Chapter 30: The Line is Crossed

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Christmas Special?
Also, Twisted Wonderland is officially coming to the US and Canada in January, so be excited folks!
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Chapter 30: Breaking Point

(Y/N) starred up the ceiling as Vulpix snuggled into her side and the Applin family snoozed peacefully. True to his word, Vil had quickly brewed a remedy that seemed to completely cure the four and put them to sleep for the night. She did give Vil a verbal lashing for cursing food her Pokémon got into, but he did apologize and changed the spell. Despite them being cured, the trainer still wanted to keep a close eye on the four, so her bedroom was a little crowded for the night. As for the guys, she could hear them moaning from the lounge.
"Should I have left them down there?"
Swampert huffed, not very empathetic.
"I guess you're right. They were idiots to do it, but it seems kinda harsh. Then again, they got multiple Pokémon poisoned, so it breaks even."
Suddenly, the mirror in the room began to glow, waking up Roserade, Luxray, Absol, Shinx, and Crobat. (Y/N) eyes widened as she approached, the afflicted Pokémon not even stirring. The remaining Pokémon followed, ready to attack if anything happened. Crobat landed on her shoulder and Roserade jumped onto the mantle as a familiar shadow appeared.
"...he...hello...?" The figure became clear, a smiling mouse with red pants and gloves. "Back again today?"
"Mickey!" She said, surprised.
"Wuah!" He yelped. "You startled me! You suddenly started shouting. It seems like I can hear your voice a lot more clearly from the other side of the mirror today. Before, you were just a vague silhouette, but today I can see you. Can you see me on your side?"
"Yes, I can." She said. "I can actually see what you look like."
"I told my friends that I was talking to you in a dream, but neither Donald or Goofy have heard of 'Twisted Wonderland'. Donald said you might be an evil ghost haunting me and that I have to get rid of you."
"My classmates said the same." She pondered for a moment. "You must be from a different world too then. First me, then Gyarados, now this. Why are worlds getting filtered here?"
"Eep!" Mickey yelped as Roserade began poking the mirror and Swampert got on his hind legs  to look at the mirror. "You do know you have monsters in your room, right!?"
She chuckled, petting Swampert. "Don't worry, Mickey. These are my family. They're nice."
He sighed in relief. "Oh, thank goodness. I was worried for a moment. This is such a mystery. Earlier, the living cards and dancing gloves asked me if you came again. Now I'm starting to think that this dream really isn't a dream."
"Oh! Before I forget the ghost camera!"
"Ghost camera? What's that?"
Crobat flew over to wear the trainer had left it and brought it to her.
She held it up for the mouse to see. Before she could explain, a loud ringing began.
The mouse stumbled back, his voice fading. "Huh?"
As he vanished, (Y/N) grabbed the mirror.
"Wait! Mickey!" But the mouse was gone, making the girl sigh. "I didn't take his picture...I wonder, where does the other side of the mirror lead to?"
The next morning, after a harsh night restless sleep, (Y/N) managed to get herself ready. A knock came at the door.
"It's open."
Rook stepped inside. "Bonjour! What a refreshing morning, isn't it? Starting today, we will be having morning training. Come to the Pomefiore ballroom."
"I'll be there soon."
The blonde nodded and exited. After making sure Vulpix and the Applin family were recovered, she headed towards the Pomefiore dorm, now accompanied by just Gardevoir. As they entered, (Y/N) saw the guys, all looking awful.
"Last night was terrible..." Grim moaned as Ace shook his head.
"My body hurts all over after laying on the hard floor all night."
"Ugh, why me? I'm not even in the performance."
"You actively encouraged them to break the rules." (Y/N) said, joining them.
Ace side eyed her. "You could've helped us."
She crossed her arms. "And you could've avoided poisoning my Pokémon. You really want to play this game?"
He bit his tongue as Epel noted their conditions.
"Are you all okay?"
Kalim did not. "Oh! Everyone is here. Good morning!"
"I jumped out of bed last night because I thought that noise was an enemy attack." Jamil told them, grumpily. "Try to be careful about the noise. When I went to check, I saw all three of you lying on the ground."
"It's not like we chose to sleep on the floor!" Ace argued. "It was because of Vil's unique magic!"
"Vil's unique magic? How?"
"He cursed the sweets and these idiots fell for it, getting a few of my Pokémon roped into it as well." (Y/N) answered.
"Cursed sweets!?" Kalim repeated.
Grim shivered. "Now, anything I put in my mouth before the VDC is over could be cursed! I'm so paranoid!"
Kalim frowned sadly. "I can usually figure out if something is poisoned, but I don't think I can do the same for cursed foods."
