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Wish Upon A Star

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He wasn't lying, he really had nothing to do with puppy-anything dammit.

 

On one hand, maybe it was good that the tourist appeared before Vic could say anything else that contradicted Yanique's attempts at an excuse. At least the girl was making an effort, and 'drones' were somehow plausible.

On the other hand, why. Just why. Who in the world would think a french asian lady was a good idea.

 

At this point, he didn't care that Amber was going to make their life a living hell on Monday anymore. He didn't try to stop her from walking away or anything. Monday seemed to be weeks in the future, after all. Heck, maybe he was lucky and a second meteor appeared, crashing into the town. Monday might never arrive at all, and if it didn't, he'd be spared. So, really, there was no point to anything anymore.

 

But still, why a french asian lady!?

 

He couldn't help putting his face on his hands and making a sound that he'd describe as 'just a groan' but Sam insisted on calling 'a cross between a constipated lion and a dying walrus'. Why french. And what the heck was a waifu. Really, this could only get worse if Jay Carver waltzed out of nowhere.

 

...Had he just thought of Jay Carver by himself.

 

Okay, that was it. He was definitely losing it. Sam could take care of himself. It was Sam's fault he had to wake up early, it was Sam's fault the day had started so terrible, it was Sam's fault he had been tricked to come when he had already said what he wouldn't tolerate, it was Sam's fault everyone thought he was the only guy here, and it was probably Sam's fault too that Amber had spotted them. Enough was enough. He wanted to go home and forget anything ever happened, and that was what he was damn going to do.

 

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Houndoom cursed the damn unbroken windows. He'd have zero troubles just charging through the weak glass, but the ruckus would be too noticeable so he needed to at least wait until the frigin out of place human was out of their frigin sight. And, judging by the sudden quietness on the roof, the spy was already gone. Great. Just, great. His first chance of a decent fight in this arceusforsaken town and it was ruined. Someone was paying for this sooner or later, and Mightyena was on top of the list.

 

And, to top it all off, he could hear another new voice joining the group amidst the barks of one of the dogs. He didn't really know how human society worked, but even he could tell two charred bodies would call too much attention. Did humans even look for missing family members? Ugh, he couldn't risk it.

 

As he was deciding if he should stay put or just damn it all and scare everything away with fire, the tall female human walked past him, not noticing his crouching form. He ignored her too, or at least had planned so, until a metallic sound like a miniature version of an awakened Steelix came from behind him. Curious, he looked just in time to see the tall female had somehow gotten to the gray tube sticking to the side of the building and was using it as an impromptu tree trunk to reach the roof, something he wouldn't have believed possible for those meat sacks before.

 

Huh. Not bad.

 

“Have fun doing whatever this is.”

His attention went back to the group again, and he risked a peek from the corner, his mind chanting a chorus of 'finally's. The first non-contracted human's behind was towards him, and thought it was moving at a Torterra's speed, at least it was retreating. His human had some kind of 'everyone has gone mad including me' expression and seemed to be debating between running away or suicide. Mightyena's human was acting very excited, very exasperated, and very embarrassed at the same time and he didn't even know how. And the second non-contracted human was, thankfully, not in the correct position to notice him, and seemed too busy with the dogs anyway. There also was a white thing with those Torchic scratches humans liked to call 'writing' (the ideas they came up with to compensate for their lack of smell, really) stuck to her back, so the two contracted humans could read it, and Houndoom just wished whatever it said had something to do with her leaving the damn place already.

 

Had he mentioned how much he hated hiding? Because he did.

 

...And why the hell was his human leaving now. Who gave him permission. How dare he.

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Morgan returned and began to apologize for her dog's behavior, adding that today's spy wasn't likely to intrude anymore.

 

And Pidove left in the middle of Morgan's talking....

 

Sasha scowled, hardly watching the ball of feathers leave. Sam spoke up about leaving the lot and she sighed, nodding. "It's as good an idea as ever in this situation," she agreed, noticing Morgan as the taller girl walked over to the fence.

 

Taylor was closest and heard Morgan's whisper. Fidgeting with her torn sleeve, the girl shifted her weight from foot to foot. "Is... Is someone in trouble?" she asked hesitantly, worrying her lower lip. She wasn't able to separate most of what was being said beyond the fence, only a few words here and there. Well, except Yanique and Victor's yelling. And... the occasional shout from Amber.

 

Shaking her head quickly, she fumbled to find her small phone in her pocket and pulled it out at the ready. It was a plain piece of plastic, rectangular and faintly thick with bumpy keys, designed for texts and calls more than for games or web browsing. "I can watch for you!" she said cheerfully, quickly taking the opportunity to be of some help before anyone else could speak up.

 

As Morgan stepped back out of the lot, Taylor hurried to the fence again and took a peek over the top. The chaotic exchange was only growing more confusing as some strange girl had entered the scene while Taylor wasn't looking, causing Yanique to shout even more. Victor still remained to the side and not saying much but looking downright horrified.

 

The angry dog-thing with horns was gone though.

 

"I'm leaving. Someone's going to need to make sure Amber doesn't try to follow Yanique or Victor," Sasha remarked, shooing Pidgeotto away from her. "Go buddy-up to your contractee, not me," she grumbled. The giant bird huffed and muttered something about teens all being the same, regardless of species, and made his way back to Taylor.

 

Grabbing the Poké Ball from her pocket, she held out her arm and clicked the button to enlarge the device. "Do we have to? I want to stay and see what happens!" Zebstrika complained, tossing his head.

 

"Yes. Now, let's go. I can't have you getting caught," she remarked, a brilliant red beam of light zigzagging towards her companion. In the next moment, he was tucked away and the Poké Ball was stuffed back into her pocket. "Sam? Do you plan on staying here with Taylor, Lilly, and Marian, or do you want to come with me?" she asked, briefly glancing at the other two girls. Lilly was having some sort of mental breakdown and Marian was practically silent for the entire ordeal.

 

"Guys, Amber's starting to leave," Taylor said quickly, glancing over her shoulder. "Really, really, slowly but, she's leaving." A look of 'oh!' flashed across her face and she shifted her attention to her phone, hurrying to type out a text message to Morgan as she bit into her lower lip.

 

"Amber's leaving at a slooooowwwwww pace!" She hit the SEND button before looking back over the fence again, shifting her gaze towards the building Morgan had described. Eventually, she spotted a shadowed figure climbing down the side of the building. Given that she could see Amber more to her left while Morgan was more to the right, Taylor was certain that Amber wouldn't be able to see Morgan. But, maybe she was wrong.

 

She hoped she wasn't wrong.

 

[[bleeeeggggg. I tried. Hopefully it's not too horrible. |D]]

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"Desu ne?" The oddly-dressed woman squealed at Yanique at a high enough volume to shatter glass. She whirled around to face the shorter girl, illusion rippling for a brief moment as the note on her back quietly faded from existence, before grabbing Mightyena by the cheeks and vigorously ruffling his fur. Then, she straightened up and looked around wildly, muttering something about "shiba-kun" in broken Japanese - and the ridiculous grin stretched across her face froze as her eyes fell on the spot Amber had been standing in just a minute prior.

 

"Ah, I - er - " she took a step backward, eyes darting about. "J'ai besoin, uh, de... Tch!" Dropping the act but not yet the illusion, the woman turned and pushed past Yanique, silk sleeves trailing behind her, and disappeared with the trademark blur of Feint Attack.

 

[Zoie has both reached the two-week deadline for a post and been removed from the character list; forgive me if I don't consult anyone before moving her out of the way.]

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And now, Pidove, the supposed link they had to the leader of the Pokemon, was gone. The only reason Sam didn't think 'well, now things can't get worse' was because the second someone believes in that is when they're proved wrong. Still, judging by Vic's yell, the situation outside was less than ideal, even it it had yet to involve Luxray themselves appearing and putting an end to their contracts.

 

He let go of Roserade's ball and took that hand out of his pocket, stopping that train of though. Theories were no good at this point, with so few known facts to take into account. Right now, they had Amber to worry about.

 

"Sam? Do you plan on staying here with Taylor, Lilly, and Marian, or do you want to come with me?"

 

"I'll be going too, if you don't mind," he answered, glad to have an excuse to leave the lots. Lilly was acting scared, but the other two girls should be enough to help her, along with the two-headed reptile. He was more concerned about what had happened with the spy, and what were the others doing.

 

As if on cue, Taylor spoke up. Amber leaving was definitely a help, but what kind of impression had she gotten?

