Chapter 29: The Mastermind of Deception

Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 35

“Welcome to the Pokémon Center!” Nurse Joy held her hands in front of her pokéball-style apron and bowed to Arven and his friends. They just made it to the high-tech, hacienda-like building. It had tall, glass windows that covered over half of it. Aside from a few people, robots roamed the lobby, and holograms popped up in different areas. The robots didn’t look like Sada, though, but trash cans, soda machines, etc.

Nemona jogged to Joy’s counter and set Meowscarada’s pokéball down on it. “Nurse Joy,” she begged, “could you please heal my Meowscarada?”

Joy tugged on her pink ponytail and studied Arven’s crowd, including Kenji. “Of course, young lady,” she said. “I’m surprised it’s not in a Holographic Ball, though. They’re the new big thing now.”

“A Holographic Ball?” Nemona asked, intrigued. Dang, she loved the future!

Joy picked up Meowscarada’s pokéball and pressed a button on her desk. “Trainers carry Hologram Pokémon in them,” she explained. A blue, see-through screen appeared in front of her. Joy swiped through a few different ones before she stopped and said, “Ah ha, here we go.” She held the pokéball up to the screen.

Beams of light caught it. They took the ball out of Joy’s hand and scanned it. With each scan, the ball spun.

Arven snuck up on Nemona, helping Sada. He wrapped her arm around his shoulders and asked Joy, “Excuse me, ma’am? I know this is a Pokémon Center, but could you by any chance spare a room for my mom here? She’s a little dizzy.” He tightened his grip when Sada started to slip out of his grasp.

“Oh wow!” Joy stopped everything she was doing and rushed out from behind her desk. She stopped in front of Sada and squealed. Joy chewed on her nails. “She’s your mom, kid? Incredible. She’s the most human-like AI I have ever seen. Man, am I jealous.”

“You know she’s an AI, too?” It was official. Arven would never be able to hide his mom’s identity in the future.

Joy grinned at him. “Of course. Only AIs can Terastallize like that. There’s a lab in Levincia that specializes in AI technology. In fact, the professor who runs it just invented the Hologram Pokémon.”

Kenji hurried to her before she could say any more. “Whoa, let’s stop right there, A—I mean, Joy. We don’t want to fill these time travelers’ heads with too much craziness.”

“Time travelers, huh?” Joy inquired, and her eyes landed on Celebi. “That makes sense. I do see Celebi.” She gave the Pokémon a quick wave.

Celebi returned it and flew in a few circles around Miraidon’s head.

“Oh, what am I doing?” Joy forgot she was on the clock. She gestured for Arven to follow her. “Follow me, son. There are plenty of rooms available.” She leaned over her desk and plucked Meowscarada’s pokéball (it flashed a little) from the holographic claws. Her attention switched from Arven to Nemona. “As for you, young lady, I’ll take your Pokémon back to the healing station.”

Nemona cheered. “Thank you! Thank you so much!” With her Meowscarada better, would she finally have the guts to battle again? Nemona missed it tremendously.

***

“Arven, what are you doing?” Sada asked when he, she, and Joy stepped through some double black doors at the back of the Pokémon Center’s lobby. They sauntered down a long, white hallway that had rooms on either side of them.

“It’s okay, Mom,” Arven encouraged. “You just need to lie down for a few minutes.” He didn’t understand why Sada was so scared all of a sudden. This was a Pokémon Center; it wasn’t Kenji’s Lab.

From out of nowhere, Sada squirmed and started to fight Arven. “No,” she whimpered, “I don’t want to be here.”

Arven fought her back. “Mom, what’s wrong? Stop squirming. You need to save your strength.”

Joy hid behind her hand and whispered, “She’s a feisty, little thing, isn’t she? She’s clinging onto the human emotions.” Closing her eyes, she chuckled and opened them again. “Here, I got her, kid.” Joy slipped Meowscarada’s pokéball into her apron and held her hands out to Arven.

He thought for a minute, and then he handed Sada to Joy.

“Thank you.” Joy dragged Sada away from him and headed for a single door at the back of the hallway.

