That was when Royce stood up, and began pacing around to the front of his desk. His eyes were on Pal the whole time. Not just staring him down, either. More like... sizing him up. “It would be a shame though...”
Pal finally reacted to having the Slowking move closer, taking a single step back. He immediately regretted it as he saw the grin on Royce’s face grow wider, expertly spotting that hint of weakness. The fellow was so seedy, it was hard to feel comfortable being anywhere near him.
“I have a bit of a... personal interest, you see,” Royce began, leaning back against the front of his desk and crossing his arms. His head tilted downward slightly, to the point that his eyes were mildly shadowed by the large, natural shell upon his head. “I fancy the way you look as you are. I’d hate to have to order my subordinates to sever that lovely tail of yours over this nasty little debt, you know?”
The threat hit Pal more noticeably that time. The idea of cutting off a Smeargle’s tail was rather harsh, after all. However, his eyes only widened for a moment before he caught himself, and calmed back down. This was not a place in which he should continue to show fear. Though he felt like cringing with frustration, he managed to turn it into a confident grin of sorts. “Excuse me for being such a burden on your conscience, then.”
Royce only tilted his head back and laughed. “More than you know! That’s why I’m willing to offer you a deal.” The Slowking finally stood upright from his previous leaning position, approaching the Smeargle. He was much taller, dwarfing the painter Pokemon once the two stood before each other.
This forced Pal to look up in order to see Royce’s face. He didn’t back off from being approached, admittedly a little confused at what the Slowking was talking about. Just then, a large palm touching against Pal’s cheek answered all of his questions. It was a soft caress. It made the Smeargle’s eyes widen as the pieces started falling into place for him.
This only made Royce chuckle. “A little slow, are you? Tourists usually are,” he commented. His voice was becoming softer, as though to show a degree of infatuation. “It’s no matter. Why don’t we get to know each other a little better, and I’ll forget all about that silly debt. Perhaps a nice dinner... to start with. Much better than the violent alternative, wouldn’t you say?”
For a few moments, Pal was speechless. The tone in Royce’s voice was clearly lecherous, taking any innocence out of his roundabout way of speaking. The last thing he expected was to be taken advantage of like this. The choices he was being given... either one was terrible. Anyone would buckle under them, caught between a rock and a hard place.
However, that was not in the cards for him.
“Do not touch me,” Pal demanded, smacking the Slowking’s thicker arm away from his face.
Royce looked shocked for a moment. His smooth talk in such dire situations often pulled all manner of emotion out of others. Fear, or perhaps gratitude... never such confident defiance. It made him feel angry, and it certainly showed.
Part 2 of "Red or Black" by