholas choked back, drawing her into his embrace as he cried. “No matter how strong you become, you will… you will always be my Elaine.”

 

          Elaine let out a trembling breath and bowed her head so she was resting on his shoulder. “If I overpower you one day, Master?”

 

          “I swear to you that will never happen,” Nicholas replied. “I will never fear you, Elaine. You will never be able to win, even if one day you are stronger than any pokegirl in the world.”

 

          Elaine’s tears dripped onto his back. “You promise, Master?”

 

          Elaine gasped when Nicholas’ hands let go and a few moments later one was worming under her shirt to firmly grab her harness, the other wrapping around her head with more physical strength than she’d ever felt from him before. “I promise you, Elaine,” Nicholas said quietly, locking her in place as he brought her lips to his. “You will never have the power to escape me. You will always be mine.”

 

          Bea snarled. Ahead of her she could see shadows moving across the walls as cultists scrambled to form a defense. Behind her, her Master was taking the final steps towards saving her most powerful harem sister. If she moved, they would be exposed. If she waited, the defense could become unbreakable.

 

          Bea wrapped her hand around her new metal bra and, more importantly, around the warm stone that had called to her. As she was now, the defense could become unbreakable.

 

          The scrambling cultists ducked when light shone off the walls. As Bea evolved she kept one hand wrapped around her new stone, protecting it as the metal it was housed in warped. It had to warp to fit around the growing Metang’s body, because while Bea had been around Nicholas’ height before, she was quickly becoming much taller than that. Much taller, and much larger.

 

          As the light faded Bea released her grip and felt her bulging breasts. The bodysuit, which had been fitted perfectly before, now felt just like her leotard had as a Beldum. Anger flashed across Bea’s face and her eyes darted to where the cultists cowered. They would do.

 

          The cultists cried out when the walls around them cracked open, dust raining down before chunks of raw iron rocketed free. Bea caught the ore and began to squeeze, working the raw metal solely with her strength and psychic power until she had formed a pair of crude gauntlets around her fists. Unlike when she had done the same with the machine at the summit, however, she didn’t use the metal to protect her hands. As Bea looked up from her project the metal gauntlets broke from her hands and hovered behind her.

 

          Nicholas looked over when he heard the commotion. Bea was still standing in front of him and he raised his voice. “Bea? Is everything okay?”

 

          A cultist screamed as the levitating metal fist slammed into his face and Bea smiled. “Yes, Master. Rest.”

 

 

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POKEDEX UPDATED

Tamer:Nicholas Topolski

 

Badges:

          Knuckle Badge

          Heat Badge

          Stone Badge

          Balance Badge

          Dynamo Badge

          Feather Badge

 

Harem:

          Bea, Metagross (Alpha) – Level 45

          Elaine, Blaziken – Level 44

          Morgana, Gardevoir – Level 41

          Aria, Altaria – Level 41

          Marin, Sharpedo – Level 40

          Midna, Absol – Level 43

 

Non-Com Harem:

          Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5

 

 

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          “At least Elaine’s still my size,” Nicholas muttered to himself. Bea smiled down at him and he shook his head. “Congratulations. I think you’re taller than even Marin.”

 

          “Have you recovered, Master?” Bea asked.

 

          “Yeah,” Nicholas said. “I’m good to go. So is Elaine. You?”

 

          “I am.” Bea looked at him for a bit before she glanced down at her feet. “Let Elaine rest.”

 

          Nicholas blinked. Had he just imagined it? But no, Bea’s lips hadn’t moved, yet he had heard her voice clearly in his mind. “Bea…”

 

          “I am ready, Master,” Bea whispered, bringing his attention to the glimmering stone on her chest. “Use me as your weapon, just as you use Elaine.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. “For some reason I have a feeling you can rest now, Elaine,” Nicholas said, turning to the Blaziken. “Be ready.”

 

          Elaine kissed him without any prompting and smiled. “I will be, Master.”

 

          Nicholas turned back to Bea when Elaine dissolved into red light. “Let’s move forwards.”

 

          “Before we move, Master, please make me something more,” Bea asked. “We need to make sure it works.”

 

          Nicholas chuckled. “Sure.” He reached out, frowning slightly as he cast about for the bond between them. To his surprise he found a strong one, but it wasn’t Bea. “Well. That’s not entirely unexpected,” he murmured, moving on. He could see Marin’s now, but that also wasn’t what he was searching for, and he kept going until he felt Bea.

