A F T E R ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
T h e ¤ R P G / S
Based on the FanFic series
T H E ¤ L U G I A ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
By Anne Ruecroft & R. A. Stott
‘TEAM ROCKET’S HAUNTED HAYRIDE’
Compiled, edited and rewritten by R. A. Stott
Contributing Authors for this chapter -
PeanutButterMewTwo, Charm, babyjigglypuff and ArkNorth
Team Rocket’s Camping Adventure
Charm was not happy with herself. She had not hit Mauvais with her ShadowFlare Apocalypse. Sure, the jerk fled… but she had put all her energy into that attack in an attempt to possibly kill Mauvais, and it had not worked. She had wanted to prove to everyone she was useful, and all she had managed to do was fail.
She was not used to failure, or at least never
acknowledged it before. In most cases,
she either overpowered whatever she had been put up against via Giovanni’s
‘You’ll-Most-Likely-Not-Come-Back-From-This-Alive’ orders, or survived by
mutual near-destruction, which would have left both she and her opponent in
recovery for some extended period. But
this time… this blasted time…
When North had left the tent, Charm laid back down and stared at the pole that supported the canopy. Her whole body ached. Her ShadowFlare powers, once enough energy had returned, would heal her. That’s what it always did before.
But after a while Charm noticed nothing was happening. She coughed. It felt like a thousand knives were attacking her lungs, she could hardly breathe.
“Crap,” she cursed. “Just what I needed…”
Outside the tent she heard a commotion. Since lying down was more painful than remaining standing, she slowly rose from the blankets and staggered to the opening.
North was standing just outside looking up. Above him she could see M2 flying away chasing what looked like a floating bag.
“What just happened?
What the hell is that?” Charm asked the scientist.
“PBM fell into a trap,” North told her. “What are you doing out here? You need your rest!”
“Look who’s talking!” she quipped with a nasty hack. “You should be in here too! It’s not like you can do anything while they’re up there anyway!” She now coughed hard. When she looked up, the working end of the professor’s scanning rod was pointing at her nose.
“That little bug of yours is back, isn’t it?” he asked her as he checked his readings. “Your lungs are swimming in your own fluids.”
“So what if they are? I’ll be fine…” Charm answered with
a wet rasp to her voice. “‘Sides… I have ta get at least one hit on Mauvais…
even if I die trying…”
She saw the cockeyed look she was getting from North. “If you die trying?” he asked. “You have to be breathing first to keep living! Emphysema isn’t something you can just put aside and say it isn’t affecting me!”
“It’s just a lack of energy that’s letting it strike… as soon as I have more energy, I’ll be fine, really,” she said, but she was only lying to herself. She wavered a bit on her feet.
“Then rest till you are!” North demanded. “I do not want you dying on me!”
“NO! I have to get that bird!” she yelled back flaying her arms and pushing him back. “I didn’t do good… I didn’t get him at all… I’ll use Dark Flare Apocalypse a million times if I have to! Who cares if I stood my ground and he fled? I didn’t do anything!”
She lopsidedly stepped a few feet away from the tent’s opening and quietly commanded, “dark levitation.” Her ShadowDisk, a black ring that allowed her to fly about, flickered to life. She stepped on it, but found it could not hold her weight. It only scratched the ground like a bad skateboard with a wheel missing. North was able to reach her and grabbed her wrist. The disk vanished and she staggered to the ground.
“I have to do this…” she said quietly to him, trailing
off as she planted her face against his chest.
“Charm,” he calmly said to her, “please don’t. We need you, and we need you well. Until the ShadowFlare is restored, you’ll not be able to fight, least along cure your illness. I’m sure M2 will be able to handle this situation. But you have to rest until you are better.”
“But I have to do it… won’t let that beast get away again…” she said “…but I can’t… I can’t…”
She slid down onto her knees and started to cry for the first time in what seemed like forever. She cried because she knew she could not do it - cried because her friends were in pain - cried because of all they had lost - cried because of the pain she was going thru - cried because she knew she was dying…
North kneeled down and lifted the small girl off the ground. He took her back into the tent and sat down on the blankets with her in his lap. He wrapped one around them both and allowed her to empty her pain into his chest as he stared out the open tent flap.
“I hope those two will be fine,” he told himself.
The net continued on its trajectory. M2 was only slowly catching up to it. He attempted to increase his speed.
Inside, PBM looked about in fear and anger. She fired off some psychic blasts, but only found them bouncing about in with her. She even tried a psychic torch, producing a spike of energy at the tip of her finger, but even this failed.
“What it this protected with?” she grumbled to herself as she looked about. “It must have some sort of energy reinforcement…”
“Actually, you can thank the humans,” Mauvais chortled through the mesh. “It’s Kevlar®!”
M2 shot after the snare like a bullet. But things confused him about the situation. Mauvais had not reached down from his lofty spot and snagged the tent, nor had he suddenly become super-telekinetic and levitated it by his own will. So how was this thing flying in the first place?
The net suddenly stopped. M2 attempted a panic stop himself, but slammed into the side of it, sending Peanut bouncing about inside.
The male MewTwo shook his head and looked about. He saw a line of red surrounding them.
“Haunters! Red Haunters!” he cursed.
Peanut was rubbing her head from where she had bounced into something hard inside the tent with her. “What?” she asked, having heard the comment from outside.
“You must have gained Mauvais’ attention, honey,” he told her as he started to tear at the mesh. “He’s set up a strip wave just for you!”
Peanut stared at the material before her.
“He… he called me honey…” she whispered.
“PEANUT!!” M2 shouted, waking her up. “Have you tried teleporting out?”
Peanut moved back a bit, almost as if she were about to get a running start. She concentrated on simply moving from inside the tent to outside.
She suddenly discovered what it was like being a pinball as she rapidly ricocheted about the tent. She recovered in a heap on some blankets with swirls in her eyes.
M2 scratched his head. “Now why didn’t that work? What’s this made of?”
“He said it was something called Kevlar™,” she called back to him. She saw the tent violently wobble, like M2 had punched it from outside.
“How did that bastard find out about that?” he growled.
“Found out?” she asked looking about. “Found out what?”
M2 clawed at the fabric. “Kevlar™ is fireproof, bulletproof, and psychically inert! It’s also very… hard… to… CUT!!”
Nurse Joy had about all she could take of her two
troublesome patients. After finding out
that both North and Charm had attempted to follow after the MewTwos, she
ordered to the Gypsies “I don’t care if you have to SIT on them to keep them
down! They are NOT to leave this tent!”
At this point, North was too tired to argue with her, and he had finally got Charm to settle into a slumber. He was just about to doze off as well, when…
“Sca- -- Twelve to -- SKIZZZIK!”
He looked at his pocket. Something was coming over his com unit. He pulled it out and popped it open.
“Scat Back Twelve to Forrestal… Energy field confirmed at two four seven point seventy-three…” the box squawked.
“Scat Back Twelve, come in!” he called at the com unit. He received no response.
