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Title, Info, and Chapter of Contents
  • SparklingEspeon

    Insquisitabilitatilating
    Location
    *teleports behind you*
    Pronouns
    She/Her
    Partners
    1. espurr
    2. fennekin



    "Legendaries are positions, not people."

    By day, Ann works as Mew, the glorified secretary for Arceus and the other legendaries of the High Council. By night, she secretly breaks High Council code to enjoy earth sights with the lower-tier legends and mythicals. After she and her friend are kidnapped by Team Rocket, Ann is presented with a choice: Work as a spy for Giovanni in the Hall of Origin, or watch her life crumble around her… by Team Rocket’s doing, or the hand of Arceus himself.

    Rated T | Fantasy | Drama | Warnings for allusions to blood, choice moments of violence, and heavy themes


    A note from the author:

    I don’t expect this fic to exceed thirty chapters at most. However, be prepared for chapters much longer than any chapter should be. After the fourth chapter, I will switch to doing mainly “Scenarios”. Any chapter marked “Scenario” functions as its own, mostly self-contained story with a larger plot in the background. These can be treated similar to small novels, a-la Animorphs, and will be in the ballpark of about 20 – 30K each.

    This fic has minor allusions to blood, character death, and semi-heavy themes, but overall I’d like to keep the tone light. Expect something on-par with what you could expect from a daring cartoon for young teens.

    With that out of the way, happy reading!


    Table of Contents:

    00. Prologue
    01. A Night on The Town
    02. Blackmailed
     
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    00 - Prologue
  • SparklingEspeon

    Insquisitabilitatilating
    Location
    *teleports behind you*
    Pronouns
    She/Her
    Partners
    1. espurr
    2. fennekin
    Prologue

    “Legendaries are positions, not people.”

    The espeon stared up in confusion and awe, but mostly confusion. She had been all curled up in a hollow log when a bright flash had woken her from her sleep. Emerging from her hiding place, she had been stunned to see that Arceus himself was floating straight over her resting place.

    He was larger than the trees. He shimmered in the air like a mirage, his glow lighting up the area. All life around had fallen silent, leaving only the two of them in the clearing together. Even the wind had stopped blowing. It was like time was frozen around them.

    “…W-what?” was all the espeon was able to stammer out.

    Arceus deftly laid hoof upon the ground, and bent over until he could reach the crouching espeon’s level.

    “Exactly what it sounds like,” he said, his voice reverberating around the clearing. “Every legend was an ordinary human or pokemon before I lent them a portion of my power. Right now, a position is open, and I require a replacement: How would you like to be Mew?”

    The espeon blinked a couple of times, trying to process what she had just heard.

    “…T-this is a dream,” she shakily concluded, turning back to the log. “I’m going back to bed.”

    Arceus stamped his hoof, and a shimmering psychic barrier erupted in front of the log’s entrance. “It most certainly is not.”

    The espeon stopped short. She raised a paw to the barrier, pressing up against it and realizing it was solid as glass. Shaken, she turned back to Arceus.

    “I require an answer from you now,” Arceus said. “Do you accept my offer? Remember that this is once in a lifetime. Millions of ‘mon will live and die without ever being presented with an opportunity such as this.”

    When he put it like that, the espeon’s sleep-addled mind found it hard to say no. But one question, one little thing that bugged her about the entire situation, came to the front of her mind.

    “Why me?”

    “Why not?” Arceus asked in response.

    That didn’t feel right.

    “You had to have a reason,” the espeon said.

    “Dare you question my judgement?” Arceus’ demeanor suddenly changed. Now, he stared down at the espeon with anger, and the aura of power around him felt different, foreboding. The espeon leaped back with a yelp of fear.

    “Answer me,” said Arceus, returning to his usual stance. The foreboding energy lifted.

    “…I-I accept?” the espeon offered up in slight fear.

    “Is that your final decision?” Arceus asked. “Know that there will no going back. Not truly.”

    When the espeon felt a sudden flicker of doubt flash across her mind, he stamped his hoof into the ground with a deafening crash. “Answer me!”

    “I accept!” the espeon shouted, loud enough to match Arceus in volume.

    Arceus stood back up to his full height, a solemn expression coming over his face. He towered over the espeon.

    “So be it.”

    Another stamp of Arceus’ hooves, and bright pink power swirled out of his chest. It materialized into the form of a radiant pink orb that lay on the ground in front of the espeon. She squinted; it was too bright for her to look at in the middle of the night.

    “Lay your paw upon the orb.”

    The espeon stuck her paw out to place upon the orb, but suddenly her mind caught up with her body. What was she doing? Some pokemon claiming to be Arceus showed up at her burrow, made her an offer she was still trying to wrap her head around, and she was just going along with it? Her paw retracted a little in doubt.

    Even so… that barrier had been real enough. And it wasn’t like she had anywhere else to go, not like she had anything left to lose. She might as well go through with it.

    The orb began to shine brightly, so bright she couldn’t even look at it anymore, and then the clearing lit up radiant pink.


    \|R|/

    Three Years Later

    It storms. A fierce tropical storm out at sea that will not hit any landmass but sends sheets of ice-cold rain down towards the sea. Thunder rumbles through the distance, low and mighty through the rough, churning sea.

    The chopper flies across the ocean, through walls of ice-cold sleet. Rain buffets the roof of the helicopter like bullets, but the man sitting in the back seat does not flinch. He wears a suit for the occasion, and a trenchcoat for the rain. Half of his head is covered by a fedora, yet his eyes catch light from under the brim.

    One of the helicopter pilots turns back in his seat to face the man. A red “R” is emblazoned upon his pilot’s helmet.

    “Sir, we’re approaching our destination.”

    “Duly noted,” says Giovanni. He says nothing else.

    The helicopter comes to a swift landing at the bank of a vast cliff. The rolling grass fields wildly flurry every which way from the wind. Giovanni confidently strides across, keeping hold of his coat as he walks towards a large, chrome spire in the distance.



    The doors slide open with a hydraulic hiss for Giovanni as he walks in. A barrage of rain and wind is sealed outside when they close.

    “Mr. Boss, sir!” The two scientists at the door immediately straighten up and give him the salute of Team Rocket: One fist against their heart. Giovanni silently acknowledges the salute and strides further into the building.

    Soon, a frazzled-looking man wearing a lab coat scurries out to meet him. He sports long, wavy hear, a goatee, and looks like he’s been existing purely on coffee for the last twelve days.

    “Mr. Giovanni, sir,” he acknowledges, bowing his head in respect, but he doesn’t salute. “Y-you didn’t have to come all this way. There’s a storm out, you know?” laughing nervously, he gestures to one of the windows, where the furious rain can be seen but barely heard.

    “I’ve come to check up on my investment,” says Giovanni. “I have been told you’ve been running frequent tests here. Allow me to sit in on a few.”

    That’s enough to make the man look more than a little nervous. But he nods, and waves Giovanni after him. “This way, please.

    “Now, keep in mind, all those frequent tests we’ve been running…”

    The man leads Giovanni into a large chamber, where last-minute preparations are being performed on a complex, white machine as tall as two stories. “They’re not exactly indicative of success. M-more the opposite. We’ve been attempting the process with several strand types of DNA, and with each test the available pool of eligibility for a successful experiment narrows and narrows. Luckily! Luckily, we are about to perform the final one of these tests right now…”

    They walk up metal scaffolding stairs into a compartment with a large glass window and an overhead view of the experiment.

