Hanso SharpEye and Genevieve L'esprit
Genevieve paced to herself, her steps rustling softly in the mild air of Silver City’s courtyard. Her mind was racing, not really unusual for her, but these thoughts, she couldn’t escape them. Like echoes of the past, but impossible to recall in their entirety. Her encounter with Sovereign and whatever it was inside of him. This troubled Genevieve, almost as if her mind was betraying itself under its own fragility and her body’s recovery from its weakened state.
This wasn’t the first time such a thing has happened. Her mind playing tricks on itself, strange, garbled images of the past. Locations, feelings, Pokemon. Each time, Genevieve swallowed that pain, the suffering, and a feeling that she rarely felt, shame. Not for what she has been, or is doing, but because of her weakness. She had to get stronger, to overcome her worst enemy, herself.
She began to punish herself, her fist pounding against the lithe form of her upper thigh. Pain served as a distraction, but it wasn’t enough. Thoughts continued to rage through her head, from battle plans, to arithmetic, to her job. It had been a while since her real job had been performed, too many battles, not enough behind the scenes work. When Auron gave orders however, it’s best to follow through.
Then it came to her, Truestriker. The one whom Sovereign engaged on the battlefield, his presence still fresh in her mind. He was still alive, she was sure of it. What a valuable asset he would be to the Silver Tribe, to her. There were far too many brutes running around in her midst, they needed a few more...cerebral beings. What if they could speak across this distance between them? She wasn’t sure if it would work, but it was worth a try.
Genevieve glided her way through the barren streets, her mind at ease as she made her way to the city limits. She could here the soft sound of a family of bird Pokemon in the distance. It would be difficult to initiate the first bit of communication, a one way signal was typically harder to receive than a cooperative one.
“The one they call Truestriker....” She closed her eyes, the strain causing her to wince inwardly. “Hello, my dear. Can you hear me? I hope you haven’t forgotten little old me? It hasn’t been too long I hope?”
Hanso had remained quiet after he'd spoken his piece, keeping an eye on Penance the whole time. The Golduck really worried him. Aside from Penance's thought process, he had a side that had come up at least once already, and lying to him had already set him apart. Hanso held the Golduck's emblem in one hand as the Gold Tribe left the Catacombs, with the Keeper walking alone to one side.
It seemed almost inevitable that Hanso would end up with more time to think about...well, everything. Going by what they'd just learned in the Library, it seemed that the Sentinels hadn't really had a choice once Auron and his group had acquired the Silver Crystal. Whether they'd chosen it or not, though, they were here in Valkaria now, with their armies of Ancients. That wouldn't be changed by anything of the past, even if the Gold Tribe's entire system and set of beliefs was a lie, like Penance had said.
Not to mention that Noctus Gamble might actually be a spy for the Silver Tribe. Or Sovereign's split personalities, one of which was an especially dangerous battle mode. Or Hanso's own thoughts that he was severely underpowered once he lost the use of an arm, even for just a short time. And I'm not sure how much training it might take before any one of us could possibly take on a Sentinel solo. He felt he had to learn some sort of attack that didn't depend on his arm-blades...and it wouldn't hurt if he could learn how to shut down Sovereign's battle-mode personality. Penance probably wouldn't consider teaching him anything about getting into another's mind, though.
Invading another's mind, after all, would always be a matter of privacy, and the invaded Pokemon wouldn't appreciate--
"He--o, -- -ear." What the... "--- yo- h--- m-? I ho-- -o- hav--- --rgot--- li--le old --? -- has--- b-e- to- lo-- I h-pe?"
Hanso's eyes closed as he turned his attention to the message. Telepathy, perhaps over a long distance. It was too garbled to identify the voice at the moment. Hanso replied with his own message, though it strained him to send it out so far. "You're gonna have to do better than that to make it clear who you are."
Success. His reply was slightly garbled on the return message, but it was definitely received. How should she play this? Aloof, playful, bored, ahh...definitely bored. Maybe with a hint of playfulness. She chuckled to herself. Finally something to do that was interesting.