“I thought I said REST!” Joy ordered. North gave her a sour look.
“Nurse, unless you have an answer to all this, talking on my com unit isn’t going to hurt me, especially if I can get help here!”
Joy stood back, as North continued to fiddle with his unit. Charm woke up and winced at the noise the unit made.
“What the hell is all that racket?” she groused.
“Confirmed dark energy field… SCEEEWAAAAWK!!”
North fiddled with some micro dials on the communicator’s face. “Ummm… one way communications… at least they know that we’re here…”
“Who?” Charm asked, wheezing slightly.
North looked over at her and smiled. “Friends… And they may have given me an idea on how to get your powers back, AND get a shot at Mauvais.”
Charm sat up. “How?”
North waved his scanning rod over at Charm, Joy looking at the readouts.
“Ummm, as I thought…” North said, looking at Joy, who could read the medical readings, but the rest was gibberish to her.
“What?” the ShadowFlare Master asked.
“Your energy is being blocked by the dark energy,” North said.
Joy looked at the device again. “Huh?”
North looked at his watch then out the flap of the tent. “Well, look outside, and what do you see?”
Joy looked outside. “All I see is the night sky…”
North showed her his left arm, and the digital watch there. “At 2 o’clock in the afternoon?” he pointed out.
Charm looked at North with wide eyes. “The dark energy!”
North pulled a PokéBall from his pocket, and a set of micro-screwdrivers. He started to disassemble the device.
“Dark Energy is very close to your Shadow Energy,” North started to explain while pulling components from the ball. “With the proper filtration, and the right settings to the beam emitter from this PokéBall… and a large metal rod…” North looked about for a metal rod.
He heard a clank at his side. He looked down on the ground and saw Charm’s katana sitting there.
“That’ll do,” he said, pulling the sword from its sheath. “But now we need the MewTwos here…”
M2 looked at the red ghosts that surrounded them. They
seemed to be holding their position - simply keeping the MewTwo at bay. He looked above and saw just why the trap
seemed to be flying on its own. Ropes
that held the tent shut were lined with Murkrows all flapping in unison to keep
it aloft, their black feathers vanishing into the dark skies around them. He then
looked behind himself. The red eyes were right there, staring.
“Greetings MewTwo,” they said. “Welcome to your oblivion!”
M2 snorted and smirked.
“Yea, right! Elementals UNITE!”
PBM heard what M2 had called out from inside the net and turned pale. “M! No! Not again!” she yelled with the knowledge of what happened the last time he had tried to combine elemental energy with his own.
Outside, a swirl of white enveloped them, until it solidified into a ball of opaque ceramic. The Haunters and Gastlys flew in and bounced off the sphere.
“WHAT?!” Mauvais cursed and sent a stream of lightning at the ball. It bounced off harmlessly.
Inside, M2 began to tear and rip at the net with his hands.
“Are you all right?” PBM asked. M2 didn’t answer. He was busy shredding the fabric.
Suddenly, they found themselves rising to the top of the sphere.
“You may have shielded yourselves from the red ghosts my friends, but I’m not sure that ball of yours bounces!” Mauvais laughed as they plummeted.
Charm laid back down as North tinkered with her sword and
his PokéBall contraption. She stared at the scientist, not understanding what
he was saying anymore. She was stressed from all that was going on, which made
her even weaker. She closed her eyes and contemplated the blackness of it all.
Charm was at home. The time was after her mother had departed this sorrowful hell of a house. Her father was angry at something and was taking it out on her… AGAIN. He beat her and threw her into the walls of the dirty row house. Finally he literally tossed her out into the cold wet winter night, swearing that he would kill her if she returned. She staggered to her feet while the blood rolled down her left cheek from the cut he had given her. Her final departing gesture to this man after he slammed the door was a finger.
In a puddle she saw the gash that ran from her right eye down her cheek. She spat at it. She then turned and limped away from this depressing house in this depressing city.
She stood in a dark alley off the street wearing a tattered black shirt over equally torn black pants. She nervously fiddled with her long ratty red hair watching cautiously around the corner. She had tied it into a big knot, seeing she did not want it getting in her way as it had before. She was getting ready to steal her next meal, and did not need any interference. She saw a kid with a slice of pizza. She hushed her stomach as it nearly gave her position away.
Wait for it… one more step… don’t be a pig, you fat glutton rich kid! Your slice will be MINE!
She then jumped out from where she was hiding and knocked
the boy over with a forearm shiver. She grabbed the flying food before it ever
touched the ground and ran off, vanishing around a corner.
She darted about – first one way – then another – a quick back track to a second door to the left - then a dash through an abandoned building to an oil drum in its rear. She sat down and ravaged the slice, only to have her stomach scream at her in pain.
As she was bent over dealing with the anguish of her guts, five dark figures appeared from the building she had run through. She looked up to see them standing around her, all in long black leather jackets, sun glasses, and a crimson R on their chests. They had seen her take the pizza and get away easily.
“We offer you a place where your talent will be put to its best potential,” she was told.
She spat blood. “What the hell… it’s gotta be better than this crap.”
She was barely eight - Just the right age to be brought into Team Rocket.
What started out as a night of hunger and a single slice
of pizza, became a long year of hard training and no one around except the
automatic teacher. She was dark and alone, the way she liked it. The training hardened
She could hardly breathe, but she kept going anyway. She had felt this pain for most of her life – the searing lungs and the stabbing stomach convulsions. Many of the beatings she had taken at the hands of that man who dared to be called her ‘father’ had been over her medical expenses in the past. Now, she lived day to day with the constant agony. The drugs that the Rocket’s Pharmacy provided her eased it a bit, but they always came at a cost.
“You know, someday you’ll have to pay for these meds,” the Rocket that brought her into the fold told her with a grin.
She shrugged. What was he complaining about? Had she not filled his quota over the last few months in stolen PokéBalls? She snatched the inhaler he offered her and squeezed its trigger.
She always found it odd that it was always from the Silph
Company. But if it relieved the pain,
she did not give a damn where it came from.
She was now nine years old. Her nimbleness and skill had advanced her to the ‘Special Missions’ team. She had landed on Cinnabar to acquire certain artifacts. She had already killed five men. She had found and stolen what she needed. But she was then seen by guards and shot at. In her attempt to escape, she fell through a trap door in the floor. She confronted and fought three Pokémon, easily defeating these guards. But then there was the forth one. It scrutinized her as it circled her.
“What the frack are you?” she panted as she held her sword up. It had a rocky black and red body with smoldering spots of fire pockmarked across its back. Its eyes were white fiery slits that streaked whenever it moved its low-hung head.
It grinned at her. She had never seen a Pokémon grin at her before.
It lunged. She never had a chance to defend herself.
She looked about. She still had the sword over her head. She still HAD a head for that matter. The creature was gone. All that remained was a slight glow in her chest that dimmed and vanished.
It was the night she became a ShadowFlare Master. Inside her the Ryuujin had nested.
