Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. Nintendo; the Pokémon Company; Creatures; GAME FREAK; TV Tokyo; ShoPro; Jr. Kikaku; Shogakukan Production Co, Ltd.; Satoshi Tajiri; and Ken Sugimori are the companies and creators that own the franchise. As such, I'm not earning any money from this story. I'm just having fun playing with their characters.
Story Warning: There is profane language and graphic violence and sex in this story. As such, it is intended for mature audiences only. Specific trigger warnings will be mentioned at the headers of the relevant chapters.
CHAPTER 1: DARK ANGEL
"Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a Joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, To the Moon.
Through a frosty window of a ranger's cabin, a humanoid creature gazed out at the forest outside, a hand on the cool glass pane. Beneath the frigid wind, the barren branches of the trees, thrusting heavenwards like bony arms, entangled their ashen fingers together as they swayed. Above them dense clouds churned, and snow drifted and settled in pristine dunes. Upon occasion, the wind would stir up small flurries of opal dust, and as he watched, he caught a glimpse of the moon between the clouds. For a moment the world was bathed in a ghostly, almost holy glow…before, once again, the scene was plunged into darkness. Yet even in the shadows, the winter world was glorious, for it held all the clarity and frailty of the purest glass, awaiting a mere glimmer of light to bring forth its fierce beauty.
However, the beauty of this place was not limited to what spanned beyond the glass. There was beauty within the cabin as well.
Turning to face the blaze in the fireplace, the creature's eyes came to rest on the blankets strewn a meter from it. The dim and flickering light revealed the form of a young woman sleeping under one soundly, her black hair falling over her shoulders and onto the material behind her. Her clothes lay scattered around her, some having been removed hastily at an earlier hour of the twilight. The male, remembering the moments when they'd been shed, crossed over to her and sat down beside her. Her arms, he noted, were curled close to her breasts, which were concealed by the blanket covering most of her person. Her calves and feet, however, were exposed, and the creature quickly remedied this, not wishing for her to be cold, despite the fire burning nearby.
Afterwards, he brushed his fingertips across her upper back, and watched her stir as a result. She seemed to tense for a moment, as if bracing for something unpleasant…but then the tension eased, as if she knew who was touching her. At this, the corners of his lips tucked upwards in a small, rare smile, and his amethyst eyes softened with affection. Contentment warmed him as he recalled the night's events and those of the last several weeks. Even some memories from years prior surfaced in his mind, of how it had all begun and where it had led. Despite the struggles they had known during those times, he could not be more pleased with the outcome: he finally had his angel…his dear, dark angel….
And yet…what would happen to them now? They had defied so many people so, had crossed so many lines, all so that this could occur... As sudden weariness suffused him, he closed his eyes, attempting to will away such heavy thoughts. Yet despite his efforts, they seized his mind…unbidden by him, Mewtwo.
Giovanni Maki - referred to as "The Signore" in his organization - had never been the type of man who accepted defeat. Some even referred to him as a croconaw who, once biting down on something, would not release it until he'd finished with it. This behavior was especially evident when someone did manage to beat him, for far more often than not, that victor would soon go "missing" after his or her success. As far as the leader was concerned, if he could not succeed in his original goals, he would eliminate the ones who opposed him entirely, if only to make it clear who was truly stronger.
On this night, that exact scenario drove him to visit the Team Rocket dormitories. His right hand, Agent 009, codenamed "Domino," trailed behind him silently, wrinkling her nose at their surroundings. He could understand her disgust well, for he also never came here if he could help it, despite it being where a majority of his underlings lived. In most cases, he would have summoned the one they were visiting to his office instead, which was, on the whole, much better tended to than this facility. However, for this particular mission, he felt he should make an exception.
The duo soon halted at Unit 150, and Giovanni rapped his knuckles on the door to announce their arrival. After a few moments, during which the bellows from shouting matches from the floor overhead were all they heard, the door before them opened a hand's width. Although the hallway was dimly lit, since a number of the lights above them were spent, the fragile illumination managed to reveal the young woman of the apartment, who was clad in only a towel. However, she didn't flush upon her superiors seeing her so exposed, but instead opened the door further.
"May we come in, Agent Merlo?" Giovanni asked, noting how she didn't step away from the doorway to let them in to her home.
The woman, nearing her twentieth year of age, nodded. "If you'd like."
