I do not own Pokémon or Familiar of Zero in any manner, and expect no monetary profit from this endeavor.
Prologue: A New Boss and Mission
It was another beautiful day in the world of Pokémon. In the meadows the Bellossom were dancing. In the sea the Magikarp were swimming. And in the sky, a trio of humans was falling from the sky. "This is all your fault James!" the redheaded woman complained to her blue-haired companion.
"Jessie," he whined, "how is this my fault?"
"You were the one who broke our cover by attacking that salesman! If you hadn't, we could have had Pikachu right in our clutches."
"You know," the catlike member of the trio pointed out to Jessie, "I remember that you were the one who spilled all the Pokéballs, so…ouch!" he cried out at her midair stomp.
"Don't make me drag you into this Meowth!" she shouted.
"That's right!" James said. "You were supposed to be a demure Bellsprout, not complain about the food service!"
Jessie sighed in exasperation. "Why does it seem we never catch Pikachu?"
"Don't worry," Meowth assured her. "I'm sure the Boss will send more support once we pay up our debt."
"Don't forget," James noted sardonically, "the Boss' lack of concern for us is how we ended up having to rejoin Team Rocket in the first place. Sometimes, I just wish we had a Boss who cared more for us."
"Don't say that!" Meowth said angrily. "The Boss and Team Rocket are our lives! Without them, what are we?"
"Oh, cheer up!" James told them. "Our day has to come sometime."
"For now," James moaned, "I would just take a soft cushion to land on."
Any further banter was interrupted as a strange light appeared directly under them. Shaped like a giant mirror, the apparition hovered midair, aligned perfectly with the team's current trajectory. With Team Rocket's experience in destructive threats, ranging from dancing Clefairy to berserk Legendary birds, the Team Rocket survival instinct instantly kicked in. "Oh no!" Meowth screamed, as he and the others tried to backpedal through the air. However, their blast velocity held, hurling them headlong into the portal.
The garden grounds of Vestri Court were filled with rampant tension. For the majority of the students and faculty of the Tristain Academy of Magic, the source of anxiety lay with the seemingly delicate pink-haired girl standing in the center of the atrium. The greatest stress though lay with the nervous girl, who trembled in anxiety and determination as she began to chant. She had been Zero too long, always a failure and outcast. Now she would show them all, and summon a familiar the likes of which they had never seen. The students flinched reflexively as the spell reached its end, only to blink at the silent and empty lawn.
"Nothing?" a voice broke out through the crowd. "Louise, you really are a Zero! At least when you have an explosion you have something; here you have nothing!" Louise fell to the ground in tears as the laughter rumbled through the congregants. Suddenly, a scream drew all the students' attention to the sky. Down came several figures, barreling into Louise. As the dust cleared, the students could make out two humans, apparently commoners, along with a strange cat, sitting on top of Louise.
"At least that landing was almost soft," Jessie sighed as she slowly rose up. Seeing the multitude of people around them, Team Rocket quickly regained their senses and leaped backwards.
"Jessie," James asked worriedly, "what do we do?"
"That's easy James," Jessie answered. "We'll show these naïve little children what true evil is!" Taking their traditional poses, the team began to recite their terrifying speech. "Prepare for trouble…"
The students stared dumbfounded as the three continued their unintelligible chant, unable to comprehend the absurdity. "Miss Valliere…" the professor finally stammered.
"Yes, Mr. Colbert?" Louise asked anxiously.
"You must complete the ritual."
"Please," she begged, "let me try the summoning one more time!"
"That cannot be allowed, Miss Valliere," he said. "When you are promoted to a second year student, you must summon a familiar, which you did."
"But I summoned three of them!" she protested desperately. "And two of them are commoners! Can't I just take the cat and leave it at that?" The cat looked decent for a familiar, and she'd be happy under normal circumstances. Emphasis on normal. Although she might have won some praise by summoning that cat, summoning two extra commoners would just give her peers more fuel to mock her.
Professor Colbert shook his head. "That would be too risky. Multiple summons are rare but have been recorded, and it is generally unwise to only keep one and reject the others. All are summoned with a purpose in mind, and it would be dangerous both to the familiars and yourself to risk tampering with the bonds offered."
"Now," he instructed her, "please complete the ritual." Louise bowed her head and slowly walked over to the three familiars, who were still ranting madly.
"Team Rocket!" Jessie shouted. "Blast off at the speed of ligh…urk!"
