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Creative Writing Share your fan fiction, stories, poems, essays, editorials, song lyrics, or any other related written work. All written must be your creation. Start a new thread, and keep replying to that thread as you add on more chapters. Anyone can join in at anytime.


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Old 07-15-2012, 03:58 AM
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Default [WAR XI] Strife of Solace [Judged]

Yep. Another crappy, last-minute entry. I procrastinated all week, and ended up flubbing it today. .___. Not to mention I kind of cut it short so it wouldn't be over two posts. Ah well. And Karen is actually one of the Johto Elite Four; I basically made a completely different role for her in this for whatever reason.

I suppose you could give this story an M rating, although it's really only because of a few grotesque-sounding stuff and a swear here and there. There's not full-on description of somebody's rotting body or something; this isn't a horror story. XD

Strife of Solace


Do you know what true hatred is?

It's not when you're jealous of someone or annoyed by a small matter.

It's much more. So much more. More than anything you could ever possibly conjure. It's almost...inhuman.

It's when your heart is completely taken over. It lashes out in a rage, so desperate, so cold, so...sorrowful.

You know it's wrong. You know you shouldn't feel this way. But you can't stop it. It's too much for you to bear. The sum of everything you despise is right in front of your face, and all you can do is reach out with dark intentions.

It's a terrible feeling, one that consumes your entire being and blocks out everything else like an impenetrable wall of fury and malice.

I wish I could say I didn't know this feeling. I want to say that I've never felt true hatred. Speak about it as if it's something preposterous.

But I do know what it feels like.

And I truly hate it.


---

The sun hung high in the cerulean sky and felt incredibly scorching for those on the ground below, despite its body being mostly hidden behind fluffy, white clouds. A desolate plain sprawled as far as the eye could see, like a gigantic version of one of those red carpets they use for Hollywood stars. Except there wouldn't be any Hollywood stars strolling around and receiving awards in the middle of a future battlefield.

The only shelter around for miles was a somewhat large, metal building, surrounded by a small group of men and women alike. They were all clad in camouflaged jackets and pants of varying shades of green, as well as combat boots, gloves, and caps. The warm clothing was meant to prevent sun-burn, but in Solace's eyes, it just made the already unbearable heat even worse.

Why did we have to be stationed at a desert, of all places? She sighed wearily, but made sure that the rest of her squad didn't hear the exasperated breath. She had learned the hard way that showing weakness was a major transgression in military training, once having been forced to run fifty laps around the training grounds (which was about the size of a football field) merely for complaining about the poor quality of food the cafeteria had served that day.

As if that wasn't already bad enough, there were rumors going around that there was a spy among their ranks. Solace didn't really care since they were just that—mere rumors—but apparently everyone else was being extremely cautious about who they shared information with now. Which also meant that their squad had absolutely no idea when they were going to be sent out into battle. Can't we just hurry up and get the bloodshed over with? We're all brimming with anxiety as it is. These thoughts flowed through her mind as she observed the rest of her group's constant glances toward the horizon, the miniscule twitches of their tensed muscles that clearly displayed nervousness.

“Private Solace!”

Solace's head snapped up at the call, and she stopped leaning on the wall. Standing there with her arms still crossed, she watched with a bit of amusement as a short brunette hurried over to her, chestnut pony-tail bouncing behind her head.

The girl stopped in front of her, and although she was panting slightly, she managed to speak in one quick breath, “Warrant Officer Graystone wants to see you!”

Solace frowned slightly, but nodded at the girl. “Alright. I'm guessing he's in his office?” The exhausted girl raised her hand in a “thumbs-up” position to signify that her assumption was correct.

Solace turned and left the doubled-over girl behind, heading over to a door on the side of the building. Poor kid. I just hope she isn't that easily exhausted in battle.

Inside the building, there wasn't much to be seen. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all a drab gray color of paint, with bare fluorescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling, dimly lighting the hallway. A few plain, metal doors lined the walls, but Solace knew that Graystone's office was at the very end of the corridor, beyond a door that was slightly larger than the others but possessed no other noticeable differences.

