Lucario wanted to run the entire way to the Ranger base. With as much pain as I was in, I couldn’t go as fast as it wanted me to. Pons was waiting for us at the entrance to the village with two hoverboards.
“Still can’t move very well, can you,” Pons said, rubbing the back of his head.
“This will help a bit more,” Pons said, handing me a hoverboard. “I can give you the gist of it. You use your aura to make it work. Just concentrate your aura to your feet.”
Pons demonstrated by jumping onto the hoverboard, making it float. I clapped in amusement and set my hoverboard on the ground since there was no way I could jump. I got on and did as he instructed. Instead of hovering, I shot straight into the air. Pons came up after me and wrapped his around me to stop me.
“Oooh,” I said, turning to him and batting my eyes.
“In your dreams, pretty boy,” Pons said, letting go. “Now, in order to move around, you lean forward to go straight, twist to go right or left and lean backwards to slow down. You got all of that?”
“Okay then, let’s go!”
Pons took off before I had a chance to get the darn thing to move forward. He was pretty agile on his board while I was all over the place. I wasn’t even going that fast and I was deathly afraid of running into trees. Pons noticed I was having a hard time and came back over to me.
You know it’d be a bit easier for a beginner to use your aura to see where you’re going,” he said.
“Oh,” I said.
I hadn’t even thought of that.
Using my aura helped a bit more. Somehow, I can slow things just a bit more using my aura. That way it was easier to judge how I could go through the trees.
We arrived at the Ranger base and I got off my hoverboard and motioned Pons to do the same. I searched along the backside of the building for an air vent. I found one right along the ground. I used my aura to unscrew the screws that held the vent cover together. Pons was amused by that.
“Okay, use your aura to f-find him,” I said to Lucario.
Lucario closed his eyes and his cornrow things floated up. Pons kept an eye out for Rangers or my friends.
“So, about what we were talking about earlier,” Pons said, leaning against the wall, “What do you know that everyone else doesn’t?”
“T-the red eyes,” I said, “It’s misna-misa-mis-“
“That one Ranger’s Mismagius?”
Pons stroked his chin in his thoughts. Lucario went into the vent. I felt someone coming. Even without seeing him I know it was one of my friends. I quickly put the air vent cover back on and put my foot on it to keep it in place. I leaned on the wall to look natural. Jamie turned the corner.
“Well, who’s this loser,” Pons asked.
“I was going back here to have a bit of fun by myself, and look what I found,” Jamie said, glaring at Pons. “David, it couldn’t have hurt to say that you were having fun with this guy the entire time.”
“Jamie,” I said motioning towards him and then to Pons, “Pons.”
“Pons. Not the type of name I’d be screaming out at the end of the day,” Jamie said.
“Isn’t Jamie a girl’s name,” Pons asked.
Jamie and Pons were glaring at each other. There was a lot of tension in the air.
“Eh, eh,” I said, trying to calm the two.
“Don’t you know that hair style is so two years ago,” Pons said.
“Oh yeah? You smell like dirt and sweat.”
“If you worked in the fields all day, you’d smell like that too.”
Jamie scoffed. “Boonie.”
Jamie gasped. “How fucking dare you.”
Pons stuck his face in Jamie’s.
“You got a problem with me, bub?”
“I have a problem with you manipulating my friend, there.”
“Manipulating him to do what?
“I haven’t figured it out yet, but you’re going to have to pay for it.”
“Fine, bring it on,” Pons said, pulling up his sleeve.
Jamie struck a pose and motioned Pons to bring it on. Pons went straight for it and tackled Jamie to the ground. I felt something tug my pant leg. I move, letting the air vent cover drop to the ground. I walked over to where Jamie and Pons were fighting.
“Go, Jamie, go,” I said in the most monotone voice I could.
“I don’t need your cheer, help me, dammit,” Jamie growled.
I glanced up to see Riley and Lucario crawling out of the vent. I pointed over to where the village was at. Riley gave me a salute, put his hat on and he and Lucario ran off. I kicked Pons in his side. He coughed and cured up in a ball. Jamie stood up and pulled his hoodie up.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Jamie said, jumping around, “All talk and no bite. Just like boonies are! Us big city guys can bring it up!”
I jumped on Pons, pinning him to the ground.
