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Old 1 Week Ago (6:16 PM). Edited 1 Week Ago by icomeanon6.
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icomeanon6 icomeanon6 is offline
It's "I Come Anon"
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Northern Virginia
    Age: 24
    Gender: Male
    Posts: 1,144
    Chapter 7

    June, 2017

    Krissy rubbed her eyes. It was still early in the morning and she had been walking for over three hours. This would have been hard enough if she’d been sticking to the trails, but she had opted for a more secluded and obscure route back to her house. She checked the topographical map she’d bought in town yesterday. The mansion was only an eighth of a mile away. By the time she reached the top of the hill she was on, she was dragging her feet. She leaned against a tree, took some deep breaths, and decided it would be best to take a short rest. Approaching the enemy stronghold while exhausted was always a poor decision, after all.

    She collapsed, closed her eyes, and wondered if the boys had woken up to read her letter yet. Even though she knew no good come from it, she tried to picture how they would react to it. Jason was easy enough: he would show more than a good deal of righteous indignation that she’d acted unilaterally. And she imagined he’d be sad, even though he’d probably be too proud to show it. But it occurred to her that she was likely projecting on him and indulging in wishful thinking. It wouldn’t be the first time she misunderstood how someone felt about her. Or second.

    Travis’s reaction was easier to guess. He was mad that saving Wyvern was out of his hands now, but he was hiding how glad he was to be rid of her. The thought churned her stomach more than a little, so she turned on her side and tried not to think about it anymore. The important thing was that she was making process. This attempt had lasted a year and fifty-nine days longer than her first try, hadn’t it? All she had to do was wrap up a few loose ends at the mansion, and then she was free to find some new kids who might turn into her comrades. So there really wasn’t a good reason for her to feel as sick and miserable as she did.

    At some point she nodded off. When she woke up it was still morning and she felt well enough to keep moving. It would take a conscious effort, but she decided not to think about the boys for the rest of the day. Now that they were in checkmate and had no choice but to go to a Pokémon Center, there was no point in wasting any more of her mental stamina on them. She took a heading of west-south-west and walked on to her destination.

    Before long she was standing behind one of the last trees at the edge of the mansion grounds. There was a good forty yards of open grass between her and the building itself, which had two long stories of large windows where someone might look out and see her approaching. The best-case scenario was that she could get inside unnoticed and sneak into her father’s office with no one the wiser. That meant the front door was a non-starter, but it was also the only entrance to which she had a key.

    She clicked her tongue. Her best bet then would be to find Alessa somehow and get through the service entrance around back with her. Coming into contact with anyone was a risk of course, even with Alessa, but the chances of her being unsympathetic seemed low. Krissy just hoped she wouldn’t ask too many questions. With no options remaining that involved the front of the mansion, she stuck to the trees and made her way around back.

    The trees were much closer on this side of the property. An added bonus was that there were also fewer windows, as the only people who came back here were ones her father didn’t care to impress with architecture. In particular, the dull steel door that the Grunts used stuck out like a sore thumb, especially with its heavy, conspicuous lock. If Krissy remembered rightly, Alessa’s window was one above and two to the right from there. She grabbed a pebble from the ground, looked both ways, and ventured into the open space behind the mansion. Then she tossed the pebble at the window, missed it by a mile, scrambled back for cover in a panic, and broke her own rule by wishing Jason were here to make a decent throw.

    She shook off the stray thought and composed herself. But her composure was lost again almost immediately when the steel door opened with a loud scraping noise. She made sure she was well behind a tree and waited for whoever it was to pass by.

    “…saw Slate earlier today. Dude looked like sh*t.”

    “Well, can you blame him? You ever spent fifteen days in the brig?”

    They were two men; not Alessa as Krissy had hoped. She continued to listen carefully, though, as she’d never heard of anyone receiving a sentence of that length. She could barely imagine spending even two days underground.

    “Didn’t say I blamed him, just said he looked like sh*t, geeze.”

    “He never should’ve gone down there in the first place, that’s what’s getting me.”

