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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 20: Point of No Return

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey What do you do when there is injustice in the world? Do you sit idly by and ignore it? Complain about it but do nothing, instead wait for someone else to solve the problem? Or do you rise to the challenge of putting a stop to it yourself? Brian has made his choice and Axel is all to happy to follow his Trainer down that path.
Chapter 20: Point of No Return

It took a while to find due to the size of Goldenrod City and my own directional impairedness, but I finally found the bar known as the Left Atrium. It was a rather simple design; rectangular, peeling white paint on the outside revealing the wooden walls beneath, and a beaten wooden door leading inside the bar itself. On the roof were the words “Left Atrium” shining in red neon lights written in a fancy cursive font. On the left side of the name was an Ace of Hearts card, also made out of red neon lights. Just what could be expected from this kind of place.

Unlike the rest of the city which had a golden glow in the afternoon sun, the area I was in was dirty and full of broken buildings and boarded up houses. According to the people of Goldenrod, this dingy district was considered a bad neighborhood where only the scoundrel of humanity resided. The main hangout spot for these vermin was none other than the Left Atrium. It was ironically fitting that this was also the very recruitment center of the organization that would clean up this filth.

“Ready Axel?” I asked my companion. “Once we walk through that door, it’s over. There will be no going back.”

There was no going back the moment you killed those people. I say we do what we came here for and finish what we started.” declared the monkey. I could only smile at his determination. I reached out for the bar door and entered.

The inside wasn’t much better than the outside. First of all, I started coughing from how much cigarette smoke there was in the air. I grabbed the collar of my shirt and lifted it over my nose and mouth to keep from breathing that shit, but that did nothing to keep my eyes from watering. I felt bad for Axel who had no protection from the carcinogen. Aside from the foul stench in the air, the lights were dimmed giving it a drearier look. To the far right were a number of booths and tables, some occupied, with a yellow tinted window by each. In the middle of the floor were about six pool tables with various thugs playing at all but one table. In the back left corner was a dart board with about three darts in it, none on the bullseye. What I wanted was on the far left side, the bar itself. All I had to do was ask for a Neapolitan with emphasis on the Neo. The idea was to get in without any trouble, but based on the looks I was getting from everyone here, I could already tell that was going to be difficult.

“Hey there little boy.” said a soon to be dead man. He was a shirtless bald fat bastard wearing a simple black leather vest letting all his girth hang over his blue jeans. A tattoo of a Gyarados ran up his right arm. “That’s a mighty nice Infernape you have there. Hand it over!” he ordered.

Go fuck yourself tubby!” Axel spat. I pulled my face out of my shirt to make speaking easier.

“Sorry, but it doesn’t look like he’s interested in going with you and I’m not really the type to give into intimidation.” I said nonchalantly with a hint of snark.

“Are you making fun of my friend here?” asked a skinny guy with buck teeth and a purple mohawk. Judging by how alike the two men were dressed, I’d say they were both part of the same gang. Tubby must eat all the food leaving Slim hardly any.

“What ever gave me away?” I asked carelessly. Both hooligans gave me angered looks. “Listen, I have better things to do than deal with you unevolved monkeys, so get out of my way and no one gets hurt. Kay?” I proposed pushing past the two thugs.

“Hey! I’m not done with you yet!” shouted Tubby grabbing my shoulder.

“I got the Infernape!” Slim said proudly. My eyes widened with my pupils narrowing. They had their chance to live.

“Flare Blitz!” I called to Axel. I heard Slim cry in pain as Axel surrounded his body in fire, then most likely tackled the fool. I reached my arms behind my head and grabbed Tubby’s arm. I then pulled him as I leaned forward flipping the fat bastard over me with some effort. I stood over him glaring.

“Wh-wh-what’s with your eyes?” he stammered in fear.

“These are the eyes of a killer.” I said coldly. “Perish, now.” I ordered placing my foot on his head. Slowly I pressed down, savoring Tubby’s every scream.

“That’s enough!” shouted the bartender. I looked over my shoulder at the man in a white T-shirt and black apron with buzz cut brown hair and a stubble beard and mustache.

“You’re lucky I have better things to do than waste my time on you.” I said lifting my foot off the man’s head. “Axel!” I called.

Oh fine.” Axel said disappointedly as he dropped the now hairless Slim. I took a seat at the bar with Axel standing on my right. No one else in the bar dared mess with us after the stunt we just pulled.

“Hey bartender! Can I get a NEOpolatin?” I asked.

“What did you just say?” he asked warily.

