Episode 2: Pokefreak City.
By Razor Knight
Last update: November 6, 2007
The Sun had already risen again when the group finished packing for the long journey. A journey they knew wouldn't be easy. A journey that would be the most dangerous ever for them. A journey that, without them knowing, would be full of surprises, of both the good and bad kind.
"I'm... Tired," May said stiffening a yawn.
A journey that would have to wait a few more hours to start, apparently.
"We were up all night packing up," Ash commented. "I think we should rest before starting our trip."
"It's dangerous, we could get attacked," Brock noted.
"We should do it in turns then," Juri suggested. "I'll stand watch first, you guys try to sleep."
"I'll stay awake too," Brock said.
"What, don't trust me?"
"It's not that. I'm not that tired, and two pairs of eyes can guard better than one."
"Okay then... Wake us up in a couple hours," Ash said. Soon enough, the others were all asleep, and Brock idly noticed Ash had his arm around May's waist.
"They look cute together," Juri said, ironically trying to break the ice as she and Brock sat on the remains of a wall.
"Yeah," Brock said. He'd known from the start those two would end up together, but he'd never imagined under which circumstances. "You think there's a cure for..."
Juri shrugged. "I don't know... And selfish as it might sound, I don't care."
"You'd rather stay like that?" Brock asked. "Not saying you don't look good," he added rapidly.
Juri smiled. "Thanks, and yes. I was a nobody, another woman with a boring life. Now..." she rose her hand, an ice ball floating idly on it. "I can be someone."
Brock inched closer to Juri, passing a hand over her shoulder, then winced. "Cold..."
Juri smiled again, and closed her eyes for a second. "Better?"
Brock felt temperature returning to his arm. "Yeah. I... I thought you'd slap my arm away, or worse."
"Then why did you try?" Juri asked. She found herself liking this spike-haired boy, much despite herself.
"That's just how I am. Max once said I'm 'romantically suicidal.'"
Juri chuckled. "Let me guess... Women didn't like your style?"
"Those who did were already taken," Brock said with a sigh.
"I'm... Not," Juri said. "If you don't mind a freak being attracted to you."
"Freak?" Brock asked. "You're... Beautiful."
"You're just saying that."
"I'm serious," Brock said. To prove his point, he kissed her.
Juri was surprised by his actions, and had no time to bring her lips to a normal temperature. Still, Brock wasn't protesting the cold. The ice girl stared at him as they broke the kiss and chuckled again. "All those girls... They don't know what they missed."
A howl teared through the moment, and as the couple looked at the source, they saw two brown-skinned women with fox-like ears, wearing nothing in the way of clothing, and slowly stalking towards them. "Food..." one of them growled.
"Those two worked with me at the lab," Juri commented to Brock. "Get lost, girls."
"Make us," the second dog-girl snapped.
The others stirred, and Jesse almost jumped up as she saw the two women. "Those two... They're mine."
"You can't fight them on your own," May said.
"Watch me!" Jesse snarled. She charged at the two dogs, her hands filling with small spikes which she shot at both.
"You... Slut!" one of the dogs howled as the other fell face-first to the ground.
"Still alive? Too bad," Jesse snapped and shot another spray of needles. Neither canine moved after hitting the ground.
"... I don't get it," Brock said.
"Those two killed James and Meowth, and turned me into this," Jesse explained.
Max was staring at the two dog-girls. "All this..."
Jesse shrugged. "I think you'll have to get used to that, kid."
May growled. "There was no need to kill them."
"Tell me, fire head, if anyone killed Ash, how would you react?" Jesse asked.
"I..." May paused, then sighed. "I'd hunt them down and fry them."
"So, you can't talk," Jesse pointed.
"They're stirring," Max noted.
"My poison isn't as strong as I thought, then," Jesse commented.
The two dog-girls growled at her. "We shouldn't have let you live."
"You can barely move. This will be easy," Jesse snapped back.
"Don't kill them," Max said.
"Revenge is useless," Max said. "Killing those two won't change the fact your friends are gone."
"It's a start," Jesse muttered.
