“Harter,” said Penelope, stroking Groudon. “I need to talk to you."
“What do you want?” babbled Harter. “I- I- I’ve done everything you Elite Four guys wanted me to do.”
“I need one more favor, Harter,” Penelope smiled…
"You'll pay for this," Nathaniel said, his voice rising. "My kind have infiltrated every level of society. One day you'll find a knife in your back!"
"No, I won't," said the voice. "Because I've sent copies of the tape to the rest of "Team Zangoose", as you call us. If any of us die, the tapes will be sent out, and the whole world will know that you're a ditto. Not only that, but they'll know that dittos are living among them, pretending to be human."
"So I have no choice but to ensure that Team Zangoose remains safe and unharmed," muttered Nathaniel in defeat. "Fine. I'll do what I can to convince Penelope."
Nathaniel hung up and walked away.
Meanwhile, many miles away, William smiled, hung up, petted his zangoose, and went to tend to a wounded pokemon.
Pokey did not move for a second, however, because he saw something that the kidnapper did not. William’s zangoose was approaching from behind. There was a flash of lightning that dramatically illuminated the zangoose.
Pokey used Yawn. Cynn’s mouth dropped open.
The zangoose leapt forward and latched its furry hands around the kidnapper’s throat. It dragged the kidnapper backward and tossed him against a tree with a large amount of force for a creature its size.
The kidnapper staggered to his feet, massaging his neck. “You’ll regret that!” he yelled. “Shadow! Come on!”
Pokey stared sadly at Cynn, before being dragged back into a pokeball on the kidnapper’s belt. The kidnapper raced away through the rain.
The zangoose stared at Cynn for a moment. Then he walked over to Quill, who lay unconscious nearby. The zangoose picked up Quill and carried him back to Cynn. Cynn placed Quill in one of his pockets.
“Why did you save me?” Cynn interrogated the zangoose.
“Will want,” James murmured.
“Why would he do that?” Cynn asked.
James shrugged and resumed his conversation with Quill.
“Wait! One more thing,” said Cynn. “Are you going to be staying here?”
“James stay,” said James. “Help Cynn.”
“All… all right. I suppose a little help wouldn’t hurt,” Cynn said.
Cynn, Quill and James walked down the path to Maroon City, each lost in his own thoughts. They were so absorbed that it took them a while to notice that the gates to Maroon had finally come into view just a few yards ahead.
Cynn, followed by Quill and James, marched into the Maroon City gym. It was swarming with Harter's trainer apprentices.
"I've come to challenge Harter," he announced.
Harter, sitting at the far end of the room, stood up. "Ah. And you would be...?"
"My name is Cynn," he said.
Harter raised an eyebrow. "Interesting."
"Should we fight him, Harter?" asked one of Harter's many apprentices.
"No." said Harter. "Get to the sides. I'll take him down."
Harter sent out a geodude.
Quill launched a blast of fire at the geodude, knocking him around.
James leapt over the geodude and struck him from behind.
The geodude, stunned, returned to his pokeball.
Harter sent out yet another geodude.
This geodude put up a stronger fight, but he, too, was taken down by Quill and James' combined strength.
Harter shook his head sadly, and sent out Groudon.
Quill leapt back, terrified. James curled up into a ball and quaked.
What? thought Cynn. How did he get Groudon? I thought that the Elite Four had all the legendary pokemon!
Groudon used Earth Power.
Then everything slid around and Cynn fell unconscious.
"What more do you want from me?" Harter cried. "I've done what you asked. I knocked out this poor kid with Groudon and delivered him to you."
"I want an assurance that you're not going to be spreading this story around town," said Penelope. "And I want Groudon back."
"Of- of course," said Harter, giving Groudon's pokeball to Penelope.
"You're not going to hurt him, are you?" asked Harter fearfully.
"What do you think, Harter?" asked Penelope. "I'm leaving Runan in charge of this facility, so don't try breaking in here to free the kid. You know what Runan can do."
