In an instant, Ruth found herself released from her Pokeball inside what must have been the police station. Before Emilia had been asked to accompany the police to give testimony, she had put her Pokegirls in Pokeballs for the car ride. After all, there was only a limited amount of space in the police car. Looking around, Ruth saw that Natalya and Bria seemed to have been released at the same time.
“So your Master has already given her testimony. More importantly, we’ve had Psychic-types on hand to read the mind of the Sideviper in this attack.” A policeman sat behind a desk in front of them, glancing towards a computer facing him before turning back to the witnesses he was interviewing. “We confirmed that she had been sent by her owner, and was targeting the Elephuk…” The police officer glanced again at his computer screen. “Ruth, was targeting her specifically.” The man glanced up again, staring expectantly at the Elephuk.
The first to respond to this information was Natalya. “That would make sense. Before I intervened, the Sideviper had lunged towards Ruth as her very first action. If I hadn’t used my Stone Gaze to stop her, Ruth would have been unable to avoid the speed of her attack.”
Upon hearing Natalya and the police officer’s words, Ruth nodded slowly. “He knows I ruined his plans, and he wants revenge.”
“No.” The response yet again came from the policeman, as he shot another glance at his computer. “The Psychic probes of the Sideviper gave a different motivation than that. And if revenge had been a big motivation, it’s likely he would have targeted the Megami as well. However, she’s safe with her new Master, not having faced any sort of attack. You really can’t figure it out?” The Elephuk didn’t have to be a Psychic-type herself to see that the policeman appeared annoyed with her specifically.
“…Does he… maybe…” Ruth thought hard, trying to figure out what the officer might be angling for. “Does he want another Elephuk to restart his ivory farm operations?” Ruth asked the last question in shock, eyes wide at the possibility. Fortunately, the policeman’s extremely disappointed look caused her to quickly realize it was something else.
“He thinks that you have information that could be harmful to him. Given the supposed ‘memory of an Elephuk’, he sent his Sideviper to kill you before you could tell it. Although now I doubt that the ‘memory of an Elephuk’ is all it’s cracked up to be…” The policeman muttered that last part to himself, seeming very annoyed at the lack of answers from Ruth.
As the policeman spoke about the Sideviper being sent to kill Ruth, Bria moved closer started hugging her new harem sister tightly. The Elephuk could tell this went beyond a quirk of the breed, and indicated genuine concern. Emilia looked extremely pale at the point she heard this, and Natalya’s head-snakes hissed at the words. These only seemed like proper reactions to such a shocking event.
Throughout this time, Natalya’s various head-snakes all had their attention turned to Ruth. The Elephuk admittedly had never done much reading on Gorgons, beyond seeing the Pokedex entry. As such, Ruth wasn’t sure if it was an individual quirk or common to the Gorgon breed, but the head-snakes seemed to expose Natalya’s subconscious focus. As such, it made sense that even when the Gorgon next addressed to the police officer, her statement was about Ruth. “If she doesn’t know what he wants to target her for, then she likely doesn’t have the information he thinks she does. She is an Elephuk after all, so it’s not like she forgot.”
The police officer grunted noncommittally. “While that’s possible, I think it would be best to have some Psychic-types look through her memories. What with the ivory farm, the stolen evolution stones, and launching an attack in the city, this criminal is really racking up his offenses. If we don’t have any leads, then-” The police officer paused, and then looked at the civilians he was talking to.
“Actually, forget I said that. We’ll definitely put work into looking at any possible leads we can find. Not to mention, the bodyguard who’s being assigned to you will be sure to keep you safe in the meantime.”
“Bodyguard?” Emilia asked. The policeman looked relieved that the human woman had taken the bait and let the subject be changed away from the lack of leads. Emilia didn’t show any indication of realizing what had just happened- or even of having noticed what the officer almost admitted without thinking.
“Of course. An at-large criminal has targeted you. Preparations have already been put in place to have a Civil Service Pokegirl assigned to you as a temporary bodyguard. She’s not going to be legally part of your harem, but the proper paperwork will be sorted out so she can live with you in your apartment. It looks like she’s a-” The officer paused to squint at the computer screen, tapping on the keyboard and clicking with his mouse. “An Amazon. She has experience providing protection to targeted witnesses, so you should be good.”
