Note: Sorry for the long wait, along with my computer acting up, a new anime i'm obsessed with, and school, i didn't have much time to write.
Chapter 8: Ninja Lunatics
The sickening smell of sewage wafted from the large manhole cover, which I slowly pulled away. This is it; the Castelia Sewers. I peered down into the murky shadows, only to see a faint blue light that was attached to the stone walls. Sadly this is the only way to the elusive gardens that I know of. How can I even be sure that this is the right way? Urban legends are famous around Unova, but still. A Garden didn't seem that rare. Then again, looking at the city behind me, it sure seemed that way.
Before putting my leg through the hole, a yell pierced my eardrum. I looked around and saw a couple of people in their early twenties, lurking in the crevices of the alleyway. The scream came from there, and I’m sure of it.
Being the idiot I am, I sighed and trudged over to the group of thugs. There were three of them in total, two taller than me by at least a couple inches. Hidden in the shadows was a scrawny looking boy, who was quivering like a chihuahua on coffee. His mousy brown hair was tousled at an awkward angle, and he was clutching a Pokeball in his hands so tightly that his knuckles were a plaster white.
“G-get away from me…” the boy squeaked, giving the thugs a slightly frightened glare. They didn’t notice that I was there, so I slinked into the wall with silence. This is pitiful, seeing these thugs just cornering a school kid. Stealing a helpless child's Pokemon is just sick, especially at their age. Mid-life crisis, anyone?
“Just give us your Pokemon, and this will be all over. You lost the battle, so we are entitled to taking the runt,” a woman said to the little boy. She wore a black mask covering her mouth, which was the same for the other thugs as well. Now that I thought about it, they all wore very odd outfits. They looked like a cross between ninjas and people in their mid-twenties--- which they probably are.
“Who do you think you are?” I blurted out. I cursed under my breath as they looked at me with an evil hint in their combined gaze. I could heat rise in my cheeks; being the center of attention is not my thing.
“It doesn’t concern you, Blondie,” the short guy snapped at me. I’ve been called a lot of names in my day, but this was an all time low. My eyebrow arched as I looked at all of the eyes that were staring at me.
“Ooh, bravo, very creative. Somebody, give this guy a prize! Look, just leave the kid alone. It’s not like harassing an eight year old will give you guys any street credit anyway; this right here is just pitiful,” I snapped as I pulled the boy away from the ninja-thugs. He was still shaking, but not as much as he was when I first got here. The woman in glared at me with her ice colored eyes; I could see no mercy in them. I glared back at her, trying to keep my face cool and collected.
I whispered in the boy’s ear, “Leave this to me; everything will be fine. Just go home and rest up your Pokemon, Sweetie.” He grinned at me and trotted away towards the metropolis. Wahoo, another lie to add to my eternal list. At least I got one problem off my plate though.
"You're gonna pay for that, little Goth wannabe," the woman spat as she pulled a Pokeball out of her black belt.
"Oh look, more witty names," I stated as I rolled my eyes. "If it's a battle you want, it's a battle you get." I grabbed a random Pokeball from my bag and threw it in the air. The glistening black ball released my new Hypno; go figure. Hypno would work, even though I've only had him for twenty-five minutes. Let's see how this battle goes. Hypno looked at me with his pinpoint pupils and started swinging his pendulum. I willed myself not to stare at the mesmerizing charm, so after a while he lost interest.
The masked, redheaded woman swung a scratched Pokeball out in the open which caused a simple Zubat to erupt from it. Zubat were these tiny, blind, purple creatures that fed off of human blood. The species always seemed to fascinate me, whether it be its echolocation talents or its… Bad reputation.
“Let’s see if this new Pokemon I stole is any good! Use Supersonic!” the Zubat then opened its maw to release a neon-blue aura, emitted by a high-pitched shriek. The noise did not bother me, but Hypno was now holding his pointed ears in pain. His pin-point eyes were tightly shut, with his human-shaped body doubled over. The Zubat then closed his mouth and fluttered in place proudly. I gritted my teeth in frustration. Confusion has never really worked well for me, and Hypno doesn’t even fully trust me yet. This is going to be bad. The thought of seeing this Zubat being ripped from a civilian's hands made me shudder. There are some cruel people in this world, but that was an all time low. Unova was known for its peaceful demeanor, but that reputation will surely change with these lunatics running around.
“Hang in there… Use Hypnosis,” I said as Hypno tottered around the cold alleyway in a daze. The woman across from me was smirking under her mask, her icicle eyes never wavering.
Hypno shook his head and teetered around. Suddenly, causing my chances of winning to go down the drain, he dopily held the pendulum in front of his face. He looked intrigued, swinging the charm back in forth like it was a childhood game. Please don't, please don't, please don't, I chanted in my head. In a way I was trying to communicate telepathically with him, but it was no use. Hypno crumpled to the ground into a twitchy golden lump.
“How stupid can you be?” I muttered to Hypno. I give my Pokemon criticism when they do something that I don’t like; it actually helps them work harder in the end. It’s like love criticism. Every parent in the universe has done that before, right? Some Pokemon Rights Activists might have a fit if they saw me doing this though. It’s not even bad as long as I’m not beating Pokemon or stealing them, like these asylum patients in front of me.
The woman let out a sharp laugh that sent chills down my spine. “Now this is rich. First you challenge us, and then you send out a Pokemon that doesn’t even listen to you! This battle is over, runt. We all have serious business to tend to.” Her short lackey muttered something in the woman’s ear. The lady looked thoughtful for a moment, her gray-blue eyes narrowing.