 

With a nod at Sasha, he ducked through the hole in the fence, moving aside once he crossed to not get in the girl's way.

 

Now, there were some ideas he had formed about how the situation could be outside, but a foreigner gushing over the wolf-like Pokemon at a volume worthy of an opera singer wasn't one of them. Having a sudden bad feeling, Sam glanced around, confirming that the only teen trying to keep the situation under control was Yanique. Either Vic had left, or Sam couldn't see him nor Houndoom from this position.

 

He had to make a conscious effort to not hit his face with his hand. Vic had just lost every single right he had to be mad at him.

 

But as much as he wanted to follow and smack him, he couldn't right now. None of the people here had a close relationship with Samantha, and that included Vic, so he needed to act as unconcerned as possible. Sam might not trust Houndoom too much, but the hellhound should be enough of an alarm. If he was getting his personality right, the dog would sooner attract the attention of half the city than go down in a fight.

 

No need to be worried. He just had to keep telling himself that.

 

It was through sheer practice that his voice came out unwavering and neutral, just as he intended. "Do you know the direction Amber headed to?" He asked Sasha, back turned to the girl as he peeked around the corner to see if they'd be seen should they get away from the lot's walls, as the foreigner started to take a step back.

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Yanique watched Amber slowly recede into the distance, daring not to blink from the off-chance that the girl might suddenly teleport back over the moment her guard fell. A deep frown split her face and her arms hung limply at her sides after the ordeal passed. All she could feel was a general numbing feeling starting from the pit of her stomach and reaching the tips of her fingers like a wave of ice.

 

She really thought that Amber would buy the excuses, and she could have sworn that she had gotten better at lying, even if her regular response to getting questioned was to barricade herself into her room.

 

Mightyena had his ears back, equally flustered from the whole incident that barely lasted five minutes. Yanique couldn't blame him -- he tried his best to salvage the situation before it took a turn for the worse, and that was before he got manhandled (womanhandled?) by that strange lady. Pity the school gossip say through that ruse as well.

 

"I must report back to Princess Diancie," said the pokemon, "or at the very least Pidove." He sucked in a shaky breath through gritted teeth, as if he were trying his best to keep his composure, before trotting back towards the meeting spot, unaware that Pidove had flown off long ago. "They must know of my blunder."

 

"It's not your fault," Yanique tried to console her partner, pacing after him. "It would've happened no matter what you did." Much like lying, trying to make people less sad was not one of her strong points. Mostly it was through making others laugh through their tears with a joke or some kind of antic, but Mightyena seemed in no position to even smile.

 

"You don't understand the gravity of the situation!" the pokemon snapped, whirling on his paws to face the girl with his teeth bared. "I've failed my duty! I caused this wreck of a day to happen!"

 

The girl stopped. The pokemon continued his tirade. "If only I was able to stop that mewforsaken barbarian of a pokemon…! I should have known better to have announced the spy's presence out loud! There were a hundred and five ways I could have prevented the situation from going awry, and yet I was able to do none of them!"

 

"I'm sorry," Yanique muttered, fumbling the pokeball in her pocket. She didn't want to do this, and she was afraid that Mightyena would burst back out like Houndoom did, but she just didn't know how to handle the situation.

 

"It's not your fault," he howled, "It's all mine, mine!"

 

With a swift movement she drew the Repeat Ball out in her hand and pushed the button to produce the magical laser. The canine's form was engulfed in the red light and vanished away and Yanique found herself utterly alone. The not-japanese japanese lady was gone and Vic had left the scene a while ago. He seemed awfully upset when he stormed off, but she herself wasn't faring much better.

 

This morning went less than smoothly, but tomorrow was going to be hundreds of times worse. She wanted to avoid Amber entirely, but it was impossible to avoid that loudmouth for the rest of her high school career. Maybe if she changed her name and moved to the big city -- but then, what about saving the world with Princess Diancie? There might not be a contract to uphold after this, or after the next time they screw up.

 

Other than the spy, Vic and Houndoom were to blame for this mess, and perhaps Beedrill and Morgan as well. No! Yanique shook the thought out of her head. No one person or pokemon could be blamed. She held an equal part in escalating the situation. Pointing fingers wouldn't undo the mistakes that were made.

 

Forcing herself to move forward, she spotted Morgan climbing down the pipes in a stunning feat of agility. How did she get up there in the first place? "Morgan!" Yanique shouted. "Hey! You and Bedrill alright?"

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Sasha followed after Sam, peering around the corner as the other girl asked her question. "I'm not entirely certain...," she replied, frowning faintly. Looking past Yanique and the wolf-like Pokémon, Shay found the area to be otherwise vacant. Walking away from the lot, she glanced at Sam before turning her gaze upon Yanique... Who was heading towards Morgan and starting to talk with her after stuffing her companion back into its ball. She paused, having had the intent of asking which way Yanique might have seen Amber go.

 

Hurrying forward, she approached the other two. "Sorry but, Yanique? You don't happen to know which way Amber went, do you?" she asked. "Sam and I want to keep an eye on her for a little bit; make sure she doesn't loop around and follow anyone."

Edited by Narvix

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"Morgan! Hey! You and Beedrill alright?"

The blonde glanced down from her position mid-way up the wall and stared at the girl dressed in dark clothing on the ground. Loosening her foothold on the pipe, Morgan let herself slide down the pipe before pushing herself away from the wall, leaping down onto the ground with a soft thud. She halted herself for a moment, allowing herself to recover from the impact of jumping before straightening her back and gazing over at Yanique.

"We're fine," Morgan affirmed with a short nod as she crossed her arms around her chest. "The spy ending up hitting one of Beedrill's nerves. He has realized the error in his ways and certainly won't be making the same mistake again, nor will I allow for such a commotion to proceed again." The way Beedrill reacted to the spy's arrogant display disturbed Morgan greatly. Beedrill's heart was in the right place for sure, but his hotheadedness skewed his perception of reality. It made him act upon impulse—something that Morgan was guilty of as well—rather than thinking a situation through carefully, using strategically analyzation to form a solution to a problem instead of charging headfirst in. Despite how much Morgan wanted to chastise Beedrill, she knew better than to criticize him when she barely even knew him. In fact, she had only known him for about three days, most definitely not enough time to fully understand why Beedrill acted as he did and what other factors beyond his temper caused him to act so irrationally.

If we don't end up blowing our cover anytime soon, I'll be spending quite a lot of time with Beedrill. I'll have to learn more about him anyhow if we're going to be efficient partners; I see no reason why I shouldn't try to figure out what his triggers are so I can make sure an incident like this doesn't happen in the future.

 

A soft vibration suddenly pulsated from Morgan's shirt. She glanced down at her shirt as Sir Purrcival opened his eyes momentarily to let out a small yawn before closing his eyes as he began to doze once more. Uncrossing her arms, Morgan stuffed a hand into her breast pocket and fished out a flat screened phone. A small green box with a chat bubble inside of it appeared next to the name "Taylor" written in a block-like font.

"Amber's leaving at a slooooowwwwww pace!" was pasted underneath Taylor's name. Amber was finally gone? Morgan peeked over the side of the building before returning to her original position, giving a small sigh of relief. Thank God, Amber's arrival had done nothing but made the day more stressful than it already was. She'd probably cause trouble on Monday but that issue was minor when compared to the tragedy that could have occurred had she figured out what was going on. If she became troublesome later on, Morgan could deal with her. What harm could some pesky gossiper cause anyhow?

"Just a moment," Morgan said as she hastily entered a passcode unlocking the phone before quickly writing a reply to Taylor.

"Thanks for the heads up, the spy and the tourist seem to have left as well." Morgan hit SEND before shoving her phone back into her breast pocket and lifting her eyes back up to Yanique.

"Amber seems to be gone," Morgan said blandly as she rolled her shoulders back. "Though we don't have anyone to take orders from. Pidove left while I was reporting about the spy and hasn't shown up since. It looks as though we're on our own for now."

