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TEEN: We Don't Speak His Name (Oneshot)

we don't talk about proton no no no
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
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Pronouns
  1. He/Him
  2. They/Them
Depending on who you ask, there’s either no problems with this plan, or there’s only one: The Champion is Proton’s nephew, and Proton hates his family.

Hello there, and welcome to my entry for the Thousand Roads 2022 Mischief and Malice oneshot contest! This oneshot got second place, and I'm really proud of how it turned out.

Special thanks to @Joshthewriter, @zoru22, and KnightsofEclipse for beta reading!

Torture, vomiting, blood and injuries (including stabbing of a hand, but no guts and gore are described), generational trauma, crimes against humanity (if we assume Team Rocket is a state. If not, it’s still an atrocity.), offscreen death and murder, sieging, sexual themes, themes of systemic injustice, child neglect and abandonment, Pokémon abuse, mentions of alcohol and alcohol abuse, mentions of suicide, mentions of past sexual abuse, victim blaming, mentions of eating disorders mental illness, children and a pregnant character in danger, threats of murder, and Proton.

Sometimes I read the news, both regional and national. It’s not usually anything interesting—sickly sweet celebrities getting married, a new Champion, another person disappeared, another sex scandal, someone was murdered and I didn’t get to do the murdering… It’s like I said: not usually anything interesting.

But sometimes I see them in the news, especially that one and only nephew Wallace, who appears too damn much. The mayor’s poster boy. The third Sootopolitan Gym Leader in history. The shining Coordinator. The perfect little Papadakis.

They must be so proud to have such a perfect member of their family. They must be so proud to have a man who isn’t a dumb failure like they think I am.

They’re all artists in the Papadakis family. I used to be, too; I was studying music theory when I met… her. She was an opera singer. I was a pianist. Now she’s a mother, and I’m a Team Rocket Executive.

Torturing and killing is better than music theory and piano, anyway. The three minor scales are beautiful in their own ways, but blood is more so. No chord can top the curdled cries of my victims. No harmony is as beautiful as the slashing of skin, the screams, the—

“Proton!”

Shit. It’s the Boss’ kid. Kamon, was it? The kid with red hair like his mom, that bitch Ariana who always gives me shit. Apparently, she and Giovanni had a thing before breaking things off. Thing is, Giovanni broke things off amicably. Whereas I...

I hate kids. They think they’re the smartest things on the planet, but they can’t even tie their own shoes. They should learn the harsh reality of life and come back to bug adults when they’ve toughened up. Why don’t parents teach their children the tough shit? Kids these days are too coddled, too spoiled.

I mean, I had a kid once. Maybe if I had stuck around to teach her some things… Nah, then I wouldn’t be here. I’d be a boring salaryman living paycheck to paycheck. Or a musician, and musicians don’t make money or get to cut up people.

I’m done dealing with kids.

But this is Boss’ kid, and it’s suicidal to try to play smart with the people above you. I could beat up any of the pretty little Champions with my bare fists. But Boss? Hell no.

So instead of beating the shit out of the kid to show him that life isn’t fair, I ignore the kid. Go back to my paper. Wait for him to stop grabbing at me and nagging me. Wait for Ariana or someone else to deal with him, even though I know they hate him, too. Ariana’s the baby mommy, but she’s an Executive. She doesn’t have time for parenting. None of us do.

We have to tolerate him, because Boss doesn’t have the time for him either, despite all his talk about loving the little brat. Maybe I could make the grunts deal with him. I can make them do anything ranging from petty errands to taking out my trash to dealing with the bodies I leave behind. I’m sure child rearing isn’t much different.

“Proton! Proton! Prooooootoooooooon! Proton, I wanna play! Proton, pleeeeeeease play with me!”

I hate kids.

-

I check the news. I don’t know why I do; I keep seeing them. I’ve been doing this for years. You would think I would take a hint after seeing them every day. But I don't. They’re technically my family, but calling them that makes me sick.

The only time I got any sort of pleasure out of reading the news was when that nephew got hospitalized some time ago, can’t remember when. None of the news explained what it was for. I wish they did: “Sootopolis City’s Perfect Little Boy Is Actually Just Another Fuck Up And Here’s Why”. I would love to read that.

That mayor who loved him so much died of cholera. I still wish I could have been the one to kill him, if for nothing else than to see the beautiful expression of fear on Wallace’s—

…She’s in the paper today.

Little Kristinaki—well, maybe not so little anymore—entered some Pokéathlon tournament. Got first place. Said she was going to pursue Pokéanthropology and be a Pokémon Idol. My little girl—No. Not my girl. She doesn’t have a father. Poor little girl.

But that’s sappy shit. Forty percent of Kantonian kids don’t have one of their parents in their life, thirty in Johto. It’s not like I really had a dad growing up. If I could survive without a father, so can she. Besides, I don’t need a family.

Why did I ever make some sort of connection with any sort of family?

-

I check the news again. I really need to stop doing that. All it does is remind me of how much better they’re doing, if it’s not droning on about stocks or Pokémon Tournaments or—

“Wallace Papadakis Steps Down from Gym Leader and Lorekeeper Position, Citing Mental Health Reasons”

…Never mind. I just found something… good. Something great.

Apparently, this freak has debilitating anxiety and bipolar disorder. Says it came from trying to be perfect all of the time. Says he wants to focus on Contests. Says he’s going to do his best to be a good leader of Sootopolis.

But how’s he supposed to do that without his titles? Those precious titles that put him above all the rest of us, those precious titles the Papadakis family lauded. Those precious titles he now has no claim to.

Maybe Wallace will get rejected by his family for being such a disgrace. If their family’s bar for “disgraceful behaviour” is stealing to survive, then surely stepping down from two oh so prestigious roles is twice as bad, at absolute least. If committing a few crimes is enough to get kicked out of the Papadakis family, then being a freak must also—

…Nev er mind. This issue of Holo Gossip is from several months ago.

I run to the Grunt Lounge. It’s a pretty big room with a kitchenette and bar and all that fun stuff, but my focus is on the corner with the gray couches and red pillows… on the TV.

I grab the remote from a grunt and frantically switch between channels. Weather, weather, The Poké Dude Show, Johto news, why is there so much weather news, how do we get Sinnoh Now

He’s on Sinnoh Now. He’s smiling as he talks to the interviewer. Why is he smiling? Who gave him the right to smile? He’s beaming with joy.

“...and we’re just so, so happy. We’ve wanted… We’ve wanted a child for so long—”

‘We’?

A child.

A wife.

The remote shatters the TV, turning that horrible face into a million shards of color. Several grunts are screaming around me as I fall to my knees.

He gets a happy life. He gets a happy life and a family who loves him. He gets a wife and a child on the way and love from the public and love from them and I get nothing. My family rejected me, first the one I was born into, then the one I married into. And Wallace got to fail without his family or city rejecting them. He got to be imperfect. And I… I…

“Proton.”

