*hides* >.< Not my fault! I'm already at chapter 9. XD
7. Chapter, Part 2: Puppet
There was said that there should be nothing in a hunter’s eyes. Nothing: no emotion, no colour, no nothing. Irises just there for watching the world around, full of prey. It would be hard not to apply this to Hunter J. She was the perfect hunter. The perfect human hunter at least, as even humans could not reach the perfection of the natural carnivore Pokemon-Pokemon like Absol, for example. And Espeon.
And it an Espeon that her eyes were scanning for.
It had to be around her, the aura scanner of her sunglasses told her that much. She was getting closer. Yet, the aura scanning told her that those idiots of elite trainers were getting closer, too.
J glanced backwards. She had to hurry or else they would stumble over the Espeon by accident, and how amateurish would it look like if they caught the Espeon by sheer luck, while she, fitted out with the most modern equipment and a nice amount of gold in her pockets, could just stare dumbfound at them? Not professional, not professional at all. And she rather didn’t want to fail in front of Cynthia’s eyes when said woman could get her into jail any moment.
Yet, with the risk of J spilling out the bucket of filthy dish water all over her head.
Would she actually be cruel enough to betray her lover? For freedom, for money? For the chance to do it before Cynthia herself would do it? A hard question. One that J just couldn’t answer.
The woman shook her head. It didn’t matter and those confusing thoughts certainly didn’t help her with her search, either. A cold, skilled mind was needed, not one that was filled and troubled with emotions.
Just in that moment, rustling grabbed her attention. She ordered her Salamence to stop its flight and land as quietly as possible, for her psychic sensors had suddenly picked up a strong, familiar force near them. Without any doubt, it was the Espeon, for she doubted that any of the domesticated, trained Pokemon of the league members could have such a wild, peculiar aura.
A deep, cat-like growl, followed by a high, angry spitting hiss told her that she was indeed right.
J smirked. Two of her Pokemon were obviously lost in the fight with the elite trainers, but she didn’t need them. She didn’t even need Salamence. She just stared ahead, waiting for the Espeon to finally appear, giving her a chance of getting a good aim.
Cynthia had offered to give her a Masterball. A Masterball of all the things. A ball said to be able to catch every Pokemon on the first try, no failure rate, no missing, no mistakes. But she, Hunter J, did not need a Masterball to be perfectly accurate.
And catching Pokemon was one thing. Turning them into stone another.
Clients could be cheated on, and they knew this. So, Pokemon kept in Pokeballs did not sell very good, at least not if you worked on a commission basis. Commissions were just too seldom if you relied on this old way, so she had to find something new. And she had found something new.
Stiffing her body, J waited for the Espeon to emerge out of the bushes. Having the Pokemon covered by a slight, slim layer of stone was safer, as it gave the clients the knowledge that it was exactly the Pokemon they had wished for, and not some random one the hunter had just picked because he had been too incompetent to catch the wanted Pokemon. While she was all too hungry for money, she still tried to keep her reputation as an honest, skilled hunter. She didn’t know herself where her sudden need for morals came from; maybe Cynthia had triggered something inside of her that should have better had stayed bottled up.
‘Here you are, my little sweet boy.’ She rather though instead of saying as a lavender coloured paw made itself visible through the leaves and thorns, soon followed by a second paw, and a short, muscular chest, very unusual for a psychic Pokemon. But this Espeon was not usual by any means. It had grown up in this rough environment, so fighting for survival was nothing new for the creature, neither was fighting for its freedom. It had already met this human weeks ago, and started to despise it. It had stolen a part of his memory, and carried him in a small, wooden container with stony bars and hay beneath his paws. He had been carried away from his home woods, away from the lands and rivers and dungeons he had grown up in as an Eevee, from the clearings and meadows he had hunted in, from everything he had been used to.
To wake up in a human settlement.
He had thought he would be free again after his container broke, after he was able to escape from the humans' metallic cave of enslavement, after he had found woods, trees, grass and prey again. But now, this woman had been persecuting him, had followed him through days and nights, never leaving him a chance to rest. It was time for the deciding battle between human and Pokemon.
Oh, how he hated humans! Humans, who enslaved his race, his friends, his family, everyone he knew and held dear. And not only them. No Pokemon was safe; none had its freedom guaranteed for a lifetime. All they could do was hope, hope and hide. And get stronger, for then, they could fight the trainers’ Pokemon and defeat them, stripping them of all chances to catch them.
He felt the rage within him, building up his unseen forces, burning deep in his heart, making him growl and extend his claws. He hated humans, but for this woman, he felt more than simple hate. Deep disgust. She had done so much to him, stolen his freedom, his home and he feared that he would never see it again. All because of her. Baring his fangs, he wanted to taste blood. Her blood preferably. He would only feel satisfied once he was walking through her guts, feeling seas of blood beneath his feet and knowing, knowing that she had finally paid for everything.