The two canines used their distraction to rush at the group, heading for Brock and Ash. "Watch out!" Max shouted.
"Die!" Jesse snarled, shooting a barrage of needles at each foe, twice as numerous as before. The two girls howled in pain then fell to their knees. "Revenge won't solve a thing... But you attacked my friends again."
Jesse snickered as the two slumped to the ground, their eyes open and glazed. "Thanks for the offer, but I don't do dead people."
Max looked at the two dogs and grimaced. "Why..."
Jesse walked up to Max and glared down at him. "Here's some reality check, kid. We can't hesitate to kill those wild Pokegirls, because they won't hesitate when they get the chance to do the same to us. "
"Leave him alone," May warned, a fireball forming in her hand for good measure.
"I've told him all I needed to," Jesse said with a shrug. "Let's go back to sleep."
The next few hours passed without any further battling, and soon the group was heading towards the Team Rocket base, with the first stop being the city of Azuron.
"How much do you think it'll take us?" Ash asked Jesse.
"Unfortunately, the fortress is several days away from here. But if we find a working car in our next stop, I could drive us there in a matter of hours."
"Assuming Azuron City was attacked too," Brock commented.
Jesse smiled humorlessly. "These... Wild Pokegirls, they're only acting on instincts. Survival instinct would drive them to 'recruit' as many women as they can to their ranks."
"What if a male gets bitten?" Max asked. "Wouldn't they change too?"
Juri shook her head. "No. As I explained before, for some reason only the female test subjects survived the mutation. At worst, if a male got bitten, he'd die in a matter of hours. But by then, he'd already been shredded to pieces by the Pokegirl who attacked him."
"I... See," Max said with a wince.
"Don't worry, Max. I promised mom I'd protect you, and I intend to keep that promise," May noted.
"Incoming," Juri warned.
Ash looked around. Two snakelike girls and one that had a metallic leotard. Apparently, these Pokegirls kept enough intelligence to realize hunting in packs was easier. "Damn..."
"Leave them to us, guys," May said.
"But I don't..." Ash sighed. He'd never felt so useless before. Yet he knew these creatures could tear even Pikachu to shreds, and he wasn't about to risk using any of his friends as cannon fodder. "Do your best, girls."
"Food... Ours," the metal girl growled.
"Get lost or die," Jesse warned. "Your choice."
As an answer, the two snakes rushed forwards. May dodged one of them and frowned. "Fire beats metal, so I'll take care of that one."
Juri nodded, then blocked a slash from the snake-girl fighting her. "Chill," she snapped as she shot an ice blast, knocking her foe back.
Jesse was faring equally good against her target. May, however, was having a hard time, as her metal foe was way faster than her. "Damn it..."
"Out of my way," the metal Pokegirl snapped before shooting a barrage of metal spikes at May.
Something knocked May out of the way of the attack, though. "Stop fooling around and fight, little girl," The figure said.
Jesse turned to the voice and gasped. "Meowth?" She then growled as her foe got a slash at her arm thanks to the distraction. She grabbed the girl by the neck, increasing the pressure as her enemy flailed wildly, her face turning from a glare to a scared plea. "Puppy eyes don't work on me, worm," Jesse snapped. A few seconds later, everyone could hear the sickening noise the snake-girl's neck bones made as they cracked.
"I think the change suits you good."
Jesse turned to the cat Pokemon. "You're still alive..."
Meowth smiled as Jesse picked him off the ground and hugged him. "Missed you too, Jess."
"Sorry for abandoning you back there, after James died, I just..."
"No need to explain, how do you think I survived? I run like a chicken too," Meowth explained.
A choked growl was heard, and everyone turned to see the second snake-girl impaled against a tree by a large ice spike. It was clear she wasn't getting out of that one alive. That left only May's target.
"Need help?" Ash asked.
May kicked the metal girl away as she charged. "I can handle this." She smirked. During the time she'd been with Ash, she'd learnt a few things from him... One of them was, sometimes a battle could be won with eyes rather than muscles. She'd been attacking the metal girl relentlessly, and she now knew her foe had a movement pattern. "Think fast!"
