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Pokémon E-Anon (Evil Anonymous)

Started by ShivaDF June 15th, 2014 2:59 PM
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  • 23 replies

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Author's note: Before I begin the story there are probably a few things I should mention. This fanfiction is a satire that is meant to deconstruct the common Pokémon fanfiction plot of every single evil team leader joining forces. Although this is meant to be humorous in tone, let me know if anybody is OOC.

As this fanfiction is based on the games, I've chosen to capitalize pokémon species names, places (like the PokéMart), and pokémon moves.

Due to some mild language (and a whole lot of angry characters), I would rate this story T.

I hope you all enjoy my first pokémon fanfiction!

E-Anon (Evil Anonymous)

Chapter One

It was a cool summer night, just past ten o’clock and the streetlights were shining bright, causing the buildings to shimmer a bluish-green. Giovanni had made some lame excuse about needing to buy repels so that he could leave the PWT before anybody else. He absolutely hated it when trainers came to talk to him in the lobby after the tournament.

As he walked away from the PWT facility, Giovanni checked his bag. It turned out it was true—he really was running low on repels. He wasn’t fond of many of the native pokémon of Unova, and besides, his adventurous days were over. He stopped to pull his fedora over his eyes. I’ll stop by the PokéMart, then be on my way, he thought. He walked past several emerald-studded buildings. He was glad they didn’t shine much at night.

Giovanni had never liked Driftveil City. There were far too many people milling around, constantly blabbering about something or other. It was difficult to find ways to carry more than the legal six pokémon at once in such a place. The World Tournament building screened every trainer’s party, so Giovanni was forced to hide his extra pokéballs in his coat and hat. Even worse, it wasn’t as if he could commiserate with anyone about such criminal inconveniences.

But for the “Self-Proclaimed Strongest Trainer” and former boss of Team Rocket, it wasn’t as if he could seek worthy opponents anywhere else. Taking back his position as Viridian City gym leader had been difficult enough. He didn’t want anything more to aggravate him.

Giovanni scowled. The walk to the to the PokéMart was taking longer than waiting for Ariana to fix her hair. He tilted up his hat brim, and saw nothing. The Market was nowhere in sight, and the city’s stonework stretched to the horizon. The scenery seemed to blur, and Giovanni felt his head pounding.

“What? Is this some sort of idiotic prank?!” Giovanni reached for his bag, but paused when he saw something yellow flickering at the edge of his field of vision. He whirled around, and saw a Kadabra.

“Don’t tell me Sabrina has it out for me again,” muttered Giovanni, as he prepared to send out a pokémon. Before he could do anything, he heard a woman’s unfamiliar voice cry out.

“Kadabra, use Psycho Cut!”

The Kadabra’s eyes glowed pink, and it swiped at the air with its claws. A psychic wave shot out and crashed against Giovanni. He screamed and grabbed his head. He crumpled over and fell to his knees. Everything went black.

=====

Giovanni woke up with a pounding headache, his eyes still closed. It felt like his head had been trampled by a herd of Tauros. Knowing that he’d eventually have to wake up, he opened his eyes and resigned himself to the toils of the day.

But instead of his usual hotel room, this room was even more drab. Giovanni quickly felt his clothes—he still had his coat on, not his bedclothes. He turned to the side and saw his fedora lying next to him. He put it on. Getting more and more aggravated, Giovanni groaned and pushed himself out of bed. The room was cramped and barren, with only a bed and no windows. His bag was nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, the memory of the Kadabra from the night before came rushing back. My pokémon, thought Giovanni, I have to find them! He rifled through every one of his pockets, looked inside his hat and his shoes, and found nothing. Giovanni grimaced when he realized whoever had kidnapped him had frisked him and stolen his pokémon.

“How dare I be toyed with!” Giovanni stormed toward the door.

Before his hand even touched the doorknob, the door opened by itself, revealing a young woman. She wore a flowing sundress like an Aroma Lady. Beside her stood the Kadabra.

“You! You did this to me!” yelled Giovanni. He reached out to strangle the woman, but missed and stepped right past her. He stumbled into the hall.

“Sorry, Mr. Giovanni,” said the woman. “I had Kadabra use Kinesis on you. No harm done, right?” She winked.

“Using moves on humans is against the law!” yelled Giovanni. “Now, what do you want from me?!” He shook his fist at her.

“Oh, Mr. Giovanni, you’ve got it all wrong,” she said. “We’re here to help you! And we only use these pokémon to aid in your recovery.” She reached down and petted Kadabra’s head. “Anyway, we need to hurry to your first meeting. Follow me, please.” She turned and walked down the hall.

“I refuse to follow—” Giovanni was cut off by Kadabra raising its spoon. Giovanni became bathed in blue light, and his entire body was dragged after the woman.

The woman looked at him. “Isn’t Telekinesis a fun way to travel?” she asked. “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about this place when we get to the meeting room.”

“You will suffer for this.” Giovanni seethed, but without pokémon of his own, there wasn’t much he could do but look threatening.

He was carried down the hall until he and the woman reached another doorway, which stood next to a large billboard that had many brightly-colored fliers tacked to it. A banner above the billboard read: E-ANON.

“What is this?” snarled Giovanni.

The woman stopped walking and spun around to face him. “This is where we gather people like you who need help getting back on track and making new friends!” She grinned. “You’ll have free room and board, too! Isn’t it great?”

“No!” screamed Giovanni. “Do you know who I am?! I am the Viridian City gym leader, I am—”

The woman snapped her fingers and the Kadabra stopped its Telekenisis. Giovanni crashed to the floor and fell on his stomach.

“Actually, I’m sure Blue will be taking care of your gym while you work on the program.” The woman giggled. “Just relax and listen to everyone’s stories. Have fun!” She gestured to her Kadabra, who used its Telekinesis to open the door to the meeting hall. “I’ll bet they’ll all be excited to meet somebody so famous.”

Giovanni stood back up and adjusted his hat and coat. “Too famous to be treated like this. Tell me, what is this place?” he asked in a soft tone, under the assumption that woman was insane.

Her eyes opened wide. “Why, you’re at Evil Anonymous. You know, the recovery center for evildoers everywhere? Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of us?”

Now Giovanni was certain she was insane. Such a place seemed too silly to actually exist. He decided to keep playing along. After all, insane vigilantes were even more stubborn than starving Arcanines. “Why, how could you think I’m an evildoer? I haven’t been involved in any shady dealings for so long now.” He smiled. “Why not leave the past in the past?”

She shook her head. “That’s what they all say.... at least you’ll fit in. Kadabra, show him to the seats.”

With another burst of telekinetic energy, Giovanni was flung into the meeting room. He recovered and hurriedly tried to memorize his surroundings, especially any possible exits or weapons. The room was spacious enough, but it also had no windows. Near the middle of the room was a whiteboard, which had many chairs lined up in front of it, like a little army. There was a single chair next to the board. In the side of the room was a coffee table set up with drinks. There were a few doors, which Giovanni assumed led either outside or to living quarters.

A few people were wandering around the meeting room, adjusting the chairs or getting cups of coffee or tea. Most of the people were dressed like Breeders or Rangers, as if they were ready for heavy service work. They each had a companion pokémon out and following them around.

Giovanni scrutinized the pokémon. Natu, Mr. Mime, Kadabra... all psychic-types. It figures, he thought. People were starting to fill the room, all of them with dopey expressions on their faces. Giovanni strode up to a service person who didn’t look too active and tapped him on the shoulder. “Excuse me, but what are these meetings? More importantly, where are my pokémon?” Giovanni struggled to keep his voice level.

The man, a Breeder by the looks of it, turned around. He had a Natu on his shoulder, which was staring intently at Giovanni. “Ah, so you’re the old Rocket Boss? Nice to meet you. We’ve been waiting for you for a quite a while.” He reached out to shake hands, but Giovanni put his hands in his pockets. “Don’t worry ‘bout your pokémon. They’re being held for you while you recover. Remember that we’ll always be here to help you. So, want some coffee?”

Giovanni awkwardly looked away. “Uh... no.” It’s probably poisoned, he left unsaid. “So where are the... others like me?”

“They’ll be here soon enough. Don’t get edgy, you’ll be able to share your story soon enough.” The Breeder turned to one of the doors, where a few more people were entering the room. “Hey! Look, they’re arriving. Come on, Giovanni, why don’t you go make a friend or two while we wait for everyone else?” The Natu on his shoulder chirped.

“How about no,” Giovanni said under his breath.

“Aw, don’t be such a gloomy Gus. Hey, I know a guy who’s a touch shy like you. Why don’t I introduce the two of you?” He pointed to a man with spiky blue hair standing by the coffee table. By this point, several people were already sitting in the chairs in front of the board and talking.

“I’m not interested. Besides, I’m certain that I’m not meant to be here.” As more people entered the room and sat down, Giovanni felt his stress mounting. “I’ll take my leave now, if you don’t mind—” As he turned away, the Natu leapt off the Breeder’s shoulder and caught Giovanni’s fedora in its beak. It fluttered to the floor and hopped away.

“What?!” Giovanni gnashed his teeth. He grabbed the pokémon Breeder by the collar. “Control your pokémon, you fool, or else you will have to answer to me!”

The Breeder just smiled. “He’s just playing. Have a sense of humor, now will ya’?” He looked over to the Natu. “Buddy, take Giov’s hat over to the guy I want him to meet, okay?” The Natu chirped again, and started hopping over to the coffee table.

Giovanni shoved the pokémon Breeder and released him, and chased after the Natu instead. “Give that back, or you’ll experience a world of pain!” The pokémon kept hopping until it reached the shadow of the coffee table. It skipped to the left, landing on the shoe of the man standing in front of the table. He picked up the fedora and looked down at it.

“That’s mine!” Giovanni ran over and grabbed his hat out of the man’s hand. He put it back on, adjusted it, and let out a frustrated sigh. When he looked up, he noticed that the man standing next to him was staring at him. He had his head tilted down, and was staring up at Giovanni with a blank, soulless expression. He had dark circles under his eyes, increasing the effect.

Although the man’s stare was comparable to looking into the back of a Shedinja, Giovanni was not the least bit intimidated. “What do you want?!” he snapped.

The pokémon Breeder walked up to both of them. “Chill, Giovanni. Cyrus looks at everyone like that. Why don’t you guys get acquainted? It’d be good for you to make some friends with the other recovering villains, Giov.”

Giovanni felt more angry than an abused pokémon using Frustration. “First of all, my name is Giovanni, and you will use it! Second, I am not under your command!” He paused. “Wait, what? Isn’t Cyrus the name of...”

“Yep, the Boss of Team Galactic from Sinnoh. Sure was hard for us to track him down!” The Breeder grinned.

“Isn’t he supposed to be dead?” asked Giovanni.

“You’re such a jokester.” The Breeder shook his head. “Now, have a conversation like two, well-adjusted humans. I’m sure you two’ll get along great. I mean, you both have tons of wrinkles!” When Giovanni just kept glowering at him, his grin fell. “Natu, use Peck on Giovanni.” Right on cue, Natu leapt into the air and jabbed Giovanni in the face with its beak.

“Argh!” Giovanni swatted the Natu, and covered his face with his hands. He felt like the veins in his forehead were about to burst. Thinking quickly, his imagined a detailed scenario involving his Nidoqueen stomping the pokémon Breeder into a paste. That soothed Giovanni a bit, and he straightened his back.

“I’ll leave you and Cyrus for a bit,” said the Breeder. “Come on, Natu! Let’s wait for everyone.” He walked away.

“Fine, you fool. I’ll teach you a lesson soon enough!” After screaming at the Breeder, Giovanni looked back to Cyrus, who had been completely silent for this entire exchange. “All right. Tell me, how many people have you killed, Cyrus?” he asked with his most cloying voice.

“None... directly,” Cyrus answered, in utter monotone. After a long silence, so long it became somewhat awkward, he spoke again. “Why?”

“Either you’re a serial killer, or you have never slept a day in your life,” said Giovanni. “What is wrong with your eyes?”

Cyrus seemed to look right past Giovanni.

“More importantly, how can I retrieve my pokémon and leave this place this instant?!” Giovanni made a fist and slammed it against the table, causing the coffeemakers to shake.

Cyrus just looked on, emotionless.

Giovanni breathed heavily, sweat dripping down his forehead. After a few moments, he heard someone yelling at the other side of the room. He turned to look, and saw a man being pushed through an entrance by two service people. He was holding a metal cane, struggling to keep his balance, while simultaneously attempting to resist the people forcing him inside. He was shouting some gibberish and foaming at the mouth.

One of the people herding him tried to soothe him. “Now, now, did you accidentally spit out your medicine again today?”

Giovanni’s eyes widened. He recognized the shouting man’s pale green, antler-like hair and black robe immediately. Giovanni always watched the news carefully. “Is that...” He didn’t get to finish his sentence.

“I am perfect! I am Ghetsis!” yelled the former Plasma King, spit flying out of his mouth.

Giovanni put his head in his hands again. This is hell, he thought.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Two

As soon as Ghetsis was forced to sit down in a chair like a nearly-civilized human being, everyone started to quiet down. The service people and their pokémon moved to the sides of the room to block off all the exits. Cyrus, still showing no emotion, sat down as far away from the board as possible.

Giovanni wasn’t going to sit at all, until a Hypno glared at him from across the room. After that, Giovanni decided to take a cue from Cyrus and sat next to him. After all, if those guards get distracted, I want to make a clean break for the exits, thought Giovanni, though what do about his stolen pokémon was still unclear to him.

After a minute or so, one of the doors opened. A woman with long pink hair, who was dressed like a scientist, entered the room. A female Meowstic was sitting on her shoulder. The woman stopped in front of the whiteboard and adjusted her glasses and labcoat. She smiled blankly like a Chansey.

“My name is Inari, and I welcome you to E-Anon,” she said. “We hope you find in this fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy. We who live or have lived with the problem of villainy understand as perhaps few others can, and we share our stories to benefit others like us. In this program, we hope you will find the peace you seek. At E-Anon, your serenity is our responsibility.”

Her Meowstic let out a low purr.

After Inari gave her address, she stood aside and gestured to the audience. She sat down in the chair closest to the whiteboard, and her Meowstic leapt onto her lap.

A Lass sitting in the front row of chairs stood up. She walked in front of the whiteboard and curtsied. “Hi, I’m Lass Mia, and I’m a recovering evildoer.”

“Hi, Mia,” many people in the audience, and Inari, piped up.

This immediately put Giovanni on edge. They’ve kidnapped someone so young? They’re like some sort of cult, he thought. And that Inari woman must be some sort of torture technician. He had a feeling that Inari kept vials of Arbok venom or Tentacruel toxin in her labcoat, or maybe she carried scimitar custom-made out of a Seviper tail.

Giovanni snapped out of his reverie when Mia started talking again. “I have a problem,” she said. “I have a little Pichu that the workers here are kindly holding for me. Pichu wants to evolve, but every time it goes all glow-y, I surprise it so it stops.” She sniffled, tears coming to her eyes. “I just think it’s so cute the way it is!”

Inari nodded. “You’ve made a crucial first step, Mia.” She looked to the audience. “Next!”

The next person to stand up was a man dressed in overalls. He shuffled up to the board, fidgeting nervously. “Uh... hey, everybody... my name’s Ben. I’m a recovering evildoer.”

“Hi, Ben!” answered the audience.

“I used to work at a PokéMart,” said Ben. “B-But... sometimes I’d overprice the pokéballs by fifty-percent! I just want to feed my starving family!”

The audience gasped.

“But now I’ve started to understand the pain of all the poor trainers I’ve ripped off.” Ben grinned proudly. A few people in the audience cheered for him.

Inari nodded again, like a robot. “I see, I see. Good job. Next?”

The next few presentations proceeded in much the same fashion, leaving Giovanni increasingly confused. To him, these people seemed idiotic, yes, but not even close to evil. As the meeting dragged on, Giovanni noticed himself nodding off occasionally. Maybe the reason these people are ‘evil’ is that they snap from the repetitive redundancy of these meetings, he thought. But I must hold onto my burning rage to survive!

The meeting continued on at the pace of a Slowpoke crossing the street. Giovanni felt his patience being sliced in half with every second. Right when he was about about to break and start screeching like a Crobat, Ghetsis yelled.

“Hah! It’s about time that I get to preach to these filthy insects!” Ghetsis struggled to his feet. Apparently Ghetsis had been called upon, and Giovanni had been too far gone to notice.

Ghetsis walked up to the whiteboard. Though he was forced to use a cane, he still towered over everyone in the audience. He slammed the floor with his cane, causing a sharp bang to resound throughout the room. Inari, thought she was closest to Ghetsis, did not flinch, and simply stroked her Meowstic.

“Greetings, degenerate fools. I am the rightful ruler of the region of Unova.”

“Hi, rightful ruler of the region of Unova!”

“If only that disgusting pile of filth... N had not intervened, I would be your king! Yet despite these unfortunate circumstances, I have graced you all with my presence. Feel lucky and bask in the light of my perfection! For I am perfection! I. Am. Ghetsis!” His eye rolled back and he laughed maniacally.

The audience was completely silent for a few seconds until a few people began whispering questions.

“How do you pronounce that name? Gee-Cis?”

“Gee-sus?”

“Gay-cheese?”

“Cheez-itz?”

“Nah, I think it’s just Dennis.”

Giovanni leaned toward Cyrus. “How could these imbeciles not know his name if he just pronounced it for them?”

Cyrus shrugged slightly and said nothing.

“I speak for Team Plasma when I say, pokémon deserve to be liberated!” Ghetsis seemed not to have heard anything the audience members had said. “Let us be the ones to show others the light, my li—I mean, the light of the truth.”

I can’t believe his megalomania. Who could be such a proud hypocrite? At least he’s vaguely entertaining, thought Giovanni.

“Team Plasma has no connection to you anymore. Also, why don’t you tell us about your villainous exploits, Ghetsis?” asked Inari. “You are here for a reason.”

Inari’s Meowstic lifted her head up and her ears fidgeted.

“If ever my methods were unconventional, it was not due to any fault of mine. Does anyone here know why I behave in his way?” Ghetsis narrowed his eye. “Answer me!”

When no one answered, half of Ghetsis’s face tensed up. He gripped his can so tightly his knuckles paled. His hand trembled. “Answer me...” he growled.

Giovanni raised his hand.

“Hah! How could someone as foolish as you possibly know what I’ve been through?” yelled Ghetsis. “You were defeated by a child! Why do you suppose I act the way I do?!”

Giovanni smirked. “Because you were never allowed to join in on any reindeer games? Also,
weren’t you also defeated by a kid?”

Ghetsis didn’t seem to understand the joke until a few audience members giggled. When he heard the laughter, he scowled. “How dare you insult Ghetsis! I will castrate you!” He slammed his cane against the floor again. “You shall never reproduce!”

“Sorry, but I already have,” said Giovanni.

Meowstic leapt off of Inari’s lap and hissed. Inari nodded. “All right Ghetsis, enough,” she said. “Next.”

“What?! I must finish my epic speech!” Ghetsis stomped his feet, but after a few seconds he was breathing heavily and was forced to stop.

“Remember, Ghetsis, my Meowstic has the psychic power to obliterate a ten-ton truck.”

Ghetsis sneered, but hobbled back to his seat, defeated. Right before sitting back down, he turned to give Giovanni the evil eye.

Giovanni leaned back in his chair, a smug smile on his face. If there’s any cure for boredom, he thought, it’s insulting obnoxious fools who are utterly unable to defend themselves.

The nest few presentations passed without incident. Since he was not as bored, Giovanni was able to calm down a bit and bite back on his urge to speak out or insult anyone. As the former head of a crime syndicate, he knew the dangers of making powerful enemies. A crippled, doddering, brat like Ghetsis couldn’t possibly do anything to harm me, especially not in an environment like this, he thought. Though a blow from that cane would hurt. Proton cracked a few skulls for me that way, I recall....

Eventually, it was the second-to-the-last audience member’s turn to speak—none other than Giovanni himself. He hadn’t been paying attention, and only realized it was his turn when nobody stood up. He got up and walked to the board, his legs aching from sitting so long. Once he took his position and faced the audience, he wasn’t certain what to do. Giovanni usually only had three modes—bragging about his abilities, facetiously charming, and angry rant. None of those three seemed fit to help him through this.

If only I could make my true feelings known without making any more enemies, he thought. By this point, several members of the audience were staring at him questioningly. Inari cleared her throat, loud.

Giovanni grinned. Facetiously charming it is... “I am Giovanni, leader of the Viridian City gym.” He smiled.

“Hi, Giovanni!”

A few people in the audience didn’t seem impressed.

“Hey, you’re shorter in real life than you look on TV.”

“Yeah, and you have more wrinkles than I thought.”

Giovanni tried to ignore those comments. After all, I know how great I am, and that’s what matters! “Now I’m sure all of you have the pressing question on your minds—how could such influential... evildoers... be toppled by children?” He made wide gestures with his hands as he talked. “But you know what? No matter how strong you are, someday you will lose. And who better than a naïve, innocent child to over-train their pokémon out of love?” He pressed his lips into a thin line to stop himself from yelling. “Who better to take you off guard? Who better to attract legendary pokémon with their malleability?”

Lass Mia, of all people, seemed convinced. “Wow, you’re so right! I mean, I saw a documentary
about Red, and he was really, really, cute!”

Giovanni strategically dipped his hat below one eye, in a vain attempt to mask his rage. “Anyway,” he ground out through gritted teeth, “if you can believe it, I used to think I was the strongest trainer. But now I’ve—”

“Then you were beaten by a mere child. We all know what a pathetic failure you are,” said Ghetsis.

“Shut up and let me finish!” snapped Giovanni. “As I was saying, now I’ve learned that trying amass power in such a way is completely pointless. So why am I here?!”

Inari shook her head. “I see that you are still in the denial stage, Giovanni. Anyway, next.”

Meowstic hissed judgmentally.

“I am not in denial! I not not an evildoer or a villain, or anything like that!” yelled Giovanni.

A few people in the audience giggled.

“Return to your seat or I will sic Meowstic on you.” Inari looked up at Giovanni, her glasses looking opaque in the light.

Giovanni scowled and did what Inari asked, but he was secretly relieved. At least I don’ t have to talk to these fools anymore. Cyrus is terse so his presentation shouldn’t take long, and I just need to outlast this meeting. Then I can clear my mind and take my pokémon back. In the meantime I just need to calm myself. Giovanni tried to picture himself in his happy place—sitting in an easy chair, petting his pet Persian and hearing her purr softly. He tried not to dwell on how old and lifeless such a fantasy made him feel.

“This is the last presentation,” said Inari.

Cyrus got up and stiffly walked up to the board. He turned to face the audience and stared blankly at no one in particular. “...I will be brief. Everyone is aware of—”

Inari cut him off. “This is for therapy purposes. Please introduce yourself.”

Cyrus’s expression and posture did not change. “I am Cyrus.”

“Hi, Cyrus!”

Cyrus spoke in a quiet, monotone voice. “After spending an extended period in a world where time did not flow, I decided to return to this reality. I am searching for anything that is outside of the control of humans, pokémon, or even the Original One. I traveled to the Unova region after learning of pokémon that are said to hold an infinite amount of energy inside their bodies.

“Is there such a thing? Something that is not part of our transient, relative reality? I believe the answer is ‘no.’ However, after the pokémon keeping the worlds in balance interfered with my plans, I came to the conclusion that only such a thing could help me accomplish my dream—my vision of a world where beings are not ruled by incomplete spirit. The way things are now, everything is eventually extinguished by death. There is no meaning. That is what I want to change.”

After Cyrus finished his speech, nobody talked. Almost everybody in the audience stared at Cyrus as if he were a Ghost-type pokémon that had just used Confuse Ray. Giovanni, on the other hand, just looked bored.

Lass Mia raised her hand. “Excuse me, Mr. Cyrus?”

“Yes?” asked Cyrus, quietly.

“Do you need some raw steak?”

Cyrus didn’t say anything.

“You know—” Mia squirmed a little in her chair. “’Cause you have two black eyes and all? Did
you walk into a door or something? Because you aren’t really making sense.”

A few people giggled after Mia said this, though she didn’t seem to see what was funny.

“...I do not have a black eye. Or two, for that matter,” said Cyrus. “And raw steak is not even an effective treatment.”

“Oh, okay. So it’s just eyeliner. That’s good,” said Mia.

Before Cyrus could correct her, Inari stood up. “The meeting is now over. You may either enter the courtyard, or return to your rooms. When the bell rings, returning to your rooms is mandatory.” Inari pulled a pokéball from a pocket in her labcoat and withdrew her Meowstic. As she walked away, she gestured to two service people and they went to accompany her as she left.

Giovanni made a mental note that Inari had left through the farthest hall from the whiteboard. The workers here seem stupid enough, but I don’t want to run into that woman unless I have to. With my pokémon, I’m sure she would be a pushover, but without them... he didn’t finish the thought. As soon as Inari was out of the room, Giovanni turned to Cyrus.

“Tell me, sociopath, where is this courtyard?” Giovanni asked him.

Without saying anything, Cyrus pointed to the door directly centered in the back wall.

“Good.” Giovanni adjusted his fedora and left his seat. His legs were terribly stiff from sitting for so long. Just walked to the door felt like running an unwinnable race. He also felt a pain in his stomach—he was more hungry than a Hydreigon after a hard day’s training. But Giovanni was convinced that any food served in the building had to be poisoned.

“...Sociopath?” Cyrus mumbled, when out of Giovanni’s earshot.

=====

Giovanni was unimpressed with the courtyard in every possible way. It was barren, without even the smallest rocks or trees, and the grass was patchy at best. He walked around for a bit, until his hunger pangs started to subside, and discovered that the yard appeared to stretch around the entire building. A wire fence, about ten feet tall, prevented escape.

Suddenly, a Natu fluttered in front of Giovanni face.

“Hey, Giov!” The Breeder who had pestered him before the meeting ran up to him. “How’s it hangin’? Isn’t that fence cool?” The Breeder turned to stare at the fence in wonder.

Giovanni scowled. He did not want to deal with this again.

“It’s electrified and lethal, you know!” He smiled, and his Natu landed on his shoulder. “Anyway, gotta run. I heard Ghetsis’s havin’ another one of those psychotic episodes.” He turned and ran off.

Giovanni blinked several times. Lethal? What?! He slowly made his way over to the fence and inspected it. The wires were completely straight and plain, like little grey threads. “How lethal could this thing be?” he muttered.

He heard a chattering noise from above his head. Fearing another Natu attack, he looked up. Outside the fence, a little Pidove was fluttering about. It swerved awkwardly, and slammed into the wires of the fence. In an instant, a sound like a super-effective Thunder resounded. An explosion of highlighter yellow later, the Pidove was coal-black and crackling with electricity. It quivered and shook, having crashed to the ground.

Giovanni swallowed hard.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

Silhouette

On my way to Viridian City ♪

Age 26
Stark Mountain, Sinnoh
Seen September 14th, 2019
Posted September 22nd, 2018
2,660 posts
12.2 Years
This is a really good idea! I think you're doing a good job portraying the characters and keeping them true to their personality.