Just as she was heading down the hall, however, a shaft of light caught her eye. Looking around, she soon saw the cause of the sudden flash; a wide mirror hung from one of the walls. How did I not see that before? She scowled, but noted that it was at just the correct position so that she could stand in front of it and see nearly her entire body. I haven't seen myself in a mirror in forever since they didn't have any at the training compound... I'll wager that I've changed a lot since then. Solace wasn't one for fashion or anything of the sort, but she was curious as to how she had changed outwardly after the harsh exercising and other strenuous activities she'd endured over the past year.

She went to stand in front of it, but the moment she got a peek at herself, she quietly gasped in surprise. I've changed more than I thought I did...

It seemed as if there was a completely different person being reflected in the clear glass. The somewhat short, slender girl who looked much younger than she really was that she had expected to see did not exist anymore. In its place was a tall woman, clearly fit and maybe even muscular as well. A shy, almost frightened posture with wrung hands had become confident and not at all nervous. The child-like, round face had been hardened, its features as sharp as knives. Her silvery-blue eyes had always seemed barely notable, yet now they seemed to pierce into her very soul as she stared into their deep, beautiful irises. Her long, lavender hair had always fell in a perfectly straight sheet on her back, and people would occasionally run their hands through it just to feel how silky-soft it was. Instead, it was roughly tied into a single, stiff braid that fell on her back like a limp pole, which she heavily doubted anyone would want to try to run their fingers through.

I know the training toughened me up, but I didn't expect this. She stared in disbelief for a few more seconds, before shaking her head and continuing on her way. I've changed a lot on the inside, so it's only natural that I would on the outside as well. Of course, I have to wonder if I made the right choice... Her thoughts stopped as she came to the end of the hallway. Like the other doors, there was a square window near the top of the door that, for a moment, she considered peeking through, but it was curtained on the other side. She really didn't desire to enter the room though, since she had heard from other Privates that Graystone was a fierce and merciless Warrant Officer who would berate you for even the slightest mistake. Just as she was contemplating the idea of walking away and acting as if she hadn't gotten the message, however, a gruff voice called out from the other side of the door, “Private, I know you're there. I can see your shadow through the curtain. Stop stalling and come inside.”

The door slowly opened, and Solace came in, her face a bit red with embarrassment at having been caught. The room itself was quite bland for a leader's office, but then again, the space was only a temporary one that would likely be looted and demolished if the enemies invaded it. The only pieces of furniture were a few steel chairs placed before a mahogany desk, behind which there was a dark brown, leather chair turned to face the opposite direction. Of course, a human was occupying this particular chair at the moment, and so Solace sat upon one of the other chairs, grateful for the frigid metal that served as a great relief from the inferno outside.

The chair swiveled around, revealing Warrant Officer Marcus Graystone and how...surprisingly nonthreatening he looked, especially compared to all of the rumors spread about him. If a passerby merely glanced at him, they probably would've thought he was just a regular man who perhaps worked as a journalist or something similarly normal. He wasn't too tall—in fact, Solace was fairly certain they were about the same height—and he wasn't buff, nor was he skinny. If anything, he was more of a medium size. Dark hair fell around his face in a greasy, unkempt mane, while midnight-blue eyes gazed at Solace with mild interest. There was some stubble along his chin, and his skin was shockingly pale for someone with a hardworking position in the military. His apparel was the same as those of everyone else, except for the silver bar with one black square that was printed on the chest pocket of his jacket, the symbols that identified his position in the military.

“So...” Solace didn't really want to be the first one to speak, but she hated awkward silences, “What did you call me here for, Warrant Officer Graystone?”

His reply was stern, but so quick that Solace barely understood all of it, “First off, don't call me by my full title. It's not that I respect you enough to only call me by my last name, it's just that it gets tiresome listening to people say the full title every time they refer to me. To answer your question, it's not necessarily why I called you here.”

Solace blinked. “What do you mean, Warr-Graystone?” she asked, hastily correcting herself.

He brushed aside a few of the random items scattered around on his desk, apparently not caring that they fell haphazardly onto the carpeted floor. Leaning forward on his elbows, he spoke again, staring straight into Solace's eyes this time, “What position do you want when we head out to battle?”