    “Sit right here,” the man says, pointing Giovanni to a cushioned spectator’s seat, and then hands him a pair of sunglasses. “You’ll want these.”

    Wordlessly, Giovanni sits, putting the sunglasses on. He’s expecting to be impressed.

    The man dons his own pair of sunglasses, then walks up to the front of the glass compartment and speaks into an earpiece: “Are we ready?”

    “All systems are online, sir,” comes the response.

    The man nods, then switches on a microphone wired into the floor. His voice blasts out into an intercom down below.

    “Prepare to commence experiment number 0034 in T-minus 30 seconds and counting.” The man straightens up, and suddenly it’s like he’s a whole new person. He pulls out a silver, slightly rusted pocketwatch, and keeps the time with it. When the seconds count down to ten, he begins to count down with them.

    “10. 9. 8. 7. 6…” The countdown blares out into the room below.

    The machine begins to stir, filling the room with a deafening whir. Countless transparent wires and tubes all around the room suddenly shine with pure white energy, all converging into the glass tank in the middle. The room Giovanni is sitting in begins to tremble, and so does the building around them.

    The light suddenly becomes too bright for either of them to look at. Giovanni is forced to shield his eyes, even through the sunglasses.

    When it fades, the machine has stirred down, and the whirring fades out. The glass chamber is empty, except for a single bulbasaur that lies in the tank. Unmoving. It is immediately swarmed by scientists, who hook it up to wires andcheck its vitals and brainwaves.

    “Status?” the man askes into the microphone.

    “Perfectly healthy,” a voice responds back. “Just like all the others.”

    “Brainwaves?” the man presses. The response comes back, more hesitant.

    “Vitals and nothing else, sir. Just like all the others.”

    The man sighs, gazing intently at the glass. Giovanni surveys the scene. An expression of interest has broken his normally cold face.

    “What do you need?”

    The man looks back. Giovanni gets up from his seat, and walks over until he is right next to the man. “What do you need to make it work?”

    The question is frivolous; whatever Doctor Fuji needs, it’s a drop in the bucket. The payoff will be worth ten times the amount of money sunk into this project anyway. The successful harnessing of Infinity Energy he has witnessed today has proven that.

    Doctor Fuji sighs, his hand around his chin and goatee. He utters his next words carefully:

    “This experiment showed us that we can replicate a body from scratch, but not a consciousness. I could do what you originally asked of me, but…”

    “What do you need.”

    Dr. Fuji stares at the window for a bit, then turns to Giovanni. He can only bear to face Giovanni’s boots.

    “In order to create that, I will need a strand of DNA from a legendary pokemon. It’s the only thing capable of sustaining that much infinity energy.”

    “Done.”

    Fuji looks up in genuine surprise, but there is nothing but formality on Giovanni’s face.

    “Y-you can get me a strand of DNA from a legendary pokemon?” he asks incredulously, some of his former stutter coming back into his voice.

    “The next time I visit this island, I will have your DNA supplied for you,” Giovanni says. “I am impressed with what I am seeing, Doctor Fuji. Continue impressing me.”

    Like businessmen, they shake hands. The gesture is cold and means nothing.

    “H-have a safe trip back,” Fuji offers in a halfhearted attempt to end on a warmer note, but Giovanni is already walking away.


    \|o|/
    Music of the Week!

    A Resurrected Man -- Tom Holkenborg
     
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    01 - A Night on The Town New
  • SparklingEspeon

    Insquisitabilitatilating
    Location
    *teleports behind you*
    Pronouns
    She/Her
    Partners
    1. espurr
    2. fennekin
    A Note: Thanks to Pen for helping out with this chapter!

    “With great power comes great responsibility.”
    .
    .
    .

    C1Header.png
    .
    .
    .
    Teleportation was one of those things that had lost its magic over the years. For instance, before this job, I dreamed about being able to teleport. Now I actively wish I didn’t dream about it, because teleporting feels like flushing yourself down a toilet. Way to flush my dreams, property of transference of energy.

    I pulled out from a shelf a glossy orange folder for Victini, which I should really keep more around of, and held out my free arm. A rolled-up paper bound with a ribbon the color of the folder zipped towards me. I caught it effortlessly, then opened it. It was a probation order. It looked like Victor “Vic” Victini was going to be spending another week as a growlithe, and I would have to be the one who did the dirty deed. I sighed. He was getting probated for the exact same thing he got probated for two months ago. He could at least try to be a bit more careful.

    Glimmers of white power surrounded me, and one toilet flush later I was in the neighboring region of Unova.

    My first breath of the ambient dust and must from the hotel room hit me like a hyper rydon covered in stun spores. Hotels in Unova didn’t housekeep very well… although, it was league season, and on second glance this looked more like a shabby attic than a motel room. Almost too much like an attic.

    I didn’t know the motels here were like the ones in Johto. I’d have to note that down for later.

    “Ann!”

    Victor “Vic” Victini flew out from behind a few dusty boxes that had been set up like a victini-sized bed, zipping up towards me with a nervous look on his face.

    “Fancy seeing you here,” he laughed. “What pushed you ta drop by?”

    “Wanna guess?”

    I held up the glossy orange folder, giving him the blankest face I could muster. We’d been through this enough times that he knew exactly what that meant.

    “Aww, seriously?” he complained, thrusting his arms. “But it was just an accident! I can’t be faulted for that!”

    “Come on, Vic, you know the rules,” I said, sighing in defeat. “I know you get worked up over these things, but… this isn’t the first time.”

    ‘Worked up’ was an understatement. Vic’s job was to keep the energy levels in check whenever one of the Titans that slumbered beneath the earth disrupted the world’s power balance, but he’d always been a big follower of the various Pokemon League tournaments on the side. Which made him pretty easy to find, since there was almost always one league going on at any point in time. He had the bad habit of getting too invested in the moment and accidentally infusing the pokemon he was rooting for with extra energy boosts, which led to that team getting disqualified from the tournament when they tripped the League’s energy checks. They had implemented a whole new energy tracking system just because of him.

    “Surely we can work something out!” Vic exclaimed, zipping around me in anxious circles. “I don’t wanna spend the rest of the day as a growlithe!”

    I didn’t have the heart to say he’d be spending an entire week as a growlithe, not just the remainder of this day.

    “None of us do; that’s why it’s probation,” I said. “At least the League will have no reason to suspect you as a growlithe when they go around looking for the troublemaker. Remember what happened last time?”

    Don’t ask what happened last time. I’ll just say that I had to get Uxie to very forcefully suggest an entire squad of armed policemen forget everything they had seen that day, and leave it there.

    Vic couldn’t argue that, and just from the look on his face I could tell he knew it. He huffed, folded his arms, and hung his head, awaiting punishment.

    “Just do it.”

    I held my free paw out towards him, watching radiant light gather around it. The room flashed bright orange, and when the glow dissipated only a growlithe unsteady on four paws stared back up at me.

    “I hope you’re happy,” Vic grumbled. The only reaction I could muster was a forlorn shrug, before my body began to light up with the bright light of a Teleport.

    “Hey, at least teleport me out of the attic,” the growlithe yipped before I could fully disappear. “I don’t wanna have to get out of here myself.”

    “Come to think of it…” I looked around, letting the teleport energy dissipate. “Why are you in an attic? I thought this was some dinky motel in the bad part of town.”

