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Searching for: Posts from Wildfyre.
Posted: Sat, 03/06/2023 22:00 (9 Hours ago)

Title: 13. Roar, Gyarados

Shadow Skill: Silence. Prevents opponent from using moves such as Roar or Intimidate

From the moment they evolve, Gyarados are struck by a desire to destroy. They will not calm until nothing is left. Shadows, however, seem incapable of such ferociousness.

Angel sat down at one of the little tables that overlooked the ocean and wondered if Melody would still be alive had she chosen to turn down the mission for Team Rocket. Probably should have to begin with, when one considered the fact that she’d both succeeded and failed in the mission. But at least everyone had gotten what they wanted. The meddlesome goody two-shoes out of the way so they could actually get things done. Part of her felt like she could have done more good if she continued to work for them after the organization had revealed the truth of themselves to her.

But one thing she’d chosen to live her life by was the fact that things happened for a reason. And her father now had some of that glowy liquid from the Silph Co. So regardless, if they could figure out its purpose, they could use it against Team Rocket. Possibly even become as much of a thorn in their side as Ash Ketchum and his friends were. Perhaps it was for the better, too. She doubted she would have been able to play Team Rocket from the inside, what with how easy she was to read and the fact she wasn’t able to lie. At least, not very well. Not to mention, it was unlikely they would have believed her anyways. Do-gooders didn’t just up and change overnight. Horrible things had to happen to them to set them on a different path.

She felt a hand on her shoulder, and glanced up to see Faolan. It was only then that she realized she’d been quiet for far too long, and she blushed. “Sorry. I was just wondering if…” Angel trailed off, shook her head, and looked back to the ocean. Though she barely knew Faolan, she knew he would be just like every normal person in the world and try to convince her that she was not at fault. And honestly, that wasn’t something she could deal with at the moment. No matter how badly she tried to deny it, Melody would not have been docked that day had Angel not pushed for a bit of speed.

After a little while longer, her gaze went to the shrunken pokéballs in her hand. She pressed the buttons to enlarge them, and released her friends. Out popped Sylvie the Sylveon, Rosie the Leafeon, Dreamer the Absol, Anya the Litten, and Aleu the Midday Lycanroc. Who all instantly began to shower her with questions and demands for attention. Anya was surprisingly quite upset that she’d hadn’t been invited. Something along the lines of it being rude not to include her. Of course, she didn’t care that the others weren’t invited, either. Just herself. All in all, it made her laugh. Even Faolan seemed to be amused, for she heard a soft chuckle.

Anya began to look around for Ebony, but when she didn’t smell him on her, she just jumped atop Angel’s head and curled up. Angel choked up at that, for she knew that, at the moment, the little one merely thought Ebony was off to himself. As soon as Anya found out the truth, she would be devastated. Hopefully, Angel could keep it from her, and she would never have to know. Ebony was Anya’s best friend. Aside from her, that is.

When she looked to Faolan, she saw that he was focused on Sylvie, Rosie, and Dreamer. Sylvie, he didn’t seem too interested in, which made sense because, although rare, Shiny Pokémon weren’t quite that rare. If that made sense. Angel pointed at each Pokémon as she introduced them, then went into details about Rosie and Dreamer. She explained how the young Eevee had evolved beneath a Cherry Tree, which was why she was shades of pink instead of green and brown. And how she was certain the Absol’s reverse-colored coat made him a bearer of creation, purity, and good luck.

“Do you only have five?”

“Yes and no. My sixth member, Ebony, is a Sableye with Melanism. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that, but basically, his skin is black as night. He carries around a topaz colored gem with him, big as the one you would see a Mega holding, but he can’t Megavolve. But a Team,” she paused to draw an ‘R’ on the table, “uh, borrowed him. I tried to make a deal to get him back, and almost did, but a Murkrow decided that it would…be easier if Ebony stayed with him.”

“’Team Rocket took him’,” she mouthed when she realized that he seemed confused. Angel then pointed to Anya, and then placed a finger to her lips. At least he understood the points and shushes meant that she didn’t want Anya to know yet.

“What did you do to the Murkrow for it to not want to cooperate with you?”

Angel shrugged. “You could say that it was a consequence of my naïveté. Back when I thought I thought I was doing good by being a member of Team Rocket, they told me that a Murkrow was taken from their facility. They said that he was a beloved partner to one who knew Giovanni. I was sent to retrieve him. Didn’t realize I was returning him to a life of torture and servitude.”

“Hold on. No offense, but you don’t seem that naïve. How did you go so long without figuring out what everyone already knew?”

Tears welled in her eyes. It wasn’t that his words had hurt her. More like she was angry with herself for having been so stupid to not pick up on the signs. To hear others point it out was like salt in the wound. They’d never allowed her contact with other members and limited her to certain areas of the facilities she’d visited. In hindsight, everything that was said and done screamed suspicious. But she’d grown up on the receiving end of misunderstood. Perhaps that was a trait Team Rocket used to manipulate her? If that was how they’d recruited her, did that make her empathy a weakness? Now too upset to speak, she moved her head to once again look at the water.

Faolan said nothing more, as if he knew he’d accidentally upset her. It wasn’t his fault, and she wanted to tell him that. But if she did that, it would akin to self-admittance that she was a monster. And since she already always felt bad enough about herself, it wasn’t something that would be very helpful.

As she watched the water, something caught her eye. A purplish aura like the Shadows she’d found. “No way.” The words were barely audible as she laughed inwardly at the fact her father had missed this by minutes. Something about her demeanor must have caught Faolan’s attention, for he was now beside her as they both looked into the water.

With a mighty roar, a Gyarados leaped into the air from twenty feet below. Angel heard Faolan gasp as Anya noticed that she was above water and jumped onto the table with a hiss. “What is that?” Faolan had such a childlike tone of wonder in his voice that she couldn’t help but smile.

At first, she didn’t plan to tell him anything, but then she remembered the reason he’d been arrested. He’d tried to poach a poacher. There was a high chance that if he knew what to look for, he could become one of Giratina’s Warriors of Light. That once they parted, he would do everything he could to find and protect the Shadows. Mind made up, she replied.

“It’s a Shadow Pokémon. Team Rocket is after these oddities. They want to experiment on them. According to Giratina, who came to me in my dreams, wholly subservient Pokémon more powerful than the Ultra Beasts will be made if Team Rocket has their way. The vision of the future Giratina showed me revealed a world ran and oppressed by Team Rocket.” Angel shook her head. “It’s not something we can let happen.”

“Do you have a plan to keep them out of not only Team Rocket’s hands, but the hands of Magma, Aqua, Skull, and so on as well?”

“Not really. I mean, I do want to find a way to purify them or something. Make them worthless to anyone who wishes to use them for malicious purposes. But right now, I’m sending them to my father, Nanaki. He’s a skilled scientist and inventor. He’s going to provide them with a safe place to stay while he helps them to be better.”

“Be better?” Faolan asked, but she shook her head again.

“More details can come later. For now, though, we need to find a way to convince that Gyarados to come with us before someone sees.”

“Why not just capture it?”

Just the thought made her hands ball into fists at her side. Her whole body shook in anger, but she spoke calmly, for it wasn’t him she was mad at. “I hate that concept. No matter how badly I want to help them, it’s still their choice. If they decided to turn me down, I would give advice, but I would not go against their desires.”

When she looked to him, it was clear she had once experienced a similar loss of choice at one point, which led to her firm belief in free will. He nodded, but she had no clue as to whether or not it was because he ceded to the wishes of a friend or if he felt the same way.

Angel returned Sylvie to his pokéball as she hopped atop the railing. For a few seconds, she hesitated. She felt a bit woozy at the combination of heights and the fact that she was about to leap into water when she couldn’t swim. After a few deep breaths, she jumped forward into the ocean. Above and behind her, she heard Faolan call out her name with quite a bit of concern. Had he noticed her hesitation and placed two and two together? No. That wasn’t something most people would even think of. His concern most likely regarded the height from which she’d jumped.

The moment she hit the water, she realized why he was worried. She’d barely managed to clear the shallow water. Once she’d shaken off the stupidity of her actions, she brought out Sylvie, who quickly noticed where they were and extended his ribbons to wrap around Angel’s waist to keep her afloat. With Sylvie’s help, Angel “swam” a bit farther out and began to talk to the Gyarados. “Hey, there. I saw you a few minutes ago. If you’re scared, there’s no need to be. We can help you if you give us a chance.”

For the next three minutes, she went back and forth between silence and soothing words. When it seemed like she would have her first—well, she wouldn’t really say loss or failure—disappointment, for lack of a better word, Dreamer called out from above her, and when she glanced at him, she noticed that his gaze was past her. Angel turned her attention that way to see the Gyarados, male from the looks of it, slowly approach her. He seemed so peaceful and calm. It was his behavior that helped her realize how she could help.

“Poor thing. You must feel horrible. Having the desire to go on a rampage and destroy stuff, but being unable to do so.” Angel reached out a hand to stroke his face. “I know of someone who can help you.” She began to reach into her pouch, only to remember that it, along with her backpack were on the table. In order not to startle him, she continued to speak to the Gyarados. “My father can come up with a way to make you once again able to destroy at will. But you have to trust me. Can you do that?”

There was no response for quite some time, and she opened her mouth to tell him that it was okay if he didn’t want to trust her. But she said nothing. Just as with Ally, she recognized this as a silent moment. Where choices could make or break a person. It was a really important decision to make, and the Gyarados needed to do it without any of her influence. At last, he nodded.

She half turned, looked up at her Pokémon, and raised a hand. Rosie was the first to figure out what she wanted, and used Razor Leaf to toss an empty pokéball to her. Angel of course missed it due to her eye-hand coordination being pathetic. Thankfully, it was a ball, and balls, unlike her, could float without help. Rosie’s ears laid back, and Angel gave her a smile to let her know that it wasn’t her fault. When she turned her attention back to the Gyarados, she could have sworn that he laughed at her.

Before he touched his head to the pokéball, he leaned forward and nuzzled against her neck. Angel was near certain that he even purred, but that was wholly impossible. The Gyarados wasn’t a catfish like Whiscash. She had to frown and tilt her head at that. Was Whiscash a catfish or a whale? And come to think of it, did catfish even purr?

Sylvie’s voice drew her out of her thoughts and she held onto the pokéball while they “swam” to a spot where she could climb out of the water. By this time, Faolan and the others had reached them. Beside her, Sylvie did the shake thing, and Angel couldn’t help but wonder why humans couldn’t shake their bodies like that, as it looked fun to do.

As Faolan helped her to her feet, an idea came to her. Giratina had told her that she was to be the first of the Warriors of Light. Perhaps Faolan was to be the second? She scoffed inwardly, for, for all she knew, he could be like the fiftieth by now. No. That wasn’t possible. There was no way Giratina could or would trust that many people to this. Then again, there were millions of people in the world. But still. Could Giratina trust that many? It just didn’t seem possible, no matter how much she looked at it.

When she realized that Faolan looked at her weirdly, she spoke. “If we split up, we can protect more of these Shadows than if we were together. We can also obtain the aid of more like-minded individuals.” She held out her hand after she placed the now shrunken pokéball in the backpack he’d brought with him. “With your agreement, I will give you my father’s contact information. But you aren’t to share it with anyone else without my explicit face to face permission just to be confident the approval came from me.”

Without a second’s hesitation, he handed over his Pokénav. Truth be told, she felt bad for the lack of complete honesty, but it wasn’t as if she wanted to tell the truth. That she would rather be alone than risk the problems that came from misunderstandings because no matter how hard people tried to convince her that they would always be there for her, they always lied. The only person she trusted absolutely was her own father—in spite of the way he treated her—because she knew that if it came down to it, he would drop and/or risk everything for her.

“I uh. Also gave you my contact info. Just in case you ever needed my help with something or find yourself in trouble.” Angel returned the Pokénav, then stretched her arms above her head and leaned back until her back popped. “Well. I should probably be going now,” she turned and began to walk off, then paused and looked back. “Thank you.”

“Whatever for?”

“For being there for me while I was locked up. It’s as if…” She trailed off, unable to say what was on her mind. As if he knew she was the type of person who could easily drive herself crazy with her thoughts if left alone. Despite the fact that she did her best to ignore him most of the time, he’d kept her sane. Kept her from being overwhelmed with thoughts of worthlessness and loneliness.

“Anytime, Alexandria.”

“Call me Angel.” And then, she truly walked off, though, to be honest, she had no clue what she planned to do next.

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Posted: Fri, 02/06/2023 22:11 (1 Day ago)
So, uhm. Gots a Puppy! Name's Ghost!

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Posted: Fri, 02/06/2023 06:01 (2 Days ago)
*smh* I just want to say that I'm really sorry to anyone who gets dragged into the drama of two and a half years ago that involves me for whatever reasons. I wish people could let go of things and stop holding hatred in their hearts.

I'm half glad that I'm not like that, but I'm just as bad the opposite way. I'll continue to give people chance after chance, even when I know I shouldn't because I see the good in them. Takes something major for me to cut ties, and even then, I try to rebuild bridges every couple of years.

Just have to remind myself that nothing they say matters. I've learned, changed, grown, and continue to do so each day. Being a better me than I was yesterday is the only thing that matters.

Good night, everyone! Going to try to get some writing in on Angel of the Shadows this weekend. Looking forward to streaming some Genshin or Final Fantasy 7 Remake on Sunday!

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Posted: Sun, 28/05/2023 06:15 (7 Days ago)
Ahh! Played a bit of FF7 Remake, and I'm enjoying it. ^.^ Never played the original, but I've watched Dad do so. And I have played Crisis Core. Might stream it, Genshin, or Resident Evil 4 (original) tomorrow. For now, time for bed. Good night!

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Posted: Wed, 24/05/2023 05:47 (11 Days ago)

Title: Roleplay With Me!

Hiya! My name is Cherry Blossom Wolf (Actually wanted it to be SakuraWolf23, but only thought I’d typed that in)! Though you may remember me as Wildfyre, FireWolf1117, Rhoslyn na Foraoise, or Sister of Wolves!

I’ve written since 2005 and worked on fan fiction since 2019. What you may not have known is that I’ve been involved in the roleplay community since December 2011. My main fandom is Star Wars, but I’ve played Vampires, Demons, and Wolf Shifters. I’ve always wanted to (but never found) people in the Pokémon, Wheel of Time, Harry Potter, and Diablo communities. I’ve been considering getting involved in the roleplay community here, but not entirely sure if I should.

I tend to go dark and/or tragic, but I can tone things down and keep them family friendly. If we’re friends, but our characters hate each other, I’m more than capable of keeping the two separate. Our characters will start out as strangers. Enemies and friends will come over the course of several-many interactions. Relationships aren’t desired, but if our characters do wind up growing close enough, I will consider it.

