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Reformation

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Chadwyck, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. OoC: Okie dokie, thanks to Linkachu (ILU FOREVER FOR GRABBING THESE FOR ME) I have all of Reformation saved to my lappy. Lesson learned, always have everything on my laptop at all times. Anyway, so here is REFORMATION: REDUX (which is actually just a REPOST)

    Chapter 1:

    “Hey, kids, don’t burn down the house while we’re gone.” The tall, thin, middle aged man said blankly from behind his dark sunglasses. His black hair was disheveled, and he wore a black lab coat over a red dress shirt and black slacks. The sleeves of the coat were rolled up to his elbows and he wore a plain looking watch on his right wrist. His black dress shoes squeaked as he turned and walked out the door.

    “And no going in our lab.” Said the slender woman with strawberry blonde hair pulled back into a bun in a sing-song voice. She was also wearing a black lab coat, only she wore hers over a black dress decorated by red wisps that looked like curling smoke trails. She closed the door behind her as she walked out.

    It was happening again, their parents were going away on some kind of business trip and leaving them alone again, for lord knows how long. No real goodbye. No ‘I love you’. They just left, and they would be back whenever they were done doing whatever they needed to. Not that it would matter. Even when they were home, they would just lock themselves in their lab and never even acknowledge their children’s existence. Rein didn’t know how his sister had gotten used to it, he still longed for his parents attention, it was only normal for a ten year old.

    Alice just shook her head after they had gone, “There they go again, you’d think for once they’d tell us where they were going, or what they had to do.” She blew a few strands of her long blue hair out of her eyes. She dyed her hair constantly to avoid resembling their mother in any way, otherwise she’d have the same strawberry blonde color. She was wearing a black tank top, with electric blue, elbow length arm warmers. Her pants were also black with a blue stripe going up the side and zippers spreading out on various spots on each leg. She was currently barefoot and still in the process of applying her eyeliner. When their parents had to leave, they didn’t mention it until they were walking out the door.

    “Alice?” Rein asked his older sister. She was fifteen, and he looked up to her as more of a mother figure since she’d been taking care of him since he was old enough to walk, and as such he had picked up many of her fashions: mainly black things covered with zippers, “Why do mom and dad always have to leave?” He always wondered what his parents did that was so important that they just left their children alone, but he could never find the courage to ask.

    “They just have to go away on business, squirt.” That was her pet name for him, sometimes she took to calling him ‘Reiny’ as well, but only when they were joking around with each other. She finished her eyeliner and then looked at the time, “I think it’s time for breakfast. Go get dressed and we’ll go into town for some food.” She smiled. He nodded and went toward the stairs.

    “What do they do?” He asked stopping at the foot of the stairs.

    “You know, I couldn’t tell you. I guess they must be some kind of doctors by the way they dress though, right?” She shrugged. She knew that there were many more questions, she’d asked them herself when she was his age. He was old enough now to know that parents weren’t supposed to act the way that theirs did, but she wasn’t lying when she said she didn’t know the answer. “I still wonder that myself, sometimes.” She mumbled to herself after Rein had gone upstairs.

    The house was fairly large, there was enough room for each of them to have their own room, plus their parents lab, and they had two living rooms; one downstairs and the other at the top of the stairs. It was well furnished, big screen televisions and leather couches. All in all it wasn’t a bad place to be stuck without parents, but everything in the house belonged to their parents, and nothing belonged to Rein or Alice. In fact, the least furnished rooms in the house were theirs, Alice was convinced that Rein and herself were just accidents that their parents had to deal with. She grabbed a Poke ball off the wall, it was a Hitmonlee that belonged to her parents, but she’d have to take it for protection in case wild Pokemon attacked. At least the parental units had the decency to leave a Pokemon for protection, though she was never sure if they had intended it for that purpose, or if they just didn’t want to take the Hitmonlee with them.

    Alice and Rein were forbidden to have any Pokemon of their own, if they had been caught with a Pokemon, the Pokemon would be released and whomever had the Pokemon (mostly it was Alice) would be punished.

    Rein came back downstairs, he was wearing a black jacket that was covered with zippers, over a green t-shirt with black flame designs. His pants were similar to Alice’s, except instead of a blue stripe, it was also green. Rein’s manner of dress resembled his sisters in everyway except for the blue. He always preferred the color green, particularly an icy green, as he would call it, the same color of his eyes. He was wearing a black fedora with a dark green stripe around the base of it over his black hair that very much resembled his father’s. He stared at his sister with his icy green eyes and a smile. She couldn’t help but smile when she saw him, she was very touched that Rein looked up to her so much that he even mimicked her style of clothing.

    They both sat down next to each other and began to buckle on their boots. Alice’s boots were knee high, with buckles going all the way to the top starting from her ankle, and small, silver chains hung down from each buckle. Rein’s were similar, except they only went up a little ways from his ankle, and instead of buckles, his just zipped up, and the toe of his boots were steel tipped. He wanted boots that resembled Alice’s a bit more, but decided to buy these after Alice had told him that they looked good on him.

    Rein loved going anywhere with his sister, it made him feel like everything was all right. Even though they were five years apart, they were still very close, and he knew that Alice would never leave him alone like their parents did so often. “How about we go get something to eat at the department store?” She asked him with a smile. They lived just outside of Celadon city, and Alice always loved to eat at the department store so that they could go to the top floor and stare out at the world around them. He’d also see her looking longingly at the Celadon Gym. Rein knew how badly his sister longed to be a Pokemon trainer, she’d told him about how she was going to be the champion one day every time they were left at home.

    “Sounds good to me, Alee.” He smiled at her, he’d come up with his own nickname for her because she always called him squirt. He knew she didn’t like anyone to call her Alee, but she always made an exception for him.

    “Oh it does, Reiny?” She stuck out her tongue at him, Rein couldn’t stand the name Reiny, and she knew that the same as he knew she didn’t like Alee, but this is how they would always get into their little play fights. They began walking toward Celadon, they were only a few minutes away from the city, their house was outside the city, up a private path. Their parents liked their privacy.

    “Don’t call me Reiny,” Rein play pouted, and Alice started tickling him, he couldn’t keep a straight face and started laughing. She picked him up and he started tickling back, neither of them could stop laughing, Rein was glad that it was just he and his sister, whenever his parents were home he always felt overlooked. But Alice gave him the attention he should have received from his parents, and he would be forever grateful for it.

    “Come on, squirt, let’s go get some food.” She took off running along the path, purposefully going slow enough for him to catch up.

    “Race you, Alice!” Rein yelled playfully as he bolted past his sister along the path.

    “Hey! When did you get so fast?” She asked with a laugh, she began running at more normal speed and caught up with him, but she was just enough behind to where he would win the race. She could not help but grin at the happiness Rein showed on his face.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I totally beat you, Alice!” Rein laughed as they took the elevator up to the top floor of the Celadon Department Store, he was teasing her and she pretended to be upset.

    “Hey!” She said grabbing him as he jumped up and down in front of her, “It wasn’t fair, you got a head start.” She stuck out her tongue as the elevator reached its destination with a chime from the door.

    “Did not! You’re the one who took off running. You’re just jealous because I’m too fast.” He broke free of her grasp and ran over to the vending machine.

    “Yeah, yeah. Well, I’ll beat you next time.” She said as she pulled a bit of money out of one of the various pockets on her pants. She leisurely walked over to the machine Rein was standing in front of and paid for two lemonades, Rein took them and walked over to an empty table. She then walked over to another machine that dispensed a variety of foods, from ramen noodles to hamburgers. “What do you say to some pizza today, squirt?”

    “Pepperoni, please!” He replied with a smile. Alice smiled back at him before she turned and purchased the food. When she came to the table, she lingered a moment before sitting down, she stared longingly out of the large, glass windows. She sighed, and then sat down slowly. “Alice?” Rein said meekly.

    “What’s up, Rein?” She asked, seriously for once. She could tell by the tone of his voice that it was a serious question.

    “Why don’t you go and be a Pokemon trainer? Mom and dad can’t stop you if you really wanted to go.” He asked quietly, Alice took a bite of her pizza before she answered.

    “Well, I couldn’t just leave you here, could I?” Alice smiled, but Rein looked at her through sad eyes.

    “You mean, I’m stopping you from going?”

    “Don’t you dare think that you’re a burden, Rein.” She said, even more seriously now, “I love you, you’re my little brother, I would never leave you alone.”

    “Then why don’t I become a trainer too? Then we can go together.” Rein said as if he wanted nothing else in the entire world.

    “Well, you do turn ten in a few weeks, don‘t you? But do you really think mom and dad will let us register?” She whispered conspiratorially.

    “They don’t have to know. They’re never around anyways.” He whispered back.

    Alice was stunned, she had never thought about just going and becoming a trainer. It was a fantasy to her, she wasn’t even permitted to have a Pokemon of her own, but who were her parents to tell her what she can and can’t do? Only real parents had that right, and those people who lived at their house were not real parents. She had raised herself, and Rein, she should be able to decide for herself.

    “Alice?” Rein was slightly perturbed by his sister’s sudden silence.

    “Well, we can’t do anything until you’re officially ten, so we’ll figure it out then. In the mean time, don’t worry about it, and eat your pizza.” She teased as she took another big bite out of her pizza before she resumed gazing out at the world before her.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was late afternoon before Rein and Alice decided to head back home, they spent the time after eating just browsing about in the department store, looking at all of the trainer items. Alice smiled when she saw Rein holding a Pokeball.

    Her mind was buzzing with the possibility of her and Rein escaping from their home, if it could even be called such, and traveling together as trainers. She held the Pokeball with her parents’ Hitmonlee, she clutched it as they exited the department store. She sighed a contented sigh as she allowed herself to escape to the world of her dreams, her dream to be a trainer, and even to be the league champion someday. It was the drive that kept her going when she felt like giving up. As she went to put the Pokemon back on her belt, she heard a shout that shook her from her thoughts.

    “Hey, you!” It was a child’s voice, probably not much older than Rein. The voice belonged to a young boy who was sprinting over to Alice and Rein, he had black cargo shorts and a dark blue shirt under a grey hoodie sweatshirt. His short brown hair was sticking out from underneath a black cap that had been turned backwards. “You’re a trainer, right?” He asked as he tried to catch his breath, “I wanna battle!” He pulled a PokeBall from his belt and waited for her response.

    “I’m sorry, I’m not…” Alice was cut off by Rein tugging on her coat, she held up a finger in a ‘wait a minute’ gesture and bent down to converse with her brother. “Yes, Reiny?”

    “Alee, you can take this guy. C’mon, it’ll be easy.” Rein whispered into his sister’s ear.

    “All right, little brother,” She sighed happily, she stood up and spun the Hitmonlee’s PokeBall in her hand, “I guess I’ll take you on, kid.” The boy was so excited he didn’t even wait to establish the rules of the battle, he just threw out his PokeMon without hesitation.

    “Go, Onix!” He shouted as the PokeBall burst open, a red light spilled out onto the ground and took the shape of the huge rock serpent.

    The boy’s smug expression made Alice laugh quietly to herself. “Let’s see what you’ve got Hitmonlee!” She called as she tossed out her own PokeMon, the red light taking the shape of her PokeMon before the ball returned to her hand. “You’re move.” She said crossing her arms.

    The boy analyzed the situation quietly, after a few seconds he shouted, “Onix, Rock Throw!” The Onix smashed its tail against the ground, causing it to break up into small chunks of rock and earth. Using its tail once more, it picked up a few of the rocks and hurled them at the Hitmonlee.

    Luckily, Alice was quick on her feet, “Jump Kick!” She called to the Hitmonlee, it leapt up and attacked the group of rocks directly in front of it with a series of fast kicks, breaking apart the rocks and opening the Onix up for an attack. However, the Onix had disappeared while Alice and her Hitmonlee focused on the Rock Throw, the rumbling beneath their feet told them that the rock snake had began to burrow.

    “Now! Use Rock Tomb!” The boy called, almost immediately after he had done so, the ground beneath Hitmonlee began to break apart, enveloping it within the rocks, Alice knew what was coming next.

    “Meditate!” She called as the rocks began to tighten around the Hitmonlee, which closed its eyes and began to focus all of its power, at the last second, before the Rock Tomb could do any damage, she called out, “Now, use Mega Kick!” Hitmonlee’s eyes opened immediately, and all of its focused energy went into a kick that shattered the tomb around it. Unfortunately the Onix was waiting.

    “Before it has time to counter, hit it with an Iron Tail.” The boy called as Hitmonlee regained it’s balance from it’s previous attack. There was no time for it to dodge, the Onix was upon it, swinging down its tail as it took on a metallic shine.

    “Endure, Hitmonlee!” The Hitmonlee braced itself as Alice called out the only order she knew had any chance at all of succeeding. The impact was hard, and Hitmonlee was sent reeling back from the impact, but it managed to pick itself up off of the ground. It didn’t look like it could take another hit of any kind.

    “Hit it with another Iron Tail!” The boy called, and the Onix obeyed. It began rushing at Hitmonlee again, its tail swinging down once more.

    Rein covered his eyes, he couldn’t bare to see the Hitmonlee hit by such an attack a second time. “Reversal!” Alice called, Rein immediately opened his eyes to see what was going to happen. Hitmonlee sidestepped the incoming attack and jumped up into the air, the Onix still under the momentum of its attack was met by a kick that utilized its momentum against it. The force knocked back the Onix, the resounding thud from it making contact with the ground shook the trainers. Onix was unable to return to the fight, and it couldn’t have been too soon. Hitmonlee took a knee and Alice and Rein ran over to the injured Pokemon. “You did great, Hitmonlee.” Alice said as she hugged it, “Let’s get you over to the Pokemon Center, you deserve the rest.” She smiled as she returned the Pokemon to its PokeBall.

    “Wow, Alice, that was amazing!” Rein said, astonished. He began chattering to her, recounting the fight as if she hadn’t been involved in it. She just laughed at the exaggeration that Rein used as he spoke.

    The boy huffed and returned the Onix to the PokeBall, then he made his way over to Rein and Alice. “Nice battle,” He mumbled, “Next time, I’ll beat you.” He said as he handed over a little money and walked away.

    “Well, with this,” Alice said holding up the money to Rein, “I think that we can go buy some ice cream. As soon as we drop Hitmonlee off at the Center.” She smiled as Rein’s face lit up.

    “You’re the best, Alee!” He laughed as she made a face at the name, and they began to walk toward the PokeCenter.

    As they walked, they heard someone calling after them, it was a girl dressed in a elegantly designed kimono, and she had short, black hair. “Hello,” She said casually as she walked up to Alice, “I watched the battle that you just participated in, I think that you have potential. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Erika, the Celadon Gym Leader, and I’d like to offer you a challenge at the gym.”

    Alice couldn’t believe it, but then her happiness faded away almost as quickly as it appeared, “I’m sorry, but I’m not an official trainer.” Alice said with a frown.

    “Really? You certainly battle like one.” Erika said bluntly, “If you ever do register for the league, you can come to my gym. I’ll gladly offer you a battle.” Erika turned and walked away, Alice smirked before she spun on her heels and resumed walking.

    “Alice, why don’t you just go register? I can wait for my birthday, and you can start collecting badges. It’s what you want, isn’t it?” Rein asked after a short pause.

    “What I want,” Alice started while still looking ahead, then she turned to look at Rein, “Is for us to be together, that’s what’s most important. I told you that already, squirt.” She smiled warmly at him, it was a smile that Rein couldn’t help but smile in response to. “I’ll race ya to the Pokemon Center.” Alice laughed as she took off running.

    “Hey, no fair!” Rein called as he ran to catch up to her, laughing the whole time.
     
    #1 Chadwyck, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  2. Chapter 2:

    It had been nearly four days since Alice’s run-in with Erika, but she couldn’t keep the gym leader’s words from creeping back into her mind from time to time. By sheer chance she had gotten praise on her trainer ability, from a League employed gym leader no less. Her mood became noticeably more bubbly as the days progressed, as emphasized by her dancing about in the kitchen as she flipped pancakes. Rein finally decided to bring it up. “Alice, you’ve been in a really good mood, lately. How come?” Rein asked with a smirk.

    “What? I’m not allowed to be happy, little brother?” She laughed as she prodded at him with the spatula in her hand, “I guess I’m just excited, it’s not everyday that a gym leader compliments me on my battling.” She sighed.

    “That’s because you never battle,” Rein teased. Alice responded by sticking her tongue out at him, “What do you think mom and dad would say if you told them?”

    Immediately Alice’s smile faded away, “They’d probably lock me in my room for a few days,” She said bluntly, with almost no emotion, “Not to mention take Hitmonlee away and leave us with absolutely no protection when they go on their ‘business trips.’” She flipped another pancake onto a plate.

    “Why don’t mom and dad want us to have Pokemon of our own?” Rein asked as Julia set a plate of fresh pancakes on the table for him. She signaled for him to come sit down and eat before she responded.

    “You know, I couldn’t tell you.” She brushed the question off, it was yet another question that she asked herself quite frequently, “Maybe they don’t want us running off to become trainers and leaving them all alone.” She said sarcastically. There was a brief pause before both of them erupted into laughter. Rein may not have been old enough to understand that parents weren’t supposed to act the way his did, but he was old enough to know that his parents could care less about them. Laughing about it simply lessened the pain. It was his and Alice’s defense mechanism to resort to jokes. Nothing stung more than the rejection of their parents, they convinced themselves that they were all right so long as they had each other. How fragile their happiness truly was.

    “I’m sure that’s it, Alee. Who else could stay home and ‘not burn down the house?’” Rein mimicked their father’s voice, resulting in another chuckle. Alice sat down at the table with him and they began to eat.

    “Well, they’ll have to figure it out soon. We’re out of here once you turn ten.” Rein grinned at the idea, “What kind of Pokemon do you think you’ll use, squirt?” Alice asked, she and Rein had never talked about this before, simply out of fear that it would never come true. Now there was no fear. Now they knew that they were going to be free of this place, and it was only a few weeks away from being a reality.

    Rein took another bite of his now syrup coated pancakes before he set down his fork and thought it through. “I would want,” He closed his eyes and thought about it deeply, “An Umbreon.” He said at last with a grin.

    “An Umbreon?” Alice mirrored before adding, “You’d have to work hard for one of those, it takes a lot of training.” Then with a smile, “Though, I’m sure that you’d have no trouble with that, Reiny.”

    Rein nodded, “What about you, Alee? What Pokemon do you want?” He asked before he downed the rest of his pancakes, then he moved on and began chugging his milk.

    “Well, if you’re going to have an Umbreon,” She began absentmindedly, as if lost inside her mind, “I guess I’ll have to get an Espeon.” She smiled looking at her younger brother, “That way we’d be an awesome double battle team. What would you name your Pokemon?”

    “Umm…” He was caught off guard by the question, he had never given it much thought. “I don’t know, what would you name an Umbreon?” Rein countered.

    “Well, since it’s connected to the night, I’d name it something like Lunara.” She sighed, “Assuming it’s a girl, of course, then I’d have to get a boy Espeon and name it Solaris.” Rein looked at her with a confused expression, “Then they could be brother and sister just like you and me.” She smiled. Then she stood up and took his plate and her plate, and walked over to the sink. “All right, now you go get dressed while I do dishes. I have a surprise for you.”

    That did it, his interest was piqued. “A surprise? What is it? What is it?!” He was utterly excited.

    “We’re going to go into town, and we’re going to do some shopping.” She stopped, Rein rolled his eyes, and sighed. “We’ll be shopping for trainer supplies.” She added in a sing-song voice and Rein’s face lit up, he bolted upstairs to get dressed, leaving Alice chuckling as she finished scrubbing the dishes.

    Rein practically glided into his room, he was running so fast, he tripped over a pair of black pants that he had left laying on his floor. Without missing a beat, he turned the tumble into a roll and ended up back on his feet; a slight rug burn lightly stung his forearm. He had just finished putting on an electric blue tee shirt with a black swirl that formed a Pokeball across the front, when he heard the front door open. He grabbed his fedora and rushed down stairs, calling down to his sister. “Alee, don’t leave without me!” He bounded down the final three steps and ran head first into the frame of his mother.

    “Oh! Watch where you’re going.” She roughly shoved him aside, and stormed off upstairs, her husband was close behind her carrying a rather large box. As he struggled with the box, he bumped into the wall and a plain white Pokeball with a black center tumbled out onto the floor. Rein was about to bend over to pick it up when his father shouted.

    “Don’t touch it!” He scolded, causing Rein to jump, Alice had entered the room seconds earlier when she had heard their mother’s scoff.

    “He was just trying to help, it’s not like he was going to steal it.” Alice defended when she saw the fear on Rein’s face. She stepped between Rein and her father.

    “I’m sure,” He said sarcastically as he balanced the box awkwardly and bent over to pick up the Pokeball, Alice eyed it questioningly, “Children are known thieves, I’m surprised you’re still here every time we come back from business. I half expect you to steal our belongings and leave.” He said coldly, his argument didn’t even make sense, but he was the type of man who always had to be right.

    “Frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t left too. Not that you‘d even notice or care.” Alice replied darkly, staring her ‘father’ in the eyes. Her pale green eyes matched his cold glare unwaveringly.

    “What did you just say, you ungrateful child?” The mother scoffed as she returned from the lab, not a moment too soon in her opinion, “After we provide for you, feed you, let you live in our house?!” She acted like she was being personally attacked, and maybe she was.

    “Your house?” Alice laughed, “Rein and I are here more often than you are. We clean the house, cook our own food, we take care of ourselves. Who needs you?” She turned and took Rein by the hand and started leading him toward the front door, “You’re more like the children who need us to take care of them.”

    Their mother wasn’t going to stand for it, she grabbed Alice by her hair as she attempted to leave. “Where do you think you’re going?” Alice winced in pain as he mother pulled her roughly up the stairs and shoved her into her room, locking the door from the outside. “Maybe a few days alone in there will make you appreciate us a little bit more.” She turned and followed her grinning husband into their lab, the door slammed behind them.

    Rein stood alone in the hall, tears filled his pale green eyes. “I’m sorry, Rein,” He heard Alice whisper on the other side of the door, “It looks like we won’t be shopping today.” On the other side of the door, though she’d deny it to the end, Rein heard his sister’s quiet sobs.

    ~~~~~

    The next few days passed quietly, Alice was locked in her room, Rein only saw her when their mother or father opened her door and ordered him to take in some food. After all, they couldn’t let his sister die. At least, that’s what Rein thought. In actuality, they were giving her food so that she would come to rely on them, hoping to weed out the rebelliousness. A simple family that liked their privacy was a good cover, and they didn‘t need her ruining that.

    Rein spent the days alone, with his sister imprisoned and his parents spending all hours of the day in their lab, he resorted to imagining all of his future endeavors as a trainer. He decided that he would travel the world, collecting gym badges from every leader from every region. He imagined the warmth of the flashbulbs as he entered the arena for the League battles, and he smiled as he imagined himself standing on the winner’s podium. All the time he spent imagining made him all the more eager to go register for the League; all the more eager to begin training. Maybe that was his first mistake.

    ~~~~~~~~

    It was Alice’s last day of grounding, at some point of the day their parents would let her out providing that she “learned her lesson,” and of course she’d tell them she had. Rein wanted to surprise his sister, but he was unsure of how he should. Then he got an idea: he’d go and buy her a pack that she could use once they began training together. The only thing he’d need is money, but he already had an idea for that, in his mind’s eye he saw clearly the day Alice had won the battle with the boy in town. When she beat him, the boy handed her money, if Rein could win a battle, he could get money for Alice’s gift. He already knew what Pokemon he would use. Alice had helped him practice some commands with the Hitmonlee, and though he had never actually battled before, he was sure that it wouldn’t be any trouble.

    Rein smiled as he pulled out the Hitmonlee’s Pokeball and put it in his pocket conspiratorially, with his parents locked away in their lab, they’d never notice that it was ever missing. He quickly buckled up his boots and quietly slipped out the front door, as soon as he was down the path a ways he began to run. The air was still crisp with morning air, and the smell of damp earth drifted into Rein’s nostrils as he sprinted toward Celadon. He was excited to have his first battle, and the fire was fueled by his desire to make his sister happy.

    The streets of Celadon were packed with people, it was just before midday and it was an ever changing sea of bodies as Rein forced his way to the center of town. There he would find a small park with an white marble fountain in the center, trainers liked to frequent this area, and a few corners of the park had even been made into small battle fields like one would see at a tournament. Rein had butterflies in his stomach as he sat down on the edge of the fountain, clutching Hitmonlee’s Pokeball tightly in his hands. He took a deep breath, suddenly the excitement was wearing off and he felt incredibly nervous.

    It wasn’t long before a boy approached him, it was the same boy that Alice had faced the other day. His arms were crossed and he had a very irritated look on his face. “Hey, kid,” He began rather arrogantly, Rein hated being called kid, especially by someone who wasn’t much old than himself, “You were with that girl the other day, right?” He asked, looking around to see if Alice was somewhere in the area.

    “That’s right, that was my sister.” He said meekly, after seeing how well this boy had done against Alice, Rein was feeling very unsure of himself. Then the boy spotted the Pokeball in Rein’s hands.

    “Well, I don’t see her around, so do you want to battle?” He asked with a smug expression on his face.

    “I, uh, I’m not…” Rein sighed and thought of his sister’s bravery, and the look on her face when he surprised her with a gift, “I accept.” He suddenly exclaimed, just as the boy was about to egg him on.

    “Oh, you do?” The boy smiled and pointed to a nearby field that had recently opened up, “Just one-on-one, kid?” He asked taking his side of the field.

    “Yes,” Rein said just loud enough for the boy to hear. His hands were shaking as he tossed out his Pokeball. Once again the glow from the sphere took the shape of his family’s Hitmonlee, the boy couldn’t contain his laughter.

    “You’ve got to be kidding. Is that the same Pokemon your sister used?” Rein nodded in response, the boy just shook his head, “All right, it’s your funeral. I’m not going to be caught off guard by it again.” He pulled a Pokeball of his own off of his belt and tossed it high into the air. The glow from within took the form of a Pidgeotto already in flight. “Let’s go, Pidgeotto, this fights in the bag.” He called up to his Pokemon which cooed in compliance.

    “You can do it, Hitmonlee.” Rein said as he patted the Pokemon on the back, the Pokemon looked at him for a moment as if judging his ability, then he simply nodded and took his place on the field. The boy laughed again, it annoyed Rein that this boy was mocking him, but it made him unsure of himself even more. Maybe he made a mistake thinking he could win a battle on his own, can I win without Alice to help me? He questioned himself. He had to shake it off when he heard the boy call over to him.

    “Hey, earth to kid!” Rein started from his thoughts and looked over to the boy, “You can take the first move.” He mock bowed to Rein, who looked up at the flying type and struggled to remember commands that his sister had taught him.
    ~~~~

    The door to Alice’s room creaked open and her father stood in the doorway, “Have we learned our lesson, little girl?” He asked, she hated how her parent’s never used their names. Then again, she questioned whether or not they even remembered them.

    “Yes.” She said simply, no anger or frustration evident in her voice. Years of practice had enabled her to hide those feelings quite easily, her father smiled as he stepped aside from the door to let her out.

    “Watch your brother, we’re going out for the rest of the day.” He said as he walked away, “And you may want to think about showering, you look awful.” He chuckled as he took his wife’s arm and led her out the door.

    As soon as they left Alice screamed at the top of her lungs, she began punching the walls and throwing random objects around the room. Tears of frustration that had been built up during her captivity began to flow down her face. “Bastards…” She whispered as she began to compose herself. She decided that she did need a shower, though it was her parents fault in the first place since they had kept her trapped in her bedroom for nearly five days. At least they had the decency to feed her, though she would have managed without it. She didn’t need anything from those people.

    After her shower she felt quite refreshed, the smell of lavender surrounded her. It was her favorite fragrance. She dried herself off and put on some comfortable clothes, she decided she’d go for a run along route sixteen outside of Celadon after being immobile for so long, but she also needed to just cool her head. She peeked into Rein’s room to see if he wanted to join, but saw what she believed to be him bundled under his blankets. Sleep tight, Reiny. We’ll spend some time together later. She smiled as she quietly shut the door and slipped down the stairs.

    ~~~~~~

    “High Jump Kick.” Rein commanded, just loud enough to be audible to the Hitmonlee, who leapt into the air at the flying type.

    “Knock it off course with a Gust!” The boy called to his bird Pokemon. Pidgeotto began flapping its wings faster and faster, creating a burst of air that immediately began to affect Hitmonlee’s speed, the High Jump Kick stopped short and Hitmonlee was pushed back toward the ground.

    Rein hesitated for a second, and then remembered something Alice had told him. “Bounce!” He called, the fighting type twisted expertly in the air and landed on his feet, immediately jumping right back into the air higher than he had before. “Now use a double kick.” Rein used the same combination of commands he had practiced with Alice, he clenched his fists while he watched to see if it would connect.

    Hitmonlee’s immediate counter caught the Pidgeotto off guard, and the fighting type was at the same level in the air as the bird. Hitmonlee was on eye level with the flying type, and as the momentum of the bounce began to wear off, there was a moment of weightlessness that Hitmonlee used to launch a quick, powerful kick with it’s left leg. Pidgeotto barely managed to avoid the kick, but Hitmonlee continued spinning from the first kick and turned the spin into a roundhouse kick with its right leg. Pidgeotto didn’t have time to move and the kick connected, though because they were in the air the impact was lessened, the flying time was sent lower to the ground and Hitmonlee landed on the ground with perfect balance, ready to resume the fight.

    “Tch… You managed to catch me off guard with that Bounce attack.” The boy said with a grunt, “It won’t happen again.” He cracked his fingers and stared at Rein’s Pokemon, “All right, let’s quit playing around. Pidgeotto, use Twister!” The Pidgeotto cooed in response. It began to fly in a circle around the fighting type, faster and faster until the wind began to follow its path. The wind began to tear up pieces of earth around it and a small cyclone of air encased Rein’s Pokemon.

    Hitmonlee was lifted from the ground as the dragon type move tore about him, grunts of pain could be heard from within the twister as the fighting type was tossed up into the air. “Now follow up and hit it with a Wing Attack!” Hitmonlee was tumbling toward the ground, and Pidgeotto flew by and slammed into the fighting type, speeding up its descent and it hit the ground with a sickening thud.

    Pidgeotto came in for a landing on the opposite side of the field as Hitmonlee. A few moments of silence, the boy’s face glowed with confidence, Rein hung his head. Suddenly, the fighting type stood up slowly and shook itself out, grunts of pain escaped as it pushed itself up into a standing position.

    A cautious smile appeared on Rein’s face, but it immediately vanished with the boy’s next words. “Seriously? Finish it off, Pidgeotto, I’ve had enough of this battle.” The boy said bluntly, evidently irritated by the fact that Rein was actually putting up a fight. The Pidgeotto complied and began slowly flapping it’s wings at first, but then it picked up. Cuts were beginning to appear on the ground along the air current’s path, the attack resembled Gust, but Rein could tell that it was something different. Something worse.

    “Get out of the way, Hitmonlee!” It wasn’t a command, so much as it was a plea. Rein didn’t know what to do, he was slightly overwhelmed, he had overestimated his abilities in the way that only a child could. Hitmonlee tried to move, but it was sluggish from the blows that had already been landed against it. It avoided taking the full force of the Air Cutter, but the razor like currents still made contact and blood seeped from wounds appearing various places on Hitmonlee’s body. Rein knew that the battle couldn’t continue like this, he needed to do something. “Hitmonlee,” He hesitated, scanning through his brain for any move he could use, any command he could issue, “Use… Stone Edge!” He called out. Hitmonlee winced from its wounds before it complied.

    The fighting type jumped a little ways up into the air and slammed down with a hard kick, causing the ground beneath it, which was already loose from its impact moments earlier, to crack apart. Then using its powerful legs, Hitmonlee kicked a decently sized rock into the air and dropkicked it with all of its might. The stone flew through the air, rapidly closing the gap between the fighting type and the flying type. Pidgeotto began to fly, attempting to get out of the way, but the rock managed to clip it with a decent hit, effectively grounding the bird, before it continued and crashed to the ground several meters past their opponent.

    “Now get in there with Close Combat!” The sudden momentum that Rein had gained gave him more confidence, maybe he could still pull off a win. Rein’s Hitmonlee rushed in without hesitation, closing the distance between it and the grounded Pidgeotto, focusing merely on attacking. The boy chuckled as he formed a plan.

    “The problem with that move,” He began confidently, “Is that it leaves your Pokemon open for a counter attack.” He watched as the Hitmonlee ran up to Pidgeotto, wildly throwing kicks at the grounded flying type before it had even reached its target. “Feather Dance.” He called to his Pokemon. Once again, Pidgeotto began flapping its wings, loosing some of its feathers into the air. When a fair amount of them had begun to flutter in the breeze, it sent a gust with a flap of its wings and the feathers created a smoke screen of down that Hitmonlee rushed straight into. It couldn’t see where it was going and continued rushing forward, off balance because of its new handicap. Pidgeotto easily sidestepped the incoming attack.

    “Hitmonlee, stop!” Rein called to his Pokemon, but it didn’t hear him and continued throwing kicks in vain, still rushing at an unseen foe.

    The boy was getting a kick out of this, “Use Whirlwind to knock it off balance.” He said in-between laughs. Dust was thrown into the air as the bird type took to creating a swirl of air that glided along the ground. The force of the move could be seen by the various rocks and dirt that were flying through the air, aimed directly at the Hitmonlee’s back. When the wind caught up to it and pushed it forward, it lost its footing and fell to the ground being pushed along by the wind at its back before finally making contact with a tree with a forceful thud. “This is pathetic, just call it quits now.” The boy mocked.

    Rein wasn’t about to give up, he could tell that he was more than the boy had expected, he was giving him a fight to the end. “No.” He said quietly, but still forcefully, “I’m not giving up! Hitmonlee, you can do it, hit it with a Rolling Kick!” Hitmonlee stood and looked rather dizzy for a moment, before finally centering itself. It leapt forward at the bird, spinning rapidly through the air as if it were a top, holding out one of its legs as it did so and delivering a strong kick to the side of Pidgeotto’s head, or at least it would have if Pidgeotto hadn’t taken to the air and avoided the attack. Hitmonlee was fighting for breath, it couldn’t go on fighting much longer.

    “Too bad your Hitmonlee is stuck on the ground, that attack might’ve worked if Pidgeotto couldn’t fly out of the way.” The boy said lazily. “Finish it with an Air Slash, I‘ve had enough with this waste of space.” Pidgeotto flew in a quick circle, a crescent shaped disruption in the air sliced its way straight for Hitmonlee. Rein froze, he was out of ideas, all he could do was watch as Hitmonlee was hit by the attack.

    Rein hung his head in frustration and shame when he saw that his Pokemon couldn’t continue the fight, tears of disappointment filled his eyes as he recalled Hitmonlee. The boy walked over to him with his head held high, “Looks like battling doesn‘t run in the family,” He said cruelly as he held out his hand. Rein realized that he was waiting for money, “Come on, I don’t have all day.” He said impatiently.