    “No-one ever looks in attics,” Vic said. “Especially not this one. And the humans downstairs make some great food, let me tell you—"

    One flash of light later, and we were on the street outside the house. Vic looked around. “Ehhh…” he said. “Could you drop me off near the river down south? The big one.”

    Another flash, and then we were near the river. The place was completely secluded in the middle of a forest. I couldn’t see a house for miles.

    “That better?” I asked him.

    “Yeah,” Vic said, fluffing up his fur and swatting some of the flies in the area away. “This is better.”

    Just before I teleported back to the Hall of Origin, I wondered how he expected to be better off in the forest instead of near an eatery he could pilfer something from, but I didn’t dwell too long on it. I’d known Vic for a while. He’d manage. He always did.


    \|M|/

    Everyone tells you that Mew is some magical legend who birthed all pokemon for some terrible reason—which honestly sounds pretty painful, looking at you, Wailord—and helps rule the world from up on high. And if you ever see it or catch a photo of it or pick up its droppings or something then you’re blessed to have even seen a single pink fur from Mew’s sacred hide.

    Turns out, Mew is actually Arceus’ glorified accountant. The equivalent of that secretary in the lounge of every important building who is probably chewing gum and gossiping about you in real time to stay sane. Funny thing, when every memorial ever in history depicts Mew as a joint gig with Arceus. Fat lot of rubbish they’re onto.

    A year or two ago, I was giddy just to do this. To be the High Council’s secretary. Happy, naïve days. Now it’s like a day job you get paid minimum wage for, except you don’t get paid.

    The marble walls and pillars of the Hall of Origin extended upwards and faded away into the morning sky, where the sun reflected off the clouds in the distance and bathed the spacious room in the golden rays of dawn. This was Sinnoh, and we were located at the top of the tallest mountain in the region, because of course we were, so the hall was as chilly as it was empty.

    On a normal day, I’d be zipping around from place to place, doing the High Council’s dirty work like delivering task slips to the lower legends, going out to investigate when the Titans were stirring beneath the earth again, and getting those Sinnoh-brand sticky buns Lugia can’t get enough of, and also can’t get at all because even when he’s in copperjah form, he’s just too big to enter the store. And then the sheer amount of automatically-generated paperwork I had to file away. You could get lost in the Hall of Origin’s Room of Records.

    Today was not a normal day. There was going to be a meeting between the High Council—the actual High Council, not their glorified accountant or something—and I had to make sure everything was spick and span. I blinked into the Hall of Origin with a flash, tossing Vic’s folder on the front desk as I soared past. I’d put that back where it belonged later; I was going to be late!

    There were eight seats on the High Council in total, and I had prim and prepare each one of them. Arceus’ throne had to be polished, dander had to be picked out of three seats, and fur out of two others. And Zapdos was going to want his ‘I’ve been a good bird today’ badge shined.

    I didn’t have any clue why such a meeting was being called out of the blue—I’d only been given a day’s notice, and Arceus hadn’t seen fit to tell me what was going on when I’d asked. Not that he told me much anyway. On a good day, Arceus was aloof; on a bad day I tried not to share a room with him. Most of our interactions boiled down to him giving me a job to do or otherwise instructing me to play messenger rowlet, so it wasn’t a surprise that he’d dropped news of a big meeting on me just a day before it happened.

    The tidying up was done just in time for me to teleport back to the front desk and take a tentative midair seat. The meeting was within ten minutes, so I could expect to see the High Council filing in any minute now.

    They filed into the hall one by one. Lugia had a bowtie and was making his best effort to look dapper, while Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos all quietly squabbled amongst each other to the side. Solgeleo watched them with something between contempt and annoyance, Lunala was focused on something off in the distance, and Zygarde slithered past with no discernable emotion on its face. If it had a face. Were all those hexagons eyes?

    Then, Arceus descended from the roof. He strode past them all, dwarfing every single other ‘mon in the room.

    Arceus. Sterner than a mountain skidoo, more quiet than a loudred with a serious phobia of sound. It’s mean, but every time I look at him, I imagine an absol that got half a fence stuck to its midsection, and had it encrusted with gems to help stave the embarrassment. I wonder how he sleeps with that thing on. Does he just… take it off? That’s like wearing a crown that’s so big it goes around your waist instead of your forehead.

    Which honestly? Sums up Arceus pretty well. I’ll go with that.

    “Mew,” he said. A single word, which to his credit was more than he usually said.

    I floated aside and gestured politely to the stairs. “The meeting room is this way. Follow me.”

    I only knew it was that way because I’d been cleaning it for the past two hours.

    As I led them all up the stairs, Arceus lowered his head down to my level and whispered down: “You’ll be sitting in. I expect you to take notes.”

    I nodded, unsure if I could quickly teleport down and grab my notepad before the meeting room closed. “Let me just jot back and get something to write on—"

    “Would it not be more efficient to teleport?” Arceus interrupted.

    I took a deep breath and held it in before I could say something I’d regret.

    “Yes,” I said, exhaling. “Yes, it would.”

    One very pronounced manual trip to my desk and back, and the meeting hall was silent. None of the High Council had said a single thing yet. Their faces were as stern as their beaks and snouts. Zapdos huffed, puffing out his chest where his “I’ve been a good bird today” badge was pinned. I floated to the side with a wry frown, a notepad and pen I’d teleported in floating behind me.

    Then, Arceus saw fit to speak.

    “As you all know,” he began. “Section V of High Council Code prohibits higher legends from interacting with humans entirely. Why? Because humans are ambitious. Their lust for power knows no bounds. If they were to get ahold of even one of the High Council’s orbs, the consequences could be disastrous. This is why the affair before us demands the utmost level of scrutiny.”

    I suddenly tensed up, my psychic hold around the pen I tightening to the point where it nearly cracked. Did… did Arceus know? Was that why he wanted me to sit in today? I had to fight every instinct not to teleport out of the room at that very moment. Because then he’d definitely know.

    “It has come to my attention that a human group by the name of “Team Rocket” has been experimenting with Infinity Energy,” Arceus continued. A wave of relief spread over me. He didn’t know at all. And if he did, it wasn’t his largest priority right now.

    “I believe they seek to recreate the power of those on the High Council. They will fail, of course.” He paused for emphasis. I took the pause as an opportunity to quickly scribble everything down.

    “Nonetheless, we must not continue to become complacent. This human impudence requires immediate correction. Your thoughts.”

    There were slight murmurs of agreement from the entire council—with the exception of Zygarde, who was perpetually silent and unmoving.

    “So what’s our first step?” squawked Moltres, ever-quick to action. “When do we attack?”

    “Assessing the situation is our first step,” said Solgeleo disdainfully. “We do not yet know what these humans’ strengths are, nor the best way to punish their arrogance. As such, you must temper your own. Remember you are not invincible.”

    Moltres puffed out some smoke, but didn’t say anything.

    “I agree that gathering information should be our first step,” said Lugia in that obnoxious galarian accent. “Assuming we don’t currently know the position of their bases—” I saw him glance up at Arceus for confirmation “—Employing Zygarde for this purpose would be most useful.”

    All heads in the room looked at Zygarde. Zygarde didn’t say anything, but its body glowed once. I hadn’t seen Zygarde in a while, but that probably meant it was in agreement.

    “Any objections?” Lugia asked, looking around the room. None came. The silence was punctuated only by my pen’s punctuation.

