Disclaimer: Don't own Pokemon
Hey everybody! Another chapter of BW!
I know a lot of you are looking forward to the triple battle, but there is a slight change in plan. So, here is how it is. I sort of forgot about Team Plasma and was planning to write it with the Triple battle but then I realized that it felt really strange (in terms of order) to put this with the gym battle. Plus, the Triple Battle lost its appeal in my opinion if something like Team Plasma was inserted into the chapter. Thus, I decided to make it into two chapters instead of one. The Triple Battle, which I am still working on, will be in the next chapter.
This chapter is a bit short because of that, but the next chapter is extremely long and so that should make it up.
Thanks SinCityAssassinfor betaing.
Now enjoy the chapter!
Many years ago…
N could hear the thundering footsteps as he ran down the tunnels of the underground passageway, though to him it was more like a complex maze. His lower body was wet from constantly running in the ankle-high water and had to endure the intense burning sensation coming from his legs. At this rate, the only way he could get them off his trail was to hide.
At the first sight of a large pipe opening, N lunged towards it and pressed his body hard against the inner wall, hoping the lights won't reveal his shadow. His lungs desperately cried for oxygen as he stubbornly held his breath, listening in on the noise, which grew louder and closer. His heart was pounding when the footsteps stopped near the pipe; he saw a large cluster of shadows stumble in confusion.
"Damn it, where did that kid disappear to?!"
"Could've sworn he went this way!"
"Guys! I think I see footmarks over here! Come on!"
The footsteps hastily headed in the opposite direction and in a few minutes, the tunnel was dead quiet save for the rushing water from the other pipes. The area was dimly lit a soft blue, reflected from the clean water.
"N, are you there?" The headset came to life and spoke into his ears loud and clear. "Come in! Please!"
"I'm, I'm here!" N was out of breath. He had never been on so much adrenaline before, and the exhaustion was catching up to him. "What happened? Is everybody okay?"
"I don-! H-hold on!" The line went silent until a deep, stern voice greeted him.
"N, are you hurt?"
"No, I'm fine. I'm fine. I got separated from the others and then -!"
"N, the mission did not go as planned, they've found out."
"I-I'm sorry! I know I told you that I was ready. I didn't know the schematics were so hard… I just-! I just needed more time… more time…" N knew he was just spouting excuses, but he couldn't help it. He was trying to push away the guilt that was eating the very core of his body.
"I understand. It was not your fault." There was no anger in the man's voice; it was calm, controlled. None of this made N feel any better, in fact only made N feel much worse.
"How can you say that? Of course it was my fault! I was responsible for this mission. I got so overconfident… and reckless…and…and…" N took deep breaths to calm down as he rested a hand against the stone walls. When his heart rate finally slowed down to normal, he continued down the tunnel, but in a more haggard state, swaying to and fro, as reality hit him.
"Please… just tell me that everybody made it out okay. Everybody is still alive right?" There was a long, terrifying silence before the man spoke up again.
"I'm sorry," the man's voice boomed inside N's head. "But there were casualties."
"Who?" N asked in a whisper as he gripped onto the headset.
"N," the voice sounded reluctant, "Perhaps it is best if we-."
"TELL ME! TELL ME WHO!" The words echoed in the tunnel and for a split second N was afraid that he managed to attract the attention of his pursuers. Another long silence before it was broken.
"Darmanitan and Woobat did not make it."
"N-No…" N fell to his knees and could feel the cold water soaking his pants. "NOOOO!" The man on the other end had tried to say something, but N couldn't hear it; he was choking out an anguished sob, he crossed his arms around his chest, hoping to dull the pain. He looked at the stream that flowed past him and wondered if it was possible he could drown in such shallow water.
This pain… It was too much. He wanted to beg someone to make it stop.
N immediately found himself surrounded by darkness – the same darkness that beckon him more and more often as the years passed by.
N saw something on the opposite side of his darkness, a bright light emitted by a young child. Unafraid of the darkness surrounding him, the child was giggling and smiling while playing with spheres of white light that surrounded him. Slowly, these lights were taking shape. One grew wings, another grew four legs, and one got larger and more rotund. Invisible to the child's eyes, N slowly walked toward this dream-like scene. He could feel the pain dull as he felt he felt his mind drift into unconsciousness. Now, he was within reaching distance and stretched out his hand to grab the child's attention. But then the child vanished into white smoke, leaving only the sound of laughter behind.
And then finally, the pain stopped.
Accumula Town…Present Time
The afternoon fashion show party was in full swing, despite the hot weather. Hilda didn't really spend too much time hanging out with other people, her injured leg forced her to sit near the refreshment station while watching others dancing or gossiping. There was a lot of shade from the umbrellas so Hilda didn't mind too much. For today, she wore a casual V-neck summer dress so that she could feel comfortable enough wear comfortable sandals instead of classy high heels.