Oblivious to Jessie's distress, James continued the motto. "Surrender now or prepare to figh…urk!"
"Meowth, dat's righ…" Meowth was stopped short as he, just like his two partners, was caught in a sudden kiss by the strange pink-haired twerpette. "Hey!" he shouted indignantly. "What was that for?" However, he was caught off guard as burning pain worse than Pikachu's lightning coursed through his body and, by the sounds of the screams, Jessie and James as well. Strange markings began to form on their hands and paws, sending pain wherever they sprouted.
"Don't be babies," the pink girl said, rolling her eyes. "The Familiar's Runes are simply being inscribed. And why do you commoners allow yourself to use that language in front of a noble?"
"We'll say anything we want!" Meowth said furiously, drawing his claws out. "And nobody messes with Team Rocket and gets away with it! Much less a tiny Twerp!"
"What did you say?" Louise asked, eyes flaring.
The confrontation was interrupted when the adult with glasses turned back to the crowd and said, "Well, let's go back to class everyone." Suddenly, the people began to float in the air, heading towards the stone walls of the castle in the distance.
"Louise," one student jeered before flying off, "you'd better walk back."
"H…how'd dey do dat?" Meowth stammered.
"Psychic Pokémon maybe?" James suggested.
Team Rocket turned back to question Louise, only to be preemptively countered as she questioned, "Who are you?" Team Rocket stiffened in indignation, but then smirked; the trio always took any opportunity to showcase their talents.
"We are," Jessie boasted.
"The invincible," James continued.
"And unbeatable!" Meowth added.
"Team Rocket!" they shot out together, breaking into another pose.
"Team Rocket?" Louise asked. "And just who are they? A trio of village idiots?"
"Hey!" Jessie said. "Team Rocket is one of the world's greatest organizations, stretching from Indigo to Johto."
"Never heard of it," Louise responded it, "but you likely came from some backwoods place."
"What do you mean backwoods?" Jessie shouted. "This must be the backwoods! Just where is this place? We thought that we landed in Johto, but somehow we blasted off even farther than we expected."
"Johto?" Louise asked. "What country is it in?"
"Country?" James asked in confusion. "Civilizations abandoned that archaic form of geographic designation centuries ago. Nowadays the world is divided by continent into regions. Here," he said, drawing out an unfamiliar map, "You can see that over here is the Johto region. Admittedly it's an extension of the larger Toh continent, but it certainly wouldn't be called a country."
"Never hear of it," Louise said, staring confounded at the strange map. Did she summon from beyond the East perhaps? If she did, maybe that would make up, however little, for the poor quality of her familiars.
"This is great!" Jessie exclaimed. "I've always wanted to discover a new region!"
"Are you sure?" Meowth asked skeptically. "I'm pretty sure Hoenn was the next thing the narrators had in mind, with Sinnoh after that…"
Jessie however was ignoring him, and took out a flag with a bright red 'R' displayed on its banner, which she handed to James. Planting it firmly in the ground, James declared, "I hereby claim this region in the name of the Pokémon League and Team Rocket!"
"You could have just claimed it for Giovanni," Jessie reminded him, "A whole region would make a great gift for the Boss, you know."
"Sorry Jessie," James said unrepentantly, "but this is a big moment."
"So," Jessie said, turning back to Louise, "Exactly what it the name of this region?"
"And just how did dose people fly on their own?" Meowth demanded. "They shoulda at least needed a Psychic to do so!"
Gritting her teeth at her familiars' lack of respect, Louise answered, "This is Tristain, but if you're asking about the whole continent, this is the land of Halkeginia. As for the flying," she said patronizingly, "Of course they did! What would we do if mages couldn't fly?"
"Mages?" Meowth yelled, jumping up to Louise's face. "Just what is this place?"
Yanking Meowth off her, Louise said "This is the renowned Tristain Academy of Magic!"
"Oh, an academy!" James said. "That makes sense. It does have a familiar feel to it, doesn't it Jessie?"
"It sure does," Jessie said wistfully, peering around her. "Lot of bratty, arrogant, bullying students with no experience in the real world…"
"Hey!" Louise blurted out indignantly. "Tristain Academy is a great honor for young nobles as they prepare for their debut in the world." Unfortunately, her defense of the institution was belied by her gradually forming tears, as the comment on bullies brought back her feelings of failure.
