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Old 04-24-2016, 06:13 PM   #73
Missingno. Master
Poison-type Trainer
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Virbank City
Posts: 4,618
Helena's Revenge

The sun was starting to set, but one Trainer was nowhere near done for the day. Keith Masters was walking down a dirt road, a gorgeous sunset just to his right. His shoulders both had Pokémon sitting on them- on his right shoulder sat his Meowth, and on the left one sat Hermione, his Weedle. They were headed home for the night, having had a very long and informative day- off in the distance behind them, and getting further away by the second, was Darkshade Village, home to a research facility that specializes in Shadow Pokémon. Between Keith owning a Shadow Ledian, and Hermione's natural curiosity about damn near everything, it was only natural they come here eventually.

"Man, wat a day," Meowth remarked. "I ain't known half da stuff dey told us about Shadow Pokémon. Dat Hyper Mode deal sounds intense."

Keith nodded. "I didn't know half of that stuff myself," he agreed. "I mean, I figured they'd know stuff I wouldn't have known otherwise- apparently the head of that lab used to work with Dr. Krane in the Orre region. Krane's considered an authority on Shadow Pokémon- specifically, on purifying them. I hear he actually invented an addition to the PC storage system that helps to purify Shadow Pokémon."

"And all dat stuff about Celebi's power helpin' da purification process," Meowth added. "Dat's pretty cool any way ya slice it."

"Weedle, Weedle," Hermione nodded in agreement. The Weedle, slightly larger than average for her kind, had spent the entire day taking notes enthusiastically on everything the scientists explained to the group. She learned a lot, which as far as she was concerned, meant the day was well-spent.

As they continued up the road, they could see headlights approaching from the distance. "Huh," Keith murmured, stepping aside as the large black van drew closer. "Didn't think this road got that much traffi- WHOA!" he exclaimed, for at that moment, one of his Poké Balls burst open. The flash of light which erupted from the Poké Ball formed itself into a levitating scrap of sentient cloth- it was Helena, Keith's Shuppet, and without giving any sort of explanation, she floated forward. "Helena, wha-" Keith began, before Helena did something quite unlike her- she charged up a large Shadow Ball and launched it at the oncoming van! "Helena!" Keith exclaimed. "What the hell was that?!"

"Look!" Meowth exclaimed before Helena could answer. Keith looked at the van- the Shadow Ball seemed to have struck the front right wheel, considering it looked horribly damaged, and also its tire was in shreds. More to the point, however, the van was forced to stop because of this, and a pair of men in identical black uniforms had climbed out. Black uniforms with a red R.

"...I withdraw the question," Keith said meekly.

"Motherfu- it's Masters!" exclaimed one of the Team Rocket Grunts. "What's the Executive gonna say?"

"Probably gonna tell us to take him out and get back on our way, so let's cut out the middleman and do that before he tells us," suggested the other Grunt, producing a Rocket Ball from his belt and throwing it. "Murkrow!" he exclaimed.

In response, the first Grunt followed suit, throwing a Rocket Ball of his own. "Go! Golbat!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, we can handle these!" Keith smirked as the pair of Flying-types materialized. "Helena, Hermione, let's go!" he added.

"Gladly," Helena hissed, sounding angrier than she usually sounded when in the presence of Team Rocket members.

"Weeedle!" Hermione exclaimed, jumping down off of Keith's shoulder.

The first Grunt snorted. "A Shuppet and a Weedle? Piece of cake. Golbat, Air Cutter, go!"

"Murkrow, use Dark Pulse on the Shuppet!" commanded the second Grunt.

"Piece of cake, are we?" smirked Keith. "Helena, dodge that Dark Pulse and fight back with Gunk Shot! Hermione, blast them with Blizzard!" As he spoke, Helena soared up, hovering above where Murkrow fired the Dark Pulse, evading the move completely. At the same time, the Shuppet charged up a glowing garbage bag in front of her, which she then fired at the Murkrow.

"Weedle Weedle... WEEEEEDLLLLLLE!" Hermione exclaimed. Her head stinger glowed a bright blue, and an identically-colored orb of energy charged up above it. Then, the orb fired off a powerful storm of ice and snow at both Golbat and Murkrow.

