"Yep" the Gallade answered, taking a few steps to his right.
"... You? Volunteering to fight?" Pikablu asked again, shocked at what he was hearing.
"Yeah, I just gotta... Hmm..." the Gallade mumbled as he circled Kabuta's defeated form on the ground, his eyes never leaving Lucario.
"You know they're over there, right?" Pikablu said mockingly, confused over the Gallade's sidestepping.
"... Perfect!" the Gallade suddenly exclaimed, instantly crouching over and placing a strange rectangular object on the ground. He angled it so that it was facing Lucario, who tensed up and got ready to jump out of the way in case it launched an attack at him.
"Wait..." Pikablu muttered as he finally realized what the strange object was, "What the hell... You're actually going to film this!?"
"Hey, my fans are going to wonder what I've been up to all this time..." the Gallade replied smugly while standing up and shrugging, "Besides, I don't have anything else to update the blog with. This'll be new."
Lucario immediately decided that this Gallade was the least intimidating Pokémon he had met so far, ending up somewhere beneath the Piplup, the Eevee and the purple ball with legs.
"Yo, is this guy for real!?" Lucario yelled at Pikablu who put a paw to his face in shame. For an instant, he wished the Lucario the best of luck in the approaching battle.
"If we make it into a movie, I'll make sure to cut you two in on it!" the Gallade said cheerfully before pointing at Lucario, "In your case, you'll need it to pay your hospital bill!"
"You goddamn..." Pikablu groaned to himself and looked at the frozen expression on Kabuta's face, "... What happened to saving Kabuta?"
"I'm doing better than that!" the Gallade said, "I'm saving her, AND making her famous at the same time!"
"FUCKING ASSHOLE!" Kabuta roared angrily from underneath Lucario, "STOP DICKING AROUND!"
"... That's an M rating, right there..." the Gallade mumbled to himself disappointedly, "Oh well, maybe I'll ask the gals to edit it out... Add some music... Effects..."
"... There's no way he's for real, right?" Lucario asked Kabuta, but she was too filled with rage to pay him any notice.
"Lucario!" the Gallade suddenly shouted, pointing accusingly at him, "Even though you are of the wilderness, let us have a gentleman's duel! Let go of your hostage!"
"Hostage...?" Lucario repeated slowly as the Kabutops he was lying on top of calmed down a bit, "Sure... But cut me on the way up, and you'll regret it." Lucario quickly realized that she every intention of doing so as she started struggling again, and spent no time dawdling as he leaped off Kabuta's back, landing a few feet behind her. She instantly sprung up to her feet, shaking from indignation.
Sensing a killing intent unlike anything before, Lucario decided to try to cool her down.
"Oh..." Lucario said as the rocky beast turned around and faced him with an angry glare, "Sorry 'bout the stalagmites thing. Up close, you're actually pretty cool."
"YOU B...!" Kabuta started, but stopped herself as she realized what he had just said, "Uh... What?"
"Well... At least compared to that guy" Lucario continued with a snicker, nodding his head towards the Gallade.
"Step back, Kabuta!" the Gallade yelled triumphantly with the most heroic stance he could muster, "Leave this scoundrel to me!"
Kabuta looked back at the Gallade, before looking at Lucario again. For some reason, she found herself speechless.
"Come on, let 'em do what they want..." Pikablu suddenly said, making her vision snap back to him.
"... Y-Yeah..." she stammered before heading back to Pikablu, who was taken by surprise with her odd behavior.
"Psst! Take care of the camera if it tips over!" the Gallade whispered happily as Kabuta ran past him.
"Let me save you the effort" Lucario said loudly to the Gallade with a crack of his neck, "Unless the title 'My apocalyptic beatdown at the hands of a Lucario' sounds good to you, this recording isn't going to do you much!"
Zerobi, Pikablu and Kabuta stepped back as a battle seemed inevitable. The two fighters stared angrily at each other, both wearing sinister smiles on their faces.
"Heh... To be frank, this battle has already been decided" the Gallade said confidently, "I have the ability to measure a Pokémon's strength, and... Well, yours is not enough to defeat me."
"Oh really?" Lucario asked mockingly, "I can sense your aura, and I'd say we're about even. Nice bluff, though."
