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Ravenna Fiori

"Is today Tuesday? Oh, good; it's nice to meet you then."

0 · 156 views · located in Kanto Region

a character in “A Girl and Her Magikarp”, originally authored by Ion, as played by RolePlayGateway




”I don’t pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do.”- Johnny Depp


ImageNickname: She’s occasionally been known to insist that people call her “Fio,” (Fee-oh) though most of them have declined for some reason.

Age: 22

Gender: Female

Trainer Type: Trainer (medium/psychic subtype)

Hometown: Lavender Town

Hair Color: Bubblegum pink. She’s actually naturally black-haired, but dyed it this color in hopes that it would make her seem more approachable and open, and as a tribute to an old friend.

Eye Color: Blue-violet.

Skin Tone: Slightly suntanned, from exposure, but pale at base, really.

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 135lbs

Physical Description: A tall girl, Ravenna is quite slender, especially given her height. Granted, she’s healthy, and has a rather feminine figure, but she’s definitely not the kind of person who looks all that rugged or hardy. Her features are small and fine, save for her eyes, which are almond-shaped, slightly slanted, and relatively large in her face, the thick, dark lashes the only clue to her natural hair color.

The rest is dyed a soft, pastel pink, usually captured in twin loose, low tails that sit one over each shoulder. It’s somewhat long, and each tail reaches to about her mid-torso or so. She’s usually bareheaded, save when the weather gets cold, and then she’ll pull on a knit cap. Her limbs are proportionally long, giving her a slightly birdlike or waifish aspect. Naturally pale skin has darkened considerably with her time on the road and under the sun, so she now has a golden hint to her.

She’s commonly attired in a knee-length black dress, which is actually more durable than one would expect, a bright red scarf, and knee-high boots, to protect her legs from taller grasses and the like. When the weather grows ill, she has a long coat and warmer boots lined with de-polarized Mareep wool. Over her shoulder is slung a messenger bag, and her wrist bears a Pokegear. A white flute is looped through the dark sash at her waist, and her pokeballs are worn on it as well.

Potential Interest: Not currently applicable.

ImageSkills and Abilities: Fio has a very unusual way of looking at the world, and this can occasionally grant her some insight into other people, or especially pokemon. She has something of an empathetic connection towards them, able to communicate wordlessly with them, either through body language or more direct telepathy (the latter, she can also use on humans). Like many a pokemon-world psychic, she also has enough telekinesis to life small objects like pokeballs and eating utensils, though nothing over ten pounds. Notably, she can see the true form of ghost pokemon without a Sliph scope or similar device. She’s a good judge of character, and generally an intelligent person, though honestly her way of looking at things is a bit skewed and she can seem out-of-touch with reality at times.

Other: Since she essentially raised herself, she's very good with domestic chores like cooking, sewing, and laundry, and strangely seems to enjoy doing such things. She's a flutist, and not a half-bad dancer, though following her movement would be pretty tricky for a partner.


"Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind." -Dr. Seuss

The word most people might use is “weird.” Not in the perky, in-your-face sort of way, but quiet, off in la-la land weird. Ravenna is generally calm, solemn-looking, and withdrawn, but that’s not to say that she’s unfriendly. On the contrary, she quite likes people and getting to know them, and when she does hold conversation, she’s usually quite pleasant, but also fairly awkward. Unless the other party is very good with their words, chances are there will be more than one uncomfortable pause, abrupt subject change, and left-field non sequitur, because Fio doesn’t think the same way other people do.

Part of it is a case of synesthesia; she tends to associate colors with sound, for instance, and may describe a place as “four,” perhaps. There’s usually a logic to it, if one is patient enough to puzzle it out. A room described as four might be perfectly square, hence having four equal-length sides, as an example. That said, it’s not always entirely obvious where the associations come from, and this can make her statements difficult to decipher on occasion. She also has a number of small quirks, like always knocking on doors exactly three times, occasionally throwing salt over her shoulder for seemingly no reason, and carrying several paper sutras on her person. Whether they do anything or not is anyone’s guess.

An empathetic young woman, she is very sensitive to the feelings of others, and may pick up on nonverbal cues that other people miss. This is paired with a talent for observation, making her surprisingly astute at times, though not always. Ravenna is usually wearing a serious expression and may even come off as a little bit depressed or unapproachable. Even so, she’s quick to smile at jokes, and actually not really any more miserable than your average person—it is, unfortunately, just the way she looks. Actually, it used to be much worse; before she set off on her journey, her hair was dark and hung in her face and her skin much paler, which gave her the look of some kind of morose ghost. These days, she at least manages to look like someone who might be happy sometimes.

She’s never had many friends, and so being around people isn’t the easiest thing in the world for her, though she does enjoy it. Deep down, Fio’s always been a little bit lonely, and though her pokemon have been of great help, she’s still (almost without knowing it) seeking after a human connection. Despite being a trainer, and a very skilled one, she doesn’t seem to express any ambitions towards being Champion or the best in the world or anything like that, and indeed initiates battle only rarely. Her collection of Gym badges is kind of odd, considering.

History: As anyone could probably guess, Ravenna grew up as an only child, in a mostly-empty household. Her mother died when she was still quite young, one of those unfortunate accidents of life that happen sometimes. Her father was an executive for a major pokemon merchandising company in Saffron City, and her household was actually quite wealthy. Since he essentially lived at his workplace, Fio more or less raised herself, and there’s not a whole lot to do in Lavender Town, so she found herself in the tower more often than not, watching the people come and go to mourn their passed friends.

The tower’s attendants grew to expect her presence, strange though it was. The little girl seemed not to fear the ghosts there, and they generally let her be, minus a few incidents in which young Gastly pulled pranks on her. She made a habit of picking flowers from nearby fields and laying them on graves which were not visited, making up little stories to herself about the pokemon that rested there, and what they had done when they were alive. In time, the crones took her under their wing, training her latent abilities to something useable, and teaching her what they knew of pokemon more generally. She made friends with another girl there, Mykeisha, who was considerably older than herself. Fio grew to view "Kei," as she called her, as the sibling she'd never had, and idolized her friend a little bit.

What few other children Lavender Town had tended to avoid her, given how much time she spent at the tower and her vaguely ghostlike appearance. So she grew up mostly by herself, save for the company of the old women, who didn’t seem to care that she was a bit odd. If anything, they encouraged it. When Mykeisha left for her pokemon journey, Fio was secretly worried, having had a dream about something terrible happening to her friend, and the dream only grew worse as time passed, until at last she stopped hearing from Mykeisha altogether.

Then, at the age of fifteen, she decided it was about time to leave the town and set out on a journey, resolved to finish Mykeisha's for her. There was nothing holding her to the place, and she thought it might be nice to go somewhere different, somewhere she wasn’t the “creepy ghost girl” and might be able to be something else. Thinking it would help, she dyed her hair in honor of her friend and swapped her channeler’s robes for more ordinary clothes. Her father honestly didn’t seem to bother much about what she did, though he did send her off with a rather expensive starter kit of items, including her very own collapsible bike. Strangely enough, he seems to call her more often now than he ever talked to her when she lived in his house, and she suspects that he, too might be lonely. Their relationship has been on a slow mend since.


Pokémon Species: Umbreon
Pokémon Nickname: Orion
Pokémon Nature: Serious
[Eevee]- Along with his sister, Artemis, Orion was one of a pair of Eevee gifted to Ravenna by her father before she departed Lavender Town. The two of them were very much alike in terms of personality, and Fio grew to fast affection with Orion, more easily than with Artemis. He, in turn, was a dedicated, solemn partner from the beginning of things.

[Umbreon]- When Fio asked him what he wished to become, Orion seemed to hesitate, and it was several days before he woke her in the middle of the night, insisting that the two of them go for a walk. When out in the tall grass, they encountered a ghost-type pokemon, which resisted most of what Orion was capable of doing. In the battle that ensued, he evolved into an Umbreon, successfully defeating the Shuppet which had attacked them.

-Faint Attack
-Hyper Beam
-Shadow Ball

Pokémon Species: Espeon
Pokémon Nickname: Artemis
Pokémon Nature: Bold
[Eevee]- Artemis, along with her brother Orion, was one of Ravenna’s first pokemon, and hence, one of her first friends. Both of them were a parting gift from her father, when he heard she wanted to make a pokemon journey. He told her he’d received them from a friend, someone in Cerulean City. Artemis was a source of minor mishap from time to time, as she tended to want to forge aheadeven when it would have been more advantageous to rest, and Ravenna, and inexperienced trainer at the time, didn’t know any better than to agree.

[Espeon]- Always the more outgoing of the two, Artemis evolved first. Actually, Ravenna had been searching for a water stone at the time, seeking to have a pokemon to aid her in water travel, but the fact that Artemis made her own choice in the matter woke Fio up to the fact that her pokemon might have very real preferences on this matter themselves. While once their differing personalities caused anxiety, Ravenna now embraces the fact that Artemis is so different from the way she is, and tries to let her pokemon make her a little bolder, too.

-Morning Sun
-Shadow Ball
-Double Team

Pokémon Species: Arcanine
Pokémon Nickname: Prometheus
Pokémon Nature: Hasty
[Growlithe]- For quite some time, it was only Ravenna, Orion, and Artemis journeying through Kanto, and honestly, she saw no particular reason to change that. She wasn’t much for the idea of capturing pokemon, exactly, and though she sometimes trained against wild ones, she preferred battle against other trainers, if at all. Wild pokemon were, well, wild, and she didn’t see a good reason to interfere with that. Most of the strength of Orion and Artemis came from training against each other, but after Orion evolved, Artemis was at a marked disadvantage. So one day, when a hapless breeder crossed her path, chasing after his newest Growlithe puppy, she volunteered to help him locate it. She did, eventually, and the puppy took a liking to her. She dawdled in that region for a while, visiting the puppy daily, until the breeder gave up and let her have him, since he responded so much better to her commands.

[Arcanine]- Prometheus was evolved with a fire stone, and only after careful consideration on both of their parts. In the end, though, it was hardly a question; he was apparently quite eager to be stronger, as strong as he could be, as quickly as he could get there. Still, Fio held off until he’d learned the moves she thought best, then used the stone. He takes great pride in his size (just a couple inches taller than the average Arcanine), and is generally the first of her pokemon to volunteer for a challenge.


Pokémon Species: Lapras
Pokémon Nickname: Atalanta
Pokémon Nature: Quiet
[Lapras]- Atalanta was obtained in a trade. In her travels, Ravenna came upon a girl who was scared of ghosts, but really wished to befriend one. She was offering her Lapras in exchange, since she lived near the ocean where water pokemon were plentiful. Feeling that the cause was a good one, then, Fio bid the girl wait a while, and travelled back to her hometown of Lavender, where she tracked down a friendly Haunter who didn’t mind leaving the Tower. Capturing it so that it would have a pokeball in which to reside, she ferried it back to the girl, and the trade went through. Atalanta has since been both a helpful water transport and a great friend to Ravenna, her calm personality setting the trainer at ease when things become frustrating or difficult.

-Rain Dance
-Ice Beam
-Body Slam

Pokémon Species: Lucario
Pokémon Nickname: Castor
Pokémon Nature: Brave
[Riolu]- Ravenna first encountered Castor when walking through a cave in the Sinnoh region, which she visited after Kanto. It had been a very long time since she’d seen the last city, and she was growing both tired and hungry, having managed to get herself lost in what seemed an impossibly-twisted labyrinth. Her pokemon were weary as well, and she decided that she had to make camp in the cave and eat something or risk falling over from sheer exhaustion. No sooner than she’d fallen asleep then she woke to find herself staring down a hostile Onyx. But she wasn’t alone: a small pokemon had emerged from hiding and was attempting to defend her, to little avail. The Onyx knocked the poor thing away, but it had given her enough time to retrieve her pokeballs and call Artemis to battle. When the dust cleared, the Riolu was unconscious, and Fio nursed it back to health. It followed her after that, naturally drawn to human with abilities similar to its own. After asking it if it really wished to accompany her, she battled and caught the little guy.

[Lucario]- Castor was significantly behind her other pokemon in terms of strength when she first encountered him, but he trained diligently, taking advantage of Artemis’s type alignment to subject himself to the toughest conditions he could. With time and a lot of encouragement from Ravenna, he was able to evolve, and is now a steadfast guardian, on par with the rest.

-Calm Mind
-Aura Sphere
-Flash Cannon
-Dragon Pulse

Pokémon Species: Dragonair
Pokémon Nickname: Iris
Pokémon Nature: Quirky
[Dratini]- In the Johto portion of her journey so far, Ravenna came across a shelter for abandoned and abused pokemon, dealing with an influx of new cases, largely formerly the pokemon of Team Rocket members. It was quite nearly physically painful to be in the presence of those pokemon, and many of them were hostile to the caretakers. Unable to simply walk away from such a situation, Fio spent a few weeks helping out, trying to get all the new pokemon settled in and used to their new surroundings, as well as fetching medicine ingredients for the couple that ran the place. As thanks, they sent her along with an egg that had been recovered from the same facility. Ravenna and her pokemon watched over the egg, unsure of what was inside but sure that whatever it was would serve as the final member of their tight-knit team. When the baby Dratini hatched, pink as Fio’s hair, it was perhaps the most adorable thing she’d ever seen. The entire team babied Iris for quite some time, and she grew accustomed to draping herself around Ravenna’s shoulders and waist and hitching a ride that way.

[Dragonair]- Recently-evolved, Iris can no longer hitch a ride on Ravenna, much to the affectionate pokemon’s obvious chagrin. That said, she’s retained her unique coloration, as well as her odd little personality. Definitely still the baby of the family, despite her size.

-Dragon Tail
-Thunder Wave
-Light Screen

So begins...

Ravenna Fiori's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassandra Thorne Character Portrait: Kojiro Takashi (WIP:Poke History) Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

Her pokegear was buzzing like mad, and Cassandra sighed heavily, glancing upwards and bringing a hand up to shade her face from the sun, depressing the button to answer the thing with the other. Honestly, if it weren’t for her burning need to revenge herself on everyone who dared wear an ‘R’ on their chest, she probably would have preferred to be sleeping. Then again, if not for those events, she’d also be happy and whole and entirely without need for this crap.

Her own position was closest to the house, up in a tree, upon whose branches she balanced without the slightest hint of anxiety. ”Yeah, yeah, red leader, I’m here,” she answered the call with considerably less enthusiasm. Nevertheless, Kojiro would know she wasn’t planning to slack on this mission. Sometimes, when Team Cataclysm did things that didn’t have anything to do with Team Rocket, Cassandra would go suspiciously missing and turn up again at the slot machines or in a bar, whichever happened to strike her fancy on the particular day. Hell, sometimes she even trained, both herself and her pokemon.

Today, though, she was in it to win it. These fools weren’t going to know what hit them.

As soon as the other had confirmed their presence, Kojiro was talking again, and she didn’t mother suppressing the urge to sigh. Guy was a hell of a trainer, though they had yet to test each others’ mettle, but he was probably the worst strategist on the team, grunts included. She stared incredulously at her pokegear for a second, as if certain that she’d heard that wrong, and dragged a hand down her face. Oh for the love of-

Before she could complete the thought, she spoke. ”We need to go to Saffron because that’s where we left the high-level decryption programs, Kojiro. You know, the ones we’re going to use to get the information from these systems? Also, it’s where Daisuke is, and he’s the only one of us that knows anything about computers.” Their tech expert wasn’t the most field-oriented member, but he was invaluable for his knowledge of how to bypass Rocket systems.

Either Kojiro was satisfied by the explanation, or he just didn’t care, because after that, he called the start of the op, and Cassandra’s body language changed immediately. While he and the others caused the biggest commotion they could and drew the Rocket goons out of the building, she was going to infiltrate a little more quietly and get the information they needed from the subterranean levels, at least if all went well. Leaping down from the branch, Cassandra landed lightly in a crouch, rising to her feet with a dangerous grin.

She was actually kind of hoping not everything went well.


Long before most had risen for the morning’s activities, Ravenna had been trekking up Route 25 to the Cape, a small box of mechanical parts floating through the air at her side, surrounded by a vague haze of blue-purple psychic energy. The girl was an odd sight, in her knee-length black dress and knee-high hiking boots, managing to appear more as though she, too, were floating than walking. The stirring breeze played with strands of pastel pink hair, teasing some of the shorter ones into her face, but from the look of solemn equanimity on her face, it apparently wasn’t a concern.

She spent most of the morning aiding Bill with moving some new equipment around his house; he was trying to put in a berry garden, it seemed, and she’d volunteered to help. In a way, it was repayment for a gift a long time ago; it had been from Bill that her father received the twin Eevee that had become her very first pokemon partners and steadfast friends.

Both Artemis and Orion were presently outside with her, Artemis poking around in a box of seed packets and Orion sitting quietly beside her, apparently content to make sure his sister did not stir up too much trouble. Glancing over at them from between her borrowed straw hat, Ravenna smiled and turned back to her work, which presently consisted of digging small holes with a trowel and dropping seeds into them before covering them over again, the fresh mounds of earth temporarily dark against the drier soil.

It was already shaping up to be a hot day, and she was grateful for the sun protection from the wide-brimmed hat as well as the intermittent cool breeze. Sitting back on her feet for a moment, Ravenna reached for the canteen of water at her side, feeling the sudden burst of hostile intent far too late to do anything about it. The shovel that had been laying nearby slammed into the side of her head, rendering her immediately unconscious, and she fell to the ground.

Artemis and Orion leapt as one to their trainer’s defense, but a net was thrown over them, and though the Espeon’s psychic blast rendered a nearby Koffing unconscious, the grunt that had stooped by the unconscious girl found their pokeballs and recalled the both of them, rendering their assistance moot for the time being.

“The heck did you do that for?” Xavier asked of Annabeth, who was still holding the shovel in one hand, looking entirely unconcerned.

“No need to risk any more interference than we’re already going to get,” she replied pragmatically, dropping the shovel and signaling to a few grunts, who ran forward with small, disk-sized devices with the Rocket logo on them. A pair started laying the explosives, and the third approached the young woman with a length of rope.

“Just toss her in the truck,” Annabeth said, her tone clearly bored. “We’ll drop her once we’re out of here. Take her pokemon though; there might be something rare in there.”

Ravenna woke to the sounds of chaos, and the sight of not much but darkness and what looked to be some of Bill’s computer equipment. Her mind was still fogged, the thoughts filtering through slowly, and an attempt to access her power failed to dredge up even the most basic of telekinesis. She discerned that she was bound by the hands but not her feet, left to rest against a wall in what appeared to be the storage part of a mid-sized moving truck. A noise close-by indicated the opening of the door, and the girl immediately shut her eyes again, pretending to still be out cold.

A shaft of light spilled into the truck, someone tossing in what looked to be a crate of research materials before slamming the door shut again. Ravenna tugged at her bonds, but found them too strong for her to break. Biting her lip, the girl leveraged herself to her knees, and then onto her feet, peering around in the dim light of the storage compartment. Her waist-sash was gone, and her pokeballs with it, but her bag was sitting right there, and with some work, she managed to sling it over her shoulder. If her pokemon weren’t in here, where were they? And just what was causing all that commotion outside? People were yelling, and the occasional cry of a pokemon suggested that at least one battle was taking place.

Well, she might not be able to use her powers for the moment, but that didn’t mean she was going to stand here and do nothing. Since her hands were uselessly behind her back and a strip of cloth appeared to have been tied over her mouth, she settled for kicking the wall of the moving truck as hard as she could. The Steel-toed boots she wore were good for more than just hiking, and she thought, hoped really, that someone would be able to hear her making a racket over the din of the other goings-on and think to let her out.

Her first thought was simply for her pokemon. She needed to find them. They were no less than her family and friends, and she’d do anything to get them back. But this was not the right time to panic, and so she maintained her calm, unwilling to despair at the moment.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"What in the hell?" Kenji asked himself as he watched the action from behind a tree. Sabre stood attached to his leg so that he wouldn't be seen, and Light had taken refuge back into his backpack, away from all of the danger. Not that Kenji blamed her, bless her heart. She was a peaceful soul if there ever was one, and shy to boot. That's why he loved her, she was his morality pet, his guiding Light, and Kenji had always been a fan of those kinds of puns. Still, this was not the time nor the place to be thinking of these things, it was popping off. In the distance, he could hear the sounds of a battle going on. "Dammit. We're late," Kenji muttered, agreed with by a growl from Sabre. But if they stayed long enough, he was sure that they'd find trouble eventually.