There was no pain. Her stomach felt… she could not describe it to herself. She had not felt at least a twinge of whatever it was that had been rotting down there. And her lungs seemed lighter than she ever remembered. The disease had been stopped. Her breathing returned to normal. She became able to eat again without knives piercing her in the belly - All because of some Demonic Pokémon.
She returned from Cinnabar and stood before the Boss. She deposited all she had stolen before him and snorted.
She seemed even darker then usual. She stood tall, not slightly bent over as before, wheezing like a grampus. Evil surrounded her. The anger in her eyes showed clearer and more focused. She wore all black rather then her dark red uniform with the black ‘R’.
Giovanni smirked as he looked her over with his hands
folded under his chin.
It was now earlier this very day and her battle with Mauvais. She had performed her ultimate attack and the bird just fled. Her energy had been drained. She had passed out looking at the only person she felt seemed to care anything about her pitiful state - The only person willing to save her. The only person she felt the need not to fail…
…And she had.
The loss of energy had hit her hard. Something inside her whined as if desperate for food. Draining herself meant it was no longer defending her from the diseases.
She coughed and sputtered.
She felt someone nudge her shoulder. She slowly opened her eyes and was looking at that face again.
“You stay with me, kiddo,” North told her as he covered
her in a blanket. He reached over to a
kit pouch he had and pulled out a strange little stick. He gave it a slight twist and looked at a
bottle at its base. He then reached down
and pressed it against her shoulder next to her neck. It hissed.
She felt something entering her body.
“What was that?” she asked as she saw him press it against his own neck and repeat the process.
“Stimulant,” he told her quietly. “Can’t let a little thing like energy depletion run us down, now can we?”
“Uhh…” was all she managed to reply. Whatever was in that thing, it only made her world go all wonky. She could see North move back to whatever he was doing, but understanding it was impossible. It felt as if that something inside her was now screaming into a muffling pillow.
Why had she remembered all of that just before seeing
North again? Why relive all of the horrible stuff of her past? Was that… her life flashing before her eyes? Damn, what crap!
She could see that Rob was talking to her, but she could not hear him. She tried to make herself look confused, but it ended with her screwing up her face. Her hearing started to come back when she found herself being lifted to the seated position.
“Charm? Yo, kiddo! Are you ok?” he was calling to her.
She blearily looked at her friend. She gave a slight laugh at that thought – friend? That’s right, she actually had a friend. That was something missing from all those dreary memories that had just rushed by. All those others she had remembered… the Rockets, her father, pizza kid… none of them were her friends. And certainly not Giovanni… he delighted in trying to find new way to try and KILL her!
But this baka idiot seated beside her… ever since running into him that first time… she actually had a change in her life. She even could consider Peanut a friend. Was he responsible for that as well? He seemed to be into everything – watching over… everything…
But why did he have to be so damn geeky?
“Head hurts,” she said wearily.
The scientist was glad to see her awake. “You had me worried there, kiddo,” he told her as he wrapped the blanket around her more to keep her upright than warm.
“Sorry…” she said almost inaudibly. In her mind she cursed herself for sounding so weak.
Charm went in and out on consciousness a number of times,
bobbing back and forth. She always saw North when she woke up. His friendly
face made her feel a bit better.
“If I die… take care of my Pokémon,” she said to the scientist in a barely audible voice. She did not care what happened to herself, as long as her Pokémon were safe. She knew she could trust Rob with them… He would keep them safe from Team Rocket… safe…
She slipped into the black void that was swallowing her life.
It had become pitch black inside the tent trap. PBM floated a light ball in the center to see what was going on. She was able to hear tearing, but without any light before, feeling around to find it was hard. And with all the clutter in with her that was either floating in midair, or rolling across what she assumed was the top of the tent, even her own lamination was limited.
She finally found the hole M2 was tearing. She could see
a white wall behind him that was reflecting her light. She rolled across the
dome of the tarpaulin and started to rip the net from the inside.
A bit more - The hole grew more, but painfully slow. The Kevlar™ was fighting every yank and pull they gave.
PBM then saw M2’s hands again and she gasped. They were
burned. Not as bad as before, but injured nonetheless. He was desperately
pulling on the hole with its fibers tearing at his raw paws. He finally got the
fabric to rip more, but only slightly.
PBM suddenly found M2’s arm reaching in and pulling on her shoulder. She saw the mesh of the net pass over her head, and M2’s face gritting as he tried to pull her free. But the hole was still too small. She was stuck!
“Tuck!” he yelled.
“Into a ball! Quickly!” he commanded. “And cover your eyes!”
The tent was only partly off her, but she followed M2’s request. She grabbed her legs, which were still behind the cloth of the tent, and placed her head between them. She then felt the larger MewTwo reach over and cover her with his body.
“Be ready to take to the air as soon as we’re free…” he told her. “I’m not sure just how close we are to the ground!” She nodded.
M2’s eyes flashed, and an aura of energy flashed within the orb of ceramic. He had been told by North about physics. A round surface is strong to outside pressure, but fragile to inner force.
But he hadn’t counted on the strength of his own creation, and his energy flashed back on him at first. PBM felt him squeeze hard against her, almost knocking the breath from her.
She heard him straining.
Then she heard cracking.
“YAAA!” M2 shouted. The ball shattered into millions of shards of broken china as the energy finally over stressed the sphere. As the tent caught the rushing air, she felt them roll over, as the fabric worked as a wind break.
She felt M2 slip away. She looked up, which, to the rest of the world, was straight down.
The ground was still far off, but still rushing up faster than she wished. The tent was creating enough drag to slow her descent. She saw M2 falling away from her, his eyes closed tight.
A quick look above her, and she saw a sight she didn’t need to see. The Red Ghosts were following behind them. If the ground did not do them in, the Haunters would!
PBM was tired of this tent. She directed an energy burst to her feet. The tent suddenly inflated like a balloon, and she felt a great deceleration.
“NO! NO! NO!” she shouted. She increased power to her energy discharge. She felt the energy start to burn her feet.
The Haunters were closing in, and M2 was falling further away. She felt a surge of helplessness sweep her.
“M!!” she screamed.
She found herself being shot out of the tent balloon like a bullet. As the fresh air entered the tent, it added enough oxygen to the energy burst to finally set it aflame. The burning tent ran smack into the heart of the ghosts as it inverted, vaporizing many.
M2 suddenly zoomed within range of PBM, and she grabbed him. She formed an energy orb around them and slowed their descent. But momentum was still working against them as the ground was rushing up fast.
M2’s eyes opened. He fired a beam of energy at the ground, slowing them enough to prevent their splattering, but not enough to keep them from not hitting hard. He rolled to take the brunt of the impact as they struck. They bounced a bit as PBM’s sphere shattered and deposited them in a heap on the ground.
“Ohhh, I’m getting too old for this!” M2 grunted. PBM was lying across his belly seeing stars, but otherwise unharmed.