Aside from a typo or two (which I would point out but alas, I am on a mobile device ATM), your writing seems great. I didn't find any glaringly obvious grammar mistakes. Looking forward to the next chapter!
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ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
This is a really good idea! I think you're doing a good job portraying the characters and keeping them true to their personality.

Aside from a typo or two (which I would point out but alas, I am on a mobile device ATM), your writing seems great. I didn't find any glaringly obvious grammar mistakes. Looking forward to the next chapter!
Thanks so much! I was worried that the premise would turn people off--I don't see many humor stories on this forum.

I'm going to be busy for a while, but I'll try and get chapter three out soon!
FC: 3368 3076 5903

Logical Cabbage

A Very Big Altaria Fan

Age 19
Female
Houston, Texas
Seen August 16th, 2018
Posted February 21st, 2015
1,264 posts
5.6 Years
Giovanni is presented to us as a cruel and heartless person but this story changes everything! I am laughing my socks out and I can't wait for the next chapter! Too bad you'll be busy, but I can wait. This story won't piss people off, mainly because they'll be too busy laughing!
Train them please!

Avatar Request OR Banner Request
Previously, Logical Cabbage
RP Participation
Begin Again#Return of the Titans#Pokemon Earth and Sky#Outbreak

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Author's Note: Sorry for the wait! I had this chapter half-finished for a while as I was busy with schoolwork. I'll try and get the next chapter out sooner.

Chapter Three

With a soft groan, Giovanni rolled over onto his side. His stomach felt like it was eating itself, or worse, it already had and only a gaping empty spot remained. Giovanni did not really want to wake up, since there wasn’t anything to look forward to in his life, but he did not really want to die, either. He was somewhat certain of that now. With this energizing thought in mind, he opened his eyes, only to be greeted with the barren room at E-Anon.

He rubbed his eyes. “Why is it that the best things in life are all just dreams, but the worst things never seem to just be nightmares?” he hissed to himself. Though if I want to find a way to escape, getting up before anyone else would be helpful. So he slid out of bed and walked to the door as quietly as his Persian could stalk.

He reached for the handle cautiously, as if he was afraid it would scream if he moved too fast. He touched the handle, half-expecting some shadowy creature to leap out from behind the door. He turned the handle. But the door didn’t budge.

Giovanni’s eyes widened in annoyance. He shook the handle. Then he tried alternating between pushing and pulling. Eventually he tired himself out and just slumped to the floor, his back against the door. His stomach growled petulantly.

Don’t tell me I’ve grown too weak to even open a door! He scowled.

A low pokémon cry came from outside. Acting on instinct, Giovanni staggered to his feet. He pulled back one arm, waiting for whoever would come inside, so he could punch his or her face in. The door creaked. It opened just a crack.

“Would you like me to put the sugar in your coffee, or would you rather do it?”

Giovanni was taken aback. He recognized the sickeningly sweet voice. “Wait—you’re the wench with the Kadabra!”

The Aroma Lady opened the door. She was holding a tray with a cup of steaming coffee and a plate of donuts on it. Her Kadabra was standing beside her. “You’re hungry, aren’t you, Mr. Giovanni?” the lady asked.

“What’s it to you?! And how would you know?” Giovanni snapped.

She cocked her head to the side. “Oh, well,” she whispered, “I’m not really supposed to tell you this, but we do have cameras hidden in everyone’s rooms!”

“What,” Giovanni stated, flatly.

“Oh, I see you’re an early riser,” she said. “Just so you know, it
doesn’t really make a difference here. I mean, every door is unlocked at the same time each day, unless a worker like me opens it for you.” She smiled. “Anyway, coffee and donuts!”

Giovanni had his mouth pressed into a thin line. Well, the other prisoners must eat something, and if I never eat anything, I’ll starve before I escape. “Uh, I take mine black.”

====

After Giovanni finished eating, the Aroma Lady and her Kadabra escorted him to the courtyard. She seemed very excited.

“You’re so lucky that you joined us when you did,” she said. “We have a very special activity planned for today!”

Giovanni tensed up. This isn’t good, he thought. “Very special activity” is never good. Just like “we’ll take care of you.” And I should know! “You can not make me participate!” he yelled. Giovanni turned around and tried to run, but his legs wouldn’t obey. His entire body was yanked backward by Kadabra’s psychic power.

The Aroma Lady had her head held up high, and she beamed. She looked like a teenage girl at the mall. “You’re going to be so happy, Mr. Giovanni! We know how much you want to see your pokémon.”

Giovanni blinked. Curiosity replaced his rage. “I’m going to have my pokémon returned to me?” He was inwardly celebrating. He knew his ground-types could easily rip open that electric fence, and then he would be home free.

The lady giggled. “Oh, you really love your pokémon, I see. Well, have fun!” She gestured to Kadabra, and with another psychic burst, Giovanni was thrown through the doors.

Giovanni stumbled for a second, but stayed on his feet. I’m not about to fall in the dirt in front of my new-found enemies, he thought to himself. After all, that would just be inelegant. He regained his wits quickly, and surveyed the courtyard for anyone who didn’t look overly insane or unfettered.

In the end, he didn’t have a choice, as Lass Mia ran up to him, looking bright as a Sunflora. She had her Pichu on her shoulder gripping her shirt for dear life. “Mr. Giovanni!” called Mia. “I wanted to talk to you!”

Giovanni took a step back. He looked left and right, trying to find an escape route. He found none, because too many people were milling around the courtyard. “What do you want?” he hissed.

“I heard some people in the audience yesterday saying some rude things to you. I just needed to let you know that they’re just meanies, and that I’ll be your friend!” She held her hand out.

Giovanni glared down at her. It took Mia at least five seconds before she took the hint and turned away. “Um... why don’t you go get a pokémon now?” she said, quietly.

“Wait. Pokémon, singular? I thought I would have all of my pokémon rightfully returned!” Giovanni yelled.

“I think you only get one back,” said Mia. “And just for an hour. I took my Pichu, obviously—”

Giovanni didn’t want to hear her prattle on. He ran forward until he saw a table with several boxes on top of it. Trainers in the program were removing pokéballs from the boxes and sending them out. Giovanni could see the names of trainers printed on the boxes indicating which pokéballs were owned by which trainer.

As he searched for the box with his name on it, he watched the other people in the courtyard. His vision wasn’t great, so he couldn’t keep an eye on everyone from a discreet distance. Giovanni noticed that among the crowd were: a man with a waxed moustache who constantly twirled it, a bug-eyed hunchback skulking around, and, of course, there was Ghetsis being led around by several Ranger-like workers.

This is just like an asylum, thought Giovanni. All they need to complete the picture is for these maniacs to be dressed in long, white, flowing robes. I wonder whether all these people started out insane, or snapped after being abducted. Probably the former. The world’s always been a never-ending parade of maniacs. His frown grew ever lower.

Eventually he saw it. It was lying on a table next to another box, and, just Giovani’s luck, the same Breeder with the Natu was there.

Giovanni felt his head pulsing with a weary ache. “Joy...” he sighed. “I’ll get this over with, quick.” He straightened his back, and put on his best death glare—the one he used to love giving someone he was about to kill.

He walked over to the table. Fortunately for his sanity level, the Breeder didn’t seem to notice him. Instead, the Breeder was busy ushering over someone else—Cyrus.

Giovanni looked away quickly. The quiet insane people are always the most dangerous. Better not snap at anybody around this guy... I already said too much yesterday.

“Hey, hey, Giov!” yelled the Breeder, interrupting Giovanni’s thoughts.

Giovanni clenched his teeth and hid his eyes with his hat brim in response. He desperately wished he could stop existing. Unfortunately for him, the Breeder couldn’t take a hint and patted Giovanni on the back.

“Not very talkative today, huh?” asked the Breeder. “Anyway, as I was just explaining to Cyrus behind us—” he pointed to the other end of the table. “Go ahead and pick whatever pokémon you want, but no dark, bug, or ghost-types, got it? The rules say so!” He grinned. “No problem, right?”

Giovanni, urge to kill swiftly rising, said nothing and refused to look the man in the eye.

“Good!” The Breeder turned away from Giovanni and walked over to Cyrus instead. Cyrus was giving a thousand-yard stare to nothing in particular.

“Hey Cyrus, you have a question?” asked the Breeder. When Cyrus didn’t say anything, the Breeder looked down at the box of pokéballs on the table—the one with Cyrus’s name on it. The Breeder rifled around in the box, and did not stop until he saw Cyrus’s brow furrow slightly.

“Geez, looks like you don’t have the best luck today. Houndoom, Weavile, Honchcrow—that’s over half your team there. Guess that’s the problem with only having five pokémon on hand. But Golbat and Gyrados are still okay. Anyway, have fun, dude!” He left.

Cyrus didn’t respond. Only when the Breeder was out of sight did he he turn his head to look at the box of available pokémon.

Though he would’ve preferred for Persian to have removed the pest by slashing his throat, Giovanni felt his annoyance ease up a bit when the Breeder left. He was still confused by something, however. He did some quick pokémon-typing math in his head. When he finished figuring, he was taken aback. “What an idiotic team,” he muttered.

Giovanni regretted his slip-up immediately. Cyrus whipped his head around and glared at him.

“Explain,” Cyrus demanded, his voice cold as Froslass breath.

“Nothing to explain.” Giovanni kept his face impassive.

“If you want to criticize my team, then do so properly. Otherwise, you’ve wasted energy speaking, and wasted energy is what’s broken this world.”

Giovanni quickly glanced to the right. He saw plenty of free service people and pokémon. So if this sociopath tries to murder me, he’ll fail, he thought. I can afford to insult him.

“All right,” said Giovanni. “Excuse me for believing that it only takes someone with half a brain to notice that all of your pokémon are weak to Rock. Your incomplete team, this is. Only five pokémon altogether?”

“I see. My plans in the past did not hinge on the power of my own pokémon, but in the future I will strive for a well-balanced team.” Cyrus’s eyes became vacant again. “I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.” He took a pokéball from his box, though he didn’t send out the pokémon. He brushed past Giovanni and walked back toward the E-Anon building.

Giovanni’s eyes widened. “Wh—I mean, think nothing of it,” he said. Not your typical sociopath? Then again, once a man cracks, he doesn’t exactly have to crack again. He shook his head. He needed to focus on an escape plan.

A plan, a plan... Giovanni thought frantically. He knew he might only have enough time to grab one of his pokémon. All right, I’ll take Honchrow when nobody’s looking since it resists Psychic, and we’ll fly out of here before anyone can stop us! But then I may never be able to recover my other pokémon, and how long would it take to gather a giant pokémon army to storm this place? Wait, didn’t I have my Honchcrow forget Fly? Why, why, why would I have done that?! And where is this center even located?! And what will I even do once I escape, and what am I even living for anymore and—

“What do you mean Hydreigon isn’t allowed?!” Ghetsis shrieked. His discordant voice was
unmistakable.

Giovanni turned around. At another table, Ghetsis and a service person, who was dressed like a Ranger, were arguing. The service person had his hands up. “Sorry, Ghetsis, but rules are rules! No dark, bug, or ghost-types allowed. Also, did you take your meds?”

Ghetsis leaned on his cane. He spat at the man. “I’ll never take your devils’ pills or potions! I spit them out every time!”

Giovanni groaned. The yelling was starting to give him a headache. He held the back of his head and walked left, reaching the box that had his name printed on it. There were at least twenty pokéballs inside, since Giovanni always carried each of his pokémon with him. While he was deciding what pokémon to choose, he looked back to see if Ghetsis was making a scene. Would make a good distraction, at least.

Ghetsis’s facial muscles went limp. He looked at the ground, his eye closed. “Besides, Hydreigon has not been fed in so long... don’t you know it’s starving?”

The man shrugged. He took out a pokéball of his own. “Well... I do have a Gallade. I guess it’s okay if you take Hydreigon out for a little bit.”

Ghetsis flashed him an eerie grin, reminiscent of a Banette leering at prey. “I’m eternally in your debt....” He took Hydreigon’s pokéball out of the box, and released it. His Hydreigon let out a deadened cry, its rumpled black wings waving like tattered flags, its red eyes sunken. It floated just in front of the worker.

“Aw, he looks so tired....” The worker reached out to pet Hydreigon’s cheek.

“Hydreigon, use Crunch!” yelled Ghetsis.

Hydreigon opened its jaw and slammed it shut. The worker fell backward in fear.

“W-What kind of prank was that?!” he yelled.

Ghetsis cocked his head, his red eye almost aglow. “When I said it was hungry, you didn’t know I meant for human flesh?”

The Ranger leapt back to his feet. “That’s a joke in bad taste! Go, Gallade!” He released his Gallade. It waved its arm-blades and twittered. “Use Close Combat!”

With great difficulty, Ghetsis raised his arm. “Dragon Rush!” he snapped.

Hydreigon seemed to have a wraith-like glow as it dashed forward. Despite Gallade being ordered to attack first, Hydreigon rushed forward so fast it slammed into it before Gallade could even think about moving. Gallade careened backward and crashed into the table. It overturned, and pokéballs spilled onto the grass.

Gallade quivered slightly, but eventually collapsed.

Ghetsis cackled. “Hah! That is what little insignificant insects these days call an OHKO, is it not?” He coughed. “Now, Hydreigon, I command you to rip this man’s head off. I want to see the dirt of this courtyard bloodied!”

Hydreigon turned sharply, its razor-sharp mouth hanging open. It shot toward the Pokémon Ranger with full power. Pure Frustration.

At the last second the Ranger ducked and Hydregion smashed into the overturned table with enough force to break it. It shattered into a million tiny splinters that ricocheted off the ground.

“You disgust me,” said Ghetsis. “Those should be shreds of human skin.”

Hydreigon shook a bit in response, disoriented. The Pokémon Ranger screamed and scrambled to his feet. He ran away, still screaming. Hydreigon flew behind him in close pursuit. As they ran past the other service people, mayhem ensued in the courtyard. People were dropping their pokéballs and abandoning their pokémon, leaving the vulnerable psychic-types wailing on the grass.

Meanwhile, Ghetsis was like a mad conductor, making wide gestures to his Hydreigon. Occasionally he laughed, sending spit flying out of his mouth.

“How foolish,” muttered Giovanni.

Ghetsis froze. “Hydreigon, halt and turn back to me!” he yelled. He awkward hobbled around, and turned away from the madness to glare straight at Giovanni. “You... I remember you, you insolent freak! You dared to insult me yesterday!”

Giovanni scowled. “So what if I did? What are you going to do, throw your cane at me? Or will you limp after me?” he asked. “I’m so terribly frightened.”

Ghetsis glanced at Hydreigon, a sign for it to float at the ready. “Hah! Team Rocket’s leader, living in fear of the great Ghetsis. And you should be scared of me, Giovanni, as you will now see!” He tightened his grip on his cane, and pointed to Giovanni. “Hydreigon, now!” he yelled. “Frustration!”

You can’t beat the classics, Giovanni made his decision. He pulled a pokéball out of his box, and he pressed the button. With a flash of light, his pokémon was released—Rhyperior turned its head up and roared at the sky. It stood even taller than Ghetsis.

The E-Anon courtyard was now a battle arena. The service people running around now slowed down, and a few of them stopped panicking to watch the match.

Hydreigon rushed forward and bashed Rhyperior with its two brainless heads. Rhyperior was pushed backward by the impact, leaving a large rut in the dirt. But Rhyperior’s rocky plates easily countered the attack, leaving it nearly unharmed.

Giovanni couldn’t help but sigh. How stupid can this idiot be? He does know who I am, right? “Use Ice Punch.”
As Rhyperior’s clawed fist glowed with all the power of liquid nitrogen and became crusted with ice, Ghetsis’s brow furrowed with rage. “Hydreigon, use—” he was cut off by the crackling of Rhyperior’s fist colliding with Hydreigon’s face, its true face.

Hydreigon crumpled to the ground, fainted.

Ghetsis didn’t even bother returning it to its pokéball. He flung another one toward Giovanni’s Rhyperior. With a flash, the Coffin Pokémon Cohagrigus was revealed. It grinned menacingly, its shadowy arms jiggling.

Giovanni, feeling increasingly bored by all this, adjusted his fedora. “Earthquake,” he said.

Rhyperior smashed the ground using its tail. It sent a shockwave hurtling to Cohagrigus. The shockwave hit its target, and Cohagrigus was sent flying backward. But using its arms, it dug into the ground and kept itself from slamming into anything.

“Shadow Ball! Hit it while it’s weak!” Ghetsis commanded.

A tangible darkness formed between Cohagrigus’s four hands. With the same blank grin plastered to its face, it flung the ball or darkness at Rhyperior.

Though Rhyperior was in a defensive stance, that proved worthless against the unearthly nature of the attack. Rhyperior tumbled backward, smashing into the table Giovanni had been standing in front of.

Giovanni did not even flinch. “Return, Rhyperior,” he said. Rhyperior was converted to light and sent back to its pokéball.

Ghetsis let out his victory cackle.

“You do realize I have over twenty pokémon here, don’t you?” asked Giovanni.

Ghetsis grinned. “Maybe so, but you won’t have a chance to use them.” He nodded to Cohagrigus.

Cohagrigus’s eerie arms whipped through the air at Giovanni at lightning speed, like demonic Arboks. The movement was so fast that Giovanni had no time to react before the arms snaked around his body, and his own arms were tangled up in Cohagrigus’s spectral appendages. Giovanni was all wrapped up like a Tentacruel’s prey.

“What is this?!” Giovanni struggled in vain. Cohagrigus’s arms snaked around his legs, shoulders, and finally his neck. Giovanni had to look down to stop the arms that were around neck from strangling him.

“That’s right, shut your mouth,” said Ghetsis. “You’re lucky. It looks like your just short enough to fit inside its body. I thought I would need to cut you feet off or something.” Ghetsis noticeably relaxed. “Go ahead, Cohagrigus. Reel him in.”

Cohagrigus’s lid opened, revealing the gaping shadow of its coffin. Its arms pulled Giovanni in painfully slowly, dragging his heels across the ground.

Giovanni tried to mutter some curse, but he couldn’t speak. His fedora was over his eyes, so he couldn’t see how close he was to Cohagrigus’s body. It came as a surprise when he fell forward, flung into the cold metal depths of the pokémon’s body.

Slam. The coffin shut. He looked left and right, but Giovanni couldn’t see even a pinpoint of light. He tried to struggle or resist, but his limbs were weak and numb. Suddenly he felt the pressure on his throat ease up, so he tried once again to cry out, but no sound came out. Something cold was being shoved into his mouth, down his throat, mummifying him from the inside out.

Though he couldn’t see anything at all, Giovanni could feel his vision growing blurry, his head swimming. He saw colors that did not exist. While everything was whirling, he blacked out.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

Swagroar

Age 28
Male
Pennsylvania
Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted August 11th, 2019
6,229 posts
6.2 Years
To say the least, this combines a good mix of evil and comedy. After how Team Magma and Aqua were against each other in Hoenn, this really leaves me to wonder what would happen if other villainous teams met in future games.

But I like this so far! The characters are well developed and provide witty lines, so keep it up.
Azurilland | Twitter | Nuzlocke Forums
May someday resurface in full. We'll see what happens down the road!

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
To say the least, this combines a good mix of evil and comedy. After how Team Magma and Aqua were against each other in Hoenn, this really leaves me to wonder what would happen if other villainous teams met in future games.
Thanks, Stargazer! In the beginning, I was originally thinking about having every evil team leader at E-Anon, but then I realized that Archie and Maxie honestly reformed, and Lysandre... well... we know what happened to him.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

DJTiki

kiwis and sour gummies

Male
Florida, USA
Seen 3 Days Ago
Posted September 24th, 2019
1,252 posts
5.7 Years
This has easily become my favorite fanfic :) its so great, how you potray the characters. I especially like the new characters, you added, who may not seem as important, hey seem to have a personailty of their very own. Also having this focused more on the gaming side of Pokémon, is great, since, I can get most jokes(I don't follow the anime much). So good job :)

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
This has easily become my favorite fanfic :)
Wow, that's such a huge compliment! :3c Thank you so much for your kind words! Almost all of the OCs I created for this story will have a plot purpose later on, so I'm glad you're liking them so far.


And now, for the next chapter:

Author's Note: In this chapter—goodbye, comedy, meet my new best friend, drama! Just kidding. It's still comedy. But there will be some darker things referred to later on, just a heads up.

Chapter Four

In the void, Giovanni watched himself float aimlessly. It was like a dream where the connection between perception and the body is severed. In fact, Giovanni probably wouldn’t have minded the peace and quiet, if he had any grasp on his surroundings. It could have been a relatively painless death.

“How dare you?!” a very familiar voice called to him through the darkness.

A very clear thought came to the forefront of Giovanni’s mind. I’m not dead?! He forced himself to open his eyes. There in front of him, standing under some sort of spotlight, was a figure. Giovanni’s vision was so blurry, he couldn’t recognize the person.

“How could you do this to the people who need you? The people who always followed you, who respected you? Who cared about you all this time?!”

Giovanni felt shock split his mind, like a lightning strike. Ariana! He tried and failed to yell out to her. It was as if he had no mouth at all.

Ariana stomped on the blurry, black floor. “It’s no wonder Silver hates you.” Her voice cracked a bit. “You know what happens to men like you, Giovanni? They die in some back alley, penniless, friendless, alone. You should just start over from scratch. I mean, you should just kill yourself and start over in the next life!”

Giovanni wanted to yell more than ever. He felt a tumultuous mix of rage and disappointment. He didn’t understand the disappointment—he had left the past in the past. He hated things he didn’t understand, which made him even more angry. But he was still frozen, unable to lash out at all.

“I’d have Vileplume kill you right now, but that would be an insult to her deadly spores,” said Ariana.

Am I in some kind of Hell? Giovanni wondered. If so, this torture is lacking. I don’t care about any of this. There’s no chance that I could. I’ve let all this go, and it doesn’t even remotely matter to me anymore. I don’t care at all! His rage was red hot and broiling. It shot hideous splotches of color all throughout his vision, clouding Ariana under an endless red fog. Giovanni felt it filling his lungs—he had forgotten he even had them. Right as he realized this, he felt himself drown, the burning red corruption replace more and more of his body.

A glimmer of violet slashed the fog apart. Light flooded in from the cut. Giovanni’s entire body felt numb, but he could see in front of him. He was lying on the grass. He heard hissing noise from above him. His head jolted upward. He saw a pair of dark red eyes, framed in long eyelashes.

“...Ariana?” he asked, tentatively.

The creature hissed at him. Giovanni noticed blue fur and a pink, feathered headdress. It was a Weavile that had been eyeing him.

He heard someone walk up to him. “This is a pathetic display down to the smallest detail. Get up.”

Giovanni looked in the direction the voice had come from. He saw the pink-haired scientist, Inari, the caller of the E-Anon meetings. She looked as cross as Koga battling a steel-type specialist. “I’m used to Ghetsis causing trouble, but this is a first. You must be quite stupid to get caught like that.”

“I am not like the rest of these fools!” Giovanni snapped. He felt a sharp pain in his head, and a wave of exhaustion washed over him. He felt drops of sweat running down his face, and he was short of breath. The Cohagrigus did something horrible to me, he thought. “My pokémon,” he mumbled.

“I’m afraid the plans for everyone to get a pokémon back have been canceled,” said Inari. “Something else will be revealed to you tomorrow.” She turned away from Giovanni, to some service people. “Half of you, clean up this mess. The rest of you return our more unruly recovering evildoers to their living quarters. If you need me, you know where I’ll be.” Inari walked to the other side of the building and left.

Weavile hissed again. Giovanni looked back at it, and saw that it was reaching down to him. Reluctantly, Giovanni accepted the help, and Weavile pushed him back to his feet. But Giovanni still felt very woozy.

As Giovanni had expected would happen, Cyrus walked up to him. He looked no less vacant than usual. Without saying anything, he held up a pokéball and had Weavile return to it.

“So, it was you who freed me from that garish coffin. Why would you do that?” asked Giovanni. “If you think you have use for me, mark my words—I do not feel held by any notion of debt.”

Cyrus nodded slightly. “I understand. But tell me... do you want to leave this prison?” he asked quietly.

Giovanni blinked. He was about to reply when two Rangers walked up to him. One of them tapped him on the shoulder. “It’s bedtime, Mr. Giovanni,” he said. The two of them each grabbed one of Giovanni’s arms and dragged him away.

“It’s not even sunset!” yelled Giovanni.

“Early to bed, early to rise!” said one of the Rangers.

====

Giovanni had a horrible time trying to sleep. He was used to crashing into bed, exhausted, after one too many round of battles at the PWT. His circadian rhythms had been, likely permanently, disturbed. Even the fact that there were no windows in his room didn’t help him to relax.

After hours of tossing and turning, he finally felt himself being dragged off to his usual nightmares. In the moments before he fell asleep, the last thing he thought of was that image of Ariana, spurned and angry. Somehow the idea of her still living somewhere, disillusioned and alone, didn’t bring him any of the spiteful pride he had hoped would come.

====

Giovanni woke up to the sound of his door unbolting. He dreaded the morning wake-up call. Not only would it aggravate him further, but his sleep the night before had been spotty and restless. He did not even want to get up. Outside, he heard the sound of people clamoring in the hall, and his leaden dread just grew more intense.

Half-a-minute later, nobody had opened the door, and the sound of footsteps in the hall had stopped. Is it possible? wondered Giovanni. I’ve been spared? He got out of bed and slunk to the door. He waited a few seconds more before opening it a sliver. Nobody was outside.

Giovanni quietly left the room. He knew that at one end of the hall was the entrance to the courtyard, but he didn’t know what was at the other end. It was his chance to explore. He walked down the hall, and examined the doors as he passed by. They all looked identical to the door of his room. These are the living quarters for all the inmates, he decided.

At the end of the hall, there was a reinforced metal door. It had no markings on it, but Giovanni heard a low buzzing noise form inside. He felt pressure emanating from it—the kind of feeling one gets before a terrible cataclysm. He had a feeling the door could be alarmed, so he didn’t try to open it. He turned, left, and headed for the courtyard.

====

Giovanni saw a bunch of trainers, each with a pokéball, out on the lawn. But that Inari woman canceled this event, he thought. What are these pokémon?

Giovanni really didn’t want to have to talk to anyone, but he reluctantly walked into the crowd. He was curious about whether he could retrieve a different pokémon, and about what Cyrus had been trying to tell him the day before. Something about an escape plan.... but this isn’t like a blockbuster movie. I’m better off escaping on my own, right? Then again, I could just pretend to go along with his plan and throw him under the bus when it’s convenient. Yes, that’s just what I’ll do.... But Giovanni didn’t see Cyrus anywhere. With these nutcases around, he probably wouldn’t tell me anything, anyway, he thought.

In the middle of the lawn was a splintering table with a single box on it. It had a crossed off name on the side. Giovanni concluded that these were pokémon being offered to anyone. He hoped whatever was inside wasn’t weak and useless. He hurried to the box and peered inside—only two pokéballs left. They each had the names of pokémon written on them. One said: LUVDISC, the other: VIBRAVA.

“This choice is obvious,” Giovanni said to himself. He reached for the Vibrava.

