It was early in the morning, around three according to Green's pokedex, when their group finally stopped to take a rest. They were past the guard station now, the city of Saffron sprawling out in front of them. There were around thirty trainers milling about, including Sabrina, five of the trainers from Erika's gym, various law enforcement agents and even a couple of older trainers from Celadon that had volunteered. Right now Green was sitting off to the side with Marta and Blue as people bustled about handing out walkie-talkies to everyone. Sabrina was talking seriously over a map to a ring people around her, pointing out locations as others asked questions.
"Shouldn't we be joining in on all this?" Green asked, pouring herself a drink. She had picked up a bottle of orange juice from the guard station and was mixing a bit of rum in.
"Shouldn't YOU stop drinking?" Blue asked with a frown. He looked away from her, scoffing. "We don't need to bother with that right now. Sabrina is sending teams into the city to make sure some other key locations are ok, and to protect the citizens. We're going to be part of the strike force going to Silph Co. so they're going to give us a briefing after these guys."
"I hope everyone is going to be ok…" Marta looked uncertain as she watched a few teams of three break off from the group and begin moving in different directions.
"Have a little faith in us!" Yelled a familiar voice, and Green looked around to see Tamia waving as she ran up to them. Mary and Julia weren't far behind her, and Green could see they were all ready and loaded with pokemon. Tamia held hands with Marta and smiled. "We're actually going to meet up with Erika and take back the Pokemon Center. So wish us luck! And good luck with your mission too!"
Marta smiled back at her friend and nodded, giving Tamia a hug. "Yes, good luck! We won't let you down either!"
"You'd better not get hurt before we can have a rematch!" Mary shouted at Green. Though she sounded angry Green couldn't help but smile when she noticed how worried Mary looked.
"I'll be ok. I promise. I have to see how much better you get, after all" Green grinned at Mary, who smiled back happily, adjusting her glasses
As they said their goodbyes to the three girls, waving at them as they hurried off, Sabrina stood up and looked around at the remaining seventeen trainers. "Alright everyone. Let's move out. We'll discuss plans once we reach Silph headquarters."
The trip to Silph Co. headquarters was uneventful. Green could see people watching their group move along the streets from the windows surrounding them, but almost all of them ducked out of sight as soon as they made eye contact with her. No Rockets attacked them either, though a few doors did open and slam shut again as they passed.
As they reached the tower, Green looked up at the twenty-story tall building and sighed. This was going to be very annoying to search, the place was huge. Sabrina didn't even slow down as she reached the front doors, and to Green's surprise they just slid aside as if they were open for business.
Everyone was tense as they entered the lobby, their group slowly fanning out to search all of the available space. Green walked up to an unmanned guard station and looked curiously at the numerous monitors. Most showed footage from all over the first floor, including all of the entrances, staircases and fire escapes. However there was also an actual computer here, and Green eagerly sat down to see what information she could gain. It seemed like it was on some sort of security program, and scanning the information on screen she saw something that made her heart sink. Near the bottom there was a list of all floors, from one to twenty. One to six were fine, and a green word 'unlocked' was next to each one. However floors seven through twenty were marked with the red word 'locked'. Clicking around Green tried to see if it was possible to unlock those floors again, but a password prompt came up and pretty much killed that idea.
Green stood up with a sigh of disappointment as Sabrina walked up to her, glancing down at the monitors. "It looks like they sealed off the upper levels. We're only able to get up to the sixth floor."
Frowning, Sabrina sat down and made an attempt at the computer, grunting with frustration when the password prompt came up. "I see. That's rather annoying." Looking closer at the computer she pointed out a card slot. "Hmm. I believe we may be able to circumvent the password if we can find a security access card." Turning the chair to face one of the police officers walking up to her, Sabrina stood again. "Well?"
"We didn't find anyone or anything of note. The floor appear to be clear" The man confirmed.
"I see." Striding to the center of the room, Sabrina cleared her throat loudly. "Everyone, gather up!" The scattered trainers all came together quickly, everyone silent as they waited for Sabrina to gather her thoughts. "Alright. It seems like the top floors have been locked down. We can only access floors one through six. The plan is simple. We'll divide into five groups of three. Two will remain here on the first floor and everyone else will split up to search the floors we do have access to. We need to be on the lookout for either the password to the security system or an access card that will allow us to explore more of the building. I'll take the top floor, and you two come with me." Sabrina nodded to two officers near her, who nodded. "I'll divide up the rest in a moment, but Green, you and your friends can head up to the second floor."
Green had a sneaking suspicion that Sabrina was only sending them to the second floor because it was the one least likely to have any nasty surprises, but she nodded anyhow. It would be useless arguing. "Yes ma'am. We'll get right on it."
Sabrina's eyes softened for a moment as she looked at Green. "Stay in contact with us, ok? Report anything you see over the radio. Once again if ANY of you feel like you're in danger tell us immediately and get out if you can. That goes for everyone! Remember, these are dangerous people!"
Nodding solemnly, Green made her way for the elevators. Blue and Marta caught up quickly as Green reached her goal and pushed the button to call the elevator. "Alright guys, this is it. Let's be on our guard." While they waited Green noticed that one pair of elevator doors was different from the rest, a lustrous black instead of shiny gold. A slot for a keycard was in the wall next to the doors, and Green guessed it was probably a personal elevator for VIP types in the company. She didn't have much time to think about it as one of the golden elevator doors opened with a 'ding' and they all filed inside.
The second floor was deserted on first glance. This seemed to be a floor where general business administration took place, as a number of desks with computers and phones littered the open space. Things were an absolute mess however, papers were scattered absolutely everywhere, a few filing cabinets were turned over, and a couple of the computers had even been smashed. Green stepped out into the room, glancing around nervously before releasing Kirlia. He smiled reassuringly and pat her on the head. "Hey there girl. Be on your guard, alright?" Kirlia nodded and got a serious look on her face.
As Marta stepped out and released her Heracross, Blue summoned Wartortle and walked around the desks, surveying the destruction. "I guess we should start searching the offices. I doubt we'll find anything useful here." Blue kept his voice down, eyes darting around constantly to check out his blind spots.
The next ten minutes were tense as they began moving from office to office. Most of them actually looked relatively untouched, a couple had furniture overturned or papers scattered about but many of them looked almost unused. There had been no hint of anyone hiding around here either, and for a few minutes Green thought they might have to go back down to the first floor again.
The sound of a door closing somewhere far off made all three of them jump. Everyone froze in place, calming their breathing as they listened for anything. "I think it came from that direction" Marta whispered, pointing off down the hallway.
Now on high alert, they moved much slower as they continued to explore the rooms one by one. Green felt more than a little apprehensive, especially considering the fact that there were numerous security camera peppering the hallways, and none of them had been smashed. She had a sinking feeling that Team Rocket knew exactly where everyone was in this building.
They entered a modest-sized break room, with various drink machines lining the far wall, a few microwaves and toaster ovens, a large refrigerator and a few tables. This place seemed as empty as any other, so while Blue and Marta started searching the room Green walked up to the fridge and opened it up. It looked pretty well raided by now, so Green just grabbed a water bottle with a scowl and started wandering around the room as well.
Everything happened so suddenly. The door opened, and someone threw a pokeball into the room. "Weezing, smokescreen!" yelled a familiar voice before closing the door again, and before Green could do anything a Weezing materialized in midair and began spewing a thick black smoke out of its' mouth. It started filling the closed area quickly, and soon everyone was coughing violently.
"Kirlia, Psychic!" Green wheezed. Kirlia's eyes glowed dark red and she held up a small arm, but Weezing was already moving deeper into its' smoke cloud and Kirlia's attack smashed a toaster oven instead.
"The windows!" Blue called out, and Green could barely see him pushing one open as he motioned Wartortle towards the door. "Hurry!" Green rushed over and struggled to open another window, as Marta did the same, hacking and coughing. "Staravia!" Blue called, releasing his bird pokemon. "Whirlwind!"
Staravia let out a cry and worked its wings violently, whipping the room into a whirling storm. For a moment Green thought the plan hadn't worked, but thankfully the air began to thin out. Weezing was taking a long breath, smoke curling out of the corners of its mouth.
Before they could fully recover the door burst open and four Rockets entered the room. Jessie, James, Cairo and Cook all stood there with pokemon at the ready, smiling at Green's group as they caught their breath. "Well, I'm surprised you thought of that so quickly" Cairo said with obvious relish, patting her Seviper idly. "We were waiting outside to bash you over the head as you ran out but you just had to ruin that plan, didn't you?"