There’s also the consideration of a) I’m a shy bean and b) I’m what would be referred to as a literate multi-para to novella role-player. Which means I dislike things like ‘wyd’ or ‘F0r54k3n’. And I tend to write 3-10 paragraphs depending on what is needed or how much the Muse wants to work with me. That doesn’t mean I won’t roleplay with those types of people. I’d rather not, but if you have an interesting plot, and are still capable of worldbuilding and character development, then I have no problems working with you!

I despise God-modding and metagaming. That means I don’t want your overpowered character who can do anything and everything with no downsides. And I don’t approve of using things I tell you outside of the roleplay to make your character make different decisions. Ex. I tell you that my character plans to play a trick on yours in a pm, you can NOT use that information to make your character suddenly “see” what mine plans.

I’m also known as a pantser. That means I prefer to have only the most basic ideas of how I want things to go, and mostly let the characters choose what direction they want things to go. That also means that sometimes, my plans change, as the character(s) has(ve) decided that the way they want to go is more dramatic and stuff.

I do best with up to two partners but can easily do groups of up to ten providing we have a set order in which to go. More than understanding of real life and lack of creativity getting in the way but would prefer not to go more than two weeks without a reply. Will allow longer, providing you just let me know every so often “Hey. Still dealing with stuff” or “Sorry. Not up to it.”

Hmm. At the moment, I can’t really think of anything else to add.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:30 (11 Days ago)

Title: 12. Consequences

Angel groaned as she stretched the tension out of her muscles, and then sat up on the cot. A yawn escaped her as she rubbed the grit out of her eyes. As she stared at the floor, from the corner of her left eye, she caught sight of a pair of steel-toed boots on the other side of the bars, and tensed.

“Might be dark and super boring down here, but that doesn’t mean you get to sleep all the time. Should have used this time to study, work out, train, something. Anything is better than letting your mind and talents go to waste. Then again, if what Officer Jenny has told me is true, then you’ve been doing so for a long time, now.”

“Hey, sir! Don’t be talking down to her like that.” Faolan’s sleepy voice entered the conversation, and she was thankful that her father chose to ignore the kid.

She opened her mouth to speak, but her father continued. “I don’t care what your excuses are for why you joined. You didn’t talk it over with me first. And then you lied to me when you told me that you wished to stay away because you experienced the Call.”

“I didn’t lie about that!” Angel exclaimed as she turned to meet his eyes, only to instantly regret it as she saw the amount of disappointment held within. “When I spoke to you that day, I’d had an epiphany. My goals have changed now, and I want to help make the world a better place.”

“If I believed you chose it out of morality, it would be worth a cookie. But since I think you did that only because your hand was forced, I’m not going to congratulate you. Seriously, though? Alexandria Nicolai Flamel. Your mother and I raised you better than that.”

The usage of her full name caused her to flinch again. Faolan apparently saw, and again, tried to intervene, but Angel spoke over him. “I’m going to assume that there’s nothing I can say that would make you change your mind on that. So. I guess I’m just going to have to let my actions prove otherwise.”

He shook his head. “You got yourself into this mess. Get yourself out.”

“Wait!” she cried out as he turned to leave. “Surely you didn’t come all this way to tell me that and then walk off.”

Her father paused, but didn’t turn to look at her again. “Jenny told me why you were arrested. I didn’t doubt you were guilty of the accusation. You’d always had a fascination with Team Rocket. But I’d hoped after everything everyone ever told you, that you wouldn’t have willingly become an Agent. Instead, your reaction when you recognized me told me everything I needed to know. You knowingly, willingly, and deliberately aided them. It’s not something I can let slide.”

“It kind of was! I thought I could do good with them!”

“Good with them?!” At that, he did turn back to her, and she felt tears burn in her eyes at his outrage. “I create technological advances for all walks of life to make the world a better place! If you weren’t content with what we were accomplishing, you should have said something!”

“That’s not what I meant! I—” She fell silent, and then sighed. “Never mind. You wouldn’t understand.”

“And that is exactly why you’re in trouble. You chose not to communicate with me.” He looked away from her again. “I brought the rest of your Pokémon, just in case you were wanting to start your Journey. But I’m of half a mind to keep them from you as part of your punishment. Do me a favor though, and don’t come home until you understand why I’m so disappointed in you.”

“Does that mean you don’t want me to send you more Shadows?”

With extremely obvious sarcasm, he responded. “Yes. Because that’s the type of person I am. I’m mad at you, for joining Team Rocket nonetheless, that I’m going to act just like them and punish innocent Pokémon. Seriously? Don’t ask such stupid questions. Goodbye, Alexandria.”

Before she could say another word, he walked off. Once they heard the hallway door shut, Faolan spoke. “Well. That was quite rude.”

Angel didn’t answer. She’d long since stopped trying to explain her father to people. His heart was always in the right place, even if the way he went about things seemed a little…much. The respect and love she had for him made the occasional outbursts worth it. Especially when she knew he was right. Which, he pretty much always was.

They heard the jingle and jangle of keys, and Officer Jenny approached Faolan’s cell. As she placed a key in the hole, she spoke, “The charges against you have been dropped. You’re free to go.”

“Aww. But now I don’t want to go. Who’s going to keep this lovely lady company?” Faolan somewhat teasingly replied as Jenny held his cell door open.

“Unless you commit another crime, you can’t stay. And until the Judge settles on her punishment, she can’t leave. If it’s that important, I can see if a decision can be made today. Regardless, you still have to leave this area.”

Faolan nodded and took off, which left just the two of them. Jenny sighed as she closed the door. She then looked down the hallway before she turned around to face Angel. “I didn’t want him around for privacy reasons, but your decision came in not long before your father arrived.”

She leapt to her feet, crossed the short distance to the door, and wrapped her hands around two of the bars. “What is it?”

“Since there is no proof of past crimes with Team Rocket, other than your word, you cannot be charged for those. In regards to The Swanna, the other person with your hair color has confessed to setting the fire, so you’re clear for that as well.”

“What about what I told you the day I turned myself in?”

“The Judge thought long and hard on that one. And, since you are known for a wild imagination and creative stories, you were labelled as someone who cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction. You were not deemed a threat to yourself or others, thankfully, so there was no need to place you in a Psychic Ward.”

“And my punishment?”

“This is the part you might not like. You have been banned from participating in any form of Trainer Event until you earn enough Integrity Points. This does mean that your every move will be closely watched wherever you go in Kanto. Try to do only good things with your newfound freedom.”

“Oh.” Angel fell silent and hung her head as she let her arms fall to her sides. “That’s not at all something I would have expected. Seems like way too harsh of a punishment.” She gasped. “Does Father know?” Jenny’s silence and sad eyes answered that question. “Please tell me I can still be a Gym Leader!” More silence. “Arceus! That’s why dad’s so mad at me right now. I was supposed to lead the Flamestryke Gym for a few months. Going to assume that’s out of the question now.”

“Well. Technically you could, providing you take care of the paperwork. But you would not be able to be seen overseeing or participating in a battle. It would not be a legitimately recognized Badge earn for the opponent. I’m really sorry, Angel. You made the choice on your own, and now you have to deal with the consequences.”

Finally, Jenny unlocked the cell and let her out. “The person on the other side of the door will give check you out. You still have my number, and I will help you in any way I can. Just—”

“Yeah, I know. So long as it doesn’t go against your rules and regulations.” Angel couldn’t keep the bitterness out of her voice, and felt so bad, that she had to continue, “Not that I’m mad at you. I understand your hands are tied. And I don’t want you giving me special treatment or anything just cause we’re friends. No more covering things up. Even if they’re minor infractions.” She didn’t know what else to say, and so, after she hugged Jenny, she headed out.

As she looked through her knapsack a few minutes later, she found her father had not only taken the three Pokéballs that held the Shadows, but left four of her signature balls. They were red and gold with a Cheri Blossom pattern. She sighed, smiled, and shook her head. It was just like him to be mad and still do something sweet. He called those moments ‘being the better person’.

Several minutes later, she was greeted outside by Faolan, who seemed above the Lunatone that she was also free. She smiled and walked past him to the docks. Part of her knew he would follow, and that was fine. Her mind just needed time to think before she spoke to him.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:29 (11 Days ago)

Title: 11. Convictions

Angel and Jenny spent the ride in silence. Well, not really. Jenny made several attempts to speak, but was met with Angel’s continued silence. Until she had a chance to truly calm down and take in everything that happened over the last few days, she’d continue to have anxiety attacks. And the last thing she wanted was for Jenny to see her at her worst.

After what had to be the longest car ride ever, they arrived at the station. The sight of motorcycles outside made Angel question why Jenny had left hers at the Poke Center. Only logical conclusion she could come up with is that Jenny had wanted to be the one to bring her in. Strange. Because once inside, Jenny passed her off to another. Perhaps it was one thing to bring her in, but quite another to go through the motions with her. That would really make the betrayal of character sink in.

It took about fifteen minutes for her fingerprints and face shot to be taken, as well as her belongings inventoried and set aside. Then, oddly enough, they placed her in the only empty holding cell. She had no clue where the two people from the Poke Center had been placed, but also didn’t really care.

The cell itself didn’t have bars. Instead, it was made of two pieces of plexiglass. Three, really, if you counted the door. In the middle of the door was a rectangular slot, tall and wide enough for practically anyone to place their hands side by side. Once inside, she slid her hands through. When he removed her cuffs, she took a look at where she would stay until she was fully processed.

There were no other furnishings besides a cot against each wall. The one right across from the door had a small window above. It was to that cot she went, got on her knees, and took in the view. She couldn’t see much of the city, but the ocean’s beauty was quite magnificent.

Eventually, the idea of freedom became too much for her, and she sat on the cot properly. Angel turned her attention to the floor, but after a little while, that, too, bored her. So she leaned against the wall and tilted her head back to look at the designs on the ceiling.

Out of nowhere, she began to tap her head against the wall. Thirty seconds later, her head started to hurt, but she found herself suddenly overcome by a masochistic urge, and so continued to bang her head. At just about the time she’d given herself a decent sized headache, the officer from earlier returned. He paused at the door, held up another pair of handcuffs, and then beckoned her to him.

Angel shook as she got to her feet, crossed the distance, and put her hands through to be cuffed again. The moment they clicked into place, she swayed and took several steps back. He said something, most likely a question as to whether or not she was okay. She looked at him, only to frown when she saw him and his twin. Her face felt strange, and she lifted her hands up to wipe away a profuse amount of sweat. “It’s…so hot,” was all she managed to say before she passed out.

When she awoke, it was into semi-darkness. The first thing she noticed, aside from the fact that she was in an actual cell now, was that she was not cuffed. Next thing she noticed was a white bracelet on her left wrist. Angel turned it over to see the Poke Center emblem. Well. At least she knew they had taken care of her.

“Hey!” A voice called out from the cell across from her.

She ignored the call and the taps of fingernails against the bars. When that failed to get her attention, the person whistled, dog called, and made various other sounds to get her to respond. Finally, she decided it would be easier on her to just go with it, and lifted her head.

“Ah! There you are!” He exclaimed when he saw that he finally had her attention. He paused, and tilted his head. “Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”

Though she didn’t really want to talk at the moment, he sounded genuinely concerned, and so, she figured she owed him a response. “I’m fine.”

“Of course you are. That’s exactly why you look like you haven’t slept in days.” He leaned against his bars and stretched his hand as far through as he could. “My name is Faolan. I’m in for catching a poacher in a net trap. Apparently, it’s okay for them to do it to Pokémon, but not alright for us to do it back. How about you? What are you in for?”

For a long while, she just stared at his hand. When it didn’t seem he would give up, she scooted forward, stuck her hand between the bars as well, and shook his hand. “Alexandria Flamel. Someone framed me for the destruction of The Swanna.”

“Oh,” was all Faolan said as he withdrew his hand. “I’m going to count that as good news. That duckling was so unbelievably ugly.”

It took a little for Angel to get the reference, but when she did, she burst into laughter that didn’t die down for several minutes. Between gasps, she responded as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “Thank you for that. I’ve had a really rough last few days.”

“Have you hit rock bottom yet?”

She frowned, confused. “I guess you could say that.”

“That’s good, then. It means things can only get better from here on out.”

Angel shrugged and turned away from him. “It’s kind of you to say that, but you have no clue what I’ve been through.”

“Enlighten me, then.”

“Why?” Angel turned to face him again. “So you can judge me like everyone else for the mistakes I’ve made?”

His face softened. “You’re right. I don’t know what you’ve been through. But I do know that, no matter what you think at the moment, not everyone is out to get you.”

“Fine. You wanna know what’s been going on? I only have a few friends. One of them was Melody, the Captain of The Swanna. I’ve been told she passed in the fire. My second friend, Ally, was in a relationship with Melody, and blames me for what happened. My final friend is Officer Jenny, and she turned on me when she discovered…” Angel trailed off.

Faolan gestured for her to continue, but she wasn’t certain she should. Then again, based on the reason he was in jail, he might understand. Still, she felt the tears well in her eyes before she continued. “That I am—was—a member of Team Rocket.”

The silence that followed her revelation made her certain that she had, in fact, been judged by Faolan, and found wanting. When he finally spoke, though, it wasn’t what she expected.

“I, too, have done questionable things. So what if you joined Team Rocket? Both joining and leaving, you must have had good reason to do so. What you did in the past shouldn’t matter. It’s what you do with the life you’ve been given that determines who you are.”

Again, silence fell. Angel had thought his previous speech was unexpected. But she was totally blown away by Faolan’s next words. “Oh. And just so you know. We’re friends now. So, nyuh!”

She couldn’t help but giggle when he stuck his tongue out at her. That giggle quickly turned into another round of laughter. Which Faolan joined in on.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:28 (11 Days ago)

Title: 10. Letter of the Law

Angel sat against a tree, legs bent at the knee. Arms circled her legs, allowing her head to rest on her hands. Atop her lap lay her knapsack, so she could feel if someone tried to take it from her. Wetness dribbled down her left arm. With a Spoinkish sound, she jolted awake, and wiped drool from her mouth. A quick glance around showed nobody within distance to have seen, and she let out a relieved sigh. It would have been so embarrassing being caught doing that.

It had been hours since Team Rocket left, meaning it should now be safe enough to head back to Vermilion City. Not that she wanted to, by any means. Since she knew that by doing so, she was likely to end up getting arrested. But Giratina was certain Jenny’s help would be needed. And truly. A few days in a cell would be a small sacrifice for the better of Pokémonkind.

Ugh! It was times like this Angel wished she knew how to ride a bike. Travel between cities would be so much quicker. Still boring as hell, but hey. The boredom would only last half as long. Maybe if things went well, she’d see about purchasing a custom trike to get around with.

Walking slower than usual, it took her half an hour to reach Saffron City, and then another four hours to reach Vermilion City. The streets were busy with people heading home from work. She thought about taking a seat at one of the benches by the Café and waiting for the crowd to thin out. But nope. It was actually where most people were heading. Oh, how she wished she could have some downtime.

