Chapter 18: A Wrench in the Plan

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Chapter 18: An Underwater Brawl
The Ramshackle Dorm and the Savanaclaw Dorm were all gathered in the cafeteria for breakfast in preparation for their mission. They would head to the museum that day to retrieve the picture. (Y/N) felt a sense of dread fill her. This was way too easy. Azul had even gone as far as to provide a water breathing potion. There was no way he didn't have other intentions behind this. Grim, who was nomming his breakfast beside her, didn't seem to care about her suspicions.
"Eating breakfast after a hard workout is the best! I'm going to need some more meat!"
Swampert snapped at him when he tried to pluck some bacon from his plate, making the cat yip.
"So why did you do something so stupid like a deal with that scamming octopus?" Leona asked. "You're smarter than that herbivore."
"Because three morons decided to take the easy way out and now I have to bail them out of their mess and free everyone." (Y/N) growled, glaring at her dorm mate.
"Ha!" The lion laughed. "So you made a deal with Azul so you can set all those idiots free? Hahaha! This kid's not half bad! You're giving me the chills."
"Well, there are rumors that Azul-kun's exam notes are amazing. Not surprised that people would want to get a hold of them."
"Now that you mention it," Jack jumped in. "Neither of you made a deal with Azul for the test notes huh? Leona-senpai does seem like the type to take the easiest way-ah, never mind."
"Idiot." Leona growled. "Who in their right mind would make a deal with that cheating octopus?"
Swampert held up Grim immediately.
"I've made a deal with him before, but the conditions weren't a problem for me."
Ruggie flattened his ears. "That's for sure...he's not the type of guy you can really trust."
"Sounds like a Malamar."
"But even so, he is a strong magician that can make even the wildest of wishes come true."
"But the bigger the wish, the more of a disadvantage he'll put you in to get it." Leona added. "But there are so many herbivores who signed the contract without thinking of the consequences."
"I'm worried." She admitted. "It seems...too easy."
"Let me ask you this: what were the conditions to the contract you signed with him?"
(Y/N) explained to the prince the terms and conditions she agreed to. Leona nodded.
"Before the sun sets on the third day..."
"You have to sneak into the Atlantica Memorial Museum and steal a picture?" Ruggie finished as they were both silent for a moment. "You...have my condolences."
"Don't say stuff like!" Grim yowled. "We're just getting started!"
"You know the Atlantica Memorial Museum is underwater right? How do you plan on getting there?"
"He gave us a magic potion that would help us breathe underwater." Grim answered the hyena.
"We don't know if it really works, but (Y/N) says she has a backup plan." Jack mentioned, rubbing his head.
Ruggie shook his head. "If it's from Azul, it will work. Azul has too much pride in his work to you a bogus potion."
"Hm..." Leona hummed before smirking. "Then why don't you hurry and get a move on? Time is money as they say."
"Fnya!" Grim yelped. "That's right! Let's hurry and go to the Atlantica Memorial Museum!"
"Right." Jack agreed. "We only have 3 days. We've got no time to lose."
"Let's go grab Ace and Deuce! Then off we go!"
(Timeskip)
The first year team gathered in the mirror chamber accompanied by Swampert and Golisopod. Deuce stared at the luminous vial of potion Azul had provided.
"Will this potion from Azul really help us be able to breathe underwater?"
"Sitting here debating isn't gonna do anything." Jack pointed out. "Let's just drink it."
"Then, let's do it on go." Ace proposed. "Ready, set, go!"
Everyone took a swing of the potion, immediately repressing the urge to gag and throw it up.
"This is..." Deuce groaned.
Grim gagged. "Blech! It tastes like frog and rotten mushrooms!"
"I was gonna say rotten curry." (Y/N) stated, dragging her tongue over the roof of her mouth in an attempt to get rid of the taste.
Jack was also struggling. "How would either of you know what those tastes like? Bleh, it has a strong taste."
"I think they need to fix the taste of magic potions." Ace said rightly. "How do adults drink them like it's nothing?"
"Practice?" (Y/N) suggested.
Suddenly, everyone's chests began to get tighter as they started struggling to breathe. (Y/N) leaned against a concerned Swampert.
"I think it's kicking in!"
Ace was panting. "This is bad...it's getting really hard to breathe now...hurry, let's get into the ocean!"
"Mirror of Darkness, guide us to the Coral Sea!" Jack struggled to say.
As soon as the portal opened, Golisopod and Swampert gathered everyone and yanked them through. The pressure on their lungs disappeared as they emerged at the bottom of a sea. (Y/N) looked around, the tall kelp and the colorful coral giving her a warm feeling.