He pushed himself onto the ground, his body tense and then, he lunged towards her, all of his energy concentrated into this one jump, onto the thought of taking revenge.
But that glorious moment never came. He saw a light, couldn’t even identify the light’s colour- was it white, red or nothing?- and then, his body froze.
J stared down unemotional, though her stressed body allowed itself to relax. Finally, she had finished the order. Well, not completely finished, because she still needed to get the Espeon to Cynthia, but now that she had caught it, what could go wrong anymore?
“There she is!”
J rolled her eyes inwardly at the thought of deeply unwanted interruption, being again disturbed in her work by this idiotic trio of trainers that couldn’t just get it into their thick skulls that she, J, would not stop before she had fulfilled her mission. She had never stopped a mission before she hadn’t gotten her money, and though she had a great amount of the cash already in her pocket, she wouldn’t leave the rest behind. At least she hoped she wouldn’t leave it behind, and Cynthia wouldn’t send her on yet another mission in Kanto, or worse, Johto. Then, she would finally call this woman insane.
Insane, and insanely attractive. Was that the true reason she wanted to finish this? For Cynthia?
J closed her eyes, shutting any emotion out of her mind. Mechanically, she reached for her phone, typing in the number of her henchmen instinctively and ordered them to manoeuvre the ship over her without thinking about her words. Had anyone the sheer idea of asking her later what she had said, she wouldn’t be able to answer.
She looked up, her Salamence already starting to fly up again. They would never reach her, never be able to interfere with her plan once she was up in her airship. And these fools were never fast enough to reach her in time. Not unless they could miraculously use Teleport again, but with the necklace, this was impossible. The area around her was protected.
Sadly, it was only the area, and not her airship.
Sabrina had already anticipated another blocking of her powers, and, as she depended very much on them, had searched for a flaw in J’s plan. To her satisfaction, she had found one sooner than expected. The ‘force field’ around J, as it could be called, was surely able to protect her and individuals in a certain span of area around her, but its power to extend itself was limited to a few metres. So, in fact, she could follow J easily, she just couldn’t teleport right next to her. But that shouldn’t be that much of a problem. A bigger problem was the fact that she could not teleport when Karen was near, as said darkling would then be the second source of blocking.
Sadly, the chances that Karen would not want to follow them- as Sabrina certainly intended on taking Will with her, were quite slim.
But the very limited amount of time they had left before J’s ship would be out of teleporting range forced her to act quick. She haltered and turned around to her two followers, surprised and a bit irritated at the fact that Will was still very much mimicking every one of Karen’s movements and even running in pace with her. It was creepy.
“I could teleport up there.” She nodded in the direction of the ship and J who was already getting closer to it. Karen followed her gaze and Will did the same, though his eyes seemed dull.
At least, the darkling seemed to notice the obvious problem. Maybe the delay in attention was also a bit Sabrina’s fault, but she was not one for pointing out the obvious to a sworn enemy of psychics. It was already scandalous that she had to work with her. And that she did nothing about her more or less certain influence on Will. But for now, life came before love. For the moment.
Was that even moralistic anymore?
But then, what was more immoral? Working with Karen or leaving Will be as he was for the moment?
“I see the problem.” Karen lowered her head, smiling wickedly. “Yet, I don’t see the problem. You can teleport up there with your sweet masked boy and I use my own shadowy methods. So, what’s holding us up?” Sabrina didn’t even want to hear a definition of Karen’s ‘shadowy methods’.
She wouldn’t grasp them anyway.
“If you...say so.” She didn’t want to argue with the older woman, too. While it was nice having another powerful trainer around, and Sabrina was glad that the two of them had defeated J’s Pokemon, she didn’t really want to have Karen involved more than necessary. Not anymore. Not as if she had wanted her to be involved at any moment...
Karen nodded, and in a blink of an eye, she had disappeared into the shadows. And Sabrina couldn’t express it differently than ‘literally’. She blinked, shuddered a bit and then shrugged the behaviour off, noting to herself to not spend any more mind on it. If everything went well, they would see Karen soon enough again. If everything went for the best, they wouldn’t see her again for a while.
“Come Will, we have to get up there.” He nodded and walked next to her slowly, one step after another, as if he had lost his balance just minutes ago and needed to be careful not to trip over his own feet. Yet at the same time, he didn’t watch the ground, and just stared ahead. Sabrina took a deep breath, she had to do something about it soon, too. But for now, she just didn’t have the time and mind to spend on it. It was not easy dealing with Hunter J; dealing with your seemingly brain-dead boyfriend kind of didn’t help matters along.
Slowly taking his hand and grasping it tightly, she ignored the coldness the leather emitted. That was usual for this material, wasn’t it?
Closing her eyes, she concentrated. For a split second, for the single moment between here and there, the moment before the teleport unfolded its true might, in the moment between times and universes, she saw black.
