B1 — 57. Killing The Pain


1:  Lyra (Our mentally cracking mother)

2:  Amira (Our Redhead)

Pokemon Map: 

I loosely follow this map as a visual guide; the creator made it in paint?!?!  It’s insane!  Some errors here and there, but I follow its design for the most part.  Areas can be further apart, some cities are in the wrong places or not listed, and the regions aren’t nearly so close.  The best map I’ve found, though!


Lyra’s psyche is fracturing in the mental spiral of the thought that her daughter was almost taken from her, and to keep at least some control, because she could more than easily handle this herself, she called in the gang … Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Leaf, Kris … Every Kanto and Johto Legend-tier Trainer except Ethan (still with Hilbert in the Sinjoh Desolation).

Chase is out of his depth, and is forced to run damage control at this point; Lance has shown up to help, and Giovanni is currently picking up the pieces.  We all know Giovanni is a vengeful man, but he’s an extremely smart and paranoid man, so this is pulling him in directions he doesn’t like that will likely need to be addressed by Lyra.

Cynthia has decided to hold herself back from coming down after conceding that Lyra had enough support that it would be mostly over by the time she got there and put her trust in the Kanto and Johto Legends.

Now, let’s continue this slaughter … because it certainly isn’t a war.

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8:56 P.M June 26, Friday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event)

Events:  The Preliminaries for the Joint Kanto and Johto Indigo Summer League have concluded; 105 Trainers and their Pokemon have advanced from Bronze to Silver.  The celebrations finish tomorrow when the Summer Round Robin Cup will begin, to crown the best of each Tier among those that advanced.  Rhea started her journey on the 9th of June—she’s been a Trainer for 18 Days (17 Officially;18 since getting Maya and Nova).

Lyra cleared her throat as most of the party she’d called turned their attention to her; a familiar calmness was helping to settle her pounding heart.  “Wonderful!  Now that we have all the main people present, let’s have you all combine your efforts together and find me—ahem, us, he-he, every location Plasma has dug their claws into.”

Giovanni’s dark eyes were centered on her, gears turning in his mind; instinctually, she knew he didn’t like being in the dark.  She was surprised how collected he was because the old Giovanni would have already started to show cracks as things spiraled out of his control.

Guzma sallied over to a chair and dropped into it, spreading his legs and chuckling; his silver irises radiating his excitement.  “Hoh-heh, ‘ight, I can get behind a take-charge gal like ya—reminds me of Lusi.  My boys are all over Veridian—Muk, they’re all…”

“Garbador,” Lyra promptly cut him off while showing nothing but smiles.  “Muk is such a cute Pokemon; it makes me sad when people slander them.”

Silence ensued for a few seconds, Guzma’s confused, lifted black eyebrow shifting to Leaf, Green, and Kris’s forced laughter.  “Eh, sure, whatever—anyways, I’m good to track down these … Garbador,” he chuckled, shrugging his shoulders before smirking at Giovanni.  “We gonna have problems?”

If anyone did, Lyra knew they were too frightened of what she’d do to outright deny her; she’s brought everyone here to remind them that if she wanted, she could take the political system of Kanto and Johto by force—it wasn’t like she wanted to, which was why she’d made it painfully clear how she felt.  She’d given them the options to at least direct some of her charged emotions.

Focus still on her, Giovanni smiled.  “An attempted assassination was made against my granddaughter, Guzma.  I believe our interests have aligned.  That being said, Lyra, might I have a moment of your time in private?”

Expecting it, Lyra sighed, turning to Green and Leaf.  “Yes, yes, Gio—Leafy, Neeny, it would be lovely if you two could please meet up with Red, Yellow, and Blue.  They’re making their way here, and I’m sure Blue will want to work his own angle instead of coming into Viridian.”

“Yeah, of course, but…”  Leaf said, glancing at her older sister.

Green’s lips tightened, arms crossed under her modest bust.  “Kris is going to be with you, right?  I don’t want to leave you alone.”

Kris’s blue locks bounced as she nodded, scooting over to supportively grab Lyra’s hand; she could feel the uplifting spirit of the legendary researcher and the hidden strength of her suppressed aura.  “Count on me!  Just let us know what’s going on over on your end!”

