My first story.Please Review and comment on my mistakes so I can fix 'em!It starts out a bit short and bad on the earlier chapters, but rewrites for them are being done as I write this. So, if you don't get too hooked by them, please read on, and give this a chance.Reviews are very much welcome. But, if It's gonna be a bad one, please explain what went off so I can work on it. If It's just like 'Hey your bad I dun liek you 111eleven', then please refrain from reviewing.Anyways, enjoy.Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.Comments, questions, or anything like that? I can be reached by pressing that 'contact' next to my penname and sending me an email.
"Okay, lazy jackasses!" XVII was sitting on the large throne the professor would usually take. The dark dining hall was almost empty with the other members gone, either to the wasteland facility or on a mission of their own. The only ones present were him, XI, XIV and XIX. "It's time to get to work!" The Flygon grabbed a sheet of paper that was in front of him and read it. "Alright, let's see what II left here for us to do... 'Track and recover XV', oh, that's new..." He said cynically, rolling his eyes upward. "'Take care of Lizean resistance'... Like we've never done THAT before... And... Huh? Someone scribbled something here..." He took a closer look at the list, trying to figure what it said before realizing what it said and laughing. "Oh, man!" He caught his breath after a while and looked at the Blaziken to his right. "You wrote this, didn't you?"
XI nodded, chuckling. "That's right!"
"Well, we'll get to yours right now!" XVII said, getting up at the same as XI. They both walked to the two seats that XIX had put together and was lying on and stood behind him.
"Hey, little buddy!" XI greeted the Water-type with an ill-intentioned smile.
"You've got work today!" XVII added.
"Wait, wait, wait, what?" The Vaporeon turned nervously, looking at the two behind him with surprise. "W-What are you talking about? I don't have any work today!"
"Oh, yes you do!" XI grinned maliciously, taking the Vaporeon by one of his forelegs. "You're going after XV today!"
"Wha- hey!" XIX didn't have the time to answer as XVII gripped his other foreleg. Both XI and XVII lifted the water Eeveelution and dragged him all the way to the Spatial Gate outside. "Come on, you guys! This isn't funny anymore!" he squirmed in the stronger grasp of the Flygon and Blaziken. "Let me go!"
"One..." XI started to count as the two swung the panicked XIX back and forth right in front of the Gate.
"Two..." XVII continued as they kept swinging the water- type.
"And... Three!" They let go, flinging XIX into the Spatial Gate, making him vanish in a flash.
"Yeah!" XI chuckled, making a 'goodbye' salute at the portal their Vaporeon colleague had just vanished into. "Good luck, buddy!" The two began to laugh at what they had just done, knowing they wouldn't have been allowed to do it when II or the professor were in charge.
"Okay," XVII turned back and headed into the fortress, passing by the rows of statues of the Midnight Voices on the way. "That's taken care of... Hey!" He stopped to stare at his own effigy. "Looking good! No, wait..." He hit a small bump on the statue's side, making it fall off. "There!"
"So, what's next on the list, 'lord' XVII? XI asked, still laughing at the thought of what they had done to XIX. "Anything else to do now?"
"Well, with XII in Lizean we don't really have to go there, so... Let's check page two of the list now!" As they headed back, they passed by XIV, who was heading to the Spatial Gate into the regular world, since he had nothing else to do. "Hey, XIV," The Flygon called the Houndoom.
"Yeah?" XIV stopped to look at XVII. "What is it, 'boss'?"
"Go out there and keep XIX company. You know, in case he gets attacked by a Caterpie or something!"
"Yeah, you're right!" All three laughed loudly, echoing all over the hallways of the near- empty fortress. "Sadly enough, tough," The Houndoom continued, catching his breath. "That's true." He walked into the light and barked, "Get me to where XIX is!", his figure quickly vanishing from sight as the Flygon and Blaziken walked back into their home.
"My first time?!" Phoebe said in an offended tone, her face blushing from her usual lavender to a deep red. She was walking down the snowy forest with Sasha to her right and Richard to her left. Leon, Tiffany and Estelle were following closely behind her. The cloudless sky above was colored a clear shade of turquoise, oddly matching the dark green of the scarcely- leafed trees. The snow on the ground made a low, soft crunch with every step they took on it, and a cool breeze of fresh morning air was blowing, making her purple scarf wave in unison with Sasha's red one. "That's something very, very personal!"
"Come on!" Sasha told her in a carefree way. "It's not that big a deal! We all had one!" She softly nudged the Espeon's side. "Don't be such a prude!"
"That doesn't mean I have to talk about it!"
"Okay..." Sasha sighed, annoyed. "I tried talking about embarrassing memories, and you didn't want to; I tried pet peeves, and you didn't want to. I try this, and you don't want to talk about it! I'm just shooting the breeze here, 'cuz it'd be boring to just walk along the road quietly!"
"Alright..." Phoebe sighed as well. "Embarrassing memories are okay..."
"Come on, don't bug her about it," Richard looked at Sasha. "We all have stuff we don't want to talk about."
"Okay, but I'll be bugging you instead!"
"Whatever," Richard replied. "I have a long training on the matter with Estelle following me around."
"Hey!" The Absol behind him pouted. "Kitty, do I really bug you?"
"No, you don't bug him," Phoebe answered before Richard could say anything.
*Do you know how painful it is to hear someone you adore as much as she does you say something like you said?*
'I never thought of it...'
*That's because you never think, Richard.*
"So, Tiffany," Leon told the Buneary that was walking next to him. "I've been thinking..."
"I've been thinking... If I ever get the money to afford it, would you like to have one of those 'weddings' Sasha and Phoebe were talking about?"
"Are you serious?" Tiffany did not expect to hear that question. "You mean, like, have the expensive ceremony and all? You'd have to be rich!"
"That's why I said 'if'," Leon replied. "I can't promise anything, but, if I DO ever get enough money... Would you?"
"I'd love to!" She answered with her eyes shimmering.
"And, also, we'll be getting to Neri soon, so I was wondering if you'd like to come with me and make a wish in the river. You, know, maybe stay and watch the festival."
"So, another date?"
"That's right!" Leon answered. "A Neri date for Leon and Tiffany!"
"Alright!" the Buneary cheered. "I can't wait till we get there!"