"Just hand over yer pokemon, ya dinguses!" yelled their Meowth from James' shoulder. "We might let ya leave without hurtin' ya!"
"You all really are a bunch of idiots, aren't you?" Blue stood up straight, glaring at the Rockets with obvious disdain. "Aren't you older than us? This is really sad."
"Excuse me?" Jessie looked furious and motioned to her Arbok, who moved closer to their group with a hiss. "We just ambushed you. How exactly are we stupid?"
The smug smirk on Blue's face appeared almost naturally as he flipped his hair. "Where's my Wartortle then?"
"Huh?" Jessie asked, looking behind her blankly.
"Rapid spin!" Blue cried, pointing at their group. Wartortle jumped out from behind the door, pulling his head into his shell as he started whirling around like a top. He shot forward and slammed into Cook's leg, who screamed as a rather unpleasant crack sounded through the room. Wartortle popped back out of his shell and turned to Cook's Mightyena, spraying it with a sudden intense blast of water.
Everything happened at once after that. Green quickly released Breloom, who was met by Cairo's Seviper as the two began viciously striking and dodging one another's blows, and directed Kirlia to attack Weezing. She considered using Charizard or Snorlax, but the room was a bit too small for them unfortunately. Charizard wouldn't even be able to fly or use fire in such an enclosed space, and Green was a little wary about Snorlax charging around with his weight. Lifting the pokeball containing Hariyama that she had received from Mia, Green hesitated. This was Gutman's pokemon, would it obey her? She did have four badges, it was possible. Deciding to just go with it, she threw the pokeball out and released Hariyama.
The huge pokemon appeared from the ball, glaring back at Green as it ignored the battle raging on. For a moment she felt a tinge of fear, this thing was well over seven feet tall. However she wasn't going to let that intimidate her. She just had to show dominance. "Hey! Big guy! Get down here!" she shouted, motioning to it. It bent down, eyes narrowing. When it got close enough, Green grabbed it by the shoulders and slammed her head against Hariyama's as hard as she could. Feeling distinctly woozy, she glared at the pokemon. "You old master's dead! You belong to me now, got it?! Now go out there and fight those assholes!"
Hariyama hasn't seem hurt by the headbutt in the slightest, it hardly even flinched in fact. But when it stood up, it looked down at Green with a nod of respect. Whirling around it charged at the first pokemon Green pointed at, which turned out to be Cairo's Loudred. "Vital throw!" Hariyama hit the unsuspecting pokemon with a clothesline, then followed through with a throw that sent the purple pokemon smashing through the tables and chairs, scattering broken furniture everywhere. Loudred did not get back up. Green didn't blame it, that seemed a bit excessive. Hariyama didn't even slow down, turning to drive a palm into Mightyena's side.
"This is real bad" James said to Jessie, backing up as Kirlia smashed Weezing against the ground. "What should we do?"
"I think the answer is obvious" Jessie replied as Heracross managed to knock out Arbok. She returned her pokemon and made for the door. "Just run!"
"Oh you… bitches!" Cook yelled angrily as Jessie, James and Meowth quickly dashed away. His exit was blocked off by Hariyama and Heracross, who were moving in on his remaining Murkrow and Houndour. "Guess it's just you and me, Cairo… Cairo?"
Following Cook's gaze, Green saw that Cairo had got to the window in all the confusion. As everyone watched she summoned a Fearow and grabbed the pokemon's feet as it began to soar away. "Sorry Cook!" she cried with a wave, pulling out a pokeball and recalling her Loudred. "You were a great partner!"
"You… you cunt!" Cook screamed back, a vein throbbing on his forehead. He managed to turn back in time to see Hariyama grabbing Houndour and throwing it violently to the ground while Heracross smashed Murkrow with his horn. As the pokemon fell unconscious Cook very grudgingly returned his pokemon and raised his hands in surrender. "Fine, fine…"
Green walked up behind Cook and kicked him savagely in the back of the knee, dropping the man to his knees with a groan. Green reached into her pockets and took out a pair of handcuffs, the ones she had taken after being kidnapped by Team Rocket. "Let's find a place to cuff him up" Green said to the others.
Thankfully there was a support beam small enough to handcuff Cook, and after securing him Green went through his pockets. Besides his pokeballs (which Green pocketed) Green also found an interesting card. It was shiny black with gold numbering on it, no name or anything. He showed it to Cook. "What's this? And don't be a smartass and not tell us, I will hurt you."
Frowning, Cook looked at the floor. "...The VIP elevator. It's how we get around the security lockout."
"Ah, good" Green said with a smile, pocketing it. "I guess you guys knew we were here becuase you have access to the security system right?"
"That's right." Cook managed to smile. "So they'll be coming for me."
"They'll come for a guy that has no pokemon? Don't make me laugh you loser." As Cook angrily began to swear at her, she turned away and returned Hariyama. "Alright. Let's get moving."
They made their way quickly to the elevator again, Blue contacting the others on his walkie-talkie to inform them of what they had found. They reached the elevator with no further incidents thankfully, and Green hit the down button as they waited.
A few minutes passed and nothing happened. Green curiously hit the button a few more times, but the doors did not seem to open at all. "Oh, this is bullshit." With a frown of frustration, Green walked over to the black elevator and inserted the card she had received. After a moment of waiting, there was a 'ding' and the doors slid open. Green walked inside, admiring the plush red carpet. "Alright, let's just ride this to the first floor."
"I don't think that's such a good idea, Green…" Marta said uncertainly as she entered the elevator.
"She's right. Let's just take the stairs." Blue was standing outside the elevator, looking inside skeptically.
Sighing in frustration, Green nodded and made to leave. "Fine. We'll do it your way. I don't-" she began, and was cut off when the elevator doors suddenly shut.
"Hey, what the hell?" Green heard Blue yell, and there was a furious pounding on the door. "Open the door! What did you do?"
Green reached down and began furiously pounding at the 'door open' button but to no avail. "I didn't do anything! It just shut on its' own!" Feeling a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach, Green swallowed and spoke as calmly as she could. "Blue. Hurry downstairs. I think we're trapped in here.
"No! I'll get you out of there! Wartortle!" Before Blue could give any orders, Green felt the elevator suddenly begin to move upwards. "Green!" she heard Blue yell as the pounding faded away.
"A-are we in a lot of trouble?" Marta asked, her voice shaky. She was beginning to tremble all over, and tears were forming in her eyes.
Pulling out her walkie-talkie, Green tried to contact the others, but there was nothing but static here in the elevator. Reaching out, Green hugged Marta. She patted the older girl on the back as Marta tried to hold back her tears. "Please don't worry Marta. We're going to be ok. I'll do my best to protect you, alright?
"B-but…" Marta blubbered as she hugged Green back, "w-who's going to protect you?"
"I'll do that too." Green smiled up at Marta, who managed a small smile back. "Don't worry. If things get bad we can always have Kirlia teleport us out."
The doors to the elevator opened and the two girls separated. A quick glance told Green they were on the 21st floor. It seemed much smaller than the others, and Green guessed that this VIP elevator was probably one of the few that came up here. The floor was nicely furnished, with sleek marble floors and fancy white pillars. Glass doors on the far wall led out to a balcony garden that overlooked the city. This floor looked like a combination of an office and someone's personal living space. Hoping for a miracle, Green pressed the buttons for the lowers floors, but the elevator didn't move and the doors stayed open.
"Please, come in. I've been expecting you." The voice was pleasant and inviting, but Green felt a shiver crawl down her spine. Of course it was Giovanni.
"Marta. Stay in here" Green told her with a pat on the shoulder. "I'll deal with this."
"No" Marta whispered back, determined. She reached down and took Green's hand. "I'm not going to leave you."
Sighing but feeling just a little better, Green nodded and stepped out of the elevator holding hands with Marta. Behind her Green was a bit amused to see that Kirlia and Heracross were also holding hands as they followed behind their masters. Taking a long breath, she turned to face the room. "Giovanni. I've come to take back Regirock." The elevator doors slid shut behind them almost as soon as they exited, leaving no exit.
Like a villain from a cheesy old movie, Giovanni's chair was facing away from them but he swung around to meet them as they approached the desk. "Yes, I had a feeling. But you see, I have absolutely no plans of just giving it back to you. Do you have a trade to propose maybe?" he smiled, as if this was great fun for him.
"How about I offer you this trade: give me back Regirock or I'll kick your ass!" Green felt furious, though there was more than a little doubt deep down. She still remembered how strong Giovanni's pokemon had been.