“Perhaps you didn’t hear me. NEOpolatin.” I repeated boldly. The bartender shifted his eyes right and left before looking back at me and nodding.

“Could you watch the bar Jack?” the bartender asked another guy who was wiping down glasses up until now. “Follow me.” he said to me quietly. As soon as he left the bar, the guy led us down a narrow hallway.

“So who’d you hear that from?” he inquired suddenly.

“What?” I asked not completely sure what he meant.

“The password. There is no way you just knew, so who told you?” I couldn’t exactly tell him the truth since I swore myself to secrecy. Actually, I could tell the truth and lie at the same time.

“I heard it from Leader himself.” I said. Strife may be the real leader, but they all will think I’m talking about his stand-in Arthias.

“Shit! Leader!? As in…” he said starting to shake his hand over his head.

“Leader as in the head of Team Neos.” I bragged. The bartender started spazzing as if he was about to die. He was acting like I was some sort of prince or other type of royalty.

“Shit. You must be somethin’ then for Leader to recommend you. Those guys out there really had no idea who they were messin’ with did they?”

“Well I don’t like to brag, but I came in second at the Sinnoh League. Now, there’s a reason I’m here.” I reminded sternly.

“Ah! Right, right! Sorry!” he said walking forward once more until we got to a door. He began fumbling with a set of keys he pulled from his apron. When he found the one he wanted, he unlocked the door and led me and Axel into a dark room. After flipping a switch on the wall by the door, the bartender knelt down and lifted up a secret hatch on the floor revealing a set of stairs.

“Take these stairs and you and your Infernape will find yourselves in Team Neos’s recruitment branch of Goldenrod. Normally I wish people luck, but someone like you probably doesn’t need it. Hell, I’m willing to bet you’re made a seated officer if not lieutenant.” he kissed up.

“Thank you.” I said walking down with Axel close behind. I wonder what will have to be done for me to become an official member. Maybe all I have to do is say Leader told me about this place and they’ll just give me a position. Heh. Wishful thinking.

At the bottom of the stairs was a room full of people conversating about whatever. Were we waiting for something to happen or was this it? I walked through the crowd interacting with no one, but observing and listening to everything so that I could piece together what was going on. As I passed through, I realized the diversity Team Neos represented. People no better than the ones upstairs were here, along with teenagers and adult alike. Some people were still dressed in their work clothes having just come from their jobs. Why were they here? Did they have the same goals as I did? As Strife does? Or are they here just because? For the crime? For the money?

“This should be interesting Axel.” I stated continuing to look around. Out of nowhere a pair of hand came around my face covering my eyes.

“Guess who.” a female voice said sweetly. The voice was so familiar, I know I know it, but from where?

Evil bitch.” Axel mumbled unkindly.

“Eve Illuminati.” I said pulling her arms away from me and turning around. Indeed it was her. Long white blond hair, piercing emerald eyes, black gothic dress, black platform boots going up to her knees and everything. “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” I asked condescendingly.

“Why am I surprised to see you?” she asked. “This is no place for children.” I was hoping I’d see Eve again so I could pay her back for before, but this was way too soon.

“I’m here to change the world.” I answered deciding not to let her get to me. “What are your reasons?”

“For fun.” Eve responded with a crude gratification. I should have known. She isn’t the type to change her behavior on or off the battlefield. Speaking of battlefields…

“Tell me, who won the White City Tournament?” I inquired. Eve looked away from me with a mopy look on her face. Obviously not her.

“It was so stupid!” she shouted in aggravation. Obviously a humiliating loss. “Raiden Arka beat me in the final round.” I had stopped listening right there. Raiden Arka had been in that tournament? How the hell did I miss him? It should have been me fighting him! The first Trainer I ever battled. The first Trainer I ever lost to. The first and only Trainer to grant me my ideology on training Pokémon.

July 10, 3003
“I challenge you to a battle!” I said to an older Trainer on Route 1. The man had long black hair tied in a ponytail with several strands hanging down the side of his face ending at his cheek bones. His eyelids hung over his dark eyes giving him a sense of aloofness. He wore black jeans which were torn at the knees, yellow boots, and a blue denim jacket over a sleeveless navy blue shirt. I was so excited! This was the first Trainer I had met since I captured Axel just two days ago.

“Do you honestly think you can beat me?” he questioned uncaringly.

“Of course I can! And don’t think you can back out either! Once a Trainer makes a challenge, you must accept!” I said arrogantly. “Let’s go Axel!” I called throwing a red and white sphere. The Pokéball opened materializing the golden Chimchar in a burst of red light.