“TENT!” he suddenly
yelped and launched them back a few feet as the burning remains of the tent
crashed where they had landed. Looking
up, he saw the remnants of the Red Haunters still following them. He made a gesture to the shards of ceramic
scattered through the field. They
launched up and intercepted them, causing them to burst and pop all that
remained. M2 and Peanut also needed to
dodge a few stray Murkrows that were also knocked loopy by the crash landing
and busting of the trap as they flopped to the ground nearby.
“Da MewTwo are back!” Meowth yelped as he entered the tent having recovered from being possessed once again. But he saw Nurse Joy and North working over the body of Charm.
“Meowth, get in here and help us with her!” North said, straining to lift her.
“Geeze, is she dead?” the cat asked, holding an arm up.
“No, but she’s not getting better in here… come on… James! Butch! Get in here!”
Joy looked at the readout of the scanning rod. “I don’t like this, Professor… Are you sure about this?”
North shook his head. “No, but it may be the only way… James, take her shoulder… Butch, her legs… Meowth, carry her sword…”
Meowth looked at the katana with the strange set up. The six energy suspension plates that would normally be on the inside of a PokéBall were taped along the black metal blade. The round circuit boards from the inside of the PokéBall were on either side of the sword’s grip. The
beam emitter was positioned at the very tip of the blade, and wires wrapped the length.
“Take her gloves off… this will only work if she’s got direct contact,” North said, laying a blanket down across the grass.
Meowth was having trouble. “ERR! ERRRR! What ‘r dees gloves on wit’? I can’t get dem ta MOVE! YEOW!” Her right one flew off, taking Meowth with it.
“Good enough,” North mumbled. “M?! M?!”
“Just a minute… the stars are still spinning…” the MewTwo said. PBM got up and stumbled over to North, forgetting that her feet were sore from the energy outburst she had done just a few moments before.
Above, the red eyes stared down on the commotion. “What are you doing?” it growled.
North saw that the lady MewTwo was heading his way and waved her over. “PBM, come here, quickly!”
She saw the body on the ground and stopped in her tracks. “What… what happen?” she asked.
“Not now, Peanut,” North told her. “Right now, I need a beam of energy between the emitter on the point of this sword and the sky… think you can do that? You should only need to start it. Once the beam is set, it should continue on its own.”
PBM was not sure. She looked at Charm and the sword. The girl looked cold. She swallowed and nodded. She placed a finger on the beam emitter and concentrated.
North wrapped Charm’s uncovered hand around her sword and held it. He brushed some hair out of her face. He reached over and took his scanning rod from Nurse Joy and stood back, shooing everyone else away as well.
“Okay, Peanut… Go…”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” rumbled through the skies.
PBM saw the eyes, and flared her own. She quickly raised her finger from the emitter and pointed it at the sky, which sent a thin beam of energy skywards.
“NO! NO! NOOOOOOOO!” Mauvais yelled.
North watched the readings and smiled.
“The filter is working… the dark energy is becoming Shadow Energy…” He then held the scanner up and read the skies.
“Energy readings dropping up there… Keep an eye out for sunlight…”
“Sunlight?” PBM asked, and was answered by a flash of light along the horizon.
“NOOOO! I WILL NOT LET YOU!!” the entity screamed.
Charm grew an aura of Shadow Energy around herself.
“Will this kill the beast?” PBM asked.
North looked up. “Probably not, but it will hinder him, and we’ll get to see just how large he REALLY is!” He looked down on Charm.
“Hang on kid. This won’t take long… I hope…”
It was like a scene from a bad horror novel, as the sun pierced the semi-translucent aura Mauvais held over them. He was not just big. He was huge, as the dome that held them in seemed to reach beyond the mountains they were seeing via the sunburst, which were known to be many miles away. It spat in their general direction.
Charm moaned, a low almost inaudible sound, but it was
enough. North sighed in relief. The girl’s eyes flickered open, taking in her
surroundings. Then she sat bolt upright.
“Glaaa! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” she demanded. Everyone sighed in relief. The fiery rocket was going to be okay.
“I mean it! What the FRACK is going on? I feel like I’m in a freak show with you all staring at me like that!”
PBM smiled as she bent down and patted her on the
“We all seem to be frying ourselves tonight,” she told her. “When you… I mean… you burned out all of your energy… err…”
Charm nodded with each attempted explanation. Peanut just stood up and waved her arms about.
“Umm… you went blooie… well, when you went blooie… I mean… ROB! I have no clue.”
North stepped forward. Behind him, the Pikachu climbed up
on a barrel. It acted as if it were straightening a pair of glasses on its
nose. It brushed itself off and waited.
“When you attacked Mauvais with your ShadowFlare Apocalypse, you drained your reserve energy,” he told her. The Pikachu began to mimic his every move, including lip-synching. “And since Mauvais shield prevents outside energy from coming in, your source was cut off. That left your system with no protection.”
Charm put her hand on her chest. “I thought I heard it scream,” she
whispered. North and the Pikachu nodded.
“You literally used every force you had available to throw that ‘apocalypse’ at him, and left yourself basically without even enough strength to keep up a steady heartbeat. So we rerouted the dark energy our friend Mauvais is using through your sword and what used to be a PokéBall, and turned it to shadow energy.”
Charm tried to look serious as the lecture continued, but the Pikachu behind the scientist really was not helping. It took off its imaginary glasses and polished them as North was explaining about PokéBall parts. She was breaking under the weight of NOT laughing.
“Why are you tearing up?” North asked as the Pikachu caught her eye, and waved one paw as if to say ‘none of that’ at her. She blew up laughing in his face, as was everyone else watching the antics.
North looked behind himself. The Pikachu was nibbling on a PokéTreat it had hidden in a cheek pouch.
North pulled a small disk out of his pocket and placed it
in the reader he had in his other pocket.
When he played back the scanning disk’s latest recordings he scowled at
the rodent. He showed it the screen of
its little ‘show’. It sat entranced at
how well it had performed.
“You little rascal!” chided PBM, hoisting the mouse onto her shoulder. “You just like teasing everyone, don’t you?” The Pikachu grinned evilly and nodded.
Fatigue was catching up with many as dawn came through the slight slit created by the draining of Mauvais. A few of the Gypsies were sent off on their fastest Rapidashes to ascertain just how far off the gap was, leaving the tired remains behind using their mass gathering as their protection. Spot bonfires surrounding the camp were keeping the riff-raff out, so it was decided that some would be able to get some rest.
Emirie had sought out the lady MewTwo. Many of the children were still afraid of her. Others still thought she had ‘killed’ Mr. Meowth earlier, even after he showed up alive and well. The little girl had wanted to prove to them that she this unique Pokémon was really nice. It only took a few hours to make them see her in the same light as she did, and they spent the rest of the time discussing about psychic energies and what it was like being a ‘big cat’ with a hose between their head and back. Peanut was a bit nervous discussing this appendage, but it had been brought up when the Pikachu had found it a convenient place to go when it did not want to be manhandled by the little hands again.
Finally everyone in the tent had nodded off into sleep. PBM joined them as she curled up in a ball.