Archer is approaching me, and the Grunts are all staring at him with both fear and awe. I hate that bastard. He’s so serious and pretentious, like all the violinists I used to know, and he thinks that he’s so special just because he’s Boss’ favorite, and he thinks he’s so much better than me because he’s an admin and I’m just an executive. One of these days, I want to kill him. I want to strangle him and cut him up and dump his body over Nugget Bridge.

But I don’t. Because Archer is my “co-worker”, my “colleague”, my “friend”. And I’d probably lose my job if I killed a superior.

So instead, I look up at him and say, “Yes, Archer?” as nicely and professionally as I can.

“Boss wants you in his office.”

-

This better be worth my time. And not the end of it. It doesn’t happen often, but Boss sometimes calls people to… get rid of them. He never invites me to see the executions. I must not be high ranking enough.

But that can’t be the case! I’m an Executive! I’m second only to Giovanni! Maybe he worries I’ll “ruin the dignity of death” or some shit. Boss is cruel, but he has a code of dignity. Unlike me, he believes in morals.

His office is like a cave: The room is dark, though I can make out red walls and silver tiled floors. Two paintings glow like bioluminescent pools of water. Stalagmite throne and desk. There’s a smoldering ember in the ashtray on the desk, the lingering remains of a campfire. Boss is sitting on his throne, and his Persian is sitting in his lap. That spoiled, oversized kitten.

I grit my teeth behind tense lips. Boss would never kill someone for breaking a TV, but I’m not getting off scot free.

“Archer was quick to report me.”

Boss raises an eyebrow. “Report you?” His voice is deep and gravelly.

Shit, Archer wasn’t coming after me for my outburst?... I’m not in trouble?

I want to lie, want to say it’s just Archer being Archer, but Boss can’t stand a liar, and that’s a lie I can’t get away with.

“I broke the TV. Threw a remote at it.”

“Oh? What was on that caused such an outburst?”

“Well… They were talking about us! They were talking about Team Rocket! They were saying how awful and terrible we are!”

Boss leans forward in his chair. “Who?”

This is a lie I can get away with, a lie even Giovanni can’t help but want to believe. “Some Coordinators. Don’t know their names.”

Boss sighs. “Proton, I wouldn’t worry about the gossip of some random Coordinators, if I were you. Team Rocket is stronger than ever, and those sorts of people thrive on most simple matters, like petty drama and squabbles. We must not get distracted from our ultimate goals by trivial matters.”

I nod. Whatever people are saying about Team Rocket doesn’t matter. What matters is catching strong Pokémon, killing our enemies, dominating the world, them… getting back at them. Any excuse for Giovanni to brag about Team Rocket and put down the media, he’ll take like fresh bait.

“I have an assignment for you.” Those words are music to my ears. It’s always good when I get assignments; it means I get to do fun stuff, like cut up Slowpoke, or play hitman on people bugging our classy organization.

“What is it, sir?” I force myself to keep from smiling.

“I want you to lead our branch invading the Hoenn region.” Those words are a deceptive, dissonant cadence. I thought he was going to give me a perfect authentic cadence—a promotion, a chance to see him killing a measly grunt—but instead I have to go… there.

Hoenn?! What is this, some kind of twisted joke? Sure, no one knows I was… him, but there’s no way in the earth, sea, and sky that this is a coincidence. Boss isn’t stupid. He’s the smartest and cleverest son of a bitch there is.

Boss is also above me. I can’t protest.

“Yes, sir.”

Boss nods. “There are powerful Pokémon in Hoenn. Ones that can predict disasters or do the most complicated calculations in milliseconds. Ones that can control land or water. But there is one...”

Boss stands up, spreading his arms out wide. “...a powerful dragon able to quell the fights of Legendary Pokémon, to nullify raging storms and droughts, to… to Mega Evolve without a Mega Stone. Rayquaza.”

Rayquaza. That’s the more common name. We Sootopolitans call it Rekkoúza, the Mediator of the Sky.

“I know of Rayquaza,” I say. “In Sootopolis, we… see it as a deity.”

Something in Boss’ demeanor shifts. “If you’re not comfortable with this mission—”

“No, no, no. Of course not. What I’m saying is that… to see Rayquaza and to catch it would be… an honor. And I have to be there when we capture them and usher in a new era for Sootopolis City, for the Hoenn region!”

Giovanni has loyalties to no one but himself and The Creator. I don’t know if he wants to prove himself to it or one up it, but I see him praying a lot to it. At the same time, he’s always been respectful of other people’s differing beliefs. He’s cruel when necessary, but he has a moral code.

I have loyalties to no person, no city, no gods, just myself. However, I have beliefs: I’m a Runekyōto. Sometimes. It usually comes with being Sootopolitan. I may not be a Papadakis or Latsis anymore, but I’m still a Sootopolitan.

So why am I not protesting against an attack on Sootopolis City? Because I’ll choose Team Rocket over that lost cause of corruption and economic issues any day. Team Rocket has order, a sense of purpose, a common goal, power. Team Rocket could be what finally gets Sootopolis City out of the muck.

And capturing Rekkoúza… proving myself more worthy than any of them… There’s nothing in scripture prohibiting the capture of Rekkoúza, and even if there was, scripture is pretty clear that murder and unneeded torture are sinful, and well…

“It’s very hard to summon Rayquaza,” I continue. “Only a few people know how, passing their knowledge down orally from generation to generation. Even when we began writing down our stories, there are certain things that are still only spoken between a select few. But I might know who some of those select few are. The former Gym Leader, Wallace, he was a Lorekeeper. He knows how to summon Rayquaza. I will find him—”

“And you’ll keep him alive?”

I pause for a moment. “Yes. Yes, of course I will.”

Giovanni smiles. “Excellent. Anyway… We’re going to be working with some… other groups. We need all the firepower we can get. Have you heard of the multiverse theory?”

“I have.” Yeah, it’s the thing where there’s a bunch of alternate realities and shit. Draconids talk about it a lot. Maybe there’s a reality where I didn’t join Team Rocket and became a good father… but I probably became poor and destitute in that universe.

“Well, we came upon some… powerful trainers, and now we have the strength of five or even ten organizations against a city of 16,000. We’ll organize a siege of Sootopolis City, and once we have Rayquaza, Team Rocket will be unstoppable.”

-

I don’t like the Team Aqua kids. No matter what multiverse they’re from, they’re nothing but pirate hippies. They give me shit for cutting off Slowpoke tails, saying it’s not nice or whatever. They’re a bunch of fish-loving radicals, I swear. Idiots call Sootopolitans fish fuckers, but have those people seen Team Aqua?

Team Magma is at least a little more tolerable because they leave me alone, but even they spend their free time butting heads with the Slowpoke lovers. I need the help of their admins to wrangle them in.

I don’t know why Giovanni wants to work with them, but if they’re willing to work with Team Rocket and not snitch, I guess I can’t complain. We need all the help we can get if we want to achieve world domination. Besides, I can take care of the more annoying kids once they’ve outlived their usefulness to Team Rocket.

