This is my first story and it will be quite long by the time it is finished. Sorry folks, but there will be no smut. Hope you enjoy!
Author's Chapter Notes:
Will and Keelia start their search for Vui as the past intersects with the present
Chapter 5 - Past and Present
Streaks of golden sunlight decorated the woodlands Keelia and I were walking through. The weather was warm for mid-January, so the leafless branches above were reaching up almost in desperation for the spring to come. In fact, everything about the forest was yearning for change. It had tasted the goodness of a coming early spring, and was ready for the beautiful transformation into its verdant form. The whole place silently proclaimed its hope for the future, and Keelia and I joined in with it.
After we both had set out, we determined our first place to look. Well, it really wasn’t a place that we expected to find Vui, but it was a starting point. We were looking for a couple of Eeveelutions by the names of Vhena and Tren that were close friends of Vui and Brennen. They lived relatively close to where Keelia lived, but the problem was that Keelia did not recognize where she was. When she had stumbled into Goldenrod in her feverous stupor, she lost her sense of direction. So now, we were trekking through the forests and grasslands around the city to try to find a landmark, scent, or anything else that would lead us to these family friends. We hoped that they could help us, or maybe shed some light on things that had happened. We were looking and eager for anything at this point.
“How are you holding up, Key?” I said breathlessly as we crested another wooded hill. We had been trucking along for a little over two hours at this point. She grunted something vaguely affirmative in reply. “Good to hear, do you see or smell anything yet?” I asked after pausing to catch my breath. She paused for a moment to sample the air and take in the view.
“No, not yet,” she said simply between her own pants. She seemed a little downcast, so I knelt down and rubbed the back of her neck. She was so tense. I think that her excitement from earlier had sort of burned off. The reality of this matter was beginning to hit her at full force. It was a big world out here, and we had only just begun.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find something before we set up camp tonight. Even if we have to walk around with a flashlight, we’ll find something, okay?” I encouraged her. She perked up a little and then started walking down the slope. Like that, we were off again.
The next few miles of terrain that we hiked through consisted of mostly low grasslands and quiet creek hollows. Every time that we crossed one of the creeks (I envied Key because she could do it without getting wet) Keelia would take a quick drink of water. It soon was not long before she had to answer the call of nature. She informed me of her intentions, and then walked off a little ways to relieve herself. I took this opportunity to lean against a tree and take a sip of my own water. I refrained from sitting down, remembering something that one of my old Scoutmasters had told me long ago. “It is ten times easier to sit down on a hike than it is to get back up again.” I chuckled to myself, reminiscing on that man’s words. I was pulled from my memories by the sound of Keelia shouting.
“Will! Will! Come look, I think I found something!” came the shouted voice of Keelia from somewhere behind a bank of scraggly bushes. I quickly ran into them without hesitation. Could she have found it already?
“Okay Key, that’s great! I’m coming over there now!” I yelled back, breaking through brush and spotting Keelia up ahead.
“Yes! I do see it! Come on Will! Let’s go!” She yipped happily as she jogged down toward a clearing in the forest. I gave chase to the ecstatic eevee, backpack bouncing around on my shoulders. I could see it up ahead as well, a simple circular clearing like an island in a small sea of woods. After about half a minute of jogging to keep up with Key, we broke into the clearing. The sun hung low in the sky against the treetops. I hoped that this was the right place, because it was going to get dark soon.
As Keelia slowly pivoted around with squinted eyes, I began to experience something very odd. I, too, looked around the clearing and the adjacent woods, but I could shake this weird feeling. It was this feeling that I had been here, in this very spot, sometime before. I nebulously recalled some of the details of this place, but I knew for a fact that I had never been here before. I just could not put words to the oddity of it all. I was so lost in my deja-vu episode that I scarcely heard Keelia.
“Hey! We are in the right place! Over there is that one boulder that I would climb on top of! Vhena and Tren’s place is just past it,” she announced as she looked back and forth from it to me.
“Great, that awesome! Let’s go, shall we?” I said, bringing my mind back to present matters. It was fantastic; our first lead on finding Vui was just up ahead. Without any more hesitation, Keelia lead the way back into the forest. Past the large grey boulder we walked. Up ahead, I could make out the outline of a sort of burrow. It appeared to be made out of a skeleton of good sized timbers bolstered with pine boughs and leaves.
