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Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by MoonFoxJ, Oct 26, 2015.

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  1. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    A.N.: New readers, keep in mind that this is a one-shot based on a character of my main story, Homeward. Currently, I am busy writing Homeward's sequel, Astray, so I suggest you read up until chapter 8 of Astray if you want to get the full effect. But if not, then just read for fun and see if you like my writing style. Anyway, your choice, enjoy! As for my old readers, I hope you enjoy because a story this long was a nightmare to write out.
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Backtrack-Lance and its characters.
    June 29
    Red Oak Police Department Training Facility
    The Leafeon didn't even turn his head as his fellow trainees, every one of them Manectric, called him "cocky bastard" or "showoff" or whatever names they threw at him. Currently, he was at the head of the large group of runners, but it's not like he intended to be here. The fact was simple; he was faster than they were, and the only way he'd break a sweat was if he ran at this pace. Oh? He could hear someone's rapid-falling footsteps behind him now. And now, he could see him from the corner of his eye. One of the Manectric were sprinting with all they had, obviously trying to beat him.
    As this was a team building exercise, the Leafeon mentally shrugged. Go ahead pal, I'm not stopping you.
    He could hear the other Manectric cheering on the guy next to him now.
    "Yeah! Go for it, man!"
    "Show that Leafeon who's boss!"
    "You got this!"
    The Leafeon knew the guy wasn't going to last though. This was a five-kilometer run, and the guy sounded like he was panting as if his life depended on it. The Leafeon however, his breath hadn't changed too drastically since the start of the exercise. All he had to do was, or chose to do, was run at this steady pace...
    Yep, there it is.
    Just as the Leafeon predicted, the Manectric couldn't keep up the sprint any longer, and had to fall back. Groans arose from the crowd behind the Leafeon, and although one would've normally felt pride at this, the victory was so miniscule, that it would've been a shame to feel such way. Also, Lance never took pride in anything he did. Really, it's not that he was just "too cool" to let something like that get to him, it was just that he was raised that way.
    March 8 (Nine years ago)
    Red Oak City
    "Please Volt, he's too young to fight!"
    "Stay out of it, Rose. He's my son, and I'll do what I want with him."
    "Lance is not your, son, he's our, son. Our seven-years old son!"
    "All the more reason to start now, when I can build him from the bottom, up!"
    "Volt, I'm begging you, please stop. If you do this now, you'll only make him afraid of you."
    "... Good."
    The little Eevee quickly snuck back into his room. He didn't know if the argument between his Manectric father and Sylveon mom was over, but he could feel it. He didn't know how, but something told him that the issue would no longer be addressed, so fearing his father would catch him for eavesdropping, the Eevee closed his bedroom door as silently as possible, and went back to his toys. He could hear his father coming up the stairs now. Two seconds passed, and his door opened to reveal a towering, frustrated Manectric, his father.
    "Lance," the Manectric called to him. "Put your toys away and come outside. I'm going to count to one hundred, and I want you out by then, do you understand?"
    "Are we going to start practicing today?" the young Eevee, Lance, asked worriedly, already cleaning up his room in haste.
    "Do you understand?" his father asked him again. There was only one right answer.
    "Yes," Lance said, trying to hide his fear.
    Without another word, Lance's father shut the door, and thumps could be heard as the Manectric made his way to the small battlefield, out back. Lance managed to shove all his action figures and building blocks under his bed, and ran out of his room, not knowing how much time he had left. His mom however, waited for him anxiously at the front door.
    Lance halted in front of his mom. "Mom, why is dad being mean to me?" Lance asked, tears threatening to spill from his eyes.
    His mom quickly brushed his eyes with her feelers. "Oh, Lance. Dad loves you, and he just wants to make sure you're prepared for your future," she said comfortingly, but didn't dare do more.
    Prepared? Future? Lance didn't know what his mom was talking about. "Why? What does that mean?" he asked.
    "Eighty!" they both heard the Manectric shout outside.
    "Go Lance. Go to dad and pay attention to what he tells you," Lance's mom told him, pushing him out the door.
    Lance was a bit hesitant to go at first, but soon understood that his mom couldn't protect him anymore, so he rushed out the door and around to the back of the apartment, desperately trying to make it to the practice field before his father counted to...
    Lance gasped for breath as he just barely made it in time onto the battlefield. He should've felt relieved that he made it on time, just like his father asked, but when he met his father's eyes, fear filled him instead.
    "Why were you so late?" his father asked him heavily.
    Lance looked down and panted, grateful for the fact that he was tired, so that he could make it look as if he was out of breath (which he was). He needed a second to think. He didn't want to get his mom in trouble, but he was a good son and had always told the truth. In fact, he wasn't even aware of the concept of truth, much less lies. To him, the words that came out of his mouth had always and automatically been the "right thing to say", as he'd been brought up to behave. But today, he didn't recognize his father, and that scared him.
    His father shouted at him, "Lance!"
    "I was putting *pant* all my toys away..." Lance responded.
    Lance could feel his father's stare piercing into him, analyzing the answer he just gave him, and he was too scared to look up. If he did, then his father would see the truth in his eyes, and it would be all over for him.
    Finally, his father ordered, "Get up."
    Lance obeyed. He met his father's eyes. They were hard as steel, but no longer were they aglow with anger, for now.
    "We're going to start with a basic Tackle attack," his father announced. "Pay close attention, Lance. I don't have the move anymore, but I already know how it works. I'm going to show you how it looks like, and then I want you to try it."
    Lance nodded. He didn't really get what his father was talking about, but he got the idea: "pay attention, because I'm only doing it once". He watched as his father crouched, cocked his legs, and sprung, shooting through the air like the superheroes on T.V. did.
    His father landed easily on his feet, and turned to him, saying "Now you try. Go."
    Lance swallowed, and tried his best to copy his father's actions. He crouched, cocked his legs, and-
    "You're just starting out," Lance's father interrupted. "So you should run first, and then attack. Since you've never used Tackle before, do it with a run until you can use it without having to."
    Lance nodded. He crouched, cocked his legs, and got a running start until he reached the middle of the battlefield. Then, he jumped just like his dad did, or at least he tried to, and fell to the ground on his side.
    "Oww," Lance whined, clutching his scratched legs. There was sand all over the fur too.
    "Lance, we don't have all day. Get up!" his father told him.