This was easily the response that most surprised Solace. He's asking me which position I want? Why would he do that? She looked back at his eyes for a split second, before switching her gaze to her lap, attempting to look as if she were conflicted although she knew exactly which position she wanted. It sounds like he's offering me whichever position I want, but I doubt he'd do that. There's no plausible reason I can think of for him to. He could just be testing me. Maybe this is something he does to all of the new Privates, just to fool or tease them. I'll just be modest.

Just as she was opening her mouth to talk, however, Marcus spoke before she could, “Oh, and no lying, Private. We're a trustworthy squad, aren't we?”

She immediately clamped her mouth shut. Can that guy read minds or something? She sighed inwardly, beginning to get a bit annoyed with his antics. Fine. If he wants the truth, he'll get it. “I want to be on the front-line, Graystone.”

His eyes widened at this answer, but he quickly covered it up with a cough. Solace felt a smirk tug at the corner of her lips even when he spoke again, “Why do you want to be there, Private? You'll get yourself killed in less than five seconds, tops.”

She hesitated before replying, “I...just wanna serve my region properly, sir, even if it means having the highest chance of being killed. Besides, there have to be some people on the front-line, or else it wouldn't exist in the first place.”

His sudden glare caught her off-guard. “I thought I said no lying, Private. I'm going to presume you've heard the rumors about a spy lurking among our ranks. That means we have to be completely honest with each other”

So he was just trying to determine whether I was the spy or not. Figures. I still don't want to tell him though... “But what if you're the spy, sir?” she queried, giving him a serious look even though the question was really only meant to stall for time so that she could come up with a reasonable excuse for wanting to be on the front-line, of all places.

He seemed amused by the question. “Even if I was, it wouldn't matter. You've already told me which position you want; the reason for wanting that position likely has nothing to do with the positions of anyone else since you don't know which positions they're going into anyways. It's completely and utterly unrelated to the war, and therefore would not give me any advantage whatsoever.”

I haven't met many people that logical before. I suppose it's alright to tell him. She still didn't wish to tell him though, not to mention she didn't feel like giving long explanations for no obvious reason, but she eventually relented, “Alright, if you really want to know, I'll tell you. But it's kind of a long story...”

He shrugged, nonchalantly leaning back and placing his crossed legs on the desk as if it were a stool instead of an expensive piece of furniture. “Go ahead. Take all the time you need, I don't mind. Nothing else to do around here anyways.”

Solace took a deep breath before speaking, “Well, it all started when...”

***

Sisters. That's exactly what we were. Unlike most sisters, though, we were close. We didn't bicker very often, and even when we did, we ended up forgiving each other five minutes later. I think even if we weren't related by blood, we still would've been just as close as siblings.

Our family wasn't very rich, but we weren't poor either. We were middle-class, and we liked it that way. Our mother worked an evening job as a waitress at the local cafe, and our father worked at the Pokemart as a grocer. Their jobs weren't very tiring, so they had plenty of time and energy to play with us. We didn't care for material objects as much as we cared for each other. Whenever a friend from school would come over, they would state that we were just like one of those close-knit, almost impossibly loving families you see on TV. We merely laughed at the statements, even though we believed the same thing. We always told each other that no matter, we'd always be together. If only we knew how wrong we were...

It was about twelve years ago, though it felt like an eternity. My sister and I were simply running around outside, gleefully playing together without a care in the world. Mother was inside cooking, I believe, and Father was watching TV. Everything seemed, like always, perfect for our little family.

Then, without any warning whatsoever, everything we had ever known was demolished right before our eyes.

Everybody has spoke in hushed whispers and murmurings about the return of Team Rocket. There was no hard evidence yet though, so most people assumed it was a made-up story to scare everyone or just plain paranoia. Until they attacked our city, that is.

They destroyed everything. Buildings we had walked around in thousands of times burned and crashed within mere minutes, reduced to smoking piles of ash. People were everywhere, running and screaming, until their yells were quickly silenced with a sickening slashing sound. Even streets were ripped asunder, Earthquake moves performed by the Rockets' Pokemon having torn apart the very pavement we traveled on like ribbons. The once beautiful, night sky was obscured by gigantic, blood-red flames that consumed everything in their path, while the stars were hidden behind spiraling, ugly clouds of gas. It was quite easily the most awful thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I tried pinching myself. I slapped myself a couple of times. I even bit my tongue until it bled, all attempts at trying to wake myself up and depart from this horrible nightmare. “Mother will come to wake me up in just a few minutes,” I remember constantly telling myself. “She'll wake me up, and I'll tell her all about this terrible dream, and she'll comfort me, and everything will be okay!”