In the shadows outside of the tent created by the illumination of the bond fires, a Muuma smiled as it skulked about. Normally she would have delighted in just leaving a mark of terror in these small children’s dreams, but she had special orders today - ones she was glad to carry out. Revenge ran deep in her mind, and she was still angry about when a small Mew had caused her trouble long ago. What better way to take her revenge than to torment its augmented clone? She slipped through the fabric of the canvas and hovered over all the exhausted sleeping bodies.
The lady MewTwo’s eye lids flickered, telling the Muuma she had reached REM state. The ghost was curious as to what that dream might be. Sliding closer she looked into her subject’s ethereal world.
Water… closing in… can’t swim… don’t know what to do… Mother? Mother! Too deep - too fast! Muddy dark currents… the river’s flooded! What do I do? What do I do? Filling my nose… my mouth… my eyes… Too deep - too fast… closing in… Motherrrrrrrrrr!
The Muuma moved back shocked. It felt as if she were soaked. What a nasty dream! She looked around to see if one of her sisters had beaten her to her target. That was nastier than what she had planned to torment her with!
But it told her she had the right MewTwo. She turned to whisper into the young lady’s ear.
Doubt – fear – trouble – death. These were the stories Muuma told. These were what shaped the dreams of those who heard Muuma’s words.
Emirie woke slowly rubbing at her eyes. She looked over
at Peanut with bleary eyes. She was a cat, just like the Persian at home she
giggled to herself. She was about to
roll over and return to her nap, but she heard a voice… a low rough female voice.
“Heh – heh - heh… that’s right… all for nothing. And it will be your fault they die, you know.”
Emirie wondered where this mean voice was coming from. It certainly was not from Peanut! Then she saw the pink-blue outline of the Muuma and squealed.
The Muuma spun around and hissed at her as it disappeared. The children woke up and joined in the chorus of shrieks and yells, all silenced with the crescendo of a Thundershock from the grumpy Pikachu, who promptly went back to sleep.
“I’m not staying in sick bay!” bellowed Charm as two Gypsy guards plunked her onto her blankets.
“Yes you are!” both North and Nurse Joy yelled back.
“No, I am not!” she retorted.
“At least try to rest!” they countered.
“I’m fine!” she rebutted.
“You need to recover!” North barked with an agreeing nod from the nurse.
“So I’m recovered!” Charm shot back.
“YOU ARE NOT!” Joy blasted away.
“YES I AM! NOW GIVE ME THAT!”
“No,” North calmly replied. “You need to get some sleep.”
Charm sat down and looked up at North, fully steamed.
“I WANT MY KATANA! Look at what you DID to it! How did you get it in the FIRST place?”
North looked down on her. “YOU gave it to me!”
Charm crossed her legs and arms, and looked to her side. “Yea right! You know I would NEVER let anyone touch that blade ‘cept ME!”
“I took it from you before,” he smirked.
Charm’s face turned beet red to match her hair. “You… you were LUCKY that day!” she snorted.
“Meowth carried it outside for us when we were taking you out to recover your energy,” North added with a smile.
Her eyes grew huge. “YOU LET THAT FLEA RIDDLED CHATTY CAT TOUCH MY BLADE?!” she bellowed, standing up.
“Charm, I WILL sedate you, if I have to!” North finally told her, still smiling. She knew he wouldn’t do that, but she flopped down to her crossed legged seated position again in a huff.
“HUMPH!” she grunted. She heard a tweeting sound and saw North waving the scanning rod again. “What’s it say?” she grumbled, in an ‘I don’t care’ sort of way. Actually, she did.
“The gap we created by channeling Mauvais’ energy to you as Shadow Energy is allowing you to receive your normal energy again, but only slowly. Give or take an hour or two of REST, and you should be back to full power.”
“Well, that’s good news, I guess… NOW CAN I HAVE MY KATANA BACK, PLEASE?!”
She looked up at the scientist, who was removing his gadgetry from the blade.
“What WAS all that anyway?” she asked, as a great deal of junk was falling to the ground.
North glanced at her with a bit of worry on his face. “You really don’t remember?” he asked.
She scratched her cheek scar and looked at the tent’s
roof. “It all seems a milky blur to me,”
she finally admitted. When she realized
what she had just blurted though, she shook her head and spat.
“It’s the insides of a PokéBall…” North said as he continued to unwrap the wires.
Charm looked back at him. “Who’s PokéBall?”
“An empty I was carrying,” he said, removing the last of it. North examined both sides of the blade to make sure the black steel wasn’t harmed.
Then Charm watched in amazement as North spun the sword around, using two fingers and the palm of his hand as a guide, ending with a slash to the right, a seamless transfer to his left hand, another two finger spin, and a slash to the left. He then brought the sword up to his face, his eyes shut. She could see that he was concentrating… Concentrating on what?
“Sword,” he said, “cleanse thy self…”
A black flame traveled up the blade, and ejected from its tip. North opened his eyes and smiled. He reached down and picked up the discarded sheath and inserted the sword.
“How… how do you know the ShadowFlare cleansing method?” Charm asked, as North handed her the sword.
North winked. “You’d be surprised at what I know!”
“And what you don’t…”
Charm and North looked over at the heap in the opposite corner. This particular tent had been deemed the Medical Tent or SickBay, so M2 was lying there recovering from his latest run in with Mauvais. Since Joy was having no luck with Charm, she was now attending to the MewTwo, who was being a better patient than she had been.
“Thanks a bunch, buddy…” North scoffed.
“Anytime,” M2 said as a cool wet compress was placed on his head.
“Mr. North! Mr. North!”
“And here it comes…” M2 sarcastically commented. North
“What? WHAT?” Charm demanded, wondering what the MewTwo meant.
“Mauvais’ next move,” North told her as he exiting the tent.
Emirie came running up to him. “Mr. North, its Peanut!”
“Not you too! LAY DOWN NOW!”
North heard Joy yell from behind him as the MewTwo exited the tent.
“What about Peanut?” M2 asked.
They entered the tent she had been sleeping in with the children. They found her rolled in a ball, shaking, her eyes wide open but dilated. Her body quaked when M2 touched her. He tried to access her mind, but oddly found a wall of static. North whipped out the scanning rod and waved it over the quivering body.
“She’s in shock - some sort of mental attack,” North grumbled.
“It was a ghost!” Emirie said. “I saw it!”
M2 looked at the little girl. “What type?” he rumbled with a shot of fury in his eyes.
She saw the look of anger on his face and stepped back. M2 shook his head when he realized that he was frightening her and toned down his rage. “I’m sorry,” he calmly restarted his discussion with her. “Emirie is it?”
“Uh huh…” she answered with a quivering voice. “I - I don’t know what type… I’ve never seen a ghost like that one before…”
“Was it dark with purple streaks?” North asked while reaching into his pocket and rummaging about. “Kind of a floating head type?”