    His fear overtook his pain, and Lance rose to his feet as quick as he could. "Dad, it hurts really bad!" he cried, seeing something red dripping out of his leg. "I don't want to do this anymore!"
    "... Again!" his father merely said.
    Lance let out a shaky sigh, and got into position again. He crouched, cocked his legs, and...
    March 8 (Six years later)
    Red Oak City
    ... shot into the sky, as his Leafeon head leaf glowed a vibrant green in the form of a Leaf Blade.
    "You're too aggressive!" the Manectric scolded him, firing a Thunderbolt down at the Leafeon. "You should've stayed grounded to the earth; otherwise, you'll take the full brunt of my attack!"
    The Leafeon quickly readjusted himself and slashed at the attack, using his Leaf Tail to absorb the Thunderbolt in midair. The block was a success, and both the Manectric and Leafeon landed easily on the ground.
    "If this were any other battle," the thirteen-year old Leafeon said back between breaths. "I can't rely on hoping my opponent is an electric-type, so that I can use the ground to take less damage. I have to treat each of our battles as a variable, so that I can be ready for anything, sir!"
    "Knowing is half the battle though, Lance," the Manectric said.
    The Leafeon, Lance, took a second to reply, "Isn't it cheating if I know you, only because we do this practically every day, sir?"
    "I thought we threw "cheating" out the window when you learned how to do that."
    "Come on, Lance!" the Manectric called out. "Show your old man what you've got!"
    On instinct, Lance wanted to give his father what he wanted, but he just stared at the Manectric with caution. He just told Lance that he was too aggressive just a moment ago, and now he was telling him to go ahead and use that on him?
    "I'll use it when you actually give me a challenge, sir" Lance declared. As a kid, he never would've dreamed of saying such a thing, but now that he had power...
    Lance's father chuckled. "There you go, Lance. You're getting it now; keep a cool head, and stay on your guard. Now let's go!"
    Lance's father lunged at him with an impressive Quick Attack. Lance saw it and leapt back. At the last second, the Manectric suddenly bounced to his right, and came from Lance's left. Lance saw that too. He immediately readied Leaf Blade on his head leaf to parry, the leaf glowing with a bright green energy as it grew longer and sharper. His father suddenly slid under Lance's still-midair body, proving just how fast a seasoned Manectric could be as he now came from Lance's back.
    No time! Lance thought. More specifically, no time to readjust his Leaf Blade.
    With that, Lance's tail glowed white as he brought up his tail, and blocked his father's Quick Attack with Aerial Ace. The special thing was, was that Lance's Leaf Blade was still activated. After evolving into a Leafeon, his father pushed him to train even harder than before, and one day during a practice round, Lance panicked when he was stuck in an "either-get-thrashed-this-way-or-that-way" situation, and (completely by accident) ended up learning how to use two attacks at once, right there in the middle of the round. It wasn't enough just to avoid that situation however, and he lost that fight in the end. Now Lance was good before, even without that "ability" of his, but every day after that one, his score began to finally start catching up to his father's.
    The Aerial Ace and Quick Attack locked in stalemate, but Lance had already retouched the ground, while his father was still airborne from his lunge, but just barely. It would be enough. With a growl of effort, Lance pushed off the ground with his forelegs, and kicked back with his hind legs and tail, knocking his father back and into the air.
    This might get a bit complicated, but the old man's really bringing it today so I better do it, Lance thought, keeping both Leaf Blade and Aerial Ace still activated on his head leaf and tail, respectively.
    Seizing his chance, Lance pursued his father into the air, knowing that his opponent would want to retaliate like before. Sure enough, his father reflexively used Thunderbolt to defend, and Lance went along with it, defending with Leaf Blade like before. As they reached the peak, Lance front-flipped and slashed down with Aerial Ace on his head leaf, forcing his father to block the attack, as Aerial Ace was one of the attacks within the unavoidable category. His father grabbed his Aerial Ace with Thunder Fang, dealing minor damage to him as the attack's electric element overcame his Aerial Ace's flying element. He expected it though, so it was okay. Ignoring the shocks, Lance, slashed down once more with Leaf Blade, forcing his father to release Thunder Fang and hastily switch to Headbutt to defend. The attacks collided, and Lance's teeth jarred from the impact, but he pushed through with his assault and willed his body for just one more front-flip. Releasing Leaf Blade and Aerial Ace, his left and right ears simultaneously lengthened, sharpened, and glowed a dangerous light blue and silver.
    With X-Scissor on his left ear and Iron Tail on his right, Lance slashed down one last time with a roar, "HRRAAA!"
    Out of moves to use, the Manectric's eyes widened as the two attacks smashed onto his back, and blasted him straight to the ground.
    Lance landed on the ground and breathed heavily. That move; he had been working on it in secret. He was glad he decided to save it until he perfected it, as he showed today.
    His father took a moment to rise to his feet, but when he did, he looked at Lance with something that he guessed wasn't his father's usual strictness. It wasn't a smile though, only the very edge of becoming one. It was the same look he gave Lance when he evolved into a Leafeon, and when he learned how to use what he used just now. Now that this was Lance's third time seeing it though, he truly realized what his father wanted out of him. To make him follow in his footsteps.
    "That was impressive, very impressive!" The Manectric stuck out his paw. "Good job, Lance. You've made your father proud," the ex-cop said.
    Lance took it without thinking, and shook. "Thank you, sir."
    June 29 (Present Day)
    Red Oak Police Department Training Facility
    "Move it, cadets!" the drill instructor, another Manectric, yelled at them. "Look at cadet Lance. How can you let him get that far ahead? And he doesn't even seem out of breath! If anyone beats him to the finish line, he'll do the run again. But if no one beats him, then we're running another five!"
    At this, a huge groan arose from the Manectric crowd behind Lance.
    "Lance, come on!"
    "Slow down already!"
    "Don't screw us over!"
    Lance heard them; he just didn't listen to them. What he did do was keep this steady pace. He didn't have anything against his fellow trainees or anything. He was just here to pass the Officers' Exam so that he could finally be assigned as an official police officer. He knew that if he kept this pace, he'd pass the test for sure, so if anyone had the strength to pass him, he wouldn't stop them.
    Speak of the devil.
    One of the Manectric he'd gotten to know at the academy, Cloud was his name, pulled up ahead of the group. He could see the finish line now. It was about 300 meters away, give or take. Cloud was right behind him.
    "Go for it, Cloud!"
    "Own him!"
