I'm sorry this took so long. I've been so busy though. I attempted to make it longer than they normally are, and I hope I've succeded! A big thanks to all my reviewers!
Elite Four HQ- Johto
The clack of boots echoed in the room, the only sound to be heard as the ninja frowned in thought. Pacing was a bad habit he had picked up during his time in Team Rocket, and he still couldn't bring himself to get rid of the nervous tic. Most of the time, the unceasing back and forth movement helped him clear his head as he thought of plans to bring down Team Rocket. But this time, the though behind the pacing didn't have anything to do with Team Rocket.
A clock somewhere declared in a resounding gong that it was one in the morning. Koga should have already been in bed. But tonight, he couldn't sleep. The anxiety was keeping him awake, gnawing at his insides, a strangely persistent force. After having overheard the conversation that had commenced between Will and Karen, the ninja was left with a deep feeling of unsettling that he couldn't shake no matter how many times he tossed and turned on his mattress.
The man stopped his pacing for a few moments to gaze out the window. A few clouds rolled on past, but the glowing sphere of the moon kept breaking through, refusing to relinquish its hold on the sky until the sun made its first appearance. The landscaping of the league was bathed in the moon's glow. The shadow's of the foliage and statuary flickered and writhed under the pale magnificence that was the moon. 'I could easily hide myself tonight,' the ninja thought as he scanned the courtyard, checking for a sign of any threat that might present itself. This was the sort of night were the shadows wreaked havoc with the eyes. And the phobias. There was a sharp tap on the door.
Koga slid a suspicious gaze to the seemingly harmless object of wood. There was no reason anyone should be calling at this hour, save an emergency. It was possible it could be a trap. There was another knock and an exasperated sigh.
"Koga, I know you're awake now will you open the-" The rest was rather muffled, but Koga assumed it wasn't anything presentable to a class of small children. The poison-type user ghosted to the door, undoing the main lock, but jamming the door mostly shut with his foot as he opened it with a swoosh. It was rigged so if opened from the inside there was no sound. On the other hand, if opened from the outside, a squeal of metal on metal was sure to awaken even the most deep sleeping occupant of the room.
"What?" The ninja grunted through small crack in the door, glaring as the man on the other side shouldered his way in, nearly pushing the door overtop of Koga's foot till he was obliged to move it out of the way. The dragonmaster did a cursory glance of the room, assessing his surroundings. The room was clean, but a little on the Spartan side. Lance would be willing to bet his bottom dollar that there were weapons hidden in every nook and cranny. And probably in places where there wasn't. The ninja had an obsession with sharp, pointy things that could inflict bodily harm.
"You've been pacing since eleven thirty. What's going on?" The red head quirked an eyebrow, folding his arms over his well muscled chest. Even in teddy bear pajama bottoms and sleep (or lack of therefore) tousled hair, the champion still managed to make the gesture look dignified.
"Why ever are you wandering about without a shirt on? Aren't you worried about someone seeing?" The dragonmaster would almost never wear his pajamas out and about in case some nosy reporter made it the league building.
"No, but nice try Koga. You won't divert my attention that easily. No, what's going on?" Koga tried to think of what to say. He couldn't tell Lance just yet, after all, there wasn't a thing he could do about it except worry. Then again, he might have good advice, but Will's psychic powers had increased tenfold and if Will got wind of his plan being discovered, they'd both be in the same boat Karen was.
"Well I…" Koga was cut off as Lance's phone started singing Steve Miller Band's 'Abra, abracadabra, I wanna reach out and grab ya.' Lance rolled his eyes and sighed. He couldn't figure out for the life of him how to change the ringtones set on his phone. The ringtone kept repeating itself as Lance dug around in his pocket, searching for the phone.
"What?" He snarled at the unlucky soul on the other end of the line. "Yes, well no.- Why can't you do it?- Well I don't know why not?- Yes, I suppose I can fly over there." Lance hung up with an upset jab. Koga just raised an eyebrow.
