A/N: I apologize for the long wait, guys! I've been doing so many things that I never had time to write The Prince and I. Not to mention, I had severe writer's block for the past few months. I'm glad that I was able to get an update in. I hope you guys enjoy after so long!
It had to be past midnight in order for this to work. Never had I once dreamed of doing something as reckless as this, but it had to be done. Something wasn't right and I had to find out what that something was. Something that involved whatever was behind the closed doors of the Behavior Analysis Unit.
Today was perfect. Almost too convenient for me. N was off on one of his shorter trips that would last a few days or so. He'd spend a few days in one city for meetings or assemblies, moving on to the next city soon after. He'd only left a day ago, so it was to my advantage.
But that wasn't the only miracle. N decided to leave on the perfect week possible. One day after his departure was Mildred and Anthony's anniversary. Anthony had taken the day off to spend quality time with Mildred and little Jessica, leaving him with no worry about his stolen key-card.
Not that he knew it was stolen or anything. Even less that he'd ever suspect his own beloved wife to have stolen it from him half an hour after he went to bed that night. Having already applied for vacation leave, Anthony wouldn't be needing his key-card for the Behavior Analysis Unit that he kept stashed away in the back of his bottom drawer beneath a hard copy of "Team Plasma: Rules and Regulations" under the nightstand.
"Miss White, I can't steal Anthony's key-card! And most importantly, why would you possibly need it?" Mildred had asked the day before. I described to her my experience that I'd encountered on the day of Jessica's disappearance. Her reaction was, to say the least, one of shock. She wanted to deny that the "Meta" had anything to do with the torturing of pokemon, but she still wanted to believe me, as hard as it was to believe.
"I know that my queen wouldn't lie to me," she said, handing me the key-card. "Please find out what's going on, Miss White. I want you to make sure that that's not really what they're doing."
When she gave me a worried look, I placed both hands on her shoulders. "Hopefully this is all just a huge misunderstanding on my part. I mean, I can't imagine that N would allow for pokemon to be hurt like that. But I can't just let this go unnoticed."
She gave a slight nod and bid me good luck before I turned on my heel to head down the hallway. Few guards were out roaming the halls so that was a bit of a relief on my part. Still, some lingered around corners, twiddling their fingers in boredom. But I couldn't let them see me, even if I was their queen. I wasn't usually one to stay up this late and everyone knew it. My schedule was ingrained in every guard's mind starting from day one. They'd gotten to know my patterns and wandering the halls stealthily was not part of any of them. I had to keep my presence a secret otherwise this whole mission was over.
My pace was brisk as I went down each corridor, only slowing down when I got to a corner where I'd peak my head around to see if there were any guards hanging around. None. Good.
I continued, only stopping by my own bedroom for a moment. I creaked to door open until there was enough light to see little Chris puffing out small breaths as he slept. I smiled, blowing him a tiny kiss. "Sweet dreams, little prince."
He slept on soundly, his entire body wrapped up warmly in a blanket with only his head peaking out from under the covers. I closed the door, leaving him to drift off to dreamland where he'd have no worry of the things his mommy would be getting herself into that night.
I rounded another corner, taking the stairs down to the lower level. The flowing waterfalls masked the sound of my bare feet against the cold marble floor. As I found myself at another corner, I heard muffled voices. Peaking my head around, I noticed a few grunts conversing outside one of the grunt rooms. It was hard to make out what they were saying as their voices competed with the rush of running water. I stepped out a little further, just barely enough so I could hear them faintly but still have a cover.
"It came in today?" one of them asked.
The other nodded. "Yeah. Fresh from the Shadow Triad. They got more from Ghetsis."
They had to be from the communications unit. But Ghetsis? What did he have to do with Team Plasma now?
"What did it say?"
The grunt shrugged. "The message hasn't been released to everyone in the unit. From what I heard though, they saw the King there."
N met with Ghetsis? When was this?
The communications grunt said something else that I couldn't comprehend then waved to the guard before opening the door to one of the rooms. I took the chance to sprint to the corner across from me while the guard's back was turned away. Taking a few deep breaths, I tried to recollect my thoughts. N had met with Ghetsis recently? He hadn't said anything to me about it. In fact, it had been years since we last visited him together. I recalled the unpleasant experience I had when the man nearly choked me to death that day. I cringed. Never again would I go back to meet with that monster.
