Chapter 13: Rye's secret
The last thing Rye expected to see when he entered the Records room was Zanna. Not that he was particularly surprised to see her there. I mean, what did he think would happen when he told her about Jarre? For her to just sit by idly? No, Zanna wasn’t that sort of Pokemon, he could tell. She took action where others would just watch to see what would unfold. That was one of the reasons why he liked her. No--stop!
Rye told himself again and again, but to no avail. Think of your job…what you’ve worked for.
These were the thoughts that had prevailed him to seek Zanna’s record. Rye had watched her most intently. As soon as she had pressed the button on Jarre’s orb, he’d swung round the corner and backtracked his steps.
Unlike the others, Zanna’s nameplate was a pure white and engraved in gold and silver. Upon her figure’s tail was a small, white, glowing circle, exactly like the one on Zanna herself. Rye had made a mental note of it because, not only was it odd, but it was also entrancing. His eyes scanned the blue orb swirling with light that was in his palm. He hesitated as his paw passed over the first button. Family…or friends?
A crossroad struck at him, but then, he always knew who he would follow. As a team-mate once said: “You are your fathers son through and through, Rye.”
And he’d stuck by that.
Inhaling deeply, he pressed down on the button with a firm paw. Rye waited for the all too familiar darkness, but none came. He pressed it again. Nothing. Rye stared at the orb in frustration. Was it possible to lock an orb? Possible or not, this one obviously had been. Rye could no more see the depths of Zanna’s mind than he could evolve into a Gyarados. He sighed and put the orb back into place. This project needed to be done the hard way then. Pricking up his ears, Rye closed his eyes and expanded the spread of his mind. A faint voice came into focus a moment later, a voice he knew all too well. Commander Virok of the Wingardom Missionary.
“Lieutenant, are you there?” Virok’s voice was edgy, but Rye had expected it to be. No amount of good news could ever please his father.
“Affirmative,” Rye conveyed through telepathy. “Only, there happens to be a slight problem, Sir.”
Rye paused and it was a moment before Commander Virok answered. “What is the delay?”
“Project 105’s orb, Sir. It seems to be locked and is virtually useless to us.”
Rye had to use code. ‘Project 105’ was Zanna’s screen name back at HQ. She was referred to this at all times. The connection phased out for a second until Virok spoke.
“We will find another way to access her past. In the meantime, see if you can attach the tracer. At least we can keep track of her then.”
Rye had to bite his tongue to stop himself from saying that was exactly
the point of a tracer. Instead, he replied in a calm tone, though he couldn’t disguise his irritation. “Of course, Sir. Zan--er, Project 105 will be dealt with immediately.”
Rye noticed Virok’s tone sharpen. “Did you just use the name of our target?”
Rye held his breath and bade him to leave. The Commander did not leave, however, and persisted upon knowing Rye’s relationship with her.
“We must NOT, at all costs, reveal our identities or--”
“’Converse with a target unless it is under strict authority‘, I know.”
“Then place the tracer and be done with it. I care nothing for friendship.”
The connection was lost and Rye was left with a torn feeling in his stomach. In that way, he was very different from his father. He believed in friendship above all else. Rye’s face furrowed. His thoughts were confused. His father had said to place the tracer on Zanna, but what did he want? Rye looked down at the long, white ribbon in his paws, engraved in an ancient language. The tracer was embedded within the very center of the ribbon so that no one would notice. His head pounded with frustration. There was that crossroad again…friends or family? A sudden noise struck Rye free of his thoughts. It came from the entrance; had they been caught? Rye sidled up to a shelf and peered round the corner. A red Torchic was approaching Zanna. Jarre.
Rye let off a low growl and glared as Jarre raised a talon to the defenceless Pikachu. “Don’t even think about it.”
Jarre whirled round to face him. “What are you doing in here? You shouldn’t be in here any more than she should!” He nodded in Zanna’s direction.
“And what’s your reason?” Rye retorted. “You must know enough about everyone by now.” He stopped and sneered at the Torchic, whose face remained expressionless.
“By your leave, Lieutenant, but I have business here.”
Rye hesitantly walked up to Jarre and growled. “Don’t ever mention that. I have my secrets, as you do. Which I’m sure you don’t want Zanna to know.” He stole a glance at the Pikachu’s face. It was contorted in agony and he couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards her.
Jarre’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll keep your secret as long as you don’t mention anything about my past. It’s not for her to know, and I want to keep it that way.”
Rye sniggered. “Well you’ll have to allow this one. I’d say she’s fairly horrified.” He nodded towards Zanna who seemed to be shaking.
Jarre looked on with remorse and anger. “I didn’t choose my path…”
“But you were given it all the same,” Rye added sharply. “And if you thought about--hey!” He stopped abruptly as his eyes caught on Zanna. She seemed to be having some kind of fit. Jarre stared on with an open beak as Rye pushed past him. “Zanna?” He murmured. No response. She must be in some kind shock,
he thought. Rye stood behind her and held her shoulders firmly. “Pull her out.” He said sharply.
“Pull her out!” He repeated again. His wide eyes lingered on the helpless Pikachu as he held her steady. What had she seen? It must have been terrible to induce this…
After taking a last, scornful glance at Rye, Jarre closed his eyes and focused on Zanna. Soon the struggling became less and she was still in Rye’s arms. Her face looked so serene, though still troubled by the memory, no doubt. He couldn’t put the tracer on her…could he? Rye gently lay her down on the tiles and backed away to a safe distance. Within moments, she had begun to stir. Jarre made to step forward but Rye, instinctively sensing the movement, stuck out a paw to bar his way. Jarre glowered, but doubled back behind Rye as Zanna’s eyelids fluttered open.
