Pokémon Shattered Crests: Book #1 Lines Broken Page 4

Started by Vragon2.0 July 18th, 2018 2:14 PM
  • 12809 views
  • 82 replies

Bay

She/They
Dani California
Seen 38 Minutes Ago
Posted 3 Days Ago
6,163 posts
15.4 Years
A more calm and relaxed chapter where the focus is not on the protaginsts this time around. Heh over Trishula fumbling over his order and confused over "mate" meaning one thing. Trishula's teasing over Daemon's complaint with the lady seems to almost gone a bit far but forgiven quickly.
.
Not bad, but it isn’t much of a sh- Trishula started before he paused and raised a brow at Harry filled the bottle about halfway with water from a large jug looking container. To his surprise, Harry then took a cork from the shelf and shoved it onto the bottle with a hard smack. Why is he sealing it? There’s just water in there.

Before he could come up with a theory, Harry flipped the bottle over his head like a juggler as his lower right hand unhooked one of the bottles on his belt, one that had some red liquid. He caught the flying one with his upper right arm and bent over so his lower left caught the other one. Suddenly, he flipped both up and caught the red liquid one, turning it upside down. Less than a second later, he caught the original clear liquid one; and with his two free hands, he uncorked both bottles at an even faster speed. He let the red liquid pour perfectly into the bottlenose of the clear one for about three seconds before slamming both corks back in just as fast as he had taken them out.
Look at Harry go.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Vragon2.0

Say it with me (Vray-gun)

Male
As if I'd be one to say
Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted August 20th, 2021
382 posts
3.6 Years
Contains: Language [13]
Chapter 45
Bloody Thorns


“And that’s all I have to report, sir,” Chenoo said, with a slight bow.

“I see,” Azazel mumbled, his eyes narrowing. Without another word, he turned around and looked around at the garden they stood in, till his eyes fell upon a small patch of flowers. He floated over to them, keeping his peering, narrow gaze on the precious, fragile plants as a warm smile formed. “This is a lovely garden.” He complimented Chenoo, as he stopped floating and knelt on the ground, unconcerned with dirt getting on his garb.

“Thank you, sir. We felt it’d be a shame not to take care of the greenery here. Plus it helps support the mood of our guards and workers.”

Slowly, Azazel reached out and began caressing the petals of the nearest, ‘yet to bloom’ flower with his head hand. It made a happy little cooing as it stroke the soft petals, remaining ever gentle like a careful child. Leaning closer, Azazel moved his head hand to push the petals just enough to observe the pre-bloom inside while not harming the plant. Forming a little grin as he pulled back and let the flower close itself, Azazel inquired, “Were these planted?”

Chenoo joined Azazel’s side and after a second of inspection answered, “I don’t think so sir. Some of them I’ve seen growing in the wild before, especially now that Kyon’s almost over.”

“Ah, that’s right. It’s the 18th day of Kyon,” Azazel mumbled aloud. Without taking his eyes off the flower nor ceasing his caressing of the fragile plant, Azazel asked the captain, “Do you have a favorite?”

“Uh well,” Chenoo scratched behind his ear as he looked to the side. “I haven’t really given it much thought.”

“I see, a shame.” Azazel straightened up and looked at Chenoo, with a faint smile. “Perhaps when you’re older, you’ll have the time to choose one.”

“Uh…yes sir,” Chenoo answered, his voice dropping slightly as his beartic ears fell a little.

Grunting with a smile, Azazel folded his arms behind his back as his hydreigon wings spread a little. “But regardless, captain, I have a request.”

Chenoo gave Azazel his undivided attention but was surprised when Azazel just started floating down the dirt pathway. “Sir?”

Azazel stopped, turned slightly towards Chenoo, and pointed with one of his arms in the direction of a dirty pathway leading under a rather uneven stone archway. “This leads to the battle arena, correct?”

“The dirt field in the garden? Yes, I believe so. Shall I guide you there, sir?”

“No, but,” Azazel moved his pointing head hand under his chin and asked, “Has Lord Baphomet and his company arrived yet?”

Chenoo straightened up. “Yes sir, very early this morning. The amphoros with him is still resting in our treatment center. As for Lord Baphomet, I’ve not seen him since then, sir.”

“Very well, then please bring that amphoros to the garden battlefield.”

Chenoo raised a brow. “Uhm…Sir, he’s not exactly in the best condition. He has received treatment, but I believe rest is what he-”

Azazel glanced back at Chenoo, his eyes gleaming a red aura as he grinned. “And once you have dropped him off with me, ensure we have some privacy.”

Chenoo paused before doing a quick head bow and jogging out of the garden space to complete the task.

Once Chenoo was gone, Azazel headed down the pathway. The scenery wasn’t too extravagant due to just being natural greenery with uneven rocks, some constructed decorations, or other small sentimentalities. Few of the garden’s archways were symmetrical and every other patch was disproportioned or filled with different varieties of plants.

However, Azazel made sure to visit every patch where some mediocre attempt at a plant exhibit was. He would observe them, smell them, turn some soil over open roots, and even do a little bit of pruning.

As he exited the narrow pathway, he came upon a very open spot, surrounded by uneven bush hedges. In the middle was a rectangular dirt patch surrounded by grass. Across from his position, was a bench overlooking the center of this small arena.

He floated around the battlefield and placed a head hand on the bench. Slowly, he sat down and leaned back, letting out a little content sigh as he closed his eyes. He gave a small grin as he felt the wind blowing on his face, which caused some minor stinging on his burn marks.

Suddenly, he opened his eyes and his small grin grew to a dark smile. “I don’t like being spied on, especially on a walk.” Despite this callout, he just stared upwards, even as he heard the sound of footsteps.

From the lower parts of his vision, Azazel saw something move in front, prompting him to tilt his head and gaze upon his disturber. The mon was garbed in a dark, leathery cloak. While the hood was off, the mon’s face was obscured by a full head helm of dark, reflective metal that had some form of a fang design engraved into its surface. Three lines originated from this design and stretch across the helm, each about ninety degrees from the other geometrically.

“You said, you had something to tell me in person.” The figure answered with a mechanical tone that was occasionally obscured by static.

Chuckling at this, Azazel got up from the bench. He was about to answer when something caught his eye. “Ah, some I’ve missed.” Ignoring the mon, Azazel floated to a nearby look at a flower bed and began smelling some of them. “Yes, these are just as good as the others. Come, Baphomet, they smell wonderful.”

“No, thank you,” Baphomet answered, crossing his arms.

“Come now, must you lock yourself away in that headpiece whenever we are together?” Azazel sarcastically groaned.

Baphomet remained silent.

Azazel sighed and lifted one of the flowers in his hand, being careful not to snap it off the stem. “Look at this one. Its colors are so vibrant and full of life.” Slowly, his head hand closed its mouth over the stem, holding the flower’s stem in its mouth. “It’s very beautiful, but sadly.” His head hand twisted sharply, snapping the stem in half. Azazel lifted his arm up, looking at Baphomet before dropping the flower while saying, “Fragile.”

He then floated on over to a rose bush nearby. Once more he found a particular flower and slowly moved it from the rest. “This one is also very beautiful.” His head hand bit onto the spiky stem, wincing slightly at the pain. He looked at Baphomet with a dark grin as he twisted one more, before letting go. The flower remained connected to the steam, although a bit roughed up and with a little bit of blood on some of its spikes.

Baphomet walked over, focusing on the flower as well. He looked at Azazel, who looked down at the flower. Without so much as glancing at the flower, he swung his arm with incredible speed. An Air Slash resounded up in the air as the rose’s top flew high above before teetering down into another section of the garden. “And it is still fragile.”

Unflinching at Baphomet’s display, Azazel merely floated towards the battlefield, moving his head hands behind his back.

Baphomet grumbled under his helm and walked towards Azazel, saying, “I’m going to be leaving soon, with or without hearing your message. I won’t waste my time with your games.”

“Heh, so straightforward.” Azazel shifted to the side as Baphomet joined him at the edge of the rectangular, dirt court. “Don’t worry, I will tell you, but first I want you to see something.”

Azazel could see Baphomet tense up. However, Baphomet didn’t answer, so Azazel cleared his throat and gestured towards the court. “I want your thoughts on that mon you rescued.”

“The amphoros?” Baphomet looked at the battlefield.

“Yes, I believe we are in agreement that he isn’t receiving proper training, no?”

Baphomet looked at Azazel before slowly returning his gaze to the field. “We are, but I doubt it’s for the same reasons.”

Azazel shrugged and without changing from his grin bluntly said, “Indeed.”

Suddenly, Baphomet stepped in front of Azazel. “Then what is your reason for wanting to see him? You already have an apprentice, must you require another?”

Rolling his eyes, Azazel gestured outwards. “And if I was thinking of taking him as an apprentice, who are you to judge? You, who has two of your own.”

“My issue isn’t you taking another apprentice.”

Azazel scoffed as he looked up at the sky. “You’re bleeding heart is very touching. Then perhaps you can introduce him to me.” Azazel looked past Baphomet, who turned around to see Chenoo gently pushing the amphoros forwards. The electric mon had a bandage around his right shoulder along with his arm in a bandaged cast.

Once the two stopped in front and gave a respectful bow, Azazel placed his head hands together and said, “My apologies for your injuries. Corivac’s actions have greatly displeased me and show his failure at bringing out your potential.”

The amphoros shakily gave a head nod. “It’s alright…sir.” He gulped as he scratched his neck with his free hand. “It wasn’t your fault…I mean, sir! It wasn’t your fault sir.” He did his best to stand up straight, but Azazel merely chuckled at the awful attempt.

“Your formality honors me, but you need not worry. I personally requested to see you.”

The amphoros raised a brow before pointing to himself. “Me?”

“Yes, you. I wished to evaluate you before Lord Baphomet would depart.”

“Y-yes, sir! Anything you ask.”

Azazel nodded and looked at Chenoo, who immediately started to leave. Once Chenoo was gone, Azazel floated towards the battlefield and gestured the amphoros to join him. “Now…I want to teach you something the likes of Corivac will never.”

The amphoros nodded speedily, excitement in his eyes.

Meanwhile, Baphomet crossed his arms and sat on the bench, upright and alert.

Azazel put his hands behind his back and with a smile said. “Prepare your basic defense position.”

Obeying, the amphoros raised a fist, though fidgeting a little at his cast adding some annoyance.

“Don’t worry, we won’t be doing any battling.”

“Huh?” The amphoros tilted his head.

“I merely want to test something. Your reflexes.” The amphoros gave him a confused but compliant look and promptly readied himself. Azazel looked at Baphomet, who looked at him from under his reflective visor.

However, Azazel didn’t move. He just stood there, arms behind his back and a grin on his face.

The amphoros tilted his head, slowly lowering his left fist. “Uhm…sir? I don’t understand.”

“I’m aware. Just merely keep alert.” With that said, Azazel floated towards the mon. “Close your eyes and think of a place you feel safe in.”

The amphoros obeyed and Azazel began circling him.

“A place with happy memories. Think of the laughing, the enjoyment, the content. I want you to picture it all.” Azazel stopped right behind the amphoros as he leaned closer and whispered in his ear. “I want you to see a fire begin. You’re caught in the midst of it.”

“Uhm…yes sir.”

“Picture what it feels like to be close to death. To be on the edge of losing that happiness.”

The amphoros’s eyes tightened, doing his best to think of the thoughts as well as keep his guard up. However, Azazel didn’t say anything else, just an eerier silence with a feeling of dread breathing down his neck. Starting to shake, the amphoros did his best to not say anything.

Meanwhile, Baphomet had risen from his seat, peering towards the two. Suddenly, raised his hand towards them exclaiming, “Wait!”

A loud cry came from the amphoros as he jumped forwards, landing firmly on the ground.

Baphomet’s hand closed into a fist as he walked towards the boy, and moved him into an upright sitting position. Silenlty, Baphomet checked the mon’s back, seeing a newly formed cut. Baphomet set the boy down, stood up, and marched up to Azazel till his metal mask was just inches from Azazel’s smiling face. “Explain,” Baphomet commanded in a low tone.

A dark chuckle came from Azazel. “Fear is a tool for you to master,” Azazel stated to the amphoros, paying Baphomet’s threatening display no heed. He pulled back his hand as a Dark Pulse spike sank back into his hand’s throat. “You’ve done well, my friend,” He congratulated, floating over to the shaken amphoros while taking a second to give Baphomet an arrogant glance.

He bent over and eyed the poor mon, speaking in a calm yet scary tone. “You listened to that fear inside and thus were able to escape. I am pleased.”

“Uh…uh, thank you, sir.” The boy tried getting back to his feet, but almost slipped if not for Baphomet quickly catching his arm. “Sorry, sir,” he thanked Baphomet with a weak laugh as he stood up fully. “I’m okay, sir, thank you. Uhm…” There was an awkward silence, before the boy gave a respectful bow to the two.

“Very good. You may take your leave.”

Baphomet let go of the amphoros, who after taking a few more respectful gestures, hurried off out of the clearing. He took a few steps towards the direction the amphoros left in, before grumbling. “If he had been a tad slower-”

“He would have been run through…yes.” Azazel interrupted, with a pleased tone.

Baphomet turned around, but didn’t say anything, or perhaps fighting the will to say something.

“I can see you wish to…process some things as you go, so I will make this quick.” Azazel floated over to the bench, resting his head hand on it that promptly shut its eyes as if sleeping. He looked at the patch of grass and muttered, “Pathos Is currently preoccupied with some potential allies, so he won’t be able to mediate this Iris Council meeting. Therefore, I ask you to be the mediator.”

Baphomet remained silent. Slowly, he moved towards the rose bush from before, extending one of his armored claws to hold one of the blooming flowers. “Is no one else, available?”

“Well, probably some.” Azazel moved his hands to his sides. “But you’re highly respected in our ranks, perhaps even more than Pathos, himself.”

Baphomet faced Azazel, seemingly offended by this compliment.

“Plus…with the news of the defectors, some of our Captains in training are becoming rowdy about our leadership and ambitions. I know you will offer fair treatment to these concerns. Plus, your mere presence would serve to dispel any notion of trying something at the meeting.”

Letting go of the rose, Baphomet faced Azazel. Aggressively, he walked towards the mon till he was up in Azazel’s smirking face. The two remained silent, seemingly staring into each other’s eyes, although Azazel could only see his widened reflection off Baphomet’s helm.

“Do you…object?”

Baphomet remained still, before suddenly stalking out of the garden.

There was no reaction from Azazel, just his normal dark grin. He moved his right hand over and opened its mouth. A dark smile formed, as he saw the cuts on the inside from the rose before. He squeezed his right head hand like a fist as hard as he could, before letting it sink to his side. “I wonder if I was the one that met you instead.” After a shake of the head, Azazel floated off to continue his walk.



< O >



Azazel stared out the window, frowning, fixated upon the two mons entering the building below. Once they were out of sight, he sighed and walked over to the dresser in his room, and opened a certain compartment. He pulled out a red crystal and set it on the mantle. Just in case.

Just as he finished, he heard a knock on the door. “Yes?” He inquired, reaching for his black overcloak, identical to Baphomet’s but made for his shape.

“Daemon is here with Trishula. Shall I send them up here?” Chenoo’s voice informed from behind the door.

“Please do.” As the sound of footsteps left his room, Azazel checked his drawer once more and took out a metal collar, its dark metallic surface gleamed faintly in the light from the window. Hmm…no, Daemon isn’t a big enough hindrance. He placed it back in and slid the drawer shut.

He levitated his way to the window, folded his head hands behind his back, and merely peered outside. A dark smile formed as he looked upon the horizon, where a cloud formation was coming into view. He hummed to himself, reaching one of his head hands up to his cheek and touching one of his burn marks. Pressing harder on it, he winced a little from the stinging but didn’t stop exerting force.

Suddenly, the door was slammed open. Azazel quickly withdrew his hand and turned around. “Ah, welcome back, Trishula.”

Trishula stormed towards him, stopping at about six feet away. He hesitated for a second, eyes glaring at his master’s gleeful ones before dropping to a knee and bowing his head.

Azazel looked up towards the door. “Come in as well, Daemon. I wish to speak with you as well.”

Daemon floated in, his eye darting its gaze between Azazel and Trishula, as he stopped next to his friend and did a minor bow. “Lord Azazel.”

“I’m pleased to see you both arrived here safe and in a timely manner. Though,” Azazel paused as he looked down at Trishula. “By the nature of your entry, I assume the feeling isn’t mutual.”

Trishula raised his head slightly, just enough so he could look right below his master’s face. “I thought my mission was to find and capture Aegis’s vessel?”

“It was and still is,” Azazel replied, calmly.

“Then why bring me back here‽” Trishula stood up, his sudden aggressive demeanor and abrupt shouting making Daemon flinch. “You ordered me on this mission, so why take me off of it and place Plageues on it instead?”

Azazel looked at Daemon for a second, his smile vanishing to a frown. “Because you failed to.”

Trishula’s eyes widened. “I…We had him, but they received aid out of nowhere.”

Daemon nodded and floated a little forwards, gesturing outwards as he explained. “A certain mon we believe to be Seliph Almkin came and assisted them in their escape. Despite this, Trishula was not bested but rather them escaping by Escape Orb. If anything, it was an unfortunate string of coincidences your apprentice failed.”

A smirk formed on Azazel as he floated closer to Trishula. He slowly turned his gaze towards Trishula, eyes narrowing as his iris’s seemed to glow a little. “Do you agree with Daemon?”

Trishula hesitated, making Daemon look at him confused. However, he didn’t have time to ponder, for in the blink of an eye Azazel slapped Trishula hard on the face.

The dragon covered his left eye, the area hit, and remained still and silent.

“Any coincidences doesn’t undo a failed action. I called you back here because you failed to do so in one attempt.”

Trishula looked at his master. His face showed a desire to say something or perhaps even strike back, but he restrained himself.

Azazel pointed towards the window, keeping his gaze firmly on Trishula. “Failure to capture him the first time implies you aren’t fully ready to beat Aegis, himself.” He folded his arms behind his back and glanced at Daemon, who looked back confused. “Aegis’s vessel is merely an illusion of who your real enemy is. Even if you defeat the vessel and all his allies, Aegis is the one you should fear.”

“He didn’t awaken,” Trishula shot back, making Azazel silence himself. “I fought the vessel, and he was just a scared, simple child. No reaction, no blanking out, no nothing. Perhaps Aegis hasn’t healed himself yet, which means we need to capture him now.”

Letting out a disappointed sigh, Azazel floated over to his dresser. “If simply capturing Aegis was what we were after, we would have sent an army of enforcers.”

“What?” Daemon tilted his head curiously, “we aren’t after him?”