 

          The bond he found was very thin. At first Nicholas wasn’t sure if it would hold up. But when he tested it he found that it was thin, but sturdy. So he forged ahead, releasing the floodgates and pumping power towards Bea.

 

          It was the most he’d had to force a mega evolution and Nicholas kept a careful eye on Bea as she began to glow. Steven had said that if he had any hesitation, he should stop the process. He was already almost to that point.

 

          “No, Master!” Bea bowed over the stone on her chest as she absorbed the power. “DO NOT STOP!”

 

          Nicholas winced. Right. Bea was a Psychic-type in her own right. Especially now, with their souls so closely linked, his thoughts were hardly private.

 

          When Bea emerged from the light Nicholas took an involuntary step backwards. Bea’s eyes had grown vicious and as she inspected her arms she began to laugh, a cruel sound that clashed horribly with what he thought he’d known about the Metagross. “So this is what I truly am.” She slammed her fists together, blood spraying through the air when the spikes that had grown from her knuckles tore into her own skin. “Excellent.”

 

          Nicholas grimaced. “Bea…”

 

          “Yes, yes, I will stop harming myself, Master.” Bea turned towards their destination. Besides the golden spikes on every one of her knuckles, fingers and toes, she also had a golden x where her metal bra had once been and a large wicked spike protruding from her chin. “This pain is for our enemies.”

 

          The first cultists they found became dolls which Bea tested her new body on. The two were yanked into the air the instant the Metagross had them in sight, their arms crushed so they couldn’t activate any pokeballs before Bea tossed them through the air. One was driven into the stone wall while the other arced lazily towards the waiting Metagross, his pleading screams cutting off when Bea drove the spikes on her fist through his throat.

 

          Nicholas’ fingers twitched towards Bea’s pokeball. This was more than Elaine’s rampage had been. This… this was cruel.

 

          Was this really who Bea was at her core?

 

          Bea laughed as the body slid off her fist. “Weak. So weak. They’re all so weak.” She raised her hands, her laughter rising as her eyes shone with a manic glee. “I! AM! STRONG!”

 

          ….Yeah. Yeah, it probably was.

 

          Bea slowly lowered her hands. “I will not apologize for winning, Master. Victory. Or death.”

 

          Nicholas watched as more metal ripped from the cavern around them to form four floating fists that hovered around Bea’s head. “As long as you understand who deserves death.”

 

          “Elaine could never know. But I can.” Bea ran her fingers through her hair. “My mind swells with power, Master. The cultist there,” she gestured at the one she had smashed into the cave wall, “his name was Bartholomew. He made sure people called him Bart. Those who got it wrong, he punished. He once had a Taillow who got it wrong.” She lowered her hand. “He punished her by breaking her wings and leaving her in the wilds.”

 

          “This one,” she pointed down at the corpse at her feet, “was named John. If you remove the second pokeball on his belt, Master, you will find a feral Machamp. He enjoyed using her as a bomb, leaving her pokeball to be found in pokecenters and other civilian areas. When it was activated, people died.” She turned to look at Nicholas. “Do I show mercy to terrorists?”

 

          Nicholas let out his breath. He was shaking. “If I activate that pokeball can you stop the Machamp?”

 

          Bea laughed. “You doubt me, Master?”

 

          “No and no.”

 

          Bea’s smile faded. “Do it.”

 

          Nicholas took the pokeball from the man’s belt and pointed it far away from him. The pokegirl that appeared was a hulking beast, four arms sprouting from her shoulders and pale grey skin covering her head to foot. The moment he made a sound she had swiveled towards him with a bestial roar.

 

          Bea slid in front of him and gestured. Nicholas flinched when he heard a wet pop and turned away as a thud shook the floor, making sure not to peek past Bea. He had an idea of what she’d done. “Can you live with yourself? Elaine is broken already. What about you?”

 

          He felt Bea drape her arms over his shoulders and her mouth nestled into his hair as she whispered to him. “That is why I have my Master. He will shoulder my sins. For him, I will do anything.”

 

          Nicholas raised his eyes to the exit. Somewhere ahead of them was the leader of this cult, or in a best-case scenario, a sealed Groudon waiting for him to return. Either way, a man who dreamed of killing millions was a terrorist who he would have no qualms letting this Bea near. “Then win for me.”

 

 

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          Nicholas gazed at the ring on his finger. Ahead of him, Bea methodically cleared the caves of any resistance. How many people had died because of him?

