Everything was dark, it was like a dark void of emptiness. Erica looked around to see if anything was around, but to find nothing.
"Hello?" Her voice echoed around the entire place.
A naked feeling spread across her head, the heroine reached up to feel for her hat but couldn't find it. She remembered that it had been lost in her previous battle. With that logic, she reached down to feel her stomach. Erica was braced to feel blood, but her wound wasn't there. She rubbed the side of her head in an attempt to figure out what was going on.
"All I can remember is the base collapsing, did we not make it out in time?" She asked to nobody in particular. A tear fell down her cheek at the thought of letting her friends die.
Erica looked around to see a bright light of blue, red, and yellow come down to where she was. It landed at Erica's feet and the image of herself as a child appeared, the image of her crying because she is alone. This thought always haunted Erica it was the being of her doubt, and that fear began to seep into her heart again.
Though in seconds, Erica could feel the urge to tackle this feeling. She had grown strong next to many people and pokemon. The teenager knelt down to the toddler and tapped her on the shoulder.
"People are so mean." Whined the toddler. That statement surprised Erica.
"They go away from me, they don't try to be nice to me." She looked up at her teenage self, hoping for an answer. "What do I do?"
The older version looked at her younger self with longing eyes. She had felt that feeling many times before. Yes, there were many people in this world who would try to act differently and sometimes offensively. Pokémon would follow the individual will of the different people, even if they were evil and selfish. The older blond wondered what would be the right choice to say, but her experience in her travels would give her the right answer.
Erica reached into her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the younger version's face off. Just like in her dream before, her younger self didn't enjoy the feeling.
"Heh heh." They joined hands and Erica gave her past self a comforting smile.
"I don't think that, I think that people are just afraid of each other. They turn away from each other because they are afraid of being betrayed." The toddler didn't seem to register with that as she looked away.
"But what should I do?" Erica sighed, closed her eyes and remembered everything that she experienced on her journey.
"We need to keep being friends to people and pokemon."
Suddenly the darkness vanished. Replaced by a great view of valleys, lakes, and mountains. Erica gazed around to see it all, pokemon were here and there.
And off in the distance, Erica could see many of the people that she met along her journey, her mother, the gym leaders, Shauna, Tierno, Trevor, Professor Sycamore, Diantha, even Brett and Keith were there.
Both of the blond girls were surprised and happy at such a friendly sight. The teenager grabbed the hand of her younger self, who looked back with a curious face.
"These are the people that we can share our happiness with every day." The toddler blond smiled. Erica's doubt faded away, she wasn't afraid anymore.
Erica woke up to the sounds of pokemon chirping, and slight winds blowing by. She found herself laying on the ground of Geosenge town. Keith and Brett were also nearby, but they were unconscious. It was about the time for the sunrise of the next day. The trio had been fighting all night?
"What happened?" Erica tried to get up, but she was too injured. Looking around, she couldn't find the ultimate weapon.
Said weapon was nowhere to be found. Presumably, it was already destroyed by its own attack. A the feeling of something tight suddenly came to Erica, she reached down to find a poorly made tourniquet Erica looked around even more, and she found the mysterious man. He was staring at the wreckage that used to be the ultimate weapon.
"The weapon of mass destruction is no more." Whispered the man. Erica wanted to say something, but she couldn't bring herself to. She had been beaten so hard that she could barely stay conscious.
"But the flower pokemon is still nowhere to be found." He turned to face Erica, he tossed the stone that she found in Shalour city.
"I believe that is yours." She then realized that it must've been this man who had saved them and given Erica the tourniquet. In turn, the blond wanted to give her thanks. But he turned around to leave.
"Wait!" Even though her stomach hurt, the blond tried to the best of her ability to get that out. Luckily, the old man stopped.
"AZ, I know that you must be riddled with sorrow of what you did and what you lost. But can't you forgive yourself?" Asked Erica. She was trying to help this man with unity like her friends had helped her.
Several seconds passed with only the sounds of the wind and the pokemon. AZ turned around to face Erica again, she couldn't read his expression. His gray hair shook with his head turning.
"Why not?" He solemnly turned back to face the direction of the sunrise. His fist closed at the feeling of a painful memory.
"My old friend hasn't found it to forgive me. I cannot bring myself to, unless she can." Erica understood his pain, the pain of solitude.
At this one moment the blond heroine was the only person in the world who could help this man. She mustered enough strength to stand up, despite the flaring pain in her stomach.
"But right now, you just saved three lives. Isn't that enough?" AZ's face looked up at hearing that, as if this girl's words had impacted him. But instead of answering, the old man silently walked away.
Erica was about to chase after him, but her injuries caught up with her again. A grassy ground soon met with her face. The protagonist started to black out, but she could faintly hear somebody calling her name.
The next thing she knew, Erica woke up on a hospital bed. Almost instantly, she could feel the bandages that were wrapped around her arms, and belly. Her right arm was hooked up to an IV. But this feeling of ease soon ceased a tight hug ensued.
"Oh Erica, I'm sooo glad that you are ok! I thought that you died!" Cried Shauna. The feeling of having the air forced out of you didn't feel so well, so the blond quickly got her friend off of her.
"Shauna? What happened?"
"Well, the weapon fired a bright blast, but it impacted on itself. We came as quickly as we could and found you laying near the wreckage." Erica was glad that they succeeded in stopping the ultimate weapon, but she was also curious.
Suddenly Tierno and Trevor rushed in. They both seemed worried.
"How are you feeling!?"
Erica was surprised by her friends' sudden burst. She tried to compose herself as best as she could. But in the end her hands waving about with a nervous smile was enough.