Leaf rubbed her neck, glancing around at the apprehensive Trainers in the room.  “Alright … We’ll be right back.  I’m sure Yellow will want to stay close to you—you know how sensitive she is.”

“Heh, I look forward to it!”  Lyra laughed, a small degree of relief taking a place in her chest.

Once the two vanished in Leaf’s Blissey’s teleportation light, Lyra turned her flaring eyes to Giovanni.  “Unfortunately, Gio, I can’t do it completely in private—Kris will be with me.”  Kris flexed her fingers, nodding.  “Is that okay?”

Adjusting his suit, her father-in-law didn’t falter.  “Of course.  Is there a place you had in mind—”

Giovanni blinked, surprised at the sudden change of location as Zelri transported them to the front room of their house in Mintale Town.  Conny and Mikayla darted to the kitchen to finish gathering the snacks for the rest of Lyra’s friend’s Pokemon—she had to offer them something of a treat because it was just something she loved to do.

Free left hand closed tightly to her side, Lyra’s smile fell a little; Kris stayed beside her, the woman’s soothing aura helping to calm her frantic mind.  “I know what you’re thinking, Giovanni … I’m not stupid.”

Giovanni worked out his neck before finding the usual armchair he took when visiting and sat.  “I understand, Lyra—I do, and you know I am behind you.  I just want to know a few key details … Are you able to humor me?”

“Lyra,” Kris whispered, grabbing her other hand as she turned to look at her.  “I want to know more about what’s happened, too.  Seriously, I know you don’t want to even talk about what happened, but I’d like to know so I can explain it to the others—take some of the load off of you and get everyone on the same page—I know, Plasma’s going to pay, but the details might help us narrow it down.”

Taking a long, calming breath, Lyra giggled.  “Oh, Kris—thanks, that really will help because…”

A tremor ran down her spine as her glowing brown, almost red eyes fixated on the bullet case beside them.  If it wasn’t for her friend’s legendary suppression aura, she’d do damage to the normal people around her neighborhood because of the pressure she released.

Kris’s light blue eyes brightened as she stabilized the charged spiritual energy she released.  Her soothing smile didn’t falter, and if Silver was holding her hands, they would have been crushed by her grip.  “I’m here for you, little sunshine!  Let it out…”

Tears began to well up in Lyra’s vulnerable face as the cap on her pent-up heart began to leak.  “T-They shot at my baby, Kris … Really, that case—that shell could have gone through my daughter’s chest.  Who—why would they do that to me … to any mother?”

Kris stepped forward and closed her arms around Lyra’s body, her friend returning the colossal force she could feel past her physically enhanced muscles.  “I’m here … We’re here for you—Yellow’s coming, Red, Green’s even stopped her crazy training, and Blue and Leaf are here to help…”

“Mmh—”  Sniffing back snot, Lyra coughed a little, cheek resting against Kris’s collar bone.  “I wish Gold was here, too…”

“Heh, yeah—he’d be a real mess, too—then we’d really need Red and Blue, huh?”

Letting herself be comforted in Kris’s strong arms for a minute, Lyra eventually got control of her emotions.  Puffing out hot air, she took a paper towel Conny had carried over at some point, giving her adorable Azumarill a thankful smile.  “Thanks, guys … Okay, I think I can talk about it … At least for a little bit.”

Compressing her spiritual pressure, Lyra took the whole roll from Conny and sat with her two puffy Pokemon on the couch, Kris sitting across from her and Giovanni silently waiting for her to calm down.

Dabbing her cheeks and blowing her nose, Lyra’s focus shifted to Giovanni.  “Ahem—there is a spot I take Amira to—a special place I go to that very few Trainers know of.  Plasma’s aim was to get their hands on a few Articuno eggs.”

Kris’s eyes widened.  “Ah, okay, yeah—I’m on the same page.  I’m guessing they didn’t know the issues regarding their hatching conditions.”

Giovanni’s steepled fingers rested on his crossed legs.  “Hmm … which further narrows down the potential leaks, I assume.  If you can give me a list of the individuals that knew of the location, we can find a good point of contact.”

He shifted in his chair, glancing to the left, deep in thought.  “You have Sabrina handling the extraction, but you went to her for a reason—he’s likely already had his brain scrambled the moment Sabin captured him.  Still, she’s proficient enough to find a lead.  My concern is how this approach might be playing into Ghetsis’s hands.”