    Cloud! Cloud! Cloud!" they all chanted in unison.
    Lance saw his friend in the corner of his eye. They were neck and neck, but Cloud would soon pull ahead. He smiled at Lance. Lance nodded back in respect. He didn't have a problem with anyone beating him to the finish. In fact at this pace, it seemed as if everyone would pass the test. But if it was Cloud, he didn't know, it just seemed, better that way...
    The finish line was 200 meters away.
    Lance could hear Cloud's panting grow struggled, and he worried if Cloud would fall behind. But no, the Manectric kept up his sprint, and a couple of seconds later, he pulled ahead. One-quarter of a foot. Half of a foot. Cloud was now one whole foot ahead of him. The guy sounded like he was going to die, but his feet never stopped pumping, and he just kept going faster and faster. Lance was content. His friend had grown stronger than when they had just begun. Back then, no... even now, everyone isolated Lance for being the only Leafeon among them. It didn't bother Lance too much, as his father told him to expect such things, but Cloud was the only one who respected him, looked up to him, and talked to him as if he was just another normal Pokémon. Lance didn't say much back though. It's not that he didn't want to; it's just that he was out of practice since he rarely had any friends while growing up.
    The finish line was 50 meters away.
    Lance saw Cloud start to slow down. He realized that Cloud must've used up his stamina too early during that sprint. Lance checked the finish line; it was still 40 meters away. Two feet. One and a quarter feet. There was now only half a foot left between Lance and Cloud, and they were still 25 meters away from the finish. It was going to be close, too close. There was a chance that Cloud would fall behind.
    "Go, Cloud, go!"
    "You can do it, man!"
    "Don't let us down!"
    Cloud's pace continued to slow, but not as much as before. It seemed the guy was just barely holding in there. He was now only an inch ahead of Lance, but with 20 more meters to go. Lance couldn't tell if Cloud, as well as the rest of their team, could win this race or not. Time seemed to slow...
    With 10 meters left, the gap was at three-quarters of an inch.
    With 5 meters left, the gap was at half an inch.
    At 3 meters, an eighth of an inch.
    And then...
    Lance saw the video camera as he and Cloud crossed the finish together. Together wasn't the most accurate of words; Lance already (and grimly) knew who won the race. Cloud immediately stopped to catch his breath, and everyone asked "did anyone see anything?", "who won?" and other similar questions. When they approached Cloud, he tiredly shook his head. Try as he could, Cloud was just a bit too slow to beat Lance.
    "The one who crossed the finish line first is..." the drill instructor declared as he checked back on the footage. "...Cloud!"
    A chorus of cheers shot up from the team, and everyone gathered around the Manectric, congratulating him on his victory, their victory. They all lifted him up and carried him around the field until the drill instructor told them to stop "screwing around and get to the mess hall for dinner". The volume and intensity of their cheers didn't die down, and only escalated when Lance saw them enter the mess hall. Like his father, he didn't smile, but he showed something damn near to it.
    The drill instructor walked up to Lance.
    "Good job, cadet Lance," the Manectric told him.
    Confused, Lance wheeled around and faced the older Pokémon. "I didn't win, sir," he said back, more in the form of a question.
    "You may have fooled the camera and everyone else, Lance," the Manectric explained. "But you haven't fooled me."
    Lance blinked. "You saw, sir?"
    "Of course I saw. What do you take me for? An idiot?"
    "Not in the slightest, sir."
    "I just have one question for you, Lance."
    "... I felt that as the final exam was based on a team run, nobody should've been left behind, sir."
    "But at the rate everyone was going, you all would've passed the test. So why? Why did you let cadet Cloud win?"
    "... It was for the best of the team, sir."
    The Manectric looked at Lance hard now. Each pair of eyes refused to back down; the drill instructor's scanning for any sign of doubt, while Lance's staying steady and true.
    Then, the Manectric gave a firm nod to Lance. "Good answer, and good decision, cadet Lance. With your resolve, you will go far in your career. I commend you," he said, giving Lance a salute.
    Lance saluted back. "Thank you, sir," he said, while still maintaining his stoic face the whole time.
    The two dropped their paws, and the Manectric turned his back to Lance. "Now as I recall, I do remember saying that you owe your fellow cadets another five kilometers. As much as I admire your standards Lance, I'm afraid I can't go around, playing favorites."
    "I understand, sir. I'll finish in ten minutes, sir," Lance said before he took off in a full-on sprint towards the start of the 5km trail.
    As the drill instructor watched Lance gradually shrink into the distance, he couldn't help but let his thoughts wander. "You really are his son, aren't you?" the old Manectric muttered after Lance finally disappeared behind the tree line.
    July 5 (Six days later)
    Red Oak City
    Busy meditating within his Poké Ball, as he found there was not much else to do while he was in one, Lance's ear twitched at the sound of his partner, Anthony, slurring out something like "Ooogh I'll b'back. An whenna am, I wanna see this glass full. Ye' hear meh?" Opening his eyes, Lance looked up from within his space of containment energy, and tried to listen in on the outside world; specifically, the strip club that Anthony took him to. The inside of a Poké Ball was definitely one of the weirdest experiences he had in his life. It looked like he was inside an infinite, azure-colored space, but when he felt around, he could only move within a spherical area, about two meters in diameter.
    He heard a random sequence of footsteps which fell heavily, so he guessed that Anthony was most probably drunk. The creak of a door opening. The thud of stall door being slammed open. And finally, Anthony throwing up.
    Okay, that's enough, Lance thought.
    The Leafeon rose to his feet, and felt around the invisible wall of his sphere. Sure the Poké Ball was an efficient device, designed to capture and hold Pokémon, but he knew that if one could locate "the sweet spot", or where the button on the Poké Ball should've been, and apply enough force upon it, they could escape on their own. Right now, he was just feeling around what he estimated to be the middle of the Poké Ball. There. He just barely felt an impression on the spherical wall, so he applied his strength at that spot. And after some effort...
    Lance felt the invisible wall give way, the azure light enveloped him, and he felt an itchy, yet not painful, sensation as his body was converted from compressed energy to solid matter.
    When the light died away from his eyes, Lance took note that he was inside a restroom, as he expected. He saw a human man, Anthony, in front of him, kneeling over a toilet and retching alcohol out of his mouth.
    It was a sad sight to see. "Seriously Anthony, you have got to learn moderation..." Lance muttered, even though he knew his partner wouldn't understand him.
