Embers of Hope

*Back at Emma, her friends, and the ATG Crew’s hiding place, Emma was trying to stand up on her healed leg. She wobbled a bit, but managed to stand well enough. She breathed a slight sigh of relief from this*

Emma: Thanks Ash. You’re a real miracle worker sometimes.

Ashley: Don’t thank just me. Thank the power of sci-

Kate: Reminder that you made that based on one of those spells of yours.

Ashley: …fair point.

*Suddenly, a call seemed to be coming in from the intercom Vi set up earlier. Arleen and Trixie were both trying to contact it*

Emma: Vi, put the call through, please.

Aviva: Aiba, answer call, patch it through the monitor again.

*After a few moments, the call comes up, with Arleen and Trixie appearing on separate video feeds, with everyone else they were currently with in the background*

Aviva: As they say on Kim Possible-

Saiko: Don’t-

Aviva: What’s the sitch?

Saiko: *Mumbling profanity*

Arleen: Everything’s okay now! Had a biiit of a situation when Chez and I got here, but it’s been resolved, and we’re holding up in Trixie’s house for the moment.

Trixie: …By “Situation”, she means I got turned into a Complex for a bit….

Emma: *Raises an eyebrow* I’m sorry, what?

Aviva: …Run that by me again?

Arleen: She got turned into a Complex. I helped fight her for a bit, then her mom stepped in and ah… Cured her.

Emma: Well don’t just keep us in the dark, how’d she do it?!

Trixie: Well, while I was a Complex, these… Negative thoughts kept piercing through my head, drowning out all my other thoughts. All I could feel was that I “deserved” to be taken a hold of like that… Then my mom came in, and told me… Everything I needed to hear. That it was okay to make mistakes. That I’d never chase her or any of my friends off with my nighttime form. That I’m loved, no matter what form I’m in… I guess all that assurance and validation was what I needed to fight back and… Break outta that mindset, and the corruption by extension.

Lance: *Just kinda butts in* Basically a buncha cheesy motivational shit gets rid of the badness, it’s fueled by self doubt and stuff. TL;DR for ya.

Aviva: *Mumbles something to herself, before speaking again* So if we can get into the person’s mind and assure them that their insecurities are common… Or at least something similar to that, in the sense of making them feel better about themselves… It’ll cure being a complex?

Vampette: I kinda wanna call the state of being a Complex “Complexity”…

Lance: Sounds too complex. Doesn’t really need a name right now.

Emma: *Clears her throat* Regardless, we know how to cure Complexes now, which is info we can use to try and deal with Shiyo. I’ll spread the news with everyone else ASAP.

*Arleen’s side is silent for a moment, then she speaks up again*

Arleen: …I need to go. Now.

*Almost immediately, she hanged up her side of the call*

Emma: Er… Alright. Guess I’ll start spreading the news then. Keep us updated, Trix.

Trixie: …Will do. *Hangs up on her side as well*


*Arleen got up from where she was sitting in Trixie’s basement, turning to face Trix with a distressed look on her face*

Arleen: Open the entrance back up. I need to head out, fast.

Trixie: Okay…? *Walks over to the back wall, putting a hand up to a panel on it. The panel glowed green, and the wall opened up to reveal a staircase heading back up* Be careful, Arleen.

*Arleen nods, then immediately dashes off, not bothering to explain or say anything else*

Chez: I uh… Y-Yeah, go spread the news, everyone needs to hear about this… *Quickly goes to follow Arleen, wanting to figure out what was wrong and help*

*Arleen was running as fast as she could out of the house and through the city, practically tearing through Eradicators in her wake. She’d even dropped her usual human form in favor of her true form as a Zoroark, something she almost never did…*

Chez: *Notices just how quickly she was sprinting, panicking a bit, and quickly using their crystal wings to fly, letting them catch up*

*Arleen didn’t didn’t say anything to Chez once they caught up, or even slow down so he could keep up easier. She was just laser focused on getting to her desitnation…*

*Chez still hadn’t recovered from the Trixie fight before, smacking Eradicators as they flew, finally managing to say something*

Chez: What are you doing?! You want to get trapped out here by yourself?

*Arleen stays focused on speeding through the city, heading into the forest now, but she did try to give an answer*

Arleen: Luci’s call before! If we’re fast, we might be able to save him and free Fizz from his corruption.

