Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > Awakening

Part 5

by Milia 0 reviews

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2014-03-13 - 11263 words


Chapter 13: Siblings

Jonathan dashed into the basement of the bakery at Cerulean City, followed by Zero and the pokemon. Pichu, Furball, Chari, Zubat and even Squirtle rushed to Ashimi in a chorus of concern. "Ashy?" Jonathan asked unsure. To inquire if she was okay felt stupid, given how bruised she was.

"The situation is under control," she pointed at the unconscious Jaina.

Jonathan noticed the girl, his eyes going wide. He remembered her, she got him out of a jam when the police nearly caught him during one of his Rocket missions. He was surprised by her resemblance to his mother and wondered if she was a cousin he never knew about. She was very mysterious and did not give him a name to inquire about, but she did say she would tell him who she was when they met again. Had it all been a set up for a trick that she never put into action, or an elaborate ruse that was yet to come to full fruition? "Did she do this to you?"

"Yeah, but Clefable and I showed her. See? I can take care of myself, even if it may not look it right now, trust me, I'm okay." She was terribly sore, Ashimi had to admit, so saying she was okay was a stretch, but she knew she would be.

"I know... I know you can take care of yourself, but friends take care of each other too," Jonathan reminded.

"Yeah..." Ashimi laughed at the irony. 'So much for proving my competence, I didn't need to after all.'

Jaina began to wake up and found Jonathan staring at her. "I think it's time you told me who you are, like you said you would."

"You've seen her before?" Ashimi was surprised to hear about it.

"I have..." Jonathan admitted. "It was during a mission for Team Rocket. I almost got caught by the police, but she helped me out. I thought she was a Rocket too, maybe even a relative of mine, but then I realized she wasn't a Rocket."

"Not so sure on the relative part, are you?" Jaina slowly got to her feet.

"She's a master of disguise," Ashimi warned. "She pretended to be the Celadon gym leader, Kirameki, and was working with Daala. She tried to kill Dorme and me!"

"Just you, granddaughter of Giovanni," Jaina clarified. "Killing the Rocket girl as well would have been a mere bonus."

"Now I know that no matter what you look like we can't be related," Jonathan glared angrily. "I come from a family of loyal Rockets and you're clearly not one of us!"

"Oh, but I am..." Jaina argued. "I am your twin sister, Jaina Joan Kojiro."

Jonathan's bitterness increased, "liar! My sister is dead!"

"Look at me, brother, I am your twin..." Jaina insisted, her voice turning soft, almost pleading. "Do you not feel it?"

A strange feeling overcame Jonathan and he found himself doubting his conviction. Was this girl really his sister? Had her early death been a lie? No, he couldn't allow himself such thoughts. "I won't fall for your lies!" Jonathan shouted. "You have a lot to answer for..."

Another set of footsteps was heard as Dorme arrived. "It looks like I'm too late. Oh my Mew! Ashimi, look at you! You're going to need ten pounds of makeup to cover up all those bruises. I've got to give you some martial arts training some time."

"Thanks, I'd appreciate that," Ashimi smiled.

"Dorme?" Jonathan blinked in confusion. "Ashy? Did I miss something?"

"What? You really think we can't be both rivals and friends?" Dorme placed one hand on her hip, waving her other index finger back and forth. "I'll have you know we have a respectable rivalry, even though Ashimi is unaware of it."

"I am?" Ashimi tilted her head in confusion. "We're rivals in pokemon training, aren't we? I'm aware of that, what more is there to it?"

"See what I mean," Dorme sighed.

"I don't get it, I only used to dislike you because you kept trying to make me leave whenever you saw me," Ashimi mused aloud. It was actually whenever she was seen with Jonathan, but she seemed to miss that detail. "But you don't do that anymore and you are a good pokemon trainer, so..."

"That's okay, I know how the story will go, it's fine, I can wait my turn." Leaving the statement hanging for only Jonathan to understand, Dorme turned her attention to the crimson haired girl. "As for you... You've crossed the line and I'm taking you in, I'm sure the Rocket interrogators will have fun with their new assignment."

"I don't care," Jaina frowned in hopelessness. "I would never tell you anything even if I knew, but there's nothing to know. Tornado has no base of operations, no list of members. We are identified by our hatred for Team Rocket and nothing more. We know each other by our actions, we are not a mere organization, we are a state of mind!"

"A state of brainwashing I would say," Jonathan differed.

The sound of sirens outside caught their attention. "The police!" Dorme exclaimed, "such bad timing!"

"Do you think Kirameki sent them to investigate Jaina?" Ashimi referred to her as such, since she didn't know her by any other name.

Dorme did not correct her, if Jaina had another name, she was not aware of it. "Maybe, they must have gotten tips from people who saw her coming this way. They'll probably want to arrest her and maybe even us."

"Lets retreat," Ashimi decided. She could hear several sets of feet shuffling about upstairs. "Chari, weaken the walls with your fire until they give way!" Chari did so, until one of the walls was no more. The room was a basement, thus underground, hence beyond the wall there was the ground. "Squirtle, soften up that dirt with your water just enough to make it easier to dig through. "Squirtle got to work, at least the situation wasn't as scary as the last time he was asked to do something. "Chari, Pichu, Furball, Clefable, Squirtle, all together now, dig a tunnel! Zubat, give them direction, detect the best path to the surface."

"Go Foxtrot, help them out!" Though Jonathan had only called out his Flareon, Nya, the young Purrloin, popped out of her pokeball also, wanting to help. She began to dig and threw a bit of mud up, the mud ball landed on her head, making her squeak in surprise, as if the law of gravity wasn't an everyday thing. She began to wipe the mud off but only succeeded in spreading it.

"Hitmonlee, Oddish, dig too!" Dorme looked back at Jaina, who clearly wasn't invited to tag along in their escape, they didn't have time to try to make her cooperate along the way. Jaina doubted the police could hold her for long, the crimson haired girl wasn't obstructing their escape because she knew she would have an easier time getting away if she went with the police alone.

"Foxtrot, cover our escape with fire!" Just as Jonathan's Flareon closed off the tunnel at least temporarily with a curtain of fire, Jenny and a few other officers made it to the basement, along with a few police trained Growlithe. They didn't know if there was an armed ambush waiting for them, so they had proceeded slowly and carefully.

Leaving Jaina behind to be arrested, Ashimi, Jonathan, Dorme, Zero and the pokemon reached another wall within the tunnel, following Zubat's directions. The wall was broken in a similar fashion to the one before and they stepped into another tunnel. The new tunnel had walls and flooring, though it was dirty and smelled very bad. Foul smelling pipes ran along the tunnel, further confirming the fact that it was a sewer. "It's only a matter of time before the police comes this way, lets get out of here!" Ashimi urged.