Team Aqua’s base, where Team Rocket and company are camping out, is pretty close to Sootopolis City. Like, hour-boat-ride close. I’m staking out in the city, but I don’t know where to stay. Lydia and Kristinaki don’t live here anymore, but the others do. Maybe I can visit the old Papadakis home before Team Rocket—

No. I can’t visit them. I can’t let them know about my affiliation with Team Rocket. Then I would have to kill them. Actually, that might be kind of fun: seeing the betrayal in their eyes as their own uncle, their own brother-in-law, or their own whatever tortures them with their worst nightmares.

Petrel’s good at identity fraud and disguises, so I’ve got a pretty good alias prepared: Lance Psomas, second generation Sootopolitan immigrant born in Johto, coming back to visit his grandmother or some sappy shit. Ha! Isn’t Lance the name of the Indigo League Champion?

…Didn’t he date one of my nieces?

Fuck. Why does everything have to go back to them?

-

Here I am, standing in a city I haven’t been in for fifteen years. It’s five in the evening. In twelve hours, the city will be under Team Rocket control. What should I do until that time comes? Obviously find that lore-keeping pretty boy, but I need a base from which I can lay out my plans.

Maybe I should stop by one of these houses, challenge the Gym Leader for shits and giggles, commit a petty robbery…

No. I still need a place to stay. I’ll worry about having fun when that’s taken care of.

I walk up the hills to East Sootopolis, which is just above Central Sootopolis and the Gym. Eventually, I stop at a random house and knock on the door. Sootopolitans are all about hospitality; they’ll take in any random schmuck on the street and treat them like royalty. I’ll make up some sappy story about how I’m coming back to my homeland and I’m so happy to—

“Hello?”

The door opens, and that nephew appears. Well, I only had one: Wallace.

I try to think of happy memories of him so I don’t strangle him where he stands. I was the good big uncle who played with all of the kids when their parents were too busy. But for all the time I knew him—seven years or so—he was almost always in and out of the hospital. The best I can come up with is singing songs for him and the other kids during Feast Weeks. It’s a miracle he survived to adulthood.

Finally, I muster the ability to say something:

“I’ve come to see my grandmother, but I believe she’s recently moved, and while I try to find out where she currently lives, I need a place to stay.”

Wallace smiles. “Of course. Come right in, dear traveller. I was just making dinner for my family and myself. What might your name be?”

-

He leads me to the living room. A woman with lavender hair and cozy looking clothes is sitting on the sofa with a little duck Pokémon—I’ve never seen that kind of Pokémon before. It’s sleeping on her stomach. She looks three or four months pregnant. This must be the wife… and the expected child. What a lucky bastard.

“Darling, we have a guest,” Wallace says. “This is Lance.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” the woman greets, waving at me. “I’m Winona.”

“I’ll go make us some tea,” Wallace says as he leaves the living room.

I sit down in one of the chairs and look at Winona.

“You’re… expecting?” Probably not the best question to ask, but conversation with hosts is tradition among Sootopolitans.

The woman smiles. “We’re due in December.”

December? That means she’s five months pregnant.

“You don’t… You don’t look it.”

Exhaustion creeps into the woman’s expression. Did I strike a nerve or something? Oh well. It’s not like we’re going to be friends or anything. I’m even kidnapping, using, and killing her husband. (Wait, Boss doesn’t want me to kill him… yet.) She might die in the crossfires of tomorrow’s raid herself. Who knows?

But she shakes away the look and smiles again. “A close friend is hosting the baby shower. We were trying to have a child for a year…” She looks down at the duck thing. “...then the heavens gave us Ferdinand, and now we’re going to have another child.”

The duck has a name? And why is this lady treating it like her child or something?!

“Ferdinand?” I keep the disgust out of my voice. This is their son?!?!

“He’s a Quaxly. Not from around Hoenn. Probably an angel sent by the winds.”

Every word that comes out of this woman’s mouth makes me sick. She’s treating the thing like a son? Isn’t she already gonna have a baby?

“Do you have any other family?” I ask.

“Our husband is away for the week doing research for his dissertation. He’s studying the presence of… energy in stones. Infinity Energy, Z-Power, Dynamax Energy, Tera Crystals…”

The Quaxly babbles something, and Winona chuckles.

“Yes,” she says, “a Mamá, a Papá, and a Babá.”

Husband? Husband?! These two have another spouse?!?! I almost feel jealous, but mostly flabbergasted. And…

“Babá?”

“Wallace,” Winona explains. “A parent in between male and female.”

I feel like I should have heard about all this… this polygamous-nonbinary-free love shit in the news… Assuming I read the news. I don’t. I hate the news.

What a bunch of hippies.

The duck thing stirs awake and looks up at me. The woman strokes its blue hair.

“Ferdinand, we have a visitor. Say hello to Lance.”

The duck quacks something, and the woman responds, chuckling: “No, not Lancey.”

‘Lancey’? This is just getting pathetic now.

Wallace comes back into the room with a tray of tea. He places it on the coffee table and cuddles up next to Winona.

“Is there anything I can get you, Winona darling?”

“Chocolate.” She says it like one of those Cuteness Contest girls trying to sound like a four year old. Is that a pregnancy thing, or is that a Winona thing? I can’t remember the time when Lydia was pregnant; I was out a lot, committing crimes to support my unborn daughter. But then the life of crime became more appealing than the life of being a father. At least I left some money to my wife and child, so don’t come after me and call me a negligent father. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not a father.

“Of course, darling.” Wallace kisses her cheek, then he kisses the Quaxly’s head.

Wasn’t Wallace’s dad the alcoholic? Got shitfaced and tried to kill himself. Had all those mental issues that made everyone hate him… but not enough to reject him from the Papadakis family. It must have been because he was a Lorekeeper and Gym Leader.

But now, Wallace doesn’t even have those things anymore. Wallace has nothing to protect him from being a disgrace to his family, from being a terrible father, from being a failure.

“You’re a very cute family.” I’m not lying; they are sickeningly adorable, like they’ve been hanging out with a bunch of Luvdisc. I decide to prevent any lovey-dovey stories from them: “I have a, uh, wife and two kids, uh, Marina and, uh… um… Árgyros. We live back in, er, Johto. Whitestone. A really beautiful place. Have you ever been?”

“I have family in Whitestone,” Wallace replies. “My aunt is the president of the Sootopolitan Diaspora Society in Johto. I’ve been to the city a couple of times. A beautiful, beautiful city. A beautiful blend of Sootopolitan and Johtonian culture, art, music, cuisine—”

“It sure is.” I don’t want this kid going on a tangent. “President, you say?” If he’s talking about the aunt I think he’s talking about… “Lydia.” I swallow. “That’s her name, isn’t it? She’s got a daughter. Haven’t met the daughter, but I hear a lot of good things about her. She’s… She’s a kid any parent should be proud of.” Good thing I’m not a parent.

Wallace somehow beams an even brighter smile. “Kristina is a wonderful young woman with a lot of potential. I can’t wait to see what she goes on to do.”