    Krissy thought she heard one of them light a cigarette. Smoking was forbidden inside the building itself, including in the basement and sub-basement.

    “Course not, wasn’t even close to his fault. I don’t think anyone would’ve gotten out of there with their Pokémon. Like, you’re this close to moving on from Grunt and bam.”

    “Yeah. But just try telling that to Rus—”

    “Hey! Watch it, dumbass, the walls have ears.”

    “Whatever. Oh, y’know what else I heard was…”

    The Grunts went back and forth for several minutes on topics that were of no concern to Krissy. As they rambled on, she considered the matter of this ‘Slate’ who’d just been released from the brig. It seemed likely that he held a grudge against her father, which meant there was a small possibility that she could use this to her advantage. Trying to find and deal with this person would have to be Plan D or later and it carried considerable risk, but it was still important to keep all options open.

    Eventually the other two went back inside. Krissy waited another five minutes until she felt safe enough to give the window another try. She picked up three more pebbles, took a deep breath, and walked out into the open a second time. She pulled her arm back and took more care to aim. But, as before, the pebble bounced off the brick instead of the glass. She bit her lip, tried to adjust the motion she’d just gone through in her head, and then convulsed as the steel door to her left slammed open again.

    She jerked her head over. Standing there with a look of intense anger and incredulity on his face was the last Grunt she ever wanted to see again. It was the old one with the crooked eye. The same one who had the Ursaring and the Golbat. The same one who’d kidnapped Wyvern and would no doubt like to see her and her friends dead. For a moment that felt far longer, Krissy froze.

    The Grunt took a step forward and started to say something that would probably have been, ‘Hey, you!’ In that instant Krissy’s adrenaline took over. Her hand moved on its own to her belt. Before she knew what her plan was, a Pokéball was on its way to the midpoint between her and the enemy. The right words came out of her mouth at the same time. “Ice Punch!”

    The Grunt only had time to stop in his tracks and lift his hands halfway to where they needed to be. As soon as Frostbite appeared, she leapt straight for his head and retracted her claws faster than a human can blink. Her knuckles glowed blue as they clipped the Grunt’s right eye.


    The Grunt dropped to a knee, and even behind his hands Krissy could see the frost and blood on his face. Rather than wait to see any more and give him any chance to retaliate, she swiped Frostbite’s ball from the ground and sprinted for the woods. Soon her Pokémon was running beside her and she returned her to the ball. That was when she heard the enemy shout something incoherent, or maybe she just couldn’t parse the words with how her head was right then. If he was calling for reinforcements, then they could be coming her way any second. So she kept running, and hard.

    At some point she tripped and had to catch herself to keep her head from colliding with a tree trunk. Her heart felt like it was about to pound out of her chest, which made it hard to hear the voices coming from different directions behind her. She forced herself to run farther away from them. The analytical functions that dominated her brain under normal circumstances were gone. The closest thing she had left was an overwhelming instinct to escape the danger.

    ‘Away’ and ‘escape’ meant uphill, and her legs were dying from it. As the adrenaline wore off, her body gravitated toward the more level way. But this put her on a tangent from the optimal trajectory, and at any other time this would have been obvious to her and indeed to anyone who knew forwards from backwards or sideways. When she had to stop for air again this dawned on her despite her spinning head. She put a hand to her temple and tried to calm herself down so she wouldn’t make any more mistakes. To her left was the base of a small bluff, to her right was downhill and therefore peril, and in front of her was a tall, dense clump of shrubs and bushes. The logical course would be to backtrack, but then she heard the fast feet coming from behind.

    Her hands shook. Running downhill was an unsustainable solution, so she had to fight here. She took Lucia’s ball from her belt and hoped there was only one of the enemy and that they wouldn’t shout. Then she turned around, and the sight of the black outfit with the red ‘R’ almost sprung her into action. But she stopped.

    It was Alessa. She was standing still just like Krissy, breathing hard, and wearing a loss of an expression. Then she advanced quickly but not threateningly. Krissy didn’t move a muscle when she wrapped her arms around her.

