All right, I know I haven't updated in a while. I'm being lazy, I promise! I'm just working on new story ideas and I'm (RE)EDITING chapter of Torn Future. Anyways, I thought it was about time I updated this. Enjoy the really long chapter.
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon
Houndour shifted his paws uneasily, a restless, nagging feeling prickling through him like thorns. He had become used to the feeling. It had stuck with him ever since he left Umbreon and Growlie in Sapphire City to go and search for Virus. Today, though, the feeling was even more noticeably present than usual.
Rocket members swarmed around him, weapons and radios in hand, ready to signal somebody of a higher rank if something went wrong. But Houndour didn't think anything would. The Pokemon living in Viridian Forest were either being taken away while they were paralyzed with fear or laying motionless on the ground. Houndour shook the thought of the second option out of his head.
"Yo! Newbie!" Houndour jumped at least a foot in the air out of surprise, and then turned to face his addressor at attention.
"Yes sir!" he shouted, still getting over his surprise.
"The Boss wants anyone with a good nose to be sniffing out any runaways," a rugged-looking Sandslash behind him, whom most of the pokemon had taken to calling Duke, told him sternly.
"Coming!" Houndour said immediately, his brain on automatic. It took him a moment to realize that Duke was waiting for him.
"Oh," he said blankly, and he scampered after the ground type. Duke led him to the edge of the clearing where a Poochyena called Mutt and a Delcatty called Butler stood waiting.
"It's about time!" Butler muttered darkly as his tail twitched behind him.
"Are we going to take the newbie?" asked Mutt curiously, leaning forward to sniff Houndour. Houndour recoiled a little, much to the amusement of Mutt.
"Boss' orders. Take everyone with a good nose," Duke told them.
"Which Boss?" asked Butler, eyes narrowing, "The human one or His Majesty Mightyena?"
"Both," said Duke.
During his time here with this other Team, Houndour had learned that the pokemon in Team Rocket had a few different ways of doing things. One thing was nicknames. Houndour hadn't even given that idea a second thought. His name was Houndour. So what if it were a species name, too? It was what he was called. He had never even met another Houndour, anyway. But that was the way the Rocket pokemon liked to do it, and Houndour didn't like the thought of arguing with them. They smelled strange and acted weird.
However, the Rocket pokemon hadn't come up with a nickname for him yet, and he hadn't offered any suggestions, so for now he was just the newbie.
"I think we should give him a proper name, like Winston," said Mutt with a laugh, almost as if she had read his mind, "He's so stiff." To emphasize her point, she reached out with one paw and poked Houndour's front leg, which, like every other muscle in his body, was so tense a rock probably couldn't put a dent in it.
"We'll decide on something for the newbie later," Duke said, "If we don't hurry the survivors will be long gone." This seemed to satisfy Mutt and Butler, and they put their noses to the ground (or, rather, Mutt put her nose to the ground and Butler put his in the air. He insisted that this was easier for him, but most knew it was only because he thought he looked silly with his nose in the dirt). Duke wasn't so stuffy. He pointed his snout downward and took a deep long sniff.
"Um, Duke," the words were out of Houndour's mouth before he could stop, and Duke's pointed head was turned towards him. Houndour seemed to freeze, his throat dry. Duke's look could be absolutely terrifying.
"What is it, newbie?" he growled.
"I was j-just wondering," Houndour started, and then clearing his throat to continue, "what are we going to do with the, er, survivors when we find them?"
"Tell them to come with you or else," Duke said simply, going back to finding the trail.
"Or else what?" asked Houndour. Duke looked at him again, as if assessing him of sorts. It was while before he finally turned away. He didn't answer Houndour, he just stomped off, leaving him standing there alone.
Houndour gulped. He had a very bad feeling about this.
"Coast is clear," whispered Sassy. She cautiously crept out of the thicker part of the woods and padded towards the Free World Army Headquarters that she and Espeon had been not even an hour ago. At that point Ridged the Skamory had been standing guard faithfully in front of the cave, but now he was gone, and the dark tunnel seemed much, much bigger than it used to be.
Espeon followed Sassy dutifully, keeping careful watch on the bushes around them. Everywhere she looked she could see the uniformed Team Rocket members. They went swiftly into the Headquarters, a strange feeling of déjà vu coming over Espeon. Could it be? It was the right time of day, Ridged was no longer there, but then again, Sassy was. Maybe she had been there in Espeon's vision, just hidden…
When they reached the metal room at the end they found it deserted and disturbingly quiet. Sassy took a moment to survey the room.
"Fancy place they've got here," she whistled, her voice seeming to echo.
"Shh!" warned Espeon, cringing. Sassy gave her an apologetic look.
"Lugia's not here," hissed Espeon, fear running through her blood, "Neither are Raikou or Entei, or any of the Counsel members. What if Team Rocket caught them? Sassy, I don't think this is a good place to be right now!" Espeon fought the panic screaming through her. Something was wrong, something was so wrong. The feeling that she was being watched chilled her to the bone. She did not like seeing this place empty. She did not like thinking about what was happening to all of the pokemon of Viridian Forest right now.
