The morning sun is beginning to leak as scattered light across the ridge of Sehto's volcanic crater - but in the castle, none of it filters through, black slabs of darkness dominating in most rooms, with the exception of those that are inhabited, that ambient-style light filling them regardless of time of day. Early rising is rare in visitors - but Jagdish is up, albeit more since he did not get much sleep tonight. It had taken some restraint to allow himself a night's sleep, but it was necessary - he had to allow a sliver of rational thought into this. Still, he was still thoroughly agitated. Chances are Mew would find him standing infront of a mirror, staring at himself as if he weren't entirely sure it was his face he was even seeing.
Mew shimmers into view not far away from him, her head tilted slightly as she watches him for long seconds. She doesn't say anything though, blinking slowly as she watches him, even as her tail flicks and she floats over to him, perching on his shoulder. The small Psychic-type looks into his reflection then as her slim tail curls about his shoulders, remaining quiet for now.
Jagdish kneads absent-mindedly at the black leather of his gloves, eyes latched onto themselves in the mirror for a long moment, before the stare is broken by a twitch of his left brow, freeing him from this particular paralysis. Of course, he's spotted Mew - and for a moment, it seems as if he's not going to greet it at all, swirling to stride out of this particular room into the darkness of the corridors. Mew's almost natural glow helps perceive outlines as he walks, and after that initial moment of silence, as if with unacceptable delay, he remarks: “Good morning, Mew,” and raises his right hand without glancing up at the pokémon to scritch at its chin. The voice is, as the pokémon had come to expect, pleasant, though laced with an odd distance that was not quite insincerity.
Mew purrs very softly as she is scritched at before she looks around, her natural balance aiding her as she doesn't move from his shoulder. Her head tilts one way and then the other as she looks around, all without making much noise, which is normal for her.
Silently, Jagdish walks through the near-labyrinthine interior of Taqnateh's 'castle', fingertips swirling through Mew's short fur with practised ease. Introspection is a natural state for the gym leader - but it rarely causes this much of a storm-clouded face. To the little pokémon, it's one of those many fascinating aspects of humans. They're simply not quite as transparent as some other creatures.
His gloved fingertips shift away from the Mew as his stride slows, and they elicit a soft sound as they brush across the wood of a door, until the palm of that hand comes to rest against it, index finger and thumb spread out around the handle indecisively. Perfect opportunity for the pokémon to coax him into it - a simple nudge should do the trick.
Mew blinks sideways at him then down at the door handle before she nudges him, gently. She remains silent though, watchful, tail flicking casually around his shoulders. Her muzzle twitches but she stays quiet, flicking a second look up into his face.
The fingers lock around the door handle an instant after the nudging, opening up into that dimly but thoroughly lit room, silent as it swings open, no longer in his grasp. Warily and wearily, he peers into it, standing by the doorway, unmoving, before entering with the silence of a feline, right hand almost absent-mindedly finding the edge of the door, only to push it closed behind him. He rests his spine against it, leaning, peering across the room in brooding, contemplative silence. A certain someone is still sleeping - or pretending to sleep, one of both.
Mew floats off his shoulder again, silent as she hovers near the girl, watching intently, head tilted slightly. Looking back to Jagdish she blinks slowly then looks away again, almost bouncing on a pink bubble.
The pokémon, approaching as it does, would notice she is, indeed, awake, both arms slid under the pillow, left cheek nuzzled into it, eyes open, shoulders pulled forward tautly, silent. She doesn't really seem to be pretending to be asleep, as such, she's simply being overly silent, like someone hoping to be invisible.
Mew flicks a look over to the tall man then back to the girl, looking her up and down before she bobs away, moving out of Jagdish's way as she does so. A ear twitches and she tilts her head slightly, blinking slowly but without that she makes a sound.