Lyra gave him a sad smile.  “Zelri,” she pointed at the device her Porygon-Z sent to him.  “I found that at the radio tower.  Look familiar?”

Kris hissed.  “Ugh—why did my mind have to go back to Rocket’s Goldenrod invasion … What a mess.”

Giovanni’s fingers drifted apart to snatch the object out of the air, studying the piece of technology.  “You … have no idea,” he muttered, vision narrowing.  “This particular model is from a splinter Rocket group Vicious started … A single fallen leaf signals the start of autumn…”

“What?”  Kris asked, eyebrows furrowing.  “Are you saying Plasma was trying to turn Lyra against you—have her destroy Rocket by framing a splinter group you haven’t dealt with yet?”

Lyra was more interested in the final part of his statement; she’d known Giovanni for a while, and there were many moving parts of the underworld and various organizations he had exclusive knowledge of.  She let him stew, though.  He would connect the dots she needed.

Giovanni’s fist closed around the device, hand lowering to his lap.  “Worse than that … I thought this plan was too complex for the Shadow Triad.  They’re high-value agents, but there’s someone larger running the operations in Kanto and Johto.”

Unfortunately, the man was too intelligent to just come out and say what she wanted to know until his own thoughts were put forward.  “I want them to answer for this Lyra—by no means can I ever compare my own emotions to yours in this regard, but I love Amira with all my heart.  I’ve eliminated three kidnapping attempts aimed against her in the past month.”

The corner of Lyra’s lips tilted, heat rising in her chest again, but she did her best to temper it.  “Basically, you’re asking if I’ve considered that this is what Plasma wants, and I’m playing into their hands?”

“We have to consider all possibilities,” Giovanni gravely replied.  “That doesn’t mean we don’t go after them, but depending on how they’ve prepared, it’s prudent we select the best option on how to go about it.”

He glanced at Mikayla and Conny’s scowling faces; the Wigglytuff and Azumarill wanted somewhere to place their fury already.  “By starting a crusade against Plasma, you could be inadvertently building a platform for Ghetsis to turn the rest of the world against Legendary-tier Trainers—Trainers in general.  It’s the perfect storm he can use to build up his return.”

Expression firm, Lyra’s tight hands dug into her thighs, ripping a line in her black pants.  “As I said, Giovanni, I’m not stupid … I know I’m not capable of getting in front of a camera right now—far from it, and if I were to get in front of the public, I don’t know what I’d say.”

Kris got up to take the tight fit beside the Wigglytuff, putting her arm around her to rub Lyra’s tense back.  “What’s the plan?”

Giovanni answered, pulling the woman’s concerned blue eyes, and a thoughtful leer was in the Mob Boss’s side-long gaze.  “I just needed to be sure … As savage as ever, Lyra.”

“What?”  Kris muttered, glancing between them.

A junction passed while Giovanni zeroed in on Amira’s smiling 13-year-old photo on the wall, riding Dowo, Lyra’s Girafarig.  “Yellow is the key—it’s multifaceted, and of course, Red would accompany his wife, which would then pull in Blue.  Leaf works with her husband to help by invoking Christie’s daughter … Green is there to offer a bit of resistance to Kris’s more restrained approach while Kris tempers your aggression.”

Lyra let him verbally work through the dominos she’d swiftly come to the realization that needed to be put into place and tapped.  Kris silently listened, forehead furrowing further as he went on, and a soft chuckle shook his muscular chest.

“Even me explaining this to Kris was something that your mind of yours put together … Skull, Jenny’s family network, the League, and Karen’s contacts combined with mine will be working in the background to root out the individuals in Johto and Kanto, but that was never the issue … Chase, the boy was backed into a corner the moment Plasma forced you to take action—another calculated part on Plasma.”

One arm moving to the chair’s side, Giovanni’s other fist pressed against his gray, pinstripe suit jacket.  “They wanted to make this a showcase of excessive force by the Legendary Trainers and League, by extension, since you’d take over if Chase tried to fight back.  It might have even tipped you to the point of cracking … They would have had their victim case to appeal to the public.  However, there is a problem I’m seeing…”

Lyra focused on Kris’s touch against her spine, trying to distract her mind from the hurricane of negative thoughts cascading through her mind.  “How Plasma came up with this plan when they couldn’t have known Amira and her friends would go to the same location they had set up an operation…”

Giovanni’s shoulders relaxed, getting into his usual groove as the unknown fog around him began to thin; Lyra knew how his mind worked after so many years—few would know him better than her because he was one of the possible threats to her daughter.