Laughing out loud, Giovanni reached down into his pocked and pulled out a dusk ball. Green felt a shock of recognition, she was positive this was Regirock's ball. "I just so happen to have it right here. So I'm going to offer you a chance to get your pokemon back. If I wanted to I could just have Claydol teleport me out of here right now, but your challenge intrigues me. So, these are my terms. Two of my pokemon against your team. If you manage to beat both and still have pokemon conscious I will return Regirock. If you refuse I will leave." Smiling down at Green, Giovanni placed the dusk ball on the desk in front of him. "Well?"
"Green" Marta whispered nervously, squeezing her hand. "I… I don't think you should do this… we should probably run and get help."
"We might lose Regirock if that happens." Green was steeling herself, and looked up to Marta with an apologetic expression. "I have to try." Leaning in closer, she whispered as quietly as she dared, "I need to stall him as long as possible."
"That's the spirit." Giovanni stood with a smile, putting Regirock's dusk ball into his right jacket pocket. "I like how you take charge of your life. I have always respected that about you." Walking around the desk, Giovanni casually took a pokeball out of his pocket and released a Rhydon. The pokemon glared at Green and Marta as it stalked into the middle of the room, making the two of them back up a few steps. "Alright then, why waste any time?
Letting go of Marta's hand, Green nodded to her. Marta nodded back and walked back towards the door. She put a hand on Heracross, patting it on the head as Green turned back to Rhydon with a grim expression. After a moment of thought she took out a pokeball and summoned Breloom, who seemed to know that things were serious. It crouched low as it locked eyes with Rhydon, letting out a slow hiss. "Ready when you are."
"I imagine we should both just go at once" Giovanni said nonchalantly, looking over to Marta. "You, glasses. Why don't you count down for us?"
"M-my name is Marta" she replied, a frown across her face. However she took a deep breath as she got prepared. "Fine then. 3… 2… 1… Begin!"
"Mach punch!" Green yelled, almost at the exact instant that Giovanni commanded, "Take down!" The two pokemon flew at each other without hesitation, snarling. Breloom closed the distance quickly, dodging and weaving around Rhydon as it showered the rock pokemon with quick, glowing punches that began chipping away small splinters of rock. Green was feeling elated at first, thinking that Rhydon just couldn't keep up with Breloom's speed, but she was quickly proven wrong. As Breloom stopped for a brief moment and aimed a punch her opponent's gut, Rhydon took advantage of the pause and rushed Breloom, slamming her with its shoulder and smashing into one of the pillars.
For a horrible moment Green thought Breloom was done for, but a glowing fist hit Rhydon, driving it back a step as Breloom slipped away and made some distance between the two. It looked battered but still ready to fight. "Seed bomb!" Green called, and Breloom began running in a circle around the larger pokemon, firing glowing seeds out of her mouth that exploded on contact as Rhydon held up an arm to protect its face.
"Megahorn" Giovanni commanded, smirking. Rhydon stayed in place for a moment, watching Breloom run in a circle, and rushed forward again while lowering its head. Breloom tried to stop, but just a moment too late. Rhydon's horn glowed with a green light and it swept low, hitting Breloom's leg with a loud crack. Breloom let out a shriek of pain as it was hurled into the air before coming down hard on the marble floor, head first. Green winced as Breloom groaned and slowly tried to get up, but she could see that Breloom couldn't properly stand on one one leg now let alone stand up straight, and decided to cut her losses.
"Good job. Return." Green calculated her next move as she put away Breloom's pokeball. Charizard and Snorlax wouldn't be as effective on Rhydon, so they were out. That left Kirlia, Trapinch and Hariyama. Green cursed herself for not putting Trapinch away for a more powerful pokemon, but she had been more than a bit distracted. Deciding to go with the most logical choice next, Green threw out Hariyama.
The two pokemon sized each other up as they started slowly moving in a circle. Green wiped the sweat off her brow and took a deep breath to calm herself. "Arm thrust!" she cried out, as Hariyama ran forward, eyes narrowed.
"Drill run!" commanded Giovanni, causing Rhydon's horn began to spin and glow as it charged head first. The two met in the middle, Hariyama taking Rhydon's attack right in the shoulder. It growled back and used both of its' open palms as it began slamming Rhydon over and over in the chest. Green grinned in satisfaction when Rhydon was eventually knocked back by the repeated blows, though Hariyama was quite clearly not very well off as it moved its' left arm stiffly.
"Seismic toss!" Hariyama took advantage of the lapse in Rhydon's concentration and grabbed the other pokemon around the waist, leaping into the air with a huge grunt. Hariyama made it at least ten feet off the ground before turning in midair and flinging Rhydon back down. The rock pokemon smashed into the marble floor, shattering stone tiles all around and sending shards everywhere. The floor shook but not nearly as much as Green thought it would. It seemed like this building was pretty well made. She looked up triumphantly to Giovanni but say him smiling, unconcerned.
Hariyama fell towards the ground, Giovanni following it with his eyes. "Hammer arm." As Rhydon lay there its' arm began to glow a dull red, and right before Hariyama hit the ground it lashed out with a fist, catching the fighting pokemon in the stomach. Hariyama sailed across the room, smashing into another pillar and hitting the ground with a dull thud. Both pokemon slowly rose to their feet, though Hariyama looked like it was having trouble standing and breathing.
"Take down!" Giovanni shouted again, teeth bared in victory. Rhydon began closing the distance between the two, bringing its' shoulder around.
Panicking, Green tried the first thing she thought of. "Endure!"
Hariyama braced itself, and Rhydon slammed into it. The two pokemon struggled in place, Rhydon furious as Hariyama desperately tried not to get overwhelmed.
"Force palm!" Green screamed, getting excited. Hariyama lifted its' right hand, and a small white orc of energy began to form there. In seconds it got bigger, and with a grunt of determination Hariyama thrust its' palm into Rhydon's face. A blast of white light knocked the rock pokemon off its' feet and sent it crashing to the floor as Hariyama's shoulders drooped gratefully. "Nice job!" Green cheered, and Hariyama's eyes looked smug for just a moment.
Giovanni laughed, and smiled at Rhydon's fallen form. "Fury attack." Green was disheartened when Rhydon sprang back to its' feet, looking wild-eyed as it charged Hariyama. This time the fighting pokemon had no time to react, and Rhydon knocked it against the pillar. The rock pokemon began raining punches on Hariyama, who desperately tried to defend himself to no avail. Finally Rhydon caught it in the head with a final punch, and Hariyama went crashing the the ground where it slumped unconscious.
"Quite a scrappy pokemon there. It seems familiar. Did you steal it from one of my Rockets?" Giovanni seemed genuinely interested as Rhydon turned to face Green, clearly injured but by no means unable to fight.
A bolt of righteous anger shot through Green and she bristled. "Oh fuck you! I liberated it from your organization, how about that?" She returned Hariyama and dug in her bag again. Kirlia or Trapinch. Either one seemed like it would get absolutely murdered out there right now. Deciding to hell with it, Green summoned Trapinch. "Dig!" she commanded immediately, and Trapinch burrowed right through the marble tiles like they were nothing.
"Oh Green. Are you really scraping the bottom of the barrel already? Don't tell me that your Charizard is already unconscious? You know I could just have Rhydon smash the whole floor with an Earthquake." Giovanni seemed amused as he crouched down, looking at the floor curiously. "But I'm interested. How tough is that little scrapper?" They didn't have to wait long at all, as a hole formed under Rhydon's left foot. It dropped down, and Rhydon roared with pain as he extracted his foot. Trapinch was clamped on, eyes narrowed angrily as it bit down harder. Green saw that it had even managed to pierce the rocky hide. "Ha! Very nice. But I'm afraid that bravery can't make up for power. Stomp!"
Rhydon lifted its' foot into the air, and before Trapinch could do anything stomped hard onto the ground. As it pulled its foot back, Trapinch just lay there, smashed into the ground. Grinning widely, Rhydon raised a foot again, but right before it brought its' foot down Green recalled Trapinch. Green felt some satisfaction when Rhydon's foot hit the ground and it grunted in pain, wincing noticeably. Trapinch may have been taken out easily but at least it wasn't a complete waste. Making a note to apologize profusely to the little pokemon later, she put the pokeball away.
Feeling a bit sick to her stomach, Green looked down at Kirlia, who had been standing by her side and watching the match as she clung to Green's leg. She felt like an absolute monster now, even thinking of sending her out to fight. However Kirlia stepped away from Green and gave her a determined nod, as if she knew what Green was thinking and was telling her it was alright. Turning towards Rhydon she strode forward, head held high. "Kirlia…" Green murmured, smiling with pride despite the situation.
