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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 35: Matters Uneasily Resolved

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey Having fled from his squad, will Brian be marked as a traitor or is there still time to bring him back?
Chapter 35: Matters Uneasily Resolved

“Now Axel! Finish it with Flare Blitz!” I commanded. My monkey partner surrounded his body in fire and charged recklessly at a Pokémon with a thin green stalk for a body and a large yellow sunflower for a head. The Sunflora screamed in pain before falling to the floor unconscious.

“Oh no! Sunflora lost!” my opponent cried returning the Sun Pokémon to its Pokéball. “Good match!” she continued before walking out of the room.

“Excellent job! That’s twenty victories! Would you like to continue battling, rest, or retire?” asked the female referee, identifiable by her green uniform. I don’t know why they have to wear those silly hats though.

“What do you think Axel?” I asked turning to him. The Flame Pokémon put his hand to his chin to think.

A quick rest would be nice. I don’t need one, but Snorlax took a beating from that last Trainer’s Hariyama.” he replied.

“Fair enough. We’ll rest for a bit.” I told the ref.

“Very well sir. Step out into the lobby please.” she instructed. Axel and I followed her out of the arena into a large open lobby with grey flooring. In the center of the floor was a pentagon with grey circles on four of the five points. The circle on the upper point was red indication that this facility was Battle Tower. Around the Battle Frontier logo were four statues that looked like deformed stars with Pokéballs on one of the points. I guess they’re supposed to represent people holding the Pokéballs or something.

After getting my Pokémon healed, I sat with Axel on one of the many benches drinking from our water bottles and watching the other Trainers prepare themselves, converse, or just wander around aimlessly.

After leaving Raiden and the others, I flew on Aerodactyl to Vermillion City and took the SS Aqua to Olivine City, and from there walked to the Johto Battle Frontier. I had heard good things about it, but never officially visited before. Since I wanted a straight fight, I chose Battle Tower as it was the only one of the five facilities not to have any silly gimmicks.

It was nice being able to enjoy a battle for a change instead of worrying about casualties. I had my Pokémon battle each other and Wild Pokémon before coming here just to make sure we were still capable of friendly competition. It was nice to know that we were. It was also nice to know that we haven’t lost our edge. The opponents in Battle Tower weren’t exactly pushovers. In battles 1-7 I used Axel, Piloswine, and Riolu; battles 8-14 Axel, Beldum, and Aerodactyl; and battles 15-21 Axel, Snorlax, and Piloswine. Only one battle left in this round.

“We needed this.” I said with a relaxed sigh.

Yeah we did. All this fighting makes for good training too.” agreed the Infernape. I nodded with a smile, but my smile faded when I saw a familiar female with white blonde hair wandering the lobby as if searching for something. Or rather someone.

What the hell is she doing here?” Axel wondered bitterly.

“Isn’t it obvious? She’s searching for us.” I said disdainfully. My inner dragon so badly wanted to run over there and claw Eve’s throat out and spill her internal organs, but my human rational told me that murder in a place like this was an extremely bad idea. Surrounded by so many powerful Trainers meant there was no escape. That, and I would have to flee from Team Neos permanently for killing one of my own. Instead, I decided it would be easier to try to blend in with the crowd until it was time for my next match. Unfortunately, we were spotted.

“There you are!” Eve called walking over to us. Axel and I crossed our arms and stared at her hatefully. I even gave her an inhuman snarl so Eve would get the idea that she was the last human I wanted to deal with right now. The blonde paused before throwing her hands up in submission.

“Look, I know you probably hate me--”

“Not probably, I do hate you.” I interrupted.

“Right. But anyway, I need you to come back with me.” she requested.

“Why should I?” I questioned spitefully.

“Raiden ordered it. Do you know what happens to traitors and deserters? They get hunted down and eliminated.” said Eve answering her own question.

“So you want to finish what you started in the Safari Zone.” I said venomously. Granted, I may have been harsher than necessary considering her tone was nothing but submissive, but I wanted Eve to feel my pain.

“No, see Raiden didn’t report you to the superiors. The five of us are the only ones who know you left. He ordered us to bring you back so he wouldn’t have to report you. I’m just the one who found you first.” she explained.

“Lucky me.” I said sarcastically.

“I’m glad that I found you first because…” Eve looked like she was having a hard time coming up with the words to say next. “Because I wanted to apologize.” she said lowering her head.

“For nearly killing me? Yeah… Not forgiven.” I blew off dismissively.

“I’m not asking for forgiveness! I just wanted you to know that I’m deeply sorry for shooting you with Ice Beam. I had no idea it would have that effect on you!” she informed.

“You stupid bitch! I’m a Dragon-human hybrid. What the hell did you think was going to happen?” I yelled in a hushed voice. I didn’t want onlookers hearing our conversation after all.

