Diamond 84: Give me Encouragement
Diamond 84: Give me Encouragement
At the Cerulean City gym, Misty had enough of those silly friendship and sibling movies. They had watched so many that all that was left to watch were the really cheesy movies with terrible acting. Then again, they could all fall into that category, but those last few were even worse. Lily and Violet were indeed hit by sisterly separation anxiety after they returned home. Kenobi had gone back to Viridian City to take care of some business related things. Violet had been calm at the time, but it didn't take her long to explode in a fit of sibling nostalgia.
"Here's the ice-cream," Brock brought over three bowls of ice-cream, each including equal portions of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with chocolate syrup, a banana, peanuts and abundant rainbow sprinkles. He didn't seem to be bothered at all by the frilly pink apron he was wearing.
"Thanks," Lily picked up her bowl and placed an empty little cardboard box on the tray in its place. "Could you get more tissues, this next movie is like really emotional."
Misty could feel her eye twitch. The actors didn't put any emotion into their lines, though they did make exaggerated dramatic expressions, yelling or whispering. It was not the same thing.
"Right away!" Brock had to go rent the movies, Brock had to prepare the snacks, Brock had to run random errands, Brock had to help with the gym's remodeling. Misty felt her eye twitch some more, Brock wasn't a slave.
"Thanks Brocky," Lily sniffled, though the movie had barely started. Misty also felt like crying, but only because the movie was so bad.
Brock's face was full of pride, "any time!" He skipped away to fetch another box of tissues.
Misty followed Brock, ignoring Violet when she called out, "you'll like miss the start of the movie!"
Away from her sisters, who were in the living room, Misty confronted Brock, "you don't need to do everything Lily tells you."
"I want to show her I can be loyal and dependable," Brock proudly declared. "Did you hear her? She called me Brocky, that has to be a good sign!" His face was slightly red and his head was in the clouds.
"I'm going to have a talk with Lily about this," Misty insisted, her face reflecting disapproval. She wondered if she and Ash used to enslave Brock in the past without realizing it.
"Please give me a chance, I can do this, I can prove myself worthy!" Brock looked like he was close to getting on his knees and begging. "Please, please, let me try to win Lily's heart."
Misty had no choice but to agree, "alright, I won't say anything. I just don't think it's nice that you're getting bossed around all the time."
"I don't mind," Brock desperately insisted. "If the orders come from Lily's gentle voice, I'll do anything I'm told to do!"
Misty sighed hopelessly, "oh brother..."
"Brother? You called me brother!" Brock cheered, "I knew it; I'm making progress. I have never lasted this long in a relationship before." He was practically jumping with happiness.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Pallet Town, Vandel, alias Skye, approached the Pallet House curiously. Ash had returned but there was still no sign of Delia. He decided to casually stop by to say hello and discretely ask about when Delia would return. Unless he got distracted and forgot to ask, which was a possibility Givan took into consideration. If the great catastrophe was to be avoided, Delia had to survive whatever fate was destined to befall her. Skye wished that he had an accurate version of history to go by, but he was stuck taking guesses at the time. "Ash!"
'Being inconspicuous was never his strong point,' Givan commented as he watched his trainer shout the name at the top of his lungs.
Ash looked out the window from his room to find Skye standing out on the street with a basket in his hands. Ash took a deep breath, the aroma of burgers reached his nose and his stomach growled loudly. It was dinner time and he wanted dinner. "I'll be right there!" Ash rushed down the stairs towards the front door. He had let all his pokemon out of their pokeballs as his mother advised. As a result, when dinner time came around, they cleaned out the refrigerator, leaving Ash with nothing to eat. Even the foods that required cooking were consumed thanks to the fire pokemon.
Within seconds, Ash was opening the front door with a friendly smile, "hi, do I know you? Oh well, that's alright, come in, it's always good to make new friends!"
As Vandel entered, followed by his pokemon, Givan grumbled, 'he's so gullible.'
Pikachu observed the visitors, 'is there anything to worry about? There are many of us here to keep Ash safe.' He looked at the large Persian suspiciously.
'You have nothing to worry about from us. We're not the enemy, but the enemy is out there,' Givan couldn't really share anymore information because he didn't know the specifics.
Pikachu took his words in a metaphorical sense and didn't inquire further. The Persian reminded him of someone, but he couldn't quite precise who. The Vulpix was also familiar, perhaps more so than the Persian.
Skye followed Ash to the kitchen setting the basket of appetizing scents on the table, around which they sat. "I'm Skye; I work for Gary, helping take care of the pokemon and stuff. I just thought I should come by and say hello. I've been taking care of your pokemon too, I even sang a lullaby to your Bellsprout," he wondered if he should be embarrassed about that.