The epicenter of all the activity seemed to be the little house, so logic dictated that Kenji make his way into the house and see what was going on. Well, perhaps not normal logic, but the idea fit the bill for Kenji's brand of logic. He waited until the coast was clear and slunk toward the house with all the stealth of a limply thrown brick. Not that the bright crimson Flareon at his side was doing much better, but still. Kenji would admit that he'd had better ideas... He'd also admit that he'd had worse ones, so it all evened up, really. But before he could properly infiltrate the house, he heard a loud thumping to his side. The noise surprised him and he froze like a statue. Sabre rounded Kenji's ankle, head close to his paws in preparation to pounce.

Fortunately, the sound didn't seem to come from one of the goons wandering the complex, and it didn't sound like the normal thump of footsteps. Especially when those foot steps were on grass and dirt. Pokemon and trainer both tilted their heads in confusion at the same time, trying to gauge what exactly the mad thumping was. Kenji spared a glance and a shrug for Sabre, the universal signal for "Let's check it out." Sabre yipped and followed closely behind, the universal signal for "Okay."

The sounds led them to a moving truck, and if Kenji had his guess, then he'd imagine that someone was locked up in it. Though whether that someone was friendly or foe was an entirely different matter. One of the Rocket goons could have easily accidently locked themself up in there after all. After a moment of internal debate, Kenji decided to risk it. What had he to worry about anyway, with Sabre by his side.

"Eye's open. If they even look hostile, I want you to Bite and latch on, got it?" Kenji said, Sabre giving an understanding nod. With that, Kenji approached the truck and after a countdown, threw the doors open. Sabre went from a battle read stance to a more relieved one, as the person locked up in the trunk wasn't a Rocket goon, but a girl. A bound girl. A hostage, maybe?

"Hello sweetheart," Kenji said, surprise etched deep into his face. A moment passed, with him expecting a reply, but when one didn't come he finally noticed that her mouth was bound as well. "Ah, well.. Let's get you out of that, yeah? Light, I could use your rodent teeth now. Sabre, keep watch," He asked, the mouse Pokemon popping her head out of the bag. Seeing the woman tied up, the Pikachu pulled itself out of Kenji's bag and went to work on the bindings on the woman's hands, as Kenji went for the one around her mouth.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

As things turned out, Ravenna didn’t have to wait long for someone to notice the racket she was making, because the doors to the storage compartment opened shortly thereafter, and she nodded resolutely to herself, ready to bodily tackle the person to get out if they happened to be a Team Rocket member. Fortunately, it was quickly obvious that she wouldn’t have to; this person wasn’t wearing the uniform. Even more fortunately, her powers were trickling back to her now, and she was briefly overwhelmed by sensations; the stress and excitement from many parties outside, but also from the ones in front of her.

The man was obviously stout of heart, determined. She sensed fire and sparks and laughter, but it was edged with… regret? Maybe she was wrong about that, but it seemed correct to her, anyway. The Flareon rared to go beside him was infectious energy and fighting spirit, and the Pikachu was a more gentle affection and bright character. Instantly, her shoulders relaxed; the pokemon were happy and loved, and she did not believe the man had the intention of harming her.

Indeed not, as the Pikachu started to chew at her bonds, while her trainer reached for the rough linen banded about the lower half of Ravenna’s face. She turned her head to the side as soon as it was free and coughed, swallowing several times and wetting her lips with her tongue to try and rid herself of the uncomfortable reminders of being unable to speak. At about that time, the ropes binging her wrists snapped, and she brought them in front of her, rubbing delicately at her wrists and frowning at the red marks there. Nevertheless, she glanced back up at the stranger and smiled a bit, one hand finding the back of the Pikachu’s ear and scratching, though she was careful to let it know that she meant it no harm.

Indeed, a wave of gratefulness issued from her to all three parties present, nothing so strong as a thought-communication, but more like a warm feeling, transmitted from her to them. ”Thank you,” she said simply, with a small nod.
There was some kind of loud crash from outside, which drew her eyes to the open door behind her small party of rescuers. The dark thought invaded that Team Rocket, if that was indeed who they were, still had her friends. The pleasant expression fell from her face, replaced with a rather distressed one, and this too she inadvertently communicated before she put a lid on it and reeled her feelings back in. “My family…” she started quietly, her free hand reflexively balling into a fist. ”They stole my family.”

"Your... Family?" Kenji asked. It wasn't the comment that was strange. Well. Perhaps it was, just a touch, but that wasn't it. It was the feeling the girl gave off. Warm and cuddly, thankfulness even. It was strange, even for him, and he walked around with an entire steel mill in his face. Light seemed to take it a lot better, rubbing up against the girl's outstretched hand as she scratched her ear. Strange, she was quite the bashful creature. Still, he could sit there and contemplate all life's mysteries, or he could help find this girl's "Family" and Kenji never was for sitting around.

"Right, your family," He said, giving her an outstretched. "Let's go find 'em. Have any idea where to start lookin'?" He asked, looking out the back of the truck. A loud crash and Sabre's growling could be heard back there, and he still wanted to know exactly was going down out there. There was only one way to find out, after all.

Ravenna took the hand without hesitation, using it to help her hop down from the bed of the truck. Releasing it thereafter, she compressed her lips in a moue of thoughtful displeasure. ”…I’ll know when I get near,” she said, tapping a temple with her index finger. As far as she knew, that explained everything. As her eyes adjusted to the intrusion of the light, she got a better look at her party of rescuers, and realized that from here, she had to angle her head upwards quite considerably to look the only human one in the face, something of an oddity for her, tall as she was.

If she thought it was at all strange that a large portion of his head was shiny as a Steelix, she certainly made no mention of it, and in fact she didn’t. People came in all kinds, and that had never really bothered her. She wasn’t so normal herself, between the hair and the odd mannerisms. Not always very self-aware, she could at least observe that much.

Something twinged in the back of her mind, and she recognized the presence of Artemis almost immediately. It seemed that the Espeon, and likely the rest of her team, were somewhere off to the left, and so she started that way. She would have perhaps thanked this stranger again, who had seemed to take her problem in stride and volunteer to help without reservation, but right now it was more important to find them. She had a feeling that he’d understand; his pokemon were so clearly loved that she imagined he’d feel just as distressed as she were their positions reversed.

They passed what appeared to be a rather intense double-battle, giving a wide berth to the great swaths of fire issuing from the Arcanine, a sight which caused her heart to twinge painfully as she thought of Prometheus. Shaking it off, Ravenna continued her intrepid march, only to pull up short as her path was blocked by another member of Team Rocket, who started for a moment as though surprised to see her there. She surmised that he must have been there when she was hit with the shovel, and frowned, reaching for the belt-sash that wasn’t there and letting out a huff of frustration when she remembered her mistake.

Rocket Grunt Kotetsu
Pokemon: Dustox, Beedrill
Difficulty Level: 2/10

The man, a tall, stringy thing with white hair straightened up, his hand going to his belt, and the red and white balls contained therein. Kenji rolled his eyes at the goon, thinking how easy it would be just to snap him over his leg like a piece of dry wood. Still, if it was a fight he wanted, then a fight he'd get. A sideways glance to Sabre was all the eager thing needed before it darted out to the frontlines, overflowing with energy. Sure, he ran with Kenji earlier that morning, but nothing got the sweat going like a battle.

"We'll let 'em that this one, alright sweetheart?" Kenji told the woman with a wink. He'd seen her reach for her own Pokeballs, hopefully she wouldn't mind if his team took the first battle. Sabre barked in anticipation, as Light clung to Kenji's shoulder, silently watching.

The first contestant was a Dustox, a fact not missed by Kenji. He had to stifle a chuckle due to the type disadvantage. Though he couldn't see it, he could easily imagine the same grin plastered on Sabre's snout. "Simple," He told the woman next to him-- which reminded him that he hadn't caught her name yet. He'd have to ask once they found her Pokemon, she seemed like she had a one track mind as of lately. Fine, just all the more reason to get this battle over with quickly.

"Finish it quickly, Fire fang, go!" Kenji commanded, and like a shot the order was carried out. Sabre ran towards the critter, mouth wide with his fangs streaming fire as he lunged into the air and... Missed. The Dustox flapped its gossamer wings and rose into the air, sending the Flareon back to the ground with a gust, leaving him a worse mood than when he started. Right, so Kenji wasn't expecting that, that was a safe bet. Perhaps he shouldn't underestimate his foes just yet. "... Maybe not so simple," Kenji amended. "Wipe that grin off your face, string-bean, before I wipe it off for you!" He yelled at the Rocket Grunt, who quickly complied. Even if he did lose the battle, nothing stopped him from snapping him two afterward.

Ravenna was forced to comply, though the idea that someone else should have to fight for her left a bad taste in her mouth. She had raised her friends to be strong and interdependent, so that they could always protect one another, but she hadn’t ever conceived that a day should come when she was without them. A strange thing, for someone who had grown up near a pokemon cemetery, but to her, mortality and the sharp edges of the real world had always seemed far away. Even if the worst were to pass, she’d simply assumed that they would all be united in facing it.

Yet here she was, alone, and defenseless, and she realized then how much she’d always counted on them. A lump rose in her throat, and she nodded mutely to the man’s suggestion, knowing that she could do no else.
At first, the advantage seemed obviously to belong to he and his Flareon, but in a quick maneuver, the Dustox lifted off and sent the poor thing to the ground with a Gust, and Ravenna chewed her lip. Apparently, this was not as simple as it seemed. Glancing over to the other trainer, she narrowed her eyes, focusing on his body language, and the positioning of his pokemon, trying to recall what she knew of the typical moves of such pokemon.

It hit her into a flash—the reason the moth pokemon was still high in the air. It couldn’t be Wing Attack, and she doubted Aerial Ace. That meant… ”Whirlwind,” she warned urgently, but low enough that the Grunt couldn’t hear, adjusting her stance so that she was braced more firmly against the ground. It was just a hunch, not even a true premonition, but she’d learned a long time ago to trust her instincts.

Kenji spared a glance for the woman, but opted to instead heed the advice without word. Not often one just tells you the next attack on an instant, and she did give off the weird vibe. "Smog." was the single worded command. He had a plan brewing, and just hoped that Sabre knew what to do. Without hesitation, Sabre spewed a black mist of smog, concealing himself from the airborne Dustox. After the smog screen was laid Kenji braced himself and grabbed Light from his shoulder, holding her close to his chest. Just as predicted, the command was issued in a emotionless voice. "Whirlwind, wipe it off the map!"

Impressive. He was gonna have to ask her how she knew that later, but first, he'd have to weather this storm. The gale rocked him, and had he been a lesser man would have been tossed aside. Light, for her part, clutched his hands trying to avoid being swept away. The Whirlwind whipped about, blowing away every trace of the Smog from the area until nothing was left. Not even Sabre. Kenji didn't seem to mind that bit though, instead grinning like a fool. The Rocket Grunt sneered, and asked, "What's so funny, we blew away your precious hound."

Kenji couldn't help but laugh and pointed up. "Because. Fire Fang," He said with confidence. Right on cue, Sabre fell upon the descended Dustox, burying a pair of fire soaked fangs into the creature, riding it all the way to the ground. At some point during the Smog, Sabre had escaped the impact zone and jumped into the air as the trainer and Pokemon were distracted, leaving him ample opportunity to fall on top of the Dustox. The impact threw Sabre off, rolling all the way to Kenji's feet. But the damage was done, and the Dustox was knocked out. "Impressive," Kenji commended, patting the Pokemon on the head. For such a wild ride, the creature seemed invigorated by the action, raring to go for some more. "Get 'em," He added, and off again Sabre went, to challenge the next contestant.

Who turned out to be a Beedrill. That was little bit worrying, Kenji didn't like the needle thing on it's tail, but Sabre wouldn't be detered. His snout was lowered close to the ground next to his paws, back arched and waiting to pounce. "Thanks for that, sweetheart. Any more sagely wisdom?" He asked the woman next to him.

A thick smog blanketed the area, cloaking the battlefield in a purplish-black smoke that made it impossible to see anything. Still, they could hear just fine, even over the ruckus of the other battle some distance away. When the Whirlwind came as expected, it blew the smog away, though thankfully not right into her face, as she was having problem enough staying rooted. Dropping low, she dug her hands into the thick carpet of grass that surrounded Bill’s home, the winds tearing at her hair and whipping the fabric of her dress behind her.

By the time it died down, she looked a little the worse for wear, rising a bit unsteadily to her feet. One tail had come undone, and the other one was loosened to the point of uselessness anyway, so she pulled the tie out and wrapped it ‘round her wrist, watching with interest as the gambit paid off and the Dustox fell to the Flareon’s sneak attack.

A Beedrill replaced it, and her ally inquired as to whether she could discern anything else. She wasn’t fully precognitive; aside from the occasional dream, what she had was at best strong instinct paired with observation skills, and she studied the Beedrill as well as she could, violet eyes flickering from it to its gangly trainer, who seemed to be growing progressively more aggressive as time went on. She shook her head slightly. ”Something… direct? Angry. I think you’re wise enough,” she replied, smiling wanly.

It was hard to be cheerful right now, but in any other situation, she might well have been. At least she didn’t sense her pokemon getting any further away, just occasionally moving back and forth within a certain radius. They must be with one of the people moving equipment. There was no chance of getting there right now, though; she’d simply have to wait.

"Angry huh? That's descriptive, but we can work with angry, can't we Sabre?" Kenji asked, a yip in reply. This little exchange did little to soften the scorn clearly apparent on the face of the Rocket Grunt. All of that rage managed to put some red in the pale man's face, and Kenji could swear that he saw roots turning a fine shade of crimson. Just as well, he liked them mad. "Say we start to fight angry?" Kenji posed. "Beedrill, give them a taste of your Rage," The grunt commanded. This order managed an impressed glance from Kenji in the woman's direction. It really couldn't get much more direct and angry than that, after all.

Instead of inching back at the threat of the coming onslaught, against all reason Sabre eagerly crept forward, awaiting, savoring the next command. He wanted to fight, and Kenji wouldn't keep him from it. "Easy..." Kenji urged. He'd get his time, but for now, they needed to bide their time. As he waited, the Beedrill began to peforate the air in front of it with it's two drills as it approached Sabre, steadily gaining momentum all the while. The Flareon waited on bated paws as the assaulted moved closer and closer until it was within striking distance. That's when the command came.

"Dodge and bite Sabre! Fight it!" Kenji order, and Sabre flew through the air, uncaring of the drills and latched on to the Beedrill, slowing bringing it down to the ground. Once there, Sabre kept the biting hold, withstanding the Beedrill's rage all the while. Unless he wanted Sabre to get seriously injured, Kenji would have to act fast. Luckily, no one accused Kenji of being slow.

"Now! Ignite, and Lava Plume," and with that command, the crimson fur on the Pokemon intensified, carrying with it a burning fire. From Sabre, the fire poured forth, engulfing the Beedrill in flames and knocking it's trainer to the ground. With that, the Beedrill was finished, and Sabre dismounted, walking toward Kenji with a slight limp, nothing that couldn't be cured at a Pokecenter. Kenji nodded approvingly, and patted Sabre's head as he approached. Light too, hugged the snout of her comrade, glad that he was okay. "See sweetheart? Simple," he told the woman, a pleased smile on his face.

Ravenna might have agreed, suitably impressed by the determination of the team, but she sensed an irregular shift in the movement of her pokemon, and she wasn’t about to let them get away now that the path to them was clear, and as soon as she was able, she was flying across the yard as fast as her feet could carry her, quite nearly heedless of obstacles in her path, jumping over the unavoidable ones with the fleet stride of a Sawsbuck in springtime.

It wasn’t long before she’d homed in on the distress call from Artemis, and to her dismay, it seemed that her precious friends were indeed in the possession of a Grunt, who was standing beside another one. The two were by themselves, but each seemed to have their own pokemon as well as hers. Well, that didn’t matter. It couldn’t. Seeking for the sash hanging loosely from the first man’s hand, she tugged with all her might, as quickly as she could. She wouldn’t be able to win a tug-of-war with the Rocket with either her mind or her body, as he was a rather sturdy-looking individual, but she did have the element of surprise, and the red fabric flew out of his hand, surrounded by blue-purple energy, and across the way to her waiting hand.


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At having the fabric ripped from his hand for no discernible reason, the beefy Grunt’s eyes shifted to his left, whereupon he spotted the young woman snatching it out of the air, and scowled. “Now where’d you come from?” He growled in a gravelly tone, signaling to his partner, a rotund fellow with a mustache. “Do we have to?” the second one whined, clearly wishing to be elsewhere. The first guy rolled his eyes and tossed a pokeball, which cracked open to reveal a Nidorino, already pawing at the ground and ready for a fight.

Well. She certainly wasn’t getting her family back only to lose them again. That thought firmly in mind, she reached into the fold of the sash and withdrew a pokeball, the familiar feel of the little device in her hand a comfort indeed, even as it expanded. ”Artemis!” she called, with less volume than some, but her voice was brittle, unwavering, a change from the usual softness. The Espeon leapt from her pokeball, forked tail thrashing with ill-suppressed irritation. They both knew that there was no time for heartfelt reunions now, but even so, the thoughts that flashed back and for the between them were warm and relieved in equal measure.

It was then that the second man relented and threw his own into the fray, lining up a Doduo at the Nidorino’s side.

Rocket Grunt Calvin and Rocket Grunt Victor
Pokemon: (Calvin) Doduo, Muk, Magcargo | (Victor) Nidorino, Murkrow, Croconaw
Difficulty Level: 6

The Doduo was the first to attack, contrary to the slowness of its trainer, driving in towards Artemis with a peck attack, but the Espeon was light on her feet, and with a flash-fast series of thoughts between pokemon and trainer, she jumped back, turning her focus to the Nidorino and concentrating, the gem on her forehead aglow with the Psychic blast, which, from the fact that the poison-type stumbled backwards several steps, had certainly hit. It left her open for counterattack, though, and Ravenna tore her eyes from the scene for just a moment to go for another pokeball. Two-on-one was far from ideal.

Fortunately, it wouldn't have to be two-on-one as a yellow ball of lightning flew past the woman and impacted the Doduo, knocking it off of it's path toward the Espeon. Rebounding from the strike, the little ball revealed itself to be Light, and Kenji came to a stop beside the woman. "You're a flighty thing, aren't you sweetheart?" he noted before turning his attention to Light. "How about it? You alright?" He called after her. Light wasn't his most physically imposing of Pokemon, nor was she as eager for battle as Sabre (who was now safely tucked away inside his pokeball) but she had heart. That had to count for something. And something it did, as she fired off a series of "pikapii's" in his direction. Kenji nodded his assent and said, "Alrighty love, this one's yours." With that, Light backed her way up to beside the Espeon, awaiting the next attack.

He was late to this party because, well, frankly, the dove sprang without saying a word, and Kenji was unprepared to be chasing after the white rabbit. He had to jump up, recall Sabre (against his wishes, most likely) and run after her. She might have been graceful on her feet, but Kenji was like a tank. A tank that tripped once on the way to the girl. He didn't see the her rip her sash from these men, and he wasn't quick enough on the draw to wonder how she could have snatched it without getting close to it. Just as well, she was already and enigma, no use adding fuel to those flames. Besides, Light seemed to like her well enough, and it was her that sprang the Electro Ball on the Doduo. That was good enough for him.

”As long as I’m not running away,” Ravenna replied simply. It was funny, actually; she’d been called many things before, but flighty was never one of them. She’d simply known what her goal was and gone for it. She didn’t really know how to be otherwise, and she never had. Granted, her goals weren’t always… normal, but that didn’t much matter.

She was glad for the help, and her hand dropped from the bundle she carried for the moment, though she did catch the other end of it and loops it loosely about her hips, feeling much better now that her pokemon were back where they belonged. It meant that she was, too. With the timely intervention of the Pikachu, the entire opposing dynamic was thrown off, though Nidorino recovered swiftly enough, and its trainer sent it in towards Artemis with a shout, commanding it to hit with a horn attack. This time, the Espeon wasn’t quite quick enough, and the first two blows in the series hit her flank, though she managed to duck the last one.

That had to stop. “Double Team,” Ravenna said quickly, speaking her commands for the benefit of her ally, who should probably know what she was doing in order to plan his own maneuvers. Ordinarily, she wouldn’t have bothered, since telepathy was so easy with Artemis, but it was a change she was more than willing to make in this situation.

In response, the figure of her Espeon split into five, and all of them jumped forward, two splitting off to distract the Doduo by running circles around it and weaving between its spindly legs. The other three, among them the real Artemis, charged in with a swift, seeking to put the pokemon off-balance before it could do some more serious (and possibly poisonous) damage to one or both of their team.

Kenji nodded after the girl called for a double team. He still planned to go after the Doduo, the type advantage was in his favor there, and hoped that her Espeon could handle the Nidorino. He didn't like the horns covering the creature. Call him over protective of Light, but he didn't like sending her in to fight. This was her battle though, and one she chose, and he could only guide her through it the best that he could. Fair enough, he was a good trainer. He could do that. "Agility, Light, blend in with the Espeon's double team," Kenji called, and Light obeyed.

