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Yet Another Poké Battles Fanfic takes place after Battle #115.

Time Crusade
Yet Another Poké Battles Fanfic

Part One

>> Outside Webmastarian HQ, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 0200 hrs

Lani was nowhere to be found.

Warren, once the proud leader of the Webmastarians, silently cursed that name which had haunted him ever since his brief visit to Yellow Version a month earlier.
"Good luck," she had told him. Warren scowled at the now unpleasant memory. He had thought at that moment that everything was going to be okay. That he and his Webmastarian army would proudly march back in time and rescue the Almighty One from his would-be fate. Paradoxes be damned--a little scotch tape could surely fix any ripped fabric in the space-time continuum.
Warren was waiting for a sign. Specifically, he was waiting for this mysterious 'Lani' character to show herself. Now, a month later, everything he worked for had been destroyed.
The once proud Webmastarian fortress loomed over him like a giant Doompuff taunting him. His former home had become a symbol of his defeat at the hands of Chester; at the hands of Evil Incorporated. Warren cursed again. Kicking a rock at the Webmastarian Headquarters, Warren turned his back on that accursed place and strode purposefully in the other direction. He was tired of waiting for signs; tired of waiting for a prophet who would not show herself. The Webmastarians had been wiped out, but Chester didn't yet know where the time machine had been hidden. The truth was that it had been rebuilt in a secret location by Warren's highest-ranking Webmastarians. And it had received an important upgrade along the way as well. The speed of the machine had been vastly improved over its former "2 seconds per second" traveling rate. Time travel could now be accomplished instantaneously. Or at least, that was the theory. And without anyone expendable to test the machine, Warren now realized that he would become the guinea pig.
"Curses… I would use a guinea pig for this if there were any animals in this God-forsaken world," he muttered as he walked among the forested area outside Webmastarian HQ, "Either way, my life is meaningless now. My death would be no great loss."

>> Webmastarian HQ, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 0200 hrs

"Ha ha!" laughed Chester of Evil Incorporated, "I have defeated the Webmastarians! Evil Incorporated is now the dominant force in Red Version! Ha ha!"
"You really need to work on your evil laugh," commented Cretin, Chester's right-hand man (or thing, or whatever).
"Ha ha! My evil laugh is fine!" insisted Chester, "That newfangled 'muahahaha' stuff is for the villains that die. I will live FOREVER! HA HA!"
"Well, now that we've 'dominated the world,' does that mean we can finally park in handicapped spots?" asked Cretin.
"That will come later," Chester reassured him, "For now, just savor the power!"
"If we had any such power, I might savor it," said Cretin sarcastically.
"If thou couldst be so gracious at to allow one such as myself to speak," interrupted John Movius in his traditional flowery speech, "I would request of thee an explanation as to why we hath butchered so many for the benefit of so few."
"Excuse me, Movius… but I can't understand a word you're saying," Chester informed the intimidating trainer, "You need to work on learning common speech."
"I knowest thou can indeed perceive the meaning of my words," said Movius, "You would forgive, I hope, one such as I, for questioning the motives for which we are acting upon."
"Fine, fine, Movius," conceded Chester, "We did it for the sheer joy of it. Evil is sometimes necessary for its own sake, you know? We don't need a cause." Movius was shocked.
"What manner of beings are we, that we would butcher so many to serve no cause? No… no, I cannot believe that one such as I was a part of a deed such as this!"
"Well, you were!" spat Chester, "And you will continue to aid such 'deeds' because you are my friend. And friends help each other! If you don't want to be my friend, then you can just go elsewhere." He folded his arms across his chest, confident that the traditionally lonesome trainer would recoil at such a threat. He hadn't counted on Movius' sense of honor.
"I need not friends such as thee! Midgyo is evil! You are evil! Therefore, one such as you is of a similarity to Midgyo! I shall take my leave." With that, Movius proudly turned his back on the fuming Chester, and walked out of Webmastarian Headquarters.
"Shall I follow him and have him slaughtered?" asked Cretin dryly.
"No," Chester held out an arm, taking Cretin's offer seriously, "Let him go. He'll be back."

>> A tad farther outside Webmastarian HQ, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 0200 hrs