The forest around them changed more as they kept walking. The ground was no longer covered in snow, and the grass by the sides of the path they were following was back to its dark green. Slowly, the air was becoming warmer and the sky seemed to have acquired a much bluer tone than before. Sometimes, the bushes around would rustle, and chirping could be heard, probably from others who lived in the area. Neri wasn't too far now.
"It's not fair!" XIX exclaimed, annoyed as he shook some snow of his paw. "Why do they always have to pick on me when the higher ranks are not around?! I hate them!" He and XIV were walking through the snowy expanse of forest Leon and the others were by. A river was flowing to their right. The sound of the water running helped him feel better, but he was still upset.
"That's what you get for being so lazy!" The Houndoom next to him answered, turning around to burn a flower to his left before continuing. "If you bothered toughening up even a little, you could defend yourself!"
"Yeah, but Goggle Boy and Flaming Chicken wouldn't stop bothering me, would they?"
XIV couldn't help but laugh at his colleague's words. "HA! 'Goggle Boy' and 'Flaming Chicken'! Those are good ones!" He paused to catch his breath before looking at the Vaporeon. "You know what your problem is? You don't act tough."
"Act... Tough?" XIX didn't understand what the canine meant. "What do you mean 'act tough'?"
"Yeah, what you heard! If you want to impress someone, you have to act tough! It doesn't matter if you're not; if you act like you are, half the Pokémon in the world will think you are!" XIV explained, looking around for some way to prove his example. He found what he was looking for in a Caterpie that was standing on a tree. "Hey," He gestured for XIX to look at the Bug-type. "You can take that little guy on, right?"
"Of course I can!" XIX answered. "Watch!" He walked up to the tree the Caterpie was on and tackled it, making the little Pokémon fall off.
"Hey!" The Caterpie looked up at XIX, crying. "Why'd you do that, mister?"
"Whoa, I'm sorry!" XIX answered. Looking at the large, crying eyes instantly made him feel bad for knocking him off the tree. "Stop crying, stop crying..." He looked back at XIV, who shook his head and snarled, trying to remind him why he knocked the Caterpie off in the first place. "...So I can make you cry some more!" XIX corrected himself. "That's right, little guy! You're gonna be my lunch for today!"
The Caterpie shivered in fear, staring frightened at XIX before quickly climbing back up the try yelling "Mom!" A moment later, a Butterfree flew down from the tree, stopping in front of XIX.
"Looking for trouble?" The Butterfree asked, clearly upset.
"No, ma'am!" XIX answered, slowly stepping back. "You see... Funny story, really... My friend and I were-"
"Act tough, stupid!" XIV barked.
"Right!" XIX looked back at him and nodded, then looked back at the Butterfree. "We were planning to kill you and your kid just for the hell of it! You know why?! Because we like the taste of weak bug!"
"Really?" The Butterfree looked down angrily at the Vaporeon.
"Hey, guys! Some random idiot wants to kill me and my son! Give me a hand here!" The Butterfree's call for help met an immediate answer as a swarm of Beedrill flew out of the treetops and towards XIV and XIX.
"Whoa!" XIX ran back to the Houndoom and stood behind him. "Hey, XIV! So much for your 'acting tough' bit! Help me!"
"It's...twenty-four Beedrill!" XIV barked, stepping back. "I can't take them all on!"
"So... What do we do?"
"We," XIV growled as he and the Vaporeon slowly stepped back, almost reaching the edge of the river without noticing it. "RUN LIKE HELL!" Finishing his sentence, he turned around and took off running, stepping into the river and falling into it, making a splash in the running water.
"R-Right!" XIX flipped into the river, making more water splash. Noticing the fire-type was being dragged by the river, he swam towards him, took the Houndoom's paw on his, and began to swim up the river, hoping that the Beedrill wouldn't be there when they emerged.
=== ENTER XIX!
Leon and Tiffany were sitting at the base of a tree with their bags lying against the tree's trunk, eating some of the Pecha berries Leon had gathered some days ago. That was their first chance at spending some time alone and away from the others, as Sasha and Phoebe had gone off to get some water while Richard had gone to hunt his meal, followed by Estelle. The path had taken a curve and they were back to the snowy part of the woods. The mountains were rising in the distance, partially blocking the sun from view, but not preventing its light from reaching them. That was left to the tree that rose above them. And boy, was it doing a good job.
"So, we're alone at last, huh?" Tiffany told the Pikachu, taking a bite of the berry she was holding. "It's been a while since we had a chance to talk like this!"
"Yeah, sorry I fell asleep so quickly last night," Leon replied. "I liked your story about the Mareep who got lost in the forest, though."
"There was no Mareep in my story, Leon," Tiffany answered in a serious tone. "I think you DID fall asleep so quickly."
"Sorry," He answered. "If it makes you feel any better, I fell asleep because it was just so nice... Like a bedtime story. You know I didn't have anyone to tell me those..."
"I'm not mad at you." The Buneary stared at him, then took his hand in her paw. "I can't get mad at you... But, you know what would make me feel better? If you gave me that gigantic Pecha berry you're about to eat."
"Okay," Leon took a rather sizeable Pecha berry in his free hand and placed it in front of her. "Please forgive me."
"There you go," She dragged him closer to her and kissed him. While he was caught off-guard by it at first, Leon didn't take long in reacting and kissing her back, holding her in his arms. Strange as it could sound, he could feel her heartbeat, which was starting to rise along with his.
Slowly, he pulled away from her, staring into her eyes in a dreamy way. "I love you," He told her before they kissed again, slowly leaning her forward until they both fell to the snowy grass below, holding each other. He then took one of his hands off her and slowly trailed down her body, enjoying the soft and warmth of her fur until he was just a few inches away from her entrance, and grazed her in a soft, gentle motion.
"Leon!" She said, surprised at the sudden feeling. "Not here! They could be coming back any minute now!"
"Okay," He answered, not moving his hand away from her. "Anything you want...."
"Okay," Leon moved his hand away and went back to simply holding her, caressing her back before she suddenly rolled him over, changing things so he was below her.
"Gotcha," She murmured into his ear, trailing her paw down him in the same way he had done to her earlier. "I was kidding. If they come along right now, we'll just tell them to go away..." She slowly rubbed her paw against his sheath, trying to arouse him, making him let out a soft, almost inaudible moan. "Hey, what was that?" She giggled.
