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A Wolf Among Men

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Heels stopped clacking down stark white halls at one door. A tall woman looks down at the door with a stare of deep concern. "Should we really be locking them up like this? They are alive, just like us. It's been tested and proven that they're intelligent, am I wrong?" A short, lanky man standing next to her nodded grimly. "Yes, Madame, but they're also volatile and powerful. You created them yourself, you should know. This one has been found to spit venom."

The taller woman sighed remorsefully and took the folder from a plastic box bolted to the door. "You kept the name I gave him?"

"Yes, it responds well to it." The smaller man emphasised the pronoun he used, as if determined to dehumanize whatever was behind the door. "Almost as if it enjoys having a name. The other one is the same way."

"Faba, let me in to see him. I have good news for him!" The woman told him in a singsong voice. She tucked the folder back into the box and clapped her hands excitedly. Faba, as the man was called, pressed in a code on the keys by the doorframe and the door clicked open. Faba watched cautiously as the woman walked inside and shut the door behind her.

"Gladiolus~?" She called. From the shaded corner of the room, a figure perked up. Tall black ears folded upwards from the top of its head as six emerald eyes locked onto her. The figure seemed to recognize her as it crept from the shadows, nosing into her arms and purring. It was vaguely humanoid in shape, covered in short black fur save for the plumes of platinum blonde hair on its head and the end of its long tail. The fur was a bit longer along its spine, spiking upwards into a coarse mane that hid serrated spines along its back. Its feet held a digitigrade stance and each toe was tipped with a long claw. A long tail extended from its spine, twitching and lined with the same serrated spines as its back and neck. The woman held its cheeks and swayed its head gently. "How's my most beautiful son today?" She cooed, stroking his head and earning a loud purr in response. She wagged a finger teasingly. "Ah, ah, ah! Use your words, Gladiolus." The beast growled and choked out a word in a soft, raspy voice.

Good..." He squirmed out of her arms and pawed at the wall, which he knew his counterpart was behind. "Sis...Sister...?" He rasped, looking to the woman with curiosity. She walked over and swept him up in her arms, carrying him out of his cramped cell in the lab. He whined, pawing over her shoulder.

"Oh!" She yelped. "How could I forget?" She walked back inside and leaned cautiously over to grab the little beaten up cleffa plush that she had given him to play with. She handed it over her shoulder to him and the creature chirped happily. He snatched it in his claws and chewed affectionately on it, his tail twitching with content. The man who had been waiting outside's eyes widened as she left the room with Gladiolus in her arms. She entered the other lab to retrieve her daughter. The female was much smaller. Her fur was pure white; the same spikes that ran down her brother's back marked her spine as well, running all the way down her tail and tipping the wrists of all four of her feathered wings. The woman lifted her up, putting the male down to walk on his own.

"Madame! President! Lusamine!" Called Faba, waving his arms frantically. Lusamine stopped in her tracks, turning to stare at Faba.

"What?"

"What are you doing?!"

"Bringing my children home, Faba," she stated firmly, as if this was an irrefutable fact. Faba simply nodded shakily and scampered off, leaving Lusamine to bring the two little beasts back to the Aether House. Their new home.

The first day the young ones were there was full of exploration and questions. Lusamine was patient with them, answering every inquiry and explaining everything they wanted to know. She discovered many new things in just the first few hours, such as their favorite food (pomegranate seeds, or, in Gladiolus's case, the whole pomegranate), their favorite colors (Gladiolus's black and Lillian's purple), and their favorite places to sleep (Gladiolus favored the pile of spare blankets in the linen closet while Lillian slept curled up next to Lusamine). She adored them and spoiled them so, enriching them with new lives outside of a stark and cramped lab. She taught them to speak, to read and write, to sing and dance, and pursue whatever they wanted to learn. Most importantly, she taught them their ability to shapeshift, to become more human to blend in. This confused them and they asked why they would need it, to whoch Lusamine always responded "Better safe than sorry!" However, as much as Lusamine would have loved it to be, all was not well with the world. Her employees grew suspicious of the creatures' power as they grew older. The body of her foundation didn't believe they were the sweet, loving little things she knew them to be. So, in a flash of idiotic brilliance, they decided to test it themselves.

 

A scream-snarl from one of her children startled Lusamine awake late that night. Lillian wasn't in the bed with her and Gladiolus was nowhere to be found. She sprang out of bed and bolted into the main room, where the commotion had come from. She stifled a gasp at what she saw. Gladiolus stood on all fours, fur bristling, his face bent into a horrific snarl as venom dripped from between his teeth. He let out that awful sound again as an employee scrambled backwards, a hole burned through his uniform and his flesh from the beast's venom. Gladiolus' claws clicked on the tile as he stepped forward. Lusamine lunged. "Gladiolus! Gladiolus, my son!" She scooped him up in her arms, earning a startled growl but nothing more. He purred and settled into her grip and Lillian weaved between her ankles. "Out! Out all of you! I don't want to see your shameful faces!" She barked, sending the employees scrambling away. She huffed and looked with concern to her children. She knew she what she had to do.

 

Early that morning, Lusamine gifted them both a pokeball and a loving kiss. "You must leave. It is too dangerous for you to stay, you'll be safer in Alola." Gladiolus whimpered as she held his face lovingly, her gentle grip filled with sadnees that seeped into his skin. "Use that ability I showed you to look more like me. Be safe, assimilate. A ferry is leaving soon, go on, go catch it." She shooed them away. They both glanced back to her as they were herded towards the docks. She stroked a tear from her cheek as they cried the last words she would hear from them for years:

"Bye, Mother!" In perfect unison.