As we approached the burrow from behind, something became apparent. There was something amiss. First off, there was no one to be seen. Second, there was forest debris everywhere. Splintered sticks and small rocks were scattered around the area. As we got within feet of the burrow, it was evident that there was some sort of struggle here. All around, trees were stripped of their bark. Two good sized craters marked the ground near the entrance to the den.
A horrible, sickening feeling welled up in me as I realized what had happened. I turned to Keelia, and saw that her mouth was agape. In her eyes there was apparent disbelief and horror, as she came to the same conclusion that I did. They were gone, likely taken by the same hands that had kidnapped Vui and beaten Keelia. We did not need to say anything; the truth was painfully obvious to the two of us. I simply fell to my knees and my arms went limp at my sides as the reality of it all hit me.
Who would do such a thing!? Was it not enough to ruin the lives of one family? That goddamned man in grey must have had some sort of agenda, a mere trainer would not be acting with this sort of cruelty. No trainer would have such a malicious intent like the man whom Keelia spoke of did. Anger and confusion coursed through me as I clenched both my fists, clutching two handfuls of dirt and dried leaves. Any relevance of the purpose behind these kidnappings was lost on me when I heard Keelia whimper at my side. I had no words, just fury and loss.
“No! Not Vhena and Tren too! Not them! Not now!” she cried out eventually. My anger and bitterness was forced to the back of my conscience where it slowly simmered. It was swiftly being replaced by compassion for Key. I reached over to her and pulled her close to my side, gently caressing the side of her face. “Why? Why is this happening Will?” she said erratically, trying to fight the tears.
“I-I don’t know,” I stated, truly being honest with myself and her. “I would like to say that I know why this is happening, but I just don’t. It had to have been that man that took Vui and hurt you, but who would do that? Honestly, I’m asking the same question too, Key.” I sighed. “Just…why?” We sat for a few minutes in agonizing silence.
“So…where do we go from here? We are as close to finding them as we are to finding mom,” Keelia mewled.
“Well that is true, as much as I don’t want to admit it.” I said with hesitance. “I’m beginning to think that it is no coincidence that this man is targeting your species. We will have to go talk to the authorities, there is no way that this stops with just that man. He is working for someone. You said the he was going to ‘cash in,’ right?” I inquired. Some of the dots of this whole situation were beginning to connect in my head.
“Yeah, he did say that,” Keelia replied, mild intrigue mingled with pain showing in her features. “Why?”
“This might be the work of a criminal group, like Team Rocket. They are gone now. But when they were around, they did all sorts of wicked things to people and Pokémon alike, just for money and power. They abused the power of Pokémon and disrespected their status as sentient creatures. They were murderous and brutal, not the type of people you would want to cross.” I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts. “I fear that the man who took your mother, Vhena, and Tren is part of a group such as this.”
“How do we get mom back from them? They sound…intimidating.”
“That, I’m not sure of. Like I said, we will talk to the authorities next time we are in town. They are the ones who deal with those kind of people.” I replied, though it sounded a bit weak as it came out. “I know it’s not much, but it is all we can do at this point. We can only hope for the best” I sighed again, seeing my breath dancing in front of my face.
“I guess so,” was all I heard in reply from Keelia. She sighed half-heartedly, which worried me and tore me up on the inside. Just seeing that vibrant and fun friend of mine in this sort of emotional duress was too much. I looked down at her sullen face, which she had cast down at the ground. I was reminded that there were pressing matters, however as the cold air sent a chill down my spine. I decided we needed to set up for the night.
“Hey Key? We need to set up camp now.” I said, standing up.
“Please, not here,” she stated, not looking up.
“Yeah, I agree, at this point this place is just depressing. Let’s go.” I replied, readjusting my backpack. “We’ll keep heading around the city like we were, and we’ll eventually break out at the northern road to Ecruteak City. That will be our destination.”
“Okay…let’s get out of here.” She started walking away.
“Right behind you” I said, taking one last look as I followed behind her.
We walked for a short while until the forest was only dimly lit in the bluish dusk. We set up a small tent among a stand of pine trees, and quickly built a fire. As the stars and the moon came out, we stared into the flames silently until I finally spoke.
“I know today wasn’t a good day, but we have to keep holding on. We’ll make it through, we just have to hold on to hope, Key.” I practically whispered to her over the sounds of the crackling fire.
“I’ll try Will, but it is hard, and it hurts so badly,” she said in a pained tone. After a short pause, she went on. “I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m just glad that I’m not out there on my own. I’m glad that I have you with me. You are like the brother that I never had.”
