This work is fiction. The work has no (intentional) relationship with any person existing at any time anywhere whether real or imaginary or copy written.
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You should not read this if you are not of legal age where you reside. This work can contain rape, BDSM, cannibalism, and probably anything else my sick, twisted mind can come up with.
Note: All times are in a mix of military and standard times. For example, 1AM = 0100 hours = 1:00, while 1PM = 1300 hours = 13:00. I hope this will make it easier on readers to understand the timeline while leaving me in a format that I understand better. If it causes too much of a problem I will switch to standard.
“<<Text>>” Means that it is being spoken in a language other than English.
“This is telepathic thought”
<14:00, The Omega Tree>
Aella stood outside the master bedroom, trying to ignore the bustle of activity. Gale and Brigid were fussing over Andrew, who lay on the bed. “Gale, is he still stable?” Brigid asked, the Unicorn’s horn incandescent as she scanned the unconscious man.
The Night Nurse growled. “He’s fine. Completely fine physically. Other than a few blips in his heart rate over the last hour, nothing has changed. It’s like he’s asleep.”
Azhara looked up from her spot on the floor. “I can’t get into his head. I thought I had it a few minutes ago, but something kicked me out. I don’t think it was Andrew.”
Adria walked up the stairs, nodding at Aella as she passed. “I’ve contacted Braxton. Ashlon is worried about you, Andrew.” She said softly.
Brigid blinked. “That did something. He’s definitely still conscious.”
Azhara’s tails swirled idly as she stood. “This can’t continue. Even if he’s the one shutting us out, it’s still unhealthy. I’m going to force my way in.”
“There’s another way.”
Brigid turned as Aella pushed off the doorframe. “Pardon?”
She gazed down at her unconscious Tamer. “A little while ago, Andrew had problems with his magic. More like his mind, but it was the same idea. Apparently there was a psychologist in London that helped him.”
“That’s true.” Lyn’s voice echoed through the com system. “Although that was a bit before your time, Aella. Where’d you hear that?”
“From Claire.” The Shinryu whispered.
The room grew silent at her words and the wound they threatened to reopen. Shaking it off, Brigid nodded at her. “You, or Lyn, or someone, go find that psychologist. Tell them Andrew’s in trouble again, and needs help.”
“I’ll be back before you know it.” Lyn replied, Aella teleporting off to rendezvous with her.
<15:00, The Omega Tree>
Ishara straightened as two figures strode towards the tent. “Halt. Identify yourselves.”
The lead girl shook her head. “He’s got more to his name now, I see.” She regarded the Scorpiagirl. “I am Arya. My partner is Alya. We’re here to help your Master.”
Ishara shrugged. “I don’t know you, you’re not getting in.”
“Come off it Ishara.” Lyn grumbled, pushing to the front. “You’re worse than Claire.”
The Scorpiagirl chuckled but stepped aside. “Just doing my job.”
Inside the tent, Alya took note of the diverse group of pokegirls, not missing the wounds that were spread through the group. “Was his injury a result of the fight?”
Lyn shook her head and headed up the stairs. “Not really. We lost Hauteclere, and he collapsed.”
Arya whimpered as they entered the master bedroom. “Oh, the poor man.”
Azhara glanced up when they entered but seemed to shrink away from Alya. Brigid chuckled nervously but bowed her head slightly in greeting. “Arya. Alya. It has been a while.”
The Megami-Sama gave a barking laugh when she noticed the two. “Well. Look who’s already here. I’m surprised we would be needed when he already has such capable pokegirls ministering him.”
Azhara winced when Alya turned her gaze towards her. “I didn’t want to brute force an entry. They said you had a better way.”
Alya’s eyes blazed. “I may have abandoned my membership, Fox, but I will never forget what you have done to my sisters. Be glad you found this man, or you would already be dead, here.”
Lyn glanced between them with a confused look on her face. “Why did everyone get quiet?”
Arya ended the spell keeping the four from being heard and shrugged. “No idea.” She glanced around her. “Alya?”
The Alakawham nodded and bent over Andrew’s form, her antennae twitching. “How long has he been like this?”
Gale winced. “Two hours now. He’s physically fine.”
Alya nodded slowly. “His defenses are on full alert, but there’s a way in. Shall I?”
Azhara shakily got to her feet. “We’re all going.”
Alya slowly turned to her. “I can do this alone.”
Brigid shook her head. “All four of us. Are going.”
Arya contemplated the Kyuubi and Unicorn before shaking her head. “Very well. I can tell you truly care for this one.” She gripped Azhara’s hand and offered her other to Brigid. “Shall we?”
Brigid took it with only a slight hesitation, Alya completing the circle. Lyn watched as psychic power began to emanate from the group, streaming towards the unconscious Tamer.
After a few seconds, it ceased.
<Andrew’s Mind, Dreamscape>
The group strode towards the compound, pausing only to duck search lights. “Where’s the entry?”
Alya pointed at a hole in the wall. “Something broke the defenses there. We’re following the path.”
Azhara shuddered. “I don’t want to die today. If Andrew has snapped, and we find him in there…”
Alya shook her head. “He hasn’t snapped. He still has control, which is why he’s unconscious. For some reason that is safer than him being awake.”
Brigid bit her lip but nodded. “We’ve never been here. Have you?”
Alya ducked through the hole, emerging in the grassy field she remembered. “Yes, once.” It was carnage. The normally neat buildings were destroyed, and piles of rubble dotted the peaceful scene. “Once, and he told me how his mind would look, if he was ever consumed by pain.” She gazed sadly at the destruction. “I can see his description was accurate.”
Azhara poked at the remains of the elevator. “The passages are all blocked. How are we supposed to get around?”
Alya’s antennae shone and a new door appeared in midair. “He gave me a key. A backdoor, if you will.”
Brigid gazed at the door. “He thought this far ahead?”
Arya nodded. “The small amount of information I have on Andrew tells me he leaves nothing to chance.”
The group glanced at each other uneasily before turning back to the door as it swung open. “Where will this lead us?”
Alya shrugged. “No idea.” She said, walking through.
They emerged on a desolate rock, with waves pounding at the shore. A short inspection revealed the water to be oil, and Alya winced as her memories of what controlled it returned. “We need to move. There’s something here, something important.”
Arya gazed around before pointing at a building further down the coast. “That, maybe?”