 

A frown tugged at the corners of Morgan's mouth as she finished speaking. Just what exactly were they supposed to do now that Pidove was gone? They couldn't just shamefully walk home and hope tomorrow was better like they did yesterday. Morgan silently cursed the pigeon-like Pokemon for flying off before concluding the meeting. Didn't he leave any instructions for them to follow before he so dramatically fled from the scene. Morgan unconsciously rubbed her neck anxiously as she scoured her memories for some sort of order she and the others could follow. She recalled that Pidove had said something about finding out as much as they could about the spy. What were his exact words? "So your task is: find out as much about the spy as possible. Ask your classmates if necessary. Then, a few of you should keep an eye on her and report straight back to me if she contacts anyone suspicious. It may be a good idea to investigate some of the larger buildings around here as well. You just might hit the jackpot.” Wasn't that what he said right before Samantha brought up the possibility of dying? Morgan turned her gaze towards the buildings around her and observed the environment. It was early in the morning, around ten to be exact, and the town was still waking up. Most teenagers would spending the day going to work, finishing any homework that was due the following day, or just hanging around having fun. If Amber had been wandering around the lots at nine in the morning, then the chances of other teenagers meandering around town couldn't be that low. Even if Pidove had abandoned the group, that didn't mean they had to give up as well. If they split up and looked around town, they might just find some clues as to who the spy was.

 

"Do you think we could-"

Morgan stopped mid-sentence as Sasha suddenly materialized next to Yanique and began asking her a question. Morgan shut her mouth, as she didn't want to rude, and turned her head away from the two girls, allowing her eyes to observe the open walkway next to the building. As Morgan slowly, and not intentionally, began to tune out Sasha's inquiry, she caught sight of a boy walk straight pass the three girls. It took a moment for Morgan to recognize the boy as Victor, strolling right past the three girls without even sparing a glance in their direction. His cheeks were flushed, his muscles were tensed, and he held an angry, flustered expression upon his visage. Morgan frowned as she watched the boy walked by, mumbling something incoherent in German under her breath. Where was Houndoom? Had Victor managed to stop the brash hellhound? Why was he walking away? He hadn't given up so soon, had he? Not bothering to tell her plan to Yanique or Sasha, Morgan marched over to where Victor was with her mouth formed into a straight line.

"Hey!" she called over to him as she placed a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to slow him down before pushing her way in front of him and standing in his way, blocking his path in the process. Morgan released her grasp on Victor's shoulder as she crossed her arms defiantly over her chest.

"We're not done yet," she stated as she stared down at Victor. "There is no reason for us to waste the rest of the day when we have a task to complete. Why don't you join us so we can discuss what to do in Pidove's absence?" Morgan motioned over towards where Sasha and Yanique were standing before resting her brown gaze on Victor. There was no hint of a challenge in her voice, but the tone in which she spoke was absolute. She did not expect Victor to argue but at the same time, she would not tolerate it if he did. The last thing she wanted to do initiate a fight but if Victor needed some encouragement to stay with the group, then so be it.

Edited by Doctortear

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Victor might have been a bit too focused on getting the heck away from the lots and all the madness they had inspired, as he didn't even notice someone had approached him until he heard the 'hey' and felt a tight grip on his shoulder.

 

He glared at the offending limb and then at the owner. "What," he angrily snapped, already feeling his patience running out as Russian girl for some reason didn't take the hint and blocked his way. And while she had nothing to do with why he was mad in the first place (two very specific names were the ones that came to mind), right now she was standing between him and sweet isolation and scolding him of all things, and that was not something he'd- wait was she taller than him!?!?

 

He took a quick glance down. Her shoes didn't have heels. Houndoom chose that moment to roar one of his most colorful insults yet.

 

Victor couldn't imagine a combination of signs that would state with more certainty that he should just give up on life.

 

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He didn't care that the human had left and he was free to do as he wished. He didn't care about his human partner leaving. He didn't care about Mightyena's breakdown and how easily it'd be to mock it.

 

What Houndoom cared about was that there had been a perfect chance to fight the spy and he hadn't taken it because he still had thought they were an unrelated bystander. That's what happens when he plays by the rules, and he couldn't be seeing more red at the moment.

 

He roared and headbutted the wall with his horns, the fire that flared around them in his anger leaving a pair of black smudges on the already worn-down surface. Usually attacking something helped calm him down, but right now it was making him even angrier because the damn wall couldn't fight back and he couldn't even bite it without it looking ridiculous.

 

He still headbutted it again.

 

"Will you knock it off!?"

 

He switched targets then, turning to return a glare at his human, teeth showing in half a snarl and fur bristling angrily as he held his tail up. "And weren't you in the process of running away?" he barked right back with as much contained anger as Victor had.

 

 

So, of course, both proceeded to completely ignore the others in favor of a verbal fight, and though years of 'living somewhere where loud noises meant rocks could fall on you' and 'sibling arguing at 3am without waking up mom' meant neither of their volumes was anywhere near yelling, the hostility alone in their tones and body language was enough to make anyone with a survival instinct think twice before interrupting.

 

"It was your fault in the first place that-"

"Well if you had been faster instead of an useless meat sack-"

"-just had to set yourself on fire did you even think that-"

"-a deal that the damn ball was NOT to be used under any circumstance-"

"-scramming off not caring about anything why should I-"

"-worse excuse I've ever heard and I thought the cupboard one was the epitome of-"

 

It said something that they both seemed to be getting what the other was insulting them with even though they were arguing at the same time, too.

Edited by Puredark006

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"Glad to hear they spy didn't get too physical," Yanique replied to Morgan as her assumptions led to the conclusion that the spy had not engaged them in combat. A feeble smile played on her lips as she was a bit taken aback by the taller girl's brusque tone. She was rich, serious, and intimidating in stature and Yanique had to lift her chin up to talk to her even when Morgan had both feet on the ground. The younger girl waited with pursed lips while she took a message on her phone and sent another message back.

 

Morgan reaffirmed that Amber was gone -- something that Yanique already knew -- and that Pidove had flown the coop. So much for her plan to ask the bird for advice. The girl found their messenger and consultant a little insensitive for ditching them like that on a whim, although she herself didn't know of any of his circumstances that may have led to this particular ragequit (in all honesty, if she had wings she would have also flown far, far away as well). And now, it was implied that they to do whatever they wished for the rest of the day.

 

She dreaded every minute that took her closer to Monday. Wild ideas flashed through her mind -- thoughts of methods of chasing after Amber and forcibly shutting her up -- but she shook her head to clear the drastic schemes from her mind.

 

Shay approached with a slight jog, light on her feet and with her dark hair flowing behind her. The runner skid to a halt when she was close enough and burst Yanique's bubble, snapping her out of her thoughts with her inquiry before Morgan could with hers. She cast her an apologetic sideglance before answering Sahsa. "Uh, I've seen her go thata-way," she motioned towards the direction from which she last saw Amber disappear around a corner. "I've got a feeling she might stick around, unless she's confident that she'll get the full story out of us tomorrow. She hasn't seen you or Samantha with us yet, right?"

 

It was a smart move. No matter how much she wanted to keep an eye on that girl as well, she just had to trust her teammates to do the job. Isn't teamwork an important lesson in cartoons? And besides, part of herself wanted nothing more to do with Amber, not now, not ever.

 

And neither did Vic want to deal with her again either. He nearly stormed past them, his expression wrinkled in a mix of anger and misery. She wanted to apologize for whatever dignity she had inadvertently stripped from him, although she kept her distance. The addition of Houndoom to the formula only served to postpone her talk with him, as both pokemon and contractee were became locked in a yelling -- quiet yelling -- match.

 

Making eye contact with Morgan, then Shay, Yanique lifted her eyebrows and shrugged. Best to ignore them until they cooled down.

 

((No idea why writing this was so hard. I need to get back into the swing of things. Sorry everyone.))

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Nodding, Sasha glanced at Sam before looking to Yanique and Morgan. "Alright, thanks. We'll keep an eye on her and distract her if needed. Send us a message whenever you get out of here or get to where you're going. We'll leave her alone then," Sasha stated, folding her arms across her chest from lack of knowing what else to do with them.

 

As Victor and his hound began a verbal death match, Sasha frowned slightly and rubbed her shoulder in mild discomfort. Her mouth began to open, words floating on the tip of her tongue, when, "Could you stop fighting, please?" Glancing back, she spotted Taylor standing nervously a little ways away, hands fidgeting with the ends of her sleeves. "W-We're not supposed to fight...," she started, trailing off.

 

Behind her, Pidgeotto gently nudged his head against her arm and she briefly looked at him before looking at the others. "We're going to be Superheroes and Superheroes don't fight with each other," Taylor explained, shifting her weight from foot to foot. "If we fight with ourselves, then the villain has already won. Superman never fights with his allies and neither does Wonder Woman. Batman's grumpy but he doesn't fight with other Superheroes. Well, unless someone's been brainwashed by someone like Lex Luther or something. In which case, Batman has a contingency plan to stop them without seriously harming them. The Teen Titans would be a better example though since they're a group of five and always win through their teamwork...." Her words trailed off again as she shook her head quickly, smiling nervously. "Sorry...," she apologized.

