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Jump Einatz
Crew

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:55 pm
Top of the Tower

Matheson. That was a name that hadn't crossed her mind for the last two hours. "Noooo, I don't wanna." Sal rubbed her face. The last they had spoken, it was on rocky ground. Ironing out those details was just one more object on her to-do list, and he'd want to know if she was okay as well. Now she wished she hadn't gotten drunk first. Gotta push that list back.

Zack opened the door and Sal shook her head. "Imma chill for a bit. Thanks fer the drinkin'." Quickly after saying this, she added, "I owe you one."  
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:39 pm
Top of the Tower

'You don't owe me anything, numbskull,' Zack said as they descended the spiral stairs. He brushed his hand against the wall, partially for balance, partially because he enjoyed the cool feel of something solid. Too much of his life was spent throwing himself into the unknown. After the chaos of the Fishbone, he appreciated an environment that stayed where he left it. 'We may have had differences, but you know I got your back. And I know you have mine. No need to track scores.'

They reached his door first. Zack undid the latch and let the door swing open halfway. 'Didn't realise I needed to talk so bad. I'll catch you in the morning?'  

Marsuru
Vice Captain


Jump Einatz
Crew

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:13 am
The Tower

Sal nodded slowly at what Zack was saying. "Mmmmkay," she told him with a click of her tongue and a thumbs up. As Zack went into his room, she paused in the stairwell, then went back to the roof. She had needed that talk just as much as Zack did, and it was better to commiserate than drink alone. But that was all still an act to take to help her through the next one.

On the roof, she paced back and forth for a few minutes, stumbling all the while, before releasing Banksy. The Torkoal stood in front of her trainer’s drunken sister, her eyes tracking Salieri’s sway.

Sal held up her arms in a shrug, and let them flop. “Whelp, that’s it. We found Prou and now she’s gone. So close.” Sal pinched her fingers together. “So close, but it’s not enough, so ******** me, right?”

She swiped a hand out to her side, vaguely up at the sky. “Made you a promise to find them but I’m, apparently, bad at that. Soooo go ahead.” Sal hiccupped. “You can go. You can quit now.”

Banksy stared at her sympathetically. “Don’t lookit me like that. I don’t need pity from a, a turtle.” Sal groaned, one hand to the side of her head. “You’re only here cuz I made you come, so leave if you wanna.” Sal closed her eyes as all of her headaches combined. “Go on. Get. Go.”

The Torkoal sat down and sighed a plume of smoke. Sal tilted to the side, and settled down into sitting and leaning against Banksy’s shell. “Good. I wanted you to stay.” She pat Banksy on top of the head. “Thaaaaank yooooou.”

Banksy nodded. “Imma cry a little bit, if that’s ok.” Banksy curled her head onto Sal’s shoulder, and Sal nestled closer, heaving a sobbing breath. The heat given off by the shell dried the tears as they came. “And you gotta hold back my hair for me soon cuz I’m gonna barf.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of hours later and Salieri was in laying in bed, decked out in her pajamas after a long shower. The dried blood was gone an her bandages had been redressed. She still felt like crap, with the beginnings of an early onset hangover coming on.

“Sorry I hung up on you.”

The blue hologram of Mia floating from the node on her Holocaster nodded sagely. “It’s fine. You were busy. You’re just lucky Ben was there.
“Strategy, not luck. I asked him to be there.”

Mia sighed. Sal sensed that Mia might have held a similar opinion on teamwork to what Ben had, but didn’t feel like arguing. Sal didn’t feel like arguing either, so she didn’t prod. “Next time we can think up a better coordination system.
“Yeah yeah.” Sal adjusted herself on her bed, laying on her back. “Why didn’t you tell me about Ivan?”

Mia cleared her throat an scratched her head, looking away sheepishly. “They’re my experiment and I needed you unaware.” Salieri didn’t say anything, so Mia went on. “I wanted to see if I could modify an AI to be a better Dex companion. There’s a similar experiment going on in Alola-
“I was your guinea pig,” Sal sad flatly through narrowed eyes.
You didn’t even notice,” Mia chimed defensively. “And outside the quirks they’ve helped you a lot, right?
“That’s not the point.”

Salieri slid her Pokédex out of the cradle on her bicep. On the screen was a cartoonish emoji of her Porygon-Z sleeping. “I guess they’ve been ok…but it’s not cool of you to keep that a secret from me.”
I know. I’m sorry.
Sal shrugged. “It’s fine, whatever. Just no more secrets, ok? I can’t take that from you of all people.”