“Capturing him is an ideal scenario, but not why we need Aegis.” Azazel turned around, holding the red jewel in his hands. “We need to achieve what Mephiles failed to do eight years ago. As such, his capture is unimportant; what is important, is Aegis.” With that said, Azazel tossed the red crystal to Trishula, who caught it and held it to the side. “And forcing him out into the open. If Aegis is not ready to awaken from his healing, then there is no need to rush. Better to let things develop naturally than try and force it like Mephiles.”

Trishula’s head lowered.

“Your narrow-minded naivety is disappointing.” Azazel folded his arms behind his back. “And your failure to capture the child is a sign you aren’t committed enough…or perhaps too distracted.” He floated over to the window, staring once more at the horizon.

There was just a heavy silence for a few minutes, Trishula roughly clenching the crystal and eyeing the floor, while Daemon just remained still and unsure of what to say.

“You still need some preparation for Aegis, so I’ve decided to give you a new task for the time being.” Both Trishula and Daemon looked at Azazel, who turned to face them, saying. “Trishula, take my crystal as proof that I sent you.”

“Sent me?” Trishula repeated, looking at the gem in his hands.

“Yes, I want you to go with Daemon and attend the Iris Council meeting as my representative.”

Trishula and Daemon were dumbfounded, simply staring eyes wide open at the hydreigon. However, Trishula managed to say. “But, why would you want me to go? We’ve never involved ourselves in the Captain’s Branch affairs.”

“While that is true, it is part of me preparing you for Aegis. You are to go there and once the meeting has concluded, come back here to me.”

Trishula paused before looking at Daemon who gave a cough.

“It shouldn’t be a problem. I doubt they will make a fuss over him attending, and if so I’ll make sure to alleviate their concerns,” Daemon informed, giving a little bow.

However, Trishula stepped forwards, leering at Azazel. “How will going to this council meeting prepare me?”

Slowly, Azazel’s smile return. “It isn’t. It’s to see where you are.”

“What? To test me?” Trishula cocked a brow as Daemon titled his head.

Azazel folded his head hands behind his back, turned around, and floated towards the window.

Trishula’s glared at Azazel, before finally sighing. “I…understand, master.”

“Now, if there isn’t anything else, I wish to ask Daemon something.”

Daemon floated forwards and did a head nod. “What is your request?”

Azazel began stroking his chin as he glanced towards the ghost. “I’m entrusting you to be very observant of the mons that attend. It is possible one of our defectors may be there.”

Daemon nodded, but raised a finger. “If I may, I was wondering about that.”

Azazel crossed his head hands. “Proceed.”

After doing a cough, Daemon said, “I know you said our defector problem is bigger than what the reports say, but I was wonder why you wanted to target the Captain’s Branch specifically? After all, the most recent defector was from the Enforcer’s branch.”

Trishula looked at Daemon. “There was?”

“Yes.” Daemon looked at Azazel, who gave permission with a nod. The ghost then faced Trishula and explained, “There was a certain enforcer that killed one of our captains, took the red crystal assigned to said captain, and fled the base. As for additional details, you would have to ask the Enforcer branch.” Daemon then looked at Azazel. “You didn’t tell him about this?”

Trishula looked at Azazel, with a stern look.

“It wasn’t important for Trishula to know.” Floating forwards, Azazel looked from one to the other. “Trishual was and never will be a part of the Enforcers Branch. While it is true, I am the leader of that branch; I have other priorities as well.”

Silently, Trishula walked past Azazel, before stopping in front of the window too. His eyes narrowed deep in thought, before suddenly saying, “Daemon, leave please.”

“What?” Daemon floated towards Trishula, but stopped at Azazel’s voice.

“I agree with my apprentice. Some time alone would be ideal.”

Daemon looked at Azazel, his eye narrowing, before doing a head nod to his superior and floating out of the room, making sure to shut the door as he left.

Immediately, Azazel floated over to the room’s cupboard and took out a pair of formal glasses. “Are you upset that I didn’t tell you about this?” He said, as he took a complimentary bottle of fermented berry juice in his hands and opened it. “I was certain you were aware that what is between us has nothing to do with the other sects of the red eyes organization. My goals for enforcers aren’t intertwined with my goals for you.”

Trishula scowled out the window. “Aren’t they?”

Azazel stopped for a second. Slowly, he began to cackle in a mild laugh, turning around saying, “And pray tell, what role do you think I have for you in Enforcers? I await your…insight.”

Turning around, Trishula glared at Azazel and snapped, “I mean your preparations. Why are you letting me interact now?” Angrily, Trishula stomped his way over to Azazel, saying, “Ever since you made me your apprentice you’ve not once let me interact with anyone. I know why though, it’s because it would undermine the trainer you had laid out for me.”

He slammed his claw on the desk. “So why now? Why when I was so close to getting Aegis for us, do you stop me and tell me to leave your side? What are you plotting?”

Azazel’s smile faded, Trishula’s fierce glare meeting his calm, arrogant one. Setting the bottle on the dresser, Azazel looked past Trishula at the window, before beginning. “Do you remember, what I said it would take to defeat Aegis?” He folded his head hands behind his back and proceeded to float past Trishula, stopping after a little ways.

“You said it would take all of my strength, ability, and-”

“Focus.” The two turned around and looked at each other. “Aegis is a mon that is naturally powerful, but like all mons, suffers from a natural weakness. One I have sought to deprive you of.” He floated over to the bottle, pouring both of them drinks. “Only after the sting of the burn is the wound allowed to heal.” He set the bottle down and took up one of the cups.

Trishula leered at the cup Azazel offered to him.

“Aegis won’t pass over the slightest bit of hesitation from you. If you cannot reach your full potential, I will make you reach it. Consider this, as a gesture of goodwill from me.”

Trishula looked at Azazel, with a scowl, though slightly lowered. He took the cup into his hands but just stared at the liquid inside.

“I saw that potential to defeat and dominate our ancestor, and I intend to draw it out. It must be drawn out. So, my apprentice.” Azazel raised the other cup towards Trishula, and with a dark scowl said, “A toast to your growth. I have high hopes in you.”

Without a sound, Trishula lightly tapped his cup on Azazel’s before setting it down to the side. He, before snorting, turning around, and leaving.

Azazel set his cup to the side, not drinking either. A frown formed on his face as he looked towards the window. Perhaps he still refuses to accept that weakness. He floated over to the desk and picked up the red crystal. He closed his eyes and held it outwards.

It suddenly began shining a bright red light, bright enough that Azazel could somewhat see it through his closed eyes, before suddenly all went dark. He opened his eyes to find an empty void as the world around him. Unfazed, he merely waited still, scowling as a small distortion appeared in front.

A mon slowly came into focus. Before it finished forming, it greeted Azazel with an annoyed, “What is it, Azazel? If this is about how far I’ve deciphered-”

“It isn’t about that.” Azazel folded his arms behind his back. “I merely need you to do something.”

“Do what?” the mon said, stepping towards Azazel, revealing himself as an alakazam.

“I need you to move Mors Xeimos to the base here in Brielle.”

The alakazam crossed his arms and raised a brow with intrigue. “And why would you want him there?”

Azazel formed a dark grin as he looked upward to the darkness above. “Insurance.”

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
– Unknown

Knight Of Legendaries

Female
Mid-Childa
Seen 6 Days Ago
Posted March 30th, 2021
14 posts
4.3 Years
Interesting so far. A grammar things that I noticed: first, the names of Pokemon are considered proper nouns and so they should be capitalized. Second, 'maw' is a word for mouth, while 'ma' is a word for mother. Third, Seliph says "I'm surprised your powers didn't act up?" which doesn't sound like it's a question, so you should use a different punctuation mark. Fourth "she asked in a challenge tone" would probably read better as something like "she asked challengingly" or "in a challenging tone". Finally, "Freya put on of her claws on his shoulder" was that supposed to be one of her claws? If not, then something like "Freya put her claws on his shoulder" would work better. Despite the few grammar errors I saw the story is still very interesting, and I definitely intend to read the rest of it.
A twinkle in the night sky

Bay

She/They
Dani California
Seen 38 Minutes Ago
Posted 3 Days Ago
6,163 posts
15.4 Years
The imagery of Azael, a Hydreigon, petting a rose is strangely cute? I imagine one of Azael's hands gently nibbling on the rose petals haha.

I can't remember if Aegis has been mentioned before. There seems to be so many figures that are considered powerful beings. Rereading the chapter's second scene it does mention Aegis being powerful but having a natural weakness. Either way though, Aegis seems to be a big goal for Azael.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Vragon2.0

Say it with me (Vray-gun)

Male
As if I'd be one to say
Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted August 20th, 2021
382 posts
3.6 Years
Contains: Language, Dark Themes [13]
Chapter 46
Bigger than You

With an irritated sigh, Jasmine leaned onto the wooden door with a soft thump and yelled, “Are you done yet?”

“Five minutes, and keep it down, Vragon’s still sleeping.” Dolly’s answered from behind the door.

Groaning, Jasmine sprawled onto the floor in front, staring straight down the hallway with an unconvinced frown. Ugh, oh yeah, it’ll be ‘five minut-’

Suddenly, the door swung open and thwacked Jasmine hard on the snout. With a high-pitched yelp, she reeled back upright, as her paws covered her hurting nose.

“Huh? Jasmine?” Dolly’s peaked from the other side of the door and gasped. “Oh my goodness, I’m sorry, Jasmine.” She quickly maneuvered around the door and went to Jasmine’s side. “I didn’t see you.”

Jasmine took a deep breath and grumbled something inaudible but clearly aggressive. A few breaths later, Jasmine removed her paws, shook her head a few times, and gave Dolly an unamused glare. “I wish you actually took five minutes.”

Dolly gave a weak, little chuckle as she got back to her feet. “I starting to wish I did too.”

“Wha’ happened?”

With a growl, Jasmine stomped around Dolly and the door and bluntly answered, “Nothing, Ciecro.”

The charmeleon raised a brow. “Wha’s up wit’cha? Yah nose botherin’ yah?”

Jasmine realized her nose was twitching from the stinging and quickly gave a brush. “Nothing.” She looked back at Dolly and sighed. “Let’s just go ahead and get the stupid supplies.”

“Sure.” Dolly looked at Ciecro and said, “Keep an eye on Vragon and Jaron, while we’re gone.”

He nodded in reply, his serious stare being extra convincing.

While the two were busy, Jasmine leaned over a little so she could see around Ciecro. She spotted the basic nightstand and wooden bed with Vragon sleeping soundly beneath the covers. “Hrm?” She pushed around Ciecro and started to browse the room.

“Hey! Wha’s witcha?” Ciecro protested.

Ignoring him, Jasmine raised a brow and turned around. “Where’s Jaron?”

Immediately, Dolly put a hand on Ciecro’s shoulder and gently nudged him aside, though he appreciated that as much as Jasmine’s push. “Oh, I sent him to get some food for them, while we’re gone. I don’t know how long it’ll be and Vragon is still sleeping, after all.”

“Huh? Wait.” Jasmine looked at Ciecro and then at Dolly, repeating this action a couple of times before sitting down and tilting her head. “Why Jaron?”

“Why not?” Dolly asked, leaning on the doorframe.

Jasmine leaned back and gestured her front paws outwards, like a shrug. “I mean, I thought he’d want to be here with Vray. Especially since Ciecro could go get it.”

“Well, that’s a question for the road.”

“Huh?”

“I mean, let’s not meander any longer. We’ve got stuff to get and I’m hungry.”

“Uhhhhhh,” Jasmine looked at Ciecro, who gave her a shrug.

“I can handle watchin’, Vray. Jus’ don’ take too long.” He gave her a nod, prompting her to stop standing there confused.

“O-okay.” She quietly left the room, as Dolly stepped in front and handed Ciecro something.

“Here’s the key to this room and you know where the com orb is, right?”

“Yes,” Ciecro grumbled. “Now yah two go on. I don’ wanna wait too long fo’ lunch.”

Dolly chuckled and said, “We won’t.”

“Oh an’ uh, Jaz.”

Jasmine looked up at Ciecro, who was scratching his neck.

“No, Passho Berries on whateveh yah get me.”

With a blank stare, Jasmine suddenly burst into a little chuckle.

“Wha’s so funny?” Ciecro asked, a minor scowl forming.

“Nothing, just typical you.”

“Wha’s dat supposed tah mean?” Ciecro demanded, marching towards them, only to have the door shut in his face.

“Sorry, but we’ve got to get going,” Dolly said, winking at Jasmine.

“Never mind, Ciecro. We’ll make sure not to get anything for you that has Passhos,” she informed, trying to keep her chuckling in check.

They heard a growl before Ciecro turning the deadbolt and walking from the door.

Straightening her travel belt, Dolly shifted to the right and pointed towards the stairs. “And we’re off!” She immediately started marching down the hallway like a youthful adventurer.

Jasmine sighed. Shaking her head with a little grin, she followed on after Dolly, saying, “Thanks for the save.”

“No problem.” Dolly glanced back to the absol. “It was kind of funny.”

“Yeah…” Jasmine’s eyes lowered a little, her smiling shrinking. Once they arrived at the stairs, Jasmine asked, “So what do we have to get today?”

Dolly raised a finger to her chin as she made her way down the stairs. “Hmm, well for starters we need to replace the items we lost yesterday. So two escape orbs and maybe some travel medic supplies would be good. We also will need to get some food to bring back to the three here, but before that, we’ll need to find this town’s bank and make a money transfer.”

“Money?” Jasmine repeated, following right behind Dolly.

“Correct,” Dolly answered as she stepped onto the first floor. “Though, I do want to talk with the rangers before head back here.”

“Yeah,” Jasmine added as she stepped off the stairs. “Maybe they found som-” She stopped dead in her tracks as her eyes focused on one of the windows on the ground floor lobby. Her mouth slowly clenched shut as a scowl formed.

“Huh?” Dolly turned to look and instantly had her answer.

Demetri and Devon were both standing in the window seemingly talking. Something else that stood out was Demetri had a bandaged up torso, with his wrapped up right arm resting in a sling.

Dolly winced a little at the sight before looking at Jasmine. “Yeah, he does look pretty banged up.”

Jasmine stepped closer to Dolly and whispered, “Let’s just go.” Upon seeing Dolly’s confused expression Jasmine hastily explained, “I don’t think we should get involved with them.”

“What’s gotten into you all of a sudden?”

“It’s just…” Jasmine sighed as she leaned in very close to say, “I don’t trust them.”

Raising a brow, Dolly asked, lowering herself to a whisper too, “How so?”

“Well- Oh, here they come.” Instantly the two girls snapped back to upright positions.

Jasmine’s gaze locked onto Demetri’s knowing, serious stare that border lined a scowl of his own.

“Good morning!” Devon exclaimed with a beaming smile.

“Morning,” Dolly nodded. An awkward second passed before Dolly gave a little cough, prompting Jasmine to roll her eyes.

“Morning.” She mumbled, coldly.

Devon raised a brow at this, while Demetri looked unfazed and merely turned his attention to Dolly. “Morning.” He took a step forwards and gestured his left hand towards Devon. “I don’t believe we’ve been introduced. This is Nerve Devon and I’m Nerve Demetri.” He placed his hand on his chest and gave a little head nod, along with Devon.

Dolly did one as well. “Hello. I hope you two were able to rest well.”

“Why yezzz.” Devon answered, filled with energy. “It wazzz a very relaxing time. Went to zzzleep almozzzt immediately.”

Chuckling at this, Dolly added. “I bet. Yesterday was pretty hectic.”

Suddenly, Demetri turned towards Devon and gave him a look. Devon’s happy face shifted to a nervous frown as he backed up a little.

Raising a brow, Dolly gave a big grin and said, “My, someone’s awfully grumpig today.”

Jasmine’s eyes shot wide, gazing at Dolly as if she was staring at a disaster. Slowly, she looked at Demetri, who seemed unaffected.

“I know we just met, but I doubt I need to tell you how serious the situation is.”

“Yes, you don’t need to,” Dolly replied, her smile shrinking to only a minor grin.

Demetri nodded. “I’m sure you have questions about our involvement with yesterday and I have some questions for you as well. I would like for the two of us to tal-” His eyes widened as Dolly suddenly shoved an outstretched palm towards him.

“I’m up for a discussion, but not right now.” She patted her satchel and said with a smile. “We’re in the middle of errands and we have some injured boys to get back to.”

“Oh…” Demetri’s ears lowered a little as he glanced to the side, his eyes trying to hide a little scowl. “Would we be able to accompany you?”

Dolly raised a brow. “Uhm…well. Having extra arms would be pretty handy, but I’m afraid I must decline.”

Jasmine fought very hard to avoid facepalming. It’s in her blood, I swear.

Demetri sighed. “Very well. When can we discuss this, then?”

Tapping her chin in thought, Dolly shook her head and answered, “Not sure yet. But I’ll let you guys know when.”

With a displeased sigh, Demetri looked at Dolly square in the eye and said. “I understand yesterday was much, but it’s important we meet soon. Time isn’t going to be lenient to either of us.”

Son of a- Jasmine about went into a tirade but held back as Dolly was the first to speak.

“I understand. I’ll be sure not to take too long. In the meantime, how would I contact you?”

Demetri looked at Devon and nodded.

The vikavolt did a little buzz hop next to Demetri. “Room 310 on floor 3!” He chirped. “Oh, and let us know if there’s anything we can help you with.”

“Duly noted,” Dolly thanked, as she strode on past. “It was nice meeting you, Demetri, Devon.”

“Have a good day.” Devon hollered back, earning many stares in the process, much to Demetri’s annoyance.

Once the duo were outside, Dolly gave stretched her arms and took a deep breath. “Mon it feels like a great day today.

Jasmine gazed up at the sky a firm scowl on her face. Tck, what a jerk. Why’d he have to be some kind of pushy-

“Well come on, Jasmine.”

Jasmine sighed as she caught up to Dolly and strolled down the dirt road at the kangaskhan’s side. The town looked much nicer at this time of day or at least compared to the night before. Then again, it all went by so fast. She could still remember how many rangers were there helping them to that lodge, especially for their more injured members.

“Something on your mind?”

Jasmine looked up at Dolly as they took a turn around a building’s corner. “Well…” She took a second to think of how to put it nicely before saying, “Who do you think those two are?”

“Dunno, we’ll find out later, though…”

“What?” Jasmine’s eyes widened a little as Dolly set a fist under her chin.

“It’s just the terminology he used. Nerve.”

Jasmine went silent. Huh, I didn’t notice, but yeah. That’s a weird sort of title to have. Her curiosity about Dolly’s thoughts pressed her to ask, “Do you have an idea?”

Dolly nodded, making Jasmine’s heart beat faster. “They could be a group called ‘the Planet Nerves’.”