"Gah!" exclaimed the Golbat's owner, whose Golbat had to try very hard to not collapse to the ground. "What the-"

"Yeah, that's the thing about cake," Keith smirked. "You bite off more than you can chew, you end up choking. Now, Hermione, use your Electroweb attack! Helena, Dazzling Gleam, go!"

"Protect!" exclaimed both Grunts simultaneously.

Keith gritted his teeth- Electroweb and Dazzling Gleam both amounted to naught due to the Flying-types simultaneously throwing up shimmering spherical shields, blocking both the Electric move and the Fairy move.

"Now, Murkrow, Drill Peck that Weedle!" ordered the second Grunt.

"Golbat, Bite that Shuppet!" commanded the first Grunt.

"Hermione, fight back with Blow-Back!" Keith ordered. "Helena, Psychic!"

Undaunted by the menacing Murkrow diving down at her, Hermione took a deep breath and forcefully exhaled what amounted to a gale from her little mouth. Murkrow flapped its wings valiantly, but was blown off-course nonetheless. Meanwhile, Helena's eyes flashed blue, and a similar blue aura came over Golbat's body. Seeing Murkrow getting blown back, Helena telekinetically sent Golbat flying, right into Murkrow. The pair of Flying-types collapsed to the ground, both feebly stirring, and only barely so.

"OK, that ain't good," the first Grunt murmured as he and his coworker withdrew Murkrow and Golbat. "Yeesh... and here I thought we'd have it easy tonight! 'Oh, break into the Darkshade Research Lab, swipe their research, oh, it'll be easy-' Tauros shit, it'll be easy!"

"Well, who would've known we'd run into frickin' Masters on the way?" said the second Grunt, eyeing Keith warily. "Darkshade's supposed to be this out-of-the-way hick town, who would've thought we'd have this kind of opposition?"

Before Keith could open his mouth to tell off the defeated Grunts, he heard the sound of a car door opening. More specifically, a van door. Even more specifically, a door on Team Rocket's van. As it opened up, this allowed a man to step out. Taller than either of the Grunts, and also dressed differently- he wore a white uniform with a smaller letter R, only a quarter of the size of the Rs on either Grunt's uniform. He had horribly uncombed dirty blond hair on his head, an insufferably smug smirk on his face, and as though to complete the ominous picture, four purple Poké Balls on his belt, each one giving off a sinister aura.

"Now, that's quite enough," the man stated, stepping forward. Startled, the Grunts stepped aside to let him pass.

"E-Executive Greg!" stammered the first Grunt. "We-we're sorry, sir, we couldn't-"

Greg stopped the Grunt's groveling by holding up his hand. "No worries," he replied. "This is, after all, the infamous Keith Masters. Had I the slightest inkling we'd run into him out here, oh, I would've insisted on much more backup.

"So, you know who I am?" Keith said to Greg.

At this, Greg chuckled. "Oh, dear boy... everyone in Team Rocket knows who you are. I mean, how could we not? You only blew up our Ekans experimentation facility, you got Kaden arrested, breaking up our oh-so lucrative black market MooMoo Milk ring in the process, and Kaden was our top battler in the Fizzytopia branch... let's see... you ruined Project Stone Edge... got one of our top recruiters locked up... and, well, you've pretty much been a consistent thorn in our side for a good long while now. Too long, as far as the boss is concerned. So, my dear boy, I hope you can see why we simply cannot tolerate your continued existence."

"You're breaking my heart," Keith replied dryly. "So, what, you expect me to just step aside while you go and rob the Darkshade Research Lab? How is that place even of interest to you?"

Greg chuckled again. "I can see I need an introduction," he smirked. "You see, m'boy, over at Darkshade, they study Shadow Pokémon. And in case the balls on my belt haven't clued you in, I happen to specialize in Shadow Pokémon. The name's Greg- I'm one of Team Rocket's Executives. My friends call me Shadow Greg. Well, now they call me Executive Shadow Greg, ever since my promotion."