 

          He was no stranger to death. In Kanto, he’d watched a literal ghost murder a Team Rocket member. He’d witnessed the deaths of dozens of pokegirls to that organization’s cruelty. In Johto, Team Rocket had once again caused dozens of deaths from their schemes. He’d seen the aftermath, touring the region during the cleanup efforts. But no matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t remember a single death he’d caused himself. Sure, there had been ferals, pokegirls that had battled until there had been no other option. But he had always tried everything to save them.

 

          Maybe that was why this felt so wrong to him. And… none of the deaths had come until he’d put this ring on. Mega evolution was a horrible power.

 

          …Or maybe, this was the cost of this new fight. Team Rocket had been evil, yes, but they had acted with a purpose. They could be reasoned with, contained. These cults wanted death. They couldn’t be reasoned with, or slowed, contained. The only way to stop them from working towards their goal was… to kill them.

 

          He walked past another room of corpses. Latios and Latias had said the guardians of the orbs had been killed. Had it been some of these cultists? Maybe some of the ones he’d left to recover on the summit here. Because he hadn’t killed them then, had they gone on to kill others?

 

          Bea was waiting for him in the next room and she shook her head. “You can’t think of those things, Master. It’s irrational.”

 

          “It’s emotional,” Nicholas retorted.

 

          “Which makes it irrational,” Bea repeated. “If we had killed every cultist on the mountain that day, it would have just been others who attacked the guardians that died. Your mercy did not cause their deaths.”

 

          “If I had stopped every one of them I ever met…”

 

          “There would still be more, Master,” Bea replied. “These minds call out to their allies, thousands strong. We have not met that many.”

 

          Nicholas grimaced. “Fine.”

 

          “The last one despaired when I killed him. That he had failed to protect his goddess.” Bea looked further down the tunnel. “I believe we are near.”

 

          Nicholas felt his body. No fatigue. “I’m good. Let’s finish this.”

 

          Nicholas felt the air get a bit warmer as they entered a large cavern but it was only enough to make him sweat a bit. He was walking through when he heard Bea drop to the ground behind him.

 

          “Bea?” Nicholas whirled to see Bea on her hands and knees. “Bea! What’s wrong?”

 

          “This… heat, Master,” Bea panted. “I can… barely… move…”

 

          “Heat?” Nicholas wiped his forehead. He was sweating a little, but…

 

          He stared at the beads of water on his hand. Of course. A heat he couldn’t feel. One that overpowered his pokegirl. They’d arrived.

 

          “You’ve done well, Bea.” Nicholas released the transformation and recalled the Metagross when she collapsed completely. “Rest.”

 

          Elaine might be able to withstand Groudon’s heat, but he didn’t want to risk it. So instead he released Aria.

 

          The Altaria appeared and for a moment she seemed to wilt. Then she straightened and Nicholas felt even the slight heat on his skin vanish. “My Lord.” She bowed her head slightly. “What do you require of your servant?”

 

          “Precisely what you are doing now, Aria,” Nicholas replied. “We are in the lair of Groudon. Without your ability to control the air around you you’d collapse in the face of her power.”

 

          Aria raised her chin for a moment before she wavered and slowly brought it meekly back down. “Thank you, Lord.”

 

          “Tell me, Aria.” Nicholas cocked his head at the Altaria. “When did you surrender?”

 

          Aria swallowed. “When you reminded me… of your mercy.”

 

          “I see.” Nicholas felt the bond between them. It was stronger than the one between him and Bea. Perhaps a side effect of Aria’s devotion, or whatever it was she held towards him. “In that case, prepare yourself. If necessary, you will fight for me, and you will do it using the stone set in your diadem.”

 

          Aria bowed and followed him further into the cavern. As they passed a wall of rock Nicholas saw a massive lake of magma spreading out in front of him. In the center, a motionless stone figure. At the other end…

 

          Nicholas picked up the pace. “MAXIE!”

 

          Maxie glanced over at the yell. At first he didn’t seem to recognize Nicholas. “Who dares interrupt me?” As Nicholas got closer, however, the cult leader’s eyes narrowed and he turned to face Nicholas. “You. You’re the one who tried to stop us here before.”

 

          “And I’m here to stop you again,” Nicholas replied, coming to a halt a few feet away. “Where’s the red orb, Maxie?”

 

          “Red orb?” Maxie scoffed. “Why would I have that thing? The blue orb is what will break Rayquaza’s seal.”

 

          Nicholas blinked. A few times, actually, as he fought to understand what he’d just heard. “I’m sorry. What?”

