We had been on the road for a while and most of the time was spent with the Lucario waiter and Yuki talking as "I tailed them from behind. I didn't really mind however, seeing as this gave me plenty of time to think about my past a bit more. Unfortunately, I came up black no matter how hard I thought. Aside for random facts about my father, Violet, like his favorite color or how he often snores in his sleep, nothing else could come to mind.
I was so lost in thought, I hadn't realized that Yuki had slowed down to my speed and was staring at me as we walked. "What?" I snap at her as I raise an eyebrow.
She seems initially taken aback, but quickly pulls herself back together. "You just looked like you were in pain of something. I was curious about whether or not you were okay."
"I..." my voice comes out sharp at first, but I change it as I go on saying, "I'm fine. I was just daydreaming about my past."
"That so?" I look up at the Lucario who's casually walking backwards with his paws behind his head. My glare is enough to let him know that he's essential forced into a conversation that has noting to so to him. "Ah, we never been properly introduced. Name's Lukka. Believe it or not, I'm actually the one who found you unconscious outside of town and brought you to Dex."
"I suppose I should thank you."
He shrugs. "If someone found me half dead and knocked out on the side of the road, I'd want them to help me out too. So, care to tell me who you are?"
"I don't remember."
"Amnesia? Little cliché, don't you think?" I sigh as Lukka chuckles softly to himself. That quote is getting cliché. I swear, the next time I hear someone say that, I'm ripping their throat out. "Anyway, I'm sure you'll remember something eventually. You may even end up saving the world." He chuckles before turning back around and walking like normal.
From then on, we walked in relative silence with Yuki and Lukka occasionally finding something to talk about. The sun had begun to set by the time we reached a new, larger town. It seemed to have a large building in the center and was surrounded by the actual town with many pokemon wandering the streets, bustling with life and activity.
Lukka points toward the large building with a paw. "There's their headquarters. There's no doubt Yu is being held in the dungeon below ground."
"So, we sneak in under the cover of night and bust him out." I look to the lucario for a confirming nod, but he just looks at me with confused expression. "What?"
He smiles and shakes his head. "That wouldn't work. Infiltrators by night is painfully obvious and the Council has enlisted in the help of nocturnal pokemon that excel at acting during the night. I have a better idea, but we should discuss our plan less exposed. Follow me."
Yuki and I follow behind him as he expertly weaves through the crowd and heads in the general direction of the more sophisticated part of town. The streets were substantially cleaner than from were we entered and the overall amount of pokemon roaming the streets here drastically dropped. Thanks to this, it didn't take long for us to arrive at what I assume is our destination: A large mansion with a fountain in the front yard in the shape of two lucarios crossing swords.
Lukka only smiles as the two of us venture through the courtyard with our jaws dropped. When we reach the front door, he knocks politely and steps back, waiting for an answer. It doesn't take long for anyone to respond either as a small chinchilla pokemon opens it up with a rather irritated expression. His black bowtie is undone, and his fur is ruffled in a rather unkempt manner.
"You've been here three times already! Just fu-." The minccino's expression changes nigh instantly when his eyes fall on us. "You're back!" He practically jumps into the lucarios arms but changes his mind halfway and ends up headbutting him instead. As he stands onto of the now toppled Lukka, he glares down at him as a hind paw rests on his spike and his tiny arms are crossed. "Where the hell have you been all theses years?! The least you could've done is write us a letter or something you ass!" His eyes dart to me and all the fury dissipates and is instantly replaced by confusion.
"As touching as this reunion is, can we please take it inside?" Lukka stands and takes the squirming chinchilla with him as he heads inside.
"Let me go you- you..." He sighs, I assume upset at the lack of a proper insult to throw at the lucario. The inside of the mansion is just as lavish as the outside with a white and gold theme decorated throughout the home. The place was spotless, but it seems as though no one has really been living here for a while. It feels cold... and empty. We stop in a kitchen and all gather around a table to discuss our, or rather Lukka's, plan.
"Hey, Lukka." Yuki butts in before Lukka gets a chance to talk. "Care to explain all of this?"
He breaths in to speak but is once more cut off before he could utter a word. "Lukka's one of the young masters of this home." Says the minccino. "Despite being adopted, he is the oldest of his father's siblings and as such has inherited this place from him."