"Butch!" called out Bob, who had fallen behind his friend during their escape from Webmastarian Headquarters, "I think we're safe now." Butch came to a halt all too eagerly, gasping for air.
"Urrrrrrh," groaned Butch, "I think my lungs are low on HP." Bob ignored his companion's nonsensical comment.
"Geez, that Movius guy was scary," Bob commented, "Have you ever seen such spiky hair before in your life?"
"Once," Butch admitted. Bob raised an eyebrow, which promptly got stuck.
"Gah, eyebrow's stuck again. Little help here?" Bob asked. Butch groaned and pulled Bob's eyebrow back into a normal position.
"Urrh, you really should learn to avoid being so skeptical all the time," Butch advised.
" why would you want me to do that?" asked Bob, raising an eyebrow suspiciously. He immediately cursed as he realized his mistake. Butch urrhed.
"Was it really necessary to run away like that?" he asked, "With the Webmastarians backing us, we had a chance, didn't we?"
"Are you kidding??" asked Bob incredulously, "We're talking about JOHN MOVIUS! They guy who impaled you with a Flower of Death, remember??"
"True, but… I feel like we've betrayed the Webmastarians…" Butch admitted. Bob threw up his hands helplessly.
"Of course we betrayed the Webmastarians!" he explained, "But what do we care? Listen, you and I are the only non-Midgyo Old World characters in existence. Our lives are worth a lot more than any Webmastarian's. We can't afford to die while there's still a chance of rescuing the Almighty One!"
"What about Warren?" asked Butch, "He was going to help us restore the Old World. Don't you feel guilty about betraying him?" Bob shrugged.
"He's a New Worlder. I really don't care either way."
"Urrh... Whatever," said Butch. It was with almost frightening timing that Warren suddenly appeared, Bob and Butch having been directly in his path to the time machine. For a moment, Bob thought Warren might have overheard the conversation, but the expression on the Webmastarian's face indicated nothing of the like.
"Oh, fancy seeing you guys here," Warren commented, "Weren't you at Webmastarian HQ last I saw you?"
"Uh... yeah," admitted Butch, "We had to leave for some… food." Warren nodded in understanding.
"It's actually good that I ran into you," he said, "Evil Incorporated has taken over Webmastarian Headquarters. We need to get to the time machine immediately and rescue the Almighty One--before Chester finds it." Bob nodded slowly.
"But… wasn't the time machine shattered into a million different pieces?" he asked.
"Yes, but… you know, Scotch Tape."
"In any case, the machine's been upgraded. We can travel instantaneously--"
"WOOHOO!" cried out Bob, "No more embarrassing accidents!" Warren coughed.
"I say we just go back and prevent Da Evolution Man from evolving Jigglypuff into Doompuff," suggested Butch, "There's no way to get to Earth from here anymore, so we can save the Webmaster that way." Warren shook his head.
"That would be a problem, Butch… then I would never exist. And if I never exist, I never go back in time. Paradox."
"You'll be hard pressed to think of a way to accomplish this without creating a paradox, don't you think, Warren?" asked Bob. Warren grimaced.
"We simply can't create a paradox!" he insisted, "Paradoxes are still the leading cause of plot holes worldwide!" The three of them were silent for awhile.
"Maybe…" began Butch slowly, "If we could extract the Almighty One just before he was killed, then bring him forward in time so that Immortus can still create the New World…"
"But will Immortus be able to defeat Beto if he isn't fighting to avenge his friend's death? It was a close call last time, remember?" Bob pointed out.
"Not to mention the problem of getting to Earth in the first place. There are no portals anymore," Warren reminded them, "No, this is a problem we have to solve from Red Version." The three of them lapsed into silence once more. Suddenly, Bob snapped his fingers.
"That's just it, though!" he exclaimed, "We can travel back to Old World Red Version… back when there were portals!" Warren slapped himself on the forehead.
"Of course! But… the Portal to Earth was well-guarded during most of Red Version's history… we don't have very many opportunities to slip in."
"It was historically guarded by Lord Sloth, right?" asked Bob, "Couldn't he be reasoned with?"
"Doubtful," said Warren, "Lord Sloth was under orders from the Almighty One himself to let no one through that portal. And thus the Narrator will throw a lot of obstacles at us."
"Oh, urrh.. I keep forgetting about the Narrator when I'm in a fanfic," muttered Butch, "Well, what about Red Version's last day? I recall reading that the Narrator was deceased at that point in time."
"True," Bob agreed, "But, that portal was guarded at that point by the giant mecha NERRA-TORR. One or two of us might get past that insane robot, but someone's gonna be killed for sure." The three of them looked nervously at each other.
"Are you sure we shouldn't just chance it with Lord Sloth?" asked Bob. Warren shook his head,
"In that scenario, all three of us could die in the Old World without the portal to Earth ever even opening. NERRA-TORR, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to stop us all from getting to the portal if we run from different directions. One of us is going to make it." There was a long silence.
"My life is meaningless now," Warren finally said, "I will run straight at NERRA-TORR, while you two sneak in from the sides. You will live; I will not." There was an uncomfortable silence.
"No, there must be a better way…" Bob insisted. Warren shook his head.
"Listen," he said calmly, "My only purpose in life now is to revive the Almighty One. If I die this way, I will have served my purpose. Please let me do this." Bob and Butch nodded slowly, each admiring Warren for his courage. They silently proceeded to the time machine's secret location.

>> Webmastarian Secret Hiding Place, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 0230 hrs

The trio arrived at the location of the time machine a half hour later, and were relieved to discover that it was still there and intact. There were no longer any Webmastarians anywhere nearby, although a couple Life-Sized Almighty Webmaster Plushies were lying near the machine.
"We should probably test this thing first," suggested Warren.
"Bob and I will test it," stated Butch, "If we don't come back, you could still have another one built, Warren." Warren nodded slowly.
"Assuming I can oust Evil Incorporated, I might accomplish such a feat…" he thought aloud.
"Alright…" said Bob, "So where do we go to test it?"
"February 7," said Warren immediately.
"Why February 7?" asked Bob.
"This time machine has been upgraded to include a battle locator. If you time travel to a date in which a battle takes place, you'll appear in that battle. February 7 was the day Crazy Stan died. You can visit the Titanic III vessel moments before it crashes, and then come back. Since Crazy Stan is going to die anyway, your appearance could not conceivably create a paradox." Bob and Butch stared at the Webmastarian.
"You have far too much free time on your hands," said Bob as he and Butch stepped into the machine.
"Well… here goes nothing," said Bob, sucking in a deep breath. He activated the machine. Warren watched as it vanished in a brilliant flash of light, and seconds later reappeared. Bob and Butch stepped triumphantly back outside.
"It works!" Bob announced gleefully, "For once something went right!"
"Urrh, don't say that so loud," Warned Butch, "The Narrator loves irony…" Bob looked up at the sky nervously. The lack of storm clouds reassured him.
"We better get going," he suggested. Warren nodded, and set the time machine for January 1, 2001. One blinding flash of light later, the time machine was gone.