    It was incredible to believe that just a few days ago Lance was just a cadet at ROPD Academy. When he was finally registered as an officer of the law, he returned to his parent's home to deliver the good news. Mom seemed happy for him, they ended up talking for an hour, and she made a delicious celebratory dinner as well. His father asked a few questions, but that was it. But on his first day, Lance met Anthony, his assigned partner, and although it would've been crude to judge at first appearance, Lance felt that he could judge Anthony well enough at this point.
    Hm? I feel as if someone's watching me...
    Lance turned around, and came face to face with an Eevee girl.
    He immediately looked away. "Sorry about this, ma'am," his voice said on its own, not carrying its usual confident tone. For a weird reason, he felt his cheeks start to warm.
    He didn't know why, but Anthony somehow now embarrassed him, at least, more than usual. He didn't know, but when this Eevee looked at him, he felt his chest tighten. And although she seemed really cute at first, he couldn't help but notice that she looked a little young, too young, especially to be in a place like this. He wanted to guess... maybe fourteen? But he was also willing to bet that he only succeeded in scaring her. After all, there they were; two police officers, alone with a young girl, in the men's restroom. This couldn't have been more awkward.
    Eventually he heard her say, "It's fine..." Still, his eyes remained glued to the ground.
    It got uncomfortably silent for a moment, the only other sound being Anthony's vomiting, until he heard her resume her... whatever she was doing. He tentatively raised his eyes and saw that she was cleaning the sinks for some reason.
    Then, it hit him. She doesn't actually work here, does she? Lance thought in disgust. What bastard would allow such a thing?
    The Eevee looked absorbed in her task, too busy to even pay him any mind, yet he felt the sudden (and spontaneous) need to socialize.
    Trying to think of up a good conversation starter, as he had rarely ever done such things in his life, Lance decided to ask how she was doing today. But when he opened his mouth, he felt self-conscious, and the only thing he could mutter out was "So uhh..."
    Oh crap, she's looking at me now, he thought in a panic. Come on, Lance. Just go for it!
    While still under the girl's expectant stare, Lance resumed with, "H-H-How today are you?" Then, realizing his own stupidity, Lance tried to recover from looking like a complete idiot. "I-I mean, w-what I meant to say was... how are you today?" he said.
    She was still staring at him, but now her eyes seemed unsure of him.
    Oh, Arceus. I screwed up, he thought.
    "Fine, thanks."
    Lance couldn't believe it, she replied to him! Eager to say something back to keep the momentum going, he said, "Good, good".
    He caught his mistake a microsecond after the words left his mouth. NOOO! That's not how you keep a conversation going, that's how you kill one, you dumbass! Lance mentally screamed at himself. Okay, don't freak out. Just say something else to her. A new topic, yeah, that's all you nee-Wait... what're you doing? No. No. No! Don't look at Anthony. Don't look away from her agai-!
    But Lance couldn't help it, and his eyes soon rested on the drunken man who kneeled, passed out in the stall. In his head, Lance cursed himself. Why did he look to Anthony for help? What help could that guy be to him at a time like this? No, scratch that. When was he ever any help?
    Busy in the middle of hating his shyness, Lance almost missed the Eevee say to him, "How are you tonight, sir?"
    Lance looked back, surprised that she would say anything back to him. And then, out of all the things he could've done, he laughed. He couldn't help it, it just came out, but it felt so good, so liberating! He couldn't even remember the last time he smiled, and here he was, charging right out of the gate with a full-on laugh! Lance couldn't believe it; this girl must've been magic or something! And to make things even better, she was smiling at him now!
    Finally calming down from his laugh, he answered her with, "I'm doing fine now, thank you for asking, ma'am."
    She frowned a little at him. "Why do you keep calling me "ma'am"?" she asked him with a humorous tone.
    Thinking he did something wrong, Lance immediately tried to fix the problem. "I'm sorry ma'am," Lance said. He winced a bit when he realized that he referred to her as "ma'am" again. "It's just that I don't know your name, and I didn't want to offend."
    She looked unsure for a while before she told him, "It's Claire."
    This is okay, just keep it up, he encouraged himself. "Good day, Ms. Claire. My name is Lance," he greeted Claire.
    "Ew, now it's "Ms."?" Claire complained. Thank goodness she was chuckling as well. "Enough with the formal talk, Lance. You can just call me Claire."
    Lance thought for a moment. It didn't feel normal. For as long as he could remember, he had always addressed someone respectfully, so it just came naturally to him to speak this way. But if she wanted him to be "relaxed" around her, then he would try...
    Lance said, "Hello, Claire."
    "Hey, Lance."
    Lance breathed in and out. It's different, that's for sure. But, she wants to talk with me comfortably, and I think I want to be comfortable around her too. So... I'll try this for a while.
    "So, what're you doing right now, Claire?" he asked her.
    He saw her look back at the sinks. "Just cleaning the sinks, that's all," she plainly said, focusing on wiping once more. It was quiet for a second before Claire added, "I also have to take care of other stuff too, like the couches, tables, countertops, things like that."
    "Sounds like a lot of work," Lance remarked. He decided to venture further and voice the question bugging his head, "How old are you anyway? You look too young to be in a place like this."
    "Fifteen," Claire said.
    It was a lie, he knew that, but not wanting to upset her, he let it slide. "Wow. Fifteen, really?"
    "Well how old are you, huh?" she asked, sounding rather offended.
    Lance answered coolly, "Sixteen."
    "And what's a guy like you doing with a guy like him?" Claire asked him, pointing to Anthony.
    "Oh, Anthony? He's my partner, but also my superior since I'm still kind of new to this type of relationship."
    He saw her face pale for a split second before she asked, "So then... what're you guys doing in a strip club?"
    This is great! he thought. The conversational train has left the station! Now all that's left is to keep this puppy running...
    Lance gladly answered Claire, "Oh, Anthony and I pulled a twenty-four hours shift over the holiday, and he wanted to relax afterwards so we ended up coming here, except I'm only tagging along to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid."
    Claire gulped. Why did she look nervous? "... Okaaay, but wouldn't you be happier in a... I don't know, is there even such a thing as gay strip clubs or is that like a strip club for women or...?" she asked him hesitantly.