Her fingers were twitching. The nervousness still hadn’t left her mind, and yet, she was wondering if it had not only started to surface now, being buried by her concentration until just then. She could see the blinking phone on her airship’s control station’s tabletop, as it was beeping louder and louder and soon, with the vibration alarm on, it would fall from the top of the table, having jumped to death by itself. Sardonically, J considered this option for herself, too, the flying altitude was high enough for a try, she mused. How far had someone sunk when one would rather kill himself than do a simple phone call?
The answer was, way below J’s usual standards.
Finally, she took a deep breath, grasping the phone so firmly with her hand that she almost crushed it and pushing the little green button down with shaking fingers. Instantly, she could see Cynthia’s smiling, innocently smiling face on the mini screen. ‘That woman is a witch.’ J mused, though she couldn’t help but switch the first letter out in the back of her mind. “You told me you have the Espeon?”
“I do.” J whispered, her voice too weak to fight the crumbling of the identity that was herself. “I will come over immediately. Where will we meet?”
Cynthia closed her eyes. She was lying on her bed, only wearing what appeared to be a black, or grey, transparent dress and playing with a small bottle of nail varnish between her fingers. From the look of it, she had tortured her mind slave, the champion, with it and the poor guy would wake up out of his trance soon and find both his finger- and toenails coloured in bright pink. Well, it would fit his hair colour anyway.
“You can visit me at my hotel room any time, you know?” J gagged. She knew that well. And judging from how she touched Lance’s back, the naughty female champion had clear ideas about that night. Sadly, J’s ideas were a bit different and did not involve the number ‘three’ in any way.
“I would rather appreciate it if we meet in the backyard of the hotel.” She answered in a voice that clung into sounding business, but staggered too much. J prayed Cynthia wouldn’t understand it the ‘wrong’ way. But then, there was no ‘wrong way’ for this champion, just ‘her way.’
“I see...you dirty little girl, the backyard, where the bins and the dust are and no one cleans out...” J rolled her eyes. She reminded herself to never answer a call from Cynthia again when it was getting late. Maybe even to never ever answer a call from her at all. After all, her business with Cynthia was soon over. As soon as she reached that backyard and had, more importantly, the money in her bag. Then, sweet freedom came back to her, clients that did not glue themselves into her consciousness and her home.
“Until then.” J forced herself to say, forced herself to cut off the connection as soon as she had said those words. Normally, she wasn’t this...impolite, after all, she depended on her clients, or rather, their money. But Cynthia was by far not the usual client anymore and a little rudeness was allowed, she knew the younger woman would not care. In fact, this might even turn her on even more. Cynthia was a rough woman, after all. Though no one would believe her that if she told them, though J had proof. Physical proof.
Silently, she touched her right wrist, and closed her eyes. Memories surfaced and J gulped. She didn’t want to remember. And, fortunately, an alarm sound pulled her out of her nightmares. J opened her eyes widely and turned around, just in time to see Harry stumbling through the automatic doors. “J, we have a problem! Intruders!”
She stared him into the eyes; her mind was working a bit slower than usually, but she still grasped the situation as fast as she could, which was considerably faster than a usual person would have, given what she had been thinking about mere seconds ago and the inward shuddering it had caused. “Intruders?” She cursed. Nobody was supposed to get into her ship without her noticing, there were motion detectors all over the place and only her henchmen had the identification chips that allowed them free movement all over the place. Normally, anyone who dared to venture into her airship was found the second his foot touched the metallic ground. But from the look of sheer surprise and shock on Harry’s face, she knew something had gone wrong. Most likely the intruders going too far.
“Where are they?” She asked coldly and stood up, close to kicking Harry in the stomach for not telling her the details immediately. He had to take a few breaths as he was still lying on the floor, holding his hurt knee. “Area 4, Room 8.”
J paled, though, with her already quite pale face, it was hard to see. “The warerooms...” Her luck was turning worse and worse. She knew, without looking at the camera files, that the intruders had to be the two elite trainers and the psychic. Anything else wouldn’t make sense. And with their sheer luck growing by every minute they spend in her presence, it seemed, they had found the room where the Espeon was being kept on the first try. She clenched her teeth. She should have kept the Espeon with her until she was sure that Cynthia had it safely. ‘That’s what you get for trusting your technology too much...’ She mused angrily. Now it also made sense as to why the security system hadn’t caught upon the three of them. It was only designed for relatively ‘human’ beings, and although she had thought about installing teleport identifying software, too, she had only bought the handy version for her googles in the end. How should she ever have anticipated being pursuited by a group of psychics- and, by the look of it, someone with quite different powers, too?
No matter, it was no time for standing around baffled, she had to act. She shoved Harry to the side rather rudely, but she couldn’t care less about manners right not. This mission had been interrupted so many times, it was not amusing anymore. For Hunter J, no interruption was funny.