With no real indicator that the girl's awoken, Jagdish remains by the door for now, silent, his breath steady, though that alone seems like a miracle. An accordingly startled twitch touches his shape as Neike mutters, half-muffled by the pillow: “Hi.” It's a fleeting, flimsy tone. His eyes close, jaw setting, fingers curling and uncurling in indecisive fists - or from excess energy. Not immediately responding, he peels his eyes open again, glancing at Mew, still leant against the door, though shifting slightly against it. Watching the slightly hyperactive pokémon swirl its tail, he finally parts his lips to speak. “I'm not going to ask you why you agreed. So, for the record, I don't want to know. Maybe later.” That's quite some 'greeting', though he feels it misses some of the venom he'd have liked to hear in his voice. Still, it's unmistakable.
Mew turns then, watching the two humans, backflipping in midair and looking at them both upside down. She doesn't make a sound though, not even as she rights herself and bobs towards Jagdish and perches on his shoulder again.
Silence. He traps his lower lip briefly between his teeth, only to abruptly push away from the door, taking two steps into the room, before commanding in a chillingly cold tone: “Get up.” It's only barely removed from a bark. There's a brief rustle as Neike's shape simply curls in on itself reflexively - then a more drawn out, soft sound as she shifts slowly away from her state of being draped on her belly, as if she had to convince herself of every inch moved.
Mew watches intently, staring at the girl, not looking at Jagdish now even as her tail curls about hsi head and shoulders. Her head tilts slightly, the little feline's nose twitching ever so slightly.
Evidently not pleased with the motion, a hiss passes past his gritted teeth, swift, broad stride bringing him close to her shape - and his right hand snaps out, fingers seizing the back of her pyjama shirt's collar, twisting the fabric until it grants a firm hold, only to pull her forcibly off the mattress and onto the ground, her shape collapsing awkwardly off the edge, right along with a cry of surprise. He's let go of her, having pulled her with a force as if perhaps hoping to throw her across the room. “Up,” he snarls down at her, his voice leaving no room for interpretation.
The reaction is not there - or at least it's not as immediate as Jagdish would like, seeing only a slight instinctual cringe; a moment later, his right hand is upon her again, fingers sliding through her hair, entwining, then gripping a hold of several strands to yank at her shape, forcibly pulling her - awkwardly - to her knees. “You deaf?” he asks, knowing the answer himself, of course - but the fire that swirls in his eyes suggests that doesn't matter.
Mew tilts her head again, peering down at the girl, eyes narrowing slightly before she flicks a look to Jagdish then floats off of his shoulder, hovering next to the girl, peering at her. She doesn't say anything though or make a sound.
Neike's glance drifts sideways to the Mew, gaze quizzical where it is not filled with a passive terror, her breath in gasps, hastened, even as she manages to utter: “No.” It's almost whispered - chances are the only reason she's managed to utter it is because it's a single syllable. The grip on her hair tightens, making her squeeze her eyes shut, her back arched slightly. “So,” he says, his fingers flexing her hair without relenting their grip any, stood straight, staring down at her with that venomous glare. “I bet you want to know what you've 'done to deserve this', am I right?” The quasi-quoted phrase comes as a vicious, cynical stab, lashing against her in mocking tone, exaggeratedly effeminate for a moment, infused with pretended incredulousness.
Mew watches for long seconds then bounces on a small pink bubble, the feline tail curling about her before she almost chuckles without that she actually says anything. Blinking her dark eyes, she flicks a look to Jagdish and then is silent once more as she looks as the girl.
A silent nod - single, brief motion - is Neike's response, her shape held tense. She has something of a theory, of course, but that's all it is - a theory. Jagdish snorts derisively, pulling her head back further, forcing her to arch her back or shift her legs - she does an awkward mixture of both, still not daring to raise her arms to push him away. “Dakarai N'Sehla ring a bell?” he asks, and something in the voice cracks, almost inaudible, just tangible enough to be made out. - Again, a single nod, tension still seizing her shape. - “When he mentioned this place, did he bother to tell you what it entailed for him?” Jagdish snaps, his left hand twitching, but he somehow manages to hold himself rigid for now.
