Age 33
Arizona, USA
Seen 5 Days Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
1,657 posts
13.3 Years
Natsuko Soyokaze, Marcella MacMillan
Thursday, October 8th; morning
Mauville City

Although the footprints literally dried up, it wasn't hard for Natsuko and Marcella to spot their target once the crowds thinned out. The begoggled individual made his way down to parts of the city that weren't as populated, with the downside that he would be more likely to spot them if he happened to turn around.

Fortunately, that doesn't happen, and the girls follow the man into the industrial sector, where he opens a creaky old door and vanishes into an old storehouse of some sort. Tsu has mixed feelings about this development.

"Okay, this is probably where he hangs out, but we don't know what's going on in there, or how many others are with him. This is definitely the kind of place a gang would set up, so we're going to have to be careful. Any ideas, Marce?"

Even in their dimly lit surroundings Tsu can see the girl's face is now white as a sheet, but the expression she wears is steely. "Well, there's no turning back now. We- we have to sneak in and find out what they're up to. Oh-!" Marcella reaches into her purse and pulls out a shiny, black Luxury Ball, clutching it to her chest. "This is my only other Pokémon, besides these guys and Bijou." She nods towards the Petilil still perched on her shoulder, and the Meowth circling their legs. "She's a Clamperl. I'm not sure what's behind that door, but if anything happens it might be good to have our Pokémon at the ready. Who do you have on you?"

"Well, I have Shiny, and- I mean, a Ponyta, Nosepass, Totodile, Popplio, and…" she reaches for her pocket, frowning slightly when she only feels four. And Stacy, but she's not here right now.

"...and an Egg." She instead finishes lamely. "If we want to be sneaky, my guys aren't the best at that, but they can throw down if they have to." She grabs Riptide's ball and holds it close. If things go wrong, throwing an angry crocodile at someone's face isn't a bad play.

Marcella nods solemnly. "Yes, good. Between us, we should be able to defend ourselves, then." She takes a deep breath, peering at the storehouse as she fidgets nervously with a ring on her index finger. "Do you think we should scope out the surroundings first or just follow him in? I don't want to lose him, but it could be reckless if we don't know anything..."

"Um…" Tsu hesitates a moment. Getting a feel for the surroundings is a good idea, and it had been her job the last time she'd done this. But there were more people in the gang back then. "How about you circle the perimeter while I stay on his tail? I'll call you if I need backup, or you can call me if you spot anything hinky."

With some semblance of a plan in place, the girls go their separate ways: Marcella circling the building, and Tsu heading straight for the door.

The door had made a terribly loud creak when the goggles thief opened it, so Tsu hopes to avoid doing that if possible. Fortunately for her, she spots a dirty old window with a sizable hole in it. Someone probably threw a rock or baseball through it at one point. Remembering an old trick Geo had shown her, she grabs a towel from her bag, using it to protect her hands as she pulls the broken glass shards out of the window. The towel also muffles the sound of glass as she deposits the dangerous shards on the ground outside.

With the entry hazards out of the way, she hoists herself through the now open window, dropping into a crouch and tucking herself behind some old boxes. Like a ninja… she thinks to herself.

This floor is mostly empty, save for some old boxes still lying around, and some more recent. It looks like no one has used this area for a while, except to toss an empty box aside, but she can hear noises deeper inside. There aren't any boxes to hide behind, but she risks getting closer rather than lose her target.

Given the option of entering a side office or taking a stairwell down, she opts for the stairs. She immediately notices a shift in the temperature as heat radiates from the lower level. Cautiously opening the door at the bottom, she winces at the suddenly bright light that hits her eyes.

The room she finds herself in is bright and hot, the ceiling lined with lamps and the air filled with the sounds of machinery and heavy with a sickly sweet scent. As her eyes adjust, she sees that the machines are all small treadmills, each placed in a small cage containing a Pokémon. Dozens of tiny cages line the walls, each with a Shuckle inside being forced to run. The poor creatures look exhausted, breathing heavily and sweating profusely, with one having given up and curled into its shell.

Who would do this to Shuckle? Why would they do this to Shuckle? Tsu has many questions, peering into one of the cages. Berry pulp and juice coat the floor, likely the source of the smell. If nothing else, the Shuckle appear to be well fed. She pulls her new camera out of her bag, taking pictures for evidence.

Some of the Shuckle are looking at her blearily, as if confused by her actions. She lightly touches one of the cages, but withdraws when the Shuckle inside flinches away from her hand.

The door on the far wall opens, and Tsu drops in a panic, sticking as close to the cage as she can. She hears one of the machines stop, and a cage being opened. She doesn't dare look, but after a moment hears footsteps and the door open again. When it closes, she slowly counts to five before peeking her head out.

The coast is clear, no one here but Shuckle.

