The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Chapter II (2): Welcome to Team Rocket

After Lucario's and Wanderer's unfortunate capture by Team Rocket and their leader Giovanni, they were both transported, along with the members and leader of Team Rocket, via four helicopters. The four helicopters traveled away from the forest locale from which Lucario and Wanderer both resided in, and any possible chance of Lucario and Wanderer returning to their beloved forest home faded away.

The four helicopters traveled beyond the forest and continued onward for hours, never needing to make pit stops for refueling, especially when they flew through the entire night. Along the way, Team Rocket hovered over numerous forms of nature.

Eventually, at daybreak, the four helicopters passed by a famous mountain range that resides directly between the cities Pewter and Cerulean, within the tranquil Kanto region.

The mountain range that Team Rocket and the captive Aura Pokémon passed over from within the four helicopters is known as Mt. Moon, famous for its Moon Stones—stones that help certain species of Pokémon evolve—and Clefairy sightings. However, this mountain range was of no importance to Team Rocket. What is important is crossing over Mt. Moon and venturing further north, miles away from Kanto.

The four helicopters passed by Mt. Moon and continued flying onward. Beyond Mt. Moon lied another mountain range: an uncharted, unnamed, hundreds of miles away from any city or civilization type of mountain range.

The perfect place for Team Rocket's Main Headquarters…

The four helicopters descended onto the helicopter landing fields nearby the main entrance of the large Team Rocket HQ building, which resided on a massive plateau that equally resided between two mountains.

The building is an impressive thirty stories tall, five stories deep—the basement stories—and as wide as a plane hangar. It holds all that Team Rocket needs for their criminal operations— money, Pokémon, vehicles, weapons, etc—and their premeditated plan for world domination.

Once the four helicopters touched down on the helicopter landing pads—in the shape of an H within a wide circle—, all seventeen human passengers, and numerous captive Pokémon passengers—Wanderer and Lucario included, as you know already—within their respective Poké Balls have unloaded themselves from the helicopters and proceeded to enter the HQ building.

Giovanni calmly stepped out of his respective helicopter and was immediately greeted by a nearby Grunt.

"Welcome back, sir," the Grunt said loyally. "What can I do for you?"

Giovanni simply retrieved the black and red "Team Rocket's Poké Ball", which had Lucario within it, from his orange suit pocket.

"Here," Giovanni said to the subordinate Grunt before handing the spherical capsule over to him. "Have this Pokémon placed in the HQ basement cells immediately. If necessary, use any means to knock it out of consciousness, but don't kill it. I'll prepare with its admission procedures."

"…Uh, sure…" The Grunt said, surprised not by the request, but by the fact that the words "admission" and "Pokémon" were used together.

Before he could question Giovanni's reasons, he noticed that his boss was already past the doors of the HQ building. Also, before the Grunt could follow Giovanni and ask why he said what he did, a line of the remaining sixteen Grunts has already formed in front of the Grunt holding "Team Rocket's Poké Ball" (Lucario) in his hand.

All of the Grunts, in tandem, handed over the few Pokémon that they've captured into basic Poké Balls to him and then walked towards the Team Rocket HQ building. The Grunt in the back of the line flashed the used Great Ball—which had Wanderer within it—nearby his face before giving it to him and walking off to the entrance.

The Grunt was now unexpectedly left holding onto two dozen Poké Balls, a few Great Balls, and one "Team Rocket's Poké Ball". He somehow managed to hold on to them all, albeit having second thoughts of the action he made of showing up in front of Giovanni in the first place.

"(I'd better do this task at hand…)" the Grunt thought before entering the entrance of the building, precariously so that he wouldn't drop a single Poké Ball.

Just as Giovanni said earlier, all of the Pokémon should be placed in the HQ's basement cells. The Grunt decided to take the elevator to reach the first basement floor—Floor B1. Once there, he decided to enter a specific room, one where he could deposit the captured Pokémon into cells without actually going towards the cells.

The method of doing so involved teleportation.

Within the specific room, there was a massive cylindrical-shaped machine in the room that was multi-layered in both steel and bulletproof glass. Poké Balls are placed on the outside of the machine and the Pokémon come out remotely within the walls of the machine, in a manner which involves a simple redirection of the released red energy.

The Grunt decided to teleport the Pokémon within the basic Poké Balls first. One by one, twenty-four assorted Pokémon—all of which dwelled in the forest from which they were captured from—were transported into different holding cells, all of which encumbered a few floors below the basement floor that the Grunt currently resided in.

With those out of the way, the Grunt decided to take care of the Great Balls and the solitary "Team Rocket's Poké Ball". He figured that the Pokémon within them were stronger Pokémon that needed to be captured with stronger Poké Ball models.

One by one, he was down to the last Great Ball in the pile, unimpressed by the Pokémon he saw earlier. Once he placed the final Great Ball in the teleportation machine and had the Pokémon released within the machine, the Grunt was in for an unorthodox surprise.

Wanderer emerged from within the machine through a brilliant red light. It was standing up upon reforming and looked briefly around itself, questioning its current location. The instant that Wanderer saw the Grunt, it suddenly began to attempt to attack it, only to ram the clear glass and stagger back a few steps. Afterwards, it attempted to break the glass with brute force.

"What the hell?" the Grunt thought when he saw the abnormally light-furred Lucario struggle to escape from the impenetrable glass. "(Is this Lucario from the mountains? What in the world is it doing in a forest?)"

"Where the hell am I?" Wanderer spoke telepathically while trying to bust its way out of the machine through brute force alone. "Who the hell are you?"

"(It talks too?)" The Grunt thought to himself, stunned by the exotic Lucario that was captured from the forest.

Wanderer continued to punch, stab—with the golden paw-spikes on the back of its paws—and kick at the glass in order to try and escape. It struck with enough force to actually give the multi-layered bulletproof glass a run for its money, and actually managed to begin cracking the glass through one of its multiple layers.

However, in doing so, it dulled the hell out of its paw-spikes and actually began to draw blood from the top layer of skin from its feet and fists due to fragmenting glass. This caused the glass to begin to be stained mildly sanguine as it continued to strike away, tolerant to the pain that each attack inflicted upon its body.

Seeing the glass begin to shatter made the Grunt take protective measures. He cautiously moved to the side of the machine and pressed one of the buttons on it.

"Release me! I demand that you—!" Wanderer was brutally cut short when 100,000 volts of electricity illuminated the entire container and made Wanderer immediately pass out and collapse onto the floor—with a loud thud due to the 2000% increase in weight of being a Steel-Type Pokémon.

The Aura Pokémon now resided face-down on the floor, smoking as if lit on fire and quickly extinguished, with its chest-spike embedded down to the root into the floor below. Its tail was made limp and dropped to the floor. It was also drooling from the sudden electrical shock and was also bleeding significantly from its feet and paws after using them on jagged glass. The nasty electric shock also gave it second-degree burns to its feet, and partial burns across its entire body.

"(They really need to tell me what is inside of these Poké Balls before I let the Pokémon out of it,)" the Grunt thought before pressing the teleportation button on the machine.

In an instant, the machine flashed a white light for only a second, and as if by magic, the Pokémon within the chamber has disappeared, albeit not from existence.

The Grunt now retrieved the final Poké Ball, the "Team Rocket's Poké Ball", and then placed it within the machine. He now moved for the final time to the side of the machine and pressed the button to open the Poké Ball remotely.

"(What Pokémon could Giovanni possibly make one of us?)" He thought before stepping to the front of the machine and awaiting the answer to his question.

Once the black and red Poké Ball opened, a bright red flash of light emerged and rematerialized into Lucario. He was still unconscious, yet breathing normally. His body was reclined on the back wall of the machine, sitting down with his spine touching the wall. His head was pointed down, his arms were sagged and on his lap, his legs were stretched out across the machine's floor, with his toes curled up slightly, and his tail was bent to his left side. He still weighed twenty times that of normal, and so if he was tilted off to any one side, he would fall with a loud thud, as if a boulder dropped from a respectable height.

"(Another Lucario, huh…)" The Grunt thought to himself once more, before looking at the stagnancy of its appearance. "(The damn Pokémon is out like a broken light…)" He thought with pity in his mind. "(It must've taken a hell of a beating to be in its current condition, but there's no visible damage on it. Perhaps Giovanni subdued it before capturing it…?)"

The Grunt pressed the button to teleport Lucario and then retrieved the "Team Rocket's Poké Ball" once Lucario was transported a few floors down. The Grunt held the organization's custom Poké Ball and stared at it, thinking further at Giovanni's reasoning.

"(Well it's certainly larger and darker-furred than the average Lucario. I'll admit that much to you, Giovanni,)" The Grunt pondered further while staring at the glint on the black and red sphere, as well as the reflection that formed of the wielder. "(You must've seen something special about this Lucario that made you decide to capture it.)"

The Grunt set the "Team Rocket's Poké Ball" aside to where he set the previous Poké Balls and then had them teleported straight to Giovanni before walking outside of the room, still pondering why Giovanni captured Lucario back in the forest.


8.1: Now Entering Team Rocket

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor B4): Basement Cells

Date: Unknown

Time: Unknown

"Ugh, my body…" Lucario woke up within his cell and quickly clutched onto his stomach as if it was the only thing in distress, when it is truly everything of his body that ached.

"(What happened to me?)" Lucario pondered past events to realize what happened earlier.


(Lucario's Flashback)

The immediate instant that Giovanni stopped thinking about Lucario's apparent lack of adaptability, a massive silver metallic tail suddenly shot out of the earth behind Lucario.

Much to Lucario's surprise—which was evident by the fact that his eyes suddenly opened up wide with shock—he didn't budge an inch, and his heart sank to as low as his feet.

Before Lucario could react—or at least perform an about face to see what specific Pokémon was behind him—that same silver tail quickly wrapped around Lucario twice, preventing him from wriggling himself free, since his arms were pinned to his body.

The fact that his protruding chest-spike and two paw-spikes not causing damage to the hostile target Pokémon immediately gave him all the information needed to confirm its identity. The Pokémon that used its metallic tail to bind his body was a Steel-Type, since it was both silver and as hard as steel.

Only one Pokémon has that exotic tail and a long physique to match it, and he knew that it belonged to a Steelix.

With only his entire head, feet—below the ankles—, and tail tip—with the rest of his tail forcefully bent down—exposed from Steelix's massive tail, Lucario found it near impossible to escape, since he currently had no free movement of his body whatsoever.