 

Pidgeotto chuckled, seemingly amused. "What she means is that there's no reason any of us should be arguing. We've our differences but, those differences give us our various strengths and weaknesses," he remarked, slightly holding up his wing as if he were a human pointing a finger upward.

 

"Another fair point is that we're still out in the open," Sasha stated flatly. "And having these two visible is not a good idea."

 

Taylor flushed red with embarrassment and Pidgeotto fumbled a partial response. "Right," Taylor responded, quickly pulling out the Poké Ball from her pocket (almost dropping it in the process) and clicking the button to store her companion away within.

 

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Shay tapped Sam on the arm and started stepping away from the group. "Better get going so we don't lose Amber, then."

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Sam followed Sasha at a normal walking speed, placing his hands behind him to prevent the urges he seemed to be having lately to place them on his pockets. He really needed to get a grip on himself. And while he acknowledged the uncharacteristic bout of paranoia wasn't even likely to last until the next reunion, the sooner he got over it the lower the risk of breaking character.

 

His gaze momentarily wandered towards the streets that led away from the lots as Yanique pointed, before focusing again on the girls. "No, she hasn't. The fence was blocking her sight all the time," he confirmed the younger's question with an amicable smile as Sasha nodded. They should be going then, to not risk losing track of Amber.

 

So of course, Vic chose that moment to make a scene. He should count himself lucky Sam wasn't holding anything, or the temptation to throw it at his face might have been too strong, consequences be damned. As it was, he had to settle for a slightly annoyed look at their direction.

 

At least Taylor was trying to pacify them, and thought she couldn't have known, it was really lucky she included male names in her rant or who knows how Vic's fragile masculinity would have made him react. Judging by experience, chances were it'd have included actual yelling and a serious attempt to barrel through the girls in his way out. And while it might have been amusing to see him attempt that on kitten-girl with the guardian dogs still nearby now really wasn't the time nor place.

 

Houndoom was bristling again, though, apparently sick of being interrupted. The bird Pokemon's chuckle only seemed to aggravate the dog further as he bent his front knees in preparation for a jump, attempt that was thwarted by Vic quickly (and, by the looks of it, with great satisfaction) pulling on his tail.

 

"Better get going so we don't lose Amber, then."

"Yeah, the sooner the better," Sam answered, quickly matching Sasha's pace as Houndoom let out the kind of muffled frustrated roar that would have made birds fly from trees if unleashed on all its fury in a more cliched location. If Vic was going to be with the rest of the group he should give it no more thought.

 

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"Put me in that ball and I swear, I will be ripping off someone's limb and FRIGGIN CRUSHING IT!" Houndoom threatened, every single hair in his body raised and all teeth showing in a silent snarl. The friggin human had not only dared to prevent him from getting that cocky ball of feathers, but had pulled. On. His. TAIL. If it wasn't because he needed one of those meat sacks to have a chance against Luxray he'd already be snacking on his face but no, of course life wasn't so simple. Life was difficult and you had to lower yourself to talk to this lower lifeforms and not murder their sorry arses or you miss the biggest fight you could ever have hoped for.

 

The human had been smart enough to let go as quickly as he had started the maneuver, having taken a step back while raising his left arm in front of his body. "Then stop making such a scene," he dared growl right back.

 

"I will make any damn scene I damn want!" Houndoom barked, immediately turning and running away, making sure his path included the action of bumping hard against the meat sack who had spoken up and interrupted his fight with his human. He didn't need any damn balls. He had kept himself hidden for days, and would have continued to do so if not for Mightyena. Those losers could go try to find whatever the damn hell they damn wanted, HE was going to try to find the spy that had just escaped to see if he could finally get something to bite into.

 

Like just a few minutes ago, his arrowed tail disappeared behind a corner before the Safari Ball was used, his footsteps quickly growing fainter until they were too far from the group to be heard.

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Amber strolled down the sidewalk at the pace of a snail. The commotion behind her continued, with more high-pitched squealing and then hushed arguing. She paused for a second and turned her head to look over her shoulder before stopping herself and continuing to move forward, this time at a more reasonable walking speed. The empty lots gave way to what was less of a shopping district than a scattered collection of miscellaneous stores. It was quiet; other than a handful of parked cars and shifting silhouettes inside the few places that opened this early on a Sunday, no one was present besides Amber and the two people following her.

 

A few minutes of aimless wandering later, Amber stopped smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk and squinted up at the clouds. This kind of depressing weather was more than common in Hillside Heights - it was the norm for this time of year - but despite having lived here all her life, Amber took a good ten seconds to assess the grey skies before moving on. Making a quick turn, she ducked under the awning of the nearest building (a cute little bakery that didn't open on Sundays at all) and, leaning against the wall, pulled a compact mirror out of her bag. Apparently she'd have to fix her makeup before going to whatever that important meeting was.

 

[sorry for the delay, guys. Amber's probably not going to move from that spot for a while, just so you know.]

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Refraining from contorting her face into a grim expression, Morgan glared at Victor as he barked at her angrily before spinning around to his partner, the hellhound, who was growling obscenities at him. The two marched up right up each other and began to aggressively argue in hushed voices. It was rather interesting that they each seemed to understand what the other was saying as they were continually cutting each other off and overlapping each other's words. As petty and disgraceful Morgan thought the two were for arguing, she could not help but feel slightly impressed by how well they seemed to know each other. Granted, the connection between the two was hostile, but they were clearly more acquainted with each other than some of the other magical girls. If they could transform their relationship into something more productive, they could prove to be a great assist to the team. Of course, competence seemed to be a limited resource on the team. Shaking her head at the pitiful display the two yowling males presented, Morgan caught Yanique's eye and gave a small nod before the shorter girl glanced over in Sasha's direction. There were bigger and more important things to do than to babysit the two squealing children.

 

"Alright, thanks. We'll keep an eye on her and distract her if needed. Send us a message whenever you get out of here or get to where you're going. We'll leave her alone then,"

"Sounds good," Morgan commented as she turned her gaze to Sasha. Morgan's eyes drifted away from the commotion and towards where Amber had stormed off. Queen was meandering around, pouncing on pieces of discarded trash, while Bonnie watched the young pup with a warily eye. Puckering her lips together, leaving her lips slightly ajar, Morgan whistled a high, shrill note. Bonnie and Queen immediately dropped whatever they were doing and turned their heads towards Morgan's direction. They bounded over to their owner's location and promptly sat obediently at her feet. Whispering soft words of praise, Morgan picked up the dogs' leashes and wrapped them firmly around her wrist. It wasn't until after she confirmed she had a good grip on the dogs' leashes did Morgan realize Taylor was lecturing Victor and Houndoom on the virtues of working together. Morgan had to conceal a snide chuckle behind a coughing fit when Taylor mentioned Superman not fighting his allies unless one of them was brainwashed and the Teen Titans getting along. Had she not seen any of the television shows, movies, and or comics? Superman fought with the Justice League plenty of time and one of the things that made the Teen Titans so intriguing was that they got over their differences to work together as a team. A prick of shame overcame Morgan as she realized she was completely negating Taylor's interpretation. She was trying to set an example and Morgan shouldn't simply swat it away because it wasn't the greatest of lessons.

 

Despite what Morgan might have thought, it seemed as though Victor and his partner did not appreciate Taylor's motion. The hellhound hostility was becoming too great, something that Victor attempted to remedy. Sadly, his solution appeared to be grabbed the angry mongrel by the tail which was not the smartest of moves. Morgan bit her lip and took a step forward with a warning on his lips. Victor seemed to realize the errors of his ways quickly. Before Morgan could move in to settle Houndoom down, Victor let go of the dog's tail and backed away. The two exchanged a few words drenched in venom before Houndoom childishly claimed he would make "any damn scene" he wanted before sprinting away, shoving Taylor roughly in the process.

"Well, that was rather distasteful," Morgan commented as Houndoom disappeared from sight. Morgan sniffed sharply, adjusting her position and straightening her back even more so than it already was.