-

“Ferdinand, you can’t come with us to the market!” I hear Wallace say. “You need rest so you can grow big, strong, and healthy!”

There are quacks of protest, then Wallace sighs and says, “Okay, okay, but once we come home, we’re going to take a nap. Okay?”

There’s a gleeful quack, then the door closes.

As I leave the guest room, I check my watch. 5:05. We’re a little behind schedule. On the kitchen table is a note:





Dear Psomas,

My family and I are going on a walk to the market to get food for dinner. We should be back around late afternoon. If you need to leave before we return, I would like to thank you for your wonderful stories and for coming to our humble home.

- Wallace






Okay, so Sootopolitans have this code that visitors and hosts follow, and one thing visitors are expected to do is treat the house with respect in return for the respect they receive from their hosts. So slashing up the beds and sofas because I feel like it isn’t very good form. I’m not going to do that; I’m already on the Mediator’s bad side.

Soon they’ll be on my side.

I think I know what market they’re going to: Kerameus’s. Lydia and I went there a lot before we moved to Johto. I wonder if it’s grown from a tiny building and stand since we’ve left.

Their other Pokémon are occupied outside as I write my response note:





Dear Wallace and Winona,

Thank you for inviting me into your home for the night. Your kindness and help is truly admirable.

-Psomas






I turn on my radio to the hideout. “Are we ready?”

-

I’m like water in a silent stream as I glide through the streets of Central Sootopolis. I see the Gym Leader, Juan, walking to the Gym with his Kingdra floating right next to him. Couples clap as Luvdisc perform aquatic dances. Children play Abariza with their Pokémon, running back and forth to try to tag players from the other team to send them to 'jail'. People barely notice me and my Golbat. They don’t even realize that I’m about to take their precious pretty boy away.

The pretty boy and his wife walking down a dark, lesser known alleyway. It’s a twisting and winding path with scattered piles of boxes and murals on the walls here and there. They’re probably taking this shortcut because of the murals. Too bad for them, I guess.

Wallace has his cape wrapped around Winona, and that Quaxly is skipping next to them. How cute. Not!

I’m about to make my move when I hear it: the church bells. First a reference C, then the deadly E flat. The bells haven’t rung that interval in decades. Plenty of “C-C-G” patterns for funerals, plenty of D major chords for weddings, but that C-E flat is for emergencies. Invasions. Attacks.

The first one is distant and quiet, but as more ring out, the sound gets louder and louder as more and more churches and towers play it.

And then the sky goes dark.

The Team Rocket battalion has come.

Swarms of Zubat, Golbat, Crobat, Skarmory, and Honchkrow cloud the opening above the crater. There are screams and splashes, and in the crater’s waters below, hundreds of Water types are appearing: Sharpedo, Huntail, Gorebyss, Carvahna, Tentacool, Tentacruel, even a couple of Gyarados. All exits out of the city are blocked off.

Once the crater’s high, steep walls protected the people within, but now Sootopolis City’s strength has become her downfall. Her people are trapped.

Wallace and Winona are frantically whispering to each other. The Quaxly is running around them, then Winona picks it up.

Next thing they know, I push Wallace against the wall and have the woman in my arms with Athena to her throat. The duck jumps out of her arms.

Athena, my beautiful girl. Her blade is a beautiful, shining silver. Her hilt is smooth, ebony wood with a red lacquer “R” carved in it. If she had a voice, it would be like a flute: beautiful and innocent, even as she stabs you with high pitched, dynamic accents.

“Scream and she gets it,” I hiss coldly.

With Wallace on the ground, I stand taller than him. He’s shaking with fear. I love that. I fucking love that.

“Don’t you dare do anything to Winona,” he hisses. How cute. He thinks he’s scary.

“All right, Mr. Sootopolis,” I continue, “we’re going to play a little game. It’s called Help Team Rocket or I Cut Up the—’”

Something bites my leg.

“FUCK!”

I let go of Winona, doubling over in pain. That little god damn Quaxly or whatever the fuck she called it is quacking furiously at me, so in other words, it’s making annoying little noises that are probably supposed to be scary.

“SHUT UP!”

I kick the little bastard, and it goes flying towards a stack of boxes. The crash! is deafening. God damn it.

“FERDINAND!” Winona shouts as she runs towards it to pick it up.

I immediately turn to Wallace. He’s my priority right now, not the pregnant lady and her duck “son”.

“Get out!” Wallace shouts desperately.

Winona shakes her head. “I can’t—”

“GET OUT!”

There’s a moment of hesitation, but then she escapes with the Quaxly.

Wallace tries stumbling to his feet, Pokéball in hand. I take out my own ball—a yellow Shock Ball—and throw it into the ground. Alongside the beam of red light that becomes my Golbat, there’s a zap of electricity that will keep nearby Pokéballs from opening for a bit of time, enough time to take him away.

He yelps and drops the Pokéball. Breathing heavily, he tries one last ditch effort to get away and begins to run off, but my Golbat is quick to catch him—on the shoulder, with its teeth.

Wallace shouts, sways a bit with the Golbat holding on tight, then crumbles to the ground.

…Well that was anticlimactic. I was expecting more of a struggle, but this is more than welcome.

I pick Wallace up and sling him over my shoulder. Someone’s probably heard us by now, but if not, Winona will surely snitch. All hell has broken loose, and it’s every man for themself. No one’s thinking clearly enough to save their precious poster boy.

Luckily, there’s an abandoned theater I can hide in until the grunts can pick me up. It’s almost like the city wants me to take Wallace away.

“Let’s get out of here,” I whisper as I pick up the Shock Ball and return my Golbat.

My one mission today is completed. Now I just have to wait out the chaos.

-

The theater is empty, save for a few Wingull picking at scraps. There’s a big hole in the wall on the third floor where I can watch everything unravel without being seen myself. I have a great view of the whole city.

Down below, a Team Magma grunt is chasing down a girl and her Chingling. In the sky, Pelippers in black and gold uniforms are attempting to fight the flying attackers. It’s the Sootopolitan Corps of Land, Sea, and Sky, the city’s defense force, consisting of its air protection, police force, healthcare services, and navy. Sootopolitans are famous for their navy. We’re sea people; it’s in our blood. The Hoennese government has denied Sootopolitans protection and necessities throughout history, and so we had to make our own.

But the SCLSS are vastly outnumbered by Magma, Aqua, and Team Rocket. For every sturdy Pelipper, there’s ten Zubat with teeth that can break through its protection.

And then there’s the Gym in the center of the city—smoke is beginning to billow from it. I can even see the flames. Pokémon and people alike are fleeing the building, and I think I can see Juan running out, holding a girl in his arms as his Kingdra fights off a swarm of Tentacool. I wish I could go down and kill the girl, then Juan. That would be amusing.

Oh right. My captive.

Wallace is just beginning to wake up. I quickly grab an old, white dress and rip it into strips so I can tie his arms behind him.

He looks around with delirious confusion. The effects of the poison will leave him with dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion, maybe even delirium and hallucinations… I love poisoning my victims and seeing the myriad effects that manifest.