Making her way through the masses as best she could, she headed to the Pokémon Center. She was almost there when she heard sirens, and a glance to her left showed Jenny pulling up to the building. For a few split seconds, Angel freaked, thinking her presence had been detected. But she need not have worried, for her friend ran straight inside, releasing her Houndoom on the way.

She considered giving aid, but she hesitated. Not only did she have no clue what was going on, but she also didn’t want to be seen as a threat by trying to play the hero. More sirens sounded, and again, she looked to the road. This time to see two more officers pull up, summon an Arcanine and Mightyena, and rush inside as well.

If she waited for this to be over, she could probably get in, transfer the Pokémon to her father, and get out before Jenny ever knew she was there. Unfortunately, she had a strong feeling that Giratina was correct. And even if she wasn’t, Angel couldn’t just let a years-long friendship end like this. They should at least try to work it out.

After taking a deep breath, she approached the Poke Center. As she made it to the door, it opened, revealing the three Officers leading two people in handcuffs. Their perpetrators were both males, slightly younger than herself. One wore fire-themed clothing with an “M” sewn into the middle of their shirt. The other wore water-themed clothing with an “A” on their shirt. It wasn’t that difficult to figure out that they belonged to Teams Magma and Aqua.

Jenny paused at the sight of Angel. Her eyes widened as she gasped loud enough to cause her fellow officers to look at her, silently asking if she needed help. Jenny waved them on and remained in the doorway.

From behind Angel came a different siren sound, and she knew without looking, that it was the transport car arriving. A minute later, Jenny still hadn’t moved from the open doorway, which prompted Angel to speak. “That’s a lotta warm air you’re letting escape.”

Her friend moved slightly, allowing the door to close. “If I had known this was going to be a Team party, I’d have brought some cake,” Jenny spoke the first part conversationally, then hissed the next in a range barely above a whisper. “What are you doing here? You must be crazy to return, knowing what I have to do now.”

Angel nodded, then shrugged. “I understand that you gotta do what you gotta do. Just allow me to do something really quick.” She took a step, preparing to enter the building, but Jenny stretched out an arm, blocking her way. “Let me pass. I’m transferring some Pokémon to my father to prevent Team Rocket from acquiring them.”

“Really?” Jenny crossed her arms beneath her breasts, a clear sign that she didn’t believe a word. Her foot moved slightly, another silent statement. One that said: ‘My arms may be crossed, but if you try to get inside, I can and will take you down.’

Knowing that Jenny wasn’t going to let this go, Angel motioned her to an area away from the entrance so they could speak without being overheard. She sat down on the Poke Center garden’s retaining wall and took a deep breath. “You were right.”

“Naturally. About what?” Surprisingly, Jenny followed, taking a seat beside her.

She turned to Jenny. “Team Rocket. Have you heard about the Shadow Pokémon that have recently been discovered? Most likely. News is spreading rapidly. Anyways. I was told to steal something from Saffron City that related to Shadows. No clue what it was, or what all it did, but I didn’t show up at the rendezvous point.”

Beeping sounded, and Jenny raised her finger, signaling her to wait while she responded to a call on her walkie-talkie. “Go for Jenny.”

“This is Officer Mike. We’ve found the Swanna suspect trying to break into the Bank of Kanto.”

Jenny looked to Angel, and her eyes went up and down over her body as if making sure that the person beside her was the real thing. “How did you make ID?”

“The hair matches the description. How would you like us to proceed?”

“Bring her in for questioning.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Upon ending the call, Jenny looked to Angel and gestured for her to continue her story.

“I was on my way to Lavender Town, where I planned on sending some Pokémon I’d caught to my father. As well as the items I’d taken from the Silph Company. Could have sworn I went inside the city, but the next morning, I awoke sleeping under the roots of a tree outside. Actually, before waking, I had a strange dream of a Giratina speaking to me. She warned me of a possible future if Team Rocket got their hands on enough Shadow Pokémon.”

She paused, waiting to see if Jenny had anything to say yet, but her friend shook her head. “Well. The notorious trio of Team Rocket walked by not long after I awoke. We had a discussion, and they agreed to help me.”

“Help you with what?”

“Oh! I probably should have mentioned in the beginning that two other members of Team Rocket had assaulted me not long after I left here, and took Ebony. That’s what Jessie and James had agreed to help me with. Getting my darling back.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t worry. As soon as possible, I’ll put out the word for a stolen black Sableye. One way or another, we’ll get Ebony back.”

“Thank you.” Angel placed a hand atop Jenny’s, and then continued speaking. “Anyways. Flash forward to almost back to we’re almost to Saffron City, and the two who stole Ebony from me found us. Jessie, James, Meowth, and I, well, I guess we kind of became friends. They would have helped me then, but they didn’t want to happen to them what had just happened to me.”

“What was that?”

Angel had to take several deep breaths before she could answer. “Giovanni thought my missing the rendezvous was me stealing from him or something. I’ve been blacklisted from Team Rocket. In order to keep myself from getting into a one-against-four fight that I knew I stood no chance of winning, and from putting those I care about at risk, I gave them what they wanted.”

“You what?!”

Jenny’s raised voice caused Angel to flinch. “It was my best option! Besides, they didn’t get all of it. I managed to hide two vials from them. And no, I’d rather not give them to you. I don’t know what they’re for. Team Rocket wants them really badly, and, no offense, but if the Silph Company can be stolen from, what chance do you have against a retrieval team?”

“Aaand considering I work in the station you’d be locked in; how does it really matter who holds on to it? The same level of security is at the front desk and your cell as it would be to the evidence room. Well. There is slightly more security there, but not enough, according to you.”

“Touché. Also. In that dream, Giratina told me to come back here and find you. She seemed to think I would need your connections if I planned on stopping Team Rocket before they were capable of creating new super-powered Pokémon using the DNA of the Shadow Pokémon. That’s why I’m here now. I’m hoping to work with you. Against Team Rocket.”

For a while, Jenny remained silent, processing everything. Finally, she stood and faced Angel. Her eyes were already welling with tears as she reached into her back left pocket and pulled out a pair of handcuffs.

Before Jenny could speak, Angel interjected. “Please. I have three Shadows with me. I need to transfer them to my father so he can figure out how to help them. They’d be safe from Team Rocket in his lab, what with his multi-layered security system.”

Jenny shook her head, her bangs moving cutely with the motion. “I can’t. Those are evidence.”

Angel leaped to her feet. “How can you say that? These poor creatures were tortured by Team Rocket! They trusted me to get them the help they need! Surely you can’t be so heartless as to risk them being stolen back to be tested on some more?”

“Don’t.” Jenny’s voice broke, and the tears now fell freely from her eyes. “You know my hands are tied. I can’t bend the law whenever I wish. Doing it even once would be opening the door to a slippery slope. I love you like a sister, and I would do absolutely anything for you. But regardless, I’m going to hold you accountable like everyone else. Not even my real sister would get special treatment. Now, please. Turn around and lace your hands behind your head.”

“Are you really going to continue to make this difficult on me?” Her eyes narrowed slightly, showing her impatience and frustration.

“No, I mean. Why do you ask people to do that? You’re just going to take my arms, and reposition them so my hands are against my lower back. So why not just ask me to put them there and save you the trouble?”

Jenny blinked and then laughed. “I never even thought of that. If I happen to remember, I’ll ask my superior the next time I’m in her office. Funny as that may be, I’m still going to have to ask you to cooperate.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know. But at least I got you to laugh.” Angel turned around, hands already in the proper position. She tensed as the cuffs encircled her wrists. Not because they were too cold or too tight. But because she suddenly realized that she wouldn’t be able to hide this from her father. And he was going to be mad when he found out. She’d just have to do her best to make sure her name never appeared on record.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:28 (11 Days ago)

Title: 9. Murkrow's Treasure

Angel followed the trio in silence for several minutes, not quite knowing what to say to a group who had been kind of her idols for the longest time. She'd tried to explain her reverence to people before. Only her father understood, though. Neither one of them approved of the fact that the trio repeatedly lied to, cheated, and stolen from Trainers. But what really made her admire them was their perseverance and dedication. No matter what happened. Regardless of their failures. They never gave up. Their willpower, creativity, and the fact they did not let their losses set them back was something she thought everyone should respect them for. Sadly, it seemed more people chose to focus on the negative than the positive.

She glanced hesitantly towards them, trying to not only get the courage to speak, but figure out what to say. James caught the first look, and paid no mind. After the fourth time, he paused. "Is there something I can help you with?"

"Oh. Uhm." Angel blushed slightly and almost looked to her feet like she was a little child being scolded. "Sorry. It's just...I've been with Team Rocket for a long time. So long that I'd lost hope that I'd ever have the honor of meeting you, let alone traveling with you. I know I'm basically a nobody, too, so..."

"So what? We're nobodys as well, and look at us. The whole world knows our names. Just goes to show that, even if you're a failure, you're still a somebody. You can still make something of yourself. So long as you're doing what you love, nobody else's opinions matter." He reached a hand out and affectionately ruffled the hair atop her head.

"Enough with the feelgoody stuff," Meowth interjected, "We have a long way to go, and can't be pausin' all the time for small talk."

"Meowth's right, you know." Jessie walked off. "C'mon. We can get to know each other better when we stop for lunch."

"Could always just find "the twerps" and hope they blasted us off in the right direction." Angel muttered softly, but not quietly enough, for James burst out in laughter. He gave her a friendly slap on the back before he, too, continued down the path.

Silence fell yet again. After a while, Jessie and James began pointing out spots and telling her about a memory of that place. Most of it was of battles with Ash or other Trainers—which she had already heard many of secondhand from those involved—but it was something else entirely to hear it from the point of view of the "villains".

Finally, they chose a spot slightly off the road and went about the necessary tasks for making a campfire. Angel almost questioned why they weren't eating luxury in town, but then she remembered. Team Rocket. If anyone in town recognized them, odds are, they would be chased out. What a lonely, scary life this had to be for them.

Shaking her head, she placed her knapsack beside a tree and wandered about, doing her fair share of gathering things like twigs and water. She spent a little bit of time looking around for things to eat that weren't poisonous or otherwise bad. But, in the end, she chose not to get anything she saw because she wasn't certain enough. Angel sighed, making a mental note to pick up a book on wild flora and fauna the next time she was in town.

Ten minutes later. They sat around a nice little fire while they waited for the potatoes and wild mushrooms to roast to perfection. Nobody spoke, and she could feel goosebumps on her arms. It was as if the mood had completely gone south. Halfway through, she could no longer take it. "Did I do something wrong?"

Jessie sighed, fork midway to her mouth. She set it down, and grabbed her Rocket Radar. A few button clicks later, she passed it to Angel.

Covering the top half of the screen was a picture of her with Sylvie. Not just any picture, either. It was the one her mother had taken of them and the Trainer who won the 10,000 PD and the All-Star Badge. But with everyone else cut out. How in the world did they get this picture? It was only on their Hall of Fame wall in the Flamestryke PokéTel.

She scrolled down to read the message:


Agents of Team Rocket. It is with heartfelt sorrow that I announce the betrayal of one of our own. According to a very reliable source, Alexandria Flamel chose a very crucial mission upon which to turn on us. As of this moment, she is excommunicado, and is to be treated as an enemy. If seen, she is to be detained and questioned for the whereabouts of the items she stole. Use whatever means, within reason, to gain the necessary info. Anyone who is seen aiding her in any way will be seen as a traitor.

End Memo.

Angel handed the Radar back to Jessie, who started to speak, but thought better of it. James broke the new silence. "We looked into it. Malevolence is the one who reported this. Giovanni knows she plays dirty. The fact he has followed through with this, knowing her history of lying, well...We figure he must have reason to want you out."

"Personally, I'd recommend rethinking whatever it is you plan on doing and just give yourself in. Giovanni's bad side is not a place you want to be." Jessie picked up her fork and returned to her meal.

When Angel opened her mouth to explain, James cut her off. "We don't want to know. The less you tell us, the better chance we can get away with this little bit of help."

"It's really important, though. Kinda life or death."

They looked at each other and went into another of their huddles. Not long later, James turned back to her, shaking his head. "We can't. Without Team Rocket, we don't know what we'd do with our lives. But we promise you. If we figure it out on our own, and we feel the same way, we'll help you."

"And if you don't? Feel the same way, that is?"

He shrugged. "Honestly, kid. I like you. So hopefully it doesn't come to that."

At that moment, Angel happened to glance at Jessie, who was looking behind them towards Saffron City. Emotions flashed through her eyes, and she instantly grabbed her Rocket Radar from beside her. Angel became even more confused when Jessie met her eyes, mouthed an apology, and leapt to her feet. "How dare you think you're worth to sit with us?"

Angel's mouth fell open, not believing what she was hearing. How in the world did they go from friends to enemies so quickly? A male's voice sounded from behind her. It was familiar, yet not quite. Sounded like Ignatius, only, without the accent. Ahh. Now she saw what was going on. They were protecting themselves. Made sense. If they wanted to find out what was going on, they needed to remain in a position where they could possibly do something about it.

"Well, well, well. All the misfits are in one place. This makes our job so much easier, doesn't it, Mal?"

She stood and turned around to see Malevolence and Ignatius. Only, her grandfather was no longer old. Instead, now they both looked to be about her age. How had she not noticed the disguise? She was usually very good at picking out such details. Then again, tired or distracted minds rarely ran at full wattage.

"Four against one are very good odds. Don't you agree?"

The question was clearly addressed to Jessie and James in an attempt to see where their loyalties lay. Angel backed off so she could see everyone at once. At practically the same time, everyone brought out a pokéball and enlarged it, but did not set the Pokémon within free. She looked back and forth between them several times before choosing Malevolence as the biggest threat.

"What do you want with me? You already have my most precious Pokémon. There's nothing else you can take from me." Though she already knew the answer, it was also clear that she needed to play along for the sake of her new friends.

"You can drop the innocent act. You have something that belongs to us. Hand it over." Ignatius held out his hand.

Angel crossed her arms. "And you have something that belongs to me. Since neither of us are likely to give that up, well." She shrugged. "I guess we're at a Catch-22."

"Are we really, though? I highly doubt you're capable of tying your shoes without daddy's help." Malevolence glanced down to Angel's Velcro Mismagius shoes. "Case in point, I guess."

"First. I happen to like playing with the Velcro. Second. I'm more than capable of taking care of myself."

Malevolence took a step towards her, laughing when she took a step back. "Looks like you're all bark and no bite. Give us what we want, and we will go away. Simple as that."

She took a few more steps back, hiding herself in the cover of the trees. They could still see her, but it just felt safer to her. Deep down, she knew they were right. About everything. There was no way she was going to get out of this without some sort of sacrifice. Angel tilted her head as she remembered something her dad had told her long ago. To carry around some loose PD in her pocket. That way, if someone ever tried to steal from her, she threw that at them and ran as fast as she could in the opposite direction. This was a bit different, but the same nonetheless.