“A Chimchar. One of an interesting color no less.” he said before sighing. “So young, so brash. Fine. I accept your challenge. You will not win, but I will at least give you some advantage with Magneton.” said the Trainer holding out a blue Pokéball with red stripes on either side. I believe it is called a Great Ball. From it emerged a Pokémon made of three silver steel orbs held together by about seven screws with a vacant white eye on each orb. The Pokémon was surrounded by six magnets.

“Alright Axel! Let’s get this guy with Ember!” I called. The young monkey inhaled deeply but was only able to burp out a puff of smoke. Axel giggled in embarrassment.

“He cannot use even the simplest Ember?” the Trainer questioned with an unamused look.

“We’re working on that!” I defended. “So let’s try Scratch instead!” I commanded. Axel ran at the Magnet Pokémon and swiped his claws across the opponent’s smooth shiny body. The young Pokémon gave out a muffled wail of pain as he gripped the hand he had attacked with in his other.

“A Steel-type like Magneton is resistant to such weak attacks as Scratch. If anything, your Chimchar hurt himself in the same way a human would scratching the side of a building. How weak.” scoffed the other Trainer. Axel got an angry look in his eye and before I could stop him, the Chimp Pokémon reached under his tail and threw a pile of flaming poo at the Trainer. Lucky for him, his Magneton was fast enough and willing to take the hit instead. “What… was… that?” he asked completely perplexed.

“I’m so sorry!” I apologized. “Axel! Enough with the flaming poo! It’s rude and just… just no! Don’t do it again, got it?” I scolded. The Chimchar gave me a dirty look in response.

“No need to be so harsh on him. I will punish your Chimchar for you. Magneton! Thunder Wave!” the Trainer ordered. Magneton had shaken off the poo leaving an unpleasant brown stain on the Magnet Pokémon where it had hit. All three eyes stared at Axel furiously as the entire body began sparking. Axel whimpered nervously as he slowly started backing away with a scared expression on his face. Magneton discharged its electricity on the young monkey causing him to first scream then quiver uncontrollably from paralysis.

“And finish it with… Tackle.” he said picking the move seemingly at random. Magneton threw itself into the immobile Chimp Pokémon sending him rolling across the ground before stopping with his butt up in the air. The flame on the Chimchar’s rear extinguished itself as a sure sign he was fainted. I was left with my mouth agape completely taken off guard by the situation. How easily I had lost.

“No… No way! What power! You are way too good for me.” I said in admiration.

“That is because you are a low class Trainer. You just picked up a Pokémon without knowing what to do with it while I am Gym Leader level. I was just on my way to Viridian Gym to prove that Electric-type Pokémon can beat Ground-types when given the proper training.” explained the other Trainer after recalling his Magneton.

“A Pokémon is only as strong as its Trainer, and you are weak. You rush into things and you do not have complete control over your Pokémon or else he would not have thrown feces at my Magneton. You, the Trainer, must first become stronger before you can expect anything from your Pokémon. You must lead by example. Also,” he reached into his pocket and pulled out a white crystal, “it is very irresponsible to walk around with your Pokémon fainted if you can help it, so take this Revive and use it on your Chimchar. Now, I hope you learned something today. I must be off now.”

“Wait! What is your name? I wanna know so that when I do get stronger I can beat you.” I spoke up. The man turned back to me with a blank look.

“It’s rude to ask someone else their name before giving your own.” he said flatly.

“Sorry. I’m Brian Nosurname.” I said.

“Raiden Arka.” he responded before walking away again.

I never forgot what Raiden said that day. Ever since, I have trained alongside my Pokémon including my frequent sparring matches with Axel just to make sure that I am also at the top of my game. Unfortunately, that training wasn’t enough. Three years ago I ran into Raiden again in Hoenn by chance. We had another battle but I still lost. He beat two of my Pokémon with his Manectric before I beat it, he beat another two with Magneton until I was able to take it down as well, but his Raichu finished me off. He said my problem then was that I had realized I was going to lose but kept going anyway. Losing faith in my Pokémon’s ability to win is what cost me.

“Hey! Are you even listening to me?” Eve yelled bringing me back to the present.

“Yeah, I heard you. You got your pretty little ass handed to you by the most powerful Trainer either of us have ever met.” I repeated.

“And he’s the one that recruited me.” she added. I think I just swallowed my tongue and had a heart attack. Raiden was also with Team Neos? How many other people do I know are with this organization?

