Diamond 82: Give me Enthusiasm
Diamond 82: Give me Enthusiasm
At his office in the Viridian gym, Giovanni looked up the security videos from the gym area. There were no cameras inside the office, but there were some hidden in the halls of the gym. According to the images on his computer, only one person had been there during the time window when he was away battling as the gym leader. That had to be the thief; there was no other logical conclusion. Giovanni was very displeased and he didn't hide his expression. Of all the possible traitors, he didn't expect Laiki to be one.
She was there at the hotel, she knew where they would be, she was a good liar. She was flirtatious and could have been using the men involved as accomplices. She had enough medical knowledge to concoct a serum that would make them faint and forget after a set amount of time. It would be just enough time to get the job done. She could have given it to them in a drink or something. Just because she was Binks' little sister and seemed to get along so well with Delia, didn't make her loyal. He couldn't let such thoughts get in the way of his judgment. It could all be an act.
"Dude, Giovanni, like what's wrong, man?" Luke didn't like the angry look on Giovanni's face and neither did Pixel.
"Laiki is a traitor," he turned the screen around for them to see the image captured by the camera. It showed someone identical to Laiki going into Giovanni's office. Given the timing, she would have plenty of time to deliver the pokemon to the assassin and even join her at the mansion if she wanted. He didn't notice the missing pokemon until Luke went to ask what he thought about them later.
"This like totally can't be!" Luke was quick to defend her. She was Binks' little sister and she had been a big sister figure to Comet. "There like has to be like a mistake, you know?"
"A picture's worth a thousand words, she's a traitor. Everything fits," Giovanni was tired of all the uncertainty that had invaded his life. He felt as if he was no longer in control of anything. It was a terrible feeling, especially for someone who was used to always being in control.
"I like don't think she would like betray Team Rocket, man!" Luke insisted firmly.
Pixel looked at the two men, it didn't seem like Giovanni was listening to Luke's defense. "Excuse me; is there something I need to do? If not I'll go continue my training."
"Go," Giovanni dismissed her.
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Meanwhile, in the living quarters of the rocket base, Purry watched as Comet slept. He was snoring, which prevented her from sleeping because of all the noise. Peachy's soft 'chu' sounds were nothing compared to the all out unconscious attack Comet was releasing into the sound waves. She hissed exasperated and picked up Gyarados' pokeball. She held it above Comet's face, 'I hope you like seafood as much as I do,' Purry grinned mischievously. She released the Gyarados into the unsuspecting young man's mouth when he opened it in a loud snore.
Naturally, the water pokemon was far too large to fit in his mouth. Instead, Gyarados materialized on top of Comet suffocating him momentarily and nearly crushing him. Bumping his head on the ceiling of the room, Gyarados immediately retreated into his pokeball again before the red beam completely disappeared.
"Ow," Comet wasn't sure what just happened. He saw a flash of red and blue and felt as if he was being flattened by something very heavy. The feeling only lasted a second, but it was painful. Thankfully nothing was broken. He sat up and rubbed his aching head, carefully stretching his neck in slow circular motions. He looked at Purry, who was sitting on the bed next to him. "Did you just try to feed me Gyarados?" It was simply unbelievable. He considered it being a dream, but the pain was too real.
'Who me?' Purry gave him a look of faked innocence at first. Then she glared fiercely, 'yes I did and if you don't stop snoring I'll feed you Gyarados and Scyther together next time!'
Comet had no idea what Purry was saying in her pokemon language, but she was angry. "Peace," he tried to calm her. She had let him know that she didn't like it when he snored, but he didn't think she would take such extreme actions to stop him. "I won't snore anymore, I promise." He was determined never to snore again; it had become a matter of life or death.
By strength of will and survival instinct, Comet kept his promise. Even so, Purry was no longer in the mood for a nap and left Comet to his recovery by himself. She went out of the room and walked around the base, her sharp battle senses immediately noticing the tension in the air. Pixel ran by, dashing towards the nearest exit. Curious about what in the world she could be missing, Purry hurried after Pixel.
xoxox xox xoxox
It didn't take Pixel long to locate Laiki in Viridian city. She was at a cafe flirting with one of the waiters. Looking left and right, to make sure she wasn't followed, Pixel went in and approached Laiki. "We need to go see Delia."
