25 Chapter 25:

"Are you sure?" The employee inquired, a hint of skepticism etched onto his face as he gazed upon Cain as if he were a mere fool.

Cain merely nodded, remaining tight-lipped.

Though Pokemon eggs were not an everyday occurrence in the wild, they were not an impossibility to come across. Yet, why did many choose to overlook them, instead of bringing them back to exchange for Team Rocket points?

The answer lay in the uncertainty of a wild Pokemon egg's potential. Only upon hatching could one truly determine the talent of the creature within.

The Association's esteemed scientists had long since devised portable devices to measure a Pokemon's talents, yet they came at a steep price. To use such a device, one must first capture the Pokemon, disregarding the fact that such an extravagant instrument was not something the common folk could afford.

But the technology to judge the talent of a Pokemon egg was not yet advanced enough to be easily portable, and it required a vast amount of resources to operate. Only those with the assurance that the egg's parents were of exceptional talent would even consider delving into the egg's potential.

What if the egg possessed the yellow talent? Would someone with access to such a device even spare a glance at a yellow-aptitude Pokemon?

Thus, when Cain declared his intention to exchange this Pokemon egg for points, the employee regarded him with a look of absurdity.

Cain had no desire to elaborate, for how could he reveal that he already knew the egg had a green talent? Such knowledge would even alarm the Chief Instructor, Viper.

"Have you given this proper consideration? To determine the talent of this egg alone costs a hundred points, and even if it proves to be a Pokemon of Primary Aptitude, it is worth only a hundred points. If you do not possess the necessary points..." The employee trailed off, the implication clear. In Team Rocket, there was no such thing as credit.

Cain nodded helplessly, for without testing the talent of the Pokemon egg, it would be deemed a red talent and worth only a single Team Rocket point.

The staff member said nothing more, even though he couldn't fathom why the young lad before him was so insistent. If the Pokemon egg did not prove to possess a Primary Aptitude, Cain would have to bid farewell to it forever, unless he was willing to part with one hundred points.

Primary Aptitude is a classification of Pokemon talents used by Team Rocket and the Pokemon world as a whole. Divided into five categories: No Aptitude, Primary Aptitude, Intermediate Aptitude, Advanced Aptitude, and Top Aptitude, corresponding to the talent rankings of red, orange, yellow, and green respectively. Talents of blue, purple, and black are all considered Top Aptitude.

The Pokemon egg was placed in the recess of the device, and a liquid, made by the Association's scientists, poured into the mouth cavity before the transparent lid of the device was sealed shut. The high cost of producing the liquid made each test a costly endeavor.

With the press of a button, the instrument came to life with a hum.

"BEEP!" In the row of lights, the light representing "No Aptitude" immediately illuminated. As the minimum talent for a Pokemon was red, this light was bound to light up during the test.

Almost instantly, the second light flickered on, indicating that the Pokemon egg possessed a Primary Aptitude.

"Not bad, it actually has a primary aptitude, so at least you don't have to worry about not being able to pay the test fee." The employee said with a smile.

Cain shrugged indifferently.

As the light representing the Primary Aptitude grew brighter and brighter, ten seconds later, the light representing Intermediate Aptitude began to flash.

The staff member's expression changed as he looked at Cain, having initially thought him a fool, he didn't expect the egg to possess an Intermediate Aptitude.

When a Pokemon egg reached the intermediate aptitude, the minimum number of Team Rocket points that could be exchanged for it started at one thousand. This meant that the teenager before him would soon possess thousands of points, a monumental advantage in the trial. Aside from the select few trialists who already had support, he would be far ahead of the rest in terms of resources.

From a faint candle-like brightness, the light gradually intensified as the detection device showed no signs of stopping.

Low Intermediate Aptitude, Medium Intermediate Aptitude, High Intermediate Aptitude...

In the employee's eyes, the light representing Intermediate Aptitude lasted for thirty seconds before reaching its brightest point. Then, the light representing Advanced Aptitude began to glow faintly.

"Advanced, advanced aptitude. I cannot believe it! It's reached ADVANCED APTITUDE!" The staff member exclaimed in shock, hastily covering his mouth with his hand, but the shock in his eyes could not be concealed.

Of course, having worked for Team Rocket for so long, he knew the value of an Advanced Aptitude Pokemon Egg, worth tens of thousands of points. Even after all these years, he had never received that many points.

An Advanced Aptitude Pokemon Egg is more valuable than a wild Pokemon with the same aptitude, for when a Pokemon is with a trainer from the moment it is hatched, its bond and friendship become much stronger than that of a wild Pokemon that has already grown up.

Once this Pokemon egg entered Team Rocket's exchange system, it would be fiercely contested by a number of Officer-level Team Rocket members, and perhaps even the Executives.

Cain frowned, displeased at the shocked outburst from the employee. They were in the midst of a trial, and he was certain that if it was known that he had so many points, everyone would rally together to take him down and then divide the points among themselves. And for those who wanted to be number one in the rankings, Cain with so many points could upset the balance and be their biggest obstacle.

The employee realized he had lost his composure. Fortunately, it was night and there was no one else in the exchange center, otherwise he feared the impact it would have had on the youngster before him.

When he looked at Cain again, there was only shock and a hint of greed in his eyes, though well hidden, Cain could still sense it. With over ten thousand Team Rocket points, Cain, who knew the value of points all too well, certainly understood the appeal. Though the staff member was not involved in the trial, he, as a member of Team Rocket, could not help but feel a hint of greed for those points.

When the testing machine stopped, the light representing the Advanced Aptitude reached the middle point, Medium Advanced Aptitude! Above the instrument, a screen displayed "Medium Advanced Aptitude, Weedle".

Seeing the test instrument stop, the staff member quickly exclaimed, "I apologize, I do not possess the authority to exchange for Advanced Aptitude Pokemon eggs. Please wait for a moment." With that, he hastened to leave the counter, opened a secret door, and stepped inside.

After a couple of minutes, the door opened again, and the clerk could be seen respectfully bowing his head and holding the door open.

A man dressed in a black robe stepped out with an overwhelming killing intent surrounding him.

When Cain saw the mysterious black-robed person, his body tensed. Murkrow also stiffened, his feathers standing on end as if facing a great enemy.

The experience and keen instinct he had honed in his previous life told Cain that the person approaching him was dangerous, very dangerous!

The mysterious man's steps were slow, like an old man, as he approached the counter.

When the mysterious man finally reached the counter, the pressure suddenly dissipated and Cain felt a wave of relief wash over him.

"Not bad." The mysterious man spoke two words, a hint of appreciation in his hoarse voice. To be able to remain calm under his intense killing intent deserved such praise from him.

'What a terrifying man!' Cain thought to himself.

He had no idea that the simple exchange of a green-aptitude Pokemon egg would result in the appearance of such a formidable character.

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