Mia rubbed her chin, thinking. “Salieri, listen-

A knock on the door interrupted their call. Sal sat up and straightened herself out, giving herself a quick glance in the mirror. Her face still had some scrapes and bruises, but it wasn’t a terrible mess. Good enough for her. “That must be Math, I gotta go.”
Oh. Ok.” Mia sounded relieved for some reason. “I’ll call you tomorrow.
“Yep, see ya.”

Sal hung up, unable to shake the feeling that there was some unsaid tension now between herself and her soul sister as she walked to the door. With a deep breath, Sal opened it up and looked at Matheson. “Merde, what happened to you?”

The young noble’s grey funeral robes were tattered and stained with a combination of blood and dirt, the sleeves missing entirely. Matheson himself was covered with bruises and scrapes to rival Salieri’s, but he was still grinning softly. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah of course. ******** dude, take a seat.”

Matheson walked slowly, clearly sore, and took a seat on the bed. Sal sat next to him. “I have so many questions-“
“Can I say a few things before that? Cause I have a few things to say,” Math asked with puppy dog eyes. Sal couldn’t say no to that look. She nodded, apprehensive.

“I didn’t mean to make you feel like you’re ‘less than’ when I said I needed to keep up appearances as a noble, I didn’t think about how that would make you feel and I know you have issues with that stuff and I am so so sorry. Cause you know, I do like you, I’m pretty sure I made that clear, I just have a lot of other things going on and I know you do too and I won’t ask you to change your whole routine for me so I’ll try to-“
“Listen.” Sal stopped his rambling. All this social upkeep was exacerbating her headache. “I forgive you, I get it, we’ll talk it out, why are you so ******** up right now?”

Matheson groaned. It seemed her forgiveness caused a large weight to evaporate off his shoulders. “So there was this thing at the funeral procession…”  
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:25 pm
The Procession - Riviére Walk - Hours Ago

-Part 1-

Ratio put his memory to rest. No time to dwell on the past, he had work to finish. Leaving Jean Pierre and Lord Nostrad behind, Ratio straightened his hat and continued to walk through the shanty town of parked limousines. He dropped seeds underfoot as he patrolled the procession. Nobody would question him in this form; that of Cédric, Elizabeth Leroux's attendant, except for the man himself, who stayed close to Elizabeth's car. Preparations were not yet complete when Ratio sensed a jolt of energy take the stranded nobles. They were beginning to move.

He had intended to provide his own distraction and force the procession to a halt, but the attack at Shalour City had done the job for him, and instead he improvised. Now he risked his targets simply driving away from his trap. Did he spring it now, or rush to completion? Moze would infiltrate the nearby Battle Chateau the moment Ratio's attack drew the security forces away from Fury's cage. This was their one chance to rescue the Pangoro. Ratio stopped when Elizabeth placed her hand on his chest.

'Why are you so far from the limousine?' she asked in Kalosian. Ratio tapped his Aura bond with the real Cédric to help layer his mannerisms, not moving an inch to remove Elizabeth's hand, but instead standing upright, looking past her shoulder instead of meeting her eye.
'Apologies, Lady Elizabeth,' Ratio said. 'I should have consulted you first.'

Her hand lingered on his chest while she read his gaze. Eventually Elizabeth smiled, and patted Ratio before removing her hand. A suspicious one, this Leroux.

'Aren't all butlers meant to be patient, Cédric?'
Ratio was impressed. If it wasn't for his link with the real Cédric, he would have been caught out. He stiffened up and twitched his moustache. 'As I have said, I prefer the term "attendant", Lady Elizabeth.'
The harsh look in Elizabeth's eyes relaxed as a smile played at their corners. 'Alas, frustrating you is one of my only means of entertainment these days,' Elizabeth said. She was relieved. Had Ratio truly rattled her this much? He wished he hadn't caused this woman such pain, but Gabriel Leroux had to die.

One of the limousines rolled past. That of a middling noble family. The cars were lining up and preparing to leave. If Ratio knew Bertrand Balibar as well as he thought, the old general would want to hurry through this funeral as quickly as possible. Too many eggs in too small a basket. The trap was far from finished, but Ratio had no choice.

