From: Adrian Tymes ( Subject: [PW!] Two Many Aeries Newsgroups: Date: 2003-11-27 16:10:04 PST "There she is!" On the outskirts of the Silver Village, already starting to populate in anticipation of the upcoming tournament, Keaton and Aerie stood, knee to hip, in front of Kitsu to defend her from the oncoming small mob, trying to stare them down. Keaton had one hand on his sword's hilt; Aerie just posed, ready to be her own weapon once again. As the crowd reached out, they moved to block, ready to throw back whoever tried to get past them first. They did not expect Aerie to be pulled into the crowd and bearhugged five ways at once. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou!" "It's really her!" "I *touched* her! I'm never washing these arms again." "You never washed them anyway." Keaton pulled one of the mob away and looked into his eyes. "Excuse me, that's our friend you're molesting." "Ack! Bodyguards! Set her down, everyone!" The crowd did just that, quickly but reluctantly backing off to arm's length. "*Thank* you," Keaton growld, still not letting go, while Aerie gagged from her nose's close encounter with the armpit of one of the more odorous admirers. "Now, mind telling us what that was all about?" "What, she didn't tell you? Our pokemon all caught this strange virus the other day. Nurse Joy wouldn't do a thing about it; she said it was a *good* virus! But we know better: you can get sick and die from a virus. Then that purple-haired goddess came along, looked at our pokemon, and we're not sure what she did but she said they'd be back to normal in a day. And now they are!" Keaton snorted. "Rewind that. We just got here five minutes ago, and she was with us all yesterday. She couldn't possibly have been here." "Okay, okay, if that's your cover story. I know, public relations types want to tweak the truth. But it's a little weak. She registered for the tournament two days ago; that's public record. An' she's been goin' around doin' good deeds ever since: rescuin' meowths from trees, helpin' set up th' stadium, teleportin' fainted or injured pokemon to the center - and there're a lot of 'em right now, with some trainers pushin' their pokemon harder 'n' ever, even ones like us who ain't competin' in the main tournament..." "Hey, y'all!" A woman came running out of one of the cabins. "I just heard Aerie's been spotted training down by the...huh? Izzat...?" Kitsu smiled, walking up to the woman. "You mean to say you heard she's *scheduled* to do some training right now. Where?" "Umm...down by the river." She pointed downhill. "A couple miles that way. You can't miss it. Just look fer the great white." "Thank you. Sometimes we forget where we are." Kitsu winked to Aerie, who had recovered enough to stagger back towards the siblings. The trio disappeared in a blaze of light. "Well, shee-oot, she's gone an' become a celebrity now," one of the trainers commented, still so excited he could not remember his own name at the moment. "Yup. Guess that means her moment in the spotlight is over," another nameless trainer replied. "I'll go tell my cousin in Dewford." --- "Impostor?" "Mm-hmm," Kitsu and Aerie chorused to Keaton's question, surveying the spot where training had obviously recently occurred, but was now empty and still save for a gentle breeze and a flowing river. "So the question is, who wants to pretend to be a ditto?" Kitsu shrugged. "Probably some admirer who saw her at the Whirl Cup." Aerie frowned, sniffing a large white scale embedded in the ground. "Whoever it is, they're using my pokemon." Keaton let his eyes slowly take in the field. "You have pokemon?" "Had. But this...yeah, this was definintely *him*. His scent. I don't remember him being this big, though." Kitsu slowly blinked at the large crater, made recently enough that the river was still filling its new lake. Keaton smirked. "Whoever it is, she'll be easy enough to trap. Let her win the first round for us, and confront her afterwards." "And if she loses?" Kitsu wondered. "Then she'll be even less able to keep us from beating her-" "No." Aerie stood very still. "Your plan is good, but when we confront this other me, *he* is mine." "Aerie..." She spun in place, fixing them both with the same cold stare. "I don't want you dead. Leave. Him. To. Me." TBC?