“Heh, thanks. Come here, you,” I laughed, scooping her up in my arms. We sat for a little while longer, rocking back and forth. When the fire was reduced down to just glowing coals, we turned in for the night. I slipped into the tent, settling myself down in my sleeping bag while Keelia opted to sleep curled up at my neck like she had the previous night. We both heaved burdened sighs as we slipped off to sleep.
I would like to think that happy surprises and coincidences are sometimes perfectly timed. I know that before Keelia came along, I would practically feed off of them in the midst of my busy schedule. They really kept me going on the hardest days. It is truly amazing when you have one of those happen to you right went you need it most.
See, I remained hopeful about the whole situation in trying to find Vui, but Keelia’s declining mood was getting to me. I wanted to be strong and hopeful for her, because I knew that she was strong herself. She just needed something, some encouragement. If not for the sake of both of us, then for the sake of Vui, who was out there somewhere. Luckily for us, I woke up to the sound of familiar voices.
I could not believe it! What were the odds? There was no denying it; I was hearing the voice of one of my closest friends from Olivine City, Anthony. The sound of his voice seemed to be moving away, so I swiftly crawled out of my sleeping bag. I glanced down at Key, who was still sleeping soundly despite my sudden movements. As always, she just seemed a little too cute to wake up. I definitely did not want to leave her though. She just had to go meet Anthony, and I would never forgive myself if she fell into malevolent hands. After unzipping the tent flap, I picked her up and made my way out into the crisp morning. The bright morning sunlight caused me to squint, and if Key was not already awake, she woke up then.
“Wuh…What’re we doin’ Will?” she asked, her speech slurring slightly from having just woken up. I chuckled excitedly.
“Heh, you’ll see!” I said with an ear to ear grin. Keelia proceeded to look at me like I had just sprouted a second head. I began to jog in the direction that I heard Anthony’s voice coming from.
“Uh, okay then,” said to the unconvinced Key. I laughed more when I saw her ears perk up at the sound of the voices up ahead. One was calm, even, and kind sounding. The other sounded like a loud, obnoxious teenager. Just up ahead, we saw a trail at the bottom of a steep bank. I bounded down unto the trail and broke into a full sprint. I could hear them just up ahead, around a bend in the trail. I could then make out what they were actually saying.
“Well, looks like we have one more slice of leftover pizza, Jet. How about we-” the voice was cut off by the other one shouting.
“Mine!!” it shouted. After a brief pause it simply said, “Yay!” It was at this point that I made my way around the bend in the trail, and could see two figures up ahead. One was a short creature with a bluish back and a tan belly. He appeared to be gnawing at something. The other figure was tall and thin, wearing a brown jacket.
“You know, you really have an odd affinity for cold pizza. I mean, you are a fire-type and…” said the tall figure humorously. He trailed off however when he realized that his companion was turned around, and his attention was fixed on something behind them. “What is it, Jet?” he asked, turning around himself.
Up ahead, I saw Jet turn around. With his advanced, Pokémon senses, he had heard us coming. I almost did not recognize the little guy. Anthony was my only friend who did not immediately become a trainer. He waited until we finished high school, at which point he went and picked this region’s fire-type starter, Cyndaquil, and named him Jet. Since then, He and Jet have travelled around battling and just living life together as best friends, it also seemed as though Jet had evolved. We had stayed in touch, but our physical interactions were mostly limited to holidays when we returned to Olivine and to our respective families. This past Christmas however, he was not around because he was spending it in Kanto with his grandparents.
Anthony had turned around as well. His kind, welcoming face was beaming brightly at the sight of me. He was honestly the nicest person I had ever met, and would go out of his way in any situation he could to be helpful and selfless. Before Anthony or I could say anything, Jet yelled out something.
“Will!!!” he bellowed with a much deeper voice than I remembered from when he was a Cyndaquil. The slice of pizza that had been the object of their previous conversation fell from his mouth with a flop as he charged at me excitedly. Knowing what was about to happen from experience, I quickly set Keelia down next to me and braced myself for impact. Out of what I presumed to be excitement, flares of flame lit up on top of his head and on his backside as he speedily closed the gap between us. It was clear that I was not prepared for the punch that this little guy was packing, because I was taken to the ground as the ecstatic fire-type bore down on me.
“Ooof!” I exhaled, getting the air knocked from my lungs. I really should not have opened my mouth, because Jet began to lick at my face. One of the swipes of his scalding hot tongue went over my parted lips, while another went right up my nostrils. “Ewwwww!” I hollered, trying not to laugh.