Deep down though, I knew that was never going to happen. Just a few minutes after the attack started, a powerful Flamethrower from one of the Rockets' Charizards blew apart our house as if it were a mere dust-bunny instead of a building. Even I, in all my childhood innocence, knew there was no hope of our parents surviving that. Karen and I had hurried out of the yard moments after that, but to where, we had no clue. All of our possessions and money had been inside the house, except for our Pokeballs, which were strapped to our belts. Other than that, all we had were the clothes on our bodies and each other.

I may have been a year older than Karen, but she was much more resourceful and clever than I gave her credit for, especially being my younger sister and all. She knew we couldn't keep running forever, but attempting to escape the city was much too risky. There were so many Rockets around bringing demise upon everything; there were likely a few stationed around the edges of the city as well to weed out any survivors. She also knew that though most survivors would likely be captured and tortured, we had the grim possibility of being kidnapped and raised there, of all the things that could happen. There were reports of that having happened when the Rockets first sprung up as a criminal organization, and it was very likely they wouldn't mind doing the same now that they had returned.

There was a tiny cave right around the boundaries of the city, barely hidden behind a clump of bushes and trees. It was just large enough that a child could squeeze through, and that's exactly what we did. It was big enough deeper inside to hold the two of us with our legs spread out, thankfully, and so we simply laid there, waiting until the reign of terror finally ended or a Rocket happened to spot the cave and decide to investigate it for whatever unlucky reason. It was the only option left for us aside from joining or being killed by the Rockets, and though it was both horrifying and boring, it felt ten times better than doing those.

I don't know when the shrieks stopped or the fires died down. I didn't even remember falling asleep. But I did remember waking up to a complete and utter silence, and almost wishing for the grotesque noises from before to come back. The suspense was killing me, yet I was too afraid to climb out of the hole and observe the remnants of the city we had grew up in. After a while though, Karen awoke as well, and she got out of the cave before I could tell her not to.

I couldn't stand her going out there alone, even though it seemed as if the Rockets had finally gone. I followed her out of the cave and, forcing myself not to hesitate, gazed at our hometown. Or what was left of it, anyways.

You know when you leave something on a table while you go do something else, and when you come back, it's mysteriously gone? That's how we felt when we saw the carnage of our home. There was literally nothing there. The streets had been pulled apart so much that they eventually weren't streets anymore, simply dirt with a few piece of pavement scattered around it. There were no buildings, houses, cottages, or anything of the like. Just enormous piles of ash that sat where they had once stood, still giving off fumes that were probably poisonous or harmful to the body in some other way. It was almost like a bare plain, since we could see around for miles and miles without the looming, monoliths of warehouses and whatnot obscuring our view anymore. We appeared to be the only living souls, and I didn't even want to talk about the bits and pieces of bodies that we saw half-buried underneath rubble, as if they were skin-colored trash instead of human beings and Pokemon that were living and breathing just hours prior to then.
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[12:38:20 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: ...So how do we do this? XD
[12:39:20 AM] Sight of the Stars: it's nothing really big, just usually a note in your sig that's all like 'paired with soandso'
[12:39:44 AM] Sight of the Stars: just be like "SIGHT OF THE STARZ IS MAH BIZNITCH" <---- Yup.
[12:39:57 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: XDDD
[12:39:59 AM] Sight of the Stars: and I'll be like "GALLANTLYGLACEON IS MAH HOE."
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:59 AM
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Default Re: [WAR XI] Strife of Solace

The only bright side—if you could even call it that—to our problem was that with no other living souls visible, that meant there were no more Rockets. We were suspicious of some of the stacks of steel and other metals, but the only sound we'd heard so far had been our own footsteps, so it seemed as if everything was clear. That is, until I heard a shout from behind me.