As they got closer, Alya’s eyes widened. “The walls, they’re brick.”
Brigid glanced at her. “So?”
Alya circled the building carefully. “Andrew said he uses brick walls to lock up his unwanted emotions. Something about them being stronger from the pressure.”
“Yo, who the fuck’s out there?” A voice grumbled from the structure. “Stupid fucking shit.”
Azhara frowned. “This is his anger. He calls it Pyktis.”
“Oh, hey, it’s the fox bitch.” Pyktis yelled. “Why don’t you just piss off? You’ve already done enough damage here.”
Azhara shook her head. “Removing your parasitic influence was only good for Andrew.”
Pyktis laughed. “Yea, real great. Look how it’s turned out for him.”
Alya frowned. “You know what’s happened to him?”
“Yea, I know what’s happened. Not telling you, though. No reason for you to know.”
Brigid frowned. “Andrew’s in a coma. We’re trying to help him.”
Laughter emanated from the structure. “You… You want to HELP him???” He cried, wheezing for breath. “You want to help? FUCK OFF! There’s nothing any of us can do now.”
Azhara gasped. “Any of you? Any of the aspects?”
Pyktis chuckled. “Oops, almost gave it away.” He paused. “Ah, and it seems he’s noticed you. Say hello to your gracious host, everybody.”
Arya slowly turned as the ground trembled, peering into the fog. “Who is it?”
Brigid’s eyes widened as a humanoid figure began to emerge. “Andrew? Is that you?”
The man grinned at her. “Hey, Brig. Glad you made it in. I was getting lonely.” He smiled good-naturedly at the others. “Arya, Alya, Azhara. A lot of A’s, eh?”
Brigid breathed in relief and began to walk towards him. “We were all so worried. You wouldn’t wake up. Azhara especially was-“ She started, turning back to the others.
Azhara’s eyes were wide, her mouth open in a silent scream. Arya and Alya were sprinting towards her, both of their mouths working frantically without sound coming out. Brigid frowned in confusion. “Guys? What’s…” She trailed off as she noticed the alien shadow that spread out in front of her.
“Oh darn, you noticed.” Andrew said with a sigh. “I’d really appreciate it if you kept walking over here. I really am lonely.”
Brigid slowly turned back to him. As she did, her horn began to glow, attempting to pierce the illusion that she knew had to be there.
Andrew hissed and stepped towards her. “Stop that. Right now. I don’t want you to-“
“Shut up.” Brigid said calmly. “I recognize you.”
Andrew blinked. “Of course you do, I’m Andrew.”
The Unicorn chuckled. “No, no. You see, I was wondering why Andrew would shut down. I was also curious as to why he would destroy any ways of navigating his construct.” She shook her head. “He was building a barrier. A barrier for you.”
The man smiled, and Brigid grimaced at the sharpened fangs that displayed. “You really are too smart for your own good.” It mused as its form began to bubble and change. “Those were my words, you know. My ideas, from his mouth.” Brigid stumbled backwards as the form continued to grow. “My power, his body.” Bones snapped as the limbs grew, then split, then changed. “And you found it all.”
Brigid struggled to her feet and ran towards Arya and Alya, who grabbed her and began dragging her back towards Pyktis’ enclosure. “Did you finally come to your fucking senses?” Alya hissed, glancing fearfully over her shoulder. “Did you really let your guard down so much you let it enchant you?”
Brigid collapsed against the wall, tears in her eyes. “I just wanted it to be him, for him to be ok, I wanted it so badly-“
“See, that’s why emotions are unnecessary.” Pyktis mused. “That’s why he locks us up. Me up. He doesn’t need us. He only needs him.”
Azhara gaped at the towering form that Brigid could now see. “What is that?”
“Well since the cat’s out of the proverbial bag I guess I’ll tell you. How much about Andrew do you really know? His past? His secrets?” Pyktis laughed. “I was a part of every dirty deed he ever committed. Every sleepless night, every uncaring moment. I was there for it all. And every time he took a chip off his own humanity, the chip formed something else.”
Azhara grimaced. “So that thing is-“
“Humans call it PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder. It’s a mental disorder that can lead to a number of fun side effects. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it took form alongside us. First it controlled Hatasa. Then it grabbed Lagneia. Every time it fed off his negativity.”
Azhara frowned. “Are you saying it took you too?”
Pyktis laughed as the horror began to shamble towards them. “Me? Hell no. I was working for my own ends. Trying to protect him from himself. But you ruined that, and now it’s loose.”
Azhara sighed. “I apologize. I should have realized you only had his best interests at heart, even if you were going about it strangely. You are a part of him, after all."
Brigid frowned. “I know this aspect. It’s what nearly broke out during my initial scan.”
Azhara nodded. “And the same presence I felt in the clearing before he collapsed. It’s definitely the root cause for his problem.”
Arya glanced between them. “So what do we do? Kill it?”
Pyktis laughed. “You can’t kill it. It’s more a part of him than any of us are. You can’t lock it away, you can’t slow it down. The only one who can do anything to it is Andrew – and he’s trapped.”
Alya rapped on the bricks. “You could have just told us all of this earlier, you know? Before that thing found us?”
“I know. But I wanted to see someone get eaten.”
Alya sighed and summoned another doorway. “Let’s go, everyone. Before that thing reaches us.”
The horror paused when the door appeared. “You can move freely here.” It began to move towards them faster. “YOU CAN RELEASE ME.”
Alya glanced at it in disgust. “Shit. Everyone through, time to go, move please!” She cried, ducking through and slamming the door shut.
They emerged back in the main hub. “Are we safe here?”
Alya looked around. “There’s a hole in the outer structure here, so I’d assume so. Since every way to this point has been blocked off, this is probably where that thing wants to go.”
Brigid collapsed on the ground. “So what do we do? Do we find Andrew? Do we leave? Do we go back and try to kill that thing?”
Alya was gazing out over the plains. “There’s still a building left standing.”
Arya looked over her shoulder. “You’re right. And it’s fancy.”
They slid down a hill to the building, which flickered as they got close to reveal a beautifully crafted wood door. “Do we… Is this alright?” Brigid asked in a hushed tone. “Is this a trick?”
Azhara stroked the wood. “I can sense him in this. If this is a trick, that beast has already won.”