“Hey! What are you doing to Will!?” I heard Keelia say sharply to Jet. Luckily for me, the tongue bath stopped almost immediately. Jet turned to acknowledge Keelia, who I bet he had not even noticed until right then. I couldn’t contain myself anymore and laughed out loud at this.
“Key, Key! Don’t worry! This is Jet, and he hasn’t seen me in a while. I suppose he is just really excited to see me!” I said happily. Jet gave me a sheepish grin and hopped off of my chest onto the ground, propping himself up on his rear legs. Keelia blushed and looked down, embarrassed at having made a scene of the friendly interaction. “Heh, I don’t blame you for being worried, Key” I encouraged her, patting her head. I turned back to acknowledge the Quilava. “You looked pretty ferocious when you were running at me, bud! You had me worried for a second! And I’m digging the new look!” I complimented. Jet’s face reddened in response.
“Thanks! It’s awesome! I feel so much better now that I’m evolved,” he stated proudly, making excited waving gestures with his stubby front appendages. I chuckled a little at his excitement, using my sleeve to wipe off some of the saliva from my face. Next, Key and Jet introduced themselves to each other. I looked on with a content smile at the two until I saw Anthony standing over me. He offered his hand to me to help me get up, as I was still sitting on the ground where Jet had tackled me. Taking his hand, he pulled me up into an unexpected hug. I was a bit surprised at first, but I soon returned the embrace.
“Good to see you, Will, it has been too long,” he said warmly.
“Yeah, great to see you too, man,” I replied, giving him a few pats on the back before releasing the hug. “It has been too long.”
“So, what are you doing out and about, especially with a Pokémon?” he asked after a short pause.
“Well, that is quite a long story, I hope you don’t have anywhere you have to be,” I stated with a small chuckle.
“Oh, you know me. Never really have anywhere to be. We just sort of let the wind take us wherever! I do however have some business to take care of in Blackthorn City, so we are headed over in that direction,” he said in his usual carefree sort of way.
“Well, that’s good. Would you mind coming back to our camp so that we can pack up? We are headed up toward Ecruteak City ourselves.”
“Wow, that’s awesome! I’d be glad to help you pack!”
“Hey, you two getting along?” I asked the two Pokémon, who were socializing just a few feet away.
“Yeah!” they both said in unison. I’m glad that they were getting along, Keelia’s morale seemed to have been raised slightly.
“Great, we are going to break camp and then set off together!” I stated, looking over to Anthony. He gestured back down the trail where Keelia and I had come from.
“Lead the way,” he said with a nod.
We walked back down the trail and up into the woods where our camp was. As we walked and took down the tent and everything, I told Anthony (and Jet) all about why I was traveling and not in college. I also told them all about Keelia, how we met and her backstory. Keelia and I found it hard keep our emotions at bay as I explained everything to the two.
“And…that’s about it. I know it isn’t a very happy story, but it is where we are. We are just hoping for some sort of lead at this point. Regardless, it is a blessing that we were able to meet up with you.” I said at first with a burdened sigh, but then with a smile of genuine appreciation. He nodded back at me with a half-smile.
“I can’t imagine what that must be like,” Anthony said solemnly after a long silence. I glanced over to Jet to see that he was downcast from the story as well. Keelia was fighting tears as I held her in my arms. The continued beautiful weather smiling on us was hardly brightening the grim mood at the moment. Finally, Anthony broke the silence again. “We have been hearing about an old crime syndicate rearing its head again for the first time in years, but that is just talk on the road. Rarely does that stuff ever have truth behind it. With what you are saying though, I think this might be a very real thing.”
“Really? Then that has to be it. Arceus knows what the motives behind these kidnappings are, but it is good that we know that they aren’t just isolated events” I sighed. “What I’m getting hung up on is how we can track down these people and bring them to the authorities, and also how to get Vui and the others back,” I added, exhaling sharply through my nostrils. Anthony, seeing how stressed I was getting, stepped over to me and put a hand on my shoulder.
“Like I said, Jet and I basically have nowhere that we have to be anytime soon, so we would be glad to help you two get to the bottom of this and find Vui, and who knows how many others.” he reaffirmed with an assuring smile. Jet himself looked up to me and gave a nod. Keelia looked up at me with teary eyes, then squirmed out of my grip and landed on the ground. She immediately began to walk back out toward the trail.
“Where are you going Keelia?” I asked, slightly confused.