“Huh?” Jasmine said, with a tilt of the head and a clueless stare. “What’s that?”

“Don’t know too much about them. Just two things.” Dolly shoved her palm forwards and raised a finger. “One, they work for legendary Pokémon called ‘Zygarde’ and two, them being interested in you means you’re involved in something big.”

“Oh…” Jasmine answered, slightly disappointed at the lack of juicy details. She didn’t stay deterred for too long about it. “So, you’re saying them being here means we’re in over our heads?”

“If they’re being honest about being Nerves, then yeah. Course, we already knew that.”

“But it’s another problem to add to the list.”

“Yup.”

Just what we need. Jasmine grumbled as she looked at the dirt. The repetitive swaying from her paws felt too slow for some reason. Blinking and looking forwards, she noticed mons in various locations, but what troubled her was where she was looking. It was like that one topic of ranger training, the ‘keep an eye out for suspicious fellows’, but right now it was on overwork and the stakes felt real.

Great, now I’m getting paranoid. Jasmine’s eyelids lowered as an annoyed scowl crossed her face. Why is everyone and their grandmother after Vray? What did he do? Ugh…

“You know, with a face like that, you’ll get wrinkles at my age.”

Leering at Dolly, who smirked back, Jasmine raised her snout and ‘hmphed’. Dolly’s chuckles only seemed to make her internally groan more. “How can you be so calm about this?” Jasmine finally asked.

Dolly shrugged, “I wouldn’t say calm. I just figure we’re safe for now, so I’m lightening the mood for myself.”

Jasmine snarled a little.

“Hey, a little smile could make it a bit easier. After all, you’re stuck with me for a few hours, right?”

“You, I’m fine with. It’s that Dumbitri and everybody else that irritate me.”

Dolly abruptly halted, bursting out into a loud laugh. “Oh mon, Jasmine, that…oh that was a good one.”

Rolling her eyes, Jasmine strode over to Dolly. “I’m being serious. First those red eyes goons chase us, we get two Norfarions that follow soon after, and now we’ve got a rude, pushy Grumpig and his bug sidekick. What’s next? Giratina coming out of a mirror to say ‘Hi’?”

“Well, to be fair, I might be a bit pushy if my arm got broke saving some random mons. Plus, we did kind of tell him to wait on his agenda.”

“You mean, you did.”

“Well, would you have handled it differently? Hmmmmmmm?” Dolly leaned in close, her hands resting on her travel belt.

“Yeah, I would have told him to fu-” Suddenly, Jasmine’s felt her mouth being covered by a firm, large hand. She looked up at Dolly, whose expression had changed to a stern look.

“Jasmine, we’re in the middle of the street,” She whispered, withdrawing her hand.

Jasmine sighed. “Sorry, it’s just. It just keeps escalating.”

“I know, and I’m not trying to jump on you over it. But keep in mind,” She placed a hand on the back of Jasmine’s neck. “We’re in the clear right now. The rangers are all gonna make sure we don’t get any nasty surprises while here.”

Jasmine looked down and was about to agree when a thought crossed her mind. “Wait!” Jasmine blurted out as she stared at a confused Dolly with eyes as wide as a wooper’s gaping mouth. “They’re still at the lodge with those two guys there!”

Dolly’s head sank back as she groaned. “Look, Jasmine, there’s at least four rangers at the building, and incase something does go down, I’ve got this.” Dolly opened one of her pouches to show Jasmine a com orb and then immediately put it back. “It’s synced up with Jaron’s, Ciecro’s, and Vragon’s com orbs. Now, can we put this hysteria to rest? We’re perfectly fine in this town.”

Jasmine gave a twisted frown. “Okay, but what if they’re just biding their time? The red eyes group could just be waiting for us to leave. Or what if those Nerve fellows are just trying to gain our trust? I mean, how do we know they won’t want to capture Vray themsel-”

“Stop.”

Jasmine obeyed but glared at the ground.

Taking a hefty sigh, Dolly walked into an alley, gesturing Jasmine to follow.

Reluctantly, Jasmine sat in front of Dolly, who rested her back against the cold alley wall and crossed her arms. “Alright, what’s it gonna take to get you to relax?”

Jasmine just stared down the alleyway in silence.

“You don’t normally act like this.”

“Yes, well, this isn’t a normal situation.”

Dolly moved an arm up behind her head and looked upwards. “You’re starting to sound like Jaron.”

Jasmine raised a brow.

Dolly kept her gaze upwards, but slowly a smile formed on her face. “You’re acting really over the top paranoid right now. And well, like him, I can’t say you don’t have a good reason to.”

Jasmine glared at this. So why put me on blast for this?

“But, you both are gonna need to calm down.” Dolly looked at Jasmine, her smile replaced with a neutral stare. “You know, I had a talk with him last night.”

“You did?” Jasmine met Dolly’s gaze, her scowl still out front but with a hint of interest attached.

“Yep, and he reacted just like how you’re reacting. Well, no, his was way worse.” She said with a following sigh.

“I bet.”

The two chuckled for a second before Dolly continued. “But he got the message and I’m surprised at how quickly he picked it up.”

“Picked what up?”

“That’s between me and him.” Dolly got off the wall and stopped directly in front of Jasmine. “What I want you to do, is trust me.”

Jasmine’s eyes shot open before a frown crossed her face. “What do you mean? Of course, I trust you.” Jasmine answered, keeping her tone low, but making it clear how hurt she felt to hear that.

“I know you do, but the thing is we don’t really have many options.” Dolly gestured down the alleyway and said, “Think of it this way. I know you trust me, but there’s always going to be uncertainty attached to this. I want you to trust my judgment in this.”

“B-but…”

Dolly walked a little down the alleyway. “And well, I’m needing to trust you too.” Dolly turned around and said, “I know it’s a lot of stress, but take a second to think all that I have to deal with on this? I’m uncertain and worried too, after all.”

Jasmine sighed. “I’m not a child.” Her head drooped a little as her scowl slowly went into a bit of a remorseful frown. “It’s just. What if there’s something we’re missing.”

“Yep, I don’t know everything. That’s why I need you at you’re A-game.”

Jasmine looked at Dolly with a neutral expression as the kangaskhan walked up to her.

“You can’t bring your A-game if you think there’s an enemy lurking in every bush. You’ve got some good observation skills, but if we let paranoia go too far we could push away opportunities to better our situation. Like with Swift and Garon, and maybe even these nerve mons.” Dolly walked past Jasmine and looked out at the street in front. “I know you’re suspicious of them and well I am a bit too.”

“You are?” Jasmine walked up to Dolly’s side, as she replied with a nod of the head.

“But the thing is, we’ve got to play this carefully. Sound judgment, mind, and all. We’ve got backups in case they are after Vray, but even then, I don’t think they intend to kidnap him. It’s just a guess, but I have a hunch that grumpig has a different agenda than just Vray. I don’t think it’s wise to do anything major, till we hear it straight from the mudsdale’s mouth, right? We should give them a chance to explain their involvement, then judge it by what we learn.”

Jasmine’s eyes lowered. With a low tone, she meekly muttered, “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dolly exclaimed, patting Jasmine on the back softly but heartily. “I Absolutely can’t blame you for being a bit Grumpig today.”

Jasmine closed her eyes tightly and refused to raise her head and answer. Don’t give in. It’s what she wants. She mumbled over and over, till a chuckle from Dolly made her cave in.

She gave Dolly a mean glare as the kangaskhan chuckled at how angry the absol’s face was. “Yep, you’re definitely getting wrinkles.”

Jasmine opened her mouth to retort but stopped. She sat down, closed her eyes, and took a breath. “Heh, sure. Whatever you say, Dully.”

Dully?” Dolly repeated, with a mischievous smile.

“Yes, Dully,” Jasmine repeated, getting on her feet and marching out into the street. “Like your jokes. Now let’s stop playing around and go get that supplies.”

Dolly put a hand on her hip as she countered, “Need I remind you why we took this stop in the fir-”

Jasmine started marching off and shouted, “What’s that? I can’t hear you over the sound of the wind. Better hurry up.”

Shaking her head and sighing with a tired, sincere grin, Dolly stepped out into the street and jogged after Jasmine.



< O >



“Ugh, stupid wind,” Seliph complained, as he caught a piece of paper from flying away. He shoved it back onto the ground and propped a knee down on it. “Okay, now, where was-” Instantly another surge of wind struck and was just strong enough of a nuisance to free the paper from his knee.

“Damnit!” He chased it a few feet before diving straight onto it. “Ugh! I can’t work here!” he griped as he slid a hand under his belly that shielded the paper from the wind. Once he had a firm grip on it, he started to stand back up, but almost fell over as another gust of wind came whizzing by.

“Ack!” He winced as the wind blew past him roughly, irritating his wounded left shoulder and side. “Psyduck this. Argh!...” He slammed his fist onto the wall and just stood there for a second, before taking a deep breath. He looked behind him and after thinking for a second, before deciding to head out. “Guess I’ll work somewhere els-”

He stopped close to the corner and raised a brow. Slowly, he pressed his body against the wall and listened. His eyes scowled at the sounds of footsteps. Flicking his wrist, he formed a Night Slash kunai and held it close to his chest. Steady…

His eyes widened at the sound of a loud yawn.

“Relax, it’s just me.”

Seliph’s mouth dropped open, as Swift walked around the corner shaking his head awake and scratching his arm.

Once he regained his composure, Seliph let his kunai evaporate and mumbled, “Hey…”

“Hey…” Swift cracked his back and made a nice “aaaah” sound afterwards, much to Seliph’s annoyance. “Dang, that floor was kind of rough. At least.” he was interrupted by another yawn. “I found you.”

Seliph raised a brow as he looked at the heliolisk from the corner of his eye, scowling. “Why are you following me?”

Swift didn’t reply, but instead scratched furiously on the bandage that looped over his right shoulder and tucked into ones that wrapped around his waist. “Stupid itch,” he grumbled as he finally gave up and looked at Seliph. “Hrm? Oh, I wasn’t. I just heard you yelling from here so I dropped by to say ‘hi’.”

“So you were just hanging around here, at the outskirts of town?” Seliph asked as he raised a skeptical brow.

Swift leaned on the wall with his left shoulder, shifted his left foot in front of his right, and crossed his arms. With a little grin and a brow raise of his own, Swift answered, “Do you think everyone has an ulterior motive when doing anything?”

Giving a cold glance as a reply, Seliph faced the wall and rubbed his left shoulder’s bandage gently.

Swift’s smirk shifted to a minor scowl. With a heavy sigh, his eyes stared at the wall right above them, following the lines in between the clay bricks. “I thought we had an understanding.”

Seliph stopped rubbing his bandage and instead looked at his piece of paper. “We did and still do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be careful.”

Swift glanced at him. “Careful about what? That I’d betray you or something.” He said bluntly.

Seliph glared back at him but didn’t immediately reply. His fist tightened over the piece of paper for a second as his eyes lowered. He sighed. “Sorry.”

Grinning at Seliph’s remorse, Swift rested his back fully on the wall and stared off into the forest with a newly formed smile. “Don’t worry about it, I getcha.”

Turning around, Seliph shoved his fists into his vest, which was dirty and had some nasty tears, and leaned back on the wall as well. “I guess I just feel-” his eyes drooped as he stopped. He remained silent for an awkward ten seconds, before shaking his head.

“What’s up?” Swift leaned off the wall a little.

“A few things. Still recovering from all that happened yesterday.”

“Heh, yeah.” Swift smiled as he raised his left hand to be a gentle cushion for his head. “I still can’t look at that vikavolt guy without remembering that freakish ride.” He gave a shiver as he muttered, “Never want to do that again.”

Seliph’s eyes narrowed. “I’d hate to think.”

“Huh?” Swift looked at him as Seliph got off the wall and stared aimlessly at the forest.

“I’d hate to think what would happen...if those two didn’t come when they did.”

Swift didn’t reply but instead joined Seliph’s side as they both stared off into the forest, lost in their thoughts.

Seliph’s shifted his left hand around his pocket, till it clasped on the vial. His hand tightened around it, gripping it as one would a weapon as his closed lips pressed pushed harder. They would have captured this.

Without a word, Seliph took a few steps forwards, almost startling Swift at how sudden it was. “We can’t keep going like this.”

Swift’s eyebrows rose as his crossed arms lowered to his stomach level.

Seliph raised his right hand a little above his head and clenched his fist as he stared at it with an intense scowl. “They outmaneuvered us. Outsmarted us. Caught us off guard and used their environment so effectively.” His fist dropped to his side as he stared at the ground. “They had us in their hands as we were lucky.”

He kicked a little at the dirt as he went silent. After a few minutes, he turned to look at Swift, wondering why the Heliolisk hadn’t said anything or followed up with a thought. “Swift?”

Swift was busy looking at Seliph, more specifically his shoulder, before glancing to his injured right one. “Heh, well that’s neat.”

“What?”

“We both got shoulder injuries. And opposite ones at that, heh.” He brushed his snout as Seliph grumbled.

“Really…”

Swift chuckled, “Sorry, but don’t worry I heard what you said and I agree.” The heliolisk joined Seliph and stared towards the forest with his arms crossed. His beaming smile was quickly replaced by his business, neutral face. “Their plan worked too well. They probably planned for us to go that route, which means they were watching us somehow or had sufficient evidence to predict our route.” He began stroking his neck as he looked upwards. “Not just that, but their plan took into consideration of our party group.”

“Oh?” Seliph crossed his arms.

“Well, they did a very skillful divide and conquer strategy. Not to mention, the individual encounters seemed well thought out for who would fight who. I mean, that gallade was really good at keeping up with my speed, for example. It only was able to get past him, when those two showed up.”

Seliph’s eyes widened. “Huh?”

Swift glanced back, confused at the response.

Grunting, Seliph gave Swift a sarcastic smirk. “I’m surprised at how much you’ve reflected on it.”

With a showy smile, Swift closed his eyes and crossed his arms. “Heh, well I am part of a Norfarion elite team after all.”

Seliph scratched his chin as he said, “Elite in observation I guess. But combat?”

“Hey! That guy was tough.” Swift shouted, wearing a smile indicating he wasn’t bitter at the combat. “Though, maybe I’m just out of practice. Been a while since I’ve been doing fieldwork.”

“I suppose.” Seliph’s smile faded as he let go of the vial in his pocket and took his hand out, grunting a little at his arm’s stinging. “Then again, I don’t think any of them are pushovers. Either way,” he looked at Swift, who met his gaze. “We shouldn’t leave this town till we have better strategy and coordination.”

“Agreed,” Swift said with a nod.

There was a brief silence between the two, before Seliph asked, “Hey, Swift.”

“Yeah?” Swift looked up at him.

Seliph shoved his hands into his vest’s pockets. “While on my own, I’ve learned a few things about the red eyes and their group, but it’s not much.” He turned to Swift and asked, “Can you…tell me what you know about them?”

“Heh, gotcha.” Swift walked in front and started stirring around the dirt with his foot. Once it was a nice clear patch of dry, brown dirt, Swift squatted and as he started drawing in it, started saying, “To be honest, I only know basic stuff, save for a few tidbits of information I heard here and there.”

Seliph squatted down, watching him finish drawing the map, and listened intently as Swift began to explain.

“So, the Red Eyes is an underground network of mons that have their base of operations in Mextrein. They are probably allowed to run their operations there because they and the Collective see us as a mutual enemy.”

“So, they’re allies?” Seliph looked at Swift with a serious scowl.

Swift shook his head. “Not close allies, they just put up with each other since we’re the common threat. But the Collective probably has a limit, so the Red Eyes can’t go crazy with their involvement in other areas.”

“Other areas?”

Swift pointed to a large island that resided in the middle of a landlocked sea. “You see, Mextrein is just their main base of operations. They’ve got plenty more.” He waved his hand in a circular motion around the perimeters of the sea drawing, just shy from the far left end of it. “They’re involved all over the Blood Sea. Lunis, Sol, even Bermuda. Chances are you’ll see a Red Eye somewhere there if not a building or the like.”

Seliph scowled as he stared at the shape that represented Mextrein.

“And while it’s uncommon, there’s been sitings of activity in other places too. Nowhere near as organized, but more like agents or teams, in this area.” Swift pointed to the left side of the map. “We’ve seen their influence in this Falkania Ocean area, all the way up to Winthrobax.” He pressed his finger on an island at the top left of the map.

Seliph stroked his chin as he studied the different landmarks Swift had pointed out and gave a nod. “Okay, so what’s exactly the difference between these outer cells and ones in friendlier territory?”

Swift left hand reached up and stroked his frills as little as he answered, “That’s sort of the issue. We don’t really have a lot to go on.”

“You don’t?” Seliph tilted his head and rested it on his arm. “So how do you know they even have bases?”

Swift dropped on a knee and continued. “Most of the information we’ve acquired has been from interrogations.”

Seliph raised a brow.

Scratching the back of his head and giving a bit of a hefty sigh, Swift elaborated. “Information is crucial in this time right now. I don’t like it, but…”

“Oh…” Seliph’s eyes dropped.

“B-but not ever red eye we get is captured,” Swift stuttered. “Some seek protection or help in getting integrated back to clansmon lands in exchanged for some information they can offer.”

“Just continue,” Seliph asked, keeping his tone gently and giving Swift an assuring smile.

“Oh…uh, sure.” Swift slowly looked back at the map. “Anyways, we haven’t yet gotten a big lead on what their infrastructure is or even their organization’s hierarchy, but some stuff we can just piece together by how they act or operate. For example.” Swift pointed at Seliph, who looked at him perplexed.

“They’re very protective of their ‘Red Eyes’ formula. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of the lengths they went to get it.”

“I’ve lived it.” Seliph crossed his legs. “The lengths they’re willing to go over this stuff must mean it’s very incriminating.”

“Yeah, why getting more samples is high on the priority list for our leaders.” Swift sat down on his rear and leaned over the map. “Course, their agents or whatever, don’t just carry out attacks. Sometimes they just do underground deals for their group.”

Suddenly a thought entered Seliph’s head. His eyes narrowed as he looked up at Swift, saying in a tone that lacked much emotion. “Like, ‘Lifegathering’?”

Surprised, Swift stared at him with wide eyes before sighing and answering with a nod. “Yeah, that’s something they do too. Though that one is a bit tricky, though.”

Caught off guard by the end, Seliph shifted in his seat and said, “Explain.”

Raising his fist, Swift gestured the number two and said, “They’re strange for two reasons.”

“Two?”

Swift lowered one of the fingers and explained, “Reason one. Life Gathering only happens in two regions. Triacal.” He patted the ground for emphasis. “And Bermuda.”

“Just Bermuda and Triacal? Why?”

