Mali sat at his mahogany desk, impatiently drumming his fingers on it. Despite it being the middle of the day, the office was black and dim. The extravagance of it could not be seen through the impenetrable darkness that seeped its way into every macabre item in Mali's office. He had finally found his famed assassin…in Sinnoh… Now, he was waiting for him to reiterate the necessity of finding and killing his son quickly.
The door to the hall opened, but the light seemed to be eaten up by the horrors of the darkness. The man in gray, the famed Liberator of Death, stepped inside, his mask completely emotionless and eerily peering into nothing. He stepped inside and closed the door softly. The way he moved was ethereal, as if he didn't need to move his legs, but he did it anyway just so it would seem like he was a normal human. He didn't bother to sit down and just nodded at Mali, acknowledging that he was listening.
Mali nodded back and then rubbed the bridge of his nose with his meaty, jewelry-ridden hand. "Sir," he began, "Would you kindly explain to me how the hell you managed to end up in Sinnoh?" Mali put his hands forward expectantly.
Liberator remained silent and just shook his head.
Mali's face morphed into one of pure rage. "What do you mean…no?" Mali threatened menacingly, slowly rising to his full height of 6'5". He was quite the large man and his suit was stretched tight against his body. His icy blue eyes bored themselves into the Liberator's unchanging mask. He grasped the Liberator by the collar of his gray shirt, and, although he admired the fine feel of the silk, pulled him two inches from his face. He used his other hand to pull out a .45 magnum and aimed it directly at Liberator's head. "Say "no" once more, I fucking dare you!" he spat.
The Liberator shook his head and grabbed Mali's own collar, bringing a knife up to his neck faster than the eye could see. The two men were at a stalemate, neither wanting to test the other's reflexes. It was a mutual understanding that if one struck, the other would be dead as well. Finally, after a tense and perpetually unnerving moment, both men simultaneously released the other. The Liberator sheathed his knife while Mali put his gun down on the desk and straightened his blue pinstripe. He rolled a hand through a wave of well groomed black hair.
"Fine," Mali conceded, "We won't discuss this, but next time, I will not hesitate like I did this time." The Liberator nodded and motioned for him to continue. Taking a long breath Mali explained, "I probably should have given you more info, but you dashed out of here before I could even show you what he looked like." Mali reached into an inside pocket of his suit and pulled out three pictures. He threw them down on the table. One was a picture of just Seth. He was definitely younger than he was now and had an intense expression on his face. His hair was shorter than it was now, but it was still a bit longer than most guys his age had it. Liberator picked up the picture and studied it. "That's Seth, he is your target. He'll have a member of the Ralts line with him, and if I remember he had an Infernape, Electivire, Froslass, Roserade, and some stupid Feebas. He'll be slightly difficult to confront directly, especially given the amount of time that he's had his powers."
Liberator nodded and picked up the second picture. It was Sarah from two years prior. She was sticking her tongue out while she was on top of Bruce's shoulders. It was one of the few pictures that actually showed Bruce smiling. "That's my daughter, Sarah. I would rather you not kill her as she is the most prominent gym leader around and is very social. It would make things rather…difficult…if she is found dead, but if she gets in your way, just kill her and move on."
Finally, Liberator picked up a picture of Daron and Destiny. Daron had his friendly smile and his hair was about as long as Sarah's. Destiny, his mother, was holding it up with a goofy expression and had scissors in the other hand. "The boy in the picture is Daron, my son. He's an artist, also fairly high-profile, so only slay him if you absolutely must." Liberator pointed to the woman in the picture. Her figure was slim and her eyes were dark brown. She had one purple streak in her long black hair, similar to how Sarah wore hers. "That's my wife," Mali stated bluntly, not a trace of remorse in his voice. He looked at his hands and for a brief second they were covered in blood before it disappeared once again. He clenched his fists and smiled. "That was a good day."
"Why?" Liberator asked in perfect English. The word was short and quick, but the meaning was direct and demanded an answer.