"No, what I mean is..." the Gallade explained before taking on a surprised face, "... Wait, you can measure strength, too? Anyway, what I mean is that even if our power is the same, you cannot measure skill."
"... Which gives me the edge, wouldn't you say?" Lucario kept going, striking a fighting pose as he felt like the battle could start at any moment.
"Heheh... Underestimating me? Aren't you a confident one?" the Gallade snickered as his oddly shaped arms suddenly started glowing with a white aura, "Worry not, I am a purveyor of beauty. My attacks will hurt, but they will not alter your appearance."
"Uh... What's up with your arms?" Lucario asked while getting an eerie sensation, "Hey, I thought we were going to do hand-to-hand combat!"
"... Hand-to-hand, eh? Tell you what..." the Gallade continued, the glow on his long arms changing their color to yellow, "I'll let you throw the first punch. Come on, give it your best shot!"
In an instant Lucario closed the distance between them and attacked, the Gallade nimbly avoiding the punch by twisting his head to the side. Another punch quickly followed as the Gallade leaned back gracefully to avoid it. Relentless in his assault, Lucario struck once more, but his blow was parried by the Gallade's right hand. A light tingling sensation came from his arm as Lucario threw himself forward, headbutting the Gallade in the chest and making him quickly jump back
"Ah!" the Gallade coughed as minute pain spread through his chest, "S-Such a brutal way of fighting!"
"... You said that you cannot measure skill" Lucario said slowly while striking a new fighting pose, "Guess what? I've already measured yours, and I suggest that you give up."
"Y-You're a lot better than I'd have thought..." the Gallade stuttered slightly while still smiling, "And here I had you pegged as a simple brute!"
The Gallade wouldn't show it, but his confidence was starting to wane. Unlike his companions, he had never been a fan of fighting; only resorting to it when he had to or was sure to win easily. It was not that he wasn't a man of action, but more that he wished to preserve his appearance.
Before he evolved into a Gallade, he effectively had no face. Growing up as a Ralts was tough, his identity covered up by a helmet-like hair which made people mistake him for someone else all the time. Transforming into a Kirlia did little to improve his situation, as everyone he met thought he was a girl. When at long last he became a Gallade, he wasted no time flaunting his newfound form to everyone, finally having received an appearance and realized with great shock that he was in fact... Beautiful!
"My face... Is who I am..." the Gallade said shakily, his determination returning, "Will you please stop aiming at it!?"
"I'm not going to lose in hand-to-hand combat" Lucario said with equal determination, feeling his body heat up from the battle.
"Quit playing around, or you're going to lose!" Pikablu yelled to the Gallade, before seeing the Weavile behind them and suddenly remembering his important thoughts from earlier.
"Oh yeah? Well then, feast your eyes on this!" the Gallade said sharply before shouting, "À la seconde, tension!"
The Gallade's arms received a strong yellow glow as he approached Lucario with long, elegant steps. Before reaching him, the Gallade spun around quickly with his arms outstretched to increase the velocity of his strike, but Lucario ducked in order to avoid it. He prepared an uppercut as a counter as the Gallade suddenly spun even faster than before, his arms coming around too quickly and hitting Lucario in the head. The blow was fairly weak, but a strange electrical sensation grabbed a hold of his head while the Gallade continued spinning around and pummeled his head with attack after attack.
With the paralysis slowing down his senses, it took Lucario great effort to hold up his arms in defense. The Gallade kept spinning, and with each blow Lucario felt his arms becoming crippled as well. He raised a leg clumsily in order to kick the Gallade, but the constant onslaught proved to be too much as he stumbled backwards.
"That's it! Time for an electrifying Fish Dive!" the Gallade shouted as he leaped forward, grabbing a hold around the stunned Lucario's waist. Using all his might, he lifted him up into the air, before large streams of electricity ran through his glowing arms into Lucario's body. Lucario shouted as his body shimmered from the heavy voltage, the sensation reminding him of his encounter with Raikou. The pain was far weaker compared to back then, which was because the shocks were not as powerful, and also because he had not already been damaged from using the...
An odd sensation suddenly crawled through Lucario, and he was unable to stop himself because of the paralysis. His right arm instantly caught fire, cutting through the yellow glow of the Gallade's arm with a deep blue color. The two of them screamed out in pain, the Gallade letting go of Lucario and stumbling back.