"Right now?" Laiki wasn't sure what this was about, but Pixel looked ready to drag her out if she didn't hurry. "Okay, just let me get his number," she winked at the waiter. However, the young man was staring at something that was not part of Laiki's person. She pouted, 'why is he staring at Pixel? My chest is bigger!' She frowned in frustration, then realized he was actually staring at the red R on Pixel's shirt.
"Team Rocket," the waiter stammered. Unlike Pixel, Laiki was not in her uniform.
"Cosplay!" Pixel loudly exclaimed, she didn't have time to change. The waiter calmed down, as did the random customers and other employees who had noticed her presence. "Let's go," Pixel began to drag Laiki away by the arm, taking her out of the cafe.
"Ouch, wait, what kind of emergency are we dealing with here?" Laiki protested as they left the infatuated waiter to deal with the bill.
"You were framed, there's no time to explain," Pixel insisted. "Drop your cell phone so they can't track it."
"Framed? How was I framed? What was I framed for? I didn't do anything!" Laiki began getting upset, which would not help their situation.
"Calm down, I'll explain things when we're in the clear. Delia will understand, let's find her before anyone finds out I'm helping you and I get into trouble," Pixel urged. The two young women hurried to Giovanni's mansion. Fortunately, the taxi driver seemed to believe the cosplay story too.
xoxox xox xoxox
Time passed and the sun sunk in the horizon, not that Ash could see it beyond the wall of trees surrounding the mansion. He did notice the light becoming dimmer as he looked out the window. Realizations were indeed exhausting. He decided to rest a little more after that second talk with his mother. His mind was tired, but his body was not. He couldn't fall asleep, though he wanted to. Instead, he thought about all the things he learned that day.
What would Misty say? She had to find out at some point. For how long was he to keep the secret? How could things work out now if they didn't in the past? It was true that his mother no longer had a baby to raise. Was that all there was to it, or was that simply the last drop that pushed the flood of choices along?
A black limousine arrived at the mansion. Ash watched from the window as Giovanni exited it and headed for the mansion's front door. He stood frozen at the window, before finally backing away a few steps. He wasn't ready for this, he wanted to think, to let it all sink in. His memories of his time with Giovanni and all the things they talked about felt nearly unreal. It was almost like a dream he had woken up from. Ash felt as if he had lost control of his life, even if the things he found out about were never in his control to begin with.
His eyes traveled to the desk in the corner of the room. There was a notepad on top of the golden lined indigo furniture. He picked up the black pen with a green leaf on it. The notepad had a faded green leaf watermark to match. They both looked like the Earth badge, the symbol of the good gym leader who was in fact a mafia lord. Ash's messy penmanship flooded the notepad with black ink scribbles. He tore off the top sheet and crumpled it in his hand, squeezing the paper into a tight ball.
Pikachu watched as Ash threw the paper ball into the waste basket and once again, put pen to paper. He had enjoyed his time with Giovanni, but his perception of the gym leader was drastically changed all of a sudden. Ash didn't know what to think, he wasn't one to hate, but he was confused. He was afraid he might make a mess of everything if he said the wrong thing to Giovanni. He simply couldn't face him yet. With his short note finished, Ash gestured for Pikachu to climb on his shoulder and hurried away silently with his other pokemon in their pokeballs.
He exited the room without making a sound and snuck towards the back door. There were less Rockets around by then. Ash saw a few Rocket grunts on his way out, but they all identified him as the boss' special guest and didn't try to get in his way. He was able to exit the mansion easily. Once outside, he released Charizard and climbed on his back, "I need to go to... home, to Pallet Town." The powerful fire pokemon took off towards the Pallet House.
xoxox xox xoxox
Delia sat looking at a laptop in one of the mansion's living rooms. She read through the reports and looked at the videos from Razzo Albergo's security system. Recently added to the collection of evidence, were the videos from the mansion before the cameras were deactivated. Only certain parts of the mansion had hidden cameras, such as some of the halls and the area surrounding it outside. The entire place had motion sensors able to identify the presence of practically anything anywhere in the large structure.