    Lance's jaw fell. "Gay?!" he exclaimed. "Where did you get the idea that we... Ohh!" Realizing where she picked up such an assumption, Lance laughed loudly all over again. It did feel really good to laugh. "Sorry, I should've introduced myself earlier," Lance said in between laughs. Then, Claire began to laugh with her! The two laughed like that for a good, long while, and as Lance listened to their coupled laughs, blending in harmony, he felt his inhibitions melting away. Afterwards, he sighed and resumed speaking, "Let me start again; I'm Lance, and I'm a police officer of ROPD."
    Claire looked surprised and gasped.
    "Oh no, don't worry, we're not undercover or anything," Lance tried to appease her. "Really, all we're here for, or at least what this guy's here for, is to relax."
    She nodded at his words, but her body language showed that she felt anything but reassured. "I thought only Manectric were allowed to be Pokémon police officers," Claire told him. "And they accept sixteen-year old police officers?"
    Lance already heard enough of this bullcrap from... well, basically everyone back at the academy, but when Claire said it, it sounded... refreshing. She was just a civilian, not a fellow officer or another "higher-up". She was curious about something new, she didn't want to use the knowledge to hurt him or insult him, so he would be happy to teach her.
    "That's just a popular misconception. Any Pokémon, just like how any human, may apply to be in law enforcement. It's just that the long history of consistent Manectric police officers, along with social pressure, discourages change and variability towards the community of Pokémon police officers. Also, the minimum age requirement for Pokémon is lower than humans," he told her confidently.
    He saw Claire shake her head. He understood why, it was a bit of information to grasp, but she seemed to get it because her next question was, "Then, what're you doing in law enforcement?"
    That was a simple question, but Lance had such a loaded answer. He always went after law enforcement as his career because of his father's "encouragement". But he was so young back then, he really couldn't stand up to his father's wishes. As for what Lance wanted to do, well, he didn't even get the chance to dream about that, but his mom was always good to him, always trying to cheer him up, despite his father's strict belief that he needed to "man up".
    Deciding that nothing would be wrong with a technical type of answer, Lance said, "I guess... I'm here to break the cycle," while smiling.
    His witty answer seemed to calm her down somewhat, and that made him feel happy.
    This is pretty fun, he thought. It feels like I'm just a regular teenage Leafeon.
    "So how long have you been an officer?" Claire asked him with softer eyes.
    "Still my first week."
    "Ah," she said. It got silent for a moment, and Lance began to wonder if it was his job as the conversation initiator to find a new topic. That is, until Claire asked, "... Is it dangerous?"
    Of course it was, but Lance had an answer ready for that too. "I guess. I've only had two major calls where it got really dangerous. One was to stop a liquor store robbery that went south, but turned into a hostage situation," Lance said, shrugging off the distasteful memory. It had taken a total of two restless hours to infiltrate the liquor store, after negotiations failed. He was one of those "stealing-for-their-family" type robbers too, leaving Lance with a bad taste in his mouth when they finally subdued him. "The other was civilian control yesterday, but that was to be expected since it was a holiday, so I don't think it counts. Plus, there wasn't anything major that I had to get a handle on that day, just a couple of drunks in a melee, that's all."
    "Is it scary?" she asked next, anxiety all but gone. "Not knowing what exactly will happen or when? Or when you're called to go stop a bad guy?"
    Lance took a second to remember what his father told him. "It is scary, yeah. But I'm not allowed to let that fear control me when a situation arrives, and I don't want it to either, not when it's my duty to protect and serve the citizens of Red Oak City," he said without missing a beat.
    Claire looked away, her face showing that she was deep in thought. He wondered what she'd say next, but got his answer soon enough. "... If you ever get into a fight, do you think you'd... run away?" Claire asked him. This question, it seemed heavier than the ones before.
    They traded stares for a second before Lance replied, "I-"
    Lance spun to the restroom's exit. He heard the noise originate from the main club room, as well as multiple men's swears. Remembering his partner, Lance tried to shake Anthony awake and shouted, "Anthony, we've got a situation. We have to go!"
    Anthony just groaned and brushed him away.
    Lance was seriously pissed off. There was no excuse when they were called to duty, so he hoped that Anthony's reason for not getting up was that he was incapacitated, not lazy. Still, he needed his partner; it would be highly risky to go without him.
    "Antho-" Lance was about to call, before a woman's scream cut him off. I've got to go now! he thought, and ran out the door towards the source of the scream.
    He could hear Claire running behind him, which made him think. Why was she coming with him? Was it just because she thought she'd be safer next to him? He was sure there must've been other exits besides the front door if that was the case. Even so, at least this way, he could keep an eye on her. As long as she didn't get hurt...
    When he reentered the nearly-empty club room, he immediately saw the source of the chaos. There was an Infernape and a Garchomp, and two human men, one wearing a hockey mask, and the other wearing a hood with his mouth covered by a scarf. Most of the guests had already fled, but three bouncers and three Machoke were knocked out on the floor, hopefully. The strip club owner was also among them. And at the men's feet, one of the dancers, a woman in her twenties with white-streaked brown hair, lay scared and injured.
    This wasn't good. If they decided to use her against him, he'd most definitely have no choice but to surrender. Lance had to get the woman out of there. But to do that, he'd have to focus all of the criminals' attention on him, make them forget about the woman.
    But before Lance could take action, Claire shouted from behind him, "Claire!"
    Confused, Lance looked back at her. Why was Claire shouting her own name? Was the woman's name, "Claire" as well? Or did she lie to him about both her age and her name?
    But wait, Claire had drawn attention to herself! He had to act now! "Hold it right there! You four, hands where I can see them! Don't make me ask twice!" he shouted, stepping between Claire and the four criminals as he did so.
    They all turned to look at him. Now, at each other. Then, they all laughed. The Infernape regarded him with a mocking expression and said, "Kid, if you don't want to get seriously f***ed up, then get the hell out of here and go back to school. Don't be a hero."
    Lance felt Claire brush against him.
    He charged an Aerial Ace on the leaf on his head, and declared, "I'm Officer Lance of the ROPD. I'm giving you to the count of three to put your hands up, and get on your knees. One!"
    The Infernape's smile fell and he took a step back. "Holy shit, this little brat's a cop!" he said, making hand signals to the men. Lance didn't understand what they meant.
    But the humans looked as if they understood because the one in the scarf exclaimed, "That puny Leafeon's a f***cking cop? What the f***?!"
    "You told me that this was going to be an easy, quiet job! Edge of the city! Get in and get out!" the one in the hockey mask yelled at him.
    Lance cocked his legs, preparing to attack. "Two!"