"Sabrina has a migraine and can't look into the report that just came in about Team Rocket. So it looks like I'll have to go over there and do it myself. But don't think this means I'll forget about this." When Lance was out of earshot, Koga let out a relieved sigh. Now he'd have time to come up with a decent story.
Marsh- Unkown Region
"Well, looks like we're just about clear of the marsh. I still haven't found my siblings, but they're big kids and can take care of themselves." Garret glanced over his should raising an accusatory eyebrow.
"Don't even say it!" Volkner had already taken enough of the comments about the fact that he wasn't old enough to take care of himself.
"Say what?" the white-haired man asked innocently. "Whatever could I be about to say that would upset you?" Volkner just rolled his eyes and continued to glare at the ground below him. Garret was right though. The mushy nutrient rich black soil was slowly giving way to a more normal looking light brown soil that stayed firmly in place when stepped on. That in itself was a big relief to the blond, who was covered in head to toe in mud. Literally. He'd been sand-attacked by an upset ground-type pokemon and promptly covered in muck. He wasn't sure if drop kicking pokemon was aloud in the region, but all the same Volkner hoped Garret wouldn't tell.
"Looking forward to meeting the next gym leader Volk?" Volkner now raised his glare level with the other man. Garret seemed to have a knack of getting under people's skins with the most polite words. Which irritated Volkner even more because that meant he had no intelligent come back.
"Yes and no. Yes because I want to get a move on and no because that means I'll probably have to walk through more of this filthy mud."
The pair walked for while longer as the ground gradually grew more and more dry. After the first few blades of grass started to appear, Garret stopped and turned around.
"Well here you are. The next gym. Oh, and don't tell anyone that I helped you. That would be bad seeing as I was told rather directly 'Don't help Volkner unless he's about to be eaten'. Yup, well goodbye." And with that, he strummed a few chords and his Scizor whisked him off to unknown lands. It was an odd exit compared to the fact that Volkner was used to see people riding on the pokemon instead of in their arms/claws, but then again, it coincided with the odd entrance.
Glancing ahead, Volkner saw that there was a small (slightly yellow) dirt path carved out in front of him. Volkner was so happy that it wasn't mushy, he started humming 'Wizard of Oz' songs.
Four weeks later. On the road to the fifth gym. – Unknown Region
"So yer Volkner eh? Behn hearin a lot 'bout ya, and ahm all coiled up like a spring rabbit readeh to hop. The name's Gallviston. Nope just kiddin with ya son. That's the name of this here town. The name's Dynamite Rassler. And I can't wait ta battle with ya." Those words still rung loud and clear in Volkner's head long after their battle (it was hard not to, 'Rassler' was extremely loud and exhuberant). The man dressed like a cowboy, wearing long chaps and cowboy boots. He was well built with lots of muscle, tan skin, and shaggy brown haired which was partially hidden under his wide brimmed, mud-brown, cowboy hat. But the thing that struck Volkner the most were his striking cobalt eyes. Such an odd color, especially for someone so obsessed with the color brown. The man also reminded him of Clay, one of the gyms leaders from Unova region. Except for the fact that Dynamite looked like he'd been in plenty of fights in his life and won most of them, taking away only a broken nose and a good life lesson. Whereas Clay had just been accused of embezzlement. Clay was also on the heavy side and short, whereas Dynamite was skinny and about 6'2.
The battle had been intense, with that man using a steel/ground-type Volkner had never seen before. It was a dirt brown feline with a shaggy, course coat and a wrecking ball at the end of its tail. He called it a Ferocifox when he sent it out, and ferocious it was. The blonde had been forced to use Lanturn against it, and the lantern-fish had nearly lost. Next it was an oversized Rhydon and a massively built Golem that had bulldozed down his pokemon. Volkner barely scraped by with a win. Lanturn had been taken out in the second round by Rhydon's take down, and it took the whole rest of his team to bring the final one down. Only Luxray was left standing, it's Crunch being the decisive move which had managed to find the only sweet spot in Golem's hulking mass.