"Whatever you say, Greg," Keith frowned. "Well, I happen to, well, how do I put this, uh... oh, yeah, I kinda loathe evil and all that, so yeah, not so inclined to let you pass. Hermione, Helena, ready-"

"Stand down, Hermione," Helena interrupted, her voice thick with rage and hatred.

"Helena, wha-" Keith began.

In response, the Shuppet turned and gave Keith a highly significant look. "Keith... it's him," she said in a deadly whisper.

"Him? What do you mean by- oh. Ohhhhhh," Keith murmured. His eyes widened as he realized just what his sister was getting at- this man was the one who attacked Helena and Michael years ago. He was not only the reason Helena was dead, but for several reasons, was also the reason she came back as a Shuppet of all things, the reason Keith's otherwise pleasant and cheerful older sister bore such a terrible grudge. He nodded back to Helena, who gave him a small smile, then turned back to face Greg, enraged scowl right back in place. "You heard her, Hermione," Keith said to his Weedle. "Come back. This is her fight."

"Weedle..." Hermione murmured. She cast Helena a concerned glance, but upon seeing the absolutely horrifying look of fury in the Shuppet's eyes, she complied and backed off. That sight, that cemented in Hermione's mind like nothing else the fact that Keith and Helena were brother and sister. The both of them, whenever they were pissed, got this look of intense fury in their eyes that was terrifying to behold.

"Heh," smirked Greg. "Just the Shuppet, then? Oh, that's adorable. But you know what? Team Rocket here. Just because you're going with just one Pokémon does not mean I'll do likewise. Why, on the contrary, it gives me all the more incentive to sic two on you at once." He grabbed a pair of Shadow Balls off his belt and threw them. "Go, Stantler! Go, Yanmega!" he exclaimed.

Keith gritted his teeth- the Stantler and Yanmega Greg had sent out, the both of them were clearly Shadow Pokémon! Their bodies were varying shades of purple and gray, and their battle cries could only be described as vicious.

"You up for this, big sister?" Keith asked Helena, switching to Shuppet language.

"And then some, little brother," Helena replied.

"Then let's do this," said Keith. "Let's start with Flash."

Helena wasted no time. An intense Flash of light shone from her eyes, temporarily blinding both Stantler and Yanmega.

"Don't take that lying down!" snapped Greg. "Stantler, Shadow Rush! Yanmega, Shadow Sky!"

"Dodge it!" Keith exclaimed, with Helena immediately flying off to the right. The charging Stantler missed completely. Yanmega, however, had fired a shadowy orb straight up into the sky. "What the..." Keith murmured. And then, the Sky above turned an ominous shade of purple, and flashes of Shadowy light rained down onto the battlefield. Neither Yanmega nor Stantler seemed affected by the bursts of light, but Helena cried out in pain every time one of them struck her. Desperate for an answer, Keith pulled out his Pokédex.

"Shadow Sky," said the machine. "An attack known only by Shadow Pokémon. It creates an unnatural weather condition in which flashes of shadowy light harm everything except Shadow Pokémon."

"A weather condition..." Keith murmured. "Helena, Sunny Day!" he exclaimed.

The Shuppet's horn glowed brightly, then fired off a beam of light into the sky. To Keith's delight, the ominous purple turned back to normal. In fact, instead of the darker sky, it instead looked as bright and sunny as the middle of the afternoon, the still-setting sun shining brighter than ever before. And with the Shadow Sky dispelled, no more bursts of light injured Helena.

"Yes!" Keith grinned. "Now use your Dazzling Gleam attack!"

Helena's body gave off a brilliant flash of light. Unlike Flash, this one did more than just blind the adversaries- the Fairy-type move blasted the pair of Shadow Pokémon, actually dealing damage.

"Enough!" said Greg, looking decidedly less smug and decidedly more irritated. "Yanmega, Shadow Hold! Stantler, Shadow End!"

Yanmega's eyes flashed an ominous purple, and swirls of shadowy energy flew all around Helena, attempting to bind her in place as Stantler charged forward once more. However, Helena simply floated right through the swirls with no ill effects.