Mew blinks; eyes widening fractionally then floats a little further way, perching on the tall man's shoulder, nestling close to his ear, almost under his hair if not actually under it. She's not scared or anything, she just finds his shape comfortable to sit on. The little Psychic type remains silent though, blinking slowly at Neike.
She shakes her head slowly, and for the first time double-encodes her response, lips parting, albeit hesitantly, to form the words: “No, he didn't.” Her voice is still almost soft enough to pass as a whisper. Jagdish grimaces down at her, appearing so eternally displeased. “Well, unfortunately, he can't catch up on that. Apparently you're special enough to die for.” - 'Oh, dear god,' seems to be her thought judging from her facial expression; it warps into a hideously distorting grimace, her shoulders rising in cringe. - “Does that make you feel special?” he asks, leaning close to her face to better hiss the words past her ear, his eyes narrowed. It seems the next words spoken, be it verbally or in body language, ought to be carefully chosen.
For long moments, she's petrified, not even moving her eyes, chest the only thing shifting each breath. Finally, gathering some strange, inner courage, she dares speak. “No.” - A loud smack resounds in the room, and a moment later, she's on her side, his fingers having slid out of her hair, back of his left having delivered a backhand of proportions she hadn't really expected. Stunned, she glances up at his shape, bringing her left arm up high enough to please her instinctual urge to protect herself, but not nearly enough to truly protect should he decide to strike again.
Mew seems to almost… brighten as the girl crumples as she is smacked. She bounces a little then, eyes bright and intent as she focusses her attention on the girl… not that it really was anywhere else. She remains quiet though, and crouched on the tall man's shoulder.
A moment later, he's stepped forward and sideways to close the distance to her head, and, indeed, the hand snaps back down, forcing her to collapse on her side. His right foot rises off the ground, coming to rest against her left shoulder - only to push against it, forcing her to twist onto her back, pinning her loosely against the ground. He snarls, bringing both his hands up, spreading some of his fingers against each other - and a moment later, twists his right hand through the air, a shadow of something slanting across her shape; and a moment later, seemingly out of nowhere, a cane or horsewhip; it's hard to tell against the light bleeding across the ceiling, merely casting its silhouette upon her shape.
Mew leans forwards and almost falls off Jagdish's shoulder as he towers over the girl, tilting her head as he rolls her on to her back and then the whip appears. She blinks then, tail hanging down the tall man's back as the cat almost glares down at Neike, ears and muzzle twitching although she remains quiet.
Neike utters a cry of surprise - she doesn't try to comprehend where the item came from; instead, her arms snap up properly, which only causes Jagdish to dip his left hand down through the air and grab her right arm by the wrist, yanking it aside, leaving her left as insufficient protection even then, though he does not leave it up to fate whether he'll be able to smack her or not, shifting his foot from her shoulder to her upper arm and forcing it down against the floor, before lashing down against her shape without further ado, weapon whistling as it parts the air, cracking loudly against her skin, shooting up pain from her left shoulder, across her collar bone, and from the lash along her neck and right jawline. It burns like fire.
Mew watches then, hovering next to the tall man and as the girl cries she bounces a bit, peering closely at her face before she looks up at Jagdish, head tilted curiously. Looking back down at the girl, she peers as her collar bone before looking into her face. Humans were such interesting creatures.
Of course, he has to struggle against her - the instinct to curl in on herself is stronger than any resolve she might have not to do so, should she have it, and her arm strains against his grip, only to be the victim of the next strike, burning wire of pain shooting up from her mostly bared upper arm. Her eyes squeeze shut, head turning to the side, shoulders shifting to best of their ability to protect. “Stay still, bitch,” he growls down, nose wrinkled, pushing the tip of the cane against her carotid artery threateningly. The eyes squeeze shut tighter, her shape trembling silently, trying to remain still.