“You cretin! That pokémon is mine!” Ghetsis stomped over to the table. “Hand that Vibrava over, or I’ll show you the true meaning of conquest!”

“And why would I give it to the likes of you?” asked Giovanni. “You take the Luvdisc like a good little boy.”

“You can’t disrespect me! I bet you’re not even really Italian.”

Giovanni rolled his eyes. “Why, that’s true. I’m really part of the Russian Mafia. The fact that I speak Italian, and that my name is Giovanni is completely coincidental.”

Ghetsis grinned. “I knew it, you fake! Now give me my pokémon!”

“No,” Giovanni said, flatly. He turned away, but ran into a Ranger.

The Pokémon Ranger looked somewhat stern. “What seems to be the problem here? Is there a disagreement?”

“Giovanni won’t give me the Vibrava, but it is rightfully mine!” Ghetsis whined like a toddler. “He’s supposed to take that pathetic Luvdisc.”

Giovanni shrugged. “I saw the Vibrava first. First come, first served, right, pokémon ranger?” he asked in a faux-pleasant tone of voice.

“Well,” said the Ranger, “there’s a simple way to find out who owns it.... Eeny, meeny, miny, moe!”

Giovanni scowled. “What.”

“Is that some form of magical incantation?” asked Ghetsis. He bit his lip. “I don’t put much faith in the occult.”

“Naw, all I do is this. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a Raikou by the toe...” The Ranger
pointed to each of them as he spoke. “Whoops. Sorry, Giovanni, but the pokémon belongs to Ghetsis.”

Giovanni froze. He watched, utterly silent, as Ghetsis laughed, took the pokémon, and both he and the Ranger left. Giovanni quivered until the rage seeped out of his pores. His head was pounding; the entire world around him had stopped moving. His breaths grew short and raspy. “Impossible,” he muttered to nobody. “It’s impossible! That pokémon was mine!” He slammed his fists on the table. It shook slightly, which wasn’t nearly enough for Giovanni. He kept hitting the table, over and over, until his hands felt like they had been smashed by mallets. People were starting to slowly back away, but he didn’t notice. “Why does everything get taken from me? Why?!” he screamed. Tears came to his eyes, and he collapsed onto the table, his face hidden by his arms. His body was wracked by his sobs.

After the sobs stopped coming, he looked up at the box and pulled it over. The pokéball rolled out. “This Luvdisc is all I have left! This universally despised waste of a pokémon, though it’s supposed to be the harbinger of love.” He slowly stood up. There was a sharp pain in his back. “And yet, maybe it’s more than I even deserve,” he whispered. He picked up the pokéball and pressed the button. He dropped the ball on the ground, and it rolled slightly. It shook, and with a flash of light, it revealed none other than a cheerful, bright pink, smiling, Clefairy.

“Pipiriiin,” said the Clefairy.

Giovanni looked down at it.

It looked up at him.

Giovanni picked the pokéball of the ground and read what was written on it. On it was printed, unmistakably and in very neat handwriting: CLEFAIRY.

“I’ve gone mad,” said Giovanni.

“Madness is subjective, as you should be intelligent enough to know.” Cyrus was standing behind him, holding his own pokéball.

Giovanni whirled around, startled. He scanned the area, and saw that nobody else was nearby. He dried his eyes on his sleeve. “I... was feigning madness to get everyone to leave me alone!”

“That would be impressive if it were true,” said Cyrus.

Giovanni glared at him. “You didn’t come here just to criticize me. Get to the point,” he hissed.

Cyrus held out his pokéball. It had “LUVDISC” printed on it. “As you are a better pokémon Trainer than I am, I switched the pokéballs so that you were left with the stronger—”

“I don’t want your pity!” snapped Giovanni.

“Pity is a product of our contemptible, incomplete hearts. What I did was for strategic purposes only.” Cyrus pocketed Luvdisc’s pokéball. “I need you to distract the guards while I disconnect the fence controller. Afterward, your Clefairy can break through the fence.”

“And why did you ask me for help? Do you think I’m an idiot? I don’t trust anybody, especially not sociopaths.”

“The other inmates here have either refused to work with me, or simply have no battling experience. As for you not trusting me... that is good. Trust only creates strife. But that’s beside the point—going along with my plan will benefit you.”

Giovanni looked down at his Clefairy, who was happily skipping around his feet. It’s true that I have other pokémon stored in the PC, and I want to escape, but still...I want to retrieve my stolen pokémon. Then again, if I don’t leave now, the staff here could kill me and I’d never get my powerful pokémon back. It had never occurred to Giovanni that carrying around all of his best pokémon at all times could have been a problem. He had always assumed that he could easily crush any thief that tried to take his pokémon. Attacking trainers was unheard of. “Fine, I’m in. Just remember, Cyrus, I have no issue with taking care of former teammates.”

“I expected as much. You are of somewhat above-average intelligence, after all....” said Cyrus. His face betrayed no emotion.

“What a charmer you are,” Giovanni said, sarcastically.

All the way from across the lawn, none other than Lass Mia came running up to them. She skidded to a halt, after which she was out of breath. “Is that a Clefairy?!” she shrieked. “It’s even cuter in real life! Oh, my goodness! Can I trade you my new Sunkern for it, Mr. Giovanni?!”

Giovanni gave her a look harsher than a Gengar’s Mean Look. “No.”

“Aw, well I tried,” she said. “But I don’t understand. I thought only a Luvdisc was left? No offense, but you were late today, Mr. Giovanni. I was actually thinking of taking it for myself, but then I realized it wasn’t exactly fair.”

“Cyrus switched pokémon with me,” said Giovanni. “That Luvdisc is his now.”

Lass Mia blinked a few times. She looked between Cyrus and Giovanni. She gave them a big, sunny smile. “That’s so sweet! That’s like he stole your heart! And now you’ll have eternal love.”

Giovanni was totally flabbergasted by this comment.

“You should hear this while you are still young,” said Cyrus, blank as ever. “Love of any intensity is a transient state that only brings suffering in the end. It dies like everything else. I have shunned emotions for a reason—there are no ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ emotions, no matter what anybody says.” When Mia just mirrored his blank look, he continued speaking. “...Not to mention the fact that Giovanni and I just met... and the drastic age difference between us.”

“That’s okay. May-December romances are cute, too! Have fun, lovebirds,” she said. “I need to go play with Sunshine the Sunkern!” She ran off again.

Giovannni returned Clefairy to its pokéball. “I want to leave as soon as possible,” he muttered. “When did you want to exact this plan of yours?”

“After the other inmates leave the courtyard,” said Cyrus.

“Fair enough, but I am not waiting an instant longer!” He paused. “By the way, what did you mean about a drastic age difference? For your continued safety, you had better not think that I’m eighty years old.”

“As I did not appear to age in the other world, I am twenty eight.”

Giovanni adjusted his fedora. “Really? Not even your parents loved you, did they?”

“That’s very obvious,” Cyrus stated, in monotone.

“I’m getting increasingly concerned about you....”
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
A/N: Oh man, I'm really, really sorry this took me so long to write. I had no time and no motivation for a while. To make up for that, this chapter is a bit longer than usual, and contains some action!

You know, as I continue this story, the more it veers into black comedy territory. I've never written black comedy before, nor am I a huge fan of that genre so I think it's weird that I'm writing this. I guess that just goes with the territory of villainy, though.

By the way, am I the whose headcanon is that Giovanni is the shortest of all the evil team leaders?
Anyway...
Chapter Five

Waiting for the day to end was hell for Giovanni. He was forced to listen to the background noise of people playing with their pokémon and having fun. The din of a crowd of people enjoying themselves was one of Giovanni’s most hated sounds. It got so overpowering that he seriously considered scratching his ears off.

To add insult to injury, waiting gave him time to check his Clefairy’s moves—it turned out Clefairy knew Cosmic Power, Sing, Moonlight, and Body Slam. When I get my hands on the imbecile who didn’t teach it Stored Power, I’ll give them a slow and painful death! he thought.

Even worse, through all of this, Cyrus was as blank as an Espurr. Giovanni knew it was a passive-aggressive insult. To him, it further confirmed Cyrus as a sociopath.

Once the sunlight turned golden and the shadows grew longer, Inari walked out into the courtyard as she had the previous day. She was pleased—she had the look of a scientist after a successful experiment. “Evildoers listen up. It’s bedtime! That means each and every pokémon should be safe in its pokéball!”

Like robots, the inmates withdrew their pokémon and started walking back to their living quarters. The few who lingered were immediately hustled away by the guards.

Giovanni turned to ask Cyrus a question, but he was already gone. What, does he teleport or something?! Giovanni was fuming. How am I supposed to know when he shuts off the power? That bastard. Giovanni didn’t see the controller for the fence anywhere—he figured it was on the other side of the courtyard.

Clefairy pulled on Giovanni’s pant leg. The pokémon was pointing forward. Giovanni looked up and saw the Aroma Lady and her Kadabra running up to him.

“Excuse me!” she called. “You need to return your Clefairy to its pokéball now.”

Giovanni didn’t say anything.

“Oh, would you like a sleeping aid?” she asked. “We have Hypno around here, you know.”

Giovanni shook his head.

“Okay, then I’m afraid I’ll have to do this the hard way,” she said quietly. “Kadabra, I choose you!” she yelled melodramatically, despite Kadabra already being outside of its pokéball.

It took its position in front of its trainer, glaring at Giovanni’s Clefairy.

Giovanni just sighed. He hadn’t been looking forward to this. “Clefairy, use Cosmic Power.” He gestured half-heartedly at the Kadabra.

Clefairy hopped forward and began to glow with the energy of the stars.

The Aroma Lady smiled. “Oh, so you’re playing that game, are you?” she whispered to herself. “Kadabra, use Double Team!”

Kadabra held up its spoon. In a flash, Kadabra’s form rapidly shifted left, hiding its true body.

This doesn’t matter if Clefairy has a healing move, thought Giovanni. “Clefairy, use Cosmic Power again.”

Clefairy glowed more brightly.

“Kadabra, use Double Team!” yelled the Aroma Lady.

Kadabra’s illusions shifted faster.

“Cosmic Power.”

Clefairy glowed more brightly.

“Double Team!”

Kadabra’s illusions shifted more quickly.

“Cosmic Power.”

Clefairy glowed more brightly.

“Double Team.”

Kadabra’s illusions shifted more quickly.

“...Cosmic Power.”

Clefairy was glowing so brightly it was shielded by sparkles.

The Aroma Lady threw her head back. “Ah ha ha ha! You’ll never escape! Kadabra, Psybeam Clefairy to Hell!”

From Kadabra’s third eye, a peculiar stream of pure, hot, willpower shot out. It slammed into Clefairy’s head, scattering waves of intense alpha radiation every which way, a touch of which could make even a strong man go mad.

Clefairy wiggled its ears a little. “Piri?”

“We’ve almost won, Kadabra!” The Aroma Lady held up a fist. “Keep attacking!”

By now, the sky was a hazy purple. The sun had nearly set. Giovanni didn’t see anybody else in the courtyard, and he knew that if he waited any longer, he would be left wandering around in the dark with no idea where he was. “You know what? I forfeit.” He turned away. “Clefairy, follow behind me.” He left to look for Cyrus.

Clefairy answered with a confused peep, and hopped after him.

The Aroma Lady smiled sweetly. “Yay! He’s running away like the coward he is. Good job, Kadabra.”

====

After walking in a complete circle all around the building, Giovanni found Cyrus and Luvdisc in front of an open fuse box. Luvdisc was holding screws between its lips.

It figures that I’d find him all the way over here. “Are you done yet?” Giovanni adjusted his hat for the nth time that day. “I’ve already waited all day for this.”

“Yes, I am done,” said Cyrus.

“Good.” Giovanni pointed to the fence. “Clefairy, use Body Slam to break that.”

Clefairy dove into the fence. The wires snapped under its body weight.

Giovanni suddenly felt lighter, like an Air Balloon was slowly lifting him. He wasn’t even thinking of the horrible, repetitive life he’d have to return to after gaining his freedom.

Without needing to discuss it, he and Cyrus ran out. There could have been security cameras on them. Outside the E-Anon compound was an uninviting wood.

====

The woods definitely didn’t feel like the open and airy Viridian Forest. The trees here were dark and gangly, and after what had happened with Cohagrigus, Giovanni was extra paranoid. He wouldn’t have been surprised if they came to life and attacked him. He recalled hearing about a ghost-type pokémon in Kalos that was exactly like that.

“We’re clearly still in Unova somewhere,” he said. “How are we going to figure out where we are? Climb a tree?”

“And if we only see more trees?” Cyrus asked. “When the clouds clear, I can easily use the stars to decide which way to go. Now, we wait.”

Giovanni blanched. “Are you kidding me?! That could take hours! Do you really think they’re not tracking us right now?!”

“We would be hiding. They guards in that compound were clearly incompetent. They are no danger.”

“Suit yourself.” Giovanni turned away. “Even if they don’t find you, I for one happen to know the importance of not starving to death in the dark. But don’t think I’m questioning the wisdom from your big city upbringing,” he said sarcastically.

“It would be irrational to run off.” Cyrus still looked blank. “Since we only have two pokémon between us, if we split up and you ran around in circles and died, it would be inconvenient.... so I don’t have a problem with looking for food and water,” he said. “I am exceedingly patient.”

Giovanni glared at him. “You’re not the one dealing with a sociopath.” He took out his pokéball and sent out his Clefairy. “Take us to water,” he commanded it.

Clefairy stared up at the sky, expectantly.

“There’s no moon!” Giovanni snapped. “I said listen for water!”

Clefairy chirped, annoyed. It hopped away with its wings fluttering, going deeper into the woods.

Giovanni and Cyrus walked after it. “What makes you think this will work?” Cyrus asked.

“I’m actually intelligent, unlike most people,” Giovanni sneered. “Besides, I used to sell Clefairy on the black market. I had to instruct my employees on how to capture them.”

“...How wasteful....”

“Really? Maybe if your parents had been kind enough to buy you a pokémon like that once in a while, you wouldn’t have turned out like this.”

“Fortunately not. I was never easily swayed,” Cyrus said deadpan.

Clefairy kept hopping for a few more minutes before it stopped in front of a short, oddly-shaped green bush with pointed leaves splayed out at its base.

“What?! I asked for water, insolent pixie!” Giovanni yelled. “These berries had better be edible.”

Cyrus pointed to the leaves at the bottom of the berry plant. Giovanni noticed drops of water dripping from them. He felt his temper flare even more. How could I forget?! Clefairy can hear a pin drop! Why do I do this to myself?!

Cyrus picked a berry from the plant and peeled it carefully. “These berries are edible,” he said.

“How would you know?” hissed Giovanni. “Don’t tell me you used to run around in forests!”

“No... but these berries were sold at the Veilstone City Department Store.”

“Of course. How could I forget. I’m sure you lived holed-up in the basement of some lab in a big, bustling city.” Giovanni didn’t want to show it, but he was exhausted, and his eyes hurt. He covered his face with his palm. I admit it. I’m too old for this, he thought. If any legendary pokémon is reading my mind right now, please strike me dead. Actually, just strike everyone dead....

“You keep making assumptions,” said Cyrus. “My home city is on the seashore.”

“Huh?” Giovanni looked up. “Excuse me for drawing a faulty conclusion based on how you look worse than a reanimated corpse!”

Cyrus didn’t react to that comment. “I am also obviously not a sociopath.” He bit into the berry and it crunched very loudly.

“That’s exactly what sociopaths always say,” said Giovanni. I hope that thing is hard enough to crack all his teeth.

While they were talking, Clefairy had jumped up and grabbed a berry for itself. It ate down to the stem until it bit into an incredibly bitter area. Not satisfied with the flavor of the fruit, it chucked it into the distance, hard as a fighting-type using Seismic Toss.

Clefairy looked into the darkness, ears wiggling. It shook a little and bolted off to the left.

“Wh—what is that insubordinate pokémon doing?!” Giovanni didn’t have time to react before Clefairy was too far to recall to its pokéball.

“It probably heard somethi—” Cyrus was cut off by a deafening roar that sounded like the angry lovechild of a rusty trash compactor and a starving banshee in its final death throes.

A hulking pokémon with red, demonic horns dashed at them out of the darkness, before suddenly stopping to glare down at them with serpentine yellow eyes. But instead of just ripping them in half, it made tittering noises as if waiting for a cue. It was a bug type, and even with its stubby pointed legs it stood tall as a Lapras.

Cyrus looked up at it blankly. “It’s a Scolipede.”

“I can see that,” Giovanni hissed, quietly as possible. “Do something, you fool!”

Cyrus took out his pokéball and sent out his Luvdisc. “Use Sweet Kiss,” he told it.

Since it was only two feet tall Luvdisc bounced up to try and kiss its foe. Scolipede took this as a declaration of war. It snatched up Luvdisc before it could do anything and crushed it in its powerful jaws. Luvdisc’s weak defenses made it faint instantly.

Cyrus quickly withdrew Luvdisc. Scolipede roared again, this time eyeing the two humans as its enemies.

Without stopping to think, Giovanni and Cyrus bolted in the direction Clefairy had run.

“Run in a zigzag!” Giovanni panted. “It’s faster than us!”

The Scolipede let out another cry and dashed after them. Giovanni’s idea seemed to work—whenever the Scolipede got close to a tree, its many legs rippled and it slowed just slightly to curve its body. But there was no way a human could outlast a pokémon with Speed Boost. It was only getting faster.

Giovanni tried not to focus on anything but running. He refused to give in to the temptation to look back. He tried not to think of the horns and poisoned tail that were right behind him. He knew if he tripped he would be impaled.

Everything in the forest looked the same, as if the trees were just all the same tile or stamp placed over and over to confuse people. But just as Giovanni figured he was going to collapse from exhaustion, he saw a bright point of light in the distance. It grew and grew, too fast for it just to be an illusion caused by him running closer.

The light is... bright pink? thought Giovanni.

Cyrus hit Giovanni in the back and pushed him to the ground. “Down,” Cyrus said in a clipped tone. He quickly ducked himself.

Giovanni glanced up, irritated, and saw the ball of light shoot through the air above his head. He heard a loud crunch and the sound of something snapping behind him. He looked back and saw a splintered, smoldering tree stump, and the Scolipede knocked out at its base.

Clefairy leaped out of the darkness and landed in front of Giovanni. It was chirping happily.

Giovanni slowly pushed himself to his feet. He was panting as sweat dripped down his forehead. I’m too old for this, too old for this, too old for this... his thoughts were like a broken record. He hadn’t run so fast since the time he tried to take a Kangaskhan’s baby. “This is why I hate Unova’s pokémon. There aren’t any eight-foot-tall Beedrill back in Kanto,” he muttered. “Anyway, what was that giant globe of light? An attack?”

Cyrus was already standing up. “Yes. A fairy-type attack from Clefairy... Moonblast.”

“Since when has Clefairy been able to do something like that? You think somebody would have noticed years ago!”

Cyrus didn’t answer. Giovanni assumed he didn’t know either. They looked around—the Scolipede had chased them into a clear area with a deep channel running through it. Cyrus and Giovanni walked to the edge of the and discovered that it was a river with very little water flowing in it. There were shiny round stones covering the bottom.

Clefairy, entranced by the stones, jumped into the river.

“Get back here!” snapped Giovanni. Clefairy ignored him.

Without saying anything, Cyrus carefully stepped down into the river. He walked against the weak current.

“What are you doing?!” Giovanni felt like he was reaching the end of his rope, or possibly his fuse. “You’re even more insane than I thought!”

Cyrus stopped. “If you keep yelling, you will likely attract attention,” he said quietly. “If people are indeed hunting us, they may be ignorant enough to overlook this river. Besides, Clefairy could be sensing an evolution stone among these rocks. Will you yield to my logic?”

“I’m not yielding to anything,” said Giovanni, but he climbed down the bank anyway. “I’ll follow you because if you die, I’m going to be right there to take your pokémon.”

“I only have one pokémon, and it is virtually useless. You’re lying about your reasons. You agree with my logic,” said Cyrus.

“I do not! You’re insane!”

“Bickering is pointless. Stop yelling.” Cyrus walked away.

Giovanni scowled, and reluctantly followed him. It’s not like I have any say in this, he thought. Does it really matter if I get the last word in? Nobody cares.

They walked for a few minutes, but it felt like hours to Giovanni. He tried to keep himself sane by watching the different shapes and colors of the rocks he was walking on, but they all looked pretty much the same. The splashing of the water repeated again and again, becoming more torturous each second. I’m ruining my custom-made shoes. But I’m not really losing anything that matters, am I? Giovanni felt intensely melancholy at that thought. But I suppose I’ll force Cyrus to pay for them just to spite him. Sociopaths tend to be rich. I should know... I employed so many of them in the old days. But I made sure my executives were never like that. In fact, I remember....

A deep rumbling sound cut through his reminiscence. Giovanni looked straight ahead and saw that the river ended in a waterfall. It was all he could focus on, and so he froze. All he could hear was the rushing of water replacing his whole world. Nothing else existed in his mind. Nothing else mattered. He felt the water soaking through his clothes.

Something slippery slapped Giovanni in the face. His eyes flew open—he didn’t realize he had closed them. It had started raining heavily and he hadn’t even noticed. “...Did something hit me just now?” he asked tiredly. He could almost hear bursts of radio static taunting him in the distance.

“Yes. I had Luvdisc slap you,” said Cyrus. Luvdisc was playing in the water at his feet. “Are you... afraid of waterfalls?” Cyrus asked.

“Uh, I had...a bad experience at the waterfalls in Johto. I was planning to rejoin Team Rocket, but a child defeated me again, and I was feeling... disappointed... and I, well—”

“I didn’t ask for your life story.” Cyrus returned Luvdisc to its pokeball.

Giovanni felt his anger level rise to the usual. “Well, excuse me for assuming that you aren’t a machine,” he said sarcastically. “Tell me, do you have any bright ideas about getting out of here now that it’s pouring? Shouldn’t we find shelter?!” His words were punctuated by a thunderclap. “Aren’t you terrified at the thought of your hair gel washing out?”

Cyrus pointed to the waterfall. Giovanni watched his Clefairy slip behind the stream of water to a hollow in the rock. “We can use that as a hiding place,” said Cyrus.

Giovanni flinched. “No!” he yelled, taking a step back, almost falling backwards into the water. “I will never sleep in a cave behind a waterfall again!”

“You’d rather die of exposure?”

I am freezing cold and wet— Giovanni was just weighing his options when he saw another strange burst of light shining from behind the waterfall like a star in the night.

A happy Clefable walked out of the waterfall, not even disturbed by the rain. It was holding a jagged grey stone.

“I was right. Your Clefairy was looking for an evolutionary stone,” said Cyrus. “Now, have you calmed enough to listen to me?”

“I’m perfectly calm!” Giovanni snapped. “I’m not going to wait for hours trying to fall asleep. You’ll have to drag me into that cave if you want me to stay there!” He turned to Clefable. “Come here!” he ordered. It walked up to him obediently. “Use Sing,” he said.

Clefable turned left and right, trying to find a target.

“Use Sing on me,” said Giovanni.

Clefable took a deep breath. It sang a high but calming lullaby that soothed Giovanni’s anger. Soon Giovanni found himself getting sleepy. He could feel a velvet curtain descend behind his eyes. He drifted off to sleep standing up.

====

Giovanni woke up to the sound of maniacal giggling. Instantly he knew the situation was bad. He was in a chair, back in the E-Anon Compound. A Pokemon Ranger stood giggling in front of him, with an imposing circle of guards behind her. Giovanni tried to get up, but his arms and legs were strapped into the chair. He looked to his left and saw Cyrus was beside him, also strapped into a chair.

“How did you capture us?” Cyrus asked in quiet monotone. “How did you know where we were?”

“Guess who can control the minds of sleeping people?” She grinned sadistically. She pointed to a pleased-looking Gothorita that was standing beside her. “I’m afraid that Inari isn’t very lenient with disobedient recovering evildoers.”

“My pokémon! Where did you take it?!” Giovanni fruitlessly struggled against his bonds.

“Now, now, don’t worry. We’re all good people here. We’ll give you two your pokémon back after today’s activity.”

“What are you going to do to us?!” Giovanni’s eyes were wide with terror.

“Oh, we’re only going to help your recovery along.” She turned to the other guards. “Okay, everybody, let’s teach these sad men how to be nice! Bring out... the happy pills!”
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Six

The closer of the two guards held out a little black pill bottle with a smiley decal on it. The Pokémon Ranger took it gleefully.

“I’ll never take those!” Giovanni shouted struggling against his restraints.

“Don’t be such an ill-tempered little boy. You will take your medicine, even if it tastes bitter.” She slowly unscrewed the lid. “They’re just made from friendship-strengthening berries. They might make you feel just a tad disoriented and weak, but we hope—er, we know that effect is not permanent or anything!” She poured every single pill from the bottle into her hand. From her Ranger’s belt, she took out a bottle of water. “Now, just relax.” She gestured to the workers behind her.

Two muscular Ace Trainers stepped forward.

Giovanni’s entire body stiffened. He knew exactly what they were going to do. I’ll have to force myself to vomit before the poison takes effect! He swallowed his saliva hard.

The Pokémon Ranger turned to the Ace Trainers. “Oh, and you two make sure to wait until the pills take effect. We don’t want our patients to accidentally throw up their medicine, right?”

I’ll have to turn my entire throat inside out, Giovanni thought. But... then again, if this poison kills me—

One of the two workers approached him. The Ace Trainer shoved Giovanni’s head back. Giovanni closed his eyes as hard as he could. This could take all my will! he thought. A few seconds later, he felt ice-cold water being poured into his mouth. He could feel pills rolling around on his tongue. He tried to force himself not to swallow them, but his mouth was being held shut by the Ace Trainer. His throat was pulsing and burning. The water in his mouth was already warming up and the pills were partially dissolved. Tears came to Giovanni’s eyes, but he didn’t want to open them. I know what I did to deserve this. I know. Maybe if I just swallowed, it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe it would only be painful for a minute. That’s what I thought about drowning, but I’m such a coward.... He tried once more to spit out the bitter liquid in his mouth, but it was still being held closed. His whole body slumped back, defeated. I’ll just get it over with. He swallowed hard.

He still felt tense, and the worker was still holding his held back. But Giovanni also felt calmer. All I need to do is wait for the pain to... set in.... But he didn’t feel any pain. In fact, his body was relaxing. After a few minutes, he was so relaxed, he felt as limp as an Ekans sleeping in a sunny spot. His muscles were weak and rubbery. I don’t feel so bad.... he thought sleepily. His mood was even calmer than when he would sit down by a fireplace after a long day and pet Persian.

“All right, that’s enough,” said the Ranger. “Take those straps off. The patients should be feeling much happier now!”

Giovanni felt himself being released. A buzzing energy shot through him like a Thunderbolt attack. He no longer felt tired. Instead, he just want to do something invigorating. He opened his eyes and saw the cloudless sky. Giovanni’s vision was slightly fuzzy, like everything was in soft focus. Such a bright blue, especially compared to yesterday, he thought. What am I doing, just standing here? He almost leaped out of the chair and ran over to the Pokémon Ranger. “Tell me, did you say there was something you were going to have me do?”

