Starts off clean, but later chapters get naughty. :P And no, this is not a Harry Potter crossover!
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.
Chapter 9: High Voltage
Kirin dodged to the side, using a Quick Attack to evade yet another Fly attack. These Flying types were irritatingly fast!
"Focus Kirin, you can do this," Shawn called. "Shockwave."
Kirin spun, sliding slightly in the dust as she tracked her opponent. She reached inside, seizing the crackling power within as it gleefully tried to flee her grip. This power was incredible, but much harder to work with than her old Normal energy. It didn't want to do what she wanted it to, and even using it for small attacks was tricky.
"Wing Attack!" The opposing trainer yelled, directing the Staravia into a banking turn for another pass. She kept her grip on the power, moulding it into an attack that spread in all directions around her. The Staravia shrieked as it was struck, even the small shock severely damaged its defences. Its momentum had built up though, and it slammed into her, buffeting her with its wings. She was bowled over by the attack as the bird poké mon swept by, but she rolled to her feet, shrugging off the hit.
"One more hit Kirin. Thundershock," her trainer said. "Remember what I showed you!"
She did, recalling his training sessions. The trick was not to fight the electrical energy too much. You had to just guide it along. It would never do EXACTLY what you intended, but with practice, you would always get very close. She did her best to let it go, to not try too hard to control it. The crackling bolt streaked out towards the Staravia, as its trainer shouted, "Evade!"
It tried to use a Quick Attack of its own, but before it could, the ball of electricity…exploded. That was the only way she could describe what it did. It too wasn't the most powerful attack, because it tended to disperse like that, siphoning its power in all directions like a more concentrated Shockwave. The Staravia cried out again as it was caught by several tendrils of electricity, bringing it down with a thud.
The other trainer withdrew the beaten poké mon, and then pulled another ball from his belt. "I've got one more if you're up for another round."
Shawn glanced at Kirin. "What do you think? Are you okay to go for it?"
She gave him an affirmative nod. "Yes. You wouldn't even ask that if you didn't think I could do it."
He gave her a smile, waving at the other trainer to signal him to send out his next poké mon. "This should even things up a bit, go Skarmory!" The trainer said, holding up the ball and pressing the release. A poké mon she…d never seen before appeared, its body appearing to be made of metal, with sharp looking wings.
Shawn frowned slightly, but didn't withdraw her. "Watch out for its Air Cutter. You won't be able see it, but if you feel air moving towards you, jump! Now, Thunder Wave!" She quested about for the energy, but felt it skitter away as she grabbed too firmly. "Metal Sound!" She heard the other human call.
The odd looking poké mon reared its head back, emitting a horrible grating screech. She cringed back from the assault on her hearing, large ears flattening as she tried to block out the noise. She felt her aura waver slightly. "Quick Attack, Z pattern!" Shawn called.
Gritting her teeth against the din, she dashed first left, then right, as the other trainer yelled, "Air Slash!"
She felt something graze past her as she dodged, the third Quick Attack bringing her closer to her opponent. "Thundershock!"
This time, she managed to grab the energy, channelling it through her body as Shawn had taught her. Her spiky fur worked as a conduit for the shock, and the ball of power contacted the strange bird cleanly in the chest. It squawked indignantly, and she heard its trainer say, "Steel Wing!"
"Thunder Wave," Shawn said calmly.
Her opponent was leaping towards her, the sharp edges of its wings glittering. Without thinking, she let the energy go, guiding it by instinct.
This time it worked, and the bird stumbled as its limbs seized up. This attack was a bit different in composition, using a thousand small pinpricks of electricity rather than a concentrated blast. It was able to penetrate the aura, paralyzing its target without fail. "Air Cutter, hurry!"
The bird tried to turn its head as she jumped to the side, but nothing happened.
"Hit it with another Thunder Shock," Shawn said.
She let the invigorating energy course through her, striking her motionless target.
It still didn't go down! "This thing is quite a bit stronger than the last one," she thought. The second shock seemed to jolt it out of its paralysis. "Shockwave!" Shawn yelled.
"Iron Aerial Ace!"
A sheen seemed to run over the Skarmory briefly, and then it blurred. She was sent sprawling as it hit her full force. There had been no chance of evading the attack.
"Hey! You've used more than four moves, and that wasn't a legal one even! That's a forfeit!" Shawn shouted angrily.
"So? Do you see a judge here? Deal with it. Steel Wing!"