“Eh, eh,” I shouted, motioning him to get help.
“Right, you hold him there, while I get help,” Jamie said.
Jamie ran away and I let Pons go. I held out a hand to help Pons up, but he pushed me away, getting up on his own. I pushed him and we ran over to where the hoverboards were and got on them. I could have sworn I heard Jamie start swearing up a storm. If I got caught running away with Pons, he was going to murder me.
When we caught up with Riley, Pons jumped off his board and started running alongside him.
“Are you alright,” Pons asked.
“I wasn’t,” Riley said, “but I feel a lot better now that I’m out of there thanks to you guys.”
“S-sorry,” I said.
“You don’t need to say anything,” Riley said. “I don’t need to hear it right now. We really have to get to Atmora!”
“What’s up,” Pons asked.
“The Rangers and Ed’s friends are planning something really terrible.”
“What,” I asked, feeling my stomach sink.
“I’ll explain everything later.”
“Here, then. I’ll you borrow my hoverboard,” Pons said.
“Thanks, I owe you.”
“Don’t worry about me. You guys hurry up back to town, alright?”
Riley and I nodded. Riley got on the hoverboard, grabbing Lucario’s hand and pulling him up. He took off with such speed. Pons stopped running to catch his breath.
“Good luck,” Pons shouted, waving his hand.
I could hardly keep up with Riley I ended up hovering over the trees so that I didn’t have to worry about running into them. When we got back to the village, Riley landed in front of the entrance.
“Riley, where have you been,” a guard asked. “We all thought you’ve been captured by the Rangers.”
“Look, we have an emergency situation,” Riley said. “Can you gather everyone around together into the center of town in about fifteen minutes or so?”
“What’s going on?”
“Just do what I ask, alright?”
“Okay,” The other guy said, confused.
“Oh, and when you see Officer Jenny, tell her to gather as much information as she can on The Band of Seven.”
I held my breath. It was as I feared.
“Ed, come with me,” Riley said, grabbing my hand.
“Eh,” I said.
He dragged me all the way to the mansion. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to explain that my friends were on the Ranger’s side and I wasn’t. Somehow, I was hoping that I didn’t have to face off with them. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to hurt them.
Riley went to the kitchen and grabbed some water and food from the fridge.
“Y-You know that I,” I started to say.
“Don’t say anything,” Riley said with a mouth full of food, pacing the kitchen.
“I d-don’t want to-“
“What’s going to happen is going to happen,” Riley said, taking a swig from his drink and cramming more food into his mouth. “If they’re really your friends then they’ll forgive you.”
I looked down. I sure hope that would be the case. They’re going to be as sore as hell for the longest time, though.
I grabbed my journal and prepared a short speech regarding the girl and her Mismagius. I could feel Riley hovering over my shoulder. I elbowed him, making him choke on his food.
We walked back to the middle of town with Riley still finishing up his meal. I didn’t realize how many people were in town. Officer jenny and one of the guards brought in some maker boards to write things down and plan. I wasn’t feeling all that brave, so I sort of stood behind Riley.
“Can everyone hear me,” Riley shouted.
Everyone turned their attention to us. I could feel everyone’s eyes burning a hole into us.
“Okay, as you all know, I sort of went missing last night,” Riley started. “I was captured last night by the Rangers.”
Everyone started voicing their concern for him. Riley held up a hand and continued.
“Ed here managed to escape and with his help, was able to get me out of there as well. However, while I was there, I used my aura to spy on them. I couldn’t hear them, but I think I know what they’re up to.”
“What is it,” someone shouted.
“They’re planning on burning the village down.”
Everyone gasped and mumbled along themselves. My nerves were starting to eat away at me. I was starting to feel ill. I sunk further behind Riley, feeling my heart race in my chest. He noticed me and put a hand on my shoulder.
“They’ve lied and are planning to pay a special team to carry out the mission. These guys are pretty ruthless and have a reputation of being really good and carrying things though.”
I scratched my back. He was making them sound like a bunch of milled aged roughnecks.
“I’ve asked Officer Jenny to get as much information on them as possible,” Riley said, motioning to Jenny.