“They wouldn’t—unless they were tracking Amira, which we don’t have any evidence of, and Jessie assures me there weren’t any before Apple City.  Karen did a check on her foster daughter while there, and knowing her, she was making sure things were going smoothly for Amira’s group.”

Kris hummed, listening intently.  “So … Plasma didn’t plan on assassinating Amira, Rhea, and Mallory until they showed up?”

Fingers folding together again, Giovanni glared at the floor, and after four seconds, shook his head.  “No—they planned on assassinating Amira’s party at some point to spark this controversy they could ride, but the timeline was accelerated due to convenience.  The Shadow Triad may be coordinating much of Plasma’s operations here, but they’re only directing the flow of plans handed down to them.”

“Eh, hey,” Kris muttered, shifting uncomfortably, “I’m still confused on how Yellow is the key to all of this.  Yellow’s been in Alola for a few years now.”

No … Kris!  He’s getting so close … Gah, I guess she still needs to hear it still … Just tell me who I need to kill, Giovanni!  Lyra screamed in her mind, showing a fake smile on the surface.  If it was Ghetsis, it might be a bit troublesome, but drama and controversy meant nothing to her—she’d have her pound of flesh.

A twitch sparked at the corner of Giovanni’s mouth, black eyes drifting to her; he knew she was waiting for the face behind the strings.  “Lyra’s key—not Plasma’s.  Yellow will be the face of the League’s protection efforts, taking the media by storm by her return from Alola with Red.  It’s another callback to their days fighting against Rocket and painting Plasma in the same light … A vicious counterplay by making it seem—tamer than it actually will be.”

“Oh … I see,” Kris mumbled, leaning forward to study her.  “So, that’s how we’re going to do it?  We teleport all the real Plasma agents to Sabrina; she lays bare their network, and we dismantle their operator list, and then?”

Lyra shivered a little as the spotlight returned to her, happy to have her two comfy Pokemon sandwiching her in love and support.  “I couldn’t care less about the small grunts—I’m after the head … Whoever made my daughter’s death a part of their agenda.”

Her blazing eyes darted to Giovanni.  “Well?  You’re the one in contact with Colress and have people on the inside—who would have been in the position to make that call?”

Cold sweat broke out across Giovanni’s brow again as her spiritual force lashed out again, unable to restrain her acrimony any longer.  “Who tried to take my daughter away from me?”

A long breath streamed out of the man’s lips, uneasy vision narrowing.  “Ghetsis can’t make plans like that in the IP Maximum Security Prison, and given the data Colress recently sent me … Gorm is the only option.  He’s the only one capable of heading a regional effort in Kanto at the moment.”

Lyra laughed, her stomach shaking at the mirth rolling through her small frame.  “Gorm … that famous intellectual that said that thing about not making mistakes?!”  A face in her mind, Lyra’s smile fell.  “Where is he?”

Giovanni rose to his feet.  “We’ll find out as we pool our information.  Yellow should give the speech in the morning—8 A.M. would be a good time to hit both regional news cycles.  Skull’s social media platform will draw attention to the rest of the world and make it viral.  In the meantime, we need to compile all of our resources to prepare for the operation.”

Kris got up, stretching out her back.  “Right … I’m guessing the actual snatch and grab won’t last more than three minutes with everyone working together; we’ll just overpower anything, so no need to worry about anything like that—not like any counter teleport methods are going to stop us.”

Lyra was happy no one tried to stop her from killing Gorm; they’d all been forced to kill during the Ultra War, and when it came to their family, every one of them had made promises to protect one another, no matter what.  “I want to send a clear message—obviously, they think we’re too soft, or else they’d never even think about hurting my child.”

Returning them to Giovanni’s study, they began cross-referencing their databases; no one was going to attempt to sneak anything into each other’s networks after the show of force she’d pulled together, and her one regret was Gold’s absence because that man would have been the nail in the coffin.

