Actions

Work Header

Shooting Star

Work Text:

The moon shines softly in the Alolan sky, reflecting the sun’s light to the inhabitants of the islands. The pale crescent is accompanied by hundreds of tiny specks, white pinpricks of light coming from stars thousands of light-years away. Platinum gazes up at them with wide eyes, drinking in the beautiful yet unfamiliar sight.

“It’s incredible,” she marvels. “I knew that we would be able to see more stars out here because there is no light pollution, but…I never imagined that there could be so many…”

Beside her, Phione coos in agreement.

“They’re beautiful,” Diamond agrees from his seat on the other side of the campfire. Manaphy snuggles up to him in his lap. “Pearl and I used to go stargazing in Twinleaf Town when we were little. I loved trying to identify all the different constellations.” He peers up into the sky and points to a cluster of stars that have a weird sort of symmetry to them. “There’s Cherubi, it’s my favorite constellation.”

Pearl, sitting beside him, stretches out his legs and lays on his back to better see the stars. “My favorite is Azurill,” he says, pointing to the constellation. “See those two bright stars next to each other? That’s Azurill’s head and tail.”

Platinum hunches over, frowning, tilting the book in her hands closer to the fire. “The guidebook does not list either of those constellations,” she says, puzzled.

“Let me see,” Pearl says, sitting up and holding out a hand. Phione eagerly takes the book from Platinum’s hands and brings it over to Pearl. He flips through the guidebook’s section on constellations, looking through all the images. “These are the same constellations that we learned, but they have different names for them,” he realizes. “This calls Cherubi ‘Klink’, and Azurill ‘Simipour’.”

“Maybe it’s ‘cause they don’t have Cherubi and Azurill in Alola?” Diamond offers, though his words are slightly muffled.

Pearl turns around to see that Diamond has a half-eaten s’more in his hands. “Are you– eating?” he splutters out, leaping to his feet. “Dia, you’ve had more than enough sweets for one night! Put that down!”

As Pearl attempts to wrest the chocolate-marshmallow sandwich out of his friend’s hands, Phione brings the guidebook back over to Platinum. She looks up the two constellations that Pearl mentioned and tries to find them in the sky. She frowns.

“–and you didn’t even toast the marshmallow! I would have thought that you, Mr. Gourmet Chef, would know better than to–”

“Pearl?” Platinum interrupts politely.

What!?” he snaps, whipping his head over his shoulder to glare at her. Platinum purses her lips disapprovingly, and Pearl winces. “Sorry. That was rude. What is it?”

“I was just wondering if you knew what that star is?” she asks, pointing to a bright star above them. “I thought it might be Polaris, the North Star, but it isn’t in the correct location relative to the other stars. And it is not listed in the guidebook."

Pearl grunts. “I liked stargazing as a kid, but that doesn’t make me an astronomer. It’s not part of any constellation I know of.”

Platinum hums noncommittally and continues flipping through the guidebook. “Perhaps it is some sort of manmade satellite.”

Diamond tilts his head. “Do satellites normally get bigger like that?”

The other two look back up at the star. At a glance, nothing seems out of the ordinary about it, aside from its brightness. However, as they watch it longer, they realize that Diamond is correct – the star is not just increasing in intensity, but in size.

“It’s a shooting star!” Diamond exclaims. “Quick, everyone, make a wish!”

Pearl gawks at his friend. “Dia, if it’s getting bigger, it’s not just any shooting star! It’s a shooting star that’s headed straight towards us!”

Diamond pales and drops his unfinished s’more on the ground. “We’re all gonna die!” he shrieks, waving his arms wildly as he races in circles around the campfire.

“Dia – I mean, Diamond! Calm down!” Pearl insists, grabbing one of his friend’s flailing arms. “No one is going to die!”

“Pearl is correct,” Platinum chimes in. She gestures around them. “There are plenty of boulders around here that we can use as cover, if the meteor lands anywhere around here at all.”

Diamond glances between them and frowns. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.”

“Well…okay,” he says hesitantly.

But just when Pearl lets go of Diamond’s arm to start walking towards the boulders, a panicked expression flashes over Diamond’s face again and he shouts, “Where are the babies!?”