"What was what?" Leon asked, blushing.
"That cute little noise you made," Tiffany answered, rubbing her paw against him again, causing him to make the same noise. "See? That one!"
"I don't know what noise you-" He couldn't finish as he moaned again to her soft touch. "-Okay, I'm making a noise... What a way to kill the moment, huh?"
"Well I think it's cute," She replied, kissing him. "Not as much as you are, though..."
"Well, I guess I'm cute," Leon told her. "But, like you just told me, I'm not as cute as you are..."
They both laughed softly before Leon rolled back on top of her, with his member fully erect. "I'd like to take over now, please..."
"Hey! Whatcha guys doing?" The words came from behind them, making Leon turn around to notice Estelle staring at the two. "Oh!" Estelle puffed and blushed, noticing what they were doing. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'll just go back to Kitty and come back in a few minutes, okay? Sorry!" She said hastily, turning around and heading back into the woods.
"Okay," Leon whispered. "Forget what I said earlier... THAT killed the moment."
"It's okay, you don't have to go, Estelle!" Tiffany called out to the Absol. "We're pretty much done here, anyways."
Both of them got up, shaking some dust off themselves. Leon helped Tiffany shake off some in the fluff at the tip of her ears and around her waist. "So... Care to finish this later?"
"How about we finish it once we're at Neri?" Tiffany asked, whispering. "With the festival, the date and all... I think it'd be nice..."
"Okay," Leon whispered back. "That just makes me want to get to Neri even more! Where's everyone else?"
"So, Phoebe!" Sasha finished drinking from the river and looked at the Espeon next to her. "Now that Richard's not here to stop me... Let's talk about your first time!"
"You're still on that?!" Phoebe looked at her, surprised. "I already told you, that's very, very personal!" She lowered her head back to the river and kept drinking. *So please, stop it.*
"And I told you," Sasha answered, "Don't be such a prude!"
"Alright," Phoebe finished drinking and looked at her. "What if I asked you that same question, huh? Wouldn't you feel even a little offended?"
"Not really," The Glaceon answered. "I guess I'm just more shameless than you are!"
"Fine..." Phoebe sighed. "It was an extremely cold night. They sent us to patrol the northern border, and all that snow wasn't helping. I snuggled against your brother because he was so warm, and one thing led to another..." Her face reddened a little as she talked. "And that's all, okay? Don't ask anything else, we're not teenagers."
"Okay," Sasha answered. "I'm glad you chose to open up! But I didn't mean your first time with Misha. I meant your actual first time..." She noticed the stare the Espeon was giving her. "... That was your first time?" Phoebe nodded. "So, you mean, in all your life before that-"
"Your brother is the only one I ever let go that far," Phoebe answered, giving her a stern look.
"So, you haven't been with a guy since the war? Like, two, three years ago? Whoa! First thing we do when we get to Neri is getting you laid!"
"What?! Why?!" Phoebe blushed with indignation. "There's more to life than that! Like the scent of a flower, the color of the sky... Even the beauty of the snow..." She looked down at the snow beneath her paws.
"Snow's cold and white, and I got some about a week ago." Sasha replied shamelessly, cutting off her friend's inspiration.
"You know? You're starting to remind me of my sister," Phoebe sighed, looking down. "I'm feeling a little sad about that... I was hoping we could be friends, but..."
"Okay, I'm sorry," Sasha replied. "I'm just trying to bond with you over here... In a weird way, I think I've grown to see you as a 'big sister' of sorts..."
"I'm fine," The Espeon looked at her. "It's just I think mating's something special... I mean, it's giving yourself to someone to show how much you both mean to each other. Haven't you ever had someone who made you feel like that? Someone that you loved so much you thought you would never feel anything like that for anyone ever again?"
"Well, I've had a few crushes," Sasha answered, thinking about what Phoebe had just told her. "But... No. I don't think I've ever found someone like that. It doesn't have to be like you said, though, there's nothing wrong with a good screw every now and then!"
"If that's what you think, you've never really known love."
"Meh," The Glaceon looked down, disappointed at her own inability to think of a decent comeback. "...Love's overrated," She answered lowly, not taking her eyes from the snowy ground beneath her.
Phoebe was about to answer when a splash came from their right. Both Eons turned to see a third one emerge from the river, dragging an unconscious Houndoom by one of his paws.
"Come on, XIV!" The Vaporeon put the Houndoom down against a nearby rock. "Don't die on me!"
"Fourteen?!" Sasha barked, getting ready to fight as the snow rose from the ground around them and formed around her. "Now's my chance!"
"W-Wait!" XIX yelled, turning around and shivering at the sight of the Glaceon preparing to attack him.
"Sasha," Phoebe spoke from behind her. "Don't pick a fight with someone we don't even know..."
"Look at the 'nineteen' band he's wearing!" Sasha gestured at the green band on XIX's left foreleg. "He's with them! And that's the Houndoom that tried to rape me the other day!"
"It's not fair to attack someone unconscious," The Espeon continued. "Aren't you better than that?"
"Fine, 'mom'," Sasha growled, looking back at her, then relaxed, making the snow that was gathering around her fall back to the ground.
"Wait, so you're Sasha and Phoebe? The Glaceon and Espeon he was..." XIX examined the two. 'Man!' He thought. 'Would you look at them? XIV was SO right! They are HOT!' He immediately changed his plans, changing his high- pitched teenage voice for a serious, deeper one. "Hello, ladies," He left his Houndoom partner lying against the rock and walked towards the girls with what -in his own opinion- was a 'sexy' walk, swaying his thin, slender body in par with his long tail. "My name is XIX, or 'nineteen', like you would call me... Nice to make your acquaintance." He stopped in front of Sasha and grinned, showing off one of his small fangs. "Hi, lovely~" He hummed while he slowly paced around her, looking her up and down before stopping back in front of her. "How can you be so beautiful, yet so alone?"
"Because my standards go a little higher than skinny wimps like you," Sasha disdainfully replied, looking away. "And don't call me 'lovely'."
"Oh I'm no wimp," XIX answered. "I can show you right now... Would you like to accompany me someplace more secluded?"