"That's great, thanks for taking care of them. It sounds like you already know who I am," Ash eyed the basket. "It's nice of you to come over... so... what's in there?" His mouth watered some more. He already knew what was in the basket, burgers, lots of delicious burgers, the scent was unmistakable.
"Just some cheese burgers. I made them," Skye paused and corrected himself, "well, actually, Dia, my Vulpix, she was the one who cooked them. I just put them in the bread and added the cheese. Givan, my Persian, he... supervised," it would be more accurate to say that he complained about his trainer not adding all the condiments he liked to his burger. "We made too many," he removed the red and white checkered cloth that covered the basket. "I thought maybe you would like to try them."
Ash thought the boy would never get to that part. "Yes, please, thank you!" Ash happily exclaimed before stuffing one of the burgers in his mouth whole.
"I guess you were hungry," Skye stated the obvious.
Dia laughed, 'that look Vandel gets in his eyes sometimes reminds me of you,' she told Givan, 'but right now he seems similar to Ash.'
'Yeah,' Givan agreed, 'but if you ask him who he looks like he'll say the great Giovanni, in terms of personality, I'm not so sure.'
'Maybe he's a combination of both Ash and Giovanni,' Dia mused, 'they are both related to him after all.'
"Bulbasaur," though Charizard took a peek into the kitchen to make sure everything was okay, it was Bulbasaur who decided to stay while his fire comrade returned to the others and told them all was well. The unknown boy was apparently a friend of Ash. Their trainer had been feeling tense lately. Pikachu and the others had been talking about all the things happening with their trainer.
Ash swallowed the burger, miraculously not choking on it. It seemed the other pokemon were full, they had cleaned out the refrigerator after all. Even so, Bulbasaur could not pass up the opportunity to have a burger, he loved them. "Here you go," Ash gave Bulbasaur a cheese burger, which the pokemon took with his vine whip.
"Your Bulbasaur eats meat? I thought grass types were vegetarians," Skye observed. "I have a Bulbasaur too; it's much smaller than yours. Professor Oak just gave him to me. I tried to feed him a burger and he wouldn't eat it. Then again, it could be that he was full from eating all the salad when I let him out of his pokeball and didn't watch him closely enough. That's why there are no lettuce or tomato on those burgers."
"My Bulbasaur is very special," Ash smiled fondly as he took another burger from the basket, eating it slower than the first. "I'm really glad you came with these burgers, the pokemon ate all the food and I was hungry."
"Why didn't you just go over to Professor Oak's place?" Skye curiously asked. "He seems very kind; I bet he wouldn't mind sparing some food." If he gave away a pokemon just like that, he would definitely share food.
Ash took a big bite of his burger and focused on his chewing for a moment. He couldn't talk to Professor Oak until he sorted things out. He was aware that Professor Oak knew about Giovanni. If Ash saw him at that moment, he might ask too many questions. He wanted to let the information he already had sink in. He swallowed, actually having chewed his bite a proper thirty-two times. No one ever did that unless they were stalling. "I didn't want to bother him."
One of Skye's rare observant moments apparently occurred at that very second. "You're hiding something," he bluntly pointed out, which caused Ash to choke on his next bite. It all turned out to be a false alarm; Skye wasn't that observant, "I happen to know you won the Indigo League Championship," plus he was the son of the great Giovanni, who would be remembered by Rocket history, even if that history was close to changing. "Are you hiding from fans?"
"Something like that," Ash laughed. He took the assumption as a compliment.
"If it's troublesome, you could just disguise yourself," Skye suggested the most logical thing. "Professor Oak has a bunch of stuff you could use. It's just stashed up in the attic, so I'm sure he won't mind if you borrow something. Not that I was looking around or anything."
Ash's curiosity was captured, "what kind of stuff?"
"Wigs, lots of them," Skye revealed.
Ash blinked, why in the world would Professor Oak have a collection of wigs? "Wigs?" That was all he could say.
"Want me to get them for you? I'll be right back," Skye ran out of the house before Ash could reply. If Ash was trampled to death by crazy fans, that would not be good for Skye.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Oak research lab, the elderly Professor watched as Skye rushed in. Gary had returned to Pallet Town earlier that day and was immersed in his research. "You seem more energetic, are you getting use to your job here?"
"Kind of," Skye nodded, then went straight to the point. "Just out of curiosity, do you happen to have something that works as a disguise? Something like, I don't know, a collection of wigs?"
Professor Oak rubbed his chin in thought. He remembered that he indeed have a collection of wigs. It was quite a coincidence that Skye had asked. "There is something like that here. The wig collection belonged to my son. His wife liked to practice hair styling back when they were still dating. She would always make him wear wigs so she could work on a different style everyday. Let's get them from the attic."