"Ugh, you don't have to tell me twice, this place stinks!" Dorme covered her nose.

"Approaching Muk and Grimer detected!" Zero announced. "They're coming from both sides of the tunnel."

"All the more reason to move!" Jonathan hurried along with the group. He had picked up Nya and held her at arm's length by the scruff of her neck, "Meowth would fury swipe me into ribbons if he saw how dirty you are." The police would certainly get a nasty surprise once they got past the firewall and investigated the tunnel.

A big stinky Muk approached, growling at the group. Nya let out a stream of words that sounded like variations of Purrloin and feline noises, but came out as words to pokemon ears. The Muk smiled, gave an enthusiastic reply and stepped aside to reveal a ladder leading up to a manhole on the street above.

The group recalled their pokemon and climbed up to the street, grateful that they didn't have to deal with the Muk after all. "I wonder what the deal with the Muk was. I thought he was going to attack us," Ashimi took in a big breath of fresh air, now that they were finally out of the stinky sewers.

"Nya asked him politely to let us through," Zero explained. "The Muk said, sure, anything for a cute little Grimer like you."

"I don't know if I should laugh at how clueless that Muk is or grimace at the fact that I'm not the only one who thinks Nya's dirty enough to look like a Grimer," Jonathan's expression was distinctly sour. "It's going to take forever to clean up her fur."

"We're not exactly presentable ourselves," Dorme frowned at the amount of mud and dirt that clung to her. "Let's get to the pokemon center and get cleaned up, or maybe Ashimi's place?"

"Pokemon center," Ashimi insisted. "I don't want mom to see me like this, she'll make a big fuss about it and it'll only make her worry."

"Alright, the pokemon center it is, you better clean your cuts before you get an infection. I can help out with that and Johnny can clean the pokemon in the mean time," Dorme suggested.

"You just want to get out of bathing the muddy pokemon," Jonathan noted. Dorme made no efforts to deny it and only grinned. They looked to the sky as they walked. It wasn't raining anymore and there was a rainbow over the sunset. Things felt as if they were getting complicated, but somehow they knew they could face whatever came their way.

xoxox xox xoxox

At the Cerulean pokemon center, Ashimi, Jonathan, Dorme and Zero excused themselves with the local Joy by saying they had a nasty encounter with a gang of Muk and Grimer. Though she was clearly disgusted by their dirt and odor, the nurse felt sorry for them and let them get cleaned up. They settled into a guest room to rest, resorting to continue the journey in the morning. Ashimi had so far won four gym badges: boulder, marsh, thunder and rainbow. The earth badge would be the last and the cascade badge the second to last, as per her plans, so the next logical step would be to head towards Fuchsia City for a soul badge. "Let's take the Lavender Town route this time around, I haven't been in Lavender for a long time," Ashimi decided. She was all cleaned up and bandaged, though the blackened bruises were still clearly visible.

"I have to be on my way again in the morning to try to get information from Daala. I'm starting to think that the whole thing about Tornado not having a base of operations or a physical list of members is true. That would explain why I haven't been able to find much. I wonder if they even have a leader," Dorme theorized. "Anyway, someone has to make you presentable," she pointed at Ashimi. "I'll have to teach you to do your own makeup for when I'm not around. I'll get a good supply tomorrow morning, that way people won't ask too many questions until you stop looking so black and blue."

"I guess that would be useful," Ashimi admitted. "It was a pity her soreness couldn't be covered up so easily. She recalled something from earlier which she had been wondering about. "Johnny, about earlier, about Jaina..." Ashimi wasn't sure how to ask, and in the end decided to take the most obvious direct route and just say it. "Was there actually a real Jaina Joan, did you have a sister?"

"Yes," Jonathan replied.

Dorme's jaw dropped. "You have a sister?" She voiced in disbelief. "I thought I knew all the basic details about you, like your middle name being Jancen. How come I never knew about your sister? Actually, it sounds like Ashimi didn't know until recently either."

"Because I don't have a sister," Jonathan corrected. "I had a sister," he emphasized the past tense. Ashimi, Dorme and Zero silently waited for him to elaborate further. "Jaina was supposed to be my twin, but only I lived in the end. She was still-born, no one knows why, she was fine in all the tests, but her heart stopped beating around the time mom went into labor. Some doctors say mom's blood pressure went too high because of the urgency and nerves, some say Jaina tried to breath before she was out and choked and some say she was simply not ready, since mom gave birth a bit early. I just don't know what that girl wants to achieve pretending to be Jaina and dressing up to look like she's related to me."

"I don't get it either," Ashimi breathe. "I thought I was her target, and so far she's made that clear. If she had some sort of plan to get to me by pretending to be your sister, why didn't she just do it from the beginning?"

"Um..." Dorme shifted uncomfortably. "There is no possibility that she could be your long lost sister, right?"

A heavy silence overtook the room until Jonathan finally spoke, "I don't think so..." To be perfectly honest, he didn't have a way to be certain. "I know the real Jaina has a grave in Lavender Town. Honestly, there are way too many grave yards there. I guess that doesn't really prove anything. They could have buried some other baby or maybe the grave is empty. But why would something like that even happen?"

"If you could test her DNA the answer would be clear," Zero logically suggested.

"And if she refuses the test, the answer will be clear too," Dorme continued. "Although, if she really wanted to use that to her advantage, she might go out of her way to make sure fake results are delivered."

"Honestly, I do get an odd feeling from her, a strange sense of familiarity. If I went with that I'd be inclined to believe her," Jonathan confessed. "But her actions speak too loudly, she's not a Rocket and my family are Rockets." The doubts haunted him, what if that girl was the real Jaina, what if she had been stolen from the hospital and pronounced dead for convenience's sake? What kind of life did she live? "If it were true... If it were actually true, and I found out who took her, who stole her life from her and turn her into what she is now..." He let the statement hang, but it was clear that the culprit would not meet a pleasant fate. Then he shook his head and reiterated, "I guess it doesn't really matter, because she's not my sister," she couldn't be... "She's just a liar," he wasn't sure why he even needed to convince himself of a fact that should have been clear. "She's definitely not related to me."

"Do you still want to go to Lavender Town?" Ashimi asked after a long silence.

