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I've no major complaints, but there's a couple of things I'd like to point out:
Speaking of Zubat, you could have made it more obvious where they came in - at first, I missed the bit that said the cavern filled with screeches, and when you mentioned Zubat, I was confused. Then again, that's probably just me being an idiot.
Anyway, the story continues to be engaging and interesting, despite these little things. I await future updates.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World * The Rocket Case * The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There * The Beastman * Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol * Snow * Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon * A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
Thanks a lot for the review, I really appreciate it! I'll go over these and try and make it work. As for 'flittered' it is a word and means "to move around in a restless or nervous way".
"When I said get me out of here, I meant out of the cave," Shaun said tiredly, body sagging.
He eyed the rather large hole that Sableye had led him to. It was a den inside the cave that he had to crawl to. It was a long tunnel, finally ending with a rather large opening that was closed off on all sides, save for where they just entered from. Rocks were put into specific places into a makeshift bed with softened dirt. Obviously where Sableye slept.
But what really interested Shaun were all the shiny objects layering about. Most of it trash that trainers had dumped, like a can opener or a few coins. Everything was shiny, especially the gems put into several piles. Some of them glowed, much like the ones outside of this den, but those were only the lighter ones like the blue ones. Each gem was like a rather large marble and was very small. He could hold about five or six in one hand.
"Sa sa sababa!" Sableye sang happily, jumping onto its dirt bed and curling up happily. It smiled up at Shaun in an open mouth grin. Its long tongue flicked out and picked up a rock and eagerly returned to its mouth. Sableye then bit down with a loud chomp.
Shaun dropped his stuff and all but collapsed. He lay there, breathing deeply and shivering from the cold. "Fire," he all but whimpered. Weakly, he got to a sitting position and roamed through his backpack. Nearly everything had been completely soaked, but there was one shirt that managed to stay somewhat dry. He tossed it to the ground and coated it with lighter fluid and lit up.
"Saablye!" Sableye shrieked in surprise, staring at the fire in awe.
"Don't touch it," Shaun snapped as Sableye's claw drifted towards the now enflamed shirt like a curious child. He tore into a bag of chips like a savage. They were finished within seconds and he was soon eating yet another can of ravioli. He didn't have much food on him, and most of it was pretty much the same thing. As an afterthought he released Riolu.
With a flash of bright light that ended up hurting Shaun's eyes, Riolu appeared. Its form was horrible. Bruises everywhere and legs shaking. It fell to a sitting position and whimpered. "Riii."
"Eat," Shaun grunted, stuffing whatever he hadn't eaten of the ravioli towards Riolu. "I don't have anymore potions."
"Ro," Riolu said with a weak nod. It eyed the food for a moment before wolfing it down.
"Saba!" Sableye called, creeping forward eagerly, hands out for food.
"You eat rocks, don't you?" Shaun said snidely. "Here." He tossed a rock at the pokemon, watched it pick it up curiously, and then swallow it whole. "No more," he barked, voice cracking as it held up its hands for more.
"Lyy," it muttered dejectedly, the spikes on its side seemingly drooping.
Sighing, Shaun leaned up against the wall. "You know the way out?" he asked gruffly, staring at Sableye.
Sableye, whom was in the process of eating another rock, paused. It tapped its chin and stared at the ceiling before pointing up and looking curiously at Shaun. "Blye?"
"Yes," Shaun snapped, lip curling. "Out!"
Sableye cackled quietly at Shaun's tone before nodding and popping another rock into its mouth. "Ly."
"Good." Shaun turned to Riolu. "We're gonna sleep now, otherwise we'll be dead if we try getting out of here the way we are. Got it?"
Grumpily, Riolu nodded. "Rio." It tossed the empty can away, not quite as caring now about trash and eagerly curled up, though it didn't go to sleep. It was watching, guarding in case something happened.
"And one more thing," Shaun said deeply, turning to stare back at Sableye.
It tilted its head curiously before giving a shriek of surprise as Shaun tossed a pokeball at it. With a burst of red light, its form turned into energy and was soon sucked into the ball. It began to shake furiously, almost as if it couldn't believe that just happened, but Sableye was weak, and after three harsh shakes the pokeball stopped shaking with a particularly loud ping.
"Luu," Riolu muttered, sounding content. It closed its eyes, obviously not caring anymore. They were safe for now, and there was no creepy pokemon watching them. It fell asleep quickly.
Shaun stared at the pokeball for a moment. No thoughts of accomplishment or joy flashed through his mind. Instead, he just breathed out a deep sigh and peeled off his clothes. Everything else in his bag and sleeping bag was soaked, but that didn't mean he had to sleep in wet clothes. When he woke up they would be dry, and the small area was filling up with heat thanks to the fire, though that would burn out in a few minutes.
He didn't need anything slowing him down when he woke up, and wet clothes were one of those things. With a few grunts, Shaun got as comfortable as he could on the stone floor, finally drifting off to sleep and not even bothering to grab Sableye's pokeball.
It was the sound of his trainer's raspy breathing that awoke Riolu. He was in a dead sleep – no dreams or twitches. In the end, despite that, his was still incredibly tired and even more so as soon as he opened his gloomy red eyes. "Riii," Riolu yawned widely, stretching fully before turning his sight on his trainer. He was currently fiddling around with his red pokedex.
Shaun glanced up from his hunched position, breath haggard. His eyes were half lidded and his naked body glistened with sweat. He was probably running a fever. "Good you're awake," he commented gruffly. "Just about to wake you." Riolu nodded in acceptance. "We need to get out of here, but that damn Rhyhorn is out there. It roars occasionally. Kept me up, though it looks like you slept through it."
Riolu quirked its head. Rhyhorn? His trainer had figured out what it was? "Ro?"
Shaun smirked tiredly and held out his pokedex for the blue and black pokemon. "Information on Rhyhorn," he demanded, running a hand over the headband on his forehead with careful fingers.
Rhyhorn, the horn pokemon. Rhyhorn runs in a straight line, smashing everything in its path. It is not bothered even if it rushes headlong into a block of steel. This Pokémon may feel some pain from the collision the next day, however.
"It's pretty much unstoppable physically," Shaun said gloomily, "so you're Force Palm is out, and I doubt Sableye knows anything good against something like that." He jerked his head at the untouched pokeball. "But it's a mixture of ground and rock, maybe a distant Aura Sphere will help." He closed his eyes in exasperation. "That damn thing won't stop, so a distraction won't work if we just want to run away." His lip curled into a snarl. "We need to take it out."
"Lu," Riolu nodded fiercely, in complete agreement but sagging slightly. Even his Aura Sphere hadn't stopped it in its tracks.
"Damn it!" Shaun roared, thinking the same thing as Riolu. He slammed his pokedex down, nearly breaking it. "What else is there!
Water Jewel, came the electronic voice, startling Shaun out of his self pity. A picture of one of the jewels lying all about appeared on the pokedex screen. It will strengthen the attack of a water type move if held by a pokemon. Ghost Jewel, this jewel will…
"Wait, wait, wait!" Shaun all but snarled. "You mean these rocks will strengthen a pokemon!" His thoughts went back to his first meeting with the Rhyhorn, thinking about how it had eaten some brown stones. He noticed a few brown ones and pointed his pokedex at them. It was a Ground Jewel.
As one, both Shaun and Riolu looked into each other's eyes.
Shaun sorted through the tiny crystals, finding several water, ground, ghost, dark and even a single fighting jewel. This place was a stinkin' goldmine. A pokemon would be powered up if holding these, right? But how did a pokemon 'hold' an item? Cursing, Shaun went through his bag, finding several rope necklaces made from lace like material and his last bandana. Scrambling for Sableye's pokeball, he released the little creature.
With a burst of white light, Sableye appeared, arms held high and body swaying. "Sab leeye," it sang out in greeting, grinning.
"Sableye, come here," Shaun muttered, grabbing one of the Ghost and Dark Jewels. As soon as his finger touched even one, Sableye let out a harsh screech and dove on top of the treasure pile, hissing. "Enough!" Shaun barked, eyes crazed. "Do you want to survive or not?"
Still hissing, Sableye shook its head. "Saa," Sableye snarled, pointing at Shaun's earrings.
Shaun deadpanned. "Fine," he grit out. "I trade you my earrings for your gems. He fumbled for the jewelry and handed them to the greedy pokemon. It clutched them to its chest before swallowing them whole. Rolling his eyes, Shaun all but dragged the pokemon closer to him as he tied the necklace, now tied up with a single Ghost Jewel since that was all it could hold, onto Sableye.
"Saa," Sableye hissed in awe, poking at the necklace and feeling its powers. It was a dark purple that had an evil glint to it. Sableye grinned eerily.
"This will have to do," Shaun muttered, tying the single Fighting Jewel tightly and then tightening it around Riolu's neck like a necklace. It would fall out eventually, but that was all Shaun could… Ok, so maybe it fell out now. "Damn it."
"Rii," Riolu barked, pointing at Shaun studded bracelet.
Grunting in thanks at the idea, he retied the brown gem into the bandana and tightened it with the bracelet so it was now fit tightly. For the moment, at least.
He eyed his pokemon, feeling like he had a chance. These things powered up moves, right? Then he was good.
"We'll go in a moment," Shaun said, reaching for his clothes that were now officially dry. He didn't bother with any jewelry, though he did make sure the bandana was tight around his forehead. The area was still tender.
Grabbing his bag, he turned back to the many jewels. He couldn't afford to add anymore weight, but was the harm of a few more? He could sell them maybe. He grabbed one of the dark and water jewels and pocketed them into his bag.
"Let's go," Shaun ordered, just as they heard Rhyhorn's loud bellow. Their faces hardened as they crawled out of Sableye's little den.
I'm enjoying the latest arc of this story immensely, though I've been having trouble keeping up with your rate of posting. XD I guess I'm not one to talk. Anyway, I was glad to see Shaun capture Sableye, but at the same time I was glad that it didn't take to him immediately. Keeping that realism in place is important, and nothing screams 'surrealism' in this kind of story like a captured Pokemon immediately becoming best friends with its Trainer and obeying everything he says without question, so points for that. The use of the Type Gems was something interesting to see included as well, but I'd like to see a bit of an explanation for how they work. Just saying that they power up a move of a certain type sounds an awful lot like game mech, which sticks out like a sore thumb in this kind of fic. So something about how they work could be nice to see.
Uhh, let's see. I like the Rhyhorn attack, as well as how Shaun is learning at a quick - but believable - rate. He's moving rapidly out of 'annoying useless noob' territory, though it's definitely credible considering the magnitude of his current situation. I like seeing him using his head and utilising the Pokedex some more. On that note, I like how the Pokedex descriptions of Rhyhorn are actually valid here - specifically the behavioural notes about charging straight ahead until it gets what it wants or however it went. It's always nice to see when that's acknowledged. Game Pokedex entries often tell us more about a Pokemon's habits than anything else, and many writers ignore that. They rattle off a randomly chosen 'dex entry and then just have the Pokemon behave however they feel will keep the plot moving, or just plain old however they feel like it.
Back to Sableye again, briefly: I do like its character. It also fits with what we know about the species, which is something I notice you've done with all the Pokemon present so far. Pokemon are characters too, and while some authors will give greater significance to that than others (I, for example, tend to use them as little more than battling tools in Champion Game), it is always important to respect what makes them individuals. So well done on that.
AN - Finals have officially started today so I just wanted to get one last chapter out before I disappear for the week for tests or under a rock to hide before I die from the stress.
Manipulation is a malevolent thing. It is cruel and ruthless to those that are affected, yet ironically, it is a much needed thing. When kingdoms have fallen and the people have fallen even more, it takes a cruel man to say the right words, yet those words can lift a dying mans up with the strength of a champion.
Words slither into your mind like infestations and soon you yourself are talking with a forked tongue. What was once a horrible thing has become good and accepted idea. Right and wrong have intertwined, and soon people don't know what's right anymore, only what's accepted by society.
A society can fall so easily and when that happens, the people need to be lifted up once more. History has proven that there is a war every so often with just the smallest of times for peace. There will always be a problem, always be an issue, and whether or not you are pokemon or human, it affects you.
Human beings, unfortunately, are the first to push and the first to fall. Responsibility lies with them, even if the consequences aren't what people may have expected or wanted, but people never get what they want, no matter how hard they believe otherwise. With push comes to shove, and you are in the middle of a revolution, free will and manipulation become blurred, yet it is up to you to make a choice when the time comes.
Regrettably, not everyone can do this.
The cave had become alive with growls, grunts, roars, footsteps, panting and all other forms of bodily actions. It was enough to make Shaun walk with a step that would make people think death were hanging over him.
His eyes would dart from left to right and to from floor to roof at nearly any sound. He would bare his teeth and form a fist at the sight of any pokemon that made itself visible as if he were the one to make battle. It amused Riolu and Sableye to no end, even if they were just as exhausted as he.
Shaun kept both pokemon out and by his side at all times, even if Sableye walked with a chagrined air. It was aggravated that it had to leave its treasure behind and even somewhat livid that Shaun had captured it so suddenly. Honestly, what did it expect? It had battled so heartily before the whole Rhyhorn thing.
Speaking of that damn beast, another guttural moan could be heard, this one much closer than before. It scattered the three Sandshrew that stood before Shaun, claws stretching and snouts open in twitchy smiles. They had been preparing for battle, thinking that one extra would be enough, but if all it took was the moan from a who-knows how-far-pokemon then they weren't even worth it.
"Rii," Riolu growled, tail swishing back and forth from agitation. It barked once more for good measure as the three ground types disappeared, only to snarl and leap to battle position as something even bigger appeared in their retreat.
"What now," Shaun moaned, rubbing at one of the Zubat bites. He turned to assess the pokemon, eyes immediately hardening. "Aura Sphere and Night Shade!" His voice a ruthless snarl. "No mercy," he added with a vindictive whisper as the two attacks were aimed at the pokemon.
A small, gray pokemon howled in agony, heavy blue head dipping as its health wore away. The Aura Sphere flew like a comet and slammed into its gut and the Night Shade was absolutely brutal on its mind. The Cranidos fell to the ground in a lifeless slump, eyes closed.
"Riolu," Riolu muttered, sniffing at the pokemon suspiciously.
It held as much dislike for the pokemon as Shaun did for it. The two had been struck with immediate prejudice when the Cranidos toppled all those rocks onto them. They knew, deep in their subconscious, that it was those bastards that had caused their anger, but they couldn't help it. They were stuck in this position now because of all of them.
"Let's keep moving," Shaun growled, eyeing the emptying cave warily as another deep moan was heard, even closer than before. He turned his neck, getting a loud crack out of it, and blew out with annoyance. His anger was rising once more, and if he and his pokemon weren't so battle worn he would have had them blast everything that came within their line of vision.
"Lyyy," Sableye hissed suddenly, arms going up suddenly and body hunching, a position Shaun was beginning to recognize as its regular battle pose. Its eyes shone oddly, seemingly reddish. It flicked its tongue out like an Ekans and tilted its head.
Riolu looked about, blinking drowsily. Its body remained tense, senses not quite as strong as Sableye's at the moment. "Lu." Riolu sniffed at the air, trying to figure out what had set his partner on edge, and not even a second after its first sniff Riolu's fur stood on end. "Luu!" Riolu howled at Shaun, snapping the dark clothed boy at attention.
Shaun jumped at his pokemon, skin twitching with adrenaline and exhaustion. Hazel eyes darted to and fro before Shaun grimaced at the sound of stampeding. "Sh*t," Shaun breathed, head snapping at the wall directly to their left. Boulders leveled up toward the wall, and the few pokemon that had been skittering about in the cracks and holes scattered at the sound. Just as the last pokemon disappeared with a flick of its tail, a loud explosion filled the entire area, and not for the first time Shaun was in a dust filled room and a skulking beast.
"Ssssa," Sableye hissed, mouth wide open with drool running down its mouth. Its pink tongue hung limply and created a trail of saliva on the ground.
For the moment, Shaun allowed a disgusted shiver before turning to the stone beast that seemed to be stalking him. "After us again, huh?" Shaun said loudly, eyes glaring hard into the beady eyes of the Rhyhorn.
The Rhyhorn shook its body, unlatching the pebbles that had clung to its body as it tore through yet another wall. It licked its long white fangs and regarded Shaun with a loud snort. Its long horn jutted out offensively, a sign of dominance, but Shaun was not backing down. With an irritated grunt at Shaun's unrelenting figure, it let loose a thunderous roar.
"Not impressed," Shaun sneered, wiping at his nose. Another roar followed this response, as well as loud bang as Rhyhorn's foot stamped down on the ground. "Riolu, finish this," Shaun ordered, pointing at the stone beast.
"Rio!" Riolu howled, body nearly black and gray from all the mud and dust. It analyzed its foe with sharp, red eyes. With a loud howl that would put any Mightyena to shame, Riolu charged, paws digging up even more dust. Arms coming forward, Riolu jumped high in the air, body twisting into a tiny ball and spinning.
"Ryy," Rhyhorn grunted, stamping the ground irritably, gaze following Riolu's decent. It grinned monstrously and jutted its horn upward. A deep sound reverberated from the beast, and if Shaun had to guess he thought it was laughing.
Riolu came down fast, spinning body giving it speed, and at the last moment it unballed itself and, to Shaun's amazement, spun its body horizontally. Completely missing the sharp horn, Riolu's foot swung out, hitting the beast on the side with its own monstrous force. "Riiiol!" Riolu howled eagerly, snapping happily as its move sent the stone pokemon back in a few staggering steps.
Rhyhorn roared in obvious pain, feet stamping the ground furiously, body jerking back and forth like something possessed. With another loud roar, it leapt forward, heavy feet causing loud stomps to echo around them. "Ry!" Horn aimed forward, Rhyhorn charged with deadly accuracy.
"Move!" Shaun shouted, incredulous and angry. Why was his pokemon standing still?
Riolu huffed angrily, legs shifting gingerly. With a wince, just as the horn was but a foot away, Riolu reached out and wrapped a single paw around it. With a smirk now replacing the grimace, Riolu used the momentum to use Rhyhorn's own force and swung his body over the charging beast. For a moment, overconfident red eyes met furious brown eyes, and in that moment, Riolu smirked in arrogance.
"Hoorr!" Rhyhorn roared, head raised and following Riolu. It tried to butt its head upward, strict body making its move somewhat uncomfortable and stiff, but its long, curved horn managed to graze Riolu's hind leg just before it was safely out of the way. "Nyy!" Rhyhorn bellowed, panting mockingly as Riolu skidded away, tumbling a bit and holding its left side.
"Lur," Riolu moaned, tail curling around his body in anguish.
"Horn!" Rhyhorn snarled, twisting its large body around with much difficulty. Its bulky body certainly made its turns and quick movements slow.
"I don't think so," Shaun hissed at the large pokemon. "Sableye!" he barked, snapping the pokemon at attention. "Night Shade, and I want you to rip its mind apart," he hissed, livid.
"Sa sa sa," Sableye cackled. It rushed forward, the gems on its back glinting unnaturally, and jumped high into the air. "Lyy!" Sableye screeched, purple body landing on Rhyhorn's back, much to its displeasure. It roared in anger and began to buck and jerk, but Sableye's small claws were quick to wrap around one of its mighty spikes.
"Lyy!" Rhyhorn roared, completely enraged as it began to buck and jerk with much more vigor. Its blunt nails dug furiously at the ground and its head jerked everywhere. With a large grunt, it broke a large stone in two with its horn out of frustration and an attempt to rid itself if the little ghost clinging to its back.
"Sa sa sa!" Sableye continued to laugh, tongue lagging out like a spoiled Growlithe and looking as happy as a well fed Eevee. "Lyy!" Sableye cackled in glee, nails digging into the spikes to keep its grip steady.
"Sableye!" Shaun roared, shaking his head in rage. Black hair whipped about his face wildly. "Night Shade now!"
Giving a low whine in disappointment, Sableye bent its head low and its body glowed darkly. Rhyhorn slowed considerably before giving a deep moan, body quivering. It whimpered; a foreign sound that Shaun hadn't heard from it before or even expected it capable of doing. It sounded so pathetic, so tortured.
"Aura Sphere," Shaun said darkly, grinning bitterly.
Riolu stood on two shaking feet, the left one lifting up every other moment. It was swollen and badly damaged. Rhyhorn's rough hide had hurt its kick and the attack with its horn hadn't helped. "Luu," Riolu hummed, palms out. A spark of light appeared between his paws. It faded quickly out of existence. "Ri!" Riolu howled in distress, looking at Shaun worriedly, red eyes wide. It was out of power.
Shaun cursed before turning back Sableye. It was clinging onto Rhyhorn for dear life, clearly enjoying it. The rampaging stone pokemon was running around, the ghostly attack having finally faded. It roared and grunted, breaking rocks with its mighty force and even going so far as sliding around on its side.
"Hor!" Rhyhorn bellowed, smacking its body against the wall in an effort to get the clingy pokemon off of its back. "Ry!" Beady eyes glaring, Rhyhorn turned its attention on Shaun as he gave a bark of vicious laughter, clearly pleased with its nuisance. Its eyes narrowed, and with yet another loud roar it charged.
The dark laughter died, though it did leave an echo, and that only seemed to quicken the stone monsters pace. Shaun choked on his own spit, already scrambling out of the way. Rhyhorn snarled, shaking its head as Sableye hastily applied another Night Shade, but its rage blocked the pain, and using its blunt nails to dig into the ground, it slid forward and used the momentum to turn its body at Shaun's retreating form.
Curse words flowed from Shaun's mouth like a drunken sailor, truly frightened. He ran away as fast as he could, but the large beast was gaining quickly, smashing any obstacle in its way. "Night Shade! Night Shade!" he cried, voice loud. "Stop this damn thing!"
"Sa! Sa!" Sableye cried out hastily, powers increasing with the help of the Ghost Jewel, but it was no use. Rhyhorn ignored the pain, and each stumble wasn't enough to shake it from its purpose. It was coming closer to its trainer, that horn nearly there.
"Riii!" Riolu yowled, lunging forward, body colliding with Shaun's middle and flinging them off to the side. "Ri!" the fighting type squeaked, body still clinging to Shaun's middle as they suddenly found themselves being dragged across the hard ground. Shawn howled in anger and pain. His backpack had been caught on the damn things horn, and now Rhyhorn ran unsurely but still forward.
"Sab!" Sableye shrieked, jumping on Rhyhorn's head and covering its eyes in an effort to stop it in shock. The opposite happened.
"Ryyy!" came the thunderous roar, and Rhyhorn's pace seemed to increase to an incredulous speed for its type. It didn't care that it was blind; it just ran forward with its hot breath in Shaun's face. His body was being dragged mercilessly, yet miraculously missing Rhyhorn's strong feet.
"Io!" Riolu barked, holding on tight with one hand to Shaun's middle and weakly raising a palm. It grimaced, a small light forming in its paw. It was barely anything, smaller than a golf ball even, but it shot out before it could disappear, and that was all that was needed.
With a roar that was more surprised than agonized, Rhyhorn stumbled. Its direction changed, and with the sound of an explosion they had burst through yet another wall, but this time it was different. Light stung their eyes and Shaun went rolling as his pack was finally released as Rhyhorn went sliding as well.
Riolu clung weakly to Shaun's chest and seemed content to just lay there. Shaun, however, coughed furiously and sat up quickly. He hunched over, Riolu still in his lap, and by the time he had finished he realized he was drenched. Wearily, Shaun lifted a bloodied head up to the sky. A bitter grin escaped him.
It was raining.
"Ryy," the Rhyhorn moaned. Shaun glanced over to the stone pokemon. It was lying there, gazing at him furiously. Its body trembled from the rain, and in the brighter light Shaun could make out that its body was far more damaged than he had originally thought. Its blunt nails clawed at the mud for a moment before stilling. The rain pounding against its body must be like bullets.
"Ly," Sableye murmured weakly, lying on its stomach and staring. Its tongue was flayed out on the mud and its white teeth and pink gums were turning brown.
"Iou," Riolu mumbled, still in Shaun's lap.
He spared the pokemon a tired glance before looking back up at the sky, seemingly unconcerned now that the Rhyhorn was down. It was horribly gray. The sky that is, and water fell by the bucket full with fat raindrops. Again he was soaked, but now it seemed like a gift. The mud and dust was washing off, peeling off the remnants of the cave.
His headband was slipping, revealing the gash on his head. Rain pounded on the scab. It stung and felt good at the same time. His whole body felt the same thing, and looking at Riolu, Shaun believed the small pokemon felt the same. Riolu was tiredly licking at the falling raindrops with a greedy expression.
Shaun once again turned his attention back on the Rhyhorn. It was glaring daggers at him and Shaun returned the gesture with cruel glare. Taking a deep breath, Shaun moved Riolu out of his lap and slowly stood. His body was shaking, his clothes were ripped and blood was running freely with the raindrops.
Slowly, Riolu and Sableye stood, though Riolu leaned heavily against Shaun. Rhyhorn watched them resentfully before it too stood, though its bulky body wavered. It seemed to take a great deal of effort just for it to raise its heavy body, especially in its condition and with the rain, but its face betrayed no pain, only pure determination.
They stood in silence, yet only for a moment. As one, laughter, cackles and grunts filled the air, each one filled with rebellion. They had just had a fight to the death, and yet they all survived. In your face, they each seemingly thought. You didn't win because I'm still up.
When their deranged sounds had finally stopped, Shaun felt his body sway dangerously, wanting nothing more than to collapse. Screw that, he thought savagely. Those bastards called the law had thrown him into this world of death and survival and he had f*cking survived. He had done it, so screw them.
"Hor," Rhyhorn grunted as Shaun fumbled at one of the pokeballs that had somehow survived the ordeal. It glared, body stiff. It wouldn't run. It couldn't. It would fall, and neither of them would fall. When push comes to shove, you pushed back, and when you did fall, you stand on your own.
Shaun gave a grim chuckle, finger tapping on the pokeball to enlarge it. "Hey, Rhyhorn," he called tauntingly. It blinked up at him, large feet clenched in the mud with distaste as it stared at him. "Thank for getting me out of there," he finished, tone filled with mockery.
An incensed moan began to fill the air and Rhyhorn managed an infuriated glower before the pokeball Shaun threw bounced off its side. Body turning into red energy, Rhyhorn was sucked into the pokeball. The monster ball fell to the ground, already shaking furiously.
Shaun marched forward and grabbed the shaking device in his hand and held on tight. His face turned red with exertion and ball was ready to slip out of his hand thanks to the heavy rain and from the forceful shaking.
He didn't know how long he stood there, fighting with the shaking pokeball, and truthfully his mind went completely out of it, and by the time it had stopped he wanted nothing more than to curl up right there in the puddle of mud that he was standing in. He stared at the unmoving pokeball in his hand, expression deep. He looked up to the sky, arms falling to his side and wet hair clinging to his face. His body shook and he glared rebelliously. Nothing, nothing, would ever push him down.
And then he howled like the broken rebel that he was.
Oh, hell yeah! He got out of that damn cave at last, and he caught the Rhyhorn to boot. Normally I'd be a bit leery of him obtaining two - sorry, three - relatively rare Pokemon so early on in the story, but I really feel the poor schmuck deserves it. He's got more guts than I originally gave him credit for, and it's really easy to see when his life is put in danger like that.
I liked this chapter. It was a good end to the story arc, as it gives some closure and promises a bit more light in the future. Apt timing too, I must say. Best of luck for your exams.
The little tidbit at the beginning of the chapter was interesting, too. I've been wondering what those segments have to do with the story for a little while now, but I'm content to just wait and see. I imagine you have good reasons.
AN - As usual, thank you all for the reviews and readers. With winter break here I'm hoping to get out a few quick updates. This one was hard to write, and the believability of the situation might be hard, but hopefully I can make these scenes more realistic in the future. And omg is that a chapter title?!
Pokemon battles are a brutal thing. It doesn't take a hardened trainer to realize that. Your first day of being a trainer is perhaps the worst. New trainers always go out with such expectations, believing their pokemon – their starter, brother, friend – would be unstoppable.
When the time finally came, and a tough opponent has finally appeared, the mental onslaught can change even the toughest of trainers, but they don't have to deal with the aftereffects of a battle, not when a pokemon center is within sight.
It is a Nurse Joy, usually, that deal with the physical damage. All nurses, even interns, heal the nastiest of wounds, wounds that are sometimes inflicted by their own trainer. It could turn a person bitter, seeing so many pokemon being brought in just because a cocky trainer thinks that he can take on that highly powerful pokemon or she believes that she can properly care for her pokemon when it's sick without proper training.
People can just be so stupid.
The surprise is quick to disappear, and it is up to the nurse to train their mind to not be too bitter or too kind or too of anything. Every situation is different, and assumptions can destroy a person. Had that young man shot his own pokemon, or had it really been protecting him by some redneck idiot? Had that little girl evolved her pokemon too soon to make it prettier, or had the young baby pokemon come too close to an evolution stone in curiosity?
It was sometimes too hard to tell, and sometimes when a nurse calls the police they sometimes lock away an innocent trainer, and other times when they say nothing a poor pokemon continues to survive under the abusive hand of its trainer. Mistakes are made everyday and everywhere. Still, an action must be taken if even the smallest of discomfort beat at your heart, and that was how Nurse Joy, the head nurse of Granite City, felt at that very moment as a young man, covered head to toe in grime, mud, blood, bruises and was absolutely sopping wet from the pounding rain, came into her center.
She stood up at once, heart hammering as his face turned to hers. It wasn't worn or beaten or even relieved like everyone else she had seen that had come into her center in the very same condition. It was positively murderous, and that's why she made a quick gesture to her assistant to take action if anything were to happen.
He stood behind her silently, fingers twitching toward the phone to call the police and at his own pokeball that contained one of the few guard pokemon the center owned. Just the sheer ferocity on the dark clad trainer was enough to want both him and his manger, Nurse Joy, to throw the boy out. It was only the sign of pokeballs on his belt that appeared just as beaten that made him pause.
Shaun had stormed into the semi large city of Granite. It was a city that had been built where a meteor had fallen so long ago. People say that the meteor gave off certain waves that affected the ground and rock pokemon of that area, and it probably did. It was otherworldly and it was still in the city.
Or at least what remained of it.
In the very center of the several hundred mile ditch that was encompassed by mountains was the remains of the meteorite that had been kept by the discoverers and creators of the city. It was a focal point and served as the mascot of the city in the middle of a park for children.
Of course, Shaun didn't know anything about this. He just made his way into the city with an obvious stagger and rasped for directions at the few people that had been out in the pouring rain. A bit disturbed, a citizen had given directions before shakily asking if Shaun needed any help.
Shaun may have been on the brink of shutting down, but he still wasn't stupid. He was livid, positively livid. He would snap and do something stupid, and not needing to deal with any other drama, Shaun gave a grunt of thanks and made his way to the pokemon center. Thankfully, there were two in the city. One at each entrance/exit to the city, so one near Rocky Hills and the other on the other side that led to a dramatic change of a long, grassy plain that was the complete opposite of the mountain area.
He stormed into the pokemon center with a homicidal air about him. He swayed as soon as the door closed behind him, deafening the outside somewhat, and he looked about warily, almost as if unsure. He was disoriented, but as soon as he found the main desk he strode past the on looking trainers that were lazing about on couches and chairs. Whispers broke out as he all but slammed three dirtied pokeballs on the front desk with a low slam.
"Heal these," Shaun growled, startling the pink haired nurse. His eyes bore into her startled blue eyes. "And…" He paused, wincing with both embarrassment and pain. "I was attacked by Zubat."
Whispered laughter filled the air. Zubat? This tough looking boy had been attacked by Zubat? It was downright embarrassing for any trainer, even a new one.
"And a damn Rhyhorn," Shaun continued that instantly stopped the chuckles. "Or do you expect me to drag myself all the way to a human hospital?"
Nurse Joy jumped as the boy barked out the last sentence. "N-no! Of course not!" She looked the boy over, really taking in how bad he was. A large gash was a little scabbed over on his head, and a few bite marks were visible on his body, but to really know the true damage he would need to be examined. "We have doctors that have been trained to treat both humans and pokemon." Trainers had such a habit of going straight for a pokemon center rather than an actual hospital, preferring to save their pokemon. Ah, loyalty, but for this boy it didn't seem like that in this case.
"Good," Shaun growled, blacking out right in front of the desk.
There was a light shining in his eyes. A bright light that made his head pound in unrelenting agony. Shaun could only groan as the light moved from eye to eye, increasing the pounding like the beating of drums within his very brain.
"Ah, awake," a cool voice said, finally pulling the light away. "I had honestly expected you to be unconscious for at least a few more hours."
Shaun gave a gurgle, choking on his own saliva. Hastily, he swallowed his own spit and rasped out, "Water." A lukewarm glass was shoved into his hands, and despite that the water had probably been sitting there for a while, Shaun downed the whole thing, letting most of it dribble down his chin and onto his chest. It was then that he realized that he was wearing only his blue boxers.
"Clothes," Shaun grunted. "What's going on?" He turned his attention on a brown haired man with a longish beard and large square glasses. The man stared down at him with a particularly pointed nose.
"This is the pokemon center," he explained patiently. "You fell unconscious at the front desk. Nothing to worry about, just fatigue and a small number of Zubat bites. I gather you haven't been bitten before. Their bites tend to leave a poison that can sap ones strength. It's to help them catch their prey with ease, but now that you've been bitten and I've given you an antibiotic Zubat bites shouldn't harm you, less they are given the chance to drain a lot more blood."
Shaun's head was fuzzy, and he could barely keep his mind from zoning out, but he got the gist of it.
"I would suggest," the man continued slowly, "that if you cannot handle Zubat, you should buy as many repels as you can carry."
Shaun sneered as he sat up, rubbing at his forearm, feeling better than before. Still groggy and a little slow, but no longer near what he had felt like. He rubbed at his forehead, finding a scab that stung a little when he pressed down, but the urge to throw up was gone. "Where's my stuff?" he asked gruffly.
The man muttered under his breath at Shaun's rude tone. "By your bedside, if you would look. We took the honor of washing those things you call clothes."
Shaun rolled his eyes and turned to his left, body tensing instantly. By the window, sitting on its haunches, body stiff and face attentive, was a large black dog pokemon with a gray underside and black tribal symbols under its eyes. Its eyes met Shaun's.
"Why is there a Mightyena in here?" Shaun asked darkly, voice low. He didn't want to set off the thing. It was far too attentive to just be hanging out. It was a guard pokemon.
"It is our guard pokemon," the doctor informed Shaun before his gaze moved pointedly to the tracker on his foot. "I know what you are, and I will not take any chances."
Shaun glared; face heating up with sudden embarrassment. He suddenly felt exposed in front of this man, being in only his briefs. He had never had a problem with being nude before, but before someone that judged him so quickly, it was demoralizing. "Screw you," he snarled, already pulling his clothes on with haste. He grabbed his bag and flung it over his shoulder, noting that it was caked in dry mud. Everything else was probably just as worse.
"I see you haven't rehabilitated yourself yet," the doctor said softly, just as Shaun opened the door. He turned back, scowling. The doctor had that sort of look one had when they believed themselves above another.
Without another word, Shaun stormed out and lost himself momentarily. He was in a hallway with rooms on each side of him, but a large EXIT flashed ahead of him. Gratefully, Shaun found himself in the main part of the building that he could fuzzily remember entering. He stared a bit, feeling lightheaded.
