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Lacernella Rubra

Dimming lights and misty dawn. [Pokemanz.]

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February 13th – Day one.

Breaking news! This just in! Panic spreads across Kalos as the Champions body is found on the dock in Cyllage City! – Gym leaders and the Kalos Elite are looking into the matter as we speak!

Memorials are being held all through the region, we urge you to take part and to keep an eye out!

February 26 – Day 14.

Memorials are still going strong, but there’s no word on catching the killer just yet. There were no clues left at the crime scene.

In other news, strict curfews are being placed in towns until this mystery is solved. We’re also seeing an increase in protests and riots from the organization PETPIKA – the Pokemon rights activists. More on this to come.

March 10 – Day 24.

The Kalos Elite have put together an elite police force to take to the streets. With the dangers of the riots – I’m sure we all remember the bombing at Couriway Town just a week ago – the PETPIKA has taken responsibility for the terrorist action.

We’d like to remind everyone at this time that it’s for your safety to comply with these officers. They’re here for your safety, until we can get to the bottom of these new tragedies.


March 23 – 36 days after the Death of the Champion.

The stale stench of cigarettes and roasting coffee filled her lungs with each passing breath, the dull thrum of conversation pressing in on the patrons. It was a comfortable place, despite tnx8n1kD.jpghe recent ongoings. Inside the café it was easy to forget the outside world, the travesties that had been undertaken recently – the murder of the Champion of the Kalos region, the panic that followed when the death had been swift and faceless.

Riots filled their streets often, people protesting for the rights of pokemon, using the chaos to their advantage. Every day was a new tragedy, a new blockade and more hushed whispers. The presence of a hastily scrapped together militia seemed to pop up overnight, curfews blocking people in their homes and leaving them huddled in the dark in fear. The day, however, was theirs. They crawled from their protective little holes and lived as though nothing had changed. They got up, went to work or school, they conducted their battles and fed their vices.

Like now, as Jazmine watched them scurry in and out for their caffeinated beverages and their silly little pastries. Though the woman supposed she could not judge too harshly, for she had thrown away comfort in favor of this. This life full of mundane little miracles and ridiculously gleeful moments – better than being cooped up in a manner playing princess any day.

Though some eccentricities should be allowed to flourish, like the gorgeous lace up leather stilettos that reached her knee. They were coupled with a pair of tucked in slacks of grey pinstripe, and an equally gorgeous ruffled blouse that was shadowed by blonde curls. Hazel eyes meant to beguile, crinkled in mirth as another sip of her coffee was made. The shadow of a large Arcanine and its handler passed by the glass, and a gentle sigh punctuated their exit.

Umbreon sat at her side, alert and ready as the woman stood, moving for the door. No easy mark was going to show themselves in a coffee shop, no, they would be elsewhere. So she freed herself of the confines of the shop, Umbreon chirping as fresh air filled their lungs.

“Aaaah, that’s the smell of potential.” Jazmine grinned – a toothy, feral sort of look as heels tapped against the concrete. Lumiose city was the jewel of the Kalos region, the tall spire in the middle giving hope and light to all the huddled masses. The bright, clean streets were a stark contrast to the mood and trash lined streets she remembered the night before. The gym leaders had massed together to disperse it, and cleaned the streets…a sense of normalcy was what they needed, it seemed. A sneeze erupts an otherwise uneventful walk, and a laugh follows.

“Well, bless you then.” Jazmine offers to the Umbreon as she seeks out the casino. “Alright, love. You have to go back into your ball for a while.” She kneels down, presenting the scratched and worn pokeball. A small protest is given, but the swirling red beams of light are more than enough for the ball to be tucked back into her jacket as her stride continues. As the woman strides along, she expertly withdraws wallets and money. She’s careful about her marks on this, however, not wanting to draw too much attention, or carry so much that it is noticed. Three wallets are lifted as a merry hum permeated her vocal cords, fingers grasping the money and discarding the rest of the contents.