    “Holy sh*t, Lucy. The hell were you thinking?”

    Krissy didn’t know what to say. It had never crossed her mind that she’d have to talk to Alessa immediately after she possibly maimed a fellow Grunt. And she’d never thought she’d maim anyone, either, and this kept her from speaking just as much.

    “I thought you might leave and burn all your bridges someday, but picking a fight with Slate? Twice?

    Did she say ‘Slate?’ And ‘twice?’ “…H…How did you—”

    Alessa pulled back and held onto Krissy’s shoulders as she stared right in her face. “Wait. You thought we didn’t know about that?”

    Why would they? Krissy had never seen him before the first fight and he’d never seen her. She shook her head.

    “You and your pals made him lose three top-notch Pokémon in one day! Your dad grilled him for hours! How many preteen girl-geniuses with a Bayleef do you think are out there? Slate just had to ID you in a photo and we knew it was you!”

    Not a single step in this chain had occurred to her once. It felt like she had been walking in a minefield for hours without knowing it, where ‘hours’ meant over two weeks. She felt her eyes grow wide.

    Alessa continued. “Don’t tell me you’ve been this close to home the whole time! I guess that’d explain why they haven’t found you up north, yet.” She then began to drag Krissy by the arm. “Well, come on! They sure as hell know where to look now. We’ve got to get you farther away from here.”

    Krissy was exhausted, but somehow she moved along with Alessa.

    “You better appreciate how dead I am if they find me with you.”

    “…I’m… sorry…”

    “I don’t need you to be sorry. I need you to be smart. Now pick up the pace!”

    Krissy tried, but it was immensely easier said than done. Somehow she made it close to another mile through the woods before she slowed down so much that Alessa nearly had to lift her to get her to move at all. Her eyes were having trouble focusing and it hurt her throat to breathe.

    Alessa sighed. “I guess we can take a break. Gotta be somewhere out of sight, though.”

    Nearby there was an ancient tree whose roots covered a wide dip in the earth. Alessa lead the way underneath, and when they sat down Krissy collapsed into her side.

    “Still finding it hard to run, huh?”

    Krissy was gasping too hard to answer in words, but she nodded. Alessa rubbed her head and she felt somewhat soothed.

    “I suspected for a while, but if you’re still having trouble after a year of exercise I think you might just have small lungs.”

    Neither of them said anything for a while. At length Krissy’s pulse slowed and her breathing came closer to normal. Only when she was ready to talk did Alessa ask, “So, three questions: have you had any adventures yet, did you meet any cool people, and what the hell were you doing snooping around the mansion?”

    The answers to these questions were inextricably tied together, so Krissy began her explanation with Jason and Travis. She took her time to relay what in her mind were all of the relevant threads to the story. Though she tried, she was still disappointingly unable to fully describe the mechanics of Jason’s uncanny talent for catching wild Pokémon. She devoted so many words to this element of Jason’s character—as well as to Travis’s knack for teaching advanced water-type abilities to young Pokémon—that by comparison the revelation of her crusade against Team Rocket was brief and blunt. If Alessa found anything peculiar about this, or offensive about the fact that they were ostensibly enemies now, she gave no hint of it. The sole major omission in Krissy’s version of the tale was the matter of her new name.

    When she was finished she put emphasis on the most critical point: although she and Travis were not friends as she once suspected, Wyvern still needed rescuing.

    Alessa nodded. “Yeeaaah… that’s not something I’d ask your dad for help with. Still think it’s pretty dumb to try stealing his PKI card.”

    Krissy forgot everything else for the moment and jumped on this clue. “Card? Do you know what it looks like?”

    “Forget it. And before you ask I don’t know where he keeps it, either.”

    “I think it either has to be in his office or on his person. And—”

    “Look. Lucy.” Alessa sounded more serious than Krissy had heard her in years. “Don’t you think this is awfully far to go for someone who’s not even your friend?”

    Krissy hadn’t thought about it this way yet, which she could hardly believe herself. “Well… he’s a friend of a friend, anyway. Friend of maybe-a-friend.” She thought about it for another moment and felt ill. “…Friend of a former friend, maybe.”