Something she hadn’t counted on was Grimsley showing up an hour after they’d started, acting as a Unova representative.  She figured he couldn’t sit tight, and Iris wasn’t going to stop him.  He’d made the journey all the way from Unova in record time, and between him and Giovanni, they connected several key players that narrowed down the list to her main target.

Lyra stared out across the nighttime cityscape of Viridian’s vibrant life, yet her eyes were dead.  Gorm … tomorrow, I’m going to kill you, so cherish what time you have left.

* * *

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Amira huddled next to Rhea and Mallory on the large couch of the private cabin her father had taken them to, pulling the big, puffy blanket closer to her chest; some of their Pokemon were bundled beside them.

Alice, Nova, Roxie, and Amber made the heat almost torturous, yet none of them seemed to want to let hot air escape.  Lori had her head resting against Gables’s body as he watched whatever Katelin had turned on.

The blue-haired Trainer put on some new movie for them to watch, trying to take their thoughts away from the event, and Holly was wrapped around Amira’s throat, hugging her for comfort.  Her dad sat nearby, and the only reason Amira wasn’t snuggling up to him was the guilt inside her breast.

I took us to that spot … I’m the reason Rhea got shot.

The patch on Rhea’s neck caused the heat in her chest and face to rise, but she restrained the tears; the blonde made it clear she didn’t blame her—Amira wasn’t so easy on herself—she knew going into a Platinum-tier area was dangerous.

I’m stupid—so stupid, and after everything I said about that boy Rhea talked about.  Him climbing Mt. Moon and making friends with Articuno seems smarter than me—a genius.  I was selfish, dragging Rhea and Lori into danger because I wanted to brag to my mom…

She desperately wanted to be held by her dad—he probably was confused and giving her space, but she couldn’t go hug him when Lori and Rhea didn’t have anyone.

Sabin had stepped out to talk to their parents a while ago and hadn’t come back, yet Rhea seemed to be the strongest out of them all.  The girl bounced back like being shot wasn’t even that big of a deal.

It didn’t register in Amira’s brain, though—forcing it to come to a complete halt every time the memory punched her in the face.  Rhea risked her life for me … She tackled me out of the path of that bullet … I almost died today, and she saved me.

Looking at the smiling blonde on her left, leaning against her shoulder and snacking on popcorn, Amira couldn’t blink.  We’ve only known each other for … for less than three weeks, and she was willing to die to save me.  Why?  Am I just a terrible person for even questioning that?  Would I do the same for her?  The thought paralyzed her.  I don’t know…

Katelin yawned on the couch beside theirs, lying across its length while fiddling with her phone; the woman was probably messaging her own family about the incident.

Honestly, Amira didn’t want to talk to her family about it—of course, she’d thought of the possibility of being kidnapped among various other terrible things that could happen to her, but nothing like that occurred throughout her life, and it was only a passing thought exercise at best, but this—this was very real.

Her cold toes curled, pulling in the blanket.  I’m a coward … I don’t think I could have done that for Rhea.  I’m a stupid caitiff … thoughtlessly bringing my teammates into danger when they trusted me.  This isn’t who I’m supposed to be … I’m supposed to be a Rocket.  I’m supposed to be the smart one … The one who won’t back down when things get tough, look at me … I’m a mess.

The sliding glass door opened, making the lump in Amira’s throat drop and causing all of them to jump.  Sabin walked through, rubbing the back of his neck and giving them a sad smile.  “Sorry for the scare.”

“Anything important to discuss?”  Silver asked, adjusting his long, silky red hair across his front; Amira wanted to bury herself in it like she did when a little girl.

He gave a forced laugh.  “Eh, well, my family is going a bit stir crazy right now.”

Rhea chuckled, resituating herself to look at him.  “I bet Grandpa is ready to start breathing fire, and I can picture Grandma’s calm face and claw-like fingernails reaching to dig into some Plasma grunts!”

“Not wrong!”  her brother returned.  “If it wasn’t for Aunt Cynthia keeping everyone calm, I’m pretty sure the whole family and a ton of friends would jump in on whatever Lyra’s got going.  Apparently, I heard Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Leaf, and Kris are getting in on this.”

Silver breathed a sigh of relief, hands folded across his lap.  “I’m glad … Amira.”