Several trainers roamed the large room, either sitting on couches chatting with one another, sitting at chairs and watching the news or just standing around. He recognized at least two kids that he could say had started off with him, and he was sure there were more, but he couldn't really remember anyone.
"Pokemon," Shaun grunted, walking up to the front desk where a pink haired woman sat.
She was twirling a looped ponytail and stared up at Shaun, face scrunched up with confusion for a moment. "Oh! You're that boy that collapsed earlier! I'm surprised that you're already up."
"Yea," Shaun drawled with an uncaring shrug. "Pokemon."
The nurse gave him a shrew look. "Identification." Her tone had become stiff.
Sighing, Shaun dropped his pack on the desk and searched for his pokedex. He didn't notice the nurse frowning as bits of dry mud fell onto the polished wood. "Here," Shaun said, handing the dirty device over. He had been right; everything was disgustingly dirty.
The nurse scanned his pokedex into the computer before looking up with a stiff smile. "If you'll give me just a moment, I shall return your pokemon," she said, handing back his pokedex.
"Thanks," Shaun said gruffly, tone sour.
The nurse stood and left out a door behind the main desk. Passing the time, Shaun tapped his finger nails on the wooden desk and idly listened in on the various trainers behind him. Most were just loafing about, bragging about how many pokemon they had or how many badges they had. A few were talking about what region they haled from, and he could even hear a girl talking about the best breeding techniques between water type pokemon.
Just idle chit chat. Nothing important.
"They call that man a gym leader? Puleease. I didn't even lose a single pokemon."
Shaun's blood was already boiling from just that first word. He recognized that voice. That obnoxious, pathetic, disgusting voice. He swiveled around, hair whipping about from the force. His murderous gaze focused immediately, and as soon as the two locked gazes, Shaun's prey drew back in shock and fright.
Andrew Broderick was paler than snow and looked like a Stantler caught in the gaze of a hunter. And that is exactly what Shaun was like right now. A hunter, a murderer.
"Yo—you're alive?" Andrew gapped, looking shaken. The few trainers that had been lingering around the little snob gazed at the boy with dumbfounded curiosity.
Shaun didn't even say a word. He just lunged, bypassing the pathetic posse that had been hanging on to the boys every word as if he were a god. Body crashing into Andrew's, the two went down. That boy honestly had no muscle, but that was fine with Shaun. His face was a mixture of exhaustion and deranged, and combined together he looked absolutely frightening. Shaun didn't waste even a second. His fist slammed into that spoiled little face, immediately drawing blood.
Andrew yelped, bringing his arms up to protect him as best as possible. The whole audience stood stock still for a moment, in shock by the seemingly random attack. It wasn't until after the third hit to the eye and Andrew's choked high pitched squeal that people leapt into action. Two of the boys that had been following Andrew grabbed Shaun by the shoulders and struck out like an enraged beast. Teeth flashing and fingers curling into claws to fight off the offensive appendages in order to beat this vile thing into the ground.
The boy on the left punched Shaun in the stomach, making him curl in on himself in a gasping mess. The other slammed his fist into Shaun's head, sending him to the ground at last as a mob surrounded him in open curiosity. Still, he tried to kick out, claw out, anything that could strike at any of the bastards.
"Son of basaarhg!" Shaun screamed, fangs digging into his arm. He looked up, vision blurry from rage and exhaustion. A heavily black furred beast of a pokemon was holding him down, teeth reddened with his blood and a savage growl all but vibrating Shaun's body with the power behind it.
Shaun breathed in deeply, body staying impossibly still as his eyes glared at Andrew with the fury of an angry Ursaring being kept away from its child. The boy must have felt some sort of energy force because he flinched away from the look. Or perhaps he felt a healthy dose of fear that Shaun could accuse him of attempted murder.
"Break it up!" a voice barked with the same savageness of the Mightyena. Upon hearing the call, the dark type released Shaun but planted a paw on his back, teeth still glistening in warning with his blood. "What in the name of Mew is going on?" the voice snapped at everyone. Perhaps the largest cop Shaun had ever seen came pushing through the crowd, uncaring that he literally shoved a few kids to the ground. He glared down at Shaun and jerked his head. The Mightyena got up obediently and glared down with the same authoritative look. "Well!" he directed at Shaun.
"Nothing!" Shaun spat, glaring at the blue clad muscled man that had more muscles than a Machoke. "Just kicking the ass of my almost murderer!" he shouted loud enough to get the talkative crowd to go silent in a single heartbeat. In fact, the whole pokemon center went quiet.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Andrew shouted after a beat, face scrunching up in confusion and anger, a dark spot starting to form on his cheek that seemed to only give the image of victim. And damn it, it looked so damn real.
Shaun, nerves shot and mind all but breaking with exhaustion, gave a laugh that would make a crazy man proud. He sat back, arms behind him to give him leverage and hair looking like a rattata nest. Compared to Andrew, the clean cut rich boy, he must look a fool.
"You know what I'm talking about!" Shaun shouted, shoulder's heaving with each breath, not exactly sure if his veins were pumping with raw fury or adrenaline. "The f*cker had a bunch of Cranidos f*cking heave rocks at me and f*cking bury me in the mountain! F*ck!" Shaun screamed, heaving himself to wobbly feet after his curse frenzy was over with and attempted to swing his fist at the boy once more. It was stopped by the over muscled freak.
"Everyone just calm down!" the man barked at the once again talkative crowd. Some looked unsure, some looked at Shaun as if he were crazy and a few were even giving Andrew suspicious looks. "Mightyena, Howl!" the cop ordered when no one quieted down.
Mighteyena, its eyes now burning with a demonic light in its blood colored eyes, raised its muzzle to the air. It too a deep breath, muscles tensing and fur rising like spikes before it released a sound of pure horror that sent shivers colder than frost down everyone's back. It was instantly quiet.
"That is enough!" Machoke cop snarled, grip tightening on Shaun's forearm as he hauled him away from Andrew. Once everyone seemed to have become frozen on the spot, Machok cop spoke into his transceiver. "I need backup now," he spoke gruffly, tone indicating that he wanted that backup now. "You," Machoke cop pointed at Andrew, "stay where you are."
Andrew looked completely affronted. "He attacked me!" Andrew snapped, pointing at Shaun.
"And now he's accused you of murder," Machoke cop barked back. "And I take every accusation seriously. We're taking this downtown."
Shaun grinned a feral grin. "You're f*cked," he hissed, grin becoming even more deranged before he felt his knees collapse from under him.
The two had been taken down to the station in two separate cars. Shaun had been saddled with Machoke cop, whom he learned was called Carlos, and was led in cuffs. It pissed him off to no end, but as he was the one who instigated the fight, and also had that damn manacle on his foot, he was the one they chained, not Andrew, the guy who was just accused of murder.
"Sorry, kid," Carols grunted, sitting Shaun down gently on a cold metallic seat in one of those typical observation rooms. "Rules are rules." He nodded at Shaun, indicating his hands handcuffed behind his back.
"Funny," Shaun spat, shaking his hair around wildly, "I didn't see that f*cktard in cuffs either."
Carlos's face darkened. "I think," he said deeply, voice slow as if Shaun were stupid, "that if you want to help your case you had best keep your trap shut if you feel the need to be disrespectful."
Shaun glared, wrists pulling circles at his cuffs that would most likely blister if he didn't stop. The sound of the chain scratching at itself was the only noise for the next minute.
"Now tell me everything," Carlos said gently, startling Shaun. He was not used to be talking to in such a tone by a cop. Well, a cop that wasn't Taylor.
Shaun stared, wrists finally coming to a halt in their effortless fight against his restraints. He looked away, a bitter frown on his face. "Does it matter?" he spat.
"You tell me," Carlos answered. "You just accused a kid of trying to murder you and attacked him in front of a crowd. From what we gathered from the witnesses all it looks like is some crazed punk starting a fight, but that's not your side of the story, and if you want to get away without assault charges and, oh, I don't know, actually put a murderer away then you had better talk."
Shaun swallowed hard. "He and a bunch of other f*ckers attacked a bunch of Cranidos," Shaun began slowly, finally offering up his bit. "I don't know who they were, but they had a Mudkip and a Pichu, I think, and some sort of tan pokemon. Sort of like a Mankey but its butt was on fire and—"
"A Chimchar?" Carlos interrupted, standing abruptly enough to startle Shaun.
"I don't know," Shaun snapped. "I don't know the name of every damn pokemon. There was some other kid too, though I don't know what he had. An ugly girly pokemon or something," Shaun said with a sneer. "It was too far away."
"Hold on," Carlos said, raising his hand to stop Shaun. He peered into Shaun's eyes, searching for truth. "Are you sure there was another kid?" he demanded to know.
"Yea," Shaun said heatedly. "They were all boys. Sissy pathetic boys that lacked anything even remotely close to balls that attacked from the opposite side of a mountain." Shaun glared for a moment before he realized something. "Wait," he said slowly, "what do you mean by another kid?"
"I mean another kid as in more than three," Carlos responded, folding his arms and piercing Shaun with a dark gaze.
"There were five!" Shaun shouted, voice exhausted. "That dick Andrew and four others!"
Carlos stared hard for a moment. "Two days ago we received a call that a boy was seen falling into the mountain."
"That was me!" Shaun bellowed. "I fell into that damn mountain thanks to those bastards!"
"And that there were only three culprits," Carlos finished, ignoring Shaun's rant. They were silent for a moment.
Finally, "Two days ago?" Shaun croaked. He coughed loudly, cuffs clinking softly. "Only three…" He looked down, lost. "Told you it wouldn't have mattered," he mumbled.
The look on Carlos's face was enough to be considered murderous. "Would- wouldn't have mattered!" he bellowed, standing high. "You stupid boy, of course it matters because we might now have some phony story with three innocents locked up!" He glowered down at Shaun. "If you are who you say you are, that means we've got a missing trainer right here in security."
Shaun looked up wearily, taking everything in about this cop. He continued to rant about how stupid Shaun was to think there wouldn't be an investigation just because Shaun thought he was some 'streetwise punk' or 'some little sh*t who didn't believe cops would do their jobs' and the whole lot. What did Shaun think this was, a movie? Hell no.
"Mightyena, watch him," Carlos finally growled, releasing the dark type pokemon from its pokeball that was attached above his heart. With a burst of white light and a shake of its mane, the Mightyena let out a small yip and sat on its haunches. "I'll be back," Carlos growled. "With the same prosecutors as well."
Shaun just watched the man go.
Dick Transvell, an aging man with hair becoming as white as snow and a personality even colder looked up from his polished elk wood desk. Papers were stacked in perfect order, save for the few in front of him, and his golden nameplate seemed to gleam with warning to any who entered the office. He looked up, face set in an ever present grim expression.
"What is it?" His voice was gruff and each time he spoke the wrinkles on his face seemed to darken his face even more. Pale, cold eyes stared deep into Carlos's own.
"There was a scuffle down at the pokemon center, sir," Carlos said, back straight and staring his boss deep in the eye. "And I believe I found our missing hills kid."
"Kids are always disappearing on that mountain," the captain said roughly. "Which one?"
"The one from two days ago. The one we got a call about three seventeen year old boys committing murder." Carlos's voice was grim.
"And we caught those boys, didn't we?" The captain's voice was smooth like poison. "Had a psychic find the evidence and lock them up. You saying we got their victim?"
"Yes, sir. And that's no—."
"Alive?" the captain interrupted.
"Yes, sir," Carlos said, teeth gritting together. "And the boy cla—."
"Then they should thank Mew their sentence will no longer read murder, but rather attempted murder." Dick looked furious. "Have Cartel sent in with that psychic of his. The damn lawyers will be over this."
"Sir, one more thing," Carlos said quickly, trying to hide his irritation. "The boy I have with me, Shaun, said there were five culprits rather then three."
The atmosphere became so tense that it felt more like a physical overbearing presence rather than a mental one.
Dick rose silently from his desk. "Five?"
Carlos felt his ire rise. He hated it when people talked to him like he was child. "Yes, sir. That's the reason why I brought him. He got in a fight with another boy at the pokemon center. At first I thought it was just a battle gone wrong, but the moment he accused the boy of murder – and that's no small accusation, sir – I hauled him in for questioning."
Dick, who acted so much like his namesake Carlos just wanted to punch him, narrowed his unforgiving eyes at Carlos. "Questioning? Carlos, last I checked you were demoted to security guard, and last I checked on that security guards don't have authority to use the interrogation room."
Carlos felt his cheeks burn.
"And as for your boy, your Shaun Tess," Dick ground out the name with obvious dislike, "I already had some real cops look up his info the moment you hauled his punk ass into your car." Carlos stood his ground, simmering. "He's a rehab reject," Carolos continued, voice laced with distaste. "And has a rather large history of violence. You know what I heard when I informed Professor Leef of Shirk City?" They were silent for a moment. "Well, go on, Carlos, since you're so keen on having an investigation, ask me what I heard."
Carlos, his face completely enflamed, kept his voice deep and neutral. "And what would that be, sir?"
"Well, Carlos, instead of talking with the professor like I wanted, I ended up talking with Commissioner Broderick, head of the Department and Regulations of Trainers United."
Carlos frowned. That man was in charge of regulating the laws of who exactly could have trainer licenses and how many pokemon could be carried or even allowed to be owned even if said trainer wasn't battling or was taking a break from training. "It's strange that you mention that, sir," he cut in quickly, "but the boy I have on watch that has been accused of murder is Andrew Broderick, nephew of –"
"I know who that boy is," the chief interrupted, voice laced with distaste. "Unlike you, Heinson radioed in before coming to the station, and unlike you we are already having him questioned by professionals." Carlos was so red in the face it was amazing he wasn't giving off smoke. "Carlos, if you can't even handle a simple security job you aren't qualified for a murder case. I want you to return that drooling dark pokemon of yours and take a few days off. When I figure out what to do with you I'll give you a call. That is all."
Carlos could only stand there, unable to believe what he was just heard.
Chief Transvell frowned. "You are dismissed."
Swallowing, Carlos gave a curt nod and exited, vision growing fuzzy with rage and confusion. It wasn't until the cop had shut the door behind him did Transvell look down at the papers on his desk. It was a bank statement showing the recent deposit by a Mr. Broderick…
Shaun just stared up at the blue suited man that continued to give him a condescending smile with a bland look. Idly he rubbed the mightyena on the head with his cuffed hands, getting a happy pant from the dark type. He found it ironic that he hated growlithe's but didn't mind this beast. They were both dogs and both usually belonged with cops but maybe it was because mightyena's didn't salivate all over someone just to get attention.
The door behind Shaun opened and the man – his interrogator that called himself Mr. Weaver – frowned. "It's about time, Carlos." His voice was condescending, almost as if he couldn't believe he had to talk to someone below him. "I need your mutt out of the room. Even you should know that dark types mess with a psychic or is that a little above your comprehension level?"
Shaun glanced behind him and took in the cop that had hauled him in. He looked like someone had just told him his mom had died.
"Hardly, Weaver, but I would have thought you would have the common sense to have someone fetch my pokeball. I was just in a meeting with the chief, and surely you should know our good boss wouldn't mind an interruption if it would speed up an interrogation process, or is that simply too much for you to comprehend?"
Shaun gave out a bark of laughter and grinned up at the snooty business suit wearing man. It must have been hideous because Weaver gave a dark scowl to the both of them.
"Keep your head on," Carlos continued, voice going low with resentment. He pulled out a red and white pokeball and returned his pokemon with a beam of red light. He turned, clapped Shaun on the shoulder twice, surprising the boy, and left with a call of, "Stay strong, kid."
Shaun stared dumbly. His rage had finally left him and it left his body completely drained. He wanted to sleep so badly…
Mr. Weaver pulled out his own pokeball. It popped open with its classic burst of white light and formed one of the strangest creatures Shaun had ever seen. It was tall, skinny and well formed in the way someone might draw a busty cartoon woman with perfect curves only it was green and white and had hypnotic red eyes.
"This is my gardevoir," Mr. Weaver said, gesturing to the strange pokemon. "She will be helping me with my questioning." Shaun watched the pokemon draw nearer, noting that she didn't so much as walk as float with her dress like skin fluttering behind her as if there were an invisible wind.
"What, need a pokemon to come up with your questions?" Shaun sneered.
M. Weaver just gave a small smile and nodded to the green and white pokemon. "Gaar," Gardevior murmered, hands quickly finding their way onto either side of Shaun's head.
"What the hell do you – !" His tongue felt heavy and there was a weight holding down his arms. He couldn't move, couldn't speak and certainly couldn't do anything but stare into those hypnotic red eyes.
"Part of the Rehab Reject program is that whenever a reject has come in for questioning is that we use psychic pokemon to read your mind," Mr. Weaver commented. Some bit of the fury must have leaked through because the bastard just gave him another one of those condescending smiles. "Now tell me, Mr. Tess, have you taken any drugs since you've been introduced to the world of pokemon training?"
Shaun gagged, vision going dark before memories began to play out like a movie. He watched himself get off the bus, yell at some kid and eat with his pokemon for the first time. His memories flew faster than he could even pay attention though they did seem to slow when he smoked or at random little intervals that the psychic pokemon was interested in.
"Vo," Gardevior sang, shaking her head no. 'He has not broken any of the laws that was subjected to his file.' Shaun twitched, eyes going wide at the sound of the psychic voice. He had never heard such a thing.
"Really? Well, how have you treated your pokemon?"
Again memories flowed into his mind. They flashed almost too fast so watch properly and only slowed once it skipped to Shaun inside the mountain. There were too many skips and different points of memory and it certainly wasn't in order.
'It is still too early to decide if immediate action should be taken to removing his pokemon. He has not hit them and in facts seems very against abuse. It should be noted that he did kill Zubat inside Rocky Hills not for food but for self defense. Trainer Tess has also come into possession of a Rhyhorn that may be too high of a level to be controlled at this point.'
Weaver nodded. "I'll have someone contact the next town so that they are aware that he may have a rampaging pokemon."
"Fu…cker," Shaun breathed out, body straining to fight off this invisible hold on him. The rage had come back. "What… uhg." He couldn't talk anymore without his tongue falling out of his own mouth. Gardevoir, clearly having pity on him, moved him into a more comfortable position on the chair.
"What about the murder case against you is what I'm assuming you're asking," Weaver said with a slight chuckle. "Yes, I was made aware of that little scuffle of yours in the pokemon center." He leaned over Shaun, eye to eye and Shaun could do nothing but stare blankly with nothing but rage coursing through his very being. "The boy you accused was seen at the pokemon gym building, recorded by visual and audio and seen by a large number of people at the same time of your supposed death. Sorry kid, but you better grow a few brain cells before trying to make an easy buck."
It was at that moment the rage finally took over. Body twitching, heart beating and blood pumping Shaun broke away from the psychics grasp, fist flying and smacking in the that damn smile and sending the bastard to the floor. It was quick and it was dirty and Shaun loved the three seconds he was able to laugh maniacally before a psychic hold all but crushed his mind and conscious.
So! I've been lazy for a while, but I return to an absolute treat. The whole Rhyhorn situation is fantastic as a plot device: it necessitates a crash course in Training, a burst of creative thinking, a bit of exposition... Really, I have to congratulate you on coming up with it; it drives Shaun's story onward perfectly.
Sableye's also great. I mean, I love Sableye so I'm biased, but its whole personality is wonderful, and the fact that I can like it so much means it's been written well. So, further congratulations on that.
However, as ever, there are a few minor things that struck me about these last few chapters.
It struck me about here that Shaun has three Pokémon already, which seems a remarkably fast rate of acquisition to me. Wouldn't it be more advisable for him to slow down? Having read ahead, I see there's the possibility that the Rhyhorn might be taken away from him, which would solve this issue, but it's something to think about. Of course, Shaun didn't have much choice but to catch these Pokémon, but one of the great driving forces in OT fics (which this kind of is, in the loosest sense) is the anticipation of the catching of new Pokémon. Though that's only half the focus of the story, the other being Shaun's battle with society, I think the narrative would still lose some of its impetus if he keeps catching them this fast and ends up with a full team within the next ten chapters.
And... I think that's it. Once again, I have to congratulate you on producing something of this standard. I'm quite glad I missed four or five chapters in a row; reading them all in one go made for a very welcome Christmas present.
As ever, I'll be watching and eagerly awaiting more.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World * The Rocket Case * The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There * The Beastman * Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol * Snow * Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon * A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
@Cutlerine - As usual thank you so much for the feedback. I've noticed that I've been putting words that mean something completely strange and shouldn't fit a lot lately. I think I've been just adding words that sound right in my mind and probably making up words. I apoligize very much for this and will definitely try and avoid this by rereading more than just twice.
"We took the honor of washing those things you call clothes" - I think this just differs from place to place. I've heard both phrases but have read and heard "honor" a lot more than "liberty" in my life.
For capitalizing pokemon names I've been changing it up and then going back a few times. To tell the truth I was really unsure if I should have them capitalized or not as I've read a lot of people complaining about it or liking it. I decided to go with capitalizing only if I am calling them by their names.
I am just really bad with apostrophes. :/ It is the most frustrating thing for both myself and the reader. All I can do is offer apologies and continue to get better.
As usual, I thank all my readers and reviewers. I have the next chapter complete and will release it tomorrow and the next one after that is nearly complete. It just has a few problems and kinks that make it hard to write.
Gym Attempts and Shattered Minds
His head was broken.
The psychic force had all but shattered his mind in that split second. If the psychic pokemon had been aiming for anything other than unconsciousness he would have become a vegetable. It's true, the doctor told him so.
"You're quite lucky, Mr. Tess. Anything stronger and you wouldn't be of sound mind or even aware."
"Hope that ass can't see for week's outta that eye," Shaun hissed, wincing a bit as a spike of pain shot through his skull. He brought the ice pack to his head, relaxing in the chair of the small medic room. He was still at the station and was 'lucky he wasn't being charged with assault' or some bullshit.
"What about that punk Andrew?" Shaun demanded. "He tried to fucking murder me!"
The man currently dabbing at the teeth wounds on his shoulder from the mightyena at the pokemon center sighed. "Confidentiality," he said, voice tired, almost as if he had too much on his mind.
Shaun narrowed his eyes at the man. He had a buzz cut with the beginning of a beard on his white face. The brown fuzz signified that the man hadn't been home for a while or hasn't had enough time to properly take care of himself. He scowled and averted his eyes, only to see the same tired look on two passing female cops. They all looked exhausted, and was that shame in that dark look of theirs?
"If I were you," the man continued, "I would forget this ever happened and focus on this little journey of yours. Believe me, you need to focus and have all the luck in the world."
Shaun drew away quickly, bandage almost coming off from the man's small grip. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" he snarled, glaring into hazel eyes.
"Don't try and play dumb, kid." The voice was as tired as ever. "We both know this rehab reject thing this a joke." And now the eyes were averted, ashamed and filled with pity. "So stupid, sending people like you on this screwball of a journey."
Shaun was unrelenting with his glare, fury trying to blow the man's face up or something, but he just shoved his washed black shirt over his head and stormed out. He fumbled with his belt as he brushed rudely past the onlookers and out of the station. They had oh so nicely given him back his pokemon.
"Fuuuck," Shaun breathed, eyes wide and hands grasping his hair and pulled. His head felt like it would split in two. At that moment he loathed psychic type pokemon. He had already hated cops, so now he had another thing right up there on his list to hate. Reading his mind, invading his privacy. "Screw you!" Shaun yelled, middle finger high in the air and pointed at the station. The people around him paused, staring at him in shock, bemusement, disgust and a whole array of other emotions that Shaun didn't give a shit about. "Taxi!" he roared, waving angrily as he neared the street.
It passed him by.
"Son. Of. A. Bitch." Shaun glared at the offending car. Whatever, Granite Town was not a goddamn town, it was a freaking city with large buildings and skyscrapers and all sorts of big time city bullshit stuff. So there had to be more. "Taxi!" he roared once more, waving violently as another one came driving down.
It passed him by.
He spat to the side, huffing, too angry to vocalize his anger. Finally, giving up and realizing that no one would pick up someone as livid looking as he was he stalked away, ignoring the people staring and the towering presence of the police station with its paid off cops and psychic pokemon.
It took an hour to find the right subway to get to the gym. He wanted out of this damn city and he wanted it now, and the only way he could do that was get the badge. Thankfully the money in his trainer account was accessed from his pokedex. All it took was a quick scan and bam – done. If he didn't have the worst migraine in the history of forever and had been thinking straight he would have looked into how much he had and take a moment to think about the necessities he really needed to buy.
Instead the hour long subway made its way to the middle of the city and he stalked off and up the stairs to the outside world. The stairs smelled like piss and it only increased his agitation.
"Hey, you know where the gym is?" He decided the best way to find it was just to ask. He had already asked and they told him his stop had been Quartz (was this town named after every damn stone?) and that it was only a few minutes walk.
The woman he asked, startled by the rude tone, blinked at him slowly and stared, seemingly thinking about whether or not she should answer him. It seemed she decided the best way to get rid of him was to just tell him what he wanted to know. "Straight down two blocks," she gestured. "There're a few restaurants and once you hit Persian Licks it'll be there on the right."
"Thanks." It was bit out and forced but Shaun didn't care. He would never see that woman again. Hell, she hadn't even heard since she was already walking away before it even left his lips.
He took off down the road, feeling sick with all the noise and activity. It looked as if he were in the busier part of the city. There seemed to be just as many shops jam packed into the area as there were people. Fancy, colorful shops blinded him as pushed through, each one selling some amazing item for pokemon or human, clothing, food and even rocks, though since the town revolved around stones and granite and all sorts of earthy metal whatever it wasn't too surprising.
When Shaun had finally made his way to the gym he didn't bother to study at its looks. He stormed in, fury radiating off of him in waves. His appearance was probably horrifying – a half dead trainer with a look that clearly meant murder. The few people that were standing about backed up, watching warily as he all but stood over the receptionist.
"Gym. Now!" he barked. His eyebrows scrunched together and his eyes were wide as he spat out the words, looking more and more like the deranged hoodlum people perceived him as.
The woman, a short brunette with piss color eyes hidden behind square glasses, jumped. She gapped for a moment, clearly taken aback. "Ap-appoin-ment?" she squeaked.
His face scrunched up. You had to make an appointment for these damn things? He didn't have the time for that sort of bullshit. "I don't have time for that," he snapped. "I need to get the hell out of this damn city and do this stupid journey you people keep pushing on me!" By the end he was shouting, shoulders sagging with exhaustion and anger. He didn't want to be here, damn it.
"What, exactly, going on here?" A smooth voice cut through the whispering the other trainers were making as they stared at Shaun in disgust and shock. They couldn't believe how rude this person was, storming into a gym like that.
Shaun turned, face dark. His hair flopped over his eyes and he angrily brushed them away, revealing dark circles and eyes pink. "Who are you?" he demanded, teeth gritting. He felt like a wild animal and wanted to kick and punch and even bite shit.
The man had steel colored hair and strong chin. His hard face didn't have a single wrinkle and while he certainly wasn't young he certainly wasn't old despite the odd color hair. Shaun had only ever seen the older crowd with that sort of color but this man looked maybe late thirties. He wore dark green pants with combat boots with a tool belt and a simple black shirt with the large red logo of Aggron Rust, a clothing company that was simply AR in fancy lettering.
He frowned heavily, eyes hard and slightly scarred muscular arms folding as he surveyed the enraged teen. "The name is Tyre." There was the curve of a sneer. He looked Shaun up and down before it rested on his left ankle. His pants had ridden up and the tracer was visible. His eyes softened for a brief moment only to harden once more. "And I am the gym leader." His voice was harsh and sort of scratchy, almost as if he had been breathing in dust for a long time. "I don't take kindly to brats like you storming into my gym and harassing my employees."
"I'm here for a badge," Shaun stated, ignoring everything the man just said. There was a desperate gleam in his eyes.
Tyre sighed. "If you want to battle me you have to make an appointment. I get challenges all the time. You honestly think just anybody can walk in and I'm free? What the hell makes you think you're so special? And until show a little respect I have the right to deny your request."
"You can't do that!"
"I can," was the morose reply.
"Like hell you can!" Shaun roared, raising his shoulders as he glared at the gym leader. The man was maybe two inches taller than him so he had to look up a bit. "You think I really wanna be here?" he demanded loudly, face dripping sweat and his head pounding.
Tyre's face darkened. "If you don't want to battle a gym leader for the respect and strength then get ou– "
"Yea, like I can really do that!" Shaun snarled. "You people just can't throw guys like me into this damned test only to deny me a fucking badge!" He pointed at the gym leader, body heaving. "You can't," he repeated, breathing heavy and voice finally quieting. "You can't throw people like me who don't even want to be here into this world and then toss me out or give me some damn time limit. I already have one. Get eight stupid metal disks before the year is up or go to prison. How fucked up is that?"
The area was silent. They all stared at the exhausted teen, not entirely sure what to do.
"Come with me." Shaun jumped. It had been so quiet and Tyre's tone had changed. He stared at the gym leader as he walked away, only to turn and say, "Well, are you coming?"
For the first time Shaun felt weary. All the adrenaline and tough guy shit was leaving him. He followed slowly, unaware of all the following eyes. He rubbed at his throbbing head as he walked into some sort of arena. There was a balcony of seats above the professional battle stadium and there were a few people sitting there, chatting amiably to one another only to lean forward in interest as the two entered.
"I naturally assume from your theatrics you have yet to challenge a single gym leader?" Tyre called to Shaun on the other side.
Dropping his bag to the ground Shaun warily rubbed at his head, wishing he could just crawl in a hole and get away from all this. "No," he answered shortly.
Tyre nodded knowingly. "And how many pokemon?"
"How many days have you been training?"
Shaun frowned. "What?"
The man sighed. "When did you receive a starter pokemon and trainer license?"
"Uh, what's the date?"
A few chuckles were heard from the small crowd up above. The gym leader and Shaun ignored them. "It is the fifth of November," he said, voice not at all mocking. In fact it sounded as if he understood that people in the training business often lost track of time and what day it was.
Shaun grimaced. How long had he been in that mountain? "I started on the first." God, five days already and he could barely remember how they had even passed. And to think he had to travel all over the stinking region before November first of next year.
Tyre nodded thoughtfully. "You will use all three against my one. If you can defeat my pokemon you receive a badge. Simple enough?"
Tyre frowned. "Let us hope that this journey of yours teaches you some manners." Shaun only made a disgusted face. Snorting, the gym leader rolled a blue and white sphere in his hand for a moment before tossing it into the air.
It soared high into the air, spinning for a brief moment before it burst open and released the pokemon within with a blast of white light. The figure that began to form was somewhat small, had a narrow head, one long sharp claw per hand that appeared to be a narrow wing and a long fin on its back like a sharpedo. It flexed its arms and shifted its spiky blue legs. Yellow piercing eyes glared at Shaun before it opened its shark like mouth and let out a guttural roar that sent shivers down the backs of all within the stadium.
Shaun stared, wide eyed at the beast.
"This town was created when nomads saw a meteor crash to earth," Tyre commented. "The meteor is still in this town for all to see the history and understand there are things outside of just this one planet. It had a strange effect on the earth based pokemon that had steel, ground or rock elements. And because of that I specialize in those three elements. You clearly aren't a foreigner from one of those simple regions that are based around only one element or only one set of levels. You know that our region is hard, and while that may be a set back for someone who doesn't wish to be on this journey, the harshness of our region will help you grow far more than any of the other main regions could. Now release your pokemon."
Swallowing, Shaun felt at his belt, only to pause. Which one was which? ****. "Uh, crap!" Grabbing the middle ball he tossed it high, watching it spin before it burst open and released the hunched form of his Sableye.
The pokemon quirked its head, gem eyes glinting and razor sharp teeth shining with drool. It opened its mouth wide and stretched out its long tongue. "Saaa!" it crooned, impish chuckles escaping it. It still wore the makeshift necklace with the ghost gem.
The land shark pokemon snorted and stomped forward, clearly unimpressed by the strange display. "Gaabite!" it roared, arms stretched out and sharp wings pointed towards the gem stealing pokemon.
"Interesting find," Tyre commented. "You must have travelled deep into the mountain to get a sableye."
"Unfortunately," Shaun muttered.
Tyre's eyes flashed for a moment before he gave his pokemon his full attention. "Gabite, start off with Sand Tomb."
The blue beast grinned widely, sharp teeth glinting. It raised its single left claw high into the air. With a glare with it yellow eyes it slammed the claw down into the ground, breaking it and sending energy through the earth. The ground shifted in a way that even Shaun felt it and, with a loud bang, the ground beneath Sableye burst up and a miniature sandstorm swirled around the purple pokemon.
"Sab!" the imp creature cried out, trying to stray away from the swirling vortex, only to hiss in pain as it brushed up against the sharp sand. "Ly! Ly!" it called out, looking back at Shaun, clearly waiting for some sort of help or command.
"Just break out of it!" Shaun yelled. Crap, crap, crap. What were its attacks again? He looked over his struggling pokemon as it clawed at the vortex. "Jump out and Scratch!" At the barked out command Sableye gave a startled twitch. Sneering, it instead opened its mouth and put its head right into the vortex, swallowing the harsh attack. The swirling sand went right into its mouth. "Son… son of a bitch…" Shaun watched, almost bemused, as his pokemon literally swallowed the attack.
"La!" Sableye called triumphantly as it turned to Shaun, raising a claw into the air in victory only to cry out. In a blur like speed the gabite had Sableye pinned to the ground, its single sharp claws scratching at the gems. "Sablyye!" Sableye yelped, scratching furiously at the draconic head as it nibbled at his chest.
"Shit," Shaun swore, ignoring Tyre's warning look at his language. "Ah, uh, Night Shade!" he finally shouted, remembering at least something.
With a deranged hiss, the gems used as eyes glowed an ominous grey. The gabite, its mouth still nibbling at the gems, paused for a moment, its yellow eyes going wide. With a jolt it jumped off with a loud yowl. It shook its head wildly and gripped the strange jet like horns on the side of its head and gave a loud whimper.
"Bitch stole my necklace!" Shaun shouted, pointing at the gem necklace hanging on one of the sand sharks spikes.
"Slyy!" Sableye hissed in outrage, jumping up and down in a tantrum at having its treasure stolen.
"Gabite are known for collecting and stealing shiny things such as jewelry and even trash," Tyre said, folding his arms disapprovingly. "And unless you clean up your language I'm cancelling this battle."
Shaun scowled. "Another Nigh Shade," he ordered, voice deadly.
With a demonic hiss Gabite was once more shaking its head in pain, eyes squeezing shut and mouth gapping as it tried to fight the mental onslaught. "Gite," it hissed back once the onslaught had stopped. Its eyes snapped open and it spread its arms with a guttural roar. "Gaabite!"
Sableye, clearly intimidated, backed up in a defensive position. Its mouth was open as it panted and for the first time Shaun noticed that its entire mouth was raw and bleeding, most likely from the eaten ground attack.
"Gabite, finish this. Use Dragon Rage."
Dragon what? "Another Night Shade!" Shaun barked.
His pokemon reacted quickly, its eyes glowing as it glared down the sand shark. The gabite winced visibly but now with a command it ignored the attack. Its jaw opened wide, purple and blue fire burning inside of its mouth. With a deep breath it blew out in a blast of swirling draconic flames. It shot out in a beam like state and blasted right into Sableye where it erupted into dark purple flames. It burned away at the ghostly hide and initiated shrieks of pure pain from the smaller pokemon.