Part Two

>> Lord Sloth's Castle Ruins, Red Version
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1030 hrs

Warren, Bob "That Guy" Smith, and Butch Urrh hid behind a partially demolished wall that once was a part of Lord Sloth's castle. The three of them observed the giant robot NERRA-TORR as it stood diligently in front of the portal. The time machine had been shrunk down into a pocket-sized miniature, which had been pocketed by Butch. The Webmastarians had indeed made some fine upgrades to the machine. Tears sprang to Butch's eyes.
"The Old World… it's just how I remembered it…" Bob didn't bother pointing out the disfigured head of Poké Man lying a few feet away from them.
"Alright," began Warren, "I'll charge forward screaming from this location. Butch, you go around to the left side. Bob, you're on the right. While NERRA-TORR is occupied with me, you two should be able to slip by. Even if NERRA-TORR does manage to kill one of you, the other will almost certainly make it. If Butch doesn't make it, that means you lose your ride home, Bob. You'll have about seven hours to find the Almighty One and evacuate him. You'll have to lay low for half a year so avoid paradoxes, but you'll have to settle for that. Otherwise, if Butch alone or both of you get through, you'll be able to rescue the Almighty One and jump forward in time easily. Got that?" Bob and Butch nodded nervously.
"Good luck," he said with a weak grin. With that, Bob and Butch ran off to their assigned positions.

Warren took a deep breath, trying not to think about how it would be one of his last.
"For the Almighty One," he said, and without delaying any further, ran out from his hiding place. He sprinted directly at NERRA-TORR, screaming what he thought would be his death cry. To his utter shock, however, the mecha did not immediately fire. Warren nearly tripped over his own feet, expecting that by now he would have been long dead and hadn't thought far enough ahead to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Somewhat shaken, Warren continued his yelling and closed the distance between him and NERRA-TORR. At this time, he spotted Bob and Butch out of the corners of his eyes. Both of them were running. The giant mecha still hadn't moved. Warren was nearly to the portal now. He couldn't believe that NERRA-TORR hadn't acted. It must be broken, thought Warren. He slowed his pace. Bob and Butch slowed their pace as well.
"For once, we're having some good luck!" called out Bob exuberantly (read: stupidly). At that instant, NERRA-TORR's eyes lit up. The accursed thing must have been in sleep mode! The startling thought entered Warren's mind too late. He sprinted toward the mecha.
"Bob, look out!!" he cried, hoping that NERRA-TORR would switch targets when it heard his voice. The ploy didn't work. NERRA-TORR's cannons swung toward Bob with a mechanical whir and with such speed that Bob scarcely had time to react.
"WHAT THE F-??" A sudden stream of Vulcan cannon fire ripped Bob's body to shreds in the next instant. Warren was dimly aware of a sickening splattering of blood in his peripheral vision as he closed in on the portal. Warren pumped his legs as fast as he could, willing them to carry his body forward with more speed than he thought he possessed. NERRA-TORR swiftly acquired its new target, and swung its cannons toward Warren with frightening speed. Warren panicked; and he knew in that instant that he wasn't going to make it. The mecha fired its cannons...

And he was through the portal.

>> A hundred yards west of 'Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean', Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1040 hrs

Warren and Butch found themselves floundering in the ocean. Warren, completely unused to an ocean composed of anything other than milk, found the entire experience terrifying; especially considering that he had yet to recover from having escaped the clutches of NERRA-TORR with not a millimeter to spare. Unfortunately for him, he and Butch had quite a swim ahead of them if they had any wish to reach land. Warren gritted his teeth and began the long swim, thankful at least that the activity would help keep his mind off the horrifying scene he had just witnessed.