"You can always give up if you want." Giovanni nodded at Kirlia with admiration. "You have some very loyal pokemon. I'm sure that I can sell this Kirlia for quite a lot of money once it's been retrained. I may even keep it for myself in fact."
"Over my dead body." Green just glared at Giovanni, thinking as quickly as possible about what to do next. Finally, she just decided to strike first and try to end this. "Magical leaf!" Kirlia threw her arms wide as a flurry of multicolored leaves popped into existence all around her, and with a wave she sent them soaring at Rhydon. The rock pokemon tried to move out of the way, but like little homing missiles they all swooped around to slice at his hide.
Seeing his pokemon panic for a moment, Giovanni scowled furiously. "You idiot, you can't avoid those! Bulldoze!" Rhydon glared at Kirlia, baring its' teeth and roaring as it slammed a glowing foot on the ground. A ripple shot out from the impact, travelling in a straight line towards Kirlia as it shattered marble tiles in its' wake.
"Teleport!" Green commanded desperately. Kirlia disappeared just in time as the ripple continued on and slammed into the wall, sending cracks spidering up to the ceiling. Rhydon whirled around in frustration, spotting Kirlia standing in front of the desk. It slammed its' foot down again, sending out another shockwave that Kirlia once again barely avoided with a quick teleport. The impact threw the desk into the air, and it fell on its side with a huge crash.
Kirlia managed to avoid three more stomps from Rhydon, who looked to be getting sloppier. Green had to dodge out of the way of one of the blows, and she heard Marta cry out as one of the shockwaves hit the elevator doors, blowing them apart. "Rhydon! Get your act together! Take down!" Giovanni hadn't needed to dodge any blows yet, but he looked nervously around the floor for the first time. Green had to admit, they were wrecking this place up terribly. So far there hadn't seemed to be any danger of the floor collapsing but the shaking of the building was getting more pronounced. She didn't have time to think about it much as Rhydon snorted and charged Kirlia, who was looking worn out from all of the teleporting.
"Double team!" Green called desperately. Kirlia's form started to shift, and for a moment there were two hazy images of Kirlia, each equally indistinguishable from the other. Green felt a surge of hope as Rhydon chose one of the two and sped up. Unfortunately Rhydon hit the actual Kirlia, smashing the smaller pokemon with its shoulder as the other image winked out of existence. Green's smile faded as Kirlia was knocked away, hitting the ground a few meters away and rolling to a stop. "Kirlia!"
"Well that was short lived." Giovanni seemed satisfied as Kirlia struggled to move. "Now, return this thing so we can-" he stopped as Kirlia stood up slowly, glaring at Rhydon. "Oh? You won't just give up, will you? Alright then." Glancing to Rhydon, he motioned his head at Kirlia. "Take down."
There was a burst of both pride and anger in Green as Rhydon started to rush forward at the bruised Kirlia, who was staring back angrily. She couldn't just let Kirlia's sacrifice be in vain. She tried a desperate gamble. "Confusion!" Kirlia's body glowed a faint blue, and a burst of energy flicked out and hit Rhydon right in the head. The rock pokemon didn't even seem to notice, and Green felt her stomach tighten as Rhydon closed in.
Rhydon leapt at Kirlia, who just closed her eyes and flinched, but it barely missed her in its' leap. It smashed shoulder first into a pillar, the rest of its body colliding with a loud thud. With difficulty it managed to extract itself, groaning loudly in pain as it looked about. "You fool! You missed! Take down!" Giovanni yelled, which seemed to focus Rhydon again somewhat.
"Psychic!" Green called, and as Rhydon finally found Kirlia and started her way, Kirlia was already glowing a dark red. Rhydon was lifted five feet in the air, its legs working furiously, and then suddenly slammed into the ground. When Rhydon roared and started to get up, Kirlia's red aura flared even brighter and this time the rock pokemon was lifted all the way up to the ceiling. It stayed there for a long moment, struggling and thrashing, and then suddenly plummeted to the ground again head first. The floor shook with a noticeable 'boom' as Rhydon was driven into the ground at least a foot, and finally with a groan it slumped over. Kirlia collapsed onto her knees, panting wearily.
Grunting in disappointment, Giovanni returned Rhydon. "I won't lie, I thought you wouldn't even beat one of my pokemon. You continue to impress."
Walking over to Kirlia, Green reached down and scooped her up, cradling the pokemon in her arms. "Just you wait. I'm going to win this thing and make you eat those words." Walking back to her side, Green leaned in and whispered to Kirlia. A little plan she had, just in case. Kirlia nodded wearily and Green whispered a quick thank you before kissing her gently on the forehead. Walking over to Marta, she handed Kirlia over. "Please look after her." Green gave Marta a subtle wink, and though she looked scared she nodded and accepted Kirlia wordlessly.
Readying another pokeball Green summoned Snorlax, whose fur bristled when she noticed Giovanni. Taking a few deep breaths Green turned to face Giovanni himself. This was it. The home stretch. 2 on 1. "Alright buddy. I'm counting on you." Green gave Snorlax a gentle pat on the back, which made Snorlax turn around and pat Green gently on the head with a smile.
"Nidoqueen! Let's show them how it's done." Giovanni smiled triumphantly as his Nidoqueen appeared. The funny thing was that after Rhydon it didn't look quite as intimidating. It wasn't quite as big, and not nearly as threatening. She didn't let her guard down for a moment though, she had fought this thing before.
Green thought quickly, deciding that they'd have to go on the offensive as soon as possible. "Body slam!" Snorlax ran at Nidoqueen, who braced herself, and the two collided with a resounding thud as Niqoqueen let out a dull grunt of pain. Nidoqueen's feet began to gouge long grooves in the remaining intact marble stones as Snorlax started pushing her back, a furious expression on its' face. Green let out a cry of exaltation, daring to smile again for a second.
Giovanni's chuckle made the smile drop off Green's face. "You think this is going well?" he asked, curious. Green realized he hadn't even bothered giving an order yet, and got a horrible sinking feeling. "You know I've been hearing about this Snorlax for a while now. I have to say… I think this is the worst matchup we could have. Nidoqueen, double kick!"
Nidoqueen turned her body and lashed out with a leg, driving it into Snorlax's left side quickly and painfully. As Snorlax stumbled, Nidoqueen whirled around and kicked Snorlax from the right this time, knocking the pokemon to the ground. As Snorlax got up, Green was horrified to see multiple puncture wounds adorning Snorlax's chest, and looking to Nidoqueen she realized that the poison pokemon's spines were vaguely glistening with venom. Snorlax was likely poisoned. "Snorlax, use…" Green hesitated. She nearly panicked as she realized she didn't know exactly what to do. Should she tell Snorlax to body slam again? That might poison her more. But Snorlax didn't exactly have a lot of long range moves...
Realizing that Giovanni was giving an order, Green panicked and shouted one as well. "Water pulse!" Green shouted as Giovanni cried, "Show them a real body slam!"
Snorlax stood up, raising one hand above her head as a ball of water began to form. Nidoqueen charged straight on as Snorlax reared back and hurled the collected orb at Nidoqueen. It hit her square in the face, making her grunt in pain, but didn't even slow her down as she hit Snorlax like a truck. Even given Snorlax's greater weight, she still let out a wheeze of pain and was pushed back significantly by Nidoqueen, the poison spines digging into her flesh.
"Giga impact!" Green was sweating profusely, she had decided to at least try her trump card with Snorlax before it was too late. Snorlax threw her arms out, breaking Nidoqueen's hold, and jumped back to get some distance. As Snorlax focused, a blazing orange and pink aura flared into life around her. With a roar of rage she ran at Nidoqueen, picking the pokemon up bodily as she charged across the room. They collided with the far wall, sending pieces of plaster everywhere as the whole wall cracked. Chunks began to fall as Snorlax slowly extracted itself from the hole in the wall she had made, where Nidoqueen lay, unmoving. Snorlax collapsed on the ground, huffing and puffing. Though Green wanted to feel relief, something made her look at Giovanni. Of course he was smiling, and Green whipped her head back in alarm.
Putting her hands at the edge of the crater, Nidoqueen pulled herself out. She stood up, a bit painfully, and glared at Snorlax. Snorlax just glared back, still regaining her breath as she stood up. "Focus blast" Giovanni commanded. Cupping her hands, Nidoqueen began to gather a blue orb of energy. Green pulled out Snorlax's pokeball, meaning to stop this needless damage, but she was too late. Nidoqueen threw both hands out at Snorlax, firing the orb out. It got smaller and smaller as it approached Snorlax, and for a moment Green thought it wasn't going to do much damage. However it hit Snorlax in the chest, and the effect was instantaneous. Snorlax was thrown back as if punched, sailing through the air and smashing into the far wall despite her weight. The wall crumbled slowly and Snorlax fell backwards into another room, which looked like a now-ruined bathroom.
