Hi, sorry for the long wait, but school was absolute murder. Good news is that it's the winter break now, so I'm going to have more free time to work on my stories.

Review Responses:

PsychicEevee0103: Indeed. Admittedly, I didn't have it planned all the way back when she was first introduced, but I worked out her backstory quite a while ago.

Emblem of Light: I'm glad that I can write such engaging characters that you feel that way and that you enjoyed the chapter. Yrja and Chad are the (former) Spheal and Farfetch'd. They're dating.

Tony Anderson: Thank you.

ProfessorLugia: Well, you'll get to see the fight here. As angry as Tempest may be, the Substitute explicitly told him that Regina requested release from Team Rapid, so he has no excuse to view it as her being kicked off. And an attack on Martha would not go over well, as most (if not all) of the team would probably come to her defense.

AveragePichu: I'm glad you think so.

On with the story!

Chapter 3: Arceus Save the Princess

"This is the place?"

"Well, we're over the area between Apple Woods and Oran Forest, so maybe. It's hard to tell, though. Hey up there, feel like lending us some luck?"

"Wait… I think I see a clearing! It's right there, a few golden trees marking it. See it?"

"…Yeah! I see it. That must be the entrance. Alright, let's land!"

"Do not address us in such a way," Regina replied firmly. "We have come to take back our throne."

The Empress chuckled, "You still talk like that? That's a dead tongue, bumblebee. I should know; I ripped it from your mother's mouth myself."

"Silence!" the princess shouted as she blew a Gust.

Two of the Empress' guards flew forward and their faces glowed golden before a honeycomb-patterned barrier formed in front of the Empress and her group, dispersing the wind. The despotic ruler simply crossed her arms as the four Combee dropped the barrier after it passed and then rushed Regina.

Once they reached her, they started firing beams of multicolored energy that Regina flew up to dodge. She hesitated to attack the Combee; brainwashed as they were, they were still members of her mother's kingdom. They needed help, not injury.

But this dilemma caused Regina to miss the Empress flying up to her until she struck her across the dress with a Slash attack. She cried out from the attack, but then sent out her own drones to attack the Empress while she was alone in the air. Unfortunately, the Attack Order didn't go through, as her opponent's own drones simply blocked them with the standard formation of a Defend Order, simply forming a wall to block the attack's advance.

Regina noticed that her opponent was focused on keeping her drones away and spat a small blob of Toxic at the Empress. It hit, and purple vein patterns appeared across the senior Vespiquen's body, but she just chuckled and said, "You fool."

Fearing the worst, Regina pulled her drones back to form a protective suit around herself. The act practically saved her life as the Empress suddenly lunged forward with the orange glow of Facade, tearing through her own drones in the process. The punch hit Regina in her thorax and killed a few of her drones while sending her into the branches of a tree.

The princess forced her eyes open when she heard buzzing and saw three of the Combee ready to fire another Attack Order. Thinking fast, she used Slash to cut the branches holding her up, making her fall to the ground while the Empress' guards fired. She flew off and recalled most her drones into her hive while the rest converged on her bruised thorax and the cut in said hive to mend the injuries. She didn't like it, but decided that if she could at least knock one of the Combee out, then it would lessen the amount of opponents.

Using a half-strength Power Gem, Regina managed to hit one of the Combee and knock him out. She got ready to hit the next one, but they simply used a Heal Order to heal and awaken their fallen comrade, yellow pollen from their wings making his injury vanish before Regina's very eyes.

Regina moved to the side and looked, so as to not give her back to either opponent and looked to see if the Empress was weakened from the poison. The Empress still hovered above her, the last Combee bringing her a Pecha Berry and dusting her with healing pollen as well. The tyrannical Vespiquen bit into the berry's skin with her mandibles and drained the juice from it, curing her poison.

"Shall we continue this farce," she asked while tossing the husk away, "or are you ready to surrender your life?"

The younger Vespiquen growled and shot a Power Gem at the tyrant, who spread her arms as if to welcome the attack and aligned for it to hit her heart. The gem on her necklace changed from black to silver as it glowed and the energy simply got absorbed into her body.

The Empress tapped the gem as it turned black again and tsk-tsked, "Poor bumblebee. You should've just stayed away from my domain and kept your life."

"This is not your domain!" Regina retorted while rushing forward with Aerial Ace. The last gift from Martha had been a TM containing the move. Not strictly for her vengeance, the Eevee had said, but as a congratulations for finally evolving.