Jonathan blinked as if the question came out of the blue. "Of course," he paused and smiled. "Relax, Ashy, I'm not going to suddenly be afraid of graveyards just because I saw my so called sister's ghost," he joked to lighten the mood. No more discussion was done that night save for pokemon battle small talk. They were all very tired and went to sleep early.

xoxox xox xoxox

When morning rolled around, Dorme did Ashimi's makeup as promised. She did a pretty good job of hiding her bruises with thick foundation and powder. Ashimi admitted she felt a bit off with so much stuff on her face and the visible portions of her arms and legs, but she let it be. It was certainly easier to blend in by looking like a preteen who couldn't wait to look grown up, than like one who looked like she got on a Machoke's bad side. After some the girl time, Dorme left, once again parting ways with Ashimi, Jonathan and Zero, who headed towards Lavender Town.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 14: Resentment (Part 1)

Fortunately, the trip to Lavender Town went without interruptions. Ashimi, Jonathan and Zero arrived at the gloomy town without any problems. The sun might have been shining on that day, but the town's atmosphere remained dreary, as if a sad cloud constantly hung over it. There wasn't much to do there since the town had no gym, but Ashimi did get to challenge a few people to pokemon battles. Just as she was ready to take a break, someone suddenly called her name.

"Lady Ashimi, I found you!" The boy collapsed on the street in front of her, as if he had been running non-stop for a very long time. "It looks like paying off Dorme to reveal your location was a good plan after all, I can't believe I didn't think of that sooner!" The light green haired teenager picked himself off the ground and glared at Jonathan, "of course you had to be here too, always getting in the way. The future madam boss only needs one knight at her side and that's me!" He very loudly declared.

Ashimi looked around, the people passing by were giving them odd looks. "Keep it down, Cloud, people are staring!"

"Cloud?" The boy shook his head. "That's not my name, but that's alright, you can call me whatever you like as long as you make me your right hand man! By the way, you look different, more grown up." Though it was probably just the makeup, as she couldn't have changed that much since the last time he saw her. He still saw it as an opportunity to score extra points and decided to compliment her. Cute was a girlish compliment and beautiful sounded more grown up but unoriginal and he needed something over the top. After a short pause, an idea finally hit him, "you look like the most badass supreme overlord-er-lady, the world could ever have!"

Ashimi didn't even know how to respond to that, in fact, she wasn't even sure if it was meant to be a compliment or an odd kind of insult. Jonathan shook his head hopelessly, a certain amount of indignation reflected in his eyes. "I see you haven't changed, Tidus, always trying to climb the ranks in any way you can."

"That's not my name either!" The green haired boy growled. "But I don't care if you don't remember my name, you're an unworthy Rocket anyway. I should be the one taking on the role of Princess Ashimi's personal servant and body guard!"

"I'm neither of those things!" Jonathan argued.

"Ignore him, madam, allow me to prove myself to you!" The boy whose name no one could remember got down on one knee as if he was about to be knighted.

Ashimi took a step back. "I think you're over doing it."

"I think he's funny in a pathetic sort of way," Zero smiled in a manner that was too cute to match the meanness of the statement, which was also ironically spoken in a cheery tone.

The boy looked up, scowling, "and here I thought I had odd eyes. He looks like a possessed doll, creepy!" He shuddered visibly.

"Hey!" Ashimi stepped forward in Zero's defense. "Little Zero is adorable and don't you dare insult him." She threw her arms around the little virtual boy, "he does look like a doll, that's part of his charm." Though Zero wasn't particularly happy to be referred to as a doll, he stuck his tongue out at the nameless teen and gave him a smug look anyway.

"I can be a doll too!" The boy argued. "I can be anything you want me to be, my lady!"

"Weirdo, try being normal," Ashimi grumbled.

"I am!" The boy insisted pleadingly.

"Why don't we just battle?" Without waiting for a reply, Jonathan called out his Flareon. "This way we can settle this once and for all, what do you say, Locke?" Jonathan finally suggested, his patience for the nonsense coming to an end.

"Fine! Let's battle, and my name's not Locke!" He threw a pokeball into combat, the red beam revealing a Tentacool. "Ha! I have the type advantage!"

"And I have every other advantage," Jonathan countered. "Foxtrot, fry that Tentacool, flamethrower!" The Flareon fearlessly attacked, with a burst of massive flames.

"There's no way fire can beat water! Tentacool, water gun!" The boy whom everyone constantly called by a different name attacked with confidence.

"Go all the way, Foxtrot, keep the flames strong!" The fire pokemon intensified his attack and thus the amount of steam that came as a result was multiplied. Jonathan grinned, this had to be one of the oldest tricks in the book when it came to fire versus water. "Quick attack and tackle!"

"What?" Tentacool's trainer looked all around, but the steam was so thick that he couldn't see the battle. "Dodge, Tentacool! Or better yet, give that Flareon a water gun to the face!" As much as Tentacool wanted to do what he was told, he couldn't see a thing in the middle of that steam, as his water gun went off in every direction without reaching the fast moving target. Foxtrot's location only became apparent for Tentacool when he was tackled painfully. The steam dissipated, but it was already too late, Tentacool was already pinned to the sidewalk. "Water gun! Water gun! Water gun!" The trainer urged, waiving his arms around in desperation, as if the silly action would somehow make his pokemon stronger.

"Finish this, Foxtrot, use strength!" Jonathan watched in satisfaction as the battle continued to unfold. Tentacool tried to take in a breath to use a water gun, but Foxtrot kept smashing him against the floor and kicking him around, preventing the water pokemon from attacking.

It all got to be too much and Tentacool soon fainted from all the punishment he received. "No way... You must have cheated!" Jonathan's rival accused. "How else would you explain this?"

Zero spoke up with an explanation that any current pokedex app could give, provided that the phone it was installed on had a power sensor. "On a scale of one to one hundred, Foxtrot is about twenty levels above Tentacool."

"But he's a fire type and Tentacool is a water type and... and... and..."

"Give it up, Seifer, I'm not cheating, my pokemon is stronger than yours," Jonathan insisted.

"Just you wait!" He recalled Tentacool into his pokeball. "I'll train hard and get stronger and become Ashimi's right hand man!" He began to run away, only to stop a few steps away from the group and call back, "and my name is not Seifer either!" Then he continued to run away non-stop until he could no longer be seen in the distance.

An awkward silence hung in the air until Ashimi finally spoke. "Okay, who's up for some food?"

"I am!" Jonathan and Zero piped in at the same time.

"Some electricity would be really nice too," Zero added.

"Let's go to that cyber cafe down the street, we can get food and find an outlet there," Ashimi suggested.

As the three walked to the cafe, they talked about all the odd creepy pasta stories surrounding the establishment and its supposed haunted computers. "Did you hear the one about the insanity inducing melody?" Jonathan began the tale. "If you're really quiet and listen closely, you'll hear an annoying little tune in a frequency you wouldn't normally notice with other sounds around. If you keep focusing on it, it'll slowly drive you crazy..."

xoxox xox xoxox

Overall, the day had gone well. Maybe Daala had her share of the action for a while and Jaina was taking a little longer than expected to escape from the police. That was just fine as far as Ashimi was concerned. She had enough on her mind remembering the tricks Dorme taught her to hide her bruises until they healed, if she thought about it as secret spy camouflage instead of makeup it felt cooler. At least she wasn't as sore anymore, as she was energetic and quick to recover. Ashimi, Jonathan and Zero had a long way to go to Fuchsia City, so they settled into the Lavender Town pokemon center and got some rest.