    “Then it is decided,” said Arceus. “When we next meet in this room again, it will be to decide how best to discipline these arrogant humans. Until then, I expect each and every single one of you to be on your guard for any signs of revolt. Remember the importance of Rule V, and do not underestimate ambitious humans. Are there any questions?”

    The room was silent, except for the furious scribbling of my pen as I tried to keep up.

    “Very well,” Arceus said, noting the silence. “Meeting is adjourned.”


    \|M|/

    It had been a long and tiring day, perhaps moreso than others. What Arceus had said in the meeting loomed over my head as I did the rest of my work. In the meantime, I filed the seemingly never-ending flow of paperwork that flowed into the Hall of Origin from all corners of the world: Titan Groudon was shifting in Its slumber, and that meant Mt. Chimney could possibly become an active volcano a few years down the line, there had been a minor boat crash in Alto Mare about a week ago caused by a sudden red blur apparently racing a wingull (naturally), and some idiotic pokemon trainer had broken into Jirachi’s cave and filmed himself hitting Jirachi over the head with a stick until Jirachi woke up and blew him clean out of the cave. The trainer had needed to be hypnotized and mindwiped by Uxie so that he never remembered the experience at all. The camera was destroyed.

    I was running out of favors with Uxie.


    TheRoomOfRecords.png

    Each incident went into its own designated file in its own designated cabinet on its own designated shelf in the Room of Records. Stuff had been filed away here for eons, and the massive districts of shelves extended both ahead into the sunset horizon and down into the mist of Mount Coronet below. I was pretty sure Palkia had some hand in allowing this room to even exist, but like Dialga, Palkia was a Titan, which meant they hadn’t woken from their slumbers in centuries. And I’d need a couple more years at least before I could even find the Palkia section of shelves.

    I flew through the massive corridors full speed ahead, tucking away the folders where they belonged—a maroon cabinet for Groudon, bright red for Cherry, and banana yellow for Jirachi – and then made a direct U-turn for the entrance. It took me almost a full minute flying as fast as I could to make it back to the door. I quickly closed and latched it behind me, shuddering a bit once I had. I would have teleported, but something about the room seemed to counteract it. It just added to the room’s creepiness.

    As magnificent as it looked, the Room of Records was really creepy. There was just something about it that didn’t seem right, like the kind of thing you just know when you walk into a place. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Titan Giratina was hiding somewhere in there. But, I did know better—It was probably all the fog and stuff. And the teleport thing. Yeah.

    Emerging back into the Hall of Origin’s main lobby, I took a look up at the clock and noticed that it was 5:10—I was late! I looked one way, then the other. It didn’t look like anyone was going to object if I left now. Not that anyone else was there, but I wasn’t complaining.

    There were a set of rules that legends on the Legendarian High Council were bound to follow. Most of them were outdated and didn’t apply to me. Rule V was the most important. It stated that none of us were to go down to earth and mingle with humans unless it was completely necessary. We had responsibilities up here, and that meant we were forever barred from living a normal life, or doing any of the thing all those people and pokemon down in the streets got todo. If someone down there got ahold of our powers, the results would be catastrophic. I’d never seen it, but I knew that violating it was an offense of the highest caliber. Arceus had personally stripped legends of their power for disobeying it before.

    So anyway, I teleported out of the Hall of Origin and rematerialized two regions across the world for my night out.

    A human girl leaned against a jeep that was parked right by the road in what was probably the most conspicuous position ever as I teleported into the rendezvous point we’d agreed on. I hadn’t realized we were going to be so close to open territory! I shifted into my non-Mew form—an Espeon—as quick as I could.

    <“Hey, what gives?”> I telepathically broadcasted as I approached the jeep. <“We’re so close to the road—someone could see us here!”>

    “For the record,” Cherry started loudly. “I’ll have you know that no-one comes down the highway at this time of da—”

    A car drove past us, stealing the voice outside of Cherry’s mouth.

    “…Almost no-one comes down the highway at this time of day,” Cherry corrected. “And we are also invisible right now. Behold.”

    I craned my neck to the right, seeing that the entire jeep and the air around it were subtly shimmering. From the other side, not a single soul would know we were there. “I’m not that sloppy,” Cherry finished proudly.

    Cherry, otherwise known as Latias, was my one best friend and probably the only reason I hadn’t gone zu-bat crazy working my Mew job. We hit it off two years ago when I popped in for those routine check-ins the Hall of Origin does for most of the lower legends annually and she realized I wasn’t anything like the rest of the High Council.

    Up in the Hall of Origin, I felt out of place. I was like a little kid in a house of full-grown adults, if those adults were century-old stiffs with outdated ideas about everything under the sun and also the sun. Not that I didn’t feel a sense of importance from my Mew job, but down here with people like Cherry and Vic, I could relax and unwind and do things I actually had fun doing. The lower legends just “got” me. So every other week or so, I snuck down here to go out and do silly things with them. It was completely harmless, and we hadn’t been caught yet. As long as I was around to clock in and off, Arceus wasn’t studying me close enough to notice. Though, after that briefing about Team Rocket…

    <“I guess that’s fair,”> I said. <“Listen, I’ve been thinking… maybe it’s better to call it off today.”>

    “Oh?” Cherry raised an eyebrow, eyes still folded. “Why the change of heart? I thought you were looking forward to today.”

    <“You didn’t hear this from me,”> I said. <“Or at all, actually, Arceus will smite me, but he briefed the entire council today about some group that’s been trying to tap infinity energy. He wants the whole High Council on high alert. And here we are, being…”>

    “So, the same old shtick he’s always had?” Cherry asked. She didn’t sound convinced. “Ooh, you’re a high legend, you can’t leave that shiny floaty palace on the mountain, what if the 0.0001% chance of someone actually seeing you happens? I mean, c’mon, isn’t that what mindwipes are for? That’s your day job.”

    <“Well, I don’t know if you recall, but I have been bribing Uxie a bit too much lately and I cannot mindwipe a whole group if I have to,”> I said. <“And maybe we’ll be fine against them, but we will not be fine when I have to explain to Arceus why he shouldn’t smite us both.”>

    “Just throw Uxie a snorlax-sized candy bar,” Cherry shrugged. “You know Uxie goes crazy for those things. And who says Arceus has to know anything about it?”

    <“He’ll figure it out the moment I don’t show up to clock in the next morning,”> I said.

    “And what are the chances of you not clocking in the next morning?”

    <“0.0001 percent,”> I admitted. I was pretty good at my job.

    “Exactly,” Cherry said. “Look, the way I see it, you’ve griped to me before about how you’re not nearly as powerful or nearly as privileged as those legends on the High Council. That rule should apply to them, not you. You deserve to be doing stuff down here with us. And you should. Don’t let Fence Gogoat spook you out of your night out. Everyone knows he’d jump if he saw a mouse.”

    He would.

    Cherry’s car flew across the forest mountain highway at what I was sure was almost double the speed limit. She was swerving madly, messily drifting around the bends and occasional crossing wild pokemon.

    DrivingToSaffron.png

    <“Are you sure this is safe?”> I asked anxiously, looking out the window where the scenery went by in a blur.

    “It’s legal in Hoenn,” Cherry said, her eyes trained on the road.

    Cherry was just as much a speed demon behind a steering wheel as she was in the air. How she still had a driver’s license was beyond me, although I had seen the stash of unpaid speeding tickets she had overflowing out of her dash compartment once.

