1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

MEW-CHILD: Ch.5: Hyacinth

by NonAnalogue

NonAnalogue Mel and Repeat meet the mysterious Hyacinth Harley. Who are they? And why do they know everything about Mel?
“Our eyes met! That means we have to battle!”

“It doesn’t mean that at all! Get away from me!”

The terrain in and around the Sevault Canyon wasn’t anything new to Mel. Climbing the outside of Mount Moon, rather than sticking to the beaten path that ran through it, had been worse, especially when she had run into the family of territorial Clefable. The series of Moonblasts that had followed had been visible from Pewter City.

The trainers in the Sevault Canyon, on the other hand – well. Mel was nominally a trainer in that she had her trainer’s license, but her only Pokemon was Repeat. Actually fighting other trainers was something that happened only in extreme circumstances, partially because Mel didn’t have the best head for battle strategy but mostly because other trainers tended to pack teams more balanced than a single Ditto.

As a result, when exploring places with a high trainer quotient, Mel relied on a method with proven results:


“You look like a tough challenger! I’m excited to battle you!”

“You’re about to be real disappointed!”

Many trainers said that running from a match was poor sportsmanship, with some even lobbying the Pokemon League to formally penalize anyone engaging in the practice. If trainers locked eyes, they said, a battle had to start.

Mel never cared for any of that nonsense. In her experience, if she couldn’t run from a trainer cornering her, usually a handful of sand or a strategically-placed elbow was enough to get clear.

“My Raticate is in the top percentage of—”

“I’ll check it out some other time!”

Eventually, Mel made it to a run-down single-level shack at the southern edge of the canyon, the ocean within eyeshot. She found a spot on the wall that didn’t look like it was about to collapse and braced herself, swallowing down several deep breaths.

If nothing else, her chosen strategy kept her in shape.

“Are you okay, chief?” Repeat asked, climbing down to the ground from Mel’s backpack.

“I’ll be fine. Just hold on a sec. Gotta catch my breath.” Mel stretched her arms out behind her head, then cracked her knuckles. “Who woulda thought there’d be this many people wandering around an old canyon, anyway?”

Repeat turned to glance back at the path they’d taken. “They definitely were chomping at the bit,” he said as two trainers, only just visible in the distance, challenged each other. The sky, already clear, grew brighter as the sunlight intensified – one of the Pokemon had just used Sunny Day.

When Repeat turned back, Mel had already clambered to the roof of the shack. “You still think rooftops are a good idea?”

“One time falling through a roof is a fluke.” Mel shaded her eyes with one hand. “Anyway, I think I can see the ruins from here. There’s like one each on a bunch of little islands out there, but they don’t look too big. We just need to get out to the water and we’ll be golden.” She squinted and inched forward as far as she could without falling off. “Wait.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I think there’s people out there.”

“I mean,” said Repeat, “is that so weird? There were enough people in the canyon, after all.”

“People wearing all gray, I mean.” Mel jumped from the roof, stumbling a little on the landing. “The kinda people who might have a red letter on their shirt, if you get what I’m saying.”

“Ah. People of a… Rocket-ish persuasion?”

“Exactly. So you know what we’re gonna do, right?”

Repeat sighed. “I know what I hope we’re going to do. I hope we’re going to sneak over there and monitor whatever it is they’re up to. Gathering information might be our best bet after they smoked us last time.” Memories of a giant palm slamming him in the face forced their way back into his head, and he shuddered.

“We could do that,” Mel admitted. “But I’ve got a different idea. How about we sneak over there and start cracking heads? This might be our chance to figure out where they’ve got Janine, and if we beat it out of them, we can go save her.”

“It worries me that you think we can crack heads when all evidence points the other way,” Repeat said, but before he’d even reached the end of the sentence, Mel had torn off down to the beach. “This is going to go badly,” he added, even though the only one listening at that point was a Cubone who’d wandered down to see what all the fuss was about.

Clouds layered themselves across the sky, coloring it an angry gray. Repeat watched as the first few droplets of rain hit the ground in front of his face. One of the Pokemon battling in the distance had used Rain Dance. “Nothing for it, I guess,” he grumbled, shifting into a Cubone form for faster travel before following Mel’s trail.

Mel was correct in her observation. Ordinarily, she took pride in being correct, especially when someone had tried to prove to her that she wasn’t, but this time, the pleasure was running up against a heavy weight that had settled in her stomach. The Neo Rockets were there, on the eastern-most island, climbing the steps to the most intact building of the bunch. It’s hard to tell from here, Mel thought, shielding her glasses from the rain with her hands, but I don’t think they’re the same two I saw earlier. Three and Seven or whatever. Stands to reason. I wonder how high up their numbers get. “Hey, Repeat,” she continued out loud as a Cubone trudged up to her side. Repeat didn’t have any obvious tells when he was transformed, at least not to most people, but Mel had been around him long enough to just know. “Up for a swim?”

