Book Two: Vengeance, Chapter Ten-
The night laid silent. Even the normally bustling city took up peace for the moment as time seemed to freeze. Underneath this awesome tranquility, in an act seeming to spite it, a window of a towering skyscraper gave way as a figure passed through the shards. The sound of every piece sounding out loud. Barely a second after her exit, a grand explosion, resonating throughout the entire city, decimated the level she just left. The detonation throwing her out further and descending fast with no land beneath her, she fumbled through her pockets. A crimson burst flashed against her body as a swell of tendrils embraced her body. A structureless body worked its way behind while two beak like appendages secured the girl. Spiraling ebbs flowed to the creature from all around, drawn from the very air. It concentrated the water into a single, powerful turret aimed towards the ground. The hydraulic lance sliced trenches into the earth but was effective at slowing their decline. The jellyfish then cast about a glimmering shield in correct prediction of the now flaming structure erupting again, deflecting the splinters of debris as they smashed against the earth. Tumbling along the ground, the monster faded away from its master in a red haze. Finally coming to a stop, Rei stood up, her back to the wholesale destruction. The night was filled with noise now, of crashes, screams, sirens, yet no sign of remorse nor care showed on her face. Never facing it, she started off into the night to get the next one.
The deed had remained the same, but the location had changed again and again. With each passing time, it only seemed to get easier. For the past two years, Rei had accomplished nothing but destruction in her wake. Her face was evident to the strife she had put forth, showing wear from her many great ordeals and long nights even at her tender age. Whether it be against the Rockets or Silph, no mercy was shown and no life was spared that laid in the path to her goal. In the course of this time, seventeen more research facilities studying the ultimate weapon and three Rocket headquarters were felled, all in which several of those justly deserving of their fates were taken out as well. During the most recent escapade, the fourth of the five Rockets she sought out personally was finally claimed, but the battle was not without consequences on her part. That day had tormented her worse than all the blood shed by her hand...
Swift footsteps carried Rei into the twilight. The blaze of the structure behind her shone on her pale, more youthful skin, giving beacon to her location. Of the few Rockets that had survived the explosion, more dropped out during the chase from wounds and blood loss. Shortly, only one remained. Peering over her shoulder, she knew it was the Rocket she sought, one of the five from her visions. For a man in his prime, the pursuer was surprisingly nimble. Skidding to a halt, Rei, destined to carry out her plight, produced her many globes, holding them up to allow them to glisten in the aflame building's light. Understanding the challenge put forth, the elder came to an immediate stop, his long, white moustache flinging forward from shadow produced from his wide brim as he did. With the effulgence of the preceding obliteration dimly lighting his silhouette, she could now see his pressed suit and other elegant attire, a far departure from the common garb of his association, that stretched from his pitch-black sunglasses to his fine, leather shoes, all of which was coal black surrounding a scarlet tie, the replacement for his insignia. Composing himself in a mannerly fashion, he stood tall with one arm behind his back as the other aligned his whiskers.
"Young lady," the hoarse yet warm voice addressed her, "do you think I am here to play games with you?" The only response he got from her was the release of three monsters: Cinder, Goopy, and Poppy. As the surrounded the gent, slowly, the arm rose from behind his back. Faintly about his wrist she could see there was a bracer lined with a ring of orbs. "Ah, I never could resist." Striking the bracer with his other hand, it was set into motion. "Very well, madam. I shall see your wager," he prattled on as it spun, ticking like that of a roulette wheel. "Winner take all!" In a dazzling display of his ability, the old man managed to back flip from out of the triad's encirclement and, while in midair, he stopped the bracer's revolution, causing a single orb to pop out. Upon landing and composing himself once more in a manner as before, he spoke not to Rei or to himself but to seemingly no one. "May I be about Lady Fortune's favors tonight," he mock prayed before the ball split. As the ball cleaved and revealed a ringed beast, he excitedly cried out "Blackjack," as if he did not know what he had sent out. Then, she understood. His speak, the spinning, the call. She realized that this was a game, at least, to him. In his eyes, everything was carried out on a whimsy of Fate. Everything was just a Gamble.
