26 Attempt No.2 - Part 2
Ash simply looked at Mewtwo for a long minute, before starting to speak once again.
"If you were human, part of the Pokémon League, you would be punished. You are not. You are free, a Pokémon with no commitments. As a result, you are beyond my jurisdiction. Furthermore, you are a Pokémon, who could not have understood the politics of your actions. Your actions were designed to aid me as you saw best, so I am grateful. But from this Mewtwo, remember, getting involved in human affairs is always difficult. Every action has a reaction, and if you don't know everything, it can be bad."
Ash turned and walked away. Mewtwo was about to leave when he saw a small yellow Pokémon appear around the corner. Mewtwo looked long and hard at Pikachu who had clearly watched the whole affair.
Choosing not to say anything, Mewtwo took to the sky, and fled the scene. He wanted to forget this entire experience, he had tried to actively intervene and help a human for the first time ever, and he had failed completely.
As Mewtwo raced into the sky, he looked down over Goldenrod. Knowing that Giovanni had escaped, he knew that the man would almost certainly come for him again. He needed somewhere safe. As Mewtwo raced away from civilisation, his mind started to consider the possibilities.
As Steven pulled Lance down the corridor, the Dragon Master eventually pulled himself away.
"What are you doing?" Lance snapped. "His Pokémon have run riot down here, and I want to know why."
Steven stopped and glared at Lance. "That man is the head of the Pokémon League." The Hoenn Champion said, his voice laden with repressed anger. "I was thinking of you. He could easily have us removed, or punished. The fact that he has chosen to overlook our interference is of great benefit to us. It means that when this has blown over, we will remain as the regional Champions."
Lance looked at Steven, and for once thought before he started speaking again. What his colleague said did make sense. "So, do you think that Cynthia will be punished by him?" Lance asked, calmer than before.
"I don't know. If what 'Champion' said about ordering her not to interfere is true, I fear so. He's already shown that he's not afraid to replace people who he feels aren't right for the job."
"Can he even replace Cynthia?" Lance asked. "I mean, she's still the Sinnoh Champion right? Doesn't she have to be beaten?"
Steven nodded, before turning and walking back towards the stairs. "I'm not sure. I want to find out."
As they reached the stairs, Lance and Steven sped up. Metagross was the first one up. Just behind them, they heard footsteps. Before they got to the top, Cynthia had caught the other two Champions, and they emerged together. The trainers ahead of them looked relieved to see their leaders, as Lance stepped forwards to address them.
"Listen up. 'Champion' has ordered a withdrawal. As you know, the main focus of this mission was his rescue. That has been accomplished, and his Pokémon are more than capable of finishing any remaining resistance from Team Rocket, although that is unlikely. As a result, our mission is now to deal with the Rockets here. Escort them to the train, more carriages have been added to store them."
As the squads moved into action once again, Lance looked at Cynthia and Steven.
"I vote we get out of here as quickly as possible. I got the impression that our leader wasn't particularly pleased."
The other two regional Champions nodded their agreement. They all feared the repercussions from this whole affair.
Giovanni stepped off the helicopter and straight into a building. The site Agent had found as a back-up Team Rocket base was remote in the extreme, yet there was the start of a building there. It had clearly only just started being built, but Giovanni was also surprised at the state of the building he was in. Clearly Agent had planned a back-up in building. Turning to the man who had led him in, Giovanni mentioned this.
"When you asked me to make a plan to deal with the Pokémon Master, this was part of the plan, Sir." Agent said. "I did fear that he might be difficult, so this base was our back-up. It's not on any Team Rocket records; they won't be able to find it."
"Well done." Giovanni said, a smile playing on his lips. "How much have we lost?"
"We have managed to get all our assets away from our old base, Sir. They have been moved out over the last week, a measure I thought prudent. We have completely evacuated the side bases in Hoenn and Sinnoh. Training bases have been abandoned, we can rebuild later."
"Excellent. The science team?"
"They arrived just before us Sir."
"Good. Send them up to my office."
Agent was too sharp to miss the hint. "Your office is up on the left Sir. Allow me to show you."
Giovanni allowed himself to be led into a room with very little furniture, only a simple desk and a computer on top. He made no comment, for a building which didn't exist two weeks ago, his subordinate had done an impressive job in making it even functional. Sitting behind the desk, he waited for the science team to enter, which they duly did.
"Mewtwo has escaped once again." Giovanni said coldly. "This you know. I want him found once again. Go back to the information you have, and tell me where to go."
"Based on the information in our computers, we would normally guess that he would retreat somewhere remote Sir" the chief scientist said. "However, equally, we would never predict that he would use the Pokémon League for aid, which our analysis suggests he did."
Giovanni leaned forward in his seat, an action that was enough to display his potential displeasure. This was not lost on the scientist who cringed slightly.
"So you're telling me you can't find him again?"
"No Sir. I'm saying that we need to consider the chance that he might have moved. His behaviour over the last week is unusual. Mewtwo has a distrust of humans that he seems to have overcome to work with the Pokémon League. We will need time with the information we have from Mewtwo to give you anything better Sir."