'Let's get back to the car,' Elizabeth said, catching her reflection in the limousine's black windows. 'This is my father's funeral. I feel this is the one event of his where I should be on time.'
'Then I am sorry,' Ratio said. Something sparked in his mind. A thread of information from his aura link to the real Cédric. He looked Elizabeth in the eye and grabbed her shoulders. 'I am secretly a member of Team Flare and have been spying on you since we met.'

He shoved Elizabeth to one side. She bounced against the side of a car, which ground to a halt, and Ratio bolted. He pushed through the crowd of nobles and their retainers and disappeared past a car, followed by Elizabeth's furious screams. His features melted from those of a genteel old man to smooth steel, his clothes shredding and elongating into a black mass of cloth that made his contours indiscernible. The nobility had escaped him like sand slipping from his grasp, but no longer.

'Diancie'

---

Elizabeth scrambled to her feet, shoving aside a gawking lesser noble and roaring in frustration. Cédric, or whoever that was pretending to be Cédric, had caught her off guard. Stupid. She grasped her rapier while barging past the pale, ostentatious gaggle of nobles who shrieked and cowered at her approach. She caught a flash of silver hair dart behind a news van and followed, whipping her sword free of its sheath as Cédric dissolved into a dark tangle of fabric.

Her rapier clanged against something solid; a shapeless collection of segmented metal links extending from the raggedy cloak. It took a moment for Elizabeth to recognise them as fingers, and a moment later they dragged her sword toward the horrifying cluster of black.

It took all her strength to stay upright. Elizabeth’s rapier felt as if lodged in rock. Her mind screamed to release a pokéball but her concentration was consumed with the need to keep her blade. Something else emerged from the cloak and stopped an inch from her face. Her eyes met its eyes, and she felt a pang of revulsion, and the crawling desire to escape. Ratio's masked face, almost tribal in its design and strangely organic. She could see her breath mist on its cold surface.

'Ratio,' Elizabeth said through gritted teeth, her muscles on fire with strain. 'You're nothing but a monster.'

He said nothing and reached with his free hand to grasp the other half of her blade. In a swift flurry of motion, he rendered Elizabeth's steel a useless rain of shards and threw her backwards. One of the shards sliced into her forehead, unloading a flow of blood. Ratio lifted his hand, almost in apology, before retiring it to his cloak.

The earth quaked, summoning a racket of screams from the nobility. Elizabeth heard several motors roar while tyres screeched to avoid them, crashes and panicked yells. The cries of children, scooped up in their funeral best and carried away. The procession, already a tense affair, bubbled into panic.

Then the towers grew. A double dozen pink crystalline columns burst from the ground, tossing cars skyward, exploding the earth in fireworks of dirt. They rose in sequence, each new tower accompanied by a thunderous boom and a fresh wave of screams as the nobility ran and ran, only to be headed off by a new tower. Corralled like cattle.

Elizabeth steadied herself against the news van, glaring defiantly as blood poured around her eye. A news helicopter hung in silhouette behind the towers as they grew ever skyward, crystal branches splitting from their trunks to form an intricate barrier. Almost immediately the crystal wall came under assault, shaken by a volley of attacks from the other side. Ratio had deliberately cut the procession in half, keeping the Court nobility and their heavy hitters separated from the rest. He hadn't counted on Elizabeth being here.

She pulled a pokéball from inside her jacket and slung it towards the murdering scum. Ratio, with inhuman agility, seemed to anticipate her move. He darted towards her, plucking the pokéball from the air and keeping it closed in his palm. He leaped forward, planted his foot on Elizabeth's chest, and launched himself into the sky. She hit the dirt and had the wind knocked out, her sight darkening at the edges before fading to black.

---

Ratio flew, his cloak spread wide like demonic wings. He let a pokéball fall from his sleeve, releasing Ancile. The Aegislash tethered itself to his aura, shrinking its blade to a more manageable size while its shield slotted beneath Ratio's feet, allowing him to surf the sky with Magnet Rise. He surveyed the scene, the frightened nobles recoiling at the sight of him over them, like something from a nightmare.

Queen Antoinette's car remained on his side of the barrier. He could feel her behind its doors, peeking curiously at the towers, tracing the skyline, placing her eyes on him and clasping a hand to her mouth. She knew of Ratio, the monster, the assassin. She was afraid, and for that he was sorry.