His glazed eyes widen at the sound of screaming. He desperately cranes his neck to see what’s happening, struggling to break free of his makeshift chains. A wonderful idea strikes me at the sight of him.

“You wanna see your pretty city?”

I don’t give him a choice; I drag him by the back of his shirt and hold him in front of the hole so he can hear the screams and sobs of people and Pokémon, watch our forces overpower his, witness the bloodshed in all its gory glory, the burning of every home and shop and theater…

Wallace doesn’t even close his eyes or turn away—not that I would let him if he tried. He just stares out at the city.

Sootopolis City is falling, and all her protector can do is watch.

-

The prison is kind of like Boss’ office in a way, only the prison is actually a cave, and I hate it. Instead of the smell of expensive cigarettes, there’s the smell of mildew and mold. The walls and floors aren’t sleek in a just-cleaned-and-waxed way; they’re slippery from dirty water. It’s dark, only lit by a cheap lamp above.

Well, as long as the prisoner doesn’t like it, I like it, and Wallace sure doesn’t like it.

He’s kneeling in the corner, where his ankle chain is attached. I’ve given him about a meter square of walking space before he trips on the hard ground. Heh. That’ll be fun to witness.

He’s shaking, leaning against the wall, gagging. He glances up at me for a moment, then shuts his eyes as another gagging fit comes. Eventually, he brings up slimy, greenish-yellow liquid. Oh yeah, poisoning can also cause vomiting, among other yucky things.

I’ll leave the cleanup to the Magma and Aqua idiots. As a treat for our successful siege of Sootopolis City. Then again, half of them are drunk from celebrating a successful siege of the Impenetrable Crater. Looting Sootopolis City’s Assyrtiko wine cellars is certainly a feat to celebrate.

I grab Wallace’s hair forcibly, making him look up at me.

“What’s wrong?” I taunt. “Is the pretty boy not feeling well?”

He responds with a gag, spilling his stomach acid on my shoes. God fucking dammit. Now I’m going to have to walk in these gross shoes and clean them. Maybe I’ll make a Magma or Aqua grunt do it.

I don’t let my disgust get the better of me, though. “Poor little Mikró Mikouri.” I talk like he’s a little child who can’t even count to five. “Sick again. I thought that being the mayor’s favourite pet made him immune to mortal sickness. Does he need to go back to the hospital? Does he need his mommy again? Well, too bad his mommy and daddy are dead. He doesn’t even have his mayor to save him anymore.”

There’s fear in his eyes as he stares up at me again. Confusion. He’s thinking about the taunts I threw at him. They’re the taunts only a Papadakis would be able to throw…

He hugs me.

“Theíos Milas,” he sobs. “I thought you abandoned us. Yiáyia said that you abandoned us for a life of Sin. But I knew she was wrong. I knew she was wrong. You’re here to save me. No petty crime you did in your past could take that away.”

That name. That name. How dare he say it how dare he say it how dare he—

I grab him by the shirt collar and slam him into the wall.

“Milas is dead. You hear me? Dead. Is that fucking clear?!”

I struck the right nerve: There’s now terror in his eyes instead of just fear. He’s whimpering like a little Pichu. He’s shaking violently in my grip.

My disgust becomes glee. I’ve gotten the pretty boy dirty.

“It’s so funny… Everyone really thought you were something. The mayor loved you. The Papadakis family loved you. And now here you are, falling to a single—”

“My family disowned me.”

His voice is shaky from crying, so close to breaking. There’s no longer fear… just despair.

“They hated me. They hated me and they hated me even more when Megalos took me in as my father’s replacement. And he tried to beat and drug the imperfection out of me and when he wasn’t doing that he was… he was…” He gasps for air. “…he was pimping me out to the highest bidder or using me himself.”

This man is being overtaken by hysteria. Did I.. really strike that big a nerve? Maybe it’s the poison. Good. It’s good to see him break down like this; he’s catching me up on all of his failures.

“I made myself sick every time I ate beyond scraps. I did every drug that didn’t require needles. I almost killed myself. And when my family found out about the drugs and the rape and everything they disowned me like an infected mutt! They don’t care about love. They don’t care about family. They only care about being perfect and looking perfect to the world. It’s why they abandoned you, and it’s why they abandoned me. They can rot in hell for all I care!” His voice rises in pitch with that last sentence. “I don’t need them! We don’t need them! I have two wonderful spouses and a father and friends and a son and a daughter on the way and—I’ve never been happier.”

And now, now he’s grinning like a fool. “If you’re doing this whole invasion thing as some… misguided revenge plan, it’s not too late to stop! You can help us stop Team Rocket and—”

I put Athena to his cheek. She swiftly glides across his skin. There’s a scream of pain and a flash of blood. I let Wallace go and let him fall to the floor. He’s crying out in pain, and blood drips on my feet. I’ve put a good looking scar on his face. Good. Very good.

If only I was doing this in front of a crowd. Imagine a crowd pointing and laughing at Wallace as he makes an undignified fool of himself, as I slowly chip away his confident, pretty boy facade and reveal the broken freak underneath. A freak. A junkie. A bulimic. A victim. A failure. I feel so much better than myself; I may be a thief and a murderer, but I never stooped to Wallace’s level.

Maybe I should invite that kid Kagari to watch.

I pick up his stupid little beret, which was sitting on the floor, and drop it in the puddle of vomit and blood just for good measure.

“I’ll be back later for more.”

He says nothing as I leave. I stare back at him so I can see the fleeting hope in his eyes drain away.

-

I’m reading the news. Five thousand human civilian deaths, five thousand Pokémon civilian deaths. Four thousand human defender deaths, two thousand Pokémon defender deaths. One thousand human Rocket, Magma, and Aqua deaths, two thousand Pokémon Rocket, Magma, and Aqua deaths. Countless injuries and missing people. Countless hostages still stuck in the city. The Elite Four and Gym Leaders came in at one point to intervene, but not even they could stop us. Maybe we would have had a challenge if the Hoenn Defense League had intervened, but that’s assuming they care about Sootopolis City.

I read first through the obituary, trying to see if I recognize anyone. It’s long, but there’s got to be some familiar faces: Kerameus Sr. is gone. He had three sons? The more you know. A mom and child are dead here and there. I wish I had been there to see—

Oh dear.

Aeolus Papadakis is dead. Kistinaki’s great grandfather is dead.

Oh dear.

Oh well.

I sort of wish I could have been there to see it all play out. Who killed him? How did they do it? How much pain was the old man in during his final moments?

But at least I have Wallace. That’s a 50% pay—

SLAM!

That Shelly woman is staring at me. Wait no, this is the black-and-blue haired Shelly: Izumi. Izumi is fuming, and her fist is on the table.

“What did you do to that prisoner?” she demands.

I roll my eyes. “I had my fun with him. Got a problem with that?”

“Are you trying to kill him?!”

“That wouldn’t be very fun for me. Gotta keep them alive long enough to torture, you know?”

“Can you at least clean up your messes?”

