Pokey's laughter died down. He sat on the roof, grinning at them a moment before speaking.
"So, the three of you are back." he said, "It looks like you've brought along a friend. Though I must say he doesn't look very familiar... But that's what ten years in a crazy house does to you, I suppose." he stopped to chuckled a bit. Then he raised an index finger. A white ball of light began building up around the tip.
"Here." Paula whispered, her hand reaching up between her and Ness, with something clasped in it. The Franklin Badge.
Pokey used PSI Laser Alpha! The ball of light turned into a concentrated beam. It hit right in between Paula and Ness, sending the two of them flying apart, and the Franklin Badge dropping onto the ground. Ness scrambled to his feet as soon as he landed, performing PSI Cat Omega. The energy hit Pokey, who looked dazed for a moment.
"Temper, temper." he cooed, as Ness caught the badge thrown to him by Jeff, "Time for your medication, Mr. Mental Patient. So who shall go first, hm?" He was interrupted by the flames that immediately came speeding towards him a moment later. Paula had used PSI Fire Omega.
Pokey attacked again, this time with an attack similar to the ones Giygas would use- an invisible sheet of damaging energy, which hit Paula and knocked her onto her back.
Jeff fired his laser gun, and hit, but Pokey had a shield. The attack came right back to Jeff in a diluted form, grazing his shoulder.
Meanwhile, Poo had begun his turn, spinning into the Starstorm PSI. A direct hit.
Ness used PSI Shadow Alpha! A boomerang-shaped piece of darkness sped towards Pokey, but it didn't work.
Paula whipped out her second weapon- the slingshot- and loaded it with three balls. They hit Pokey right in the face. One of them flew back to Paula through the shield, causing a small amount of damage.
Pokey used PSI Thunder Delta!
The first flash didn't hit anyone. The second hit Poo, who hardly seemed phased after Lifeupping himself. The third flash of lightning sped towards Ness, but the Franklin Badge reflected it, sending it right back to its source.
Ness' turn. He felt like he was using an awful lot of PSI. But if he used one of his hand-held weapons, some of the damage would come back to him...
"Paula!" he shouted, turning to her, while Jeff fired another blast from his laser gun and managed to nearly dodge the reflecting. Paula tossed Ness a PSI Caramel.
"All right," she said, half-smiling as she threw the candy, "Time to show off!"
Paula performed PSI Damage Beta! The sheet of invisible energy sped towards Pokey, knocking him right in the head. He flinched, missing his chance for attack.
"Woah!" Ness exclaimed. Powers equal to that of Giygas! Or something similar to it, anyway, "Hey, Paula!" He said, reaching into his pocket and taking out a lead slingshot ball. Time to get creative, he thought, throwing it into the air, then slamming it towards Pokey with the bat, "I wouldn't happen to have an attack like that, would I?" The damage came back, but was quickly Lifeup Beta-ed.
"You should!" Paula shouted back, watching Poo attack with one of those spinning ninja disks. The disk broke the shield around Pokey and cut a slice through his hand, which was healed but still damage-causing.
Ness searched through the list in his head. In the meantime, Jeff was attacking.
There it was- Damage Alpha. Costs 20 Psychic Points. Sends an invisible sheet of energy speeding towards the victim, causing light damage... PSI Damage Beta. Costs 25 Psychic Points. Sends an invisible sheet of energy speeding towards the victim, causing moderate damage... "Sweet." he said, grinning, and quickly shutting the voice up. It was time to get back into the battle.
PSI Freeze Omega from Paula. A few more lead balls courtesy of Ness. A laser shot from Jeff. A failed PSI Shadow Alpha by Poo. Then...
Pokey used PSI Laser Delta! The extremely intense beam sped towards Paula, who dodged just in time- but unfortunately her backpack wasn't so lucky.
"Our supplies!" Jeff exclaimed, watching their line of defense go up in smoke.
Pokey grinned. Not what he had planned, but things seemed to be looking up.
Paula looked up at Ness from the ground where she lay, "Well, Ness, looks like this is as good a time as any."
"Huh?" Ness asked, watching her get to her feet.
"Make the connection!" she exclaimed. "Now! Before he takes one of us out!" She used the slingshot, taking her turn.