Another monster flew the skies, a blaze of aura across Ratio's senses. He raised Ancile's blade and activated King's Shield, swapping its cutting power for the shield's defence, in time to be knocked off his perch. Guildenstern, the Quillon Knight, landed on Ancile's shield, too graceful for a being clad in black metal armour, barbed with hideous spikes. It raised its clawed hand and ignited it.

Ratio fell. The Quillon was no surprise, excepting its speed. His cloak fluttered around him, sword tight in his grip. Even in two halves, Ancile's life force was linked; if the shield was destroyed, the sword would fall with it and become nothing more than a dull club. Ratio slung Ancile's blade towards Guildenstern, bullet-fast. Even weakened, it could bite through the Quillon's armour, and dug into its shoulder to diffuse its impending attack. As Ratio righted himself, almost caving in the roof of the limo he landed on, the armoured Blaziken released a rattling screech.

More aura signatures played across Ratio's senses. Balibar had sent one Quillon to Shalour City, meaning five were left. Though commanded by Lord-General Balibar, they were loyal to the Queen before all else, and would thoroughly crush anything deemed a danger to her. So far, so good.

Ratio gestured towards Ancile, recalling the blade from Guildenstern's shoulder. It span, flecking blood, and landed in its master's hand. Ratio sensed another Quillon closing in and angled Ancile's blade before slicing an arc to his side. The second Quillon flashed into existence, blocking Ratio's swing with the metal blades extending from its elbows. Rosencrantz, the Gallade. It flickered into nothing before reappearing above Ratio, aiming a kick to his shoulder.

He bowed away from the attack, but it struck his upper arm and the sheer force sent him sideways by several feet in a graceless spin. Ratio slid to a halt atop another limousine's roof. Rosencrantz vanished again, aiming another assault, this time a slice from his blades at Ratio's chest. He blocked, and Rosencrantz vanished, and he blocked, and so they danced. Ratio's aura powers and reflexes worked to their limit to keep track of the pokémon as it came at him in a barrage of teleports and short strikes.

Ratio knew his focus was too narrow. If it was him, he would use this time to position his ally to strike the distracted opponent. He parried Rosencrantz and launched a crescent-shaped Night Slash from Ancile's edge that caught the Gallade's chest and threw it hard into a crystal tower. Rosencrantz wouldn't be there when the dust cleared, instead appearing from inside the limousine beneath Ratio. It burst through the roof in a shower of warped metal with a rising strike, clanging against Ancile with a spray of sparks. Ratio felt Guildenstern launch itself from Ancile's shield like an ember in gale force wind. Ratio was off balance, vulnerable to the Quillon's Blaze Kick. He gave Ferox the command.

---

Elizabeth was out for only a second. She gasped back to life, sucking air into her lungs and coughing as she inhaled misted dirt. More booms shook the crystal wall, and the earth pulsed in steady rhythm while Elizabeth climbed to her feet. Two things lay before her. The handle of her rapier on a bed of fragmented steel, and her unreleased pokéball. She palmed the ball and got moving. Ratio couldn't be far.

She could hear voices of cowering nobility. They had grouped themselves between a crystal tower and a pair of limousines, one of which had turned over. It wasn't just the usual haughty assholes Elizabeth so disdained, but a mix of men and women, young and old. A little girl shivered in her father's arms, dressed in funeral black, her eyes turned to Elizabeth's own, pleading.

'Lady Elizabeth,' one of the older women said. 'Please. Please help us.'

This whole thing started with the death of a noble, Elizabeth thought as she wiped her eye clear of blood. The cut on her forehead stung sharp and cold, her hair clumping together in thick, ropes. If these people stayed here, they could be caught in the crossfire.

'The Quillon will protect you,' Elizabeth said as their faces fell. 'Do your best to hide, it will all be over soon, I promise.'
'Where are you going?'
'You can't just leave us! Please, Lady Elizabeth.' Their voices rose and Elizabeth felt a spark of anger.
'I'm going to stop the madman who started this,' she snapped, but as she moved away, she felt the wind pick up. A sudden blast of air that ripped through the surrounding wrecks.

Something darted past, a blur of deep orange and white. Elizabeth followed it, watched it smash into a limousine and launch itself into the air toward the battle. Toward Ratio. And there was he, caught between two Quillon. One throwing him off balance, the other ready to crush him under fiery foot. Elizabeth's heart ballooned, and Guildenstern brought its Blaze Kick down.