The Oak attic was similar to most attics. It was cluttered with all sorts of old forgotten things and covered in dust. Skye knew exactly where to look since he had been up there recently in his curious investigations. He conveniently coincidentally found the box they were looking for and carried it out of the attic.
As Skye was ready to return to Ash with the supplies, Professor Oak curiously asked, "why did you want to borrow something like this?"
Gary had just finished an interesting day of research and was passing by down the hall. He saw Skye holding a box full of wigs and heard his answer, "Ash is being stalked by fans, so I'm helping him disguise himself." Unable to contain it, Gary fell into a fit of laughter. Not realizing what was so amusing, Skye assumed, "he must have made a really funny discovery." Skye would have to further inquire about that particular piece of research later. For the time being, he returned to the house where Ash was waiting.
xoxox xox xoxox
Skye delivered the box of wigs to Ash, who was quite impressed by the collection. "Wow, there are so many." He didn't really need to disguise himself. The entire thing about hiding from fans was something he played along with in a desperate moment when he thought Skye could see all his truths written on his face. It was silly; Ash's origins had always been what they were. He was still the same; the only difference was that he knew a little more about himself. The truths had always been present; the truths had always existed and would always be there. Realizing that made Ash feel a little better.
Skye picked up a black wig and took off his hat revealing his brown and blond hair. He put it on, brushing it with his fingers. After being in storage for so long, the hair on the wig was quite rebellious. He put on his red hat, watching as Ash's face lit up with amusement.
"Wow, anyone would think you're my brother or something," Ash laughed. Maybe a silly little distraction would be good for him now that his stomach was full.
"Yeah, something like that," Skye laughed, they were not brothers, but they were related.
Ash picked up a blond wig from the box and put it on, hiding his black hair in it. "Do I look like a movie star?" He joked.
The pokemon soon joined in, many looking quite funny with hair. Givan didn't seem to be interested in such silly games and hissed at Vandel, alias Skye, to stay focused. Without his collar, the humans could not understand his words. Besides, Skye wasn't paying attention anyway.
Time passed and Ash relaxed a little more. When Skye went back to the guest room at the Oak research lab, he left Givan and Dia at the Pallet House. Dia was entertained playing with the other pokemon. Givan looked grumpy, but he stayed with Dia anyway.
All was quiet and still in the little town of Pallet. Skye was too relaxed and sleepy to notice the dark figure hiding in the shadows at the end of the street near the brick fence of the Oak land. He didn't realize he was in danger until it was too late. A man with a zombie-like look in his eyes and a gas mask jumped in front of Skye. The unknown man swiftly threw a small object to the ground. The item exploded noiselessly into a cloud of purple smoke.
Skye coughed, unable to find his voice and call out for his pokemon. The strange smoke invaded his senses and he felt irresistibly sleepy. His vision became a blur and his body felt weak. He collapsed and was carried away into a car that hid in the shadows of the brick fence at the turn of the road.
As soon as the unconscious Skye was in the car, the man with the gas mask collapsed. A woman glanced at the unconscious passenger that was thrown in the backseat. It was dark and she was in a hurry. He wore clothes similar to Ash; he had black hair and a red hat. She silently closed the car door and went to the driver's seat. She drove away hastily, but quietly. The man with the gas mask was left passed out on the road while the mysterious woman made her escape with the prisoner she thought was Ash.
xoxox xox xoxox
At Giovanni's mansion, from the second the rocket leader saw Delia hurrying towards him, he knew something was wrong. She had a look of absolute urgency in her eyes. "Delia, what is it?" A lot of things had been going wrong on that day and Giovanni could only assume the worse. "Did the assassin send someone else after you? Just how many enemies could we be dealing with?"
"Probably just one," Delia revealed hurriedly, "all the women involved are actually the same, Iblis. She's probably hypnotizing the men into helping her. Catching her is important, but saving Binks more so. She's going to attack him!"
The sudden overload of information was too much for Giovanni, "wait, slow down, how do you come up with all these theories?"
"They're not theories," Delia insisted with a serious expression, "they're conclusions. Let's hurry, we need to get to Binks," she started walking towards the front door of the mansion, making it clear that she was not stopping.
Giovanni was quick to follow her. "Alright, we'll go see Binks immediately. I'll call ahead to make sure he's okay, but you need to explain this to me on the way." He glanced at Persian, who was looking up at his human parents curiously and somewhat tiredly. The pokemon was starting to show signs of exhaustion. Due to the virus being spread so far across Kanto, the portions were much smaller, thus weaker. That didn't stop them from developing and becoming disastrous in time. At least they had time to prepare, but they were cutting it close. The illness was becoming known in Kanto as the pokemon deaths increased. "Stay here, Persian."
