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DarkerShining
7th April 2012, 2:56 PM
Hi! It's me, EeveeandKirliafan (or DarkerShining, as my username will be changed to sometime next month). Remember me? The girl who kept talking about how she had so many ideas for fanfics? Well, after several years of trying to write something, only to get stuck on various small details, I. Have. Finally. Done. It. :D

I'm really excited about finally getting to do this, and also kind of nervous. I began working on this fanfic several months ago, and after working on developing the idea, writing up the first draft of the first chapter, and then rewriting and editing it a few times, I feel I have finally made something worthy of sharing with people. I really hope you will enjoy this fanfic. I know there are some areas where I could improve, but I'm sure you guys can help me with that.

Before we begin, I would like to dedicate this story to my friends over at TV Tropes, that are all part of this Pokémon RP I participate in. They gave me the inspiration for this story, and helped me work on developing my ideas. Thank you guys, I love you all! :)

Well, let's get started, then. Read, review, give constructive criticism and all that.

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance

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Chapter 1: Just because one can't see something, it doesn't mean that it is not there.

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Lightning flashed and rain poured down from the dark clouds filling the night sky. One wouldn't expect anyone to be out on a dark and stormy night like this, yet a strange flying Pokémon which resembled a big orb with fork-like wings and talons, as well as a tail resembling a fork, was flying over a forest. The odd looking flying Pokémon snickered to itself as it kept its gaze on the forest below, looking for another Pokémon that was hiding from him.

"Where are you, little one?" the strange Pokémon asked, trying to use psychic powers it possessed to locate the other Pokémon. "I will find you, and then I will make you pay for trying to interfere in my little game!"

In the forest below, a small Pokémon wearing a gray cloak felt its heart jump as the Sigilyph called out to it. It just hoped the Sigilyph wouldn't find its hiding spot in some bushes before it could think of a plan to escape, and to protect the transparent crystal it was currently holding onto tightly. It knew it wasn't strong enough to fight back against the Sigilyph, and so it had chosen to use most of its energy to instead prevent the Sigilyph from stealing the crystal, and then run away. However, it was far from over, as the Sigilyph had chased after the gray cloaked Pokémon in order to take the crystal from it.

Suddenly, a pitch black ball of energy from above flew towards the bushes where the Pokémon in the gray cloak was hiding, forcing the smaller Pokémon to jump out of the way to avoid the attack, dropping the crystal it had been protecting on the ground in the process. While it managed to avoid being hit with the Shadow Ball attack, it had also been forced out from the bushes it had been hiding in, and was now laying on the ground in plain sight of the Sigilyph hovering above the forest.

"There you are…" the Sigilyph began ominously hovering down towards the Pokémon in the gray cloak. "I've already taken the other seven, so just give up and hand over the last one!"

The Pokémon in the gray cloak shakily got back on its feet, nervously backing away from the advancing Sigilyph, only to trip on something it couldn't see on the ground. It tried to quickly get back up again, only for gravity's pull to suddenly intensify and forcing it back down. It frantically tried to find a way to free itself, only to see the Sigilyph hovering directly above it, two glowing eyes on the orb-like body and a third on what appeared to be the Sigilyph's beak staring down at the helpless Pokémon below it.

"Well, this was a fun little chase, wasn't it?" the Sigilyph said, snickering as it closed in on the gray cloaked Pokémon on the ground. "But I think punishing you for trying to interfere in my plans will be even more fun..."

----

A beautiful sunrise was signalling the start of a new day in a small town called Fenix Town, and the Pokémon inhabiting the town were getting up and making the necessary preparations for the day. The Pokémon in charge of the various shops and services in town had already removed the covers protecting their stands from the rain and were currently setting things up before their regular customers would show up. Many of the buildings in Fenix Town were made from stone, although some of the newer ones were built from wood. There were also wooden poles set up with a special gemstone tied to the top of them, which would absorb sunlight during the day and would then glow once it got dark out.

While the sun rose higher into the sky and spread more light throughout the area, more and more Pokémon were showing up and rescue teams came into town to make preparations for the missions that awaited them. Some rescue teams had already decided their missions for the day, while others were making preparations before deciding what they were going to do. Some of the rescue team leaders that had already decided which missions their team was going to handle today were discussing their plans for the day, while waiting to get to purchase some items at the shop.

"Hmm… Seems I don't have enough money, so I guess I'll have to put this Reviver Seed back," a Pokémon resembling a giant wasp said as he looked over the items he had purchased. A nearby dark furred fox overheard.

"Don't you hate it when that happens?" the fox inquired. "Of course, one won't run into the problem that often if one takes on missions with higher rewards."

"It's not about the rewards, you know," the Beedrill buzzed. "Even if I don't get a reward, the most important thing to me is knowing I was able to help someone."

"So, wait… Didn't you get anything from that Armaldo you helped yesterday?" the Zoroark asked, tilting her head slightly.

"No, I did not, but I'm fine with that," the Beedrill responded. "The Armaldo felt kind of bad about not having any reward for me, but I told him not to worry about it."

"Sting sure has the right attitude about being on a rescue team, doesn't he?" another dark furred Pokémon commented as he walked over to the other two rescue team leaders.

"Well, sure, that's nice and all, but I prefer missions that I know I can make a good profit from!" The Zoroark stated, smirking as she looked at a piece of paper. "Like this mission here; some Glaceon is paying good money if I can help him find a present for some Espeon that I assume is his girlfriend!"

"Ooh! A mission of love!" the Umbreon exclaimed, excitedly wagging his tail. "Those are my favorite missions!"

"So, let me guess what you're doing today…" the Zoroark said to the Umbreon with a slight smirk across her face. "Escorting some Pokémon through a dungeon to see the one they love, again?"

"Oh, you've got that right!" the Umbreon nodded, blushing somewhat with a dreamy look on his face. "Today I'm escorting a Dunsparce into the Lush Valley so he can meet with his beloved Purrloin! Isn't it romantic? Young love is so wonderful."

"What's this about young love?" a young female voice inquired, the three rescue team leaders looked over to see two young Pokémon, a brown furred Pokémon with long pointy ears and a fluffy tail, and a lion cub Pokémon with blue fur on the upper half of his body, and black fur on the lower half.

"We weren't talking about you two or anything like that," the Zoroark commented with a slight smirk.

"What do you mean by that?" the blue lion cub inquired, finding this to be a very strange thing to say.

"Relax, I'm just kidding!" the Zoroark said, petting the young Shinx on the head. "We were just talking about what missions we've done recently, and what we plan to do today."

"Oh…" the Shinx said, rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs against each other, creating blue sparks of electricity between them. He still didn't understand why the Zoroark said such a strange thing earlier. Maybe she was just curious about what kind of reactions she'd get?

"So, what mission are the two of you taking on today?" Sting asked.

"Don't know yet!" the brown furred Pokémon replied, the Eevee happily wagging her fluffy tail. "Before we do head out on a mission, though, we first have an errand to run for Stella."

"Ooh, the town oracle?" the Zoroark inquired, before leaning down and pulling the two young Pokémon as if to whisper something to them. "Say, could you do me a favor and ask her if I'll find any big treasures in the future? Like gold, or coins, or gold coins…"

"Forget that!" the Umbreon blurted out. "Ask her about love! Find out which Pokémon will get together in the near future!"

"Is that all you two care about?" Sting asked, giving the two a quizzical look.

"Hey, Mirage may only think about money, but everyone needs love!" the Umbreon responded.

"What's that supposed to mean!?" Mirage shouted, looking rather annoyed.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" the Umbreon replied, backing away slightly. "I didn't mean to imply that you're-"

As Mirage attempted to pounce at the Umbreon, Sting had to intervene in order to keep her from making too big a scene in the middle of town. Sting held Mirage in place while the Umbreon attempted to apologize, while at the same time recommending her to find a boyfriend and mentioning a few Pokémon in town that he believed could be a good match. The Shinx and the Eevee just stared at the odd scene in front of them, before the Eevee decided it was probably better to just walk away.

"Hey, Blitz, let's get out of here," she whispered to the Shinx.

"Okay, Sera," the Shinx responded, nodding his head in agreement.

The two then quietly slipped away, and continued heading towards the east exit of town, so they could go see Stella and deliver what they had promised.

----

Stella's home was just a short walk away from the town, and like the buildings in the town, it was built from stone. It was probably a bit older than the other buildings, and was taller than the other buildings, even having a second floor. There was also a hole in the roof, where one could see stars at night without having to go outside. Said hole would of course be covered up if it was raining, like during that storm the previous night. Stella the Gothitelle was currently explaining some things to her daughter, a young Gothorita that had started to receive visions of the future.

"Bow, for many generations now, a member of our family has been in the position of town oracle," Stella explained, as each of the white ribbon-like feelers on the layers of Stella's black dress-like body started glowing.

Bow the Gothorita nodded her head slightly, briefly glancing down at the two ribbon-like feelers she herself had on her dress-like body. Bow then reached the fingerless tip of her hand towards one of the two buns she had on the sides of her head, which made it look like she had pigtails. Both buns had two ribbon-like feelers on them, and Bow was trying to reach one of them while also trying to pay attention to what her mother was saying. However, once her hand touched against the feeler, she was distracted by how pleasantly warm it felt to touch. Was it always that warm, or was it warm because she had been using her psychic powers earlier?

Stella noticed that her daughter was starting to lose her concentration, but figured Bow would catch herself before she completely zoned out. If nothing else, what Stella was about to do next would get her attention. Stella's eyes started to glow, and she used telekinesis to levitate herself, which immedietly caused Bow to turn her attention back to her mother. Bow watched in awe as Stella began projecting an image of a starry sky onto the walls around them.

"Our powers comes from the stars, as we will receive most of our visions from them at night. From these visions, we can gain wisdom to share with the Pokémon that seek it," as Stella finished this explaination, the starry sky projection suddenly disappeared, startling Bow for a moment.