“Mmm, a few dollars at least. Perhaps enough for a new outfit.” A pleased smile curls painted lips.

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Dear Jazmine,

Mom thinks I having a psychotic break from doing acid. I’m pretty sure I’ve never done acid but I have no idea anymore. Dad seems to think I’m making it up to get attention. And I, well I have no idea what the truth is. It all seems so real, I can vividly remember the island.  I’m going away for a few months to get “help”. I guess I’ll see you when I get back.

 Thanks for always being there,



So, it wasn’t real?

It doesn’t really matter if it was real or not. For you it is real. The pain you feel is real. The anxiety you’re coping with is real. The fear that plagues you and the nightmares that haunt you, all of that is real. The reality of the event is irrelevant, what matters is your suffering.

Most people wouldn’t accept that as an answer.

Does it really matter what most people think?

I’m not sure. But I can’t really expect anyone to take me seriously, to understand, if they think it is all in my head. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be told that you aren’t depressed, that you can’t be upset, that something can’t bother or hurt you because it never happened?

It isn’t fair, is it? But you aren’t the only one going through this. Think about all the people that get fucked over and are told they just need to try harder. Or all of the people that are told that if they pray hard enough, they’ll be cured. These people have a problem, like yours, it is abstract and intangible. Society judges them just the same. Maybe remember that, because a little compassion can go a long way.

If we’re being honest, I don’t have much in terms of compassion.

Your record shows as much, but the fact that you feel so torn apart over this… well Orion, it suggests otherwise.

I never wanted to kill him. I didn’t mean to.

I know, there isn’t anything you can do to change that though. It is time to let it go, time to heal.

And how do I do that?

By forgiving yourself.


Locks of toasted wheat hair rest against the pane of glass, bouncing with every jostle of the car. The first few hours of the trip had him ecstatic to see the familiar sights of the outside world again. Now, 12 hours into the trip, he is over the trip. Drifting in and out of sleep, seamlessly transitioning from vivid daydreams to lucid dreams, the trip becomes a haze of lost time.

Hey kid, wake up.” The cab driver’s voice isn’t aggravated but it is aggravating. For the first time in forever he feels at peace, and the nagging baritone refuses to let him enjoy it. “I’m awake.” He responds, while lifting his head from the window. He blinks a few times, clearing his eyes and focusing them. “Oh, we’re here?” He hadn’t noticed but the car is stopped. How long had they been parked? How long had the cabby been trying to get his attention.

 What’s the damage?” He asks, pulling out his wallet. “Standard fare is 49,000.  But the clinic is covering most of the bill. So, you only owe 9,000.” The driver replies while turning to face him. Even with so much covered, Orion can feel the despair bubbling in his gut. It’s been ages since he’s been able to pull money in. “Yeah, okay. That’s fair fare I reckon.” He removes several bills and passes them between the glass. “Keep the change, and thanks for driving me.

Hey, thank you kid. Just doing my job you know, every day hero.” The driver chortles, probably at his own joke. Rolling his eyes, Orion climbs out of the cab. Shouldering his backpack, he gives another look at the cab driver. I don’t have to go back. He could take me anywhere. I can start over. He shakes the thought from his head, waves the cabby off, and then enters the gate into Lumiose City.

“Hey, you! Where are you going?

Orion freezes and looks at the guard, his head cants slightly to the left. “Home?

Yeah, who do you know here?

My parents?

The guard stands up from behind his desk, marches around it so the he stands in front of Orion and jabs a finger into his chest. “Listen here asshole, I don’t have time for your games. We’re on fucking lockdown. Answer my fucking questions seriously, or we’ll just fucking arrest you.

Pulling out his trainer card, he hands it over to the guard. “I’m Orion, son of Dr. Steven and Martha Gasm. You’ve probably never heard of them.

There is a brief pause, the guard runs the information on the card, does a double take to compare information and visuals and eventually relinquishes the card back to him. “Very well. Next time I ask you a question, answer it promptly kid.