Alya peered at the handle. “There’s a keyhole.” She straightened up and withdrew the crystal from her forehead. “And I think I have the key.”
As she brought the crystal closer to the door it shuddered and shifted into a skeleton key. Arya gripped her shoulder. “Let’s find out what’s in there.”
With a click, the door swung open before Alya could even insert the key. “Welcome, everyone.” A tired voice hailed them. “Please, come in and introduce yourselves.”
Alya strode forward, blinking as the light changed. A conference room was laid out in front of her, and numerous forms populated the chairs. But at the head of the table was Andrew.
“ANDREW!” Azhara cried, rushing along the tabletop and throwing herself into his arms. “Why? Why did you do this to yourself?”
Andrew chuckled and awkwardly stroked her. “I had to. My antithesis would have taken over if I didn’t.”
Alya frowned and stepped inside, the door closing behind them. “Antithesis? Is that what you call it?”
Andrew shrugged. “Have to call it something.” He gestured around the table. “Please, introduce yourselves, everyone.”
Azhara waved the aspects away as they began to speak. “We know most of you. The rest, I welcome.” She glanced at one of the chairs. “Even Pyktis is here?”
The shade glared at her. “I am still a member of this council, even if my power is locked away. Thanks, by the way. The Antithesis was so pissed I thought he was going to eat me.”
Andrew chuckled nervously. “We’re working on moving you, Pyktis. You know that.”
The shade shrugged. “Do I look like I give a fuck?”
Andrew nodded. “You do.” He winced as his form wavered for a second. “Ah, he’s trying to break out again.”
“I was his most recent victim.” A lilting voice said. “Perhaps I also hold the key to his capture?”
Alya turned and blinked in surprise at the figure that had spoken. The woman gazed at her, her eyes and mouth the only things visible from behind the full body latex she wore. “I am Lagneia.”
Alya gestured at the zippers that adorned her body. “Those are… interesting. It’s quite a unique outfit.”
Caio laughed from his seat. “Lagneia’s always such a tease. Why don’t you show her what’s behind those zippers, hmm?”
Andrew growled. “Enough, all of you. And Levias, get away from her.”
Brigid squealed as a goblin creature peeled itself away from where it had been hiding in her shadow. “Her hair, it’s so nice, I want it.”
Andrew shrugged. “Sorry, Brigid. He’s my envy.”
The Unicorn shuddered as the figure slunk back to its seat. “You seem to have a full house here. Does this all mean you’re coming back in control?”
Andrew nodded. “There’s technically one more who isn’t here. Fear.”
Levias grumbled. “My shadow is missing, my shadow is gone. I want it. You all have shadows. I want a shadow. Give me one.”
Arya raised her eyebrows. “You don’t have fear? Even in this situation?”
Andrew chuckled. “You misunderstand. Even though his aspect hasn’t formed, I still feel fear. Just because an aspect isn’t here doesn’t mean I don’t feel emotion.”
Arya nodded. “So where is he?”
Andrew shrugged. “No clue. He’ll show up eventually, probably when I have an extremely strong feeling. That’s how the others have come about, anyway.”
Alya cocked her head. “You aren’t afraid enough about this situation?”
Andrew shook his head. “Antithesis isn’t getting out. The worst he can do is keep me in a coma for the rest of my life. At best, he makes a mistake, and I seal him away.” He stretched as the room shuddered from an impact. “Which he seems to be making right now.”
Alya gasped as one of the walls broke away to reveal the thing that had been hunting them. “YOU. You have the key. You will release me!”
Andrew stretched and got out of his seat. “Hey mate. You just fucked up.”
The monster seemed to turn towards him before stumbling backwards. “No! You weren’t here! You were-“
Andrew shrugged. “That was a decoy. I had a feeling you were avoiding me and I want to know why.” His eyes shone with light as the creature tried to run. “Yea, not happening, buddy.”
A beam of energy lanced into the creature’s back, blasting away the shadowy masses that surrounded it. Alya gasped in surprise when its true form was revealed.
It only stood maybe eight feet tall, nothing like the thirty or forty it had appeared. And while it still had tentacles wrapping around itself, with hands clawing at the air, the flames that had seemed to create its face had diminished to a minor burn on top of its misshapen head.
Andrew nodded thoughtfully. “So I guess that’s a part of it. What’s the other, mate? Afraid that I was going to lock you back up?”
The creature grimaced. “I was careless.”
Andrew sighed and held out his hand. “I guess you were.” He said and fired another beam into its chest.
As the beam impacted the creature suddenly grinned. “As were you.” It growled.
Andrew gasped in pain as a red stain began to spread across his chest, mirroring where he had hit his opponent. “Shit.”
Istina sprang from the table and gently lay him back. “Mir, I need you. Whoever wants to, please take care of that monstrosity.”
Lagneia glanced to the seat next to her, where Hatasa sat, the slime burbling solemnly. “Hatasa declines, but will be more than happy to defend the room. I will stay with him.”
Pyktis glanced aside at Levias, who shrank away from the opening, before snorting and standing. “I’ve got nothing to contribute, but I’ll give that. Am I going to be the only one?”
Naaz stood, Caio already curled on his shoulder. “Hell no you ain’t. We’ll come with ya.” He glanced at the four pokegirls. “Well?”
Alya blinked. “If we hurt it, won’t it hurt Andrew?”
Mir shook it’s head, the childlike being bouncing on Andrew’s legs. “I’m protecting him! Istina will heal him, and I’ll protect him!” It called cheerfully.
Azhara’s eyes flashed and she grinned. “Then none of you will be necessary, though I appreciate the offer.” She said, blitzing out and careening headlong into the beast, which fell backwards from the unexpected attack.
Naaz snorted and jumped after her. “Foolhardy little creature.”
Mir whimpered as Azhara continued to rain blows on the Antithesis. “She’s doing it.”
Andrew winced as he sat up. “Istina, thank you. Mir, thank you.” He glanced at where Caio was still curled up on Naaz’s shoulder. “The trap is set. You know where.”
The cat nodded and leapt off Naaz’s back, disappearing into the fog that surrounded the conference room. Nearby, Azhara continued to push the Antithesis back, the monster still unable to form a counterattack.
Andrew stood and scooped Mir onto his shoulders. “Hold on. I’m going to take care of this.” He said, dropping out of the hole and striding towards the battle.