“Each step we take is a step closer to finding my mom,” she said, not turning around. Atta girl, I thought, a grin spreading across my face. My back pack was already loaded up, so we were ready to go.
“Well, I think we’ll be going, gentlemen,” I said to Anthony and Jet. We fell in line behind Keelia and hiked off into the morning.
(A few days later, somewhere in a rundown part of Ecruteak City)
The old, abandoned pokeball assembly factory on 6th street fit in nicely with the other rundown buildings in that forsaken part of Ecruteak. Some of the teenagers from around town had thrown rocks at some of the windows. The plain, sheet metal walls were rusting in spots. Graffiti decorated the inside and outside.
A white van pulled up to an alley adjacent to the white-washed factory at a rather high speed. Tires squealed as it came to a halt. The driver’s side door flung open and a man garbed in grey hastily walked away from it and into the building. Unbeknownst to him, he was being watched by a woman perched the window of an abandoned apartment building across the street. The woman, upon observing this, raised a radio to her mouth and spoke.
“The target has entered the building. Get to work now on that van, and be careful!” she said over the short-wave channel.
“Roger that, moving in now,” came a crackly reply over the radio connection. A group of people stalked quietly from around a corner in the alley that the van was parked in. They wasted no time noiselessly opening the hood and removing a few certain parts from the vehicle. After only about one minute, a man in the group gave a thumbs up to the woman in the apartment building, which she returned. They stole away back into the alley. Shortly after, the man in grey stepped back out into the alley, got into the van, started it, and took off. Soon after his departure, a black SUV came around the alley and pulled onto 6th street. The woman exited the apartment building and hopped into the passenger seat, the vehicle taking off before she had shut her door.
“His van should be breaking down in about ten minutes,” said the driver of the SUV.
“Good,” the woman replied.
The first signs of dusk began to show in the sky as our group walked along a winding back road. For a few days since we met up with Anthony and Jet we traveled the forest trail. It eventually had come up to run parallel with a north to south forest road that supposedly lead to Ecruteak. I was assured by Anthony that we would be in the city before it got too dark. He kept saying, “Just around the next corner.” The reality was that around every bend there was just more road, creek, and forest to be seen. I did not want to doubt his judgment, but the next car I saw going past I would wave down and ask if we were even on the right road. Speaking of which, I had not seen a car come down the road in quite a while. The road must not have been used very much.
Despite that, the journey up until this point had proven to be rather enjoyable considering the burden of our task. It really was a blessing to finally be able to catch up with my friend after over a year without seeing him in person. It was fun to be around Anthony and Jet as always, and Keelia was really coming out of her shell. She seemed to respond well around people who genuinely loved on her and cared about her, and these guys were no exception. We all went out of our way to try and keep Keelia’s morale up. Jet would occasionally play with her. Anthony had these really awesome dried berries that he would occasionally offer to her. I was always there for her when she felt the hurt coming back. Still, even in my most cheerful interactions with her, I could not completely stifle a growing sense of unease and doubt. I tried my very best to push these thoughts aside and remain strong and hopeful for her.
After a few more minutes (and another bend in the road not yielding a view of the city up ahead) we finally spotted a car coming up the road towards us. It appeared to be some sort of white utility van that cable or internet people would drive around in. I looked directly at it and waved my arms around, trying to wave the van down so that I could ask for directions. Anthony looked over at me and figured out was I was doing. Like the great guy he was, he did not try and stop me. Instead, he shrugged and gave me a nervous grin. I chuckled and returned my attention to the van up ahead, which for some reason was coming to a stop a couple hundred feet in front of our group. My confusion was short lived though, as I noticed smoke and steam billowing from under the hood of the van. It had broken down. In reaction, we sort of picked up the pace, wondering what the problem was. It was about at this time that the driver of the van got out and began shouting a verbal tirade at the steaming vehicle. The man was dressed in grey slacks and a grey jacket, which of course piqued my interest. He quickly made his way around to the back of the van, then returned with a tool box. At this point, we were coming up about forty feet away from the guy.
Keelia began acting strange. Her tail went down in between her legs. Her long ears shot back and laid down on her neck. She whined unnervingly. As I looked to her with concern, an idea of what might be happening crossed my mind.
“Uh, Keelia? Are you okay?” I inquired, even though she clearly was not.
“That’s him Will! That’s the man who took my mom!” she whispered loudly, her voice a mixture of terror and anger.
“Are you sure?” I asked, my own rage beginning to boil. She would not lie about something like this.
