Team Zero

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Cataquack Warri, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. I've put off publishing this long enough. I present my Pokémon/Familiar of Zero crossover: Team Zero! Please let me know what you think.

    I do not own Pokémon or Familiar of Zero in any manner, and expect no monetary profit from this endeavor.


    It was another beautiful day in the world of Pokémon. In the meadows the Bellossom were dancing. In the sea the Magikarp were swimming. And in the sky, a trio of humans was falling from the sky. “This is all your fault James!” the redheaded woman complained to her blue-haired companion.

    "Jessie,” he whined, “How is this my fault?”

    "You were the one who broke our cover by attacking that salesman! If you hadn’t, we could have had Pikachu right in our clutches.”

    "You know,” the catlike member of the trio pointed out to Jessie, “I remember that you were the one who spilled all the Pokéballs, so…ouch!” he cried out at her midair stomp.

    "Don’t make me drag you into this Meowth!” she shouted.
    That’s right!” James said. “You were supposed to be a demure Bellsprout, not complain about the food service!”

    Jessie sighed in exasperation. “Why does it seem we never catch Pikachu?”

    "Don’t worry,” Meowth assured her. “I’m sure the Boss will send more support once we pay up our debt.”

    "Don’t forget,” James noted sardonically, “The Boss’ lack of concern for us is how we ended up having to rejoin Team Rocket in the first place. Sometimes, I just wish we had a Boss who cared more for us.”

    "Don’t say that!” Meowth said angrily. “The Boss and Team Rocket are our lives! Without them, what are we?”

    "Oh, cheer up!” James told them. “Our day has to come sometime.”

    "For now,” James moaned, “I would just take a soft cushion to land on.”

    "Any further banter was interrupted as a strange light appeared directly under them. Shaped like a giant mirror, the apparition hovered midair, aligned perfectly with the team’s current trajectory. With Team Rocket’s experience in destructive threats, ranging from dancing Clefairy to berserk Legendary birds, the Team Rocket survival instinct instantly kicked in. “Oh no!” Meowth screamed, as he and the others tried to backpedal through the air. However, their blast velocity held, hurling them headlong into the portal.

    The garden grounds of Vestri Court were filled with rampant tension. For the majority of the students and faculty of the Tristain Academy of Magic, the source of anxiety lay with the seemingly delicate pink-haired girl standing in the center of the atrium. The greatest stress though lay with the nervous girl, who trembled in anxiety and determination as she began to chant. She had been Zero too long, always a failure and outcast. Now she would show them all, and summon a familiar the likes of which they had never seen. The students flinched reflexively as the spell reached its end, only to blink at the silent and empty lawn. “Nothing?” a voice broke out through the crowd. “Louise, you really are a Zero! At least when you have an explosion you have something; here you have nothing!” Louise fell to the ground in tears as the laughter rumbled through the congregants. Suddenly, a scream drew all the students’ attention to the sky. Down came several figures, barreling into Louise. As the dust cleared, the students could make out two humans, apparently commoners, along with a strange cat, sitting on top of Louise.

    “At least that landing was almost soft,” Jessie sighed as she slowly rose up. Seeing the multitude of people around them, Team Rocket quickly regained their senses and leaped backwards.

    “Jessie,” James asked worriedly, “What do we do?”
    “That’s easy James,” Jessie answered, “We’ll show these naïve little children what true evil is!” Taking their traditional poses, the team began to recite their terrifying speech. “Prepare for trouble…”

    The students stared dumbfounded as the three continued their unintelligible chant, unable to comprehend the absurdity. “Miss Valliere…” the professor finally stammered.

    “Yes, Mr. Colbert?” Louise asked anxiously.

    “You must complete the ritual.”

    “Please,” she begged, “Let me try the summoning one more time!”

    “That cannot be allowed, Miss Valliere,” he said. “When you are promoted to a second year student, you must summon a familiar, which you did.”

    “But I summoned three of them!” she protested desperately. “And two of them are commoners! Can’t I just take the cat and leave it at that?”

    Professor Colbert shook his head. “That would be too risky. Multiple summonings are rare but have been recorded, and it is generally unwise to only keep one and reject the others. All are summoned with a purpose in mind, and it would be dangerous both to the familiars and yourself to risk tampering with the bonds offered.”

    “Now,” he instructed her, “Please complete the ritual.” Louise bowed her head and slowly walked over to the three familiars, who were still ranting madly.

    “Team Rocket!” Jessie shouted. “Blast off at the speed of ligh…urk!”

    Oblivious to Jessie’s distress, James continued the motto. “Surrender now or prepare to figh…urk!”

    "Meowth, dat’s righ…” Meowth was stopped short as he, just like his two partners, was caught in a sudden kiss by the strange pink-haired twerpette. “Hey!” he shouted indignantly, “What was that for?” However, he was caught off guard as burning pain worse than Pikachu’s lightning coursed through his body and, by the sounds of the screams, Jessie and James as well.

    "Don’t be babies,” the pink girl said, rolling her eyes. “The Familiar’s Runes are simply being inscribed. And why do you commoners allow yourself to use that language in front of a noble?”

    "We’ll say anything we want!” Meowth said furiously, drawing his claws out. “And nobody messes with Team Rocket and gets away with it! Much less a tiny Twerp!”

    "What did you say?” Louise asked, eyes flaring.

    The confrontation was interrupted when the adult with glasses turned back to the crowd and said, “Well, let’s go back to class everyone.” Suddenly, the people began to float in the air, heading towards the stone walls of the castle in the distance.

    "Louise,” one student jeered before flying off, “You’d better walk back.”

    "H…how’d dey do dat?” Meowth stammered.

    "Psychic Pokémon maybe?” James suggested.

    Team Rocket turned back to question Louise, only to be preemptively countered as she questioned, “Who are you?” Team Rocket stiffened in indignation, but then smirked; the trio always took any opportunity to showcase their talents.

    "We are,” Jessie boasted.

    "The invincible,” James continued.

    "And unbeatable!” Meowth added.

    "Team Rocket!” they shot out together, breaking into another pose.

    "Team Rocket?” Louise asked. “And just who are they? A trio of village idiots?”

    "Hey!” Jessie said. “Team Rocket is one of the world’s greatest organizations, stretching from Indigo to Johto.”

    "Never heard of it,” Louise responded it, “But you likely came from some backwoods place.”

    "What do you mean backwoods?” Jessie shouted. “This must be the backwoods! Just where is this place? We thought that we landed in Johto, but somehow we blasted off even farther than we expected.”

    "Johto?” Louise asked. “What country is it in?”

    "Country?” James asked in confusion. “Civilizations abandoned that archaic form of geographic designation centuries ago. Nowadays the world is divided by continent into regions. Here,” he said, drawing out an unfamiliar map, “You can see that over here is the Johto region. Admittedly it’s an extension of the larger Toh continent, but it certainly wouldn’t be called a country.”

    "Never hear of it,” Louise said, staring confounded at the strange map. Did she summon from beyond the East perhaps? If she did, maybe that would make up, however little, for the poor quality of her familiars.

    "This is great!” Jessie exclaimed. “I’ve always wanted to discover a new region!”

    "Are you sure?” Meowth asked skeptically. “I’m pretty sure Hoenn was the next thing the narrators had in mind, with Sinnoh after that…”

    Jessie however was ignoring him, and took out a flag with a bright red ‘R’ displayed on its banner, which she handed to James. Planting it firmly in the ground, James declared, “I hereby claim this region in the name of the Pokémon League and Team Rocket!”

    "You could have just claimed it for Giovanni,” Jessie reminded him, “A whole region would make a great gift for the Boss, you know.”

    "Sorry Jessie,” James said unrepentantly, “But this is a big moment.”

    "So,” Jessie said, turning back to Louise, “Exactly what it the name of this region?”

    "And just how did dose people fly on their own?” Meowth demanded. “They shoulda at least needed a Psychic to do so!”

    Gritting her teeth at her familiars’ lack of respect, Louise answered, “This is Tristain, but if you’re asking about the whole continent, this is the land of Halkeginia. As for the flying,” she said patronizingly, “Of course they did! What would we do if mages couldn’t fly?”

    "Mages?” Meowth yelled, jumping up to Louise’s face. “Just what is this place?”

    Yanking Meowth off her, Louise said “This is the renowned Tristain Academy of Magic!”

    "Oh, an academy!” James said. “That makes sense. It does have a familiar feel to it, doesn’t it Jessie?”

    "It sure does,” Jessie said wistfully, peering around her. “Lot of bratty, arrogant, bullying students with no experience in the real world…”

    "Hey!” Louise blurted out indignantly. “Tristain Academy is a great honor for young nobles as they prepare for their debut in the world.” Unfortunately, her defense of the institution was belied by her gradually forming tears, as the comment on bullies brought back her feelings of failure.

    Touched by the tears, Team Rocket softened and wiped away her tears. “Sorry,” Meowth said, “We didn’t mean to hurt ya!”

    "It’s okay,” James said comfortingly, “School isn’t the end of the world.”

    "It certainly isn’t,” Jessie added, “We completely flunked our academy days too, and things still worked out for us.”

    Her sadness gone, Louise quickly found her emotions replaced with anger, and shoved her familiars off her. “I don’t need your pity!” she screamed furiously. The thing that made her the maddest was their comment about failing their time at the academy, and the implications it had. On the one hand, perhaps it meant that these familiars were nobles of sort, albeit disowned ones. However, the fact that they failed the academy had a disturbing parallel to her own life. Was this just another sign that she was a failure? No! She shook herself of such thoughts. She could not give up yet!

    "Fine!” Jessie said in a huff. “Forgive us for being caring for once. This is exactly why we prefer to be villains! But I’m still confused,” she told Louise. “I’ve seen people fly before, but always with a Psychic guiding…”

    "Wait,” Meowth said, voice tense, “By ‘Academy of Magic’, do ya’s mean dat all the students here can channel elemental powers?”

    "That is correct,” Louise answered. Team Rocket stared at her in utter horror. Elemental humans were not entirely unfamiliar to them; after all, legend stated that there used to be entire civilizations of people who held the power of Pokemon within them. But those special people were rare and hidden in the modern world. And each one had the potency, in comparison to regular humans, akin to a fearsome Gyrados in comparison to its pitiful Magikarp relations. And now they were in the proverbial Ursaring’s den with an entire school of them!

