Chapter 16: It's A Deal

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Chapter 16: Deal with the Devil Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Jack, (Y/N), and Raichu retreated back to Ramshackle to regroup and come up with a plan. Jack went over the information as Lycanroc demanded pets from him.
"So everyone with the anemones on their heads made a deal to get good scores on the tests. And the condition for the contract required them to make the Top 50, but with the amount of students who signed the contracts-,"
"And people like us."
"It would be impossible for more than half of them to be in the Top 50, and Azul knew this would happen."
"I did think it was strange that Grim scored higher than an 80." (Y/N) said as she gave Jangmo-o some scritches.
"Honestly, there's no point in getting good grades because of people like them!" Jack growled. "All they want to do is show off how great they are to others...how stupid..."
"It's troublesome how all the students at this school don't share both of your mentalities." Crowley said, appearing from nowhere with Shinx and Applin attached to his arms because they assumed a stranger broke in. "No, if they were all serious, maybe I wouldn't be having such a hard time."
The wolf boy reeled back. "Wha! Headmaster!? You startled me!"
(Y/N), emotionless, removed the two babies from the crow and set them loose. "I keep telling you to knock. This is why they bite you."
Crowley just sighed. "Once again, I wasn't able to stop Ashengrotto's 'business'."
"Wait." (Y/N) said. "This has happened before!?"
He nodded. "Azul Ashengrotto. He is Octavinelle's dorm leader as well as a 2nd year student. Similar to Rosehearts, he is an exceptional 2nd year student as well as a great dorm leader, but, he just a little...no, no he's very problematic."
"Is that because of that scam he's running?" Jack asked. "Then as headmaster, why don't you order him to stop?"
"That's because as a teacher, I can't ban his actions."
Jack tilted his head. "What do you mean?"
"All Ashengrotto is doing is distributing test prep notes to other students. He isn't actually doing anything wrong like stealing test answers from the teachers. Those notes are based off his own research of all the past exam questions from the last 100 years. So it's basically a study guide he made on his own."
(Y/N) blinked. "Okay, that's pretty impressive."
"It's amazing that he is able to do that all on his own." Jack agreed. "Hm? Wait...so because it's not actually cheating, it's hard for you to do something about it?"
"Howl, you have very good instincts. As a teacher, I can't prohibit students from making notes, especially if it was done fairly. And he was just 'ever so kindly' helping his friends study."
"So if you did ban it, you'd basically be telling your students, 'don't study' or 'don't ask you friends for help'." Jack growled. "This is troublesome..."
"Exactly."
"Hold it." (Y/N) butted in. "You said this has happened before."
"Yes, however Azul's business wasn't as wide-spread last year. I thought maybe it wouldn't be an issue this year, but..."
"Once again you severely overestimated the morality of your students." (Y/N) joked.
He groaned. "This year, apparently there was a rumor being spread that if you wanted to get high scores on the exams to go to the Monstro Lounge."
(Y/N) put her arms behind her head. "I bet you I can name 2 reasons that rumor spread, and they're related in more ways than one."
"But no one was told what would happen if they violated the contract?" Jack asked.
"This seems to be the case. As a result, now the victims of Ashengrotto's contracts are starting to pop up one after another. And all of the students from all years scored an average of 90 in every single class subject. It's better than all the students failing, but still..."
"So everyone besides me, Jack, and those I know for a fact would never fall for this scam, cheated." (Y/N) stated as her wolf friend crossed his arms.
"So, does this mean the students who fell victim to Azul last year still don't have their magic to this day?"
"Well...he came to negotiate with me about managing the operations for the Monstro Lounge in exchange for giving the students their magic back."
"What!?" The two students yelled.
(Flashback)
"Night Raven College is a prestigious school that is famous for creating the most excellent of magicians." Azul said as he stood in the headmaster's office. "So it would be quite a problem if your school was filled with students who can't use magic. Don't you think, Headmaster? So I have a proposal. Do not worry, it won't cost you much."
(End Flashback)
"That's what happened."
(Y/N) facepalmed. "You are both useless AND morally bankrupt."
Jack scratched his head. "What's with that guy...I can't believe he got the headmaster to sign a contract. He made what Leona-senpai did look like child's play."
"And he said the school would get 10% of the sales, so it's a win-win situation."
