Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > Loyalty

Chapter 08

by Mikari 0 reviews

Chapter 08: Discoveries

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Ash,Misty - Published: 2012-04-30 - Updated: 2012-04-30 - 2268 words - Complete


Chapter 08: Discoveries

The location on the map was in the open sea where there shouldn't be anything, but Ash didn't question it for a second. He and Misty rode upon his Charizard as swiftly as the fire pokemon could carry them. They eventually reached the location marked on the map and found, water... Ash examined the map again, he and Misty had traveled in silence occupied by their own thoughts. The proximity at riding on Charizard's back felt odd as they tried to stay away from each other without risking falling at the high speed.

Charizard flew in circles over the spot until Ash finally spoke, "Maybe this isn't the place."

"Only one way to find out," Misty jumped off Charizard and dove into the ocean below before Ash even had time to react to her comment or interpret her intentions. A few seconds later, Misty's head emerged from the water with crushed hope. Hope because she had found something, crushed hope, because she crushed it herself. She didn't want to set her heart on something only to find that the reality was much harsher. "There's some kind of underwater facility. It's actually pretty tall." She demonstrated what she meant by moving to stand on the top of the tallest chamber, making the ocean water only reach up to her waist. It was a low tide today.

"We just need to figure out how to get in," Ash hopped off Charizard, who growled in annoyance at being splashed with sea water as Ash landed next to Misty. "Thanks for the ride," Ash recalled his pokemon.

A short and uncomfortable moment of silence passed. They knew who they were and the position they were in, but traveling together, despite this being for a very different reason, reminded them of their adventures of the past. Misty had her reasons to be bitter, she kept reminding herself of that, yet she knew she couldn't really blame Ash for the past. On the other hand, he did stand with his family despite what they did, yet they had been kind to him at least, she mused.

Misty knew that though Delia was human and as such made mistakes, she was a good mother and a kind hearted person. She simply chose loyalty over justice. Yet the bitterness didn't go away completely with those thoughts. Why couldn't things be changed? If not changed then at least she could... Misty's thoughts were interrupted as the floor beneath her feet disappeared and she sunk deeper into the ocean along with Ash. She was a strong swimmer, but she couldn't resist the current pulling her down like suction.

Ash, Misty and Pikachu were pulled down through a transparent pipe. The ocean water was thankfully drained from it as they went along. They were eventually thrown into the floor, the pipe making a curve at the end, which helped to reduce the impact of the fall like a slide. They tried to get back on their feet, coughing out the sea water that had made it into their lungs as the area around them lit up.

The structure resembled a mix of metal dungeon and experimentation laboratory right out of a mad scientist movie. However, the machines looked poorly maintained, as if the facilities had not been used in a long time. Ash and Misty almost expected guards to come running towards them but no one did. None the less, if the lights were on there might be someone there albeit the mechanism could have been somehow automatic or triggered by their combined weight standing above the pipe; maybe it was simply an old structure that gave in.

Silently they began to explore the structure, heading from the large tall chamber down a narrow corridor. The silence was so deafening and the questions so imperative that Misty simply had to ask. "Have you ever thought to defy him? Your father?"

"Yes," Ash replied with sincerity and smiled as if fondly remembering mischief. "It was fun at times, and very stressful at others." His expression turned serious. Letting out a breath, he looked at misty and voiced. "I think I should explain myself. I'm sure you think I must have changed a lot."

"Your morals especially," Misty commented bitterly.

"That has not changed," Ash firmly insisted. "There are many things that Team Rocket used to do and still does that have been reduced if not changed because of my mother and my insistence and our efforts to find alternatives. It's an odd feeling; it's a contradiction that I can't explain. How can you admire someone and feel resentment at the same time? I asked myself that many times and mom told me the answer she found. I can admire who he is even if I disapprove of what he does, the genius, the idea, the ambition, not the methods, not the sacrifices. But if I walk away from everything then I'll miss the part of my life that I like and won't be able to change what I don't like."

Misty listened silently, trying to grasp everything that Ash was saying. He sounded very sincere.

"We've had our harsh disagreements," Ash admitted. "It was especially hard on mom, she hates seeing us fight. It got pretty hard. For a period of time I was Team Rocket's number one enemy and I thought I hated my father, except I could never really hate him. I suppose we got past that over time and I grew up. I learned why Team Rocket is needed and saw the beneficial side of it. I want to make it different. The law isn't always effective and rules sometimes needs to be bent if not broken. But that doesn't mean it has to be evil. I can prove myself to dad, prove I'm capable, prove I'm not naive or ignorant and show that I can make my ideas work. Team Rocket is his life's work and I can't destroy it, I'll make it better. Does that count for anything?"

Misty found herself feeling reassured, "it does. I guess you're not so different after all, not as much as I thought." She let out a breath in a mix of stress and relief. "This still seriously bothers me though."

"Understandable and it bothers me too," Ash admitted. "I've just had a little more time to deal with it, to be prepared. Not that I ever could be completely, but..."

"I think I get it, you do what you can," Misty understood. "That's what I told myself when I started the Azure Alliance; we need to do what we can. I suppose, I don't have as much bitterness for you specifically as I thought."