She wouldn’t allow it to end unfinished.
Sabrina stumbled when her feet touched the ground again and she wondered why this happened. Usually, she was perfect with teleport, simply perfect. She didn’t just stumble. Maybe it was her nervousness, though this couldn’t be said for sure. Her mind was clouded, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been several times before, in situations set quite differently. She had to close her eyes for a moment, adjusting them to the artificial light of the airship, and then, she opened them again to take a more detailed look at her surroundings. They were in a quite modern airship, no doubt, and Sabrina almost felt herself being sent back into Lance’s personally designed headquarters, with all the metal and inhumanness being around. “Well, here we are...” Sabrina rubbed the back of her head, thinking hard. They were on the airship if her sense of teleporting direction and her common sense were not completely malfunctioning, that was a plus point. On the other hand, she did not know where in the airship they had ended up, it could be anything, from the board’s restaurant to the...
“Warehouse.” Well, for once, their luck had rolled onto the good side. Maybe Will was a bit too less enthusiastic about his discovering, but Sabrina wouldn’t question little details now. She looked over the door, finding no key hole, rather a number pad embedded into the wall next to the door. Its function was obvious, but Sabrina was not going to give up easily. Besides, technological devices that were not build to withstand psychic powers were toys for her...
She reached out with her hand, yet hesitated when she was close to touching the buttons with her fingertips. Something felt not right, something was wrong. The gym leader looked up and checked her surroundings again, but found nothing to be of any worry. Shrugging her worries off, hoping that she actually had a reason to believe that they were better being shrugged off; she let her fingers rest over the small metallic blue pad. Closing her eyes, she used just a minimum of her energy to intercept the electric barriers that normally kept the door closed tightly for anyone without the knowledge of the right code. Of course, if she had the time and the leisure, she would have found out the code anyway, as not all of J’s underlings had probably the guarding of devices that blocked psychic powers, but for now, a little brutality was appropriate. Even then, it was not really violent, as her powers only damaged the inside of the pad. From the outside, it looked as good as new, not used or manipulated at all. Another idea she had had, for now, if everything went well, J would not even notice that they had broken into her storeroom.
Or maybe that was only wishful thinking.
After a second of nothing happening, a stream of air coming from the direction of the door told them that it had, in fact, worked and their way was free. The door was not particularly loud-a good thing, Sabrina decided. They had been there for almost five minutes, were at least a few imaginary steps closer to the Espeon and so, to safety, and no one had noticed them yet and alerted the commander of the ship. It was almost creepy to know how much luck they had had so far. Logically, that luck just had to turn around any second, Sabrina knew and felt that, but if she let her superstition control her, she would have never made it that far in life. Maybe that was the only bad thing about her powers. Unwanted, bad promotions.
The room was not lit, the only light coming from a single window, one that was so small that the small ray of light it produced only made a part of the floor visible, a line covering the distance between the room’s door and the window itself. Yet, with her mind’s eye, Sabrina could see so much more. Just like everything else on the airship, the room’s floor and ceiling were made out of metal-dark blue metal this time. At the left and right side of the room, already reaching the ceiling, boxes of various different sizes were stapled. Sabrina blinked, because for a single moment, these boxes reminded her of something they should not, should never remind her.
They were made out of glass. Just like the cube the model she and Will had given to Cynthia and Lucian had been in. This couldn’t be coincidence...
Sabrina shook her head, not believing her own thoughts and wondering what kind of poisonous gases that came from the airship’s mechanics had clouded her rational thinking. This had to be a coincidence; there was no chance that there could be a connection between the two cases. Her fear had apparently made her a bit paranoid.
But then, something else entered her mind. She looked up, for anyone not knowing about her powers, it seemed as if sheer nothingness was mesmerizing her. But it was not the blackness, though said word clearly triggered some distant, but already gladly forgotten reminder in the psychic’s memory. It was something in the darkness, a presence, one she easily detected, though not recognised. It was another psychic’s mind, that much was for sure and though Sabrina’s contacts with Espeon had been spare and distant up to then, she was fairly sure the missing psychic Pokemon was kept here. The gym leader allowed a small bit of pride to seep into her consciousness for achieving this, because now that she had a specific location to concentrate on, it became obvious that the Espeon had not much of a chance to radiate any kind of psychic power. It was covered in a metallic brown substance, shining in the darkness. Superficially blind, she walked through the room with closed eyes, letting her powers leading her way through the room, until she stood directly in front of the cube that contained the Espeon. She let her hand rest on the cold glass, sighing and breathing quietly. She could not even see the faint outlines of the Espeon thanks to the darkness, but its aura was unique. Maybe even more unique than the aura of the usual, everyday Espeon, but Sabrina couldn’t put her finger on the specialness of the pokemon. It was just there, she would have to ask Lucian, or rather, find out by herself later. There was just no chance that she would ask the Sinnoh elite four trainer when then, the even now very obvious relation between the disappearance of his Pokemon and her trouble with Hunter J would get brighter than the rings of an Umbreon at midnight.
