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The revived-fossil Pokémon gorged themselves from the food closet Jane and Flannery had wrenched open. Their strength returned rapidly, even if it would be days before they were fully themselves.
“We’re not finished here yet, so we can’t help you find the exit,” Jane announced. She clenched her fists. “But feel free to cause as much chaos as you like on your way out. They’ve earned it.” Jane walked up to Flannery and Jessie at the feeding heap. With a nod, Flannery recalled Tyrunt, and the two walked up to Jessie, standing by themself in the remains of Tyrunt’s former cell.
Flannery approached Jessie and put an arm on their shoulder. Jessie looked up at her, voice still emotional, and asked, “How did you know what to say?”
“It’s what I wish someone had told me,” Flannery answered, voice likewise turning emotional partway through, “when my parents left.”
Flannery and Jessie hugged. Jane approached her boon companion and put a hand on their waist. Jessie latched around Jane, burying their face in Jane’s shoulder, for a few minutes, as the three held each other. Sylveon joined in, wrapping around them all with her empathic feelers. A few minutes later, the four let go, and Jessie nodded assurance. Jane recalled her Pokémon and the group exited the fossil lab, finding that the more combative revived fossils had already started attacking the staff and guards outside. Meowth needed a bit more encouragement to stop tenderly feeding and petting Amaura.
“Next stop, drill,” Jessie announced, standing next to the glass separating the hall from the helix of Magnemites.
“And I know just how to get there. Macargo, time to move!”
Flannery’s lava snail coalesced from the Pokéball’s energy.
The Lavaridge Gym Leader pointed at the glass wall. “Heat Wave.” Macargo nodded, slid back, and exhaled a blistering wave at the glass. The air rippled with invisible power, pouring into the transparent barrier. Following Flannery’s lead, Jane released Cacturne and Jessie brought forth Dustox. The three continued to assault the thick, reinforced glass with Heat Waves, Energy Balls, and Bug Buzzes. The glass warped and cracked under the strain, shedding bits and spreading spidery fractures with each crash of gathered sunlight, pulse of respired heat, and note of vibrating wings. The Pokémon paused, catching their breath. The glass continued cracking, and with a kick Flannery sent it crashing in a shattered cacophony below. A moment later, the distorted hum of startled Magnemites and roar of surprised Aggrons issued from the opening.
The three humans and their Pokémon peered into the hole, noticing the flamethrowers and similar weapons built into the walls where they weren’t glass. Flannery sighed, “This is a terrible plan.”
“Not as bad as you think,” Jessie intoned, suddenly carrying some of the machinery from the fossil lab. They hurled it into the hole, striking the flamethrowers on the other side and sending debris clattering down to strike other spots along the walls. “If we can figure out a way to descend, we can fight our way down, and they’ll never expect us to go this way.”
Cacturne climbed into the opening, using his Spiky Shield technique to provide pitons and handholds all over his body. Macargo followed, illustrating that her slimy path let her adhere to sheer surfaces. Jessie released Gyarados, mounting the airborne fish-dragon. Jane released Growly, and Flannery approached the great dog. Jane placed Growly’s Pokéball in Flannery’s hand, whispering, “Keep her safe.” Flannery nodded.
Macargo and Cacturne began blasting the other flamethrowers on this level, clearing a path. Jane released Joltik onto her head and put her arms around Cacturne’s neck, careful not to put too much weight on his newly enlarged spines, and directed the humanoid cactus downward. Telling Dustox to follow, Jessie levitated into the hole. Macargo hurled another Heat Wave at a guard coming up the hallway, knocking him off his feet and into a pile of angry revived fossils, before finishing her own entrance. Growly hesitated, waiting for a signal from below.
Inside the tunnel, the Magnemites and Magnetons ignored the intruding humans and Pokémon. Macargo, Joltik, and Dustox blasted any movement on the walls with Heat Waves, Thunderbolts, and Bug Buzzes, exploding numerous flamethrowers and the occasional camera. Macargo noticed that Flannery wasn’t following, and moved up to check on her. Outside, a thickset women clad in green, with a fringed epaulette on one shoulder, strode determinedly toward Flannery, with a scaly, spiky Haxorus on one side of her, the dinosaurian form of a Rhydon on the other, and a bright red Scizor standing in front of her like a humanoid lobster. Growly snarled and assumed a protective posture, but Flannery did not get behind her. Macargo finished re-ascending and took up a similar posture alongside Growly, nodding assent to her trainer. The woman touched her ear, and began speaking.