Returning Snorlax when it didn't get back up, Green summoned Charizard wordlessly as Giovanni laughed. "I told you. I was quite ready for that Snorlax. It's a rather one trick pony, isn't it? Just hit things hard with its body. I really hope that your Charizard isn't going to be as predictable. This is your last chance after all. You hear that? Make your master proud."
"Charizard, get up in the air, hurry!" Charizard took off without a moment's hesitation, circling around the room as it eyed Nidoqueen, fangs bared. Nidoqueen never took her eyes off Charizard, moving slowly in place to keep her in sight. "Air slash! Keep your distance!" Charizard cried out, whipping her glowing wings around in vicious arcs as she soared in circles. White arcs of light went whipping through the air down towards Nidoqueen, where they began slicing at Nidoqueen as she desperately tried to dodge.
"Ah, I get it. You think Nidoqueen here is a short-ranged pokemon. I have bad news I'm afraid. Sludge bomb!" Nidoqueen breathed in, still following Charizard with her gaze, and spat out a large mud-like purple glob. It hit Charizard in the chest, splattering purple goop everywhere. Charizard roared in pain, Green could see it beginning to sizzle on her skin like acid.
Charizard landed on the side of a pillar, digging her claws in so she wouldn't drop as she roared in pain. Green cupped her hands and shouted, "Just keep up the pain! Flamethrower!" Green felt horrible for Charizard, but she seemed to fight through the pain as she turned her head back to Nidoqueen and belched a stream of fire. Nidoqueen shrieked and tried to back away, but Charizard just angled the stream of fire to stay on it, eyes blazing.
"Venoshock!" Giovanni cried as Nidoqueen fought through the flames and opened her mouth, spewing out a thick green ooze this time. The spray hit Charizard, covering her head and shoulders. Charizard stopped spewing flames as she desperately tried to shake the stuff off. Unfortunately it didn't seem to work, and as the green liquid trickled down and touched the purple goop, the two reacted violently, quickly bubbling up and making Charizard let out a high-pitched shriek of pain.
"Charizard!" Green felt sick to her stomach as Charizard thrashed around. Her mind scrambled desperately as she thought of something to do. Anything. This was her last pokemon, she had to try something. "Try flying again! Use fire spin!"
For a moment Green thought Charizard wasn't going to do it, but her wings snapped open and she took off, circling the room once again. Green was pleased when some of the green and purple stuff began sliding off Charizard and falling to the floor, but it wasn't nearly enough. Charizard started spewing fire again, quickly kicking up a flaming tornado around Nidoqueen. The poison pokemon tried thrashing about to get out, but there was no escape.
"That's enough of that flying about. Smack down!" Before Green could even blink Nidoqueen had leapt high into the air, right at Charizard. With a twist of her body it hit Charizard with her tail, right in the back between her wings. Charizard came crashing to the floor, abruptly stopping her stream of fire. Nidoqueen landed on the ground, cracking the tiles around her feet. Charizard also got to her feet, snarling as she gingerly flexed her bruised wings. She wouldn't be flying, at least for the moment.
"You can do it, Charizard!" Green called wildly, her heart pounding. Her hands trembled as she balled her hands into fists, trying desperately to calm herself. "Slash!"
Charizard stepped forward, roaring in Nidoqueen's face as she took long vicious swipes at her opponent. Nidoqueen tried to scramble backwards but the flames swirling around them stopped her, and she screamed in pain as Charizard's claws ripped long gashed into her hide along her chest and face. Nidoqueen held arms up to protect her face but Charizard didn't even slow down, lashing out again and again. While Green was ecstatic, she could see that the green liquid had spread to touch more of the purple, and now much more of the mixture was bubbling up. Charizard was certainly slowing down, her roars becoming less and less boisterous with each swing.
Giovanni hardly seemed concerned as he held a hand up in front of his face, shielding his eyes from the flames. "I think we need to end this. Earth power!" Nidoqueen held both arms up to her face as Charizard continued to attack her, and her whole body began to glow with a bright golden light. The floor began to shake and cracks started to appear everywhere. Charizard finally backed away, eyes wide as it looked for a way out, but it was too late. Golden light exploded up all around, blowing the flames away and sending chunks of floor flying everywhere. While the floor remained largely intact Green could now see clear holes here and there that led down to the floor below. Charizard was thrown high into the air before she crashed back down onto the ground, whimpering in pain as falling debris peppered her. Nidoqueen puffed out her chest proudly as the room settled down. "It was a good match. You were well on your way to being a great pokemon trainer, but I'm afraid I'll be taking Regirock and all of your-"
With great difficulty Charizard got up off the ground, her actions slow and meticulous. The room was quiet as she turned to Nidoqueen, growling low in her throat. Charizard was in terrible shape, limping towards Nidoqueen as she took a wide swipe with her claws that was easily dodged. "Charizard, that's enough!" Green felt tears in her eyes as she pulled out her pokeball and tried returning the limping pokemon but Charizard actually dodged the beam, turning to Green and snarling angrily. It stood up tall, facing Nidoqueen and spreading her wings as wide as she could, baring her fangs in defiance.
"I'm touched. She refuses to lose. You and your pokemon truly seem to care for one another." Giovanni took a moment to admire Charizard's proud nature before turning away. "Double kick." Nidoqueen didn't even hesitate, whirling around and kicking Charizard viciously in the side. As Charizard stumbled, gritting her teeth in pain, Nidoqueen's second kick nailed her in the gut. Charizard didn't fall, only stumbled backwards and coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Green raised the pokeball and was about to try returning Charizard again, but she snarled and stepped forward, mouth filling with flame as she clamped her jaws around Nidoqueen's shoulder. Nidoqueen shrieked in pain, as it began thrashing about, trying to get it loose. "Mega punch." Giovanni's voice was casual, like he was watching something on tv. Nidoqueen reared back, fist glowing bright white, and punched Charizard in the gut as hard as she could. Charizard finally let go with a wheeze, her jaws opening up to reveal a nasty wound on Nidoqueen's shoulder as she collapsed to the ground. Nidoqueen snarled, and began kicking Charizard's fallen form repeatedly.
"Stop! You fucking bitch!" Green was finally able to return Charizard, and breathed a sigh of relief that the pokemon at least still seemed alive. "I'm so sorry" she whispered to the pokeball, touching it to her forehead.
"Well, unless you want to send your Kirlia back out, I believe that's the match. I declare myself the winner." Giovanni smiled as he began advancing on Green. "Now then. I'll be taking your pokemon."
"No way!" Green back up a few steps before bumping into the wall. She felt her breathing quickening as she looked for a way out, but Giovanni closed the distance quickly, one hand grabbing her by the collar and hauling her off her feet. "I'll… never give them to you!"
"Let Green go!" Marta looked terrified, tears in her eyes as her body trembled. Heracross and Nidoqueen were sizing each other up now, it looked like Nidoqueen was just waiting for the word. "D-don't you hurt her!"
"Or what?" Giovanni looked genuinely amused. "No really. I'm waiting. What will you do?" Marta's mouth opened and closed wordlessly, and Giovanni laughed. "Let me give you some incentive then." The slap was so sudden it caught Green completely off guard, she only registered that Giovanni had backhanded her after seeing his posture. Her cheek was bleeding, it felt like Giovanni had a ring on. "Well?" he asked, looking into Marta's stunned face. He slapped Green again much harder this time with his palm, the side of her face exploded with pain and her vision went blurry. Then with a chuckle Giovanni reared back and drove his fist into Green's stomach. Pain exploded in her midsection as she choked, coughing and fighting for breath. "Go on. Do something already!" Giovanni grabbed Green's hair and pulled her head up, and try as she might she couldn't stop from screaming out loud as her scalp strained, banging her fist on the wall.
"Heracross, take down!" Nidoqueen rushed in to intercept Heracross, who had been just feet away from Giovanni. Nidoqueen smashed the bug pokemon against the wall and the two began viciously trading blows. "Don't. Touch. My. Friend." Marta was still crying, silent tears running down her face, but her face was set in a furious scowl as she pulled out two more pokeballs. "Jeffey, Bayleef, go!"