Mali sat down on his plush chair. "I needed to make a point." He picked up the gun and carefully fingered the cold metal. "She was always so fucking perfect, beautiful, sweet, intelligent, self-aware, and modest as hell. Everywhere we went she was asked why she settled with me, everywhere. She said she loved me, and everyone we met fell for the act, including me. One day, almost four years ago, I saw a man leaving her room. She claimed he was a friend, a potential client even for my shipping business." Mali slammed the gun down on the table. "And I believed her, I fucking believed her. I did everything for her and she had the gall to fucking abandon me like that! For two more fucking years I dealt with it, I got angry, I became strong, and I became correct. Finally, I saw the same woman who she'd been with three years prior leave her room once again. She tried to defend herself, say the man was just a friend. Fuck!" Mali threw the gun across the room, directly past Liberator's head. The gun fired and shattered several priceless paintings hanging close together.
"She then tried to leave…she brought home those fucking papers! No one leaves me…no one ever leaves, especially those who blame those with a clean conscience and try to stain it with their own corruption. My children took her side; she had tainted them with her bile. I couldn't take it anymore; she needed to be made an example of. So I took my kids into our room where she tried to fight me, but I gave her as clean a death as I could, but that damn Froslass got the better of me." Mali shivered for a moment before continuing. "I was sent to jail for a year before my assets finally managed to pay the right person and release me…life sentence my ass." By the end of his tale, Mali was breathing hard and ragged. Every muscle was tight and began to ache and his veins were popping out of his hand and head.
Still the Liberator remained silent. He glanced at the picture of Seth and asked, "Where?"
"My sources say that they were heading towards the city of Seraph, a nice, well-off place. I believe you will be very familiar with it, won't you?"
The Liberator did not respond, he merely turned on his heels and exited the door, vanishing without a trace.
Mali stood up and picked up his magnum with shaky hands. He placed it back on his desk and turned towards a large cabinet. He pulled out a small key and opened it, revealing copious amounts of various alcohols. He removed a bottle of vodka and a large shot glass. He put the bottle and glass on his desk, making sure to have coasters underneath them so they didn't ruin his desk and poured himself a hard shot. He swallowed the drink in one gulp and poured another, determined to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, a Zoroark watched her master carefully. She had swiped a picture of Daron when Mali was recounting his tale. She remembered him from when he was a little boy and she was just a small Zorua. She giggled to herself at the time when he had gotten stuck inside door because it slammed on a tie he was wearing.
She looked at Mali as he drowned in alcohol. She had been listening to him lately. He had been speaking to himself about his awful family and the horrid man Daron had become. She couldn't help but think that there was something wrong with her master. Daron had always been the sweetest boy, if a bit rough at times, but all boys were. She couldn't believe he was the genocidal maniac that her father believed, or that Seth was a power hungry lecher, or that Sarah had become nothing more than a slut. She tucked the photo inside her mane and stealthily exited the room as Mali passed out after downing almost two whole bottles.
She looked down the hallway to the left and it was clear, but when she looked to the right, she saw Alakazam. For one so smart, he was way too obedient and never one to question anything."Where are you going?" he asked, his voice was deep and foreboding.
"Doesn't matter," Zoroark answered coyly. She had no time and as she prepared to leap up to a window and find Daron, Alakazam spoke.
"Master doesn't like us leaving."
Zoroark rolled her eyes and remarked, "I don't really care, and I want to find Daron."
Alakazam's eyes widened and he shouted, "That masochistic bastard? Why would you want to visit him?"
Zoroark stopped preparing to jump and slapped Alakazam hard, leaving small red lines where her claws cut him. "Never say that again."
With that, she jumped up with amazing grace and perched herself on the windowsill. She looked over Delictum and spotted a gray clad man heading out of town…in the wrong direction. She laughed as she at first thought this was going to be a race. She agilely leapt from the building onto a low hanging board and began to leave the city.
"Damn it's cold!" Daron complained. He pulled his coat around himself tighter and tighter, breathing into his hands. The group had left the lovely warmness of Incendio two days beforehand and were now almost to the gleaming city of Seraph. It was a well off town, full of big houses and fancy people with sticks up their asses, as Daron often put it. Everyone in town seemed to believe that they possessed an adept level of psychic abilities, and they also despised Dark types, like every one of Daron's Pokemon. Abbey happily moved closer to Daron and he smiled down at her.