"If they used magic, it could leave a trace of it." Jamil pointed out. "But...Hmm..."
"Hmm, then does that mean if you improve your magic detection abilities, you can tell if something is cursed?"
"Well, it might be difficult for you to learn it."
"Eh? Why's that? I'll never know unless I try, right?"
"Um, Kalim?" Ace interjected. "Why would you need to figure out if something is poisoned or not?"
"Hm? Ah, because it was in my food once, a long time ago."
"Ehhhhh!?" They all yelled.
Grim crossed his arms. "That's why they made me taste all the food during winter holiday."
The white haired boy shook his head. "I've seen it several times with just one look. After that, I started questioning all my food, whether it had poison in it or not. But rather than being suspicious about the cook or someone at the table with me, I want to enjoy and eat my delicious food."
"That...isn't the worst mindset to be in." (Y/N) said hesitantly, still very concerned.
"Y-yeah." Deuce agreed.
Kalim smiled once more. "If I know beforehand it isn't poisoned, I can enjoy my food. If you realize it after you put it in your mouth, there's no going back, right? For me and the other party."
"The...other party?" Epel parroted.
"For example, if the criminal later repents and realizes they did something wrong. It would be irreversible if anything bad happened. There would be no way to discover their mistake and no chance to learn. I don't like that at all."
Jamil sighed. "You are far too naive."
(Y/N) side glanced at him. "Yes, I can't see anyone in this room who benefited from Kalim's willingness to forgive."
Jamil coughed awkwardly and blushed, unable to look her in the eye.
Kalim took no notice. "In the Land of Hot Sand, there was not only a Sorcerer of the Sand, but also a legend of a street rat who became a prince. One day, a street rat met a princess and fell in love. Because of that, he had a change of heart and reflected in all his past thefts and lies. After that, he tried to save the Princess and the sultan from the evil villain who was trying to take over the country! Then, the street rat and the Princess got married and became the next sultan. I love that story! Because everyone believed that the street rat had a change of heart, they gave him another chance, right?"
"You can't change the past, but what's important is what you do after." Deuce said, likely recalling his own past.
Ace rubbed his neck. "Well, unlike fairy tales, reality isn't just the bad guy gets defeated, then that's it."
"That's right!" Kalim agreed. "That's why I have to push forward in life. In the end, it seems like the wisdom of life is to eat delicious food! Hahaha!"
"Kalim..." Epel said, slightly concerned. "He's laughing, but it seemed like such a heavy story."
Jamil rolled his eyes. "Well, if he's laughing, then maybe it's not that heavy."
"How was this boy chosen by the Mirror of Darkness?" (Y/N) wondered out loud, Gardevoir, Corviknight, and Decidueye all nodding in agreement.
"Too true." Grim agreed. "He's too good. It makes my ears twitch."
"Eh? Did I say something weird?"
"Not strange, but you're just a little different from everyone else at this school." Epel said.
"Oh yeah, I actually transferred to this two months late into the school year. I wonder if that had anything to do with it."
"Ehhh!?" The boys said as (Y/N) snapped her fingers.
"That explains it."
"You can transfer into this school?" Epel asked.
"Is it that surprising? Didn't (Y/N) transfer into this school too?"
She blanked faced. "My situation was more cosmic mistake."
Ace still seemed confused. "Doesn't Night Raven College only accept students whose souls are chosen by the Mirror of Darkness?"
"Yeah, but a month after Jamil left home, I suddenly got an acceptance letter from the school. I forgot whether it was some special acceptance or a mistake, but soon after, a black carriage came to pick me up."
"Does that mean that the qualities of a soul can be recognized later?" Deuce thought out loud.
Jamil scoffed. "It honestly makes me question if the Mirror of Darkness really chooses students based on the qualities of their soul. It's the headmaster we're talking about. I wonder if he found a back door way to enroll Kalim after receiving the donation from the Asim family. Thanks to that's my freedom in school was ruined."
(Y/N) placed a hand on his shoulder. "You know, while I will absolutely destroy you next time you start an uprising in Scarabia, I will, without hesitation, lend you a Pokémon of your choosing for any coops against the crow."
Again, Kalim was oblivious. "Every single day has been so fun! And I got to become friends with Jamil again!"
"I told you, we aren't friends!"
Vil then clapped, getting their attention.
"They're all here, right? All the potatoes? Did you all drill the song into your heads?"
"The dorm's walls are thin enough for you to know the answer." (Y/N) bluntly replied.
Vil ignored her. "Well then, let's try singing it together. Manager, start the music."