"Feels like home, huh buddy?"
Swampert nodded with a smile as Golisopod helped the boys regain their breath. Grim didn't seem to get it, gurgling.
"We're underwater! We're all gonna drown!"
Deuce gasped. "Ah!...? I'm not struggling to breathe?"
"Eh? Ah? You're right."
Jack glanced around. "We are really breathing underwater."
"Wow!" Ace cheered. "Look at the coral reef! The view is amazing! If only Cater were here to see this. He'd start going crazy with taking pictures."
(Y/N) nodded. "It really is beautiful."
"We don't have time for sightseeing." Jack stated. "Let's hurry and do what we came here to do."
Grim tried to paddle, but failed. "Fnga! I can't move my body that well."
(Y/N) chuckled and hopped on Swampert. "All aboard the water types, gentlemen."
Golisopod and Swampert torpedoed through the waters, even with the extra weight until eventually they came to a structure.
"Oh...there's something over there." Deuce pointed out from beneath one of Golisopod's arms.
"That's the Atlantica Memorial Museum, isn't it?" Ace asked.
Grim nodded, before gasping at the mermaid guards.
"Ah! There's people here with legs that look like fish!"
(Y/N)'s eyes sparkled. "Woah! Mermaids! Actual mermaids! I never thought I'd see them!"
Jack gave her a skeptical look. "You live in a world of element commanding monsters and you're impressed by mermaids?"
"Just give me this one Jack."
Suddenly, she felt an unpleasant shiver go down her spine as two long shadows swam passed them. Swampert growled as a familiar voice greeted them.
"Ah! They're here! Little shrimpy and friends!"
"Greetings everyone! What do you think? The world under the sea?"
"Those voices..." Grim hissed. "It's those twins!"
Suddenly, the twins emerged from the shadows. However, they were not in the human forms the group had grown accustomed to. Both had long eel like bodies and tails, green and white scales which covered their bodies, and fins on their arms and where their ears would be. Floyd gave them a predatory grin.
"That's right!"
They all reeled back, Jack being the only one capable of responding.
"You guys...why do you two look like that!?"
"What do you mean?" Floyd asked. "This is what we normally look like, you know?" He then got a little too close. "We are mermaids."
"Mermaids?!" (Y/N) shrieked as Swampert took a swing to get the wild twin to back off.
"We drink a potion that lets us shapeshift while on land, since it's hard to walk with tail fins." Jade explained.
"You both are so long!" Ace said nervously. "How tall are...! How long are you guys!?"
"Are you some kind of sea snake or something?" Deuce added.
(Y/N) tilted her head with her eyes closed. "Looks like a pair of Huntail to me. No wonder I got a bad feeling from these guys."
Deuce, for kicks, looked up that Pokémon in the Dex. A picture of a blue and orange eel like creature with a menacingly looking jaw appeared.
"Huntail, the Deep Sea Pokémon. A possible evolutionary form of Clamperl. Huntail's tail is shaped like a fish. It uses the tail to attract prey, then swallows the prey whole with its large, gaping mouth. This Pokémon swims by wiggling its slender body like a snake. Deep seas are their habitat. According to tradition, when Huntail washes onshore, something unfortunate will happen."
"Ah, Shrimpy! You have eels back home too?" Floyd taunted.
(Y/N) leaned over closer to Swampert, a bit uncomfortable. "Yeah, actually Huntail and it's line are native to my home region. And every Hoenn raised trainer knows to watch their step around them."
"Why are you guys even here, anyways?" Grim demanded.
Floyd cackled. "Hahaha! Isn't it obvious? We came to get in your way!"
Ace glared at him. "Yup, knew it."
"We'll it wouldn't be fair if we let you clear the condition so easily, now would it?" Jade said smugly.
(Y/N) and Jack immediately got off Swampert as the tweels reared themselves for a fight.
"This might be your element," (Y/N) warned. "But you seem to forget my ace Pokémon is a water type, and Golisopod are the Samurai of the sea! Guys, show these eels!"
The two Pokémon cried and charged into battle, able to keep up with the impressive swimming of the Leech brothers. However, an unexpected problem arose. Despite Floyd and Jade being unable to really harm the Pokémon, who did their best to guard the others, no one could actually land a hit. They'd come close, only for the attack to skew at the last second. Swampert and Golisopod moved back to (Y/N) frustrated their attacks weren't landing.
"Guys! Something's wrong! There's no way our attacks should be missing this much!"
"Hee, Shrimpy is very attentive." Floyd jeered.