Kirin pulled herself upright, shaking her head to clear it. That attack had hurt! "Quick Attack! Over Under!" she heard Shawn yell. The Skarmory was almost upon her, and she had to act fast to evade. She leaped into the air, using the Quick Attack for extra jumping power. The sharp wings of the metal creature slashed at her as she leaped, catching her with a glancing blow. It threw off her trajectory, and instead of going over top of it, she caromed of its shoulder.
The Normal attack didn't seem to phase it. She darted away again as she heard the other trainer yell, "Air Slash!" followed by Shawn's "Evade!" Remembering Shawn's instruction, she didn't dodge yet. There was a slight breeze on her flank, and she leaped into the air, feeling the slicing wind pass underneath her. "Shock Wave!"
As she landed, she built up the attack, preparing to bring this pest down. She wished Shawn would let her use the secret attack he had taught her. She couldn't use any of the more powerful Electric techniques yet, but she could do that one. If this guy was cheating, why couldn't they? Instead she unleashed the Shockwave, the low level attack coursing over the battlefield. "Aerial Ace!" the other trainer ordered as the Skarmory cringed away from the electricity.
"Shockwave!" Shawn ordered simultaneously, as her opponent blurred again. She felt herself lifted off the ground by the hard tackle, getting thrown back several metres. She managed to hold onto her concentration, and released the attack before the Skarmory could retreat. This time, it caught a much bigger jolt, as the move hadn't had time to spread as much, catching and arcing over its metal body.
It was finally enough, and her adversary collapsed to the ground. She panted slightly from the exertion. "Even with a type advantage, that was a difficult opponent!" Shawn walked over to her, crouching slightly to lay a hand on her shoulders. "Are you okay?"
"A little tired, but I'm good."
He gave her a reassuring pat, before standing up and facing the other human, who had returned his downed poké mon.
"What was the big idea, using illegal moves?" Shawn said, seeming a bit annoyed.
"Whatever. It's your word against mine. What's the big deal anyway? Afraid I was going to hurt your precious poké mon?"
She saw Shawn's hand clench into a fist, and she said softly, "Master…it's okay. I'm fine."
He glared at the other guy, but didn't make any move towards him. "With that attitude, you'll be lucky if you manage to keep your trainers licence long. I…d like to see you pull that stunt in a gym."
"Screw you. You won anyways, you already took my money." The guy raised his middle finger at Shawn, before turning and starting to walk away.
Shawn kept his anger in check, allowing the guy to leave. "I swear, if I see him again…" he muttered. "You shouldn't let him get to you Master, I wasn't hurt," Kirin said.
"I know, but it's the principle of the thing. And with a move like that, you could've been. He's gotten his poké mon to combine Iron Tail or Steel Wing with Aerial Ace. If your aura had been low, a move like that could have overwhelmed it and injured you."
"I thought you said it wasn't possible for poké mon moves to use two types of energy at once?"
"I never said it was impossible, and besides, that isn't what he did. He used one, then the other, and they both hit at once. Not the same thing."
Kirin nodded. That made sense somewhat. It would be like her using Quick Attack at the same time as Discharge. Of course, she would have to learn Discharge first, she didn't have the strength yet. They began to walk slowly away from the site of the battle, continuing on their way.
"Master, if he was cheating, why wouldn't you let me use the special attack you taught me?"
Shawn sighed. "Because that would have made us no better than him. The league only legalizes certain moves for a reason. Even the most powerful moves have a low risk of actually injuring a poké mon. You see, even when your aura is low, it will still protect you against powerful attacks long enough to keep you from getting hurt. You'll just be extra tired afterwards, and possibly fall unconscious. A move like the one he used is a one-two punch. If your aura was low, one energy type could overwhelm it, causing you to be injured by the second one. Fortunately, you still had plenty of stamina, otherwise I would have withdrawn you."
"So I can't ever use that move in a battle?"
"No. Polarity Bolt is for emergencies only. The risk of overwhelming an aura like that is fairly low, but it is still an illegal move by the league's standards. And we will abide by those rules, understand?"
She scuffed her foot lightly, seeming disappointed. "I understand. It's the only strong Electric move I have right now though!"
Shawn stopped, crouching down and cupping her face gently in his hands. "Kirin, I know you're anxious to learn, but you have to be patient too. You've come a long way already, electricity isn't easy to work with."
She met his eyes. "I know, it's just…frustrating. I want to be strong, to be able to protect my sister. And to help you."
Shawn pulled her into a hug, running a hand through the spiky fur of her back. "Hina is very lucky to have a sibling like you. Don't worry, you're getting there. And don't forget, I'm here to protect Hina as well. To protect ALL of you. Marty wouldn't let anything happen to her either, and Cheri would shred anyone who tried to hurt her."