She goes over to the empty cage, looking for clues. The empty cage held the Shuckle that had retreated into its shell, too tired to run anymore. Someone had come to retrieve it, and taken it through the door.

Where does that lead? What's going on in there? And what does this have to do with Bijou?

She moves to the door, determined to find out. She opens the door, and nearly screams as a loud roar comes from her pocket. She fumbles at it, quickly silencing her phone as it roars like a Gyarados.

Crap! I forgot I set an alarm so I didn't forget to check in on Stacy!

She takes a second to catch her breath, but the moment is short lived as the door is flung open, staggering her back a step as it's pulled from her grip.

"Hey, what the-?" A man asks in confusion, before roughly grabbing Tsu by the arm. "Where'd you come from?"

"Ow, let go of me, you-" Tsu squirms in his grip, stopping when she sees the Safety Goggles he's wearing. "You!"

"Me!" The man grins, then frowns in confusion. "Do I know you? Wait, I do! You're the clumsy rattata who ran into me on the way here! What, you lose your cat or something?"

Wow, rude… Tsu tries to pull her arm away from him, but his grip is too tight. "That wasn't…" She stops herself before she tells this thug about Marcella. You don't rat out your friends to save your own hide. "Yes, I'm looking for my cat. Now let go of me!"

"No can do, Cat Rattata." The Very Rude Man scratches his chin with his free hand. "I don't know how you got in here, but this place is off limits."

"Oh, I didn't know. If you could just let me go, I'll leave and never bother you again." Tsu lies, smiling sweetly at him.

"No can do," he says again. "See, intruders are above my pay grade. Boss will know what to do." He tugs at her arm, trying to pull her deeper into the building.

Tsu panics, trying to pull away again. "I don't want to meet your boss! I just want to leave!" She swings her fist at his head, her camera dangling from her wrist by the strap. Unfortunately, he catches her arm, pulling her closer to himself.

"Whoa! You brought a camera with you? Now I really gotta take you in." He starts backing up, dragging Tsu with him and keeping her arms up, where she can't reach her Poké Balls or phone.

"No no no no no no no…" Tsu panics and struggles, knowing no one will help her in this situation. If she can just get a hand free, she can buy herself some space, send out a Pokémon, call for help…

"Hey, boss! Found something you might wanna see!" Her captor calls out, signaling that she's out of time.

Tsu hears a sigh from the room ahead. "Is it good or bad, Perry? Because let me tell you… I have had a day."

"It's a little girl!" Perry (his name, apparently) grins as Tsu struggles. She actually stops to stare at him, bewildered. Little girl? How young does he think I am?

A woman steps out of an office up ahead, letting out another sigh and a plume of smoke. "That would be bad." She tosses her cigarette to the floor, staring directly at Tsu as she snuffs it out with her foot. "Don't just stand there, bring her in here."

Perry drags Tsu into the room, shoving her against the wall and dazing her long enough to get her arms behind her so she can face his boss rather than him.

Said boss shuts the door before sitting down at her desk. "Now, why don't we start at the beginning? What are you-"

"Hey, Rox! Check it out!" Perry shakes Tsu, making her camera sway as it still dangles from her wrist. "She's got a camera!"

Rox (her name, apparently) glares at Perry before looking back to Tsu. "Or let's just skip to the end. Why are you here?"

Tsu swallows nervously, trying to stop from shaking. "I was just trying to find my cat! She's a Purrloin, and I followed your friend here because he's wearing her goggles!"

Perry shakes Tsu again, which is starting to annoy her more than scare her. "I thought your cat was a Meowth?"

"I already caught up with him, now I'm looking for Purrloin."

"So, what? You have two cats?" Perry tightens his grip on Tsu's arms.

"Yeah, which is two more than you have brain cells." Tsu snaps back.

"Enough!" Rox slams her desk drawer before either Tsu or Perry can say anything else.

Tsu jumps from the noise. "I'm sorry, I can't shut up when I'm scared."

Rox massages her temple with one hand, holding a roll of duct tape in the other. "I don't need this today. I don't care who you are, or why you're here. I just want you out of my warehouse, out of my operation, and out of my hair."

"Aren't those all the same thing?" Tsu grins innocently, but Rox isn't having any of it. She tears off a piece of tape and roughly slaps it over Tsu's mouth, then has Perry turn her around so she can tape Tsu's wrists together behind her back.

"Get rid of her, and her camera. No one's gonna miss one kid. Put her in the truck, take her out of town. We don't want to make a mess here."

Whatever hope Tsu had of making it out of this mess unscathed dies with those words. She feels an icy cold in her stomach, and she cries out against the duct tape over her mouth.

"Stay with her, Perry. And don't screw this up." Rox opens the door to her office, looking out down the hall. "...Dani, come here! Grab the keys, I need you to drive."

Perry shoves Tsu forward, laughing as she struggles. "You ready for a ride, little girl? Come on, let's go!"
A joint post between Groc and juno.