The psychic opened her eyes again. She had to find out how to get the Pokemon out of the cube, because it was quite apparent that she couldn’t transport it to Lucian in this condition without looking a bit too suspicious to get away unnoticed. Yet, how to remove the covering? There was no handbook to handle the containers around, obviously, and could she manipulate it as easily as the number pad outside without damaging the Pokemon inside? To tell the truth, Sabrina didn’t want to find out by trying.
But she didn’t have to, because something tackled her from behind, making her fall down, her head hitting the glass cube and shattering it.
Hunter J hated to run. While one reason was her stiff clothing that made it a bit difficult to run at high speeds, it was also the heavy bracelet that made her left arm drag behind and would cause powerful aches in it not much later. It was one thing to posses such a device, and know about the power that lied beneath the shell of metal, but another to carry it around with oneself all day, being forced to be prepared for an ambush and the need to use it every second. Thankfully, she didn’t have to wear it during the night, the only time where her arm could rest, covered in salves to make the pain numb, but even then, the bracelet was kept next to her on her nightstand. J was not in any way feeling too suspicious, neither did she think of herself as remarkably endangered on her airship. After all, how many enemies were out there that could, firstly, get through the most modern shielding one could find on the world and secondly, even if someone saw her ship, would said person really try to enter it? J could not deny that the police were always on her heels, but as those fools were not even given a tenth of the budget she had by simply accommodating her client’s wishes, the chances that they would actually be able to catch her where quite slim. What was a simple motorbike against four six-wheel-vehicles and a custom built airship?
Sadly, the elite trainers proved to be a challenge even without any kind of financial support by the league.
Dimly, J wondered if she should over think her priorities, think about if it was possible to be successful without being rich, but her mind shushed those thoughts aside. Self-doubt and, even worse, doubt of the own life principles were not useful in a dire situation that called for actions. And, after all, this way of living had done her quite well all of her life before, and it was so much easier than the ideal and moral driven way of mania her younger brother lived, after all...
J turned around the corner, her henchmen following her like sheep followed their shepherd, but she stopped abruptly when she came to face a wall made of...well, the easiest way to describe the wall would be ‘black, misty something that extended vertically from the ground to the ceiling, effectively blocking the way and view through the hallway, but looked too creepy and ugly to be called a comfortable door’, which, in conclusion, sounded very much like shadows, but that just couldn’t be. J knew that there was a Pokemon’s attack, called Smog or something, that could cause dark mist that blinded your view, but her instincts told her this was definitely not a Smog attack. It didn’t look as airy as Smog definitely did, but it was too wavy to be solid. J bit her lip. She had no idea what this was, but she had to get through and yet, she didn’t want to risk any consequences, might they be physical or psychical. So she turned around and motioned for one of her henchmen to come nearer. Of course, all of them were as confused as she was, not to mention how scared they were, and no one really volunteered.
J glared at them. She didn’t waste any time with useless threats. “Either one of who will move his backside over here and walk through that thing or all of you will be turned into stone and thrown through it!!!” ‘Either that, or sold to someone who would play his sadistically games with them.’ Nothing kept her from selling humans, too. As long as she made profit, she didn’t care what she sold and who bought it.
At least as long as that person wasn’t over earthly beautiful and a champion at the same time...
Gulping, one of the men was shoved forward. J grinned. “Harry, how nice of you...now go!” The man nodded, drops of sweat lining his pudgy cheeks. He swallowed again, then took a deep breath and walked right into the shadows.
A pair of pale eyes shone in the darkness, a black fingernail trailing luscious lips. ‘No, Jenny Hunter, *I* am the only one playing with the psychics here.’
Sabrina fell forward, closing her eyes as soon as she was certain that her forehead was going to make an unwelcome, painful contact with the edge of the glass cube, in order to protect them from said edge. She wasn’t as prepared for the force, though, as she believed, the sudden hit and the cracking surface scaring her at first. Then, the countless shards of glass flew around her face, cutting her cheeks and lips, but thankfully avoiding any vital organs, may they have been unconsciously directed by her powers or not.
For a second or more likely even less, she lost all perception of her surroundings, being covered by complete, soundless darkness. But then, her mind kicked back again, forcing herself to stay awake, even though it felt as if someone had used a baseball bat on her brain. She had no idea who had attacked her, as she hadn’t felt any intruders and was fairly sure her powers weren’t blocked at the moment, so her first priority was to find out who had tackled her, why and, maybe most importantly, how to fight.
The psychic gym leader turned around and quickly corrected herself.
Not to fight. To defend.
And, maybe, to ask herself again what the heck was wrong with Will.