"No thanks," The Glaceon turned away and began to walk back to the part of the road Leon and Tiffany had stayed at. "Come on, Phoebe," She told her friend. "Let's leave this loser here."
"No, wait!" XIX's voice went back to normal as he ran to Sasha's side. "Come on!" He told her. "Aren't you even a little curious? Don't you want to have some fun? A real quick one?"
"Okay, I'm gonna make it real easy for you," Sasha replied, stopping, yet not looking at him. "I'm not interested, and -by what I saw for the stupid second I even considered checking you out, I have no doubts it would be a real quick one."
"Aw, really?" XIX groaned, disappointed. "So, I don't have a chance?"
"Alright, I'll make it even easier," Sasha continued. "There could be a terrible incident that killed off every last male on earth," She closed, her eyes, trying to picture the scenario she was describing. "I could be in heat, so lonely, desperate and needy for company... And I would pick another girl or my own paws before I let you an inch close to me."
"Okay, that was just mean!" XIX stepped back, staring at her with resentment, then turned to look at Phoebe before moving towards her with the same walk from earlier. "And? What about you, you soft, lavender hottie~?"
"If you don't like what she told you," Phoebe replied. "You wouldn't want to hear mine. You look like a nice enough guy, so don't make me hurt you."
"Oh, come on!" XIX answered, grinning again before pacing around her like he did with Sasha and stopping in front of her. "Nothing coming out of that sweet little mouth of yours can be bad!"
"It's not from my mouth," Phoebe crudely replied, staring at the Vaporeon's eyes with a penetrating gaze. XIX couldn't help but shiver. It was like she was frisking him with just her stare. Suddenly, XIX stepped back, almost crying.
"You're even meaner!" He said, stepping back some more. "That hurt even more! You know? I don't need this... Someone's gonna come along who loves me!"
"Yeah, good luck with that," Sasha said as she and Phoebe walked away. "I'm sure whoever did would be an unlucky - and twice as unattractive- guy."
"HEY!" XIX yelled, seeing the Glaceon and Espeon vanish from sight into the woods. "Ah, who am I kidding..."He sighed. "I'll never get some... I actually wonder what mating feels like..."
"Best feeling in the world," XIV said, making the Vaporeon remember he was there.
"Oh, you... You heard that, huh?" XIX looked at the Houndoom, oblivious of when he had regained consciousness. His ego was below the ground from everything Sasha and Phoebe had just told him. "What do I do? I'm so alone..."
"That's really not my problem!" The Houndoom slowly got up and walked up to XIX. "I gotta say, though... That Glaceon? Man! She's amazing! She's like... A Wintry Demoness! Yeah, that's what she is! She's a Wintry Demoness with a degree in heartbreaking! Oh, I gotta have my way with her..." He smiled lustfully, thinking of her with his eyes idle on XIX.
"Hey... You're really starting to freak me out, XIV," XIX said in an awkward tone, taking a few steps back. "Hey... XIV? XIV? Stop staring at me man!" He screamed, bringing the Houndoom back to his senses.
"Sorry..." XIV replied, looking at the river to his left. He walked up to it and lapped up some water, then went back to XIX. "And thanks for saving me back when I fell to the river..."
"So," XIX's spirits were lifted by those words. "I'm not totally useless, huh?" He told XIV with a proud smile. "That's something you guys never consider, but there's no one better than me in the water!"
"I admit you're not TOTALLY useless," XIV answered, feeling a little disturbed at the attitude the Vaporeon had suddenly taken at him. "But don't push the subject. It's not like you just beat III one-on-one or anything."
Richard leapt out from a treetop (climbing up the tree was incredibly hard, yet jumping down was so simple) towards a Ratatta that had just stepped into a small trap he had laid down. However, the rat managed to catch sight of him and an off, making him crash, growling against the ground.
"Arghh... I'm out of shape," He muttered as he got up and kept walking down the small road ahead of him. He looked around, scanning his surroundings: Nothing but trees and snow. Not. A. Single. Pokémon. In. Sight. He huffed in exasperation, angry at his inability to get something he wanted to eat. If he didn't get meat, he'd have to eat berries. 'And everybody knows a berry is just a snack,' He thought, looking to his right at the sound of a rustle and firing a Thunderbolt at it, making all the berries on a nearby tree fall off. 'Great,' He stared angrily at the berries. 'I hate you.'
**That wasn't meant for me, was it?**
'No, it wasn't'.
He kept walking down the road until he got back to the spot Leon and the others were to find Leon and Tiffany sitting under the tree's shadow with Estelle lying down next to them.
"So, take a guess," He growled. "Couldn't get a single thing to eat. Sorry, Estelle."
"Don't worry, Kitty!" Estelle walked up to Richard, patting him on the side. "I wasn't that hungry anyway!" She brushed her cheek against the large feline like she usually did.
"You can have this if you'd like," Tiffany told the Luxray, rolling the Pecha berry Leon had given her earlier at him. "I know you're pretty big, so you probably get hungrier than us, huh?"
Richard stared at the berry, then at Tiffany, then back at the berry. "Why would you give this to me? Wouldn't you like to eat it?"
"Like?" Tiffany replied. "I'd love to! But you probably need it more than I do, so have a bite!" She made a 'go ahead' gesture. "Come on!"
Richard stared at her some more before uttering a low "Thanks." With a swipe of his gigantic paws, he split the berry in two and finished his half in a single bite. "It was... Sweet. Thank you." The last two words felt like needles at his throat when he said them. He pushed his other half towards Estelle. "Come on, eat something."
"Thanks, Kitty! Thanks, Tiffy!" Estelle told the two before doing like Richard did and eating her half.
"And where did Sasha and Phoebe go?" Richard asked, noticing they were not there.
"They went to get some water," Leon answered, getting up. "They should be-"
"Guess who we ran into just now, Leon!" The words came from Sasha, who had just arrived, followed by Phoebe. Both of them had a look of both amusement and discomfort.
"Huh?" Leon turned to look at them, feeling strange that Sasha was asking him the question. "I don't know. Why are you asking me?"
"Your friend Fourteen," Phoebe answered, walking up to a small clearing in which sunlight filtered through the trees and lying down, enjoying the warmth of the sun's rays.
