“I have no intentions of bringing destruction to such a beautiful place,” Genevieve responded mildly, her mood lifted as Hanso finally arrived. On the outside world, everything remained unchanged. A scene that rivaled even the best paintings, two pokemon seated calmly in a meditative fashion. It was only in their minds that things appeared differently. This world of the psychics existed, yet it didn’t at the same time. It had rules and boundaries, but they could be broken in an instant. Her and Hanso currently resided in a stark white room, nothing in their but a mental interpretation of the two of them. Exactly identical to their physical bodies. When Hanso had joined her here, there were a few sparse objects that littered the landscape, but Genevieve quickly eliminated them from the space.
It was a lot like a joint canvas. What either of them imagined, appeared with them in the room. Real and yet false at the same time. She approached the Gallade with calm and measured steps. Of course, her real body never moved, it was only in their minds that she approached him. “Let’s liven up the place a little, shall we?” Genevieve stopped in the middle of the room, she began to sit in empty space before a chair was conjured within seconds. She easily imagined a second one for him to join her if he so wished.
“I must say, I wasn’t really expecting you to be so eager to meet. You just couldn’t resist me, huh?” She flashed him a devilish grin and crossed her legs as she studied him head to toe. “However, I’m glad we have a chance to talk now. I must say, our first encounter was cut dreadfully short and I felt a bit cheated. Please Hanso, have a seat, let’s chat. I’ll even let you pick our topic of discussion.”
It was interesting to note that this white room was similar to the one in Hanso's own inner mind. If they were similar in appearance, though, then it would be easier for anything he let slip to be seen by Genevieve. Hanso remained silent as he watched the Gardevoir approach before stopping and sitting. He wasn't always one for senseless chit-chat, but as he slowly walked over to sit in the chair provided for him, he thought that perhaps he'd have to put up with some.
"I have my reasons for meeting," Hanso replied as he sat. "And it wouldn't be expected for such a meeting." He kept in mind that this would have to be short enough that he wouldn't miss the Gold Tribe rendezvous. Time often didn't make much sense to him in the world of psychics. Hanso considered his options as he studied Genevieve in turn. Eventually he said, "Would Sovereign be out of the question?" The Gardevoir's reaction might tell him something.
Genevieve’s face remained stoic and unreadable, a skill she had crafted over the years to mask her feelings from others. Hanso had suggested they talk about a topic that was very pressing indeed, especially considering her recent encounter with the mountain of a pokemon. Without even realizing it, her hand touched her throat as if recalling when Sovereign suspended her with his bare hands. She didn’t like be handled in such a way, it was a slight to her character and something she would have to repay in due time.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk about the beast, but it was hard to see how talking about him would align with her goals. If it was a pressing matter for him too however, maybe it might yield some light into his mental processes. Hopefully, by finding out as much as she could about Hanso, she could best learn how to target him. He seemed resistant to her charms all this time, never paying her much attention when other male pokemon would be begging her for more. Maybe he was one of the rare few with alternative mates?
“I would consider nothing out of the question. As much as I hoped to get to know you a little better, we can talk about the brute if you are so inclined,” she spoke in an almost melodic tone, her gaze firmly locked onto Hanso’s eyes. “So, what’s up with Sovereign, besides the obvious?” Genevieve changed her manner of speaking on the fly, going almost hyper casual in an attempt to unsettle him.
Interesting reaction. Her face didn't change, but she did react nonetheless. Hanso wondered, though, if something had happened between Genevieve and Sovereign for her hand to do that. He held the Gardevoir's gaze with his own for a few moments, his hand absently rubbing his left arm where he'd been bitten; the itch was back. She'd actually called Sovereign a brute...that implied some ill feeling, but not enough to know if it was more than what might be the norm for Sentinels.