He couldn't conjure an AURA SPHERE because it requires the use of his hands, and any oral-based attacks—such as HYPER BEAM, which he didn't know currently—, would be easily prevented and/or avoided by simply being tilted out of the way. He also had little experience with Fire-Type attacks, since he only knew EMBER. To top it off, he found it consecutively difficult to both breathe and remain conscious due to a lack of necessary oxygen and stifled blood flow that Steelix's tail was cutting off from him—a fatal hindrance to any Psychic-Type techniques.

"(How…did…I…surrender myself…into…Giovanni's Pokémon…trap…?)" Lucario thought with a tone that wasn't a question. "(I…heard…something else…in…front…of me… I…know it…!)" His thoughts, as well as his brain, were succumbing to oxygenic starvation, so he knew that he had little time left until he was reluctantly at Giovanni's mercy.

He didn't like the fact that he was slowly being enervated to unconsciousness at all, and he didn't like how it felt as equally. He could slowly feel his heartbeat increase in strength, not from excessive work, but because he was being encompassed tightly enough to have his chest-spike press onto his sternum. His head felt as if it was only half-full of his own blood, and his eyes were bulging somewhat out of proportion from Steelix's grip.

The hostile Pokémon decided to expose itself and, as if it were a reanimated corpse buried into the dirt, rose with a wide arc and a low-pitched, earth-rumbling roar—a metaphor for its secondary Ground-Type attribute. It moved its head closer to the helpless Aura Pokémon, eyeing it with a horrible look on its face. It breathed on him with an atrocious scent in its breath, not that Lucario was able to smell it currently due to gradual suffocation, and an intimidating growl that would make a human easily empty the contents of their bowels.

Lucario equally eyed it—and hated this Pokémon because it had abated him to nothing—but lacked the power currently to even form a hateful countenance. He knew the instant that he would fall unconscious, he would immediately be in possession by Giovanni, and would wake up soon after, working disrespectfully for him.

"D…d…d…d…da…" Lucario could barely speak even with telepathy, since he was so starved of oxygen that he would blackout at any moment now.

Giovanni grinned maliciously, eyeing the suppressed Aura Pokémon with a sense of eagerness. He was already beginning to visualize in his dark mind what he could accomplish with him in his organization's possession.

And they all have one thing in common: inevitable global domination.

Lucario averted his eyes from the facially-monstrous Steelix and stared on at Giovanni for as long as his remaining moments of consciousness allowed him to. His lungs were shrinking in terms of use, and his heart was weakening.

"(Damn you, Giovanni! Damn you, Steelix!)" Was just one of the two thoughts that he desperately wanted to muster the strength to think. The second of the two thoughts was "(Who was burrowing underground in front of me?)"

"D…d…" The assorted colors currently observable by his failing eyes were grudgingly blending together to form black only, just like the aftermath of defeating Absol over thirteen years ago.

"(You belong to me now, Aura Pokémon…)" Giovanni thought sinisterly and with a grin to match his tone of thoughts.

Lucario finally lost the ability to stay alert and conscious. His eyes simply closed, without his neck going limp since Steelix's coils were too secure and too tight. He stopped breathing, and his heart was hardly beating once every other second, the only thing keeping him alive. His weight also increased by 2000%—a defensive mechanism of the Steel-Type Pokémon—which didn't seem to add any effort to the Steelix that was currently wrapping it.


(End of Lucario's Flashback)

Lucario uncurled himself and stood up to see where he was. He found himself within a jail cell, with the side walls, floor, and ceiling made out of non-transparent multi-layered steel, and the front made out of six-inch-thick bulletproof glass. There were air vents on the floor that were so small that not even an amorphous Pokémon—such as a Ditto or a Vaporeon—could seep through, and yet fresh air is pumped in and siphoned away constantly.

Through the view of the looking glass, he could see that there was an adequately-lit hallway and see a few other cells for holding Pokémon within. However, due to the small size of each individual cell—eight feet long by eight feet wide by ten feet high—, and the fact that each wall of glass can connect through zigzags if a laser was shot at them and reflected, each cell was only able to see four cells in front of it, with a fair amount of blind spots.

Thankfully, Lucario's Aura Vision bypasses these blind spots and allows him to view everything around him, but he wasn't using it currently.

"(Son of a bitch, Giovanni…)" Lucario tightened both of his sore fists and then slammed them against the multi-layered glass repeatedly in frustration. He would've kept going, if it weren't for unexpected interruptions.

"Keep it down over there," A fairly low-pitched voice moaned melancholically.

"Please stop pummeling the glass," A softer, more feminine voice complained.

"(What the…?)" Lucario immediately stopped when he heard two voices emanate from somewhere within the basement's cells, voices that were clearly in front of his cell—and conveniently able to bypass the thick glass walls with ease.

As if by instinct, Lucario quickly flashed his eyes gold, had his dreadlock-like appendages stand and quiver horizontally, and kept his eyes locked on to the blind spots of the cells in front of him. Aside from the very faint aura emanating from the glass and steel walls, two identifiable living objects could be seen sulking by the corner of the previously existent blind spots.

The first object that Lucario examined optically—which was sulking on the rightmost corner of the left cell to Lucario's front—emanated red aura (for freely expressing emotions), green aura (for peace), violet aura (for selflessness and laxness), grey aura (for simplicity, nonchalance, and wisdom), and miniscule amount of yellow aura (for joy, freedom, and energy). All of these colors were highly overshadowed and layered by an immense amount of dark yellow aura (for suffering from emotional and/or physical pain).

All of these aura colors filled in the respective body and exposed the shape of the body.

The body has the form of a plesiosaurus dinosaur, as well as the size of a four-door sedan. It has a large, horned shell covering its back, as well as stout flippers, a very stubby tail, a long neck, one single horn on its forehead, and round, curly ears on the side of its head.

For those who don't know who this being is after having the body shape explained, it's a Lapras, and a very miserable one at that.

(National Pokédex entry #131: Lapras, the Transport Pokémon. It is a Water-Type and Ice-Type Pokémon that approximately measures 8' 02" and weighs around 485.0 lbs on average. It loves crossing the sea with people and Pokémon on its back. It understands human speech. However, at this particular moment, it'd be lucky to cross the floor with the dust collecting on its back.)

Lucario then examined the object that was sulking on the leftmost corner of the right cell to his front. This object emanated yellow-green aura (for persistence, power, and intimidating nature), orange aura (for a stalwart personality and an eagerness and fearlessness of trying something new or exciting), red aura (for a sense of materialism), lavender aura (for a strong sense in completing its goals), and silver aura (for an abundance in energy).

Just like the Lapras that is beside it—if the wall didn't separate them—, all of the auras that define its normal being were smothered by heavy amounts of dark yellow aura—which, as you know, identifies suffering from emotional and/or physical pain.

As for its body shape, many would say that it looks like a land-based shark, with highly developed arms and legs. It only has one sharp claw on the tips of each of its arms, as well as pectoral fins off to the side of each arm, both of which are pointed away from its overall body. Its tail is positioned vertically—like a shark's tail—and it has a dorsal fin on its back, with a small piece of it deliberately missing. Its head seems to split off to its sides, giving it the appearance of a hammerhead shark. It has two protruding bone spikes on its thighs and near its shoulders—for an overall total of eight.

For those who don't know who the being is after having the body shape explained, it's a Garchomp, and it's just as miserable as the Lapras adjacent to its holding cell.

(National Pokédex entry #445: Garchomp, the Mach Pokémon. It is a Dragon-Type and Ground-Type Pokémon that measures 6' 03" and weighs in at 209.4 lbs. on average. It is said that when one runs at high speed, its wings create blades of wind that can fell nearby trees. But don't get me started on the "running" issue.)

"(Who are these Pokémon?)" Lucario thought, never seeing Pokémon as exotic as these before.

Both the Garchomp and the Lapras removed themselves from their cell's blind spots and miserably dragged themselves to the front of their cells. They both saw Lucario utilizing his Aura Vision ability and knew that the instant that they decided to speak was the moment that they fully exposed themselves to the Aura Pokémon.

Thankfully, all of the Pokémon within Team Rocket HQ are on the same side, and there are only two sides here. Those two sides are "Team Rocket" and "Pokémon", where one governs over the other.

"I'll take it that you're a neophyte here, huh Aura Pokémon," the Garchomp said in a mildly disrespectful tone of voice.

(There's a reason that I'm saying the on both the Garchomp and the Lapras).

"(Ugh, I can sense the deference from this Pokémon a mile away…)" Lucario thought sarcastically while discreetly reading the Garchomp's mind through his psychic and Aura Vision abilities. "And you're not a neophyte here, huh." Lucario mimicked the Garchomp's mildly disrespectful tone of voice, after reading its mind.

"(Psychic abilities, I see…)" the Garchomp thought after not considering Lucario's statement to be a sassy guess. "No, I'm not." It confirmed to Lucario.

The Aura Pokémon averted his eyes momentarily to the depressed Lapras and decided to speak to it, after reading its mind that is. "And I'll assume that just like me, you are a neophyte here, right?" Lucario spoke to the depressed Lapras.

The Lapras nodded with a heavy head and then replied with a depressed tone, "Unfortunately, yes."

A few seconds went by before Garchomp interrupted, and that was so that the Mach Pokémon could realize that the voice sounded familiar.

"Besides your naiveté here, you're a Lucario, right?" The Garchomp continued to speak, looking to its left side, visualizing the Pokémon beyond the wall.

Lucario nodded in confirmation before turning off his Aura Vision ability. "And what are you…both of you supposed to be? I've never seen Pokémon like you two before."

The Lapras was about to speak first, but was quickly intercepted by the Garchomp.

"Well, I'm a Garchomp. However, according to this Arceus-damned Team Rocket, I've been given the nickname 'Terra'. I've had it for my whole life here, ever since I was born, twenty long and encumbering years." Garchomp recalled past memories, and some of the pain that was embedded onto them.

The Lapras at Lucario's right had its dark green eyes widen in surprise. "(Oh crap…)" It thought to itself when it realized something important.

Lucario, setting aside questions about Garchomp's past, was a little curious to the nickname choice. He recalled how Tiny's nickname was related to its size compared to any other Riolu—while holding back any erupting emotion ever since what occurred to Tiny, as well as Sceptile, in the forest—, and so he figured that the Garchomp's nickname still applies in a similar manner.

"Does 'Terra' mean anything?" He said with curiosity.

When Lucario asked it that question, Terra actually had no idea what it meant. "Well…Uh…" Terra continued to ponder over its nickname's meaning, only it was wasting its time since it had no idea what it meant, despite having it for over twenty years. "I believe it means…"

"It means 'Earth', which makes perfect sense to you, since your species have two different type attributes: Dragon-Type and Ground-Type." The Lapras, for a change, interrupted Terra.