Grumbling, she knew she should have asked herself that question a bit earlier, and not only that, but also should have tried to find an answer as soon as possible. Because by now, she was fairly sure he was not himself anymore, but the poor boy was not the one to blame, he was way too weak as a psychic to defend himself from any attacks, not to mention that he could have been possessed by a darkling just as well.
Yes, possessed was the right word. Though he lacked the stereotypical red, glowing eyes, Sabrina felt the difference in his whole being as soon as she had a second to probe it. Bracing herself, the younger psychic wondered if she should shield herself with a barrier and wait for him to snap out of it, or if she should do something about it. While the former was the safer idea, it wasn’t going to work well in reality, considering that she did need Will to battle Hunter J, and in his possessed status, teamwork was not an option. That, and she simply cared too much about him to not do a thing about it.
Yet, was she really ready to attack him? Even if forced, she felt that it was too drastic. She couldn’t attack Will.
But thankfully, in the end, she didn’t have to make this decision herself, as a not so powerful psychic attack picked up a lone, already cracked glass cube in a corner of the room and threw it at her, Sabrina barely able to dodge in her instable state of mind. She stared ahead. Yes, it had been Will, but again, he was too weak to really hurt her, and Sabrina was too hesitant to attack him.
The gym leader sighed. “Ever since we met, I had not one week of peace. I hope for your sake that this does not continue.”
He didn’t answer. Instead, his eyes glowed in the same eerie blue haze Sabrina’s eyes did when she accessed her powers, and the stable of metallic cages behind her began to shake. Sabrina turned around in alarm, before jumping to the side. Just a second later, the whole construct collapsed, burying the bronze Espeon beneath it.
“You’re really not making it easy...” Sabrina whispered, looking behind her and wiping some strands of hair out of her face, only to be confronted by the fact that she was bleeding from the small cuts created by the glass shards. She shuddered for a moment, remembering the view and smell of blood much too well from her experience at the Team Rocket Headquarters, but again, her rational mind took over soon enough. It seemed as if it was going down to be a fight between them but...did she really want to fight him?
She was stronger than him. Much stronger.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Will.” She whispered, staring him into the eyes with a sad expression.
He did not care in the slightest and although she did not want to admit it, Sabrina had expected this. Expected, and feared. While it was much easier to attack an emotionless opponent, Sabrina wished the same could be applied to her. Then, she wouldn’t feel any guilt, any fear of hurting him too much.
She looked up, staring straight ahead. It wasn’t as if she had never fought against another psychic in a combat way, but either she had been in her more emotionless state and thus, not caring about her own students at all, or the fights had been arranged and each part knew what to expect and how far to go. Battling in the psychics’ way could be serious, but it could also be considered a cooler, more aesthetic way of showcasing power. While she was not one for physical fighting, psychical fighting was a completely different thing.
Normally, she would even go as far as suggesting that she liked psychical fighting. But not here.
Will had again looked for a suitable weapon and had found it in the form of a lone iron rod, which he twisted between his fingers to make it rotate. A small amount of his powers was seeking into the material, making it glow as well. She didn’t know what he was attempting to achieve with it, but it certainly looked as if he had a strategy.
And then, suddenly, he shifted his body to the side in such a smooth, fast movement that Sabrina was barely able to catch it with her eyes. She quickly realised that her earthly senses weren’t going to be of much use here, just like they weren’t in any real psychic battle, so she shut them off completely, closing her physical eyes and relying on her mind’s eye. There, she could see him again, not only as a blur like any normal person would, but as a colourful outline of psychic energies. She waited for a few seconds, if not even less, until she realised that something was missing. ‘Did he...?’ A quiet humming warned her, and again, the gym leader had to jump, ducking downwards, the metal scratching the back of her head. It flew further in Will’s direction and to Sabrina’s astonishment; he caught the wildly spinning rod in his bare hands, looking as if he had never any problems with timing. But then, he was not himself, and the possession seemed to have at least sharpened his senses. That was not uncommon, though the real reason could also be the person controlling him being around there and watching the scene from a point of view where directing was easiest. It would give her opponent a clear advantage, as he, or she, had literally four eyes.
Sabrina noticed, a moment too late maybe, that the ‘psychic boomerang’ he had used was not the only intended weapon. The many cubes and cages around her had that unmistakable blue tingle around them, a disturbance in the air that told her he was ready to swing them at her at any moment.
Any moment was now.
There was clattering behind her and suddenly, metal nails, ripped out of the cages by pure metaphysical force, shot at her. Sabrina managed to hold them off with a single barrier, but she hesitated to send them back, which was usually a simple task for her. But this time, she simply let the nails fall to the ground, their sounds echoing on the metallic walls, loud in the silence of the room. The gym leader looked down as well, the bangs of her hair hiding her dark eyes. She was lost in thoughts, but not as deep as to not be alert to keep an eye on the fighting. Only seconds after the nail attack had failed, the leftover plates of metal were thrown at her as well, again clattering loudly, even during the flight, and then, they crashed against her barrier, and, just like the nails, fell to the ground. Will snarled, an unnatural sound for the ears of his girlfriend, and she shuddered inwardly. Yet again, she could neither do something about this, nor could she simply attack him. She wanted to cry, but she had cried far too much recently to allow it. She had once been a strong woman, and she would be strong again.