Before any of them could respond without interrupting, the police officer brusquely spoke. “So let’s get some Psychics to double-check that your Elephuk really doesn’t have any information she might be forgetting, and by that point I’m sure the Amazon will be here.”
“Elephuks don’t forget information.” Ruth blurted out the correction without thinking. After saying it, she hoped the police officer wouldn’t become angry with her for her open disagreement.
Fortunately, the policeman seemed to ignore it, lifting a hand as if to wave it off. “Sure, of course you don’t. Now let’s just arrange the Psychic probes to make sure.”
By the time the Psychic probes were completed, their new Amazon bodyguard had indeed arrived. Or at least, that’s what Ruth assumed from seeing the tall, tan and muscular green-haired woman approaching them wearing chain male armor over her shirt. Given the woman’s small breasts, she was presumably of the Chan variety. Given her lack of weapon, she certainly wasn’t training in the Wu style.
Stopping in front of Emilia, the Pokegirl stood at attention. As their probable bodyguard gazed at the human woman’s Pokegirls, Ruth could practically feel her eyes clinically sizing them up. Moments after the armored woman stopped in front of them, she spoke, addressing Emilia.
“Are you Emilia Jordan?” The Pokegirl asked.
Ruth’s mistress stood up from where she had been sitting. “I am. Are you the bodyguard who’s been sent to protect me and my harem?”
“Yes. My name is Breanna, and I have been employed as a Civil Service Pokegirl for years now, during which time my primary role has been witness protection. I will be sure to fight my best to protect you and your harem in the face of any future assassination attempts. I will also make the proper precautions prior to such attempts to further contribute to your protection.”
At this, Emilia furrowed her brow and interrupted. “What exactly do you mean by proper precautions?”
In response to the interruption, Breanna nodded brusquely. “The first thing I was thinking of was to see check into any former Trainers and Balance Ropers living in you apartment. You were attacked in your apartment, and I find it unlikely that an apartment complex of the size I heard described is lacking in either of those sorts of Tamers. Depending on whether I judge them to be useful to your protection, I may ask them if they would be willing to intervene if they heard a similar commotion in the future. It’s most likely that there’s at least one teleporter in the apartment, who avoided coming to your aid because she was unsure of what was going on and of what to do. If there are other individuals in your apartment complex committed to protecting you, future attacks become more manageable.”
Emilia nodded at that. “I actually know there’s a Balance Roper in a room not too far from mine. I hadn’t given any thought into why his harem didn’t intervene, but now that you mention it, that does make sense.”
As Emilia stopped talking and appeared lost in thought, Natalya spoke up with a question of her own. “You say that’s the first thing you plan on doing, so I’m guessing there are others afterwards?”
“Yes. After that, I plan on taking you three girls to the Pits of Dis for training, so you can better help in your own defense. I also plan on looking into your coworkers to see if any of them or their Pokegirls might also be willing to provide assistance in case of an attack. Like I said before- if you have gotten people to agree to help you in that situation ahead of time, they’re much more likely to actually assist.”
Hearing all of this, Ruth spoke up. “Thank you for your help. I had thought that whole nightmare was behind me. I had no idea anything like this might happen, and I… um…” Ruth trailed off. “I guess I’m just really sorry that I brought all of this trouble to my mistress and harem sisters.”
“It’s not your fault! You have nothing to be sorry for. The Psychic probes just confirmed that you don’t have any information. You had no idea that you’d be targeted, and no way of knowing. Don’t blame yourself!” Ruth was startled at her mistress’ impassioned words- and so were many of the other people in the police station. As Emilia spoke with a raised voice, quite a few heads turned in their direction.
Breanna glanced at the mildly curious onlookers, before turning back to Emilia. “It would seem you and your harem stayed in the police station throughout the night as the police were dealing with the matter. Did you get any sleep during that time?”
Bria was the first to respond, nodding eagerly. “Yeah- we all slept while Ruth was having her mind read!” As Bria said this, their Gorgon Alpha looked as if she just realized something.
Turning towards her Elephuk harem sister, Natalya spoke. “Wait- that’s when we slept, but you wouldn’t have spent that time resting at all. Have you gotten any sleep this night?”