(Y/N) started the track and the boys began singing. They actually sounded really good. It was still messy, but all that practice was starting to pay off.
Kalim cheered as they reached the end. "Aaahhhh! Amazing! I was so entranced by the singing voices of the main vocals that I completely forgot the chorus!"
"Hey, that's not a good thing." Jamil pointed out.
"That's just how I feel! My body wanted to start dancing on its own!"
"Tres bien!" Rook declared. "We had such wonderful harmony!"
"Yeah!" Deuce agreed. "It was so amazing!"
"Hm." Vil huffed. "Don't be so thrilled. The main vocals and chorus were a total mess. The main vocals were sloppy and the chorus protruded over the main vocals."
Ace sighed. "We can't steal the show even though we are doing our best? The chorus has it more difficult than I thought. Ah, I wanna be a main vocalist."
"Then work for it." (Y/N) scolded.
"Thank you, Stone." Vil said. "Potato #1, if you can't understand the importance of the chorus, then the road to being a main vocalist is farther than the Seven Shining Hills. The mains and chorus, either of them can disrupt the harmony and make it sound not beautiful. Keep that in mind."
"All right. I'll do my best."
"In the actual performance, we will be singing and dancing at the same time. It will only get harder from here. Now, for our dance lesson. Let's begin."
Deuce and Epel were isolated from the group as Gardevoir began to demonstrate for them. Slowly, they began to imitate her. Vil was impressed by the Embrace Pokemon's skill.
"You've trained her well, Stone. She's very elegant."
(Y/N) waved him off. "Nah, I didn't teach her any of that. Her evolutionary line are all just natural dancers. You don't have to teach them anything. Heck, ballerinas in my world train and evolve their Ralts so they can have dance partners."
Vil nodded. "I can see the appeal."
Several days passed, and Epel and Deuce improved. However, Gardevoir began giving Epel more reassuring attention, signaling to her trainer that the boy was increasingly becoming frustrated. Of course, this ended up boiling over one day.
"Someday, like a red apple, everything will decay." Epel sang. "Nobody can surpass."
"Ugh, enough!" Vil growled. "Stop, stop! Cut the music!"
Flapple, who had come along with Corviknight to stretch his wings, hit the button with his muzzle as Rook crossed his arms.
"What's wrong, Vil?"
"Epel!" Vil scolded.
"Ah, yes?"
Ace sighed, petting the emotional support Vulpix. "Here it comes, Epel discipline. I'm starting to feel bad for the kid, having to deal with this every single day."
"Epel is a main vocalist, so he's probably held up to a different standard." Deuce tried to figure out.
"Vil does yell at Jamil nearly as much." (Y/N) pointed out as Grim hid behind her leg.
"Whenever he yells to stop the music, I hide my tail between my legs."
Vil was stern as usual. "Have you learned anything from your ballet lesson from Gardevoir? She shouldn't have to expend energy on you if you're just going to ignore it. I told you to throw away those stereotypes, but I didn't tell you to become a complete mess. Don't sing without even understanding the meaning of the lyrics. This isn't some cheeky flirty song."
"But, I'm really trying my best to be affectionate..." Epel argued.
"Being affectionate and faking being cute are two different things. Do you really think you can beat Neige like this? All right then, once more, from the top."
"Nnnnngghhh!" Epel finally snapped. "I-! I don't want to be cute!"
"I never wanted to be in Pomefiore, and I don't want to be in this stupid Vocal & Dance Championship! I didn't come to Night Raven College to play, I came because I wanted to become stronger! I don't want to be this cute, weak, little boy! I want to be big and strong!"
Vil rolled his eyes. "Incredible, I thought only 3 year olds were capable of throwing tantrums when they don't get what they want. You talk like being 'cute' and 'strong' are different, but both of those things have equal power. If you can't understand that, then you will never beat me."
"Shut up! I've had enough. I'm done. I'm quitting the team!"
The blonde crossed his arms. "Oh my. All right, let's settle this like usual then."
(Y/N) moved to get between them. "Both of you, quit it!"
Rook held her back. "Hey, it's okay. This isn't an actual fight."
"That just makes me more concerned!"
"No matter how you look at it, they look like they are going to obliterate each other." Jamil noted.
"Just watch." Rook insisted.
"Now then, take out your magical pen, Epel." Vil ordered.
Epel looked determined. "Today's the day that I'm going to win."
"Wait, this is a fight!" Deuce yelled at Rook.
It was short. Epel put up a fight, but ultimately, Vil took him down as easily as he did to the guys that day in the courtyard. The smaller male fell back, coughing.
"All right, today, I win again. Right now, you are neither cute nor strong. You are nothing more than a plain apple with no poison. At this rate, you'll never be able to leave a scratch on me."