The light burned at Shaun's eyes and his head throbbed. He turned away, holding his head in his hands and fell to his knees. He shut his eyes, wondering if he would vomit. He didn't, and when he finally looked up Tyre was striding forward, a worried expression taking over his usual look of disapprove.
"Back off!" Shaun snapped, wiping his sweaty face with his arm and setting a glare on his face. "I still have two more!" Fumbling for his pokeball – and almost dropping it twice – he managed a shaky "Return." Sableye, lying face down with his mouth wide open and oozing blood and saliva, was transformed into a beam of light and returned to the monster ball.
There was a heavy frown of the gym leader's face. "I think we need to stop," he said slowly, "before you end up more hurt than you already are. Your head… you were attacked by a psychic?"
Shaun made what sounded like a hissing noise before dropping Sableye's poke ball on his bag and throwing a random poke ball into the air. It spun in an arc before it burst open. The blinding flash irritated Shaun's vision but he stood anyways, ignoring it. With the same frown Tyre retreated back to his spot and watched the bulky form of Rhyhorn appear.
The large rock monster blinked slowly, eyes staring down the gabite with beady eyes, mouth already drooling and teeth glinting. It gave a disdainful snort and looked about, grunting as it took in its surroundings.
"Another interesting find," Tyre mused. "How deep in the mountain were you?"
"Charge it!" Shaun yelled, not hearing a thing. He didn't know any of the beasts attack but if a simple 'punch it!' worked for Riolu it should work for this pokemon, right.
Rhyhorn snarled and spun around, glaring at Shaun. It jutted its horn up in anger and stomped the ground. It let out a baleful roar, nearly deafening the audience and nearly sending Shaun into the world of unconsciousness, before it charged, its footsteps sounding like thunder.
Shaun moaned, sinking to the ground. He felt like he could no longer care if he was in the world of the living. His head hurt too much, he didn't want to be here and this was such bullshit.
Rhyhorn was charging like a rage filled demon, feet creating small creases in the ground, saliva dripping as it stared hungrily at Shaun and red eyes wide. It was getting close, the audience talking loudly and some even screaming in shock at the display. There were of course instances that a pokemon sometimes turned on the trainer, but to see one in a gym battle with such a creature? Would this boy even survive?
"GABITE!" With a roar just as loud and an explosion that literally destroyed the earth, Rhyhorn shot through the air, the ground below it erupting in lava and large boulders. Gabite was standing on all fours, two claws dug into the ground and yellow eyes glowing with power as it controlled the blast.
The rock horned pokemon flew high, chips of its body falling apart, and fell to the ground in a loud crash that created a good sized hole. It was unconscious.
Shaun leaned back on the ground, eyes half lidded. Had he really just seen that? He glanced away watching the gym leader talking on his cell phone in quick, hurried whispers to his dangerous pokemon. The lava was cooling already and hardening. The heat in the gym had risen slightly but was returning to normal rather fast.
"Re-return," Shaun muttered, feeling bitter.
"That's enough." Tyre was once more marching towards Shaun. Behind him the assistant from behind the desk in the main lobby of the gym was running after the gym leader. There was a hassled expression on her face as she handed Tyre a pink and white cherish ball. He took it without even a glance, far too focused with the sick teen on his floor.
Shaun grit his teeth. "On-one more! Damn it, I can't lose!"
"It's over, kid." He tossed the different monster ball into the air. It burst open and formed a rather plump pokemon. It was pink with sort of frills as large ears, a stubby tail and wide smile. It looked up at its trainer before glancing down at Shaun. The smile disappeared and was replaced with a look of worry. "Chansey, the boy has been attacked by a psychic. I want you to heal his mind."
Up above on the balcony some people had taken out there pokedex's or cell phones and were recording everything, muttering to one another.
"Back off!" Shaun snarled, quickly dropping his last poke ball. It rolled on the ground pathetically, still just as dusty and old looking as when he had first received it, and burst into a bright flash of white light.
Blinking large red eyes Riolu appeared and surveyed the area, arms flexing in preparation. It noticed Shaun on the ground and it barked in worry. "Ri! Riolu!" It ran at Shaun, paws reaching out to grab his trainer and find out what was wrong but Shaun's hand shot out and pushed the blue furred pokemon back.
"Fight," he grit out. "That thing." He pointed at the gabite. It had been left standing awkwardly, shifting a bit as it didn't know what to do with the makeshift necklace still in its mouth.
"Rio," Riolu murmured, unsure as it took in Shaun's weary form. The dark teen was sitting on the ground, face with wet with sweat, hair falling over his eyes and hands gripping his head. "Lu," he tried to plead, taking another step toward his trainer.
"Do what I say!" Shaun roared, finally snapping.
The blue furred pokemon jumped back, the black appendages lifting as it stared at Shaun in shock. Its red eyes narrowed and gave a disgusted sniff. "Ro," Riolu spat, huffing. With a quick twist it was speeding past Tyre and the chansey toward the land shark pokemon.
"That is enough!" Tyre roared, patience finally gone. "This battle is now forfeit!"
"Be-beat it!" Shaun snarled. No, this battle couldn't be over. He had to finish this!
"Rio!" Riolu yelled. The black appendages were stiff as it took in Shaun's rage. With a loud shout the small fighting type jumped high, fist out as it fell towards Gabite.
The dragon pokemon sneered. With a simple slashing movement it struck Riolu as he fell near and sent him bouncing across the ground. "Bite gab," Gabite huffed, rolling its eyes at the weaker pokemon.
Shaun watched, whatever bit of hope he had left fading. "No," he hissed. "No!" Tyre finally reached Shaun and hauled the teen up.
"Chansey, Heal Pulse," he murmered, staring at Shaun worriedly.
"Get away!" Shaun shouted, shoving the man off of him. "I don't want you people messing with me!"
At the sound of his trainers' distress, Riolu heaved himself up, gritting his teeth in agony. That claw was strong. "Luior rio!" Riolu barked at the gym leader, growling loudly as he ran once more at the dragon pokemon.
Tyre sighed, watching the display. Sometimes the loyalty of a pokemon was really bothersome. Whether it was misplaced or they were just too stubborn things always went wrong. "Gabite, Fire Blast," he said with finality.
The air began to heat up once more as the ground shark took in a deep breath, red chest expanding and arms stretching. It paused for a moment, watching Riolu charge with a battle roar, fist glowing with blue aura energy, before it breathed out. Swirling fire that instantly made the occupants in the room begin to sweat charged at Riolu like a sonic beam. The blast of red and orange flames began to stretch into the form of a kanji like star. The large burst of flames slammed into the young fighting type, sending Riolu flying back as the flames burned away at his body.
"Luu," the pokemon moaned, body covered in burns and smoke still rising from it. It coughed harshly, eyes closing.
It was down.
It was down.
Fuck! Shaun could feel bile rising. He spat to the side. He had lost. He had lost, damn it!
A harsh hand grabbed him by the shirt and held him still. "Chansey, now."
"Back off," Shaun bit out, struggling weakly. "It-it's not over!"
"It's over, kid," was the somber reply.
The pink pokemon placed its hands on Shaun's head, their touch soothing, and before the teen knew it his head was swimming once more. It felt like he was underwater. It felt as if his body was swaying to a gentle tide of water and he was falling deeper and deeper as the seconds progressed.
"N-no," Shaun whispered, for the first time not hiding his fear. He was tired of people messing with him.
"Chaa chaa chaa," the healing pokemon sang soothingly, petting his head softly. Pink waves floated about his head, slowly taking away the pain. Shaun watched warily, eyes half lidded and vision a complete blur.
"Sto – damn it, stop!" Shaun finally roared, pushing away and falling flat on his back. A loud explosion followed his exclamation and both Chansey and the gym leader jumped back, exclamations of surprise coming from them as the ground was left slightly destroyed and smoking near where they had been standing. Shaun turned his head to the side.
Riolu was still lying on the ground, fur completely singed. Its right paw was raised slightly, pointing forward with blue aura energy surrounding it. It glared at Tyre, and despite its weak state its expression was strong.
"Gabite!" With an angry roar the land shark slammed its claw into the down pokemon, enraged that someone had attacked its trainer.
"That's enough!" Tyre barked at his pokemon. With a hiss of disdain the gabite backed off, leaving the hurt pokemon mewling in pain.
Slowly, Shaun rose, hand grasping his head. The headache was still there but it was tolerable. It no longer felt as if his head was about to be split open. He looked down at his pokemon.
"It's still awake," he said needlessly, voice low.
"Not for long," Tyre stated. He was staring at the fighting pokemon with a look Shaun couldn't identify before he looked back at him. "You're coming with me." Shaun started. "I do not tolerate your kind of behavior but I tolerate psychics breaking into the minds of trainers even less. I need you to tell me what happened."
His hand gripped harshly at his hair. "And if I don't feel like telling you?" he mocked, body shaking. He was tired and he felt like – "Blergh!" Yea, there it finally was.
There was an exclamation of shocked and disgusted calls from the watchers.
"Oh my god, did you see that?"
"Shit, dude, some guy just vomited. Yea, I'm telling the truth!"
"Ew, someone get him to a hospital!"
Shaun wiped at his mouth in disgust. He was breathing heavily as he raised his pokeball. It shot out a beam of light and sucked in his extremely hurt pokemon. Still shaking, Shaun leant forward and grabbed his bag. "Fuck this," he hissed. "Fuck all of you!"
AN: Happy new years everyone! Starting the new year with a chapter! I am really proud of this one, I worked so long on this, and even then I didn't get all I wanted into it so I decided to make it a two parter. Already started on the next chapter so I'm hoping I can get it out within a week.
The sky was getting dark but the bright city seemed to make the area stuck in a sort of limbo. It was getting late but it was still bright out. It was messing with Shaun's head. He had never gone too deep into the city part of Apala and even if he had it wasn't as bright as this place. It was as if hundreds of pokemon were using Flash.
People were still out and about doing their thing. There were plenty of pokemon flying or walking around just as happily which was a different scene from what Shaun was used to. If someone in his town had a pokemon you turn the other way.
He frowned a bit, thinking of his piece of shit home area. He wanted to be back there, lying on some crappy couch under the bridge with the rest of the dead beats getting drunk or high. Then later into the night they would hit the P-11 store for junk food and some ****ing in the bathroom. Sometimes for kicks they'd go to this one guy's house that had one mean Houndour.
They would always throw rocks at the poor mutt until lash out at them until the strong chain it was attached to grew taught and it would fire weak little fireballs. Heh, they were the worst.
"Food," Shaun mumbled to himself, going into a little convenient store. A bell tingled as he walked in and the dark skinned man behind the counter looked up. Shaun grabbed a few bags of dried fruit, beef jerky, a package of donuts and cherry flavored soda. He dropped them at the register and asked for headache medicine. He was given Headache Relieve, a nasty chewable pill. He asked for something else. He got a simple container of Tylenol.
"Cash or credit?" the man asked.
"Cash," Shaun answered lowly, handing the bills over. His change was handed back easily, along with his bag of junk food. He knew he really should try and find real food but right now he just wanted something in his stomach and to not think about anything.
Like his failure at the gym.
Yea, like that would happen.
"You have a bathroom?" Shaun asked once he was handed his groceries. A gesture towards the back. "Thanks," was the dry reply.
The bathroom door shut behind him with a slam that would make a jail cell door be jealous. The teen stared at the bathroom. It was painted a piss yellow color and the floor was tile. It was a complete opposite of what his gray colored, graffiti filled, shit floor covered bathrooms were like at the convenient stores.
It made him sick.
So he pissed on the floor and swallowed two pills with tap water. He didn't feel any better. He just stared into his reflection, hating that there was no cracks or missing pieces of glass. The worst thing about it was that there was dust and he wiped that off with a sneer. The urge to ruin this tiny room was strong. He wanted to cover the walls in dripping spray pain, throw trash on the ground and leave it to rot for weeks, draw the inner turmoil of his mind with permanent marker and stain the floors with blood like some sort of artsy kid creating a mural of his decomposing mind.
He broke the mirror with his fist instead.
When Shaun had stared at his reflection he saw drooping oily hair, a sweaty face, and eyes with very little eye liner that had smeared, sunken cheeks and patches of facial fuzz on his face. All in all he looked like shit.
He still looked like shit. Shaun hadn't done a single thing to tidy up as he left the bathroom, fist clenched and dripping a bit of blood. It wouldn't even be enough to stain the floor. He had instead wandered, munching on dried fruit and passing people and pokemon alike, until he had found the supposedly famous meteor.
It was in the middle of a rather large park, which was just weird since the whole place was nothing but steel and cement, and to suddenly see grass and a few trees was just strange. He stared at the large disfigured rock for all of five seconds before collapsing on the ground a bit away from the crowd gathering stone.
The teen just sat there, staring up at the sky. It was too bright to see a whole lot of stars, unlike his spot under the bridge. The only light he had were the multiple trash cans lit on fire or the cars driving by from above. The air would be filled with the smell of smoke, fuel, bodies and drugs. Here it smelled like food.
With it getting late diners were opening their doors and letting the steam and smell of fresh food out, street vendors were doing last minute rounds and people and pokemon walked around with sweets in their mouths. It was all just too different. Like every other kid in his town, Shaun had thought about taking off but only because he wanted to and to see what he wanted. Being forced out and seeing things he didn't want to see was exhausting.
He fumbled for his poke balls and stared at them warily. Once he noticed the smudges and dirt on one particular one he forced it open, knowing that the battered ball was his starter. With a burst of bright light the black and blue furred pokemon appeared. Riolu was sitting on its haunches, body still burnt and battered. He was breathing heavily and had drooping eyes.
Shaun had actually forgotten how badly his pokemon had been hurt. He had spent the rest of the day in a sulk and stormed around the city, trying to find a place to crash. He had been unsuccessful and ended up here instead.
"Here," Shaun muttered, handing the fighting type a bag of dried fruit.
It was out of his hands in a flash. Riolu ate like a machine, barely bothering to chew as he swallowed quickly. Without asking, the whelp actually took Shaun's soda from right out of his hands and took a long gulp. And then promptly spat it back out and coughed, not used to the carbonated drink. It promptly took another drink and set it down. Geeze, he'd have to buy more food soon if his pokemon ate like that.
"I don't have anything to heal you with," Shaun told his pokemon, leaning back against a small shrub of a tree. "Sorry, but you'll have to deal." He opened the bag of donuts and handed one over.
"Luu," Riolu mumbled tiredly, reaching a shaky paw for the donut. He bit into it, muzzle now having an outline of white powder. When Riolu finished he looked away, red eyes narrowed in thought. He sniffed a bit and fumbled with the silver bracelet attached to its wrist. The bandana and brown gem was long gone, probably lost in the battle or the bandana had been burned away. He still had this though. "Rio," Riolu mumbled, crawling over to trainer to show that he still had it.
Shaun sighed, eyes opening. During the silence he had closed his eyes, mind shutting down. "Keep it," he mumbled. "I don't care."
Riolu considered the silver studded bracelet before taking in his trainer. So many things had happened in the past few days and, as strange as it might sound, it had all happened so fast the Riolu hadn't taken the time to even study his own trainer. Red eyes studied the dark teen for a moment before a blue paw reached out and stroked an arm.
Shaun watched his pokemon poke and prod at him, too tired to push the little pocket monster away. He only wanted to it out to keep away any trouble, even with its hurt body, but it seemed the fighting type had other plans.
"Those are tattoos," Shaun stated in a bored tone as the fingers stroked the black stars on his finger. Riolu quirked his head in askance. "Needle goes into skin with ink. Ink leaves picture." Shaun made some motions with his hand to symbolize a sharp object piercing his skin.
Riolu look horrified.
"It's not so bad," Shaun said with a yawn. "You took a freakin' blast of fire to the face, didn't you?" A disdainful sniff was his answer before the fingers began poking the different inked pictures.
"Lu rui," Riolu barked, poking a picture questionably. He whined as Shaun stayed quiet, not knowing what the pokemon wanted.
"What, you want one?"
Horrified, the pokemon shook his head. "Lu." He jabbed at the picture, tilting his head.
Oh. "It's a stinking skull," Shaun mumbled. "It ain't got no meaning." Another prod at a different picture. "Dagger." Prod. "Artsy swirls or some shit. I don't know." The poking continued all over his arms and neck until Shaun had said nearly all his tattoos. "Dragon head, skate brand, fakes scars, more fucking stars, lyrics, another cubone skull, a broken cassette, dragonite wings." Shaun didn't know if Riolu knew what any of those things were but it seemed to interest the pokemon. Finally, one his right forearm, Shaun faltered. The ink there was faded and an ugly green color. It had been her favorite color and her name.
He pulled away from the curious pokemon and rolled over on his side. Damn it he missed her. He missed her fiery passion, her beautiful body, her anger and her reason. He didn't love her – hell, he never bothered to remember her name – but there was still something real about her. It was as if everything that symbolized the shittiness of his town and fellows was inside that single girl and being able to screw her was absolutely mind-blowing. And then she started sleeping around with other people.
It was as if that single thing that only he could seefeeltouch belonged to everyone and that pissed him off. The wild nights, the parties, drinks and drugs and the action was all wrapped up in one thing. It was gone, he was gone.
"Rio?" Riolu asked carefully, black appendages quivering as he gazed at his trainer.
Shaun shut his eyes.
"Woah, brotha. You look like Giratina ate and spat you up!"
Somehow Shaun had managed to fall asleep despite the noisy city. It had been strangely peaceful too. Maybe because he was too tired to dream. Either way the teen had not been expecting someone to come up to him, and certainly not with the most pronounced accent he had ever heard.
Tired eyes opened to take in a tall, dark skinned boy. He was really skinny, looking as if he hadn't eaten properly in weeks, and wore battered brown pants with plenty of holes and a white shirt that seemed to be turning gray and brown from lack of washing. He also wore a trainer's vest and a necklace that held two poke balls with a magnet. Below that was another necklace with a silver mew. On his shoulder, ruffling its pitch black feathers with its yellow beak, was a murkrow.
He looked to be about Shaun's age and was at the point of losing his teenish face and morphing into something more mature. He brushed a dark hand through dirty blond dreadlocks and stared at Shaun. "Ya look like death warmed over." He kneeled over Shaun and looked as Riolu and hissed in concern. "Same to you, my furry blue friend."
"Come on, I can get ya some help. The name is Jerrick by the way."
Shaun swatted the hand away, immediately distrustful. "Yea, and get my stuff stolen? Fuck off."
The boy, Jerrick, didn't seem at all offended. "If ya can't trust me then maybe you can trust them." He pointed with his thumb to a number of marching people and pokemon, all looking to be in their teens. Their faces were angry and they shouted loudly, pokemon growling just as eagerly alongside of them. Many held signs and nearly all had face paint. They looked ready for war.
"Somehow I doubt a mob would help me," Shaun muttered, a little in awe. Riolu struggled to stand and wrapped his arms around Shaun's leg to stay up. He watched the crowd suspiciously.
Jerrick gave a bark of laughter. "Maybe ya should look a bit closer." With a wide grin he lifted his pant leg, showing off the ankle tracker. He was a Rehab Reject. "And all those guys over there? Same as us. So, whaddya say?" He reached up to pet the dark feathered bird on his shoulder, waiting patiently.
"The-they're all Rehab Rejects?" Shaun asked, bewildered, staring at the marching teens and trying to wrap his mind around it. And he could see it. Some of them wore shorts or sometimes their pants shifted so he could see their trackers.
"Protesters," Jerrick supplied, turning to stare at them, a contemplative expression on his face. "They're against Rehab."
"Uh." What? This stupid government act was just called Rehab? He didn't even know it had a name. "Those are all Rehab Rejects?" Shaun repeated, brows furrowing. "I thought this thing was… new."
Now Jerrick's brows furrowed. "No," he said slowly, "it's been around for a while. If you're talking about the new law about only having a year to get all eight badges then yea, it's pretty new." Well… damn. "Come on, brotha, they can at least heal your pokemon."
Shaun stared for a long moment, considering. He had no where to go, his pokemon were too weak to take down the gym and he was low on money – he had nothing to lose. "Alright," he said slowly before he looked down at his pokemon. "You can walk?" He didn't want to go anywhere without pokemon protection, even if it looked as his only trustworthy pokemon was about ready to keel over.
"Are you sure that's a good idea? It looks like those burns are serious."
The look on Riolu's face made it seem like it wanted to agree with Jerrick. He sighed and looked resolute. "Ri," he said, nodding and taking a step forward. And then promptly fell over. The murkrow on the other boys shoulder cawed mockingly.
"Son of… Return." With a dark scowl, Shaun returned his down pokemon and set a glare. Jerrick gave him a look that clearly said 'Well, what did you expect?' "Let's just go." If things got weird he could send Rhyhorn out. It would at last take some others down in an effort to stomp his face into the ground.
They followed the marchers from behind. It gave Shaun a chance to really take a look at them. Most were skinny and worn, looking as if they hadn't been surviving properly. Others looked decent and were probably doing alright. The rest looked new to the whole trainer thing. Clean clothes and anger still true and furious as they marched, snarling at the pedestrians that paused to watch.
The pedestrians themselves were interesting to watch. It was as if some didn't know how to feel about the rowdy crowd. They seemed used to this sort of thing, meaning that there were marchers and protests rather often. Their faces held an array of emotions ranging from grief and pity to straight out fury and disgust.
"Where are we going?" Shaun asked, sneering as one of the female protestors tried to latch onto his arm and shout crude remarks to the watchers. He shrugged her off.
Jerrick shrugged, idly petting the sitting bird. "Sorry, man," he said, pronouncing it like mauhn, "but I was just dragged along as well. Anybody who's against the rehab movement is ok with me. I've heard about them, though. Sometimes take in Rejects and take 'em into hiding if their time is almost up."
"So you were just walking around and they just happened to know you were one of them?" Shaun asked snidely.
The other boy wasn't even affected by his tone. "You could say that," was the hesitant reply. Jerrick sighed and pulled his blond dreadlocks behind his ears. "Geeze, you really are new."
"What, you mean becoming a reject? Yea, so what?"
Jerrick shook his head, slightly exasperated. "You don't know what it's been doing to the world, do ya? You from a small town or something?" Shaun didn't answer. "Whatever." He just gave another sigh. "It bothers people – ya know, the non criminals or whatever – that people like us are being allowed to roam free with powerful beasts. It's bad enough that higher up trainers in different league's are constantly seen eliminating pokemon because they've gone on a killing rampage. You remember that thing that happened in Kanto about a pack of rage induced primeape were slaughtered by elite trainers?"
The Lenore region was north of Kanto and a twelve hour plane ride. Suffice to say it was far, but his region still got broadcasts from the more popular regions, though it was still a matter of preference for his people. A lot of people from Lenore didn't really like to watch Hoenn broadcasts – they were a bunch of nature loving pussies that couldn't handle a life or death battle.
"Yea… The elite were then attacked by trainer who were against pokemon killing, right?" That had been a big story. The elite – trainers that challenged the league of a region and won – were the higher ups in the training world. The only people above them where the Elite 4 and the Champion of the region. They were sent to take care of dangerous incidents that involved trainers and pokemon.
"Yea, that's right," Jerrick muttered. "Anyway, with people being so uptight now a days, some places just don't want us near them. Stupid signs that say 'No Rehab Rejects!' or some bullshit on shops or restaurants."
"Guessing you got kicked out of one of those places then," Shaun said, a wry grin on his lips.
"Nearly busted my face in," Jerrick sneered. "Stupid civilians with no pokemon to back them up." The murkrow crooned haughtily. Shaun could guess the other teen handled the situation just fine. "Anyway, some protestors happened to see what happened and dragged me along for the ride. We happened to pass by the park and I saw you sleeping in the park like the rest of the homeless and saw your tracker and now here we are."
"Right. So what do these… protestors do, exactly?" Shaun didn't care much for people that just shouted and waved silly signs. He was a man of action, so unless these people were actually doing things like get rid of this stupid one year rule or actually got rid of the whole Rehab Rejects thing he didn't care for their loud display.
Jerrick shrugged. "Like I said, I was just pulled along for the ride. I've heard that this movement has people that fight the league in both physical and political combat." Pokemon battles and political arguments? That was two things that didn't mix right.
The two didn't say anything else for the rest of the walk. They just followed the dozens of marchers until they came across a rather impressive building. It was created like a dome with a glass top and was easily twice the size, if not more, than the pokemon gym.
Wary, Shaun paused as the angry marchers walked in. He suddenly wasn't sure if he wanted to go in and listen to what they had to say. He knew next to nothing about the whole rejects thing. All he knew was that he had a time limit and that was running out.
"It's worth it, dude," a boy said from behind Shaun. He looked a little older, perhaps twenty three with pale blond hair and incredibly tanned skin. He had a wiry sort of frame, as if he had been outside for a long time and had walked around the world. He had a young face but the expression was of one that had seen too much.
"This is Ian," Jerrick supplied. "This is the guy that picked me up."
Ian gave a nod and smile before he paused, staring intently. "Woah, dude!" He began to laugh hysterically. Shaun backed away, wondering if he should punch the guy or run away. "You're that guy that threw up at the gym!"
Shaun's face darkened. "How the hell do you know about that?" he hissed.
Ian shook his head, stifling his laughter. "I-I'm sorry," he said between giggles before getting a hold of himself. "No, seriously, I'm sorry," he added at Shaun's dark expression. "I know it's nothing to laugh at but the expression on that gym leader's face had been priceless." Ian sobered. "Your battle video was posted all over the internet. The Rejects – " he made a face as if he didn't like to say that word – "are completely pissed. That's what we're trying to stop. He completely over leveled you with his pokemon and the fact that the police questioned you with a brutal psychic pokemon that actually made you sick has sent people into an uproar.
"It's all about civil rights, you know. Ordinarily psychic pokemon aren't allowed to read minds like they do with us, but, well, since it's us, people are a bit more lax on it. Still, it's something that we're trying to stop."
"That battle was posted on the internet?" Shaun asked, completely peeved.
Ian, completely amused, turned to Jerrick. "Did he hear a thing I just said?"
Just as amused and ignoring Shaun hissing at them like a frazzled meowth he replied, "Don't think so, brotha," and laughed along with the other boy.
"You better fucking wat—"
"Woah, easy," Ian interrupted quickly, hands up in a sign of peace. "We were just kidding. Come in, and you'll get to hear some of our leaders talk." He gave Shaun a considering look, thinking for a moment. "Stay with me while we're inside, I want to introduce you to someone."
"What if I don't want to meet anyone?"
"Well, considering I want to introduce you to the man that let's people stay in this place for free, I'd say it would be worth it."
Even Jerrick gave Ian a suspicious look. Why would someone in a higher power want to meet someone like Shaun?
"Alright," Shaun allowed after a moment. "Fine."
"Great! You'll like him, and even though he has an elite title he's not stuck up about it or anything. Crazy strong though. His whole team is a bunch of dragons."
Even that gave Shaun pause. He knew that while some dragon type pokemon had a healthy population number because of so much breeding like the trapinch in his home town or Swablu because they were a favorite amongst coordinators; they were incredibly hard to find and train, let alone have a full team or even become fully evolved.
"He has six dragon pokemon?" Jerrick asked, sounding impressed.
"He has more than six different dragon pokemon," Ian said, a secretive smile playing on his lips as they walked in. "He has enough for more than seven teams."
They walked in a stunned silence through the main hallway and into what appeared to be a large room used for business conferences. At the very front of the stage, speaking to what appeared to be over a hundred people that were not just protestors but curious civilians, was a rather short man with incredibly spiky red hair. He was talking with a certain elegance, gesturing to the crowd and riling them up at all the right moments. He stood straight and strong and despite being short the man somehow made himself seem bigger than he actually was.
Those who were obviously Rehab Rejects were standing tall and cheering. They stomped the ground and roared with the energy the man was giving them. Even the civilians seemed intrigued and some were just as supportive as the rejects. The chairs that had been situated were forgotten and unneeded. The people were jumping and those that were paying attention to a few journalists or television crew members gave mocking jeers or flashed their posters.
"Our voice is our weapon!" the man yelled amidst the cheers. "It is not our fists or our pokemon that shall put an end to this oppression. They can crush the idealist but not the idea. The voices that have fought in the past are still as present as ever, and it is time that our words become more than just that!"
Shaun had to admit the man really knew how to sway the crowd. It sounded like something a hippie from Hoenn would say, but even Shaun had to admit it had some appeal.
The spiky red head continued to, arms out and face earnest. He looked as if he were taking in everyone at once. Even Shaun was given the impression that the man were paying specific attention to just himself. It was intimidating.
"What do you think?" Ian asked, leaning close to Shaun so he could hear.
Shaun studied the crowd, feeling weary and tired. "He definitely knows how to woo a crowd," he offered with a shrug.
Ian let out a bark of laughter. "I guess that's one way of putting it." He was still studying Shaun and it was beginning to become unnerving.
"Do you mind?" Shaun all but growled, glaring at the other boy.
Ian just offered a smile. "Sorry," he said, not sounding the least bit apologetic, "but I really think Lance is gonna like you."
"Lance? That guy up there? What the hell makes you say that?"
The other reject continued to grin as he stared up at the man. "He just likes people like you."
People like him? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Before Shaun could question the other boy further the crowd had gotten to the point of becoming deafening. The riled teens and young adults were out of control.
"So what do you think of all this?"
Shaun had been looking down, leaning against the white wall and waiting for that kid Ian to return when the question startled him out of his thoughts. He let out a breath, feeling too drained to really care.
"I don't know," he said after a moment. He chewed on his lip, thinking. "Seems like no matter what the government does there's always gonna be some sort of protest."
"Yea…" There was a moment of silence in which Jerrick was pacing back and forth. "But I mean about, ya know, this group hiding kids away if they don't make it by their deadline?"
"It would be nice," Shaun allowed, scratching his head. "But I don't think that's anything but a rumor." Jerrick gave him a confused look. "Well, think about it. If they were truly know for hiding kids from jail time, don't you think the government or even the League would do something about that? This group would have been taken down long ago."
"That is unless we get caught," a new voice interrupted smoothly, causing the two teens to jump. The spokesman from before strode out of a set of dark heavy wooden doors. He had a pair of purple eyes that just seemed to shine with knowledge and power and his smile was instantly disarming. He was short, at least an inch or two smaller than Shaun, but instead of that making him seem like an easy target it seemed to give him an edge over people. Small things come in small packages.
"These are the two, Jerrick and Shaun," Ian, who was standing behind the red haired man, spoke up. He gave the two teens a wide grin. "Guys, this is Lance. He's done a lot for people like us – people like the Rejects."
"Such a negative word," the man mused, offering Shaun a smile and a firm handshake. "But unfortunately, for people like us, that is how people perceive us. However, that does not mean we should perceive ourselves as thus."
Smooth laughter echoed throughout the hall and that smile that wooed the crowd grew. "The perception society has a whole can leave a negative stain on those that think differently," he continued, "but it is only the strong that keep their independence." Amethyst eyes looked from Shaun to Jerrick and back to Shaun again as he spoke, a hint of judgment in his eyes as he seemed to size them up. "Are you two strong enough?"
"Peace, trainer," Lance soothed. "Why don't we step into my office and get a little more comfortable?" He held his arm out in a gesture for them to come in. The inside held numerous computer screens on both the dark wooden desk and behind it. Large, intricate paintings of large, beastly pokemon adjourned the wall and expensive looking trinkets were littered about as if to show that no matter where you looked you knew that this man was wealthy.
"You have… interesting tastes," Jerrick murmured as he gazed at one of the paintings. The background was littered in dark clouds and blue lightning lit up the dark atmosphere and seemed to make the black, snarling dragon that took up most of the portrait glow. The red eyes that glared down at whoever looked at them seemed to be filled with hate.
Lance settled behind his desk, two men in suits settling on either side of him looking grim and Ian sitting down on a leather brown couch. "Like most, I have an interest in the mythical creatures that we humans have dubbed Legendary. Mostly those that have not been seen for some time and even those that have not been seen and written in our history books. Tell me, young man, how do you view these creatures?"
The dark teen was gripping the silver mew necklace, eyes still gazing up at the dark dragon. "I was raised in the belief that Mew is our true original," he said after a moment. "Everyone is our brotha and sista, and that those listed in legendary categories are our protectors."
The man nodded thoughtfully. "And what of those that believe of Arceus?" He gestured to another large painting, this one of a white, horse creature with gold hooves. Surrounding it were floating stones that were painted different colors. "Even our history books state that it created our universe with the help of the twelve elemental stone tablets it carries."
Shaun sat on one of the chairs in front of the desk, body in a slump. These names were going right over his head.
There was a small scowl on Jerrick's face. "I believe that there is an arceus," he said slowly, "but just like there are groudon and raikou. Beasts that were once thought to be the only of their kind but that is obviously false."
"Unless humans had a hand in their growing numbers." Jerrick looked up sharply. "In this world pokemon are put into separate categories to keep order and be aware of what these creatures are capable of. Each one carefully numbered, located and researched. That is, except the strong beasts known as Legendary." He paused for a moment and looked at Shaun, contrite. "I apologize, but it seems that I've lost you."
"Whatever," he shrugged. "I don't know much about pokemon, especially these legendary things."
"Not many know about the true one's origin," Lance allowed. "The government has been quite successful in keeping information on these powerful beasts a secret."
"I don't mean to interrupt," Shaun drawled, tone indicating he actually didn't care, "but I was told that if I met you, you would be here to help me, not give me a history lesson."
The two men shifted, irate by the disrespect and even Ian gave him a disbelieving look.
That smile didn't even falter. "I apologize," he said once more. "You are correct in the belief that when I meet with trainers stuck in the rehab law I do all that I can to help. However, by now, you should know that in our world nothing comes for free. Tell me what it is that you would like and perhaps we can help each other in a way that we both get what we want."
No free ride. It figures.
"Ian mentioned… that you could hide people," Jerrick said, almost questioningly, eyeing the man with a hint of distrust.
There was an awkward pause. "Where?" Jerrick finally asked. "All regions are under the Rehab Reject law. They would all have our information."
"Information is data stored within a single component of technology with various chains for those who can obtain access," Lance said carelessly. "I can assure you I can access anything I want." There was no bragging or exaggeration in his tone, and suddenly Shaun wondered what he had gotten himself into.
"What about Orre?" Shaun asked, breaking the tension.
"Orre?" Lance parroted, sounding amused. He gave the dark teen a considering look. "A very ravaged region where law is survival of the fittest. Tell me, why would you want to go to such a region when you have just as much to lose in this one? Lenore may not be as ragged, but even with your situation you have a chance for freedom."
"You just said it," Shaun said, a dark grin forming. "Here I only have a chance for it. I've been given a single year to get eight pieces of metal to get the one off my foot. I'm used to chaos and the desperate. At least in Orre, even if I was fighting for my life every second of my life, at least I would have my freedom."
"You do not believe you can obtain all eight badges?" The question was asked carefully, and Shaun could tell he was being evaluated once more.
"I don't need people talking carefully around me as if I'm stupid," Shaun said darkly, face set in his usual glare. "One year to travel a region? Everyone knows that's bullshit. Training these monsters so they can fight against people who actually want to do this sort of thing? That's even worse."