"And some poor wimp who looked like one of you guys, but didn't act like one at all." Sasha added with a bored expression, walking up to the tree under which Leon was standing and lying on her side under the tree's shade. "Poor guy, though."
"Yeah, I think we broke him," Phoebe said. "But I really wasn't interested in him."
"Some poor wimp..." Leon crossed his arms and looked down, trying to figure who they were telling him about. That's when the memory sparked in his mind. "Was he a Vaporeon?"
"Yeah," Sasha answered. "That's the one."
"Oh," Leon chuckled, shaking his head. "You met XIX."
"And may I say he looked real nonthreatening," Phoebe told the Pikachu. "How can a guy like that even be one of you? He almost cried when Sasha and I blew him off."
"So, he hit on you?" Leon asked, chuckling again. "Then it was definitely him. As for how he can be one of the Midnight Voices... Well, I've heard he's something to be terrified of when under the water, but so far I've never had a chance to prove that rumor. He really was more of our boss' pet. A little spoiled, really... Always shirked work."
"Not that I want to rush you or anything, which I do," Richard told them, getting up and walking further down the path. "But we have to move on if we want to get to Neri by the end of the day."
"Right!" Sasha got up and followed behind him, with Phoebe and Estelle doing the same.
"Let's go," Leon told Tiffany as they both picked their bags up from under the tree and followed the four ahead of them.
===THE MORRISON GANG: RICHARD'S DARK SECRET
The sun was starting to set above the forest as Leon and the others kept traveling down the path that -according to what Sasha and the map said- would lead them to Neri. The sounds of the forest were slowly dying out, being replaced by the comforting, yet unnerving silence of the night. It had been a tiring walk, but they were almost at their destination. Just one more hour or so and they would be at Neri, the town with the river of wishes. Some plants and Mushrooms around the base of the trees were starting to glow a dim blue, the snow was gone again, and the Starly and Pidgey that flew around the forest during the day had retreated back to the safety of their nests, their chirping and singing being replaced by the hoots and squawks of Hoothoot and Murkrow.
"We're not too far now!" Sasha cheered, looking around the forest. "Keep up the pace and we'll be there in no time!"
"You said that four hours ago," a fatigued Leon answered, panting. "I really wish we could stop..."
"But we're not," Richard interrupted, looking at Leon. "The enemy isn't resting."
"'The enemy'?" Leon replied, giving the Luxray a confused and tired look. "What are you talking about?"
"You think your old friends are gonna stop following us?" The answer made Sasha, Phoebe, Tiffany and Estelle walk a bit more to the side, thinking that another fight was about to start. "We have to move on."
"Ah..." Sasha let out an annoyed sigh. "I'm ready to jump again..." She slowly walked closer to Richard and Leon.
"He's not going to do that EVERY time," Phoebe told her. "They made up, remember?"
"Let me jump in this time!" Estelle moved in behind Sasha, then wedged herself between Richard and the Glaceon. "I want to know what that feels like..."
"We're not gonna fight," Richard growled, staring at the Absol and Glaceon with his red eyes. "We agreed we wouldn't."
The road ahead took a turn to the left around a wrecked house by a lake. From the looks of it, no one had been there to tend to it in a long time, and a lot of it was damaged. Part of the wood on the walls was burnt, and some more had been torn off. The large building's porch was damaged too, with the steps leading to the door broken and part of the roof down. They were about to follow the road when Richard stopped, staring at the house.
'No way...' He thought, walking towards the house almost by no will of his own. 'Is this...?'
"Hey!" Leon called at Richard, following him. "Richard! Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Richard replied, not looking back, walking up the porch's broken steps and into the house. "Just... Wait here." He vanished into the wrecked home.
Leon looked back at the girls, then at house. His eyes lingered in it for a moment before he looked back at them. "So, do we follow him, or..."
"Take a guess," Sasha walked into the house, not waiting to hear what everyone else had to say. "Come on!" She called back at Leon and the others before venturing inside.
"Sasha, wait!" Phoebe ran in behind her. "Don't be so hasty! If he told us to wait he probably had a reason!"
"So? Who made him King of the world?"
"Well, that's three out of six in there," Leon said, looking at Tiffany and Estelle. He walked up to Tiffany, took her paw in his hand and walked her to the door. "Shall we?"
"Let's," Tiffany answered as the two went inside.
"Hey!" Estelle called at the house (At her friends who had just walked inside, not at the actual building.) "Thanks for asking me!" She stood under the sunset in front of the ruined home for a moment before running inside. "Aw, they probably know I would have said yes, anyway!"
The floor creaked as Richard walked around the abandoned residence. He checked every corner of the house, looking at everything with a sad expression: Broken furniture, ruined ornaments... The walls were a faded and forgotten red, matching the tone his eyes seemed to take as he wandered the rooms. He reached a room that made his sad expression become doubly so. There was a huge bed made of piled hay in the middle of the room, and the walls were a dim turquoise. Two lights, now shattered and covered in dust, were set on the wall, along with a small fireplace set far enough from the hay as to avoid a fire and a rope was placed around the room's corner.
He slowly entered the room and looked around, then looked down and sighed sadly. He walked up to the bed and lied down on it.
'Brings back memories,' He thought. 'It's been a while...'
**You're getting all sad again, aren't you?**
'It's not sadness. It's nostalgia.'
**You don't have to act all macho with me. I know what you're thinking.**
'Sorry... It just makes me think of you...'
His mind was brought back to reality by a noise that came from a dark corner of the room. Richard reacted, getting up and preparing to leap at whatever made the noise. He set his eyes on the corner to see that there was, indeed, something there.
Roaring, he lunged at the corner and hit his mark pinning a dark purple creature to the ground.
"Hey, don't kill me!" The other one screeched, sweating in panic at the much larger Pokémon that had just hit him. "Please! I'm sorry! What did I take? Money? Jewels? Your daughter? I'm sorry!"
"What?" Richard stared into the gem- like eyes of the creature that was begging him for mercy. "Wait a minute... Jack?"
"Y-Yeah!" the Sableye answered, wiggling and struggling to escape from Richard's hold. "That's my name! Don't kill me!"
"It's Richard, you stupid ass," Richard growled at him.
"Hey! Richard!" The Sableye grinned nervously, showing off his own set of gigantic teeth, meant to crush the gems he ate. "It's great to see you again! How long has it been? Four, five years? You gotta let me go! We can make a fortune together!"