The elder Vespiquen was surprised at that point and tried to have the Combee closest to her guard. But Regina maneuvered around the smaller Pokémon and struck at the Empress directly.

Even so, her hand got caught as the gem on the Empress' forehead started glowing, "Well, if you're through playing, I guess I should get serious as well."

Looking down, the despot fired the rock attack at the same spot that her Facade attack had hit, where it was still healing. Regina cried in pain and called more drones to replace the ones that were just killed and to heal her. But the Empress kept attacking with Slash, cutting the princess in several more places with her empowered claws. Regina tried to get some distance by backing away only to get shot in the back by four Attack Orders, damaging her wings.

She fell to the ground and the Empress descended with her guards returning to her side. Regina called up her drones to heal her various wounds, but it was a slow process and she had a feeling that she wouldn't live long enough to be back in fighting condition.

'The queendom… Mother… I've failed you.'

"Do you know why I banished you, instead of killing you outright?" the Empress asked with a chuckle.

Regina remained silent on the ground, glaring back at her mother's murderer, so the senior Vespiquen continued, "For this moment. The instant that you realize for all of your training, and even an evolution, you are still powerless before me."

Her gem started glowing, "Still, at this point, you could actually have the potential to surpass me. Better that I kill you now when you are weak."

"There she is!"

Right before she could fire the Power Gem, a stream of flames hit her and trapped her in a sphere while four bolts of electricity zapped the Empress' bodyguards with a larger one striking her as the sphere opened at the top.

As her guards were stunned, the Vespiquen hissed in frustration and fired the rock attack at Regina anyway only for an Aerodactyl to descend from above and deflect it with Steel Wing. An Elekid and Magby jumped down from his back as well.

"We finally found you," the Electric Pokémon said to the Empress with his back to Regina.

The princess blinked before speaking up, "What are you three doing here? This is our fight!"

"Eh?" The Fossil Pokémon turned his head and glanced at her, "And who are you, miss? Are you sure you're not mistaking us for someone else?"

"Yeah," the Fire-type added. "We're Team Firestorm." (2)

Regina looked at them with a flat expression and the Aerodactyl covered his eyes with a slight groan, "I told them after I joined that the name was too specialized, that it made it sound like they only had Electric and Fire-types, but they said that they'd had it since the beginning and refused to change it."

"We're bounty hunters, lady," the Elekid explained. "We were hired to take this mark down."

"Wattson," Regina continued, unconvinced, "you three wear the same rare items you had this morning."

"That's not my name, there's more than one set of these three items in the world, and I'd really appreciate if you let us handle this," he answered without missing a beat. "You want this Empress gone; we want the bounty. Everybody wins."

With a furious scream, the Empress used Gust to blow the flames away. Regina worried for the forest, but the Aerodactyl raised a wall around the clearing with Ancient Power to stop the fire from catching onto the trees. The Combee also shook off their paralysis and blankly got ready to attack as well, using Heal Order on one another to fix their electrical burns.

"Garreth, the guards," the Electric Pokémon instructed. "They're too far gone; I can tell. Put them out of their misery. Blair and I will keep the big one busy until you can get there."

Garreth let out a sigh, "Pity." But it didn't last long before his brooch activated Pressure and he leaped towards the first Combee to bite him with an Ice Fang while impaling another with a stalagmite sprouted from the ground with Stone Edge.

The Empress moved to attack him with Power Gem, but had to dodge a Thunder Punch from the Elekid.

"Not happening, lady," he warned with a glare. "You're dethroned today. Consider it karma for being such a royal pain."

With a growl, the Empress sent an order for her other Combee to attack the Aerodactyl instead while she engaged the Electric Pokémon.

But Garreth plucked the frozen Combee from his mouth and shattered him with a swing of Iron Tail. The move sent the shards into the other guards, distracting and injuring them until he trapped one in a rock sphere with Ancient Power and crushed the other against the ground with Iron Tail.

At the same time, the sun started beating down harder and Blair's Magma Scarf started glowing orange. The Magby took a deep breath and opened his eyes before dashing forward, moving as a red blur. (1)

Flames enveloped him halfway to the Empress and he barged into her with a devastating Flare Blitz. She screeched in pain and got sent flying a distance.

"You know you could've just hit her with a Fire Punch," Blair's partner pointed out as he held up an Oran Berry to offer him.