“I like your attitude!” She clapped her hands together. “But we’ll have to wait for Cyrus. He doesn’t seem quite ready yet. He’s shy, you know?”

“Oh? And why is that?” Giovanni looked over at Cyrus. Cyrus had apparently swallowed his pills, since he was out of his chair. But he didn’t look relaxed or happy. Instead, he looked stiff and was twitching uncontrollably, like he was short-circuiting.

It was only when Giovanni walked over to him that he noticed that Cyrus was actually mumbling to himself.

“Emotions are transient, and growing attached to them only brings pain, but my happiness doesn’t feel transient this instant, but I know it will pass because it always does, it always will, and I must not express any emotion or I would be a hypocrite and I can’t be a hypocrite, not after I’ve come so far but I still have doubts occasionally that I can’t control but I can’t undermine myself but is it undermining myself if I am honestly confused? I don’t know what to do...” Cyrus continued babbling. He didn’t even seem to see Giovanni.

If Cyrus is this upset, he’s going to miss everything. Giovanni was oddly crestfallen. He could see other recovering evildoers were entering the courtyard. He also noticed a worker pointing a video camera straight at him. I’m on camera? Are we all going to be filmed today? Giovanni wondered. I need to act fast! He pulled Cyrus close and kissed him on both cheeks. “Come stai?” asked Giovanni.

Cyrus flinched and pushed Giovanni away. “What do I do with all this happiness?!” Cyrus shuddered.

“Well, when people are happy, they usually smile. You don’t need to worry about anything. It’s such a nice day, after all.”

“I don’t remember how to smile. I haven’t been happy in over twenty years!” Cyrus was still twitching slightly.

“Just try your best.” Giovanni smiled as an example. “It’s not that difficult.”

Cyrus’s mouth quivered for a few seconds. Cyrus forced himself to bare his teeth, the result being that he looked like an Banette on steroids that just had found its old owner and was about to do something terrible. It was as if Giratina itself was trying to rip through the dimensions and escape through Cyrus’s teeth. “I-Is this a proper smile?”

“That’s a little... psychotic... but you know what? Molto bene. A smile is a smile!” Giovanni patted Cyrus on the back until he seemed a bit calmer.

Giovanni heard a screeching pokémon cry behind him. He turned around to see the Aroma Lady and her Kadabra.

“You’re so kind and gentle now, Mr. Giovanni!” said the Aroma Lady. “Now, see all these expectant patients?” She waved to the other people gathered in the courtyard. “Why don’t you and Cyrus do something nice for all of them?”

“And what would that be?” asked Giovanni.

“Sing the Hoké Poké song!” She clapped her hands again. She had a dreamy look in her eyes. “I can just see it now. You’ll be having oh-so-much fun!”

“That’s a great idea!” Giovanni said enthusiastically. “So who’s singing and who’s dancing?”

“I t-took singing lessons when I was young,” Cyrus said shyly. “I’m probably rusty.”

Giovanni put an arm around him. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. And we’re all friends here, remember?”

Cyrus got teary-eyed. “R-Really? Because... I’ve always longed for companionship.”

“Of course we’re your friends!” Why did I used to be such a grouch? Giovanni wondered. Life is so wonderful. I was really missing out!
The pokémon Ranger who gave them the pills came forward. “All right, let’s begin.” She turned to the cameraman. “Make sure you get all this,” she said. “Okay, Cyrus, Giovanni. You’ll start in five... four...”

Giovanni surveyed the audience as the Ranger counted down. He couldn’t recognize anyone in the courtyard other than Lass Mia and Ghetsis. Giovanni felt a surge of happiness. How nice that I’ll be performing in front of all these people and their pokémon. But after this, I’d better make even more friends. Three isn’t enough! After all, what’s life without friendship?

“...One! Red Card, Cyrus!” called the Ranger.

Cyrus nodded slightly. Despite clearly being nervous, he took a deep breath and sang:

You hold your Red Card up,
you hold your Red Card out.
You hold your Red Card up,
and you flip it all about.
You do the Hoké Poké and you make your foe switch out,
that’s what I’m talking about!

Giovanni held up his arm and flipped his hand around as if he were a pokémon holding a Red Card. Look at all those people looking at me, so transfixed. They must really be enjoying this! How great!
“Groudon!” somebody in the audience called out. Cyrus continued to the next verse.

You pull your Groudon in,
you drag it right back out.
You pull your Groudon in,
and it’ll Earthquake all about,
you do the Hoké Poké and you’re dying from the Drought.
That’s what it’s all about!

When Cyrus sang the line about Earthquake, Giovanni leaped up and down to simulate the move. At that point, some people in the audience were laughing heartily. Giovanni felt like laughing himself, he was having so much fun. I haven’t been this happy in years! I’m so happy! he thought. But... aren’t I a little too happy? He spun himself around and the audience laughed even harder. Whatever. I love being happy. I don’t want to be all grumpy ever again!

“Pidgeot! Do Pidgeot!” called Lass Mia. She was jumping up and down in the audience;. Her Pichu was holding onto her and was getting all shaken up. It looked like it wanted to spark.

You fly your Pidgeot in,
you fly it right back out.
You fly Pidgeot in,
but your mind is full of doubt.
There’s no Poke-Center so you’ll never find that Route,
You’re better off without!
You do the Hoké Poké and that’s what it’s all about!

Giovanni ran around the courtyard with his arms out. He waved them up and down to imitate a Pidgeot flapping its wings. Almost everyone was laughing now, but Giovanni noticed one person who wasn’t laughing.

Ghetsis was staring at Giovanni with a horrifically disturbed expression, the kind people get when they watch a train wreck.

Giovanni stopped dancing for a moment. “Good morning, Ghetsis! Your hair is looking very nice today!”

Ghetsis didn’t answer. He just backed away very slowly.

Huh. I hope he learns how to be happy like I did, thought Giovanni.

The Aroma Lady clapped her hands again. “That’s enough! We have something else planned for today!”

Giovanni ran back up to stand next to Cyrus, who still looked extremely awkward.

The Aroma Lady and the guards stepped aside to reveal Inari. She looked bored.

“Ah, Inari. Thanks so much for helping me and all these people!” said Giovanni.

“You’re welcome,” she answered coldly. “Now, I’m afraid we’ll have to move on to a more... serious activity.” She held out a clipboard with loose-leaf paper in it.

“Are you collecting signatures?” Cyrus asked quietly.

Inari adjusted her glasses. The sun glinted off them, obscuring her eyes. “In a sense. Tell me, Cyrus, how many people have you hurt through your evil deeds?”

“Excuse me?” Cyrus didn’t seem to understand the question.

“All the people you were close to, all the people that you hurt. Write down their names.” She removed a sheet of paper from her clipboard and took a pen from a pocket in her labcoat. She thrust the paper and pen at Cyrus.

Cyrus took the paper, but he still seemed confused.

“Here’s one for you, Giovanni.” Inari also gave Giovanni a sheet of paper and a pen. “Feel free to talk about the people you’ve hurt after writing their names down. Oh, and the remember that the first of the people you’ve hurt is yourself.” She walked away.

Giovanni looked down at the paper. He wrote his name slowly. I don’t understand. Why would I need to this when I’m so happy? All I want is to be happy, he thought. After writing his own name, he wrote: My Mother. Then: All the pokémon I injured, and after that: My employees. But after that, Giovanni wasn’t sure what to write. It’s hard to think about sad things when you’re so happy! Eventually he settled on writing the names of his admins: Petrel, Proton, and Archer. He put the pen to paper, about to write “Ariana,” but his hand was trembling. What’s going on? Giovanni wondered. It was as if he’d been hit by Infestation. He shut his eyes tight, then tried again to write her name. He had managed to do so, but his handwriting was horrible. Oh, well. Maybe I should just keep my eyes closed all the time. That would be peaceful, he thought, as he wrote the final name down. He stared at the final name and the ink seemed to pop out at him. The paper turned strange colors like green and violet, and then the world started fading to a grey-brown. Or, I could just keep my eyes open until I can’t anymore. Giovanni grinned.

“Excuse me, Giovanni. Do you think what I wrote... is okay?” Cyrus asked.

Giovanni blinked several times. He turned to look over at Cyrus. Giovanni hadn’t even noticed he had walked over. I’ve been losing myself a lot lately. Odd. “What is it that you’re concerned about, Cyrus?”

“Well... all I wrote was... this.” Cyrus gave his paper to Giovanni. On it, it read, in incredibly precise handwriting: “Every being in the entire universe (almost).”

“I’m sure it’s fine. You’re being honest, after all,” Giovanni said cheerfully. “But if you aren’t sure, why is this all you wrote?”

Cyrus looked at the ground. “Inari told us to write about people close to us that we’ve hurt, but I’ve never been close to anyone,” he whispered.

Giovanni put a hand on Cyrus’s shoulder. “But that’s not a bad thing, Cyrus. After all, that means you didn’t ruin any important relationships in your life!” Giovanni smiled. He held out his own list. “Here, see mine? Archer was always a loyal executive, but I never paid him the attention he really deserved. He and my other Rocket admins tried to contact me via radio, but I was just too caught up in myself. Instead of repaying them, I just jumped off a waterfall.” Giovanni kept smiling.

“...What about these other names?”

“Well, I killed my mother to take Team Rocket from her,” Giovanni said cheerfully, “but we were never close. Petrel and Proton were other admins who I didn’t know very well. Then, Ariana... she was someone... I, well... she was....” Giovanni’s hands were trembling again. He started crumpling the list. “She doesn’t like me anymore. I’ll put it that way.”

“And the last name?”

“Oh, Silver? That’s my son.” Suddenly, Giovanni didn’t feel like smiling. He looked down. “But maybe it’s an insult to call him that after what I did. Or want I didn’t do, as the case may be...” He felt something wet run slowly down his face.

“...Why are you crying?” asked Cyrus. “I don’t like it,” he said, his voice falling back into monotone. He leaned over and pulled Giovanni into a hug.

Giovanni sobbed in Cyrus’s arms. After a few seconds he felt a wave of tiredness wash over him, like he had been hit by a Parasect’s Spore. He shut his eyes. He groaned, feeling somewhat nauseated. They didn’t let me eat before they forced those pills down my throat. Do they want me to starve? he thought. He furrowed his brow, lost in annoyance. Suddenly he felt Cyrus’s arms around him and realized where he was. Giovanni’s eyes widened. “What the hell are you doing?!” he shouted. “Let go of me before I give you two real black eyes!”

Cyrus quickly released him. He had a lost look in his eyes, but the rest of his features were vacant once more. Giovanni briefly considered punching him in the face anyway, but decided he was too tired to fight.

“That’s a wrap!” The Pokémon Ranger from before ran up to Giovanni. She took out a pokéball and threw it. “Go, Duosion!” The ball released her pokémon with a flash. “Use Psychic and carry these two back to the center!” She pointed to Giovanni and Cyrus.

“Where are you taking us?!” yelled Giovanni, as he was engulfed in psychic energy.

The Pokémon Ranger walked past them to lead her Duosion. “I’ll just be taking you two... to the Viewing Room.”
FC: 3368 3076 5903

Logical Cabbage

A Very Big Altaria Fan

Age 19
Female
Houston, Texas
Seen August 16th, 2018
Posted February 21st, 2015
1,264 posts
5.6 Years
An Overall Review:

This is really good. I actually like the character development of Giovanni; we get to see other sides of him that game freak won't show us. For instance, Giovanni is willing to work with people he judges very poorly. And I have a feeling those pills did more than make him act childish; he opened himself up after hiding his grief with malice. Pretty funny performance by them!

As for Cyrus, even he is getting a little character development too! I mean this is the guy that everyone thinks is a psychopath because he speaks and acts monotone. Sure he might have resisted a little on feeling emotions but he was after all helping Giovanni escape, even if the plan failed. It's kinda creepy how he struggles to not feel, but in the end, even he had the inner emotion to react to the pills.

For the plot, it keeps getting darker and darker (irony; these guys need dark types to beat up the physics). Who exactly are these people that claim to be Evil Anonymous? Why did they gather leaders that disappeared kids beat them up? And why are normal people there too? What are their true intentions? We have some things answered; they obviously want total control over them, this is possibly a mental hospital, and maybe they plan on using them... I just love this fan fiction! To think I hated Giovanni for so long....
Train them please!

Avatar Request OR Banner Request
Previously, Logical Cabbage
RP Participation
Begin Again#Return of the Titans#Pokemon Earth and Sky#Outbreak

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Thank you for the in-depth look, Logical Cabbage! Even though this is a comedy, I've been trying to showcase the different types of villainy, what makes people turn bad, and whether a villain can ever be happy or content.

As for character development: when I first starting writing this story, all I had in mind for Giovanni was that he was a depressed jerk because he lost to kids. But as I was writing more in his head, I realized that those trends in his character had to go further back in his life. He still has "depressed jerk syndrome" in spades, but it is also deeper than that. I'm glad you're liking my characterization of him. I hope I don't need a trigger warning for all those suicide references....

As for Cyrus, I had a clear understanding of him from the beginning. I find his philosophy to be hypocritical in many ways. In fact, I find Cyrus himself to a huge hypocrite. He must have a ton of cognitive dissonance under that icy facade of his. I'll get more into his problems in the next chapter.

I was worried that my readers wouldn't like the shift into... "buddy" comedy, either. I'm glad you still love it!

Who exactly are these people that claim to be Evil Anonymous? Why did they gather leaders that disappeared kids beat them up? And why are normal people there too? What are their true intentions? We have some things answered; they obviously want total control over them, this is possibly a mental hospital, and maybe they plan on using them...
The climax will have a creepy, but very funny and ironic reveal to them. ;) The villains' villain, that's what E-Anon is!


I just love this fan fiction! To think I hated Giovanni for so long....
Awww. Thank you so much! :pink_blush:
Well, it's still okay to hate Giovanni if you want. He did do some awful stuff!
FC: 3368 3076 5903

NyxShooter

drifting wanderer

Age 30
Male
United Kingdom (Also Eevee Land)
Seen July 16th, 2016
Posted September 11th, 2015
211 posts
6.3 Years
Purely as constructive criticism, no flame.
==========================

Righty-o good chap, this fanfic is about the criminals of Pokemon which fevorously took charge in many plans involving many people, so lets get to the core that they are evil as you have capitalized on very well.

However reading the latest chapter you posted I have to say that I wasn't hyped as much. The happy pill effect may have been overdone a little bit. Going into other things I didn't find strong use of literary devices (but no one really pays attention to that) and symbolism a little meak. While this is a series which has had a profound and well start, some thing can be improved.

Maybe not what I presented as these are purely suggestions and nothing but. This may be only me who thinks these things, however.
============
Drifting around is so much easier than actually committing.

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Why would I think your review was a flame? 0_o

I thought that I could get away with making the happy pills scene exaggerated because it was for comedy. Like the audience thinking that Ghetsis's name was Cheez-its, among other things. What would be better, in your opinion? What was the element that felt overdone to you?
Going into other things I didn't find strong use of literary devices (but no one really pays attention to that) and symbolism a little meak. While this is a series which has had a profound and well start, some thing can be improved.
I feel like I don't totally understand what you mean by this. Which literary device would you like more of? Layering? I suppose I could have more in the next chapter—I admit that I wasn't thinking that through during the writing process of this chapter. If it's not layering that you're talking about, which device? I thought I was doing a pretty good job of thematic symbolism, honestly.

If I'm going to improve the rest of the story, I need more specific details. Explain it in a PM or VM or something, and I'll make sure to work on it next time!
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Seven

The Ranger led them back to the E-Anon Building. She and her Duosion took them down the hall where all the inmates were kept. The Ranger walked slowly, letting Giovanni and Cyrus watch each identical door pass by. It’s like the rungs of a ladder I’m being forced to climb, thought Giovanni, a ladder that leads to Hell.

Finally, they came to the reinforced metal door that Giovanni had seen before. He still heard the low buzz emanating from it. Despite being held tightly in place by Duosion’s psychic power, Giovanni’s muscles seized up. What horrible thing is waiting for me in there? A rack? Are they going to have a Panpour drip water on me until I go insane?! Giovanni turned pale. But wait... it’s the Viewing Room. Are they going to force my eyes open like in a Clockwork Oran Berry?! He tried to shout or call for help, but the psychic power surrounding him made it impossible to open his mouth.

The Ranger pressed her hand to the wall on one side of the door, and a hidden panel slid out. She took a keycard out of her Rangers’ belt and swiped it. The door ground open, making the noise of a dying Klinklang. Giovanni’s heart beat faster as the Ranger led him and Cyrus into the dimly-lit room. Inside was a table with two restraint chairs behind it. On the table lay a projector.

“Duosion, have our guests sit down!”

The Duosion sent one more burst of energy and lowered Giovanni and Cyrus into the chairs. Duosion used his telekinesis to strap them in. Great. This again, thought Giovanni.

“Now, just wait for a second, you two. I know how excited you must be.” The pokémon Ranger fiddled with a few setting on the projector. She walked to the other side of the room and pulled down a string that was hanging from the ceiling. A white projector slid open. The Ranger walked back and hit one more button on the projector. “Have fun watching these... let’s call them home movies! Oh, and after this, you’ll get your cute little pokémon back.” She dropped two pokéballs on the table. One, Cyrus’s pokéball, slowly rolled toward him. The Ranger cocked her head and smiled. She left. The door ground closed, making the same horrible noise.

At least I won’t be flogged or something. But will whatever I have to watch be so horrifying that I go mad? Will the volume be so loud that my eardrums pop? Probably the latter, since my eyes aren’t being held open. Giovanni watched the projector screen expectantly. I’ll just shut my eyes when it gets bad. I’ll survive this, I’ll survive this, I’ll survive this...

An image appeared. Giovanni winced prematurely. The footage played. The video showed Giovanni talking to the pokémon Ranger.

I... did this earlier, didn’t I? Giovanni’s memory was somewhat hazy. He suddenly had an image flash through his mind like lightning—an image of himself being cheerful. Wait. No. This can’t be! He struggled desperately against his bonds, like a beached Magikarp flailing. Nothing disturbing was happening onscreen, but he knew what was to come.

Cyrus turned his head to look at him. “You should conserve your will. Fear can be overcome with sufficient willpower,” he said in monotone.

“I never asked for your opinion, sociopath! I’m just checking to see if these will snap!” But Giovanni bonds didn’t loosen at all.

The video played, showing Giovanni smiling and trying to comfort Cyrus by patting and reassuring him. Giovanni shut his eyes tight, but even though he couldn’t see the video, he could hear everything—everything he had said when he was drugged. He felt the urge to retch. The video hadn’t even shown him dancing to the Hoké Poké song, but he could already feel the veins in his forehead threatening to burst. Giovanni, you lived through this once. You can survive hearing it again, he repeated to himself. You’ll just escape from this place, kill everyone here, and then nobody will ever know this happened. He still felt enraged. Why can’t humans learn Amnesia?! It’s not fair!

The video continued. Giovanni heard Cyrus beginning the song.

You hold your Red Card up,
you hold your Red Card out.
You hold your Red Card up,
and you flip it all about—


Giovanni’s face went bright red. He clenched his fists so hard they started shaking. “Cyrus!” he shouted. “What gender is Luvdisc?!”

“I do not know,” said Cyrus. His facial muscles were twitching slightly, but he seemed otherwise normal. “To even release Luvdisc from its pokéball, I would have to somehow press the button with my face.”

“Do it!” Giovanni snapped. The Hoké Poké song felt like it was burning through his brain.

Cyrus did not argue or ask why. He leaned his neck down toward the pokéball. He reached within about an inch away from it, but he couldn’t touch it. He couldn’t lean any further. With no other options, he stuck his tongue out and rolled the pokéball closer. He pressed the button.

The light flashed and Luvdisc formed on the table. It was wide-eyed.

“Luvdisc, use Attract on Giovanni and me,” commanded Cyrus.

Luvdisc bounced a little. It pursed its lips and two glowing, hot pink hearts appeared in front of it. It blew one heart to Cyrus and one to Giovanni. The hearts burst, releasing pulses of infatuation.

Oh, Luvdisc is so cute. I love Luvdisc! Giovanni thought suddenly. I love Luvdisc, I love Luvdisc, I love Luvdisc... was all he could think. He was vaguely aware of the footage continuing on the projector screen, finishing, and repeating again, but none of it remotely affected him. He had no idea how many times the same video of him smiling, dancing, and crying repeated on screen. It was like waking up from a complicated dream and barely remembering it—it could have been five repetitions, or five hundred. Giovanni couldn’t tell.

The video screen went blank. The door ground open again. Acting on some sort of instinct, Luvdisc hid by Cyrus’s feet and lay down flat on its side.

Giovanni could hear the sound of footsteps in the room.

“See, Inari? They’re totally calm now.” It was the Ranger’s voice.

“Hm. I see. Completely blank. Now, what was this disturbance you mentioned?” asked Inari.

“Um... Lass Mia’s Pichu escaped. I think it’s in the vents.”

“Again?” Inari’s tone was harsh. “I told you not to give her her pokémon back early. I don’t care how cute it looks! It could disrupt our electricity! Go find it, now!”

“What about these two?”

“I’ll tell them about the program later. Just leave them here for now. They can’t do anything in this state.”

Inari and the Ranger left the room. The door shut.

Luvdisc... Luvdisc... wait. What just happened was important, wasn’t it? Giovanni shook his head as hard as he could, his infatuation fading. “Dear Luvdisc, wherever you are, could you spray me with some water?”

Luvdisc hopped out from underneath the table. It tilted its body up but did nothing but stare at Giovanni.

“It will help your owner as well.”

Luvdisc blasted water at Giovanni. His face was drenched. He shook his head again, feeling his usual state of annoyance return. “Luvdisc, roll my pokéball into my lap!”

Luvdisc rolled the ball off the table and Giovanni was able to just barely reach it with his hands. He pressed the button, and his Clefable appeared behind him. “Release us, Clefable,” Giovanni said quietly.

“Pipipi!” Clefable used its little claws to rip Giovanni’s and Cyrus’s bonds. Giovanni immediately rubbed the place on his arms where he had been restrained. Cyrus, on the other hand, seemed totally empty inside. He was staring at nothing, and his eyes looked as dead as a Parasect’s. He started to fall forward, and Giovanni caught him a split second before his face slammed into the table.

Giovanni slapped Cyrus hard. “Wake up! I don’t have time for this. Do you want to be stuck here forever?”

Cyrus blinked a few times. “...I am fine. I’m not used to the feeling of emotions for another.” He carefully stood up.

“I don’t care whether you’re fine or not!” Giovanni snapped. “Besides, you’re lying. After all, you own a Crobat, don’t you? You’re just a hypocrite!”

“...I don’t feel anything for my Crobat. It evolved from a Golbat regardless.”

Giovanni crossed his arms. “Really, now? Do you expect me to believe that a pokémon can’t sense what a human feels after all I was put through?” he asked. “You’re not even an effective sociopath. Pathetic.”

“We have little time, as you just said. We need to find a way out of here, now.”

“Fine. The door is metal, so I’m going through the wall instead.” He looked at Clefable. “Use Moonblast on the far wall.”

Clefable held its arms above its head, forming a swirling ball of pink moonlight that grew until it was too large to support. Clefable flung it at the wall and it exploded in a shower of blinding pink sparkles. When they cleared, the wall had a gaping hole in it.

Even if these guards are dumb as fat Slowpoke, they’ll come to investigate a noise that loud, thought Giovanni. He and Cyrus immediately returned their pokémon to their pokéballs, and left through the hole in the wall.

====

On the other side was an area that looked like a warehouse—it had a metal floor with small reinforced walls arranged like a labyrinth. There were strangely bright-colored tiles scattered throughout the floor, set in the metal.

Giovanni and Cyrus walked a few steps out onto the metal floor. Cyrus looked down at one of the tiles. On it was a black arrow pointing left.

“What is this?” asked Cyrus.

Giovanni raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know? Those are spinner tiles. They send you spinning off in a direction until you reach a very rough surface.” Giovanni looked to the left, but just saw another metal wall. “I don’t understand why this tile was placed here, though. I used to have them set up as traps in my gym—and then there was the time my Rocket grunts decided to install them in my hideout without telling me.” His eyes narrowed. “I often wonder why I ever bothered trying to work with people.”

“Ignorant people are easier to control,” said Cyrus. He avoided the tile and walked into the maze-like area of the room. He carefully checked behind the first wall he came across. “No one is in this hallway,” he said very quietly.

Giovanni followed him. Indeed, nobody seemed to be around. Cyrus and Giovanni neither saw nor heard anyone. You’d think an area like this would be guarded, thought Giovanni. Unless this idiotic maze is supposed to be a kind of trap.

Cyrus turned another corner. Something on the floor made a beeping sound, and suddenly Cyrus spun rapidly forward. He had tripped a tile. Giovanni ran right over the same tile and chased after Cyrus. The hall ended abruptly in another metal wall. Cyrus, unable to stop, slammed into it face-first. He stumbled backward, but Giovanni caught him before he could fall and shoved him back to a standing position.

Cyrus shot Giovanni a strange look.

“I didn’t want you falling on my foot, you idiot.” Giovanni glared at him.

“That tile was unavoidable. Why did you not activate it?”

Giovanni sighed. “My shoes are custom-made to not trip these kinds of traps. Otherwise it would be hell every time I’d have to walk through my gym.”

“I see. Then you should walk in front of me.”

Giovanni agreed, and they continued.

Every time they went through another break in a wall, the hall would just end in another wall. Each hallway looked pretty much the same, even down to where the spinner tiles were placed. It was as if the whole room was just a giant fractal, and nothing led anywhere. After only ten minutes of walking, Giovanni felt frustrated enough to try having Clefable punch through the walls, although he knew that would be self-defeating.

I need to occupy myself somehow so I don’t go insane from the repetition. “Cyrus,” said Giovanni, “I figure that you don’t want to have to dwell on... I think yesterday’s... activities any more than I do, but do you actually ever doubt your insane philosophy, or was that just the drugs talking?”

Cyrus did not answer right away. “...I would not have come to Unova unless I had recognized the possibility of my being wrong. When my plan in Sinnoh was ruined, I was at first certain that it was due to a lack of information, which was unfortunately something I could not have rectified no matter what I had planned for.

“However, after reflecting on my life in the Distortion World, I realized how I am a product of my upbringing. I was defeated by children who believed that life has worth. Had I lived differently, I might have ended up sharing their beliefs with the same intensity with which I believe my philosophy now.... This is all theoretical, of course.

“I came to Unova to see if I could harness the power of a pokémon that contains an infinite amount of energy within its body. But were I to succeed in creating a world without spirit with that power... I could find out that I’ve been wrong all along... and find that out far too late to fix anything.” Cyrus slowed his pace slightly.

“Do have to blather like that every time you open your mouth?!” Giovanni scowled. “Oh, so you’re too scared to go through with it?” He walked more quickly and stopped in front of Cyrus. “You’re even more pathetic than I thought you were! You hypocrite. You can’t do anything!”