    “I-I don’t h-have any m-m-money.” Rein said through his tears.

    “You idiot!” He yelled frustrated, “What a complete waste of time, I didn’t even get a good battle out of it.” He shoved Rein back, causing him to fall on the ground. He kicked Rein hard in the side with unnecessary force and prepared to do it again when he heard Rein’s sobs, “You’re not worth the trouble.” The boy said as he walked away.

    Rein hated himself for failing, a sharp pain that felt as if he were being stabbed in the side assaulted him whenever he inhaled, only fueling his tears even more.

    ~~~~~~~

    Alice returned from her run about an hour later, she was dripping sweat from how hard she had pushed herself, “Great, now I need another shower.” She hummed as she stepped through the door. Their parents still weren’t home, a fact she knew by the fact that their black sedan was missing from the driveway, but oddly enough Rein still wasn’t awake. He wasn’t the type to take naps during the day, and even when he did, he didn’t sleep this long. She decided to go wake him.

    Alice glided happily and quietly into Rein’s room, she snuck up to his bed and pounced. “Time to get up, sleepy head!” She called out cheerfully as she landed on his bed and began tickling what she believed to be her little brother. The blankets came off and she saw that it was a bunch of pillows. “Rein?” She asked, not yet worried. She believed it to be a joke. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” She sang and opened up his closet. Nothing. She checked under the bed, and in her room. She even went into her parents bedroom. She couldn’t find him anywhere. “Rein. Come on, this isn’t funny!” She called as she began to feel a little frantic. She ran downstairs and began to tear apart the house. She opened cupboards and dressers, she checked every closet, she checked the garage and the attic, still no sign of him. She began to panic, “He wouldn’t have run away, he just wouldn’t have. Where is he?” She asked to no one in particular. She continued to search every corner of the house until there was only one place she hadn’t checked. Her parents’ lab.

    “He couldn’t be in there,” She whispered, “It’s always locked.” She turned the handle on the heavy iron door, and it actually swung open with a resounding creak. “What? They actually forgot to lock the stupid door?” She scoffed at her parents, and stepped into the pitch black room, it smelled like something had died in the room. She began feeling around for a light switch. “Rein,” She whispered, “You know you’re not supposed to be in here…”

    She found the light switch on the wall and flipped it to the ‘on’ position. She gasped at what she saw when the lights came on, feeling nauseous and fighting back vomit. Tears rolled down her face as she heard whimpering from all around her.
     
  3. Chapter 3:

    Alice stood gasping for air, it felt to her as if her lungs had been crushed, leaving the air she was inhaling with no where to go. Along the walls of the laboratory, which had been painted an ominous black that seemed to absorb all light in the room, stood dozens of cages. Each cage held various Pokemon, and each Pokemon had the same expression: hopelessness. It was written on each face peering through metal bars, the creatures’ eyes glazed over, appearing dull and cloudy.

    Alice hardly noticed the cages, however, as her gaze was locked on a large metal table that had been placed in the center of the lab; all manner of medical instruments and tools, from syringes to bone saws and everything in between, were scattered across the table, and each was stained red with blood. Alice saw the worst of it laying on the table, it was a small brown creature that loosely resembled a fox. It had a ring of beige-white fur around its neck, and the same color marked the tip on its tail. Alice began to choke when she walked closer and discovered it had been dissected, various organs preserved floating in different colored liquids in various jars scattered about the table. It was only barely recognizable as an Eevee, its lifeless eyes stared straight through Alice as she struggled to force herself not to faint.

    Alice could hold it back no longer, she fell to her knees and began to vomit from the scene displayed before her; her parents’ cruelty forever burned into her retinas. Tears streamed down her face as she choked on the ground, she could feel herself shaking as her muscles shuddered. She nearly hyper-ventilated, fighting harder and harder for each breath she took in. Then she heard a faint whimper from somewhere nearby, it awoke her from her daze and she noticed it to be emanating from beneath the large metal table. She crawled over to the source of the noise, and before long she was staring into the terrified eyes of another Eevee. Its fur resembled the one that lay on the table, only it was very dull, almost gray instead of the normal brown color.

    The creature had been locked in a kennel, no doubt it was to be the next victim of her parents’ sickening experiments. Slowly Alice began to reach out to unlock the kennel, the Eevee began to growl fiercely and attempted to bite her through the metal bars. “Please,” She whispered to the frightened Pokemon, “I won’t hurt you, I want to help you,” She pleaded through her tears. Eevee eyed her warily, still growling lowly as she reached out and unlocked the cage. The tiny Pokemon slowly, and cautiously, exited the kennel. It looked around as if a trap would be sprung at any moment before finally staring at Alice.

    “Ee,” It said in an airy voice, it trembled from fear as it approached her. She looked at it through blurry eyes as it cautiously nuzzled up against her, it was only a baby. She saw another of the plain white Pokeballs with a black middle beside the cage, she picked it up and pocketed it. She didn’t exactly know why, maybe she was subconsciously collecting evidence. She picked up the Eevee and held it in her arms to make it feel safe, and to warm it up as she soon realized it was trembling from being locked inside a cold, metal cage as well as from the fear of this place. When she stood, she hid the Eevee’s eyes with her sleeve, to prevent it from seeing the scene displayed on the table. She noticed a clipboard on a stand nearby and went over to investigate, stepping over various wires connected to monitors and beeping machines as she did so, it was like some kind of sci-fi movie.

    "Doctor Robert Vanguarde, experiment number 347." Alice realized that they must be notes that her father had written on his current experiment. "My wife, Celia, and I have hypothesized that the same adaptive nature that allows Pokemon to evolve can be used to prevent diseases from infecting human systems, by introducing human DNA with the same DNA that allows Pokemon to evolve, immune systems could adapt to better fight off infections. Unfortunately, all test subjects so far have come back with less than satisfactory results. When the diseases are introduced into Pokemon systems, the results have been quite the same as they would be in a human, for whatever reason their bodies are not creating the antibodies necessary to fight off the infection. So far we have lost many test subjects, and this is unacceptable. We have decided to investigate what the differences in human and Pokemon systems really are, as well as specific organ functions. There must be a key somewhere that we are missing, something within the Pokemon DNA that will cause them to adapt to prevent themselves from dying. It just needs to be found and awakened." Alice shook her head, they were killing Pokemon for the sake of finding some super cure for disease? "Due to the extraordinarily adaptive nature of Eevees, we have decided that our best chance at finding the results we require rest somewhere within this Pokemon’s DNA. Following…" From there the data just seemed to ramble on about the experiments themselves.

    Alice looked down at the Eevee in her hands, “It’s wrong.” She whispered as she set the clipboard down.

    “We are trying to do the world a favor,” Came a reply from behind her, she quickly turned to see her parents standing in the doorway, her father being the one who had just spoken. From behind the creatures blindfold, the Eevee in Alice’s hands began to growl. “We knew you wouldn’t understand, no one seems to understand that our research could benefit all of mankind.” Her father practically growled.

    “At what cost?” Alice replied disgusted, “Do your delusions of grandeur justify the killing of innocent Pokemon?!” She screamed.

    Her father merely shrugged, and her mother laughed, “Pokemon are only here to benefit us, they’re nothing more than convenient test subjects.” She commented, as if being responsible for taking lives were not a problem at all.

    “You’re monsters.” Julia backed away, all the Pokemon in their cages began to shriek, each and every one of them was terrified at the cold couple standing before them. The doctors began to enter the room, slowly.

    “Just put the Pokemon back in the cage and we can forget all of this.” Her father said coldly as he reached out to grab her arm.

    Alice jolted away, knocking over a tray covered with multiple metallic objects with a resounding crash upon the tiled floor. “No, I won’t. You can’t do this!” She pleaded as her mother attempted to block her path from behind.

    “Don’t be foolish, child,” Her mother snapped at her, “Don’t make us take drastic measures.” Alice could tell she was being threatened by the way the sentence seemed to seep through her mother’s teeth. Once again her father attempted to approach her.

    “Hand. Over. That. Pokemon.” He spat each word at her, his eyes were blank and unfeeling.

    “How can you be this way?” Alice questioned, her usual defiance masked by fear, she could tell she wasn’t far off when she called these people monsters.

    “It’s a ruthless world,” Her mother commented casually, “We’re just trying to get ahead in it.”

    Her parents were closing in on her from either side, she had no where left to go. The Eevee shuddered in her arms. Impulsively, Alice shoved a nearby rolling stand into her father, which came up to about his waist and was pushed with enough force to cause him to stumble to the floor, letting out a curse as Alice sprinted past him and out the door of the lab.

    “You let her get by you.” Celia scoffed as Robert picked himself up off of the ground.

    “Yes, well, you didn’t do much to stop her.” He said pulling something out of the inside pocket of his black lab coat and sprinted off after his daughter. A click escaped as he pressed a clip into the black handgun, “I’ll go after her on foot, you take the car.” He yelled as he ran out the front door.

    “Stupid, stubborn girl,” Celia sighed, “We can’t let you go to the police, all you had to do was listen to orders for once in your life and put the Eevee down.” She shook her head as she pulled a handgun that matched her husband’s out of her purse and walked leisurely out the front door, slamming it behind her. She climbed into the driver’s seat of their black sedan, the engine roared to life as she started the ignition. She flipped on the headlights as she pulled out of the drive way, the sun had just managed to sink below the horizon making the lights a necessity.

    Alice didn’t know where she was going, and more importantly, she didn‘t care. Away from her parents, she could tell from their eyes and their voices that they’d do anything to keep her quiet. Not that letting their daughter die would have bothered them in the first place. She ran as fast as she could down Route Sixteen. She could hear at least one of her parents running after her, the other was no doubt driving the car to try and cut her off. Celadon was out of the question, the car could beat her there and then she’d be an easy target to hunt down. No, she needed to lose them before she tried to go to the police.

    She darted in between trees, the foot falls and labored breathing behind her didn’t disappear, whomever was after her was not about to give up. From within her jacket, the Eevee whimpered, cold, night air pierced into both Alice and her tiny companion. The scent of the wild grass slowly began to mix with the scent of saltwater. She avoided the main road, she heard a car engine pass by and her heart skipped a beat, the blinding headlights seemed to scan the tree line. Still, she didn’t stop running, even when her legs burned and her muscles wanted to give out, she kept on running. Not only for her life, but for the Eevee’s life as well, the lives of all the Pokemon her parents were experimenting on. She needed to survive, she needed to find the police, she needed to tell someone. “I can’t leave Rein alone…” She panted, voicing the thought which gave her enough drive to push her to continue running.

    Finally, the sound of crashing waves could be heard up ahead in the distance. Alice exerted all of her strength and emerged from the trees, twigs scraping against her face. She was greeted by a sudden drop into a roaring ocean, waves being tossed about by heavy winds, as well as a closed checkpoint that led to the Cycling Road. She threw herself against the locked door, her eyes hopelessly fixed on the sign that hung loosely from the door that read, ‘closed for maintanence. She closed her eyes, mournfully, clutching the tiny Pokemon tightly as she vainly attempted to kick down the door. She was panting heavily, labored breaths being drawn into burning lungs, her legs felt weak and shook beneath her weight. At any second she would collapse, utterly exhausted, but it didn’t matter; she was already dead.

    Her father emerged from the forest, his gaze piercing into Alice’s eyes as he pointed the black handgun at her. “Stupid girl,” He muttered, out of breath. He was breathing heavily, having given a good run after his runaway daughter, “Your mother and I can’t just let you go, you realize that?” He walked toward her, slowly, never lowering his weapon. Alice stepped back, the sound of crashing waves grew louder causing her to briefly look behind her, she was standing at the edge of the ledge overlooking the ocean. “Come back to the house, and we’ll forget all about this.” The tone of his voice said that he wasn’t playing any more games.

    He suddenly become nothing more than a silhouette as blaring headlights lit his back, and for a brief second, Alice allowed herself to hope. Immediately, reality smacked her in the face as the door opened, and she heard her mother’s high pitched complaint. “You haven’t taken care of this yet?” She insulted, aiming her own handgun, “Just kill the little wench, if you don’t she’ll just go to the police.” She tightened her finger on the trigger of the gun, exerting a little more pressure, the trigger pulled back slightly.

    “I suppose you’re right, Celia.” The husband agreed, Alice looked at them hopelessly.

    “How can you do this? To your own daughter?!” She screamed, more out of fear than from anger.

    “We can’t let anyone interfere with our research, don’t you see?” Her father asked, taking on a slightly crazed tone, “They won’t understand. No one understands. They can’t see the genius of our experiments, the benefits they’ll have for all of us. So what if a few Pokemon had to die? Don’t you see it’s for the good of everyone?” They were absolutely mad. They were willing to do anything for their beliefs, believers were often the most dangerous people to deal with. The extents they’ll go to uphold their beliefs; and her parents, Doctors Robert and Celia Vanguarde, were adamant in their belief that they were doing the world a favor. Despite what the law may think.

    “You’re lunatics…” Alice whispered.

    “No. We are not. We’re visionaries!” Celia yelled, “You’re just too stubborn to see it. I knew we should have beat it out of you.” She looked Alice in the eyes with a gaze that told Alice exactly what was coming. A gust of wind lashed her hair about her face. Her mother’s hair and lab coat fluttered in the wind, her fathers lab coat did the same. Chills ran down Alice’s spine from the cold gust hitting her and easily penetrating through her clothes. Her mother applied more pressure to the trigger as the hammer of the gun pulled back slightly.

    Then, time seemed to freeze. Alice heard nothing, the world went deathly silent as she inhaled the sharp, crisp night air that felt like it was freezing her lungs as it entered through her nostrils. Tears rolled down her face, but she didn’t feel them, she didn’t take any notice of them at all. She closed her eyes, hugging the Eevee still in her arms, they were suspended in an instant that lingered for an eternity in her mind. “Rein… I’m--” The crack of a gunshot shattered her momentary peace, the world came rushing back into existence like water flooding through a breach in a ship‘s hull. Her eyes snapped open as the bullet passed through her, she felt no pain, the shock saw to that. All she felt was warmth from the blood already seeping from the wound, and the force of the bullet that sent her reeling back, its momentum passing to her, “Sorry…” She whispered before she plummeted off of the ledge, into the dark waters waiting to devour her below.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Rein was sitting alone in the small park, his back was to a tree lining the grassy field in which he failed earlier. He was putting off going home for as long as possible; the sooner he left, the sooner he’d have to face his sister’s disappointment. He hadn’t stopped beating himself up over his humiliating loss, he stared at the Pokeball that held the defeated Hitmonlee as he clutched it in his hand. The sun had already set and the chilling, night air moved over the city like a phantom, a breeze weaved its way through the leaves of the trees, they seemed to hum a chilling song that was echoed by every tree within Rein’s earshot. Even the grass joined in the music as the crisp, green blades were moved by the wind, it was peaceful. Rein enjoyed listening to the somewhat haunting song.

    Many trainers had come and gone since he had sat down after his defeat, and no one had taken any notice of him. He didn’t mind, if anyone did come over, it would have undoubtedly been to mock him for his meager battling abilities; he wondered how Alice made it look so easy. Of course, she wasn’t paired off against an airborne enemy for her fight the other day. Rein inhaled deeply, grabbing his side where the boy had kicked him. It was still very sore, he was certain that there would at least be a bruise at the spot.

    Rein winced as he adjusted himself against the tree, and he closed his eyes for a moment. He began to imagine what would have happened if he had won the battle: he would have won the money and went immediately to buy his sister a pack. Then, he would have hurried home and kept it hidden from his parents until Alice was let out of her room. She’d be so surprised when he handed her the pack that she’d almost faint from the shock, laughing a hearty laugh when Rein told her that he had won a battle to pay for it. Then she’d immediately start to pack all of the things that they would take with them on their journey.

    Rein sighed, feeling even worse about failing his sister after imagining the smile she would have worn on her face when he gave her the gift. He opened his eyes and gazed up at the clear sky, it would only be a few more days now until he and Alice could leave for their journey. He’d never wanted anything so badly in his life. Stars had begun to appear one after another in the darkening sky, “Better be getting back, I still have to take Hitmonlee to the Center so that mom and dad don’t realize I took him.” He mumbled to himself.

    “Why, hello there.” The nurse behind the counter smiled at him, Rein smiled back as he handed her his Pokeball. The red-haired nurse took it, “All right, it’ll be a few minutes, why don’t you go sit down and relax? You look exhausted.” She said kindly, Rein thought that Nurse Joy was appropriately named, she always seemed to have a smile. What’s more, it actually seemed sincere. Rein nodded as he turned and walked leisurely over to one of the red couches lining the walls. The only problem Rein had with Pokemon Centers was the smell. All the medicine and cleanliness, it felt too obvious that it was a hospital. Rein didn’t like to think about the injured Pokemon, and the smell of the Center made him do just that.

    There were various other trainers, some of them were doing exactly what he was; waiting for their Pokemon to be healed and rested. Others were walking upstairs to the free rooms provided for the traveling trainers, and others were on their way out, having just received their Pokemon and heading off for more battles. Rein swung his legs back and forth off of the edge of the couch, he wasn’t exceedingly tall. Of course, he wasn’t even ten years old, but he was a few inches short for his age. Short enough to the point where, if he were sitting all the way back, his feet didn’t touch the ground. “Young man,” Nurse Joy called from behind the counter, “You’re Pokemon is all healed up and ready to go.” Rein got up and walked over to the counter, his boots squeaking slightly on the clean tiled floor. He reached out and took the Pokeball from Nurse Joy, “Be careful out there.” She said with another smile.

    Rein kindly returned the smile before turning and running out the door. Once he reached the gate out to Route Sixteen, he got a sudden chill. It wasn’t cold out, despite the sun setting, so Rein thought it a little odd, a strange feeling came over him; something had happened. Children have a way of knowing when something is wrong, or at least they suspect something is wrong, and when Rein got that feeling it was usually right. He picked up the pace, running as fast as he could to get home to see what had happened. His legs ached as he reached the front door, it was already opened, creaking open and closed at the whim of the breeze.

    The lights were all down, and it was eerily silent. Not to say that his house was normally overly buzzing with conversation, but it was lacking even common sounds; like the house itself was aware of the goings-on that had occurred earlier that night. Like it was paying silent respect to Rein for the hardships that he would face.

    As Rein stepped through the doorway, the darkness seemed almost palpable; the silence in the air felt as though it were gripping his throat, like not even his presence within the house was allowed to break the spell that had been cast. The illusion was shattered by another loud creak from the door hinges, causing Rein to gasp. He stood in the darkened living room, nothing was out of place, but something was wrong. A cold breeze flew through the opened door, the air current traveling up the stairs. Rein heard a faint sound from upstairs, he couldn’t discern what was making the noise, but he heard it clearly as it echoed through the silent house.

    Slowly, he took the stairs one at a time, running his hand along the railing as he did so, remaining silent except for the creaking of the stairs as he applied pressure to them. He wasn’t even sure if he was still breathing, but his heart was still beating; he could hear his pulse ringing in his ears as he ascended, one step after another. As he reached the top of the stairs, he noticed that his parents’ lab door was opened, and he became sick with anxiety. He closed his eyes and reached out cautiously, shaking slightly as his hand made contact with the metal door handle, sending a slight chill down his spine.

    He took a deep breath and stepped inside, he was not prepared for the image that he saw; how could a child ever be prepared to see such an image as this? The carcass on the table stared blankly at him, as if he was responsible for it’s death. The Eevee’s face was too painful to look at, it filled Rein with a guilt that he should not have been forced to bear. He forced himself to look away, it’s eyes still burned in his mind, he turned his head away. Nausea had sent spasms into his body, he began to cough, which quickly turned to vomiting. He fell to his hands and knees, fighting the light headedness that attacked him, he wiped tears from his eyes and forced himself to his feet. He stumbled a few steps before he fell again, he began to black out. The slow rhythm of the fan in the ceiling, the single purpose of which was to suck the smell of death out of the lab, was like an uneasy lullaby, begging him to lose consciousness. Then he heard the same sound as before, a whimper from one of the walls. It called him back to his senses, nausea still racked his body, but his eyes began to focus.

    He looked up slowly, he noticed all of the Pokemon lining the walls of the laboratory in cages. “Mom and Dad did this?” He muttered, his fists clenched, the lifeless eyes of the Eevee glared at him from the table, and within his own mind. He knew what he had to do, all of these Pokemon needed to be freed, he refused to ignore their plight. He moved to the cages, simple padlocks held them closed. Rein began tearing the lab apart looking for the key, but try as he might, it was no where to be found. He dumped contents of drawers and cupboards to the floor, sifted through various objects, and still he couldn’t find it. He clenched his fists again, anger consumed him, so much so that his knuckles began to turn white. Blood seeped between his fingers, his nails were cutting into his palms.

    He grabbed a heavy object, it was a tool box of sorts, filled with instruments that were useless to him. The box itself, however, was perfect for his current need. He smashed down on the padlock of the nearest cage to him, a sorrowful eyed Murkrow sat within it, eyeing him distrustfully. Finally the lock gave way and the cage swung open, the Murkrow cautiously eyed freedom before looking at Rein again. “Go on,” He whispered, “Be free.” He smiled as the Murkrow fluttered out of the cage and flew out the open door, down the stairs, and out into the night sky.

    Rein repeated this for almost twenty minutes, luckily for him there weren’t many cages in the rather small laboratory. Every Pokemon he freed followed the Murkrows example and rushed out into the night, soon his parents’ lab was completely empty. No Pokemon sat desperate behind locked doors any longer. “I have to go to the police,” Rein panted, throwing the tool box to the ground, as he ran a few steps forward, his eyes fell to the box that his father had fumbled with the other day. Rein remembered the Pokeballs that were within and went over to see if there were anymore, in the bottom of the simple cardboard box was a single remaining white Pokeball with a black center. Rein reached down and grabbed it, he was about to release the Pokemon within, when he heard a car motor coming up his driveway. He panicked, pocketed the Pokeball and rushed down the stairs and outside, but he wasn’t fast enough.

    His parents climbed out of the car, a Raticate that Rein had released growled at them as they did so. “Why are you still here?!” Rein called to the Pokemon, “Run, get away!” He pleaded. His parents looked at him with utter malice as his father raised a black pistol and fired several rounds at the poor creature. It crumpled to the ground with a thud, dark red blood began to form a puddle around the creature’s corpse.

    “You stupid little bastard,” His father growled, “You just had to follow your sister’s footsteps, didn’t you? You let those Pokemon go?!” He raised the gun at the boy, there was no hesitation in eyes. “At least you can rest easy knowing you’ll be reunited with that bitch you called your sister soon.” He spat. His mother just shook her head with a chuckle.

    “You kids just didn’t get it, all you had to do was stay out of trouble,” She sighed, raising a weapon of her own, “I’ve had enough of this, I’m not going to try reasoning with you, boy. We’re just going to kill you, grab our equipment, and start over somewhere else.” These people were heartless, their own children; murdered for their own selfish reasons.

    “You’re willing to murder a child?” Rein asked, “Your own son?!”

    “Listen to him, he sounds just like her. You stupid child, you really think we’d even hesitate to protect our research?” His father mocked as he inserted a fresh clip into his hand-gun. Rein’s eyes wandered over to the body of the Raticate. He stopped breathing, he stopped thinking, all he wanted to do was run. Too bad his feet weren’t responding.

    “I won’t go to jail for you, or anyone else. Your life means nothing, foolish child, now we’ll be kind enough to end it for you.” His mother stepped forward, followed by her husband.

    There was no justification for the actions that the Vanguardes took, they had gone insane somewhere along their twisted lives. Murder was their business, they took the lives of Pokemon every single day, why should people be any different? The world was just a giant pool of test subjects to them, life was nothing but a game as long as it wasn’t their own.

    Rein accepted his fate, and he did so with bravery. A nine year old boy showed more courage in the face of certain death than his parents ever had in their entire lives. He stared defiantly at them, the only thought that went through his mind: Alice would be brave, I can be too.

    Sirens echoed from the path leading up to the house, red and blue lights flashed in the night sky, behind doctors Robert and Celia Vanguarde headlights blared through the darkness, turning them into nothing but silhouettes to Rein. Without hesitation they turned and fired at the police officers, Rein acted out of pure instinct and ran into the foliage that grew around the house. He ran through the forest as fast as he could, toward Celadon. He had enough time to make it to the city, and if he was lucky his parents would be captured, or killed. They deserve it, He thought as gunshots ran out through the still night from behind him. He knew now that his parents were effectively monsters, if it was possible for a person to live without a heart, those two would be the ones to prove it. The gunshots stopped, but he didn’t. He ran panting through the trees, branches cut his skin and grabbed at his clothes as he evaded roots and stones littering the ground.

    Behind him, the gunshots started up again, only they were closer. They were coming after him, he heard a bullet ricochet off of a tree a few meters behind him. He hugged the trees as he ran past them, leaving no target assuming they could see him in the darkness. The grass beneath him was wet with dew, cold air chapped his nostrils, and his legs ached as he sprinted. Behind him, he heard his parents’ footsteps, they weren’t going to let him get to the city, it was only a little farther now. Cutting through the forest was the fastest way to get to Celadon, but it was also the most dangerous. Rein tripped on a vine that got tangled around his foot, and came crashing down on the wet grass beneath him. The Pokeball in his pocket tumbled out, and a very frightened looking creature formed from the red light. It stared at him and trembled, muttering an almost silent, “Eevee.” Rein scooped it up into his arms without hesitation.

    “Don’t worry, you’re safe now, we’ll both be all right. I promise.” He said to the creature, it was partially to sooth the creature, and partially to convince himself that he would survive this night.

    His parents wildly shot after him. But suddenly the gunshots ceased, angry murmurs were carried on the wind. Soon the footfalls from behind him faded away, the murmurs became nothing more than a distant buzzing before disappearing completely. Robert and Celia turned around, they were giving up. They were running. They obviously thought he wasn‘t worth their time, that they should just get away from Celadon as fast as they could. Maybe they were hoping that Rein would get lost and die in that god-forsaken forest, it was definitely a possibility. Rein had no idea where he was, or how far he had run, all he knew was that if his parents escaped, they would go on hurting PokeMon.

    Rein stumbled again, he burst through the tree line and nearly fell face first onto the road. Less than half a mile away stood the Celadon City gate. He ran as fast as he could, never slowing to take a breath, the Eevee in his arms shuddered as Rein spoke. “Just a little farther, I need to find help.” He thanked God for his luck, he could have gotten lost easily in the forest. He had been completely lost, but with stroke of luck that he often did not see, he had found Celadon.

    Rein burst through the gate, “Please help, my sister has been shot! My parents shot her! You have to help!” He cried to anyone who would listen, “Please you have to help me!” The streets were deserted, the hour of the night had everyone home in bed. The city was asleep, all the lights were down in the city, except for the street lamps. He ran to the only place in the city that never slept.

    He ran faster through the streets of the city, looking for someone who would hear him. He saw a building with a large neon sign that read: GAME CORNER. There would be people in there, there were always people playing at the Game Corner, someone would listen. He pulled the PokeBall back out of his pocket, “I’m going to put you back in your ball now, but I’m not going anywhere,“ He reassured the Eevee before he returned it. With the PokeBall back in his pocket he sprinted forward again, his legs burned and nearly buckled beneath him.

    He noticed a group standing out in front of the building. They were all dressed in dark clothes, most of them black, and they almost all had a hat covering their head too. Rein ran up to them, “You have to help, please…” He panted, praying to see a friendly face in their midst.

    Unfortunately when they turned round at his plea, there were no friendly faces among them; only wicked smiles, and blood red ‘R’s on their uniforms.
     
    #3 Chadwyck, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  4. Chapter 4:

    As soon as the group looked at him, Rein knew that he’d made a mistake. “What’s that kid? You need help?” The man standing at the front of the group mocked, he walked up to Rein and placed his hand on the boys head, messing up his hair. The man was tall and thin, with extraordinarily pale skin, which looked even more so because of the black uniform. His hair was the same red color as the ‘R’ on his uniform, and he was without a hat, wearing his hair in messy spikes. The worst thing about the man was his piercing violet eyes, Rein shuddered as the man looked at him with false concern. “What a coincidence, we need some help too,” He raised his hand and signaled a few of the men behind him, “Why don’t you come with us?”

    Rein started to back away, turning on his heels and taking a few steps; he didn’t make it very far. He was being grabbed by various sets of hands, and he heard numerous grunts of, “Calm down, kid,” “Play nice,” and “Just come on,” Along with others that he couldn’t make out. Before long he was detained, despite the fact that he was trying as hard as he could to fight them off. He bit, he kicked, he twisted, but it was no use; he just wasn’t strong enough. With almost no resistance, they managed to sedate him.

    “Relax, kid,” Said the man with the violet eyes, “Welcome to the family.” As Rein began to lose consciousness, his mind began to race. He relived the moment where he was almost shot by his parents, the moment where he freed the Pokemon from their lab, it was as if his mind was a tape that was rewinding, until finally his mind focused on Alice and her unknown fate. Rein imagined her dead body as he blacked out, the last thing he saw in his mind’s eye was the look of terror on his sister’s lifeless face; then blackness.

    Rein awoke with a start, gasping for air. He thought that he had died, dreamless darkness that had lasted for God knows how long left him in an empty state of mind, he felt like he was in a dream. He hoped that it was a dream, but the dim light that focused on a single spot in the middle of the floor and the cold stone walls around him proved otherwise. It was very much real, and now he had no idea where he was, what day it was, and worst of all; he was alone. Or so he thought, until a strange voice broke the gossamer webs of his dreamlike state. All Rein knew for sure was that it belonged to a man.

    “Good morning,” The voice said, it was silky and warm, and it frightened Rein even more. He tried to stand, but immediately felt light headed and fell to his knees groggily. “Careful, don’t try to stand, you’ve been knocked out for quite some time.” The voice echoed off of the bare walls of what Rein could now tell was a cell. It rang in his ears and resounded in his mind. It sounded so loud that he had to cover his ears. “Ah yes, that would be an effect of the sedative, my apologies, but you were struggling quite a bit.” The voice obviously had no intention of cutting to the chase, the man seemed to be toying with him.

    “W-who are you?” Rein struggled with the words as the muscles in his throat began to relax, it was like teaching himself to speak all over again.

    “My name is Richard,” He said, finally a figure stepped into the cone of light that beat down on the center of the cell. Rein’s hopelessness returned when he saw the manner of the man’s clothes. He was in an all black suit, complete with a black tie and black dress shoes. On the left side of his coat, he wore a single red rose, and on the opposite side of the coat was an engraved ‘R’ in the same blood red color as the group from before. On his left hand he wore a gold ring with a red ‘R’, and on his right wrist was a silver watch that looked expensive. His hair was pale blond, and his eyes were the color of the ocean. He was tall, with strong arms and a strong chest, mainly. If he were described as a shape, he would be a triangle, with broad shoulders and a body that narrowed as it moved towards the feet.

    “Wh-where--”

    “Save your breath,” The man’s warm voice suddenly became very harsh, and then faded back into a soothing near-whisper, “You are currently in Saffron City, at a headquarters that our company keeps in the heart of the city.” Richard stepped a little bit closer to Rein, he picked him up roughly and set him on the small bed, rubbing his hands together like he was trying to clean them after he had done so, “And before you ask, we are Team Rocket, and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He stated.

    “You mean, y-you kidn-napped me?” Rein coughed.

    “Not exactly, no. We recruited you. If I were you I’d be thankful, you could have simply been killed for interfering with our plans. Aren’t you just the luckiest little boy?” Then man asked with a sort of sick pleasure in his voice, “Are you ready to become one of us?” He clicked his heels together.

    “I can’t!” Rein cried, in a half raspy voice, “I have to go to the police, my sister could be dead. Please, let me go!” He yelled, suddenly remembering everything, he became frantic.

    “Wrong answer.” Richard said disapprovingly, he punched Rein hard in the face with the hand that housed his ring, Rein collapsed on the ground. The force of the punch had knocked him off of the bed, “Better forget about your life outside of Team Rocket because from now on, you belong to us.” He snapped his fingers and two men came in and picked Rein up, he was carried to a bright white room and tied to a chair. Richard stood in the corner of the room, blood dripped from Rein’s mouth. “Now then, this is what we like to call ‘conditioning.’ You see, all you have to do is swear allegiance to us, and that’s it.” He stepped toward the door, which slid open automatically when he drew near, “But we have to be sure you mean it, so I’ll be back in a few hours. Have fun with the other boys until then.” Richard stepped out of the room, the door closed behind him with a swish. The two men who had carried him to the room looked at each other and smiled, cracking their knuckles as they did so. The first man walked up and grabbed Rein by the hair, holding his face up with one hand, and drawing his other hand back. Rein closed his eyes right before he felt the man’s fist slam against his face.

    ~~~~~~~~

    The next few hours passed by in a blur, all Rein could remember about them was the pain, all he was sure of was that he was being tortured. It didn’t take him long to start sobbing, he could clearly remember because of the sticky wetness that streamed down his face. Aside from cries of pain, he kept silent. He never begged for them to stop, never tried to talk his way out of it; he just wept to himself, thinking to himself over and over: Alice would be brave, I will be brave. Blood dripped from his nose, and mouth, the man who was currently beating him stopped and cracked his knuckles as the door slid open and Richard strutted in.

    Rein was bound to a chair that was bolted to the floor in the dead center of a sickeningly white room, the lights in the ceiling reflected off of every surface, Rein could hardly open his eyes to look at the man who began to speak to him.

    “How are you feeling, son?” Richard asked with his hands folded behind him. Rein remained silent, partially out of stubbornness, and partially because every muscle in his body ached. He was quite unsure if his jaw would even function correctly, though he was fairly certain there would be more pain if a bone had been fractured. “I can see you aren’t feeling too well. Do you want it to stop?” Richard walked over and patted him on the head before placing his hand under Rein’s jaw and raising his face so he was looking the sinister man in the eye.

    “W-wh-why are you doing this?” Rein whispered, it felt as if his lungs were incapable of holding any of the air he was inhaling.

    “Because we are making you one of us.” Richard replied simply, shrugging as he let the boy’s head drop.

    “But,” Rein coughed, “Why?”

    “You know,” Richard began, “We’ve met before, you and I.” He said, ignoring Rein’s question. Rein looked up at him with a look of curiosity, “Ah. You want to know where? It was in your very house.” Richard kneeled down and placed his hand on Rein’s shoulder.

    “I’d r-remember meeting someone like you.” Rein mumbled.

    “Oh, you were very young, I don’t think you’d remember.” He paused, looking away and making meaningless gestures with his hands, then he returned his gaze to Rein, “But I remember you. You were an exceptional boy, I could tell right away that you were something special, you were gifted.” He said, almost like a proud parent.

    Rein chuckled, “A-and how d-did you know that?” He asked in another whisper.