As the visitors crossed into the apartment, the door "snicked" shut behind them, and lavender and ebony irises analyzed the space. Across from the entranceway was an open kitchen: the refrigerator set into the far corner, the counters extending on either side of the stove and the sink, the cupboards placed both above and below the glossy surface, a microwave and other appliances planted into the other corner. Beside this culinary area was a walled-off bathroom, the door slightly ajar. Glancing to their left, they noted a closed closet, and to their right, over the stomach-high wall divider, was the woman's bed, the covers of which were mussed. Finally, in the center of the domain stood a faux bois table, bare of flower vases or used dishes (as far as the first went, the agent had little use for flora, and concerning the latter, the apartment lacked them). The only source of untidiness in the dorm lay in the clothes strewn over the carpet, and considering these, Ms. Merlo turned to the duo and warned them to watch their step. "I doubt either of you would enjoy having a foot sliced open," she said, referring to the blades discarded along with the clothes, and without another word, she crossed barefoot over to the bathroom, intending to get dressed.
Giovanni and his right-hand agent, keeping a wary eye on where they tread, managed to reach the table and its vacant chairs intact. Once they sat down and began to wait for the woman to make herself decent, Domino attempted to relieve her building boredom and distaste for being in the other Team Rocket agent's home by amusing herself by counting the number of cracks in the crème-colored paint of its walls and ceiling. As her lavender eyes swept over the bed, she gave an involuntary start when she saw a pair of red irises peering at her from beneath the blankets. A shiver crawled up her spine as the eyes narrowed, and only when the bathroom door swung open did the blonde find relief from the crimson gaze. The other agent effectively ended the staring contest with her entrance, and Domino noted with some annoyance the casual garb she now wore: a pair of jeans and a charcoal-gray sweater lacking the crimson "R" insignia of the gang. Before the Signore, all other members of the organization were supposed to shown their allegiance to Team Rocket through wearing their uniforms. Yet this woman, Agent 009 mused to herself sourly, was exempt from this policy.
"Is there something you'd like to drink?" their host asked the blonde, her light grey eyes calm, yet guarded. She already knew what their leader would prefer to drink, and set to making a pot of the black brew for him.
"Do you have any soda?" Domino's query, honeyed with a mock sweetness, made her displeasure in being there quite evident. Her superior chastised her with a glare, but it was an unnecessary gesture. The other woman didn't notice her tone, or else simply didn't care.
"I'm afraid not," the other agent replied. "I do have coffee and tea, though. Would either of those interest you?"
Reluctantly, Domino replied that coffee would be fine, though inwardly wondered if the woman was on a hiatus from sugar. The notion was unfathomable to the teenager, for while she usually only consumed health foods and beverages, she couldn't bring herself to give up carbonated drinks and sweets on occasion. As if sensing where her thoughts were roaming, the older female, her black hair still wet and dripping from her shower, reached up into a cupboard and tossed a package towards the girl. Catching it deftly, Agent 009 found it to be a small bag of lemon cookies. Staring at it in shock, she wondered, was the other agent, in fact, human…?
"Shadow likes to horde those, but I'm certain he won't mind you having some."
Perhaps not, Domino thought as she opened the package and popped the first cookie into her mouth.
During this time, Giovanni was firmly employing the virtue of patience as he waited for the two girls to finish their exchange. After years of coping with the one-sided rivalry, he was inured to the verbal barbs, and taking a sip of the bitter, black coffee from the mug Ms. Merlo soon handed him to him, he even found some amusement at the expression of disgust that crossed Domino's face as she drank from hers. Yet she, he knew, would need the caffeine to last her through what she perceived to be an aggravating ordeal: the discussion of Ms. Merlo's next mission. By this point, their hostess had divined the reason for their visit, the manila folder that her superior had placed on the table being the giveaway. She had another assignment, and that fact neither delighted nor dismayed her (although she was certain others might have reacted in such ways). She merely sat down with the duo and silently drank from the cup of steaming mint tea she'd prepared for herself. Unlike her fellows, she'd never fallen into the contemporary cult of coffee-drinkers, since she didn't enjoy its taste or its aftereffects, the potential insomnia and the yellowing of the teeth. Yet she also understood she couldn't boast having any better taste, given that - although she could never remember how she had picked up the habit in the first place - she drank tea, which was an even blander drink.
Setting her drink down, she reluctantly broke the silence between them. "So, who would you like me to kill for you this time?"
Domino nearly choked from the woman's lack of tact. As an agent who often participated in undercover operations, she considered subtly essential, yet Agent Merlo, it seemed, did not partake in the same belief.
