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Roxwell Stories: Dancer and the Deliverer (Part 1)

by Chrocey

Chrocey First part of the Roxwell Stories series.
It was almost noon, and patrons began trickling into The Rose cafe. Within minutes, it was bustling.

The setting was something out of a movie, or the typical depiction of a coffee shop junction for beatniks and business professionals. There were enough personal laptops and communicators brought into the cafe that it almost seemed possession of either was an unspoken requirement before stepping through the threshold.

The small fact that Lloyd hadn’t brought anything besides money for coffee made him stand out a little more than he cared to. He could only hope that his sweater vest and glasses acted as sufficient camouflage.

“Professor Lloyd?” A gentle voice, questioning as though to simultaneously speak to him on a personal level and make sure everything’s okay. “You’re the one who called me here, right?”

“Uh…” Lloyd was dumbstruck for a moment as he turned and looked at the woman. He regarded her, noting her attire and how out of place it seemed to be. Not for this coffee shop, but for her own personality. Normally, she’d always dressed in a way that looked like she was about to perform in front of an audience. Today, however, she was much more casual, wearing shorts and a crop top while her hair was done back in a ponytail.

“Are you not Professor Lloyd?” she said after a period of silence, her blue eyes seeming to search him for an answer.

“Oh! W-Why yes, I am,” He stood up quickly from his chair and smoothed out his shirt, which had become wrinkled after sitting for so long. The professor held out his hand to greet the woman, “It’s good to see you again, Diana Roxwell.”

“Ana,” she replied, “I prefer Ana.”

Bypassing the hand, Ana wrapped her arms around the professor for a friendly embrace. She murmured, “and it is good to see you again too, professor.”

After a second, she released him.

Lloyd would have been taken aback by this behavior if he hadn’t already met her once before. Ana was somewhat of a free spirit, someone who truly didn’t enjoy the confines of social norms or anything that was expected of her. From Lloyd’s perspective, however, it was more than simple childish rebellion. Ana always seemed to live in a different world than those around her.

“What is it this time? Not another device of yours that’s going to accidentally force Charlene and I to swap bodies,” Ana quipped.

The Professor pushed the glasses higher on the bridge of his nose, then closed his brown eyes for a second while he pretended to rub them. A nervous habit that Diana had taken note of, and enjoyed provoking.

Avoiding the remark, Lloyd motioned his hand towards the empty chair at the table. “Please, have a seat. I have news of the utmost importance that you may be interested in hearing.”

Ana obliged and sat down. Her hands rested on the table, folded together politely.

“First of all, it has come to my attention you are no longer a Ranger, is that right?”

“That is correct,” Diana responded plainly. She saw no point in giving him anything other than the answers he seeked.

“Am I to assume you are still in possession of your Arbok, then?”

“Yes. Charlene is safely within her pokeball.”

“Good, because someone in town is looking for you. More specifically looking for Charlene.” Professor Lloyd shifted in his seat nervously. It was terrifying talking about this in such a large crowd, but what public locations lacked in privacy, they made up for in safety.

“Who would this person be? And why would they specifically want Charlene?”

“Both are very valid questions,” Lloyd answered almost immediately, “however, they are irrelevant. This man came to my lab asking if I’d seen you. Afterwards, he and his pokemon forced their way into the lab and started breaking all of my equipment.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, professor,” Diana said, not seeming the least bit interested in his losses. “Did you tell him where I was?”

“I was never a good liar, Ana.”

Diana stared at him briefly before taking in a deep breath through her nostrils and exhaling through her mouth. As stress would get to her, she used long breathing patterns calm herself and clear her mind. Often times ideas would come to her upon exhaling.

“Where is he now? Perhaps I will deal with him first before he finds me.” Ana said.

“Not...very likely,” Lloyd responded. He let out a breath as though the truth were a heavy burden that he was finally setting down. “He’s waiting for you outside. I’m very sorry, Ana, but he gave me no other option.”

Ana almost shot up from her chair, but stopped herself. Often times her gut reaction to things weren’t her smartest reactions. Instead she remained calm and asked, “so...I’m guessing you’re telling me all of this so that you can get me out of here?”

“No,” Lloyd said grimly, “he told me to tell you all of that.”