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Old 08-02-2017, 06:07 PM   #21
Adrift in a sea of dreams
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 735
A Journey's End

This was it, they had won! They had saved the world from Project X's destruction! And yet, as he watched Project X fall to the ground, Jake couldn't help but feel terrible about what he had done.
Project X had threatened to kill all of humanity, so why was his victory so bitter sweet? Their friendship was nothing but a tool for the transform Pokemon, so why was he trying to hold onto it? Jake didn't truly know the answer, but he did know one thing.

He had to help.

With Hazel be his side, the pair quickly rushed over to Sophie, not knowing quite what to expect...
"Sophie, a-are you ok?" Jake questioned upon reaching the Ditto's side.
At the same time, Sophie began to slowly rise from the ground, snapping back to her senses.

"A-am I ok? W-why do you even care?" The Ditto murmured. "I'm your should hate me!"

"I know...but I can't bring myself to. Y-you're still my friend..." Jake explained.

"Look Jake...I-I don't have much time..." Sophie muttered, ignored Jake's previous statement.

"Not much time? I-I don't understand." Jake replied. "We have no reason to fight anymore...w-we can put this all behind us..."

"I-I'm afraid we can't's much too late for that." The transform Pokemon said, shaking her jiggly head.
"My strength...i-it's already starting to return. Soon..I'll be overtaken by desire of destruction once more." As she said this, her voice sounded rather calm, as if she already accepted it.

"N-no! T-that's impossible, there's got to be something, a-anything we can do!" Jake exclaimed.

"There is one thing. Jake...y-you said you wanted to protect this world...does that still hold true? Do you still hold that desire in your heart?" Sophie questioned.

"O-of course." Jake nodded.

"Then kill me. Only then can I be freed of this curse." Sophie replied. "But you must hurry, for I fear I have little time...."

"A-are you insane?! I-I can't kill you!" Jake stammered.

"You's the only way. If not..countless lives are in peril." Sophie explained. "Please...this world has no use for a monster like me can only bring needless suffering."

"I-I can't...." Jake murmured. "Please..don't make me do this."

"You can...I know you can. You're strong enough to do it."

"Sophie I....I-I'm not as strong as you think I am." Jake stammered.

"You are. I've watched you stand for your beliefs time and time please, I beg for you to stand by them...just one last time."

Jake opened his mouth to respond, but before the words could escape his mouth, he watched as a golden Pokeball flew by his head, before smacking into Project X! Immediately, the Ditto was absorbed into the ball, before the capture device was sent flying back to it's owner.

Turning around, Jake's grimace transformed to a small smile as he recognized the friendly face.

"Zack! Am I glad to see you!" Jake exclaimed.

Indeed, right in front of Jake stood none other then the leader of the CPA. In his hand, he was clutching the golden Pokeball, the one they had strived to snatch from Team Catalyst's clutches. By the man's side floated Duosion, though Telpo and the others seemed to be absent.

"I'm glad to see you too Jake, though may I ask what is going on?" Zack questioned, glancing at Chris's body.

"I-I'll explain it later. What we need to do...w-we.....we need to destroy Project X." Jake replied.

"Destroy Project X? Why?" Zack asked, tilting his head slightly.

"Project X, it's going insane. W-with it's power, it's going to go on a rampage." Jake explained.

"Oh I'm fully aware of that, which is exactly why it's now contained in this ball." Zack replied. "What I meant to say is, why would I destroy Project X, after everything I've done to obtain it?"

"Zack..d-don't tell me..." Jake stammered, his entire body going numb.
At the same time, Hazel stepped in front of his trainer, before giving Zack a low growl.

"Ah, it seems this moron is finally catching on Zack." Duosion chimed, a large smirk plastered on his face.

"Zack, y-you truly mean to betray us?" Jake choked out. "W-why would you do such a thing?!"

"Betrayal? I guess you could think of it like that. But I don't like to think so, considering I was never on your side in the first place." Zack replied.

"As for why? Isn't it obvious? I want Project X for myself." The man continued.