Chez: Oh… I-I understand, but I can’t just let you go out by yourself! *Eyes begin to lightly glow orange*

Arleen: Keep up then! I’d appreciate the help, but I’m not slowing down. *She keeps just barreling through Eradicators, using her claws and several Night Dazes to keep them off of her as best she could*

Chez: …Right. Just get there, I’ve got you covered. *Turns his focus to taking down any of the Eradicators targeting Arleen*

*While running like that, something pretty inconvenient happened, Arleen’s phone dinging with a text*

*Arleen kept on running, but grabbed her phone, checking it quickly while she did so. It was a text directly from Luci, explaining that he didn’t have much time to text, that the phone got knocked away from him before, and describing the situation with him and Fizz, which… Wasn’t pretty. At the end of the text, he added that he “might not come out well, if at all”, slipping in a casual joke about how it was “probably the latter”*

*Arleen panicked a bit more as she read this, putting the phone away for now and continuing to go as fast as she possibly could. It wasn’t long before her and Chez reached her place again…*

*Chez busts right through the door before Arleen, retracting their wings and stepping on the floor, ready to follow Arleen wherever she went from there*

*Arleen didn’t waste a second, bolting straight for the portal room, typing in the ID for Fizz’s universe, then immediately stepping through, Chez waiting until after Arleen fully passed through to follow*


*The two arrived right in Fizz’s universe through his portal machine, which landed them directly inside, Arleen quickly taking a look around, with Chez doing the same, closing his eyes to try and sense Luci and Fizz*

*The Fizz Complex was inside, directly in front of the locked and shut bedroom door. He was forming screens behind him, moments away from pounding at and busting the door down*

Arleen: *Almost instinctively, she fired out a Night Daze towards the Complex Fizz, causing him to get knocked back in surprise* Chez, hold off Fizz while I check on Luci! *Creates a couple double team clones, to help out in case the Complex was too much for Chez*

Chez: O-Oh, alright- *Readies their shield, not knowing much of Fizz’s capabilities, but ready to try his best*

*This succesfully kept Fizz distracted and off task, allowing Arleen to slip under the door with Shadow Sneak from her Greninja form, shifting back to Zoroark form and looking around*

Lucian: *Is kinda just slouched over the side of the bed, leaning against it. He probably locked himself in the bedroom hoping he wouldn’t be found, to no avail of course. He was almost slipping from consciousness by now, and pretty badly messed up, from the looks of things…*

Arleen: …O-Oh my god. *Runs over to Lucian, taking her normal human form now, crouching down next to him* Luci…?

Lucian: *Opens an eye at Arleen, smirking a bit despite his situation, his breaths being somewhat weak* …Lazy **s… Got here… Huh? I didn’t… Really wanna hurt him… Too strong anyway… Hahah….

Arleen: *Sighs, putting some hands to her face* I-I’m so sorry I didn’t get here sooner, Luci. I feel terrible for leaving you like that… *Transforms into an Audino form, then tries healing Luci up, if only a little bit, with Healing Pulse*

*Lucian’s LP was deadly low, visibly. It started going up a bit, albeit not much. It’d mainly be helped if he got some rest, as he wasn’t exactly bleeding, just badly beaten*

(LP is short for Life Points, and is what Luci thought to use to distinguish a normal KO in Pokemon from the Pokemon actually dying. -Editor Fizz)

Arleen: *Sighs a bit* …Listen, I found out a way to cure Fizz. Complexes are controlled and held by their insecurities, so if we reassure him that those insecurities are wrong, then he’ll start to fight back against the corruption and eventually revert back to normal.

Lucian: …Cheesy s**t… But I can try!

Arleen: A-Are you sure you’re well enough…?

Lucian: No harm in trying… Just a bit more. *Has both eyes open now, his LP going up by quite a bit…*

Arleen: A-Alright…. *Heals Luci a bit more, then turns back into her human form, standing up, and walking over to the door, looking back at Luci* Chez and I’ll both protect you as best we can, so… Do your best, and be careful.

Lucian: *Stumbles a bit, but manages to get up, stretching out* Thanks again, hun. Wasn’t goin’ great here without ya… *Pauses* …He’s gonna f**kin’ kill me when he sees the inside of the house though. I gotta help him clean up and stuff. *Unlocks the door and just walks out plainly. He still looked really roughed up, but was at least feeling alright*

Arleen: *Follows after Luci, holding her Katana in defense as she looked at Chez* Oi, Chez! Luci’s gonna try to revert Fizz. Protect him as best you can.