The wall of ice between them felt like it was lifting. Ash smiled a hopeful smile. His eyes were full of determination; it was a sentiment that assured that even in the face of adversity, everything would somehow work out. "I'm really glad to hear that."

Footsteps echoed coming from the opposite direction. Ash and Misty became guarded. Surely their presence had been noticed, their own footsteps had been sounding off clearly in the deafening silence. Then the one who was walking towards them came into view, one Rocket, just one, dressed in their classic black uniform with a red R. Ash let out a breath of relief, recognition invading his features. "I take it you're glad I'm not someone else?" The Rocket inquired with a smirk.

"Very," Ash nodded. Comet was another of the Rockets Ash got along with well. He was the one who usually backed him up if his latest attempt to modify Team Rocket before his time needed support. But without getting into trouble, without taking it too far, without any direct disobedience on Comet's part, that was why it worked. "I should have guessed dad would sent someone ahead. Why are you here?"

"Just to keep an eye on you," Comet admitted, then looked in Misty's direction, his blue eyes focused and curious. His hair was the same color as hers. "I didn't think you'd bring your secret lover here though. This place is pretty run down for a date," he joked.

Misty looked like she wanted to protest, but she couldn't find her voice. This young man looked almost identical to her father's cousin who had been supposedly killed, aside of course, from the age difference and another particular detail. Her uncle Luke always had a tan, he loved the beach and being outdoors. This Rocket didn't seem to get enough sunlight to tan, perhaps his missions mostly took place at night.

Ash huffed and shook his head. "Laiki?" He inquired and Comet nodded in response. Leave it to the local Viridian Gym doctor to spread all sorts of rumors right away. "Gossip... but nothing else is new, she spreads it in hopes of getting some real information in return, in hopes of confirming a theory."

"It's a valid espionage technique, infect the area with lies to force the truth out." Comet commented, well aware of Misty's curious eyes on him. He grinned knowingly at her studying gaze. "Do I remind you of someone?"

"Luke," Misty voiced, wondering if he would even know who she was talking about. With Team Rocket, she bitterly mused, anything was possible.

"I have been told before that I look a lot like my father." Comet revealed and misty gasped, he was expecting such a reaction and only grinned and took a few steps closer, as if giving her the chance to compare his face with the face in her memories.

While Ash looked back and forth between the two in confusion, misty pulled out a very wet old photo from her pants pocket. When she felt unsure after learning of who Ash was, of his connections, she looked at some family photos and thought. She carefully removed the photo from the other one it was sticking to. One was of her parents from a time before her birth and the other of her uncle and elder sister along with a much younger version of herself. He was actually her father's cousin, not his brother, but he had been kind to the Waterflower sisters. "Uncle Luke... was he just keeping an eye on us?"

"Yes," Comet admitted. "After Tidus' death and Coral's imprisonment, Delia was worried about their children, whom she thought shouldn't be blamed for their parents' actions. Taking them into Team Rocket was an option, but Delia opposed that choice. She asked my father to keep an eye on the four little girls and make sure they were alright. Eventually, his presence in their lives became complicated as relatives started asking too many questions and he had to cut all communications. It was for you too, the redhead was the one that reminded them the most of Tidus, of Luke, of Team Rocket..."

Misty's face was a mix of sadness and realization. "I brought back bad memories... That explains why I never even got a doll set to myself. Luke was in Team Rocket... is he still? He is alive isn't he?" Her resigned sadness and shock evolved into urgency.

"Yes," Comet replied. "You may speak to him if you wish. However," he paused, expression becoming serious. "Out of loyalty to Giovanni, I must prevent you from finding Coral, out of loyalty and friendship to Ash, I give you this information." Comet turned to leave, while Misty looked rightfully shocked.

"Wait..." Ash whispered in deep thought. "Wait!" He called out in realization and surprise. "Wait just a minute, you two are related?" He looked back and forth between Misty and Comet. Taking a better look at them, he could see the family resemblance. They were only distant relatives, but they obviously carried the same blood. "How come I never knew?"

"I didn't know until recently either," Comet confirmed. "Well, I really must be going now. I would advice against staying here. The structure is very unstable and could come apart at any moment. This laboratory and dungeon stopped being functional years ago, Delia can explain why." It was her influence no doubt, her request. He made a mock salute gesture with two fingers on his forehead and a playful smile. He had no malice, only amusement in everything he did. "I do hope we don't meet again, at least not until it's over... because it's already begun." Comet dashed away the same way he came, down the corridor, turning the corner and disappearing from sight.

"Come back here!" Misty finally got her voice to work, her words almost cracking to pieces as if it was difficult just to speak. She needed more information, she had to catch him!

Ash's eyes widened in realization. "Misty, no!" She didn't know what it meant, Comet's warning, but he did. He knew all too well, not just from him but from Pixel, Laiki, Jessie, James and several others.

To be Continued

I guess you could say that this story is like Episode One of a larger saga that I won't be writing... What? Well that's the point of a round robin, it wouldn't be such if I wrote it all myself. There are plots that are purposely left open for other sagas to grow should anyone choose to jump in. One of those is the entire Ash vs Gio plot that brought them to where they are now around the time Ash and Misty distanced in the past of this peculiar tale.

Next Chapter: The race to find Coral begins and danger is closer than expected. A hidden past will be revealed...
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