Of course. The information on Mewtwo stored in the Team Rocket computers. That information had been extremely useful to Giovanni. He remembered time when he came back from Mount Quena, a fiasco that he knew nothing about at the time.
It had taken the research team a week to sum up the courage to send a representative to their boss to ask about the eventual outcome of the mission.
The poor man had returned, absolutely terrified an hour later. He claimed that Giovanni had shouted at him, told him he was going mad, and then thrown him out. The chief scientist had gone up to see his boss, who had listened somewhat more carefully to the scientist. Eventually he had demanded evidence of what his science team was trying to explain to him. The aftermath had been interesting.
Giovanni had been given answers that day. The reason he had been at Mount Quena, something he had not known. The reason for the deployment of the Team Rocket combat squad. The reason for the science project that the team was trying to tell him about. Giovanni had been furious when he realised what had happened; his memories erased by Mewtwo.
However, since then he had always made sure to protect the information stored in the Rocket computers. The fact that it might be his only chance to recover information that would otherwise be lost had been made clear. Since then Giovanni had made it an objective for him; to control this Pokémon that had that kind of mental power and strength. Anything that powerful was something to be controlled.
And every time, Mewtwo seemed to slip from his grasp. Giovanni knew now what had started. He was in a private battle with the Pokémon Master, a battle that he thought he had won before the man escaped him again.
Dismissing the science team, Giovanni contemplated his next move. He knew that he had the greatest chance as long as Team Rocket remained strong, but he knew as well that facing 'Champion' wouldn't be easy.
As the reconstruction of a Team Rocket base went on around him, Giovanni brooded over the various ways that he could bring things to a head. He knew that time to rebuild was essential, so he would wait. Wait until he had a chance to strike once again.
Cynthia stood in the elevator nervously. She had been summoned for a meeting with the Pokémon Master, to discuss the "debacle in Goldenrod" three days after it had happened. She had ended the training camp, thanking all the trainers for attending, and releasing the specialists to themselves.
Somehow, the entire Goldenrod affair had been kept out of the newspapers, although she had absolutely no idea how. 'Champions' influence she suspected. Nobody in the media had forgotten the reporter who had laid a hand on the Pokémon Master on the day he won his title. The man was not to be trifled with.
Although, she reflected, such a move from 'Champion' would be surprising given his ways of insisting on privacy.
The lift stopped, and Cynthia slowly walked out. The door at the end of the corridor seemed a long way away. Taking a deep breath, she started to walk towards the door.
As she reached it, the door swung open. Sat behind the desk was 'Champion'. Behind him was his Espeon, who looked long and hard at Cynthia. Cynthia winced, as she felt the gaze of the Sun Pokémon go straight through her. Espeon blinked, before looking away and yawning. Taking the seat in front of her superior's desk, Cynthia sat down, trying not to feel like a schoolgirl dragged in front of the headmaster.
"Cynthia." 'Champion' started, his voice completely calm, no trace of any emotion whatsoever. "Please explain your actions in the Goldenrod debacle. All of them."
Cynthia gulped. She had expected this, but there was something different about this meeting with 'Champion'. Whilst her previous encounters hadn't exactly been warm, they were certainly a lot warmer than this. 'Champion' was living up to his cold reputation, something that Cynthia had thought he wouldn't do with her.
"I had originally had no intention of coming after you." Cynthia said, her voice betraying her nerves. "It was only after Mewtwo came to me and told me that you had been captured, and I thought that you had fallen into a trap. Mewtwo talked about how he had been tortured, and I feared the same could happen to you. It was only at that point that I started looking for ways to follow you; I thought your plan had gone wrong."
"I see." 'Champion' said. "You are correct, I was being tortured. This was what I had expected. What I didn't expect was for my suffering to be negated by the ill-advised actions of somebody that I trusted not to be hasty."
Cynthia gasped to hear of 'Champions' treatment, he spoke of it so calmly. She wanted to know what was done to him, but feared asking.
'Champion' continued. "Now, that explains your reasoning for coming after me. Why did you bring who you did?"
"I spoke to Lance and Steven and they agreed that the Gym Leaders would be the kind of trainers we would want for this sort of thing. Each of these Gym leaders would bring some trainers from their gyms and then the Elite Four from each region would bring a few trainers. Mewtwo told us that we would need a lot of trainers, and we felt that this would guarantee strength. In addition I brought all the specialists and trainers who were at the training camp. Every trainer was given a chance to drop out, but none of them took it. It meant that we had enough trainers to deal with the Rockets adequately."
"Mewtwo?" Cynthia repeated, confused.
"You brought a Pokémon that Team Rocket had been trying to capture straight back into the heart of their base."
"He was determined to join us. He felt that he was needed to break through the Rockets. He also said that he owed you a debt and wanted to repay it."
'Champion' leant back in his chair regarding Cynthia. Behind him, his Espeon was once again looking at Cynthia, and with the two both analysing her, Cynthia felt that she was being pulled to piece in front of them. It was not a comfortable experience.