Genevieve focused her thoughts inwardly, she tried her best to establish a mental shield from the signal. When sharing unspoken thoughts with another, you always had to be careful not to let stray thoughts or emotions sneak by your watch. It was typically easier said than done, especially if the person on the other end was a telepath too. After awhile, it was a skill the Genevieve considered herself to be talented at. She had no intention of trying to pry the poor dear’s thoughts at this time, not worth the risk of his noticing. She wasn’t so sure if he was as content to sit by however.
She wondered if he was as lonely or as bored as she was. He was more of a warrior than her however; maybe he needed battle? Genevieve hoped that wasn’t the case. She had orders to go to a battlefield now as a matter of fact, and she didn’t eagerly wait for its arrival. Battle had its place, but it certainly didn’t provide the stimulation she yearned for. People who’s lives were consumed with battle and moving from one fight to the next were usually insipid and painfully obtuse.
“You pain me, my dear. You mean you don’t recognize me? Let’s see....ahh, I know! Let’s make it a game, I am so dreadfully bored after all. I’ll give you three guesses to figure out who I am. I certainly hope it won’t take that many, but who knows.” She flooded the connection with boredom and sense of whimsy at her game proposal.
The only sign that all was not well within Hanso was the frown that edged its way onto his face. The reply was not so garbled anymore, and Hanso now recognized the mental voice of the other telepath. There was also a sense of boredom and whimsy, not difficult for any telepath to communicate.
Is she truly bored, though? Hanso scanned through the message and feelings for a feeling of falseness or something held back. Her boredom seemed true enough. Not real surprising that she's good at this sort of thing. The question now was whether he should cut off the conversation. She was a Sentinel, after all, and she was probably the most powerful psychic of the Sentinels. Hanso built up his own mental shields as a defensive measure, even attempting to apply Penance's white-room-principle, but... Most powerful psychic. It'd be crazy, but... He left the channel open.
"You should know how messages can be garbled into nonsense over a distance, Genevieve," Hanso replied. He kept his own emotions under check, trying not to let any suspicion show. "That first one could have been anyone. ...Any strong telepath, anyways."
“Ah! Good boy, you guessed correctly on the first try. You win a conversation with me for your prize! I know, I know, I’m far too generous,” Genevieve laughed to herself as she continued along. It was so fun to tease and prod others, it would be curious to see his response to her incessant badgering. Then again, the connection was still open so he hadn’t immediately played good little soldier boy and ceased contact with the enemy. He had also given in and came looking for her in the previous battle. Most assuredly, he was a curious one.
“Don’t worry about messages being garbled. I knew the initial one might not be quite so clear just like you said. Now that it’s a two way conversation, you should be hearing me much better, as I am you. I do deal with this kind of stuff for a living you know? I would consider myself quite talented, if I do say so myself.” Her tone was mild, as if she was having a conversation with a normal bystander.
“I do take that as a compliment too, even if it wasn’t intended as one. Any strong telepath...guilty as charged. But, it’s nice to hear other people say such things,” she continued, purposefully twisting his initial meaning. “So...hmm, can you believe I’m at a loss for words? Don’t worry, it won’t last long. What shall we chat about, the weather? Boring. War? Slightly less boring. I assume your arm is healing? I do apologize about that you know.”
“Ah! I’ve got it!” Genevieve exclaimed and flooded the channel with bubbling excitement. “Tell me your name. Your real name. Not any of this ‘Truestriker’ ridiculousness. I mean, I didn’t tell you my ridiculous title when we met. So please, who is the masked Pokemon known as Truestriker?”
What? Hanso slowly shook his head, pushing off a lot of the excitement that had flooded the channel. Here, he thought he'd left behind most of the teasing and prodding of his childhood, except for his sister. "For one thing, yes, my arm is healing," Hanso replied, though his left arm began to itch. "Not sure I want to accept that apology, since you'd left Sovereign to fight me." Even as a Sentinel, Genevieve was still as chatty as any other female Pokemon Hanso had met. For the moment, anyways.