 

          “The opposite power will shatter the seal,” Maxie gloated and Nicholas watched him withdraw a deep blue sphere from his pocket. “Ingenious. To think the power of her most hated enemy would be the key to her awakening.”

 

          “Are you fucking stupid?”

 

          Maxie gaped at Nicholas. “I’m sorry what?”

 

          “I asked if you’re fucking stupid. You found the orbs, murdered their guardians, all to grab the wrong one?” Nicholas asked in disbelief.

 

          “This is NOT the wrong one!” Maxie roared. “The specter of Rayquaza herself told me so!”

 

          Nicholas snorted. “Specter of Rayquaza. Of course it told you to grab the wrong one. Rayquaza would never help Groudon and Kyogre wake.”

 

          “But… it told me where to find them,” Maxie sputtered. “If not for Rayquaza’s message I would have never gone to Mt. Pyre!”

 

          “Why would Rayquaza…” Nicholas trailed off. Why would Rayquaza send the cults to their answer, then instruct them incorrectly. Only if it wasn’t Rayquaza. Zinnia.

 

          “Besides. This orb IS the correct one!” Maxie cried. “Ever since bringing it here Groudon has begun to stir. Soon she will wake and expand the land!”

 

          Nicholas glanced at the orb with more than just his eyes. “That orb holds the primal energy of Kyogre along with a piece of her very essence. It’s the primal energy that Groudon is absorbing. She will wake, yes, but she will be nothing compared to what she could have been if you weren’t so stupid.”

 

          A vein popped up on Maxie’s forehead and he thrust the orb back in his pocket. “Lies. All lies. I don’t know who you believe you are, but I will feed you to her myself!”

 

          Nicholas raised his hand as Maxie triggered a pokeball and his Camerupt appeared. “Aria.” He thought for a few moments before shrugging. “I do not know what is about to happen. But I want you to hear one thing now.” He clenched his fist as power began swirling up Maxie’s arm and coalescing around his glasses. So that was the Magma leader’s Key Stone. “I forgive you.”

 

          Aria gasped when she felt heat suffusing her, starting from where her diadem rested and flowing throughout her entire body. As Courtney vanished inside her energy so too did Aria, causing Maxie to swear violently and rip his glasses from his face.

 

          Courtney appeared first. The humps on her back had fused into one, and lava bubbled down her body to cool across her skin, giving the mega Camerupt an armored appearance. “DESTROY THEM, COURTNEY!”

 

          Nicholas felt a gentle breeze swirl past him and he smiled. As Courtney reared back, flames bubbling from her jaws, Nicholas felt himself sliding away.

 

          Courtney fired a blast of fire at where Nicholas had been but the human was no longer there. Instead there was a wall of white. The flames burned but they quickly dissipated and Nicholas looked up into the air.

 

          Aria’s wings flapped steadily, but they were no longer the only white feathers on her body. The Altaria looked like she had tripled in size, plumes exploding from her back and sitting on the top of her head like a crown. Her tail had similarly exploded with growth and hung all the way from where Aria hovered to the cavern floor.

 

          “More feathers just means more to burn,” Maxie ranted. “Courtney!”

 

          “My Lord forgives me.” Nicholas could hear Aria’s hushed whispers as clearly as if she had been standing beside him. “My Lord. I am your Queen. I will serve at your side. Let none who are unworthy defy me.”

 

          “And what is Bea, or any of the others, Aria?” Nicholas called up.

 

          Aria bowed her head and smiled. A single tear dripped from her eye. “Before them, I am the unworthy one, my Lord.”

 

          “Go, my Queen.”

 

          Maxie staggered back when Aria sang. The sound was beautiful, yet sad. And Courtney staggered too, whimpering as the noise ripped through her.

 

          Nicholas dove for cover when Courtney loosed another blast of flames up at Aria. The energy these two pokegirls were working with was obscene. Two mega evolved pokegirls.

 

          Aria dove, screaming as she loosed a crackling pulse of purple energy that bowled Courtney off her feet. The Camerupt struggled back up, spitting explosions into the sky that Aria had to weave around. Nicholas forced himself up to search for Maxie. There, the Magma leader was edging closer to the lake of magma.

 

          “MAXIE!”

 

          Maxie glanced in Nicholas’ direction but pulled out the orb anyways. “SHE WILL WAKE!” Nicholas’ eyes widened when Maxie raised the orb high above his head. “LET THE SEAL! BE! BROKEN!”

 

          “NO!”

