Chapter Fourteen: Megalomania
With a flash of light, Saji appeared in front of the Saffron Pokémon Center. Michael Azure was waiting for her inside.
“Mance and Torok seem to be getting along well.” Azure was saying, as the two walked down a hallway. “Torok is often getting hurt or otherwise making excuses to come here.” Saji thinks. “I have asked him multiple times, but he refuses to admit that Mance is the reason why.”
“Chars are tribal Pokémon. They are always drawn to stick near their own kind, or at least to other fire types. Mance also tends to neglect is duties when Torok is here. I often have to send them off together to get any work done.” Azure admits.
“You truly are an expert then?” Saji thinks. Her amusement is buried in the background of her thoughts. “So what does your vast knowledge of Pokémon tell you about Alakazams?” She asks. Michael rubs the back of his head, hesitating.
“I know that the average Alakazam has roughly fifty times the learning capacity of the average human, as well as the ability to maintain roughly fifteen separate mental tasks in working memory (as opposed to the human average of seven)… This along with their eidetic memory makes them exceptional psychics.” He eyes Saji as he walks. “It also means that they tend to suffer from delusions of grandeur. Many Alakazams possess superiority complexes or even suffer outright atychiphobia.” He comments.
Saji’s mustache twitches slightly, and she grins wide.
“Very good...” She thinks. Michael nods and echos her grin.
“I saw a goban board in the drawing room of your house. Does Madam Kuroi play Go?” He asks.
“She is my favorite opponent.” Saji thinks calmly.
“Does she ever win”? Michael asks.
“She is very good...” Saji explains. Michael chuckles.
“I will take that as a ‘no’ then.” He says.
The two arrive at the cafeteria. Torok and Mance are sitting at the end of a table. There is a plate of food and a shogi board between them. Serj and Rydia sit at the other end of the table. Each has an identical plate of food before them. Obsidian sits between them all, acting as referee.
Saji walks up to the table. Obsidian bows slightly to her friend. “Time to go everyone.” She says. The twins quickly eat the last remaining bits of their food, before hopping off the table and standing on either side of Saji. “Come on Torok!” They say with one voice. The Charmeleons look up at the alakazam. “But we are in the middle of a game...” Torok protests. He wags his tail back and forth excitedly. Saji walks over to the two and eyes the Shogi board.
“Bishop Takes pawn at 3C and promotes to Dragon Horse. Silver General Moves to 6H. Check. Lance Moves to 6H and takes Silver General. Knight moves to 9C and promotes. Lance Moves to 6B and promotes. Check. Mate. Tsume.” Saji thinks. The two Charmeleons look down at the board, each mumbling the moves to themselves. Eventually Torok places his right hand over his collection of unplaced pieces, formally resigning the game. “I lose...” He mumbles. The Charmeleon hops off the table, but is sure to grab the plate of food he was sharing with Mance. With his nose triumphantly in the air, he walks off to join the others. Mance huffs, but his tail wags regardless. Michael covers a smile.
“We are going to meet the Mistress at Silph Co.” Saji thinks. “I am not teleporting you all across town so we are going to walk.” Torok and the twins protested, but soon the squad was marching along towards the Silph Co. Building.
* * *
A parade consisting of an Umbreon, two Eevees, and a Charmeleon, was made all the more extraordinary by the addition of an Alakazam. This time, however, their trek across town seemed to lack and formal audience. The streets were close to barren. A single man walks along the opposite street. Despite the arid weather, he wears a coat that covers most of his form. Black clothing hides underneath the dark tan coat. A black cap is pulled down low, covering his hair. This alogn with the high collar on the coat makes him almost impossible to identify.
“I don’t like this...” Saji thinks. The twins suddenly cling to her heels warily. Torok and Obsidian mentally acknowledge and agree. The band of five travels in silence towards Silph. Co. Tower.