"Bow," Stella said, as she slowly floated back down to the floor. "Someday, you will take my place as the oracle, and Pokémon will come to seek your wisdom."

"They will?" Bow tilted her head slightly.

"Of course," Stella nodded, looking into her daughter's blue eyes.

"I… find that kind of hard to believe," Bow said, looking down at her legs. "I mean, I'm not very wise, or anything…"

"That may be how it seems to you now, but I know you have great potential," Stella replied, placing her light purple hand on her daughter's shoulder, giving her a reassuring smile. "I'm sure you will grow up to be a great town oracle."

"But… I'm also kind of forgetful, you know?" Bow said, still keeping her gaze on her feet. "What good would I be as an oracle if I can't even remember my visions?"

"I think that is something you'll eventually grow out of," Stella responded. "And if not, one can always write things down and keep notes."

"I kind of already tried something like that, but then I forgot where I left the thing I wrote something down on," Bow responded, looking down sheepishly.

Stella couldn't help but chuckle a little bit, only to stop as she noticed her daughter's embarrassment over the whole thing. Before Stella could offer her daughter anymore advice, or do anything else for that matter, Stella felt a presence from downstairs, two presences actually.

"Ah, we have visitors," Stella said, and began walking down the stone stairs to the first floor, Bow following closely behind.

"Stella?" Sera called out as she and Blitz entered the house, pushing away the curtain covering a hole in the stone wall that was essentially the front door. It didn't take long before Stella and Bow came down the stairs.

"Ah, hello there, Serafina," Stella said, addressing the Eevee by her full name. "Oh, and you too, Blitz."

"Hi there," Blitz said, looking around. There were a few slots carved out in the walls, with some purple crystals in them, which were capable of glowing in the dark. Blitz guessed they were probably either powered by starlight, or that Stella used her psychic energy to charge them up. There were a few empty slots in the wall where more of these crystals could be placed, which was what he and Sera were there for.

"Here are the purple light crystals you requested!" Sera said, sticking her face into a bag she was carrying, and pulling out a smaller bag with her mouth, placing it on a table. Stella then opened it and examined the purple crystals inside.

"Excellent, these are exactly the crystals I requested. Well done!"

"Oh, it was no big deal; anyone could've done that, really…" Blitz commented, absent-mindedly rubbing his forelegs against each other, creating more little sparks between them.

"Well, yes, anyone could, but that doesn't guarantee that anyone would," Stella explained, wagging her finger. "Everyone is different. They may have different tastes, different priorities. Some rescue teams have different motives, and may not accept just any mission."

"You mean like Mirage, and how she prefers missions that have better rewards?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly to the left.

"Yes. Some Pokémon are mostly interested in what they gain from the missions, while others may be more interested in just going on adventures," The Gothitelle smiled as she looked at the two young Pokémon. "There are many great rescue teams, and some of them have different reasons for what they do, and why they do it. You two are no exception, and I certainly am pleased that you were willing to take my request."

"Well, that's nice and all, but, Sera and I have only been a rescue team for just a little over a week," Blitz said. "We can't really call ourselves a great rescue team…"

"Well, maybe not now, but someday you might," Stella said, smiling. "I certainly see a lot of potential in you two, and I believe you two have the capability to become a really great rescue team in the future."

"Do you really think so?" Sera exclaimed, her ears perking up in excitement.

"Yeah, do you mean it, or is this something you say to any young rescue team to make them feel better about themselves? Not that I'm questioning your judgment or something, I… I just…" Blitz nervously looked down at his own paws. "I just don't see what you mean… I'm just like every other Shinx, there's nothing special about me."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that, everyone is special in some way, even if they don't always see it." The Gothitelle kneeled down, gently petting the young Shinx. "Just because one can't see something, it doesn't mean that it is not there."

"What do you mean?" Blitz asked, tilting his head sideways in confusion.

"Oh, that's something you'll have to figure out on your own, dear," Stella said, giving the young electric lion cub a reassuring smile.

"I'll… take your word for it, then?" Blitz really wasn't sure how to respond to this, or what it was he was supposed to look for.

"So, we're really going to become an amazing rescue team?" Sera asked again, still excited.

"You certainly will," Stella said to the excited little Eevee. "Of course, you do have to work for it."

"Don't worry, we will definitely work hard!"

Stella then noticed that her daughter had just been standing around in the background this whole time, absent-mindely staring at the ceiling. The young Gothorita probably hadn't known how to contribute to the conversation.

"Hey, Bow? Why don't you pick out two Oran berries for Blitz and Sera as their reward for taking the time to run this little errand for us?"

"Oh!" the young Gothorita instantly perked up. "Sure! I can definitely do that!"

The young psychic type walked over to a basket full of berries, telekinetically lifting two blues ones out of the basket and levitating them across the room to Sera.

"Wow! You're really giving us two Oran berries?" Sera asked as she looked up at the two blue berries floating in front of her.

"You didn't really have to…" Blitz added, rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together again.

"Oh, it is no problem at all! I want you to have them!" Stella said, smiling sweetly.

"Thanks! I promise we'll use them wisely!" Sera said as she accepted the two berries and placed them inside the bag she was carrying.

"Well, I guess you two should get going now, and take care of some missions?" Stella reminded the two.

"Oh, that's right! Come on, Blitz! Let's get to it!"

"Okay."

And with that, Sera and Blitz left Stella's house, and began heading back the way they came from, before turning and walking up a path leading to the rescue team HQ. Once they got there, they would find a mission to take on. Little did they know, that for them, this day would be the beginning of an even bigger adventure.

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End of chapter one

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solovino
9th April 2012, 4:42 PM
Hey, future Darker Shining. And congratulations for publishing the fic.

Was expecting to read this for a while, and while it opened quite different than what I had expected, it definitively did not disappoint. I like how as soon as they are introduced several characters are given a distinct trait that helps identify them, both in-universe and out; Beedrill and Shinx come to mind, though Zoroark is not bad either. It helps a lot when characters are not given names yet, and it helps remind us that they are not (hopefully!) the only characters of their species around.

I think the middle part of the chapter lacks much in description when compared to the first and the last, but this is offset by having actual life and action beyond the characters taking place, which helps one get a mental image of the town; it also means that the setting is not abandoned into the background when conversation happens, which is what makes fics turn towards the dreaded path of all dialogue.

This story manages to catch attention the right way in my opinion - you point to a central plot that is going to happen, but you also start putting it in scope of the encompassing world. Having the oracle give certain specific pieces of talk (in particular the "you'll have to work for it" part) reinforces the relation.

I want to see more of that Zoroark and Umbreon, and eventually find out if that Dunsparce and Purrloin got together and raised a Purrloinsparce....♥ Also, nice selection of title, let's see how it pays out.

Anyway, a good work so far. Can't comment on grammar and that kind of stuff because, honestly, haven't looked for it. Would have commented before, but life has got me busy. Oh and I'm subscribing to this.

Good luck in your endeavor.

Earth Wolf-Howl
9th April 2012, 10:05 PM
Great fic so far, mate. It's extremely intoxicating, and I think it's well-written. Definitely an ace idea, and love the Umbreon's enthusiasm of PurrSparce.

DarkerShining
17th April 2012, 3:34 PM
Hi again! Thanks to those of you who read the first chapter, and I'm glad you liked it. I'll try to keep the advice I'm given in mind as I continue working on this story.

Anyways, the second chapter is ready, and I hope it will be a good follow-up to the first chapter.

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Chapter 2: What happened to you?

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As he and Sera walked in the direction of the rescue team HQ, Blitz couldn't help but quietly wonder just what Stella had meant earlier. What exactly what it was that he couldn't see? Sera on the other hand didn't seem particularly concerned about that, and just happily led the way to the rescue team HQ. Blitz looked up at Sera, and couldn't help but smile just a little. Her cheerful attitude at the moment almost made it seem like she had nothing in the world to worry about.

"So… I'm guessing you didn't get any new missions in the mail today?" Blitz asked.

"Nope," Sera replied, turning to look at Blitz with her big brown eyes. "My big sister, and by big sister I mean Amethyst, not Sirena, said she didn't find any letters for me when she went to get the mail this morning."

"Oh," Blitz responded as he nodded his head slightly, the two Pokémon continuing heading towards the rescue team HQ.

The rescue team HQ building stood out a bit since it was among the few buildings that wasn't made at least partially from stone. It was a large wooden building, and probably the biggest building in the town. Above the large main entrance, was a painted wooden carving in the shape of a rescue team badge, a sphere with small white feathered wings on the sides of it. The top half of the wooden badge was painted red and the bottom half was painted white, just like on the real rescue team badges carried by the rescue teams that had just started out.

The rescue team badge currently attached to the treasure bag Sera was carrying looked like the wooden one decorating the entrance to the HQ, but Blitz knew that he and Sera were only a few missions away from gaining the bronze rank, and thus the rescue team badge would soon change to reflect this.

Several rescue teams were already inside when Sera and Blitz entered the main hall, and they were checking the two bulletin boards where missions were posted. One of them had rescue missions, requests to find or deliver a particular item, or escort someone somewhere, while the other board had missions all relating to catching outlaws or retrieving stolen items. Sera and Blitz approached the regular board, which currently had a humanoid Pokémon with dark green blade-like arms, and a red spider-like Pokémon.

"Excuse me, but are you two done? My partner and I would like to look at some missions," Sera asked sweetly.

"Ah, of course. We were just finishing checking this board, so now we're going to check the other one for an outlaw to catch!" the Gallade said, before looking down at his Ariados partner. "Come on; let's go find some foul Pokémon to arrest!"

"Yeah, yeah, just try not to use up all your energy before we actually reach the bad guy this time," the Ariados replied dryly, the bug type not seeming particularly enthusiastic.

Sera glanced at the two Pokémon as they walked over to check the outlaw board, before suggesting: "Hey, maybe we should check out the other board too and try catching an outlaw?"