The Live Coal Pokémon held up a hand to turn the item down. He'd heal up in due time. But he smirked and replied, "I can't let you have all the fun, Vick, I gotta make my mark too."

The two of them faced the recovering tyrant and ignited their fists with fire and electricity respectively.

Vick smirked, "Get ready to face the might of our…"

"Burning Bolt Barrage!" Blair shouted as they both charged. The Magby kept pace with his partner's natural speed due to his scarf's help. The two Pokémon attacked simultaneously with a frenzy of elemental punches, forcing the Empress to back away to minimize the hits taken.

Meanwhile, Garreth pondered what to do with his captured Combee. He was in a position to finish him off, but he didn't really like killing, and the enemy was unable to break out of his container right now.

The Aerodactyl took some time to think, knowing that his teammates could run circles around their current opponent. But a barely audible voice whispered from the stone sphere.

He raised an eyebrow, "Come again?"

"…Kill… me… Empress's pheromones… for so long… So many atrocities… But no more… can reach me here…"

"Wait, but that Vespiquen's not-"

"No more… No more…" the Combee muttered inside.

Garreth frowned as he realized his partner had been right. They really were too far gone. He hesitantly rested a hand against the container, "Stone Maiden."


The sound of pierced flesh and the cracking of the Combee's exoskeleton cut off what he was about to say as the Fossil Pokémon used Stone Edge to sprout multiple stalagmites on the inside. He leaned against what was now a coffin and mourned the lives he had to take.

But the moment passed and he glared at the Empress with a growl, resting his hands on the ground and sending energy through the earth to surround her as the Electric Pokémon grabbed on and started charging for a Thunderbolt.

The Empress threw the clinging Elekid off of her and readied a Power Gem for the Magby.

She ignored the stalagmites rising towards her. If they were going to pierce in so many places, her Vespi-Torc would surely absorb them and heal her of the damages she took. Instead, she focused on aiming carefully at the speedy Fire-type. If she could just get a hit, then-

The attack struck, shocking her to her core. Rather than dissipating and fueling her own strength, the stalagmites had simply pierced her hive dress and struck her abdomen, sinking into the softer flesh and emerging up the other side. One even pierced her thorax, but missed her heart, thankfully.

The Vespiquen looked down, as if she couldn't comprehend that such an attack would strike her. She coughed as blood leaked out of her mouth and grasped at her neck only to find nothing there.

"Looking for this?"

She slowly turned her head to see Vick swinging her Vespi-Torc on one claw. "You should keep a closer eye on your valuables."

Hissing furiously, the Empress broke the stone spikes with a Slash attack and called, "Heal Order!"

Two Combee from her guard that she kept hidden for emergencies buzzed overhead and dropped yellow pollen which closed her wounds, sealing the rocks inside.

"Uh, lady?" Blair asked. "There's a little thing called 'infection'. You probably shouldn't have-"

"Silence! It is my throne!" the despot shouted, releasing wave after wave of pheromones in fury. "Servants, EVERYONE! TO ME!"

Vick hurriedly stashed the necklace and twisted the Current Ring on his upper arm to let it allow more electricity to flow. It meant he'd run out faster, but from the approaching buzzes, he'd need the extra power.

Regina saw her opportunity and flew to hover in the air, ignoring the pain in her wings. She stood tall and moved beside her allies.

The wall of boulders crumbled as multiple Scizor, Heracross and Pinsir took point from different locations, allowing the other bugs that couldn't fly to step over the rubble. It probably wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the entire forest had come since several of just about every conceivable Bug-type surrounded the mercenaries, the Empress and Regina.

The tyrannical ruler laughed, "Now, perish! Attack, my servants!"

But nobody heeded her order. They all stared at Regina. Unlike the Empress's personal guard, they hadn't been subjected to brainwashing from constant exposure to her pheromones. A majority of the gathered Pokémon knew about the family before their current ruler.

"The princess…?"

"The last of the Amberlyn line… She's returned!"

"Attack, you fools!" the Empress commanded, releasing pheromones to try controlling them. But Regina released Sweet Scent laced with her own pheromones as she said in a calming tone, "Be at ease, for we have returned and shall dethrone this tyrant."

Every bug relaxed under the sedating scent, the younger calmed by Regina's motherly tone and the older generations hopeful for a return to the previous family's reign.

Meanwhile, the enraged despot shot a Power Gem attack at the gathered crowd, aiming to kill one of them and get the rest to follow. But one of the Combee in the crowd got a pheromone signal and flew to the front. His honeycomb faces glowed gold before a beehive-pattern barrier formed and blocked the attack.

