“Let go of us!” Ethan screamed, struggling uselessly in Alakazam’s mental grasp.
Alakazam didn’t acknowledge his master’s command; he just kept raising them higher and higher, putting as much distance as he could between them and the crowd below. He turned his head to stare at his friend. Ethan’s face was contorted with rage, and he was flailing his arms and legs wildly in an attempt to break free. Why did he do this? How could he have been so stupid, so violent? Those flakes were obviously influencing him; they had made his friend do those things. Alakazam was sure of it, and this was the last straw.
As they reached the top of the cloud layer, Alakazam started moving them north, his mind racing back to examine the situation once again. He had been watching the two humans as Ethan had instructed. They seemed pleasant enough, in no way worth the rage that Ethan was intent on unleashing on them. Alakazam had had to sprint backwards a few yards when the man had approached the tree line again, and watched him as he once again examined the spot which Ethan had been lying in wait. The man had left quickly and walked back to the female, raising his hands and explaining something to her. Just as Alakazam started reaching out with his mind to hear their conversation, a siren had split the air. Three police cruisers had suddenly rocketed past.
Alakazam changed his focus from the two humans and instead reached out to the closest car as it sped past. The officer in the car was scared, anxious. He had been called to town by a frantic dispatcher, who had told him that a man and a Scyther had just committed a murder at the local museum. His heart skipped a beat then, and he immediately threw his consciousness against the other officers, trying to glean as much information as he could from their minds. The other officers had little else, but what he did find out was that a security camera in the museum had captured the entire act. Alakazam knew who had done this. Ethan had given into his anger, and he had not been there to stop him. As Alakazam quickly processed what his next move was, he saw the two humans start quickly walking towards the north part of the city.
He followed them slowly, fighting against his instinct that something terrible was happening. He forced the thought back down. Ethan was smart and he could handle himself. He should be able to escape unnoticed. It had never been his partner’s way to draw attention to himself, especially now that he had committed such a heinous act. That thought caused him to stumble in his tracks. Ethan had murdered someone. There was no denying that from what he had heard. A man and a Scyther. Alakazam clenched his hands into fists and he struggled with the implications. Ethan had finally snapped because of those poisonous flakes, and this was the result. He knew those things were trouble, but he couldn’t have imagined that they would drive him to this level. Suddenly, another sound rolled across city, the unmistakable of sound of firearms being discharged. That spurned him into action, secrecy be damned.
He sprinted forward, quickly assessing the new ordeal in front of him. Police were lying on the ground screaming in pain. Blood was everywhere. He heard Ethan scream a threat and saw him start to run just as he noticed Scyther fighting with the two humans and one of their Pokemon. He increased his speed, desperate to get to the humans before Ethan got to them. With a grunt he reached out with his mind, plucking Scyther off the ground and following suit with Ethan. He yanked them up and growled at the male human as he passed by. Why had he done that? It wasn’t the human’s fault at all.
Alakazam’s attention snapped back to the present as a small clearing passed by beneath them. Closing his eyes to feel out the land below, he lowered them down, Ethan and Scyther both shrieking at him as he did so. As soon as his feet touched the dry grass he looked around. Trees circled the small field in a perfect circle and they seemed to be devoid of life and prying eyes. He knew they were several miles outside of Pewter City, and while he had no doubt they were being chased, they were far enough away to buy themselves a few minutes. Alakzam started pacing back and forth, trying to work out what he was going to say. He saw that Scyther and Ethan were still struggling against his hold but they were making no progress at all. Taking a breath, Alakazam walked over to stand in front of his friend, making sure to keep a few feet between them. Not wanting Scyther to hear their conversation, he reached out with his thoughts and spoke directly to Ethan’s mind.
“What have you done?”
“Let me go,” Ethan hissed.
“Why did you do this?” Alakazam asked again.
“Now,” Ethan said, his face starting to twitch with fury.
“I will not,” Alakazam informed him. “I’ve stood by and watched while you let those things into your body, and I’ve followed you across half the planet to retrieve them. This ends now. You just murdered someone, Ethan! You murdered someone! Why did you do this!?”