    “You know what the sign of a good trainer is?” Richard asked, ignoring Rein’s question again, “It’s keen eyes and a sharp wit. You could have all the knowledge of Pokemon in the world, but if you don’t know how or when to use it, you may as well be sitting in the bleachers. You have to see the subtle changes in your opponent, and you have to quickly decide what to do. You were doing just that when we met, Rein,” The man had used his name, and Rein had never spoken it, that caught his attention, “You were about three, I was invited into your house. You and your sister, she’s quite the talented one as well. Anyway, you two were watching a battle on the television, and even at such a young age, you followed every movement, you caught every subtle change in the Pokemon’s battle stances, I could see it on your face.” With each statement, he got a little bit more excited. “Then you proved my suspicion when you saw the trainer give an order, and you merely shook your head as the Pokemon obeyed; falling valiantly in battle because of a bad call. And you were only three years old.” Richard sighed.

    “How do you know, I wasn’t just w-watching the battle? I may not have even known what was going o-on.”

    “But you did. Because you did it again in that battle you had today.” Richard stated, a little irritated by Rein’s lack of faith.

    “I lost.” Rein spat, finding that he was irritated with himself, not Richard. “How did you know about that?” Rein asked when he realized what the man had said.

    “We‘ve been watching you, you and your sister. You said something about her being shot. It’s a shame, she had such promise.” He shrugged, then he continued, “You see Rein, you may have lost that battle, but you almost didn’t. With training, you could excel beyond even the League champions.” He grinned, building up for his grande finale.

    “Then why are you doing all of this? Why are you torturing me?” Rein regained a bit of the strength in his voice, though not much of it.

    “Because we want you to be our champion. Our tool who follows orders without question, and gets the job done. With the skills that you could gain, why you could be quite an addition to Team Rocket. Unlike your worthless parents. Scientists,” He laughed, “They tried to sell that nonsense to us, that’s what I was doing at your house all those years ago. They were trying to get funding.” Another laugh, “They’re lucky we didn’t burn down your house for wasting our time with that idiocy. But returning to the subject at hand, Rein, when you commit yourself to Team Rocket, we need to know you won’t betray us. We are your new family, and an improvement to the one you’ve had up until now, eh? So all you have to do is say yes. Or else.” He snapped his fingers, another fist connected with Rein’s face.

    “I-I won’t.” Rein breathed. Richard sighed and slapped him across the face.

    “That’s not an option.” Richard walked over to a table lining the wall, he picked up an object from it and walked back over to Rein. Rein was expecting some horrible torture device that would likely electrocute him or brand him, what it actually was, was a white Pokeball with a black center. Rein’s eyes went wide when he realized what it was. Richard grinned wickedly as he released the creature from within; a terrified Eevee that whimpered at all the people around it, shaking and whimpering even louder when it caught sight of Rein beaten and bruised. “What a pretty little Eevee,” Richard said as he picked up the tiny Pokemon, “She’s a keeper, eh, Rein?” He asked mockingly. Suddenly, and without warning he threw the poor creature across the room, it collided with a wall with a terrible thud.

    “No!” Rein cried so loud that it hurt his lungs. Richard nodded to one of the men who proceeded to walk over to the Eevee, raising his boot over the creature’s head. “Stop! Please stop!” Rein pleaded, Richard raised his hand with his fingers prepared to snap, “I’ll do whatever you want! Just… Just don’t hurt her.” Rein said defeated, hanging his head.

    “Good, we understand each other. You belong to us now, remember that and no one will be hurt,” He paused as he began to walk over to the door, “Except for those that we want you to hurt.” He laughed again, the maliciousness melted away and he was a confident, jolly man once again. But he was even more of a monster than Rein’s parents on the inside. “Damn kids think they run the world,” He joked as he walked out the door. The men came over and unbound Rein from the chair. He immediately ran over to the Eevee, scooping it up in his arms.

    “You’ll be all right, I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.” The Eevee looked at him as though he was a hero, “I don’t deserve that look, I can’t save either of us from this. But I won’t let anything happen to you…” A tear ran down his face as he was led to the elevator that would take him to the main area of the headquarters, and his new home.
    ~~~~~~~~

    Rein’s room was simple. It was painted plain white, there was a bed equipped with red sheets and a black comforter, and there was a simple desk tucked away in the corner. He looked out the single window that his tiny room held, and saw that he was several stories up. He knew that he was in Saffron, but he had never been there before; the sight was truly something to behold. Celadon was a large city, to be sure, but it seemed small in comparison to the vast expanse of buildings and skyscrapers that he saw laid out before him. Down below on the street, Rein could see cars speeding by as well as tiny people walking along the roads. Giant billboards hung from each building, advertising anything from a sale at the Poke Mart to a new Silph Company item.

    Rein sighed and opened up his closet, just to take a look at the space that it would have, needless to say he was surprised to find it fully stocked with familiar looking black uniforms; complete with the black hat and matching black boots with red soles. He felt a twinge of guilt when he saw the red ‘R’ emblazoned on the front of each one.

    “Rein Vanguarde,” A short, fidgety man with glasses in a white lab coat read from a clipboard as he entered the room. “Get changed, if you please, and bring your Eevee. You’re training begins right away, Mister Griffith’s orders.” The man continued in a high pitched, soprano voice. His lack of height was partially to blame.

    “Mister Griffith?” Rein asked, he ached all over, and all he wanted to do was collapse on the bed and spiral into the dark embrace of sleep. Preferably forever, since his situation was not exactly ideal.

    “You know him as Richard, and you know better than to keep him waiting.” The man said somewhat smugly. Rein thought about the look on Richard’s face as he prepared to give the order that would have killed the Eevee, he shuddered and nodded to the man standing in his room. As soon as the man left the room Rein began to change, the uniform fit, though it was a little big for him. He pulled the hat down onto his head, and pushed his feet into the boots; he couldn’t bring himself to look in the mirror. He fastened a gray belt around his waste, and promptly clicked the Eevee’s Pokeball into place.

    He opened the door and stepped into the hall, “Well, aside from the bruises and the bloody lip, you’re starting to look like a Rocket.” The short man mocked, Rein didn’t respond. Instead he simply followed along behind the man as he was led through the building, back to the elevator that took them down a few floors. The doors opened with a chime, and the room that Rein stepped into was a fully equipped arena for Pokemon battles, Richard was standing in the center.

    “Took your sweet time, eh?” He joked, though Rein suspected that on some level he was actually irritated.

    “My apologies, I wasn’t aware that I was to start training today.” Rein said through clenched teeth, he knew he was a tool. If he didn’t obey, the Eevee, or even he himself, would be killed.

    “Ignorance is no excuse, but no matter.” Richard snapped his fingers, a man stepped out of a door on the opposite side of the room. The man shuffled over and handed Richard a Pokeball with a red ‘R’ and a black top. Richard nodded to the man and the man shuffled away. “We’re going to have a little battle, to keep you on your toes,” Richard tossed up the Pokeball and a Pokemon Rein had never seen before took shape before him. It was a black dog with an orange muzzle and what appeared to be part of a skull atop its head. “Do you like my friendly, little Houndour?” Richard asked when he noticed Rein staring at the Pokemon.

    “Houndour,” Rein repeated the name, “What am I to battle with?”

    “That Eevee on your belt isn’t just for show. If you want it to stay, it has to prove useful.” Richard chuckled a little darkly.

    “I don’t know any of Eevee’s move set, I’ve never battled with it before.” Rein muttered. Richard sighed in reply.

    “Well, what better way to learn?” Richard asked as he took his position on the opposite side of the field.

    “But, it could get hur--”

    “I don’t care!” Richard interrupted, losing his composure, “For God’s sake you little bastard, stop complaining or I’ll just have the thing put out of its misery, now battle.” Rein shakily took his side of the field, pulling Eevee’s Pokeball from his belt. Richard shook his head when he saw the lack of confidence on Rein’s face. He snapped his fingers and a man shuffled over to Rein, holding what appeared to be a small red and black box, it had the Team Rocket ‘R’ on it as well, just like everything in this place. “You have done nothing to deserve this gift, I expect you to win this battle now. Otherwise there will be consequences.”

    “What is it?” Rein asked. He opened the front cover, it revealed a screen with several buttons around it, when he pointed it at the Houndour, a light began to flash followed by a computerized voice.

    “Houndour, the dark dog Pokemon.” The voice said, a picture of the Pokemon appeared on the screen, accompanied by basic moves that the Pokemon was capable of learning.

    “It’s a PokeDex,” Richard said proudly, “Reverse engineered by an official model created by Professor Oak of our very own Kanto Region.” Richard looked smug, as if this was a great accomplishment. “Now, call out your Pokemon, and show me what you’ve got.”

    Rein held the minimized form of the Eevee‘s Pokeball, he then pressed the center button and it grew to the appropriate size. He let out a heavy sigh, then he tossed the ball high up into the air and the Pokemon was summoned forth from the red light of the Pokeball. Rein held the PokeDex out to the small Pokemon, taking stock of the Eevee’s stats and information, he nodded as he looked up at his opponent. “I’m sorry, Eevee, but this is the only way that we can both be safe. We have to battle, and we have to win. I’ll be right here with you.” Rein said comfortingly, the Eevee hesitantly obliged and took its place on the field.

    “Ember.” Richard said calmly. The Houndour obeyed, a small flame erupted from the dog’s mouth, flowing across the ground ready to burn Rein’s Pokemon.

    “Dodge it and counter with Tackle!” Rein called, Eevee jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding the embers that glided across the ground. As soon as it built up the momentum, the Eevee ran across the field. Once it was within a few meters of the dark type, it launched itself off of the ground, ready to tackle the Houndour.

    “You’ll have to do better than that, Smog.” Richard retaliated. Houndour opened its mouth and exhaled a plume of smoke at the incoming Eevee. The tiny Pokemon missed its target as the Houndour moved aside. Eevee crashed onto the floor with a thud, the normal type coughed as it struggled to move out of the smoke. “Bite.” Houndour moved into the smoke with its teeth barred, ready to strike the Eevee in the confusion.

    “Eevee,” Rein hesitated for a moment, “Jump straight up!” He called, and not even a second later, the Eevee was in the air; free of the smoke. As soon as it went up, the Houndour followed with its Bite attack, “Flail!” Rein called as he looked at the move on the PokeDex. The Eevee twisted in the air, it looked like a combination of a Tackle and Tailwhip, as if it had no idea what it was doing. As the Houndour attempted to bite Eevee, the normal type twisted and kicked down on the dark type, causing the Houndour to fall back to the ground with a crash. Eevee landed a few feet away from its opponent. “Don’t give it a chance to retaliate, hit it with a Quick Attack!”

    “Get up, Houndour, use Fire Spin.” Richard seemed as if he was brushing Rein’s attack aside. The Eevee rushed forward, ready to deliver the blow to the Houndour. The Houndour stood and released a burst of flames before Eevee’s attack could connect. The flames began to spin like a small tornado, scooping up the Eevee in a wave of searing fire. Before too long, however, the torrent of flames subsided and the Eevee was left laying on the ground, panting heavily. It had been badly burned. “Anticipate your enemies’ moves, Rein.” Richard sighed, “I’m so disappointed.” He was about to return the Houndour when Eevee stood back up.

    The Pokemon looked at Rein, a look of determination on its face, and it nodded to him. Rein smirked, “It isn’t over yet, Richard.” Tough words, but he needed to figure out something fast or that’s all they would be. “Eevee, use Tackle!” The Eevee repeated the attack on the Houndour, gaining momentum before it leapt, ready to strike its opponent.

    “Haven’t I proven I can best this move?” Richard asked with a hint of boredom, “Use Smog.” He repeated. He was feeling too sure of himself to notice the smirk on Rein’s face. Once again the Houndour opened its mouth and exhaled a plume of smoke.

    “Eevee, stop the attack, just focus on sticking your landing!” Rein called, instead of following through with the attack, the Eevee twisted a bit and landed, a little off balanced, in the smoke.

    “So you managed to prevent the creature from crashing, so what? You can’t win if you don’t land any monumental hits.” Richard ridiculed, “Pursuit.” He said, still as calm as ever. The Houndour began to focus on the spot that the Eevee had landed, and it leapt at the spot with mouth agape, its fangs infused with dark energy.

    “Eevee, Quick Attack toward me!” The Eevee came bolting out of the smoke, but the Houndour was close behind it. The Houndour leapt, it was planning to come down and strike the Eevee from above. “Now, use Headbutt!” The tiny, normal type leapt straight up into the air as the Houndour was passing over it. Houndour had no time to adjust itself, it was still moving forward, the Eevee’s attack made solid contact with the dark types underbelly, sending the creature careening off course and crashing to the ground with another crash. But the fight was not yet over.

    Richard’s face showed a certain disbelief, he was pleased that Rein was doing so well, but he was appalled that he was allowing himself to lose to this child. He never had any intention of the boy doing well during this battle, he merely hoped to break the boy’s spirit. This was not at all going according to plan, and he hated when things didn’t go according to his plan. “Get up, Houndour, I’ve had enough games.” He sounded irritated, it was the first time during the battle that he had allowed himself to show his emotions in his voice. “Fire Fang.” He growled.

    Houndour rushed forward, Eevee was panting from the burn that it had already received from the Fire Spin, it had already been fighting for longer than it should have. Just a little more, Eevee. We can do this. Rein thought. The Houndour’s maw was emitting heat waves, the bite attack held the power of fire in it, and Rein did all he could think to do.

    “Dodge it!” Rein called, the Eevee leapt; no good. The Houndour changed course, it was going to hit, he didn’t know what to do. Then the word just burst out of him, “Endure!” He cried, the Eevee braced itself, and took the full force of the attack. It shrieked in pain, Rein couldn’t bring himself to watch as the Houndour tossed it aside. Every muscle in the tiny Pokemon shook as it shakily rose to its feet once more. Houndour was standing beside it, “Bite!” The Eevee latched on to the dark types neck, the Houndour whined as Eevee’s teeth sank in. “Don’t give in!” Rein called, he felt himself going through a change of attitude. He directed all of his anger, everything that had happened and all of the feelings that he was feeling, into ordering his Eevee’s attacks. Everything was focused on the Houndour, and the swell of negative emotions blinded him.

    “Eevee, let go and hit it with another Headbutt!” Rein commanded, the Eevee released the Houndour from its bite, and launched itself straight up into the Pokemon’s chin. Rein was fairly certain that he heard a crack when the dark type hit the ground, it was panting, but Rein didn’t care. “Bite it again!” Rein commanded, and Eevee obeyed. Houndour cried out in pain, the fight was clearly over, the Houndour had no intention of getting back up, and still Rein persisted. The Eevee bit long and hard, cutting into the Houndour’s flesh, fresh blood came from the bite marks. The Pokemon shrieked, and Rein suddenly snapped to his senses. He looked at the Eevee’s ferocity, it had been feeding off of his commands. He felt nauseated with himself, his anger toward his parents, toward his entire situation, got the better of him. “Eevee, stop!” He called, the Eevee released its defeated opponent and walked back over to Rein.

    “Well,” Richard whispered, “That may not have been what I intended, but it is a welcome surprise.” He walked over to congratulate Rein. “Good job, my boy, that was very impressive. And quite quick thinking on your part.” He patted Rein on the head, Rein pushed aside his hand and wiped tears from his eyes. “Of course,” Richard continued, ignoring Rein’s reaction completely, “There was a bit of luck in there, and I wasn’t battling you at my fullest. I expect you to become much better.” He smiled, “Now, why don’t you take your little friend down to the infirmary, we’ve got a Poke Center right here in the building. Third floor.” He offered, Rein picked up the Eevee without returning the Pokemon to the Pokeball. He turned and stepped into the elevator alone, pressing the number three. The doors closed with a chime and the elevator was off.

    “I’m sorry.” Rein said, partially to his Eevee, and partially to himself. He hated the way that he had no respect for the Houndour‘s life, that his anger had turned him into something that wasn‘t himself. And the worst of it was that it reminded him of the way his parents had acted when they were prepared to kill him. “I don’t know what came over me, but I promise… I’ll do my best to make sure that I never become that again.” He wiped the streams of tears away from his eyes as the elevator doors opened with another chime.
     
  5. Chapter 5:

    Days passed, and Rein’s training continued. He was worked to the point where he could hardly hold his head up, and to the point where it pained him even to stand still. And yet, he continued to train, continued to do as he was told. If I don’t keep training… His eyes wandered over to the Eevee, whom he had discovered disliked her Pokeball very much, and as such he allowed her to sleep in a small blanket he had laid out on the floor, “What will happen to us?” He wondered aloud. He thought about the day that he had ordered Eevee to attack the Houndour, the day that he let his anger get the better of him. He knew that it was wrong, but it felt good. He was filled with guilt at the thought, but that didn’t stop it from returning.

    He questioned everything that was happening. He needed to escape Team Rocket. “Where would you go?” He needed to find Alice. “Can’t you accept that she’s dead?” Every bit of hope that he tried to find was met with a swift response, like some cynical voice inside of his head took pleasure in causing him pain. “Team Rocket is your home now, once you accept that life will get much easier.” The voice said. Rein covered his ears, not that it mattered, the voice still echoed in his mind. “Your parents never loved you, Team Rocket is better than being stuck with them,” It mocked.

    “Shut up.” He whispered.

    “You should have just let them kill you.”

    “Shut up.” He said a little bit louder.

    “You’re worthless.”

    “Stop it.” Tears began to roll down his face.

    “That’s why Alice abandoned you.” The voice hissed.

    “Shut up!” He screamed as loud as he could, he grabbed an alarm clock off of the dresser next to the bed and threw it. He punched the wall so hard that his knuckles began to bleed. “Just leave me alone!” He yelled.

    “You are alone.” It replied. Then, his mind was silent once more.

    Rein’s shouting had caused the Eevee to wake up, she seemed frightened by the shouting. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” He whispered as he wiped tears of frustration out of his eyes. He walked over and picked up the Eevee, hugging it tightly, “You’re the only one I have now. My only friend in the world.”

    The Eevee nuzzled against him as if to say, “You’re all I have too.”

    Then the door opened and Richard walked in, flaunting himself as usual. “Sorry to interrupt this sickening little moment, but I think it’s about time we put you out in the field.” The man smiled, “The guard tells me that you were causing quite a ruckus in here, anything I can help you with?” He asked with an attempt at a sincere smile.

    “There’s nothing you can help me with.” Rein responded coldly. Richard didn’t like that, and he showed as much when the smile faded from his lips. He walked over and backhanded Rein across the face.

    “You need to learn your place,” He scowled, “Don’t forget that we saved you, you could be living on the streets.” Richard slapped Rein again, “Now get up, you’ve got your first field training day today.”

    Rein inhaled sharply, his cheeks flushed where Richard had struck him, he felt a dull stinging pain; he was getting used to being hit. Rein stood, he was already dressed in his uniform. He learned not long after getting there to get into uniform first thing after waking up, if he was called upon and he wasn’t dressed, they would hurt his Eevee and they would make sure he watched. “Yes, sir,” He said through clenched teeth.

    “You have to watch that temper,” Richard said as he walked toward the door. Then, as he always did before he left Rein alone, he stopped at the door and added, “You’ll meet your partner in front of the Silph Company building. He’ll tell you exactly what you’ll be doing. Do remember to bring your Eevee, you never know what might happen.” He smiled and left the room without another word.

    “Well, I know you don’t like it, but you’d be safer in your Pokeball.” Rein said after Richard had left. The Eevee looked at him with a look that he couldn’t quite understand, though he could guess that it wasn’t pleased. “I’m sorry, but who knows what they’re going to want us to do. Better safe than sorry, right?” The Eevee rolled its eyes before it seemed to agree, jumping out of Rein’s arms and sitting on the ground in front of him. A second later it disappeared in a beam of red light and Rein hooked the Pokeball to his belt. He looked at the window before he stepped out the door, “At least I get to go outside, maybe today won’t be so bad after all.” He tried to be hopeful, after all, things couldn’t get much worse than being stuck in the Rocket building all day.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Once Rein stepped foot outside of the Rocket building, every building seemed to be the biggest he’d ever seen. From the window of his room he couldn’t see much, it was on a floor that gave him a very good view of the building across the street. Once he stepped out into the sunlight, which he had to shield his eyes from momentarily, “No matter how bright that building is with its white rooms, nothing prepares you for stepping back out into the real sunlight.” He said with a smile on his face, it was much warmer than he had remembered it being, though days being stuck in a fully air-conditioned building probably had something to do with it.

    “The Eevee would love this,” He thought looking down at the Pokeball on his belt, “I’d better not, we could get separated in the crowds.” He finally decided, looking around at all the people walking about down the streets, he never thought he’d be so happy to see other people. “Excuse me, ma’am…” He said to a woman wearing a pink blouse, she took a look at his uniform and pretended that she hadn’t seen him. “Ma’am?” He called after her. He looked at the sea of faces around him, and noticed the array of reactions that he was getting. Some people glared at him as if they were debating coming over and punching him square in the face, others avoided eye contact all together, they looked as if they expected him to rob them on the spot.

    “What’s the point in wearing this stupid uniform, anyway?” He wondered aloud, “If everyone knows I’m in Team Rocket, against my will or otherwise, what does Richard expect me to do?” He hung his head in defeat, which was becoming a habit for him.

    He walked toward the Silph Company building, in the center of Saffron, sticking to side alleys like Richard had told him a few days into his training. “You can’t very well walk down a main road, how do you expect to get any work done with people watching your every move?” Now Rein knew what the man had meant, the uniform he wore was like an open invitation for people to distrust him. It made him wonder why the group wore uniforms at all, of course, only the lower level grunts like himself wore the actual uniforms, everyone else wore more natural looking clothes. They all had the red ‘R’ in common, however, it just wasn’t as obvious when it wasn’t plastered to one’s chest.

    Rein enjoyed being outside, it gave him something to think about in spite of the negativity he was feeling. At least the voice hadn’t returned. It was strange, the voice he heard in his mind that morning had spoken some truth. Things would never get easier if he didn’t start accepting what his situation was. Once he could learn to live with it, even if he didn’t like it, things wouldn’t seem quite so difficult. Of course, that still meant he’d have to live with the cruelty of Team Rocket every day of his life, and he wasn’t about to give them that satisfaction. Yet, the idea stayed at the back of his mind.

    “If I stick with it, I may even out rank Richard one day,” He mused aloud as he passed through another alley, “I’d love to see the look on his face when I start barking orders at him.” Rein smiled as he exited the shadows of the alleyways back into the sunlight, the Silph building towered before him at the end of the next block. From the base of the building looking straight up, it looked like it extended into the sky. Rein was awed by the size of the building, it took up a whole city block. “Wow.” Rein whispered, he wanted to see the view from the top, he may even have been able to see Celadon from up there.

    “It’s quite the view, huh, kid?” A familiar voice said from behind him. Rein turned on his heels, and found himself staring at the man who he had encountered outside of the Game Corner in Celadon. “Don’t look so surprised,” The man said with a cocky smile, “I work very closely with new recruits, Richard usually asks me to help ‘em out on their first mission.” He patted Rein on the back, Rein shoved his hand away.

    “Does he also ask you to kidnap kids off the street?” Rein stared the man in the face defiantly.

    “Not usually, but you were a special case. The funny thing is that he had sent me to Celadon to kidnap you, and you came right to us.” He chuckled, “Looks like it was your lucky day.”

    “More like unlucky.” Rein muttered, causing the man to chuckle again.

    “I guess from your point of view, but look at it from my perspective. You saved me a lot of work, and a lot of time. As a matter of fact, I should be thanking you for how easy you made that mission.” The man shrugged.

    “Cool, you can thank me by letting me go.” Rein said sarcastically.

    The man laughed again, only it was louder and stronger than the ones before, “If I wanted Richard to rip my lungs out, sure. You’ve seen Richard get annoyed, kid. Trust me, you don’t want to see him mad. He’s just scary when he’s mad.” The man’s piercing violet eyes seemed softer than they had the night he kidnapped Rein, though he was still pale. Something was different about him though, he was still cocky, but he seemed sincere when he smiled. And the look in his eyes was friendly. Rein was cautious about falling for any tricks the man might try, but he saw no dishonesty in his eyes.

    “You’re different.” Rein said softly and innocently, “Not like the rest of them.”

    “Careful, kid, don’t go trusting just anybody because of a few kind words. That’ll get you killed.” The man said as he started walking away, his face turned very serious, but not unkind. “The name is Jeremiah, I don’t think we were properly introduced before.” He didn’t stop, assuming that Rein was following him.

    The man’s sudden change in demeanor didn’t bother Rein, he wasn’t being rude or unkind, he just seemed to be giving genuine advice. “Rein,” He said simply, “So, are you just part of the trick?” Rein asked Jeremiah, “The make you work with people like me so we think that Team Rocket isn’t all bad?”

    “How old are you?” Jeremiah asked, turning and looking at Rein, summing him up.

    “I’m going to be ten in a few days.”

    “You’re a smart little bugger, then. Only nine, pfft, you’re too clever to be nine.” Jeremiah scratched his head, Rein was more intelligent than the average nine year old. Though with all that had happened lately, he’d been forced to act very grown up.

    “That didn’t answer my question.” Rein pointed out.

    “No, no it did not.” Jeremiah stated, turning down an alley that they were passing on the left had side of the street. “And to answer your question, no, usually I only work with new recruits who joined Team Rocket by choice. I made an exception for you.”

    “What exactly am I supposed to do today?” Rein asked, not wanted to delve any deeper into Jeremiah’s reasons. He didn’t seem too prepared to talk about them anyway.

    “It won’t be too difficult, I got the hardest part of the job. I’ll explain once we get to the Center.” Jeremiah said with a sigh.

    “You mean a Pokemon Center?” Rein asked, though he was fairly certain that he knew the answer.

    “What else?” Jeremiah said a little bit unenthused, but still with a slight smile. The terror that Rein had felt on their first meeting was real, but he had trouble accepting that this was the same man. As far as first impressions go, Jeremiah hadn’t done too well, but the rude, sarcastic, and unfeeling man that had taken Rein that night couldn’t have been Jeremiah. It had to be some sort of a trick, never judge a book by its cover. Rein caught himself thinking. Maybe not everyone in Team Rocket was terrible, Jeremiah certainly didn’t seem that way.

    “Oh, I’m not going to like it am I?” Rein asked dropping his shoulders, causing Jeremiah to laugh again.

    “Probably not, thievery doesn’t seem to be your thing.” Jeremiah chuckled.

    “Thievery?”

    “Stealing stuff, kid.” Jeremiah rolled his eyes.

    “I know, I was just wondering what I was going to have to steal.” Rein explained, he didn’t like being treated like an idiot because of his age.

    “You really are a smart kid. I’ll tell you when we get there.” He stated, brushing the question aside. “No sense getting you all worked up before we even get there. But let me give you some advice, no matter how much you don’t like what you’re going to have to do,” Jeremiah stopped walking and looked Rein in the eye, “Just do it. You get used to doing things you don’t like, and the more you do them, the more chance you’ll like them with time.” Jeremiah said with a grin.

    “I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy stealing,” Rein said, looking at Jeremiah like he was the idiot.

    “Maybe not, but you’ll certainly get better at pretending you do. Unless you like Richard beating you senseless for disobeying orders. Maybe you’ll learn to like that before you learn to like stealing, seems like a pretty stupid interest to me though.” He shrugged and started walking again, turning out onto the street that met them.

    Rein lingered for a second, thinking about what Jeremiah said. Everything in him told him that the man wasn’t to be trusted, that it was pointless because he’d just turn into a monster like all the others. But at the same time, he wanted so much to find a friend, someone to dull the pain and fill the hole left behind when Alice was torn out of his life. Even though, he knew, that someone taking her place was as impossible as bringing her back from the dead.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Rein and Jeremiah stood together beneath the shade of an awning extending from one of the shops lining the street, they accumulated a fair share of disapproving glares. Jeremiah smiled at a police officer who walked by, “Don’t look so nervous, Rein.” Jeremiah whispered when the officer wandered away, “They have no proof that Team Rocket does anything illegal. And even if they did, they couldn’t prove that we were up to anything just because of a few uniforms.” He explained.

    Rein wondered for a moment why he hadn’t cried out to the police officer for help, why he didn’t tell him that he’d been kidnapped and held against his will. The feeling in his stomach told him that he was afraid, afraid of what would happen to him and his Eevee if he went to the police. But that wasn’t the only reason, he was ashamed to admit it, but he was curious to see what Jeremiah and himself were supposed to be doing. The combination of the feelings of fear and exhilaration kept his mouth shut, he remembered the voice’s words from that morning. “Team Rocket is your home now.”

    Maybe he was starting to believe it.

    “Ok, here’s what we’re going to do…” Jeremiah paused for a second, “First you have to promise me that you won’t get all emotional and whatnot.” Jeremiah said through squinted eyes. Rein thought it looked almost comical.

    “I promise,” Rein said suppressing a smile.

    “Somehow I don’t think that I can hold you to that, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time.” He said, suppressing a smile of his own. It was good to see he was getting through to the boy. The feeling of guilt was an ugly thing, driving Jeremiah to actually care about Rein. He looked away, toward the Pokemon Center that sit at the end of the street, every second a new trainer emerged or entered the red roofed building.
    “So, what are we doing?” Rein asked when he noticed Jeremiah was lost in thought.

    “Oh… Sorry about that, just devising strategy.” Jeremiah scratched his nose, a nervous habit he’d picked up. “We’re going to be stealing some Pokemon from the Center, anything that looks worth the trouble we take. Eventually it will be conditioned, rehabilitated, and used by one of our people in Team Rocket. Who knows? It may even pass on to you.”

    Rein didn’t like the idea of stealing Pokemon from other trainers, people who had worked hard to catch them, who spent countless hours training them. But he kept his word, he didn’t complain. He swallowed his pride and nodded, “So what do you want me to do?” He asked, keeping his mind on the task at hand, trying not to think of the trainers who would be losing friends and partners.

    “Well, you’ve got the easy part of the job. You wait for my signal and sneak in the back. While I keep everyone distracted out in front, you go through the rooms and take the Pokemon, by force if you have to. But it is a hospital, so chances are the Pokemon will be too weak to fight back. If we’re lucky.” Jeremiah handed Rein a handful of small, black spheres. “Use these to catch the Pokemon, they’re special Team Rocket Pokeballs. Use your PokeDex to decide whether or not a Pokemon is worth the effort, but only do so if you absolutely have to. We have to do this fast, get it done in ten minutes, and then run back to Headquarters. I won’t meet up with you afterwards, I’ll be running as well.” Jeremiah said with a nod.

    “What if I run into a nurse inside?” Rein asked, a little afraid of the answer.

    “Make sure they don’t get in your way, by any means necessary. Try not to kill anyone, though, it’s only your first time out.” The man laughed, Rein didn’t think it was funny. Jeremiah remembered Rein’s sister, and the smile faded from his face. “I’m sorry, Rein. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

    “Don’t worry about it, just tell me what the sign is.” Rein said shaking his head.

    “Just listen for an explosion, that’ll be your cue to get inside. That’s also when your ten minute timer starts, so don’t slack off. If you’re in there for longer than that, the cops could show up, and they’d be the least of your worries if you get caught. So, in and out, yeah?” Jeremiah reminded Rein again. Rein only nodded and walked down the street, slipping around to the back of the red-roofed building. “Guilt,” Jeremiah sighed, “Who needs it?” He reached down and pulled a Pokeball off of his belt.

    Jeremiah walked casually up to the front entrance of the PokeCenter, tossing up his Pokeball and releasing a large Pokemon with fire around its neck, it let out a roar as it stood beside its trainer. “All right, Typhlosion, use Fire Blast on the window!” He commanded. The ring around the fire type’s neck grew larger and hotter as it opened its jaws, flames could be seen building in the Pokemon’s mouth before it released the blast on the indicated target. The Fire Blast hit the window and caused a deafening explosion of shattering glass and fire. People started to panic, screams could be heard from inside, some people had been hit by the shards of glass and cut, but that was only to be expected.

    Jeremiah walked up and opened the door, strutting into the chaotic mess that was the Pokemon Center, people were running all over. Many trainers were begging Nurse Joy to give them their Pokemon back so that they could run, others abandoned their Pokemon and rushed out the door, nearly trampling Jeremiah before they froze in sight of his Pokemon. He snapped his fingers and the Pokemon emitted a fiery roar from its mouth. The smile was no longer on his face, he was now completely serious, his eyes were icy, and he looked frightening. “Ladies and gentlemen, please remain calm.” He called out into the silence of the crowd that he now commanded. “Hand over all your valuables, and your Pokemon. Then I’ll be on my way.” He said forcefully.

    The people looked among themselves, but many had been wounded in the explosion of glass, and others were too shocked to move. Some reached for their belts and rolled Pokeballs toward Jeremiah, until one man stood up. “What if we refuse?!” He yelled, “You Rocket jackasses don’t scare me.” He said confidently.

    Jeremiah reached into his uniform and produced a handgun, holding it straight toward the man, immediately sapping away most of his courage. “I really hate when people try to play hero.” Jeremiah said tightening his grip on the handle of the gun, “I don’t want to have to hurt you, but believe me, I will. Everyone get down on the ground.” He commanded without raising his voice, but with force behind it.

    Most obeyed, even the man who had been so brave a moment before obeyed, only Nurse Joy stood her ground behind the counter. But it wasn’t defiance on her face, “Please stop this,” She said, his voice shaking a bit, “This is a hospital, people come here to be safe. Please just turn around and leave.” She pleaded.

    “You can stop stalling now, Nurse Joy, I know you already called the police. I assure you I will be gone soon,” he bent over and scooped up the Pokeballs that had been rolled to his feet. Nurse Joy knew she’d been caught, she quieted down, but she refused to get to the ground.

    “At least let us tend to the wounded.” She said, it wasn’t a request, so much as a demand. Jeremiah saw no problem with it. He nodded, Nurse Joy sent her Chanseys to examine the injuries of the people nearest the explosion first.

    “You think you’re tough? Attacking a hospital?” A voice said from Jeremiah’s left, through the smoke and debris he saw a boy of about fourteen facing him, “Hiding behind your gun.” He spat, pulling out a Pokeball. “Put the gun down and let’s settle this with a battle.” He said with a cocky tone. He was dressed in a yellow and black baseball cap, a simple Pokeball design tee shirt and jeans. For a moment Jeremiah thought about asking him to join Team Rocket, then he decided it would be a waste of time.

    “A battle? You really think you’d win?” He looked down at his PokeGear, he had set a timer and it was down to about five and a half minutes. “I don’t really have the time, but how about a rain check?” Jeremiah asked, the boy looked angry.

    “See? I knew you were too scared, hiding behind a gun makes you a big man.” The boy taunted, not a wise move to taunt a man with a gun, luckily Jeremiah had never planned on shooting anybody.

    “Fine, but make it quick, I’ve got to go.” He snapped his fingers and Typhlosion stepped forward, exerting its power by feeding the flame around its neck.

    The boy tossed his Pokeball up into the air, and out of the red light of the Pokeball came a white furred monkey with a fire lit atop its head. The Infernape cracked its knuckles and took a fighting stance.

    “Fighting fire with fire, eh?” Jeremiah rolled his eyes, “This will be over sooner than I thought.”

    “We’ll see,” Said the boy, “Fury Swipes!”

    The Infernape rushed forward, through the debris of the explosion and the smoke from the fire, its arms raised and ready for an attack.