Their boss, however, was not perturbed by this. "Not 'who,' but rather what," he said, sliding the folder to the inquirer.
Ms. Merlo raised a thin, dark eyebrow at that as she opened the file. "The creature I would like you to hunt down is known as Mewtwo. One of my recruits into our genetics department, a man by the name of Dr. Fuji, created it for my use. However, it's managed to rebel and escape from our control…twice," the crime lord explained, his tone conveying his bitterness at the knowledge.
In the year after the incident on Mt. Quena, the Japanese-Italian man recalled sullenly, he'd found stories of a mysterious feline – or rather, rumors recounted by his contacts on the northern Atlantic coast - to be rather unsettling. The informants in the western superpower had described the creature as a bipedal feline with a violet-hued pelt, its features borderline demonic while its movements were graceful. Supposedly, it could sometimes be spotted soaring through the nation's largest city on moonlit nights, and because even levitation was a difficult feat for most psychic pokémon to achieve (they'd concluded that to be its element), the unidentified, rare pokémon was assumed to be of high level, and so of interest to Giovanni. And after the crime lord received the shadowy, distant snapshots of the creature, the lure of familiarity had inclined him to agree. However, he initially declined pursuing the oddity, for he'd possessed more important matters to concern himself with. He'd allowed it to fester in the back of his mind until, finally, the feeling of déjà-vu had been too insistent to ignore.
Following his instincts, he begun investigating entity, and soon (and rather reluctantly, because he didn't believe in the credibility of such procedures,) he'd found himself in hypnotic therapy to find the answers he sought. And he'd certainly found them: entire banks of memory that had been hidden by Mewtwo's amnesia-inducing skills were suddenly accessible to him again. Telepaths, after all, could not fully erase memories; they can only repress those memories with varying success, the energy spent and the skill employed during the "wipe" being large factors in determining how easy or difficult remembrance is to obtain. The trainer Ash Ketchum, when faced with the tortured replica in Purity Canyon, had almost overcome the barrier once erected in his mind to conceal the events on New Island. However, he hadn't accomplished this (even though that incident would no longer be a secret when his companions and he had left), but with the aid of an external source, Giovanni Maki of Team Rocket, whose remembrance of the clone would prove far more dangerous, had.
Confirming what the hypnosis had uncovered in his brain, Giovanni had found the confidential files he had kept on the Lazarus Project: the documents verified his dreamlike recollections, and offered him proof that the artificial legendary was not to be trifled with. Doubtlessly if he attempted to ensnare the creature again, it would manage to slip away, and so his desires regarding its fate had shifted. He was determined that he would not be made a fool of again…!
Breaking him from his thoughts, Agent Merlo corrected her superior. "He."
The crime lord narrowed his eye in puzzlement. "Pardon?"
Light grey eyes glanced at him from the papers. "'He' - the medical records in this file state that Mewtwo is male."
Her superior was taken aback by this declaration. Why was this relevant to her? "That may be so," he conceded, "but that creature is an artificial life form. While it may possess qualities similar to those of an actual being, it's not one. Hence, it requires no engenderment."
For a moment, he thought he saw her eyes flash at that…yet perhaps he was mistaken, for she dismissed the matter and moved on to a different topic. "Why exactly do you want him to be killed, though? From this, I see no reason why it would be necessary."
She keeps calling "it" a "he," Giovanni noticed, but he answered her question nonetheless. "Mewtwo is an extremely volatile creature who would rather perish than serve me. Given that it won't obey my commands, I find I have no use for it. However, I wouldn't see the power it represents fall in another's hands," he said, contemplating the challenges that could be raised by other shadow organizations, or even by the government itself if Mewtwo joined forces with them in a belated attempt at revenge. Not that either possibility was likely, but if there was even the slightest chance it could occur, then it posed a threat that must be dealt with accordingly.
Accepting his reasoning, the young woman nodded and took another sip of her tea. After she had set her drink back down, she then asked the one question Giovanni had anticipated, but nonetheless loathed hearing from her. "But why select me to hunt him down?"
When he didn't answer, she glanced at Domino, who was enjoying the last cookie from the pack. "From what this reads, Agent 009 has experience dealing with him, and if I recall correctly, she also has a variety of high-level dark pokémon at her disposal. It would seem more practical to send her on this mission. After all, this isn't a human target, and pokémon usually fall into her area of expertise."