Shrugging, Swift cupped his hands in his lap and weaved his hands together. “Nobody knows for sure. The best theory suggested is how Triacal and Bermuda don’t really have a centralized government or a strong force that’d actively investigate this stuff.”

Pressing a fist to his chin, Seliph nodded. “I suppose that makes sense.” He took his fist away and looked at the map. “So what’s the second reason?”

Swift held his palm out and pointed to its thumb with his other hand. “Life Gathering seems to be part of a larger goal. A goal that seems to be about gathering mons, legally or illegally.”

“Huh? Wait a second, what do you mean, ‘legally or illegally’?”

“Oh, well let me explain. So our best definition of what Life Gathering is, is that it’s the red eyes attempt at acquiring mons forcefully via kidnappings. They normally will target rural areas or specifics mons, nobody would notice gone or care were gone. Criminals, Poor, the like. Bermuda and Triacal make good places for Life Gathering in that way because both places have a lot on their plate, what with the City Rangers having to deal with gangs and smugglers, while Bermuda is a war zone.”

“Okay, so where does the ‘legally’ come in?”

Swift moved his hand over to a big landmass on the left side of the map. “So take Bohrmia for example. Here is a spot where they do another method of mon gathering we’ve dubbed ‘Orphan Gathering’.”

Seliph’s mouth hung open as a chill filled his spine. “O-Orphan Gathering?”

“Yes.”

Seliph suddenly noticed that Swift’s face looked serious, but not in a way he had seen it before. He didn’t mention it and just focused on listening.

“But the process is pretty much in the name. They go to orphanages and get orphans from there legally, and bring them over to wherever they end up here.” Swift gestured to the right side of the map.

“Heck, sometimes they’ll even get ones from actual families if they sweeten the deal enough.”

“You’re joking.”

“I wish I was,” Swift answered coldly with a leer as he stood up. “But some mons are just in that much of a pickle. Having the chance for their kids to have a better life beats the dubious credentials of their offeror. Hell, maybe it’s not even for the kid’s sake. Maybe it’s just for money or-”

“I understand,” Seliph interrupted gently.

Seeing Seliph’s worried face, Swift took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and shook his head. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

Roughly, Swift plopped back down on the grass and looked at the map. “Anyways, we don’t know what happens to any of the mons acquired. We just know they’re shipped over to this side of the Blood Sea for Arceus knows what.” Swift sighed as he leaned back and looked upwards.

Seliph looked up as well and mumbled, “I just don’t understand why no one would do anything about this.”

“The Clans can’t just go monitoring in other countries' lands outside of agreements. You know, diplomacy and stuff.”

“Well, I get that. And I get Triacal and Bohrmia since they’re already knee-deep in country issues, but why would anyone trust the red eyes like that?”

“It’s simple, nobody cares enough to.”

Seliph stared at Swift in confusion and shock. “Huh? Why wouldn’t they-”

“Priorities,” Swift pointed at Mextrein. “Take the Collective. Why ruin your alliance with the red eyes over a bunch of strangers. Whether they agree or not, it’s not worth weakening their side against the Clans in their eyes. And they sure as hell aren’t going to allow the Clans to investigate it on their territory, regardless if it’s literal kidnapping.” Swift pointed to a collection of islands. “I sure wish we’d put more resources into an investigation, but our leaders don’t want to start a war, so we put up with this knowledge.”

“But…” Seliph looked downwards. “The victims.”

Swift’s eyes lowered as well. “I know. I hate how nobody is doing anything about this, or at least trying to put some roadblocks against the red eyes. Our hands aren’t tied, but everything is diverted into keeping even with the Collective.” Swift stood up and scowled at the map. “But Borhmia isn’t like us. They’re not exactly a well-off country, so their leaders could care less. Hell, they probably enjoy whenever the red eyes come and visit their region’s orphanages to do business with them.” His fists tightened.

“Swift?” Seliph stood up as Swift rubbed the back of his neck, his eyes seeming to be a mix of weariness, anger, and sadness.

“I grew up in a Bohrmian orphanage. I know firsthand there’s good kids there. So…” he sighed as he walked over to the map. “So it pisses me off to just see all this going on. Bohrmia’s Government is fine lining its pockets, Triacal’s all split up into weak cities without a defense outside of rangers, and Bermuda is too busy fighting itself and everyone that wants a piece of land there. And that’s just those three.”

Swift placed his foot on the right side of the map and slid it roughly, swiping off a good portion of the map. He looked upwards, his eyes very narrow, almost cynical like.

“Guess that’s why the red eyes chose these places. They can get away with it without any worry about a backlash. After all, what’s Bohrmia gonna do? Make it illegal? Why should they when there’s no evidence of mistreatment? And even if there was they wouldn’t.” His left arm reached over and clenched his left. “After all, who cares about a couple of random kids if it’s a good amount of money. Not like it’s their kids…”

Seliph stood there in silence, almost in awe at what he had just seen. He slowly reached out his hand towards Swift’s shoulder but stopped. He looked to the left, not sure what to do. Suddenly, Swift started chuckling softly, prompting him to ask, “Swift?”

“Sorry about that.” Swift rubbed the back of his head and smiled at Seliph, “Guess I’m the bothered one now.”

Seliph gave the heliolisk an encouraging smile. “Yeah…it’s not a nice thing to think about. I’m sorry, Swift.”

“Heh, thanks, but you’ve got nothing to apologize for.” Swift brushed his eyes with his left arm, removing.

Seliph walked over. “Thanks for the talk.”

“No problem,” Swift beamed, though his tone seemed to indicate he was still going through the motions.

Seliph looked towards the town and mumbled, “I just hope when we get to Norfair, we’ll get some answers and maybe some closure.”

Swift nodded with an invigorated smile. “Yeah, I hope so too.” He started brushing some of the dirt off his body, asking. “You wanna head back?”

“Sure,” Seliph replied, taking a page out of Swift’s book and brushing himself off too.

Once they both finished, Seliph suddenly realized something. “Wait. Where’s Garon?”

“Heh.” Swift crossed his arms and leaned towards Seliph, giving him a jesting stink eye. “Are you trying to say he’s always tailing me or something?”

Rolling his eyes, Seliph crossed his arms. “I was just curious.”

Chuckling to ease the tension in the air, Swift shrugged. “Last I saw him, he was still snoozing.”

Seliph raised a brow. “This late?”

“‘This late’,” Swift repeated without any hesitation.

“Hmm.” Scratching his neck awkwardly, Seliph commented, “Didn’t think he was the kind of mon to sleep in.”

Swift grinned and added, “Well we’re going to be here for a while, and Garon isn’t above taking advantage of that. Either that or his head is just refusing to let him wake up.”

“And you didn’t wake him up?”

“Nah, he could use the rest. Besides, when he does wake up,” Swift leaned closer and whispered, “It’ll be funny to see how he reacts at the time.”

“Sure…” Seliph rolled his eyes as they both looked towards the town.



< O >



Dolly yawned loudly and rubbed her eye with her free hand. “That’s about it I guess.”

“Really?” Jasmine asked, looking into the travel sack containing items they had just finished buying. “Just the money transfer and these escape orbs?”

“We aren’t going anywhere yet, so I’m just restocking the important stuff right now,” Dolly answered, curling her wrist a little to relieve some tension in her gripping hand. “It’ll be some time before Vray, Seliph, and the rest recover. Plus, we’ll eventually have to get on the same page.”

“You mean with those two ‘Nerve’ guys?” Jasmine mumbled, looking at the central street.

“Yes, but not just them.”

“Oh?”

Instead of answering, Dolly took another deep yawn before shaking her head roughly. “I can’t stop yawning.”

Jasmine raised a brow. “Bad night?”

“Yep,” Dolly bluntly answered, with a tone that seemed too tired to complain.

The two remained quiet for a little bit until Jasmine spoke up. “So, what are we going to do about the plan?”

“Wait till everybody’s able to travel again.”

“No, I meant with…”

“Hrm?” Dolly looked at Jasmine. “Come on, Jasmin-”

“No, not the ‘Nerve’ guys. Vray.”

“Huh?” Dolly stopped as Jasmine circled in front of her. “What about Vray?”

“Well,” Jasmine started clawing softly at the ground, as her eyes narrowed. “Don’t you find it strange that he’s their target? I just can’t think up a reason why they would want him.”

Dolly crossed her arms and shrugged. “I have a few theories, but they’re probably way off. Guess we should ask the others about their thoughts.”

“Like, Swift and Garon?”

“Yeah,” Dolly said with a nod. “They are Norfarions soldiers, after all. Bet they know some details about who these ‘red eyes’ punks are. Maybe even why Vray is caught in the middle of this.”

“Yeah.” Jasmine’s eyes narrowed as she bit her lip for a second. “What about Seliph?”

Dolly’s eyes narrowed slightly as she scratched underneath her chin with her free hand. “To be honest, I’m guessing he knows something too and keeping it to himself.”

“Yeah, I get that feeling from him too.” Jasmine sat down and looked towards the street. “He can be pretty talkative and insistent. It kind of feels like he’s just trying to get his way.”

“True…He is a bit pushy.”

Suddenly, Jasmine looked at Dolly with a worried look. “Do you think, he’s after Vray too?”

Taking a second to look Jasmine in the eyes, Dolly crossed her arms and closed her eyes as if thinking. “I don’t know, but I can’t rule it out just yet. Though, what makes you think he is?”

“Well, remember back at town how he’d spend a lot of time with him.” Dolly nodded and Jasmine scratched her nose. “You think he knows something about Vray?”

“It’s a strong possibility. But one thing’s for sure, I don’t like how he’s doing things.”

Jasmine’s head fell a little. “Yeah.”

Opening her eyes, Dolly gave Jasmine a big grin. “But so far he doesn’t seem keen on just taking Vray away, else he would have done so by now. So I think he’s interested in something else.”

Jasmine gave Dolly a skeptical look. “What makes you so sure?”

“Well, let’s just say-”

“There you are!”

The two about jumped out of their skin from Garon’s surprise shouting.

“Sorry, sorry,” Garon quickly spoke amid his panting, while he ran towards them.

Dolly chuckled a little at the pathetic mon and waved, “Hello, Garon.”

Garon abruptly stopped directly in front of the two and rested his talons on his knees as he took deep breaths. He tried to speak, but his words kept getting interrupted by his breathing.

Dolly gave a loud cough to get him to stop. With a smile, Dolly giggles and said, “Take a second to catch your breath, because Jasmine and I absolutely can’t understand you.”

All traces of shock on Jasmine’s face disappeared as she started to grumble.

Meanwhile, Garon took her advice to heart and waited till his breathing slowed before speaking up again. He gave them both a respectful head nod and said, “Sorry about that. I overslept and needed to talk to you before you got the supplies.” His face suddenly bore a guilty expression as he rubbed his forehead scales with his talons. “I don’t know why Swift didn’t wake me up unless he forgot. I’m so sorry I missed you.”

Dolly shrugged, “It’s fine. We weren’t getting too much. Just some escape orbs and transferring some money for our trip.”

“Oh?” Garon’s eyes lit up as he breathed a sigh of relief. “So you haven’t gotten anything big.”

Dolly pushed her fists to her hips and leaned towards the garchomp. “What do you mean?”

“Well, me and Swift are going compensate you for all the money you had to spend for this journey.”

Dolly smiled and softly chuckled. “Well that would be nice, but I wouldn’t want to put you both into financial woes either.”

“Who said it was going to be us?” Garon said with a grin. Dolly raised a brow as Garon crossed his arms, puffed out his chest, and exclaimed, “We spoke to a friend of ours in the Norfarion Generals corp. Our old team’s leader and he will personally reimburse you.”

Both Dolly and Jasmine’s mouths dropped at that.

“Wait? Really?” Jasmine said excitedly, despite the fact she had no clue how much that meant.

Garon nodded and answered with a proud, “Yep.”

Dolly took a deep breath. “Well, I’m very grateful for this. I’m surprised you two thought of it before I had to rob a bank.”

“Huh?” Jasmine looked at Dolly, who smiled back.

“Jesting, dear, but you do realize that while we’re not here, the diner isn’t open.”

Jasmine’s eyes shot open. Oh muk! I didn’t think of that. We’ve been at this for a week, that’s a lot of missed money and… Suddenly, Jasmine felt a lurching in her stomach as she placed her paws over her mouth as if nauseous.

“Jasmine?” Dolly asked, dropping on a knee to check on the Absol.

“Sorry, just. Bad imagery.”

“Huh?” Dolly said with a tilt of the head; Garon tilted his head too.

“Well,” Jasmine explained, giving Dolly a weak smile and closing her eyes. “You see, remember when you told me to cancel that one order before we left.”

Dolly’s eyes widened with horror. “You didn’t.”

“I didn’t.”

“‘You didn’t’ what?”

Dolly gulped before standing back up and giving a weak chuckle of her own. “Well, guess we shouldn’t loaf around here anymore. We’ve got stuff to do, and kids to feed!” Immediately, she grabbed Jasmine’s tail, pulling the startled absol to stand on all fours. “Ready? Move!” Dolly ordered as she briskly walked down the street, with Jasmine pausing at first before quickly pouncing after her, leaving Garon to stand alone in confusion.

“Uh…Hey! Wait!” Garon shouted as he jogged after them.

“Slow down!” Jasmine shouted to Dolly, prancing faster. Dang, she’s surprisingly fast. Then again… her eyes lowered slightly, before widening immensely as she hit into somebody.

“Hey! Watch it!” A random rillaboom chastised as he resumed his way.

“Ugh, sorry.” Jasmine picked herself up, but not before looking behind. Oh no. It appears the Rillaboom was just one of many mons with workers hats, attire, and belts leaving one of the many diners on the main street. Jasmine quickly pivoted onto her hind legs and tried to look over the group.

Oh dear, she mumbled in her mind at seeing Garon attempt to get through the horde of lunchtime workers, only to be swept away in their hurry to get back to work on time.

“Dolly! Wait, Gar-” To her dismay, Dolly had turned around the corner right as the absol looked in her direction. Damnit! Jasmine grumbled as she dashed after Dolly. He’ll be fine. I’m sure.



< O >



Yawning as he stretched his arms up, Swift grunted a little as his right arm started stinging at being moved. With a sigh, he tried to stretch out by puffing his chest and rolling his neck, only for his right shoulder to start aching along with a small portion of his right rib. “Ugh, I hate being injured.”

Seliph almost chuckled at Swift’s random statement as they walked down a small dirt road that ran parallel to Main Street, though separated from it by a row of brick buildings. “I take it this isn’t your first time?”

“Hrm? Ugh,” Swift shut his eyes and twirled his left hand in a circular fashion. “A couple of times.”

“Any specific cases stand out?”

Swift looked at him with a skeptical frown. “Why are you asking me?”

Seliph shrugged as his hands in his pocket’s lifted his vestment a little. “Curious.”

Swift’s eyes narrowed. “About which was my favorite injury?”

Pulling out his right hand and pressing his outermost finger to his chin, Seliph glanced upwards in thought. “Hmm, when you say it like that, it does sound a bit weird.”

“A bit?” Swift moved his left arm behind his head, while unfortunately having to leave his right hanging at his side. “Tell me, are you also curious what my favorite illness was? Or perhaps my favorite life-threatening disease is?” He gave Seliph a grin, leaned over, and whispered, “Maybe who my favorite nurse was.”

Seliph chuckled as he countered with, “Now who’s being creepy?”

“Hmph,” Swift pulled back and looked forwards with a competitive smirk. “Nothing weird about that at all. Though, not to brag, but I’ve had a pretty nice selection in my day.”

“Eh?” Seliph’s smile faded as he raised a brow. “You’ve been hospitalized that much?”

Glancing at Seliph with eye’s half-shut and an annoyed frown, Swift shook his head and muttered, “No. You don’t always go to a hospital for injuries you know.”

“Fair point.”

The two focused back on the road ahead that ran by what looked like the construction of another Main Street building.

“So, who was your favorite?”

Swift stopped for a second, raising a fist to his chin.

Seliph went in front of the heliolisk and crossed his arms. “Heh, too many to choose from?” He joked.

Swift shook his head. “Not really.”

“Huh?”

Shrugging, Swift elaborated, “They were nice and all, but there wasn’t any of them I got to know or distinctly recall outside of the brief time I would be in recovery. Plus, there were times I would be at some medic camp or something waiting to get shipped back. I just never had the time nor interest to pursue one of them.”

Seliph took a step closer and asked, “Wait. You’ve been in a war before?”

Swift gave him a confused stare, before rolling his eyes. “Has Norfair gone to war recently?”

“Don’t get smart with me.” Seliph countered, though kept his tone neutral, “I’ve been here in Triacal pretty much all of my life, so I’m not too familiar with what Norfair’s military is doing.”

“That’s true. Sorry about that, but to answer your question, no I haven’t.” Swift turned and looked at the construction going on. Seliph joined by his side and stared off at the collection of metal poles towering over a foundation of bricks. “I’ve mostly just been with my Team.”

“Team Alpha?”

“Yeah. We were a Special Forces unit that was deployed for a variety of things. We’d sometimes do recon, sometimes collect Intel, maybe a rescue mission or refugee assist now and then. Just wherever Norfair needed us, we went and did it.”

Seliph nodded as his eyes fell upon an area where two mons were placing bricks upon some kind of aqueous surface while another was placing bricks over them, carefully spacing them apart with a ruler. “It must be tough to be a soldier.”

Giving an affirming grunt, Swift said, “It can be and is, but I don’t mind.”

Glancing at Swift, Seliph crossed his arms. “I see.”

Swift focused on the mon laying bricks, who was about five away from completing the line. “I’ve got a lot of great memories from that time. Stuff from the academy, Team Alpha, even on times of leave.” He started rubbing the back of his head as his smile shrank to a less exaggerated, but very sincere one. His eyes narrowed into a solemn dream gaze like he was staring at the very memories he spoke of.

Seliph looked up towards the sky and remained silent.

“Sure, there were some not so nice ones, and like you said, it’s a hard job. But, it was there that I got a chance to really be a part of something more.”

Narrowing his eyes, Seliph asked softly, “How so?”

“Well,” Swift brushed a finger to his snout as his cheeks went a little red. His eyes dropped towards the ground as he retracted his hand from his nose, revealing a rather wavy smile. “You remember when I told you, how I grew up in a Bohrmian orphanage? Well, at that place, it felt kinda like you were on your own. Not like anyone wasn’t nice to each other or anything, but it was a more general feeling in the air. Nothing felt permanent.” Swift looked over towards the bricklayer, flattening the last brick into the colorful, metallic liquid, before stepping away.

“You’d make friends there and then say goodbye to them. I saw a lot of kids leave and the sort of scenes of parting.” He closed his eyes. “Guess that was one reason why I never bothered making friends with anyone back then. Course, it’s not like things are any different now.”

