Thread: [Pokémon] Spring's Revenge
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Old September 8th, 2009 (12:28 PM).
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: on earth
Age: 25
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*coughs* *does not comment* ...bad thing is, I'll be on holiday for the next week, so the next chapter might be even more delayed. >.< Sorries. But heads up, we're coming closer to the final AND the end of this fic. XD (If that's a good thing...)

7. Chapter, Part 1: Pursuit

It was already late at night when Will finally went to bed. Sheepishly, he glanced at the side when he opened the door. Two days earlier, he had spent the night in the very room next to his, and the night before, he hadn’t spent the night alone. But today was a usual night, as today, nothing extraordinary would happen. Sabrina was already sleeping peacefully, and although she had apologized nervously, he didn’t mind her sleeping in her own bed. After all, that was how it was meant to be. They weren’t that close yet. He giggled quietly. Maybe that would come soon...

Sighing and rubbing his slightly burning eyes as he went into his own hotel room, Will did not notice the shadowy figure that was leaning against the wall. Its wardrobe did not give away its identity, as all it wore was black and nothing. Its hair shined silver in the pale, fading moonlight, its face and eyes unreadable and cold, just a finger with a long fingernail tracing its lips. It moved as gracefully as an elf as it walked through the room, to Will, who had not noticed it yet and so, foolishly, turned his back to it. Moreover, he was sleepy and his attention span was short, his mind nearly in dreamy state already. So he couldn’t even scream when a hand clamped over his eyes from behind, his body turning around violently as a pair of lips closed over his own.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina took a deep breath, feeling the fresh, and already warm spring air over her skin. It was early in the morning, just a bit over 6 AM and no one else-at least none of the other gym leaders-were awake, though she had seen both Lance, Cynthia and Karen lingering around the halls, all more or less awake and not all that interested in talking with her. The only one she had hoped to see awake and had yet been not awake was Will. She had to get him out of bed herself, surprised by the fact that his hotel room door had been left open, not forcing her to teleport into the room. He had been still lying on his tousled sheets, half buried under his cushions, still in his usual clothes. Sabrina giggled at the memory, as she leaned out of the window, waiting for Will to get dressed again. Apparently, she had tired him out a bit too much last evening...

A slight tapping surprised her and she turned around to see Will leaning in the door frame, his arms crossed over each other, eyes closed and looking thoughtful, unusually thoughtful and serious. She raised an eyebrow, but kept silent. Both of them had every reason to be careful that day. Who knew what Cynthia planned on doing? It was unlikely that she would resort to physical violence, rather using psychical weapons. Maybe in every meaning of the word.

“Can we go now?” Sabrina asked politely, snuggling to his shoulder. Will opened his eyes and smiled at her, stroking her cheek with a single finger.

“Well, I have indeed packed, so yes, we can go.” He hadn’t brought much, as both of them hoped that they wouldn’t be searching for more than a few days, not a week, like the last trip into the wilderness had lasted. After all, just like last time, they did not have endless amount of time. Cynthia and Lucian were going back to Sinnoh in a few days and then, the case had to be finally closed, whether they had found the Espeon or the police had. Sabrina closed her eyes. Someone had to find it in the end, that much was obvious. Otherwise...well, if Lucian’s Espeon truly stayed lost, and the knowledge that this had happened in Indigo, because of an Indigo gym leader became public... Sabrina shook her head. No, she didn’t even want to know what would happen to her then. Maybe this was indeed the scandal that Cynthia had wanted to cause. Yet then, it wouldn’t make any sense for her to employee her and Will, of all people, to search for the Espeon. If this had truly been Cynthia’s plan, she would have kept silent about it, at least as long as there was a chance that the Espeon might still turn up. No, this didn’t make sense at all.

But like Will had said yesterday, it wasn’t as if they had a chance to change anything anymore. It was all a question of fate and coincidence.

Will coughed politely as they went to the stairs and stopped. Sabrina, surprised by this behaviour, stopped as well, staring at her boyfriend’s back. First, he stared downwards at his shoes, unsure if he should address her, hesitating for a long time, before he finally turned around and faced her. “I know that this mission is quite important for you...that we have to find this Espeon or else you get into trouble...so...I asked one of my colleagues to accompany us. You know, the more the merrier.”

Sabrina just stared at him. To say that she was surprised would be a great understatement. She was rather shocked. She didn’t want anyone to accompany them. It may be foolish and kind of hypocritical to think of this trip as another chance for them to be alone for a while, to spend some time just as a couple, when in the end, much depended on it, all of it being a rather serious business with a champion involved. Yet...was it wrong to wish for closeness? To live your feelings out? Sabrina felt betrayed and at the same time, she felt guilty. Maybe Will was right...

She sighed. “Well, who did you bring?”

Will smirked at her. “Someone who can take care of psychic Pokemon just as well as we do...in every meaning of the word.”

Sabrina blinked at his words, but when she heard the weak tapping of high heels from down the stairs, she braced herself for an unwelcoming welcome. Since she doubted that Will would actually be as foolhardy as to invite Cynthia for this camping adventure- Sabrina doubted that any spoiled champion would survive in the woods without his personal servants-it meant that the only other known high heel lover of the league would come with them. “My, you psychics sure get up lately. Had a lot of work to do last night, hm?”