Both the men that had deactivated the respective security systems at the hotel and mansion had passed out soon after. They both looked lost, similar to zombies. They had no memory of their traitorous actions; it was as if someone was controlling them. The women involved in the case all looked different. Blond, blue eyes, white skin, red hair, unknown eye color, tan skin, faded pink hair, brown eyes, olive skin. The last two had a taste for big thick looking boots and they were all out to kill Delia. She wondered if the same person was controlling them all. The women were much more aware than the men involved.
The butler entered the living room in relative silence. His soft footsteps were just loud enough to hint at his arrival so that his sudden voice wouldn't startle Delia. "Milady, Lord Roketto, has returned," his dark violet eyes seemed to scan the room searching for anything suspicious. His face looked serene, but he was still alarmed by the recent happenings.
"Thank you, Rex," Delia smiled politely as the butler bowed; a single strand of auburn hair fell out of place as he did. She closed the laptop. Nothing seemed to stand out about the files she had been looking at. She still couldn't make sense of why the third would-be assassin had said she was her rival.
Delia followed the butler towards Giovanni, who was in the main room near the entrance talking to some Rockets. The Rockets dispersed soon after and Delia approached. The butler quietly excused himself, disappearing from sight at the same time as the Rockets.
"Did you tell him?" Giovanni wasn't even sure why he bothered to voice the question. Delia's expression already gave him the news.
"Yes," Delia confirmed. "Ash is resting upstairs right now. I'm sure he has a lot of things he wants to ask you. You'll take some time to talk to him now, right?"
Busy as he was, Giovanni knew Delia wouldn't have it any other way, "yes." Besides, the executives and the high ranked Rockets could keep the organization running while he took some time off. It was something he wouldn't normally do, especially given the recent happenings, but he felt that he had to. He couldn't deny that he wondered what kind of reaction Ash had to learning the truth of his origins and his father.
Giovanni and Delia went to Ash's room. They found it quiet and empty. As Delia searched for any signs of her son, she spotted the notepad on the desk. It had been propped up against the wall at the desk's edge, instead of laying flat on its surface. That made it appear prominent and easy to see. Delia picked up the notepad, recognizing her son's handwriting. "I need to think. Don't worry, I'll be back soon. -Ash"
"So you both have a knack for running away," Giovanni wasn't sure if he should be annoyed, or disappointed that Ash didn't seem to have the courage to face him. Whatever his opinion of the situation was, he couldn't decide on it, but it wasn't indifference, it bothered him.
Delia's expression saddened, "it was too much all at once," she hugged the notepad as she felt guilt build up inside her. "I should have found a way to tell him more gently."
Delia was guilt tripping herself again, Ash had ran away, nothing was simple in Giovanni's life anymore. It had not been simple for years, but it was still rarely this complicated in such a way. All the betrayal around him reminded him of his least favorite parts of the past. "Forget it; let him do what he wants. I have other things to think about than the mood swings of some boy."
"Giovanni!" Delia could say nothing more than his name in a mixture of upset and sadness. She wished Ash would have at least spoken to her before leaving. He probably knew she would talk him into staying. She could understand his wish for some space, even if he had been waiting for answers for so long. Delia could relate; she too took some time before telling Giovanni the truth after they were reunited. She had to sort things out before she felt she knew what to say and how to say it.
She didn't stop Giovanni from walking away. She couldn't fully blame him for not interpreting Ash's sudden departure in the best way. She couldn't blame Ash for needing time either. After Giovanni had left her alone in Ash's room, Delia called Ash. She had to know he was alright, even if she was aware he knew how to take care of himself. The possibility of him being targeted by an assassin still bothered her.
"Mom..." Delia breathed in relief when she heard Ash's voice coming from her cell phone. "I'm sorry I left like that."
"It's okay; I understand that you need time to think. I won't try to rush things. Where are you right now?" Delia hoped he wasn't too out in the open.