It was well into the night when Ashimi felt a whisper in her ear, it turned progressively louder and more high pitched until she suddenly sat up, looking in every direction. She caught some movement from the corner of her eyes and looked over the bunk bed's headboard. There she saw a Gastly, the ghost laughed and floated away towards the window. She went through the window and then back into the room with a soft murmur of "gastly..."

"Hey girl, do you want me to follow you?" Ashimi whispered and the Gastly nodded. "Be right there," Ashimi yawned. She peeked over the edge of the bed to the bunk below where Jonathan was fast asleep. "Hey Johnny!" She called to him, "Johnny, Johnny!"

"No dad, I didn't use your special edition premium bottle cap to scrape gum off my skateboard..." The voice calling him finally became loud enough to wake Jonathan from his slumber and the first thing he saw was Ashimi hanging upside down from the bunk above his, her red-orange hair spilling out like a fiery curtain. He sat up so quickly that he bumped his head on the bed above his. "Ow..." He rubbed the affected area and laughed it off as if he wasn't just startled out of his skin.

"What's up? Is it that bad?" Ashimi poked at her own face. Dorme had told her time and time again, and made her recite it to ensure that the message was drilled into her head, that a lady must never sleep in her makeup. Ashimi had washed it all off before going to bed, so any hint of black and blue on her face was uncovered for the world, or at least for Jonathan and Zero to see.

"Nah, I think you're getting better," Jonathan encouraged. Then he whispered very quickly in a quiet tone, "I thought you were the floating flaming disembodied head from that creepy pasta story Zero looked up online when we were eating at the cafe."

"What's that?" Ashimi didn't quite understand the last sentence as it was spoken so quiet and fast.

"Nothing... Anyway, what did you want to say in the middle of the night?" Jonathan assumed it was something important, as Ashimi usually slept like a rock through the whole night.

"Oh, right, the Gastly!" Ashimi made her way down the bunk's ladder to the floor. "I have to catch her!"

"She's still there," Zero suddenly spoke. Though there were two bunk beds, which meant that four people could comfortably sleep in the room, Zero was sitting in a corner next to a power outlet.

"That's right, you can sense pokemon like a pokedex, so you knew she was there since she came in," Ashimi realized. "Do you even ever sleep?"

"I don't need to, I just debug," Zero replied. "But I can simulate sleep."

"That's a lot of debugging..." Jonathan commented.

"Weren't you going to catch the Gastly?" Zero reminded, changing the subject.

"Yes!" Ashimi cheered. Pichu was on her head, but didn't seem to want to fully wake up. He pulled his ears down and kept his eyes closed. "Pokeballs," Ashimi put on the belt with her pokeballs, though she was still in her pajamas, which looked like a long bright pink t-shirt that went just below her knees, with the word 'boss' written across the chest in glittery silver letters. The outfit was completed with Pikachu slippers. "Let's go!" She started towards the window without waiting to hear any protests, which she wouldn't listen to when there was a pokemon waiting to be caught anyway.

"Just like that, there she goes." Jonathan was sure he didn't like the idea of running around at night in Growlithe slippers, light gray sweatpants and a black t-shirt with the words 'keep calm and Rock on' in white letters, save for the R which was red and bolded. Yet despite his reservations, he took his pokeballs and followed Ashimi out the window anyway.

"I might as well," Zero followed along too. He was wearing Buneary footy pajamas that Ashimi insisted he put on, even if he saw no need to wear anything different during the night. Most of his clothes were part of his graphical interface anyway and the extra layer of actual fabric felt unnecessary .

Outside, Jonathan and Zero saw Ashimi running further down the street after the Gastly. "Does this look suspicious to you?" Jonathan asked Zero as they dashed after her.

"Yup," Zero chirped. "But if we don't pretend we're clueless we won't be able to draw out whoever is behind this."

"I thought so," Jonathan agreed, hence why neither he nor Zero had protested towards Ashimi's seemingly rash actions. Surely she had learned her lesson after the latest trap and that's why she didn't run off alone. Jonathan saw her glance over her shoulder to make sure they were following her, while pretending to be engrossed in the chase. She was now willing to accept her friends' backup without the need to prove herself. She still had that need, but not to the point where she'd act too foolishly.

The streets of Lavender were deserted, as even those who had spent years living there found the town to be far too creepy to venture out at night. The Gastly led Ashimi to a graveyard with a tall rusted fence with metal bars. The gates were slightly parted, the lock long since unusable due to its age. But who would dare to venture into a graveyard in Lavender Town in the middle of the night? Ashimi looked at the gates and slowly walked through them. Her pause gave Jonathan and Zero enough time to catch up with her.

The three of them ventured into the graveyard together, into the thick fog that floated over the gravestones. This was a human graveyard, the same one were Jaina was buried, Jonathan realized. He had been here before, when his parents deemed him old enough to be told the story of his lost sister and accompany them to put flowers on her grave a week before the anniversary of her death. They never went on the anniversary because that was his birthday, a time to celebrate life rather than solemnly recall the loss of it.

The fog became thicker, so much that they couldn't see, or at least Ashimi and Jonathan's human eyes couldn't. "This way, hurry," a female voice called.

Jonathan paused and looked around. "Ashy?" He tried to follow the sound, but it was faint. "Let's stay together," he reminded the group, "we don't want to get lost in here," 'and get ambushed,' he mentally added. "Ashy? Zero?" There was no reply.

"This way..." The female voice called out again. "I'm over here... I'm waiting for you..."

Jonathan walked in the direction of the voice as if pulled by an unseen force. The fog began to clear around him and a figure became visible. He walked towards it until he saw that it was a girl and Gastly was floating next to her. "You..." Jonathan recognized the crimson haired girl. He saw the familiarity in her eyes. "So you did escape from the police after all. I knew they couldn't hold you, but I thought you'd take a little time off before causing trouble again." He looked at the Gastly. "You can talk, can't you?"

"I can..." The Gastly replied. "But it is not my words that you should hear, listen to the words of your sister."

Jaina held up a pokeball and the ghost willingly retreated into it. She looked at the grave next to where she stood. "It was fifteen years ago that I was stolen away. Fifteen years ago that I was pronounced dead." Jonathan recognized the grave, the name Jaina J. Kojiro displayed on it. "RIP, rest in peace... That's the last thing I've done."