    "Guys what the hell do we do now?!" the Garchomp asked, looking to his companions for a plan.
    Lance saw the four trade glances, and he instinctively knew he wouldn't be able to count "three". They moved all at once. Hockey-mask man kicked the woman from the stage, knocking her to the floor below, and Lance felt Claire jump at the sight. Scarf man reached behind him, pulled out and lighted a Molotov, and threw it at the group of bouncers and strip club owner. The Infernape shot Fire Spin from his mouth between them to cover their escape. The Garchomp fired a Dragon Breath, straight at Lance.
    With Claire behind him, Lance couldn't afford to dodge, so he shouted "Watch out!", and pulled her behind him. Lance drew back his Aerial Ace, and used it to split the Dragon Breath in half, holding strong as the attack continued to push him.
    When the Dragon Breath died away, so were the criminals, but Lance barely caught the back of the Garchomp as they ran to the back strip club. "Go, go, go!" the Garchomp yelled. They were going for the exit!
    Although he wanted to pursue them, the bouncers and strip club owner beside him were still unconscious, and the fire slowly began to consume them. "Damn it," he growled, and quickly ran over to where the emergency supplies box was located. Smashing the glass, he grabbed a fire blanket, and patted out the flames over the humans and Pokémon as fast as he could.
    However, when he finished saving them, Lance was dealt with more problems. The flames from the Molotov cocktail combined with the Fire Spin, and now most of the strip club was on fire, which delayed him even more, because now, he had to carry these seven, the woman, and Anthony (assuming that he was still passed out on the toilet), out. But the worst part was that Claire was going after the criminals! By herself!
    "Claire, stop! Don't go, you'll get hurt!" he shouted, hoping she'd hear him over the flames
    Claire didn't seem to hear him, so Lance chased after her. His first priority was to get her out of here before she got hurt, or worse, killed. But neither of them got far when the woman on the floor screamed. She was pinned under a support beam that fell from the ceiling, and couldn't get herself free. He saw Claire turn to the woman, and immediately rush to assist her.
    "Thank Arceus," Lance sighed. As much as he didn't like Claire staying in the building, it would've been too much for him to deal with a rogue civilian, as well as saving others at the same time.
    Lance crawled under the strip club owner, and pushed up with his legs. With the human on his back, he stepped to the front doors of the strip club. The man was of a medium-thin build, so he wasn't too heavy and Lance managed to carry him out in nine seconds. The bouncers were a different case. These humans and Machoke looked heavy, because they were. Lance couldn't fathom how they lost to the four criminals when they were packed with all this muscle, but that at least warned him to stay on his guard if he ever got to face the criminals. Plus it was six (not counting the strip club owner) against four! It took roughly four more seconds to carry the bouncers, but he still heard the woman cry "Help! Someone please help me!"
    What? I thought Claire went and helped that woman already!
    Thinking that Claire chose the criminals over the woman, Lance looked back from carrying a Machoke. But he did see Claire... right where she stood half a minute ago!
    "Why is she just standing there? Is she frozen in fear?" Lance muttered. Then, he coughed as smoke invaded his lungs. "Damn it, I'll lose them at this rate!" he growled, carrying the Machoke to the exit with as much strength as he could muster.
    When Lance dropped the Machoke on the ground outside, he rushed back in, only to see Claire running to help the woman. Except, there was a wall of fire between them, and she wasn't slowing down. She was going to jump.
    "Has she lost it? She's not going to make it!" Lance cried.
    He heard Claire roar as she proved him wrong. "Haaaaa!"
    Claire disappeared from his view after that, but he guessed by the thud that she had made it. Also, with that determination alone, the girl had impressed him. Scared the hell out of him at first, but yeah, she impressed him.
    You can do it, Claire, he thought. Just please don't get hurt...
    Less than two minutes later, Lance had the strip club owner and all the bouncers, outside and safe. Currently, he was carrying Anthony, who was now just waking up as they neared the exit.
    "Urrgh wha?" Anthony groaned.
    "About freaking time," Lance growled. "Can you move, Anthony?"
    Anthony just groaned again. "Oh s***, I smell smo'. Is sumpin burnin'?"
    Lance swore and dropped Anthony on the ground outside. "Just wait here for now. In your state, it's best if you sit this one out," he told Anthony, wondering why he even bothered if Anthony couldn't understand him even when he was sober.
    Not seeing Claire among the group outside, Lance rushed back in to find her, but was relieved to see both her and the woman near the exit already. Claire had to help support the woman's right side, while the human dragged herself across the ground with her left. They were banged up quite badly, but alive.
    Lance came to their side and shouted over the crackling flames, "Claire! Is she alright? Did you see anyone else come in?"
    "I've got her, and no I didn't see anyone else in here," Claire shouted back.
    "Good, that means you're the last ones. I've already got my partner out of here, and the exit is right there," Lance said, pointing to the front doors. "Here, I'll help you carry her."
    Lance tried to take over for Claire, but she pushed him away. "We're fine. You just make sure those four don't get away with this. Go get 'em!"
    Lance looked over the two injured girls and was about to argue, until he saw the fire in Claire's eyes. He knew right then, that she would do anything to make sure that her friend got out okay. He just hoped that that didn't include anything too "heroic". Deciding that he was worrying too much (as their exit was so close), and also wasting time, Lance said "Okay," and ran in the direction of the criminals, hoping that they hadn't gone too far.
    Anthony was still dizzy when he came to and found the men and Pokémon on the ground. But when he asked Manny, the owner of the strip club Hot Touch, what "the hell" was going on, he understood every word as if each were a splash of cold water on his face.
    Lance was really lucky. Either that, or the criminals were very unlucky. When Lance had ran down the hall after the four, he used an exit door, and found himself in a wide alleyway...
    The two humans and their Pokémon were stumbling across the ground, struggling to pick up dozens of dollar bills that threatened to fly away with the wind. A trash can was knocked on its side with its contents scattered all over the floor. Apparently, the idiots tripped, dropped the money they stole, and stayed to retrieve it, long enough for Lance to catch up to them. They could've just left with what the amount they had, but since they didn't and wasted time recovering their money, Lance had them!
    Lance leapt down the steps into the alley. "Give up. It's over," he barked.
    At his entry, the four turned to face him and regrouped at the end of the alley.
    "Don't even think about making a run for it. If you turn your back to me, I promise that you won't even make it to the street."