"At home," Ash replied, he was in the little house where he lived for the first ten, nearly eleven, years of his life.
"Let your pokemon out, I'm sure you'll feel better with them around," plus they could make sure Ash was safe. "I'll be there soon-"
"Don't worry," Ash interrupted, "you don't have to rush over. You should stay there; I'll be alright on my own. I just need some time to think. Tell Gio-um... father... I'm not mad at him," or at least he thought he wasn't, he wasn't sure. Referring to Giovanni as his father still felt very odd. Ash wondered if Giovanni thought of him as a son or if he was still allowing the fact to sink in. "I just need to sort my thoughts." The situation was complicated; Ash knew that, it was more complicated than words could say. "Mom, I'm not mad at you either, just so you know."
"That's good to know," Delia tried to keep her voice steady. She was determined to keep things as stable as possible so that Ash didn't find too much drama when he returned.
xoxox xox xoxox
On her way walking down the hall, off to find Giovanni, Delia saw Iblis. "Delia, there you are. Did you have a chance to study the files? Are there any clues you could point out?"
"Iblis, I thought you went home to rest," Delia had assumed Iblis was no longer in the mansion. The injured woman really needed to take some time off to recover. "I didn't notice anything in particular. Maybe if we looked at the videos together and discussed it we could come up with something. I'm sorry, I know this is urgent, but I need to talk to Giovanni right now. Plus you need to get some rest so you can have a full recovery from your injuries."
"Don't worry about me," Iblis insisted with a smile and adjusted her weight on the crutch. "Giovanni left a minute ago. I saw him on his way to the main front doors and tried to report a few things about the investigation. He didn't seem to be in the mood to talk to anyone. He left, looking quite angry. I'm not sure where he went, perhaps headquarters. I know it's none of my business, but did you two have a fight?"
"No, it's... well, I guess a little tension is to be expected. I'm sure things will sort themselves out," Delia wondered if she should go after Giovanni or give him some time to cool off first.
"Ash?" Iblis didn't need to wait for an answer as Delia's expression gave it away. "It is only natural for a mother to put her child before anything else in the world. Even if he is a young man, he's still your son." What Iblis was hinting at was different from how Delia interpreted her words. Iblis was encouraging her to leave, but Delia was more determined to stay.
"Yes, you're right," Delia nodded, finding a little bit of hope in Iblis' words. "One way or another they'll work things out, Ash is his son, one way or another, things will be okay in the end," Delia stopped herself. She wondered how much Iblis knew about Ash. The Rocket grunts didn't seem to know him beyond being Delia's son and Giovanni's guest. They didn't know he was also Giovanni's son.
For a split second shock overtook Iblis' face. She raised a delicate eyebrow and let out a soft, "oh?" Again, Delia didn't need to give any confirmation; it was all over her face. "I didn't realize you were so well acquainted with the boss in the past," she laughed softly, as if to get over her surprise.
"Don't tell anyone," Delia quickly urged, "please." It might eventually be known, but she didn't want any extra pressure on Ash at the moment.
"Don't worry," Iblis smiled once more, "no one will know." She spoke with absolute certainty, as if she would personally make sure of it. "If you'll excuse me, I'm feeling tired. Maybe it's best if I leave."
Delia nodded in agreement, "yes, you should rest and recover, take care of your health."
"I appreciate your concern," Iblis left without looking back.
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"Delia!" A female voice, coming from down the hall reached Delia. She turned to see Laiki running towards her. Of all the places where she could go, no one expected her to go to the mansion of the man who had sent his agents to hunt her down. It seemed much more likely that she would run to Pewter City and hide there. It was convenient that she had carried out her plan to find a Kanto boyfriend with Rex, the young butler.
Pixel approached along with Laiki. Purry was on Pixel's shoulders looking in every direction. Persian would surely be there later. The mansion could provide her with a place to hide and watch him, accomplishing that at the boss' office would be difficult. The love struck Meowth jumped off the girl's shoulders and dashed away quiet and sneaky. She left the three human females to walk off somewhere and discuss whatever they seemed so eager to talk about.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.