"It is true that people who are forced into a situation will not do well against those that are trained because that is what they enjoy," the man allowed, steeling his fingers together. "That does not mean that your situation is completely hopeless. Are there trainers that spend years training just to get a few badges? Yes. Are there trainers that can train up a powerful team and obtain all badges from a region in under a year? Absolutely. For people like you who have been forced into training your mindset is easily understood. A question I would like to ask you – and I wish for a truthful answer – do you really want the people that forced you into this mess to win?"
Shaun shifted, not understanding. "What does it matter to a bunch of paper pushers if I fail and end up in jail? So what if I couldn't get eight badges, I just end up in jail and they don't worry about me after I serve my time."
This time it was Lance that shifted, clearly perplexed. He studied both teens and gave a heaving sigh. "This is another point my people are trying to fight against." He sounded tired. "The government has been on their high horses for so long I don't think they even bother to glance down and see how ignorant people are becoming." Shaun glared at the insult. "Shaun, do you know why Rehab Rejects was created?"
Shaun opened his mouth, ready to give a sarcastic response, but then closed it as he realized he truly didn't know why. "No," he said, grumpy.
"It is because we – that is the government – was in need of an army." There was a stunned sort of silence. "What we were talking about earlier about numbers and control is what made the government act as it did. The world is not filled with instant friendship and dreams becoming fulfilled like the simpler regions like Kanto or Hoenn believe. To be fair, the older regions have had peace and a solid construct of control for a long time. It was only in the past decade have things taken a rather dark turn for regions that are so used to peace.
"When things come down to it, pokemon are animals that have more power than any human could truly comprehend. The only reason the main regions have not had to deal with the true instincts of the beasts is because of generations upon generations of breeding, control and trainers. The number of trainers has taken a dramatic hit in numbers over the years, and that is why the Rehab Rejects laws were put in place. When it comes down to it, our army, our soldiers, are trainers, you. You are our protectors against the power of wild pokemon. Population control wasn't a problem until a strange phenomenon began to happen. Based on what you have seen on the news, if you pay attention, can you guess what it is?"
Shaun, for all his bravado, suddenly felt worried. Jerrick looked anxious as well and shifted a bit in his seat before speaking. "Pokemon have been attacking humans a lot more," he said slowly, brow furrowing. "There have always been some attacks, but now lately it seems almost common." He turned away with a frown. "And legendaries are attacking people too." He was gripping the silver mew necklace hard, almost as if he couldn't believe such a thing despite the fact that it was he himself that said it aloud.
Lance gazed at the two, looking thoughtful. "This takes us back to our original conversation," he said after a moment, coming to a stand and walking over to one of his monstrous paintings.
The one he stood in front of was a mew. It gazed at them with sky blue eyes that seemed far too real for a painting with such detailed pink fur that Shaun could see almost every single strand from where he was. The man lifted a finger, looking as if he would stroke the painting, before he seemed to thing better of it and dropped his hand to his side.
"What do they want with us?" Shaun asked, voice quick. "Why do they need an army just to deal with a bunch of dangerous pokemon? Isn't that what the elite or league is for?"
"Or even rangers?" Jerrick asked, looking a bit ill. He was shifting in his seat, holding his necklace tightly and staring at the giant painting of the mew as if it would really come to life and give him all the answers.
"What are soldiers for?" Lance asked, turning slowly to face the two boys, face solemn. He didn't bother to wait for their answers; the question seeming to be the gateway to his next speech. "War," he said for them. "I have another question. Do you two know how long your region has had a league of its own?"
Shaun's brow furrowed. "There's been a gym in my hometown before I was born," he said slowly. "Aren't, ya know, leagues, really old?"
The red haired man allowed a small smile to appear for but a brief moment as if the boys' uneducated responses were the most humorous things he had heard in a long time. "In some regions, yes. Organized competitions have been around for what we believe to be thousands of years, even if the ability to ensnare pokemon into monster balls was not yet discovered, but leagues in organized regions have only been around for a few hundred years. These organized regions are very few on this side of the world and even less so on the other side of our glorious world which is where, incidentally, our most powerful and ferocious pokemon are sought from. Lenore is a far region from the organized league regions and is considered the newest official league on record."
The man paused, a pained expression appearing on his face and his hand went down to caress a single, purple poke ball that Shaun hadn't noticed his gold rope belt.
"Lenore has a set region that, while having people living in the vast environment, had only created a league fifty seven years ago thanks to Elite trainers of that era. If you are not aware by now, or have not even had inkling that Elite trainers are more or less used by the government and Elite Four, then I am here to tell you that they are, truthfully, just lackey's to be used in warfare and missions that are in need of powerful measures. Since the beginning of time territories have constantly battled for more and more land. That is still true today. You two are obviously too young, and there was no big war to settle a league in this region, but the people who did fight against elite members are either dead or no longer speak out. Progression has moved too fast for people to truly care now a days and the northern regions have always been far more competitive than most, but there are regions far away from here that continue to fight with every bit of their being against the sort of sort of society Kanto wishes to create.
"Do you ever wonder why foreigners look down on this region when they come to visit? Because to them the brutality that has yet to be stamped out reminds them that not everything is right in the world, not everyone is nice as they would wish them to be. In a way Lenore is barbaric. Pokemon everywhere have no problem with killing, nor do the gym leaders care too much if a pokemon battle ends in death. In fact, some even demand a death match or have their pokemon with deadly intent. The regions south of here like Kanto and Hoenn and even Unova are, to be blunt, a bunch of horrified pile of dragon **** that can't handle the thought of people not being able to move pass what they believe to be the barbaric ages. Now, if they can still barely tolerate Lenore, what do you think the territories even farther north of here are like to the likes of Kanto?"
"Are you saying," Shaun said slowly, tone disbelieving, "that Kanto created this act so that they could send people like me to unknown territories to help take over?"
"I thought the war was just against unruly pokemon," Jerrick said in horror. "I knew that some didn't care more much for the other side of the world, but to really try and take over so forcefully? And Kanto really thinks we're the barbaric ones?"
"Being under a certain rule for so long can cause people to believe that even a tyrannical rule is commonplace. People become used to a certain way of life after a certain amount of time, and even if people believe otherwise, humans are nothing if not adaptive." Lance said all this with a tone that was almost casual. "Most are truly unaware of this. We are not in the middle of an all out war with human forces invading the regions. What we do have, however, are a lot of pokemon attacks, and that is what people believe we need to focus on."
The man paused and turned in his seat, looking up at the many screens attached to the wall from behind his desk. With a simple tap at his computer keyboard the screens burst into life, instantly showing a news broadcasting depicting a rather large city being attacked from what appeared to be the ocean. Or at least, what was left of it. The sky appeared to be burning bright and the ocean level had decreased, even showing many grounded water pokemon that lay limply by what appeared to be the largest creature Shaun had already seen.
"Mossdeep City, well renowned for their space centre…"
"…came out of nowhere. We believe the death count is now two hundred with at least another hundred still missing."
"…this isn't the first time the fabled Groudon has attacked the seas of Hoenn…"
"…if it isn't stopped soon not only will the island be destroyed but so will the sea and the thousands of pokemon living…"
"The elite trainers, Elite Four and even champion of Hoenn are doing all they can to stop this beast. Currently it is unknown if more powerful trainers or even elite trainers of other regions are being sent in. This is not the first time a being of legendary status pokemon has attacked the beautiful region of Hoenn, nor is it the only region. What on earth has the League been doing to cause this outbreak?"
"…it appears that even some of the wild pokemon are fighting against the trainers!"
"…legendary Bryan Alpha, champion of Hoenn, was just seen shot down by a deadly Solar Beam…"
"We have yet to confirm if Alpha has been retrieved and is safe…"
"…more trainers are being shot down by the wild pokemon they are trying to help! What in the world is happening?"
Shaun stared, wide eyed at the ferocious red scaled and white spiked pokemon that was apparently called Groudon. His eyes darted to one of the paintings, one depicting the giant beast, but it wasn't alone. Inside the magnificent painting was another just as large beast, only this one was blue and was enveloped by the sea and the pounding rain while Groudon had nothing but dried land and the sun. Battlers of the elements, it seems.
"Why isn't there the blue one?" Shaun asked, startled to find his voice barely above a whisper. "You…" He swallowed loudly as everyone turned to look at him. Dear Mew, did people really expect someone like him to fight against this god like beast? "Your painting has two pokemon," he finished lamely.
Lance, who was the only one to not turn around, answered as he continued to gaze up at the screens. "Because that is not Groudon," he answered. "Or should I say, it is not the original. It was believed that the beasts known as legendary were the only ones of their kind, and their true purpose was kept to only themselves, but something strange happened over the course of time. We discovered more, only they did not have quite the same power as the beasts we had seen or recorded into our history. There are even legendary look a likes that have the shine, and some have even been captured by trainers and gym leaders. With research we have concluded that they are not the gods people have worshipped overtime, but merely a copy, or perhaps even children, which is startling because legendary beasts were thought to be incapable to reproducing."
"It is confirmed! The champion is dead! I repeat the champion is dead! Reinforcements have already been sent in to contain the beast. We are not sure if they aim to capture or kill…"
Lance gave a loud snort which seemed to startle Ian and the two bodyguards.
"Either way that poor beast will end up in some lab." He stared up at the screens before tapping another key and shutting them all down. With an almost exaggerated flourish he turned back to face Shaun and Jerrick, staring down at them with piercing jewel eyes. "And that, gentlemen, is the type of force you will be forced to fight against should fail in this ridiculous little journey the government has set up for you."
Their disbelief kept them silent.
Lance let out a humorless laugh. "But then again, that is why activist groups such as mine are created."
This got Shaun and Jerrick out of their stupor.
"You mean there are others?" Jerrick asked eagerly.
"Oh yes." Lance nodded thoughtfully. "A great deal more in the main regions that are designed to help the Rehabs with their journey or even get them out of this situation. And then, of course, there are the groups that take advantage of the situation." The man had a grim air about him. "Because of this act crimes have skyrocketed. Kidnapping, thievery, murder, trafficking – you name it. It is a lot easier for some group all in the name of science or their god to kidnap some little Rehab Reject and use them for their own purposes. Kids like you… well, you know that most won't be missed.
"Even here, where the training age is much higher than the main regions it is still so easy for some poor kid to be brought in by the temptation of a quick get away or a quick fix. The government is not doing enough to stop this from happening – they are far too focused with expansion into a land that does not belong to them or will fight to the death to deny their way of life. Like it or not, the region above us has been leaving Lenore alone so that they could focus attacks on the main region in charge of it all, Kanto, but that does not mean that they will not decide to start taking over as well, and your land is the closest."
Again all they could do was stare blankly.
Shaun stood suddenly, no longer able to take the intense atmosphere, and sent his chair crashing to the ground. His breathing was heavy and his eyes were unfocused and when Jerrick placed a calming hand on his shoulder he gave a loud yell of shock and looked ready to punch the other boy.
"Brotha, calm down!" Jerrick barked, grabbing of Shaun's fists and holding him still. The two bodyguards were already by their side, looking ready to pin Shaun down. "Breath, breath," Jerrick muttered.
"Did you fucking hear that?" Shaun demanded, gripping the other boy. "They're gonna send us against freaking legendaries! Send us to war with the north as well? Are they fucking insane?"
"I can assure you the sanity of the people who run the leagues have been questioned more than once," Lance said dryly, watching the scene as if it were nothing. "Calm, Shaun. I know this is hard to take in, but if you accept my help I will do what I can to help you succeed in gathering all the badges before the year is up."
Shaun gave a long breath, heart still beating frantically. Dear lord, how on earth could he lose his cool like this?
"I suppose I should have expected this reaction," Lance mused. "You had been mentally attacked by a psychic and have suffered a devastating loss at the gym, not to mention suddenly being thrust into this journey. I apologize. Perhaps we should discuss this tomorrow? I offer housing for Rehabs, though I do have limited space. I offer you both a room for tonight. I had the entire top floor made up of rooms for people such as yourself to stay. The floor below it is for my scientists who are unable to return home and is off limits. The same goes for every floor save the first, though I do not want anyone wandering about the hallways or first floor. We can reconcile tomorrow morning. Is that satisfactory?"
Warily, the two nodded.
"Good. Ian, why don't you take these two with you? I'm sure they still have a few questions that they need to get off their chest."
"Of course, sir," Ian said already rising and gesturing for the two teens to follow. With a backwards glance at all the magnificent paintings and the red haired man sitting behind his desk; Shaun followed the other two out of the office.
AN: I can assure you that the leader of this group is called Lance for a reason other than to just throw in an old name. Hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Only two or three more chapters and Shaun will definitely be out of this city with or without a badge, that I can guarantee you!
AN: Hey, sorry once again for how long it took to get this out but school really is my main priority right now and with it taking over my life I’m hoping I can at least get out an update a month. Of course I would like to do more but we’ll see.
About the pokemon, I don’t really go by all the information websites or the pokedex tells us. For instance a Pidgeot is technically only four feet eleven inches. Sorry, but that will not be true in my story. Pokemon will be giant monsters or tiny little beasts. I’ll also be doing a bit of a change on how some of them look by comparing a few to old Red and Blue game sprites compared to, say, the new Black and White game sprites.
There will also be a difference in some pokemon. Some will be more animal like while others will definitely be more intelligent and whatnot. Just a bit of change ups but while I write it I’ll definitely have an appropriate amount of detail so it doesn’t leave your wondering just how big something is or its personality is based on individuality and/or species.
Hope you all enjoy this one.
His hand was beginning to sting.
Add that with the rest of his wounds that would just be his entire body aching from the pain. Shaun was lying flat on his back in a small bedroom that was snuggly fit with two skinny beds, a tiny dresser with twolamps between them, and a bathroom that currently had steam creeping out from the crack at the bottom.
Sucking on the dried blood that covered his fist, Shaun looked over curiously as the bathroom door opened and Jerrick walked out, a massive amount of steam being released behind him and a small, tan and green fox like creature following behind him. The other boy had a towel wrapped around his waist and was currently drying his pale yellow dreadlocks with another.
“Sorry ‘bout all the steam,” he said the moment he walked completely out. “But Leafeon ain’t used to colder weather and it can be a bit annoying when she gets in a mood.” The teen gave a slight scowl towards his pokemon as it walked out with an exaggerated air of importance and hopped on the second bed where it promptly stretched its limbs, showing off the ears and tail that appeared to be made of actual leaves, and curled up into a ball with a low purr.
“Weather changes can be harmful to pokemon?” Shaun asked incredulously, watching Jerrick watch his pokemon with an irritated expression.
“Naw,” the other said with a shrug, “but I guess it’s the same as people. Takes a while to get used to the cold when you’ve been in the tropics your whole life.”
Shaun frowned. “Tropics? You from the Agon Islands?” he asked, think of the various whirlpools that the islands were known for. Trainers were meant to swim there on pokemon or fly over. Others used specialized boats to avoid the deadly water tides and, of course, the ferocious sea beasts that lurked all about that even well seasoned trainers tended to avoid.
Jerrick gave a small nod. “Yea, and I know what yer thinkin’. I live on the third island, farthest one from the mainland, the one with the gym and the hot spot for tourists, so it’s not the insanely dangerous one..” He gave a disdainful look at his sleeping pokemon. “And it’s absolutely filled with these things,” he said with a wave of his hand at the green and tan pokemon. “Decades ago some stupid foreigners abandoned a few eevees in the forest. The thick forests have a healthy amount of moss that can react with the little rodents that turn em into this.” Another gesture. “They started breeding like crazy and took over so now they’re all over the forests, the towns, evens neaking into homes.”
Jerrick let out an irritated release of breath. “And they’re weak, so of course they give one of em to me as my starter.” He grimaced. “Too weak to take on any gym near home and it took all my savings and then some, plus a full month outta my year, and then it ain’t even strong enough to fight a guy who uses rock pokemon.” He rolled his eyes in exasperation before lowering his voice. “I’m thinking of trading her but most people in this region know a leafeon from Agon ain’t worth shit. There are plenty of foreigners going about our land so they might be interested.” Another exasperated shrug. “Ah well.”
“I hear that,” Shaun said with a groan. “I’m from Apala and that shit town is completely filled with trapinch. Even worse the tourists never take enough when they visit.”
Jerrick gave a snort of understanding. “Yea, what’s the point of having “super rare” – he said it with air quotations – “when Kanto blokes don’t even bother to capture when they come to our region?”
Shaun just offered a shrug before getting up with a groan. He leaned over the side of the bed and grabbed his dirty bag. He gave it a disgusted look and opened it before giving a loud groan. Everything was still muddy, damp and most of it was absolutely trashed. The bits of food were ruined, save the canned ones, and the water bottle he had brought had cracked and was now empty of its contents. The worse part of all was that his cigarettes were now useless.
“Shit,” Shaun hissed. The only somewhat clean clothes he had were the ones he was wearing. “You know of a laundry mat somewhere?” he asked his roommate. All he got was a shrug. “Great.” With an annoyed sigh he got upand strode into the bathroom, a rather dirty looking razor in his hand.
Thirty minutes later he came out feeling better. Dripping clean hair, face gone of its patchy fuzz that had formed over the course of the few days, and no longer smelly.
“Alright, I’m out,” Shaun said the minute he stepped out, startling the other to the point he nearly fell out of bed.
“What?” the boy sputtered, not sure he heard right. “At three am? Do you have any idea how dangerous it is here in the middle of night, especially for people like us?”
Shaun shrugged, uncaring. “Better than hanging around for another round of preaching tomorrow. What that Lance guy was talking about sounded too good to be true.” Shaun started dressing, feeling a bit hurried. “Yea, we gotta help him out with whatever and get paid back. Sounds like an even trade.” He scoffed. “Sounds too good to me.”
Jerrick studied Shaun, body leant back against pillows andarms folded behind his head as chocolate brown eyes looked him up and down. He shrugged, uncaring. “Well, good luck then, brotha. Ya sure ya really wanna go?”
“Uh, yea, what did I just say?”
Jerrick snorted. “Well, before ya go give me your number. I’m sticking with this, and hey, maybe you might need the help after all.”
Shaun faltered. “I don’t have a cell.”
“Your pokedex,” Jerrick said, exasperated. “Didn’t anyone teach ya anything before you took off?” Shaun pursed his lips as the other boy took hold of his pokedex, opened it and flashed it in his face, and typed in some information. “There, now we can email or call or video chat or whatever.”
Shaun toyed with the red item, marveling at just how much he could do with it. Could it even work as a computer? Could he do just about anything with it? “Yea, thanks,” he muttered, heaving his dirty pack over one shoulder and walking out. “See ya,” he called back, just as the door slammed shut and echoed throughout the long hallway. “Screw this,” he muttered, looking about.
It was completely dead, given the early morning, and had a stale sort of quiet that set Shaun’s nerves on end. With a slight shiver the teen strode forward, thumb jamming into the down arrow of the elevator. It seemed to take forever, and when it did finally open a blast of cold air conditioner beat against his face, sending goose bumps all down his skin and makinghim feel even more insecure.
At least there was no cheesy elevator music on the ridedown.
The moment the doors slid way a heavy, salivating mouth was the first thing Shaun saw and he was not afraid to admit that the sharp, glistening teeth that were as long as his fingers and twice as thick made him give off a rather girly yell. Sharp, on edge blue fur surrounded the face of the larger than life monster that Shaun was facing and black fur covered its face and down its neck. The strange thing didn’t seem to have eyes, unless of course the fur was covering them, but Shaun still felt as if his very soul was being looked at and chewed out and then promptly spat upon.
“Deiiin,” it hissed, hot breath caressing Shaun’s face and sending out an uncomfortable tickling sensation. A large, red tongue lagged out and before Shaun knew it a small puddle of saliva had formed by his feet. A deep, baritone growl erupted from its throat and Shaun felt himself shiver infear.
“Deino, down!” a voice barked. The hulking beast didn't move. “Deino, now!”
Shaun would later deny it, yet when that male voice spoke that last word it came out in a hypnotic hiss that made him feel so relaxed he wanted to sink to his knees and just listen to whatever else the mysterious voice wanted to say. Of course the moment lasted for no more than a split second and all Shaun could feel was his frantically beating heart slam over and over against his chest. His clean body suddenly felt dirty as exhaustion from over the course of the past few days felt like a heavy burden.
“You may come out of there,” the voice continued once the giant beast stomped away, a disappointed growl left in its wake. Slowly, tentatively, Shaun walked out from the metal elevator, hands formed into fists and shaking. He stared wide eyed at the creature standing beside the man he had spoken to earlier – Lance. He smiled pleasantly at Shaun. “I apologize,” he said smoothly, “but the hour is rather late and my pet is raised to guard any unwelcome entrants.”
“You said we were free to leave,” Shaun blurted out, cursing himself for not being able to hold his tongue. You do not talk down on anyone with a monster that could easily rip your head off.
“That I did,” Lance said, turning to three other men Shaun hadn’t noticed and waved them on, “however given the time you’ll have to excuse our belief that those who had wished to leave had already done so.” He studied Shaun, serpentine smile never leaving his face. “You wish now to leave?” His tone hinted that he was puzzled.
“Yea,” Shaun said slowly, shoulders relaxing slightly now that the black and blue pokemon was no longer snarling at him and was now instead rubbing up against the small man like a well behaved skitty. “What is that?” he demanded, narrowing his eyes at the beast.
“This is Deino,” Lance answered calmly, rubbing a hand down its long neck. “He’s an interesting mixture of dragon and dark and the only oneo f his kind, I’m afraid. His family line is the only strange mix of elements but I have many that I keep around for security reasons. Would you like to know why?”
Shaun raised his guard, once again feeling wary. “Because you train dragons?” he said, hating himself by how simple it sounded. “Because I was told you were a dragon master,” he said a bit more strongly though he doubted it sounded any more educated.
“Hm, that is true,” Lance said with an amused smile, still petting his pokemon. “But I think you’re missing on just how much I stressed Deino’s strange mix. Being part dark type Deino is able to keep out certain unwanted visitors, visitors you have had the unfortunate chance of meeting. I talked about them earlier with you in my office. Do you remember?”
Shaun pondered it for a moment, thinking about what he knew on dark type pokemon before a light seemed to click. “You keep out psychics,” he said, feeling a bit amazed and staring at the pokemon. This man said he hadmore of these beasts? How many did he have and just what sort of opposing force was he really up against?
“Very good,” Lance said, teeth glistening. “Many people do not know this but I prefer dark types to dragons. They have a certain, shall we say, mischievous side to them that I’m afraid dragons are severely lacking. Able to use the shadows at their will and keep private thoughts a secret.”
“Yea, cool.” Shaun felt twitchy. “Look, I’m not joining you.” There, just get it out and get the hell out of here.
“May I ask why not?”
Shaun felt his irritation rise. “Because I don’t trust you,” he said bluntly, feeling a rather sudden rush of hostility. “I don’t believe that you’ll really let people like me off scot free. You’ll just use us over and over to get what you want as we slowly rise up and only then can we get away. You’re just like the rest of them!” By the end he was shouting and the deino was once again growling, lip curling back and revealing sharp, curved teeth in defense for its master.
“You have every right to be suspicious given your circumstances,” Lance said smoothly, not at all effected by Shaun’s outburst. “However, my own gathering is not kept secret from the government. It is open to the world to look at and nitpick. I cannot be as radical as I would like ont he outside and that is where most of the Rehab Rejects fall. They are out in the world with all eyes on them at all times. Tell me, Shaun, why would I have such children working secret operations when I can have people who are actually willing to fight with me and do not have that little band on their ankle?”
Shaun swallowed, keeping quiet for a moment. At last, “You said you could remove it. Hide us away without the government finding out.” He stared hard at the man. “Children like us might feel a bit grateful.”
Lance burst out laughing, looking truly amused. “Oh, I knew I liked you when I saw you.” The smile had widened. “I will not waste both ourt ime and say that is not untrue. I have managed to wipe the history of many Rejects and they have stayed with me. Not all have, of course, but most have and continue to fight with me.”
“Fight against what?” Shaun asked, latching onto the word. It seemed just a bit too strong for a simple movement.
“Why, the war, of course. I told you earlier.”
There was a tense moment where Shaun literally thought about just running. Lance seemed to sense what Shaun wanted to do and urged his pokemon away with a small shove and a sigh.
“Shaun, have your pokemon even been healed?”
“Er, what?” The question was so sudden that Shaun was takenaback.
“Have your pokemon been healed at all since your gym battle?” Lance was starting to sound a bit exasperated and spoke slowly, as if to a child.
“How do you know that I had a gym battle?” Shaun demanded.
The man sighed, obviously becoming a bit annoyed. “I look up background information on every person I talk to personally. Now, have your pokemon been healed?” A dull shake of the head was all Shaun gave the man. “And you honestly think you’ll be safe out on the streets at this time of night with no pokemon to back you up?” Shaun scowled. “Come with me and at least get them healed.”
“Then I’m free to go?” Shaun asked suspiciously. “You’re not gonna try and get me to stay.”
“I give you my word that I will not try and get you to stay.”
“However, I will persist to have you at least listen to a few select offers.” Shaun groaned. “None of which will have you stay in this city. Although if you would really like to leave, unprotected, the door is right there.”
Shaun eyed the man angrily. “Fine,” he grunted.
Lance gestured for Shaun to get back on the elevator. Still as wary as ever, Shaun entered first, Lance following shortly and pressing the button with the black six. Steadily, the elevator rose, and when the doors opened Shaun felt as if his breath had been squeezed out by an invisible force.
Machines that looked like they came out of a scifi movie were everywhere. It looked as if there were really two levels in the floor, Shaun and Lance being on the second and walking on a metallic walk. Above and below them were many scientists, each poking and prodding chemicals or physical beings. Machines were lit up everywhere and colorful knobs blinked with neon light. There were screens everywhere, all lit up in data code, but when Shaun looked carefully into the screens he could see small, pink blurs moving amongst the data.
“What is that?” Shaun asked warily, pointing at the closest screen just as a pink blur went and passed his vision.
Lance smiled, intrigued. “Out of all this you point outsomething that even my trained scientists didn’t notice their first day?” Shaun stared, blinking unsurely. “Shaun, in the privacy of my own building where no outside unwanted minds can enter I will be blunt with you. I do not keep most Rehab Rejects in my employee because most simply aren’t trustworthy or even up to par with what I want them to do. What I do for the simple ones that merely want a bit of extra help on this journey is that I offer them jobs in each area they are at. Say, for instance, that you were in Grassy Plains, the next route after this city. There are a great deal of grass and poison type pokemon in that area. I am in a war, even if most aren’t aware of it, and in times of war I am in need of certain pokemon. Say I needed a specific poison type, such as venomoth. I would have you, or whoever I knew could handle it, capture a sufficient amount. For something simple like that I can offer money, items or, in some rare cases, pokemon, and only that. Just something to help them along the way, unless of course I find that their talents are severely lacking. I cannot, and will not, give things away for free.”
Shaun contemplated his next words. “I don’t want to get mixed up in anything. If I don’t get eight badges I go to jail or, according to you, go off and fight the north, a region that doesn’t even show its face to us and definitely not Kanto. I said it earlier, one year is a joke, and we both believe it. Just what exactly would I need to do for you to take me out of the system, and even if you really could how would you?”
“Shaun, you, like everything else in this world, is nothing but a set of numbers and letters. You are data, information that may or may not be of use to the government that oversees it. They can look you up in the blink of an eye and know your life story, but just as they can do that I can just as quickly make you disappear.” He nodded to the screen Shaun had been looking at. “Take a closer look, Shaun.”
Eyeing the man guardedly, Shan glanced at the screen. He noticed a few pink blurs zip through the screen, a few pausing here and there and when they did they took on the form of a sort of toy. “What is it?” he asked again.
“Porygon,” Lance said simply, chuckling at the teen’s look of confusion. “Porygon is a manmade pokemon. How long ago it was made we have no idea. At one point, we theorize, that they were once able to leave the digital world and enter our own and vice versa, however it seems as if they are unable to do so or, perhaps, do not wish to. Shaun, do you know why books are more important than computer data?”
“Uh, because it came first?”
“Because in the end data can be destroyed with a simple press of a button. Books can be stopped from publishing, of course, but no one really knows how many copies of, say, history books there are. On a computer important data can be found by the wrong person and destroyed or taken away in the blink of an eye. In the view of the public especially, books are seen in a better highlight. We like to think ourselves above book burnings. Presently, however, everything is, just like I said, a number, and that number can easily be forgotten in the expanse of data.” He nodded at the computer. “Thanks to Porygon, that is.”
Shaun squinted at the strange creature as a clearer pictureformed. It had a pink polyhedral body and blue underside and triangular feet with a stiff pink tail. Its eyes were wide, emotionless, and completely alien looking.
“It’s eerie,”Shaun said at last. “It’s really a pokemon? What, do you capture it with computer pokeballs?”
Lance laughed, sounding amused. “In a manner.” He was still chuckling. “I have personal hackers that have a few of their own. Porygon are unique in more than just living in cyberspace. They cannot be manipulated or used easily, and most are incredibly neutral. In fact, some will react rather violently if anyone wishes to find information that they consider taboo.”
Lance turned awayfrom the screen and looked Shaun up and down. “Shaun, have you ever heard of the atomic bomb?”
Shaun frowned. “I think so… In history. Happened, well, forever ago.”
Lance nodded.“Several hundred,” he answered. “We have no exact date, have no clue who the scientists were and will never know how to design one. There is certain information that the porygon have deemed too dangerous or have been programmed to deny anyone the knowledge such as the atomic bomb or, say, a way to capture any pokemon without fail.”
Shaun, who had been staring up at the screen, jerked his gaze back to the other man. “A way to capture…?” He trailed off, frowning. “We really had something like that? But it’s gone now…” At this point Shaun was more or less talking to himself before fixing Lance with a cold, untrustworthy gaze. “You said it was wiped from thes ystem,” he accused quietly, “and that these porygon thingies keep that information under lock and key.” His eyes narrowed dangerously and he felt thaturge to run. “How do you know?”
“Because I am Lance of Blackthorn,” the man said simply, and it was said so matter-of-factlythat Shaun faltered. “The old Blackthorn, actually,” Lance mused, placing ahand under his chin and looking amused, though that sharp gleam never left his eyes. “Kanto has a lot of dark secrets,” the man said after a moment, “and being a part of the brother region, and being connected, allows certain people certain access to privy information. Tell me, Shaun, do you know who the very first champion of the first registered league was?”
Shaun, mutely, shook his head.
“Lance the dragonmaster,” Lance said with a predatory smile. “Born in Veridian Forest, Blackthorn blood running through his veins, and an army of dragon like pokemon at his beck and call. He was a very powerful man and had much influence during his time. His history is written in the scrolls of Blackthorn Dragon Den.” Arather dark gleam had entered his gaze. “The very man I was named after,” he continued smoothly. “Blackthorn is known for producing the best of dragon trainers though it has been very strenuous the past few generations with Kanto forcing new laws against over powerful pokemon and the fact that there had yet to be anyone that truly had any connection with such powerful beasts.”
“But you do,” Shaun said warily. It wasn’t a question.
“Yes, yes I do. Powerful people get noticed, Shaun, and when they do information that you would have never thought possible are suddenly at your finger tips.”
“Why are you telling me all this?” Shaun asked, lip curling. “Why are you going through all this effort of showing me these things and asking me to work with you?”
“Because you should be dead.” The bluntness of the statement made Shaun gape.
“What the… hell, what? Where do you get off saying that?” Shaun roared, causing a few scientists to look their way in befuddled confusion.
Lance gave a small wave that had them turn away and go back to what they were doing. “I told you earlier, Shaun, that I look up information on those I speak with in person.” His warm, tempting voice had gone cold. “And you should be dead.”
He folded hisarms behind his back and walked up to the screen that still showed the porygon. He gave it a nod. A light buzz echoed from the screen and soon files were being brought up, all with his name appearing throughout it all.
“I read the files that talked of your death in Rocky Hills only to be overturned when you showed up alive. I can only imagine the revenge you wish to enact on the boys that gave this statement considering the dark look on your face.” Shaun’s face was completely murderous. “I also read your past before becoming a Rehab Reject. You have talent in underground trade, something I am highly invested in, and you are not afraid to get into a fight with both human and pokemon. In a war that frame of mind is necessary, Shaun, but do you know why I really want youto join?”
Shaun was staring wide eyed at the screen. His entire life was open for this man. “No,” he said hoarsely.
“Because you did not die in Rocky Hills.” Shaun shot the man a bewildered look. “You fell into the caverns of the mountain where only those with a fair amount of strong pokemon and badges under their belt venture. Did you go into the depths where truly horrendous beasts such as aggron and onix dwell? No, but you did go farenough for a new trainer that has had no training experience ever with an equally inexperienced pokemon and not only made it out alive but with two strong pokemon. Was luck involved in you surviving? Most definitely. But was there any luck when you captured, say, that rhyhorn? No, and that is why I want you. You can train your whole life and never be as good as someone who was born with the skill or the talent. What happened in that cave was a classic example of make or break, and you made it.”
Shaun was staring wide eyed, unable to believe what he was hearing. “You honestly believe I have some sort of born skill to capture these things?” Shaun said, gesturing wildly at the pokeballs on his belt. “Dude, I know nothing about pokemon!”
“And yet you still survive,” Lance said strongly, presence once more overcoming Shaun. “And you have the pokemon to show for it. You don’t believe you can do this journey in a year, Shaun, I know it, you’ve said it plenty, but then why are you still going to leave my building, my help, and still go at it?”
Shaun opened and closed his mouth several times, at a loss for words. He looked away darkly. “I just need to get away from everything,” he said at last, thinking of his home, his life… whatsername. “I’m not the kind of guy that just sits on his ass and waits for the cops to come and arrest me.” Shaun grimaced, shuffling a bit and feeling awkward.
They were silent for a moment.
“You going to heal my pokemon?” Shaun said at last.
A ghost of a smirk appeared on Lance’s face before he grasped the red and white spheres.“Watch me carefully,” he told Shaun and placed the balls on some sort of capsule holder with a screen. “I doubt anyone has told you about PCs.” Shaun gave a negative grunt. “I thought not. If you want a quick healing just place the capsules in the holders like so and place the glass lid on top.” He did so slowly, showing Shaun how to navigate the machine. “Just press the ‘go’ button and wait five minutes. Usually it’s a circular button under the pokedex slot. At pokemon centers nurses and doctors take care of the pokemon but most other places have these. Make sure you don’t forget your pokemon. I’ve known plenty of kids forget before the five minutes are up and up and left. Easy thievery. When you get to these healing machines some trainers check their PC, though they can of course check them at the pokemon center or elsewhere without healing your pokemon. If you would?”
Dutifully, Shaun handed over the red mechanical pokedex. Slipping it into the slot turned on the screen. It showed an empty white box with the top words saying POKEMON. To the side in slightly smaller print was ITEMS.
“While you are still a low level trainer or not given the appropriate licenses you are only allowed six captured pokemon with you at a time,” Lance told Shaun, pointing atthe blank screen. “You currently have only three pokemon so after three more captures your fourth will go here, thanks to the teleport system. If you wish to deposit a pokemon that is already in your team just place its pokeball in the single slot in the middle,” Lance pointed, “and press the deposit button. It’s all a touch and drag screen; easy enough. Same with withdraw or release.” His finger pointed at the little miniature pictures of his pokemon in the party option.