Naaz met him halfway there. “Caio?”
Andrew nodded. “Push it in that direction.”
Naaz noded and leapt to Azhara’s side, parrying a claw and shoving the Antithesis away from them, where it stumbled. “You damn PESTS!” It screamed, ducking another attack. “You can’t stop me here!”
Andrew chuckled as it stumbled back another step. “On the contrary. We just did.”
The thing blinked as its foot sank slightly into the ground before screaming in rage as the pit opened up beneath it. “NO!”
Andrew spun as Azhara sprinted forward. “Azhara! Get back!”
The Antithesis gave a guttural laugh as the Kyubi approached. “If I can’t have him, you will suffice.” It growled, a tentacle lashing out to grip the unaware girl.
Andrew shook his head in frustration but dove forward, grabbing Azhara before she could be pulled into the pit along with it. “Foolhardy.”
Azhara winced as the pressure on her arms grew. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to kill it.”
Andrew shrugged as Naaz knelt down and withdrew a machete from his outfit. “No harm done, I got you.” He said, letting Naaz cut the tentacle that tethered Azhara to the horror.
As he did the remains seemed to absorb into Azhara’s skin, the shadow racing along her body. Andrew just sighed and snatched them away, tossing the squirming mass into the pit. “He doesn’t know when to give up.”
Brigid approached them slowly. “Is that it? Is it over?”
Andrew shrugged. “For now. He’s as much a part of me as any of the aspects are, so he’ll always be around. But he’s not about to overpower me anytime soon.” He winced. “Now I need to rebuild. This is going to take a while.”
<08:00, The Omega Tree>
Andrew stirred and Gale was immediately at his side, checking his vitals. “Andrew, can you hear me? You’ve been unconscious for nearly 24 hours.”
Andrew groaned and sat up, rubbing his head. “What about the others?”
Alya sat up from where she had been lying on the floor. “We’re here. That was quite an ordeal.”
Andrew grinned and nodded. “Thank you for luring him to me. Without that he might have never wandered to where I could trap him.”
Gale glanced between the two. “Him?”
Andrew shrugged and rolled out of bed. “My dark side, if you will. I have a lot of side effects from my magic.”
Gale chuckled as he got up. “Well, everyone will just be glad you’re awake.” She mused as she summoned and dismissed her armor. “I was so pent up I nearly sliced you open to see what was going on.”
“Down, girl.” Adria growled as she walked in. “Andrew, you’re needed downstairs.” She paused. “Well, for now you just need to make a call. Braxton’s got info for you.”
Andrew nodded and slipped past her, making his way to the mess. As he entered the room grew silent, the assorted girls watching as he made his way to his table and sat down. He glanced around. “Well?”
Grace glanced at him before chuckling and digging back into her meal, causing the rest of the pokegirls to follow suit. Andrew shook his head in bemusement and accepted his plate from Lyn, who fiddled with her “Tame the cook” apron. “Did Adria give you the news?”
Andrew shook his head as he ate. “I know what happened, mostly, yesterday. I know Braxton wants to talk to me. And I know we’re not leaving yet.”
Lyn bit her lip but nodded. “Is she dead?”
Andrew sighed and sat up, his plate forgotten. “Your bluntness. That from me?” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. No, she is not dead. I would know.”
He was saved further questions when Ashba approached his table, pokedex in hand. She placed it in front of him and threw an awkward salute. “Sir, I will step down as Alpha now. Combat has ended and a promotion under fire does not hold.”
Andrew shook his head in bemusement. “Very well. Rosebreasts Ashba, I hereby promote you to Alpha of Alpha. I take it you already have a Beta?”
Ashba blinked. “No, sir, I am not the Alpha. I am the Beta. Hauteclere is-“
“Hauteclere is missing, Ashba.” Andrew cut in, his voice harsh. “Do your job.”
Ashba shuddered at his tone but nodded. “Yessir.”
Andrew sighed as she turned away, and Lyn was surprised to see a tear begin to fall from his eye. “Andrew…?”
He wiped it away with a grimace and hoisted the pokedex. “Braxton.”
Lyn reached over his shoulder and manipulated the screen, inputting a number that Andrew didn’t recognize. “He said that number can’t be written down. Apparently the Videogirls manning the place he’s at will find it immediately and purge the systems it’s on.”
Andrew nodded. “Good security.”
He waited while the normal processes went through, frowning when the pokedex screen went blank. “What?”
A form shimmered into view and peered at him. “Identification?”
Lyn poked her head up. “Lyn, Ash two C.”
The Videogirl’s eyes refocused on her. “Ah, Mistress Lyn. Lieutenant Braxton has been expecting your call.” She turned. “Please hold.”
Andrew turned to Lyn as the screen went blank again. “What kind of a number did he give you? And when exactly did you speak with Braxton and get all of this figured out?”
Lyn shrugged. “I got the call while you were unconscious. Adria tried to deliver the news, since she was kind of the highest ranked at the moment, but you didn’t respond. So I talked with Braxton, went over how to call him back, all that.” She nodded as the screen changed. “Here he is.”
Braxton’s face came into view on the screen and he beamed at Andrew. “Ranger! It’s good to see you up. How are you feeling?”
Andrew shrugged. “Tired. Emotionally.”
Braxton’s smile dropped and he nodded sadly. “Lyn gave me the news. I’m sorry about your fallen members.”
Andrew shook his head. “That’s not why you called. What’s going on?”
Braxton nodded and a display popped up. “We’ve been working over the guy you sent us. Through him we got a few numbers, which led to a few names, which led to more names. This thing isn’t pretty, Andrew. Nearly everyone in my unit was involved.”
Andrew hissed as the diagram continued to expand to fit the web. “Give me some background?”
“The General in charge of our unit was the main problem. Through him were at least two teams of scientists, multiple strike teams, and my unit, which was, at least on the outside, a special reaction force. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure we were just a clean up crew. For when experiments didn’t go right.”
Andrew grimaced. “They reported my breakout and you were sent to contain me.”
The diagram was shunted to the side and Braxton came back into view. “That’s what seems most likely. The weird thing is the General. There are multiple times that I can find him reported in multiple places at once, and now he’s nowhere to be found. My old unit has been decommissioned, the scientists that were on the research teams just… gone. There’s something fundamentally wrong about all of this.”