“Don’t yell.” Cyrus’s blank stare did not falter. “...It’s true... I admit to being hypocritical. Similar... in a way, to how you despise yourself but are too afraid to die.”

Giovanni opened his mouth, but no words came out. His mind had become a blank slate.

“Oh, you two are so late!” a feminine voice rang out.

Giovanni and Cyrus quickly turned toward the voice. Standing to their right, behind another break in the walls, was the Aroma Lady and her Kadabra. Behind her were four pokémon Breeders, who all looked eerily alike. They were standing in front of glowing teleporters.

“You two really kept us waiting! We had to be so very quiet.” said the Aroma Lady. “I’ve been waiting to participate in a horde battle for so long. This will be fun, Kadabra!”
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Eight

“A five-on-two battle?!” Giovanni took a step back. “Since when is that legal?!”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s legal, Mr. Giovanni.” She smiled. “But since when have you cared about legality?” She pointed to him theatrically. “Battle start!” she called.

The four Breeders behind her threw their pokeballs simultaneously. An Abra burst from each pokéball. They let out sharp growls. The Aroma Lady’s Kadabra took its position in from the Abras, so the pokémon stood in a V-formation.

Giovanni sneered. “Abra? Are you sure?” When the Aroma Lady didn’t say anything, he took out his pokéball and released Clefable.

“Pipiri!” said Clefable. It looked raring to fight.

Cyrus quietly sent out Luvdisc.

The Aroma Lady’s eyes flashed like lightning. She punched the air. “Kadabra, use Psybeam on Clefable!”

“Use Attract....” Cyrus’s voice had no energy in it.

Before the Kadabra could strike, red hearts floated out from Luvdisc’s lips. The hearts burst over Kadabra’s head, and the pokémon stopped short. It’s eyes went big—Kadabra was immobilized by love.

“Abra, use Fire Punch!” the four Breeders yelled.

“Clefable, use Cosmic Power,” said Giovanni.

Clefable glowed different colors, shielded by the power of the stars. Meanwhile, the for Abra’s fists burned a bright orange. They each leaped forward, getting one hit in each. Clefable winced, but wasn’t burned.

“Oh, we’re unlucky,” muttered a Breeder. Giovanni did not mention that Clefable had Magic Guard.

“Luvdisc, use Water Pulse,” said Cyrus. Luvdisc shot a ring of water from its mouth, hitting one of the Abra. The Abra became confused, fell onto the floor, and knocked itself out. Its Breeder owner sighed and returned it to its pokéball.

This is just depressing, thought Giovanni. Now I remember why I went to the PWT in the first place. “Clefable, use Moonblast on Kadabra.”

“Kadabra, Double Team!” yelled the Aroma Lady. Kadabra’s form shifted rapidly left and right, and the pink ball of Moonblast flew right past it. Moonblast crashed into the metal wall and burst.

Giovanni put his palm to his face. It’s going to be another one of those battles, isn’t it? “Clefable, use Moonblast on one of the three Abra. I don’t care which.”

“...Luvdisc, use Water Pulse on another...” said Cyrus.

The battle continued exactly how Giovanni predicted. Soon all of the remaining Abra had fainted, leaving only the Kadabra. With each turn, the Aroma had Kadabra use Double Team, until Kadabra could barely be seen. It looked like it was flickering in and out of existence. No moves could hit it.

“Use Hydro Pump,” said Cyrus. Luvdisc shot a stream of water into the air. It flew right over Kadabra.

The Aroma Lady giggled. “Missed him, missed him, now you have to k—” The water slammed her in the face and sprayed the four Breeders. They shrieked melodramatically.

“The dirt’s coming out of my shirt!” yelled a Breeder. “A Breeder needs dirt on them to look professional.”

Luvdisc stopped shooting water. The Aroma Lady’s eyes were wide with shock. She fell over and hit the floor.

Giovanni and Cyrus shared a look. They returned their pokémon and ran past their opponents, who were still busy whining. Giovanni made sure to step on the Aroma Lady as he ran.

They quickly reached the end of the hall, where there were five glowing pads set on the floor. Giovanni and Cyrus instantly recognized them as teleporters. There was no map or any other sign around of where each teleporter could lead.

“Where first?” asked Giovanni. “These layouts invariably turn out to be mazes.”

“The middle option is the logical choice,” said Cyrus. “Therefore, I believe that we should pick a different one.”

If the staff has been so insane so far.... Giovanni understood. “Fine, but if we get lost, you’re to blame!” He walked onto the leftmost teleporter pad and disappeared with a glow of white light.

“...That makes no sense.” Cyrus followed him.

====

They appeared on a metal bridge that stretched from one wall to the other and did not appear to connect to anything else. The vast, dimly-lit room was different from the bright warehouse-like area, and it resonated with a deep humming sound. Giovanni was reminded of the Kanto Power Plant back when it was still abandoned. On the other end of the metal bridge was another teleporter.

“Why would this... bridge even be here?” asked Giovanni. He hadn’t spoken loudly, but his voice echoed.

Cyrus shrugged slightly.

He and Giovanni walked toward the other end of the bridge. Before they could even get halfway there, they heard the sound of someone else teleporting. They turned around, and a man was standing there, mostly obscured by shadow. He took a step toward them, revealing himself as none other than the pokémon Breeder who owned the Natu. “Hey Giov!” he called.

Giovanni shook his fist at him. “You! Now that I finally have a pokémon, I’ll vaporize you like you deserve!” He threw his pokéball and released Clefable. The flash from the ball illuminated the bridge, and Clefable chirped in anticipation. Cyrus moved to release his Luvdisc, but Giovanni stopped him. “I have to kill this man myself!”

Cyrus stepped back without saying anything.

“I told ya you’d make friends,” said the Breeder. “Now look at you and Cyrus. Angry sociopath and soulless sociopath, BFF!”

“We’re obviously not sociopaths, you insolent fool!” yelled Giovanni. Cyrus gave him another strange look, but Giovanni ignored it. “Are you gong to fight my pokémon with your pitiful little Natu?” he asked the Breeder.

“Nah, I don’t use him to battle.” The Breeder tossed a pokéball and sent out a pokémon that was taller than Clefable, only a few inches shorter than Giovanni—a Xatu. The Xatu’s eyes were dull and unblinking, like it could see something terrible.

“Use Future Sight!” yelled the Breeder. Xatu closed its eyes. It opened them again quickly.

Giovanni crossed his arms. “I’ll knock Xatu out long before that attack hits. Clefable, use Moonblast!”

Clefable formed another pink ball which lit up the room again. Clefable flung the ball and slammed it into its foe. The Xatu flew backward and crashed onto the bridge. Instant knock out.

“Aw, that was so anticlimactic,” said the Breeder. He returned Xatu. “But I wasn’t aiming for your pokémon, Giov.”

“Now I’ll kill y—wait, what?” Giovanni’s eyes narrowed.

A split-second later, he was blinded by a flash of light that came from nowhere. A crackling noise was punctuated by a scream from right beside him. Giovanni whirled around. Cyrus had crumpled over and was gripping his head so hard his knuckles were white.

“Sorry. Nothing personal,” said the pokémon Breeder. He turned tail and ran. He stepped onto the teleporter and vanished.

“You’ll experience a world of pain someday! I’ll make sure of that!” Giovanni yelled, but he stayed where he was. He looked down at Cyrus, who was shaking, making barely audible noises like a Whismur.

Giovanni returned Clefable to its pokéball. This is the perfect opportunity to steal Cyrus’s Luvdisc and run, he thought. He adjusted his fedora and drew in a breath. He sighed and bent over. With a lot of effort, he pulled Cyrus back to a standing position. Cyrus’s eyes were open but had a charmed look in them, as if he could see something impossibly beautiful in the distance.

Giovanni slapped him, but it had no effect. Cyrus didn’t react at all.

“Snap out of it!” Giovanni slapped Cyrus harder. “I know you’re not dead. Are you telling me you’ll give up after one Future Sight?! You’re weaker than your Luvdisc!”

Cyrus reacted by blinking a few times. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly and he smiled softly.

Giovanni flinched. “Stop that!” he yelled. “Your smile should be outlawed!” I can’t put my finger on why, but it should be! he left unsaid.

A few seconds later, Cyrus’s smile fell and his eyes returned to being soulless as usual. But he still looked somewhat dazed. “What... did I just do?” he asked slowly. “Anything out of the ordinary?”

“Nothing in particular. You were blasted by Future Sight and doubled over in pain. But you didn’t so anything odd... except smile at me!” Giovanni scowled. “There is clearly something wrong with you. Even more wrong than usual, and that’s terrible. What just happened?”

Cyrus looked off to the side. “After I was hit... I could see more than than usual.”

“What is that supposed to mean? You felt like you had turned into a Claydol? And don’t blather on describing it. I’m tired.”

“...I could see how things really are. It was like a vivid dream, though I rarely dream. I understand now. Time and space are simply aspects of the same thing. And... I was wrong. Emotions are just as waves are to the ocean. Only hoping that they will last is wasteful....” Cyrus trailed off.

It looks like I won’t be getting any more out of him, thought Giovanni. Then again, I didn’t want to talk when my whole life came crashing down either. “Never mind. Let’s just continue trying the teleporters. How much longer could it possibly take to find our pokémon?

====

After the nth time of choosing the wrong teleporter pad and ending up nowhere useful, Giovanni had to repress the urge to vomit. He had taken so many warps that he felt like all of his electrons were spinning in the wrong direction. His head was pounding and he thought he could see red flashes in his peripheral vision.

He and Cyrus had landed in a room that had a long table in the center. It appeared to be a meeting room for staff. There was a sliding door at the other side, but it had a terminal for swiping a keycard next to it. Even if I had a card, the last thing I want right now is another battle with one of those fools, he thought. He staggered to the table and collapsed into a chair. He closed his eyes. The light from the fixtures was giving him a headache. What if my pokémon aren’t even in this place? What if they’re being rented out?! I have to find them now.... Giovanni did not move at all.

“Are you unable to continue?” asked Cyrus, who was standing behind him, waiting patiently.

“I’m perfectly fine,” Giovanni mumbled. He rubbed his eyes. This is bad, he thought. I’m sweating and dehydrated at the same time. But if I take my hat off, I’ll get a headache from these stupid lights. Go figure. He slowly pushed himself to his feet again, but he had to hold the chair for support. He looked at Cyrus. “Oh, wait, that’s right,” said Giovanni. “You can’t leave me behind, because you wouldn’t get anywhere with a just a Luvdisc. And I’d never give up my pokémon. It looks like you’re stuck.” He smirked.

Cyrus’s expression didn’t change. “I have a question for you, Giovanni,” he said quietly.

“If it’s about where they’re keeping the pokémon, I have no idea. This whole building feels like it was designed by a horde of drunk Spinda.”

“...It wasn’t about that. Giovanni, explain this to me—why did you not steal my pokémon and abandon me while I was... incapacitated? That course of action would have been convenient for you, and you’ve implied that it is what you’ve hoped to do all along. Explain.”

Giovanni froze. He said nothing.

“Explain.”

If I say I don’t want to answer, he’ll see through me, thought Giovanni. Deflecting the question won’t do anything but stall for time. If I lie and claim I did it because he was useful to me, he would just ask me more questions and I’d be back to square one. If I tell the truth, but confess in a sarcastic tone, it will most likely buy me more time but he’ll see through that eventually, but if I don’t say anything he’ll just end up asking me more questions and I haven’t thought of an answer yet, have I?! Damn it, if I don’t say something soon he’s going to figure it out anyway! “The reason is...” Giovanni started.

“Yes?”

On the other hand, he is the only one who would ever end up hearing this. Giovanni let go of the chair and straightened up as much as possible. What is the worst that could happen? That he’ll call me illogical? That couldn’t be so horrible, right? Giovanni felt his chest tighten with fear. Is this what being hit by Nightshade feels like? he wondered. He tipped his fedora down slightly so that he couldn’t see what was right in front of him. “No matter what I say, you’ll be able to to figure out the truth,” he muttered. “So I might as well just tell you now and get it over with. The reason I didn’t just leave you when I had the chance is—it’s because I... I...” Giovanni stammered. It was as if he had been hit by Quash. “I don’t even need to say any of this! You already know, don’t you?!” he snapped. “You know everything!”

Cyrus nodded shallowly. “Yes. You were about to confess... that you have Borderline Personality Disorder.”

“I-It’s tru—wait, no it isn’t! How stupid are you?!” Giovanni yelled. He was shaking. He pushed his hat back up to glare at Cyrus. “You imbecile! I was going to tell you that I actually don’t hate you, and that’s why I didn’t just leave you there! But I couldn’t exactly tell you that, could I?! Every time I find somebody I don’t hate, I always screw it up! I can’t ever admit what I feel.” Giovanni’s voice got quiet on the last sentence. His face had turned a deep crimson. “I have to push you away for your own good....”

Cyrus’s expression was nearly the same, but his eyes were wide. He hesitated before speaking. “...I... see,” he said. “However, you said you can’t admit it, and you just did. You have contradicted yourself,” he said in his usual monotone. His entire face became impassive.

Giovanni stared at him with a blank look.

Cyrus stared at him blankly in return.

Giovanni slowly turned away from Cyrus. He pulled his arm back and suddenly punched Cyrus in the jaw. The strike was so strong that Cyrus fell back and hit the floor.

Giovanni was breathing heavily, but the pounding in his head was gone. He no longer saw red spots in his vision. “Now, to find my pokémon,” he said to himself.

Cyrus mumbled something.

“What?” asked Giovanni sharply.

Cyrus was still on the floor. He was rubbing his jaw in the place where Giovanni had punched him. “...I think... I was about to have an emotion... before you hit me. But now I’m in too much pain to tell.”

Giovanni cleared his throat. He quickly turned his head away. “Have an emotion on your own time.”
FC: 3368 3076 5903

bobandbill

This is fine.

Male
A cape
Online now
Posted 10 Minutes Ago
15,244 posts
11.7 Years
Here’s your review reward for completing the challenge for the first three chapters!

Firstly:
This fanfiction is a satire that is meant to deconstruct the common Pokémon fanfiction plot of every single evil team leader joining forces.
I have to confess, despite knowing of the concept, I have not read any fic that actually did this. Maybe it’s more common on other sites or I just haven’t been reading enough of late however, but I’m afraid I possibly won’t ‘get’ some of the deconstructions.

The concept thus far is certainly interesting. I am intrigued by this E-Anon group and what their actual purpose is. They sure like their Psychic types as well... and lethal fences. You’ve done well in setting them up and portraying the few characters that are a part of this group shown thus far. Giovanni is enjoyable enough to read about, although I would like to see some more development and expansion of him later on (guess I’d need to read more to see!). At the moment it seems to a bit too much of him getting angry and frustrated by the position he finds himself in, and while that's certainly understandable and realistic I feel there's more he can offer later on, and hope so too as he may run the risk of being too predictable otherwise.

Cyrus seems to be nailed, while Ghetsis is perhaps a bit too much of a raving old person for my liking. I guess I could see him that way following the events of B2W2, if I’m recalling some dialogue from the Shadow Triad correctly, but I’m not too fond of him as there doesn’t seem to be too much offered from him thus far. His speech to everyone didn’t seem to carry quite the same weight as he supposedly does in canon (see BW and his various speeches to the public about releasing Pokémon). Wonder what he did with trapping Giovanni though, hmm...

Most of the plot seems to have held up nicely so far, but in chapter three I was bugged by the ‘let them have a Pokémon for an hour’ part. To begin with, it seems awfully dangerous of them to do that in the first place, and even more so that the Pokeballs are just sitting in boxes like that (and all of them for that matter – if they’re only allowed one, why not just bring up one to them?). And that one let Ghetsis take a Dark type anyway. That was only ever going to end one way. This is my biggest issue with how the story has progressed thus far – otherwise I don’t have many qualms (just questions about the motives of E-anon, how they’re ‘converting’ people exactly, and so forth, which the rest of the story hopefully takes care of!).

The description is nice enough with character reactions and how they speak. I noticed that you liked using a lot of similes with pokemon (shining like a Sunflora), but also consider changing it up a bit more or pairing it up with some description to bach that up (e.g. 'Giovanni felt more angry than an abused pokémon using Frustration.' - you could try in addition/instead of this mentioning say that Giovanni 'clenched his fist' or some action that would indicate to readers he is angry, without outright telling them that he 'felt more angry than ___').

Perhaps some sentences could be joined or expanded, as they feel too short. E.g.:
He turned the handle. But the door didn’t budge.
This would read better as one sentence (He turned the handle, but the door didn't budge.) And sometimes I feel you tend to 'tell' a bit too much, e.g.:
Unfortunately for him, the Breeder couldn’t take a hint and patted Giovanni on the back.
Here you tell us that the Breeder couldn't take a hint, but his previous actions, as well as what he did here (patted him on the back, followed by his dialogue) already indicated this fact to us.

The battles did feel a bit too quick to end for my liking as well. Gallade went down in one hit, as did the Hydreigon. Maybe you are treating it somewhat like the games when it can typically happen, but it doesn't quite make for a thrilling event. While it's good that you describe the Pokemon's reactions to attacks, some more description of that and how they react would also help the feeling I got that they followed a pattern of 'Pokemon X prepared ___ and launched this attack/Pokemon Y took the hit and reacted/fainted'. An example:
Rhyperior smashed the ground using its tail. It sent a shockwave hurtling to Cohagrigus. The shockwave hit its target, and Cohagrigus was sent flying backward. But using its arms, it dug into the ground and kept itself from slamming into anything.
Here, you describe one thing after another (which sorta links in with my earlier comment about considering merging some sentences). Rhyperior did ___/This cause ___ to happen/It hit and Cohagrigus flew back/It did __ to stop itself is the base of this, but we don't get much of an idea of say the senses (sound - the sound of the attack, or if either Pokemon made any sounds in executing/withstanding the attack) or touch (how did the shockwave feel to Giovanni, for instance?) Some extra details would liven up the battle and make it more exciting to read, and easier to visualise too. Certainly there's a base, but it needs some more fleshing out, I feel.

There are a bunch of typos or presentation issues here and there; here's a sample as well as some suggestions.
It was a cool summer night, just past ten o’clock and the streetlights were shining bright, causing the buildings to shimmer a bluish-green.
This would be better as two sentences imo ('It was a cool summer night. It was just past ten o'clock and...', or maybe something along the lines of 'It was just past ten o'clock on the cool summer night. The streetlights were...' may be better, as it separates the subject of time from the setting and description of it).
Giovanni had made some lame excuse about needing to buy repels so that he could leave the PWT before anybody else.
It may be worth writing out PWT in full (Pokemon World Tournament), so readers who haven't played B2W2 don't have to guess at it.
He wasn’t fond of many of the native pokémon of Unova, and besides, his adventurous days were over. He stopped to pull his fedora over his eyes. I’ll stop by the PokéMart, then be on my way, he thought. He walked past several emerald-studded buildings. He was glad they didn’t shine much at night.
I didn't really notice this be a problem otherwise, but here there were a number of sentences starting with 'H' (He wasn't, He stopped, (thought) he though, He walked, He was. These phrases get repetitive and can make the paragraph feel more like a detailed list of events, so watch out for cases of starting sentences the same way too often and vary it more often.
My pokémon, thought Giovanni, I have to find them!
Sometimes you forget to put the thoughts in italics here and there, like in this case, or this one:
After all, if those guards get distracted, I want to make a clean break for the exits, thought Giovanni, though what do about his stolen pokémon was still unclear to him.
Meanwhile, this:
This is hell, he thought.
was all in italics.
“You will suffer for this.” Giovanni seethed, but without pokémon of his own, there wasn’t much he could do but look threatening.
I think this may be better if you treated it all as one sentence and had a comma at the end of the dialogue as a result, rather than the full stop.
“Greetings, degenerate fools. I am the rightful ruler of the region of Unova.”

“Hi, rightful ruler of the region of Unova!”
Haha. Good Dennis joke as well. I quite enjoyed the general setup of chapter two, although I was a bit confused on what it really achieved in the end for E-anon. Guess it wasn't a particularly useful session for them for the bigger baddies.
Giovanni smirked. “Because you were never allowed to join in on any reindeer games? Also,
weren’t you also defeated by a kid?”
Occasionally you had hit enter in the middle of a sentence (or it appears that way).
Giovanni had his mouth pressed into a thin line.
I don't think you need to tell us he 'had' his mouth like that, but rather just state that 'Giovanni pressed his mouth into a thin line'.
Proton cracked a few skulls for me that way, I recall....
Three dots for an ellipsis.
Lass Mia, of all people, seemed convinced. “Wow, you’re so right! I mean, I saw a documentary
about Red, and he was really, really, cute!”
Another case of a sentence seemingly having the enter key pressed midway through. Poor Giovanni, I bet nobody calls him cute.
In an instant, a sound like a super-effective Thunder resounded.
This description seemed a bit odd to me, partly with the 'sound...resounded' bit, and the need to point out a Thunder would be super-effective seems a bit needless to me. I think it might have been better to just describe how it would actually sound like here.
I mean, every door is unlocked at the same time each day, unless a worker like me opens it for you.”
Did you maybe mean to write 'every door is locked'?
But Golbat and Gyrados are still okay.
Gyarados.
Wait, didn’t I have my Honchcrow forget Fly? Why, why, why would I have done that?!
Why indeed? I'm not sure why he would have done this, or if it really benefits the story to have a four-limit-rule thrown in, or leastways indicated here when you could have gone without it imo. It just doesn't seem to make much sense to me to have this part in.
The Pokémon Ranger screamed and scrambled to his feet. He ran away, still screaming.
screamed and screaming in two sentences is a bit repetitive; but again, you could remove the last two words and merge the rest into two sentences (...scrambled to his feet before sprinting off, yelling all the way).

Overall I enjoyed this start to the story, and there's a good basis. I hope my comments on what to possibly improve on come in useful. Good luck with the rest of the story!

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Thank you for the prize, bobandbill!
Firstly:I have to confess, despite knowing of the concept, I have not read any fic that actually did this. Maybe it’s more common on other sites or I just haven’t been reading enough of late however, but I’m afraid I possibly won’t ‘get’ some of the deconstructions.
Really? I've seen them everywhere. It doesn't matter, though, because my story has turned into something nothing like my original premise.
At the moment it seems to a bit too much of him getting angry and frustrated by the position he finds himself in, and while that's certainly understandable and realistic I feel there's more he can offer later on, and hope so too as he may run the risk of being too predictable otherwise.
Yeah. When I rewrite this story after the whole thing is finished, I will make sure to show more of Giovanni's manipulative side and his sarcastic side. I mean, I did show him being depressed and suicidal after chapter four, but I agree that I have him snapping too often.

Ghetsis... I don't know. In my mind, he broke after BW2, even though he used to be a super-manipulator. I'm trying to figure out how to work him into the rest of the story, but it isn't going well.
Another thing to fix in the rewrites.

The let them have a pokemon for an hour thing was intended to be a form of torture, like taking away their last hopes, but I can see that it's problematic. I meant to show Ghetsis getting his Hydreigon back as just one guard's slip-up.
E-Anon's motives are going to be revealed in the next chapter (chapter nine, I think).

These telling vs. showing things I will also fix after I finish the story. I agree with everything you said.
Urk. No excuse for those typos! Formatting everything after being used to my word processor is difficult. Yes, Giovanni's thoughts are all supposed to be in italics. I will go back and fix all of those errors when I have time, probably after I get chapter nine finished.

Another case of a sentence seemingly having the enter key pressed midway through. Poor Giovanni, I bet nobody calls him cute.
I have no idea how I manage to do that. Damn you, awful forum formatting! *shakes fist*

The only things I disagree with are the PWT thing and the four move limit. The PWT is used as an acronym in BW2, and nobody will understand what's going on in my fanfiction if they don't know that game anyway. Actually, I should probably point that out somewhere. With the four move only limit, I think something to do with having a pokemon in a pokeball limits it to knowing four moves, probably as a government safety practice. I also just thought it was funny.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
A/N: I'm alive. Sometimes I need a few weeks to rest from writing, especially since I'm so busy now. Thanks to everybody who's been waiting! I appreciate each of you. ^^

Chapter Nine

Cyrus slowly got off the floor and stood up. He stared at the far wall, focused on no spot in particular. His eyes were still a bit wide and looked glassy. He looked like a disturbed, badly-made puppet.

Giovanni glanced at Cyrus and looked away again. I can see the gears spinning in his head, thought Giovanni. I hope that he will reboot himself, we’ll leave, and I’ll never have to refer to what happened in this room ever again.

After what felt like an eternity to Giovanni, Cyrus still hadn’t moved. Giovanni wouldn’t have been surprised if error messages appeared in Cyrus’s eyes. Instead of feeling awkward, Giovanni’s anger simply flared again. He walked up to Cyrus and waved a hand in front of his face. “Are you still alive? Do you think you’re a Tirtouga using Withdraw? Because I hate that pokémon,” Giovanni hissed the last sentence.

Cyrus turned his head sharply to glare at him. Giovanni flinched.

“I have thought of a plan to ascertain our course of action,” said Cyrus. “You will follow it.”

“Oh, icy as usual, I see.” Giovanni glared right back at him.

“By now you must have noti—wait... was what you said just now an attempt at using homophones for the purpose of humor?”

“What? Of course not.”

“...Good. Because it would have been a failure,” Cyrus said in monotone.

Giovanni wasn’t sure whether he should bother feeling insulted or not, and Giovanni detested when he didn’t know how to react to something. It’s not worth getting angry over again, Giovanni. He’s just another crazy person like everybody else. He put his hands in his pockets. “What is your plan,” he asked flatly.

“By now, you must have noticed the abundance of psychic-types in this complex. If the staff is supplied with psychic-types, it is logical to assume that they are participating in psychic communication or spying.

“If this is indeed the case, I may be able to create a device to intercept and listen to their communications. All I need are a few simple, commonplace materials.”

“And what simple materials would those be?”

“Wires, diodes, a listening device such as an ear bud or headphones, pieces of metal, and a fairly large crystal.” Cyrus turned to walk back toward the room’s one teleporter. He paused. “...An entire computer system would also be useful.”

“That’s you idea of simple, commonplace materials?!” Giovanni snapped. “Don’t tell me—you expect me to gather these things for you, don’t you, you entitled little brat?!”

“If this place has any form of security system, as you should know it does, all of the materials I listed should be relatively easy to find,” Cyrus stated without turning around.

“Really, now? And I’m sure that a large crystal is simple to find. Everyone has one of those, I’m sure,” Giovanni said sarcastically. “And I’m sure its fair to send the dehydrated man who’s twenty five years your senior to do your job!”

“I suppose that it could be more difficult than I first imagined...” said Cyrus, “...if I am unable to find one, I could always kill a few humans and harvest their pineal glands. Since it isn’t fair to send you to do so, it would be logical to harvest yours first.”

Giovanni blanched. Fortunately for his dignity, his expression was partially hidden by his hat. “Y-You can’t be serious! You’ll just say anything to get the last word in, you pretentious bastard!”

“Pineal glands are far too small. It’s true,” said Cyrus. He still didn’t turn around. “That was an attempt to understand levity, the type of which you take part in. Ha. Ha.” Cyrus sounded like a broken robot mimicking human behavior.