    "We’re doomed,” Meowth noted quietly. James began to back up, step by step, before trying to break out into a mad dash; if not for Jessie holding him, he might have crossed Johto in five minutes, if, that is, they were still in that relatively peaceful region.

    "Relax,” Jessie told him, “It’s just a bunch of them jammed together into one narrow place! It’s not like there are ‘mages’ scattered all around this region…”

    "Actually,” Louise cut in, “There are mages throughout all of Halkeginia.”

    Team Rocket stopped and stared at her deadpan. “Dis is one crazy region!” Meowth stated.

    "Hold on,” James said, reflecting on an old tale he heard as a lad about the ancient times. It was said at that time that Pokeballs were only a substitute, albeit a very competent one, for the old bonds that connected humans and Pokemon. “This…familiar summoning. That man, a Professor no doubt, he had you bond with your starter, didn’t he?”

    "A convoluted explanation, but yes,” Louise said.

    "You mean you Caught us?” Jessie exclaimed. “But we’re humans! While, at least two of us are,” she amended, glancing at Meowth.

    "I know,” Louise grunted in frustration, “And I’m none too happy about it. I wanted something wicked like a dragon or griffin or manticore. At least an owl or eagle. Instead I just get a miscellany of random familiars, most of which are just commoners.”

    "Well,” James offered, “If you want, we could always try to catch one of those for you.”

    "What are you, some kind of monster-hunters?” Louise asked. “You can try, but the familiar ceremony is a sacred ritual, and cannot be cheaply imitated. Anyways,” she sighed, looking at Meowth, “At least I got one somewhat normal familiar. Now why did those other two have to get dragged along…”

    "Sorry,” Meowth said, “But the three of us are a team; where one of us goes, we all go. So don’t worry. You got what you wanted, plus an entire team.”

    "Aren’t you concerned about being summoned?” Louise asked.

    "Of course we are,” Jessie said, “We have dignity as an elite team of agents, but we’re used to being on the short end of the stick.”

    "What about my concerns?” Louise asked.

    "What do you mean by that?” James asked, sensing Louise’s sadness.

    "How could I, the third daughter of the Valliere family...a noble who takes pride in her proper pedigree and ancient lineage, end up having things like you as familiars?”

    "Hey!” Meowth snapped. “We aint that bad. In any case, new things are always good; if all else fails, it gives you something nobody else has.”

    "Still not what I wanted,” Louise grumbled, but she ceased fuming. While this may not have been a success, it was not an entire failure. “Follow me to my quarters,” she ordered, “And we’ll talk further there.”

    "Um…” James stammered, “I know those other students flew back on their own, but is it okay if we walk on foot please? We’ve flown before, but it’s not something we like to do that often.”

    "Yes, if you don’t mind,” Jessie concurred. “We already had one trip up to the sky today as you saw, and we wouldn’t last another one on the same day.”

    "If you insist,” Louise sighed, albeit while feeling a sense of superiority. At the very least there was someone even lower than her.

    "So none of this looks familiar to you?” James asked in Louise’s room.

    "No,” Louise answered, setting down the maps that Team Rocket had given her. “Is it possible that you hail from beyond Rub al Khali, beyond the Holy Land?”

    "Sorry, haven’t heard of it,” Meowth said. “But it’s no biggie. Lost regions like these happen all the time. We just have to figure just exactly where we are in conjunction with the rest of the world. It’s probably across a sea or something, but we can find a way home eventually.”

    "I’m not sure,” James hesitantly put forward: “This place seems different from normal regions. I can’t help but feel that we’re even farther off then we think.”

    "Don’t be so negative James,” Jessie told him. “This region has lots of things in common with the other regions. Magical creatures, grass, woods, mountains…”

    "Double the moons.”

    "Double the moo…what are you talking about?” she shot at Meowth.

    "Look out dere,” he pointed. The team went to the window and gazed in shock at the sight before them. Two giant moons hovered in the sky above. “Whoa,” Meowth said, “The moons sure are big tonight. Looks like they got to the size of the Earth itself.”

    "Yeah,” James noted, “But their colors seem to be off. They shouldn’t be red and blue like that.”

    "More importantly,” Jessie slowly grinded out before yelling, “Why are there two moons when there used to be just one?”

    "Of course there are,” Louise said, “Now would you please mind telling me what the fuss is about?”

    "The team turned around, grave expressions on their faces. “Well,” Jessie said faintly, “We might be a little more off the charts than we anticipated.”

    "You said it,” Meowth exclaimed, plopping onto the floor tiredly, “And I thought Clefairy were the only Pokemon to travel to new worlds.”

    "New…worlds?” Louise asked, looking at them with an expression of disbelief.

    "Looks like it,” James answered.

    "I can’t believe it,” Louise said, shaking her head.

    "Look,” Meowth said, “Neither can we. And we’ve seen a lot of bizarre things, let me tell ya.”

    "By another world, what do you mean?” Louise asked, hoping that it was a figurative expression. She had had just enough madness today to fill her entire stay at the academy. Unfortunately, it seemed the true chaos was just rising.

    "Well,” Jessie said, “For one, it doesn’t have an extra moon, and both look weird too!”

    "Also,” James answered, “There are not so many ‘mages’ where we come from.”

    "There’s a world like that?” Louise asked, boggled. “A world without magic?”

    "Not without magic,” Meowth answered, “No sir! It’s just that the magic isn’t with the humans; it’s with the Pokemon.”

    "Po…ke…mon?” Louise fumbled the strange name.

    "Animals with special powers,” James answered, “Like what those students used to fly.”

    "Oh, but there are magical creatures everywhere!” Louise said dismissively. “But a world without mages?”

    "Of course there is!” Jessie yelled, nerves frayed. “We come from one. How difficult is that to grasp?”

    "Don’t yell at me,” Louise ordered, “You commoner.”

    "Who are ya calling a commoner?” Meowth demanded.

    "Well,” Louise said, “You’re not a mage, right? So you’re a commoner,” she explained arrogantly.

    "What does it matter if you’re a mage or not?” James asked.

    “Look, do you really know nothing of the world?” Louise asked in frustration.

    “We keep telling you,” Jessie shouted, “We’re not from this one!”

    At that, Louise set her elbows on the table with a troubled look. “A world without magic or nobility is just…impossible,” she mumbled.

    “Like we said,” James told her, “There is still plenty of magic in our world. And we do have nobility there. It just isn’t based on magic for obvious reasons. And it’s become a rather rare thing of late.”

    “Yeah,” Jessie said pointedly, “But it doesn’t help when the new generation runs off to explore the world.”

    “Hey!” James said furiously. “You of all people should know I left my inheritance and estates behind for very good reason.”

    “Sorry,” Jessie apologized, “It’s just frustrating that here in Team Rocket we struggle to break even at the end of the day, while back at your mansion…”

    “Mansions,” James corrected her, “We had a couple of summer estates in Sinnoh.”

    “Mansion-mansions, big deal” Jessie corrected in annoyance. “You had enough wealth to buy the Indigo Plateau, and the luxury I have always dreamed of, yet you throw it all away!”

    “It wasn’t like I had much of a choice,” James protested.

    “We’re Team Rocket,” Jessie countered, “When life doesn’t give us a choice, we make one of our own, usually by stealing one from somewhere else. But no…”

    “Wait,” Louise interrupted, “You’re a noble?”

    “Used to be,” James said, “But not since I was young.”

    “Good then,” Louise said, “Because without magic, you’re just the same as any other commoner here.”

    “Fine,” Jessie said, “Not a big problem; we’re used to being at the bottom of the barrel.”

    “I still find your claim dubious,” Louise said; however, her subsequent action of plopping down on her bed revealed her inner acceptance- and bafflement- of the bizarre tale. “Show me some proof,” she ordered.

    “Let’s see,” James said, opening their group’s backpack and beginning to toss out various items. “I just know that one of the pictures shows it…” While James searched for his proof, Louise stared curiously at the other objects that now littered her floor. She held a strange cylindrical item up to her head, only to drop it in pain as a stray finger activated a bright light that briefly blinded her.

    “What kind of magic artifact is that?” Louise demanded.

    “Dere’s nothing magical about dat,” Meowth said, “Just a little flashlight powered by science and technology!”

    “I have to admit,” Louise conceded, “I’ve certainly never seen anything like this. What element of magic does it use? Wind? Water?”

    “Nothing but technology, like I said,” Meowth said, getting a little put off. Louise stared at him blankly.

    “So, what kind of element is this ‘teknoloji’? Is it different from the four elemental powers?”

    “I don’t know what you mean by four powers,” Meowth said, “But technology and science are whole different fields.”

    “And they certainly aren’t magic,” Jessie said, “More’s the pity. Would be great if we actually had magical artifacts, but that’s unlikely with our budget.”

    Reclining on her bed, Louise shrugged dispassionately. “Hmmm. But I really don’t understand it.”

    “You’re not the only one,” Jessie told her, “It takes a lot of understanding to master. But think of it like this- you didn’t use magic to walk here, did you?”

    “No,” Louise answered grumpily, angry to have her lack of magic brought up again.

    “Well,” Jessie said triumphantly, “The flashlight is just the same. Just as your feet brought you here without magic, technology can do things without needing any magic whatsoever.”

    “But walking isn’t anything like that!” Louise protested.

    “So?” Meowth asked, “Ya still get something to happen. If you’re defining magic as elemental, than that makes technology nonmagical. But really, anything has some magic in it.” Smiling, he turned back to the glowing moons. “Life’s a miracle, ya know. So by dose terms, everything that makes up life- the sky, the moon, the grass, the time, the people- is a miracle, and if that’s not magic, den you have no idea what is?”

    “Maybe,” Louise admitted, staring wistfully at the night sky, “But there is still magic that separates us from mundane commoners.”

    She looked ready to argue further, if only to prove her hierarchical superiority, but was interrupted when James exclaimed, “Here it is!” He thrust forward a photo of him with a starry background behind him, which included a white and singular moon. “See,” he said confidently, “Here’s sure proof evidence!”

    “Alright,” Louise said, pulling her long hair, “I believe you.”

    “Really?” Meowth asked eagerly.