"Hilda! There you are. How is your leg?" Hilda turned around to see Mr. Tobbin, the editor from Hot Random! magazine, coming toward her.
"H-hi, Mr. Tobbin," Hilda still felt flustered being around such a handsome man. The last time they saw each other, Alex was carrying her back all the way to the tent after that photo shoot. Hilda remembered Mr. Tobbin giving a nod of respect, slightly amused by Alex's chivalry.
"Please, call me Charles." The man smiled and gave a hearty handshake. He took a quick glance around before continuing, "So, where is your knight in shining armor?"
"Alex," Mr. Tobbin raised an eyebrow in slight suspicion, "You know, your charming boyfriend."
"Oh him!" Hilda blushed in embarrassment. "He… had to go. He is a Pokémon trainer and you know… has to travel and stuff..." Hilda mumbled in the end and started to wish that she could disappear.
"I see," Mr. Tobbin said and then continued, "Well, I just want to let you know that your spring picture came out beautifully. I would love to see more of your works in the future."
"Th-thanks." Hilda kept her eyes down to the ground. She couldn't believe it. Mr. Tobbin was personally praising her.
" Ben would like me to pass you this message. There is a commercial job in Castelia City in a week or so. You should try it out."
"Really?" Hilda's eyes sparkled with excitement. And there was another job waiting for her! It looked like Ben really was trying to make up for yesterday's mishap.
"Oh and he said to make sure to thank your boyfriend," Mr. Tobbin added kindly, "He is such a polite gentlemen." He gave a small wink; a subtle hint that he knew who Alex really was in relationship with Hilda, causing the girl to blush even more.
"O-of course I will."
"Hilda! Do you want any of this shrimp-? Oh hey there," Sharon, who was carrying two large plates that were filled with food from the buffet, stopped on a dime when she saw Hilda talking to Tobbin. "Hi, Mr. Tobbin, nice to meet you again." There was a moment of awkward silence as he took a good look at Sharon as though trying to recall the last time he saw her.
"Sharon, right?" The actress looked pleased that Mr. Tobbin remembered her name and nodded with pleasure. "I remember your photo shoot. Very classy in my opinion."
"Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you remember. I would shake your hand, but I have my hands full at the moment." Mr. Tobbin laughed and nodded in understanding.
"Please, call me Charles," the man insisted.
"All right then, Charles," Sharon grinned, moving through the transition easily. Hilda noticed that her friend was still acting civil though she still have a bit of her rugged accent. "Any news about the winner for the photo shoots?"
"I'm afraid not," Mr. Tobbin said, a hint of mischief in his voice. "But you'll find out in the next issue. Make sure you buy a copy before it's sold out."
"Oh, such a killjoy. I bet the ladies love it when you tease," Sharon laughed and paused for a moment before adding, "Can I get ya anything from that buffet?" Mr. Tobbin opened his mouth as though to say 'yes' when there was a sudden chirping. Mr. Tobbin automatically reached for his pocket.
"Sorry ladies," Mr. Tobbin said as he picked up his cellphone. He looked at the message and sighed. "It looks like I have to be going now. But it was nice talking to you two."
"Sure, talk to ya later." With that Mr. Tobbin quickly left and disappeared into the large crowd of gossip and chatting.
"Well, that's not a good place to have a phone call now is it," Sharon said as she bit into a shrimp tail, "He's pretty nice though, and rather handsome for a guy his age. Man, I wish Terrance could've met him, but the idiot had to go somewhere else."
"Yeah…sure," Hilda noticed that some of the girls would point rather openly in her direction and whisper about her. Some even gave her dirty looks.
"You see that girl?"
"She's the one who the editor from the magazine wouldn't stop gushing about."
"What was so great about her? Her boyfriend was such a scrawny looking idiot."
"Well, he was kind of cute."
"And he carried her! Like a princess! I heard everybody started to do that after they saw them!"
"And the director thought it was rather creative."
"Oh please, as if. I bet she had some private exercises with the editor if you know what I mean."
Hilda's face turned burning red; she remembered Ben telling her to act with grace when receiving backlash from others, but this was way too much for her. Before she could figure out what to say though…
"Hey, turnip heads!" Sharon slammed her plates onto the table and called out to these girls. "You got something to say, say it to our face!" The girls that were near them had immediately scattered. Sharon was probably one of the few people in the area that even the models didn't want to mess with. But then again, it was an Orre stereotype to be crass and violent, standard for a place ravaged with crime, no one wanted any trouble with that.
"Bunch of idiots," Sharon said, acting moody. "Don't let it bother you Hilda."