Karen.

Sabrina couldn’t hide her growl. While she was getting used to Karen’s general presence, that was no reason to stretch her endurance that much. A darkling...what had Will been thinking?! Of course, Karen could take care of psychics...meaning that it was easy for her to knock them out. And not only Pokemon, human psychics as well. Will had just brought the one person that Sabrina was sure of was dangerous to both of them. If not for her frivolous attitude that might awake her long hidden feeling of jealousy, then for the team of dark Pokemon she most likely carried with her.

“You don’t mind her hanging around here, do you?” Sabrina raised an eyebrow. Did Will just lose his common sense or what? If it wasn’t obvious from her tensed, stiff body, then for the fact that she just kept standing away from both Will and Karen, who had walked up the stairs to meet up with them.

Clenching her fists, Sabrina took a deep breath, looked up and sighed. It was useless to argue now, as after all, Karen had obviously no intention of leaving them anymore, and Will, being the trigger for this unexpected twist of happenings, was no real help for her arguments, either. He would probably just accuse her of being biased and selfish. Of course, he hadn’t been a psychic for so long, so he wasn’t afraid of darklings like she was.

His shoulder didn’t hurt each time she remembered the fangs of a Mightyena.

“Well, I’ll stand her for the time being.” Sabrina mumbled, maybe a bit darker and angrier than she had intended. Better to not irritate the darkling too much, for she could overpower both her and Will easily. Maybe it hadn’t even been Will’s fault. He was too much of a gentleman- and had too less of a backbone to deny a woman’s wish, and Karen could easily blackmail him, as easily as she could blackmail Sabrina herself. The situation had ended in a stalemate, at least for two of them.

“Fine, then.” Will actually smiled, making Sabrina fume silently even more. “Let’s go, no?” He smiled at both girls and took Karen’s arm, shocking Sabrina even more, who did not really feel jealous at first, just rather off surprise and being catapulted into the wrong scenario.

“What?!” She was even too surprised to scold at Will, having frozen in place as the two elite trainers walked down the stairs.

“Well, are you coming?” Will asked, turning his head around to see and wink at her. Sabrina blinked, staring into space and really not getting what was going wrong again. Just being sure that something was wrong.