But the question was, why had N gone?
I shook my head. I'd find that out later. Right now I had to figure out what that noise was.
My hands trembled as I pulled the key-card out of my nightgown pocket. It nearly slipped out of my hand since a nervous sweat was already soaking my palms. I held my breath, silently pressing the card to the register on the wall.
The tiny light flashed green and a small click was heard. This was it. No turning back now. Hesitantly, I pressed the door open. Not a sound was heard. Not even the squeak of metal against metal on the door frame. Slowly, I slid through a crack, softly closing the door behind me.
I turned around quickly, taking in the chilling sight of unfamiliar machinery. Bright white flashing fluorescent lights on polished steel; long extension cords slithering across the floor, entangled amongst other cables in a web of plastic; the low hum of machines vibrating against the floor as they worked. All was foreign to me. I felt out of place in the highly advanced world of the Meta. As a queen in a soft pink nightgown standing in the Meta, I knew something.
I was not meant to be here.
I shook my head, taking quick steps down the stairs into the basement area. My feet twisted at the uncomfortable cold of the metal stairs. I had to walk faster, trying to keep my mind on what I had come for. My eyes darted around the area, only catching quick blurs of heavy looking machinery that sat still on some tables. The stairs had ended, but not the chilliness against my heels. My mind was wrapped too much in the chill that I was starting to forget what I had come here for.
A tiny click came from behind me and I spun around on my heel in a defensive position. My breath sounded louder in my ears. My heart pounded loudly as adrenaline rushed through my veins. Sweat trickled down my forehead, dripping to the ground.
I blinked, my eyes still darting around. Nothing. It took a moment for my head to wrap around the though, but relief soon wafted over me. Taking a deep breath, I turned back to the way I was going. After a few glances over my shoulder, I convinced myself that I was safe. I continued on.
Down a narrow stretch of a hallway, I couldn't help but notice the sites around me. Along each side were multiple rooms, each of a different habitat. To my left was a desert looking environment, sand covering the ground along with rock formations for pokemon to hide behind to keep cool. To the left, a jungle, lush with rainforest plant life, so humid that the glass was starting to fog up.
I walked a little further. One side was frozen over, blanketed over with fresh snow. A small hole sat in the middle of a frozen lake for water pokemon to surface if they needed to. Another room had a forest, alive with dozens of trees, perfect for nesting, protection, and food. A stagnant lake lay on the far side of the room. Not even the slightest ripple.
Next to each room I noticed some boxes attached to the walls. Next to the desert room, the box stated in bright green numbers "115 degrees Fahrenheit." One of the buttons on the box glowed a similar color, depicting a sun and a cactus. A thermostat for each room, no doubt.
On and on the rooms went, some duplicates of each other. Everything looked real and it was so easy to get lost in just the beauty of each room. It was a paradise for all pokemon. The perfect world for each and every pokemon.
I shook my head. This wasn't what I was here for. I had to keep going.
My feet trudged forward, further and further. I was freezing, I was getting tired, I wanted to leave and snuggle up under my covers. But I kept walking. In the mindless state that I was then, I went on. I had to find out what made that noise.
A few doors came into vision a few moments later. As I got closer, I noticed the familiar box on the wall next to one of the doors. Another thermostat. When I got closer, I squinted my eyes to get a better look at the screen. In bright green, "70 degrees Fahrenheit" stood out. One of the buttons glowed just like on the other thermostats. This time it was a picture of a door.
A door? 70 degrees wasn't too hot or too cold, so maybe it meant room temperature. Could there have been a pokemon in there?
I shook my head. No. It was probably just the regular thermostat meant for the staff. But it wouldn't hurt to look, would it? I'd already come this far. I couldn't just turn around empty handed with no clues as to what that sound was.
Hesitantly, I took hold of the door handle. With a click, the door opened and I sealed my eyes shut. I was scared. Scared that I had been right. That N was keeping tortured pokemon in this back room. N wasn't like that, but what could have possibly made that noise?