I whipped around just in time to see a Banette hovering in front of Karen, its palms held out towards her and glowing with an ethereal, violet aura. I wondered why she simply stood there like a frozen statue, staring blankly at the Banette's outstretched hands. Then, as I was moving towards her to perhaps push her away from it and hopefully out of her strange trance, she turned to me and pulled out a Pokeball.

“What are you doing, sis?” I questioned her, not at all intimidated by the device she had just procured. I thought we were just going to run away from the Banette... Then again, it could probably chase us for a long time. So she's going to faint it right now. That's Karen for you, always thinking ahead.

She didn't respond at all. In fact, she didn't even seem to have blinked for a while now. I took a step forward and caught a glimpse of her lilac-colored eyes, which had been the same silvery-blue shade as mine for as long as I could remember. Before I could realize my mistake, she threw the Pokeball onto the ground, her mannerisms completely and creepily emotionless.

The Pokeball opened the moment it touched the dirt, and out popped none other than her trusty Houndour. The Dark Pokemon looked around in confusion, wondering where the enemy was that its Trainer had sent it out to fight. Then, it laid eyes on the Banette, whose arms were still giving off that surreal glow.

Just like Karen, the Houndour's irises changed from their original gray color to an eerie, purple hue. It turned back to me with a cold expression on its canine face, crouching down to prepare itself for a powerful pounce.

I wanted to help my sister and her Houndour. I really did. But I had no idea how to break either of them out of the weird mind-control the Banette had them under, and I didn't want to send out any Pokemon for fear they would hurt them, even if it was self-defense. Instead, I cowardly ran away from them. I heard the Dark Pokemon leap through the air, but I had gotten a head-start, so its pounce landed a few feet behind me. Undeterred, it still obeyed its master's orders, following me even when I crashed through the tangle of branches that was the boundary of the nearby forest and continued on.

I was so consumed by fear, I didn't even know that the Houndour had stopped chasing me until I noticed the absence of an occasional nick at my heels or the low growls. I had been racing through the forest for about ten minutes, and I was overcome with fatigue, even though my sister and I had just woken up maybe an hour or two earlier. Then again, I hadn't eaten or drank in several hours, and there was probably some gas in the air that had managed to snake its way into my lungs when I wasn't paying attention. Coupled with the fact that I had just sprinted a very far distance in a short amount of time, and I was unconscious before I even hit the forest floor, still panting.

Everything after that was a blur, for my mind was always focused on the sister I had left behind. Apparently, a Trainer had been wandering around in the forest when he saw me laying on the ground. He had one of his Pokemon carry me to the Pokemon Center, where I was treated and taken care of for a few days. As it turned out, I was the sole survivor of the city's destruction that hadn't been forced onto the Rocket's side.

They sent me to live in an orphanage, which I didn't really mind. Unlike all of those stories about them being terrible places, the one I was sent to was fairly nice. It was almost like home, what with the kind caretakers and how close some of the children were. I did make a few friends there, but none of them became as dear to me as Karen was. There wasn't a moment I wasn't thinking about her, or where she might be, or what could be happening to her at the moment.

The next few years passed just like this, with me barely paying attention to the world around me, always lost in thoughts of my sister and the tragedy that had befallen us. I graduated from high-school with average grades, but I didn't go to college. Instead, I worked as a caretaker at the orphanage, helping children that had been infants when I'd been a child there and completely new orphans. To anyone else, it would seem like a simple, pleasant way to live one's life. To me, it didn't really matter. Nothing much mattered anymore without my sister around.

That's when I got the best—and somehow worst—news of my life. A war was starting, one between the entire Johto region and Team Rocket. That wasn't the good part, of course. The good part was that their new leader had announced it, and that leader was none-other-then my dear sister Karen.

I remember feeling pure shock, and then suddenly glee at seeing her face on the cover-page of the daily newspaper, alive and not having been horribly mutilated or tortured as my constant nightmares had told me. She had, like me, changed a great deal in appearance as she had gotten older. Now she was a lean, tall woman with a cascade of cyan curls flowing over her shoulders that had, years ago, been a jagged pixie-cut she refused to grow out. But then, I noticed the Banette floating apathetically in a corner of the photo, and I felt my hands grip and tear the paper with fury.