“He deserved it!” Ethan screamed in return. “He stole from them!”
“Ethan,” Alakazam started, trying to keep himself calm. “Those voices are not real. They’re just in your head; they do not exist. Have you ever touched them? Have you ever been able to talk to them besides when you’re dreaming? I’ll answer for you. No, you have not. Yet you let them drive you to this? To this!?”
“That’s not true and you know it!”
“It is true, Ethan. This is just in your head, and now you have destroyed your life and mine over a fairy tale.”
“Let me go!”
“Scyther, Sai!” Scyther screamed.
“No,” Alakazam replied. “We’re going back to Saffron, then we ar-“
He stopped himself midsentence to focus more attention on Scyther, who was vibrating her wings rapidly. The motion inside was small at first, but the more she vibrated the less control he had over keeping her in place. He doubled his efforts as she regained control of her arms again and started hacking away at the lilac bubble surrounding her. Sweat rolled across his brow as he struggled to hold both of them, knowing that the continued strain would eventually lead to him dropping them. Releasing a savage cry of victory, Scyther broke through the last layer of the bubble. Her feet touched the ground and she bolted forward, swinging a heavy arm towards his head.
“Sai!” Scyther screamed.
“Kazam!” he yelled back.
Just before the blow that would have killed him connected, he raised his right hand and quickly covered it with an oval of psychic energy, blocking the blow and deflecting her arm to the side. She growled in frustration and started swinging both arms toward him, causing him to protect his other hand to intercept the oncoming scythes. He started being pushed backwards as each blow landed against him, barely able to keep up with the speed in which she was swinging. One blow he deflected was forced into his leg, which opened up a long gash as the sharp appendage struck. He grunted in pain and momentarily lost his focus, allowing her to slice him again along the ribs. As that slash struck, he lost his concentration completely and dropped his hold over Ethan. His master sprinted forward, arms outstretched.
With that scream a sphere of energy coalesced between himself and Scyther and exploded, sending her spiraling away towards the trees. As soon as she rocketed away, Ethan crashed into him, sending him to the ground. The two rolled sideways, both seeking leverage against the other. Ethan ended up on top and grabbed him by the
“How dare you!” he screamed. “This is mine! This is my destiny! He had to die for his theft, otherwise more would follow him. Don’t you understand that!?”
“You don’t have the right to kill innocent people! Your destiny be damned!”
Ethan started to shake him then. His shoulders were yanked up and down, his head bouncing off the ground so hard that his vision started to blur. He thrust his chest upward as he was yanked up again, forming a psychic shockwave and directing it to splash against Ethan. The effect was instantaneous. Ethan’s shirt was shredded by the energy discharge and he was thrown backward fifty feet, sailing backwards in a perfect arc. Alakazam jumped back to his feet, tears beginning to form in his eyes. He heard a shriek from the trees and saw Scyther launch herself out of the forest, zigzagging left and right quickly as she raced forward. All the feelings and actions of the day finally tipped Alakazam to the breaking point. The insect Pokemon’s face filled him with a righteous anger and disgust that he had been holding back for years, and he could control it no longer.
Sliding his left foot back a few inches, Alakazam lifted his hands upwards and grabbed the air like it was the handles of a bicycle. At the same time he closed his eyes and lashed out with his thoughts towards the sprinting insect. He forced his mind through blood and sinew and wrapped two tentacles of energy around both of the Scyther’s shoulders. Just as the bug Pokemon closed the last remaining yards between them, Alakazam opened his eyes and pulled down with his hands.
Scyther screamed in agony as both of her shoulders were dislocated. The action caused her to tip forward and smash against the ground. She rolled to a stop in front of Alakazam, scythes hanging limply at her sides. He looked down at her and stared as she continued to scream, the sound adding more stress to his troubled mind. He kicked her roughly in the stomach as he stepped over, knocking the wind from her lungs and shutting her up. Stupid insect.
