LOVE AND SACRIFICE

Love and Sacrifice: Time for a little planning

Blade gently put the phone down, a concerned look on his face. Merideth had just informed him that Swift was warming up a little, which was, he supposed, a good thing, but still. After the war, fine, she could fall in love with a dragonite for all he cared, but at this time...

He was one to talk about forbidden love. It was not like he did not harbor his own little crush, but he had resolved to keep it to himself. He would get over it eventually anyway; it was just a passing thing, nothing to worry about. At least, that was what he told himself.

"How's my favorite little brother doing?" A pair of arms snaked around his neck, hugging him while at the same time play-strangling him.

"Your only little brother," Blade corrected, disentangling her from his neck. "What're you doing down here Elena?"

"Visiting my brother! Why, the little soldier too high and mighty for his sisters now?" She mock punched him in the shoulder, then sat down on his bed. "Gonna eat dinner with the family tonight?"

Blade narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Eat dinner with the family? Are you crazy? You know Father doesn't like me being in the actual mansion. He doesn't want anyone finding out what I am. He thinks it'd be a disgrace to the family that their only son was the result of a genetic experiment!"

"I know, but he's not home!"

"Sorry sis."

She got up, ruffling his hair again. She had expected his refusal, but it had been worth asking. "Take care little brother! You've got another little mission soon, right? Oh!" Remembering something, she dug a hand into her pocket and handed him a key. "I found the key to the Professor's file room. There might be something there you could use."

"Thanks Elena." He took the key and placed it in one of his drawers. "Did I ever tell you that you were my favorite sister?"

"Save it for the younger ones Blade. I'm immune to your flattery." She grinned, then left his room.

Blade sat back down on his bed, wondering what the other hybrids were doing, what Donari was doing, what his father was doing. He was not feeling right just lying around all day; that was not what he was made for. He was supposed to be finding a way to get rid of Zentai and Team Rocket's demon spawn, Sai! Nothing was being accomplished during this down time except that Zentai kept finding more and more ways to side with the world.

Picking up his phone again, Blade decided to call Xeth, Tevix, and Kenji.

"Tevix, pick up the phone!" Xeth yelled from the kitchen after hastily swallowing whatever he had been eating.

"I'm busy!" Tevix yelled back. "Kenji, you get the phone!"

The arasian boy balled his hands into fists, counting to ten before relaxing his hands and walking over to the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi Kenji! It's Blade."

"Hi." Kenji looked over his shoulder and noticed Xeth rummaging through the fridge. "Out of the fridge! Just wait for ten more minutes!"

"But it's taking forever!" The fire hybrid complained, sitting back down by the table.

"Making dinner again?" Blade asked.

"On condition that they stay out of my quarters and give me at least two hours of quiet time, yes." Kenji sighed. "You obviously didn't call to hear about that. Plans for our next attack?"

Upon hearing that, Xeth's ears perked up, and he ran over to the phone, pressing the speaker-phone button. "Hey Blade!"

"Am I on Speaker?"

"What's this about an attack? Wouldn't that be endangering the people? Zentai might target another area."

Kenji shook his head. "I think we need to let the people know that there are people who are still rebelling against Zentai. Plus, if we attack an airport, then while they're being distracted, we can get Xeth and Tevix into jets and send them back where they came from."

"Tired of our company?" Xeth asked in a playfully hurt tone.

"And your constant whining! At least when Devin was here she knew how to keep you occupied." Kenji snorted, folding his arms across his chest. "Sound like a plan, Blade?"

"A perfect plan. And they could arrange to pick up Merideth. I can contact some of the others. I think they would like to arrange similar attacks. Since we're all currently stuck in Arasia and Eurel, it shouldn't be too hard to get us into groups to attack certain ports."

"Great! Time to get back into action! Talk to ya later Blade! I'll get Tevix to do some research on a good day for us to attack."

"Thanks Xeth. Till next time." Blade hung up.