Hanso sighed quietly, his eyes breaking away from Genevieve's as he stared in another direction. He wasn't quite patient or calm enough to hold it longer, and just being in this Gardevoir's presence was unsettling in a way that he wasn't sure if he liked. Compared to others of their kind, he might be called a middle-age adult. It may have surprised some that Hanso had never looked to settle down with anyone...but then again, he'd never found anyone interesting enough that he would have felt like doing so. Perhaps, in another time and place, without the whole crystal business...
Hanso shook his head a bit. Focus! He turned his attention back to Genevieve. "You ever see or hear of anyone with a split personality?" he asked, mostly as a way to start the subject. "What Sovereign has seems like a...magnified, version of it. 'Split' almost sounds wrong, actually," Hanso added thoughtfully, almost to himself. "More like, he has multiple personalities. There's the Sovereign we both know. A bit after you left the two of us to fight, though, he changed."
He wasn't explaining it enough, Hanso knew that already. "Sovereign had another mind or something trapped inside his head that came out and took control of the Tyranitar." Varren, he had said. As he talked, his memory of the event slipped out to form a moving picture to one side. It showed a silent recall of Sovereign being covered with hundreds of black tendrils to turn his skin black, blood-red eyes opening as they'd turned to look at Hanso at the time. "I thought it was possession at first," Hanso continued, only half-aware of his memory's replay, "but it...went a little deeper." He paused to focus on Genevieve again, his memory disappearing from view. "Am I making any sense at all?"
Hanso was the first to break eye contact, he had quickly averted his sight from her. Maybe she had made him uncomfortable in some way, or merely succeeded in unsettling him. If that was the case, then everything was going well so far. Genevieve shifted in her seat as she listened to Hanso talk about Sovereign. She remained silent for a long while, far longer than most were accustomed to her being. Instead of talking, she decided to nod a lot, taking in his information and trying to see all angles.
Sovereign had looked different, but not in the way Hanso was describing him, nothing quite so...drastic. It wasn’t until he recalled his memory into the room, that she fully understood what he meant. The memory played in front of her like a scene from a play. Without even thinking, she stood from her seat and approached where the memory had been projected. When she had her encounter with Sovereign, he looked nothing like this creature that Hanso had showed her. The projection was now long gone, recalled back into Hanso’s mind from where it came.
“Yes, you are making sense,” she spoke to him almost absentmindedly. Genevieve brought a hand to her chin as she lost herself deep in thought. This Sovereign situation was more worrisome than she had previously anticipated. “I’ve encountered this Varren also. Although, he did not manifest himself in quite such a way.” She gestured her arm where the image had once stood.
“Why did you need to speak to me about this though? Surely this is a Silver Tribe problem. Why not just kill him?” Genevieve stared him down, her tone serious and forward. It mattered little to her if Sovereign’s head ended up being a trophy for the Gold Tribe. In fact, an unpredictable element such as himself presented only trouble moving forward. The Gold Tribe might actually be doing her a favor. “I feel like you’re beating around the bush with me Hanso.”
Hanso's eyebrows rose in surprise. Her, too? Varren had said during their fight that he was more interested in Genevieve than Sovereign's thoughts. If Varren had shown himself to the Gardevoir, though, then what about the other entity inside Sovereign's head? The one who called the Tyranitar son? Another image began forming again in the same place, but Hanso's eyes flicked to it as he stubbornly shoved the memory back into his own head.
"Yeah, I pretty much am," Hanso replied in his own serious tone, standing up to face Genevieve, "or was." After a moment of consideration, he let his memory back out, and the image reformed. This time, it began with Varren's red eyes and black skin disappearing, only to be shortly replaced by yellow eyes and dark blue skin. It was the memory where Hanso had learned of the third entity in Sovereign's head, moments before... He winced as the memory replayed the grapple where his arm had been broken. The image then disappeared.
"It took several of us to defeat Frost," Hanso said, his red and gray eyes staring back at Genevieve, "and I'm sure she wasn't as destructive as Sovereign and the other two entities in his head are." He paused, gathering his thoughts. "If I could learn how to turn off his battle face...but..." This was it. "You're the only one I could go to who would know this sort of thing."