>> Pacific Coast, Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1110 hrs

Half an hour later, the two of them finally reached land. They both collapsed thankfully in the sand, Warren breathing heavily, and Butch urrhing to himself.
"Urrrrrrrrrhh…" Butch was saying, when Warren finally got sick of it.
"Snap out of it, Butch," he snapped, sounding more hostile than he had intended, "I know you're mourning for Bob, but we only have six hours before the Almighty One is killed!"
"Urrh, what's the point??" Butch asked angrily, "I just watched my friend get ripped to shreds. Why? Because we have to rescue the Almighty One from a stupid situation that he created for himself?? If he was so almighty why'd he create Doompuff, huh?" Before Warren was able to reply, Butch continued his rant, "Why'd he create a portal to Earth? Why'd he kill so many of the characters in his beloved world? He never cared for any of us. Why should we care for him??"
"Because Bob died for this cause!" Warren replied angrily, "Because if we don't rescue the Almighty One, Bob's sacrifice was meaningless!" Butch was silent for a moment.
"Alright…" he finally conceded, "I'll… go along with you…" At that moment, however, two dozen white, unmarked vans seemed to come out of nowhere and surrounded the two.
"What the-??" a confused Warren blurted out as countless armed men were unloaded from the vans and surrounded the two clueless trainers. Bright yellow letters on the backs of their jackets indicated that they were FBI. At this time, one of the agents, a woman (the only woman, as far as Warren could tell) approached the duo. Her hands twirled a couple of pencils expertly, so that they seemed to dance across her hands as she walked forward.
"Well, well… what do we have here?" she asked to nobody in particular. Butch decided to answer anyway.
"Urrh, harmless law-abiding citizens," he blurted. The woman blinked.
"Did you just say 'urrh'?" she asked.
"Urrh… no?" was the reply. The woman narrowed her eyes.
"You wouldn't happen to be a fan of Poké Battles?"
"Urrh… no?" Butch answered again.
"...what's your name?"
"Butch." The woman stepped forward hesitantly.
"Pleasure to meet you… my name is Dacta, Mighty Pencil Ruler and part=time FBI agent. Tell me, Red Version character--what are you doing here on Earth?" Butch relaxed a bit. At least she knew who they were and where they came from.
"We've traveled from the future to prevent the Almighty One from being killed." Dacta's expression darkened.
"Wait, wait… you're here to rescue the Almighty One?" Butch nodded nervously. Something about having several dozen automatic weapons aimed at him was unnerving.
"Well, we can't have that now can we? The Almighty One must die today--I've been counting on it!"
"Wha?" Warren joined the conversation with this highly intelligent comment.
"Well, I was going to loot his house," Dacta admitted quietly.
"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed Warren, "Immortus is going to be there! You won't be able to loo--"
"You're just saying that to throw me off," Dacta cut him off, "OPEN FIRE!!" Warren and Butch flinched.
"Um… Dacta?" one of the agents spoke up, after they had all ignored her orders, "These are unarmed civilians…" Dacta cursed.
"Fine! Then.. Uhh.. ARREST THEM!!" Once again the agents did nothing.
"...for what?" one of her agents asked.
"FOR POSSESSION OF DRUGS!" she exclaimed triumphantly, tossing a ziploc bag filled with a white, powdery substance at Warren's feet, "You see? Look what just fell out of his pocket!" Without further hesitation, the FBI squad closed ranks around the two trainers, clubbing them over their heads and sending them into the land of dreams.

>> District Police Station (Holding Cell), Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1140 hrs

Bob and Warren sat dejectedly in their assigned holding cell.
"How could so many things have gone wrong?" asked Warren. Butch urrhed helplessly.
"Remember the good ol' days when Poké Battles was all about humor and not about tragic deaths?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Warren with a sigh, "I remember the good ol' days when the apostrophe was placed before the 'o' in the word 'ol''."
"I'm not a big fan of apostrophes myself," said Butch, somewhat terrified by how many of them there were at the end of Warren's previous sentence. The two of them stared forlornly at their miniaturized time machine, which now sat on an evidence desk far out of their reach.
"Maybe one of us could pretend to be sick, and when one of the guards comes to check on him, the other one could hit him over the head with-- whaaaaaat?" Butch's brilliant idea was cut off by Warren's disbelieving stare.
"How about trying the second oldest trick in the book instead??" he asked with enough sarcasm to deal several hit points of damage to Butch's ego. The two of them sat in silence for several minutes, until Warren was struck by a terrifying thought.
"Butch! What time is it??" he asked fearfully. Butch glanced at his watch.
"11:45. Why?" Warren's heart skipped a beat.
"Because in 10 minutes, Doompuff's gonna eat the Red Version server!" Butch stared at him stupidly.
"Without a server to coexist with us, we're gonna be blinked out of existence!" Butch stared at him for a few seconds.
"THIS SUCKS!" he yelled, slamming his fist into the wall, "How are we supposed to go rescue the Almighty One while there's no server?? Urrh, we should have gone after Doompuff!" Warren sighed.
"You think we'd stand a chance against Doompuff?" Butch urrhed helplessly.
"You have a visitor," Dacta announced from outside. Butch and Warren looked out curiously. Another woman, this one carrying a Final Fantasy IX Vivi plushie, was approaching their cell.
"OMG Hi!!" she exclaimed upon seeing them, "Butch Urrh, right? You are so KAWAII!" Butch and Warren exchanged nervous glances.
"Uh… who are you?" asked Butch.
"I'm Debbers! But you can call me Deb. I heard on IRC that Dacta captured you so I had to come see!"
"What are we, Pokémon on exhibit?" asked Butch helplessly, "We're going to be blinked out of existence in eight minutes!" Deb gasped and began to cry.
"Noooo.. I dun want kawaii Butch to die…"
"Is there anything you can do?" asked Butch desperately. Deb thought for a moment, then snapped her fingers.
"I'll call up Jason-sama! He'll know what to do!" With that, she produced a cell phone out of nowhere and quickly placed a phone call.
"OMG Hi!" she said after a moment's silence, "Yeppers, that's me! … Well why shouldn't I use acronyms IRL? They ish so KAWAII! … Hey, can you do me a favor? … EW! OMG Not like that! … I just need to borrow one of your characters … Butch - you're not using him, right? … He is? But he's standing right next to me … I don't know! Maybe he came back in time! … Prolly to fix some time-related thingie! … I don't know! … I can't! He's gonna disappear in a few minutes! … I don't know! … Just have his time machine jump to Ruby Version for a few hours. I'll send it back later. … THX! OMG baiiiii!" The cell phone vanished, and Deb squeezed her Vivi plushie excitedly.
"OMG, Kawaii Webmaster ish sending present-day Bob and Butch to Ruby Version, so they won't vanish during their time trip. So you wun vanish either, 'cause your character was in Ruby for today! KAWAII!"
"...I suppose I'm doomed, though," spoke Warren. Deb blinkblinked.
"OMG I'm sorry!" she apologized, "Kawaii Webmaster can't do anything for characters that don't exist yet!"
"But, you will reappear when Immortus creates the New World," Butch pointed out, "Since you're a New World character, Immortus can easily re-create you." Warren nodded slowly.
"At least you're still here, Butch," he said, "You'll be able to carry out the mission."
"...assuming I can escape from this place," Butch muttered.
"OMG I'll help!" Deb volunteered. Butch grinned weakly.
"Thanks." No sooner had he spoke the word, than Warren suddenly vanished.
"It's been done," sighed Butch, "But I'm still here…" Deb snapsnapped her fingers.
"I know! Watch this!" she exclaimed, turning around.
"OMG One of the prisoners tunneled out!" she yelled. Dacta immediately ran to the cell. When she saw that Warren was indeed missing, she opened the cell door and ran to the back wall. Butch made a break for it. Deb silently wished him good luck.
"I don't see any tunnel… how on earth did he cover it up?" asked a confused Dacta. She turned around, and spotted Butch sprinting in the other direction.
"Oh no you don't!" Dacta produced a dozen pencils from the holsters at her side, and with a flick of her wrists, sent them flying toward Butch's retreating figure. The pencils stuck in the wall near Butch's head, some of them missing by only an inch or two. He quickly rounded a corner, and was gone from sight. Dacta raised the alarm, but Butch was already long gone by then. Deb jumped up and down excitedly, and huggled her Vivi plushie in celebration.