"Thank you…uh…" Lucario was left silent due to a lack of information on the Transport Pokémon.

"I'm a Lapras, Lucario." The Lapras filled him in with new information. "And I have a nickname too. And unlike Terra, I actually understand its meaning."

"(Oh crap…)" Terra had its golden eyes opened wide when it realized something important.

Both Lucario and Terra—albeit with its mind preoccupied—listened to what the Lapras has to say next.

"Team Rocket has given me the nickname 'Aqua', and it basically means 'Water'. It makes proper sense being given to me because I'm not only an Ice-Type Pokémon, but a Water-Type Pokémon as well. However, I don't like my nickname because it easily represents Team Rocket's 'possession' over me." Aqua said with a bit of frustration towards the end.

"I see… Well, I don't have a nickname…" Lucario said once Aqua was done speaking. "(Although, I can only imagine what Team Rocket will decide to nickname me…)"

"Uh oh…" Terra was now in full realization of something important.

Lucario became mildly confused of Terra's wide-eyed realization.

"Aqua… I helped Team Rocket capture you… I personally fought you and weakened you…" Terra told both Aqua and Lucario, without warning. "I'm sorry."

Aqua already knew this fact and simply rolled its eyes. It realized this earlier and set it aside. However, Terra continued showing repentance.

"Throughout my life, I've helped Team Rocket capture hundreds, maybe thousands, of Pokémon. Many of them serve Team Rocket against their wishes, and those that have tried to rebel—or are considered useless—have been killed." Terra now began to cry profusely, and its voice was now temporarily broken from the excess crying. "All of this is my fault and I'm so—"

"Don't be," Lucario said sharply to Terra, having heard enough.

Both Aqua and Terra were puzzled by Lucario's reaction. However, they remained silent—or at least Aqua did—and waited to see what he had to say next.

Lucario looked at Aqua first. "Aqua, you shouldn't show misery or frustration for being here, no matter how much it pains you."

Aqua nodded after realizing what Lucario said and understanding it.

Lucario then looked at Terra. "Terra, as much sorrow and encumbrance your role in Team Rocket brings you, you shouldn't regret your actions over your 'career', or the Pokémon that have lost their lives due to your 'career'."

"How…how can you say such…such heartless things?" Terra said with somewhat more sorrow now.

"What's wrong with you? Where are your feelings?" Aqua joined in with confusion and somewhat growing anger.

"Are you two not thinking clearly?" Lucario stayed calm, despite the harsh aura that had surrounded both Aqua and Terra.

Lucario's words have cleared the judgment of both traumatized Pokémon.

"What makes you both think that all of this malice is originating from both of your actions? Have you ever thought about what was the true cause of all of this pain?" Lucario continued to get his point through to them.

"Terra, you of all Pokémon should know the true cause of all of this," Lucario briefly pointed his left paw at Terra, causing the Mach Pokémon to stop crying enough to think it over. "After all, you work for it."

"…!" Both Terra and Aqua realized the true culprit of all of this.

"How blind was I…" Terra wiped away the tears that it shed, realizing that they were immaterial.

"(It's so painfully obvious…)" Aqua thought to itself the true culprit of all of this suffering.

"They're responsible for all of this malice, Team Rocket!" Lucario continued, only with a bolder tone. "They're responsible for countless innocent deaths! They're responsible for using us Pokémon for their crimes and purposes. They're responsible for all of this pain and suffering!"


(Lucario's Flashback)

However, that moment quickly reversed for the worst. From out of nowhere, multiple Koffing and a few Weezing ambushed the two Pokémon standing above the ash heap that was once the tree house. Sceptile was easily caught off guard. Tiny however, was too fatigued to react. All of the Koffing and some of the Weezing clumped themselves closely around Sceptile and Tiny, with the last remaining Weezing engulfing its entire gaseous being onto Sceptile's right arm, much to Sceptile's surprise.

Lucario watched on at this scene, his tension rising.

That Weezing wasn't being cut by LEAF BLADE since it's a possessed clump of gas, and simply stared at the Forest Pokémon with both heads expressing an evil glare in their eyes. All of the Koffing and Weezing did the same, even to the weakened Emanation Pokémon.

"SELFDESTRUCT!" The Grunts who owned the Koffing shouted.

"EXPLOSION!" the Grunts who owned the Weezing shouted.

"...What…?" Lucario was stunned to hear those two attacks being ordered. He swore he felt his whole physical being sink with dread at the thought of having the Grunts willingly put the lives of their own Pokémon's in jeopardy, just to take out other Pokémon.

Within one moment of those words, the Koffing and Weezing didn't hesitate to utilize an attack that would likely eliminate their existence in a heartbeat. They quickly made themselves glow a blinding white light, preparing to explode.

Sceptile and Tiny remained stationary, since they knew that they couldn't escape because they were surrounded. They closed their eyes, fatalistically accepting death, hoping that it would be quick and painless.

Tiny even went as far as clinging onto Sceptile's left leg, as if it was a farewell hug.

However, Lucario wasn't going to accept that kneeling down. Quickly, he got up on his two furry feet and used EXTREMESPEED to sprint towards the targeted Pokémon, planning to retrieve them and free them from a fiery death. Just as quickly as he ran, he exposed his cover to the Team Rocket Grunts in the process with that same gale-making speed.

"What in the world?" The very same Grunt that did the double-take earlier to a shrub was the first to notice Lucario, quickly followed by the remainder of the Grunts. He wasn't flabbergasted by the fact that a Lucario was here in a forest—since they're more common, despite being seldom seen by humanity, in cold and tall mountain ranges. He was more discombobulated by the fact as to why the Lucario he saw was charging towards the intended explosion site.

"(Almost…there…)" Lucario could feel enough dread and suspense in his heart to the point of seeing the world slow down in front of him, adrenaline surging to his mind and slowing down time before him. He could even feel his own accelerated heartbeat pulsate within his head, since he can't hear it with his ears due to the rush of wind caused by EXTREMESPEED.

He made one final leap across the wooden remains of the tree house, paying little attention to the fact that his sense of time slowed down before him at the moment. He landed and made one final dash towards Sceptile and Tiny.

Sceptile opened its eyes for a brief moment, noticing Lucario running towards it. Its eyes widened quickly, yet Tiny's eyes remained clamped shut, its being fully cringed for fear of death.

"…Lucario…?" Sceptile said at the sight of the Aura Pokémon, here of all places.

"…Scep—"

BOOM!


(End of Lucario's Flashback)

"After all, you both aren't the only ones who've suffered from Team Rocket's malice." Lucario said this and had immediately rendered both Terra and Aqua surprised.

"What do you mean?" Aqua was surprised by this unexpected piece of truth.

"They've killed two of my three closest friends… and my third friend is somewhere amongst Team Rocket as well…" Lucario shed a couple of tears before wiping them away. "(I can sense it… Wanderer's around here in this room…somewhere…and unconscious…)"

"…" Both Terra and Aqua were stunned by Lucario's back story.

"Because of this, I despise Team Rocket and wish to decimate it and leave no record of its existence," Lucario gritted his teeth with hate. "I hate their leader—Giovanni—the most and would love to see him tortured alive before dying the worst way possible…through my power."

The feelings of suffering, as well as the dark yellow aura surrounding them, began to lift away from both Terra and Aqua as Lucario continued inspiring them with his powerful words.

"I'll fight to the death if I have to, in order to save all of the Pokémon within Team Rocket's shackles and then crush Giovanni with my bare paws." Lucario lifted both of his paws to his face, looked at them, and flexed them a few times before setting them aside.

"It would be near impossible to do this, alone especially," Terra exposed an important hindrance about Lucario's future goals.

"I know…" Lucario said with ease, admitting the difficulty of the enormous task in front of him.

"You may die in failure," Aqua exposed another hindrance about Lucario's future goals.

"As long as I accomplish something that continues beyond my life, I'll die fighting," Lucario spoke once more, fearlessly about death and failure.

"I wish to fight by your side and clause," Terra said without second thoughts.

"I'll join your side to indubitably eliminate Team Rocket," Aqua felt the courage to fearlessly join Lucario's side.

Lucario's eyes were widened by their sudden choice of actions. He was in mild disbelief at how quickly both Pokémon would gamble their lives at the chance of freedom and eradication of Team Rocket. "Do you speak the truth?" Lucario spoke in shock, rather hearing them speak the truth than sensing it from them.

Concisely, both Aqua and Terra nodded.

Lucario smiled warmly at both of his newfound friends. "Thank you, both of you… And since we're all in this together, I ask from you both these two things to ensure our survival: patience and power."

"We'll need both to survive residing in this organization, right?" Aqua felt like being sure.

Lucario nodded at Aqua, confirming its suspicions.

"(*Sigh*) Good. I'm covered then." Aqua said with a small sigh of relief.

"Power is all that has kept me alive and…useful for the past twenty years," Terra said to Aqua.

"We'll need time so that we all can grow accustomed to this HQ and learn it from the inside out," Lucario continued. "Ask any many Pokémon as you can if they want any part of this. If we have more Pokémon joining this clause, it'll drastically increase our chances at accomplishing this large-scale goal. After all, it's only the three of us currently in allegiance, and I can guarantee that we won't get by on our own."

"Agreed," Aqua said.

"It pains me to say this, but despite my 'career' with Team Rocket, I was recently transferred to their main HQ. I know nothing about this building." Terra decided to get that off of its chest before waiting any longer.

"It's alright, we'll manage." Lucario said nonchalantly. "Especially since all three of us are blind here in not knowing the entrance from the exit."

"Since we're now an allegiance, what should we name this group?" Aqua suggested.

"…" All of the Pokémon thought to themselves what would be a perfect name for their newly-formed allegiance. A solid ten seconds went by before Lucario came up with what first idea that popped into his head.

"What about 'Team Liberator'? How does that sound?" Lucario said.

Both Terra and Aqua thought that name over, and then nodded in agreement.

"It suits our intended purpose," Terra gave its opinion about the name. "But it seems highly…plagiaristic."

"I don't care. We'll go with it," Aqua was content with the new name.

"So, 'Team Liberator' it is then," Lucario agreed with them.

"What should we do first?" Terra inquired.

"Why don't we learn more about each other?" Aqua was the first to bring up an idea. "We all can begin with our origin and proceed to where we are today. That way, we learn a bit more about each other, since we've all just recently met."

"Alright then," Lucario agreed.

"I'm game." Terra agreed as well, making the choice unanimous.