Jonathan wanted to argue with her. He wanted to call her a liar, but when he looked into her green eyes, he couldn't. "What happened to you?" He finally choked out, his voice barely anything more than a whisper.

"I was stolen away to be trained as the perfect Rocket agent. I was to follow in our grandmother's footsteps, to live for Team Rocket and die for Team Rocket. The name I was given was Miyamoto, after the one whose reputation I was expected to live up to, but my true name was Jaina Joan, yet that name was dead to the world. It was all done by Giovanni's orders, he decided that Jessie and James didn't need to know. In fact, he only let them keep you so that Ash wouldn't suspect his foul play and start a fight over it. My life and my family was stolen from me by Team Rocket. It was all done so that Giovanni's heir could have a loyal agent to make all the sacrifices necessary for her rise to power. Ashimi didn't exist at the time, but Ash and Misty were engaged to be married and Giovanni knew that sooner or later an heir would follow. I must end Team Rocket, they've enslaved our family for too long. That's the exact same thing that she's doing to you!" Jaina cried. "Please brother, don't let another tyrant like Giovanni continue to live. Ash might be the exception, but his daughter isn't like him, she'll take over Team Rocket and you'll never be free." Tears streamed down her face as she stepped closer to Jonathan and gripped his shoulders as if trying to shake some sense into him. "Brother, please, I only want to save you, to free you, please don't hate me for caring about you."

"Jaina..." Jonathan could hear the beating of his own heart echoing in his ears, faster and faster, in shock of the revelation. Then another rhythmic sound, another heartbeat in tune with his, like twins. He didn't know how he could hear it, but as the sound faded what happened next surprised him even more. He felt a deep sorrow, an unbearable pain; was their bond as twins truly that deep despite having been raised apart? Was he feeling the pain and suffering she felt? "Jaina..." His arms moved on their own, wrapping around the girl crying on his shoulder. "Sister... I'm so sorry..."

To be Continued

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Chapter 15: Resentment (Part 2)

Ashimi was making herself bait as she walked deeper into the Lavender Town graveyard, that was the unspoken agreement Zero understood. He assumed that Jonathan was watching her just as closely as he was, but then a thought formed into the variables of his programming. Jonathan, or Ashimi or humans in general couldn't see as clearly as he could. "Johnny?" He took his eyes off Ashimi and looked around for his other companion, but he wasn't there. He looked towards Ashimi again, the fog was too thick, too unnatural. Even with his eyes, he would lose sight of her if she went too far, but not of Pichu, he could still detect Pichu. That was it, if Jonathan ran into trouble and called Foxtrot out, Zero would be able to detect him with his pokedex functions and figure out their location. None the less, Ashimi was the target, but he couldn't leave Jonathan to get further away and be ambushed at a distance where simply knowing his location didn't mean Ashimi would be there on time if he fell into a trap. Likewise, he wouldn't be able to make his way to Ashimi on time if he was too far, even if he somehow figured out her location. It was time to end the act. "Ashimi!"

Ashimi stopped and looked around, but she couldn't see were Zero was. His voice echoed unnaturally, a strange effect of the peculiar atmosphere of the graveyard. She felt the cool touch of a hand that wasn't quite human on hers. She stretched her fingers, feeling the soft fabric of the Buneary pajama's sleeve and looked into the foggy darkness. She could see a pair of glowing doll-like eyes staring right at her. Anyone else might think it's creepy, but Ashimi still found it to be cute. She grasped his hand tightly with a protective look in her eyes. "Where's Johnny?"

"I lost him, sorry, I was too focused on keeping track of you," Zero admitted. "But if he gets into trouble and calls Foxtrot out to fight, I'll be able to sense him," the virtual boy quickly added.

"Okay, we should still try to find him though, I lost track of Gastly," Ashimi voiced. "There's honestly not much I can do in this fog if... ow!"

The pained yelp came out of nowhere and Zero was instantly alertly looking around. "What happened? I don't see anything suspicious and I don't detect any pokemon nearby save for Pichu."

"No, it's Pichu," Ashimi removed the yellow pokemon from her head. "He started trembling when he came into the graveyard and just now he was pulling my hair for no reason." She cradled the electric mouse, trying to soothe him.

"Relax, Pichu, if there are enemy pokemon here, I'll detect them," Zero offered.

"Really Pichu, get it together, being a scardy-cat is Squirtle's department," Ashimi joked. Yet nothing seemed to work to make Pichu open his eyes. He just trembled in fear and buried his face on her chest, holding tightly to the pink fabric of her pajamas. If one of her bravest pokemon was acting this way, she didn't even want to think about letting Squirtle out of his pokeball, the poor dear would have a heart attack.

"Pokemon detected!" Zero suddenly called out, there was something off putting about the alarm in his voice.

"What is it? Is it super strong?" Ashimi should have been worried if that was the case, yet she couldn't help it but to express excitement at the prospective challenge.

"No, but I didn't sense him coming until he was very close," Zero frowned at the admission. Even with the bugs that came with being a discontinued prototype, a mere experiment, his pokedex functions shouldn't be affected. That was the only thing about him that worked as it should, and the thought of a failure in that area bothered him immensely. Was no part of him properly functional? It was frustrating.

"Maybe this fog is interfering with your signal or something," Ashimi consoled. The disappointment in Zero's voice was palpable. Pichu was in no conditions to battle, so Ashimi called out a different pokemon. "Furball, I choose you! You're pretty good at seeing in the dark, though this fog is in a class of its own. It's okay, Zero will guide you, so please listen to him. Sorry, but I can't see a thing, so I wouldn't be of much help."

"Me?" Zero stared at Ashimi in surprise. But he soon snapped out of when he realized there was no time to question her decision, Haunter was on the attack. 'C'mon pokedex, don't fail me now...' "Attack identified, shadow punch, calculating ideal counter attack..."

Furball hissed as the shadow punch hit him, it came out of nowhere and it creeped him out. Ashimi would have warned him if not for the fact that she didn't see it coming. "Zero, I know the latest pokedex come with the option of identifying attacks and suggesting the ideal counter attack, but that's just for studying. You can't rely on it in the heat of battle, there's no time so just go with your gut and don't forget to warn Furball of what's happening. This fog is too thick even for his eyes."

"I can't do this. My pokedex and email functions are the only parts of me that aren't riddled with programming bugs and even that might not be the case after all. My AI is... it's a total unstable mess!" Zero exclaimed, the admission bothering him more than he thought it would. It was the truth and he knew it from the start. "I don't know why Pixel didn't scrap me, I don't know why she told me to travel with you and find the spark of life, whatever that is, I'm nothing but a walking drive of errors."

