Saturday, September 17th, 302AS
Isis, Jade Islands League
“Ugh, why the hell did you let me do this?” Vince tried not to look at the sun coming through the windows or reflecting off the floor as he cradled his head.
Aiden was looking rather unamused now. “I didn't realize you wanted me to be baby sitting you. The drink really wasn't any of my business, and I was enjoying my own anyway. As for the Jenny, she was out of uniform and following you around like a Growlie before we even met. Since I like to be right, I usually assume that means she's your pokegirl. You know she left, right?”
Vince looked up and scanned the room before the hangover had him cringing and ducking his head back down. “What?” He winced in pain. “Augh. Damn it, I didn't mean...”
“Would you take the damn painkiller I gave you already? Shannon made them especially for this sort of thing since that Tavernmaid I told you about considers everyone being hungover a job well done.” Vince quickly swallowed one of the pills and the effects were almost instant.
“How did she do that?” Vince marveled.
Aiden shrugged, “She's an Archmage. She's done a lot more impressive things than cure a hangover.” Having half the consequences of the previous night's lack of self restraint removed, Vince ran out of the house hoping to resolve the much more complicated matter that remained.
The Officer Jenny was apparently able to cover a lot of ground, because Vince wasn't able to find her before he came across the first police station in the city. Trying to explain that he was looking for one of the police breed that looked more like a Goth while not having a name to give made the search difficult; to say the least, and he wound up being directed to the other station across town.
Entering that station he was greeted by a red furred canine breed, a Growlie or Growltit since Vince couldn't see her tail. She eyed him suspiciously, all of the police did before he reminded himself that they weren't really looking at him like that. “I'm looking for an Officer Jenny,” Vince started to say.
“Well, this is a pretty good place to find one.” Vince ground his teeth together. Before he could continue he had to convince his Rebel curse that was just an attempt at humor and not a smart ass comment. He really wasn't liking being in the police headquarters.
“Yeah, well, this one has streaked hair and two-tone eyes.” The Growltit, Vince was pretty sure now, sat up a little straighter.
G:Why do you want to see her?“And why would you want to see a Jenny like that?” Now the Growltit was acting like she was suspicious of him. Her ears were folded back and she was definitely eyeing him intently.
“None of your business.” Vince snapped towards the canine breed.
“Actually, it is my business, since we're both police pokegirls and she has no one else to watch out for her.” Vince started wishing he'd brought one of his pokegirls with him. Constance or Reshmi, both of them were pretty good about keeping him calm in situations like this. But at this rate, by himself, he was just going to storm out of the police headquarters without accomplishing anything, at best. He might as well get the worst of it over.
“Fine, I want to talk to your boss.”
That just put the Growltit on edge even more. “The chief? Why do you want to speak to the chief about?”
“About the Jenny I want to talk to!”
“Oh.” The red furred dog breed got up from behind the desk. “I'll take you to her office.”
The chief was a woman who looked to be older than Azar, and the way she eyed him when he was let in had a few sizes bigger of a stick stuck up her as well. “Yes, can I help you?”
Vince tried to talk faster than his rebel curse could kick in. “I'm looking for an Officer Jenny that was transferred to here six or so months ago, she's got purple and red streaks in her hair and two-tone eyes.”
The whole effort was wasted as the chief took nearly a minute sizing him up before responding. “You wouldn't happen to be the tamer she 'accidentally' formed a bond with last night, would you?”
“Yeah... that's me.”
“Interesting.” The police chief folded her hands together. “Usually when a civil service 'girl is bonded to some tamer that can't keep it in his pants, he either tries to steal her away the next morning or runs and hopes she can't keep up. You wouldn't happen to be here in hopes of purchasing her, would you?” When Vince only answered with a drawn out 'Uh...' she explained further. “Right now that 'girl's only hope is someone taking a private interest in her. The ranches don't want her because she's too much of a variant from the pure Jenny lines. I really don't have any use for her here and if I can't find somewhere else to transfer her soon then I'm afraid she'll be put down. She's a good 'girl but there's nothing I can really do.”
Vince almost shivered from how coldly the chief had explained the whole thing. As much as he didn't really want an Officer Jenny, she had helped him out twice now. “How much would she cost?”
“Well, I could take bounty points for her. So... let's say nine for her breed and skills, and you pick up her tab over at that coffee shop she likes, and we call things settled? Oh, and she's got an ID collar that doesn't go with her, so let's go take care of that.”