“I’m not a janitor. I’m an E-xe-cu-tive.” I emphasise every syllable of that word so she knows I’m the boss. “Aqua is working for Team Rocket. Giovanni named me the head of this mission. I call the shots.”

“We’re only doing this for Aqua’s interests, not Team Rocket’s hypercapitalistic, tyrannical greed.”

I roll my eyes again. Aqua’s going to be nothing when I get Rekkoúza.

“If you want to clean the vomit, let Bob do it,” I mumble. “He’s not drinking and partying, is he?”

“I already cleaned Wallace up and got him water.”

I freeze. I stare dead into Izumi’s eyes. I bolt out of my seat and run to the prison.

Wallace is asleep on the floor when I burst into the cave. The floor is clean. His clothes are clean. His beret is clean. His scar has a fucking bandage on it.

“Don’t you dare touch him!” Izumi yells at me.

Wallace is startled awake, along with the Corsola he’s holding. I ignore Izumi and run over to him. He’s too shocked to react as I grab him and rip the bandage off. He screams. The scar is white, like it’s been healed by a Pokémon.

That fucking Corsola.

“Please don’t hurt—”

I kick the Corsola. Bits of its branches fall off as it tumbles across the floor.

Blinded by rage, I take out Athena and then back to Wallace. I don't even see him, just rage.

Here’s the pretty boy who got to have a happy life despite the fact that he’s a messed up, alcoholic freak, just like his dad. He thinks a duck can be a son. He can’t even stand up for his own city.

I’ve never done drugs or alcohol. I was a pretty good husband before I left Lydia. I was a normal person. Why did only one of us get to rise? Why did the heavens choose Wallace to be the special, perfect, pretty face of Sootopolis? Why did I have to be the one to get shunned and forgotten by my own family when the special kid is so fucked in the head? Aren’t I fucked in the head, too? Where’s my fame and fortune?

“PROTON, ENOUGH!”

Hands and teeth snap me away from Wallace. He falls as I get dragged off.

A Mightyena turns me to face Izumi. She’s with several Aqua grunts, and she’s livid. I snap Athena towards her before she can speak. Athena is covered in Wallace’s blood, which makes Izumi recoil a bit.

“I’M THE LEADER OF THIS FUCKING MISSION!” I shout. “DON’T YOU DARE TRY TO TELL ME HOW TO LEAD IT!”

Izumi takes one step back. Then another. Then several more.

I look back at Wallace. He’s crumbled on the floor, a puddle of blood forming under him. He tries to look up at me, eyes dazed, but he’s too weak. He’s bleeding. He's fucking bleeding.

“What is your problem?!”

Tears are running down Izumi’s face as she yells at me. I, on the other hand, am smiling wider than I ever remember smiling. I’m shaking with euphoria. I made my nephew bleed! I gave that bastard what he deserves!

“Forget about the stupid mission!” Izumi shrills. “Don’t you have any decency?! Is this all some sick and twisted game to you?!?!”

I have to laugh. “Oh, so murdering thousands of people is okay, but nearly murdering one person is where you draw the line! What’s the difference? Is it that he’s my nephew? Is that what makes it so bad? That sure sounds like nepotism to me!”

A new kind of fear sparks in Izumi’s eyes—and a new kind of anger.

“All we needed to do is get one person! One person who could summon Rayquaza! We didn’t need to murder so many people! That was all Rocket’s idea! And not only are you Rocket people so sick in the head that you’ll burn cities to the ground and kill innocent Pokémon and people, but you’ll turn against your own family?!?!?!”

Shelly runs to Wallace’s side as the two grunts grab my arms. Ah, she’s not wrong. I’m not the only one who’s abandoned family: Petrel left a son, Ariana left several children and men, and Archer… Archer has someone he abandoned. He seems like the type.

When you join Team Rocket, you learn that family doesn’t matter. The only thing connecting you to family is blood, and that’s easily spilled. All family does is tie you down.

“You’re a monster.”

Wallace gazes up at me as Shelly slings his arm over her shoulders. He’s breathing heavily, and his shirt is soaked in blood. He’s still able to talk? He doesn’t know he’s supposed to shut up?

“You’re no better than our blood family,” he rasps out. “So… so obsessed with being above your family, so obsessed with power and fame or infamy. Who will be there to defend you, when you must justify your actions to our maker?”

I roll my eyes as I pull out of the grunts’ restraining grip. “He’ll live with that fucking Corsola’s help.”

I lick my lips as I walk out of the prison. I have enough restraint not to lick the blood on Athena.

-

The submarine ride to the Sky Pillar is quiet. It’s kind of boring, really. Wallace has been tied to a chair in the backroom of the submarine. He’s staring at the ground, expression cold and stoic. Two Rocket guards stand with two Raticate, but they’re honestly redundant at this point. Even if Wallace had the physical strength to escape, I doubt he would. He knows his place. He knows his fate.

They’re probably there so I don’t accidentally stab him to death. After the last time I cut him up, Izumi and a few others have been kind of scared of the possibility.

Some of the Admins are staying behind in Sootopolis City to deal with potential uprisings. I’m left with the muscular Matt Ushio, the redheaded and more cocky Shelly, and the thinner and more brutal Tabitha. Izumi isn’t here, thank goodness, but she must have told on me to her buddy, because Ushio has been watching me like a Sharpedo.

I stare at Wallace. He doesn’t stare back.

“No matter what you do,” I say, “your family isn’t going to save you. Who would want to save you, your wife? They’re not going to let her save you, even if she wanted to. Do you think your family would want to save you after all of your failures?”

I think about that wife. I think about how happy she and Wallace were just barely 48 hours ago.

“And your poor child is going to grow up without a father. Oh well. My daughter grew up without a father, and she turned out fine. Maybe your kid will turn out better without a freak like you around.”

Wallace finally looks up at me with a blank expression. “I don’t trust your musings on family.”

“Sir,” Ushio says.

A Magma grunt is standing next to him. He looks like he needs something from me.

With one last look at Wallace, I leave the room.

The grunt leads me down the corridors to a storage room. Shelly and Tabitha are trying to hold a… Quaxly, that’s what it’s called. It’s the Quaxly with the hat.

Freddy. No, Ferdinand. I’m not calling it that.

“Look what we got in case the pretty boy doesn’t listen,” Shelly says.

“I’m the one who caught it,” Tabitha gloats.

“Shut up,” Shelly shoots back. “I was the one who found him running onto our ship, yelling about how he was going to save his Babá.”

“I didn’t run off like a little coward when the Elite Four came and tried to stop us.”

I groan. Idiots bickering. I don’t need that.

The Quaxly quacks like it desperately wants to get out. There’s even tears in its eyes. I don't understand. Why would we need that thing to—

Oh.

Wallace and Winona called it a son, right?

They called it a son, right?

I laugh so hard that I have to hold one of the pipes. Those cursed Papadakes. Wallace thought he could build a better family with a duck, and look where that’s going to bring him.

-

I stare up at the Sky Pillar, the crunch of boots on sand fading from my mind.