Snatching the trainer card away and pocketing it, he marches off. “I’m a fucking adult, asshole!” He calls back over his shoulder while simultaneously raising his arm to punctuate the exclamation with a raised middle finger. Why the fuck do people keep calling me kid?

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The human psyche is a marvelous, interesting, complex thing that doesn’t always seem to form the same way twice. While some linger on doubts and troubles, focused on those plaguing thoughts – others simply live as though traumatic events never existed.

The line between reality and non is sometimes blurred so greatly that it’s truly beyond comprehension.

Current reality however, blows.

The best food trucks are on lockdown, and unable to ply their trade – which means no tacos. She has been craving one now for a week, and it seems quite persistent. Jazmine’s utter lack of cooking ability has left any attempt to recreate the sought after food a charred mess in the garbage can. Browning taco meat really shouldn’t be that hard, but it’s a domesticated skill she has never had to learn – this is why Orion and she have always eaten out.  

Or maybe that’s just a lie they’ve told themselves for so long that it’s become truth. Jazmine contemplates her lack of tacos from a street crossing as she watches the people come and go. It’s a strange out of placement, a figure next to her missing – but she knows it is temporary. It has to be. If it’s not, that’s a reality she chooses not to believe in. It seems such a fickle thing, though her attention wanes as people pass by. Security has gotten tighter, people a little stingier with their pocket books on the streets.

Casinos and cafes, however, people spent their hard earned money like it was the last days on the planet. A stash had been squirrelled away for a rainy day, or perhaps a chance to escape what looked like it might be another nightmare. How long would the lockdown last? How long were they going to live under martial rule until someone lit a match to the gasoline pile that was PETPIKA?

Look, I just want some nice shoes, clothes, and maybe an easy ride, ok? Jazmine sighed a bit, closing a single eye before pushing away from the wall. As she progressed through the throng of people, her wayward feet carried her to an old familiar building. Many a time she stood in front of it, waiting. It was an unassuming building, though not derelict, it was found wanting. Inside its walls were the days of school gone by, a dorm for the nearby college, though recently renovated into apartments for small families.

“Man, this place has gone to shit.” A can was kicked across the street.


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220d10ba5e7c680931aaf49b4a119802.jpgOrion comes to a stop as he waits for the glass doors to slide open. With a sigh he crosses the threshold into the pokemon center and begins walking toward one of the PCs. 

"Oh my gosh, Orion, is that you?

Turning to look at the nurse behind the counter, Orion raises his left hand in a halfhearted greeting while smiling back at her. "Hey, long time no see.

"Long time? That's an understatement! Where have you been, we thought you'd been arrested or died!"

"Just took a trip. I'll tell you about it later. Mind if I use one of ...." He statement is cut short by the screech of a young child. "YOU!" Orion rotates toward the youth and forces a smile. What is the saying, never shit where you sleep? "Suuuuuup?"

"I can't believe you have the nerve to show your face here again, you cheater!" The kid levels his finger and jabs Orion in the chest. "Eh, I'm sure I did something terrible to you. But can you cry about it later? I'm busy."

The kids finger recoils and in its place an open palm strikes Orion in the sternum, almost pushing him back. "I want a rematch you cheating douchebag."

Taking a step back and slipping both hands into his jacket pocket, he shrugs at the kid. "Ya sure, maybe later. I'm not really in the mood right now." The kid advances on Orion and shoves him again. "I want my money back and I want revenge. We're battling right now!"

The nurse behind the counter raises her hand and opens her mouth to protest but Orion cuts her off. "I don't have any pokemon on me. So I can't battle you." The kid pauses, retracts his hand and blankly stares back. "I don't believe. This is another one of your tricks."

In response, Orion lifts the edges of his coat showing the empty loops along his belt. "I was just about to go pick some up. Why don't you wait outside. After I've gotten a couple, I'll battle you." There is a second, one filled with defiance, where the child stands in protest. However, he finally relents and heads out the door only to toss a sideways glance back at Orion. "I'll be waiting."