 

          With a roar Maxie smashed the orb to the floor.

 

          All activity froze. Aria stopped swooping, Courtney turned to stare as the shards began to deform. With nowhere to go the blue evaporated, but some part of what had been contained in the orb snaked its way towards Groudon.

 

          Maxie whirled when Courtney screamed and crashed to the ground. Aria landed, her fangs bared as she snarled at the Magma leader. Maxie barely looked at his Camerupt as her body returned to normal, keeping his eyes on the draconic flames burning at Aria’s lips. “Nothing can stop it now,” he called calmly. “Kill me. She will awaken all the same.”

 

          Nicholas looked at Aria, feeling her hesitation. “No. You will answer for your crimes, Maxie.”

 

          Maxie grinned. “Fool.” He spread his arms as the cavern began to shake, his manic laughter echoing through the space. “SHE COMES! RISE, MY GODDESS! BURY THIS WORLD!”

 

          Groudon stirred, color returning to her skin as the primal energy within the orb flowed through her. The magma around her feet rippled, flowing like water as Groudon began shuffling towards where the humans stood. Maxie continued laughing, stretching his hands towards the approaching legendary. “YES! YES! I AM YOUR FAITHFUL SERVANT!”

 

          Nicholas fell back. What should he do? Should he try and stop her? Would he be enough?

 

          It was strange, though. The figure that was walking in their direction was obviously Groudon. She was the same as all the murals. But she was small. Seven foot, if that. Were the ancient murals overexaggerated for effect? No, that wasn’t it. This was still a weakened Groudon. Awakened, but not empowered.

 

          Suddenly, Groudon stopped. Maxie was still laughing, his arms outstretched towards her, when Groudon raised her head to the ceiling and a plume of magma erupted, driving her upwards until she impacted against the roof. As she touched it the solid rock melted, pouring down into the pool as the legendary swam through the earth as easily as water.

 

          “…What?” Maxie asked. “Groudon! No! Come back!”

 

          “I told you that orb wasn’t hers,” Nicholas growled. “She’s gone off to search for her soul and doesn’t care one bit about you.” He edged over towards the hole Groudon had made in her escape. He could see light shining all the way down. “Aria! Grab that moron and carry him to the surface. Come back for me once you’ve knocked him out or something.”

 

          “What! You can’t-“ Maxie screamed when Aria grabbed him and shot towards Groudon’s escape route. Nicholas was left alone in the cavern, staring at the now empty pool of magma. He’d failed. He’d been too late. But thanks to Maxie’s stupidity, the thing that had been released might still be stopped.

 

          Aria appeared a minute later with a smug smile on her face and Nicholas let her carry him upwards. “You didn’t bother singing him to sleep, did you,” Nicholas asked. When Aria responded with a twittering laugh he chuckled. “Thought not.”

 

          As he emerged into the light he could see the sun almost below the horizon and grimaced. They’d been under that mountain for hours.

 

          Immediately his pokedex rang and Nicholas picked up. “Steven? I’m sorry, I…”

 

          “I’m sorry, Nicholas. I failed.” Steven looked at him grimly. “Aqua had already stolen the submarine when I arrived. With the parts they stole from Rustboro, I’m afraid they can take that thing all the way to their destination.”

 

          “Okay, but I failed too. Groudon has awakened.” Nicholas nodded when Steven paled. “She’s awakened but I’m not dead. We still have a chance, Steven.”

 

          “I’m still in Slateport. Can you get here?”

 

          Nicholas looked up when he heard a boom above him and he smiled at who he saw approaching. “I’ll be there in a minute.”

 

          Latias dropped in front of him and bowed. “Lorekeeper.”

 

          “I failed.”

 

          “And yet the world has not ended.” Latias looked back up with a smile. It was the only thing in the burning hellscape the side of Mt. Chimney had become that gave him hope. “Who is this, Lorekeeper?”

 

          Nicholas glanced at Aria in surprise. “Oh, right. This is Aria. My Altaria.”

 

          Latias nodded. “I see you wield your power in a mighty way, Lorekeeper. Few humans can do this."

 

          "Huh? Oh, right.” Nicholas relaxed the transformation, waiting for Aria to return to normal. “I forgot I was maintaining that.”

 

          His offhanded comment made Latias look at him with renewed interest. “I see.”

 

          “I need to go to Slateport.” Nicholas nudged the unconscious Maxie with his toe. “And this man. He’s the leader of the Groudon cultists.”