“Yeah, hm, I am coming...” She mumbled, following the two with a slight distance, body stuff and mind on alert, keen on observing Will a bit more than usual.

~~~~~~~

From her hotel room, a lone, beautiful woman was watching. Her eyes, grey and lifeless, were staring straight at the three trainers walking into the woods, two of them walking next to each other and chatting happily, the first easily to be recognised by his formal clothing, the second by the complete opposite.

And then there was the woman following them, trudging slowly and appearing to be a bit miserable, a mood noticeable even from the distance that kept the woman apart from the group going on a new adventure.

Cynthia bit her lip, wondering if she should interfere. She had not expected another darkling to be around; neither had she expected said darkling to get in the way of her plan. Yet... Cynthia closed her eyes, walking away from the window and waiting in the shadows of the curtains for a moment. Karen was not hindering her. She had her own plans. Obviously. Glancing back at the three, the Sinnoh champion wondered how much more the young love of the psychics could take before it would break apart.

Shrugging, she sat down on the bed again. She had taken enough humiliation from Lucian. Maybe she should advise Sabrina to do as she had done. She didn’t wish for another woman to be broken because of men.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina knew how it felt to be excluded. More than half of her life, she had been excluded. Always because of her powers. Always because of the mysterious things she could do, mysterious to those who never tried to get to understand them better. If it hadn’t been for her powers, if she hadn’t inherited them from her father, she would have been a usual girl, a normal girl living a normal life, going through normal puberty, getting a boyfriend, a job, maybe as a psychologist or at a grocery store or as a journalist or something along those lines. But she had her powers, and had trained them night and day, and thus, she had been different from everyone else and everyone else was scared of her. Too scared to dare to go near her. So, Sabrina supposed she shouldn’t be surprised by the feeling of hurt from being excluded again.

Just that this time, it was people like her excluding her. People with supernatural powers of their own.

Granted, Karen was no psychic, but darklings abused psychics in other, dreadful ways, not in this highly social way. She supposed it was in their nature to be a bit blunter and, well, darker. Karen had revealed herself to be not only frivolous, but also as impolite as one elite could get without being rocketed out of the office the moment she took a step into it. And worse, the person she had believed to be more disgusted by this more than ever didn’t even care.

Of course, she was talking about Will, for she, while having taken on as much politeness as needed, too, was strongly bothered by Karen’s behaviour. And so, in conclusion, about Will’s as well.

He had started to ignore her. During the first day- yes, they were already on the walk for more than a day, but Sabrina had started to lose her sense of time again. It hadn’t been so noticeable, yet now, the loneliness started to bore itself through her heart and soul, hurting her. It was not jealousy that she felt- she knew that for sure, as the feeling she had towards Karen was different from the one she had had when she had seen Will celebrating together with Janine after their double battle. This feeling was more like deep anger, deep mistrust and the inner feeling that something was wrong. She was only unaware of what was wrong. Aside from the obvious fact that Will was spending more time with the darkling then with her now.

It was only talking. Nothing more. Maybe that was why her jealousy hadn’t kicked in, Sabrina could only speculate. Jealousy wasn’t a feeling she was used to. For all of her former, emotionless life, she had failed to grasp the concept of ownership, because she had not seen the value of material things. Of course, she had been, well, kind of obsessed with a few things- her doll collection came immediately to mind. But aside from it... She had never felt the need to long for other people’s belongings, their wealth...yes, she had taken the Fighting Dojo’s gym leading rights from them, but that was nothing physical. And if there was one thing that she could have felt jealous about, even back then, it might have been psychical strength, but only that.

In conclusion, she had never really learned to be jealous and only now, when something existed that she really held dear, something unique, something she didn’t want to lose for all in the world, she suddenly had to deal with jealousy. Another new emotion on her ever going list that was giving her so much trouble and made her wish herself back to the old times, when everything was just an easy game of authority and training.

Sabrina shook her head, watching the two as they decided- they alone, for the third wheel on the bicycle had been long forgotten, to take a break at a small clearing. It was a nice, sunny day and if there hadn’t been the small detail of being a group of three, Sabrina mused she would have enjoyed this very much. Instead, she stared at the two elite trainers, observing them as closely as she could without grabbing their attention. It was getting warmer every day and she had trouble with the sun shining directly into her face, though she could clearly see the conversation on the other end of their resting place. Again, her instincts told her something was wrong, but she could not figure out what. Her first impulse was to assume that something had been done to Will, but she could not think of what that might have been and who might have caused it. Surely not Karen, who was, strangely enough, acting a bit off, too. It was not usual for her to talk so friendly and casual to a psychic. Sabrina tensed. Maybe it was not only one of them being manipulated, but both. In that case, she had to be very, very careful indeed.

Sighing, the psychic came to the dreadful conclusion that her list of problems was growing with every day she spent there in the Indigo Plateau. First, it had been acceptable emotional trouble, for while her crush on Will had indeed caused some inner tension, that strain had been more positive than anything. Then the stay in the hospital and a month-long coma. Not all that good for her already shaky health. The psychic ran her hand through her hair. The mix-up of the egg and the statue seemed to be a minor problem now and still, it had high priority. That probably meant she had been in a state of continuous alert for almost a week, a strain certainly not good for her nerves. If the alcohol hadn’t killed her brain cells, this had. All counted in, it was a surprise she hadn’t faltered yet, but maybe, just maybe, Cynthia was right with her assumption about Sabrina’s stamina.

“Will...Karen...” The gym leader started, well aware of the fact that the chances of them actually listening to her were slim. There was a topic that had to be discussed, no matter how unfriendly the response might be. “I don’t think it is beneficial for us to keep on wandering aimlessly around. I...admit that it is a bit hard to search for a Pokemon without any real clue, but...” The psychic hesitated. She had no confirmation yet that her comrades were listening, but if she waited for a verification, she might as well spend the whole afternoon waiting and staring into space. Or rather into the faces of a man and a woman opposite of her, the former being still very much in her heart, the latter being the stick in her heart, and their friendly talking nearly destroying her heart.

“We cannot just continue it this way. It’s no use. It’s already been more than a day and we haven’t found as much as a clue of the Espeon.” Sabrina stood up and took her cup of tea, as thankfully, with her obsession with the beverage; she knew enough about herbs to make her own, of course non-poisonous and even well-tasting one. She didn’t know what Will and Karen were drinking, but she wasn’t caring for one half of the duo, anyway. And the other half should theoretically know how to get poison out of his body, but with training being the last thing on his mind for a while...