They headed a little deeper into the hallway with all of the offices. In one with an unlabeled door sitting behind a desk clear of any papers was the 'Jenny. She was idly twirling a set of her handcuffs around her finger, leaning heavily on the other hand and looking completely down in the dumps. She came to attention when the chief walked in and then her eyes snapped over to Vince. “Ma'am! And Mas- Vince?!”
The chief walked up behind her and took out a small key that unlocked the ID collar. Eyes that were two different shades of green glanced around nervously. “Ma'am, what's going on?”
“This young man has purchased you from the league. This will need to be removed before he's able to capture you.”
“Purchase me? Wha- But you said- I thought you didn't want a 'Jenny.”
“I didn't, but...” Vince came up with an excuse for his quick change of mind, “I really don't plan on doing anything illegal,” he ignored the chief mutter something about a wise decision. “So there really shouldn't be any kind of problem. And you've been pretty cool so far. I figured why not?” She still looked skeptical. “Look, I promise I want to see if this works out... and if not, I'll find someone to take care of you. I just feel like I owe you, is all.”
For a long stretch of time she just stared into his eyes. “He really bought me?” She looked to the police chief, who nodded impatiently. The Officer Jenny blinked a few times and smiled. “Right. Well sir, I guess I'm yours now.”
Vince and his new Officer Jenny were walking through Isis, making their way back to Aiden's house. He had bought her one last coffee drink after paying her tab. She was wearing a very simple outfit compared to the usual police uniform the Officer Jenny breed was most often seen in, but the colors still were the same. She also kept the handcuffs she always seemed to have with her, on set of had both cuffs over the same wrist like it was some kind of bracelet and not a restraining device. As they walked they tried to figure out the typical thing a tamer and his new pokegirl tried to discover. “I'm just going to be honest right now, I have no ideas for what to call you. So if there's a name you want.”
The police pokegirl looked at Vince and shrugged. “I'm not sure either. Definitely not Jenny. Or anything with a J, really. Or an N in the middle. Or Y at the end.” She took a long sip. “I'm sorry. I'm not really helping.”
“Did a lot of people call you Jenny?”
“A lot of people call any of us 'Jenny'. Even if there's more than one of us we're all Jenny and we just have to check who they're looking at.” She started playing with the straw in her mouth.
“Well, what about any names you had before? I know you probably don't want the same name as your first master gave you, but what about your parents. They had to call you something while you were growing up.”
The straw hit the bottom of the cup with a plastic thunk. “My mother and her owner had a name for me. But that was three years ago.”
“What was it?”
The blue of the Officer Jenny's hair stood out more from the red that was starting to spread across her cheeks. “Well... my mother, she always called me Verse.” Vince just gave her a confused 'Huh?' “She said that 'The offspring of a poet is Verse.' So that's what they called me. Verse.”
“I thought your mother was a Makeup Artist subtype.”
“No she wasn't! The only one who thought that was Mr. Ewald, and he just foolishly assumed that because I wore more makeup than the other-”
“Hey, it's ok. We were just wrong, sorry. I guess Verse is as good of a name as any.” Verse looked at him in surprise.
“You'll really name me... and you apologized. I should be apologizing for what I said, how I said it. That man just... he's a disgrace to the Jade Islands police!”
Vince shrugged his shoulders. “I'll agree he wasn't a great cop, and you'd know your mother better, right?”
Verse moved to walk closer to him, so she was almost leaning against him as they walk. She did lean in when he put an arm around her shoulder.
Constance and the rest of Vince's harem were waiting for him to get back. Constance was the one to speak to him first. “You're back, and you've got the 'Jenny.”
Vince nodded to his alpha. “Yep. Her name's Verse and she's ours now.”
Constance looked at her master like he was crazy, then she held her forehead as she shook her head. “Well, I guess I shouldn't expect much trouble from her all things considered...” She offered a hand to the Officer Jenny. “Welcome to the harem.”
Verse blushed again as she took the hand. “Thank you, my... alpha.”
Vince left his harem to get acquainted with the new addition as he went inside. Aiden was sitting in the living area with a book, but put it down when Vince came in. “So you brought her back. So she's yours now?” Vince nodded as he sat down on the couch. “You think things will work out?”
Vince sighed. “I'll make them. The police chief said they couldn't find anything to do with her. If they still couldn't, soon they were going to...”
“Lots of 'girls get put down because nobody wants them and no one can find a use for them. You plan to save them all?”
“No.” Vince said flatly. “But they all haven't helped me like she has.” Aiden nodded.