“Uh huh,” the little girl said. Then she saw the strange device North pulled out. Fear was replaced by curiosity. “What’s that?” she asked
M2 rolled his eyes. “I am always surprised at what you can hold in those pockets, Rob… I didn’t know you still HAD any of those.”
“It helps to have swapped the storage shunts out of that
old lab coat the droid was wearing,” the scientist laughed while twisting the
device a bit. “It’s a good thing I make
them fit all my jackets.”
“What is that?” asked Charm from the opening in the tent. North reached into his pocket and produced two more of the strange goodies.
“These are GassyBalls… specially designed to capture ghost Pokémon,” he said, tossing one of the strange traps to her. It looked like a PokéBall with a bicycle horn attached to it at the beam emitter.
“Weird… did you make this?” she asked.
He laughed. “Nope, for once, this isn’t one of my devices. A friend of Professor Oak’s on the Prime did. Now mind you, you don’t toss them.”
“Don’t toss them?” Charm asked, a bit perplexed by the odd contraption. “How do you use them then?”
North held his out.
“You just hold them out. They’re activated by squeezing the black band
along the center. They have a remarkable
attraction zone, and they’re reinforced to prevent escape once the ghost is in
“So, what are we after?” Charm asked, playing catch with her GassyBall.
“Shhh!” North said. “Be vewwy vewwy quiet! We’re huntin’ Muuwas!”
“Hahahahaha!” Charm added in her best Elmer Fudd. Then she looked over at M2 with his GassyBall in paw. “Umm… he is a Pokémon, right?”
North and M2 looked back and forth at each other. “Umm… last I saw,” North added. “Why?”
She spun her unit about in her hand. “Doesn’t he run the risk of capturing himself with this?”
“Oh, you mean like this?” North pointed the horn at his friend and squeezed it. It made a sucking sound. M2 looked unfazed, and if anything, a bit miffed that he was so quickly targeted by the scientist.
“They only work on ghosts,” North stated. “So he can have the fun of capturing as well.”
“Whoop dee doo!” the MewTwo retorted.
Nurse Joy finally arrived with what equipment she could squirrel up, much of which had again come from those pockets of North’s. She had noted that she swore he would pull a car from one of them someday - North only coughed at the comment.
“Can I have that scanning thingy of yours, Professor?” she asked.
North suddenly wish he hadn’t smashed the other scanning rod earlier. Sure enough, it was the only other one he had, and the Nurse was right. She would need it, even though it would have also helped find the Muuma.
“Don’t break it,” he said, mocking himself more than Joy’s handling of the device.
“What about giving Peanut a Doorknob?” M2 asked as he adjusted the GassyBall he had been given.
“What did you see when you tried to go in there?” North asked back with a nod towards the lady’s head.
M2 looked down on her. “A wall of fuzz,” he told him.
North shook his head. “Then I’d suggest holding off on that until we catch that ghost,” he said. “If you’re not able to see anything, then there’s a good chance that her mind isn’t fully there, and that fuzz is her own defenses trying to retain what is left.”
“You talking like she’s not all there!” Charm exclaimed.
North looked over at her with a worried expression. “Have you ever felt like you weren’t in your body?”
She shrugged. “After being bonked on the head a few times, yea. Earlier today as well!”
North smirked at the reference. “Well, there was probably a good chance that you were!”
“I was what?”
“Out of your booooody!” he replied in a ghoulish
way. “That is why we must find and
capture this ghost.”
“How are we to find this critter,” Charm asked.
“You’ll have to sense it with your minds… use your powers to guide you,” North explained. “You Charm, should be able to sense it with your Shadow Energy. M2 can feel it by aural energy… I’m the one with the deficiency here.”
Charm cocked her head. “Huh? What about the ShadowFlare I saw you do earlier?”
North looked down and smiled. “I can clean blades… That’s about it…”
“Told you you’d be surprised at what he DOESN’T know!” M2 said, getting up from PBM’s side, feeling around for aural energy. The children watched the MewTwo sneak about the tent, GassyBall in his right paw, a glowing hand extended from his left.
The Gypsies had taken a defensive position along the
outside of the encampment. Giovanni walked behind the line. He saw the
Chieftain looking up the hill with a pair of binoculars he had borrowed from
“What’s our situation, chief?” he asked, as James snapped to attention.
The chief grunted and handed the binoculars to the Boss of Team Rocket. “Take a look for yourself…”
Giovanni adjusted the binoculars and looked in the direction the chief had been looking in, and felt a shiver of fear run up his spine.
Murkrows… Thousands of Murkrows, all with beady glowing red eyes, lined the ridge of the hill as far as he could scan. He turned and looked at the tree line behind the camp, and saw the trees filled with more Murkrows. The weird thing about it was the silence of the creatures. Most birds, when flocked together, make a ruckus noise. But these were absolutely silent.
“The calm before the storm, no?” the chief asked, taking the binoculars back.
“I feel like we’re in a Hitchcock film!” James mumbled.
Giovanni normally would have silenced his Rocket. This time, he only nodded in agreement.
She was not aware of the others around her. She was in a dream state. She was vaguely aware that her fingers were numb with a biting cold. But her fevered mind could make no sense of anything in the swirling blackness.
Water - fire - electricity. All elements whirled like so many spilled Pokémon cards. She was not aware even of her own mind. Sometimes she was Mew, sometimes she was a MewTwo. In her dream state the two slid together, further blurring her lines of reality - What was, and what once had been.
For a time in the dream, she chased after a phantom shape she thought to be her mother… for a time a harsh high voice laughed at her, and the icy eyes of the dog-ghost glared. Echoes of her current and past lives seemed everywhere. It was a dream that made no sense - a dream where water flowed uphill, and time was a knife blade, sharp and made of light - a dream where her own tears pooled to drown her - a dream where the calming waters off the coast were crystal clear and she darted after a fish… that turned to the darkened laboratory where she had been reborn.
Faces she knew but couldn’t place were there. And then she stood alone in an empty field. It looked like a painting… the one where the clocks hung and melted on the trees. Voices echoed around her… snatches of songs, phrases, poems and books she had read…
“Will she be my friend?” asked Miri’s voice. The question repeated and distorted until it became a lullaby her Mew mother had sung her as a kitten. It the warped and twisted into a Muuma’s cackling laughter and Giovanni’s biting insults… she sat down and cried.
“Pika? pikapi? Chuuu? Pipika?” the Pikachu poked the still form of its friend when it finally realized that something was wrong. The only reaction was a small whimper, and intense shaking of her body.
“Pipika? Pikachuuuuu? Pikapi?” it asked. M2 noticed its actions as he slowly moved around the tent sensing.
“She can’t hear you,” he told him sympathetically. The Pikachu turned with pleading eyes to him.
“Pikapiiii?” it asked, solemnly.
“No. I’m sure… I’m sure she’ll be all right,” he said, in a voice more confident than he felt. The Pikachu darted onto his shoulder. It sniffed the air and pointed.
“Pikachu!” it stated flatly.
M2 waved his glowing paw in the direction the rodent had aimed at. “Over there, ea?”