Chez: *Holding up their shield, in the middle of blocking an attack from Fizz* Heh, alright… We’ve got this. *Seems surprisingly optimistic all of a sudden, even after seeing Luci as beaten up as they were*

*Fizz tried dashing towards Luci, firing a screen forward as he did so. Arleen slashed at the screen, making it glitch out and disappear while she knocked Fizz himself back with the handle of her blade*

Chez: *Moves to put themselves beside Luci to try and cover their flanks while Arleen dealt with the front*

Lucian: *Sighs lightly, taking a bit of an annoyed tone* Stand down unless I explicitly say I need you. Not if I look like it, but only if I say.

Chez: *Frowns, his optimism wavering as he backs away like Luci asked, though ready to jump in any moment Fizz got too close*

Arleen: *Looks at Lucian worriedly, but respects his wishes, backing up, while keeping her katana at the ready*

Lucian: *Walks forward a bit, staring at Fizz with a small smirk* …Soooo, can I just ask you nicely to stop and it’ll work, Fizzy? Or do I really gotta do some cheesy crap?

*Fizz didn’t seem too interested in a friendly chat, running up to Lucian and attempting to quickly swipe at him with claws*

*Luci ran to the side from that, grabbing Fizz’s arm with a few ribbons, before twisting it and pushing him on the ground*

Lucian: C’mon man, don’t push me to say a buncha cheesy crap while you sit there eatin’ dirt. This isn’t you, y’hear? What got you like this, thinking you hurt people so much? All you’re doin’ now by letting that get to ya is actually hurting people, both yourself and others. Y’made some mistakes, I get ya, but what’s the point of wallowing in them and letting this… Stupid Complex-making thing get to ya? H**l, in case it ain’t obvious, I forgave ya by now… I didn’t even want to hurt you for f**k’s sake, man. It isn’t your fault.

*Fizz struggled a bit, a screen forming above him that tried to slam into Luci and knock him away*

*Rather than avoid it, Luci glowed a bit, before firing a Moonblast at the screen, destroying it while keeping Fizz down*

Lucian: Come on, man. You might’ve snapped, think you did bad things, which while in some cases were bad or… A bit too snappy, it was always for a good reason, out of your own concern and compassion, even if a bit misunderstood or mistranslated. Consider pretty much everyone at AAaF, including myself. They don’t hate you or anything for it, because they at least understand that for the most part. You’re holding onto mistakes you made that everyone mostly forgives you for, because you think the exact opposite and push yourself down. I know it’s not as easy as just “Stopping”, since the mind doesn’t work like that, but at the very least know what I’m saying is pretty much a fact, and you shouldn’t be putting yourself down. Just… Quit attacking, and let me have my f**kin’ friend back, would ya?

*At this point, Fizz actually stopped struggling, lying there silently for a moment. His body starts to leak black smoke like Trixie’s previously, floating up to the ceiling and dissipating, leaving Fizz reverted from his corrupted state after a bit, back to normal*

Lucian: …Oh. So that s**te worked… *Gets up off of Fizz* Cheeez, I need ya over here!

Chez: *Is currently watching, their eyes going from orange to green* O-Oh, yeah? *Quickly walks over to Luci and Fizz, kneeling down a bit*

Lucian: *Chuckles, then points at Fizz* Sick ’em, Chez~

Chez: Of course-! owo *Tackles Fizz almost instantly, hugging him tightly, which Fizz took, staying quiet*

Lucian: DON’T LET ‘EM GO UNTIL THE F**KER APOLOGIZES FOR WORRYIN’ ME!

Chez: Pff, hehe… You got it! *Has Fizz pinned down at this point from how tight they were hugging him*

Fizzson: *Stays down, looking away as he teared up a bit, hugging back* …I… I-I’m sorry. I-It was silly to let myself get mopey and worry everyone…

Lucian: …He apologized. But do it as long as ya want, Chez! He deserves itttt!

Chez: Hehe… Fine, c’mere you- *He loosens his grip, but happily nuzzles Fizz gently*

Fizzson: *Frees his arm from Chez’s grip, wiping the tears from his face* …T-Thanks, all of you. This is… Everything I needed, honestly…

Lucian: Yeah yeah, your **s made me suffer havin’ to say a bunch’a cheesy crap. So you owe me a lunch sometime…

Chez: *Shoots a bit of latex out to pull Lucian towards the snuggles* It’s your turn now for making us worry!