"Ever since I first heard about Project X from Chris, I knew I needed that kind of power for my own. So I joined, pretending to work to stop the beast. At the same time, I began to create a resistance group, in hopes of weakening Team Catalyst. That was, until Sophie approached me.
Of course, I knew from the start who she really was, though I never let on about that. After letting her join the CPA, I began to work on phase two of my plan. I began to feed the CPA with information about Team Catalyst, claiming that they sought to capture and use Project X, and that there was no reasoning with them.
I did the same with Team Catalyst, claiming that the CPA wanted nothing more then to enslave Project X" Chris explained.

"S-so everything you said about Team Catalyst...i-it was lie?!" Jake exclaimed.

"Correct. With each group butting heads, it was easy to distract them from the mastermind behind the conflict. The assault on Hagane Labs? The destruction of the Ebony flute? All just a part of the plan to continue the war between you two. Eventually, I let everyone to attack Team Catalyst's headquarters.
While Sophie went on her little rampage, I took the opportunity to eliminate anything that threatened to stop the eventual fight between you two." Chris continued.

"Pitting you guys against each other, it was a sure fire way of capturing Project X. Because even if you won or lost, Project X would have been weakened enough for me to capture."

"But what about Hagane Labs? S-surely Team Catalyst was still in the wrong, w-with all their horrific experiments." Jake stammered, desperately trying to grasp onto something, anything, to justify his choice of stopping Team Catalyst.

"And that's where you're wrong again!" Duosion exclaimed.

"Right. You see, while I may have lead you and your friends to believe Team Catalyst owned all of Hagane Labs, in truth, they only own the top two floors." Zack added. "The floors with all the "horrific experiments", as you and your friends put it, are owned by none other then yours truly."

"T-then....this device." Jake stammered, glancing at the bracelet on his wrist.

"Is my finest work. Not only does it prevent Project X's mind control, but it also Imprision's it's use of Transform, as well as generates a field to weaken it." Zack explained. "But now that this beauty is in my grasp, there's no point in limiting it's power, so I'll be taking that, thank you!"

At Zack's words, the bracelet began to glow with a Psychic aura, before flying off of Jake's arm. After floating in front of Duosion, the mitosis Pokemon guided the device over to his trainer.

"Thank you Duosion. Now, let's turn this off for now." Zack said, before clicking a button on the device, presumably shutting it off.

"Y-you won't get away with this! H-hazel and me...we'll stop you!" Jake exclaimed.

"That's cute, but you morons wasted all your energy on Team Catalyst and Project X!" Duosion chimed.

"Maybe that's true....b-but even if we can't, Tyler, Telpo, and Turtwig's group....t-they won't let you do this!" Jake exclaimed.

"Those fools? I'm sorry to tell you Jake, but they're all...kind of occupied." Zack chuckled.

Originally Posted by Flashback (Catalyst Barracks)
" way...this is Project X's doing?" Tyler murmured.
"W-why should I believe you? Why should I believe any of you Catalyst scum?"

"Believe me if you want, I'm not going to convince you. I don't care any more." Shelly replied. "I've already lost my friends...and potentially my daughter as well."

"I-I'm sorry to hear that.." Tyler murmured, before turning to Zebstrika.
"Come on Zebstrika, we've got to warn the others." He said, prompting a weak nod from the thunderbolt Pokemon.

"Not so fast." A voice called out to him, causing Tyler to look up.

"Zack, what are you doing here? Where are the others, well besides Duosion?" Tyler questioned.

"They're scouting out the place ahead, but I thought Duosion and I should come check out the barracks, and I'm glad we did." Zack replied.

"Huh, why? It's a blood bath in here! We need to warn the others immediately!" Tyler exclaimed.

"And that's why I'm glad I came as soon as I did. You seem to have learned too much. I'm afraid I can't let either of you leave here alive."

"Wha- Zack explain yourself!" Tyler exclaimed.

"You heard me, neither you nor Shelly will be alive to tell your story. Doing so puts my plans into jeopardy." Zack replied.

At Zack's words, Shelly rushed towards Tyler.

"Like hell you are! First you betray Team Catalyst, now you're threatening to kill me and your friend? You're a total slime ball, and I'm not standing for it!" Shelly barked.