Ace sweatdropped. "Woah, that's rough..."
Grim gripped (Y/N)'s leg. "I think Pomefiore might actually be stronger than Savanaclaw."
(Y/N) said nothing, but the boys could sense her growing annoyance. Meanwhile her Pokémon looked less than thrilled with Vil.
Kalim attempted to intervene. "Hey, hey Vil. Epel is only a first year, right? Go a little easy on him? I don't know anyone at this school that could beat you."
"Kalim, be quiet. Listen well, Epel. I told you the very first day we met, if you want to behave however you wish, then you need to become both strong and beautiful first. Stop acting like a child and go back to your lesson."
"Damnit!" Epel said, starting to cry. "I...I..."
He ran off, barreling through the door.
"Epel!" Deuce called after him.
"Leave him alone." Vil ordered. "If this is all it takes to get him to quit, then we don't need a member like him."
"Couldn't you have said all that another way?" The bluenette demanded. "He was doing his best singing and dancing, but still."
"You think you get rewarded just for trying? Don't be so naive!"
(Y/N) finally butted in, glaring at the blonde.
"And you think you'll get results by being a jackass? Don't be stupid!" She crossed her arms at him. "I have already had to have one talk about how strictness and aggression only damages one's position as a leader. Clearly I also need to lecture about this, Vil."
He glared at her. "Stay out of this, Stone."
"No, you live in my dorm, yell at my friends, it's my business! You are awful at this! If you weren't blind by your vanity, maybe you could actually see that you're only making Epel resent what you're trying to teach him!"
"Why yo-ow!"
Flapple cut him off by slamming into him with an Acrobatics, knocking him to the floor. Gardevoir stood ready with a Shadow Ball he got up.
"What is the meaning of this?"
The trainer turned. "They're teaching you a lesson. Let's see how long it takes you to get it."
It was a repeated cycle of Acrobatics and Shadow Balls for Vil as the boys watched from the sidelines, not wanting to get between that. Well, Rook attempted to, but (Y/N) threatened to have him frozen to the spot. Eventually, Vil stayed on the ground to glare at the girl.
"This is ridiculous! You won't prove anything to me like this?"
She mocked a pondering look. "Oh, you mean repeatedly antagonizing and insulting you, along with physical assault not only does not get my point across, but also only makes you frustrated and not willing to listen to what I have to say?"
He blanked face, the answer now clicking. "...ah."
She smirked, calling off her Pokémon. "Now he gets it. Epel's as stubborn as you are, Vil. He's not gonna yield to your methods. You want him to listen to you? Find a better way to get your point across instead of being a hypocrite and throwing a temper tantrum just because you don't get what you want! Now, I'm going to go look for the boys, and when I get back, not only do I expect you to have a better attitude, you're also going to tell me why you're being hard on him specifically. And don't think I'm gonna accept excuses!"
"Wait, guys?" Ace said.
"Didn't you notice? Deuce went looking for Epel. Come on, Corviknight."
She returned the other three Pokémon before mounting the armored avian. Before they took off, she had one last thing to say to Vil.
"Vil, I don't disagree with what you're trying to teach him, I just disagree with how you're going about it. Maybe try and think of a method that would work for you."
The two then flew off, leaving the boys to all look on in awe and slight fear.
Ace just shook her head. "She is a scary woman when she wants to be."
(Y/N) and Corviknight went search for the boys, combing every inch of the campus. When nothing came up, (Y/N) groaned into the bird's metal feathers.
"Okay, they're not on school grounds, so...where would Deuce take them?"
"Cor corvi."
"Some place to vent? Wait, I might know where they are!"
She recalled telling Deuce how going down to the beach every once in a while would make her feel better since it reminded her of home. Maybe he took her advice? She steered the bird to the shore and flew alongside it, scanning for any sign of them. As dusk began to settle, a giant castle appeared on the horizon. It looked like something straight out of a storybook.
(Y/N) whistled. "And I thought our school looked like a castle."
Corviknight nodded as they continued to search. Eventually, the sound of shouting caught their attention, as the girl recognized the voice as Deuce's. Epel's shouts also joined in, much more aggressively and notably more southern sounding.
"If they had started shouting earlier, we wouldn't have had to search the school." (Y/N) joked.
Eventually, she caught sight of the boys, along with a vehicle which she could guess was a magical wheel that Deuce mentioned. They were also surrounded by five large males who seemed to be antagonizing them.
"Guess jerks aren't limited to our campus."
Before she could order Corviknight to dive, Epel played cute, causing one of the guys to soften and get closer. Big mistake as the boy flipped the switch with a smirk.