Shaking his head as he sits down at the PC, Orion begins to scroll through his catalog of monsters. Lost in thought, he doesn't notice the shadow looming over him until a hand falls on his shoulder. "Orion, you need to be careful. Things are bad, with us being under martial law. Your normal antics will get you arrested, or worse." Orion looks back at the nurse and halfheartedly smiles. "I'm sure it'll be fine. But I didn't realize things were that bad.

With a couple of taps, two pokeballs materialize next to the computer. Inserting them into his belt loops he glances at the nurse once more. "Hey, mind if I go out the back way?" She looks back at him in disbelief before finally chuckling. "You'll never change will you?

"Who knows, maybe I already have." He says as he stands up, walks behind the counter, and then into the hallway leading to the back. Unfortunately, as he exits the door into the back alleyway, he is greeting with the screeching accusation laden voice of outraged youth. "AND WHERE IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING!?!Guess I'm getting predictable. Orion reaches toward his belt and pops one of the pokeballs out of the holster. "Alright, you've got me. Let's do this, two each. If only because that's all I've got on me right now."

"That's fine with me!" The child exclaims while throwing a ball out. Writhing beams of light rip across the ground before finally merging together to reveal a scolipede. A comparable display of illumination, from Orion's side, reveals a bored looking malamar. "Scolipede, substitute!" The bug withdraws behind a double of itself, its body vibrating a little. 69a601f8b9bfec61d8fbea4ea2b095946915c043_hq.jpgSpeed boost? "Hypnosis." On command, concentric circles of thought encapsulate the substitute and fade away. "You can't hypnosis a substitute dumbass. I didn't realize you were that stupid! Scolipede, sword dance!Oooooh boy. This'll take forever. "Hypnosis again.

"Aren't you listening, it won't work! Sword Dance, again!" The child screams, more with excitement than necessity. 

The exchange is replayed again and again, repeated hypnosis versus sword dance. It's only when the kid gives his last command for a sword dance that Orion finally changes up his strategy. "Superpower." The Malamar launches forward and slams its blade-esque limb into the substitute ripping it in half.

"It's too late, you've already fucked up! Baton pass!

"Topsy-turvy.Glad I'm not the only one that's predictable.

The scolipede's speed boost and sword dance combination certainly has the potential to make whatever is about to get 1.5 times speed and 3 times attack dangerous. In fact, the boost in speed helps the scolipede switch out before the Malamar can act. However, the slaking that takes its place looks incredibly fatigued and sluggish. "Slaking Giga impact!" The giant ape like monster leaps through the air bringing its fist down on the humanoid squid. As the attack lands, the youngster triumphantly screams, "GET WRECKED!"

"Superpower, again." Orion calls out, prompting the Malamar to tank the hit while lashing out with its tentacles. The Slaking's fist hits the Malamar, barely causing its skin to indent, before a series of tentacles smack it through the air and back toward its trainer. 

"Wha... what.... what just happened?"

"One final superpower, malamar." The Malamar explodes forward before the slaking can recover and smacks it into the side of the pokemon center. The pokemon, however, is out cold well before it can hit the wall. "Go ahead, send out your Scolipede, I've got things to do." Orion demands, his arms crossing before his chest.

The child stomps his foot as he takes step at Orion, both of his fists quivering from the strain of clenched muscles. "What the hell just happened?" The demand his saturated with spit.

song_fic___green_x_reader___peppermint_winter___by_frostheartadoptables-d83l30g.jpg"Topsy-Turvy inverts all of your stat boosts. All that time you spent buffing to baton pass, you were really just debuffing. It would have taken you 6-7 giga impacts to knock my pokemon out now. By the by, my malamar's ability, contrary, causes debuffs to buff and buffs to debuff. I've used superpower 3 times now. So its attack and defense have been increasing. You'll substitute again, I'll superpower to break it. You won't have enough HP to do it again, so you'll attack. Malamar will tank it and then snap your bug in half. There is no shame in giving up." While he completely confident in the outcome of the match, it doesn't necessarily show in his voice and mannerisms. Although his face is stoic, the tone of his voice is uncomfortable.