“So what?” Karen smiled viciously at the other psychic, one hand hugging her hip, the fingers of her other tracing Will’s neck who had followed Karen’s gaze over to the gym leader, keeping a stoic, calm face even around the obvious flirtations of the darkling. “It’s not as if Cynthia and Lucian cannot leave without this Pokemon and get it sent on later.” Karen grinned. “Or do you think a little delay could cost your head? How sad...I wonder how well you would fare as a psychic without your most important organ, the brain, isn’t it? Sad that you depend on it so much... the outside counts, too, it sure does, little Brina.” Sabrina rolled her eyes. She knew what Karen meant, but hell would rather freeze over than her wearing clothes of the same ‘category’, if that was the right word, as Karen’s.

That, or other...

Sabrina shook her head. Now was not the time to think of future plans.

“Sorry to prove you wrong, Karen dear,” Sabrina bit her own tongue when saying that, and yet forced herself to mimic Karen’s snicker, though she herself had no real idea, just a dim feeling where the sudden need for competition came from. “But I fear the consequences of the Espeon staying stolen are direr than you can imagine. For once, it’s not only my head that may roll...” Glancing uneasily at the side, Sabrina wondered just how much she could tell these two, given how friendly Will was suddenly with Karen. “It could also cause the whole of Indigo some trouble.”

Karen raised an eyebrow. “You mean because Cynthia might blame it on Indigo?” The darkling smiled. “Oh, don’t look so surprised. I know all of your little theories. Your boyfriend has quite the loose tongue, my...”

Karen was right, Sabrina looked surprised. Very surprised. Her eyes wide open, her face pale, her fingers grasping onto a small branch of the log she was sitting on, she could only describe her feelings with one word. Betrayal.

Will had told Karen all about Sabrina’s hypotheses, about her speculations and, worst, her fears. Her fears of this turning out to be a matter of political affairs, of national wide importance. Of it working itself up to a greater dispute between Indigo and Sinnoh, maybe even with rumours of all of it planned out by Indigo turning up. In a world where Pokemon battling was a legal and an accepted way of making money, where the strongest ones held more political power in their hands than the elected governors and mayors, Pokemon were no more pets, but weapons and, to a degree, capital, a stolen Pokemon was more than a peccadillo, the very reason why Team Rocket kept being the number one threat for Kanto, aside from their obvious hunger for power, of course. And now it concerned the Pokemon of an Elite. Sabrina couldn’t even imagine the consequences of this, and she didn’t really want to, either. She just wanted this to be over as soon as possible.

“Will...” Sabrina glared at the other psychic trainer, wondering what was up his mind. He had changed and Sabrina was fairly sure that this change was not natural. She just had to find out what had happened.

He stared at her, cold, emotionless, and yet there was a difference between him and her former self. She couldn’t put her finger on it, couldn’t name it, but it was there, like a cloudy shadow hanging over him. Sabrina frowned. Maybe there was more behind this description than met the eye...

“Why have you told her this? I thought we would keep this secret...” She sounded...well, she sounded offended. She had thought she could trust him. Could she now? Or was it not his fault? Her fingers were trembling.

Will sneered. “I see no need to keep my secrets from someone I can trust.” For s split second, he glanced over to Karen, and Sabrina thought she noticed a small glimmer in both of their eyes. “And Karen has shown me that she is trustworthy.”

“Trustworthy...” Sabrina sighed. Whoever thought that Karen, of all people, was honest had to be very naive...well, nothing new considering it was Will... “I hope you know what you’re doing, dear...” Closing her eyes, the psychic stood up to throw some more wood in the fire when she froze, her senses picking up a change in the direction of the wind. And before she could grasp the situation, all three of them were startled by the sudden storm forming over their heads, leafs and dirt circling around them after being picked up by the wind. Sabrina hid her face with her arms, afraid of being hurt by little stones that were now in the miniature tornado as well. Fortunate for her, she didn’t see Will holding Karen in his arms to protect her.

After a few seconds, the wind was not the only thing that grabbed the attention of the three trainers. The noise of an engine, getting louder and louder, and the unusual sound of something sucking in air were around them, or rather, above them. Sabrina glanced through her closed hands at the sky. She could only see dust and in-between the brown cloud, something darker, something almost black.

“I don’t want to question our luck, but don’t you think it is a bit unusual for an airship to appear in the middle of nowhere?” Karen asked, her voice fighting to gain enough power to reach Sabrina’s ears, as Will was next to the darkling and hadn’t any trouble hearing her.

“What do you mean?” Sabrina hoped her own voice was strong enough to fight the growing wind, because for once, she was really interested in Karen’s thesis.

“Well, how big are the chances that this is Lance’s newest plaything? Not high, I think, in contrast to his bank account and ego size. And who else has an airship that big and modern? Only our dear J, at least from what I could gather from her international arrest warrant.”

Sabrina couldn’t hide her surprise, though hating herself for giving away a degrading emotion in front of the darkling. “International police forces are searching for her?!” ‘And you’ve looked at the files?’ She didn’t voice her second question, for it would give away her own lack of knowledge of the matter behind. She had neglected to do any research on their enemy, however, Sabrina wasn’t even sure anymore if J was their, or rather, her main enemy.

Karen nodded, her hair whipping around her shoulders wildly. “Well, she’s been on the public enemy list of Sinnoh for god knows how many ages and was recently added to Johto’s one. I think that counts as being internationally searched for.”

Sabrina, ignoring the sharp edge in Karen’s remark, shuddered at the sudden light that had started to shine over J. She was certainly not a newbie villain, nor was she to be underestimated. ‘As if my problems were too small for fate’s taste until now...’ The psychic mused miserably.

The airship had soon left the space above their heads, yet it was clear that it was going to land, considering how low in the air it had been. This, in conclusion, could only mean one thing: J was still searching for the Espeon as well, as otherwise; she would have no reason to leave the safe air space. Besides, she was still in Indigo, not having dashed off to wherever her client was seated, so apparently she hadn’t managed to catch the psychic Pokemon.

Sabrina started to run, wishing she could teleport right to the landing location of the airship, but finding herself to be unable to do this. One reason, of course, was the presence of Karen, but thankfully, the elite trainer had at least the grace to lower her own abilities a bit, which allowed Sabrina to be free of any headaches and shivers caused by dark power.

Still, she hoped for Karen not to own any Mightyena...

“My, my, you like to get into the action soon, don’t you?” Karen laughed, her arm still clung around Will. She had been momentarily startled by the sudden departure of the psychic, but had covered it soon with a laugh and a playful toss of her silvery hair.

Sabrina turned around. As much as she hated having the dark trainer around, it was better to have some awful assistance than none at all. “That might be the one and only chance we have to get a hold of her, so we’re better not wasting it.” She directed this at the two behind her, as they were far behind her already and didn’t seem to have any intention of following the psychic soon. Sabrina hadn’t really wanted to take the role of leader there, as she had wanted this to be an extended date exclusive for her and Will, and had, in no way, anticipated Karen’s coming along. Then, if everything had happened according to her planning, there would be no reason to really worry about the person in charge. And no, not because it was clear that she would dominate over Will...

Karen glanced over Will, tracing his lip with her sharp, black fingernail. “We should better go and save her backside in case she gets herself into a mess again, shouldn’t we, my dolly?” Will nodded without words.