"Uh… I don't think we're really ready to handle that kind of mission yet…" Blitz replied, nervously rubbing his forelegs together.

"Are you sure?" Sera asked. "I feel like we''ve really been getting the hang of this."

"Well, I guess it's up to you, since you're the team leader and all…" Blitz responded, looking down at the ground. "I just-"

"Don't worry; if you don't think you're ready, we can just stick to one of the missions on this board here and let other rescue teams deal with catching outlaws."

"Are you sure?" Blitz looked up at Sera with his golden eyes.

"Of course I am!" Sera replied, smiling at Blitz. "After all, a good leader must take her teammate's feelings into consideration. That's what my big sis Amethyst told me!"

Blitz gave a sigh of relief, as he and Sera decided to just stick to the regular mission board for now. They looked over the various missions, looking for something that they could add to their job list.

While reading the various job descriptions of the missions, Blitz thought about how some Pokémon seemed to get themselves lost in a lot of strange places. Why would a fire type enter a mystery dungeon full of water Pokémon, and how could a seemingly big and powerful Pokémon so easily be beaten up by smaller Pokémon, especially ones it would have a type advantage over.

In general there were a lot of weird scenarios one would come over in these missions, but for a rescue team the job was to help them, not question what strange series of events caused that must've caused the situation to happen in the first place.

"Ooh, X-Ray Specs? That would be useful..." Sera said, reading one of the missions. "Just too bad we're not strong enough to tackle this one..."

"Meridian Forest, huh?" Blitz commented, as he read through the mystery dungeon description. "Yeah, that is way too tough for us."

"Would've been nice to have those X-Ray Specs, though," Sera responded. "Probably would make missions a lot easier."

"Since you two have already concluded that the mission in question is too difficult for you, the mushroom will take it" a strange monotone voice called out to them.

Blitz and Sera turned around to see an orange bug with a large mushroom growing on its back approaching the mission board, staring up at the board with its blank white eyes.

"Hey, I've seen you around here before," Blitz said. "You're one of Mirage's teammates, right? Or do I have you confused with another Parasect?"

"You are correct, I am indeed Mirage's teammate," the Parasect clarified, still speaking in a creepy monotone. "My name is Cordyceps, by the way."

"I thought Mirage already have a mission she intended to do today?" Sera asked.

"Indeed, but the mushroom thought it might be a good idea to check what other missions were available, in case we find something Mirage might be interested in," Cordyceps explained.

"Well, I think there are some missions with a high reward on here," Blitz said, gesturing to some missions on the board with his paw. "If that helps..."

"The mushroom thanks you for making this observation, this pleases the mushroom," Cordyceps replied, picking off a mission from the board with his orange claw. "Mirage will be pleased as well."

"You're welcome?" Blitz felt a bit creeped out by the Parasect.

"Oh, and the mushroom mustn't forget this," Cordyceps said as he picked off the mission Sera had been looking at. "It is probably better for a rescue team like ours to handle this, since you kids have already concluded that it is much too difficult for you."

"Hey! Who are you calling a kid!?" Sera seemed a bit offended by the Parasect's remark.

"The mushroom is simply making an observation that you two are no where near experienced enough to handle a dungeon like the Meridian Forest," he responded.

"Hey, Cordy! You coming, or what?" a somewhat rough, but still feminine voice called out. The Pokémon turned to see what appeared to be a large duck like creature with flame like patterns on her body. "Mirage is waiting for us."

"The mushroom apologizes for being late," Cordyceps responded as he crawled over to the Magmar. "However, I found some missions that I think Mirage will be interested in."

"What kind of missions?" the Magmar asked as she and Cordyceps exited the building to go catch up to their leader.

"Calling me a kid and saying I can't handle this… How rude!" Sera said, before leaving the building, without even looking at some of the other missions available on the board.

"Sera! Wait up!" Blitz shouted, running after his rescue team partner.

----

"I hate it when other Pokémon don't take me seriously…" an annoyed Sera muttered as she paced back and forth in front of a wooden sign pointing to the paths leading in and out of town, as well as the paths leading to those of the mystery dungeons that could easily be reached by foot.

"Sera, he didn't really say anything we didn't already know," Blitz said, standing nearby while rubbing his forelegs together. "You and I are not experienced enough to handle Meridian Forest."

"Still, does he think I'm some kid who can't handle big missions?" Sera shook her head, looking down at her red and white rescue badge. "Even if we can't do missions in there, I don't see why we can't at least take a look at Meridian Forest. If we avoid the wild Pokémon, we should be okay."

"Sera, you're not actually thinking of going in there, are you?" Blitz asked.

"Well, I don't see any reason why we can't take a little look at what first few floors are like…" Sera responded,

"Don't do it, Sera. It's too dangerous!" Blitz said, as he could tell what she was thinking, and had to try to talk her out of it.

"But, if I'm extra careful, make sure all our rescue team money is safely in the bank, and take the items to the item warehouse and have Lionel store them for us, only bringing along an Escape Orb, then there's nothing to lose, right?" Sera smirked, as she was slowly convincing herself to do this.

At this point, Blitz realized it was probably no point in trying to talk her out of it. Sera would probably decide to go into the Meridian Forest regardless of what he said to her. He was pretty sure if he tried to talk her out of it now; it would only lead to a long discussion about whether to go or not to go that would just take up too much of their time. He really didn't want to argue with his rescue team leader when she had already set her mind to something. Besides, she had said she should be extra careful, and surely she would be, right?

"Well, okay… I'll come with you, then," Blitz said, feeling as if he was going to regret this the moment he said it.

"You will?" Sera's ears perked up, seeming excited that her partner was willing to come along.

"Y-Yeah… We're a rescue team, aren't we? We stick together…" Blitz managed a smile, even if one could clearly tell that he was very nervous.

"Great! I'll go make the preparations for our exploration, and then I'll meet you at the entrance to the dungeon?" Sera asked, happily wagging her tail.

"I suppose…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly while nervously rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

"All right, I'll see you there, then!" Sera said, before running off to make the preparations.

As Sera ran off, Blitz sighed and slowly began moving down the path which led to Meridian Forest. He just stared down at the dirt road as he slowly moved forward, not feeling confident about this at all. At least Sera only wanted to take a quick look into the dungeon, so he hoped she would be satisfied quickly so they could leave as soon as possible. That is, assuming they didn't get ambushed and knocked unconscious the moment they stepped inside the dungeon.

----

A few minutes later, the two Pokémon met up and were soon standing in front of the entrance to the Meridian Forest. Blitz felt really nervous, but was trying not to let it get to him. Sera felt a bit unnerved as well when she realized just how small she seemed under the tall trees of the forest. However, she wasn't going to back down, and confidently marched into the forest. Blitz took a deep breath and followed closely behind.

The grass was still wet from the rainstorm the previous night, and a drops of water could be seen dripping down from wet leaves. Blitz looked around at the wet grass and leaves sparkling somewhat in the sunlight that was able to reach it, thinking back to how much it had been raining last night. Being an electric type, he wasn't really afraid of the lightning. The flashes of light and the sound of thunder still could make it difficult to sleep, and Blitz thought about how living alone had it's disadvantages.

His thoughts were interrupted as he felt something cool and wet on his foreleg, realizing that he had just stepped in a puddle. The young Shinx sighed as he lifted his paw out of the puddle, an expression seeming like a mix between annoyance and slight disgust as he tried to shake off the dirty water on his paw.

"Hey, I think I see the stairs to the next floor over there!" Sera called to Blitz, gesturing with her paw towards some grayish stairs. While they looked a bit out of place in the forest, it was just the way mystery dungeons worked.

Blitz was grateful nothing had attacked them yet as he followed Sera up the stairs to the next floor. However, he knew luck like that wasn't likely to last, and had to stay on the alert. They wound up in another maze-like room with walls of trees, and there were two paths for them to follow.

"Um… Which way?" Blitz asked, looking around nervously.

"Hmm… I'm not sure…" Sera said, tilting her head slightly.

The stairs that had led them into this room had vanished, which was also just something mystery dungeons did. Mystery dungeons were constantly changing. Blitz looked around to see if there was anything of interest on the ground, but as far as he could tell, there were no items in this particular area. Sera was still trying to decide which way to go. Blitz wandered near one of the paths, and suddenly heard something. It sounded as if something was moving through the grass, heading towards them.

"Sera, I hear something coming…" he whispered to her, pointing towards the east path. "I think wild Pokémon are moving this way."

"Oh! Well, let's hurry up that path there, then!" she whispered back, and so the two quickly moved up the other path.

The path led them into another room, luckily without any other wild Pokémon in it. There weren't any stairs either, though. However, Sera did spot something laying in the grass and went to investigate.

"What is it?" Blitz asked, watching Sera examine a small seed on the ground by looking at it and sniffing it.

"A Sleep Seed," Sera said, picking it up with a paw and placing it into the bag which only contained the Escape orb they had brought along. "That could come in handy later!"

"Yeah, it probably will," Blitz said, looking around nervously. "Shouldn't we keep moving?"

"Oh, right! Let's go!"

The two moved on, reaching the area with the stairs to the next floor. Blitz also noticed another wonder orb lying on the ground, and went to pick up the blue orb which looked like the Escape Orb they were carrying. Upon closer examination, Blitz saw that it wasn't an Escape Orb, but a different orb.

"I think it's a Switcher Orb," Blitz said as he put it into the bag Sera was carrying. "Think it'll come in handy?"

"It might!" Sera said as she began walking up the stairs, Blitz following closely behind.

The two reached the next floor, where there were two more items on the ground that immediately caught Sera's attention, a pink berry and another seed.

"Ooh! A Pecha berry!" Sera exclaimed as she excitedly ran over to pick up the berry.

Blitz suddenly felt nervous, a different kind of nervous from how he had felt through the rest of the dungeon. Something about the atmosphere was different, but Blitz couldn't figure out exactly what it was.