"Lucario, why don't you begin," Aqua decided that he should begin. "I figure that you're the most enigmatic of us three."

"What makes you say that?" He wondered.

Aqua simply shrugged its flippers, not saying exactly why because it was a base instinct.

"I see…" Lucario muttered. "I'll begin then."

Both Terra and Aqua were all ears at the present moment.

"(Where do I begin?)" Lucario collected his thoughts, paced around his holding cell temporarily, and searched for the best word choice to recall his origin.

Once he did so, he began.

"I was born from an egg in the middle of an—"

All of a sudden, doors could be heard opening from one of the two ends of the hallway. After stopping telepathy dead in its tracks, Lucario instinctively utilized his innate Aura Vision ability once more to scan beyond his limited range of vision. He quickly looked to his right side, where the door opened.

Immediately, four Team Rocket Grunts entered orderly in 2-by-2 formations, and then they marched over to the wall, two on each side. They were armed with semi-automatic rifles and were positioned orderly as if they were British guards.

Click… Clack… Click… Clack… Click… Clack…

Their leader, Giovanni, walked in with slow steps and with his arms crossed behind his back. Lucario was able to hear him coming due to the shoes that Giovanni was wearing, his powerful sense of hearing, and the echo that the hallway had.

"Arceus-dammit…" Lucario muttered with half of his normal volume of voice.

"What is it?" Terra curiously inquired Lucario.

"There are four Team Rocket Grunts, and their leader Giovanni is with them," Lucario answered Terra's question without looking away at the five approaching Team Rocket members.

Click… Clack… Click… Clack… Click…! Clack…!

Giovanni moved in front of the Grunts and they followed behind him in their 2-by-2 formation. Lucario could see them all approaching with his active Aura Vision and hear Giovanni come closer with his ears.

"(I can hear that gratuitous footwear coming from a mile away before seeing him…)" Lucario thought with a disgusted look on his face.

Click! Clack! Click! Clack! Click! Clack!

"(That click-clacking of his shoes will drive me more berserk than an enraged Ursaring if I listen to it enough,)" Lucario gritted his fangs and turned off his Aura Vision ability when Team Rocket was close enough to his location.

He stopped gritting his teeth once Giovanni walked within his normal field of view, as well as the Grunts with guns nearby him. The Grunts, as if they were bodyguards, had their eyes locked-on to Lucario, ready to act first if Lucario decided to.

Giovanni pressed a button on one of the walls nearby Lucario's holding cell and immediately, the transparent bulwark between Giovanni and an irritated Aura Pokémon sank below the ground within a few seconds.

Both beings stood motionless and opposite of each other. Giovanni smirked sinisterly once in front of the Aura Pokémon. Lucario scowled and growled mildly with hateful sanguine eyes that matched his current emotions. The Grunts with guns ogled Lucario while on standby. And both Terra and Aqua looked on tensely, knowing that they had no part in this, and yet were curious nevertheless.

"So Aura Pokémon, I'm assuming you're enjoying your all-expense-paid stay here at Team Rocket Main Headquarters?" Giovanni maliciously inquired the Aura Pokémon before him. "Do you feel better after my Steelix BIND-ed you into submission?"

Lucario stopped growling enough to answer with a rudely concise "No", since he was still feeling sore all over his body. His neck, paws, shoulders, sternum, and tail base were the sorest of all his body parts.

"I didn't think so, albeit it doesn't matter anyway." Giovanni continued. "You'll grow accustomed to Team Rocket and our requirements, especially since I've already made arrangements to have you become more than just another tool." Giovanni uncrossed his arms and stopped smirking, and spoke with a more serious and unusually trustworthy tone.

Lucario made the motion of raising one of his "eyebrows" in confusion. "What could you possibly be driveling on about?"

Giovanni stepped backwards and out of Lucario's holding cell and simply made the hand gesture for "follow me".

Lucario didn't want to accompany him with all of his heart, but looking at not only the cold stare of Giovanni, but the four well-trained Rocket Grunts as well, made him realize that he had no other choice. Lucario reluctantly walked forward and as he was bypassing the four Grunts with guns, he swore he could feel time slow down within his mind due to discomfort, almost as if he crossed through a denser atmosphere of aura. He looked at the weaponry that they each were brandishing proficiently and was suddenly curious about them.

"(Why are these humans wielding black metal sticks? What possible purpose can it serve them?)" Lucario pondered sagaciously and curiously at their weaponry, not knowing what to make of it in the least.

Time regained stable momentum within Lucario's mind once he passed by the nonexistent bulwark. He stopped once he was within arm's reach of Giovanni, and when one of the Grunts re-closed his holding cell—so that the next Pokémon to utilize it wouldn't escape.

They both stared into each other's eyes with purpose in their stare: Lucario's hate and Giovanni's envisioned opportunity. They were never this close to each other, face to face. Because of this, they both realized that they were actually equal in height—if Lucario's ears are included unfortunately—and so he had to look up to Giovanni's stature.

"Move ahead now, and stop once you've reached the door," Giovanni said concisely to the Aura Pokémon and pointing to his left simultaneously, desiring him to go down the path first, so that Giovanni and his armed Grunts keep ten sharp eyes on him.

"…" Lucario only obeyed because he sensed faint traces of aura emanating from Wanderer ahead and wondered about its current condition.

The Team Rocket members gave Lucario a two-second lead, so that they could keep an omni-present view on him. They followed him after two seconds had passed since Lucario began walking towards the open door at the end of the hallway to the right of his holding cell.

Both Terra and Aqua, realizing how immaterial they currently were, still decided that they were both curious enough to listen in and observe until they no longer could, which was when they all began to leave their constricted field of vision.

Lucario walked past holding cell after holding cell, finding no sign of Wanderer, let alone any other unfortunate Pokémon—somewhat to his relief. He recalled seeing faint traces of Wanderer's aura near the end of the hallway, and anxiously walked gradually faster to reach its holding cell, almost giving Giovanni and his Grunts enough concern to react against this.

Once he had finally noticed Wanderer in its holding cell, Lucario was immediately taken back at what condition the mountain-dwelling Aura Pokémon was in. His closest friend was face-down, fuming smoke, had its chest-spike underground, was drooling due to the endured electric shock, and was bleeding from all four of its paws due to the effects of the jagged glass. Wanderer was also given second-degree burns to its feet, and partial burns across its entire body.

Lucario was beyond enraged at what he saw, knowing that Team Rocket was easily to blame for this, especially since he knew of Wanderer's state of being prior to his capture. Anger and sadness strangled at his mind, granting Lucario immense emotional pain. His fists constricted so tightly that he found himself having his paw-spikes glow with very faint energy. "(What has Team Rocket done to you?)" Lucario was about to cry once more, at the cruelty that Team Rocket inflicts.

Giovanni, not interested in what Lucario was feeling, only further salted his emotional wounds by doing this: he stopped within two feet of him and coldly said, "What are you doing? I ordered you to stop only when you've—"

With his emotions now severely unstable, both of Lucario's fists now themed two different attacks: his left fist brimmed with white light—for MACH PUNCH—and his right paw-spike grew three twelve-inch-long claws—for METAL CLAW. Both were going to be used on Giovanni.

Lucario roared before swiveling to face Giovanni before punching him with a left hook, square in the left cheek, with the Pokémon technique MACH PUNCH—a punch attack that not only moves faster than the human eye can follow, but can deliver a blow first and from a distance if strong enough.

Giovanni never saw the left hook coming and only grunted in pain when punched. He was violently leaned to his right, with a swollen cheek and chipped molars. He temporarily lost the ability to think rationally and react, since the lightning-fast attack made him mentally cringe.

This gave Lucario the chance to eagerly follow up his MACH PUNCH attack with METAL CLAW.

Lucario, with exposed canine-like teeth and dilated blood-red eyes, swung his right arm towards Giovanni's lowered face, beginning to launch a right-to-left horizontal claw swipe. Giovanni regained enough mental activity to notice the attack coming, and realized that if it hits, it could slice open his skull and cut at his brain, therefore killing him instantly.

Unfortunately, before the attack could land, the four Team Rocket Grunts with guns reacted quickly, but not quickly enough to prevent Lucario's sudden MACH PUNCH, since it's a first-hit attack.

Silently, they brought up their weaponry and had the red laser-pointers from their scopes all aimed precisely towards the METAL CLAWs on Lucario's right paw. In perfect synchronization, they all pulled the trigger.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Four shots so close to each other—in both distance and timing—fired precisely from the rifles and upon the intended target of Lucario's METAL CLAWs, shattering them instantly and negating Lucario's follow-up attack. The METAL CLAW fragments fell to the floor like broken glass and then disappeared because it was only transformed energy.

Both Terra and Aqua heard the gunshots—as well as Lucario's primal roar earlier—and questioned what that was about.

Lucario could feel a strong burning sensation emanate from the very bone that's protruding from the back of his right paw. He retracted his arm inches before slamming it into the left side of Giovanni's face, and clutched it tightly. He examined the paw-spike on it once the METAL CLAW energy depleted from it, and found out that the paw-spike is now half its original length.

"What the hell?" Lucario was stunned after seeing how his right paw-spike shattered so suddenly.

When Lucario looked at the four Grunts with guns, they had their semi-automatic rifles aimed directly at his skull. The red laser-pointers were all aimed on his forehead, with each circle of red light overlapping each other, giving it the appearance of only one red light. The four Grunts with guns already had their fingers on the triggers and knew all too well that they don't need specific orders to fire or not. They were only given this one order by Giovanni when he assigned them, four brilliant marksmen, as his personal bodyguards: fire freely at any hostiles.

"(Did their black metal sticks just shatter my METAL CLAWs instantaneously?)" Lucario thought, eyeing the weapons and the red laser-pointer light that they emanated.

The four Grunts with guns were about to fire again and kill Lucario senselessly.

…However...

"Cease fire! Cease FIRE!" Giovanni spoke with a swollen right cheek and broken molars.

Immediately, the four Grunts with guns pulled up their semi-automatic weapons and the red laser-pointer's light disappeared from Lucario's forehead. Despite the order, they continued to stare into Lucario as if he was on their little black book's "Most Wanted" list, especially since he struck their leader so swiftly with the intention of murder.

Giovanni repositioned himself and wiped off the blood that was dripping off of his mouth with a handkerchief that he had in his suit pocket—because the blood would stain the sleeves of his orange suit if he decided to wipe the blood with them. He turned around to the four Grunts with guns and noticed they had already followed his immediate orders.

"Don't kill this Pokémon! I want it alive!" Giovanni spat his words (and chipped molars) angrily.