He opened his eyes and watched one of the mons signal two others, who walked up to and knelt on both ends of the line of bricks.

“Even in my team, there’s be mons that have come and gone. That sort of lingering feeling when you temporarily part ways that you might never see them again. Be it career change or simply taking on different missions.”

Swift’s eyes narrowed as he watched the two press sparling stones up to the aqueous, colorful substance that the bricks sat on. “I bet Garon feels that way a lot.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he was always the more worry heart. He’d get picked on for it too, but I’m know everyone on the team appreciated that part of him. I know I did and still do.” Swift’s smiled as his eyes lightened up a little. “Guess, that’s what made it worth it.”

“Sounds rather burdensome.” Seliph crossed his arms and peered over at the synergy crystals sucking up the color from the liquid, thus causing it to harden. “But you seem to have managed well.”

“Kinda.”

“Just, ‘kinda’?” Seliph looked at Swift, who crossed his arms.

“Ever since me and Garon went to academia and later joined the team, I’ve sort of started seeing things a bit differently. I was put into a situation of having to commit to something bigger than me. The closest thing I ever had to that, was when me and Garon practiced running together at the orphanage.”

Seliph’s eyes narrowed as he looked back at the line of bricks, held perfectly still by the synergy drained substance. As the two workers moved away so the next line could be done, the greninja looked at Swift, carefully studying his face.

The heliolisk’s head had dropped a little. His eyes were narrow, but staring with a look that seemed to be reminiscing on something nice.

“Being part of something bigger than yourself.”

Swift looked up at Seliph in surprise, before smiling at him with an eye-closed smile. “Yeah, exactly that.” He faced forwards, invigorated. “I was no longer just some boy that prided off how he could run away from the big kids. I was a valuable member of a team that needed me to bring all I had. I had mons to look after and to have looking after me. There’s just something fulfilling in that.”

He closed his eyes. “It makes you, not want it to ever end.” His smile slowly faded.

Seliph’s eyes dropped down, to stare at the ground in front. To ever say ‘goodbye’. He once more shoved his fists into his pockets, as he sighed softly. There was nothing but silence between them, till Seliph broke it. “Swift?”

The heliolisk’s eyes jerked open as he looked at Seliph, startled. He gave a little chuckled as he rubbed his head, “Sorry, kinda got carried away there.”

The greninja didn’t smile but gave him an encouraging nod. “I’d imagine. Memory lane can be long and very engrossing.”

“Yeah,” Swift looked over at the bricklayers starting on the next row before turning to face Seliph. “Well, I guessed we’ve dawdled enough.”

“I guess.” Seliph shrugged as they started walking away from the site.

“Swift!”

The two stopped and looked towards the construction site, the origin of the shout. As they peered over, their eyes widened at the sight of Garon, jogging over to them.

As Garon neared them, a mon carrying a beam noticed the Garchomp and instinctual looked towards him, causing his beam to swing in Garon’s direction. “Eeep!” Garon leaned back onto one leg to avoid it, only to fall backward, over the small brick wall, and into the pit foundation.

Seliph sighed heavily as Swift cover his eyes, muttering, “Oh no.” as the sound of several mons yelling followed.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
– Unknown

Bay

She/They
Dani California
Seen 38 Minutes Ago
Posted 3 Days Ago
6,163 posts
15.4 Years
She gave Dolly a mean glare as the kangaskhan chuckled at how angry the absol’s face was. “Yep, you’re definitely getting wrinkles.”

Jasmine opened her mouth to retort but stopped. She sat down, closed her eyes, and took a breath. “Heh, sure. Whatever you say, Dully.”

“Dully?” Dolly repeated, with a mischievous smile.

“Yes, Dully,” Jasmine repeated, getting on her feet and marching out into the street. “Like your jokes. Now let’s stop playing around and go get that supplies.”
Heh, that exchange is cute there.

Swift having to do interrogations makes me wonder how would a Pokemon do it. Probably not as extreme as the ones from like, say 24, but still an unpleasant thing to think about. And it sounds like the Pokemon orphans are sold off to be child soldiers? Geez, another unpleasant thought.

As I was reading this chapter, something I noticed is sometimes you would capitalized Red Eyes and sometimes you didn't. In past chapters you didn't capitalize them, so I didn't say anything as I thought you did it to be consistent. However I think capitalizing Red Eyes should be the proper way to do it since organizations are proper nouns. Actually, I'm curious as to why Red Eyes wasn't capitalized in the first place.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]

Vragon2.0

Say it with me (Vray-gun)

Male
As if I'd be one to say
Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted August 20th, 2021
382 posts
3.6 Years
Chapter 47
Devoted (Coldness)


A loud hissing filled the room as Garon readjusted the cold satchel on his head. With a heavy groan, Garon leaned back into his chair, solemnly staring at the ceiling. This sucks, he groaned in his mind as his eyes shut, closing fiercer at hearing Swift call out to him from the other side of the room.

“Hey, Garon?”

“Hmmm?”

“Wanna find someplace to eat, just you and me?”

Garon opened his left eye, while his stomach started twisting at the thought of food. Fine, you win stomach. He sat up and instantly regretted it. “Ugh!” With a pained grunt, Garon pressed the Ice Stone satchel harder on the right side of his forehead. “Sure, you had a place in mind?”

“Nope, but I did pick up a paper today. Maybe it’ll have some suggestions.”

“Okay,” Garon reclined in his chair and closed his eyes. The ruffling sound of paper being folded wasn’t helping with him relaxing nor the headache dying down. Ugh, wherever we eat they better have something to help with this blasted headache. Maybe some nice, Sitrus berry sauce pastries. Some warm soup could help too. Maybe something Haban flavored. His mouth watered at the thought. Unfortunately, his headache was quick to bring him back to the painful reality. Arceus, I really should get something for this headache. Though, Haban berries are healing-ish too, right? Maybe? Whatever, I’m hungry enough to eat a wailord, so I can have both.

“Hmmm.”

“Something wrong?” Garon glanced at Swift, who was staring at the paper with a disappointed frown.

“Not a very informative paper.” Swift set it back on the dresser.

“Well, that sucks.” Garon stared upwards idly, like a kid at a cookie jar on the highest shelf.

“Yeah, but no biggy.”

Despite how much Garon disagreed, he didn’t answer. Prompting instead to simply look watch Swift fiddling around in the drawers for what he assumed was their money on hand. “I’m sure if we look around we’ll find a nice place to eat at.”

Garon’s eyes shot open as the discomfort in his head grew upon the mere implication of walking. With a grunt, he pushed the satchel harder and asked, “You mean, we’ll have to walk around town?”

“Yeah.” Swift looked at him. “That a problem?”

Are you seriously this dense? His eyes went to half-closed as he pointed to the Ice Stone satchel. “What do you think, genius?”

Swift rolled his eyes. “Come on, Garon, it’s not like you’re not bedridden.”

Snorting at this statement, Garon rolled in his chair and gave Swift the cold shoulder. “I might as well be. Falling into some pit.” He bent his head back and glared at Swift out of the corner of his left eye. “I’m lucky I wasn’t skewered on some beam.”

Swift chuckled. “Yeah, heh, that would have been bad.”

Unamused, Garon grumbled as he shut his eyes. Yeah, it would have, you prick. Maybe if you had this headache too you wouldn’t be so ‘happy with a stick up your ass’ about it.

Suddenly, he felt a hand on his back; his muscles softening from the contact.

“Does your whole body hurt? I thought it was just your head?”

Instantly, his back went hard again as he growled in his mind. “It’s just my head,” he bluntly said, though managed to not be too aggressive in his reply.

“So what’s the issue then?”

Garon rolled to his other side, glaring at the heliolisk. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that if I take this thing off it feels like someone’s ramming a spike into my skull.”

“Then just don’t take it off.”

Garon leaned closer. “You really want me to carry this thing all over town?”

“Well, no, but maybe you can do something to keep it attached to your head?”

If it wasn’t for Swift looking like he was genuinely trying to help, Garon would have gone off on him. Instead, the dragon sighed and pulled back into an upright position. “Whatever, I just don’t feel like walking all over town for food. Let’s just eat here at the inn.”

Swift sighed in response, prompting the dragon to lean in lower, growling, “You got a problem with keeping my head from splitting open?”

The heliolisk lurched back a little and started rubbing the back of his head. “No, of course not. It’s just well-”

Swift bit his lip as Garon stared at him like a judge about to convict the guilty.

Taking a gulp, Swift explained, “It’s just that the food here is-…well kind of, how do I described it? Plainish?”

Garon’s judgmental scowl grew fiercer as he pulled back. “Hmph, well I’m sorry for accidentally falling into a building’s foundation just so I didn’t get whacked in the eye. Didn’t think at the time that it’d deprive you of some proper flavoring for that puny mouth of yours.”

Instigated, Swift crossed his arms and defended, “Hey, I didn’t say I wouldn’t eat here with you. I just don’t really enjoy the food at this inn. Besides, it’s not like I was the one that pushed you into that hole.”

The dragon’s frustrated scowl meandered to the right. He’s not wrong. I’m jumping the river instead of finding a bridge. It wasn’t his fault I got hurt like this and he was just answering my question honestly. Heh, guess I’m just being a bab -

“Heh, don’t worry. I don’t blame you for being grumpy.”

God psyducking damnit, Swift. Why can’t you just shut up for two seconds, Arceus! Garon pressed his free talon to his forehead and took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes, Swift was in front of him, giving him that stupid, encouraging smile.

“I’m sure a good night’s rest will get you amped up.”

Garon leaned in close, his body twitching slightly. “Swift.”

“Huh?”

“Stop talking.”

Swift raised a brow. “What did I do? I just was saying a good night shoul-”

Alright, that’s it. Garon stood up, towering over the surprised heliolisk, and shouted, “You want to keep talking? Then keep talking till your tongue falls out from your, I can’t take a hint fac- OW!!!” Garon sat back down and pushed the Ice Stone satchel back to his head. “God damn it. Stupid head,” He whined as his headache slowly numbed out.

The garchomp turned his frustrated gaze back at Swift and paused.

The heliolisk was staring back with obvious concern. “Sorry, Garon. I guess I didn’t think it was that bad.”

Garon’s aggression dropped as he focused on adjusting the satchel properly. “Sorry for being snappy. I normally don’t mind your jesting, it’s just the headache is taking up all my patience.”

Swift put a fist to his chin. “Maybe I should try and get you some more medicine for your head. Sounds like what I got earlier was a dud.”

“No, it worked okay. I used to be hurting a bit all over, but now it’s just my head. Probably because it got the worst part of it.” Garon stood up and grumbled, “Maybe if we could get a number, that’d help.”

“Maybe Dolly still has some left?”

“Maybe.” The dragon grinned as he shook his head. “Can’t believe I didn’t think of that. Guess I hit my head a bit too hard.”

Swift raised a brow. “I thought you said-”

Grinning, Garon interrupted. “I didn’t say I couldn’t jest about it. Only you can’t.”

Swift scowled and crossed his arms, but it quickly faded into an understanding chuckle. “Fair enough.” The heliolisk walked over to the room’s dresser to once again look, saying as he searched for their money bag, “You sure you’re up for it?”

Garon walked over. “Should be if it’s just the inn. Though, we should probably check with Dolly first about-…? Swift?”

The heliolisk’s eyes were wide with shock, staring at something inside the drawer.

“Swift, what is it?”

Swift looked like he was about to burst into a nervous sweat if he could. With a shaky hand, he reached into the drawer, a weak, spaced-out chuckle coming from his frightened expression.

Garon’s eyes widened in horror, before curling into a wrathful glare.

“Aheh, you know how-”

“Show me.” Garon’s eyes narrowed further as he walked up to Swift, leering down at him like some kind of predator.

The heliolisk sighed as he pulled his hand out, revealing a bottle of number. “I forgot she gave me one for our trip.”

Speechless, Garon let the Ice Stone satchel drop to the floor. He reached out to hold the bottle in his talons and read the inscription. Rounded Narcotic.

Garon burst out into laughter as back at Swift, who looked like a mix of surprise and terror at the reaction. Shaking his head, Garon smiled and said, “Swift, I love you, but for psyduck’s sake.”

He kept on laughing, slowly infecting Swift with it as well. Eventually, the pain in his head started coming back, so he quickly set it on the dresser, stabbed the cork with his talon, and pulled it out. He clasped the bottle between his talons and raised it to his mouth.

“Woah! Don’t drink too much. That stuff is strong,” Swift exclaimed.

Grumbling, Garon set the bottle down and sat in the chair. “Well, go on. I don’t have fingers like you.”

Immediately, Swift grabbed a spoon on the night desk, poured a small little dose, and carefully walked it over to the garchomp. With a big grin, he started moving it around and making little noises. “Here comes the fearow.”

“I will bite your head off,” Garon growled.

“Alright.” With a cheeky smirk, he put the spoon-fed the garchomp, who recoiled abruptly.

“Blegh, it’s awful.”

“It is medicine. It’s supposed to taste bad.” Swift answered as he set the spoon down.

“Maybe Borhmian medicine, but why a place can’t like Triacal have better-tasting med-”

“Ahem.”

“What?”

“Cork,” Swift replied, pointing to Garon’s right talon, which still had the core attached.

“Oh.” Garon moved it forwards, letting Swift pluck it off and shove it back onto the top of the bottle. “How long till it takes effect?”

“Shouldn’t be too long.” Swift walked over to the door and rested his back on it. “I mean, I gave you a sane dosage so maybe twenty minu-”

Suddenly, a loud thump hit the door, making Swift about jump out of his scales.

“Garon! Swift! Yah dere?” a loud voice called out from behind the door.

They both looked at each other, chuckling at their mutual reaction for a second.

“It’s unlocked, Ciecro.”

The heliolisk stepped away as the door nudged open, with Ciecro peeping his head from the other side, looking grumpy or maybe tired.

Crossing his arms, Swift asked, “You need something?”

“Dolly said fo’ yah tah come tah Vray’s room. She’s gonna hold a meetin’.”

“Now?” Garon said, picking up his Ice Stone satchel and applying it to his head.

“Yeh, guess she wants tah get it oveh wit’,” Ciecro answered, pushing the door open a bit more. “Stupid timin’ dough.” The charmeleon clasped a claw over his stomach and sighed.

“Heh.” Swift swung his arms behind his head and grinned. “I know the feeling. We’re just about to go get some food too.”

“Bummeh.” Ciecro grinned for a second. “Anyway, hope it ain’t too long.” Without waiting for their goodbyes, Ciecro headed down the hallway.

Swift turned towards Garon, sighing. “Well, guess dinner will have to wait.” As the heliolisk started marching towards the door, Garon placed a talon on the mon’s head.

“Wait a second.”

“Hrm?”

Garon pointed to the door. “Shut and lock the door.”

Swift raised a brow but complied. After doing the bolt, he walked back to Garon and whispered, “What is it?”

Garon closed his eyes and took a breath. He felt his body grow cold as his eyes began to feel a minor sensation similar to vibration. As he opened them, the world became a dark purple, with a colorful outline of Swift in front, filled in by a couple of brighter colors. He glanced all around the room, till he was satisfied.

Unfortunately, the headache forced him to stop using his gift early. Ugh, Garon grumbled, holding his head with one talon, though fortunately, it wasn’t as painful. Huh, wish I had that number sooner.

“Hrm?” He looked down at the heliolisk, who had by now replaced his confused stare with a serious one.

Bending down, Garon said, “Keep an eye on everyone this meeting.”

Swift crossed his arms. “You sure? We don’t want to come off as suspect.”

“I know.” Garon pressed his Ice Satchel and added, “But our priority right now should be the group’s status. I’d rather us have a well-informed report for Nasch.”

Raising a brow, Swift inquired, “Okay, so what’s with the whole secrecy angle?”

“Just in case they’re nearby.”

“Who?”

“Those two mons that helped us yesterday.”

Pressing a fist to his chin, Swift looked downwards. “Oh right, them.” He looked up to the dragon and added, “What’s your impression of them anyway.”

Garon yawned as he walked up to the door. “To be honest, I haven’t thought of them much. I was more being cautious since one was a psychic. But I haven’t seen either of them all day and I doubt the grumpig could maintain that psychic link with us over an entire night. What about you?”

“Well…”

Focusing on Swift, Garon watched the heliolisk pace to the other end of the room, saying, “I remember catching onto something when that grumpig guy helped me against the gallade. When I was leaving, I managed to hear him say ‘stop in the name of the core’ or something like that.”

Garon raised a brow. “So, planet nerves?”

“Yeah, I guess. Which makes me curious why they were here in the first place.”

“Hmm.” Garon undid the bolt with his free talon. “We can discuss them later.”

“Right.” Swift walked over and opened the door. “Meeting and dinner first. Though.” The heliolisk stepped through the archway and asked, “You sure you’re up for a meeting?”

Garon shrugged. “It’s just a meeting. So as long as it isn’t noisy for the first twenty minutes, I should be okay. Till then.” He let the satchel fall off a little for emphasis.

Swift chuckled. “If you say so. It’s your head, not mine.”

Frowning, Garon walked through the door, brushing Swift aside just under knocking the heliolisk off balance. “Don’t remind me.”

“Heh.” Swift took the lead as they headed down the hallway.

As he followed the heliolisk, Garon looked at the windows dotting the hallway to their left. Ugh…I really hope it isn’t too noisy and I really hope that number kicks in soon. He placed a talon on his lean stomach as the sound of a door creak snapped his focus back towards Swift.

“We’re here. Sorry for ta-” The heliolisk froze mid-opening the door.

“Swift?” Garon nudged the door further and peeked inside. His eyes widened at seeing on the left side of the room was the grumpig and vikavolt from before. Why are those two here?

“You two coming in?” A voice to their left asked.

“Huh? Oh yeah,” Swift hastily answered as he briskly walked to an empty spot on the right side of the room.

Garon entered and turned towards the inteleon ranger, who was leaning on the wall next to the door.

“Well, if that’s everyone, I’ll give you folks some privacy.” As he went to exit, Garon stepped to the side the dragon coughed; the inteleon looked at him.

“Somwei, was it?”

“Yes?”

Glancing back at Swift for a second, Garon continued, “Swift and I would like to talk with your captain tomorrow morning.”

Somwei glanced upwards, uttering a heavy sigh. “He should be available in the morning. But don’t wait till it’s past ten. Just between you and me, not even another Primal Reversion would keep him from going to get his lunch.”

“Good, thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Somwei mumbled as he walked out, taking post a couple of rooms down the hallway.

The garchomp shut the door, twisted the latch to lock it, and joined Swift’s side. Without delay, he held his left talon out to the heliolisk, who grabbed onto Garon’s arm. The dragon lifted him to his back, with Swift letting go once his feet could reach the dragon’s dorsal fin.

