Hey everyone, here is the next addition to the story, enjoy!

Chapter sixty-seven: Train to Verdigris, Part 2

Jennifer, Eev, and I made our way through the tight air duct…eventually finding a place we could exit and be out of this constricting space.

The Eevee jumped down first, making sure the coast was clear. She looked up and nodded to us before we gave a thumbs up to her. I motion Jen to get out and it's not long before the three of us find ourselves in a room with green wallpaper.

We don't hear a commotion outside, so we can only hope that the hallway outside this room is empty. The Ex-Grunt from Sinnoh slowly slides up the brown door and peeks her head back and forth before coming back in. She crouched to us and whispered, "stay close to me. First sign of trouble, don't hesitate…fight!"

Eev and I looked at each other and nodded, giving confident smirks on our faces.

"Let's go" the human said, ushering us out.

The hallway has the same green-colored walls, but the floors were old red carpet. I didn't like this…it was eerily quiet…aside from the occasional rocking when the train was turning. The staterooms around us were empty, aside from some equipment that was locked away (maybe important documents or stuff like that.)

"Yeah…we're definitely running into a trap" Jen groaned, amusing enough. I had to agree, but we had to at least find the closest exit to the train. It should be up ahead. The trainer had shown me a device: it's a PDA.

"Once we're out of here, I'll call it in. I kind of wanted to go out with a bang, but I guess your 'friend' did the job for us" Jennifer chuckled, referring to Ansel/Cy.

I rolled my eyes to her and walked ahead, "let's not delay this."

"Eh, maybe I just watch too many movies, Luc" Jen mused.

Eev couldn't hide her amused expression and made me notice it right away as we walked along the hallway, "Luc…now that's a name I haven't heard from her yet." I had to admit, Eev, that's a first for me.

"You're talking to a guy who was turned into a Pikachu by a mad scientist…" I told the human beside us, "when you put it that way…maybe it IS just like going to the movies" Jennifer giggled just as we reached the end of the hallway to be met with a steel door.

Great…

As before, Jen had to find a way to open it for us to proceed. It took a while again, but this time the whole train was on alert, and we could be discovered at any moment!

Eev and I made sure the coast was clear, but again: the calm felt so out of place…

Soon, the human called out to us, and we both quickly scurried over. Jen looked down at us; her hand was against the door handle, "ready for this?"

We both nodded.

She slowly slid the metal door open. We expected a confrontation, but the three of us were, instead, met with just a long empty room. It's a dining car by the looks of things…but all the booths were unoccupied.

As we walked down, I heard Jen say behind us, "if we weren't in a situation like we're in, I would totally have some tea and biscuits here" she giggled. I sighed, "no Oran Berry shakes?"

"Not for this occasion, look how fancy this room looks!"

"You're not wrong" I returned.

"Guys!" We heard Eev bark out. Jen and I looked up as we all joined together to see a television near the middle of the car suddenly come to life. Dread filled us as we saw it was the woman that was with Preston earlier…Nk…

Yeah, we expected this. Secret train, secret lair…evil criminal organization…traps come with the territory.

"Ah, what do we have here…stowaways!" She said just as Rk walked into the picture with an equal, sinister, grin on his face, "I'll give it to you, you got guts…not even Ansel stuck around this long!"

I stepped forward…curling my paw into a fist as I growled at them, "so…he isn't with you?"

"H-he does talk, huh? You weren't kidding!" Sara/Nk said.

He laughed in response, almost ignoring his partner's question, "the wuss!? Ha, never in a million years would I let him be a part of this! Not after all he's done."

"So then, why was he on board?" I asked. Behind me, Jennifer brandished her tranquilizer gun…preparing for the inevitable confrontation.

"Probably 'cause of his mother" Sara explained before she was cut short by him, "who cares! You all coming to us makes all of this the more fun!"

"I bet it does, you freak!" Jennifer scowled.

"Ha, says the girl traveling with a mutant Pikachu!" Sara retorted.

"Don't you grunts ever learn to quit!?" I suddenly blurted out as Eev joined my side with the same intensity, "yeah!" She shouted in her language.

"Enough talk!" Sara walked away from view on the TV.