Just as he started forward again, he felt a hot pinprick strike him in the chest. Looking down, he saw a red laser painted on him. He followed the beam further up the field and saw Ethan pointing his Pokeball at him, black smoke steadily rising from his master’s body. His form began to dissolve from the feet up as a cooling sensation spread over his limbs, easing the pain from his two wounds. He felt himself pulled forward as he lost his vision, a single tear falling from his face and splashing against the grass below.
Ethan stared at the Pokeball in his hand as Alakazam was absorbed back into its confines. He breathed. This was folly. How could Alakazam take this away from him when he was so close? Granted, the officer’s showing up was a tremendous hiccup in the plan, but the two thieves had shown up like a gift. How could he have not reacted the way he did? They had stolen, and they had to be punished, period. Ethan deposited the Pokeball into his pocket and drug his hands across his face. He felt no remorse for the man he had killed, or for the police that Scyther had maimed. They were beneath him; they had dared to tell him what to do. Peasants, all of them.
Ethan looked around as the wind rippled the long stalks of grass around him. Obviously going back now would be stupid. As Alakazam had lifted them above the city he had glimpsed more cars coming to the aid of their fallen brethren. Not that they could hurt him, but for what he was doing, exposure meant failure. He had erased the memory of the treasure and the markers, and he had destroyed one of the people responsible for the theft. He would find the other two thieves again, but going back now would only illicit another violent response from the police. The best thing to do would be to go back home and bide his time. He needed to speak to the voices to find out where the next shard was as well. The situation in Pewter didn’t matter, they did not know his name, or where he lived. He was angry that they had seen his face, but it wasn’t enough for them to be able to track him down.
He heard a moan in front of him that caused him to look down. Scyther was pushing herself across the grass with her feet, crying weakly as she moved. Ethan saw an unnatural bulge on the back of each of her shoulders, obviously the cause of her plight. Sighing audibly he walked forward and yanked the bug to her feet. She moaned again as she tried to stay upright, scythes pointed straight down.
“I’m going to set your arms,” Ethan told her as he wrapped a hand around each of the bulges. “Stay still and don’t tense up.”
Ethan quickly tightened his grip and yanked upwards. There was a loud crunch as the balls of her shoulders slid back to their rightful place. Scyther screamed loudly again. Ethan stepped away and examined her as she experimentally moved her arms. The bug seemed to have regained control of them, and after a minute she was back to swinging them faster than he could follow. Satisfied, he dug into his pocket and pulled out her Pokeball. Returning her was obviously the smartest option, as word of her was likely spreading towards every corner of Kanto as they stood there. His Pokemon nodded at him as he returned her in a flash of light.
Ethan pulled off his pack and changed his shirt and jacket to camouflage his body in different colors. No doubt people were on the lookout for his description, so anything he could do to shake them up was a smart move. He needed to get as far away from here as possible. His home in Saffron was only a few hours away, and he could cover it even quicker if he rode. He pulled out Rapidash’s ball and released her. The fire horse materialized in a shower of energy and flame, red eyes glued to Ethan’s as she stood up to her full height. She looked at him disdainfully until she interpreted the look on his face. He spoke to her quickly, expressing how urgent it was that she get them back home as soon as possible. He mounted the fire horse and instructed her of the direction they needed to go. She nodded in return and started forward, doing her best to keep her fiery mane from billowing too brightly.
Less than three hours later he was back in his apartment in Saffron. He had stuck to using side streets when they entered the city, and returned his Rapidash as they approached his building from a back alley. He slinked his way up the fire escape like a Spinarak. He stopped on the twelfth story and opened the window to his bedroom, which he kept unlocked for reasons exactly like this. Ethan slid the window shut behind him and locked it. He slid to the floor and closed his eyes, relaxing for the first time in several hours.
He opened his eyes and took in his bedroom. Dust had become king while he was gone, and had made its home on every inch of his orange tile floor and polished walnut furniture. He rose from his floor and shed his traveling clothes. Walking over to his bed he collapsed face-first, rolling across the top and positioning himself on his back. Almost three months had passed since he had been home. It was so blissfully quiet here, so quiet and so dark. The low lighting was wonderful to his tired eyes, and he tried his best to slow his breathing and drift off to sleep. He needed rest. Physically his body felt fine, the flakes made sure of that. He was never tired anymore, but mentally he was exhausted.
