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Old 06-29-2019, 10:16 AM   #1
Maskerade
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Father & Son


Where the hell did I go wrong?...

The joint was about as shady, unkempt and poorly frequented as they came, but he hadn’t come for the pleasure of anyone’s company. This was one of the few places around where nobody asked questions, even when he was on his way to the fourth straight smoke and the fifth glass of whisky.

The TV on the wall was appropriately ancient, and the feed died and resumed frequently, but what little he caught of the evening news was more than enough.

«The main suspect is a teenage boy with a distinctly Galarian accent, according to witnesses on the scene. Unfortunately, nobody could accurately describe him, and the suspect remains at large.»

A cloud of smoke escaped from beneath the man’s thick, messy beard, lazily rising and dispersing in the already-saturated air of the back alley bar.

A whole trio of Kanto starters. Bloody hell Ray…

Even though they hadn’t spoken in years, the boy was still his responsibility. After all, he was his son.

Not that being my kid was ever gonna be easy, but he didn’t have to turn out a bloody wanted criminal either…

Their relationship had been rocky for years. Ray’s mother had passed away when he was only five, after a tragic encounter with a wild Arbok; since then, it had only ever been the two of them.

Blake Allen was once a venerated Trainer in Galar, known as “Breaker Blake” in the pro circuit. Many years before Bea had come into ownership of Stow-on-Side’s Gym, Blake stood as its top Trainer, a wall of power that ended the journey of countless challengers. Such was his notoriety that he was once considered for the spot of Elite Four, a rank that was never made official in the region. He famously denied taking any students under his wing, but the Pokemon he did accept to train would go on to become legendary in their own right.

Time passed, as it always does, and Blake grew tired of his position as Gym Leader – the role was demanding, all-consuming, and his son was old enough to start complaining about his absence. To make matters worse, he was utterly annihilated in the Badge defense that would come to be his last, by a young blonde man from Saffron City in Kanto by the name of Levin.
Passion to fight crushed by all these events, he resigned. Once he announced his decision to step down, however, an unexpected offer from the Galar Police Department came his way.

Bloody stupid idea to have said yes. Good money, though…

At the age of 35, Blake took the unofficial role of enforcer for the Galarian police, and tutor of its forces on the field. When particularly dangerous criminals eluded the Law, or evidence was lacking to convict them, Blake was given carte blanche to take matters into his own hands. For years since, his Fighting Pokemon flawlessly apprehended criminals on the streets, stopped shoplifters and bank robbers alike, all while Blake coordinated them from the shadows with full knowledge and consent from the Police.

It wasn’t long before Blake’s Pokemon became public heroes and were given fittingly heroic nicknames by the mass and media. Blake never took to them, but after a while, it became impossible to disassociate the vigilantes from their widespread monikers. The man himself went from “Breaker Blake” to “Hero Maker”, as he became known in the streets, his identity a mystery but his work thoroughly recognized.

Stepping away from Stow-on-Side’s Gym was supposed to give me more time with Ray. Funny how things turn out sometimes…

Blake became so caught up in his crime-fighting career that he lost sight of what was closest to him – Ray, driven by the loss of his mother, the near-constant absence of his father, and a deep burning desire to step out of “Breaker Blake’s” shadow, slowly became more and more detached and distant. Determined to carve his own path, and refusing to take the “easy road” of a Trainer – since he would, in his mind, never attain to more than “Blake Allen’s son” – Ray fled home at the age of thirteen. That was when Blake quit his job with the Police and entered a downward spiral of drinking and smoking. Crime soared for a brief while afterwards, but the Galarian Police adapted eventually, and Blake and his heroes were all but forgotten by society.

It has been five years since. Ray was now on the news, a Pokemon thief that was yet to be officially identified. But a father knows his son; all it took was a blurry shot plastered on the news, and Blake knew, even if nobody else did yet.

What have you been doin’ these past five years? Who have you become, Ray?...

His phone rang. It was three in the morning. The name on the display was familiar, but not welcome. He hung up immediately.

… Handsome. The hell do you want?

As if answering his thought, the phone rang again, this time with a text message. The sender was crystal clear in his request.

“You know why we need you back. Please, Blake. Has to be you. Give me a call.”[/i]

Blake sighed and hung his head. Handsome already knew what his answer forcibly had to be.

If I don’t get to Ray first, someone else might, and if so… bloody hell.

He downed his drink, put out his cigarette on the counter and rushed out the bar. His hand instinctively reached for the last remaining PokeBall in his belt, the only one he’d kept after all these years. He couldn’t believe it had come to this.
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Last edited by Maskerade; 06-30-2020 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:20 PM   #2
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“P-Professor? We didn’t expect you back until next week!”
“How did the field research go?”
“It’s so incredible that you got to go to Kanto and study under Professor Oak!”

The chorus of Aides was beyond annoying, but he couldn’t slip up. He had the ultimate ace in his hand, he couldn’t let it go to waste. So, he adjusted his glasses and ran a hand through his red hair, then smiled and replied as politely as he could muster without throwing up. Even the Munchlax next to him rolled his eyes.

“Thank you, yes, it was most informative. But I was feeling a little homesick, I suppose…”

He stammers more than this. Keep it together, idiot…

“S-so, uh, h-how were things in my absence?”

He dreaded to ask, but once the Aides assured him everything had been going smoothly, he let out a genuine sigh of relief. He could only keep up the act so far.

“Well, Professor Rorik? Now that your back, what should we-“

“D-day off. For everyone. G-go be with your families, enjoy the s-sun and uh… we’ll get back into it full force on Monday, h-how about it?”

It was a hard offer to refuse, and none of the Aides did. Before long, goodbyes were being exchanged, lab coats hung on the wall and the building emptied out. Only the Professor stayed behind, and after mere seconds of solitude, he burst out into laugher – an unpleasant, barely controllable fit that would’ve made any bystander uncomfortable.

Once he finally stopped and caught his breath, the young man’s appearance began to change. Glasses vanished into thin air, red hair became pitch black, lab coat became sports jacket. The Munchlax changed too, becoming a tall black fox with piercing blue eyes and a malicious grin – a rare and elegant Zoroark.

Rows of PokéBalls lined the far wall of the main room – this was where every Pokemon sent by Trainers to the “PC” ended up, ready to be remotely retrieved at any Pokemon Center computer. Ray stopped for a moment, watching the system at work in satisfied silence – Balls being periodically taken out of their pods by a mechanical arm and placed in a transporter pad next to Professor Pine’s computer before teleporting away to their owners on every corner of the earth. It was a fascinating system for all its flawless automation, but that wasn’t why he was here.

"The strongest ones. We take only those, and we leave. By the time the actual Professor Rorik returns we'll be half way across the world."

Zoroark nodded and grinned. This Ray really was a fascinating human.
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