Leaving Saffron City
“It’s gone,” Jace repeated emptily.
“Yes, it’s gone,” Will relied for the fifth time.
Jace and Will quickly grabbed a taxi down to Jace’s apartment and left Sabrina to tend to the gym. Now, they were standing in the ruins of Jace’s old apartment. It was in ruins. His equipment was ransacked; his bed was turned over and ripped open. Pidgey feathers cluttered the floor from the pillow stuffing. The walls had been torn down and bore the marks of Houndour laws and burns. The hidden spot had been found and the phial had been stolen back.
The landlord claimed that a helicopter had landed atop the building last night at about one o’ clock in the morning, unloaded a squad of Rocket commandos and grunts, raided several apartments, and departed just as quickly before the unresponsive police could arrive. The police, in fact were busy quelling a diversion in the form of a messy bank robbery. The Rockets had hired a gang of thugs to bust into the original Bank Saffron on Chrome Street, across from Silph Tower, and get away with some loot. However, the police arrived faster than expected and turned the midnight armed robbery into a bloody hostage scene. Result: three criminals, two civilians, and one officer dead. Many humans and Pokemon wounded. Several Pokemon were now without trainers.
“We also found this,” the landlord had said, pulling a familiar top hat from inside a padlocked drawer, “They say there was also one at Bank Saffron, but I say that’s hogwash…”
The landlord droned on while Jace racked his brain for questions and answers, sometimes in the wrong order. The Shadow had to be brought t justice? But how? What should Jace do? Jace had to kill Xavier. But that was his father! No, that was his enemy who happned to be his father but also happened to have to kill his son. What should Jace d? Wha should Jace do? What should Jace do?
A cell phone with a peculiar ringtone suddenly began to sing, “We all live in a Pokemon World! Po! Ke! Mon! I wanna be the greatest…”
Will, slightly embarrassed, mumbled under his breath “Got to take this.” He fished the cell phone from his pocket and held the machine to his ears as he wandered off, saying, “Hello…?”
“I’ve seen that bloke before,” the landlord said, rubbing his bearded chin in deep thought, “Who could he be, I wonder? Hey, you’re with him, right? Seen him before?”
“Never in my life,” Jace lied.
“Hm,” the landlord snorted, then gave up with a shrug that seemed to say, “I’m not smart enough to know my own mother when I see her, anyway, so I’ll just give up trying to recognize people because I can’t seem to handle the pressure.”
After several monotonous minutes watching Will conspicuously whisper into the phone, he flipped the phone closed and rushed over to Jace, saying in a strained, overexcited whisper, “Sabrina’s assistants- I mean, intelligence, is tracking the phial right now!”
“I can hear you!” the grubby landlord called out from across the despoiled lobby.
“Learn to whisper without telling everyone everything,” Jace scolded, “You wouldn’t last one day in my shoes like that. Anyway… Sabrina? Really? She’s the one who rooted me out?”
“Well, um, yes,” Will stammered, “I didn’t really mean to give that away… but anyway! That doesn’t matter right now! What matters is that our intel is tracking the phial in Vermillion City, getting ready to ship out for what appears to be Olivine City in Johto. If we hurry, I can catch you a ticket on a ship-!”
“Whoa whoa whoa, hold it right there, Will!” Jace interjected.
“Ha! Will! I knew I’ve seen that bloke there before!” the landlord chuckled heartily, “Of the Elite Four! Can you believe it? In my apartment complex-!” The landlord was cut short in midsentence by a particularly heavy succession of punches by a particularly annoyed Jace. The landlord crumpled unconscious and was dragged behind the lobby’s reception counter to hide the evidence temporarily. Will gawked in utter surprise. He’d never seen anyone but Koga of the Elite Four and his daughter, Fuschia Gym Leader Janine, do something like that before.
“I could never stand that guy. Always asking for my rent. Anyway, as I was saying,” Jace continued, brushing off a patch of dust from his sleeve, “I won’t be conned into the Coalition because Team Rocket has my phial and you have the resources to reclaim it and I want it very, very badly.”
“Actually,” Will scowled (or so it seemed under the masquerade mask he wore), “it does work that way. If I help you get that phial, you’re a certified member of the Indigo Coalition. Understand?”
“No, I don’t, actually,” Jace retorted with a hint of anger, “I’m not about to work with anyone else ever again, and that includes you and our precious Coalition which, if you and your groupies back at Indigo Plateau haven’t noticed, it hasn’t even formed yet!”
“You two argue like little kids,” a voice echoed inside Jace’s head, “and you’ve just met.” If Will’s facial expression was anything to go by, I was echoing in his, too.
Sabrina entered the lobby via the lobby’s back door and scorned, “My spies hunt out the phial, and you two stand here and argue? If you’re going to do something, do it fast.”
“But, Sabrina-!” Jace argued.
“Fast meaning right now,” Sabina glared, her eyes began to crackle with psychic energy. She wasn’t one to fool around, it seemed, but Jace had deduced that already, anyway. “My spies have also learned that a certain case was stolen from the police during the raid on the headquarters several nights ago. Does this mean anything to eher of you?”
Jace his hung his head in complete and utter speechlessness.
So Jace and Will worked out an agreement on the spot. It wasn’t much to Jace’s liking, but at least he didn’t have to enlist in the Coalition.
Jace leaned on the railing on looked out at the Vermillion port as the sun set in the west. The sea water lapped the ship’s sides as it left ripples in its wake. Jace was on the way to Olivine City. To leave the only place he knew was to leave his very heart and soul behind, but he’d come back for them, especially now that the Shadow was running loose. The nerve! Soon enough, when he got that phial, Jace would return to Saffron City, and he would return triumphant. But first… he needed some sleep.