“I’ll tell you what,” she started as she whipped out a business card and handed it to me. “You seem like great material for our little operation. If you ever feel the need to join us, here’s the card. People change kid; I was just like you when I was a teenager.” Hmm, well that’s a scary thought. I looked at the white slip that was in my pale hand. The header of the card was a half black and half white shield, with blue stripes dividing the two conflicting colors. The card read as follows:
We will make the world a better place, to separate people and Pokemon. The world will live in harmony, if you will help our cause.
Call here if you would like to join: 555 - 1942
The card didn't really make much sense to me, what this woman was doing was stealing, not at all liberating. My muscles tensed around the card, ready to rip it up. Something in my body was curious though, so I quietly pushed it into my back pocket.
"You seem Plasma material. Give it a thought," the masked woman stated with a glint in her eye. She and her ninja-pirate buddies strode out of the depths of the darkness, leaving Hypno and I standing there in the alleyway. I have never heard of Plasma before, but I recall Cheren saying once before that a fiasco was going on somewhere in the northern regions of Unova. I made a mental note in my brain to ask him about that the next time I can.
Hypno was crumpled on the cold concrete, breathing deeply. I didn't actually think that he would be stupid enough to actually look at his pendulum, but that confusion must have really taken a toll. Training, I thought. Training, training, training. I'll be sure to whip him to shape, whether he likes it or not. After all, according to Cheren, I’m a girl who knows the hearts of shadowy Pokemon.
I sent Hypno back to his Pokeball and gave up my quest on finding the garden. By now my head was clear as day, so the peace was not needed anymore. I walked back into the mouth of the metropolis with a new attitude to this area. Busy is good; crowded areas meant that there is life in this city--- more life than others at least.
While wandering aimlessly through Castelia, I learned many lessons. The first one was that I should not talk to anyone in the streets; asking directions is out of the question too, seeing as how awkward and shy I am. The second lesson was that there is about a ninety percent change of getting lost through the streets. I found my way back though, thank God. The other lessons are not as important though, such as the Castelia hospitality, the food, and lastly their city layout.
The melodious sound of music drifted through the content alleyway, causing me to follow the smooth jazz notes. The music led me to a small orange door on the side of a flat iron building, with a small bronze bell that swung over the frame. Jazz music flowed out of the tiny shop once I walked in the door. Instantly, I felt warm and at home; I don’t really know why. The Café had a wooden stage in front of the circular tables, which a guitarist was strumming a nice tune with backup from a saxophone player. The two instruments blended harmoniously, creating a soft song that was pleasing to the ear. I pulled up a tall black barstool from the row in front of the oak counter, and traced shapes with my index finger on the wood.
“Welcome to the Café Sonata… Can I get you anything?” a lean man in a waiter’s uniform asked me from behind the bar. His face looked tired behind that fake smile.
“Lemonade please, if you can,” I answered as I pulled out a couple of crumpled dollars from my pocket and set them on the table. The bartender nodded and sifted through a refrigerator hiding under the wood. He set the neon can of lemonade on the bar and took the money in return. It was exact change, I counted.
“Thank you, I said as I sipped the tart drink. Lemonade always refreshed me, which is why I drink it. As I listened to the music that was playing, I thought about my mother. She used to sing to me when I was little; it made me so happy when we had good times like that back then. I thought about her burn. I highly doubt that my mother provoked those people in any way to make then do such a thing. A Houndoom can be a very faithful companion, that is, if you train them when they are still a Houndour. Evolution changes some Pokemon in such a way, that it’s not even like the same creature that you ever knew and loved. This is only with specific types; the most affected ones that these transformations happen to are usually fire, dark, ghost, or psychic--- all of my favorites. I pray to Arceus every night that my guys won’t change once they evolve; though I can’t make any promises.
I haven’t spoken with my mother since Virbank City’s gym battle. Knowing what she went through on her journey, she’s probably quite worried about my well being. Giving up on yet another battle in my mind, I filed through my shoulder bag and started to call her over the Xtransceiver. After a while now, there was no answer. After about forty seconds of the snowy background, I just hung up the mechanism. Well, no news is good news, right?
“I can’t even fool myself…” I whispered to nobody.
The time was ticking away, along with my patience. I pulled the business card out of my back pocket, the card that the woman handed me. The card didn't even tell me what “Plasma,” is, or let alone what they do or stand for. All members must keep these things on them at all times, in case a gullible person like me comes along. I tilted my head as a thought came to me. Cheren might know what this is. He’s been through a lot in his life so far, plus his analytical brain remembers every detail. I called him on my caveman Xtransceiver. Both of our faces appeared on the cracked screen, my face looking slightly more ragged; what else is new?
“Hey there, Grim. What do you need?” Cheren asked me as he turned from the camera a bit to talk with someone. I refused to answer him until he came back on screen, which he did.
“Can you tell me about some people named, Plasma?” His familiar face changed from a content expression, to a conflicted one.
I didn’t know how to answer him. He must know something about Plasma; I can tell when somebody is lying to me. “I battled some guys with ninja-looking suits on… They gave me their business card, which says ‘Plasma’ on the front,” I explained as he now had a puzzled look. Cheren sighed and muttered, “I thought they were gone…”
“What is it?”
“I-I have to go do some research on this; just try to avoid them as best as possible. Can you do that for me?” He asked, his stormy eyes pleading.
“Yeah, I just thought,” I started as the rest of the lie got caught in my mouth. He turned his camera off, leaving me staring at the snow. There is something that people aren't telling me, and I don't like it. I know that I’m going to find out about this gang, whether Cheren likes it or not; and that’s a promise.