“Huh? Oh, is it my turn now,” Jenny stammered, filing through some papers. “Okay, um, I don’t know how to use a printer very well, so you probably can’t see these guys very well. Anyway, these guys are better known as The Band of Seven.”
People gasped and looked at each other with worry. I didn’t think we were that popular to reach a bunch of people who lived in the middle of nowhere.
“So, anyway, I’ve gathered a bit of information like Riley requested. Um, the members are as followed: The Son of Jack Daniels, Seviper and The Computer Guy of who I couldn’t find their real names, Simon DeVille, James Hewlett, Jhon the Torterra and David Guetta.”
I jumped a little at my name.
“Hey, that last guy is Ed, isn’t it,” Some guy who was standing nearby said.
“Really, he’s one of The Band of Seven,” Pons shouted from somewhere. “I thought they were a bunch of tough guys, not a bunch of scrawny pretty boys!”
“One on their own isn’t very strong,” Jenny almost interrupted, “but as a group they are very devastating.”
“Then what are you doing here,” Someone yelled at me, “You’re a spy, aren’t you?”
“Eh, eh,” I said, waving my hands.
“He’s no spy, he ended up here on accident,” Roch argued.
“How do you know that, Roch?”
“I may or may not have brought him here,” Roch said, innocently.
“Calm down, you guys,” Officer Jenny said. “This is a good thing for us. Since Dave here knows them the best, he can spill out their secrets, right?”
I shrugged. I guess I could…
“We can beat it out of him if he doesn’t,” Pons said.
I folded my arms and pointed my nose into the air.
“Pons, shut the fuck up,” Marjo exploded, “He’s been nothing but nice to us! He’s even saved the Elder! How dare you talk like he’s a bad guy!”
“It’s true,” The Elder said. “A Guardian is a pure heart. If they lose that pureness, then they lose their power. Do what you want, David. It’s your choice in the end.”
I sighed. It seemed I had a few people on my side. It wasn’t much, but I could tell them their strengths and weaknesses. With a shaking hand, I started writing these things down. I tugged on Riley’s sleeve and pointed at the board.
“You want me to read this?”
“Eh,” I said, nodding.
“O-Okay…Jack, Strengths: Being strong, kicking ass. Weaknesses: Fire. Jhon, Strengths: D-Dodging things like a majestic bastard. Weaknesses: I can’t say, don’t want to ruin his reputation. CG, Strengths: Being sarcastic. Weaknesses: Pokemon, having his personal space invaded, and loud noises. Jamie, Strengths: His cute charm and b-baby-doll eyes attacks. Weaknesses: Lies? Seviper, Strengths: Sharp shooter, e-epic hair. Weaknesses: Close combat. Si: H-He’s not here, so don’t bother…”
Officer Jenny crumbled up a piece of paper in her hands.
“Now’s not the time to be silly,” She yelled at me.
“It’s true,” I said.
“It doesn’t matter if it is,” She said, putting a hand on her face.
“Well, we can get some things out of this,” One guy said, standing up. “You said that this Seviper guy is good at shooting, but bad a close combat, right? You can exploit that, right?”
“Yeah, but you can’t exactly dodge bullets,” Riley said.
“It may be possible with an aura shield,” The Elder said. “But I suppose we’ll find out when we get to that point. So, what exactly is their plan, Riley?”
“Um, well, I’m not sure exactly, since all I had to go on were hand gestures, but it’s something like this:”
He started drawing on the marker board. He drew a big circle and labeled it “Atmora” one smaller one named “Rangers” and one under that named “BoS.”
“This here is Atmora. The Rangers are going to attack us here and try and draw away as many of us as possible. After they do that, The Band of Seven will attack from a different direction. Then they’ll set the village on fire while we’re distracted.”
“That’s a pretty good plan,” Jenny said. “We’re going to have to come up with a better counter-attack. Any ideas?”
I looked at the board, trying to come up with something. I snapped my fingers when I thought of something. I started drawing on the board. I drew an arrow from the town to the Ranger and labeled that line “Atmora” then wrote “At the same time” between that line an another line that pointed to my friends and labeled that one “David, Charlot, Pons and Riley.”
“So, are you saying that everyone attacks and at the same time, a few people go after your friends,” Riley asked.
“Are you sure you’re going to be able to take down your friends?”