"You know what?" Richard snarled, staring with disgust at the one beneath him. "I'm not gonna let you go... I think it's time for some payback."
"Come on! We were best friends! Do it for old time's sake!"
"You're right, 'best friend'," Richard's voice got even harsher and a low growl was coming from his chest. His features were obscured by the lack of light, and the gleam of his red eyes gave him the appearance of a truly fearsome beast. "By the way, thanks for being there when Lucia and I needed you."
"Bu-"The Sableye couldn't finish as Richard pressed his paw harder on his body, making him gasp for air. "Gah!"
"Stay there or I'll kill you outright," Richard threatened Jack, letting go of him and taking the rope from the corner of the room, then tied him with it. "There you go..."
"Hey! What are you going to do?!"
"I'm gonna make a fortune," Richard replied, lowering himself near the Sableye and then standing in a way that the tied creature was set on his back. "I'm sure the Selenian guard is willing to pay quite a bit for your sorry hide."
"Y-You can't do this to me!" Jack roared. "Come on! Lucia wouldn't have wanted that!"
"Don't you dare say her name," Richard growled. "And you'd better shut up or I'll have to listen to that poster when it says 'wanted dead'."
"Oh, come on! You can't even hand me over to the law! They're looking for you as well!"
"Some things have changed in the last five years. For one, I'm free of all charges now... That's right: I became a soldier. I can bring you in and make it look like a simple day on the job."
Richard stepped out of the room, carrying the tied Sableye on his back. He went down the stairs back into the houses first floor to find everyone looking around a large room that had no furniture at all save for an armchair by a window. In another time, that would have probably been the house's sitting room.
"Yup," Leon commented, running his hand along one of the chair's arms, then looking at it with a disgusted expression, noticing he got some dust and mold on his hand. "This place should be condemned."
"Who says it isn't?" Tiffany replied, walking into a small corridor on a door on the left, hen stepping out of another one on the right. "It actually creeps me out a little. There are some bones in there!"
"Well, with some new furniture and some cleaning-up, I'm sure this place would sure be pretty!" Estelle brushed some more dust off a fireplace between two windows. As her paw ran along the fireplace's surface, more dust fell off, revealing a sheet of paper that fell to the floor. "Hey, what's this?"
"It's called 'dust', Estelle," Sasha answered with a mocking smile, walking up to where the Absol was. "It's what happens when you don't keep places clean."
"No, I know what dust is!" Estelle growled, staring at her. "I meant this!" She grabbed the piece of paper and handed it to Sasha so the Glaceon could look at it.
"'Wanted'," Sasha read the paper. "The Morrison Gang: Dead or alive, five thousand Poké reward for each. Preferably dead." She took a closer look at the poster to see that it had a picture: "Morrison Fortune," A Persian was standing in the middle, smiling in an evil and proud way. To the right was a Sableye, grinning maniacally, showing off his gigantic teeth "Jack Sabre,", while a pair of Luxio were standing to the left. One of them was smiling faintly, while the other one was looking down with a serious expression. "Lucia Lionheart and Richar-" She suddenly gasped, dropping the poster to the floor. 'No way!' She stared at the wanted sign that was now lying on the ground. 'Is that...?' Her attention went to the Luxio that was looking down. She had seen him before, and many times. He was the same Luxio that had walked through her doorstep years ago. "It's Richard..." She spoke softly so no one else could hear her.
"Hey, what's that?" Phoebe said from behind Sasha, making her jump startled. Noticing the Glaceon's reaction, she asked. "Are you alright? Why are you so shaken up?"
"Shaken up?" Sasha replied defensively, trying to hide the poster from the Espeon. "I'm not shaken up! I'm cool... 'Sister'!" she finished, trying to sound as calm as she could.
"'Sister'?" Phoebe stared at Sasha with an awkward expression. "You're definitely not 'cool' if you're talking like that. Your emotions changed since you started looking at that paper."
"I can sense things like that," Phoebe answered. "Remember? Psychic powers?"
"Now, what is it?"
"Well..." Sasha passed the paper on to the Espeon, who quickly read it and reached Sasha's same conclusion faster than she had done. "Richard!" Sasha quickly pushed a paw against her muzzle so she couldn't keep on talking. *So, Richard was an outlaw?*
'I think so,' Sasha thought. 'But how? He doesn't look like... Well, he does look like one.'
*But that can't be,* Phoebe answered by telepathy so their conversation could remain private. *Richard was in the Selenian guard, then the army, then the Special Forces. He's in the opposite side of the law--The good side.*
'But still...' They continued, unaware that the way in which they stared at the poster, then at each other had drawn everyone else's attention to them.
"Hey, what's that?" Leon asked, approaching the two followed by Tiffany.
"Yeah, what are you looking at?" The Buneary added.
"Nothing!" Sasha answered hastily, quickly putting down the poster and lying down on it. "I was just about to take a rest! Let's all do that, huh?"
"What did you just hide?" Tiffany pointed at one of the poster's edges, which was poking out from beneath her.
"It's something personal!" Sasha replied. "It's..." She stopped, trying to think of what to answer.
"It's...?" Leon asked, curious of seeing what she was hiding.
"It's...Um... A Page from Phoebe's diary!"
"Then shouldn't Phoebe be the one getting defensive about this?" Tiffany continued her and Leon's attempts of seeing what the vixen was so focused on hiding.
"But wait..." Estelle joined the conversation "If that's from Sunny's diary... Why was it hanging in there?" She pointed at the fireplace.
"Uh-oh," Sasha murmured.
"Yes, thanks for that, Estelle." Phoebe stared scoldingly at the Absol.
"Busted, huh?" Leon said, smiling as he stretched his hand out. "Come on, what is it?"
"Ah, fine..." Sasha got up and picked the poster up, then passed it to Leon, who held it so everyone could look at it. "But don't judge him; I'm sure he had a reason!"
"Wanted..." Leon read the poster out loud. "Richard?!" He sounded as surprised as the other two when he read it. "Wait...His last name's 'Raymonds'?!"
"I told you to stay out," The deed growl from behind tem made all five turn around to see a clearly displeased Richard staring at them, red eyes glowing in the darkness of the room, as the sun had set while they were inside the house. "Was that so hard to get?"