With my eyes closed, I slowly felt my way into the room. One foot went in at a time. I held my hand out, feeling for the wall. Once the familiar texture came in contact with me, I pushed myself into the room further. I was relying on my ears now for any sign of the sound. Nothing out of the ordinary. But something felt off. I wasn't sure what made me feel that way, but whatever weird instinct was taking over, it was sending chills up my spine.
And then I heard something. Not quite the same sound as before, but more of a low whisper, something more like a breath. My heart immediately began to pound. Was someone here with me? I couldn't open my eyes. Fear of finding out that I got caught was filling my entire body. My pulse quickened. My palms felt sweaty again. Was it all over? Had I been caught? Had I been wrong this whole time? Would I be able to laugh it off with Mildred and tell her that everything was okay in the end?
I opened my eyes.
All sound stopped. Time stopped. I wasn't tired anymore. I couldn't even tell if I was breathing or not. I couldn't feel my heartbeat. There was no shaking. No fear. Only numbness. There were no movements. Only silence. On the outside, my eyes drank in what stood before me. Inside, I was screaming.
Two giant, red insect eyes stared back at me. I couldn't tell what it was. A purple cyborg with the body of bug pokemon stared silently at me. Its long arms fell limp at its sides. Its head looked too big for its body. Some sort of cannon stuck awkwardly from its back, pointing straight at me. Was it some sort of defense mechanism?
It was then that I noticed the tubes that clung to its back. Fluids were being pumped into it. No. It couldn't have been a machine.
What came next shot a shiver up my spine. The face curled upward, the eyes never leaving me. It was smiling.
I couldn't pull my eyes away from the creature. The more I stared, the more I was drawn in. I feared this. I wanted to move.
But my body stayed where it was. I had to know something.
Breaking my gaze from the creature, I looked around the room for any clues as to what it was. Could it have been a pokemon that I'd never heard of? A sticker on the platform it was standing on caught my attention. Taking a step closer to it, I squinted to read the fine print. Too blurry. Another step. Then another. I was getting too close to the creature. That laser could fire at any moment if I got too close. I squinted even harder. My eyes did catch something.
Genesect: Paleozoic Pokemon. Bug/Steel.
My breath caught in my throat. This was a pokemon. I blinked rapidly. This was a pokemon.
Genesect opened its grinning mouth, letting out a metallic sound. That hellish sound that I'd memorized. This was it. This was what I had been looking for.
I felt myself fall to my knees. This was unreal. Team Plasma was hurting this pokemon. Analyzing its behaviors in the worst possible ways. I could see it in its eyes. The excruciating pain, endured for too long. How long had it been alive? What had they done to it?
My eyes caught another piece of text on the sticker.
This was a legendary! A one of a kind. This legendary, the only one of its kinda, was living in the dark depths of the Team Plasma Castle. Team Plasma, of all people, killing this poor creature. This living being. How could N let this happen?
My thoughts paused for a second. Unless he didn't know about it.
I had to keep myself from screaming out. I couldn't wake the other members. I ended up pacing around the room, trying to find an answer to all of this. Maybe N didn't know about this. N would never let something like this happen. This could all be some weird conspiracy on the part of the grunts.
I stopped. No, N would've known if something like this was happening. Besides, the grunts respected N, didn't they? Of course. They all loved their king.
But those grunts from earlier spoke of Ghetsis. Maybe there was a conspiracy. In that case, what were they trying to do?
Groaning, I leaned against the wall.
"I can't figure this out on my own."
My eyes drifted back to Genesect. "I want to help you. But if I let you out, where will you go? They'll know that someone came here. Besides, you're a legendary. I can't let you just roam off around the castle."
Then it hit me. Legendary. I don't know what came over me. This wasn't real. It wouldn't work. It never worked. I hadn't worked for Cheren and it wouldn't work for anyone else. But I did it anyway.
I wish to have strength for what I'm about to do.
A/N: Took me long enough to write this chapter! But I'm glad it's done!
Well, it's that time of the year again. school's out and I'm going to two conventions this year. The first, Pokefest, is in a few days on June 9th. As the name states, it's dedicated to pokemon. I'll be going as Meloetta Aria form to that one. Omnicon 2012 is coming up on July 6th and 7th so if anyone's in Texas, make sure you go! I'll be going as Shiki from TWEWY to that one. I'll make sure to post lots of pictures!