"Hey, Kenji? Is it just me, or is the lid on the pot starting to rise?"

"What?" Kenji turned to look at the stove, and hurriedly turned the cooker off. He cursed, lifting the lid and stirring it.

"Is it done?" Xeth inquired hopefully, sitting back at the table. "I'm quite a bit hungry."

"But you just ate!"

"I'm a growing hybrid. I may be shorter than you, and some of the others, but I'm still growing. Plus, creating flames takes up a lot of fuel; I need to eat a lot." Patting his stomach, he stretched, then looked at Kenji with wide, red eyes. "So, is it done?"

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Love and Sacrifice: No one likes a whiner

Vair sat high in a tree, happily soaking in the sun's rays. She was thriving in this free state where she was allowed to be on surface whenever she felt like it. No more living off of fake mineral supplements and fake sun rays; she was getting the real thing now.

"Vair, don't you think you've been up there long enough?" Aita asked, walking up to the tree. The effect of the heat on the ice hybrid could be plainly seen through the way her tail drooped. Her pale, blue skin was flushed, and her movements listless.

"You'd never survive where I come from." Vair lowered herself down on her vines. "Can't you cool yourself off with an ice attack or something?"

"I could, but I was just practicing in the gym. I'm a little 'attacked-out'." She sighed, looking at the small fan she held disdainfully. "We can splice the genes of a human and a pokemon, but we can't create hand-held fans that actually works."

"Stop complaining," Vair said, her voice dangerously calm. She had put up with Aita's pessimism only because she had been nice enough to let her stay at her base, however, familiarity bred contempt.

"Why should I?" The ice hybrid snapped back.

"You think you're the only one who's just a bit agitated right now?" Vair grabbed Aita by the shoulders and shook her hard. "We're all like this! Me, you, the other hybrids, the people who worked for our little groups, the ones who have been able to see past Zentai! We're all on edge, so stop being so selfish and get over it!" She let go, then turned her back and started to walk away. "Swift contacted me a little while ago by pidgey and told me that the hybrids that didn't originate from Arasia and Eurel are planning attacks to go home."

"But what if Zentai targets another area?" Aita asked, rubbing her shoulders gingerly.

"They won't. Devin's infiltrated a base and is working there undercover. He says that the last time was a mistake, and that Yiana will not allow Lt. Haris to do something like that again." She sighed. "The best we can do right now is try and find out what's going on within the continent. Swift and Blade are going to team up and scout eastern areas of Eurel for terrorist groups." She turned her head slightly so that she could see Aita out of the corner of an eye. "I suggest we do the same thing with the western areas." Without waiting for Aita to reply, she disappeared into the trees to the entrance to the base.

At first, Aita considered calling out after Vair, but decided against it. Sitting down by the tree, she sighed, throwing her fan away. She had not been that irritating, had she? No, she could not have been. She snorted softly. Just like Vair had said, they were all on an edge. The ice hybrid had just been unfortunately enough to be the one to get past Vair's illusion of calm.

Aita got up, brushing off her tail and her shorts. /Maybe I should apologize... I didn't do much wrong, but it would be a nice gesture. Yes, I'll apologize, and then maybe we can start planning our attack.../

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Love and Sacrifice: Returning Home

/Keep the casualties low, keep the casualties low... Just want to get them home, just want to let Zentai and Sai know that there are still people out there who defy them. Those soldiers have lives, each one of them has a family, and friends. They're just mis-lead souls.../ Blade climbed onto his steelix and strapped himself onto it. "Ready?"

"Steel."

"Okay, let's go!" Lying flat against the steelix, he braced himself as the huge pokemon leapt into the air and dived down into the ground, tunneling through the soft dirt on its way to the base that they were going to. He would meet up with Xeth and Tevix near the base, they would attack briefly, Xeth and Tevix would steal a jet or two, they would fly over to Eurel, get Merideth, and then be off to Corse! That same day, Erian and Jorvis would be heading back to Farica from the same base that Hali and Kaor would be leaving for Jarlis from. All the non Eurelian and Arasian hybrids would be returning home.