“You can also look up the information on the pokemon in your party. Let’s take a look at your Sableye, shall we?” A rotating image of the little purple imp appeared, along with a list of stats and capable attacks it could learn in the future. “Not bad, good enough to at least get you the first badge without too much a problem on its own. Make sure you look at the list of attacks it is capable of learning in the future because while some need a technical machine some moves can be taught through tutoring or practice. He’s a good first catch. Your second is interesting. I’m sure you’ve heard of the meteorite crash that has affected certain ground pokemon. How was your encounter with the rhyhorn?”
“Thing chased me for over a long time,” Shaun growled, glaring at the image of the monstrous rock beast. “Broke through walls to get me and took forever for both my riolu and sableye to take it down.
Lance gave a small hum. “Chased after you for a long time? I find that interesting because ordinarily rhyhorn are so simple minded that they forget what they are doing even in mid charge. Yours must be at least a bit more aware than others, though not too much given your battle with the gym leader.” Shaun scowled. “Also, most of the time with rhyhorn you can tell their gender by the length of their horn. Males have longer, curved horns while females have shorter, straight horns. Yours is female, though its horn is above average length and has the male curve to it. It seems Rocky Hills has an interesting power that I will need to explore.”
Lance then moved onto Riolu, Shaun’s starter, and scrolled down its stats and attacks. “A riolu with Aura Sphere?” His gaze was thoughtful. “Only riolu from a single clan in Sinnoh are capable of learning that move before evolving. I wonder how it came here.”
“Professor Leef had it with the other starters,” Shaun said. The other man still looked contemplative before moving on.
He finished up pointing at each one on the screen before switching it over from pokemon toitems. “Ah, it looks like you have items that you haven’t used yet. Just theb asics that all beginner trainers are given.”
Shaun peered atthe two little miniature shapes. One was a simple brown box that when he placed his finger on said POKEMON FOOD and the second one was a tiny version of a Super Potion that had a 1 hovering over it.
“How do I get them out?” Shaun asked.
Lance pointed atthe metallic box hanging off to the side of the PC. It had a little sticker with an electrical warning signal and telling people to keep it closed when doing a transaction.
“Just make sure it is closed and drag the items you want to the withdraw logo. I recommend doing this when you find a place to stay so you don’t have too much to carry. If you wish to deposit items some need certain capsules or containers that don’t allow loose items. Markets usually carry items for such purposes for cheap prices.”
“Huh, thanks,” Shaun said grudgingly, blinking as the light that had been surrounding his pokeballs finally faded away. The protective glass container lifted away automatically, leaving the pokeballs wide open.
“You know, it was odd that the first place you asked to be taken to was Orre,” Lance said, literally from out of nowhere.
Shaun had been around the man for less than an hour and he was already beginning to feel less shocked by whatever direction the man took their conversation. “I know it’s abackwards sort of region, but so is ours – mine,” Shaun amended, rememberingt hat the man said he was from Johto. It was weird, but Kanto and Johto people were really pale compared to the natural slight tan of most of Lenore, save for some really dark skinned areas like Agon, and this man didn’t have the pale skin color. “Why do you say so? I could survive there, especially after training some pokemon.” Shaun narrowed his eyes at the man, daring him to say something.
“Because Orre is the reason Kanto started enforcing such strict laws and started its global takeover.”
“Because aside from being a near lawless land, it had an image to uphold as being the first region to start pokemon training. Sounds glorious, no?” Lance gave a low sigh.“Such an image created hostility amongst trainers, forcing them to train and train to be the very best, a goal that was theirs and theirs alone at the time. It is why Orre is so barren of wild life, save for the savage and the strong. The rest were killed out and those that survived, including its people, are slowly being killed off. Kanto had been created in Orre’s image, though that is not well known now, save amongst certain groups. Kanto will do what it thinks best to maintain the order they see fit. If you stay here, or go to Orre, you will end up in the war. That is a fact, Shaun.”
Shaun mulled over the man’s words, playing with his pokeballs. “Do I have to give you an answer now?” he asked after a moment.
“No, but once I placed your pokedex into my PC it updated it with an email and number that can get in contact with my staff and I. They are both untraceable, thanks to my porygon, and you may contact me anytime you wish. However, I give you this freedom only until a full month has passed. It is November sixth, so I shall give you until the sixth of December. If you have not contacted me by then I will assume you want nothing to do with me or my organization and leave you alone. That also means, however, that if you suddenly want help in the far off future you will have a lot more to prove or I might just not want to deal with a desperate trainer that is nearing the end of his time limit, do you understand?”
“Crystal,” Shaun said mulishly, glaring.
“Good.” The man smiled warmly. “I’ll have one of my guards escort you out.”
Shaun thought he meant one of his giant dragons but instead a man in typical security garb walked over, a belt absolutely covered in different colored pokeballs going across his chest and over his shoulder like some sort of military personal. He gave a nod toward the elevator, signaling that Shaun should step in. He did so without a word, all the while watch Lance as the metallic doors slowly closed, and just as he did, he saw the man finger a small, purple pokeball on his belt.
“You’re missing a good opportunity,” the guard spoke up as they reached the first floor and walked out.
Shaun just shrugged. “It’s my decision,” he said with a bit of a growl.
The man snorted. “Hope that freedom lasts a little longer, kid.”
And with that the door closed in Shaun’s face, leaving him staring at glass that was only onesided. He turned with a huff, rolling his shoulders and staring up at the sky. The glow of the city life didn’t allow him to see any stars or even the moon,and despite it being so early in the morning the brightness of building and street lights made him walk away from the building without feeling like a blindman.
Once Shaun was a good distance away from the building he picked up his pace, feeling that now that at least he was out of sight with the giant building and all of its inner workings and conspiracies he wouldn’t be seen all but fleeing away. Shaun had no idea how long he walked, or even when he began to run; all he knew was that when he finally fell into a telephone booth and slammed the glass door behind him he was a sweaty, panting mess. Shakily, Shaun lifted the phone and hastily placed a few coins in the slot, cursing as he dropped a few and had to bend down to pick them up. He looked away blindly, not really seeing anything andjust focusing on the steady ring. Thankfully he only had to wait after three.
“He-llo?” came agroggy voice, yawning mid word.
“Jake, I need your croagunk,” Shaun demanded, not even bothering with hello.
There was a moment of silence which caused Shaun to grit his teeth in frustration and think the other boy had hung up on him. But then an all of a sudden “Shaun!?” had him wincing.
“Yea,” he said breathlessly. “Dude, I need your damn frog or toad thing.”
“Holy shit, dude!” Jake was laughing on the other end, no longer drowsy with sleep. “We thought you’d be dead for sure!”
Shaun grit his teeth in frustration. “Obviously not,” he said coolly. “I need your damn croagunk and now.”
“Geeze, dude, I can’t believe… Did you know we had a betting pool on whether or not you’d get to even one city? Oh, and why do you need Croagunk?” A hearty laughter erupted into Shaun’s ears. “You just won me some money, bro. I rooted for ya to at least make it to the first city.”
“Thanks for the support.” The sarcasm was heavy. “I need your damn frog because I need something strong against stupid rock pokemon. The gym leader uses those kinds –he’s also a fucking cheat! – and I need something right now! Dude, this town is fucking insane.”
“He… an…. I don’t….” Shaun glared at the phone and smacked it a few times against the side and pressed it to his ear. He could still here a disjointed fizz before its oftened out and back to normal. “Dude, can you hear me? Ya? Kay, that was weird. Anyway, I can’t give you Croagunk, man. He don’t have a stinkin’ pokeball and you know he can’t beat anyone.”
“He’s beaten up guard houndour and mightyena before,” Shaun pointed out.
“Yea, but they weren’t trained by, ya know, actual trainers. You’re a trainer now. Go do some training!”
“Yea, like they play fair to guys like me,” Shaun snapped. “Seriously, dude, give me something like a technical machine. This town… dude, there are these protesters that brought me to this man that told me about some sort of conspiracy war. About Kanto taking over and shit.”
“Uh, Shaun? They are.” Jake was beginning to sound a bit bored. “Kanto is in charge of every major league event even if they are in the background, including ours now.”
“Well, you know how giant pokemon have been attacking cities a lot lately, like that groudon in Hoenn or that regi-something in Unova? The guy I just talked to told me he thinks Kanto is in on all of that to get people to hate the north and attack.”
There was a strained sort of silence.
“Shaun, what the hell are you talking about? Who did you talk to?”
“This guy called Lance or whatev—”
“Lance of Blackthorn?” Jake interrupted.
“Yea, why, you know him or something?” Shaun snarled. “This guy was a fucking freak! And the way he talked to people… he was just…” Shaun struggled before ending, ratherlamely, with “too nice.” He grimaced. “He was just too nice about helping out and yea, if you sign up with him you basically work for him and pay him back but I can tell there’s more… I just don’t know.” Exasperated, Shaun leaned against the glass and sighed.
“Shaun,” Jake said after a moment, “I really don’t think you should get involved with this guy.”
“Why?” Shaun demanded, eyes narrowing with suspicion. “Tell me what you know, Jake!” he roared into the phone.
“Alright, alright!” Jake snapped. “But first, where are you talking to me from?”
“Uh, a payphone,” Shaun said warily. “Why does that matter?”
“Bec… the… ca…wa…” Frustrated, Shaun began to bang on the glass with the phone once more. Fucking phone. He waited nearly three minutes before the other boy could get ahold of him. “Dude, what the hell is with your reception? Pay phones aren’t that shitty.” A long sigh came from the other boy. “Just give me your pokedex number. I’ll call that.” The boy paused. “Why didn’t you use that? It’s free.”
“I don't know to use it as a phone,” Shaun hissed, pulling the red device out of his pocket and opening it.
“Just slide it all the way open. There should be a small, rectangular cover both under and above the screen. Just press those and you have your ear and mouth pieces to talk into. Your number is the id on the back. It’s long, you won’t miss it.”
“How do you know this much about these things anyway?” Shaun asked, flipping overthe red device and telling the other boy the twelve numbers and letters that basically made him an object on an ever growing list of trainers. “You got it?”Shaun asked.
The line went dead.
Shaun stared, incredulous, before with a roar of anger finally slammed the phone on its receiver. He hunched over, feeling so tired. He just wanted a bed to sleep in without the worry of lies floating about his mind, deceptive radicalists awaiting a life changing decision in the blink of an eye and didn’t want to deal with anymore pokemon.
The scream was so loud that Shaun literally thought someone had just screamed in his ear. He jumped, body smacking into the sides of the phone booth, and groaned in slight pain before looking toward the high pitched scream before sucking in a startled breath. Pressed up against the glass right by his face was a ghastly gray face with black ringed eyes and a devilish grin that looked borderline insane.
Shaun jerked away, only to knock into the other side of the booth. With a frustrated scream, Shaun got out of the glass box and shuffled away from the cackling thing. It literally looked like a flying cone with a pair of eyes. It shrieked loudly, causing Shaun to cringe and then back up as it floated in frenzy circles above his head, hissing down at him mockingly.
Shaun watched warily, starting violently as something that felt like water and as cold as ice brushed up against his fingers. He jumped away, heart hammering as a second floating cone like being floated past and began to encircle the first, their haunting cackles intermixing. Frustrated, Shaun reached blindly for the pokeballs on his belt and tossed it forward harsh enough for it to smack against the ground to give off an echoing cracking sound. He winced, thinking it had broke, but it opened just fine and jumped back into his hand like a magnet, releasing one of his beasts with a flash of bright, white light.
The small, hunched form of Sableye appeared. Its jaws opened and cracked, looking a bit like it had a dislocated jaw, and glanced up at the cackling monsters. He hissed demonically, crystal eyes glinting before raising its claws high. They glowed briefly in an unholy purplish blue, and suddenly the creatures above them were screaming in pain and terror, shaking themselves wildly as if to escape from the Night Shade. With a loud hiss that sent shivers up and down Shaun’s spine the two fled, soon disappearing into the darkness.
“The hell was that?” Shaun demanded, throwing up his arms in the air in exasperation beforefiddling with his pokedex, its mechanical voice soon popping up.
“Shuppet, the revenge ghost pokemon. They are attracted by feelings of jealousy and vindictiveness. If someone develops strong feelings of vengeance, this Pokémon will appear and, if strong enough emotions, a swarm will gather. Happy thoughts and bright sources of light willdrive these negative pokemon away.”
Shaun blew at his hanging bangs, getting them out of his eyes. With a sigh he turned to his own ghostly pokemon. “At least there were only two of—” He was interrupted by Sableye hissing acidly up at him, seemingly glaring and baring its pure white razor blade like teeth. “What the hell?” Shaun barked, not backing down. “What’s you’re problem?” He hovered menacinglyover his pokemon, hoping to use his height to his advantage.
“Saa, sablly,” Sableye hissed, lip curled and looked away with a huff and promptly folded its arms.
“Yea, like I know what that means.” Incensed, Shaun kicked out, sending some garbage clattering down the street and into an alley. A muffled moan immediately came after, causing Shaun and Sableye to peer through the darkness. A shadowed figure shuffled forward, a sniffling whimper that sounded like someone was trying to hold back from crying coming from it. “Come out into the light!” Shaun barked, only to huff in exasperation as the lightsin the surrounding area began to flicker on and off. “Stupid city,” he grumbled, trying to peer into the dark alley.
The being apparently listened to his orders because it hobbled out into the light, form actually making Shaun feel ill. It was a girl that looked to be about his age, her entire form a ragged excuse for what appeared to be a once beautiful girl. Blond hair that was so dirty it appeared a sickly blond and hung heavily in her face and around her shoulders. Ill fitting, too large pants with a piece of rope used as a belt sagged on bony hips and a once tight black shirt now looked too big for the skinny, sickly girl. Her body was beginning to look like a walking skeleton, what with her gaunt face and sunken eyes, but what really made Shaun feel ill was the small lump on her stomach that was not fat, but the showing of a pregnancy.
“Are you a trainer?” she rasped, dirty fingered hands scratching at her hands in a nervous action.
Shaun stared at the girl warily, watching as she walkedcloser, and then her pants shifted and he could suddenly see the dark, metal clasp around her ankle and he had to fight the urge to throw up. A Rehab Reject, just like him, and she was fading away quickly, a failure to the system because she wasn’t meant to be out in this world.
“Yea,” Shaun said cautiously, “just like you.” He hoped that stating that they were in the same situation would put her a bit more at ease or at least get her to go away, but instead she reacted far more violently than Shaun had believed.
She howled brokenly, bringing out a tattered pokeball from within her pants pocket and threw it violently to the ground, all the while screaming, “BATTLE ME!”
The pokemon that emerged from the dirty pokeball was in just as horrible state as the girl. The small, four legged pokemon looked like it might have had long, beautiful red fur, but now it had small patches of dirty reddish brown hair throughout its body, and the six tails were limp on theground, lifeless. A tuft of dirty fur fell from its head and nearly over its eye and the ripped, pointed ears were folded back. Untamed eyes glared at Shaun and the being hissed madly, acting completely feral.
“Back off!” Shaun barked, stumbling back a few steps. “I don’t want to battle!”
“You have too!” she shrieked, tears leaking down her cheeks and creating clean little trails through the dirt. “It’s against the rules to deny a challenge! Vulpix, burn his pokemon!”
The tiny furred pokemon howled loudly, fire leaking from its mouth like spit, and little bits of magma balls were shot out Shaun’s uncaring Sableye. It hissed back, though it sounded more like laughter, and it simply leapt to the side, the attack too slow.
“Vulpix, please!” the girl shouted, hysterical, and Shaun was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable. “You have to win or we’ll never be good enough to get badges!”
Shaun had a hard time swallowing as he heard those words. Would this be his future if he didn’t become strong and play by their rules?
“Keep using your fire!” the girl yelled, pointing a shaking finger at Sableye as it cackled insanely and jumped all over the place, easily avoiding the incoming fireballs before finally dangling on the lamppost with a single claw not unlike a slaking, grinning insanely.
“That’s enough,” Shaun told to the girl, tone harsh. “You’re sick, and so is your pokemon.” He calmed his voice for his next words. “Come on, let’s get you some help, get you some food.”
“No! No!” the girl shrieked, scuttling backwards like astartled animal. At the sound of her trainers voice the rapid vulpix stopped attacking sableye and jumped in front of the girl, saliva dripping down visible small fangs. “They won’t help!” she cried. “They never help me!” She finally broke down, falling to her knees, and still managed to call out commands through choked sobs. Her body shook as if someone were actually manhandling her and with each fallen tear is seemed as if her life were being drained away. It was sickening.
And it was absolutely frightening, because someday this could be Shaun.
“Sableye, just take it out,” Shaun muttered, not seeing what else he could do.
Sableye let go of the lamp post, falling to the ground and doing a little flip before clawed toes landed on cold pavement. It looked up at Shaun and gave a huff and promptly turned its head away, obviously not caring for Shaun’s commands. Shaun’s temper finally broke. Days of stress and suppressed murderous rage finally broke like a dam and he stomped over to his surprised pokemon like a dominating tauros and snarled at his pokemon like an enraged houndoom.
“When I give you a goddamn command you better fucking listento me or I’m locking you in your pokeball until you're dead, do you understand me!?” Shaun’s roar of a yell echoed all around them, startling the girl enough to stop her sobbing and the vulpix to stop shooting fireballs. “You damn pokemon, I caught you. I’m your fucking master, got it!?”
By the time Shaun was done he thought for sure his voice would crack with how loud he was screaming, and yet it stayed strong. It sounded hysterical, yes, but it was dominating, commanding and strong, and Sableye hunched into itself pitifully, for once showing fear on its otherwise mischievous or emotionless face. Baring his teeth for good measure, Shaun pointed at the astonished vulpix, and barked another order.
“Take it out now!”
Sableye shot up from its hunched position as if it had been electrocuted. It sprang forward, running on all fours, and grazed its claws against the vulpix’s neck, sending up a spurt of blood in all directions, and suddenly it was down, gasping and shaking.
The girl howled in broken disbelief while Shaun stood still, transfixed. He hadn’t actually thought his pokemon would take the command as intent to kill.
“Return it!” he shouted at the girl, running to her side. She had wrapped her thin, emaciated arms around herself and was rocking backand forth. With a curse he grabbed her fallen pokeball and returned the down pokemon himself. It turned into a beam of red energy and was brought back into the pokeball, and as soon as the energy had been transferred the girl snatched the ball out of Shuan’s hand quicker than he could blink. “It’s still alive,” he mumbled, rubbing tiredly at his face and watching the girl warily.
“I know,” she snapped, cradling the pokeball close. Her tone told Shaun that she had returned the pokemon plenty of times during a lot of close calls. “She’s all I have… The stupid government won’t give me anything else and my year is almost up…” She was mumbling now and thankfully no longer crying. She looked up at Shaun, and now that he was close to her he could seehow gaunt her face truly was and how there was no life in her eyes. She placed a hand on his chest. “I need money from the battle,” she said mournfully, “but there are other ways to get money.” She smiled up at him, slowly rising and still running her hand up and down his chest as she sidled her legs agains this. “I can do whatever you want,” she breathed into his ear, “and I can be whoever you want. You’ve been thrown out like me, you Rehab Reject. How long has it been since you’ve had a blowjob once the government threw you into the wild?”
Shaun pushed her away, hand grasping the small bulge in her stomach for but a moment, but it was more than enough to feel the shape of inside life. She fell to the ground with a surprised yelp, shock written upon her face and it turned pleading, begging for anything, but Shaun turned away, disgusted. He walked away from the shouting girl, wondering just how many like her were out there. He had known that this law would turn people like him into people like that, but to actually see it with his own eyes was a horrifying wake up call. You can know things through word of mouth, but you don’t really know these things until you see them, and it made Shaun sicker than he had ever imagined, but he knew he could never allow himself to be lowered to that girl’s level, to the level that the government was turning his kind into.
His sableye crept behind him, following him with an ominous silence. Crystal eyes watched him warily before they looked up and hisses filled the air as more floating cone like beings floated above them. More shuppet appeared, cackling and calling out with their mocking tone. Shaun glanced up at them only once before snapping once at his pokemon, knowing that if he were to open his mouth even to speak the urge to vomit would actually happen.
His pokemon faltered for only a moment before looking backup at the swirling pokemon. Its eyes began to glow an unearthly color and soon the other ghosts were wailing in pain. Their bodies shook violently, and with another angry hiss they began to flee into the sky, leaving the street empty and silent, save for the static buzz of the streetlamps flickering on and off.
Shaun paused, swallowed thickly, and then spat to the side before turning to see if the girl was still there. She wasn’t. He turned away again, shoulders tense as he walked forward with a dark look.
“Saab lyy-ly,” the purple pokemon chattered, just as hunched as Shaun and hissing loudly, gaze back towards the alley.
“Let’s go,” Shaun told his pokemon, still walking hurriedly, only to pause as more shuppet began to weave their way around various buildings and blocks.
More and more were becoming visible, and Sableye’s hissing was increasing in volume. The floating beings were cackling loudly, their tones a distraught sound that sent bad vibes and made Shaun stand on edge. He swallowed thickly, watching warily as they floated high above him, slowly filling up the sky like a poison filling the body. The lamp posts were still flickering on and off before, after a particularly loud static hum that filled the air, they went dead, along with the rest of the city lights.
“Sableye!” Shaun hissed at once, gesturing for his pokemon to get close to him.
He was blind, and his erratically blinking eyes were tryingto get used to the sudden darkness as his arms waved wildly in an effort to latch onto his pokemon. They grazed something cool and watery, and suddenly he could make out a little cone shape. He staggered away with a loud yell of fright, voice suddenly echoing in the empty city, and Sableye was quickly upon him, eyes glowing demonically and lighting the area. A few of the shuppet screamed loudly and fled quickly, their bodies rustling like paper clothes inthe wind, only for more to take their place and stare down acidly at both Shaunand Sableye.
Shaun could feel his heart beating almost painfully against his chest in the stillness of the moment, hoping, praying, for someone to help. What on earth were all these ghost pokemon doing here? They came to feast on bad emotions, and the city was the perfect places for these beings to dwell, but this number was just ridiculous. Someone would have done something about the little beasts, or at least made the people aware. Something was not right, but before Shaun could think more on the subject or even formulate a true plan of action the ground beneath him rumbled.
His hair stood on end and every instinct was telling him torun away. His breath caught in his throat and Sableye clung to his pant leglike a frightened child, actually shaking like a leaf.
The ground shook as if the gods were beating on the ground like a drum, and behind him a building exploded in a mass of debris. Hellish fire rose high, dancing and flickering as if alive, and the wave of heat that blasted against Shaun was stiffening. The once now blackened city was alight in an ominous glow and screams were quickly filling the area. Smoke was filling the night sky and was illuminated thanks to the flames, casting a foreboding look over the city.
High pitched screams suddenly joined in with the human ones and suddenly a cold breeze slammed into Shaun, nearly throwing off his footing. The sudden change from dangerously hot to bitter cold was a shock to the body and mind. He watched, completely dazed, as a figure rose through the flames, giant blue wings flapping erratically. Sharp feathers struck through the flames and created an even colder wind, somehow keeping some of the surrounding fire away from its body, but tiny slivers of flame crept up on it only to sizzle out of existence, its body obviously too cold for the flame to handle.
“Sabley!” his pokemon screamed, pulling Shaun down and sending him crashing painfully on his side, a dark form of matter oozing like a sickly poison exactly where he had been standing before. His pokemon snarled like a rabid creature, the fire illuminating its demonic features even more as it sneered up at the cackling shuppet.
Around them people were coming out of various buildings, only to be assaulted by waiting shuppet. People were calling out their pokemon and filling the entire city with chaos, trying to keep the mass of ghost types at bay as they seemed to fill up the sky.
“Sableye, keep them back!” Shaun commanded, quickly reaching for the two pokeballs on his belt, not caring that he couldn’t control one of them at the moment.
With a bright flash of white light the two monsters appeared. Riolu appeared with a huff, looking extremely cross with Shaun and a sneer about to grace his face, but the moment he saw the situation those red eyes widened with horror and palms were alight with energy. “Riolu!” he barked incredulously, eyes glowing with the power of Foresight to take in all the ghosts before giving Shaun a brief glare as if it were his fault that the city was being attacked.
“Don’t give me that!” Shaun snarled, only to yelp as a large, curved stone horn nearly grazed his side. “I don’t have time for this, you stupid bitch!” he yelled at the rock beast. Rhyhorn bellowed loudly, eyeing him with distaste and not even appearing to care about their impending doom.
She snorted and stomped the ground, only to get her head slammed into the ground by a passing shuppet. It cackled insanely and made to escape, but with another angry bellow Rhyhorn snapped the fleeing creature within her large white teeth and bit down savagely. From within the beast came a howl of despair and sickly, black sludge oozed out from beneath white, blunt teeth. “Ry,” she spat proudly while Shaun watched, perturbed. She eyed him coldly before looking about, finally deciding after a lengthy pause if he was worth attacking before deciding the cackling ghosts that were actually attacking her were more worth it.
Feeling a bit relieved, Shaun watched his monsters fight the attacking ghosts, joining in with other pokemon as people began to surround them and shout orders at their own pokemon. Others were trying to run past, water pokemon running at their heels, but before people could get too close blasts of hot fire slammed into the ground, stopping their progress.
Astonished from the onslaught of more fire, Shaun craned his neck high, trying to see the figure still within the swirling mass of fire that was steadily getting bigger. It was still there, fighting against a purple barrier that wouldn’t let it fly away, despite the strong beat of its icy wings and beams of thick ice erupting from its sharp beak. It gave a shrill cry that made the surrounding pokemon wince, making them look somewhat forlorn at the creatures misery as flames licked at its hide. Somewhere from the ground several blasts of thin streams of fire and even a few star shaped blasts of fire rose, aimed at the flying bird of ice, but it flapped its wings quickly, creating a small blizzard that managed to clear away most of the fire, including the attacks from below, but just as soon as the fire cleared away itrose again like a demon looking for revenge.
Shaun’s heart raced as he stared, realizing that the fire was getting close to the alleyway he had just been at, and with sickening horror he realized that the girl might still be there, and maybe she would be just sitting there, not caring that death was steadily creeping up on her inthe form of a savage fire.
“Riolu!” he barked at his pokemon, gesturing for the beast to get to his side. The blue furred pokemon turned, just barely missing an attack from the shuppet he had been battling. With a savage swipe that sent the ghost type careening away and through a wall, Riolu jumped to his trainers side and ran alongside, looking up questionly as they ran from battle. “Come on!”
They swerved through incoming attacks, both from the shuppet that seemed to want to keep people away from the burning people and trainers with out of control pokemon doing their best to defend the city in the midst of all this chaos. Upon realizing that their trainer was leaving them behind both Rhyhorn and Sableye shrieked in anger and took after him, batting incoming shuppet away as if they were minor annoyances and huffed at their trainer the minute they caught up.
Despite himself Shaun rolled his eyes at the display.
And then nearly threw up at the sight that greeted him.
The sickly girl that he had just battled – notevenfiveminutesago!- was lying flat on her back, eyes blank and unseeing and somehow managed to be in a position that was staring up at the horror struck Shaun. Her limbs were crooked and awkwardand her lower jaw was missing completely. Blood pooled beneath her and was steadily making its way to stain the rest of the alley. But that wasn’t what the worst part was. Surrounding the deceased girl was feet upon feet of blue scaled coils. A sharp narrow snout was currently digging into the open gap that was once her stomach and pulled up to stare at Shaun with dead, black eyes. It twitched its white webbed ears and crooned mockingly.
And then promptly swallowed the immature fetus.
His stomach lurched and he had to swallow thickly, though the taste of bile burned his tongue. By his side Rhyhorn bellowed and stomped her foot, creating a dent in the ground that kicked up cement. White, blunt nails tensed and scratched at the cement before the rock beast charged, horn lowered and eyes glowing with a deadly glint.
The blue snake licked its maws with its long pink tongue, watching curiously as Rhyhorn charged with a blind fury. It breathed in deeply, scaled form expanding widely, and then its cheeks puffed out comically.
Shaun wasn’t sure if he should run or guffaw.
“Stop your pokemon!” Shaun jumped, head swiveling around and staring slack jawed as a teen with messy black hair and striking silver eyes rushed towards him, looking haggard and still wearing pajamas. Despite carrying a hefty backpack the teen wasn’t wearing shoes and the small ponytail was out, leaving his hair to hang limply at his shoulders. “Shaun, stop it!”
Of all the people to meet amidst all this chaos Shaun had to run into Alex? Still in shock, Shaun could only stare with mute incomprehension as the boy continued to shout at him to stop his charging pokemon. It only took a good slap to the face that Shaun snapped out of it, ready to snarl and punch the other, but his rhyhorn being shot away from a blast of water from the corner of his vision made him pause and swivel around, watching the giant snake easily shoot a substantial amount of water from its jaws. The water was not a straight line and was somehow twisting itself into rings as it continued to pound at his pokemon as it howled in pain.
“Water Pulse,” Alex said glumly before going wide eyed and staring at just exactly what the pokemon was coiled over. “Oh my god,” he breathed, stepping back a few steps and looking very much like he had to vomit. He glanced at Shaun and understanding flashed through his eyes as he realized just what had caused Shaun to go into shock.
Shaun watched in fury as his pocket monster continue to be pounded with the fierce water attack. With a snarl he pointed at the smug snake as it let out the last bit of its attack, water still dripping down its snout and into the empty space of the girl’s stomach. “Aura Sphere!” he roared, wanting this creature dead because he knew that this was what he was meant to battle in both the wild and in the service.
His pokemon was just as enraged as he. It was gazing at the other with a sickly expression, as if it couldn’t understand why it would go so low as to torture its prey. That sort of sadistic pleasure was meant to be only within humans.
Power seemed to hum as it became visible between Riolu’s paws in a ball of bright blue. With a sneer of distaste Riolu aimed and fired. Blue power charged like a laser rather than the simple, single ball it usually shot, and struck the blue serpent. It wailed and writhed as the power burned its body, destroying some of its scales and leaving patches of charred, pink flesh on its head and neck.
“Shaun, stop it!” Alex shouted. “You’re going to kill it!”
“I believe that is what he’s trying to do, boy,” a new voice growled. A figure, who seemed to have been lurking deeper in the alley, stepped into the light to show himself. The blue serpent hissed savagely and curled around the new being and stretched itself, showing off that it was a lot longer than Shaun had previously thought. It looked as if it had at least ten feet of blue coils. “And as it should be.”
The two teens tensed as they took in the giant man. He was ridiculously tall and heavily muscled, looking like something you only see in a comic. He even wore a long brown overcoat over what appeared to be a military suite. Tight black pants with a white undershirt with a brown vest over it with large, gold buttons and a black belt going around his middle. Combat boots stepped closer, uncaring of the blood. The man looked at the two and ran a handover a smooth, bald head and grinned at them, black eyes looking down at them condescendingly.
“Lo-look at his ears,” Alex whispered, staring wide eyed.
“I’m not blind,” Shaun hissed, staring with just as much shock as webbed spikes flicked about on either side of the man’s head, not unlike the serpent at his feet.
“I’m impressed, boy.” The man’s tone of voice was harsh and had a slight drawl that wasn’t so different from Alex’s accent. Turbulent eyes flickered to the panting riolu and back up to Shaun. “Your attack actually managed to mark my pokemon.” The webbed appendages flicked to and fro in a way that made Shaun wonder if the man was amused.
Above them another shrill shriek filled the air and they all glanced up, taking in the ice bird plummeting to the ground, fire still being hurled at it from creatures on the ground before it disappeared into thes wirling inferno of a building.
The man smiled stiffly. “Precious, kill these two quickly, please. It looks as if our target didn’t last as long as we thought.”
Shaun’s blood ran cold and both he and Alex staggered back, only to trip over each other and have Sableye and Riolu jump in front of them with loud growls. The blue serpent gave a loud hiss that sounded suspiciously like laughter and curled back slightly, looking tense, and suddenly shooting forward with the speed of a bullet.
Its long tail swung quickly, and both Sableye and Riolu were left flabbergasted by the speed at which their opponent was capable of only to be swept aside like useless garbage. With the two obstacles out of the way the serpent launched itself once more with a blind ferocity, jaw completely wide open and looking unhinged as if it were about to swallow Shaun whole. Coils were flying through the air and Shaun let out a fearful scream, knowing that this was the end. Not even a week in and he would be dead thanks to this stupid law.
A metallic arm launched itself into Shaun’s peripheral vision and somehow managed to turn his head to see the swift action. The giant arm grabbed hold of the flying serpent, large fingers curling around its neck and squeezing just before it tore into Shaun, jaws snapping mere inches awayfrom his face.
Shaun held his breath as the serpent thrashed and squirmed within the metallic grip and began to wrap around the entire arm, mouth beginning to breathe draconic purple fire. He looked up slowly, taking in the giant gray and black beast. Its entire body was seemingly made out of metal with different shades of gray. It seemed to have a metallic mask over its head that straighten over its forehead into a sharp horn with two extra horns coming through the two holes of its mask like head and gazed at the writhing serpent with cold, blue eyes. With a savage grunt as the purple fire began to spread across its arm it threw the serpent away, no longer able to stand the burn.
With a hefty breath it swung its heavy tail at the flung pokemon, missing by a lot as the serpent regained its bearings and slithered away at a hasty speed back to its master. It hissed and spat, electricity coursing along its body as it eyed its new opponent with an air of superiority.
“Hush, precious,” the man told his pokemon, eyeing the new threat with interest. “It seems we have a Leader involved now.”
“What would expect,” came a cold voice from behind Shaun and Alex. Tyre stomped towards them, a look of pure fury upon his face and regarded the man, only to falter in shock at just exactly what the man looked like. “I don’t know who you are,” he began quietly, tone filled with rage and ready to give the mana verbal lashing, but Shaun interrupted him.
“He’s from Kanto.” Everyone turned to look at him and Shaun sneered, finally coming out of his shock from all the experiences that had been weighing heavily on him. “His accent,” he growled. “He’s a fucking Kantoeon!” He screamed the last part, pointing an accusing finger at the man. “He’s got the same accent as you!” Shaun sneered at Alex, who looked taken aback.
Tyre’s face pinched, looking annoyed and looked the man up and down before noticing agold pin on the man’s vest that neither Shaun nor Alex had noticed. It had a shiny KF on it in red lettering.
“Kanto Force,” the man mused, looking torn. He glanced up a tthe still burning building, no sign of the giant bird that had been fighting against the hellish flames. “On what authority do have for attacking these children?”
Both Shaun and Alex stared at the guy dubiously, not sure why they were asking this man if he had such a thing as authority to allow murder.
The man smirked and the webbed appendages flickered in obvious amusement. Beside Shaun Tyre grimaced. “Authorization of Law 49 of the Kanto/Lenore agreement,” he purred. “Under the circumstances that a pokemon of level four or higher pose a threat to any living landmark the Kanto Force is entitled to removing those who pose a direct threat or make any attempt to stall or suspend our mission.”
“And these children posed a direct threat to you?” Tyre sneered. “I assume that starving girl beneath your feet tried to stop you from reaching the beast destroying my city?” Tyre’seyes narrowed. “But then again articuno are not the phoenix of fire, and here we have my city slowly burning to the ground.”
The man smiled pleasantly, a false façade of the danger lurking beneath. “If you wish to go against my word I would be more than happy to bring you to my platoon leader to discuss why a gym leader would fault a Kanto Force lieutenant general when all we’re trying to do is protect our northern brother region.”