After a little while, she stepped forward, facing away from her friends, not wanting to see the looks on their faces as she did this. "On one condition. Give me back my Ebony. He is of far lesser value to you and your progression than retrieving the items will be."

Everyone put away the pokéball they'd grabbed earlier when Malevolence did, silently understanding that it was no longer going to come to a fight. She then retrieved another from her strap, and held it to where Angel could see the Mega Sableye sticker on it.

Angel carefully removed the knapsack from her shoulder and set it on the ground. She stuck her hand into the outer pouch, carefully removing the six vials one by one. Their pink glow lit up the area, as if reacting to the sunlight.

"Only two remained at the Silph Company. Where are the other two?"

She surprisingly managed to look genuinely confused, and shrugged. "I have no clue. I left five."

"Open your bag." Ignatius demanded.

When she complied, he knelt beside her and took a closer look. But Angel knew all he would see were her Pokénav, Pokédex, and an extra set of clothing. Well. If you could call a Leafeon costume "clothing". So long as he didn't lift the costume, he wouldn't find anything. She held back a sigh of relief when he stood, turned to Malevolence, and nodded.

Suddenly feeling uncomfortable, Angel closed her knapsack and stood. She gave a hesitant smile, hoping this situation was resolved and she was no longer a target.

"You may have thought you won, but I assure you. That will never happen. Now why don't you be a good little girl, and," With all the strength she could muster, Malevolence threw the pokéball. "Fetch."

Her mocking laughter followed Angel as she took off running after her friend. She unfortunately, didn't get very far when it was snagged out of midair by a Murkrow. The single silver feather marked it as the one she'd returned to Team Rocket a long time ago. He cawed at her.

"Since you took my freedom, I shall take your most precious of treasures. Only when you release me shall he be returned." After an intimidation caw, the Murkrow flew back towards Team Rocket.

Angel's hands clenched into fists at her side, trembling with barely held back anger. She no longer needed to discover some overwhelming truth about Team Rocket. The proof was right there. In how Malevolence and Ignatius treated her and the trio. In how quickly and easily Giovanni turned on her. How could she have been so foolish?!

She watched their retreating backs, knowing this was one of those things that she had to let go. Getting the Shadows and the two vials to her father were of the utmost importance. And Ebony was in far better talons with the Murkrow than he would be with Malevolence. When she could no longer see them, she released all her rage and fury into a single scream.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:26 (11 Days ago)

Title: 8. A Shadowy Future

Angel was in a strange town. It looked a great deal like her hometown of Cerulean City, but, at the same time, it didn’t. At first, she couldn’t place why. But then she noticed the rundownedness of buildings, most of which she recognized from her childhood, with their doors and windows shuttered closed. The streets that used to be full of joyful children and Pokémon now held young ones who were starving and filthy. Every now and again, she saw a better-looking tween, but it wasn’t common. The children were all alone, no adults to comfort them. In fact, the only grown-ups she saw were very well fed and dressed, loitering around the only two shiny maintained buildings in town.

Everyone who was “better off” wore some form of clothing or item that openly showed their allegiance to Team Rocket. Angel breathed a sigh of relief. At least the town would now be saved. They’d help out the people here. Two children walked towards one of the adults. Their hands were open, most likely seeking food. Instead of giving them something like she expected, the Agent summoned a Pokémon, which made the children run off.

For a while, she just stared at the Pokémon she saw. It had an aura like a Shadow, but it was black instead of purple. And it didn’t look like any Pokémon she’d ever seen before. As a matter of fact, it looked like it had been fused from several different Pokémon.

The sudden appearance of a Pokémon beside her caused her to jump, fearful that she was under attack. She calmed down when she remembered this was not only just a dream, but her dream. Still, when she turned to fully face the Pokémon and saw that it was a Giratina, she stepped back so quickly that she fell on her bottom in the process.

Giratina laughed at her, which only caused her to blush. “Happens every time. And yet, still funny.” A female’s voice. “Hello there, Angel Flamel. Your heart and mind are already going in the right direction, but too slowly. You need to understand now.”

“U-Understand wh-what?”

“What Team Rocket is all about. You’ve already noticed that the Trainer over there called out a strange creature. You may have even concluded that it was related to Shadow Pokémon. You are correct, but they are not like the ones you hold within your pokéballs. These ones were created.”

Though she didn’t speak it aloud, Angel thought it was pretty cool that science could do that.

Giratina stomped a foot. “It is not!” There was a pause, and, when next she spoke, there was sorrow in her voice. “This is the result of hundreds of Shadows being dissected and experimented upon. They may be an aberration, but they are just like their normal counterparts in nearly every fashion. Team Rocket isn’t the only ones running tests on them. But they are the ones most apathetic to the treatment of those they consider subservient.”

Angel was silent, not really wanting to believe any of what was being said. “They can’t be all bad if they’re letting them go after they get what they want.”

The Giratina shook her head. “It wasn’t intentional. Giovanni wouldn’t let potential strength like this slip through his fingers. His scientists aren’t just testing to find the best genetics. When testing for their weaknesses and endurance, they don’t care about the end result, so long as they get results.”

“What?” Angel’s eyes widened, horrified that anyone would be able to go that far for science.

“We cannot let this future come to pass. You are not the first to see the Shadows as the Pokémon they are. But you are the first willing to fight for them. They need you.”

She shook her head furiously, still doubting everything she’d just been told. Eight years! That’s how long she’d been with Team Rocket, and, until yesterday, she’d never been asked to do anything that wasn’t wrong from her point of view. “How—” Angel swallowed, and took a deep breath. “How do I know that you are telling the truth? Or that you are even real, as opposed to a figment of my imagination?”

Giratina tilted her head, and the only thing Angel could see in her mind was her father giving her one of his common ‘Are you really that dense?’ looks. For the second time in less than two minutes, she blushed in embarrassment.

“Does it really matter? If I’m real, you believe me automatically because it came from a Pokémon. If I’m just inside your head, then you already believe what I say is true, and are desperate to convince yourself.”

Angel chewed on that statement for a little while before speaking. “What do I need to do to prevent this future?”

“You’re already on your way there. Continue doing what you’re doing. Get those three to your father. They will be safe with him. I and the others will make sure of it. You know what else you have to do. It’s all a matter of finding the courage.”

She nodded, knowing this meant leaving Team Rocket. But it would also add a bullseye to her back. She’d need powerful friends if she wished to go this route. It took her a while to realize Giratina had spoken. Angel blinked, and gave the Legendary her full attention.

“Return to Vermillion City. Speak to Officer Jenny. You will need her connections in order to stay ahead of Team Rocket.”

Angel shook her head so hard and quickly that she had to pause before speaking to let her dizziness pass. “I cannot! She doesn’t trust me anymore. She’ll just throw me in a cell the first chance she gets.”

“Trust is unnecessary. As is becoming best friends again. You only need her help. The worst that will come of it is being locked away for a week or two.”

Again, she shook her head, this time much gentler. “If some of the Shadows are in as much danger as you say they are, being locked up might cost them.”

“And what if, in the future, you had the chance to save dozens, but were prevented because you were caught? No. It’s best to do this now. On your terms. Before the ante is too high. Even at the loss of a life or two. You must do what is best for the greater good. That’s a reason I chose you to be the first of the Warriors of Light. Now, awaken. Danger approaches.”

From a sound sleep, Angel jerked into a sitting position. Though sweat poured down her face, she was shivering. Her breaths were quick and shallow. The reality of the dream was fading, but the sensations remained. Never before had she had experienced a dream like that before.

Angel frowned when she realized where she was. Hadn’t she gone to the Pokémon Center to sleep for the night? How in the world did she end up here?

A crunch drew her attention, and she directed her gaze to the path into the city. Apparently hiding beneath the roots of a tree as she was, she should be able to see who approached without them noticing her. It was still possible, but most people tended not to notice the obvious. Unfortunately for her, the newcomers had a Pokémon walking with them, and it was at perfect height to see her.

It cried out in actual speech, and Angel couldn’t move. Was she still in a dream?

The pair was still about thirty feet away when they knelt down. One was a male with short purple hair and green eyes. His companion was a woman with waist-length red hair and blue eyes. No way! Could it possibly be the most notorious trio in all the Regions? A quick glance down at their shirts confirmed her suspicions.

“Ohmygosh!” Angel exclaimed as she crawled out from her hidey hole. “Can it really be Jesse, James, and Meowth?”

They blinked in surprise, and then huddled together, muttering quietly amongst themselves. After a minute or two, they stood, and James spoke. “Oh, goody! Did you hear that, Jesse? We’re famous!”

“I heard it, but now she knows for a fact that we’re with Team Rocket!” Jesse wrapped an arm around James’ neck, drew him in, and gave him a noogie with her other hand.

Angel laughed as she got to her feet, which made them turn to look at her. “Relax, Jesse. It’s not like there’s another group like you. And if there was, well. I’d hope you three could prove that you’re the better team.”

“Of course we could! Nobody’s better than us!” James shouted with utter confidence. “But, uh. Who are you?”

She approached them. “I’m Alexandria Flamel. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

The three went into another huddle. When next they looked at her, they were all shaking their heads.

“Strange. I would assume you’ve heard of me. Malevolence and Ignatius had.”

“Now, them, we’ve heard of. You spoke their names with a bit of hatred. Do you have an issue with them as well?”

“I met them not too long ago. They tricked me, and stole my Melanistic Sableye, Ebony. He’s one of my closest friends, and I was so surprised by their deception that I let them get away. Now, I’m scared I’ll never get him back.”

A third huddle. Then, Jesse: “Where did you last see them?”

“About a mile from Vermilion City.”

“We’ll help you. But only because it gives us a chance to put them in their place. We have a reputation to protect as the best of Team Rocket. Oh. You can travel with us if you’d like.”

Angel opened her mouth to turn them down, but realized that she could just as easily transfer the three Shadows she carried to her father in Vermilion City. Plus, it would be a fun experience to travel with three of her heroes. “I’d love that.”

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:26 (11 Days ago)

Title: 7. The Journey Beckons

Fifteen minutes later, Angel reined in the Rapidash, figuring covering half the distance from Saffron City to Lavender Town would be good enough. She attempted to jump down, but she wound up falling off instead as the adrenalin from her mission left her feeling drained.

Angel just lay there on the ground, staring at the stars, unable to move more than twitching her fingers. Rapidash knelt beside her, seemingly excited from having ran so far and fast.

For twenty minutes, they lay like that. Angel knew the moment her body had recuperated enough from its trial, for she found herself wondering about the person in the window. The one who looked and sounded just like Maya. She hadn’t seen the person who spoke to her about the Raichu. It was entirely possible that both instances were just figments of her imagination. That she was so distraught her mind was playing tricks on her.

There were no acceptable answers to those questions. Nor to the question of what she would do about the loss of Ebony. A beeping sounded, and she dug into her satchel to bring out her Pokénav. At first, she didn’t recognize the number. There was only one person who had her ID who she hadn’t put to memory yet: Elsa. But she couldn’t talk. Not now. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping that her lack of desire to speak at the moment didn’t destroy the friendship before it even began.

After a few more seconds, the beeping stopped. The Pokénav was silent for about a minute longer, and then a text came in: Hey, there! If you’re still around, I’d love it if you could come to the Galar section. Lyla and I are getting ready to make our big premier, and we’d love it if you could be here. Oh! I just realized that I didn’t get your name.

A part of her wanted to reply, but her hands were shaking so badly. Maya’s death. Ally’s abandonment. Jenny’s not-quite-betrayal. The Clefable. Seeing Maya. The Raichu and Rapidash. Hearing Maya. There was just so much. And it kept piling on.

She almost returned the Pokénav to her satchel, but, at last minute, called her father on the secure line. After a few rings, he picked up. “Where are you? We’ve been worried sick ever since we discovered that you left Blossomly. Why would you do that without telling us? Especially with your recent condition?”

Angel took a deep breath, and dove straight in to everything from the last few days. Well. Without mentioning her own association with Team Rocket, that is.

For a long while after she finished, her dad was silent. “You chose a perfect time for your Journey. Reports of these Pokémon are popping up all over. I’d like to investigate and help them, if possible. Perhaps even see if I can make them normal again. When you reach Lavender Town, I want you to send those three to me. I will do what I can, and then return them to you.”

“How often should I send them to you?”

“Personally, to keep them out of evil hands, I’d say once a week, or as soon as you have three on you. To carry more would be risking them and yourself. And Alexandria? I know you’re twenty-three, but you’re exploring the world for the first time. Things and people aren’t always what they seem. Be very careful who you trust and let in on your secrets.”

Secrets? Did he know about her affiliation with Team Rocket? Angel swallowed before responding. “Pfft. You know me. I’m always careful.”

“Uh-huh. So, you’re saying the situations you find yourself in are Dreamer’s fault?”

She laughed at his jibe to her Absol, and sniped back with “Nope. The blame falls all on Sylvie. Always getting me involved in some form of mischief.”

“I knew it! I never liked those ribbons. “

“That’s just ‘cause you never spend time with him. Oh! I know! He’s been wanting to go into one of those beauty things. Perhaps you could get to know him better while training him to use his ribbons wowtacularly.”

Her father groaned. “What is it with you and your weird words?”

Though he couldn’t see it, she shrugged. “I have a gift.”

“Yeah. To be super annoying. Anyways. I have to go. Important work stuff. Don’t be a stranger. Make sure to be back no later than two months. Love you. Bye.”

There was a smile on her face as she hung up after responding in kind. One thing was certain when it came to her dad. No matter how upset she was, he could always make her smile. Sometimes, it was by saying or doing something funny. Other times, he could literally annoy her into laughter.

Once the Pokénav was back in the pack, she pondered what to do. A glance at the Rapidash said that she was up to travel again, and they had a lot of ground to cover before reaching Lavender Town.

Angel stood, and Rapidash not only followed suit, but whinnied and pranced around as well. “You can’t seriously be wanting to run again? Aren’t you exhausted?” She threw her hands up in a calming gesture at Rapidash’s outraged neigh. “I’ve seen you run. You don’t have to prove yourself to me. Just…There’s been so much loss in my life recently. I don’t want to be responsible for another.”

She waited with bated breath as Rapidash pondered the statement. “Blargh!” Angel reached a hand up to wipe her face clean from the sudden lick. Grossed out as she was, she couldn’t help smiling when Rapidash whinnied while prancing in a circle once. “Oh, so you think that’s funny, do ya?” Again, with the laughing neigh.

Amusement gone, Rapidash let Angel mount her again, and the two of them continued to Lavender Town, though this time, at a much more leisurely pace. Which still wound up being super-fast even though she’d given orders not to go above a trot. She knew the slowdown greatly annoyed Rapidash, but the horse seemed to be willing to compromise just for her.