    Crossing her arms defiantly, Louise growled, “Only because you would’ve gone on about it if I didn’t say so.” But her pale expression belied her apparent skepticism, revealing her gradual acceptance of this bizarre roulette of events.

    “Well,” James said drooping, “I guess that’s one way to go about it.”

    “Enough of this small talk!” Jessie shouted, growing frustrated with the slow pace of the conversation. “Now, send us back! We have more important things to worry about, like hunting a trio of Twerps.”

    “I told you,” Louise said, “It’s impossible.”

    “Nothing’s impossible!” Meowth said firmly. “So what’s the big deal?”

    “That’s because there is no spell that connects this world with another,” she explained, discomforted by the implications of her summoning.

    “Then how did we end up here?” Jessie objected.

    “I wish I knew!” Louise cried out, throwing up her arms in frustration. “Now now,” James said, “Let’s all calm down and talk through this.

    So this spell wasn’t meant to breach dimensions?” James asked.

    “Nobody’s even heard of another world,” Louise answered. “’Summon Servant’ is used to call living beings within Halkeginia. Normally, only animals or magical beasts are summoned. This is the first instance that I’ve seen it work on a human.”

    “That must be swell for you,” Jessie said, “I know people back home who would kill for the power to catch a human.”

    “Pokemon too,” Meowth said, nodding in agreement. Louise pouted quietly amidst Team Rocket’s awe, the humiliation returning to her chest. The only thing holding it back was their point- at least she could boast of her familiars’ uniqueness, even if they were just commoners.

    “Wait,” James said, thinking of something, “There’s something about this that bothers me. You obviously don’t use Pokeballs to make the bond, you use your inner magic instead.”

    “That’s right,” Louise said, wondering what his point was.

    “In that case,” James asked in a tense voice, “How does a summoned Pokemon get released? Usually it would involve breaking the ball, but if the magic came from within you…”

    “The only way a familiar can be released from its service,” Louise said, “And the only way for a mage to use Summon Servant again, is if the familiar dies.”

    The trio froze in horror at this revelation. “D…die?” Jessie gasped.

    “I don’t wanna die!” Meowth screamed in panic.

    “So I guess we’re your personal Pokemon now,” James sighed.

    “Yes,” Louise affirmed, “But the proper term is ‘familiar’, not this barbarian word you have for it.

    Jessie stiffened at this insult, but restrained herself. “So,” she asked in poisoned sweetness, “Just what does a familiar do?”

    “Firstly,” Louise said, “A familiar is able to grant its master an enhancement in hearing and vision.”

    “Cool!” Meowth exclaimed, “That sure must be neat!”

    “It would be,” Louise said, glaring at them, “Except it seems that it doesn’t work for you. I can’t see anything through our bond.”

    “That’s one part down then,” James said, “But we can probably make up for that. What else is there?”

    “A familiar will also retrieve items that its master desires,” Louise told them.

    “Perfect!” Jessie shouted instantly. “We’re expert treasure hunters. Just tell us what you want and we’ll snag it for you…”

    “Do you know what reagents are?” Louise asked dryly.

    The three stared at her in confusion. “Reagents?” James asked, baffled.

    “They’re catalysts for certain spells,” Louise elaborated, “And since you don’t even know what they are, I doubt you will be much use in that field either.”

    “Hey!” Meowth objected. “We may need some training to know what we’re looking for, but we’ll get you lots of these reagents once we know where to look.”

    Frowning skeptically, Louise shook her head. “Finally, the most important thing is…a familiar exists to protect its master. The task of protecting them from any and all enemies is a duty of the highest priority.”

    “So we’ll be your bodyguards then,” James said firmly.

    “Dat’s right!” Meowth reassured her. “Together we’ll be the toughest team of bodyguards you’ve ever seen.”

    “I doubt you could defeat a raven, much less a magical beast,” Louise told them.

    “Don’t underestimate us!” Jessie said. “We’re the invincible Team Rocket! Nothing can beat us!”

    “Nothing but a yellow mouse,” James noted before being punched by Jessie.

    “Shut up!” she shouted.

    “As you can see,” Louise said, “I now have three familiars who are in essence utterly useless to me as a mage.” Team Rocket shared a brief, gloomy glance with each other.

    They knew well enough from their difficult lives just how common rejection was. And as Pokemon, that risk was further compounded. There were plenty of tales about trainers abandoning worthless Pokemon, and from the looks of their master it appeared to be their fate too. As a result, they had little hope for the situation; right now, their only hope was that they could find some gully to rest in for the night. “Well then,” James sighed, turning with his teammates towards the door, “We won’t bother you any further.”

    “And just where are you going?” Louise demanded, panicking internally at the thought of losing her familiars; however absurd they were, they were still her only potential source of pride, and she was going to hold on to that prize no matter what. “Who do you think is going to support you? Who do you think is going to give you food? And just whose room are you going to sleep in?”

    “We’ll figure something out,” Jessie said, despondently accepting the reality, “If there is one thing Team Rocket is good at, it’s surviving. And it’s not like there’s any place for us now that you don’t want us here…”

    “Don’t go!” Louise ordered.

    Team Rocket stared at her puzzled. “Huh?” James asked. “But you just said that we were worthless.”

    “You are,” Louise nodded, “But you will not humiliate me any further by running away either.”

    “You mean you’re not abandoning us?” Meowth asked, hope shining in his eyes.

    “Like I said,” Louise said, “The bond between master and familiar lasts until death, so I’ll make do with what I have for now.”

    “Thank you!” they shouted in ecstasy, burying Louise as they tackled her with hugs.

    “You won’t regret this,” James said, tears in his eyes.

    “We’ll do everything ya say,” Meowth said, crying as well.

    Wiping her own tears away, Jessie asked, “So what are we going to do as your familiars then? Given what you just said.”

    “That’s why I’m only making you do things I’m fairly sure you can do,” Louise said, “”Things like laundry, cleaning, and other miscellaneous tasks.”

    “Right on!” Meowth exclaimed, his spirit rising. “That’s what this team is built for. We’re whizzes at grunt work. Cleaning, serving, carrying, ya name it, we can do it!”

    “And once we learn more about this world,” James assured her, “We’ll be able to take on our real duties as Pokemon.”

    “So,” Jessie asked, getting to business, “Where do we sleep? And what’s our first assignment?” Louise shrugged and pointed to the floor, eyes daring them to argue with her command. After examining it though, Jessie gave a faint smile. “Not too bad,” she observed, rubbing a hand against the cool and hard texture of the stone, “Smooth, very few rough spots other than tile breaks. And looks sturdy too.”

    “Thanks!” Meowth said, looking at Louise gratefully. “This is the best place we’ve found to sleep in weeks!” Louise frowned at their enthusiasm. How low could these familiars go? Though, she also did feel a small bit of guilt at their joy over such cheap ‘gifts’. It was a gift, a boon to those otherwise pathetic commoners. Yet, their happiness dampened her sense of triumph.

    Shaking her head, she continued, “As for your duties…” With that, she began to strip. Now she would so those familiars the proper order. Let them protest and screech all they wished, it was not like she was showing herself to anyone of importance; a dog or cat might get better treatment. However, their reactions were sadly dismal. Jessie looked on with little interest, scanning Louise’s body with vain derision. James was too busy sorting out their things to even notice her undressing. Meowth, just like Jessie, looked on, but remained bored. And why not? He didn’t exactly where clothes himself. “Here,” Louise spat in frustration, tossing her undergarments at them. “Wash these for me tomorrow.” James delicately peeled them off his face, before Jessie unceremoniously yanked them up into a sack.

    “Not the nicest clothes we’ve cleaned,” she said, wrinkling her face, “But not the worst either. All right troops,” she ordered, “Let’s get these clothes washed.”

    “Wait!” Louise yelled, flabbergasted. “Aren’t you at all bothered by me undressing in front of you? Or are all you commoners so lowbased?”

    Team Rocket stared dumbfounded. “It’s not like there’s much to see,” Jessie said, grooming herself vainly, “As you can see, the only person to watch in this room is me. At the very least, my chest actually has a slope.” Louise narrowed her glare.

    “I’m confused though,” James told Louise, “If viewing nudity is immoral here, then why would you show yourself to us in the first place?”

    “It’s okay,” Meowth told her, ignoring the red look on her face. “I’m a Pokemon you see, and I know how human customs vary between places. If ya need to show yerself, go right ahead, it’s completely natural…”

    “Get out!” Louise screamed irately, beating them out of the room. As they dashed off, she stared blankly at the door before shutting it and collapsing onto her bed. Founder, what did she ever do to be cursed with such…ridiculous familiars? Well, she’d find some use for them. At the very least, they seemed obedient. If only they had the brains to make that a positive quality. Letting out a deep sigh, Louise drifted off to sleep.

    As Louise went to sleep, Team Rocket got into a huddle while they washed the garments under the moonlight. “So what do we do?” Meowth whispered in an attempt to keep their conversation secret.

    Such a hope was short-lived, as soon enough Jessie responded to James’ suggestion of leaving to find Giovanni with a pounding. “Idiot!” she yelled. “How do you expect to find him in the middle of nowhere? And we all know who we have to blame for this, don’t we?”

    “But Jessie,” he protested vainly, “How is it my fault?”

    “If you hadn’t messed up, we wouldn’t have blasted off and landed in this portal to Mew-knows where!”

    “I’d like to point out again that Meowth was the one who…”

    “Hey, wait a second!” interjected Meowth, hoping to stop the imminent brawl. “That girl said that we’re servants to her, right?”

    “Uh, yeah, that’s right,” Jessie said.

    “Well then, doesn’t that make her our new Boss?”

    “Meowth! How can you even suggest something like that?” James demanded aghast.

    “That’s right!” Jessie agreed. “We’ve always been loyal members of Team Rocket for years. Never once have we questioned our loyalty.”

    “Hey, chill out,” Meowth said in a placating voice. “In case ya two don’t remember, we’se been out of a job. Sure, we’re hired again now, but we still have to pay up our debts to that stingy Delibird. And fer what? Did the Boss ever provide us with a place to sleep at night? No! We had to sleep in trees or in trash cans. Did the Boss ever give us food? No? We had to scrounge for junk scraps. And did the Boss ever pay attention to us, ever check in on us? No! Well, we have all we need here with this girl.”