Touched by the tears, Team Rocket softened and wiped away her tears. "Sorry," Meowth said, "we didn't mean to hurt ya!"
"It's okay," James said comfortingly, "School isn't the end of the world."
"It certainly isn't," Jessie added. "We completely flunked our academy days too, and things still worked out for us."
Her sadness gone, Louise quickly found her emotions replaced with anger, and shoved her familiars off her. "I don't need your pity!" she screamed furiously. The thing that made her the maddest was their comment about failing their time at the academy, and the implications it had. On the one hand, perhaps it meant that these familiars were nobles of sort, albeit disowned ones. However, the fact that they failed the academy had a disturbing parallel to her own life. Was this just another sign that she was a failure? No! She shook herself of such thoughts. She could not give up yet!
"Fine!" Jessie said in a huff. "Forgive us for being caring for once. This is exactly why we prefer to be villains! But I'm still confused," she told Louise. "I've seen people fly before, but always with a Psychic guiding…"
"Wait," Meowth said, voice tense, "by 'Academy of Magic', do ya's mean dat all the students here can channel elemental powers?"
"That is correct," Louise answered. Team Rocket stared at her in utter horror. Elemental humans were not entirely unfamiliar to them; after all, legend stated that there used to be entire civilizations of people who held the power of Pokémon within them. But those special people were rare and hidden in the modern world. And each one had the potency, in comparison to regular humans, akin to a fearsome Gyrados in comparison to its pitiful Magikarp relations. And now they were in the proverbial Ursaring's den with an entire school of them!
"We're doomed," Meowth noted quietly. James began to back up, step by step, before trying to break out into a mad dash; if not for Jessie holding him, he might have crossed Johto in five minutes- if, that is, they were still in that relatively peaceful region.
"Relax," Jessie told him, "It's just a bunch of them jammed together into one narrow place! It's not like there are 'mages' scattered all around this region…"
"Actually," Louise cut in, "There are mages throughout all of Halkeginia."
Team Rocket stopped and stared at her deadpan. "Dis is one crazy region!" Meowth stated.
"Hold on," James said, reflecting on an old tale he heard as a lad about the ancient times. It was said at that time that Pokéballs were only a substitute, albeit a very competent one, for the old bonds that connected humans and Pokémon. "This…familiar summoning. That man, a Professor no doubt, he had you bond with your starter, didn't he?"
"A convoluted explanation, but yes," Louise said.
"You mean you caught us?" Jessie exclaimed. "But we're humans! While, at least two of us are," she amended, glancing at Meowth.
"I know," Louise grunted in frustration, "And I'm none too happy about it. I wanted something wicked like a dragon or griffin or manticore. At least an owl or eagle. Instead I just get a miscellany of random familiars, most of which are just commoners."
"Well," James offered, "if you want, we could always try to catch one of those for you."
"What are you, some kind of monster-hunters?" Louise asked. "You can try, but the familiar ceremony is a sacred ritual, and cannot be cheaply imitated. Anyways," she sighed, looking at Meowth, "at least I got one normal familiar. Now why did those other two have to get dragged along…?"
"Sorry," Meowth said, "but the three of us are a team; where one of us goes, we all go. So don't worry. You got what you wanted, plus an entire team."
"Aren't you concerned about being summoned?" Louise asked.
"Of course we are," Jessie said. "We have dignity as an elite team of agents, but we're used to being on the short end of the stick."
"What about my concerns?" Louise asked.
"What do you mean by that?" James asked, sensing Louise's sadness.
"How could I, the third daughter of the Valliere family...a noble who takes pride in her proper pedigree and ancient lineage, end up having things like you as familiars?"
"Hey!" Meowth snapped. "We aint that bad! In any case, new things are always good; if all else fails, it gives you something nobody else has."
"Still not what I wanted," Louise grumbled, but she ceased fuming. While this may not have been a success, it was not an entire failure. It was certainly better than summoning nothing like last year. "Follow me to my quarters," she ordered, "And we'll talk further there."
"Um…" James stammered, "I know those other students flew back on their own, but is it okay if we walk on foot please? We've flown before, but it's not something we like to do that often."
"Yes, if you don't mind," Jessie concurred. "We already had one trip up to the sky today as you saw, and we wouldn't last another one on the same day."
"If you insist," Louise sighed, albeit while feeling a sense of superiority. At the very least there was someone even lower than her.
"So none of this looks familiar to you?" James asked in Louise's room.
