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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 19: Descent Into Darkness

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey Still coming to terms with the events of the previous chapter, Brian must now face a new challenge. What choices will he make and what will be the consequences of those actions?
Chapter 19: Descent Into Darkness

Axel and I spent the next hour prying open the melted Pokéballs of Madison’s surviving Pokémon until our fingers were raw. When Fluffy, Ichi, Maki, Mimi, and Chuchu were all released, we gave them the tragic news. As expected, they were devastated at the loss of their Trainer and fellow Pokémon. Ichi possibly took it the hardest as the Cherubi was the offspring of Cherrim.

“I am so sorry about what has happened here today. If there is anything Axel and I can do for you, let Axel know and he’ll relay the information to me.” I said supportively. I then turned to my companion, who was coved in blood just like I was, though not as much. He had a few splashes on his arms, and one each on his chest and face. Both of my hands were drenched with the life giving plasma, along with several splatters on my shirt and at least one I could feel on my face. From what he told me, the Houndoom were all dead. Axel had smashed one of the Dark Pokémon’s head into a rock which shattered its skull and scrambled its brain, thus resulting in the blood on him. The other had its neck snapped.

“Axel, could you see if they need anything?” I requested. “I’m going down to the water to see if I can’t clean myself up some.”

I know where you’re coming from; even I’m considering taking a bath for once. Go. I’ve got things covered here.” said Axel. I nodded in thanks as I moved away from the scene towards the beach. When I got down to the ocean, I waded into the salt water just over ankle deep and got on my knees. I began scrubbing my hands vigorously even using sand as soap hoping the small particles would be able to loosen the crimson stains.

Why did things have to go so wrong? I was only on my walk for ten minutes, but it only took ten seconds for everything to go straight to hell. Who knew that when she bid us farewell this morning that it would be for keeps? What further drove my guilt was what we had said yesterday. I told her in the Whirl Island cave that I’d protect her and she trusted me. But I failed. And I can’t get the smell of blood off of my hands! I punched my fist into the water in anger, impacting the sandy bottom.

Brian?” I looked behind me at Axel who had come down to the water’s edge. “You probably won’t like this, but Madison’s Pokémon all agree that they want to go back home to Madison’s family. Her parents are breeders so none of them can be released into the wild as they were all born and raised in captivity and know nothing about surviving on their own.” the Infernape passed on.

“Aw man. How can I face them?” I pondered sorrowfully. I sighed as I steeled myself for my inevitable fate. “Alright. I’ll do it. Someone has to tell them what befell their daughter. I just hope I have five empty Pokéballs.”

I returned to the defiled campsite and one by one recaptured Fluffy, Ichi, Maki, Mimi, and Chuchu in fresh Pokéballs. Actually, two Pokéballs, a Dive Ball, a Premiere Ball, and a Great Ball to be more precise. One after another the five Pokémon were transported to my PC as I already had six Pokémon on me. I then focused my attention on the grotesque remains that were once a cute sixteen-year-old and a Cherrim.

“Do you know if we have two empty jars Axel?” I questioned.

We’ll need to check. What for?” inquired Axel.

“We can’t leave Madison here all alone, but we also can’t carry that around with us.” I said briefly shifting my eyes to the corpse. “So, as horrible as it will be, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to finish what the Rockets started. Cremate her Axel. Cherrim too.” I ordered mournfully. Axel was completely taken back by my request. His eyes were wide and his mouth hung open. I can’t say I blame him. I hate myself for even coming up with such an appalling idea, but it has to be done.

If I’m going to do this, then we also need to take out that blindfold we use for training.” insisted the monkey bitterly.

I dumped out the contents of my backpack and began sifting through Item Ball after Item Ball looking for anything that could hold ashes. The blindfold was easy enough to find, as it was one of the few nonspherical objects I carry. While Axel and I didn’t find anything jar-like, we came across roughly ten empty water bottles. Makes sense, I’m a heavy drinker of water and I have nowhere to put empty bottles when on the road but back in my backpack.