 

          Latias grabbed Maxie by the neck and held out an arm for Nicholas, waiting for him to recall Aria. “I can carry him, Lorekeeper. I do not promise his comfort.”

 

          Nicholas chuckled as Latias took off, Maxie bouncing around at the end of her arm. “He’s unconscious already. He won’t mind.”

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

          Steven was waiting when Latias landed. Before Nicholas could say a word the legendary had dropped Maxie and taken off again, vanishing from sight instantly. “Where’d she go?”

 

          “To slow Groudon. That’s where Latios went a few minutes ago.” Steven glanced at the body Latias had dumped. “Who’s this?”

 

          “Maxie.”

 

          “Maxie…?” Steven’s eyes widened. “The leader?”

 

          “The same.”

 

          “Well you stopped him at least,” Steven murmured.

 

          “Sure. Too late to stop him waking Groudon, but I fulfilled my promise. A human stopped the human.” Nicholas followed Steven into the nearby drydock. “I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if Aqua stole the experimental submarine we have no way to follow them?”

 

          “We don’t. No.” Steven led Nicholas past a police barricade and into an inner room after telling an officer about the unconscious cult leader outside. “Stern! I brought the Lorekeeper of the Draconid clan.”

 

          The man inside rose from his desk and eagerly reached out to shake Nicholas’ hand. “I am honored, Lorekeeper. Please, how should I address you?”

 

          “My name is Nicholas Topolski. The Lorekeeper thing is very new to me, so Nicholas is fine,” Nicholas replied, watching as Stern’s eyes widened.

 

          “Nicholas… Topolski? Are you the one who saved the museum?”

 

          Nicholas blinked. He’d completely forgotten. “Oh… I guess, yeah, after the attack? That was my donation.”

 

          Nicholas yelped when Stern’s handshaking went into a frenzy. It felt like the man was trying to rip his arm off. “I cannot thank you enough! That museum is my pride and joy, and we had no idea how to raise the funds we needed. Without you we may have had to close!”

 

          “I’m honored to have been of assistance, really,” Nicholas stammered, pulling himself free. “I’m a scientist myself so I know how hard it can be to secure funding.”

 

          “You’re a…?” When Steven cleared his throat Stern quieted down. “My apologies, Champion. Lorekeeper- ah, Mister Nicholas. If we’re all still alive at the end of this, please. Visit me again.”

 

          Nicholas blinked. “Of course.”

 

          “Excellent.” Stern turned and began laying out maps. “Now. The deep sea chasm we were planning to explore is located here, east of Sootopolis and between the reefs that lead to Ever Grande Island…”

 

          “Hold on, wait a moment.” Nicholas turned to Steven. “What use is knowing where they’re going if we can’t follow Aqua?”

 

          “Did Champion Stone not tell you?” Stern asked in surprise.

 

          “He told me we had no way of following Aqua.”

 

          “That’s right. ‘We’ don’t,” Steven replied. “We, as in all of us, plural. But there’s a way one person can follow them to these depths. Maybe.”

 

          “The suit is only a prototype. We’ve run tests on it, but only in the lab,” Stern explained. “We can simulate deep sea pressures, but experiencing them is a completely different thing.”

 

          “A suit.” Nicholas grimaced. “A diving suit?”

 

          “A deep-water diving suit,” Stern clarified. “It was meant to be what we used on expeditions with the Explorer 1. But we hadn’t gotten past the prototyping phase, and… well.” Stern shrugged. “The sub is gone.”

 

          “They’ve got one functional suit right now,” Steven said to Nicholas, “and the submarine was stolen two days ago. At top speed, they should have reached their destination sometime today.”

 

          Nicholas breathed out. “We have another chance.”

 

          “We have a chance to stop the apocalypse.”

 

          “About that.” Nicholas turned to Steven. “We’re lucky. Somehow the morons leading these cults grabbed the wrong orbs, the wrong keys. Sure, Groudon has awakened. But she’s barely a legendary, nothing like the primal force she’s supposed to be.”

 

          Steven blinked. “Really?”

 

          “Groudon’s orb is likely with Aqua. Maxie had Kyogre’s,” Nicholas explained. “I don’t know what happened to Kyogre’s essence but the orb itself was broken during the fight. If we’re lucky, that means Kyogre will be weak forever.”

 

          “It can’t be that easy,” Steven whispered. “No, if it were then the orbs would have been shattered ages ago. I’d bet that Kyogre will still become her primal form, just over time, as the energy contained within the orb reaches her.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. “Okay. So my goal is to recover Groudon’s orb. But if it breaks…”

 

          Steven let out his breath. “The apocalypse will still come, though we’ll have delayed it a bit.”