"Hey," Seth said, "Don't complain, at least you have a coat, Grace just has a sweater!" It was a bad argument, and a pointless one at that, but it was a brotherly challenge that Daron couldn't refuse.
"Yes, but she has fancy psychic powers, I'm sure she can do something that can keep her warm!"
"Nope," Seth answered smugly. He was rather proud of himself until Daron and Abbey stopped and just started laughing. Seth turned to Grace, who was behind him and she was holding a Will-O-Wisp, warming the immediate area with a somewhat uncomfortable heat. She giggled uncontrollably as Seth said, "You're not helping!" Grace closed her hand, and sent the move away with it and then wrapped her arms around Seth's neck, pressing her face against his.
He put an arm on hers and she purred happily.
"That sure is an affectionate Gardevoir," a voice from nowhere commented. The group looked behind them and saw an exceptionally well dressed man. He wore a black suit with a crimson shirt underneath. An equally red tie was tucked in neatly. His black pants and shoes gave him the appearance of a stereotypical villain. His hair was slicked back and he had glasses that rested on the bridge of his nose so that he had to look up to see through them. He walked with an arrogant swagger that pretty much confirmed he was a resident of Seraph.
Grace removed her arms from Seth and clasped them in front of herself. She politely nodded to the man. Around strangers, she was even quieter than usual. "Yes, they aren't called the embrace Pokemon for nothing!" Seth replied in a comical manner.
The man ignored Seth's response in favor of reaching out to Grace and taking one of her arms, feeling her sweater without regard for personal space. Grace pulled away from the man and hid behind Seth. "I was looking at your sweater, it is silk, is it not?" the man asked as if he were offended that Grace had pulled away.
"Yes," Seth said quietly, "it is silk."
The man seemed quite pleased with himself as he smiled and said, "I thought so, that's my psychic powers at work there!"
Daron slapped his hand against his own face so hard that it left a red mark where he hit. The man turned and Daron corrected, "It's not being psychic if you feel her sweater before you say anything, dumbass."
The man walked up to Daron. The two were about the same height, but Daron was slouching a bit, so he was probably taller. "Are you questioning me?"
"Yep," Daron answered bluntly and redundantly.
"Why you callow little…" The man never finished as Abbey growled at him. He jumped back in fright and threw a pokeball weakly at her. It opened and revealed a Chingling. "Filthy Dark types, Chingling darling, use Confusion!"
The Psychic type felt its powers flow through it, but nothing happened. Daron began to laugh as Abbey began to roll the Chingling around playfully. The man shouted something, but the small Psychic type was having too much fun to hear him. "Look, can we just go now, Mr. I don't care about your name."
"My name is Clark Vandermill the Second!" he cried out irately. Daron shrugged. "Chingling, stop playing with the mongrel and come back," Clark called and he drew the youngling back into its ball. "Now," he said tiredly, "I will take my leave of you unsophisticated, immature, ungrateful, annoying…"
"Will just go the hell away?" Daron asked.
Clark pushed past Daron and walked speedily down the paved road.
Seth looked at Grace and said, "Welcome to Seraph!" Seth and Daron laughed hysterically as Abbey and Grace looked at each other confusedly.
"Seth," Grace stated out loud so that Daron couldn't understand her, "Is everyone in that city like that?"
Seth put and hand on her shoulder and flashed her a grin. "No, just most of them, it's actually rather funny. There are people who aren't complete assholes. Take Jake for example, he lived here."
The group began walking as Daron called over to Seth, "So, do you think he was top tier?"
Seth thought for a moment before answering, "He might be, although they're usually not as flashy and prefer to keep to themselves."
Daron laughed and looked down at Abbey, who still looked confused as anything. He scratched the top of her head and said, "Seth, Sarah, and I love to make fun of the people here for being rich, even though we probably have more money than all of them combined. It's really rather amusing to watch people desperately convince themselves that they're something they're not just to compete with someone who is also faking it."
"Fortunately, there are some people who make this place bearable, because the city is rather nice," Seth commented.