    "Erg... Damn it," the Garchomp groaned, shaking his head to the hockey-mask man.
    Getting the message, the two humans regarded Lance with caution. They looked scared, and ready to attack. Scarf man said, "Infernape, use Mach Punch!"
    "Garchomp, use Dig!" hockey mask man shouted.
    The Garchomp dug underground and disappeared from Lance's sight, but the Infernape was already upon him. Lance waited for the Infernape to throw a punch, ducked, and spun with Aerial Ace on his tail, sending the Infernape flying past him with major damage. The floor shook from behind, so Lance spun again, now with Leaf Blade on his head, while sliding to the side, slipping past the Garchomp while also slashing his back.
    The Infernape gripped his stomach after crashing to the floor. "Oomph!"
    The Garchomp's back arched as he recoiled from the impact. "Gagh!"
    The battle now shifted so that the Garchomp and humans stood in front of him, but the Infernape stood behind him. Seeing that he was surrounded from both sides of the alley, Lance spread his legs and bent his shoulders into his defensive stance. But for the moment, it looked like the criminals were too occupied to attack him.
    "What the f-What is that?" hockey mask man cried.
    Scarf man took a step back. "That Leafeon's using twomoves at the same time? That's f***ing impossible!"
    "How the hell are you doing that?" the Garchomp asked.
    Lance eyed the Garchomp warily while giving frequent glances at the Infernape behind him. "It doesn't matter what I'm doing," he said. "Because you four are going to jail anyway! Now give up and turn yourselves in!"
    Scarf man growled and shouted, "Infernape! Don't let him get to you! Blast the grass-type bastard away with Flamethrower!"
    Hockey mask man said, "Garchomp, crush him with Brick Break!"
    The Garchomp swung at Lance with his claws glowing deadly white, and Lance fought back with his Leaf Blade. He felt the rising heat of the Flamethrower charging behind him, but he couldn't focus on that now. They hacked away at each other, but when one would strike, the other would parry. Gradually though, Lance began to force the Garchomp back, but before he could land a hit, the Garchomp jumped aside.
    "Aaagh!" Lance screamed as a wave of flames splashed over his back, killing his Aerial Ace and Leaf Blade.
    When the Flamethrower finally died down, Lance couldn't get up from the ground. He felt a prick of fear creeping up as his muscles were locked in pain. The pain was escalated by twice as much for him than it would've been for most, because of his type disadvantage. Although his ability, Leaf Guard, saved him from any major burns, his back still stung from the intense blast of fire, but he mentally shouted at himself to get over it and move when the scarf man shouted, "Hahaha! Nice shot, Infernape! Hit him again with Flamethrower!"
    The Infernape fired again. Lance knew that it would be the end of him if he took another hit like that, so he punched the ground, using both that paw and the pain he felt from the act to rise to his feet. Recharging Aerial Ace on both his head leaf and tail, Lance jumped on top of the Flamethrower and rolled, using the flames as the track for his maneuver. He still suffered burns on his legs and sides for such a risky move, but was rewarded by breaking through the Infernape's Flamethrower, and landing two critical hits as he transferred his attacks to both his ears and slammed the Infernape with a double Aerial Ace.
    The Infernape screeched in agony as he went flying and crashed beside the Garchomp, with two gashes on his back in the shape of a V. He was knocked out.
    "Holy shit," scarf man murmured.
    Lance rolled his shoulders, trying to soothe his stinging back. "I'm giving you one last chance," he said. "Give up now, before this goes any further."
    Doubt flashed across the faces of the remaining three. For a second, it looked like they were about to surrender, but from the doorway to the strip club, someone spoke up first...
    "Lance, stand down," Anthony ordered, already walking down the steps.
    Lance was surprised to see his partner suddenly up and apparently sober, "Anthony?"
    "You're in no position to engage in any confrontation. I'm ordering you to stand down. I'll handle the situation from here."
    Lance shook his head. "... No."
    Anthony's tone rose. "Lance, as the superior officer, I order you to sta-"
    "No!" Lance said and shook his head again. "Those four are, and have proven to be, a danger to the public. And while I appreciate your assistance, it's my duty to protect innocent civilians from harm. So no, I will not stand down!"
    Lance didn't know why he bothered getting so emotional. It wasn't as if Anthony could even understand him, and he did have a point; he was in fact, his superior.
    But Anthony surprised Lance when he said, "So that's how it's gonna be, huh?"
    Lance grew confused as he saw Anthony walk towards the criminals without caution. "Huh?"
    Anthony faced Lance. "You're not going to arrest them, Lance."
    Now truly confused, Lance's Aerial Ace attacks dimmed off, and he stared at Anthony in anger. "What are you talking about? And what are you doing? They're criminals so what're you doing, siding with them?!"
    Anthony glared back at Lance. "... This... is my older brother," Anthony said, glancing at the man in the hockey mask. "And the other I presume, is his best friend. Am I right?"
    The man wearing the hood and scarf nodded.
    Feeling a sense of moral dilemma approaching, Lance resisted the urge to drop his eyes and acted on his training. "Nevertheless, they're criminals. I can't just let them go, especially not after all they've done. And Anthony, if you're not going to help me, then get out of my way at let me do my job!" he said, swiping his paw in anger.
    "You really don't get it do you? The fact is that you're not going to arrest them, because I'm not going to let you! I know that you were only lucky to get accepted into law enforcement because of your father. It's only because of his and his partner's connections that you're able to serve as a police officer right now. What do you think will happen when I talk to them? About how you disobeyed a direct order from a senior officer? At the very least, you'll be demoted from field work, and how will your father react then, do you think? After learning that he wasted years of his life on a lost cause?!"
    Lance tried to stay strong under the verbal onslaught, but it was no use. If he was anything less than what his father wanted of him, then... he didn't want to think about it. He could already imagine his father's rage and the punishment that would follow. All of his work, all of his progress from an Eevee to the Leafeon he was now, would be for naught. And his power, the power he gained during that time would fail him when he would face his father's wrath. Before, he would talk back occasionally because he felt that he had gained his father's respect somewhat, but when his father would learn of this, that privilege of cockiness would shatter to pieces, and Lance would become that same weak-willed little boy again. He didn't want that. He didn't want to get his dad angry and become weak!
    Is this as far as I go? he thought. If that's the case, then I really haven't changed at all. I'm still that same little Eevee as when I was young. I thought I could gain power through my efforts alone, but no. Anthony, he's the one who's really in charge here...