 

          “And eventually, with Kyogre’s broken, she’ll awaken anyways,” Nicholas summarized. “Without Groudon she will drown the planet.”

 

          “We’ve already lost.” Steven turned and took Nicholas’ hands. “Your goal is to delay the inevitable. By any means necessary.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. “After I do. I… suppose I’ll have to awaken Rayquaza.”

 

          Steven snorted. “I know some things about that. The preparations will be made by the time you emerge from the depths.”

 

          Nicholas frowned. “Ominous. Okay then.” He turned to Stern. “There’s no time to delay.”

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

          “A small village burns because we are here,” Latios shot at Steven. “Speak.”

 

          “Our only hope is to awaken Rayquaza,” Nicholas explained. “Kyogre’s orb has been shattered. Her power will return eventually no matter what we do. And Groudon is awakened. Even if I can recover her orb, the world will still drown, and it will slowly burn until then.”

 

          Latios quieted. “What is your plan, Lorekeeper?”

 

          “This thing should allow me to dive to where Kyogre rests,” Nicholas said, tugging on the diving suit he wore. “I intend on keeping Kyogre from waking, but even if I fail, I will destroy or recover Groudon’s orb to slow her. Then, I will seek out Rayquaza.”

 

          “There are humans who know the ancient ways, who are not Draconid,” Steven explained. “The tribe that lives within Sootopolis.”

 

          Latios nodded slightly. “I see. One village for the hope to save the world.” She bowed. “I apologize for my anger. I see now that you have not summoned us without reason.”

 

          Latias wrapped her arms over Nicholas’ shoulders fondly. “The true Lorekeeper would not do such a thing, sister.”

 

          Nicholas chuckled nervously. “Latios, if you would please take Steven again. Once he is in Sootopolis I believe we will have no more need of you as a transport.”

 

          “No. It’s just getting there that I can’t delay on,” Steven replied. “Thank you.”

 

          Latios blinked at him before grabbing Steven and rocketing to the east.

 

          "Latias, I need you to take me to the place where Kyogre rests." Nicholas smirked slightly. “The Captain there has a map, but I doubt you’ll need it.”

 

          Latias laughed and pulled him close. “No, Lorekeeper. I do not. You intend to descend to her in this?”

 

          “With some help.” Nicholas pulled out Marin’s pokeball and released the Sharpedo. “Can you carry two, gently?”

 

          Latias’ eyes twinkled as she drew a lightly protesting Marin beneath her wings. “Of course. Hold tight, shark.” Stern watched as the three took off, vanishing to the east almost as quickly as Latios.

 

          In less than a minute Latias was slowing, orienting herself before winging off towards a location only she knew. Soon she fell into a hover. “We are here, Lorekeeper.”

 

          “Marin!” Nicholas sealed his helmet, listening as Marin detached from Latias and splashed into the ocean. “I told you that you are released from your oaths, you know. You had no reason to do any of this.”

 

          Nicholas felt Latias nuzzling the back of his head. “I do not serve my oath, Lorekeeper,” she replied playfully.

 

          Nicholas quickly let go of her and fell. He sliced through the waves, holding his body straight until the water around him had slowed his momentum completely. Only once he had come to a relative stop did he begin to swim.

 

          Marin was at his side within seconds and he caught her fin, repeating what they had so often done for sex and nestling underneath her breasts to keep his body from causing excess drag as the Sharpedo dove.

 

          There was nothing for a long time. Nothing but the endless blue, and the slowly darkening water around them as they descended below where the already weak light from the setting sun could reach. It was in the pure dark that Nicholas felt Marin turn.

 

          He craned his neck to look behind himself. It was more a feeling than what he saw that told him the ocean floor was rushing past, though he did see islands of light in the darkness. Marin avoided these, systematically searching in a darkness only she could navigate.

 

          Eventually though he felt Marin come to a stop. “We have found it.”

 

          Nicholas let go of her and turned, tapping his suit until he found the headlamp and illuminated it. The light spilled into a deep crevasse and Nicholas steadied himself. So far, there had been no issues with the suit. It was about to be tested. “Let’s go.”

 

          Marin waited for him to grab her again before diving, the light shining from Nicholas illuminating the chasm walls as they descended. Marin was slowing, likely due to being near the bottom, when Nicholas saw the light glint off something that didn’t belong.