“No, no,” Sada begged. “I don’t want to be a robot. I want to be human.”

Arven’s eyes widened. He could not believe it! Penny was right! He clutched his head and asked Joy, “What are you doing to her?”

A new grin stretched across Joy’s face. “I thought you wanted her to have her own room.”

“I’ve changed my mind,” Arven quickly stated. “She doesn’t need a room.”

Caught in Joy’s arms, Sada held her hand out to him. “Arven, please, don’t make them turn me into a robot. I want to die as a human.”

“Hush, you!” Joy snapped. She shook Sada so hard that her eyes knocked together. “You’re already a robot. You’re never going to be human.”

“No, that’s not true,” Arven said, rubbing his eyes. “I want her back. Give her back to me!” He sprinted to Joy and reached for Sada, but Joy snatched his wrist. Like his mom, she had a very powerful grip.

Joy chucked Arven away from her and held her hand up to her ear. As soon as she did, her eyes flashed sky blue. “Mastermind Turo,” she giggled, “I’ve got the boy and his mom.”

“You little—!” Arven barked. He quickly tossed Mabosstiff’s pokéball forward. “Mabosstiff!”

“Woof!” his Pokémon announced when he emerged from his ball.

Joy slipped her hand into her pocket. “Beautiful. Let’s see if the little scan up front worked.” She released Meowscarada’s pokéball, but it looked different. In the short time Joy had it in her pocket, it changed from white and red to clear and blue. “It looks like it did,” Joy told herself. Then again, the claws always did their job.

Joy threw the Holographic Ball, and Meowscarada emerged from it—healed up but now nothing more than a hologram.

“What the—?” Arven shouted. “You deceived my friend, too?”

“I prefer the term ‘upgraded’,” Joy said. “I upgraded her.”

“She loves that Meowscarada!” Arven’s blood boiled, and his face reddened. How could he be so stupid? “You’re nothing but an AI,” he concluded, “and you work for my father, don’t you?”

“I’m actually new to this whole deception thing,” AI Joy explained, “but I guess you could say that I’m eager to learn. Meowscarada, wipe that puppy right off the face of the Earth! Show him the power of the Hologram Pokémon!”

“No,” Sada begged, squirming in Joy’s arm. “Please don’t hurt him.” She reached for a pokéball of her, but she didn’t get far.

Joy ripped her lab coat off her—so she couldn’t access any of her Pokémon—and jerked on her broken arm.

“Ow!” Sada cried out.

It was at that moment Arven noticed that 70% of her body had been Terastallized, and every single crystal shimmered infrared.

At Sada’s yelp, Meowscarada sprinted for Mabosstiff and hopped into the sky. On its way down, its holographic leg hardened up so it wouldn’t go through its enemy. Meowscarada kicked Mabosstiff into Arven.

He and his trainer smashed into the floor and slid to the doors Sada, Joy, and Arven entered from.

“Well, that was easy,” Joy said. “You’re not a very powerful trainer. Aren’t you, Arven?” She recalled Meowscarada and saluted at him. “Well, toodelo.” With those words, Joy tossed Sada’s coat over her shoulder and took her to the door behind her.

She fought with everything she had and shouted, “Arven! Arven!”

“Mom!” he called back. His body ached from the crash, but he got up and wobbled after Joy and Sada.

Joy put her hand on a pad next to the door. It scanned it, and the mechanical door slid open. She booted Sada inside before she stepped in herself.

“No!” Arven bellowed, but he was too late. The door closed and trapped him on the other side. “Mom!” He tried the pad, but it didn’t work.

Mabosstiff soon joined him. He whined when his trainer started to throw his side into the pad, in an attempt to break it and force the door open.

“Ugh!” Arven screamed, pulling out a few strands of hair. He banged his hand on the door as fast as he could. “You’re a monster, Dad!” Eventually, he wore himself out and dropped to his knees.

What had Arven done? Not only did he lose Sada, but he also lost Nemona’s most prized Pokémon. And it was all because he couldn’t accept his mother’s death.


Submitted: January 25, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Viktoria Fyodorova. All rights reserved.

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