Half an hour later, later, they arrived at the outskirts of the town. It was still several hours before people would start getting up to start their morning. Angel jumped down, and rested her cheek against Rapidash’s, all the while petting her snout.

The thought suddenly occurred to her that she had no clue what Rapidash’s problem was. That Clefable had extremely sensitive hearing. Raichu couldn’t control her electricity. But the only thing Rapidash wanted to do was run. Wait. That was it! If the only thing on her mind was running, then she might one time run so far, fast, and hard, that her body gave out on her. Angel was silent as she tried to figure out what would be the best thing to say to ensure cooperation.

Finally, she paused, and looked her new friend in the eyes. “I know you want to run, but I can’t let you. It’s too dangerous.”

As expected, Rapidash was confused, outraged, and a bit betrayed. Angel spoke quickly to defuse the situation before it blew up. “Remember the lab?” That seemed to hurt more than help. The instant Rapidash jerked her snout out of Angel’s hands, she took a step back, expecting the horse to rear and kick her front legs. That was exactly what happened. Unfortunately, she was just a bit too close, and a hoof connected to her shoulder. The force of the blow knocked her to the ground and brought tears to her eyes, but she continued to speak.

“You’re enjoying your freedom, right? They’re still after you. And they wish to take back control over you. No more runs like we had tonight. Is that what you want?”

Angel breathed a sigh of relief when Rapidash calmed enough to place all four hooves back on the ground. She retrieved a pokéball from her belt, and enlarged it. “If you choose to get into this pokéball, I can take you to my father. He’ll help you. You might even get a chance or two to compete with him. He’s as competitive as you, and might even handicap himself to make it more fun. How does that sound?”

She could have made it back to Saffron City in the time it took Rapidash to agree. Once again, Angel let out a relieved sigh. First step was to find the Pokémon Center. She could rest there for the night and transfer the Shadows to her father in the morning. After that, she had all the time in the world to figure out what to do with whatever it was she’d just stolen from the Silph Company.

Thankfully, her knapsack mostly prevented the pink light from the vials from escaping. The strange glow would not only have definitely attracted attention, but be very difficult to explain. And there was a high chance that any scientist, not just those working at the Silph Company would recognize it and know it shouldn’t be in her hands.

Staring down the path into town, she inhaled deeply, squaring herself for what was coming next. Courage replenished, she smiled, and stepped into the city.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:25 (11 Days ago)

Title: 6. A Race Against Time

Shadow Skill: Mock. A laughing whinny that brings to the forefront of the mind, a person's shortcomings in order to make them utterly lose faith in themselves and their abilities.

Rapidash can go from 0 to 150 in ten steps. They are a sight to behold when they race, for the faster they go, the hotter their mane burns. Highly competitive, they can often be seen challenging others to races. Shadows seem to desire a win, and will play dirty to achieve it.

Angel opened her eyes to a bright light shining directly in her face, followed by the voice of someone demanding to know who she was and what she was doing in their stables. The person didn’t lower the beam even when she raised a hand to shield her eyes. They yelled the question again, and she knew she must come up with something quickly to prevent this from becoming a public scene. “I’m so sorry! I brought an injured Pokémon here to rest.” She looked around the area of the stables that she could see, then turned back to the owner. “It looks like she wandered off when I fell asleep.”

After several seconds, they lowered the light, and Angel blinked her eyes repeatedly. As if that would help get her vision back faster. Their usage of a flashlight finally connected to the reality that it was nighttime, and she swore softly under her breath. She gave a quick bow. “Excuse me. I’m late for an important meeting!” Angel ran towards the man, who surprisingly moved out of the way to let her pass.

Thoughts rushed rapidly through her mind as she paused long enough to get her bearings before heading towards the target. As she maneuvered her way through the obstacle course of a city, she heard a loud neigh. Instantly, she went into panic mode, wondering if the owner of the stables had decided to punish her for trespassing after all. But a glance behind her made her stop in her tracks.

A Rapidash ran by her so fast, the force of the backwind knocked her on her bottom. She cried out as she hit the ground hard, and then heard a sound similar to tires screeching. The absence of hooves let her know before turning around that the Rapidash had stopped. Well. Either that or was far enough away to no longer be heard. Wait. Was the purple aura she’d just seen her imagination? Or had she found a third Shadow in the same day?
When she turned around, the Rapidash was no longer in sight. Still staring at where she last knew the horse to be, she screamed and spun around when she felt warm air on her face. How had the horse gotten behind her so fast? Rapidash nickered, backed off a little, and then pranced in place.

“You…Want to race?”

It gave a loud whinny, and reared. Its front feet danced in midair, giving Angel the chance to see that it was female. Even though Rapidash seemed to be aware of how squishy her new friend was, Angel still scooted back a foot. Better to be safe than sorry. Rapidash then hopped beside her in such a way that reminded her of Pinkie Pie from that one children’s cartoon, and she couldn’t help but burst out in laughter.

Angel shook her head and got to her feet as the Rapidash stopped dancing to look at her strangely. “You wouldn’t understand.” She looked to the ground to make sure nothing had fallen out of her backpack, and then readied herself for the race. “On the count of three. One. Two—”

With another whinny, Rapidash sped off, leaving a cloud of dust in her wake.

“Oh-oh. So that’s how you want to play, is it?” Even had Rapidash played fair, Angel knew she wouldn’t have won anyway. But at that moment, it didn’t really matter to her. She ran after the Shadow, enjoying the moment.

After a few minutes, they came to a halt across the street from the Silph Company. Her body tried to go limp on her, and she had to place a hand on the wall of the house beside her to steady herself. She’d pushed herself harder than expected with that run. But Arceus, did she feel so much better. Though only temporary, the burning sensation in her legs and lungs gave her a different kind of pain to focus on.

Beside her, the Rapidash strutted back and forth, acting as if her win was the most spectacular thing in the world. Her fiery flames had settled down to a muted orange, tinged with purple. Angel chuckled softly, and reached out a hand to stroke Rapidash’s snout. “You did good, girl.”

Her attention turned to the building, trying to figure out a last-minute plan to finish what she came for. An idea suddenly came to her, and she looked to Rapidash as she considered the possible consequences. It was a dangerous choice, putting your trust in a complete unknown. There were so many ways that things could go wrong. And without a working knowledge of the associate, things could quickly go south for you while they escaped all punishment.

She half growled, half sighed. There was simply no other choice. “Hey. Mind doing me a favor?”

Rapidash let out a questioning neigh, and her ears perked up.

Angel didn’t respond immediately, going over it all in her head one last time, hoping for a different course of action. But nothing came to her. It was time to go all in. “There is something inside the building that I need to fetch. If it’s not too much to ask…Could you possibly provide a distraction for me?”

Before she could even discuss the possibility of a reward, Rapidash rushed the building and began wreaking havoc. It didn’t take long for the night shift to chase after her.

It wasn’t until the last of the employees had gone around the side of the building that Angel ran towards the door. She cursed instantly upon opening it. For there, in the middle of the room, was a desk. And, at the desk, sat a man. He was on the phone with someone when he saw her. His face immediately went from laughter to shock. He was too far away to hear his words, but she knew what was the most likely thing said.

Not waiting to see what he did next, she bolted for the stairs. She easily recalled the blueprints to the building, and ran effortlessly through the corridors, climbing floor after floor.

Five minutes later, she reached the doorway she was looking for. Placing a hand against the metal, she braced herself as she attempted to catch her breath. She could hear her heartbeats in her ears, and feel each one pulsing through her chest. No matter how quickly she inhaled, she couldn’t fill her lungs. Her entire body felt like it was overheated. Every muscle trembled, making it difficult to even lean. Angel placed her other hand on her stomach, desperately wishing for it to settle down as well.

A soft whimper escaped her lips. Whatever was wrong with her was getting worse. With Kanto being the closest to Blossomly, her parents hadn’t tried elsewhere for answers. But it was clear she needed to try harder. Someone in as good of shape as she was shouldn’t be experiencing this.

Finally, her symptoms lessened enough to return focus to her mission, and she took a step back to look at the door. There was a sign on it, claiming a Bio Lab was beyond this point, and warned people from entering unless they wore a hazmat suit. But according to the dossier, the entire sign was just a deterrence to keep those without clearance from sating their curiosity.

Her head turned left, then right, checking for people in the area. When she saw none, Angel typed in the first keycode listed on the papers, crossing her fingers that it worked. If it didn’t, it meant that she’d been too late, and it had been two weeks since the codes were last changed. Thankfully, the device clicked, and the light turned green as the door hissed open.

Knowing Rapidash couldn’t keep everyone distracted for much longer, she quickly scanned the giant room, looking for the item in particular she’d been sent to obtain. Unfortunately, the layout had changed from when she’d been given the data. That shouldn’t be a problem, though. What she sought was clearly identifiable. Besides. How many glowing pink containers could there be in the world?

Dropping the backpack from her shoulders, she opened it, and gently stuffed the vials into the outer pouch as she could. She managed to get six there, and two more inside, but there were still three left. Unfortunately, based on the shouts she could hear in the distance, she knew there was no time to rearrange. Hoping it wouldn’t matter much, she left the last three in the container, and then went to the window.

Angel opened it, placed two fingers in her mouth, and gave a loud, piercing whistle. Within seconds, the Rapidash appeared. As soon as she was close enough, she leapt out the fifth story window, deftly landing on Rapidash, who cried out. “Sorry, girl. It hurt me, too.”

Just as she was getting ready to turn Rapidash into a gallop, a voice called out to her. The one from earlier. Her gaze turned to the window she’d just leapt out of, and she found herself unable to breathe at the sight of the person standing there.

A Houndoom’s bark sounded, distracting her, and when she glanced back at the window, nobody was there. Angel shook her head, reminding herself yet again that not only was there no way it could be her. And that now was not the time to be focusing on such questions.

She had no clue where to go next, or what she planned on doing now. The only thing she knew for certain is that she needed to put as much distance between herself and this town as possible. And so, they ran so far away.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:25 (11 Days ago)

Title: 5. A Shocking Good Time

Shadow Skill: Jump-Start. Sends an overcharged jolt of electricity into whatever it touches at the moment. Do not approach if you or your family have a history of heart problems.

To prevent an overbuild of electrical energy, Raichu regularly discharge electricity into the ground from their tail. Shadows, however, have lost that ability, and so sporadically shock themselves or who/whatever is around them.

It was a long time before Angel felt the desire to get up. How could she have frozen up like that? Her Pokémon were like family to her. Dreamer should have been summoned. And then they should have left the Clefable in relative safety to go after Malevolence. Now the two of them were probably long gone with her beloved friend, and she was unlikely to ever see them again. The only thing that she could do at this point was continue to Saffron City. With a sigh, Angel headed off.

As she crossed into the city around sunset, she suddenly realized that without Ebony, her plan to get inside the facility needed to be re-evaluated. Was it possible to come up with a new scheme before nightfall? And even if it was, did she really want to go through with this? Malevolence’s words were repeating over and over in her head. Combined with her already existing doubts, if if if Team Rocket really were the bad guys, she shouldn’t be doing this.

She half wanted to complete this mission before she started digging around for the truth. But what if this was one of those turning point choices? Whatever decision she made now could affect countless lives.

Informing the facility of a potential threat was an option. Actually, no. Warning was out of the question. The fact that she had knowledge of a future crime implied her involvement with the people who wanted the item. She could just not steal the item, but she was already here. Not to mention the fact that if she stole it, she could make sure it was put to good use. Not that the Silph Company had malicious intent. But because she knew that if she failed, Team Rocket would just send another Agent in after that. And that person or team might not have her morality.

Angel sighed deeply, wishing her mind wasn’t so darn annoying. Why did she always have to overanalyze everything? Granted. It was better than not thinking about her actions at all. But she knew she needed to find a middle ground. Doing so would be quite a difficult task, considering her mind didn’t work on the same wavelength as normal people.

Trying to focus, she let herself take in the view of the city. There was a lot of shouting and running around. Banners, sounds, and smells filled the air. Seemed Saffron was in the midst of preparations for a festival. All the greens, reds, pinks, blues, and other flowery colors made her guess it was to celebrate the arrival of spring. She groaned, wishing she could have some much-needed fun. Hopefully time was on her side.

A cute little dandelion floof of a Pokémon came up to her, and offered a flower necklace. Angel noticed they were orange blossoms, which tended to make her sneeze despite how much she actually loved the smell. Instead of turning the lei down, she bowed her head and allowed the lei to be placed around her neck. She tried to hold back a sneeze, but failed, causing the Pokémon to gasp, an offended look on its face.

It turned to leave, but Angel called it back. Once she managed to convince it she didn’t mean anything by the sneeze, she reached into her bag and dug through until she found her Pokédex. Understanding flashed in its eyes as Angel faced the device’s scanner thingy to the Pokémon.

“Eldegoss. The Cotton Bloom Pokémon. Evolved form of Gossifleur. Native to the Galar Region. Eldegoss occasionally sets its seeds to the wind, allowing plants and Pokémon alike to benefit from the nutrients within.”

“Oh, wow! What’cha doing all the way in Kanto?” Angel held out her free hand to the cutiepie, but paused, unsure as to whether or not she should touch it. The Eldegoss made a pleased sound and leaned into her hand, allowing her to stroke its face.

“There you are, Lyla!” A Trainer about her age rushed up to them and paused a foot away. She bent down, hands on her knees, panting. After a minute, she stood and held out a hand. “Hi, there! Name’s Elsa. Are you in town for the festival?”

Angel shook the offered hand. “Sadly, no. Just passing through on business, but I’m hoping to have some time before I have to leave.”

“Ah, well that’s too bad. People have traveled from as far as the Galarian and Alolan regions to participate in this debut event. It’s a rare opportunity to see Pokémon from all over the world in one spot. If all goes well, it will return next year.”

“Well, I’ll definitely try to finish things up real quick like. I wouldn’t want to miss out on what might be the chance of a lifetime.”

“You sure wouldn’t! Oh, hey!” Elsa grabbed her Pokénav out of her pouch, played with it a bit, and handed it to Angel on the Contact screen. “If you do get the time, hit me up. I’d love to talk about my home region.”

“Th-Thank you.” After placing her info in the device, she returned it to Elsa, who, based on the Sylveon cry, had sent a quick message to Angel’s Pokénav. For some reason, she couldn’t help but apologize for her shyness. “Sorry. I’m trying, but interacting with new people is scary.”

“No need to apologize.” Elsa waved a hand to calmingly as she put her Pokénav away. “I get it. A few of my friends are like that. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets. The friends you make along the way to your dreams are so worth every bit of all your struggles.”

Lyla cried out, and Elsa’s left hand went to her mouth as she gasped. “Ah! I’m sorry! Have to run. Forgot I volunteered to help set up a part of the festivities for Galar. See you around.” She waved her hand, and ran off, Lyla following her.