Sleep didn’t come for him however. There was too much on his mind, and as hard as he tried, he couldn’t let go. Speaking with the voices would be able to calm him down. They always eased his mind when he was troubled. They were mentors and counselors; they would know what to do. Unfortunately, Alakazam was still in his ball, and he wasn’t about to let him out so he could put him to sleep. He doubted that his Pokemon would even willingly do it anyway. The thought of his psychic Pokemon quickened his breathing and filled him with angst. Alakazam had called him a murderer, he had been so mad. Ethan knew what he did was not wrong, but having his friend so angry, so angry that he attacked him had put Ethan on edge. Was he right? Obviously killing people would bring unwanted attention, but still, they had deserved it. Ethan was a righteous light from above, he had been sent to accomplish a goal, and anyone who got in the way of that goal was fair game. Pushing the thought of his friend from his head for the moment, he got up from the bed and retrieved Scyther’s pokeball.
“Sai?” his Pokemon asked as she was released.
“Power up one of you arms,” Ethan began. “I need you to knock me out.”
“You know I’ll be fine, it just has to be hard enough to knock me unconscious.”
“No. Alakazam is not an option. Are you questioning me?”
“Sai,” Scyther replied, taking a step back and shaking her head.
“Good,” Ethan replied, positioning himself at the foot of the bed.
As he watched, Scyther’s right arm began to glow. She quickly raised it up and brought it down frighteningly quick. The blunt portion of her scythe cracked his skull easily as it connected, forcing a few slivers of bone into his brain. Ethan cried out as he felt his cranium fracture, but it ended quickly as his eyes involuntarily closed and he felt himself fall backwards onto the bed. He felt and saw nothing for a moment, just black space devoid of light or objects. He felt his eyes again after a moment, and proceeded to open them.
He was back on the island. The sky was not its usual cloudless blue today, nor was the water lazily lapping against the sand like it usually was. The sky was overcast and dark, with bulbous iron clouds low and foreboding. The color of the water matched the sky almost exactly. The sea was slapping against the shore ferociously as a wild wind tore across the surface, sending the water into crazy spirals further out. Ethan turned around and saw the tower. It was black as night like always, but set against the dark grey backdrop of the sky it looked almost sinister.
He felt them before they arrived. Every time he came to this sacred place he hoped they would reveal their physical forms to him, but this time was no different than the last. They surrounded him on all sides, the only tell-tale sign of their presence being a gentle push against his consciousness.
“Ethan,” they whispered.
“Lords,” he replied, bowing slightly.
“We saw that you recovered the marker that was stolen. We’re proud of you, Ethan.”
“It was no trouble, I assure you. I even made an example of one of them.”
“We saw what you did, Ethan. You made us so proud. What plans do you have for the other two?”
“Well, as I’m sure you were aware, there was a slight complication.”
“We saw what transpired. What are your plans for the other two?”
“Nothing immediately. It’s too risky to go back to Pewter right now. I’m sure the authorities are on the lookout for me.”
“Regardless of who may be searching for you, we need you to go back and deal with the two of them.”
“I, well, I know we need to clear up that loose end, but right now it wouldn’t be the wisest choice.”
“It’s not like you to disobey us, Ethan. With your power, no one should be able to oppose you. We have to make sure that the two humans are dealt with before they spread word of the treasure. You will go back.”
“I do understand what you’re asking of me, but I’m telling you that if I go ba-“
“YOU TELL US NOTHING!” the voices screamed.
Ethan fell backwards in alarm and hit the ground. The sound waves generated by the voices felt hot on his skin. He looked back up to see lightning starting to flash around the small island. Thunder boomed loudly in unison with the electricity, shaking the ground beneath him. He felt the voices start to spin around him.
“WE TELL YOU! YOU OBEY! WE DID NOT GIVE YOU THESE GIFTS FOR YOU TO IGNORE OUR WISHES! YOU WILL GO!”