"And you fell for that!?"
(Y/N) glared at him. "Any of the other professors would make for a more competent headmaster than you!"
"Ah, I wonder what he will demand of me this year...Will I fall for yet another trap in order to save those idio- I mean, poor unfortunate students?"
"Jangmo-o, use Dragon Claw."
The little dragon launched himself at the Headmaster, who screamed, smacking with ethereal blue claws. (Y/N) stood over him.
"You are just as bad as those idiots."
"Ow...Ashengrotto is very good at studying, and from others points of view, he is just helping his fellow students. I'm just a teacher, I can't stop him. Why is this school full of slightly problematic students!?"
"Maybe if we had a decent headmaster, this wouldn't be an issue!" (Y/N) yelled back.
"So, Stone-kun, can you go to Azul and convince him to stop all this?"
"Because of course I'm the only one who can!"
"Ah! It seems the Ramshackle Dorm's food expense have been-,"
"You threaten me, you will be fed to my Pokémon."
"...understood."
She sighed. "And you wonder why students are so problematic here. They follow their headmaster's example. Regardless, I still have to save my idiots, so I have no choice."
Crowley looked so pleased. "Is that so!? You will do it!? As expected from the dorm leader I chose myself!"
She glared at him. "You owe me for this, crow."
"Of course! Allow me to excuse myself. I'm counting on you!"
He saw himself out as Jack scratched his head.
"The headmaster sure likes to drop by whenever he feels like it. So, what's the plan? Azul doesn't seem like the type of person who will just stop just because we asked."
(Y/N) sighed. "Let's just investigate for now."
"Yeah, first we need to see who we're going up against. You have good intuition."
"Well, it's not the first time I've had to deal with mafia types."
"Wait, what?"
"Anyways, might as well let the boys suffer with the consequences of their actions for now."
(Timeskip)
Jack and (Y/N) spied on Azul for most of the day, making sure Crowley excused them from class to do so. What they learned: Azul was a good singer, a good student, and very particular about his health. Nothing really that helped their cause.
Jack sighed. "He's the ideal image of the perfect honor student."
The idiot trio dragged themselves to their lunch table.
"Ugh." Grim groaned. "I'm so exhausted from being at Azul's beck and call."
"He made us clean the entire Octavinelle Dorm, made us wait tables at the Monstro Lounge, and made us buy things from the store." Ace complained.
Deuce looked the most exhausted. "He called me at 6 in the morning today."
"And we have to work at the Monstro Lounge today too." Ace went on as Deuce nodded.
"Dorm Leader Rosehearts told us 'you signed a contract with Azul? You might as well have you head cut off!'. Then he lectured us and made us write reflection papers."
"And this anemone on my head makes me look so uncool."
(Y/N) remained unsympathetic and fed Golisopod. "That's what you get for being idiots and taking the easy way out."
"Agreed." Jack said.
Ace gave her a side look. "You could pretend to pity us."
"Just be grateful Jack and I are trying to come up with a way to save your rears."
"Oh my." A voice chime. The group turned to see Jade and Floyd right behind them. Jade gave a gentlemanly smile.
"What is troubling you? You all have such long faces."
Floyd laughed. "Ahahaha! Well if it isn't the school of anemones."
Grim hissed. "It's them! The twins!"
"It seems there is something troubling you." Jade noted.
"Yeah, we are troubled after being used by a certain someone." Ace shot with snark.
"Ah, the anemone who violated the contract is saying something." Floyd joked. "You are in no position to complain." He suddenly became much more intimidating. "Now shut up."
In a split second, Floyd found his neck dangerously close to Golisopod's claws as he growled back menacingly. Even Floyd recognized the precarious situation as (Y/N) calmly drank her tea, completely nonchalant about her Pokémon's hyper aggressiveness. As Grim hid behind Deuce, the trainer side glanced at the younger Leech.
"I suggest being a bit more polite, Leech. Golisopod is exactly merciful when it comes to bullies."
Floyd backed away as (Y/N) motioned for her Pokémon to stand down. Deuce pulled out the Dex during this stand off.
"Golisopod, the Hard Scale Pokémon. The evolved form of Wimpod. Its claws, which it can extend and retract at will, are its greatest weapons. Golisopod is sometimes accompanied by Wimpod. It will do anything to win, taking advantage of every opening and finishing opponents off with the small claws on its front legs."