"No compliment there, by the way," Hanso added with a hint of annoyance. "I've heard others say things like that." In his childhood and early training, anyways. Was there any harm in telling her his real name? Not really...unless you considered giving out personal information to the enemy as harmful. His thoughts went back to all that Penance had said, along with other events and doubts. Why did the Gold Tribe have titles? "Hanso. Not telling you my last name unless you give me yours, if you have one. You have nothing else to do? No prisoners to torture, no minds to attack, no armies to--" Hanso cut off that thought. He'd been about to say, No armies to spy on. If the Silver Tribe did have a spy working for them, it wouldn't do to let them know that the Gold Tribe suspected it.
Oh, he was fun to talk to indeed. A little bit feisty, a little bit gruff; just what she needed for a distraction on her way to the thieves forest. “Hey, I just left you and Sovereign to your own devices, I didn’t tell you to lose. I do mean it however, sorry,” she lied. The annoyance in his voice was perceivable through their mental relay, he didn’t quite care for her comments on the compliment. Genevieve decided to just brush it aside and continue moving forward, no use crying over spilled moo-moo milk.
“Hanso? Hmm, I was thinking more of like a Gaston or maybe even a Brett,” she teased him again. “But, Hanso is nice. A good strong name, fit for a warrior. Of course, is that really all you are, a warrior? It would be disappointing for all of us to be boiled down into one such descriptive noun. Warrior, summarized as a person who serves and fights for a belief or purpose, typically one’s homeland....Excuse my musing.” Now was not the best time to dive into a philosophical debate, there would be time for such things later.
“And yes, I do have a last name. It’s probably not even a secret anymore, I do think most people know of me. Of course, you didn’t ask nicely for it.” Genevieve considered her next words very carefully, she had to do her best to dance with the beat and go with the flow of conversation. “I always have things to do; some of those things you’ve mentioned included, however, there are very few things I ‘want’ to do. Although I missed the last one about armies, might have been the connection. I could say the same to you, chatting up the enemy when you could be off doing who knows what rebels do.”
“I am most curious about that actually. Why are you still talking to me?”
Hanso didn't immediately reply, but he didn't cut off the channel, either. He did keep his thoughts to himself. If she's sorry, I'm a bald Murkrow that hides in the Korhal Mountains. If Genevieve, or any of the Sentinels, were ever "sorry" for their actions, then they wouldn't have gone to the extent they had in conquering Valkaria.
'Of course, is that really all you are, a warrior?' Just another question to edge its way into Hanso's list of self-doubts and ponderings. He blinked. Here we go again, he thought, almost angry. Conversing with this Gardevoir, even through telepathy, was trying to throw him off-track. With words alone!
And...did he already know her last name? Hanso grabbed ahold of that thought as a distraction, going back through his list of the known Sentinels. The distraction didn't last long: Genevieve L'esprit. Back to the last question: Why was he still talking to her? It didn't help that this came up so soon after everything in the Grand Library. "Let's just say," Hanso started, then paused. "...let's just say that I have a few doubts. And the time for such a conversation as this. What's your reason for contacting me in the first place? Trying to drag out information about the enemy?"
Information. Hanso paused after finishing his reply, then started grinning. Reckless, wonderful, stupid, brilliant idea, he thought to himself, behind his shields.
Genevieve’s eyes took in her surroundings, Silver city behind her, its form dwindling with each step she took toward her destination. The Korhal mountains loomed in the foreground, not far away from the forest themselves. Most Pokemon would fear bandits when traveling alone, Genevieve was not most Pokemon.
“Do you think me but a farmer going to prime a well?” Genevieve responded with a hint of disappointment. “I don’t want you for information at all, I’m just bored...” She lied again. “These other Pokemon around me, so simple, almost like troglodytes. I’m sure you can relate, Psychics aren’t like most Pokemon. Who do you think I’m going to talk to, Sovereign? Oh heavens no.” Genevieve shuddered at her recent encounter with the brute. “I just, you know, want to talk and get to know you better. If you wanted to give me information, I surely wouldn’t stop you of course.”