“Yes! It is him! I smell him! It’s the same guy…Will?” she said hurriedly, confused for a moment because I had begun to walk toward the van. I glared back at her and the rest of our group.
“Stay back,” I said in a tone that was not my own. It was dark and venomous. The others recoiled slightly at my instruction, but none of them said anything or tried to follow. Anthony especially looked very confused, but he did not move. That was good. I had a bone to pick with this man. All of my other cares and worries vanished from my mind as I thought about what this man had done. His reasons, his pay, and even the group he might have been tied with did not matter much to me. I just wanted to make him feel the pain that I saw in Keelia’s tear filled eyes every night. I wanted him to feel what it was like to be beaten and left for dead. I wanted revenge for my friend.
“Hey there man, you need any help?” I asked in the most normal voice that I could. The man in grey up until this point had ignored me and my group. He had his head under the hood of the van and appeared to be trying to find the reason behind the breakdown. Without turning around, he replied to me.
“No! I got it, thanks!” he said unappreciatively. I really did not care what he said, but I used his temporary ignorance of my intentions to my advantage. I slowly reached into the toolbox that he had set down on the ground at his feet and grabbed a large red wrench. I managed to maintain a bit of sense in my trembling rage, because I noticed a single pokeball on the man’s belt. Knowing how strong that Zoroark was, I did not want it coming out. At this point the man glanced back at me angrily. It was then that I acted.
In one fluid motion, I used one hand to quickly pop the shrunken pokeball out of the man’s belt, while I took a swing at the man’s head with the other holding the wrench. The ball popped out of the belt and hit the ground rolling, expanding to its full size but not releasing the pokemon inside. I had caught the man completely off-guard, and nailed him directly in the left cheek. He staggered to the side out of reflex, making brief eye contact. I reveled in the shock, fear, and pain I saw in his eyes as he reached for his belt only to find that nothing was there. I wasted no time in taking another swing at the man, this one from the right. I swung hard and ruthlessly; he did not deserve less. Blood and a few pieces of broken teeth flew from his agape mouth. It felt so good. I hit him again and again. With each blow, I could feel an insatiable rage burning inside me. I raised the wrench up again for another, and the man on the ground below me whimpered and lifted his hands to his face. My rage was stifled as I saw his pathetic display, just enough for me to truly come back to my senses for a moment. This man took Vui, Tren, Vhena, and who knew how many others. I had to get information out of him, and he looked like he was willing to do anything to get me to stop.
“Get up!” I shouted gruffly, grabbing the man by his collar and lifting him up. I walked him roughly over to the side of the van, and then slammed him up against it with a strength I did not know I had. I mean, I kept myself in okay shape, but I never figured that I would be trashing some guy around. I stood at 6’2”, while this man was maybe around 5’10”. Maybe that was it. “I have some questions for you, and you better answer them truthfully, if you value your life!” I yelled in the man’s face.
“O-okay,” the man replied meekly, some blood from his mouth spilling out onto his chin. What a whelp! He was even so quick to betray his organization!
“You abducted several evolved forms of Eevee during the past week. Don’t you dare deny it!” I gave him a violent shake as I said this. “Where did you take them?!”
“Wait, are you talking about that crazy Espeon bitch?” he sputtered out. I give him a swift jab to the kidney for his slur. He doubled over slightly in pain.
“Yes, ‘that crazy Espeon bitch!’” I yelled ferociously at him. “Her name is Vui! Where is she and the others?”
“I don’t know!” he said, gagging as blood went down his throat. “She escaped!” Immediately, my rage was replaced with a sudden hope.
“What did you say?”
“She escaped and wrecked our operation south of Blackthorn City! I had dropped her off along with the others, but then got a panicked call less than twenty minutes later.” He hesitated to catch his breath, “She had razed the place to the ground. By the time I got back, she and the others were gone!” he said quickly, trying not to trip over his own words. “That is all I know! I’m telling the truth, I swear!”
I was so relieved to hear that. Vui was okay and out there somewhere, she had escaped! In my relief, I let go of the man’s collar. Without me supporting him, he sort of just slumped to the ground. I turned around with a smile on my face, eager to tell the others. What I saw wiped the smile promptly from my face. I was looking down the barrel of a handgun.
“That’s quite enough for now,” the woman holding the gun to my head calmly said.
Chapter End Notes:
That ending though! Vui is out there somewhere, Will lost his marbles for a little bit, and now there is a mysterious woman with a gun!? Stick around for the next chapter to see how this sorts out. ;D