The kid stands there for a few second, sizing Orion up before finally calling back his unconscious slaking. "Fine, whatever. Fuck you, I give up, you win.

"I always do." The statement isn't one of arrogance or triumph but one weighed down with self reflection of his recent past. "Better luck next time... or better yet, how about we don't have a next time and you just leave me the fuck alone."  The malamar is returned to its pokeball and the ball deposited back in his bet loop, as the kid storms off. Turning around and exiting the alleyway, he steps onto one of the main street. Retrieving his pokegear from his jacket, he scrolls through the apps, selects Hex under the messenger application and sends a picture followed by a question mark: 7422526_10144265-mugs11_l.png


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I will march down an empty street like a ship

Into a storm.

The gentle beep of the communication device was ignored for the moment, Jazmine taking her sweet time to stare at the sky instead. Umbreon chirped at her side, even as a single eye closed, the other still focused on the skyline.

“Yeah yeah, I heard it.” Uncrossing at the knee, her booted foot settles on the ground once more as she draws out the pokegear and flips it open.

No surrender, no retreat.

I will tear down every wall just to keep you warm.

“He’s home.” Jazmine offers to the air, a puff of air leaving her maw before it tightens into a grin, exposing a row of teeth to the world. It is thought that women and men cannot be friends without further attachments – but Jazmine would fight that statement with her last breath. Orion is her favorite person, though she bears no romantic feelings towards him, he is the most important person in her life.

Just to bring you home,

I will burn this city down.

Leaping from the seated position, excitement burns in her veins as a snap of her fingers finds the Umbreon following closely at her heels. Jazmine doesn’t run – not yet – but her pace is brisk as she returns a reply with only an image. Orion will understand, however, and meet her at the usual spot.           


For a diamond in the dust

I will keep you safe and sound

Her gait becomes more hurried the closer she comes to the Sawsbucks Coffee. Hesitantly, a hand raises to pat down any fly away hairs before she straightens her outfit. It wouldn’t do well to greet Orion unkempt, afterall. Opening the door, she peers inward in hopes of seeing the seafoam gaze she has come to rely on so heavily. Disappointment laces her features when Jazmine discovers she has arrived first. Well, this way she can order, at least. 

"The usual?" The guy behind the counter asks. 

"Mm, and a redeye. For here. Thanks." Jazmine offers, distracted as her gaze keeps flickering to the door in expectation. Anticipation, they say, is either the most gratifying or the most torturous thing the human mind can comprehend. At the moment, Hex is not sure which part it is - but she accepts the coffees and moves to park herself at a table facing the door. Umbreon settles at her side, laying on the tile as she removes the top of her coffee to allow it to cool, steam rising above the lip of the cup. 


When there’s no one left to trust,

Will you take my hand?

We can make our stand.


Edited by Lacernella Rubra

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Orion glances at the device as soon as it starts chirping. His eyes roll as he shakes his head. "Of course she would." The comment is made as he pockets the pokegear and begins to head toward the Sawsbucks. Sawsbucks' coffee is well and fine, although overpriced. Customers definitely pay more for the brand, than the coffee, there. His preference, though, has always been Ducklett Doughnuts or Tailow Horsea, both of which are much cheaper and much less pretentious alternative. It is probably the pretentiousness that attracts Jazmine, if he's being honest. Sawsbucks is more formal, more uppity, and the decor is to designed to give a greater sense of luxury. Ducklett Doughnuts tends to appeal to the working class, its practical, efficient, and doesn't bother with shiny, plush, fancy decor. "Princess' certainly can't be seen mingling to the rabble."  The thought is vocalized as he crosses the threshold into the coffee shop. 