“I don’t know! I thought you’d react like a Dragonair. It would hurt enough to get your attention, but you’d still walk away from it. You have proven to be very tough in the past.” admit Eve unsurely.

“Dragon-human hybrid.” I repeated. “I have the strength, speed, and endurance of a Dragon-type Pokémon, but I still possess the frailness of a human along with the weaknesses of my type. Ice-type attacks don’t exactly tickle. They are extremely unpleasant to me and may even be fatal! Have you ever felt your blood crystallize? Because I almost did!” I spat. I watched Eve blink hard as if she was trying to hold back tears. Don’t tell me the sociopath actually has a heart and was about to cry. I may actually laugh at the irony of that.

“I know that! I feel awful about it! I like tormenting people, I like playing with people as if they’re my toys, but I can’t kill someone unless they deserve it or it’s a necessary evil. I may be cruel and manipulative at times, but I do have standards.” Eve said defensively. Too bad for her I wasn’t buying it.

“I will not forgive you and I will not acknowledge your apology. If you are truly sorry, you will find a way to make this up to me somehow.” I told her flatly.

“I won’t give you sexual favors.” she rejected. I couldn’t believe her!

“Depraved woman! Who the hell do you think I am? Zack Kaguya? I wasn’t going to ask for anything like that!” I yelled furiously, this time not caring about my tone or who heard me.

“Settle down. It was a joke. I thought some light humor would help ease the situation a bit.” said Eve waving her hands up and down telling me to keep my voice down.

“Well I’m not laughing.” I said unamusedly. Eve sighed.

“I know. That was mostly for me. I hate feeling this vulnerable in front of people.” she said hugging herself. “But it’s fine. I’m sure I can think of something to make things right with you.” agreed Eve.

“How dare you! You aren’t supposed to make yourself feel better when begging someone to do something for you. You are supposed to be absolutely submissive!” I shot back irately. Eve lowered her head shamefully and this time I’m sure I saw tears starting to flow. So she was telling the truth after all. Either that or she’s a better actress than I ever gave her credit for. I think I’ll test her sincerity.

“You had just better hope that our enemies don’t realize what happened back there. If they were smart enough to form an alliance, then there’s a chance they will be smart enough to notice the correlation that me plus Ice-type attacks equals me out of commission. If that happens, we’re all screwed. And if by some miracle I live through their assault, I will kill you regardless of the consequences.” I told her flatly.

“Raiden already told me about that. That is why I’m so sorry about it. Not only did I wrong you once, but I may have left you open to further, undeserved torture. The rest of us would be left vulnerable because we’d have to help you or suffer the loss of one of our own.” she responded. Then Eve looked to the floor in shame. “I… I hate feeling vulnerable. If people know your weaknesses, they’ll take advantage of you. In the end you’ll just be hurt and feeling like a loser and I also hate losing. I hate losing games, I hate losing battles, and I hate losing people. It’s such an awful feeling.”

“For once we agree. But you still owe me, remember that.” I said dryly. Eve may have put it in a self-centered perspective, but the idea is the same. People fight to protect what they care about because the pain of loss is so great it can be unbearable. I fight Team Rocket not just to avenge Madison’s murder, but so that other innocent people don’t suffer as well. Even if it was a lie, Eve seemed to at least understand what it’s like to lose something precious. I’d ask her what it was, but given what she just said, she’d probably deny it.

“Sir, are you ready for your next match?” asked the ref coming for me. I turned to Eve.

“May I? You did say you had to take me back.” I asked her.

“True, but I haven’t told anyone that I actually found you yet.” replied Eve with half a smile.

“Good. But this doesn’t make us even yet!” I reminded.

“I can accept that.” she granted. I smirked as I followed the referee to the arena for my twenty-first match. I took a deep breath to clear my mind of my rage. I wanted this final battle to be fun.
------------

So… s-strong…” panted Axel wearily as I walked him out of the arena. I had no idea this battle was going to be against Tower Tycoon Palmer. We were very unprepared for such a formidable opponent. Rhyperior, Milotic, and Dragonite all had an advantage over Axel, but luckily I had Piloswine to fight Dragonite, and Snorlax to handle Milotic leaving Axel to do his best against Rhyperior. In the end, I barely came out on top. Both Snorlax and Piloswine were knocked out and Axel was very low on health, but we pulled through in the end.

“So did you win?” inquired Eve, who had been waiting for us outside. I still despised her, but it would be rude not to answer.

“We did. After Axel and my other Pokémon get healed, I’m to meet Palmer outside so we can take a commemorative photo outside the Tower.” I told her. As soon as Axel could stand on his own, I met the Tower Tycoon outside Battle Tower.

