View Single Post
  #139    
Old January 25th, 2011 (09:02 PM). Edited April 30th, 2011 by bobandbill.
bobandbill's Avatar
bobandbill bobandbill is offline
I'M AN ANGRY SCIENTIST!!
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Coast - Australia
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Nature: Jolly
Posts: 9,886
Send a message via AIM to bobandbill
I have a chapter to post! Hurrah for equaling my chapter post rate last year already. ;p On the plus side I will probably do more than one chapter this year! Yay! The next ones will have more in the ways of events as well probably too! Yay slow plot set-up and the odd more-serious conversation here!

Beta-read by the ever-dependable Chris_the_Com!





***

Chapter 18: The Land Down Under





As the platform they stood on descended, Wes blinked while he tried to make out the graffiti painted on the walls in the dim lighting. He was somewhat impressed that at least half was legible considering how hard it should be to write stuff on a makeshift elevator that didn’t appear to have a stop button on it.

It doesn’t seem that much of it makes any sense though... he thought to himself, catching eye of one message that read ‘Magikarp are gonna kill uz all!’. Meanwhile, Umbreon worryingly regarded another wall which was covered by multiple misspellings of ‘dishwashers’ in red.

“So, Johnson,” Wes said, “what is The Under like?”

“Well, it’s underneath Pyrite,” Johnson began. Wes looked at him for a while before realising that that was all Johnson had to say on the matter and sighed – the officer had likely never been here. He gazed downwards as the town slowly came into view. It was initially hard to make out anything due to the glow the whole town seemed to have – it took Wes a moment to realise there were neon lights populating every building, many of the signs written in Japanese for some unknown reason. The houses did not match the allure they gave off however - the town was composed of crumbling structures that seemed to have been placed about haphazardly. Directly in front of them was a large fenced-off enclosure that seemed to contain little more than scrap metal.

It was then that the smell hit the group.

“Espeon!” (Good grief that smells worse than Umbreon!)

“Umb!” (Hey!) Umbreon retorted.

“Yes, I forgot about that...” Johnson said. “You know, it reminds me of the time I tried washing Sherles’ hat.”

Wes looked at Johnson blankly. “Why does the smell of this place remind you of that?”

“Well, I couldn’t find any detergent so I went to look for something else to use instead and then-” Johnson started, before Wes held up a hand.

“On second thoughts I think I would probably regret knowing,” Wes said as the platform came to a sudden stop half a metre above the bottom of the shaft. He shrugged and hopped off as his two Eeveelutions and Johnson followed suit.

“Right, so we’re in hiding in a town that somehow makes Pyrite seem like Phenac and I have a feeling I will not be able to stop smelling like old cheese when I get out of here either,” he murmured to himself, observing a pipe sticking out of a wall nearby, red liquid dripping out into a large puddle below it. Espeon walked up to it and sniffed at it, before gazing at it with confusion.

“...Espeon?” (...Tomato soup?) Wes frowned and decided that they might as well look for a place to sleep, only to be stopped by a woman who jumped out at them from behind a dumpster.

“Hi! Wanna watch my performance and give me money because I’m that impressive!?” she said quickly, spinning a cane about in her hands. Wes looked at her for a moment and pondered her request.

“No,” he said, attempting to walk past, but the woman moved to the side in an effort to block his path.

“But...but...I have a top hat!” she protested, taking said object off her head and waving it about. “You can’t say no to the top hat!”

“Why not?” Wes asked.

“...You’ll make him sad!”

And it appears this town isn’t short on its weirdos either. I bet they all have weird names too, Wes thought as he sighed to himself. The woman then took out a pack of cards and jumped about excitedly.

“This trick will amaze you so much you’ll... gasp!” she proclaimed. She then threw the cards in the air and watched them fall to the ground with such a grin of utter amazement on her own face that it looked like she was about to explode. She then picked up a card from the ground and waved it at Umbreon’s face. ‘Look, the ACE OF SPADES!” she cried.

Umbreon blinked at the piece of cardboard, looked at the woman’s expression of happiness, frowned with confusion, looked at the card again, and then shrugged and took it out of her hands with his teeth. Shouting loudly at this, she yanked it out of his mouth and cuddled it.

“NO! You cannot do that! This is the ACE OF SPADES!” she lectured, waving the somewhat soggy piece of paper at the bemused Pokémon. “That was incredibly SILLY!”

“I don’t see any spades on that card,” Johnson murmured to himself as Wes tried to stop the lady angrily swat at Umbreon with her top hat.

“Esp Espeon...” (But all of these cards are the ace of spades...) Espeon said to himself, looking at the remaining cards on the floor instead of aiding his brother.