“Hmm?”  she asked, her focus melting at her father’s honeyed voice.

He gave her a fatherly smile.  “We can talk when you’re ready … Your mom’s handling Plasma, though.  There’s nothing to worry about.”

“N-No, yeah,” she stammered, trying to laugh it off.  “Of course—I mean, it’s Mom…”

Lori snickered, pulling out her phone to look at some messages.  “Yeah—my mom’s been a raving Primeape … Heh, I have to warn Cass not to go crazy on social media, too.  Eh—she’s the type to rant and cause an actual riot by the insane followers she has.  Shauntal’s basically writing me novels through text, but … but my dad’s been kind of unusually quiet, though…”

Rhea gave her a confident grin.  “From what you’ve told me, and I’ve heard, your dad’s working on his angle, too.  I bet he’s connecting with Amira’s family and your mom to get a bunch done!”

“Hmm…”  Lori’s lips parted in disbelief, purple irises darting to the blonde.  “Are you psychic?!  She just told me Dad’s in the region—he just showed up!”

“See!”  Rhea chimed.  “I knew he couldn’t stay away, and I bet once all this is over, he’ll want to spend some time with you.  He’s already here.  Right?  He-he, probably all of our parents—they’re pretty overprotective, huh?”

“Yeah…”  Amira whispered, vision drifting to her father.  “Thanks, Dad…”

She’d caught her father playing with his fingernails for a while as they tightened into his palm; he was stressed.  “Of course … By the way, I think it would do you good to get some sleep.  I’ll stay up to watch the house, don’t worry.  It must have been exhausting for you and your Pokemon.”

More guilt hit Amira in the gut; she’d been a bit out of sync with her Pokemon as they tried to convince her this was Plasma’s fault.  You guys are just trying to make me feel better … I am to blame for most of this.  Yeah, he attacked us, but I put us in that situation … It was entirely avoidable.

Unconvinced by her Pokemon’s pleas, Amira got up with the others; getting ready for bed was like a dream because everything between the couch and joining Rhea and Mallory in their shared king-sized bed was a blur.

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She stared up at the ceiling, their Pokemon cuddled around them.  Mallory fell asleep pretty quickly, but Rhea rustled a few times, making Amira’s head question what was on her mind, keeping her awake—something was because her heart wouldn’t stop beating like a Buneary.

Rhea’s hot air tickled her neck as she turned over to look at her, whispering, “Amira … Are you awake?”

“… Mhm?”

The girl’s cold fists made Amira’s gut tighten as they brushed against each other.  “Umm … I heard what you said to your mom, and—and I just wanted to let you know that it’s not your fault.  I don’t regret going there—it’s not your fault Plasma tried to kill us.  I’m just—without all of us, I don’t think we could have made it out of that nightmare, and I just wanted to let you know that I love being friends with you … Thanks for being my friend.”

A sharp intake of air caused Amira’s hot chest to tremble, liquid coming to her eyes.  “N-No, it was my fault, Rhea … I took us there.”

Rhea’s arms closed around her, both of their Pokemon doing the same.  “Nu-uh … You showed us a magical time—and the cave would have been magical if we were able to do it as a team.  We should do it again before the League—you know, make it a big thing to reflect how far we’ve come.  It shouldn’t be a terrible memory—we made it, and it was because we trusted each other.”

Amira’s trembling fingers slid under Rhea’s hot belly, returning the embrace.  “Thanks, Rhea … You—I don’t know how to—you risked your life for me.  I’m just…”

“He-he,” she felt tears on Rhea’s own cheeks.  “We’re a team!  I’m here for you, and when we needed it, you were there for us—hey, you were the one that drew his attention away from us, or did you forget that part?”

The truth in Rhea’s words was as good as a blow; she didn’t think about it in that light, but to Rhea, she was trying to save their lives by drawing his focus.

“Yeah!”  Rhea doubled down.  “You were the bravest of us all … Thanks, Amira.  I’m so happy we got on the same team.”

Mallory grumbled next to their crying and quivering bodies, pulling most of the blankets over and making them giggle—it felt good to laugh after everything that had happened.

The guilt hadn’t completely faded, but Amira couldn’t deny what Rhea pointed out, and given time, maybe she could forgive herself.  Still, at least she knew how Rhea felt about her, and that meant the world to her.

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