Harter gulped. "Ah... yes. Right. Whatever you say, madame."
He fled as quickly as possible.
Cynn was slowly drifting out of unconsciousness when he heard the voice of Penelope. He felt an immense sense of relief- the Elite Four were here! Everything would be all right.
Then he realized two things. One, that he was inside a cell at the end of a long hallway, and two, Penelope was smiling mockingly at him through the bars.
"Where am I?" spluttered Cynn.
"You're at a Legendary Facility," said Penelope, still smiling. "You will be here for a very long time."
"What- why? What's a Legendary Facility and why am I being kept here?" Cynn asked.
"A Legendary Facility is where we handle the dirty work involving the most powerful pokemon in the world: Dialga, Giratina, Zapdos... this particular facility is where we keep Celebi," Penelope said.
"Yes, but why am I here?" Cynn asked. "Where are James and Quill?"
"You're here because you're special, Cynn. Don't you feel good about yourself?" called Penelope over here shoulder as she nonchalantly walked away, down the long, dark hallway.
"Wait!" screamed Cynn. Penelope ignored him.
Celebi felt something strange.
Something more strange than usual, anyway. Something more strange than being attached to tubes and hung from the ceiling of one of the Elite Four's facilities, while her time-controlling power was siphoned off to serve some sinister, unknown purpose.
Celebi was used to all that. The poor creature had grown use to her grassy body withering and sometimes coming close to dying; she had gotten used to the hallucinations; she had gotten used to the constant sense of disorientation.
She was not, however, used to sensing a kindred soul somewhere in the facility, and it was a breathe of fresh air to do so now.
Celebi was very good at sensing peoples' character. She knew when someone was dishonest, or when someone was just a nasty person. Her unnatural empathy often made her very uncomfortable, and it affected her even when she didn't want it to. She would burst into a fit of rage if people near him were angry; she would become depressed if exposed to sadness. When she was near someone who was simply a good person, she became insanely happy and ecstatic.
She could sense three new souls in the facility: one was a human, full of rage and cynicism. The other two were pokemon. One of the pokemon seemed to be tense, shutting off his mind, as though preparing to withstand torture. The other was just kind of confused. It was this last that Celebi felt a connection to.
She attempted to communicate with this pokemon. Celebi couldn't use telepathy, exactly, but she could project emotions and images.
Celebi sent the kindred soul an image of herself.
The pokemon responded with an image of a male cyndaquil in a cell.
So he's a cyndaquil, thought Celebi. Interesting.
Celebi sent the cyndaquil an image of Penelope.
The cyndaquil responded with an image of Runan.
Celebi groaned to herself. If Runan was here, the cyndaquil had no hope of escaping.
Celebi projected an image of Runan capturing Groudon. She wished she could communicate directly with the cyndaquil. She would tell him that Runan was the one who captured the legendaries for the Elite Four- he was the one with guts, the one that had raised the Elite Four to their high position. Celebi both loathed and respected him for that.
The cyndaquil responded with an image of Harter with Groudon, attacking a human.
Celebi projected to the cyndaquil a sense of sadness. Harter was a good person, Celebi knew, and it was a shame that he was being forced to do the Elite Four's dirty work.
Celebi was suddenly startled. The other pokemon, the one who thought he was going to be tortured, was trying to make contact with her mind.
She sent an image of herself to the pokemon, in way of greeting.
The pokemon responded with an image of himself. He was a zangoose, and a tough one at that.
Celebi sent back an image of Runan, trying to warn the zangoose that he was dangerous.
The zangoose sent back an image that made Celebi gape: Three kids, fifteen at the oldest, facing down Runan outside of the zangoose’s cell. There were two boys and one girl. The girl had a gengar perched on her shoulder. One of the boys was petting an absol. The one in the lead was followed by another zangoose.
They’re just kids! They don’t stand a chance against Runan, Celebi thought. But for the first time in many years, she felt a little bit of hope.
To be continued in the next episode!