 

"My apologizes for not explaining my idea earlier," Morgan said, dipping her head respectfully to the two girls and Victor. "Now that the situation has cleared up, I do think I should at least offer my idea for the rest of you to review. Before Pidove flew off, he mentioned what our next assignment was going to be." Morgan folded her hands behind her back, allowing herself glance between each individual in the same group. "He told us to look for clues as to who the first spy was. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't plan on walking back home with my tail between my legs. If there's any chance that we could find some clue as to who the spy was, we should take it. I do admit that I haven't thought too deeply into the idea. I wouldn't know all of the places the spy could be potentially be, but I do hope that the combined effort of the entire team is enough to find her. The best suggestions to look I can offer is the hotel or maybe the park but such motions are useless if today's events have tired you which, considering the circumstances, would be completely understandable." Morgan stayed silent momentarily, awaiting for the others' responses. It didn't matter if they all disagreed to go with her to find some clues regarding the spy. Morgan would go and do so by herself. She had debated upon whether or not she should suggest going after Houndoom, but she perished the thought. He was an adult, or at least he was physically, and must have been hiding from humans since he was little. If he had a brain in that thick skull of his, he'd go blow off steam somewhere secluded. It also seemed to be a poor idea to go out and try to locate the hound while he was so riled up. It would be best to let him cool down before attempting to approach him and besides, the spy was the priority. The group couldn't go check to see if Houndoom was okay every time he threw a tantrum, he would sooner or later have to learn to control his anger least it make him do something he would regret.

Edited by Doctortear

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Yanique lifted a hand, fingers outstretched, then lowered it immediately. While she only had a faint idea of what Taylor was blabbering on about, the girl understood the general intent behind it. Wasn't that how every kid's show worked? 'By the power of friendship and teamwork!' If only real life were as simple as banishing all evil with the power of lasers made of caring. From the few minutes she had seen Houndoom in action, she shifted her stance and braced for impact in case he decided on a whim to take his anger out on the girl naive enough to try to break them up.

 

Victor was faster. He gave his pokemon a quick warning tug his tail, taking the risk of getting mauled himself. Yanique winced, convinced that it was going to get bloody, but all he did was roar in his partner's face and flee the scene with his fur bristling. The magical girl took a step forward, preparing to chase after Houndoom a second time, before resigning to the fact that the might be better off alone for the moment. Pokemon survived all the time without human help, didn't they? At least, that's what she understood from Mightyena's explanations. Either way, Houndoom was no longer 'any of their damn business'.

 

Now that the situation was considered resolved, Morgan resumed her explanation of their plan after a curt but respectful nod. The transition was a little jarring to Yanique, but she supposed it couldn't be helped if they were to achieve anything today to offset the absolute disaster that had been the morning. Because she had no idea where to even start, she found herself agreeing with the taller girl before the plan was even fully explained.

 

And when the plan was fully explained, Yanique had an internal sinking feeling that no one knew what they were doing. Nevertheless, she forced a smile, pretending for a moment that everything was stellar. "Pidove did say that she looked about our age, so where would we be hanging out on a lazy Sunday afternoon?" She brought a hand to her mouth, closing her eyes to think. "A lot of things are closed on Sundays, which rules out most stores and coffee shops. I usually stay at home, but when the weather's good there's nothing like a nice jog in the park..."

 

She lifted her head up to see if the skies had changed. They were still overcast and threatening rain. "Well, we never know?"

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As Taylor stopped fumbling with Pidgeotto's Poké Ball and stuffed it into her pocket, the verbal argument between Victor and the angry dog seemed to end. Though, not in the manner desired. The dog rushed past her, none-too-kindly bumping into her. She stumbled back a couple steps before falling hard onto her tailbone and palms with a grunt. Surprise melted into humiliation as she sat forward, head bent so her dark, brown hair hid her face.

 

Morgan was detailing the next step to take so the group could move on with whatever feeble plan Pidove left them with. In turn, Yanique was responding, mulling over what she would do on a day like this. Sniffling, Taylor finally go up and slowly brushed off her clothes, not yet looking at any of the others. After a few more moments, she started mumbling her reply. "The park sounds like as good as any place to start with. I know the swings are always fun to be on when I don't have any other ideas of what to do for the day," she stated, gaze focused on fidgeting hands.

 

Eventually, she looked up and met everyone else's gaze, feeling rather small compared to them. "W-We could try the library too. It's open Sunday afternoons and, if the spy is around our age, she's probably going to our school and has homework," Taylor suggested nervously. She swallowed in uncertainty, not sure if the others would grumble or sneer at the stupidity of the idea.