She darted alongside one of the Espeon copies, breaking off once they reached the Doduo and running in the opposite direction of the copies. Unfortunately, the creature had two heads, enough to keep track in both directions... For a while. After a while, the pair of necks began intertwined and couldn't track the Pokemon any more, and a grin spread along Kenji's face. The Doduo tried one last ditch effort to Peck at one of its foes, but missed, and only hit one of the Espeon copies. The act bought just enough time for Light to position herself for the next strike.

"Electro Ball," He ordered, and on command she blasted off, engulfed in a sheath of electricity. Thanks to the agility, the momentum of the attack was greater and the impact more vicious. The little yellow streak managed to slam the Doduo into the ground, knocking it out. Light enjoyed her stay on the top of the mountain as she victorious stood on top of the unconscious pokemon, looking rather proud of herself. "Don't get too cocky now, we're just beginnin'," Kenji reminded her.

The star-shaped energy beams of a Swift hit the Nidorino a glancing blow, and it was forced to retaliate with a double kick, which took out one of the copies and then by sheer bad luck found Artemis on the second strike, though she was able to shake it off. ”Psychic,” Ravenna advised, and the pokemon happily complied, lashing the other with her mind and successfully rendering unconscious. For a moment, then, the field was clear of opponent pokemon, and Ravenna took the opportunity to exhale her relief. She’d been very afraid that Artemis would end up with a case of poisoning.

The respite was short-lived, however, as a Magcargo and a Murkrow appeared on the field next. Artemis was very much disadvantaged here, and though she might be able to handle the Magcargo, the risk posed by the Murkrow’s presence was too great for Ravenna’s comfort, and she immediately withdrew the Espeon, sliding the pokeball back into her sash and withdrawing another. ”Castor,” she whispered softly, and the ball opened with a pop, the Lucario within sizing up the territory already, his ‘voice’ soothing in her head. It is good to have you back, too, old friend, she thought, and shifted her weight slightly, trying to analyze the situation as she had done earlier. It made sense for the Pikachu to handle Murkrow, and honestly, bringing Castor into this fight was something of a gamble. She had to trust that his hard-hitting fighting moves would render the rock side of the Magcargo vulnerable before its flames hurt his steel sensibilities overmuch.

Atalanta would have been well-suited for the situation, but she didn’t think there was enough room for her Lapras to freely move about here, so she’d gone with a Lucario instead. ”Focus on the Magcargo,” she told him solemnly, and Castor nodded his lupine head, shoring up his position and waiting as patiently as he knew how. ”Start with an Aura Sphere,” His kind’s trademark move, the sphere gathered in front of him, and, with what appeared to be a spinning kick, he sent it flying towards the snail-like pokemon. The hit was true, but it didn't seem to do as much damage as she'd hoped. The fire pokemon's defense seemed to be somewhat higher than she would have otherwise expected, and Ravenna knew she was going to have to dig in for the long haul on this one.

With the newly swapped Lucario taking care of the Magcargo, that left the Murkrow to Light and her trainer. The Pikachu slowly circled around the back of the Lucario, swapping sides to take on the Murkrow. Kenji had to admit, that little displayed gave her quite the predatory air and made it seem like she knew exactly what she was doing. Not that it made Kenji feel any better of course. The Murkrow painted a smaller target than the Doduo, and then they'd have to worry about the bloody thing flying about. Also, Kenji didn't like the way it stared down Light.

Kenji decided to let the Murkrow take the first shot, gauging the creature and muttered a simple, "Hold fast," command for Light. As told, the creature lowered itself close to the ground, her eyes following the Murkrow's every movement. So they sat, staring at eachother, waiting for the other to strike first. Moments passed before the Grunt's impatience won through before Kenji's, ordering, "Run it down! Pursuit!" Of course, he'd have to catch Light first. What she lacked in strength and power, she made up for in speed and agility. The next move was made before Kenji even ordered it. "Good luck with that. Light, agility," And thus the game of cat and mouse began, with Light unsurprisingly taking up the role of mouse.

"Don't let the smug bastard get too close," Kenji warned, not that it was necessary. Light evaded the initial attack, but the pursuit was on, with Light dodging all across the battle field. It continued like this for a moment, until Light made a wrong turn and came across the enemy Magcargo. Light attempted to jump over the Pokemon, but accidently touched the rocky shell, burning her feet. She fell and twisted in the air, hitting the ground and coming to a sliding stop on her back. Now Kenji was worried, biting his lip as the Murkrow came in for the pursuit. "You've got to stop it, Lightning Bolt!" Kenji cried, and a streak of lightning flew from the Pikachu. Unfortunately, the bolt was off balance and the Murkrow was agile in the air, dodging it with ease.

Kenji watched in a pained expression as the Murkrow buried it's beak into Light's chest, elliciting a cry from the Pokemon. Distraught as he was, Kenji had to take control of the situation. "Light! Grab it and Slam it into the ground!" he urged. Fighting past the pain in her chest, Light grabbed the Murkrow by the head and flipped to her back, driving it into the ground behind her. She then jumped off of the Pokemon and came to a stop a couple of yards away, panting heavily and looking to be in some pain. But Kenji could tell by her face, she wasn't done yet. She wouldn't give up so easily, she'd keep fighting. Even if he was scared for her, Kenji was proud of his little Pikachu.

"Heart..." Kenji muttered. Light did not lack heart.

Perhaps unfortunately for their chances of success, the Magcargo’s trainer wasn’t silly, and knew just as well as they did that the match would be a close call either way. He’d responded to the initial Aura Sphere by ordering his pokemon to use Acid Armor, which would make it even harder for Castor to get a fully-effective hit in. This would be a match played carefully and by necessity with precision. “Just breathe, Castor. Calm your mind.” Nodding, the Lucario took in a deep lungful of air, trying to remind himself that his trainer was to be trusted and heeded, even if he felt the need to rush forward and end things as quickly as possible. She’d pulled them through worse situations before, and they both knew it.

Almost at once, he felt his mind sharpen, clarity descending over him as they shared thoughts back and forth without the intermediary of voices or even words. All they needed were images, travelling too fast to be tracked over their mental connection. From her, he received love and gentle assurance, and in his turn, he gave her courage and determination. This was perhaps what enabled them, as one, to see the snail pokemon tug at the earth beneath it, even as its trainer issued the order for a Rock Throw. The slimy tail lashed forward with ponderous certainty, and the large projectile it had ripped from the ground sailed right for Castor.

But he saw it and she saw it, and they were calm. Waiting for the right moment, Castor stood his ground, until he felt rather than saw Ravenna nod behind him, and leaped upwards, bringing a heel down on the stone in midair and shattering it mightily. The debris spray obscured visibility for a moment, and this, they took advantage of. ”Again, Aura Sphere.” Darting forward, Castor launched the glowing ball with a punch, and as the Magcargo could not see it coming, the precision of the strike landed critically, rocking the other pokemon back until it teetered uncomfortably close to tipping over.

“Argh! Magcargo, Recover!” Its trainer called, and the fire pokemon was soon covered in rainbow light. Ravenna pursed her lips. That move was going to make things difficult.

At this point, her ally’s Pikachu inadvertently landed on the shell of the snail, and the rose-haired woman winced her sympathy. “That’s it!” the Grunt yelled, apparently inspired by the incident. “Flame Burst!” It was a dangerous move, one that hit everything in the vicinity of the target with a wide arc of fire. If they didn’t move, part of the blast would hit Pikachu. If they did, Castor would bear the full brunt of an assault that held a type advantage against him.

They didn’t hesitate. Go, she urged, and he needed no more than that, veering sharply to the right as the Magcargo gathered the attack, molten rock dripping from its wide mouth. Castor’s movement forced it to aim only for him, well out of range of the other battle occurring, but as a result, the spewed flames hit him directly in the chest, and his feet lost traction on the ground, flipping over his head before he landed unceremoniously in the ground, ripping two irregular rents in the earth with the spikes upon his hands. Ravenna urged him on silently, eyes fixed unwaveringly on where he lay, feeling echoes of his pain in her own limbs, which were atremble with momentary weakness. Slowly, painstakingly, Castor forced himself to his feet, and the strength returned to her as well. Ravenna stood straighter, glancing quickly at the other side of the field, then back.

Ready? she asked him.

Yes, he replied simply, and she smiled, giving the order so softly it was almost a whisper. “Reversal.”

What had looked like their immanent defeat was suddenly something else entirely, as Castor’s exhausted, battered state allowed him to tap into a well of inner strength, and he rushed forward, heedless of either the heat of the flame pokemon’s body or the caustic acid armor still in effect. The attack hit tremendously, and this time the Magcargo really did topple over, clearly unconscious, while Castor stood over it, breathing heavily, one fist planted into the ground to steady himself.

She caught her ally’s whispered word and returned her attention to the situation with Pikachu and Murkrow, smiling slightly and nodding her head gently. “And soul,” she replied, recalling Castor to rest even as the Grunt sent forth his final pokemon, a Muk. Those were usually quite tough, and she considered her next choice carefully. There was still the unknown entity of the last unreleased pokemon to consider, but she didn’t like the already-weakened little electric mouse’s chances against such a large foe, and decided that she had to pick something to keep it away from the other fight, no matter what. Artemis would have ordinarily been her choice, but she needed to rest. That left her with a few equal options, but the choice was apparently made for her when a twinge at the back of her mind informed her that Iris wanted in.

Trusting her pokemon’s judgement, Ravenna grabbed the ball and tossed it with her mind, letting the fuschia-colored Dragonair emerge with a musical cry. It wouldn’t be simple, but there was logic to the choice.


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#, as written by Ion

With tender paws, Light watched the Murkrow intently. It was slow rising, but that wasn't the most interesting thing happening. That would be the Magcargo slowly building steam for a Fire Burst. Both the Murkrow and Pikachu had similar ideas, get away as fast as possible. With that in mind, the dueling parties split for the time being, escaping to the respective side of the battlefields, allowing the more heated of the battles to run its course. Once the flame burst had past, the Pokemon jumped right back at it, Castor's own bravery inspiring both Light and Kenji. "Think we can keep up?" he asked. His answer was none other than a confident "Pikapii," as she dove right back into the battle. "My thoughts exactly. Let's bring down the thunder then," Kenji said, grinning.

"Wing Attack!" The grunt called, and not feeling like dodging around anymore, Kenji ordered a, "Agility, match him. No more running," He said. Happily, Light's speed picked up to fight the bird's assault head on. The distance closed quickly, and soon Kenji was to command once again, "Now! Jump!" And with rehearsed aclarity, Light did so, leaping high into the air. Both trainer and Pokemon now had the firm grasp of the plan at hand and before Kenji even finished shouting the next move, Light had already tucked herself in tightly.

"Tail whip!" Kenji ordered and Light flipped in the air, bringing her lightning bolt tail in a wide arc, colliding hard with the Murkrow's head, sending it crashing into the ground. Kenji didn't account for the momentum though, and so the Murkrow fell forward instead of back, colliding with Light in a jumbled heap of fur and feathers, the Wing Attack making partial contact. Kenji winced when the two fell to the earth. For a couple of worrying moments, the heap was still, neither pokemon moving. Kenji began to approach the pile when something finally did. Both of them. However, light was the first to her feet, and Kenji wasn't keen on taking chances.

"Thunder Bolt! Finish it," He asked, and the Pikachu heeded the command, bringing down a thin streak of lightning on the bird, finishing the job. With one more Pokemon down, Kenji had had enough of risking Light and called her back to his side. "Alright, you're done. Come here, we'll let someone else finish it, yeah? You've done more than enough," He pleaded. Fortunately, Light was too tired to argue and obediently limped back to Kenji, who picked her up and one hand and held her close. "You did great. Rest for now, the others can handle it from here," He said. Petting the Pokemon on the head.

The Rocket grunt though, wasn't taking the loss very well, throwing out his next Pokemon with no certain amount of vitriol. And from the ball emerged a mean looking Croconaw. Great. Light's electricity would have been helpful here as well, but there was no way in hell he was sending her back out there. Plus, he hadn't gotten around to obtaining a grass type yet, not that it wasn't on his list. It was the very next item on the list, actually. Honestly.

Instead, he decided on someone else, who'd might be able to help out with the Muk as well. Though, she really didn't paint the manly man image Kenji was going for... "Don't laugh," Kenji told the girl next to him, as he throw out the next player. A Butterfree emerged from the pokeball, looking as calm and serene as ever. "Flower," he explained.

“Why would I laugh?” Ravenna replied, genuinely puzzled. ”She’s lovely.” Whether she knew the pokemon’s gender from implications related to the nickname or in some other fashion was unclear, though, and the girl returned her eyes to the field. Actually, this situation was working out pretty well. She was willing to bet the Butterfree had at least one psychic-type attack, which would be helpful against the Muk, and it so happened that Iris knew a thing or two about electricity.

“This seems like a good opportunity to slow them down, don’t you think?” She asked lightly, clasping her hands in front of her and rocking back on her heels for a moment. ”I think… yellow and blue.” As if that statement made perfect sense, she darted her eyes towards the Muk.

”Iris, use Thunder Wave,” she advised mildly, and the Dragonair trilled in a pleased sort of way, the gems at the tip of her tail waving back and forth like some kind of odd metronome, an electromagnetic pulse hitting the sludge pokemon somewhere in its middle, impeding its already awkward movement. The trainer tried to call out for it to attack, but to no avail. Muk was paralyzed.

"Blue and Yellow huh? Okay..." Kenji asked. That was a strange comment if there ever was one. He spared a glance at the black dress wrapped enigma and shrugged, offering something a bit more concrete. "Right, let me help a bit," He said, watching as the woman's Dragonair paralyzed the Muk. But first, he'd have to contend with a Croconaw, who was readying something to fire off at Flower. At least this time Flower had wings and could get out of the way if needed, and it was needed.

"Altitude, altitude!" Kenji urged, and Flower ascended as told. Just in time too as the Grunt spouted off the attack. "Water Gun, shoot it down!" He yelled, to which Kenji replied, "Haha, nope." As predicted, Flower managed to gain enough air between herself and the Croconaw for the Water Gun's arc to fall short, barely getting Flower wet at all. The same could not be said for Kenji as he... Miscalculated the arc and got drenched himself. He managed to shield Light from most of it, but still. His pants were soaked. At least he wasn't wearing a shirt, else he would have been mad.

"Right. We'll worry about that later. Flower, Psybeam. Help out our friend?" He said, and the Butterfree flapped her wings in the air, pulling a flip before shooting off to her impromptu comrade's side, gathering her energy to fire a concentrated beam of psychic energy at the Muk.

Ravenna bit her lower lip to stifle a chuckle when the man next to her wound up completely soaked. “I guess that’s blue, too,” she said with a shrug, though it hadn’t been precisely what she’d meant. But as ever, she didn’t really see the need to clarify, and so when Flower the Butterfree went in for the psychic attack, Ravenna noted that this left the Croconaw free to do as it liked, and it was presently making a beeline for the two allied pokemon, perhaps to engage in some closer-quarters combat.

Well, she wasn’t going to make it such a simple thing. “Cover her, Iris; intercept that Croconaw with a Thunderbolt.” As the Butterfree went one way, the Dragonair lunged in the air, their paths crossing above and below, and in a streak of pink, Iris was in front of the water-type, the electricity cracking in her tail, which she brought around in a whiplike crack to the pokemon’s massive jaw. Not exactly the placement Ravenna would have advised, and though it was obviously very effective, the Croconaw instinctively latched onto Iris’s tail with his teeth, causing the serpentine dragon to cry out.

“That’s it, Croconaw!” his trainer encouraged. “Now, Ice Fang!” Ravenna’s eyes went wide, and she pulled in a sharp breath; she hadn’t been expecting that. She couldn’t risk using Extremespeed right now, as the damage to Iris’s tail could be permanent that way, and that was assuming the momentum of the lunge would even be enough to tear her free. No, she had to make the crocodilian let go somehow.

“Hang in there, Iris,” Ravenna murmured. ”It has to open its mouth to use Ice Fang; when he does, use Extremespeed to get out.” It was a risk, but she thought it would probably work. When the Croconaw’s jaw opened, then, the Dragonair successfully yanked her tail out, but she didn’t avoid the attack altogether, as the pokemon simply swapped targets, biting at her midsection instead. Ravenna flinched visibly, holding a hand to the left side of her ribcage to steady the sudden sympathetic pain there. That wasn’t good. The attack had done a lot of damage; Iris wouldn’t be able to take another.

Kenji attention turned to the woman, who acted as if she felt the damage done to her Dragonair herself, meanwhile, Flower turned to the Dragonair herself. "Are... You okay?" He asked. It was beginning to become glaringly obvious that this girl wasn't the normal garden variety chick. Instead of pondering the mystery, though he should have been paying more attention to the battle at hand. Flower too for that matter, as she drifted close to the Dragonair to check on her. That left the Muk enough time to act past it's paralysis and get off a spurt of poison gas. Before she could react, the gas enveloped the Butterfree, which began a series of rough sounding coughs.

"Oh damn, Flower! Silver Wind, blow it away!" Kenji called, but it was too late. The poison gas was already working it's way through the petite body of the Butterfree. At this point, he could only hope that the Dragonair could be spared it's effects. At the command, Flower began to beat her winds, dispelling the gas and replacing it with a silvery powder sweeping toward the Muk. The powder struck with force, but the Muk proved resilient and suffered through it. Now the woman's Dragonair was injured and Flower was poisoned. It wasn't looking too bright for the pair. Another coughing fit racked Flower, and all Kenji could do was wince in pain for her.

If anything, the woman looked surprised at the question, blinking wide eyes before nodding slowly. “I am all right,” she replied softly, thin fingers clenching in the fabric as she watched the cloud of poison powder blanket the area. She knew that even if Iris were to fall under the effects of the poison, it would not last very long, as the Dragonair’s body tended to direct toxins to the surface of the skin, which could then be sloughed off when necessary. Shedding the skin removed the status effect, but of course the less damage she suffered, the better, especially when still recovering from that Ice Fang.

For now, it was important to maintain distance. “We need to drop them as quickly as possible,” she said, thinking aloud more than anything else, “or everything will be blue… Thunderbolt.” The attack was targeted for the Croconaw again, and struck hard, leaving sparks flying in its wake. The reptilian pokemon staggered, clearly on its last legs.

"Oh yeah, I'm with ya there, sweetheart... On the first part," What in the hell did she mean by 'everything will be blue'? Still she had a point about putting them down quickly. He could see the poison sapping at Flower's energy, and he just wanted the battle to be over so she could safely return to her Pokeball. He wanted to go to a Pokecenter as quickly as possible, he wanted to heal his friends. But first, he'd have to settle these people down. Fine, that was fine. It was over anyway.

"Flower, Sleep Spore, mix it in with your Silver Wind. Spread the love!" he said, leaning over to the woman, "You and yours best hold your breath..." He said, sticking his face in the crook of his arm. At that, Flower began to flap her wings slowly at first, clearly pained by the poison coursing through her party, but if this maneuver worked, then it didn't matter. She just had to fight through it and win. A blue powder began to fall from her wings, though the Muk wasn't merely going to let her do her gambit. Her wings flapped faster and harder, conjuring more of the powder as the Muk reared back and launched a Sludge Bomb at his airborne foe.

However, the paralysis slowed its reaction time, giving Flower just enough time to disperse her powder. Next came the silver wind. Suddenly, her wings beat frantically, giving a silver sheen to the blue powder with the wind beginning to pick up until it became a gale. The wind knocked the sludgebomb off course and listlessly to the side. The mixed powder then assaulted all foes within distance, attempting to put both the Croconaw and Muk to sleep. It worked for the Muk, the creature slipping into a deep sleep. It wouldn't see the next attack coming. "Psybeam, one last time," came the muffled command, and a beam of energy flew from the Butterfree's head, striking the Muk and knocking it out.

However, the relentless assault did a number on Flower as well, as her flight became erratic and heavy, trying her best to just glide back over to Kenji. About half way, she began to drop, and Kenji didn't hesitate. He ran out and caught the falling Flower with one hand, the other cradling Light as she rested. He then brought both Pokemon to his wide chest, and held them, protecting them. He had inadvertently ran out into the middle of the battlefield.

Ravenna knew a good suggestion when she heard it, and lifted her red scarf to cover her nose and mouth, silently instructing Iris to avoid inhaling the powder if she could. Unfortunately for it, the Croconaw stood no such chance, and it was already getting drowsy before the tall man ran onto the field to catch his falling pokemon. Still, the water-type was making for them, but now wasn’t the time to allow that. Extremespeed, she thought at Iris, and the Dragonair, tired as she was, still replied quickly, launching herself between the half-asleep crocodilian and the trainer with his two friends. Though she would have usually lashed with her tail, this time, Iris butted with her head instead, and the damage was enough to knock out the last opponent, officially winning them the match, though by no wide margin.