    Alessa said nothing. Krissy shook her head and brought herself back to the real reason. “It was my fault. He didn’t want any part of this, and I pushed—well, maybe Jason did most of the actual pushing, but—”

    “It’s not your responsibility what he does with his Pokémon. I’m sorry about what happened—you know I wish we’d only steal from assholes and banks—but his mistake ain’t worth risking your neck.”

    Krissy had predicted that Alessa would react in roughly this way, but she had hoped otherwise. She’d learned about heroes from Alessa’s books in the first place, and a hero knew that their neck existed for risking. She wanted to explain to her that it wasn’t nearly enough to run away from home; she had to be her father’s antithesis, and that meant saving Wyvern. She almost began to say something along these lines, but everything stood still when she heard the sound of snapping twigs not far away. Then there were footsteps, and more than one set of them.

    Alessa put her hand over Krissy’s mouth for a moment, and then she crept forward without making a sound. Krissy stayed where she was and didn’t dare move a muscle, not even for one of her Pokéballs. She could only hope that the other Grunts were unaware of their presence and were only passing through. Alessa held up a finger at her and rose to her feet: it seemed she had a plan.

    “Hey!” she called out to no one Krissy could see. “Anyone seen her yet?”

    For a long second there was nothing. Alessa turned to her left and looked over the edge of the depression, which is why she didn’t see the body flying in from the right. Jason yelled at the top of his lungs as he landed on Alessa’s back and hung on by her neck.

    “Aggh! Who the f*ck—

    Krissy’s jaw dropped. She rushed forward to break them up, but as soon as she was out from under cover a second flying body collided with her and knocked her to the ground. This one was smaller and furrier and proceeded to lick her face. As she tried to remove herself from underneath Rabies someone grabbed her hand and tried to pull her up, but this only threw her physical predicament into further confusion.

    Meanwhile, Alessa continued to rave. “Get off me, you little sh*t!”


    Bark! Bark!

    “Come on, we’re getting you out of here!”

    Krissy would have liked to explain to Travis that (besides her being stuck under a large puppy) she was in no need of extrication. But she was finding the concept difficult to articulate and had to settle for yelling, “Guys! Guys! Knock it off!


    It was fifteen minutes later when Krissy felt more acutely awkward than she ever had in her entire life. She was sitting on the ground with Alessa on one side and Jason and Travis on the other. She had meant for them all to sit in a circle, but it ended up being more of a squat triangle as the boys and Alessa mutually refrained from sitting as close to each other as to Krissy.

    At the moment, everyone was staring at her while she was staring at the trees. She had just finished explaining the gist of her situation to Jason and Travis. It hadn’t gone the way she’d imagined it would a year ago. There was no drama, no artfulness to how she’d explained it. It wasn’t nighttime or even raining. She’d said something to the effect of “Mariano Russo is my father. I want to defeat him and get Team Rocket out of Johto someday. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t think they’d want to be around me.” It was straightforward. On-the-nose. Boring. You were supposed to at least make poetic use of the third-person when revealing something of such significance.

    She waited, and at great length someone finally said something. It was Jason. “So… do you want us to call you ‘Lucy,’ then?”

    Krissy shook her head.

    “Actually,” said Alessa in an uncharacteristically small voice, “I think I’m the only one who calls her that. It was usually just her proper name. ‘Lucia.’”

    Krissy endured a moment of crushing anticipation before the boys broke into their slowly-building but inevitable laughter. It grew especially loud from Jason.

    Alessa didn’t seem to get what was so funny, yet. “Huh?”

    Then Jason finally said, “You named your starter after yourself!”

    Alessa started laughing her head off immediately. “Omigod, you’re kidding!”

    Travis tried to restrain himself, but he wasn’t doing a good job. “Knew it. I knew that name had to come from somewhere.”

    Krissy wanted to find a hole to hide in.

