Chapter 7

The Team Together

Piplup ran down the hallway at blinding speed. By the time she realized that things might not go over well with Torchic about the little arrangement she made, minutes had past. She needed to catch up with Guildmaster! Even though only two days had gone by with her at the guild, she knew all the corridors by heart. She flew past the library, and ran around a sharp turn. However, when she did, she toppled over Elekid, Poochyena, and Roggenrola, whom were having casual chat.



"Watch It!"

"Sorry!" Piplup yelled as she went screaming down the hallway.

She soon found herself in the main room, standing before the Guildmaster's door. No sooner had she arrived, than Torchic showed up. She beat him to the Guildmaster, but barely.

"Hey Piplup! So, how was guard duty last night? I hope that Riolu didn't give you any trouble. Little Raticate got what he deserves."

"Uh-huh… Yeah… *choke*" Piplup coughed out.

"You okay Piplup, need any water?"

"Oh no, thanks though" Piplup started feeling glad that he cared about her, but wondered how he could be so oblivious that something about Riolu's 'sentencing' was bothering her.

"So, Guildmaster had me called, and I figured you'd be here." Torchic explained. "Seems I was correct!"

"Uh, yeah. So, let's see what he wants." Piplup said, as she opened the door.

Torchic and Piplup strolled into the office. At first Torchic stared in splendor at chief Magnezone, but when he saw Riolu leaning against the wall, a look of disgust appeared on his face.

"What is 'HE' doing here? I though he had received his sentence!" Torchic cried. Torchic basically hated Riolu at that point. Between Riolu and Torchic, the feeling was mutual.

"For once, I agree with Torchic, I feel this whole idea is ridiculous!" Yanma complained. However, Magnezone interjected. "The deal has been struck, now all that remains is to break the news to the remaining team-member."

"Wait? Deal? What deal would our team have to make with this criminal?" Torchic began. "It's time someone took you down a notch smart-guy. Chief… Tell 'im" Riolu stated smugly. Taking no response to Riolu's smug attitude, Magnezone outlined the deal that had been struck. "The outlaw you see before you is about to become subject to a form of re-habilitation. The 'Riolu' entity is to serve on your team for length of time, which will be determined later based on the criminals behavior. This arrangement has been finalized by the Guildmaster, and is mandatory for the team in question"

Torchic was flabbergasted, and Riolu grin had become even smugger. "This is crazy!" Torchic yelled. "Unreal!"

"Sorry to burst the bubble on your perfect little team!" Riolu stated.

"That's it, I don't care how my parents raised me, I will not stand for such slander!" Torchic yelled, and he began charging at Riolu, only to find himself being restrained by Piplup. "Torchic, please calm down. He's like us. We just gotta give him a chance!" Riolu was grimacing the entire time.

Torchic thought on this, and realized that since this was non-negotiable, he may as well comply, and not make a fool of himself in front of the Guildmaster, or even worse, Magnezone. "All right fine. But he better turn his act around." Torchic mumbled "Oh don't worry! We'll make a friendly friend out of this young man!" Guildmaster reasoned. Torchic wondered how he could always see the best in people. "Alright Torchic, though I don't agree with this at all, Riolu shall be bunking with You, Spheal, and Munchlax." Yanma explained. Great, even worse. "Fine by me" Riolu stated arrogantly.

Guildmaster then stated "However, you must excuse us. We have a few more formalities to take care of. If you two would be so friendly as to leave. It will take a while to complete the necessary paper-work. For this reason, your team is excused from any missions today. You may take this time to do whatever you wish. Bye friends!" and with that, Yanma ushered them from the Guildmaster's office.

As soon as they left, Torchic began ranting.

"I can't believe this. This is going to be awful. How did this happen?" Shed didn't think he would take it so personally. Piplup felt absolute guilt in her gut. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately for her, it didn't last, as Torchics powers of deduction kicked in.

"Hey… Wait a minute. Yanma said 'all that remains is to break the news to the remaining team-member.' You knew didn't you." Piplup was going to deny it, but then she looked into Torchics eyes as they stared into hers. She couldn't lie to him, she just couldn't bring herself to do it. She broke down immediately. She admitted everything about the 'deal'.

"Alright. I knew. In fact I suggested the whole 'rehabilitation' idea to Guildmaster and Magnezone. I just felt so bad for him…"

Now, normally Torchic would have gotten stern if someone made a mistake. However, this was no ordinary mistake. He went beyond stern, beyond rage. He was livid.

"YOU WHAT! I can't believe you Piplup! What's the matter with you? Whose side are you on? Don't you know any better to trust a criminal like him?"

"He deserves a second chance Torchic. He's had no one to turn to until now. He's just-"

"Just nothing Piplup. He knew what he was doing, and so did you! I'm going to the library. At least the books won't stab me in the back!"

Torchic then turned his back on his team-mate, and began storming off towards the library, mumbling the whole way "With teammates like her, who needs outlaws."

When Torchic was gone, tears began to well up in Piplups eyes. She slowly trudged herself back to her room. When she got there, she flopped down on her bed, and let the tears flow freely. She cried like crazy, so loudly that anyone within fifty yards could hear. However, nobody heard. Most guildmembers were out on missions. The lucky ones. Who cared if they were going to get an outlaw mission earlier than most teams? In fact, outlaws were the last thing Piplup wanted to think about. It took an hour before the tears stopped. She then just lay there and waited for the bell to be rung for dinner.