Haunter made a loud noise like a battle cry. "Zero, what's happening?" Ashimi urged. Pichu let out a whimper as he began to cry. "It's okay Pichu, it's okay." What was wrong with him? He was usually so brave, Ashimi didn't understand. "Do you want to go in your pokeball?" Pichu paused then whimpered a sound of ascent. Ashimi was surprised by this choice, but did as he asked, the pokeball was not locked, so he could come out if he wanted. None the less, Pichu's reaction was very unsettling to Ashimi.

Zero watched as the Haunter formed a ball of ghostly energy in his hands and threw it. "Furball, dodge to the right!" Though the feline still had his doubts, he obeyed and was spared the hit from the shadow ball. "Now charge forward, jump and night slash!" Furball couldn't see where he was going, this fog was definitely not a normal type of darkness. He followed the instructions and landed his attack, the Haunter crying out in pain. The ghost had enough and quickly retreated into the fog. Zero was only able to detect him for a few more seconds before the wild pokemon dropped off his mental radar. "Haunter is gone, or rather out of range. I can't sense anything beyond a few feet's distance."

Ashimi knew what that meant. If Jonathan was facing an ambush and already had his pokemon out, Zero wouldn't know unless he was close by. Furball whimpered and Zero directed Ashimi to him. The feline reached for his trainer and rubbed against her leg, he was trembling and it wasn't simply because the night was chilly. "There's definitely something wrong about this fog, it looks like it induces fear the longer the pokemon are exposed to it, the longer anyone is exposed to it," she admitted. "Though it looks like it works a lot faster on pokemon. I can still keep a clear head for now, I think. I just have to keep telling myself there's nothing to fear, but what if there's truly something terrible here? What if some of the creepy pasta tales of Lavender Town are true?"

"Let's not think about that now," Zero half pleaded. 'Disable fear element... disable... I know it interferes with the proper running of the AI, but disable it anyway... There, I think that should do it,' Zero fought against his programming to end any simulations of fear, because that's all he had for emotions, simulations, he mused. Yet his AI was made to replicate the human psyche and fear could not be so easily shut down. Instead the fear piled up in his background processes and his system continued to accumulate more bugs and contradictions, more errors.

"This isn't good," Ashimi recalled Furball into his pokeball. He should be protected from the fear inducing effects of the fog in his pokeball. "We have to find Johnny and finish this, we need to turn this trap around."

"Or we could find Johnny and retreat," Zero suggested.

"No," Ashimi frowned, her eyes determined. "This time we stand together, we can watch each other's backs, there's no way we can fail. Well we're not together now, but we'll find Johnny. His pokemon, my pokemon and you directing them, we can turn this around!"

"Pokemon detected!" Zero warned. "It's Gengar, a really strong Gengar! I actually detected him from further away this time, probably because he's so strong, but he's getting closer!"

"It's okay, we can do this!" Ashimi tried to stay positive.

"No, we can't, we have to retreat, that Gengar is too strong and he's in mega form!" Zero argued.

Ashimi remained unconvinced, she groaned in frustration, why couldn't everyone just be motivated like she was? "I left my cell phone in my bag at the pokemon center, what does your pokedex program say about his power level?" The fog was clearing up and Ashimi could see the imposing silhouette of the Gengar. The ghost approached with a confident stride.

"It's over ninety!" It was Ninety-two to be precise, but everyone knew that anything above ninety was huge and almost never attributed to non-legendaries. Zero felt his systems overwhelm, error messages flashed through his mind in rapid succession and before he could do anything about it the words came out of his mouth on their own accord. "System crash," and the world went blue.

"Zero?" Ashimi catch the virtual boy before he hit the ground. She weighed her options and despite her fighting spirit telling her to stay, she took the wiser path. "Retreat!" She picked up the motionless Zero and ran for dear life.

Though Ashimi tripped and stumbled along the way, the fog eventually cleared up enough to allow her to see by the light of the full moon and star filled skies. Zero was still unconscious, but at least it didn't look like the Gengar had followed them. She really would have loved to catch it, but she had to admit he was too strong. Zero's eyes opened all of a sudden, but where the gradient went from black, up to blue, it now went from black to golden. Ashimi wondered if he had restarted in a sort of safe mode, but his wicked grin made him look anything but safe.

Before she could speak, Zero's small hands went to Ashimi's throat. She tried to pull him off, but he was surprisingly strong for such a small boy. Of course, he was not a normal boy by any means. "Ze... ro..." Ashimi felt the world start to fade, she couldn't breathe, she couldn't speak, she couldn't think. Darkness threatened to reclaim her and never let her go. Her arms fell motionless at her sides, she couldn't fight any longer. Then, when she felt as if she would die, a warmth invaded her, as if a dim light buried deep within her had suddenly ignited. She opened her eyes with an odd glow reflected in them. Her hand reached out and gently rested on the boy's head, then she smiled and fainted.

The gradient colors in Zero's eyes went back to black and blue. He pulled his arms back and saw the unconscious Ashimi. "Ashimi?" He didn't know what was happening. He didn't remember what he did. "Ashimi?" He called out again, panic rising in his voice. He didn't think about suppressing the fear this time, it was simply too strong. "Ashimi!" He shook her, trying to wake her up, "Ashimi! Ashimi!"

"Ugh..." Slowly, Ashimi opened her eyes and saw Zero's frightened and sad expression. "Zero? Are you okay now?"

"Me? I'm not the one who's lying on the ground!" Zero hugged her, an overload of data passing through his systems at higher speeds than he could analyze it. "Please don't scare me like that again."

Ashimi hugged him back. It didn't look like Zero remembered what he did. Maybe some sort of deeply buried defense program was triggered. She might have to find a gentle way to ask about that later. But for now, she would hold him and reassure him that everything was okay. Upon closer inspection, she noticed that they ended up back close to the entrance of the graveyard. "Zero, I want you to go back to the pokemon center."

"What? No!" Zero immediately refused. "I can't leave you here to go look for Johnny alone! What if the fog comes back?"

Ashimi sighed, there was no easy way around this. She didn't want to make Zero feel bad, but it looked like she had no choice but to tell him the truth, or at least part of it. "You don't remember, do you? You crashed..."

"I know," Zero knew that much, but he didn't remember his initial restart. "When I rebooted you were on the ground. What happened?"

Ashimi frowned as she looked into Zero's eyes. He was genuinely concerned for her. So what if he was virtual, so what if he was full of errors? He was real to her, he was a precious friend. "You rebooted before that and your actions made no sense. I'm sorry Zero, but I can't protect you and myself, and look for Johnny at the same time. The fog is clearing up, I'll be fine. If you stay here, your system will get worse. I don't want you to feel bad, but you really do need to debug, please Zero, you're my friend and I don't want to lose you!"