Using her thumb and forefinger to pull the scarf back down, Ravenna approached the other trainer, ignoring the Rocket Grunts who were busy retreating. “She should be taken care of as soon as possible,” the woman started, glancing at the Butterfree. “I don’t know if you’d make the Center in enough time, but Bill has some supplies, I think. If not, you can use mine.” She gestured in the direction of the Pokemaniac’s house. If nothing else, it would probably be good to go and check on him, to make sure if he was okay, and to inform him that she was, thankfully. "Let's go then," He agreed, turning toward the house.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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By this point in the operation, the two supervising administrators were busy double-checking that everything they needed was loaded into the balloon, which was carrying the most vital of their haul, with the less-important bits of machinery and so on being loaded into the truck. It was not lost on them that there was some kind of disturbance taking place, but they'd expected as much, from the Cerulean Police of nobody else. As it was, it looked like the intruders were just a bunch of trainers, which was hardly a concern when you had so many Grunts just laying around and ready to buy you time, which they were managing admirably for the moment, or so thought Annabeth. Whether they won or lost in the end was hardly important- they were Grunts, which meant they were effectively meat-shields until they proved they were worth being something else.

Xavier was looking with something she vaguley recognized as longing towards the area where the sounds of chaos were coming from, and the scientist rolled her eyes. The moron would always be a trainer first and a criminal second. She was more interested in science, but at least she didn't let it distract her from achieving the boss's ends. "Come on, Xavier. Get your head out of the clouds and let's go." This earned her a glare, but nonetheless he complied, and the two plus their immediate squad of Grunts were casting off in moments, the balloon carrying them high and away from the carnage. "What's with you, anyway?" she asked him testily, because he still seemed focused on the ground.

"Nothing," he replied flatly. "One of those interlopers just reminded me of someone I knew once, that's all." Annabeth shrugged and didn't question him further. It wasn't like she cared, after all.

Meanwhile, as the last vestiges of smoke cleared from his home, Bill was finally free to move, since those holding him in place had left with the supervisors. He was worried, not just for his stolen data, but for his pokemon, as he doubted very much they'd just left all of his pokeballs intact when they knew he researched rare ones. There was also the matter of Ravenna, who was helping him out this morning, and whoever else was out there, opposing the Rockets and causing a commotion. He sincerely hoped nobody was hurt, though they'd at least been courteous enough to leave behind his medical supplies, both for pokemon and people. He'd seen the redheaded man eyeing them, and then consciously stopping a Grunt from taking them. Why that was, Bill couldn't say, but as it was the one bright spot in his situation, he didn't consider it too much.

Picking up the box, he started outside, intent on finding his way to the people that had tried in vain to help him and doing what he could to repay the favor. Then maybe he'd be able to figure out a way to recover his life's work and his pokemon. One step at a time, for now.

Junko arrived at the front of Bill's Cottage and stood just outside. She heard the boy speaking to his Carracosta about the letter. Apparently the sea turtle decided it would make a lovely meal and ate it. Junko shook her head lightly before cracking a small smile. The turtle made her think of her mother's Wartortle. He had ate her homework once and the teacher had tried to call her bluff. Luckily Wartortle managed to spit out some of it and let her off the hook. Just as she was about to step into the house, the boy introduced himself as Kael. She in turn offered her name.

"Takashi, Junko Takashi," she replied and returned her attention to the half destroyed cottage. It was a shame really. The Cottage was so beautifully decorated and placed that it almost made Junko sad. Almost. She cautiously approached the door, peeking through the door frame to inspect further. Most of Bill's equipment was either destroyed or taken, leaving nothing but a pile of papers scattered around the floor. Junko sighed as she knelt down, picking up some of the papers and rummaging through them. There was nothing of importance left behind, just a few messages from fans and the likes. A click caught her attention as Zeki popped out of her ball. The Meowth yawned and allowed herself to stretch.

"Zeki," Junko started before watching Zeki disappear. The Meowth decided to a little investigation of her own and wandered through the damaged home. A noise caught her attention and she found herself staring up at another human. She tilted her head and let out a mewling sound before hissing and readied herself to attack the human. Before she could, Junko swept up the Meowth and turned towards Bill, who seemed to be carrying boxes of things. Probably equipment that he managed to save.

"Good evening Bill," Junko stated as if nothing happened, a smile lingering on her face as she quieted the hissing Meowth.

"Ah, hello Junko," Bill said morosely, shifting the box in his hands. "I suppose you saw everything that happened, then?"

"We were sort of a part of it," Kael announced, walking up behind Junko to peer around at Bill. "Sorry about your yard by the way. The burn marks are probably from us, but the holes definitely were not!" Looking back around at the front of Bill's cottage, Kael took in a few of the singes and a particular spot where Golbat had slammed into the ground, creating a small crater. "Well, that one might have been us....."

Kael took in the sights around the inside of Bill's house as well, computers destroyed or missing, various equipment scattered everywhere, the house was a complete wreck...."Mr. Pokemon sends his regards, and there was a letter too, but it is kind of unreachable now...." Scrubbing a hand through his red hair, Kael felt a little more guilty about letting the letter get eaten now.

"What exactly were they after?" It seemed like a pretty useless question seeing as how almost everything was gone, but Kael still had to ask.

Bill seemed numb to the news of his destroyed yard and whatever Mr. Pokemon had to say to him. This morning, he'd wanted nothing more than to put in a new berry garden, but now, he supposed he should count himself lucky that his house was mostly intact. "They took basically everything," he replied. "All my research data and equipment, my notes... but most of all I'm just worried about my pokemon. Glaceon's egg had just hatched, and the pup was in the bunch they stole. They were all young ones, actually, but..." he trailed off, shaking his head. "Even if I could do anything about it, I have no idea where they went. Team Rocket is much more secretive lately; trying to find their bases would be like looking for a couple of Cacturne needles in a haystack."

Junko listened to the conversation, taking in every word Bill said as he mentioned his pokemon. It was a shame that they stole his pokemon, and it caused Junko's eyes to narrow a bit. Team Rocket had tried to steal Cerah from her when he was still a Shinx, only because of his color. She turned back to Bill, placed Zeki on her shoulder and smiled.

"We can retrieve them for you. Team Rocket couldn't have gotten that far yet and besides," she paused, pulling out Fiamma's pokeball and pushed the button to expand it, "Fiamma here is a champion at playing catch up," she stated as she mentioned Rapidash. "And I believe his Arcanine, with it's extreme speed, shouldn't be a problem at playing keep up," she finished and glanced towards Kael.

Kael felt a sharp pang at hearing Pokemon were taken as well as all of Bill's work and research. To be perfectly honest, it really didn't surprise him. He had never personally had a run-in with the Rockets before now, but their deeds were common knowledge these days. Just a buch of thugs and criminals that used Pokemon to hurt others and get what they wanted.

He was a little happy at hearing Junko's voice speak up so quickly. She sounded more than ready for another battle with the Rockets, and determined to get Bill's prized posessions back for him. Another one of her pokeballs burst open to admit a Rapidash to their sight and she mentioned his Arcanine before glancing back to look at himself. "He sure can." Pulling Arcanine's pokeball from the first slot on his belt again, he released the large firepup beside him and gave him a reassuring pat. Arcanine let out an enthusiastic bark at being called again so quickly.

Pulling another pokeball from his belt, Kael looked at Bill and Junko with a smile. "Let's just make sure we don't lose them." Releasing the Pokemon inside, a red flash whizzed into the air as the pokeball burst open. Scizor flew a circle around himself and the others before hovering slightly in front of them. "I saw a balloon heading away from here as our battle wrapped up. Figure out which way it went Scizor, but keep your distance." Scizor nodded and shot straight up into the sky and peered about. After a moment, his claw shot out to point in the distance and buzzed off in the same direction.

"Shall we?" Kael said as he leapt onto Arcanine once more. "Wouldn't want the Rockets getting bored without us to entertain them."

It was during this time that Kenji poked his head into the house, surveying the rest of the people congregating there. None of them wore the obnoxious red R inherent to Team Rocket, so that was a good sign. He paused for a moment, trying to find the words before dashing all that against the wall and barging into conversation head on. "Does anyone have some potions and an antidote? I could really use them," He said, stepping the rest of the way into the door and revealing the pair of injured Pokemon in his arms. "Ran into a bit of trouble outside, does this happen often?" Kenji quipped, but a smile didn't find it's way to his lips just yet. He'd laugh as soon as his friends were safe.

Bill looked a little overwhelmed, but at least the newest visitor had asked for something he could certainly do. "Oh, yes, of course, here you are." Fishing in the box, he retrieved a dose of antidote and three potions and handed them all off to Kenji. Turning back to the other two, he was about to comment when the next person peered inside the house, and a brief look of relief crossed his face. "Ah, Ravenna, it's you. Thank goodness; I wasn't sure what had happened."

The girl in question needed only a cursory glance around the house and a brush against Bill's obvious distress to understand what had happened, and her mouth turned down into a frown. "I'm sorry, Bill. There were many, and I..." The researcher shook his head. "There was little that could be done. I'm just glad nothing bad happened to you, to any of you. Thank you for your help, very much. If you really do intend to go after them," and this was directed primarily at Junko and Kael, "Then I suggest you head down to Vermilion first. I think the police department down there is running a special investigation on Team Rocket's reappearance; they might know more. That balloon's probably too fast to follow... It's a risk, and I don't want you to harm yourselves, but... if you did find them, I'd really appreciate it. My work, I can replace, but my pokemon..." He trailed off, looking haggard and distressed.

At this, Ravenna turned her attention to the two new strangers. "You're going after them to retrieve the Eevee? I'd like to come, too, if I may." Bill fished out a few additional potions and handed them to her, which she gratefully accepted. She could probably wait until the Cerulean Pokemon Center, but if they really were pursuing Team Rocket, she doubted the extra medicine would go to waste.

Kenji quietly listened, too busy as he was applying the potions and antidote. He had let Sabre back out of his ball, and let him have one of the potions as well, using the antidote and other potions on Flower and Light. His pokemon slowly came back around to their senses, but just to be safe he still wanted to visit a Pokecenter. He didn't want to eyeball their health and leave them to their devices, he'd done that before and it didn't turn out well. It never did. Finally sure that the items were working, he allowed his pokemon to slip back into the balls, though he still carried Light. She was always with him, no matter what, and he wouldn't tuck her away in a Pokeball for anything

He looked up just in time to catch the rest of the conversation. "So we're chasin' the bastards down now, is that it? Hm," He said, biting his lip. He looked down at Light who in turn looked back up at Kenji. Surprisingly, it was her who nodded first. She didn't want to leave the man while they could help, and Kenji couldn't say that he didn't feel the same. He just wished he could do that without putting any of them in any more danger. Still, they had to find the man's Pokemon. He already did this much, and he never half-assed anything. "Why not? We're game. Sounds like fun," he quipped, though the tone a bit more serious this time around. He'd have to remember to slug the jackass who planned all this.

"I'm Kenji Akihiko," He said, standing and bringing his full six foot three frame to bare. "And this is Light," He added, pointing at the Pikachu in his hand. She gave a shy wave to people and then pushed back against his chest. "If we're gonna do this, then figured ya might want to know our name," He explained.

"Ravenna Fiori, or Fio if that's nicer," the pastel-pated woman offered mildly, before glancing at the two large fire pokemon standing in the yard and figuring that they must be in need of fast transport. As she had an Arcanine of her own, she released him, and for the moment he remained patiently standing on the grass with the others.

As Junko made to respond, a trainer with equally bright red hair appeared followed by a woman with pink locks. Junko raised an eyebrow as they approached, staring at the man who barged into the conversation asking for potions. Bill answered the man and gave him what he wanted. So I suppose Bill knows them, she thought as he addressed the pink haired girl. Junko stayed silent for a minute or two, listening as they conversed until Bill addressed Kael and herself. She contemplated the course of action. If she followed after the balloon, she'd probably be lead towards the Rocket Hideout, but on the other hand; if she went to Vermillion, perhaps Officer Jenny might have had word about her brother. She pushed the thought aside and shook her head.

"Vermillion City would be our best bet. We can stock up on supplies if we plan on making a journey," she began as she rummaged through her pack and pulled out her Xtransceiver. She opened it up and glanced at the two. "If we plan on splitting up, it would be wise to have each other's numbers just in case something happens. It's always a good thing to be prepared y'know," she continued and glanced at the two in front of her.

"And it is a pleasure to meet you, Kenji and Fio," she replied as the two introduced themselves. "I am Junko Takashi, and this little beast here," she stated as she grabbed the Meowth from her shoulders and thrust her out towards the two, "is Zeki, my Meowth," she finished as Zeki just stared at the two, hissing at Kenji before mewling towards Ravenna. She watched as the woman named Ravenna released her own Arcanine and glanced at Kenji.

"Do you have a pokemon you can ride? It'll make traveling a bit faster. If not, you can share Fiamma with me," Junko stated as she patted Fiamma's neck, earning a pleasant neigh from the fire horse.

Unfortunately for the group, their options were soon to be rendered moot. High in the air, the balloon they were piloting kicked in a specially-developed technological advance: a thruster. In this case, the scientist aboard deployed a few Pidgeot to scout ahead and behind for possible pursuit, and a combustion engine to move the ship faster once it was clear of any possible collisions. Unknowingly, they were escaping Scizor's ability to follow, sailing ever higher and faster into the atmosphere.

Kael waited atop Arcanine with a little impatience as the two newcomers appeared suddenly and joined the conversation. It wasn't their appearance so much as his Scizor slowly getting smaller to his sight as it sped in pursuit of the Rocket's balloon. Recalling Scizor might mean letting the Rocket's get away altogether with no hope of reclaiming Bill's stolen Pokemon. And the mention of detouring to Vermilion seemed like a decent enough plan at first until Kael thought about it. What if the Police Department doesn't have information on their whereabouts? It could mean a wasted trip if the Police department only brought up more questions than answers.

Bill mentioned the balloon being a risk and possibility of injury to the trainers present if they followed that course of action, but even while saying the words, Kael could hear the sorrow in his voice. If it was any of my Pokemon being taken away... Kael thought silently before finally adding his voice to the discussion. "We are all Pokemon trainers Bill, whether we battle them, breed them, or just study and research them as a whole. We opened ourselves up to risk and harm the moment we stepped out the front door with our first Pokemon."

As he was in the middle of his speech, Kael heard a familiar buzzing and turned to find Scizor nearing their group on its way back. Looking past the bug Pokemon and to where the balloon had been shrinking in the distance, Kael saw absolutely no trace of the retreating blimp. "No good?" he asked as his Pokemon came within earshot and received only a shake of the head, indicating the balloon was either too fast, or too far gone for his Scizor to follow. Kael recalled the red steel companion of his and turned back to face the small group again. "Well, I guess my speech a moment ago is a little null now, isn't it? I guess we're going to Vermilion then..."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

The group had elected to take the most direct route to Vermillion City, which was southward through Saffron and then on to the coastal town of sunshine. Since there was less urgency now, as the information would not be going anywhere, they’d stopped at the Pokemon Center in Cerulean, where everyone was still talking about the obvious explosion and speculating wildly on what could possibly have occurred. Ravenna answered all queries of this sort directed at her with a glassy-eyed look that seemed to vaguely reprimand the asker, and so it wasn’t long before nobody else was inquiring of her, focusing their attentions fully on the other three.

After everyone’s friends had been healed up to full health, there was a short stop at the mart for any necessary purchases. She’d picked up a few things and tucked them away in her bag, but hadn’t really needed much. She’d been fully-stocked before coming into Cerulean the day before, and so nothing else was particularly needed.

With that, they were at last on their way, turning southward along Route 5 with a sort of shared determination that make Fio a little bit happy, even despite everything. Of course, she didn’t really give much indication of this. She’d elected to recall Prometheus to his pokeball, letting Castor out since it was his turn to walk outside with her. She’d always preferred walking to alternative means of transportation, even the bike folded up into small parts in her bag. She felt more… connected to her surroundings, that way.

The day, it turned out, was as stiflingly-hot as the morning sun had promised, the sun beating down on their heads without mercy. It had clearly been a few weeks since the last rain, and the dirt beneath their feet puffed up into dry clouds as their shoes landed. It was at times like this that she rather wished she had garments in another color, as black was truly unfortunate under such direct light. Honestly, she was used to travelling at odder hours, and didn’t often have to worry about such direct contact with the sun.

Half an hour into the trip, she was rummaging through her bag, pulling out a tube of sunblock and applying it liberally to her face, hands, and knees—the only parts of her that were at all exposed to the direct force of the flaming orb over her head. Her scalp would probably burn anyway, and she was regretting the loss of her borrowed straw hat from early that morning.

Drawing up next to Junko, Ravenna offered the tube in case the similarly light girl didn’t have any of her own. Maybe she didn’t burn that easily, but Ravenna certainly did. “Need any?” she asked of the group at large, blinking as she passed out from under a tree and was hit full in the face with light again. Castor seemed to be handling it much better than she was, but then, he was tougher generally. She could hardly count herself surprised.

“Tell me about yourselves?” she offered tentatively, glancing between the other faces present, including the pokemon. After all, she could understand them just as well, and sometimes better, truly. They might as well converse a bit; they had the time, and it wasn’t like it would do them any good to walk in silence, all the more aware of the oppressive heat in the air.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Kael retrieved the poke balls for his Arcanine and Carracosta after they were seen to by Nurse Joy as their group of four made a quick stop at the Cerulean Pokemon Center. His mood never seemed to change, and he kept the quick smile planted on his face, even after his attempts at flirting with the Cerulean's Joy were met with almost complete rejection. Trainers and townspeople alike seemed intent on getting to the bottom of what happened at the cape and the causes of the explosions. With these questions, Kael played up Junko and his battle against the Rockets, claiming the explosions were a result of the ferocity and domination of their side over the opposing trainers. Gesturing wildly as he painted the slightly exaggerated, and in some cases untrue, recollection of what had actually happened. He left the part about a highly terrifying criminal organization in their very town out for the sake of trying to suppress as much uproar as possible.

Upon leaving the Pokemon Center, Kael followed along after the others as they progressed through the mart, and then onto the start of their journey on Route 5. He took in everything they came across and gestured toward certain landmarks or surroundings that stood out. Kanto was almost a completely new experience to him. He had traveled nearly everywhere there was to go in the Johto region where his home lay, but aside from the Indigo Plateau that was jointly shared by the two regions, Kanto was full of new sights and lands to be seen.

Kael packed his jacket away almost immediately after leaving the Pokemon Center and found himself rolling up the sleeves on the white button-down he was wearing. The sunshine itself was delicious, casting light and illuminating everything for Kael to see as they proceeded, but the heat was a bit stifling for a trip South. Still, he found himself humming the tune to an old song he knew but would never sing. Traveling again brought back so many memories to mind. Even though there had been some of his worst memories of his life the last time he was on the trek, some of his best were a part of that journey as well. His hand reached up and grazed the 'A' hanging from the silver chain around his neck. The movement brought a pang of sadness at first, but remembering the woman still kept his smile in place.

The pink-haired woman named Ravenna was the first to really kick up the conversation within the group as they proceeded forward in the heat of the sun. A drop of sweat had worked its way under the black eyepatch and started bugging Kael enough that he was forced to wipe a finger under it to relieve the itch-like sensation and make sure the patch stayed in place, covering the damaged eye.

"Any specific requests?" Rummaging through his backpack as he walked, he found that he coincidentally had four individual bottles of water and tossed one to each of the other three trainers around him. He left the last one in his pack for himself later if he wanted it and searched a second longer for what he really wanted. "I guess the basics are quite obvious already. I'm a trainer from Cherrygrove City in Johto. I help out the Gym staff in Violet City with whatever they need and stand in to ref or participate in a few matches every now and then. While my brother and sisters are out exploring the world for themselves, I get to chase down bad guys with you lot. And I love these!" He finished off the sentence as he pulled his arm from his bag to reveal the bright red apple.

Spinning the glistening fruit on his finger for a second, he tossed it slightly to catch it and take a rather large, crisp bite from the red surface. "What about you Hulk? Any particular food you fancy?" He turned his eye on the leather worn beast of a human walking along with them. "Seriously though Kenji, what the hell do they feed you?!"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko clicked the mouse to the PC, searching through any mail before the ding of Nurse Joy signaled her pokemon's return. She thanked the pink haired lady and took her pokeballs from Nurse Joy and hooked them on her belt, Zeki's pokeball left in her hands. She released her Meowth, allowing the feline to cling to her shoulder with a bright smile. She pat Zeki on her head, eliciting an approved purr from the Meowth and turned towards the four she was traveling with to Vermilion. It seemed that they had two things in common; one was their drive to find and return Bill's pokemon.