“So, what now? Back out to challenge the gyms? Back out on the road to catch ferals?” Vince shrugged at all of the options. Aiden paused to consider something. “Come with me.” He got up and Vince followed him after a moment. They went down a hall and around a corner, and Aiden unlocked a door with a small key then stopped. “This room... it's kind of sacred to me, in a way. It's like my shrine, so don't touch anything.” With that he opened the door, leading the two of them into a small square room with shelves and a fire place along the walls. Every shelf was filled with different knickknacks. Pictures, books, plaques, letters, toys. Over the mantle of the fire place was an urn and then a small collection of old style pokeballs.
As Vince gazed around the room more, Aiden started wandering and picking up the different things, nostalgia flitting across his face with some and sorrow for others. Vince could understand what Aiden had meant when he said the room was sacred as he watched the older man examine everything. Finally, the elder tamer spoke. “These are all mementos. All from people I knew that are gone now, friends and family. And these...” He stopped in front of the mantle.
Aiden let out a long sigh. “This is why... When I found out about you... I didn't plan on giving Pritha up but the league, because you were human... Then when you were born she...” The man let out a noise of frustration as he shook his head. “Let me start again. You asked me how old I was? The truth is I've been running around for over a century.”
Aiden smirked. “I get that a lot. No idea how I got it, neither do any of the doctors or researchers I've talked to. My parents are a mystery, I was lucky enough to wander into some town in Indigo from the wilderness when I was little. But I'm one hundred and three years old. And I really don't know any other humans that live as long as I do. And all the humans I did know aren't around anymore, along with some pokegirls who were important to me. This is how I remember them.
“The urn's my wife. We were married before I knew I had the gift. Our kids are still in Indigo, daughter anyway. My son got himself killed and a perfectly nice Enchantress put down because he was so damn sure I passed on my traits to him. Thought enough magic could unlock it...” Anger and sadness mixed on his face for a while before he continued. “Funny how everyone seems to blame that one on me. I guess I do too... The pokeballs are all my old harem's ashes. It was Shannon's idea to use their old balls like urns. She's a clever 'girl. I'm lucky to have had her back then, and now...” He turned away from the mantle. “After that, I started trying to find the fountain of youth. Spent a few decades on it before I gave up. Things worked out alright. Made sure to get all of my 'girls with longevity, or got a storage permit and cycled the ones I really like through that. That's what I was planning to do with Pritha, but then she was a little older than I thought and she got pregnant, with you.
“League wouldn't let me put her in storage until you were born, so we set things up so you'd be adopted by Azar. She's a good girl, er... woman, and it's pretty sad that she was born sterile. But then Pritha changed her mind and wanted to take care of you... I was... scared of getting close to a human with a normal lifespan again... But Pritha deserved what she wanted... she decided to be with you, away from me...”
Vince found himself wondering who all of the people were that were connected to all of these trinkets and possessions. Where Aiden got them and when. Aiden though, was looking at Vince. “I didn't completely sever ties. I checked in every once in a while, usually a com call to Azar. I helped her out with money when things were tight before she got promoted. I always thought about meeting you, but I guess I was scared of that too. Then we just ran into each other. I guess I thought that was a sign. So... I guess I owe you. If you want me to teach you how I fight, then I guess I could do that much.”
Vince considered the offer. He'd be stronger if he could fight like that, but someone who'd been a tamer for this long, maybe there was something better to learn from him. “I think...” Vince had to pause to mentally kick his blood curse, “I'd rather you help me train up my harem, since you've obviously got more experience as a tamer than I do.”
Aiden nodded, “I could do that. Could do both.” Vince followed Aiden out and locked up his shrine again. “Come on, let's go see what my four 'girls can teach yours.”
Vince stopped when something didn't click. “Wait, four?” He'd only seen three.
Aiden seemed to consider why Vince would be surprised at hearing he had four 'girls, then lightly smacked himself on the forehead. “Oh, right. You haven't met Ashley yet. Come on, I'll wake her up and introduce you.”
The two went out into Aiden's back yard, where only the single tree stood in the middle of the stone wall and grass. It was actually fairly ugly now that Vince took the time to look at it, thanks to its very bizarre shape. The trunk was all twisted about itself in some places, bark stripped off here and not there. The tree wasn't that tall, nothing you'd climb up into to see farther since only very thin branches made it up high enough to even been seen over the roof. Aiden did climb up into the tree though, sitting on one of the two largest branches that forked off near the top of the trunk.