Platinum freezes. “Phione was right beside me,” she says, rapidly glancing around the area. “But I don’t – I do not see it or Manaphy now…I should have seen…I should have noticed it leaving!”

Pearl groans and rubs his eyes. “This is really not the time for irresponsible parenting. C’mon, let’s look for them. They can’t have gotten too far.”

The trio splits up, scouring the mountainside for any signs of Manaphy or Phione. Platinum soon wishes she had thought to take a flashlight with her before leaving the campsite – searching for two Mythical Pokémon on the side of an unpopulated mountain is difficult on a night where the moon sheds very little light. The thought crosses her mind that they might have fallen off one of the steep cliff edges, but she reminds herself that they specifically chose a spot where the cliffs were protected by guard rails to prevent that very occurrence. A faint rumbling noise reminds Platinum of the impending meteor strike, and she heightens the pace of her search.

Finally, she spots a faint glow shining through a patch of tall grass in front of her. Making her way through the grass, she finds the source of the light and lets out a sigh of relief – the glow is coming from the tips of Manaphy’s antennae. The glow also illuminates Phione, who is holding on to one of Manaphy’s arms, as well as another Pokémon that Platinum has never seen before.

“I found them!” Platinum calls to her friends.

Phione lets out a shrill cry upon hearing Platinum’s voice and launches itself into her arms. It buries its face into her chest, and Platinum squeezes it a little tighter. “Hey, Phione. It’s okay. You’re okay. I have you.”

Manaphy, in contrast, makes a high-pitched noise that Platinum can only describe as a giggle and pats the strange Pokémon on the head. The Pokémon is dark and about twice the size of Manaphy, with a long head and tail and four thin legs. When Manaphy pats its head, an orange pattern running along its tail and back flares up like magma, but Manaphy seems unfazed by it. It blinks first at Manaphy, and then at Platinum with narrow purple eyes.

Its appearance unnerves Platinum at first, and she is struck with the urge to get Manaphy away from it as soon as possible. However, she is hesitant to step any closer to it in case it gets angry or frightened and attacks Manaphy. Then the Pokémon nuzzles Manaphy’s chest, and Platinum realizes that it might not be hostile at all.

The rumbling of the meteor drowns out the sound of footsteps behind her. “There it is!” a voice beside her suddenly shouts, and Platinum startles. Diamond and Pearl have arrived beside her, and Diamond is beaming. Then his face falls. “Wait, where’s Phione?”

“Here,” Platinum says, gently stroking the bundle in her arms. “I believe that Pokémon may have frightened it. I do not know what kind of Pokémon it is, though.”

“I can find that out,” Pearl says, taking out his Pokédex. He scans the strange Pokémon, silently thanking Professor Rowan for having the foresight to upgrade their Pokédexes to National Mode before they left for Alola, and reads the information aloud.

Salandit, the Toxic Lizard Pokémon. Volcanoes or dry, craggy places are its home. It emanates a sweet-smelling poisonous gas that attracts bug Pokémon, then attacks them.

“What would a Pokémon like that be doing up here?” Platinum wonders.

“I dunno, but it looks like they’re already best friends,” Diamond says with a fond smile. “Manaphy’s such a sweetheart. It can make friends with anyone!”

“Well, playtime’s over, Manaphy,” Pearl says, crouching down beside it. “So say goodbye to your new friend and let’s get somewhere safe.”

Manaphy whines and pulls Salandit closer. Pearl rolls his eyes, but whatever words he says next are drowned out by the rumbling as it increases in volume.

“Let’s bring both of them with us!” Diamond shouts to make himself heard. “We shouldn’t leave Salandit alone out here where it could get hit by–”

A loud boom sounds behind them, and the rumbling stops.

“Um, never mind.”

Pearl and Platinum turn around and see a plume of smoke snaking up into the sky. They dash towards it, soon followed by Diamond carrying both Manaphy and Salandit. Diamond catches up to them at the spot that was once their campfire, now a small smoking crater with a small round rock at the center of it.