Zero looked sad. "Alright..." He couldn't argue, he was a burden. A part of him knew that's not what Ashimi was saying, but even if she didn't see him like that, it didn't make it any less true. "I'll be waiting at the pokemon center for you and Johnny to return."

It broke Ashimi's heart to see Zero so sad, but she honestly thought this was the best choice to make. Zero couldn't be exposed to any more critical situations, especially if they made him lose himself. She was afraid for him a lot more than for herself. As for her own actions, Ashimi didn't remember much except being choked and fainting. She had no idea what had began to be unlocked as a consequence of her first true near death experience. Unaware of the presence watching her, Ashimi stood by as Zero disappeared down the street. She gathered her courage and ventured back into the graveyard. She still had her pokemon in their pokeballs and perhaps now that the fog was less they wouldn't fall victim to their fears. Even so, Ashimi hope that she wouldn't have to face that Gengar again. In the controlled setting of an official pokemon battle, playing by the rules, it would be epic, but the more rational side of her knew that in the wild it would be fatal.

The power of a pokemon was measured in a standard scale of one to one hundred. In that context, one hundred wasn't the maximum amount of power a specific pokemon could reach, but rather the highest power recorded, which was typically attributed only to legendary pokemon. Not all pokemon had the same kind of power, thus even with intensive training, not all would reach a power level of one hundred, or even ninety. Anything above ninety was extremely strong and rare to come by. Such a level was very uncommon in the wild, as the strongest wild pokemon usually only reached up to fifty and even that was not easy to come by in a pokemon that had not been trained specifically for battle by a human.

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Meanwhile, Jaina had spent some time talking to Jonathan, who seemed convinced by her story. "I know it must be difficult to think badly of someone you and your parents so deeply respect, but that's how it is. Ultimately, I didn't live up to Giovanni's expectations, I didn't become the next Miyamoto, and I was pushed to run away."

Jonathan wasn't sure what to do. He didn't know how his parents would react to something like this, but he knew it wouldn't be good. What if they panicked? What if his mother's temper surfaced and she confronted Giovanni? What if they both did? They would be branded as traitors and... Who knows, he didn't want to think about their terrible fate. No, he couldn't tell them, at least not yet. Maybe if he somehow resolved things, once it was all said and done he could tell them gently, but not yet. Although, if he was honest, he didn't know how things could ever be resolved. "Don't tell mom and dad. I know it's selfish of me to ask you this, but please don't tell them or they might do something they'll regret, and we'll regret."

Jaina nodded, "alright, I'll respect your judgment. I know it's hard to accept, but that girl," she referred to Ashimi. "No matter what Giovanni does, she's going to be on his side, she's going to justify him, and that will make it all the easier for him to make her his true heir."

Jonathan did not reply. He knew that Ashimi was strong, determined and brave, but she sometimes blurred the lines, claiming to want to have her journey separate from Team Rocket, and occasionally accepting help from them as long as it didn't directly interfere with her training. He saw no real problem with it so far, but would she become more open to such advantages later down the road? He had always admired how she wanted to earn her place in the world, rather than inherit it from her Rocket boss grandfather, or her pokemon master father, or gym leader mother. Yet she did often justify Giovanni's actions and paint them in an almost heroic light, she respected him, but then so did Jonathan. Was it wrong?

Jaina let out a tired breath, looking emotionally strained. "I'll give you time to let it all sink in. We'll meet again soon, until then, farewell, brother." Jaina walked away, disappearing into the light mist of the night.

"Be safe... sister," Jonathan whispered into the night. He went down on his knees in front of the grave marked as belonging to his twin. His hand reached out to touch the tombstone. "Why... Why did it have to be this way?" His parents, betrayed by the man they admired and served for decades, the one he had been trained to work for, the king of the empire he called home. It was frustrating, it was heart breaking, it was infuriating. The first time he had visited the grave he was old enough to understand the meaning of life and death. Enough time had passed for his parents to bring flowers without breaking down, without crying. It was a solemn, but not a desperate occasion and there were no tears that time, only gentle hugs and words of comfort. But this time, he did cry.

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"Johnny!" Ashimi called at the top of her lungs. She shivered, she had been in that graveyard for far too long. "Johnny!" Her worry increased with every moment that passed without a reply. She was putting herself at risk by continuing the search, but she didn't know what else to do. It was kind of like when Jonathan put her safety before his own health, she felt that she now fully understood and was thankful for his loyalty, which was all the more reason to find him. "Johnny, answer me!" The fog became darker. "Not again!" Soon, Ashimi couldn't even see her own hand in front of her face. She tried to move forward and stumbled. "Johnny!" There was no reply from the one who she was calling, but she did hear a voice howling in laughter. "Gengar..." She gasped in a breathless whisper. Maybe she could run away from him again, maybe he wouldn't chase her. Her hopes were dashed into pieces when the face of the pokemon appeared a mere inch from hers. Ashimi yelled and stumbled back, falling to the ground.

Up close, Ashimi could see that the mega Gengar was a darker color than most, with odd ghostly ripples flowing through his being. There was something about him that spoke of an experienced power and somehow she knew that this ghost was quite old, older than her and older than her parents at least. Yet the pokemon's age had not diminished his power, all the opposite, the passing of time had made him stronger. It would take nothing short of a legendary pokemon to defeat this fearsome foe!

Another figure appeared before Ashimi, if possible more imposing and eerie than the ghost. The cloaked figure approached her, floating in the air. "By this time your father's aura was stronger than yours. You have more sense, more rationale, though you still have his impulsiveness, your grandfather made sure you were also properly educated as a strategist. You think more, a valuable quality to have as the head of an organization, but there is no benefit without a consequence, for you also sense less. That is alright, though, you cannot believe that everything will work out in a situation such as yours, realism is just as valuable as optimism. "

"Sabrina..." Ashimi whispered the name in an uncomfortable gasp. That fog, that darkness, it must have been her who was causing it. No wonder it was so hard to see, it wasn't a physical barrier that could be penetrated with sharp eye sight or even a flashlight if she had one on hand, it was a mental state that numbed the senses and prevented images from being properly interpreted. Yet Zero was a program, Sabrina couldn't invade his psyche in the same magnitude as with a living creature. He would still be affected, as he was meant to function as a human, but his systems couldn't emulate the trance completely and in this case, the inaccuracy of his technology turned out to be beneficial. Yet, it was only a matter of time before his system was overloaded by the nonsensical data it received from the supernatural.