    "Lance, watch out!"
    Lance looked up to see the Garchomp on top of him with Brick Break. There was no time to do anything but take the hit. He was going to be finished!
    But right as the Brick Break came down on his head, that same voice from before shrieked, "Leave him ALOOONE!" Then, pink heart-shaped rays, a Disarming Voice attack, hit the Garchomp straight on, and knocked him back. It looked like he was hurt pretty badly.
    The Garchomp growled, "Argh! That burns! Damn it, who shot that Disarming Voice?"
    Lance turned towards the source of the attack and saw a Sylveon standing at the open doorway of the strip club, except when he looked closer, he realized that it was Claire! He was amazed how she evolved so quickly, and beautifully, since they last met. She looked scared, but she still stepped in front of Lance protectively. "You're going to pay for what you've done!" she yelled at the five fiercely.
    The Garchomp scoffed, "Hah! It's just a little girl? I'm gonna make you regret you ever met me!"
    The Garchomp jumped high, where his body burst with monstrous, blue energy, and charged down with his Dragon Rush, aiming straight for Maple. Moving faster than he had ever moved in his life, Lance pulled Claire back and leapt to meet the Garchomp's attack with his own three... Three? Yes, it was true! Not two, but three; his left ear, head leaf, and right ear, charged with X-Scissor, Leaf Blade, and Aerial Ace, like a fan of blades! Filled with spirit from obtaining this new-found strength, Lance not only clashed with the Garchomp, but pushed him back. The Garchomp crashed into the ground. He was down, but not out.
    Anthony's brother's eyes widened from behind his hockey mask. "What the hell? That Leafeon can use three moves at once now? Anthony, I thought you said he could only use two!"
    Anthony looked just as surprised. "Just, I don't know... take him out! He's just a rookie cop, he should be a pushover!"
    "Shit. Garchomp, use Dig!" Anthony's brother said.
    The Garchomp disappeared from view as he used Dig once more. Lance stayed alert for any signs of vibration. He didn't feel anything too close to him, but he did feel...
    No! "Maple!" he shouted and pushed her away.
    Underneath him, the ground exploded as the Garchomp jumped out and launched an uppercut at his stomach. Lance curled up and blocked with Iron Tail, but the force of the attack pushed them both into the air. That wasn't good. The Garchomp had wings, and could maneuver well in aerial combat. Lance however, didn't. If that was the case, a second attack from the Garchomp was imminent... or at least, it would've been, if Claire hadn't hit him with another Disarming Voice. Lance landed okay, but watched as the Garchomp, still shocked from the super-effective attack, crashed into the ground.
    When the dust cleared, everyone saw that the Garchomp was KO'd.
    "We-We did it!" Claire said excitedly.
    But Lance kept his eyes trained on the humans, particularly Anthony. "Give it up, Anthony. You three aren't getting away with any of this. Put your hands up and get against the wall!" Lance said with a stomp.
    Anthony grudgingly said, "You think you've won, Lance? You think this is over? No, you're dead wrong." He pulled out his baton, and as a threat, pointed it straight at Lance. "You stand down now son, because you know something? You don't have any power. It doesn't matter what you say, it doesn't matter what you do, you won't be able to lock us up, and you know why? Because I have seniority, I am above you in the chain of command, and no one is going to take you, a rookie cop, seriously, especially when he "exercised excessive force on surrendering suspects"."
    Lance tried his best to keep his eyes defiant, but he knew that there was truth to Anthony's words. No matter how hard he fought, Lance couldn't beat those who had real power, who were higher than him in the chain of command. It was simple, too simple, but no matter how much it disgusted him, he couldn't help but submit to the rule of hierarchy.
    Lance hadn't even noticed that his eyes fell to the floor in defeat, but he noticed something strange in the puddle of water he'd lost focus in, and wondered, Hmm? What is that? He looked up to better see what the object was, and when he did, he smiled, feeling that it would be enough to help him win this fight.
    "No, you're the one who's wrong, Anthony. I may be just a rookie, and no one may take my word over yours, but at the very least, I'll make sure I put you five behind bars," Lance said confidently.
    Then, he pointed to the camera he saw, above the strip club's exit door.
    Scarf man's eyes looked ready to pop. "A camera! Shit, it's still on, it recorded everything!"
    Lance's determined eyes battled with Anthony's venomous glare. "You'll lose your badge for this, Anthony. And then, you'll go to jail."
    Anthony could've glared at him all day, and Lance wouldn't have cared, but when he turned his eyes on Claire, Lance unconsciously stepped in front of her. Anthony gave the other four a look, ran the other way, and barked, "Come on! Let's get the hell out of-"
    But he never got to finish as a police car screeched to a halt at the other end of the alley, blocking their exit. "Freeze!" an Officer Jenny said with her Manectric sparking dangerously.
    Two hours had passed after Anthony, his older brother, and the rest of the criminals were arrested. Lance was also brought in for questioning, after Claire, to sort out the details of the messy aftermath, but the footage obtained from the camera Lance had mentioned made the interrogation shorter. Besides, with that kind of evidence, it wasn't much of an interrogation in the first place. The only question that proved tough to extract an answer from was when the interrogators asked Anthony why.
    The only thing Anthony told them was, "You wouldn't understand."
    That was fine by Lance; he was satisfied with the fact that he wouldn't see Anthony ever again. But after learning how short Anthony's jail sentence was, he grew furious and decided that he was done. In fact, he was done with everything, the whole bit. Being a police officer. Obeying those who ranked above him. Following his father's footsteps out of fear. He was sick of it all and desperately needed a fresh start.
    "A fresh start..." he muttered to himself.
    There was something his mom often told him when he was young. As he grew older, she said it less and less, but he remembered her words as clear as day. After all, she at least was someone that he truly loved.
    Lance, do you remember your secret? How you can be anything you want to be, and nobody can tell you no? Keep believing that Lance, and one day, it'll become true.
    Lance balled his paw in contemplation. "Anything I want, huh?"
    Leaving behind his resignation form, Lance stepped out the police station and breathed in his first breath of freedom in years. The day was almost done. The sun fell low, beginning to tint the sky an orange tint. He was free. And as a free Leafeon, he could've gone anywhere he wanted to; another city, into the wild, on an epic journey across the world. Whatever he wanted!
    But he didn't do that. Instead, he chose to go and see a certain Sylveon once more time...
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
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