Giovanni dropped Green unceremoniously to the floor as he turned towards Marta and her two new pokemon. Jeffey was huge in this room, even Green was intimidated as it glared down at Giovanni, who did not look amused at all. "So you finally found a spine huh? Well I happen to be running out of time, so I'm through playing games." Giovanni also pulled out two pokeballs, summoning his Claydol and a Honchkrow. "Claydol, charge beam that Gyarados! Honchkrow, aerial ace on the Bayleef!"
As Green scrambled away from Giovanni, she watched the chaos unfold with some dismay. Marta wasn't the best fighter under ideal situations, and this was an extremely stressful one. She did her best considering, but Giovanni's pokemon made short work of Marta's main fighting team. Marta tried sending out her three remaining pokemon, but those ended up being a Silcoon, Bellsprout and Jigglypuff, all of which were soundly defeated at once with a psychic blast from Claydol. Marta shakily returned her pokemon and looked at Giovanni like she had no idea what to do now.
"Are we done here? Now just stay there and be quiet, girl. I don't even care about your pokemon, keep them for all I care." Giovanni turned back to Green and held out his hand. "Now. Give them to me. No more games."
"Fuck you!" Green glared at Giovanni as she backed up on all fours. "You're an idiot if you think I'll give you shit!"
Giovanni cracked his knuckled and moved in closer. "I tried making this easy. But you just had-"
Marta rushed between Green and Giovanni, her arms spread wide. Green couldn't see her face from here but her whole body was trembling worse than ever. "D-don't you hurt Green! Just... leave her alone!"
As far as intimidating speeches went it was quite terrible. However Green once again felt that rush of appreciation for Marta. Of course, that wasn't going to stop Green from yelling at her. "Get out of here Marta! Don't be stupid!"
"No! You're always getting hurt to protect us! I can't just watch this time!" Marta never stopped looking Giovanni directly in the eyes as she shook. "You'll have to get through me to get her!"
"Do you really think that will stop me?" Giovanni's arm came up and he slapped Marta open handed across the face as hard as he could. Her glasses clattered across the floor as she let out a sharp intake of breath, but she didn't move and looked back up to his face. This time Giovanni's fist lashed out, hitting Marta directly in the nose with a sickening crack. As Marta put her hands to her face, moaning in pain, Giovanni grabbed her shirt collar and pulled her close. "You look like you're about to piss yourself. Do you think some emotional wreck of a teenager and a little girl can really stop me?"
"Leave her alone!" Green shouted, clambering to her feet. She was furious, eyes blazing. "Drop her, you fucking bastard!"
Marta whispered something under her breath, and Giovanni turned his attention back to her, shaking her violently. "What the fuck did you say?!" he demanded furiously, raising his fist again.
"Green isn't a little girl" Marta said, much louder and confidently. Her voice was off after being punched in the nose but she was still quite audible. She took her hands away from her face, balling them up into fists at her sides. "Green is a guy!"
Giovanni lowered his fist, his face slackening in confusion. "Huh?"
"Green is a man you hear me?! She's more of a man than you'll EVER be!" Marta grabbed Giovanni's arm with both her hands, turned her body and kicked him as hard as she could in the stomach. Giovanni let go of Marta, wheezing in pain as the wind left his lungs. Marta stumbled backwards as she nearly fell over then ran to Green, grabbing her hand. Green could see blood pouring down her nose, staining the top of her shirt. "Come on! We have to run!"
"Oh I'm gonna kill you two. I'm just gonna fucking-" Giovanni began ranting, but was stopped by a thud at the window. Everyone turned to see a Primeape on the balcony outside, rearing back to punch the glass doors a second time. A huge crack appeared, and when it punched a third time the whole door shattered. Three figures rushed into the room, all quickly throwing out pokemon. It was only when Ivysaur, Wartortle and Alakazam appeared that Green realized they were saved. Red, Blue and Sabrina had come to their rescue.
"Give it up, Giovanni." Sabrina was already summoning a Slowking as well, a serious look on her face. "We've secured the rest of the building."
"I see." Giovanni smirked as his pokemon moved in closer, protecting him as he was quickly surrounded. "I'm afraid I can't do that. I've already got what I came here for, so for now I'll be leaving." Putting his hand on Claydol, Giovanni turned to Green with a smug look. "You can keep your pokemon for now, girl. Until next time."
Green pointed at Giovanni desperately. "Kirlia! Now!" As Giovanni's face frowned in confusion, Kirlia stepped out from behind the pillar where she had been recovering. After defeating the Rhydon Green had commanded Kirlia to heal her wounds using Healing Pulse and to hide as she waited for an opportunity. Glowing a dark red, Kirlia pointed at Giovanni. He flinched, thinking he was about to attacked, but then to his dawning horror he saw the contents of his right jacket pocket soaring out and towards Kirlia. Three pokeballs and a few random items came out of his pocket, and Giovanni reached out desperately to grab at them. His reaching figures grabbed one of the pokeballs, but when he tried to snag the other ball and Regirock's dusk ball they zoomed out of his reach.
Giovanni turned to glare at Green, a vein throbbing on his forehead as he glanced around at the pokemon slowly closing in. "Fine. Savor your victory for the moment. I will come for it again." After placing a hand on Claydol it glowed with an intense white light and Giovanni disappeared along with his pokemon.
Grabbing onto Marta for support, Green felt her legs weaken. She couldn't believe that had worked. "We… we actually did it…" Green mumbled as Marta hugged her for support.
"Green! Are you ok?!" Red was running over, almost stumbling over the rubble strewn about the room as he reached them. "Sorry we didn't come sooner." He looked back and forth between Marta and Green, shocked. "You're hurt! We need to get you to a doctor!"
"I'm fine Red" Green said, feeling strength return to her legs. She pushed away from Marta with a grateful look, and faced the room. "Is the rest of the building really secure? Did we win?"
"We did. You can calm down now." Sabrina gave Green a reassuring smile. "I still don't like that you did this on your own but I do have to commend the two of you for holding out as long as you did."
Blue stomped forward, marching right up to Green with a frown on his face. He stopped in front of her and glared, crossing his arms. "Listen. Don't do something stupid like that again, ok? What was even the point of us being a group if you just recklessly do whatever you want?"
Red gave Blue a disapproving look. "Hey give her a break, she just-"
"No, he's right Red." Green looked back at Blue, and bowed low. "I'm sorry. I messed up. It won't happen again next time."
"Oh there's not going to BE a next time you dork!" Blue looked embarrassed as he turned away from Green. "I was only helping you to beat Team Rocket! Considering how badly you got trounced it's not like I'm going to consider teaming up with you again!"
Green could only smile at his retreating back, but as soon as she saw Kirlia walking up to her she remembered the pokeballs. "Oh that was amazing Kirlia!" Scooping up the small pokemon she spun around, laughing. "You did great! I'm so proud of you!" Kirlia smiled widely and nuzzled her head against Green's chest, making a contented noise. After Green stopped she reached down and picked up Regirock's pokeball, pocketing it with satisfaction. Kirlia was holding a couple other small items as well, one of which caught Green's eye immediately. It was a purple, pink and white pokeball with an 'M' printed on it. Picking it up triumphantly she showed it to the room. "And we recovered one of the Master Balls!"
"Very well done!" Sabrina beamed widely as she approached Green, gingerly taking the ball from her. Looking down into Kirlia's arms, Sabrina reached in and extracted a small black rectangular stick. "This appears to be a data storage device. Excellent. If these are the encrypted blueprints for the Master Ball then I believe this mission may have been nearly a complete success." Looking her in the eye with respect, Sabrina reached out and shook Green's hand. "I had some doubts about you Green. I can safely say I was wrong. Thank you."
Her cheeks burning red, Green looked away from Sabrina and coughed. "I really didn't do anything much, I'm just thankful you saved us. By the way, I don't think I could have done it without Marta. You should thank her too."
Nodding, Sabrina let go of Green's hand and approached Marta. "The same goes for you. Thank you Marta, you showed some exceptional bravery today." As they shook hands Sabrina reached into her pocket. "Oh right, I saw these on the ground. I believe they're yours?" Sabrina extracted a pair of silver glasses, which Marta accepted gratefully.
"Oh yes, thank you." Marta put her glasses back on and looked to Green. "D-do I look ok?"
The truth was, no. Marta's glasses were slightly bent in their frame now, half her face was red and her nose was still bleeding. Green reached up and smoothed her hair down a bit, smiling. "You look great."
"Alright you two. I think we need to go to the Pokemon Center, pronto. We're going to get someone to look at the both of you, ok?" Sabrina looked to the destroyed doors of the VIP elevator and sighed, motioning everyone towards her. "Well we can always teleport out. Everyone come in close. Alakazam?"