Another pair of men stand in front of the doors of Silph Tower. Like the man on the street, they wear long coats over black clothes. The two eye the team of Pokémon as they approach. Torok steps forward, and speaks in Kantonian, “Our Trainer is inside. Let us is.” He says simply. While his accent is thick, he is growing more and more fluent by the day. The two men clearly understand him. “You can’t go inside. No one is allowed in this building now.” One man says. He takes his time to pronounce his words clearly, as if he were speaking with a foreigner.
“Can I use your phone… to call her?” Torok asks. He points at the cellphone hanging on the man’s hip. The man shakes his head, and pulls a pair of Pokéballs from his hip. His counterpart does likewise. Soon a Machoke, Arbok, Marowak, and Sandslash appear before the two men, blocking the teams progress.
“It is Four against Three and a half.” One man says. “It is time for you to leave. You are not opening this door...” The other says.
Saji holds out her hands in reconciliation. At a subtle mental urge, Torok takes her hand, and Obsidian presses her muzzle into Saji’s other hand. The twins each place their forepaws on her feet. Saji’s mental voice pierces into the two men and their assembled Pokémon, making them flinch.
“Then we won’t use the front door...” With a flash, the five disappear from sight.
Saji lands on the floor and stoops to one knee, panting. The collection of Pokémon gather around her. “Teleporting all of you is like taking myself five times as far… I need a moment...” She says. The team look around. The lights are off, and most of the floor is deserted. Office chairs are turns over, abandoned on the ground when their occupants fled. A nearby break room lay empty. The door to the refrigerator hung open, and a pot of coffee lay smashed on the floor.
Saji closes her eyes and gathers herself. The physical world fades. The noise fades. The feelings fade. And soon she is alone… Until she isn’t. The familiar minds of her companions surround her. Their presence brings her warmth and renewed strength. Saji cast her thoughts out through the eleven stories of the building. There were many people in it, most of them were gathered on the fifth floor. On every floor were closed minds, cold minds. They were trained to resist her, to ward themselves from her. These men were professionals. They knew what they were doing. One floor higher, Saji found what she was looking for.
“Mistress.” She thinks. “You shouldn’t have brought the children here...” Kuroi thought in return. Even though they were thoughts of censure, it made Saji’s heart soar to feel the mind of her trainer, and to know that she was safe. “We are coming to get you.” Saji thinks. She turns and points to a set of stairs. The team runs.
“Left here.” Saji directs. “Torok, the lock.” She commands. A quick burst of flame melts the doorknob, and the team pours into a room. Kerra Kuroi sits alone looking out a window. “There you are children.” She says calmly. There is a sudden chill in the air. With a sound akin to an owl flying overhead, a shadow passes from the twins to Madam Kuroi. She sighs contently. “I missed you dear...” She says. Her shadow grins wide and wriggles slightly, as if caught in a light breeze. Madam Kuroi looks up at the Alakazam. “We don’t have a lot of time.” She says.
“Teamsters?” Saji asks. She closes the door, ad with the flick of a spoon, moves a table infront of it to hold it closed.
“Rockets.” Kuroi confirms. “Almost the entire team by the looks of it. They have most of the staff held hostage below us.-”
“We are going to save them right?!” Torok blurts out. All eyes turn to face him. Madam Kuroi gently pets. “The Rockets are hear for something very specific. Strange as it may be, the hostages are safest here. Team Rocket wouldn’t risk hurting their only means of escape. Not when they have done something this overt.” Kuroi says calmly. She nods and pats her lap gently. Rydia and Serj waste no time climbing up onto it. “Can you get us home?” Kuroi asks. Saji sighs both verbally and mentally.