The walk to the next town wasn't too long, and ended in a town called Mull City. The young woman there introduced herself as Starburst. She had long red hair and emerald green eyes to go with a healthy physic. Volkner couldn't help but admire. Starburst wasn't as tough as Dynamite had been using only fire types, which didn't fare so well against his Lanturn. The battle had gone fine, her first two consisting of familiars such as Arcanine and Rapidash. It was the third and final one that gave Volkner a run for his money. The pokemon was a scarlet color and gave of smoke from vents in its back. The thing resembled an enormous frog that came up to his shoulder. It had flicked it tongue out to moisten its eye and molten lava had spilled to the floor, leaving a sizzling hole in the concrete floor. Volkner's adrenaline had spiked as the thing loomed over the arena. The blond had strategized well, keeping his pokemon at a distance and using long range attacks, though the thing could periodically fire out lava flows from its mouth.
The gym leader had been nice, informing him that after this gym, he only had four more battles due to the 'Twins' combing for their role as gym leaders.
The next town was called Dreariville, as the dilapidate sign haphazardly shoved into the ground informed him. Then again, if the name fits… As Volkner trudged through the town, doors slammed and windows closed. It took him awhile to locate the pokemon center, but when he did, it was a nice piece of normalcy, despite being slightly run down.
"Well, hello! You're a new face here! Is there something you need, besides your pokemon healed?" The Nurse looked just like the Joys in other regions, except this one was in an all black uniform.
"Ya, actually. I was wondering what you could tell me about the upcoming gym leaders in this town." Joy gave him an apprehensive look.
"Here to face the gym leaders? Poor dear. Well, they're identical twins who are so powerful together, that before now, they were required to be separate gym leaders. Their names are Curious and Enigma, and they specialize mostly in ghost and dark type pokemon. I'd handle them carefully if I were you." And with that the nurse rushed off as if frightened. Volkner sighed and rested his back against the counter, resigned to wait for the nurse to reappear. Glancing towards the doors, there was a rather large shape outlined against the window pane.
The bells above the door gave a valiant effort to cling as they were disturbed when the door was shouldered open. The poor things barely rattled as they were thrown out of the way, jerking on their string. The figure that stepped through the door was rather intimidating. He was tall and broad, extremely well muscled, and screamed dangerous and confident from every pore. All of Volkner's alarm bells started ringing in full alert as the man stepped closer, his work boots scuffing the floor. This man had a cowboy hat on, but unlike Dynamite's, it looked brand new, and was a jet black. The gold material of his western shirt was stretched to the max as he crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes were black, piercing, and critical as they gave the electric-user a once over, clearly dissatisfied.
"So, you're the new recruit." The man's voice was gruff and rumbly and extremely deep. If Volkner had been any less of a man he would have been frightened.
"Depends on who you're talking about. But ya, I'm trying to become a gym leader here." Volkner look back at him with absolutely no fear in his eyes, as if he were bored of this man already. It was the classic male stare down, complete with the narrowing of the eyes and flaring of the nostrils. If it would have been any less of a serious situation, Nurse Joy would have laughed.
"Not if I have anything to say about it. I heard you were in the area and decided to see you for myself. Too bad you didn't even meet up to the low expectation I had for you." And with that, the man snorted and stalked out.
"Well that was unexpected. I was actually kind of hoping you two would start a fight." Volkner glanced over, a little disturbed that the champion was sitting against the wall reading a newspaper and drinking coffee all without him noticing.
Sunnyshore City- Sinnoh
"So Maybelene, have any challengers lately?" 'Kronos' asked. They were in the park, it was hot, and the ridiculous wig Saturn had to wear was itching like crazy. But he was doing it for Master Cyrus.