She glanced at the three, noticing the way their heads would tilt ever so slightly to the left. They all had, except herself, a form of auburn colored hair. Although Ravenna had pink hair, it was still a shade of red. Junko pulled at her black strands, combing her fingers through them before smiling and falling in stride slightly behind the group. A question popped into the air, or rather a statement as Kael was the first to answer. Junko chuckled to herself at his question to Kenji and had to wonder the same thing. The guy was rather large, but she figured he must have either trained with his pokemon as a youth, or had a rather interesting childhood.

"Ah, well," Junko began as she began rummaging for the right words. "I am a pokemon breeder hailing from Cerulean," she began, stroking Zeki as she stared at the Meowth, "I own my own daycare which is in the hands of a trustworthy trainer. I," she paused. Her gaze fell to the floor as she found her feet interesting.

"I am hoping to find information about my brother. He is missing," she stated, twirling Zeki's paw with her hand. The Meowth patted her back and cried out it's name in a soothing tone. This caused Junko to smile and shake her head.

"But you don't need to hear that," Junko stated as she waved her hand in front of her to dismiss the thought. Zeki sighed at her trainers sudden change and allowed herself to fall slightly off of her shoulder. She clawed her trainer's shoulder, earning a wince from the girl as Junko turned to stare at Zeki. They held a staring contest for a good five minutes before Junko succumbed and glanced away. They don't need to be dragged into my problem, she thought while stroking the Meowth, ignoring the group as they continued to walk.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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At some point during the trip, Kenji had managed to find a shirt tucked away in his seemingly bottomless rucksack. He donned the white button up shirt and rolled the sleeves up, leaving the buttons unbuttoned as he did, giving his barrel chest free range. Hell, even if he did button up, all it would take was one wrong flex and the entire thing would have been ripped to shreds. Just as well, Kenji really didn't care what he looked like. He had taken Junko's offer of riding her Rapidash with her, seeing how his current team was too small to carry his beefy self. Silas was still a ways a way from a Pidgeot after all.

At the pokecenter and pokemart, he went through the checklist, had his team healed, picked up some necessary items from the mart, a couple of pokeballs, and some food as well, and before long they were off on their adventure once again. It was a hot day, sure, but then again Kenji was more bereft of clothing than the others. Indeed, the heat didn't even seem to bother the man, him just throwing it off like it was any other day. It hadn't been the hottest day he'd experiences, but then again it wasn't the coolest either. Light on the other hand wasn't so lucky, as she was tucked away in his rucksack with a bottle of water. Kenji could feel her rustling on his back, taking drinks from the battle. Meanwhile, Flower seemed to have made her a nest in Kenji's hair, enjoying the sun shining down on her. She also managed to block some of the violent rays beating down his neck.

"Heh, it takes a lot more than this to fry leather, sweetheart," Kenji replied to Fio's offer of sunblock. As to prove his point, he lifted one of his arms and pinched a bit of the rough skin. "The perils of not wearing a shirt," he said with a wink. "Anythin' and everythin'," Kenji replied to Kael, "What can I say? I'm a growin' boy." he chuckled. After Junko offered her own answer, Kenji figured it was his turn to offer up his.

"I'm a simple man from simple beginnin's. I was born in Castelia City, in Unnova, to a family of six. Bein' said, I spent most of my time on the streets-- like all good hoodrats do. Once I was old enough, I got the hell out of that city and began to travel," At this point, he began to scratch the back of his neck. He never told his story all that often, if ever. He couldn't remember if he's even spoken of it before. Not even to Light. That being said, he was sure to pick his words carefully, and didn't reveal too much information about himself. "I wasn't a happy child, some kind of outcast-- if the steel mill in face didn't give it away,"

"So I trained pokemon. Actually made it to Unnova's Elite Four. Got shut down on the first round, consistantly. Wasn't strong enough. So I retired for a bit, let all my pokemon go, and settled down in Goldenrod for a bit."
That was an uncomfortable time in his life. A hint of melancholy hung in the air as he spoke about that, but other than that, his face was impassive. Then as he spoke about Goldenrod, the mood brightened considerably. "That's when I met this bundle of joy," He said, hooking a thumb back toward Light, whose head poked out of the rucksack for a moment before ducking back in. "It was recent, very recent. After that, I hitched a ride on a boat to Cerulean, and then traveled all the way to Pallet Town before making my way back. So this is my third time on this route," He said, regarding the landscape around him. As his head tilted around, so did the Butterfree on his head shift.

Then he turned his attentions back to Kael, "Yeah, I gots a request. What's goin' on here, Cap'n?" He said, pointing at his eye to indicate Kael's eyepatch. That was a curiosity. He didn't think there were pirates. All the kid was missing was a peg leg and a bird perched on his shoulder.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

The simple query produced a myriad of other questions and several answers as well, something that it had been designed to do. The conversation was lively, and for the most part, Ravenna was content to walk beside them all and let it eddy and flow over her, listening without really participating all that much. She wasn’t usually too skillful with talking, so the fact that her inquiry had gone so well was more than enough to satisfy her. She caught the water bottle tossed in her direction with a grateful nod, pressing it briefly to her forehead before storing it in her bag, away from the oppressive heat.

There was, of course, an extra dimension to this as well, and that was the feelings that the others experienced while they spoke. There were moments of amusement, of nostalgia, good-natured frustration, but also an undercurrent of sadness beneath many of the words, playing a melancholy harmony to the more playful trebles, blue intertwining with silver and gold. As the rose-pated girl stowed her sunblock back in her bag (apparently nobody else needed any, which she supposed must be nice), she rubbed absently at the bridge of her nose, leaving behind a white streak of the stuff across it and over her left cheekbone.

She might have noticed it, except she was distracted by something. One particular string of words had caught her attention, though they were spoken softly, and she felt the need to respond. ”Missing?” she echoed quietly, clasping her hands behind her back. They tugged at a familiar place in her soul, one where she’d gently enclosed all the memories of her best friend, her sister-at-heart, the woman who’d taught her what little she understood of sharing your life and dreams with others.

Grief was oblong, distended; a warped version of love’s friendly circle. “What… happened?” If there was another, better way to phrase that question, it was not available to someone of so few social resources. Still, she didn’t press, and if Junko didn’t want to answer, she didn’t have to.

Kenji wasn’t the only one who’d traveled this route before, and Ravenna judged that they were about halfway to Saffron, the halfway point between Cerulean and Vermillion. Her own hometown wasn’t too far away, either; no more than a day or so walking after they hit the city, but of course nobody had any reason to want to go there. Few people ever visited the town of spirits and mourning, and if they did, it was usually only because it was the first settlement with a Pokemon Center after Mt. Moon.

She was a little envious of the others, especially Kenji, who could brush off the heat as though they’d been living on Cinnabar their entire lives. She’d spent most of her early days inside the uncanny coolness of the tower, or else in the shadow of the mysterious mountain, at least until she’d undertaken her journey. Funny, how that seemed so long ago now, and yet she could remember the details perfectly.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Kael listened on to the others talk a bit more and was more than content to have a few minutes to relish the delicious taste of his apple. The sweet red treat was made even more enjoyable by the fact that it was such a hot day and the sweet, yet sour, bites were like a splash of amazing as they continued on their new journey.

Kael was a little intrigued as Kenji continued on with his story, the man certainly had a similar sense of humor to Kael at the short quips he directed at himself about his 'leather-based' skin and 'steelmill face'. But he couldn't help but feel a bit envious of the man as the story went on. Kenji had made it to the Elite Four and, despite losing in the first round, that was still a feat worth noting as a Pokemon trainer. And the man had traveled quite a bit from what it sounded like to Kael. He had always wanted to travel, but never really had the chance to leave the Johto region up until now.

Kael shrugged off the thoughts as he finished his apple and threw the core out into the taller grass alongside their route. He knew by the end of the day, the core would be completely devoured by insects or some Pokemon wandering by. Wiping his hands clean of the juices, he peered over with his good eye as Kenji addressed him, indicating his eye patch. "Hm? Don't you know me?" Kael decided to play up the "cap'n" remark as much as possible. "Patches the Red! The most feared brigand on the high seas! We roamed the waters in our fearsome Gyarados ship pillaging and looting any who got in our way!" As Kael went on, he wildly slashed and hacked the air with an imaginary sword to stress the points of his story. Looking around to see the face of his companions, he dropped the farce with a laugh. "Or maybe I was tricked a few years ago. My Pokemon was taken from me and I got it back. In the course of all this, the machinery around us exploded and a large piece of shrapnel decided my face looked like home." Shrugging off the statement like it was nothing, Kael pointed to the patch. "It still works for the most part, my eyesight and all. Not as well as it should though. But the damage is a bit....ugly I guess would be the word. Who knows? If the shrapnel was any smaller, I'd probably be dead."

As Ravenna's soft words were spoken, he glanced over to see what was going on. There was clearly something he had missed, but he chose to focus on something the woman herself had missed. " have a little something, ALOT of something..." He scribbled a finger around his own face to indicate the sunscreen on hers. "I think you're supposed to run it in..."


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko stared at the ground in front of her as Zeki played with the strands of her hair. She smiled at Kael's display of a pirate and allowed a laugh to escape the confines of her lips. The thought lingered a bit longer than it should have as she placed her hands in her pockets, fingering the small I.D. that held her brother's picture. She turned to Ravenna as the question fluttered through the air. She hadn't meant to tell them of her brother, and she silently cursed herself before sighing.

"A few days ago, his trainer badge and a few of his pokemon were found with no sign of him," she spoke in a hushed voice, almost as if she were still trying to grasp the concept that he was gone. She forced a smile before continuing, "So, my team and I are out on a search for him. Although we still have our mission first, I am hopeful that I'll find something about him along the way," she finished, rolling her hand over Zeki's head, eliciting a purr from the cat pokemon. She glanced in Ravenna's direction and noticed the cream Kael had mentioned all over her face.

She smiled, walked beside Ravenna and grabbed some of it off of her. She walked next to Kael, the cream still in hand and smeared it all over his cheek. "There, now you have something all over your face," she stated while smiling. She rubbed the rest of the cream on her arms, trying to get the rest off of her hands. She would keep a smile on her face. She didn't want to be depressed over her brother's disappearance, and she didn't want it to radiate from her body, causing an vibe that would affect the others. Although the group she is with is rather interesting. The Pirate, the boy who reminded her of a Primeape without the anger issues, and the small, quiet girl.

An interesting group indeed.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Cassandra Thorne Character Portrait: Kojiro Takashi (WIP:Poke History) Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori
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#, as written by Ion

The young woman listened as the other relayed her trouble, and frowned. It wasn’t quite the same, but… she could certainly sympathize. Her best friend, the only one she’d had, and the closest thing to a sibling she’d ever known, had gone similarly missing, only… she had dreamed Mykeisha’s death, felt with the uncanny reality of nightmare the sensation of a heart ceasing to beat, before she was startled awake by a crack of thunder. She hadn’t been able to sleep that night, nor any of several after, too afraid that the dream would revisit her in all its terror. She could imagine how Junko must feel, not knowing.

It wasn’t that she had anything to say; any soothing words that she could offer would be just that. But… she could do something, surely. ”When we’ve helped Bill… if you still haven’t found him by then, I will help you look.” Maybe if Junko took her to some significant location or another, she or one of her pokemon would be able to read a clue off an object or something of the like. It wasn’t the strongest of her powers by any means, but she was willing to give it a shot if it could help somehow. It was not as though she had any urgent business of her own to attend to, after all—she was just a wandering Trainer without much of a goal.

Their conversation was playfully interrupted at this point. For a moment, Ravenna just looked blankly at Kael, clearly uncertain as to what exactly he was talking about. She was just reaching up to mirror his gesture when Junko seemed to catch on much more quickly and reached up to Fio’s face, swiping an index finger over her cheekbone. The rose-haired girl repeated this, and blinked when her digit came away with sunscreen still on it. ”Oh,” she observed mildly, then tilted her head sideways at the antics of the other two. A tiny smile played at the edges of her mouth, but she offered no further comment than this.

By late afternoon, they were in Saffron, the city with buildings tall enough to scrape the sky. She supposed that somewhere around here, her father was cloistered away in his office, but she felt no particular need to go locate him; they had lived entirely separate lives for as long as Ravenna could remember. Her mother had given her a name, and her father had provided her with everything she needed to live, but she couldn’t say that either had ever been able to provide her with much else. It wasn’t so bad—she’d just found the rest elsewhere.

Glancing around at the three people about herself, she wondered if maybe she’d be finding something else soon… something wonderful and important. But, the elderly mediums had always reminded her, it never did to get ahead of oneself. So she scanned the buildings and the people around her, enjoying the way their surface-level thoughts buzzed at the edges of her consciousness without really registering, like radio static or something of the sort. Everyone was a slightly-different color, too, though none so vivid as Junko, Kael, and Kenji. It made her happy, that she was next to the brightest, most brilliant colors of all.

It was at precisely this moment that her musings were interrupted by a loud crash, and a shift in the wind, coming from some distance away. Castor, ever the brave pokemon that he was, immediately turned towards the sound, looking troubled and taking off in the direction it had issued from. ”Castor?” she questioned quietly, both with her mind and her voice, but his only response was to send her an impression of great urgency, and with some reluctance, she took off after him, boots surprisingly light on the pavement. ”Wait, Castor!”

But he didn’t relent, and the few times he moved out of her visibility, he sent mental images her way, guiding her after him with obvious intent. For what, he refused to say, and she could do little else but trust him and follow. Eventually, she could see what looked to be a large sandstorm ahead, battering the buildings on this side of town within a rather impressive radius. Basically everything inside it was of course impossible to see from this distance, but she had the feeling it was dying off.

At last, her Lucario stopped, right at the edges of the storm. Ravenna drew up beside him, and even as the swirling sand tugged furiously at her hair and clothes, it began to die down. Her arm went up to shield her face; she hadn’t thought to don her go-goggles in her haste to follow him. Still, she caught the roar of an engine, and a motorcycle passed her by, what looked to be two people aboard it. She didn’t think much of this, too absorbed in examining what the flying sand left behind: scorch marks, rivets in the ground, and three flabbergasted-looking Rocket Grunts.

”Oh dear.”


Cassandra had scooted forward from her perch on the back of the motorbike and now sat straddle with her elbows propped on the handlebars, hands cradling her chin, watching the goings-on with some interest. She hadn’t been aware that Kojiro used code with his Lucario, but that was probably to be expected. Why turn down an advantage? Unless of course you didn’t need it, but there was nobody who could say that all the time, and frankly, this bunch looked considerably tougher than your average lot of peons.

They were well-coordinated, too, from the looks of things. Scanning their body language carefully, she decided that the leader was the blond one with glasses. He looked the most satisfied with how things were going, as though he’d expected as much. The girl just looked impatient—she probably relied on speed for most of her fights. The other guy was durable, brawny, and had the pokemon to match. It was funny, how things like that worked out, wasn’t it?

Kojiro glanced over; well, perhaps the more accurate term was glared, but Cass just raised a brow, entirely nonplussed. She waited for him to detect the trap, and she wasn’t disappointed. She really would have to challenge him some day, just to see which of them was really the stronger. She currently sat at a comfortable number two in the organization, and frankly, she didn’t want to lead, nor even hold the more contentious top spot, but it would be fun. Not yet, though; the entire team was still too fledgling, and needed some stability for a bit. Besides, he’d started the whole thing; she was just along for the ride.

The rest of the battle was interesting if not particularly surprising in the end, and she watched with the cool eye of a professional as Kojiro went for demonstration rather than total humiliation. Huh. she frowned slightly, a thoughtful rather than angry expression. She wondered why- oh. His words explained well enough. “Well well well,” she replied with all the languid ease of a smug Persian. ”Lucky them.” She couldn’t say she was all that thrilled with the idea, but if she refused to work with former Rockets, she’d have excluded half of Team Cataclysm.

So she shrugged, using the time that Kojiro needed to conclude the show to dig a few business cards out of her pocket. They contained little more than some contact information for an alias of hers—Astrid Valentine—and a number through which she could be reached. More accurately, a screening program would be reached, and run several identity checks before patching someone through to a low-level employee with further instructions, but you couldn’t be too careful when building an empire, even if most of them just thought they existed to destroy things. With a sharp flick of her wrist, Cass tossed a card at each Rocket’s feet, glancing up at Kojiro’s bloody eyebrow with a sly smile.

“Got a little enthusiastic with the sandstorm, did we? They make eye protection for that, you know.” Nevertheless, she remained in the driver’s position on the bike, the engine already on since she’d needed to move it out of the way just a few minutes earlier. Tossing the three Rockets a mock salute, she revved the engine. “You heard the man, kids. It’s been fun, but places to be, you know.” Starting forward, she’d already picked up a blurring speed by the time the first civilians—a group of four people probably averaging a little under her own age—arrived on the scene, and she paid them no mind as she passed by.

They were back at the base much more surreptitiously than they’d entered town, and Cass pulled the bike into the underground parking garage, hopping off and killing the ignition in a smooth movement. Glancing behind her, she shrugged. “Come on then; let’s see if pretty boy and the ghost made it back while you had fun. And find the first aid kit while we’re at it; you look like you could use it.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Kojiro Takashi (WIP:Poke History) Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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"I would," Junko paused as she glanced towards the sky, a small smile creeping onto her face. Zeki pushed her head back down, urging Junko to accept the help. "appreciate that," she continued. It wasn't long before they reached Saffron City, a place Junko remembered a bit too well. She had challenged Sabrina to a gym battle and lost...ten times. It was an embarrassment for her and she couldn't help but lightly laugh at the memory.

A loud crash and the sudden disappearance of Ravenna's Lucario caused Junko to stare in the direction they both ran off towards. She quickly recalled Zeki into her pokeball and ran after Ravenna. She caught up to the pink haired girl, and as a motorcycle sped by, it felt as if time had stopped the moment she was beside it. Locks of unkempt black hair, eyes closed, but the couldn't be?

The motorcycle sped past, leaving Fio and the others standing in a heavily-damaged clearing with a trio of windswept-looking individuals wearing the uniform of Team Rocket, though the one with the blue hair was eying his speculatively, as though something new had just occurred to him. Ravenna wasn't exactly sure what to do, but she figured that maybe one of them might have some indication as to where Bill's pokemon had been taken. She could try to mentally intrude and find the infromation, but minds were complex things, and unless they were thinking about it anyway, she probably wouldn't have any luck. Plus... they looked kind of grey, and she felt a bit sorry for them because of that. She turned to glance behind her, to see if any of the others had followed, or if she might maybe have to find them again. They did all have the respective XTranciever or Pokegear numbers by now, she supposed.

"Kojiro," Junko whispered as her head snapped in the direction the bike took off in. She ignored the devastated area and zoned in on the three flabbergasted grunts, the bright red R staining their shirts. Quickly, she made her way towards the three and her hands shot out to the first one in reach, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him up to meet her crimson gaze.

"Who was that!?" she demanded, hands situated firmly on the collar. "Where are they going!?" by now her eyes were on the brink of malice. Her mind seemed to close off towards any danger she might be in. All she cared about was getting the information she needed. If there was a slight possibility that had been Kojiro, she wanted to find out. Before he could answer though, a lumbering figure came from behind her and took the goon's collar's from the lady's hands. "Please. Allow me, lovely," Kenji said, wrapping a branch like arm around the neck of the Rocket grunt. Meanwhile, Light bounded off of Kenji's trouble watched the other two goons intently for any sign of trouble.

"Now listen carefully buddy. I expect you'd better answer the nice lady, else I'll have to twist your head off like a toothpaste cap," Kenji warned, tightening his grip. Sure, the information might have been gleaned better by negotiation and subtlety, but Kenji was neither in a negotiating mood, nor was he any shade of subtle. Junko didn't seem too fond of negotiating either-- thus why he lent a helping hand (or arm, considering). Sure they could be in danger, Light was awefully small to be guarding two Rocket goons, but then again, danger never did phase Kenji. Rather, he basked in it, wallowing like a newborn in it's crib. The information Junko wanted seemed to be important-- to her-- and that's all that mattered right now.

Kael strode up behind the others and put on an unusal slight frown for his face. Junko's demeanor had completely changed in a matter of a few moments between the bike they had all seen speed by, and seeing the Rockets as she inquired into the identity of the riders. "Easy," he said coming up and pulling her away from the Rocket as Kenji stepped in to take over the slightly more agressive interrogation. "They'll talk."