After about twenty minutes of walking, the group finally arrived at the edge of the great city of Seraph. The most noticeable difference was the transfer from paved pathway to a gray brick road. The buildings towered over everything with a dominating presence that gave a sense of superiority to anyone on top of them. The shorter buildings flashed with bright neon signs, even in the middle of the day, offering high stakes slots and other such expensive pastimes. Bars lined one side of the road the group was on, but they were fairly average in terms of extravagance. As the group moved towards the middle of the city, they noticed a drop in the level of buildings, but a more posh and high-end atmosphere. Neon signs were replaced with fancy ones with curvy calligraphy. The bars seemed to be less like a place to relax after work, and more lounge types. The advertisements stopped addressing unimportant things such as soldier's relief funds, donating money to those in need, and helping with education, but became more relevant such as the new JPhone 3.123682 and the necessity of buying the newest in high price jewelry.
Finally, the group saw the gym. It was similar in shape to Sarah's, but the outside was purple and silver with an eye painted over the door, staring down all who entered. A young man, perhaps a little younger than Daron, stormed out the doors grumbling something about being cheated by an eleven year old.
Seth opened the door and let everyone else in before himself and closed it behind him. When they got inside, they were standing inside a comfortable lobby setting. A television set was showing the local news and there were couches here and there in case the gym leader, whom Seth remembered to be Brandy, not Jake, was busy with another challenger. A woman came up to the group and a clipboard was floating next to her with a pen hovering just above that. She was probably in her mid-thirties and was dressed nicely. She had a plain red blouse with a blue blazer on top of it. She was wearing a blue skirt which came down to about mid-thigh. "Hello," she said warmly, "which one of you is the challenger?"
"I am," Seth answered, stepping forward slightly.
The pen began to dance on the paper, making light tapping sounds as it moved. "May I have your name and how many badges you have, please?"
"Seth Tenebrae and…" he hesitated for a second. The sixth gym had a requirement of four badges before one could challenge it. However, his sister's badge pretty much guaranteed free entry. "Only two."
The receptionist frowned slightly. "May I see what they are?"
Seth opened a small case and showed her the Creation and Storm Badges, each glimmering in their places. The receptionist raised her eyebrows and said, "We normally ask for four, but because you did well enough to beat your sister, I'll make an exception!"
"Thanks," Seth said sincerely. "We'll just wait over on the couches over there."
With that, the receptionist went behind a counter and pressed a few buttons on a computer. The TV changed to show the battlefield. It was a pretty normal one, shiny and well-maintained. Several rows of bleachers stood empty. Seth sat down and laid his head back as Grace sat next to him and resisted the urge to put her head on his wide open chest. Daron made himself quite at home on one of the other couches as Abbey jumped on top of him, causing him to grunt at the unexpected weight. He playfully pushed her off of him as he reached into his bag and pulled out his sketchbook which he was filling fast with pictures of whatever he saw from trees to Pokemon to other people.
A door next to the desk opened telekinetically and two people stepped into the lobby. One was Brandy, with her bright blonde hair and sparkling purple eyes. She had on a red t-shirt with a picture of a Mime Jr. on it. Her shorts were a bright sky blue and her shoes were dirty. However, she had a determined smile on her face. Behind her was a taller woman. She looked to be in her mid or late twenties with blue hair that was sort of raised up at the bottom. She wore a magenta top with her stomach showing slightly and brilliant white pants. Two large bangles hung loosely from each wrist. She was Sabrina, the Kanto region's psychic gym leader. She was once notorious for being ruthless and hate-filled, but had mellowed out once a certain Haunter came into her life.
Brandy looked around and when she saw Seth, she sprinted over to him and practically leapt upon him. "Seth!" she cried with sheer happiness.
Seth smiled at the young girl who was now on his lap. He gave her a tiny hug as she wrapped her arms around his forcefully. "Hello, Brandy," he said cheerfully. She crawled off of his lap as Seth stood up and stretched along with Grace.
Brandy looked at Grace with astonishment. "There is no way this is the Kirlia I saw a few months ago!" she exclaimed excitedly. She rushed over, but only came up to about Grace's stomach. Grace smiled at her and Brandy held out her hand. Grace gently took it and twirled Brandy around. "Yep, she knows how to dance!"
Seth smirked and said, "Do all Gardevoirs?