“Ready?” I asked once Axel had his blindfold on.

Just give the detestable order.” Axel demanded disgustedly.

“What are you talking about? It’s just another day of training your senses in case you get blinded or the battlefield is dark.” I said calmly hoping to make this easier on him. “The target is right in front of you. Use Flamethrower.” The Infernape made an upset groan just before breathing a blazing tongue of fire at the remains. I quickly turned away with the horrified realization of the malignant command I had asked. The putrid stench of burning human flesh once again filled the air. I made a fist with my right hand and put it in the palm of my left to silently pay my respects to the dead in honor of the life Madison and Cherrim lived.

Even after Madison was nothing more than a pile of grey ash, that horrible odor lingered on. I tapped Axel’s shoulder to let him know he was done for now. I walked over to Cherrim’s body to separate it from the ashes so they wouldn’t get mixed up. “Thirty degrees to your right.” I commanded pathetically. The Flame Pokémon moved his body accordingly, followed by another Flamethrower.

“That’s enough!” I shouted when the Grass-type was reduced to another pile of ash. Axel removed the black cloth from his eyes to see what he had accomplished. Neither of us were proud of it. Now came the tricky part. I released Snorlax from his Ultra Ball for this very important mission. “Snorlax. I know I’m asking a lot, but can you try to use Psychic to transfer those two piles of ash into the empty bottles while keeping them separate? If you can’t do it, don’t worry. I’ll find another way.” I begged.

The Sleeping Pokémon pulled himself to his feet with a very determined look on his face. Snorlax’s white face started to turn red from the intense concentration. Finally, Madison’s pile began to rise in a spiral as if it were in a gust of wind. The ash trailed to one of the bottles and began filling it until the bottle was full. The stream continued moving down the line until all the ash was gone, filling a total of three bottles. While Snorlax transferred Cherrim’s ashes into the fourth bottle, I sealed the others marking them each with an ‘M’. Cherrim only filled one bottle which I marked with a ‘C’.

“Thank you Snorlax. I know that that command was very taxing on your mind and body, but I am very grateful for what you did.” I said appreciatively. After returning the rotund bear to his ball, I picked up the bottles to put away. “May you now rest in peace.” I said to the bottles.

I agree. Let’s leave this place now.” said Axel mournfully. I couldn’t agree more.

“No, I haven’t found the scouts yet.” I heard a female voice yell. “I know they should have reported in an hour ago, but I am not entering that cave.” I put my index finger to my mouth telling Axel to be quiet as we stealthfully moved closer. “Look, all I’m saying is that maybe they have tried to radio in but they don’t get reception in the tunnels.” I pressed my back up against a rock and looked around the corner. Talking over a radio was a woman about average height with shoulder length blond hair wearing knee high white boots, white gloves, a black miniskirt, a black beret, and a long-sleeved black shirt with that despicable red ‘R’ on it.

The rage from this morning began to resurface at her sight. However, I did everything I could to suppress my bloodlust for now. First of all, I didn’t want whoever was on the other side of that radio to hear me unless I wanted a whole army after me, and second, I wanted to hear this conversation. I might learn something. “For the last time, I am not going into that cave!” she shouted into the radio emphasizing every syllable. I turned my head and whispered something in Axel’s ear. “Fine, I’ll report back. Send someone else to find those scouts.” She turned off her radio with an annoyed grunt. “Who the hell does that guy think he is ordering me around like that?” Now I would strike.

“Excuse me.” I said walking around the rock into view. The woman jumped back in surprise. She quickly reached for a Pokéball, but I was smarter. I threw my hands up to show that I meant her no harm. Yet.

“Who are you? What do you want?” she interrogated warily, never moving her hand from the sphere.

“Easy. I only want to help you out.” A lie, but I was putting on a pretty convincing performance. “I’m sorry for eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help but over hear your conversation. You’re looking for your two friends, right?” Come on, take the bait bitch!