It’s… wow. Every time I’ve seen it, it’s blown me away. For Sootopolitans and Draconids to make a tower tall enough to reach and appease Rekkoúza, for them to be able to build such a structure together, to be able to build something that’s stood for so long… It’s nothing short of a feat.

Tabitha and Shelly throw Wallace into the sand. He’s on his knees, helpless, hopeless.

“Well, your time has come,” I say. “Sooner or later, you’re going to fulfill your duties as Lorekeeper… and summon the Mediator of the Sky themself! The sooner you do, the sooner we can get this over with.”

Wallace’s expression doesn’t change. “You may be a traitor to our city and our family, but I most certainly am not. Burn down our buildings. Bring the crater down to crumbling dust. Kill me if you so please. I may be a Lorekeeper no longer, but I will always be a servant of what is just and right.”

I smile. Oh well, guess I’m going to have to use Plan B.

“Everyone here seems to think family is great,” I begin, “especially our dear friend Wallace. When I spoke with him before capturing him, he just wouldn’t shut up about his family.” I walk over to Shelly and take the box out of her hands. It’s kicking from side to side. The thing inside wants out, now.

“He was with his wife and ‘son’ when I captured him.” I step in front of Wallace just far enough so he can see me but still be helpless. “And his wife and son dearly, dearly miss him. So, Ferdinand”—I open the box.—“say hello to your Babá.”

I pull the Quaxly out by its neck. It’s waving its little wings around as if that will do anything. This thing is my… grandnephew? It can’t be. It’s a Pokémon. Pokémon are means to an end, not family.

Wallace is shaking, breathing heavily. His brows are knit with anger, but his teal eyes betray pure fear.

“What the fuck, Proton?!” Ushio gasps. “You’re going to kill your nephew’s son right in front of him?!”

I wish Ushio would stop talking.

“Oh Golbat!” I call. “I’ve got a rare delicacy: roasted—”

“Enough.”

All of the anger and heroism is gone from Wallace’s voice and expression; all that’s left is desperation.

“I’ll do anything you want. Just… please don’t hurt Ferdinand. I beg of you. Do whatever you want to me. Make me do whatever you wish me to do. Just promise me, promise me you’ll keep Ferdinand safe.”

I smile. It worked.

“May I… May I please speak to him one last time?” He looks over at the duck, then quickly adds, “Before I have to perform the ritual, of course.”

I can hear the lie in those words. He’s never seeing the duck again.

I drop the duck in the box and toss it to Wallace. The Quaxly slides out in front of Wallace. He can’t hold it—his hands are tied behind his back—but it hugs him.

“Ferdinand, Ferdinand, Ferdinand, Ferdinand.” Tears stream down Wallace’s face. He seems to be having a heartfelt conversation with the thing, because it won’t stop crying and quacking. “It’s going to be okay. Shh… Look at me. Ferdinand, please look at me.”

He smiles when the Quaxly looks up. “The nice people will let you free. Mamá and Papá will take care of you—”

He’s interrupted by more quacking.

“Yes, yes, the nice people did take me away,” Wallace continues, “but it’s going to be okay.”

Quaxly says something, and Wallace swallows. What is the thing asking him that’s making him look so… conflicted?

“I won’t see…” Wallace sighs. “I’ll see you again someday, Ferdinand. But… But promise me something, leventi mou. Promise me you’ll love your friends, love your family, and love yourself, no matter what…”

When the thing nods and even does a little salute, Wallace smiles.

“Efharistó polí, leventi mou. se agapó.”

Wallace seems to be at peace now, like he’s accepted his fate.

“Ushio,” he says, “hold onto Ferdinand, and make sure he doesn’t look my way.”

Fuck, now even Ushio is teary-eyed as he takes the thing. These people need to grow the fuck up.

I grab Wallace by the shirt so I can pull him to his feet. He’s still stumbling a bit from my beatings, but he’ll live long enough to serve me.

I lead him to the entrance of the Sky Pillar, where I cut the ropes tying his arms behind him. Tall pillars form a square frame around the big doors decorated with a gold mosaic of Rekkoúza. It reaches two hands downwards, and Wallace places his own hands on them. In a quiet yet surprisingly calm, tenor voice, he began to sing:

“Parakaló Rekkoúza, voíthise tin Runes.

“Parakaló Rekkoúza, voíthise tin Ryouses.

“O aéras kai i vrontí, chreiazómaste to fos sou.

“Parakaló Rekkoúza, voíthise mas!

“Parakaló Rekkoúza, voíthise tin Runes.

“Parakaló Rekkoúza, voíthise tin Ryouses.”


A very nice singing voice, all things considered, even if it’s a bit shaky and scratchy. Too bad the world will never get to hear Wallace’s voice again.

An earthquake shakes the ground beneath us, and I hold onto Wallace for stability. The doors begin to open, and dust and rubble force me to close my eyes. When I open them again, they don’t betray me; the doors opened. The doors opened!

I push Wallace to the ground. I can’t even try to hide my smile.

“You did it, Wallace. You served your purpose. Our ancestors would be proud.”

I look up at Golbat as joy rises in my throat. I might as well keep riding the high.

“Sorry your dinner was delayed, but you may go back to it now.”

“WHAT?!”

Wallace tries to get up on his feet, but I kick him back down, grab him, and put Athena to his throat.

“Let go of the Quaxly, Ushio,” I order.

“Are you crazy?!” Ushio shouts back. “I’m not—”

“LET GO OF IT!”

“‘I’M NOT LETTING HIM GO!”

“GOLBAT, DEAL WITH IT AND THE SYMPATHIZER!”

Golbat lunges, but a Noivern swoops down and snatches Quaxly before Golbat can attack. When I look up, I see a woman standing on the Noivern, holding the Quaxly.

“Milas Latsis,” she called, “you have broken the covenant of the Draconids and Sootopolitans. You have used your fellow child of Rayquaza and now the heavens for evil, and you soaked your hands in the blood of the innocent.”

I laugh and shake my head. “It’s you against us—and there’s a whole lot of us, about thirty or so.”

The woman points to a pile of reddish-brown boulders. Four people emerge—the Elite Four. The bald one pulls up another person—a silver-haired rich boy. The Quaxly starts quacking with delight, and Wallace is looking up with a hope I haven’t seen since he first saw me in prison.

“Steven?!”

“Whatever!” I groan. “You’re still outnumbered.

“Proton?” Tabitha calls as he runs out of the cave leading to the shore. “There’s a boat coming.”

“A boat?” I demand.

“Looks like a Sootopolitan boat. Couldn’t get the crew number.”

“Sootopolitans are going to fight back,” Zinnia explains, “and Draconids will fight with them. Isn’t that common sense?”

The sail of the ship is visible, and I hear shouts and battles cries. The boat has docked.

“Golbat!”

I watch the cave, waiting for the first fighters to emerge.

Instead Kristinaki—No. I don’t have a daughter anymore.

Kristina is there with a ragtag group of kids.