The Elephuk shook her head. “Not really- after the interrogations and stuff, I was kept wide awake when having my memories looked through. I am getting kind of tired. I’ll try my best, but now that you mention it, if I don’t get any rest soon I might not be able to perform as well at work today.”
“Oh! Sorry- I didn’t even think! I’ll help fix that.” Those words from her slightly naïve mistress were the last thing Ruth heard before she got the chance to have a long rest in a Pokeball.
As Ruth was released from her Pokeball, she looked around to determine her surroundings. She was at the now-familiar construction site where Aloha Architecture was building a new addition to a prominent local art museum. Her owner and her harem sisters were all there, as were many of the coworkers employed for this project.
It was obvious that she must have been in the Pokeball for a few hours. In addition to feeling well-rested, the Elephuk noticed that a watch worn by a male coworker was currently set to a four minutes before 9 AM, which was the time they were scheduled to arrive at work. At the police station, a clock on the wall had been set to 4:08 AM, meaning she had gotten to rest for a bit less than five hours.
“…Are you serious?!” Even without her superior hearing, Ruth was quite certain she would have easily heard the exclamation coming from Breanna. The Amazon was looking around the construction site with a stunned look on her face. Glancing around, the Elephuk didn’t see anything amiss. Given that Emilia and her harem sisters were looking towards their bodyguard in confusion, Ruth assumed that the Amazon had yet to explain the source of her sentiment.
“I was expecting some strong breeds that would be of some help in battle. I mean, this is a construction site, after all. Why are so many of the Pokegirls working here Tomboys?!” And that explained the source of the confusion. Some of the Tomboys who heard this glanced over at the Amazon in annoyance, before promptly returning their focus to their work.
“Of the architects who work for the company, many of them come without strong Pokegirls of their own after getting their tradesmen license. It’s true that they might have other Pokegirls that help with their jobs, like those two Muses over there-”
“Wait. Did you say Muses? At a construction site? Helping with the work?” Breanna interrupted Emilia, asking the question in disbelief.
“I never said they helped with the work here. I said that they helped the architects with their jobs. Aloha Architecture is known for providing the most artistically innovative architecture in the Silver Islands League. As such, many of the architects employed by the firm- myself included- minored in art in addition to majoring in architecture back in college. And I’m sure you’re aware of how popular the Muse breed is with aspiring artists.”
For a moment, the Amazon stared at Emilia blankly. Then she spoke slowly. “And is there any reason in particular that these… artists… have taken such a liking to Tomboys?”
Emilia nodded. “Yes. The company requires that the human employees have at least one Pokegirl with enhanced strength to properly assist in construction work. It also requires that she have at least a normal level of intelligence with which to perform skilled labor. Of the various breeds that fit that profile, the Tomboy breed is the cheapest, and most new employees just get a few of them. I successfully managed to impress my bosses when I spent a bunch of extra money I had saved up to purchase an Elephuk instead.”
“…Right. Got it. And those are some… Minimice working with… a Metalmouse it looks like? And their explanation is?”
“The Metalmouse and her two harem sisters both belong to a materials installation specialist employed by the company. It’s standard for such a specialist within the Silver Islands League to have a Metalmouse and at least one Minimouse. My father actually had three Minimice in addition to my Metalmouse mother. I know the Tradesmen license typically only allows for three girls, but given how useless Minimice are in combat, they’re a frequent exception.”
After she heard Emilia’s explanation, Breanna just stared for a bit. Then, she responded in what was starting to seem like an exasperated tone. “So at a construction site, where I was expecting there to be plentiful help from many burly Pokegirls, there’s just Tomboys, Titmouse evolutions, and artistically inclined breeds?”
“Well, I guess there’s the Alpha of the construction foreman. He evolved her from a Tomboy into an Ogress.” At Emilia’s eyes, the Amazon’s eyes lit up, and her frown shifted to a grin.
“Now that’s the kind of help I was hoping for. Before you start work, I’m going to go talk to her and her owner.” Breanna didn’t even wait for a response before heading further into the construction site to ask about the Ogress employed there.
“Those earth segments were far too small to count as a proper Quagmire Twister. You need to try again.” Upon hearing the critique by the part Ground-type MysticAngel who was training her, Ruth punched into a different section of the ground. Careful to make sure her arms were deep enough in the ground to pull out a sufficient chunk of it, she then pulled it out. Upon pulling out a much larger segment of earth than she had before, the Elephuk spun around in a circle.