Ethan began to cry. The lightning started flashing faster, the voices swirled around him closer. Why were they doing this to him? Hadn’t he explained the issue? Not that a jail could hold him if he was caught, but it would make his task exceedingly more difficult. He whimpered slightly at a particularly loud clap of thunder, snot being excreted from his nose between sobs.
“I’m sorry,” Ethan lamented. “I’ll get it done somehow. I promise I’ll take care of them. It’s not smart for me to go back right now but I’ll arrange for someone to go and deal with them, I swear it! I’ll have someone bring me their heads and we can forget this ever happened! Please!”
“This must be dealt with quickly, Ethan,” the voices said, lightening their tone. “Just get it done. We will start to fade if someone else finds the treasure. We’re sorry for treating you this way, Ethan, but you have to understand that if you fail, we will die.”
“I will never let that happen. I promise you. I’m sorry I disputed you, that was childish of me. I love all of you dearly, and I know you have my best interests at heart.”
“Good, Ethan, good. We love you as well. Like we have said countless times, you are our champion. You will piece us back together.”
“I will, I swear it. Where am I going next?”
“To Sinnoh, Ethan. Go to the lake of knowledge in the north. You will find another shard there, which will bring you one step closer to us.”
“I’ll leave as soon as I can, I promise. And I will deal with the two thieves. No expense will be spared, I promise.”
“Thank you, Ethan,” the voices sang. “We trust you.”
“I, I love you all,” Ethan said as the world around him began to flicker. “I will see this through.”
As he said those last words he felt himself pulled into the sky once again. He closed his eyes as he entered a cloud, and when he opened them, he was back in his home in Saffron.
“Scyther, Scyther?” his Pokemon asked.
“Yes, I was able to talk to them,” Ethan replied, catching the sight in his mirror of black smoke rising from the large gash in his skull. After a moment, the wound had healed.
Ethan stood up and walked to the kitchen, fishing a glass from a nearby cupboard and filling it with water. He drank deeply, savoring the feeling of the cool water seeping down his throat. He finished the water and walked back to his bedroom. Part of the comforter was soaked in blood from his head, so he pulled the whole blanket to the floor and laid back down on the cool sheets. He swiftly fell asleep and did not dream.
Almost sixteen hours later, he woke up. Ethan felt refreshed and revitalized. He also felt ready for what was about to come. He had three shards now, and had the location for the fourth. Presumably when he gathered all of them, he’d be able to revive the voices to their original form. What a relief it would be to have them on the physical plain. To feel their warmth and their love in person everyday instead of fleeting minutes when he dreamt.
Ethan walked across the slate floor of his bathroom to his shower. He removed the rest of his clothing and showered. The scalding water felt fabulous on his skin as it washed away the sweat and dirt he had accumulated over the last several days. He stood under the hot stream for several minutes, his mind going through a catalogue of the different resources at his disposal. He had made a few contacts from Unova over the last several years, people who have benefited greatly from the civil uprisings that had been plaguing the poverty ridden region for the last two decades. People with very specific skill-sets that suited the task he had in mind. After he exited the shower and dried himself, he slipped into a robe and made a few calls. After about thirty minutes of conversation with a man from Olivine City, he had acquired the name of a man who would be capable of the task.
He crossed his sparsely furnished living room and sat down on the couch. The man he called next refused to give him his name, but did agree to meet him in Vermillion City in four days time. Satisfied, Ethan hung up and grabbed a small remote off of his cocktail table. He pressed a button and a panel on the wall in front of him slid to the right, revealing a large television. A press on another button brought the device to life.
His face filled the screen in front of him. The picture had been magnified to the extreme, but his face was easily recognizable. The picture of him grew slightly smaller to make room for another picture that appeared next to his; this one showing his Scyther. As he watched, both pictures were minimized once again to make room for another picture of him standing in Pewter City. The third picture was from one of the police cars that had pulled up as he was fleeing the museum, obvious from the windshield in front of the camera. Ethan’s breath caught in his chest as he watched both pictures disappear to show Vivian Humphrey, the local channel nine news anchor.
