Chapter Nineteen: Renaissance
Torok stands in the waiting room of the Cerulean Police Department. It has taken a while for anyone to give him any attention. He was a Charizard after all. A trainer-less Charizard. The vary idea of him walking about without some form of control was surprising if not entirely unbelievable.
“All I am asking is if records of the incident exist. I know I have to submit a request in order to see them. I have the backing of the Saffron Pokémon Center.” He says in near perfect Kantonian.
“No, Mr. Kuroi. I need to correct you there. You are assigned to the Saffron Pokémon Center and under the employment of Head Doctor Michael Azure. You may be an emancipated Pokémon but you do not carry the authority of your employer as you did your trainer.” the clerk responds. She clearly is torn between helping him and following the rules.
“I know that two Pokémon were successfully recovered from the crime scene. I just need to know what happened to them, or even what species they were-” Torok protests. It takes a considerable amount of willpower to stop him from slamming his fist down on the clerk’s desk.
“I just can’t help you. I can’t even view this file myself. The case was taken out of the hands of Cerulean Police Department and was handled by the National Police Agency. The whole affair was placed far above my position or the position of anyone else in the building. The events happened several years ago. The NPA has ordered the case closed and sealed. And the fact that you were present for the event doesn’t give you permission to view the record.” She explains.
“Look...” Torok says, allowing the growing sense of defeat to seep into his voice. “I lost a dear friend in that fire. I just want to know if he was rescued, or if he is even still alive...” The Charizard says. His voice, like his face, is sullen and weary.
“I couldn’t tell you that answer even if I wanted to. If your friend was a Pokémon then you could try talking to the local Pokémon Center. Perhaps they have records on the incident that they can share with you.” the clerk says. She gives her most sincere, apologetic smile. Torok nods and turns to leave. “Thank you… For your assistance.” He says. He is just as sincere. The large lizard turns to leave. Serj and Rydia each pilfer a piece of candy from a bowl on the clerk’s desk, then hop down and follow the Charizard out of the office.
Torok contains his rage as he storms down the street. Every now and then electricity crackles from the tip of his tail, mingling with the ever-present flame. The twins know better than to call out to him. They know it is best to leave him to calm down on his own.
The fire lizard stops. He stops and looks in the shop of a window. It is a pawn shop. A store that trades in all manner of forgotten things. Torok stares for the longest time, before turning to the twins. “Let’s go home.”
Torok lands on the helipad of the Saffron Pokémon Center late in the evening. The stars have come out, and the moon shows bright in the sky. The twins emerge from their Pokéballs and follow Torok sleepily. Mance was working late. He would not be along for a while. Torok looked around the room that had been his home for the past year or so. Three large beds, each just large enough to accommodate a Charzard, rested against one wall. A good number of trinkets and other objects rested in glass cabinets. A brown hoodie rested on a coat rack. A black and gold urn rested on top of a shelf, held in high regard among so many ordinary things. Torok lays down on the centermost bed. It and the leftmost bed are pressed together to the point of being combined. There is just enough of a gap between his bed and the one to the right, which belongs to the twins.
Resting on their bed was a brown box with a bow. Madam Kuroi had arranged for a number of gifts to be delivered to her Pokémon, usually on their birthdays, or in Torok and Noctua’s case, the anniversaries of them joining the Kuroi Family. With a pair of giggles that were so similar that they had to be practiced, the twins opened the brown box and examined the contents guardedly.
There was a beep from a console on the opposite wall. After a few more persistent beeps, Torok walked over and tapped a key. Saji’s face appeared a screen mounted to the wall.
“Torok. I have a job for you.”
* * *
Akagane Hōsekishō was busy extolling the many virtues that set the Hōsekishō Foundation above its competitors. He was one of the Foundation’s esteemed Metallurgists (In title only of course), as the finely embroidered jacket he wore attested to. In truth, he was far too delicate and persnickety to do any job other than the one he was actually assigned: the handling of the Hōsekishō Foundation’s clients. Akagane was standing in front of a display case that contained a single gold ingot. “The first of a long line of the purest of materials. Here at Hōsekishō, we use only the most perfect of metals in our works. This particular ingot weighs precisely four hundred ounces, in perfect compliance with Unovian standards. It is valued at no less than seventy-thousand yen. Although the Hōsekishō Foundation is not accepting offers for it at this time.” He says.