"Espeon!" a sharp nudge from Sassy made her jump.
"Calm down," the other pokemon wasn't being loud, but stern. The simple command left Espeon confused. A moment ago, under water, she had found comfort in the way Sassy never got upset, but now her friend's laid-back attitude just seemed totally irrational. How could someone be calm at a moment like this?
"We need to help them," Espeon sputtered. It took a moment for her to realize that what she said was near the loony point, but what else could they possible do?
"I know," said Sassy, "But we need to do it rationally. We need to find other survivors and get them to help. There's strength in numbers, after all." This helped Espeon a little. Right. Of course there were other survivors. They couldn't have been the only ones that escaped.
"We'd better get out of here," Espeon said, "If someone finds us, we're trapped." Sassy nodded, and they headed towards the entrance.
"Wait," murmured Espeon, holding a paw in front of Sassy to stop her, "Hear that?" Sassy pricked her ears and, sure enough, a snuffling noise could be heard outside of the cave. The two eons stood motionless, afraid any movement would cause detection.
Espeon felt anxiety in every one of her muscles. They were going to get caught, they were going to get caught…
Wait a minute. The vision. Duh.
It hit Espeon so hard and she felt relief flood through her.
"Sassy-" she started.
"Shh!" whispered the other pokemon.
"But I know who it is…" Espeon tried to explain. It was just that moment that the familiar shape of Houndour came along the side of the cave, nose to the ground. Espeon wanted to shout out to him, after all, he was the only one from her previous adventure she had seen in a while, but then again, he was part of Team Snagem, wasn't he? Were they still looking for Espeon? What was he doing here, anyway? The joy about Houndour's appearance turned to suspicion. But there was no need, really. Houndour didn't even seem to notice them. He kept on sniffing right along the edge of the cage.
"Hey, newbie!" a shrill, feminine voice called out. Espeon saw Houndour turn towards it.
"Hey, Mutt," he said, not enthusiastic. A little Poochyena ran up to him.
"You know," said the pup, Mutt, as she was called, almost insulted by Houndour's answer, "You should really learn to be friendly to some people. Everyone thinks your stuck-up, you know that? I've heard some really nasty nickname suggestions, I'll tell you. And am I ever mean to you? Of course not! I stick up for you, I do. I tell them "he's just as much of a Teammate as any one of you and you ought to respect him as a Rocket member"! That's what I tell them."
"What is it?" asked Houndour, staring at he blankly. Or maybe it wasn't a blank stare. It looked more like an annoyed stare, as if he didn't believe a word that Mutt spouted from her mouth.
But this wasn't what shocked Espeon the most. What shocked her was what Mutt had called Houndour.
"A fellow Rocket member!"
Houndour was with Team Rocket?
"Go away, Mutt," Houndour said, almost pleadingly. Espeon took another look at his face. Was it annoyance or sadness there? Espeon wanted to ask him why he was with Team Rocket. She wanted to demand to know why, but she knew that'd be stupid as long as this little Poochyena was here.
"What if I don't want to go away?" Mutt taunted, skipping around Houndour.
"Stop it, Mutt!" snapped Houndour.
"What're you going to do about it?" nagged the puppy. Houndour's fur bristled, and then his eyes went wide.
"Mutt, stop!" he shouted.
"You can't catch me you can't catch me…!" Mutt went on.
"No, seriously, Mutt, you're going through the rock wall!" Houndour said, alarmed. This made Mutt stop.
"Huh?" she asked, looking puzzled.
With much trepidation, Houndour reached out with his paw and put it an inch inside the cave, looking stunned. Mutt copied his look.
"What the…?" started the Poochyena.
Espeon was beginning to piece together what was happening. They couldn't see the cave! They thought it was just part of the mountain.
"Lugia," she whispered. She turned to face Sassy.
"Lugia must've used his psychic powers to put an illusion on the Headquarters! They can't see the cave!" Espeon told her. But then why had Sassy and her been able to see it? Was it designed so only certain pokemon could see the entrance?
"What was that?" asked Mutt, eyes wide. Uh-oh. Had she heard Espeon?
"Did you guys find something?" another voice from not-too-far-away. A cat-like pokemon came towards the other two.
"Butler, look!" shouted Mutt, putting her paw into the cave a little bit. Butler stared, and then hissed.
"It's an illusion!" he shouted, "There's psychic type in there!" He turned away, calling, "Duke! Get over here!"
"What should we do?" Espeon asked Sassy.
"I don't know," admitted Sassy, who, for the first time since Espeon had known her, sounded scared.
Espeon wished Sassy did know what to do. She wished Sassy wasn't the only one there who could think of what to do. She wished Danny were here to think of something fast, and Maddy was here to challenge the Rocket pokemon, and that Silver could be here to help in any way he could, and Growlie were here to bark and tell them to leave Espeon alone, and most of all she wished Umbreon were here to make the situation look a lot better than it seemed. Oh, how she wished Umbreon were here…
Where are you guys? Espeon whimpered.