Giovanni stared at him blankly.

“I have just confirmed my theory that humor and sarcasm are overrated. Saying what you truly mean is far more likely to result in successful communication.” Cyrus stepped onto the glowing teleporter and vanished with a flash.

Giovanni scowled. Does he really think I’m too stupid to recognize these insults he constantly hurls at me? He walked onto the teleporter and left the room.

====

Dizzy from the warp, Giovanni took in his surroundings. The teleporter had led to the middle of a vast room with several short halls branching out from the center like the arms of a Starmie. At the end of each hall, unsurprisingly, was another teleporter. Other than the glimmering teleporters, the entire room was stark and empty, and the lighting was harsher than a winter’s day.

Before Giovanni could complain, he felt a sharp pain in his head. He took off his fedora with one hand and covered his face with the other. His entire head was pulsing with heat. Why are my eyes burning?!

Cyrus, who was standing in front of Giovanni, suddenly turned and faced him. “Are you being targeted?”

“Targeted by thirst and fatigue, maybe.” Giovanni scowled. “I can’t believe this. Unova has vending machines everywhere you’d never need a drink, but when you actually need one, they’re nowhere to be found.”

Cyrus did not say anything for several seconds. “...Why have you not asked to drink water from Luvdisc? That is an extremely simple solution.”

Giovanni put his fedora back on. He moved his hand from his face to glare at Cyrus. “Are you trying to trick me into drinking contaminated water? What kind of fool do you take me for?”

“I am not taking you for anything,” said Cyrus. “You are a fool if you truly believe that you can’t drink water from a pokémon.”

“Unless you have a pocket water filtration system, don’t taunt me like that,” Giovanni muttered as he unbuttoned his double-breasted suit. My shoes, my fedora, my suit, my shirt from the sweat—they must be close to ruined. Who am I? Some rookie trainer who never changes clothes?

“Contaminated water? All humans and pokémon are swarming masses of microorganisms. Luvdisc is a pure water-type, and has extremely simple anatomy. Are you saying that you believe the lies propagated by the government?” Cyrus’s brow furrowed. “What is the point of being even mildly sapient if you drift though life blindly, never bothering to—”

“What’s the point in blathering on about psychobabble if you know nobody will listen?” Giovanni slung his suit over his shoulder. “Besides, why would I take nutrition advice from a man who clearly has an eating disorder? Your cheekbones are sharp enough to cut glass. Was part of your parents’ abuse never teaching you how to cook?”

Cyrus did not say anything.

The sound of an activated warp echoed throughout the room and Giovanni saw the flash in his peripheral vision. At the end of one of the halls a small figure materialized on the panel. It was Lass Mia, and when she noticed the two men, she grinned widely.

“Hi guys!” she said, stretching out the words. “If it isn’t the happy couple! How’s it going?”

Cyrus immediately glared at her, but Giovanni didn’t turn toward her for a few seconds. I wish ignoring people just made them disappear. “Out of sight, out of mind...” what a sweet lie that is. He gave in to fate and looked at her. She had both her Sunkern and Pichu on her shoulders. She must have blackmailed it into coming back, Giovanni thought. He saw something glint and noticed something he hadn’t before—Lass Mia had on two small earrings that looked like rubies. She wasn’t moving at all, and her mouth was hanging open.

“...Are you... drooling?” Cyrus asked her.

“Duh...” She quickly rubbed her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just—oh, Mr. Giovanni! You’re so unbelievably hot!” Lass Mia’s eyes were so wide Giovanni could almost see hearts reflected in them.

He and Cyrus shared a look. But Giovanni quickly smirked and turned back to Mia. “Why, thank you,” he said sweet as a cancer-causing sugar substitute. “You look quite nice yourself. Especially with those adorable little earrings of yours.”

Lass Mia blushed. “Th-Thank you, Mr. Giovanni. I know you’re taken and all, but—”

Giovanni bent over to her level. It wasn’t very far, considering how short he was. “Nonsense. How could I be incensed over the attentions of such a kind and gentle girl?” I feel like such a pervert, he thought. The first thing I’ll do when I get out of here is take a long, frigid shower. “In fact, why don’t I give you the sweet Clefairy you wanted? Now it’s even better since it’s evolved.”

Mia gasped. “That’s so generous of you, Mr. Giovanni! I couldn’t just take it like that!”

Giovanni sighed theatrically. “Well, if you insist, I could accept your Pichu for my Clefable. It’s not as if a pokémon of mine is worth much more than that...”

“That’s not true. I can just tell that you’re a beautiful man inside and out!”

Giovanni stood back up again. “What a compliment.” His comment was a bit more flat than he intended it to be. “You know, those earrings you’re wearing remind me of... somebody I used to know very well. It’s curious.”

“I’ll give them to you as a gift.” Lass Mia bounced on her heels. “It’s only fair if you like them so much!” She stopped bouncing and removed her earrings. She held them in one hand, and withdrew her Pichu with the other. She held out the pokéball and the earrings. “Here you go.”

Throughout this entire exchange, Cyrus stayed as impassive as a statue. He can probably see how transparent this all is, thought Giovanni. Fortunately for me, this little idiot will just think he’s jealous. He took out his Clefable’s pokéball and reached to Lass Mia.

Right when their hands connected, Mia pulled back. “Wait!”

“What is it?”

“Well... if you think I’m such a nice girl and all—” She cocked her head to the side. “Won’t you do one other little thing for me?’

Dread settled over Giovanni like a dark fog. “And what would that be?” he asked uneasily.

“Take your shirt off.”

Giovanni’s expression didn’t change, but his whole body twitched a little. Nevertheless, he reached up to the collar of his dress shirt and fingered it lightly.

Lass Mia leaned over, prepared to ogle him. She held her pokéball and earrings close. Her eyes grew ever wider with anticipation as Giovanni pulled his dress shirt. As Mia leaned even closer, Giovanni reached out, gripping Pichu’s pokéball and the earrings tightly, and before Mia could grab ahold of Clefable’s pokéball, he pressed the button on it.

Clefable burst out chirping. Lass Mia took a step back in surprise.

“Clefable, use Sing, now!” Giovanni pointed to Lass Mia, and Clefable sang a soothing song. Before Mia could process the situation, she and her Sunkern grew drowsy and were lulled into a deep sleep.

Giovanni recalled Clefable immediately and pocketed the two pokéballs and the earrings. Without needing to discuss it, Cyrus and Giovanni headed toward one of the portals.

“...You’ve impressed me. I half-expected you to kill her. Considering the presence of Gothorita and other psychic-types, having a sleeping person in the area will be an adequate distraction. And you accomplished this while still obtaining two—” Cyrus was cut off.

“I know what I did because I just did it,” Giovanni muttered. “I need to keep my skills sharp.”

Cyrus glared at him. “You wouldn’t have to do that if you would drink some water. Your brain isn’t working because you’re terribly dehydrated.”

Giovanni considered it. “I suppose I might try it after forcing you to drink it first. But if it turns out that drinking pokémon water will turn me into a mess like you, I’ll have Clefable leave you as a stain on the floor.” Giovanni stepped onto the teleporter.

“...Highly unlikely...” Cyrus said quietly as Giovanni disappeared.

====

After several more warps, the two of them ended up in a vast, dark room with a metal floor that reflected a dim lightsource that Giovanni couldn’t see. A deep hum filled the room, resonating with the metal surfaces. Giovanni took a few steps forward and realized he had been standing in a large shadow. He looked up and saw a metal bridge—the room was the same as the one he had been in only hours before.

He resisted his urge to stomp his feet in rage. This is still a different area, and you don’t want to attract attention, he thought. Why am I so fed up anyway? I remember ten years ago nothing even remotely frustrated me. She was just an exception. She was worth it. Images from the vision Giovanni’s had when he was trapped in Cohagrigus welled up like blood from a deep gash. Wait, what am I thinking? I don’t care about the past... no, that’s not true, I’m just thinking about completely random things to keep myself sane... no...

“Look.” Cyrus pointed to a spot on the wall. Giovanni turned and saw a faint outline of a door. Fluorescent light was leaking from it, leaving it barely visible.

Giovanni walked up to it. He could hear a faint beeping sound from inside. He peered through the crack and saw a swivel chair in front of a work station. A headset was resting on the panel. Monitors with flickering displays lined the walls. There was no other sound aside from the quiet noises from the computer equipment, so Giovanni slowly opened the door.

“This is exactly what is necessary,” said Cyrus. Giovanni flinched—he hadn’t heard Cyrus walk up to him. “Give me the other materials.”

Giovanni handed him the pokéball and the earrings. “What are you going to do with these? You have an electric-type pokémon, but rubies don’t even conduct electricity. You can’t expect this to actually work.”

He and Cyrus walked inside and shut the door tight behind them. “Crystals and gemstones are not prized for their electrical qualities alone. You must be aware of the connection between stones and pokémon evolution. As I was studying pokémon evolution and the energy it releases, I have a particular knowledge about the importance of rare stones and the connection with pokémon. Legendary pokémon, such as the pokémon that took me to the other world, are affected by various orbs which...”

Giovanni tuned out. His eyes were hurting again, and his head was pulsing with fatigue. Without saying anything, he watched Cyrus as he shut off the power and disconnected the computers’ wires, then connected them to the rubies in a way too complicated for Giovanni to understand. After a while, Cyrus had set up a circuit connected to a coil of wire, with the two rubies on the end.

“Giovanni, you must now knock out this pokémon.” Cyrus held out Pichu’s pokéball. His words did not register in Giovanni’s mind.

Cyrus took out his other pokéball and pressed the button on it. Luvdisc appeared on the floor. Giovanni looked down at it but was still in a dreamy fog where nothing mattered.

Luvdisc looked back at him and shot a pulse of water right in his face, spraying water and sending it splattering everything in the room. The water got into Giovanni’s mouth and eyes. It felt freezing against his overheated body. He sputtered and shook his head but, to his surprise, the cold left him feeling sharper. But he spat onto the floor. “You freak! Diddling around with junk and expecting to make a psychic circuit breaker is one thing, but your disgusting behavior is another! And you deny being a sociopath. Hah.” He felt the wet patches of his shirt. “I’ll make you pay for all of my clothes when this is all over. I hope for your sake you’re rich.” He carefully put his suit back on, the water making him feel very uncomfortable. I did wish for a cold shower though. I suppose I should just stop wishing altogether, he thought.

“Knock out Pichu.” Cyrus switched out Luvdisc and sent out Pichu. It was squeaking tiredly.

Giovanni sent out Clefable. After one short exchange of moves, Pichu lay unconscious on the floor. Cyrus pulled Pichu over to the device and attached leads to its cheeks.

“Pichu’s electrical output is sporadic at best. I am uncertain of the results,” said Cyrus. “Simply hold those two wires, one in each hand. You will act as a channeler. Meanwhile, I will use this headset to listen to the psychic communications.” Cyrus sat down in the swivel chair and put on the security guard’s headset.

“I’ll be electrocuted!” Giovanni snapped. “I refuse!”
Cyrus’s eyes narrowed. “...You will not. Did you not listen to my explanation of the gemstones’ purpose?”

“You couldn’t have expected me to listen to your nonsensical speech.” Giovanni scowled. “But you know what? I’ll do what you said just because I know your invention won’t do a thing.” He picked up the two wires that weren’t connected to anything. He did not feel any different. Why is Cyrus still acting so robotic? Does he think I forgot his little realization already? He wondered.

“There is no point in discussing it.” Cyrus’s expression changed slightly, causing his face to look more gaunt. “Not all thoughts are worth putting outside you own mind.”

Before Giovanni could question what just happened, he saw a bright orb appear in the middle of the room like ball lightning. Giovanni’s muscles tightened, and he tried to move away, but he was frozen in place. His feet felt like lead weights. The orb of light grew larger until it encompassed Giovanni’s entire field of vision. It was so bright it hurt to look at. Right as was about to turn away, he saw a small dark spot in the middle of the light. Giovanni blinked, and suddenly everything was dim and blurry. He opened his mouth and tried to call out to Cyrus, but the strangest sound came out—a tinkling like a xylophone being played quickly.

“Sentinel, what did you find?” Giovanni heard a woman ask. He looked up, and even with his blurry vision he could make out the face of Inari staring down at him.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Ten

Giovanni stood stock still.

“Did you find anything?” Inari asked impatiently. She crossed her arms, glaring down at him.

Silently, Giovanni shook his head “no.” He glanced down at his uncomfortably tight body. He saw the corner of a white bow. Giovanni’s mouth—or his new body’s mouth—hung open in horror. I’m in a pokémon’s body?! He gasped but the sound came out like tinkling chimes. He put his hands to where his ears should be and felt long, ribbed structures instead. His heart pounded so hard he could hear the echos in his spherical head.

Inari turned away from him. “You know, Sentinel, I often find myself wondering if you’re too old for this job.” She looked up. “It’s a simple task. There must be hundreds of rich men and women in the area who are asleep right now.” She glanced back at Giovanni, her glasses shining, looking opaque in the florescent light. “Yet, you were so much better at this when you were still a Gothorita. Would you like to retire, Sentinel?”

Used to be Gothorita... so I’m a psychic-type.... Giovanni took a few steps backward. He looked left and right searching for an exit. There was only one door in the small grey room. It was on the wall across from him, and it was made of metal and had no markings. Damn it, that wench is blocking it! Not that I’d know how to open it with these tiny useless hands anyway. He shook his head again.

“I see.” Inari put her hands in her labcoat’s pockets. She took out a pokéball and held it up. “Then I’ll have to replace you by force. I had this pokémon imported from Kalos, Sentinel. It’s said to have the most compelling hypnotic powers of any pokémon, but I can’t trust word of mouth.” She frowned. “If you can knock it out, I’ll let you keep your place on my team. Otherwise, you’ve seen exactly what I do to ineffective pokémon.”

Giovanni steeled his body and held his hands up like he was ready to grapple. Inside he felt like a derailed train falling off a mountain. How am I supposed to know how to fight as a pokemon?! What moves do I know?! All right, who in the PWT owns a Gothielle...some leader from Hoenn, right? Giovanni reached into the recesses of his mind trying to remember the capabilities of that pokémon.

Inari tossed her pokéball. It rolled along the ground and burst open in front of Giovanni. The flash and the noise made him jump. The pokémon that materialized was exactly Giovanni’s current height, but the constantly jiggling tentacles on its head and its beady eyes gave it the aura of evil. Instead of a mouth, a hot pink, jagged beak protruded from its face. It had longer, white tentacles for arms that ended in blade-like fins.

Giovanni let out another tinkling cry. What... is that thing? All right, it looks aquatic... must be psychic/water-type. So now how do I use a move?!

“Malamar, use Night Slash!” Inari pointed to Giovanni. Malamar pulled a bladed tentacle back and it became encased in an opaque shadow. Giovanni dove to the right knowing full well what was coming. He wasn’t fast enough. His body was too bottom-heavy and he tripped, slamming into the cold hard floor. He covered his disproportionate huge eyes in terror. Malamar thrust its tentacle forward and slashed Giovanni’s abdomen like it was using a scythe. He screeched as his body was tossed like a rag doll and he slammed into the wall. He slid to the floor and felt the pulsing pain in his side. Reluctantly he touched the wound, but there was no sign of injury or blood even though it felt like he had been torn apart. He shut his eyes tight.

Giovanni, shaking from the red-hot pain, put his hands to the appendages on his head. Die, die, die, die! he chanted to himself. He felt anger burning through him, a charge coursing after it wherever it went. Suddenly his eyes flew open and a blast of electricity shot from his head. The crackling blast hit Malamar right between the eyes. Malamar slouched as electricity sparked in its body, but after only a few seconds it stood back up and shook off the attack.

“Hm... that’s more of an effect than I would have expected. Maybe it was a critical hit.” Inari adjusted her glasses. “Malamar, use Hypnosis and make her fall asleep..”

Malamar isn’t water-type?! I hate life. Giovanni glared. By this point he felt like he was buzzing with adrenaline, his pain repressed. He struggled to his feet, leaning against the wall for support. That’s it. I’m going to tear this hideous abomination apart, then use my psychic power to take those tentacles and tie them around Inari’s neck until blood gushes from her every orifice! He brushed his abdomen off. Malamar’s psychic pulses rushed toward him and Giovanni just kept glaring. The energy resonated throughout the room. Giovanni pressed through the fuzzy feeling even as his vision blurred. The hypnotic vibration seemed to last for hours. When it eventually stopped, Giovanni was left with a ringing in his head, but he had resisted.

“How is that possible?” Inari was taken aback. “Have I underestimated you? Malamar, use—”

Giovanni clapped his hands together. A pink and purple glow formed between them, and with a mere thought the glow shot forward in an energy beam that struck Malamar. With a shriek, Malamar fell backward, unconscious.

Mouth agape, Inari slowly picked up Malamar’s pokéball and returned the pokémon to it. “Now... why can’t you use that energy when you’re finding people to suck dry?” Inari scowled down at Giovanni, whose death glare hadn’t faltered. “If my pokémon were working at this level all the time, I’d be able to brainwash anybody I wanted, whenever I wanted!” Inari’s eyes grew wide as she looked up at the ceiling. “Forget stealing their money. I could have an entire army of slaves!”

Giovanni charged at Inari, but without even noticing, Inari took out another pokéball and pressed its button to return Gothielle. Giovanni skidded, trying to stop, but it was too late. The beam from the pokéball touched him, and he dematerialized, his senses fading away. He blacked out.

====

Giovanni was lying on his side, resting on frigid metal. He could hear the whirring and the intense buzzing of electronics and he knew he had to get up, but he just wanted to sleep. Maybe I am the world’s strongest trainer after all... yes, I am the best! Battling as a pokémon myself. But it’s probably been done by some crazy monk or something. He scowled, his good mood dead. And now I’m going to make sure my pokémon never get knocked out again. Damn it, even my successes make life harder!

“That is a very egocentric view,” said Cyrus. “Even if your effort causes you distress, it does not necessarily affect others the same way. To only reach goals that affect yourself is cowardly, and not knowing how your actions affect others is foolish.” Cyrus’s voice sounded muffled.

Giovanni groaned. He didn’t feel any pain from the battle, and yet he felt too exhausted to move. “How can you talk like that after what you put me through?” his words came off far less threatening than he intended.

“What do you mean by that?” Cyrus asked. “I experienced everything you felt, albeit with a disconnect. Besides, you agreed to this experiment.”

“Wait... what do you mean? You were just listening, weren’t you? You weren’t the one inside that pokemon’s body!” Giovanni rolled over onto his other side.

“Of course not. For me, the psychic link is only working one-way. The effect isn’t strong enough for me to lose all sense of individuality, but I can visualize everything you think.” Cyrus was still sitting in the swivel chair wearing the headset as before, but instead of just leaving the device on the floor, he was holding the circuitry in his lap. Jet black wires coiled around his body. To Giovanni’s horror, Cyrus had wires hanging off his neck, leading to a sparking plug which he was holding in his mouth. Cyrus’s eyes were dim but he looked otherwise completely content. He looked down at Giovanni, his eyes shaded by the headset. “...You’re disturbed by the adjustments I made. I can feel your heart rate increasing and the sting of cognitive dissonance. Why? By wiring myself right into the console, I have eliminated the part of the electric-type pokémon. This is far more practical.”

Giovanni pushed himself to his feet, ignoring the fatigue bearing down on him. “When I said you were a machine I didn’t mean it literally, you fool! Take those things off before you kill yourself!” Giovanni rushed over to Cyrus and started pulling the wires off of his body. “Don’t tell me, your parents never told you not to use the hairdryer in the shower, did they?” Giovanni hissed.

Cyrus’s eyes narrowed. He did not resist as Giovanni pushed the last few wires to the floor. “I do not understand. I’ve read the most pertinent material related to psychic linking... and this is a perfectly viable method. It can’t be much worse than staring at a computer monitor for around ten hours...” he said sluggishly. “I’ve been doing that since I was eight years old.”

Righteous anger permeated Giovanni’s mind like a solar storm. His face contorted as if he had been scorched by a red hot poker. “You... no wonder you’re a sociopath!” He slammed his fist into the console behind Cyrus. The metal rang like a frightened Bronzong.

Cyrus looked at the wires lying on the floor. “I suppose I don’t need to continue this now. After all, I understand this program’s goal.” He removed the USB-like plug from his mouth, but he left his headset on. “I’m curious. Why are the symptoms of your mental disorder exacerbated in my presence, Giovanni?”

Giovanni took a step back. “What are you talking about? I’m not insane, you idiot! You’re the one who’s insane here, as this little display just proves!” He gestured to the wiring.

“Right now, you are shouting at me angrily, obviously. Yet the thoughts of yours that I can make out sound anxious and pulsing with alarm. What I mean is, why does your splitting behavior become more intense around me? Around others you remain uniformly frustrated, without rapid shifts in your moods. That is uncharacteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder,” Cyrus said in monotone.

Giovanni sighed and tilted his hat down. “You’re hopeless. I already told you that I don’t have BPD. If you can’t remember more than a few hours back, I can’t help you.” How can he be so smart and so ignorant at the same time? he wondered.

“...Ignorant? Of course not. I remember very clearly. You punched me in the face after indicating that this destructive pattern occurs in your interpersonal relationships. That is just more evidence that you are mentally unstable. Though there may not be any single cause... never mind, I suppose....” Cyrus looked at the floor and paused, as if he was in the middle of figuring out a complicated mathematical equation.

Giovanni turned away, ready to open the door. “You’re not making sense, as usual, but that doesn’t matter since I’m well aware that you’re so low-functioning. Let’s go.” That idiot. Cyrus can’t think it’s his place, piling more troubles on me like that. I shouldn’t have to waste my time stopping him from suicide, thought Giovanni.

“...Wait, what was that?” Cyrus asked quietly.

“Are you going deaf? I said let’s go.” Giovanni heard Cyrus rise from the chair and looked back. He saw Cyrus was standing up straight, holding the psychic-link device. Cyrus had finally removed the headset, which he had put down on the console. He was standing very still, his head slightly down. He was glaring at Giovanni with a soul-stealing look in his eyes so arresting it could freeze.

“...What is it?” Giovanni felt like he was stuck in a crosshairs, but he kept his voice level.

“So that is source from which your emotional fluctuations all stem—nothing but vacuous sentimentality... I should have known you were like all the others.” Cyrus took a step forward. “That’s what it’s been the whole time. You pretend to have knowledge, but you’re nothing but another useless consumer... No—worse. A useless consumer wearing the skin of someone more wise. You cannot even admit that your anger is born of affection and insecurity. You’re a degenerate form of an already-broken reality.”

“What?! What are you talking about?!” Giovanni shouted. “Why would I admit to anything? I don’t care about anyone! I tried to kill myself, isn’t that clear enough already?!”

Cyrus’s facial muscles twitched. He took a few steps to the right, like a predator circling weakened prey. “There you go again. That’s all you do. Use a defense mechanism. How did I not notice? Was I deluding myself?” He paused.

Giovanni put his hands up, as if he were trying to push Cyrus away from a distance.

“One thing is for certain—I will make you regret ever paying heed to your heart!” He threw the psychic-link device. It hurtled in a straight path toward Giovanni’s face.

Giovanni leaped to the right and the device crashed onto the door. The sound of metal on metal startled him, leaving Cyrus enough time to reach for his throat. Giovanni blocked his hands but Cyrus grabbed onto his wrists instead. They were both pushing against each other, unable to move forward. Giovanni was smaller, but far better trained. “Cyrus, I don’t want to hurt you!” he snapped.

“That’s your problem!” Cyrus was shaking now, sweat dripping down his face. He suddenly stopped pushing back, and Giovanni faltered. Cyrus sharply turned and kicked Giovanni’s left knee.

Fortunately for Giovanni, his leg was locked. He winced at the sharp pain. This is the last straw! he thought. Cyrus pulled back his arm and threw a punch at Giovanni’s temple. Giovanni did not move out of the way, but just held up his elbow, and Cyrus’s fist struck its point. The effect was instantaneous. Cyrus recoiled in pain. While he was incapacitated, Giovanni grabbed Cyrus’s left arm and leaped forward. Unable to remain standing, Cyrus fell backward and smashed into the console. The impact of his head broke one of the computer screens and sent shards of glass flying in every direction. It sounded like a miniature car crash.

Cyrus turned his head to the side, his neck limp. Bright red blood dripped down his face from little cuts. He breathed heavily.

Giovanni glared down at him. “Don’t try anything else, or I’ll send out Clefable and tell it to take a piece of glass and slit your throat.”

Cyrus swallowed hard and looked up at Giovanni. “...Now you’ll steal my pokemon, no doubt. I see now... that I shouldn’t have underestimated you...”

Giovanni put his hands in his pockets. “I see what this was all about, Cyrus. Does being cared about scare you? Is being alone what your entire straw-nihilistic worldview was built around, and I just destroyed it?”

Cyrus tensed up and bared his teeth, but said nothing.

“You know what? I might not have been fooling anybody, Cyrus, but neither were you.” Giovanni’s glare got even darker. “Now there’s only one thing I can do.”

“...I can at least face this with dignity...” Cyrus said in monotone. He closed his eyes, waiting for a finishing blow. After a few seconds of not hearing anything or feeling any pain, he opened his eyes again. Much to Cyrus’s surprise, Giovanni had done absolutely nothing but simply hold out his hand.

“Here. Get up,” said Giovanni.

“I-I’m unable to fight back... I was ready to kill you... and you’re giving me another chance?! That is not... that isn’t...” Cyrus stammered.

“It isn’t logical, you mean? I’m only doing this because nobody else bothered to care about you before. Don’t think it’s actually because you’re special to me or something.” Giovanni smiled softly.

Cyrus’s expression went back to being utterly cold and emotionless. “That is an incredibly unconvincing denial. You’re showing signs of splitting again.”

“Splitting? Splitting?! I-I’ll split your head open! Get up now before I change my mind, you sociopath!” Giovanni yelled, his face red.

Cyrus leaned forward and took his hand.
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Eleven

Cyrus stood up. He was still shaking slightly, and for once he did not look completely emotionless. Instead, he was still breathing heavily and his eyes were wide. He awkwardly pulled his hand away and turned to give the thousand-yard stare to the console, as if it held the secrets to the universe.

What is he all rattled about? Giovanni wondered, but decided not to ask. "...Now that we know what's going on here, how will we locate our pokémon?"

Cyrus took his eyes off the console and looked down at the floor. He fiddled with his vest.

Giovanni felt like sighing, but held it in. Poor, stupid robot. Not like I care. But wait, I told him I did care about him, didn't I? What was I thinking?! He felt very uncomfortable, like his clothes were squeezing him to death. What if Cyrus blackmails me? What if he stabs me in the back now that he knows I'm vulnerable? What if—

Cyrus shot Giovanni a confused look, and Giovanni flinched. He turned away.

"Why don't you look through the security feed to see where the pokémon are being kept," he said hurriedly. Giovanni tilted his hat brim down again, trying to appear casual, with a tone as if the idea had just occurred to him after glancing at his watch while waiting for a taxi. "It's not as if we're in a rush. If nobody noticed we were in here after that loud crash, I doubt they'll notice now."