Emerging from the ground, Blade shook his head, trying to get rid of some of the dirt that now covered him. If there was a faster and neater way to travel by steelix, he would immediately learn how to do so, but for now, he would have to deal with tunneling through the ground.

Squinting, he spotted Xeth and Tevix waiting for him by a tree. Xeth was perched upon his black Rapidash, with his charizard of the same color sitting patiently beside him. Tevix, on the other hand, was floating around aimlessly with his Gengar. As Blade glided up to them on his steelix, they spotted him and waved enthusiastically.

"Hey Blade!" Xeth called out in a loud whisper, grinning. "Ready to send us two troublemakers home, huh? Kenji was beside himself with joy when we left!"

"Oh really?" Blade allowed himself to smile. He knew the two Corsens were fond of Kenji. They just had strange ways of showing it.

"Well, you can't really blame him," Tevix said. "We did our best to annoy him." He looked at his watch, then wiped the smile off his own face. "Time to do some damage."

"But keep the casualties low! These are real people, and Zentai soldiers or not, we must realize that taking a life, any life, is a serious matter." Blade patted his pokemon, reminding it about the new tactics they would be going through of trying to take out pokemon without killing them.

"We know," Xeth said, gently kicking his rapidash's side, urging it to get moving. "Ready then? Charge!"

They all rushed towards the base, crashing in recklessly, and taking the soldiers by complete surprise. Immediately, Tevix and his gengar faded out, making their way to where they kept the jets, and Xeth and Blade did their best to keep the attention of the soldiers that had immediately rushed from their posts to try and ward them off. Knowing that they had little time before the rest of the base was roused, they had to hope that Tevix was quick in finding a suitable jet.

Blade was only grateful that this was not the kind of attack that he had to do on his own, which usually meant seriously wounding or killing someone, for all of his attacks involved fatal, or near fatal wounds. Although he had never told his Professor, or anyone, he always felt a surge of pain whenever he injured someone, as if he shared what they felt when his blades came in contact with their blood, and when he killed them. At times, he experienced a very brief, yet excruciatingly painful black-out. Even on his steelix, he still got occasional occurrences of those curious little black outs, but he had long since learnt to cope with them, and had decided that they were nothing to worry about. So long as he was on his steelix, at least.

His Comm unit flashed on, and his sister Elena appeared on the screen.

"Hey, lil'bro, you might want to check out this broadcast," she said before disappearing, only to be replaced by a news broadcast.

/Is that... us?/ He squinted at the screen, and realized that that was, indeed, him and Xeth attacking the base. The voiceover of the newsperson was talking about how they were terrorists trying to bring about a war despite Zentai's efforts of peace...

Xeth let out a stream of curses as he spontaneously launched a stream of fireballs at some of the soldiers' pokemon. "Are you listening to this, Blade?" He called out to the steel hybrid. "They're using this against us!"

Blade, equally upset, only nodded. They were turning the people against them... Not that they had not done it already, but on international TV, on the news? No, this was more serious than what they had been doing before! Grinding his teeth together, he shook his head, clearing the angry thoughts from his mind. Right now, he had to concentrate on getting Tevix and Xeth back to Corse.

Xeth's Charizard lifted into the air, the sign that Tevix was on his way with the jet. Waving at Xeth, Blade let him know that he was ready. The fire hybrid recalled his rapidash, then ran behind the steelix where his charizard landing briefly enough for him to climb on top of it and fly off to where Tevix was.

"Bye Xeth!" He yelled out, before commanding steelix to knock out one last pokemon before fleeing the base and tunneling back home. The attack had been short, with very few, if any, casualties. If only all missions were like that...