“Wake up, sleepyhead.” Aiden told the tree while possibly tickling one particular knot in the wood. For a while nothing happened, then the tree started to shutter and branches squirmed. The trunk started twisting more, and then untwisting from around itself. The roots rose out of the ground, winding around themselves and fusing together. The sound of feminine laughter started to fill the air, coming from the tree as it continued to shift forms from plant life until...
A Treant stood before Vince, with Aiden perched up on her shoulder. She towered over him, her skin was the smooth, light colored wood that was stripped of its bark; wood grain creating fascinating patterns almost like tattoos. Running along her sides, over her shoulders, and down her arms had more bark, looking almost like a very nonfunctional armor in a way. Her hips were formed by the widest part of the trunk and she started brushing dirt off her legs, which had been her roots. Her feet still weren't quite human feet, more of a sprawling mass of root endings that spread out under each pillar of a leg to balance her out. All of the smaller branches at the top of her tree form fell behind her now, creating a green mass that could be seen as hair. She had a very kind looking face, especially with the smile of laughter on it from where Aiden was still tickling some sensitive spot somewhere.
“Ah! Ma-Master” Her words were cut off by more laughter. “Master, stop! Please.” Aiden did stop, and the Treant's laughter finally died down. Vince was staring up at her wondering how Aiden had managed not to fall off while she was thrashing about when she introduced herself. “Oh, a guest. Hello, my name is Ashley, Master Chase's Treant.” Vince mumbled his own introduction dumbly.
“I don't think he's ever seen a 'girl like you, Ashley.” Aiden grinned down at the stunned younger tamer. “Oh, by the way, how's it going?” Ashley brought up her other hand, the one connected to the shoulder Aiden was sitting on. There was something glowing in between her fingers, a soft gold light spilling out between the cracks.
“It needs a little more time, don't you think Master?”
Aiden smiled at his massive plant type. “You know better than me, Ashley. So a little more time it is.”
“What needs a little more time?” Vince recovered enough at seeing the Treant to wonder what they were talking about. Ashley lowered her hand down as Aiden hopped to the ground. Opening her palm Vince could see some kind of evolution stone, glowing brightly and surrounded by tiny root structures coming out of Ashley's hand.
“A Dawn Stone. Still not quite refined yet so I guess it's still an Angel Stone. But anyway, Ashley, this is Pritha's son. We're going to be helping train his harem for a while.”
Aiden and Vince started heading back into the house then, but Hanako came running out to go see the Treant in the backyard. Vince had to wonder the way she had acted around the 'tree' when Ashley was still sleeping meant the 'kit knew she really was a pokegirl. Comfort stood in the doorway watching the young Flowergirl. “She's adorable.” The comment was directed at Vince. He guessed it was some kind of compliment. “She's been talking to us about her 'mama' though. It sounds like she was put through a level five.” Vince's heart sunk a little as he nodded his head in confirmation. “I'm sorry. Did you sell her?”
Vince placed a hand over one of the empty slots on his belt. “No... it was interrupted. I've been holding onto her because of these rumors that it might be possible to save her. But my alpha's been doing research on it, turns out they were just rumors. Can't find any proof it's been done before.”
Comfort frowned sympathetically. “I'm sorry to hear that. Though, I would be willing to take a look at her. I don't have that great of telepathy, but it couldn't hurt.”
Vince thought for a moment. “No, it really couldn't, since I think I'd have to put her through another cycle before she could even get back to functioning. Right now she's... I had to put her in storage because I don't even know how I'd feed her.” He went and fetched Hana's ball from his pokepack. “Here. At least this way I'll have tried.”
Friday, September 22nd, 302AS
Isis, Jade Islands League
The training Vince's harem did under Aiden's guidance was pretty simple in concept. New moves were first taught through waking demonstrations. Then the concepts were honed in dream time and then finally put to practical application in combat. A lot of time was spent at the pokecenters because Aiden lacked anywhere pokegirls could fight without repairs getting ridiculously expensive. Of course Vince's 'girls fought each other most of the time, but Vince would also challenge other tamers to honor matches whenever he could. There was also the few times where Vince put his harem against Aiden's. Those were more to train Vince how to lead his harem, since there was an obvious power gap between Vince's 'girls and the four Aiden kept around.
Speaking of Vince's training, the young tamer had already had a few episodes where he had blown up at Aiden. He'd been worried about them, doubtful he could keep himself under control while learning under the older tamer but Aiden had the simple solution of kicking Vince's ass whenever it came to that. It was a surprisingly effective solution.