With a new enemy on the field, the three changed their focus. Almost immediately, Cinder sprinted after his darker cousin, clashing firmly against her body. The impact had moved the target little if any at all, but she fell to the earth limp anywise. Puzzled by their opponents hasty downfall, they moved in closer, unsure of what to expect. Without so much as a twitch before, the Umbreon sprang into action, spinning her body around, striking all her foes off guard. Then, nimbly, she rolled away, leaving her piercing shriek ringing in their ears. Being the first to recover, the Flareon once more charged down on his kin. As he drew closer, rather than use his entire body as a missile, he aimed his jaw to her back. Hoping for the element of surprise, he only found a foot to the face as the enemy, anticipating Cinder's deception, planted her hind leg in him. Blood and teeth spilling forth, the flame staggered back, wiping his dripping mouth before dropping it. Sparks flickered in the Flareon's throat, and the same was true for Blackjack's whole body. As the turret of fire sprang forth, an unwieldy surge of power was discharged from the Umbreon. The smoldering heat was suffered until the fire's source became twisted and convulsed from the high voltage. Gravity won over as he was brought to the ground and the adversary endured.
With a comrade fallen, Poppy dashed forward in blind rage. The black beast's luck not withstanding, repetitive thunder blasts came up misses, allowing the bulb to draw near. Before allowing the Oddish to get any closer, the Umbreon's devil eyes cast a spell on the tiny weed. With ears still echoing and perception now decimated, the plant helplessly spun around, unaware of his actions, until he fell over. Maliciously enjoying the chaos she created, Blackjack suddenly found herself doused in thick, corrosive ooze. Locating the perpetrator, another wild bolt was fired from her body and spiraled to its mark, erupting a cloud of soot. As it began to clear, it appeared as if the objective had vanished, but further dispersion revealed the Grimer lower to the earth, shrunken. An unsuccessful bombardment of electromagnetic cannons at the still shrinking blob left the Umbreon exhausted and worn. Swelling to a point, the gunk expelled a large fragment of filth that exploded upon collision, tossing the beast away covered in grime.
Striving through the blinding pain of her flesh being eaten away, the moon beast prayed to her heavenly watcher for strength. Moonbeams pierced and parted the thick canopy, granting her new vitality. As she went to face her rivals with unspoiled might, she found herself absolutely crushed by an overwhelming barrage of assaults. Poppy, mended from his daze and flooded with power from the lunar ray, concentrated and released the energy on the competitor at hand. Cinder, who had just pulled himself into stance against sore muscles, also utilized the stellar anomaly's added potency to his flames. Singed but not out, the Umbreon was again bestowed with lunar power, and, again, a boosted wave of attack flattened her. As the forces left her, a third attempt was made, but, as she was healed, an unnatural pitch sang in her ears. Upon gaining the strength to, she confronted the source of the noise, uncovering Goopy with the bulk of his mass located in a single fist flying at her. The enlarged knuckle struck Blackjack square on the head, sending her into a stupor. After third unyielding rush was made against her, she was far too in disarray to even notice the fourth.
"You fight rather well, young lady," Gamble complimented Rei as the smoldering lump that was Umbreon rolled to his feet, "for a cheat. Let's see how you fare when the cards are not stacked in your favor." The wheel of Fortune was in motion once more, but this time three balls were ejected. "Ah, Lady Luck is with me on this hand," he declared with a smile as the two creatures rose, " because I hit the Jackpot!" As he screamed the last word, the gem set in his starfish lit up. In a last attempt to use Blackjack's gift, a stream of fire leapt from Cinder's jaw, and Poppy readied another beam of light; however, in a brilliant flash, the cleaved sky was sealed up with summoned, dark, storm clouds, and the scenery was doused in a flood of rain. The jet of flame was whittled down to mere sparkles as the Oddish's laser, lacking sufficient charge, caused less damage than the enigma could self repair. Knowing the elements to be against them, they resorted to alternate methods. The Flareon, whose muscles began to spasm once more, crashed and sank into a puddle of mud while the sprout scattered its pollen. Before it could be lulled unconscious, Jackpot managed to make proper restorations to itself. During this time, its companion, a pink, frilly egg-shape with ridiculous, gilded mitts referred to as "Lucky Seven," hopped into action. Channeling arctic winds to her hands, the Blissey launched a chilling ray, whose course actually bent in midair to seek out the most vulnerable point, at the weed. Shivering and writhing, he was knocked back to Rei's feet. With no competitors visibly opposing them, the nurse surrounded herself in a glowing aura, accompanied by an enchanted chiming, as an ambulatory grace spread throughout the battlefield. The Starmie had awakened.