    She slowed down once we neared Saffron City and more cars, people, and lights became visible. I was glad; the last thing we needed was to get pulled over for a speeding ticket on our night out.

    Cherry had booked reservations at a fancy restaurant that seated (most) pokemon. Then, we were going to go see a movie. Or shop. Or just look around the town. We’d decide when we got there.

    <“So what’s it like in Hoenn?”> I asked, trying to make small talk while we were going over the menus. Any region where speed driving was legal had to have a good story or two behind it. The waiter had given us water already, but we hadn’t chosen what to eat yet. I found the pokemon menu somewhat lacking, but didn’t want to draw attention to us in such a public place by requesting the human one. I didn’t need to come back to the paperwork machine in the Hall of Origin spitting out a file on me I would have to destroy.

    “Oh, you know…” Cherry fanned her menu out like a newspaper. “Lots of islands and forests and tropical storms in the fall; those are fun. Alto Mare.”

    <“Isn’t Alto Mare in Johto?”> I asked. Just because I was expected to sit around in the Hall of Origin all day didn’t mean I didn’t know my geography.

    “Might as well be in Hoenn!” Cherry exclaimed somewhat loudly, turning a few heads from some of the more elderly customers. One of them wore sunglasses. Cherry glanced around, noticing how many people were staring at our table. She cleared her throat uncomfortably.

    Most of the customers had gone back to eating by now, but the woman in sunglasses continued to stare in our direction. It was like she was fixated on us to a weird degree, like when you stare at something you really want but can’t have.

    I was pretty sure espeon weren’t on the menu in any region, so I was probably fine.

    “Besides,” Cherry began again in a lower voice, “I’ve heard that island might shift territories soon.”

    <“Wait, how?”> I asked, leaning in despite myself. I hadn’t heard jack squat about that.

    “I… might eavesdrop on Alto Mare’s mayor sometimes,” Cherry admitted. “Perks of invisibility.”

    I barely held in a laugh mid-lap from my water bowl; it came out more like a spit-take. <“You what?”>

    “Oh, come on. You’d do it too.”

    <“No I wouldn’t!”>

    “Everyone with invisibility.” Cherry took a sip from her glass, leaning back in her chair. “Always happens.”

    <”I never filed any paperwork like that!”>

    “I guess I’m just too invisible for your machine.”

    The banter went on until we’d both devolved into laughter and were catching our breaths against the table. Half the restaurant had to be looking at as weird at that point, but neither of us really cared.

    “Can I take your orders?”

    We both looked up to see the waiter staring down at us. In an instant, both of us were sitting up straight, struggling to keep our composure and not look like we’d been acting like complete children for the last five or so minutes. We also realized we hadn’t decided what to order yet.

    “Um… I’ll have… I’ll have the weirdest thing on the menu, please,” Cherry said.


    \|M|/

    “Why didn’t you stop me?” Cherry retched, staring down at the remnants of her dinner in a trash can. “That was disgusting!”

    Neither of us were really sure what it was when it had arrived, but it had looked like muk intestines, or at least something’s intestines. I had gingerly eaten my generic pokechow that I was pretty sure was the standard kind sold at most pokemarts, but I was happy eating supermarket pokechow compared to whatever that was. Cherry’s stomach must have agreed with me, because she had puked almost the moment we’d left.

    All I could do was shrug. <“How was I supposed to know that the weirdest thing on the menu would be something that… weird?”>

    Cherry leaned back against the wall of the restaurant, clutching her stomach. “I’m not eating anything else tonight,” she moaned.

    She got herself a pretzel ten minutes later.

    The night was still young, so we decided to go for a walk around town before hitting up the movie theater in Downtown Saffron.

    “So what are you going to do after this?” Cherry asked as we strolled through one of the quieter streets. There were few people around at this time of night, so we didn’t have to worry about being overheard.

    <“Go back to the Hall of Origin,”> I said. <“Crash. File some more paperwork. Try to make it look like I haven’t been gone half the night.”>

    “No, I mean what are you going to do about the High Council thing?” Cherry asked.

    <“Well, what do you mean?”> I responded. There wasn’t anything I could do about it.

    “Like, they can’t just keep you locked up there,” Cherry said. “Have you ever confronted Arceus about it?”

    To no success. <“I’m pretty sure he’d demote me on the spot,”> I said, rolling my eyes.

    “Hey, I’d still hang with you,” Cherry said. “Heck, we could bunk together if that happened. I could take you wingull-chasing in Alto Mare.”

    As great as that sounded, I didn’t think a demotion from Arceus would be all sunshine and rainbows.

    Suddenly, Cherry stopped walking. When I looked dead ahead, I saw why: in the shade of the lamp, there stood a dark figure obscured by the shadows.

    “Hello?” Cherry called out. I saw her tense up. The figure walked forward, and it soon became clear they weren’t alone. There were figures emerging from the shadows all around us. Pokeballs flashed, and several different pokemon came out of their balls. We were surrounded.

    My fur bristled. Of all things, I didn’t think we’d get mugged!

    <”I’m going to teleport us out of here,”> I said, clinging to Cherry’s leg. <”They’ll never know what hit them.”>

    I gathered the energy for a teleport, and closed my eyes, bracing myself for the flush. But it never came. I opened them, and we were still in the alley. That didn’t make sense! I tried again, as those creepy figures in the alleyway moved in quicker, then a third time. No dice.

    “Now would be a great time to get us outta here…” Cherry muttered out of the side of her mouth.

    <”I’m trying…”> I grunted, scrunching my face up and trying my hardest to make the teleport work. It didn’t make any sense, it was like something was blocking me from leaving.

    <”It’s not working!”> I finally admitted.

    Cherry’s eyes narrowed. “Okay, climb on my back!”

    Before I could ask what that meant, she jumped up into the air and morphed back into her legend form in one fluid motion. She scooped me up in her hands and then we were off into the sky like a shot.

    Flying over Saffron at the speeds we were, everything was a blur. But the city was vast, and it would be a good minute before we reached the lot where Latias’ car was parked.

    “Who were those people?” Cherry asked, a somewhat agitated look on her face. I didn’t know – were they just criminals looking for an easy target in the middle of the night? In that case, I didn’t think we had much to worry about. But in case they weren’t…

    I took a chance look behind us, and spotted the dark figure of a pidgeot soaring towards us from behind. It was quickly gaining ground on us, and it looked like it was going to…

    “Duck!” I cried out. Cherry swerved downward, just in time to avoid a twisting draft of wind that soared above us. She did a U-turn in time to see the pidgeot, then barely swerved around another Gust. The move knocked Cherry off-kelter, and she dropped me. The pidgeot shot by us, flying into the night sky.

    “Ann!” Cherry shouted, watching me fall. I quickly shifted back into Mew once my brain what was happening, catching myself midair and halting to a float. I then zipped back up to where Latias was, staring in the direction the pidgeot had gone in.

    “These guys are still tailing us?” I asked in confusion. Then I realized: we were a pair of legendary pokemon in public, and we’d just exposed ourselves for the world to see. Of course there were targets on our backs. But these people had been prepared for something like this before that. Had we walked into some kind of elaborate trap?

    A black figure rode into the distant moonlight, and I saw that the pidgeot rider was banking around for another go. Cherry had noticed the same thing, because she ruffled her feathers in anger.

    “Time to lose these jerks for good,” Cherry growled. She offered her back as a riding spot. “Grab on!”

