Hounds: Level 5--Wait! Level 3 Access.

Eternal Berg, BSFT, July 9th, 2009

-=-

Six beasts,

Divided,

Among the growing world.

The Birds,

The Hounds,

The first to be unfurled.

Not One, 

But Six,

And many, many more,

The usurper,

The hound,

Redacting with a claw.

“That's pretty poetry. The question is... what does it mean?”

“It means, P, that what was suspected is in fact correct.”

“So the six...”

“They're the ones we need. Four, Five and Six are deceased, it is believed. Three is our enemy. Two has removed itself from our world.”

“And one?”

“One is simply sleeping...”

“I'll find out where at once, Mr Schwarz.”

“Please, P. Call me Stephen.”

CHAPTER TWO: HOUNDS.

The Power plant of Franc Town stood proudly over the town, overshadowing everything else around it. Vermil, who had since recovered consciousness, found himself awed by it's majesty. It wasn't particularly fancy, but something about it filled him with a boyhood wonder, as if it was something he'd wanted to be a part of building. He'd never had aspirations for engineering – he'd never had them for anything – so the thought did strike him as odd.

“Excuse me sir, you'll have to step this way.” A police officer was motioning for Vermil to enter a nearby house. 

“What? Why?” Vermil asked, innocently.

“You're with the Vice-President, right? You'll need security badges.”

“Oh, of course.” Vermil said, following the man into the house.

“This is a somewhat makeshift set-up, I'm afraid. The guardhouse section of the Plant itself isn't operational yet.” The police officer seemed upset by it.

“Why not?”

“Something about a relocated facility. They're keeping something temporary in the room. It'll be moved after the grand opening, so we can't get in until then.”

“That sucks,” Vermil said as the officer handed him several access cards. 

“These are for your entire party. Full access.” The officer smiled and Vermil shook his hand.

“Thank you,” Vermil said sweetly, before rushing back outside to resume his gazing at the building.”

The officer simply smiled, and even laughed as Vermil – in his haste – bumped into the Officer's colleague.

“You gave them only Level 3 access, right?” The other officer asked.

“Uh...”

“You didn't give them Level 5, did you?” 

“Maybe?” The officer said, blushing.

“Damn. Oh well, what Weiss doesn't know won't hurt him. We'll just blame a glitch in the security if they get found anywhere they're not meant to be. It is still brand new.” The officer's colleague sat down and put his feet up. “So what are we gonna do until the opening?”

“I dunno,” Said the officer, shrugging, “Scrabble?”

“They say that a company in Towen is making a portable, electronic version of that, you know.”

“It'll never take off. Too expensive. No one's doing science these days beyond the necessary.”

“And it's as it should be. Using Pokemon instead doesn't harm the environment... so I guess we'll just have to stick to scrabble.” He smiled and reached under his desk for the box.

--

“Celly?” A woman called out. She was in her thirties, blond, medium build. Homely, as her Argyle sweater revealed, but not unseemly. “Celly? You there?”

The reply was barely audible.

“Speak up, girl! If you can't even speak properly to your own mother, then there's something going wrong.” Again, a faint reply. She could make it out. Yet, somehow, it was off. 

“Is that Sarah with you again? Celly? You there?” The woman pushed the door open, showing her daughter Celadon staring out of the window. “What are you doing, you silly thing?”

There was no answer.

“Celadon?”

The woman pulled the girl from the window and turned her around. Face to face, she saw the glazed look in the girl's eyes. Aged just fifteen, and similarly blond, Celadon was not an imposing sight. She was just a young girl.

“Celadon? Speak to me.”

“He...” 

“What's that?” A look of strange fear took over the woman's face.

“He is...”

Fear.

“He is returning.”

Terror.

“He is returning.”

Horror.

“He is returning.”

Repetition.

“Celadon! What are you talking about?” The woman said, shaking her daughter. “What do you mean?”

“He is returning.”

--

“What is it?” Maria was crouching, staring deeply into her companion's eyes.

“Something's wrong...” The man was tapping on the floor, with great conviction. Maria couldn't understand how it was he hadn't broken his fingers at some point. They had to at least hurt.

“What's wrong?”

“I don't know.” The man was curt, upset. He stood and walked to the door, staring out of it seemingly distant. 

“What should I do?” Maria asked, out of her depth.

“I need a television. Something's happening. Get me a television.” The man turned from the door and walked back to the middle of the room, inspecting a pile of junk stacked up there. “I'll get to work on a power supply.”

“You can do that?” Maria asked, surprised.

“Of course I can,” The man said, turning and smiling, “I'm incredible.”

“You can't even remember who you are...” Maria said to herself, walking out of the door. It was thirties minutes walk to Attara City. She'd better get started to find a TV.

--

“Hi dad.” Vermil said, talking into the Pokemon Center's Telephone. “Hows things?”

“They're good,” His father said, happily. “Things are good.”

“Aunty says hi.”

“Good.” Vermil's father didn't seem to have much to say. He seemed to be a reluctant sort. “Where are you now?”

“Franc.” Vermil said, causing his father to cough a surprised cough.

“Franc? Why?”

“I met a girl, I guess. Things happen.”

“I'd put money on that NOT having the meaning most fathers want it to.”

“You know me, dad. I'm a disappointment.”

Vermil's father simply laughed and ignored the comment. “Last time I was in Franc, I was with your mother. It's where we chose your name.”

“I always wondered, why Vermillion?” Vermil asked, somewhat distantly, like he was already growing bored of the conversation and simply wanted to seem interested.

“I don't know to be honest... Just sounded right.”

“Whatever, dad. I've gotta get going.” The pair said their goodbyes and hung up the phone, leaving Vermil unsurprised by how abrupt the conversation was. It was rarely longer. 

“Hey,” Cinnabar said, poking his head through the doorway, “The ceremony is going to start in an hour. That means we've got exploration time. I think I heard that loony lot talking about looking at the building itself. The other three said something about talking to people, asking them about Saffy or anything suspicious. Sounds more like an excuse to simply relax, but whatever. That means you and I are the odd ones out.”

“I feel like I should be doing more.”

“Hey,” Cinnabar said, placing a hand on Vermil's shoulder. “This isn't your fault. Something's happened. Terrut city has disappeared and the only person left there was badly mutilated. That's not you. That's the bad guys.”

Vermil reached a hand over to Cinnabar's, smiling, and flicked it off his shoulder. “I guess we fight the bad guys then... When we see them.”

“Exactly,” Cinnabar laughed, and the pair left the pokemon centre together. “We can hound the bad guys later.”

The End

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