"Your technological doll is a very peculiar thing, it was ironic that it did what Gengar set out to do," the psychic laughed. As she leaned over Ashimi, the young girl could just barely make out the shadowy features of the woman's face in the darkness within her hood, Sabrina's eyes were glowing. "To push you to the brink of death." The crimson haired girl had nothing to do with her and was not considered important enough to delay Sabrina's plans. The psychic sensed a state of heightened emotion in Ashimi as she fought for Clefable, then the energy had faded away and she was once more at peace. Sabrina grew impatient, she decided that the next time she felt an emotional high on Ashimi's part, she would take the chance to push her all the way, to awaken the aura that was so deeply buried, that the girl had not managed to awaken it herself. That time came when Ashimi thought she was about to face an ambush in the graveyard and was filled with memories of her last experience with Clefable's kidnapping and the trap she walked into.

Ashimi stared into the glow of Sabrina's eyes, unable to move. "Why? Why would you want to kill me?" She didn't understand. Had she not passed Sabrina's test? Did the marsh badge not prove that?

"I don't, I only needed you to be close to death so that your aura would have no choice but to come out to save you," Sabrina explained.

"Aura..." Ashimi echoed the word quietly. She had seen her father control the mysterious power freely, but she could never do what he did. Time and again she tried to conjure an orb of light in the palm of her hand, but it wouldn't come. She tried to sense things, to know what couldn't be picked up by normal senses, but it always turned into a guessing game. "Dad said every living creature has some aura in them, but it might not be enough to project it in every case. Is mine really enough?"

"Barely," Sabrina's voice echoed with a hint of disappointment. "Your aura is as dormant as the aura of most. It's alright though, it can be made stronger and more usable. All you have to do is open your senses and feel the world around you. Experience the aura until that sense becomes something that feels natural, until you feel like one of your senses is missing without it, then you can prevented from becoming dormant again and train to use it."

"I want to be able to use it," Ashimi admitted, though her voice sounded more shy than eager. She couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that clung to every inch of her being.

"It doesn't matter if you want it or not, your aura will be motivated to grow by the need to survive," Sabrina voiced ominously. "You will feel it, you will loathe it and if you wish to keep your sanity, you will master it." Sabrina's index finger touched Ashimi's forehead and the redhead felt her whole body begin to glow. A sound like shattering glass echoed in her mind and the world spun rapidly around her. Sabrina moved her hand away and stood, leaving Ashimi on the ground on her hands and knees. The psychic recalled her Gengar into his pokeball and disappeared, teleporting away to a location unknown to the girl left behind.

Ashimi felt herself tremble, strange echoes filled her ears and she could see foggy currents that were not there before. Her breathing was ragged and uneven and her heart felt like it would burst. Tears flowed down her face as she was filled with a strong sense of mourning, of helplessness and of pain. Her eyes were wide and frightened, everything looked scary, everything sounded scary, everything felt disturbing and wrong. "Sabrina?" She called out in a shaky voice. "Sabrina!" There was no reply. "Don't... Don't leave me here!" She shouted at the top of her lungs. "Johnny! Zero! Mom! Dad! Grandma! Grandpa! Anyone!" An ear splitting wail escaped her throat, she screamed until her voice cracked and she fell to the floor. Her pokemon popped out of their pokeballs and tried to comfort her. The fear inducing unnatural fog was gone, but seeing their trainer break down in desperate fearful tears scared them even more. Squirtle was the first to break down in tears and wail desperately.

"Ashimi!" Jonathan arrived, running towards her. He saw the pokemon huddled around Ashimi, but saw no sign of any enemies. That worried him even more, it made him think the attack had already come and gone. "Is she injured?" He examined the trembling girl, but saw no signs of blood, in fact, though there were some minor tears in her clothes, he didn't see any of the bruises she had earlier. It didn't make sense that she would heal so fast, unknown to them it was an effect of the aura. "Where are you hurt?" He looked her over once more, unable to locate any injuries. Then he noticed something, all the pokemon were out of their pokeballs crowded around Ashimi, they seemed to be physically unharmed, but there was someone missing from the group. "Where's Zero? Did something happen to him?" A million terrible theories ran through Jonathan's head. Zero was a virtual being, why would anyone target him? Had he been kidnapped? No, Ashimi would be running off to save him if that was the case. Her cries were so desperate and sad, had Zero been murdered before her eyes? Somehow deleted into a nothingness that was his version of death?

"He's at the pokemon center," Ashimi choked out. "I... I need to see dad, please, I need him," somehow she knew that her father was the only one who could get her through this. She fought to calm down, but it was extremely difficult. The shadows and the dim light both felt like predators to her. She was even afraid of her pokemon and of Johnny. Her pokemon's desperation was hurting her and from Johnny she felt pain, doubts, confusion and worry. "Stop... Stop making me feel so awful!" She screamed.

"What do you mean? What's attacking you?" Jonathan still saw no one. Was it some kind of mental attack? Who could be capable of that? "Let's get out of here, let's go back to the pokemon center." He wasn't sure why Zero had gone back without Ashimi, but assumed there must have been a good reason that he would inquire about later. For now, the only thing he could think about doing was getting Ashimi out of the graveyard and taking her to the relative safety of the pokemon center.

To be Continued

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Chapter 14: As usual, no one can get that poor boy's name right. The names he gets called are once again from Final Fantasy, Cloud from VII, Tidus from X, Locke from IV, Seifer from VIII. Lavender Town wouldn't be the same without creepy pasta stories, so I had to reference that too. XD

Chapter 15: Zero's "it's over ninety!" quote is a reference to Vegeta's famous "it's over nine thousand!" I know I already explained this in the story, but to clarify about the levels: In the games 100 would mean the maximum power a pokemon has. In the context of the story it is a standard scale for all pokemon. They don't all have the same kind of power, so not all of them can necessarily reach 100 in this context. A score of 100 is generally given to legendary pokemon only and anything above 90 is close to legendary power, thus extremely strong and rare to come by. When someone faints it is said the world went black, or dark, since they close their eyes as they lose consciousness, in Zero's case it's blue because he's virtual and rather than shutting down completely, he got a blue screen of doom. For those who have read Don't Give Me Diamonds, Sabrina's Haunter, now Gengar, appeared there as a pokemon belonging to a Rocket agent called Aayla in an era before Ash's birth. Various circumstances led to him living at the tower in Lavender Town, where Ash later met him in the events taking place in the first season of the anime. He ends up as Sabrina's pokemon in the anime and is once again seen here as one of her strongest pokemon. The Alakazam Sabrina used against Ashimi at the gym in earlier chapters was actually one of her younger pokemon, not nearly as strong as her Gengar.

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Characters and Groups

Jaina: A mysterious teenage girl, sent by Tornado to assassinate Ashimi. She claims to be Johnny's sister, but no one knows if it's true.

Tornado: A peculiar organization of anti-Rockets that apparently has no base of operations and no official list of members. Known members include Daala and Jaina.
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