“Alright, quiet down all of you!” shouted a man standing on a stage wearing the Team Neos uniform; whitish grey mid-shin high boots, hakama pants, gloves, and a hooded long sleeved shirt, the emblem of a silver X with red dots in the upper cross, grey dots in the lower cross and blue dots between the two crosses was on the chest. Standing with him were three other members, two on his right and one on his left. “As of this moment you maggots are members of Team Neos. To determine your rank, we will hold a number of tests from Pokémon battling to situational logic. If you want a respectable rank, I advise you to do well.” he blared from his high point.

“I am not wearing that outfit.” Eve said defiantly.

“Then work on getting an advanced rank. Higher ups are usually allowed to customize their uniforms.” I taunted.

“There’s no doubt I’ll get a high rank. Most likely higher than you. And then you can be my wittle gwunt servant.” she mocked with her baby talk.

“Just know that if we ever meet in battle again, I will rape you.” I threatened.

“Oh please don’t! I’m still a virgin!” begged Eve crossing her legs. She decided to drop the act by laughing me off with a snide giggle. “Remember? You even admit it yourself, you can’t beat me. That is an unchangeable fact.”

“Just be glad we’re on the same side now.” I warned.

Stupid woman. She has no idea what we’re capable of now.” Axel said. I wonder though, what would she be like if I actually got her to fight seriously? My Pokémon would need to be ready to fight for their lives if I did.

The training really wasn’t all that bad. The way it worked was the better you did in one round, the tougher the next round would be. Our four instructors would give us different scenarios and hypothetical missions, whereas we trainees had to find ways to complete those missions successfully by any means necessary. What made these tricky were random hurdles and unexpected incidents that threw off the original plan forcing us to adapt. Those who passed with all requirements met were sent to the next level. Those who failed were demoted.

Another thing they looked at was our skills in battle. Obviously those who were strongest and smartest outclassed the weaker crowd. Combining these two attributes, combat and success rate, would be what would determine our rank.

Low Class Grunts: Any Trainer who just picks up a Pokémon and thinks they have power now. A lot like what Raiden said about me all those years ago. They are only a threat to people without Pokémon, new Trainers, and Wild Pokémon. Low class grunts are given the most basic and unimportant missions.

Grunt: Trainer level. They are like the average Trainer. They have a team of about three or more Pokémon, and they can hold their own in most battles. Grunts are given missions where failure is only a minor setback and success leads to great rewards. This is the most common rank among the Neos.

Officer: Gym Leader level. Officers are as strong as a Gym Leader or someone who has beaten all eight leaders of any region. They are highly unlikely to lose except to higher ranked individuals and are given more important missions such as interfering with the major criminal organizations of the world. The two Trainers I fought on the boat that one time were Officers.

Seated Officer: Frontier Brain Level. A step above regular officers, seated officers are given a numerical rank to determine status. Ten is only slightly better than a regular while one is the strongest. Seated Officers have missions similar to Officers, only they are to derail the more important plans of the enemy Teams. A Seated Officer would have been needed for the Lugia incident on the Whirl Island had they known about it.

Lieutenant: Elite Trainer level. The highest obtainable rank. Like Elite Trainers who have mastered all or most of the world’s Gyms, beaten at least one Battle Frontier, and regularly participates in tournaments worldwide, Lieutenants are nearly unstoppable unless faced with someone of equal or greater power, though this is rare. They are given missions that are crucial to Team Neos’s plans and are treated with the utmost care. Failure is not an option.

Captain: Elite Four Level. The three most powerful members of Team Neos, this rank cannot be obtained without first being appointed by Leader. Their missions consist of only the most important. If there is any room for failure by a lower ranked member, the mission is given to a Captain. Arthias is ranked Head Captain making him the fourth, though for Strife’s purposes Arthias assumes the role of Leader.

These ranks of course only apply to the main division. I don’t know how accurate the rumors I’ve heard are, but supposedly there is also a Stealth Division. They serve as spies and do more black-ops type missions. There is also the Science Department which Xelbu was a part of, but that has nothing to do with me.

“If you are ever in a situation where the mission has crumbled and the only way to get out alive is to abandon your Pokémon, what do you do?” asked one of the instructors. Today was day four of our training.

“That’s easy. Leave it! When it comes to survival, you must always look out for number one.” answered a random person I couldn’t see from my position in the crowd.