Luckily for the dark-type Pokémon, a large television that had not warranted any sort of mention until now suddenly turned on and played an obnoxiously loud news jingle. The noise distracted his attacker who suddenly stopped trying to fit the Umbreon into the top hat and grinned at the screen. Wes looked at her with confusion, and then turned around to notice a number of people nearby who were currently giving the television the same level of attention. Suddenly a woman with a smile that took up half of her face appeared on the screen.

“Hello, citizens of The Under! It’s time for our hourly rendition of ‘Everyone’s Venus’!”

“Umbreon!” (What’s happening arrrgh stop smiling everyone!) Umbreon cried, looking about in a daze from the unexpected attack. Wes meanwhile chose to observe the screen to see what the fuss was about. The camera then moved to the side to reveal a shapely, young woman in a skin-tight white dress, with long, brown hair falling to the sides of her face. Pink, transparent silk covered the lower part of her face and below, while a strange golden protrusion in the shape of a crescent moon stuck out from behind her, seemingly attached to her clothing. She also grinned at the screen through her veil.

“Espeon...” (This ‘Venus’ seems to be why everyone is staring...)

“Hi, everyone!” Venus said in a surprisingly deep voice that would have fitted Dakim far more than a woman. Wes frowned, noticing that this voice didn’t appear to put off anyone else watching whatsoever, bar Johnson who scratched his head in confusion, and his Pokémon.

“It’s me, Lady Venus! Everyone’s Venus, that’s me!” Venus continued.

“Good, I wasn’t sure for a moment on the Venus part...” Wes said to himself, as the word ‘VENUS’ flew about the screen accompanied by sparkles. “Unfortunately this place just makes me feel even more uncomfortable by the minute.”

“There’s something terribly important I want to share with you today. It’s... simply horrid! There’s spies right here in The Under! Can you imagine?”

...Spies? Of what?

“We don’t know all the details, but if you see anyone suspicious, please let us know! And now onto the more important segment – MAKEUP TIME WITH VENUS!” And with that, Venus then pulled out several tubes of lipstick and started applying them. Wes looked about – everyone eyes were still firmly fixated on the strange woman – and sighed.

“Johnson, who are ‘us’ exactly?” he asked.

“Well, you and me, I think,” Johnson answered.

“...No, I mean, who does that woman,” Wes said with exasperation, pointing to Venus who was currently instructing the audience that eye shadow was essential and could also be used as face paint, “mean when she said ‘let us know’? Do you know who runs the show here?”

“Oh,” Johnson said. “Well, by show I guess it’s that lady with the cards! She had a show!”

“...Espeon...” (...Your stupidity never fails to amaze...) Espeon said after some thought. Johnson merely grinned stupidly, pleased with his amazing ability of deduction.

“And that concludes ‘Everyone’s Venus!’” the host of the show said with an even wider beam as the camera panned to her and away from a winking Venus covered in twenty-seven different varieties of lipstick, eye-shadow and beauty cream. “Another update within the hour – next is ‘Nap Time with Venus!’” With that, a screen began to fade, save for a small logo.

“Espeon...” (Hey, that looks familiar...) Espeon muttered, squinting at the screen. Umbreon sighed and looked as well, only to gasp in response.

“Umb!” (Gasp!)

“Ok, I guess we know who really runs the show...” Wes murmured, observing the simple red ‘C’ that sat in the centre of the display, with the words ‘Cipher – Not Evil at All!’ written below.

“So that woman with the cards doesn’t run the show? Who do we report suspicious people to then!?” Johnson asked with confusion.

“Johnson, I’m sure Sherles has said this before, but...” Wes said, feeling all the more sorry for Sherles for having to put up with the man.

“Yes?”

“Shut up. Now, here’s the thing. Cipher runs the show here... and it was right underneath Pyrite the whole time... man it makes sense now!” Wes said, pacing about a bit as he pieced things together. “Nobody came here for a while because Cipher controlled this place with... some woman that everyone likes? But that’s odd – why do they advertise themselves here when they were unknown everywhere else? And were they referring to us by ‘spies’? No, you don’t answer,” he added as Johnson attempted to offer his input.

“Espeon...” (Whatever the reason, I think someone wants to speak to you...) Espeon said, tilting his head at an approaching group of people.

“Hey you, newcomers! Are you suspicious?” one of the men said roughly as they swaggered towards them. Wes frowned – it was clear they hadn’t come to extend a warm greeting – he knew enough about such street mannerisms. The man who spoke was probably the self-appointed leader, and no wonder given his build... but I reckon we could handle him if needed – not too bright if he has to ask if we’re suspicious. I’ll just say we don’t have any evil moustaches and when he mulls that over, I’ll hit him. And if that fails there’s always my favourite ‘run away’ tactic... Wes thought, tensing his shoulders, as did Umbreon and Espeon out of old habit.