In his statement, he was fairly confident. Rockets weren't exactly known for their courage and undying loyalty. Still, he had no idea how Junko was feeling, he could only imagine one of his own siblings missing and staring down someone with a chance of finding out where they were. These Rockets might be in a lot worse shape if that were the case.

Kenji had the Rocket in his grasp well under control and Kael couldn't help but call a little counter-productive encouragement to the big man. "Maybe popping his head off will put these other two in a more talkative mood?" Leaving Junko for the moment, Kael stepped up and brought his face close to the helpless Rockets' in Kenji's grasp and pushed his eyepatch up to reveal his eye. " could always just start talking. You see, this guy has a temper when he doesn't get what he wants." Kael pointed a finger at his damaged eye. "He did this because I wouldn't give him an apple, and he likes me, imagine what he'll do to you..."

Kael figured he had enough fun with his scare tactics and stepped back over to Junko to give her a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder as he replaced the patch. He joined Ravenna and watched the other two Rockets along with Kenji's Pokemon. "You alright?" He asked the pale girl.

Ravenna's mouth was set into a thin line, her lips compressed tightly, and she was surveying the scene through half-lidded eyes. This wasn't nice; not at all, and she didn't like the yellowness of it. She could feel the fear of the Rocket in the headlock, and the anger and wariness of his companions. She was opening her mouth to say something, though whether in response to Kael's question or to make the suggestion that they ask nicely before assuming that the people before them would be hostile to sharing what they knew. It was understandable, in a way-- Junko was clearly in distress, but... that didn't justify acting like the bullies in the situation. This was why people didn't like Team Rocket, after all.

Perhaps fortunately, she was cut off by the other Rockets. "Dammit, chill out, man. We've got no idea who those people were," the blue-haired male said quickly, glancing down at his bespectacled friend under the violent one's arm. His companion, the dark-eyed female, nodded vigorously, flinching a bit and shifting from foot to foot repeatedly. She seemed to be constantly in motion, that one, and her color was a nervous yellow-green. "Not before today's operation, and we don't have a name or anything. Just--"

"--Team Cataclysm," the man with glasses finished, looking a little bit purplish over the cheekbones. "Gave us... business cards. Wanted to... recruit us." He seemed to know better than to struggle, and Ravenna placed her hands on her hips and fixed Kenji with a mild look that was supposed to be stern but succeeded only in looking a bit like a slightly-irritated Skitty or Emolga or something. Still, the message was clear enough, if perhaps not very strongly-worded: please let him go now. Kenji shrugged and acquiesced, dropping the goon to the ground before dusting his hands off. "Glad we didn't have to get too violent," He said before holding his hand out. "The card, if you please? Else pop goes the Buizel," Ravenna sighed slightly, but said nothing.

"Here ya go!" Fujiko said, flinching again when Finn hit the ground with an obvious oomph, signifying that the wind had more or less been knocked out of him. Handing over the card, which really didn't say much, she shrugged and helped Eric get Finn to his feet. "Can we go now?" the latter asked, getting his feet under him and using his hand to push his glasses up his nose. "It's not like we had a prolonged chat; he and a bunch of wackos attacked our base this morning, then left. We battled, end of story." The card itself was a simple affair, black in color and inked in gold. Astrid Valentine, Consultant, it read, though exactly what kind of consultant this person was wasn't clear. There was a number below the name, but nothing else at all.

Junko was slightly startled when Kenji took the grunt from her hands, locking him inbetween his biceps and squeezing slightly. It didn't take long for the Rocket members to spill the information that Junko wanted, and when the card was handed over, she quickly scanned it for any recognizable names. There were none that she had seen, only a Astrid Valentine and the name: Team Cataclysm. She rose an eyebrow at the name, slightly confused. There was a new group? Her head snapped towards Kael as he gave her a reassuring squeeze on her shoulder, eliciting a sigh from her before she dropped her shoulders.

"I don't know if we should let them go, or let Officer Jenny deal with them," she stated, shoving her hands down her pockets and trying not to kick one of the grunts. She was still angry at the fact that she didn't recognize the man on the motorcylce and the fact that these rockets hardly knew anything. It really wasn't their fault, but Junko didn't feel like letting them off so easily. "Ugh, this is leading us no where!" she shouted in frustration, combing her hands through her hair. She glanced between her companions and then towards the grunts. Something seemed a bit off; she couldn't quite tell and she sighed in defeat.

"Well, we still need to find out where Bill's pokemon are at," she stated, calming herself as she thought about any hope of finding Kojiro. She made a promise to Bill, although second, and she was going to follow it through. She'll call the number later and find out where the base was located. If the man she spotted was part of Team Cataclysm, then perhaps they might be holding him somewhere. Or maybe that was him?

Kael looked from Ravenna, to the Rockets, and back to Ravenna again. Lifting his shoulders slightly, he let out a slightly audible sigh. She was clearly unhappy at how the situation was being handled, and he could see why, but they were Rockets. They had chosen a path of crime in their own right and any consequences that followed.

At seeing Junko calming down slightly, Kael smiled approvingly. She's handling it better than I would... he thought to himself. Still eyeing the Rockets as she spoke of handing them over to the authorities, an idea sprang to his head when the mention of Bill's Pokemon were mentioned. "I dunno," he said as he crouched down to the eye level of the Rocket on the ground, "maybe we should just hand them over to Officer Jenny. Doesn't seem like they have anything useful to say after all. Unless..." He let his gaze wander up to the woman who had spoken out before, clearly a bit more intelligent than her counterparts. "My friend here is referring to a Rocket incident earlier at the Cape of Cerulean. You wouldn't happen to know anything about it would you? It's okay if you don't, I'm sure the lovely Miss Officer Jenny will have other questions for you to answer at the police station."

Resuming his standing position, he let the Rockets think it over and stepped back near the others once more. Looking to the frowns on Ravenna and Junko's faces, he let a grin spread across his face once more. "C'mon, cheer up! Let's not let some Rocket's ruin our day!"

"Cerulean Cape?" Finn replied, looking faintly perplexed. "I don't know about any operation near Cerulean. The boss doesn't always tell the left hand what the right hand is doing, you know? In case something like this happens." He shrugged, glancing back and forth between the others and the group of youths in front of them. It looked like these people would be calling the cops; fortunately, they didn't know that he and possibly Fujiko still had pokemon to use. For now, though, he gave no indication of this, instead choosing to cast his eyes about this way and that, looking for any features of the environment that might be helpful. If worst came to worst, Eric could probably just release Hippowdon and cook up another sandstorm...

"Easy there Sketch, don't go gettin' any funny ideas," Kenji told the Rocket Goon. Kenji had seen Finn's shifty eyes scan the area, and he knew what they usually entailed-- he'd been the proud owner of those particular eyes once upon a time. However, Kenji seemed nonplussed about the whole ordeal, and in fact seemed more like a dissappointed parent than anything else. Crossed arms and toe-tapping included. Light had wandered her way back to Kenji and leapt to her perch on his shoulder, also staring down at the Rocket, though much less seriously than her trainer. In fact, she seemed a bit bored about everything. "Sounds like a magnificent job you got here, chief. Always worried about the cops, leaders keepin' stuff from you, those tacky-ass outfits they make you wear... The pay's got to be killer." Kenji rattled off.

"Are we stayin' or are we goin'? Bill's stuff isn't gettin' any closer," Kenji called back to the trio behind him. They had bigger things to worry about than these small fry.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kouji Ichigaara Character Portrait: Mykeisha Bruma Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye
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#, as written by Azazel

"I agree, they obviously are not the ones we need...probably too ignorant to have information entrusted to them," Junko stated flatly to Kenji's question. As she made to turn around towards the city, the call of her name stopped her in her tracks and she turned towards the source. Messy black hair and familiar blue eyes caused Junko's own eyes to widen a bit before narrowing dangerously thin. She stampered towards the male, her finger pointed towards him in what was supposed to be an intimidating appearance.

"You!" she shouted, as she poked the male in his chest, "You left me there without a word! Do you know how long I stayed at that clearing waiting for you!" her voice growing a decibel with each word. She resisted the urge to slap Atomsk as her hand flew up. She placed it down at her side before sighing. Turning towards her group, she shook her head before returning her attention towards Atomsk.

"You and I have a lot to catch up on, but we have other pressing matters at hand. Our business will have to wait," she spoke, her tone in a flat, monotonous style. In all honesty she was seething. He had told her to meet him the day before Kojiro disappeared at a small clearing. It was one of her favorite spots as a child as the three of them used to stare at the stars, counting them, naming them, silly things like that. She waited for hours and he never showed. Kovaa had woken her up the next day as she had fallen asleep in the clearing, waiting for Atomsk to appear. It seemed important, at least to him and she was furious when he never showed.

Atomsk smiled. Strangly enough, he enjoyed the scolding. Just like old times. She turned away and put her attention on the Rocket Grunts once more. He looked forward to talking to her. He walked up behind her and wrapped a single arm around her shoulders. He gave her a tight hug. "It's good to see you again." He said, leaning down so he could whisper it to her.

He let go, and walked over to a nearby building. He leaned up against it, observing from a distance. He made sure he was in sight, that way Junko knew he wasn't going to run. It was then that Nano began yelling at him. He looked down to the Pokémon. She looked upset. He leaned his head to the side, a signal to jump onto his shoulder. Nano complied, and began playfully chewing on his ear once she was a top her perch, She growled angrily. Atomsk could tell she was jealous. He raised his hand to pet the small Eevee. She ceased her chewing and enjoyed Atomsk's affection, although it was clear on her face that she was still unhappy.

Atomsk looked intently at the group. He knew what he had been ordered to do. Saving the grunts. But he had no such plans. He was going to let them be captured. This was a small act of defiance. All he would allow himself. He wondered what Junko and her companions would do to them. He pushed the thought from his mind. Not really caring in all honesty. They were Team Rocket. Scum as far as he was concerned. Although he was no better. He smiled to himself. He couldn't be sad now. Junko was here. He looked forward to catching up.

A woman stood among the trees, off of the clearing, and grinned, a Beautifly fluttering around her, despite such a Pokemon not being native to Kanto. Clearly Atomsk had some kind of connection with Mystery Woman. Mykeisha always felt as if she needed to 'know things' about mysterious people, probably out of, and her Boss was first on that list, and if she was bored again, she'd find stuff about her seemingly not-as-interesting teammates. She'd gotten a clue Atomsk was involved with him in some way. Of course, she wasn't a direct person, and Atomsk wasn't the most open of people either. So, she got most information by eavesdropping all the time, and the fact she was a ghost really helped with that, which is why she could simply stand in semi-clear view and simply observe behind people, or even in front of them, though the latter wasn't the case. She was only interested in Atomsk's peculiar decisions and the identity of the mystery woman, whom of which Mykeisha knew little else than her existence. Of course she had yet to notice somebody else whom of which would have been much more important to her.

Kael eyed the man as he walked into view with a little more caution than he normally would have when dealing with strangers. The man's whole demeanor seemed to scream shady to Kael. The fact that the guy didn't seem at all at odds with the fact that there were three members of the most notorious criminal band in the region was a clear warning indicator in his eyes. Or eye rather... He thought ruefully.

Junko seemed to know the man though as she stalked over and, less than subtly, began greeting the newcomer. Even with her obvious knowledge of the man, Kael frowned. He wondered if it might be her brother she spoke of finding, but dismissed the fact based on the way she was dealing with the appearance of the new guy. Kael leaned a little closer to Ravenna to see what her thoughts were regarding this new development. "Who do you suppose he is?" Even though the man didn't appear all that hostile, Kael still kept a hand close to his belt, ready to call on his own Pokemon in a moment's notice.

Ravenna looked a bit distracted, though her eyes were fixed on what was quite obviously an emotional reunion. She didn't need empathy to tell her that. But that man... he was such a dull shade of blue-grey, as though he'd once been brighter, but all the color had bled right out of him. She almost didn't notice, though, because something pinged on the edge of her awareness, the sensation of another's presence. It would have gone unnoticed in a city as large as this, with a population so dense, but it was too familiar for her not to notice. And yet... it couldn't be. Surely, her mind was playing tricks on her. Kei was dead. She'd dreamed her friend's demise as though she'd lived it, and the end had felt so final. Kei had known she was going to die, and then there had been only blackness. It was a nightmare that still gave her shudders, and unconsciously, Ravenna brought her hands up to wrap around her biceps, as though trying to ward off the cold.

She might have even turned around, but Kael spoke then, and the question let her focus on something much less worrisome than old memories. Tilting her head to one side owlishly, she blinked as he walked away, taking up residence against the side of a building. "A Minun to a Plusle," she said softly. A friend, perhaps even a counterpart; it was too muddled to tell. Feelings weren't things she always understood, even if she could detect them, and in the end, Junko's irritation overpowered nearly everything but the affection anyway. The depth of that, she couldn't gauge, but it seemed important.

It was all a few too many developments for her, perhaps, and with the niggling sensation of being watched in the back of her mind, she chewed absently on her lip and turned back to the Rocket Grunts. By now, though, they weren't alone. Of course not; the events had caused major structural damage, and people were beginning to gather. In the distance, she could hear police sirens-- in all likelihood, someone had called in the officers. The Grunts were by now looking very uncomfortable, but clearly too frightened of Kenji to risk running away. The blond one felt resigned, if irritated, and the other two weren't even thinking clearly enough to read, probably as overwhelemed by the goings-on as she was. The milieu of emotion and thought here was making her feel faintly nauseous, and she swallowed thickly.

"The police will be here soon," she announced, seemingly to everyone and no one simultaneously. "Maybe we should..." she stopped, truly unsure as to how to continue the thought. Press on to Vermillion? Would Junko's friend want to come? Would the others prefer to stay? She found herself unable to ask the questions, her brain addled by the intensity of what was occurring.

"Yeah, I suggest we book it. The fuzz gives me the jitters and I don't like the look we're paintin'. The last thing I want is to be affliated with these fools," Kenji suggested, backing away from the trio of Rocket's and back toward his own group. The first thing he noted was the arrival of a stranger pairing off with Junko. This earned an arched eyebrow from Kenji and a look to Light. Both shrugged at each other in unison. "Yappin' isn't gettin' us anywhere quick, so let's get this show on the road, yeah? I say we leave these stiffs to their own devices." Kenji posited. He really didn't want to have anything to do with the police. "Dunno, but we can find out later," Kenji answered Kael.

"We still got a job to do, and we can't do it if we're bein' questioned."

"Yeah, because everyone loves talking about everything and nothing all at once," Junko replied to Kenji. She turned her attention towards Ravenna as she spoke up. Taking a final glance towards Atomsk through the corners of her eyes, she returned her attention towards Ravenna and smiled. "We should press on towards Vermilion. We should leave these guys," Junko stated, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the grunts, "to Officer Jenny," she finished, crossing her arms against her chest. She tossed a glance over her shoulder towards Atomsk.

"If you are coming with us, I suggest you come introduce yourself to the group. I am not doing that for you," she shouted over her shoulder and smiled back to the group. "Shall we?" she asked as she began walking away from the group. She didn't want to waste any more time by standing around doing absolutely nothing to help further her goal. And to find Bill's Pokemon of course.

Kouji departed the Mart a few supplies wealthier, and Croqua gaining a berry to hold onto. Croc was especially vulnerable to to status infections, so Kouji figured that a Chesto Berry would help his developing immune system some. As he began to reunite with Atomsk, however, he noticed that the pair of them had suddenly become quite a handful!

Not really attempting to stay out of sight, himself and Croc stood at the outskirts of the Mart. Kouji was a fair distance away, but still close enough to make out significant features in each of the new faces. Closest to Atomsk was a female trainer whose posture signified a persona of confidence. He heard her say something in an irritated tone towards his companion, though he couldn't decipher anything coherent.

"That's gotta be the chick Atomsk was ordered to tail..." Kouji reasoned, seeing only one other girl present.

Other girl? Kouji's eyes were immediately drawn to the trainer farther back, closer to the red-haired trainer. Her stance seemed withdrawn, indicating that she felt withdrawn, or at least introverted from the rest of her companions.

Before he could indulge in this girls beauty, however, Kouji was drawn to the other two trainers present. He wasn't so much interested in the brawny guy, but rather the crimson-haired trainer who stood comforting this beauty. He seemed familiar, though he couldn't put his finger on why exactly...

There was a lot to think about- it didn't help that the group appeared to be moving. Police sirens could be heard in the distance, and as the group pressed onward, the apprehended Rocket Grunts came into sight. It was here that Kouji needed orders- should he stay behind and be Atomsk's backup, or head back to HQ? He stayed within eyesight- if the other members saw him, then so be it, but he needed confirmation from his "leader" now on what his priorities should be. As curious as Kouji was now about these 'friends' of Atomsk, Kouji's task was complete.

"Wait, what?!"

He blurted out the statement without thinking as Junko called out to the 'scruffy' newcomer leaning against a building. Kael had been, rather enthusiastically, nodding along as Kenji suggested leaving the site and the grunts behind to continue on their own 'errand' while dodging the, arduously long, questions of the local police; but his nodding was interrupted as the new individual was invited over and, even more so, to accompany them. Junko seemed to know him, but still....

His arrival seemed to be all too convenient in Kael's mind. Perhaps the appearance of the Rockets and the days' events were starting to get to him and he was possibly becoming paranoid, or maybe Ravenna's '...Minun to a Plusle..." comment was still lingering in his head as well. But the nagging feeling persisted in the back of his mind when he looked over the man once more. "Hmph..." Kael let out the sound without warning as he gave up on trying to rationalize everything. "Let's just go, this waiting around is starting to grate on..."

He left his sentance trail off as he caught the sight of someone standing out from the scenery. The wiry, black-haired youth stood staring at their group from a distance, not showing any signs of coming closer or retreating. At first, Kael thought the guy was curious about three Rockets in the middle of the streets, but his eyes seemed to be locked on to where Ravenna and Kael stood, a bit away from the Rockets.

Not remembering a time anyone had stared at Kael for more than a few seconds before averting their eyes, he surmised the man must be staring at the pink-haired woman next to him. Kael lifted his eye again as he realized he had just been 'checking her out' himself as he mulled the question over in his head. "Uh..." he tapped Ravenna lightly on the shoulder and pointed in the direction of the man, "I think you have an admirer..."

"You sure he ain't yours champ? You're quite the handsome catch," Kenji teased as he followed Junko away from the center of trouble they've found themselves in. In his eyes, the further away from the fuzz, the better.

"Eh?" Ravenna emerged from her distracted thought process at the statement, following the direction Kael was indicating, trying to decide if she recognized the person there. But she didn't, and she shook her head. "I don't think so," she replied simply, if with a small amout of residual puzzlement. It wasn't like she'd never been stared at before; people had done so all the time back home, largely because they thought her weird. Folk were naturally curious, and she didn't let that sort of thing bother her.

That said, this situation was hardly the most comfortable overall, and her shoulders slumped in visible relief when the group started moving again by consensus. The man Junko had spoken to hadn't moved yet, but she knew, in that strange way she sometimes knew things, that the faded fellow would not be leaving them quite yet. Being a relatively trusting sort, she shared none of Kael's reservations about this. Junko, despite her words, did not seem uneasy to have him around, and that was enough for her, at least for the moment. Maybe, when they were further away from the crowd and all the distraction, she'd put her more unique talents to use, but they were all but pointless with so many people in such close proximity, all of them feeling one thing or another with strength: anxiety, suspicion, curiosity... it was a heady mix, certainly.

Eager to be away from this place, Ravenna spared one last look for the Rockets and followed in the wake of Junko and Kenji, already anticipating the relative peace and quiet of the road. She'd not quite expected this much excitement when she'd awoken this morning, that was for sure.

To Mykeisha's disappointment, she could hardly hear a word of what any of these people were saying. Not to mention that nothing hugely interesting was going on, the most intriguing thing was probably the tied up Rocket grunts (and perhaps one of the girls had some of the most beautiful pink hair she'd ever seen). She contemplated letting them escape, but decided against it. Mykeisha decided it was best to return to the base, so she could eat, and hopefully something interesting was going on. That was how Mykeisha operated, to her own amusement, which came in the form of curiosity. However, witnessing a fellow spy, she decided there was one more thing she could do, and hid behind a tree.

"Hello, Mister Stalker." the ghost woman's voice greeted behind Kouji, in a similar matter as she did to Atomsk, being rather close to him like the creeper she was. How she ended up there as if she appeared out of thin air was unexplainable beyond the Pokémon universe.

Mykeisha's sudden appearance quite startled the usually un-flappable Kouji, though her meddlesome demeanor hardly surprised him. Croc was even more startled, to the point that he began angrily chattering at her, bearing his fearsome teeth with hopes of intimidating her. "Oh my," she responded to the pokemon in false astonishment, bringing fan up to her face.