"That's one scary Pokémon." Ace said under his breath.
"Now now, Floyd." Jade interceded as his brother and the bug/water type glared each other down. "We didn't come to talk to the anemones. We came to speak with you, Dorm Leader Stone."
"Me?"
Floyd's mood suddenly changed as he grinned at the girl. "Aw, so nervous, like a little shrimp. Shrimpy! Ah, you're so tiny, like a little shrimp."
(Y/N) looked blankly at Jade. "I will let my Pokémon maim him."
"Understood." Jade pushed his brother back to avoid that carnage.
"Even with her Pokémon, these guys are pretty threatening." Ace whispered.
"Back to the main order of business, could what is troubling you relate to these dumb anemones over there?"
"All right, I'm done."
In a ploy that shocked everyone, (Y/N) grabbed Jade's tie and yanked him down to her eye level. Even the twins were caught off guard as she looked at the older twin furiously.
"Listen here, Leech, if you think your little intimidation tactics work on me, you're dead wrong. I am not afraid of you or your brother, I am disgusted by people like you who take advantage of people. You may act coy and innocent, but we all know exactly what you are. Now," she pointed to the trio. "These buffoons are morons, but they're my morons, and only I and Riddle get to call them as such. You and your boss messed with them, so you've royally ticked me off. Now, why don't you cut the niceties and get to the point before I show you what a real undersea brute is!"
Jade was very surprised at how intimidated (and attracted to) by this short girl he was. It seems that she didn't need to hide behind her monsters to be terrifying. As she let go, he coughed awkwardly as Floyd couldn't even comprehend what had just happened.
"I respect you even more now." Jack said to her with a smirk.
Deuce was holding back his tears. "(Y/N), you are my hero."
"If you want to resolve your problem, you need to take it up with Azul," Jade said quickly.
"If you want to remove the anemones from your friends, he can do that." Floyd added.
"Eh?!"
"Of course, you must realize this won't be for free." Jade pointed out.
"Tch, that's it then." Jack glared at them. "You guys are just trying to get (Y/N) to sign a contract."
"No need to bare your fangs at us." Jade assured them. "Land creatures are so vicious, aren't they?"
"We are just trying to be kind and let you know. Right Jade?"
"Yes, indeed Floyd. We can't leave these poor unfortunate souls in need."
The two laughed before Jade slipped (Y/N) a piece of paper.
"Well then, if you are interested, please visit Monstro Lounge at 9 o'clock tonight. We will have delicious tea waiting for you."
"We'll be waiting, little shrimpy."
(Y/N) eyed them suspiciously as they walked away. Deuce coughed.
"Eh? So then, in other words..."
"If you make a contract with Azul and win..." Grim continued.
Ace finished. "We'll be set free!?"
"Please dorm leader! Please win against him!" They all begged.
Jack looked at them disapprovingly. "Well, you're taking this lightly."
"Coming from someone who doesn't have an anemone on their head!" Grim argued. "You wouldn't understand!"
"It's your own fault for cheating in the first place."
"We already learned our lesson!" Ace assured him as his blue haired dorm mate sighed.
"Yeah, we won't do it again. Next time I will just accept the failing mark."
(Y/N) raised a brow. "Or you can just ask me to help you study."
"So, what are you going to do, (Y/N)?" Jack asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" She stood up. "I gotta beat the octopus to free everyone."
He crossed his arms. "I'd argue against it. You and I both know what he's gonna ask for as collateral since you don't have magic."
She smirked. "You let me worry about that. Like I said, I've dealt with mafia types before. If he thinks I don't have my own cards to play, he's in for a rude awakening."
"Okay then. I'll take along with you just cause you seem like the type to jump in head first into danger."
"What gave it away? The first or second Overblot incident?"
"Woo." Ace whistled. "Jack is so nice."
He glared at the red head. "That's not it! I just can't stand what Azul is doing! And I don't want to lose to those who cheat to earn good grades."
"Yeah yeah, puppy, we know you're big and bad." (Y/N) teased.
Suddenly, the idiot trio were being yanked by the anemones again.
"Not again!" Deuce cried.
"OWOWOWOW!" Ace yelped. "He's going to make us work during lunch!?"