Andrew shuddered. “The General was a Sanctuary flunky. Now that things are going wrong for them, they’re cleaning shop.” He winced. “Those people are all probably dead.”
Braxton nodded. “They tried erasing me too. I just managed to get out.”
Andrew sighed. “Now a lot of things make sense. Was that all you needed to tell me?”
Braxton shook his head and another diagram appeared. “Take a look at this. It’s com traffic, sorted into certain numbers. Most of these went dark a few weeks ago, but one lit up like a Christmas tree the last few days. And check out the location.”
Andrew glanced at the coordinates before tapping at his pokedex, inputting them in the map function. He fell back when the results came through. “My god.”
There, pulsing on the screen in front of him, was the Dingle Peninsula. “They knew you were coming, Andrew. They knew, and they wanted you exactly where you were.”
Andrew shook his head in shock. “This can’t be. How could they know where I was, so precisely, they would need…” He trailed off.
Braxton’s jaw set and he nodded. “There’s a spy. You’re being watched.”
Andrew shook his head to snap out of his daze. “The call, or whatever, where was it coming from? Or going to, even?”
Braxton shrugged. “We can’t get that precisely. We know it was south of where you are, but that’s about it. But if you draw a line straight south from where you are, then you hit the Dark Continent. Well, after you hit the Jade Islands – but I doubt that means much.”
Andrew continued to stare at the red light pulsing on his screen. “It was all an ambush.”
Braxton nodded. “Look, here’s what we can do. I’d recommend going into a town and challenging a gym – get yourself on the radar, make them start talking. I’ll trace their calls, try to find out where they might be. It’s obvious someone’s communicating from Sanctuary, but that group that ambushed you weren’t just camped out. They have a lab, or something, nearby.”
Andrew nodded. “I’ll find an Irish gym to beat up. Which one is the real question.”
Braxotn shrugged. “That’s up to you. I’ll keep you informed. If you need me, call the same number, but the password for you is Mike one Z. Be safe.” He said, terminating the call.
Andrew zoomed out the map and looked at the nearby cities. “Let’s see. Gyms, we’ve got Killarney and Limerick pretty close. What do they specialize in…” He mused.
Lyn stared at him. “Didn’t you hear what Braxton said?”
Andrew nodded cheerfully. “Oh, it was all a conspiracy, but we really beat em yesterday. Caught them by surprise!”
Lyn was about to speak when she noticed the slight shake of his head. “Yea, we got them by surprise.” “Are we ignoring the fact that there’s a spy?”
Andrew shrugged. “Yep, so let’s get a gym battle going, get back on the radar.” “No, but go ahead and tell everyone here that one of us is a spy. What will that accomplish?”
Lyn winced. “They’re both pretty tough gyms.” “I get the point. Letting them know we know they’re watching us is a bad idea.”
Andrew nodded thoughtfully and winked at her. “Well, let’s put it to a harem vote, shall we? Dragon and Dark or Ghost and Electric. Yow.” His smile faded. “By the way. Braxton said “members”. With a plural. Who are you not telling me about, Lyn?”
Andrew stepped inside the room hesitantly, blinking when the sea air assaulted his nose. “What is this?”
Azhara gazed out over the crashing waves before nodding at the stone altar nearby. “My gift.”
Andrew slowly approached it, disturbing Rein, the Myobu nodding at him before returning to her prayers. On the slab of stone lay Juel, Azhara’s illusion giving her back the beauty her death had stolen. Andrew hesitantly stroked her arm, wincing as the charred skin scraped his hand. “What happened?”
Rein hummed. “She died to protect her Beta. April would be in her place if not for Juel’s actions.”
Andrew bowed his head. “You spent a lot of time with her?”
The Myobu smiled. “I was the only one to see through Azhara’s illusion immediately. As a Myobu, I am drawn to her kind. But there was another who caught my eye. Juel didn’t fit with the rest of us. Her breed isn’t known for combat, and when they are, it’s in the water. And yet Juel willingly joined this shitstorm. Why?”
Andrew shrugged. “I don’t know. Why?”
Rein’s eyes glowed softly. “She was searching for a sense of purpose. She admitted that to me, in private. She said you were her purpose, Andrew.”
Andrew bit his lip. “Why me?”
Rein shook her head. “She never told me. But I put together the pieces.”
Andrew raised his eyebrow. “And?”
Rein smiled and rose. “Meditate on that. I’m sure you’ll find the truth yourself.”
Andrew watched her go, turning back to the altar when Rein paused to speak with Azhara. And as he bowed his head, the waves sending spray along the shoreline, the tears came, unchecked.
“Here we go. Remember, we’ve made a buzz, so hopefully Sanctuary’s communicating about me. I don’t really care if you win or lose, so go with your gut on that one.” Andrew said to Fu as they stepped inside the gym. Adria’s words echoed as he approached the front desk and registered for a battle.
‘When has anything good come of you looking for trouble?’ She had said. ‘It almost got you kidnapped, instead of Claire, you know.’
Her words continued echoing as he made his way into the battle arena and met the GA. Images of the memorial Azhara had erected for Juel flashed by as Fu ducked a Draikaina and sent the larger girl crashing into the wall, the GA grumbling but recalling her. He was startled out of his reverie by the referee calling the point. As Andrew checked to make sure Fu was still good to go his pokedex buzzed, a text message scrolling past.
The GA glanced across the field. “I concede this match. You have been training a lot since your last gym battle; I will make sure to upgrade your score so you receive a fair fight in your next challenge.”
Andrew met Fu as she stepped off the field. “Good job!” He said with a grin. “Braxton texted. He sent the location of the Sanctuary base.” He whispered.
Fu nodded slightly to indicate she had heard as the GA walked up to them. “Andrew Ranger, right?” Andrew nodded. “Congratulations. Although your next fight won’t be this easy – You’re strong enough to be facing the leaders now.”
Andrew nodded as he accepted the badge. “Thanks for the warning.” He said as they made their way out.
He stepped outside, Fu right behind him. “Well done. That fight should keep me on the radar for a while.”
She nodded and fell in step behind him. “To any outsiders, you’re making a major push for the Blue championships. When are we hitting that base Braxton found?”
Andrew shrugged. “I’ll send Epsilon there tomorrow for some long distance recon. If it’s just a Sanctuary base I’ll leave it alone. But if it belongs to the people who pulled me over, we’re hitting it. Hard.” He grimaced. Hopefully Claire’s there too.”