Repeat shifted back to his own shape and climbed up Mel’s leg until he could grab onto her backpack. “You see all the Tentacool in the water, right?”

“So that’s a no?”

“Right. I don’t really want to get poisoned today.”

A silvery voice, light and pleasant, interrupted them. “Do the two of you require assistance?” It belonged to a small figure, one who’d approached them from behind without either of them noticing. They wore a trench coat that had to have been at least two sizes too big for them, and with the collar pulled up and their newsboy cap pulled down, all Mel could see of their face was an oversized pair of glasses.

“Do you sneak up on everyone like that, kid?” Mel asked, willing her heart to slow down after the surprise. “Or are we just the lucky ones?”

“With respect, Miss Rylan, I am not a kid.” They rummaged in one of their many pockets and held up a leather wallet, which flipped open to reveal a piece of rectangular plastic: a license. Across the top, it read “Private Investigator,” and underneath it, “Hyacinth Harley.” It bore a picture of them too, but somehow they’d convinced the photographer to let them keep their hat and coat on for it, rendering it useless.

Mel frowned and took a sharp step away from Hyacinth. “How’d you know my name?”

“If I had to guess,” Repeat muttered, “it’s probably because they’re a PI.” Mel shushed him and kept her eyes on Hyacinth.

Hyacinth folded the wallet back up and slid it into a different pocket than it had originally come out of. “Do forgive my impropriety,” they said, bowing their head. “My current case involves you, albeit indirectly, so when I happened upon you here, I regarded it as a stroke of luck.”

“Your… current case?” Mel asked, arching an eyebrow. There was nothing coming off of Hyacinth except for cheerfulness and a desire to be helpful, which only served to make Mel more suspicious.

“Yes. My client has requested that I obtain information on a certain pair of organizations. Your name, Miss Rylan, came up in connection to the disappearance of a gym leader that is suspected to be the work of one of them.”

Mel winced. “Janine…”

“Correct. I gather from your appearance here that you are also looking into that organization, since they have a presence here, as I predicted.” Hyacinth’s glasses gleamed in what Mel hoped was equivalent to a smile. “So then, that leads us back to my original inquiry. Do you require assistance across the water? If you intend to sabotage their operations, that would not interfere with my plans, and would in fact likely help, since you would draw their attention away from me.”

“One second.” Mel wandered out of earshot, made sure her back was to Hyacinth, and held Repeat in her arms. “What do you make of them?” she whispered.

“I’m not sure, chief,” answered Repeat. “I can’t get a read on them. But honestly, if they want to help us cross the water, I’m not sure we should pass it up. It’d make our life easier, at least.”

“Sounds good to me.” Mel let Repeat scramble back to her backpack and approached Hyacinth. “Yeah, if you’re offering help,” she said, “we won’t say no. What’s the catch?”

“There’s no catch!” said Hyacinth, holding up two gloved hands. “I mean, I may wish to ask a favor of you some time later, but that’s nothing more than a little quid pro quo, and certainly not anything like a catch.” A green Pokeball, one with red spots, appeared in their palm – Mel recognized it as one of the artisan Pokeballs that were all the rage in Johto – and they tossed it to the very edge of the beach, where the water lapped at the sand. The Pokemon that came out was bulky and taller than Mel, and for a moment she had a brief panic that it was another Hariyama. As this one faded into sight, though, she realized what it really was. Pointed ears sat atop a round head, which was itself atop an even rounder body; heavy footfalls shook the ground with every step – it couldn’t have been anything except a Snorlax.

“A Snorlax is going to get us across the water?” Mel asked, incredulity seeping in at the edge of her voice.

“Yes, quite! Even though she doesn’t look it, my dear Dozer is a talented swimmer. She’ll have us over there in a flash!” Hyacinth, unable to reach high enough to pat the Snorlax’s head, settled for patting her arm instead. “Ready, Dozer?”

Dozer grunted an assent and slid herself into the water, floating effortlessly. Mel reached out to Dozer’s emotions, but immediately pulled away before she fell asleep herself; Dozer, true to her name, was tired above everything else. “Please, come aboard,” Hyacinth said, wading into the water and hauling themself onto Dozer’s back.

Mel glanced over her shoulder at Repeat, who gave the Ditto equivalent of a shrug, then followed Hyacinth.

The ride was surprisingly smooth, especially for how quickly Dozer was kicking her feet. Dozer’s back had enough room for both Mel and Hyacinth to hold on, and the distance between them and the island rapidly dwindled. “So what can you tell me about these Neo Rocket guys?” Mel asked over the sound of splashing water.

“I haven’t uncovered much yet,” said Hyacinth. They closed their eyes thoughtfully. “From the information I have gathered, though, it seems that the organization has roots in the Sinnoh region, though they only adopted the moniker of Neo Rocket when they relocated to Kanto.”

“So they don’t have any ties to the original Rockets?”