“Are you saying you’ve seen those two scouts?” she questioned suspiciously.

“Indeed.” I answered. No came the fun part. “After all, I’m the one who killed them!” I confessed in a psychotic voice. A look of shock and terror appeared on the female Rocket’s face. Exactly the look I wanted to see! “Now Axel!” I shouted. Axel jumped out from behind the Grunt in an ambush, landing a fully charged Focus Punch to her back before she could react. Our prey let out an agonizing scream of pain as she fell to the ground flat on her chest.

“Th-this can’t be! I-I can’t feel my legs!” she screamed with a mix of pain and panic.

“That’s because Axel’s attack broke your spine.” I said calmly with an uncaring tone walking over to my victim.

“You bastards will pay for this!” the Rocket cried pulling out her radio. I stomped her hand as hard as I could, smashing both the radio and her fingers. She screamed in anguish again at the loss of her hand.

“If you want to live, you will answer my questions!” I demanded fiercely. The woman nodded miserably with tears falling down her face. “Good girl. Now, why is Team Rocket here? What were those two scouts looking for?”

“Th-they *sob* They were… *wheeze*” How irritating. I crouched down, flipped off the Rocket’s beret, grabbed a handful of her dirty blond hair, lifted her off the ground, punched her in the stomach, and threw her back down on her broken back causing her to scream again.

“Answer dammit!” I yelled.

“LUGIA!” she cried before falling into tears. Amazing how tough Team Rocket acts, but when the tides turn they can be such pathetic cowards.

“That’s why they were here!? For Lugia!? Is that why Madison had to die!?” I ranted off. The woman simply sobbed and cried in response. “Alright, last question and I’ll let you live. Where is your base? Where is Team Rocket hiding?”

“A ship…” she said in almost a whisper. That black ship I saw in the distance! The one that gave me such an ominous feeling! So that’s where they are. “Please… you have to get me to a hospital. My body… it hurts…” she pleaded pitifully.

“I said I’d let you live. Whether or not you can survive with the use of only one arm is entirely up to you.” I said coldly glaring down at her without remorse. Her brown eyes widened with grief realizing that while I wasn’t going to kill her personally, I was leaving her to die a slow and painful death. She began screaming and begging me to help her. I ignored her as I walked away from my victim, motioning Axel to follow me. We travelled back to that dreaded place where the Rocket scouts remained.

Why are we back here again?” Axel inquired grimly.

“Team Rocket is looking for their scouts. I say we give them what they want.” I said graciously. “And then we make them pay for everything they’ve done! The lives they’ve ruined in the past will be avenged. The people they would have hurt in the future will be saved. And I get to have more fun!” I cheered with a gleeful malice.

You’re insane!” Axel shouted.

“I know! But the question is, are you with me or against me?” I asked hoping my friend and ally for so many years was still on my side.

Bitch please. I already told you that it is my curse as a Pokémon to be eternally loyal to you. Besides, this is so that no one has to suffer again. I’m with ya Monkey!” the Infernape replied devotedly. I laughed triumphantly at his response.

“Excellent! Come forth Aerodactyl!” I shouted sending out my prehistoric Flying Pokémon. “We have a delivery to make. Would you be so kind as to carry myself and Axel to a nearby ship with that cargo in tow?” I asked pointing to the deceased enemy. The stony terror screeched his reply as he crouched to let Axel and I board. Once we were settled, Aerodactyl fluttered to the Rockets and picked them up in his claws before flying off the island.

I directed my Fossil Pokémon to the location I had seen the ship and what luck! There it was, sitting stationary just waiting to be ambushed. It was disguised as a black cargo ship, about thirty feet in length, but on the hull was the red ‘R’ that gave it away as the world’s enemy. Due to the sharp point the bow came to, the ‘R’ was somewhat misshapen. It was really no wonder I didn’t recognize the symbol from the distance and angle I saw it from the beach.