"Get mad at me for it, then," Sasha answered, staring seriously at him. "I'm the one who walked in behind you."
"Hey!" Jack said, from the Luxray's back. "You got a gang of your own? That really hurts! I like this girl, though. We haven't been in the room for five minutes and it's easy to tell she's a real handful, talking to a guy your size like that!"
"Shut up," Richard answered.
"What?" The Glaceon answered with an offended expression. "Okay, if that's how you want it to go..."
"I was talking to the moron in my back," Richard replied. "Not you."
"Hey," Leon asked, looking at the tied-up Sableye Richard was carrying. He walked up to the Luxray and paced around him, looking at Jack. "Who is this guy?"
"This guy," Richard leaned back, making Jack fall off his back into the dusty floor with a low thud, "is an old acquaintance of mine who's got a date with the law. His name's Jack Sabre. Come on, Jack." He pressed his paw on the Sableye's back, growling. "Say hello." The Sableye simply grunted in pain and rage under the Luxray's heavy paw. "I said: Say hello!" Richard repeated, pressing his paw even stronger than before.
"Hello!" Jack screeched in rage, trying to wiggle his way out of the Luxray's grasp.
"And why is he tied up again?" Leon asked.
"Screw that!" Sasha interrupted. "This guy was in this 'Morrison Gang', as were you, Richard. Why are you tying your friend up like that?"
"Because he's not my friend," Richard growled, pressing his paw against Jack again. "He's nothing to me. I'm gonna bring him in to justice and get me some money... It's the least this scumbag can do to make up for what I've lost."
"Fuck you!" Jack grunted.
"Did I tell you to talk?!" The Luxray roared at the one beneath his paw, pushing him even more and far stronger against the ground to the point the Sableye gasped for air. "Did I?!"
"Then shut up!" Richard replied furiously, slamming his paw into the tied one's back. "Did I tell you to talk...?" He asked again, but the Sableye didn't answer. "Now, the moment we get to Neri I'll hand you over to the Guard. It's time you paid, you bastard. For everything." Richard was far more enraged then anyone had ever seen him before. His eyes had a furious, demonic glow to them, and his voice was even harsher and raspier. He even seemed to be dragging his words as he spoke, unable to pronounce properly due to what he was feeling.
"And what's the bounty on this guy?" Leon asked, interested, yet keeping his distance in case he upset Richard even more. "This poster here says five thousand Poké, but I think we can negotiate ourselves a higher price if we talk with the authorities."
Richard stared at Leon, taking a deep breath as to calm himself down, yet not letting go of Jack. "That poster is from five years ago. In that time, I'm sure this dipshit's sorry ass has gone up in price... How do you even know about charging bounties like that?"
"It's what I did for a living," Leon answered.
"Then we've got a lot to talk about later," Richard told the Pikachu and they both nodded. "We can make ourselves e lot more money than I thought..." He looked like he was about to smile for a moment before looking down and letting out a sigh.
"Is everything okay, Kitty?" Estelle approached Richard, stepping over Jack (who grunted some curses) as she did so.
"I'm fine," Richard answered in a short, cutting tone. "I just..." He looked at everyone. "I know I'm always saying we should move on... And it's not like me to do this, but... Can we stay here for the night? I know Neri is about an hour away... In fact, you can even see it if you look out the window, past that lake... It's just... There's something else I have to do." He looked at Leon. "Can you watch this idiot for a moment?"
"Sure thing," Leon nodded.
"Good," Richard turned and headed for the door.
"Richard..." Sasha was about to go after him when the Luxray growled a sharp 'Don't follow me!' and kept on his way.
"It's funny, Richard!" Jack yelled at the retreating lion. "You know this rope I'm tied with right now? It's the same one I used on Lucia during her first night here! That's right! I fucked her! We all did!" He began to laugh, but stopped when he saw Richard turn around and lunge furiously at him.
**Get a hold of yourself!**
Richard stopped less than an inch away from Jack's neck, so close that the Sableye could feel his breath. "Listen up..." The Luxray growled. "There are two ways I can hand you over... Dead, or alive. So give me a reason, please... Make me choose the former... I think I'd enjoy that a lot more, so unless you shut that bitching, gem-stuffed mouth of yours right now, you're going to have a real bad time... Got it?" Jack growled in rage and wiggled in his wrapping, but did not say a word. "Good... I'll be back." He looked at Sasha. "If he says anything, you can shut him up for good." He headed for the door and left the house, heading into the woods nearby.
"I wonder what he's up to..."
"Only one way to find out," Sasha said, waiting until Richard vanished from sight before taking off after him.
"Sasha, wait!" Phoebe called, but the Glaceon kept going forward. "He wants to be alone!"
"What?! Now I'm YOUR hostage?!" Jack stared at Leon. "Bring back that icy bitch! At least I could picture her being the one tied up!" As he said this, a ball of ice flew through the window, shattering against the Sableye's head and knocking him out.
"Much better," Sasha poked out from the other side of the window, looking at the one she had just hit. "Now, off to see what Richard's up to!"
"Ah..." Estelle sighed, seeing the Glaceon vanish in the same direction Richard had gone earlier. "I've got competition, right?"
"What are you talking about?" Phoebe, who was sitting nearby asked her. "Competition for what?"
"Kitty," The Absol replied sadly, with her usual smile gone from her, replaced by a depressed expression. "I saw the way he and Lexy looked at each other last night... Didn't you notice?"
"There was a spark between them, yes," Phoebe nodded."But that doesn't mean anything. The most it could be, I think, is just simple affection. Besides, Richard would never try anything with her. Trust me, I know a lot about him."
"Thanks, Sunny..." Estelle forced a smile on herself, thanking the Espeon, yet not entirely sure she was being honest.
"So, Richard was an outlaw, huh?" Leon told Tiffany as they both sat next to the unconscious Sableye just to make sure he did not escape if he woke up. "I guess that explains some things about him... Could you even picture him like that?"
"Yeah!" Tiffany answered. "I'm sorry, but I can! He has the looks of one and all!"
"Well, it came as a surprise to me. But I'm even more surprised that he wants to bring this guy in to justice," Leon poked at Jack. "Must have done something pretty bad for Richard to hate him like that. Wonder what, though..."