“Well hello there! Do you run the show here?” Johnson said happily, extending his arm for a handshake. The man looked confused at the gesture, having expected anything but that, particularly from a well-dressed officer.

Hey, they wouldn’t know what Johnson is like, would they? Wes silently thought.

No, Espeon thought back to him, they haven’t seen any sort of officer here for a while in fact. And yes, I think you should try saying that. Mention Venus by the way.

Have I ever mentioned how awesome it is to have a Psychic-type like you to tell me what people think? Wes said, unable to stop himself from grinning.

Yes, but you need to do it more often, Espeon replied back, smiling himself.

“Umbreon... Umbreon!” (You’re having a conversation through telepathy again... stop talking in private all the time!) Umbreon complained.

“Yes, hello,” Wes said to the group of men who were still wondering if they should shake Johnson’s hand or rip it off instead. “As th-uh, the stunning Venus mentioned, there are spies here, and we’re hired to specifically to stop them from...uh, cancelling her television shows! Why, there’s even talk they might try to kidnap her! And we wouldn’t want that, would we?” Wes asked.

“No!” the leader said, looking rather distraught by the mere concept as he shuddered in fright.

...I’m not sure how this Venus person captures everyone’s obsessive attention, but at least I can use that to my advantage.

“Well in that case we’ll just need your cooperation in investigating and looking for spies. I’m... Leo, and this is Officer Johnson.”

“But We-” Johnson began, before Espeon hastily mentally persuaded him to continue talking about something else.

***

Meanwhile, Rui sat in Sherles office, trying not to look at him or his bushy moustache too much. Sighing to herself slightly, she wondered if she should have spent more time thinking up her story to cover for Wes.

“So, you say that once you entered the building, this man,” began Sherles, “chased you away from Wes in an attempt to profess his love for Miror B for reasons unknown to you.” He gestured to a motionless Mirakle B who was currently lying on the ground next to his desk with a Furret sitting on his head, chattering away excitedly.

“Yes...”

“Only for him to run into a brick wall which not only managed to knock him out, but half of his Pokémon too, it appears. Meanwhile Johnson ran past, and you had no idea why he chose to appear there at the time, nor why he chose not to investigate, this... man’s unconscious state, nor where Johnson went.” Noticing no response from Rui, the police chief continued. “Furthermore, you had lost sight of Wes and have no idea where he went, despite the fact that he would have been interested in following Mirakle B, seeing he agreed to help catch him with you and bring him back here.”

Rui nodded slowly, feeling dumber by the minute as she twiddled her fingers.

“Well I’ll take your word for it, but at any rate I’ll send a police contingent into Miror B’s old hideout to try and find Wes and Johnson,” Sherles added abruptly. She looked at him in confusion, and noticed him give her a small wink.

What is he doing? she wondered. I thought it was obvious-well, it should be, so he must be planning something else. She turned to the only other occupant of the room to see if Wes knew - only to recall that Wes was elsewhere as she found herself looking at Quagsire’s face.

“Quag,” (Duh,) Peanuts the Quagsire offered. Plusle had meanwhile been put back into his Poké Ball, Rui and Sherles having found his constant chattering with the Furret about the marvels of potatoes to be too distracting.

Yeah, Quagsire isn’t going to offer any useful advice...maybe Sherles is my best bet to know why then? “So... why is there a call for an arrest on Wes anyway?” Rui demanded, surprised a bit at how her question came out - her voice seemed rather harsh to her. Sherles didn't appear to pay it much notice however, instead choosing to sigh before answering.

“Because he wants matters concerning Wes and Team Snagem cleared up,” he explained gruffly.

“But... I didn’t know Pyrite had a Mayor-”

“It doesn’t – Duking I suppose is an unofficial leader, and I’m in charge of law and order, but this came from the Mayor of Phenac City.”

“...That doesn’t make much sense,” Rui said with a small frown, thinking back to her meeting with the chubby Mayor, which felt so long ago now. “Why is he in charge?”

“Because although he only has power over Phenac’s matters officially, he has a hand in much larger matters, so to speak. I suspect it’s his wealth – he always seems able to stump up money whenever needed, which is why Phenac is far more well off than it should be – he doesn’t just use funds from taxes, he uses his own ‘fund’ as well. And money speaks greatly to people. Take that new tower being constructed in the middle of the desert – normally one would have to go through a whole bunch of legal mumble jumble to get such a thing built given Orre has far greater priorities than what is going to be a giant casino in the middle of nowhere, yet the Mayor stepped up and gave the developer full permission, and what’s more nobody opposed him. I think why isn’t too hard to imagine given his wealth. He also cancelled the train transportation system that was to be constructed, and made it illegal for anybody to bring in strudel because he reportedly disliked the taste. Essentially, when he says something, everyone else listens. And usually agrees as well, I might add.”