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*** Love and Sacrifice: Psychic Partners

Siana furrowed her brows worriedly, glancing at Psyris with her blind golden eyes. "Psyris, there's no way we can win this war. Yiana Naventa..." She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "Yiana Naventa is a mastermind! She knows what people want; she knows how to manipulate them to serve her needs." She pointed to the TV screen they had been watching. "Look! See how she uses us to make her seem like the good guy? She's done it before, she's doing it again, and she will continue to do it until she has the people's minds warped into thinking she's the greatest thing that's ever happened to the world!" Normally, Siana did not blatantly display her emotions, but around Psyris, she felt free to let down most of her mental shields, and express what she thought and felt.

/Hush my half-cousin,/ the legendary pokemon replied, swinging his great head around to look at her, then nuzzling her cheek gently. /Yiana might be out of our way soon./

"Why do you say that?"

/Yiana has a brilliant mind, yes, and she is probably psychic, whether she knows it or not. But she has strong morals-/

"Her? Morals?"

/Yes. She has strong morals and principles. She is not the kind to stab you in the back. She would rather tap your shoulder, give you a chance to defend yourself, and *then* kill you. She does not like these 'pokÚdoll' creatures that Sai has come up with, but there is nothing she can do about it. I would not be surprised if she gave up her position, or rebelled against Sai. While she strives for some sort of world domination, she will not stand for achieving it with foul play. To her, battle is glorious, and somehow right for it is in human and pokemon nature to fight, but only when fought between people and pokemon, and fairly. Not between humans and mechanical creatures with unfair advantages./

Siana nodded, thinking this over. Why had she never seen this side of her enemy?

/Because you saw what she did, not how or why,/ The lugia interrupted, obviously having read her thoughts. /Three you should start investigating are Reix, Demis, and Haris. They're all key players, though each of them are not all extremely loyal to Sai or Zentai. Reix seems to be biding his time for something, Demis hates war, and I think she actually might have quit Zentai recently; we'll have to look into that. Haris.../ The lugia sighed. /He's in love with Yiana, and she knows it, but he has a feeling that she and Reix are an item. A jealous man is a dangerous man, so is one fighting for his love. While we're at it, we might as well do a quick mind-sweep of some of the soldiers and pokemon, see where they stand./

The psychic hybrid sighed, leaning against the pokemon and draping an arm around his long neck, an unusual display of affection from one with psychic abilities, as usually they avoided physical contact. "Psyris, what would I be doing without you?"

/No idea, but while you're with me, could you scratch my neck? Yeah, right there./ The pokemon let out a satisfied 'Gia...', then turned to look at her with a grin. /Without you, I'd have an itchy neck./

She rolled her eyes, as much as it could be said that she did, for no one really knew where she was looking at any time. "Enough play. Let's get to work! We need to decide how we're going to establish mind contact from such a far distance away, and we also need to consider that they may be latent hybrids..."

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Love and Sacrifice(v3): Step-down

"-And now, I present the leader of Zentai, Yiana Naventa!" The speaker stepped aside to allow the black haired young woman to step up.

She looked around, analyzing the looks on everyone's faces before speaking in her normal tone, calm, collected, but authoritative. "I no longer wish to be the leader of Zentai, for I do not like the turn that it and Team Rocket are taking. War is something that humans and pokemon are born to do. Fighting is in our blood, and we've shown that throughout history. However, I do not stand for the idea of pokÚdolls. They take away the glory of battle." Again, she scanned the expressions of the people before her, taking note of those that seemed to agree with her, and those that did not. If Yiana's speech was effective, she would not be the only one leaving Zentai that day.

Shocked, Duke Dylan, leader of Team Rocket, and Yiana's much detested uncle, immediately called on some guards to arrest Yiana. "How dare you quit!"

She did not speak, looking at him with contempt in her eyes.

"I'll...!" For a moment, he seemed as if he was going to threaten her, or hit her, but instead, he realized that they had an audience, and that that was not the best way to go. Instead, he simply let two of the soldiers lead her away at gunpoint and lock her away in the cells below.