Platinum instructs Phione to use Water Pulse to douse the remaining embers. Once all the smoke clears, the three Trainers cautiously approach the meteorite. Manaphy lights up the tips of its antennae again so they can see it more clearly. It’s not perfectly round, and there are strange triangular markings on its surface. Most of them surround little holes where there are little white bits poking out. Other than that, it seems to be an ordinary, brown, nonliving rock.

“Look, it’s cracked,” Diamond finally says, pointing to the jagged lines on the rock’s surface. He pokes the rock curiously.

“Diamond, no!” Pearl cries, swatting his hand away. “We don’t know what kind of weird space viruses that thing might be carrying…”

“Wait, it appears to be cracking more,” Platinum interrupts.

Sure enough, there are more cracks appearing on the rock’s surface. Like an egg hatching, the cracks slowly multiply and widen until the rock splits completely in half, falling away to reveal a smoother rock inside. This rock is perfectly spherical, but there are five white points equally spaced around its circumference, making it resemble a star. Unlike a star, however, this rock is black with multicolored flecks like stained glass across its surface.

“Whoa,” Diamond breathes.

“It’s so pretty,” Pearl says.

Suddenly, the rock begins to move. Phione lets out a little squeak of surprise as it floats up a few feet into the air. Then, a pair of white dots appear on its surface and start swirling and expanding into circles, and they grow little curved tails to retain their swirly shape. Platinum suddenly realizes that the swirls resemble eyes, and her hunch is confirmed when the rock turns so that its swirls face each human and Pokémon in turn.

“I think…it is a Pokémon,” Platinum decides.

Manaphy tilts its head and finally lets go of Salandit. Then it jumps towards the Pokémon with a big grin on its face and calls out to it, reaching up an arm to try to touch it.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it!” Pearl exclaims, grabbing Manaphy and pulling it backwards. Manaphy twists in his arms to look at him, a look of betrayal on its face. “Before you start getting all buddy-buddy with this thing, let’s make sure it’s not going to blow up in our faces or something.”

“It’s not going to blow up in our faces, Pearl,” Diamond says cheerfully.

Pearl glances up at him and his jaw drops. His friend is petting the strange Pokémon, and the corners of the mouth that Pearl has now just noticed are turned up in a smile. Pearl splutters for a moment, wanting to chide Diamond for being reckless but realizing his concern just seems like paranoia at this point. With a sigh, he brings Manaphy up to the Pokémon’s level and it jumps out of his arms to wrap its own arms around the other Pokémon. It dips down for a moment at the sudden extra weight, but quickly recovers and makes a noise that sounds like a wind chime.

“I think that means it is happy,” Platinum says with a smile.

Now that it is preoccupied, Diamond pulls out his Pokédex and scans the strange Pokémon.

Minior, the Meteor Pokémon. It eats dust in the atmosphere. The composition of the dust determines the color of its core.

“It’s called Minior,” he says. “It sounds like they can be different colors depending on what they eat.”

“Oh! I think I remember reading about Minior in the guidebook,” Platinum says, glancing around to see where she left the book. She finally spots it a few feet away from the entrance to their tent, though she also realizes that Salandit is nowhere to be seen. She files the observation away and walks over to Manaphy, where its glowing antennae can provide her light to read the guidebook. “‘If you’re camping on Mount Hokulani, watch out for Minior showers. If you see a bright star with a tail falling towards you, find a sturdy structure or outcropping to shelter under to ensure that you do not get hit.’”

“A little late for that warning,” Pearl grumbles.

Platinum turns the page. “Oh, here it shows the different colors of Minior.” She frowns. “That is odd. There is no black Minior pictured in here.”

Diamond peers over her shoulder at the guidebook. “I guess there are more than seven colors of Minior?”

She shakes her head and points to the paragraph at the top of the page. “It says here that Minior only come in seven colors. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple.” Her eyes suddenly light up, a brightness sparkling in them that has nothing to do with the light coming from Manaphy’s antennae. “Does this mean – we have discovered a new color of Minior!?”

“Maybe,” Pearl says, glancing over at Minior and Manaphy. Manaphy has let go of Minior and is now jumping around on the ground in rhythm with Minior, who is bouncing in the air. “There’s an observatory at the top of the mountain, right? Let’s bring it up there and ask them about it.”