"Ooh! A Reviver Seed! It's a Reviver Seed!" Sera exclaimed as she picked up the seed and put it inside the bag.

"Are you sure about that?" Blitz asked, as a cool breeze blew through the area, carrying with it a few stray leaves.

"Yes, it's definitely a Reviver Seed and not one of those silly Reviser Seeds!" Sera responded excitedly.

"Okay…" Blitz said, and followed Sera as she began moving down another path.

He wasn't sure how they had managed to get through this maze-like area so far without running into any Pokémon in it, but he figured they had just been very, very lucky so far. Still, the strange feeling wouldn't go away, and Blitz felt like it would probably be best to leave the dungeon as soon as possible. They soon moved into a different room, which was a fairly big section. It appeared to be empty, though.

"Hmm… You'd think a room this big would have something in it…" Sera said, while looking around, noticing some bushes. "Ooh, maybe there's something in there?"

"Maybe…" Blitz said, and began walking over to the bushes. He thought that maybe if he found a good item in there, Sera would be satisfied and they could leave the dungeon.

The young blue lion cub Pokémon began checking through the bushes, pushing away some of the leafy branches, but as far as he could tell, there was nothing there. He continued looking through the wet bushes, not really finding anything. As he was about to conclude there was nothing in these bushes and that it was best to move on, he noticed out of the corner of his eye something red and yellow. He moved over to investigate, gasping once he realized it was an unconscious Mienfoo laying there in the wet grass.

He cautiously approached the yellow and red weasel-like Pokémon laying there, examining its unconscious form. There were no signs of the Mienfoo having suffered any injury, and if there had been a battle there, the traces of it had been erased by the storm. There was no way to tell what had happened to it, if anything. Blitz frowned, unsure what to do about this. He carefully began reaching out his paw, gently pushing the Mienfoo with his paw, being careful not to accidentally give it an electric shock from his paw in the process, especially since the Mienfoo's fur was a bit wet.

All of a sudden, the Mienfoo's eyes shot open, giving a startled yell upon seeing Blitz and trying to hit him with one of his paws. Acting on his instincts, Blitz dodged the attack, stepping back as the bipedal weasel charged at him. However, before it could attack again, Blitz made his fur give off an intense glow, momentarily blinding the Mienfoo. The weasel Pokémon cried out again, before covering his eyes with his paw.

"What's going on?" Sera asked, as she ran over to them, having seen the bright light.

The Mienfoo kept rubbing his eyes, only to suddenly feel a paw being gently placed on his shoulder. He opened his red eyes again, to see Sera trying to comfort him, and seemed to calm down a little as he realized these two Pokémon weren't going to hurt him. As he seemed to come to his senses, the Mienfoo looked around in confusion at his surroundings.

"Are you okay?" Blitz asked, taking a few steps closer. "Sorry about the light, you just startled me, and I did it without really thinking… It's sort of a defense mechanism."

"Oh, it's okay… I did kind of attack you for no reason… Sorry about that…" the Mienfoo sounded distracted, but his apology was sincere. He continued to stare at everything around him, as another gust of wind blew overhead, carrying more leaves with it.

"What happened to you?" Sera asked, gently rubbing the Mienfoo's back with her paw.

"I… don't remember…" the Mienfoo said, examining his own paws.

"How'd you get here?" Sera asked.

"I… don't know…" the Mienfoo responded, rubbing the back of his head with a paw.

"Wait… you don't remember anything?" Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.

"No, I don't… Heh, that's weird," the Mienfoo said, a small confused smile crossing his face.

"So… You don't remember who you are, how you got here, or what happened to you?" Blitz asked in order to clarify.

"Nope! Not at all!" the Mienfoo replied, seeming to find the strangeness of his situation to be amusing somehow.

"That… doesn't sound good…" Sera said, looking somewhat concerned.

"Maybe we should ask nurse Giselle over at the rescue team HQ if she can take a look at him?" Blitz asked.

"Sounds like a good idea," Sera responded, before turning to the Mienfoo. "What do you say? Want to come with us?"

"Sure!" the Mienfoo replied with a cheerful smile. "It's not like I have anything better to do, or at least, not that I know of!"

Blitz suddenly realized how much the wind had picked up, and more and more leaves were being blown past them. Now he knew why he had felt the way he did since entering this floor, and what was happening.

"Uh… Guys? I think we should get out of here, now!" Blitz called out.

"Why? What's happening?" the Mienfoo asked, tilting his head to the side.

"There's this mysterious force that forces rescue team out of mystery dungeons if they stay in them too long," Sera explained, as she pulled out the Escape Orb they had brought. "No one is sure exactly what it is, but due to the constantly changing nature of the mystery dungeons, we believe it is there to make sure no one from the outside is left inside the mystery dungeon before it changes. Now, get close to me, both of you!"

Blitz quickly moved close to Sera, and so did the Mienfoo, even if he still didn't seem to be particularly concerned about what was happening around them. Sera carefully pressed a certain spot on the Escape Orb with her paws, activating it. In only a few seconds, a blue light from the orb enveloped the three Pokémon and sent them back to the entrance of the dungeon.

"Whoa! That was awesome!" the Mienfoo shouted, waving his paw in the air. "Can we do it again?"

"I don't think so," Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. "I think I need to lie down for a bit, and calm my nerves..."

"I guess we should head back to town, then!" Sera said, wagging her tail happily. "I can't wait to tell other rescue teams about our little adventure today!"

"Not so sure if that's a good idea..." Blitz responded. "And besides, that isn't our main priority at the moment."

"You're right," Sera said, looking over at the Mienfoo. "For now, let's just head back to town, and tomorrow we will take this guy to see Giselle."

"I look forward to meeting her!" the Mienfoo responded, with a cheerful smile.

----

As they were walking back to town, the Mienfoo realized something.

"Hey, guys? You haven't told me your names yet."

"Huh?" Blitz found it strange that this was one of the Mienfoo's main concerns, but on the other hand, they did forget to properly introduce themselves to him. "Oh, I'm Blitz."

"And I'm Sera! It's short for Serafina!"

"Wow, those are really nice names!" the Mienfoo responded. "Hey, since you two have such great names, maybe you can think of a name for me?"

"You want us to think of a name for you?" Blitz asked, not really sure what the Mienfoo meant about him having a great name. Wasn't Blitz a fairly common name for electric types?

"Well, I guess it might be convenient to have a name to call him by," Sera commented. "But what should we call him?"

Both Sera and the Mienfoo looked over at Blitz expectantly, neither of them having any ideas of their own. However, neither did Blitz, which caused him to quietly panic somewhat as he wondered why the two of them would think he had any names in mind for a Pokémon they had just met.

"Um… How about… we call him… Chiaki?" Blitz nervously blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"Chiaki? You mean after the heroic Mienshao from that set of short stories that used to be in the newspaper?" Sera asked.

"Y-Yeah… It was just the first thing that came to mind…" Blitz said, looking somewhat embarrassed. "I can try to think of something better, but I'm not really good with names."

"Oh, no need to do so!" the Mienfoo responded. "I think Chiaki is a great name!"

"You really think so?" Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.

"Uh-huh! I can be Chiaki!" the Mienfoo happily replied.

"All right, then. From now on, we will call you "Chiaki"!" Sera announced.

"Yay!" the Mienfoo now called Chiaki responded.

"Well, that's one thing taken care of, but I think there's another thing we need to figure out here." Blitz said.

"Huh?" Sera and Chiaki looked over at Blitz curiously.

"Where is he supposed to stay tonight?" the Shinx asked.

"Ooh, good question…" Sera responded.

"Can't I just stay with one of you?" Chiaki asked.

"Oh, I'm afraid there wouldn't be room for you over at my home," Sera explained. "You see, I have a lot of siblings, and sometimes it feels as if there's barely enough room for all of us as it is."

"Oh, okay," Chiaki nodded his head in understanding, before turning his attention to Blitz. "How about you, Blitz?"

"Hmm… Actually, I wouldn't mind a roommate. I've been living by myself ever since my mother sent me here to train, and it can get kind of lonely sometimes," Blitz responded. "It's not very big, but big enough for two small Pokémon like us. We just have to make an extra bed for you, that's all."

"Really?" Chiaki seemed excited. "It's no problem at all?"

"Not as long as you help keeping things tidy and don't make too much noise." Blitz stated.

"Oh, thank you!" Chiaki responded, excitedly jumped around the two other Pokémon. "I'll be a good roommate, I promise!"

"Well, I guess that's sorted out, then!" Sera commented as the stone buildings of the town were coming into view, the sun slowly going down in the distance. "Whoa, it's sunset already? I better hurry home, bye guys! See you tomorrow!"

"Bye, Sera!"

"Bye!"

Blitz and Chiaki waved good-bye to Sera was she hurried home to her family. Once they could no longer see her, Blitz decided to show Chiaki where he lived. He led the Mienfoo over to a stone hut with several holes serving as a front door and windows carved into it. The hole serving as the front door was surprisingly big for a house where a small Pokémon like Blitz lived, but then Chiaki realized that the reason for this was likely so Blitz could invite Pokémon bigger than himself over to visit.

Chiaki followed Blitz inside, and looked around. There wasn't really much to see in there, apart from a map of the continent hanging on a wall, a big pile of straw that presumably was Blitz's bed, a small wooden table, a vase filled with fresh water standing in a corner, and a basket of berries next to the vase.

"Well, here it is. It's not much, but it has everything I need."

"I think this place looks really nice!" Chiaki responded, smiling at the young Shinx.

"You really think so?" Blitz asked.

"Uh-huh! Thanks for letting me stay with you!" Chiaki said, still smiling.

"You're welcome," Blitz responded, smiling back at Chiaki. "Come on; help me prepare your bed."