    “You don’t know the half of it!” said Alessa. This time she was actually addressing the boys directly, and while smiling, no less. “One time when she was younger she was writing a story, like a little fantasy novel, and she named the main characters after me and her even though they were nothing like us! She just couldn’t think of any other names! And then she begged me to come up with the names for all the other characters, and oh my god, Chikorita’s ‘Lucia’ now! That is so her!”

    At the very least, it seemed like this might make the three of them friendlier with each other. Krissy supposed she might survive the embarrassment after all in that case.

    But then Jason asked her, “So wait, what about your name? Who’s ‘Krissy,’ then?”

    No one had said ‘Krissy’ the entire conversation so far. She’d been hoping to get away with just ‘Lucy.’ Alessa covered her mouth with both hands and looked like she might explode from holding the obvious truth back from her mouth. Krissy shot her a look that said, ‘Please, please don’t say anything or I might literally die.’

    In what appeared to take a herculean effort, Alessa removed her hands and said, “No idea.”

    “And none of your business,” added Krissy. She hoped that would be the end of it. The laughter did in fact die down, but what followed was worse in retrospect.

    Travis stared Alessa down. “So are you gonna help us or not?” From the look on his face, you wouldn’t know that he’d been in such a good mood only moments ago.

    Just like that the smile was gone from Alessa’s face as well. “Slow down, pipsqueak. I’m thinking about it.”

    Krissy could see from Jason and Travis’s eyes that they didn’t believe there was anything to think about. She wanted to say that this was Alessa’s livelihood at stake and that the Rockets treated traitors worse than they treated cops. She almost remembered what happened to the last police officer they caught trying to break into a hideout, but something in her brain mercifully stopped her.

    This was far easier for Krissy than it could ever be for Alessa. Krissy had any number of mitigating factors protecting her from fierce retaliation: nepotism, age, perceived threat, et cetera. But Alessa was an adult of no relation to anyone important and she had taken an oath of loyalty. Whatever Krissy had in store if her father caught her was certainly dreadful, but it wouldn’t be lethal. She couldn’t say the same thing with confidence for Alessa. There was no escaping that uniform.

    But she didn’t know how to say any of this without sounding like an apologist. She couldn’t think of anything worse than Jason and Travis seeing her as a defender of Rocket Grunts.

    While she was thinking, another tense silence had settled in. This time Alessa was the one to break it. “Anyway, we still have to get all of you further north for now. They might send out another wave of searchers.” She stood up. This didn’t resolve the situation by any means, but Krissy would take a continuing, pragmatic ceasefire.

    Jason stood up as well, and Travis followed suit after him. “We passed some on the way here,” said Jason. “They just asked if we’d seen anyone and kept moving. They weren’t going the right direction.”

    “Good. Better safe than sorry, though, right? I’ll cook for you guys tonight.”

    With that, the three of them followed her in silence. The things that could lie in store for Alessa hung heavily on Krissy’s mind, and this made her realize she hadn’t thought enough about what might happen to Jason and Travis. Things were never supposed to escalate to this point until they were at least fifteen and could better protect themselves.

    So nothing had really changed since the night before. Krissy was the only one who was anywhere close to safe.


    Krissy was tired, but she wasn’t asleep. The clouds were too thick for stars and the fire was already out. Everything was as dark as could be. It gave her some small measure of confidence that she could sneak away again. It was the right thing to do, especially now that there was one more person involved. If she was quick enough, then she might just bring everything to a happy end before the others could follow her to the mansion. This plan had seemed like a longshot when she was more awake, but now it was clearly doable.

    She sat up without making a sound. There was another critical difference between this night and the one prior: Alessa’s keys. They were only a few feet to Krissy’s right, and if she could find them then it would all go so much more smoothly. She could get inside the house without anyone’s help. There was still the matter of getting into her father’s office, but she wasn’t the worst lock-pick in the world. This was too good a chance to pass up, and she could save Alessa and the boys so much grief this way.

    She crept as carefully as she could next to Alessa, who was lying on her side. Krissy listened to her breathing pattern. It was regular, which meant she was asleep. If the keys were in her right pocket like Krissy thought, then she could get them without disturbing her. It was going to be simple, she told herself, and it let her keep everyone safe.