“That’s a brilliant idea!” Platinum exclaims, beaming at Pearl. She bounds over to Phione and scoops it back into her arms. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!”

Pearl pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales forcefully. “Tomorrow, Platinum. We’ll bring it to the observatory tomorrow.”

Platinum almost disputes this decision, but she realizes that the observatory is probably not open this late. Plus, as the excitement fades away, she also realizes that she’s exhausted and ready to sleep. They take turns changing into their pajamas in the tent before laying down in their sleeping bags. Phione curls up with Platinum, and Diamond cuddles with Manaphy and Minior.

“Good night,” Platinum murmurs.

“Sleep tight,” Pearl responds.

“Don’t let the Bug-types bite,” Diamond finishes.

And with that, the trio of tired Trainers easily falls asleep.


The next morning finds Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum walking into Hokulani Observatory bright and early. However, it’s so early that the observatory is almost completely empty; the only person in the lobby is a guy in a lab coat behind the reception counter.

“Welcome to the Hokulani Observatory,” the man greets them. “Please, feel free to look around.”

“Actually, we have something we would like to inquire about,” Platinum says.

The man raises an eyebrow. “And that would be?”

“A weird Minior landed in our campsite last night. We were wondering if you recognized it,” Pearl says, gesturing to Diamond. The boy carefully unzips his jacket, revealing Manaphy and Minior underneath. The man’s eyes widen as Diamond brings the Pokémon out from underneath the jacket.

“Is that…a black Minior?” he gasps, slowly reaching a hand out to touch it as if he’s unsure if it’s real. “I’ve never seen a Minior of this color before. May I have a closer look…?”

Diamond nods and gently pries Manaphy away from Minior so that the scientist can examine it. “Incredible,” he murmurs, running a hand across its side. “Fascinating! Especially these multicolored spots…normally, these spots are all the same color, but…what could have caused the difference?”

He finally looks back up at Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, an awestruck look on his face. “Please, children, come with me. I’d like to take some tissue samples of Minior, if you don’t mind?”

“It is no issue,” Platinum assures him.

As he takes them back into one of the labs, the man tells them a little bit more about himself. “My name is Ned Saunders, but you can just call me Ned. I’m a researcher here at the observatory; I’ve been working here for about four years now. I actually specialize in studying the Pokémon that live in this area, as well as ones that have connections to space and the stars, so this is really the perfect task for me.”

Once inside the lab, Ned takes a few samples of Minior’s tissue and puts them into a machine. “I want to analyze the chemical composition of Minior’s tissue at each of these points,” he explains. “The analysis isn’t anything exciting, so why don’t you wait out in the lobby until I’m finished?”

When they get back to the lobby, they notice that a couple other researchers have arrived and are examining something on a screen on the wall. Manaphy has no interest in what they’re looking at, though, and as soon as they get back to the lobby it jumps out of Diamond’s arms and calls up to Minior. Minior grins at Manaphy and does a couple of cartwheels in the air. Manaphy attempts to do a cartwheel, but just falls on its face. Minior hovers worriedly over Manaphy, but then Manaphy rolls over and giggles. Minior joins in, and Diamond can’t help but laugh along at their antics.

Their laughter draws the attention of the two researchers in the room. They turn around to see what all the commotion is about and gasp audibly when they see Minior.

“Oh my gosh!” exclaims the female researcher, rushing over to them. “That Minior is beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like it!”

“Neither have I,” agrees the male researcher. “I wonder what its composition is. I bet Ned would love to get some samples to test.”

“He’s testing them right now,” Pearl says.

“Good,” the male researcher laughs. “We’d never hear the end of it if he missed out on getting to study something like this.”

The female researcher nods and turns her attention back to Minior. “Do you think this could be the Shiny form of Minior?”

Before the male researcher can answer her question, the entrance doors of the lobby swing open and a man with sandy blond hair sticks his head in. “Michelle, Pedro, can I borrow the two of you for a second?”

As the two scientists follow him outside, the trio can hear Michelle exclaim, “Molayne, can you believe that there’s such a thing as a black Minior?”