>> Somewhere where Butch doesn't know where it is, Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1300 hrs

Butch was lost.

Silently, he cursed his string of bad luck. Bob was gone. Warren was gone. Sure, he had managed to grab the miniaturized time machine during his mad dash out of the police station, but he didn't dare go into the past to try and change anything. A plot hole had killed Red Version's narrator. There was no telling what a paradox might do. Now, he was wandering aimlessly, not having any idea where he was or where to go.
"Heya." A nearby voice startled him. He looked around to find a woman standing a few feet to his left, looking at him curiously. Butch noted that there was something different about her. Something… odd. He couldn't quite figure out what it was, though.
"Odd." said the woman, as if reading his thoughts.
"Urrh… who are you?" asked Butch.
"Lani." answered Lani, "You?"
"Oh, I'm Butch!" Butch brightened considerably, "We met in Yellow Version, remember?" Lani nodded.
"You need any help?" she asked.
"If you could tell me where Poké Battles HQ is, I'd be grateful," said Butch.
"I'll come with you," offered Lani.
"Thanks!" said a relieved Butch.
"You're welcome. ^_^"

>> 6 miles south of somewhere where Butch doesn't know where it is, Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1700 hrs

The hours passed quickly, as Lani guided Butch ever forward. Few words passed between the two of them, though Lani helpfully pointed out anything that was odd along the way, including a traffic intersection which refused to give them the 'walk' signal, a giant gaping crater in the ground that took forever to get around (apparently Doompuff had been there), and a giant cement wall which they could not figure out the reason for its existence. It was this obstacle that the two of them were still trying to negotiate.
"Odd," commented Lani helpfully as the two of them continued in their vain attempt to walk around the thing.
"This is the kind of thing I'd expect to happen in Red Version," muttered Butch, "Except I guess the wall would want to fight or something…" An hour later, they finally managed to walk around the wall, and Lani informed him that they were about a half hour's walk from Poké Battles HQ. Butch glanced at his watch.
"URRH!" he exclaimed, "We're not going to make it."
"Lani will be going now,see you!" said Lani. Before Butch could respond, she had vanished. Butch sighed and broke into a run toward Poké Battles HQ.

>> Southern California, Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1815 hrs

Butch finally arrived at the home of the Webmaster. He knew before he entered that he was too late. Warren had faded back into existence next to him during his run.
"You didn't make it??" asked a panicked Warren. Butch shook his head.
"Maybe Immortus can help us," he had suggested desperately. Warren sighed helplessly and agreed. The two of them proceeded to enter Poké Battles HQ, climbing the stairs to the second floor, and finding the telltale door, clearly labeled "ROOM OF WEBMASTER - DO NOT KILL." Butch reluctantly pushed the door open, seeing first the bodies of Beto and the Almighty One, and then Immortus standing in the room staring back at him. He beckoned him forward.
"I had been hoping that someone would show up here," spoke the Immortal Soul. Butch stared at him questioningly. "To explain this." Immortus stooped down and picked up one of the Almighty One's detached arms. He held it up, and Butch and Warren could clearly see that there was plush material composing the inside of the arm.

The body of the Almighty One was nothing more than a life-sized Webmaster plushie.

Part Three

"What… is that??" asked Warren confusedly.
"I was hoping you could tell me," said Immortus, "I thought my friend had been killed by Beto. But it seems that it was a decoy. Perhaps you could explain who you are?"
"Warren of the Webmastarians," he bowed, "I was created by you in the future. I traveled back with Bob and Butch to prevent this tragedy from occurring. Bob didn't make it…" he lapsed into silence.
"Oh, URRH!" Butch suddenly piped in, "I've got it! We time travel a half hour into the past, extract the Almighty One just before he's killed, and replace his body with a life-sized Almighty Webmaster plushie! Beto won't know the difference! These things even bleed, don't they?" Warren blinked.
"Holy Webmaster, you're right!" Warren grinned, "All we have to do is make the switch, then time-travel back to July!" Immortus breathed a sigh of relief.
"Then my friend will live. That is good--I will watch over Red Version in his absence. Perhaps we will be able to learn to work together to rule over Red Version together. I will look forward to it." Warren smiled.
"Take care of my character for me," he said, bringing the time machine back to normal size. Within it were several life-sized Almighty Webmaster plushies. He and Butch bid farewell to Immortus, and activated the machine.