The two Pokémon began dividing up the pile of straw into two smaller ones, both of them making sure that both beds would get an equal amount of straw and that both beds would be comfortable enough. After all, they would have to get a good night's sleep so they could have the energy to get a lot accomplished tomorrow. Blitz hoped that Sera wouldn't drag him into another dungeon above their level of experience anytime soon, even if they had managed to avoid getting into trouble this time. And at least they did get some useful items out of it, and they also met a new friend. So, while they hadn't actually gotten any missions done, it had still been a good day.

----

End of chapter 2

----

sixthhokage1
15th May 2012, 7:20 PM
Wow, this is really good DS.

Agent Tectonic
17th May 2012, 7:28 AM
So, as promised, here's my review. All criticism is open for second thoughts and isn't necessarily anything that needs to be changed. Just suggestions upon possible future revising.

Criticism first:


“Where are you, little one?” the strange Pokémon asked, trying to use psychic powers it possessed to locate the other Pokémon. “I will find you, and then I will take that crystal from you!”

Bold 1: There are times that wording like this helps, but I find myself stumbling over this part just because it feels jumbled. Rewording it to “its psychic power to locate. . .” reads much less awkwardly to me.

Bold 2: This doesn't read wrong; it just doesn't feel natural. Remove the comma and the “then I will” part is much more natural.

Bold 3: Two things. Take the from you out as you already established that the crystal is in possession of the little guy through syntax and inference. Second, unless the Sigilyph is talking with a high amount of emotion, the exclamation should be a period to show its imperative. Again, it depends on how you want the emotion to come across.


The Pokémon in the gray cloak looked down at the transparent crystal it was holding, having tried its best to prevent the Sigilyph from stealing it.

Don't be afraid to use pronouns. It/He/She works just find as you have pretty much described the figure as “The Pokemon” three times in a row which gets repetitive. Another suggestion is to switch to a completely different descriptive such as “the cowering figure” or something like that.


But what could a small Pokémon like itself do?

I'm left trying to figure out if this is supposed to be a thought from the guy or just narrative. Whatever the case, I strongly suggest making it clear that it is a thought process. The way it reads, it gets the “story-teller” feel to it where some fictional narrator is telling the story to an audience around him, and I don't think that's the narration you're going for.


“There you are…” the Sigilyph began ominously hovering down towards the Pokémon in the gray cloak.

Missing some guide of “voice” verb like cackled, cried, shrieked, etc.


“Well, this was a fun little chase, wasn’t it?” the Sigilyph closed in on the Pokémon in the gray cloak. “But I’m guessing making you pay for trying to interfere with my plan can be fun too…”

Same thing here.


“Oh…” the Shinx said, awkwardly rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs against each other, creating blue sparks of electricity between them.

Awkward just doesn't seem like the right adverb to use. I'm trying to figure out what kind of emotion you're going for he as I don't think that rubbing his forelegs seems like an awkward action. Maybe nervously? Also, I'm confused over if you're saying that he felt awkward in asking his question or drawing more attention to his response to Mirage's answer through his actions. Is he second-guessing asking his question or is his movement awkward or whatever?


“Don’t know yet!” the brown furred Pokémon replied, the Eevee happily wagging her fluffy tail.

Repace the “brown furred Pokemon” description with Eevee as you already introduced it as such, so it reads more like “'Don't know yet!' the Eevee replied, happily wagging her fluffy tail.” This will clean up the sentence much better. If you don't plan on changing it, that's alright too, just make sure that the comma is replaced with a semi-colon as the second half is considered a sentence on it's own.


As the two Pokémon started arguing, while Sting tried to keep the two dark types from starting a full on fight in the middle of town, the Eevee took this opportunity while the three were distracted to lean over and whisper to her teammate:

“Hey, Blitz, let’s get out of here,” she whispered, the Shinx nodded in agreement.

Remove “while” and place a period after town OR remove as in the beginning and place a period or semi-colon after town. Right now, it the while and the prepositional phrase at the beginning makes this read rather awkwardly.

Also, remove the she whispered part as it is redundant to say.


The two then quietly slipped away, and continued heading towards the east exit of town, so they could go see Stella and finish that errand they had promised.

I'd recommend removing the bolded part as you already mentioned what their plans were after their meeting. Don't worry, we haven't forgotten where they're going, so there is no need to repeat it.


Said hole would of course be covered up if it was raining, like during that storm the previous night. Stella the Gothitelle was currently having a talk with her young daughter, a young Gothorita that had started having visions of the future herself.

Careful not to jump from point to point without some kind of transition. Give us a shift in focus from the description of the house to what is currently going on inside. For instance, and this is purely for example but still open for use:


Said hole would of course be covered up if it was raining, like during that storm the previous night. Sitting under the now open ceiling, Stella the Gothitelle was currently having a talk with her young daughter, a young Gothorita that had started having visions of the future herself.

With this, we shift from a particular aspect of the house and focus it to the inhabitants.


“Bow, for many generations now, a member of our family has been in the position of town oracle,” Stella explained, the white ribbon like feelers on each of the four layers of the black dress-like layers on her body, and the one on the back of her head began glowing.

Remove the commas after “her body.” I took a few rereads over this to realize that you were saying all of her feelers were glowing. Also the “layers” part of that sentence is rather jumbled. I know what you're trying to say, but the wording of it is really cluttered and awkward.


She tried not to lose her concentration on what her mother was saying as she touched one of the white ribbon shaped feelers on one of her pigtails, it felt kind of warm to the touch.

COMMA SPLICE. Not good. Either change to a period or use a semi-colon as this is a run-on sentence.


“Our powers comes from the stars, by looking up at them, we receive our visions.

First comma= comma splice. Same as previous solution.


“Hi there,” Blitz said, awkwardly looking around.

Back to the awkward thing. I tend to think awkward as not right. Like an arm bent into an awkward position or landing awkwardly. Just right click on the word in whatever writing program you use (Word, Open Office, whatever, and go under synonyms and check to see if any of those fit what you're saying. If it doesn't look right with those words, it may not be the best word to use. Just a suggestion.


There were a few empty slots in the wall, but what he and Sera were delivering would take care of that.

Two sentences ago, your opening for the sentence is exactly the same: not good. Maybe transition Blitz's thoughts about how the crystals are used to what the delivery is like you say in the last part of the sentence instead of repeating that line.


“Yes. There are indeed some rescue teams who only do it for the rewards, while some are just out to find the biggest adventures they can.” The Gothitelle smiled as she looked at the two young Pokémon.

Remove the period from the dialogue and use a comma. Since there is no question or explanation, a comma is necessary. Only time that doesn't happen is when the dialogue as no narrative after it. This is one particular example and there are others after and before this case.


“Well, I guess you two should get going now, and take care of some missions?” Stella reminded the two.

Change the question mark into a period. Stella's remark isn't a question.


Little did they know, that the adventure they would go on today would be the beginning of an even bigger adventure.

Just remove this. I say this because you wouldn't be writing this story if they didn't have some grand adventure of triumph and tragedy. Also, this goes back to the narrator-disguised-as-a-story-teller approach which isn't the way the rest of the chapter is written.

Now, I am going to end the review here for now. It's getting late on my end, and I don't want to have this sit in my save file for any more days than it should. I don't want to sound like I'm ripping apart your writing. Like I said in my VM to you, I really do like what you're writing, so I'll make sure that my review of chapter 2 contains the good parts of chapter 1, too.

I will leave with a few closing statements that summarize my thoughts.

Good:

1) You have a really good knack for developing characters. While your wording can be off in places, I know what kind of emotion or personality a character is showing or representing which is good. I will caution, however, to not stereotype characters as this can lead to cliches. For instance, Mirage is shaping up to be a rather sarcastic and trickster type of character which is stereotypical for her species and type. I'm not going to “force” you to reconsider her personality or change the character entirely, but I do want to caution you to steer clear of this in the future.

2) Necessary description: You also are rather proficient in knowing when to elaborate on a scene and when to glance over a detail. I've been told that it can be hard to not fall into the trap of over explaining a scene when it doesn't need it, but for you, I never once thought that I was getting bored from lack of or too much description.

To consider:

I have noticed your preference for commas which is a common trap for writers. The only time commas are used is when linking multiple things together in list (nouns, adjectives, etc.), linking sentences with a coordinating conjunction, and appositives (breaks in a sentence or beginning prepositional phrases). I feel like I'm missing another reason, but I can't seem to recall it if I have missed one. Anyways, my point is that you frequently use commas where there shouldn't be. I know I'm being rather vague here, so if you would like, in my second review, I'll point out any and all places where there shouldn't be unless of course, you feel that you can find them.

2) You also tend to overuse certain words. The double use of the word whispering comes to mind for this one; however, the main point for this is the overuse and misuse of the word awkward. It is clear that you're setting up Blitz as a rather skittish Shinx; however, the word “awkward” does not fit this category of personality. I know awkward is a often used word in daily life; however, I encourage you to actually look up the definition, so you can see the real meaning behind the word. I know many times for myself, and you too, that we think we know a word's meaning, but when asked to actually define it, we say something along the lines of “well, uh, actually, I can't seem to find the right words to define it. It means something like. . .”

So, this officially ends my critique of chapter 1. Like promised, I'll highlight the good parts in this chapter in my review for chapter 2, so expect that soon. I hope your planning for chapter 3 is going well, and I can't wait to read more.

~Agent T.

DarkerShining
17th May 2012, 11:29 AM
Thanks for your review.

So, too many commas, huh? I'll try to keep that in mind for future chapters, as well as try to not overuse certain words. I've already finished chapter 3 at this point, but I did notice that it seems to have at least one word showing up a lot through it, so I may try to do a few more tweaks and edits to it before I put it up.

As for some other things, yeah, maybe I did use the description of the Pokemon in the gray cloak a bit too much, the reason I didn't use much of any pronouns being that I was trying to hide the character's identity for now, as it is not supposed to be revealed until later in the story. I suppose I could've used "it" though, and still kept the character's idenity concealed.

Mirage isn't really going to be one of the important characters, but seeing as I will have her as a fairly recurring character anyways, I will keep that in mind.