Not long after they leave, Ned finally returns from the lab. He calls them over to the counter and leans on it, facing them.

“Tell me, are you familiar with Shiny Pokémon?”

Diamond and Pearl shake their heads. “One of the scientists who was just in here mentioned it,” Pearl says. “That’s the first time I’ve heard the term.”

“I know about Shiny Pokémon,” Platinum says. “The term refers to Pokémon with a rare genetic mutation that causes them to have a different coloration than their normal one.”

Ned nods appreciatively. “Now, Minior’s a rare case because its body doesn’t naturally produce any sort of pigmentation to give it color. Instead, its color is determined by the color of the most predominant element in the atmosphere that it eats.

“This Minior,” he nods to the Minior playing with Manaphy, “has elements in its tissue that can’t be found in our atmosphere. The elements aren’t evenly distributed throughout the tissue, either, as would be found in normal Minior. Hence the variety of colors. I believe this Minior is Shiny, and the Shiny gene in Minior allows it to produce pigments just like other Pokémon. Therefore, no matter what a Shiny Minior eats, it will always have the same coloration.” Ned clears his throat. “Or, that’s my hypothesis, anyways. I’ll need to do more research and tests, but this is still a huge discovery nonetheless. It could give the scientific community as a whole a greater understanding of Shininess. Thank you so much for bringing Minior to us.”

Diamond blushes a little. Pearl and Platinum just smile.

Ned offers to see them out, and Diamond picks up Minior and Manaphy before heading out the door. Once they get outside, though, Platinum is struck with a thought.

“Ned, sir, do you need us to give Minior to you? You said you needed to do more tests…”

The researcher is quick to wave away her concerns. “They’re mostly just involving DNA testing and such. The samples I already have can give me everything I need for those tests as well. You’re free to do whatever you like with Minior.”

Ned pauses and strokes his chin thoughtfully. “Although, I do recommend that you keep it, rather than releasing it. Shiny Pokémon are incredibly rare and valuable, you know. If someone like Team Skull were to get wind of it–”

“Yo, a little late for that, science bro!”

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, and Ned whirl around to face the new voice. It belongs to a guy with blue hair whose face is partially obscured by a black bandanna. He’s accompanied by two girls who are wearing basically the same outfit – black bandanna, white beanie cap, black tank top, black knee highs, white tennis shoes, and a necklace with some sort of silver symbol on it. The only difference between them is that the girls’ shorts are white while the guy’s shorts are black.

“Who are you guys?” Pearl demands.

“We’re Team Skull,” drawls one of the girls, who has short purple hair. “Don’cha know who we are?”

“They’re a gang who loves causing trouble and hurting Pokémon all over Alola,” Ned says, voice quivering. “They’re a bunch of bullies, but they’re really strong…”

“Hah! Thanks for that, old man,” sneers the other girl, who has long pink hair and a Salandit sitting on her shoulder. “When Salandit woke me up last night to show me that some kids had found a weird Minior, I wasn’t sure if it was really worth our time.”

“But we heard those other nerds talking about a rare Minior they’d never seen before, that mighta been a Shiny,” continues the purple-haired girl, “we knew we’d made a good choice stickin’ around!”

“Shiny Pokémon are super valuable, yo! We’re gonna strike it rich!” adds the blue-haired guy.

“So hand it over and nobody gets hurt!” demands the pink-haired girl.

Diamond places Manaphy on the ground behind him and holds a protective hand out in front of Minior. “No,” he says with a quiet firmness. “You won’t get your hands on Minior.”

Pink-Hair scowls. “Fine, if that’s how you want it to be, that’s how it’ll be. We’ll just beat you down and take Minior by force!”

The three Team Skull Grunts each ready a Poké Ball, and Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum get ready to fight, too. Ned, however, takes a step back. “P-please, hold them off for as long as you can,” he stammers. “I-I’ll go get Molayne or the captain…they’re the only Trainers I know who are strong enough to defeat Team Skull…”

Without waiting for a response, Ned turns around and sprints back into the observatory. Platinum glances over at her friends. “I think we can handle these ruffians on our own, no?”