Jade seemed equally as smug. "Creatures from land have truly incredible eyesight."
"But I will tell you why your magic won't hit us." The younger twin teased. "My unique magic is 'Bind the Heart'. It's magic that deflects others' attacks so you can't hurt us. How interesting, isn't it?"
"That's cheating!" Grim snarled.
Jade sighed. "Floyd, you can't just go around and disclose your unique magic to others."
"It's fine, just because they know doesn't mean they can stop us."
"We'll see about that." (Y/N) gave a hand signal to Golisopod. "Golisopod! Aerial Ace!"
The Hard Scale Pokémon roared, charging in. The twins looked on smugly, only to gasp in pain as the attack made contact. Floyd gritted his teeth as the bug returned to his trainer.
"What? That shouldn't happen!"
(Y/N) smirked. "Guess again, Floyd. Aerial Ace is a move that never misses!"
Floyd gave her a creepy smile. "Hey Shrimpy, I'm still mad and hurt after trying to move that dumb dinosaur, so how bout I squeeze you with my tail instead?"
The girl went pale and gulped before hopping onto Swampert and ushering him to bolt.
"FLEE!"
The boys all screamed as the twins gave chase. Golisopod at one point turned to grapple hands with Floyd. (Y/N) turned around and grabbed another Pokeball as Jade got closer to the dueling pair.
"All right, I have a plan to lose them, but it will hurt!"
"Just do it!" Ace yelled.
"Anything to get rid of them!" Grim agreed.
Jade then struck out at Golisopod, triggering Emergency Exit, calling him back to his ball. Quickly, Floyd found his fun, strong opponent suddenly replaced by a very familiar cute, but now terrifying face that grinned evilly at him.
"Chu?" Raichu said, a bubble around his head for oxygen as his cheeks sparked.
Floyd gulped. "Uh oh."
"Raichu, Shock Wave!"
The electric type sent out a blast, electrocuting the eels, but also the first years due to the salt water. (Y/N) took it like a champ and while everyone was dazed, she called Raichu back and had Swampert grab everyone and make a beeline for the mirror. By the time the twins recovered, they were back in the Mirror Chamber. Floyd frowned angrily.
"I hate that rat."
(Mirror Chamber)
Deuce was panting, looking around him. "Is everyone all right?"
"Somehow..." Ace moaned. "Next time warn us when you're gonna do stuff like that, (Y/N)!"
"What? I said it'd hurt!"
"You electrocuted us! Also, how come you seem fine?"
"Shock Wave isn't very powerful since it's a move that never misses. I've built up enough tolerance to tank point blank Thunders by this point."
Jack crossed his arms. "I can't believe those guys were mermaids."
"It felt like we were being chased by sharks!" Grim cried. "It's not fair they can swim that fast!"
"Even with Swampert and Golisopod, thanks to Floyd's magic, we don't stand a chance against them underwater!" Ace yelled. "And I don't want to get constantly shocked by Raichu!"
"But if we don't hurry and get that photo, we're going to lose the Ramshackle Dorm!" Grim stated.
"We need a new strategy." (Y/N) stated.
Ace nodded. "Yeah, I'm going to ask our info broker Cater for help."
Jack nodded to (Y/N) and Grim. "Let's go back to the Savanaclaw Dorm and talk to Ruggie and the others."
"Right."
(Timeskip)
Back at Savanclaw, Jack and (Y/N) went over what had happened with the seniors in the dorm lounge while (Y/N) Pokémon recuperated.
"Eh? You guys really went to the Coral Sea?" Ruggie clarified.
Leona groaned. "You're a bunch of idiots."
"Thanks kitty, very helpful."
"You're the one who told us to hurry and get a move on!" Grim pointed out.
"No one told you to just jump in the ocean like an idiot. Your time is limited. All I meant was for you to use your heads and think of a way around it. Even with the water monsters, you don't stand a chance against mermaids. You were set up to fail from the start."
(Y/N) growled. "I knew it was way too easy."
"Um...Leona-senpai?" Jack asked. "Did you already know that they were mermaids?"
"Yeah."
"Last summer I saw Floyd revert back to his true form during swimming class." Ruggie clarified. "But I understand how scary it must have been to be chased by him in that form."
(Y/N) leapt at the two, grabbing them by the ears. "And you morons didn't think to warn us!?"
"It's not my fault you guys just left before gathering any information! All you had to do was ask." Leona shot her with an icy glare.
She let go of Ruggie and smacked him on the head repeatedly. "That. Is. Not. The. Point!"