    “You just have a crush on her,” Jessie retorted.

    “Well,” Meowth said sheepishly, “That’s the way to treat any Boss. So, are we all in?”

    “Fine,” Jessie conceded, “but it looks like our new Boss isn’t very happy with us.”

    “I think that most familiars are either Pokemon or…animels, is that the name?” James reflected. “She’s probably not happy she got stuck with a couple of humans instead.”

    “Well,” Meowth said determinedly, “that changes tomorrow! Imagine the Boss’ face when we bring her a new familiar we stole.”

    “Alright team,” Jessie said, “Let’s show these nobles that we are the unbeatable Team Rocket!”

    “Yay!” they all cheered.

    “This here Tristain place better watch out, cuz Team Rocket and its new Boss are taking over!” Meowth said confidently.
  2. Blackraptor

    Blackraptor The guy with the thing over there at the place.

    *Laughs hysterically*

    Oh, I'm sooo gonna look forward to more of this.
    NitroNorman likes this.
  3. NemiTheNen

    NemiTheNen injured wrist

    Oh god, cannot read. Walls of text.
  4. I love it, perfectly Team Rocket. The only things left are setting up a perfectly legitimate business that's raking it in and then abandoning it to unsuccessfully steal something.

    Which pokemon do they have right now?
  5. Dimensionist

    Dimensionist Grand Master of Apologism, Keeper of the Faith

    Separate different parts of a dialogue - make sure there's a blank line between each line of speech.
  6. Sorry about the spacing problems; it's partially my fault. I was trying to indent paragraphs, but apparently ended up connecting them instead. It should be better now though.

    I'm not sure what you mean about separating dialogue. I know about having new paragraphs for each new speaker, which I thought I did, but is there more I need to do?

    As for Pokemon on hand, Team Rocket comes from late Johto and has the following Pokemon:

    Jessie: Arbok, Wobbuffet

    James: Weezing, Victreebel

    Meowth: Himself
    AngelicKnight likes this.
  7. Cody Fett

    Cody Fett Transitional Phrase Nut

    You know, James' trouble recognizing the word animal reminds me of a episode of the Jhoto series where a guest character lamented the fact that normal animals are forgotten in the hullabaloo over Pokemon, right before a chickadee landed on his finger. :eek:

    Hilarious through and through. I can't wait for the next update. :)
  8. Couch-Gamer

    Couch-Gamer On fire. Literally.

    Well done! This is hilarious, and I cannot wait to see what they steal!

    I bet you it's Kirche's Flame. Also, James is inevitably going to draw Kirche's interest. He's been beating women like her off since forever!

    Edit: You don't need to keep on telling us who said what. You already have a few lines where you add actions. Use that more, it would make for a better, and easier, read.
  9. What episode was that from? I'm disappointed that I missed that.

    I thought that I needed to separate dialogue by speaker. That makes it difficult to add much action into the middle of a conversation.
  10. chaosmagez

    chaosmagez Some Guy

    More interesting Team Rocket perspective stories. There are so few of these well done and now there is one more.
  11. Dumb familiars are entertaining familiars. Please, do continue. :)
  12. Dimensionist

    Dimensionist Grand Master of Apologism, Keeper of the Faith

    Try and separate different scenes with line breaks, or multi-line skips. Also, if a description/non-dialogue paragraph is getting too long, see if you can break it into multiple paragraphs.

    I'd advise you to write less dialogue, and more situational/scene description, but that's just a personal preference.

    Also, nice idea. Too soon for me to comment on the story as a whole, though - write a few more chapters, and then we'll see.
  13. Cody Fett

    Cody Fett Transitional Phrase Nut

    According to Wikipedia it's "Fly Me To The Moon" from Pokemon: Master Quest. The main focus of the episode was a Pidgy trying to fly into the upper atmosphere, but to me it'll always be the episode where a real life animal appeared.
  14. Iceblocks

    Iceblocks Archivist

    No reaction to the talking cat?
  15. There are like four or five talking non-humans in that world.
  16. Since I have the first several chapters ready, and since I go back to college on Sunday, I'm going to put a little more out there.

    I do not own Pokemon or Zero no Tsukaima (Familiar of Zero), and expect to monetary profit from this endeavor.

    Episode I: A New Day for Team Rocket

    “Rise and shine Boss!” Louise slowly stirred as overly cheery voices drew her out of her sleep. “It’s a beautiful day, so get up already!” However, she tried vainly to reject the reality and returned to sleep.

    She soon regretted this though, as a deluge of ice cold water made her jump up in a start. “Wh…what? What’s going on?” she exclaimed, staring at the three vaguely familiar figures before her. “Who are you?” she demanded, hoping that this was just more of a messed up dream.

    “Team Rocket,” the red haired beauty- Jessie, was it? - said, “Remember?”

    “We’re the familiars you summoned yesterday,” James added.

    Louise drooped as she remembered the humiliation yesterday. She was dragged out of her melancholy as Meowth said, “Look, we got dose clothes all tidied up like ya said, so now what? We’re ready and raring for more answers, Boss,” he said, giving special emphasis on the title. Louise sighed, but allowed a small smile to pierce her gloom. At least her new servants were useful in some ways. Plus, they seemed loyal, even if they used that strange title ‘Boss’ rather than the proper term of ‘Master’.

    “Alright,” she said, straightening up in preparation, “Dress me.” Team Rocket froze in confusion.

    “What?” James asked.

    “Dress me,” she commanded. “You must not know because you’re commoners, but nobles will not dress themselves when a servant is available.”

    “Are you sure bout dat?” Meowth said hesitantly, eyeing his increasingly excited partners hesitantly. He had enough difficulty restraining them during that fashion stint in Celadon.

    “Of course!” Louise said impatiently. “Now get to it!”

    “Yes, Boss!” Jessie and James said in unison and jumping to attention. However, rather than bringing the clothes to Louise, they carried them to the window. Louise watched in horror and rage as James hefted the window open while Jessie tossed all her clothes out.

    Dusting off her hands with a sense of finality, Jessie noted, “That’s that! Now to dress you up.”

    “With what?” Louise demanded. “You just tossed out all my clothes, you stupid, moronic familiars!”

    “Now, now, Boss,” Jessie told her, “If we’re in charge of your wardrobe, you’re going to have to wear something better than those old rags.”

    “Yep!” James agreed, “But don’t worry. Team Rocket always has an entire wardrobe of clothing at its disposal, and we’re the Elites at makeovers!” With that, the two tackled Louise. Meowth stepped back to a safe distance and watched the ensuing scuffle unfold.

    “And voila!” Jessie and James exclaimed, striking poses to the side as the new Louise was revealed, her beautiful outfit dampened by her visible rage.

    “What is this?” Louise demanded irately, hands poised on her exposed hips in indignation. She looked almost like one of those sailors that he mother sometimes invited over. Except that none of those proud sailors would ever sink so low as to wear a travesty like this! The upper half was shortened to the point that her belly button was visible to all if she bent but an inch. And the humiliation did not stop there. Knee-high socks connected her too-scandalous skirt with the shining pink slippers on her feet. Pink ribbons adorned the entirety of the suit. The outfit would have had some class with its exotic design if not for the fact that it was so…immodest!

    “It’s just a school uniform,” Jessie said.

    “It gives you more elegance this way,” James said. “After all, a noble needs to look her best.”

    “Well,” Louise said, “No noble in their right mind would dress this way!”

    In that case,” Jessie said, miffed at the insult to her costume skills, “Let’s go for something a little more…tomboyish then.” After another intense scuffle, Jessie and James emerged with Louise, now in a different garb. The clothes she wore now lacked the sexual indecency of the first outfit, but only at the cost of concealing her femininity, as they seemed more fit for a man than a woman. She was covered from waist down, not by a dress befitting a noble, but with a pair of commoner pants! And she now wore strange, rough-looking shoes- tennis shoes, they called them- that made her seem like some commoner rather than a noble.

    “This won’t do either!” Louise yelled furiously. “I’m a noble! I have my dignity to preserve.”

    “Guess third time’s the charm then,” James said before diving back into the fray.

    “That’s it!” Louise screamed, taking hold of the chaos in the only way she knew- kicking her idiotic familiars until they fled the room. “I can dress myself, thank you very much!” she said, slamming the door shut and barring it to be safe. Sighing now that the madness had passed, she walked to the window and peered out. Her garments were now scattered about, blown by the wind. She’d have to collect them after class; there was no way that she was going to leave it up to her familiars after this debacle! But for now she had no clothes.

    Sadly, it seemed that she was going to have to take her pick of those outrageous costumes that lay sprawled across her bed. If Kirche saw her today, that Zerbst would never let her forget. Louise perused the outfits, desperately searching for one that did not make her any more a Zero than she already was. She considered the schoolgirl clothes, but quickly rejected them. School clothes, ha! Maybe for a Germanian slut, but the day students wore something like that would be the day she’d dress like a boy. Sighing heavily, Louise forced herself to go with the commoner ‘tomboy’ fit, knowing that it didn’t make much difference which outfit she chose.

    As soon as she was dressed in her new attire, she dashed out of the room, hoping to catch her familiars before they caused any more trouble for her. To her dismay, they had stopped to speak with a fiery-haired beauty. Of all the people they had to talk to, it had to be that Zerbst!

    “Oh, good morning, Valliere,” the redhead said in false kindness, failing to hide the mischief in her eyes.

    “Hello, Kirche von Zerbst,” Louise replied, sticking to the formalities to avoid getting into any deeper conversations.

    Kirche did not let up though, and peered curiously at Louise’s outfit. “That certainly is a…unique style, if I do say so,” she commented. “Fits you very well, Zero.”

    Louise ignored the barb and turned to her familiars. “Come one,” she insisted, “We need to get to breakfast.”

    “Don’t worry Boss,” Meowth said, not catching her drift, “We can still make it to breakfast. Need to stop and smell the Vileplumes once and awhile."

    “Yes,” James agreed, gazing at the fiery-red lizard beside her, “We were just looking at this very nice Charmaleon.”

    “Is that a salamander?” Louise asked, jealous at Kirche’s luck with a familiar.