"AAARGH! YOU ASSHOLE!" the Gallade howled as he crouched down, clutching his arm. With a panicked stare he looked down at his arm, fearing the worst from the amount of pain he was feeling. Much to his relief, his arm looked completely fine instead of being horribly mutilated.
"... What... can I say...?" Lucario said weakly, unintentionally synchronizing his movement with his opponent, "Play with fire... You get burned..."
"Heh... Fire?" the Gallade mumbled sinisterly, "Thanks for reminding me. Lucario are weak against fire, right?"
"He's right!" Zerobi suddenly shouted from behind Lucario, "Lucario, watch it!"
"Stay out of this, Zerobi..." Lucario replied before standing up and looking directly at the Gallade, "You're skilled, but brittle. Let's see how roundhouse kicks to the face you can take!"
"Yikes! So much for a gentleman's duel!" the Gallade exclaimed in a shocked tone, "Fine! Let's do it for real!"
The glow around the Gallade's arms dissipated, while the aching in Lucario's arm also begun to go down. He wondered what was going to happen next - Anticipating the Gallade in close combat was difficult because of all his strange movements, and the paralyzing glow around his arms made blocking a bad idea. Instead, Lucario focused his eyes onto his opponent and prepared himself to dodge the next attack, whatever it was.
His plan backfired. The attack struck him without the Gallade showing any sign of movement. A crushing sensation immediately enveloped Lucario, as if his every pore was contracting. While it hurt, it was nothing compared to the aura his arm had endured or even the thunder strike from earlier. Lucario hunched forward a bit, and merely growled as a response as he tried to find out what was hurting him. However, as suddenly as it had started, it simply stopped.
"... Eh!? My Psychic attack did-" the Gallade started before stopping himself as Lucario came running at him. He began charging up his fire punch, but was unable to complete it in time as Lucario was upon him. Twisting around he managed to avoid a few of Lucario's punches, but finally got hit in the stomach.
The Gallade bent over with a cough, and Lucario saw his chance. He put all his strength into a roundhouse kick, aimed at the vulnerable face of his opponent. The Gallade gave off a terrified meep as he saw the strong leg approaching, and Lucario yelled out in pain as he felt his foot connect with something unexpectedly hard. It had stopped right in front of the Gallade's terrified face, a pink barrier having appeared between them.
"Not the face, dude!" the Gallade said out loud as his confidence returned, and clamped his strange arms around Lucario's outstretched leg.
"Shocking pirouette!" the Gallade exclaimed in utter glee as he started spinning around again. As his arms were effectively locked around Lucario's leg, he had no choice but to follow as he was being spun around the Gallade like a ragdoll.
"WaaAAaaAAhh!" Lucario shouted as the Gallade's arms once again started glowing yellow, and he felt a large amount of voltage creeping up his leg. The shouts turned into screams, the Gallade increasing the electrical output. To the others, it was as if a large electrical tornado had been created, everyone on the sidelines having an impressed look on their faces... Except for Pikablu.
"YOU READY!?" the Gallade suddenly yelled, making Kabuta look directly at Pikablu as she knew what was coming next.
"Uh... No" Pikablu responded, scratching his head.
"... WHAT!?" the Gallade shouted, trying to shout down Lucario's terrified howls.
"I've got something I want to ask him" Pikablu said calmly, "Put him down, or something."
"NO! LE GRAND FINALÈ!" the Gallade kept shouting, sounding more and more annoyed as his arms were starting to tire, "COME ON!"
Feeling everyone's eyes gaze upon his beautiful performance, as well as remembering the camera's unending stare, he simply could not let such a magnificent ending pass by. Stubbornly he held on to Lucario, trying to think of a proper finale while starting to slow down from exhaustion.
As the Gallade slowed down only for a moment, Lucario used the full extent of his abdominal muscles to bend his upper body towards him. Just barely reaching his own leg, he instantly pulled the Gallade's arms apart, holding on to the right one as maintained velocity threw him away. The Gallade as unable to keep his balance while holding on to Lucario with only one arm, and was pulled along. The instant Lucario hit the ground, he kicked off it and sprung forward with the most powerful uppercut of his life, hitting the faltering Gallade directly in the jaw.
The Gallade flew up into the air, and then fell down on the ground. Zerobi and Kabuta both collectively gasped, while Pikablu just sighed.