Rye closed his eyes and breathed in deeply as he turned his back on Zanna. He felt surprisingly good. He hadn’t laughed like that for a long time. Or rather, no-one had made
him laugh like that in a long time. A smile touched his lips as Zanna began to talk. However, she hadn’t been past the second sentence when Rye’s ears pricked up and he started. She had called him a friend. The smile was sapped from his face along with any good feeling left in him. His stomach clenched as he reached a paw within his fur and drew out the ribbon. He twisted it through his paws gently before clenching them and closing his eyes. I…can’t…
He hastily pushed the ribbon back into his fur and whirled around at the sound of Zanna’s voice. “I--I’m sorry. I have to go.” The concern within Zanna’s face was exactly what he didn’t need right now. As he hurried to the door and turned the corner, the ribbon glided from within Rye’s fur, safely to the floor.
Rye tore his face away from the pool of water hastily and turned his back to it. Wounds of the past brought back bad memories, but he couldn’t escape who he was. Lieutenant Rye of the Wingardom Missionary. The thought of his job pained him more than it usually would’ve. After all, he did
like his job. To save the innocent and caring, while making sure the rest got what they deserved. Rye scowled again as he remembered the lost ribbon. No doubt it had been dropped when he’d bolted from Zanna. Without the tracer, how was he to continue his work? But the thought seemed to lift a heavy burden from him. He now had no choice of what to do because he didn’t have it. He sighed once more and doubled back to the sandstone wall.
The echo sounded again as he tapped it. Rye nodded his head slowly and took a step back. A white glow surrounded his right arm, spiralling around it in a mystical manner. As soon as Rye brought it forward and struck the wall, rubble came tumbling down and left a huge cavern gaping from within. He took an anxious step over the greyish rocks and disappeared into the hole.
It swallowed him up and welcomed him like a lost son. Rye, too, was glad to be away from prying eyes. He needed his peace just as everyone else did. He surveyed the dusty cavern sharply, never missing a detail. It was large and bare, just like he’d hoped for. “Good.” Rye murmured under his breath. A training arena.
He’d always liked to practice, and this was no exception. His feet seemed to glide across to the far end of the cavern.
Rye faced the center and closed his eyes, meditating for focus. He struck out an arm and dragged it across the room, before slowly bringing it back towards him. He breathed in deeply and took a step forward, each time doing more complicated moves. He was as good a physical fighter as he was in long range combat, and had spent years learning martial arts for recreation as well as for use on the battlefront. Rye narrowed his eyes, whirled round, struck out and brought a paw round for a hook shot. After about twenty minutes, he stopped in the middle, panting and with sweat on his forehead. Rye was now well relaxed and fully aware of his surroundings.
Slowly, he walked out of the cavern and back to the small pond. The cool water splashed at his face with a strange tranquillity about it. Rye took air in deep gulps until his breathing became regular again. Peering down at the crystal clear water, he smiled and then almost recoiled instantly. “Zanna!” He managed to utter, completely shocked.
The small Pikachu regarded him with unusual interest and then seemed to change tack. “I’m sorry, have I come at a bad time?”
Rye managed to calm down a bit, but instantly began to turn red. “No, not at all. I was…er…training.”
Zanna lowered her head a little and gave a slight smile. “You look refreshed at least. That’s good. But I actually came to give you back something.”
Rye approached with great curiosity as Zanna drew out a long, white ribbon. Rye flinched and his insides lurched again. Oh, no…
She seemed to notice and grew concerned.
“This is yours, right? I thought you dropped it after you…left.” She held out the ribbon, but said no more on the topic, obviously downcast about the entire thing.
“I’m sorry.” Rye said in utter truth and for a moment, was shocked by just how serious his voice sounded. To cover up the incident, he quickly took the tracer from her paws. He passed it through his own, weaving it in and out and stared off into the distance absently. Should he…? Zanna, obviously uncomfortable by the awkward silence, immediately turned to leave. However, she’d only taken a few steps when Rye regained his senses and called out to her. “Wait!” As she doubled back slowly, Rye took a hesitant step forward and placed the ribbon in her paws. “I…was going to give this to you anyway,” He said brusquely in his usual tone. He folded Zanna’s paws around it gently. “Keep it, please.”
The Pikachu seemed slightly surprised by this turn of events, but didn’t turn him down. “It would be my pleasure.” She replied, smiling slowly.
Rye returned the smile. “Oh, here!” He took the ribbon from her paws and stepped round behind her. Gently and hastily, he curled it lightly around her neck and let it flow out behind her. Zanna twirled as he took a step back to admire the flowing ribbon.
“How does it look?” She asked him, raising an eyebrow.
“Beautiful.” He replied with a slight smirk on his face. He rested his emerald green eyes upon the ribbon and bade Zanna goodbye as she left. Rye returned to the cavern as he watched her go. But no red light could be seen on the ribbon. As much as he was his father’s son, he also took control of his own life. He peered down at the small, red light that flashed in his paws and grinned to himself. He now understood what friendship meant, and treachery wasn’t in the guidelines. With one, swift movement, he arched his arm and threw the tracer into the pond, watching with pride as it fizzled out and slowly sank to the bottom.
New chapter up, next one soon. Keep reading and keep up the comments. ^_^