 

~~~

 

Leaving Morgan, Yanique, Victor, and Taylor behind, Sasha hurried to keep from losing sight of Amber. Samantha was beside her, keeping pace. Amber was a block or so ahead, coming to a stop to examine the clouds above. Similarly, Sasha paused and looked up to see what the gossiper might be noticing. Nothing but the gloomy sky.

 

After she continued walking, Amber stopped again, leaning against the wall of a small shop and grabbing something out of her bag. Shay wasn't experienced in following someone around like a sneaky stalker. However, she did know when to take a detour down a little alleyway. "I'm going to try and cut into her path up ahead. Did you want to continue following her or make some guesses on where she might be going?" Sasha asked Sam, briefly glancing at their target to make sure she wasn't moving again too soon.

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Sam followed after Sasha, neither of them saying anything to not get detected by the one they were tailing. Nothing much happened the next few minutes, until Amber suddenly stopped to look up. Sam kept facing forward, face unmoving as he took a covert glance at the roof of the buildings in his field of vision. He didn't notice anything odd, but... what if she had made a Contract too, and that pause was to wait for a signal from her partner? At this rate I'll start acting as if the whole school has made contact with Pokemon, he lightly scolded himself.

 

"I'm going to try and cut into her path up ahead. Did you want to continue following her or make some guesses on where she might be going?"

"At this point she could be heading anywhere. No use to guess," he answered, taking a look at the open shops around. The one that caught his attention was a small one that was the kind to sell small trinkets and accessories, and second-hand clothing. It was open and, most importantly, he could see some of the articles through the glass doors and window.

 

"I'll be over there," he said, signaling the store to Sasha with a movement of his head. He spoke quickly, so they could finish talking before they got close enough for Amber to notice either of them. "I can pretend to be shopping and keep an eye on her through the glass. Text you if anything happens?"

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Victor had to restrain himself from yelling 'And don't come back!' to Houndoom's retreating form. Good riddance. These past two days the dog had been in an especially volatile mood, and he didn't want to have anything more to do with it.

 

With the troublemaker gone, Russian girl wasted no time in going full teacher mode, the one with the black-and-yellow hair quickly adding in to the conversation too. As they were deciding on where to head to (a topic he had no interest in, as long as it wasn't somewhere his friends would be), Victor sent a last angry glare in the direction the crazy dog had disappeared in, and just then noticed the hellhound had made another of the girls trip. Really? Getting physical with someone who hadn't started anything? The prospect of sawing off one of his horns and sticking it into his snout sounded more appealing by the minute.

 

He had already taken a step towards her when she got up by herself, dusting off her clothes. Well, that was good. Still, as that dog's partner he felt he should at least say something. "Sorry about Houndoom. He's an ass," he apologized, the last sentence said with a bit of frustration and in the kind of tone one would use to confirm the ocean is blue.

 

Their destination for the day was probably the park, since neither of the girls had any objections. It sounded like a safe place too, considering everyone's habits. Because after what Houndoom said there was no way in freaking hell Victor was going home without something being achieved. He'd show that dog who was the one running away. "Let's move before something else happens then," he said, a bit of the irritation he was still feeling at the whole Amber and Houndoom thing bleeding into his tone as he turned and started walking in the direction of the park. They might be going together but he was going to keep enough distance from the girls that he could pretend he didn't know them if someone talked to him.

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Thankfully, it seemed as though the other four accepted Morgan's proposal and agreed upon the matter of searching for the spy. It wasn't until a wave of relief washed over Morgan did she realize that her body had become tense while she was explaining her plan. She had been so sure one of them, mostly likely Victor, would simply shrug off the idea and march on back home. Glancing at the boy momentarily, Morgan made a silent note of his behavior. He'd didn't seem to be taking the situation as seriously as he should have. Granted, most people weren't, but he seemed to be more focused on himself than the group as a whole. He'd have to change that point of view sooner or later. Chasing Victor out of her mind, Morgan turned her attention to Yanique and Taylor who were throwing out a few locations the group could go in order to locate the spy.

 

Crossing one arm around her chest, Morgan brought her free hand to her chin and glanced sidewards with her brows furrowed in thought as she began to ponder the options provided. Yanique mentioned that most stores would be closed on Sunday so that ruled out some of the teenage hangout hot spots. Both she and Taylor mentioned the possibility of the park as it was always open and easy to get to. Morgan turned her gazed upward, taking in the view of the dull gray clouds hanging overhead. The threat of rain was present, but the scent of rain was not yet in the air. Morgan couldn't tell if it was going to rain based purely on how the sky looked, but she could always check the chance of rain on her phone if need be. Taylor had also mentioned the possibility of the spy hanging out at the library. While the library was an excellent choice, Morgan didn't want to risk going to the library, find no one there, and then head out to the park only to find out that it was raining. It would be best to head to the park and then go the library if they found no leads in the park, that way, they could explore all of their options before having to come up with someplace else to search.

 

Lowering her hand and crossing her arms firmly against her chest, taking care not to squish the sleeping kitten in her shirt, Morgan silently observed her companions. Morgan hadn't even realized that Taylor had been knocked down in Houndoom's tantrum. Had she known earlier, Morgan would have gone over to help but, alas she did not. It wasn't until Taylor had gotten up and started speaking did Morgan realize she had fallen in the first place. Victor, who seemed to be taking some responsibility for his partner's actions, offered his condolences to Taylor. Morgan would have thought his apology was sincere if his chosen words of comfort were not, "Sorry about Houndoom. He's an ass." Morgan shook her head at the remark, quietly mumbling something incoherent under her breath.

"I think the park would be our best first choice," Morgan claimed as she let her eyes flicker to each person individually. "Not to say there aren't other places we can check out, I just think that searching the park first would be best considering just how foreboding the weather is."

 

"Let's move before something else happens then." Morgan glanced over at Victor who had spurted out his declaration, his voice oozing with venom. Before anyone could address the issue or voice their opinion, Victor spun around and began to march away in the direction of the park. Morgan clicked her tongue softly as the boy marched off. His sheer insolence was going to get on Morgan's nerves if he kept it up. Did he even think to consider the fact that someone may have an objection to going to the park? Did he realize that the situation did not revolve on him? His partner had gone rouge and Morgan completely understood why that had upset him, but couldn't he stop for a moment and think about the group? Hell, his first reaction to Yanique trying to cover up the Pokemons' existence was to make it look like he wasn't involved which he clearly was. He had utterly decimated Yanique's excuse and for what? To make himself look better? Didn't he realize how serious the situation was?

Apparently not.

Morgan looked over at Yanique and Taylor, offering a small shrug as a response to Victor's actions. There was no point in getting separated. It looked as though Victor had, intentionally or not, forced the group to head to park, whether they liked it or not. Beckoning the other magical girls to follow, Morgan began to follow Victor, shaking her head disapprovingly all the while.

 

The park was a decent distance from the empty lots, but it wasn't too far away. It had only taken around ten minutes or so to reach the park, pretty good timing considering just how far away they were. Morgan paused briefly, stopping near one of the various entrances of the park to observe her surroundings. Hillside Park was somewhat embarrassing compared to the other parks she had seen when she was on vacation. It was a splotch of greenery with various trees and shrubbery planted upon it to give the impression of the park being a safe haven for nature within the small block town. The intricate fountain placed within the center of the park was well-designed, but it looked out of placed when compared to the stone-paved square it was set upon. The fountain was the town's attempt to impress tourists. If anyone with some real money on them came by and saw the park, they would be anything but awed by the display. Dully, Morgan noted that Victor was keeping his distance from the other magical girls. Morgan couldn't tell if Victor was simply still irritated by the business with Amber and Houndoom or if he was avoiding the girls because he didn't want to associated with them. Either way, Morgan was less than pleased with the brunet.

 

A familiar meow sounding on the ground caught Morgan's attention. The blonde glanced down at her feet to locate whatever was making the noise. A stunning cat, a Turkish Angora to be specific, with silky white fair padded up gracefully Morgan.

"Hey there, Lady," Morgan said softly as she crouched down to rub the cat's head. Lady Pawdiva purred loudly as she pressed her head into Morgan's palm. Morgan brushed her fingers across the top of the cat's head in a gentle manner. Rubbing against Morgan's leg, Lady Pawdiva turned her head momentarily and blinked at Morgan with her mismatched eyes, one being blue while the other was green. For a second, Morgan was confused as to why Lady Pawdiva was out in the park, but she suddenly remembered why. Yanique had mentioned most stores were closed on Sunday, that included The Ring Octopus, the only fish restaurant in town.

 

The Ring Octopus was most notable for their delicious onion rings, that were perhaps the best Morgan had ever had, the neon blue sign that glowed brightly over the restaurant, and the ridiculous local commercial they had where they put some overenthusiastic teenager in a blue-ringed octopus, the restaurant's mascot, costume and made him dance to some acoustic music. The food was good enough for the restaurant to keep their pride and not result to such pitiful tactics such as the commercials they pumped out, but the owner didn't seem to realize that. Lady Pawdiva often hung around the restaurant and waited for people to feed her scraps of their meal. She was a magnificent specimen and was good-natured enough to allow people to pet her while they fed her. The owner had been against having the cat use his business as a feeding ground at first, but once he realized that she brought in more customers, he let her stay. It had gotten to the point where she was featured in one of The Ringed Octopus's commercials and there were was even offical rules regarding how the staff and customers treated her. Since the restaurant was closed, Lady Pawdiva was walked around town in search of some food. No doubt that she had been heading back to the mansion in hopes of getting Morgan to feed her.

"You sly girl," Morgan huffed as she straightened herself. "Shoo, I'll feed you once we're done here." Morgan waved the cat away to which Lady Pawdiva simply meowed in response before walking up to Victor and rubbing herself against his leg. Morgan turned to Yanique and Taylor, her arms crossed one more.

"Any ideas on where to start?" Morgan inquired as he glanced at the two girls expectantly.

 

 

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The walk to the park had been long enough to calm Victor down somewhat, something which he was grateful for. And though he would still twist that crazy dog's neck if he saw him making a scene again, by now he was carrying himself more naturally and in a much less tense manner. It helped that the girls had respected his self-imposed distance the whole walk, whatever their reasons for such might be. And with that lil' tam keeping an eye on Amber, if they finished fast enough there might be hope for the day yet.

 

Russian girl had stopped near the park entrance so Victor went in, eyes reflexively scanning the ground in front so he didn't step on anything as he leaned against the nearest tree. Far enough to be able to say he wasn't with them, but still well withing earshot and sight. After all, if someone asked what they were doing the girls could always say they were out, but there was literally no good excuse he could give as to why the heck would he be with them. And what should they be looking for anyway? All the information they had was basically 'a girl your age'. He himself hadn't ever been there.

 

...Right. How the everloving hell was he supposed to help in finding someone he had never seen before? Ugh, maybe I should have gone home after all, he thought, rubbing his face with his hand. He just counted himself lucky that there wasn't anyone in their immediate vicinity to start worsening things. Also he must have been going delusional because he thought he heard a meow.

 

Wait, no, there was a second meow now. He dared look in the girls' direction again just in time to catch a pair of mismatched eyes looking at him in return.

 

...Oh no. He knew that cat. Whenever Sam managed to convince the family to go to that fish restaurant with the embarrassing mascot there was always a white female cat around. He didn't know if the cat had remembered that Victor tended to 'accidentally' drop part of his food when no one was looking but now she was coming right towards him and what the heck could he do he wasn't going to run away from a freaking cat.

 

Completely ignoring his discomfort, the cat started to rub against his leg.

 

"Shus," he whispered, trying to not make a scene while making the universal 'leave' motion with his hand. He didn't know if the cat didn't understand, thought he had food, or was just evil, but she just started purring. Taking a small step to the side only caused her to move with him and renew her rubbing, forcing him to stay still if he didn't want to risk kicking the furball.

 

"Can you get her off me!?" he angrily whispered at the girls in a very exasperated tone, trying his best to convey how dire the situation was.

 

The cat ruined the effect by purring even louder.

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The park was a hop, skip, and a jump away, and during that time the group had traveled in relative silence. Victor kept his distance, for whatever reason. Maybe he was still bitter about what had just happened? An apology sat on the tip of Yanique's tongue, though she was not entirely sure what exactly she should be apologizing for and besides, it seemed like a bad time to run after him. She might stand a better chance if she tried later, since he didn't seem too keen on having anything to do with them.

 

The girl instead turned her attention to the sky as they walked. The cloud cover was as present as ever, and, with not much conversation going on, she tried to think about the spy and what they might be looking for, exactly. (Anything to keep her mind off of Amber, now that they had teammates stalking her.) That girl's dress was rather cute, she recalled from yesterday. Plain, but charming. Yanique was probably the only one who got a good look at the first spy's face when they crashed into hello, but even then there were thousands of people in the town and hundreds of students at school. She wasn't even sure if contracted transformations changed one's facial structure, but if she assumed it didn't, it at least gave them some kind of lead on what to look for. The other option was to look through other people's stuff to see if they carried pokeballs.

 

Yanique hardly noticed Morgan had stopped in front of the entrance to the park, and she stumbled over her feet to avoid crashing into the taller girl's back. Curious to see why they had abruptly stopped, sheshifted to the side and peered around Morgan to see a white cat heading over excitedly with a meow. With gentleness that was surprising to the younger girl (given the Russian's usual stoic and intimidating presence), she reached down and pet the friendly animal.

 

It was one of those cats that seemed more beautiful than most humans, its large eyes with mismatched irises mesmerizing Yanique when they briefly crossed gazes. Its coat was smooth and sleek and it appeared well-fed. Its long hairs made its tail look like a soft feather, and the cat seemed to hold it out behind her proudly. Pets weren't allowed to be kept in her house, but she was already keeping Mightyena a secret. Why not one more? She reached out a hand to try to pet the kitty, but it had already bounded off to rub itself on Vic's leg. Yanique snorted, trying not to let out a laugh at his apparent distress. "You'll live," She said, covering the grin on her face with the back of her hand. "Probably. Unless it starts shooting fireballs like a pokemon.

 

"Say," she began again, changing the topic, "I wonder if there are any pokemon around here? Contracted or not." From what she had seen, some of them could resemble animals -- like how Pidove was a pigeon. (Pigeons were rock doves. Pidove. Were all pokemon names somehow a play on words? Yanique didn't know what to do with this sudden realization.) "...it could give us a lead, and finding a weird creature might be easier than hunting for a human. But at the same time, some random pokemon might not have the info we're looking for... " Moving her hand so that it was resting on her chin, she paused to process what she was saying. People overhearing their conversation might've thought she was talking the kind of nonsense usually spouted by conspiracy theorists, unless they themselves were in on the conspiracy.

 

"Aha! To root out spies, what if we talk to random people about pokemon and see if they know anything suspicious?"

 

It was a ridiculous idea that was completely counter-intuitive to their goal to keep Pokemon secret, but it wasn't the first bad idea Yanique had had.

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The woman in the tree watched as the people below her came and went.

 

It was a very normal Sunday morning - which is to say, the park was quiet aside from a few old-timers and passersby, none of whom stayed for long. She would have preferred it to be quieter, of course; even camouflaged as she was - a smudge of green hidden within a larger smudge of green - one could never be too careful. Shifting, she scanned the park again. A group of teenagers had entered, chatting about something or other. Unusual, but not who she was waiting for. One of them leaned against her tree and she half-stood, ready to flee if he noticed, but his attention was focused on a little white cat. She sat back down, huffing in rhythm with the wind.

 

Why the park, of all places? She could have come in civilian clothes, she supposed - no, too much of a risk. She would just have to wait, and hope that either the kids would clear out or that the other party had a way of dealing with them. She tapped her fingers against a branch, wishing not for the first time that she had a watch in her costume. Maybe if she transformed back for a moment -

 

“ - if there are any Pokemon here?”

 

She started violently. A less experienced person would have fallen clean out of the tree. Turning, she focused her attention on the conversation below. She’d only caught the tail end of it, it seemed, but it was enough to get the gist of it. They were looking for a person Contracted to a Pokemon. She scanned the park again - still no sign of her contact. Was this some kind of a ploy? Send kids in to contact her instead of coming to the meeting? She swore under her breath - if that was the case, she wasn’t dealing with this anymore. Dana had been right about this all along.

 

A flick of her wrist later, the tip of a scimitar was pressing against the back of Vic’s head. “If she sent you,” the woman growled from above, “I suggest you go home and tell her I have no interest in her mind games.”

 

[NPC information has been updated.]

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"You'll live. Probably. Unless it starts shooting fireballs like a pokemon."

 

Victor could feel his right eye twitching. "Get. The cat. Off-"

He didn't get to say anything more before something narrow, cold and hard was pressed against the back of his head, a female voice coming from directly above him.

 

He didn't think at all. The voice hadn't even finished their first sentence and he was already bending forward to put as much distance between him and the knife as possible, his body lowering in something resembling the running position athletes used at the start of a race. His left hand fell on top of the knee of that side as he put all his weight into it so his right knee wouldn't collide with the ground when it was lowered, leaving his right hand free to pick the cat up by the scruff of her neck as he immediately sprinted away, all done in fluid movements that allowed him to get the heck out of danger's way in less than two seconds.

 

He only stopped when he was in front of the girls, quickly turning without losing his balance towards whoever had been threatening him, the cat letting out loud screeches at the rough treatment as it finally was allowed to jump down and flee. He probably had scratches and wished he could have been gentler with the feline, but that was the least of his worries right now.

 

There was a woman on the tree holding a long blade, which was most definitely what he had felt back there. The clothes were weird-looking enough to signal her as someone who had Contracted with a Pokemon, but she looked older than them. Too old to be a student. She couldn't possibly be the spy he hadn't seen; he didn't think the girls would make that big of a misjudgement in age. The one from earlier today?

 

Arg, forget thinking. That didn't matter now.

 

He narrowed his eyes. "Who the hell are you," he spat, not scared in the slightest.

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So it was agreed on to visit the park first, then the library. Taylor followed behind the other three, remaining silent more from nervousness than from lack of things to say. As they reached the park, Morgan came to a stop and knelt down to pet a pretty cat before it hurried off towards Victor. She watched as he bristled, giggling while he complained.

 

"Oh relax, Vicky!" Taylor laughed, starting to step closer in an attempt to pick up the long-furred feline. However, a woman's voice drifted from the tree behind him and Victor lunged towards the girls with the cat in hand, turning on his heal. Taking a step back, she shifted her eyes upward from the blade, hands clutching at the collar of her sweater.

 

Why were so many costumed people showing up recently? And why did this Green Lady have a weapon?

 

Victor was asking who she was, not hint of fear in his voice despite the former possibility of his head getting sliced off. Awe flickered across Taylor's mind in light of his fearlessness. Lowering her hands, her fingers brushed against the bump in her pocket.

 

Should she do it? The four of them were faced with a strange woman who was clearly contracted. But, it wasn't known if she was friend or foe and merely being cautious. Though...

 

"Wh-who's she?" Taylor asked suddenly, fingers slipping into her pocket and curling around the Poké Ball. The short girl was mostly behind the other three but the idea of the strange woman catching her movements didn't really cross her thoughts.

 

"What a-are you doing here in the park? Who are you meeting with? Why are you meeting someone?" she continued to ask, stepping around Yanique and pulling her hand free from her pocket, Poké Ball pressed against her palm but too small to see. Would it be okay for her to call out Pidgeotto? Would the others get mad at her for her actions?

 

To be fair, the sight of the sword frightened her. She took a step back, gaze diverting to the ground. Holding her arms against her chest, she worried her lower lip and looked back up at the stranger, waiting for answers.

 