“So there’s nothing you can do about that decision?” Rui asked after a moment’s thought.

“No – I’d be putting my job at risk if I did that. But I’m not in agreement with arresting Wes and overriding the deal we had in that if he helps us he stays out of trouble, nor the Mayor’s sudden view that the Cipher threat is over – Miror B had a stranglehold on Pyrite almost too easily, we don’t know where they create Shadow Pokémon either, and so forth. Nor have I found out why nobody comes out from The Under in recent times, nor why I cannot make contact with the Kids Grid there.” The police chief sighed again and lit up a pipe.

“But isn’t the Kids Grid right here...?” Rui asked. Sensing her further confusion, Sherles put down the pipe for the moment.

“Well, Duking’s kids, Secc and Marcia, set it up here and got in contact with another bunch of kids who were willing to help out ‘investigate Cipher’. Thing is, one of the kids there is apparently a technical genius and might have been on to something. I believe in listening to anyone, even kids, but recently all communication between us and them cut off, so there goes any potential leads there. And I can’t go and investigate because I’m tied up with matters here, and nor will anyone else, as they don’t think what a bunch of kids do has any importance with this case. And before you suggest yourself,” Sherles added, noticing Rui begin to pipe up again, “I’m not allowing you to go down there –you’ve had more than your fair share of work, and The Under has more troublemakers than Pyrite. But if you want to help, you can go and see if Secc and Marcia have made any headway.” Reaching for his pipe, he noticed it had left his desk and was now firmly in the grasp of Quagsire’s paws, the blue creature staring at the smoke coming from it in amazement.

“Quag, qu,” (Smokey, duh,) it said.

Rui nodded glumly, mumbled an ‘okay’ and stood up, beginning to leave. Well I guess even though I suck at making up stories, Sherles doesn’t know where Wes went and he doesn’t seem to want to know either, so that’s just as well. But I don’t know why that Mayor wants to arrest him – it’s not like he’s going to stop us finding Cipher- She then paused in thought. What has he done with stopping Cipher though, and didn’t he...

“By the way, Sherles...” she said uneasily, as Sherles tried in vain to stop Quagsire from consuming his pipe whole. Giving up the lost cause, he looked at Rui and frowned upon noticing the tone of her voice. “What is it?”

“I just thought – do you remember how we first encountered Miror B?”

“I believe it was in Phenac City, no?” Sherles replied after a moment of thought.

“Yes... in the Mayor’s house.” Rui paused before continuing quickly. “The Mayor hadn’t been there so I’m not sure if that means anything but now that I think about it, it strikes me as rather odd and maybe although this might sound-”

“You’re suggesting the Mayor of Phenac might, just maybe, have something to do with Cipher,” he said bluntly as he retrieved a second pipe from his drawer and made sure it was out of Quagsire’s reach. Rui nodded slowly before he continued to speak. “That is an... interesting thought, but it wouldn’t explain why he allowed the overseas police force to come and help out with matters, I feel.”

“But... wouldn’t that make him look strange to refuse help given the circumstances? And didn’t you say that the number of people who came was far smaller than you expected?”

Sherles sat in silence for a few moments as smoke slowly filled the room, before speaking once more. “I almost cannot believe I overlooked the fact Miror B had been in the Mayor’s house,” he said. “But still... that would not be enough to prove anything. Nonetheless... food for thought, certainly and a pity too that those two ruffians – Folly and Trudly – aren’t here anymore for questioning. I’ll see if there’s anything in it, but I’ll ask you to keep quiet about those thoughts with others.” Rui nodded and turned to leave again, before Sherles added one last comment.

“You know, he also wanted to issue an arrest warrant for you as well.”

“What-ow!” Rui said, bumping her head lightly on the doorway as she looked back at Sherles.

“Luckily for you he was unable to convince anyone that there was any good reason for it. Food for thought,” he repeated gruffly. Dumb-folded, Rui walked out with a lumbering Quagsire following her.

He wanted to have me arrested as well as Wes...? she thought in wonder as she walked towards Duking’s place, thinking about how the Mayor had appeared to be so friendly when she had met him. Maybe it was as much a lie as the tooth fairy had been, and she was feeling just as disappointed about that possibility as when she found out the horrid truth about the tooth fairy.

“Well hopefully Wes won’t be in too much trouble”, she mused to herself as much as Quagsire. “But I do miss him... Espeon and Umbreon as well, and Johnson...ok, maybe not Johnson, but...” she fell silent and stopped walking.