"Yeah, so anyway, I've got a question" he said, completely undaunted by the whole situation.
"Is it... 'Why are you so awesome'...?" Lucario asked while trying to catch his breath, "Because... Honestly... Sometimes I ask myself that, too..."
"GAAAHHH! My face!" the Gallade screamed in terror as he leaped up to his feet and looked over at Kabuta, "Is it alright!? PLEASE TELL ME IT'S ALRIGHT!"
"It's fine" Pikablu groaned, "Now, take a rest."
"Oh, hell no!" the Gallade shouted angrily as he faced Lucario, "I told him not to touch the face, yet he did! His ass is grass!"
"Alright, just wait a few moments" Pikablu said calmly, "Let me ask something first."
"Just ask away, already!" Lucario blurted out impatiently.
"Not you" Pikablu said sharply as he suddenly pointed at Zerobi, "Her."
"... Me?" Zerobi asked with a confused tone as everyone turned their faces at her.
"Yeah" Pikablu said, "Your name's Zerobi, right?"
"... Yes" Zerobi responded slowly, trying to remember if she had met this Pikachu earlier.
"Ugh, why am I the one that has to do this..." Pikablu mumbled as he tried thinking of a way to explain everything, "Zerobi... Do you have a family?"
"... Sure..." Zerobi mumbled, starting to worry that he knew anything about her sordid past.
"Really?" Pikablu asked while struggling hard to come up with a way to go about things without sounding crazy.
"If you must know, they were caught when I was a kid" Zerobi answered as a faint image of two Pokémon appeared in her mind, "Haven't seen them since."
"Alright, let me rephrase my question..." Pikablu said as he came up with a better approach to the issue, "Do you have a biological family?"
"... Hmpf" Zerobi huffed as she felt everyone's eyes on her, and couldn't help but feel like they were silently judging her every response, "Nope. Orphan, they found me, then orphaned again."
"Ah! So you remember something from before the time that they found you?" Pikablu quickly said, relieved to be making some progress.
"Not really, no..." Zerobi mumbled, "What's with all these question? You're creeping me out."
"You're creeping ME out, Pikablu" the Gallade said, "Why'd you interrupt our battle for this?"
"Her's name's Zerobi" Pikablu said as he looked at the Gallade before raising his voice, "ZEROBI!"
"... You mean..." the Gallade muttered as he thought back to a story from long ago, "... No, don't you remember? She's dead!"
"Uh... Well..." Zerobi said slowly while thinking about her past, "I don't know where you're getting with all this, but... Yeah, I've been dead."
"... Wait, what?" Lucario mumbled as he raised his voice in surprise, "W-What the hell!?"
"I knew it!" Pikablu exclaimed with determination, "You've got special powers, don't you!?"
"... Maybe" Zerobi said before finally getting fed up with the cross-examination, "Why would you even care!? Spit it out, already!"
"I happen to be acquainted with a certain Celebi, who has been searching for her sibling Zerobi for a long time..." Pikablu explained as eloquently as he could, "... You are the sister of a Legendary!"
"... No, I'm not..." Zerobi responded bluntly, feeling disappointed over all the time wasted.
"Yes, you are!" Pikablu contradicted, "Your forgotten origins! Your hidden powers! The name! It can't all be a coincidence!"
"Come on, you're actually using her name as proof just because they sound similar?" Lucario asked with a snort, "That's stupid on SO many levels..."
Zerobi stood in silence, but something about her told Lucario that she had something to say.
"What?" he asked.
"... My parents didn't name me" Zerobi said slowly, "It was... Written on me."
"Written..." Lucario repeated before realizing the implications, "T-They carved your name into your body!?"
"No!" Zerobi shouted back, "Just... You know, pawprints."
"Zerobi..." Pikablu said, now more confident of her true identity, "Your sister... She's been searching for you. A lot."
"My sister... Celebi?" she mumbled to herself, shaking her head in disbelief, "I'm all for mysteries and excitement, but this is pretty inane. Got any proof?"
"... Proof?" the Gallade exclaimed and started thinking hard, "What kind of proof would you expect there to be? An umbilical cord?"
"A reason for me to go off with you three strangers" Zerobi said as she decided to act on her earlier fears, "Quick warning - Touch me inappropriately and your head'll fly off."