Angel stared after them for a few seconds before she shook her head. While she was in motion to turn down the road to the Silph Company, she froze upon seeing a woman with bright pink hair in a sailor’s outfit. Could it be? She took a step towards the person, but was distracted by shouts from behind her. When she turned, she saw a crowd gathering around someone being electrocuted by a Raichu. A strange occurrence, to be honest. But what really stood out was the purplish color of the Raichu. Another Shadow? What were the odds of two in such a short time?

Without another second of thought, Angel ran towards the Raichu. Her plan was to jump in between the two, interfering with the flow of electricity. As she was a millisecond away from having hundreds of volts rushing through her body, she realized how stupid that thought was. Thankfully, the Raichu had collapsed to the ground just in time. A few sparks came from its cheeks, but it was otherwise harmless.

People had gathered by the man, who had stopped spasming. Angel hoped he was okay. With the amount of people checking on him, she knew he’d be taken care of. Her attention turned to the Raichu, who was panting and whimpering. Nobody else was paying any attention to the Pokémon, even though it looked strange. Or was she the only one who could see its color?

As she bent down, she heard a familiar female voice. “Is that your Raichu?”

She swallowed and forced herself to speak. “No. I’m just making sure it’s okay.”

“Why? She attacked someone for no reason. Surely she deserves whatever punishment and pain that comes her way.”

Her hands clenched on her knees. There was no way the person was who she thought it was based on the pure belief in that tone. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to look behind her. If it was true, she didn’t want to know. Couldn’t. It would break her.

“Just as with people, Pokémon make mistakes. No. They shouldn’t hurt people simply because they’re in pain. But you can’t always control your actions. She may not be mine, but I’m not going to let her be harmed for something that is obviously not her fault.” Angel didn’t give the person a chance to respond. Picking up the Raichu, she took off running, wondering how she kept getting involved in things like this.

After ten minutes of running and backtracking to make sure she couldn’t be followed, Angel hadn’t found a decent choice. She skidded to a halt when she heard neighs, and looked around for a stable. There! Angel crossed the distance, and burst inside, startling the Mudsdale and both forms of Ponyta. Within seconds, she had them calmed down, but it felt like it had taken hours to do so.

Angel could feel static building within as the Raichu awoke. Looking into her eyes, she reached down a hand and began to stroke her face. “Ssh. Relax. You’re safe now. Well. Not now now. But you will be. You just need to be brave and go inside this Pokéball for me. Can you do that?”

She made a sound as she turned her head away, shivering. Angel could now see small jolts of electricity coming from her cheek pouches. Again, the Raichu whimpered. How were both Shadows scared of pokéballs? That fear was supposed to be a rare occurrence.

Wait. If this Raichu went through the same experience as the Clefable, then it actually made sense. They would equate the pokéball to being trapped, which would remind them of what was done to them. Angel choked back a sob at how horrible that was. “Please, sweetling. You’re in pain. It will be a while before I can get you help, but at least you won’t be hurting any longer. Not to mention you won’t be able to shock me or others.”

“Please don’t make me go into the darkness! I’ll do anything but that.”

“It’s only temporary, I swear.” Angel continued to stroke her face, tears welling in her own eyes. “Please. I can’t bear to see you hurting.”

The Raichu placed a hand on Angel’s heart, and opened her mouth only to jerk in pain. Angel herself was suddenly spasming, unable to move, think, or even breathe. She was aware of falling to the straw covered floor, but the next five minutes escaped her. When she reconnected to reality, the first thing she saw was the Raichu sitting against the wall opposite to her.

Realizing she’d just had hundreds of volts of electricity flowing through her body, she looked down to her skin and clothing, but found only slight damage. She turned to the Raichu, wide-eyed, wondering how she had managed the strength to push away.

Trembling, the Raichu forced herself to her feet and walked to Angel. She didn’t have to say anything. Angel knew what she wanted. “I’m sorry.” That said, she pulled out another pokéball and sent the Raichu to safety.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:25 (11 Days ago)

Title: 4. A Clefable of Sorrow

Shadow Skill: Deafen. Deafens and disorients the opponent for 30 seconds.

Clefable dwell in small groups in hidden places. Due to their superb hearing, they prefer quiet areas, away from humans. With hearing even more sensitive than normal, whispers can make the Shadow distraught.

After fleeing Ally’s, Angel ran and ran until she couldn’t run any more. Upon seeing a bench a half mile outside the city, she’d collapsed onto it and cried herself to sleep. As she opened her eyes, movement caught her attention, and she lifted the blanket slightly to see Petunia cuddled against her chest. She frowned, wondering why he stayed with her instead of returning to Ally? It was little things like this that made her certain Pokémon were more sentient and aware than most people gave them credit for. Quite unfortunate that a good portion of Trainers treated them as inferiors rather than equals. Wait. Blanket?

Angel sat up and stretched, the blanket falling to her waist. The crisp early morning air made her shiver, and as she pulled cottony material around her shoulders, a familiar smell made her pause. Bringing a small portion to her nose, she inhaled deeply. Yup. Poochyena. Her gaze drifted back toward the city, half hoping she would see Jenny walking away. But by the chill of the material, she knew whoever had placed it upon their sleeping forms was long gone.

As she watched the sunrise, she tried to come to terms with everything. But it was all just too much, too fast. Without proper time to adjust, she was likely going to cave in on herself. It had happened before. The only thing she could hope for right now was that it didn’t happen at the wrong time. Oh, how she wished she’d brought Sylvie along. Or, at the very least, her Purrloin plushie.

Never before had she been alone during this type of situation. Granted, she currently had three Pokémon with her. But their companionship had never been as calming as flinging herself at her father and crying into his chest until she fell asleep to his heartbeat. Her intense anxiety was the biggest reason why she hadn’t gone on her Journey yet. She’d hoped to one day overcome her fear, but more and more, it was looking like an impossible task. Perhaps she should just face the music, and go for it. Maybe an adventure would wind up being the answer she’d sought all along.

Her fingers brushed against one of Petunia’s flowers, causing him to stretch and fully awaken. He sat up and leaned into her. For a while, neither of them said anything. Once the gorgeous shades and hues of the sunrise had settled off, Petunia broke the silence with a single word. One that managed to crush her heart. “Home?”

She reached into her pocket and pulled out his shrunken pokéball. “I’m sure Ally doesn’t want to see me yet. She’s probably really worried about you, though.” Angel placed the pokéball in his hand.


Angel had to hold back a sob at the desperation in his voice. “Ally’s really mad at me right now. I hope that she still considers me a friend once she’s calmed down enough. But she might not for a long while. She needs someone to blame for what happened. And without knowing the facts, the only one she can blame is the one all evidence points to.” She touched a finger to his nose. “But us? We’re still friends.”

“Soon?” Petunia scooted off the bench, then turned to look at her.

“Again, that’s up to her. Not right now, but when she’s much calmer, you tell her that I’m not mad at her. That I’m still her friend, and will be there when she needs me. She knows how to reach me. As soon as she does, I’ll drop everything and come visit.” Angel paused, debating on saying more. But instead, gave Petunia a gentle shove back towards the city. “Go on, now.”

He turned from her and took a few steps before pausing and looking back over his shoulder. “Love is forever.” That said, he turned back and headed home.

She didn’t respond to his last statement because she knew the heartbreaking truth. Love didn’t always last forever. It took both people hard at work, determined to keep the bond. And even then, it didn’t always work out for whatever reasons. One reason why she preferred the company of Pokémon over humans. Except for Jenny, Ally, and Maya, that is.

Maya. Her heart broke again. Why was it that the more she grew as a person, the more people distanced themselves from her? It never failed that every time she began to feel content or braver, something happened that shattered her, setting her back months of progress. Going back and forth between a figurative Silcoon and Beautifly was starting to wear thin on her. She wished life would just choose already. Happiness or Sorrow.

In hindsight, many of her problems over the years were self-inflicted, but still. One should never have to suffer so much for their mistakes. Her hands clenched on her legs. Why did she always do this? She had everything she could ever want. Her life was practically perfect. Why was she always so unhappy and cynical?

Footsteps sounded, and Angel looked up to see two people headed her way. They paused a couple feet from the bench. They yelled at each other loud enough for her to clearly hear what they were on about. “I’m tellin’ ya! I saws what I saws! I ain’t crazy!” The older, unkempt man gestured strongly with his hands, but the younger female was having none of it.

“I never said you were crazy. I don’t doubt you saw it. I doubt it exists.” From this angle, Angel could barely make out the woman’s face, but it was clear that she did, in fact, think her companion was crazy.

He gave a frustrated sigh, and threw his hands in the air. “I ain’t stupid eithers. That means you think it exists only in my head!”

Angel stood, leaving the blanket on the bench behind her for the next traveler to use if they so chose. Once in polite conversation distance, but still far enough away to have not taken the pair by surprise, she spoke. “Excuse me?” Even so, they jumped as if she’d appeared out of thin air. “May I ask what exactly you’re discussing?”

The man glared at her. “Why? So ya can make fun of me toos? It’s all the same with ya whippersnappers. We’re suppos’ta believe everythin’ ya says without hesitation, but ya won’t bother returnin’ the favah.”

She waved her hands defensively in front of her. “No, no! I’ve seen many things that most people would say impossible. I’d love to learn more. And see where it happened, if possible.”

His eyes lit up like holiday lights, completely unaware of his what she would assume granddaughter frantically motioning from behind him for Angel to not encourage him. The act elicited a smile from Angel, which caused the man to turn around. But his granddaughter was the epitome of innocence, hands behind the small of her back, a smile on her face. She batted her eyes at him twice before stretching out a hand to Angel. “I’m Malevolence. This eccentric fellow is my grandpa, Ignatius.”

“Bah!” He waved a hand dismissively. “She can call me Iggy.”

Taking the hand offered her, she fidgeted before speaking. “Name’s Alexandria. I’m on my way to Saffron City, but will gladly take a detour to see what your grandfather is so excited about.” She wasn’t entirely sure if it was her paranoid imagination, or if they really had a very small reaction to her name. Either way, her heart had begun to beat rapidly. And with zero ability to read any form of social cue, she was certain this would end badly. Trying to save face, she wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead, brushing a lock of hair out of her face to hide her unease.

”Are ya sures? It would be a bit outta ya way. And ya might not sees anythin’.”

Angel looked to the older man, who still had a hopeful and expectant demeanor. He seemed eager to prove to his granddaughter that he was not crazy. “Honestly. It’s not a problem at all.” She followed Iggy and Malevolence as they headed back towards the city.

Ten minutes later, they paused at a pair of trees. At first, Angel couldn’t see anything marking the area as special. On her third look over, she noticed the lack of branches within a two-foot space. Ah. It was a little-known path into the forest.

“Not many people know this here path. I only dos cause I used’ta be the Ranger around these parts. Ya wouldn’t think much of it, but a lotta poachin’ goes on. Mostly by those mangy teams. What’re their names again, dearie?”

“Magma, Aqua, and Rocket.” Malevolence spoke the names as if by rote. “But it’s not just them. Many individuals do it as well. There are a lot of Pokémon who have at least one quality that makes them sought after. It’s to the point that some of them are being placed upon a Protection list.”

“Now, I don’t wanna go down theres again. Seems a few Pokémon don’t understands why I stopped comin’ to see thems, and they’re mads at me.”

“So…Did you see the Pokémon in person or not?” Angel winced slightly as her question came out a bit ruder than she intended.

“Nuh-uh.” Ignatius shook his head, either not taking it that way, or not catching it in the first place. “I saw it on one of the cameras I installed. But when I went to show Mal here proof of it the next day, it was already gones.”

“The Pokémon or the video?”

“Both. I think whoever’s been poachin’ lately had somethin’ to dos with it. But Male believes I’m seein’ things. Even thoughs she can’t explain why two minutes are missin’ from the log.”

“Well!” Angel stretched her arms above her head, and bent from side to side once. “One way or another,” she then bent her arms, elbows out, fists at chest, and twisted right, then left. “We’ll know the truth soon.”

He frowned. “Just ‘cause ya can’t see somethin’ doesn’t mean it don’t exists. Just means ya weren’t lucky. Ya know…Like with all them Legendaries and the super rare Pokémons.”

“Oh, don’t you worry. Pokémon love me. I can practically guarantee I’ll have the proof you seek.” Without waiting for a response, Angel began walking into the darkness of the forest.

Within minutes, she was far down the path, and away from any quick source of help. Well, except for Dreamer and Ebony, that is. The two were the only Pokémon she’d brought, so hopefully, they could handle whatever creature Ignatius had seen. If, in fact, he’d seen anything. Because despite how much she herself had witnessed and knew was passible, her own father’s memory failed him on occasion. And that was saying something, because he wasn’t quite as old as Malevolence’s grandfather.

About when she planned to give up and head back, she heard a noise, and her hand instantly went to her belt to open Dreamer’s pokéball. But when she heard the sound again, she picked up on agony in the voice. Whatever Pokémon it was, it was obviously in pain. Quietly, she called out. “Hello?”

Though her words were gentle, the Pokémon screamed again. Angel looked around, but didn’t see anymon in the clearing. “Hello?” This time, she spoke in a whisper, and heard a somewhat pained response. “Can you come out? I won’t hurt you.”

After a minute or so, a Clefable stepped out from one of the bushes. But it was unlike any she’d seen before. At first glance, it looked normal, but a closer inspection revealed a purplish tinge to its color. A shadowy aura of the same color surrounded its form. It took a few steps, then stumbled to the ground, screeching again. Tears filled her eyes as she watched it just lay there, hopeless and helpless, trying to cover its ears with its hands.

She rushed to its side and helped it sit up. For a while, the only thing she did was hold it and listen to it breathing as it tried to relax. Finally, she couldn’t be silent any longer. In a voice even softer than before, she spoke. “What’s wrong?”

It chose to remain silent for a while before choosing to speak. When it did, it revealed that, he apparently, had no clue how he came to be here. The only thing he remembered was people sticking him with needles and running tests on him day in and day out. All the while, he was in a circular enclosure of some sort, filled with liquid. People were always around him, talking quite loudly, so he never got to sleep. And the pain. He was always in such pain. But the thing that stood out to her the most, was the mention of the red “R” on the door.

Choosing to ignore that part for now, she adjusted the topic. “This…aura about you…Were you like that before? Or did this happen during?”

His response was a confused sound, leading Angel to believe he had always been that way. After all, when something is the only thing you’ve ever known or experienced, to imagine anything to the contrary would be beyond comprehension.

All of a sudden, he leapt up and ran off into a nearby bush. Angel almost called out to him, but her attention was caught by the sound of footsteps, and she turned back to the clearing entrance to see Malevolence approaching.

“Well, there you are! I was beginning to think you recognized us and decided to snag the Shadow for yourself.”

“Recognized you?”

Malevolence brought her hand to her mouth as she laughed. “Oh my. You mean to tell me you haven’t been fully informed of this mission?”