“Those were big enough, right?” Ruth asked her instructor. By this point, the MysticAngel who was training her on the use of this move was looking quite frustrated.
“No. You have yet again failed to perform the move with the proper amount of speed.” The winged ground-type sighed, furrowing her brow as she spoke next. “We’ve been trying this for half an hour, and haven’t made much progress. I think it’s time to take a break.”
As the MysticAngel instructing her left, Ruth glanced around at the various other Pokegirls training around her. After work had ended, Breanna had made good on her promise to take them to the Pits of Dis to train. She had even called ahead of time to make sure that proper training partners would come to help Ruth and Bria. The reason she hadn’t needed to take similar measures for Natalya was that some associate assistants had Gorgons themselves. Apparently at least two of them were trying to copy Lady Stars’ techniques she had mastered with her own Gorgon.
As for Ruth and Bria, there were no Elephuks or Peruvas who trained regularly at the gym, meaning that the Amazon had to be a bit more creative in planning their training partners. After deciding the training Ruth most needed was to master Quagmire Twister, Breanna called the MysticAngel’s trainer. Not only was the MysticAngel part Ground-type, but she was the only Pokegirl who regularly trained at the gym who had mastered Quagmire Twister. Of the 4 breeds other than Elephuks that learned Quagmire Twister naturally, the only one not listed as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ rare was listed as ‘rare’. In other words, it wasn’t a common move to have access to, and they were lucky there was any Pokegirl visiting the stadium who had learned it- even if she wasn’t a typical example.
As for who Bria was training with, that was the most creative of all. There was no breed other than Peruvas that was capable of turning their various powder-based attacks into long-range attacks. Because there was no Pokegirl at the gym who could train the Peruva by example, Breanna came up with an extremely good substitute. Despite not sharing moves or enhancements with Peruvas, Boobleafs were immune to spore attacks, which was a category that included powder-based moves. Given that the breed could not be harmed by such attacks, Breanna decided the Boobleaf would be perfect for target practice. The Amazon decided she wanted to see how well the Peruva was able to aim her long-range powder moves at a moving target, and that this situation would provide the best possible training for that.
Looking over at her harem sisters’ progress, Ruth could see that they both seemed to be progressing better than she was. Natalya had lucked out in that Lady Stars’ personal Gorgon had taken an interest in helping her with her training. With the two Gorgons belonging to the associate assistants also training, there was a group of four Gorgons training by themselves. The Gorgon belonging to Lady Stars had clearly taken charge of the training, slithering around to give advise and correction to the other three. Natalya couldn’t possible have found a more skilled mentor of her breed.
As for her Peruva harem sister, Ruth wasn’t sure if the reason Bria was hitting her Boobleaf target more often was because she was improving, or if the Boobleaf was just getting tired. Neither Boobleafs or Peruvas had enhanced endurance, and given that they had both been at it for half an hour, she was sure both were getting tired. However, the Boobleafs job of running around to present a moving target seemed much more strenuous than her harem sister’s job of trying to launch her various powder-filled resin pods at the moving target. While it was possible that Bria was indeed improving, the Peruva was undoubtedly being helped by her target’s increasing fatigue. Glancing around, Ruth saw that neither the Boobleaf’s owner or Breanna seemed to be paying attention to the situation.
Deciding that it might be best to ask if this was really how the Amazon wanted things to go, the Elephuk took advantage of the break to approach her new bodyguard. Breanna was in the middle of combat, sparring with another Amazon. Whereas Breanna was definitely of the Chan variety, her opponent was of the Lee variety. It seemed like an even match- at least, until Breanna finally managed to knock her opponent to the ground and keep her pinned there. As the Amazonlee was conceding defeat, Ruth decided this might be a good time to speak up.
“Breanna? I noticed that in Bria’s training, her Boobleaf target seems to be getting a bit tired. Her job was more strenuous than Bria’s, after all, and it seems like it’s creating a bit of a mismatch. Is this how you planned things, or do you think they should take a break?”