That's when I decided to enlist in the military. I didn't care for the difficult process that was the training there. I didn't care that I would be leaving the orphanage and all of my “friends” behind. I didn't care about anything but being reunited with my sister and making that evil bastard of a Banette pay for what he did.

***

“...and that's pretty much it,” Solace finished, swallowing at the end of her sentence. She hated needlessly lengthy explanations, but that was about the only way she could think of to get the Warrant Officer to fully grasp her situation.

Marcus seemed to be lost in thought, his chin resting on his fists as he stared off into space. Solace waited a few seconds, but he didn't move a muscle. “Umm...sir?” she inquired almost hesitantly.

Marcus blinked, apparently pulled out of his thoughts. “Huh?” Then he saw Solace observing him with a raised eyebrow, and he quickly composed himself. “Ahem! Sorry, I was just...thinking about what you told me,” he replied coolly, taking a sip of tea from a mug on the desk and peeking at Solace from the corner of his eye.

She noticed him trying to gauge her reaction, but didn't pay the action any heed. “So...are you going to let me be on the front-line, Wa-Graystone?”

He placed the cup back down before chuckling, “Oh, I was going to let you go anyways. We don't have a lot of soldiers that want to be up there where all of the main action is going to take place. I just wanted to hear your reasons for such a fool-I mean, brave thing.”

Solace was a bit irked at the word he had nearly said, but this was mostly overshadowed by her joy at being on the front-line. “Thank you so much, sir.” She stood up and headed for the door.

“Now wait just a minute, Private,” Marcus's voice surprised her, and her hand froze a few inches above the doorknob. She turned to see him looking at her with a bemused expression.

“What is it?” she asked, now both perplexed and irritated by his quirky personality.

“What exactly are you going to do on the front-line?”

“I was going to hurry past the enemies' defenses as soon as the action started and get to Karen.”

This time, he was the one who raised an eyebrow in slight amusement and confusion. “So you were just going to march past all of those soldiers who, might I mention, are heavily armed and prepared to kill you at a second's notice, somehow sneak into the shelter by eluding all of the guards as well, and miraculously find your sister, who may or may not kill you herself once you get there?”

“I...didn't think of it like that,” she said sheepishly, blushing.

“Well, I have a plan that might be a bit more coordinated,” he stood up as he spoke and walked over to where she was, before continuing in hushed whispers. Solace nodded in agreement a couple of times.

Now that his explanation was over, he got to the most crucial part of the plan. “So, do you really want to do this? I mean, you're risking your life out there. You could stay back here as a guard, and enemies hardly ever get through our defenses.”

Solace shook her head fervently. “Of course not. I've been waiting to see my sister again for twelve years. Do you really think I'm going to miss a perfect chance of being reunited with her?”

Marcus sighed, “Fine. Just be careful out there, all right? I don't want to know a young woman died because I gave her a stupid plan.”

Solace went to leave, but just as she was closing the door, she turned around and faced him with an almost menacing grin, “I won't allow myself to die before I know my sister is happy and well, and that the Banette has suffered ten-fold what she has over the years.”

(***)

Crouching near the dry, yellow ground, Solace was quite pleased with herself, as well as the little Pokemon she had taken a liking to who sat next to her. They were just a few yards away from the shelter that the enemies had taken over, which was almost exactly like the one she had been inside of a couple hours earlier.

Marcus's plan had been a simple, yet effective one. She had taken one of the squad's vehicles and drove a few miles eastward away from the battlefield, before changing directions towards the north, where the enemies' base was. That way, she was skirting the battlefield and getting to her destination, without having to be on the front-line where there was only the slimmest chance of her even surviving, much less completing her goal.

She had parked the car several yards away from where the guards were posted, for the somewhat loud engine would surely catch someone's attention. Marcus had allowed her to borrow his Zorua so that it could get a good look at one of the guards, before disguising itself as one of them and heading over there. Once there, it had some greetings and small talk with the two guards standing there, before suddenly and without warning attacking them. It would've been easier to kill them, but the next part of the plan would have been severely flawed if they did that.