"No," Louise answered, setting down the maps that Team Rocket had given her. None of the landmarks matched anything in Halkeginia. "Is it possible that you hail from beyond Rub al Khali, beyond the Holy Land?"
"Sorry, haven't heard of it," Meowth said. "But it's no biggie. Lost regions like these happen all the time. We just have to figure just exactly where we are in conjunction with the rest of the world. It's probably across a sea or something, but we can find a way home eventually."
"I'm not sure," James hesitantly put forward. "This place seems different from normal regions. I can't help but feel that we're even farther off then we think."
"Don't be so negative James," Jessie told him. "This region has lots of things in common with the other regions. Magical creatures, grass, woods, mountains…"
"Double the moons."
"Double the moo…what are you talking about?!" she shot at Meowth.
"Look out dere," he pointed. The team went to the window and gazed in shock at the sight before them. Two giant moons hovered in the sky above. "Whoa," Meowth said, "The moons sure are big tonight. Looks like they got to the size of the Earth itself."
"Yeah," James noted, "but their colors seem to be off. They shouldn't be red and blue like that."
"More importantly," Jessie slowly grinded out before yelling, "why are there two moons when there used to be just one?"
"Of course there are," Louise said. "Now would you please mind telling me what the fuss is about?"
The team turned around, grave expressions on their faces. "Well," Jessie said faintly, "we might be a little more off the charts than we anticipated."
"You said it," Meowth exclaimed, plopping onto the floor tiredly, "and I thought Clefairy were the only Pokémon to travel to new worlds."
"New…worlds?" Louise asked, looking at them with an expression of disbelief.
"Looks like it," James answered.
"I can't believe it," Louise said, shaking her head.
"Look," Meowth said, "neither can we. And we've seen a lot of bizarre things, let me tell ya."
"By another world, what do you mean?" Louise asked, hoping that it was a figurative expression. She had had just enough madness today to fill her entire stay at the academy. Unfortunately, it seemed the true chaos was just rising.
"Well," Jessie said, "for one, it doesn't have an extra moon, and both look weird too!"
"Also," James answered, "there are not so many 'mages' where we come from."
"There's a world like that?" Louise asked, boggled. "A world without magic?"
"Not without magic," Meowth answered, "no sir! It's just that the magic isn't with the humans; it's with the Pokémon."
"Po…ke…mon?" Louise fumbled the strange name.
"Animals with special powers," James answered, "Like what those students used to fly."
"Oh, but there are magical creatures everywhere!" Louise said dismissively. "But a world without mages?"
"Of course there is!" Jessie yelled, nerves frayed. "We come from one. How difficult is that to grasp?"
"Don't yell at me," Louise ordered, "you commoner."
"Who're ya calling a commoner?" Meowth demanded.
"Well," Louise said, "you're not a mage, right? So you're a commoner," she explained arrogantly.
"What does it matter if you're a mage or not?" James asked.
"Look, do you really know nothing of the world?" Louise asked in frustration.
"We keep telling you," Jessie shouted, "We're not from this one!"
At that, Louise set her elbows on the table with a troubled look. "a world without magic or nobility is just…impossible," she mumbled.
"Like we said," James told her, "there is still plenty of magic in our world. And we do have nobility there. It just isn't based on magic for obvious reasons. And it's become a rather rare thing of late."
"Yeah," Jessie said pointedly, "but it doesn't help when the new generation runs off to explore the world."
"Hey!" James said furiously. "You of all people should know I left my inheritance and estates behind for very good reason."
"Sorry," Jessie apologized. "It's just frustrating that here in Team Rocket we struggle to break even at the end of the day, while back at your mansion…"
"Mansions," James corrected her. "We had a couple of summer estates in Sinnoh."
"Mansion-mansions, big deal" Jessie corrected in annoyance. "You had enough wealth to buy the Indigo Plateau, and the luxury I have always dreamed of, yet you throw it all away!"
"It wasn't like I had much of a choice," James protested.
"We're Team Rocket," Jessie countered. "When life doesn't give us a choice, we make one of our own, usually by stealing one from somewhere else. But no…"
"Wait," Louise interrupted, "You're a noble?"
"Used to be," James said, "but not since I was young."
"Good then," Louise said, "because without magic, you're just the same as any other commoner here."
"Fine," Jessie said. "Not a big problem; we're used to being at the bottom of the barrel."