All four Grunts simply nodded in understanding. They didn't question Giovanni's reasons or purpose in doing so. They just follow his orders.

"('Don't kill this Pokémon?')" Lucario pondered while still clutching his right paw and the shattered right paw-spike, astonished at the weaponry that the four Grunts with guns had. "(Those metal sticks are actually capable of dealing death?)"

Giovanni regained his composure by collecting the floored chipped molars that were broken by Lucario's MACH PUNCH. He decided to hold on to them by placing them in the same handkerchief and then into his pocket, especially since they can be put back—in a given time period—as if nothing happened.

He juggled his jaw, making sure that it wasn't broken and functioned properly before finally facing Lucario once more, with a bit more consciousness on not to provoke him if he was ever emotionally distraught.

"Is something the matter, Lucario?" Giovanni said, wondering why Lucario looked so puzzled all of a sudden.

Lucario was too distracted and astonished at the Grunt's semi-automatic rifle to be feeling anything else. He looked at his broken paw-spike before setting it down to his side and then said "What are those humans wielding in their possession?" with absolute curiosity.

Giovanni, setting aside Lucario's previous actions, decided to introduce Lucario to the weaponry that almost killed him in a blink of an eye. He felt as if a talking Pokémon was capable of comprehension, and therefore had a right to know—to an extent anyway. It would also quell his fading frustration as well.

He did an about-face and asked one Grunt "May I borrow your weapon?"

Without second thought, the Grunt let Giovanni borrow his weapon.

"This, to us humans, would be known simply as a gun." Giovanni said while strapping the rifle onto his shoulder.

Lucario listened attentively, as if he were a student in a classroom lecture.

"This type of gun model in particular however, is known as a rifle." Giovanni explained in detail.

"(So a rifle is a type of gun?)" Lucario continued to ponder and listen.

"Rifles are classified by the long barrel that they possess up front," Giovanni scrolled his left hand's finger across the long barrel of the rifle, "as well as the butt back here." Giovanni tapped the back of rifle a few times with his right hand's finger.

"(Who the hell derives a part of a rifle with the hindquarters?)" Lucario thought, unsure to the human's methods and reasons for doing so.

"The proper firing position is to have the back of the rifle placed on the front of your firing hand's shoulder, and for extra stability, your non-trigger hand below the barrel of the rifle," Giovanni said before visually demonstrating the proper firing position to Lucario, only he aimed it to his right, away from harming Lucario, or provoking him, as well as from Wanderer. He also didn't have his finger on the trigger, so as to not accidentally fire the weapon.

"(So that's how it's held…)" Lucario paid especially close attention to how Giovanni wielded the rifle.

"There are a fair amount of accessories that any gun can have equipped onto it," Giovanni retracted the gun to his front so that he could explain each accessory in depth. "We have the scope, which can be seen through to allow for more accurate fire," Giovanni pointed his finger at the scope at the top of the gun. "We have the bipod at the front tip of the gun, which allows for better stability when firing from the ground," Giovanni pulled out the rifle's bipod and then placed it back beneath the rifle's barrel.

"(It can be fired when prone on the ground?)" Lucario continued to ponder and listen enthusiastically.

"Finally, we have the shoulder strap," Giovanni made sure that the strap was properly placed on his shoulder before letting go of the rifle and having it dangle freely to his side. "It allows for better ease of holding the rifle, especially since most rifles have a considerable weight to them."

Giovanni re-gripped the rifle and then had his finger on a switch that was to the side of the rifle, directly above the trigger.

"This switch right here that I've got my finger on…" Giovanni flipped the switch three times. "…That's the safety switch, which prevents accidental fire when you don't intend to use the gun, as well as not allowing the gun to fire as long as the switch is on."

Giovanni now pointed the rifle towards the ceiling of the room. He demonstrated how the safety switch prevented fire by pulling the trigger a few times, and having no response whatsoever.

"(You can simply flip a switch on the rifle and not have it fire at all?)" Lucario pondered.

Giovanni now pulled on a tab that was nearby the switch and removed the ammunition from the rifle itself. He held it in front of the gun.

"This is called a magazine. It holds all of the weapon's ammunition. During combat, it's always wise to carry more ammunition with you, so that you can reload when there's no more ammunition within the magazine, swap for a fresh magazine, reload, and fire once more."

Giovanni then extracted one of the bullets within the magazine and held it out in front of Lucario. The Aura Pokémon retrieved it and examined it thoroughly, albeit only with his eyes and paws, so as to know how it looked like and felt like.

"Is this the 'ammunition' that you referenced?" Lucario inquired.

"Yes. It's simply known as a bullet." Giovanni began to explain the ammunition in significantly more detail as Lucario examined the bullet given to him. "The aerodynamic tip of the bullet is the only part of the whole structure that is fired."

Lucario noticed the dense metallic tip of the bullet that he held in his paws.

"The rest of the cartridge holds explosive gunpowder, which allows the bullet to be fired from the rifle at speeds that easily exceed multiple times the speed of sound in certain weapons." Giovanni continued.

"(Multiple times the speed of sound, huh…)" Lucario didn't believe that part until he saw it for himself just how fast the bullets are capable of traveling.

"The circle on the very backside of the bullet cartridge is what is stricken with by a sharp point within the rifle and all guns to allow the bullet to fire. Some guns are capable of firing bullets at a rate of a few thousand per minute, as long as jamming is disregarded." Giovanni concluded the explanation of the bullet.

"(A few thousand per minute, huh…)" Once again, Lucario was doubtful about any gun firing at such a high rate.

As he examined the bullet after Giovanni stopped speaking, Lucario recalled what Giovanni said about a "sharp point within the rifle" that allows the bullet to be fired and knew that he had a couple of those "sharp points" that allows a bullet to be fired.

They were the spikes that he had on his body.

Lucario eyed his left paw-spike, getting some ideas on how pressing the bullet's rear end on the sharp tip of his paw-spike (or chest-spike) would have the bullet fire.

Giovanni noticed Lucario paying considerable attention to his left paw-spike. "(It better not get any rebellious ideas from that bullet that I lent it,)" Giovanni thought with a serious countenance.

The Grunts with guns were already clutching their weapons with a firmer grip, in case Lucario decided to use the bullet with the intent to kill or escape. The Grunt that didn't have his rifle on him had his hand on his back-up pistol, in case it was needed.

"(…No, I won't need it.)" Lucario thought. "(What can I possibly accomplish with weaponry that I had virtually no experience with? I'd be dead upon the mere attempt of using it, and I can't afford to die anytime soon. I still need to maintain Team Liberator and rescue more Pokémon alongside Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer.)" Lucario looked at the Team Rocket members before him, not once paying attention to their body language. "(For now, I should just capsule my emotions, stay ubiquitously stable, and play along in Giovanni's game as one of his pawns, until the time is right for a rebellion.)"

Lucario held the bullet in front of Giovanni and kept it there for him to retrieve back.

"This belongs to you, Giovanni." Lucario said politely.

Giovanni's countenance weakened and he now was dubious about Lucario's unexpected choice of action. He truly believed that Lucario would attempt to escape, however he realized that it would only mean death for the Aura Pokémon, something which neither of them wanted.

Lucario was growing mildly impatient and repeated himself with a slightly more serious facial expression. "Well, don't you want it back?"

Giovanni simply re-clicked the magazine into the rifle and said "Keep it."

Lucario, after hearing those words, simply tucked the bullet within the fur of the side of his thighs as if they were side pockets. "If you say so," Lucario said nonchalantly.

Giovanni gave the borrowed rifle back to its rightful owner, whom was discreetly happy to receive it back. He then decided to walk ahead this time, and everyone else followed, including Lucario, out of his own free will.

"(How long will I last in Team Rocket before I can eventually leave?)" Lucario thought privately when walking out of the room, sandwiched between Giovanni in front of him and the four Grunts with guns behind him, whom kept their eyes firmly locked onto the Aura Pokémon.

One of the Grunts closed the door behind him once everyone was outside of the room. They now proceeded forward, with Giovanni leading the way.

Along the way, Lucario passed by a nearby clock hanging onto the wall. He ogled it briefly, noticing that it was precisely 12:00 PM—noon. The clock also had an LCD screen that displayed today's date in the form of numbers and slashes: 10/10/10—October 10th, 2010. However, since he has never seen a clock before in his life, he had no idea what time it was exactly, or what a clock is used for, or what a clock is in general.

Giovanni had everyone take the elevator—once again something completely alien to Lucario—because the floor that he needed to take Lucario to is thirty-four floors higher up than the current floor: Floor B4.

In other words, it's Floor 30, or the roof floor: the Registration Room.


8.2: Now Registering Into Team Rocket

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Date: October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10)

Time: 12:06 PM (Six Past Noon)

Ding!

The elevator doors opened upon arriving to the Roof Floor of Team Rocket Main Headquarters: the Registration Room. Giovanni could be seen, pinching the roof of his nose and having his head tilted down in some shame.

Why was Giovanni like this?

Apparently, Lucario was so startled by the sudden movement of the elevator, as well as the claustrophobia-inducing closed space of it, that he jumped up to the ceiling, and just like a Treecko, stuck fast to the ceiling.

Somehow, Lucario held on tightly to the ceiling, despite his chest-spike being the only thing that was actually considered to be keeping him inverted. He was traumatized temporarily, his body rattling temporarily, and briefly robbed of logical thought.

As for the other four Grunts with guns, they were all tugging on Lucario's tail in an effort to yank him down from the ceiling, not seeming to care if Lucario was terrified or not.

"…" Lucario was shaking so much that he was doing three things at the moment: he was causing the ceiling to rattle in synchronization with his being, his teeth were chattering uncontrollably, and he had completely disregarded the fact that the Grunts were pulling on his tail.

"(Why didn't I choose to take the stairs instead…)" Giovanni thought, regretting the decision of having everyone reach this room through the elevator. "(I should've seen this coming from a Pokémon who's spent its entire life in a forest.)"

The four Grunts with guns eventually managed to pull Lucario's tail enough to have him come down from the elevator ceiling, only to have him curl up on the floor in the fetal position. Every single part of Lucario was curled up onto his body, including his stiff tail, with its tip now wedged between his ankles.

Giovanni now looked at Lucario's condition and decided to do something about it. "Just give it some time to recover its sanity." Giovanni simply said, and everyone else followed his orders. "I don't blame it for acting this way after being in an elevator for the first time in its life. It's probably temporarily stunned and just needs a few minutes to regain its normal composure."