So instead, the Zorua only knocked them unconscious, before dragging them over to the boulder that Solace was hidden behind. If it had killed them, then there would be blood on their outfits, and that just wouldn't do when someone saw Solace dressed in the same outfit.

It was a good thing that one of the guards happened to have grayish-blue eyes almost exactly like hers, for she already had to stuff all of her hair inside of the cap as she wore it so she would look more like said bald guard. She hated being in some random man's clothing, not to mention it was a bit sweaty, but she knew it was a small price to pay for getting her sister back. Although, she did envy the Zorua a bit for having the ability to simply disguise itself as the other guard without wearing their stinky apparel.

Nevertheless, they were currently right next to the immensely tall, barbed-wire fence that served as the gate. Solace fumbled in one of the pants pockets for the keys, while the Zorua waited patiently next to her. For a Pokemon known for its mischievous nature, this Zorua seems pretty docile... Ah well. Means less trouble for me. She felt her fingers clasp around something metal, and pulled out a single key. She then inserted it into the small key-hole on one of the poles of the fence, and smiled triumphantly when it twisted correctly. She threw the key onto the ground and pushed the door-shaped part of the fence, both her and the Zorua wincing at the loud creaks it elicited upon opening.

They quietly slipped past it, not bothering to close it for fear that its ear-shrieking noise would alert the other guards to their presence. Of course, it wouldn't have mattered anyways, for another sentry was sauntering over to them the moment they entered. Solace hastily straightened her shoulders in an attempt to look formal and more broad like a man, and sensed the Zorua behind her quickly taking on the illusion of the other guard, before stepping out from the temporary cover her body had provided.

The sentry didn't seem too concerned, but the two still kept their guard up as he called out, “Hey Anderson! Miller! What're you guys doin' away from yer post?”

Solace gulped, feeling sweat drip down her face. She somehow managed to speak though, forcing her voice into a slightly deeper tone that she hoped sounded like a man's. “Hey! We're just coming in for a quick bite to eat! It gets so hot out here, y'know?”

The sentry was standing in front of them now, his hands inside of his pockets as he cocked an eyebrow.

“A bite to eat? Well, I'mma sorry ta have ta do this to ya, Anderson, but I'm gonna have ta reprimand ya for that,” he said, his grin displaying a few missing teeth.

Solace nearly backed away in disgust. These Rockets are terrible... And I'm wearing one of their outfits right now too. She thought in dismay. But upon hearing his words, she froze, staring at the man's face. Did I hear his accent right? She glanced over at “Miller”, and saw he had grown quite serious as well. Her heart sank. We can't be caught now! We were so close!

Unexpectedly, the man suddenly burst out into peals of hearty laughter, slapping his knee as he did so. “Oh, you shoulda seen yer faces! Anderson, yer eyes went as wide as plates!” Solace and “Miller” gave each other bemused looks, before the man managed to speak again between his giggles, “Oh, ya really think I'd do tha' ta ya? I was jus' comin' back from getting' myself somethin' ta eat!” He shook his head, finally calming down some, though a snicker or two still escaped him. “Don't worry. I'll watch yer posts while ya'll are in there. Go get yerselves some grub outta this blasted heat.”

Solace and the Zorua nodded at the Rocket's invitation, before jogging towards the base. They saw a few other soldiers on their way there, but the Rockets' only smiled and waved as they passed by, apparently not caring where they went or what they were doing. We must have chosen some pretty popular guards to impersonate... It'll make getting in that much easier.

Finally, they were standing before the main entrance into the base, which was a plain set of double-doors. Solace quietly, yet nonchalantly pushed open said doors and went inside, the Zorua trailing behind her.

Inside, it was just like the inside of her own squad's base had been. Does everybody around here just favor this style of décor or something? I mean, not that I'm complaining, since now I know exactly where Karen will be, but... Solace pushed her thoughts away, and as soon as she did, real excitement came over her. Without even thinking, she pounded down the hallway, making a bee-line for the door at the end of the corridor. The Zorua nearly yelped in shock, before shaking its head and following her.

Solace kicked open the door and yelled out, “Karen!” The Zorua came to stand behind her, panting slightly and leaning against the door-frame for support. It wasn't entirely used to walking on two legs, unfortunately.