Yiana, however, was not to remain captive for long.

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Love and Sacrifice: Act 3 Begins.

Tucking a stray lock of blonde hair behind an ear, Haris looked around with his blue eyes, checking to see if there were any guards left. When he was satisfied that the area was clear, he signaled to his houndoom to follow him.

The black and brown furred pokemon walked up, looking around with its red eyes, then delicately sniffing the air. Deciding that the human was right that there were no live humans left, it padded after him, its devil tail swishing noiselessly.

There were few people down in the cells, and they watched Haris go by wistfully, wishing that they too would be released. But he was only there to get one person, and that person was the former leader of Zentai.

During the day, after she had stepped down, Haris had slipped into the soldier's barracks and done a little spying, seeking out those soldiers that agreed with Yiana's views on the war. It had not been hard for him to convince those soldiers to leave Team Rocket. They had managed to over throw the Kaitan Alliance, what was Team Rocket after that? So what if it was the oldest surviving 'gang' in the world. Any organization could be easily gotten rid of, and they had the professors that had overseen the creation of the hybrids, which were, essentially, works of art, each one created from carefully selected human and pokemon stock, carried to term through one of their human or pokemon parents, and raised in controlled environments to bring them up to be the perfect soldiers they were.

Those professors were noted for many other things, as well. Pokemon that had very human minds, and despite their inability to learn human speech, were valuable allies both in the battle field and in the lab. Special pokeballs that were of much more convenient sizes, and could be concealed as everyday items. Never seen, but greatly discussed, was the legendary 'Zero System'. It was a computer chip that was implanted into small devices placed in both a pokemon and human's ears. With matching sets, the human and pokemon functioned as one, and were a formidable team, more effective than even a psychic team that could telepathically communicate. Although rumored to work, the Zero System was thought too dangerous to ever be created, and the files for it were missing.

Haris hoped that somehow, one of the Professors might remember how to re-create the system, or maybe know where it was. With that, defeating Team Rocket would be easy... Not to mention that getting the public to side with them was a simple task. Team Rocket was long known for its ruthlessness. All they had to do would be to show the people exactly what Team Rocket had been doing, and they were on top of the world again.

The houndoom stopped suddenly and started growling softly. Turning quickly, Haris drew his gun and aimed, his finger poised on the trigger, ready to fire. Yet instead of a guard, it was a young green-eyed brown haired soldier of about seventeen or eighteen. A pretty normal looking boy, and one he had talked to earlier about siding with Yiana against Team Rocket.

"What are you doing down here?" He demanded, lowering his gun, though holding it ready incase this was a trap.

The boy raised his hands, showing that he meant no harm. "I just thought you might need some help. That's all," he replied innocently.

Suspiciously, Haris frowned, but decided that he was safe with his houndoom and his gun. What could the boy do to him? Despite the fact that in terms of age, he was only a year or two older, he was still more physically able to overtake the boy.

Having reached Yiana's cell, he regarded her sleeping form briefly, a slight smile creeping onto his lips before he started to pick the lock, for the keys to the cells were kept not with the guards, but with Duke Dylan himself, and there was no way he could have gotten them soon enough.

Unseen to Haris, the young boy bent over slightly and held his hand out to the houndoom. The pokemon sniffed it, before wagging its tail a little, and licking the offered hand. Grinning, he slipped a treat to the pokemon, glad that it was smart enough to recognize him as pokemon, and harmless enough to be trusted. He wiped the grin off his face immediately, however, for he did not want Haris to suspect anything.

The Colonel slipped into the shell and tapped Yiana's shoulder lightly. Immediately, her sharp green eyes flew open, and she regarded Haris with a slight pleased smile. Sitting up quickly, she smoothed down her outfit and stood, speaking quietly. "Have you found soldiers willing to leave?"

"Many. One of them followed me down here, your excellency."

"Which one?"