“There’s Mr. Spectacular!” called a man in his thirties with spiky blonde hair cheerfully motioning us over. That was Palmer, the Frontier Brain. He wore long khaki pants, black shoes, and a white shirt underneath a green trench coat. In order to be allowed to participate in the Battle Frontier, I needed to first purchase a Vs Recorder to keep track of my matches. I pulled my Vs Recorder from my pocket and handed it to one of the green uniformed employees so that he could get a picture on it of me, Axel, and Palmer. The Tower Tycoon threw his arms over my and Axel’s shoulders with a wide grin. The monkey and I leaned close to Palmer giving a thumbs-up and victorious smirks to the photographer.

“Say Frontier Brain!” shouted the photographer before snapping the picture with my Vs Recorder. “There you go! Your Tower Print has been saved.” he said handing it back to me.

“Thanks. And thank you Palmer for that excellent battle.” I said appreciatively.

“Brian, I know you will become even more skilled. Keep battling Trainers from around the world and keep growing greater in stature!” encouraged Palmer. I smiled and nodded.

Before leaving the Battle Frontier, I was given a Bronze Trophy for winning twenty consecutive battles in Battle Tower and each of my Pokémon was awarded a Ribbon for beating Palmer. I put the ribbons in the trophy and put that in an empty Item Ball I had in my backpack.

“Alright Eve, report in that you found me.” I told her. I was still feeling good about my recent victory but I was starting to feel down now that I had to return to work.

“Already done. I called in while you were getting your Commemorative Print. Raiden says to meet him in Saffron City.” she debriefed. “Also, I know I’m in no place to request anything from you, but could you please keep what happened here between us? I don’t want the others to know I actually have a nice side.” Eve beseeched.

“Heh. As far as I’m concerned, you were just playing nice so that I wouldn’t destroy you like I do to so many others that get on my bad side.” I said. I didn’t say this, but why would I put someone I loathe in a positive light anyway?

“Thanks.” she said somewhat relieved. “And I promise, I will find a way to make things right. We have to work together so I would rather there not be bad blood between us.”

Getting to Saffron City was no easy task. Or I should say it was a very unpleasant one. Without a Flying-type Pokémon of her own, Eve and I had to sit uncomfortably close together on Aerodactyl’s back on our way to Goldenrod City. We had to spend more time together in taking the Magnet Train to Saffron. At least there, we could keep our distance. The only good thing that came out of this situation was that my tolerance of her grew; something I would need for us to effectively work together again on future missions.

“This is the place.” Eve said looking at a piece of paper that she had written the address on and comparing it to the apartment building we were standing in front of. It was a bit shoddy. It was a brick building with peeling yellow paint on it.

Well let’s go. And don’t worry Monkey, I’ll stay with you while Raiden gives you your lecture.” promised Axel. How encouraging. We walked inside to the apartment number written on the slip.

“We’re back!” called Eve knocking on the old wooden door. The one to answer the door was, luckily, Zack who had a big smile on his face.

“Hey buddy! Hey beautiful!” he greeted happily leading us in. The apartment was small and not exactly the cleanest thing around. Of all the places we’ve stayed in the past this was definitely the dirtiest and in the sketchiest possible neighborhood. This almost felt like the kind of place Team Rocket would hang out which was all the more disgusting. Why would Raiden take us to the ghetto of Saffron City unless we had a mission? Of course maybe we did.

“Brian, tell me you hit that during your alone time with her.” asked Zack.

“Define hit. If you mean sex her, then no, certainly not. If you mean smack her, I wanted to but I restrained myself.” I answered.

“Unlike you Kaguya, Brian’s a perfect gentleman to a lady. Granted, he probably wouldn’t know what to do with a woman if she threw herself at him.” teased Eve.

“Oh be quiet.” I said sardonically. I would have usually retorted with a snarky quip, but I was still too pissed at her to bother with one.

“I’m glad your back.” said Chane coming to join us.

“I guess it’s good to be back.” I said indifferently. “I just wish you or Zack had been the ones to find me. I really didn’t feel like dealing with Eve.” I admit. Chane looked happy to hear that, but at the same time dispirited that I was still a bit grumpy. Then Raiden entered the room giving me the most disappointed and unpleased look he could make.

“Hey Master Raiden. How goes it?” I inquired trying to appear calm.

“A word Brian.” he demanded motioning me closer. I took a deep breath preparing for the tongue lashing of my life as I walked towards Raiden.

All of a sudden Raiden reached out, grabbed me by the shirt collar and threw me against the wall. Before I could react to the shock of getting thrown or the pain now in my back and head from colliding with the wall, Raiden held out an Item Ball in his right hand which burst open to reveal a long black spear with a silver fang-shaped blade, yellow lightning bolt patterns on the shaft, a spiked blue ball at the base of the shaft, and a purple ribbon flowing like cloud connected to the weapon by a blue crest shaped like an ‘X’. I leaned my head as far back against the wall as I could as the blade of the spear was placed against my neck. I was in too much shock to even swallow out of fear that the blade would slit my throat.