The other Combee rallied and two traveled to Regina's side, dusting her with the healing pollen while the rest constructed a dome barrier of the same kind around the two Vespiquen and their respective pairs of Combee, sealing them inside and protecting the denizens of Nectar Hollow.

The Magby stepped forward to try getting in, but a hand and discouraging headshake from his Elekid partner stopped him. "This is out of our hands now," he explained.

"Noble mercenaries," Regina announced as she readied for battle again, "we thank thee for thy assistance, but this is our fight. We shall take back our queendom with our own strength." She stood tall again as the two Combee hovered at her sides, ready to receive orders.

"You fool," the Empress chuckled with glee and barely masked pain. "Your death will cement my hold on this forest."

"No," Regina countered. "You lost the moment you called your subjects. All this time, you ruled through fear. And by trying to use that in your weakened state, you have failed. They notice your pained movements. They have seen that you are not invincible. Even if you should kill Princess Amberlyn, I know that they will rise up against you."


"The royal court will train a new family to rule," Regina continued, the denizens of Nectar Hollow beginning to rally. "Even if I may perish, you cannot kill the hope that was born today. The queendom will endure, and you shall fall."

The Empress readied a Power Gem in response and her two Combee fired an Attack Order as she shot her own attack, the three combining into a single beam aimed at Regina. "DIE!"

Regina fired her own combination attack, the two mixed beams meeting in the center. She wasn't completely confident that her subjects' Defend Order would be able to block the attack from reaching outside to the spectators.

The two attacks canceled each other out and the Empress's Combee rushed through the flash to attack. Regina blew them aside with Gust, and her own Combee attacked the downed Pokémon with Attack Order while she rushed forward with Aerial Ace to the Empress.

But the larger Pokémon did the same as before and caught the hand that intended to pierce her. She readied a point-blank Power Gem and said, "This time, I'll take your-"

But she got interrupted as the princess leaned towards her captured hand and bit into the Empress's with Bug Bite.

"Gah! Filthy savage!" the despot cursed as she let go out of pain and surprise. Her concentration breaking caused her Power Gem to falter.

Regina sent her other hand forward with Slash and raked her claws across her opponent's thorax, inadvertently jostling the rock inside and causing more internal bleeding. The Empress clutched her chest and coughed some more. She fell to the ground, resting on her hive despite the pain from jostling the rocks in her abdomen, as small streams of blood ran from between her fangs.

The princess looked at her in thought. At this rate she would die before a trial could be held. Granted, her crimes meant death anyway, but it was the principle that mattered more.

She sent the signal to the Combee, and they began stopping their Defend Order. Once the barrier dropped, two Ariados immediately tied up the Empress and her two remaining guards with their webbing on Regina's orders.

The princess flew towards the bound Vespiquen and said, "Cerella of the Darva line, you are hereby charged with the massacre of your family, regicide and the tyrannical oppression of Nectar Hollow for five years."

Regina stopped while hovering in front of her, "Have you any final words before your summary execution?"

After a brief pause with the former empress looking down, she reared her head up with her gem glowing, ready to fire Power Gem. Right as she shouted, the sound of flesh splitting rang out among the Pokémon in attendance. The three bounty hunters looked slightly uncomfortable, but the rest of the natives of the wood remained indifferent.

Cerella's head fell to the ground while Regina's claws still glowed with the Slash attack she'd used. The gem lost its glow with the energy to fire the attack cut off prematurely.

Regina shortened her claws again, "We thought not."

There was silence for a time as Cerella's body went limp, still rested on the bottom of her hive, but no longer upright. Regina turned to address her subjects.

"We apologize for making you wait for the time that you did," she said with a bow. "Evolution eluded us, and-"

A roar of celebration cut off her apology as some of the smaller bugs flew forward to embrace their lost royal.

While the Bug Pokémon of Nectar Hollow started to rejoice at the restoration of their princess to the throne, the three mercenaries watched on.

Vick examined the Vespi-Torc, "Welp, mission accomplished. One dead tyrant."

"And four innocents that were brainwashed," Garreth mournfully added. "And what if she had a child, or-"

Blair cut him off, "Didn't you hear? She killed her family. If she had children, she wouldn't want them to take 'her throne'. Sorry, big guy. We couldn't save anybody else today."