The door swings shut behind him as he stands at the entrance and glances about. It takes his eyes half a sweep of the room to spot her, and without realizing it he's already smiling. Although he can't really explain what the feeling is that bubbles up from within, it is a welcomed change.  In some ways it is a lot like a sense of completeness replacing the longing emptiness that dominated him for months. Admittedly, he hadn't realized it at the time just how bad off he had been, how incomplete and how empty he'd felt. It hits him now though but almost vanishes instantly. It is replaced with comfort from the knowledge that he once again has someone he can unconditionally trust and it's replaced with the promise of good laughs and great times. More importantly than all of that, there is also a sense of relief because he once more has his person, the person that he can be completely unfiltered with and confide anything in, without risk of judgment.

A rapid succession of footfalls negotiates him around patrons and tables, through a line of people, and finally over to her table. By the time he's at the table he's already through his arms around her in a hug. "I've missed you." The statement is meant for him, just as much as it is meant for her. Breaking from the embrace, to slide into the chair across from her, he sits for several seconds with his eyes closed before finally sighing . It's something in between exasperation and contentment, a reflection of the numerous emotions that the situation stirs up all at once. 

As soon as some semblance of control and composure is gained, he opens his eyes again. "So in order of importance: I like your outfit. How have you been? What the hell is going on around here?"

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The embrace is met in kind, though perhaps a bit tighter – rib cracking may ensue.

“You big blockhead, I missed you too.” Though the words are packed with affection, they are punctuated with an even tighter squeeze before his release. Orion may find himself short on air when Jazmine deems it fitting to allow him to relocate. As he sits, the second cup is lifted and placed in front of him – steaming and warm – and delightfully black. Reclaiming her own seat, a sigh forces itself from Jazmine’s mouth.

“Nice to see your priorities are in order. The boots cost a fortune.” Umbreon perked from beneath her seat, stretching before it pads over to place paws on Orion’s knee with an utterly adorable. “Breeee!” Clearly, it was also pleased to see him.

“I’m fine. Same as usual, really. The marks are low paying but worthwhile, especially now that they’re afraid. Though, that does make the job a bit more difficult. As for what’s going on around here…well. That’s a doozy.” A sip of her coffee is taken before she continues. “A month ago they found the Champion dead on the dock in Cyllage City, considering the kid was ripped nearly in half, they’re claiming foul play but they don’t have any leads. Since then, there’s been rumors that gym leaders from other regions are disappearing – and PETPIKA has been acting up. Lots of riots and shows of power. 12 days ago they bombed the trains in Cyllage. It was bad, 300 dead and that’s not including their pokemon.” Jazmine frowns, her brows furrowing for a brief moment.

“Kids, too, they don’t even care who they’re targeting.” While she may be composed of scumbag material, Jazmine never actively sought out children to harm. It was usually her peers and above that she sought to swindle. “Anyway, so they put us under martial law until they can get things under control, I guess? I heard the other day that they’re starting to do raids on houses without any kind of authorization. The Elite Four seem to be panicking.” A sigh punctuates this, as shoulders raise and fall. A stray blonde hair is tucked behind an ear.

“They even took the food trucks, the bastards.” Though a smile works its way across painted lips. “So I’m afraid if you were looking forward to the tacos, you’re shit outta luck. Though, I bet mom’d make you tacos if you asked.” A laugh follows, though it’s more of a snicker.



Across town, a small group was gathering. Their picket signs were held tightly as they breathed deeply and waved them in the air in front of the Eastern Pokecenter. Among the crowd of 30, only one did not hold a sign. Instead his gaze was unwavering as it stared through the glass at the interior of the building, menacing and full of anger. It wouldn’t be long before the Police force would arrive (For all the useful they were), and time was of the essence.

The hood covering his head remained as he began to wade through the bodies to reach the front.


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"Just... just what kind of crazy bastard literally braces themselves flat up against the ceiling of an elevator, lying in wait, just to drop down behind the next unfortunate soul who uses it and challenge them to a battle?! And we just got done with another battle right before that, so the team was weakened..."