 

          “There!”

 

          Marin swam closer. It wasn’t the main cavern that the submarine had fit through but it was a crack large enough for Marin and Nicholas to swim through easily. And there, at the bottom of the ocean, Nicholas stared up at the bottom of the Explorer 1.

 

          “My sonar is bouncing off something,” Marin murmured. “Is that… air?”

 

          Nicholas angled his light up. The submarine was only half-visible below the water. “It’s something. Let’s check it out.”

 

          Marin breached first, shifting into her humanoid form and taking a breath to test the strange gas before risking her Master. After a few seconds she exhaled and nodded down at where Nicholas still floated beneath the surface. “I can breathe it.”

 

          Nicholas emerged next to her but hesitated before depressurizing his suit. “Your body is suited for deep pressures. If this is air, and the water isn’t overtaking it, the pressure in here must be as bad as the water outside.”

 

          Marin nodded. Nicholas checked the submarine but there was nobody inside, so he looked around nervously. This deep, the equalization required for opening the hatch should have killed the occupants. Had they had ways to survive?

 

          What a stupid question to ask. These were people dedicated to the primal legendary of the oceans. Of course they’d have had gear to survive down here. Even if they didn’t have pressurized suits like he had they probably had oxygen regulators or similar so the compressed air, or whatever it was keeping the water at bay, didn’t overwhelm them immediately.

 

          “Marin, let’s move. I’m not taking off my suit to be safe.” Nicholas walked forwards but turned when he realized Marin wasn’t following. “Marin?”

 

          Marin had knelt by the cavern wall. “…What is this?”

 

          Nicholas walked over. There was a seam of something cutting through the stone. “Looks like a vein of some kind of ore.”

 

          Marin forced her fingers into the crack, grunting as she dug before pulling her bloodied fingers out. Between them she clutched a translucent white gemstone.

 

          Nicholas stared at it. That’s right, Bea hadn’t had a Mega Stone before they’d entered Mt. Chimney. Had she found it there, just as Marin had just found this one here? It would make sense. The resting place of the primal legendaries, two of the ‘second generation’ Latias had spoken of, who were formed of both primal and origin energy. These places would be suffused with origin energy.

 

          “You know what that is, don’t you,” Nicholas said quietly.

 

          Marin popped the gem in her mouth along with her bloodied fingers, cleaning both off before spitting the stone into her palm again. “I do. And now I understand what the others speak of. It calls to me.”

 

          “Got somewhere to fasten it?” Nicholas asked. Marin checked herself before settling on her belt, forcing the gem into an unused loop that ran through her buckle. “I’ll be honest with you, Marin. I’m not sure if we’re compatible yet.”

 

          Marin flashed her teeth. “Not compatible with your Beta? For shame.”

 

          Nicholas blinked. “My what?”

 

          “Bea asked me to do it a few days ago,” Marin explained. “I figured, well, I’ve been the boss for long enough. It’ll be nice to take a step back. And I think Bea has potential, so serving as her consult should be fun.”

 

          Nicholas smiled. “Interesting. I’ll be honest, Marin, I wasn’t expecting you to be so… accommodating.”

 

          Marin flashed her teeth again when she grinned. “I met a rather infuriating human recently, you see. Only he’s not a human, is he?” Her grin widened. “He’s made that abundantly clear to me.”

 

          “I see,” Nicholas chuckled. “Well. In that case maybe it’ll work after all. Want to try?”

 

          “The last time I watched you use that power was to transform Elaine,” Marin replied. “There’s a time limit, right? Wait until we need it.”

 

          Nicholas nodded. “I’ve gotten better, but yes, there’s still a time limit. I’ll wait.”

 

          Marin crackled her knuckles and stalked forwards towards the only opening in the cavern. “Besides. If I’m not enough already, I should just resign as Bea’s Beta.”

 

          Nicholas chuckled, following her into the dark tunnels under the sea.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

POKEDEX UPDATED

Tamer:Nicholas Topolski

 

Badges:

          Knuckle Badge

          Heat Badge

          Stone Badge

          Balance Badge

          Dynamo Badge

          Feather Badge

 

Harem:

          Bea, Metagross (Alpha) – Level 46

          Marin, Sharpedo (Beta) – Level 40

          Elaine, Blaziken – Level 44

          Morgana, Gardevoir – Level 41

          Aria, Altaria – Level 42

          Midna, Absol – Level 43

 

Non-Com Harem:

          Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5