Heat rose in a flash. The sudden wind turned blistering hot, forcing Elizabeth to cover her face. Both Quillon rebounded, Rosencrantz landing in a clearing while Guildenstern crumpled the roof of a car like cardboard. Ratio stood beside a fierce Arcanine, long tail billowing, its fur deepening to red as its Flash Fire absorbed Guildenstern's kick.

'Ferox,' she heard Ratio say, his voice barely above a calm whisper. 'Flamethrower.'

The Arcanine unhinged its maw, its growl becoming a roar becoming a whirlwind blast of fire. Elizabeth doubted Quillon could feel fear, it would have been bred out of them, but if they could it would be in that instant. Rosencrantz teleported above the blast, the thick air shimmering with the intense heat, scorching its black armour red. Guildenstern's wrists blazed, and it launched itself directly at Ferox's blast. Elizabeth could hardly stand to look, but she caught glimpses of its shadow caught in the flames, fighting through until it broke out the other side. Its fist charged, its armour hanging from its body in pieces, battle-mad.

Guildenstern drove its Sky Uppercut into the Arcanine, launching it into the air. Rosencrantz teleported above to meet Ferox, but the canine pokémon twisted mid-air and landed on Rosencrantz with all four paws at once. It sank its Fire Fangs in the Quillon's arm and ripped off a sleeve of metal and blood.

Elizabeth jumped back as the armoured mass clattered near her feet, then watched as Rosencrantz Teleported wildly, almost in a blind panic, bringing Ferox with it. Ratio capitalised on Guildenstern's distraction, and rammed his sword into its chest. The Quillon merely screeched again, almost like laughter, and grabbed Ratio's sword with both hands. Fire blazed from its wrists, building larger and brighter than any Blaziken's that Elizabeth had ever seen, swallowing Ratio up before finishing with a sudden explosion. Ratio was thrown away, his charcoal body arcing back and hitting the floor out of Elizabeth's sight.

'All of you, run,' Elizabeth said to the cluster of nobles, who acted like she just spoke Alolan. 'Can you not hear me? I said run!'

The nobles rushed away in a maladroit scramble, and Elizabeth ran for where she saw Ratio fall. She slid over the hood of a car and landed the other side, then went beneath where a crystal tower had split to form a glowing archway. Ratio was nearby, and injured. She wasn't sure what to do if she found him before the Quillon. Dragging him on his knees before the Court held its own appeal, but she didn't like to leave things to chance. She gripped her pokéball until her fingers turned bone white, and set to finishing this.  

Marsuru
Vice Captain


Jump Einatz
Crew

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:04 pm
Riviére Walk - Outside The Battle Chateau

The cacophony of fighting alerted Moze to Ratio's scuffle further east. From atop his perch in a dense tree's branch, he could see the pink crystalline spires sprouting from the earth. That was as much of a signal as he would get. Deep breaths, he told himself. Deep breaths.

In his costume (Ratio refused to call it that), he looked like his master. His body didn't flow the same way, it was clear that behind his cloak he was a human being. It did not make him any less intimidating. Still, it wasn't the reason he wore it now. The jet black coloring would make him harder to spot. With any luck, he wouldn't have to intimidate at all.

He put on his headphones.

And then, one deep breath later, Moze disappeared.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shepared Fairey could compress himself and Moze to the size of a tack and move with them both at blistering speeds. Decompressing somewhere else was quick enough to give off the impression of teleportation. The price of that mobility was the inability to breathe during the process. It made for short range bursts of nearly undetectable speed, and this would be their greatest asset for the prison break.

Battle Chateau was no bastion of military, but it was heavily guarded all the same. The presence of patrol was noticeably neutered during the funeral procession down the road, now diverted to stopping Ratio from escaping capture. Outside the front gates were just two men, and inside the southern courtyard Moze only felt the presence of three more making rounds in the gardens.

Slipping between their lines of vision using Shepared Fairey became rhythmic for Moze as he momentarily aligned their Auras with his own, predicting where they'd turn before they did it. He darted between the first two guards, compressing back down right behind them to jump from tree to tree to clear the courtyard right afterwards. It felt easy, like a videogame.

From there, Moze followed Ratio's carefully laid out instructions, dodging security all the while while coiling through sudden secret passages, venturing over time from the opulent palatial hub of nobility on the surface to the cold uniform masonry of the dungeon below. Pokémon prisoners were kept here, secret from the world in rooms designed to make sure they couldn't leave.