“Lady, I don’t even know who you are, nor what possible acquaintanceship the two of us share.”

“You’re really out of the loop then. Let me make it clear as crystal for you. Both of us,” she motioned her pointer finger to herself, and then to Angel, “are agents of Team Rocket. Giovanni sent me on a mission to retrieve a runaway Shadow. When I saw you, I assumed you’d been sent on the same mission. Course. I wasn’t sure it was you until you said your name, but.”

Ah. So she hadn’t imagined the reaction earlier. “You’re lying. Giovanni came to me in person to recruit me for a very important task in Saffron City. My job has nothing to do with a…Shadow, you said?”

“Good. Then I shall finally get the promotion I’ve deserved for so long. As for you? I believe I speak for all Agents when I say that your sudden disappearance would be quite beneficial.”

“Say what now?!” Angel stood, the pokéballs for Dreamer and Ebony ready in her hands.

“You heard me, grunt. The beloved pet of Giovanni. Hated by all other Agents due to the courtesies given you. Allowed so much because your skill is such an ‘asset’. How do you manage to act so goody two shoes all the time?”

Angel couldn’t help but laugh at that. “You’re not a member of Team Rocket. Giovanni would never have hired someone with your lack of manners and disregard for life.”

“Oh. Em. Gee.” Malevolence burst out in hysterical laughter. “It’s not an act? You truly think Team Rocket are the good guys? Darling, we’re as bad as you can get. Haven’t you ever wondered why you never met another Agent? Never been to our facilities? The rewording of your missions so you feel you are doing the right thing. Everything to ensure that the mission gets done, and you end up none the wiser. Well. It’s time you knew the truth.”

“The truth? You just told me you wanted me out of the way. Why should I believe anything you say when it could be nothing more than a means to an end?!”

“Girl. Don’t you dare lie to me. To me! I can see it in your eyes. You’re having doubts. Tell you what. If you give me that rare Sableye, then I’ll let you go. I’ll tell Giovanni that you failed miserably, and aren’t worth his time anymore.”

“And if I were to tell him that you spilled the beans on what Team Rocket is truly about? Don’t you think Giovanni would be immensely teed off? You’d be “taken care of”, just as you plan to do to me.”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t leave you capable of telling the tale.” Malevolence reached for a pokéball hanging from the strap under her left chest pocket.

“Cover your ears!” the Clefable yelled from behind her. With precious little time to react, Angel covered her ears just as a screech to rival all screeches filled the clearing. The two of them fell to their knees in pain. Their eyes met, and she just knew that they would forever be nemesi.

Malevolence struggled to her feet. Still disoriented, she staggered to the edge of the clearing, then paused. Wobbling a bit, she stretched a hand out to balance herself against a tree, and turned back to face Angel. She held out her other hand, revealing a shrunken pokéball. “You may have the Shadow, but I have your Sableye!”

A quick glance around where she’d fallen showed Dreamer’s pokéball beside a rock. Geometry agreed that if a pokéball hit the rock at just the right angle, it would have been sent Malevolence’s way. By the time Angel turned back towards the path, the woman was already hidden by the darkness of the path as she made her way back up.

Instead of chasing after her like she should have, Angel froze. All she could do in that moment was repeat “no” again and again. Tears fell from her eyes, and she was finally able to move. Yet, she still didn’t give chase. Just beat her fist against the ground, now sobbing so badly she could barely breathe.

The Clefable came up beside her and offered assurances. The thought crossed her mind that if he hadn’t screeched, Ebony would still be here. It made her hate him. Yet, she allowed him to console her.

In the midst of the forest, she couldn’t tell how much time had passed with her just sitting there. But after a while, she spoke as softly as she could while trying to make her hoarse voice audible. “My father is a genius. I believe he can help you with your hearing problem. If you’re willing, you can come along with me.”

He made an unintelligible sound as she brought out a pokéball, and shook his head. Angel frowned, uncertain if he’d spoken gibberish in that moment, or if she was so out of it she couldn’t communicate as well as usual.

When his eyes drifted to the pokéball, realization hit her. “I’m sorry. But you must go in there. I know you might not like enclosed spaces right now. My main concern is you being seen. Obviously, I can’t protect you. So if another Team or those two show up again, they’ll take you. And you’ll be back in a tube.”

His head shook furiously, not liking that idea one bit.

“You’re going to have to choose. Which would you prefer? Pain until you can take no more? Or a few days in a pokéball while I get you the help you need?”

It took him a while to respond, but when he did, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“I know you’re putting a lot of faith and trust in me. You won’t regret it.”

He made a sound as she enlarged the pokéball, causing her to shake her head. “No. It’s my fault. I underestimated them, and then froze when Ebony needed me the most. You aren’t responsible.”

He touched his hand to the pokéball. The last thing she heard before he vanished was a sorrow-filled cry.

Pokéball now in her belt pouch, she sighed. Malevolence was a liar. Had to be. There was no way Team Rocket could be like this. None. Still… Her morality would never let her work for such horrid people. When she returned home, she vowed to study every mission she’d ever done. She needed to make a choice, and quickly. Even if it meant she lost everything and everyone, she would do the right thing.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:24 (11 Days ago)

Title: 3. Bellossoms in the Wind

Angel’s movements were stiff as she headed away from Jenny. Every couple of steps, she felt the urge to look back. She felt like she was in one of those movies, where someone is watching another walk away. Only this time, she was on the walking end, doing her best not to look back. Doing so implied hope, and she didn’t feel there was any chance of mending this burnt bridge. The tingling in her back told her that Jenny was staring at her retreating form, possibly hoping for that movie lookback.

But Angel finally understood why the walker sometimes chose not to look back. Because they knew that to do so would be to give in to their heart. That they were leaving for a reason stronger than the bond they were breaking. They felt that the end would justify the means.

Numb, she let her feet lead the way. Ten minutes later, she tripped on something. When she saw that it was the bench near Ally’s house, she questioned if she should take some time to collect herself first. Ally was likely to ask questions that she wasn’t up to answering, and she definitely didn’t want to mess up two friendships in one night. In the end, she chose to rest for a bit.

“Bell?” Angel blinked, only to find that she couldn’t see. Her hand went to wipe whatever it was away, and she found herself surprised when she felt wetness. When had she began to cry?

A pair of hands gently touched her knees, drawing her attention to the Bellossom that stood before her. On the right hand was a wristlet made of tightly woven flowers, marking him as Ally’s Petunia. Once he noticed he had her full attention, he smiled, took a few steps back, and began to dance and sing.

It was a story of the meeting of an Alolan and Galarian Vulpix, who quickly became the best of friends. Over time, the two grew closer, but sadly, they were separated during a blizzard. He gave a few quick stanzas about the journeys of each, as they struggled to find each other yet again.

Suddenly, he stopped, reached out his hands to her, and she couldn’t hold back a sigh. Every story of Petunia’s ended this way. He would spin a marvelous tale, get to the most crucial part, and then never reveal the ending. “Why do you do that?”

Petunia tilted his head, but Angel could see through his act of innocence. “You never finish your stories.” Angel booped him gently on the nose. “Why do you keep people hanging?”

He launched into what she expected would be a quickly spoken long-worded explanation, and so began to make the “slow down” gesture with her hands. But he was already done. It took her a few seconds to replay what he had said. While stroking the petals of a flower on his head, she said, “Life is whatever we choose to make of it.”

The flowers on his head spun a few times as he held out his hand, muttering words of encouragement to her. After a little while, Angel took his hand and allowed him to lead her. As they walked, he rattled on, mostly about every event he could remember worthy of telling her since she’d last visited. From the bits and pieces, she could pick up during his rapidly excited speech, he had some really interesting stories that she’d have to ask about when he was calmer.

She was still processing the last revelation of a relationship between Ally and Maya when he opened the door. His happy mood was instantaneously gone as he rushed from her side to a woman rocking on the floor beside the couch. The woman lifted her head from the creases of her arms at the sound of the door opening, and, upon noticing Petunia, unwrapped her arms from around her knees to draw him into a tight embrace. Through the smudged and flushed face, Angel finally recognized the person as Ally.

Angel shut the door behind her, but, instead of going to her friend, she headed towards the kitchen. It only took a few seconds to locate the most recent location of the coffee pot. A touch of her fingers against the glass informed her that it hadn’t been off long, so she poured a cup for Ally.

When she returned, Ally was on the middle cushion of the couch. One of Petunia’s hands stroked her left arm, but she didn’t really seem to notice his presence. Or hers. Angel passed the steaming cup of coffee into Ally’s hands, and then sat on the other side of her.

Uncertain as to what to say, Angel placed a hand on Ally’s leg. A few minutes passed before she finally asked what was wrong. When a sniffle and a drink were her only answer, she stood and did various small chores around the house. She’d been in this place before, and she didn’t have any energy for weeks. Depending on the severity of whatever was bothering Ally, this little bit of help would probably wind up being wasted. But still. It was the least she could do since she was already there.

An hour later, Angel returned to the couch, and reached for the now empty cup on the coaster. A hoarse, angry voice told her to get out. She paused and turned to her friend. Ally looked to be furious. At her. But why? What in the world did she do?

When she didn’t move, Ally leapt to her feet, practically yelling now. “Get out! I don’t want you here. Or Petunia, for that matter, since he brought you here.”

Angel was still trying to figure out what she’d done when she remembered the last thing Petunia had said before opening the door. Something about Ally getting in a relationship with…No. She shook her head, tears filling her eyes, not daring to believe it. “I heard about the fire. But I didn’t realize. She can’t be dead.”

She didn’t see it coming, but Angel sure felt the heat on her cheek from Ally’s well-placed slap. Her head jerked with the force, and she turned back to her friend, mouth open to speak. But she was cut off.

“Officer Jenny recently left. She told me everything. I loved you like a sister! I can’t believe you would do something like this to me.”

“Okay, first.” Angel completely ignored the slap, feeling that if it was something Ally needed to do in that moment, then she would grin and bear it. “I didn’t know the two of you were together until like two minutes ago—”

“That doesn’t make a difference!” Ally’s hands trembled at her sides.

“I’m not saying it does,” Angel’s own hands shook as she tried her best to remain calm, despite the anxiety flooding her at the confrontation. “I don’t know what happened, but I swear to Arceus, I will make whoever killed our friend pay.”

“I already know who did it! And Arceus help me. If you don’t get out of my house now, along with Petunia, I will call Officer Jenny. Consider it my last act as your ‘friend’.”

Something hit Angel in the chest, and she looked to the floor to see a pokéball. Shock filled her, and she met Ally’s tear-stained eyes. “Please. You’re not in your right mind at the moment. I understand you want someone to pay, but you can’t push away the only ones left in your life.”

That wound up being the wrong thing to say, as Ally screamed at the top of her lungs for them to get out. Certain there was no point arguing at the moment, Angel picked up the pokéball, grabbed the hysterical Petunia, and ran into the chilly cold of the night.

[Read more]
Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:24 (11 Days ago)

Title: 2. Even Friendships Set Sail

Angel reached above her head, and gasped in a mix of pain and satisfaction as her back finally popped. Arms still above her head, she paused to watch a group of Wingull in the sky, fighting over what appeared to be a Goldeen. From this distance, it almost seemed as if they were squawking the word "Mine". The thought was ludicrous, but it still made her laugh.

"Angie! Darling!"

At the sound of the captain's voice, Angel brought her hands to her sides and directed her gaze to her friend, who quickly closed the distance between them. Maya's warm hands wrapped around hers. "Yet again, I have to thank you for the marvelous stories you share. Your imagination is a truly wonderful thing." Maya squeezed Angel's hands gently. "Remember. If you ever have the call, I'd be honored to share your Journey with you. The Swanna is only here for a few days. I do hope you to be the one to take you back home."

She pulled her hands out of the grip, and wrapped them around Maya's, tempted to tell her friend that those stories weren't from her imagination, but, as usual when the urge hit her, she chose not to speak. People like Maya were a precious gift. There wasn't anything wrong with being an Agent of Team Rocket, but she knew what most people thought of them. Perhaps if she ever left the organization, she would be brave enough to speak. Until then, the fear of losing those few she cared about kept her silent.

"My business might take me a while. But if time permits, I'll stick around for a few extra days just so you can take me home." Angel gently squeezed her friend's hands and began to pull away, only to find herself pulled into a tight embrace. How did she hate being hugged so badly, but feel like melting—in a good way—when it was from someone she trusted. When Maya finally pulled away a minute later, Angel whimpered softly. Thankfully, Maya was already several feet away, skipping back to her cabin, happy as a Ribombee.

Once Maya closed the door behind her, Angel turned and headed down the landing bridge onto the docks of Vermilion City. The layout of the city came back to her so easily that it took her about ten feet to realize she'd started heading towards the Pokémon Center.

But she wasn't going to see or stay with Nurse Joy this time. Not after the last time, where she was made to feel like she was only allowed around because of how good she was with understanding Pokémon. Many Trainers could connect to and speak with their own Pokémon after some time of being together. It was a special few who were able to quickly form bonds with any. She'd gladly use her gift to help Pokémon, just not when she felt like that was the only reason someone wanted her around.

So, this time, Angel had arranged to stay at her friend Ally's house. Who lived...Angel spun around in circles a few times, looking down each of the four intersecting streets. After the fourth spin, she nodded and pointed down the path that looked the most familiar.

Her mind began to wander as she walked, paying just enough attention to her surroundings to warn her of impending danger. She thought of how tomorrow, she'd be a the Silph Company in Saffron City. Her father would be so jealous! Too bad she couldn't tell him. He was under the impression her disappearances were due to her wandering out somewhere on the island and meditating or otherwise getting closer to nature.

The change in the sound of her footsteps was enough to bring her out of her reverie. In the distance, she could hear the sound of an approaching motorcycle. A quick glance around revealed that she was in a rundown part of town. She frowned, wondering how she got here when it was at least two streets out of the way. Looking behind her, she exhaled in relief when she established the oncoming motorcycle belonged to Officer Jenny, who pulled onto the side of the road near her.

Not expecting herself to be the target, Angel got her bearings and took a step in the direction that would bring her to her destination. She didn't get very far before a hand tightly gripped her left wrist. Jumping, her free hand reached into her pouch for her Cheri spray, only to yet again breathe a sigh of relief. "Jenny! You gave me a fright!"

Officer Jenny didn't immediately answer, which was a strangeness in and of itself. Night had fallen during her meandering, and the moon barely provided enough light to see Jenny's face. Tight lips. Anger filled eyes. What happened? Anxiety filled her, and she tried to pull her hand away, but Jenny only tightened the grip. Had her ties to Team Rocket finally been discovered?

Finally, Jenny spoke. "Angel Flamel. You are under arrest for the destruction of The Swanna. Speak wisely, as anything you say goes into the records. You have the right to a representative. If you don't have one, we will assign one to you. Do you understand what I've said?"