North shook his head. He knew the ghost was somewhere nearby - otherwise Peanut would not be affected so. He wondered what Giovanni’s response would be if he had seen the pair of them together. He knew that this level’s Boss was aware of multiple MewTwos out there, and he also knew that he had not been able to control ANY of them. But he also knew that they tended not to gather together, unlike what research had shown where the Mew had. In fact, North himself had never seen MewTwo gather together before, save for the pair he had dealt with the year before, and that had been nearly catastrophic.
Giovanni most likely would want to capture them both, if he could. Obviously, it was too late to keep him from seeing at least M2 – though he had know of his existence before this. North had managed to convince the Boss that attempting to ‘recapture’ this MewTwo might be detrimental to the health of Team Rocket, not least to mention his own well-being, which on this level, was a bit shaky, having survived a few failed experiments himself. The Giovanni of Level 1.1 did not have the rock-solid persona of his Level Prime self, but he could still be trouble.
Charm could feel the energy of a Muuma in the air. It was a familiar feeling. It was then she recognized it - her dreams, memories, all that she had wanted to forget had resurfaced as she had lay in sickbay. This Muuma had been on the prowl at that same time, pulling what any of the would-be heroes wanted most to forget into light, sad memories of abuse, for her. She shivered at the thought of what it might be making PBM relive. She wished she could forget what she had been forced to remember more than ever now. Her father’s sharp features had haunted her dreams enough without the help of that accursed dream dog. WHEN she tracked it down, there would be a price to pay - a fee she hoped would tear the dream-stalker apart.
She held the strange PokéBall out that North had given her and concentrated. But something was disrupting her concentration. Something cold… something like… a draft?
Then it dawned on her. Charm looked at her bare hand that held the GassyBall.
“Where the hell is my glove?” she griped.
“Sorry,” North apologized. “Your hand had to be in direct contact with your katana for that little energy transfer we did earlier to work.”
Charm wiggled her fingers and grimaced. “This is so cold! I want my glove!”
Meowth staggered into the tent, having recovered from his
flight removing the hand-covering had given him. He held it up to her. “GEEZ! Dat was impossible ta get off!”
She snatched it away from the chatty-cat and slipped it on with ease. “It is made to fit my hand perfectly, and only loosens and tightens if I want it to.”
Meowth muttered “I should’a known…” as he shook his head and departed the way he came.
Charm went back to searching, as did everyone else. By now she was frustrated.
“ARG!” she yelled. “Why don’t I just go off and attack that damned Mauvais again!”
North shook his head. She would never learn. “And look what happened to you last time,” he commented.
“It won’t happen this time! I promise!” Charm exclaimed.
“Right… And no doubt you would go all out on him again…” he bluntly said as he wiped his brow.
“You bet I would!” she barked back.
“HEY!” M2 yelled harshly at them. “Less talking, more SENSING! We ARE trying to find a Muuma here!” He went back to searching leaving the Pikachu on his shoulder to add a few choice insults their way.
Charm stood a bit shocked. “Did that rodent just flip me the bird?” she asked with a little less volume to her voice than before.
“It would be interesting to swap Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu with this one, wouldn’t it?” North asked with a snicker.
Charm shook her head. “I don’t know… I’ve heard his electric rat before… it’s a good thing that the brat doesn’t know what it’s saying most of the time.”
She looked up and saw M2 glaring at her. He shook his head and returned to sensing the
Charm stuck her tongue out at him and pulled down on the bottom of her eye without the scar. North laughed at her. M2 turned around just in time for Charm to stop and put on an innocent look. M2 switched his glare to North, who glared right back at him. Charm silently laughed at the scientist. She then went back to searching for the Muuma.
M2 returned again to searching for the ghost. He had his glowing paw extended in front of him. As it guided him, it kept changing directions as if it was confused or distracted.
North watched Charm and M2 as they ‘felt’ around with their unique senses. They were lucky - they were guided by their powers. He did not even have his scanning rod. But he did have his glasses, which he tapped. Instantly, the lenses turned dark like sunglasses on the front. But on the back, they displayed energy sources to him. It was not as effective as his old dependable sensing stick, but it was the best he had on hand. Besides, he was not feeling his best just then, and adding some ‘special power’ would have probably been a bad idea anyway.
Charm could feel the ghost. She closed her eyes, knowing her sight would not do anything for her. She used what her trainer Russ had called her ‘sixth sense’ - she could sense things coming up behind her, and if certain people looked at her.
She could feel the ghost. As she got closer to where she felt it was, more visions of her horrible memories flashed before her. Then they went away. She turned back. The memories returned and became longer. Then they shortened. She thought she was about four feet from the ghost as her memories streamed together. She stuck the GassyBall out in front of her.
The Muuma appeared before her, its eyes glowing red. She
tried to activate the GassyBall, but the ghost struck first. She became momentarily stunned. She shook it
off, but the ghost had backed off and was already powering up for its next
“Muuuuu!” cried the spirit-type Pokémon.
“CHARM! DUCK!” North yelled. Charm dodged the psyblast, but dropped the special PokéBall as the children now were running all around the tent screaming.
“Damn!” she cursed as a small foot kicked the GassyBall away.
M2 was on the Muuma next, but before he could use the GassyBall the Muuma vanished.
“Where did it go?” M2 growled.
“Chuuu!” the Pikachu swore as it spun about on his shoulder. The scampering children were not helping matters any.
The Muuma appeared behind them using its sneak attack. The Pikachu was sent bouncing off M2’s head.
“Ouch!” the MewTwo snarled. “Fast little sucker.”
The Muuma then appeared before North about to use its Curse attack.
“Not fast enough,” the scientist stated. North raised his GassyBall and pointed at the Muuma. There was that nasty slurping sound along with a squealing from the ghost as it was drawn into the PokéBall. At first it struggled, but then it stopped.
North tapped his glasses returning them to normal. “Got it!” he exclaimed with the sweat pouring off his brow. He then pointed the funnel end at the prone form of PBM.
“Release her, or I’ll hit the ‘disperse’ button!” he
commanded his captured ghost. The
GassyBall shook slightly at the suggestion.
What sounded like a sigh came from it.
With that the female MewTwo woke up from her dream. Peanut grabbed her pounding head. That was enough of a bad dream to make a Drowzee sick she thought.
M2 rushed to her side. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I just have a little headache,” she lied. Her head wouldn’t stop pounding. “I think I’ll be okay.”
M2 placed his paw on the side of her face, cradling it. He knitted his brow. The pain lessened. She looked up at him startled.
“You… took some of my pain?” she asked.
He smiled with a grimace. “No problem. I’m used to this type.”
“Chuuuuuu…” the Pikachu said with a sour look on his face. Peanut blushed and M2 pointed his free paw at him.
“You’re starting to sound like Meowth!” he warned him. The Pikachu snickered.