Pearl grins. “It’ll be a piece of cake.”

“Love to see you try,” says Purple-Hair. “Fomantis, let’s go!” She sends out a small pink Pokémon that looks bug-like, but its arms resemble leaves and it has a big green bulb on its head.

“Spinarak!” calls Blue-Hair as he sends out his Pokémon, a little green spider with a face-like pattern on its back.

“Mareanie!” yells Pink-Hair. She throws out a Pokémon of her own, surprising the trio, who assumed she would battle with the Salandit on her shoulder. The Pokémon she sends out has a purple body that’s mostly protected by the thick blue spiked tentacles hanging from its head, and it smirks at Diamond with a fanged smile.

From the moment he sees Fomantis emerge, Pearl knows what Pokémon he’s going to use. “Go, Chimler!” he exclaims, sending out his Infernape.

Platinum analyzes the Salandit girl’s Mareanie carefully and guesses that it’s at least part Water-type. She gives Diamond a meaningful look as she sends out her Pachirisu. He nods in understanding and selects his own Pokémon. “Let’s do it, Tru!”

Diamond’s Torterra lumbers into position between Chimler and Pachirisu, across from Mareanie. The two Pokémon stare each other down, but Pearl is the one to call the first move.

“Chimler, Flame Wheel!” he commands. Chimler obeys, rolling up into a ball of flames and charging at Fomantis. The impact sends Fomantis back a few feet, but to Pearl’s shock, it gets back up and glares at Chimler. “It survived a Flame Wheel?” he says incredulously.

“Hey, Fomantis is tougher than it looks, dude!” Purple-Hair protests. “Show ‘em what a great Slash looks like!”

Fomantis races up to Chimler and chops at its head with one of its leafy arms. Chimler staggers back from the weight of the surprisingly hefty blow coming from such a tiny Pokémon. “Nice work, Fomantis!” Purple-Hair cheers.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the battlefield, Platinum commands, “Pachirisu, use Discharge!”

Pachirisu leaps into the air, cheeks sparking, and releases a blast of electricity that engulfs all three Pokémon in its vicinity. “Mareanie, Protect!” Salandit Girl quickly orders. When the electricity fades, Spinarak is the only Pokémon that looks worse for the wear.

“Perfect!” Platinum beams, giving Diamond a fist bump.

“Yo, yo, don’t start celebrating yet!” Blue-Hair complains. “You got off one lucky attack, yo. Spinarak ain’t out for the count yet! Use Toxic on Pachirisu, yo!”

Spinarak scurries up to Pachirisu and spits a thick purple liquid in its face. Pachirisu gags and tries to wipe it off, but enough of the venom has already seeped into its skin that it’s starting to take effect.

“Mareanie, Venoshock it!” Salandit Girl shouts. Mareanie jumps into the air and spews a purple liquid onto Pachirisu as well, but this liquid gets absorbed by Pachirisu’s skin immediately. It convulses and cries out in pain, but manages to remain standing. Salandit Girl laughs. “How d’you like that combo, huh? Keep it up, Mareanie!”

“Hang in there, Pachirisu,” Platinum says, searching her bag for an Antidote or a Pecha Berry.

“That’s just mean!” Diamond declares. “Tru, give Spinarak your best Crunch!”

“Dodge it and use Poison Jab, yo!”

As Tru lumbers towards Spinarak, the smaller Pokémon’s horn begins to glow with purple energy, and it scuttles up to Tru. However, before it can climb onto Tru’s shell, Tru grabs some of its legs in its mouth and hurls Spinarak into the ground a few feet away.

Mareanie lets out an indignant cry and spits out another Venoshock in Pachirisu’s direction. “Quick, Pachirisu, dodge it and then come here,” Platinum orders. Pachirisu manages to avoid the attack and runs back to its Trainer, who gives it a Pecha Berry to cure its poisoning.

Diamond glances across the battlefield, wondering why Salandit Girl didn’t protest her Mareanie attacking without orders. Then he realizes that the pink-haired Team Skull Grunt is no longer standing between her two teammates. In fact, she isn’t standing on the other side of the battlefield at all. He glances to his left, then to his right, and…

Behind Platinum, sneaking along the outside wall of the observatory, is Pink-Hair and her Salandit. And Diamond knows exactly what it is that she wants.