    “Defense Curl.” Jeremiah said, Typhlosion acted immediately. It pulled itself into a ball, the flames of its neck still extended. Infernape started swiping at the balled up Pokemon, using a combination of palm attacks to attack with quick blows. With Typhlosion curled up in Defense Curl, the attack was doing nothing, “Rollout.” Jeremiah added.

    Typhlosion began to spin while still in Defense Curl, it rolled forward, shooting off from its stationary position. Infernape barely managed to avoid the attack, but avoiding the first blow only added to the damage that would be done with the next. Typhlosion changed direction, making a wide turn to keep its momentum, Infernape’s back was turned as it had just finished dodging and it was hit by the full force of the attack, but Typholosion didn’t stop there. He continued to roll, turning around again and hitting the Infernape before it had even hit the ground from the last attack. Typhlosion hit the monkey Pokemon four more times, and it turned to make the final hit.

    “Counter!” The boy called. Infernape managed to roll out of the way of the Typhlosion’s incoming Rollout, and when Typhlosion began to turn the Infernape made its move. It ran forward, meeting the Pokemon while its momentum had slowed momentarily. It threw a kick that knocked the Typhlosion off course, causing it to collide with one of the walls with a loud thud, cracking the tile that lined the walls. The Infernape struggled to stay standing.

    “I told you I was in a hurry,” Jeremiah sighed as the Typholsion stood, slightly dazed. “Blast Burn, I’m done with this monkey.” Jeremiah commanded. Typhlosion began to focus its energy, the ring of fire around its neck becoming more intense with each passing second. Finally, it unleashed all of the energy in a giant burst of flames, Infernape hadn’t been fighting long but it had all ready taken a lot of damage. Jeremiah hadn’t been playing around and the Infernape was too tired to move out of the way. The wave of flames collided with the Infernape like a wall, and despite the fact that it was a fire move against a fire type Pokemon, it still got the job done. The fire on Infernape’s head was dim, its white fur was charred, and it lay motionless on the floor. Concerned faces peered at the boy from all over the Center, as well as looks of fear toward Jeremiah. His Typhlosion was a powerful Pokemon, and his most trusted partner. Training the Pokemon had been his life, and he was very proud of the work that he had done. It paid to have a Pokemon that you had trained your entire life.

    Jeremiah checked the PokeGear, the timer was just below a minute and counting. “Sorry to demolish your Pokemon and run, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to shatter your confidence any further.” He returned Typhlosion with a respectful nod and ran out the door and down the street, he had managed to take a few Pokemon, about eight or so. With Rein’s haul included it would be a decent score, he hoped.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Rein heard the explosion from the front of the Center and didn’t hesitate for a second, he opened the back door to the Center and snuck inside. He waited by the door a second to see if there was any movement, which there was but it was only a few Chansey and a Blissey running toward the front of the Pokemon Center. Whatever Jeremiah was doing to keep their attention was working, “Good news for once,” Rein sighed. He thought it a little depressing that the only good luck he’d had in days came when he was doing something bad.

    He went into the first room, moving quickly to avoid getting caught inside when the ten minutes was up. There was an injured Pokemon hooked up to a machine laying on the table, it was a fairly large, green spider. Rein pulled out his PokeDex, “Spinarak, the String Spit Pokemon. Spinarak spin webs of powerful silk and motionlessly await prey.” The device described the Pokemon in its robotic voice.

    Rein pulled out a black Pokeball and stared at the injured Pokemon, it seemed to stare back at him like it knew what he was going to do. “I’m sorry,” He whispered, “I truly am.” He tossed the Pokeball at it, the Pokemon was too weak to fight back and was sealed within the ball with no trouble. Rein fought back tears of shame as he moved onto the next room.

    It was the same for this room as well, there was a small, orange dog-like Pokemon breathing into a mask. It appeared that it had been poisoned, Rein could tell by the vial of Antidote that lay on the table beside it. It whimpered as he stood over it, this time unable to keep his tears back and they began to roll down his face. He didn’t need to use the PokeDex on this one, he’d seen a Growlithe before on TV, “Please forgive me,” He whispered as he sealed it away within the Team Rocket Pokeball.

    The same scenario continued for another three rooms, Rein looked at the time and he still had about five minutes left. He heard a crash from the direction of the main lobby and decided to move a bit faster.

    He came upon another room, this time the door was closed. He didn’t think anything of it and opened the door, there was a small, orange lizard laying on the table. Its eyes were closed and it was breathing shallow breaths, the flame on its tail was small and weak. But Rein’s eyes didn’t fall onto the Charmander, he looked instead at the little boy who was even younger than he was sitting beside the Pokemon. The boy jumped when he looked at Rein. “Who are you?” The boy asked, he was dressed in a white tee shirt with blue stripes.

    “How did you get back here?” Rein asked, ignoring the boy’s question. Better not to answer than to try and come up with a lie.

    “I asked the nurse if I could stay with my Pokemon. It used to belong to my big brother, but he…” The boy began to cry, Rein hated himself for what he knew he had to do. “He went away.” The boy finished. Rein felt ashamed, it cut into him like a knife, but he knew that it had to be done. “His Charmander is still here, and I want him to get better. I promised my brother I would take care of him.”

    “I’m so sorry.” Rein said, thinking of Alice and how she had been taken from him as well. Only he wasn’t left with anything to remember her by, nothing but memories. “I have to take your brother’s Pokemon away.”

    “You’re taking him?” The boy asked between sobs.

    “I have no choice.” There was a change in Rein’s demeanor, he went from being ashamed to being enraged. He was angry toward the little boy. Why should he get to hold onto a piece of his brother when I have nothing to remind me of Alice. Nothing at all.

    “The nurse said that he just needed rest. Why do you have to take him?” The boy wiped away his tears.

    “Because, you don‘t deserve to have him. Look at you, you already got him sick. Your brother wouldn’t want his Charmander to be hurt.” Rein mocked. Why he was so adamant about taking this Pokemon, he didn’t know. It was like something in his mind was telling him to do it. Like something within him triggered this anger and frustration that he had tried so hard to bury.

    “I didn’t mean to…” The boy began, he sobbed again, “I tried to take care of him.” Rein scowled and pulled out a Pokeball, ready to steal the Charmander right in front of the boy. To teach him a lesson.

    “What are you doing? I said I was sorry… Please don’t take him away, I’ll take better care of him I promise.” The boy threw himself on top of the Charmander, holding him in a tight embrace, tears falling onto the table the Charmander was on.

    Rein stood staring at the boy, he felt as though he were staring into a mirror. He remembered when he had been crying like that, Alice would always come and cheer him up. She would give him a hug, and then she’d surprise him with something or say something that made him feel better. I have my memories of Alice, and as long as I do, she’s still here with me. The same as that Charmander does for the boy and his brother. Rein thought, he began to cry along with the boy. The anger and frustration began to fade.

    “I’m sorry.” Rein whispered, the boy looked up at him. “You really are taking good care of him, your brother’s Pokemon is in good hands.” Rein said with a smile that held a mixture of sorrow and pain within it. But there was also a sense of peace. “I have to go, take good care of that Pokemon. Your brother is depending on you.” Rein turned to leave, wiping the tears from his face.

    “Thank you.” The boy said, Rein smiled.

    He hadn’t obeyed the desire he felt inside himself, the desire that seemed to originate from no where. He ran out the door without looking back, he didn’t care what Richard did to him, he felt proud of himself for standing up to that desire, to those feelings of hopelessness. A voice in his head had been enticing him, telling him that he needed the Charmander, promising him that it would make him feel better. He had almost listened, he had almost stolen from that little boy. “What am I turning in to? Will they turn me into a monster too?” He was afraid of the answer to the questions he whispered to himself as he ran back toward the Rocket base.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “He’s resisting every step of the way.” A voice said quietly in the darkness. Richard sat in front of a monitor, staring at the figure on the screen in the darkness.

    “You’ll just have to try harder,” Richard said to the figure, “You won’t be coming out of that cell until he’s so hurt and alone that he’d steal an elderly women’s cane and beat a baby with it.” Richard said, in a tone that made very obvious that he wasn’t joking.

    “I can only do so much. I can’t make his decisions, I can only implant suggestions.” Said the voice.

    “If you’ve outlived your usefulness, I’m sure that we can find someone to replace you.” Richard said with a devilish grin. The figure didn’t respond, “No? Then try something else. Torture him in his sleep, I don’t care. As long as he breaks.”

    “Yes, sir.”
     
  6. Chapter 6:

    Rein was strapped to a chair, blood seeped from his nose and mouth and his wrists were raw from the ropes that bound him. He couldn’t see more than a blur from his left eye, and his right eye was in pain, the tears stung like lemon juice in a fresh cut. If he could have seen his face, he was sure he wouldn’t have been able to recognize himself. “I did everything you asked…” He tried to yell, but it came out as hardly a whisper. He was in the painfully white room again, they were trying to break him a second time. “I haven’t done anything wrong, I did everything you wanted.” He protested, the men around him only smiled, their faces were shadowed despite the abundance of light in the room.

    “Not yet you haven’t,” Richard’s voice echoed around him, he was no where to be seen, but his voice rang from every corner of the room. “I told you that you need to think of us like family, but there is hesitation in your heart. You will learn to follow without question or you will die here.” Richard said, he sounded angry, Rein knew that if Richard had been standing in front of him, he wouldn’t have seen the man, but the monster.

    “I don’t question my missions, I stole those Pokemon for you, didn’t I?” Rein said defensively.

    “Not all of them.”

    “What do you mean? I had to get out of there, I couldn’t let the police find me, Jeremiah said so.” Rein couldn’t believe this was happening, he hadn’t done anything wrong, and he knew it. A fist in his stomach told him that Richard didn’t believe him.

    “You had enough time to take that Charmander.” Richard said maliciously, and Rein knew that he had been caught. He hung his head, it was useless trying to defend himself now, “I see that you aren’t protesting, good, I’ve never liked liars.”

    “I’m sorry, there was a boy there. I couldn’t steal it right in front of him. I just couldn’t.” Rein whimpered.

    “That’s my point exactly, my boy. You need to be ruthless, you need to care only about Team Rocket. Everything you do is for us.” Said the man, his voice wasn’t as harsh, but he was still angry. “Now you must redeem yourself.”

    “What do you want me to do?” Rein asked, looking up. Suddenly Richard was in front of him; smiling.

    “Tell me that you hate your sister. Make me believe that she means nothing to you, and that Team Rocket is more important. If you can convince me that you are telling the truth, I will release you from this prison.” The man wore a wicked grin, he knew the seriousness of what he just asked Rein to do.

    “I… I can’t.” Rein said, hanging his head once more, “She’s the only one who is important to me. I’ll do whatever you ask, but I can’t hate her. I just can’t.”

    Surprisingly, this news didn’t make Richard angry, his smile grew a bit larger. “I see, you really do love her. You could never hate her?” Richard asked, slight mockery could be heard in his voice. Rein shook his head lightly. “Too bad. Alice, could you come in here please?” Richard held out his hand toward the door, which slid open with a sigh. In the doorway stood Alice, her hair was sticking out of a black cap, and she wore a black uniform with a blood red ‘R’ on the front.

    She stepped forward and smiled at Rein, “Hello, Reiny.” She said, it was her voice. There was no mistaking it, Rein knew that this was his sister, not some trick that Richard was playing on him.

    “Alice?” He said weakly.

    “My dear, would you be so kind?” Richard asked, holding out a metal rod that looked quite heavy. Alice took it and set it lovingly in her hands as she walked to the side, out of Rein’s view. “You could never hate your sister? Even knowing that she is a member of Team Rocket?” Richard asked.

    “You probably forced her here the same as me.” Rein said, tears in his eyes again.

    “Not quite.”

    Richard stepped aside, and there was an Umbreon on the ground in front of him. It was bound with ropes so that it couldn’t move, and it looked like it was in pain. Rein wondered briefly what the creature had to do with him, then it looked into his eyes and he saw it. “You recognize your Eevee now?” Alice said as she stepped back into his line of sight, still holding the heavy, metal rod. “Remember when we talked about the Pokemon we wanted, Rein? Your Umbreon is here waiting for you, come and save her. All you must do is admit that Team Rocket is your home, your family. They are all that matter to you.”

    Rein struggled, attempting to free himself from the ropes. “Lunara,” He said, knowing the Pokemon’s name without having to think, it was the Eevee that he had talked with Alice about, the Umbreon that he wanted as his own.

    “Say it, Rein.” Alice commanded.

    The ropes cut into Rein’s wrists as he struggled, “Team Rocket is the only thing that matters, they are my family, and I live to serve them.” He sobbed, tears fell as he stared into Lunara’s eyes.

    “Good.” Alice grinned, then she brought down the rod and Rein heard the sickening crack of his Umbreon’s skull.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “No!” Rein screamed until he was out of breath. His heart was racing and he was covered in a cold sweat. He panted, trying to stay calm and figure out where he was, “Lunara?” He asked, looking around the room. “Alice?” He stood and flipped on the light switch, he was in his room. His Eevee was safe in its bed, though it looked frightened. His yell must have awoken it, it crawled out of bed and slunk over to him. “A dream,” He reassured himself, he walked over and sat at the edge of his bed, picking up the Eevee and holding it close. He felt its heartbeat and it was racing too, it had been worried about him. “No, a nightmare.” He corrected himself, clutching the Eevee close to him until his heartbeat slowed and he calmed himself down.

    “I’m sorry I woke you,” Rein said, the Eevee replied with a soft hum and nuzzled against him. It didn’t mind. Rein sighed and looked at the clock, it was six in the morning, the sun was in the process of rising, but it was still dark. Rein chuckled slightly, it wasn’t a happy chuckle, it was the chuckle of someone who realized something terrible that would have originally been good news. “Today is my birthday,” He said simply to the Eevee, “The day that Alice and I were going to become trainers and start our journey.” He looked out of his small window, “Some adventure this turned out to be.” He set the Eevee down and lie back in his bed, the Eevee curled up next to him and drifted back to sleep. They wouldn’t have to report for their next mission for a few hours, but Rein was too frightened to go back to sleep.


    Rein wandered aimlessly through the Rocket building, it was only about a half an hour before he had to report for his mission, and he had finally gotten sick of sitting in his bed too terrified of his dreams to sleep. That hadn’t been his first nightmare since arriving at Team Rocket, but it had definitely been the only one to leave him horrified. It still scared him to think of what had occurred in his nightmare, unlike most dreams, it was as if every detail of this particular dream was photographed forever in his mind. As vivid as if he were dreaming it constantly, something held it in his mind, told him that it was true, that everything that had happened in the dream was a reality. It haunted him, and took every ounce of willpower within him to convince himself it was all a dream. But the voice was back, the taunting voice that was his waking nightmare.


    Just give yourself to Team Rocket, everything you are is theirs. Admit it. Accept it. And that future can be avoided.” It said.


    “Future?” He said aloud, as he walked the corridors of the Rocket building.


    Your nightmare, it may not happen exactly like that, but do you want to take that chance?” The voice oozed malicious intent.


    “That won’t happen. It was only a dream, dreams can’t hurt you.” He argued.


    Suit yourself, I wouldn’t want that poor Eevee’s blood on my hands.” It said with a sing-song voice as it faded away to the back of his mind.


    Rein let out a long sigh as he leaned against a nearby wall, generally speaking birthdays should have been cause for celebration, and if he had been at home with Alice, it would have been. She would have cooked him something for breakfast, but not before wishing him a happy birthday and giving him a few good swats on the arm. Rein didn’t mind, she always made sure not to actually hurt him. They would have eaten their breakfast together, laughing and talking, then they would have packed up all their stuff and left home for good. Just the two of them traveling together, and Rein would have been happy, in fact, nothing could have made him happier. Instead he was trapped in this place. It was a prison, a luxurious and well furnished one, but a prison none-the-less.


    Rein decided that it was about time to get his mission from Richard, he was still about ten minutes early, but Richard liked it if he took initiative and showed up before he was supposed to. He walked into Richard’s office, which was overly comfortable for a place of business. It had anything that Richard could want; a couch, a bed, a television, his desk had a built in refrigerator and he had a fully equipped kitchen behind his desk as well. The chair behind the desk was a large one, and it may as well have been a recliner. “Ah, Rein. Come in, my boy!” Richard said cheerfully. “How did you sleep?” He asked. There seemed to be something hidden behind his smile, but Rein failed to notice it.


    “Fine,” Rein responded nonchalantly, trying not to think about the nightmare, “Nothing to report or anything if you were asking.” He added.


    “No, not at all. I just heard that there was some reports of some aggravated shouting of some sort this morning from your floor, perhaps I was mistaken.” The man behind the desk added politely, Rein knew that meant that he heard him screaming, or at least someone did. Rein still refused to talk about it.


    “I don’t know what to tell you, everything was fine.” He said in a way that meant he didn’t care to discuss it, he tried to sound as menacing as a newly ten-year-old could.


    “Of course, of course,” Richard acted as if he cast the thought aside, but his smile was still disquieting, he was pleased about something. “I understand that today is your birthday?” He produced a small sphere from one of the numerous drawers in his desk. Rein recognized it as a PokeBall. Richard tossed it to him with little effort, “For you, my boy.” The ball was black with a red ‘R’ on the top half, just as everything around here was. It seemed that one couldn’t walk down to the Cafeteria without purchasing Team Rocket milk, which of course was just milk in a black package with an R on the side. “Sorry to ruin the surprise, but I don’t want you releasing it in my office, it’s an Oddish.” Richard said simply, Rein was given pause, it was actually a considerate gift, something that Rein didn’t have to earn but was just given. It was strange.


    “Th-thank you, sir.” Rein said, nothing else would come to mind.


    “Of course, Rein. Like I’ve told you before, I take care of my own. Especially on such a big day. And the surprise doesn’t stop there. Come.” Richard stood and began leading Rein to the elevators.


    It was obvious that Richard was pleased about something, when he was pleased with Rein’s performance on a mission or with his training, he often took to using phrases like ‘of course’ and ‘my boy’. When he was upset he often called Rein useless and inflicted some form of bodily harm as a reminder that he only accepted the absolute best from members of Team Rocket who worked under him.


    A gift, however, had never entered the equation before. Rein was caught off guard to say the least, even if the gift was only an Oddish, it was a gift none-the-less. Not to mention that, in all honesty, there was no problem with Oddish, especially after Rein checked the RocketDex information on the grass type and saw what it could become. The acquistition of the PokeMon was bittersweet, however, having come from Richard. Rein didn’t know whether or not to simply give the PokeMon back. That would no doubt cause Richard to become angry, which Rein wanted to avoid at all costs, especially after the events in his dream.

    Rein entered the elevator, following closely behind Richard. As the door closed, Richard turned to Rein with a grin. “So, how do you like your present?” He asked. Something was very wrong, Richard shouldn’t have been acting so kindly toward him, but he was. Something had happened, and Rein had the worst feeling he would soon see firsthand just what it was.

    “I can’t believe that you gave me a PokeMon.” Rein said simply, and rather ungratefully. He was more confused than anything. “Why did you give it to me?”

    “Can I not get one of my minions a present on their birthday? It’s a big day for you, after all. You’ve turned ten years old, old enough to join the PokeMon League, in fact.” He nodded sagely to himself.

    “Not that you’ll let me, I’m guessing.” Rein added smugly, Richard frowned a bit.

    “You guess right, I’m not giving you up that easily.” The doors opened with a chime and Richard stepped out, “I think you’ll be more grateful after you see the next part of your present.” He turned left out of the elevator, down a long hallway. At the end of the hallway was a room used primarily for battling, it was usually where Team Rocket did their training, but every so often it was opened to the public when Team Rocket held a fixed tournament of some kind. Richard opened the door proudly and allowed Rein to step in ahead of him.

    Rein wasn’t prepared for what was on the other side, although having been their third encounter together, the shock was gone almost instantly, and it was replaced with aggravation. Standing before him was the boy he had battled that day, the boy who had made him feel worthless. The boy who had kept him from being able to protect Alice. All the feelings that Rein had been keeping bottled up for the past weeks began to boil to the top, all of his misfortune could be traced back to this boy and while it was unfair to blame all his problems on this boy, Rein couldn’t care less about what was fair. His life had not been fair lately, so it was a safe assumption that life was not meant to be fair in the slightest. It was as good a reason as any to justify his current hatred for the boy standing before him. He looked frightened, and Rein found himself enjoying the thought.

    “It’s you.” The boy said when he saw Rein enter the room, “You’re one of them? They kidnapped me, they brought me here. I-I’m scared. Tell them to let me go.” The boy shivered from fear. Rein knew how he felt, frightened and lost, but it only added to his enjoyment.

    “Why should I?” Rein said slowly, eying the young man, “What’s in it for me?”

    “I’ll give you anything, anything at all.” The boy said desperately, it was a promise he couldn’t keep, but in near hysterics he would have said anything.

    “What makes you think I can set you free? I’m just a worthless child after all.” Rein said spitefully.

    “I’m sorry…” The boy said, Rein only now noticed the bruises on his face, and the men standing in the shadows on either side of him. He had been taken forcefully, and he had tried to fight.

    “Anything I want?” Rein asked, the boy nodded, “I want my sister back, can you give me that?!” Rein demanded.

    “I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The boy stated. Richard entered the room and stood beside Rein.

    “Rein, this is my gift to you. You are responsible for this boy, you can decide his fate.” Richard said with an evil grin. All part of the plan, it was like playing a game of chess, a few more moves and it’d be checkmate.

    “He’ll battle then.” Rein said quickly, Richard looked at him, confused at first and then he nodded, a smile on his face again. The boy looked at Rein like he was crazy. “If you win you are free to go, if I win you will stay here and become a member of Team Rocket.” Rein said, he wanted to put this boy through everything that he had been through, starting with his defeat in battle. “Now choose your PokeMon and fight.” He demanded.

    “That’s it, just a battle?” The boy asked, the confident air that he had when he first defeated Rein was gone, now he was only frightened and lost. “All of this just to battle me?” He couldn’t believe what was happening, Rein took pleasure in the look on the boy’s face, he felt as alone as Rein felt. Maybe Richard wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Team Rocket had given him a fine present; a chance at revenge.

    “That’s all, nothing to it, right? You’ve already beaten me once.” Rein smiled a wicked smile that made the boy even more terrified. There seemed to be something malicious hiding behind Rein’s face, whether he had wanted the boy to see it or not didn’t matter; the boy saw the intent.

    “I don’t believe you,” The boy said, Rein frowned.

    “If that’s how you feel,” He began, “I could always just tell them to brutally torture you, I’ve endured it, I know the pain that you would be facing.” Rein didn’t know when it had happened, but he had changed. Everything had changed, and it all started with that dream. The fear left him, all that remained was to incite that fear into others, to make them face the difficulties that he had faced. He remembered the words that the voice in his mind spoke, and he knew that they were true. The sooner he admitted that Team Rocket was his home, the sooner he could prevent the events of his dream from ever becoming reality.

    “I understand.” The boy said, defeated. There was no sense in trying to argue, even if Rein had been lying, there would be no avoiding the battle. “I’ll use my Onix.” The boy said, a PokeBall was handed to him from one of the men standing behind him. The boy tossed the ball up into the air and a red light flooded his side of the battle arena, the light quickly took the form of the rock snake PokeMon.

    “Good, I’ll take out your Onix as easily as Alice did.” Rein said, he was no longer unsure of himself, he was confident, he was angry, and he was fighting for revenge. “Too bad I won’t get the chance to take on that stupid Pidgeotto again.” He added with a sarcastic sigh. He pulled out the only PokeBall he had on his person. He had let the Eevee stay in his room, it deserved some rest, and Rein had been frightened to bring his PokeMon with him. It didn’t matter; Rein would have used the Oddish in this situation anyway.

    Rein tossed the ball up into the air, and out of the red light that flooded from the PokeBall took the form of a small purplish-blue creature with blades of grass sticking out of the top of its head. It had no arms, and stubby feet. Its eyes were not much more than small dots, and it was miniscule in comparison to the massive rock creature on the other side of the field. The Oddish didn’t even stop to look at its new master; it simply stood ready to fight. It wasn’t fazed by the size of its opponent, it had been in Team Rocket its whole life, it had been pushed to its breaking point, it was no longer afraid. Rein admired it already.

    “Onix, hit it with a Rock Throw!” The boy called, not wanting to spend any more time in this place than necessary. The Onix obeyed immediately, smashing its tail heavily on the ground directly in front of it, the ground cracked and shattered into varying sizes. The creature grabbed the largest rock, coiling it up in its tail and hurling it toward the Oddish.

    “Dodge it, Oddish, and counter with Sweet Scent.” Rein commanded, the small grass type moved quickly, the rock was easily avoided as it was thrown at a small target. As soon as the rock missed its mark, the Oddish went into action, the blades of grass on its head began to rub against one another and a small pollen cloud quickly formed; a sweet aroma filled the air. “I don’t know if that big rock of yours has a nose, but we’ll see soon enough.” Rein said.

    It seemed to be affecting the rock type, the Onix shook its head, slightly dazed by the scent filling the air. “Onix snap out of it!” The boy called, but the Onix still swayed slightly, moving rather sluggishly.

    “Now, Oddish, hit it with a Seed Bomb.” Rein said with a smile. The Oddish obeyed, once again the blades of grass on its head began to move. Oddish jumped up and spit a seed from its mouth, it cut through the air toward the Onix, who was still slowed by the aroma in the air. The seed hit the rock snake between the eyes, sending it reeling back in pain. As its head hit the ground, there was a loud rumble. The boy looked worried; the Oddish had landed a good hit. With the stakes riding on the battle the boy was not thinking clearly, he was frightened of his fate. Rein smirked, the boy’s confusion would make this battle go much more quickly.

    “Onix, get it! Hit it with Slam!” The Onix shook out its head, it was a bit dazed from the hit, but it was moving again. It slunk forward, moving quickly along the ground toward the small grass type. Its head became a battering ram, ready to slam into the Oddish at full speed.

    “Razor Leaf!” The Oddish began shuffling the grass atop its head, the blades of grass shot out in small fragments of leaves began to swirl through the air toward the oncoming Onix, the torrent of razor sharp leaves created a wall of blades that the Onix had to move through, and as it did so it grumbled out in pain. Deep gashes carved into its hide. It veered off course and crashed into a wall behind the Oddish. It exhaled as it began to lose consciousness, “Not over already, is it?” Rein asked the boy.

    “N-not yet.” The boy answered, “Get up, Onix. Rock Tomb!” The boy demanded, he was becoming desperate.

    “Don’t give it the chance, Oddish, Giga Drain!” Rein shouted. Roots grew quickly into the ground from the feet of the Oddish. The roots spread quickly throughout the ground, cracking the ground as they moved through the ground. The roots came up from beneath the Onix, they wrapped themselves around the rock snakes body and began draining the energy from the Onix, flowing it straight into Oddish’s own body. The Onix let out a sigh as it fought to remain conscious, to no avail. “That was disappointing.” Rein sighed, “What happened to your skill?” Rein asked sarcastically.

    “I… I lost,” The boy’s head hung, “I guess that’s it, then?” The boy chuckled disappointedly, returning his Onix.

    “That’s it,” Rein scoffed, “You’re a part of Team Rocket now, after a bitingly disappointing battle.” The boy stepped forward, holding out his hand for Rein to take in a handshake. Rein looked the boy in the eyes, slowly extending his hand. When the boy went to take Rein’s hand, he quickly moved and delivered a hard punch to the boy’s jaw, then another into his stomach, and a final uppercut that sent the boy onto his back. He followed up with a hard kick to the boy’s ribs, similar to the one he received after he lost to the boy, only much harder. “I’m adding another part to the deal. You will be a member of Team Rocket for as long as you can’t win a battle against me. If you ever beat me, you will be released. But whenever you lose, you will be locked away for three days.”

    “Only three days?” Richard asked from behind Rein, finally speaking for the first time, “I propose that a loss be worth at least a week. Team Rocket can’t afford to have weaklings after all.”

    “Fair enough,” Rein replied, with a smile, “Now get up, you start your training at dawn.” Rein said to the boy.

    “What about my parents?” The boy asked, “Will they ever know where I am?” He grunted.

    “You’re a trainer aren’t you? As far as they’re concerned, you’re traveling the world. Now get up.” Rein said, and then Richard stepped forward.

    “We’ll see that he makes it to his room, I’m proud of you, my boy.” Richard smiled as men stepped out from the shadows and grabbed the boy, hoisting him to his feet and pushing him out the door.

    Rein followed them out, returning to his room; content with himself and the eventful birthday that he had. He wore a real smile for the first time since arriving in Team Rocket, things seemed so much simpler now that he’d accepted his fate.

    Richard began to walk away, when Jeremiah emerged from out of the shadows and stopped him. “It isn’t right what you’re doing to that boy.” He said, shaking his head.

    “I don’t think that you are in any position to question me, I have the authority to do what I wish. Rein will become one of us, and when he does, he will be ruthless and powerful. He’s well on our way already.”

    “He has his whole life ahead of him, and you’re stealing it away.”

    “Watch what you say, Jeremiah, you aren’t above punishment.”

    “Do what you must, but you know that it’s wrong, even by our standards. Manipulating him into becoming a monster is wrong, even the boss would agree.”

    “Then you obviously know nothing about Giovanni, he would have done it himself if he were here. Now, get out of my way, Jeremiah.” Jeremiah obliged, stepping out of Richard’s way. Most men would have been frightened to stand up to Richard, Jeremiah was not, Jeremiah had morals, even if they were frowned upon within Team Rocket.

    “Good day, sir.” Jeremiah said as he walked out of Richard’s way.

    “And to you, now I’m going to talk to the girl. I have another job for her, something that will undoubtedly make Rein feel like he made the right choice. I knew that the nightmare would work, didn’t I? He’s so close to breaking I can taste it.” Richard looked like a Arbok readying to strike, he really did enjoy when his plans worked out. And this one was working out beautifully.
     
  7. Chapter 7:

    Rein wasn’t sure how he should feel, but he felt proud of what he had done. It was whether or not that he should feel proud that concerned him, normal people didn’t feel good about hurting other people, but it was all he could think about. He had gotten revenge on the one who had made him feel so hurt and alone, and in his mind, the one who was responsible for Alice’s disappearance. For her murder. It only felt right when he looked at it from that perspective, if he allowed himself to realize the boy was another living person, an innocent person that he had trapped within Team Rocket, he felt terrible. “No one should go through this,” He breathed, sitting at the edge of his bed, petting the Eevee in his lap, “But then, why do I?” He asked. It had been only three days since the battle with the boy, but Rein hadn’t seen him once. Rein hoped for an instant that the boy was being conditioned; tortured. Immediately afterward he felt ashamed.

    The Eevee knew he was confused, that he was hurting in some way, and it nuzzled against him, trying to make him feel better if it could. Rein smiled and patted her on the head, before setting the normal type down beside him. He stood and began to pace, turning the Oddish’s PokeBall over in his hands. The Eevee growled at the door, jumped down off the bed and stood between Rein and the door. A second later there was a knock at the door, the Eevee continued to growl as Rein went to answer it. Jeremiah was standing at the door; he looked suspiciously down the hall either way before speaking.

    “Rein, listen to me, I don’t know how long it’ll be before Richard sends for you. I need to tell you something.” He whispered.

    “What is it? Are you all right?” Rein asked, ignoring the urgency in Jeremiah’s voice and mistaking it for fear.

    “Never mind about that, listen! In Team Rocket, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are. The person that you are will begin to die, slowly but surely they will change you. Or try to. The important thing is not to let them, let them think that they’re winning, but hold onto your humanity. They can’t steal it from you, but they can make you forget, try and cover it by impulses and desires. Richard manipulates people, that’s how he got to where he is, don’t let him manipulate you. You’re a good kid, but what Richard got you to do the other day was sick, and it’s tearing you apart. They get in your head, Rein, don’t let them walk into your mind.” He said it all in a constant stream of information, Rein suspecting that he hadn’t even inhaled once. “Rein, you need-“ Jeremiah froze, he heard footsteps from down the corridor, and Richard stepped around the corner, “To keep up the good work,” He finished, giving Rein a look that meant to stay quiet and remember what he said, Rein could hear the words even though they weren’t spoken.

    “Jeremiah, what are you doing here?” Richard asked as he came up to Rein’s room, looking at Jeremiah with severe distrust, he obviously hadn’t forgotten Jeremiah’s disapproval of Rein’s battle earlier that week.

    “Just telling Rein how great a job he did the other day, sir.” Jeremiah said with a salute.

    “As I recall you didn’t appreciate the battle, had a change of heart?” Richard raised an eyebrow, Jeremiah kept a straight face.

    “The battle was good, Rein is showing great promise.” Jeremiah said, “I’ll see you around, kid.” And as he walked away, Rein was scared he’d never see Jeremiah again.

    “Rein, my boy, how are you today?” Richard greeted behind his usual grin.

    Rein watched Jeremiah leave, then he stepped back and Richard walked up to the doorframe. “I’m good. I was just getting ready to go see about my assignment today.” Rein said, he wasn’t completely lying, after fiddling with his thoughts he would have remembered to check in for his mission.

    “It’s a special one today, one I wanted to give to you in person.” Richard said as he beckoned for Rein to follow him and he began to walk away. Rein turned and grabbed his hat and returned the Eevee before following after Richard. As he closed the door he heard a buzzing in his head for a moment, then it was silent again.

    I’m sorry.” He heard in his mind, the voice that had taunted him so many times before. It sounded solemn, quiet, all the negativity was gone from it. It sounded sincere.

    “For what?” Rein asked in his mind.

    For everything. He’s watching me. Always watching me. When he’s not around, someone else is. I’m always being watched. Always in danger.

    “Why?”

    Because of my ability to invade peoples’ minds. And I’m sorry. If I don’t do what he asks, he’ll kill me. I’m alive as long as I’m useful.” The voice explained, but it hadn’t told Rein what it had done to him, it said it could invade minds. The negative thoughts, the crushing loneliness, the hatred of himself and worst of all, his thoughts of Alice’s death. He could never figure out why they would just suddenly pop into his mind.

    “It was you. You did this to me.” Rein said in realization, “You make me feel the way I do, all the anger.” Rein didn’t sound angry now, he sounded relieved; he sounded proud of himself.

    I’m sorry, I only did it because he told me to. I don’t want to die.” The voice sounded scared now, Rein thought it appropriate that the tables had turned, then he remembered Jeremiah’s words. He refused to let himself be lost in the bubble of hatred he’d been trapped in for the past few weeks.

    “I’ll help you.” Rein said, there was no answer, his mind went silent again. He hadn’t noticed that he had been walking during the entire conversation, and he finally noticed that he and Richard were at their destination. Rein noticed just in time to avoid running straight into the now stationary man in front of him.

    “Well, this is your mission for today.” Richard said as he began walking again, the doors whooshed open and Rein was standing in the front lobby; there was no sunshine flooding through the entirely glass front of the building. The ground outside was wet and the pavement was riddled with puddles, heavy rain fall could be heard pattering against the window and ground outside. “You’re going to go fetch some PokeMon for me today. In the rain people hurry, they don’t pay attention.” Richard explained.