She ignored the glare that the blonde woman directed at her in response. "Agent 009 has turned this mission down, and given that she was among the victims of Mewtwo's amnesia attack, you should be able to understand why. Besides, with your abilities, you're probably the only member of this organization capable of completing the task."
The females near him had very different reactions to this unintended compliment: Domino expressed her annoyance with an unflattering scowl, while Ms. Merlo seemed oblivious to the flattery, or merely regarded the comment as a statement of fact. For he was correct - she did possess skills which others lacked, and had endured years of intensive training to master them. Perhaps he had made the right decision in approaching her with this task….
"So, will you accept, Agent Merlo?" Giovanni asked. Further discussion was unnecessary, as everything the woman needed to know lay in the folder he'd given her, including the proposed location of the clone.
Contemplating the matter for a moment, Ms. Merlo soon nodded. "I see no reason to decline. I'll do what you request."
Giovanni's mouth lifted in a small, triumphant smile at her answer. "I'm glad to hear it." Then, glancing at Domino and seeing that she'd finished her coffee, he said, "009, if you would wait outside for a few minutes? I have a personal matter to discuss with Ms. Merlo."
Her irritation spiking, Domino nonetheless smothered it and said, "Sure thing, boss," and then left, shutting the door with more force than necessary as she went. Her superior decided to ignore the impoliteness, for he understood why her temper was so apt to ignite - she'd always found the young woman before him repulsive for a number of reasons. Agent Merlo, after all, behaved in ways that defied Domino's understanding, as well as had a unique relationship with Giovanni. Additionally, no other agent in Team Rocket was closer to Domino in power and influence, and this made his second-in-command wary that, someday, the left hand of the organization might reach up to drag her from her lofty perch. That possibility was slim at best, for Ms. Merlo had never shown any interest in obtaining control over factions of the gang and using them to usurp the blonde from her position. Yet despite this, Domino's paranoia remained, and no amount of proof concerning Ms. Merlo's disinterest could sway her to yield her fears. Knowing the details of the situation he intended to discuss with the woman certainly didn't help in reassuring her, and in this subject, Agent Merlo actually shared the teenager's dread. Indeed, as seconds passed in silence, she seemed to coil with tension, and in a futile attempt to escape the impending conversation, she took the empty mugs from the table and went to wash them in the sink. She ignored Giovanni's fixated stare, not allowing his eyes to catch hers.
However, Giovanni would not leave without discussing the matter.
"Cassandra," he said her name, his tone one of warning as he dropped the formalities between them.
She didn't turn to face him, instead snarling, "I don't want to talk about him!"
Inwardly, the crime lord growled. They'd argued repeatedly about this matter for months, and from her current reaction, it seemed she hadn't budged a centimeter from her original standpoint. "Cassandra, Zachariah's offer is perfectly reasonable! You should seriously consider accepting–."
"Excuse me if I don't find the idea of marrying a man who's more interested in my body than me appealing!" she snapped, her usual emotionless mask falling away. How she hated this argument…!
Giovanni closed his eyes momentarily and sighed. "The incident at the dinner party was quite some time ago."
"Like hell it was! That little reception was only five months ago, and that was the first time I even met him! I'm sorry to disappoint you, Giovanni, but I refuse to be engaged with someone who thinks my greatest value will be found in his bed! If he wants some of those thrills, he can hire expensive whores like you do," she spat, leveling a scorching glare at him.
Her superior resisted the urge to flinch from the heat in her words. He would have severely punished anyone else who dared use his or her knowledge of his private life as an insult, but with her, he merely said, "That was rather uncalled for, my dear."
She sniped back at him, "Don't you 'my dear' me. It's true, and he has just as much access to the brothels as you do. Is he even aware of my-?"
"After you met, he became quite interested in you and read your files. So yes, he is well aware of your unique attributes."
Cassandra Merlo could find no response to that, and so they fell into uneasy silence. During those moments, Giovanni gazed around the apartment once more, noting the ridges on the walls that marked where blocks of plaster had been set to fill in once damaged areas. Fights has been waged within this little apartment, some far bloodier than others, and he couldn't help but disapprove of the condition of the place. Yet what annoyed him more than that condition was the idea that his personal assassin was living here. No matter how he'd suggested she move into finer, more spacious quarters like Domino and the other members of the Team Rocket Elite had, she'd stubbornly refused…just as she was with accepting Zachariah's proposal.