"I think it bothers you more than it does for me." But Hilda was still grateful that Sharon stood up for her.
"I'm just glad Lurvina ain't here. Good thing she had to leave for that stupid book-signing thing. How many people could be interested in reading her biography?"
"Aw maaaan." Sharon tried to escape from her manager but it was too late.
"What are you doing?! No one puts that much food on a single plate, you have to watch your calorie intake!" The manager tried to take the food from Sharon's grasp, but the girl had a strong grip.
"Let go! And everyone here would if there's steak on the table." Sharon tried to grab a bite, but it was difficult to eat while playing tug-of-war.
"Don't eat steak! The sauce will ruin your clothes."
"Oh for crying out loud, I'm not wearing a dress." Sharon looked down at her tank top and her knee-length jeans as though expecting them to magically change. The manager finally gave up and allowed his actress to keep her food. Sharon, pleased with her victory, almost brought her plate inches from her face and continued eating.
"And you met with Mr. Tobbins!" the manager continued to berate the tomboyish actress, "You should have brought him to me."
"Why?" Sharon asked with her mouth full. "It's not like you guys are good friends." The purple suited manager looked ready to pass out from weariness.
"Well, I'll go search for him again. And there is some sort of rally going on, so please don't wander off. And no more eating after this!" With that the man was gone.
"A rally? Here?" Hilda was surprised. She never heard about a rally when she came here, and it sounded rather suspicious. On the other hand, Sharon was busily finishing her plate and didn't look up until she was done.
"Well, there is usually food in rallies right? Why don't we go check it out?"
About thirty minutes later…
"Who da funk are these people?" Those were the first words that came out of Sharon's mouth after she saw the scene.
It was curious, a rally this abruptly being held in such a small town. Of course, when they came upon the scene, they were pretty shocked… in a fashion sense.
Every person on stage wore an identical, yet absurdly strange uniform. In Hilda's opinion, they looked like they just got done reenacting a bad theater play. Each one of them wore white tunics, blue gauntlets and boots, how much they contrast with everyone else made the whole scene a bit jarring.
"Those are the stupidest outfits I've ever seen," Sharon continued loudly, not thinking before she spoke, "And as someone in the fashion industry, I've seen stupid outfits."
"Sharonnnn," Hilda cringed, noticing the glares they caught from some of the audience members, but Sharon paid no mind.
"Ugh, don't tell me, it's one of them activist rallies that try to get the crowd going with pointless propaganda and stupid leaflets." As if on cue, one of the people in uniform came up in front of them to hand out flyers.
"Hi there," the woman said with flustered excitement and determination, "Please stay and listen to our leader's presentation, which will begin in a few moments. For any questions on our cause or membership, please talk with us at the booth off the side of the stage." And with that, the woman continued on through the area.
"Yo, I got a one question," Sharon mumbled to herself, slightly crumpling up the flyer, "Where the heck's the food?"
On the other hand, Hilda took a look at the paper and portrait of various Pokémon happily jumping through a field of flowers presented itself on almost the entire flyer. Near the top was a coat of arms – one side was white and the other was black – with an electric blue colored 'P' in the center. At the very top was bolded, blue letters – TEAM PLASMA PROMOTES THE LIBERATION OF POKÉMON!
"Team Plasma… what do you think they mean by 'liberation'?"
The actress frowned as she continued to inspect the piece of paper with care that listed the goals of this so-call Team Plasma. "Oi, it sounds like those pamphlets that used to litter people's houses back in Orre." Sharon wasn't the only one who sounded skeptical and annoyed. There were plenty of people here who, though curious, thought that the presentation was ridiculous and laughable as they whispered and pointed.
There was a sudden squeak and reverb from the amplifiers. Looking up, the two girls noticed all of the 'knights' getting to their positions, standing tall towards the crowd. Some of them were carrying flags to signal the arrival of a man who slowly walked onto the on stage, standing behind a podium.
He was pretty old, at least in Hilda's opinion. His long wavy hair went down just past his shoulders and was colored a washed out green. On his shoulders was an elaborately designed, brown crown-like structure. It looked like it held up the two-toned cloak he wore; Separated in shades of yellow and purple, two eye patterns covered the entire front, accompanied with a vein like design. The red eyepiece he wore over his right eye glinted in the sun as he looked over the crowd that gathered.
"Alright, I know when I'm wrong. Let me take back what I said. That is the stupidest getup I've ever seen." Sharon wasn't the only one who thought of that. There were quite a few people in the crowd winced at the sight of this man's appearance.
"Greetings, citizens!" The man announced, ignoring the looks from the crowd. "I am Ghetis! I am the here to represent the organization of Team Plasma. As for my purpose, I am here to talk about Pokémon liberation!" His booming, yet stoic voice immediately silenced most of the audience, even Sharon quieted down.