"Oh Shelly, even in grief, you're as hot-headed as always." Zack chuckled. "But hey, cheer up. After this, you and your daughter can reunite."

"Why you little-" Shelly began, but stopped herself as she began to glow in a purple aura.

"Zack! Stop! Stop this instant!" Tyler exclaimed, desperately trying to move, but to no avail! Duosion's Psychic was holding them firmly in place!

Calm yourselves you two, this will only hurt for a moment." Zack snickered.
A moment later, Zack, Shelly and Zebstrika had joined the others, soaked in the warm blood pooling on the floor.

"Well that went over pretty well, wouldn't you say?" Duosion questioned.

"Yes.....yes it did." Zack nodded. "Now let us hurry. We need to dispose of the others, and soon."
" killed them?!" Jake exclaimed.

"Mhmm. Tyler and Shelly were messing with my plan, they had to go." Zack replied. "Now as for Turtwig's group...."

Originally Posted by Flashback (Catalyst Holding Cells)

Receiving a nod from the rest of the group, a small smile formed on Zack's face.
"Perfect. Well then, while Turtwig's group and I take care of that, Telpo can you scout ahead for us? It's important." Zack explained.

"Ok sure, I'll report back if I find anything." Telpo chimed, before floating off ahead, leaving Turtwig's group and Zack behind.

"Alright, now Boldore, Ariados, you take Venomoth. The rest of you, let's drag that grunt inside." Zack instructed, grabbing the Catalyst grunt's arms as he did so.

Following the man's orders, Turtwig began to push the grunt with all his might, Drilbur following shortly after.

Meanwhile, Ariados began to hoist his former teammate onto Boldore's back, being extra careful not to awaken the poison moth Pokemon.

Once inside one of the cages, the group took great care in placing the two gently on the concrete floor.

"Alright, let's get going then. We don't have much time." Zack said, receiving a nod from the others in response.

With that, Zack quickly exited the cell, watching as the others began to follow. Or they tried to, anyway. For as soon as Zack had exited the jail cell, the door swung shut, locking Turtwig's group inside!

"Hey! What's going on?!" Turtwig exclaimed, looking to the pin pad that had previously let them in. Floating next to it was none other then Duosion! The mitosis Pokemon couldn't help but laugh as Turtwig began to bashed his head into the door.

With Duosion translating the groups words, Zack began to explain everything,

"What's going on? Let's just say...I'm disposing of you." Zack replied, a large smile on his face.

"What? Disposing of us?!" Ariados exclaimed.

"That's right. While you've been a great help to me, your usefulness has officially run out. I need you gone in order for the final part of my plan to work." Zack explained.

"Zack...we've been friends for years, this is unbelievable!" Turtwig shouted.

"Friends? I have no need for friends. I cannot reshape this world with such pathetic things." Zack scoffed.

"But consider yourselves lucky that he's letting you live for a few moments, some of the others didn't fare so well." Duosion snickered.

"That's right." Zack nodded, before pulling a remote out of his pocket.
"You see...this entire building is rigged with explosives. One press of a button, and a minute later....well, let's just say pieces of you will be flying all the way to the mainland!"

"N-no..." Turtwig murmured.

"You better believe it." Duosion snickered.

"Well, while I'd love to stay and chat, I have a Ditto to catch. Enjoy your final moments here." Zack said, before taking his leave, Duosion right behind him.
"Telpo...well I've left him on patrol duty. But rest assured, he's next in line for the slaughter." Zack said.

"N-no." Jake murmured.

"Do you see now? You have no hope left! I've won!" Zack exclaimed.

"Hazel...I-I'm sorry." Jake muttered, turning his attention to the Jolteon.

"Don't be." Hazel said, shaking his head. "I...understood the risk of entering this place, I think everyone did. But.....I-I don't think we should give up, not quite yet."

"Y-you're right. W-we'll stand against him till we can no longer." Jake nodded, turning back to face Zack.

"A noble sentiment, but I'm afraid your road ends here. Duosion, hold them down!" Zack exclaimed.

Giving a brief nod, Duosion's eyes began to glow, before a Psychic aura surrounded Jake and Hazel, locking them in place.