    Krissy wiped some sweat from her forehead and dried her hands on her shirt. Then she slowly reached out to where the top of Alessa’s leg was supposed to be. Her fingertips touched her hip. Then before she could move them any further a hand grabbed her wrist so fast and so hard that she thought it would break off. Alessa bolted upright and yanked her closer to her.

    Krissy started to cry out, but she just stopped herself. She couldn’t see a thing, but the way Alessa refused to loosen her grip painted a distinct picture. Krissy imagined a pair of burning eyes that were beyond furious. The way Alessa’s hand twitched and continued to squeeze the life out of Krissy’s wrist said something to the effect of, ‘I told you what would happen if you ever tried this again.’ But Krissy didn’t know whom Alessa was talking to and didn’t want to know; she was just trying to help.

    Alessa pulled her in until her mouth was right next to Krissy’s ear. She whispered, “Don’t mess with sleeping people. Not everyone likes that.” There was acid in her voice that she was clearly trying but failing to keep down. Krissy wanted to say she was one of those people, but now she wasn’t sure she knew what that even meant.

    “Were you after my keys?”

    Krissy barely managed to squeak the word, “Yes…”

    “You realize if I was a little less sharp I would’ve clocked you? Busted your head right in?”

    She did now. “…Yes…”

    “Is this how it’s going to be if I don’t help you or drag you away? You’ll keep pulling stupid, suicidal sh*t until you get that kid’s Seadra back? The one you said ain’t even your friend?”


    Alessa’s hand kept twitching for several seconds, but then it gradually calmed down. “Fine. Go to sleep. We’ll all rest up, and then tomorrow night I’ll sneak you and your friends into the mansion. I’m keeping my keys with me, you’re on your own from there, and you never saw me.”

    Krissy was a little relieved, but she still swallowed. “Jason and Travis too?”

    “You want them to track you down again and ruin everything? Unless you can tie ’em up and leave ’em here, they’re coming too. If you don’t like it, pick some better friends next time.”

    Alessa finally let go. The conversation was over and the matter was settled. Krissy crawled back to her sleeping bag and rubbed her wrist. She didn’t know what was worse: that Alessa was right, or that the boys were going to agree to the plan without a second thought.


    [Next time, in Chapter 8, Jen finds complications for the search from without and within.]

    [Just letting you guys know, the next chapter will take a little longer to get here because I'll be mostly away from the computer for about 10 days in a bit. Thanks so much for reading, and I'll see you soon!]
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    Old 1 Week Ago (12:42 PM).
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    Venia Silente Venia Silente is offline
    Worrisome, but also Charming
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      I'm not caught up fully yet, but I like what I am reading. I like that this story has evolved, overall, to be like what I envisioned when I first heard about planning for it. Though I guess I have already said that before. When I got to the letter - the letter... I felt like the portrayal of the characters and the story around them were to shift a little. Like less "bad things just happen to people..." and more "...people can't always do good things". I think it was something in the delivery you gave when and right after Jason decided to not throw the letter, and then the key questions start flowing.

      I'm still hoping to fully catch up to this so I can give better judgment but in the meantime I want to congratulate you because I see the story goes on.
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      Old 1 Week Ago (1:14 PM). Edited 1 Week Ago by Bay Alexison.
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      Bay Alexison Bay Alexison is offline
      O, Dance of Devotion!
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      So I decided to skim through Dad's Old Gym once more to see what changes you did and I think I agree having this be primarily Jen's POV this time around gives this story a more tight focus. There are also some subtle changes I noticed but actually makes the details much richer, like Krissy's father meeting with Jen's father with that dive. There's also the reference to fire safety that gives Jen's father a bit more character. So yeah, I like the changes you did here!

      Onto the latest chapter, I like the interactions between Krissy and Alyssa there, and everyone's reactions to Krissy being bad at names was amusing. Yeah, I agree with Alyssa how Krissy is stubborn to try to get things done without anyone's help, even if it's with good intentions. Looking forward to how this unfolds next.
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