"You're lucky I didn't bring my sword- with my reflexes the way they are, I might've cut you in two..." Kouji retorted, quickly withdrawing Croc to avoid drawing further attention to himself, "And I'm not stalking anybody. Atomsk is in charge of the op- I'm waiting for his word while observing these other guys. They look friendly enough, but you can't be too sure."

" And again I am asked the question of why a Psyduck gets a headache when another one already has, I've already taken care of it." she responded.

Kouji scratched his head, "And I had been doing so well avoiding this crazy chick...oh well, may as well indulge her and be done with it..."

He was in no way interested in anything this bizarre officer had to say- still, if Atomsk was simply going to send the two back to HQ, it may be good to get in cozily with another officer should things turn sour. Kouji's recent conversation with Atomsk left him with the impression that not all was what he thought Team Cataclysm would be. Not that he didn't have his suspicions before- he simply needed to hear it from a fellow member.

Mustering all of the patience and mock interest he could, Kouji spoke, "So, Mykeisha, what brings you here? Atomsk was pretty deadset on doing this op alone- I imagine curiosity got the better of you?" He made sure to take a few steps back, being understandably uncomfortable next to the woman who believed she was dead.

"Well, I could ask the same question, but as I said about the Psyducks..." she faltered a bit and gazed at Atomsk. "A servant like yourself wouldn't mind doing one task for me, call it a dying will, if you may." she played with her fan and glanced at him. "After all, we had so much fun this morning without you, right? You must be becoming like me to do something new and exciting, right?"

Kouji went from confused to irritated in a matter of milliseconds. He had learned to simply go with the flow when she started spouting off nonsense like the bizarre Psyduck analogy, but he wasn't too keen on being referred to as a servant. It was bad enough that he was technically supposed to take orders from her, but being belittled at her expense was where he drew the line. Especially when he was fairly sure that he was every bit her equal in a fight.

"Let's get something clear- I can't do anything about you pulling rank, but nowhere in my contract did it say I had to put up with being called your servant. I'm getting paid to fight Rockets and run ops for you guys, not put up with your bullshit." Kouji paused to let himself cool down- he was usually good about keeping his emotions in check, but something about this bizarre woman rubbed him the wrong way.

Composing himself, he calmly replied, " any case, it sounds like this 'task' of yours is gonna be more of an order. If that's the case, I'm all ears."

Mykeisha frowned under her blue and pink 'mask', but then went back to smiling, as if never offended at all. "Ever hear the expression, 'ghosts have no mouths'? Anyway, I was hoping you'd follow Atomsk, if you please, for the Boss's sake, perhaps? He's not in trouble, but I want you to report his actions to me whenever possible, alright?" she ended with a light smile, but then she turned to face away from Kouji.

Kouji put both of his hands into the pockets of his black dress pants, putting the weight on his hind leg. Was Mykeisha serious? Why would she be interested in the happenings of Atomsk? Even more curious still was why she was asking him to do it, when she was more than capable of spying herself. Either way, Kouji wasn't having any of it, and he had justification to refuse this order.

"Sorry, but maybe you missed the part where I mentioned my contract. Spying on my colleagues has nothing to do with overthrowing the Rockets." He paused a moment to reflect on the fact that she mentioned Kojiro, "If Kojiro's got suspicions that Atomsk might be a Rocket, then I'll go and hear it from his own mouth."

He had no delusions that Atomsk was an enemy, as it contradicted all of his observations- this was simply to get Mykeisha off of his case. Still, he grounded himself a bit more- he wasn't sure how Mykeisha would react. She always seemed to have her own agenda, and he wouldn't put it past her to react a little more violently. Calmly standing a bit taller, he would put the ball in Mykeisha's court, "I think we're done here, unless you've got something else for me?" He sincerely hoped that the former was not the case.

"Do you honestly think I signed any contracts to become this?!" she shouted, not daring to turn around or make a move. She went silent for a few seconds, but then spoke up again, her voice wavering slightly, "N-no, It's okay... I can do it myself..." She paused again, standing like a statue facing the crowd she was watching before, at Atomsk, the mystery woman, the pink-hair, the big guy and the cyclops. She turned her head slightly and looked back at Kouji. "I only ask you this; Do you want to become stronger?"

Kouji was once again taken very much off guard, even jumping a little at her sudden outburst. Kouji was used to seeing Mykeisha engaging in her own idiosyncratic devices, but now she seemed almost vulnerable. Kouji retraced his words, trying in vain to figure out what the catalyst was for her abrupt distress. He could tell that something was genuinely troubling her, but he hadn't enough information (nor enough motivation) to decipher what.

He only became more puzzled as the question about becoming stronger escaped her lips. Kouji caressed Bignacious's Pokeball, fearing that anything he responded with might send her down a more violent outburst. Rational wordplay was all but lost on this one, so it seemed.

Kouji decided that it would be prudent to be frank with her on this answer, fearing that antagonizing her any more would draw unwanted attention.

"Stronger, huh? There's a loaded question. I guess I could warn you that curiosity killed the cat, but apparently death has no real hold over you these days..." The quip was intended to give him some time to ponder the surprisingly deep question, "I guess my quest for strength started with Dad. I never cared much for any sort of confrontation- Pokemon battles, arguments, debates, they were all kind've a drag. I only took up battling as a way to get Dad's attention. At least, that's how it started. Our Pokeball shop got hit by some Rocket Thugs back when I was just getting started. Nobody was hurt- nobody that mattered anyway. But watching my Dad fight them- I guess that's when I knew my purpose. All my life, I kinda stood by the sidelines, never picking a side or standing for anything for fear of stepping on someones toes. Dad fights to be the worlds best Dragon Trainer- I guess I fight for myself."

He paused for a moment, "Well, I guess I can give myself a little more credit than that. I guess Pokemon training was sort've my way of making a stand. If I could battle, I could protect what was most important to me. At the time it was my family, but now that I'm here, I guess I have some crazy notion that I'm gonna make some sort of noble contribution to getting rid of an evil syndicate. I'm not looking for glory- I'm just tired of standing on the sidelines."

He made eye-contact with his superior, "So I guess the answer to your question is 'yes.' I do, in fact, wanna become stronger. Why do you ask?"

Mykeisha was close to being teary-eyed from Kouji's story. Listening to the life story of a living man was not too different from listening to that of a dead one, but rather, instead of ending in eternal regret or peace, the story had a continuance. It also caused Mykeisha to remember she had not spoken with real ghosts in a very long time.

She rotated her head more so her eyes would meet his. "As long as you have the resolve to get stronger, you're good enough for this Team. If you do it to protect someone, that is true honor." If only she had another protecting her that time, not just another Pokemon, but another human, then just maybe...

Mykeisha was a paragon of unpredictability this day! Kouji was astonishingly at a loss for words, simply because he had no idea how to read this woman!

"Geez, one minute she's talking down to me like I'm some sort of puppet, then the next, she's trying to build me up as some sort of hero...what in the world is her angle in all of this?"

Sensing no malice or ulterior motives to her words, Kouji responded in kind, "Um...well, thank you Mykeisha." He wasn't used to talking about himself at this length, so he wasn't really sure how to react to someone's judge of his character. Still, as grudging as it was considering the source, he was a little relieved to hear some genuine words of encouragement.

He would've felt bad not returning her sentiments, but given the nature of their relationship, he didn't feel he had a lot to say. The girl believed that she was dead- for all he knew, she may interpret a compliment as an insult! Still, ever preferring forgiveness afterwards in favor of permission beforehand, he would try his luck.

"Look, I know we aren't exactly the best of friends, and I can't really sympathize with you. But empathy is something I've gotten good at over the, uh, I hope things start looking up for you." Kouji decided that this whole encouragement thing was something he dreadfully needed work on.

Atomsk smiled at the invitation. The perfect excuse to tag along. He planned on doing a little sweet talking, but it turned out to be unneccesary. Atomsk looked to Junko and her group of companions. "Hey give me one second to tell my friends! I'll be right back." Atomsk turned tail, and briskly jogged over to Kouji and Mykeisha. The two were talking, and Atomsk didn't particularly care what it was about. He looked to the two of them, speaking up as to grab their attention. "Hey you two! I'm going a ways farther with these guys. Why don't you head back? All three of us missing would leave us vulnerable. Especially an officer. I'll head on alone." How I wanted it in the first place, he thought to himself.

Mykeisha frowned. Them going elsewhere meant it was about impossible to track them. Not to mention Kouji refused to take on her task, of which she'd issued precisely for this type of situation. However, Mykeisha was never, ever, the one at lost, as she did have another plan. "But what of your task?"

"I'm performing my task. I'm following the girl. I never planned on saving the grunts. It is far too risky, and the information I'm likely to obtain is invaluable. I'm not going to give up this oportunity for just three grunts." He paused to think. Maybe these guys coming along had some use. "Since I'm going this part alone, you guys can make yourselves useful, and we can fulfill both parts of this mission with some bonus to boot. Considering the size of Saffron City and the previously huge occupation that Team Rocket had here, I'm sure that there are more then just those three Grunts that you will find locked up. I know it's risky, but if you two could stage a jail break, we would not only be releasing potentially hundreds of Grunts, we'd also be giving them a reason to come over to the side of Cataclysm. You think you two are up for the challenge?"

"Ask the Boss for large scale things, but I'm not up to that sort of thing..." Mykeisha responded. At that, she simply started walking in the direction of the base. Her appetite at that time as equal to that of the human energy consumption rate.

Kouji couldn't help but feel that Atomsk was simply saying "Piss off" in a very candycoated manner. Even more ineresting was Atomsk, no higher up on the chain of command than Kouji himself, was giving orders to an officer. It was a day of strange occurrences, and as curious as Kouji was about the emergence of this new group and their relation to everything, he decided that today was not the day to solve this mystery.

Instead, he decided that it may be prudent to take advantage of this offer presented to him. All this time he had waited for someone to ask him to do his job- with Atomsk's proposal, he would do one better in that he could make a significant splash without having been "officially" told.

As soon as Mykeisha brushed aside the proposal, Kouji chimed in, "I'll do it. This op isn't an official order, right? I'm low man on the totem pole, so I've got less to lose than Mykeisha does. She can go back to HQ and relay all that's happened here. I'll stage the jailbreak- one man will be easier to breach the prison with, or if worse comes to worse, it'll be easier for just me to escape."

Not that he was particularly interested in making any friends, (or for that matter, springing Rockets from prison,) but this act of unsolicited servitude might grant him the loyalty and trust of some of the higher-ups. Kouji didn't care to be in the dark, and to that end, would do anything to find the truth.

"Well then by all mean Kouji. In the meantime..." He turned around and began walking back towards the group. He paused, before he was out of earshot, and turned back. "Thanks for earlier Kouji. It was......nice!" Atomsk turned away, and walked back to Junko's group. "Since I'm tagging along, I'm Atomsk." He said without looking at anyone in particular. He was far too nervous. At this point, he didn't care if Junko knew. He stuck a cigarette in his mouth and lit it up, calming himself greatly.


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Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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It didn't take the group long to leave the bounds of Saffron after that, and as far as Ravenna was concerned, this was just as well. The sheer amount of psychic interference around the battle-zone had been more than she was honestly capable of handling, and even now, her nausea was only just fading. She was focused, for the most part, on taking deep, steady breaths, centering herself and calming her mind. It was one of the first things the crones had taught her, and still one of the trickiest. For all that, though, she was bolstered by the comforting presences of the people beside her, and it was nice to not be dealing with problems like this on her own for once. Truth be told, she rarely ventured into such populous areas alone, as even the assistance of her pokemon wasn't always enough.

Castor still walked close to her feet, and she could feel the guilt rolling off him in waves. He was a little impulsive and very courageous, her Lucario, and sometimes that landed them in interesting situations. She smiled down at him and shook her head. Not your fault, my friend. He was a bit skeptical of this, so she reached down and scratched behind his ear, an action which tended to soothe the both of them.

The road southward was just as sunny and hot as the one they'd taken to get this far, though she would readily admit she was looking forward to seeing the sea, and maybe there would be time to go stand on the docks in Vermillion and watch the ships come in. She'd never been on a ship, but it sounded nice. Peach-pink, in fact. Glancing around, she noted that the majority of the group was for the moment walking in silence, something that she could already tell was a bit unusual. She wondered if she should say something to somone, but as usual, she knew not what would work here. It seemed that she was doomed to be one of those people who knew when to speak, but never what to say.

Leaving Saffron was bittersweet in Kael's eyes, or rather eye. Even in Johto there had been rumors about the city that left an odd sensation in Kael. The gym was supposed to be one of the best in Kanto and toughest for newer trainers as well as there being a dojo for fighting types that was renowned even in other regions outside Kanto. He would have at least liked to check the city out a little more as well, but leaving the Rockets behind them was something he was more than willing to do. Even with a new companion he still didn't know he was comfortable with...

But now they found themselves, once again, on their way toward Vermilion City and in search for more information on Bill's stolen Pokemon. Despite the heat, the scene they had just left behind in the city, and their new ash-smelling travel mate, Kael refused to let it all bother him and once again resumed the tune he had been humming when they left Cerulean City. To him, silence was as unsettling as anything else he could possibly imagine. And the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other was beginning to grate on his nerves more than his humming was able to compensate for. Thus, he found his mind wandering back to Bill's Pokemon.

When he and Junko had arrived, Bill looked at them like total strangers but had seemed to know the pink-hared woman now walking next to Kael. Stopping his tune, he turned his head toward her as they continued on their way. "So how well do you know Bill?" He asked, trying to strike up a bit of conversation.

She was more than a little relived that someone had taken up the unseen burden of being the first to talk, and she'd happily answer. The question even made actual sense, in a green-organic sort of way. She pondered it for a second-- how well did anyone know anyone?-- but found the words she was after in the end. "Mm... he's a family friend. My first two pokemon were his, at first, but he let me adopt them. Sometimes, I help him out with chores or something like that, just to say thanks. It seems like the right thing to do, you know?" She'd be completely lost without Artemis and Orion, they were the driving force behind so much of the person she'd become over the years. It was next to impossible to imagine life without them, and if Bill had been a little less kind, she'd be living that life, whatever sort it would be.

"Who was your first pokemon?" she asked curiously. It was actually kind of funny, how much that initial choice (or selection, as the case may be), tended to shape the experiences that came after. The answer to the question invariably said a lot about a person, though how to interpret those sayings was a separate issue all its own.

Kael smiled as Ravenna eagerly grasped at the opportunity for conversation. It was a relief that he wasn't the only person feeling the itch...

"My first?" Kael pulled out the Pokeball at his waist containing his beloved Arcanine. "Growlithe was," he said with a grin. Remembering all the fun he had with the puppy and the memories, it was hard not to. He would never admit it, but the Pokemon was more than just the evolution to his starting Pokemon Growlithe; Arcanine was his favorite, his strongest, and his most dependable. "My father gave me my Growlithe when he left, before....well..." He thought back to the last time he saw his father and the burden that was put on Kael due to the absence.

"Ah...nevermind. The Arcanine you saw a bit of before was that same Growlithe once upon a time. It's amazing how far we've both come when I think about it."

Ravenna caught the slightly-awkward drop off in conversation, but chose to let it be. She was of the opinion that if someone really wanted her to know something, they would tell her in their own time. She nodded along after the last statement though, finding that she could certainly sympathize. "That's true... it's the pokemon that evolve, but I think the people grow just as much." It didn't always end well, though; sometimes, despite her desire to believe otherwise, she was forced to remember that the world was a dangerous place, and not always kind to the innocent... it hadn't been kind to Kei, after all.

Maybe the danger was just an inherent part of what made the journey worthwhile though. Did one not need adversity to overcome? Was it worth it? Ravenna found that she couldn't say, but maybe that was all right.

"You said you're from Cherrygrove, right? I've never been to Johto. I grew up in Lavender Town, and I've visited Sinnoh and Hoenn as well. What's Johto like?"

"Johto is amazing!" Kael said with more than mild enthusiasm. Even though his memories were mixed with good and bad alike, he still had more than a healthy dose of love for his home. "There's so much to do and see." He continued. "From fishing around Cianwood or watching the waves break against the shore atop Olivine's Lighthouse to the Bug-Catching Contest outside Goldenrod. There's pretty much something for everyone."

"But, to be honest, this is the first time I've really traveled outside of Johto. Mr. Pokemon told me a few stories about places he's visited when I was younger." He paused trying to remember if there were any of Lavender Town. "There's a tower Lavender Town I mean, right? Where people pay their respects to departed Pokemon." He stopped for a moment as he tried to find a way to word the question on his mind. "I heard there are ghosts there. Ghosts of Pokemon I mean, that the tower is where they go in the afterlife..."

Suddenly realizing he was venturing into a little less upbeat topic of conversation, Kael quickly waved his hands in a sort of cancelling gesture. "That's what I hear anyway." Looking over at the Lucario walking easily beside Ravenna Kael gestured toward it. "A breeder I knew a while ago told me Lucario are very rare Pokemon and are terribly difficult to train due to their pride. You must be one talented trainer to have one as well behaved as this one."

Ravenna, picking up on the fact that Kael was slightly uncomfortable with the topic of deceased pokemon, blinked slowly and limited her reply to a simple confirmation, and a smidge of reassurance. "Yes; the tower contains the gravesites of many pokemon, and quite a few ghosts as well. It can be a morose place, and there is much sadness there, but... also much love." Who that didn't love their pokemon would go to visit the graves, after all? It was the lonely, cold ones that had always made the place seem desolate. As a child, unaware of her powers, she'd felt this loneliness keenly and thought it her, own, so real had it seemed. Compelled to visit the abandoned graves, she'd laid flowers on them, and this had soothed the sense of abandonment. Whether that was because the ghosts had felt less of it and thus passed less to her, or perhaps having something to do had made her feel less alone in her empty house was something she didn't really know for sure. Either way, that tower was a place of warmth and remembrance for her, at least.

Castor straightened at the comment, puffing out his chest a little and smiling in a lupine way, his lips stratching back from his triangular, pointed teeth. Hmph, he thought to Ravenna, this one knows what he's talking about. Ravenna snickered, hiding her smile behind a hand. "Don't say that," she told Kael in a falsely-chiding voice. "He doesn't need anymore reason to be proud of his species. Though he likes you now, I think. He says you 'know what you're talking about.'" It took her a second to register that this comment had also been a compliment towards herself, and she shook her head a bit.

"Actually, I met him by complete accident. I was camping in a cave, and all of a sudden there was this rumbling, from underneath the ground. I think only I'm so oblivious that a Steelix could sneak up on me. This guy," she nudged Castor with good humor, buffeting him gently in the back of the head, "was redder than he was blue... erm, I mean, he had more courage than sense." She caught herself using one of her odd metaphors and corrected it, this time. "He tried to rescue us all on his own, which didn't work out so well for him. I took him to a Pokemon Center, but I think what really convinced him to come along was the fact that Artemis was teasing him, and there was no way he could beat her at the time. I had relatively little to do with it."

Turning the conversation back around (albeit perhaps a tad abruptly), she continued. "It sounds lovely then, Johto. We'll have to visit sometime, won't we, Castor?" The Lucario nodded sagely. "Maybe we could even take one of those nice cruise boats..."

Kael listened intently at her explanation of how the tower really was. But couldn't supress the small laugh that followed at Ravenna as she warned him about inflating her Pokemon's ego any further. Leaning passed her, he smiled and winked at the Lucario at hearing he liked Kael now. No one could ever have too many friends, he thought. Not in his opinion anyway.

"Sure you could," he said to her expressing her interest in the cruise ships. "Johto would be lucky to have you, even if just for a visit. Who knows? Maybe after all this business with the Rockets is wrapped up, I could show you around myself." Spreading his arms wide, he made an over elaborate flourish and an awkward bow as they walked. "You know, if you aren't too bored of me by then." Returning to his upright position, he threw his hands behind his head and glanced at her out of the corner of his good eye. "Be careful though," he warned, "Johto might want to keep someone as pretty as you."

She huffed quietly through her nose in response. "I don't think any of you could ever be boring; you're too bright for that," she replied honestly. Whether the comment about being pretty was ignored or just flew right over her head was kind of difficult to determine, but the educated would have placed their guesses on the latter. She put it down to simple dramatic flourish, the flaring of gold at the edges of all that red. It was fitting that he'd known a growlithe first-- the coloration was just so, and the edges of his aura flickered like little dancing tongues of flame. It wasn't something she'd seen before; none of them were. Still, the thought of the trip was nice, and she tucked away somewhere in the back of her mind. A rainy day dream, then, to remember when the time between got difficult. She always liked to have a few of those.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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After some number of hours travelling, the group had finally decided to rest for the evening, as the sun had dipped below the horizon a fair amount of time ago. Presently, they were all sorting out their belongings, though she’d had Prometheus start a fire in the center of camp. They’d need more wood for it before long, though, and she intended to go find some. For the moment, though, she untied the sash about her waist, fishing out the one pokeball that she couldn’t use here, then holding the whole thing by one end and swinging, releasing the other four in a broad arc away from the center of camp.