“Raiden! Stop!” screamed Chane.

Hold it!” Axel yelled running to attack Raiden. In a swift motion with his left hand, Raiden’s Electabuzz appeared in the room to block off Axel. I motioned my hand telling the Infernape to stand down. I was sure Raiden wasn’t going to kill me. If that had been his intention, I’d already be dead. The Flame Pokémon growled as he unwilling took the order. I shifted my eyes back at Raiden who in turn looked back at me once he was sure my Pokémon was no longer an issue.

“Brian, need I remind you that Team Neos does not accept resignations? Traitors and deserters will receive the maximum punishment.” my superior refreshed. “I understood that you never intended to leave us, that is why I did not report you. However, insubordinate behavior is still insubordinate behavior and will not be tolerated. Your disregard for orders in the past may have led to success, but this time you nearly cost us! Believe me, there will be repercussions for this! As of right now you are on probation so I suggest you behave yourself. Any further defiance from you will result in punishment ranging from solitary confinement for an allotted time period to elimination. I would rather it not come to that, but if you try to run away again, I will execute you with this spear myself. Do I make myself clear?” Raiden paused giving me the opportunity to speak, but didn’t relax the spear at all.

“Yes…” I choked not daring to say anymore out of fear for my life. This was the angriest I had ever seen Raiden and I didn’t want to push my luck.

“Good. Now stop being so egotistical and prideful and look at the big picture for once. Retreating from an unwinnable fight is not the same as losing a fight if it means living to fight another day. Rushing into battle aimlessly puts the rest of us at a disadvantage because we either have to risk our lives to save you or sacrifice one fifth of our fighting strength. Think about what is best for everyone, not just yourself and learn to control your impulses better. That is an order; one I suggest you take to heart and follow obediently. Need I remind you that a Pokémon is only as strong as its Trainer?”

“No…” I responded deciding that it’s safest to keep my responses at one syllable.

“Then do not be weak.” retorted the Third Seat finally lowering his spear. I took a deep breath and rubbed my neck now that there wasn’t a sharp object pinning me to the wall. Axel rushed over to my side now that I was no longer in danger. Everyone else in the room looked relieved that no drastic measures had been taken.

Are you ok?” inquired Axel worriedly.

“You ask that too much. But yeah, I’m fine.” I replied. “Master Raiden Arka.” I conceded as I kneeled to my superior placing my hand over my heart. “I swear eternal loyalty to you. I will follow all of your orders and follow you down which ever road of life you choose unless they go completely against my code of honor. If I fail to carry out my oath, then strike me down with that spear.”

“You are so strange sometimes.” said Raiden blankly. “Very well. I will accept your offer, odd as it may be. You call me Master anyway, though I do not know why.”

“Thank you Master.” I thanked gratefully. “So what’s the deal with Team Rocket? Do we have any new information about what happened in the Safari Zone?” I asked.

“It is unfortunate to say that incidents like that are happening all over the world. It would seem that in the wake of Team Magma’s destruction, the three remaining Teams have banded together. What this means for Team Neos is that we have to rethink our methods. Since the formation of this Team Triad, some Neos squads have failed their missions but had gotten away like we did. Others have suffered casualties. There are also sparse reports of the total annihilation of squads. The success rate for Team Neos has dropped 57% in the past week.” explained Raiden grimly. “It has gotten so bad that the three Captains are now stepping in. They have ordered a halt to all intervention missions until a thorough investigation can take place. Once that is done, they will debrief us on what we need to do. For now, we lay low.” he continued.

“Bastards! We should be out there killing them!” I yelled. Raiden gave me an unamused look for my outburst. “But we’ll stay put and follow orders.” I conceded dejectedly. Raiden smirked, but I could tell it wasn’t from my compliance.

“Who said anything about staying here? The five of us are going to headquarters. I do not believe any of you have ever been there before.” he told us.

“You mean we actually have one?” Zack said sarcastically. “Where at?”

“Right below us. Or to be more precise, below the city. You see, the reason the Underground Paths were closed was not because of vandalism. Team Neos acquired the four entrances and expanded the paths into a functional base. Only someone with a Team Neos ID may enter.” explained Raiden.

“We are so awesome!” I cheered proudly. “No one other than Team Neos would be genius enough to build a city sized base underground. We seriously rock!”

“As magnificent as that is, I have to ask. How structurally sound is it? I mean, what are the odds of Saffron City caving in on top of us?” Zack questioned.

“Or worse, the city’s sewage leaking in.” added Eve.

“Headquarters is structurally sound and secure, do not worry.” assured Raiden. “Now then, the Route 7 Gate House is the closest one to our location. Get yourselves ready, we head out in fifteen minutes.”
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