Lucian: Wh- I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING- *Doesn’t exactly resist against this, getting pulled straight in, chuckling a bit* …d**nit.

Chez: I mean look at yourself, Luci- Almost made me freak out for the third time today. -w- *Quickly wraps Luci into the hug, nuzzling them both*

Fizzson: *Chuckles, sitting up and swiping his hand a bit to the side as he wiped away the last of his tears, a familiar orange, holographic keyboard appearing under it. Fizz looks at it, eyes widening in surprise and excitement*

Lucian: …Ah d**n, he has his keyboard. I CAN’T MESS WITH HIM ANYMOREEEE.

Chez: Wait, wha-?

*Fizz typed something in, holding out his free hand as a white longsword with a few differently colored crystals in the hilt. He types in a bit more, spawning a chocolate cupcake, which he offers to Chez, giggling uncontrollably in an almost child-like manner*

Chez: *Seems interested in the cupcake, taking it happily and tasting it with a lick, before starting to purr* …Heh, thank you Fizz… But since when could you do this sorta thing?

Lucian: AY! Don’t give him a cupcake and leave me hanging! You owe me still for makin’ me say all that cheesy crap!

Fizzson: *Nods, typing into the keyboard some more, a similar chocolate cupcake appearing in Luci’s paw* I used to be able to do this, but my keyboard was uh… Out of commission for a bit, thanks to the Psycho Squad attack. Looks to be back in business now, though, hehe…

Lucian: D**miiittt… You oughta know I meant a puff~ *Pauses* Nah I’m kiddin’, I’m not picky.

*Since it was already unwrapped, Luci just ate the whole thing in two bites or so, wiping some chocolate off his face with a ribbon, then licking off the ribbon*

Chez: …Ooh, I hadn’t been there for that, sorry ^^” *Watches Luci eat the whole thing quickly, suddenly downing his own cupcake with the wrapper still on* …Mmh.

Fizzson: All good. But anyways… *Types more into the keyboard, warping a short distance away, next to Arleen* Anything major I missed?

Arleen: Well, Shiyo’s been turned into a Complex. Emma and the ATG gang tried to fight him, but they had to run away. They’re hiding in the city, right now….

Chez: *Suddenly bonks on the floor, since he’d been laying on Fizz* Eh? Oh… right, Shiyo.

Fizzson: Mm. We’re gonna have to try and revert him. I’ll get us over to Emma’s group so we can make a plan to help with the situation. *Pauses, looking at Luci* …I think it’d be best if you headed to AAaF HQ, though. You’re beat up pretty bad from all… That, and that’s the only fully safe place to get some rest and recover.

Lucian: Whaaaat? You kiddin’ me? Why would I do thaaat?

Chez: No, honestly Luci, I agree with Fizz. You don’t look well enough to go on and fight more.

Fizzson: Would ya rather take your chances against a near 20-foot tall, nigh-on uncontrollable titan of a Complex along with all the smaller ones that’d gather around it?

Lucian: H***lll yeah I do!

Fizzson: *Stares at Luci questioningly* …Uh… Are you serious?

Chez: …I think something might be off in their head all of a sudden- *Slowly gets up off the floor*

Lucian: I mean… I could distract ’em pretty easy for you lads to land blows. I dunno many people who can just make copies of themselves at will. Do you?

Arleen: *Coughs lightly, looking to the side*

Chez: Usually the person who can take the most of a beating does the distracting. You honestly look like you can barely stand in that state….

Lucian: Shut uuuup… I’ll be fine. Y’all worry too much is all!

Fizzson: …Eh. Let him do what he wants, then. His help is gonna be useful, and we’re gonna need as much of that as we can get.

Chez: but… I don’t want them getting hurt again… *Eye color dims slightly*

Fizzson: *Walks over to Chez, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder* We’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t get hurt then, won’t we?

Chez: A-Alright… I guess that is my job anyways…

Arleen: And mine. Like h**l I’mma let him die after just saving him.

Chez: Yeah, but I’m the one with some of the protection based… Things. *He points to his shield*

Arleen: Doesn’t mean I can’t still protect him in some other ways.

Fizzson: Regardless, it’s decided. Let’s get a move on.

Lucian: H**l yeaaah!

Chez: *Gives a bit of a weird sigh* …Fine. *Eyes dim entirely, going back to normal*

*Fizzson nods, typing on his keyboard, creating a portal, and stepping through, with Arleen, Luci, and Chez behind him*

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