Haris frowned again, but this time in thought. "Nevid, Chris Nevid."

"New?" She asked, for the name was relatively unfamiliar, and she knew the names of all her Elite Soldiers, and the pokemon.

"Yes, a recent recruit, but a very skilled one. Gets along very well with pokemon," he answered.

"That's a useful skill." She exited the cell, Haris behind her. "I see you brought Lucifer."

The houndoom snapped to attention at the sound of its name, tilting its head to one side slightly.

"Good pokemon. Very obedient." She scratched it behind its ear softly, a new smile forming on her lips as it crooned quietly. "Come, we must leave soon, before Team Rocket realizes something's up. I've already got our actions planned, and this is what we must do..."

Falling into step behind then, Chris Nevid, or rather, Devin the normal hybrid, smiled privately to himself, or rather, itself. The disguise was working, and he was getting some valuable information that he was going to have to relay to the other hybrids quickly. Although he was pleased with himself for his accomplishment, he was also worried... The war was taking a turn for the worse. Instead of two sides, there would be three. Team Rocket, Former Zentai soldiers, and the hybrids... Where the rest of the world stood, he had no idea.

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Love and Sacrifice: What's going on?

------ Next Day ------

Donari woke up to the sounds of frantic arguing and people running around. Alarmed, for normally their little 'base' was relatively peacefully and quiet in the morning, she sat up and slid out of bed hurriedly.

"Persian!" Love hissed, claws un-sheathed and fur raised. The cat-pokemon was at the young teen's door, by the side of the large Charizard, Sacrifice, who was waiting patiently for Donari to wake up.

"Charizard, char char," the pokemon spoke, scooping up the smaller pokemon with one hand, then walking over to Donari. "Zard!"

"What's going on?"

Sighing, the pokemon shook its head, and with its free hand, dragged Donari out of her bed and to her dresser, where it saw to her getting dressed as quickly as possible. Then, it all but pushed her out of the room and down the stairs to the common room, where Leah and the other 'Resistance' members who lived with her were.

"Donari! I'm glad you're up!" Leah exclaimed, rushing over to the girl.

"What's going on? What's with all the noise?" She asked, watching Sacrifice and Love settle in a corner where they could watch the T.V. undisturbed. "Has something happened to Team Rocket? Or... the hybrids?"

"No one knows." Leah sighed, a frown fixed on her young face. "About three fourths of all the Zentai soldiers worldwide seem to have disappeared. No one knows where they are, but it's rumored that yesterday Yiana Naventa stepped down, and was arrested, but at night, she was broken free and fled, along with every single Zentai soldier worldwide that was loyal to her."

"But... That's like the whole of Team Rocket's Elite soldiers! They'll have nothing left but a few leftover soldiers, and those that weren't good enough to make it into Zentai." Donari frown, very confused by this turn of events.

"Exactly. That way they could be in complete power of the world just by defeating Team Rocket." Leah grabbed her charge's hand and lead her over to the T.V. where they settled on an empty couch near Donari's pokemon. "All I can say now, though, is that the war is truly beginning..."

All Donari could do was nod and watch the TV as they flipped through the News Stations. The world was being divided yet again, and this time, into many, countless parts. The renegade Zentai soldiers had taken over many bases, or erected their own pseudo bases overnight all over the world, and Team Rocket was allegedly getting ready to try and stage attacks against them. Meanwhile, there were countries that were taking advantage of the situation by either deciding to take in Team Rocket or The 'Yiana-Faction', and hope that they would protect them, or declaring themselves independent and gathering their own little armies to defend themselves.

All Donari could wonder was where were they in all this? Stuck on their little hidden island, outlaws wanted by either Zentai or Team Rocket, or just people who could not deal with what was going on in the world. Where did they stand? And what about the hybrids? Last she had heard from Blade they had split up back to their old bases, hoping to try and build up some sort of force against Zentai, but now, in all this chaos, what were they doing? What could they do?

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