Artemis, Orion, Castor, and Iris appeared alongside Prometheus, who had settled himself down underneath a tree. The path from Saffron to Vermillion wasn’t all that dense in foliage, but they’d moved some distance away from it to camp, which did afford them some cover from the elements, not that it seemed it would rain anytime soon. The evening was blessedly cool where the afternoon had been blistering, and Ravenna could have sighed in relief. She refrained, however, making sure all the members of her quirky little family were settled down here or there in the area before deciding to do something about that fire. Glancing about, she noted that most everyone seemed to be occupied with something or other, but Kenji was the closest.

Shrugging slightly, she figured it couldn’t hurt to have an extra pair of arms, especially when they could probably lift twice as much wood as hers would manage. ”Kenji?” she inquired mildly, ”Would you or any of your friends mind helping me collect some wood for the fire?” She gestured to a grouping of trees some distance away from the main camp. It wouldn’t be a happy occasion if the fire went out overnight, as it tended to ward off rogue wild pokemon, something that she had learned the hard way a few years ago.

Turns out, Kenji actually knew how the buttons worked on his shirt. No longer a piece of useless fashion, the buttons were now keeping the chill that filtered through the air out of his bones. Kenji had actually just sat his rucksack under a tree he had called for himself before Ravenna approached. Light herself was sleeping soundly in the sack, if the sounds of content snoring and the rythmic rise and fall were any indication. Nimue was also out of her ball, Kenji figuring that it was about time she recieved some company as well. The Buizel watched the sack for a moment until an uncharacteristically loud snore threw her into a giggling fit. Kenji managed to bite off a quick shush before Rave spoke.

He chuckled and drew back the sleeves on his arm, revealing his muscles once again, "Of course sweetheart, that's what I'm here for. Muscle and all around pack mule," Another giggle from Nimue drew a glare from Kenji, who then proceeded to "threaten" the pokemon, "Hush, or I'm pile-drivin' you next." True to form, instead of skittering away in fear, Nimue raised her finned paws and made the universal signal for "Bring it." The faux-hostility broke down when both pokemon and partner laughed, and Kenji bent down to pat her on the head.

"Yeah, I'll help. As for my friends, you'll just have to deal with her. As you've noticed, my friends aren't really all that... big" He said, extending his palms for a physical dimenstration. "Just try not to get anythin' wet, yeah?" He told the Buizel-- who then stuck her tongue out but nodded all the same. She might not have been big, but she had the biggest heart. That's all that mattered, right? "Come along then, let's go before we all end up huggin' our fire types. I don't know about your Prometheus, but Sabre isn't really the cuddlin' type," He noted, to the agreement of Nimue.

"Mm," she hummed, smiling at the Buizel's antics. "He'd be upset if he knew I told you, but Prometheus is very cuddly. One thing when you're a puppy, another altogether when you're the size of several human beings." Certainly, if temperatures ever went subzero, the two Arcanines in the group would be more than capable of handling it. There was a discontented rumbling from beneath the tree, and Ravenna glanced over to see the fire hound giving her an indignant look. Of course, given that both Artemis and Orion were currently draped over him, head and back respectively, it was more humorous than anything else, and she laughed, a soft, cascading sound, shaking her head.

"And Nimue here looks plenty strong to me," she said, placing her hands on her hips and regarding the water weasel with a tilted head. "A rushing waterfall can wear down a boulder, can't it?" There was an unmistakable twinkle in her eye as she turned to head towards the thicket of trees, clasping her hands behind her and walking with a distinct spring in her step. She felt... uplifted here, with these people. It was nice. Spying a few branches, she didn't really stop to think about it before surrounding them with the violet mind-energy of telekinesis, whisking them over to her waiting hand as she stooped to pluck several more from the ground. A question occurred to her, and without really having any concept of whether it could properly be asked or not, she just did anyway.

"So what did we tear you away from in Cerulean?" she assumed everyone had been there for some reason or another, though apparently they'd all been willing to abort those designs to help Bill out, which was actually rather touching, when she thought about it. Not just anyone would drop their own affairs to help someone with no thought for reward-- even she wasn't so oblivious as to be unaware of that.

The answer was staggered, much like Kenji himself. Not everyday he got to see a girl just up a lift a pile of branches with her mind. This little act for Rave even managed to make Nimue take a step back, and she had always took everything with a grin and a chuckle. He paused for a second before he spoke again, "Er... Maybe you'd like to answer somethin' for me first? Like what the hell?" He'd had his sneaking supicions, but he had just chalked it up to personal unbalance. Quite the unlikely place to meet a psychic too. "Wait-- if you could do that, then why did I find you in back of a van?" Kenji posited. The whole moving things with one's mind seemed to be a useful skill in situations like that.

Water off a Ducklett's back, he shrugged and took it with a grain of salt. He went on to finally answer her first question, taking a hold of an armful of sticks himself. "Nothin' really. I was leavin' that mornin' anyway. Just stopped for the night to rest, had gotten back from a trip to Pallet-- Nice quiet little town. Wouldn't settlin' there if I didn't have this gypsy soul," He chuckled. Meanwhile, Nimue likewise had her arm wrapped around a bundle of sticks, watching as the two trainer's conversed. "Might have to back track to collect the gym badges we skimmed over, but like I said. Gypsy soul."

"How about you? Certainly being tied up in the back of a van wasn't on your schedule for the day."

"Oh, they knocked me over the head from behind first," Ravenna explained cheerfully. "Telekinesis is difficult when disoriented, and can often carry unwelcome consequences. Since I didn't want to accidentally knock myself out again, I opted for kicking the side of the van instead." Crouching to retrieve a few more loose branches, she shrugged. "Nothing can fix every problem, right?" Admittedly, there were times when being as she was had definite advantages, but then there were times like earlier today in the city, when being so sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others was like constantly being overwhelmed with psychic static, making it really hard to focus on anything else.

"I try not to make schedules," she confided. "I never can stick to them, anyway. It's not always being thrown in the back of a van, though things like that do happen sometimes. Tauros stampedes, electrical outages, getting lost... I'm not very good with directions, you see. Can you have a gypsy soul if you have no idea where you're going? It sounds like a nice thing to have." Actually, the list of bizarre happenings that had occured to or around Ravenna was quite long, but then, she didn't always recognize the strange for strange, being rather odd herself.

"This morning, though... well, gardening, really. Bill wanted some new berry plants, so I was helping with that." Nothing that warranted nearly as much concern as retrieving his lost pokemon, obviously.

"Gardenin' huh? You look like the Gardenin' type, wouldn't you say Nimue?" He said, hoisting a rather large branch over his shoulder, as he carried the rest under his arms. The Buizel looked up from an errant twig in her pile that was currently trying it's hardest to poke her in the face and nodded-- causing the twig to succeed in it's goal. A fact not missed by Kenji, who laughed at her plight. "An' that," Kenji began, turning back to Rave, "Is my very definition of a gypsy soul. I certainly don't know where the hell I'm goin', I'm just tryin' to have fun wherever I go this time," He said, a hint of melancholy in his tone.

He'd learned his lesson the first time around. There was no fun to be had in that past, only work and sweat, for all that had worked out. Nimue picked up on the sudden shift in air, but just as quickly as it came, Kenji dismissed it. "Think this is 'bout enough? Else there won't be a tree one left."

If Ravenna noticed the change in the mood, and surely she did, she didn't mention it. Sometimes, people liked to talk to her about things like that, and she never minded, but she also wasn't going to press. Everyone had their own troubles, and it was none of her business unless someone decided to make it so. That was how she thought of it, anyway. "Well," she declared, "I suspect having fun won't be very difficult with this much color around. Ah, that is... with people like the ones we're with." She must be getting better at this talking thing-- that was the second time today she'd stopped herself from ending with a completely nonsensical statement. ...nonsensical for someone else, that was. She liked to think that she understood at least most of the things she managed to say.

Looking at the three piles of wood between herself, Kenji, and Nimue, she nodded. "Mhm. This should keep a fire going all night. Maybe if we have extra we can leave it for the next people to camp along this road." She liked the thought, and it showed in the spring in her step as she headed back towards the others.

She had a gypsy soul; how about that? She'd have to tell her friends.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion


The following morning, the group rose and broke camp, Ravenna at least pleased to find that she woke quite warm, as the fire had not died overnight. Yawning and stretching her arms towards the dawning sun, she recalled all of her pokemon except Artemis, who was quite insistent that it was her turn to be out and about. Normally, she probably just would have walked with all her pokemon, but given the volume of people around her lately, she didn't want to block the entire route or anything. It was actually a funny thought, what they'd all look like with all their pokemon released and walking down the street, but she shelved it for the moment and kicked a bit of ash over the flames to bank them to nothing, throwing her bag over her shoulder.

Her hair, she'd just brush on the road, and everything else could wait until they hit Vermilion. The Pokemon Center there was bound to have rooms they could occupy for the night, not being nearly as large as Cerulean in terms of trainer population. Most of the denizens of Vermillion were artists or retirees, or at least they had been last time she was there. That was only a couple of years ago, though, so she had no reason to believe it would have changed much.

Indeed, when they at last arrived, it was to a scene quite lovely: the temperature was quite moderate today, a light summer breeze toying with their hair and the fabric of their clothing. Beyond the low-lying buildings, one could easily spot the docks and the glimmering sapphire expanse of the ocean's pristine waters. Off to the west lay the Gym, and she smiled fondly at her recollection of her battle there quite some time ago. It had been a real growing experience for her pokemon and herself both. But most of all, she had missed that ocean.

Bill had told them to seek out the police here for further information on Team Rocket, and they didn't have to look far. One of the many sisters, cousins, and aunts named Officer Jenny dashed by them even as they entered the main part of the city, holding a sheaf of document in one hand and shouting into a communicator of some kind, held in the other. Beside her, her Growlithe ran apace, looking intently in the direction she assumed the police station must be. "Well," Ravenna said airily, blinking slowly, "I suppose that must be the direction we want."

"No use standing around then," Kael said as he watched the little Growlithe running along beside Officer Jenny. It looked as if her tiny puppy was much smaller than his had been so long ago, but it could have just been him getting used to the increased size of his Arcanine. Stretching a kink out of his neck that had arisen from waking up frequently the previous night to tend to their fire, he began the steady trot after the policewoman. "Let's catch up!" He was unsure whether his enthusiasm stemmed from getting more information on their current 'mission', or the fact that he was now chasing an attractive woman...

Panting as the group reached the Police Station, Kael was amazed at how fast a woman could run in heels. "Holy crap..." he said between breaths. Reaching for the door handle, he forced himself back upright as he tugged the door open and stepped into a scene of complete and utter chaos. People ran about in every direction, papers were flying on and off desks, and it looked as if a Pidgeot had just finished whipping up a hurricane inside the building.

Eying the officer at the front desk, Kael let out a groan at seeing that it was someone other than one of the many Jenny's that littered the Police Forces. Any hope of using his charms to get the show on the road were hopelessly dashed at seeing the man. Lacking the subtle tact necessary in any situation so close after chasing a woman, Kael walked straight up to the man's desk and smacked a hand down. "Yo, Buddy! Who do we speak to around here for information on the Rockets?"

"... 'Yo buddy'[i] he says, like he owns the place. You sir, have a pair," Kenji muttered behind Kael. Never in all of his run-ins with the cops, had he ever called one buddy. It was always [i]"yes sir" or "no ma'am" or "please don't throw my ass in jail, I don't have bail money." Once over that threshold between police station and not police station, Kenji visible became more anxious. True, he hadn't done nothing wrong this time, but last time he was in a police station, he had a nice shiny pair of bracelets to go with the trip. Sure, he should have known this was going to happen, considering Bill told them, but it didn't make him any more comfortable. To his credit though, he presented himself very well. He even had a shirt on.

Even so, he tried to hide his goliath frame behind the rest of the party-- to no avail. Light saw what he was trying to do, and laughed at his plight. "If his ass gets put in jail, I vote we disown him. 'No officer, we don't know this heathen.' What do you think?" Kenji whispered to Ravenna. It was a funny joke, and maybe it helped him with the anxiety he felt. Or maybe he wasn't joking. His facial expression and tone certainly didn't do him any favors.

Ravenna fought to keep a straight face, clearing her throat a tad awkwardly. "Probably the only thing they'd arrest him for is being too... friendly?" She wasn't exactly sure what to call the demeanor Kael was going for here, and apparently neither was the officer at whom it was directed. Looking up at the hand and then following the trajectory to the face of the man with an eyepatch, he raised a single dark brow.

"That would be nobody, unless you have something more specific. We don't give out information on active investigations," he said simply, glancing the entire group over. He looked a smidge suspicious of Kenji and Atomsk, but the fact that they were in a group with two women as nonthreatening in appearance as Junko and Ravenna and a guy as... straightforward as Kael apparently eased any concern he may have had. Ravenna, for her part, felt the shifts in his emotions as he looked upon all of them in turn, and decided to press what little advantage she had in a situation like this, which was to say her slightly vacant-looking naivete.

"Please excuse us, sir," she said demurely, "but we're friends of Bill's, and his pokemon were recently kidnapped by Team Rocket. He sent us here for more information." She adjusted her own emotional barometer somewhat, sending subtle wavelengths of reassurance throughout the room, which resulted in the occasional easing of tensed shoulders or the smoothing of a creased brow, but not much more than that. Her goal wasn't to force anyone to do anything, just to help a bit.

Being a bit closer than the rest, the officer at the desk picked up on it quickly, and the slight frown he was wearing disappeared. "Look, I'm not in charge of who gets that information. I'll talk to the boss, but I can't guarantee anything. Wait here." Standing from his desk, he disappeared into an office in the back of the station, and didn't reemerge for a good ten minutes. When he did, he looked vaguely nonplussed. "The boss is really interested in meeting you," he said, tone echoing his mild surprise. "Please follow me." He led them to one end of the building, opening a meeting room for the lot of them. At the center of the room was an oval-shaped table, with black swivel chairs arranged around it. It was as yet empty; presumably, they would have to wait on this 'boss' person a bit longer yet.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko woke to Harag nudging her face, trying to get his trainer up. She pushed his head away and glanced around, noticing a majority of the group was already awake. She yawned, stretching slightly as Zeki rolled to her side, purring still as she slept. Junko poked the pokemon's side, earning an annoyed meow before picking up the Meowth that lay limp in her hands. Junko laughed as she placed Zeki onto her shoulder and recalled all of her pokemon back into their balls. She didn't do much with her appearance, just throwing her hair into a ponytail as the group made their way.

Before she knew it, they had arrived at Vermilion City. It wasn't exactly as she remembered it, but it had been awhile since she had been there. Things change over the years, and it was nice to see that the City was still somewhat familiar at least. Officer Jenny ran passed the group, her Growlithe in tow as Ravenna took the opportunity to point out the direction they needed to go in. Junko remained silent as they followed suit. Her mind was still too preoccupied with other things than to join the conversation. Although she did have to chuckle slightly at Kael's approach to the station and Kenji's response to it.

"You forget, he's a pirate remember" she whispered to Kenji as he spoke about disowning him. "When did you adopt him?" she countered. The group was led away to a room. She took a seat in one of the chairs as the others did and waited for whomever was to appear. Her interest was peaked a bit at the rather unusual reply the officer stated. They were expected.

Atomsk opened his eyes to the rest of the group getting up to continue their little venture. Atomsk took no time in waking up his friends, returning Sumo to her ball. and following the rest of the group He had missed morning training. Normally Rai and Thai would have woken him up, but they slept through it as well. It was rare, but a day off was deserved every now and then. He remained silent, not particularly concerned with many of the others. He lagged behind the group very deliberatly, popping a cigarette into his mouth every 30 minutes or so, leaving a tail of smoke to follow behind the group. His friends began to scatter as they approached Vermillion City. They almost always did this, none of his Pokémon were particularly fond of cities or people other than himself. Only Nano remained, sticking to her shoulder perch as she always did.

As they approached the police station, Atomsk made sure he was taking in his surroundings. Any information that could be gained would be useful for Kojiro. He took the cigarette from his mouth and laid it on a ledge above the door. He had just started smoking it, and he had no intention of wasting it, regardless of how long they were going to remain in there. He walked in with the rest of the group, following an officer to the back of the building. He was unaware of the situation before, but now it seemed that Bill, a genius in the world of Pokémon, had his companions stolen from him. By Team Rocket none the less. Useful information already. If Atomsk could find a way to get these Pokémon into Cataclysm's hands, they could make for some nice bargining chips for some future endeavor. At the same time, they might draw unneccesary heat onto Cataclysm. Atomsk decided to see what the best option would be. For now he sat back listening for the information he desired.

Following the others into the room, Kael chose to remain standing and took a position at the far end of the room. His 'up front' approach with the desk clerk wasn't an entirely successful venture, but had gotten the ball rolling at least. He was beginning to think he would be better suited to listening and observing while the others explained their situation as he crossed his arms and leaned his shoulder against the wall. Having only one mouth and one, useable, eye, perhaps it was better using the ears he was gifted with. At least he had two of those. 'Why couldn't everything be as straight-forward as a Pokemon battle?' he thought. 'See and act.'

Suddenly becoming consciously aware of a rock lodged inside his shoe, he decided to claim one of the chairs and sat down, trying to dislodge the small stone. Leaning in the chair further, and further, and even further still.... There was a sudden blur of movement as a wheel on the chair broke off and Kael plummeted to the floor while the chair shot from under him. He tossed the miniscule pebble away from his new position on the floor and sprawled out with his arms spread to either side of him. "Let's say that chair was broken when we got here..." He said, pushing the toppled and wheel deprived chair away from him.

"This is kind of comfortable..." Crossing his arms behind his head, Kael was content at trading his embarassment for comfort. He could always listen in from the floor he supposed. 'Enjoy the simple things....' "See? ... Heathen," Kenji repeated beneath a mask of his fingers.

Naturally, it was at that moment that the man the desk clerk had termed 'boss' decided to walk in. He didn't really look like what one would expect of such a person, maybe, though Ravenna recognized him as having the color she'd been supposing he would: steely grey, metallic and resilient. To more conventional perception, he was young, perhaps in his early thirties, and lacked the uniform stiffness of the majority of the other officers, helped along by his slightly-shaggy dark hair and the glint of precipitous intelligence in his sea-colored eyes. In short, it was a simple matter to discern that he was far from the normal cop.

Spotting Kael on the ground, he arched a black brow but said nothing, choosing instead to scan over the rest of the faces, expression unreadable. "You're the ones Bill sent? He told me to expect you." He fixated for very brief seconds on the color of Ravenna's hair, then Junko's eyes and Kael's eyepatch. Kenji's tattoos produced a nearly-impreceptible nod, but he stopped short at Atomsk. "You're not one of them." It wasn't a question.

Atosmk looked at the man with an unwavering gaze. He didn't take particularly well to this man. He didn't like him the moment he walked into the door. He gave off this air of superiority that bugged Atomsk. He had no idea if this supposed observation was dead on or completely off, but he stuck with it for now, and it meant that Atomsk didn't like the man. He had to seem like he wasn't suspicious though. He needed to be firm, but not defensive. Atomsk hated these balancing acts. Facial expretions went a long way. So did tone of voice, posture, manarisms. A lot could put Atomsk in a position where he was being suspected of something.

He responded snarkily. "I wasn't aware it was invite only. But I'm sure Junko would put me down as her plus one." Atomsk made sure to look at the officer some, and then have his eyes trail off, as if he had lost interest. He assumed that it would piss the officer off, but he also assumed that it would get and suspicion and heat off his back at the same time. Better to be hated than suspected.

"Right, now that the pissin' contest is out of the way," Kenji broke in, almost tiredly. The last thing he needed was another one of his team to get in the face of an officer. Hell, if he was going to jail, then it'd be on his terms, not because of this mouthy Atomsk or Kael's shenanigans. Light couldn't help herself but chuckle at both Kael's misfortune and Atomsk's snark. "We're here because we can help. The faster you tell us what we can do, the faster we can do it, and then the faster we can get Bill's pokemon home. I don't know about any of you, but I'd be worried about them if they were any of mine." This garnered an approving nod from Light who had migrated from his shoulder to the top of his head. It gave her a better view of the room.

"So if you'd please, officer?" Kenji said, taking a seat in his chair and motioning for the detective to do the same.