“Aerodactyl. When you drop off the delivery, let it touch down first, give the Rockets on board just enough time to acknowledge the bodies but not enough to react to us, then blow them away with Hyper Beam. Aaaand Go!” I instructed. The ancient beast opened his claws letting the corpses plummet to the ship below. No sooner had they touched down, a group of black dressed Rockets ran over to investigate.

“Now!” I shouted. Aerodactyl pulled his head back and blasted a powerful beam of yellowish orange energy when he thrust forward. Even though I wasn’t the intended target, I could feel the heat from the attack from where I was and I had to grip Aerodactyl harder to brace myself from the recoil. The people below us looked up at the impending apocalypse heading their way. They didn’t even get a chance to scream before their bodies were incinerated and the ship beneath their feet exploded. For maximum damage, the King of the Skies lifted his head from facing directly downward to almost looking forward sending the Hyper Beam in a straight path form the bow to the stern of the ship destroying everything in its wake.

I began laughing maniacally at the mindless destruction. I was forcibly silenced when the ship wasn’t completely and utterly destroyed as I expected, in addition to the sight of more Rockets emerging on the deck to investigate the damage. The ship was more durable than I gave it credit for. To top it off, Aerodactyl won’t be able to do another Hyper Beam, or even attack for that matter, for a few minutes. Not a problem.

I pulled out Snorlax’s Ultra Ball again and released the heavyweight in midair. “Harden!” I yelled as the giant plunged from the sky, crashing into the ship below like a comet. Snorlax had landed on the Captain’s driver seat room causing the windows to shatter and the steel to bend and snap like twigs. The entire boat violently rocked in the water from the impact. The Sleeping Pokémon rose from the resulting crater in a grumpy rage facing the stern of the ship. The Rocket’s began readying their Pokémon at the sight of their foe.

“Eliminate them with Hyper Beam!” I commanded from Aerodactyl who had swooped in closer so that I could give commands. Snorlax inhaled followed by his own blast of the lethal energy attack. The enemies in front were consumed by the beam which resulted in another explosion on the ship starting a fire. However, the enemies behind Snorlax and on his flanks were still active and now had their Pokémon out, ready to take advantage of his recharge time. From my vantage point I saw a Nidoking, two Mightyena, a Dustox, three Golbat, a Raticate, a Gligar, two Weavile, an Ariados, and a Drapion. I quickly called back Snorlax and circled around to get some distance.

“Don’t let that coward escape! Chase after him Golbat!” one of the Rockets ordered. Who said anything about escape?

“Use Iron Head to tear through the port side of the ship!” I commanded. “Be ready to jump Axel.” Aerodactyl did as I told, stiffening his head until it shined a pale silver. With two seconds until impact, Axel and I got up, ready to dismount at the right second. As the prehistoric Pokémon tore through the side of the ship, the two of us jumped and landed on the boat while Aerodactyl tore through the other side with some unsuspecting victim in his mouth.

“You have some nerve attacking a Team Rocket vessel.” threatened one of the criminals standing with the Nidoking. The Golbat that had been chasing us landed with its Trainer as well. Axel and I stood back to back in a defensive position as we were now surrounded by the enemy. I couldn’t help but smirk. The worse the odds, the greater the fight or flight response. I then did the one thing they wouldn’t expect; I charged them head on.

“Your plan will fail! We have you out numbered!” a Rocket shouted. “Slash him to ribbons Weavile!” he ordered. I felt the heat of Axel’s flame as he flew past me surrounded by fire for Flare Blitz. Weavile shrieked as the fire monkey collided into it.

The Weavile’s Trainer grabbed me from behind wrapping his arm around my neck in an attempt to choke me. Lucky for me, I was both taller and stronger. I leaned forward flipping the criminal on his back. I repaid him for attacking me by kicking him in the face and stomping his groin. A cruel thing for one man to do to another, but I no longer view those who wear Team Rocket’s uniform as human. They are nothing more than trash polluting this world. I dragged the unconscious (or dead, who could tell) Rocket over to the fire created by the Hyper Beams and casually threw him in. Wait a second, how did I do that? I’m relatively strong, but lifting a human body and casually tossing it?