"Hah!" Keith exclaimed. "Your friends should call you Stupid Greg. Oh, excuse me- Executive Stupid Greg. Trying to use a trapping move on a Ghost-type? Bad call on your part. Now," he added, switching back to Shuppet language. "Helena, use Ominous Wind on Yanmega!"

Helena complied with the order. In her fury, she whipped up a forceful blast of ghostly wind that could be accurately described as an Ominous Hurricane. Yanmega was blown back by the move, and collapsed to the ground, as Helena grinned her satisfaction at having taken out one enemy already, as well as the sudden boost in power, defense, and speed the attack seemed to have left her with- the secondary effect of the Ominous Wind move. In response, Stantler bellowed angrily, its red eyes flashing red. Keith's Pokédex spoke up once more.

"Hyper Mode- a state Shadow Pokémon enter when their emotions reach a fever pitch," explained the device. "When in Hyper Mode, a Pokémon's Shadow attacks are more likely to hit weak spots. However, this also makes the Pokémon more prone to disobeying the Trainer, especially when non-Shadow moves are commanded."

"Perfect," grinned Greg. "We never use non-Shadow moves anyway! Stantler, Shadow End! Finish this!"

"Helena, use Return!" Keith exclaimed, not even bothering with Shuppet language this time.

Both Pokémon charged forward at once, Stantler cloaked in a harsh purple aura, Helena cloaked in a pure white aura. While Stantler's attack was fueled by anger and rage and evil, Helena's was powered by the bond between herself and her Trainer, her brother, who had instantly understood what she needed to do here and was not only allowing her to do it, but was commanding her, helping her to do it. The combatants collided, struggling against each other. It was a tense clash, but after a few seconds, Stantler started to get pushed back. With a massive effort and a loud shout, Helena finally slammed the Stantler into the ground. Stantler made no attempt to get back up.

"Pfft," spat Greg as he withdrew Stantler. "You think we're through yet? I'm just getting started!" he declared, throwing two more Shadow Balls. "Go, Ursaring! Go, Wobbuffet!"

Keith gritted his teeth- Greg had sent out two more Shadow Pokémon. The Ursaring looked nothing short of terrifying (even by Ursaring standards), and even the Wobbuffet looked more menacing than one might expect a Wobbuffet to look. "Helena, ready?" Keith asked.

But Helena didn't respond. Her eyes widened as she looked on at the Shadow Pokémon before her. "No... You didn't... YOU BASTARD!" she screamed at Greg.

"Helena, what-" Keith began, for the third time that evening.

"My Pokémon!" Helena exclaimed. "The Ursaring and Wobbuffet I had when I was alive- Teddy and Smiley! He turned them into Shadow Pokémon!"

"Wait, your-" Greg began, before his eyes widened. "Oh, hell, no," he whispered. "You? And you came back as a Shuppet after I... OK, things just got dangerous," he said to the Grunts, sounding less smug than ever before. "Fix up that wheel and prepare for a getaway! Wobbuffet, use Shadow Storm, and Ursaring, use Shadow Rave!"

Without waiting for orders from Keith, Helena flew in, weaving between the shadowy spikes Ursaring was making erupt from the ground, and soaring above the maelstrom of shadowy energy Wobbuffet had whipped up. "Teddy! Smiley!" she cried out in desperation. "It's me! It's Helena! Don't you remember me?"

Ursaring growled, but hesitated to attack for the briefest of moments. "Wobbu..." murmured the Wobbuffet as all four of his eyes scrutinized the Shuppet. Her voice, certainly, rang a bell, but...

"Don't be a fool!" smirked Greg. "Their hearts have long been locked away! You mean nothing to them now! Ursaring, Wobbuffet, show her we mean business! Double Shadow End!"

"Helena!" Keith exclaimed, but Helena did not move. The Ursaring was the first to slam into her, sending her flying. This did not deter her, however, and she flew back in, only to get hit by the Wobbuffet. Keith winced with every hit Helena took, but she refused to back off.

"Come on, you two..." she panted, still smiling at the Ursaring and Wobbuffet, to their mild bewilderment. "I know you remember me... Teddy, remember how I'd always give you a hug whenever you were scared by a thunderstorm?"