    “That’s right!” Kirche crowed. “A fire lizard! See,” she said, gesturing at its tail, “A flame this vivid and large means it’s no doubt from the Fire Dragon Mountains. It’s like a brand! Collectors can’t even put a price on these!”

    “They sure can’t,” Jessie said admiringly, while discreetly signaling to Meowth. Taking out a large mallet, Meowth began to quietly approach the familiar while everyone was preoccupied. This was the perfect prize for the Boss; even if she didn’t want it, they could always sell it for a fortune.

    Meanwhile, Louise stared at her longtime rival, fury boiling within her. “That’s…nice,” she said, without a single drop of sincerity.

    Kirche on the other hand ignored the sarcasm and agreed, “Isn’t it? It matches my affinity perfectly!”

    “Are you a Fire type?” James asked curiously.

    “Of course,” Kirche said, beaming proudly, “After all, I’m Kirche the Ardent. The ardent of gently smoldering passion. Everywhere I go, I have boys falling over me. Unlike other people I know,” she noted, glancing at Louise.

    Louise looked ready to argue, but was stopped when Jessie stepped forward. “News flash sister,” Jessie said angrily, “But the real queen of beauty now is yours truly.”

    Kirche looked analytically at her for a second, and then threw her head back in dismissal. “Sorry,” she told Jessie condescendingly, “But you have a ways to go, even if you are pretty cute for a little old human familiar.”

    “What?” Jessie let out a banshee cry before lunging at Kirche, only to be restrained by James.

    “Calm down Jessie,” he reassured her, “Even if she has all the glamor…”

    “Which she doesn’t!” Jessie shot back at him.

    “We still have the indomitable spirit of Team Rocket!” he reminded her.

    You are interesting familiars,” Kirche commented, leaning in to inspect James. “And what is your name?” she asked.

    “James,” he answered. Reflecting his past childhood, James automatically went into a polite bow, saying, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Kirche…”

    “Von Zerbst,” Kirche told him, eyes twinkling with curiosity. It certainly seemed that Louise had summoned some exotic familiars; not that she’d say that much to her.

    “And what of your last name?” she inquired.

    “I don’t use one. Haven’t for a long time,” James said, a tone of melancholy in his voice. “Alright,” he told Louise, “Let’s find this breakfast you were talking about.”

    Kirche watched the three wandered off and spoke to herself, “Such intriguing familiars. Especially that blue haired one. If he wasn’t a commoner, I might actually consider dating him. What do you think, Flame?” she asked. The fire salamander remained silent, but let loose a quiet puff of smoke to indicate its dissatisfaction; it gave an angry glare at the cat as it scampered off.

    As they passed down the halls, Jessie took a side glance at Meowth and groaned. Meowth was singed all over with various burns. Obviously Plan A to snag the lizard had been a disaster. “So I take it you weren’t able to catch it,” Jessie whispered.

    “Nope,” Meowth sighed, “Dat Charmaleon just took one look at her and set me on fire. It’s definitely what we’re looking for,” he noted, eyes gleaming. “Imagine: it could be the new heating system for the Boss’ room.”

    “There was a bit of a draft last night,” Jessie reflected in agreement, “But let’s not be too hasty. We need to examine the rest of the batch before we decide just what we’re going to steal.” Still, the fire lizard was top on Jessie’s list, if only so she could so that Twerp what a true beauty was.

    Team Rocket’s banter came to an abrupt halt as they entered the dining room of Tristain Academy. “This is a ‘dining room’?” Jessie asked, staring in shock at the expansive room.

    “More like a feast room,” Meowth noted, impressed at the room’s grandeur.

    Louise smirked, pleased that she had finally gotten her familiars to acknowledge the superior grace of nobility. The Academy of Magic’s dining hall was the tallest building in the campus, and each of the three tables looked ready to easily seat at least a hundred people and contained many elaborate decorations. Louise raised her head and began to explain, her hazel eyes twinkling mischievously. “Tristain’s Academy of Magic does not just teach magic, you know.”

    Team Rocket stared at her in surprise. “Almost all mages are nobles,” she clarified. The saying ‘nobles achieve nobility through the use of magic’ is the foundation of our education. Thus, our dining halls must also be made according to a noble’s status.”

    “Makes sense,” James said, “But your first statement seems like a contradiction. Even if magic is associated with nobility, you really aren’t learning anything about life except about magic.”

    Fuming at this turnaround, Louise grumbled, “Only a commoner would think that there is more to life than magic. Be grateful that you are even allowed to set foot inside Alviss Hall and attain a glimpse of magic’s grandeur.”

    Though, her familiars’ earlier comments had set in a seed of doubt about true magic. If all life was magic, then what did that make nobility? But she was not about to accept that possibility. Never! She had her dignity as a noble to uphold. Even…if it did seem kind of hopeful to her.

    “Whatever ya say,” Meowth said skeptically, “But what’re these Elvises?”

    “The little people,” she said, gesturing to elaborate sculptures of tiny people engraved onto the walls.

    “Those things don’t come to life, do they?” Jessie asked hesitantly.

    “Oh, you knew that?” Louise said, surprised. “Yes, they come out at night to dance. Enough of this,” she huffed, glaring at her familiars’ dazzled faces, “Pull out my chair, will you? You’re not very competent familiars, are you?” Team Rocket’s members shook themselves free of their dreamy thoughts of plunder and rushed forward at once to pull out Louise’s chair.

    Unfortunately, none took any consideration of the others’ efforts, and descended into a three-person riot on the ground. Students began to set down their plates to watch the comic proceedings. Reddening in embarrassment, Louise yanked the chair away from the three saying, “I can seat myself, you know! Have for a whole year now, so I don’t need any help from the likes of you!”

    “Whatever you say Boss,” Meowth groaned from underneath Jessie and James.

    Louise plopped into her seat and began to devour the food, drowning her sorrows in hunger. However, a set of subtle coughs behind her forced her attention back to her three aggravating familiars. “What?” she demanded frustratedly.

    “You promised us food, remember?” James said quietly.

    “Yeah,” Meowth said, looking like a kicked puppy- or cat- “We were really hoping for something to fill our tummies.” Ah, yes, she had promised them food. And indeed she had food for them. She pointed to the floor, where a small bowl lay with strange…things littered inside it.

    A tiny bit of guilt pulsed through her heart at bending her vow like this, but she pushed it aside. They were commoners, and familiars to boot! They were lucky to even have those scraps. If they dared to question the food, she’d teach them their proper place. To her shock though, Team Rocket stared eagerly at the ‘food’, mouths watering. “This is great!” Meowth exclaimed
    “Better than that old boot we cooked up yesterday for lunch,” James agreed.

    “Enough chatter,” Jessie ordered, eyes gleaming, “Let’s eat!”

    Their reverie was interrupted when a harmonious prayer echoed through the hall. Team Rocket quickly joined the thanksgiving with great zeal, closing with a near-cheer of “We thank you for this humble meal that you have graciously provided us this morning!”

    In contrast to them, Louise’s own prayer was barely a whisper, as she desperately tried to not look down at her familiars, who stared up at her with gratitude for her ‘gift’. This should have made her feel better, seeing them show just how below nobles they really were. But all she felt was this hollow feeling that none of the pastries seemed to fill up.

    “That was a great meal!” Meowth exclaimed, as the three accompanied Louise into a classroom.

    “Yeah,” James whined, “But I still think that Jessie took too much…”

    “Stop complaining,” Jessie said, “We divided it fairly: one half for the two of you, and the other half for me.”

    “I still don’t think that was fair…”

    “Enough,” Jessie told him, “Just be grateful that we finally got a good meal after weeks of living off Spearow and Pidgey dung.”

    “Yeah, and dose Spearow are nasty if they catch ya,” Meowth agreed.

    “Speaking of grateful,” James noted, “The Boss seems a little melancholy ever since breakfast.” “You’re right,” Meowth said, peering ahead at the pink-haired girl, “I wonder why?”

    “Maybe she felt guilty about the food,” James suggested, “The food on the table certainly looked better.”

    “She must not get enough food to eat,” Jessie concluded, “And therefore couldn’t spare much for us. Not that we minded. But it’s making her feel guilty. Team, our mission- after stealing her another familiar, that is- will be to grab some more food for the team. Can’t let our Boss starve, after all. Grunts can starve, but never bosses.”

    “Sure thing,” Meowth said, “But first things first. Check out all those potential steals!” A large variety of familiars were scattered through the lecture room beside their respective masters. Some looked rather ordinary, such as owls, cats, and snakes. Although Meowth and Jessie loved some of the types- cats for the former and snakes for the latter- they preferred the superiority of their own Pokemon. Therefore, those familiars were fortunate enough to be left off the list of potential steals. Others though were much more exotic.

    “So,” Jessie casually asked Louise, gesturing towards a six-legged lizard, “What Pokemon is that?”

    “A basilisk,” she answered, bored with their questions.

    “And the eyeball?” James asked.

    “A bugbear,” she said, frustration seeping in.

    “And the freaky Octillery?”

    “The what?” Louise asked.

    “The thing with all the tentacles,” Meowth clarified.

    “A skua,” she grated out, “And do yourselves a favor and sit down! Class is about to start!” She soon regretted her orders, as the three fumbled to squeeze into Louise’s stone seat. “Not there!” she shouted, “That’s a mage’s seat. Familiars aren’t permitted to use it.”

    “Then why didn’t you say so?” James said amiably as his team crouched on the floor. Louise grinded her teeth at their innocent ignorance, and pushed the molars even deeper together as laughter from other students began to creep into her ears. She struggled to focus on the class as the teacher entered the room; the last thing she wanted was to get called out for more humiliation.

    Sure enough, when the professor entered pompously, a pump-faced woman dressed in purple garb, her torture began. After greeting the students, her first comment was to Louise, saying “My, my. You’ve summoned quite some…peculiar familiars, Miss Valliere.

    Despite the innocence in the comment, it served as the catalyst for a series of jeers. “Louise the Zero! Don’t go grabbing random commoners and creatures off the street!”

    “No!” she vainly protested. “I did everything properly! They were all that appeared.” The students ignored her and continued their mocking.