And then I remember why anyone is here: Rekkoúza. I'm not letting a Papadakis take Rekkoúza. I'm taking it for myself. For Team Rocket. For glory. For power.

I run into the Sky Pillar. I forget about Wallace. I forget about the Quaxly. I forget about Kristinaki. All I can think about is Rekkoúza. I need to get it.

Sootopolitans aren’t supposed to step into this sacred building. Draconids can, but not Sootopolitans. Fuck that. I’m nothing anymore. I don’t need to follow old laws. I need Rekkoúza I need Rekkoúza I need Rekkoúza I—

I feel a sharp pain strike my back, then I fall to the floor.

Someone threw a fucking piece of rock at me. Someone’s running past me. That freak Kristina and a fucking Feraligatr.

I get back up on my feet and return to my desperate sprint. The stairs are falling apart. I have to run or else I’ll fall with them.

Kristina is flying up on her Xatu. The fucking cheater.

I kick at pillars and floorboards, desperately trying to sabotage her ascent. She’s almost at the fifth floor when one of the falling pillars sets off a horde of Golbat. I think I see her fall to the fourth floor before the Golbat cover her up.

I don’t have time to worry about that. I need to get to the fifth floor. It’s the last floor before the apex of the Sky Pillar.

I grab onto a ladder and crawl up like an Ariados. I just get to the fifth floor when I hear a humming. I look down; an Espeon is pushing the Golbat away with psychic energy. In one swift motion, Kristina recalls the Espeon and spins onto her Xatu again. I have to climb faster and faster, but she’s just too fast.

Finally, I reach the apex. Kristina is running up the stairs ahead of me.

I lunge towards her.

She struggles under my weight, but I’m strong enough to rough her as I need. I pick her up by her shirt collar and throw her on the altar. I hear a snap!

I feel my heart snap, too.

What kind of sick fuck am I, roughing my own child like this? What kind of father would do this? What kind of father would abandon his own child? What kind of sick fuck am I?

...I'm a sick fuck, but I'm better than Wallace or Kristina or that Quaxly. I'm better than any of those bastards I left. Wallace is dying with his pathetic wannabe son, and Kristina is cowering below me. Meanwhile, here I am, Proton, the sick fuck who defeated them, who's seconds away from meeting the Mediator of the sky themself. I'm the king of blood and depravity, and I'm the only one who's going to come out of this alive.

I stab Kristina's hand, and I can't tell if the screaming comes from her or my heart.

“You’re a funny kid,” I pant as I stand over her. “Thinking you can stop me.”

She's grimacing, trying to hold back more screams, but Athena has her pinned against the ground. Kristina is weak. Proton is strong.

“I hate you!" Kristina shrieks. “I hate you I hate you I hate you!”

“Oh come now, Kristina.” I almost choke on the name. “I thought the Papadakes loved their fucked up family.”

“KRIS!”

I turn around at the noise. The redhead boy, the black-haired boy, and the brown-pigtail girl that were with Kristina are there. When they see their little friend, they all stop.

“What did you do to her?!” The redhead demands.

I scoff. “And who might you be?”

"We're her friends!" the brown-pigtail girl shoots back.

I put a foot on Kristina’s forehead. "Friends? I didn't think a Papadakis could have friends."

I look back down at Kristina. "Did your family ever love you, Kristina, or did you have to resort to freaks like these three? Well at least someone loves you! But guess what! The Papadakis family might have taken everything from me, but they won't take Rekkoúza from me. So I'm just gonna have to kill you before you take take my one. Fucking. Chance."

I pull Athena out of Kristina's hand, and I raise the blade just as everything begins to glow with blinding light.

-

VIRIDIAN TRIBUNE

Sootopolitan Terrorist Falls to His Death at the Sky Pillar


Milas Latsis, supposed orchestrator of the siege of Sootopolis City, has been found dead following the summoning of Rayquaza at the Sky Pillar. Rayquaza is reportedly roaming across Hinode in a frenzy following the incident, which left seven people and four Pokémon dead, along with seventeen injuries.

Among these injuries is Wallace Papadakis, previously held in captivity by Team Rocket. Sources say the Coordinator and former Sootopolitan Lorekeeper is in serious condition but is expected to make a full recovery. Cousin Kristina Papadaki, Pokéathlon Champion, is also in the hospital.

Currently, six of Team Rocket’s accomplices are in custody and awaiting interrogation and trials. It is currently unknown what their role was in the siege of Sootopolis City, which has resulted in at least ten thousand civilian deaths, thousands of missing civilians, and thousands more displaced.


“Boss?”

Matori is standing over my desk, a worried expression on her face. Perhaps she notices my… turbulent emotions.

“Could you make me some tea?” I ask. I’m not thirsty, but I don’t know how else to deal with stress. Besides, it gets Matori out of my office.

I don’t know how to feel about this news. Proton was a valuable asset… but he was also very troubled—

Wait a second, Kristina was Proton’s child… Kristina and Wallace are cousins… Proton was Wallace’s uncle.

My stomach twists. I’ve heard whispers about what Proton was doing to Wallace, but I didn’t ever realize that it was this bad, and I never realized that the two were related. Why did I send Proton to lead the Hoenn branch? Why did I task him with capturing Wallace?

And not only that, but he also went ahead and tried to kill his own daughter. That was never part of the mission. That would never be part of the mission.

Now Proton is dead. Now his family must face the throes of physical and mental trauma. Now Rayquaza is loose. Now I must figure out where I should go from here.

An intrusive thought sparks in my head where I kill my son. No. I could never, ever do that.

But I did neglect him in my youth. I did deprive him of love and attention. I did choose Team Rocket over my family. Sure, he was the result of a loveless fling, but he’s my son nonetheless. And now he’s gone forever. The pain I put him through is just as bad as the pain Proton put Kristina through. I can’t put Kamon through that pain.

Persian’s looking up at me. I rub her head as an idea brews in my head. After all of this, there’s no way those Magma and Aqua captives won’t snitch on me. I have to go into hiding. Team Rocket has to go into hiding.

Persian jumps off my lap as I stand up. Behind me is a portrait of my mother, Madame Boss, founder of Team Rocket.

I pick up the portrait and move it aside. Underneath is an electronic password lock. I enter the numbers, and a green light beeps on.

A door opens. The room is dark with metal walls, and a tank surrounded by tubes stands in the center, holding my other son.

“Mewtwo, I have a mission for you: find your brother.”

Mikró Mikouri - little Mikouri

“Efharistó polí, leventi mou. se agapó.” - "Thank you very much, my handsome young man (term of endearment)."

Song of Reikkoúza translation:

Please Reikkoúza, help the Runes (Sootopolitans)

Please Reikkoúza, help the Ryouses (Draconids)

Wind and thunder, we need your voice

Please Reikkoúza, help us!

Please Reikkoúza, help the Runes (Sootopolitans)


Please Reikkoúza, help the Ryouses (Draconids)

Kristina/Kristinaki/Kris - -aki is a Greek dimunitive

Theíos - uncle

Yiáyia - grandmother

patéras - dad
 
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