    “I’m getting a mission on my own?” Rein had never been sent out into the field by himself before, Richard was probably afraid he’d run. He most likely felt secure now because of Rein’s behavior the other day, he didn’t know about the conversation that he’d had with Jeremiah.

    “Not exactly, you’ll have a partner for this mission, but you’ll lead the adventure for today. Try not to disappoint me.” And then he turned and walked away.

    “Who’s going with me?” Rein called after him, but there was no reply.

    “I am, you’re Rein Vanguarde, correct?” There was a small girl standing behind him, she wouldn’t look into his eyes but Rein could see that hers were a pale blue color. She looked to be his age, or maybe a little older. Her hair was a dark auburn and it looked as if it hadn’t been combed for some time, she wore a simple black dress that went down to her knees and it had the red ‘R’ as all Team Rocket uniforms did plastered on the front. Rein had started to ignore the things; he noticed himself thinking it strange when clothes didn’t have an ‘R’ on them.

    “Yeah, who’re you?” Rein had never seen this girl before, and though it was true he didn’t know every member of Team Rocket, he was sure he would have noticed her before. She still avoided his eyes, looking at the ground beside him. Rein noticed that she was wearing a backpack and inside was a sleeping PokeMon that reminded Rein of a fox, he was tempted to use the RocketDex on it, but decided against it.

    “I’m Alexis, but most people just call me Lexi.” She sounded nervous, Rein decided, maybe she was there against her will the same as he was.

    “Hello, Lexi.” Rein smiled in a friendly way, he couldn’t explain why, but he liked this girl. She seemed sweet and kind, not at all like the other members of Team Rocket that he’d met. With the exception of Jeremiah, of course. “What PokeMon is that in your backpack?” He asked with sincere interest and a grin. He was blushing, though he’d never admit it if someone accused him of it.

    “Oh, this is Presto, my Abra.” She said meekly, turning slightly so that the PokeMon was more exposed and easier to see.

    “Oh, that’s pretty cool. I’ve never seen an Abra before.” Rein said for the sake of continuing the conversation, “Is he strong?”

    “Well, um, he’s got strong psychic abilities, but he spends most of his time sleeping, so I mostly keep him with me for emotional support. Since he’s psychic we can communicate telepathically; even if he’s asleep.” She explained, she was still shy, but she stole a glance up at Rein’s face before turning her eyes toward the ground again.

    “A psychic type, that’s pretty neat.” Rein smiled again, blushing a bit more when he noticed her looking up at him; luckily she looked away again before Rein became too flushed.

    “Yeah, Team Rocket really likes using the abilities of psychic types. They especially like using people with psychic abilities as well. I hear they’ve got a special unit that’s made up of really strong psychics, but it’s only a rumor.” She explained, “I saw a Gardevoir that was so powerful she blew my Abra’s abilities out of the water, all she had to do was walk into the building and Presto started feeling the effects of her mind. The oddest thing was that she was black instead of green.”

    “I had no idea that Team Rocket had such powerful PokeMon.” Rein was being honest, he’d had no idea that Team Rocket used psychics and their abilities as much as Lexi said that they did, he had seen a few psychic types around the building, but he never thought anything of it. “Well,” He finally said, noticing a few glares in their direction, “We should get going, wouldn’t want to make Richard mad.” Lexi seemed to tense up for a moment at Rein’s comment, then she relaxed slightly as they began walking toward the door.

    It was cold outside; the wind cut through their uniforms like they weren’t even there, and the rain hit their faces like so many needles. Rein wondered why Lexi would subject herself to wearing her dress in this weather, but then he noticed that she didn’t look the least bit cold. “Aren’t you cold?” He asked, stuffing his hands into his pockets. There weren’t many people out, so he decided it was safe to stick to the main roads so long as they kept their eyes open for police officers.

    “Oh, no, not at all. Presto has a really basic psychic barrier up that blocks out the cold, it’s just too bad it doesn’t stop the rain as well.” She said with a shy smile, hazarding another look at Rein’s face. Rein noticed this time that she seemed to look at him like she was guilty of something, but he decided it was just her being shy.

    “Wow, psychic types are pretty handy.” He had gotten into the habit of leaving his Eevee back at headquarters because he was worried something would happen to her, she was his only real friend and he would be devastated if she was hurt during one of these pointless missions.

    “You look pretty cold, would you like to warm up?” She asked, pointing her thumb back at Presto. Rein smiled and nodded thanking her as he did so, then he felt something that he could only describe as a warm embrace in his mind, and afterward he no longer felt the sting of the wind. He thought he heard a voice, but it sounded far away, he thought he heard it shouting his name, but it was lost to the rain.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Rein and Lexi walked into the center of Saffron, it was the busiest part of the city, even in the rain. There were significantly less people around today than there usually were, but there were enough to get a few PokeMon to keep Richard happy. “Well, here’s how we should do this, you and I will pick someone to go after and wait until they aren’t paying attention, then catch them off guard and swipe a few PokeMon so Richard will be pleased.” As he explained the plan, Lexi nodded in agreement.

    Before long they found a suitable target, a gust of wind blew a man’s coat back and revealed several PokeBalls on his belt; he was shielding his face from the elements and walking quickly toward a side street. Rein reached down and grabbed the Oddish’s PokeBall off of his own belt, following along behind the man and waiting until he was alone. It didn’t take long until the amount of people died down and the street was deserted.

    Rein released his Oddish quietly and whispered a command, “Sleep Powder,” The Oddish complied and began to shake its head, causing the leaves sitting atop its head to shake and a white powder began to arise from the grass type. Rein covered his nose and mouth and motioned for Lexi to do the same. The substance floated over to the man who immediately began slowing down, he couldn’t remain standing and he fell to the ground, snoring loudly. Rein nodded and he and Lexi went over and took the five PokeBalls from the man, Rein felt badly about leaving the man in the rain so he pulled him off to the side, under an awning. Someone would come by and find him soon enough.

    They repeated the same basic formula a few more times, sometimes Rein would use the Oddish to lull their targets to sleep, and a few times Lexi hypnotized them with the aid of her Abra. Soon they had a nice amount of PokeMon and decided it was time to return to base, out of the rain that the Abra’s barrier didn’t protect them from.

    “That went really well, hardly any problems at all.” Rein said with a sigh as they trudged along toward the Rocket Building.

    “Rein, don’t you feel bad taking all these PokeMon from people? I mean, how would you feel if someone took your Eevee, or your Oddish.” Rein was sure that he’d never mentioned his Eevee to Lexi, but maybe he had and it had just slipped his mind. He thought the question over for a moment.

    “Well, obviously I wouldn’t like it, but we don’t have a choice,” He answered finally, “If we don’t do our missions then Richard will get upset, and if he’s upset he’ll punish us. He might even kill us,” Lexi looked away from Rein again, she seemed a bit more pale than she had been.

    “We always have a choice, Rein.” Was all she said, then she grew silent.

    Rein wondered at her words, she was right, they had a choice. The choices were to either do as Richard wanted, or be tortured and possibly killed for not doing what Richard wanted. There were choices, but they were both bad. “Well, why don’t you try and run away, then? It’s not like I could stop you,” He said nonchalantly, Lexi quickly covered his mouth to prevent him from going any further.

    “Rein, you can’t talk like that, you think Richard isn’t watching us at this very minute? Maybe not personally, but he sent someone to follow us and they’re watching us right now, I can guarantee it.” She said looking over her shoulder, deep down in his gut Rein knew she was right. Richard wouldn’t let them leave, and there was no way he trusted him enough to let him go around the city without someone watching him.

    “I didn’t mean anything by it, I was just joking.” He defended, hoping that Richard wasn’t getting news of some escape plan that Rein had contrived, readying himself for some punishment.

    “Just be careful,” Lexi warned as they turned onto the street with the Team Rocket headquarters on it, “I don’t want to die.” She added, almost nonchalantly, but very familiarly, before she skipped ahead and into the building. It caught Rein off guard that Lexi would talk about death like it was nothing, like she could sound like she was almost joking but deep down he knew she was telling the truth.

    --------------------------------

    Rein returned to his room, sitting on his bed with a thump and staring up at the ceiling, soon enough his Eevee was lying beside him; he let his hand fall and pat the Eevee on the head. Today was interesting, Lexi was kind, and she was, though Rein would never admit it openly, beautiful. Rein found himself flushing a bit when he thought about the smile that she had worn when she had been skipping off to the building. She was different; she was someone that made Team Rocket bearable, she made things not seem too horrible. She was too good to be true.

    “It isn’t a good idea, Eevee,” Rein said absentmindedly, “I shouldn’t get attached, she will just get torn away.” The Eevee looked at him, puzzled about what he was talking about, but she knew that he was upset.

    “I just don’t know, I hope that she’s all right. I hope that we get paired up again.” He sighed as he turned over in bed, staring out the window, his thoughts drifted away from Lexi and to Jeremiah, he remembered the urgency in his voice; the look in his eyes like he was going away. “Jeremiah, I wish you were here to tell me what to do. You’d better be all right.” He said aloud to the wall, wishing that any second his friend would come knocking on his door. He heard the knock in a half dream, then again and again, he ran to the door after he realized it was real, hoping to see Jeremiah.

    Instead, Richard was standing in the doorway with a wicked grin.
     
  8. Chapter 8:

    Rein’s blood turned to ice when he saw the look on Richard’s face, he knew the grin only too well; Richard had been wearing it while Rein was being tortured at the beginning of his time with Team Rocket. “Rein, my boy, walk with me for a while.” He said simply, never losing the smile on is wicked lips.

    “Where are we going?” Rein asked, wary of the destination, in case it happened to be that white room full of murderous Rocket members.

    “Oh, just on a walk. I have something to tell you.” He began walking, Rein knew he had to follow or his punishment would be even worse. With some difficulty, he forced himself to start following Richard. He turned and looked at his Eevee, who was looking at him with a confused look, sitting on his bed; patiently waiting for him to come and tell her about his day and spend time with her. “Sorry, Eevee, I’ll be back soon. Just be safe, ok?” He said, the PokeMon nodded and pushed itself under the blankets. Rein smiled and jogged along the corridor to catch up with Richard.

    “What do you need to tell me?” Rein asked as he ran up beside Richard. Rein felt sick, his first thought was that someone had heard him talking to Lexi about running away; maybe Lexi had told Richard herself. Rein felt nauseous, Richard would be furious with him if he knew that he had even considered running away. However, Richard didn’t seem angry; he just seemed to be enjoying the information that he had for Rein, like whatever it was would hurt just as much as any torture would. At least, that’s what Rein was afraid it was. He hoped he was wrong, but he had learned in the last few weeks that he rarely got so lucky.

    “Some interesting news has reached me from the Hoenn region, a report from one of my subordinates who is keeping an eye on Team Magma for me,” He made an amused noise, somewhere between a chuckle and a sigh, “Team Magma think that they’re saving the planet. No good hippies, when the time comes they’ll see that Team Rocket is the strongest.” He spoke mostly to himself, straying from his original thought. “But enough of that,” He said noticing the look on Rein’s face, “What my point is, my boy, is that the information might be of some interest to you.”

    “Me? Why would it interest me?” Rein asked, as if he cared about some Team Rocket spy, he tried to sound interested none the less.

    Richard grinned and turned to Rein, “It seems that the body of a young girl washed up on the beach near Lilycove city a few weeks ago.” Richard watched Rein’s expression change, now he was genuinely interested. “The girl had blue hair and was dressed as if she had just returned from a run. She had a bullet wound on her side.” Rein stopped walking, he knew who the girl was, there wasn’t a question in his mind whether or not it was his sister. He knew that it was.

    “Is my sister alive?” He asked, Richard stopped walking at some elevator doors and looked back at him. He now wore fake concern on his face.

    “I don’t know, Rein, there’s no proof that the girl in question was Alice, but I thought you should know just in case, to prepare for the worst.” He turned and stepped onto the elevator, his grin returning when his back was to Rein.

    Rein stood frozen in the hallway, he didn’t know what to think or how to feel; all he knew was that his mind was racing and he couldn’t hold onto any thought for longer than a second other than one; Alice was dead. There was no question any more, no hope that he might see her again. Richard had confirmed his deepest fears, that Alice was gone and there was nothing he could do about it.

    -----------------------------

    Richard walked into a dimly lit room, Lexi sat in a cell, Presto was asleep beside her on the bed. “You almost ruined everything, you stupid girl. Luckily I got word that Alice was in Hoenn and that she had washed up on the beach, Rein should be feeling quite hopeless again by now.” He walked up to the bars, “Do you realize that you could have undone all my hard work?”

    “I was just doing what you asked. I was making him feel like we were connected, like you wanted. I didn’t mean to give him hope, but it’s difficult to toy with emotions without creating some positive ones.” Lexi explained, she was afraid of Richard punishing her for failing, but she didn’t let it show. She’d learned to hide her emotions from the world, to bury them, and Richard would not know the fear he caused her.

    “Well, at least that was a success, he feels connected to you. He was happy when I went to his room, and that’s the problem. He needs to be conditioned for longer; he needs to see Team Rocket as family. And to do that, I had to sever his ties with Alice. I need you to read his mind and see if it worked, see if he believes Alice to be dead. If there is any hope in him, crush it.” He turned and walked away, without looking back at the girl in the cage.

    --------------------------

    Rein wasn’t sure when or how, but he walked back to his room, his head was swimming and he couldn’t focus on anything. He sat on his bed, Eevee rested its head on his lap, and she could tell something was wrong, but the poor PokeMon couldn’t think of a way to make Rein feel any better. She nuzzled against him, and he absentmindedly pet the creature, but his mind was elsewhere.

    “I just don’t know any more, what’s the point if Alice is gone? The only way that I’ve lasted this long in this place was holding onto the hope I would see her again. What now? Should I just give in? Team Rocket is my only home now.” He said to himself, the Eevee let out a sad sigh, resting against her trainer again.

    Rein, listen to me.

    “Lexi? What do you want?” He asked, annoyed that he wasn’t even safe in his own mind.

    Richard doesn’t know anything, your sister could still be alive, all he knows is that she’s in Hoenn. There is no proof that she isn’t alive.

    “There’s no proof that she’s alive, either.”

    Please, Rein, I—

    “Lexi? Are you still there?”

    Rein’s mind went quiet, or at least, Lexi’s voice in his mind went quiet. His own thoughts were still racing. What did she want? Did Richard tell her to make him believe there could be hope just to tear it away again? He wouldn’t let himself believe that there was any hope left to see his sister, he wouldn’t be hurt again. “But she sounded so worried, like Richard didn’t know that she was talking to me…” He began, before forcing the thought from his mind. How could he be sure that anything he felt was even him anymore? It was safer to give up, to let himself fall. Team Rocket was the closest thing to home that he had, now that Alice was gone.”

    He stood up and began pacing his room, the Eevee staring at him with concern, he couldn’t just stay inside, he had to go do something. He couldn’t be alone with his thoughts, they were just too painful. “Come on, Eevee, we’re going out.” He said abruptly, picking Eevee up and walking down the corridor before he’d even started the sentence.

    At the elevator, Jeremiah was waiting for him, his eyes were closed and he was breathing deeply. “Rein,” He said opening his eyes, he was solemn and calm, like he knew that it was a delicate matter that he was addressing, like he knew how fragile Rein’s psyche was at the moment, “I heard what Richard told you, and you can’t listen to him. He manipulates people, Rein, he knows exactly how to play you and make you do whatever he wants. Don’t let him control you like this, don’t lose yourself, you’re a good kid.”

    “Then why did you bring me here?” Rein spat, “Why did you listen to him and kidnap me, why did you steal me away when Alice needed me most.” Tears filled his eyes, his voice was quavering, “Why did you do this to me?”

    “Rein, I’m so sorry.” Jeremiah started, he knew that this would happen, and he didn’t know how to explain. “In a way, I’ve already lost myself. The mission was all that mattered, I didn’t know what they were going to do to you, I didn’t even know why Richard would want you here in the first place. But I brought you here, and I did this to you. I’ve been here for a long time, Team Rocket has become my life, but it doesn’t have to become yours, you showed me that we have a choice, that we can be defiant and strong.” Then Rein saw a look that he’d never seen on Jeremiah’s face before, it looked like pure defiance. “I have a mission in town right now; I want you to come with me.”

    “Yeah, I was going out anyway.” Rein shrugged, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have someone to talk to.” He followed along, wiping the tears from his eyes and pretending he was fine. Jeremiah and he rode the elevator to the ground floor and out the front door into the night air.

    “So what’s this mission that you have to do?” Rein asked, he’d never been on a night mission before.

    “Oh, it’s nothing important. Richard wants me to steal some PokeMon from a wealthy family on the outskirts of the city.” He answered with a sigh, “Best time to do it is at night when they’re all in bed. There are always people about during the day, I’ve done some stakeouts and this is the only time that works.”

    “Makes sense,” Rein said simply, “Why do you want my help?”

    “Eh, I just figured that it’d be good for you to get out. As long as you’re quiet while we’re at the house.” Jeremiah smiled as they walked toward the house, passing by houses and apartment buildings, some of the lights lingered on, but most of the city was dark; the two hid well in the darkness in their Rocket uniforms.

    “Richard said that a girl washed up in Lilycove, she had blue hair, just like my sister does.” Rein caught a tear drop in his eye, not allowing himself to cry, “If Alice is dead, there’s no point anymore. I should just give up now.”

    Jeremiah stopped walking, it took Rein a second to notice and stop walking as well, “Rein, don’t say that. You’re sister is alive, remember what I said: Richard will say anything to manipulate you. He felt that you were drifting away from Team Rocket, so he used a piece of intelligence that he’d recovered to reel you back in.”

    “But the information was real,”

    “But they never said whether or not she was dead. They only know she washed up on the shore. That’s it,” Jeremiah put his hand on his Rein’s head, “Lexi would know whether or not she was dead, and she doesn’t think that she is.”

    Rein looked at Jeremiah and realized something, it was a delayed reaction, but Rein wasn’t himself tonight, “You know Lexi?” He asked.

    “Yeah, I know her.” Jeremiah said simply, looking up at the night sky, “She’s the reason I joined Team Rocket, the reason that the mission was the most important thing in the world.”

    “Why?”

    “She’s my sister, well, my adopted sister. She was kidnapped by Team Rocket because of her psychic tendencies, and now she’s a slave. I joined Team Rocket to get close to her, and I became obsessed with completing the missions I was assigned because I thought Richard would let me get closer to her. But he won’t.”

    “I’m… I’m so sorry, Jeremiah.”

    “Don’t be.” He said quickly, then continued like nothing happened, “I’ll do whatever it takes do free her, Rein,” Jeremiah said solemnly, “That’s how I lost myself, that’s why I’m trapped.” They turned down a small dirt path leading up a winding hill to a large wooden mansion, Jeremiah sighed and began sneaking toward the house, Rein followed his example.

    “I’m sorry, anyway,” Rein whispered, Jeremiah almost couldn’t hear him, “You can’t let Richard control you, you need to be the strong one. For Lexi’s sake.”

    “Yeah, well, it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m sorry that I kidnapped you, Rein. But you taught me something, even if you don’t know it.” By now they had reached the house and Jeremiah quietly opened up one of the windows. The house was old and the window creaked, but after a moment everything was still quiet. “Here, you go first.” Rein returned his Eevee to her PokeBall before stepping up to the window.

    “What did I teach you?” Rein asked, hoisting himself through the window at Jeremiah’s request.

    “That there are other things that are important in this world.” Jeremiah said softly as he hoisted himself through the window after Rein, “Now no more talking, we don’t want to wake anyone up.” He added as he moved through the house like a shadow.

    It was a huge house, everything in it was worth more than Rein’s old house and everything in it, or so Rein imagined. There were trophies mounted on the wall from all manner of PokeMon contests and tournaments. The furniture was all very lush, and followed a color pattern for each individual room. The room they were in now, the living room, was color coordinated white, and everything in it, including the walls right down to the carpets and tiles, was white.

    It was an old house, and the floorboards creaked as they stepped, no matter how lightly they attempted to tread. They repeatedly had to stop to make sure that the owners of the house weren’t stirring. Luckily, because of the sheer size of the house, the sound didn’t carry up the stairs.

    The duo turned a corner and were standing at the end of a huge hallway, at the end of which appeared to be a glass closet, inside were all manner of red and white spheres, PokeBalls containing the family’s collection of rare PokeMon. Anyone of them would be an excellent prize to return to headquarters with, but Richard wanted Jeremiah to grab one in particular. Or so Jeremiah had said. Lining the hallway were a number of family portraits and bookcases with books ranging from the scientific study of PokeMon to epic adventure novels. Rein thought that he recognized the face of a boy in one of the portraits, but he didn’t have time to figure out why it looked familiar.

    They quickly approached the door to the glass room housing the PokeBalls and checked for a lock, there didn’t appear to be any lock in place, so all they had to do was open it and grab the PokeBall they were looking for. “Open it up, Rein; I’ll watch your back.” Jeremiah stood facing the other end of the hall, making sure that there weren’t going to be any surprises. Rein nodded and grabbed hold of the door, pulling it firmly and swinging it open. Immediately an alarm began to sound, the lights of the house began to turn on and movement could be heard from up the stairs. Before Rein had any time to compute what had happened, he was shoved from behind into the glass closet and a bookcase was dragged in front of the door.

    “I’m sorry, Rein. This is your chance to be free; I’m not letting Richard use you any more.” Jeremiah sighed and took off down the hall and out of the house, just before a man who looked about in his late forties came down the stairs with a PokeBall in hand. His face softened when he saw Rein through the glass walls of his PokeBall room. He moved the bookcase out of the way and opened the door, facing the child left behind, weeping from his fear and desperation.

    --------------------------------------

    Rein had finally stopped crying, but he wasn’t any less afraid of what was going to happen to him. The police had arrived on the scene, and Rein had been caught trespassing and attempting to steal the family’s PokeMon, dressed in a Team Rocket uniform. He was sure that things weren’t going to end well. “So what were you hoping to do here, little boy?” One of the police officers, a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, asked. She wasn’t too tall, but one wouldn’t classify her as short either. Rein felt annoyed at the fact that she called him a little boy, he felt like anything but a normal little boy.

    “I don’t know. I was told to come here.” Rein answered, it was true. He hadn’t known what their intended target was, just that they were there to steal a PokeMon.

    “Told to come here by Team Rocket, you mean?” She asked, her tone of voice the kind that people take on when asking children delicate questions, like they can’t understand unless you talk down to them.

    “Who else? I’m wearing the uniform, aren’t I?” Rein asked, sarcastically.

    “Why did they tell you to come here?” She asked, a little less friendly, but still not in a mean way.

    “To steal a PokeMon. I don’t know which one, but they wanted me to steal one of them.” He decided not to tell them about Jeremiah, he was worried that Jeremiah would be caught, and he didn’t want anything bad to happen to Jeremiah. Even if he was the one to blame for his current predicament.

    “Where are the Team Rocket headquarters? We’ve been having a lot of problems with them lately. Could you tell us where they are?”

    “Sure, if I wanted them to kill me. They have headquarters all over Kanto. There’s one right in Saffron City, and I bet you didn’t even know about it.”

    “All right, I think it’s best you come with us. We’ll take you someplace safe.”

    “Like where?” A new voice broke in, it was the man who had found Rein in the room, “The police station? Jail? I think it’s much better if the boy stays here.” Now that Rein could get a good look at the man, he could see that he had blue-gray hair and brown eyes. He was still dressed in a nightgown, and he was about five foot eight. There was a kind look on his face, a look that Rein had been too afraid to see before.

    “Sir? Are you sure that you want—“

    “Of course I’m sure. The boy will be looked after here. And if it’ll make you feel better, you can post some police outside of our home.” The man’s wife and son came down the stairs. The woman was a few years younger than the father of the family. She had strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. The son Rein recognized again, this time immediately. It was the boy from the PokeMon Centre, the one with the Charmander than Rein couldn’t bring himself to steal. They came over to join the man. “With the passing away of our oldest son,” The man paused and inhaled; saddened by the though, “We have more than enough room in our house, and this boy has obviously had some rough times recently. It’s the least we can do to give him a decent bed and a good meal. And clothes that don’t define him as a gang member.”

    “If you aren’t pressing charges, fine, sir, but that will make him your responsibility. We’ll post a unit outside of your house for a few days to make sure that everything is all right. Just know what you’re getting into. Team Rocket won’t forget one of their own.”

    “I’m aware of the risks. We choose to take care of him anyway.” The man looked at Rein and smiled. Rein didn’t know what to think, he had never received a completely undeserved kindness before. This family didn’t owe him anything. This was the second time that he had tried to steal from them. And yet, they were still willing to show him kindness and give him a place to be safe and looked after. Rein didn’t know what to say, or how to feel. He began to cry again, but this time from happiness. He was free from Team Rocket.

    ---------------------------------

    “What happened?” Richard asked, the anger in his voice made Jeremiah weak in the knees. He could only imagine the punishment that Richard was planning for him right now.

    “We triggered an alarm, Rein was caught. I couldn’t get him out without endangering myself, and I figured it would be better if only one of us got caught.”

    “Not if the boy tells them about our headquarters, with enough reason they could come and search the building. Not that they’d find anything out of the ordinary, our cover company would pass any police inspection, but if they looked deep enough, they just may find something out of place. Rein has become a danger.”

    “Sir, with all due respect, I don’t think that the boy is any threat to us. He’s gone now, he won’t be coming back, and I doubt he wants anything to do with us. If we let him go, he’ll keep quiet.” Jeremiah was hoping that this would work, hoping that Richard would let Rein be. That wasn’t the case.

    “No, Jeremiah, we can’t let the boy go. Not after all the work I put into recruiting him. Here are your choices. You either get him back, or you take him out. Either way, he’s too dangerous to be left alone. Now what will you choose, I wonder? Will you force the boy to come back to Team Rocket, or will you do him a kindness and kill him?”

    “Sir, I can’t—“

    “Do this task that I have given you, Jeremiah, and I will give you what you desire most. I will reunite you with your sister.” Richard’s words were final. The grin on his face was wicked. And Jeremiah’s heart felt torn in two.
     
    #8 Chadwyck, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  9. Chapter 9:

    Rein couldn’t sleep; he sat in the bed that the man who owned the house had given him. The man had said not to worry; that Rein would be safe there. Rein didn’t feel safe at all, he felt even more afraid than he would be in the Team Rocket building. He knew Richard. Richard wouldn’t just let him go; there was no way. He fished around in the pocket of his Rocket uniform; he was yet to change out of it and into the clothes that had been provided for him. He found what he was looking for, the PokeBall that housed his Eevee. If anyone could make him feel better, it was her. They had been through a lot together; Rein had never suspected all of this when he ventured into his parents’ lab. It seemed like ages ago, now.

    “Come on out and see our new home,” He whispered and released the PokeMon from the sphere. The Eevee gave him a faux angry look; he knew that she didn’t like being in her PokeBall, but it was the safest place for her at the time. After a quick smile the Eevee dropped the angry look and jumped into Rein’s lap. She nuzzled against him and he gave her a hug. “Hey, Eevee, I wanted to show you something,” He said pointing around the room, “This is where we’re going to be staying for a while. For the time being, we’re safe from Team Rocket.” He tried to sound confident, but he knew that it was only a matter of time before something else happened.

    The Eevee took to walking around the room; it wasn’t anything extravagant, despite the size of the house that they were in. It had a dresser and a mirror mounted to the wall, the bed was soft and far warmer than the cheap mattress they had given him at the Team Rocket HQ; and he had a closet that was full of clothes that the man had provided for him. Rein hadn’t asked the man his name, or what he should call him; Rein figured that in the long run, he wouldn’t be staying long enough for it to matter. The thing that really stood out in the room was the pile of toys in the far corner.

    “But if we stay here,” Rein began, making the Eevee look up from a stuffed Clefairy doll that it had taken to examining, “It’ll just be worse for us when we go back.” The Eevee gave him a scared look, “You know as well as I do that we’ll go back. Team Rocket will find us. They’ll make us go back.” Rein’s Eevee shook her head, then she walked over and stood before Rein with a powerful look in her eyes. It was as if she was saying, ‘no, they won’t, I’ll protect you.’ Rein couldn’t help but smile and give the Eevee another hug. He was right; she had made him feel better.

    He leaned back against the pillows on the bed and closed his eyes, he was certain he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, but the mental and physical exhaustion set in and he was asleep in an instant. Leaving the Eevee to watch over her trainer as he slumbered, never once leaving his side.

    --------------------------------

    Rein woke up to a knock on the door, he started and checked the time; figuring that he was late to receive an assignment. It took him a moment to realize that he wasn’t at the Rocket headquarters any longer. He walked groggily over to the door and opened it; standing there was the boy from the PokeMon Centre, the one with the Charmander. “It’s you,” The boy said, “The one who tried to take my brother’s Charmander. What are you doing here?” The boy sounded confused; like he never expected to see Rein again after what had happened at the PokeMon Centre.

    “Have you been taking good care of Charmander?” Rein asked, ignoring the boy’s questions, same as the last time they’d met.

    “Of course I have, I don’t want to make my brother sad by doing a bad job.” The boy answered, standing up proudly.

    “I’m just here to make sure that you keep doing a good job. I’ll be staying for awhile, so you better keep up the good work.” Rein smiled and gave the boy a thumb up.

    “What’s your name?”

    “Rein. What’s yours?”

    “Eric.” The boy said with a smile.

    “Good to meet you.” Rein said returning the smile.

    “Come on, daddy sent me up here to get you for breakfast.”

    “Oh. Okay. I’ll just get dressed and I’ll be right down.” Rein said with a sort of sadness hidden in his face, which he quickly covered up with another smile. Eric didn’t seem to notice and then he nodded and ran off down the hall. “Okay, Eevee, chow time.” Rein changed into a simple white tee-shirt and shorts, scooped up his Eevee and took off down the hall; realizing just how starving he was and how he hoped that there would be bacon waiting for him at the table.

    The second Rein entered the dining room he had lost his appetite. Remembering the guilt that he felt over the attempted theft of Eric’s Charmander, and then again last night when he had been captured. He slowly pulled out a seat beside Eric at a long table. It looked as if it could sit thirty people easily; though there were only the four of them this morning. The dining room was themed red, a color that Rein had grown to dislike very much since it made him picture the Rocket ‘R’ that he had become so used to seeing everywhere. It wasn’t exactly the same red color, but it was close enough to make him uneasy. The focus point of the room was a silver chandelier that hung right above the center of the table; it was filled with red candles that weren’t currently lit. Rein guessed it was probably only lit up when there was a party or something of the sort.

    Rein settled down in the chair uneasily, he avoided making eye contact with the man sitting at the head of the table. “So, Rein, was it?” Rein nodded in agreement, “It’s good to have you with us at our table this morning. Did you sleep well?” Rein looked at the man properly for the first time to nod again. The man had a kind face, as Rein had noticed last night, there were laugh marks and crow’s feet on his face which meant that he liked to smile a lot. His blue-gray hair matched a very slight beard that Rein missed the night before. Now instead of a nightgown, the man was dressed very well, a white blazer over a black dress shirt, black slacks, and black formal shoes.

    The man’s wife was seated next to him, her strawberry-blonde hair was done up. She was wearing pearl earrings, and a black and white floral print dress. “We’re glad to have you with us, Rein,” She said with a smile, “You don’t have to look so nervous, we understand that you were only following orders last night.”

    The man nodded and hummed in agreement. “You can call us Mister and Misses Richfield,” He smiled again taking notice of the PokeMon that Rein was holding on his lap, “I see you’ve got an Eevee, do you do any battling?”

    “A little,” Rein said shyly, petting Eevee and still avoiding eye contact, “I’m not very good at it.”

    “Well, we can’t have that. Tell you what, after breakfast, I’ll take you out back to the arena and we’ll get some practice in. Would you like that? I used to be a trainer myself, back in the old days; I could help you do some training.” Mister Richfield gave Rein a reassuring smile, and Rein became a little more confident, allowing a smile to come to his face before nodding.

    “Do you have any other PokeMon?” Eric asked, speaking up for the first time since Rein had entered the room.

    “Yeah, I have an Oddish, but I left the PokeBall upstairs.” Rein looked toward the stairs thinking about the Oddish that had been given to him by Richard. He didn’t have anything against the PokeMon, just the person who had given it to him. He decided that he’d keep the Oddish; just because it had once belonged to Team Rocket didn’t make it any less his PokeMon. Now that he was free, so were his PokeMon. Both of them.

    “That’s all right, you can get it after breakfast and we can get some practice in with that little critter as well. I can see that your Eevee is very special to you, though.” Mister Richfield tapped his nose, “I’ve got quite a sense of the connection between a trainer and their PokeMon; there’s a special bond between you two.”

    “I saved her from…” Rein hesitated, he didn’t want to think about his parents. Not now. Not ever. The memory of what they had said to him about Alice; how they had tried to kill him, “Some bad people.”

    “I can see that you’re her hero for it.” Misses Richfield said, pointing at the Eevee. The Eevee looked incredibly happy just to be with Rein, making it evident to everyone in the room just who she cared about the most. Rein smiled and nodded at Misses Richfield.

    “I swore I’d protect her, and she helped keep me strong while I was with Team Rocket.”

    “So you looked out for each other, there’s no bond stronger than that, Rein. You’re Eevee and you will grow very strong, indeed. I’ll help you. But for now,” Mister Richfield said motioning toward the kitchen as servants brought in trays of food, “We eat!” Rein laughed along with Mister Richfield and the rest of the family, and then he began to dig in, finding his lost appetite again, and thanking the butler who placed his plate in front of him.

    --------------------------

    “Now then, Rein!” Mister Richfield bellowed from across the arena, standing before him was what one could only describe as a giant purple lizard covered in poisonous spikes. Rein pulled out the RocketDex, ignoring the fact that he had received it from Team Rocket, and looked up the data on the Nidoking while the trainer kept on talking, “Pay close attention, I won’t make you battle my friend here, but I’m going to show you a few things.”

    On the other side of the field Misses Richfield stood with a Beautifly, she looked very casual standing across from her husband with the PokeMon between them. “I bet you didn’t know that Misses Richfield is actually quite an accomplished trainer, as well, though she competed more in contests than tournaments. She can still give me a run for my money though!” He laughed, his wife smiled and nodded gracefully to her husband. “Uh-oh, she’s getting into her battling mindset. Better get pumped or she’ll get me good!” Mister Richfield stood smirking, getting very quiet and observing his opponent.

    “This is your first lesson, Rein.” He said solemnly, but with a smile, “You must learn to observe your opponent, even before the battle begins, you can learn a lot about their confidence and skill just in their body language. You can spy subtle changes in demeanor and facial expressions and know when to make your move. You don’t want to let them think you’re getting scared though, so be wary of your own demeanor as well, and remember to have a bit of fun with ‘em too. Hey, honey!” He called across the field, “Loser has to make dinner! We’ll give the servants a break tonight.” He said jokingly.

    Misses Richfield smiled and nodded before saying, “All right, dear, but when you lose you have to make whatever I want for dinner!”