Seeing the odd looks they were getting, Garon smiled and jokingly said, “I’ve got stronger legs.” He took his Ice Satchel off his head and waited for the aching to return as Dolly started talking.

“Alright,” she said, getting up from her seat on the footboard.

Now’s too good a time to pass. Garon pushed the Ice Satchel back to his head, lodging it on his right horn, and carefully removed his talon. Once he was sure it would stay, he whispered, “Now.”

“So before we start, does anyone-”

Garon closed his eyes and for a brief moment felt Swift’s hand on the back of his neck. The room went silent and his body suddenly felt light, almost ethereal. The air felt clearer and the warmth from the Emura lamps was gone.

When he opened his eyes, he was standing in a vast, black world void of light, though he could still see himself as if he was standing in the sun.

Browsing the darkness, Garon shouted as loud as he could, “Swift!”

“Here!”

Turning towards the sound, Garon saw a small yellow spot in the distance. He jogged after it, meeting Swift near the halfway mark.

“And your satchel?”

Garon snorted. “I don’t think we’ll be here for a second’s worth, but just in case; it’s tucked safely on my horn.” He tapped the spot with a smug smile.

Swift nodded. “Good, so now that we’ve got time.” His face went serious as he raised his arms behind his head and crossed his right foot in front of his left. “Why do you think those two are here?”

Garon shrugged, looking off into the darkness with an equally concerned frown. “I have no idea. You mentioned they were agents of The Core, right?” He asked, looking back at Swift with a raised brow.

“So they say.” Swift broke his post and proceeded to pace around Garon. “So let’s think about this. Two mons randomly save us near Plainier and claim to be Planet Nerves. I don’t think they would just be at this meeting if they were just trying to save us. Which makes me think that it wasn’t mere happenchance that they saved us in the first place; they must have had some interest in our group.”

Staring upwards at the nothingness, Garon added, “If I had to guess why it’s probably because of Vragon.”

“Maybe, but I wouldn’t rule Seliph out.” Swift stopped his pacing; their backs facing each other. “It’s been eight years since the attack so maybe Seliph had some history with those guys.”

“Possibly.” Garon glanced down at his friend. “Though, there’s one thing I don’t understand.”

“What?” Swift inquired, eyeing Garon with anticipation.

Garon took a few steps away, rubbing his chin as he gathered his words. After a self-affirming nod, he faced Swift and pointed upwards, “I don’t quite get how they even discovered us.”

Swift rubbed his chin. “Maybe, the Zygarde’s cells?”

“No, I mean discovered our situation,” Garon explained, as his gaze trailed upwards.

“Huh?” Swift cocked a brow.

Garon sighed. “Think about it.” He put a talon behind his back and gestured towards the never-ending darkness. “If they truly knew about Seliph or Vragon all this time why wouldn’t they have done anything earlier? Even knowing a few months beforehand would warrant some kind of investigation into the two, right?”

He slid his other talon behind his back as he stared at the darkness beyond his friend. “It’s possible they were just watching, but then why help us now? Wouldn’t it make more sense to act earlier? Even before you and I got there, they were attacked.”

“Maybe they just couldn’t find either of them?”

Garon snickered as he leaned in with a grin. “So, you’re saying that a task force that serves Legendaries, who have literal spying cells and who hold international weight, wouldn’t be able to find two mons in the span of eight years on just one continent?”

Swift’s gaze lowered in thought, followed by a soft chuckle. “Well, when you say it like that, it does sound stupid.”

Pulling back, Garon continued, “Right, so their involvement has to be very recent.” He rubbed his chin as he stared down at the invisible floor. “Though, what they want, I’m not sure.”

“Well.” Swift scratched his head as he theorized aloud. “The thing about Vragon is that he’s a Red Eye’s target. Nothing else is too special about him, at least to someone not knowledgeable about our ancestors. So, my money is their focused on Seliph, because he’s likely been a target for much longer.” Swift walked up to Garon and cheekily pressed his finger on the dragon’s stomach with the sly look of a shady dealer. “You wanna bet against me?”

Garon rolled his eyes. “No, you’re probably right.” He gently moved Swift’s arm aside as he added, “Though I think it’s wise we don’t throw out Vragon. The Core has existed for a long time after all; it’s very possible it was alive back then to have even met our ancestors.”

“Fair, but.” Swift’s eyes shifted to a grimaced expression. “I think we should focus on Seliph mostly. He has the formula and was a target of the Red Eyes longer than Vray.”

Garon nodded then sighed. “I know, but whatever the reason I don’t like this.”

They both gazed at the same patch of darkness. The empty atmosphere seemed to only tighten the entrapment they felt like an invisible cage ever-shrinking around them.

“First the Red Eyes show up and target those two, and now the Core is getting involved.”

Swift leaned back and with a chuckle, said, “We just can’t catch a break, can we?”

“Nope.” Garon laughed, scratching the scales under his chin. “Guess we’ll just have to play nice with them for now. We are visitors on their turf.”

“Heh, yeah. Nasch wouldn’t be happy to hear we wound up in some random ass jail cell.”

The two chuckled for a bit, eventually returning to business.

“Anyways, we should prioritize figuring out these Planet Nerves’ true intentions.”

Swift nodded, but added, “What about Nasch?”

“What about him?”

“Weren’t we going to contact him about the money situation tonight?” Swift rolled his wrist as he went on. “You know, since Dolly’s reaction to the news implied we may need some of the money sooner rather than later?”

“Oh! Right, what about that?”

“Do we want to hold off contacting him?”

Garon raised a brow. “Why would we?”

After a facepalm drag and a groan, Swift stated, “Do you want to wait to update Nasch on everything till after we learn more about these guy’s deal with us?”

Looking a little underwhelmed by the question, Garon closed his eyes and said, “Can’t we updated tonight and report them later when we have a better idea?”

“We were supposed to keep communications with the homeland limited,” Swift reminded.

Garon grumbled. “Then we’ll contact them tonight as planned about the money crisis, while also telling them about the Nerves. We’ll then wait a few extra days for an update on them if we learn anything important, else we’ll stay silent.”

“Okay,” Swift said, kicking the floor a little like there was dusty to send flying. “Still sucks it’s just you and me doing this.”

“We’ve been over this,” Garon answered with a hint of annoyance that reflected Swift’s. “Sending more of us could blow our cover. We aren’t supposed to be on active duty.”

“I get that, but why does it matter to a bunch of random cities what we’re doing for Norfair?” Swift grumbled, “They’re not enemies, so what gives?”

Garon shrugged. “I can’t say I agree with it, but I think a good point was about it in the overview.”

“What point?”

Garon smirked. “You weren’t listening to that part, where you? Typical.”

“Just explain,” Swift growled.

Garon pressed a talon to his forehead and cleared his throat. “‘It is because of recent troubles with organized gangs. Based on intel gathered, the Triacalian Gangs are involved in underground smuggling deals with the Bohrmian Cartels. The resulting parameters have led to a strong sense of suspicion and concern among the governing powers that be with foreigners in an organized group. This is targeted to the clans as well by many of the offending gangs having clansmons in their ra-”

“Okay, I get it. Shut up, Katherine.”

Garon laughed, completely blown away at the abrupt response. “Wow, imagine saying that to her face.”

Swift crossed his arms and looking to the side, sulking. “I wish I could say that to her every time she goes into another overly long and stupidly worded essay on the mission.”

Smirking, Garon leaned in closer. “Maybe that’s why you don’t know half the details.”

Swift glared at him, as his fist tightened for the pre-punching stage. “Watch it.”

“Sure.” Garon stood up and smiled arrogantly. “What are you going to do about it, shrimpy?”

Swift’s scowl grew fiercer, however, he merely turned to the side and muttered, “Asshole.”

“Heh, sorry, it’s just fun to work you up.”

Sighing heavily, Swift lowered his arms and resumed eye contact. “Whatever, water under the bridge.” He clapped his hands together and pointed his fingertips to Garon. “So, basically, Norfarion involvement is limited because it could send a bad message and other political nonsense.”

Garon nodded. “Indeed. Especially since this isn’t an official Norfarion mission. Their cities don’t like us Norfarions doing stuff on their land officially, let alone acting off duty.”

“I just hope it works out okay.” Swift rubbed the back of his head, his eyes drooping. “We owe it to Freya, Gathor, and Tetheron.”

Garon’s face went cold as hearing their names brought back a coldness locked in his heart. His breathing slowed, as his eyes lowered as well. Finally, he forced himself to speak, “It will work out.”

“I know, it’s just a lot of pressure.” Swift looked back at Garon, the uncertainty on pure display in his eyes.

“Nasch picked us because of our qualities and he trusts us too.” Despite saying this, Garon didn’t exactly feel confident either, prompting him to add the disclaimer, “Maybe we could ask for reinforcements, but I’d imagine they’d have to juggle a few things to get them here.”

“It’d be worth it if we could get some help.” Shaking his head, Swift perked up and with a smile, stating, “Okay, so, anything else we need to discuss?”

Shutting his eyes to ponder for a second, Garon responded with, “Nothing I can think of. Just remember to act like this never happened when we get back. Which means, don’t fall off my back.”

Smirking, Swift rolled his eyes and started walking away. “Pssh, you insult me, dummy.”

Garon resisted starting an insult war and simply closed his eyes. In an instant, his body felt heavier again and the air around him returned to a more stuffy form.

“-ave anything to say?”

Garon kept his mouth shut and quickly glanced at the Planet Nerves opposite them. Their attention was focused purely on Dolly like before. He felt a wave of relief flood his nerves. Phew, He moved his right talon back to his Ice Stone Satchel. Looks like nobody caught on.

Despite evidence to their discreetness, Garon didn’t like how silent the room was following Dolly’s request. He tried to occasionally glance at the nerves without sending any red flags while hoping those two or just anyone would say something.

Finally, Dolly broke the silence. “Nothing? Alright.” Taking a second to clear her throat, Dolly said with a nod to the two Nerves, “So, firstly, I want to thank you two for helping us before.”

They respectfully nodded back, though Devon’s looked more invested. “No problem! Glad we could help!” Devon exclaimed, eyes beaming with pride

The grumpig eyes rolled at Devon’s unprofessionalism and stepped in front of the bug, saying, “Despite the circumstances, I am glad we were able to assist.”

“Of course, but.” She paused to take a deep breath, with Demetri’s gaze narrowing as if bracing for some unseen force. “I know this is going to sound a bit contradictory to what I just said, but I would like to know your reasons for helping us. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but given the circumstances, we deserve an explanation.”

Garon watched Demetri’s reaction, which was relatively unchanged as the dragon expected.

“Very well.” Demetri walked into the center of the room and took a moment to look at everyone in the room before stopping his sights on Seliph. “Devon and I were sent here to find you.” He lifted his left hand and pointed at the perplexed greninja.

Garon felt Swift nudge the back of his neck and whisper, “Nailed it.”

“Hush,” Garon softly growled, as the heliolisk giggled quietly to himself. The dragon looked back at Seliph, who was settling back on the wall and returning to the ‘toned out’ he’d had on all meeting.

However, the greninja’s stare looked very invested in what was just said, defensive even. His crossed arms were tense and the tone in his reply could only be described as a gambler pulling his hand closer. “Why?”

Demetri answered. “We were hoping you had some information regarding the Red Eyes we could learn.” He gestured his pointing hand outwards, explaining, “You being a target of theirs piqued the Core’s interest in you. So, Devon and I were assigned to find you, keep you safe, and make a deal with you.”

Seliph raised a brow. “How do you know my information is worth it or even that I have information?”

Demetri nodded and said, “Because you were related to an unusual Red Eyes activity eight years ago.”

Garon’s eyes went wide as a chill filled his spine. They know about that?

“How do you know I was there?”

Garon looked at Seliph, who seemed composed but the stare was ever fiercer and colder. Worry filled Garon’s heart as he looked back at Demetri to hear the answer.

“There was an investigation done at the site, which clued us in on you and some context.”

“Wait,” Swift chimed in, prompting all eyes on the two Norfarions. “Me and Garon arrived there the next day. We didn’t see any Planet Nerves or investigation.”

Garon turned his head towards Swift, a scowl forming as he nodded his head in agreement.

“How could you have done a full-fledged investigation, without us or any of the villagers seeing you? We did the burials and everything on that same day with the villagers.”

Demetri’s ears drooped a little as he sighed, in a way that conveyed annoyance. “The ones that arrived at the site gathered the information from one of the corpses there.”

Garon’s leered at the grumpig as he felt his muscles tighten with disgust.

“We learned that there was something called a ‘Formula Sample’ and that a child had it. Seliph Almkin was the name we learned, so we presumed you had it on your person. We weren’t aware you had siblings, nor that Jaron and Ciecro wer-”

“Enough.”

Startled, Garon looked at Seliph, who was standing straight up with his fists tightened.

Can’t blame him. Garon looked at the confused and slightly irritated Demetri and said with a little passive aggression, “That incident was where they lost their parents. I’d request you not talk about it so…lightly.”

“I see…my apologies,” Demetri said with a respectful nod.

The dragon took the moment to look at the other two Almkins. Jaron was scowling at the floor from his corner. Ciecro was leaning back on a wall nearby, eyes shut, and seemingly toned out of the conversation, though his tensed-up body gave away his façade.

His observations were cut short as Seliph resumed the conversation. “Whatever, I understand the logic flow now.” He leaned back on the wall.

“Good, so-” Demetri was interrupted by a loud grunt from Seliph. He paused with an irritated stare, waiting for Seliph to speak his mind.

“Well, no offense, but I’d rather not have your Core involved in my personal affairs at all.”

Demetri eyes widened as his arm lifted from his side slightly in surprise. “What? Why? We just want to learn the information you have about this ‘Formula Sample’ and how it relates to the Red Eyes.”

“And I’m saying I don’t care to do business with you at all.” Seliph looked to the side and shut his eyes shut like a dismissive toddler.

Devon walked next to Demetri and said, “But we can help. We’re againzzzt the Red Eyezzz too.”

Affirming this with a nod, Demetri said, “Exactly. They’re not our friends. They’re a nuisance. Your information would help us know better how to counteract them. Maybe even help save lives they would harm.”

“So?” Seliph got off the wall, crossing his arms. “What makes you more trustworthy than them?”

Demetri’s eyes went narrow. “Pardon?”

Garon felt Swift latch onto his shoulders and pull up next to the dragon’s head. Swift then whispered, “Any reason he’s being like that?”

“Perhaps mentioning the incident set him off?”

“Yeah, but Demetri apologized for it.”

“Not everyone is good at letting things go like you, Swift.” Garon glanced at the heliolisk. “Although, Seliph does have ample reason to not share with strangers.” Returning to the current stare down between the two, Garon added, “Though, he’s being very aggressive.”

“Maybe he holding a grudge still?”

“Mayb-” Garon started but went quiet at hearing Demetri continue the conversation.

“I would say the fact we saved your group from your attackers makes us more trustworthy. Though, I doubt it would sway your opinions.”

Garon’s brows rose at the unexpected bluntness.

“That was uncalled for,” Dolly interject, frowning at Demetri.

After a heavy sigh, Demetri nodded in agreement. “Yes, it was.”

“Hmph, some ambassadors,” Seliph muttered, a bit of smugness in his tone.

“Seliph-” Dolly began but didn’t get to finish before the greninja went further.

“If you want to establish goodwill, you’re doing a piss poor job at it.”

Demetri took a deep breath. “Then how can I establish goodwill to you?”

“By respecting my wishes and staying out of my business.”

Demetri scowled in frustration and tiredness. “I’d be more than happy to. But the Core wants to learn your information and I work for him.”

Seliph remained silent, though more out of not bothering to dignify that statement with a response.

This isn’t getting anywhere. Garon stepped forwards and added, “To Seliph’s credit, we’ve only known you since yesterday.”

“I know,” Demetri answered, a hint of frustration seeping into his tone. “And I understand warranted skepticism. If you need more time, then I’m willing to wait.” He looked back at Seliph and said, “I’m not unreasonable and I hope you know that The Core’s intentions aren’t to harm any of you. We simply wish to understand more about the Red Eyes organization so we can better combat their efforts here in Tria-”

“By using those methods against them.”

Everyone glanced at Seliph, who was giving Demetri a cold, stare of disgust.

Garon could feel the heaviness of the room as he watched Demetri face the greninja once more, his patience nearing its end.

“That’s an unfair accusation. I don’t see why you’re so adamant against working together against your enemies on this.”

“Maybe if entitled assholes like The Core and yourself would take a hint, I would be more inclined to in the future.”

“Seliph!” Dolly stepped in the middle, eyeing Seliph with a disapproving stare. “That’s enough insults.” To her surprise, the greninja started chuckling at her, mocking her attempts at peacekeeping.

“Calm down? I’m sorry that me calling him out on his taurosmuk sets off your ‘decency’ bells, but with all due respect this isn’t a discussion you’re a part of.”

Garon took the moment to study Seliph’s face. It shined with defiance and frustration as it stared down Dolly. Deep inside, Garon’s mind looked back to when he first encountered Seliph as a small froakie. Mentally comparing the two images and seeing just how much they differed brought sadness to his soul.

He wanted to walk over and help ease Seliph’s obvious unrest. Maybe suggest they go for a walk, stay by his side, or anything, but he wasn’t sure he could. Seliph’s angry stare looked like the solidness of a mountain with the approachability of its steepness.

Say something at least! His heart shouted throughout his being. After all, he’d done it before. He’d stared straight into Seliph’s angry eyes and reasoned with him, so why should now be any different. Those times were hard as well, but he was always able to get the point across.

Slowly, he stepped one foot forwards and opened his mouth to speak.

Alas, Dolly spoke first. “I’m only getting in this because it’s no longer a discussion. It’s an argument.” Dolly looked at Demetri. “Look, I understand you have secrets. We all have our secrets, but a lot has happened to us recently. It’s taken its toll on everyone.”

Demetri sighed as he rubbed the back of his head. “Duly noted. Apologies.”

Garon’s jaw dropped. Wow, how did she? That was pretty good. He chuckled to himself as he stepped back to his spot. I bet she could even break me and Swift up from a fight.

“What’s so funny?” Swift whispered.

Garon smiled as he looked at his friend. “Just a bit surprised a-”

“What?” Dolly suddenly said, prompting the two to return to the scene.

Dolly was staring straight into Seliph’s glare.

“Does it really just take that?” the greninja sarcastically asked, with the arrogance of a big kid looking down at a toddler.

Dolly raised a brow. “Huh?”

Seliph walked around Dolly and the Nerves, stopping near the door. He turned around and with a mocking chuckle say, “Is saying ‘sorry’ all it takes to get on your good side? What? You think every mon is sincere twenty-four seven?”