"Now it's time to kill you where you stand, Project X, will you do the honors?" Zack questioned, before tossing the golden Pokeball into the air.

Emerging from the ball was Project X, though the Ditto looked completely soulless now, as if the ball had taken away any of it's free will!

"Alright Project X, Transform into Mewtwo, then use Psycho Cut on these fools!" Zack bellowed.
Somethings not right. Telpo thought as he continued to watch the stairs leading down to the fourth floor. Surely Turtwig and the others should be back from their patrol by now. And where's Zack? He said he was going to scope out the room ahead, but that was several minutes ago....

Growing restless, Telpo turned his attention to the door at the end of the dimly lit hall. It was highly out of character for the Abra to be so distracted, and yet, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was very wrong.

Following his gut, Telpo began to float down the hall, before reaching the door. As he peaked inside, the Abra struggled not to call out.

In the center of the room was his master, along with a Jolteon that Telpo assumed to be Hazel. And had Zack just ordered for their death?! Telpo didn't know quite what was going on, but as he watched Project X emerge from it's ball, Telpo knew he had to take action.
Completely frozen in place, Jake could only watch as Project X took the form of Mewtwo once again. After that, it was if time slowed to a crawl. Gathering psychic energy in front of itself, Project X threw a blade of the energy out at Jake and Hazel!
Preparing themselves for the worst, both Jake and Hazel were completely caught off guard as Telpo appeared in front of them in a flash of light. Thinking fast, the Abra grabbed onto the pair, before using Teleport just as the energy blade reached them.
In a flash of light, the three disappeared, leaving Zack, Project X, and Duosion behind.

"D-did that just happen?" Duosion questioned.

"Yeah...they managed to escape." Zack replied calmly.

"How are you so calm?! This is serious!" Duosion exclaimed.

"No, it does not matter Duosion. With Project X by our side, we're unstoppable. Who cares if the boy lives? He certainly can't stop us." Zack explained, before returning Project X to it's ball.
"Now let's be off. There's no need to linger in this dump any longer."
Producing a remote from his pocket, Zack firmly pressed the center button, before grabbing ahold of Duosion. In a flash of light, the pair Teleported out of the room, leaving the soon to be ruins of Catalyst tower behind.
Just quit it Turtwig, there's no way we're getting out of here." Drilbur said as the tiny leaf Pokemon proceeded to bash his skull into the cell door once again.

"Drilbur's right, we're toast. Mine as well just accept it." Ariados added.

"What, you guys are giving up that easily?!" Turtwig exclaimed. "We have to keep trying! There's no way we're dying here."

"What's the point? Even if we do break out, we're no match for Zack." Drilbur replied.

"Yeah, he's probably defeated the others as well, it's hopeless." Ariados added.

"H-how can you say that?! We've come so far...we can't lose now." Turtwig said. "If we j-"

"-Guys, Venomoth is awake." Boldore reported, cutting Turtwig off.

Indeed, no sooner had the words left Boldore, that the poison moth Pokemon rose to the air. Seeing the predicament it was in, the Venomoth began to rapidly fly about, before ramming into the cell wall, desperate to escape.

"Whoa whoa, Venomoth you need to calm down." Turtwig said. "We can do this, we can get out alive...together."

Upon hearing words, Venomoth's composure changed entirely. Instead of it's panicked flying, the poison moth instant calmed down, and unless he was mistaken, Turtwig could have sworn the Venomoth seemed...happy?

" a team?" The Venomoth questioned.

"Yes a team. I hadn't realized it until now, but that's how things always should have been with us. I-I'm sorry we left you behind." Turtwig apologized, leaving the rest of the group completely stunned.

" a team." Boldore nodded.

"Yeah.." Ariados murmured.

"Well, this is nice and all...but I hate to be the bearer of bad news." Drilbur spoke up. "Us being a team isn't going to help us escape."

"Escape? I can help." Venomoth replied. "I know the move Teleport! But I can only transport one Pokemon at a time."

"Perfect, that's all we need." Turtwig smiled.
"I really don't want to abandon Jake and the others....but I think we should retreat for now" He added.

"So the entrance to the tower it is then." Boldore nodded.

"But who's going to go first?" Drilbur questioned.