"On the bright side," the Elekid added while stowing the item away, "with a long enough time in therapy, those other two Combee tied up over there might be able to live semi-regular lives in retirement. They won't be doing any more battling after their time with the Her Rottenness."

"Really?" Garreth asked while turning to his teammate hopefully.

He smiled, "Sure. I mean, I've still seen worse attitudes in henchmen. These were brainwashed blanks." Vick then crossed his arms, "Some of them are so thoroughly worked over that they're actually trained to hold their 'teacher' up as high as Arceus himself, even if they're the single worst Pokémon on the planet. Others genuinely follow their evil leader out of respect or commonality, and you can't help those."

"Yeesh," Blair shuddered. "That's a scary thought."

The Electric Pokémon shrugged, "It's a scary world. Now let's report in to the client."

Garreth lowered a wing to allow his partners aboard, and they started getting ready to depart before a voice called, "Hold!"

The trio turned with curious expressions to see the crowd of Bug-types part to allow Regina through. Blair and Vick jumped off the meager distance they'd managed to climb on their flier, and the three held their hands to their chest while inclining their heads.

"Raise your heads, noble mercenaries," the princess intoned. "We still need a proper coronation before reclaiming the throne."

"Royalty is royalty, Your Highness," Blair politely replied as they raised their heads. "Wouldn't want to be rude."

"Regardless, you three have helped save our kingdom, and such help cannot go unrewarded," Regina insisted.

Vick shrugged, "We're not necessarily heroes, Princess Amberlyn. We were just hired to take out the tyrant around here."

"Pray we may ask who put the bounty on Cerella's head," she requested.

He shrugged, "No one of consequence, just some merchant that wanted in to trade for the honey around here. Hopefully, this necklace will be enough to prove that we did the deed. His name was Maras-something."

"Marasmius, Vick," Blair reminded in a slightly weary tone.

The Elekid turned to his partner, "Hey, you're the face, I'm the brain, and Garreth's the giant fist."

"Heh, I do love being the giant fist," Garreth added with a chuckle.

"Well, even if you will not take the title of heroes, such help cannot go unrewarded," the restored royal insisted. "We still must oversee our kingdom, and resources will be tied up in reconstruction for a time, but perhaps someone can venture in our stead. Our queendom has several capable fighters. We shall elect one to join your cause."

Garreth bowed with a hand on his chest, "We thank you for your generosity, but the three of us work alone so as to maximize our teamwork. If we took somebody else on, it would throw off our dynamic. It took my teammates weeks alone to work me into their fighting, and we can't really afford to tie ourselves up. Bounties are tight as is with exploration teams grabbing so many. Still, we can guide your chosen fighter to the merchant that hired us, and he can decide from there what to do."

Regina was slightly caught off guard by the decline, but figured that Martha had some sort of hand in this and decided to acquiesce. Her mother had informed her of certain types of political statements while she was still alive, and the Vespiquen felt that Martha was helping her without having to admit that she helped her.

Just as well, since a queen was supposed to be strong and dependable. "Bounty hunters" who just happened to be after the same target were fine to work with. But if she had brought her team to help, then that would merely demonstrate cowardice and lack of willingness to face the threat herself.

"I'll go," a Beautifly volunteered. "Seeing you back, Princess Amberlyn, is more than worth joining these mercenaries' benefactor."

"Are you certain?"

The butterfly nodded, "Forager I may be, but my parents did teach me to fight."

"Very well," the princess agreed. "Mercenaries, it shall be as you heard. Cynthia here shall accompany you."

Vick looked between Cynthia and several other Beautifly in the crowd, "Uh… Not to be rude, but how can you tell them apart by name?"

"Pheromones," Regina answered. "Each resident of the queendom has their signature scent, if you will, and we've long since committed them to memory. A rather common question."

"Thanks for clearing that up," Blair nodded. Then he turned to Cynthia, "You ready right now?"

She nodded, and the two leaders of Team Firestorm boarded Garreth. The Aerodactyl took off with his teammates and Cynthia followed close behind.

The group flew out of Nectar Hollow and to the southwest, approaching the plains until diving down to land near a signpost where a Breloom carrying a rucksack was waiting. Closer inspection revealed that he wore an orange bowtie with green borders on the edges of the fabric.

"It's done?" he asked.

Garreth snorted, "Well, hello to you, too. Yeah, we got rid of that tyrant."

Vick took out the Vespi-Torc, and Cynthia added, "I can personally testify that Cerella is now dead."