"Mhm," she replied as she released Grace's hand and went back to standing next to Sabrina, who hadn't said anything. "So, Seth, are we gonna battle or what?"
"Yes, but first…" Seth trailed off and Brandy cocked her head to one side. "Are Jake's Pokemon still here, they'll recognize me and maybe Daron."
Brandy smiled childishly. "Yep, they're in the back. They live here most of the time. When Jake died, they said that I could even use them sometimes in battle!" In a blur of motion, Brandy raced out through the door, opening it without touching it.
Sabrina smiled lightly and shook her head. "She's so talented, just so full of energy."
Daron, who Seth thought had fallen asleep gently pushed Abbey off of himself once again and stood up, stretching. He looked over to Sabrina and shook his head. "You would be here," he commented apathetically.
Sabrina's eye twitched and she clenched her fists. "Daron Tenebrae, I didn't see you there." Her voice was even, but her face betrayed her attempts to appear calm.
Daron chuckled, "Well Seth is my brother, plus, there's some nice scenery to paint out here. By the way, have you gotten over that thing yet?" Sabrina's nostrils flared and Daron walked slightly closer to Abbey. "I guess not…"
Seth sighed and rubbed his eyes. "What did you do, dumbass?" he asked maladroitly
"You remember when she was all crazy, sadistic, bitchy, and all of the above?" Daron questioned. "Yea, well, I might have baited her when Dad went to negotiate something at Silph Co. and I might have a painting of it that I, probably didn't, but could've sent to her…"
"I use it as target practice," Sabrina commented maliciously. "Your Nuzleaf's laughing face makes and exceptionally good target…"
Seth began to say something, but the door reopened and Brandy peaked her head in. "Come in guys, come on!" She ducked her had back in and they heard her heavy footsteps as she ran across the gym floor.
"Will you kill Daron if I leave you alone, Sabrina?" Seth asked, only somewhat jokingly.
Sabrina huffed and replied, "I'm going to my room in the back, I want Daron to take something back…" She then disappeared in a flash of blue light.
Daron began to laugh and Seth chastised, "If she comes after you, I'm walking away, you know that right?" Daron just nodded his head, clearly amused with himself.
"I'll be fine."
Seth nodded, took Grace by the wrist and walked inside the doors. Inside, the gym was the same as on the TV screen, only now there was a line of Pokemon on the floor. Brandy was sitting in a fluffy armchair on the far end with a few huddled around her that were obviously more attached to her than the others. The ones around Brandy were a Grumpig, which was doing a jig for no apparent reason, a Metang, which floated silently in the background, and her Alakazam, the one that had saved Seth from dying in the forest. Standing in the middle of the arena were Jake's Pokemon. A Claydol levitated, simply spinning every now and again, his Wobbuffet, wiggling quietly back and forth. Standing on the far end of the line were a Gallade and Gardevoir, both speaking to one another quietly.
Grace suddenly gasped as she stared at the two and a large smile crept its way onto her face. "Mom…Dad?" she asked nervously to the two members of her race. The two looked over from their conversation and their jaws dropped.
The Gallade furiously ran over to his daughter and swept her up in his arms. "My baby, my little girl!" he cried happily as he deposited her back next to Seth.
Grace's mother stepped up and placed a hand on Grace's face as if to make sure she was real. "She's not so little anymore, dear." She embraced her daughter lovingly. "How have you been, and that is an absolutely darling sweater!"
Grace's father walked over to Seth, who was intentionally not interfering with the family reunion. "Can the guy understand us?" The question was not meant to be answered by Grace and had a subtle meaning to it. The true question was if Grace had bestowed a Mark upon Seth as he had Jake.
Seth politely smiled and responded, "Yes, I can understand you perfectly." He rolled up his sleeve to answer the never asked question.
The Gallade nodded. "Alright, glad to see my daughter ended up with someone she trusts enough to give that. By the way, my name is David and my wife, Mary." He stuck out his hand and Seth grasped it firmly.
The two men walked back over to where Grace and her mother were standing and Seth introduced himself, but not as Grace's mate; he was unsure how they would react to that bombshell. Mary clapped her hands together happily and said, "So Grace, will you fill us in on what's happened with you since we were caught by Jake?"