“No, of course not,” Dolly answered, with a shake of the head. “I just want to hear them out.”

“Oh sure, sure.” Seliph goaded, folding his arms in a slow fashion. “Maybe, if you lick their feet enough they’ll tell you what move they’ll stab you in the back with.”

“Seliph.”

No. Garon tapped on Swift’s shoulder.

“What?”

“Get off.”

Swift obeyed, hopping from Garon’s dorsal fin as he walked to confront Seliph. “Seliph.”

The greninja turned his glare at him, sending a chill through Garon’s body, the likes of which urged him to back away. He felt an uncanny feeling flood his mind.

Despite this, Garon remained glued to his place on the floor. “There’s a lot that still needs to be talked about. I understand your feelings, truly, but we shouldn’t make any big decisions right now. Time will give you better judgement. Trust me on this.”

The defiance and anger in Seliph’s stare grew weaker as his gaze lowered.

Garon sighed in his mind at seeing Seliph give in to his words, though the mon still looked unfinished and unconvinced. The greninja walked back to his spot on the wall as did Garon, a bit surprised he was able to calm Seliph down. Though troubling thoughts filled his mind as he lightly tapped Swift’s held out fist and faced the room. He looked at Dolly and suggested, “Perhaps we should move on to the next part of the meeting.”

“I suppose.” Dolly sighed. “Alright, so the next thing I wanted to talk about was what we should do now.” She pressed a fist to her chin. “Originally, the plan was to head to Crion City, but after thinking it over, I’d like to hear suggestions on any alternative methods to get to Norfair.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Garon noticed Jaron shudder a little. He turned his head and looked at each one of the kids. They had been surprisingly silent this entire time, though the troubled and tired looks on their faces gave him a good idea why. Poor kids, getting dragged into this. His gaze dropped to the floor. I wish there was a way to make this trip easier on them or at least safer.

His sympathy thinking was interrupted by Devon’s sudden buzzing. “Well, can’t we juzzzt wait? We could even call for help.”

“Hmmm, no.” Dolly sighed as she folded her arms. “I don’t think we can just sit this out till help arrives. We may be safer here, but the Red Eyes could easily get help too and come back for us. Plus, if they find out we’re still in town before our help arrives.” Devon shuddered at the thought as Dolly nodded in agreement. “Yeah, I don’t like it either.”

“But if we go out, we might get ambushed like before,” Jaron said from the corner.

“At leas’ will ‘ave a chance,” Ciecro answered, his eyes opening only to look at the floor with a gaze that seemed to peer past the cracks.

Jaron’s eyes lowered as he grumpily backed up to the wall.

“I’m sorry,” Dolly turned towards the group in the corner, eyeing each of the four. “But I think our only option is to try and get to a port town so you three can go to Norfair.”

“But, what about you guys?” Vragon added.

“We’ll be fine.”

“Bu-”

“Vray. It’s not us they’re after.”

The fraxure looked at Jaron, who returned an understanding. However, Jaron said, though his tone hinted to the struggle it took to say this, “I don’t like it either, but she’s right.”

Garon raised a brow. Huh?

“So,” Jaron got off the wall and hopped onto the bed, next to the upset fraxure. “Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re the ones they want.” Jaron looked at his open palm, his eyes narrowing in a depressed stare. “I remember hearing that snorlax say he wasn’t supposed to hurt me nor Ciecro.” He glanced at his brother, who nodded in confirmation.

“What?” Seliph got off the wall and stared in shock at Jaron. “Why didn’t you mention this?”

Jaron leered at him but seemed to restrain himself for some reason. “Be-because…I’ve had a lot on my mind.”

Garon looked at Vray, who appeared shocked by this statement too.

“So…” Jaron spread his legs out a little and looked up at Dolly. “I get it. We can’t stay here.”

Dolly smiled softly at this, which prompted Garon to grin a little on his own. However, it vanished once he spotted Vragon, slowly moving his hand over his wounded side. The fraxure’s gaze was on the covers near the middle of the bed, staring at the vacant spot with a vacant expression.

Taking a small breath, Garon took a step forward. He gazed upon Vragon with empathy as he called out to him. “Vray.”

The fraxure looked up at him, startled.

“Don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault this is all going on.” Garon smiled a little, though to his dismay it didn’t seem to shake Vray’s depressed stare.

“He’s right you know,” Jaron added, giving a supporting grin.

Vray didn’t look comforted by that either. He just leaned back against the wall behind the bed in silence.

Poor guy. I fully get how hard it is to not feel like that, Vray, especially at your age.

“I encourage you to listen to your friends.”

Garon’s eyes widened as he glanced at Demetri, who was looking at Vray. The stare seemed normal, but there was something about it that felt different. Perhaps more sincere or maybe more honest.

“Your safety matters to them. Take solace in that care they’re willing to show.” Demetri affirmed his words with a nod and turned towards Dolly. His stare no longer bore that strange meta-feel to it and seemed back to the business at hand. “Apologies for sidetracking, but I think the option to leave is the correct one. However, we need to decide how long to stay here in Plainier.”

Dolly thought for a second, taking one glance at Vray as she answered, “Once everyone is healed up, we should move.”

“No.”

Garon’s turned his gaze towards Seliph in surprise at the greninja’s sudden intrusion.

Seliph stepped forwards and looked at Demetri. “We need to move as soon as Vragon can walk.”

“What? Why?” Dolly demanded.

Although Garon was caught off guard by this as well, his attention was drawn to Seliph’s hand, specifically, it clasping over the bandage on his side. The firmness looked like it caused pain, but for some reason, Seliph didn’t relent.

“Their group took a beating as well. If we give them time to regroup, they’ll set up roadblocks for us.”

I get that, but ‘as soon as Vray can walk’? Garon peered closer at Seliph’s posture, growing more surprised as he realized just how tense and alert it looked. It was as if Seliph had some premonition of the disaster awaiting their stay. Garon started to feel a dreadful feeling just thinking about it.

“Garon.”

“Hm?” The dragon blinked and looked for who called his name.

“Here.”

Quickly, Garon locked eyes with Seliph.

“Is it possible for you to contact the Norfarion colony North East of here?”

Garon’s eyes went wide. Isolvire! That’s right!

“Well?” Seliph asked, rather impatient.

“Sorry, yes I should be able to, so long as there isn’t any communication interference.”

“Good. So we should use our time here to pre-”

“Woah, woah, slow down.” Dolly interrupted, waving her arms out front. “Isn’t that colony at the far North Eastern part of Triacal?”

Garon nodded, causing her to shake her head.

“No, I don’t think we could make a longer trip like that unless we’re completely healed up. We would be too vulnerable.”

Seliph’s grumbling caught Garon’s attention. He noticed the greninja’s muscles tighten again as Dolly went on with her point. However, the face, which looked very displeased at Dolly’s interjection didn’t reflect the same tensions as before. He looked rather angry at her rather than for simply having another obstacle. Suddenly, a thought struck his head.

He stepped forwards and suggested, “Wait, what if we call for some help to come get us?”

Dolly mulled for a minute on this. “Hmm…that could work-”

“No.” Seliph pointed towards the clock near the room, keeping his eyes fixated on Garon. “The trip is far longer than going to Crion, and that’s if they could straight shot it. I highly doubt they can with all those mountain ranges in their way. They’d take too long to reach us without some kind of transport, which I believe is out of the question, right?”

Huh? Garon raised a brow.

Seliph crossed his arms and gave both him and Swift a glance. “I keep up with things. Sending a transport would violate the treaty that allowed Norfair to make that colony.”

Garon’s eyes widened. He’s well informed. Impressive, though. Garon sighed as he looked at the group and confirming with a nod, saying. “Yes, a Norfarion transport is unfortunately out of the question due to that treaty.”

“Damnit.” Dolly pressed a finger to her head and sighed heavily. “And none of the cities that do have transports would go to such a rural town here.”

“Why we need to strike out and soon. We can maybe meet any help we can get halfway, but the longer we wait, the more vulnerable we become,” Seliph said.

“But we can’t just go while we’re like this.”

Seliph glared at Dolly. “We can’t waste time here.”

Dolly pointed to Demetri and Vragon. “We’re all still wounded.” She then gestured her palm at Seliph’s side and uttered, “You’re still wounded.”

His scowl grew as his head lowered slightly. “I can handle the trip. If the grumpig can’t, then he can stay behind.”

Hearing that almost made Garon growl.

Demetri immediately interjected, “that’s not an option.”

The greninja’s stern gaze turned towards Demetri with as much bluntness as his tone. “Too bad then.”

Demetri fists tightened. “Why are yo-”

“Everyone, calm down,” Dolly ordered, raising her voice above the two. “We’re not leaving anyone behind.”

Seliph crossed his arms and raised his nose, turning away from Dolly. “I guess I didn’t get the memo that they’re officially in your ‘band of trusted individuals’.”

Dolly sighed. “It’s not like that, Seliph.”

“Oh really now. Because it sounds like you’d rather stay and put us all at risk just for this stranger’s sake.”

Dolly glared at his remarks but held her tongue as Devon buzzed in.

“Hold on.” He stepped in front of Demetri defensively but calmly. “Demetri izzzn’t the only one hurt. Pluzzz, he’zzz very good at battling and can help with his pzzzychic abilitiezzz. We wouldn’t zzzlow you down.”

The impartialness and respect impressed and surprised Garon. I’m starting to get a good idea why he’s helping Demetri on this case. His thoughts were interrupted by Dolly chiming in.

“Seliph, you’re not being fair here.” She gestured towards Vragon, saying with a ‘struggling to be respectful’ tone. “Vray’s hurt too. I don’t want him traveling till he’s healed up and I don’t mean till he can walk.”

Dolly… Garon held his breath as he watched for Seliph’s reaction, however, it was Vragon that spoke first.

“I don’t need to be fully healed up, Dolly.” His eyes were scowling as well, though didn’t come off as aggressive like everyone else’s aggressive looks.

Garon took a breath, taking Vragon’s expression as a cue to cool off as well. He watched Dolly walk to Vragon’s side and gently push the sitting up fraxure back to lying down.

“Don’t worry, Vray, it’s not a big deal. Plus you’ll feel much better at traveling when you’re all healed up.” She smiled a warm smile as if none of the past conversations had happened, though Vragon’s looked like they happened tenfold.

“Bu-” He began, in a desperate high voice. However, he stopped with the abruptness of someone ordering him to and merely lowered his head out of clear guilt.

Garon walked nearer, saying, “Remember, it’s not your fault this is all going on. It’s the Red Eyes’ fault.”

Vragon looked up at him with a weak stare. Not long afterwards, he gave in to Dolly’s pushing and obediently rest his head on the pillow. However, once she removed her hand, he rolled on his side, lifting his head enough so his short, backwards angling tusks would slide under the pillow, and just stared at the wall in front.

Deep down, Garon felt his body go heavy though he knew trying further wasn’t going to help. He’ll need time. I just wish he wasn’t here at this meeting. He glanced at Dolly and surmised she felt the same way, based on her concerned frown focused on the fraxure.

She reached over and began rubbing his right shoulder. “Vray, you’re not a burden.”

Garon looked back at Vragon’s face. The boy was tense, probably due to Dolly’s touch, and clasping onto the thin covers on his body. His eyes clearly wanted to cry or just shut and wish for all of this to go away.

Dolly sighed and sat down next to him. “Vray-”

“Why do you keep doing this?” Seliph’s voice asked, cold as the wind mid-winter.

Glaring at Seliph, Dolly replied in a firm tone, “Because he isn’t.”

Seliph grunted. “It’s not hard to see that he is.”

Her eyes widened as her eyes gave off a strange hostility Garon had never seen from her before.

The greninja, defying her maternal aggression. “You can’t just brush that away and say it isn’t real.”

Dolly stood up. “Seliph, I’ve put up with a lot, but you’re going too far. He’s just a fifteen-year-old.”

Seliph walked over to the footrest of the bed, ignoring all the glares from the trio to his right, and stared straight into Dolly’s eyes. “Or, how about you stop pretending and take this situation seriously.”

“How am I not?” Dolly challenged, a small bit of a growl trailing at the end.

Seliph took a deep breath and turned around. He pressed his hands behind his back and walked towards the door, pausing right in front of it. “Simple.” He turned to the side, glaring at her with scorn. “We’ve narrowly escaped defeat twice now and you’re still treating things like ‘everything is going to be okay’.”

Dolly’s face froze as she remained silent, while Seliph walked towards her in slow steps.

“You think these Red Eyes are some hooligans? The mere fact they’re interested in Vragon should scare the living daylights out of you. Why? Because there’s nothing they won’t do to get exactly what they want. I’ve seen what they’re capable of and so have they.” Seliph pointed towards his siblings.

“Leave us out of it,” Jaron snarled, while Ciecro glared in silence.

Seliph shook his head and looked back at Dolly. “Be honest, you understand what I’m getting at. Hell, I would have expected you to get the picture of how barbaric they can be when looking at Vragon’s injuries.”

Garon saw Vragon moved more under the covers at this. He pushed all the hot air from his nostrils as the frustration grew harder to pin down in his heart. Enough of this. Garon stepped forwards. “Seliph, you need to st-” He froze in confusion as he noticed Dolly had her hand raised, towards him.

“Let him finish.”

Garon opened his mouth to speak, but Dolly’s leer made him pause. However, he managed to say, “What about them.”

Dolly took a deep breath. “It’s only for me.” She looked at Seliph, her eyes narrow and strong, like a stalwart warrior. “Right, Seliph?”

Ugh, this won’t end well. Despite his feelings, Garon conceded to her and stepped back to his spot. He looked down at Swift, whose returning stare looked incredibly worried about the outcome. Let’s just hope neither blow their top.

Seliph crossed his arms. “Essentially, you’ve been grossly underestimating them.”

Dolly pointed at him, challengingly. “So are you saying you should call the shots?”

“No, I’m just pointing out what I’m seeing.” He gave the room a sweep with his eyes. “Look around you. Half of us are wounded and everyone has taken a beating, yet you’re still treating this like we’re on some kind of errand trip.”

Dolly sighed. “I’m not trying to downplay our situation; I’m just trying to keep everyone calm and collected.”

With a snicker, Seliph gestured around the room. “And how’s that working.”

Garon fought hard to remain silent as he snarled in his head at that comment. He looked at Swift again, seeing his friend equally off-put. Glancing at Dolly, Garon’s anger subsided a little at seeing how calm and collected she looked compared to the both of them. Patiently, he waited for her to reply.

“I don’t have an army, Seliph. I just have everyone in this room.”

Rolling his eyes, Seliph looked back at the clock on the wall. “You don’t need an army, you just need to snap out of this trivial mentality and treat this seriously so you can make better deci-”

“Shut up!”

The dragon’s attention shot towards the right, just in time to see Jaron slide off the bed and start stomping his way towards Seliph.

“Stop acting like it’s all her fault!”

Dolly looked at Jaron, her scowl softening up. “Jaron, let him fi-”

“Finish what‽ Blaming you for everything?” He snapped, staring coldly into Seliph’s disinterested gaze. “He can’t just diss you like that after you’ve been trying so hard. We all could have done better, including you, Seliph!”

“Yeah,” Jasmine added, joining Jaron’s side. “I’m with Jaron. What have you been doing to try and help in all this, besides go off on your own and complain about everyone else?”

“Jasmine, Jaron, please.”

The two turned around and all the fire in their eyes dwindled down at seeing the icy stare of a displeased Dolly. “Bu-” Jaron started but was compelled into silence as Dolly shook her head.

“Oh no, let them go on,” Seliph scoffed, eyeing her with a vicious glare like one would give a bitter enemy. “Let them defend their precious Dolly.”

“What the hell is wrong with you‽” Jaron shouted. He would have gotten right up in Seliph’s face if Dolly hadn’t grabbed his arm firmly.

Seliph looked down at Jaron, with an arrogant look of pity. “I especially love what you’ve done with my brother.” His eyes raised to meet Dolly’s as he snickered with a scowl.

“Stop it, all of you,” Swift exclaimed.

Garon nodded; he’d run out of patience for this bickering as well. “We’re not going to get anywhere fighting like this.”

“I agree.” Seliph pointed at Dolly, and added, “Nor if we keep treating this situation so casually.”

“Seliph,” Garon snarled but didn’t press on upon seeing Dolly give them a ‘disengage’ look.

Dolly sighed, gently pulling Jaron behind her as she stepped in front, nigh two feet from Seliph. “Please don’t escalate things. You’ve made your points, so drop it.”

Seliph threw his hands up in the air and exclaimed, “Whatever, I’m done with this sham of a meeting.” He turned around and headed for the door.

“Wait!” Garon rushed over to him, almost bumping into Seliph.

Reluctantly, the greninja stopped and turned his head to eye Garon with a cold stare. “What? You heard what she said, ‘drop it’ so I’m dropping it.”

Sighing, Garon said, “She didn’t mean for you to leave.”

Grumbling, Seliph crossed his arms and dropped eye contact. “Why bother staying? I think it’s pretty obvious she’s not going to lis-”

“Ciecro!” Dolly shouted.

Garon and Seliph immediately broke their stare off, spotting the charmeleon marching towards them. His orange eyes burning like coals in a fire.

There wasn’t enough time for Garon to get in Ciecro’s way before the charmeleon latched his claws on the sides of the collar on Seliph’s vest.

“Ciecro!” Garon moved to separate the two, but Seliph pushed against the dragon’s chest. Wha? He looked at Seliph, who was eyeing his brother with a determined glare from his blue eyes that matched the intensity in Ciecro’s orange ones.

“Let him finish,” Seliph said, spacing out each word to add more weight to them.

What do I do? He gritted his teeth, glancing at Swift, who looked just as shocked and confused as he was.

“Yah talk way too much. Learn tah shuddup.”

Garon tensed up and readied to intervene should Ciecro not respond well to Seliph’s reply.

Thankfully, Seliph remained silent, which sadly bolstered Ciecro’s offensive.

“I don’ care whatcha have tah say.”

Seliph’s gaze relaxed a little, almost as Ciecro became less threatening in the last five seconds. “I don’t need your approval to say anything.”

The claws grasping the vest tightened. The charmeleon snarled as he pulled on the vest, while Seliph pulled back.

“Ciecro, let him go now,” Dolly commanded, starting to walk over to the standoff.

He refused to even ease his grip, just snarled at his older brother.

“Ciecro, don’t make me make you let him go,” Dolly said in a stern tone.

In an instant, Ciecro’s unfaltering glare lowered, as his eyes shook slightly. His claws, however, didn’t follow.

Seliph’s eyes narrowed. “If you’re not going to do anything, then…let…go.”

Snarling, Ciecro raised his head, with a face that wanted to bite the greninja’s head off.