"Good work," the Mushroom Pokémon praised with a smile. He handed over a large bag of Poké, which Vick took with a smile.

"Awesome," the Elekid quietly celebrated. "This'll cover expenses for a good while."

Blair gestured to Cynthia, "Also, the restored royalty offered us one of her subjects to join our team, but we're strictly a trio, as you know. She decided to join you since you funded our mission."

The two looked at each other, before the Grass/Fighting-type decided to break the ice.

"Marasmius, apothecary, and also known as the Mushroom Doctor," he introduced with an amiable nod. "And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?"

"Cynthia Anthia, second daughter of Althia Anthia, the court healer of Nectar Hollow," she introduced in turn with an incline of her head.

The merchant raised an eyebrow, "So it's true. Monarchies do still use last names."

"Only for those of station—I keep the name until my elder sister assumes the mantle of healer and has a daughter, in which case my role as the next in line ceases. After that, I tend to the flowers and help harvest fruits and nectar when the time comes along with my younger sisters and brothers—a simple and peaceful existence," she explained. Then she tilted her head in question, "Your mercenaries claimed that you wished to enter the queendom as well?"

Marasmius nodded, "Yes, you see, the nectar prevalent in that wood is a key ingredient to many potent medicines. I knew where to find it, since my family used to travel there for the stuff, but I discovered it to be much more hostile than in my father's time. I figured that a Fire-type, an Electric-type and a Rock/Flying-type would be enough to put down whatever made it that way."

"Well, you two seem to be getting along, so if you'll excuse us," Blair chimed in as the trio walked off.

The Breloom waved them off before turning back to Cynthia, "Hm, I don't suppose you have any experience crafting remedies?"

"Sadly, no," Cynthia answered. "I do know Morning Sun, and that's it."

"Well then, it won't help much to have you work with me… Ah!" Marasmius smiled, "I think I can find somewhere for you to help. You can join my bodyguard detail."


The merchant nodded, "You see, this bow right here protects me from those pesky Flying-type attacks, but a lot of stuff can still hurt me pretty easily. Never was much of a fighter, ironically.

"Anyway, I have an ongoing contract with an exploration team. They provide me protection for some of the more dangerous mystery dungeons for me to visit, and I compensate them," he explained. "I also occasionally let them know about new mystery dungeons, and get a cut of the treasures they find. Anyway, you can help me out by joining them. A healer like you would help them help me."

Cynthia thought about it and decided that if he felt it was the best she could do, then she wouldn't disagree. It might even be nice to work as part of an exploration team.

"Very well. What's this team's name?"

Martha headed back to Treasure Town with more than a little reluctance, knowing that Tempest would likely be waiting there to demand answers. Her clone had told him that she would explain tonight, but she somehow doubted that he'd see that as an excuse.

She was almost tempted to wait until sunset so that she could be sure everyone was there before arriving. That way she wouldn't have to endure any glares. Still, the Eevee would have to face it sooner or later, so she figured she might as well get it over with.

"Ah! Excuse me; are you by any chance Martha?"

The leader of Team Rapid turned with a questioning grunt and saw a Beautifly fluttering over.

"That's right," Martha confirmed. "Why?"

The Beautifly stopped in front of her, "My name is Cynthia. It's my understanding that your team operates as a Marasmius's bodyguards?"

"Yes, what of it?"

"Ah, perhaps you haven't heard," Cynthia realized. "The apothecary hired a team of bounty hunters, Team Firestorm, to depose a tyrant terrorizing my home queendom, Nectar Hollow."

"What? Why didn't he call us to take care of it?" Martha wondered.

"I imagine he had his reasons," the Beautifly answered. "In any case, since he was the benefactor of the mercenaries, the restored princess elected somebody to join his cause. He found me lacking in ability to help with his work as an apothecary, but recommended I join your team, since you and he have a contract to protect him when he needs it."

"Well, we recently had to let go of one of our teammates, so we'll gladly accept you," the leader replied with a smile.

Cynthia tilted her head, "I beg your pardon?"

"I'll explain tonight," Martha excused. "Now, let's see who's back from their missions today. We should probably start to introduce you to your new teammates."

The Eevee led the way, and Cynthia followed shortly after.

All will be explained in the next chapter, which I'll work to post as soon as possible.


1. Magma Scarf, a Magmar's exclusive item, doubles speed under harsh sunlight.

2. This is a shout-out to ProfessorLugia and his Firestorm saga. Look him up, he has really good stories.

See you when I see you.