Kirin relaxed against Shawn, returning the hug as best she could. "Yes, I'm happy that we're here…with you. Even though it means mother is gone, it makes it easier to take."
"You still miss her, don't you?"
"Of course! Every day, but it doesn't hurt as much anymore. I just hope I can be as strong for Hina as she was for both of us."
"She's growing too Kirin. I'm going to do my best to make her as strong as she can be as well."
Kirin pulled back a bit, blinking as she met his gaze. "Thank you Master Shawn. At first, I wasn't too sure how I would like having a trainer, but now I can hardly imagine not having you. If you hadn't come along…If I had been forced to care for Hina on my own…I don't know what would have happened."
"There are no accidents."
"You're rather fond of saying that aren't you?"
"Yes. It's kind of a wizardly motto. Everything happens for a reason. Even…even the painful things."
"That seems like a difficult thing to accept."
"At times it is…incredibly hard. The reasons are so often unclear. But even still, I firmly believe that."
"If you say so. It is hardly easy to think of Mother's death as having a purpose though."
"Of course it isn't. But we are playing in a high stakes game here. I don't believe that Cyrus' plan is spawned solely from his own ambitions. There are forces at work that move in mysterious ways. Perhaps your mother was killed in an attempt to prevent you from ever joining me. Or perhaps she was allowed to die so you COULD join me. Or it could be something else. There are no simple answers, we just have to make the best of what we are given."
She looked up at him. "Even if you are a wizard?"
"Even wizards. We aren't all powerful, we just have a better chance to change things, and hopefully make them better." He left his hand on her shoulder for a moment before standing up again. She glanced at him as they continued walking. "You've lost someone too, haven't you."
He was silent for a long moment, powerful, long suppressed emotions threatening to surface. "Yes…I've lost many someones. But" some of them hurt more than others…"
"And you still believe it has a purpose? Does that mean we even have a choice? In anything we do?"
Shawn once more marvelled at the maturity and perceptiveness of his Jolteon. It was hard to think of her as "young…, even though by his reckoning, if she were human she would be about seventeen. Of course, that was only seven years younger than himself, but he knew that she had not had nearly the life experience he had had at that age.
"We always have a choice. Sometimes'the choices we make are the wrong ones. That just means we've been working towards the WRONG purpose. That's the key, there are two forces at work here. Ultimately though, the right purpose will find a way to use even the bad decisions for itself. As well as the things that right now seem completely cruel and random. That is part of what being a wizard is about. Helping that purpose, in any way we can. I can't bring your mother back to life, but I CAN help you and your sister grow in a way that you otherwise would not. And you may end up helping me save the world in the process."
She snorted. "Like THAT…S no pressure."
He smiled. "Welcome to my life. Don't worry, just leave all the hard, world ending stuff to me. All you have to do is what you are learning to do now, battle with the best of them."
She laughed softly. "As soon as I can figure out how to stop losing hold of the electricity anyway."
"Just keep it away from me and you'll be just fine."
"I don't know…your hair would look good spiky…" she said, letting sparks course through her mane.
"Hey! No zapping your trainer!"
They both started laughing, the light banter breaking up the heavy discussion.
They continued on in silence for awhile. They were making their way towards Oreburgh city. Shawn had decided to rest a few more days in Hearthome, taking in the Smart and Tough contests that followed the Beauty one. On the spur of the moment, he had decided to try the Tough contest with Marty, but had ended up second in his grouping. Marty hadn't minded, the experience alone was enough to thrill him to pieces.
After the contests were over, Shawn had checked out the city's gym. After the encounter with Jasmine, he was curious to see how the Ghost type battled in real life. He had battled one of the trainees there, and had managed to win by mostly using Cheri's Dark type moves. He had decided against pressing further however. Without a Dark type poké mon, more powerful Ghost trainers would be hard to beat. He had been immensely irritated by the fact that they kept the entire gym in the dark. He had forced himself to resist the urge to light up the whole place, after stumbling his way through the maze of statues that they had set up in an annoying puzzle.
From what he had observed during the battle, he inferred that once captured, Ghost types could no longer enter the "ethereal plain". If they could, than they would be able to allow attacks to pass right through them. Jasmine had hinted at this as well, saying that she didn't wish to commit to the physical world yet. He wondered if there were times when they were stuck inside the corporeal plain, or if they just ALLOWED for trainers to have a chance to catch them. Or perhaps they just desired to interact with the physical world, and would seek out battles or trainers. There were so many questions, so few definitive answers. He really wished to talk to the elusive poké mon again, but had still seen no sign of her.