"I simply can't understand why you won't accept," he said, breaking the quiet that had formed. "Even if my nephew wishes to have you for your beauty, do you believe that will be different with anyone else? You've committed countless murders in my name, so finding someone who will embrace you fully is unlikely at best. You'd do well to be bound to someone who will at least accept you as a woman, and who will provide you with a political advantage in this organization. As my heir, he will someday inherit Team Rocket when my reign is complete, and binding you to him seems the most logical move available to us. Not only would you be able to defend him when he's in danger, but in the event that something does happen to him, you'd be the first in line to carry on my legacy. Considering the extent of your training, you may be the most suitable candidate for handling the burden, and only your different blood excludes you from the running. If you marry into my family, that will no longer be a problem. You will be my kin, and I find that idea rather appealing."
Once more, his words met no response. Trying again, Giovanni used shockingly gentle voice for a criminal leader who had been responsible for a number of heinous crimes during his lifetime. "I'm also concerned for you. You've been doing my bidding since you were ten, and in the last few years, your missions have been all that have mattered to you. Sooner or later, I'm certain you'll crash." Then, destroying what might have been an honest sign that he could truly care for another being, he said, "And I can't have that. You're an important part of Team Rocket, too important for me to lose. I can scarcely recall the last time you relaxed-."
She shot him a cold look. "That's because I haven't."
"Which is precisely what I mean!" he growled. "It's unnatural for you to continue pushing yourself as you are. You need a change of pace, and I think this would be a good way of doing so. Besides…you did sign an agreement with me on this matter, Cassandra. You may be regretting that choice now, but you did agree to be matched with whoever I thought was suitable, and I think Zachariah would be-."
The agent bristled and turned back to him. "I was sixteen, Giovanni! I signed that stupid thing when I was sixteen and out of my fucking mind, in return for 'certain favors' from you, whatever the hell that meant. Care to enlighten me on what those were? Because I sure as hell don't remember you doing shit for me back then! So I don't see why I should be held accountable for that when you never-."
"But I did, Cassandra," he said in a low, stern voice, his eyes clouding with an unpleasant memory. "I did exactly what you wanted me to back then, at the expense of some very valuable and irreplaceable resources-."
Still she tried to argue with him, her voice gaining an edge of desperation as she hissed, "What part of 'I was out of my fucking mind back then' do you not under-?"
Giovanni had had enough of this. "Argue all you want, but you did sign that document, and it remains valid regardless of your mental state at the time. You agreed that you'd accept the suitor I wished you to be with, and I happen to think that my nephew is right: he'd be a suitable match for you. So you will accept his offer, Cassandra – I'm going to hold you to your word on that."
She looked as if she wanted to lash out at him in rebellion, but seeing that he wasn't going to be backing down, her shoulders sank…and she reluctantly nodded and spat, "Fine. Whatever. Do whatever the fuck you want." He obviously had his mind made up, and having been raised by him, she knew how stubborn he could be. He would just continuing confronting her over the matter – waving that goddamned legal and binding document in her face – until she folded under the pressure. That he'd allowed her to evade and resist him for this long had been a mere courtesy on his part, and one which he wouldn't have offered to anyone else. She tried comforting herself with that thought, along with the thought that the points Giovanni had made did have some merit. So long as her godfather understood she'd never sleep with his nephew and give him grandnephews and –nieces, there would be no further issues. Maybe...
For her superior, her surrender was somewhat surprising; after all, he hadn't been expecting her to change her tune after four months. But he supposed every creature had their limit, and now that he'd managed to make her reach hers, he felt satisfaction and relief course through him. Determined to keep the upper hand, he pressed on, "When you return from your mission, we'll begin preparing for your wedding. Perhaps you should consider what flowers and music you'd prefer while you're completing your mission?" He nearly chuckled at the absolutely disgusted expression she gave him then.
What he didn't know was that Cassandra has already picked out the flowers and music: striped and yellow carnations (maybe with some rhododendrons for good measure) and a funeral dirge. Hell, maybe she'd ask Mewtwo to be merciful and put her out of her misery; death couldn't possibly be any worse than what now awaited her when she returned. She took a perverse sort of pleasure in the thought that if Zachariah tried anything, she could always castrate him and make a few "mistakes" while she was at it. Maybe slicing into his bowels and causing him to poison himself would be entertaining to watch. Rubbing her temples at the thought, she cursed under her breath, and noting her mood, her godfather stood and said, "As for the mission itself, your plane will leave at eight hundred hours tomorrow, so be prepared to depart an hour prior. Your supplies will be sent ahead of you and transferred in the usual manner, so have them ready by then as well."