“Quagsire,” (Two and two is four,) her Pokémon noted wisely.

“I wish I knew what you said without Espeon’s translations,” she said, “but I fear he wouldn’t make much sense out of you...” The Quagsire merely beamed happily at her.

Well...maybe I should try contacting Wes then, and see if he can’t investigate those kids, Rui said to herself, deciding to pull out her P*DA from her bag and type up a message to Wes about the situation. As an afterthought, she added ‘missing you’ to the message and hit send, only to be greeted with a ‘Sending Failed’ message.

“Well that sucks. Maybe no communications at all can be made with people there?”

“Why hello there!” Fateen the resident fortune-teller said from behind her. Rui jumped with a start and looked at her.

“Where did you come from? And... why are you standing on my Quagsire’s head?”

Fateen looked down to notice that she was, with the Quagsire staring off into space apparently not noticing the woman perched on her head. “It matters not!” she declared as she jumped off while throwing sparkles in the air. “I come to give you three final pieces of advice, because frankly everyone else is tired of waiting for something to happ-err, just because!” she continued.

“...Okay, what is it?” asked Rui, bemused. She was beginning to share Wes’ sentiments for the fortune teller.

“One,” the old woman began, “is the number of the day.” She nodded sagely before laughing and tossing more glitter over the still oblivious Quagsire. As Rui sighed to herself wondering if her day would get any weirder, Fateen continued. “Two – sometimes one must take matters into their own hands, no matter what others say. And three – yogurt is good for your health!” With that, the woman handed Rui a small tub of yogurt and walked off. Rui stared at her retreating figure, and then at the yogurt, musing the woman's words over in her head.

He's always been the one to help me out in the last week or so after all...but what about the other way around?

“You know,” she said to Quagsire as she gave the Pokémon the box, “she’s right. Maybe not about the yogurt, but about taking matters into my own hands. Let’s go to The Under.” With that she marched back to the building the elevator was in with renewed confidence.

***

Meanwhile, Wes had already quickly become friends with a few of the citizens of The Under, who were quickly convinced that he was as avid a fan of Venus as they were. He even had a friendly battle with a man who called himself ‘Gurks’ who took him on with the combined might of Magikarp and Feebas. The result was predictable – Wes, or rather Leo to the citizens of The Under, allowed Makuhita to have some fun against the two by himself, the fighting type deciding to win by grabbing one fish Pokémon in each arm and bashing them together until they fainted, much to the amusement of all save Gurks. He had been tempted to send out his third Pokémon which was apparently a Wailord, but was strongly urged by his companions to refrain from doing so – the last time it was sent out in battle in the streets of The Under, several buildings had been demolished.

Wes had managed to find out more about The Under from the group, deciding to ‘test’ that they weren’t spies by asking them simple questions about the place and important people, theorising that a spy would possibly not know the layout of The Under or commonly known facts about it. Espeon had contributed as a truth-detector so Wes could verify that they were telling the truth. After he was satisfied about the layout of the town and so forth he bade them goodbye to do ‘more investigating’ and left.

“Okay,” said one of the men to another, “let’s go spy-hunting ourselves! If I spot one, I’ll sneak up behind him...shout really loudly, and you’ll hit him! How’s that for a plan?”

“Sounds good to me!” the other replied. “For Venus!” he proclaimed loudly.

“‘You’re our Venus!” the others shouted as they moved off.

“So, what do you make of it all?” Wes said quietly once they were out of earshot, moving to a small water bubbler. A small, bright-pink sign lay underneath it, proclaiming:

FRESH WATER
Please drink!

Courtesy of the lovely
~*!*~Lady Venus~*!*~
:3



“Well, I think-” Johnson began.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Wes said as he began drinking.

“Espeon...Esp! Espeon...” (It seems everyone is in love with this Venus person... how isn’t clear as nobody even remembers when she was first here! But she’s in charge and related to Cipher somehow...)

“Umb Umbreon!” (I wanna check out that UFO thing they said they had here!)

“Maybe first we’ll check out the shop here and see if there’s anything worth buying and then head to the hotel so we have a place to sleep first,” Wes said as he wrinkled his face. “Certainly a UFO-like transportation system is... weird. And man, that water tastes horrible,” he added as they continued onward. Soon enough they discovered a building with faint, blue paint peeling away from the walls, and ‘SHOOPEE’ painted on the top.

“Well, seems to be the place,” Wes said as he walked in. The stench was no better inside than out, and the shop’s floor had as many cans of food, drink and toilet paper lying on the ground as there were on the shelves. Wes picked one of them up.

“‘Hearty Beef – now with 12% extra heart attack risk...’” he read before trying another. “‘Can in a can!’”