"Relax guys, I'm just fine." Erica decided that since they had helped to stop the crisis, that she could tell them about it. So, she spent the next few minutes explaining all that went down after Shauna left the Team Flare base. From how Keith and Brett fought against the legendaries to meeting with AZ. But then she realized that they weren't around.
"Wait a minute." Paused Erica. "Where are Brett and Keith?"
"Right here." She turned to see her two friends on beds next to her's. Both were just as injured as their blond friend if not worse.
"That was one heck of a battle." Commented Brett.
"I never knew that it would be that tough." Wheezed Keith.
Erica showed a relieved face, before it curved into a smile. She was glad that her two companions were ok.
Moments later, Professor Sycamore entered the room. He was very happy and satisfied with his students for stopping the crisis.
"Its good to see all of you again." Greeted the professor.
He walked over to where Erica was lying. His unshaven face was painted with concern.
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm ok, I should be able to leave after a day or so. But I don't think that I should battle." She turned to Keith and Brett. "And neither should those two."
Sycamore laughed at the comment Erica made. "Good luck with that."
"Oh yeah! Where are our pokemon?" Erica did pose an interesting question, they couldn't have been in the rubble because they were in the pokeballs. Sycamore quickly reassure her on that.
"Don't worry, they're all resting in my eco research chamber." He then took a look around the entire room at all the people he handed the pokedexes to. Sycamore was so proud of them, but his face seemed to portray grief.
"I must apologize to you all." That caught everybody off guard. Not even Brett nor Keith expected him to say that.
"What do you mean?" Asked Shauna.
"I always knew Lysandre was a man who sought out reformation." He walked over to the window and gazed to the outside streets of Lumiose.
"I just wish that I knew how far he was willing to go." He turned back to his pupils with serious eyes.
"I wished I could've stopped him before any of this." Erica could detect it, her professor wished for the same wish that she had for Lysandre. That he could find everything in unity.
Keith got out of bed and walked over to the professor. The glasses-wearing champion placed his hand on Sycamore's shoulder. Giving him reassurance that it wasn't his fault.
"But you didn't know, you couldn't have stopped him." Reassured Keith.
Erica got up out of the bed and carefully walked over to them she gave the same look of reassurance as her friend.
"Keith's right. As a friend, you just tried to support him, right?" Sycamore took those words in, and he gave a smile back to his pupil.
"Yes, you're right."
He walked out of the room. But before Sycamore left, he turned to his pupils with one last piece of advice.
"Good luck to you all." Those were his parting words as he left.
'I don't really need luck.' Erica looked around the room to all of her friends. 'I've got my friends.'
As the day wore on, Erica's friends all left one by one. By the time that night rolled over, the blond couldn't bring herself to fall asleep. She was so deep in thought about Lysandre and AZ. Both were like kings who tried to change the world because of the people in it. The blond had found herself wishing that those two could find what they needed in unity.
The next day our heroes checked out of the hospital. Soon after that, the three of them went to Sycamore to pick up their pokemon. With a day that couldn't involve any pokemon battles, the three protagonists would have to spend the entire day just enjoying the luxuries of the giant city.
For those who have forgotten, that would be nearly impossible for Brett.
"Not to be rude, but how do we know that you'll avoid battling?" Asked Erica as they exited the building.
"Relax, I called in the special forces this time." Whispered Keith.
Erica had absolutely no idea what special forces meant. But if it was something that could stop Brett from battling, it must be really powerful.
"I can't, Jasmine told me that I couldn't." Answered Brett, with a little bit of a sulky attitude.
Erica had regained her old look of question. Who was Jasmine? And how could she stop Brett? But since she had a day in the place with nearly every item available in the region, Erica couldn't really care.
The three split up and decided to head to different shopping places throughout Lumoise city.
Erica quickly visited the boutique, it was a famous boutique for both girls and guys. Upon entrance, Erica was nearly paralyzed by the items they had on sale.
But her hopes were about to be crushed.
"Excuse me, but you cannot shop in here." Said one of the store clerks.
"Nani?" A dark aura surrounded Erica, and a sadistic smile spread across her face (you know the one that Erza had when she couldn't get a date with Jellal? Something like that).
"We're sorry, but please come back when you are more stylish." The clerk pushed Erica out of the store. Erica was standing out on the street with the dark aura around her. Mothers were trying to keep their children away from her.
On the other side of town, Brett was in one of the cafes. People were talking about certain types pokemon, our hot-blooded protagonist couldn't help but hear it all.
"You know that none of that stuff is true." Pointed out Brett. It got him a lot of glares from the customers. He went back to drinking some juice and didn't pay any attention to the approaching group.
None of what was about to happen cannot be written down because it would be too graphic for a fanfiction that is rated T. So we'll shorten it by saying that Brett had to go back to the hospital.
In another corner of the bright city, Keith was analyzing a stone collection in a stone emporium. One of the employees noticed his mega ring.
"Excuse me sir, but are you looking for mega stones?" That question surprised our glasses wearing champion.
"Yes I am." Answered Keith calmly.
"Well how about I offer you some mega stones?" Asked the man as he held some out. And he now lost his calm.
"Sure, how about we start at 50,000 poke?"
After the problems that sorted out with our three heroes, they each met back up a the center of the town. Erica still had that aura, Brett was covered in more bandages, and Keith was sulking. They each took a look at each other.
"I got kicked out of a boutique."
"I got attacked by angry nerds."
"I was conned."
Several seconds passed over as everyone took in each other's stories.
"...We don't fit in with normal people, do we?" Asked Erica.
"Never really have."
That night checked into one of the local hotels, since they now had enough money for one night (despite Keith getting conned). Erica laid down on the bed in the hotel room quietly. She took a few moments to think about what had all gone down.
'...Well, I guess that a student learns best from her teacher.'
She looked back and forth at her companions, who were sleeping in separate beds.