Cassandra acknowledged his words with a nod, and with that gesture, Giovanni Maki let himself out. Glancing at the folder on her table, she sighed and realized she couldn't dwell on what would happen if she managed to kill the clone. She had to focus her mind on her mission now and nothing else. Hours later, she could be seen doing precisely that, having sat down at the table to begin the process of reading through the documents concerning the entity known as "Mewtwo." Among these files was the creature's history, which she read with interest:
Twenty-five years ago, when Team Rocket was still under the leadership of the late Madame Maki (Signore Giovanni Maki's mother), her second-in-command, Agent Miyamoto, was charged with the mission of finding the legendary phantom pokémon, mew. Believed to reside in the Andes Mountain Range, this creature was supposedly the rarest and most powerful pokémon in existence, and so desirable for the purposes of the organization. However, Agent Miyamoto never succeeded in her mission, nor ever returned to Kanto - the radio transmissions she sent ceased within months, which has led investigators to believe she perished in her quest to locate the phantom. Within the next five years, Signore Maki inherited Team Rocket and began the hunt anew. This search uncovered an excellently preserved remnant of a deceased mew: a fossilized eyebrow with the roots intact. From the desire to have the mythical, yet supposedly extinct creature, Signore Maki hired the leading scientist in the field of cloning, Dr. Johnathan Fuji, to create a new creature from these genetic remains.
An older gentleman, Dr. Fuji accepted the challenge in the hope that through it, he could learn the secret to restoring the life of his deceased and only child, Amber Fuji. The little girl, only eight years of age, had been killed in a car accident some years prior, and through cloning he intended to resurrect her. This desire had the adverse effect of driving his wife away, and perceiving that he'd nothing left to lose, he accepted Signore Maki's offer, despite knowing that the man was the leader of a criminal organization. The funding and the latest equipment, after all, significantly improved the chances of bringing Amber back to life. Before this, he'd spent a decade on his own experiments, during which he and his employees succeeded in creating an enhanced bulbasaur, squirtle, and charmander, and a clone of his daughter as well. Upon accepting Signore Maki's offer, he then began to create the clone of mew as well. Because the creature had not been seen in several centuries, this process involved much guesswork, and some modifications were implemented to make the clone stronger. After a month of laboring, Dr. Fuji and his colleagues succeeded in making the infant, and named it Mewtwo.
When the clone was only a few months old, the unexpected occurred: Ambertwo, as she was called, contacted the feline through telepathy and began to communicate with it. The other clones, Bulbasaurtwo, Squirtletwo, and Charmandertwo, soon joined in, and they continued to communicate until they began to disintegrate in their cultivation tanks some time later. Ambertwo, being a human clone and thus considerably weaker, died soon after them. Only Mewtwo survived through this crisis period, and from the distress discerned from its erratic brainwaves, the geneticists hypothesized that the children - especially the girl and the kitten - had been quite close. Yet Mewtwo, soon sedated, would be forced to forget this experience to preserve the safety of the facility and its inhabitants, who were otherwise vulnerable to its psychical powers. While some considered the experiment to be a failure, the being Signore Maki had invested so much money clung to life, albeit alone and highly sedated throughout the next several months as it matured to adulthood. When it awoke, however, it lashed out violently, destroying the laboratory and killing its creators. Unlike them, Signore Maki managed to bring Mewtwo to his side despite its uncontrollable temper, and in the year that followed, the clone fought in the Viridian City Gym under his command.
However, after that year the creature lashed out again, breaking free of the restraining armor that had been carefully suppressing its power. It destroyed the original Team Rocket Viridian Laboratories, and nearly killed Signore Maki in the process. In the upcoming year, during which Signore Maki and his second-in-command, Agent 009 - also known as "Domino" or the "Black Tulip" - searched for the creature, what Mewtwo did remained unknown. Eventually its hideaway in Purity Canyon, a vast, natural landmark in the Jhoto region, was discovered. It was soon also found that Mewtwo had created other clone pokémon like itself, undoubtedly to comfort any loneliness it might experience. After being used as bait to lure Mewtwo into being restrained by capture drones, these additional clones would have been utilized in genetic experimentations had the original plan succeeded.