Ratio's goal was singular. Moze had emphatically asked to go in order to pursue a goal of his own. If he could find what he was looking for, it'd be two birds with one stone.

Halfway through a set of labyrinthine corridors, he heard sudden noises. The sound of fighting. The security he had avoided was tangled up with something else. This wasn’t part of the plan. Moze’s Aura expanded, twisting through the halls to catch sight of this new factor.

He could feel a few unconscious people, but whatever had attacked them was moving too fast to stay in his short range of Aura sight. His curiosity was piqued. So was his caution. It was impossible to tell if this was a friend or foe. He had to stick to his task, and avoid detection if possible.

Ratio did not know exactly where Fury was being held, so his instructions stopped at one of the security hubs. It was a room containing cameras and computers, where the locations and designations of the prisoners were filed away. Two guards remained in the sealed off locked room, both on high alert. Their eyes darted from the door to the camera feed. From his position sidling the door outside, Moze could hardly see what was on the feed. It was a blur amongst a muted color scheme, moving too swiftly to be recognizable. Whatever it was, it was fast. Moze could only surmise that someone else was taking advantage of the distraction for a prison break of their own. If it didn’t make his job easier, things would go south fast. He had to act.

Shepard Fairey slipped through the crack under the door and into the room. Moze didn’t look, but he heard two surprised yelps and some shouting in Kalosian before he heard two heavy thuds. The door opened.

Moze stepped in and over the sleeping guards. Next to the computer and camera feeds were file cabinets. Some held actual files, others held the Pokéballs of imprisoned Pokémon. His Whimsicott watched the door while he scanned the database for what he needed. He was no hacker, not like his girlfriend. His tech savvy was average at best. It didn’t matter, because the guards had already been on the system and all he needed to do was locate two prisoners.

The first came up easy enough. A large, rough Pangoro being held in an ice box cell. That was Ratio’s target. Moze hesitated before his next search, trying to lower his expectations to temper his potential disappointment. Deep breath. His fingers hit the keys again, scanning for his own target.

And there, so quick it caught him off guard, was what he was looking for. A Greninja, jailed about four years ago.

Moze’s body nearly moved on its own as his mind went into shock, busting open the file cabinet inelegantly to grab the two required empty Pokéballs before rushing out the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The heavy iron doors to Fury’s cell creaked open as Moze heaved against them. Shepard pushed his back as an assist, though the fairy sheep’s puny physical strength didn’t help much. They were greeted by a rush of frosty wind, instantly nipping away at their faces. Moze felt the chill from behind his mask, under his armor. He blocked it with an arm, and looked beyond his fingers at Fury.

The Pangoro’s wrists and ankles were chained up in the center of the room, pulled taut against pillars to suspend him in the air. There was blood matted into the fur around the chains from where Fury tried to break his shackles off. Moze guessed that the cold had slowed the mighty bear down until he could no longer escape. He was unconscious, but still breathing. Moze wondered how long Fury had been fighting this for. Then he wondered what kind of cell his Greninja was in.

With no grandeur, Moze returned Fury to his Pokéball. The chains clattered to the floor with nothing to hold them up anymore. He turned to leave them room.

Now back in the hall, he could hear voices. Many of them, coming from different directions alongside pounding footsteps. His Aura curled outwards, feeling humans and Pokémon alike aggressively pulsating through the dungeon. The brief period of ease was at an end. The guards were fully mobilized again.

Moze made a sharp turn and a beeline towards where the next cell was located. Even with his headphones on, he could hear yelling at his back, and his Aura told him the truth: he was being chased now.

Ahead of him, he saw the passed out bodies of guards. They had been cut into, their wounds long across their chests through their light armor. The blood that had seeped from them onto the floor seemed diluted, watered down. Moze didn’t stop to think about how those wounds were caused, only caring about one thing.

At the end of a hall, at a dead end, he saw a few more beaten guards slumped against the walls outside of a cell. The cell’s doors were wide open, showing the environment inside. It was the opposite of Fury’s prison, a room emanating a dry heat that quickly parched Moze’s throat. More chains were lax at pillars in the center of the room.

The room was empty.

Moze stared ahead, looked at the guards, then stared again.

The other person causing chaos in the dungeon had to be Xavier.

The footfalls had caught up now. Moze turned around and saw a cadre of armored patrolmen bunched together, taking defensive positions near their Pokémon. Fangs, claws, and tails bared to stop Moze from getting out of the dead end. Shepard Fairey had shrunk down and slipped into his pocket, unseen.