Ash gasped as May shot a flame ball with one hand, and a split second later shot a wide stream of fire slightly to the right. The metal girl leapt right into it as she dodged the ball, and howled in pain as the beam hit her chest. The blast left the top of her leotard shinning red with heat, so she simply vanished it.
"I like May's strategy," Brock commented staring at the metal girl. Juri rolled her eyes at him.
"Food... Mine..." the metal girl snapped as she once again rushed her rival.
May turned to the side and saw Max staring at her, then sighed. "Sorry, Max..."
Jesse paled as May shot a man-sized beam of fire which literally incinerated her foe, and did quite some damage to the forest behind her. "Shit, that girl... I'm not messing with her."
Juri shot a water beam to put out the fire caused by May's blast. "Let's try not to burn down the forest, okay?"
May shrugged. "It worked." She then looked at Max. "Max... I'm sorry, but I had to..."
"That was... Cool," Max said and stared up at his sister in awe.
"Huh?" May asked surprised.
"Your attack. That was awesome, I didn't know you had so much power. "
May smiled at him. "Thanks."
Ash looked around, searching for more hostile Pokegirls. "I guess Jesse's plan is the best. We should hurry to Azuron and get a car. "
"Why fight them when you can just run them over?" Juri mused. The others looked at her. "You've never seen me drive, or you'd know what I mean."
The formerly flourishing city of Azuron was visibly changed, and even as they approached it, the group knew they'd probably find something worse than they'd seen in Eargray.
"Bigger city, more corpses," Brock said, "or at least that should be the case."
Ash nodded. "It's strange. The streets are clear, though there are signs of fighting." A building near them was completely wrapped in vines, while another one had burnt marks all around.
"Look, the Pokecenter..." May pointed. Strangely enough, the Pokecenter on the outskirts of the city was mostly untouched.
"Let's check inside," Ash suggested.
"Let us go first," Jesse said. "If there's an ambush waiting, we can deal with it."
May walked to the door, and it slid open. "Wow, it's still working... "
There was a noise from the inside, and the group peeked in. There were a few corpses scattered, both of men and Pokegirls. On a corner of the room, a pink-haired Pokegirl sat, whimpering. "Nurse Joy?" Ash asked.
"... You got slaves?" Joy asked. May looked at the woman. While still as human-looking as most Pokegirls she'd seen, her breasts and her lower body were covered by pink fur.
"Slaves?" May asked in shock.
"Like other creatures that came here," Joy said. "Guess you're still human enough, then?"
May nodded. "I didn't know Pokegirls would use men as slaves..."
"What for?" Jesse asked. "What would be their use, what could they do we Pokegirls can't on our own?" She looked at the others and rapidly added "no offense to you, guys."
"None taken," Brock muttered.
Joy sighed. "On our own, we won't be able to... Perpetuate the species."
Ash frowned. "I don't follow."
"You need someone to tell you about the birds and the bees, then," Jesse muttered.
Juri groaned. "Damn, in their place I'd rather be dead."
"What could be worse than death?" Ash asked, still not getting the point.
"I told you we have blood lust and other kinds of lust. Guess if the wild Pokegirls killed all males, there wouldn't be anyone left to have fun with."
Ash winced as he finally understood what they meant. "Ugh. I regret asking."
May hugged Ash from behind and a wolfish smile formed in her face. "I think I could use a little slave..."
"May?" Ash asked surprised.
"Just kidding," May giggled.
"Get a room," Jesse muttered. Both Ash and May glared at her. "No sense of humor."
"Is there anywhere in the city the Pokegirls haven't reached yet?" Brock asked.
Joy sighed. "I wouldn't know, I'm just hiding here, and healing the few mutants that come here. I think that's why they haven't killed me yet."
"Why hide... You could fight your way through the city," Jesse noted.
"Actually, I can't," Joy said. "Mutations caused by whatever turned me into... This thing, are numerous, and apparently depend on the infected woman's personality and traits."
"That's why you're like that, then," Max said looking at May. "You've always been a hothead."