In truth, the ingot was worth exactly ¥57,873,454, based on today’s opening value for gold by the ounce. Furthermore, the only reason it was not for sale, is because the two prospects, (The Hōsekishō Foundation refused to ever use the word ‘customers’) were local and likely to visit again. Whereupon they could discover that the first ingot ever made at the foundation had been replaced by another, identical, ingot.
The two Prospects that Akagane was entertaining today were named Doku, and Varkyl, and they were a Nidoking and a Rhydon respectively. While it was not uncommon for a Pokémon to be sent on errands for their trainers, it was rare to see a pair of emancipated, unowned, Pokémon in the halls of the Hōsekishō Foundation. The two were certainly dressed in a manner befitting Pokémon of their not inconsiderable wealth. However, Akagane could see that their money was not born of breeding and culture. They were part of Kanto’s ever-present underground. Akagane knew that the prospects were here for the foundation’s secondary service.
After a tour of the facility, followed by drinks and hors d’orderves in Akagane’s office, the two Prospects selected and purchased a silver pocket watch (valued at a mere fifty thousand yen and sold for roughly double that). This was the beginning of The foundation’s secondary service. The pocket watch served as payment to the Foundation for facilitating the meeting. The two Prospects were going to be meeting with a representative of one of the Foundation’s oldest and most beloved Clients.
“Mr. Kuroi, May I present to you, sirs Doku and Varkyl.” Akagane said with as much respect as he could manage. “Sirs, Allow me to introduce Torok Kuroi, of the Kuroi Family.”
Akagane and the Hōsekishō Foundation were well aware of the recent passing of Madam Kuroi. Akagane would have preferred to work with Saji Kuroi, the Alakazam. The Foundation created the spoons that she always carried. There was a rapport between them, an understanding of how these meetings were to be conducted. As it stood, Saji was understandably tasked to capacity with the management of SIM and the rest of the family dealings. Torok, the Charizard, was dispatched with instructions. The necessary purchase was already made and planned in advance. Torok wore the item on his arm. It was a dark titanium bracer that fit on his left arm. Inset among saphires was a Charizarite Megastone along with an accompanying activation stone. The Foundation dared not overcharge a member of the Kuroi family, as they had the prospects that had come to meet with Mr. Kuroi.
“Please, let me know if I may provide further assistance.” Akagane says. He then returns to the anteroom outside his office, leaving the three large Pokémon alone.
“It wasn’t easy to find.” Doku began. “But we were able to find close to a full kilo. 980 grams to be precise.”
“And at our original agreement of two thousand yen a gram, that comes out to… ¥1,980,000.” Torok responds.
“There just isn’t a market for Ghoul’s Dust anymore.” Varkyl says. “Even so we had more resistance than expected.”
“Someone up in the NPA is looking into Ghoul’s Dust. One of the dealers we spoke to made an undercover Detective. He was right behind us asking for it, trying to sniff back to a source.” Doku says.
“This shipment is the only one we are going to make.” Varkyl continues. “If the NPA has taken interest in the dust, then it might lead back to us. We don’t want any part of it.” He says.
“I understand.” Torok says. “I will go ahead and give you an even two million for your trouble. Though, I want to know if you can look into something else for me.” He says. Torok knows that Saji will yell at him for going off script. But there is an opportunity here that he can’t pass up.
“I want you to try and find something else for me.” Torok says calmly. “A Beedrill named Orion...”
The meeting ended peacefully. Akagane Hōsekishō escorted the two prospects out of the Foundation, before returning for Mr. Kuroi. A series of transactions took place over the next couple of days. Records would indicate a series of purchases on the part of the Kuroi Family, as well as an unrelated sequence of acquisitions made from Varkyl and Doku. Cleanly and legally, (from the viewpoint of anyone looking into the matter), two million yen left the Kuroi family, just as an equal amount was given to the small shipping company that Varkyl and Doku represented. Clean and Efficient. That was the way of the Hōsekishō Foundation. A shipment was made to the Saffron Institute of the Mind, and personally received by Saji Kuroi. Clean. Efficient.
Torok returned to the Saffron Pokémon Center. Mance’s shift had just started and Torok was reluctant to put on his own uniform and get to work. He lacked the medical training that Mance did, and couldn’t really be called a nurse or veterinary assistant. His legal job title was ‘laboratory assistant’ though he only really needed the job as a condition of his emancipation. Each of Madam Kuroi’s Pokémon received a substantial inheritance from her. It was just enough for Torok to retire modestly. However, Torok did not want to retire. He had unfinished business to attend to.