>> Southern California, Earth
>> January 1, 2001 :: 1800 hrs

The time machine appeared before the Almighty One in a flash of light. The startled Webmaster stood from his position in front of the computer, and watched in shock as Butch and Warren emerged from it.
"Who are you??" demanded the Almighty One.
"Sh!" Butch warned, "We have minutes only, Almighty One," he whispered, "Beto is coming to kill you. Take off your cloak and place it on this plushie." Already, Warren had positioned the plushie in the chair in front of the computer, so that it appeared to be sleeping. Wordlessly, the Almighty One, removed his cloak and did what he was told.
"Get in the machine," whispered Warren, "And hurry!" The Almighty One hesitated.
"Who are you?" he asked. Before Butch could respond, all three of them heard a clear voice outside the room.
"That makes my job harder." The Almighty One knew in that instant that these strangers had told the truth. He wordlessly ducked into the machine. With a flash of light, they vanished. Once again there was both silence and darkness within the room. Beto cautiously approached the door, and slowly pushed it open. He peered inside, to find a cloaked figure passed out in front of the computer, his head resting on the keyboard. Beto couldn't believe his luck. He crept up behind the Almighty One, barely able to contain his excitement. He raised his Swiss army knife into the air, paused for a few seconds to savor the moment, and….

>> Southern California, Earth
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1800 hrs

The Almighty One shuddered.
"It feels like someone just walked on my grave," he said. The three of them were standing in the same room once more. Immortus stood before them, appearing exactly the same as he had six months earlier.
"Indeed they might have," said Immortal Soul, "You've been dead for six months." The Almighty One stared back at him in utter disbelief.
"Immortus?" he questioned, "What are you doing here? What do you mean I've been dead for six months? What is going on?"
"Beto Chávez was about to kill you," Immortus stated matter-of-factly, "We had your body replaced with a decoy, then transported six months in the future--a precaution against paradoxes. I created a new Red Version world whose resources I used to facilitate such a switch. In short, you owe me big time." The Almighty One stood stupidly for a moment, allowing all the information to sink in.
"So… I take it the Red Version I know has been in limbo all this time?" he asked.
"Indeed," said Immortus, "Non-existent, to be exact."
"Easily remedied," stated the Webmaster, cracking his knuckles and sitting in front of the computer.
"One request, Almighty One," Immortus placed a hand on the keyboard to prevent him from typing, "Please don't delete my Red Version; place your world alongside mine." The Almighty One nodded.
"I understand," he said. Immortus lifted his hand, and the Webmaster began to type.

>> The Path to Nowhere, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1805 hrs

John Movius stood, alone once more, on the legendary Path to Nowhere. Legends of this place haunted his memory. It was said that anyone who walked down this path would soon find themselves lost to non-existence. The path was aptly named; none of the expendable characters who had ever walked down it had ever returned. John Movius, his Large Steel Cage of Holding strapped securely to his back like a giant backpack, now was considering taking that route to nonexistence; that path to nowhere.
"A life such as mine hath no meaning," he muttered, "One such as I must always walk his paths in life alone. No one will--no one can--ever hope to understand one such as I. Perhaps I shall find some purpose at the end of this path. Or perhaps I shall meet my end. It matters not. I walk it alone, regardless. Movius took a step forward. Then another. Darkness began to surround him. One final signpost stood between him and a path that faded into nothingness in front of him. The lettering read: 'PATH TO NOWHERE--POINT OF NO RETURN.' Movius took another step forward.

And at that moment, everything changed.

Suddenly, the path that had formerly led to non-existence now led into a grassy field. The signpost's letters shifted, and the confused Movius re-read them.


>> Lord Sloth's Castle Ruins, Red Version (Old World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1810 hrs

"Woooah," Emperor Sloth felt very dizzy all of the sudden.
"What… what just happened?" asked an equally dazed Lord Sloth.
"I dunno… it felt a lot like being warped out of non-existence for exactly six months."
"Hnn…" mused Lord Sloth, "You know, it did feel exactly like that, didn't it? Must have been some Doompuff-related weirdness."
"I agree," Kasparov spoke up, startling the two sloths, "A checkmate of a different sort seems to have taken place on Earth." Before either Sloth had an opportunity to respond to that bizarre comment, the Green Valkyrie, Lord Sloth's faithful yet unwilling wife, stormed toward the trio.
"That does it!" she yelled furiously, "I refuse to do thy shopping anymore!"
"Shouldn't that be 'refuseth'?" teased Lord Sloth. Green Valkyrie glared at him.
"Thou insolent beast!" she screeched, "I demand we end this farce of a marriage! You.. Thee can't.. Do stuff right!" she struggled with her medieval speech as if she were still trying to learn it.
  "Excuse me, Valkyrie… but I can't understand a word you're saying," Lord Sloth informed the intimidating trainer, "You need to work on learning common speech."
"That does it! I am out of here!" she yelled.
"Ha! You can't leave! You are honor-bound! 'till death do us part…" Valkyrie's face lit up.
"Well then, that's rather convenient! I have the strange sensation that we've been dead for the past six months, haven't thou?" Lord Sloth realized with sickening dread that he had had that exact same feeling. But he wasn't going to admit it.
"I tell you, you are honor bound!" he insisted angrily, but weakly. Kasparov and Emperor Sloth both felt the truth of Valkyrie's words and it shocked them to the core of their being. With that, Valkyrie proudly turned her back on the fuming Lord Sloth, and walked away.
"Shall I follow and have her slaughtered?" asked Emperor Sloth eagerly.
"No," Lord Sloth held out an arm, "Let her go. She'll be back."