The non-existent natural light, making room for the supernatural light of their powers emitting, casted equally unnatural shadows over her dark eyes as she opened them again.
“I cannot fight you, Will. Not because I love you...” She took a deep breath. Maybe, one day, she would really fight him. But for that, he had to get stronger, so she wouldn’t... “But because it would be too dangerous. I could easily hurt you. I could seriously injure you. I could easily...” She swallowed. “.. kill you.”
“Though whatever has happened to you...I will not fight you.” She let her barrier down, but for any non-psychic, it was barely visible, just a small flicker of reflections in the middle of the room, as the barrier had mirrored the psychical lights.
“But I will try to get you back.”
She traced her upper lip with her finger nail, the poor, trembling guy completely at her mercy, lost in the darkness that was her element. No, not only her element. She was the darkness. She could disappear in and appear out of it by pure will, every time she chose to. Yet, she needed light as much as she needed shadows, for the one could not exist without the other. She depended on the light side as well. Did that mean that she depended on the psychics? Psychic was seen as the opposite of dark, as the ‘light’ element, but that held as much truth as the old fairy tale of Murkrow being the bringers of misfortune.
She knew better.
She watched the two psychics with excitement, as anyone else would watch a fine movie. The difference here being that it was no movie, but reality, and the involved actors didn’t have any stunt-doubles, nor were both of them in this on their own will.
The woman snickered again. She loved playing with her dolls- an ironic pun, considering who she was playing with. Yet, she wanted to see just how this would end.
Would Sabrina be actually able to pass her test? Or were emotions still a bit too much to handle for her?
In the first moment, it seemed as if nothing had changed. Of course, what should have changed, only because Sabrina had decided to do whatever she could in order to free her boyfriend from whatever spell he was under?
Sometimes, even that was enough to bring a person back to his or her senses, but Sabrina knew enough about psychic powers to know that a strong possession was not easily dealt with. To her shame, she had to admit that she had neither ever tried to try out the technique by herself, neither had she ever been forced to break a spell herself, because they were so uncommon. Both facts had the same background, there were rules in the psychics’ society that most members silently approved and followed without voicing any disagreement. And even she had not broken the unwritten rules, even though she had both the authority and power to do so. In conclusion, Sabrina wondered which psychic dared to go against the usual ways, and her first unconscious response of her mind scared her.
At first, Will froze, but it didn’t seem like any human being would freeze, much less Will. It was a robotic movement, and he stared into nothingness, his eyes white and dull. He closed his eyes, but Sabrina was not one to relax just then. She waited, and slowly took a step towards him, but ready to jump back and put up a barrier as soon as it was needed and possible.
She had to be prepared for anything.
And she had a good reason.
Suddenly, Will opened his eyes. Sabrina was startled, for one moment, she did not know what to do and if this was supposed to be a good or a bad sign.
He smiled, and his smile told her everything.
The woman grinned. She enjoyed her view. She was going to see a lot more struggle, she knew.
The battle was not over yet.
His wicked smile told her everything, but before she was able to react, something hard had hit the back of her head and she stumbled forward. She kept herself from falling, though, and looked up. She hadn’t accounted for his self-made boomerang to be still in action-a mistake, obviously. Will had used something that was so uncommon in psychic battles that she had not anticipated. He had used her distraction in order to attack her from behind, in a way that she even had no chance to see his attack at all.
‘And he claims to be a gentleman?’ Sabrina wondered bitterly. She had to remind herself that this was not the real Will she was battling, and that he probably was not at fault at all, if not for his gullibility to trust whoever had put this spell on him. For that, she could probably kick his back later. But not for hurting her. He had promised never to hurt her again, and so far, theoretically, he had held his promise, because it was certainly not him smiling this evilly. He, the Will she knew, was not even able to produce a smile this malevolent. There was not one evil cell in him, her naive, cute and gentle boy...
Sabrina sighed. Just years ago, she would have turned anybody who even dared to attack her into a doll without second thoughts, without any moral aftershocks and...
She froze. Of course, she could just turn him into a doll! ‘Why haven’t I thought of this earlier?’ She scolded herself mentally. This way, he wouldn’t be physically hurt in any way, and secondly, she could study his possession without endangering her own safety. He would simply be helpless and not able to attack her either.