He hadn't encountered the Team Galactic guy a second time either, and searching for others had been fruitless. They still weren't in a position of power, but the fact that their members were moving around in uniform was worrisome. There was no way to say for sure how long it would be before they started to cause serious trouble. "For now, they'll lay low, building up their support," he thought. "That guy was obviously acting on his own, and if his commanders found out about it, he…d be in for it. They don't want negative attention at the moment."
However, he HAD seen Schrade's trainer several more times. She had been at all the other contests as a spectator, and he had also spotted her at the poké centre. During the Tough contest, he had noticed her watching him. Their eyes had met, and for a moment, she had looked like she was going to come over and speak to him. He had started to walk towards her, but she had turned and disappeared into the crowd. "Probably just curious about what was up with Schrade and Cheri. She probably can't understand what Schrade says. Although, she has no way of knowing that I can."
He knew that even without the benefit of The Speech, some trainers could understand their poké mon. He had encountered a couple that had seemed to be able to do so. He hadn't let on that he knew of course, but the trainers had responded directly to their poké mon's words. At least, from what he had overheard. It was harder to translate things that weren't directed at him specifically, especially from a distance.
He still wasn't sure exactly why some trainers could understand their partners. Perhaps it was more of an empathic thing, from being together for a long time. Or even maybe just from having an exceptionally syncronized nature. Or what if being around poké mon for long periods of time would allow the more sensitive trainers to pick up on their language?
Some poké mon were telepathic of course, but neither of the cases he had observed had seemed to be. As far as he knew, telepathic abilities weren't something that would be common (if they occurred at all) in Luxios and Prinplups. Regardless as to how it occurred, these cases seemed fairly rare. He had only seen the two, disregarding Psychic types, who likely were ALL telepathic to at least some degree. Poké mon themselves were a bit different from other creatures, in that they all seemed to have a full understanding of normal human languages as well as The Speech. They just couldn't speak them.
Their progress towards Oreburgh had been very slow so far. Despite the unwelcoming terrain, this seemed to be a hotbed for trainers. While Shawn appreciated the experience his team was getting, it meant they frequently had to stop and rest. He had been forced to stop at Mount Coronet too. That part of the mountain was impassable except through the warren of tunnels that ran through it.
As none of his poké mon knew the Strength move, necessary to clear the many boulders that blocked the tight passageways, he had been forced to wait until the coast was clear before doing so himself. It had been just his luck to run into a group of campers on a weekend training session in the mountain. The alternative would have been embarrassing, to wait for another trainer to come along that possessed the move, and that would have raised awkward questions as well. None of the campers had seemed to be interested in passing through the mountain, so until they had left, he had been stuck. He hadn't seen the need to waste the energy to teleport to the other side. He wasn't in that big of a rush.
Kirin's voice broke into his reverie. "Master…where exactly are you from? From what I understand, you and Cheri hadn't been together all that long before you met my sister and I. And Marty hadn't been with you too much longer before that. The way you train us though makes me think you've been doing this for a long time…"
Shawn hid his surprise at the out of the blue question. Witholding knowledge from non-wizards was of course habitual. However, he wasn't really TRYING to keep secrets from his team, none of them had ever asked before though. On the other hand, it might be unwise to burden them with all the details of his past. It was considered taboo to inform inhabitants of a universe of the existence of other universes, if they didn't already know.
"I come from somewhere…far away. Extremely far away. Wizards'my people…don't live in this region. I was sent here because we had foreknowledge of Cyrus' plan, and it is my job to stop it."
"Why did they send you by yourself? If it is so dangerous, wouldn't you want more than one of you?"
"It isn't that simple. Where I come from…you can't just hop on a boat to come here. Circumstances dictated that I had to come alone."
"I see. I take it you are one of the stronger wizards then?"
Shawn stifled a chuckle at the blunt assesment. "I suppose that I am. In regards to your other question…I've only started training poké mon recently. But I've been a wizard for ten years. I have…experience. I've been through a lot."
"Well, for what its worth, I think you're the best trainer I could ask for."
He smiled at her. "Thank you. That means a lot to me."
They walked on in silence, just enjoying each other's company. "They're all so different from each other," Shawn thought. Battles and rests aside, Kirin, Cheri, and Hina were alternating walking with him, allowing him to get to know the Eevee siblings a bit better. Marty still preferred travelling inside his ball.
Cheri was still reluctant to be inside her ball, but she had been the one to suggest it. She admitted it was only fair that the others got their turn too if they wanted it, and Shawn could hardly have a parade following him around. "Just make sure you keep a close eye on Hina if you have her out!" She had admonished. "Of course I will!" He…d replied.