Now wasn’t the time to reflect on that as I heard the furious roar of Nidoking. The Drill Pokémon came charging at me with his horn pointed low in an attempt to skewer me. I quickly drew Piloswine’s Great Ball to summon the wooly boar. “Ice Beam!” I called rolling to the right just barely dodging the purple monster. As soon as the Swine Pokémon was fully materialized, he shot a wintry beam of condensed water vapor at the spiked bipedal rabbit. Nidoking roared in anguish as he was slowly frozen solid. With that, I unleashed Beldum onto the field. This would mark the first time I used the metallic blue arm shaped Pokémon in battle. I hope it performs well.

“Beldum! I want you to use Iron Defense, then shatter that Nidoking with Iron Head. Got it?” The Iron Ball Pokémon responded by shining with a fresh coat of metal followed by charging strait though the King of the Nidoran. “Long live the King!” I shouted smashing the Pokémon’s severed head.

“Nidoking! Bastard! Look what you’ve done!” shouted the Pokémon’s former Trainer angrily.

“All I did was defend myself.” I said indifferently. “You just need to chill. Ice Beam!” Another pale blue beam came from Piloswine’s mouth freezing the Rocket as well. I walked over to the frozen statue and pushed it over causing it to shatter. “Oops.” I said like a child who just broke his mother’s vase. I casually walked away from the frozen shards to find what more trouble I could get into.

“There he is!” cried more Rockets charging at me. I took a fighting stance and quickly dealt with them with a mix of punches, kicks, and throws. I didn’t kill them; in fact, I even left them conscious. I had a better plan. Besides, the fires were starting to spread, and the deck was littered with warped or sharp metal shrapnel.

“Axel! Where are you?” I called stopping at the bow of the ship.

Right here. Why?” the monkey asked running to me with an Ariados leg in his hand.

“It’s time to end this.” I told recalling Beldum and Piloswine to their respective spheres as both were weak against the spreading fire.

“Attention Team Rocket!” I announced. “As you have probably noticed, you can’t beat me! My Pokémon and I have already killed a few of your members and Pokémon. Now I’m giving you a choice. Those of you who think you deserve to live step forward and stand in a straight line. Return all of your Pokémon to their Pokéballs and lay the balls in front of you. Do that and I may accept your surrender.”

Are you serious?” asked Axel in dismay.

“Just watch.” I whispered to him. As I expected, all of the surviving members of Team Rocket gathered and stood side by side in a straight line.

“So you all think you deserve to live?” I asked them. Each one nodded nervously. At that moment my face turned grim. “So did Madison.” I mumbled. An evil smirk appeared on my face. “Now all of you! Die!” I commanded sweeping my arm down the line. While the arm motion did nothing in particular to them, it was the signal to Aerodactyl, who was patiently hovering above, to launch another Hyper Beam. The revived carnivore cocked his head back before sending another burst of heated radiation right down the line. The Rockets screamed in agony before being completely destroyed by the blast and the resulting explosion.

“That’s what you deserve you animal fucks!” I shouted victoriously.

You are enjoying this way too much.” Axel pointed out.

“I know. I’m so fucked up.” I owned up shamelessly.

If you are, then so am I. I never expect to enjoy revenge this much. It’s actually a kind of liberating feeling. Before when I fought, I always gave it my all, but I never crossed that fine line. Now it feels like I’ve been holding back.” my companion described.

“Well don’t let it go to your head. We only kill the guilty. Friendly battles will stay just that. We don’t want to hurt innocent people or Pokémon. We’d be just like them if we did.” I made clear. The boat then began to shake violently knocking me off balance. The sound of creaking metal could be heard. I guess the ship has finally had it. “Hehehe. Time to go Axel.” I said raising my right arm in the air while embracing Axel in my left. Our transport dove down catching us in his claws. I tightly gripped Aerodactyl’s ankle as we sped away from the exploding ship.