Huh. Genevieve mentioned Sovereign, just when Hanso had thought about him a couple minutes ago. He'd forced his grin off his face, but the idea wouldn't leave his head. "Funny that you mentioned Sovereign," Hanso replied, diverting some of his attention to running through scenarios in his head. "You happened to name the one Sentinel who...isn't like the rest of you, in more than one way." He paused, thoughts running. If he could gain something from some sort of deception, here was his chance. But how to go about it?...
"...but, you're all Sentinels," Hanso added, with an almost dismissive tone, "surely there wouldn't be any secrets between you, would there? Talk, you say?...It might be possible, actually."
Genevieve frowned at his most recent comments. She didn’t really want to go on about Sovereign right now, she wanted to erase him from her current thoughts. Just what kind of game was Hanso countering her with? “I’m afraid you’ve lost me, my dear.” Genevieve glanced to the sky, her vision catching sight of a Pidove or two. Things were going in a way she had hoped, but that’s the thing. It almost seemed too easy. She weighed her options, but shook the nagging thoughts from the back of her mind. That bridge would have to be crossed when she got to it.
Genevieve knew about one of Sovereign’s secrets now. It only troubled her due to the danger and unpredictable element it added to the mix. She liked things to be controllable and his multiple personalities were certainly not controllable. Others had secrets, she knew that. Most of them petty. Normal Pokemon dealt with such things as, who’s egg was sired by whom? Things like that meant nothing to her. “Please go on, I’m curious as to what you’re getting at.”
Which was it? Did she want to know what Hanso meant about Sovereign, or about talking to each other? Well, he hadn't been clear about Sovereign. He wondered how much it might matter or affect things if any of the Sentinels knew about the Tyranitar's split personalities, if that's what they were. It wouldn't be an advantage against the Gold Tribe, would it? "I'm guessing it doesn't come out often," Hanso began, "but Sovereign has a...split personality."
Then again, why would such a thing matter to the Sentinels anyways? Hanso shook his head once; Sovereign wasn't the main point here. "Never mind. I don't see a whole lot of reason for us to get to know each other beyond being enemies. Wouldn't matter if it came to a fight to the death, would it?" Idea of deception: great. My skill at it...probably not so great.
How did he know about Sovereign’s personalities? This was most displeasing. Had the tyrannitar regressed into these alternate forms in front of others? Maybe she shouldn’t have left them alone on that battlefield after all? She had to feel him out, figure out what he knew. Maybe, however remote the possibility, he knew more about this than her. Genevieve tapped her finger against her chin deep in thought. She hesitated before answering. This conversation had not gone as planned.
“Well...I thought you were just adorable when we first met. Not like the other Gold Tribe members I’ve seen. They all bore and exasperate me. I just thought you and I could have fun is all. I surely must be more enjoyable than talking with those insipid creatures on your side, yes?” She paused before asking her next question. “What do you mean by these split personalities of Sovereign?” She tried playing it dumb.
Fun? What kind of fun did she mean? Hanso abruptly shoved the thought out of his mind. That's not the subject, either. This Gardevoir had a way with words, that was certain. It was a dangerous game Hanso had in mind, and not just for that reason. The act of conversing with a Sentinel, in this manner, wouldn't be sanctioned by the Gold Tribe. Gold Tribe. Tools. Penance had said that the solution was to send Auron and others out of Valkaria to find...something. Animals to the slaughter. Not sure I want to believe that, but...
"It's...true, sort of," Hanso admitted reluctantly, "that we haven't had all that much time to just enjoy things. Then again, considering everything that's happened in the last one and a half years, I'm not surprised." What should he say about Sovereign? Beyond the existence of the split personalities, the Tyranitar had let slip certain facts in the middle of his battle with Hanso. Even if it didn't reveal anything about the Gold Tribe, he wasn't about to give away all the information in one conversation. "Remember that we're technically on enemy sides, so it's generally considered a bad idea to give information to the enemy." He put a slight emphasis on 'technically' as his words traveled through the channel.