Genevieve slowly walked over to Hanso, her eyes now locked onto the memory that played out in front of them. The gut wrenching crunch of bone as Sovereign and Hanso locked in battle and Hanso’s arm being a casualty of said skirmish. Everything played out perfectly from his memory, no detail left fuzzy or illegible. The injury had been far worse than even her prior estimation, surely it had to be a blow to his pride as well. Men were such prideful creatures after all.
Reaching out her hands, she carefully grabbed his arm and studied it where it had been broken. Although this wasn’t his real body, it represented it down to the finest detail. She let it go, her cursory examination over with as she pondered what he had presented her. Could it even be done on Sovereign? He was resistant to her psychic attacks, but what about something that was of the mind. Did his resistance cover that also? Genevieve had never even attempted such a thing on him. She had always deemed it impossible and decided not to waste her time. Such a thing as Hanso was talking about, that involved cognitive rewriting. A skill that was worked up to over many years of practice, usually only after simple memory reading. That alone was difficult for even the most experienced readers.
It was just her suspicion, but she didn’t think it possible on the brute. His resistance probably saved him from such assaults. She wouldn’t dare tell Hanso that however. Not when he wanted, no, needed her for something. It was the ultimate playing card, the ace up a sleeve. Did he really have nobody in the Gold Tribe that could teach him such a thing? Or did he simply not want to approach them with this?
She raised her right hand to his face and gently dragged it across his cheek, her hand lingering as she finished. In an instant, she changed the scenery of the room. The former white space now densely packed with translucent nerves of the mind. It was like the super highway of the brain. Each nerve ending talking with the next with just a little spark. Each spark jumping between endings, processing with it countless amounts of data and motor functions. Just as quickly as she called up the image, it disappeared.
“I might be able to assist you,” she lied. Genevieve had no idea the effect of such an attempt on Sovereign. “What’s in it for me?” A cheshire cat grin spread across her face as she stared him down waiting for a response.
She seemed to be thinking about it. Hanso remained silent as he watched Genevieve, wondering what was going through her mind. He tensed slightly as she grabbed his arm, but something kept him from stepping away. He was aware that Sovereign, a Tyranitar, was one of those Pokemon normally resistant to psychic attacks. One reason he had approached Genevieve about the subject was that he had never focused enough on abilities of the mind to learn whether such resistance also covered attacks on the mind.
Hanso resisted the urge to rub his arm where it tingled after Genevieve dropped it, absently noting that she, as others of their kind, was a few inches taller than him. He wasn't sure if it was himself or some manipulation on her part, but his feelings were more confused than they'd ever been for a long, long time. His thoughts were diverted between the subject of Sovereign, and what might have been under different circumstances; he didn't think anything about the flash of the image of nerves. The Blaziken who had ended Sovereign's rage had said that he didn't like losing control, and Hanso was asking Genevieve for help with something out of the Tyranitar's control. What could have happened if the Sentinels had never been tainted?
Hanso stepped back from Genevieve and her hand, a little suddenly, as he took a deep breath. One thought had pushed itself into his head: What would my sister think? Unbidden, another Gardevoir appeared to the Gallade's right, standing at the exact same height, her left eye the same shade of gray as Hanso's right. The image disappeared just as quickly. "No wonder they call you the Siren," Hanso muttered to himself, reorganizing his thoughts.
What was in it for Genevieve?... If she'd met Varren before, then she might know something of what the entity thought about her. Hanso thought that perhaps there might be some gain for her as well if they stopped Sovereign, but it was only a faint suspicion, easily dismissed for now. No, he had to offer something for this 'trade', then get out of there. "Information," Hanso stated bluntly. "Information you and the other Sentinels could use."
This was part of what made this whole reckless idea dangerous.