Garon wasn’t going to take anymore chances. He placed a talon on Ciecro’s shoulder, prompting the charmeleon to look into his calm gaze. “Ciecro, you heard Dolly.”

Ciecro’s eyes darted down then shot back up to stare into Seliph’s once more as if Garon had done nothing.

Garon didn’t worry, thanks to the visible albeit minor shaking in Ciecro’s fists. Just let it go. Garon urged in his mind, waiting patiently and keeping his talon on the boy’s shoulder.

Sure enough, Ciecro’s head fell as he let go of Seliph’s vest, his arms falling to his sides looking heavy and defeated.

The greninja grabbed the spots Ciecro had, starting to smooth them out. He opened his mouth to speak but didn’t even get to make a sound before Garon growled as their gazes locked.

“Before you say anything, don’t.” Despite the growl earlier, Garon wasn’t angry and he wanted to make sure Seliph knew that.

Seliph, on the other hand, looked bitter. He turned around, grumbled, “Fine.” and undid the bolt on the door. He didn’t look back as he opened the door, stepped outside, and slammed it shut with a force Garon could almost feel by the loudness alone.

His body felt still and cold, almost as if he was a ghost in some kind of mirror, staring into the reaches of the sad reality. His eyes lowered slightly, as a pained scowl formed. The chilling feeling filled his soul. He felt a hand touch his sound and turned to glance at Swift, who was looking up at him with a worried scowl.

For a split second, Garon could see that stare once more. He closed his eyes and took a breath, refocusing his mind to ignore such memories and instead remember how far they’d come.

“I’ll go check on him,” Swift said, taking his hand from the dragon’s side and reaching for the door.

Garon backed away as Swift made his departure, watching the mon leave without a sound save for the door shutting softly. He returned his gaze to the floor once more, the coldness in his heart returning.

I…won’t… He stared back at the door, his eyes narrowed into a glare that would pierce the courage of an enemy. I won’t let you go down that road. Even if you don’t want to, I won’t let you.

“Are you alright?”

Garon’s gaze rose as he glanced behind, seeing Dolly staring back at him with a concerned look, or was it sympathy? He didn’t know but smiled a little at her thoughtfulness. “I’m quite fine,” he answered, turning towards her. “Are you okay?”

Dolly sighed, nodding. “I’ll be okay.”

Garon nodded, and looked at Demetri and Devon, giving them a little bow of his head. “Apologies for his behavior.”

Demetri accepted with a nod. The two nerves shared a look that lasted longer than a simple glance as if they were speaking through Demetri’s telepathy.

I wonder how they’re taking it. He wondered.

His anticipation rose as he saw Demetri shake his head and approach Dolly. He gave a respectful nod, though his weary face showed just how much effort he was doing in being respectful. “I’m assuming, now is a rather bad time for such an important meeting.”

Garon walked over, standing between the two as he turned to Dolly. “I agree.”

Dolly’s face looked incredibly disappointed and troubled as she stared into Garon’s eyes. She closed hers and took a deep breath. “I suppose, everyone just isn’t ready for it.” A small smile formed, though it still retained the melancholy aura as if she was still frowning. “We can discuss our plans later. Everyone probably needs rest.”

Glancing at the rest of the room, Garon gaze softened more at seeing the four, wearing their respective bummed expressions. Vragon staring at the wall, Jaron rubbing his arm while his eyes looked at the side, Ciecro leaning on the wall with a spaced-out scowl, and Jasmine staring at the floor as her claws lazily picked at each other.

“Very well, I wish good rest to you all.” Demetri gave them one more head nod and proceeded to the door.

“Yeah, good night,” Devon added, following his fellow nerve.

No one spoke as they exited the room.

Eventually, Garon couldn’t stand the silence anymore and said, “Dolly.”

“Hrm?” She looked at him with eyes wide open.

“Don’t take his words too hard.” He looked over at the kids. “What matters is we’re safe.”

He watched her out of the corner of his eye. Her head lowered as a small smile crept on her face; her eyes narrowed in a way that conveyed just how weary they were, but the small gleam in them showed how much she appreciated the thought.

“Thank you,” She answered, her tone lifting like her spirit. “A good night’s rest will help.”

Garon smiled, but it was short-lived as Vragon spoke up, grabbing the two’s attention.

“Dolly, are you going to be okay?” His face held that same desperation and worry as before, though it was encouraging to know it was for Dolly.

“Yes, just need some rest. A bit tired from everything that’s happened,” she replied, rubbing her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m a bit tired too,” Jasmine added, a soft smile forming.

Vragon’s head lowered for a second, his eyes staring at the covers in deep thought.

“Vray?”

“Hrm?” They shot up.

“Have you had any dinner?”

Vragon tilted his head, almost confused why she would ask that because it was so obvious. Until his eyes widened at the realization that he hadn’t.

Dolly chuckled as she walked over to the bedside, resting a hand on his shoulder. She looked up at Ciecro and Jaron. “You two mind getting some food? I believe you two haven’t had any dinner either.”

Jaron’s eyes lit up, almost as if hearing her voice alone weakened the downer atmosphere around him. “Sure thing.” He looked up to his brother, expectantly.

Ciecro uncrossed his arms and got off the wall. “Eh.” He nodded.

“Good, Jasmine you should stay here while they get dinner for you all.”

“Wait,” Jasmine got on all fours and leaned closer to the bed. “You aren’t eating too?”

Dolly shook her head.

All four of their faces were saddened at that. However, to Garon’s surprise, Jaron nodded as his smile returned.

“Alright, good night, Dolly. Get some good rest.”

She chuckled. “You too Jaron. All of you don’t stay up too late.”

“We won’t,” Jasmine added, sitting back down.

“Well, that’s good to hear.” Dolly let go of Vragon.

Garon headed to the door first, opening it and stepping aside for Dolly to exit first.

A light chuckle escaped her mouth. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” He backed up, pushing the door more as Jaron and Ciecro exited too.” Once everyone was out, he turned to the last two in the room.

“Night,” Dolly said, with a wave.

“Night,” The two inside said, albeit with less enthusiasm.

Garon stepped out, letting the door shut behind him. All four waited in the hallway till they heard the click of the bolt

Dolly yawned as she looked out one of the windows. “Dusk already? Geez, time sure flies.” She waved at the two and started to walk back to her room.

Garon followed but stopped at hearing Jaron speak.

“Dolly.”

“Huh?”

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” He rubbed his arm once more, as his eyes darted to the side. “I shouldn’t have escalated things. I should have listened to you.”

“It’s alright Jaron, I know you meant well.” She suddenly let out a loud yawn, turning the scene awkward for Jaron and Garon. “Sorry, it’s just late and I’m beat. Don’t worry about it, Jaron. Night.” She waved at him and started going down the hallway

“O-okay. Night.” He nodded, turning around to follow Ciecro, who was waiting for him down the hallway.

“Jaron.”

The croconaw stopped, looking at him with a slightly perplexed.

Garon didn’t say a word, just gave a slow nod.

Jaron’s gaze tightened to a determined, serious stare. He nodded in return, spun around, and jogged on over to Ciecro’s side as they headed down the stairs.

That’s encouraging. Garon smiled, as he kept his gaze focused on the far end of the hallway, even after Ciecro and Jaron had descended the stairs. Maybe I was wrong about him.

His thoughts were brought back, upon hearing Dolly yawn loudly. “Ugh, boy, yawns are annoying, huh?”

Garon smirked as he nodded in agreement. His smile vanished, however, upon looking into her eyes. I wish my patience was even half of hers.

Raising a brow, Dolly asked, “Is there something on my face?”

Garon closed his eyes, crossed his talons, and with a grin said, “Just the blatant tiredness, nothing more.” He was panting with relief in his mind at hearing Dolly’s chuckle at his jest.

“Not bad, but you’d probably earn a slap from anyone else.” She walked past him, suddenly stopping and leaning in closer.

Garon’s eyes shot wide in surprise as Dolly moved up to his ear and whispered in a low tone.

“But I don’t mind you being facetious.”

Wow, she’s good.

Dolly started walking on, chuckling at her pun.

“Everything alright?” Somwei asked, getting off a spot on the wall nearby.

Dolly crossed her arms. “Hmmm…Not entirely, but we’ll manage.”

“I see.” He once more leaned against the wall, his eyes looking rather disinterested or at least trying to look that way. “Well, don’t worry about the kid. I’ll make sure nothing happens tonight.”

Nodding, Dolly bowed her head. “Thank you.” With a nod for a reply from Somwei, Dolly resumed traveling down the hallway, with Garon tailing behind her.

The hallway felt like it stretched for an eternity as Garon kept his gaze focused upon the back of Dolly’s head, constantly mulling over what happened. I need to be more proactive. She looks like she’s in over her head, after all. And after what Seliph pulled, I’m amazed she didn’t lose her temper. He turned his gaze towards the wall, watching the near night sky move in and out of his view. Jaron and Ciecro were pretty aggressive too. His eyes trailed down lower. What would Cain do in this situation? I want to help them, but stuff like this is precarious.

Suddenly, his mind shot back to Seliph’s last look at him. His body tensed up as he compared that stare to another, more familiar one. His scowl returned. His heart went faster, renewed by determined passion. I…no, we have to do something. Think, Garon, what would Cain advise in this-

His stewing thoughts were put on hold as Dolly stopped in front of her room’s door.

“Well.” She gave him a rather weary thumbs up. “Here’s to a better day tomorrow, I hope.”

Garon nodded, not dropping his serious scowl.

Dolly shrugged as she inserted the hotel key. “Take care of yourself tonight.”

“Uhm.”

“Yes?” Dolly nudged the door open a little as she looked at him, listening.

“Well.” He looked down the hallway beyond her form. As he tried to think of what to say, Dolly ripped another loud yawn.

“Heh, damn, another one. Well, I guess my body is just rattatay like that.” She looked back at Garon with a smile. “It’s a bit late so you can tell me tomorrow.” She started stepping in, pushing the door away and flipping her wrist on its edge once it was through.

No, wait! Garon moved his talon on the front, pushing against Dolly’s attempt to shut it.

Perplexed, Dolly ceased attempting to close it. “Garon?”

“I…” Garon could just feel the flusteredness fill his cheeks.

Dolly chuckled making him feel even more awkward. “Don’t worry, I’ll be alright. A good night’s rest should fix me up. Plus, don’t you need to eat some dinner?”

“That can wait.”

Dolly’s smile disappeared. “Oh?” she said, with a raise of the brow.

“I don’t feel good about leaving tonight at just what happened,” Garon stuttered, Dolly’s chuckling only adding to his embarrassment. Idiot, what are you trying to say?

“I think I get what you mean. I wouldn’t mind chatting a little before I hit the hay.” She pushed the door wider as she walked into the room, gesturing him to follow.

Perking up a little from his blunder, Garon stepped inside as Dolly tapped the emura light on the stand, causing it to shine bright. Silently, the dragon watched Dolly reach for her travel belt on the dresser and take out a notebook and a small case of ink.

Moving to shut the door, Garon stared at its wooden surface with a blank stare. Seliph’s stare returned; he could almost make it out in the wood. His talon pressed up into the wood, slightly penetrating its flat surface as he closed his eyes and took a quiet but deep breath. “How long have you known them?”

“Who?” Dolly asked, followed by the sound of placing the belt back on the dresser.

Opening his eyes and turning around, Garon elaborated. “Jaron and Ciecro.”

“Oh.” A little bit of energy filled Dolly’s eyes mimicked by the small smile forming on her face. “About six years ago.” She set the notebook on the nightstand and popped the ink lid off. “Of course, Jaron was still totodile back then. Ciecro was charmeleon.”

Quietly, Garon walked over to a nearby seat, turning it backwards and sitting into it, and resting his arms on its backrest.

“I was meeting a friend of mine, Miss Dresha. I was aware she was taking care of two boys so I had the silly idea of introducing Jasmine to them. Give her some friends if they hit it off.”

Dolly suddenly paused, causing Garon to raise a brow in anticipation.

She raised a finger absentmindedly for a second, then suddenly she snapped. “That’s right, I don’t think you know.” Dolly turned around, holding a quill in her right hand as her left went for her notebook. “Jasmine lives with me.”

“Oh?” Garon leaned forwards.

“Yes, for eight whole years.” Dolly sat on the bed, letting out a content sigh at its softness. “Though, I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Tilting her head upwards, the kangaskhan’s eyes narrowed as her smile shrunk. “I met her on a road during one of my business trips between towns. It was stormy at the time and she was curled up under some trees shivering. Thankfully, I was able to convince her to come with me and brought her to my diner.”

Garon shifted his arms silently, keeping his gaze firmly on Dolly’s eyes specifically.

“I asked her what she was doing out all by herself and where she lived and well…she wouldn’t answer me.”

“She wouldn’t?”

“Nope.” Dolly looked him in the eyes. “She wasn’t very talkative that night. Course, I later learned why.”

“Why?” A second later, Garon’s eyes widened and he lurched from his slouching. “Uhm…I mean if it’s okay wi-”

Dolly chuckled. “Relax, formalities are for business. But, I don’t think she’d be too pleased if I talked about it.”

“I understand.” So it is personal. Garon looked over at the notebook that Dolly opened. “And, I’m guessing she started helping you out at the diner?”

“Yes.”

“What about meeting Jaron and Ciecro? How did that go?”

“Quit fine, actually. Jaron was sweet as a honeysuckle. Ciecro, I would say was more like a coconut.”

“A ‘coconut’?” Garon tilted his head with Dolly laughing at his reaction.

“Well, he was quite hard to talk to, but I could tell he was sweet on the inside.”

“Hard to talk to?”

“Well, maybe that’s not the right way to put it.” Dolly scratched her cheek with the quill’s dry point. “He just wasn’t very interested in talking to me.”

“Okay. I could see that.” Garon leaned back onto his chair, as Dolly started writing again.

“In fact, I don’t think he really gave me much thought.” Dolly pressed the quill to her chin, thinking back. “Hmmm…I’d say it wasn’t till that one incident where he really started to talk to me.”

“What incident?”

“Uhm…well.” Dolly dipped the quill in the ink. “Sorry, but it’s another one of those ‘better to ask the mon in person’.”

“Fair.” Ugh, he grumbled in his mind. Tipping his seat forwards a little, Garon asked, “What about Vragon?”

Dolly chuckled, slamming her notebook on her stomach. “Boy, that was a night.” She leaned back on the headboard, as she picked the book back up and pressed the ink dipped quill to its pages. “One moment, I was having some nice gossip over tea with Dresha, and the next I was carrying this unconscious, soaked Axew inside with an overly excited Totodile asking me all sorts of questions.”

“Heh, sounds like Jaron.”

Dolly raised a brow and questioned him with her eyes.

“Well, as best I can guess. He’s a curious boy.”

“Yes, he is. Far more curious than his brother.” Dolly started writing. “Maybe even both of them.”

Garon’s eyes fell. He glanced back at the door. Seliph…

“Something up?”

Facing forwards once more, Garon stared at the ground.

Dolly stopped her writing, letting the book rest on her stomach. “Garon?” She asked, uncertainty in her tone.

Slowly, Garon lifted his face. “Dolly, can I ask you something?”

“Ask me what?”

The big dragon took a deep breath through his nostrils. “Ever since me and Swift came here we-…Well, since I’ve known them before, could-…” Garon started scratching the back of his head. No need to be formal she said. “Dolly.”

The Kangaskhan set the book down as he looked her in the eye.

“I want you to…tell me about Jaron and Ciecro. Anything and everything since they came into your life. I know, I’m still a stranger to you, but I was a friend to their parents and met them when they were little. I want to try and help them out, and learning about what happened and how they are right now will help me do that.” Garon took his arms off the chair. “Plus they’re important to me and Swift.”

Dolly’s eyes lowered to the side. “I appreciate the thought, but I don’t feel like I’m the one that should share it.”

“I would rather you tell me since I can tell something happened to them.”

Her eyes widened as Garon walked over to the wall next to the bed and placed a talon on its painted, wooden surface. “How they behaved at the meeting. I’ll confess, I was quite shocked.”

“They’re normally more docile than that.” Dolly calmly defended.

“Maybe,” Garon replied, gently dragging his talon down the wood. “But even still, what happened between them and Seliph isn’t going to go away.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’m saying, they’re both troubled.” Garon looked at her. “I’m sorry for bringing this up all of a sudden, especially when you’re worn out from the meeting.” He took a few steps forwards. “We can wait till tomorrow if you would prefer. I’ll even take you to lunch so we can-”

“Garon.” She placed a hand over her eyes. “It’s very personal to them.”

The garchomp walked up to Dolly’s bed and placed a claw on the foot mantle. “I know, and I wouldn’t ask you this if I didn’t feel it was important, for their sake.”

She lowered her hand, giving him her undivided attention.

“They must have many questions about why things have happened to them and are probably hesitant to leave this place.” Garon’s eyes looked upwards to the ceiling. “I and everyone that knew their parents wants what’s best for them. Wants to heal whatever happened to them and give them a future.”

“I know they need to go to Norfair.” Dolly set the book down, a slight scowl forming.

“It’s more than just that.”

Dolly kept firm but remained silent as Garon sighed.

“You know me and Swift were too late to do anything for them. We’ve thought they were dead for all this time.” Garon’s talons dug deeper into the wood. “Some things can’t be healed, but I want to try and help them in this time. I want them to feel they can come to me when Jaron and Ciecro don’t have you and so Seliph does have someone.”

Dolly’s glare melted, as she remained silent.

“I know what it’s like to feel uncertain about the future. To live in a foreign land, feeling alone. If Swift and I never met, I don’t know what I would have become. If I hadn’t met my teammates, I probably would have never grown into an adult.”

Her eyes lowered slightly, her fist tightening on the quill.

“That’s why I have to help them. Not as some soldier buddy of their parents or a faint memory of better times.” Time felt still as he felt his eyes start to water a little. “But as their Uncle.”

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
– Unknown

Bay

She/They
Dani California
Seen 38 Minutes Ago
Posted 3 Days Ago
6,163 posts
15.4 Years
“Okay, I get it. Shut up, Katherine.”

Garon laughed, completely blown away at the abrupt response. “Wow, imagine saying that to her face.”
Heh, guess "Katherine" is this world's "Karen".

“Maybe if entitled assholes like The Core and yourself would take a hint, I would be more inclined to in the future.”

“Seliph!” Dolly stepped in the middle, eyeing Seliph with a disapproving stare. “That’s enough insults.” To her surprise, the greninja started chuckling at her, mocking her attempts at peacekeeping.
Oof Seliph. Quite a bit of tension with the group after that. Hopefully things will settle down next chapter.
Miles Edgeworth
Foul Play [On Hiatus]