The young Eevee had grown in the two weeks since the contest. She had hit one of her growth spurts, and was now talking pretty well. It still wasn't easy to carry on a conversation with her, as she would quickly get distracted by some shiny object and go dashing off to investigate. Her antics were charming, even though training her was just shy of impossible. The one-on-one interactions he had with each of his team members all had their own unique pleasure.
"Are we stopping for the night soon?"
Shawn looked up, noticing that the sun was indeed starting to get lower.
"Probably a good idea. Keep an eye out for a good spot."
Somewhere to the North"
The trainer fell to her knees in the snow, tears almost freezing against her cheeks in the frigid wind. "Please…I'll give you anything you want, just let him go…"
The stranger regarded her with his frighteningly calm gaze. "Then tell me what you know. Have you ever heard of a trainer named Shawn?"
"I…don't….Yes! Yes I have! There was a trainer by that name in a contest a couple weeks ago! I saw it on TV. Now please! Let him go!" She stretched a trembling hand towards the black, oily sphere that had enveloped her Raichu. The horrible screech he had made when it had caught him'the way his aura had dropped….
The stranger made a clenching motion with his fist, and her hands flew to her mouth as another of her poké mon's screams split the air. "What more do you want from me!"
"Where are these…contests. Did he give any indication where he was going next?"
"Hearthome! They are always in Hearthome! And he didn't do an interview, so I don't know. Now please stop!"
He snorted derisively, and clenched his fist again. There was another scream, and blood poured out of the sphere, staining the snow. She stared hollowly at the screen of her dropped poké dex, as her partner's data vanished. The black sphere shrunk away, and she fell onto her hands and knees, vomiting as she caught a glimpse of the mangled remains of her poké mon.
She heard the snow crunching under the strangers feet, and she tried to scramble backwards, slipping on the slick surface. He reached down, gently cupping her chin in his free hand, his strange sword held lightly behind him in the other. She trembled, held captive by his emotionless gaze. "It is a…weakness, of our species," he said. "To show mercy on something because it is female. I don't have that weakness. However, you have helped me. I shall make it quick."
The last thing she saw was his lips moving. The last things she heard were the strange words cutting through the howling wind. Her world exploded in a haze of red, and she knew no more.
Shawn finished setting up his tent. It didn't take long really, the magical construction appeared to be a normal tent, but with a few modifications. The pegs only had to be pushed in lightly, and would not move until he moved them. The entire thing almost set itself up as well, only requiring unfolding for the compressed supports to pop out. It was also a lot lighter than a normal tent would be.
They had already eaten, the rest of his team was lounging about the small clearing. Hina was eating solid food as well now, and was only having milk in the mornings. Cheri was a bit disappointed about this, she really seemed to enjoy feeding the little poké mon. She knew that it was necessary for her growth though.
Suddenly, there was the sound of a stick snapping. Cheri's head came up. "Shawn!"
"I know, I heard it," he said, turning towards the surrounding woods. "I'll go check it out."
"I'm coming too!"
"Alright, you go around the left side."
Shawn circled stealthily to the right, moving cautiously through the trees. It probably wasn't anything dangerous, but it didn't hurt to be careful. Suddenly, he heard a loud growl from Cheri, followed by a human yell, and the crashing of a body moving rapidly through the foliage.
Shawn rushed towards the racket, and came around a tree to find Cheri on top of another human, holding the person down with her heavy forepaws. "She tried to run away," Cheri said.
"Alright, let her up," Shawn replied.
Cheri stepped off her captive's back, allowing the human to roll over. It was April, Schrade's trainer.
She got to her feet, brushing herself off. Shawn folded his arms. "You again! Have you been following me? What do you want?"
She glared at him. "I was just minding my own business, looking for a campsite. I saw your fire. I didn't expect to be brought down by a poké mon!"
"You really expect me to believe that this is a coincidence? I thought I caught sight of you a couple of times, back before Mount Coronet. I waved it off, thinking you were just travelling in the same direction. But this…"
"Whatever. Maybe I have been following you. Regardless, can I share your campsite? It's dark, and I couldn't find anywhere else."
Shawn eyed her a moment, wondering what she was after. "I suppose so. You have to leave Dek in his ball though."
"I can agree to that. He's been acting a little funny ever since the contest. He didn't react well to your Arcanine."
"Good. Come on then."
He turned, walking back towards the clearing. Cheri walked beside him, saying softly, "Are you sure this is a good idea? She's after something…"
"I know," he whispered back. "I want to find out what that is."
Cheri growled softly. "She…d better not try anything on you. She smells like a mate stealer to me. I won't let anyone touch you who isn't strong enough!"
"I have no intention of letting her do so, even if that is what she is planning."