Genevieve relished the response from Hanso, his stepping away from her touch, his deep breath. It was all very...cute. Flashing him a small smile, it dissipated along with the sudden appearance of another Gardevoir. From the brief glimpse she spied of it, there was a striking similarity between her and Hanso who stood right before her very eyes. They must have been related, the eyes were a tell all of indication. Why had Hanso thought of her now? Was his memory so strong of this individual that it slipped out without his meaning, or did he purposefully recall the memory of this other Gardevoir? Maybe in the future, she could use it as another chip on the table. All the better for eventually bringing Hanso into the fold.
Waving off his “Siren” comment, she studied him as he presented his pittance of payment. Information was always valuable, of course, it depended highly on the quality. But, Genevieve wanted more than just information. To bring him into the Silver Tribe entirely, that would bring information, tactics, sabotage and a heart crushing blow against the Gold Tribe’s moral.
“Information will do...for now,” she answered him, her voice smooth and flirtatious. “Just know, that I’ll want something a little more in the future.” Genevieve purposefully left that statement open. His mind could make that be whatever he believed it was. Just his pondering over what she meant was a victory. She clapped her hands in front of her in an almost joyous outburst. Her manner not unlike that of a young girl. “You’ll have to pardon me, I tend to get a bit giddy when things go well. I must say, I believe this could be the start of a beautiful partnership.”
Hanso remained silent, trying to pin down his thoughts and feelings. The information he did have...probably wouldn't be a whole lot in comparison to what he wanted to learn, but what did Genevieve mean by wanting something more? That thought drove home the point: I need time to myself. Away from her. "It could be," Hanso replied neutrally. "However, I'm afraid we'll have to continue this at another time." He turned away and began walking, then stopped. It took a few moments to muster the nerve to say, "The Gold Tribe is leaving for Cape City today ahead of the Alpha Alliance army, in less than three hours." Hanso then walked again, disappearing from the psychic world within a few steps.
His breathing suddenly deepened as his eyes opened, mind back in the mountain clearing. Hanso's legs were stiff from sitting as if meditating for...how long had it been? Glancing up at the sun, he decided it hadn't reached the rendezvous time yet. He took one last look at Genevieve - for what reason? - then closed his eyes again as he concentrated and teleported, leaving nothing but traces of his psychic energy behind.
Back in the house in Albia, Hanso found the pack he'd hidden, then took a bit of food out for a snack to replenish his energy. He had packed everything he'd thought of, and it wasn't three hours yet. It took a bit of time to find a bed that wasn't being used anymore. After setting a mental check to wake him up when it was time, Hanso lied down to rest, heart aching with some guilt and another feeling that was almost unfamiliar to the Gallade.
Genevieve watched him leave, she knew their time together had to be racing to its end. Cape City? Why would they be heading there and with such a quick departure window? Hopefully this information checked out, it was always risky when one was turning enemies into confidential informants. The first bit of information was always critical, they could try and deceive you with it , or actually follow through and give you information of worth. It mattered little at this point however, the information would have to be followed up on.
The white room slowly began to dissipate and crumble from her senses. Like somebody tearing down a wall and in its place a vista on the other side. Real world began to seep through the cracks, until slowly, it was all that was left. The psychic world left untouched, forever separate and in mind only. It almost saddened her to leave that world of possibilities and its state of being ungoverned by laws of physics. Hanso’s psychic trace was still faint in the area. He hadn’t lingered long, teleported if she had to guess. Now that was a skill she hadn’t used in a long time and probably couldn’t even recall how to do anymore.
Any further thoughts of Hanso had to be purged from her processes. That part of the mission was done and a success. It was finally time to get the other Sentinels the information she recovered. Quickly she opened a channel to the other Sentinels, they should have still been busy for the most part in the thieves forest. With a few exceptions of course.
“This is Genevieve,” she said bluntly and with little flourish. “I have it under good authority that the Gold Tribe is mobilizing for Cape City today. It looks like their window might be three hours. I’ll be at the thieves forest momentarily.” The channel closed and she jumped down from her rock with effortless grace. As she made her way down the mountain, one nagging thought kept assaulting her in the back of her mind. I hope this information is right.