Upon hearing of an issue involving the Peruva’s training, the green-haired Amazon snapped to attention. “Wait- they’ve been practicing all of this time without break? I would have expected them to be a bit more practical about things. Thank you for alerting me to this, and I am definitely going over there to intervene.”
As Breanna jogged over to where the two Plant-types were training, Ruth trailed after her at a slower pace. Upon hearing the Amazon’s orders to stop and rest, both Plant-types looked extremely relieved- the Boobleaf much more so than Bria. As both of them sat down on the floor to relax, Breanna gave them both a quick lecture about minding their limits in training. After a final comment where she warned them not to imitate a Lambchop’s self-negligent perseverance, the Amazon ordered both of them to get some water.
As the two left to rehydrate, Breanna turned to Ruth. “I’ve been keeping an eye on you in between my spars, but it looks like I might have needed to provide better oversight than that. Are there any other issues that should be brought to my attention that you’ve noticed?”
Ruth shook her head quickly, her large ears flopping around as she did so. “Not that I noticed- and Natalya’s being trained by Lady Stars’ own Gorgon, so there definitely haven’t been any mistakes over there, I’m sure. As for me, I was recently told to take a break. I’ve been trying to master the Quagmire Twister, but it’s a difficult technique. I think my trainer was growing kind of annoyed with me.”
The Amazon bodyguard nodded, looking thoughtful as she analyzed that information. Just as she was about to respond, she was interrupted by the ringing of her cell phone. “Um- just hold on a bit,” Breanna said, before quickly holding the phone to her ear and answering it.
“Uh-huh. No sir, no problems here. No, unfortunately not, but I’ll keep paying attention. Sorry about that, but if I do figure out any leads from what they tell me, I’ll be sure to report them to you guys. Uh-huh. In the middle of training them at the Pits of Dis. Yeah- bye to you too.”
As the Amazon hung up the phone call, Ruth commented on what she had heard. “So Benjamin was checking in on us?”
Breanna moved as if to answer, and then paused. The Elephuk looked at her curiously as the Amazon seemed to be trying to remember something. Then, the muscular woman looked straight at Ruth. “I never mentioned his name in the phone conversation, and he never visited the station during the time you were there. How did you know his name?”
Ruth shrugged. “When the psychic probes were being done on me at the police station, I heard someone calling him from another room. I recognized the voice that he used from the telephone, and the woman who called him used his name when addressing him.”
“Let me get this straight. While you were facing the severe distraction of having your mind looked through, you were able to focus on your surroundings enough to overhear such an innocuous telephone conversation taking place in another room, and then remember it so clearly afterwards?”
Ruth nodded. “Yes. Elephuks remember everything we experience.” As the Elephuk responded, the look on the Amazon’s face was hard to read. Then, Breanna nodded slowly.
“Some of the people at the police station were wondering if you were somehow defective for an Elephuk, and lacked the complete memory. They figured that might be the explanation for why you didn’t know the information the Sideviper’s owner thought you did. Next time I give my report, I think I’ll definitely need to mention this as an example of how you really do have the expected ‘memory of an Elephuk’.”
Ruth stared in shock at the Amazon, before shouting a response. “They thought WHAT about my memory?”
Her Amazon bodyguard simply rolled her eyes at the outburst. “Just ignore it- they’re just grasping at straws trying to figure out a lead in this case. Anyways, I’m interested in seeing how you’ve progressed in your use of Quagmire Twister. Mind showing me?”
The Elephuk nodded. “Sure- let me go ahead and try.” Moving to an area not near any other Pokegirls who were practicing, Ruth took a moment to focus herself. She needed to get a large enough chunk of earth to spin around, while also performing the movement with sufficient speed. That meant she needed to focus on both her strength and her speed in one difficult and fluid motion.
After focusing herself, the Elephuk bent down with all of her might and all her speed to punch the ground in the beginning part of the movement. As it turned out, using all her might and speed was counterproductive if she didn’t have the balance to match. Not able to maintain her center of balance as she bent over with such force so rapidly, Ruth fell over, landing trunk-first on the ground.
As the Elephuk winced in pain and sat up while massaging her bruised trunk, she heard Breanna’s voice from behind her. “…Yeah, we have a lot of work to do to make you even half-decent.” Given the significant failure which she had just displayed, Ruth couldn’t help but silently agree.