Wasting no time, everyone gathered in close, and with a flash of white light they were all suddenly in front of the Pokemon Center. Various law enforcement officers who were milling about whirled around in alarm, but after Sabrina explained the situation they were largely ignored again. Everyone filed inside, where there was already quite a line of people waiting to get their pokemon restored.
"This is where I'm going to leave you for now. I'll be back later, I've just got to deal with a lot things right now. Listen, I would be most appreciative if the four of you would stay at my gym tonight. There are enough rooms to accommodate all of you and your friend Janine as well. I will also be hosting Erika and her girls for the night, so please don't think you'd be unnecessarily imposing." Sabrina was much, much nicer now that things had calmed down. She even smiled at them, just a bit awkwardly.
"Sure. Thanks for the offer!" Green was always grateful for a free place to sleep.
"I'm exhausted, so sure" Blue said offhandedly.
"Excellent." Reaching into her pocket, Sabrina took a key off a ring. "Here. Feel free to enter whenever you finish. I should be back later on tonight, there's food in the kitchen."
After a round of thanks Sabrina waved and walked off out the Pokemon Center, talking almost at once to one of the officers stationed outside. Green did not envy her right now, there was probably so much paperwork that was going to occur because of all this. Turning back to the others, Green felt herself really relaxing for the first time since Giovanni. The sounds of casual conversation was all around them now, and the seemingly life-or-death encounter was almost like a dream. Of course all it took was Green's cheek throbbing or seeing Marta's bloody nose that she was desperately trying to clean up to remind her that it was no dream, not by a longshot. Deciding to lighten the mood, Green smiled. "So, I didn't say it but thanks, you guys. Red, where did you even come from? Why are you up so early in the morning?"
Rubbing the back of his neck, Red looked at the ground. "Well, I was up late trying to catch some pokemon. I came into town and I ran into some guys who chased me around a bit. I ended up at Silph Co. and ran into Blue. He was with Ms. Sabrina trying to unlock the elevators, and so I just told them we should fly to the roof and maybe we could find a way in."
Growling with frustration, Blue looked away. "I can't believe we didn't think about that. I guess sometimes you need an idiot to point out the obvious." As Red scowled, Blue looked back at him, matching his expression. "Listen here Red because it's the only time I'll say it. Thanks for your help. Things might have gone bad."
"Oh… yeah. No problem." Red didn't smile back, but his expression did soften. The two looked at each other with just a bit more respect now.
"Green! You're alright!" Green barely had a chance to turn around as Janine collided with her, sweeping her up into a hug. "I heard over the radio what happened. Oh I'm so mad at Sabrina! I should have gone and kept you safe!"
"Hey, it's alright Janine. Everything is ok." Green pat Janine gently on the back as she was practically crushed by the embrace. "I got Regirock back, see?" Green managed to hold up the dusk ball, grinning. Janine slapped it away, angrily.
"I'm sorry but I don't care about that! Don't worry me like that!"
"You're right. I'm sorry" Green said soothingly, glancing around at the people staring at them. Red was blushing and pointedly looking away, while Blue smirked unpleasantly. Marta smiled at them, clasping her hands together. "Please, could you stop?"
Janine finally let go. "Sorry." The two stood there awkwardly for a moment until Janine brightened. "Oh, so you guys need to cure your pokemon right? I was with Erika's group when we took this place back, so my pokemon are all fine."
"Yeah, my pokemon are pretty much all down for the count except Kirlia. Marta's pokemon are all pretty hurt too." Taking her pokeballs out, Green realized she technically had seven pokemon on her. She'd have to put one away in the PC. It might not be legal to challenge trainers with more than six pokemon.
"Well, why don't we leave your pokemon with Red and Blue here then?" Janine smiled, taking Green's pokeballs as she cried out briefly in protest. "We should get you to see a doctor, right now. There's a couple in the back rooms here, checking people out. Come on. You too, Marta." Not waiting for a reply, Janine grabbed Green's hand and began to drag her off. Green sputtered some protests, but Janine didn't even seem to notice as she marched through the crowded pokecenter. Marta quickly caught up with them and in no time they reached a back hallway, where around ten people were standing in line next to a number of rooms, all with the doors shut. Janine brushed past the complaining que, who looked like they mostly had minor scrapes and bruises, as she walked right up to one of the doors and opened it without knocking.
An identical Nurse Joy was there, sitting on a chair next to an exam table, and thankfully nobody was in here at the moment. Her Chansey was sitting down on a small picnic blanket, eating some food with a pleased expression. Nurse Joy was scribbling on a clipboard, and looked to be quite busy when she looked up, annoyed. "I said wait until I call you, please! I-oh. Janine. I'm sorry. This has been a very exhausting day." Nurse Joy sagged gratefully in her chair as Janine closed the door behind her. "Who are these two?"
Putting a hand on Green's shoulder, Janine's voice was casual. "These are my travelling companions. This is Green, and my other friend Marta. I'm sorry to just burst in like this but they're hurt, and you did say you owed me a favor." Janine gently squeezed Green's shoulder.
Nurse Joy nodded and pointed to the exam bed. "Of course. Both of you, go ahead and sit down. Chansey? I'm going to need your help I'm afraid."
The next half hour or so was spent with Chansey healing the two of them with Softboiled, followed by Nurse Joy giving each of them a quick checkup. She gingerly felt Green's midsection where Giovanni had punched her and inspected Marta's mostly healed yet still tender nose. Finally she smiled at the two of them and stood up. "Well, good news. I think the two of you are going to be fine. No permanent injuries at least. I'm going to go ahead and give the two of you some minor painkillers for any problems that may come up. Please, if there's any issues that arise in the next few days see a doctor immediately. Alright? And do try to stay out of trouble."
Promising to do their best not to get hurt, Green left with a spring in her step, Marta and Janine trailing behind. They quickly found Red and Blue, who had thankfully gotten all of their pokemon healed, and after gathering their things everyone started towards the Saffron City Gym. The gym was a large imposing building, and the key that Sabrina didn't seem to work on the large front double doors. However to the right of the building there was an addition that looked somewhat new, and this door opened right up. Turning on the lights they found a relatively normal house, though it was rather large. There was a sterile feel to the place, it looked perfectly clean, like a maid had come through just hours prior.
Pushing past Green, Blue walked inside and towards the stairs without a look back. "I'm going to take a shower first. Then I'm going to bed."
Red watched him go, then took his hat off with a sigh of relief. "I'm going to go see what she has to eat. I'm not tired at all, myself."
After she watched Red walk off towards the kitchen, Marta turned and smiled wearily at Green and Janine. "I don't know about you two, but I'm exhausted. Why don't we go and get ready for bed as well?"
Green was about to agree, but something stopped her. The thing Sabrina had said earlier, about telling Janine if she really cared. This was something that probably shouldn't wait. "You can go ahead Marta. I have something I need to talk with Janine about in private." She gripped her bag, feeling her diary tucked inside.
Janine looked surprised but nodded happily. "Yeah, we'll be upstairs in a little while." Taking Green's hand, she led her out the door and waved to Marta. "See you soon!"
Remembering something, Green stopped and looked around at Marta, who was waving them off with a faint smile. "Wait a second. Hey, Marta?"
"Yes?" Marta stopped and clasped her hands together, smiling.
"I just wanted to tell you…" Green could see that the frames of Marta's glasses were still slightly bent, and she remembered Marta stepping in front of Giovanni for her. Getting punched, and kicking him in the stomach. She had been terrified but hadn't stopped protecting her. Green used to think Marta was just some dumb bitch who barely knew right from left. Maybe there was a grain of truth in that, but Green hadn't really appreciated until recently that Marta had been a great friend to her since they met. "I wanted to say that you're pretty fucking awesome. I just don't know if I've ever told you that."
Marta's eyes shined with grateful tears and she smiled widely. "I… thank you Green. I think… I think you're amazing too." Turning away from the two of them, Marta wiped her eyes and walked towards the stairs, head held just a little higher than before.
Leaving the house and shutting the door behind them, Green took in a deep breath as she looked up at the sun slowly rising. She couldn't wait to get to sleep. This day felt like it kicked her ass. "I'm so glad that's over" Green said wearily as she plopped down on a bench in front of the gym.
"You were very brave today." Janine hugged Green from behind before sitting next to her on the bench, crossing her legs underneath her. "So let me guess, you just wanted a little time alone?" Janine grinned as she sat back, relaxing.