He then head butted the dude, knocking him flat.
(Y/N) chuckled. "Aw, he's learning to use his cuteness. Maybe Vil will back off now."
The brutes got much more aggressive, even attacking them with magic, as Deuce told Epel to run and began holding them off.
Deuce winced at the attack as one of the males mocked him.
"Mr. Weak Elite, if you learned your lesson, then stop your bratty remarks! Take this!"
"Corviknight!" A familiar voice yelled. "Heavy Slam!"
From the sky, a familiar metallic shape crushed the male about to attack them with a single foot, making a small crater.
"(Y/N)!" Deuce said relieved.
Corviknight stretched his wings out with a cry, separating the assailants from the boys as (Y/N) glanced back at them.
"You two okay?"
"Yeah, we're fine." Deuce assured her.
"D-dorm Leader Stone!" Epel said, shocked the girl had come to the rescue.
"Sorry it took us so long. Corviknight isn't as fast as Starraptor or Flygon, but he can dish it out just as hard. Relax, I got this."
She slipped off the bird and turned to face the assailants who sneered at her.
"Great, another stuffy elite."
"Wait, this one is a chick!"
"Who cares? That brat called her dorm leader, so she has to be worse than them! Let's teach this snob a lesson."
She clicked her tongue. "The only reason you five lasted this long is because my friends here adhered to the rules about using magic outside of campus. I, however, don't have nor need magic to kick your asses. So, you can either apologize and get lost, or-," Corviknight reared up, shrieking at them. "I can have my friends beat you to a pulp."
"Y-you don't scare us!" One lied. "That stupid metal chicken can't take us all on!"
(Y/N) then released her other Pokémon. "Good thing he's not alone. Knock 'em flat!"
The Pokémon all charged in, running over the delinquents. Epel was shocked by their sheer strength, especially little Flapple who was basically juggling a guy, and even Vulpix, who was blasting another with ice. They were so strong, and (Y/N) commanded them comfortably. However, she had underestimated how hard headed the guy Corviknight had crushed, as he got back up and tried to blast her when her back was turned.
"(Y/N)!" Deuce yelled as he ran in front of her. Suddenly, magic began to swirl around him, shocking everyone. "There's so much magical power overflowing around me..."
Suddenly, the spell seemed to backfire, sending the other guy flying. The other delinquents were quickly subdued as (Y/N) ran up to her friend.
"Deuce, are you okay!?"
"Y-yeah." He answered. "But...what just happened?"
"Just now, could it be...?" Epel couldn't finish.
(Y/N) shook it off and glared at the delinquents who all looked terrified.
"Beat it, before I decide to do permanent damage."
They all fled with their tails between their legs.
Deuce sighed in relief, smiling at the girl. "Thanks for coming to the rescue."
She chuckled. "Thanks for having my back."
Epel ran up to her. "Dorm leader Stone! That was so cool! Your Pokémon were so strong!"
"Not bad for a girl, huh Epel?"
She laughed as she picked up Vulpix. "I'm joking...mostly. And just (Y/N) is fine. I see you're starting to understand the strengths in using your cuteness."
"Y-yeah." He smiled at Deuce. "Deuce really helped me see things differently. I think...I'm starting to understand what Vil was talking about."
"Really?" She smiled and playfully looked at the bluenette, hugging him. "Aw, Deuce is maturing. I'm so proud!"
"P-please stop!" He said, blushing.
(Y/N) let go before looking at Epel. "Well, I'm glad you're starting to get it. Though I didn't agree with his methods, I did agree with Vil's viewpoint. You should talk to him when we get back."
"Don't worry." Flapple squeaked, flying onto Epel's shoulder and nudging his cheek. "Flapple decided to give Vil a beating after you left."
"Flapple beat up Vil and I missed it!?"
"And Gardevoir. Anyways, the point is, Vil is likely going to be more open to a conversation. Or worst case scenario, his aggression is on me, but I can take it."
"Something wrong?"
"I...maybe Vil isn't as bad as I thought. My mom called. She said he promoted our apple juice, and now we've made more sales than ever."
She tapped her chin. "Oh, that's what that was! I caught him taking a picture of the juice a few days ago, but he refused to tell me what it was for and just gave me the bottle. That explains it."
Epel sighed. "I have been pretty bratty."
(Y/N) crossed her arms. "Well, Vil hasn't been that great either. You two can apologize to each other when we get back, with me there to make sure it doesn't escalate again."
He smiled. "Thanks (Y/N)."
"Don't mention it. Now, let's go back, and Deuce, make sure you return the magical wheel."
"Will do!"

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