    Mister Richfield laughed, “Deal! See that, Rein? She’s confident, which means that she must have skill, never go into a battle underestimating your opponent. The second you do, you’ve already lost.” Rein nodded, anxiously waiting the battle to start. “Of course, the skill of the PokeMon and the skill of its trainer are big parts of battle, but there is something even more important: the bond between a trainer and a PokeMon. If you are not bonded to your PokeMon, if you don’t have that connection your chances fall a great deal.”

    “Enough talk, sweetie, he won’t learn without seeing it firsthand! Beautifly, Stun Spore!” Misses Richfield shouted across the arena and the Bug-type sprang into action. Beautifly began fluttering its wings, flying above the field; a fine dust began to fall toward Nidoking.

    “Nidoking, use Dig to avoid the spores!” Mister Richfield called, quickly Nidoking began clawing the ground quickly, tearing up huge pieces of earth and burrowing beneath the ground in a second; avoiding the fine dust of Stun Spores. “Now, hit it with a Fire Punch.” Nidoking burst from the ground, up into the air toward the fluttering Bug-type, rearing its arm back with a flame encasing its clenched fist.

    “Stop it dead in its tracks with Whirlwind!” Misses Richfield called, the Beautifly reacted without hesitation, flapping its wings and creating a strong wind that even Rein could feel from the sidelines. Rein couldn’t believe that such a small Bug-type could blow back the huge Poison-Ground-type; but it happened, the Whirlwind was powerful enough to stop the Nidoking’s upward force and send it back to the ground. “Now follow up with a Mega Drain.”

    The Beautifly swooped down toward Nidoking, its long mouth extending and piercing into the hide of the Poison-Ground-type. Nidoking grunted, signifying that the attack had started draining its life force. “Nidoking, don’t let it continue the attack, Iron Tail!” Nidoking grabbed Beautifly’s long mouth, preventing it from flying away, and it swung its huge tail; hitting the Bug-type with a heavy hit and sending it flying across the field. “See, Rein? Use anything you have to your advantage. That attack got the Beautifly close to my Nidoking and I used that proximity to land an attack.” Rein nodded, watching Misses Richfield to see what her next move would be. Beautifly landed on the ground with a thug, and Mister Richfield followed up immediately, “Now, while it’s on the ground, Earthquake.”

    Nidoking jumped up, toward the Beautifly and landed on the ground, causing the earth to shake and tremble; ripples cutting through the ground. “Beautifly, Protect!” The Bug-type quickly surrounded itself in a bubble of energy; the earth ripped toward Beautifly, the protect held up and the Beautifly made it out unscathed. “Rein, no matter how hopeless a situation, never give up.” Misses Richfield said with a smile, “There is always a move to make. For instance, Solar Beam.” Beautifly’s protect faded, and it took to the sky again. It began drawing in energy, and its wings started to glow a brilliant white color as it drew the sunlight in.

    “Don’t let it finish drawing the energy in, Nidoking, hit it with a Megahorn!” Nidoking crouched down, preparing itself and then leapt up into the air, ready to ram Beautifly with the horn on its forehead. It was too late however; the Bug-type had finished drawing in the energy and released a beam of solar energy directly at the Nidoking. Nidoking couldn’t dodge and took the attack head on, plummeting back to the ground with a mighty crash. “Nidoking, are you all right?” Mister Richfield asked after the dust had settled from the impact. Nidoking stood up again ready to fight, though it looked a bit beat up and sluggish.

    “Hm, I’m feeling up for some pasta tonight, honey. With white sauce, preferably.” Misses Richfield teased, Mister Richfield laughed in response.

    “It’s not over yet, dear. Nidoking go in with another Fire Punch!” Nidoking clenched its fist again, the heat emanating from the flames around it was so powerful that Rein could feel the warmth. It won’t do any good if Nidoking can’t hit it, though, He thought trying to figure out how Mister Richfield intended to close the distance between the two PokeMon. “Mudslap!” The Nidoking threw a heavy kick, its claws digging into the earth and hurling it toward the Beautifly. Before Misses Richfield could react to the new attack, the upheaval of earth hit the Bug-type square in the face, before it had time to recover Nidoking was on the offensive again.

    This time, the Fire Punch hit its mark and sent Beautifly reeling through the air and grounded it with a heavy hit. The creature looked injured from the flames and didn’t appear to be getting up any time soon.

    “Beautifly, are you okay?” Misses Richfield bent down next to her injured PokeMon, “All right, you win. What do you want for dinner, you big meanie?” She smiled, showing that there were no hard feelings.

    “Good match, darling. And that’s all right, I’ll make you your pasta. With white sauce,” Mister Richfield smiled. “Well, Rein, did you learn anything?”

    Rein was in awe; that was the first time he had ever seen such an amazingly close match up close. “ Well, I learned that you shouldn’t underestimate your opponent, that a PokeMon’s skill and the skills of the trainer aren’t all that matters, you need a strong bond with your PokeMon and…”

    “No matter what happens, never give up hope.” Mister Richfield finished for him. “That can be applied to all parts of life, not just battling. When it didn’t look promising for my Nidoking, did I surrender? No, I kept pressing forward and come out on top because of it. I never gave up.” Mister Richfield walked over and kneeled next to Rein, “And you shouldn’t either. Things will get better for you; I’d say that they already have.” He smiled.

    “Thank you, Mister Richfield. For everything.” Rein smiled back at the man.

    “Anytime. Now, Rein, it’s your turn to battle.” Rein looked terrified for a second, Mister Richfield laughed, “No, not against me, against my boy Eric, over there.” Rein looked up and saw Eric already standing ready at one end of the arena. He was a bit younger than Rein, but with parents as talented as his, he was probably already a strong trainer. And Rein wasn’t about to underestimate him because of his age. Eric tossed out a PokeBall and a Charmander appeared out of the red light of the sphere. The one that Rein had tried to steal. “Are you and Eevee ready?” Rein looked at the Charmander and Eric, then to Mister Richfield and nodded with a confident smile.
    ----------------------------------

    “Napalm, Ember!” Eric ordered, the small Fire-type obeyed instantly, a small wisp of flames ran across the ground after a slight flick of Charmander’s tail toward Eevee. The flames weren’t very big, but they were flames none-the-less.

    “Eevee avoid and go on the offensive with Quick Attack!” Rein called out, ready to make the move as soon as he saw the Charmander moving its tail. Eevee leapt aside with a burst of speed, narrowly avoiding the small flames licking up at it from the ground. It closed the distance between itself and the Fire-type in an instant and it jumped at Napalm in a tackle.

    “Smokescreen and avoid it!” Immediately the Charmander’s mouth erupted in a plume of black smoke that covered the field, the Eevee connected with nothing and was completely lost within the haze. Rein couldn’t see his PokeMon, but that meant that Eric couldn’t see what was happening either. Neither of them were at an advantage, but their next calls were important ones to make, “Now use Ember again, but sweep your tail in a circle.” In the smoke, a heat could be felt, though it was faint. Napalm swept its tail round and sent another small burst of flames fluttering just above the ground.

    “Eevee jump up to avoid it.” At the top of the smoke that was now beginning to fade, Eevee jumped up and cleared out of the smoke, back into Rein’s field of vision. “Now come down on Charmander with a Headbutt!” Eevee turned to where the Charmander’s outline was visible in the thinning smoke and began the attack, Eric smirked confidently.

    “Hit it with a Heat Wave.” Eric said quickly, Napalm opened its mouth and exhaled, but nothing came out. At least, not at first glance, but then Rein noticed the ripples in the air. It was attacking with a nearly invisible burst of burning air.

    “Eevee forget the Headbutt, avoid the attack.” But it was too late, the Eevee didn’t have enough time to react before it was hit, the air didn’t have enough strength to knock it from the air, just enough to alter its course so that it didn’t hit Charmander, but it came down to the ground hard. It appeared to have been burned by the attack. “Eevee! Are you okay?” But before Rein had even finished asking his question, the Eevee pushed itself to stand back up, wincing in pain, but still ready to fight.

    “That’s one determined PokeMon…” Mister Richfield said half to himself from the sidelines where he watched the two children battle. “She’ll push herself to the limit for her trainer, despite the pain that she’s in.”

    “Eevee, if you can still fight, use Sand-Attack!” Eevee winced slightly, but obeyed, kicking up dust and rocks in the direction of Charmander. The Fire-type closed its eyes to avoid getting dirt in them, but it was an opening that Rein could use, “Bite!” Before Charmander had finished opening its eyes, Eevee was biting at it and it clamped down onto Napalm’s neck.

    “Scratch! Get it off of you, Napalm!” The Charmander scratched at Eevee with both sets of its small claws, until finally Eevee let go, “Headbutt, now, Napalm!” The Fire-type lowered its head and rushed in.

    “Take Down!” Rein called, trying to get an attack with more power behind it. The Eevee threw its whole body into the attack, connecting with Charmander and resulting in a direct hit for both PokeMon. Both the Normal-type and the Fire-type lay panting on the ground, but after a moment, Charmander was back up. It looked seriously weakened by the last ditch effort that Eevee had put in, but it was still able to fight. Eevee, on the other hand, was too exhausted to stand, though it tried to get up multiple times. “Eevee, it’s fine, don’t push yourself.” Rein came over to its side and scooped it up, hugging it close to him. “You did great, girl. I couldn’t have asked for more.” Rein looked so proud that, despite the fact that it lost, the Eevee couldn’t help but smile as it dozed off into a well deserved rest. “Great battle, Eric.” Rein said smiling.

    “You too, Rein.” Eric said with a grin before going and congratulating Napalm.

    “I’ll say that was a great battle, you gave my son a run for his money. I’m surprised; he’s been battling for a long time under my personal training. Of course, it helps when your PokeMon is ready to give so much effort on your behalf, eh?” Mister Richfield clapped Rein on the back. Rein smiled and nodded, thoroughly proud of his Eevee.

    “I couldn’t have asked for more from her, she’s a great friend.” Rein said proudly, looking at the sleeping Eevee.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if you could beat me with enough training, Rein.” Mister Richfield said, completely serious about Rein’s potential, “But, for now, let’s get that critter of yours rested up.” Rein nodded and followed Mister Richfield into the house.

    Rein couldn’t believe how amazing the man and his family were. For once, it seemed that things were going right for him, and he looked forward to many more happy days with the Richfield family. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t last long.

    --------------------------

    “I’m sorry, Lexi. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to get him back.” Jeremiah said, seemingly to no one, but he knew that Lexi was listening inside his head.

    “You can’t, Jeremiah. You’re the one who helped him escape in the first place. He’s free now, you can’t force him back into this hell.” Lexi said pleadingly to her brother.

    “You heard what Richard said, I do this, we’re together again. I can get us out of here.”

    “At what cost? I won’t sacrifice Rein so that we can be free. I don’t wish this terror on anyone else.”

    “I’m sorry, but you’re the most important thing right now. I have to protect you. I have to keep you safe. No matter the cost.” Jeremiah stared solemnly out of the window at the city stretching out before him, “Rein,” He whispered, “Forgive me.”
     
    #9 Chadwyck, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  10. WHEW! What a whirlwind! I totally just read the last five chapters back to back because I was so behind <<;

    Chad, I never seize to be amazed by your writing. I was drawn in from the start. Watching Rein get conditioned and then watching him steal Pokemon and force another innocent person into Team Rocket was heartbreaking...which then only made it sweeter when Jeremiah set him free. Of course that just makes the last section all the more powerful. Ironically enough, Jeremiah warned Rein that Richard would say anything to manipulate him and to not fall for it, but appears Jeremiah himself has fallen for it. Cliffhanger indeed...

    And btw, I really want to know what Richard's damage is...

    Awesome job, Chad ^^
     
  11. Woot! New Chappie!

    I guess I always knew that Jeremiah would try and take Rein back... after all, he loves his sister. Poor, poor Rein. If he gets taken back, he'll get hell in the form of Richard and the rest of the Rockets. Jeremiah will get guilt, and maybe even Lexi might be slighly mad... If Rein manages to get away, then the family he's staying with will get hell and Rein will be on his own.

    ...

    I think fate has a huge grudge against Rein... Either way, thumbs up!
     
  12. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    BlackAmber, that is spam. Don't just say it's awesome, say why it's awesome. This is an informal warning.
     
    #13 Sem, Jun 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  13. Chapter 10:

    “Sand Attack!” Eevee reacted instantly, kicking up the top most layer of dirt from the field, sending it into the eyes of the Fire-type that was her opponent, “Follow up with a Quick Attack while it’s disoriented!” Rein called out, he was resigned not to lose this time around. Eevee followed the order instantly, zigzagging her way up to the Charmander and plowing into the Fire-type in a tackle, causing the disoriented creature to stumble back from the attack. “No giving up, Bite!” He ordered, not wanting Eric to be able to get his PokeMon out of the attack.

    “Napalm, Overheat!” Eric commanded. The Charmander still hadn’t regained the ability to see without the sand hurting its eyes, so Eric issued the order for an attack that wouldn’t require a great deal of accuracy. Napalm tensed up for a moment, the flame on its tail growing vibrantly as flames shot out of its mouth like an explosion, knocking the small PokeMon back from the force of the attack. Eevee was hit as it came in to bite the Fire-type, knocking it back as well, clearly in pain from the flames that had come in contact with it. “Good, I’m sure you’re tired after that, so let’s finish it up with this next attack! Headbutt!”

    Head lowered, Napalm ran forward, attempting to finish the battle early on with a direct hit. “Not this time, Eric. Use Quick Attack to get around behind it.” Eevee leapt aside quickly, faster than the Charmander could change course, the Normal-type ran toward the Charmander’s back, “Now give it a Headbutt of your own.” Eevee flung itself head first into the Fire-type’s back, the contact was hard and Napalm fell to the ground.

    It quickly pushed itself back up, not ready to give up the fight. “Ember, Napalm!” With a swing of its tail, Charmander sent flames sprawling across the ground toward Eevee.

    “Jump to avoid it and go straight into Take Down.” Eevee was quick to action, leaping up over the flames set to engulf it on the ground, and then throwing its whole body into a downward attack toward the small Fire-type PokeMon beneath it. The attack hit with full force, knocking the Charmander to the ground once again, but sending Eevee rolling off on the ground as well; the impact causing some damage to the Normal-type as well.

    Both PokeMon stood up, they looked tired, but more than able to carry on. Both parties had been training hard since the last battle, and they were eager to show it. “Rein, we won’t let you win! We’ve been practicing, you have no chance!”

    “Not so fast, Eric, Eevee and I have been training too, we’ll show you a few new tricks we learned.” Rein said with a smile, “Eevee, Dig!” The fox-PokeMon wasted no time and within seconds it was burrowing its way underneath the Fire-type.

    “When did you learn that? It’s only been two days!” Eric shouted trying to figure out where the Eevee was, “Jump, Napalm!” He shouted as he saw the small brown PokeMon burst from beneath his PokeMon.

    “We perfected it yesterday, though it wasn’t easy. Eevee finally got the hang of it though. With some help from Mister Richfield. Now follow it up into the air and hit it was an Iron Tail!” Rein called to the Eevee, the momentum from bursting from underground carried the Eevee upwards toward the Fire-type. As she did, her tail began to glow. The Eevee swung its tail round, aiming to send the Charmander shooting down to the ground.

    “Well, dad helped me learn a new move too! Show ‘em, Napalm, Flare Blitz!” The Charmander’s tail flared and flames came out of its mouth until it had wrapped itself in a layer of fire. When Eevee attempted to connect with the Iron Tail, Napalm threw its weight forward, slamming into the Normal-type before her attack could be landed. Both PokeMon came crashing to ground, but slowly they stood ready to battle again. They were tired, but neither was willing to give up.

    “Nice attack, Eric, but it looks like Napalm took some damage from it too.” Rein commented, allowing both PokeMon to catch their breath.

    “Yeah, that’s the one problem with it, daddy said to use it only in an emergency. I knew that Napalm would take less damage from Flare Blitz than from the Iron Tail.” Eric responded, grateful for the small break in the battle so that he could plan his next attack.

    “Well that was a good call; Napalm may not have been able to get back up after my Eevee’s attack. Let’s see if I can still win this time, though. Eevee Dig one more time!” Rein ordered, Eevee clawed quickly at the ground before managing to submerge itself. “Will you risk jumping up to avoid it this time? Headbutt!” Eevee burst from the ground behind the Charmander, coming up at just the right angle to hit the Fire-type square in the back. Napalm was sprawled out on the ground in front of Eevee.

    “We aren’t out of this yet! Ember.” A quick swish of its tail and a small burst of flames was running along the ground at the Normal-type. The Eevee was too close to the origin of the fire to avoid it any way other than jumping straight up, “Now who’s the one stuck in the air? Fire Punch!” Charmander stood and clenched a clawed hand into a fist, in less than a second it leapt up, heat emanating from its fist.

    “Knock it away with another Iron Tail!” Eevee acted quickly, twisting quickly and swinging a tail aglow at the oncoming Fire-type. The small PokeMon managed to avoid the brunt of the Fire Punch and made solid contact with the Charmander. Napalm landed and immediately collapsed, too exhausted to continue the fight. Eevee landed squarely, also exhausted, but still able to continue the fight. “Yes! We did it!” Rein ran forward and scooped the Eevee into his arms, hugging the Normal-type and praising her for her efforts. “Good job, Eevee, you were amazing.” He grinned before looking up at Eric, “You were great too. I can’t believe I beat you for once.” He laughed; Eric smiled and knelt beside Napalm.

    “You finally got us, I guess you’ve been practicing really hard, huh, Rein?”

    “Yeah,” Rein nodded, “My sister and I always talked about becoming PokeMon trainers someday. But now I just want to find her.” Rein trailed off.

    “Does that mean that you’re going to leave, Rein?” Eric asked, he seemed really sad suddenly.

    “Not for a while, I don’t think. I’m having too much fun here with your family.” Rein said with a sad smile.

    “Good. It’s almost like,” Eric hesitated for a moment, “Like having a brother again.” He said with tears in his eyes. Rein didn’t know what to say.

    “Well, if I had a brother, I’d hope that he were half as cool as you are.” Rein smiled, Eric returned Napalm to his PokeBall and walked over with his hand outstretched to Rein, the PokeBall still sitting in it.

    “Here, I want you to hold onto Napalm for me. I think my brother would want that.”

    “I can’t take your PokeMon, Eric. Your brother entrusted him to you.”

    “I want you to take him. Please?” Eric pleaded.

    Rein shook his head slightly, “I can’t, I’m sorry. He’s a gift from your brother; it wouldn’t feel right if I took him away from his trainer.” Rein pushed the boy’s hand back toward him.

    Eric nodded and started running toward the house, “You’re a good friend, Rein.”

    “Hey, Eric,” Rein called before the boy ran off, “What was your brother’s name?”

    Eric turned back toward Rein with a sad smirk, “It was Matthew.” Without waiting for a reply, he ran off toward the house.

    Rein sat quietly staring at the city in the distance, petting his tired Eevee absentmindedly, the only thing between Saffron and them was an expanse of trees and the hill the mansion sat atop of. The city was so close, but it felt worlds away; the past few days spent with the Richfield family felt like a dream. Team Rocket wouldn’t need to look for him, Richard knew exactly where he was. He was lucky they hadn’t come for him yet, it had only been a few days, but it wasn’t safe for him to stay with the family much longer. He couldn’t put them in danger after all they had done for him.

    “Rein, my boy.” Mister Richfield said shaking Rein from his thoughts, the man took a seat beside Rein and his Eevee on the ground, “You’ve made a lot of progress in such a short amount of time,” He nodded toward the Eevee, “She’s become a lot stronger too. I think she’s reacting to your mood, you seem a lot happier, and she’s picking up on that too.”

    “I am happy, it’s like it’s not even real.” Rein said with a sigh, “But we can’t stay. You’re family is in danger, Team Rocket,” He paused looking at the building he knew was the Rocket headquarters, even from this far away, “They’ll come for me. They’ll never let me go.”

    “I knew you’d want to move on eventually, but it’s only been a few days, Rein.” Mister Richfield put his hand on Rein’s shoulder, “I know I’m not your father, but I still want to make sure you’re safe.”

    “Then you’re definitely not my dad.” Rein said to himself, “I’m really happy here,” he added, to Mister Richfield this time, “But I have to move on. I have to find my sister. And I have to keep you all safe.” Rein sighed, it killed him to admit that he couldn’t stay with the Richfields, they were like the family that he’d always wanted, and the only one missing was Alice.

    “All right, just stay with us a few more days so that we can train you a bit more. You’ll need it if you’re going to be searching the world for your sister.” Mister Richfield stood up and started walking toward the house, “Come with me, Rein, I have something to show you. A gift from my family to you.”

    Rein stood up and followed Mister Richfield into the house, Misses Richfield and Eric were waiting for them at the top of the stairs and they all went to Rein’s room. Sitting on the bed was an assortment of clothes, ranging from tee shirts, to sweatshirts, to coats, slacks, jeans, anything Rein could possibly need for traveling. There was a new pair of shoes, black and green high top trainers, and a backpack for storing it all. It was everything he could have ever imagined having for becoming a trainer. He walked in and looked at all the clothes, picking out the first outfit he would wear already.

    “We figured that you’d like to have your own clothes, rather than wearing hand-me-downs from our son.” Misses Richfield smiled, and then Mister Richfield reached into his pocket and pulled out something else.

    “This is the last thing we wanted to give you, even if you aren’t going to challenge the gyms. You’ll still need one of these if you’re going to be a traveling trainer.” He held out a trainer card, it had all been sorted out and it was an official PokeMon League ID.

    “I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much! It’s more than I could have ever asked for.” Rein took the trainer card and stared at it, it had all of his details: his full name, birth date, hair color, eye color, everything. He simply stared at the ID for a few seconds before running over and hugging Mister and Misses Richfield. “Thank you both, for everything you’ve done.”

    “It was our pleasure, Rein, now come on; we’ve got some more training to do.” Mister Richfield smiled as he led Rein back into the yard to work on his battling.

    As Rein walked down the steps, he thought he heard a familiar voice in his head, but it was quiet. The only thing it said was, “Watch out!” And then it faded away again. He thought that it was just his imagination, and without any hesitation he ran to the arena to work on his skills.

    ----------------------------------------

    That night, Rein was sitting in his bed, too excited to fall asleep. He packed his bag before dinner and it sat ready to go at a moment’s notice, everything fit inside perfectly, aside from the clothes that he decided to wear on the day of his departure. He had decided to stay with the Richfield family for a few more days, and while he was sad to be leaving at all, he was excited to start his adventure. He needed to find his sister, she was his top priority.

    Eevee paced the room, she seemed uneasy, but Rein just figured that she was excited as well. “Isn’t this amazing, Eevee?” He asked kneeling down on the ground and lifting the small PokeMon to his lap, “As soon as we find Alice, we’ll all start our journey together.” He smiled and looked at Eevee, “I couldn’t have done it without you; you kept me strong through everything. You gave me someone to protect, someone to stay strong for. Thank you.” Eevee smiled, her eyes tearing up. Rein chuckled, “Look at me getting all emotional, I just needed you to know you’re important to me. You’re my best friend.”

    Eevee’s head jerked toward the window, she ran over and peered through the glass just in time for them both to hear an alarm go off. Outside the window Rein could see an orange glow; flames licked the outside of the house, before even a second had passed since he realized the house was on fire, he was running toward Eric’s room. Once in the hallway, he could see the flames had spread quickly, as if the fire had started at multiple places in the house. “Eric! Where are you, we gotta get out!” When he got to the door to Eric’s room, he could see the door was charring on the outside. He was about to grab the handle when he felt the heat coming off of the metal. “No! Eric!” He shouted at the top of his lungs, he kicked the door repeatedly, but it wouldn’t give way.

    Finally Eevee started tugging at his pants, beckoning him to go back the way they came toward the stairs. Rein refused to leave, still kicking at the door, when he heard Mister and Misses Richfield shouting his name, along with the voice of Eric. “He’s alive.” Rein breathed, Eevee tugged at him again, more urgently. Rein started running toward his room. Just as he got a few feet from the door, the flames burst through, spreading to the walls and carpet, the heat and smoke disorienting.

    Rein didn’t wait a second longer before he sprinted back to his room, grabbed his backpack, scooped Eevee up into his arms, and ran down the stairs, fire licking and ebbing at the walls. He heard a crash from upstairs, part of the roof had caved in, and it was only worse downstairs. The amazing house that Rein had began to view as his home was almost unrecognizable through the flames and smoke. At the foot of the stairs the Richfield family was waiting. “Come on, Rein, we’ve got to get out of here!” Mister Richfield called over the roar of the flames. They ran toward the front door, but a burning mass of rubble blocked their path. “Come on, we’ve got to get out. The back is the only way that’ll be clear.” Mister Richfield ushered Rein and the rest toward the back, when a cracking noise echoed from above them.

    Rein was shoved from behind as a beam from the ceiling fell, along with burning plaster and other debris. Rein looked back at the burning rubble, clutching Eevee tightly to his chest and staring in horror as he listened for any sign of life. Suddenly he heard coughing, on the other side of the rubble, in a small pocket of clear space the family was still alive, “Rein! Get out, we’ll be alright! The fire brigade will be here any minute! Just get yourself to safety!”

    Rein was about to argue, but he looked at the PokeMon in his hands and knew that they had to save themselves. The family would be all right, they had to be. “I’ll go get help and come back! You’ll be okay, just hold on!” Rein ran as fast as he could, avoiding burning debris and staying beneath the smoke, his clothes reeked of smoke, but he made it to the back door. He threw open the door, and he saw PokeMon setting fire to the house, being ordered by men and women in black uniforms, blood red ‘R’s plastered on their clothes. “They didn’t.” Rein became angry, about to rush forward and attack the grunts when a hand caught his arm. He turned and before he knew it, he was face to face with Lexi.

    “Nice to see you too, Rein.” She pulled him toward the expanse of trees, the opposite direction of Saffron, “Come on, we have to move now, they’re looking for you.” They managed to get into the tree line before she let go of his arm.

    “Lexi, what are you doing here? How did you get away?” Rein asked, looking back at the burning house through the branches and leaves. No one seemed to notice them as they were all focusing on setting the house ablaze.

    “I didn’t, they brought Presto and I along to counter any other psychics they may have had. But I can’t just sit here and let this happen to you.” She sighed and looked around, “I’m sorry about that family, they didn’t deserve to get dragged into this. Richard has gone insane, but I’m here to help you.” There was a crunching of leaves and a rustle of bushes, Rein turned ready to fight, but saw instead Jeremiah. “And he is too.”

    “Rein, we’ve gotta get you out of here, Richard will not stop until he has you back in Team Rocket. I thought I could set you free, but I couldn’t. Now, we have to move, or Richard is going to find us.” Jeremiah grabbed Rein’s arm and led him through the forest, toward Lavendar town, the closest city to where they were that wasn’t Saffron. “We’re going through Lavendar town and then continuing south from there. Keep Eevee close, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Jeremiah said quietly as they entered a small clearing.

    “I do.” A voice called from the other end of the clearing, a voice that was only too familiar to the trio. “I’m disappointed in you, Jeremiah. It’s a good thing I foresaw this betrayal, otherwise you may have gotten away.” Richard stood with two guards, one on either side, “Though, I suppose I do have to thank you, Rein is here now, after all. I’ll make sure you’re death is quick. That’s the best I can offer a traitor.”

    “Rein, Lexi, run. I’ll protect you.” Jeremiah tossed a PokeBall into the air, his Typhlosion stood ready before him, Rein grabbed Lexi’s arm and pulled her away from the scene, running as fast as they can. “Flamethrower!” A stream of white hot flames erupted from the PokeMon’s mouth toward Richard. The monster of a man managed to side step the attack.

    “This shouldn’t take long, go after the brats.” Richard said casually to the two grunts as they walked off in the direction that Rein and Lexi. “Smart of you to tell them to run, but they won’t get far. Why didn’t you tell your PokeMon to attack my men?”

    “Easy: an Ekans strikes quickly, as soon as I take my eyes from you, you’ll make your move.” Jeremiah said, staring at the man with nothing but hatred.

    “See? I did teach you something after all, you can never trust anyone.” Richard reached into his pocket and drew a pistol, “Unfortunately I’m not looking for a PokeMon battle today,” He pulled the trigger multiple times and Typhlosion groaned in pain before slumping to the ground, fresh blood seeping from a bullet wounds scattered about in its chest. “Now it’s your turn.”

    “If I die here, at least my conscious is clear.” Jeremiah said with malice, staring through tears of frustration and sorrow at the corpse of his PokeMon, “Go to Hell, you bastard.”

    “After you.” The gun cracked again and Jeremiah fell back, his last breath escaping his lungs as he hit the ground.

    “Jeremiah,” Lexi breathed, feeling the sudden loss of her brother. She shook with anger.

    “Lexi, we’ve got to move, now!” Rein pulled her awake from her daze, his Eevee leaping out of his arms as he did so, “Eevee what are you—“ He looked up in time to see the small Normal-type facing off against a grunt who emerged from the trees.

    “Found you, now come along quietly.” The man grinned, holding a pistol toward the children. He heard the growling Eevee at his feet and turned his attention to it. “You want to die first, fine by me.”

    “No!” Rein screamed as he threw himself on top of Eevee, protecting her from the attack as the man pulled the trigger. The bullets didn’t meet their targets, instead meeting instead with what appeared to be a dome of darkness around the boy and his PokeMon. Inside the Protect there were several yellow glows. “E-Eevee?” He said in disbelief as in his arms was no longer an Eevee, but an Umbreon. Without a moment to lose, the Dark-type sent the dark dome expanding out in a Dark Pulse, sending the man flying back, unconscious.

    “Rein.” Lexi was awed, the connection between the boy and his Eevee was even stronger than the one between her and Presto.

    “Come on, Lexi, we need to keep moving.” Rein stared at the man that had been sent flying, Lunara standing beside him with her head held high, yellow rings aglow with energy. “Thank you for your help, Lunara.” The Umbreon looked up at her new name, Rein answered with a smile before looking very serious once more. They still had a long way to go before they were safe.
     
    #14 Chadwyck, Jun 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  14. Yay, new chapter ^^

    And what a ride that was. Rein went from living the good life to nearly being sucked back into Team Rocket yet again, but I'm really glad he escaped. It sucks what happened to the Richfields' house though and I'm certainly hoping they're all right. Awesome chapter Chad! It's always crazy how it draws me in like this
     
  15. I was just screaming at myself as I read through this: "WHY DIDN'T YOU READ THIS YET YOU FOOL >:C"

    Its really amazing stuff, what you have here, Chad :D

    Glad I finally read it - I love the bonds you're developing between everyone, its great to see. :)
     
  16. No! Jereimah! I hope that the Richfields will be alright, they're so kind it's almost unatural. Like Lon said, you're brilliant at writing relationships between people. There's so many different kinds of people, and that's what makes this story so good.
     
  17. OoC: I'm spoiling you guys lately with weekly chapters, srsly xP

    Chapter 11:

    Rein and Lexi continued on in near complete silence, the only sounds being their footsteps through the damp overgrowth and their heavier-than-average breathing. Rein and Lunara walked side-by-side the entire time, Lunara never allowing herself to fall more than a step behind Rein. They had escaped death together, Lunara had protected him with everything she had, and she would gladly do so again. However, whatever was bothering him now, not even she could protect him from.

    Lexi walked on in stunned silence, the loss of her brother like a hole torn in her chest. She wanted to just give up; there was no point in freedom if her brother was dead. Nothing in her wanted to carry on, but she wouldn’t let herself go back, not because she wanted to be free, but because Jeremiah had given his life so that she could be. To give up now would be an insult to his sacrifice. The one he made for both her and Rein alike.

    “I’m sorry, Lexi.” Rein finally muttered, he had been silent for so long that his sudden comment nearly shocked the girl; she jumped slightly when his voice broke the silence. “It’s all my fault. Everything is. If I had just given up and stayed in Team Rocket, Jeremiah would still be alive.”

    “Rein, everything that he did, he did to save us. Even letting himself be killed. He knew there was no way he’d survive, but he faced Richard for us. None of this is your fault. The real one to blame is Richard.” Lexi said his name with such hatred that it was almost palpable in the air. The easy going girl who refused to show her emotions was gone; Richard had stolen the one thing she treasured most.

    Rein tensed at the mention of the man’s name, as if speaking it would summon the monster from the shadows. He shook with rage, almost wishing that the man would show up so that he could take his life. He didn’t know how he’d do so, but he’d find a way. “That monster is responsible for everything. He took everything I ever cared about away from me.” Rein whispered, he didn’t sound as angry as he intended. Deep down he was still just a scared child, mourning the loss of one of the only people who ever cared about him. He sounded on the brink of tears.

    “That isn’t the only thing that’s bothering you, is it, Rein?” Lexi asked, placing her hand on his shoulder and causing him to stop walking. They stood still in the eerily quiet forest.

    “I’m fine.” Rein lied, he knew now wasn’t the time to be worrying or facing his regrets. They still weren’t safe; it was too dangerous to stop now.

    “Rein, I can read minds. I know that you’re dealing with something, just talk to me.” Lexi gave Rein a hug. It was strange, they had only ever met once before, but Lexi had spent so much time inside Rein’s head that she probably knew him better than he knew himself. She knew how broken and hurt he really was, despite how badly he wanted to be brave. “You aren’t alone here, Rein. Presto and I are here too, and Lunara won’t let you go through anything alone either.”

    “The Richfields could be dead, Lexi, and that’d be all my fault too. Their house is burning down around them, and I promised I get help. They’ve done so much for me, and I repaid them by putting them all in danger.” Rein couldn’t fight back the tears any more, they streamed down his face.

    “They knew the risks when they took you in, Rein. They wanted to help you.”

    “So that makes it okay that they could be dead at this very second?” Rein snapped, not at Lexi, but at himself. “Richard could have killed them all just because he felt like doing it! He could kill everyone that has ever come in contact with me, and I don’t even know why he would. What’s so special about me!?” He shouted at the top of his lungs, breaking free from Lexi’s embrace and falling to his knees. “I don’t know why this is happening to me.” He sobbed.

    “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time, Rein. That’s the honest truth. Richard thought he saw some underlying potential to help him claw his way to more power in Team Rocket, and he acted on it.” Lexi sighed, feeling sorry and a bit guilty for the predicament that Rein found himself in. “All those years ago, when he found me, I wasn’t able to do the things I can now. I’d ever read another person’s mind before. But Richard saw that I had the ability, and through horrible training, I became a psychic of the power I have now. Presto and I must always go everywhere together because our psychic powers balance each other out, without me, he’d die. And I’d die without him. Thanks to Richard, I’m bonded to my PokeMon for life. All because of the potential that Richard saw in me. All because he thought he could use me.”

    Lexi kneeled down beside Rein and helped him back to his feet. “He asked me to look into your mind and see what I could see, and I found a potential lying in you too. Not to be a psychic, but to be a great trainer. The kind who goes on to win tournaments, who may even go on to become one of the Elite Four. That’s the potential within you, and Richard wants it for himself. That’s why he wants you; why he won’t give up. I’m sorry; part of it was my fault.”