"I'd say the leader should go first." Ariados said, receiving a nod from Drilbur and Boldore in response.

"Alright, if you insist." Turtwig nodded, before walking over to Venomoth.

Grabbing onto the Turtwig's back, Venomoth disappeared with the tiny leaf Pokemon in a flash of white light.
Catalyst Tower Entrance
A moment later, the pair reappeared in front of Catalyst Tower.

"Alright, thank you Venomoth. You sure you've got enough energy to get everyone?" Turtwig questioned.

"O-of course. I'll be back in a moment." The poison moth Pokemon replied, before disappearing in another flash of light.

No sooner had the Venomoth disappeared, a deafening explosion shook the ground, sending Turtwig tumbling back. At the sound of more explosions, the tiny leaf Pokemon sprinted away from the tower.
Dodging falling debris, the Turtwig didn't have time to stop and think. In that moment, all that the Turtwig knew to do was to run.
Reaching the shore, Turtwig spun around just in time to watch Catalyst tower collapse in on itself, causing the ground to shake even more as the once proud building scattered upon impact with the earth.

It was only then that the consequence of said explosions sunk in for the tiny leaf Pokemon. Boldore, Ariados, Drilbur, Venomoth....and anyone else that might have still been in the tower....

They were gone.
Opening his eyes, Jake was met with the sight of darkness. That was odd, just where was he? Rising to his feet, Jake began to reach for his bag, before realizing that it was nowhere to be found! Before he could begin to search for it though, a familiar voice called out to him, drawing Jake's attention to it.

"Master, I'm so glad to see you!" Telpo chimed.

"Telpo." Jake smiled as the Abra came into his line of vision.

"Huh? Where are we?" Hazel questioned, causing Jake to turn to the Jolteon.

It was a fair question. Wherever they were, it seemed to be covered in a darkness usually reserved for the dead of night. And yet, there was no sign of a moon at all!

"I'm not really sure." Jake replied. "B-but it's definitely nothing like I've ever seen, t-that's for sure."

"Hmm, how about we ask that person over there?" Telpo questioned, pointing to a strange man not far from where they stood.

"I-I'm not sure sure." Jake murmured. "But..I guess he's our only choice."

"I mean...if we have to." Hazel nodded.

With no objections to the idea, trio began to walk towards the man. Upon reaching him, Jake realized that he was completely transparent!

"Eep! It's a g-ghost!" Hazel stammered, before running for cover behind Jake.
At the sound of the Jolteon, the man spun around, before jumping back at the sight of Jake's group.

"Whoa! You're alive?!" The man exclaimed.

"Umm, yes?" Jake replied. "W-why wouldn't we be?"

"Oh.....hmm I guess there's a first for everything then." The man chuckled.

"Look, I'm not quite sure what you're talking about, but we need your help." Telpo chimed. "You see, we're kind of lost, we were hoping you could tell us where we were."

"Where you are? Well...this place doesn't have a proper name." The man explained. "But this realm is the link between the world of the living, and the spirit world."

"What?! That's insane!" Jake exclaimed.

"I agree. If we're alive, then how did we end up in such a place?" Telpo questioned.

"Beats me. Maybe you just got really unlucky with a Teleport or something. The man shrugged. "One's thing for sure, you best be getting out of here quickly."

"Huh? W-why?" Jake questioned.

"Because this realm is no place for the living. Should you stay here too long, you could end up looking like me. A spirit, forced to roam this place for Arceus knows how long." The man explained. "Pokemon won't decay as quickly though. Hell, even the dead ones take awhile to resemble a spirit."

"Is there anyway out? Do you know?" Telpo questioned.

"Well there is one way." The man replied, before pointing to a small mountain in front of them. "This mountain...rumor has it that the gateway between worlds lies at the top. You can go to the land of the living, or even the spirit world with I've heard."

"Thank you, w-we'll get going then." Jake replied.

"Good luck!" The man smiled. "Oh, I nearly forgot! At the gate, there's said to be one who guards it. If you intend to get through, you may have to bargain with it."

"We'll keep that in mind." Telpo chimed.

