For the first time in his life, Leonard O’Seinn received a very odd message from the local courier.
Usually he got simple and short message like ‘Could you come to Medical Meeting at 1530 hours?’ or ‘Please re-check your supply of Chloroderamine.’ But never once he got a very vague message with unclear implications:
2nd Bacan Avenue no.21
Got time to spare?
After reading and re-reading the letter for the upteempth time, the Vaporeon shook his head and sighed through gritted teeth before grabbing a satchel, wearing his white, Fleet-issue long coat and walked out from the rather small bedroom in the Yacht.
“Going somewhere, O’Seinn?” Tor Ahlstörm, the Chief Tactical Officer asked as Leo walked past him. The Shinx was wrapping his paws and hind legs with a gauze.
“I’m meeting my acquaintance in town.” Leo replied, frowning. “Where are you going?”
Tor shrugged. “Heard there’s a Fight Club downtown. I haven’t had a good fight in a while.”
Leo stopped dead on his tracks. “Haven’t had a good- Ahlstörm! You’ve just recovered from that rampaging statue fiasco and you’re looking for another fight?!”
“That’s why I’m going.”
The Vaporeon growled. “If you came back with a single bruise, I don’t care what the captain says, you’re going down to the sick bay, got it?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Tor waved him off.
Leo growled at the Shinx before exiting the Yacht through the side door. “Stupid Tactical Officer with their stupid craves for battle and their equally stupid Head Officer.” He murmured through gritted teeth. “Someday, they’ll be lying dead from their stupidly stupid courageousness.”
The city’s repairs are going rather well from Leo’s perspective. Most of the important parts of the city had been completely rebuilt. The roads were repaired and shops were opened again. Andalusst was once again bustling with activity much to the doctor’s dismay. Turning away from the main street, the Vaporeon walked down a familiar cobble stone road with rows and rows of townhouses flanking both sides of the street. Thankfully, is was not too crowded as most parts of Andalusst. It was fairly quiet with the occasional residents going in or out of their homes, waving hello at each other or just taking a leisure stroll down the street. It was a contrasting image with the 2nd Bacan Avenue Leo saw during the Guardian Statue problem.
Counting down the numbers on the doors on the left hand side, Leo slowed down at number 24 and stopped in front of number 21. A middle aged Mewostic was tending the small garden pots located right on the side of the door.
“Hello.” She said, smiling when Leo approached. “Can I help you?”
“Uh, yes. I’m here to see James Holford. Is he in?” Leo said.
The Mewostic blinked. “Oh. You’re a student?” She placed the watering can she was holding on the side of the steps leading to the front door.
“What? No, no.” Leo shook his head. “I got a message from him to come to this address.”
“Well, it’s nice to see James finally making some friends.” The Mewostic smiled. “I’m Claire Turner, the landlady. Nice to meet you.”
Leo shook her paws. “Dr. Leonard O’Seinn. Nice to meet you too ma’am.”
“Oh, just “Miss” is sufficient, none of the “Ma’am” nonsense.” She laughed quietly, opening the front door to let Leo in. He found himself in a long, panelled corridor which leads into a set of staircase and another corridor to the right. The Meowstic leads him towards the stairs. “You’re a doctor then? It’s a rare profession in Andalusst. Most Pokémon preferred to be Healers instead.”
“I can’t see why.” Leo replied with a confused look on his face. Why would he want to be a simple healer when he could do so much more being a doctor?
They arrived in front of a simple wooden door with a brass ‘B’ hung outside. Miss Turner knocked on the door twice. “James? You have a visitor.”
The door opened, revealing a familiar Grovyle with the leaf deforms and amber coloured eyes. "Afternoon, Ms. Turner. Anything I could help?” he said.
“There’s no trouble, Arthur.” She replied, addressing the Grovyle, smiling. “Can I come in? James got a visitor.”
Arthur blinked before realizing who is behind the Meowstic. “Oh. Leonard, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” Leo said, following Miss Turner inside. “I thought you lived two floors down?”
“Jim called me. He always needs some things from my store for his experiments.” Arthur replied, closing the door behind him. “Should’ve charged him. I could be rich by next year if I did.” The Grovyle chuckled to himself.
“But you didn’t.” Ms. Turner said. “I wonder why.”
“I owed him.” Arthur shrugged.
That’s when Jim entered the living room. He’s in his usual attire; white shirt with rolled up sleeves and grey waist coat. A white apron with various chemical stains on them was worn over the clothes this time. “His father got into a mess with the government from somewhere abroad, got sentenced to death.” He said. “I was able to help out.”
Leo stared at the Zigzagoon in a slight admiration. “You prevented him from being executed?”
“Oh no. I ensured it.” Jim replied evenly, which gained a shocked look from both Leo and Miss Turner.
The Zigzagoon snorted before broke into a full laughter. “Hah! You should’ve seen your faces!” he said between laughs. “Oh this is priceless. I should’ve brought a camera. No.” he wiped a tear from his eye. “I managed to prove Mr. Elyode’s innocence. It’s quite obvious, really. The clues are everywhere.”
“Which I can never repay you for, Jim.” Arthur smiled. “You know, you should have chosen to be a detective instead of a scientist. You’d be a great one. I’m sure of it.”
Jim stared at the Grovyle oddly. “And why would I do that? Working myself with those Royal Guard dunderheads?” he snorted before shaking his head. “I preferred working in my lab, thank you very much.”
Arthur pursed his lips slightly. “Well, I’ll take my leave then. See you later.” He said.
Jim nodded at the retreating Grovyle. “Well then,” he rubbed his paws together. “Ms. Turner, I remembered that I still have a flatmate to look for.”
The Meowstic nodded. “Yes. Now that you’ve reminded me, have you found any?”