"I agree. We got a surprise for you guys! I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we will!" He said, turning off the screen.

Sure enough, we see it…the ceiling above opens, and down comes a robot that blocks our way! Eev and I had to jump away as Jen gasped at the sight.

It's an XCRM-872. It's a medium-sized robot…by the looks of things it was half spiderbot/half needlebot. On the side, there were numbers and letters that read "Model 002."

Not long after, it charged for Eev and me and we split up. Jennifer tried shooting at it…despite the fact the needles from her wouldn't do anything against its metallic armor.

"Lucas, what do we do?" The girl asked me.

"Hit it with everything we got…" I got down on all fours…soon releasing a ThunderShock at the robot.

"Eev, Quick-Attack!" Jen responded with a command.

My bolt travels to the grounded robot, but the move is deflected back toward me as I'm forced to move. Yeah…I'm not surprised. Let me guess…we got to destroy it the same way Orion and Cy/Ansel destroyed the XBRM-872 in Viridian Forest? Maybe, but how…we don't have a Diglett in our party!

I had to divert my attention again to the battle. The fox Pokémon evaded the legs of the spider-hybrid and struck its side; however, it did little to damage it.

Sure enough, she gets smacked away by an arm and I am hit by her falling body. Once we both recovered, we widened our eyes to see it unleashed a barrage of needles down on all of us. We run for cover, narrowly avoiding them in the process.

"H-how can we stop this thing!?" Jennifer shouted from the other side of the room before she gasped…having looked up.

"Get out of there!" I shouted. The XCRM was right on top of her!

I suddenly had an idea (something that Orion did at Outpost 3C 273) and I yelled to the human, "get out of the way. Eev!"

We both charged and slammed into the robot's side…causing it to tilt over just as Jen rolled to the side. Once Jenson joined us, we looked back to see the robot recovering.

"Eev, Take Down!" Jen ordered just as I said, "find us a way out, hurry!" I shouted to her before she nodded.

Her starter Pokémon slammed into the underside of the machine with everything she had, taking some recoil damage. The attack managed to form a crack in the machine…similar to how Diglett did!

Eureka!

Before we could celebrate the moment, the robot moved up and jumped toward us. The shockwave sent me back toward Jen just as it grabbed the Eevee with a claw. When we looked to see what had happened, the machine sprouted several tiny needlebots from its sides to stop us from helping the third member of our party!

"Dang it!" I shouted; electricity sparked from my cheeks in anger. Jen and I had to dispose of these little critters before we could even think of helping the fox creature.

We dodged tiny needles (Jen hid behind a booth) as we took them down one by one. I moved up, charging for the Spider-Needlebot hybrid. Several tinier bots came flying towards me, but I had a trick up my yellow sleeve.

I made several copies of myself, having used Double-Team, and I rushed for the machine…using my body to strike their arm to free Eev.

Unfortunately, it seemed to be all in vain, for the XCRM shot out a laser from its side toward me. The Eevee yelped in my direction, "Lucas, look out!" She jumped in the way and got hit HARD. Jen and I yelled to her…she had fainted from the attack. The trainer called back her partner and soon had an idea…

Iron Tail should do the trick, she thought.

"Gabite, go!" She threw an Ultra Ball in the air toward the robot and me, "use Iron Tail!"

The purplish cave Pokémon appeared and was already in the air moving for the machine's underside. I had to get out of the way as its tail brightened. They dodged a laser from the machine and once they were under it…unleashed their move. The underside of the XRM cracked even more until it finally came apart. They could see the internal wiring inside.

Gabite is soon thrown across the room by the spiderbot-hybrid…soon landing by us. Jen had luckily managed to get the door unlocked, shouting to us, "come on, hurry!"

I looked back to our opponent…kind of wishing we could finish it off (that's my Pokémon side wanting to stay, probably.)

Anyway, we hurried through…finding that the door actually led us outside (a corridor connection between both cars it seems) and this gave us the opportunity to see what awaited us outside.

"I think it's time we blow this popsicle!" Jen said as I grunted lightly, "please…don't say that again."

Before we could continue our banter, we looked down to see that the train was actually in the middle of the bridge! The drop-down to the river was at least several hundred feet…enough to kill us, and it's not like Jen has any Pokémon that can carry us either! Not only that, but it's snowing out…it's freezing!