Persian protested, making it clear that despite whatever was happening, he wanted to tag along. Delia caught on to Giovanni's precaution and insisted as well, "it's best if you stay." She petted Persian gently, "we'll be back later, you should take some time to rest." Persian realized he had no choice but to agree and let the two humans go.
There was no need for a limousine, especially when they were in a hurry, so they left in the red convertible instead. After Giovanni made his call to assure Binks' safety, he glanced at Delia, before turning his attention back to the road, "I'm listening."
"First of all you need to understand that Laiki was framed," Delia was quick to defend.
"How do you even know about that?" Giovanni already didn't like how the conversation was going. A thought occurred to him, this was Delia, of course she would know. People gravitated towards her sweet persona naturally; they trusted her with information, maybe even with their lives. "You know where she is," it was a conclusion, more so than a question.
"Yes," Delia confirmed, she had no intentions of denying it anyway. She also had no intentions of revealing Laiki's location until Giovanni was convinced that she was not a traitor. She would keep Pixel's involvement in secret.
Giovanni's mind was immediately flooded with theories. "Laiki is in Pallet Town," he guessed. "You're hiding her in your house, or maybe she took refuge with Professor Oak."
Delia decided not to reply and Giovanni didn't insist upon the question. Instead she continued informing him of the urgent matter. "Iblis is..." she paused, trying to figure out how to properly phrase it. Somehow, saying it aloud felt odd. "She's trying to steal you away from me," that was not how Delia wanted to say it, but this was not the time to go in mental circles trying to form the ideal explanation.
Giovanni almost chuckled, "there's nothing between us, there never has been, I assure you."
"That's not what I mean," Delia insisted, "she's trying to steal you by taking away our precious memories. She's turning all the good memories into something tainted. She wants you to feel betrayed by everyone who is somehow linked to the past. I trust Ash will be alright with his pokemon for now, but I can't let her keep doing this. I don't want you to forget how to trust. She disguised herself as Laiki, you believe me, don't you? Think about it, would Binks' little sister truly betray Team Rocket?"
"I would never have expected this from her," Giovanni admitted. Laiki had been with Team Rocket since a young age and had never shown any signs of being a traitor. As for Luke's little mishap leaving the pokeballs in his office unguarded, he knew it was only a mistake. Other than that, he had done a good job for years. It was something he received little credit for, until Delia's return somehow put Giovanni in a good enough mood to give him some credit. He was aware of Iblis' interest, though he never returned it. He didn't expect that she would go so far in a fit of jealousy. "I'm going to have the agents focus on finding Iblis instead."
"Yes," Delia adamantly agreed, "you should do that right away." She waiting for Giovanni to call, holding his little Rocket cell phone with one hand and the steering wheel with the other. She listened as he called off the search for Laiki and ordered his agents to look for Iblis. Giovanni closed his little cell phone and speed up, they were almost to Viridian City. "Giovanni, you have competent allies, you just need to trust your judgment and not give into doubts. I know you understand and that's part of what makes you a great leader."
"Then why didn't I predict Iblis would attack?" The more he thought about it, the more sense it made. Iblis was known to be good with disguises, second only to Petrel. She sometimes used disguises as part of her interrogation techniques. The entire possibility of trying to play with his head, enraging as it was, also fit her background. Ash ran away bringing out past feelings of betrayal. It was as if Giovanni expected to be betrayed and was quick to jump to conclusions when he thought he was.
"You were thinking to hard instead of trusting yourself and your mind wasn't clear," Delia concluded. She observed Giovanni's seemingly neutral face for a long moment. She saw a hint of something in his eyes that she couldn't quite explain. Letting out a deep breath as they drove through Viridian City, she gently voiced, "Ash is not angry at you. He wanted you to know that, he just needed time to think."
Giovanni didn't say anything, but his expression slightly changed. He was a little more relaxed despite the situation, almost relieved. They had arrived at the Viridian gym and quickly went in. They headed into the underground base and to the elevator that would lead them to Binks.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, in Comet's room, underground at the Viridian Rocket headquarters, Luke watched his son with concern. The young man who looked so much like him had always been strong. Maybe Laiki's worries were correct after all. Comet was unconscious on his bed, his face reddened with a very high fever. His breaths were slow and uneven, his expression occasionally reflecting pain. Yet the thought of him never waking up was an impossibility in Luke's mind. Comet didn't remember his early childhood and he had no clue about who his mother could have been. Somehow, truths had a way of being revealed in time. Luke had to wonder if Comet would live long enough to find out.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.