They were interrupted by Cortney. “You’re being followed.”
Andrew sighed. “Who is it now?”
“One man and one pokegirl.”
Andrew rolled his eyes. “Am I about to get mugged?”
“Possibly. The local police department has numerous disappearances on file over the last few weeks.”
Andrew nodded slowly. “I don’t play with disappearances.” He keyed his headset. “All teams collapse on my position. We may have trouble.” He glanced at Fu before taking an abrupt turn. “If they follow me now, take them out.”
Fu flattened against the wall and waited while Andrew continued walking down the street. A minute passed without incident and she breather out in relief. She was about to rejoin him when a form blurred in front of her, beelining at the unprotected man’s back. Before she could react, Brigid had teleported in front of the attacker, which veered away and skid to a halt, revealing herself to be a Sonica. The girl grinned before suddenly teleporting herself behind Brigid and smashing the unsuspecting Unicorn into the ground.
She began to turn back to Andrew but had to leap away when Fu threw herself at her, Lucina arriving and recalling the unconscious Unicorn. “She’s not supposed to be able to do that! Fu, be care-“ Andrew started, but was cut off when the pokegirl phased through Fu’s attack and bypassed the off-balance Dracass to latch onto Andrew’s arm. Suddenly, they were both gone.
“WHERE IS HE?”
Lucina crossed her arms and stared at Grace defiantly. “He’s been kidnapped. We need to get mobilized and-“ She was cut off as Grace tackled her to the ground.
“Hey! Stop that!” Phial cried, the Gravelgal wrestling Grace off Lucina and pinning her to the ground. “Calm down!”
Grace lay there, her chest heaving and Adria spoke up. “We have bonds with him. We can find him easily.”
Grace shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “It’s silent. He’s gone.”
Adria growled and glanced at Fu, who was staring at the wall. “Fu?”
The Dracass didn’t move. “I failed him.”
Adria awkwardly patted her on the shoulder. “You did your best. You were ambushed.”
Fu shrugged her off and Adria sighed and was starting to chime into the ongoing conversation when she froze.
“I can’t feel him. They’re blocking me somehow and I can’t sense him. I’m going into the city, I’m going to find him, I don’t care how…” Grace was rambling when Adria looked back at her.
“I can feel him.” She whispered.
Grace whirled on her. “What?!?”
Adria’s mouth worked. “He’s awake. He just woke up. I can feel him.”
Grace shook her head. “I can’t feel anything. You’re wrong.”
Azhara shouldered past. “Describe what you’re feeling.”
Adria closed her eyes. “It’s not the bond. I just… Feel him. He’s awake, but he’s disoriented. They knocked him out somehow.”
Azhara nodded. “The time you shared bodies gave you an imprint. It’s been dormant because your bond was more powerful, but now that the bond is being suppressed it’s come to the surface.” She grabbed Adria’s shoulders. “Look into my eyes.”
They stood silently for a few moments before Azhara broke off. “Epsilon, on me! I’ve got a general location. We’re moving, now.”
Adria glanced around. “Beta, we’re moving too. I know he’s in the city and that’s good enough for me.”
Fu looked up. “You know where he is?”
Erren laid her hand on Fu’s shoulder. “We’ve got this, ma’am. I’ll take Delta for you.”
Fu shook her head and stood. “Like hell you will. I’m taking that bitch down.”
Cristina glanced at Grace. “Standby?”
Grace grit her teeth. “I’ll wait for a positive location. But once I get it, I’m going the fuck in.”
Adria nearly ran out of the tent. “Epsilon’s already gone, so let’s fucking go!”
Kary leaned out Noira’s side and scanned the buildings they passed. Epsilon was already combing the insides, so they were making sure nobody got out of the block. Adria and Azhara had pinpointed Andrew to the area, and now they just needed to locate him.
She started when her radio came alive. “I’ve got him. He’s on the third floor, north side. Two hostiles, one male, one female. Probable pokegirl.”
Ashba’s voice acknowledged the call. “Alpha and Omega are coming in.”
Noira hovered at the callout and Kary took aim at the building. “Azhara, am I in position?”
The Kyubi glanced past the man and out the window to the hovering Mecha Musume. “Bingo. I’m covering Andrew. Call it in.”
Kary grinned. “Constance, I need that wall to not be there.”
The Tank Vixen spun up her mini gun from her position next to Kary. “Coming right up.” She snarled, opening up on the building face.
Azhara watched as the wall nearly exploded, shattering her illusion and sending the man pinwheeling across the room. She quietly ducked into the adjacent room where Brigid was tending to Andrew. “Brigid, how’s he doing?”
Brigid glanced at her. “He’s beat. He’s not hurt, but damn if he won’t have a helluva headache tomorrow.”
Azhara sighed in relief. “Good. Let’s get him out of here, and-“
She was cut off by panicked shouts from the radio. “NOIRA IS HIT! We’re going down, but not hard!”
“She’s aiming at you again, I’ll cover you!” Tracii babbled and Azhara heard an explosion as the Longfly whizzed past the window. “I’m coming back-“ She started before screaming. “Male hit me! I can’t fly, I’m going down with the copter!”
Azhara swore. “Alpha, Omega, we could really use a hand right now!”
“I’m here. Coming in.” Cristina stated coolly, smashing through the window in a halo of light. “Alpha, you got the front?”
“Affirmative. Alpha, Beta, Delta, all coming in hot.” Ashba replied.
Cristina glanced at the wall when it broke open to reveal the pokegirl and human. “And here’s our company.”
The man turned away as Alpha teleported into the room, but the pokegirl stepped towards them. “Eeny, meeny, miney… Mind Spike.” She intoned, and Cristina gasped as the world went black. She head Brigid collapse behind her and was about to ask Azhara for assistance when she felt a blow to her head and laughter. “Can’t see shit now, can you?”
Cristina stood still for a few seconds trying to get her vision back before turning slowly to where she thought the enemy was. “I swore I would not see the world without him.” She sank her sword into the floor and lifted off her helmet, fumbling with the cloth. “I would rather be blind than see what this world had become.” She slowly began to unwrap the bandage and grit her teeth. “But? My Master has shown me beauty again.” She whispered and dropped the bandage to reveal pure black eyes. “AND I WILL NOT LET YOU HAVE HIM!” She screamed, darting forward at the surprised girl, growling when she ducked her sword. She jumped back before getting hit and attempted to summon her Aura, wincing when nothing appeared.