Emirie’s face was like a light as she dragged Nurse Joy
in. “She’s all right! She’s all right! He
said so!” the little girl jumped around excitedly as she pointed to M2. The
nurse wondered if maybe the girl should be on Prozac, but only smiled and
started the scanner she had taken from North. Charm sat down on the blankets
next to PBM and flopped back holding her head.
“Man! If you had dreams anything like mine, you’re not going to be feeling great for a while,” she proclaimed as she glared at the tent’s canvas roof while wiping the sweat off her forehead. The lady MewTwo nodded slightly. Her fur was limp, and it was drenched in sweat and tears.
She shook her head in an attempt to sort things out. “It was like… like…”
“A jumbled mess of memories?” Charm finished for her.
“Yes! All out of order… all altered…”
“Hmmm… mine were in order…” Charm considered. “But they were all things I’d rather not have remembered.”
“Ummm… I could definitely have gone without hearing some of that again,” agreed the MewTwo. North smiled. If anyone had asked him an hour ago if he thought he would see PBM and Charm conversing like friends, he would have had them checked into the sickbay. The argument from earlier seemed to have been forgotten in the light of the current trouble.
“Stop moving!” chided the nurse. “I can’t get a decent reading on either of you.” Nothing much fazes a Nurse Joy - not even treating a MewTwo and a ShadowFlare Master. Still, something about the young MewTwo’s frank stare unnerved her. Her unnaturally wide lavender eyes seemed to bore into her very mind.
“Well? How am I?” The nurse’s thoughts were interrupted as she saw PBM @%%! her head quizzically.
“Oh… err… well, I’m no expert on what a normal reading for you should be, but in comparison to his,” she said with a gesture to M2 seated beside her, “you’re just fine.”
“Why is it everyone is making me out to be half-dead?” M2 complained. He got a peak to his cheek from Peanut.
“Does that make your boo-boo feel better?” she coyly
asked. M2 turned scarlet while Charm
“Yaaay! Yaaay!” Emirie cried as she jumped up and down. “We’re all okay now!” Nurse Joy shook her head. This kid really was hyperactive. A doctor ought to prescribe something…
“I’m glad you’re okay as well,” said M2, his eyes showing his relief.
“Me too,” she said. “I had some… really awful dreams. Everything was cluttered, like a puzzle out of order. It was like I was watching my own life through someone else’s eyes. And it was on rewind or something. It was awful. I feel like I’ve been out for hours… how long has it been?”
“Umm… about six hours since you said you were tired,” M2 told her. “Emirie, here, came and got us about an hour ago.” Emirie grinned and held up a two-fingered victory sign.
“It was a ghost!” she squealed. “But now he has it in that ball.” She pointed over to North, who was scrutinizing the device.
“Well then Emirie, you saved my life,” Peanut told her. “I owe you.” The child beamed.
“Now let’s allow her to rest,” Nurse Joy told Emirie and the rest of the children. “Let’s move to the next tent, okay?”
The kids mumbled and grumbled about leaving the two large
cats until a smaller cat stuck his head in the tent’s opening and called out
“Candy care o’ da Meowth in da next tent!”
It was followed by a mad dash of small feet towards the exit.
North acknowledged the chatty-cat’s assist. He sat across from Peanut and ran the scanner for himself. “Now, we don’t know that your life was actually in danger,” he told her as he read the ball in his palm. “It more likely just wanted you out of action, and doubting your own capabilities.”
PBM shook her head. “Let Emirie think she’s a hero,” she whispered to him. “It’s good for her to feel like she can accomplish something too.”
He leaned forwards towards her. “Why do you think I waited for the kids to leave first?” he stated also in a whisper. “I’m not THAT mean!”
She looked closely at him. “Are you okay?” she asked. “You’re white as a sheet!”
North continued to fiddle with the GassyBall. “I’m okay… Just a bit over extended I guess…”
Peanut looked down at the yellow bundle of fur at her feet. It was scowling up at her.
“PI PI PIKA!” it barked while shaking a finger at her.
“Umm, how was I supposed to keep my defenses up?” she asked it. “I was tired and fell asleep!”
“CHUUUUU! PI PI PIKA CHUUU!” it sparked.
M2 lowered his ears. “Geez, we should call him Sergeant! I haven’t heard a grilling like that since the last Rocket Training drill I saw up on the Prime!”
“CHU! CHU! CHU! CHUUUUUUUUUUUU!” he berated the male MewTwo, finishing with a short Thundershock in his direction – which M2 siphoned into a ball of energy and started tossing it up and down like a baseball as he glared at the rodent.
The Pikachu ignored M2 and returned to glaring at
Peanut. He then burst into tears and
leapt at her, bowling her over. She was
lucky that a pillow was there, or she would have knocked her head. The Pikachu
proceeded to spark and ‘chu!’ loudly as it stopped her from sitting back up.
“I get it! I get it!” Peanut yelped and giggled. “You were worried! Let me up, you!”
Charm grinned. Excitement helped to keep her thoughts
from returning to her unlocked past. Keeping busy would help. And although she
didn’t show it, she really had been worried about the MewTwo. Charm knocked PBM’s arm with a light jab.
“Yo… ‘Glad you’re okay, cat-girl,” she told her. She got up and stepped out of the tent to catch her breath as she did not want to show them any sappy emotions.
“So… what shall we do with this Muuma?” North asked as he stood up holding the GassyBall by the horn nozzle. “You think Mauvais is open to a barter?” Inside, the spitting snarling dog-ghost shrieked unmentionable words that would have made Peanut’s Pikachu blush.
Outside, the Murkrows continued to amass along the outer edge of the field. The gypsies kept adding to the perimeter fires to keep them and the specters back.
“They’re just staring!” commented Jessie, as she crept
low behind the line of freed town folks, gypsies and her own team. “It’s like
they’re waiting. It’s creepy!”
Giovanni grumbled. “What’s creepy is I’m hanging around with you two numbskulls while some kind of ghoul is hunting down people WHILE being controlled by some SUPER Pokémon! Why aren’t any of you trying to CAPTURE it?”
Butch pointed up to the black sky. “Uh, Boss? It’s kind of a long throw, even with a bazooka!”
Their leader snorted. “Where is that scientist of mine? North should be able to contrive some sort of trap of that thing!”
James interrupted his ramblings with a poke.
“Want a donut, boss?”
There was a clunk on the ground next to PBM’s foot.
The scanning rod in Nurse Joy’s hands tweeted and screamed.
Everyone had been in such a happy state over the Muuma’s capture, they had not noticed North sweating. At first, they looked on the ground at the GassyBall, which he had dropped. Then they looked up at him. All went silent.
First, his knees buckled, and his arms squeezed his ribs. To him, his world turned into a tunnel, with a bright white light at the end.
“Rob?” M2 asked. “ROBERT?”
The yell of North’s name hit Charm. She dashed back into the tent to see the scientist clutching his chest.
North keeled over with a sickening thud.
“Now!” Mauvais rumbled from above.
With that, the hills and trees around the camp came alive with the calls of thousands of Murkrows.
And the Roll Play Rolls On…
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