Grim looked pleading to the Pokémon Trainer. "You're our only hope, (Y/N)!"
They all screamed as they were dragged away.
"They are completely hopeless." Jack said while shaking his head. "Anyway, let's try going to the Monstro Lounge tonight."
(Timeskip)
Jack and (Y/N) returned to the lounge at the appointed time. (Y/N) brought in Swampert as the muscle. This time, she actually looked around the lounge. It was really nice and had a nice atmosphere, and clearly it was popular.
"There are a lot of people here."
Jack crossed his arms. "We are in enemy territory. Don't let your guard down."
Floyd appeared and Swampert growled lowly at him.
"Oh shrimpy! Welcome! I see you brought the sea urchin here with you."
"I told you I'm not a sea urchin!" Jack yelled back.
"Oh my." Jade greeted. "Well this is the place. Thank you for deciding to come. Welcome to the Monstro Lounge. This is your first time here, isn't it?"
Jack narrowed his eyes. "I've been wondering this for a while...you...do you like to ask questions you already know the answers to?"
"Fufu, I'm just asking. Now then, let me explain the precautions and disclaimers before we continue. The Monstro Lounge is a gentlemen's social club. So please refrain from fighting with others from different dorms. Here, everyone will abide by the rules of Octavinelle. So please follow the rules and enjoy yourselves here at the lounge, okay? Now then, our beloved customer, what brings you here today?"
"I'm here to discuss the anemones." (Y/N) stated calmly.
Jade laughed. "Fufufu, very well then. However, the manager is with another customer at the moment. Would you mind waiting in the lounge for a little bit? Ah, also loitering is prohibited. So please buy a drink while you wait."
"Oh come on! I'm on a budget!"
"Mr Anemone, please come take their order."
"I can't." Deuce answered. "I have to deliver these other drinks."
"Same here." Ace called. "Can't you just take the order? Look at how relaxed you are while we are here working our butts off."
Jade looked at them coldly. "You speak rudely for someone in your situation."
In a flash, the anemones began pulling at the boys' heads as they yelped.
"Azul left me in charge of training the new staff, so those who violate the rules will be punished."
"OWOWOWOW!" Deuce screamed. "I got it! I got it already!"
"Knock it off!" (Y/N) growled as Swampert cracked his knuckles.
Jade relented. "Oh my, well this certainly won't do. I believe I already told you, you are to follow the rules while you are in the lounge."
"We have the right to strangle the necks of problematic kids who don't want to listen."
"And I have a right to get Raichu to blast you with another Thunderbolt, Floyd."
"...yes ma'am."
Jack clicked his tongue. "Tch...so you're saying we aren't allowed to talk back to you?"
"You could manage the shop in their place, shrimpy."
"Ah! That's a great idea!" Ace agreed. "Let's do that! We could really use Yuu and Jack's help right now."
(Y/N) tugged his ear. "I'm already cleaning your mess! Don't drag me and Jack further into your consequences!"
"OWOWOW! OKAY! OKAY!"
"If I may." Jade interceded. "You do have creatures from another world at your command. Perhaps, a performance?"
She pondered it for a moment. "Now that....that I can do."
Jack rolled his eyes. "Fine. Let's just get this over with so I can go back to my dorm and go to sleep."
"Sleep? It's only 9 o'clock." Ace pointed out. "What time do you go to sleep?"
"I'm in bed by 10 pm."
"You really are such a good boy."
Floyd of course got bored and decided to hug (Y/N) from behind, making her yelp.
"Come on shrimpy! Aren't you gonna entertain us?"
"Guess I have no choice." (Y/N) pulled out a Pokeball and threw it above the aquarium. "Milotic, let's put on a show!"
The graceful serpentine Pokémon appeared with an elegant cry. Everyone in the lounge was mesmerized by the beautiful Pokémon and Deuce pulled out the Dex.
"Milotic, the Tender Pokémon. The evolved form of Feebas. Milotic live at the bottom of large lakes. When this Pokémon's body glows a vivid pink, it releases a pulsing wave of energy that brings soothing calm to troubled hearts. Considered to be the most beautiful of all Pokémon, it has been depicted in paintings and statues."
"It really is beautiful." Jack said, marveling at the Pokémon.