They stepped back into the campsite, April trailing a couple metres behind them. Kirin looked up at their return. "Who's that?"
"Team, this is April. She'll be sharing our campsite tonight."
"Hi April!" Marty piped up, waving at the other trainer.
She smiled at him. "Well, aren't you cute! At least SOME poké mon on your team are friendly."
"They all are. Cheri was just doing her job."
She sighed. "Maybe so, but being tackled isn't fun."
Shawn snorted. "Tell me about it."
Cheri couldn't resist a giggle at the inside joke. "You know you enjoy it Master…"
April glanced at him, a calculating look in her eyes at the dialogue between poké mon and trainer. She didn't say anything though, instead starting to set up her own tent. She appeared to be about his age, although she probably thought he was younger. He didn't age at the same speed as normal people anymore, and only looked about seventeen or so. Shawn sat down in front of his tent, idly playing with his poké dex and letting the silence drag on awkwardly. Cheri curled around him protectively, eyes following April.
"Why are you getting so worked up? I thought you said that male Arcanines had more than one mate?" Shawn murmured in Cheri's ear. He had never seen her display this kind of possessiveness before.
Her ears flattened. "They do, and one as strong as you should have many females! But that doesn't mean I'll let ANY wanton female share MY mate! They have to prove that they're worthy of you first, or care for you as much as I do. At least, if I have any say in the matter. You can do what you like of course…" she sounded a bit hurt at this last.
"Of course you do. Besides, I already told you that that's the last thing on my mind. We also don't even know if that's what she's after." "Many females?" he thought. This was new as well.
April had removed some field rations of her own, and was eating slowly. "You sure seem to communicate well with your poké mon."
Shawn gave a half nod, putting his arm around Cheri. "So, mind telling me why you were following me?"
She took a moment to respond, staring into the fire. "I'm curious. You see, I can communicate with my poké mon too, but I've never seen anyone do it as well as you. After the contest, Dek" told me some things. I didn't understand all of it, but from what I gather, he used to be mated to your Arcanine. Quite the coincidence. He was really angry too, which I just can't figure out. See, Arcanine females will sometimes leave their mates, if a stronger one comes along. Did you know that?"
Alarm bells began to go off in Shawn's head. "So I've heard."
She leaned forwards, a sly smile on her lips. "So, tell me…Shawn. How is it that YOU are the'stronger male?"
He kept his expression neutral. "Just what are you implying?"
She snorted. "Don't play dumb with me. I KNOW you've mated with your Arcanine. But, that's what confuses me. I look at you, and I don't see a big buff male that would attract a female of her species. So what is it about you? Dek seemed afraid of you for some reason."
Cheri growled. "And so he should be! You could tear him apart!"
Shawn ran his hand through her mane, soothing her. "So what, you think I have some kind of crazy powers or something?"
She folded her arms. "I don't know, you tell me. Dek seemed to think so."
Kirin and Marty were watching the discussion with interest. Hina was curled up beside her sister, sleeping soundly.
"Master Shawn, why don't you tell her how strong you are?" Marty asked.
"What did he say?" April asked.
"He wasn't talking to you."
"So you DID understand him! I knew it!"
"I thought that was already established."
"Maybe, but you just confirmed it." She stood up, moving around the fire towards him.
"So, not only can you talk to your poké mon, but you've successfully wooed one to bed with you, away from a very strong Arcanine male." Cheri leaped up, snarling fiercely at her. "Stay away from my mate!"
She stopped, her lips curving in a slow smile. "And that just confirmed the latter statement. Arcanine females are VERY possessive of their mates, when the other female is one they haven't taken a liking to."
"What do you want from me?"
"There's one other thing too," she continued as if he hadn't spoken. "At the contest, you put yourself down as being from Littleroot. I'm May Birch's cousin, and I called her up. She had never heard of you, and she knows everyone in that town. Where are you really from?"
"None of your business."
"I know you're hiding something Shawn, and it's not just that you've had sex with your poké mon. I don't care about that, it's obvious you aren't abusing her. I intend to find out what's so special about you. If you don't let me travel with you, I'll just keep following you anyways. I'm a fast mover, you won't lose me easily."
"And you're telling me this because…"
"Because I want us to be friends. That would be easier on both of us. I'm VERY persistent. Travelling with me will be better for you than having me dog your footsteps."
"It sounds to me like that's your spur of the moment plan. Have you forgotten that I caught you skulking in the bushes?"
"Well, sure, originally I was just trying to keep an eye on you, to see if I could figure out your secret. You discovered me first though."
Shawn sighed. …Not gonna happen," he thought. Aloud he said, "Fine, do what you want. But I'm not admitting to anything."