“Sounds like a good deal to me!” Johnson exclaimed as he eyed the object. “I wish we could buy container-containing containers back in Pyrite!”

“That doesn’t surprise me, Johnson...” Wes said quietly as he moved onwards to look for something more worthwhile to purchase, feeling somewhat unwell now. Maybe it’s the smell getting to me here, he thought uncertainly.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” a kid inquired, walking up to Johnson.

“Oh, we’re doing a spy check,” Johnson said. To emphasis this he looked underneath a table. “Anyone there?” he shouted loudly.

“Well... I think that guy over there is a spy,” he said, motioning to a man down an aisle. “He keeps glancing at me! No, don’t stare at him too much!” he added with a hushed whisper to Johnson.

“I’ll go get him then!” Johnson said quietly, as he slowly moved towards the man, attempting to go as casually as possible yet managing instead to trip over and fall loudly. He quickly got up to his feet and continued walking as if nothing had happened, ignoring the pieces of cabbage and tomato clinging to his clothing. Meanwhile, Wes had found a number of potentially edible products and moved to the counter to pay for them. As the shopkeeper began calculating the cost, an elderly man standing by them looked at Wes.

“Do you want to hear this old man’s tale?” he asked. Wes sighed – why did people seem to enjoy telling him their life story? Besides, he was still trying to think about how to deal with that... Lady Venus...

“Well-”

“Say yes,” the shopkeeper said quietly. As Wes looked at him questioningly, he just added “Just say yes... please,” with more than a hint of pleading in his voice.

“Well, sure...” The man seemed pleased by the answer, beaming happily.

“Well, long ago, The Under used to be solely a place for miners to rest up while mining instead of going back to Pyrite, and over time The Under grew to what it is today, despite the mines now being filled in. This was all due to a man who made his fortune on the creation of The Under and the success of the mines back in the day...Where he ended up, I don’t know, but I hope he used his wealth for good.” With that the man beamed some more having come to the apparent conclusion of his thrilling story. Espeon rolled his eyes and looked at Wes, slightly alarmed that Wes was staring blankly at a wall. The Pokémon followed his gaze to observe Wes look at a poster of Venus – looking around, Espeon realised the whole wall was covered with such images.

Let’s Play? Espeon thought, reading the words upon a poster of Venus surrounded by Pokémon and snowflakes.

“Say, young child, do you want to hear my tale?” the wrinkled person asked Umbreon, poking him on the head. Umbreon frowned at the man’s question and jabbing, and shook his head.

“WHAT!” the man shouted abruptly at this reaction, as the shopkeeper facepalmed and retreated to a separate room and locked himself in, mumbling something about this being the fifth time this week to himself while the veteran continued ranting, picking up the surprised Umbreon and shaking him about. “You young kids these days have no patience! Always in a rush! Well fine – I’ll be in a rush too!”

Umbreon blinked, only to be swept aside by the man as he went on a rampage through the store, hurling discounted cans of orange, un-pickled pickles around the store.

“Umbreon! Umbre!” (I don’t like this place anymore! Wes, do something!) he cried as he dodged a flying fish hurled by the angered man, but Wes merely continued on staring, mumbling ‘Venus’ to himself. Espeon frowned himself and quietly leapt up behind the counter so he’d be safe from the projectiles and focused his mind at his trainer’s.

“Espeon Esp! Eon!” (Oh great, I think something’s up with Wes too, like the rest of the town! He’s got Venus on his mind!) Espeon cried to his brother.

“Umb... Umbreon?” (That sucks... maybe Johnson can help us?) Umbreon asked uncertainly as further shouting of ‘RUSH RUSH RUSH’ came from the man. However, Johnson was trying to sneak up to the person accused of being a spy by the child unsuccessfully, the man turning around and saying hello to Johnson who abandoned his cover of hiding behind a pot plant.

Maybe I’ll just be direct with him! Johnson thought to himself.

“Espeon!” (Oh, Johnson won’t help us – I’ll try myself!)

“You see that kid there?” the man asked Johnson, ignoring the officer fumble with his handcuffs as he pointed to the child. “He keeps staring at me, and it’s rather distracting... am I that cool, or what?” he grinned.

“You’re under arrest!” Johnson proclaimed loudly, only to reveal that he had succeeded in handcuffing himself. The man stared as Johnson continued to try to ‘arrest’ him despite this and then struck the unfortunate policeman with a single punch, Johnson stumbling backwards and falling over to the amusement of the kid watching, knocked out. Meanwhile as Espeon tried to slap Wes out of his revere first with his tail and then a burst of psychic energy, Wes fell asleep in response and slumped to the ground on top of the Psychic Pokémon.