“We come back to the story that has been the focus for much of the region for the past few hours,” Vivian started. “The man and Scyther pictured are wanted for the murder of John Francis and Ricky Thomas of the Pewter City Police Department, as well as the murder and mutilation of Ronnie Dvakna, a curator at the Pewter City Museum. Close to four in the afternoon yesterday, police were alerted by the security office at the museum that a hidden security camera had caught the brutal murder of Ronnie Dvakna. Police were soon dispatched, and came across this unidentified man and his Scyther. The man ignored commands by police and ordered the murder of two police officers, as well as having his Scyther put an additional two in critical condition. An Alakazam is also believed to be involved. The hospitalized police officers identities are not yet known, but we do know they were airlifted to Saffron City about an hour after the incident.”
Ethan stared, his mind refusing to process the situation in front of him.
“Police have no information about the identity of the suspect, but are encouraging anyone who recognizes the man or the Scyther in the photographs provided to please call their local authorities. Both John Francis and Ricky Thomas are survived by their parents, while Ronnie Dvakna is survived by his adopted niece and nephew, Dorian Dvakna and Shelton Street; who were visiting him at the time. We will be displaying the pictures constantly over the next several hours, and urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of the man or Scyther to please call in. We do however stress that anyone who encounters this suspect to use extreme caution, as he is believed to be armed and dangerous.”
Ethan quickly flicked the television off and shot to his feet. His mind was going in every direction at once. How could this happen? How could he have been this stupid? They had his picture, and it was probably being shown in every home from here to Hoenn. This was so very bad. He didn’t make mistakes like this. Ethan calmed himself with a quick breath. He didn’t really associate with his business contacts face-to-face and the only people that saw him on a regular basis were his neighbors in the apartment where he lived. So it was unlikely that someone would be calling in already, but it was still not a chance he was willing to take.
He quickly crossed back into his bedroom and roused Scyther, who had been dozing on the floor. He dressed quickly for journey, filling her in on the situation as he started pulling items from his dresser into his traveling pack. She didn’t seem as shocked as he thought she should have, but dismissed it as she left to check the fire escape by the window. Ethan meanwhile hurried to his closet and knelt down to remove a loose tile in the floor. The safe underneath opened with a six digit code he entered. Inside was a small leather case, which he opened to verify its contents. Inside was a driver’s license and passport under a fictitious name and address, flanked by his picture. Along with the identification were four fat rolls of currency from all six regions, easily enough for him to survive on his own for the better part of a year. He closed the case back and deposited it into his traveling pack along with three changes of clothes.
Scyther came back into the window and nodded at him. He quickly returned her to her ball and pocketed the sphere, as it was much too dangerous to keep her out at the moment. He didn’t bother to take another look at his apartment before he crawled out the window to the fire escape; nothing of value remained inside. The shards were in his pack, and the flakes were inside him, which was all that mattered. Ethan slowly crept down the twelve story staircase, taking care to duck down below any windows. As he got down to the street he pulled his hair into a tight bun and drew the hood of his jacket over his head. He passed through the alley like a ghost, passing by a family of Rattata in a nearby dumpster. He waved down a taxi as he got to the street, sliding off his backpack and sitting it next to him as he climbed inside.
“Where you heading, pal?” the portly driver asked.
Making sure to keep his head low, Ethan replied, “Vermillion City.”
Four days later…
The face looking back at Ethan in his hotel room mirror looked remarkably different than it did a few days ago. A purchased electric razor had taken off his long wavy hair and replaced it with a crew-cut. Over the last several days he had also grew out his facial hair and he was now sporting a neatly trimmed goatee. He ran a hand through his hair, unfamiliar with its velvety feeling. Ethan turned and went back to the desk in the corner of the room.
The television was on with the sound muted, throwing blue shadows against the walls of the darkened room. More coverage about Ethan was playing onscreen, though less of it had been playing as the days trickled by. The police had received a tip from a tenant in his apartment, which turned up barren when the police had broken down his door. Ethan made a mental note to go see the old woman that called it in when all was done with the markers. The police now had his name from the lease he had on his apartment, and now the name Ethan Bernard was common knowledge to every person in Kanto. After that revelation, Ethan had stuck to his room, not wanting to test his chances. He turned his attention back to the desk and the picture that was lying on one corner.