She smiled. "Well, you think about it. I promise I won't give away any of your secrets though. And there could be…benefits, if you tell me on your own." Cheri bared her teeth at this, and she laughed, blowing a kiss at the Arcanine. "Don't worry sweetie, I'm not making a pass at him. Yet. Good night now!" Turning, she entered her tent, zipping it up behind her.
Cheri was shaking with anger. "Schrade…deserves her! The nerve! Why didn't you just show her your power though Master? She might have left us alone then."
Shawn sighed. "Cheri…All of you. I'm sorry, I should have told you. My abilities…aren't something I want other humans to know about. I don't know who I can trust among them."
"But, why?" asked Marty.
"Because, humans tend to…fear things that they don't understand. Ghosts for example. My people are one of those things. Not all humans are like that, but enough of them are that we prefer to keep ourselves hidden."
Kirin nodded in understanding. "But for poké mon, you're just like one of us."
"Yes. Most creatures don't share the same fear of the unknown that humans have. It is a human failing, that not all of us overcome."
"So what are you going to do about her then?" Cheri asked, now mostly calmed down.
Shawn frowned. "Something that I wish I didn't have to. I'm going to have to erase some of her memory."
"You can do that?" Kirin asked.
"Yes, although I don't like it. It's very…delicate work. Something that isn't my strong suit. It has to be done though."
"If you can do it, than I agree," Cheri said. "I don't trust her at all."
He smiled. "I'm glad I have your support in the matter."
"I think that" Whatever you decide is best will be the right choice Master," Kirin said. "I don't really like her either. Even still, I know you wouldn't do anything that would hurt her."
"Thank you, and of course I wouldn't," Shawn replied, catching the reference to their earlier conversation.
Marty looked a bit worried. "Are you SURE it won't hurt her?"
"Yes, I'm sure. She just won't remember anything about me."
Marty's concerned expression melted away. "Okay then! I know you'll be able to do it Master!"
"Alright then team. You might as well go ahead and get some sleep. There's nothing you can do to help me with this."
They all gave nods of affirmation, Cheri getting up and padding into the tent, which she shared with Shawn. Kirin chose to curl around the already sleeping Hina, and Marty returned to his ball as usual. Kirin and Hina could have fit into the tent as well, but usually preferred to sleep just outside.
Shawn waited for awhile longer, staring off into the distance and fiddling with his poké dex, before pulling out his spell manual. He flipped through it to the pair of spells he would need. He spoke the words for the first one, getting it ready to go. He acutely felt the sensation of the whole world leaning in to listen, the complete silence of the night amplifying the effect.
Standing up, he moved silently over to April's tent. He paused, listening closely. He could hear her breathing softly, but he couldn't tell if she was asleep or not. Steeling himself, he unzipped the tent as quietly as he could. He stepped inside, silhouetted briefly against the entrance. He could see her lying on her back, taking up most of the small tent. He was thankful that she was fully clothed at least, one less thing to explain in the morning.
He leaned over her, stretching his hand out, when suddenly, her eyes popped open.
"What are you doing?" she said. "Benefits don't come until you tell me what I want to know."
"I'm sorry for this," he said, causing her eyes to widen slightly. He touched her lightly on the forehead. "Sleep," he spoke the release word for the spell. Immediately, her eyelids drooped, and he could see her fighting the sudden drowsiness. "What…did…" she managed to say, before collapsing back into unconsciousness.
He drew his hand across his forehead, sitting down cross legged behind her slumbering form. …Well, there's step one. Now for the hard part."
He drew a little bit of Light energy, illuminating the pages of his manual as he began reading off the memory alteration spell.
As he spoke the last phrase, moving images began to appear over her head. Some were wavery, indistinct. Others were as sharp as if they were happening right then. He waved away the blurrier ones. Those were older memories. He pulled at one that was perfectly clear, an image of himself, sitting with Cheri. He tugged the corners, and it ballooned out to the size of a TV screen, their entire conversation replaying in front of him in perfect detail.
"God I miss you Nina," he thought. "You were always better at this sort of thing. You could have left a person without half their childhood and they wouldn't notice it." He could almost hear her whispering into his ear, trying to explain the intricacies of spells like this one. Healing too, she had been far more skilled at. He usually just compensated for his lack of healing finesse by using more power than was necessary. She had eventually despaired at refining his heavy handed methods, but she had at least showed him how to separate memories into smaller chunks.
Gritting his teeth, he grabbed the edges of the memory, then pulled it apart sharply. It tore in half, the entire thing fading into the air, gone forever. He continued to sort through her recollections, finding any that contained him and destroying them. He got rid of the contest memory too. That had been when she had had her first suspicions.