Lucario was still in the fetal position, albeit was beginning to overall uncurl somewhat, like a morning Sunflora. He was also stopping himself from uncontrollably chattering his teeth by using his left paw-spike as a mouth-guard, a sign that he was aware of his current condition and calming down gradually.


5 minutes later…

Time: 12:11 PM (Eleven Past Noon)

"Lucario, how do you feel?" Giovanni asked sincerely to Lucario.

Lucario was now on his two furry feet, albeit feebly and still shaken from earlier. "To be honest, a little ashamed of myself," Lucario said honestly, briefly rubbing the back of his neck with his left paw in embarrassment. "I've seemed to overreact earlier now that I look back in retrospect."

Giovanni noticed how Lucario's legs were still shaking abnormally and said with concern "Are you able to walk?"

Lucario took a few steps forward and exited the elevator, feeling all-around much better now. The four Grunts with guns remained in the elevator and decided to leave, because between those five minutes, Giovanni gave them the order to leave. They pressed the button on the elevator and immediately, the doors closed.

The elevator can be heard going down, with mechanical humming fading away along with its descent. Lucario was the last to hear of it—due to his sensitive sense of hearing—before it faded away from his location.

"Come with me," Giovanni said before walking forward.

Lucario simply followed him, concealing his spite with aplomb—when normally, his emotions overwhelm him—, unsure of what Giovanni has planned for him.

Beyond the elevator, a long hallway could be seen, which was what both Giovanni and Lucario were walking through. The hallway was painted black, with bright white lights alongside the ceiling's corners, each one separated by about five feet of space, so as to maximize lighting with minimal energy utilized.

Lucario saw very little interest within the hallway, despite the doors that seldom existed to his sides, as well as the staircase next to the elevator.

They both eventually reached the end of the hallway, where an unusually luxurious door awaited them both in front. The door was made of the wood of rare trees, and the doorknob was solid gold.

Not surprisingly, Lucario didn't care much about the fancy door and instead looked back at the elevator door, noticing how far back it was now. Resisting the urge to leave and attempt an escape, he just looked back at the ostentatious door as Giovanni was about to open it with a key that he had on him.

Just like the door, Lucario didn't notice the door key in Giovanni's hand either, with was also solid gold, and it had an orange letter "G"—for "Giovanni"—for teeth, as well as a big red "R"—for "Rocket"—on the handle.

In no time, Giovanni unlocked the door. He put the key away in his fancy orange suit and opened the door. Both Lucario and Giovanni stepped inside in tandem and immediately, Lucario was wide-eyed with astonishment at how interesting Giovanni's room was.

"Welcome to the highest floor of Team Rocket Main Headquarters." Giovanni stated to Lucario. "This is Floor 30, the Registration Room, where I run Team Rocket, as well as file out forms for new Rocket recruits and captured Pokémon. This is also my room, where I live and sleep in."

Lucario, after listening to Giovanni's explanation of this particular room, was now observing the room to the best of his ability, especially since the Registration Room was full of technology that Lucario had no clue of.

To the front of him, immediately upon entering the room, he could see a massive, hemisphere-shaped table that almost touched both sides of the room. There was a plump and luxurious chair within the table—which he assumed was Giovanni's—, and about eight affordable chairs across the outer area of the table—for anyone who had an appointment with him. The surface of the table within arm's reach of Giovanni had an advanced technological interface that was entirely touch-operated, allowing Giovanni to perform numerous tasks on it. The rest of the table had numerous compartments that stored various items within them.

To Lucario's left was a bizarre sight. Besides more technology and a door leading to some other area of Giovanni's/Registration Room, there was a pet bed on the floor, with a Pokémon sleeping on top of it. The Pokémon sleeping on top of it was a Persian—which should already be known that it belongs to Giovanni as his pet—, and it appeared to be in a deep sleep. Next to it, were two pet bowls, for food and water, both of them manufactured from platinum and surrounded by lustrous diamonds and adamant pearls.

"(What's with the Persian?)" Lucario thought, questioning the reason for it being here, and already knowing what kind of Pokémon it was.

Still feeling curious, Lucario averted his eyes to the right side of the room, where there was another door leading off to some part of this floor. Disregarding that, there was an oversized machine that had a massive cylindrical tube—large enough to contain a Steelix—to its side. The tube was surrounded by twelve-inch-thick metal and eight-inch-thick glass, both intended for maximum protection against any intended escape of any Pokémon within it.

The machine was similar to the teleportation machines within the basement floors, only it was larger, had more surveillance screens for keeping an eye on all of the Pokémon within the holding cells of the basement floors, and even had a special machine next to it that had slots for up to fifty Poké Balls.

What that machine was used for however, was unknown to Lucario.

"Please, feel free to sit down on one of those chairs nearby the table," Giovanni pointed to the one of the hi-tech table's chairs. "I'll be taking care of a few errands before attending to you. Can you wait for me to finish?"

Lucario stepped towards the chair, pulled it back with one arm firmly placed on it, and then sat down comfortably, not needing to adjust his stiff tail at all on the seat, especially since there was no cushion on the lower half of the chair. He rested his head on his left paw and his left elbow on the corner of the table. "I suppose so…" he said in a monotone telepathic voice.

"Alright then," Giovanni concluded before walking over to the massive machine.

Lucario observed closely and discreetly at what Giovanni was doing on the machine.

Giovanni observed the surveillance camera and noted the Pokémon that have been newly placed within the holding cells. He pinpointed their holding cells with the machine's computer and marked them for what he planned to do next.

Lucario noticed that one of the television screens on the machine had the holding cells of Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer—who was still unconscious—pictured on it.

"(What is he doing?)" Lucario thought, curious and anxious as to what Giovanni was about to do.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor B4): Basement Cells

Date: October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10)

Time: 12:17 PM (17 Past Noon)

"For the last time Terra, I forgive you! Now can you just let it go already? You're beginning to piss me off!" Aqua was about to slam its head repeatedly on the glass window from sheer frustration and annoyance.

"Alright, alright…" Terra said softly.

Aqua was breathing heavily to itself after having to endure dozens of repeated apologies of Terra helping Team Rocket in capturing it. Its eyes were opened wide and blood-shot with emotional irritation. Aqua was close to having its composure snap and swore that if it heard Terra apologize once more, it would paint the glass red with blood from its head as it pummeled the glass with it.

To Aqua's misfortune, after five seconds of silence, Terra brought up the straw that broke the Camerupt's back.

"Seriously though, if I had met any Pokémon that I helped Team Rocket capture, I'd apologize—"

Aqua immediately shouted at the top of its lungs and already began to slam the glass bulwark mercilessly with its head once it heard Terra apologize to it…yet again…

BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH!

Already, Aqua had opened the skin on its head and was now making its own red dartboard on the glass, and unknowingly bulls-eyeing the sanguine dartboard with every hemorrhaging hit of fueled stress.

BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH!

"…" Terra paused for two seconds after physically hearing Aqua's emotional meltdown, and then resumed. "I'd apologize to whomsoever I helped them capture and if possible, I'd repay them to the best of my ability."

BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! ZAP!

After hearing a sound unlike the previous twenty bashes and then silence, Terra wondered what just happened. It knew that it wasn't a zap intended to stun, because then the next sound audible would be Aqua falling to the floor rather loudly.

Thankfully, due to twenty years of Team Rocket experience, it knew that Aqua was only teleported away, likely to be classified as a newly captured Pokémon for Team Rocket's records.

"(Now what do I do?)" Terra thought to itself, knowing that it was alone within Floor B4—if Wanderer was disregarded due to being unconscious.

Terra looked at its arms in boredom and paid particularly close attention to its shark-like pectoral fins. It then looked to its back at the shark-like dorsal fin that it had, and came up with an idea.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Date: October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10)

Time: 12:20 PM (20 Past Noon)

Lucario noticed that Aqua had disappeared in a flash of light from its holding cell—already well aware of Aqua's current action. In an instant, another bright flash of light quickly appeared within the machine that Giovanni was currently using, and then disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. Lucario's eyes weren't light-stained enough to prevent him from seeing Aqua bashing its head against the glass upon teleporting.

BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH! BASH!

Aqua continued to bash its head, despite suffering enough head trauma to cause concussions, memory loss, as well as unconsciousness in human beings. It should find itself thankful that its skull is much harder and thicker than that of a human's.

"NO—"

BASH!

"MORE—"

BASH!

"AP—"

BASH!

"OL—"

BASH!

"O—"

BASH!

"GI—"

BASH!

"ZING!"

BASH! BASH! BASH!

Lucario wasn't sure where to begin to think, after seeing Aqua's bizarre action. It never sensed this characteristic emanating from its aura.

Giovanni looked at the headstrong Lapras and raised an eyebrow after seeing Aqua's continuous head bashings and blood hemorrhaging the glass. Giovanni then looked at Lucario, and inquired "You speak their language, so do you know what's going on with this Lapras?"

Lucario merely said this in order to prevent further questioning: "It's only a temper tantrum. If I were you, I'd do something humane to prevent further injury."

Giovanni looked back at Aqua and muttered "Good point" before rushing over to the machine, retrieving the very same Poké Ball that was utilized in Aqua's capture and placing it in a slot on the steel cylinder. With a few commands through the computer, Aqua disappeared once more in an omni-present bright light and Lucario now began to question Aqua's current Location. Thankfully, once he noticed Giovanni retrieve the Poké Ball that was placed there a few moments ago, he knew that Aqua was within it.

Besides that, Lucario also noticed the type of Poké Ball that it was. It wasn't a basic red and white Poké Ball—like the ones he had seen used frequently before in his forest home, or the blue and white Poké Ball with a red band on top—the Great Ball—that was used against Wanderer. It was a completely new type of Poké Ball model, one specifically designed to capture aquatic Pokémon.

Unknown to Lucario, it was a Net Ball.

"(*Sigh*) (At least you won't self-inflict injury anymore, Aqua.)" Lucario thought to itself, not liking the fact that Aqua was imprisoned in the same types of capsules that he and Wanderer were captured with. "(I just can't ponder why you pummeled yourself over an apology…)"

Giovanni placed Aqua's Net Ball back in its original place and then went to the computer's keyboard once more. He initiated a healing program—just like those at Pokémon Centers—that quickly caused the area where the Net Ball stood to emanate green light. Aqua's Net Ball was immediately encircled by that green light and began to heal Aqua.

Lucario was curious at what the purpose of the green light was. "What purpose does that green light serve?" Lucario inquired Giovanni.

Giovanni already retrieved another Poké Ball from the same location where Aqua's Net Ball was, and just like it, it was a different model. What model it was however, as well as which Pokémon it was used on, Lucario couldn't tell just yet.