With that, Telpo and Jake made their way towards the mountain, Hazel following shortly behind.
"So master, considering the length of this climb, maybe now is the best time to explain what happened?" Telpo questioned as the group began their ascent up the mountain trail.

"What happened, y-you mean back at Catalyst tower?" Jake asked.

"What else could I be referring to?" Telpo replied.

"Good point." Jake chuckled, though his expression darkened considerably as he began to tell the Abra what had happened. His fight with Steven, and how the man had wished to save the world from Project X.
Then there was Olivia, she had wanted to kill Project X after it had murdered her in cold blood. Next was Olivia, and her desire to create a stable future for her town and for her child.
As Jake explained each of the Catalyst Admin's and there desires, he couldn't help but feel worse and worse about his prior actions. Though he couldn't exactly claim Team Catalyst was in the right, he also couldn't deny their true intentions on putting a stop to Project X's rampage.
Speaking of Project X, that was the next thing Jake had to explain to the Abra.

"Wait, so Sophie was Project X the whole time?" Telpo questioned.

"Y-yeah. Apparently she was using us, j-just so she could get her revenge." Jake replied, before jumping back to the tale.

Jake then came to Zack, and his betrayal. How he had pitted Team Catalyst and the CPA against one another, in order to lure Project X into his grasp.
After Jake had finished the story, a brief silence followed.

"Master, I'm sorry." Telpo finally spoke up.

"Huh, why?" Jake questioned.

"Because I was with him." Telpo replied. "I was with Zack for most of the time in Catalyst tower, and yet I still never suspected him. If I had, we could have stopped him, and we wouldn't be in this whole mess."

"Nonsense, t-this isn't you fault." Jake said as he shook his head. "N-none of us saw it coming. I-it's as much your fault, a-as it is anyone else's."

"Right." Hazel nodded. "Besides...y-you did save our lives......well sorta. If anything, we kinda owe you."

"Master, Hazel...thank you." Telpo chimed.

"I-it's no problem." Jake replied. "W-we're going to get through this...I-I promise."
Several hours later, the trio continued their rough climb up the mountain. But with little opportunity to rest, both Jake and Hazel were starting to feel more then a little tired.

"Are we *yawn* almost there yet?" Jake questioned, his energy slipping away faster by the minute.

"I would guess we only have a little left to go." Telpo replied. "But it's hard to know, considering how dark it is."

Indeed, only a short amount of the path was visible to the trio. The rest was covered in the same shroud of darkness that had first greeted them.
Trudging along the dirt path for a few more minutes, a large hole on the wall of the mountain was enough to grab Hazel's attention.

"Guys wait!" Hazel called out, before letting out a yawn.

"What is it Hazel? We're in a hurry, if you couldn't tell." Telpo chimed.

"It's a cave! M-maybe we could.....take nap here?" Hazel questioned.

"Out of the question Hazel, we simply don't have time." Telpo replied. "If we don't hurry, master is in serious peril!"

"No....I-I think it's a good idea." Jake murmured. "W-we can....have a short nap, t-then we'll have e-enough push through."

"Fine, but only a short one." Telpo conceded.

"Alright." Hazel nodded, before entering the cave, the rest of the group right behind him.

Inside was a small hollowed out room, a cozy fit for the three of them.

"Ok, while you two sleep, I'll take guard duty." Telpo chimed, before floating back in front of the entrance.

Exhausted, Jake slowly eased himself onto the cavern floor. It most certainly wasn't comfy, and Jake wondered if doing this was such a good idea in the first place. He didn't have too long to wonder that though, for soon his eye lids closed, and he drifted off into a deep sleep.
Drip, drip, drip. As the sound of droplets filled the cavern, Hazel's eyes shot open. No matter what he did, the Jolteon was couldn't get comfy! Rising to his feet, Hazel began to stretch, before glancing at his trainer. By some miracle, Jake was fast asleep on the cold rock floor.
Feeling slightly jealous, Hazel turned his attention the Abra in front of the cave.

"Hey Telpo." Hazel whispered as he approached the Abra.

"Hello Hazel." Telpo greeted the Jolteon.

"A-aren't you going to get some sleep?" Hazel questioned.