(Y/N) climbed up on to the aquarium and let out Raichu as well.
"All right guys, you know the drill. Milotic, spin and use Hydro Pump, Raichu use Psychic!"
The two Pokémon did as they were told, creating a spiraling tunnel of water above the lounge. (Y/N) grabbed onto Milotic as she dove into the tunnel and raced through it, and jumping between the tunnels.
"Milotic, Dragon Dance!"
The Tender Pokémon began to spin, her body enveloped by a glowing light, making her scales shimmer. As she reached the top, she leapt into the air.
"Ice Beam!"
Milotic fired the beam below them, freezing the tunnel solid, and giving them a platform to land on. Everyone clapped wildly at the performance as (Y/N) raised her arms.
"For the grand finale. Milotic, Aqua Tail!"
Milotic cried as she raised her tail and slammed it down, shattering the ice into a shimmer display as she and her trainer dove into the tank. Everyone cheered as (Y/N) got out of the tank and smirked at the Leech brothers.
"Satisfied?"
Jade coughed awkwardly, not used to his and his brother's tactics being so easily brushed off. "Yes. That will do."
"Indeed." Azul said as he finally decided to show up. "You did such a wonderful job. I must admit, it was a spectacle."
"Azul!" Jack growled.
"My apologies for making you wait. The VIP lounge is ready, so please come this way. Jade, Floyd, please prepare some tea for our guests."
"It would be our pleasure." The twins said in unison.
(Y/N) returned Milotic and Raichu to their Pokeballs as she, Jack, and Swampert followed Azul into the lounge. It was pretty spectacular to look at.
"What is this place?" Jack asked, baffled. "Are we still at the school? There's a big safe here, just like a bank."
"Now then, don't just stand around." Azul motioned to the chairs in front of the desk. "Please, come inside. So then, what is it you would like to discuss with me?"
"Please remove the anemones from all of the students." (Y/N) demanded.
He laughed. "Haha, well this is so sudden. Saying that almost makes me sound like a villain. So you want me to release all 225 students who have a contract with me?"
Jack's ear went back. "225!? That's how many students you made contracts with!?"
"Jade and Floyd worked very hard to improve business this year. Thanks to them, we were able to obtain a lot more customers. Now then, (Y/N)-san, you said you wanted me to set all those students free. I'm not forcing them to work unfairly or anything. They agreed to the conditions when they signed the contract with me."
"A contract you made needlessly long to discourage a thorough reading of it, likely with very choice language, and choosing to make so many it would be impossible for even a quarter of your customers to fulfill it." She listed off. "But, I guess so long as you don't exactly break any rules, you don't care about the dubious nature of your business."
"Regardless, a contract isn't something you can just get rid of because you feel sympathetic for them. In other words...you are already too late."
She pursed her lips. "If that were the case, you wouldn't have bothered to send Jade and Floyd to the cafeteria to meet me. So, why don't we cut the banter and make a deal."
"Hey! What are you doing!?" Jack whispered harshly.
"Just trust me. I know what I'm doing."
Azul looked quite pleased. "Oh, you want to make a deal with me? What an interesting idea."
"Ha." Floyd laughed. "Shrimpy sure is brave."
"Hm...I understand you would like to make a deal with me. We have a little problem, you see. If I remember correctly, you don't have any magic. You're from an entirely different world. If you wish for something so big, you must surrender a collateral of equal value."
She smirked. "I'm stopping you right there."
"Hm?" He said surprised.
She leaned in. "I'll let you in on something, because unlike you, I value fairness. I know for a fact you're just after my Pokémon. Don't think I didn't see gawking at Raichu yesterday, or that I didn't find it strange Jade happened to show up when I was taking Flygon and Starraptor out for a fly."
Jack growled. "Guess we were right."
"Let me clear up a little misconception you have about me, Ashengrotto. You're under the belief I have complete subjugation of my Pokémon. I don't. Their obedience and loyalty is given to me of their own free will. I can't even force them to stay in their Pokeballs. I'm the only one they'll listen to. You take them, they'll rip you apart in a second. So I suggest you rethink what you're going to ask me for, and I know for a fact you'll ask for something else because your greed won't allow you to pass this up. Think carefully, octopus, because I play to win."