"Well, he mentioned a 'Lucia' earlier... Maybe something about her?"
"Yeah," Leon replied, taking Aria's egg out of his bag and holding it in his arms. "Maybe... Hey, did this just move?" He stared at the egg, feeling it move a little on his arms.
"Really?" Tiffany hurriedly placed her paw on the egg, feeling nothing. "No, it didn't!"
"I swear I felt it..."
"Richard?" Sasha called around as she walked through the forest. "Hey! Richard?" She was making her way between the trees, ducking and bowing to avoid the low branches in her way. The forest ahead of her changed the deeper she went: Although it was nighttime-as the lack of light and the sounds in the distance left clear, the area she reached was different. It was bright ad clear. If she didn't know better, she could have sworn she was walking through the forest in broad daylight. Bright stones and crystals adorned the ground along with the extremely clear-toned green of the grass and the pearly white of the tree trunks. Had she just arrived into paradise without realizing it? Asking herself this very same question, she kept on her way, searching for the Luxray. "Richard?" she called, louder than before. And, like before, her calls met no answer.
The forest around her-if it could still be called a forest- had changed completely. The grass was gone, replaced by pearly white soil, similar in color from the trees she had passed earlier. The trees themselves were different, however: Their leaves looked like crystal and irradiated a strange glow. More stones, not unlike the tree's leaves were lying in the rocky side of the mountain that rose to her left, with some more occasionally lying on the ground. The odd glow that irradiated from both the crystals and the ground itself shone in her, making her graceful, elegant figure even doubly so. Her path met an end on the mountain's side, where she found a cave.
Her own curiosity and lust for adventure combined with her desire to find what Richard was up to made her walk inside without stopping to think about it. She was not surprised the cave's walls were the same color as the pure, pearly white ground and were lined with the same precious stones from earlier. 'No wonder that Sableye was around here,' she thought. 'He must get a real feast here!' There was a soothing and comforting feel to the cave, as Sasha soon noticed. Her tension and problems seemed to fade away as she walked deeper inside. Finally, after walking in the mysterious cave, she reached a spring. Small cascades were falling on the large pond in the middle, making a low whisper. Light filtered into the cave from above, illuminating the ground, which was growing flowers. A single piece of the ground seemed to rise, elevated from the rest leading into the pond. And there he was, sitting in front of a large flowerbed: Richard.
The Luxray was staring down at the flowers with a sorrowful expression. Although he seemed to maintain his rough, strong looks, his eyes were dim and devoid of even their usual gleam.
"I'm back," He spoke at the flowers, holding a strange necklace with a fang in one paw. "And you were there to witness I found no one."
**You didn't try to find anyone.**A bright, cyan figure appeared next to him. **And you chose to ignore them when you did...What about Phoebe, huh?**
"Phoebe and I didn't really love each other," He replied gloomily, placing the necklace on the flowerbed. "My dreams died with you, and trying to find someone that could make me feel the same was a waste of both our times." He leaned against the other one, apparently hoping to feel it, but sighed when he realized there was no sensation. "What tender feelings I had died with you as well... I should just go and join you."
**So, you're giving up? Please, move on... I would have if you had been the one to go.**
"Thanks," Richard replied cynically. "That makes me feel a lot better."
**Don't give hope up yet, Richard. Love might be just around the corner! Someday, you'll just turn around and find it.**
**Now, take the necklace...**
**Richard...?** The figure's tone became more severe, like that of a mother scolding her cub. **Come on...**
"Fine," Richard picked the necklace up from the flowers and looked at the one next to him. "How will I ever find someone like you? And how will I not mess it up? I got to the one point in my life I ever feared something and realized I was right: I AM like my father..."
**You're not like him.**
"I left you both to die."
**Your father ran away; you stayed to fight for us. See the difference? You would have been a great father, as I'm sure you will be someday.**
"I don't plan to get that far ever again," Richard growled. "Besides, a walking 'kill us' sign like me has no hopes of getting that far again to begin with."
**I'm going to say the same thing mister Raymonds used to tell us: Don't ever say 'I won't drink from this stream'. You might feel thirsty later.**
"I don't know..."
**And what are you planning to do with Jack? Are you really turning him in?**
"He's kept at all the stuff we used to do. He deserves it... He's one of the reasons you're not here with me anymore."
**And doing that will bring me back, I guess?**
"No. But vengeance IS sweet."
"Richard!" Sasha stepped up to the flowerbed, looking at the two that were there.
**I have to go now, Richard...** The cyan figure began to fade away. *And keep looking. There's gotta be someone left in the world for you.**
"Fine... I'll see you later..." The Luxray bade farewell before turning to look at Sasha, growling. "I told you not to follow me."
"And I told you," She replied. "You're not the boss of me."
"Why'd you follow me, anyways?"
"I just wanted to know what you were up to. You were weird, asking us to stay in that lame excuse for a house for the night, then running off."
"I had something more personal to tend to," Richard replied. "Which reminds me... What you just saw-"
"-I've seen them before," Sasha interrupted. "I know what it- she was. I won't tell anyone"
"Good," Richard left the spring, followed by Sasha. As they made their way out of the cave, he continued. "I guess I've got a lot to explain."
"You do," The Glaceon answered as they stepped outside into the bright, white paradise. "Mainly the part in which you are an outlaw."
"That was five years ago," Richard replied. "I changed for good."
"Well that-AH!" The ground beneath them crumbled and they fell into a hole. Richard fell on his back with Sasha landing on top of him. The hit was taken harder by the Luxray, who didn't quite realize what happened, but was brought back when he felt the extra weight of the smaller Pokémon on his body. "Thanks," She whispered. "That would have been a painful fall..."
"It's... Nothing, I guess," He looked at her. Once again, there was that odd moment between them. Time seemed to slow down as they stared at each other. After a while, Richard spoke again. "So, get off me. We've got to go back."
"Right..." Sasha got off him. "Let's go."
They climbed back up and headed back to the abandoned house that Richard had once called home.
"And that Sableye?" the Glaceon asked.
"That's one of my most painful memories," Richard answered, looking up. "It's from the time in which I learned: Life's a bitch. And you can't trust anyone."
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe someday I'll tell you the story... But not right now. I'm feeling downer than usual tonight..."