For a while, Angel stared at Jenny, mouth agape as she tried to process the words just spoken. Thoughts of Maya filled her head, and she made a mental note to check on her friend before returning home. Without thinking, she tried to pull her hand free again. This time, Jenny brought out a pokéball that was sure to hold a Mightyena. "Look...I don't know what you're talking about. I arrived at the Port and left instantly. It took me" Angel looked up at the sky, then back, "over half an hour to get this far. I guarantee that you have the wrong person."

"Please don't lie to me. We have an Eye Witness who says otherwise. That they saw someone matching your description flee from the port as the boat caught fire."

"You know me. And you know that Maya's a dear friend. Of which, I have so very few. I would never do anything to harm you, Maya, or Ally. Ever. I know I'm probably currently the only young'un with silvery hair in the city right now, but the witness had to be mistaken. There's no way. And you know it."

The grip truly lessened, but Jenny didn't release her hold. "I—" Eyes closed, and she took a deep breath in. When her eyes opened, Angel could see tears welling up within. "I'm sorry. I'm just doing my job. Please don't make this harder on us. Just come with me for questioning."

"I've already given you my story! Isn't my word enough?" Angel didn't give her time to respond. "Well, make a mental note of this. I arrived. I instantly left. It took me half an hour to get here. Even you know that you have the wrong person. So why waste our time?" Angel's hand came free with ease. She spun and began to walk at a brisk pace.

"If you walk away from me, I won't protect you any longer," Curiosity caused Angel to pause and turn around, and Jenny continued to speak. "I—I know your secret. Have for a few years now. Why, Feathers? Why would you align yourself with the likes of them? Your skills could be put to much better use elsewhere."

Feathers. Now there was a name she hadn't heard since she was young. All because she had climbed a tree to see a bunch of newly hatched Taillow. The Swellow hadn't much cared for her presence, and chased her through the forest. When she arrived back at town, she was covered in mud and feathers. The story had quickly gotten around, earning her that nickname.

Angel shook her head, trying to make herself focus on the problem at hand. "You've put me in a difficult position. I have important business to attend to, and—"

Before speaking next, Jenny crossed her arms. "Is it something to do with them? Because if so, it's not more important than our friendship."

"Our friendship?" Angel scoffed. "You're the one wanting to arrest me for something you know that I didn't do. I don't want you to lose your job, and I really don't want our friendship to end. But I can't, and won't, suffer for things I didn't do. I've done enough of that in my lifetime already."

Jenny sighed, and shook her head. Some of the tears in her eyes flew outward. "You're not the one in a difficult position. I have to let my best friend go because I know she didn't commit a crime. Or take her in and let it become public knowledge that she has willingly aided and abetted a criminal organization multiple times."

"Enough!" Angel swung her right arm through the air forcefully. "I'm so sick and tired of hearing about how evil they are. They have good intentions. I know it. It's not their fault some of their members have made grave mistakes and poor judgment calls. I truly believe they're just misguided and misunderstood."

"Oh, you poor naïve soul. Come to your senses! Why must you always see and expect the good in people? As much of a heroic trait as that is, it is also a serious flaw. Your blind and undeserving trust in people is going to one day be your downfall. Please, for the love of Arceus! Come to the Light and fix this mistake before it becomes a regret."

"Shouldn't you love that about me? That after everything I've been through, I still manage to see the good in people? I allow myself to be hurt time and again because I just can't accept the fact that there are individuals out there who thrive on the pain they inflict on others." Angel squeezed her eyes shut, hoping it would prevent the tears falling from her eyes. It didn't. She felt her fingers tremble, but forced her arms to remain at her hips. It took several deep breaths before she trusted herself to speak. "Tell you what. If I ever discover that I was wrong, I will turn myself in and accept responsibility for everything I did while with Team Rocket."

"That...That's not going to alter my decision. Ever since that day, every time something happened while you were in town, I covered for you as best as I could. If you walk away from me now, I won't cover for you anymore. I'm not going to let myself go down just to protect someone who is incapable of seeing the truth. Even though it angers me to know that you would make a mockery of everything I've sacrificed for you."

"You mean to tell me you automatically assumed that I was behind every problem that occurred while I was in town? How dare you stand there and lecture me on friendship when you're the one acting like a jerk. Goodbye, Officer Jenny." The two of them fell into silence, uncertain of what to say or do next. After what seemed like an eternity, Angel ran off, unable to handle being in her now ex-friend's presence any longer.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:23 (11 Days ago)

Title: 1. An Unexpected Visit

Angel swore under her breath as she attempted to pull on her leggings. She’d gained a few pounds this month. A new chocolate had been released recently, and couldn’t get enough of it. Sadly, it looked like she was going to have to cut back on it just a tad bit. Soon, too. Her father would be very disappointed if he found out she’d put on a few pounds so soon after losing a hundred. Not that it should really matter, as her new daily routine kept her busy enough to keep her pear-shaped physique. But her father was convinced that, with the way her sweet tooth was, it wouldn’t take much to fall back into old habits.

Sometimes she found it hard to juggle all the parts of her life. With too much free time on her hands, trying to find an hour or two to take care of the family finances or travel for her assignments for Team Rocket could cause an overwhelming amount of stress on her. Her life was so very simple, made complicated by her inability to manage her own time. It was difficult for her to make even a tiny bit of time to draw or watch Pokémon in their natural habitat.

The four of them lived on the shore in Flamestryke. The rest of the island had been terraformed to be a perfect symbiosis of all eighteen Types. And so, in order to maintain the purity of the island, everyone who helped manage and maintain it, as well as anyone who came to Challenge, resided in Flamestryke. It had taken a lot of time and money to purchase and design the Blossomly Island and its one-of-a-kind layout. Within two weeks of their opening, they’d drawn dozens of tourists and three Challengers.

The entire thing was more like a Contest than a Battle. All your Pokémon could faint, and you win. You could take down all of Nanaki’s with one shot, and lose. It was the way you fought with your Pokémon that mattered the most. How you utilized the terrain to make their weaknesses a strength, and how you reacted to your opponent doing the opposite.

Of their thirty Challengers so far, five were given the Symbiosis Badge. Their last Challenger, about two weeks ago, had impressed her father so much that he’d given her 10,000 Pokédollars. That was the first battle Angel had watched, and it had created a stirring within.

After the Challenger left, her father had approached her with the news that her mother was pregnant, and that in six months, he’d be taking paternity leave. He’d asked her if she would be willing to take on leadership of the Gym for those few months. The look on his face when she turned him down hurt. But it was what he mumbled after that broke her heart.

Not wanting him to shut down the Blossomly Gym, she’d reluctantly agreed, reminding him of how she was so not suited for the task. He’d told her that he understood, but he would much rather it be in her hands than in her brother’s, for she was more likely to actually take care of what needed to be taken care of. It was an argument she couldn’t disagree with.

She’d half wanted to bring up how badly she didn’t want to do it. That she finally felt the Call, and wanted to go on her first Journey as a Trainer. But she couldn’t really. Not without hurting him in two ways. The first being that he would feel like he was forcing her into the temp role. And though she’d never been good at keeping secrets or hiding things from him, her allegiance to Team Rocket was something she’d managed to hide for eight years now.

The frantic sounds of her Sylveon interrupted her thoughts and brought her back to reality. Her eyes refocused just in time to see Sylvie rush into the room, lose his footing on the new wooden floor, and slide into the dresser. Angel leapt from the edge of the bed to the foot of the dresser, scared that the force of his slide would cause the mirror to wobble off onto his head. But not only did her concern prove unwarranted, but she overshot and slammed into the dresser.

With a hiss, she grabbed ahold of her arm, and smiled as she turned to her best friend. The first thing she noticed was the intense fear in his eyes, and she felt a sinking feeling in her heart. Sylvie was quite brave for being a Naughty boy, but there was one thing that terrified him. Person, rather. And that was Giovanni.

Angel reached out and cupped Sylvie’s face, moving her thumb against his cheek until he leaned his head into her hand. “Stay put. I’ll take care of it.” She took Sylvie’s face in both hands and kissed him on the forehead. With the help of Sylvie’s ribbons and a small groan, she got to her feet. After a few deep breaths in to calm herself, she headed downstairs to the foyer.

Her eyes widened as she turned to see Giovanni lounging on her couch. His Persian lay beside him. At first glance, it appeared to be asleep, but she could tell by its breathing patterns that it was only pretending. Directing her attention to Giovanni, she gave a small curtsy. “To what do I owe this…pleasure?”

Giovanni’s lips curled up ever so slightly as he brought a glass of red liquid to his lips. A quick glance to the nearby cabinet said that he’d helped himself to her own Flaming Cheri. His Persian moved slightly, drawing her attention. She happened to notice some gray in its face, and she tilted her head. How old was that cat, anyway? The thing had to be pushing thirty years, if not more. “It’s been a long time since we spoke. Congratulations on the new addition to the family.”

She frowned, eyes turning back to him as she tried to figure out how he could have learned that when her parents had just announced it earlier today. Ah. Wait. It was most likely the talk of the island, which meant everyone at the Blossomly PokéTel would know.

Giovanni’s smile fell flat at her silence. “Usually, when a person gives congratulations, the recipient thanks them. Not stares at them as if they lack the ability to form the proper response.”

“I’m sorry!” She bowed her head. He would see it as submission, but what she was really doing was gathering herself. Angel hated how easily he could put her on edge. After slightly longer than necessary, she met his eyes again. “You caught me off guard. I heard such statements from you are usually followed by bad news. I was worried you had something horrible in mind for me.”

He waved his hand dismissively. “Rumors about people are usually wrong. You have a brain. It’s not difficult to do your own research instead of blindly following the masses. Have I ever given you a mission where you had to do something wrong?” He didn’t wait for her to answer. “I digress. I have a task for you. My preferred team isn’t due back for a few weeks. You’re not as good as I’d like you to be for this mission, but you are one of my top Agents.”

Top Agent, but not as good as he’d like her to be. That was an insulting compliment if she ever heard one, but she’d take it. The smile returned to Giovanni’s when he noticed her curiosity had been aroused. Eyes still on hers, he reached down to the table with his free hand and slid a Confidential envelope she had failed to notice before across to her.

Angel picked it up and began to leaf through the dossier within as she listened to Giovanni give a more in-depth briefing.

“Surely you’ve heard the news of strange Pokémon appearing all over the world. Rumors say that they’re stronger than normal Pokémon, and slightly crazed. The combination of which is allowing them to disrupt the habitats of natural Pokémon. There are even a few stories of skilled Gym Leaders having difficulty bringing them to heel.”

She had to refrain from throwing his earlier words about rumors back in his face. Angel chose not to look at him so he wouldn’t see the emotions in her eye. Instead, she continued looking over the date she’d been given. “If they are in fact so strong and dangerous, what makes you think I can help?”

“You’ve worked with Team Rocket for, what is it? Eight years now? Your various talents have been an asset to the organization. You have a marvelous success rate at bringing back Pokémon stolen from us, and all without drawing attention. One of your finer moments was when you convinced that Murkrow to return and continue gathering discarded items for us. The information we’ve been able to piece together from the various tech pieces it has brought back have helped further our understanding of Pokémon and allowed us to help them better.”

Not feeling a response was necessary, Angel remained silent as she finished her perusal of the data. After putting everything back inside the envelope, she threw it in the fireplace and turned her attention back to Giovanni. The acrid smell of burning paper made her scrunch her face a bit. She almost pinched her nose to keep the smell out, but she knew that would be seen as a sign of weakness.

Giovanni set his empty glass on the table. Annoyingly, not on the coaster. But that was another thing she wouldn’t dare comment upon. He steepled his fingers; his knuckles touched the bottom of his chin. “Excellent. Now that you’ve read over the data and blueprints I gave you, do you feel you are up for this task? The lives of dozens of Pokémon depend upon your success.”

“I do. Just give me a week to—”

“Time is of the essence. You leave tomorrow night at the latest for the Kanto Region. I leave it to you to find the quickest route possible.” He stood to leave, and his Persian was instantly alert and on the floor beside him. Why would it pretend to be asleep? Almost to the door, he paused and turned back to her. “I truly hope you succeed in this, Alexandria. It is long past time your services were put to the best use possible.”

Minutes later, Angel still stood beside the table as she tried to wrap her head around what just happened. A gentle mewl sounded from the stairs, and she looked up to see Sylvie. With positivity she did not feel, she coaxed him down the stairs. Based on his hesitation, she was certain he could feel her distress. Sure enough, once he was beside her, he extended his ribbons to embrace her.

She extended her right hand to stroke his head, chuckling softly at his loud, happy purrs. “I have to leave for ten days. You’re probably still scared and exhausted, but can you find Ebony and Dreamer for me? There will be some nummies in it for you.”

Sylvie released his hold on Angel, spun a few times in excitement, and ran off to do as asked. It was only once he was far out of sight that Angel fell to her knees and allowed the shakes to take over. She did her best to manage her emotions as all sorts of scenarios went through her head. Angel hugged herself after another chillshake, wondering if she should have sent someone other than Sylvie. But no. If Sylvie felt she was worried it would be dangerous, there was the chance that he would act out to her dad, and then she’d never be able to leave.

Angel’s hands clenched at her sides as she took several deep breaths. There was no need to be so scared about this. It could be the chance for the adventure she was looking for. If she could have her Journey before her mother gave birth, everything would work out great. Yes. This could be the start of something new.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:23 (11 Days ago)

Title: Kanto Shadow Dex

Shadow Skill: Deafen. Deafens and disorients the opponent for 30 seconds.
Clefable dwell in small groups in hidden places. Due to their superb hearing, they prefer quiet areas, away from humans. With hearing even more sensitive than normal, whispers can make the Shadow distraught.

Shadow Skill: Silence. Prevents opponent from using moves such as Roar or Intimidate
From the moment they evolve, Gyarados are struck by a desire to destroy. They will not calm until nothing is left. Shadows, however, seem incapable of such ferociousness.

Shadow Skill: Jump-Start. Sends an overcharged jolt of electricity into whatever it touches at the moment. Do not approach if you or your family have a history of heart problems.
To prevent an overbuild of electrical energy, Raichu regularly discharge electricity into the ground from their tail. Shadows, however, have lost that ability, and so sporadically shock themselves or who/whatever is around them.

Shadow Skill: Mock. A laughing whinny that brings to the forefront of the mind, a person's shortcomings in order to make them utterly lose faith in themselves and their abilities.
Rapidash can go from 0 to 150 in ten steps. They are a sight to behold when they race, for the faster they go, the hotter their mane burns. Highly competitive, they can often be seen challenging others to races. Shadows seem to desire a win, and will play dirty to achieve it.

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:12 (11 Days ago)

Title: Giga, Mega, Retro Shadows

Real Mega

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Posted: Tue, 23/05/2023 17:11 (11 Days ago)

Title: Emeran Shadows

Fakes and Megas

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