“Ortolan, Dunkirk here. I found the intruders. You’ll have a hostage soon.”
Dunkirk took one more step forward, and Growly leapt across the hall with a roar, crashing the Rhydon into the floor and thrashing furiously with teeth and claws. Dunkirk ignored the attack and kept walking, her Haxorus and Scizor keeping pace. Macargo moved forward and attacked them with Heat Wave, forcing both Pokémon back but not slowing Dunkirk. Behind, Rhydon tried to finish Growly with a Horn Drill, but instead got kicked in the head so hard that it tore up the floor as it skidded into the next wall and lay still. Growly’s Outrage continued as the giant canine bounded into Haxorus, slamming the dragon Pokémon into the reinforced glass. Haxorus’s spikes broke straight through, extending the cracks that already radiated out of the opening Flannery and her allies had carved. Macargo blasted Dunkirk and her Scizor with another heat wave as they approached, overheating the Scizor to unconsciousness mid-lunge. Dunkirk continued her advance, and Flannery stepped back, her heel touching the remains of the glass wall.
Haxorus, claws aglow with draconic fire, clenched into Growly’s body and hurled the Arcanine into Macargo, sending both Pokémon tumbling down the hall. Dunkirk seized Flannery by the neck and lifted her off the ground. Flannery took her last two Pokéballs off of her belt, but Dunkirk struck her hand, tossing both balls down the Magnemite shaft. Dunkirk took another step forward, suspending Flannery over the seemingly bottomless drop. The room shook violently, as Haxorus dug its limbs into the ground and raised an Earthquake that knocked the fight out of Macargo and Growly and sent more fragments tumbling into the dark. Both Pokémon collapsed, and Haxorus stomped triumphantly to its trainer.
“Any last words, shame of Lavaridge?” Dunkirk sneered venomously.
“Yeah,” Flannery coughed out, “Do you believe in ghosts?”
Pangoro charged at Lucario, and the Pokémon and its trainer alike dodged nimbly. Lucario’s leap placed it directly in the path of the gout of scalding water Milotic launched from her tail, blasting Lucario into the room’s wall. Elvis and Lizabeth summoned Swadloon and Gorebyss, the latter helping lift the dense metallic creature, the former joining Marciela in cutting through the wires. Lucario lunged at Milotic, latching on to the flailing sea serpent and launching an Aura Sphere directly into her back. She crashed into the computer banks against the walls, crushing “magnemite turbine” and “assembly plain” as she twitched back to uprightness. Lucario smiled in satisfaction and was promptly battered out the door and into its trainer’s stomach by a Hammer Arm. Lucario stood and immediately fell over, and the guard recalled it and fled.
Gorebyss finally succeeded in lifting Bronzong upright once the two bugs chopped all of the wires off of their body. The giant bell groaned, edging into consciousness as Elvis and Lizabeth cleared the bits of wire and adhesive from their surface. Lizabeth began singing to it in a language Lucy didn’t know that Elvis found hauntingly familiar. As the ethereal melody rose and fell, Bronzong lifted their arm unsteadily and put it on Lizabeth’s shoulder.
After returning to the present, Elvis began speaking to Bronzong, “You’ve been trapped for a long time. Ortolan locked you in that sphere and tortured you. But we’re getting you out now.”
Bronzong rose shakily into the air, their eyes opening, and seemed to arrange the line pattern on their face into a smile. They turned to Lizabeth and clanged once, punctuating the crescendo of her song.
“You want to come with me?” Lizabeth asked. Bronzong sank and rose, as if to nod. Lizabeth produced a Pokéball, which Bronzong accepted. As the exhausted metal Pokémon dissolved into energy and entered the ball, pandemonium erupted outside. Aggrons, Lucarios, Bastiodons, Durants, and other steel-type Pokémon rushed around frantically, attacking every guard and scientist they saw, ripping doors from their hinges, and otherwise working out their will on their hideous situation. Ortolan’s hold on them was indeed broken.