~~~~

 

Following Sam's movement towards the indicated shop, Sasha nodded and glanced around in turn. "I'll take a detour at the intersection and head across to the next street over before moving ahead. Keep me updated," she replied. Glancing at Amber once more, she stepped away from Sam and darted to the right, ducking out of sight around the corner of a building.

 

It was a waiting game now, for sure. However, Shay would tolerate it for as long as needed. As she walked down the sidewalk, reaching the next intersection, she pulled out her phone and started a group message with the other four. I don't think Amber will try following you guys. She seems more occupied with checking her make-up than pursuing any gossip. Will keep you informed if anything changes.

 

After hitting SEND, she crossed the street on the green signal and stuffed her hands into her pockets. Once on the other side, she found a ledge to sit on and fiddle around on her smartphone, looking like any other bored teen. For a moment, she considered calling Naomi and seeing if the girl was doing anything later but, she decided against it, wanting to be ready for any changes.

 

Instead, she resorted to playing Bejeweled as the time passed.

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The woman squinted at Vic, then Taylor, as the two bombarded her with questions. A few tense seconds later, she sighed. The sword disappeared back into the tree. “I hope you’re telling the truth,” she grumbled as she transformed back and leapt out of the tree in a single fluid motion, now clad in a t-shirt with an illegible band logo and sweatpants not quite long enough to cover her ankles. “For your own sake.”