~~~~~~~

Slowly, the woman sat down, blinking as she adjusted her shining black sunglasses. In truth, they were not only sunglasses, but a device filled with so many gadgets that any spy movie agent was about to get jealous. Silently touching the right side of the metallic frame, a holographic map, blinking in neon green, appeared in front of her cold blue eyes. Quickly, she scanned over the map covering nearly all of Indigo Mountains, lines of the blinking light detaching themselves from the artificial level they had created and forming into valleys and mountain peaks. The 3-D picture was not complete, as her henchmen hadn’t managed to download all of the needed material from local satellites yet. Illegally, of course. Satellite maps of Indigo City were not open to the public because of the league headquarters, and she didn’t even bother with asking for them kindly because she knew, even though she wasn’t as well known there as she was to Sinnoh’s upper class, someone would do his or her research and find out. Better let the dirty work be done by someone who was renounceable, like her henchmen.

Hunter J, or ‘Jenny’, as her by far closest client liked to call her, much to Js indignation, ignored the gaps in graph, concentrating of the little white blinking spot that moved slowly over the plain, following what seemed to be an even smaller spot of purple dirt, although it was in truth the psychic signature of a particular special Espeon. Special because it had been raised and evolved in wilderness, never been forced to follow a trainer’s order, never even been touched by a human’s hand. That was, until she, the greatest hunter ever known to Sinnoh, had caught it in the deep, inaccessible wood of Ilex Forest, and pocketed quite the nice amount of money for it from the champion of Sinnoh. J closed her eyes. While all that mattered to her was the money, she had truly started to question her client’s motives. Whereas a wild Espeon was as rare as a silver Eevee and such, the general value of it was not to be enquired, it was more a question of why it was so important to the champion of all people. J could imagine an endless amount of paying clients that would have loved to get the Espeon, clients that had a reasonable want for it, breeders or collectors came to mind, yet she couldn’t imagine why the champion with her already well-trained, full team of six monstrosities had wanted it so badly. So badly to go out of her way and cooperate with probably the second most wanted villain in Sinnoh, only next to the mysterious unknown leader of Team Galactic.

And it was not only cooperation, it was...more.

J squeezed her eyes shut, shuddering inwardly at the sheer memory of the events that had happened...what, only half a year ago? It seemed as if everything had just been a day ago, and then, her whole life being thrown into a loop, one she hadn’t managed to get out of even then. She had never been out of Sinnoh, and in a matter of six months, she had been to both Kanto and Johto. The only region missing was Hoenn now, and knowing Cynthia, it was only a matter of time before J would be assigned her first mission there. And it was useless trying to prepare for that special assignment, as J had the feeling that Cynthia had more various ideas than the usual eccentrics she worked with. Which was saying a lot, considering what background J worked with.

J blinked. Next to the white circle, or, more exactly, right beneath it, another purple spot, though significantly smaller than both the white one and the first violet one, had appeared, an equally small black spot next to it. J frowned, but even someone who might know her well- honestly said, there weren’t many that could fall into this category, that wouldn’t have noticed the gesture from afar.

The woman stared ahead, going through several scenarios in her head. She hadn’t been expecting any interruption; at least Cynthia had promised that no one would disrupt her, something J had not doubted. If the champion wanted something not to happen, said thing just wasn’t going to happen, and if she wanted earth to stop rotating. The obvious- no one without a serious aim would venture into those woods, involvement of these people- a psychic and a dark one even, was unexpected.

J leaned back, though her body stiffened, her fingers playing around the lonely Pokeball at her left side. It was a miracle she had managed to get all of her Pokemon back, but again, she had to thank her unwanted lover for it. Cynthia had not only used the police’s trust in her, but also the naivety of her boyfriend who had volunteered to take care of the Pokemon for the time being. Astounding that he believed in her that much, after they had broken up under more than mysterious circumstances, but again, this was only a trivial detail on J’s mind. Insignificant compared to the thorn in both her heart and mind at the thought that she had seriously needed Cynthia’s help to get her Pokemon back and complete this mission...