The girl laughed as Cristina tried to make another strike. “You worried me for a second, but you’re still feeling the effects. No abilities means I win.” She crowed before firing an ice beam into Cristina’s face, who fell backwards.
Behind them Adria phased through the wall and immediately beelined to Andrew. At Cristina’s cry she started to move to help but paused. Making up her mind she dove into Andrew’s body and took control, shakily getting him to his feet. “Hey!”
The pokegirl turned away from Cristina and stepped towards Andrew. Adria cleared his throat. “You were warned that you made a mistake.” She said, drawing on Andrew’s recent memory. “Get out of here before I kill you.”
The girl paused at her words but was about to continue forward when Cristina forced her way back in front of Andrew, the ice cleared from her face.
“Maria! We have to go!” The man yelled, ducking through the hole in the wall. Behind him, Shamira roared and dove forwards, closely followed by Fu and Nami. Maria took one last look at Adria before they disappeared.
Adria exhaled and gently lay Andrew down before leaving his body. “Someone get him out of here. Beta, sound off.”
Kary glanced up at the building from her position in the street. “Helicopter is accounted for. We’ve got cops coming in, though.”
Cristina hopped out of the hole she had made, her wings shimmering into existence as she dismissed her armor to reveal her uniform. “Cortney, on me. We’ll take care of the police. Constance, how you doing?”
The Tank Vixxen greeted her as she landed. “Fine, but Tracii is in bad shape. The male shot up her wings.”
Cristina sighed and took Tracii’s pokeball from her. “That sucks. We’ll get her healed up back at the tent, and-“
“Excuse me! You, in the uniforms. What is going on here?”
Cristina turned to the man. “We are in post-op. I will get to you in a moment.” She turned back to Noira as the officer gaped at her. “Take the team back, rendezvous with your Alpha. She’s working with the Commander right now.” She stepped away as Noira transformed and began to climb into the air, Kary hanging out the side, as Cortney began relaying information through her ear. “Now then. We were taking care of a kidnapper who is the probable suspect in your disappearances you’ve been having lately. He decided to hit our Commander. We retrieved him.”
The man glanced at the Jenny beside him. “You shot up a city block. We’re going to have to have you come down to the station.” His eyes glanced up to the rest of the girls that were gathered in the building. “…All of you.”
“They’ve got snipers covering you. Full reaction teams on standby. And Andrew is awake.” Cortney relayed.
Cristina smiled at the man. “Call off the snipers and I will give you the full description of the man we fought with today. Continue threatening us and your career is over. We don’t exist, sir. I don’t want the same to happen to you.” She said, hoping that her attitude would cow the officer into believing they were a black team.
The officer finally seemed to recognize the gun Constance was casually leaning on and his eyes widened. “Well, I, uh-“
Cristina sighed. “Report us as whatever you’d like, but anything you try to file will disappear. You’re not larger than the League, officer.”
The man paled, but nodded. “Very well. Were you only here because of this man?”
Cristina shook her head. “I can tell you that this was a detour. I can’t disclose why we are here.” She grabbed Constance’s waist. “You’ll get a repayment for damages.”
The man nodded. “Thank you. Good luck.”
Cristina nodded at him and turned away, beginning to wing into the air. “All teams, we are clear. How are the injured?”
She nearly screamed in joy when Andrew’s tired voice answered her. “Worst couple hours of my life, but I’ll be fine. Tracii’s all healed up, and Noira is chilly, but unhurt. Brigid and Azhara, however…”
Azhara piped up. “I’ll be fine. The spell is wearing off. But Brigid hasn’t woken up yet. She got hit harder.”
Cristina circled the clearing that housed the tent before winging in and dropping Constance. “We’re back.”
Azhara nodded to her when she walked into the common room. “They’re running her through a cycle now.”
Cristina glanced around. “Andrew?”
“Everyone who’s not injured is coming up with excuses to be near him. He’s safe.”
Cristina nodded and looked up when Lucina walked through the door, pokeball in hand. “The cycle’s done.”
Azhara triggered the release. “Brigid, how do you feel?”
Brigid frowned. “What? What’s wrong?”
“You were unconscious, we-“ She stopped when Brigid sighed and looked away. “…Brigid?”
“There’s obviously something wrong and you won’t tell me and you just keep staying silent so I’m going to lie down. I have a headache.” Brigid huffed, her voice slowly rising in pitch>
Azhara shot a panicked glance to Lucina and grabbed Brigid’s shoulders. “Brigid, can you hear me?”
Brigid yelped when Azhara grabbed her. “Hey, stop that! Say something or-“
Azhara gently placed her finger on Brigid’s lips and waited for her to calm down before signaling with her hands. “You… Can’t hear.”
Brigid’s eyes widened and she shook her head frantically. “I can hear, I can-“ Her eyes began to water as she realized Azhara was right. “…I can’t hear.”
Cristina grit her teeth. “That bitch. She blocked us all and now she’s hurt Brigid. When I find her, she’s fucking dead.” She snarled, striding out of the room while Azhara and Lucina tried to console the sobbing Unicorn.
Nearby, Andrew lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling. All around him was a low murmur from girls as they pretended not to be watching him.
Adria sat on the foot of his bed. “I told you.”
Andrew sighed. “This was different. I didn’t go looking for this.”
Adria shrugged. “Looking for it or not, it found you.” She paused. “Uhm, am I correct in assuming that the only thing keeping us here is Claire?”
Andrew’s gaze hardened. “We’re not leaving her. Sanctuary’s got her and I won’t leave her to that fate.”
Adria held up her hands. “I know. But have you considered that he’s already gone? Or that she’s being used as bait?”
She yelped when Andrew grabbed her wrist. “Of course she’s being used as bait. Which is why I haven’t charged blindly into the facility. We will recon it, infiltrate it, and if need be, assault it.”
Adria watched him for a second before ducking her head. “Alright” she whispered softly.
Andrew blinked when Cortney materialized in front of them. “Sir. I took the liberty of leaving a few sensors at the Omega Tree before we left. They’re detecting transmissions. Dimensional transmissions.”