Eventually, he managed to get away as Ruggie shrunk back to not get hit.
Grim glared at them. "You guys are bullies, you know that?"
"So, Azul was planning on interfering from the very beginning." Jack said while rubbing his head.
"Obviously." Leona replied.
"With the Leech twins doing Azul's bidding, they're known for making things harder for others." Ruggie explained. "There's a rumor they'll continue to interfere so you don't fulfill your conditions for the contract."
"What a bunch of cowards." Grim hissed. "So if (Y/N) loses, I'm going to be stuck working for Azul, forever?"
(Y/N) nodded. "There's gotta be a way out of this. At the very least, we know my Pokémon's never miss moves bypass Floyd's magic, but there are not very powerful attacks, and I don't have many of them on Pokémon that could maneuver that well underwater."
Leona stared at the girl as she tried to formulate a plan. Ruggie noticed.
"Leona-san?"
"Azul's unique magic is 'It's a Deal'. If someone signs a contract with him, he can take one of their magic abilities. However, if they break or can't complete the terms of the contract they will be bound to work for Azul."
"The magic itself is hard to operate, but once he does, he is ruthless." Ruggie added.
"All the magic he takes is sealed inside the contract and Azul can use it whenever he pleases."
Jack's ears flattened. "So then, the reason why Azul can do such high difficulty magic is because..."
"They were most likely all the magic he has stolen from people who have signed a contract with him." Ruggie finished for the freshmen.
"What a guy! He's a cheating fraud!"
"His unique magic is pretty high level as is, so I wouldn't call it all cheating."
"I never gave him any of my magic so I can't tell you how it works." Leona stated.
"Then what did you give him?" (Y/N) asked.
The senior growled. "It doesn't matter. Don't make me remember."
"Kitty, should I be worried about you?"
"What are you, herbivore, my wife?! Anyways, as long as he has that contract it's impossible to break the deal with him. That's why Azul likes to make it sound so tempting."
Ruggie nodded with a smile. "Because no one is going to sign a contract if it doesn't sound like it will benefit them."
"So, what you're saying is, if the contract no longer exists, deal's off?"
Leona smirked at the girl. "Now you're getting it herbivore. You wanna beat the octopus? Destroy those contracts."
"But those contracts are indestructible!" Grim pointed out.
"Yeah, according to Azul." (Y/N) responded.
Leona groaned. "You're lucky she's the one with an actual brain."
"What?"
"Grim, why did you believe Azul when he said the contract was indestructible?" (Y/N) asked.
"Because our attacks had no effect on it." Jack responded.
"I don't know about that. To me, that seems pretty staged to make us think that."
Ruggie cackled. "Shishishi! (Y/N), you seem to really know the ways of scammers."
"Like I said, not my first round with mafia types."
Leona crossed his arms. "Every magic ability has a weakness. Even that little Red Prince's unique magic had its weak points. No matter how great a magician is, everyone has their limits. So that's why Azul's so-called invincible 'It's a Deal' isn't so invincible."
"His magic has a weak point..." Jack repeated. "Instead of trying to defeat the Leech brothers in the sea, we might be able to find their weakness up here. So that's what we have to do to win? But...doesn't it seem like cheating?"
(Y/N) growled. "The minute that octopus kicked me out of my dorm in the middle of the night was the minute I decided not to give a damn. Like I told the twins, if they won't play nice, I'm not obligated to be nice."
The lion smirked at her. "Pretty dubious of you, herbivore. It's a good look on you. Azul tricks naive herbivores into signing away their magic, so why hold back? Whether it's cheating or not, you win if you nullify the contract."
Ruggie laughed. "Kuuu! That's our Leona-san! He's bad to the bone!"
(Y/N) still gave him a side glance. "Regardless, you two really haven't learned anything, have you?"
Leona smiled shamelessly. "Didn't I tell you before? I do whatever it takes."
Jack seemed a little hesitant. "....an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, right? All right! We've got two days. Now let's go to Azul and destroy those contracts."
"Let's do our best." (Y/N) said.
"Okay then, do your best, little ones." Leona teased.
"Eh?" Grim yelped. "You told us all this information and you aren't going to help us?"
"Why would I? I already did you a huge service by giving you hints. The rest is on you guys. Bye."
"I'm out too." Ruggie said. "Good luck."
"You know the sooner we get our dorm back, the sooner we're out of your hair, kitty!" (Y/N) yelled as the seniors left.
"So cruel..." Grim whimpered.
"All right, we're on our own." (Y/N) sighed. "Let's get some sleep and regroup in the morning."
"Right..."

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