"That explains why you know your way around town so well," I say aloud, "and how you knew so much about the dungeons below their base."
He nods, with a small grin. "Yeah, Yu and I used to live here. We were also Council Judges. However, I left forever ago. I didn't agree with the methods Amber wanted to take to unify the world."
"I just told you about me." He waves a paw dismissively as he shakes his head. "Anyway, I have a plan. We strike at dawn through the underground canal. It's a pathway for transporting water, however no one goes in there so, it would be a great way to get in. The nocturnal guards will be tired by the time their shift is about to end and the diurnal guards will be just waking up. We can take advantage of this drowsiness to get around. However, we won't have much time. We'll need to get in, get Yu, and get out. Understood?"
Yuki and I nod in unison. "Excellent. You are dismissed until we begin our mission. Sleep or stay up, I don't care but I expect to see you both here just before day break." With that said, he walks off somewhere to do his own thing.
"A nap does sound nice right about now." Yuki says with a wide yawn.
The chinchilla pokemon wastes no time to appear before her with a bow. "I can show you to the guest's room, if you wish." The absol responds with a sleepy nod. "Then follow me ma'am." He turns to me with a small smile. "And you? Would you like for me to escort you to your room?" I deny his offer with a shake of my head. I'd rather walk around a bit more. Maybe something could jog my memory. If this is the Council's base of operation, then surely, I must have seen the city once or twice. "As you wish." He bows once more and leads the tired absol out of the room and toward a new one.
"Well, no time like the present." I meander out of the mansion, making mental note of where it is so that I can return later. The night air offers a cool wind and carries the smell of cooked berries and nuts. My stomach growls in reply and I am reminded that I haven't eaten anything since this morning. Without much thought, I follow my nose toward the nearest restaurant, weaving through the crowd as if its second nature.
I stop in front of a small store that has a large sign that contains only two letters: V and M. The V seems to be shaped like the claws of a sneasel, complete with a tuft of blue fur at the base and razor-sharp claws for the rest. The M, on the other hand, was shaped more like a furret with the head starting at the left and the ringed tail ending on the right.
"Oh. My. Arceus!" Before I can react, I am tackled into a hug from behind and am wrapped up by a pair of stubby paws. "Lyn! It's been like FOREVER!" My affectionate aggressor turns me around and I am forced to be face to face with a cheery furret. "You still remember your old pal Marie, right? Who am I kidding, of course you do! Oh, Verona is gonna flip when she sees you! It's been like what? A year? Feels like a lifetime! How've you been?"
"I, um, I'm fine." I kind of try to worm out of her grasp, but she only hugs me even tighter. I kind of feel like a conjoined twin who's fused at the hip. It's rather uncomfortable.
"That's hardly an answer!" She says with a roll of her eyes.
"But it is an answer." This time I make a more obvious effort to force myself away and Marie responds with a more obvious effort to keep me as close as possible. "Why won't you let me go?"
"'Cuz I know it annoys you." She says with a giggle. "Seriously, you should really learn to open up to people more! There's nothing wrong with a hug or telling other pokemon about your day or how your feeling. Especially you're friends! Stop trying to keep yourself torn from everyone else. You hardly even seem close to your boyfriend! When's the last time you initiated any kind of physical contact or any kind of romantic evening with just the two of you? I swear, it's like the two of you aren't even really a couple!"
"You certainly love to talk a lot." I roll my eyes and instead watch the hooded, bipedal figure walking through town behind her. His tattered robe stops just above his blue hind paws and manages to fully obscure his body and face.
"Well, yeah! Say, are you free right now?" Well, I wanted to refresh my memory and who better to do it than what I assume is an old friend. I'm sure she, and maybe even this Verona, could fill me in a bit more about who I am and possibly jog a few memories. However, there's something about that hooded pokemon that seems familiar. He stops for a moment to look at what seems to be a bracelet made from grass and flowers that seems to be still freshly picked. Yet I don't remember seeing those kinds of flowers anywhere around here. Maybe there's a boutique nearby?
"Hellooooooo? Earth to Lyn!" She licks my cheek and I try and fail to recoil from her tongue. "Oh, so you are alive in there! So, whaddya say? You have time to hang with some ol' friends? My eyes dark back to the mysterious pokemon, but he's already gone.
"Yeah. Sure." Marie squeals and somehow squeezes me even tighter. This is going to be a long night...