"The green light is a healing energy that this hi-tech machine generates." Giovanni explained while keeping his eyes locked on his current actions. He placed the unknown Poké Ball on the same slot where Aqua's Net Ball once was. "It encircles the Poké Ball exposed to it and heals the Pokémon within it in a matter of minutes."

"I see…" Lucario let Giovanni know that he understood what was explained.

Giovanni didn't care otherwise and initiated a computer program that had a few stalwart water hoses spray at the inside glass bulwark and rinse Aqua's residing blood away. The sanguine water drained away within drains implanted within the cylinder.

Lucario took this opportunity to observe the Poké Ball model on the slot beside the metallic cylinder before Giovanni obstructed his view. In no time flat, he noticed that it appeared to be blue, with yellow arrows forming an "X" shape that has the button on the center.

Once again, without knowing what model Poké Ball it is, it's a Quick Ball.

"(So those capsules are Poké Balls…)" Lucario thought, moments before Giovanni walked back towards the computer's keyboard.

"(One new Pokémon down, two more to go…)" Giovanni thought with a serious countenance. He inputted the holding cell number of a specific Pokémon within Floor B4 and waited.

Lucario looked at the television screen and noticed that Terra's holding cell had flashed the same white light that was utilized to teleport Aqua to this precise location. Once the light dimmed in Terra's holding cell, another flash of light burst within the metallic cylinder.

Once the light dimmed, Terra could be seen crystal clearly through the glass…and upside down?

"(…I can do this…)" Terra thought while attempting to handstand on the points of its pectoral fins to the sides of its arms. Its arms wobbled considerably due to the fact that they normally don't support Terra's weight—which is approximately 209.4 lbs if you recall—, albeit the arm resonation didn't bother the Mach Pokémon in the least.

Eventually, after a few close attempts, Terra managed to suffice enough balance to remain inverted and vertical. Now, Terra attempted to remain in this position for as long as it was physically—and willfully—able to.

"(…Just…ignore the pain…)" Terra gritted its shark-like teeth.

Lucario simply had his eyes half-open in the midst of seeing Terra's handstand. "(Not impressive… I can do handstands with one paw-spike,)" Lucario thought before looking up at the ceiling with relaxed eyes, as if trailing off in thought. "(Of course, I can also hang fully horizontal from a tree branch with one arm and appear to defy gravity…)"

Terra never bothered to pay more attention to the fact that it'd been teleported to Giovanni's machine, especially since it was accustomed to this procedure.

Giovanni stepped back to the computer's keyboard and simply typed in more commands. In only seconds, the machine whirred up with charged energy and Terra was teleported away once more, only into its Quick Ball this time. Seeing as to how Terra didn't require a healing session, Giovanni simply placed Terra's Quick Ball next to Aqua's Net Ball, and then inputted the holding cell number for Wanderer's holding cell.

"(Two new recruits down, one last Pokémon to go…)" Giovanni thought before inputting the final bits of the command.

Lucario now eyed Wanderer's holding cell through the television screen, moments before another flash of light teleported the mountain-dwelling Aura Pokémon to Giovanni's machine. Upon seeing how Wanderer remained in the exact same posture and condition that he saw earlier, before losing his right paw-spike to the four Team Rocket Grunts with guns, Lucario clenched his right fist for only a few seconds before relaxing his right paw.

"(No… Not again… I can't afford to lose my temper again!)" Lucario concentrated on keeping his emotions stable, and found it mildly challenging, yet accomplishable.

Giovanni looked at Wanderer—not knowing that the Lucario he was viewing had a nickname—with a sense of concern. "(Why do some Pokémon attempt to struggle?)"

The Team Rocket boss retrieved Wanderer's Great Ball from the table of Poké Balls and placed it on the slot besides the cylindrical machine.

"(Don't they know of the consequences?)" Giovanni quickly imputed the command to teleport and Wanderer teleported shortly after into its Great Ball. Then, he retrieved Wanderer's Great Ball and moved Aqua's Net Ball to another slot—feeling that Aqua has fully healed—and placed the Great Ball on the opened healing slot, deciding to leave Wanderer there for more time than intended to. Giovanni then placed Aqua's Net Ball on another open slot and thought "(I hope that light-furred Lucario has learned its lesson, or else risk death…)" before facing Lucario.

Successfully setting anger aside and after seeing Giovanni's action of facing him, Lucario stood up from his chair and had this to say.

"I assume that you've accomplished your intended tasks?" Lucario assumed with crossed arms.

Giovanni nodded before about-facing back to the monitor and technologically commanding the glass bulwark to open. "I need you to step inside this machine," he said before turning back to face Lucario. "This'll scan you and obtain data from your being. With it, I'll be able to obtain and record information regarding your age, move set, and power."

"What is the purpose of this…machine?" Lucario questioned why it needed to analyze himself.

"I don't plan on you to be the average, run-of-the-mill Pokémon." Giovanni walked over to the front of the opened glass bulwark. "No… You're much more powerful and valuable. I could tell before I captured you." Giovanni held out his hand near the glass bulwark and wanted Lucario to enter inside.

Lucario continued to listen and obediently walked over to the glass bulwark. He stopped inches before entering it to observe the inside of it in more detail. Finally, he walked inside of it and faced forward.

"I see a better outcome and use for you," Giovanni said before walking back to the machine's keyboard. He began to activate and run the scanning program.

"What do you mean by that?" Lucario said curiously, albeit not without some anger, since he had a deep feeling that he was just another one of Giovanni's tools.

After saying that, the glass bulwark closed slowly. Next, the scanning program began, and infrared rings of light began to bounce up and down, constantly enveloping and passing by the Aura Pokémon within the machine's metallic cylinder.

"After seeing your performance back at Celadon Forest, I see that you would deserve more. You have far more power than your average species possesses." Giovanni said and then stepped forward of the metallic cylinder, with arms crossed behind his back. "I want you to become an official member of Team Rocket. You'd be the second Pokémon in Team Rocket history to join our official ranks."

Lucario pondered his options if he was a member of Team Rocket, discarding anger to think logically about this promotion. "(I could use this coincidental opportunity sagaciously. I'll be able to learn about this organization, this building, and how everything about Team Rocket functions the way it does. I may even see their history and learn about topics that never occurred to me. I'll be able to support Team Liberator by providing stalwart service, and may recruit some new members along the way.)" Lucario was looking at the ceiling while deep in thought.

"(What could you be thinking about?)" Giovanni thought, seeing Lucario stare at the ceiling in a mental trance. Setting that topic aside, he continued speaking. "If you plan your future accordingly and surpass basic expectations, you may surpass the Grunt status and become an Admin. The way I see it, you may receive that promotion in only a few months."

"You're giving me this opportunity to become a member of Team Rocket, simply because I possess more power than first observations expose?" Lucario looked at Giovanni and assumed this, having to close his eyes every time the infrared scanning ring travels upward.

"That's the primary reason." Giovanni told the Aura Pokémon. "Your power easily rivals that of most Legendary Pokémon."

"I see…" Lucario thought while raising both of his paws. He had them briefly emanate a considerable amount of aura, a field of aura twelve inches in distance from his paws, and it was then that Lucario found out that he truly did possess more power than meets the eye. He found channeling more power than a normal Lucario could was considerably easy on him. "Is there any other reason?"

Giovanni ogled the television screen briefly as information on Lucario appeared on most of its monitors. One of the screens in particular listed dozens of different moves, all of which Lucario could utilize at any given time. "As a matter of fact, there is." Giovanni looked back at the Aura Pokémon. "Pokémon are only able to learn four moves at any one time, albeit you've not only broken that limit, but are also able to learn moves outside of your species, as well as recall them all instantly."

Lucario simplified Giovanni's words within his head. "So, what you're saying is that I've broken the four-move limit, I'm able to learn virtually any technique, as well as never forget any known move?"

"Exactly," Giovanni stated.

"(This explains a lot actually…)" Lucario thought.

"It's not just your move set that's incredible," Giovanni continued. "Your Pokémon ability itself is different than the average Lucario."

Lucario never knew this about himself and said "Go on" in curiosity.

"Just like your move set, you can learn new abilities through battle experience, I assume," Giovanni assumed. "Not only that, you possess an entirely new Pokémon ability that isn't known to any other Pokémon."

"What is that ability?" Lucario asked.

"You are able to learn every possible move without forgetting it, as well as any Pokémon ability. Alongside that, you are even able to break any Pokémon's move set limit and allow them to learn more than four moves, albeit only moves that they are capable of learning."

"Is there a name to it?" Lucario said. "If there isn't, I feel as though I should name my Pokémon ability myself."

"But of course," Giovanni said before walking to the keyboard once more. "What name did you have in mind?"

"Inheritance," Lucario said, already giving enough thought to his choice.

Giovanni inputted the new Pokémon ability to the computer and named it as such. "There, it's done," Giovanni said. "I'll release you now from the machine."

Giovanni inputted the technological order to open the glass bulwark and after it slowly opened, Lucario willingly stepped outside of it. Upon doing so, Giovanni had the glass bulwark close technologically. Once the door closed, a door within Lucario's mind opened. This door had a question inside that Lucario had unlocked to access, and wanted to trade it for an answer.

"If I recall, I remember you saying that I'd be 'the second Pokémon in Team Rocket history to join our official ranks'," Lucario quoted Giovanni's past words.

"True…" Giovanni said, facing Lucario once done with the computer's keyboard.

"Who's that Pokémon? Who's the first Pokémon to join Team Rocket as a member?" Lucario said.

"It's a Pokémon that was created biologically by mankind, under my orders in fact." Giovanni began to explain.

"(Created by…humans?)" Lucario was already in disbelief, having underestimated humanity.

"Approximately a week ago, I retrieved the man-made Pokémon from a distant sea-base laboratory that developed it," Giovanni freshly recalled the memories that he had of that day. "The Pokémon possessed enough power to reduce the entire laboratory into a scrap metal conflagration heap afloat the sea…as well as slaughter all of the scientists within it."

"(Holy crap…)" Lucario attempted to picture Giovanni's words, but found it difficult to do so since he had no clue what a "sea-base" or a "laboratory" was. He simply pictured "slaughter", recalled some of his experiences relating to that word, and showed astonishment.

"I traveled to the ruined laboratory and introduced myself to it, saying that I can help it by concentrating…" Giovanni held his hands closer to his face and clenched them tightly as he said this next part. "…its raw, unadulterated brutality."

"What's the difference in power between it and me?" Lucario curiously asked.