“Stop!” he shouts, hurrying to stand between her and Minior. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you’re not going to get your hands on Minior.”

Pink-Hair barks out a laugh. “Kid, you’ve got a lot of nerve, thinking you can tell Team Skull what to do. We don’t take orders, and definitely not from snot-nosed brats like you. Show him, Salandit! Flame Burst!”

Diamond throws his arms out to his sides and squeezes his eyes shut, bracing for the burning pain. Instead, he hears a familiar cry and something soft and squishy slams into his chest. On instinct, he wraps his arms around it before actually looking down to see what hit him. He’s only slightly surprised to see baby Manaphy looking back up at him. “Manaphy…you protected me?”

Manaphy smiles and nods.

“Thank you,” he says, squeezing Manaphy a little tighter before looking back to meet Pink-Hair’s eyes.

“Yes, yes, very touching,” she drawls. “Salandit, get them out of the way! Use Double Slap!”

Salandit glares up at Manaphy and readies itself to jump. But it stares up into Manaphy’s pleading eyes and hesitates. There’s a tense moment where Manaphy stares at Salandit and Salandit stares back at Manaphy, but neither of them moves. Finally, Pink-Hair stomps a foot and shouts, “Salandit, what are you doing? Attack them already!”

Diamond grins. “I think it’s just doing what Team Skull does best. It doesn’t take orders!”

Suddenly, Platinum steps between Salandit and Diamond. “Please, leave Minior alone. You have already lost this fight.”

“What are you talking–” Pink-Hair cuts herself off when she looks back to the battlefield. Her teammates’ Spinarak and Fomantis are gone, and her Mareanie lies defeated between them. She takes a step back and gulps. “O-okay, so you guys are tougher than you look. But Salandit can still fight…”

“Salandit doesn’t want to fight,” Diamond declares. “Salandit and Manaphy are friends. Salandit doesn’t want to hurt its friend.”

“Bro, it’s not worth it,” Blue-Hair says, putting a hand on Pink-Hair’s shoulder. “These guys are too strong, yo. We can’t beat them.”

“Yeah, these guys aren’t giving that thing up,” Purple-Hair agrees, putting a hand on Pink-Hair’s other shoulder. “Let’s just find our own Shiny Minior, that’ll be much easier!”

Pink-Hair scowls but returns her Pokémon. “Watch yourselves,” she shouts to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum as her teammates drag her away. “This isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of Team Skull!”

Diamond breathes out a sigh of relief, and Pearl breathes out a sigh of exasperation. “Man, those guys are annoying.”

The doors to the observatory suddenly swing open, and Molayne and Ned rush out. They skid to a halt, taking in the scene in front of them: Diamond is holding Manaphy, Platinum and Pearl are standing on either side of them, Minior is floating unharmed behind Diamond, a Torterra lounges on the ground a few feet away, and Team Skull is nowhere to be seen. Finally, Ned asks, “Where…did Team Skull go?”

“We defeated them,” Platinum says simply. “Minior is safe.”

“It’s all thanks to Diamond and Manaphy,” Pearl adds, causing them both to blush a little.

“That’s quite impressive,” Molayne says, patting Manaphy on the head and then turning to Minior. “Shiny Minior is truly a sight to behold, isn’t it? Thank you for protecting it. I’m sure Minior is grateful, too.”

Minior lets out an even higher-pitched cry than normal and slams into Diamond’s chest, causing him to stagger backwards a bit. Manaphy scooches over to make room in Diamond’s arms for both it and Minior, and Minior gladly slips into place next to Manaphy.

Molayne chuckles. “You should definitely keep Minior with you. It obviously likes you.”

“Of course,” Diamond says, smiling. “Plus, Minior and Manaphy are best friends. I wouldn’t dream of separating them.”

Then, Diamond’s grin grows even bigger, and he turns to Pearl expectantly. Pearl sighs and, knowing he’s not going to like the answer, asks, “Why wouldn’t you dream of separating them?”

“Because that would just be mean-ior!”