"Um, kind of. But they were too hard. Like this one girl beat me because her pokemon were too cute for mine to hurt. And another kid beat me because…." And on and on and on. Saturn/Kronos had to wonder how drunk the pokemon league members were. They had to be downright wasted when they picked this chick over Volkner. Plus she probably used twice as much electricity as Volkner on her hair appliances alone. 'This is going to be a long day…'
Sinnoh HQ- Sinnoh
Flint was downright drunk. He'd had so many shots of vodka he didn't know up from down anymore. Which in truth, was really bad, because he normally didn't ever drink aside from the occasional weekend beer. His job had always demanded too much. But the guilt was tearing him apart. Literally. Recently, whenever he got sidetracked on Volkner he had headaches (which of course would be constantly). But the really bizarre thing was that it was mostly when he got sidetracked on Will that he got headaches so overwhelming that he could barely make it through them. Which made him feel worse, because he should be feeling worse about Volkner rather than Will.
The headache was returning again, slowly building intensity. It would start right above his eyes and slowly spread to the rest of his head a constant swelling pain. Somedays, the red-head would be driven to near insanity by the pain. But perhaps he deserved it for everything he'd done. Perhaps it was his punishment…
Karen would have felt bad for Flint if she could have. Honestly. But she couldn't, because she couldn't think. Move. Anything. She was nothing but a puppet on a string under Will's control. For the longest time, before he gained full control of her mind, she had had conscious thought. Being able to move, run, jump, dance, anything. Not that she'd done all that, but at least she'd had the option. But now Will's powers were growing. He could do more. Control more.
At the same time though, it wasn't Will. Wasn't Will that she cared for. The Will she knew. This was someone who had taken control. Almost like a split personality that finally taken the reigns. In a way, Koga was going to get the powerful league member he'd always wanted from Will. Just not in the way he wanted.
Dreariville- Unknown Region
The pokemon center's dim lights reflected softly off the Champion, muting her black outfit and allowing her to partially blend in with the shadows. She smiled at him as if there were some sort of inside joke at play.
"So, how's it going?" Her eyes told him she knew everything that had happened since they had parted company. The blond just sighed and shook his head.
"Something tells me you're fully aware of 'how it's going'. Thanks for the map by the way." That made the champion grin.
"Oh Volkner, don't be such a killjoy. Garret thought it was quite funny. Actually, the map was pretty accurate; you were just holding it upside down." The grin spread even farther across her face, and Volkner was wondering if it was possible for her to smile even wider.
"I don't think so…" He was pretty sure he'd gone the right way, according to the map.
"Well I do. See, instead of going left around the rather large rock, you should have gone right, which would have taken you to the main road. Instead you decided to have a wonderful time traversing the marsh. But it's okay, because that's all behind you. What I'm here for is something much different. I need to tell you a little bit about what you're up against." Volkner frowned. He doubted it would be that much of a problem. He'd faced dark and ghost type pokemon before. They were tough, but they could be beat.
"You see Volkner, it's not just the pokemon you need to worry about, but also the trainers. There a little…crazy. And that crazy makes them extremely erratic. Together they're a force to be reckoned with. They're pokemon are experts at double battling. One will create shadows while the other jumps out of them. And they don't just jump out at your pokemon. In this battle you'll be at risk just as much as your pokemon." Moonshadow was serious now, not a bit of humor showing on her face.
"Why is it that you let them do that?" If they were that uncontrollable shouldn't they be removed from their position?
"In a region that's constantly having problems with terrorists and deadly criminal organizations, they're crucial in defending the citizens. And in that aspect they're extremely dependable, and a heck of a lot stronger as a duo than alone. At the moment, the only weak link in the league is Molly, but that area has a veteran battler that takes care of all the problems that come up. I want you to know, if you decide to take the job, you'll be taking it upon yourself to perform the same duties. At the moment, you have three people after the twins. Skylaria, and expert on flying pokemon, Cirruicuse, who you just met and commands a team of normal-type pokemon, and the eighth gym leader who will use the same type of pokemon you send against her. You have a lot to fight through, but hang in there, you can do it." The champion stood up and the shadows at her feet shifted to reveal her Umbreon.