"Me? No. I'm just not tired." Telpo replied.

"Not tired? B-but aren't Abra supposed to sleep for...umm, a long time?" Hazel asked.

"Did you hear that from a Pokedex? They tend to exaggerate you know." The Abra explained. "But yes, Abra usually do have to get alot more rest then usual."

"T-then why aren't you tired?" Hazel questioned, tilting his head.

"Well...I've just been thinking about some things, is all." Telpo replied.

"Oh, I-I see..." Hazel murmured

"Uh Hazel, I have a favor to ask of you." Telpo spoke up after a moment.

"A-a favor? What is it?" Hazel asked.

"There will come a time when I'm no longer able to protect master, and that time might be sooner then you think. When that happens...I want you to protect him for matter the cost." Telpo replied.

"W-what?! Y-you won't have to worry about that f-for a long time Telpo!" Hazel exclaimed.

"After all that we've been through, can you be so sure?" Telpo questioned.

"No but..I-I...why me?"

"Because I know you can do it. I can tell you've already grown a great deal since we last met, and I know you'll keep on improving in the future."

"Telpo...." Hazel murmured.

"You don't have to give me your answer right away. Maybe you should sleep on it?" Telpo suggested.

Giving the Abra a swift nod, Hazel slowly returned to the cave. After hearing Telpo's question, the Jolteon was sure he wasn't going to get any sleep.
A few hours had passed, but Jake wouldn't have known it, were it not for Telpo's rather rude awakening.

"I'm sorry master, but we really must get going." The Abra chimed, before floating outside of the cave. Looking to make sure Hazel was ready, Jake followed the Abra out into the darkness.

It almost felt claustrophobic, the way the darkness surrounded the trio on their march. It certainly brought up a few questions about the spirit world to Jake. Was it this dark as well? Did the spirit world have day and night cycles? Or was it forever trapped in shadow, like this realm?
Jake was definitely going to have to look into it when he got home.

If he got home.

Just the thought of it sent shivers down his spine. No, I will return home. We're going to make it back. All of us. Jake reassured himself.

As long as he kept putting one foot in front of the other, they were going to reach the top. And there, the gate back home would show itself.
After what felt like ages, the road upwards eventually stopped, revealing the summit to Jake and the others.

"So, somewhere here is the gate between worlds then." Telpo chimed.

"R-right, I wonder where it is." Jake muttered, taking a glance at his surroundings.

"Look! I-I think I found something!" Hazel called out, before rushing off into the darkness.

"Hazel wait up!" Jake called back as he sprinted after the Jolteon.
After catching up with Hazel, Jake spotted just what the lightning Pokemon had been talking about. Right in front of him stood a rather large statue of a Dusknoir. Underneath it was a plaque, which drew Jake's attention instantly.

"Place a hand on the statue, to call forth the gate keeper." Jake read aloud.

"Are we sure that's such a good idea master? Do you remember what happened last time you touched a statue?" Telpo questioned.

"Y-yes...but this is different. We have no choice." Jake replied, before pressing his hand onto the statue. Almost instantly, the dark fog dissipated, allowing the group to get a better view of their surroundings.

But what really grabbed the groups attention was the man standing in front of the statue.

"Y-you're that guy from before. What are y-you doing here?" Jake questioned.

"Me? Hmm. Well, you three may have thought of me as a simple spirit, but in actuality-" The began, before fading away. In his place floated a Dusknoir in likeness of the statue in front of it.

"-I am the keeper of the gate between worlds." The Dusknoir finished.

"Wait, then this was all a test then?" Telpo asked.

"Exactly. It's my job to guide lost souls to the spirit world, but I also help lead the living who've stumbled here back home." Dusknoir replied. "But first I must test their resolve...their drive to return home."

"So, w-we're able to return home now?" Hazel smiled.

"Not see....there's a bit of a problem regarding your trainer." Dusknoir said.

"Huh? What's the problem?" Telpo asked.

"You you three began to climb the mountain, your bodies started to decay. You've spent so long on the mountain, that I'm afraid your trainer will perish if he were to return as he is." The gripper Pokemon explained.

"W-what?" Jake choked out.

"B-but that's entire your fault!" Hazel exclaimed.