Hanso paused, considering his options. Whatever information might pass between the two of them, he wondered... I'm going crazy if I'm considering it... "I did say, though, that I have a few doubts about some things. What with Sovereign and you wanting us to talk and all..." Where'd this roundabout manner of speaking come from? "...you know any two Pokemon who got to know each other without meeting?"
This pokemon was just full of surprises wasn’t he? Was he really suggesting that they meet? That was her goal in the beginning, but here he was the one suggesting it. This was most unexpected and at the same time, troubling. She had everything to gain by meeting with him, at least, in her mind. Her goal was to plant the seeds of doubt that would one day, hopefully, bloom into betrayal against his tribe. What was his angle?
“Enemies, is technically suggestive when you think about it,” she countered. “I would say our governments are enemies, we are just two pokemon having a conversation. I see no problem with talking, as long as we both get something out of it. I get to enjoy the conversation of an intelligent, handsome pokemon,” she tried to lay the charm on a little thick. “You get, well, whatever it is you get from us talking. I do consider myself quite the catch after all.” She giggled into the channel.
The most curious comment from him yet was about these ‘doubts’ he had. That could be leverage for her when the time came. “Are you suggesting you want to meet with me, my dear?” She looked up at the mountains again, they continued to draw nearer and nearer. Did the fake charm work on him, or was he different from the other men she had manipulated in the past? She guessed she would know soon enough.
Hanso stiffened slightly as he sensed the charm and giggles that came through the channel. It wasn't a whole lot, and part of it was just words, but it was still disconcerting. Something like what he'd felt back in Albia before Genevieve had left him and Sovereign. Be very careful, Hanso. There's so many ways this farfetched idea of yours could go wrong. Don't let your guard down...and don't let the others find out in the wrong way... Just what would the others think? Penance, especially. That's what explanations are for.
"But we chose which side we would be on," Hanso replied flatly, hoping his shields kept his discomfort and slightly confused feelings under control. "Well, at least the Gold Tribe and Alpha Alliance did." Here goes... "And...yes. Yes, I am suggesting that we meet and talk, if nothing else. Assuming you still have the time."
“So forward...I like that in a man,” Genevieve teased. “For you, I suppose I could spare a few moments.” She tried to give off the feeling of aloofness. Even thought this was exactly what she had been angling for, she couldn’t let any signs of anxiousness seep its way into the channel. That would be the first clue to him that something was amiss.
“It would have to be somewhere secluded of course. Somewhere that we would not be interrupted by the troglodytic behavior of others and their prying eyes.” Sparing another quick glance at the mountains laid bare in front of her, a place came to mind rather quickly. “How about the Korhal Mountains? I happen to know a rather pleasant spot on the eastern side. Of course, I’m open to suggestion.”
A few moments, on the eastern side of the Korhal Mountains. It couldn't be too long, of course, or else the others would wonder where he was, and he'd already teleported across Valkaria before. The Mountains, though? Hanso felt she wouldn't be stupid enough to suggest a place that was too cold for them, so... "Sounds as good a place as any," he replied slowly, thinking of other places. "I do wonder if Liberty Town is secluded enough..." The ruins, anyways. "...then again, it's a little too close to a torturehouse for my taste. Would now be a good time?"
Oh, Genevieve did love when a plan came together. She was glad he agreed to the mountains and not Liberty Town. That was a bit far for her current mission and what she was actually supposed to be doing. Maybe the others wouldn’t notice her absence? Not likely, but it was of no concern to her.
“Now would be perfect, my dear,” she responded cheerfully. “I can’t wait.”
"Then I'll see you there," Hanso relayed, effectively ending his end of the conversation. After a few moments, he shook his head. With all that could happen...what did he just get himself into? As they arrived in Albia, Zane informed them that they'd have three hours to pack before they left. Hanso looked down at the emblem Penance had thrown down, tracing the crack with his eyes.
As he turned to leave the group, one thought pushed itself into his mind: Is there really a part of all this that's false?