>> Southern California, Earth
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1810 hrs

"It is finished," announced the Almighty One. No sooner than he said that, however, the sound of a dozen vehicles screeching to a halt came from outside.
"That sounds like the screeching sound of an unmarked van," remarked Warren worriedly. Butch glanced out the window.
"It's Dacta! She's found us!" he announced.
"Curses! I should have expected she'd try something like this," said Immortus, "I can withstand anything Dacta can throw at me, but I can't protect all of you!"
"She's here to kill us?" asked the Almighty One.
"Here to kill you," said Immortus, "She's wanted you dead for some time, but moreso since I gave her a low score on one of the battles she wrote a couple weeks ago."
"Why would she want me dead for something you did?"
"Oh, everything I've done the past six months, I did under your name," admitted the Almighty Soul, "I didn't think you'd mind."
"Well, I mind now!" he shouted, "I leave you in charge for six months and people want me dead??"
"Only moreso than they already did," Immortus pointed out lamely. The sound of FBI agents kicking in the door downstairs moved the Almighty One to action.
"We'll escape to Red Version for now," he decided quickly, extending his arms with the intent of creating a portal. However, nothing happened.
"What's wrong??" asked the Almighty One, near panic now. He had cheated death once; and was suddenly unsure if he'd be able to do it again.
"The powers of Red Version are divided now," explained Immortus, "Actions involving creating anything in Red Version require a combined effort between the two of us. The Almighty One cursed.
"Help me out, then!!" he cried, hearing footsteps on the stairs. Immortus did as he was told, and together, he and the Almighty One created a portal to Red Version. Butch, Warren, and the Almighty One immediately jumped in. Seal it! A telepathic message from the Almighty One reinforced what Immortus was going to do anyway. He extended his arms in front of him, willing the portal to close. From the other side of the portal, the Almighty One must have been doing likewise, because the portal vanished.

>> Sailor Pete's Used Car Lot, Red Version (Old World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1815 hrs

Warren, Butch, and the Almighty One breathed a collective sigh of relief. They had made it back in one piece.
"I never imagined I would ever have to visit this place…" said the Almighty One after catching his breath.
"Home sweet home," Butch breathed a deep breath, "I never imagined I'd ever be able to visit this place again…"
"And I've only visited this place in my dreams…" said Warren, looking around excitedly like a child in a toy store.
"Geez," said a nearby Bug Catcher, "It's just a used car lot…" The three of them broke into a hearty laughter usually reserved for the endings of bad cartoon shows.

Except this particular bad cartoon show wasn't over yet.

Part Four

>> The Path Between Worlds, Red Version
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1830 hrs

"Strange," murmured Valkyrie when she had finally put enough distance between herself and Lord Sloth to bother to take note of her surroundings, "I never noticed this place before." A signpost caught her attention:


"Curiouser and curiouser," she murmured, stepping past the sign and continuing on the path that stretched out in front of her, seemingly without an end. After traveling for some fifty feet, she noticed something in the distance. Someone was walking toward her.
"Well, maybe he'll know what that this 'New World' is, since he seems to have come from it," she reasoned, continuing onward. As she closed the distance between herself and the stranger, she noticed that he was carrying some sort of huge metal object three times his size on his back. Finally, she saw his face, and sucked in her breath.
"Now that is the sort of man I would want to marry," she said beneath her breath, as the man was now within earshot. He too seemed taken aback by her appearance. He dropped his Large Steel Cage of Holding to the ground.
"...who art thou, that I may know the name of one who possesses such infinite beauty as yours?" asked John Movius, scarcely believing that a creature such as Valkyrie could exist.
"I beest the Green Valkyrie," she introduced herself, "I knowest not what this place is." Movius smiled.
"Then I should suppose that makes two of us who know not what mysteries this place holds. I admit, I fear that it does not exist; that this is some wonderful dream from which I shall awake and find thee absent."
"I fear likewise, gentle sir," responded Valkyrie, "I hath… never met anyone quite like thee before."
"Then let us be together, you and I," said Movius, "Too much of my life hath been spent in solitude." The two of them stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like an eternity. It feels like s/he can read my thoughts, the two of them thought simultaneously.
"Might I venture a question?" asked Movius.
"Anything, gentle sir," Valkyrie assured him.
"I knowest now that thou'rt what I hath been searching for; the companion for whom I hath searched my entire life. Wouldst thou come with me to my world?" Tears sprang to Valkyrie's eyes.
"Yes, gentle sir… but please, there is someone who I must first bid farewell. I fear that once I enter thy world, I might never be able to return."
"And I fear that you might not find your way backhere ," said Movius, "But alas, I have unfinished business in my world, as well. Wouldst thou be here on the morrow?"
"That I promise, gentle sir. And on the morrow I shall pledge my love to thee, and thee to me your love thy pledge shall-- … er, wait… I mean, you too shall pledge your love for me." Movius chuckled.
"That I will, radiant Valkyrie. I shall count the minutes."
"And I the seconds. Farewell, John Movius."
"Fare thee well, Green Valkyrie."