The middle of the boat caved in first sending the bow and stern into the air folding into each other. The fires of the deck were gradually put out as the vessel sank. Axel and I climbed up on Aerodactyl’s back so we could get a better view of it all. I had the ancient flier circle the crash site for about ten minutes just in case any survivors surfaced. If there were any, I’d have Aerodactyl pluck them out of the water and tear out their throats with his serrated fangs. After ten minutes, no one surfaced and I doubt any survivors would be able to hold their breath this long after such a traumatic experience. Satisfied, I had Aerodactyl fly us to Cianwood for a much needed rest.

One week later after having chartered a boat from Cianwood, I arrived back in White City. Knowing what I had learned from last time, Strife Maxwell was a political who worked for the White City Committee which resides in the tallest building in the city. Axel and I wandered around the pristine and clean city until finding a tall, reflective glass paned building dominating the skyline. This was it!

I walked through the glass doors into a gigantic lobby. Lining the door were two potted plants, one on each side and each about human sized. The floor was white, smooth, and uncarpeted. In the middle of the room was a finely crafted marble fountain carved in the shape of a Suicune with its snout turned up as it sprayed a Water Gun to the sky before coming back down into the surrounding pool. People in suits walked to and fro going about their daily lives completely ignoring me. On the left and right sides of the room were a set of staircases, both covered in an expensive looking ruby carpet. Each staircase was adorned with a golden railing on either side and in the middle to give them both up and down capabilities. In the back of the room between the double staircases was a mahogany desk with someone sitting at it; most likely the secretary.

I waded my way through the crowd to the desk in order to greet the secretary, who was an older woman, possibly mid-forties, with tied back graying hair, a narrow wrinkled face, thick librarian style gasses, and a dress suit like everyone else. “Can I help you, young man?” she asked in a shrill voice.

“Yes, I’m here to see Mr. Strife Maxwell. I’m the son of one of his friends, Nathan Xelbu. My name is Brian.” I introduced making sure I covered all of my bases so I could get my business done as soon as possible. The secretary gave me an unconvinced look but picked up the phone on her desk anyway and dialed a number.

“Sorry to bother you Mr. Maxwell, but there is a young man here to see you. He says his name is Brian Xelbu.” the woman said into the phone.

That’s not his name dumbass!” Axel corrected. I on the other hand, found it to be the perfect alias to protect both my reputation and my family from my new enemies.

“I understand. I’ll send him right up.” she acknowledged before hanging up the phone. “Mr. Maxwell will see you now. He is in room 376 on the eleventh floor. Elevators are right up those staircases.” said the secretary pointing to the stairs behind her. “And this is your visitor’s pass.” she said giving me a sticker and a marker.

“Thank you.” I said graciously. I quickly filled out my pass and made my way up the right staircase passing several workers on the way. The upper part of the first level had the same white floor as downstairs. Just like the building’s entrance, healthy looking green human sized potted plants were on both sides of the four gold door elevators resulting in five plants total.

The first elevator to open was the second one from the left. Without hesitation Axel and I entered as everyone else got off. I guess it wouldn’t make much sense to be going to the first floor if you weren’t intending to exit. Two other people entered with us, a man in a shit brown suit and a woman in midnight blue dress clothes. I pushed eleven while the man pushed three and the woman pushed eight. Both gave us weird looks; first curious, then dirty and condescending. That is the very reason I hate rich people, they think they’re better than the commoners, especially Pokémon Trainers who have almost no money at all.

As the elevator went up, those two eventually left, but more got on. Each time they regarded me and Axel as diseased rodents and tried their best to keep their distances. Just you wait you rich bastards, I’m going to tear down the establishments so that your money is worthless!

