“I don’t know, Muddy,” J said, trying not to put too much pressure on her front left paw. Neither of them had good moves to fight against a Durant, and a pack of them had unleashed a cascade of Fury Cutters. Her leg still felt like it had a bunch of Poison Stings stuck in it. “Maybe we should’ve stayed and trained in the dojo today instead.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Muddy said, seemingly no worse for wear. “Phil sent this mission to us, that means it’s up to us to complete it. Just eat an oran berry, you’ll be fine. We got this!”

J couldn’t help but think Philip had sent them this mission knowing they were a four-mon team, not two. They hadn’t exactly been advertising that Roquelle was down at the moment.

Still, someone was in danger! And Sophia⁠—and Muddy, to an extent⁠—were counting on J to be a good leader. J wouldn’t stop until Wy-Lopmon was safe! If Muddy could keep going, J could too.

J kept her ears out for more Durants. Thankfully, they were pretty noisy pokémon. Chittering, buzzing, and screeching. They just needed to be careful.

“I think that’s zir!” said Muddy. And before J could protest, it darted away.

“Wait!” J called, trying to catch up, but slowed by her prior injuries. In her rush, she didn’t notice a Heatmor lying in wait in the bushes. J slammed on the breaks yet still ran right into him.

The Heatmor was huge! Easily three times J’s size!

He unleashed an Incinerate attack. J rolled to protect their supplies, but her tails got caught on the flames. J screamed, panicking and darting wildly from Run Away. J’s body had stolen control away from her. She wasn’t in charge of where she was going. She wanted to go back for the abandoned supplies, but Run Away wouldn’t allow it.

Meanwhile, the Heatmor kept Incinerating the ground behind her, beside her. The more surrounded by flames she became, the tighter Run Away clutched her.

Muddy finally arrived, using Water Gun at full blast. J tried to move in to help, but her body wouldn’t budge. Trying to go forward just made her turn around and Run Away even more.

The Heatmor was taking damage, but not enough. J was hiding unwillingly in the bushes. The Heatmor plodded closer to Muddy and started hacking at it with Slash. Muddy kept moving, but it was already slower than most Eevee due to being a Mudkip fusion. The only reason J had gotten away from the Heatmor was due to Run Away, for all the good it was doing her now. All J could do was watch in horror as Muddy succumbed to Heatmor’s onslaught.

J hunkered down, swearing he could hear something else nearby. Multiple somethings. Muddy was struggling to get up. The Heatmor was firing up for another Incinerate.

“Follow Me!” said a high voiced-mon, forcing the Heatmor to direct his attacks at her. It was a Pachirisu wearing a purple rescue band! She started using Bide while her teammates, two more purple-banded Pachirisu, started using Discharge to attack the Heatmor and heal her. Between all their Discharges and her Bide, the Heatmor couldn’t take it anymore. He shuffled off, huffing and growling in defeat.

One of the Pachirisu, a shiny one with a spiky stripe, tried to give J a sitrus berry. J wanted to take it. She knew it’d be good for her to take it, but Run Away was still too strong. J’s body kept moving back against her wishes.

“Put it over here,” said the Bide-using Pachirisu.

“Then she can take it without us reigniting Run Away!” said another one, pattering his feet to a little dance.

“That’s brilliant, Suzy!” said the shiny one.

J moved back even more. All the noise was getting to her. Run Away was interpreting it as aggression.

However, once the shiny Pachirisu put the sitrus berry down, and moved back; J was able to move forward and take it. It worked instantly, refreshing J and dissolving Run Away. In its place was the sitrus berry’s smooth texture and well-rounded flavor.

Muddy got a sitrus berry too! This was a very generous rescue team.

Muddy shook out its fluff and said, “Thanks for the save. We’re a bit over our heads here.”

As much as J wanted to be annoyed that Muddy hadn’t admitted that in the first place, she was mostly in awe of how cool it sounded even after getting defeated so soundly. Nothing broke Muddy’s confidence.

“Of course!” said Suzy. “We were already here gathering silver powder to help out another team. We couldn’t just ignore a cry for help.”

“Silver powder?” J asked. “We have plenty of that!”

“A couple friends from earlier dropped a fucking bucket,” Muddy said. “You can have it!”

“Thank you!” Suzy said. “Are you sure you don’t need it?”

“Nah,” said Muddy, “none of us know Bug-type moves.”

“So other than gathering buckets of silver powder, what are you two doing here?” the shiny Pachirisu asked with a smirk.

“We’re here to Rescue Wy-Lopmon!” J said.

“Wy-Lopmon? Oh no!” said the especially energetic Pachirisu. “Have you seen zir yet?”

“No,” J’s ears flattened with her disappointment. “Ze mentioned ze was pretty far in.”

“Why don’t we go with you?” Suzy said. “The mons only get tougher from here.”

Even Muddy agreed that was a good idea. J didn’t want to think about fighting just by herself and Muddy anymore.

They had to maneuver a bit to not get hit with Team EleSquirrel’s Discharges, but J thought they were so cool! They all had Volt Absorb! And with Discharge attacking everything around them, they could hit hard and heal harder. And if Discharge didn’t work, Pachi, the energetic one, knew Grass Knot; Chi-Chi, the shiny one, knew Sweet Kiss and Toxic; and Suzy knew Swift! The mons of Heatmor Hills didn’t know what hit them!

Wy-Lopmon was up to zir neck in a Durant hill. Muddy worked on Rock Smashing them from zir while J dug zir out. Suzy kept the Durants away from them with Follow Me, then joined the rest of her team in blasting the Durants with Discharge.

“Suzy, it’s ready!” Pachi flung a glowing yellow gem at Suzy.

J was focused on digging out Wy-Lopmon, but she heard Muddy say, “Is that a Z-Crystal?!”

“Heck yeah, it is!” said Chi-Chi.

When J looked over, Suzy was grinning and whipping her arms out wide. She became a white thundercloud, crackling and cackling with electricity.

And all of a sudden, she charged at the biggest group of Durants.

“Gigavolt Havoc!!!”

The Durants who were directly hit went flying! The rest of them scrambled away. J had never seen such a one-sided fight before.

When bad memories started popping up, J distracted herself by digging Wy-Lopmon out. Muddy and Team EleSquirrel could help now as well, so ze was free in no time!

J heard Suzy asking her something, but her words burned to ashes in the flames of her trauma.

J heard Muddy though!

“J? J?? Doin’ okay, lil buddy???”

“Oh! …Yeah! I’ll be fine!” she said. J realized they all must’ve been waiting for her to use Team Fusion’s rescue badge.

“It’s your mission, after all,” Suzy said. “The honor is all yours!”

Suzy using Gigavolt Havoc! Lightning sparks around her as she charges towards a doomed durant.

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