"Max..." May growled, then turned to the nurse. "I guess I know what you mean. Since you're a nurse, and always willing to help people... You've become a kind of healer Pokegirl."
"I'm useless... All those women out there throwing elemental attacks at will, and all I can do is heal," Joy muttered. "But I can't cure this disease."
"It's not just a disease, it's an experimental virus which causes this mutation," Juri said. "Me and my friends are on our way to the Team Rocket headquarters, to search for a cure."
Ash looked at Pikachu's pokeball. "Joy... You're not useless." He released Pikachu, who just laid on the ground, still unconscious. "Would you... Heal him, please?"
Joy smiled. "Of course." She reached her arm out, and the others could see her nails were longer than normal, almost like claws, and sharp. She put said hand millimeters away from Pikachu's skin, and a light washed over the rat Pokemon. He opened his eyes and rose, looking around confusedly. "It's done."
"Pika?" Pikachu asked as he looked at all the Pokegirls.
"Don't worry, Pikachu, they're all friends," Ash said. "You should get back into your Pokeball, you'd be safe there."
"Chu!" the rat shouted as he shook his head.
"I get it... Just don't try to be a hero," Ash said. "I wouldn't like losing you."
"Pi..." Pikachu muttered and leapt on Ash's shoulder.
"Guys... Would you mind taking me along?" Joy asked. "I can't stay here, eventually one of those mutants is going to find me and..."
"Pokegirls, that's how we call ourselves," Juri corrected. Joy nodded.
Ash frowned. "We could need a healer in our journey. I mean, if any of you girls gets hurt fighting, she could be useful." May nodded at that.
"You've got quite the harem going, huh?" Jesse mused.
Ash gulped. "Harem? I..."
"Just kidding," Jesse said. "I know you've got eyes only for May, and it's okay with me."
"Let's get out of here. We still need to find a working car," Brock noted.
Outside, things looked quite bad. There were dozens of Pokegirls around, but since there were four in Ash's group, they didn't feel attacking would bring anything but pain to them.
One of them, however, stalked her way up to them. She had reddish skin and white bird feathers serving as clothing. "Outsiders... Leave. City ours," she said.
May frowned. "We would be glad to leave, but we need to find a car first."
"Car... No car left. We destroyed them all to keep males from escaping the city," a second Pokegirl, a lizard-skinned one, commented.
"Not quite right, Kiria," A cat-like girl said. "But only working car I know belongs to Merly."
"Merly?" Jesse asked.
"Dragon girl, kills for fun. North of here," the bird-girl said.
"Thanks," Juri said, then frowned. "But... Why didn't you attack us?"
"We don't attack, we only defend ourselves when needed. We have all the things we need here," the cat-girl explained.
"And if you kill Merly, we can finally live in peace in this city," the lizard one added.
"Pokegirls politics?" Brock pondered as they left the area. The others just shrugged at him.
Several minutes later, the group had reached Merly's territory. The park they were walking through seemed untouched, as if Pokegirls respected nature more than they respected the buildings around it. "Here there be monsters," Jesse joked.
"Been a while since I had any intruders. You must be unaware of who I am."
Everyone looked up and saw a woman with scaly, bluish skin and long, black hair, her back sported a pair of large blue dragon wings. She was perched atop a tree, and looked at them like they were her next meal.
May frowned. "You must be Merly."
"That's right, and this is my park. If you don't want to die, leave now."
"We've been told you have a car," Ash said. "We need it."
"Food shouldn't talk," Merly snapped, but then took a good look at Ash. There was definitely something... Odd about him. "But I guess I'll make an exception. Tell me, why do you need my car?"
"We know who did this, who's ultimately responsible for all you becoming what you are now," Ash explained, "and we're going to stop his madness once and for all."
"The one who did this is already dead. That stupid rat girl didn't know how strong I'd become."
"But don't you want to go say hi to the one that turned us all into this?" Jesse asked. "I used to work for him, and even I would love to see his head roll."