"Uuuurrrrr..." growled Ursaring. Something was coming back to him, now that she mentioned it...

"And Smiley, remember all that practice we did to get your Counter attack just right?" Helena added, now addressing the Wobbuffet. "Remember? Remember the pillows we used to practice with? Remember the time you actually started juggling them with Counter, until I pointed it out and you ended up dropping them?"

"Wobbu..." growled Wobbuffet, but with less ferocity than before.

"Ursaring! Wobbuffet! Finish it off now!" snapped Greg.

But they didn't obey. "H... Helena?" murmured the Ursaring. "Is that you?"

Helena beamed. "Yes! Yes, it's me, Teddy!"

"Wh... Helena..." murmured the Wobbuffet, to Helena's delight.

At that moment, however, the six eyes between the two flashed a violent shade of red, and Teddy and Smiley shook with sudden rage.

"Oh, crap- they're going into Hyper Mode!" Keith exclaimed. "Helena, get out of there now!"

"No!" Helena called back. "I can't leave them now! They remember me... They're so close..."

Keith's mind raced furiously. How was he gonna help? It was clear that Helena was trying to purify them, and she seemed to be making progress, but now, as the Ursaring and Wobbuffet both seemed to be charging up Shadow Wave attacks simultaneously, the situation was looking hopeless.

"Keith!" Meowth exclaimed suddenly. "Remember wat dey said? Dat Celebi's power helps wit purifyin' Shadow Pokémon?"

"Yeah, but a fat lot of good that does us," Keith argued. "It's not like I have a piece of Celebi's power right in my backpack!"

"Wat about dat Rose Incense?" Meowth asked. "Didn't youse say Celebi made it fer youse?"

Keith froze. Of course! The Rose Incense from the Forest of Adventure, the one Celebi had given to him! She seemed to have made it herself, so surely it had some trace of her power within it! It seemed like a long shot, but right now, Keith would gladly take a long shot over no shot at all. "Helena, catch!" he exclaimed, deftly digging the Rose Incense out of his backpack and throwing it.

Using Psychic, Helena managed to catch the Rose Incense, and having overheard what Meowth said, she knew just what to do. "Here!" she exclaimed, telekinetically making the Rose Incense fly right towards the Shadow Pokémon. And as the fragrance reached them, the Ursaring and Wobbuffet paused in their attempts to attack. The flowery fragrance, infused with the power of Celebi, was unlocking memories, clearer than ever before, of all the good times they'd had with Helena.

A verdant green aura seeped out of the Rose Incense container and wove its way around the pair of Shadow Pokémon. "Wha... No! NO! My Shadow Pokémon!" Greg screamed. He held out the Shadow Balls, attempting to withdraw Teddy and Smiley, but the recall beams couldn't penetrate the green aura. And as the green aura intensified, the Ursaring and Wobbuffet glowed brightly for a moment... and then, in an instant, it all faded away. The green aura had faded, and the light died down, and now Keith could see that they no longer had their purple-gray color schemes. Teddy was brown with a cream-colored ring on his torso, and Smiley was a bright shade of blue. Keith and Helena grinned- it had worked! They were purified!

Greg was much less pleased at this outcome. He was desperately trying to withdraw Teddy and Smiley even as the Shadow Balls crumbled away in his hands, their shadowy auras completely gone, rendering the balls powerless. He looked on in horror as the Ursaring and Wobbuffet tearfully hugged the Shuppet, and in even more horror as they turned on him.

"...Are you quite finished with that wheel yet?!" Greg demanded.

"Almost!" one of the Grunts replied.

"Oh, no, no, no," Helena stated, floating forward slowly and ominously. "No, no, see, you're not leaving. We have a little score to settle, you and I."

"Eheheh... yes, well, you see... oh, screw the van, run for it!" Greg screamed.

"Smiley, go!" Helena exclaimed in response.

"Wobbuffet!" Smiley replied, saluting his former Trainer (the Shuppet, not the Rocket Executive) before stepping forward. Immediately, Greg froze in place, courtesy of Smiley's Shadow Tag. The Grunts weren't trapped, and took full advantage of this fact, hauling ass as far away from the situation as they could.