Inside, the room was even blander than Marcus's office had been. There was absolutely nothing in there, except for a blue-haired woman looking out of the window and a Banette hovering next to her, looking quite bored. The moment Solace shouted, though, it whipped around in surprise. Its strange, crimson eyes narrowed upon seeing Solace and the Zorua. Its hands began to glow just as they had twelve years ago, and Solace cried out in fury as Karen turned around, once again under that dastardly mind-control.

Solace's head fell, and she clenched her fists, nearly causing herself to bleed with how hard she was clenching them. Not again... I'm not going to be a cowardly little girl again!

The Zorua stepped forward, letting its illusion fade. It could sense how close Solace was to being overcome with rage, and it didn't want to see the consequences if she tried to fight the Banette herself.

The Banette stared at Marcus's Zorua curiously, before Karen spoke in a monotone voice, “A Zorua? How pathetic. I recognize you, human, but I didn't think you'd come back after all this time. Especially with such a weak Pokemon.”

The Zorua growled, stomping one of its paws angrily. “Zorua!” it shouted, trembling with vexation.

“Karen” laughed darkly, sneering at the Zorua. “You really think you can best me? I have my own powers, little one, not to mention this Trainer and her own Pokemon. You have no chance of wi-”

Without warning, Solace jumped through the air, landing on the Banette. She then promptly began beating it to a pulp, her fists flying through the air. “You bastard! I'm gonna kill you!” she screamed.

The Banette had been caught completely off-guard, but hadn't loosened its control on Karen. Her body swiftly pulled out a Pokeball and threw it onto the floor, releasing an Umbreon.

Marcus's Zorua didn't particularly want to fight with the almost unnaturally tall Eeveelution, but it didn't need to. The Umbreon, upon being released, observed its surroundings, before spotting the Banette and immediately racing towards it in the form of a Quick Attack. Solace barely managed to slide to the side before the Umbreon slammed the Banette into the wall.

The Banette was on the brink of fainting, that much was obvious. Its body drooped as it lay on the floor. The aura around its hands slowly, but steadily diminished, as did the color-change of Karen's eyes.

Solace noticed this, and she walked over to her sister, pausing a couple of feet away from her. “Karen? Are you...alright?” she spoke, her voice barely a whisper.

Her sister stood there with the same blank expression on her face, and Solace was afraid that she was somehow still under the barely conscious Banette's control. Then, she blinked, and turned to Solace. “Solace? What... How did you get here?”

Solace didn't reply. She didn't even scold herself for the tears of joy that had begun streaming down her face. “KAREN!” she cried gleefully, tackling her sister.

She heard a soft groan beneath her, and Solace hurriedly got up. “I'm sorry, Karen! I didn't mean to hurt you, I swear!” she sniffled.

Her younger sister merely chuckled, before wrapping her arms around her in a much gentler hug. “It's fine, Solace. I'm just glad to be out of that damn Banette's control.”

Solace turned and glowered at the now unconscious body of the Banette, which Karen's Umbreon and Marcus's Zorua were standing in front of hesitantly, trying to decide whether or not to kill it. I sincerely want to rip that thing's heart out.. “What do you think we should do to that bastard, Karen? After all, you were the one under its control for the past twelve years.”

Karen shook her head. “Leave it. The guards will find it and probably give it a worse death than any of us could.”

Solace hesitated, but a stern glance from her sister told her that it would get the payback it deserved. “Fine. Let's just get out of here. I have a ride outside.”

Karen raised an eyebrow at this response. “Won't the Rockets be a little discombobulated without their leader around anymore?”

Solace grinned impishly at her sister as she stepped outside of the room. “That's exactly my point, sis.”
__________________
Quote:
[12:38:20 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: ...So how do we do this? XD
[12:39:20 AM] Sight of the Stars: it's nothing really big, just usually a note in your sig that's all like 'paired with soandso'
[12:39:44 AM] Sight of the Stars: just be like "SIGHT OF THE STARZ IS MAH BIZNITCH" <---- Yup.
[12:39:57 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: XDDD
[12:39:59 AM] Sight of the Stars: and I'll be like "GALLANTLYGLACEON IS MAH HOE."
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