"... I've got it!" Pikablu suddenly burst out, at long last finding proof that didn't involve any more explanations, "We're on our way right now to rescue Celebi from a trainer, come with us and meet her yourself!"
"... Rescue? Aaahh! Now I get it!" Zerobi exclaimed with a relieved expression, "You mean, my sister's someone named 'Celebi'? I thought you meant The Legendary Celebi!"
"I did" Pikablu responded bluntly.
"... But that's impossible!" Zerobi shouted, "A legendary Pokémon like that, caught? It'd be all over the news! Actually, I guess I wouldn't know about that, but... But... Argh!"
Zerobi groaned loudly in annoyance, crossing her arms as she entered deep thought. The part of her that adored everything occult practically begged for her to pursue the stories this Pikachu was telling her, while a more rational part of her told her to stick to living a life as normal as possible.
Her very existence became deeply scarred by the events that unfolded the last time she dabbled with the unknown. Even so, her meeting with Astrid had forever proved to her that strange phenomenon are not as rare as one might think, and her frightening powers had yet to be given a rational explanation.
In the end, it came down to moving on with her life like nothing had happened, or listening to the Pikachu. To chase after a wild, unlikely dream of adventure and romance... Or listening to the Pikachu.
"Listen, this is all sounding kind of... Silly" Zerobi explained when she broke away from her trance, "The Legendary Celebi is my sister? Yeah right. I bet my father's Mew, I'm actually an oracle and my son is prophesized to bring balance to the force."
"Hah... Snappy" Pikablu scoffed, "What, you think legendary Pokémon don't have siblings?
"Come see her for yourself!" the Gallade chimed in with a cheerful expression dimming out his reddening jaw, "She IS a legendary, after all. It's not like it'll be a waste of time!"
"I don't know!" Zerobi said while shaking her confused head, "What do you think, Lucario?"
"Like I said, we don't really have a destination" Lucario replied quickly with a nonchalant shrug, "Oh, and I should mention that I have NO idea what anyone's talking about. What, your sister's a celebrity?"
"... Are you joking?" the Gallade asked with a condescending tone, "The Legendary Celebi! Mother nature and all that!"
"Legendary celebrity or not, whatever happens..." Lucario replied, looking at the mark he had left on the Gallade's face, "... So, like, do we team up now? Or keep fighting to the death?"
"To the death...?" the Gallade repeated with a horrified expression, "I-I wasn't even going to hit you in the face, you were planning on killing me!?"
"... Naaaahhhh..." Lucario drew out the word with a smug smile on his face, sending a chill through the Gallade's spine.
"Pikablu! This guy's crazy!" the Gallade turned his head and pleaded with his partner, "We can't bring them along!"
"... Pikablu? Wait..." Zerobi whispered to herself while rummaging through her memory banks to locate the familiar name, "Wait wait wait... I read about that! In Occult Magazine #53!"
"Occult Magazine? Hyahahaha!" the Gallade laughed loudly, "You read that garbage!?"
"I used to live in Cerulean City, and was quite surprised to read about it" Zerobi said, ignoring the Gallade's even more familiar mocking of her favorite magazine. She remembered how she had been worried that it had something to do with Evo's Gate or Astrid, but...
"From what I remember, it was a natural disaster...?" she said with a questioning tone.
"Nah, that's just what they told the public..." Pikablu said with a confident smile, "Truth is, it was all me!"
"... Yeah right. What's in a name?" Zerobi said slowly as another memory popped up "There already was some guy that got named after the incident, some 'legendary trio' that..."
"... Kicked ass?" Pikablu finished her sentence as she trailed off, an odd thought striking her.
"Y-Yes... A trio..." she said with a dazzled voice, trying to make sense out of her thoughts, "A... A Pikachu... A-And..." She suddenly became silent, staring at the three Pokémon in front of her with new eyes.
"... What!? You're... You're serious!?" she exclaimed in surprise, "You're The Legendary Trio!?"
"You bet!" the Gallade said with a wink, "Well, two thirds, anyway. Kabuta here's a stand-in."
"Might as well tell you what's really going on" Pikablu said, his throat becoming somewhat sore from all the talking.
"Oh, goodie" Lucario muttered sarcastically, "Not to sound didactic, but shouldn't you just have started with that?"