Helena turned to the Ursaring. "Teddy, time for some payback," she stated. "Use Hammer Arm!"

The Ursaring nodded, then roared loudly, charging forward and slamming the entirety of his right foreleg into Greg's stomach. This knocked him on his back, and the wind out of him as well. "Stop... stop it... you're only... digging... your own grave..." gasped Greg, trying to sound as defiant as he could while trying to catch his breath.

"Smiley, Brain Freeze, go!" Helena ordered.

"Woooobbuffet!" Smiley responded, firing a cloud of icy particles from his mouth. Greg cried out in pain, clutching his head.

"You... you will... you will all pay for... for interfering in Team Rocket's-" Greg grunted defiantly.

"No, you're the one who's going to pay," Helena interrupted furiously. "For killing me, for what you did to me before killing me, for making my boyfriend hate himself... to say you deserve death is an understatement." Teddy stepped forward, the claws on his right front paw glowing fiercely as he prepared a Slash attack, but Helena stopped him. "No, Teddy... leave him to me," Helena hissed, before floating towards Greg, who was still on the ground, glaring up at the Shuppet.

"So... so what?" Greg said weakly yet defiantly. "You're gonna kill me? What, you think that's gonna solve everything?"

Helena gave a sadistic smirk. "It's a start," she replied, before slamming into Greg with a Headbutt attack.

"Oooof... Well... Well, you're wrong there," Greg replied. "Team Rocket's already targeting your precious Trainer for what he's done to us. You ready to give them even more incentive to kill him? I am one of the top Rocket Executives ever known to the organization!"

"I don't give a Raticate's ass if you're Ash friggin' Ketchum with the world's strongest Pikachu," Keith retorted, approaching Greg. "Helena, before you finish him, may I?" he asked the Shuppet.

"Be my guest, little brother," smiled Helena.

Keith smiled back, before making a fist and punching Greg in the face. Greg grunted in pain, his nose starting to bleed. "So yeah, like I was saying," Keith said to Greg. "You don't mess with the Masters family. I don't care if this makes Team Rocket hate me even more. I've been sabotaging your organization for years now, and I have no intention to stop. Now you... you violated and murdered my sister, so what she's about to do to you, you got no hope of talking yourself out of it. She's already made up her mind on that. She can't be swayed, and I am by no means about to try and change her mind. So, you're dead- there'll be no arguing that point- the only question is whether or not you show any remorse for what you did."

For a moment, there was silence. Greg glared up at Keith and Helena, both of whom glared back down at him. "...What's my incentive?" he asked. "I tell you I'm not sorry, she kills me. I tell you I'm sorry, she still kills me. I'm fucked any way you slice it."

"Gee, why does that sound so familiar?" Helena hissed.

"So, basically, you're not even gonna try for any sort of redemption, is that what you're saying?" Keith asked.

"I don't see the point," retorted Greg. "I ain't sorry, and there's no incentive for me to lie and say I am."

Keith gave Greg one last contemptuous glare before turning to Helena. "You've never used that move before... you sure you got this?"

"Oh, yes," Helena nodded, her eyes gleaming with a kind of indecent excitement at the thought that her long-awaited vengeance was finally at hand. "I know exactly what to do... it's like a Shuppet instinct."

In response, Keith dug a long, sharp needle out of his backpack, holding it very gingerly. "It's a fragment of bone I picked up from my last trip to Whale Island," Keith explained, offering it to Helena. "I figured you'd need a needle eventually, so I carved this as best I could. It's not perfect, but I hope it gets the job done."

Helena smiled as she used Psychic to claim the bone needle from Keith. "It's perfect. Thank you," she said to her little brother. She turned back to Greg, who whimpered quietly, sensing that his final moments were upon him. "And as for you," Helena hissed, as she focused powerful energy into the needle. Hatred, rage... her very grudge against this man... the needle started to glow black. "I'm going to do something I've wanted to do to you for years," she hissed as the malevolent aura surrounding the needle intensified. "I would say this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you... but unlike you, I am not a damn liar!" And with that, Helena telekinetically plunged the needle straight into her cloth body, casting her very first Curse. And as Greg started to convulse with pain, Keith's jaw dropped- not because of Greg's obvious agony, but because the exact instant the needle pierced the purple cloth, Helena's body started to emit an intense blue-white glow. The cloth started to change shape as Greg gasped for breath, attempting to choke out desperate pleas for mercy, which would have fallen on deaf ears anyway.