She had to concentrate to do this, and she couldn’t risk Will’s attacks distracting her, so she created a full body barrier, surrounding her from all sides. She could hear- but more feel, the nails again clashing the barrier loudly, Will’s own infuriation transferred into their speed and pressure, but she did not pay them any mind. She concentrated on her surroundings and once again, much easier this time, she found Will’s aura, the premier experience in battle certainly helping her.
The dark one opened her eyes, snickering, not evil, but corrupted in her own way. ‘Oh, no, don’t think that it’s that easy, my poor doll mistress.’
The psychic opened her eyes suddenly, shuddering, not shocked, but surprised in her own way. ‘Never expected that...’ He was not controlled by a psychic, now she was certain of that. Yet, in some way, it didn’t make much sense. His psychic aura was still there, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to attack her at all. But it was not his psychic aura that was hindering her. Never in time would this have been able to block her powers.
But a dark one could without trouble.
Sabrina shook her head, confused, not believing her own senses anymore. She herself had told him that no person possessed both psychic and dark powers, and now, he himself was standing in front of her, proving her wrong. But that simply could not be! It was impossible!
She bit her lip, still inside the barrier, thinking it over again slowly. There was another solution.
Will was no darkling; she would have felt that for certain at one point or another. Plus, it would have influenced her relationship with him for certain, but Sabrina would never admit that to herself consciously.
But to get a certain amount of dark powers, they had to be transferred to him from someone else who had them. So far, she had not, couldn’t have been sure if he had been possessed by another psychic or a darkling, but by now, she was fairly sure it was a darkling.
Which left only one option of who it could be.
‘Karen...’ Sabrina snarled. ‘Just what do you think are you doing?!’
Karen smiled. ‘Oh, so now, you’ve noticed my interference. But will that help you?’
Which didn’t make fighting any easier.
‘No, of course not. You still have not passed my test.’
Sabrina was sure that, once she got her hands on the dark trainer, there wouldn’t be much left of her dangerously daring attitude. For all the weakling she was usually, she supposed she could get out of hand just as easily as other women did and, if forced to, could bite and scratch just as well. It wasn’t typical for her, but Karen deserved it. She had followed them without her permission, put Will under her spell for no apparent reason, which gave him no chance to rate the situation of his own, much less have a serious talk with Karen about where she belonged and what she may and may not dare to do, left him without the possibility to prove himself and prove that he had the guts to defend his girlfriend and defend himself from other women. And all of that, just for...for what? For fun? Considering that she was talking about Karen, this was the most possible explanation. The darkling wanted to have her fun, and who better to use than the helpless psychic who was, as a bonus, cute enough to seduce him unconsciously.
The dark elite trainer deserved some humiliation. And Sabrina did not even feel biased thinking that.
Yet, first, she had to get Will out of his trance, and sadly, she had no singly idea on how to accomplish that. She had no real experiences with dark possessions, and thankfully, none of her students had ever been possessed for as long as Will had to be by now, and most of them had managed to get their minds straight again by their own, had needed no help and the few ones who had mostly got help from their family and friends, not their teacher. In conclusion, she had never been involved in any of these cases, had mostly just been informed of them, as she was the psychics’ leader, after all. She was, to be honest, a bit at a loss now.
Obviously, Karen had left her a little break, because Will had paused in his attacks, albeit still with this unusually creepy smile and dull, white and lifeless eyes. Even that break was only that short, and when she looked up, still in deep thought, in search of hope, she barely managed to duck in time to avoid a dark blue plate of metal heading for her, well, head, ready to cut it off with its rough edges, torn by corrosion. Sabrina spun around, and by now, she had realized his strategy and was ready for the same plate flying in her direction again after cutting a corner sharply. Instead of using a full body shield, which obviously took up more energy than she could spare right then, she simply created a smaller one around her left hand and punched the plate away, before pausing in realizing another petite, yet central fact of Will’s, and thus, Karen’s strategy. Her boyfriend had so far not directly used his powers to attack her, but had hidden behind the few useable weapons scattered in the wareroom. For anyone else, this would not have mattered much, as an attack was an attack, not matter how it was formed, but Sabrina knew there was more behind it than met the eye. For once, the most obvious explanation was of course that Wills powers did not reach her level by far, and thus, it was useless for him to attack her directly, as she would simply shrug it off, if she even noticed it at all. Her natural shielding was, after all, not to be underestimated, either. One the other hand...it meant that Karen knew about his power level.
And this was by far more frightening.
Of course, at first glance, it didn’t seem to be of that much importance. So she knew about his powers, so what? Yet, even the main part of the public did not know that Will had become a psychic after meeting her, and the few persons that knew had either ignored it or spent not much thought on it at all. Karen had and that meant she had taken it more seriously than the majority of the yellow press readers. In conclusion...she had planned this ahead. It was not a last second operation; it was planned.
And who knew what else Karen had had in mind for days, if not weeks.
‘Yes, I have planned ahead. I have planned this from the very second on that you two kissed...’
End of Chapter 7, Part Two