Merly smiled at Jesse. "You sound sincere, but still... I love a good fight, it's the only thing keeping me sane through this. If you girls can defeat me, I'll give you the car and even tag along."
"If you win?" May asked.
"If I win, you'll have to go look for a car elsewhere."
"Sounds... Fair?" Brock muttered.
"Least she's not asking for us as a prize," Max pointed.
"Don't give her any ideas, kiddo," Meowth muttered.
"Four against one, is it?" Merly asked looking at the group.
"Three," Joy said. "I can't really fight, I'm just a healer."
"Okay, then... Whenever you're ready," Merly said floating up and right above the trio.
"What about now?" Jesse snapped and shot a barrage of poison needles at her foe. The needles bounced off Merly's skin harmlessly. "What the hell?"
"Dragon skin, girl," the dragon girl said.
"Let's see you shrugging this off!" May said as she shot a massive fire beam. The dragoness got hit and staggered back slightly, "Did that hurt?"
"A little," Merly admitted. "You've got some real power, girl. But this is how you do it!"
Ash and the other males were, along with Joy, watching the battle from afar. They all gasped as the dragon's body lit up with fire, and she made a head dive towards their friends.
"My turn," Juri said. She pointed her palms up at the diving foe, and a large wall of ice formed over them. Merly had no time to stop or even slow down, and hit it full force, causing it to crack.
May winced as Merly rolled on the ice shield and fell to the ground. "I think you overdid it."
Merly slowly stood up and growled at Juri. "I should have remembered about ice types. Very well, then..." she frowned as Ash walked between both groups. "Get out of the way, now!"
"I... Know if you girls keep on fighting like that, someone's gonna end up dead."
"Hah! So you don't want your girlfriends dead, huh?"
"That's not what I said," Ash noted. "I trust May and the others, and I know they'd be the winners."
Merly snarled at him. "What's this, food having pity of the predator?"
"Drop the act," May snapped.
"Really," Jesse agreed. "If you were a predator, you'd attacked us four head-on like those wild Pokegirls did outside the city. Instead, you challenge us to a fair fight and your car's the prize? Sorry, but I'm not buying it."
"It's not pity," Ash said. "I don't want anyone to die if there's a way around it. So, Merly, will you stop this, please?"
Merly frowned. "You kids are really something... What's your name, so I don't have to keep calling you food?"
"Well, Ash, I guess your friends showed me they could fight at my level, so... You just got yourselves a car, and a new ally."
"You were joking about the 'food' part, right?" Max asked nervously.
"I... Fed on stray Pokemon, those without an owner, or plants." Merly admitted. "But never any humans."
"Good to know?" Meowth muttered. "And I'm Jesse's Pokemon, so no eating this kitty."
"Depends on how annoying you are," Merly joked. A talking Meowth, now she'd really seen it all.
"How's our little project going?"
Domino looked away from the communicator and took a good look at the area. "We've got Goldenrod under control, boss. There's a few rebellious mutants, but soon they'll all be obeying your commands. "
"Good. Call me when you complete the mission."
Domino smirked as she put the communicator away. Giovanni was a real genius, infecting all those women, then implanting control chips in them to turn them into his own army of mutants. She was somehow envious of those girls, though... All that power at their beg and call.
She walked to a caged Pokegirl and smiled coldly at her. A red-haired woman with ice covering most of her body. "Do your worst, " she said as she put her arm into the cage.
"You... Won't like... Being this," the girl said, apparently still retaining a bit of humanity.
"Don't worry, I will like it," Domino mused.
"Lady Domino, what are you doing?" One of the soldiers asked.
Domino winced as the mutant bit her arm. "You know the saying, if you can't beat them..." She then screamed in pain as a dark mist shrouded her body.
The soldier stepped back in fear. Domino was a fearsome woman as a human... Whatever she became after this, he was sure trying to fight her would be both stupid and suicidal.
A/N: Bet most of you didn't even remember Domino. For those who don't, she's a blond bitch who uses roses as projectiles (Tuxedo-mon!) and is supposedly better than Jesse and James. What is she going to become? Ash and his friends will find out soon, and so will you.