And yeah, I do realize my narration probably has several flaws at this point, not being very consistant and so on. I'll see if I can eventually figure out what I can do about that, at the very least how to get it to flow more naturally in some parts.

Again, thanks for your review. I will try to keep these things in mind for future chapters. I would try to do some tweaks to chapter one to correct a few of the things you pointed out, as well as at least one typo I know slipped by me, if it weren't for this weird glitch I've encountered while trying to edit things. Anyone else notice that?

So, yeah. I'll take another look at the third chapter, and see what little things I can change before I put it up.

DarkerShining
19th May 2012, 5:45 PM
So, after working on it for a while, doing several little changes here and there and so on, chapter 3 is finally ready. I know it's probably not perfect, but I think it is good enough to share with you guys.

I am considering getting a beta reader, and I have at least one friend who has offered to do it, but for now I've done this on my own, just to see how it goes.

Anyways, here you go. Read and review, and thanks to those who are following the story so far!

---

Chapter 3: There's a lot of magic in this world.

----

Chiaki was quite comfortable in his bed, and wanted to just stay in bed a little longer, even if the warm rays of sunlight shining through the windows wanted to let him know it was morning and time to get up. Blitz however was slowly getting up, blue sparks of electricity rippling through his fur as he yawned and stretched.

"You awake yet, Chiaki?" Blitz asked, looking over at the Mienfoo.

"Uh-huh..." Chiaki responded, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. While he wouldn't have minded to sleep for five more minutes, he didn't want to keep Blitz waiting.

"Did you sleep well?" Blitz asked.

"Yeah, very well," Chiaki replied, smiling. "Again, thanks for letting me stay with you!"

"You're welcome!" Blitz responded, smiling at his new roommate. "So, are you ready to head out?"

"Yeah, I guess so," Chiaki said, as he got onto his feet. "Let's go!"

----

The two Pokémon headed straight for the town plaza at the center of the town, where most of the shops and other services for rescue teams were located. Chiaki excitedly looked around, wondering what each of the various Pokémon working at the different stalls did. He noticed a green Pokémon juggling three apples before catching them in the dish-like lily pad on the top of his head, while next to him was a brown Pokémon with a pointy nose and a leaf growing out of his head that seemed to be busy polishing a wonder orb, not really paying attention to the other shopkeeper. The Lombre noticed Chiaki looking over in their direction, and smiled and waved at him. Chiaki smiled and waved back.

"That's the item shop," Blitz explained to Chiaki, having noticed that the Mienfoo seemed curious about it. "Wade the Lombre sells food, healing items and items that can be thrown at enemies in battle, while Vic the Nuzleaf sells TMs and various wonder orbs."

"A pleasure to meet you!" the Lombre said, nodding his head.

"It is nice to meet you too!" Chiaki responded.

"Hey Wade, has Sera been here yet?" Blitz asked.

"Ah, yes. She stopped by to buy some apples from me earlier," Wade responded, before pointing to the distracted Nuzleaf next to him. "She also bought an Escape Orb from Vic."

"Oh, okay." Blitz said, and turned to face Chiaki. "Come on, let's keep going."

After a quick good-bye to the two shopkeepers, the two continued moving along. However, Chiaki's attention was soon caught by another building nearby, in which a white ferret-like Pokémon with brown lines on its body was busy drawing up an organization plan of some sort. The Linoone seemed to be rather immersed in making this organization plan, even having sort of a smirk on his face that wouldn't look out of place on someone who had just come up with a brilliant master plan to take over the world.

"That's Lionel, he runs the item warehouse where rescue teams store their items so they don't risk losing them," Blitz explained. "Lately, he's been working on this plan to reorganize everything in an attempt to make a more effective system and allow him to faster find the items rescue teams have stored with him when they need them."

"That's nice of him!" Chiaki commented.

"Yeah, he likes coming up with ways to make things more convenient for the rescue teams that rely on him," Blitz said, chuckling a little as he saw the sheer look of determination at the Linoone's face. "He really likes organizing things, and I sometimes can't help but wonder if he perhaps takes these things a little too seriously."

"Well, as long as it makes him and other Pokémon happy!" Chiaki replied with a cheerful smile on his face.

The two kept moving through the town, walking past another stall where a purple cobra was currently talking to a red bipedal ladybug working at the stall, asking the Ledian some questions about opening an account at the bank.

"That's the bank," Blitz explained. "Rescue teams get to open a special account there where they can keep the money they earn from their missions, so that it doesn't risk being lost."

"Lost?" Chiaki inquired.

"Yeah, money and items may disappear if a rescue team is defeated inside a dungeon before they can finish a mission," Blitz responded. "No one really knows why that happens. It might have something to do with how the mystery dungeons are constantly changing, but I'm guessing there's no real way to find out."

As Blitz finished his brief explanation, he and Chiaki walked past another stall which seemed to be run by an odd orange Pokémon with blue lightning bolts for arms.

"That is where we can go to have two or more of our attacks linked together, meaning we can use them both in one move," Blitz explained. "I'm not really sure how that works, but that is what Zap says he does, for a price, of course."

"Cool!" Chiaki responded, like Blitz, he didn't fully understand it, but he thought it sounded really awesome.

The two continued moving, walking past another stall. Looking at it, Chiaki saw that the Pokémon working behind it, a small purple Pokémon with gem stones for eyes, was just casually eating a rock while waiting for customers.

"If we find treasure boxes that we can't open on our own during missions, that is where we can go to get them opened," Blitz commented. For a moment he wondered if the Sableye would chip a tooth, but figured that since the species' diet mainly did consist of rocks and gemstones, they probably had extra strong teeth to prevent just that.

The two walked past a stall that was painted white with blue and red triangle patterns. A white fairy like Pokémon with similar blue and red triangle markings on his body was currently looking after a blue egg with orange spots on it.

"That's the babysitter service, they look after eggs for rescue teams that are too busy to look after them on their own," Blitz explained.

After walking past that last stall, Blitz led Chiaki a bit to the South-East, where a bigger building that looked as if it was partially build from concrete stood out, a sign on top reading: "Find your true strengths here at Heracross Dojo".

"This place is where most rescue teams come to train, and actually one of the main reasons why I'm here," Blitz explained, before he and Chiaki continued moving along. "You see, I was having trouble receiving proper training at home, my mother sent me here, so I could receive proper training at the dojo."

"Wow, there's a lot of great things in this town!" Chiaki exclaimed.

"Oh, you haven't even seen the best part, yet!" Blitz said, smiling. "Come on, before we head to the rescue team HQ, I'll show you the most popular spot in town!"

Chiaki followed Blitz to another building, a rather nice looking café built from wood rather than stone. Inside, were several small wooden tables, a wooden counter and a large spider web on the ceiling with several light crystals in it. Standing behind the counter was a blue rabbit-like Pokémon, talking to another Pokémon resembling a red bipedal crocodile Pokémon.

"You ever wonder why they call it a sandwich when there's no sand in them?" the Krookodile wondered out loud, the Azumarill behind the counter just giving him a weird look.

At one of the tables, there were two other Pokémon sitting, one resembling a giant blue turtle, the other resembling a colorful bird with a bit of a saurian head. The bird was reading a newspaper, shaking his head slightly at the news he read.

"There certainly are some nasty Pokémon out there," the Archeops commented, showing the newspaper page to the Carracosta. "I swear, if any Pokémon like that were to come around these parts, they should be burned on the stake!"

"Dude, they stopped doing that a long time ago," the Carracosta replied.

"… They did?" the Archeops paused for a moment to think, to which the Carracosta just stared at him in confusion for a moment.

"We're not that old, dude."

Chiaki looked around, seeming to find the spider web on the ceiling with the various light crystals in it particularly interesting.

"Well, Chiaki, this is the local hang-out spot in this town, and a popular place for rescue teams to come and have something to drink after a long day of missions!" Blitz explained.

"Ooh, sounds nice!" Chiaki responded. "Do you and Sera come here a lot?"

"Yeah, we've been here a few times," Blitz replied. "Well, I guess we should head over to the rescue team HQ now. It wouldn't be nice to keep Sera waiting for too long."

"Okay! Let's go!" Chiaki agreed, and so the two headed out of the café, just as a small blue mouse Pokémon bounced into the building.

"Hey, mother! Guess what?" the Azurill exclaimed as she ran up to the Azumarill at the counter, who was apparently her mother. Seeing as they were just leaving the area, Blitz and Chiaki didn't get to hear what the Azurill had to say to her mother.

----

After a short walk, the two of them reached the rescue team HQ. After letting Chiaki stare in awe at the wooden rescue team badge sculpture over the entrance for a few seconds, Blitz led the young Mienfoo inside. Chiaki curiously looked around at the other rescue teams and the mission boards, as Sera walked over, having gotten there a few minutes earlier and had been waiting for Blitz and Chiaki to show up.

"Hey guys!" Sera happily greeted the two, the two Pokémon greeting her back.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting," Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

"Oh, it's all right!" Sera said, wagging her tail. "All the missions on the rescue board had already been taken when I got here, so I've sort of just been waiting for them to update it."

"Hey, what exactly is it that rescue teams do?" Chiaki asked. "From the name, I'm guessing you rescue other Pokémon?"

"Well, that just one of the things a rescue team does," Sera explained. "We also explore mystery dungeons, help Pokémon find lost items, help escort Pokémon through dungeons so they can meet with their friends and we catch outlaws! Basically, a rescue team's job is to help others!"

"That is so cool!" Chiaki exclaimed. "I wish I could be in a rescue team!"

Blitz and Sera followed the excited fighting type over to another room behind a pink curtain, in which a pink and cream colored, somewhat plump rabbit like Pokémon wearing a white headband with a small pink cross on it, was examining the very long tongue of a chubby pink Pokémon.

"Hmm… Good, it seems there won't be any lasting damage, although your tongue might be a little numb for the next few days," the Audino said to the Lickitung with a reassuring smile. "It's a good thing your teammate reacted as quickly as he did. Hopefully, you'll be a bit careful about what you do with your tongue the next time you explore an ice dungeon!"