Cyrus nodded and got to work reconnecting the wires he had adjusted for the psychic-linking device. After a few minutes of Cyrus robotically fixing the console, the screens flickered on one by one. They showed various greyed-out videos of rooms in the E-Anon compound.

Apparently the rest of the compound is just as insanely designed. When I put up those metal walls in my Rocket headquarters, at least I did so with a purpose. "You'd think that if technology is really so amazing nowadays, security cameras would have footage in higher quality," Giovanni muttered.

Cyrus didn't say anything. He stood up and pressed buttons on the console, causing the footage on the screens to flip through different viewing angles.

Something flashed on the middle screen and caught Giovanni's attention. "What was that cart?" he asked. Cyrus flipped back to the image. The video showed a shopping cart being pushed by a pokémon Ranger—inside the cart dozens of pokéballs were piled up like a glutton's groceries.

"My pokémon!" Giovanni exclaimed. "They've been right here all along?" He walked closer to the screen and gazed at it, transfixed. The end is in sight. I'll escape this nightmare in no time! he thought. "Now I just need to get there!" Giovanni grinned. "Bring up a map of the compound, Cyrus."

Cyrus hit a few more buttons on the console and a text box popped up on the central screen. The displays of the other screens turned dim.

Giovanni and Cyrus read the text box. It read: "Please input secondary password."

"What?! Why would you need a password for that?!" Giovanni clenched his hands into fists.

Cyrus said nothing and shrugged. He typed something into the input, and the screen flashed a red error message—incorrect password. Without pausing, Cyrus inputted another password and got the same result. He began inputting a password for the third time.

Giovanni frowned. "Wait, what if doing that triggers—" Giovanni was cut off by a sharp buzzing noise. The screen turned bright red and did not change color. A new message had popped up: "Incorrect password. Security personnel have been alerted to your position."

Giovanni winced as if he had been punched. "What the hell did you just do?!" he shouted.

Cyrus turned around but didn't say anything. His eyes were wide.

"Never mind." Giovanni back away until he hit the door. "We have to leave this instant!" He pushed the door open and ran outside. The darkness of the vast room shocked his senses and he couldn't see straight. Everything was a blurry outline. Over the sound of buzzing electronics, he could hear a pounding noise, like hundreds of people marching toward him.

Cyrus followed Giovanni out the room, looking left and right.

He's probably disoriented as well, Giovanni thought. That's what he gets for staring at blinding computer screens all day. He looked to the right side of the room. He couldn't see clearly, but he could make out a darker area of the wall which looked like a doorway. Giovanni grabbed Cyrus's left arm and ran toward the dark area.

"Stop dawdling, you idiot!" Giovanni snapped, dragging him along. The two of them ran closer and the doorway came into sharp view. They ducked into it, but the pounding noise would not cease. It was neither quieter nor louder. They must still be approaching us, Giovanni thought.

The hall had no lights anywhere, and Giovanni couldn't see more than three feet in front of him. But in his peripheral vision, he saw a silhouette of something spiky jutting out of the shadows. The pounding suddenly stopped.

Giovanni slowed down and let go of Cyrus. It's quiet. Too quiet, Giovanni thought. After a few seconds, his vision grew blurry once more. A bright light flashed on like a spotlight, startling him. It was a red light that was affixed to the ceiling and appeared to be rotating.

Giovanni looked up at the ceiling. "Isn't that a police rotator?" he asked, confused. "If that's meant to signal a state of alert, why did the guards stop chasing us?"

Cyrus pointed down the hall. One of the metal panels that formed the floor was sliding away, revealing a dark pit of spikes. Giovanni and Cyrus shared a look before peering into the pit. The spikes looked sharp as the horns of an Aggron, and they looked at least as tall as Cyrus. The spikes glinted bloody red in the spinning red light.

"This can't be real! What idiot would waste money on a trap like this? It's a complete cliché!" Giovanni took a few steps back.

Cyrus didn't move. He kept staring down at the spikes with a dead, empty look in his eyes. He stood up tall and took a step forward, and another, one foot hovering close to the nearest spike.

Giovanni leaped forward and grabbed Cyrus by the shoulders, yanking him backward. "Don't you dare die on me!" Giovanni yelled.

Without saying anything, Cyrus kicked one leg out and stepped right on the point of a spike. Like a desert mirage, the image of the spike pit rippled and faded away. The red light above followed suit.

Giovanni, still holding Cyrus, looked down the hall. In front of them stood five, motionless Stantler. As soon as Giovanni looked up at them, the one in the middle made a coughing sound and all five turned and leaped back down the hall, their hooves banging on the metal floor.

Stantler? They must have been projecting those images with their antlers. "How unfair. Those aren't even psychic-types, but they're still playing with my mind," Giovanni hissed. He released Cyrus and glared at him. "I'll let it slide this time, but I'm keeping my eye on you."

Cyrus's expression did not change, and he turned and resumed walking down the hall.

How dare he try and commit suicide not once, but twice? It makes me want to murder him!
Giovanni's eyes narrowed as he walked after Cyrus.

After a few minutes of walking in silence, they reached the end of the hall. Past that point they could see a small room with a Pokémon Ranger standing guard next to a single door.

"I can take care of this easily," Giovanni said quietly. He took out Clefable's pokéball and tossed it so that it rolled across the floor. Halfway to the Pokémon Ranger, Clefable burst out of the pokéball chirping.

Cyrus and Giovanni ducked behind the corner so the Pokémon ranger wouldn't notice them. Giovanni gestured to Clefable, signaling it to attack.

Clefable pulled back its arms and got into a ready stance when the Ranger looked at it. "Hey little pink man," she said. "You look plenty sweet already, but you wanna get even more sweet, over here?"

Giovanni scowled. That Ranger has the accent that only the most grating people in Unova have. He signaled Clefable more quickly, but it wasn't watching him.

The Pokémon Ranger took a bright pink PokéPuff from her belt and handed the treat to Clefable, who snatched it and munched on it vigorously.

"Oh, you like that, do you?" The Ranger took several more poképuffs and threw them on the floor. Clefable pounced on the pile of them with a dreamy look in its eyes.

"Damn it," Giovanni muttered. "Now what, sociopath? Do you have any idea?" He turned to Cyrus.

Cyrus gave him a strange look.

"Wait, you don't want me to distract her the same way I distracted..." Giovanni trailed off with mounting discomfort.

Cyrus cocked his head to the side.

"I refuse!" he snapped in a hushed tone. "You just want me to take my shirt off, don't you? You pervert! I'd never take my shirt off for somebody who looks fifty but isn't even thirty."

Cyrus's brow furrowed slightly.

Giovanni scowled. "I'm not stalling! I just don't want to do something so degrading!"

Cyrus pointed to the Pokémon Ranger.

"Don't look at me that way! It's not that I don't know how to treat a woman. After all, most of my lovers were women. But just because I wanted to look good in my twenties doesn't mean I want to be famous for that now—oh, never mind." Giovanni sighed and turned to stare contemptuously at the Ranger. Several possibilities for false compliments ran through his head. Hair, eyes, gentle manner... those options are all nice and hackneyed. I don't even want to try to put thought into this. Giovanni resigned himself to fate and turned the corner. He walked up to the guard, who stopped handing Clefable the PokéPuffs. The guard stood up, and looked at Giovanni confusedly.

Giovanni adjusted his hat and smirked. "Hello, miss. I was just admiring—"

The guard leaned to the left, gazing at the corner with wonder. She had caught a glimpse of Cyrus, who was watching from behind the wall. "Who is that handsome man?"

Giovanni's smirk fell. "Excuse me?"

"He's so wonderfully brooding. Just look at those bedroom eyes. He's going to be mine, over here!" She grinned and sauntered over to Cyrus. Giovanni was too shocked to try and stop her.

When she stepped close to Cyrus, he visibly recoiled even though his expression remained the same. He tried to step back, but the Ranger put one hand against the wall and leaned over him, forcing him to look up at her. "Hey babe, what's an amazing guy like you doing in a place like this?" she said.

"I will never agree to a romantic relationship with you," Cyrus replied icily.

She waggled her eyebrows. "Now now, I didn't say anything about romance." Her grin grew even more wide.

Cyrus's eyes narrowed. "I do not even know how to recognize sexual attraction."

"You're not attracted to women, you mean?"

Cyrus said nothing.

"'Cause you don't need to worry about that. I can totally be a man in the sack. Now tell me, what's your name, what's your sign?"

Giovanni tried to shake off his disgust. How could she be attracted to that gaunt-faced, sociopathic, anorexic automaton when I'm standing right in front of her?! Has she watched too many of those robot love stories, or what? He turned around and went over to the Pokémon Ranger. He yanked her sleeve and pulled her away from Cyrus. "What the hell is wrong with you?! Get away from him this instant!" Giovanni snapped.

The Ranger wasn't fazed. "Oh, is he your boyfriend?"

"He is not my boyfriend," Giovanni muttered without thinking. Wait, if I tell her we're in a relationship, maybe she'll leave and the path will be clear. "We prefer the term 'partner.' 'Boyfriend' sounds disgustingly juvenile. And that pick-up line of yours hasn't been used in decades," he hissed.

She looked back at Cyrus and winked. "You could do so much better." She turned back to Giovanni and looked down at him.

"Listen, shorty, nobody cares about your crap New Age term. Run along now so I can pick up this guy in peace." She waved her hand in a "go away" gesture.

Giovanni bared his teeth before catching himself. "Insulting my height? How mature of you," Giovanni said sarcastically. "My partner and I will be going now. I don't have time for any catfights. Run back to your Ranger friends and go get your hands dirty elsewhere."

She threw her head back and laughed. "Hah! Don't kid yourself. Who would stay with a decrepit old man like you anyway? Definitely not such a handsome man!"

Giovanni smacked the metal wall. The clanging noise reverberated throughout the hallway. "Cyrus would never take a perverted wench like you!"

"So Cyrus is his name then? I guess I'll call him Cy for short. That'll be real cute."

Giovanni growled like a cornered Arcanine. He and the ranger were so distracted that neither of them noticed Cyrus walk by and swipe a pokéball from Giovanni's pocket. Cyrus slunk over to Clefable, who was still happily munching away on the stockpile of PokéPuffs. With the press of a button, Cyrus recalled Clefable to its pokéball.

Giovanni and the Ranger heard the unmistakable sound of a pokémon being recalled and they turned to look at the door. Cyrus held up the Clefable's pokéball and turned around slowly with a cold glint in his eyes. He was glaring, but Giovanni could not tell whom exactly he was glaring at.

"Hey, babe, step away from that door now, would you?" the Ranger asked shakily. "I don't wanna have to hurt you, over here."

"Hurt me?" Cyrus asked quietly. "I doubt that I will be the person in pain by the end of this."

The Ranger held up her hands. "Okay, okay. I'll battle you if you really want to." She took a pokéball from her belt and threw it. It ricocheted off the floor. "Go, Swadloon!"

A little green insect-like pokémon with big leaves wrapped around it appeared. It made a murmuring sound.

Cyrus, without saying a word, took out another pokéball and released his Luvdisc.

Giovanni's eyes widened. Has he gone even more insane? Can he not see his obvious type disadvantage?! he thought, but he was relegated to the sidelines. With Cyrus holding Clefable's pokéball, Giovanni had no pokémon on hand.

"I'll take it easy on you. Swadloon, use Sticky Web!" The Ranger pointed to Luvdisc. Swadloon pursed its lips, its mouth filling with a sticky substance. It was about to spit when Cyrus gave Luvdisc an order.

"Dodge it by using Bounce in that direction." As he spoke, Cyrus pointed to the Ranger. Luvdisc obeyed and bounced off the floor. It leaped through the air and landed behind the Ranger and Giovanni. Before the Ranger could order it to stop, Swadloon turned around and spat a wad of silk at her and Giovanni. The silky strands from its mouth transformed into a web as it hurtled through the air. Just before it could splatter all over him, Giovanni jumped to the side and the web smacked into the Ranger, gluing her to the wall. She tried to call for help, but a few strands stuck to her lips, sealing them shut, and all she could do was mumble.

Cyrus returned Luvdisc and walked over to the door. He pressed against it, and it creaked open. He stood there for a few seconds, and then glanced at Giovanni. Cyrus gestured to the door before going inside.

Giovanni took off his hat and wiped sweat from his brow. His heart was beating fast. To think I was worried he'd throw me under the bus, he thought. I guess I forgot for a moment that I trust him. Not like anyone would blame me. He walked to the door, but paused before following Cyrus inside. I can't believe how stupid I was! Partner? Really?! Could I have been more unconvincing? Giovanni made a fist and then unclenched his hand quickly. He took a deep breath and shook his head. Wait. I need to be calm in order to find my pokémon. He went inside and shut the door behind him.

The room was cramped and dimly-lit, illuminated only by a flickering florescent light from above. Two shelves, each about twice as tall as Giovanni, stood on either side of the room. Every bit of surface area on each shelf was covered by boxes filled to the brim with pokéballs. On every box was a hastily-scrawled label with a person's name.

Yes! thought Giovanni. He was about to smile but quashed the feeling. Wait. I can't let myself get too enthusiastic. What if my pokémon aren't here? What do I do then? What if some are here but some are missing? He walked down the aisle, making note of all the names as he passed. While he was distracted by looking at the labels, he bumped into Cyrus.

Cyrus had been carefully inspecting something on the shelf. After Giovanni got his balance, Cyrus turned his head sharply to stare him.

Giovanni took a step back. Why is he giving me the evil eye?! Wait, no, that isn't the evil eye. Damn it, how am I supposed to know what he means if he won't talk to me? Giovanni's thoughts whirled as he tried to think of something to say. "These boxes... are in alphabetical order," he said awkwardly. He glanced at the box Cyrus had been looking at, and noticed that it had Cyrus's name written on it. "Are those your pokémon?" Giovanni asked. The idea that the missing pokémon could be right within their grasp seemed surreal. He quickly turned back to Cyrus, who gave a shallow nod.

"Really?!" Giovanni put his hands to his chest. His heart was beating fast again. "Are... all of them here?"

Cyrus nodded, but his expression was not any brighter.

What's the correct thing to say in this situation? Giovanni wondered. I can't just say, "that's wonderful," or "I'm happy for you." That would just make me sound ignorant! When was the last time I felt happy because of somebody's good fortune? I know I have to say something. His thoughts raced as fast as a herd of Rapidash. The last time I felt happy for someone was years ago, and I couldn't bring myself to say a thing... He frowned. "...Good," he said quietly, unable to look Cyrus in the eyes. He looked away and stared at the space between the shelves. What am I doing? I can't just stall here! Giovanni pushed past Cyrus and started walking down the hall without giving him a second look, then he broke into a run, passing dozens of boxes. He moved through the alphabet, desperately waiting to hit the correct letter. How many pokémon have they stolen?! I don't have time for this! Giovanni didn't have the faintest idea why, but he knew he had to rush. He did not want to know what he had to get to so quickly, or get away from. He was vaguely aware of Cyrus walking behind him as he ran.

Giovanni noticed a "G" and he skidded to a halt. He looked every which way in a daze. When he couldn't see his name anywhere, he knelt down and grabbed the outer boxes, pulling them off the shelf. Pokéballs spilled from the boxes as he pushed them away. Part of him knew that this was needless exertion, but his every impulse was bent on finding his pokémon. He leaned over, peering at the back of the shelf. It was completely in shadow, but he reached for the box that was pressed up against the wall in the very back. Knowing my luck, it would be the one hardest to reach. It has to be here somewhere! He crawled onto the shelf and grabbed both sides of the farthest box. He pulled back as hard as he could and hit his head on the shelf above. He muttered a curse. This is so humiliating. Here I am, failing to move, with my body half in, half out of the shelf. He paused, almost releasing the box. But it doesn't really matter how I look right now, does it? Nobody cares about what happens to me anyway. No, wait. That's isn't exactly true anymore—damn it, I don't have time to think about this! He crawled backward and pulled the box out of the shelf. It fell to the floor with a resounding THUD. Giovanni stood up, not even attempting to pick it up off the floor. That might put my back out, he thought. I'm a wreck. I think I partially crushed my fedora, and I have pulls in my jacket. I don't even want to know how that's possible. He closed his eyes and sighed. He opened one eye and looked at the label, and then opened both of them in shock. The label said "Giovanni" in bold letters.

He fell back to the floor on his knees. He rifled through the box and pulled out one of the pokéballs. He saw that not only were the boxes labeled on the outside, but the pokéballs had the names of pokémon written on them. The one he was holding said "Nidoking." Nidoking? The same Nidoking I've used in all my Gym battles? He took out another pokéball, and another, and another. He read the names off of each of them. Rhyperior, who I always lead with, Persian, who always watches over me, the Beedrill I skewered my mother's head with... they're all mine again! In a flurry, Giovanni grabbed each of the over twenty pokéballs and stuffed them into his jacket. The very last pokéball he removed was Rhyperior's. He stood up and smiled at it as he put it away. "Rhyperior can crush through the walls of this compound as if they were tissue paper," Giovanni said smugly to nobody in particular. He looked up at the ceiling and laughed the way he used to laugh over a decade ago when his Team Rocket grunts would tell him how they had outwitted the authorities.

Even after his laughter had died down, Giovanni was still elated. He turned around and saw that Cyrus had been standing behind him, waiting patiently. To Giovanni's puzzlement, Cyrus was holding out a pokéball. Giovanni was about to ask why he was doing that, but then he noticed that the pokéball had "Clefairy" printed on it—it was Clefable's pokéball.

"That's very kind of you, Cyrus, but you should keep Clefable," said Giovanni. "You need a pokémon who's strong and not weak to rock-types at the same time and besides, it's technically yours anyway. It's not as if we officially traded," he said with a soft smile. "Go ahead and keep all three of the pokémon we obtained here. If you want to know how to avoid getting caught for carrying more than the legal number of pokémon, I can always give you advice."

Cyrus nodded and pocketed Clefable's pokéball. His expression defrosted a little, leaving Cyrus looking neutral. He looked down, lost in thought. After a long silence, so long it became awkward, he finally spoke. "...Giovanni, I have great affection for you," he said in utter monotone. He reached out and grabbed Giovanni's right shoulder robotically, clamping down so hard Giovanni thought it would break.

Giovanni smacked Cyrus's hand and stepped back. He grabbed his shoulder, which throbbed with pain. "What the hell is wrong with you?! What kind of mixed message is that, you sociopath?!"

"...I don't understand your reaction. Humans show affection through words and gestures. The combination of the words I chose with that gesture should result in the other party showing... approval. Why is your reaction not one of approval?"

Giovanni glowered at him. "Cyrus, were you refusing to speak to me this whole time because you were trying to figure this out?"

Cyrus looked at the floor. "...Yes."

"Nobody in his or her right mind shows affection by trying to break somebody's shoulder!" Giovanni's eyes narrowed. "And nobody ever announces that they're showing affection while doing just that. Unless showing affection isn't really what you want to do. Do you secretly want me dead?"

"No. If I did, I would kill you in a far more effective way. Why would I bother breaking your shoulder?" Cyrus's expression became ice cold again. "...If you find the method I chose disagreeable... how am I supposed to show affection? By imitating your method of doing so?"

Giovanni took off his hat and inspected it for damage so he didn't have to look Cyrus in the eye. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"This." Cyrus paused for a few seconds. "Giovanni, you know that I don't want to show affection because I actually care about you or anything like that," he said, deadpan. "It's only a social experiment to satisfy my curiosity about human nature."

Giovanni looked back up. "Excuse me?!"

"You know exactly what I meant, you idiot." Cyrus pulled his arm back and slapped Giovanni across the face hard.

Eyes watering from the pain, Giovanni turned back to Cyrus, who had pulled back his other arm. Before Cyrus could slap him again, Giovanni caught Cyrus's wrist. "I do not act that way, you idi—" Giovanni's words died in his throat. Blood rushed to his face. He released Cyrus's wrist.

"Tell me, am I supposed to show affection that way?" Cyrus asked. "It seems like wasted effort."

Is it wasted effort? I must do it for a reason. Giovanni put his hat back on and tilted it down. "I only do that because you're so infuriating," he muttered.

"In any case, answer my original question. How am I supposed to show affection?"

Giovanni felt like sighing again. I can't believe have to teach an adult about feelings. "Do you actually feel affection? Do you have any idea what it's like?"

Cyrus looked to the side. "Not exactly... for instance, happiness, anger, and heartburn all feel very similar to me. Emotions are needlessly complex."

"...You idiot," was all Giovanni could say. He looked away. I don't understand. Just a few minutes ago, I was happy. Happier than I've been in a decade. Why do my moods sway like this? Maybe Cyrus is half-right, and only my emotions are the ones that are needlessly complicated. Giovanni did sigh. Why can't I just be happy? I should be happy, shouldn't I? Somebody is trying to be kind to me... at least I think that's what's happening. Otherwise I wouldn't feel so embarrassed right now. I should just relax... I don't want to act the way Cyrus portrayed me. I don't want to be an angry, insane, hypocritical liar. But I shouldn't have to avoid doing that! I shouldn't have been pushing people away like that in the first place! Damn it, now I'm angry again! Giovanni's thoughts kept swirling and looping back around like a hurricane. I don't want to ruin this the way I ruined everything else I ever cared about. I don't want to be alone again!

"Look at me," Cyrus said.

Giovanni looked up, but he was still dazed. His eyes hurt— they felt like they did before a thunderstorm. "Wh-What is it?"

"You appear to be on the brink of bursting into tears, which would be detrimental to our plan to escape. I recommend not following up on this conversation until after we are far away from this building."

Giovanni rubbed his eyes on his sleeve, but they still hurt. "Fine. But I wasn't about to burst into tears," he muttered. "I'm tired. You can't blame me for that." But if he's saying that, does that mean he won't leave me after—I should stop thinking. "We'll leave this room, and I'll use my Rhyperior to break us out of here!"
FC: 3368 3076 5903

ShivaDF

The Scooter-riding Artist

Seen August 24th, 2017
Posted July 26th, 2017
482 posts
10.2 Years
Chapter Twelve

Cyrus gave a sharp nod. He and Giovanni turned around. As they walked toward the door, Giovanni looked to the side at the boxes, but continually glanced at Cyrus's back.

A pressure was building in Giovanni's chest and throat. There's something I should say, but I have no idea what it is, he thought. It must be the damned light in here that's making me all rattled. It's even worse than in my hotel room. He took out Rhyperior's pokéball and looked down at it while holding it tight. The flickering florescent light turned the red of the pokéball a sickly orange. Never mind. I know I'll be in a good mood after breaking out. He smirked at the thought.

Cyrus tried the door, but it wouldn't open. He put his weight against it, but the door did not budge. After a few more tries, he stopped and tried to pull, but that did not work either.

"What's the matter, Cyrus?" Giovanni asked cloyingly. "Are you up against a mental block? Quick, tell me your blood type and I'll try to diagnose you."

Cyrus stopped trying to open the door, but he didn't turn around. "My blood has nothing to do with this. Something is preventing the door from opening," he said in monotone.

"It was a joke, you idiot. This just proves that if you want something done right, you have to make somebody competent do it for you." Giovanni pushed Cyrus aside and reached for the door. Just as the tips of his fingers brushed against the cold metal, the door swung open and Giovanni stumbled forward. A figure in silhouette stood outside. Giovanni blinked and the shadows became sharper and more defined, revealing Inari.

"You!" Giovanni bared his teeth. "Now that I have my pokémon, I'll crush you like the disgusting parasite you are!" He pulled back his arm and threw the pokéball. It ricocheted off the hard floor and rolled past Inari.

There was a flash of energy from outside as Rhyperior materialized right behind her. At over seven feet tall, the pokémon towered over Inari, but she wasn't at all intimidated. She turned around and calmly felt for a pokémon in one of her pockets.

"Why aren't you attacking?!" Giovanni yelled at his pokémon. "Smash her into the floor with Hammer Arm!"

Rhyperior held up one of its arm-cannons and thrust it at Inari like a battering ram. Inari deftly dodged by leaping to the side and drew her own pokéball. Rhyperior missed her and slammed its arm into the metal floor which shook the building like a Magnitude 8.

The shockwave made Giovanni lose his balance and he fell backward into Cyrus's arms.

"Go, Meowstic," Inari said after everything stopped shaking. She dropped her pokéball on the floor, and with a burst of light, her Meowstic appeared, hissing disapprovingly. "Meowstic, crush them," Inari said, disinterestedly. Meowstic's ears flipped up, revealing its secret eyes which glowed an eerie crimson, growing brighter by the second. Meowstic was glaring as if were concentrating so hard it was in pain.

"Hah, you ignorant fool! You're attacking Rhyperior with that pathetic little plush toy of a pokemon?" Giovanni could hear a creaking noise echoing through the room. He pointed to Meowstic. "Rhyperior, use—" He was cut off by the pain of Cyrus grasping him tighter.

"Giovanni, we must leave this room immediately," Cyrus said.

Giovanni struggled against Cyrus's grip. "I'd have to be an idiot to leave now, and I don't see you helping me out, you sociopath! This is the perfect opportunity to attack since that wench isn't even making her pokémon do anything—"

"Stop yelling and trust me!" Cyrus shouted. He let go of Giovanni and shoved him toward the door.

Giovanni cursed but ran outside anyway, Cyrus following right behind him. Inari stepped back, startled, and let the two of them run past her.

Giovanni skidded to a halt and whirled around. "Rhyperior, use Ice Punch on the woman! Now!"

Rhyperior pulled back one arm, readying itself, and a freezing fog emanated from its arm.

"Meowstic, use Psyshock to protect me," said Inari.

Giovanni turned to Cyrus. "You made me lose my great opportunity. I detest trust," he muttered. Cyrus didn't answer him.

Meowstic suddenly turned around, but it kept its ears straight up. Its hidden eyes were bright as lasers.

A horrible screeching noise, metal grinding against metal, resounded throughout the room. It sounded like a Steelix biting down on a screaming Klinklang. The sound was so overpowering that Giovanni, Cyrus, and Inari all covered their ears. With one more deafening crash, the doorway crumpled like tinfoil, and shrapnel, including metal shavings and pokéballs, shot out of the storeroom. The shrapnel hit the floor and the loud noises stopped.

Everyone, even the pokemon, paused.

Inari crossed her arms. "Well, that experiment was not a success."

"I take back what I said about trust..." Giovanni said quietly.

Cyrus drew a pokéball. "Meowstic has enough power to grind metal to dust. It was a near miss," he said in monotone.

"How observant of you. Meowstic, use Psyshock on Rhyperior, for real this time!" Inari gestured to the pokemon. Meowstic hissed again.

Giovanni sighed, tilting his fedora down. "I don't have time for this. Rhyperior, ignore it and smash through the far wall."

Rhyperior turned and lumbered away, while Meowstic, psychic powers glowing, chased after it.

Without saying anything, Cyrus pressed the button on the pokéball he was holding, and his Weavile materialized on the floor in front of him. It held out its razor-sharp claws, awaiting orders.

"Weavile, intercept with Night Slash," Cyrus ordered.