It wasn't just that Aiden had nearly nine decades of martial arts training and mastery under his belt. He also had a number of magically applied enhancements thanks to Shannon and Nanna. As it would turn out there was a rather interesting story behind how Aiden's Starlady wound up the breed she was. Born an Artits and then evolved to a Tats, Nanna was bought by Aiden back when he was hoping to find a way to extend normal duration human's and pokegirl's lifespan. But Aiden still wasn't ready to own a pokegirl without longevity. So after one rather illegal adventure, Nanna was transformed into a Vampire and then later evolved to a Starlady. The gamble was that so long as she remained a magic type pokegirl she would retain the ability to create magically infused tattoos. The gamble payed off at the cost that Aiden said it would be a really bad idea for them to go back to the Indigo League, especially the area around the Jusenkyo Spell Dump.
But the magical enhancements did help Aiden in helping Vince train his 'girls, and there were already some results. In just the six days he was saying they were showing improvement already, and also said Vince was showing signs of becoming a better leader.
Vince was resting out in the pokecenter lobbey when Comfort came to talk to him. The Pinielf sat down across from and a little to the left of Vince and started the conversation with, “So I finally got time to really look at Hana...” Vince had been staring up at the ceiling light fixtures, but his attention was brought down to the fighting and psychic type. “Her mind is pretty damaged, but...”
“I don't know. It's not what I would have expected from someone put through a level five. I've never seen one, but I always expected the memories to be obliterated, as difficult to pick out a single, specific piece like it is to pick out a single piece of sand. Her mind... it's more like pieces to a puzzle. Still not the whole thing, but there is distinction, form. I could see how some of them may fit together.” She paused. “Another reason I'm unsure if it's a level five is that she's starting to piece things together on her own. Not at a rate where she'd survive with no one caring for her, but with a more skilled telepath helping her...
“I don't think I could help, but Master Aiden does have a more powerful psychic. An Alaka-wham he keeps in storage most of the time so she ages at the same rate as we do. It will throw off the schedule a little but I'm sure I could convince Aiden to bring her out to work on your pokegirl.”
Vince didn't know what to say. Actual hope for his Flowergirl returning to being Hana? And just as he'd almost given up too. He never did get to figure out what words to speak though because Constance came running out into the lobby and grabbed his arm in a panic. “Vince! You've got to come recall Ava!”
“What?! What's happened, is she hurt?”
Constance shook her head and yanked on his arm as he stood up. “No! Natsumi said something really stupid and now she's gone absolutely berserk. I'm not sure if any of us can stop her without hurting her. Or us.”
People and pokegirls were standing outside in the hall leading to one of the practice battle rooms, including Reshmi and Verse. The Officer Jenny had a Nurse Joy treating burns on her hands and arms while another of the healing pokegirls was making a com call, apparently to the police. “Sorry,” Verse said meekly as Vince got close, “I tried to stop her for you.”
A furious shriek like the cry of a bird mixed with the scream of a human woman sounded from inside the training room. Vince looked into the training room to see it completely abandoned besides his two pokegirls. The floor and walls were scorched in a few places, and one of the benches provided for people to observe in was cracked in half. Ava had Natsumi completely on the defensive, a good number of burns and gouges on the Sayjin's arms and front. The Combusticunt was by no means in perfect shape either, but none of the injuries she had were stopping her. “AVA, STOP!” Vince bellowed out, but the enraged fire type wasn't listening, but the Sayjin looked relieved their master was here to intervene. Vince pulled off Ava's ball and recalled her.
“What the FUCK did you say to her to get her like that?!” Natsumi winced as Vince roared at her. Reshmi and Constance came back in to stand next to him. The fighting type was about to answer when Ava's ball started rocking in Vince's hand like it was making a first capture attempt and then split open. Ava formed from the red light and threw herself at Natsumi again.
A lot of things happened all at once from there. Things seemed to slow down, and they may very well have with Constance in the room. Natsumi made ready to defend herself again, Vince tried to recall Ava again but found the pokeball unresponsive, and Reshmi shifted to her battle form and caught her Combusticunt harem sister's arms to stop her from killing her target. Vince saw the familiar ripple in the air as the air heated up. He was a safe distance. Constance was a safe distance. Natsumi, her target, was a safe distance from Ava. But Reshmi was holding right onto the Combusticunt while wrestling to bring her under control. Vince tried one last time to order her to stop, but he barely got the start of, “Ava, No!” out of his mouth when her Ignite attack flared up.
Vince's arms exploded with pain as his entire front fell like they were being licked with flames before he passed out.