    Louise was about to protest to the teacher when Team Rocket decided to take matters into their own hands. Nobody insulted the Boss; it was the same as spitting on the entire team! With a firm nod to each other, Team Rocket leaped headlong at the mockers. Stunned at the commoners’ audacity, the students were unable to cast spells in time before the attacks landed on them. Within seconds, the entire classroom descended into a brawl.

    Jessie swung a hammer like a Scyther, trying to make her way to the redheaded Twerpette. She wasn’t one of the actual jeerers, but Jessie resented her earlier comments and therefore considered her a primary target. Seeing their idol in distress, multiple young men rushed to Kirche’s defense, while Kirche herself quietly sidled away from the chaos. She was soon joined by her blue-haired friend Tabitha, who calmly turned away from the madness to continue reading a book. Meowth had no weapons at his disposal, but did not need any, as his razor-sharp claws sufficed. Soon, numerous students sported painful slash marks across their faces, and stumbled around blindly as they covered their aching faces. James was the least equipped for a brawl, but was still holding his own.

    Students finally recovered enough from the shock to launch magical attacks, but were unable to aim properly in the fray, adding further confusion to the fight. Meanwhile, familiars scattered to and fro. Some familiars struggled to come to the defense of their masters such as Flame in the case of Kirche and the dragon Sylphid in the case of Tabitha, some fled in terror like a manticore that broke through a window in wild panic, and still others though took advantage of their masters’ attention to pursue other, usually forbidden activities, evidenced by a snake that swallowed a raven.

    Huffing at the turn of events, the teacher began to chant a spell. The brawlers ignored the words until they felt lumps of red clay fill their mouths, abruptly stopping the fight. “This is not the behavior of nobles,” she spoke, “Is that clear?”

    “Yes, Mrs. Chevreuse,” the students sullenly stated once the clay was released from their mouths. “And the same must be expected from those who serve nobles,” she continued, turning to the instigators of the debacle. Team Rocket stared back at her with stubborn refusal, but acquiesced and sat back on the ground.

    With that, the riot quelled to a halt, allowing class to resume. “Now then,” Chevreuse said, waving her wand to create several pebbles, “Let’s begin the lesson. This year I will be teaching you about the magic of the Earth element. As you know, the four great elements of magic are Water, Fire, Wind, and Earth. Combined with the lost element of Void, there are five elements in total, as everyone should know.”

    The students nodded knowingly, but Team Rocket stared dumbfounded. “Only four?” Meowth whispered anxiously to Jessie. “How in Ho-Oh’s name do they get around with just four? What about all the others?”

    “Be quiet and focus!” Jessie snapped back, softly pounding him on the hard floor. “We can ask questions later.” Nevertheless, Jessie’s own curiosity was gradually piquing, as she leaned forward to hear more of the teacher’s words.

    “The magic of Earth is vital to life, governing the creation of all matter,” Chevreuse lectured, “If it weren’t for Earth magic, we wouldn’t be able to produce or process essential metals.” She then gestured towards the pebbles on her desk and drew out her wand.

    “Please recall,” she explained, “That the fundamental magic of Earth is transmutation, as I will now demonstrate. While I am confident that most of you have already learned this in your prior studies, basics build foundation, so please pay attention to this review.” With a quick spell, the once-grey rocks were now sparkling metallic globs.

    “Is that gold?” Kirche asked, peering at the shining stones.

    “No,” Chevreuse said, coughing pompously to cover up her embarrassment, “Only Square class mages are able to transmute gold. I am merely…a Triangle mage.”

    She continued to talk, but Team Rocket ignored the rest of the lecture as they gathered in a huddle.” “I guess there’s at least part of why they have only four elements,” James said, “’Earth’ seems to cover Ground, Rock, and Steel. They must have broader definitions of elements.”

    “And classy!” Meowth exclaimed, gazing greedily at the glowing metals. “Just imagine if we could find a way to make gold like dey do. We’d be flowing in the dough! I told you dat ‘Mecha Payday’ scheme would be a smash, but noooo, you guys just had to go for that Pinsir…”

    Jessie ignored their banter, unable to contain her curiosity any further, and turned to Louise. “Pssst, Boss,” Jessie whispered loudly.

    “What!” Louise said in frustration, “We’re in the middle of a lesson, and we don’t need any more of your antics.”

    “What does that lady mean about all these squares and triangles?” Jessie demanded.

    “It’s the number of elements you can add to a spell,” Louise explained, eyeing the teacher anxiously.

    “Huh?” Jessie asked.

    “Look, a single magical element is powerful, but if you add another to it, the overall power of the spell increases greatly.

    “I already know that!” Jessie told her. “Any fool knows how you can combine two elements together. But what about these squares and triangles?”

    Louise stared at her dumbfounded. “Those are Lines,” she said, “But mages can merge more than two elements together. Triangle mages can combine three, and Squares four. Mrs. Chevreuse, being able to channel Earth-Earth-Fire, is a Triangle mage.”

    “Wait,” James said, breaking into the conversation, “Wouldn’t that just be a Line, since Earth is counted twice?”

    “No,” she replied, “Stacking the same element reinforces that element, enhancing its power.”

    “Still,” Meowth said, “Dat lady doesn’t deserve dat much credit if she just focuses on one element like that.”

    Chevreuse then noticed their banter and glowered. “Will you please cease with this private gossip?” she commanded. “There are others trying to actually gain knowledge from this lesson.”

    “Listen here, lady,” Jessie said, “If you want people to listen to you, actually teach them new things rather than boasting about what they- and you- already know.”

    Chevreuse stiffened in indignation. “You familiars obviously have much to learn about the proper order of things. You can start by addressing me properly as ‘Professor Chevreuse’, Triangle mage.”

    However, this failed to subdue the rebellious Rockets; on the contrary, they gaped at her before bursting into raucous laughter. “You…a Professor?” Meowth groaned from overindulgent humor. “Get real!”

    “You’d be lucky to be an aide to one!” Jessie declared.

    “I don’t know,” James said halfheartedly, “Some Professors are willing to set aside competence in their assistants as long as they work hard. Still, I’m not sure that applies here…”

    “I assure you,” Professor Chevreuse said, drawing herself up, “I have earned the title of Professor as right for my considerable power in Earth magic.”

    “Listen,” Meowth said, “Where we come from, the title ‘Professor’ is one of the best titles you can receive.”

    “It certainly is,” James said, “It’s practically next to Master in distinguishment. And it takes far more than a narrow focus on one element to reach that level.”

    “With just one element,” Jessie told her scathingly, “You’re little more than a Gym Leader. Probably less, actually; I’ve seen plenty of Gym Leaders that work with other elements.” However much Team Rocket despised the Twerp and his allies, they had to grudgingly concede that the red-haired and squinty-eyed Twerps were very skilled, far beyond their chosen elements of Water and Rock. And while the Rockets might have disdained for the goody-good Professors, they were still greatly respected figures in their world, renowned for their vast and adaptive wisdom. For this woman to have the gall to assume such a title when she clearly lacked those high qualities was simply intolerable.

    “Specializing in specific elements or means of power is one way to find strength,” James said, “But a narrow power like that is ultimately weak. To be truly strong, you need the combine all your skills, and if you don’t have enough skills learn more.”

    “And that,” Meowth told her, “Is why you’re no Professor.”

    “I…I…” Struggling yet failing to counter their argument, Chevreuse turned her ire on Louise. “And you, Miss Valliere,” she said, trying to save face, “The same applies to you. A mage must be able to properly restrain her familiar. And no talking in class either.”

    “But, I…” Louise vainly protested.

    “Since you have the time to gossip,” Chevreuse noted, a glint in her eyes, would you care to demonstrate your knowledge to the class?”

    “What?” Louise exclaimed, face turning pale.

    “Yes,” Chevreuse said, glad that she could apply at least a degree of her authority, “Try changing those pebbles to a metal of your choice.” Louise hesitated, looking fidgety, but Chevreuse sternly stared her down until she shakily got to her feet and hobbled over to her. Chevreuse felt a sense of triumph at this; even if she couldn’t control those unruly commoners, she could at least show her power in the classroom.

    However, she was caught off guard by the wide-eyed looks from the other students, who were now beginning to back up and crouch down in trepidation. “Wonder what has them so riled up?” Meowth pondered. “They’re acting like there’s an Electrode in the room.”

    “Professor Chevreuse,” Kirche called nervously, raising her hand.

    “Yes?” she responded in a frustrated voice, clearly having had enough problems with the class.

    “I think it would be best if you didn’t let her,” Kirche said, the other students nodding in desperate agreement, “It’s…dangerous.”

    “Dangerous?” Chevreuse asked, blinking cluelessly.

    Sighing, Kirche observed, “This must be your first time teaching Louise, right?” There always was someone in the Academy who somehow had not heard of the Zero.

    Shaking her head ignorantly, Chevreuse said, “It is, but I’ve heard that she is a hard worker. Now Miss Valliere,” she continued, “Please begin. You won’t learn if you dread making mistakes.”

    “Don’t, Louise!” Kirche yelled in terror.

    Louise looked ready to listen to her and return to her desk when her familiars yelled, “You can do it Boss! The lady’s right on that point: you can’t get worried about messing up. Always keep your eyes forward, and never give up! That’s the Team Rocket slogan right there!”

    Boosted by their encouragements, she said, “I’ll do it,” and began to anxiously chant the necessary spell. Team Rocket stared in awe at their Boss as she began to wave her wand.

    “Some girl,” Meowth said, enamored by her shining face.

    “Keep your paws off the Boss!” Jessie told him, squashing him with a fist, “And find someone else to fawn over. Although,” she conceded, she is rather pretty.”

    “Wonder why she’s not very popular then,” James mused, observing the students cowered beneath their chairs. Jessie opened her mouth to speak, but stopped in recognition of the students’ reaction. They were waiting for something. She quickly turned back to Louise, trying to solve the mystery. Her puzzlement was suddenly resolved, as the entire room was engulfed in a massive explosion.

    In contrast to the chaotic pandemonium in the classroom, Team Rocket remained serene through the entire disaster. To them, time seemed to slow down as they marveled at the glory of Louise’s explosion. The speed, the grace, the power… Each turned to the others and nodded, now firmly committed to their new mission. They had been reluctant before, but now they felt a new calling. Distant yet familiar emotions raced through their bodies, bringing them back to a day long ago in Viridian, where another explosive attack had changed their lives forever. In the face of such glory, how could they turn back?