"She's evolving..." Keith murmured.

As Greg flailed in agony, lack of breath the only thing preventing him from screaming, Helena's body continuing to change shape. Arms, legs, a tail, all of this sprouted from her cloth body, her new arms now clutching the needle. Her horn split into two much smaller horns, now positioned on her head not unlike ears of some sort, and cloth that could pass for braided hair in shape sprouted from the back of her head.

Finally, Greg collapsed to the ground, more dead than a Klang whose minigear didn't come back. At the same time, the glow faded away, and the new pulled the needle back out of her body with her new arms. She looked down contemptuously at Greg's body for a second, then turned back to Keith, smiling warmly. To Keith's mild surprise, instead of the piercing red eyes one expects to see on a Banette, Helena's eyes had retained that soothing shade of blue they'd had in the Shuppet stage.

"Congratulations," Keith smiled. "You finally did it, Helena. How's it feel?"

"I... I feel amazing," Helena replied, her new zipper mouth grinning happily. "Like... like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders." As she spoke, she stowed away her needle, then floated over to Keith and hugged him. "Thank you," she added.

"What are you thanking me for?" asked Keith. "This was all you."

The Banette shook her head. "No, it was your Rose Incense that finished purifying Teddy and Smiley."

"Yeah, after you started to get through to them in the first place," Keith smiled. "Alright, why don't we call it a team effort, then?"

"Works for me," Helena smiled, turning to face the Ursaring and Wobbuffet. "You guys... It's so great to see you again," Helena said, floating in for another hug, which Teddy and Smiley were only too happy to offer. Once they broke apart, however, Helena added, "...that said, I think you two had better go your own way from now on. I'm no Trainer anymore, and after what you two went through after I died, you deserve freedom."

Keith watched as Helena talked to her former Pokémon, her former partners, tears in his eyes. He would have gladly welcomed both Teddy and Smiley onto the team, and he knew Helena knew it, too, but he said nothing.

"...Why don't ya offer ta let 'em come wit us?" Meowth asked Keith.

"It's not my call to make," Keith replied. "They're Helena's Pokémon. She knows full well they'd both be welcome additions to the team, so if that's what she wants, she'll offer."

After a while, however, the Ursaring and Wobbuffet, after one last tearful farewell, turned around and walked away. Helena waved to them until long after they were out of sight, at which point she floated back over to Keith and hugged him again, this time holding back tears.

"I take it they didn't want to come with us?" asked Keith.

"...They wanted freedom," Helena sniffled. "And they deserve freedom."

Keith nodded. "It's all about doing what's best for your Pokémon," he agreed. "Speaking of which... now that you've gotten your revenge, Helena, what's next for you?"

"Honestly? I don't know," Helena shrugged. "I mean, even though Greg's dead, there's still the fact that Team Rocket is still operating, and I can't stand that... All I know is, I'm definitely sticking around. All my life I've wanted to know my birth family, and I know you've wanted to find your sister all your life. And we get along really well, and we make a great team-"

"Helena, if you want to stay with me, you don't have to talk me into it," Keith interrupted with a grin. "If anything, I was prepared to have to talk you into it!"

Following this emotional exchange, Meowth swiped Yanmega and Stantler's Shadow Balls off of Greg's body (they unceremoniously kicked the body into a nearby ditch afterwards), and they headed back to Darkshade Town. With Rocket Executive Greg no longer among the living, it was agreed all around that his Shadow Pokémon should be brought to the Darkshade Research Lab. They could study them, maybe even purify them and let them go. Of course, this would delay their trip home even further, maybe even force them to stay the night in the Darkshade Pokémon Center. But right now, Keith was just happy for his sister.

What?  Shuppet is evolving!




Congratulations!  Your Shuppet evolved into Banette!

*Helena learned Phantom Force!*
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