"Now, just to find the one where Schrade tells her about me."
He looked carefully through the recent memories, pulling out three likely candidates.
The first was one of her and Schrade before the contest, after Cheri had talked to Schrade. He had already gotten rid of that part. He expanded the memory, allowing it to play out in front of him.
"What was that all about Dek?"
"Arc, aaarrcane, former mate canine arc. Her trainer!"
It appeared that April's understanding of her poké mon was only partial. The memory of his speech was garbled from her viewpoint and untranslatable.
"You said before that you knew her, but why did you get so mad?"
"She arcane me! Canine human isn't arc strong enough arcanine arc! She can't arc me with him!"
Shawn pushed the memory back, silencing it. Then destroyed it as well. He couldn't afford to let her keep any memories that referenced him. He pulled up the second one, apparently after the contest, at the poké centre.
"You did great Dek, I don't care about stupid ribbons anyway,"
"I'm arc April. I arc arcanine by arc other human."
"Don't worry about it. And…Dek, what's wrong?"
"Nothing arc. He arcanine and arc canine. I arrrc arc he was stronger."
"Stronger? That guy? He didn't look like much to me. He seems like a pretty talented trainer though."
"I know, arcanine arc still is stronger."
She leaned down and hugged him. "Silly puppy! You're strong enough for me! You shouldn't be scared of other trainers! Even if they have captured your former mate."
She laughed. "Silly! I know you too well already! And you know you can talk to me about anything that's bothering you."
Shawn tore the memory, a bit sad that she wouldn't recall the friendly interaction with her poké mon. Just one more.
This one appeared to be later on that same night. She appeared to be lying in bed, and he was standing over her. "Dek? Are you okay?"
"Arc April…arcanine arrc arc wake you."
"It's okay, something is still bothering you isn't it?"
"April arc….arcanine. Arc former mate canine" Arrc her. And arcane arc and Arica."
"Dek…are you feeling lonely?"
"Yes…arc arcanine arrc…you."
His breathing was heavy, and he was pressing his body in close to hers.
"Dek? It's alright, we can find a breeder if you are feeling the need for company."
"Arrrrc April…arc canine I was arcane enough. Arrrcanine you."
"Sweetie, can we talk about this in the morning? I'm sorry, but we can't go to a breeder RIGHT NOW."
"Arrc! Former mate arrc canine human! Arrcanine!"
"Okay, first thing in the morning. I promise!"
He growled in frustration. "April...aaaarcccc arc mate cani arcanine.... you."
The memory ended as April apparently rolled over and went back to sleep. Shawn contemplated for a moment. "So, Schrade made a pass at his trainer? Interesting. I was wondering if I would have to wipe his memory too, but…it looks like he has something else to occupy him now. Chances are, it won't come up again. His attitude seems to have really changed after our encounter. She didn't seem to realize just what he was saying though." He had been referenced in this memory, but it had been extremely obscure. He didn't want to destroy this memory, for her sake, and eventually decided not to. He doubted that this one memory pointed to him enough for her to cause more trouble.
He checked out a few more, finding no more references to himself. With a weary sigh, he released the spell, allowing the remaining memories to drift back into her head. Even though this kind of thing didn't take much power, it was still taxing because of the concentration involved. Shawn made his way back to his own tent.
Cheri's head came up as he entered, her eyes gleaming in the darkness. "Did you do it?"
"Yes, in the morning, she won't remember anything about me."
"Good, she doesn't deserve to. She doesn't care for you at all! And she has no strength to offer you."
Shawn stripped out of his shirt and pants, pulling a blanket around himself as he laid down next to his Arcanine.
"You were serious about me having more than one mate?"
"Absolutely! If you were an Arcanine, it would be shameful for one of your strength to have just one. Not just any female though! One who recognizes your strength, and will stand by you."
He sighed. "Cheri…humans don't work like that."
"You're hardly an ordinary human Master."
"See?" She said, as if her point had been made. "Now Schrade, she's perfect for."
He chuckled amusedly. "I think he's already working on that."
"What do you mean?"
"In one of her memories, Schrade was…courting her. She didn't realize it though."
Cheri laughed, a throaty rumble. "Ha! I told you they deserved each other! I…d actually enjoy watching that'that Seviper! Being dominated by him."
"You're not self-conscious about anything, are you?"
"Why should I be? And that's one of the reasons you love me!"
He sighed resignedly, giving her a kiss on the nose. "Yes, I suppose it is."
She licked him happily, curling around him. It wasn't long before he himself was asleep, pressing against Cheri's warm body.