Still, we couldn't stay here, we could hear alarms blaring all over the train…we'll be surrounded soon, plus…the XCRM is still a BIG threat…it's making its way to us now!

"Climb!" I squeaked as Jen called back Gabite…and started climbing a cold ladder to get to the top of the military train. Once I join her above, we are immediately blasted with snow pellets from the speed this locomotive is going. Once we both get our bearing, we find out that it won't be long until we pass the bridge, and we can jump safely off into snow. Further down, the train seemed to stretch endlessly…h-how big IS this thing!?

It didn't matter, Jennifer put the tracker on the train earlier and that was enough for us…it'll lead the authorities straight to Verdigris (judging from the scents I'm getting all around it's not far away now…)

Before we could come up with a plan on how to get off, we heard some needlebots coming out from inside!

"Of course…" I grunted, my long ears drooping in annoyance.

I jumped forward, unleashing my ThunderShock on them…destroying the three robots that had come out to confront us. It wouldn't be long before more would come out and overwhelm us, but there was an even bigger threat…

Behind us, from the train car we were just in: the XCRM-872 burst out and landed not far from it. Sparks were going off all over the machine…since it was damaged by our earlier encounter. Now, however, its back had opened to reveal a rotor system for flight…you've got to be kidding me!

Sure enough, the Spiderbot/Needlebot hybrid took to the skies and now it stalked us from the air. Jennifer was beyond horrified…and I wasn't sure what we could do. I tried using my electrical attack but it's too fast!

Jen had to think of something, she ultimately called upon her Pidgeotto to help us. The Normal/Flying-Type flew up and tried to distract the robot. The human and I heard the whistle of the old train, and we snapped our heads to see what awaited us…

A large tunnel seems to be rapidly approaching…it's not tall enough for us to fit…we must get off…and soon, or we're goners!

Unfortunately, the flying robot made that task difficult. It shot lasers at the bird, which tried to dodge every attack the best it could.

In response, Jen yelled to her Pokémon and then to me, "Pidgeotto, Wing Attack! Lucas, ThunderShock!"

I nodded, building up an electrical charge for my ultimate attack. The bird's wings glowed as it swooped down and slashed the metallic hull of the XCRM. My own attack struck them, but it seemed to have done quite a bit of damage, actually!

However, the machine's eyes glowed in response…soon emitting a bright flash that blinds the Pidgeotto! Shortly afterward, a powerful beam struck the avian (like Eev) and they fainted instantly. Jen looks above to see her Pokémon falling as she calls it back to its ball back in time.

Now it was just me…

To make matters worse, some more needlebots came flying out some windows to confront us! I had enough of these things, having to put up with them back in the Research Base!

The flying XCRM flew back to the train and hovered to block our way…and the tunnel was just down the tracks…half of the train was already inside the mountain!

I jumped on Jennifer, unleashing a lightning strike at the robot "boss" as the needlebots prepared to release their tranquilizers on us.

We were in a seemingly hopeless situation…we had to jump now, "Jen!"

"I know, but we're surrounded!"

"Damn it!" I cursed.

Suddenly, we heard a loud roar…a reptilian roar…a familiar roar in fact! The next thing Jen and I know we felt something grasp us and take us in the air…away from the train!

"We got them!"

That voice…it's Rigel!

Sure enough, I look up and see Charizard (with his trainer and Orion riding on their back!) They just saved us! Jen and I look down to see the last of the green military train vanishing into the tunnel just before Charizard lands us by the entrance to the tunnel.

I felt a mix of emotions: relief, confusion, and excitement for our friends, yet…we still have a problem on our hands.

Rigel and Orion jumped down to join our side just as we saw the robot menace land across from us…

"Uh…that looks familiar…" Rigel grunted.

"It's like a spiderbot…but deadlier…" I retorted as sparks left my red cheeks in anger. Orion joined my side, "just like old times, eh?" He asked with a cocky grin.

I nodded, "just like old times indeed…"

Before we can even think of chasing after the train and leaving the snowstorm behind, we all prepared to battle the robot blocking our way and destroy it once and for all.