Tyre’slips pursed. “Our regions have yet to make a contract stating a unified alliance,” he said coolly, “although I doubt with your apparent…upgrade, Lenore’s region and government will think twice before signing such an agreement.”
The man sighed heavily, blue fin ears still twitching in amusement. “You saying that ridiculous statement is more than enough to prove that simple minded gym leaders are not needed in the world of politics.” Tyre glared murderously.“I have, along with the rest of the Kanto Force, have already been granted membership in into the region as a sign of peace as your higher ups know that agreat change is beginning and we are best suited to manage the peace.”
“By making a monster of yourself, destroying my city and slaughtering innocents?” Tyre hissed, taken aback by what the other man said. He grit his teeth, thinking fast. “If you are on contract then go. These children were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if you were in the wrong I can assure you us simple minded gym leaders will be intruding on your, ah, political world.” Tyre was positively livid as he sneered, waiting for the other to speak.
Lips twitched. “As you wish. Come along, precious,” he purred to the dratini at his feet. He turned heel and swept away into the dark alley, disappearing with his loyal pet.
There was a tense silence as the three watched them go, the giant aggron staring intensely into the alley and prepared to defend if they should come back. Only when the metallic beast lowered its massive arms did they breathe a sigh of relief.
“The hell was that?” Shaun asked, slumping and eyeing Alex suspiciously as if he were the one to blame for the Kanto Force for being here. The boy threw him an exasperated glance.
“I can assure you that I do not support the Kanto Force,” the boy said coldly. Shaun’s face scrunched up in disgust, obviously not buying it.
“You’re from the same region,” he pointed out snidely. “And for that matter why the hell are so many damn Kantoens here? There were more foreigners in that group at Leef’s lab than I had ever seen in my life.”
“That’s enough,” Tyre snapped, giving the two a cold stare.
“Like I’m going to listen to you,” Shaun sneered, eyeing the gym leader up and down. “People like you got me into this mess and then screw me over with an over leveled dragon. Fuck you.”
If Shaun hadn’t been so exhausted or so short tempered he would have trembled in fear and ran as Tyre literally towered over him. “Yes, because I’m the one that caused you to steal or take drugs or rape that girl or whatever the hell it was that you did and get caught for. You’re on this damn mission to atone for whatever it was you did and grow the hell up. That should have started on day one, but because you’re a bit late I’m going make you take the plunge.” Tyre glared. “You may hate me, but I can assure you the feeling is mutual. You have all day today and most of tomorrow to at least attempt to train. If you’re capable of doing something so menial, that is,” the man sneered.
“Six o’clock sharp you will come to my gym, actually pay the damn fee this time, and battle. If you lose I want you out of my city. It’s bad enough that groups of protestors are at my door daily because woe is you for getting caught breaking the law and forced to pay for it.”
Shaun sputtered. “You ca-can’t do that!” he cried indignantly. “There’s no way I can beat your stupid dragon in two days!”
“Unlike last time I will indeed be playing fair,” the man said solemnly. “But then again you didn’t pay for a battle or schedule anappointment like a professional so consider us fair. Instead you came in screaming like a child. I have the authority to ban people from my gym if they lose up to a month. Your time has been ticking away already. Don’t screw this one up.” The man paused to glare. “Now get the hell out of here and go to the pokemon center to get your pokemon taken care of. In case you didn’t notice the damn city is on fire.”
With another acid look the man left the two gapping teens.
Alex shifted, uncomfortable. “Come on,” he finally said.“Let’s get to the pokemon center. They were out of rooms earlier but I’m sure with tonight’s events they’ll add more people to a room.”
Shaun was still staring, only coming out of is when Riolu and Sableye grasped at his pant legs, growling pitifully. “Yea,” he said slowly, “sure.”
Two damn days to get a badge and get out.
“You have to pay a fee for a stupid badge?” Shaun asked weakly, walking side by side with the other boy and leaving the alley, along with the mutilated girl.
The shuppet were no longer abundant and it seemed as if people were slowly leaving the streets now that there weren’t enemies in sight. Others had gone with water pokemon to help the fire department or were helping those that had been wounded.
“Yea. How do you think the league has so much money? If you win, though, you get paid back double the amount.”
“Really? Sweet.” Shaun thought for a moment. “How much is it to battle Tyre?”
“2000 pokedollars,” the boy said helpfully.
“Son of a bitch…”
I love reading this, although you could do with a quick spell check to put back a few missing spaces.
Undeleting above bumping post on request and leaving thread open in case Wolfwhispers updates again too.
A Different Perspective
The wait had been longer than two hours, and by the time Shaun and Alex got to the frazzled nurse to hand over their pokemon they were on the brink of falling down where they stood. This pokemon center, which was the second one in the city and at the opposite end, was a lot bigger and seemed to have two hotels worth of rooms and could actually put Shaun and Alex together in a room of four with two other boys.
The two others, along with apparently most able bodied trainers in the city, had been battling, and it seemed as if there had been literally hundreds of shuppet. The tiny television in their room was at a low volume as the four of them talked in subdued tones. The news was going with different screenshots of various buildings catching fire, the amass of people battling the army of shuppet and, finally, the part where the giant ice bird had fallen to the ground where a group of armed militants threw strange violet pokeballs until the giant bird was subdued.
"Those are special military pokeballs," Bryce muttered. He was a dirty reddish blond boy with a full beard and tattoo sleeves on both arms of various battling pokemon. "My brother was kicked out of boot camp," he continued after seeing the looks of the others. "But he learned enough that when the military takes out dangerous pokemon they sometimes need to capture them and are given pokeballs that are stronger than ultra balls."
"Must have a lot of power behind the mechanics, then," the last boy, Brett, said. He had long brown hair that was in desperate need of a trimming and a few jagged scars on his cheek that made half his face mismatched. He had three badges and had been at it for over a year, dimming Shaun's mood even further, because he knew the guy actually wanted to be a trainer, despite having a lot of nasty run-ins with dangerous pokemon.
"Those shuppet had been bred," Alex spoke up, gaze turned to the window and staring out, looking ragged.
As one the other three turned. "What's that supposed to mean?" Shaun demanded.
Alex didn't say anything at first. His knuckled were tightening and his jaw was twitching before he sighed tiredly. "Those shuppet were bred," he repeated dully. "They were weak and all gangs of shuppet are led by at least one banette, not to mention that a pokemon of a single breed do not just show up in that large of a number, even in swarms. And a legendary –"
"False legendary," Shaun muttered, drawing weird looks.
Bryce cleared his throat. "So, what, you saying this was a cover up or something? People actually released a bunch of insane ghosts to, what, keep the city busy?"
Alex shrugged, glancing at Shaun. "Maybe," he said slowly, "but I don't know for what or who."
"Funny how the army that showed up was a bunch of Kantoens," Shaun muttered, eyes at Alex.
The other boy scowled. "Like I told you," he hissed, "I don't always support them. Not everyone likes someone just because they're from the same region. You of all people should be able to comprehend that, what with your oh so loving attitude."
Shaun sneered. "Screw you."
"Alright, no fighting," Brett interrupted. "Not after tonight. Tomorrow you two can go at it if you really want to."
"What you two should be irritated about is that the government let those military bastards walk right through this town without at least a slap on the wrist," Bryce put in. "I'm not saying I hate people from Kanto, and no offense to you, Alex, but why the hell have they been going through our region so much lately whenever there just happens to be a disaster?"
Alex pursed his lips. "It's going to sound arrogant," he said slowly, not sure if he should continue but the others nodded for him to say it anyway. "But Kanto is the region that is most capable of true annexation. The Kanto League has literally helped created each league in the regions surrounding it. Johto was first, and then Hoenn and so-on. They've had their share of the south and are more interested in the north, especially since the upper lands seem to have pokemon that aren't common in the south. It's almost as if there's an invisible barrier between Lenore and Kanto that keeps pokemon that are, say, more commonly found in Unova. They're interested in that and want to be a part of it. The more your business expands the more money and power you get."
The others stared dully at the boy.
"What the hell?" Brett stared incredulously. "And you know all that how?"
Alex shrugged. "It's kind of common knowledge in Kanto in our schooling."
"What about that soldier?" Shaun muttered, adding into the conversation.
"He wasn't… human." He rolled over on his back and stared up at the ceiling, mind still processing the night's events.
Alex didn't speak for a moment. His face had darkened and his shoulders hunched that gave off an aura of discontent. "I don't really know," he said slowly. He let out a low breath. "There were rumors going around Kanto a few years back when a drowned body was discovered washed up on Cinnabar Island. A couple of locals had found it and video taped it before calling authorities. I have a friend who lives there and she said the Kanto Force had arrived within an hour of the call. They closed off the beach to everyone, even the gym leader, and twenty four hours later the beach had been completely overturned and the body, as well as the government, was gone. The video had of course leaked onto the internet as soon as the locals got home, despite various attempts to block or delete the videos, but you know how the internet is. Once it's on it never leaves."
"What was the body?" Bryce asked. He and Brett had stared at Shaun oddly when he had mentioned the soldier not being human, but the moment Alex talked in such a dark tone they turned their attention on him, eager.
Alex shrugged, looking uncomfortable and even a little sick. "It had the rough shape of a human," he muttered, and then promptly shuddered.
"But it looked like a mutated vaporeon. A bad one at that." He paused. "It was disgusting, really. Its features were hard to make out. Its skin was blue and the face looked like a cross between human and vaporeon before being blunted with a hammer, and its bones had protruded from its back like white, tiny spikes. It didn't have the vaporeon sea fin tail, though it did have nearly perfect webbed ears."
"What makes you think it wasn't just an overgrown, half eaten vaporeon?" Bryce questioned. "There's always random pokemon with mutation problems. Do you guys remember hearing about that pack of Houndoom located on Icy Plummet that lost their ability to breathe fire and can now control ice?"
Shaun personally hadn't heard of that, but that was because he had never really paid attention to anything pokemon related, but the other two nodded in agreement.
"That's what a lot of other people thought as well," Alex admitted, "but there was a distinctive feature that overruled that theory. It had breasts."
There was an uneasy silence.
"Like… actual boobs? Woman tits?" Brett asked, actually cupping his hands and squeezing the air as if he were groping invisible boobs.
Alex nodded. "Yea, and that's not the only thing. A year ago some older trainer entered into a low key competition in Johto with a pikachu." Alex paused, a look of pity briefly appearing on his features. "It had a raichu tail. The instant people saw it he and the pokemon were supposedly ushered away to get it checked out for legitimacy but he never returned to the battle. A month after that his family put up missing posters."
The others looked uneasy as they processed this.
"Are you saying your country is doing some weird experiments on people and pokemon and they're trying to keep in under wraps?" Brett asked.
"That's the conspiracy, anyway," Alex said with a bitter smile. "I believe it, and after what I saw tonight… well, yea."
Shaun still hadn't removed his gaze from the ceiling, and when he spoke his tone was gruff. "What's their point in doing something like that? Mixing pokemon with people? Super soldiers to take over?" He gave a condescending snort.
Alex turned on his side to look at the dark teen, eyes harsh. "They just might be." Hazel clashed with steel for a moment as the two glared.
"Alright, time for bed, kiddies," Bryce interrupted, turning off the television and lights. "Go at it in the morning, but for now just let the bed bugs bite your sh*ty little asses."
The set of glares turned on the other, though they went unseen in the dark.
Alexander was not the spoiled, naïve, prejudiced child that Shaun believed him to be. Well, at least not completely. His mother was in charge of Silph Company and his father had made a name for himself by creating several new technical machines that did not die out after one use. Two extremely smart and wealthy people came together through a simple conference and that was that. Alex had grown up in luxury but he was not spoiled.
With a mother that had a business to run and a father that looked at everything from a scientific standpoint he was treated to a very strict lifestyle of education and politics. While he could have been given anything he wanted with a simple plea to his overly busy parents it was just that he didn't have the time. Tutors rushed into his life like a blur; taking away his entire childhood and anytime he may have wished for himself.
Aside from typical classes like literature and history, he was given advance math, biology for both pokemon and humans, advance science, was trained pokemon battling by professionals and so much more that could help in the world if he desired to work with pokemon or for pokemon. That was to be his fate, given what his parents were.
They weren't unloving; they gave him plenty of attention when they were at home and sometimes brought him to work, doted on him with certain smugness to their coworkers and gave him a large amount of freedom. He was loved as much could be allowed by two busy well accomplished businessmen and he was happy. He wasn't a needy child in the way children wanted items or toys. What he was needy for, however, was a rival.
The other children he was associated with were from the same sort as he – children of the rich and powerful. They had the same education and means of getting what they wanted, but they didn't have the same drive as he. He wanted more, and what it was he longed for he wasn't sure. What was there that he didn't have or couldn't obtain?
The answer came to him when he had wandered away from a luncheon with several of his mother's associates from Silph. He had been in desperate need of a breather and to be away from all the critical glances from coworkers all hoping to someday take the business for themselves rather then let it go to him, the heir. He had all but rushed out into the busy streets of Saffron, easing the choking tie to a more relaxed hold around his neck, and wandered blindly, not caring where he went as long as it was away from the overbearing building that housed more pokemon products than any other in the world.
Alex had come across a pokemon battle. Not that it was an uncommon sight for him to stumble upon given that pokemon battles in major cities were as common as pidgey. No, what had made him realize what he wanted in life was how he watched the trainers. He watched their expressions, body language, commands and, of course the jabs at one another. This was not just another battle between two strangers.
These two knew each other. They knew each other on such a deep level that they could easily par whatever command the other gave. The battle lasted longer than average and even the trainers looked as worn as the pokemon. It had ended in a tie, much to the displeasure of the crowd, but the two trainers had laughed and slapped each other like children, a familiarity in their actions Alex was suddenly envious of. It was obvious the two were driven by the other in an effort to grow and Alex wanted that. He had no one to compete against in his studies and the pokemon he used in battles weren't his own so wins didn't feel like that much of a victory.
Alex had walked back to the building with a feeling of euphoria, feeling as eager as ever, and suddenly wanting to rush out into the world like an overenthusiastic child. The feeling didn't go away even when he went back to the boring party, or when he got home after explaining what he saw to his parents and it didn't go away during the next few years of preparation for his journey once he decided to go the trainer route for a few years to see how he liked it.
And, of course, it didn't even go away when his parents died in a plane crash during a business trip.
Not even a full month after his sixteenth birthday and he was made an orphan. The reasoning behind the plane crash? A simple, unchecked wire that had worn down with age and water leakage. With electricity running through the wires combined with the occasional drip of water, it was only a matter of time did it burn away. The plane didn't catch fire but it did create a lot of smoke in the upper levels of ceiling where no one could see. It filtered into the air, and the machines that were supposed to pick up that kind of emergency went out, the auto pilot went from on to off like a flickering light bulb before finally going out. The whole engine had gone right in the middle of the ocean.
They were still trying to find all the pieces.
Alex's uncle, Jack Broderick, took over for his mother. Silph Co. had always been handed down to the eldest child and Alex knew that his uncle was absolutely thrilled that he would be able to run the multimillionaire company, despite the fact it was his mother's death that had led to his sudden boost in power. Not to say his uncle wasn't already in the business. He was head of Department and Regulations of Trainers United after all. Jack Broderick had made some interesting changes to training life before he even had Silph in the palm of his hands. The minute he had it all was when things that were only whispered about behind closed doors were suddenly out in the open like it was all ok. The military was suddenly far more active than it had ever been in decades, trades were being open with foreign regions that most tried to stay away from and laws were making pokemon training, a once fun thing even for children, a much more serious thing rather than a hobby or dream.
Pokemon that had once been close to extinction were suddenly skyrocketing in certain regions, overpowered pokemon that were once only challenged by the elite had disappeared and, perhaps the worst of all, convicts were suddenly out in the open training pokemon as if they had the right to escape the bars they so deserved.
Despite the fact that it was a new way of life for Kanto to suddenly have to compete with kids their age that could steal or even kill without a hint of remorse, it wasn't new to the rest of the world. Other regions had been doing trials like that for years. Trying to find a way to get kids who had made mistakes back on the right track by forcing them to care about now pokemon, but the thought of freedom pokemon could provide them. Like with all experiments there were failures, and that was why it had taken years before Kanto decided to test it themselves despite the fact that it was Kantoeons that spread the idea to other regions.
The year they decided to test the Rehab Rejects project in Kanto was when Kanto had finally been able to get close to Lenore, a dangerous region that was everything Kanto was not. Pokemon of every level on every route making it difficult for a beginner to start out, despite the fact that this region only had people that truly wanted to be trainers and had been training for years. Lenore had battles that ended in death, something that was heavily frowned on by all the southern regions, but Alex felt intrigued by thought.
Alex would never want one of his pokemon to die. Of course not, he would never, but the thought of training so hard and having that sort of trust be put on the line was just too much for him not to become a bit curious about what it would be like.
The Rehab Rejects project was also brought to Lenore half a year after Kanto did, and within those six months two kids had already collected at least five badges. Considered a success Kanto all but forced the act on Lenore, despite the shaky alliance the two regions had. Alex wasn't a fool to think Lenore wouldn't dislike them, knowing that no one liked being told what to do by a different government, but he hadn't expected the pure hate and almost war that had erupted.
That was why he was here in Lenore with a few dozen others from Kanto and Johto a mere two years after the act had been put up. Rehab Reject itself had been ongoing for years prior, but never before had it become so strict to the point of ensuring that you had only one year to complete a set of eight badges. Even Alex found that unreasonable, but the thrill and drive was there, so he willing went when his uncle came to him and asked if he would be a part of the experiment with a few others.
There hadn't been much to make him rethink the offer, though he wasn't a fool to think his uncle wasn't hoping something might happen to him. He was rightful heir, after all, and even though he had no interest in the company at the moment, that didn't mean he couldn't take over in the future. Silph Company had been a family business that had somehow fought off all potential buyers and was able to hand the company down from one generation to another like some traditionalist family.
Somehow that thought didn't bother Alex as much as he thought it would, though when he truly dwelled on the subject it didn't seem so surprising. He lived in a lavish lifestyle of lies where even family would backstab one another to just take another step upward. It was despicable and unconceivable to the outside world and yet it was an everyday irritancy in his.
And so now Alex was in Lenore. Flown out with his cousin and uncle to spend a week with a few others from his region on the large island of the Lenore League to discuss their plans and hopes for this little experiment. If even one of them were capable of competing in with Lenore and gathering all eight badges then they would consider the experiment a success. The others grouped together immediately, each just as excited as the other for this chance, but once again Alex felt himself drift away, feeling once more the outcast.
How ironic he would find his intrigue spark like a cast off match in the form of such a ruffian.
Shaun was the most intriguing boy Alex had ever encountered. Anger rolled off with intensity of a groudon and was twice as loud and vocal as any roar the beast could procure. He snarled and snapped like a caught houndour as if the idea, not of training itself, but that he was to actually go at it himself, was a sin against man, but despite that fierce fight and anger, he still did it, and that took a stronger strength of will than anyone would ever know.
And all it had taken was a single battle for him to feel this way.
Dear Mew it made him sound like he was in love, which was completely ridiculous but Alex had been just so relieved to find someone he could actually compete against. The boy had no obvious training and seemed to have only the basic education all public schools were meant to give and he still managed to control an obnoxious riolu and figure out its attacks without the help of a pokedex.
He had wondered how the boy faired on the first route. The next time he even saw the other was during the chaos the night prior. The boy looked to be in a frenzy, ordering his pokemon with survival in his eyes only to be darkened with fear from the horrifying display. What sort of man ordered a pokemon to mutilate another human being like that?
Alex shuddered, trying to shake himself out of these thoughts. He didn't want to think about such things and grabbed hold of a pokeball, releasing the monster from within and out into the world. A small being slowly took shape in the form of burning red energy before becoming a solid creature made up of cream and orange feathers. His starter looked up at him with expressive blue eyes and chirped once in greeting.
Alexs' lip quirked upward. "Come on," he said softy, "I'm starting to remember why I hate the city."
Hey man, how've you been?
Anyway, this is really cool so far! Course, I've only gotten like 3/4 of the way through the first page in the thread, but still! It's awesome!
I love the dark outlook on it, and so I must thank you as a writer for choosing to write this sort of story. (I'm trying to figure out a plot for one myself ^.^) Anywho, just wanted to pop in and say that it was amazing! Keep up the good work!
Credit to banner/avy PC Family
AN: Sorry if Shaun's way of thinking seems to be scattered and going back and forth, but he's at a bit of a multicrossroad and is trying to figure everything out. The next half of this chapter should be out later today or tomorrow.
When I was but an egg I was pushed out of litter. Five eggs, one mother, and a reputation to uphold. Lucario Kingdom, an old land endowed with a great history of warriors and aura masters, was known even to those of other regions. Only the best were remembered and kept, as was tradition during the hatching rituals of the riolu.
His egg had been smaller than the rest – a natural sign that a runt was sure to be born. His egg had been taken to one of the local daycare centers. It was an easy place for unwanted eggs to be taken to as there was plenty of care and every pokemon eventually got a home from a passing traineror a child ready to begin his or her own journey.
Riolu’s father lived in the daycare he had been abandoned in. A ditto, a simple breeding pokemon that had more or less gotten over the only job humans deemed it capable of doing and was left to live in a somewhat cast off position in the daycare. After all, what use was there for ditto, battle?
Riolu’s father seemed to think so. He morphed into seemingly any creature at will, memory surpassing the rest of his kind. Ditto had a strange memory. In their true form they were seemingly less, body and even soul lacking in something. It wasn’t until they transformed did they appear and act like an actual living thing. Riolu’s father seemed to have problem with that. Bitterness had hardened his mind.
It was he that tended to Riolu, not the human caretakers or the Masters.
It was strange how humans were so quick to deem something useless. Humans tend to stick with the basics of whatever knowledge they held within their minds. They didn’t look too far into implications or future endeavors. It was always worrying about the past and never preparing for thefuture, let alone living in the moment.
If they had, for one moment actually taken the time to think about the backgrounds of both parents, they wouldn’t have spared a single egg from that clutch, and maybe things would be a bit different for Riolu. But they didn’t.
They didn’t know of the strength that came from Riolu’s mother side, the lucario; how each generation had at least one master of the aura. And they certainly didn’t know that Riolu’s father, a simple ditto, had more strength and cunning than anyone could guess. Eventually, such genes would finally mutate into something more, and that’s what Riolu was.
What sort of riolu could perform an Aura Sphere attack? Surely a new prodigy. They whispered about it, the masters. They took him from his little home in the nursery once his powers were revealed, but not before he had learned that they had abandoned him, tossed him aside like the others they deemed unworthy even before hatching. They didn’t care about his misgivings, his distrust of them and their ways, but they cared as soon as they learned of his inability to pick up another’s aura. Their minds changed as quickly as the tides of the sea, and raged just as harsh as the fiercest hurricane.
Taught with the other riolu of his generation that looked at him from the corner of their eyes with hidden jealousy, Riolu taught himself to study the situation and those he was confronted with in an analytical way. How else could he when he couldn’t see the aura that would allow him to see for miles around him? Strength was not the only thing honored in the aura family. Cunning and observation were just as highly reveled. He could fight, he had cunning, but he could not observe like the rest of the clan, eyes no longer blind with the help of aura sight. Yet, he could get a small sense of their emotions, and that was just a small stepping stone towards his second betrayal.
He knew even before the words spewed from their mouth like poison.
Once more abandoned, thrown away from the clan without looking back, and it’s a shame they hadn’t, for they would have seen the dark anger the burned like hells fire within Riolu’s eyes.
He had been given to a young boy in the Sinnoh region. He was to be the boy’s starter, and what a starter he was. Still seething with the sting of betrayal and abandon he treated his human partner with contempt, as if he were the cause of his anger. It was unjustified, and it filled him with even more self loathing, but he didn’t care. He was a rare creature, so of course the boy tried to keep him. The boy, his human partner that he never bothered learning anything about, was from the Lucario Kingdom and knew just how lucky he was to have a pokemon such as the riolu family, ands so he kept him for up till his first badge.
That had only lasted mere months.
Four months until the boy had had enough and sold off the self loathing creature.
Riolu had no idea how long he spent within the confines of his pokeball, and as soon he had been released it had been with a mass of other pocket creatures. They were told that they each had a special talent that was worthy of their experiment. A new region, they whispered, and they planned on sending the best of their kin to walk the path of trainerhood.
Riolu had looked at the humans with disdain, noting their wealth. The best of their children? Would true skill really be sent to this mystery land, or would children with heavy pockets be sent? He did not want another spoiled child running his life. In fact, he didn’t want another human.
Riolu’s objections were silence with a simple return command and he was once more within his jail. Again he had no idea how long time had passed. Space and time are different within a pokeball. It’s like being asleep with only a small sense of awareness of the outside world.
When Riolu had been released once more he had been prepared to detest his new human – attack and snarl and fight against everything that the human believed in – but the sudden impact of pure loathing emanating from the human had been startling. His senses were attacked to the point of suffocation, and for a strange moment Riolu had felt a sense of kinship with this being that hated as much as he. That still didn’t mean he had to like the human. In fact, he had even planned on running away the instant they were out in the wild, but things had taken a drastic turn.
This strange region had a false sense of security. It was set up like his own – it was almost too easy in the beginning of the journey. That illusion shattered the instant Riolu and his human found themselves within the true heart of that route. Pokemon that were far more savage than anything he had ever encountered tore at them like the beasts of Giratina’s underworld, and soon time had little meaning. He and his human had survived only to bethrown into another hell.
And dear Mew was it addicting.
Sleep was a battle of harsh dreams and self doubt waking him into the night in a cold sweat. Not even a full week into this strange new life and he had fought for his life more than any other time in his seventeen years. Anger was still raging through his veins, yet a strange mixture of determination and caution was keeping him weary from doing anything that could ruin his current freedom.
Shaun had gotten up early, far before the others and evenbefore the sun had fully risen. He had dressed robotically, mind fuzzy with exhaustion and fears, yet as he continued to pack and leave the others a slow smile formed, one filled with the glee of insane motivation. Never before had his blood pumped so quickly with the adrenaline of survival as it did lastnight; not even with the rhyhorn.
Slowly, Shaun had turned his to glance at his sleeping rival, wondering briefly when he has started considering the other boy of sucha title. He briefly wondered what would happen to the other boy before he allbut staggered to the washers, body still feeling the effects of last nights endeavors. Lip curled in disgust, Shaun dumped his belongings.
With a drawn out sigh, Shaun began to divide up his stuff. All his clothes were still slightly damp, covered in mud and had a suspicious moldy smell to it. He made a face and tossed them into an empty washer before turning to the bits of food that remained before deciding to toss everything that hadn’t been in a can or protected. The same went for a few random belongings he had brought with him.
In the end it left him with a lot less in more ways than one. His mind was empty, striving to think of ways to survive this ordeal. He needed supplies, he concluded, real supplies. Clothes were a definite, considering that most he had looked like it would be ripped and torn within the week and the fact that winter was coming meant he had to be prepared for the harsh cold that was sure to come.
His mind strayed to the roughnecks of Orre, supposed trainers that were little more than brutes with pokemon, but they were brutes that could survive. And then there was the underground of the whole region – a placefilled with sly minds and dangerous pokemon. What sort of devices did they use to survive in their apocalyptical desert world? When nothing came to mind he froze, realizing with a disturbing clarity just how far he was going into this. A year. A solid year of his life was being changed and if he didn’t grow a pair he’d be just another dead trainer in the gutter.
His mind strayed to the night he had staggered into the bathroom of that convenient store. He had looked at himself in the mirror and felt nothing but disgust, his rage worth nothing as he couldn’t even bring himself to decimate the place. If he couldn’t even do that, how could he do this?
Shaun’s eyes narrowed and stuffed his meager belongs into his pack with a snarl that caused the one other trainer in the room to turn hishead in disbelief as Shaun stormed off. He walked up to the front desk and gruffly asked for his pocket monsters, shoulders pulled straight and burningeyes staring down at the astonished nurse. His teeth were clenched as she reluctantly handed over the capturing devices known as pokeballs into Shaun waiting hands.Without even a thanks he shuffled out the door and gazed around.
He would show everyone what he was made of, he thought defiantly, eyes finally landing on a few trainers that had woken early as well.“Hey!” he called out, gaining their attention. He clenched a pokeball tight in his right hand, feeling his pulse quicken and had a momentarily lapse where he felt as if he were trying to quell his beating heart in his fist. He smirked, becoming resolute. “Let’s battle.”
I really like this story! You're a great writer!
RematchOf the three he challenged, the only female took him up on his offer. She had been a part of his starter group; she had informed him with a hesitant smile. It seemed that everyone from that group remembered him even if he didn't remember them.
She turned out to be a lot better than he thought. Prejudiced thoughts of her being a spoiled rich kid and a girl to boot were quickly erased from his mind the second she released her pokemon – a squirtle – and apparently knew her shit.
Can't think blindly, Shaun scolded himself, gritting his teeth as a blast of water rushed towards his pokemon. Memories of his home town rushed through his mind. Scattered thoughts of kids who thought too much of themselves were only screwed over in the end. He would know, considering he had screwed over a lot of arrogant fuckers in his little home under the bridge.
"Can't you avoid that shit!" Shaun snarled spitefully at his pokemon as the blast hit true, sopping Riolu from head to toe. "You got past a fucking rampaging rock beast, didn't you?"
Riolu narrowed his red eyes, lip curled and growled angrily at his trainer. With a displeased huff he shook himself, wet fur standing on end. His human had a point. This should be child's play. With a small woof, energy began to form between his paws.
Shaun grinned. "That's it," he encouraged his pokemon, only to falter as the three trainers gasped in shock. They were looking at Riolu in disbelief. He frowned, puzzled at their apparent awe and incredulity.
Riolu, who had been waiting for a command, huffed in exasperation. Long muscular legs bent and soon he was flying high, body arching elegantly so that he was soon upside down and gaze upon the on looking water turtle. With a wide grin that made the water pokemon's eyes widen, Riolu let out a loud bark like laugh and launched the attack.
Blue energy charged forward, its ball form retaining its shape the entire way before it hit true, sending the opponent flat on its stomach with a weak groan, bruises covering its head. "Squuir," the water turtle moaned, gritting its teeth before quickly rolling out of the way just as Riolu finished his brief flight and attempted to slam his foot where the squirtle had lain mere seconds ago. The force created a small dent in the ground.
Shaun grinned widely. "Nice," he allowed, truly meaning it. The display had been nothing if not cool.
Riolu grinned smugly and raised his palms into a lax fighting position, obviously finding the opponent lacking. "Ri," he said snootily, getting a growl in return from both trainer and pokemon.
The girl glared at Shaun before allowing her features to soften. "I guess you're better than we all initially thought," she allowed. "That doesn't mean anything in a real trainer battle, however! Cannon, Aqua Jet!"
The nicknamed turtle jumped high, head, arms, legs and tail quickly retreating into the confines of its shell before its entire body was engulfed in a swirling cyclone of water. The squirtle, Cannon, took off like a jet, or perhaps like its namesake, and was suddenly covering the distance between itself and Riolu in seconds.
"Watch out!" Shaun called, grimacing and scolding himself mentally. Watch out? Was that the best he could do? He wasn't some snot nosed ten year old. But it was too late. Faster than the small dog pokemon could follow, Riolu was soon hunched over, body stiff and wheezing breathlessly from the hardened shell that had slammed right into its gut. Black toes dug at the ground as Riolu fought against churning water that was still trying to push him back. The water surrounding Cannon began to trickle away, and soon a blue face was becoming visible. Shaun took that chance. "Punch it in the face!" he shouted, reverting back to his uneducated commands.
A glimmer of amusement flashed for a brief moment on Riolu's features before it cooled into a look of deep concentration. Looking as if he still couldn't breathe or even move, Riolu all but flung the right side of his body so that his fist went flying. With a crack that had everyone wincing, Cannon was staggering back with a howl of pain. Finger clutching a bloody nose, the tiny turtle landed on its rear and glared heatedly. It would have been threatening if it didn't have blood rushing down its face. Or look like a baby turtle.
"Alright, alright!" the girl called, waving her arms in a gesture of defeat. She looked more than a little exasperated but had an amused grin as she recalled her pokemon. "Not bad," she said grudgingly, handing over the promised bet of 100. "I should have expected that sort of dirty tactic after watching your first battle."
Shaun huffed. "All that matters is winning," he said with a shrug. Riolu sauntered forward, pausing to look up at Shaun with a smug expression, and then getting on all fours and shaking vigorously. Water flew everywhere, most of it getting onto Shaun, and Riolu stood back up with a woof of hilarity, fur now standing on end. "Yea, screw you too," Shaun muttered, nose scrunched.
The girl giggled. "You have a cute pokemon," she said nicely before her features turned serious. "I've never heard of a riolu knowing Aura Sphere, though…" She trailed off, eyes glancing between trainer and pokemon with a hint of suspicion.
Shaun frowned at the look. "Why?" he demanded. He was sick of all the awe and shock coming from people just because of an attack.
The girl pulled some of her brown hair behind her hair as she gazed at Riolu with open curiosity. The blue and black hound was giving her a displeased look, obviously annoyed by the attention. "Only their evolved forms are capable of learning Aura Sphere," she informed Shaun, gaze swiveling up to his. She smiled charmingly, eyes studying his form.
Shaun straightened, knowing a look like that. He had used it on others when he had checked out the opposite sex, though Shaun would admit he leered a tad bit more than he should. "I guess that makes the little guy special," he said with a low croon, latching onto that bit of knowledge that all Kantoeons seemed to be obsessed with coddling pokemon with lovey gooey words. Riolu glanced up at him and snorted. With an eye roll he moved away and continued to shake himself dry. "That squirtle of yours was quite the battler as well." Yea, he was laying it on a bit thick, but only people that new him would know that.
The girl preened at the praise. "Isn't she? I was so lucky to get a water type – that's my favorite type, you know – and she was a great help on the first route." She was speaking a bit fast, a hint of a blush on her cheeks. "Your landscape is so different from ours," she continued, gesturing at the two boys that were watching them warily. "We're from Kanto by the way," she added unnecessarily.
Shaun almost rolled his eyes. With that pale skin and accent? No shit, bitch. "So I've heard." He kept his voice soft and deep, pose cool and relaxed as he gave her a pleasant smirk. "Wanna go somewhere? Maybe you can tell me all about Kanto?" Or start making out.
"Sarah," one of the boys barked. He had short blond hair that had been stylized recently, though it was obvious from the week out in the wild he hadn't kept it maintained. He scratched at an unshaved cheek agitatedly and gave Shaun a sour look. "We need to head off now if we wanna make decent time on the next route."
Sarah's gaze snapped to her traveling companion, looking a tad rushed. "Fine, fine." She waved off the other boy irritably before flashing Shaun a cute smile. "See you later, maybe?"
Shaun hid a disappointed frown and nodded once. "Yea, sure, probably." Goodbye, quick lay.
With a quick wave, Sarah and the two other trainers were walking away, towards the end of the city where a path would take them first to a wide open plain, also known as Grassy Plains, which quickly became a land of multiple high cliffs and deep canyons. Shaun watched them go, a slight scowl of disappoint and jealousy. He wouldn't have minded a quick alley way fuckand given all that he had gone through he more than deserved it. Also, considering that they were already leaving the city they must have already defeated the gym leader.
"Smooth," a voice crooned mockingly, startling Shaun out of this daydreaming. He turned around, jolted, and scowled at the grinning Alex. "She wouldn't have given you anything that you would have wanted, anyway."