"Um, thanks. So any advice for this gym coming up?" She smiled and brushed the dirt of his shoulder.
"Just remember what your dad has pounded into your head all these years." And with that, she slipped through the door and disappeared down the street. Volkner shook his head. The people of this region were strange. It bothered Volkner more than a little that she even knew who his father was, let alone what 'had been pounded into his head.' His dad was nothing but a sadistic criminal who enjoyed inflicting pain on others. Probably why he'd worked so closely with Koga and Sabrina when he was involved more actively in Team Rocket.
After taking his pokemon back from Nurse Joy, Volkner trudged off towards the forest to train. There was more door slamming. They people of this town obviously didn't care whether or not they were being rude. Volkner watched the rocks skittering in front of his feet as he walked through the cobbled, dirty streets. He could sense eyes on him as the people of the houses glared out at him for disturbing their solitude. In front of him, he could see the forest, pitch black in most spots where the foliage was so tightly packed and the cobwebs so finely strung that no light could penetrate. As the he neared the edge someone behind him chided,
"I wouldn't go in there if I were you." Flipping around in a 180, Volkner saw that person was a man of about his age with shockingly white hair that was sticking straight up and parted in a V shape. He was in a punk rocker outfit of all black with neon pink faux fur around the collar. There was an electric guitar strapped to his back.
"And why not?" By now, Volkner was getting really tired of all these strange people giving him random advice that he didn't really appreciate.
"Cus my little bro Garret asked me to make sure you didn't do anything stupid. And walking into the forest would be stupid." The man sneered at him.
"I take it Garret finally found his lost siblings." The punk stopped leaning on the dilapidated wall of the building behind him to get up and put himself between Volkner and the eerily calm forest.
"Well, duh. Haven't you ever heard of a cell phone stupid? If you're looking for training, look no further, cus I'm pretty sure I'll beat your useless pokemon into useless pulp." Volkner clenched his fists, offended from the remarks against his pokemon and his intelligence.
"Looking for a fight punk? I'm not world's best person to screw with. You'll find I have a rather short temper." The other man just rolled his eyes, shifting his stance to swing the guitar off his back.
"The name's Billy. Of the Go-Rock Quads. A name once heard and never forgotten. So don't forget it. I must admit, I'm rather unimpressed. Lil' Garret must have been mistaken in your potential. But do you wanna fight or what?" Volkner de-minimized his pokeball and sent out Luxray.
"Predictable. Don't you have any tricks up your sleeve?" The pokeball that Billy took out was a dark grey with pink stars to match his outfit. The pokemon that materialized from the red light was a colossal Tyrannitar.
"Why the heck are all the pokemon here so big?"
"It's called genetics and training stupid."
Elite Four HQ- Indigo Plateau
"You know Koga I was thinking…" Lance started.
"A dangerous pastime, that." Koga interrupted, not even looking up from his newspaper.
"Stop quoting 'Ranger's Apprentice' books please. Anyways, if Volkner built all those solar panels from scratch, and constructed a place to store the power…how is it that it was Volkner's fault the city was having power outages? Without him, would the city even have power?" Koga blinked, looked confused, and shook his head. Some things were best left alone.
"Get your shoes off the table."
"I win." Bruno rolled his eyes and passed Lance a twenty.
Yay, writer's block is not a fun thing. I'd like to apologize to Lv100Meganium who told me they'd beta this, but I have yet to send a chapter...I always feel bad because it takes me so long to produce a chapter.
I tried to end on a happier note, rather than a serious one like it was before I added a lot of stuff. =D
Let me know what you thought of it. Any suggestions would be well appreciated!