The Lickitung nodded and thanked the Audino, although his speech was somewhat mumbled since his tongue was still numb, before exiting the room to go find his teammates.

"Hi Giselle!" Blitz greeted the Audino.

"Oh, hello there, Blitz!" Giselle responded, smiling sweetly. "How may I help you? Is there a thorn stuck in your paw?"

"Not this time," Blitz responded, before pointing a paw at Chiaki. "We found this Mienfoo unconscious in the Meridian Forest yesterday."

"He doesn't remember anything about who he is, or how he got there, so we were wondering if you could take a look at him." Sera added.

"Oh, is that so?" the Audino nurse inquired. "But why were you two in the Meridian Forest? That place is too dangerous for two young Pokémon like you."

"Don't worry, I had everything under control!" Sera stated confidently. "We didn't get into any trouble at all!"

"Well, that's nice, but a responsible team leader should know better than to go into a dungeon above their team's experience level," Giselle said, sounding somewhat concerned. Sera's ears drooped down a bit as Giselle said that. "Well, anyways, let me take a look at your friend here…"

As Giselle began to check up on Chiaki and ask him a few questions, Sera exited the room, seeming a little bit upset. Blitz followed her to make sure she was okay; letting Chiaki and nurse Giselle talk alone for a bit.

----

After a while, Giselle exited her office along with Chiaki, to tell Blitz and Sera what little she had managed to find out.

"Well, I'm afraid I don't know what might've caused your friend's memory loss," Giselle said, looking somewhat confused. "He appears to have suffered no physical damage, and I can't really tell if anything has been done to his mind."

"Oh, is that so?" Sera asked.

"Yes," the Audino responded, looking a bit concerned. "So, I recommend having a psychic type Pokémon take a look at him."

"Okay, we'll try that, I guess…" Blitz responded.

"I'm really sorry that I couldn't do anymore to help," Giselle said, adjusting her headband. "Well, I hope you sort things out. Let me know if anything else comes up!"

And with that, Giselle went back to her office, and the three young Pokémon wandered back over to the rescue boards which had just been updated. Sera began to look at what new missions were available, while Blitz tried to figure out who they could ask to examine Chiaki.

"Hmm… Perhaps Stella could help?" Blitz suggested, after thinking about it for a few moments.

"Who's Stella?" Chiaki asked.

"She's the town oracle," Blitz explained to him. "She can predict the future, and she gives pretty good advice."

"Oh, that sounds cool!" Chiaki responded.

"Oh, come on!" Sera shouted, catching Blitz and Chiaki's attention as she stomped her feet in frustration. "All of these missions are above our current skill level! That's so not fair!"

"Um… Maybe we can wait for them to update the board again…?" Blitz suggested.

"I don't wanna wait!" Sera whined, before noticing the stares some of the other rescue teams in the room were giving her. "Uh… I mean, maybe we could look around and see if someone in town has something they need help with?"

Just seconds after she said that, the blue little mouse Pokémon from earlier bounced into the room. The Azurill glanced around at all the Pokémon, smirking a bit as she saw that there were plenty of rescue teams there at the moment. She jumped onto her tail, and tried to get a rescue team's attention: "Hello? I'm looking for a rescue team to take me on an adventure!"

"Oh!" Sera said, quickly running up to the Azurill along with Blitz and Chiaki. "You need the assistance of a rescue team?"

"Yep!" the Azurill responded. "Just a few moments ago, I saw something falling out of the sky, and I think it might've been a Pokémon! I think it landed in the Lush Valley, so I wanted to go check it out, but my mother won't let me go unless I get a rescue team to go with me."

"A Pokémon fell out of the sky?" Sera tilted her head slightly.

"Probably a flying type," Blitz said. "If it fell, I'm guessing it must've suffered a wing injury, or something. And I'm guessing hitting the ground can't be pleasant either."

"Oh my, sounds like we'd better go find that Pokémon fast!" Sera responded.

"Yes! Let's go!" Chiaki said, nodding his head.

"Wait, you want to come too?" Blitz asked.

"Well, yeah. It's not like I have anything better to do today," Chiaki responded, shrugging slightly. "Besides, I want to help others like you do!"

"Is that so?" Sera inquired, an idea coming to her mind.

"Well, yeah. In fact, I would love to be on a rescue team!" Chiaki replied, smiling.

"Well… That can be arranged!" Sera said, grinning.

"It can?" Chiaki asked.

"Yeah! Blitz and I could use some more members on our team!" Sera said, before looking over at Blitz. "Would you be okay with that?"

"Um… I guess so…" Blitz replied, thinking about it for a moment. "But he's not familiar with how missions work."

"Hmm… Good point," Sera responded. "Maybe we should take him along on a mission, so he can see for himself what it's like, and then decide if he wants to join or not?"

"That sounds good to me!" Chiaki responded, seeming even more excited than usual.

"Um… So, are you going to help me, or not?" the Azurill asked, noting that the three had gotten a bit sidetracked.

"Oh! We hadn't forgotten about you, miss…" Blitz paused for a moment, realizing that the Azurill hadn't yet told them her name.

"Azure," the Azurill said. "My name is Azure."

"So, you said you think the flying type landed in the Lush Valley?" Sera asked, her ears perking up with excitement. "That dungeon isn't too difficult for us!"

"Does that mean you'll go with me, then?" Azure asked, bouncing impatiently on top of her tail.

"We're in!" Sera responded, nodding to the Azurill.

"Yes!" Azure shouted out, now bouncing around in excitement. "Let's go on an adventure!"

"Hold on, first we need to double-check to make sure we have all the items we need for…" Blitz realized that the other three Pokémon had already run out the door before he could even finish the sentence, and were already heading off towards the dungeon. "Hey, guys! Wait! Don't leave me behind!"

----

Blitz managed to catch up to the rest of the group before they got too far, and reminded Sera to double-check their supplies before they went off on their adventure. Once everything was ready, the four Pokémon began heading over to the entrance to the dungeon. As they were walking, Blitz remembered something.

"Oh! We forgot to take Chiaki to see Stella!"

"Huh?" Chiaki said, looking over at the blue lion cub Pokémon. "Oh, don't worry about that! I'm not in a hurry to find out who I am!"

"Are you sure?" Blitz asked.

"Yeah," Chiaki replied, nodding his head. "It can wait. Right now, let's focus on this mission!"

"If you say so…?" Blitz said, tilting his head slightly.

"Okay, we're here," Sera spoke up, the four Pokémon now standing at the entrance to the mystery dungeon. "The Lush Valley is a mystery dungeon that has… eight floors?"

She glanced over at Blitz, who nodded his head to confirm that she was correct.

"Right, there's eight floors," Sera said, keeping her eyes on Blitz for him to confirm that she was remembering the details correctly. "If the Pokémon you saw landed at the very end of the dungeon, we'll be finding it on the eighth floor."

"Well, what are waiting for? Let's go in!" Azure shouted, bouncing on her tail impatiently.

"Yeah, let's go rescue that Pokémon!" Chiaki shouted out.

"Right, let's get to it!" Sera said, and so the four Pokémon entered the mystery dungeon.

----

The four found themselves on the first floor of the dungeon, the entrance seemingly vanishing behind them. Did it disappear? Or was it still there, but only visible from the other side? Chiaki quickly took note of such oddities of the dungeon, but didn't think too much of it because he was just so excited about getting to see what a rescue team mission was like.

"So, when going on a mission, always make sure to bring the necessary items," Sera explained, pointing to the bag she was carrying. "Which items you need may vary depending on the mission, but there are a few basic items that are always good to have with you."

Sera opened the lid for a moment, giving Chiaki a quick glimpse of what was inside of the bag.

"As you can see, I brought along some apples, some Oran berries and a Reviver Seed, just in case," Sera continued explaining. "You may also have noticed that our treasure bag is kind of small and can only keep a limited amount of stuff, but don't worry about that! As we reach higher ranks, we'll get a bigger one!"

"Excuse me," Azure spoke up. "But, since I'm here for the adventure, do you think you could walk and explain at the same time?"

"Hey, no need to be rude about it," Sera responded. "But you're right; we should get going, since we do have a mission to take care of."

Sera took a few steps forward, glancing around to see if there was anything of interest in the section of the dungeon they were in before motioning for the other three Pokémon to follow her down a path to another room. By pure luck, the first room they entered was the room in which the stairs to the next floor were located. However, there was also a small, light blue elephant in the room, as well as a brown bird with red wings. The four Pokémon that entered their room naturally caught the attention of those two Pokémon.

"Oh, we've caught the attention of two wilds!" Azure shouted out. "Can I fight one?"

"Wilds?" Chiaki tilted his head quizzically.

"A term we use for the Pokémon that live in mystery dungeons," Blitz explained. "They're not like the Pokémon outside of dungeons; they appear to be bound by a set of unwritten rules of the dungeons."

"There are rules?" Chiaki asked, curiously looking over at the Spearow and the Phanpy, the two wilds still standing in the same positions, as if waiting for the four visitors to the dungeon to move first.

"Well, we believe that's the case, but no one knows for sure," Blitz continued explaining. "Their behavior does suggest something like that. When they join a rescue team, they act just like any other Pokémon, which we believe may be part of the rules."

"So, they're bound by this set of rules no one else knows about, until they join a rescue team?" Chiaki suggested.

"Yeah, something like that, we think," Blitz said. "However, none of the Pokémon that have joined a rescue team has confirmed the existence of these rules."

"So, it's against the rules to reveal the existence of the rules?" Chiaki asked once again.

"Sorry to interrupt, but can we please just fight these guys?" Azure asked, seeming rather impatient and itching for a fight.

"Relax, we are going to fight them, you know, to show Chiaki how it's done," Sera said, motioning with her paw for the Azurill to calm down, before turning her attention to Blitz. "Blitz, you want to fight the Spearow? You've got the type advantage, after all."