I clenched my fists. Even if they were my friends, I couldn’t let them get away with this. I also felt like there was something missing. We’ve never been this vicious. If I could give up the courage to ask, then I would. In the end, with a pounding heart ready to burst, I nodded, praying for the best.
“I see. That’s our decision then,” Riley said, adjusting his hat. “Charlot, Pons, are you up to helping us take down The Band of Seven.”
“Sure, can’t back down from a challenge,” Pons said.
“I suppose,” Charlot said. “I don’t do well fighting in crowds anyway.”
“Okay, so that’s what we’ll do then,” The Elder said, coming to the front. “Everyone that’s able to will hold off the Rangers while Riley, Charlot, Pons and David go after The Band of Seven. If I were younger, I’d help out, but instead, I have no choice but to stay here with the children and protect the village as a last resort.”
“Good, sounds like a plan then,” Riley said, clapping his hands together. “We’ll meet up in our respective groups when the sun goes down. Until then, we need to get ready.”
Everyone started to depart. I held the journal up to my chest and sighed in relief. The meeting went better than I expected. Wait, why did I grab my journal again?
“Oh, ah! I forgot,” I said, “I have s-something I need to tell everyone.”
Everyone paused and glared at me. I froze in fright. I opened my journal, nearly dropping it in the process.
“Um, uh,” I said, holding the journal up to my mouth,” I don’t know if everyone knows this, but I’ve stayed here to try and figure out why people are going crazy. Last night I sort of went crazy and I figured it out. It’s one of the Ranger’s Mismagius. It uses hypnosis on people to get them to do weird things.”
“I’m not even surprised anymore.”
I sighed. I finally spoke to a ton of people and this is the response I get?
I walked back to the place I was staying at. I flopped down on the bed and buried my face in the pillow. How’d it come to this? I can’t imagine having to fight my friends like this. I’ve know them for as long as I can remember. They’re my family since I don’t know if I have one or not. What would possess them to do such a terrible thing? They must have been offered a lot of money to ignore any moral reasoning. If I could, I would try to talk them out of it.
I heard a knock at the door. I picked my head up, wiping away my tears. It was still light out. I growled, bothered by being interrupted by my misery. I opened the door to see Marjo standing there.
“Um, are you alright,” She asked, inviting herself in.
“Nope,” I said, annoyed.
“You’re quite something for being quiet and getting up in front a bunch of people like that,” She said, sitting on the bed.
I let out the most annoyed laughter I could muster. It’s really not that hard standing in front of a bunch of strangers.
“But really, why are you so quiet?”
I wish I knew the answer to that, I really do.
“I mean, you’re not all that shy,” She said, getting up and walking over to me. “You know I kinda like that. It’s not that often you meet a guy like you.”
I backed up into the door. She put her hands on my chest. She had sort of a glow to her eyes. Even in such a rotten mood, I was kinda turned on. Before I could react, her lips pressed against mine. They were soft and tasted like freshly brushed spearmint. Like an idiot, I stood there for a while, letting her kiss me. It was almost like a dream.
She put her hands on my thighs near my crotch and I snapped to. I pushed her away and put my hand on my back.
“Ach,” I cringed.
“Are you alright,” Marjo asked.
“Eh,” I said and groaned.
I hobbled back over to my bed and laid down.
“Are you hurt?”
“Aw, I’m sorry. I’ll go back to my house and get some pain medication, alright?”
“Eh,” I said, waving my hand.
When she left, I got up and walked over to my bag, picked it up and left the house, almost running into Pons.
“What are you doing fooling around with Marjoline,” He demanded, grabbing me by the shirt.
“I-I’ll admit I got a bit carried away,” I scoffed, readjusting my backpack. “But I ain’t d-doing that again. T-treating me like an ex-exotic animal.”
Pons snarled at me.
“L-Look, you really like her, I can tell,” I said, putting his hands down. “I-It’s none of my business, bu-but you ought to tell her how you really feel. Treat her right. That kinda thing.”
“Hmph,” Pons said.
I started walking away.
“Where are you going,” he asked.
“Riley’s. I’m trying to avoid her, you see? D-Don’t send her after me.”
“Sure thing. I’ll tell her right when she comes back.”
I know he was trying to make me mad, but instead, that put a big grin on my face.