The Octavinelle trio blinked at the girl in utter dismay. She had seen through everything. Turns out, she was way more perceptive than they gave her credit for. Jack looked very impressed at (Y/N). Azul adjusted his glass, a little frustrated he had received a tongue lashing by this magicless human as well as had his plan made transparent. Still, she wasn't wrong. He couldn't pass up the opportunity to obtain such powerful creatures. He'd just need to get their trainer under his control.
"You're clever. It seems you know about business yourself."
"Along with being the adoptive daughter of the previous league champion, I am also the adoptive granddaughter of the president of one of my world's largest companies. I picked up a couple of things."
"Very well, then how about handing over ownership of the Ramshackle Dorm to me?"
"I am all on board with that!" Grim yelled, bursting into the room.
(Y/N) gave him a side look. "Grim, how long have you been there?"
"I can't live like this anymore! My fur isn't made for washing dishes!"
"Grim, you aren't going to get away with skipping out on work to eavesdrop on others' conversations." Jade warned. "Floyd, please kick him out."
"Okay."
Grim yelped and ran under Swampert, who growled when Floyd got too close.
"Now now, wait a second you two." Azul called them off. "(Y/N)-san, listen to what your dorm mate is saying. What do you say? Will you give me the Ramshackle Dorm as a collateral for our deal?"
"(Y/N), please save me!" Grim begged.
Jack shook his head. "(Y/N), stop! You know the contract isn't going to be fair!"
"I know that, but even if it isn't, I can still beat him." She turned to Azul. "What are the conditions?"
Azul smirked. "The conditions for the contract are in 3 days, you must steal a specific picture from the Atlantica Memorial Museum that is located in the Coral Seas."
She glared at him. "I'm not stealing art from a museum!"
From the corner of her eye, (Y/N) saw Jade stiffen, as if even he was shocked about the request. It seemed as though there was more to this than Azul was letting on.
Azul shook his head. "No, no, it's not a work of art. Even I wouldn't ask you to become an art thief. I want you to steal a commemorative photo of Prince Rielle's visit from 10 years ago."
"A prince's commemorative photo?" Jack repeated.
"The photo is displayed near the entrance. It's just a photo with no historical value. No one would be concerned if it were to suddenly disappear."
"Why do you want us to do all that?" Grim asked.
The silver haired male adjusted his glasses. "It wouldn't be a challenge if I made you do something easy now would it? It wouldn't be worth it for me to give you an easy task. I am not a charity."
"The Atlantica Memorial Museum is in the Coral Sea and is a very famous tourist attraction." Jade explained. "You can see a piece of the King's silver hair and the mermaid princess's cork opener. It's not like we are asking you to go down to the bottom of the ocean."
(Y/N) crossed her arms. "That's exactly what you're asking me to do."
Floyd ignored her. "Ah, I remember going to that museum for an elementary school field trip."
"We don't have gills or fins." Jack pointed out rightly. "Even with (Y/N) water Pokémon, this is going to be impossible for us to do under these conditions."
"Yea!" Grim agreed. "We can't breathe underwater!"
"I have my Dive Mask, but I only have one." (Y/N) noted.
Azul nodded. "Normally, that would be something for you to figure out, however, in this case, I will give you this potion which will allow you to breathe underwater."
He handed the girl a shell shaped vial with bright green potion inside.
"The Great Sea Witch gave that unfortunate mermaid legs so she could be with the love of her life. I have somewhat of a heart, don't I? Fufufu. Well, what will you choose? Will you make a deal with me and sign the contract? I'm a very busy person and I haven't got all day. Go ahead, make your choice. Now."
(Y/N) nodded. "All right, you have a deal."
"Very well." He held up a golden contract. "Now, please sign right here." (Y/N) did so and he laughed. "Fufufu...now that everything is in order, this completes our contract. If you manage to take the photo from the museum and bring it to me before the sun sets on the third day, then I will release all 225 students I have under contract."
"And this little scam of yours ends." (Y/N) added.
"Of course. However, if you are unable to do it, then the Ramshackle Dorm will be mine and you will be working for me in your friend's place."
"Fine." She glared at him. "But mark my words, Ashengrotto. You try to cheat me, you will regret it. I play to win."
"Jade. Floyd. Kindly escort our guests out. I look forward to seeing you in 3 days."

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