“You’re wrong!” I interrupted. “Abandoning your Pokémon is the stupidest thing you can do in that kind of situation. I’ll give you two scenarios to prove you wrong. In the first one, you abandon your Pokémon but get captured by the enemy. You now no longer have any means to defend yourself against them and their Pokémon leaving you with two options: surrender or die. If it were me who caught you, I’d execute you on the spot without mercy. The second case is you get out safely, but the rest of your Pokémon no longer trust you. They’ve seen that they are disposable to you, and like how you abandoned the other Pokémon, they too will abandon you to survive. It would be the same case if you were a grunt and saw your commanding officer leave a fellow grunt to die. You would do whatever it took to get away from him before you were next. That is why I would do whatever I could to save my Pokémon or die trying because I know they’d do the same for me.” I explained.

“Well said.” came a voice that did not belong to any of the instructors. Arriving down the stairs from the bar was none other than Raiden Arka wearing a Team Neos uniform with the hood down so that we could clearly see his face.

“Third Seat Raiden Arka! Sir!” the four instructors acknowledged simultaneously as they saluted Raiden. Third Seat huh? As expected, he is very far up there in rank. I didn’t expect to see him here though.

“Brian is absolutely correct.” Raiden agreed. He even remembered who I was. There is a reason I have an undying respect for that man. “A Pokémon is only as good as its Trainer. In combat a Trainer acts as a general to his troops, the Pokémon. If the general is weak, he can expect nothing from his subordinates. At the same time, a general is at the mercy of his troops, without them he cannot accomplish his goals. That is why a symbiosis must be met where the two work together.” Raiden clarified. “I want all of you to remember that!” he addressed to all of us.

He’s amazing.” said Axel in admiration.

“He is.” I agreed. So badly I wanted to battle Raiden right now just to see how much I’ve improved. However, this was not the time or the place. I’ll challenge him after today’s seminar. Hopefully my Pokémon and I won’t be too worn out.

Riolu thrust his palm forward sending a burst of aura through my opponent’s Sudowoodo’s body. The tree look-a-like gave a weak yelp before collapsing unconscious making Riolu and me the winners.

“Alright Rio!” I cheered as I crouched down to high-five the young Emanation Pokémon. Riolu gave me a gratified smile as he slapped my hand.

I took a quick look at my watch which read 7:51p. Only nine minutes remained of this exercise. Our final test of the day was combat practice. We could challenge any other new recruit of our choosing and there was no backing down from a challenge. A lot of the people that challenged me would be Grunts at best. The sad part was that Eve and I were two of the best people here leaving not much decent competition. It’s a shame we aren’t allowed to challenge the instructors or Raiden.

“Hey you!” someone yelled out to me in a deep gravelly voice. This challenger had a jowled face like a Granbull’s with small narrow eyes and short silver hair.

“Let me guess, you want a battle.” I said uninterestedly.

“I wanna get you back for making me look like an ass in front of the superiors!” he shouted. I had no idea what he was talking about. I turned my head slightly to the side to try and remember who all I had humiliated today.

“Oh, you wouldn’t happen to be the clown that was going to abandon his Pokémon are you?” I realized.

“Yer damn right I am! Now it’s yer turn to be humiliated!” he bellowed grabbing a ball from his waste and releasing a human sized green mantis with long bladed arms and a reptilian like head.

Can I fight this one?” asked Axel like he wanted a treat.

“Alright, Scyther is yours.” I agreed. “Hit it with Flame Wheel!” Axel’s fiery mane grew intense as he jumped in the air and spun at the unfortunate Bug-type.

“Avoid with Agility!” my adversary ordered. Scyther turned into a green blur dodging right of Axel’s attack. “Now I’ll use Staraptor!” he said sending out a tall bird covered in black, grey, and white feathers with a long head crest tipped with red feathers. The bird Pokémon stood on powerful orange talons that could tear its prey to ribbons.

“Two against one isn’t exactly fair, ya know?” I said looking back and forth between Scyther and Staraptor. “So I’ll just have to use--”

“Staraptor! Use Brave Bird on the Infernape! Scyther! Quick Attack the Trainer!” barked the Trainer. What did he just say!? Staraptor slammed itself into Axel’s chest knocking the monkey as far away from me as possible while the Mantis Pokémon lunged at me at a blinding speed. Before I could react, I was thrown to the ground with Scyther looming over me.

Brian!” Axel cried trying to get to me.

“Keep the Infernape busy with Close Combat!” ordered the Granbull face. The Predator Pokémon started rapidly kicking and slashing at Axel with its enormous talons forcing the monkey on the defensive. “Now Scyther! Finish the Trainer with Slash!”