They had caused this. If those two thieving hooligans had not meddled in his affairs, this never would have transpired. He loathed their smiling faces, cursed their common appearance. His life had been upended because of them, and they were going to receive his vengeance. Perhaps when the voices were brought back to this world they would know of a way to clear his name and allow him to have his life back. Not that it mattered if they couldn’t, as the important thing was that he would be with them. A beep from his watch took his eyes away from the picture. It was time.
He cleared out everything from his temporary shelter and stuffed it back into his pack. Ethan slung it over one shoulder and stepped out into twilight, once again raising the hood over his head. At first he thought that doing that would draw attention to his invisible face, but the temperature had been dropping steadily over the last few days, so a hood wouldn’t draw too many questioning looks. Not only that, but anyone who looked directly at him received a gentle push from his mind which prompted them to walk in the other direction. A few blocks down the road was his destination. The sign above the pub read, ‘The Leaky Blastoise’.
He slipped in through the door and was greeted by the sound of drunken laughter. The bar was low-lit and large, a perfect place for a meeting. His boots crunched broken peanut shells loudly as he crossed the floor. Ethan sat down at a table near the side entrance and ordered a beer, one hand resting protectively on the pack to his right. After a few minutes, another man entered the bar. He was as tall as Ethan, but not nearly as heavy. The man’s dark eyes glanced left and right as he passed between singing patrons until he saw Ethan’s dark green jacket. Ethan had told him what he would be wearing so he’d be easy to pick out. The man casually sat down and smiled at him, extending a tattooed hand. Ethan shook it lightly and returned his hand to his pack. The man spoke first, his voice low and deliberate.
“Mister Feiss?” the man asked.
“That’s correct,” Ethan responded. “I didn’t catch your name the last time we spoke.”
“Well, I have no intention of giving it to you, but to make this somewhat easier, you may call me Marco.”
“Fine,” Ethan replied, laughing inside at the man’s rudeness. “You came highly recommended from my contacts in Olivine.”
“I prefer not to talk about my past exploits, if it’s all the same to you.”
“I heard you were a man who knows the value of secrecy. I guess they were being honest.”
“Listen Mister Feiss, I value money. From what I understand, you have a problem with two individuals. I can take care of that problem for you, but I want my fee upfront. I didn’t just spend four days traveling to get here to exchange details about my methods. Do you have the money?”
“Here it is,” Ethan replied, sliding an envelope towards him.
The man felt the weight of the envelope and deposited it into a pocket in his jacket, revealing the handle of a gun before he zipped it back up.
“What have you got on them?” the man asked.
“Not much,” Ethan responded, sliding the picture of the two thieves to him. “Their last address along with their names are on the back.”
“Last known whereabouts?” Marco asked.
“Pewter City,” Ethan said.
“I’m assuming you don’t care how I get this done, right?”
“Well, I actually have two stipulations that go along with taking this job,” Ethan said, pulling a Pokeball from his pocket. He noticed that as he did so Marco’s hand moved slowly toward his jacket; the man relaxed however when Ethan brought both hands to the top of the table. He almost laughed in Marco’s face; the man had much more to fear from Ethan than any Pokemon he might bring out.
“What’s the first?”
“You are to take this Pokemon with you and release her as soon as I leave. She will be with you every step of the way. She’ll help in any way you command her, and she will report back to me when you’re finished.”
“That’s a problem for me. I don’t work with Pokemon.”
“Well, you’re going to have to bend your rules this one time. I need to make sure you accomplish this, and to be honest I don’t trust you at all. She will watch your progress, and come back to me when you’ve finished.”
“What makes you think you can just order me about?”
“Oh I don’t, but as long as you agree to have her along with you at all times, I’ll pay you triple.”
“Money up front.”
“I don’t think so, and if you try to screw me over, I’ve already instructed her to cut your throat,” Ethan said with a smile.
“Fine,” Marco replied through clenched teeth. “What’s the other condition?”
“I want their heads.”