"I still find your claim dubious," Louise said; however, her subsequent action of plopping down on her bed revealed her inner acceptance- and bafflement- of the bizarre tale. "Show me some proof," she ordered.
"Let's see," James said, opening their group's backpack and beginning to toss out various items. "I just know that one of the pictures shows it…" While James searched for his proof, Louise stared curiously at the other objects that now littered her floor. She held a strange cylindrical item up to her head, only to drop it in pain as a stray finger activated a bright light that briefly blinded her.
"What kind of magic artifact is that?" Louise demanded.
"Dere's nothing magical about dat," Meowth said, "just a little flashlight, powered by science and technology!"
"I have to admit," Louise conceded, "I've certainly never seen anything like this. What element of magic does it use? Wind? Water?"
"Nothing but technology, like I said," Meowth said, getting a little put off. Louise stared at him blankly.
"So, what kind of element is this 'teknoloji'? Is it different from the four elemental powers?"
"I don't know what you mean by four powers," Meowth said, "but technology and science are whole different fields."
"And they certainly aren't magic," Jessie said, "more's the pity. Would be great if we actually had magical artifacts, but that's unlikely with our budget."
Reclining on her bed, Louise shrugged dispassionately. "Hmmm. But I really don't understand it."
"You're not the only one," Jessie told her. "It takes a lot of understanding to master. But think of it like this- you didn't use magic to walk here, did you?"
"No," Louise answered grumpily, angry to have her lack of magic brought up again.
"Well," Jessie said triumphantly, "the flashlight is just the same. Just as your feet brought you here without magic, technology can do things without needing any magic whatsoever."
"But walking isn't anything like that!" Louise protested.
"So?" Meowth asked. "Ya still get something to happen. If you're defining magic as elemental, than that makes technology nonmagical. But really, anything has some magic in it." Smiling, he turned back to the glowing moons. "Life's a miracle, ya know. So by dose terms, everything that makes up life- the sky, the moon, the grass, the time, the people- is a miracle, and if that's not magic, den you have no idea what is?"
"Maybe," Louise admitted, staring wistfully at the night sky, "but there is still magic that separates us from mundane commoners."
"Here it is!" James exclaimed. He thrust forward a photo of him with a starry background behind him, which included a white and singular moon. "See," he said confidently, "here's sure proof evidence!"
"Alright," Louise said, pulling her long hair, "I believe you."
"Really?" Meowth asked eagerly.
Crossing her arms defiantly, Louise growled, "Only because you would've gone on about it if I didn't say so." But her pale expression belied her apparent skepticism, revealing her gradual acceptance of this bizarre roulette of events.
"Well," James said drooping, "I guess that's one way to go about it."
"Enough of this small talk!" Jessie shouted, growing frustrated with the slow pace of the conversation. "Now, send us back! We have more important things to worry about, like hunting a trio of Twerps."
"I told you," Louise said, "It's impossible."
"Nothing's impossible!" Meowth said firmly. "So what's the big deal?"
"That's because there is no spell that connects this world with another," she explained, discomforted by the implications of her summoning.
"Then how did we end up here?" Jessie objected.
"I wish I knew!" Louise cried out, throwing up her arms in frustration.
"Now, now," James said, "let's all calm down and talk through this. So this spell wasn't meant to breach dimensions?"
"Nobody's even heard of another world," Louise answered. "'Summon Servant' is used to call living beings within Halkeginia. Normally, only animals or magical beasts are summoned. This is the first instance that I've seen it work on a human."
"That must be swell for you," Jessie said. "I know people back home who would kill for the power to catch a human."
"Pokémon too," Meowth said, nodding in agreement. Louise pouted quietly amidst Team Rocket's awe, the humiliation returning to her chest. The only thing holding it back was their point- at least she could boast of her familiars' uniqueness, even if they were just commoners. Well, she did have one normal familiar. Unfortunately, he seemed just as mad as the two commoners.
"Wait," James said, thinking of something. "There's something about this that bothers me. You obviously don't use Pokéballs to make the bond, you use your inner magic instead."
"That's right," Louise said, wondering what his point was.
"In that case," James asked in a tense voice, "how does a summoned Pokémon get released? Usually it would involve breaking the ball, but if the magic came from within you…"
"The only way a familiar can be released from its service," Louise said, "and the only way for a mage to use Summon Servant again, is if the familiar dies."