    I knew better than to try and play catch-up with Latias when she was angry. I tightly clutched her neck with my paws, and then we were off.

    The pidgeot kept scary time with Cherry, even at her top speeds. At the last moment, she banked upwards, heading further and further up into the clouds. Her feathers shimmered, and then she disappeared. The sheen spread over me, and I watched my own paws disappear before my eyes.

    PlateauInTheClouds.png

    For a moment, we floated silently in the sky, with nothing but massive clouds and the moon around us. Then the pidgeot rider swooped up into the cloudscape, making a wide turn right in our direction. Cherry held her position in the air, watching the pidgeot slowly soar straight for us. It held true, like it knew we were there.

    “You don’t think…” I whispered.

    Cherry and I were in silent agreement: We didn’t want to risk it. At the last moment, she shot out of the pidgeot’s way. The pidgeot flew past us, the rider looking back at us as it went—He was looking at us. He knew we were there. There were a pair of bulky goggles strapped to his face – was that what he was using to see us?

    “Hang on tight,” Cherry said.

    The pidgeot banked around after us, and Cherry took off downward towards the lights of Saffron.

    We flew down until we were on the streets of the city. Cherry swerved around cars, streetlamps, and other flying pokemon at speeds so fast I was constantly worried she was going to slam into something. I glanced upwards at the sound of a sudden whoosh - The pidgeot dove straight into the frenzy, soaring above the buildings but tailing us all the same.

    “He’s still on us!” I called out. Cherry nodded. She swerved around a tight corner, knocking a streetlamp out of shape as we richoceted past. The pidgeot shot onwards, banked around a skyscraper, and then continued to chase after us.

    Spinning around, I anchored myself to Cherry with my tail, and began to charge up a Psychic in my front paws. We were going far too fast for the pidgeot to dodge—the Psychic slammed full-force into both it and the rider and sent them tumbling into the traffic below.

    Cherry rounded another corner just to be safe, then we took off for the skies.

    “Did we lose him?” she asked, going too fast to look back now. I scanned the cityscape, but saw no sign of the pidgeot or its rider.

    “I think so!” I called back.

    We flew all the way up to the top of a large skyscraper, and only then did Cherry see fit to drop her invisibility.

    “Who were those guys?” she asked, panting for breath. “They were able to see us. ” she repeated it again, to herself. “They saw us… they saw us. Who were they?”

    There was a white flash behind us. We both spun around – a dark, skeletal humanoid figure approached us from the other side of the skyscraper. An alakazam floated behind them, its eyes glowing with psychic energy. As the man walked forward, he entered the light enough for us both to see a dark red R on his shirt.

    They had a teleporter.

    Well, so did we. And if they could teleport, then I sure could too. I grabbed onto Cherry, and all of the sudden we were in the woods outside Saffron, where it was dark and the lights of the city were only a distant mirage. We both collapsed against a tree, shaken.

    “R,” Cherry breathed out, still staggering from the wind of the teleport. “That means Team Rocket. W-what did you say that group was again?”

    A flash, and there they were again, walking towards us like nothing had happened. They had tracked us through teleport? How? And what else could they do? They’d been this prepared already. I didn’t waste time—I grabbed onto Cherry, and we teleported again.

    This time, we stumbled into the parking lot where Cherry’s car was. Cherry shifted back into her human form, and staggered to her feet. When we saw the car, we made a break for it.

    Cherry yanked open the door and stumbled into the driver’s seat. I teleported into the gunshot seat. A flash in the distance visible through the side mirror, and there they were again. Behind us. Cherry turned the key, pulled the gear, and spun the wheel. The car swiftly turned around, leaving tire marks on the pavement, but a psychic from the Alakazam blasted it back several feet. We slammed into another van, denting the back truck and shattering the rear window of our car. Glass sprayed into the back seat of Cherry’s jeep. Alarms blared from both cars, but Cherry slammed the gas undeterred. The car revved and took off, making a beeline for the rocket man and his alakazam—

    Another flash, and they were gone just before we hit them. I couldn’t sense them reappearing anywhere near us.

    “How long before we lose these guys?” Cherry asked as we drove down the deserted street, for the first time sounding somewhat shaken. “Can’t you just teleport us into the Hall of Origin?”

    <“Really bad idea,”> I said, frantically glancing back. <“They’re tracking us somehow. Wherever we go, that alakazam is going to follow.”>

    They must have been tracking our energy signatures this whole time; that was the only way the pidgeot and its rider would have been able to see us. But… how? They’d been using goggles – was it some kind of new technology that hadn’t been released to the public yet?

    There was a jolt from behind us, and the sudden loss of momentum flung us both forwards in our seats. Cherry slammed the gas pedal into the ground. The car revved, but we didn’t go anywhere. I looked out the window and realized we were much higher above the ground than we should be—we were being lifted up!

    The car suddenly went flying sideways towards the wall of a closed shopfront. We both screamed as the car flew, but I teleported us out onto the street just in time. The car crashed into the shopfront and landed on its side. Seconds later, it burst into brilliant orange flame.

    Cherry and I zapped out to the front pavement, where we stumbled to the ground and quickly caught our breaths. The hulking wreck of Cherry’s car burned from right outside the shop. No sooner had we looked in the direction of the city did we see the shape of the Alakazam standing all by itself in the parking lot.

    But it wasn’t doing anything; it was just standing there.

    “What’s it up to?” Cherry asked. We both eyed the alakazam uneasily, unwilling to look away from it.

    There was a sound I could only describe as a fuzzy ‘vworp’, and a man dressed in the same black military gear as the men who’d been tailing us suddenly appeared near the alakazam. I realized: it was teleporting people in. One, two, three more teleported before I could even react, and by the time I had worked up the energy to teleport again we were already surrounded.

    The last person to teleport in was someone dressed differently. I didn’t see his face, only his teal hair illuminated by the flaming car behind him, and that he was wearing white and not black.

    Someone suddenly clamped a rag over my face from behind. Taken off-guard, I breathed in a mouthful of whatever the rag was covered in before I could stop myself. I could only look at Latias, who was also being smothered under a rag by a pair of bulky gloves, before the Sleep Powder kicked in and I began to slip from reality.
     
    Last edited:
    • Quag
    Reactions: Pen
    02 - Blackmailed New
  • SparklingEspeon

    Insquisitabilitatilating
    Location
    *teleports behind you*
    Pronouns
    She/Her
    Partners
    1. espurr
    2. fennekin
    Note: Content warning for a slight allusion to blood.

    Three Years Ago

    The Hall of Origin sat at the very top of Sinnoh, the crown of Mount Coronet. The hall was a proud palace, with a roof that lead up into the very peak of the mountain, where no normal human or pokemon could go for want of air.

    Though the Hall of Origin stood tall and proud, it would never be uncovered by prying eyes. An illusion of downtrodden, crumbling ruins masked the Hall from the eyes of intruders. And if one were to enter, they would touch the crumbling pillars of a long-desolate building rather than the pristine walls of the true Hall. For the Hall of Origin was forbidden to anyone not blessed with the power of a Legend.

    Arceus wordlessly bounded up towards the Hall, carrying the new Mew with him in an invisible hold. She watched as the world silently grew smaller below them; a miniscule diorama of rivers and valleys below, the dark night clouds and stars above. When he touched down, his hooves landed upon the marble floors of the Hall with a satisfying ‘plink’.