Reunited, Jackpot and Seven focused their attention on the defenseless Rei, but Seven's thoughts soon began to wander upon realizing that the girl showed no trace of fear. The reason came to her just in time to dodge the smashing fist of Goopy from behind. Pulling the augmented hand from the earth back into his diminished body, another forcefully sprout from the other side, smashing against the egg type's face. As the rotund creature helplessly rolled away, the Grimer vomited a course of sludge after it, but the flow was intercepted as her partner, blinking in the path, parted the river against a telepathic dome. Safe from the acidic liquid, the starfish's crystal glistened mystically, causing it to dwindle comparable to its foe. The powder puff bounced back to the scene also reducing herself to a speck. For an unrecorded while, the invisible war transpired with no evident effect. No participants could score blows let alone find each at their current state of dwarfism. Growing weary, Rei invoked Squishy, who scattered a dazzling mist that rolled across the field. As the cloud passed over them, they temporarily grew unaware of their situation, losing their concentration and return to their respective original sizes. They caused more harm than good, however, since Goopy took longer to understand what had just happened.
In haste, Jackpot opened a bridge between its own mind and its opponent's. Spirit hands transcended into the warped psyche and twisted its very being. Mental anguish seized the slime pile, razing his being. An tormenting wail so terrible poured from its gaping mouth, cracks emerged on the Starmie's jewel. Unsatisfied with the filth heap's amount of pain, the Blissey, desiring to add to the misery. As she bound to her victim to induce her own psychological distress, a rushing tide sweep her past her target, hard and fast. Spinning uncontrollably, she caught at the end of the shaft the poison jellyfish, released without her knowing, pumping the massive quantity of surrounding water into the overpowered beam. Whisked further away by the moment, Lucky Seven launched a lightning bolt from her body. Knowing very well that no marks were in range and there was no way to aim it, she also knew the electrical charge released by her body would conduct down the watery trail back to its originator. Unfortunately, she did not know that this was the originator's plan. Racing down the flooded path, the surges of electricity ran through the Tentacruel's body before tossing his smoking mass aside. Prior to his departure, a reflective shimmer broke from his skin, sending the voltage, magnified greatly, ripping back down the water, frying Lucky Seven, and blasting her back to the now crumbling Rocket HQ.
Finishing its work on Goopy, allow him to fall limp into a puddle, Jackpot sensed that its would not be able to endure a second attack that devastating. Pulling itself from the mud to a hover, it began twirling, generating electricity. With its ornamental eye aimed at the injured Squishy, he knew he did not possess the strength to get out of the way. And so, lighting the sky, a mighty streak of thunder stroke across the field, clashing with its mark in a blinding burst. Wide eyed, Rei watched as the target, fuming, collapsed into the dampened soil, leaving its attacker in its stead. Smoke rising from it as well, she stepped over the fallen Starmie to embrace Cinder. From his hiding place in the mud, Lucky Seven's spell had unknowingly cured him as well, and, after pilfering a skill observed on Blackjack, he waited for a time in which he would be needed. Overwhelmed by the moment, Rei thought she saw some movement in the corner of her eye but was not sure if it was real. Then, a gleaming ball rocketed towards her with such speed she had not the time to react. Before she could even brace herself for the collision, oddly enough, the Electode was rebounded by an unseen force. Feeling a chill down her spine, she knew who to thank.
Infuriated, Gamble confessed, "I'm impressed you spotted the ace up my sleeve," while gritting his teeth. "Though I don't see how you did that. Nevertheless, it'll serve its purpose. Suicide King," he ordered it, "fold!" Tipping his hat, he disappeared into the shadows. The ball's equatorial line glowing, the two halves of the sphere separated, revealing the complicated inner workings of the living machine overloading. Acting swiftly as possible, Rei ducked for cover as both Cinder and Squishy threw themselves atop her, fabricating mental barriers. Tremoring violently, the mechanism detonated, sending out a devastating shockwave. The combined efforts of the two shells proved futile to the wicked force as both succumbed and combatants inside were subdued. All four of her warriors had been knocked unconscious by the blast if they were not already.