Grace suddenly went from complete elation to a concoction of guilt, sadness, and anger. He eyes shot down to the floor and she twisted her hands together nervously as memories raced past in her mind. She had settled her own demons, but there was no telling how her parents would respond to all that had transpired in the several years since she'd been a young Ralts. "It's a little bit…long and complicated," Grace murmured, a blush filling her face. She saw the time from when she came home and her parents weren't there to when she evolved after being in a particularly nasty fight with a few Linoone, to when Thantos captured and abused her, to when she finally made love with Seth.
Her parents had faces of grave concern on and they quickly put loving arms around her shoulders. Grace wasn't crying, or even looked like she was about to cry, but it was comforting nonetheless. Seth stepped forward and whispered, "I'll tell Brandy to postpone our match until later, so you all can catch up…on the…unfortunate events that have occurred. I will be along shortly, unless you'd rather do this on your own…"
"No," Grace stated firmly, "I want you there with me." Her voice was committed and self-assured.
Seth nodded and smiled sweetly at her. "I'll be back in a little bit."
"Come on, sweetie, let's head to our room," Mary soothed, her motherly nature coming out full force.
Seth watched as the trio walked into the back and he swiftly paced to where Brandy was sitting. She had a good view of what had happened so when Seth stated that he needed to delay the match, she wasn't surprised. "Come back soon, I wanna kick your butt!" she exclaimed cheerily. "Their room is down the hall and the first door on the left, just so you know," she added with a small wink.
Seth gave her a mock salute with two fingers and then exited through the back door. He didn't bother telling Daron because he either had fallen asleep or started painting, either one would keep him busy for a while. The hallway was fairly unremarkable as Seth strolled down the linoleum floors, admiring the photos of all the people who had beaten the gym. The photos went back quite a while, before even Jake was the gym leader. The original one had far more photos of victors than Jake, but that might have just been because he was there longer than Jake. He found the door Brandy described and as he was about to open it, he saw Sabrina carrying something square and white, a cross look cemented on her face. "Damn him, I'm gonna bash this over his head and then…" Sabrina mumbled to herself as she marched through the halls.
Seth shook his head and entered the room. The floor was still linoleum but the bed looked soft and was a deep purple. A picture of a lake with smoke pouring over it was the only source of obvious decoration. The couple seemed to share Jake's minimalistic tendencies. Grace was seated on the bed with her mother next to her and her father leaning against a wall. She was talking and using her hands in slightly exaggerated motions in order to help her get her point across. Seth slipped inside and closed the door, making sure no one overheard. He stood next to the door as he begun to listen in.
"He raped me, beat me, did horrible things to me…" Grace trailed off as she looked at Seth. Her red eyes were filled with an unusual fire. Instead of one of determination or anger, it was more like a hearth. It warmed Seth to see such a fire and invited him to sit with her. Seth obliged and moved to sit down next to Grace, resisting the desperate desire to place a comforting arm around his love, but he wasn't sure if Grace had told them yet.
"Told us what, Seth?" David the Gallade asked, a slight edge to his voice. Seth had forgotten that they could read minds.
Seth licked his lips nervously and he looked at Grace. An uncomfortable silence passed. Not a thought made it through the minds of anyone for fear of an unintentional reading. Sighing, Grace removed her mother's arm from around her and said, "You asked me before Seth came in if I'd found a mate yet…"
"And you didn't answer, if I recall," David stated sternly, just like a father.
"Relax, honey," Mary said to no one in particular. Seth noticed she had quite the fondness for pet names.
Grace took a large breath and explained, "I do have a mate…but…" Grace trailed off and put a hand to her mouth, trying to find the right words, but her entire vocabulary seemed void of anything except for one thing: Seth. "He's not exactly a Pokemon…" Grace managed to get out. She took her hand away from her mouth and placed it on Seth's, which had been on his knee. She was blushing so severely that it was as if her skin was not even white anymore.