>> Sailor Pete's Used Car Lot, Red Version (Old World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1900 hrs

"Poor Bob…" the Almighty One was saying, "He never did anything to deserve such a fate."
"Perhaps not," said Butch, looking suddenly ashamed.
"What's wrong, Butch?" asked Warren.
"Urrh, it's just that… I should have died, too."
"What kind of nonsense is that, Butch?" Warren was beginning to fear for his friend's sanity.
"Urrh… Bob and I… we had a chance to defend Webmastarian HQ, but… we fled…" he stared at the ground in shame, "I'm so sorry, Warren… we didn't think we stood a chance against Movius…" Warren was staring at him in silent shock.
"What??" Butch fell to his knees.
"I felt so guilty about it, you know?" he started to sputter, "But Bob, he insisted. And we didn't have it in us to sacrifice ourselves--"
"I took you into my home!" shouted Warren suddenly, "I showed you infinite kindness! Hell, I willingly put my life on the line for your sake! And this is how you repay me? You stab me in the back!" Butch was in tears now.
"Please, forgive me, Warren…" he was blubbering. The Almighty One looked on in silence as the scene played out.
"Hundreds of innocent Webmastarians were killed!" Warren exploded, "My life was ruined! What were you thinking??" Butch just continued blubbering incoherently. And it was at that point that Warren snapped. He landed a solid kick on the kneeling trainer, sending him crashing backwards to the ground. Before Butch even knew what was happening, Warren had pinned him down and began landing blow after blow on the helpless trainer's face. A sickening crunch could be heard as Warren's fist came into contact with Butch's nose.
"Enough!" stated an infuriated Almighty One, raising an arm and releasing a crackling bolt of electricity. Warren was caught off-guard by the sudden electrical current that passed throughout his body. The Almighty One did not relent. The electrocution continued for several minutes before the attack was finally cut short. Warren slumped to the ground, little more than a sizzling carcass.

>> Southern California, Earth
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1904 hrs

Immortus slammed his fists into the desk in a fury. He had discovered quite quickly that he was helpless to defend Warren while he was within the Old World. He watched in a rage as the Almighty One, the friend whose life he and Warren had just helped to save, mercilessly slaughtered the Webmastarian.
"Traitor!" screamed Immortus inwardly, allowing that psychic thought to travel to the Almighty One's mind, "You can rot in Red Version for all eternity for all I care!"

>> Sailor Pete's Used Car Lot, Red Version (Old World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1905 hrs

"So, Immortus wishes to challenge me, eh?" thought the Almighty One with some amusement, "Very well, then. If it's a war he wants, then it's a war he'll get." With that, he stretched his almighty influence across the Old World, and no one living within its borders could fail to hear the booming voice that spoke to them.

Know this, residents of the Old World! We are at war. Immortus has challenged the right to control Red Version, and we just rise up and destroy his New World and its rebel inhabitants! Without the destruction of the New World, there can be no peace! So it shall be written. So it shall be done. So decrees the Almighty Webmaster!

>> Lord Sloth's Castle Ruins, Red Version (Old World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1904 hrs

"Back for forgiveness?" asked Lord Sloth.
"Back to bid farewell," spat Green Valkyrie, "We art finished, you and I." At that moment, the voice of the Almighty One penetrated both their minds. A pang of fear drove deep into Green Valkyrie's heart as she realized the truth.
"John Movius… is to be my enemy?" she whispered in horror, "What sort of irony is this…?"

>> Webmastarian HQ, Red Version (New World)
>> July 1, 2001 :: 1904 hrs

"Back for forgiveness?" asked Chester.
"Back to bid farewell," spat John Movius, "Our business hath finished, permanently. When next we meet, we shall be bitter enemies." At that moment, the voice of Immortus penetrated both their minds:

Residents of my New World paradise! An ancient and evil power has arisen to threaten our perfect world! Together, we must rise to defeat it! If those of the Old World are not disposed of, we will surely be destroyed! From now on, know that your enemies are not amongst yourselves; they are amongst the Old World!

A pang of fear drove deep into John Movius' heart as he realized the truth.
"Green Valkyrie… is to be my enemy?" he whispered in horror, "O, I am fortune's fool!"


John Movius and the Green Valkyrie stood in the safety of each other's arms, on the Path Between Worlds.
"I hath spoken with the Almighty One," spoke the Valkyrie quietly, "He insists that he wilt have thee killed if thou dost cross into my world." John Movius nodded slowly.
"And I hath no doubt that one such as Immortus would do likewise," he replied. The stood in silence for what seemed like a long time.
"Soon, this path will become a war zone," the Green Valkyrie said aloud, "For us to be together will become an impossibility."
"What cruel trick hath the heavens played on us?" Movius choked out the words, near tears, "Why is what we want always just out of reach?" He held Valkyrie close, in contrast to the words he had just spoken.
"Someday, Movius--when this war is over--we can be together. We must work for peace in the interim. Promise me thou shalt never forget…" she began to draw away from him. Movius wouldn't let her go.
"Wait… please… don't go. Not yet…"
"I must," insisted Valkyrie, though it pained her to do so, "If anyone sees us like this, we shall be labeled as traitors." Movius finally stepped back, pushing her away almost forcefully.
"Go," he said, averting his gaze.
"No, you were correct. You must leave, as must I. We shall work for the day in which we can exist together once more. Go." Tears streaming down her cheeks, the Green Valkyrie turned her back and walked back along the path on which she came.

~ ~

A shadowy figure continued to watch as the images as he had foreseen them continued to play out on the screen.
"Excellent…" he said as he observed the armies already forming on both sides, "It has taken longer than I expected, but the events that Doompuff set into motion have finally come to pass. It is just a matter of time, now…

"Let the War of Worlds begin."

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