 

She leaned against the tree, stuck one hand (still gripping firmly onto her Pokeball) into her pants pocket, and raised the other to her eye to check her watch. “Hrrm. About my meeting - don’t worry about it. It’s not something you kids should get involved with. In fact, I think I’ll be backing out myself; she’s more than half an hour late, anyway.” She looked at the assembled teenagers again, frowning at each of them in turn. “Pokemon’s not something you should be getting involved with, either. Which of you’s Contracted?” Her eyes flicked to Taylor’s pocket. “You really shouldn’t be telling anyone else about this, even if they are your friends. This is a dangerous business. Or did your partner neglect to tell you?”

 

[NPC information has been updated.]

Edited by Fractional Pi Day

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Tearing her gaze from Lady Pawdiva, who was currently rubbing herself against Victor's leg despite the clear indication that she was uninvited, Morgan looked over at Yanique as she began to question her thoughts out loud. It took a moment for Morgan to realize the other girl had said "Pokemon" out loud in public but it was too late for the taller girl to leap over and a slam a hand against Yanique's mouth. Instead, the blonde momentarily froze in place, her hands balling up into fists tightly. She quietly took in a deep, long-drawn breath before releasing it, allowing her fists to gently uncurl in the process. The fact that Yanique's brilliant plan to locate the spy was to run around, locate random people on the streets, and then inquire if they knew about Pokemon. Morgan wasn't sure if the pressure and dire circumstances of the situation were addling Yanique's mind or if she was just absolutely horrid with plans. Either way, what she just proposed was about as ridiculous as that poor guy stuck in a lobster costume dancing on the Ringed Octopus's commercial.

"That's a completely counter-productive plan," Morgan stated blandly, shaking her head somberly. "If anything, we could end up asking someone and the spy can learn we're onto her from gossip or overhearing us. Worst, someone could end up asking the spy herself. We're going to have to keep this a close job if we don't want to wake up to find the trail gone cold."

 

Not too soon after Morgan finished speaking, Victor suddenly began to noisily voice his dislike of Lady rubbing against his leg. He attempted to move out of the way to no avail as Lady simply walked up to him and renewed her rubbing once more. Yanique and Taylor apparently found Victor's suffering all the rage as they both began to snicker at him. Morgan could feel a chuckle bubbling up in her throat, but she repressed it from showing. Now was not the time for fun and games although the others didn't seem to realize that. Victor was still staying as far away from the girls as possibly which counteracted the whole point of working together, Yanique was shouting their secrets out loud and fantasizing about ridiculous plans, and Taylor was lollygagging as she looked around aimlessly. It took some effort to keep from sighing. How many times had Morgan internally complained about the group's incompetence in the past two days? More than enough, that was for sure. Rubbing her hand against the side of her neck, Morgan spoke something to herself in German. She glanced over at Bonnie who was sprinted away from Queen who was hot on her trail, their tongues rolled out as with big idiotic grins plastered on their faces. A ghost of a grin crossed Morgan's lips but disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.

 

It didn't seem as though fate was going to allow the team to stay out of danger for more than a few hours. A soft voice carried in the wind and in response, Victor suddenly maneuvered away from the tree he was near, grabbing Lady Pawdiva by the scruff in the process, and ran towards the girls. Gratitude filled Morgan's heart as she saw Victor drop the panicking cat, allowing her to run off to safety. Most people would have simply left Lady to face whatever horrors laid in the tree. For Victor to place saving Lady as one of his priorities as he, rather skillfully, got out of harm's way left an impression on Morgan. She would have to remember to thank him later. For now, there was a bigger problem to deal with. The magical girls, side by side for the most part, glared down at the strange woman in the tree. Victor was the first person speak and he did so in a rather hostile manner. He had guts, Morgan have to give him that, but his negotiating skills could do with some work. Morgan didn't get a great look at the spy, but from what she saw, the spy was a lot shorter and chubbier than whoever was in the tree. The stranger's outfit was primarily green while the spy's was white. Unless the spy changed height, weight, costume, and her personality, there was no way this was the same person. Those facts, however, did not stop Taylor from blindly following Victor's lead in speaking brashly to the spy. For a moment, Morgan thought the stranger was going to turn on them. After all, Victor's and Taylor's displays of dominance, the intruder had every reason to attack or simply disappear.

 

But the spy never left nor attacked. She squinted at the group and just stared for a while as though evaluating the situation. After several tension filled seconds, the sword slipped back into the tree and the stranger mumbled a few foreboding words. The woman that jumped out of the tree was just that: a woman. The spy Pidove had discovered was a girl, probably near the end of middle school or at the beginning of high school. There was no way this stranger was the spy. Allowing herself to ease her muscles somewhat, Morgan straightened herself up and gave the others a knowing glance. From a little ways away, she could hear a low growl. With a quick bark in German, Morgan hushed the dogs over yonder and motioned for them to move on. Queen was happy to begin running around the park again, but Bonnie hesitated, staring after her owner for several minutes before being rammed into by Queen, initiating the chase again. Satisfied that the dogs weren't going to jump the stranger, Morgan turned her attention back to the woman from the tree.

 

She was Contracted, that much was clear but whose side she was on wasn't as explicit. She had clearly said that the group didn't need to worry about whoever she was waiting for which completely blocked out the question of who exactly her contact was. Such an inquiry was one that Morgan would have liked to ask, but no matter. She could hopefully live without knowing. The problem now was what the group could and cannot say to the stranger. She was obviously more experienced than any of them were, but then again, they had only been Contracted for a few days. Morgan didn't, and moreover couldn't, trust this stranger nor could the others in the group; however, they could tell her the bare minimal and hope she would decide to help them. Worse came to worse, she'd end up working for Luxray and would trade all of their secrets away. Though by the way she spoke, she didn't seem to know that the group was working for Diancie. Hopefully, Morgan could keep her from finding that out.

 

"Our partners were quite clear on that matter," Morgan stated, folding her arms neatly across her chest, taking care not to squish the still napping kitten (how did he not wake up?). "I'm quite sure both me and my companions here," Morgan gestured towards the three others. "would not dare to bring any civilians into this matter. Do beg my pardon, but you do seem to be far more experienced than us. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions? We seem to be running into a few problems that could use some fixing." A sudden vibration in Morgan's pocket caught her attention. She shoved her hand down her breast pocket and flipped out her phone.

I don't think Amber will try following you guys. She seems more occupied with checking her make-up than pursuing any gossip. Will keep you informed if anything changes. - Sasha Morgan felt some relief in knowing that Amber wasn't following the four magical girls. The last thing they wanted was for tell the whole school that they were meeting some strange lady in the park. She had caused enough trouble already.

"Amber's off our back," Morgan said softly to Taylor, Yanique, and Victor on the side. "Sasha and Samantha are watching her just in case." Putting her phone away, Morgan gave the stranger her full attention, set on concentrating only on the strange Contacted woman in front of her.

Edited by Doctortear

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As soon as the word pokemon left her lips for the last time, Yanique froze and clapped both her hands onto her mouth at the prompt of Morgan's glare combined with a voice that drew her attention to the trees where Vic was being held a knifepoint (swordpoint?), with the blade seemingly hanging from the tree. Yanique didn't really get a good look at whatever -- or whoever -- was hiding among the leaves. She had her eyes trained on Vic, who tumbled forward and scooped up the cat before running the few steps over to where the rest of them stood.

 

Yanique herself would have faltered in his place. That guy had some serious nerves of steel to not even hesitate turning on his heels to face his aggressor, barking out a question. He must have experienced some tense situations in his life.

 

Either that, or he was terrible at foreseeing consequences.

 

Taylor then stepped forward as well, out of her hiding spot behind Yanique. Mustering her bravery, she followed Vic's lead with the questions. To her surprise, most of them were answered though in a way that hardly answered anything. And even more surprising, the lady who answered them seemed normal enough as she landed lightly on the ground despite her clumsily long limbs.

 

Who out of them was contracted? Yanique was about to blurt everything out but Morgan cut her off, hinting at their contracts in a more subtle manner. Heat filled Yanique's face as she felt the mysterious woman was scolding her personally about 'not telling anyone about this'. Mighty would have talked her ear off about the consequences if he knew about this ordeal. She resolved to let Morgan handle the diplomatic situation.

 

Except one question was still on her mind. "Wait, there's more of you -- us?" Yanique said out loud. The woman said something about meeting someone, and she was stalking the park in costume… She didn't really seem to want to talk about it, from the way she was avoiding any inquiries about her rendez-vous. But there seemed to be many more contracted humans around than she initially thought.

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