They yelled for him to freeze with his hands up, on his knees, right now or they will fire. It was difficult to hear with the music, so he read their lips. It was more difficult to acquiesce their requests as his amber eyes blazed behind his mask, his fingers curled so tightly he thought he’d draw his own blood right through his gloves, because he knew if they slowed him down before he found Xavier he would tear them apart then and there.

Moze took two steps forward, right into a sudden flash of light that took all present parties by surprise. It was gone as quickly as it had appeared, revealing its source to be Prou.

Without a word, she grabbed onto Moze’s shoulder, and they both were gone in a flash.

Lumiose City- Random Rooftop

Moze exited the Teleport backwards, stumbling against a guardrail and nearly falling off the roof as he found himself hyperventilating. The music he had been playing to focus had become a din against his own shock.

She was clad in a smooth metal armor, sporting scrapes and bruises across his face and arms, but he knew it was her. His Gardevoir regarded him with warm, sad eyes twinkling with welled up tears. “Voiiiiii.”

Moze regained his balance, or he thought he did. As soon as he took a step forward he almost tripped, as though he was acquiring sea legs on a boat. He pulled off his headphones and absentmindedly dropped them to the floor, where they conveniently landed on the Stop button.

He tapped at an earpiece that he had worn beneath the headphones, unsure if it would still reach Ratio from here. He would try anyway. “M-mission complete.”

And then he took that off as well, allowing it to drop as he walked closer to Prou. Prou’s shoulders slumped and she shied away, nervous. But she did not move back. Slackjawed, he opened his mouth to speak but words weren’t coming. They were taking too long to say.

His Gardevoir could empathically feel the bundle of tight emotions in his chest releasing in a steady stream, but it was just as obviously written on his face. Twisted grief becoming shocked relief, unbridled joy, the fear of being okay. He didn’t know what to do, and as he continued to try and talk, words dryly came out.

“I was supposed to come save you.

Prou shook her head, unable to contain herself any longer as he pulled her trainer into a tight embrace. He was taller than she remembered. With his head on her shoulder, he hugged her back as he sobbed and apologized over and over.  
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 6:14 pm
The Procession of Riviére Walk - Hours Ago

Elizabeth clambered over the verge as thunder struck Ratio’s wall of crystal towers. Noble reinforcements could have been miles away for the difference it made, yet still they continued their bombardment. Now it was just Elizabeth, wading a path through the heaped scrap of a limousine, whatever remained of the Quillon, and the monster himself. Ratio. The animal who murdered her father, who started all this mayhem, and for what? Flames crackled, accompanied by the putrid scent of cooked flesh, and a thing on the ground all black and bloody.

‘What on earth?’ Elizabeth gasped in Kalosian. It was like nothing she had seen, except perhaps the vague shape of a human torso. It lacked limbs, and where the fetid flesh wasn’t burning to charcoal, it was yellow and plastic-smooth. Her eyes traced its form in disgust and horror until she recognised what must be its face. A bald skull that lacked its jawbone, a shrivelled stump of a tongue poking from behind a partial set of broken teeth. A single eye met hers, bloodshot and wild.

She longed to kill this thing. To end its misery for it had no place in this world. She approached as the flames ate into its body, slowly consuming this pathetic creature.

‘You murdered my father,’ Elizabeth said. The distant booms blossomed with each of her footsteps. Its eye ceased moving, and focused on her, quiet and intent. Elizabeth placed her boot on the thing’s throat and pressed. This wasn’t how she imagined to end things with Ratio. To see him for what he really was; less than a man, but no less a monster. She shifted more weight to her foot, and the creature’s breath grew into a desperate, throaty rattle as its body twitched and convulsed, spreading embers.

This was for her father, she thought. For shattering the balance of her life. She dared herself to meet his eye and watch the life flicker out. To embrace this cold-blooded slaughter. It started small. A seed of doubt growing from the pit of her stomach. Had she been driven mad by this quest for revenge? Elizabeth, already slick with sweat, felt a flush of heat, of uncertainty and terror. The seed sprouted, flowering in her gut and seeking the sun. She doubled over and spewed vomit, falling to her knees.

‘This isn’t me, this isn’t me,’ she whispered, hands scrambling in the dirt. ‘This isn’t me, this isn’t me, this isn’t me.’