Mew bounces a little, moving out the way should be in it as he struggles against her and as the girl is hit again, she looks up at Jagdish with wide eyes, bouncing and bobbing a bit as she does so. The cat pokémon looks back down at Neike then, moving a little further away although she doesn't look away from her.
The tip of the cane flicks away, leaving a small red circle on her neck that is quick to fade - and a moment later, the cane whips down with another whistling sound and strikes her squarely across her left cheek. She cries out - and again, reflexively attempts to curl in on herself, pulling Jagdish's shape down and forward with the instinctual tug of her arm, tearing another snarl from him. “I said stay still,” he growls; and a moment later, thumb of his hand pushed against her palm, he's twisting her arm fiercely, causing her to utter a sob, shifting her shape in attempt to compensate, to no avail.
Fortunately, he's not very strong - he can't twist the arm to any sort of breaking point, or even dislodge the shoulder. Still, the sheer strain is enough to have Neike's sob turn slowly into a groan of pain, shape seized by small trembles. One of them seems to travel up to Jagdish's shape, mirrored there, a brief gesture, resulting in a snort; he's not letting go of her arm yet, but he is lifting his foot away from her other arm - and a moment later, kicks the heel against her upper arm. Again, her shoulder doesn't dislocate, but she wails anyway - and he pushes against her arm for a moment, increasing the dull pain; before he lets go and the arm snaps down against the ground, trapped near the inside of her elbow against the floor in uncomfortable pin. “God, you don't even break right,” he mutters, not caring if he makes any sense - quite aware he doesn't.
Mew looks down at Neike then, floating closer to her, peering into her face intently before she bobs closer to Jagdish and looks up at him, remaining silent even as she looks back down at the girl again. She drops down on to the man's shoulder then, watching intently.
With her shape sagged on the ground of the room, he stands as if faintly contemplative, own body lined with tension. As if to dispel the same, he consciously rolls his right shoulder, lips pulled taut in a thin line, staring down at her - and then it becomes apparent he's really daring her to speak, or to attempt to pull herself to some distance, anything that might work as prompt for another reaction. As she merely remains curled sideways, only sounds akin to whimpers, he hisses out: “Get up.”
Mew blinks then narrows her eyes, but remains silent, perched on the tall man's shoulder as she is. Her tail flicks a little before she shifts slightly, looking sideways at him before she leans forwards, peering at the girl even as her head tilts slightly.
Yet again, that same spiel - with the exception of that straight line travelling from the grip of his right hand as a diagonal slash through the air. Briefly, his left eye blinks closed, as though perhaps hoping to obscure one of two visions he had of the pitiful creature before him - but which? Slowly, she stirs - granted more patience (or some semblance thereof) this time. The tension's a tremble as she shifts beneath him, twisting herself on all fours, right shoulder nonetheless nuzzled down against the back of her right hand, her shape collapsed, resisting efforts to uncurl it. Finally, she's pushing herself to a rudimentary stand - a slow progression. “Against the wall,” he appends, fingers flexing, eyes narrowing a touch - even though it is, in actuality, more of an act of mercy that he's letting her brace against something.
Mew doesn't even blink as the girl is struck and when she stands, the small cat pokémon floats a little closer to her, peering intently into her face before she looks away, rolling upside down in mid-air before she flicks a look to Jagdish. She bounces slightly then, ears and tail twitching as she moves aside, hovering just beside him, silently.
Neike clasps her left hand up against the cool stone wall, fingers spread against it, pushing herself to a shaky rise. There's nothing physically forcing her to move so gingerly - it's simply a powerful flavour of fear, albeit of an odd nuance. Slowly, she raises her right hand to match the gesture - but drops it with a soft whimper, this time out of pain, her shoulder aching fiercely. Slowly, her left knee rises off the ground, sole of her bare foot pushing down against the floor, and with lowered, distant gaze, she pushes herself to stand. Jagdish's lips pull sideways in medley of smirk and sneer. “Well done.” It seems almost genuine, the mock subtle, but it's there, and all the worse once discovered. The tip of the cane whips through the air, slower this time, coming to rest against the edge of her pyjama pants near her spine, only to drag up under the shirt, raking against her skin uncomfortably in the process, before coming to rest between her shoulder blades, abruptly pushing against shape, forcing her forward and closer to the wall until her chest touches it.