“I am tapped already. Give me an hour or so to rest-”
“We need to go now!” Torok exclaims. “Can’t you just do it?” He protests. Saji rounds on him, suddenly animated. Her calm knowing expression suddenly changed to one of annoyance and impatience. “IT TAKES THE APPLICATION OF SEVEN SEPARATE INDEFINITE INTEGRALS TO PROPERLY MOVE MASS USING ONLY ONE’S MIND!” She mentally shouts. The thoughts invade the minds of everyone in the room, forcing their way in though sheer willpower. “The information goes sour in less than a minute. Only careful and quick concentration can yield viable results. One miscalculation can move us off target. One misplaced decimal could see you appear upside down or inside a wall! Only the mind of an Alakazam can teleport as it is meant to be done!”
Torok should not have spoken. And he found he regretted it even as he did so.
“Then how do normal people do it?” He asks.
“THEY GUESS!” Saji spits. “They guess and they are wrong! I do not guess. I know!”
Madam Kuroi’s voice was soft, yet it cut through Saji’s anger with ease. “Take us home...” She orders.
Saji hesitates, then rubs the bridge of her nose. Everyone gathers close, and with a flash of light, they all head home.
Saji falls to the floor, exhausted. Madam Kuroi all of her Pokémon are safely in the drawing room of Kuroi Manner. With the love and pride of a mother, Madam Kuroi recalls Saji to her ball. Without any delay, Madam Kuroi turns to her phone. She has the number memorized. She hasn’t dialed it in years. Silently a screen rises up for all to see, and soon after, the image of Professor Samuel Oak appears on it.
“Kerra? Kerra it’s been ages. How are you?” Oak asks.
“I am well Sam, but I have bad news. The Rockets have taken over Saffron. Our Police force has always been light. They are overwhelmed. They have taken the Silph building over, and are holding the staff hostage.”
“Oh my...” Oak whispers, suddenly serious.
“They seem to be after some sort of project that Silph has been developing. I need the Professorship to intervene. I can’t wait for NPA or the NPL to do something.”
Professor Oak sighs. “Ok, Ok Kerra. Let me think...” He pauses, and looks off screen for a time. “One of my Dexters is in the area. I will send him in.”
“Is it your grandson?” Madam Kuroi asks warily.
“No, it’s Akai. Dexter Red.” Oak says. “He is actually dealing with some mischief in Lavender town right now. I will have him head into Saffron as soon as I can reach him.”
“I am counting on you Samuel.” Madam Kuroi says. The call ends.
Torok wags his tail excitedly. “We are going to fight the Rockets?!” He asks.
“No...” Kuroi says, and that single word deflates the exited Charmeleon. “Saji and I are going to assist Dexter Red once he arrives. Obsidian will remain here and guard the house and the twins. And you…” She says to the Charmeleon, “I have a special mission for you.” Torok’s eyes light up again. “You are going to go to the Pokémon Center. Team rocket has broken the Transport lines going in and out of the city. Once they are done with Silph Co. they will likely raid the Pokémon center for any strong Pokémon. Doctor Azure is gathering up all the Pokémon he feels are at risk. You will be taking them all to Celadon.”
“Can Mance go with me?!” Torok asks excitedly.
“Only if Doctor Azure allows it.” Madam Kuroi says. “Route 7 is not that dangerous, but I am sending Noctua with you.” Madam Kuroi says. Torok’s mood crashes once again. “I can do it by myself...” He says with a huff.”
“You are still young. I want you to take someone with you.” Kuroi says calmly.
“Then let me take Obsidian!” Torok retorts. “Leave the bat to babysit...”
“Torok...” Madam Kuroi says firmly, “You are going on this mission with Noctua and that is final...”
Torok growls in irritation. Then he sighs and looks down at the floor. “When are we leaving?” He says with resignation.
“Now...” Kuroi says. “You will rest the night at the Center, then head out first thing in the morning. I want you out of the city before Dexter Red arrives.” Kuroi says.
Noctua enters the room. He bows to his Mistress, and Torok in turn. “Let me fly you there.” He says. “We can be at the Center in a few minutes.”
“Don’t talk to me...” Torok snaps. He turns, and walks out of the drawing room, ad starts his march towards the Saffron Pokémon Center.