The flames crawled along the creature’s body, but began to hiss as they were overtaken. A crawl of slime seeped from nearby wreckage, moving spasmodically, like a film reel with missing frames. It sprouted tiny hands with dozens of twig-like appendages, as it reached for Ratio’s body, and consumed him.

---

Elizabeth’s flesh peeled from her bones in tiny strips. Jean-Pierre worked meticulously, prolonging the torture, healing what could be healed before continuing his work. She no longer felt the passage of time, not in this windowless, soundproof room, where fluorescent lights battered her without reprieve. Each moment drifted through the malaise of Ira’s Pressure, drawing flashes of pain into endless halls of agony.

More than once she tried to retreat into madness, into the depths of her mind where bleak reality could not follow, but always would Jean-Pierre find her, drag her back screaming. She swore revenge on whatever forgotten gods would listen, she begged mercy now broken and shameless, and made nothing but rasped and meaningless cries once he came for her tongue.

For fourteen years, his darling Ratio.

She went back further, before Chateau Nostrad, to a noisy summer’s night in the drawing room. Lord Leroux commanded her in hushed tones, young Elliot at his side. Murder. Assassination. That, after all, was her role. The Leroux’s secret weapon, aimed in service of Kalos. She knelt, uneasy with killing a Grand Noble, but compliant. The plan was monstrous, and needed to be stopped with no cost too great.

This isn’t me.

The voice whispered from the edges of the drawing room, but nobody else seemed to notice. Elizabeth stood, but wasn’t acknowledged. Lord Leroux continued as if she were still kneeling at his feet, and paid no heed as she explored her surroundings. She picked up a book, its cover bold but the text blurred, and when she turned its pages they were all blank.

Her leg brushed against something that didn’t move. Ratio knelt before Lord Leroux, armourless, human again. Young and whole and in his prime. His sharply defined face was framed by a fall of long, auburn hair; a far cry from the shrivelled shell he would become. Elizabeth tried to feel anger, but could not. She felt no pity either.

‘Are we clear, my friend?’ asked the old lord. Ratio sank his head below his shoulders, the weight of the request beyond question. ‘If this were to fail, we would be forced to disavow any knowledge of you. Only whole can House Leroux stand against the others.’
‘I won’t fail,’ Ratio replied, a student reciting a fact to his class. ‘And if I did, I expect the consequences too swift to concern me in the long run.’

She felt fear from this young Ratio, as rich and as stark as her own. Whatever confidence he exhibited a mere façade. He was an actor at heart. A man of versatility, brutal and calculating, yet always cautious. Even now, her soul entwined with his, she did not know him.

‘This can’t be true,’ Elliot wringed his hands with folded arms. ‘Have the other nobles lost their minds? It’s genocide.’
‘Lord Nostrad believes that power is justified in its cost. For power such as this…’ The past and future Lord Leroux shared a troubled look. ‘Kalos cannot be expected to pay such a heavy toll. We need to cut head from snake.’
‘Can you do it, Kero? Can you be the hero Kalos needs?’

He isn’t a hero. Elizabeth flexed her jaw. He killed her father. He suffered. He did it all for Kalos.

This isn’t me, this isn’t me, this isn’t me.

Elizabeth clawed through the dirt, mad but for a moment. The thunder of salvation shook the crystal wall, and once again she was on her knees. Before her stood Ratio, clad in blackened armour, a shawl wrapped tight around his shoulders. He no longer wore a mask of steel, but of flesh, hollow and blank with apathy. His auburn hair poured from his shoulders. He observed her for a moment, then held out his hand.

Elizabeth watched, and nothing happened. Then from somewhere in the wreckage, the Blade of Ancile flew into his palm, christened in Quillon blood and scorched black.

‘I won’t fight you,’ Ratio said to the air. His voice was serene, enlightened, a holy man to his congregation. He swung Ancile to his side, and blood hit the earth in a dark crescent. ‘Will you fight me?’
Elizabeth’s stomach lurched. Her pokeball, earlier dropped to her feet, waited appealingly for her to take it. Instead she smiled. She hated herself for it, but she smiled. ‘There’s so much more to this, isn’t there?’
‘A story in need of telling,’ said Ratio, who held out his hand for Elizabeth to grasp. ‘Let us be sure we won't fail.’

The crystal wall shattered, and the nobility came rushing through.  

Marsuru
Vice Captain

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