"No idea what you're talkin' about," Shaun grumbled, shoving his fists into his pockets.
"Uh huh." The tone is disbelieving.
Shaun rolled his eyes, allowing a good natured smile to appear. "Alright, fine," he amended. "I honestly don't get how dudes would wanna go out into the wilderness for months or whatnot and not get any *****."
Alex gave a snort.
Riolu, who had finished shaking himself dry, sauntered over to Shaun's side and stared down with a haughty glare at the red and orange fire chick. The torchic chirped a greeting but Riolu only huffed and turned his head away, obviously still miffed about his first lost.
"I see the pokemon is beginning to act like the trainer." The amusement was evident.
Shaun frowned, eyes darting down to his starter. "Whatever," he said with a shrug before turning on the other boy. "Whaddya want?" The pleasantness had once more disappeared now that Shaun's attitude made yet another appearance.
Alex gave Shaun a hard stare, no longer startled by the others harsh tone. He gave a shrug. "I don't know," he admitted. Taken aback by the boys' bluntness, Shaun shuffled a bit awkwardly, no longer sure what to say. Alex sighed, sensing the others unease. "Sorry," he said carefully, "I'm still a bit out of it."
Shaun nodded. He was still a bit shaken himself, though he wouldn't dare admit it out loud. "An attack like that has never happened before." He didn't have to go into detail. Alex knew what he was talking about. "At least, not in this region."
That was true. For some reason it was only the major, well known regions that were being attacked by what appeared to be legendary beasts. Lenore was a lesser known region, though news could still travel to the other regions, but this was the first time a major catastrophe had truly struck it. What luck it was for both Shaun and Alex to be there when it happened, not even a month into their training.
Alex still felt a little sick from last night. The shuppet had filled the air with a mixture of poisonous toxins and depressive energies. He just wanted out of this city, away from the subdued people and the occasional street that was cut off from the destruction. He didn't come here for this; he came here to have an ordinary journey.
Ordinary journey, Alex thought mockingly. Hah! No, that wasn't it; in fact, that was farthest from the truth. Did he want a challenging journey? Damn straight he did. Did he want to be involved with this strange war that seemed to be popping up every time a creature of legend of popped up? Hell no.
"Yea, I know," Alex said softly, silver eyes drifting.
Shaun studied the other trainer, mind whirling. "You've seen something like this before, haven't you?" It was really hard to keep the accusation from his tone.
Alex didn't even bother to hide his flinch and fixed Shaun with a cold glare. "If you must know, yes. It's not exactly something I like to think about."
Whatever Shaun was about to say died. He shrugged, looking uncaring, but the harsh tone and bitter glare was like a slap in the face. It wasn't something he had ever expected from the other boy. "So what now, then?" Shaun muttered, hazel eyes meeting silver, challenging.
"Just keep going."
And it really was as simple as that. Just keep going or lose all purpose. A crooked smile that spoke of irony broke out on Shaun's face. Stop now and become a prisoner, yet if he kept going, was he not a prisoner of the system that wanted him in this position?
"Battle me," Shaun said suddenly, breaking the thoughtful silence.
Alex jerked at the command and looked uncomprehendingly at the other. "What?" He was bewildered, not expecting the rebellious being to ever issue such a command so suddenly. Where was the boy that fought tooth and nail to not even be a trainer mere days ago?
"You heard me." There was a growl to his tone and even the riolu seemed riled by its trainer's words. It was already shifting, getting ready.
Slowly, Alex grinned. Their eyes met, each daring the other to back down, and without even bothering to officially agree or issue the terms of battle, they ordered as one.
Energy seemed to come to life as the two pocket monsters sprang into action. Their eyes were alight with the thrill of battle as they jumped away, bodies already aligning into battle positions. They eyed one another, tension merging with the energy already intoxicating their bodies.
And then they struck.
Fire erupted from the tiny chick's beak like a fountain of flames. Embers sizzled through the air, sending a wave of warmth to even those that were beginning to surround the battle, eager to see which pokemon would win. The burning fire balls were nearly upon Riolu, yet the aura pokemon remained still, calm. When the attack was close enough to make the air almost unbearable Riolu bent slightly, a wild smirk appearing on his muzzle that was an almost exact portrayal of his trainer, and jumped.
Shaun and Alex watched, Alex a bit more awed. Shaun was used to the high jumps his tiny pokemon could perform and simply grinned, teeth nearly grinding. "Aura Sphere!" he barked.
Midair, Riolu began to arc like he had done with his battle against the squirtle, and aimed from an upside down point of view. Energy formed between his palms and blue gave off rays of light from between his fingers before it was aimed and fired like a bullet.
"Stand your ground!" Alex barked, body tense as he observed with a ferocious intensity.
Shaun's head snapped in his rival's direction, confusion evident. He frowned, quickly turning back to the incoming sphere of energy. Why on earth would he have his pokemon just stand there? Torchic seemed to have no qualms about obeying his trainer's wishes and was standing completely still, head raised and tilted to watch its impending doom. The Aura Sphere was now literally mere feet away.
"Dodge!" Alex cried, having waited for the last second.
"The second you land, arc your body and punch it out!" Shaun snarled, ignoring the other. He had to focus on his own pokemon, but why on earth had the other trainer waited so long?
"Torr!" the fire chick cried. Its talons had been bent in anticipation, and the second its trainer issued the command Torchic sprang. The Aura Sphere, having been so close to the target, slammed straight into the ground, creating a large dust cloud as Torchic got his bearings, only to yelp as Riolu, doing as his trainer wished, landed on light feet and spun. Riolu's blue fist slammed straight into Torchic's gut, sending him skidding back, completely breathless.
Alex grumbled lowly. "Your methods…" He shook his head before refocusing. "Peck!"
Torchic glared with one eye, the other closed from his wince and gave a grunt of confirmation. He poised his beak, preparing to strike, only to shriek as Riolu didn't even bother to wait for his trainer's next command and slammed his palm into the fire bird's face. Once more he staggered back, completely enraged. "Chick tor!" Torchic roared, infuriated. This time he was the one to not bother waiting for his trainer's command. Beak wide open, flames blast at Riolu.
"Lu!" Riolu yelped, eyes wide and arms flailing as he tried to stagger back in shock. The attack was too close for the aura dog to get out of the way and fire began to burn away his fur and skin. A howl of pain erupted from his muzzle, body hunching into itself from the pain.
Shaun grimaced. "Another Aura Sphe—"
"Scratch!" Alex yelled loudly, overriding Shaun's command.
The dark haired teen shot his rival a venomous glare. "Aura Sphere!"
Alex gave Shaun an equally spiteful look. "Think you can come up with any other attack?" he snapped mockingly.
"Suck my dick," Shaun shot back.
Blue energy was already forming in Riolu's palms, a half lidded glare forming as he took in his fast approaching opponent. He sneered, black appendages twitching as he felt the barest of emotional sensations rushing through his mind. Must his trainer always be so angry? With a roar that matched his trainer's anger, Riolu aimed his palms forward, releasing his energy – only to nearly fall over in shock.
"What the hell was that!?" Shaun bellow, watching in disbelief as the attack grew dim and simmered out. "I thought you were over that!"
"Rio riolu ri!" Riolu barked in agitation, nearly spitting in anger at his trainer.
"Yea, screw you too!" Shaun roared, sneering at his pokemon. Riolu, forgetting or even not caring about his opponent anymore, marched away from the battle and got as far up in his trainers face as possible, given the height difference.
"Lu ri uli!" Riolu snarled, waving his arms in exasperation as if to say 'why the hell don't you do it, then?'
Not being one to back down Shaun bent his upper body and all but smashed his face into Riolu's, condescending sneer in place. "You fight a giant rock monster but you can't even beat a tiny chicken!"
They both ignored Torchic's indignant cry in the background.
Riolu threw his arms into the air, exasperation evident. How many times would the arrogant teen bring that up? "Luu!" Riolu howled, palm shoving Shaun's face away. He was so over this!
"Uh, you do know we're still battling, right?" Alex's voice broke their fight and the two blinked stupidly at him. Torchic was standing by his side, glowing a bright yellow for a brief moment as he took a deep breath.
The two glared at him.
"Just get back in there," Shaun spat, moody and suddenly re-remembering just exactly why he didn't want to become a pokemon trainer. Riolu glanced back up at his trainer and promptly spat at his feet, a gesture he had seen humans do on several occasions to those they loathed. The crowd surrounding them erupted into roars of laughter, though that wasn't what made Riolu smirk. It was the look on his trainers face. "Did you see what the little bastard did?" He was incredulous, but as Riolu's black appendages twitched he realized, with great confusion, that his trainer was also impressed.
Alex just stared at them, awe and incredulity written as clear as day on his features. Why was he continually intrigued by the absurdity of this person? He was just too absurd to be taken seriously. He was fighting with his pokemon in the middle of battle for Mew's sake – and yet here he was! Still somewhat in the lead in terms of battle! Torchic was looking a bit more wear for ware than his opponent.
"Torchic, Scratch!" Alex ordered gruffly. He was here to battle, not watch a comedy act.
That jolted Shaun out of his astonishment. His head swiveled toward the action, just in time to see the fire chick slash at Riolu's chest with sharp talons. Torchic landed nimbly and easily dodged the hastily thrown punch and chirped mockingly, standing tall.
"What gives?" Shaun gestured at the visible claw marks on his pokemon. Riolu was clutching a paw to his chest, fierce glare directed at his opponent with a promise of revenge. "That looks like it did more damage than before," he accused.
"You should learn to pay attention to the battle at hand rather than get into petty arguments with your own pokemon," Alex replied, teasing smile in place. Shaun gave him an unimpressed look. "It was Focus Energy, an attack that pushes adrenaline through the body to the point of intense concentration. It allows for better critical attacks."
Shaun just stared at the teen. "What are you, a walking encyclopedia?" he griped.
"Well, that's what happens when one truly wants to be a trainer." Alex stared at with narrowed eyes, tone hinting at condescending.
Shaun scrunched up his nose. "Yea, screw you, too." There wasn't any heat in his voice. He was truly glad to meet another that wasn't afraid to call him out on his own bullshit. It made him think of home. "Riolu, Aura Sphere, and try and make it work this time."
Riolu turned away, nose in the air. He didn't even bother to attempt another attack, knowing that it wouldn't work.
The crowd guffawed, finding the match hilarious.
Alex didn't bother to give his opponent time to recover and quickly barked out his next order. "Peck!"
Torchic, who had been looking a bit put off by its opponents uncaring actions towards the battle, had been shifting about rather restlessly. Now, with an order to get the battle going once more, he gave an eager chirp, beak already poised as he charged forward, body bent. He lunged, aiming carefully, sure to have the upper hand since his opponent was all but sulking with his nose in the air, but a pair of blue paws lashed out, catching him in the chest, grasp strong, and sending him flying.
"Nice." Shaun grinned, watching the fire chick soar into the air, talons flailing from the shock before instinct took over and his body turned so that it landed unharmed. The dark teen glanced at his pokemon, contemplative. "Focus Energy," he commanded.
Riolu did a double take, giving his trainer an incredulous look. "Rio," he barked, confused.
"Focus Energy isn't a move the riolu line can learn naturally," Alex offered, head shaking. "Torchic, let's finish this! Ember!"
The air grew hot once more as the tiny fireballs shot towards the fighting type, though they appeared smaller and far from the same power level as before. The battle had taken its toll on the fire type.
Shaun panicked, taking in his battered and tired pokemon, thinking this was the end. His mind raced through the brief knowledge he had gleaned from the pokedex, not wanting another loss. The attack was coming quick and Riolu was looking nervous, glancing back at his trainer for help. "Endure!" Shaun blurted out, finally remembering the name of at least one attack. That should do something, right?
The aura pokemon took a deep breath, looking relieved that his trainer finally came up with a perfect strategy for last minute survival. A dull, orange energy surrounded Riolu, just as the fire attack struck. The two clashed, creating a small blast of smoke that spread around the fighting types form, and Shaun had to squint to see if his pokemon had even survived the hit.
"Luu," came the weakened response as the smoke cleared, and Shaun felt his shoulders sag in relief. Still up, but barely.
"Another Ember!" Alex commanded immediately.
"Dodge!" Shaun barked, not wanting to risk using the same attack. It had barely survived the last hit, so why should it work twice?
Instead of rolling to the side or doing a magnificent leap into the air, Riolu fell to his stomach, body flat as the flames soared over head. Torchic chirped angrily, huffing tiredly and breathing out a bit of smoke, running out of energy to keep up the attacks.
Shaun saw it, knowing this was the moment. Elation suddenly grew as he ordered, "Aura Sphere!" using his most commanding voice, willing his pokemon to not fail, to not be defeated. Riolu twitched, annoyance filling him at the same command over and over, and yet he could feel his trainer's confidence, voice commanding, and so he lifted a single paw, putting everything into it.
A single spark of blue flew forward, shocking everyone. It shot forward with purpose, no bigger than a golf ball, and not unlike with the battle of the rhyhorn, Riolu felt pride surge through him. This wasn't a fight to the death, and yet he still felt like there something on the line. Pride? Purpose? A point to be made? What ever it was both Riolu and Shaun felt it the instant that tiny attack hit.
Jaws dropped and the crowd murmured in disbelief as the fire chick fell to the ground, eyes closed and chest rising unsteadily, before slowly giving off a few claps of congratulations.
Shaun stared, body hunching with incomprehension, eyes darting back and forth between the torchic and his own pokemon. Ecstasy suddenly swelled and he felt something that he had never truly felt before. Accomplishment.
"Rul," Rilu barked, staggering towards Shaun, puffing up his chest and staring up at his trainer with obvious pride. And damn straight he should be acting that way.
Shaun breathed out slowly, not realizing he had been holding his breath the second his opponent's pokemon had fallen, and felt relief rush through him. His hands clenched into fists. "Fuck yes," he breathed. "Fuck yea!" He pointed at Riolu, causing the aura dog to perk his ears up. "You fucking powned!" He lifted his head and laughed. It was loud, and had a slight hysterical feel to it, but it felt natural. He could remember laughing like this once. Or maybe he could remember laughing like this multiple times, times when he was on the brink of deranged and lingering on disbelief.
He could do this, he told himself. He could actually do this.
Alex had been by his pokemon's side the instant he had gone down, petting the warm feathers in soothing motions. Soft words were whispered of how proud he was and Shaun knew that instant that no matter how hard he was pushed he could never be like Alex. He was not trainer material, and never truly would be, but he could be his own being, a branch of what society saw as 'trainer' and he could bastardize it so that he could survive.
Dear Mew would he survive.
"Guess you win this time." Intrigue danced in Alex's gaze. He was disappointed at the loss, yes, but there was ambition and interest and so many other things that natural trainer's felt that Shaun couldn't even keep up. The smile was truly genuine, however. "How much did we wager on?"
That threw Shaun short.
Right, a wager was usually demanded before a battle even began, and yet both their interest in a rematch had gone against normal protocol. If anything Alex should have realized, but then why was he bringing it up now?
Shaun eyed the other teen, not exactly sure what he was feeling. Normally he would take the money without a second glance, but their first battle had lost and hadn't given the other even a cent. Sucks for him, and Shaun still didn't care that he hadn't given money for his first lost, but now something uncomfortable was growing in the pit of his stomach.
"What are you talking about?" Shaun sneered, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "We didn't make a wager."
Eyebrows shot up as Alex studied the dark teen. "Are you –"
"You fucking deaf?" was the rude interruption.
Alex stared with appraising eyes before glancing down to the two pokemon by their feet. Torchic was unconscious but sitting while conversely with Riolu. The aura dog was showing off the studded bracelet on its paw while Torchic chirped in appreciation. Silver eyes shot straight back to hazel.
"Yea," Alex said with a grin. "Yea, I heard you." He studied Shaun, gaze intense. "Try not to get killed before I see you next, asshole."
He swept past, raising a hand in goodbye, feeling like things were right between them, only to be stopped short at Shaun's next sentence.
"Your cousin tried to kill me."
And then it all shattered.
Alex's blood turned as cold as the chilled tone. He couldn't even turn to face the dark teen, so shocked by the sudden admission. The worst part was that he wasn't even denying that his cousin would do such a thing.
Shaun began stalking away, shoulders hunched and fists stuffed in his pants pockets. "I'm gonna return the favor." Slowly, Alex turned to face his rival. Shaun's face was completely blank, the emotions of the battle no longer there. "Thought you deserved to know."
Alex turned away.
“Aren’t we all too young to die?”
Shaun can remember Jake throwing that out there from seemingly nowhere. They had been relaxing on one the beaten couches under the bridge, their normal hangout. There hadn’t been many others around and they were enjoying a cool breeze during an exceptionally humid summer, cigarettes burning away merrily in their fingers.
Shaun had taken a particularly long drag, expecting an unwanted philosophical talk about the meaning of life. He had never been one to think too deeply on such things, preferring to take one day at a time with only stray thoughts and dreams of leaving for a better life. When he had turned to look at Jake he was a bit startled to not see a thoughtful look on his features, as was what he normally had when expressing random thoughts that led to what ifs.
Instead he just had a look of boredom. He looked like he had just casually mentioned Jessica had a great ass or that tonight would be a goodnight for shoplifting a bag of chips. When Shaun had given a pressing look Jake had simply shrugged, returning the look with a wry grin.
Shaun hadn’t deigned to give his friend an answer despite his mind wandering with hidden meanings and thoughts running as deep as canyon rivers.
Now, years later, as Shaun ordered his pokemon, a creature he had honestly never thought he would own, he reflected on those words. Violence was not something of a foreign nature, given that he lived in an area full of gangs and the random street thug. He had never been a part of a gang, nor had he ever wanted to be, but that didn’t mean such violence didn’t interact with his life. Hell, the first time he had seen a man die was when he was thirteen. He and Jake had been little brats, riding their bikes to the convenience store for soda and candy only to be stopped short as not more than thirty feet ahead of them did a car slow to a crawl before two boys opened fire on a walking teen.
That had haunted Shaun for months, but as he had things to worry about – such as a druggie mother, when he would eat next and even school – Shaun adapted to such happenings in life. Despite all that he had gone through, what had happened last night would always be ingrained within his mind. War was a different breed of violence, torture even more so, and Shaun was starting to wonder just like he had his first few days in the cave if he would survive.
The opposing pokemon, a small dark being with no arms and long green leaves covering its head, fell to the ground in agonized shivers, clearly spent. The boy he fought shot him a filthy look, as if he couldn’t believe he would push his pokemon that hard.
Why? Shaun wanted to question. He hadn’t fought any harder with this boy than any other. Heck, Riolu had given even more in its battle with Torchic and Rhyhorn, so what was this? Why were people expecting him to fight differently with each individual trainer when they were all technically the same? This boy wasn’t even a Rehab Reject; he wanted to be a trainer.
“Return, Oddish,” his opponent said sullenly, flashing Shaun a glare that he didn’t understand. He was older than Shaun, and surely had more experience, but what was he expecting, what was it that he had wanted from that battle? For Shaun not to give it his all? He just didn’t understand. “Your winnings,” he said shortly, holding his pokedex up to watch his winnings transfer over to Shaun’s, preferring debit rather than cash.
Shaun didn’t say a word, didn’t even give the other a glance, and instead went over to inspect Riolu for damage. There was very little, not enough to be sent back to the center for a quick heal. Inspection done with, he promptly went about searching for another opponent. There were plenty in the park he was currently sulking about at.
He did it almost mechanically, not really aware of each battle ever since his parting words with Alex. He had a goal, though determination seemed to just dance outside of his grasp. This wasn’t him, this wasn’t his natural element, and although Riolu seemed to know enough to keep them in a good winning streak, he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
He needed more.
The hypnotic hum of static filled the room, creating an atmosphere that made ones hair stand on end in nervous trepidation. Two figures stood with their backs straight, head forward and eyes piercing the man before them that watched the many computer screens with half lidded eyes, studying every detail that the images offered.
“Tell me,” the man said suddenly, voice piercing the silence like a knife, “when the youth are drowned within a sea of lies do they eventually learn to swim against the tide?”
The two watchers shifted uncomfortably, glancing at one another in an attempt to seek comfort. Both were very young themselves, being only in their early twenties, and yet in the presence of this man they felt like a child being chastised.
“No answer?” The man hummed softly to himself, arms folding behind his back in an almost lazy many. Red hair fell forward as he tilted his head at one of the news feeds, nearly covering amethyst colored eyes. “Come now, boys,” he purred, “this isn’t a test. I want your honest opinion.”
The boy on the right shuffled a bit and dragged a hand through messy blond locks. “Not always,” he answered quietly, honestly. “Tell a lie for so long people forget what truth is. Lies begin to sound right and after a while it becomes your everyday life. Why fight against the only truth you know?” The boy trailed off, slowly becoming unsure.
“Very good, Ian, you are partially correct.” The boy straightened once more, attentive. “That is one path, but in a time of war people seem to come across multiple pathways that once seemed to be a one way road.” Light fingers danced over a specific news feed, tracing out the now still image of a monstrous sea creature lying lifelessly on the beach. It had been washed ashore and stained the sand and sea red.
“I suppose the question is which path do we choose when we come to a crossroad?”
Amethyst eyes snapped to the second figure, a new, but rather promising, recruit that had risen quickly and was currently Ian’s partner. He was young enough to still believe that he could change the world within a single war without consequences and yet old enough to go through such challenges that made him very aware of his naivety. Young and foolish, yes, but he was maturing nicely, and soon he would realize there was no such thing as just a single war, but rather a multitude.
“It is not just what we choose, Brandon,” Lance replied with a smooth smile, “but who we meet as well.” He watched the two shift, minds processing the information like gears in a watch, time ever ticking away. “No man can win war on his own, and an idea can only live on through amass of the people. I have a mission which I am leaving you two in charge of, with an appropriate watcher, of course. It will be your chance to prove yourself not only to our organization, but to yourselves. You may choose your team, but choose wisely and selectively, and while I want you to bring me pokemon, I would prefer something a bit more closely treasured.”
“Sir?” Ian looked puzzled, glancing at his partner who looked equally confused.
Lance turned away from their bewildered stares, eyes once more roaming the various news feeds with a hungry expression.
“Bring me minds to mold.”
Darkness danced across the makeshift battle field, eating away at the light and leaving mere specks of shadows floating about listlessly. The opponent, a creature of strong mind but brittle body, eyed the remains of the Night Shade with a wary intrigue.
“Kadabra, use Confusion to get rid of those,” the opponents trainer, a brown haired youth that looked to be in his young twenties, ordered. His lip quirked downward into a frown as he took in the purple specks, a hint of bitter respect surfacing his thoughts. That was smart, he acknowledged, creating as dark an atmosphere as possible for a creature that had such weaknesses.
On the opposite side, Shaun gazed across the battleground. It was nothing more than an open section of the park, far enough away from the mainstream of the city with grass, bushes and the occasional tree, though the metallic city had still managed to creep into the green space with light posts and a cement sidewalk. Currently their small area was surrounded by a good number of onlookers. They were giving the floating specks of darkness shrewd looks, shivering if one floated by.
Shaun, upon realizing his opponent was using a psychic type (a type he most certainly loathed) he had come up with the idea of having Sableye use his Night Shade around the area itself rather than attack head on. It would give him a boost field wise and he had recollections of watching master trainers fight in league battles with dark types that could actually darken or overshadow a battlefield in broad daylight, so why not use similar tactics?
“Sableye, counter,” he ordered quickly. So it seemed the Night Shade technique wouldn’t stay for long, but it had allowed for his opponent to turn its attention away. It was enough.
Sableye, hunched over and cackling like a fiend, bounced into action at the call of his trainer, already prepared for such an order. Mouth wide and showing off those razor sharp teeth for all the world to see, Sableye ran forward, arms lagging behind as if they were boneless.
On the opposite end Kadabra had its single spoon raised, eyes half lidded in concentration and glowing with power. Slowly, it managed to focus on the various wisps of ghostly remains, and hummed. A pulse of color exploded; see through light sprites locking in on their darker counterparts, and soon it was the battlefield rather than the pokemon fighting for dominance in a power display of light and dark.
Distraction successfully clouding the psychics’ awareness, Sableye used that moment to strike. Blue fire danced along knife sharp claws in an almost tender fashion, destruction hidden within beauty.
The onlookers talked loudly at the display, excitement evident in both the people and pokemon. They all had a sort of weary look, which was to be understandable given the previous night, but the excitement before them was enough to make them momentarily forget their caution and enjoy the moment.
“Astonish!” Shaun barked out, quickly using his opponent’s distraction on the shadows to his advantage.
The kadabra barely had enough time to even glance away from the pulsing lights before Sableye slammed into the frail psychic type, blue flames surrounding the two as ghostly energy flowed into its opponent. “Ly lye!” Sablye cackled, clinging to the kadabra, teeth glinting with sadistic glee.
“Kadabra!” the boy shouted, worry evident. Only a grunt was given, features twitching in obvious anger but otherwise frozen. “Flinch,” Shaun’s opponent muttered, cursing in exasperation.
Shaun, having no idea what flinching meant, but recognizing an opening, let out a quick order. “Scratch!”
On the other side, Shaun’s opponent had his eyebrows raised in surprise at the weak attack. Still, Kadabra let out a painful yelp as sharp claws sliced into his back. Mentally strong he may be, but physical prowess was something he was lacking. “Flash!” he ordered quickly. His opponent was within striking range, but even he could accept the little pokemon was a speedy devil.
“Braaa,” Kadabra hummed, spoon raised. Without warning, like a lightning bolt appearing before their very eyes, light exploded in a painfully bright flash.
Yelping, Shaun lifted an arm in alarm, covering his stinging eyes. “Just attack!” he yelled, voice slight muffled from the sleeve of his jacket. He blinked quickly, tears clinging to the corner of his eyes, before slowly lowering his arm. Black spots filled his vision, and though he couldn’t see the battle field, he could hear it perfectly.
An inhuman howl filled not only the air, but within his mind. It rang in his ears like the echo of a canyon, and with a stunning realization Shaun knew the physic type was relaying its pain through their minds. He snarled, loathing pouring out of his very being. As if he didn’t have enough psychics going through his mind without this random challenger adding to it.
“Night Shade!” he barked, still blinking quickly. Spots still blinded his vision, though it was quickly passing. He could make out distinct shapes and could watch the blurry shape of his hunched pokemon crawling on all fours like a thing possessed shoot a single blast of the nightmarish Night Shade, this time aiming for a single being rather than the entirety of the field.
“Protect,” Shaun’s opponent called quickly, watching the battle with a slight frown. His pokemon had more damage, which was understandable given that it had been dealt with mostly physical attacks and had a rather frail body, but his pokemon had more power. Now would be the time to use it.
A blue shield erupted around the physic creature just as a nightmarish beam slammed down upon it. The two opposing energies clashed, Sableye hissing agitatedly as no matter how hard it pushed the blue shield remained strong, not budging an inch.
“Disable,” came the next command when it showed that Sableye would not be letting up.
A delicate hum filled the air as the two energies dissipated, Sableye jumping away into a defensive position. The distance did not matter to Kadabra. He simply gazed thoughtfully into his spoon, a brief flash of power sliding across Sableye’s body, the sensation as light as drizzle.
Shaun frowned, confused. It hadn’t appeared to do anything, at least not physically. “Night Shade,” he ordered once more, not wanting to use an attack that would bring him close to the opponent.
To his complete surprise Sableye let out a low keen, tilting his head in Shaun’s direction in clear distress. “Saaa,” he hissed lowly, holding his arms up as if in a confused shrug.
Across the battlefield his opponent gave a soft laugh. “Don’t know Disable, do you?” he shook his head, sending long, brown bangs over blue eyes momentarily. “I should have figured,” he continued with a shrug before turning to his pokemon. “Kadabra, use Thunderbolt.”
Gapping, Shaun could only watch as a bolt of light, jagged in its form, rushed towards Sableye. The little pokemon had no chance. Screams filled the air as electricity course through its veins. Spasms broke out and Sableye fell to the ground, body lifeless save for the residual twitches.
The dark haired teen stared, swallowing thickly before raising the red and white pokeball. “Return,” he said, voice tinged with bitterness.
The crowd was talking excited and clapped politely, offering congratulations to Shaun’s opponent. He grinned widely and offered congratulations of his own to his pokemon before turning to Shaun. “Good battle,” he offered, holding out a hand. Grudgingly, Shaun shook it. “Name’s Jacob by the way.”
“Shaun,” he replied, tone still miffed.
Jacob offered a consoling smile. “Care for some advice, Shaun?”
Nose scrunched up in distaste, Shaun narrowed his eyes at the other trainer. “What sort of advice?” he asked slowly, tone obviously hinting he wasn’t too keen on getting life lessons or some other thing about pokemon training. Though, as much as Shaun didn’t want to admit to himself, he needed all the advice people had and then some.
“About your battle I noticed some pretty interesting things.” Shaun felt his interest spike. What sort of things? “You’re a beginner, aren’t you?” He waited for a slow nod before continuing. “A beginner doesn’t normally focus on the battlefield or create a visible scenario that puts other things aside from your pokemon the main priority.”
Jacob laughed at Shaun’s confusion. “I mean when a trainer just begins they focus more on attacks that can hit their opponent head on rather than rely on tactics. That Night Shade gimmick you just did was genius. If you had a few years of training under your belt that would have been pretty dangerous for any pokemon, especially a psychic opponent.” He gave an easy grin, an approving look that Shaun found both surprising and strangely pleasing. “You’re shooting for the league, right? Not just a simple trainer, especially not with your intensity in battling, so you’re aiming for something.”
“I’m going for the badges,” Shaun answered curtly, a narrowing look appearing on his face before raising his chin stubbornly. “In less than a year.”
Jacob blinked; face scrunching up in surprise and disbelief before realization settled on his features. “Oh,” he said softly, looking vaguely uncomfortable before sighing. “Well, believe me when I say this, dude, but that’s one of the least crazy things I’ve heard from beginner trainers.” His features relaxed, not appearing too bothered by Shaun’s subtle mention of being a Rehab Reject.
“Really?” Shaun felt his eyebrows shoot up. “Like what?”
Shrugging, Jacob said, “Eh, you’ll find out crazy stuff on your own… Uh, well, you’ve been in the city long enough to have seen a few wierdo’s…” He trailed off before giving an embarrassed cough. “Anyways, still want some advice?”
“Yea, dude. Hit me.”
“Alright… well, yea, stick with tampering with the battlefield if you can. If you need some ideas I’d suggest watching some old league challenges and especially the stuff with Elite Four from any region. That thing you did with Night Shade is nothing compared to Selina of Sinnoh’s Elite Four. She’s a trainer that focuses on only dark types and has managed to get her pokemon to be able to naturally spread its shadow and make the playing field dark. I’ve also noticed you have a habit of not asking people how far ahead they are in training. Try not to blindly ask for battles even though you’re in a rush. There are plenty of trainers out there that would easily wipe the floor with you and take your money without looking back.”
Shaun frowned, not even thinking of that. How easy it would have been for some ass with five badges to take down any of his pokemon for some quick cash or even putting his pokemon out of commission for a good while.
Jacob looked thoughtful before nodding. “Yea, when you’re out on the road, even if you have a destination in mind, always stop at the closest civilized location and restock. You might think you’re good, but believe me, something will always happen. Sometimes there are also signs that ask for trainer work. It’s usually farmers that need an extra hand or pokemon hunters that need a number of specific pokemon captured. Take them up on the offer because you usually get a good reward, especially from a farmer. Actually, when you head to the next route find a small job that can teach you how to live off the wild pokemon. You know how to skin a bird pokemon for food?”
Shaun pulled a face. “I think I’ll pass on that,” he said, only to frown at the mocking laugh that followed.
“If you say so,” Jacob said in between chuckles. “Well, if the time comes, just be on the lookout for whatever odd job you can find in between gym towns.”
“Alright,” Shaun said slowly, thoughtful. “Hey, so I have this pokemon that doesn’t listen to me, or anyone for that matter, what should I do with that?”
Jacob gave Shaun a contemplative stare. “Dangerous?”
“Has tried to kill me numerous times.”
“Get rid of it.”
“Uh, no,” Shaun said slowly, as if to a small child. “You wouldn’t believe what I went through. It’s mine now.”
“Look, I don’t really know you, but you seem like a cool dude, so I’ll give it to you straight. You’re just a noob that seems to have been lucky in getting an over leveled pokemon. If you want something out of it then sell it. There is the global trade but that’s not always reliable.”
“I’m not getting rid of it,” Shaun said stiffly. He had been put into a life or death situation because of that beast and he came out on top. To the winner go the spoils and Shaun would do what he wanted with it.
Jacob sighed, nostrils flaring in exasperation. “Alright, whatever, it’s your pokemon. What is it anyway?”
The look Jacob gave Shaun was one that an adult gave to a particularly slow child. “Right, of course. And how long have you been training for?”
“Little over a week.” Shaun raised his chin proudly. “How long did it take you to capture a beast like that?”
Jacob ignored the mocking tone. “After five months of training I caught mankey. They have well known anger issues and have been known to turn on their trainers, especially new trainers.”
“Did it turn on you?” Shaun asked, intrigued.
“Yes,” Jacob said bluntly, “and then I had it put down.” He gave Shaun a hard stare. “I’ve been training for a few years now so I have a bit of knowledge about out of control pokemon. If you don’t want to end up dead you need to get rid of it. You’re in a city – take advantage of that.”
The two stared down the other.
“I’m keeping it,” Shaun said, a hint of growl in his tone.
And that was that. He did not turn back the moment he stepped in his first route and he certainly wouldn’t turn back now.
The rest of the day wasn’t as exciting or worthwhile compared to the morning training wise, but when Shaun had finally sat down for a smoke his bag began to vibrate. He sucked in a deep breath of nicotine, staring at his bag wondering whether or not he really wanted to see what the cause was.
It stopped after a minute.
Only to resume.
Sighing out a puff of smoke, Shaun dug through his bag only to stare in confusion at his pokedex. With a quick realization he slid it into phone form and raised it to his ear. “Hello?” he asked quizzically.
There was a sigh of relief on the other end. “Damn Shaun, I thought you were dead!”
It didn’t even take a second for Shaun to recognize the voice. “Jake?” Incredulous, he asked, “Dude, how did you contact me on my pokedex?”
“Hacker, duh,” came the snarky reply before his friend got serious. “Dude, are you still in the city?”
“Uh, yea, I got a gym battle tomorrow night.” Shaun took another drag. “I’m guessing you heard about last night.”
“It was all over the news,” was the grim reply before an exasperated, “and you’re not a thousand miles out of the city yet?” came right after.
“Gym battle tomorrow,” Shaun reminded. He glanced around, taking in the wary citizens as they attempted to go about their daily lives, though more subdued. There were still several blocks that were closed off and in construction thanks to the previous night’s damage. Trained pokemon were stationed from block to block, watching for any suspicious activity. “Security is really tight. I doubt I’ll be attacked within the next two days.”
“That’s assuming you actually leave the city in the next two days.”
It took Shaun a moment to realize that Jake was insinuating that he wouldn’t win his gym battle. “Screw you.”
“Hey! I’m being realistic here.” Shaun felt his eyebrows rise at Jake’s angry tone. “Look…” There was an exasperated sigh before Jake continued. “You know what, never mind. Did you get my gift?”