Neike's right cheek comes to rest against the cool stone, her breath ghosting out unevenly across it, eyes closed. Jagdish grinds the point of the cane's tip further against her spine until the punctual torment elicits a soft whimper; before letting the black, silken folds of the pyjama top fall back over her back as he withdraws it. A moment later, the familiar sharp whistle distorts the silence - and the line cracks down against the small of her back in vertical slash, eliciting a soft cry. He snorts, derisively. “Lose the shirt.” Again, the tone suggests no room for argument. Apparently, he didn't like that buffer, thin as it was.
Mew blinks then tilts her head as she watches the girl, most of her attention there although she is watching Jagdish too out of the corner of her eyes. She remains silent though, watching with great fascination. A twitch runs through her then and she drags both forepaws over her face, not trying to hide but just rubbing at her muzzle.
Her glance slides sideways almost worriedly, touching his face - only to shift away again just as quickly, as if stung. Slowly but surely, her hand curls away from the wall, pushing up under the front of the shirt and coiling fingers into a fisted grip of the fabric as her shoulders roll to shrug out of the garment. The pain from her right arm - forced into motion as it is - causes the occasional disturbance of an otherwise fairly fluid motion, in form of a twitch. A breath hisses past her teeth as both arms push the shirt up over her head - and then it's discarded by flick of her left wrist, right arm quick to drop back down, left bringing the hand to height of her now-bared shoulders, acute angle at her elbow. No 'Thank you', not even in mock - instead, another whistling sound follows; a crimson streak appears along her lower back, straight, slight deviation from perfect horizontal lash; and past her gritted teeth, a grunt of protest surfaces.
Taking a step closer, but still with plenty of leeway to let the lithe weapon strike with a vengeance should he want it to, he extends his left hand toward her shape, fingertips of the same pushing against the skin pulled taut against her left shoulderblade. A moment later, he seems to change his mind slightly, instead snapping the hand down against her skin, palm pressed against the same place the fingertips had just a moment ago, fingers curling around her shoulder in firm grip, nails digging against the skin carelessly - and in the same breath, the first of a series of viciously powerful strikes lash against her shape, by sheer courtesy at height of her shoulders, stinging briefly more than truly causing lingering pain.
Mew watches intently, bouncing slightly she does so, fascinated by the sounds and the facial expressions of the two. She stays silent though, tail flicking around her in a relaxed sort of way. The small cat pokémon bounces carefully nearer, head tilting till she's almost lying sideways in mid-air.
There'd been no tears before - but there are now, leaking in slow glitters from her eyes. She shivers from sheer exertion of keeping herself still, when most of her instincts demanded she do anything from twist away to fight back. Last of the vicious strikes lashing across her shape with particular strength, she howls a sob, eyes squeezing shut, gritted teeth grinding against each other. Jagdish heaves an audible breath, pushing against her shape to distance himself from the wall, letting his arm drop. A moment of silence lingers between them - but it's brief, broken by a vicious, cat-like snarl from Jagdish, only to bring the cane down to lash across the back of knees, cracking with full force against the thin, delicate skin.
Mew seems to brighten at the sob, looking back up at Jagdish with wide eyes before she blinks and looks back at the girl, carefully hovering nearer, peering at the marks on the soft flesh. The Psychic type moves away then, still watching intently though.
The immediate instinct is to let herself drop, howling in response to the needles of fiery, fierce pain at the back of her knees - but as her left leg is the first to buckle and give way to her weight, it only intensifies the pain, of course, which quickly makes her catch herself, leaning exaggeratedly against the wall, groaning out past only loosely parted lips. But there's no real delay. An instant later, another sharp whistle parts the silence, and a vicious crack snaps out against the back of her neck.