“Harry?” She spoke up, her voice confident and cold, demanding. The pudgy man saluted as fast as he could, almost knocking his hat off his head. “Get me the off board camera. I want to take a look at the intruders.” He nodded and within a few seconds, with the simulation her glasses produced still on, J looked down at the main monitor in front of her seat, the picture as clear and full of details as if she was hanging out of the ship and watching the three with her very own eyes, though this method was a lot more safer.

J’s eyes widened. She recognised the people down there, all of them, not only the one she had already met before. Of course, the one she had already encountered was the psychic gym leader, who hadn’t proven to be so much of a threat, just a bit more annoying than her usual enemies. The other two...they were more likely the ones to worry about. J hadn’t really bothered with reading all of the local newspapers, just the articles that obviously concerned her, and yet she wasn’t in the dark about the new elite four trainers William Bender and Karen Schwartz. She had seen them in the yellow press magazines her henchmen enjoyed to read. Most of them writing about Karen though and the ones with Will just read by those henchmen that were a pain to keep.

On the one hand, J was glad to know who she was dealing with. On the other hand, it didn’t make her job any easier. Just harder.

Clenching her fists, she remembered the fight with Lucian. Her poor Pokemon had been beat down, hadn’t had any chance against the better trained ones of the elite four trainer of Sinnoh. Yet, that had been a battle without her, and her, let’s call them technical advantages. Slowly rubbing over the sleek metal of her bracelet, she knew she had the moment of surprise there. These three didn’t know about the little toy of hers, only about the necklace that blocked psychic powers. That should be enough to overwhelm at least one of them, and J was sure the other two, the elite trainer especially, would prove to be challenging on her/his own. Though...only as long as their Pokemon weren’t bronze-coloured shiny statues in her collection for sale.

Closing her eyes, J stood up. “Land the ship.” She opened her eyes again, them being as cold as humanly possible. “I’ll deal with them.”

She wouldn’t allow anyone alive to ruin what may be her biggest coup.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina could hardly hide her frustration as the small group of three finally reached the airship. Since it had high-performance engines, unlike them with their tiny, flimsy legs, the distance it needed for landing was longer than the one they could walk in the same time. And so they would obviously end up too late if J had indeed found the Espeon and this was her reason for letting the airship land. All of this would have been no problem if she had been able to teleport. But because of a certain darkling, she couldn’t, and so, they lost precious time. Yes, she couldn’t deny her bias, she couldn’t deny her hate, hate that had only increased because of Will’s strange behaviour around Karen, but so far, the only thing she could blame on Karen was the weakening of her powers, not the sudden coldness between Will and her. For that, she had no proof.

And right now, she had no time for it.

A strong gust of wind blew her backwards and she had to hide her face yet again from sand tbehind her, both clouded by the grains of sand. And then, silence.

Silence, except for the odd flapping sound of a pair of wings. Sabrina turned her head around and almost jumped back in surprise when she saw a woman, a woman well known to her, standing on a Salamence. She had appeared as if out of thin air, as if she had teleporting powers of her own, yet Sabrina doubted that. She would have felt J’s powers and even if there were some she had overseen- after the experience with Cynthia, it was frightful and still possible, Karen was to make sure that any powers were blocked, from friend and foe alike. Sabrina tensed. To J, it didn’t matter whether Karen was there or not, as she could block the psychic’s power anyway. That was a clear advantage for her. On the other hand, she had lost against Lucian in a Pokemon fight, and now, it was not only one elite trainer against her, but two. Plus a gym leader.

Who wished that she was hopefully neither ignored nor left alone to do all the dirty work on her own.

J stared down at the three, stiff, her right arm hidden at her side. Without another word, she withdrew two Pokeballs from the hidden pockets of her coat and didn’t even bother with throwing them far, just letting them reach a certain distance over her head, where all of them opened at the same time, red light exploding in front of the faces of the league trainers. Two Pokemon, tall and monstrous, stood in front of them, all ready to attack. Sabrina braced herself. She didn’t know Drapion’s type, as it looked a bit like a poison and/or bug type, but she wouldn’t put her luck on it. Ariados, while being a Bug and Poison type for certain, had ghost attacks and so, was still even a threat for her. And Salamence was, without doubt, Dragon and Flying type, so her best try was to focus on that Pokemon, yet that would certain prove to be a bit more difficult, since Salamence was the very Pokemon J stood on. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight, as that would mean giving up her main defence. Not to mention that loosing Salamence would mean for J exposing herself to the attacks of their Pokemon, plus loosening the clear status advantage she had, as she stayed up in the air, barely reachable for them.

She could hear a wicked snicker behind and glanced backwards to see, unsurprisingly, Karen hugging her hip with one hand, the other holding a Pokeball up. “You want to bring it on the hard way, girl, don’t you? Then do it, right now.”

Sabrina sighed. Getting Karen excited sure was easy.

J closed her eyes. “Very well.” Glancing sideways, Sabrina noticed an unusual reflection in J’s sunglasses, one that was physically not supposed to be there. She did not have the time and chance to investigate in any further. J nodded silently to her two Pokemon on the ground and both of them jumped forward, ready to attack. With the teeny little detail that neither of the league trainers had a Pokemon out yet!