    Mew was let down, finally. She unsteadily wobbled, trying to find her new center of balance on legs that were both different and weaker than before. The hall around her was giant, larger than life. The white and gold walls and pillars extended upwards and faded away into the night sky, where the moon reflected off the clouds in the distance and bathed the spacious room in the subtle gleam of night. A grand staircase split at the top and arched down to the ground in two different directions. Between them, a desk, and a door under the middle of the staircase that lead into a room unknown and hidden by shadows.

    Arceus looked down at her, watching her take an unsteady step and falling flat on her face. Her new legs weren’t strong enough to support her body weight.


    “You will not need them,” his voice boomed, reverberating in her head as if he had read her thoughts. “As Mew, you will soar. Concentrate your focus, and try it.”

    And so Mew did. She watched in silent awe as despite her every instinct, she began to rise off the ground effortlessly, as if carried by a steady, invisible wind. She did a few cartwheels in the air, weightless. It made her giddy.

    “You may rest the night within the confines of this hall,” said Arceus, watching her play around in the air. “Tomorrow, we shall discuss your duties as a High Legend.”

    Mew, who had been spinning around in the air because she could, cast Arceus a glance. But Arceus had said all he intended to. He leapt up effortlessly, silently, and disappeared up through the roof and into the night sky above.

    In his absence, she was left to explore the Hall on her lonesome. Still teetering and tottering around in the air, the desk caught her attention first. It did not catch her attention because it was the only piece of furniture in the room. It did not catch her attention because of the large amount of see-through chutes that snaked down from the skies above and ended at the desk. It did not even catch her attention because of the large amount of papers stacked on it, when the rest of the Hall was pristine.

    It caught her attention because unlike the rest of the Hall, The floors and walls around the desk were scarred with the marks of something a deep, dark red.


    02.

    Blackmailed

    When I woke up again, I was lying on an old, dirty bed that smelled like skuntank spray. The walls around me were made of steel, and only one flickering lightbulb hanging from the roof provided any source of light. I was still groggy; it took me a minute to piece together what had just happened. I had just been… captured. I had been captured. So had Cherry. This was bad.

    Cherry! I leapt into the air and looked around the room, but I didn’t see her. In a frenzy, I tried the first thing I could think of–teleporting out of there. It didn’t matter where I ended up; I just needed to get out of this room. I’d even take right in front of Arceus’ face. But it just wasn’t working. When I opened my eyes, I was still in the prison cell. That was enough to silence me dumbly for a good minute. This didn’t just happen. It wasn’t done. How could my teleport keep failing?

    There was a beep. The door to the cell opened. I turned around, watching as a human strode into the room. He wore a suit, and the top of his head was covered by a large fedora. I could barely see his eyes under the brim, only his one-sided sneer, but that was definitely intentional. I could already tell this guy was a grade A villain, and the thing about grade A villains is that they’re always worryingly obsessed with their wardrobe.

    “Looks like you’ve noticed our teleport blockers,” he said theatrically. I glared daggers at him. He knocked on the door after it closed. I heard the dull thud.

    “Re-enforced steel. The only way you leave this room is if that door opens for you.”

    He had a foldable chair with him. He walked over, and expanded it in front of me. Then he sat down.

    “Sit,” he said, gesturing to the cot.

    I did not sit. I wanted to tell him I’d rather do anything but sit. I wasn’t brave enough to tell him that, so I just floated there like I had been.

    “Where’s Cherry,” I said in the lowest, most threatening voice I could muster.

    “Cherry…” the man rubbed his chin with a gloved hand for a minute. “So that’s the name of our other catch. She wouldn’t tell us that. Thank you.”

    I suddenly felt ten times smaller.

    “Let us… go?” I said, in vain hope that would actually do something. Predictably, it didn’t.

    The man shook his head. “If only it were that easy. First things first…”

    Before I knew it, I felt a sharp nick against the side of my head. I looked at the man’s right hand, outstretched above my ear and holding a switchblade. A few tufts of my fur floated to the ground. The man caught them in a plastic container he pulled from inside his suit.

    Alright, that was the last straw. This guy thought he could kidnap me, take my friend hostage, and then cut off my fur to boot? I’d show him. I hissed, charging up energy in my paw for an attack. The man simply brushed back the bottom of his suit in response, making sure I could see the pokeball hanging from his belt.

    “You can’t catch me with that,” I growled. It was true. I’d already tethered myself to a pokeball, a trick I had picked up from all the lower-tier legendaries who resided on earth. But that only got a laugh from him.

    “You think we haven’t tried?” he said. “On both you and your friend. This is for self-defense.”

    Crap, this was more well-thought out than I’d anticipated. Another thing about grade A villains: Despite the over the top outfits, they’re usually worth their salt.

    “What makes you think one pokemon is going to defend you from a High Legend?” I snarled. I was bluffing. For some idiot reason, I didn’t have the firepower to knock out much more than a growlithe. But he didn’t know that.

    The man smirked. “You could probably kill me and break straight out of this room if you wanted. If you want to test the might of a single Legend against all of Team Rocket, be my guest.”

    I went silent after that, much of my bravado lost. Did he want me to believe that all of Team Rocket was outside that door?

    Was all of Team Rocket outside that door? They’d gone to extreme measures just to bring us here. It didn’t make sense for them not to pile guards upon guards where I was being held.

    “Or…” the man drew it out, leaving it at a pause. He knew I was trapped, and he wanted me to continue the line. To play along with his game. I didn’t have another good choice, and he knew it.

    “Or… what?”

    “Or… we can strike a deal,” said the man.

    I could tell a trap when I saw one, and that was a trap clear as day. Maybe I’d walk out of the building, but he’d own my soul or something freaky like that. I was smarter than that, I could see right through it. But I wonder if a moth that flies into a light trap knows it’s a trap, and flies into it anyway because it can’t resist the light. If moths could even feel anything. That was how I felt. Stuck like a moth willingly drawn into a trap.

    The man was silent. It was clear he wanted me to ask him to continue.

    “What… kind of deal?” I hesitantly asked. I knew it was a bad idea. Each word that slipped off my tongue felt like acid.

    “I want information,” the man said. “Anything and everything you can give me regarding legendary movements. I understand that as Mew, you have access to those sorts of things. Courtesy of your friend, of course.”

    My friend…

    “What have you been doing to her?” I spat. Cherry would never give up that information on her own.

    “We have our ways of extracting information when it’s necessary,” the man said coolly. “Now here’s your deal: You walk out of this base without a target on your back, but you report to me. When I ask you to get me something, no matter what that thing is, you get it for me within a day. You have my word that as long as you do this, no harm will come to your friend.”

    “And when do I get her back?” I asked. Some part of me couldn’t believe I was actually considering this. Another part of me, the stronger part, was scared I’d never get free if I didn’t. I didn’t have the power to break out of this place, and I knew it, and he knew it. I needed to set barriers somewhere, or I’d never see Cherry again.

    “When I no longer have a use for you,” said the man, and then he stood up. “If you don’t agree, I’ll have her killed on the spot. If you tell a single soul about our agreement, I’ll have her killed on the spot. And if you try anything funny, I’ll have her killed on the spot. Don’t think you can be sneaky; I’ll know. And once it’s done… you’ll be next.”

    My heart skipped a beat when he said that. They couldn’t kill my best friend. They couldn’t kill her, they couldn’t.