Mew blinks then bounces a little as the girl howls, fascinated by the sounds that come from the girl. She shifts a little then before hovering just above Jagdish's shoulder, ears flicking but she doesn't make a single sound.
The sound of protest is more of a high-pitched, breathy squeal than anything with substance - followed up by another abrupt sob as a line is drawn down across the length of her spine. The lines of the back of her hand cast thin shadows across her pale skin, tension pronouncing them into visibility. A moment later, his right hand has let go of the cane for a brief moment, only to adjust his grip; fingers wrap around its base in the opposite curl, tip of the cane pointing out from the outside of his hand instead of the side of his thumb; and a moment later, he's moved forward, snapping the arm up. Neike's shape reflexively cringes in anticipation of a painful blow; but instead, the tip of the weapon comes to hard and abrupt rest against the side of her neck, stabbed immediately beside it.
His own breath slightly hastened from the sheer physical exertion of the strikes, his chest brushes up against her aching back subtly as he simply rests like this, face an inch away from her hair, glaring sideways at her face - but more through it than at it, weight rested against the point on the wall the cane's struck. Slowly, he lets his gaze fade to behind closed eyes, remaining demeanour only slowly losing some of his tension. His left arm shifts up between them, lower arm resting horizontally against her shoulders, providing a bit of a buffer between them as he continues to lean forward, but flicks the cane aside. “Okay,” he remarks, line of wood coming to clatter softly against the ground. “That'll do.”
Mew watches silently then blinks as Jagdish stops hitting the girl, the inquisitive little pokémon hovering closer till she can peer into both faces. Her head tilts a little and she leans forwards slightly, her muzzle scant millimetres away from Neike's and then Jagdish's face before she backs away.
Inhale. Exhale. Neike, perhaps out of fear that the end wasn't as absolute as implied, is not moving, much less commenting in any way, simply, staying as she had been before, pressed against the wall. Jagdish, voice neutral but pleasantly soft, his eyes still closed, now resting his forehead loosely against the back of hers, remarks: “If you want to return the treatment in kind, you're welcome to,” only to push slowly away from her shape to give her the opportunity to move - to do anything, really.
With an odd exhaustion lining his entire shape, huffing a note, Jagdish takes another step back, shoulders slouching - only to let himself sag down into a sit on the ground, a disorganised mess for the instant it takes him to grab a hold of his own right leg and pull it up into a hug, resting his head on the knee, glancing at her with an odd indifference, like someone who was caught midway between two emotions and was happy budging into neither direction. Slowly, Neike's shape thaws back into motion - before her left shoulder peels away from the wall quite abruptly, head moving with the curving motion, wide eyes quizzical. Jagdish watches her silently questioning face quietly for a few moments, before chuckling tonelessly, then nodding. “Yeah, you heard right. Go ahead.” His left hand briefly gestures across to the item on the ground near Neike's feet, the motion fleeting, gaze touching it briefly, only to reach back to her face. He shrugs. “I deserve it.” There's almost no bitterness in the voice - it's simply, casually, and matter-of-factly delivered.
Mew blinks at the tall man before she bobs over and perches on his knee, looking into his face for long seconds, curious. She blinks then, looking back over at the girl as she shifts to perch on Jagdish's shoulder. She remains quiet, fascinated by the two.
She's still quiet, peering at him with an incredulous glance - though perhaps not quite with as much surprise as he may've expected to see in her eyes. No, there seems, amongst other emotions, to be some kind of recognition of something - like an old friend, or the concept thereof. A light grimace distorts his face - and a moment later, he tears his gaze away from her face, driven by the urge not to look at her eyes. Had it been worth it? While those feeling a desire to make moral statements might disagree, he found himself appreciating the balance the outlet had knocked him back into. There was still sadness - but the rage had ebbed away. He lets his eyes drift closed almost lazily.