“Esp!” (I tried too much I guess!) Espeon squeaked from underneath his trainer.

“Umbreon.” (Well this isn’t good.)

***

“Miror B, must you continue playing all that music so loudly!?” Ein demanded, storming into Miror B’s room. “All of my researchers are unable to concentrate...” The leading scientist would have continued his tirade had he not been surprised to see what had originally been his drab yet clean, white room was now decorated with posters, confetti and its own disco ball hanging from the top of the ceiling. Furthermore, all the research papers that had been placed on the desks were no longer to be seen, now replaced by music tapes everywhere.

“But the music calls to me!” Miror B insisted as he danced in the centre of the room, with four Ludicolo surrounding him and also jiving to the beat.

“At least quieten it down for a few minutes so I can try to contact Venus to tell her the current details,” Ein explained, looking in vain for something that had not been affected by the weird music-man. Now that he looked closer his desk now had gold stars drawn on it and his old bed...well he didn’t want to look any more at what had been done to that.

Next time I’m not giving my room to him, he mused.

“No can do,” Miror B sung cheerfully as he suddenly performed the splits midway through his dance. “Communication is off for good – both from headquarters and here – Nascour said he didn’t want anything risked or any communications intercepted. Besides, I’m sure that Nascour has already talked to Venus about the situation.” Miror B knew this hadn’t been the case, but he didn’t think that it was important.

“Well, if you say so...” Ein conceded. “I suppose Venus should be fine after all anyway – I’m sure my block on all communication from and to The Under from everyone but her still works – no random hillbilly from that place would be able to bypass it, and she’d still be informing everyone to watch out for spies just in case,” he explained, thinking back to his previous visit to Lady Venus’s establishment in The Under and shuddered. Venus seemed too obsessed about herself than the plan despite the issues with her voice, and The Under in itself had felt so... unscientific.

“I was unaware you had done that,” Miror B remarked, making a mental note of that fact. “Nice work.”

“Yes, of course it’s nice work, all my work is nice!” Ein said, seemingly irritated at the possibility of the suggestion he had ever made something incorrectly. “Same with the other thing I did that gave Venus all that control! But please turn down the volume; it’s even interrupting the shadowfication processes I’m trying to conduct.”

“Well, if you say so,” Miror B said reluctantly, doing just so as the song changed to a slow tune which prompted his Ludicolo to pair up and begin to waltz around the room.

“Thank you,” Ein said. “We should be done in another three days at this rate... anyway, dinner for you and Skrub along with the other scientists is in about two hours, although I’ll be skipping it,” he added, as he hastily left the room to return to his work.

Well, Miror B thought, three days is plenty of time to set things up. He grinned to himself as he ever so slightly turned up the volume again.

***

Rui looked around nervously as the lift stopped a few feet above the ground of The Under’s entrance. Nobody had seen her take the elevator in Pyrite, but she was still uncertain about the whole idea. The place smelled awful and she didn’t like the look of the people in The Under staring at her from around the grubby town.

No, I should just get on with it, Rui said as she hopped off the platform. She turned around to wait for Quagsire to jump down, who looked down at the ground below and then resumed sitting still, refusing to attempt making any sort of jumping motion. Rui sighed and returned the Quagsire to his Poké Ball, and turned around to be met by the town’s street performer who waved her top hat at her and grinned wildly.

“HELLO!” she shouted.

“ARRGH!” Rui responded, as she ran off.

“No, wait! You haven’t seen my ace of spades trick!” pleaded the street performer, but to no avail. “Don’t worry,” she soothed as she stroked her hat, “I’m sure she was just jealous of you.”

Okay, that wasn’t very brave of you but at least we’ve left her behind, Rui thought to herself.

“Hey! Are you a spy?!” another woman shouted at Rui suddenly.

“U-um...” Rui stuttered, looking around anxiously for Wes. “No?”

“Yeah, you don’t look like a spy to me,” the woman conceded. “But... maybe you’re a- hey, come back!” she said as Rui quickly moved away into the nearest building, now panting a bit from all the running away she was doing. She closed the door behind her for good measure and quickly looked around.

Gosh, this whole place seems to be filled with weirdos- “Hey!” she shouted as a can with the label of ‘Marshapples – Now with more MELLOW than PINE, and twice the ASPARUGUS!’ landed at her feet.

“RUSH RUSH RUSH!” yelled an old man at her as he continued past, throwing items around what appeared to be an ill-kept store. Rui merely blinked.

“Umbre!” (Rui!) Umbreon shouted as he jumped to the teenager and licked her face happily.

“Oh, hey!” Rui giggled, glad to see something she recognised.