"How?!" Ness asked.
There was a pause as everyone seemed to consider this. Then Pokey spoke.
"I suppose I ought to help you along," he said in a bored tone, "This battle is starting to tire me out; I would much rather end this quickly, wouldn't you? So here..." The 'robe' began to unravel from around his neck. When it was long enough, it stopped unraveling and snaked down, its end hovering in front of Ness.
"Touch it, Ness." Pokey went on, leaning forward and resting one elbow in his knee, "You wouldn't want to waste another chance, would you... For the ride of your life..."
"Why should I believe you?" Ness asked. He was trying to sound skeptical, but somehow the words the ride of your life seemed to tug at him like a forgotten dream. And maybe it was...
"Don't you think there was a reason you were the only one who wasn't repulsed by this physical manifestation of my power?" Pokey said, raising an eyebrow, "Well, I guess that proves it, eh? It really is you. Leave it to you and your little pseudo-hero squad not to figure something like that out..."
Ness felt insulted for a moment until he realized what Pokey was saying. He's using childish insults to try and get me angry, Ness thought. Why, he hasn't changed at all. Sure, he's got power- but he's still that cowardly, prideful, stupid little boy inside. I've just gotta hit the right spot...
"I guess I could expect such a lame-o plan from someone like you," he said, crossing his arms.
"What?" Pokey's eyes widened.
"Yeah. You overblown piece of octopus pus. I see right through your crummy little plot. That's not your power at all, is it?"
He had done it. Pokey's cry of anger nearly made the ground shake.
"HOW DARE YOU?!" he shouted, his cheeks jiggling, "Touch it and I'll SHOW you how powerful I am! I'll show you all!" Ness smiled and reached for it, but the end of the 'snake' that was unraveled shot rapidly towards Paula.
Paula tried to dodge, but it connected with her hand. What looked like black lightning surrounded her, and for a moment she was suspended in mid-air. Then, she dropped to the ground.
"Wait!" Ness shouted. Oops, he thought. "Stop!"
But the strand of raw power continued on to Poo. Poo flipped and spun, trying to avoid it, but in the end it touched the back of his neck. Jeff, who had run over to Paula to make sure she was all right, got shocked as well.
"Stop it!" Ness shouted, running over to where Jeff and Paula now lay. He looked down at his companions. Were they dead? He prepared to use Healing Omega.
Paula's eyes opened suddenly. So did Poo's and Jeff's. They looked groggy, but they were alive. Ness kneeled down next to Paula and lightly stroked her hair with the tips of his fingers.
"We're all right," she said, taking his hand, "Go on."
Ness looked up at Pokey sitting up on the roof. He realized he might not survive the trip. None of them should be dead when he was in Magicant... Including him... He stood up.
Ness turned to Jeff, who was now sitting up and adjusting his glasses. "Hey, Jeff."
Jeff looked up.
Ness looked away for a moment, then looked back at Jeff.
"I'm sorry, man."
"I'm waiting," Pokey said impatiently, "Let's get on with the circus, Ness. Leave the sideshow behind."
There was a short pause.
"I forgive you." said Jeff sincerely.
Ness didn't even smile. Instead he looked over to Poo.
"See ya, buddy."
Poo smiled, brought his hands together, and bowed.
This time Ness smiled. Then, with a look of determination, he turned back to Pokey.
"Let's get this over with." he said, taking the Sound Stone out of his inside pocket.
With his other hand, as quick as lightning, he reached out and grabbed the strand of power.
He meant to put the Sound Stone to his forehead, but the 'lightning' seemed to attract it there. It was jammed quite violently onto his forehead with an almost magnetic force. Even though the lightning was black, the pain was white-hot. It entered through one arm and came out the other through the Sound Stone right into the core of his subconscious. Where the melodies of the sanctuaries should have been, there was a warped sort of noise, a cacophony of strange sounds that would have filled the bravest man with fear.
As he felt himself falling into the world of Magicant, and as he braced himself for what was to come, he felt a split-second of calm. A voice entered his head that was no doubt a prayer from Paula...
I love you.
His last thought before everything went black was a prayer that he hoped she would receive.
I love you, too.