Weavile grinned, showing its fangs. It rushed forward as fast as a whip. Meowstic spun around and blasted Weavile with a multicolored psychic pulse, but Weavile didn't even slow down. Its claws glowed indigo like the sky at midnight. It slashed Meowstic, who screeched and fell back.

"Meowstic, return," Inari said, annoyed. Meowstic was enveloped by red light and returned to its pokéball.

When Rhyperior reached the wall, it held up both its arm-cannons, and its red eyes narrowed as it took aim. With no warning, a craggy rock shot out of each cannon and slammed into the metal with a resounding bang! The wall was dented and twisted, like a pond rippling after a stone is thrown into it. Rhyperior reached out and used its claws to tear at each side of the dent. The metal squealed as it bent.

Inari frowned. She whirled around and threw another pokéball. "Go, Sentinel! Stop them from breaking anything else!"

Inari's Gothielle burst out of its pokéball and twittered. It looked up at Giovanni with a confused frown.

Giovanni put a hand over his face. "Oh, it's you..." he muttered.

Inari raised an eyebrow. She did not understand his reaction. "Sentinel, use Signal Beam!"

A pink and purple glow formed between Gothielle's hands. When the glow grew large enough, Gothielle held up her arms, preparing to launch the beam.

Cyrus pointed to Gothielle, and Weavile dashed toward it. Weavile leaped forward and its claws turned dark again, but at the same instant Gothielle fired the Signal Beam. In a blast of purple and indigo, Weavile and Gothielle were knocked back by the recoil. Weavile covered its eyes and shrieked while Gothielle just fell back, hit the floor, and rolled over.

Inari put her hands on her hips. "Sentinel, why can't you fight like you did against Malamar earlier? You have no sense of priorities. Oh, well, I don't need to keep promises to my personal tools. I'll have you cooked and made into a treat for my other pokémon as an example!"

When Weavile wouldn't stop shrieking, Cyrus returned it to its pokéball.

Giovanni was growling through all of this.The battling, Rhyperior, and that stupid crazy woman. Damn it, it's just noise, noise, noise! At least it's not as bad as the screaming crowds at the PWT. Maybe I could stand that if they were cheering me on, but I know that would never happen, Giovanni thought. He noticed that the noise was quieter than before. He turned his head and saw that Rhyperior was standing still, awaiting orders, and that there was a hole, large enough for a person to walk through, in the wall. Giovanni turned to Cyrus. "Don't bother trying to finish off the wench when we can escape right now!"

Cyrus nodded. He and Giovanni ran to the hole in the wall. Giovanni held up Rhyperior's pokéball and returned the pokémon to it, leaving Giovanni and Cyrus enough space to slip through. Behind the wall was a stairwell with small metal stairs leading upwards.

"What if our situation only becomes more dangerous when we reach the upper level?" asked Cyrus.

"Don't bother with theories!" Giovanni snapped. His voice echoed throughout the shaft. "Anywhere is better than here!" He grabbed Cyrus and ran up the stairs as fast as possible, his shoes gripping the slippery metal. When he reached the top of the stairwell, Giovanni looked down and saw Inari, who had just squeezed through the hole.

She paused at the bottom of the stairs. "It should be against the law for a fifty-three-year-old to be so athletic," she said sarcastically. "If I can not rely on Sentinel, I'll do my part as well," she said, taking a small device that looked similar to a garage opener from one of her pockets. She pressed a button on the device.

Giovanni grinned and reached for another pokéball. "Garchomp can deal with her eas—" He was cut off by a shrill vibration like the beating wings of a horde of Ninjask. "That's a dirty trick!" he yelled over the sound. He took out Garchomp's pokéball and pressed the button, but it only made a hollow sound. He pressed it harder. Nothing happened.

"It is a signal that jams pokéballs..." said Cyrus. "...aside from the user's own."

"Precisely! My, are you a smart one. It's a pity that I'll have to brainwash you." Inari adjusted her glasses. "Well, at least I can make you my personal slave. Sentinel, use Thunderbolt!"

Gothorita hopped past Inari and held up its hands. With a blinding flash, a crackling bolt of electricity shot up the stairs, ricocheting off the walls. The Thunderbolt attack curved toward Giovanni, nearly searing his face. He jumped away and suddenly fell backward. He slammed into something cold and hard.

This had better not become a trend, Giovanni thought. He was about to stand up when suddenly the object supporting him fell away, and he slid to the floor and landed on his back with a thud.

Giovanni pushed himself off the floor and stood up as quickly as possible. He brushed off his coat and turned around. In front of him was was the door that had swung open. Past the door was a dark corridor. Giovanni took one step into the corridor but hesitated until he heard the echoing sound of Inari's footsteps getting louder and louder. He ran into the shadows with Cyrus and shut the door behind them.

As he and Cyrus walked down the corridor, Giovanni could just barely make out another, distant doorway that light was leaking through. He could hear a strange hissing noise emanating from past the doorway. That isn't... sizzling, is it? Was this a horrible mistake?! Are there people being burned alive in there?!

"You appear distressed," said Cyrus. "Are your mood swings the reason you are so ignorant of your surroundings, Giovanni?" Cyrus asked without inflection.

Giovanni scowled. "You have no right to ask, considering you can't even touch somebody's shoulder properly, sociopath." He forced himself to use a hushed tone. At least I'm not afraid anymore, he thought. "You know, Cyrus, you're an idiot and a sociopath, but at least..."

"We must leave now. There is no time to talk." When he was close enough, Cyrus grabbed the door's handle and turned it, but the door didn't open.

"I was going to say something nice, you idiot!" Giovanni snapped. "But I must have been out of my mind. How could I forget? You're so ignorant that you can't even open doors!"

Cyrus was about to say something, but suddenly a bright beam shot over his head and blasted the door. Cyrus released the handle. With a cracking sound, the door blew open and the beam faded.

Damn it, I hate it when he's right about things like this, thought Giovanni. Not like I'd ever let him know he's right. He ran through the doorway and his eyes adjusted to the sudden bright light.

A sweet and greasy smell permeated the room. Giovanni saw the source of the sizzling noise—dozens of machines. They had metal screens on top of them and they were about as long as grand pianos. Lying on the screens were seemingly endless rows of doughnuts, shiny with oil.

Giovanni felt like his stomach clench. "The kitchen? Really?! It's as if this place is taunting me, if it wasn't already!"

As if to ask what he meant, Cyrus gave Giovanni a blank stare.

A tinkling sound like bells rang out behind the two of them. Giovanni and Cyrus whirled around. Casually leaning against the doorway was Inari, her Gothorita right next to her.

"I know, Giovanni. The final showdown happening in the kitchen is a bother," said Inari. "I mean, who's going to remove your disembodied limbs from the oil after they're fried? Not me, that's for sure."

Giovanni gawked.

"Why would you bother frying his disembodied limbs?" asked Cyrus. "Wouldn't the process be made simpler by feeding his limbs to your pokémon without frying the limbs beforehand? And why his body parts and not mine?"

"Don't be so presumptive!" Inari stood up. "I might want to eat some, too! And you look like your mind would be nice to break, so I want you around. From Sentinel's report, Giovanni just sounds like another boring, lonely misanthrope."

"The word is 'presumptuous.'" Cyrus glared at her. "...And all people all boring. Everyone is born, suffers, and dies."

While Cyrus and Inari continued to argue, and Gothielle patiently awaited orders, Giovanni backed slowly away. He took out a pokéball and clicked the button repeatedly. Why is one of these insane freaks my friend?! Why?! The pokéball still didn't activate. Damn it, that jamming device is still on! I don't want to have to wrestle with that wench and steal it from her!

"...Well, this has gone on too long," said Inari. "It's been fun, but I'd like to get back to my psychic experiments now. Sentinel, bend their minds with Psychic!"

Gothielle's eyes rolled back in its head. The whites of its eyes glowed bright pink and the space around its head seemed to warp and twist. A cold, eerie pressure filled the room, like the walls were slowing collapsing inward. Giovanni reached out and grabbed Cyrus's right arm and yanked him to the side. Gothielle's psychic blast grew and hit Giovanni dead-on.

For a moment, time seemed to stop and everything blurred together, and when Giovanni's eye's refocused and he could feel again, he saw that he was lying on his side. Damn it, falling on the floor is a trend. Giovanni glanced up at Cyrus, who appeared to be unharmed. No wonder Cyrus is still standing. I mean, if he were a pokemon, he'd be dark-type. Ice/dark, I'm sure. Yes, that fits. All of Giovanni's senses felt fuzzy, like his body had been stuffed with cotton. The buzzing from Inari's remote control sounded much louder than it had before, to the point where it was like standing right next to a radio tower. Giovanni's vision became bathed in red, as if candles made of red wax were melting all round him. He felt like he was in bed and was about to begin dreaming. "Red... red... pepper in soup tastes good. Stir it, curl it like Ariana's hair was curled at the ends. Same color, too," Giovanni mumbled, drool dribbling from the side of his mouth. "But I don't smell spice, I smell sugar. Come to think of it, a doughnut that's cut in half looks like a pokéball, and..." Giovanni kept babbling. He could vaguely hear Inari laughing and Cyrus yelling about something, but Giovanni couldn't make out any words. That's weird. Cyrus doesn't yell. Not really. Anyway, what was I thinking about? Right, pokéballs. Mine aren't working, because of that jamming device that's buzzing like so many Beedrill. The device doesn't work on Inari's pokéballs, so they still... work... wait! Giovanni's eyes flew open. He hadn't realized he had closed them. "...Clefable's pokéball still works! It's owned by E-Anon!" he cried out, as loud as he could.

Giovanni glanced up and he and Cyrus shared a look. Giovanni still couldn't see very clearly, but he saw that Inari had crossed her arms and looked perturbed.

Cyrus took out a pokéball and pressed its button. With a pop and a flash, Clefable materialized in front of Cyrus. Clefable was murmuring and its eyes were wide.

"Clefable, use Cosmic Power," Cyrus ordered. Giovanni was able to understand the words, his senses sharpening. Clefable, on the other hand, just looked confused. In a daze, it looked left and right.

"That's just pathetic. Sentinel, use Psychic!" Inari pointed to Clefable.

Gothielle's eyes lit up again. When Clefable noticed Gothielle charging, it used Cosmic Power on its own. Clefable glowed the colors of starlight, rings of sparkles circling its body. Gothielle shot the psychic blast at Clefable, but the starry sparkles dissolved most of the attack. Clefable just looked bored.

"Where did your power go, Sentinel? You only fight when your welfare's in danger, hmm? Maybe you're the one I should be frying." Inari adjusted her glasses.

With Clefable in front of them to act as a shield, Cyrus turned around to inspect Giovanni. "How are you feeling?" Cyrus asked.

Giovanni pushed himself up to a seated position. When he tried to stand, his head felt like it was spinning, so he remained sitting. "You can see how I am by looking at me!" he snapped.

"...I see. Would you like help, considering that our fellow humans often offer help to other beings that they care about?" Cyrus reached down to Giovanni, offering him a hand.

Giovanni glowered up at Cyrus. Still, there are worse things I could do to ruin my reputation, Giovanni figured. He leaned forward and took Cyrus's hand. With his help, Giovanni stood back up.

Inari cocked her head to the side. "What is this, some sort of an Evil Best Friends Club?"

"Of course not, and you know it, you fool," said Giovanni.

"Yes, it is," Cyrus answered at the same time. Giovanni glared at him.

Inari shrugged. "Whatever. Now that none of your pokémon can battle, I'll defeat you soundly!" She punched at the air.

"What are you talking about? Clefable's standing right..." Giovanni trailed off. Clefable was no longer standing in front of him He heard a quiet peeping noise to his left. Giovanni turned to look, and saw Clefable sitting on top of one of the doughnut machines, happily munching away on five doughnuts at once.

"What the hell do we do now?!" Giovanni yelled. He put his head in his hands, his hat slipping over his face. Why does this sort of thing always happen to me?!

With one smooth motion, Cyrus quickly withdrew Clefable and took out another pokéball. He pressed the button and sent out Pichu. The pokémon squeaked. It eyed the half-eaten doughnuts.

"You're kidding, right?" Inari smirked. "Sentinel, use Signal Beam."

"Pichu, Fake Out," Cyrus said, with assurance.

Pichu dashed forward as Gothielle held out its hands and begin to charge the attack. Before it could blast anything, Pichu clapped it hands hard over the appendages on Gothielle's head. Gothielle was shocked out of its attack.

"You're just delaying the inevitable, you know," Inari said. "Sentinel, use Signal Beam, and this time don't you dare flinch."

Gothielle hunkered down and started to charge up again. Pichu nervously flattened its ears.

"Ignore the Gothielle," Cyrus said. "Use Thundershock in that direction." Cyrus pointed to Inari.

Pichu's cheek-pounches let out tiny sparks. Suddenly, an electric current shot through the air and up through Inari's labcoat. He hair stood on end, and she cried out in surprise, but then she just sneered and ran her hand through her long hair to smooth it back down. "Oh no, I'm going to die," she said sarcastically. "Did you really think such a weak attack would do anything?" She turned to Gothorita. "Sentinel, put the weakling out of its misery."

Gothorita fired a bright magenta beam that blasted Pichu. Pichu flew backward and slammed into one of the machines, sending oil splattering all over the floor. It was one-hit knock out. Cyrus returned Pichu to its pokéball. "You do realize that your jamming device shorted out... do you not?" His tone was icy.

The room does seem much quieter, doesn't it? thought Giovanni, his expression twisted, becoming a smirk. "Get ready to experience a world of pain," he said happily.

"Oh, please, don't think you've won." Inari recalled her Gothielle. She put her hands in her pocket and held out two pokéballs. She dropped them, and they bounced off the floor, releasing two pokemon—a Beheeyem and Malamar.

Cyrus took out a pokeball and sent out his Houndoom. It looked up and let out a long howl that sounded like an air raid siren.

"You again," Giovanni hissed when he laid eyes on Malamar. "This time I'll strangle you with your own tentacles!" Giovanni adjusted his fedora and fished around in his pockets for a pokéball. What's the best pokémon to murder that abomination... aha! Perfect. He pulled out a pokéball and pressed the button. The distinctive noise of the ball activating imbued Giovanni with a sense of power. "Even when I lose a battle, my opponent knows to fear me. I'll make you fear me, Inari!"

From Giovanni's pokéball, his Beedrill appeared with a flash of light. Beedrill hovered in the air, right on the level of Giovanni's face. Even though the buzzing from Beedrill was overpowering, it made Giovanni more pleased.

"...Are you kidding me?!" Inari threw her head back and laughed. "Beedrill is never used, and for good reason! It's more fragile than a twig!" She pointed to Beedrill. "Beheeyem, use Psyshock, on Beedrill, then give Cyrus some nice flashbacks to his childhood or something."

Giovanni stood stock still, a blank expression on his face. "Beedrill, use Tailwind," he said calmly.

Beedrill flew in a circle, vibrating its wings so fast that the buzzing was too high to hear. A whirlwind formed in the center of the room, ruffling everyone's clothing and sending even more grease spattering everywhere. Houndoom's tail flicked in the wind.

"Not even an offensive attack? Really now? Oh, well, it's easier on me," said Inari.

The lights on her Beheeyem's arms blinked different colors. It flashed faster and faster until a bright beam that shimmered like an aurora shot from the lights and slammed into Beedrill. Beedrill floundered in the air, clearly wounded, and crashed, ricocheting off the floor. But Beedrill did not faint. It crawled across the floor and beat its wings a few times.

"Beedrill, you know what to do!" Giovanni shouted. Beedrill lowered its head, as if nodding. It beat its wings faster, catching the room's air current. A greenish-blue light surrounded Beedrill as it dashed forward, spinning like a corkscrew with its stingers at the tip. In a split second it sped across the room and jabbed its sharp stingers into Malamar's flesh, making a squelching sound. Just as quickly Beedril made a U-turn and flew back to Giovanni, who returned it to its pokéball at precisely the right time.

Inari's Malamar cried out and fell to the floor. She returned it to its pokéball. "Do you take some kind of sick pleasure in beating others with weak pokémon?"

"Perhaps." Giovanni grinned.

"But its doesn't matter. I have plenty more pokémon. But before I send out any more, I'll finish this round—Cyrus, you must have figured out that many of my pokémonknow Signal Beam. Why use a Houndoom?"

"What attacks your pokémon know do not matter in this case," said Cyrus he pointed to the left of Beheeyem. "Use Will-O-Wisp, Houndoom."

Houdoom opened its mouth wide enough to swallow an Arbok whole, and four eerie blue fireballs floated out. The fireballs drifted close to Beheeyem, but Beheemyem stayed still and the fire went right past it.

"Hah, you missed by—" Inari was cut off by the roar of a flashfire. She whirled around and saw that the entire row of machines and most of the floor engulfed by crackling flames. The fire licked at her labcoat, as if it was trying to pull her in. She took a step back into the hallway, saying nothing. Beheeyem's lights were flashing in a hypnotic pattern

"What the hell?! Do you want to kill both of us?!" Giovanni snapped at Cyrus.

Cyrus recalled his Houndoom before turning around. "Do you have any pokémonthat know Fly, Giovanni?" he asked in quiet monotone. He had no outward reaction to the blaze behind him, despite it beginning to creep across the floor and onto the walls. "If not, I can lend you one. My Crobat and Honchkrow both know that move."

What is he going on about? Why would he be asking me that, unless—oh. "...I see. I have a Honchkrow already, in fact. I'll take care of everything else," he whispered.

"Hey, it's rude to exclude other people from your conversation!" Inari shouted. By this point, the fire had almost formed a wall between the two sides of the room.

Giovanni turned to face her. He looked right in her eyes. "Oh, I'm so sorry," he said, voice sickly sweet. "And I'm even more sorry that you don't have any water-type pokemon. It's very hot in here, you must want to cool off. It's such a shame."

"Don't mock me!" Inari snapped. "After all, you're wrong. Go, Starmie!" She threw a pokéball and a Starmie appeared in the middle of the flames. It looked dry but otherwise unaffected.

Giovanni noticed that Cyrus was holding a pokéball, so Giovanni took it as a cue to take out his Honchkrow's.

"Starmie, use Surf!" Inari ordered. Her Starmie's gem glowed scarlet, and a ball of water magically appeared in front of its body. The ball of water until Starmie turned sharply and launched water at the doughnut machines. Inari smirked as the ball of water flew.

The water splashed into the source of the blaze. Suddenly, a fireball as large as half the room flew upward and lit the ceiling. Within seconds, burning shrapnel was falling down toward Inari, who could barely move fast enough to avoid debris. She covered her head and backed away farther into the dark corridor. "H-How could you do something so horrible?!" she yelled.

Fortunately for me, Houndoom makes a nice fire shield. I have time to kick her while she's down. Giovanni grinned. "Well, as you're lovely little program points out, I'm a recovering evildoer. You can't blame a man for a short relapse, can you?" He laughed darkly. "Besides, how could you do something so stupid? Who puts water on a grease fire?!" Hm, I haven't laughed at someone I want to murder in a good long while, now have I? "Go, Honchkrow!" He sent out the pokémon. Honchkrow, looking somewhat unnerved, appeared behind Cyrus's Houndoom. "Shoot the ceiling with Dark Pulse!" Giovanni ordered.

Honchkrow gave a low squawk. It flew up to the ceiling, its flapping wing sending ember flying every which way. The tips of Honchkrow's wings glowed purple, and it shot rings of darkness straight up. The barrage of rings battered the ceiling until, with a crack like a resounding gunshot, some rafters gave way and wood splintered and ignited, leaving a gaping hole in the ceiling.

Giovanni looked up at the hole with a manic grin, the fire reflected in his eyes. Ah, how I love a happy ending, he thought. Or, since that's not available to me, at least an ending filled with destruction, screaming, and pain.

Cyrus gestured to the fire, his pokéball in his hand. "...You're ready to leave the area... aren't you?" he asked Giovanni.

"Just one thing." Giovanni turned to Inari. "Give me your Gothielle's pokéball to me this instant, or I'll have my pokémon throw you into the fire!" he yelled. "I deserve a reward!"

Inari scowled. Giovanni could barely see her through the flames. "Fine. I don't want her anyway!" She threw a pokéball right at him. A split second before it hit him in the face, Giovanni caught the pokéball, one-handed.

"Wonderful." He smirked, and tipped his hat below one eye. "Kill you next time."

====

After flying south for less than a minute, Giovanni and Cyrus spotted city lights. They landed and dismounted their pokémon next to a gate near a path of cracked, mossy cobblestones. Rows of bushes and trees lined each side of the path.

There were no lampposts in sight—a rare thing for a city in Unova. Usually the cities in this region are filled with useless light and noise, thought Giovanni. The only lights that he could see were the nearly-invisible crescent moon and the faint, orange light of houses in the distance. It must be early morning. Otherwise more buildings would be lit. He unconsciously looked down at his wrist to check the time before remembered that the E-Anon workers had taken his X-Transceiver and watch. "Damn it..." he muttered.

He and Cyrus glanced at each other, but didn't say anything. The two of them walked up to the nearest sign. It was large and sturdy, and carved into it were the words "Opelucid City: Time's Dividing Line."

There was a city just south of here through those woods the whole time?! Giovanni felt an urge to kick the sign, but decided to keep his rage bottled up. He just scowled.

"I suppose that explains why it's so quiet." Giovanni turned back around to face the gate, which he realized was the gateway to Route 9. "You stay right here and don't move, Cyrus. I want to check the marquee and see how much of my life I wasted in that hellhole," he said, without turning back. "At least I can take comfort in the fact that everyone I saw there is a pile of ashes."

"That is highly unlikely. No matter how ignorant, a person's instincts demand that he or she run from an unmanageable, rapidly encroaching flame," Cyrus said,

"Nobody asked you for your opinion, you idiot." Giovanni stuffed his hands into his pockets and walked to the route gate. The illumination from inside looked bright as noonday sun, and Giovanni had to cover his eyes with his hat for shade. He walked through the gate onto the tiles, which felt much harder under his ruined shoes than the cobblestone. As Giovanni walked by, the woman behind the counter in the gate gave him a blank look.

I must look incredibly shady, he thought. But that doesn't give her the right to stare after all that I've been through! Giovanni walked up to the electric billboard and glared up at the marquee. The weather report, pokémon outbreak news, and an announcement regarding who would be participating in the PWT. Giovanni was surprised that his disappearance wasn't mentioned, but that feeling quickly faded. Nobody in the circle would care what happens to me. Unless Blue wrote some news article where he gloats about taking my Gym, he decided.

After what felt like an eternity to him, the day's date rolled around: "August 1st…" Giovanni tuned out after reading those two words. August... first? That can't be. It's too damn ironic! Then again, the universe loves taunting me—never mind. It's not worth thinking about. He spun on his heel and, at a brisk pace, walked out of the gate. When he stepped back into the Opelucid City street, everything looked shadowed for a moment as his eyes adjusted.

"I hate Unova. Why do they use those awful lights that hurt my eyes?" Giovanni crossed his arms over his chest.

"They are widely believed to conserve energy," Cyrus said quietly.

Giovanni looked up suddenly. "Wh—I mean, once again, I never asked you!" That's odd, he thought. Why am I surprised? I ordered him to wait here, after all, and anyone who disobeys an order from me gets punished, so why...

"What is today's date?"

"August... first. I wasted nearly a week of my life in that accursed place!" Giovanni snapped. His shoulders tensed up, and he clenched his hands into fists. But instead of continuing to rant, he just let out a long sigh and looked at the ground. Great, now I'm feeling that awful pressure all over again. What the hell is wrong with me? he wondered. Maybe I'm just thirsty. There should be a vending machine—no, I don't have my money. Damn it, now I have to go to a Pokémon Center and get it!

When Giovanni did not say anything else, Cyrus walked over to him. "Does the first of August hold a particular meaning for y—"

"I-It's nothing! Not like I'd tell you if it did mean something to me, but it doesn't, because that would just be stupid, and I am not stupid, you idiot!"

"...Is today your birthday?"

"Maybe it is, but it's not like I care about birthdays! I don't even care that it means I've wasted another year of my life." Giovanni's face reddened. "After all, I've had fifty-three—no, fifty-four years to let that fact get drilled into my head!" Why am even I bothering to get angry over something so trivial? It's not like I don' t already know how much of an idiot he is.

Cyrus paused, almost as if he could hear Giovanni's thoughts. "...Now that we are free... perhaps we can continue our conversation about the correct methods for showing affection." Cyrus glanced up at the moon for a second, before giving Giovanni the thousand-yard stare again. "...For instance, I have put much effort into recalling the social conventions I have seen in practice, and due to the fact that you no longer slap me, I feel that it is appropriate to wish you... happy birthday, Giovanni." Cyrus did not once break monotone.

"I only stopped smacking you because your head is so hard, it—wait. What did you say?"

Cyrus blinked, but his expression remained otherwise the same. "Happy birthday."

Giovanni felt his chest tighten even more. More blood rushed to his face. Damn it, damn it, damn it! I have to say something, but what? I can't tell him I'm grateful, because it's not as if I could be or anything, because he's a complete sociopath, but I don't really believe that do I? Well, even if it's not true it's not like it matters for my purposes or anything, because nothing like that affects me, but then why am I even thinking this, if— Giovanni's thoughts kept circling, only growing faster. After an infinitely long half-a-minute, he broke. "What are you still doing here, staring at me for?!" he yelled at Cyrus, who had no reaction. "Why haven't you left yet? It would be in your best interests, wouldn't it? Just what are you trying to pull? Whatever it is, I'm not falling for it!"

Cyrus didn't say anything, but just stiffly put his arms forward, like a robot trying to pick up a box. His facial wrinkles looked more pronounced, as if he were doing something incredibly strenuous.

"What are you doing?! I can almost hear your joints creaking," Giovanni said, more confused than angry.

"After much thought, I have come to believe that such an occasion calls for the human social custom known as a 'hug.'"

Giovanni just glared at him. "...There is nothing that I wish to say to you," he said icily.

Cyrus nodded slightly, and started to turn away from him. But before he could walk away, Giovanni rushed forward and clasped him tightly. A few seconds later Giovanni pulled away and shoved Cyrus back, hard.

Cyrus twitched like a malfunctioning robot. "Y-You... actually hugged me?! But... the reasons you pointed out for not doing so were completely logical!"

"I'm not very logical. Haven't you noticed by now?" Giovanni muttered. Yet another dethroning moment for me. Height difference, bad timing, wrong person... my life is hell. "If an Italian can't teach you how to hug somebody, you're hopeless." Giovanni turned away and stared at a bush as if it were the most interesting object in the universe. "And this isn't even goodbye! I have this bottle of red wine that I've been saving for a special occasion, but there never are any. It's not like this is one either, but I need to drink it at some point."

"I don't drink," said Cyrus.

Giovanni just looked at him.

"...but this may prove an appropriate occasion to start."

"At last, I've done something right..." Giovanni took out Honchkrow's pokéball.

"...Did you misspeak? You meant to say 'you've,' not 'I've,' correct?"

"Shut up! That's what I said and you know it, you idiot!"

THE END
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