The trio froze in horror at this revelation. "D…die?" Jessie gasped.
"I don't wanna die!" Meowth screamed in panic.
"So I guess we're your personal Pokémon now," James sighed.
"Yes," Louise affirmed, "but the proper term is 'familiar', not this barbarian word you have for it.
Jessie stiffened at this insult, but restrained herself. "So," she asked in poisoned sweetness, "just what does a familiar do?"
"Firstly," Louise said, "a familiar is able to grant its master an enhancement in hearing and vision."
"Cool!" Meowth exclaimed. "That sure must be neat!"
"It would be," Louise said, glaring at them, "except it seems that it doesn't work for you. I can't see anything through our bond."
"That's one part down then," James said, "but we can probably make up for that. What else is there?"
"A familiar will also retrieve items that its master desires," Louise told them.
"Perfect!" Jessie shouted instantly. "we're expert treasure hunters. Just tell us what you want and we'll snag it for you…"
"Do you know what reagents are?" Louise asked dryly.
The three stared at her in confusion. "Reagents?" James asked, baffled.
"They're catalysts for certain spells," Louise elaborated, "and since you don't even know what they are, I doubt you will be much use in that field either."
"Hey!" Meowth objected. "We may need some training to know what we're looking for, but we'll get you lots of these reagents once we know where to look."
Frowning skeptically, Louise shook her head. "Finally, the most important thing is…a familiar exists to protect its master. The task of protecting them from any and all enemies is a duty of the highest priority."
"So we'll be your bodyguards then," James said firmly.
"Dat's right!" Meowth reassured her. "Together we'll be the toughest team of bodyguards you've ever seen."
"I doubt you could defeat a raven, much less a magical beast," Louise told them.
"Don't underestimate us!" Jessie said. "We're the invincible Team Rocket! Nothing can beat us!"
"Nothing but a yellow mouse," James noted before being punched by Jessie.
"Shut up!" she shouted.
"As you can see," Louise said, "I now have three familiars who are in essence utterly useless to me as a mage." Team Rocket shared a brief, gloomy glance with each other.
They knew well enough from their difficult lives just how common rejection was. And as Pokémon, that risk was further compounded. There were plenty of tales about trainers abandoning worthless Pokémon, and from the looks of their master it appeared to be their fate too. As a result, they had little hope for the situation; right now, their only hope was that they could find some gully to rest in for the night. "Well then," James sighed, turning with his teammates towards the door, "we won't bother you any further."
"And just where are you going?" Louise demanded, panicking internally at the thought of losing her familiars; however absurd they were, they were still her only potential source of pride, and she was going to hold on to that prize no matter what. "Who do you think is going to support you? Who do you think is going to give you food? And just whose room are you going to sleep in?"
"We'll figure something out," Jessie said, despondently accepting the reality, "If there is one thing Team Rocket is good at, it's surviving. And it's not like there's any place for us now that you don't want us here…"
"Don't go!" Louise ordered.
Team Rocket stared at her puzzled. "Huh?" James asked. "But you just said that we were worthless."
"You are," Louise nodded, "but you will not humiliate me any further by running away either."
"You mean you're not abandoning us?" Meowth asked, hope shining in his eyes.
"Like I said," Louise said, "the bond between master and familiar lasts until death, so I'll make do with what I have for now."
"Thank you!" they shouted in ecstasy, burying Louise as they tackled her with hugs.
"You won't regret this," James said, tears in his eyes.
"We'll do everything ya say," Meowth said, crying as well.
Wiping her own tears away, Jessie asked, "So what are we going to do as your familiars then? Given what you just said."
"That's why I'm only making you do things I'm fairly sure you can do," Louise said. ""Things like laundry, cleaning, and other miscellaneous tasks."
"Right on!" Meowth exclaimed, his spirit rising. "That's what this team is built for. We're whizzes at grunt work. Cleaning, serving, carrying, ya name it, we can do it!"
"And once we learn more about this world," James assured her, "we'll be able to take on our real duties as Pokémon."
"So," Jessie asked, getting to business, "Where do we sleep? And what's our first assignment?" Louise shrugged and pointed to the floor, eyes daring them to argue with her command. After examining it though, Jessie gave a faint smile. "Not too bad," she observed, rubbing a hand against the cool and hard texture of the stone, "Smooth, very few rough spots other than tile breaks. And looks sturdy too."