"Yes, Nacho. We were lucky and held the type advantage the whole time. But you can't always rely on luck... at any rate, now that that's done and over with, here's the plan: Heal up, stock up on Potions and such afterwards, and remind myself to never skimp on buying them again, even if a Pokémon Center is within jogging distance."

Nacho nodded in agreement, and then adjusted his position slightly, in order to not fall to the ground as the woman whose shoulder he perched on sped up her pace. As the Hawlucha was the only member of the team who was in battle-ready condition, the woman in question rushed toward the Pokecenter, at a pace just above jogging. Lucia was her name, one that could one day be whispered with reverence and awe the world over. Today, however... was not that day. And as it turned out, Luck was being a fickle mistress on this day.

Lucia made good time to her destination and took in a deep breath in preparation for dashing in… only to be stopped dead in her tracks by the sight of a crowd of protesters. She supposed she could sympathize with their motivation a little. With the current state of affairs, however, she believed this would be ineffectual at best. The time for words and sign-waving had long since passed. Now was the time for direct action. She started pushing her way through the crowd, making a beeline toward the door of Pokecenter. Nacho remained perched on her shoulder, occasionally deflecting a limb or sign away from Lucia. She arrived at the other end just as the hooded man at the other end of the crowd pushed through himself.



Lucia stared at the man as he emerged from the crowd. An icy grip tightened around her heart, and she was filled with a sense of foreboding. There was no rational reason for it, from what she could sense, but she felt that this man was going to be the cause of something terrible. Part of her wanted to dash forward, put a stop to his plans before he could bring them to fruition and hurt people and Pokémon alike. Another part of her wanted nothing more than to run away, get as far away from the potential pain and misery as she could… but neither side would win out, as her legs refused to move. Gathering her willpower, she forced her mouth to move as she affixed the man with a pleading expression. Perhaps it was futility, but she had to do something, anything.


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Orion absentmindedly runs his hand through the Umbreon’s fur as he listens. “Foul Play huh? Well the champ had a lot of Swagger. I’m sure they capitalized on that and in the confusion took advantage of his bolstered strength. I’m sure it was a suitable Punishment. But that definitely sounds like a real Nasty Plot.” Although the tragedy of death is something that Orion wholeheartedly respects, he also can’t help but to crack a grin. It’s a grin that quickly fades away at mention of the train bombing. “Are you… really? 300?” He takes a moment to absorb it, the insanity of the situation.

Orion’s chin falls into his hand, his eyes glossing over with disbelief. “I can’t believe things have gotten that bad.” He murmurs before finally taking a sip of the coffee. The warmth rushes through it and sends tingles up his spine that roll along the base of his skull before washing over his frontal cortex with a near chilling pleasure. It takes a few blinked filled moments before he escapes the sea of euphoria and comes back to reality. “I hadn’t realized how much I miss caffeine.”

“So PETPIKA, or possibly an organization similar to them… or perhaps hired by them, killed the champion and started a terrorism campaign. And now everyone is so spun up that they’re overreacting, which breeds more fear and actually helps the terrorist cause?” Although his simplified summary is probably accurate, Orion understands that the situation is far more complicated than that. People will give up a lot to fight fear and feel safe. Likewise, there is an obligation to do something, often anything, to respond to threats.

Before he’s realized, Orion finished the redeye. He shifts the empty cup from side to side, hoping to ears liquid slosh about but is met with silence. His face scrunches into a frown, although it isn’t clear of the look is because of the lack of coffee, a lack of tacos, or the suggestion that he’d want anything to do with her mom.

“So, what’s the plan then?” He finally asks. “This kinda stuff drives down the economy. People go out less, they spend less, they carry less. People scared to travel stops city to city trade and limits resources to what we have here, eventually creating scarcity. Scarcity drives up prices, further reducing disposable income. Sounds like our bottom line is about to take a hell of a hit.” Although Orion appears to be preoccupied with the money, its mask to hide behind. For as much as he preys on the weakness of other people, the idea of people being slaughtered for political agendas doesn’t sit well with him and he doesn’t plan on becoming a victim.

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