    “No.” Rein said, looking up from the ground and wiping away his tears, “This is Richard’s fault, everything is Richard’s fault. And I don’t know when, but I will see him pay for what he did.” Rein clenched his fist, shaking with an anger that he had never felt before.

    “Rein, we’re almost free now, don’t let it get to you. The second you try to get even with him, you’ll be right where he wants you. Look at what happened to my brother…” Lexi turned around; the smoke was still rising from the Richfields’ house in the distance behind them. They still weren’t far enough away to be safe. “I hope they’re safe.” Lexi breathed. She didn’t know the Richfields, but she knew they were kind people. I can’t feel their minds. Please don’t let them be dead. It would break Rein’s heart. She prayed silently.

    She readjusted her backpack, the one containing her Abra, and trudged along after Rein and his Umbreon.

    “I just don’t know, Lunara. All of this is for nothing. Richard is insane.” Rein scratched his head, looking at his Umbreon’s perplexed look, “He could have just let it go, but instead he goes through all this trouble just to bring me back.”

    “It’s to protect his reputation with the leader of Team Rocket.” Lexi answered, “Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.

    “I thought that Richard was the leader of Team Rocket.” Rein replied, completely honest.

    “Not quite, he’s the leader of the branch operating in Saffron City. It’s definitely a high position, but there’s one person who’s in charge of all of Team Rocket. Naturally, Richard can’t appear weak to the boss, especially after being put in charge of Saffron, and if you and I escape, well, it just doesn’t look good for him.” Lexi replied. She seemed really tuned in to the inner workings of Team Rocket, Rein was about to question why when he remembered that Lexi could read minds. “Yup, that’s it.” She said in response to Rein’s thought.

    “You don’t have to do that, you know.” Rein muttered, “It’s not like I’m keeping any secrets.”

    “I know, I’m sorry. Here, let’s take a break. Just for a minute.” Lexi offered, taking a seat beneath one of the trees. She was getting pretty tired, walking through the forest was an exhausting pass time, especially when one’s life is at stake. That, and, she knew that Rein was barely holding up, a quick break would be good for him.

    “We should keep moving,” Rein replied, but seeing that Lexi was already seated, he removed his backpack and sat beside her. “Fine, just for a minute.” He started rummaging through his bag, wishing now that he had spent more time and put more thought into the packing of his bag. He was lacking food and basic toiletries, but at least he had clothes. He opened the front pocket, “What?” He asked aloud, stunned. Inside the front pocket of the bag was a wad of about three hundred PokeDollars and a small red and white sphere. Alongside the PokeBall and the money, there was a note.

    Rein, I know you didn’t want to take my brother’s PokeMon, but I want you to keep Napalm. I know you’ll be going away soon, to be a PokeMon trainer, so I want you to take him to keep you safe. It’ll be expensive living on the road, so I gave you the money I’d been saving from my allowance. Please come back and visit sometime, Rein, it was fun while you were here, even if it was only for a few days. From, Eric.

    Rein smirked; a tear rolled down his face and stained the small piece of paper in his hands. He looked back in the direction that he and Lexi had come. “You’d better be safe, Eric.” A few more tears rolled down his face as he started crying, clutching the Charmander’s PokeBall closer to him as he thought about the boy, “You all better be safe. Come on, Lexi. We’ve got to move.” He crumpled the piece of paper out of worry for the family, before stuffing it back into his bag and putting the Charmander’s PokeBall on his belt alongside the Oddish and the empty white ball with a black center.

    “Rein, we’ve got company.” Lexi just managed to say as a Rocket grunt burst from the bushes, a handgun raised at the boy. Lunara began growling, the man didn’t hesitate, keeping the weapon aimed at Rein’s chest.

    “If that PokeMon of yours even thinks about moving, I’ll shoot. You got that? Now, we’re all going back to Richard. Now.” The grunt said confidently, easy to be courageous when hiding behind a gun against unarmed opponents. Only, the gun didn’t stay in his possession for very long. It was ripped from his hands by some unseen force, suspending itself before Lexi’s extended hand.

    “Did you forget Rein had a psychic with him?” She mocked as she flung the gun away into the forest. The man turned back to Rein just in time to see a mass of dark energy flying towards him. The Shadow Ball hit the man back, the attack hit hard, and Rein wasn’t sure if the man would be getting back up. They didn’t stick around long enough to find out, sure that there were others in the area. It would only be a matter of time until they ran into even more grunts.

    “We don’t have much time,” Lexi said as she was pulled along behind Rein, who had grabbed her hand to lead her through the thicket in the direction of Lavendar town. “They’re right behind us; they’ll catch up any second.”

    “I know, I know.” Rein replied irritably, “There isn’t anything we can do about it, we just have to keep on running and—“ They pushed their way passed a tree branch and emerged, surrounded by three grunts. All of them had not only a pistol ready, but a PokeMon by their side. Rein didn’t need to use his RocketDex to recognize the PokeMon. One had a Houndour, another had a Zubat, and the last had a Raticate; none of them were too big of threats on their own, but added with the guns and their combined attacks, Rein and Lexi’s chances weren’t looking great.

    “Now we’ve got you. You’ve had a good run, but it’s time to come on home now kids. You don’t want to end up like poor, old Jeremiah now, do you?” One of the grunts, the one with the Houndour, said with an evil grin.

    “You don’t have the right to use his name!” Lexi shouted, the grunt grinned even broader, seeing the anger and pain that he had caused to rise in the girl. Rein caught her before she rushed forward.

    “Relax, Lexi, we need to come up with a plan.” He whispered just quiet enough to be inaudible to the Rocket goons. “Lunara, any chance you can buy us some time with a Protect?” He asked quietly, the Dark-type nodded in response and summoned the darkness in the area to surround the four of them. For the moment they were safe, but the Protect wouldn’t hold up for long.

    “What do you plan to do now?” Lexi asked, still angry at the grunt, staring at the spot she knew he was through the dome of black energy.

    “I don’t know, but we’d better figure it out fast.” Rein replied, wracking his brain for any such idea. There had to be a way out, there was no way that he was going back to Team Rocket. “I’d rather die than go back there.” He said defiantly.

    “Too bad a Dark Pulse won’t work on all of them at once. There wouldn’t be enough power behind it. At least, not until you and Lunara train some more.” Lexi said, still thinking of terrible things to do to the man that insulted her brother, but focusing more on getting away alive.

    “Unless we can skip all the training and just get the end results… Wait!” Rein exclaimed, then quietly to Lexi. “If you can go into Lunara’s mind, you can bring out that potential in her. It won’t be for good, but it’ll get us out of here, right?” Rein asked, then he explained his plan, “If you use your psychic abilities to give Lunara a boost in power, she’ll be able to knock these guys out. At least long enough for us to get away.”

    “Well, I guess it might work. It’s the best we’ve got to work with right now.” She knelt down beside Lunara and placed her hands on the Dark-types head. “Sorry about the hand placement, but I’m in a hurry,” Lexi apologized.

    “Just relax, Lunara, as soon as you feel a boost of energy, release it all in a Dark Pulse.” Rein knelt down and gave his PokeMon a thumb up, “I know you can do it.” He said encouragingly, Lunara nodded and waited for Lexi to go to work.

    It felt interesting, to be inside the mind of a PokeMon that had been through even more turmoil than its trainer had. The time spent in constant fear, locked away in the dark, just waiting for death at the hands of Rein’s parents; the scars that she carried from losing her family to the experiments. Lunara’s spirit had almost broken, she was just waiting to die, but all of that changed when Rein found his way into the lab. She didn’t trust him at first, but after seeing the effort and the pain that he endured for her sake, now she couldn’t imagine a life without the boy. He was her closest friend, and the only family that she had left. She would do anything for Rein, and that was where her potential lie.

    Lexi dug deep, past the days spent with Team Rocket, the fear that Lunara felt when she had seen Rein becoming some dark person, barely a shadow of the kind person that he was. But still obeying his every command because she never wanted to be apart from him. Past the relief that she felt when Rein returned to his former self. Past the determination to succeed for her trainer’s sake. Past the love that Lunara felt for Rein, the only person in the world she trusted with her life. Finally, Lexi found a center of energy, it hadn’t been tapped into yet, and without training it never would be. But just this once, Lunara would get a taste of what she was capable of. Lexi reached out with her mind and unblocked the flow, keeping the power flowing as she snapped back to the world, just in time to see the result of her intervention.

    Lunara’s eyes snapped open; she could feel fresh energy being drawn to her like a beacon. The normal red color of her eyes had disappeared, covered by a glowing blue energy that showed her raw power being controlled. The yellow rings and circles embedded at various spots in the creature’s fur began glowing more vibrantly than a lighthouse in the dead of night. As Lunara focused her power, all of the shadows seemed to creep toward the Protect, feeding the dome and creating a swirling mass of energy just waiting to explode.

    Lunara pushed the energy outward in a Dark Pulse that was more akin to an explosion than a wave of darkness. The energy shot outward, engulfing the Team Rocket grunts and their PokeMon alike; before they had a moment to react they had been swept away like they were nothing. The enemies were scattered about them, blown back several feet by the force of the attack, Rein couldn’t tell if they were unconscious or dead, but at the moment he didn’t rightly care.

    “Lunara, you did it!” Rein laughed happily; his plan had actually worked, “We couldn’t have done that without you, Lexi, both of you saved our lives.” Rein hugged Lexi and then happily kneeled down and embraced his exhausted PokeMon. “You deserve a rest, girl.” He said happily as he returned her to her PokeBall; the Dark-type was too tired to refuse.

    “Too bad that PokeMon of yours is too exhausted to do anything else.” Richard stepped into the view; he was less than ten feet away from them now. He had been waiting the whole time, “Honestly,” He began proudly, “I thought that I taught you better than that. Using the same trick twice, it was far too easy to predict your actions. Now, you have no choice but to come back with me.” Richard stood like he was facing completely defenseless opponents, his weapon was in his hand, but he let the limb hang loosely at his side.

    “Rein,” Lexi said slipping her backpack off, the suddenly separation from the trainer disrupting the constant slumber of the Abra. “Hold onto this, and don’t let go. Presto will get you out of here.” She stared at Richard waiting for him to strike.

    “What about you? I won’t leave you here, Lexi; I’m not losing another friend.” Rein argued, holding the backpack limply by the top handle.

    “Presto isn’t strong enough to teleport us both, and I’m exhausted from helping Lunara with the Dark Pulse. Please,” She paused, taking her eyes off of Richard and looking Rein square in the eyes, “At least you can still get away.”

    “No, you teleport away,” You said about to hand the backpack back to her, “I’ll stay—“ He was cut off as it suddenly felt like his entire reality was flipped inside out. He wasn’t sure which way was up or down, and before he knew it he was crashing to the ground. He opened his eyes groggily and saw a sign post directly in front of him, it read: VERMILION CITY. “Lexi!” He shouted, turning around and looking for the girl and the monster, neither were anywhere in sight. “Presto, take us back! You have to take us back right now!” Rein demanded, but the creature’s labored breathing showed that it was in no position to teleport again. “No, this isn’t happening, not again. I won’t!” Rein fell to the ground, holding the PokeMon close to him and punching the ground as hard as he could; cutting his knuckles on the cement as he did so. “A PokeMon Center, we need a Center.” He said as he picked the backpack up from the ground.

    ---------------------------------

    “You. Little. Bitch.” Richard spat, “Where is he? Where did that PokeMon take him?” He demanded, losing the look of someone who had won and replacing it with pure malicious intent.

    “Sorry, boss, but I’m afraid I don’t know where Rein is at the minute.” She smiled, “Doesn’t that just piss you off?” She asked sarcastically.

    “Tell me now, or I’ll—“

    “What? You’ll shoot me? Kill me? Go ahead. I’m not afraid of you anymore,” Lexi held her head up high in defiance. She closed her eyes and looked like she was concentrating on something, her mouth was moving but the words were inaudible. After a few seconds she opened her eyes again, Richard hardly noticed that any of it happened.

    “Well, that’s a shame.” He sighed. Without warning he raised his arm and fired through Lexi’s leg, she cried out in pain as the limb gave out from beneath her. “Oh quiet, it’ll be over soon enough.” He stood over the girl holding the gun steady at her head, “Were you expecting me to take you back to Saffron? Sorry, I don’t work with traitors. Say hello to your bastard of a brother when you see him.” He pulled the trigger and Lexi was gone, another life hanging over Richard’s head. Adding even more blood to his monstrous hands. “Rein, I will find you. I’ll never stop hunting you; no one betrays me and lives to tell about it.

    “Well,” He grimaced at the body before him before turning and walking back the way he had come, “At the very least no one can say no good came from this. I did reunite a lost girl with her brother.” He grinned as he disappeared into the trees again.

    ---------------------------------

    “Just hang on, Presto, you’ll be okay. We’ll get you some help. You won’t…” Rein was sobbing; everything was falling apart around him. The PokeMon went limp in his arms, and he knew what that meant. Presto and Lexi were bound, one with the other. Presto’s death meant that Lexi was gone. “Lexi.” Rein breathed, he just wanted to give up and collapse, but he managed to make it into the PokeMon Center. He was a mess, sobbing and holding the deceased Abra in his arms, before he knew what was happening he was surrounded by medical staff. “I need help.” He heard himself say, though the fact was obvious.

    Presto was taken away from him into the back, the nurse promised that they would do everything that they could to save him, but Rein knew that it was too late.

    As for him, despite the fact that it was a PokeMon Center, they took him into the back and let him rest while they checked to make sure that he was all right. After a few basic tests they concluded that he wasn’t injured, but Rein stayed silent the entire time, unable to comprehend the events of the night.

    “Rein,” The nurse said looking at his trainer card, “There’s a room ready upstairs for you, you should get some rest. It looks like you’ve had a hard time.”

    Rein took his trainer card back from the kind lady; he muttered a thank you and walked up the stairs to the room that they had assigned for him. It was a basic room, not much glamour or luxury to be found. There was a queen sized bed and a TV, a dresser for trainers staying for a few days, and simple white carpeting with red curtains drawn closed over the window.

    He released Lunara before collapsing on the bed, Lunara curling up beside him and doing everything she could to comfort her trainer. Rein held the Dark-type close, burrowing his face in her fur and before long he had cried himself to sleep.
     
  18. ...Wow. With every chapter I get more and more amazed. I feel so bad for Rein because he's gone through so much--losing the Richfields (not sure if they're dead but still), Jeremiah, Lexi, Presto...I'm really interested to see how he recovered from this. Richard is just evil, but he's really complex. I foresee an epic climax involving a showdown between Richard and Rein. As usual, excellent chapter ♥ Definitely one of my favorite fics ever ^^
     
  19. Amazing. I just reread all of the chapters and there's only one thing I can Say. Amazing. Keep up the good work!
     
  20. The tension is building! You kill too many of your characters, seriously. Lexi's death was sad :'(
     
    #21 Weeds, Jul 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  21. OoC: Sorry if this chapter is a bit off to you guys, I proofread it, but I may have overlooked some super obvious things. That's just a curse of mine, really ^^;

    Chapter 12:

    “Rein, help me!” Lexi shouted; Richard loomed over her with a pistol aimed directly at her heart. She looked so scared, so helpless. Rein ran forward, screaming out in his frustration, refusing to let himself be afraid of the monster before him. “I don’t want to die, Rein… please.” She was crying. Rein wouldn’t let himself lose her, he wouldn’t let himself be alone.

    “Lexi! I’m coming, don’t worry!” He shouted, Lexi extended her hand toward him, begging for his help, she needed him. He couldn’t let her down. “Lexi!” He shouted again, no matter how hard he ran he wasn’t getting any closer to her, he couldn’t save her. Richard grinned before he pulled the trigger, Lexi’s eyes glazed over and then the scene shifted immediately.

    Jeremiah was standing defiantly before Richard, his head was held high unafraid, Rein admired his courage in the face of certain death. “Rein,” Jeremiah said without turning around, whether or not Jeremiah knew he was there was uncertain, “You need to run, just get away. Don’t worry about me. My time is up.” Jeremiah turned around, looking directly at Rein with a smile, but the rest of his face looked decrepit, like a mummy; then it shifted into Richard’s face, only his teeth were jagged and his eyes were blood red.

    “What’s wrong, boy? You afraid of me?” The creature laughed, the voice was both clearly Richard’s and nothing like his. “You think that you can run away from me forever? Go ahead and try, I’ll catch up to you eventually.” The face’s mouth opened wide and he swallowed Rein, enveloping him in darkness that was deep and limitless.

    Rein bolted awake, sitting up immediately and breathing heavily. He had broken into a cold sweat; he turned his head and saw Lunara sitting beside him, vigilantly watching over her trainer. “You won’t let anything happen to me, will you, Lunara?” Rein slowed his breathing down, hugging his PokeMon tightly, “It felt so real.” He sighed, remembering the monstrous face, but it was nothing compared to the loss of his friends. “I should have stopped him. I could have saved them.” A solitary tear drop rolled down his face again.

    He stood up and went to the window of his room, looking out at the night sky. It was getting light outside, though he had only been asleep for two or three hours, it was the dead of night now. Downstairs he knew that the Center was still open, ready to take in any trainers whose PokeMon were in need of medical attention. Rein remembered the PokeMon Center in Saffron, the one that Jeremiah had taken him to on their first mission together. The first time that Rein felt that there was more to Jeremiah than the Rocket grunt he saw before him.

    Rein never would have thought from that first day out together that Jeremiah would end up giving his life for Rein’s. If he had known from the beginning, would he have let himself grow attached to Jeremiah? Or would he just accept his fate?

    “Why was I the one to survive?” Rein asked no one in particular; maybe he was just asking himself. “Why did anyone have to die because of me?” He felt so guilty for the deaths of Jeremiah and Lexi. It had been all his fault. “If I just went back to Team Rocket, none of this would have happened.” He clenched his fists, angry with himself. Finally, with one last glance out at the moon, he went over and slumped himself back into his bed. Lunara curled up next to him on the bed. Rein was terrified of what the morning held, he had no idea where he would go or what he would do, but exhaustion took control of him once again and despite the worries and fear on his mind, he drifted off into sleep once more.

    -------------------------------------

    Rein didn’t suffer from any nightmares, sleeping a dreamless sleep that only complete exhaustion could bring on; it felt like it had been days since he had last closed his eyes. Enough had happened in the course of only a few hours the previous night to drain Rein of every ounce of strength, especially after his adrenaline wore off.

    He woke up at the first sign of sunlight, immediately after the sun had risen. It was a cool, crisp morning and the dew still clung to the windows and grass. Rein woke up on a new day, but the problems from the night before only weighed even heavier on his heart. He reluctantly crawled out of bed, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to force himself to sleep any longer, his mind already racing, bringing up images of the night before. Everywhere he looked, he saw Richard’s grin, or his friends’ frightened expressions. He couldn’t stand it, it was too painful.

    He pulled on a new pair of clothes, a simple green t-shirt and jeans, and clipped his PokeBalls to his belt, and slinging his backpack over his shoulders. “Guess we’d better get a move on, Lunara,” Rein sighed, opening the door to his room and waiting for Lunara to step out into the hall before him. “I’m not sure where we’ll go, but we’ll find somewhere that’s safe from Team Rocket.” They worked their way along the hallway, Rein didn’t remember there being so many rooms when he first came upstairs last night, but he didn’t remember much about the night after Presto’s death, from that point on it was all just a blur.

    He walked down the stairs and was met by the nurse and a police officer, both of them looked like they weren’t sure what to say. They knew that it was a delicate situation. “Hey, Rein,” The nurse said with a soft smile, Lunara stared at them cautiously, but she decided that they were trustworthy; they didn’t have the Team Rocket ‘R’ anywhere on their uniforms. “Are you all right?” She asked after looking him over real quick.

    “About as all right as I could be,” He replied, staring at the floor, “Presto?” He asked hesitantly, as if reluctant to show any sign of hope that he may still possess. Nurse Joy, as her nametag said, looked away slightly, biting her lower lip and shaking her head lightly.

    “I’m sorry, sweetie.” She said softly.

    “Rein,” The police officer began, she knelt down beside him and put a hand on his shoulder, “Could you tell me what happened last night?” She asked politely, but Rein knew that she needed to know what had happened, everything.

    “Sure.” Rein said solemnly, the officer led him over to one of the benches lining the glass at the front of the Center.

    “So, Rein, you look like you’ve had it pretty rough, what exactly happened last night?”

    Rein sighed, he was hoping he wouldn’t have to live the details of the night over again; it was bad enough that random details from the night had been playing through his head all night and since he woke up. “I was staying with a family outside of Saffron City.” Suddenly Rein remembered something, and he couldn’t help but ask, “The Richfields!” He exclaimed, “Are they all right? Please, you have to tell me! Their house was burned down last night because of Team Rocket!”

    “The Richfields?” The officer asked, she looked up at the ceiling trying to remember, “Outside of Saffron, that fire was because of Team Rocket?” She asked, then she remembered Rein had asked her a question, “The family is fine, the fire brigade showed up and put the fire out before the house could burn down entirely, but there was no sign of Team Rocket when anyone arrived at the scene.”

    Rein didn’t answer immediately; he was too overwhelmed by the good news. The Richfields were all right. They hadn’t become a casualty of Richard’s vendetta against Rein. They were alive. Rein almost couldn’t believe it; finally he had received some good news.

    “We can take you to see them if you’d like,” The nice police officer said after she noticed Rein’s expression change. It took him a moment to register what she had said, but when he did he just shook his head with a slight smirk and stared at the ground in front of him.

    “No,” He said weakly, trying to assure himself that what he was about to say was the right thing to do, “No, I don’t think it’d be safe for them. Team Rocket will leave them alone now that I’m gone.” He said sadly. Then, looking up from the floor, he met her eyes and said, “Team Rocket started the fire at the Richfields’ house last night.”

    The officer took a second to realize that he had started talking about the events of the prior night again, then she pulled out a notebook and jotted down what he had said, “When police and firefighters arrived at the scene, there was no sign of Team Rocket. Do you know where they went to, or why they started the fire in the first place?” She asked holding the pen at the ready to write whatever Rein’s answer was.

    Rein hesitated, he didn’t know how to answer because he didn’t fully understand it himself, finally he answered, “They were after me.” The officer turned her head slightly, about to ask what he meant, probably, but he continued before she had the chance, “They knew that I was staying at the Richfields’ house, and they wanted to get me back. They kidnapped me, and made me join them. I finally got away thanks to my friends, but they found me anyway. And now…” He paused, fresh tears rolling down his face.

    “How did you end up here with that Abra?” The officer asked, trying not to sound urgent, but she did need to know the details.

    “He teleported me here because his trainer told him to. And now they’re both dead. Team Rocket has taken everything away from me. They made me join them, and I made friends who made it seem okay, and now… Now they’re gone.”

    Rein looked up and out the window, and there in broad daylight… it was Richard. He was standing across the street, on the corner of the road beneath the road sign. He was grinning as always, and Rein thought that he was daydreaming, until Richard tossed PokeBall up into the air, the emerging PokeMon was one that Rein had never seen before; but it looked to exude power, the type of PokeMon Richard would be drawn to. Without explaining what he was doing or why, he dug through his bag and pulled out the RocketDex. “He’s here, look right out there. The man in the suit!” Rein yelled at the police officer while flipping open the device in his hands, the officer had no idea what he was talking about. “An Aggron,” Rein half growled after looking up the creature in the ‘Dex. The Steel/Rock type bent over and dug its claws into the soil at Richard’s command.

    “Who’s outside? Rein, just calm down, what are you talking about?” The officer tried to place a hand on Rein’s shoulder, but he grabbed it instead and yanked her away from the window; just before a massive piece of earth crashed through the glass in an ear shattering explosion. The front of the Center was a destroyed mess; and now the sounds of the outside drifted in effortlessly, carrying Richard’s voice with it.

    “Rein!” He shouted, his usually calm demeanor of a man who was always on top was gone, he was completely enraged. “I know you’re in there, now come out! I’ve had enough of these games, you little brat. Come here. Now.”

    Rein had been found again, earlier than he expected. Richard had given up on secrecy; he was attacking in broad daylight and at a PokeMon Center no less. He’d gone completely insane; he no longer cared about remaining anonymous and handling the situation with care. No. Rein had given him far too much trouble for that. “I said now!” He yelled again, “You little bastard, don’t make me come in after you. You wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt.” Rein knew that Richard would follow through on his threat.

    “Rein, you need to get away.” The police officer said through pained breaths, for the first time since the boulder had destroyed the front of the Center, Rein realized that the police officer had been hit by stray debris. Her leg was broken, meaning she couldn’t stand let alone help with the situation. Rein dared to glance around the corner, out of the gaping hole in the wall, and saw that Richard wasn’t alone, there were at least a dozen Team Rocket grunts holding back the crowd with their own PokeMon. Richard wanted this to be between him and Rein.

    “Richard!” Rein shouted around the corner, “You want me alive, I know you do.”

    “At the moment, I just want you silenced.” Richard responded darkly.

    “But you don’t want to kill me. You want me to come back with you.” Rein responded; he knew that Richard would rather take him back to Saffron. It would look better for him if he could get Rein back without killing him. Of course, killing him was still an option, but Rein just needed to buy some time or Richard would come barging into the Center, and no one inside would be safe from his Aggron. “I’ll come back with you, but only if you can do one thing.” Rein called, trying to sound as brave and confident as possible, “I’ll only come back with you if you beat me in a fair PokeMon battle!” Rein looked at Lunara, who had been sticking close to him in case she needed to act, and nodded.

    Richard laughed; there was no way that someone who was so confident in themselves would turn down a challenge. Not when it would make him appear weak. “That’s fine,” Richard cooed, the plastic grin still stretching across his face, “Come on out here so that I can beat you.”

    Rein stepped out from the wrecked building, he tried to cover his fear, but if one were to look closely they’d see him shaking all over. He thought about his friends; how badly he wanted revenge for what Richard had done. He was still scared, but on top of that was the desire to avenge his friends. That was something Richard didn’t have at least; he was only fighting for himself.

    “So, I see that you don’t have that Abra with you. Why is that? The poor thing not feeling too well?” Richard mocked, Rein wouldn’t give him the pleasure of replying, instead he simply stood on the other side of the road from Richard; waiting for the battle to begin. Lunara took her place between Rein and Richard; a slight breeze blowing through the streets of Vermilion, rustling clothes and hair lightly as it passed.

    It was silent, the crowd being kept under control by the armed Rocket Grunts watched in awe as the young boy stood defiantly against the man and his Aggron. “You know you can’t get away, Richard. The police will come.” Rein said, still trying to buy time until he actually had a plan.

    “I don’t see why they would; most of them are on Team Rocket payroll. We have bases in every major city in Kanto, Rein; we make sure that we avoid any unwanted contact with the police. Though, sadly, there are some who try to be heroes. The ones who stand against corruption, but, well, they never make it very far.” Richard was so sure of himself, so secure in his own power that he didn’t stop to think that something could go wrong. He was so sure that it wouldn’t. And, at the moment, no one had the power to prove otherwise. “Now, then, let’s get this over with. Rock Slide.” He commanded calmly, not letting himself raise his voice. In his mind, he’d already won.

    Aggron heaved up another large piece of the earth, asphalt from the street and all, and hurled it toward the Umbreon. Lunara didn’t dodge, she knew that there was a danger of it hitting Rein or the Center, instead she countered without even needing to wait for a command. All of the shadows cast by the early morning sun seemed to seep their way through the street instantaneously joining together into a ball that looked almost like a sphere of black ink. The Shadow Ball shot forward with enough force to shatter the boulder, but it only managed to make the attack smaller, and the multiple rocks hit Lunara in full force.

    “You’re PokeMon is more interested in protecting you and that PokeMon Center than it is about protecting itself. This will be over sooner than I thought.” Richard laughed a self glorifying laugh, he was practically applauding himself. “Iron Tail,” Richard said with a snap of his fingers. Aggron complied and rushed forward, its tail aglow with energy as it came toward Lunara.

    “Protect!” Rein shouted, again Lunara commanded the shadows in the area to her. This time, instead of forming together into a ball of darkness, they created a shield between her and the Iron Tail. The attack hit the wall of shadows with a metallic clang, “Dark Pulse!” Rein followed, the Aggron was too close to avoid the attack as the dome of darkness burst out from Lunara and knocked the Steel/Rock type back.

    “You do love that attack, don’t you? Too bad you’re a one trick Ponyta.” Richard sighed, “Ice Punch!” He shouted, smirking as he gave the command.

    “Lunara, stop its attack with another Protect!” Again, the dark dome surrounded the Dark type, but this time Richard was ready for it.

    “Brick Break!” He changed the command, and just before the Ice Punch would have connected, Aggron stopped and focused momentarily, then it unleashed an attack on the wall of shadow that sent the Protect spell flickering out of existence. Lunara looked dazed from her wall shattering, and Richard seized the opportunity, “Iron Head.” He said it with another toothy grin, Rein could only watch as the Steel type PokeMon lowered itself and delivered a bone shattering attack to his Umbreon. The dark type slid back several feet and lay on its side in pain, but she wasn’t about to give up.

    Lunara stood up, looking weak and dazed, but she was ready to continue the fight, “Are you sure you’re all right, Lunara?” Rein asked with voice full of concern. Lunara nodded without taking her eyes off of the Aggron. “Then use Confuse Ray!” The ring on Lunara’s head began to glow a vibrant yellow as a ball of orange-yellow light formed at the spot. The ball flew through the air and seemingly disappeared as it made contact with the monstrous PokeMon. Aggron’s eyes glazed over and it didn’t appear to know what it was doing. “Good, now use Faint Attack.” Rein commanded, the attack wouldn’t work as well in the light, but with the help of the confusion it would hopefully still prove effective.

    Lunara faded, or rather; she seemed to increase in speed. Without being in the darkness of night the illusion of disappearing into the shadows wouldn’t be complete. Still, Aggron wasn’t able to focus on any one thing and Lunara managed to land a hit from behind, causing the Steel/Rock type to stumble forward. “And Shadow Ball while it’s off guard!” Lunara summoned the darkness in the shade of all the shadows being cast by the sun. The attack formed and was hurled at the off balance Aggron, making a clean hit and sprawling the beast out on its face.

    “This is unacceptable, Aggron. Stand up, now, and use Earthquake!” Richard was beginning to lose his cool. Aggron shook its head and stood up, still a bit groggy, but aware of its surroundings once more. After all of that it didn’t look like it had taken much damage at all.

    The PokeMon stomped repeatedly on the ground, heavy stomping motions that caused the soil to shift and vibrate. It continued, the earth moving more and more beneath its feet, until finally the ground split in various places. It was rolling and folding, pieces of earth jutting out and sinking in, Lunara had no way of knowing where the attack was coming from until it was too late; a spire of rock shot up beneath her. When Lunara landed on the ground several feet away from him, he was terrified for a moment that she was gone. But then he noticed she was still breathing. Though now, she was no longer able to continue the fight. He returned her to her PokeBall, out of harm’s way.

    Rein reached down and grabbed another PokeBall off of his belt; he tossed it into the air and out of the red glow came a small blue PokeMon with green leaves atop its head. Rein was furious with Richard; he refused to lose this battle.

    “Oh, I see you still have the Oddish that I gave you. I’m glad to see that it’s been helpful for you. Unfortunately, you made a big mistake calling it out into this battle. Even if it is your last PokeMon. It would have been better to just surrender.” Richard snapped his fingers and Aggron’s mouth opened wide. It prepared to launch a Flamethrower at the small Grass-type PokeMon.

    “Grass Knot!” Rein shouted instinctively. Roots spread quickly through the soil, popping up from the ground and wrapping themselves around the Aggron’s legs as it stepped forward to release the flames from its mouth it tripped and crashed into the ground, “Now while it’s on the ground, Mega Drain!”

    The roots around the Aggron’s legs began to spread further along the PokeMon’s body, wrapping the creature in a series of intricate vines and roots that dug past the Steel/Rock-type’s rough skin and began draining away its life force. The PokeMon groaned in pain as the subtle attack began to drain its energy. Rein smiled, thinking that he had won, but Richard wasn’t about to let that happen.

    “Stone Edge!” Richard shouted, Aggron’s eyes snapped open and it focused its will into calling the next attack. It raised its head slightly and slammed it back into the ground, rocks rising up around it and cutting through the various vines and roots. Afterwards, the massive PokeMon stood and readied itself for the next attack. Without giving Rein time to think of a move, Richard called out, “Fire Blast.”

    Aggron reared back, its entire body seemed to be aglow with a pale orange light as the fire inside its body began to build up; coursing up toward its mouth ready to be spewed at the tiny Grass-type. “Oddish, move! Get away!” But it was too late, the Aggron lurched forward, its head thrusting forward with mouth agape; Oddish couldn’t avoid such a vast amount of flames and was hit with a burning hot wall of flames.

    Rein returned the creature to its PokeBall as Richard laughed manically in delight. “Well, Rein, that wasn’t even a challenge.” He sighed as the Aggron began lumbering back toward its trainer. “The contest is over, now come along quietly and we’ll get some treatment for your injured PokeMon.” Richard cracked his neck and walked forward, standing beside his Aggron.

    Rein hesitantly went for the last PokeBall on his belt. Aggron wouldn’t be effected greatly by what he was about to do, being part Rock, but he did have the element of surprise on his side; in addition to the PokeMon’s earlier injuries. Without another second in thought, he tossed the red and white sphere up into the air. Red light exploded from within and Napalm took form from the energy that was released. Momentarily surprised by his sudden situation, his mind was cleared as soon as he heard a voice he recognized, “Flamethrower!” Rein shouted immediately, Napalm seemed to instantly understand what was happening and released a stream of orange flames at the Steel/Rock type before him.

    Richard’s eyes went wide, caught off guard by the new addition to Rein’s team. He hadn’t been expecting another attack, and as the flames hit their target, they glanced off of Aggron’s body and reached out for a new target; Richard’s face. The Aggron bellowed out in pain and crumpled, its previous injuries proving to be too much in addition to the powerful stream of fire. Richard howled, flesh burning and blistering from the attack that had so suddenly licked at his flesh. “You shouldn’t step out onto the field before your opponent has conceded defeat, Richard.” Rein said with a self-satisfied smile.

    “Just keep smiling you little shit.” Richard scowled, holding the right side of his face. He reached into his coat with his free hand and produced another small sphere from within one of the interior pockets.

    Rein knew he couldn’t handle another of Richard’s PokeMon, he had no choice but to run. “Smokescreen!” Rein shouted. Once again Charmander’s mouth opened wide, only this time black smoke erupted from within his mouth. Rein took off running as fast as he could away from the fight, as he looked back, he saw a scene of chaos unfolding.

    There were bolts of lightning shooting out from the smoke cloud, the crowd panicked and started running about like a stampede, it didn’t matter because the Team Rocket grunts were focused on a different matter all together; a group of trainers were attacking the grunts with Electric-type PokeMon. Richard was nowhere to be seen. “Unfortunately he got away.” A voice said from in front of him, he turned just in time to see the camouflage uniform before he ran into the man at full speed. The man barely even moved. “But we taught those bastards not to mess with my town.”