"Thanks!" Meowth said, looking at Louise gratefully. "This is the best place we've found to sleep in weeks!" Louise frowned at their enthusiasm. How low could these familiars go? Though, she also did feel a small bit of guilt at their joy over such cheap 'gifts'. It was a gift, a boon to those otherwise pathetic commoners. Yet, their happiness dampened her sense of triumph.
Shaking her head, she continued, "As for your duties…" With that, she began to strip. Now she would so those familiars the proper order. Let them protest and screech all they wished, it was not like she was showing herself to anyone of importance; a dog or cat might get better treatment. However, their reactions were sadly dismal. Jessie looked on with little interest, scanning Louise's body with vain derision. James was too busy sorting out their things to even notice her undressing. Meowth, just like Jessie, looked on, but remained bored. And why not? He didn't exactly where clothes himself. "Here," Louise spat in frustration, tossing her undergarments at them. "Wash these for me tomorrow."
James delicately peeled them off his face, before Jessie unceremoniously yanked them up into a sack. "Not the nicest clothes we've cleaned," she said, wrinkling her face, "But not the worst either. All right troops," she ordered, "Let's get these clothes washed."
"Wait!" Louise yelled, flabbergasted. "Aren't you at all bothered by me undressing in front of you? Or are all you commoners so lowbased?"
Team Rocket stared dumbfounded. "It's not like there's much to see," Jessie said, grooming herself vainly. "As you can see, the only person to watch in this room is me. At the very least, my chest actually has a slope." Louise narrowed her glare.
"I'm confused though," James told Louise. "If viewing nudity is immoral here, then why would you show yourself to us in the first place?"
"It's okay," Meowth told her, ignoring the red look on her face. "I'm a Pokémon, ya see, and I know how human customs vary between places. If ya need to show yerself, go right ahead, it's completely natural…"
"Get out!" Louise screamed irately, beating them out of the room. As they dashed off, she stared blankly at the door before shutting it and collapsing onto her bed. Founder, what did she ever do to be cursed with such…ridiculous familiars? Well, she'd find some use for them. At the very least, they seemed obedient. If only they had the brains to make that a positive quality. Letting out a deep sigh, Louise drifted off to sleep.
As Louise went to sleep, Team Rocket got into a huddle while they washed the garments under the moonlight. "So what do we do?" Meowth whispered in an attempt to keep their conversation secret.
Such a hope was short-lived, as soon enough Jessie responded to James' suggestion of leaving to find Giovanni with a pounding. "Idiot!" she yelled. "How do you expect to find him in the middle of nowhere? And we all know who we have to blame for this, don't we?"
"But Jessie," he protested vainly, "how is it my fault?"
"If you hadn't messed up, we wouldn't have blasted off and landed in this portal to Mew-knows where!"
"I'd like to point out again that Meowth was the one who…"
"Hey, wait a second!" interjected Meowth, hoping to stop the imminent brawl. "That girl said that we're servants to her, right?"
"Uh, yeah, that's right," Jessie said.
"Well then, doesn't that make her our new Boss?"
"Meowth! How can you even suggest something like that?" James demanded aghast.
"That's right!" Jessie agreed. "We've always been loyal members of Team Rocket for years. Never once have we questioned our loyalty!"
"Hey, chill out," Meowth said in a placating voice. "In case ya two don't remember, we'se been out of a job. Sure, we're hired again now, but we still have to pay up our debts to that stingy Delibird. And fer what? Did the Boss ever provide us with a place to sleep at night? No! We had to sleep in trees or in trash cans. Did the Boss ever give us food? No? We had to scrounge for junk scraps. And did the Boss ever pay attention to us, ever check in on us? No! Well, we have all we need here with this girl."
"You just have a crush on her," Jessie retorted.
"Well," Meowth said sheepishly, "that's the way to treat any Boss. So, are we all in?"
"Fine," Jessie conceded, "but it looks like our new Boss isn't very happy with us."
"I think that most familiars are either Pokémon or…animels, is that the name?" James reflected. "She's probably not happy she got stuck with a couple of humans instead."
"Well," Meowth said determinedly, "that changes tomorrow! Imagine the Boss' face when we bring her a new familiar we stole."
"All right team," Jessie said, "let's show these nobles that we are the unbeatable Team Rocket!"
"Yay!" they all cheered.
"This here Tristain place better watch out, cuz Team Rocket and its new Boss are taking over!" Meowth said confidently.