    They were going to. The world stopped turning.

    “You have one hour to make your decision,” said the man. He retracted the chair, and began to take it with him as he headed for the door and I knew I couldn’t let that go I couldn’t let him walk away that was my only opportunity to keep Cherry alive I had to do something I had to I had to—

    “Alright!” I cried out, zipping over to the door before the man could close it behind him. “I’ll do it, I’ll do it! Just don’t kill Cherry.”

    The man stopped at the door. He turned around, the barest corner of a smirk on his face.

    “I figured you’d see reason.”

    He held out a gloved hand, and beckoned for me to follow with two of his fingers. I had the sudden and powerful urge to bite them off, but I didn’t see that ending with Cherry alive. Reluctantly, I did as he asked.

    I was blindfolded by a pair of guards and led down a series of hallways until I could feel the wind against my fur again. The blindfold was undone, exposing my eyes to broad daylight. I had to squint for a moment before my surroundings came into view: I was standing at the bank of a grassy cliff overlooking the ocean. We’d just come out of a small tunnel near a rock formation behind us, and in the distance behind that was the clear outline of a brightly colored, red and yellow harbor city. My eyes followed the bridge that snaked across the ocean, connecting the city to the bank on the other side of the waterway… This was Vermilion. We were right next to Vermilion.

    “Got a good feel for the place?” the voice came not from the man who had interrogated me, but from one of the two rocket grunts who had escorted me out here. “Remember it. You’re gonna teleport right back to this location if the Boss needs you.”

    I barely nodded, taking in as much as I could. This was the afternoon. That meant… I was already late for my job back in the Hall of Origin!

    As if I needed yet another stressor today.

    One of the rocket grunts handed me a black device that looked suspiciously like a cell phone. “Keep that with you. It’s what we’ll use to contact you when we need you to do something.”

    I took the device like it was a sugar-high joltik, looking over its smooth black surface in my paws. It was so small, but the amount of difference it made was astronomical. It meant that for all intents and purpose, I was now a part of Team Rocket.

    “Can I go now?” I asked. The line was flat, devoid of emotion. I didn’t have any left.

    “That’s everything,” said one of the rockets. “You’re free to go.”


    \|M|/

    There was an overflow of paperwork on my desk by the time I finally teleported back to the Hall of Origin. I didn’t see Arceus anywhere around, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know I’d been gone. He could pop in at any moment, ready to interrogate me and ask me where I had gone and why I was late, and I’d have to dig myself even deeper just to get out of trouble in the moment.

    Not that I wasn’t already deep enough as is. I zipped over to the desk, shakily placing the black device the Rockets had given me in the drawer.

    The next few hours were spent sorting paperwork and wondering if there was anything I could have done better, anything I could have done to walk out of there with Cherry okay. I couldn’t trust the Rockets to keep their word; for all I knew they were busy torturing her for more information. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it, not on my own. Not unless I wanted to tell Arceus.

    I didn’t know if I could. How would he take it? Would he help me, or would he unleash his wrath and call an attack on the base with Cherry still inside? If there was ever a time for that to happen…

    There weren’t any two ways about it. I had to keep it secret. No-one else could know.

    Right outside the Hall of Origin, just within the veil that hid the place from the eyes of those hikers that liked to climb up here in the winter and camp out on a freezing mountain for some reason, Zygarde slithered through the snow. I watched as it rose to its full height of ten feet, gazing serenely at the sun. Then it slowly began to split apart, many small cells leaving its being. One Zygarde whole disintegrated into nothing, and One Hundred Zygarde Cells blew to the wind.

    The sun was beginning to set over the many peaks around the Hall of Origin, as I zipped up to where Arceus usually lounged around at sunset to deliver my report for the day. I headed straight for the roof of the building, ascending up into the sky until the hall of the building was far below me, and the peak of Mount Coronet hung above.

    Arceus liked to hang around the very peak of Mount Coronet during the sunsets, to watch them go down. And that was where he was when I zipped up towards the top of the mountain and settled on a stone perch nearby. Unlike Arceus, the altitude and the thin air made me a little lightheaded, but I had greater resistance towards it than a normal pokemon have. I’d be fine for a half-hour or so.

    “Mew,” he acknowledged me as I nestled into the perch alongside him.

    “I have your daily report, sir,” I said. I began to go through the list of major and minor things that had shown up in the paperwork today, focusing on the end on Zygarde’s departure. Arceus only acknowledged me with a little grunt at the end, proof that he was listening but hadn’t taken fault with anything I listed.

    We sat for a minute more, observing the sunset.

    “Sir,” I said, breaking the silence. “I never asked, but… what happened to my predecessor?”

    “Your predecessor?” Arceus asked.

    “The one who came before m—”

    “I am aware what a predecessor is.”

    I stopped. And waited. It was a moment before Arceus said anything.

    “I killed him.”

    “Y-you what?” I stammered out, shocked. What had he done to deserve death?

    “Don’t get surprised.” Arceus’ tone was ice-cold. “Your predecessor was… difficult. He openly disrespected the sacred code we Legends have abided by for years, and relentlessly argued many of my decrees when I passed them. Of course, I do not slaughter my disciples over petty disagreements. A couple of times, his points even showed reason enough for me to change.”

    “S-so…” I began, still trying to process the fact that whoever had come before me had died. “What did you kill him for?”

    Arceus sighed, like this pained him. “He sold out. He saw greater value in the worthless treasures of the humans than he saw up here with our elite. He went down and revealed himself in front of them. He began to take information from the Room of Records, and sell it to humans down below. Before long, that information made it back into my hands, and I took notice. This matter had to be dealt with in a prompt manner. Therefore, I killed him.”

    I stayed silent, as I tried to process that information. What did that mean for me?

    “I… I see,” I said. I was the most anxious I had been in years, but I tried not to show it in front of Arceus.

    “The day afterwards was the day that I recruited you,” Arceus said. “I am pleased to see that I have made a respectable choice in replacement.”

    I nodded, grinned, tried not to look nervous, and went along with it. It was all I could do right now. Inside, my head swam. There were so many things I was trapped in now. I thought maybe it would be better to tell Arceus, but after learning this… How could I? I’d just be sealing my doom—and Cherry’s in the process, when he ordered the base blown up. I couldn’t let that happen.

    “So if I ever…” I trailed off, not willing to say the name of the crime I had already committed to. “You’d kill me, too?”

    “If you showed yourself to be unworthy the way he did, I would not hesitate to spear you through the heart,” said Arceus. “But I do not intend this as a threat. Instead, let it be a teaching moment.

    “I hold you to a higher standard than I held your predecessor or any of your peers,” Arceus continued. “You must be better. You are the example the lower legends look to, and the leg the higher legends stand on. You must be the best of us. You have done admirably these last three years, and if you work as you should, then you will hold this position for many centuries more. But only if you work as you should.”

    Finally, he stopped. We both let the silence settle for a moment, as the sun continued its last retreat over the mountain. His silence was a peaceful serenity; mine was a tense silence of anxiety. There was a dread forming in the pit in my stomach that I’d never felt before. I’d just crossed Arceus in a very bad way, and he didn’t even know it yet.

    The next thing Arceus said signaled that our conversation was over: “You are dismissed.”

    Eager to be anywhere but within earshot of Arceus right now, I eagerly nodded and zipped back down the mountain and towards the Hall of Origin.

    I had a lot to think about.
     
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