Giovanni brought his hands down and unclenched them before responding. "In my point of view, both your power and its power are only off by miniscule amounts. The only decisive difference between you both is that it's far more pugnacious and hostile in battle."

"I see…"

"Since you both are the only Pokémon amongst our ranks, I'll see to it that you both reside in the same room together." Giovanni turned back to the computer and searched for an open room. The results revealed an open room for two on Floor 29, directly one floor below Giovanni's Room, Floor 30. "Is that alright with you?"

"(How coincidental for me…)" Lucario resisted the urge to smirk smugly and said "That's perfectly alright with me," in a camouflaged tone.

"Before you go, I need to do a few last tasks with you." Giovanni walked over to the Poké Balls and optically examined Wanderer's Great Ball, noticing that enough time was given for its recovery. He turned off the healing machine and then walked over to the right of the machine, where his closet was. Once at the closet, Giovanni opened it and searched through it to find a specific item.

Lucario's eyes leveled between opened and closed when he noticed the only external clothing within Giovanni's closet were orange suits.

"(Oy…)" Lucario sighed mentally.

Giovanni eventually found the item that he was looking for. After retrieving it, and temporarily hiding it from Lucario's field of vision, he closed the closet door and exposed the item for Lucario to see.

The item was an Expert Belt: a Pokémon hold item that improves the power of super-effective attacks by 20%.

"What is that?" Lucario asked with a reluctant sigh in his telepathic tone.

"It's one of many Pokémon hold items that strengthen your attacks in combat," Giovanni began before tossing the item to Lucario, whom caught it with ease. "This hold item is an Expert Belt."

Lucario stretched the Expert Belt with both paws and moderate strength, finding its material to be somewhat resilient and significantly elastic. "What purpose could this Expert Belt possibly serve?" Lucario stared uninterestedly at the unusual belt as he continued to pull and relax the belt with his strength.

"In battle, it increases the power of super-effective Pokémon techniques." Giovanni responded.

"(Allegedly…)" Lucario thought cynically before stopping from "playing" with the Expert Belt. He strapped the hold item not around his waist, but across his torso, as if it were a sash. The Expert Belt hung only mildly loose from Lucario's torso, and the fabric of it resided below his chest-spike.

"I'll change topics now," Giovanni proceeded away from his closet and towards the Poké Balls. He stopped at the right side of the machine before facing Lucario. "Because I'm admitting you to Team Rocket as a Grunt, I intend for you to have equal privileges just like the human Grunts in this organization."

"Such as…?"

"Since each Team Rocket Grunt is only allowed to have three Pokémon at the most on their being," Giovanni continued. "I've taken the liberty of granting you three Pokémon to utilize on your assigned missions."

Lucario was almost dumbfounded after Giovanni said that. His eyes widened and then he said "Are you pulling my chest-spike?" because he was currently dubious.

"No, I'm speaking seriously," Giovanni reassured him. "To add to your benefit, I'll allow you to choose any three Pokémon that are present at this machine right here," Giovanni pointed at three random Poké Balls without looking at them. "I'm being generous, because every Grunt before you has always had to choose Pokémon at their base form, or Pokémon that don't evolve at all. Also, I figured that you'd befriend a Pokémon or two in Team Rocket, so this may help you."

"(In more ways than one…)" Lucario thought discreetly, knowing that this further spreads his luck by allowing him to befriend more Pokémon sooner, as well as recruit them to Team Liberator.

Lucario walked to the machine where the Poké balls were displayed like trophies, and scanned each and every one in detail. He noticed that the LCD monitor, directly in front of him, displayed the Pokémon within the Poké Balls, therefore giving him more ease of reference.

Despite this however, Lucario took his time with which Pokémon to choose from.

Giovanni, once a minute went by, felt as if Lucario was consuming more time than normally expected and had this to say.

"You didn't expect this from me, did you?" He said smugly.

"I would've if I had my Aura Vision ability on," Lucario spoke telepathically, but continued to have his eyes locked onto the assorted capsules.

He continued to scan the Poké Balls for a few more seconds before making his decision.

"The only three Pokémon that I've currently seen within this organization is Lapras, Garchomp, and that light-furred Lucario," Lucario faced Giovanni before speaking telepathically.

"You mean the one that you were with back at the forest?" Giovanni said without a care to Lucario's emotions.

Lucario vindictively clamped down on his teeth after hearing that, in an attempt to stifle his anger. "Yes…" He said faintly, and then abated his vice-like jaws.

"I'm assuming it was a close friend of yours, which is why you sucker punched me on my cheek and chipped a few of my molars," Giovanni had no signs of anger within his voice.

"Yeah…sorry about that," Lucario faked an apology. He scratched the back of his neck with his left paw and actually sounded sorry.

"It's the least of my concerns now," Giovanni said.

Lucario shrugged his shoulders understandably and proceeded. "Anyway… I feel as though my chosen three Pokémon should be Lapras, Garchomp, and that light-furred Lucario…or as they are known by: Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer." Lucario thought of Team Liberator briefly after speaking.

"Wanderer…?" Giovanni was confused by the name choice. "Where'd it get the name from?"

"It was always a Pokémon that loved roaming the land and the freedom to do so." Lucario explained. "That's how it received its nickname."

Giovanni nodded slowly before facing the three Poké Balls—Aqua's Net Ball, Terra's Quick Ball, and Wanderer's Great Ball—that housed Lucario's desired Pokémon. "Hmm…" Giovanni could've sworn that there was some reason to Lucario's preferences. "(These are the only three Pokémon that he's seen here…)"

Lucario was beginning to grow nervous when Giovanni took his time in thinking why he wanted these three Pokémon in particular.

Eventually, Giovanni retrieved the three Poké Balls that Lucario desired, pressed the buttons on them in tandem to have them shrink, and then held them in front of the Aura Pokémon. "From now on, these three Pokémon are yours to use at your expense," Giovanni said truthfully.

Lucario looked at Giovanni's hand and noticed how the Poké Balls shrunk from baseball size to ping-pong size. He retrieved them all with his left paw in one go and held them in the center of his palm, thinking "(How can Pokémon fit inside of these? It's not physically possible for us to.)"

Lucario stopped thinking long enough about this unusual phenomenon. He had his paw close up as if it were a flower at night, gently cradling his fellow Team Liberator members on the fur and pads of his paws. Lucario then looked at Giovanni and said "Thank you," reluctantly, but without feign or strain in his telepathic voice.

"Your welcome," Giovanni replied before moving back to the computer's keyboard. He printed out the statistics that he received when analyzing Lucario and gave them to him in the form of a few sheets of paper. "Since you were so cooperative when I had this computer analyze you, I feel as though it would be beneficial if you keep a copy of your information."

Lucario looked at the paper and said "Alright," before taking them with his right paw.

"Since you already speak English fluently, I can assume that you can read English too, right?"

Lucario looked at the papers and scanned through them, just to make sure he understood what was written on them. "Somehow, I can read." Lucario said, unsure of how he knew how to read when he never learned how to, but didn't care much about that nevertheless.

"Good." Giovanni said before walking towards his chair on the hi-tech table he had.

Lucario stood where he did and just followed him with his eyes.

"Now for the final item to discuss with you," Giovanni sat down on his chair and placed his elbows on the table. He intertwined his hands and rested his chin on top of them. "Since I captured you, you're going to need a nickname."

"(Oh shit…)" Lucario didn't want one and thought so in spite.

"Now, due to your mysterious and frankly unknown capabilities, I've already thought of the perfect nickname for you."

"(*Sigh*)" Lucario wished that he could rend off his two pointed ears at the moment.

"From this moment on, I hereby name you…"

Lucario averted his ears by pointing them backwards, away from Giovanni.

"…Xeno."

Lucario's ears were facing forward once again after he heard Giovanni name him. "(That's…alright with me…)" Lucario admitted, much to his surprise.

"You're free to go to your new room now," Giovanni said. "It's only one floor down, on Floor 29. Look for a door with the numbers "29-6" on it."

Giovanni reached into his outside suit pocket and retrieved a key from it. That key had the numbers "29-6" on it, which meant it was the room's respective key.

"You'll need this key to enter."

He threw the key towards Lucario, and despite not using either of his paws—since they were each respectively carrying Poké Balls and statistics papers—still caught it. Lucario simply use PSYCHIC to have the key hover over his shoulder. He looked at the key and noticed the "29-6" written on it, and then didn't pay much attention to it afterward.

"I hope you enjoy your career in Team Rocket." Giovanni said.

Lucario walked towards the Registration Room's entrance door and used PSYCHIC to open the door. The golden doorknob responded to his influence before turning and opening the door wide. "I'll try to," Lucario said honestly without looking back, before proceeding out of the door and closing it behind him with PSYCHIC.

Giovanni could hear a few stifled footsteps from the Aura Pokémon—since Lucario walks with bare feet—and then after a minute, the sounds of an elevator.

Once there was no longer a trace of the Aura Pokémon within the vicinity, Giovanni grinned sinisterly and thought "(it suspects nothing…)".

He then used the touch-screen interface of his table and had the document of Lucario's information exposed, in considerably more detail. The document showed a revolving image of Lucario, a moving structure of its DNA, as well as graphs and information on its power.

"(This information is invaluable!)" Giovanni stared at the complex information with the same interest as if staring at a goldmine. "(It's equally valuable as the man-made Pokémon that I brought back with me. And both of their information…)"

Giovanni opened up another document, and this one had blueprints of a powerful machine instead of a different Pokémon.

"(…are pieces of something greater.)"

Giovanni's Persian, the one that was sleeping earlier, made its way over to Giovanni's left side. Giovanni noticed it, smirked, and began stroking the fur on its head.

"(*Purr*) (*Purr*)" Giovanni's Persian purred lightly while Giovanni's hand was on its head.

"(My plan… In time, it'll commence.)" Giovanni thought to himself. "(Both Mewtwo, and Xeno…they're the seeds to my plan. All they need is time to grow, and then I'll harvest their produce, for all that they're worth, when the time is right.)"

He closed the documents and then turned off the table's touch-screen interface. Under his table, there was a mini-refrigerator, and a few wine glasses beside it. He opened the mini-refrigerator and retrieved two items: a bottle of aged wine from the mini-refrigerator and a wine glass. He poured himself some wine on the glass and then replaced the wine bottle back into the mini-refrigerator. He smiled to himself and drank some of the wine from his glass, all while simultaneously continuing to stroke his Persian across the head.

"The world will soon belong to me, and to Team Rocket."


"A man who has risked his life knows that careers are worthless, and a man who will not risk his career has a worthless life." —Orson Scott Card (248) ("Children of the Mind")

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.