"I am sure," Ghetis continued, now that he had the crowd's attention, "that many of you are under the assumption that humans and Pokémon can live together peacefully, because we want and need each other. You may believe that your bonds with your Pokémon are neither harmful nor unjust, however…" This time, Ghetis sounded serious and his voice grew louder.
"Can this really be true, or is it just an illusion you weave, to mask your own hypocrisy?"
"Huh?" There were several worried looks of confusion, murmurs and gasps spread through the crowd. Sharon raised her eyebrows, but in suspicion rather than confusion.
"Pokémon are enslaved, they are enslaved by those who wish to train them for battle and by those who felt the need to keep them as 'companions'," Ghetis continued. "They are at the mercy of the selfishness of those who control them. Tell me, how many of you command your Pokémon, every day, to do a task without even considering how your Pokémon felt? How many of you order your Pokémon like servants? Have you ever considered the harm you've been doing, to bend these creatures to your own will? How many of you ever thought of putting the feelings of your Pokémon above your own?"
Individuals in the crowd had a guilty look on their face, as if they had been given a self-realization. Hilda, on the other hand, frowned at his words. They sounded… a bit too familiar.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Pokémon are not yours to command. They are living beings like you and I, unperverted by the greed and selfishness of humanity that holds us; we can learn from them. I will ask you just one question: What is our responsibility to these wonderful creatures?"
Before the crowd could respond in anyway, Ghetis answered to his own question, outstretching his hands and made a pose as the flags behind him were lifted into the wind.
"We should liberate them; we must free the Pokémon from the chains of oppression we have held them to! We must not make them slaves to our whims. Only when humans and Pokémon break away the hideous restraints of ownership can we be considered equal. I am asking you to do what is right for all Pokémon – the correct way to proceed. I hope you all know what I mean."
The man lowered his arms and looked over the crowd once more; they were stunned. With what looked like satisfaction, he slowly stepped off the stage, the knights slowly following him one by one with their flags upright and sailing in the breeze. They all marched away from the stage area, leaving even the booth behind. It was as if they were never there to begin with, but they left an impression of sorts.
"Liberate our Pokémon?"
"Is this the right thing to do?"
"What are you talking about? They're just crazy."
"But our Pokémon. How could I have never thought about their feelings?"
"Can you believe this load of junk? Let's go."
There were mixed feelings stirring in the crowd. Some had thought Team Plasma were just a bunch of blowhards who wanted to spread a nonsense agenda and quickly left the stage area, going back to their usual routine. Others were more concerned and confused, not knowing what to think.
"D'you hear all that? All that build up and all I got to hear was the single most stupidest thing I ever heard." Sharon scoffed at the scene. "I'll admit though, it ain't half as stupid as Venus's love channel back in Orre.
"Still, I would understand if they were against some company or whatev, but they're acting like everybody's a bad guy. Well… back in Orre, I guess that's sorta true, but still… But, that's not how most people act towards their Pokémon. I should know." Though even with the criticism, Sharon was uneasy, deep down. She saw the looks of some of the people around her; they looked like they actually believed the spiel the old man had. Could people be so easily swayed? Surely they understood their Pokémon better than that old coot.
"Come on Hilda, let's get out of here… Hilda?" Sharon turned around when she noticed her friend wasn't following her and looked really confused and… frightened?
"Yo, Hilda," Sharon sounded stun now. "Don't tell me you're getting' sucked into that stupid mumbo jumbo."
"N-no," Hilda said, shaking her head, "It's just that…" She glanced at her injured leg as though trying hard to bring back the memory that has been hiding from her – the memory that could piece all of this together.
"What?" Sharon followed her gaze towards her leg, "is it about that guy from yesterday? Don't worry about it; the cops are on his tail. Personally I would've liked to take him out myself."
Then it hit Hilda. "That's it!"
"Huh? What's it?"
"That guy! He said the same thing that old man was talking about on stage?" It took a while for Sharon to understand what Hilda was trying to say.
"What?" Sharon's eyes bulged in shock. "You mean the guy who tried to kill ya and that Alex was part of…!" She didn't finish her sentence; she didn't need to. The same thought was on both their minds.
Could the mysterious attacker be with Team Plasma?
Well, Ghetis sure knows how to make a very interesting speech. Any debaters in the crowd?
And how about that news of the new form of Mewtwo in that new Pokémon movie coming out? Anybody excited?
Moving on, I'm still busy with school as it is wrapping up with finals and such. Updates are sparse and in between. As soon as I'm done, I'll start updating a bit faster.
Remember. If you would like to contribute art to go with this story, let me know.
Anyways, thanks for reading and reviews. I'll see you in the next chapter.