Piplup wanted to stay awake, so she could think about what to say next time she saw Torchic, but she drifted off before long. She just laid on her bed on her bed until voices nearby caused her to stir. She immediately recognized them as Flaffy and Chikorita. Probably back from whatever mission they had that day. They were discussing something, only Piplup couldn't tell what. She strained to hear, and then it came through

"… All I'm saying is that Poocheyena's cute."

"Yeah, and last week it was Elekid."

"That was then. This is now. I just love his quiet demeanor. He's so dark, so mysterious."

"Oh boy… Say have you seen Piplup?"

"Nah, I heard her team got the day off for some reason. Boy they're lucky." Lucky was the last word Piplup would use to describe her feelings. More like heartbroken and hopeless.

That's when they came into Piplups room.

"Oh, there you are Piplup, how was your day off. We haven't had one in … say… have you been crying?" Flaffy asked.

The tears began welling up again, and Piplup began crying again. This disturbed both Chikorita and Flaffy. However, Chikorita made the first move, by walking up to Piplup, rubbing her on the shoulder with her vines, and saying "There there, just tell your good friend Chikorita all your troubles." In a very caring, sisterly manner. You see, while being a notorious flirt, Chikorita actually cared a great deal for her friends.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, Piplup explained all that had happened that day, from the deal with Riolu, to the meeting with Guildmaster, to the argument with Torchic. All the while, Flaffy and Chikorita stood there, mouths gaping. Chikorita was the first to speak.

"Omg…. That's terrible! Did Torchic really say all that? What a jerk! Well, you can just forget about him!"

Flaffy didn't even give Chikorita a chance to continue with this train of thought. "Chikorita! Now honey… Look, you have to understand… it was all so sudden… he probably lost all sense of right and wrong there. Besides… He was sort of right about you making such a big decision without him…"

Piplup just sat there for a few seconds, still digesting what Flaffy had said. Before finally saying herself "I guess so… I just felt so bad for Riolu… Do you think he'll forgive me?"

Flaffy didn't let Chikorita put any wrong ideas into Piplups head. "I'll be honest, it'll take a while. But if you give him time to calm down, he may just find it in him to forgive you. That's the first step. But enough of this. It's almost time for dinner. We should get going."

Piplup realized there was hope, and for the first time since the confrontation with Torchic, she smiled.

She soon felt the familiar tastes of the guild food. She had to hand it to those cooks. They may have been pranksters with a horrible sense of humor, but they definitely knew how to cook.

Their new teammate Riolu was standing next to Guildmaster, though no one notice him but her and Torchic.

Every once in a while, Piplup would glance over to the other end of the table to sneak a glance at Torchic. He seemed tense… understandable. Once during the meal, they happened to look at each other. Torchic gave her an angry scowl. Just as Piplup started too looked away, the announcements bell rang.

"Amazing news friends! We have new friend who is joining our newest friendly team, Team Aquaflare. He may come from a much different background from the rest of our friends… But that won't be a problem will it? So without further ado, we now introduce: Friendly Renounced Bandit Riolu!"

Riolu stepped forward. Outside of the few who did clap for a couple of seconds out of habit, everyone gasped.

"Bandit!" Roggenrola asked

"What is that criminal doing free?" Elekid asked.

"Ugh, he's sorta scary lookin. Isn't he supposed to be in jail?" Spheal said.

"I think he's cute!" Chikorita said. Everyone just stared at her for a few seconds before looking back at Riolu. Only her. Only her.

Yanma intervened on the chaos "Now now. The criminal in question here will be partaking in a rehabilitation program in order to completely reform him. No need to worry!" This calmed the room down, although the still mutual feeling of uneasiness was evident.

Dinner then resumed as normal. Only Torchic seemed even angrier, Piplup even guiltier, and everyone else completely overwhelmed.

Everybody was soon released for free time before lights out. Piplup went to her bunk to lie down. Torchic went back to the library. Riolu was shown his bed next to Torchic and Spheal by Yanma, and was left there until it was time for bed. When Torchic, Spheal and Munchlax returned, they immediately went around to introducing themselves. Except for Torchic. He needed no introduction.

"Now listen here. Just because you have the Guildmaster and Piplup fooled, doesn't mean you're off the hook. You're still a criminal. We are nothing alike."

"Fine with me. After all, just the fact that being out of the clink annoys you so much, is satisfaction enough for me." Riolu hissed. Torchic scowled again at him. The Nerve of him!

"You have a sick sense of amusement… You better not get in the way of our teams operations… If so…" Torchic threatened. Truth be told… he didn't know what he would do. He couldn't really do anything to him according to guild rules. His threat would go unfinished, and fortunately for the sake of the team… unfulfilled.

Other than a few inaudible grumbles, Torchic didn't say anything else. They turned in for the night, and once again, all was silent. And once again, minds were stirring. Riolu was thinking about, even though he didn't see eye to eye with Torchic, he was actually slightly (I can't stress enough the word slightly) grateful for being on this team. Piplup was sleeping with the smallest of hopes that Torchic would forgive her. Torchic, was still quite upset with both Piplup and Riolu. The only emotion going through his mind was "disappointment". He didn't want to get along with Riolu. He didn't want to be on a team with him. He didn't want to bring criminals to justice if he was being forced to work with one himself. However… the events of the next day would change his opinions.

Alright... sorry for the wait... I've been busy with school, home-stuff, and just the fact I am lazy. I actually had only like two paragraph left to this chapter in the past three months, I just forgot about it until last week. When I worked up the guts to get back to work. Just letting y'all know I'm still alive and gingerish...

Expect the next chapter in about a month. I have the story and some details planned. Now to just find the time. Believe me... I actually planned for this chapter and the next to be all one big chapter... but I thought you guys would get inpatient. sooooo... yeah.