She felt that she needed to explain more as to her feelings, the fear that Team Rocket would have a hold over the Pokémon League if the Pokémon Master remained in captivity, but she wasn't sure how to explain this to the man in front of her.
After a minute, Cynthia heard a voice in her mind.
Cynthia froze before tentatively answering out loud. "Yes?"
"Stop leaving things out."
Cynthia looked around to try to find the source of the voice, but the only Pokémon in sight was Espeon, who was still staring at Cynthia.
"Anything else you want to say?" 'Champion' spoke once again his voice still perfectly calm.
"I... the only reason that we came after you was because I thought you needed us. I thought that you hadn't planned for it. I'm sorry."
'Champion' nodded his head slightly, before standing up and looking out of the window. Cynthia remained sat in her chair, unsure of what to do, but certain that she wasn't out of trouble. In fact, as 'Champion' turned, she had a sense of foreboding.
"I gave you the chance" 'Champion' said. "You have lied to me Cynthia. That was unwise."
"What?" Cynthia surged to her feet. "I haven't! I've been..."
"Sit." The simple command, delivered in the maddeningly calm tone yet with an overwhelming amount of authority behind it that left Cynthia no doubt as to whether she should obey. She quickly sat, as 'Champion' started talking once again.
"You claim that you had no plans of following me, yet James Kojiru was brought here mere hours after I departed. Throughout my capture he remained at the Pokémon League. He was also invited to a meeting in your office a short time after Mewtwo arrived. That makes it highly unlikely that his arrival was coincidence. Thoughts Miss Shirona?"
It was the first time that 'Champion' had addressed her by her surname. That more than anything made Cynthia realize that despite his lack of visible emotion, 'Champion' was angry.
Throughout her entire time working for him, Cynthia had always assumed a special relationship between herself and the Pokémon Master, something that to an extent he had responded to, using her name, an honour she was unaware he had extended to anybody else.
He would also listen to her when she came to him, but now, something had changed.
"So you never had any intention of obeying my orders. You also took a risk, if Giovanni had any more traps, you could have just gifted him the strongest trainers in the world. Did you ever ask Mewtwo about that? Perhaps consider an extra scouting mission?"
Cynthia's silence was enough to confirm 'Champions' suspicions; she had not. She had blindly trusted Mewtwo. Registering this, 'Champion' pressed on.
"Furthermore, when you did bring a force to the Rocket base, did you consider a minimum age for your force? There were children there, and you brought them to fight against an organisation that you knew could kill them. Did you consider that Cynthia?"
For the first time in the entire interview, 'Champions' voice lost its level tone. And for the second time since she had known him, emotion crossed his face. Absolute fury. It was there for a moment before he repressed it.
"They wanted to..."
"That is no excuse. They were ten years old. I recruited you to teach young trainers, not to try to get them killed."
Cynthia bowed her head. Deep down, she knew that 'Champion' was right. Yet he wasn't finished.
"Your attempts to hide this, no attempt to justify it tells me you hadn't considered it. Equally your complete disregard of orders, orders that you never had any plans of following is a disgrace. You're services are no longer required at Indigo."
Cynthia felt the shock run through her system. She knew that 'Champion' was angry, but this was totally unexpected. She had done what she thought was right, and the job that she had loved was gone. Her head bowed, she was about to move when the voice of 'Champion' once again.
"Furthermore, due to your total disregard for the safety of the youngsters under your tutelage, you are hereby banned from teaching. This in effect means that when you return to Sinnoh, you will train alone, and fulfill only basic duties as the head of the Regional Elite Four."
Cynthia stood up, anger blazing inside of her. "You can't do that! Teaching is what I do best, you can't..."
"Can't I, Miss Shirona?" 'Champions' voice was cold, the exact tone that he had used when he had thrown Pryce out from his gym just over a month previously. "I think you'll find I can. And if the reason ever became known to anybody other than the two of us, I think that others might agree."
"But I... You know I'm a good teacher, that's why you hired me in the first place! You can't take that away..."
"Miss Shirona, never believe you are irreplaceable. Now, I suggest you accept my decision before I have you removed as the Sinnoh Champion."
Cynthia felt her legs turn to jelly. She was unsure if 'Champion' could carry out such a threat, but she knew him well enough to know it wouldn't simply be idle. Calling his bluff was not a good idea. She fell back into her chair, her head bowed, tears flowing out of her eyes. 'Champion' looked down on her, his eyes hidden by his hat, but no pity in his demeanour.
"I suggest you return to Sinnoh, Miss Shirona."
Behind Cynthia the door opened, and 'Champion' strode out, not looking back on the trainer who everybody believed to be the best in a generation, utterly humbled, as everything in her career that she had loved was stripped away.
On the desk, Espeon stretched, before leaping lightly to the floor in front of Cynthia.
The Sun Pokémon put a paw on each of Cynthia's shoulders, looking the distraught trainer in the eye. The warmth in Espeon's gaze was a stark contrast to her trainers words. After a long gaze, Espeon pulled away, and padded out of the room, leaving Cynthia alone with her misery.