"Yeah. If you didn't force us to do your test, then this wouldn't have happened." Telpo chimed.

"I'm fully aware of that, which is why I said "as he is"" The Dusknoir replied.

"He has passed the test, and was still alive when he entered this realm, which means he's allowed to return." The gatekeeper continued.

"But to do so, one must accept the consequences. Either he perishes upon his return, or he returns anew."

"R-returns anew, w-what does that mean?" Jake questioned.

"It means you'll have to return in a new vessel. Reincarnation, if you will." Dusknoir replied. "It's method used to send spirits back to the world of the living. Since you're stuck between life and death, you could either return as yourself, where you'll die soon after.
Or, you could return in a different body, where you'll be allowed to continue on with life. The question is...will you take that risk?"

"It's up to you master, I'll stand by your choice either way." Telpo chimed.

"M-me too." Hazel added.

"I-I'll do it." Jake nodded. "I mean..if I just stay, I-I'll be dead anyway. Mine as well t-try for a second chance."

"A wise choice." Dusknoir replied. "With your choice made, I shall open the gate to the living for you."

Focusing a black energy into it's palms, the gripper Pokemon fired into the air. After floating away for a moment, the ball of energy froze in the air, before rapidly expanding!

"The portal is now complete, the human and Jolteon may now depart." The gatekeeper instructed.

"Huh? W-what do you mean? Telpo can come too right?" Jake questioned.

"Oh, I thought myself clear when I said only living creatures may pass through the portal." The gatekeeper responded.

"T-there must be some mistake...T-Telpo isn't dead!" Jake exclaimed, before turning to the Abra. "Come on Telpo, t-tell him. It's just a m-mistake."

"I'm sorry master, but I'm afraid that a mistake hasn't been made." Telpo chimed.

"W-what? Telpo...I-I don't understand." Jake stammered.

"Master, I've been dead since we've arrived here. I'm the whole reason you and Hazel are even in this realm."

"W-what, there's no way..." Hazel murmured.

"I awoke before either of you two in this place, and so I had a look around. Eventually I found Dusknoir, where he informed me where I was." Telpo explained.
"It was easy to deduce from there. When I teleported you two out of Catalyst tower, I was struck and killed by Project X at the same time. With my spirit leaving the world of the living, I ended up dragging you two with me, confusing the entire process."

"Not only that, but if I were to guess, Telpo's teleportation failure must have scattered most of your belongings Arceus knows where." Dusknoir added.

"Telpo...t-this is a dream.... This isn't true!" Jake exclaimed. "I-it can't be..."

"I'm sorry master, but this is the truth. I cannot come with you anymore." Telpo replied. "It was hard at first...for so long, I'd been looking forward to that future we were going to create together....but now I see that the can go on without me."

"B-but I can't...." Jake stammered, tears running down his face.
"Telpo, please...d-don't leave me..."

"It's going to be ok master. You have everyone else with guide protect don't need me anymore."

"But Telpo..." Jake murmured.

"Shhh, there's no need to cry master." Telpo chimed. "I promised you back in the Adoption Center that I would gladly sacrifice my life for you, my master. I'm glad I was able to keep my word."

"Now before you leave master....I do have some regrets...I hope that you can help ease them...if only a little."

"A-anything Telpo.." Jake murmured, drying his eyes with the arm of his sweater.

"Tell Millic-" The Abra began, before remembering who was around him. His face glowing red, the Abra sent the rest of the message to Jake through telepathy.

"O-ok Telpo..I-I'll tell her you said that." Jake nodded.

"Thank you." Telpo smiled. "Now you should go, you have so much to do, master."

"O-ok Telpo, I-I will." Jake stammered, before approaching the portal.

"Telpo, umm, I-I'll take g-good care of him." Hazel stammered.

"I know you will." Telpo smiled.

"F-farewell Telpo." Jake called to the Abra, tears threatening to burst out again at any moment.

"Farewell? I don't think so." Telpo said, shaking his head. "If you wish for it...we'll surely meet again."

Giving his trainer a final wave, Telpo watched as Jake and Hazel stepped into the portal, before disappearing entirely.
The End.
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