Had such events unfolded favorably, Mewtwo, under Signore Maki's control, would have eventually led a clone pokémon army to dominate the rest of the world. However, a group of trainers intervened, managing, despite the odds, to fight back Signore Maki's forces. This battle went on long enough for one of them to drag Mewtwo (whom had been weakened, almost to the point of death, by the machines used to contain it) to the healing spring of Mt. Quena. From drinking its waters, the creature's strength was restored, and to defend Mt. Quena (for it was to be used as a new laboratory base), the clone moved the spring and the lake of Purity Canyon, as well as its companions and itself, to an unknown location. Afterwards, Mewtwo erased the memories of its existence - and the subjects related to it - from the minds of the Team Rocket black operations unit used to capture it. This amnesia spell also included Giovanni Maki and Agent 009, who later overcame the effects of the attack and reclaimed their memories of these events….
Finishing the synopsis, Cassandra suppressed the unsettled emotions that had arisen within her at what she had read. She allowed only one thought to surface in her mind, and that was wonderment at the realization that she'd never been introduced to this creature. Usually she was among the first to meet new agents of power, but in this case, his entire existence had been hidden from her. She supposed this could be due to the clone being viewed as a weapon rather than a person, but all the same, it was odd. Dismissing it with a sigh, she turned her attention from his history to his medical and anatomical records, his personality assessment, and other such files. Sipping another cup of ocha, she didn't notice the ebony- and golden-furred fox that approached her feet. When he leapt up and settled on her lap, however, she smiled and looked down on him fondly. As she scratched him behind the ears, he leaned into her touch, closing his ruby eyes and purring.
"Good evening, Shadow. It seems I have another mission," she said to him, although she was certain he has guessed as much.
"Umbre," was the response. He bared his fangs to make his opinion of her so-called occupation even clearer.
"You shouldn't worry so much about me. You know I'm more than capable of handling whatever that man throws at me."
He opened his eyes just enough to gaze at her sourly. "Breon," he rumbled.
She chuckled quietly. "Yes, I know you don't approve of Giovanni…or Domino, for that matter. You gave her quite a scare earlier, by the way."
Her umbreon's laugh resembled stones being ground together. Cassandra stroked him down the spine at that, lavishing him with some of her hard to come by affection. The dark fox was perhaps the only creature on Earth that had a chance at understanding her, for only he knew the tenderness that lay in the core of her hardened heart. In truth, he was her only companion, though one who'd possessed little choice in the matter. He'd been given to her as a gift in her sixteenth year, a runt of an eevee at the time, but through their bond, he'd eventually evolved into predator of the night, just as his mistress was. As strange as his company had been to her at first, the young woman was now grateful for his presence, for without the pokémon she would have likely lost her sanity at some point during the last three years….
When she completed the study of her prey, she stood, causing the umbreon to fall from her lap. Although startled, the fox nonetheless landed on his paws, and watched as his mistress began to prepare for her mission: she pulled from under her bed a familiar black case, lined inside with velvet, and went over to the closet and threw open its doors. Lining the shelves were weapons of all sorts, along with vials of powdered drugs and tablets for the purpose of accomplishing captures for the interrogations sometimes set before she completed the assigned assassinations. Contemplating what she'd learned about her current target, and the specifics her godfather had requested for killing it, she drew her twin tantō blades, forged from Damascus steel, and set them on her pack. Having long since memorized the upcoming procedure, Shadow turned his eyes away and jumped up on the table. As his eyes roamed the spread out files, they settled on the picture of the creature Cassandra was to slay….
…And his tail twitched in response, for a reason known only to him.
When he turned back to face his mistress, he found her packing her clothes and other necessary supplies for the journey. Concerned that she might forget one of the most essential items, he padded over to the bathroom and leapt onto the counter within. Leaning upwards, he nuzzled the medicine cabinet door open and grabbed one of the prescription bottles in his mouth. Glancing once into the cracked mirror, he offered a prayer for the woman's safety on her mission, and then descended, carrying the medicine to the one he the he'd vowed to protect….
By noon the following day, Ms. Merlo was aboard the airplane traveling towards the grandest city of the west. On this day, the sky was overcast and rainy, yet despite the dismal weather, a flock of pelipper escorted the flight out onto the wide, steel-colored ocean of the Pacific. Gazing at the seabirds wistfully, the Team Rocket agent felt a dull ache spread between her shoulder blades, and on impulse tugged at the choker she always wore around her neck. When this motion resulted in stinging pain, her hand fell, and she grimaced at how she'd forgotten….