    “Who are—“

    “Lieutenant Surge, boy. Remember it well.” The man smiled a self confident smile, a Raichu stood with its arms crossed at his side. “Where are you running of too?” The man asked crossing his arms to match his PokeMon.

    “I was just getting away from there, I need to get away.”

    “Away to where?”

    Rein hadn’t really thought about it before, but now that the man asked he realized that he had no idea where he was going. He couldn’t go back to the Richfields, not after what he’d put them through already, and he didn’t know anyone else. Then, he got an idea. “Hoenn.” He said looking up at the man.

    “Hoenn.” The man repeated with a smirk, “Here, consider it a gift for your bravery back there. You’ve got guts, kid, and I like that.” The man handed Rein a slip of paper and then walked calmly toward the fray that was now beginning to die down, most of Team Rocket had been chased away.

    Rein looked at what he’d been given, a ticket for the SS Anne, on its way to Hoenn in four hours. “How did he… know?” Rein asked, looking after the man as he walked away. Rein looked at Charmander and then decided to walk back to the Center. Thanks to Lieutenant Surge and his followers, Team Rocket had been run off, it was safe to check Lunara and Oddish out before boarding the ship.

    ------------------------------------

    “Lunara, careful!” Rein called as the Umbreon bounded around the bunk happily, “Nurse Joy said you needed plenty of rest to get better, so you need to relax. It was a close call back there.” Rein leaned back against the headboard of the bunk he’d been given on the SS Anne. It was a simple room, but it was well furnished. Two single beds and two dressers, a TV and a little refrigerator, it was a nice room; especially since it’d been free.

    He sighed contentedly; soon he’d be in Hoenn, the last place that he knew Alice had been. He’d find her; he had no doubt about that. But he didn’t know what he’d do after he found her; Lexi and Jeremiah haunted his thoughts. “What if something happens to her too?” He asked himself. He couldn’t stand to think about losing his sister again. Suddenly, he couldn’t help but smile. “Richard sure looked angry when Napalm burned his face,” Rein said, trying to lighten his own mood, but the fact that the man had disappeared before Lieutenant Surge could deal with him was disturbing. He was still out there somewhere. The thought didn’t make him feel much better.

    “I just wish that none of this had ever happened. No one would have died because of me.” Rein fell back onto his pillow, it was still early, and the ship hadn’t even begun sailing yet, but he was exhausted.

    Suddenly the door to the room creaked open and his roommate stepped in.
     
    #22 Chadwyck, Jul 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  22. You shame me with your discipline Chad XD

    Once again, great chapter ♥ I admit that I was totally worried about Rein challenging Richard for a battle, but now I'm more intrigued than ever...why IS Rein so important to Richard? Or maybe I'm just stupid and missed it. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing Rein's roommate. Here's hoping whoever it is turns out to be really cool XD
     
  23. Re: Journey through the Dark Cave

    "Hello again Rein," Richard smiled.

    OH MY GOD IT'S RICHARD! Or lieutenant Surge. Hoping for the latter, but the former would be pretty typical.

    Nice chapter. Just when we thought Rein was safe Richard appears and is all "Yo lil' kid I whop you ass!" Not really ^^; Still it was all exciting and stuffles. Can't wait to read more, as usual ;)
     
  24. Chapter 13:

    Standing in the doorway to the room was a boy who looked to be the same age as Alice. The boy was dressed very simply, in a pair of black and blue trainers, dark wash jeans and a blue t-shirt. He had a black hoodie that was zipped up about half way, which was the only reason Rein could see the color of the t-shirt beneath it, and his skin was a mixture of white and bronze. The boy’s most noticeable trait was his varying eye colors, one was a deep blue, but the other was pale. His hair was swept over to the side that the pale eye was on, and the fringe was a silvery gray.

    Rein was about to say hello, when he noticed a creature climb up onto the boy’s shoulder. It was a small purplish creature with a wicked looking grin; it reminded Rein of an imp. Its eyes were like diamonds and various gems in its skin. Something about its grin made Rein feel uneasy, he couldn’t help thinking of Richard’s plastic grin.

    “Oh,” the boy started as he walked in, stopping as he heard a growl come from the Umbreon on the bed. The Sableye on his shoulder grinned all the more in response, not against the idea of a fight. “Heya,” he continued, ignoring Sableye. “I’m your cabin-mate for the trip…”

    Rein stared at the grinning Sableye, a chill running down his spine as images of every time Richard’s wicked grin had burned itself into his memory. Lunara’s growling and the boy’s greeting shook him from his thoughts. He shook his head lightly and placed a hand on Lunara’s head, calming her down. “Uh,” Rein started stupidly, “Hey. Sorry about her, she’s a bit on edge lately.” Rein kept glancing back at the creature on the boy’s shoulder, feeling uneasy again. “I’m Rein.” He added quickly, getting up to shake the boy’s hand. Much to Lunara’s discomfort as she glared cautiously at the boy.

    “Hey,” the boy repeated, shaking Rein’s hand. “My name’s Sem.” Sem took in Rein’s reaction towards Sableye as well as his Umbreon’s discomfort. “This is Sableye,” he introduced the creature on his shoulder. “But he’s not usually allowed in doors,” he explained, though it was a lie – he didn’t want Sableye to cause any trouble. He brought out a black PokeBall with green spots and red middle. The purple imp was sucked into the ball by a black aura, though the grin never left his face.

    Rein tried to hide the shudder that went through his body at the disappearance of the creature as it still grinned. “This is Lunara,” Rein said as he walked back to his bed and sat down beside the PokeMon. She nodded toward Sem, but still kept her eyes on him. “Um, if she’s going to bother you, though, I can return her to her PokeBall.” He produced the white sphere with the black middle. He didn’t want to make the boy uncomfortable, Rein felt like he could trust the boy. At least, at first glance. Lunara didn’t seem too happy about it, she didn’t like going into the PokeBall, let alone leaving Rein by himself.

    “That’s ok,” Sem replied with a wave of his hand. “She seems pretty protective of you…” he commented, walking over to the other cot in the room and setting down his bag. He silently set out s few things, feeling a bit awkward at the silence that hung in the air. He wasn’t great at holding up conversation. “So… where are you headed?”

    Rein watched as the boy set a few items, “Yeah, she is. We’ve had a pretty bad couple of weeks.” Rein said absentmindedly, half to himself. Then he added, “I’m not really sure.” He said completely honest, he only knew that Alice had last been seen in Lilycove, “I’m looking for someone; she was last seen in Lilycove, so I guess I’ll start there.” Rein said sadly, looking out the window at the ocean. The day was clear, and Wingull and Pelipper could be seen circling in the sky above the water. “And I won’t stop until I find her.” He commented, lost in thought as he stared out at the sea.

    “Sorry to hear that,” the older boy replied, trying to read the boy’s face. He by no means came off as your everyday ten year old. “She must be close to you.” More silence followed, though Sem wasn’t sure if he should leave the boy be. “Yeah, I’m getting off at Slateport and then taking a boat to Pacifidlog, which is where I live. Though, that’s only an errand, after that I’m going back to Slateport and flying to Snowpoint in Sinnoh, which is where I also live…” Sem’s voice faded out, deciding that he was speaking too much.

    He laid out a few more things on his side of the room before turning again to Rein. “I’m heading out to get some food, maybe catch a battle.” He walked to the door, opening it again before pausing. “You’re welcome to join me.”

    Rein certainly didn’t want to stay cooped up in the room, while it was nice, it reminded him too much of being back in Saffron; locked away in his room until he could prove useful. He looked at his injured Lunara, “We might as well,” He said to Sem while looking at Lunara. The Umbreon didn’t look very happy about it, but Rein gave her a reassuring pat on the head, “You stay here. Nurse Joy told you to rest.” Rein smiled at the PokeMon and nodded, “I’ll be fine.”

    Rein stood up and went out the door with Sem, “She’s been injured in… a battle.” Rein hesitated, hesitant to disclose his run in with Team Rocket, not wanting to relive the encounter either as it had happened four hours prior, “So, she needs to relax.”

    There was a loud horn as the ship shoved off to begin the four day journey to Hoenn; Rein was a bit hesitant about catching a battle. Over the last twenty-four hours, it had a bit of a negative meaning. Despite the fact that Rein was staying with the Richfields only twenty-four hours ago, he hardly remembered how it felt to battle for fun; not for life. “So,” Rein said as they were on their way to one of the ship’s restaurants, “Why were you in Kanto?” He asked, trying to make conversation.

    “Another errand,” Sem said with a light chuckle. “Well, that’s what it was originally…” he said. “Situation turned kind of bad when I met someone. He wasn’t the problem, but he was part of it,” Sem sighed. Rein wasn’t the only one who had had a rough time recently. “Anyway, I do a lot of stuff for my parents – they’re researchers. They focus on a lot on artificial Pokémon, like Magnemite and… Porygon,” he added with distaste in his voice. “They’re also interested in archeology and paleontology, so they study fossil remains of ancient Pokémon as well as old ruins. They’re fascinated with the Unown, if you know what those are.”

    By now they had arrived at the restaurant, which was quite nice, the nicest of the ones on board. “Want some?” Sem asked, “My treat.”

    Rein felt slightly uncomfortable, the restaurant looked really nice. He knew that he probably wouldn’t be able to afford paying for himself, all he had was the three hundred PokeDollars that Eric had given him, he couldn’t help but smirk when he remembered hearing that the Richfields had survived the fire. He looked at Sem and nodded reluctantly, “As long as you don’t mind, I may just have something small.”

    “That’s fine, but don’t hesitate to order a bigger meal,” Sem replied. He wouldn’t push it upon the younger boy to order more, since if the roles were reversed Sem wouldn’t order much either.

    “Thanks a lot,” Rein nodded. He was still slightly uncomfortable with the idea of Sem paying for his meal, they hardly knew each other. But it wasn’t just that, it was the fact that Sem was so nice; and Rein didn’t have good experiences with nice people: something bad tended to happen. Rein hoped that this time it would be different; he was on his way to finding his sister. In a way he felt like he was running away, but he knew that finding Alice was the most important thing; Richard could rot away for all Rein cared. He would have liked to get revenge for Lexi and Jeremiah, but he didn’t know how he could ever do so.

    Inside the restaurant the lighting was really low, as it was in most fancy restaurants. There were elaborate chandeliers that hardly gave off any light, and candles set on all the tables. Most of the people were dressed in nice clothes: suits, dresses, and the like. It made Rein feel a bit self conscious in his jeans and a t-shirt, but luckily Sem was dressed similarly, so he felt a bit more comfortable about it.

    They were shown to their table quickly, as there were many open tables; the restaurant was large enough to seat hundreds, and many of the passengers were out doing other things that the cruise ship had to offer. The waiter handed them both menus and poured glasses of water for both of them before disappearing to wait on other tables. Rein sipped his water nervously. “Your parents ask you to run errands for them?” Rein asked, “Do your parents…” Rein stopped himself from finishing the sentence, “That’s cool.” He said instead, “What kind of stuff do you do?”

    “I, uh,,,” Sem started, stopping for a moment at Rein’s unfinished question about his parents. “Just run errands for them mostly. I’m a PokeMon trainer, so if my parents need something and I’m in the area I go and get what they need, which could be anything. But, it’s always something they need for their research, be it an artifact or data or new scalpels for their mad experiments,” Sem chuckled before taking a sip of water.

    Rein didn’t think that Sem was serious, but he still didn’t find the joke amusing. Images of his parents’ lab flashed briefly into his mind before he forced them from his mind. He tried to force a chuckle, which sounded a bit artificial, but hopefully Sem wouldn’t notice.

    “That’s awesome,” Rein said a little under enthused, though he really did find it interesting, “I’ve always wanted to be a trainer. My sister and I were going to become trainers and travel the world on my tenth birthday, but it didn’t happen that way.” He produced his trainer card and showed it to Sem, “But I did get registered as a trainer thanks to a family I was staying with until last night.” He paused, it was hard to think about being a trainer when so much had happened. “So you’ve been around the world?”

    “Yeah, though it helps when you live in two different parts of the world,” Sem explained. He figured out then that Rein’s sister might be the female he was referring to earlier. He nodded at the trainer card. “You’re pretty much a trainer then, but let me tell you a PokeDex is so much more useful than just a simple ID.”

    Rein nodded as he took his trainer card back from the boy, “Well, I kind of have one, but I didn’t know that it would work as an ID.” Rein said taking another sip of water, he had the RocketDex with him in his pocket, he decided that it would be smart to start carrying it with him. He wasn’t sure about showing it to Sem, he didn’t know how the boy would react to the Rocket insignia on the cover.

    “It’s pretty easy, I can show you,” Sem replied, though the waiter had approached them at this point. Sem realized that he hadn’t even glanced at the menu and began to quickly skim it while ordering a lemonade.

    Rein wasn’t sure what he wanted, he hadn’t actually eaten since the night before and he was starting to get really hungry; but for now he just ordered a soda. He looked over the menu, hoping that he could figure out what he wanted before the waiter returned with the drinks. “Yeah, maybe.” Rein responded to Sem, but subtly, not intending to bring out the RocketDex. He decided that he would just have something easy, like fettuccini, and that would be fine. It was good timing too, the waiter had returned with their drinks.

    “I’ll…” Sem started, quickly giving the menu another read-over to ensure that he didn’t miss something he would have preferred over what he had in mind already. “have the sautéed chicken with lemon and garlic glaze with the spiced vegetables and a side of peppered shrimp and a salad with the olive oil dressing,” he said as he handed the waiter his menu.

    “Um,” Rein started, looking down at the menu again, “I’ll just have some fettuccini alfredo, if that would be all right?” Rein handed the waiter his menu as well. The waiter nodded and left again to go put their orders in, “I’ve never eaten somewhere this nice before,” Rein said, a bit embarrassed, “I was almost stuck when they didn’t have a burger or pizza on the menu.” He chuckled somewhat, though it was more out of embarrassment than anything else.

    “Yeah, I like to spoil myself every once in a while,” Sem admitted. “I’m sort of sad that I didn’t get to dress up all nice for this place, but I don’t really carry around nice clothes with me when I’m traveling. Though, it wouldn’t be too hard…” he murmured. “To be fair – pizza is and always will be my favorite food.”

    “Yeah, it’s one of my favorites too.” Rein said, mostly just to keep the conversation going, but he thought back to the day Alice and he were having lunch at the top of the Celadon Department Store. It seemed like so long ago, but it had only been a few months.

    The rest of the meal passed without much excitement, they ate their meals and Sem paid the bill. Rein still felt a bit guilty about letting Sem pay, but at least the food was worth the price, it was some pretty tasty fettuccini. Rein thanked the waiter as he and Sem walked out the door back onto the ship’s deck. “Thanks a lot for paying for my meal, Sem.” Rein said as they walked toward the ship’s main deck, where the various battlefields for PokeMon battles were located.

    “Sure sure,” the older boy replied, waving his hand dismissively. He eyed the battles taking place. Battles were heavily monitored on this ship. If any of them got too destructive they would be stopped. The ship could not be allowed to sink because of a Hyper Beaming Gyarados.

    Because of this none of the battles were too interesting. It would be more exciting to engage in one yourself. “Rein… would you fancy a battle?”

    Rein looked at the battles going on, each arena had its own judge, who was there to ensure that the battles didn’t get too out of hand, and also to keep track of the scores. Rein looked at one of the empty fields and then to Sem, “Sure,” He said, slightly unsure of himself, “But only one of my PokeMon is fit for battle, the others were hurt earlier today.” He hesitated, remembering the battle with Richard, how he had been battling for his life. It felt strange to think of battling for fun.

    “Mm, sounds good to me,” Sem answered as he led the duo to an empty battlefield. He went and stood on the opposite end of the field. He was in the mood for a good friendly match, and his Pokémon could always use the practice. He a plain Pokéball from within his coat. “One on one, no time limit?”

    “Um, yeah, that’s fine.” Rein responded with a nod. He reached down on his belt and grabbed the only PokeBall that he could use, Napalm’s. The judge raised both of the flags in his hands and waved them, signaling for the trainers to send out their PokeMon. Rein tossed the plain red and white sphere into the air. The Charmander materialized out of the red aura. “Hey, Napalm,” Rein said patting the PokeMon on the side, “Sorry about earlier, but I just wanted to tell you that you did really great. Thanks for your help.” Rein talked quietly, to only the Charmander, “This time, it’s just for fun.” The Charmander nodded, he didn’t seem to have any problems being with Rein; Eric must have talked to the Fire-type beforehand. It made Rein sad to look at the Charmander, but he was proud to have been entrusted with it at the same time.

    “Right,” Sem nodded, tossing the ball out into the arena. The device hit the ground and split open, spewing out a pure white energy and leaving behind the creature that was kept inside of the ball. The PokeMon was not very large, but not small. It was also a bizarre creature. It was purple, and somewhat resembled a plant. There was a thick base that anchored it to the ground, out of which stretched a neck. The head was like a bowl, the rim was surrounded by a series of pink tendrils, and two yellow eyes stared out from within the ring of tentacles.

    Rein had never seen anything quite like the PokeMon that Sem was using, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the RocketDex, after deciding that Sem was far enough away that he wouldn’t be able to tell what it was. “Lileep,” Rein said to himself, looking up the creature’s description in the device, “It looks weird. Better be careful, Napalm.” Rein said with a nod at his PokeMon.

    Lileep was a recent addition to Sem’s team, so he figured that it would be a fair match against Rein, who was a fair bit younger. Of course, age, gender, these things were meaningless. All that mattered was skill. Lileep was new enough that Sem still hadn’t actually got down Lileep’s particular battling style yet, but he felt that he was getting there. “Use Amnesia, and follow it up with Barrier.”
    The Sea Lily PokeMon was a bit crippled being on the deck of the ship. Many of the attacks that Sem would’ve liked to use for either unable to work on the deck or too destructive. The fossil creature honed in its feral thoughts and instincts, bulking up its body further.

    “All right, Napalm,” Rein said looking at the PokeMon before him, “We’ll never know what that thing is capable of until we go for it, so give it a Fire Punch!” Rein hoped that the burst of fire wouldn’t be too dangerous for the ship, as long as the deck didn’t catch fire or anything it should be all right. He wasn’t sure what the Lileep was capable of, but he knew that both of the PokeMon were at a bit of a disadvantage being on the deck of a ship.

    Napalm pulled back its fist, concentrating a fair amount on summoning the fire around its hand. The Fire-type rushed forward, flames dancing around its closed fist and threw a punch with its full force behind it.

    Lileep took the hit, unable to do much else. Lileep was not fast enough under most conditions to avoid being hit. The creature’s head flung back before it slowly returned to its normal position, seeming to have been hardly phased at all. “Headbutt!” Sem said, using Napalm’s close range attack to his advantage.

    Rein was stunned momentarily; the bizarre PokeMon didn’t seem to take any damage from the attack. He knew that it had Barrier active, but he still expected the plant-like creature to take more impact than it did. It threw its head forward, and Napalm tried to dodge but it was too close to the Lileep to have much of a chance at avoiding the attack.

    The brief moment of hesitation was just enough for Rein to delay his next order, and Headbutt hit Napalm without much difficulty. Napalm showed the force of the attack more than Lileep did, as the Fire-type was thrown back several feet from the force of the fossil PokeMon’s impact. “Napalm, you all right?” The Charmander stood up and took a fighting stance again, “Okay then let’s hit it with an Iron Tail!”

    Charmander’s tail began to glow with a silvery light; it reflected the sunlight as though it were made of metal. The Fire-type ran forward again, this time leaping up and twisting its body around; the Iron Tail aimed at the side of Lileep’s head.

    Lileep also took that hit as well. The tail smacked the Grass-type’s head to the side, but again the attack seemed to have injured Lileep less than it should have. Sem was taking a chance with the next move, knowing that despite the Lileep’s looks, more attacks like that were something he didn’t want to happen. “Swords Dance,” he instructed. The pink tentacles around its head began to glow slightly as the creature wriggled around hypnotically, swaying to and fro.

    Rein wasn’t sure what to counter the Swords Dance with, if he didn’t do something then the creature would get a boost to its attack, but getting too close would be dangerous if it did manage to counter Napalm. Rein decided to take a chance, “Use Fire Punch one more time, Napalm.” He called, hoping that the attack would be quick enough.

    Sem figured that Rein would try to interrupt the Swords Dance - it was a good idea. He would settle for less than the full effect, which wasn’t ideal, but it would work all the same. “Take the attack and then use Constrict!”

    Again Lileep took the hit, but trapped the Charmander with its tendrils. They wrapped around the lizard, trapping it and squeezing it.

    “Recover!” Sem yelled, hoping that Lileep would regain enough energy. At once the Rock-type began to shimmer as the reparative work of Recover began to restore what stamina the creature had lost.

    Napalm was trapped and Rein wasn’t quite sure how to get him out of the Grass-type’s grasp, but if he didn’t figure something out quickly, the damage done to Lileep would be undone. “Overheat!” Rein countered, Napalm would take some damage from the burst of flames, but the Fire-type wouldn’t be too hurt from the recoil.

    The lizard PokeMon concentrated all of its energy into summoning the flames. Its tail began to glow vibrantly as the heat increased; and then it released the energy that it built up into a burst of flames that was sure to loosen the Lileep’s grasp on the Charmander. Napalm used the opportunity to position itself on the other side of the arena from Lileep, far enough away to take a quick breather before the next attack came.

    Lileep had taken a large amount of damage, the most so far since the battle had begun. Thanks to what little energy Recover had restored Lileep was still standing. “Taking a breather?” Sem asked. “Fine, use Recover again, Lileep!”

    Rein was stuck, he knew that Napalm was too tired to keep going for too much longer, but if he let his PokeMon take any longer a breather then Lileep would have a much bigger advantage after the Recover restored its stamina. “Napalm, hit it with a Flamethrower!”

    Rein figured that the Flamethrower would let Charmander stay far enough away from Lileep to prevent another hard hitting counterattack, but it would at least interrupt Recover if nothing else. Napalm opened its maw and a stream of white hot flames burst forth toward the fossil PokeMon, it was significantly weaker than it would have been if Napalm was at full stamina, but it would hopefully give Rein enough time to figure something out.

    “Keep up the Recover!” Sem yelled. He knew that regenerative effects of Recover would battle against the damage that Flamethrower would cause, leaving Lileep in better shape than if he had ordered the Recover to cease. Once the blast of flame had stopped Sem ordered his counter-attack. “Bullet Seed!”

    The attack would be stronger than normal thanks to Swords Dance. The tentacles around Lileep’s head all aimed themselves at the Charmander – each one began firing a volley of glowing seeds, sending a barrage of high velocity pellets at it.

    “Smoke Screen!” Rein issued, Napalm had already taken several hits from the ballistic seeds, and more were still on the way. The Fire-type blew a plume of smoke out of its mouth, it wouldn’t last long on the moving ship, the wind would blow it away quickly; it gave the Charmander time to try and move out of the way, “Swords Dance!” Rein ordered, he couldn’t see what was happening within the smoke, but as it cleared away he saw the finishing steps of Napalm’s Swords Dance.

    The battle would be decided now, remembering back to the battle he and Lunara had against Eric and the Charmander, and he knew that with the Swords Dance the attack would be even more powerful, but he knew that it was going to hurt his PokeMon just as much as his opponent’s. “Napalm, hit it with Flare Blitz!”

    Napalm’s body superheated itself, flames were spilling over from its mouth and it seemed to envelope its body. This was the last moment of the battle, and Rein could only hope that it would end in his favor. The referee watched wide-eyed as the Fire-type rushed forward and threw itself toward the fossil PokeMon.

    Lileep was engulfed in a burst of fire when the attack hit, putting the referee on edge. It was an impressive attack that had Sem worried. When the fire cleared Sem was surprised to see a struggling Lileep still standing. “Giga Drain!” he ordered quickly as Lileep trapped Napalm once more with its many tendrils, sapping at the Fire-type’s strength.

    Napalm was much too drained from the attack to even think about dodging the attack, Rein was impressed to see the Lileep still standing. Sem had a great PokeMon on his side, but Napalm put up a good fight, and Rein couldn’t have asked for any more from it. When Lileep finished its attack, Napalm was finished. Rein walked over and pat his PokeMon on the back before returning it to the PokeBall, “You put up a good fight, you deserve some rest.” Rein said with a smile, “Good match, Sem.” He smirked.

    “Yeah, that was good. Tough Charmander you have there,” Sem replied, returning Lileep to its PokeBall.

    “Thanks,” Rein said with a nod, “He was a gift from a friend.” He said sounded a little sad, but he smiled at the same time. “Wanna head back to the room? I’m a bit tired… it’s been kind of a long day,” He said with a slight yawn.

    “Sure,” Sem nodded, in the mood for a nap himself, though he doubted he would actually get to take one.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Back at the room, Rein sat on his bed and pat his Umbreon’s head. Lunara was especially excited that Rein had come back; she was undoubtedly bored being kept cooped up within the room, but Rein didn’t want her to force herself; she was more injured and exhausted than she let on. He picked up the television remote and clicked the set on. The ship was set up with a cable package, and the TV was already set to a news channel. It tuned in to the middle of a news report.

    ”… And it seems that Robert and Celia Vanguarde were apprehended earlier this week on reports of homicide, when the bodies of two police officers were discovered outside of their home on Route Sixteen two months ago. Upon a search of their house, a laboratory was discovered. Police are still unsure what type of experiments were conducted by the couple, but are positive that they were illegal. The woman on the report stopped briefly while they showed a picture of Rein’s parents, he inhaled sharply, they’d caught his parents. The couple refused to comment when approached by reporters, but it is confirmed that the Vanguarde’s two children are still missing. Pictures of both Alice and Rein flashed on the screen this time, Rein’s heart missed a beat when he saw him and his sister on the screen. He thought about turning off the TV, but Sem had already seen the images.

    Sem raised his eyebrows in surprise, seeing the boy’s face flash on screen. His eyes darted over to Rein, certain that the kid really didn’t want Sem to find out about this, at least, not through the TV. “Let’s turn this off…” Sem murmured as he rose up off of his bed and switched the television off. He didn’t even glance at Rein as he walked back and lay down again. He didn’t say a word in fact.

    “I’m sorry,” Rein said, not looking at the older boy. Lunara nuzzled against Rein, knowing that the news report must have been upsetting. While Rein was glad that his parents had been caught, he didn’t want Sem to find out about it. He didn’t want the boy to look down on him. And then there was the fact that Alice was still missing, no one had seen her since the report Richard had told him. There wasn’t even any proof that Richard had been telling the truth. “I was hoping that you wouldn’t find out.” He confided.

    “I understand,” the teen answered. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.” His shifted his head and glanced over at Rein. “But I don’t mind listening.” Everyone needed someone to talk to, and perhaps Sem had ended up in that very spot so that he could help Rein. Maybe he wouldn’t but he would offer all the same.

    “It’s a long story,” Rein answered with a sigh, “My parents are bad people,” He looked at the TV, even though it was turned off it was as if he could still see the picture of his parents glaring back at him. “They were experimenting on PokeMon in their lab, my sister found out and they…” He hung his head as tears swelled in his eyes, “They shot her, and I don’t even know if she’s still alive.”

    He looked at Lunara, “Lunara was next to be experimented on, but I saved her. I saved all the PokeMon in their lab. Then they tried to kill me too. I ran away, and I was looking for someone to help me in Celadon; but I was caught by Team Rocket and they forced me to join them. They hurt me, and they threatened to kill Lunara if I didn’t work for them.” Rein paused, it was hard to relive all of the memories swelling up in him.

    “That’s hard…” Sem answered, choosing his words. “I’m sorry.” He turned his face away from the boy and looked up at the ceiling. “I know a thing or two about Team Rocket…” he said. “My parents, they used to work for them.”

    “Really?” Rein asked, it was comforting to know he wasn’t the only person who had run into Team Rocket, “Then you must know how scary it was, how hard it was to be stuck there. The leader of Saffron… he’s a monster.” Rein added, remembering the white room that he had been tortured in, the look on Richard’s face, “Richard made me do terrible things, I had to steal PokeMon from people. And when I thought I had gotten away, he found me. He…” He paused, he started sobbing, but half out of anger, “He killed my friends.”

    Sem was surprised. Terrible parents and Team Rocket weren’t even the half of it. “I’m sorry…” he repeated.

    “They were helping me get away, but Richard caught us. They told me to run, they both died so that I could get away. And I don’t know why, why am I so important that people had to die?” He asked, not because he thought Sem knew the answer, but because everything had been building up for so long that he just needed someone to ask. Someone to talk to. “Now, all I have left is to find Alice, otherwise I don’t have anyone…”

    “Then that’s what you should do…” Sem answered. “You’re obviously special enough that even a man like Richard saw your potential. Your friends died so that you would escape, so that you could live. Honour them by doing just that. Live. Find your sister like wanted to.”

    Sem said it so matter-of-factly, just go and find Alice, “But I don’t even know if she’s alive…” He said, doubting himself, “And my friends died because of me, how could I just go on like nothing happened?” He wanted to argue, he wanted to blame himself for the deaths of his friends because in his mind, it was all his fault.

    “They didn’t die because of you. You didn’t kill them, it wasn’t your fault,” Sem insisted, hoping that Rein would get it into his head. “They died for you, that’s how much they cared about you. Blaming yourself for their deaths is you ignoring their sacrifice.” It was blunt. But bluntness seemed to get the point across.

    Rein was shocked, he hadn’t ever thought of it like that. “For… me?” He said stupidly, trying to wrap his head around it, “I… I didn’t.” Rein stopped, really just thinking about what Sem had said. He still felt guilty, but he understood now; his friends cared about him, and just like he would have given his life to save them, they had done the same. He wiped the tears out of his eyes and nodded, “I’ll try.” He said with a certain determination in his voice.

    “Good, that’s what they’d want to hear…” Sem nodded.

    “Sem,” Rein said looking at the older boy, he wasn’t sure why, but he felt like he could trust him and it had paid off, “Thank you,” Rein smiled, only this time there wasn’t a sadness in it.

    -------------------------------------------

    The rest of the trip on to Hoenn was actually very enjoyable, Rein felt that he had a weight lifted off of him, and he was grateful to Sem for being so open about helping him. Rein was glad that he had met the boy, he had quickly come to see him as one of his friends; and Rein needed all the friends he could get. It only made it that much harder when the ship came into Slateport and Sem was going to be disembarking. Rein would stay on the ship until it pulled into Lilycove before heading back to Vermilion, so this would be their goodbye as the city showed up on the horizon.
    “Well Rein,” Sem said as he stopped near the ships gangplank. “I’m sure we’ll meet again, maybe at a tournament or something.” He reached out his hand in order to shake the boy’s.

    “I’d like that,” Rein said with a smile, “It was nice to meet you, Sem. You really helped me a lot.” He shook the older boy’s hand, “And maybe next time we battle, I may just beat you.” He chuckled a bit, it was a bittersweet moment. He hated goodbyes, but he was on his way to finding his sister, soon he’d find Alice, he knew it.

    “Find your sister for me, and keep in touch. Last name is Aquais, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find my parents,” he explained. With a wave Sem walked down the gangplank and was soon lost in a crowd of people.

    Rein watched the boy go, a few tears in his eyes. He was glad to have met Sem, he would have been in a much darker place if he hadn’t. Soon enough Sem was out of sight and the ship was preparing to shove off again, toward Rein’s destination. He called after the boy, though he doubted that he could hear him, “Thanks again, Sem! If you see Alice, tell her that I’m looking for her!” He waved as the ship started away from the dock.

    Lunara looked up at Rein, and the boy smiled, “This is it, Lunara. I know that there’s just something good waiting for us, I just know it. We’ll find her.” He walked with Lunara to the front of the ship, looking out over the ocean. To his right was the expanding ocean, and to his left was Hoenn, he felt so free staring out at his future.

    “Alice,” Rein said quietly to himself, “I’ll find you.” He smirked before turning around and heading back to his room to pack up his things.

    OoC: Much thanks to Sem for making sure I didn't destroy his charrie ^^
     
    #25 Chadwyck, Jul 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  25. Epilogue

    The heavy, glass doors opened soundlessly as the pair stepped into the vast open lobby. A few heads turned, but they quickly went back to looking at whatever they were working on at the time.

    The pair walked briskly, not even bothering to go to the receptionist. They knew exactly where they were going, right up to the top. They were both dressed in long black coats, though the female’s only went down to her knees, while the male’s went down to his ankles, nearly dragging on the floor. The only real difference in their appearance was the fact that the girl had zippers and many articles of clothing were an electric blue. The boy was a mixture of red and black clothing, but he looked more uncomfortable than the girl by far.

    The elevator doors opened with a ping and the two stepped in, their faces both as calm as possible. “Just remember to be confident.” The boy said in a whisper, “They don’t let just anyone join Team Rocket.” He added quickly as the elevator zipped up toward the top floor.

    “They’ll let me join,” The girl said, she sounded determined, and slightly angry, “And once I figure out how to, I’m tearing this place to the ground.” She growled.

    “But first,” The boy said, shushing her, “We need them to trust us enough to let us join. We can’t protect your brother otherwise.” He said, “How do you know this will work again?”

    “I just do, Chad.” She said, not daring to tell the boy about the voice she’d heard in her head. It had told her about the man they were going to meet, how he was hunting her brother, and how he’d never stop unless he had something even better. “He’ll take me instead, he’ll have no choice.” She said, still angry.

    The doors opened into a huge office, it was decorated finely. There was a huge desk made out of Ebony with a huge red ‘R’ engraved into the front of the desk. A man in a black suit stood facing a huge one-way-glass window that overlooked the lobby far below them. “Alice, my dear,” Richard grinned, turning around to look at the pair standing in front of the elevator doors. “I must say this is a nice surprise,” The right side of his face was scarred; it split his face in half. One to represent the man, and the other to represent the monster, but he still grinned all the same. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
     
  26. Fun Facts: Just for lulz

    1) Rein's sister was originally named Julia, but I had used that name in Legend of the Crystal Passage (another of my fics) and I didn't like having the duplicate names, thus Alice was named.

    2) Rein and Alice originally had no last name, I had never put the thought into the planning of their full names. Finally, as Alice found her parents' notepad in the lab, I realized that they needed a last name and fast.

    3) Last, but not least, Lexi's Abra is named Presto because when I originally thought of the character of Rein he was seventeen and his team was drastically different than the team I have planned for him now. One of them was an Alakazam named Presto, so it was a little bit of an author's joke to myself sorta thing xD

    Anyway, I hope that you all enjoyed the fic, expect the first chapter of the next part of the series soon~
     
  27. I'm sitting in the hair salon and I decided to finally finish this! Totally didn't realize you posted three times. Anyway, I'm glad Rein's Hoenn journey and search for his sister started on a hopeful note. I was wondering who was going to help Rein realize that those deaths weren't his fault.

    And now onto the epilogue. Very O.O So Alice really IS alive (I think)...and contacted Richard. And what was that voice she heard? GUH! More questions than answers! Either way, awesome work Chad. I really enjoyed it ♥
     

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