“Uh, no,” Shaun drawled, a ‘what the hell’ echoing in his head.
“For the love of… Shaun, check your damn pc! After that frantic call last night and then seeing the news of course I sent you something.”
“Oh fuck yea, Jake.” Shaun was grinning like a maniac. “You send me a Hyper Beam tm?”
“Yea, sure did, dumbass.” A snort followed. “No, I looked up the gym leader you’re fighting and he uses mostly rock and ground so I sent you a water tm… What?” came an irritated response as Shaun groaned.
“Jake,” was Shaun’s tired reply, “I don’t have a damn water type.”
“Then go get one,” was the terse reply. “Look, I helped you out for free, so don’t complain. Next time you need something and actually have money then I’ll get you what you want, got it?”
Son of a bitch. “Yea,” Shaun growled, “got it, asswipe.”
There was a moment of silence on either end. Shaun was steadily finishing off his cigarette and was just about to fish out another one when Jake decided to break the silence.
“So, what kind of pokemon do you have if you don’t have a water type?”
“I got a riolu as my starter,” Shaun answered, blinking as Jake let out a “No fucking way you lucky bastard!” on the other end. “So everyone keeps telling me,” Shaun replied. “Thing is moody as fuck. Listens most of the time but then seems to randomly hate me.” Shaun shrugged. “Whatever, screw it.” He flicked the butt of his cigarette away. “Also got a sableye. Creepiest thing I’ve ever seen, and it barely listens to me. Had to bribe it the first few times to even help me.”
Jake laughed on the other end. “They sound like a perfect match for you. For pokemon you sometimes need to find the one bribe that can get them to listen to you without having to offer them multiple things. What do your pokemon want?”
Shaun paused, brow creasing in thought. That was actually a good idea. “I think I might know something for Sableye,” he mused, stuffing his second cigarette away and getting up. “Hey, any idea what to do for a crazy rhyhorn?”
Jake snorted. “You would,” he said, exasperated. “I don’t know, man. Why don’t you ask, oh I don’t know, a real trainer?”
“I already have,” Shaun growled, walking with a destination in mind. “The dude told me to sell it.”
“Then sell it,” was the cheeky response.
“Hell no. Dude, you have no idea what I went through for that thing. It’s mine for good. Besides, don’t most trainers have that one pokemon that doesn’t listen until they have a few badges or something?”
“Yea, ‘cause I have all the answers to pokemon training.”
“Suck it,” Shaun shot back, grinning wide and having missed hanging with his friend. “Alright, I gotta go, man. Next time we talk I’ll be long gone from this place.”
“Uh huh. Well, on the huge chance that doesn’t happen, do yourself a favor and just come back. Better to be in jail than dead.”
“Fuck that,” Shaun snapped. “They gave me a chance to actually beat the system, and I’m gonna do it.”
“Break the system within the system.” Jake was clearly mocking him, but he could suck it.
“Har har,” Shaun replied, rolling his eyes. “You kill me.” With the two still chuckling, Shaun ended the call as he came to his destination. Looking up, he gazed at the tattoo and piercing parlor, taking in the name Nidoking’s Poison Ink.
A bell chingled as he walked in, a girl with blue hair looking up from behind the counter. “Yo,” she welcomed with a lazy wave. She had a full sleeve of multiple fighting pokemon on her left arm. “You got an appointment?”
“No,” Shaun said, shaking his head. “I got a weird question. Do you pierce pokemon?”
The girl’s eyebrows rose. “Actually, that’s not all that uncommon. My sandslash has a few piercings.” She pointed downward to a tan pokemon that Shaun hadn’t even noticed. It was curled into a ball, massive spikes prominent on its back. Two ears twitched, showing off three sets of silver studs. “Cool, huh?”
Actually yea. “Pretty neat,” Shaun agreed. “I don’t want just regular studs, though. I had this item called ghost gem. Can you pierce pokemon items?”
The girl looked thoughtful, running a hand through her hair before turning. “Yo, Tyler!” she called.
A voice called out from behind a black curtain, “What, Katie?”
“Can we do custom piercings with pokemon items?” Katie called back.
Black curtain parting, a red headed man that looked to be in his mid-forties walked out. He scratched tiredly at his head, shifting gray laced hair. “What, like that everstone piercing we did a few weeks ago? Sure.” He turned to Shaun and offered an arm. A strong handshake followed and he offered Shaun a grin. “What type of piercing you looking for?”
“I have a sableye that I want to have a few piercings to hold the item ghost gem for battle purposes. I was just wondering if you could do that and where I could get the item.”
“Well, we can definitely do a sableye piercing no problem, but for the item to work properly given it has been chopped so tiny, is four studs. There’s actually jewelry shop about eight shops down that sell unique jewelry. I’ve had a walk in for a tattoo and she had a water stone as a necklace of all things. You can come back whenever you get what you want.”
Shaun nodded. “Cool, thanks. I’ll be back later.”
With a nod of goodbye Shaun exited the store. He walked from the shops and towards an alley that led to tiny apartments on the other side of the shops. There he felt for his pokeballs and released his main two pokemon. With a bright flash temporarily chasing the shadows away from every corner of the alleyway, Riolu and sableye materialized.
“Alright,” Shaun spoke, towering over his pokemon with a heavy frown and his arms folded. “So I don’t actually know if the two of you even know what the plan is, but given after last night we aren’t staying long in the city, and I know the two of you have been better listening to me, but that’s only because of bribes and threats.”
Both his pokemon snorted.
Shaun’s brow puckered down. “Bitch all you want, I don’t care so long as you two actually keep it that way. So instead of keeping up with the treats, especially for you,” he pointed at Sablye, “as you’ve taken all my earrings, I’m going to only offer one final thing. I’m giving you your own piercings and then I don’t wanna deal with anymore of your shit.”
Sableye’s spiked ears had raised and he clapped eagerly, thinking of the shiny items.
Riolu gaze up at Shaun, one hand on his hip and a bored expression. He curled his ears back and sniffed disdainfully as Shaun gazed down at him.
“And shit if I know what you want.” Shaun gazed thoughtfully, head tilted and eyes squinting. “Whaddya want?”
A huff was his answer and an exasperated shake of the head. “Lu,” Riolu sniffed. He raised a finger and pointed at the silver studded bracelet that still adorned his wrist, even if it was a bit loose, and jiggled it meaningfully.
“So you don’t want anything.” Shaun didn’t bother to hide his incredulity.
Riolu shrugged, uncaring.
What did that even mean? Would Riolu just continue to act uncaring towards Shaun on the long run? Well, as long he won Shaun battles he didn’t given a rat’s ass if his pokemon even liked him.
“Fine, return,” Shaun commanded, holding up the red and white sphere, watching Riolu disappear into a red of beam. He turned back to Sableye. “So we got a deal?”
Sableye raised his jagged type claws towards Shaun’s ears and let his tongue roll out like a panting pooch. Wanting to confirm that this was what Shaun meant Sableye lifted his own ears up and down. When his trainer nodded the mixed type cackled happily. Oh yes, he was happy to be given such a treasure.
Feeling relieved, Shaun returned the dual type and headed towards the shop recommended. It was just as the tattoo artist had said; they sold jewelry with odd stones. Given that the town was heavily obsessed with geology it was unsurprising that even decorative items would be something like a thunder stone ring or soft sand used on clothing.
Shaun gazed at the multitude of jewelry, most of it rings and men’s watches, he finally just settled on asking an attendant after seeing a few purple poison earrings but no other types.
“Excuse me.” He got the attention of a pretty brunette, her smile lifting as she took in her customer and gave a small nod of greeting. “I noticed you had gem earrings. I’m looking for a specific one and just wondering if you had any.”
The girl pushed up her oval glasses and went to look at where Shaun was gesturing. “Gems? Yep, got a few more behind the counter. You looking for something for your girlfriend? We have a few dragon gem earrings that any girl would want, or if she’s interested in bracelets or necklaces we have flying gems attached.”
“Yep, looking for my girlfriend,” Shaun answered easily, going with her hasty assumption. It would be easier to get the girl to help and take less time explaining what he was really trying to do. “But I’m looking for a ghost gems. They’re a dark purple color.”
“Hang on, just give me a sec.” Walking away Shaun watched as the girl went to ask her boss if they had any. She gestured over to Shaun, causing the blond woman to glance over. She looked over with a smile and a nod before shifting around behind the counter before pulling out a few square boxes and headed over.
“Hello there, I’m Denise. You’re looking for something for your girlfriend?”
Shaun’s lips twitched and he almost snorted, but despite that he still felt his hand twitched towards the name on his arm in an almost longing manner.
Whatsername, his mind seemed to whisper. Oh the things he used to get that girl. It usually involved danger or a messed up sort of lust within adrenaline needles that pierced the skin. Their minds would sink into one, an onslaught of perverted loved that ended in primitive desire.
The woman, Denise, noticed the movement and her eyes seemed to light up on the name on his arm. “What a pretty name,” she complimented.
“Yea,” Shaun muttered, eyes never actually glancing at the name. He didn’t want to chain pure adrenaline freedom with a simple name. Perhaps that was why he had never bothered learning her name, or maybe it was because he never wanted to grow attachments. Hell, he had been too out of it to even properly remember getting the tattoo. “Anyway, she’s really into ghost types and her birthday is coming up. I’m a trainer right now but figured I’d mail it beforehand.”
“How sweet!” The woman beamed at him. “You know we happen to be having a sale right now as well. Bye one get half on another set of earrings or two necklaces and thirty percent of on the third.
“Maybe two pairs of earrings,” Shaun said thoughtfully, nearly snorting at the bullshit coming out.
He looked down at the options. There were only four pairs, though he considered himself lucky to even get them item. Two pairs were made with gold, one nearly encasing the entirety of the tiny dark purple gem. He glanced away from that one and pulled aside the second gold option, knowing that at least some of the gem needed to touch Sableye’s skin so that there would be a genetic reaction that allowed the gems power to work. The other two was made out of silver and titanium. They both had a similar make and would easily allow the gem to press against Sableye’s ear. For price reasons he chose the titanium ones.
“Chosen already? Are you sure you wouldn’t like to look at any others?"
“No,” Shaun answered swiftly, wanting to get it over with. “Just these two.” He mind raced for a moment, an idea striking him. “I have an actual full gem that I found in a cave. You wouldn’t happen to be keen on trades?”
“Sorry,” Denise said, shaking her head. Blond locks fell about her shoulders from the movement and she offered Shaun an easy smile. “Item trades are more for markets or street vendors. Do you still want these?”
“Yea, I’ll take ‘em.”
When the earrings were wrung up Shaun didn’t even bother to hide his grimace. He supposed the gems were worth a pretty penny, but five hundred was a hefty chunk out of the money he had earned so far. His pokemon would just have to battle even more to make it up.
With a quick thanks to the cashier Shaun headed straight for the tattoo shop. The blue haired girl, Katie, looked up and grinned. “Oh, you did come back. Alright, before we pierce you’ll pokemon we’ll need you to sign a form and released your pokemon.”
He fingered the second pokeball attached to his belt and released it with a quick flick of his fingers. A brief flash and Sableye was out, making odd cooing sounds and gazing at the shop in awe. His tongue was out and he gazed at the plugs in Katie’s ears and pointed happily at them, favoring the two a wide smile. “Saa!”
“Definitely never seen a pokemon eager for a piercing,” Katie commented with a laugh, handing the papers to Shaun for his to sign. He did so quickly and handed over the two pairs of earrings. “Nice studs. Alright, come to the back.” She led them to the backroom with a black leather chair. She put on a pair of black latex gloves and pat the chair for Sableye to hop on. He did so with an excited grin. “Alright, so we’re gonna have to pierce his horn for the item to work, but the little guy has a pretty longue tongue.”
Shaun snorted. That would be a badass look for the little gremlin with black studs visible on that long tongue. “Nah, keep it on the horns.”
Grinning, she nodded. “Alright, Sableye,” she spoke to the pokemon. “You know what I’m going to do to you? I’m going to pierce your horns with a small needle. It’ll hurt just a pinch. Are you ok with that?” She made sure to show the device carefully to the mixed pokemon. Sableye nodded, cackling. “Alright, do you have any idea how you want these?”
“You’re seriously asking the pokemon?” Shaun asked, bemused.
“Sometimes it’s good to let them pick or believe they’re in charge of what’s happening. Allows for less stress or startled pokemon.” Katie shrugged.
Shaun had to agree with that, though it was still annoying. With Sableye choosing how he wanted the piercings, slowly placing the studs in various places on the four horns. At one point he wanted all four on a single horn, another with two studs on only the top two horns and then finally deciding to simply have a single stud per horn. The top horns were pierced with the gold needles while the bottom was graced with the titanium.
“Saaa,” Sableye crooned, not even wincing as each piercing sent the needle through skin. He fingered them fondly, a loud purr vibrating.
“Clean through,” Katie said. “And it looks like you have a lot of room for more if you ever want any.”
“Sa!” Sableye cried excitedly, looking at Shaun eagerly.
“Win more battles and we’ll see,” Shaun said coolly, wincing. Damn, now he’d get needy again.
AN: So a little filler and training bit for everyone with an added on hold item for Sableye. The mechanics for hold items are obviously different than in games, considering that gems disappear after only one use. How they actually work will be in a later chapter, and there is another bit to this chapter I haven't edited yet so give it a few days.
If people are wondering about the whatsername thing with Shaun's old love it's actually a shoutout to the Greenday song Whatsername. Thought it would be fun.
I'm not really one for begging for reviews, but at this point I don't even know if people still read this, and I really love when people offer advice, so if anyone has anything I'm always down for some.
The interaction between Shaun and Sableye was great! I'm a little strapped for time now, but I'll probably comeback later and give a more indepth review ... maybe :\
With the promised bribery complete, the rest of the day had honestly gone alright. Sableye fought with a greater enthusiasm, battling in a flowing manner that hinted he was happy with his body. The narcissistic creature would tilt his head at various as he walked or battled, always being sure to show off his new treasures. It was a sableye’s goal to have a beautiful hoard, and now he would actually have jewels that wouldn’t be abandoned for survival. They would always be with him.
Riolu, on the other hand, continued to battle the same as he had. The morning battle against his rival seemed to have sucked out whatever interest he had. The rest were too pathetic, didn’t spark that same thrill of struggle and animalistic fight. Was it because the pokemon he battled were too weak? His trainer had certainly been careful in selecting opponents; always asking to be sure who were new trainers.
It was surprisingly easy to get the truth out of people and find out who was truly just beginning their journey. In fact, by now the entirety of Shaun’s starting group had made it to the city. He was informed this by Samuel D. Perkin, a boy that had snootily offered his name to Shaun and had thought the rebellious teen would be any easy win.
He wasn’t even worth the look of distaste Shaun was favoring the boy as he was handed a whopping two hundred dollars worth of bills. The style light brown hair was parted to the side and risked creeping over brown eyes as the boy still continued to sputter in shock at his loss.
Riolu was gazing down at the battered pokemon Samuel hadstarted out with, a tyrogue. It had been an exciting thought, fighting a fellow fighting type, but the skills of the other was lacking. Fighting moves must have allowed it to cross the mountain pass with limited problems, giving that most of the pokemon living in the area were generally weak to fighting types,but it had yet to face a proper challenge and therefore made it cocky and generally useless in a more serious challenge.
“Quit your bitching and hand over the money,” Shaun growled, hand forward and palm up. His second hand rested in his pocket, fingers rubbing at the hidden switchblade should the need arise.
“There’s no way you won without cheating!” Samuel shouted. He was looking at his pokemon in disbelief, wide eyes darting back at Shaun in suspicion.
“Cheating how, exactly?” Shaun drawled, quickly becoming exasperated. He ran a hand through messy black locks and rolled his shoulders,fixing the foreigner with a cool look. “Everybody saw my pokemon beat yo pokemon’s ass and you crying like a little bitch. “If you can’t handle being here go back to Kanto, kringo.”
The onlookers ‘ooh’d’ mockingly, jeering.
Samuel sputtered, face growing red with embarrassment and anger, hardly believing that such a racial slur were being directed towards his own person. “Who do you think you are?” he growled lowly, voice deepening as he stood straight so that he could look down on Shaun. And really, who did he think he was messing with? Even if the rebellious teen had won without luck he was still below Samuel status wise. It wouldn’t matter what happened, the class you’re born into decides your fate.
"Who do I think I am?” the fiend parroted mockingly. He gazed at Samuel, face growing dark and deadly. “The guy who’s gonna slit your throat if you don’t pay up.”
There was an awestruck silence as the surrounding crowd gazed between the two teens, wondering if blood would actually be spilt. Some even looked eager, eyes cast with dark shadows that hinted of a traumatic experience that had them lusting for more brutality. Those that gazed with haunted eyes were all seasoned trainers, people that had come across their own share of brutal scenes. The energy in the air seemed to thrill Shaun because before Samuel knew it a flash of silver was all he saw before the end of something very sharp was pressing into his nose.
Whispers erupted and hallow laughter spread.
“Should we get someone?” one whispered.
“Who cares? The guy deserves it.”
“Weak ass trainer.”
“Go back to Kanto, fucker.”
On and on it went, going over the two teens heads, but one voice – a cool, baritone that whispered its way into their minds like mist –gave them pause.
“Dear Arceus, Samuel, you’re embarrassing not only yourself but your family station and region. Either pay our fellow trainer or crawl back to Kanto like the defeated poochyena you are imitating."
Samuel felt warm, sweat building with the fear and embarrassment. He gave a gulp, hand slowly going to his pants pocket. “Alright,” he said hoarsely. “I’ll pay.”
“Damn right,” Shaun growled, palm out and grasping the bills as they were handed over. “Fuck off,” he told the other train, not even bothering to spare him a glance as he took in the new arrival.
The boy had a look of wealthy confidence. He walked with a swagger that gave way that he looked down on others, despite his sudden interruption. He watched Samuel walk away, a cool look to his face as he sneered. “Yet another waste.” He glanced over at Shaun, ice blue eyes assessing. “Not all of Kanto citizens are as useless as to what you’ve just witnessed.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. He seemed to be one of the strongest of the Kanto trainers I fought, and I just wiped the floor with his fat ass in two minutes. They’re all the same.”
The onlookers hooted and hollered, “ooh’s” escaping through chortles once more. A never ending lust for a fight seemed to always follow a trainer’s crowd.
The boy offered a small smile, looking far more crafty. “Really.” He looked to be musing. “Care to back up those words? Two pokemon each and wager five hundred.”
Shaun didn’t like the way this newcomer stared at him, assessing him closely as if seeing an answer, but he still responded cockily. He had been on a winning streak and no Kanto trainer would get him down. “Hell yea. Name is Shaun, by the way. ”
The boy smiled softly. “I know.” He blinked slowly and lifted a shined red and white pokeball. “And I am Eric Stone.” With a flash of light, a small, bright blue pokemon that Shaun recognized from the previous route appeared.
“Phaa,” the ground elephant panted, raising it tiny snout and stomping the ground.
“Tch. Make dust of this ground type,” Shaun said to Riolu, stuffing his fists into his pockets and looking far too relaxed. His face was quirked with a lazy grin that was made him look far too cocky.
The fighting type stepped forward, palms forward and ears curled upward. He sniffed once, red eyes staring hard at the smaller pokemon. Slowly, he moved into a crouching position, feet sliding along the ground in a smooth motion.
Across on the other side Eric gave a simple command, looking rather at ease as well. “Phanpy, proceed.”
Shaun furrowed his brows, momentarily confused. He wasn’t used to fighting another trainer that allowed the pokemon to make the decisions on its own. It was certainly surprising.
The ground type pawed at the ground, giving a loud snort of understanding, and rushed forward. It charged steadily, eyes following Riolu’s form, and then before Shaun knew it the small pokemon jumped into the air, form shifting into a small ball and speeding forward at an incredibly fast pace.
Riolu looked visibly startled, nearly faltering at the shock of seeing such a creature sped up so suddenly. “Ri,” he sniffed, still looking intrigued. Without bothering to wait for a command he slid his feet forward, body shifting and palms pulling back. With an almost casual spin, Riolu gained enough momentum to slam his fist into the incoming pokemon. To the surprise of everyone, the spinning ground type was sent ricocheting off in another direction, spinning body slowing as it came out of its ball form and wobbled on four legs, looking physically hurt.
“Phaa,” it moaned, wincing at rubbing at its hurt side with its trunk.
“As expected of a fighting type,” Eric commented, not looking at all disturbed that a single attack had done such damage to his pokemon. He said nothing more, not even bothering to give an attack.
“Riolu, another Force Palm,” Shaun ordered. If this guy was gonna give him a free win he sure wasn’t complaining.
The rest of the battle went by just as smoothly. Phanpy continued to charge, body forming into a spinning ball and following Riolu at breakneck speeds. The lithe fighting type continued to slide into different fighting positions, using the momentum of its opponent to its advantage and sending it skidding away with a few well-placed Force Palms.
When at last the ground elephant rolled to a stop and uncurled, clearly defeated, Eric recalled the fallen pocket monster with a bored look. It looked out of place, such a bored expression during a battle, and Shaun could help but think the kid had some other motive for challenging him given that he was studying Riolu with such a severe look.
“Go,” Eric stated simply, releasing his final pokemon and Shaun sucked in a breath, staring at the tan chimp pokemon as the fire on its behind grew with the excitement for battle.
“That pokemon…” Shaun was at a loss for words, studying Ericwith an equal look of intensity.
“Oh, have you seen a chimchar before?” Eric questioned, tilting his head. “Not surprising given that five others received the same starter as me. I suppose I wasn’t as lucky as some to get one of the single surprise pokemon like your own.”
Shaun swallowed; thoughts in a haze. This was one of the pokemon that had been with the trainers that attacked him, but if what this guy said was true then he had a high list of suspects. This Eric guy didn’t look familiar, but Shaun hadn’t been able to get a clear view of the faces of his attackers. False accusations would be too dangerous for Shaun right now.
“Yea," Shaun breathed, and he noticed with delight that Riolu had the same look of intense disgust on his face. He recognized the pokemon as well. “You could say that.” His and Eric’s eyes met, and for a moment there was silence as the two assessed one another, until Shaun’s broke it with a deadly whisper that only Riolu could pick up. “Destroy it.”
Before Eric even knew what was happening there was a blue blur crossing his field. In a single, smooth motion, Riolu had slid his feet forward in such a way he threw his own body weight forward. Black foot striking forward, Chimchar was sent flying, eyes scrunched up in pain and body bouncing harshly against the floor.
“Ember,” Eric commanded, the first one of the battle. He watched passively as the fire chimp got up, a fierce expression show as tiny flames soared from his mouth, a few strays creating burn marks on the ground,and landed on the fighting type. Riolu took it well, arms up and defending, not looking too bothered from the heated attack. “Defend,” Eric ordered as Riolu began to move forward, toes moving lightly upon the ground. “Its body moves like drifting water, so don’t expect sharp movements.”
Shaun stared, brows furrowed at the advice his opponent had just given to his pokemon. This trainer was watching his own pokemon far too closely. “Force Palm,” he ordered as Riolu got within striking distance.
A barked confirmation came forth and Riolu struck, eyes soon widening in shock as he shot forward, only for Chimchar to rear back in a smooth motion, almost moving along with Riolu’s movements. With a smug grin, Chimchar opened wide, burning hot coals shooting forward.
Riolu howled, backing away from the close range attack that created burns on his arm. He shot Chimchar a vicious look, growling loudly. His red eyes were lit with a furious intensity. Blue light exploded from his palms,and before anyone could even blink, a blue furred fist shot forward, striking the fire type square in the face. A loud crack sounded in the area as Chimchar went flying once more, screeching in pain.
It landed with a harsh thud, clutching its bleeding face and howling in agony. It glared with squinted eyes, still rolling about and holding its broken nose. “Charr,” it breathed, glower promising retribution.
Eric, however, wasn’t caring for his pokemon’s pride, and was instead staring at Riolu with pursed lips. “Return,” he called to his pokemon, observant look never leaving him as he stared hard at the fighting type.
It was a dangerous look, and Shaun didn’t like the way this person was looking at his pokemon, especially since Shaun was starting to wonder if this guy had really been there during the attack. But if he had, surely he should look surprised that Shaun was alive, or at least go out of his way to never come into contact with him lest Shaun actually recognized him.
“There is no point in forcing my pokemon in receiving unnecessary damage if he’s just going to lose,” Eric stated. He silently pulled out some bills and counted out the promised amount. “Until next time, if you choose to continue on,” Eric said. He graced Shaun with a cold smile and turned, walking away without another word.
Shaun and Riolu stared at one another, dubious. That battle had been too easy, too quick, and his pokemon could have easily continued to fight. The look in Eric’s gaze had been dark and dangerous. This battle was not a matter of who’s pokemon was the strongest; no this this battle was a means to another end, but what could that by want?
If he was one of Shaun’s attackers, he had certainly made a show of seeming oblivious to having ever met aside from the initial gathering. It could be a facade, or he really could have never been a part of the attack and was simply another pretentious douche trying to see if Shaun had any potential.
Whatever it was, Shaun didn’t like it.
AN: So Kringo is based off Gringo, an old Spanish slang word for white people, only because Lenore is kind of prejudice towards Kanto people I used the K instead of G. People of Lenore are a bit darker in color based off those in Kanto, though strangely in my world those in Johto are also of a darker color.Honestly, Shaun is just a prejudiced douche. Most of what he says or does won't be of good conscious or even respectable. Shaun isn't someone I'm trying to get people to like, but I just want a difficult character thrown in a difficult position.
I have one more bit to this chapter that I'll probably add tomorrow. I'm just sick of when I copy/paste to here all the words cling together or I need to fix spacing.
I enjoyed this. I liked the battle scene and Eric was an interesting character, pretty sure that he was one of the ones that ambushed him.
Looks like you're missing a word next to various in "The narcissistic creature would tilt his head at various as he walked or battled", probably angles or times. In "he told the other train," it probably should be trainer not train. And I hate to tell you this, but it is full of words without spaces, maybe you could paste it into http://www.spellcheck.net/ before posting it?
Uhg, this is so frustrating. Thanks for pointing this out, but honestly every single time I copy/paste to here I go through it at least twice fixing spaces and words that disappear. I don't know if it's because it's too much being copied, but I've done it in chunks before, and it still just seems to end up messed up for the viewer. I'm honestly just over whatever is up with this website, so I'm gonna give myself a few hours to cool down, fix this and then add the last part to this chapter.
Once again, a big thanks for the review. It's nice to know that people are still enjoying this and I'm not writing this for nothing.
(XoX)Shaun stared hard at the pokeball in his hand. It was nearly dark, and though it had only been a single day, both Riolu and Sableye had grown far more than Shaun had ever thought for a pokemon. These beasts were truly remarkable, but there was still the one beast in particular that he was having a problem with.
Sabley was hunched over at Shaun's side, watching with an eerie stillness that only the dead could replicate. Riolu stood on Shaun's other side, watching solemnly and prepared to deal with whatever was to happen.
With a deep breath, Shaun released the captured beast within.
The bulky figure materialized slowly, and when at last the caged rhyhorn formed completely she fixed angry eyes on the darkly dressed teen. She growled low, a deep baritone rumble that reminded Shaun of earthquakes and rockslides. He was slow in his actions, not wanting to startle the pokemon before him back into the monstrous force he knew her to be.
A heavy tin of pokemon food was slowly poured over, forming a tiny pile. The surprised grunt escaping the beast almost startled Shaun into jumping away though he stayed his ground with an audible gulp. Still, with the same agonizing slowness, Shaun held out his hand, palm up and flat. His arm nearly shook in case there was a sudden lunge to snap off his hand.
Rhyhorn continued to stare suspiciously, blunt toes scratching at the grass and breathing in with snorts and huffs. It had been a while since it had been properly fed. Aside from the one time when Shaun had been unconscious and his pokemon cared for, she hadn't eaten.
Even so, Rhyhorn snapped at the offending appendage, missing by a good distance as Shaun snapped his arms to his chest. Before she had even closed her mouth completely the fighting being and dark creature were upon her, force and spiritual energy doing a great deal more damage than before. Riolu slammed his palms against her side and a devastating Night Shade tore at her mind.
"Ryyy," she moaned, stamping her feet and looking murderous.
"Not this time," Shaun spat, fist still shaking. He could have lost an actual arm in nothing more than a split second. The life of a trainer, Shaun realized, could end within a second, and no one would care because there would just be another trainer to take their place. "These two are a lot stronger than before." Shaun leveled the pokemon a look, expression forming dark sincerity. "You belong to me now," he continued with a growl, "and I can keep you in this ball for a long time. You learn to listen to me and I can grant you freedom, such as food." He nodded at the food by his feet before actually wondering if the rock type understood what he was saying. Weren't these pokemon meant to be a bit on the dim side?
She appeared to understand, strangely, because she was staring at him with a dark look that certainly spoke of retribution as dirt brown eyes glanced between the food and Shaun. With just as much caution as the teen was showing, Rhyhorn took a tentative step forward, nose toward the food.
Once again Shaun held the food up, eyes never leaving Rhyhorn's as the two were within a foot of each other. A large, wet tongue swept out, taking all the food in Shaun's palm and leaving it dripping with saliva. The dark teen grimaced but looked triumphant, stupidly allowing anything but pure blankness to show on his face.
It was in that moment of foolishness that she struck.
It was like a slow motion feature. Shaun could see the intent in her eyes before she even struck. Her eyes narrowed, and in that split second he all but threw himself back. The thick horn easily pierced his skin; a sensation like sandpaper and diamonds rubbing against his skin. If he hadn't had that moment of awareness the simple gash on his side could have easily meant his end. Riolu and Sableye flew into action with fists and claws, outraged the moment it even shifted into position. The beast soon found itself to be on the receiving end of pain, a very different scenario from their past meeting where it was she who had them running or their very lives. Now, her body slumping almost immediately from the onslaught given that she hadn't truly had enough time to get her bearings since he cave, went down.
Shaun moaned, hands pressing hard against his side. The horn had easily pierced his jacket and shirt, leaving a massive bleeding gash that was thankfully shallow. His eyes watered as the pain hit him and he could barely make out a whirlwind of purple dust settled upon the rock beast until a very human voice was coaxing him to return the untamed pokemon to its pokeball.
The city was a place of people; privacy was not something you were going to get, especially if you were in tourist trap areas such as the park. Several trainers who had seen what had happened rushed over, one with a giant purple moth already out of its pokeball putting Rhyhorn to sleep with powder that seemed to come from its massive wings. A few others had called out their pokemon and were seeing if there was anything they could do but seeing as how the trouble was already knocked out and Shaun's wound wasn't life threatening some were already edging away from the scene.
Shaun let out a hallow laugh that ended in a choked moan that he would deny was a cry. Well, that was it for training, he thought dully, and that was it for whatever money he had made because that would surely be gone by the time he was out of the doctors.
"Fuckin' bitch," he moaned, earning a few chuckles from two of the trainers that were nice enough to escort him a nearby clinic.
Seriously, could there be one day in his journey where he did not get hurt?
The air was filled with intense heaviness of sweating bodies dancing away their broken dreams in the tightly enclosed underground club. The room was dark save the rotating neon lights and the occasional flash of white giving view to the shadowed club goers. Drinks passed from hand to hand, never reaching the same lips more than once and people just sharing in this false moment of unity. When the last bit of alcohol was gone, the music had slowed and the lights had dimmed would the broken trainers that made up this particular crowd go back into their lonely worlds.
High above the dancers, however, were the watchers. Private rooms held the higher class, the better trainers and the richer liquid poison that was never in danger of running out. Drinks were poured just as quickly as the lower level though it didn't linger with forbidden danger or the touch of another set of lips.
One in particular that sat high above the cloudy minds of the lost sipped almost casually at his iced bourbon. The cool liquid left an odd burn at the back of his throat and trailed downwards where it settled with a comforting warmth in his stomach. Ice blue eyes were watching the actions of those down below.
The others company, however, was not so relaxed. A finger tapped agitatedly at the glass drink, alcohol only half gone thought it had been obvious by the melting ice he'd had it for a while. He peered about with an impatience that spoke of just exactly how he felt about this particular settlement.
"I will never know how you find such pleasure in watching those that have already wasted away." Brown hair was swept back only for it to fall back into place of layered locks parted to the side.
That cold look of valuation never once glanced over. "As usual it seems that you have eyes and yet you choose not see."
The young man sneered in return. "And pray tell, what do you see?" He gestured towards the first level of dancers lost within the haze of smoke and their own minds. "Broken beings that do nothing but crawl within their own filth, never looking for more than what they see in front of them?" He then gestured to the upper level where the money and liquor flowed. "Or those that were destined to be among their own, above the stepping stones?"
The other shook his head and downed the rest of his drink in one go. Still as useless and blind as ever. "Considering that your uncle is looking for any person he deemed gifted with talent, regardless of class, and wanted you specifically to be on the look, I'd thought you would be more open minded, Andrew."
Andrew Broderick gave the other a bored glance. "Let's just get down to business. Who was it that you saw that peaked your interest?"
"My interest is in this ever growing war, and those that can be used against it," Eric Stone remarked idly. "Really, your lack of foreplanning is getting both ridiculous and boring. So far your actions lead me to think you will simply use this time given to us to be nothing more than a trainer."
Andrew's face was pure stone, stiff in his anger. "Name, now."
"You know who," Eric said with a careless shrug, arm out and shaking his glass. It was filled instantly and he took a brief sip. He eyed Andrew for only a moment, already bored with the other. "Your uncle wanted names of those to be the mindless drones that fight out of control pokemon, even those on legendary status. You know the rehab reject showed pure talent, and even if he dies early and doesn't make it is simply because there is no one to make sure his talent excels. If he does I guarantee you that he will be a deadly enemy. There aren't many can use the full strength of the title pokemon trainer despite there being tens of thousands. Most mindless followers or simple beings that will never take the next level. Your uncle wants a good weapon? Then take Shaun Tess."
"You can't honestly expect Tess to become any sort of threat." He was incredulous. "He survived off nothing but luck, and it's only one week in. What about the months to come?"
"Some say luck is a skill as well," Eric mused, leaning fully against the black leather couches. "Take him, don't take him, I don't really care." Eric leveled Andrew with a solid look. "Either way, I truly believe he will become a major player in this war. Everyone will be making their move in no more than a year – and oh yea look at that, the boy only has one year to live." Ice blue eyes narrowed. "Even the lowest will do what they have to to survive."
With that he stood, fixing the dress suit cuffs as he did so. "If you believe so," Eric commented, following the others actions. He had been ready to leave the minute he walked in.
"No, I say so." The tone was ice cold to match the look leveled at him. "You may be correct in saying that it is only the first week, but within this first week I already have a better understanding of what is truly needed to be done. Are you going to play trainer, or are you actually going to become an actual player and not a mindless drone?"
Andrew's gaze held a cruel glint in his eyes as he stared Eric down, lip turning upward into a sneer. They didn't say anything for a long moment, the silence challenging. Finally, "You should get rid of that phanpy," Eric said. "It won't keep you or itself alive for even a month on the next route." He turned swiftly and walked out, and if he planned on telling his uncle who to watch out for Eric honestly didn't know.
When he was at last alone Eric pulled out a smooth, silver cell phone. It flipped open in one smooth motion and was already dialing. Eric held it against his ear and breathed in the musky smell of the club. "Hello, Lance."