Putting two and two together, Grace's mother and father looked at each other, astonished. Grace wrapped her hand around Seth's so tightly that he could feel her shaking. She moved a few a little bit closer to him and placed her head on his shoulder tentatively. David put a hand on his head and said, "I just met you and now I have no give you the 'I'm going to kill you if you hurt my daughter' speech." A large smile let everyone in the room know that he was kidding. With that smile, there seemed to be a sudden drop in the tension of the room, as if the air was still and now allowed to move once more. David chuckled, "Grace told us what you did, and what you are like. I think she's in good hands, even if you're a different species." His face suddenly hardened. "But in all honesty, if you hurt my daughter, I will hunt you down."
"DAD!" Grace shrieked as if she was a teenage girl. The blush hadn't left her face.
David laughed hysterically. "I miss being a father!" he shouted. He wasn't being mean; he just loved to tease people.
Mary sat down and said very quietly, "You do know that this relationship can't produce children and that you have to keep it under wraps, don't you?"
Seth nodded. Grace did as well, but it was slower and seemed more melancholy that accepting. Mary looked at her child. She was a beautiful Gardevoir. She was a bit on the smaller side, but she would grow within the year. There was an undying spirit in her as well that one as young as her could only achieve by having gone through endless struggle. No matter if she was sad or happy, Mary could tell that her child would never give in, and would never stop to make others happy. She was as proud as any mother could be. She looked at Seth. He was truly a fine man. He wore mostly black she noted, but that was just a personal preference of his. She watched as he gave Grace a small peck on the cheek and she felt the endless love that could only come from the very depths of the heart. She was just as proud of him as she was of Grace, despite only knowing him for a short time.
Back in the lobby, Daron was standing, sketchbook in hand, Abbey in tears of joy and laughter by his feet, Sabrina looming over him, looking quite smug and rather satisfied with herself, and finally, an old painting around his neck, with his head through a hole in the center. He had been quietly sketching a design in his book when Sabrina barged through the doors and slammed the painting he had made almost four years prior over his head, rather painfully.
Sabrina laughed in a bubbly manner, contrary to her usual somber demeanor, and said, "You know what, I feel so much better."
Daron laid his book down by Abbey, who was still rolling on the ground. He removed the ruined painting, with numerous burn marks from where Sabrina had blasted it, off of his head and shook off the loose bits hanging in his hair. He asked the receptionist if there was a dumpster anywhere near there. In response, she pointed at the canvas and it disappeared. Daron thanked her and went back to where Abbey had finally managed to calm down, but she was holding her side with one of her paws. "I'm glad we got that all settled. Now, can we get over this and move on?"
Sabrina gave Daron a sly look and admitted, "I got over it years ago, I've just been waiting for the opportunity to that!" She laughed once more and teleported away as Daron playfully lunged at her.
He rolled his eyes and picked up his sketchbook. Sitting on the couch, he tore out the page he was working on. Abbey hopped up next to him and laid her head on his stomach, making sure she could view what he had been working on. It was a picture of Sabrina in battle, commanding her Kadabra expertly. The basic structures had been quickly sketched with just enough detail to make out who was who. Daron crumpled it up and tossed it in a tin waste basket to his right. Abbey looked up at him with a puzzled expression. "I was going to paint that as a peace offering, but seeing as she was just playing me this entire time…I think I'll paint something much prettier. Like you!"
Abbey giggled and Daron rubbed her body carefully. He and Abbey technically weren't mates and were only in the courting phase if one was to ask any professor, but he always considered him and Abbey mates. In all honesty, Daron was rather scared to mate with Abbey. It was not because he didn't love her, for he did with all his might, but because he didn't want her to become another face in his mind, another number with no name. He was worried the same striking revelation that made him discover his love for Abbey would turn on him and remove his love for her. He just couldn't do that to her. He didn't want to hurt her and he didn't want her to end up being number sixteen.
A/N: After three months, a new chapter. I managed to get two chapters out for Parallel of Love and Madness, so check that out if you want. Also, I am planning a one-shot to be released whenever I get done with it. Finally, my profile; I will be changing the poll on it and posting the results on my profile, and I will also update the preview section so it actually gives a little bit of a preview and not just when I estimate I will release things. One final thing, if anyone would like to help provide art for my story, it would be greatly appreciated as I have zero talent when it comes to that kind of thing. Message me if you're interested.