It should have been an obvious strategy, especially after everything they got to know about J’s cruelty, or at least what information Karen had gathered. Yet it still seemed to be so unbelievable that a trainer would order his Pokemon to attack another trainer on purpose, something forbidden by law since the very first days of Pokemon training, that they, in their foolhardiness, didn’t expect it. But the only rules that applied to Hunter J’s morality were her own, and she had none.

Knowing that she was in the first row of the attacks, so to speak, Sabrina did not try to run back. Instead she dove forward and just as she had expected, both Ariados and Drapion were too caught up in their massive attack that they couldn’t stop to meet, or rather, kill her in midair. Even more, it gave her the chance of attacking J directly, instead of having to fight her way through the two Pokemon, who were taken care of anyway by Will and Karen, or at least she hoped that was the case. She had her doubts about the reliability of these two now, but she had no other choice than to trust them enough to let them guard her backside for the moment. If Karen and Will decided to flee and Drapion and Ariados decided that she was the easier target, which she certainly was, trapped between J and two of her Pokemon, then there was no chance to get out without an unbalanced battle. An unbalanced battle she could very likely loose.

“Come out, Umbreon!”

“You too, Jynx!”

Well, at least they weren’t going to let her go down.

~~~~~~~

J frowned as she was about to order her Salamence to take off into the direction of the wild Espeon. Her plan hadn’t completely worked out as planned, as one of the three trainers had avoided the obvious battle request and had managed to pursuit her directly. While J was sure that she could easily shake her off with her Salamence’s speed, her simple presence opted the danger of her discovering the Espeon first, and there was the possibility of her owning other Pokemon not of the psychic type, which wouldn’t be affected by the necklace then and in conclusion a real danger for her Salamence. While it was strong, a gym leader’s Pokemon was just as strong, too. And the real trouble was still behind and most likely to put up a good fight, too.

“Kadabra, Confusion! Get her down!” J bit her lip in frustration. Just what she needed. This woman really was risking it. Irritating her. And getting both of them in danger. Better put her out of commission sooner than later.

“Salamence, Leer.” There were only so few attacks she could use from her position without jeopardizing her life, but she didn’t just want to use her bracelet just now, trainers were known to freak out and do irresponsible things if they saw their Pokemon in true danger. Not that J cared much about a trainer’s life, but if she had the chance to cause as little uproar as possible, she would rather do that. She had promised her client to get through this as smoothly as she could.

“Kadabra, Barrier!” The shining plate of energy deflected Salamence’s Leer easily. J let a small surprised frown glide onto her face, she hadn’t expected that Kadabra to be that strong. Nevertheless, it wasn’t likely to deflect a dark attack that easily...

“Salamence, Bite!” J stabilized herself on the back of her dragon Pokemon, as this attack required physical contact with the enemy and Salamence could only achieve this by diving down with her on its back. But J was used to that; she had managed to stay on during much more complicated flying manoeuvres. The danger was a constant part of her life as a hunter, and yet she had chosen this way of life on her own, never doubting it.

So, she didn’t even stagger in the least when Salamence’s mighty body nearly made contact with the earth, then it turned around sharply, blowing a whole wall of sand into Kadabra and its trainer’s face. Immediately after distracting them that way- though it was nothing more than a play-off and not a serious attack, which was coming now, it turned around again to face them, this time, opening its huge mouth, showing its sharp, long, dragon-like horrendous teeth.

Sabrina was frozen, completely frozen. Never in her whole life before she had experienced the consequences of a trauma, but in this very moment, in this unfavourable moment, she couldn’t move a single muscle, but simply stare at the throat that was going to be her end. She didn’t know that she was going to die; there was no single thought in her mind but the clear, painful memories of the events that had happened barely a bit over a month ago, with nearly the same attack tearing apart her shoulder, phantom pain making her unable to move.

But thankfully, she had a saviour.

Not the one she might have originally expected, but it was better than nothing.

‘Kadabra!’ Sabrina blinked, a brownish shadow jumped in front of her eyes, intercepting the attack with its body. The force of the Bite attack, though, and Kadabra’s natural vulnerability to it, sent it into the next tree, knocking it out immediately. Sabrina turned slowly around, her fingers still shaking uncontrollably, the fear still in every cell of her body.

“Kadabra...” Finally realizing that the Pokemon had sacrificed itself for her, to keep her from getting injured. While that had been a general good idea, Sabrina was now defenceless. Defenceless in the meaning that Haunter was anything but a decent fighter. And she didn’t dare to attack J psychically, for the consequences of the last attack were still fresh in her mind and her orthopaedist’s bill.

Still, this wasn’t going to stop her. If she managed to prevent J’s misdoing now, it would maybe cost her a few more nerves and sinews, if not, it would cost her the head and in comparison, the head was a tad bit more important than some inflammations.

Turning around, she got ready to jump. Maybe her reflexes and strength and balance weren’t as good as J’s, but she had the luck of the unprepared and desperate on her side. At least she believed so.

J stared at her coldly. “Salamence, Dragon Claw!”

Until the silver glowing claw of the dragon hit her side.

Surprisingly, the claw didn’t slash her open like an overripe tomato, ripping her flesh and inner organs out of her like feathers out of a cushion, splattering blood all over the place like an eccentric painter did with the colours over his canvas.

No, she could feel something sharp in her back, cutting her clothes and leaving small, red lines over her shoulder blades, and the impact of the attack sending her flying back onto the ground with a painful thud, but nothing more. It had hurt, no doubt, and she was sure she wouldn’t question J’s cruelty anymore, blaming her dumbness for this, but at least she wasn’t dead.

Just a bit dizzy.

Closing her eyes tightly to regain a more accurate view of the world around her, Sabrina wondered why the little colourful stars were coming from seemingly nowhere. Realising that these stars were anything but real, she opened her eyes again just in time to see Hunter J flying away a high rate speed, her back to her.

Slowly, she raised herself up from the ground, one hand rubbing the aching back of her head, the other steadying her body. Or, at least, trying to, as this was the arm connected to her hurt shoulder and she felt an incredible pang of pain as soon as the force of her whole body hit the arm’s muscles and she nearly broke down again. With tears in her eyes and her teeth biting so hard into her lips that she feared they would bleed soon, too, she gathered her concentration. And heard some footsteps behind her.

“Nice of you two to finally turn up.” Not even trying to hide the bitterness in her voice, Sabrina turned around with still half-closed eyes. The pain blocked her rational thinking, her manners, for the moment, she was just p...irritated. Heavily irritated.

“Hey, we had to fight with J’s other play toys, you think that was easy?” Will turned his arm behind his back, smiling nonchalantly and uncaring. He didn’t even try to help Sabrina up, despite the fact that she was still kneeling in the dirt, her left arm shaking with pain. “They put up quite a fight...”

“Ah, just like you did, eh?” Karen grinned, seeing the condition Sabrina was in, her dirty clothes, partly ripped apart, the blood on her back and the dust on her face and arms. Sabrina feared she wouldn’t be too off with the assumption that this actually turned her on in some weird, twisted way.

“Oh, yes, just like I did.” Sabrina grumbled. She didn’t want to make a fool out of herself with saying that she actually tried to jump onto J’s Pokemon as well, without even really knowing what good it would do to her- surely she could not start a box fight on top of a flying Pokemon, one that didn’t even belong to her. Maybe she was getting a bit too desperate in her attempts to catch Hunter J. She was only desperate in getting her head and job saved, in the end.

“Feels good to give everything in for a fight, doesn’t it?” Sabrina couldn’t tell if Karen was being sarcastic or not, as everything that did not include the word ‘death’ didn’t seem to be serious coming from Karen, and even then, there was a 50/50 chance that she was just joking morbidly again.

“Oh, yes, it does indeed feel good.” Well, at least the psychic knew she herself was indeed joking. Psychics were not made for physical fighting, and she, the fragile porcelain doll, was the best example. It wouldn’t take long until her arm was so severely injured that they would be forced to undertake an operation again just to keep it functioning. She didn’t want that to happen, and yet, her actions proved her intentions wrong. But what was an arm compared to your head?

Sabrina looked up, into the sky where Hunter J had taken off. Then, turning serious, biting down the pain in her arm, she turned around to her comrades. “Come on, let’s follow her.”

Karen waited for a second, before nodding to Will. He mimicked her gesture and then the chase after Hunter J began again.