Time seemed to slow down as Scyther lifted one of its lethal blades over my head. I couldn’t dodge, Scyther was way too fast, it would hit me no matter what direction I moved. I couldn’t summon another one of my Pokémon, it would take too long for them to protect me. There was only one thing I could do, and that was to protect myself! I instinctively threw my right hand into the air actually catching the Mantis Pokémon’s blade in a firm grip. I winced in pain as I felt the blade cut into my palm. Blood ran from my palm down my arm before trailing off to drip on the floor.

“Impossible! Scyther’s blade should have cut your hand off!” my opponent cried in shock. I gazed up at the man with a feral look in my eyes. He stepped back in fear at my commanding presence. I picked myself up, throwing Scyther aside when I had regained my balance. I stared down at my wounded hand, blood still trickling from the gash in my glove. To my alarm, I noticed that my finger nails had suddenly grown into claws and there was a faint blue glow around my hand. “What the hell are you!?” demanded the terrified man.

“I’m beginning to wonder that myself.” I answered in confusion looking back at him. The glow around my hand faded away while my nails returned to their normal length.

“Whatever you are, yer dead! Scyther! X-Scissor! Staraptor! Aerial Ace!” he ordered. I reached for Piloswine’s and Aerodactyl’s Pokéballs for assistance, but they were unnecessary as two bolts of blue lightning shocked the two Flying-types into fainting. Raiden walked up with a Jolteon by his side and a very unamused look on his face.

“Like I said before, a Trainer is like a general and the Pokémon his troops. Taking out the general will leave the troops in disarray making victory impossible for them and inevitable for you. It is a smart strategy when facing your enemies. However, taking out one of your own comrades is greatly frowned upon and is also a way to develop mistrust among the ranks. Much like abandoning your Pokémon.” Raiden reprimanded. “As for you Brian; great job parrying that Scyther’s attack. Perhaps you have gotten stronger.”

“Thank you Master!” I thanked appreciatively of the complement.

After getting my hand bandaged up, I joined the rest of the recruits for rank and squad assignment. The four instructors stood on the stage with two on each side of Raiden.

“Well maggots, you are all being promoted tonight! Your rank has been determined by the tests you each performed these last four days! If you do not like your rank, you have only yourself to blame and only you can change that!” one of the instructors blared. “First, I would like to inform you all that as of now you each serve under Third Seat Raiden Arka! That won’t change until you become seated officers yourselves! That said, Raiden Arka has handpicked four of you to be his personal officers and as such his squad members! Will Eve Illuminati, Zack Kaguya, Chane Turk, and Brian Xelbu report to the stage?”

Did I hear that right? Raiden handpicked me to be in his personal squad along with Eve? This is both an honor and a WTF moment.

Get moving Monkey, we’re up!” Axel told as he pushed me up to the stage.

“Let’s do this!” I declared with excitement. I would be in a squad with someone I admire, someone I have a loathing respect for, and two people I know nothing about other than they must have impressed Raiden somehow.

On the stage standing by Raiden’s side were Eve, a petite girl with wavy auburn hair and brown eyes with a timid expression on her face, and a boy with unkempt red hair with blue eyes hidden behind glasses. This one had a look of confidence to him.

“Wow. Little baby Brian made it all the way to the big leagues. I’m so impressed.” Eve teased sarcastically. “And since when is your name Xelbu? I thought it was--”

“I changed it to protect my family.” I interrupted. “You and Raiden are the only ones here who know my true name.”

“Well whatever your name is, I’m Zack Kaguya.” introduced the boy holding out his hand. I gladly accepted my new partner’s hand shake.

“A-and I-I’m Chane Turk.” the girl introduced shyly. It made no sense to me why someone as timid as Chane was here. Team Neos doesn’t seem like the line of work someone like her would be cut out for, but she must have her reasons. Either that or she’s just nervous.

“I’m Brian Xelbu and this is my life partner Axel.” I introduced formally motioning myself then the Infernape.

When he says ‘life partner’ he means it. Don’t you ladies come sniffing around my man.” the deranged monkey said defensively. It’s times like this that I’m glad I’m the only one who can understand him.

“Shall we be off then?” Raiden inquired leading us to the exit.

“We shalst!” I answered following my new leader with the rest of my companions. I took one last look at my bandaged hand. There was definitely something going on with me that I needed an answer to. For now though, I’ll just have Axel keep an eye on me until I get a chance to find out what’s happening. For now, I’ll enjoy the company of my new squad. This will be where the fun truly begins!
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