At last, floor eleven. I rudely pushed past the three smug humans who remained in the elevator just to give them something to talk about. The hallway was like a lounge area of sorts with blue carpeting and comfy looking sofas and chairs surrounding tables of various sizes where people were enjoying their lunch breaks and coffee. I ignored them as I made my way to the offices. 374… 375… Ah there’s my prey, 376! I didn’t bother knocking, Strife should already know I’m here, so I just opened the door and walked right in. I made sure to close the door behind me so that no one would easily overhear our conversation.

Strife sat in his black leather chair facing away from me, instead looking out the window which gave a scenic view of the entire west side of the City. The interior of the room was fancy as one would expect. The azure carpet from outside trailed in covering the floor. Strife’s fine brown desk was covered with neatly stacked paperwork and office supplies. The white walls had awards and pictures on them that I really didn’t give a damn about. There was only one thing I was here for.

“Brian Xelbu?” he greeted with interest placed on the name.

“I had nothing to do with that. It was the secretary’s assumption.” I defended. Strife turned around in his chair to face me. Like before, he was in a neatly pressed white suit with a sky blue dress shirt underneath. His brown hair was also neatly combed giving him a sophisticated and proper look.

“So what brings you here Brian? After our last meeting, I did not believe I would see again, especially so soon. What has it been, two, maybe three weeks?” Strife played at with his hands folded under his chin and his elbows resting on his desk.

“I won’t drag this out Strife. I want in.” I said straightforwardly. The politician chuckled lightly at my declaration.

“So what made you change your mind?” he inquired.

“I’ve been enlightened. I’ve finally seen the world for what it really is; corrupt, unjust, dangerous, and chaotic. A man gets charged with assault for defending his family and property from a burglar, an innocent child is burned alive because she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time… I want it all to end! You said Team Neos is working to bring peace and order to the world so let me help.” I ranted while Strife sat silently hearing me out. “In fact, let me make myself clearer.” I got down to one knee and extended both my arms to my side. “I, Brian Nosurname, now known as Brian Xelbu, do hereby swear my loyalty to the ideals set out by Team Neos!” I decreed.

“Where would you like to be stationed?” asked Strife obviously accepting my proposal. He was, after all, the one who extended the first invitation.

“Anywhere in the world is fine, I’ll gladly go where ever my services are needed.” I answered. “Although, I want Team Rocket to suffer the most.” I added maliciously. Without a word, Strife reached into his desk and pulled out a notepad. He scribbled something on it, ripped off the sheet, and handed it to me. I walked over to the desk to accept it.

“The Left Atrium is a bar in Goldenrod City. It is also one of Neos’s recruitment facilities. Go up to the bartender and say you want a NEOpolitan with emphasis on the Neo. He’ll show you to the back room.” Strife instructed.

“Thanks.” I said stuffing the paper into my pocket.

“I have a few words to share with you before you go.” said Strife. “When someone refers to the Leader of Team Neos, they refer to Arthias. He goes by the code name Leader while serving as my stand in so that I may easier manipulate dealings with the bureaucrats and politicians. As of this moment you, Arthias, and my Captains are the only ones who know my true identity. Therefore, do not say anything foolish.”

“Got it.” I answered. “By the way, I also have something I want to say. Before I realized how the world really was, I thought of Team Neos as nothing more than another criminal organization. If at any time I regret joining, I will kill you Strife Maxwell.” I warned heatedly.

“Then I hope that we meet your expectations Brian.” he said sounding unconvinced of my threat. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe me, it was more like he was confident I would fail if I tried. Always with that air of confidence and coolness. Never faltering once except that time with Arthias. Strife Maxwell is probably the most dangerous man on the planet. It’s a good thing I’m on his side.

“Come on Axel.” I said walking out the door.

I’ll be honest with you. I really don’t like that man.” stated the monkey once we were in the hallway.

“I can’t say I’m too fond of him either, but if anyone can change the world, it’s him. Not to mention at this very moment, Strife Maxwell is our new boss.” I responded.

Your new boss. The only human I take orders from is you.” Axel retorted.

“Right.” I affirmed. “Anyway, back to Johto then.”
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