    In contrast to the chaos below, things were at peace in the Headmaster’s Office, perched high up in the central tower. Sir Osmond, current Headmaster of the Academy, sat complacently at his sequoia desk while his green-haired secretary steadfastly continued her notes. While the restless students and professors made life difficult elsewhere, at least the headmaster could set an example for good form. At least, that was the outside appearance. In actuality, the secretary, keeping a side glance on Osmond, knew that, given the headmaster’s current expression of boredom, things were going to fall apart in less than a minute.

    Sure enough, Osmond drew out a pipe from his desk, preparing to blow out in a sigh. She frowned at this and began to wave her quill. The now enchanted pipe floated away from the expectant master over to the secretary, who maintained a stoic expression even while she internally smirked at Osmond’s annoyance. Striding over to her, he gravely declared, “Is it fun taking away a man’s pleasure, Miss…er…”

    “Longueville,” she supplied, “And managing your health is part of my job, sir.”

    “If the days keep passing by so peacefully,” he complained, “Figuring out how to spend time is going to be a problem.” With the emphatic sigh at the end, one might almost believe him. However, Longueville was not fooled. People usually assumed his age to be about one hundred; a few, more inquisitive ones leaned more towards three hundred. But in reality, nobody knew his true age. Not even Osmond himself, who likely didn’t remember that anymore. A man like Osmond was well accustomed to elderly age, and had been able to stave off melancholy for decades, perhaps centuries. No, while Osmond was certainly restless, his supposed woe at boredom was merely a veil for his next game, evident in his glances at her skirt blowing in the wind.

    “Headmaster,” she said, drawing her head up just as he was lowering his hand towards her, “Please stop saying you have nothing to do as an excuse to touch my bottom."

    Osmond began to stumble randomly, but she had only disdain for his poor acting skills. Pouting in defeat, he kept a subtle glance for his ace in the hole below Longueville while pretending to ponder. “Where do you think the ultimate truth is? Have you ever wondered that?”

    I have, she reminisced in melancholy, but outwardly glared at him and said, “I have not, but wherever it is, I assure you, it is not under my skirt, so please cease sending you mouse to peep for you.”

    “Come on out, Motsognir,” he commanded despondently, watching as a small, white mouse scurried away from Longueville’s desk. It dashed up Osmond to his shoulder and plopped down comfortably. Smiling nostalgically, Osmond offered a nut to it. “You’re my only trustworthy friend, Motsognir,” Osmond told it, seemingly lost in memories- oblivious enough to miss the subtle smirk from Longueville at his declaration, knowing the truth of the matter. The mouse looked up expectantly for another morsel, but Osmond held out his hand to shush it. “You want more. Very well, I shall give some to you. But first,” he instructed his familiar with a serious tone, “I would ask that you give your report.”

    Feigning disinterest at the animated yet indecipherable conversation between the two, Longueville tensed in preparation. The ensuing chain of events might have seemed chaotic to an outsider- even to the participants, for it was unrehearsed- but the episode was very familiar to Longueville, and she knew the stance she had to take. Her cue came when Osmond told Mostognir, with a teasing smirk towards her, “Miss Longueville should stick to black. Plain black and white, even when hidden, simply lack the delicacy of femininity.”

    Twitching accordingly, she smoothly stated, “Old Osmond, the next time you do that, I’m reporting it to the palace.” It was an empty threat, as the old master still had strong bloc within the court politics; plus, she couldn’t risk sending a petition without compromising her mission at the academy.

    However, Osmond reacted with an enraged flash in his eyes, quite unexpected for a frail-looking man, and began to tirade his secretary for her cheek. “Don’t get so prissy just because I peeked at your underwear!” he ranted, all while carefully leaning into her to caress her bottom. “At this rate you’ll never get married! Ah, to be young again…” Longueville had to admit, Osmond’s rants about youth and life always touched her, making her almost hesitant to shift to the next stage of the drama.

    Fortunately, the master’s crass and perverted nature always managed to extinguish her sympathies. Letting loose a kick directly at his groin, she smirked as the spry old man was knocked back before leaping into the ensuing fray. As the two played chase through the small chamber, Osmond, having received the majority of the blows, vainly pleaded for mercy. “Ack! How can you! Treat an elder! In this way! OW!”

    Longueville ignored his pleas, partially because of her justifiable anger, but also because she knew that the master would be greatly disappointed if his excitement for the day came to an end too soon. She had taken careful notes prior to acquiring her position as his secretary, and had kept meticulous track of the many secretaries that came and went. One thing had become clear to her- the girls fired the quickest were actually the mellowest of the batch, regardless of their…exterior appeal. It was a surprise to her at first. Old Osmond certainly had distinct tastes. It was in part with her display at a bar he frequently visited that she was able to secure her contract, after all.

    But Omsond had a deeper motivation. He was a very old and mysterious man, a person known to all yet known by few. Most of his life had passed him by already, even if much of it was still to come given his apparent immortality. While he had grown somewhat used to the inevitable melancholy of aging, he still sought to relive his youth. And this meant excitement. She doubted that Osmond had little idea of what to do if he somehow managed to coerce a lady to his room- not that he had succeeded, given his appearance. His true joy lay with the chase, even if this meant that he was at the losing end of said chase. Longueville had to admit that she herself found a thrill rush through her with the chaotic life of the headmaster.

    It almost made her consider staying there indefinitely. She had certainly done well so far; she had already kept her position for three months, the longest time ever according to her research. But she shook her head of that whimsy. For one, it would not be long before reports began to trickle in from the surrounding area. Although her position would give her an effective cover during an investigation, someone would eventually find out, and she could not risk compromising her carefully-constructed identity. Second, her mission would eventually clash directly with the school, throwing her straight into the fire.

    Also… She slumped in despair for a second, causing Osmond to pause in his cowering, only to return to her assault with increased vigor to hide her dropped guard. Although she had a degree of empathy for Osmond’s nostalgia for the past, his rosy vision disgusted her. For all his wisdom, Old Osmond was the same as the rest of the nobles, ignorantly hoping for adventure without knowing its price. Once she was the same, believing she could change the world, or be the maiden to a knight that could. But she knew that price now, very hard, and kept the lesson dear to her heart. She still clung desperately to her idealism, but found it rapidly jaded by her story of treachery and sorrow.

    Therefore, Longueville was slightly relieved when a staff member unexpectedly burst in, drawing their scuffle to a halt. She looked up to see a near-bald man in faculty garb, evidently a professor. Noticing the distinct spectacles dangling on his nose, she recognized him. Professor Colbert. Infamous in the academy for his eccentric interests, he was mostly dismissed by his peers. However, Longueville looked on intrigued. Although she did not give the appearance, she had a great interest in knowledge, even if she preferred exploiting them to her advantage.

    And Colbert was the foremost historical expert in the school, and perhaps all of Tristain. This, combined with his innovative approaches to the world, a method that she wholeheartedly approved of, made him an unparalleled researcher, whose discoveries always had some import. She was especially certain of this, as the professor had been given temporary leave in exchange for leading the familiar ritual yesterday. For him to come to the headmaster definitely meant that he had uncovered something massive.

    Quietly sliding back to her desk, Longueville returned to her writing. She quietly slipped a sheet of blank paper in with the rest for notes of her own; it paid at times to complete memos ahead of schedule, as it gave her an effective cover. “What is it?” Osmond asked in annoyance.

    “I…I…I have big news!” he exclaimed.

    “There is no such thing as big news,” Osmond reminded him dismissively, “Everything is but a collection of small events.” Behind her desk, Longueville nodded at that proverb. The headmaster could actually show great wisdom, when he wasn’t bored. She’d learned ever since the tragedy to take note of every minute detail around her, as the importance might not be clear until later. Perhaps if someone had noticed the hints of trouble, the tragedy might not have happened, and things would have gone on the way they had. Well, no use pondering over the lost.

    “P-P-Please,” Colbert insisted, thrusting a book at Osmond, “Take a look at this.”

    “This is ‘The Familiars of Founder Brimir,’” the headmaster noted dryly, clearly displeased at the interruption. “Are you still going around digging up old literature like this? If you have time to do that, why don’t you think up some better ways to collect fees from lazy nobles? Mister…” Osmond was actually very good with names, but had a habit of ‘forgetting’ them, especially when he was feeling stubborn.

    “It’s Colbert,” he said hastily, unwilling to drop the matter. “Please take a look at this also.” With that, he handed a small sketch to Osmond. Longueville remained at her desk, but shifted her gaze out to the window and the noon’s beams on Halkeginia. It would seem that she was simply admiring the view, which was exactly what she intended to convey. But her eyes were focused on just one small, dented piece of glass. She had taken note of the miniscule fragment for one special property it had: due to its alignment with a slightly reflective decoration on the ceiling, a hawk-eyed observer could make out an overhead view of the headmaster’s desk. Right now, she was trying to make out just what Osmond was looking at. The sketch appeared to show the markings of some sort of runic name, though she couldn’t make out the name. Suddenly, her eyes jerked at the open book in revelation, having seen an identical match on the page.

    Her discovery was just in the nick of time, as Osmond closed the book a second later, his face turning serious. “Miss Longueville,” he addressed her, “Could you please leave us?” She nodded and stepped out the door, giving every indication of a walking stride. Once out the door though, she covertly slipped to the side and set an ear on the wall. Although the conversation was muffled, her Earth talent allowed some snippets to reach her. Something about the runes being found on the hands of some familiars. Hands? This was a surprise. She had at first thought they were talking about a familiar, but they seemed to be referring to a human. A human familiar? While discussing the Founder? This could not be a coincidence.

    Longueville leaned in closer, desperate to learn just a tad more, and made out a name that made her stiffen in shock and awe: ‘Gandalfr’. The Left Hand of God. Eyes sparkling with inner fire, she discretely yet determinedly strode off in a hurry, seeking to learn more about this unexpected turn of events. She had resigned herself to her mission, but if this rumor was correct, she might have a chance to fulfill her own dream. Other may try to break her, but she had triumphed, and always would, as long as she kept a nostalgic image in the back of her mind, that of a family laughing and watching the land clouds and sky below. That scene was no more, buried behind treachery. But another memory drifted to her of a small cottage in the woods, where a blonde woman with pointed ears tended to childen. Not all was lost, not as long as she could still fight. No matter what happened, she would fight for her family. And those who would break it for their selfish means would regret that they ever left her alive, this she vowed!