"Well, little lady," Gamble spoke, stepping out from his hiding, "I'm still raising the ante." A sole globe remained circling around his wrist. "Do you see it?" Content with her decision, after throwing out a scatter of objects to reclaim her fallen. Then, choosing the old, dented vessel, she cast it out into the field and waited. And waited.
... and waited.
"Is this some sort of joke?" the Rocket impatiently questioned. "So you've been bluffing? That's too bad, for I," he pulled up the golden sphere for Rei to see, "have a Royal Flush." Severed by rays of light taking form of that of a brawling, horned beast, more fearsome than mammoth. His crushing tail swung ferally about, thrashing the earth rearward. His claws tore into the ground in preparation for his charge at Rei. Not understanding what was keeping her phantom protector, she had only one option left and spilled her last remaining creature onto the field. The orb plopped and sank into the mud, just like her earlier attempt. The Nidoking, already in a mad dash, expected a swift finish, but this was only the beginning.
The path to Rei became impeded as a swell of mud climbed upward. Knocked on his back as the bulge grew beneath his feet, he watched as mire dripped off a series of quills and stout horn. As the rest was washed away by the fading rain, Flush discovered himself face to face with his complete opposite. The heavy matriarch, even with worn visage and hunched stance, still towered over the highly contrasted, more vital buck, yet he still retained a trace of fear, sensing an experienced veteran. Rei knew this was too risky for a monster in her condition and age, but no other options remained. Squandering no time, the Nidoking attacked Behemoth with tooth and nail. With the lone arm she was not standing on, the Nidoqueen fended off everything thrown at her before knocking him back down in a single sweep of her paw. Furiously recoiling to strike back, he became caught in crashing tides brought forth by her. Trusting her hand into the mud, a low rumble rose with her hoarse voice as the earth split open. Large rocks and shards of dirt flowed out of and down the fault as the upheaval bore him far from her. Attempting to move towards her foe, she stumbled foolishly through her perceptionless fog.
"Why don't you save yourself the dignity," Rei suggested, "and stop trying now?" She knew that her poison pin was barely managing as things were and was hoping to coax him, but , upon observing the hulk feeling blindly through the air, he saw right through it.
"No," Gamble boldly declared, "I believe its my turn to be about Fate. Royal Flush, ultimate gamble." Upon the utterance of the secret command, the Nidoking's behavior entirely changed. Calmly, he descended to all fours with his head lowered and remained in concentration for a moment. Hurdling towards Behemoth at great speeds, Rei knew what he was up to and tried calling out to the beast , but she heard worse than she saw. Taking matters into her own hands, Rei would have arrived on time, but the bemired ground made swift movement near impossible. She had not even covered half the distance when it happened. Flush, drawing upon the Nidoqueen, horn twirling, thrust it deep into her chest. The appendage reamed and bored the tunnel wider as blood dripped and splattered across his face. Behemoth and Rei bellowed with great anguish in unison. The mighty giant crashed to the earth, taking the slayer with her, shaking it. The blood poured out thicker as the assailant worked his weapon from the corpse.
Immediately, her blade was pulled from her belt as she stalked the killer. The mud hindered her no more as she plodded straight through. At times before when Rei lost a loved one, she became overburdened with grief and sadness, her mind in a thousand places. This time was different. Her eyes were focused. Her mind was clear. Her thoughts were exact. Her heart was not suffering, for it was on fire. She had even felt guilty for not grieving for her lose more, but hatred had taken her. The spirit of vengeance had been with her too long, and blood had become her way.
Royal Flush brandished his claws, acting menacingly. She only came faster, the fire burning brighter. Ducking under one of his arms, she thrust her father's knife through the underside of the neck. The hide there was thinner than most, and it went straight through to the jugular. As blood sprayed from the wound, she continued on, for the beast was just following orders and was not her concern. As Gamble saw her shadowy figure begin to approach him, pulling out a large staff, he ran fast, faster than he had ever before. This was not good enough to escape. When he was within reach, she swung Flubit's staff at his legs. There was a snap as his brittle bones gave way and he crashed to the earth. As she stood over him with her staff raised high, his eyes gazed up at her, filled with terror. They begged for mercry, begged for forgiveness, but the only thing Rei remembered is the staff falling down upon his body, again and again, until he screamed no more.
Throwing the broken staff aside, she collapsed to her knees where she cried the remainder of the night.