Andrew rolled off the bed and waded through the sea of pokegirls. “That’s Kerrik. He must have left something behind to monitor the tree.” He blinked when he encountered someone he wasn’t expecting. “Kuu? What are you doing here?”
The ElfQueen glanced up from her position in surprise. “Oh, hello.”
Cortney motioned at a cluster of Elves nearby. “Kuu has decided to stay with Omega. A small portion of her court came along.”
Andrew shrugged and stepped past. “Fine by me.” He finally made his way out of the room and began to walk towards the gym. “I need the exercise. Cortney, keep monitoring. Don’t try to tamper with the transmissions, you might accidentally shunt them somewhere else and that would be bad. Adria, get the Alphas together and begin formulating an attack plan. And tell Azhara to begin reconnaissance.” He pushed open the door to the gym and turned back to look at her. “Anything else I need to know?” Adria shook her head. “Good. Then get to it.” He said and turned away.
As he changed into his workout clothes he noticed another figure join him. “Cristina?”
The Ophanim kept her back to him as she stripped. “I figured you needed a partner. And this is a good opportunity.”
Andrew frowned. “For?”
She pulled a t-shirt on and began sorting through shorts. “The others know of my secret now. I figured you would want to know as well.”
Andrew waited for her to finish dressing. “And that is?”
She turned to him and he gasped. She had discarded her bandage and her eyes were clearly black. “This.”
Andrew shook his head. “You accepted an Infernal blessing. So?”
Cristina chuckled. “Accepted it, yes. Attempted to deny it, yes. Was Damned for it, yes.”
Andrew frowned. “I thought Damnation could be lifted by a Celestial. Which you are, aren’t you? So why-?”
Cristina shook her head. “I am not Celestial. Only the fact that I was once an Angel saved me from the full impact of the curse. I will forever bear the mark of my treachery.”
Andrew’s eyes lit up. “Wait, that means you can cast Hell Fire, right? That’s so cool! Have you ever made your sword all fire-y?”
Cristina blinked at his sudden outburst. “Wait, you’re… Not… Put off, by this?” She watched him shake his head. “I’m… I accepted an Infernal blessing. As an Angel. I then attacked the giver, trying to get it removed, and was Damned for my efforts. And then after I got her to remove it, I accepted ANOTHER because by then I had Fallen and I wanted revenge. REVENGE. I’m the worst Celestial that has ever been created!”
Andrew grinned. “But you just said you weren’t a Celestial.” He laughed as her face reddened and she began to backtrack. “’The circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that matters.’ An excellent quote that applies even here. Who cares that you were first an Angel, and accepted an Infernal blessing. You’re you. You’re Cristina. You’ve made choices, and mistakes. Guess what. So have I.” His eyes grew distant and Cristina quieted down. “I’ve killed people. More than I care to admit. And they haunt me. But I’m working past that. I’m working to make my life worth living.” He refocused on her. “Will you promise to do the same?”
Cristina stared at him before slowly shaking her head. “My previous master was killed because of my folly. I don’t want that to happen to you.”
Andrew snorted. “What did I just say. The past doesn’t matter. Sure, it can hurt, and you can learn from it, and sometimes it can reach forward and bite you in the ass, but the most important thing is what you do in your future. If you’d rather that future not be with me, that’s fine. But as long as you’re here I’ll accept you for exactly who you are.” He said, striding out the door to the main gym.
Cristina watched him go and rubbed her eyelids. “Yes, Master.” She whispered, grabbing a practice sword and twirling it between her fingers. Her face broke into a grin and she nearly ran after him, the sword suddenly burning with a black flame. “I promise.”
“Who will replace Enya?”
“He will, of course. Or perhaps one of his slaves would work – Maybe even the one who killed her?”
Claire stirred slightly at the voices. “Oh look, she’s awake. How does it feel?” The first voice asked and Claire gasped in pain as something stabbed into her stomach. “Can’t even open your eyes. You’re lucky Jane prefers her pets alive and whole. Otherwise you’d be nothing more than a pile of pieces by now.”
“Gini, enough.” The other voice chided. “Morgana needs her relatively unharmed so the Author doesn’t get scared off.”
Gini grumbled but let off the pressure, allowing Claire to breath. “Of course, number one. Morgana’s favorite. Miss perfect.”
The voice chuckled and Claire winced as it noticeably changed. “Would you like to repeat that, girl?” It asked, the sound something between a purr and a hiss.
“No Ma’am. I will follow instruction, Ma’am.” Gini’s panicky voice returned. “I’ll just… Go make sure we’re ready for them to arrive.” She said, scrambling off.
Claire listened as something heavy dropped to the ground next to her. “Poor, poor thing. To think that we let you be taken by that idiotic man.” The voice seemed to grin. “But you’re back, now. Back in the sisterhood where you belong.”
Claire screamed as burning light enveloped her vision, a hand tracing an arcane symbol on her chest. “Welcome back, Sierra. It’s time to wake up now.”
Master Tamer: Y
England; Coventry, Shrewsbury
Ashba – Rosebreasts, Level 40 (Alpha)
Adria – Groaning, Level 39 (Beta)
Fu – Dracass, Level 46
Cristina – Ophanim, Level 51
Azhara – Kyubi, Level 79
Gale – Night Nurse, Level 41
Tech: Cortney – Upgrade VideoGirl
Ashba – Rosebreasts (Alpha)
Melody – Wet Queen (Beta)
Lyn – Enchantress
Nial – Assasara
Tracii – (Red) Longfly
Constance – Tank Vixxen
Adria – Groaning (Alpha)
Gale – Night Nurse (Beta)
Noira – (Flying) Mecha Musume
Shamira – Goldina
Kary – Gunvalkyrie
Ann – Ice Empress
Fu – Dracass (Alpha)
April – Seabra (Beta)
Rein – Myobu
Nami – Sharptits
Ishara – Scorpiagirl
Aella – (Hunter) Shinryu
Azhara – Kyubi (Alpha)
Lucina – Shadowcat (Beta)
Brigid – Unicorn
Heidi – Psyvix
Cristina – Fiendish Ophanim (Alpha)
Erren – Guntit (Beta)
Kuu – ElfQueen
Grace – Mini-Top
Yin – Nereidame
Yang – Nereidame
Phial – Gravelgal
Claire - Armsmistress
Juel - Matratya