"This Gallade, Kabutops and I are good friends with Celebi" Pikablu started explaining while giving the Gallade a silent glance, "... Some more than others. As you know, they've been hunting down strong Pokémon, and both Celebi and Kabutops were attacked and caught by a trainer not long ago."
"So we're getting them back, simple as that!" the Gallade chimed in as he dragged the attention away from Pikablu, "On a bold adventure of both romance and action!"
"Getting them back?" Zerobi asked, now beginning to ignore the Gallade as a reflex, "After they've been caught?"
"We'll work out the details of that once the trainer's down" Pikablu continued to explain, "Supposedly smashing the Pokeball to bits will set them free, if not we can just punch him until he gives in to our demands."
"... But not kill him, apparently..." Kabuta muttered angrily, having remained silent for quite a while.
"Oh yeah" Pikablu said, interrupting himself to make sure nothing slipped his mind, "This is Kabuta, daughter of Kabutops. Her brother also got hurt pretty badly by trainer, hence why she's in a foul mood."
"Bah! Like I give a shit about him!" Kabuta shouted with a dangerous swipe of her scythe, "It was his damn fault to begin with for being such a weak sack of shit!"
"R-Right in front of Pikablu..." the Gallade stammered frightfully, "Come on! Show your brother some sympathy!"
"Don't worry, I've gotten over that" Pikablu sighed, an image of a smiling Pichu flashing through his mind, "I think you're underestimating him, though. You shouldn't forget that out of those three, he was the only one to make it back."
"Yeah, and that's why pops is...!" Kabuta roared before suddenly turning her back on them and becoming quiet. Although she was still fuming with rage, she knew better than to push her luck when talking about her brother in front of Pikablu. All her life she had been associated with her twin, even though they were nothing alike.
It drove her crazy. Forced to spend her life with a weak, indecisive sibling, all because they were tied together by blood... And nothing else.
"... OK, so what if I am Celebi's sister? What am I to do?" Zerobi broke the silence with a hint of worry in her voice, "Are we going to start braiding each other's hair, or is she going to force me on a journey through time?"
"I think she just wants to see you" Pikablu said with sincerity, even though he himself wasn't exactly sure, "Friendliest being you'll ever meet. Seeing how nicely she treated her assailant, I can't imagine how she'll treat her sister!"
"... Assailant?" Zerobi asked.
"Uh... I'll let Celebi fill you in on that" Pikablu replied, "If anything becomes of this, that is. What do you say?"
"Tch..." Zerobi spat, thinking over her decision one last time, "... Alright, fine, but the whole touch-inappropriately heads-rolling thing is still in effect."
"We'll keep that in mind..." Pikablu said calmly before fixing a stare into the Gallade"... Won't we?"
"Hey, I'm not touching the Lucario's girl" the Gallade said while waving his arms back and forth, "I've fought that guy enough to last me a lifetime."
"About that..." Zerobi muttered slowly while looking at Lucario, "We're not a couple, we're just traveling together."
"Yep" Lucario said, "I'm married to the law, and I don't want to make it any more jealous."
Lucario paused for laughter as everyone became silent.
"... You know, since I'm on the run..." Lucario tried explaining, the moment for the joke clearly having passed.
"I just barely get it" Pikablu groaned as he looked at Zerobi, "We really don't need him. You sure you want him to come?"
"Yeah" Zerobi responded quickly, "I'll feel safer to have someone I can trust with me."
"... Pah..." Lucario grunted as he felt embarrassed, and a memory of the penguin-like being surfaced, "To think that anyone'd trust me after..."
"Alright, you're on the team" Pikablu said bluntly while waving back to the Gallade, "No more jokes, I already have it up to here with this sissy."
"HEY!" the Gallade exclaimed with a hurt voice, "I fought, didn't I!? I totally kicked his ass, and looked cool while doing it!"
"Yeah, you're a real hero" Pikablu snapped back sarcastically, "Don't forget your camera."
"Don't forget your testicles, either..." Kabuta said as she was emulating Pikablu, "... Oh, wait! Way too late for that!"
Everyone started laughing as the Gallade scrambled back to pick up his camera. Even though they were unfamiliar with each other, the two teams joined forces and began their journey towards rescuing Kabutops and Celebi, gaining both new determination and experience in the process.