“Yeah. Him.” Jim replied, pointing at Leo. The Vaporeon grumbled. “I thought you’ve agreed to this?” the younger Zigzagoon peered up at Leo with his inquisitive blue eyes.
“Well, you could have mentioned it in your letter!” Leo replied, annoyed.
Jim didn’t seem to be disturbed by the Vaporeon’s words. Instead, he looked as if he didn’t care at the slightest. “Now then, what do you think of this place?”
“Who does he think he is?!” Leo thought incredulously before calming himself down, breathing deeply. “It’s a prime spot, I think. Near the main street and all.” He then frowned. “Must be expensive.”
“That’s why I’m looking for a flatmate.” Jim said, removing his apron and throwing it aside carelessly. Leo looked around the living room. It was quite airy and nicely furnished, with two tall windows illuminating the room on one side, facing the street below. A single, antique looking fireplace stood on the left hand side of the room with a few things scattered on the mantelpiece. To the right, the room opened into a merged kitchen and dining room. There was a door on the side of the dining room that opened into a bedroom, and a short hallway behind the kitchen stood another two door, which opens into a bathroom and another bedroom on the back.
“This is quite nice.” Leo said, nodding to himself.
“I’ve taken the room on the back. Got a nice view of the city and its surroundings.” Jim said. “That leaves the second room. Not a great view, though. And it’s smaller. Sorry.” He sounded mildly apologetic.
“S’alright.” Leo remarked, walking to the kitchen and to the second bedroom. It was quite small, but not too cramped either. There was a single bed on the side, right beside the door with a single dresser. The walls were plain with no decoration whatsoever. A window on the side of the room opened into the brick wall of the next door house. But they have a long window box lined up with blooming flowers so it’s not all bad. Leo could see the distant, misty forest if he leaned out from the window. And judging from the leftover space, there were still plenty of room for his things.
“Yep. This will do nicely.” He nodded.
Ms. Turner clapped her hands. “Well, glad that’s settled. Why don’t you two go out and get to know each other more while I cleaned this mess up.” Her tone turned into one of disapproval. “James! The mess you’ve made!”
Jim smiled rather apologetically at the Mewostic and helped her tidied up the scattered pieces of newspaper, sheets, and books before grabbing a coat and headed for the door. “Hungry, Leo? I know a nice restaurant down the street. They have a nice Berry Frappe.”
The Vaporeon checked his watch, careful to not let the two Pokémon see the digital numbers on the glass screen. It was half past noon already. “Yeah.” He nodded, following Jim out. “You’re oddly calm today.” He added when they were walking down the sidewalk.
“Hmm? Oh, that. I was quite worked up that day. I’m sorry if I caused a few inconveniences to you.” Jim replied. “I tend to act erratically when excited or bored. What do you think of the violin?”
Leo blinked. “I don’t play them, but they are alright, I suppose.”
“Do you mind the noise? I sometimes play them if I got nothing to do. “ Jim asked.
“Not at all, if you’re a good player.”
“I’m better than good.” Jim replied reassuringly. “Sometimes I got some friends visiting and the occasional young Pokemon to practice. I have some bright young students training to be a fine violinist. You wouldn’t mind that, would you?”
Leo shook his head. Truth to be told, he had never seen musicians practicing together and he had wanted to see how they played with his own eyes. Jim’s friends and students should be interesting.
“And don’t mind about the small explosions coming from my room.” Jim continued. “My experiments sometimes goes awry. But nothing dangerous, I assure you.” He said, turning into a corner. “Well, enough about me, what should I know about you?”
Leo stared at him. “You already know what my habits are, don’t you?”
The Zigzagoon looked at him oddly. “Yes I do, but I need to make sure that my deductions are correct. I don’t want to repeat that last mistake.” He added grouchily. “How could I missed that the Espeon is your elder brother?”
Leo hid a snicker. “Well, for starters, I-“
Someone screamed in the crowd. A shrill, panicked scream. Without a word, Jim and Leo dashed to the source of the noise. A crowd had gathered around, blocking their way.
“Did you see-“
“-fell from the window-“
“-call the healers!”
“Excuse me. Sorry. Please let me thorough.” Leo said, squeezing through the crowd. “I’m a medic. Excuse me.”
Jim somehow arrived in the centre of the circle, crouching beside an Arcanine. Leo immediately noticed many pieces of glass lying around the fire type. He immediately set to work, checking the Arcanine’s pulse, but recoiled away when the Pokémon suddenly coughed out black hot tar, gasping for air. Leo immediately rolled the Arcanine over, disregarding the rules Tristan had set, he pulled out a thick, tube like injector, filled it with a small tube of transparent liquid and injected it to the Arcanine’s neck. The liquid seemed to force the tar out from the Arcanine as more of them were gorged out from his mouth. Leo had to hold the Pokémon still as he was jerking and spasming about. The Arcanine’s panicked eyes darted around before settling on Leo. A ragged, gurgled breath escaped his mouth.
“Don’t speak! Don’t speak! We’re bringing you to the healers.” Leo said as the Arcanine suddenly grabbed hold of his arm.
“I said don’t speak damn it!” Leo shouted, pressing the Arcanine’s chest as bits of tar came out from his mouth. The Arcanine stared into Leo’s brown eyes, silently pleading to him. But then as Leo looked back, he saw the Arcanine’s dark eyes becoming vacant. The Vaporeon quickly reached for the fire type’s neck, trying to feel any signs of pulse.
He found none.
Jim approached Leo slowly, crouching behind him. “…Well?” he asked cautiously.
“He’s dead Jim.” Leo slumped on the stone pavement, the adrenaline disappearing from his body. “ He’s dead.”