    “That should do it,” James spoke with a note of satisfaction as he placed the final brick into the wall.

    “Yep!” Meowth agreed. “We just need to do a little sweeping and we’ll be all done!”

    “Finally,” Jessie groaned, heavily exhausted from the work.

    “I can’t believe that ‘professor’ made us fix the whole room. I mean, most of the damage was caused in the riot, and that can’t all be blamed on us.”

    “We did start the fight though,” James pointed out, “And irked the teacher, leading to the second incident.”

    “That’s her own fault for being a poor teacher,” Jessie insisted stubbornly, “Our own hands are entirely- well, almost, at least- clean of this affair, and she had no right to make us pick up her own mess!”

    “Chill out, Jess,” Meowth said, “It’s not like this work is new to us. So let’s just work with what we can.”

    “Are you suggesting giving up?” Jessie demanded.

    “Of course not,” Meowth said, a glint in his eyes. “If you have ta do something you don’t want to, ya suck it up, and den later get some payback!”

    “Fine!” Jessie said, returning to her work. “But that ‘professor’ better not try any Mankey business next time we have class together!” Still, she seemed to apply the same level of enthusiasm to the job as her partners.

    Louise watched her familiars’ antics from her seat at the stairs, a mix of bemusement and sadness on her face. She struggled to focus on their bumblings so that she did not have to drift back to memories of her most recent humiliation. And, of course, the teacher reprimanded Louise for the disaster she caused- as if she had a choice in the matter! James’ point that the majority of the damage was from the earlier riot did nothing to soothe Mrs. Chevreuse’s frayed nerves, and she had ordered the four of them to repair the room by hand, with magic forbidden. Not that Louise would use any magic; she didn’t want to risk any further catastrophes.

    At least the work was not taking as long as she had anticipated. Her familiars had finally proved their worth by offering to do the work while she- the ‘Boss’- rested. She was going to have them do the brunt of the work anyways- while she handled the more delicate tasks that might be somewhat befitting of a noble- but they eagerly took up the entire job, insisting that they were experts at cleaning. And they certainly were, judging by the speed at which they had cleaned the room. She had expected to not be finished until lunch, if not after, but they were almost done now with hours before lunch.

    She’d like to see the look of her peers when she was waiting for them in the dining hall, spoiling their hopes that she would be preoccupied for hours. However, her joy at this was dampened by the returning feelings of worthlessness that she received whenever she tried to perform magic. Maybe she should have done more of that work after all, a voice whispered in her head; after all, she would be doing plenty of that in a few years.

    “Boss?” Louise returned to reality to see her three familiars staring at her in concern, their faces just inches away from hers. “Whah!” she cried, falling backwards before being caught by the stairs.

    “Now what?” she asked in a tone of aggravation; however, she was secretly relieved that she had a diversion from her melancholy.

    Unfortunately, their following words drove back her tempest of emotions: “Are you feeling okay? You look a little pale.” She lowered her head into her hands, desperately trying to stave the coming tears.

    To her surprise, the three wiped away her face, trying to comfort her. “It’s okay,” James said, “It’s not like you did anything wrong.”

    “Dat’s right!” Meowth added, “It’s not your fault that so-called ‘Professor’ has no tolerance for collateral damage.”

    “In any case,” Jessie assured her, we’re prouder than ever to serve you. You were so great today!”

    Heart flaring at those words, Louise angrily shoved them off her. “Don’t feign sympathy!” she spat out. “You know as well as I do that I completely botched that spell, so don’t pretend that I succeeded at something!”

    Her anger dissipated slightly though as she took in her familiars’ faces, which were filled with sincere shock. “What’re ya talking bout?” Meowth asked. “That explosion was fantastic! Did you see the power of that thing?”

    “Maybe she didn’t realize its potency,” James suggested, “After all, our fight before had already caused a lot of damage, so maybe she didn’t notice…”

    “I am well aware of my explosions’ power,” Louise grated out, “And they are my utter bane. Why do you think everyone calls me 'Zero'? Every spell I try inevitably ends up like this: an utter disaster.”

    “Hey,” Jessie told her, “So what if you don’t do what everyone expects?”

    “Huh?” Louise mumbled dumbfoundedly.

    “If you focus on one narrow goal,” Jessie said, “You miss your other skills, even when they are just as good as your other goal.”

    “And your explosions are definitely a useful talent,” James noted, “Albeit poorly suited for this environment. But that is the administration’s fault- like that teacher- and not your own. As long as you have skills to take with you into the real world, you’re doing great.”

    “But, there’s nothing good about my explosions,” Louise protested.

    “Nonsense!” Jessie said with confidence, “Your explosions were just beautiful.”

    “Dey sure were,” Meowth said, eyes shining in idolization. “With that power, you might be even as strong as Pikachu!”

    “No, stronger,” James argued, “Pikachus know their attacks from the day they can walk. She doesn’t know her power yet, but think about how much stronger she’ll be when she harnesses it.”

    “For sure!” Meowth nodded.

    “Are you positive my explosions are an asset?” Louise asked skeptically, “It seems to me that they’re only good for destroying things. Classrooms, trees, keepsakes…”

    “You’re missing the point entirely,” Jessie said, “You said the clincher: destroy. You could destroy fortresses, armies, even mountains maybe. There’s always someone who objects to destruction, but we’ve found that a good dose of destruction can always find a good use.”

    “Perhaps you have a point,” Louise admitted hopefully, “But what is this Pikachu?”

    “Only the most powerful Pokemon in the world,” Meowth boasted, believing every word.

    Louise’s eyes glimmered at this notion. Pokemon seemed to be magical beasts, so what would this Pikachu be like? A dragon? A manticore? “Show me what it looks like,” she commanded, unable to stop a tinge of enthusiasm from seeping into her authorative voice.

    “Let’s see,” James mumbled, shuffling through a set of cards before stopping at one. “Ah! Here you are,” he said, handing the picture to Louise. Louise took the card and began to examine the picture, her brows furrowing.

    “Just terrifying isn’t it?” Meowth commented, the team oblivious to their master’s boiling irritation. “I tremble just looking at that thing. So strong and fearsome…”

    Their dreamy idolization was cut short as Louise suddenly burst out with rage, “Is this a joke?”

    “Huh?” Team Rocket blinked, “What joke?”

    Huffing in fury, Louise thrust the card in their face, revealing a small yellow rat resting innocently in a bed of flowers. “This is what you are comparing my power to?” she demanded, eyes tearing up amidst her fire. “A tiny mouse? That’s all the power I have?”

    “Now hold on Boss,” James said desperately, holding up his arms placating. Unfortunately, it was already too late.

    “I’ll show you my power!” Louise screamed as she let loose yet another explosion in the classroom, turning the ruins into…dust, and lots of rubble.

    Louise left the now twice ruined classroom in a huff, her stupid familiars still lying conked out on the floor. The nerve of them! Getting up her hopes, only to compare her to some pathetic rat! Though, she had to admit, she had never considered the practical application of her botched spells. Her explosions were certainly destructive and terrifying, given her infamy in the school. Was it possible that those explosions themselves were a source of power themselves?

    Louise shook her head. That still did not help her; she would remain a Zero that could not use normal magic like everyone else. Still, maybe she could use her explosions for something more. She supposed that she had to thank her otherwise-useless familiars for that inspiration; perhaps she would reward them with an extra piece of bread tomorrow.

    “Ow!” Team Rocket moaned simultaneously as they pulled themselves up slowly.

    “I still can’t believe she hit us over such a trivial issue,” Jessie muttered.

    “You would have thought that she would take it as a compliment,” James sighed. “Pikachu is the strongest of all Pokemon; why does nobody seem to know that?”

    “Because the protagonists need ta be inconspicuous if da producers want to keep the show moving forward,” Meowth said. After the two looked at him in befuddlement, he sighed and said “Never mind.”

    “Alright,” Jessie said, collecting her wits, “It’s obvious that our Boss needs something to cheer her up. And we’re going to do that by bagging her a new familiar. Meowth,” she instructed him, “You come with me to catch that Charmaleon. James,” she continued, “You find some other creature to snag. Maybe that Octillery.”

    “But Jessie,” James protested, “Where am I going to find it?”

    “That’s your problem,” Jessie said dismissively, turning to leave. “Come on Meowth, we have a familiar to steal for Team Rocket!”

    “Not Team Rocket!” Meowth said.

    “What?” Jame and Jessie asked in confusion.

    “This is a new start for us, ain’t it?” Meowth noted. “And ‘Zero’ has a nice ring to it.”

    “We do usually end up being the zeroes,” James sadly agreed.

    “Then it’s settled,” Jessie said firmly, “Let’s give it all for Team Zero!”
  17. firefossil

    firefossil I have charts. Lots of charts.

    I bet that Longueville is either going to end up as a new member of Team Rocket, or their greatest rival.
  18. In canon, IIRC, it is mentioned that cat familiars can talk.

    I'd imagine Louise getting more flak if a cat familiar couldn't.

    edit: wow, the second chapter is infinitely better than the first. It certainly caught my attention.
  19. Iceblocks

    Iceblocks Archivist

    I stand corrected, thank you.
  20. I have great plans for Fouquet, but they really won't come into play until season 2, when the Reconquista is gone.
    AngelicKnight likes this.
  21. Sliverlord

    Sliverlord Back to Ending Evolution...

    Love the 4th-wall break there with Meowth. He was always my favorite anyway. Ah, the snark... Fun story.
  22. Robo Jesus

    Robo Jesus Your Mechanical Messiah


    Finally, it comes to fruition!
  23. Edit: Made a small change to the end of Episode I.
  24. koolerkid

    koolerkid Lord of All Things

    Well this is awesome. Please please please tell me that the Guiche duel will still happen. Golems vs. Pokemon! Yes please!
  25. Sliverlord

    Sliverlord Back to Ending Evolution...

    *Imagining the fight against Foquet.*

    Wonder whether they'll get their own mecha for this. They seem to be able to get them on short notice and for seemingly trivial reasons.