“I don’t believe so. I suspect they chose the name specifically because of its connotations among Kantonians – their organization as of present is not very large, so perhaps they wished to choose a name that made them seem bigger. But this is all speculation on my part.”

That figures, Mel thought. Just a bunch of punks trying to look tougher than they really are. “Found out anything about what they’re gunning for?”

Hyacinth shook their head, looking off into the distance towards the island they were approaching. “Nothing concrete as of yet, I’m afraid. Their existence alone is nothing more than rumor in most circles. They appear at seemingly-random locations, then disappear just as quickly. The only direct action I’ve heard of them taking is the abduction of the Fuchsia gym leader. Of course, since they are such a small organization, any action they do take is likely to evade the notice of most.”

So they haven’t done a whole lot. They’re looking for the Mew-child, though; I know that much. Kidnapping Janine must have something to do with it somehow. Did Janine know more than she let on? The ocean spray misted Mel as Dozer plowed through an especially strong wave, scattering droplets across her glasses that dried almost instantly, leaving near-opaque splotches that broke up her field of vision. The rain had cleared up, but Mel was no less wet. She reached a hand behind her and Repeat tapped it with a pseudopod, letting her know that he hadn’t fallen off.

Dozer slowed to a stop as they approached the shore, and Mel and Hyacinth climbed off of her back. “Good job,” Hyacinth cooed, patting Dozer’s arm; Dozer grunted something in response before Hyacinth recalled her into the Pokeball. “You know, I’m rather envious of you, Miss Rylan,” they continued as they and Mel approached the ruins.

“Why’s that?”

“Well, you have such a great connection with your Ditto. Repeat was the name, correct? I love Dozer, but I don’t often know what she’s telling me.” Hyacinth craned their head up at the collapsed building that towered before them. Golden-hued bricks, each individually the size of Mel’s head, were crafted with care into an entryway that led into the stone of the island itself. Two massive pillars framed the entrance, but Mel could only just barely see past them; no light came from inside the ruins themselves. “It must be so much more convenient to be psychic.”

Mel had been taking a sip of water from a bottle she kept in her bag. That water promptly got spat across the sand. “Wha—How did you—I mean—”

Hyacinth shot an inquisitive glance back towards Mel; at least, Mel assumed it was supposed to be inquisitive. “Was that a secret? I’m terribly sorry. It was simple to put the pieces together. It is one thing, of course, to have such strong rapport with your own Pokemon that you understand them, but during my investigation I located an article that the Fuchsia Gazette published concerning your family’s shelter, and it indicated that your role was to locate Pokemon who had been abused. The journalist specifically mentioned that you had a, quote, remarkable sense of intuition with regards to other Pokemon. As that seems to be consistent with what has been reported with regards to other psychic trainers, it was only a minor logical leap to assume that you too possess psychic abilities.”

Okay, I definitely don’t trust them. “Dunno what you’re talking about,” Mel said, shoving her water bottle back in her bag a bit more roughly than was perhaps necessary and grabbing a flashlight instead. “Let’s get this show on the road, okay?”

The Neo Rockets had already disappeared, doubtlessly, Mel figured, into the ruins themselves. She climbed the crumbling stairway towards the entrance, taking care to avoid the steps that had already collapsed. The interior of the structure had weathered the ages better than the exterior; the brickwork, though hardly pristine, still held up. A maze of walls greeted her, all decorated with raised bumps in arcane patterns. The air was musty and still, and when Mel reached out into her surroundings with her mind, she not only felt the presence of a small group of other people, but also something disquieting, something alien. She put her finger to her lips and Hyacinth nodded, neither of them making a sound, then Mel gestured towards where she could feel the other minds coming from most strongly.

As they crept around the walls, the sound of conversation became more evident further ahead. Mel switched off her flashlight; enough light came from the people they were approaching for her to see. She motioned for Hyacinth to follow her.

There were four of them ahead, two with their backs to them and another two past that facing them. The two closest to Mel were an elderly man and a young woman, both in hiking clothes, though the woman wore them a bit more comfortably, and both wielding lanterns. The man, hunched over, held himself up with a cane. “I don’t intend to tell you lot anything,” he said in a wheezing rattle, while the woman made a series of gestures – sign language, Mel realized.

The other two, the ones facing Mel and Hyacinth, hadn’t noticed them yet – their attention was focused on the old man. They were Neo Rockets; Mel could tell that much from the uniforms. They were not, though, the ones Mel had seen at the Venomoth Festival. Their shapeless clothes made it hard to tell anything about who they were, but neither of them were as big as No.7 or as small as No.3. These two were much closer in size to each other, though the one that was brandishing a monochromatic Pokeball was a touch shorter and maybe a little more slight. Just like the other Neo Rockets, though, when Mel tried to reach out to their minds, she got only emptiness in return. “What you intend does not matter,” said the one with the Pokeball in a numbing drone. “You will be useful to our endeavors regardless.”

Mel’s eyes widened.

She knew that voice.

StellarWind Elsydeon and Keleri like this.