~~~~~~~

Cynthia played with the mobile phone in her fingers, sometimes touching a button without intending to touch it, sometimes hesitating to call a number, to push the little green phone button. In theory, everything was planned out. In theory, her plan was perfect. In theory, she had no morality, no emotions.

In reality, she wondered just what she had destroyed by letting things go. Let things simply flow next to her, only controlling what affected her directly. And Karen’s little input didn’t. Not at all. And still, she felt guilty. She knew about it, and she wasn’t going to do a single thing about it. She was going to watch in delight how these two would finally break up, how another woman would break down because of love. Just like she had. She was not as strong as she seemed to be. She was a goddess of the night, yet even goddesses could be hurt. Myths were full of heartbroken Aphrodites. All of this had to be done because of her pain. And pain it would cause. Just more and more pain.

Cynthia sighed, running a hand through her long blond hair and staring at the black, shining display of the mobile. It would be so easy, way too easy, to call the reporters in, to tell them an exclusive story about Lucian’s stolen Espeon, her affair with Lance, and why Indigo’s league was to blame. That was the plan, wasn’t it? It was the perfect moment. The three elite trainers lost there out in the woods couldn’t do a thing about it, and were helpless against her power of influence. And yet, she hesitated. She, the one who was never unsure, hesitated.

Cynthia closed her eyes and put the mobile down. She would see how this played out. There was nothing else she could do.

Stalemate.

End of Chapter 6, Part 1.
__________________
The Time goes by Here's my Key Philosophy And take your Time
So naturally A Freak like me To trust in me
While you'll receive Just needs And you'll find
~*~Infinity~*~
Lyrics from:Guru Josh Project:Infinity 2008