"Miss, would you like something off the cart?"
As the flight attendant spoke, the young woman refocused on reality, and processing the inquiry, she turned down the offer with a soft "no thank you." Once the woman had moved on to other passengers, however, Cassandra was again disturbed. She soon felt her hair being tugged at from behind, and turning around, she found a small boy with messy black hair staring at her. His mother was slumped in the seat beside him, seemingly asleep, and not wanting to wake her, he whispered, "Have you ever been on a plane before?"
Bemused by his curiosity, she replied, "Yes, I have. Many times, in fact." Although, she thought to add, the length of this particular flight was new to her. Usually her missions remained within the Union of Japanese Isles, the intergovernmental league of countries and kingdoms – including her homeland of Kanto - that made up the archipelago of the eastern sea. As such, her trips usually clocked at under three hours, but since she would be crossing both an ocean and continent, this meant a considerably longer trip than she was used to.
Ten hours longer, in fact – and she still had the jet lag to look forward to. Although she'd left Viridian City in the morning, with her destination on the other side of the world, the metropolis would just be greeting the dawn as she arrived. Once she made her way to the hotel, sleep would be essential, but since she'd need to adopt a nocturnal schedule while hunting her quarry anyhow, she supposed it would work itself out. All the same, being more or less confined in a seat for so long - no matter how cushioned it was - was less than ideal. She almost wanted to cuss out Giovanni's secretary for not putting a flight change or two into her schedule, since that would at least give her the chance to walk around and perhaps savor the scenery of the northwestern continent. Alas, assassinations and sight-seeing had never mixed well before, and were not any more likely to do so if she berated the crotchety woman like so many whiney trainers did on a daily basis….
Tugging her from her straying thoughts, the boy behind her murmured, "Oh. Well I haven't. Is this going to be a long trip?"
For a child, across something as featureless as an ocean for a good portion of the flight? This journey was almost certain to last an eternity, and answering him with a nod, she almost quirked a grin at his resulting scowl. He opened his mouth, likely ask something further, but in that moment his mother stirred and sharply reprimanded him for not staying seated. Turning to face the movie playing on the screen above them, Cassandra heard one more, tentative comment from the boy, before she placed the headphones over her ears: "Your eyes are an odd color…they're pretty, though."
In response, a small smile formed on her lips. Thank you…someone once told me that these eyes...that my eyes are like moonlight….
By nightfall the next day, the refreshed agent stood within her hotel room, her suitcase lying open on the bed. Stripping off her civilian clothes, she donned her official uniform from within the pack, which included an open-backed shirt that revealed the array of scars she'd gained from prior missions. After dressing, she pulled her sheathed tantō daggers from the velvet beneath her clothes and the other essentials, and savored the feel of the weapons within her hands: they fit well, and unlike the guns and bullets her superiors favored, she viewed these blades as the ideal weapons. They needed limited maintenance and never lost their lethal potential, and they suited her with their cold, gleaming, razor sweetness. On the other hand, perhaps she was the one who suited them, for in her line of work, she needed to be made of something stronger than bone and flesh to survive. Whatever the case might be, she was nearly ready for the task ahead of her, and deactivating the device wrapped around her neck, she completed her transformation. As the final, hidden part of her identity manifested in a flash of black feathers, she sighed with relief: magnificent wings now hung down her back, giving her the outward appearance of one of the fallen angels.
Now she would begin the hunt.
Walking out onto the balcony, she launched herself into the air in one practiced, fluid motion, and altered her fate irrevocably…for never again would it follow along the narrow course chosen for her.
Thank You: To everyone who read this first chapter and are planning to continue reading Angelic Shadows. I hope you'll be kind enough to leave a review!
Author's Note: Hello, everyone! Welcome to Angelic Shadows. Since we're just starting out, a few quick notes. First, the timeline for The Birth of Mewtwo has been adjusted in this story; namely, the number of years in which Dr. Fuji struggled to create a viable clone before Mewtwo has been reduced. Second, while I have read the script for The Birth of Mewtwo, I will be following the anime version of it (though I may reference parts of the radio drama version as a nod to other Mewtwo fans). Third, pokémon speech will have their vocal sounds written out first and then an italicized translation afterwards. Finally, oddities such as Cassandra's wings will be explained in a later arc of the story.
Again, thank you for your interest in Angelic Shadows! I hope you enjoy reading it!