"No… no there was something I wanted to talk to you about. It's the reason I went and talked with Sabrina in the first place." That seemed to sober Janine up. Her smile faded and she uncrossed her legs, sitting down normally. "It's about… me."
"I was wondering about all that." Janine looked like she didn't know quite what to say. "Will it… explain why Sabrina wanted us separated?"
"Yeah. Probably." Reaching into her bag, Green withdrew the diary. "I guess we should start here." Handing it open, Janine opened it curiously to the front, to Green's entries. "Those are the early entries. Before I started on my pokemon journey. That day changed everything."
"How?" Janine asked simply, skimming the diary articles as she flipped the pages. She looked confused, clearly not understanding why this was such a big deal.
"Just keep going. Past those entries. To the other ones later on." Janine's face changed as she reached the later scribblings done by Rudolph, it slackened to confusion bordering on alarm. Green looked away as she spoke. "That day I left on my pokemon journey, my mind was shared with a man named Rudolph from another world. In that world pokemon are just a fantasy, a game meant for kids of all ages. Rudolph loved pokemon, and wished that one day he could live in a world where they were real. So, his wish was granted, and his consciousness was fused with Green's." Feeling bizarrely proud of herself that she had been able to wrap it up so well, Green looked to Janine's face again. It was still frozen in that look of alarm as she flipped through the pages slowly now, reading the notes left behind. "So… that's kind of it. I guess."
It took a long time for Janine to say something. Her face went very slowly from alarm to a neutral expression as she flipped through the diary a second time, not looking at Green. Finally she snapped the book shut stared at it without a word. The two sat there in silence.
"Green. I'm going to ask you a serious question. Are you… trying to break up with me?" Janine finally looked towards Green, though she didn't quite make eye contact,
Scowling, Green shook her head. "What? No! Why would you think that?"
"If you want to break up with me then… just say so!" Janine balled her fists on her knees and looked at the ground. "What are you even saying to me? You're two people? That's insane, Green. That's some dumb… fantasy you made up. I know what this is. You don't want me to feel bad about all this so you're pretending with this whole story." Janine's mouth was set in a thin line, and she was starting to shake. "You should just tell me the truth!"
A feeling of annoyance crept over Green. She took a deep breath, trying not to lose her temper. "Janine I'm not trying to break up with you. I'm not telling you this so you'll go away, it's the opposite. I want you to know about this because it's been something on my mind for a while. Sabrina helped me to bring the two halves of my mind together, and she gave me some hard advice. She told me that if I cared about you I couldn't just keep this a secret, so that's why I'm talking with you. It's not just you either, I want to eventually tell everyone about this." Green reached out and took Janine's hand. Though Janine resisted, Green slowly uncurled the fist and held her hand. "Is there some way I can convince you I'm telling the truth?"
The look of quiet anger on Janine's slowly dropped off. Janine had a confused look on her face as she slowly squeezed back. "I… I don't know. If that's even true, I just…" She looked away. "I really don't know what to think. I'm going to need some time to consider this, ok? It's a lot to take in."
Green felt her heart sink, but she understood. For most people this was going to be a lot to think about. "Alright. That's fine. You can take as much time as you need." Patting Janine's hand, Green stood up. "I'm really sorry. I never meant for this to hurt you. I should have told you earlier."
"I have a feeling it's not something easy to bring up one way or the other." Janine stood up as well, and smiled faintly. "If you really plan on telling everyone else then I don't envy you."
"Why's that?" Green still felt down about Janine's reaction, but seeing her smile even briefly was refreshing to see.
"Well, just imagine how Marta is going to react." Janine smiled a little wider as she wandered back towards the house. "She seems like such a prude, I'll bet she'll completely freak out."
"Thankfully I don't have to worry about all that." Green smiled too as she caught up with Janine. "She was actually very chill about the whole thing, it surprised me." Janine stopped walking next to her, and Green stopped and turned around curiously. "...What's up?"
"You told Marta?" Janine's expression was hurt. "You told her before you told me?"
"Uh… yeah." Green felt very awkward now, her stomach feeling like it tightened itself into a knot. "Well after Sabrina helped me out you weren't around, and Marta was. I thought I should start telling you guys the truth, so-"
"So you didn't even wait to tell me first?" Janine looked angry now, her eyes furiously gleaming with tears. "You just HAD to go and tell Marta, didn't you?"
"Of course I told Marta!" Green felt a little upset now. "She's my friend too. And I told you as soon as we had some time alone! Why are you so upset about me telling her?"
"It's always Marta, isn't it?!" Janine took a few steps closer, making Green take a step back nervously. "Why is she so special, huh? She's just… she's not even that good of a trainer! Sometimes I think you're only friends with her because you feel sorry for her. You know you're her only friend, right?" Janine stared at Green right in the face, her expression a nasty sneer. "Is that it? You just feel sorry for her because she's a loser?"
Feeling her temper rise, Green did her best to keep calm. "Janine, I think you're talking nonsense right now. I'll forget about what you just said about Marta. You're angry, I get that. But that's not ok." Turning her back to Janine, Green started for the house. "I'm going to go take a shower. We'll talk about this more in the morning."
"No!" Janine grabbed Green's hand and whirled her around, grabbing her shoulders. Green felt a little nervous as she looked into Janine's face, she was baring her teeth in anger and looked like she was about to shake Green in fury. Green was uncomfortably aware that Janine had easily beaten a man much taller than her with no difficulty. "We're going to talk this out, right now." Janine took a few deep breaths to steady herself, though she kept a strong grip on Green's shoulders. She spoke much calmer this time. "Listen, of course I'm angry with her. She's been with you longer than I have. Sometime I just feel like you guys are better friends than we are."
"I told you, I've been with her two days longer than you. Two days!" Green knew that the anger she felt was creeping into her voice, but she couldn't help it. Janine had always been jealous of Marta, no matter how many times Green tried to convince her otherwise she just wouldn't listen. "You are my friend, and Marta is also my friend. Yes Marta was friends with me first but that does NOT mean I'm friends with you LESS, ok?" Green growled in frustration. "Why can't you just trust me?!"
"Fine. Prove it." Janine let go of Green's shoulders and balled her hands into fists once more. "Prove you're not better friends with her. When we leave to get the next gym badge… I want you to tell Marta to go by herself. I want us to go alone."
"What?" There was a surge of conflicting emotions inside Green. She was angry, but a part of her tried to calm down a bit and see things from Janine's point of view for just a moment. It did make some sense that she was threatened, after all Marta was a very pretty girl and clearly she considered Green to be a close friend, but this was ridiculous. However she did feel responsible for making Janine upset, so she rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. "I… I don't think that's fair to ask, but maybe it would be good for the two of us to have some alone time. I'll ask Red if Marta can go with him for a little while, then she can meet up with us again in Fuschia City, maybe-"
"No." Janine's expression was hard as she took a few deep breaths. "Not until Fuschia City. I want us to go alone until the Pokemon League."
A frown crossed Green's features. She couldn't have stopped it if she wanted. "Excuse me? Why does she have to leave? This is ludicrous. I thought Marta was your friend too!"
"Because it's me or her, Green." Janine looked like she had made up her mind. She crossed her arms firmly. "That's why. You can still be friends with her, but I don't want her travelling with us anymore."
A sad feeling welled up inside Green as she felt her shoulders sag. If she was going to made to choose like this, forced to give up a friend, she knew what she had to do. "Janine, I'm not going to choose one of you over the other. I'm sorry. I would like it if all three of us could keep being travelling companions, no matter what you say."
Nodding, Janine walked past Green without looking at her. "I see. Then you've made your choice. I'm breaking up with you, Green." Janine didn't look back as she neared the house. "I hope the two of you are very happy together" she called passive-aggressively over her shoulder.
Green just watched as Janine entered the house and shut the door loudly behind her. She breathed a sigh of irritation as she walked back to the bench and sat down, taking out a cigarette. That had gone just about as badly as it could have. Green just didn't think that Janine would get so upset over Marta like that. The subject had come up before, true, but Green had been confident that Janine was over it. However Green had remembered too late that apart from everything else Janine was a teenage girl, and teenage girls were not well known for being calm and collected all the time. This whole situation had been a time bomb from the start, and Green guiltily knew that the fault mostly lay at her feet. She should have resisted, or explained sooner, or heck maybe she should have just kept the truth to herself and completely ignored Sabrina.
Whatever the situation Green decided that fretting about it here, when she was still exhausted from the day's events, would do no good. Pushing everything from her mind with great effort, Green sat back and just smoked the cigarette, lazily making smoke rings in the early morning sun.