“Esp! Espi, Espeon!” (Oh good, someone sane here! Johnson got knocked out while trying to be an idiot, and I had to put Wes to sleep because he was rambling to himself about Venus,) Espeon tried to explain as he managed to get out from a sleeping and mumbling Wes whilst motioning to Johnson’s nearby body as well.

“...What? I’m confused,” Rui said as she quickly moved to Wes.

“Espeon!” (Me too!)

“Well,” Rui said, “you can try to explain things better later. First we should take Wes somewhere that... isn’t here. And Johnson too,” she added. She tried to tug at Wes’s body but he was too heavy for her, only moving a couple of inches along the floor. Rui bit her lip. “C’mon, Wes!” she cried, as more objects continued to be thrown about haphazardly.

“Umbreon!” (By the way his name is Leo now!) Umbreon pointed out brightly.

“Eon... Espeon?” (Now’s not the time, Umbreon... but how are we going to move these two safely?)

Suddenly a tall and familiar man walked into the building and looked at the group.

“Heyelly hey-hey, itsa supermanney!”

“Esp! Eon!” (Oh god! Not you!) Espeon cried in frustration as Tom of all people stumbled towards them, grinning happily at Wes.

“Whysy hesy asluupyewuppy?” Tom remarked in a typical drunken lingo. Rui blinked, trying to make sense of his speech and ignore the smell of his breath. “Hihy he manytuing notty cuul doing?”

“Um... I don’t know what you’re saying but could you help us get these two to a hotel or something? Apparently Wes got...what happened?” she asked Espeon.

“Espeon,” (He got obsessed about some woman called Venus,) Espeon explained to the two, motioning to the posters of Venus.

“Wait, he was...” Rui said softly.

“Umb! Umbreon! Eon...” (Brainwashed, he was! Everyone else in town is! And he thought her a weirdo at first too so it makes no sense...) Umbreon explained, noting that Rui seemed somewhat relieved by that piece of additional news albeit still worried. Before he could question it however, Tom shouted loudly as he waved his arms about excitedly.

“Noesy! I noesy teh placey! Al midgitities canny remauve vanus...stuffy!” With that, he kneeled down and picked both Wes and Johnson, placed one on each of his shoulders and walked off, stopping only to grab a bottle of beer on his way out the door.

“How did he...” Rui said quietly, wondering how he managed to pick them up with apparent ease.

“Espeon!” (Never mind, let’s just follow him!) Espeon shrugged as he followed the man nervously. Umbreon and Rui followed quickly before they lost sight of the wandering drunk.

***




That's right - Tom's back, and potentially more drunk than ever. ;p

Blah blah stuff in the chapter that's in the games or not and so forth:
Spoiler:
The Under: an unoriginally-named town underneath Pyrite - used to be where the miners camped out when they weren't mining underneath Pyrite, and after everything that was being mined ran out, some people stayed there. Has neat theme music but is a rather run-down place. Has an expensive hotel, a bad shop and an actual UFO transportation system...for some reason.

Citizens of The Under - everyone is obsessed with Lady Venus here, because she supposedly is a celebrity and has a good sense of fashion and so forth... which is a pretty unconvincing reason given how some of them act - some literally shout 'YOU'RE MY IDOL VENUS' or 'she's my Venus...' My reasoning for their... obsession with her is due to Cipher's version of brainwashing - how shall be mentioned later. ;p

There is a street performer who greets you at the entrance and a few others which act pretty similar to how they do in the game. One asks if you are a spy (saying either Yes or No results in them ignoring you anyway), two formulate a plan on capturing spies, a kid in a shop is suspicious of another guy who does think himself cool because the kid is staring at him... and there is a person who tells a boring (yet curiously foreshadowy!) story and if you refuse to listen will actually freak out and bob up and down while staring at you after having a rant, shouting 'Rush rush rush'. The Under - citizens are 50% more weird than Pyrite's! The NPC Tom is...loosely based off is always in Pyrite in the game, but I figured he likes to roam about.

Venus - another Cipher admin as mentioned last chapter. She controls The Under and makes herself known via television reports to you, informing that there are spies in The Under the moment you appear. Always confusing how she seems to know that you're there when playing the game at the first time round... my reasoning was that it was more a precaution than anything else and she does not know you are there (and possibly in the game that is also the case!) She also has a strange get-up...

As for the name Wes uses in Leo here - Leo is Wes' Japanese name.


And as a beside, as Slowflake on youtube seems to like advertising my fic within his Pokemon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zG4K3URvNI"]Let's Plays[/URL], here's some advertising of his stuff here as well as a vague mention of him in the chapter. Much appreciated, if rather unexpected and all. =p

Hope you enjoyed that chapter!
__________________