"Me? Um… Okay, I'll fight the Spearow," Blitz responded, looking over at the two wild Pokémon. "What about the Phanpy, though?"

"I'll take care of that!" Azure shouted out, bouncing over to the blue little elephant in question.

With a gleeful look on her face, the Azurill proceeded to swing her tail around, before smacking the blue ball on the tip of her long black tail into the Phanpy with enough force to send the little ground type Pokémon flying. Blitz, Sera and Chiaki just stared as the little elephant went flying out of sight.

"And that is how I do it!" Azure proudly proclaimed.

Blitz briefly forgot about the Spearow he was supposed to fight after seeing Azure's little demonstration, only to hear a screeching sound as the Spearow was flying at him. The bird Pokémon was preparing to hit the Shinx with an attack of its sharp beak, only to be blinded by a bright light, causing the bird to stop in its tracks. Once the light cleared, the blue lion cub was nowhere in sight. The bird glanced around, trying to figure out where his opponent disappeared to.

Blitz had managed to slip away, and was now crawling through some tall grass, staying low to the ground so the Spearow wouldn't see him coming before he made his move. Blitz crept closer to the bird, waiting for just the right moment. Just as the Spearow gave up on finding the electric lion cub and began turning its attention to the other three Pokémon nearby, it was knocked to the ground as Blitz tackled it. Blitz quickly leaped at the bird again before it had time to get back up, holding it down.

The Spearow struggled under the Shinx, trying to free itself. Blitz simply finished off the battle by pressing one of his paws against the Spearow and zapping him with his electricity, being careful not to overdo it.

"There, it's fainted," Blitz commented, as his teammates walked over. "We'll probably already have left this dungeon by the time it regains consciousness."

With the two battles done, the four Pokémon headed up the stairs to the next floor, with Chiaki complimenting Azure and Blitz on their battle styles as they moved along.

The second floor was mostly spent walking around, occasionally stopping to pick up an item from the ground, while Sera and Blitz explained to Chiaki how most Pokémon tend to have different battle styles, depending on their type, abilities and attacks they were capable of. As they moved onto the third floor, they came across a small purple rabbit-like Pokémon with several spikes on its back. The male Nidoran smirked as it saw the four Pokémon show up, apparently ready for a battle.

"Maybe you'd like to try to fight that one, Chiaki?" Sera suggested. "Careful, though. Those spikes on his back are poisonous."

Chiaki began approaching the Nidoran, figuring that attacking from behind would probably be a bad idea since the Nidoran had those toxic spikes on its back. The Nidoran also had a small horn on its forehead, which Chiaki correctly assumed also was poisonous.

"Uh… How do I fight it without touching the pointy parts?" Chiaki asked, looking to Sera for answers.

"Hold on…" Sera took a quick look into the treasure bag, before picking up a small seed she found on the previous floor, and using her tail to fling it to Chiaki. "You can use this!"

Chiaki caught the seed in his paw, and curiously examined it. He wondered how a small seed like this was supposed to help him defeat the Nidoran. He sniffed the seed, only sensing a faint spicy aroma. Figuring it couldn't do any harm, the curious Mienfoo decided to find out what the seed tasted like, putting it into his mouth. He soon felt a strong heat build inside his mouth, causing him to spit the seed out and watching as it exploded on impact with the Nidoran.

"What was that!?" Chiaki shouted, waving his paws in front of his mouth in an attempt to cool it down.

"That was a Blast Seed! It can be thrown at enemies or eaten to make it explode and damage the enemy!" Sera explained, wagging her tail happily.

"The latter does more damage, for some reason," Blitz added.

"Well, it's certainly a cool item, don't you think?" Azure asked, bouncing on her tail. "After all, who doesn't think it would be cool to spit explosions?"

Before Chiaki could really respond to this, the Nidoran pecked his shoulder with his horn, seeming understandably angry with Chiaki for spitting the exploding seed at him. Chiaki found the Peck attack rather painful, since it was a flying type based attack. Chiaki braced himself for another attack, but it didn't come. It seemed as if the Nidoran was waiting for him to make his next move first, although it also gave the impression that it might attack again if Chiaki took too long to decide his next move. Perhaps this was part of the rules, or was the Nidoran just doing this because it wanted to?

"Don't worry, you can do this!" Sera cheered. "Here, let me give you a Helping Hand!"

Sera jumped up into the air, doing a flip before landing back on the ground, releasing a white wave of energy as her feet touched the ground. The glowing wave reached to her teammates, giving them some extra energy. With the power boost granted from Sera's Helping Hand move, Chiaki pounded the Nidoran with his paw. With the damage it had already taken from the Blast Seed in addition to the Pound attack, the Nidoran fainted.

"Yay! I did it!" Chiaki said, doing a little victory dance.

"Well done, Chiaki!" Sera commented, walking up to him. "And as we all gain more experience, we'll eventually learn to use even more attacks! Oh, and there are also other items besides the Blast Seed that we can use to give us an edge in battles!"

"Walk while you explain!" Azure said, bouncing past the two.

The four Pokémon continued walking through the dungeon, Sera and Blitz explaining various items that could aid in battle to Chiaki, and Azure gleefully sending the occasional wild Pokémon they came across flying with a strike from her tail. As they moved onto the fourth floor, they came across a female Nidoran. The female Nidoran looked a bit different from the males; it had fewer toxic spikes on its back, rounder ears and was blue instead of purple.

"Here I go!" Azure shouted, as she bounced right over to the Nidoran and gave the poison type the same treatment as the other Pokémon she had fought. However, after launching the poor poison type into the sky with her tail, Azure suddenly felt somewhat dizzy.

"Azure? Are you okay?" Chiaki asked, noticing that the Azurill seemed to be stumbling a bit.

"Anyone have a Pecha berry?" Azure asked, wincing in pain.

"Guess she forgot what we said about being careful when attacking a Nidoran physically," Blitz commented, while Sera looked through the bag. "If you're not careful, you might be in for a nasty surprise from the Nidoran's Poison Point."

"Luckily, there are items that can cure poisoning," Sera explained, pulling out a pink berry from her bag that they had also picked up on a previous floor. "Pecha berries cure poisoning, so they can be good to have with you!"

Sera used her tail to fling the berry over to Azure, who caught the berry in her mouth. Azure seemed to perk up a bit again once she had swallowed the sweet tasting berry.

"Higher ranked rescue teams might prefer to carry around Heal Seeds instead, since they work on more than just one thing," Blitz commented, taking some time to explain the various things wild Pokémon could inflict on them and which berries could cure them as they continued walking.

----

As they progressed through the fourth and fifth floors, Chiaki thought about the various things Sera and Blitz had been explaining to him so far, wondering if he would be able to remember it all. There was certainly a lot to keep in mind, and being on a rescue team probably wasn't as easy as it sounded, but Chiaki still wanted to be on a rescue team. In fact, seeing what it was really like, hearing about the things Sera and Blitz had to teach him was making him even more excited than he was to begin with.

"Hey, how am I doing so far?" Chiaki asked.

"You've been doing very well," Blitz responded, noticing a reddish bipedal cricket like Pokémon sleeping nearby, and pointing it out to Sera so they could make their way around it without necessarily having to wake it up.

"Yeah, you have!" Sera added, making sure to keep some distance between their group and the sleeping Kricketot as they moved along. Azure looked as if she wanted to march up to the Kricketot and challenge it to a fight, but managed to resist the urge to do so.

Chiaki smiled to himself as the four Pokémon quietly walked past the Kricketot so they could get to the stairs, the bug Pokémon staying asleep the whole time, its antennae occasionally knocking into each other, producing a xylophone-like sound. The four Pokémon soon reached the stairs, and moved onto the sixth floor of the dungeon.

"All right! We're getting near the end!" Sera said, happily wagging her tail. "That poor flying Pokémon won't have to wait for too much longer."

"I hope it's not too badly hurt…" Blitz commented, glancing around to see if he could figure out which way they would go next.

"Hey, Azure?" Chiaki looked over at the young Azurill that was happily bouncing along right behind him. "That Pokémon you saw, what did it look like?"

"Huh? Oh, I didn't get a very good look at it…" Azure tried to remember what she saw. "I think it might've been a dragon, but I don't know for sure."

"Ooh, a dragon?" Chiaki inquired, seeming to like the idea of the rescue team potentially saving a dragon type Pokémon.

"Well, it must've been a pretty big Pokémon since I was able to see it from that distance," Azure responded, still trying her best to remember the small glimpse she caught of the falling Pokémon. "Like I said, I don't know for sure."

"Hope it doesn't mind walking all the way back to town when we find it," Chiaki said, thinking for a moment. "Unless Sera brought another one of those blue things she used to teleport us out of that forest yesterday?"

"Oh, we don't need an Escape Orb this time around!" Sera chimed in. "We can just use our rescue team badge to teleport ourselves and the injured Pokémon out!"

"Really?" Chiaki asked. "How does it do that?"

"Magic," Sera responded, picking up some coins she found on the ground. "Rescue team badges contain a special kind of magic, that when we finish a mission, allows us to teleport right back to town!"

"Whoa! That is so cool!" Chiaki exclaimed.

"Oh, it's really nothing out of the ordinary," Sera responded. "All rescue teams have one of those, after all."

"Hey, are those blue orbs magical too?" Chiaki asked.

"Um… I'm not sure how those work, actually," Sera admitted.

"So, they might be magical?" Chiaki suggested.

"I don't see why not," Sera commented, shrugging slightly. "There's a lot of magic in this world."

The four Pokémon entered another room, in which there were three Nidoran, two of them male and one female. On second glance, they realized that one of the two males was asleep right in front of the stairs to the next floor.

"We have to fight more of these?" Azure seemed a bit annoyed, as she didn't want to risk being poisoned again. "Well, let's get it over with."

Azure took a few steps forward, keeping some distance between herself and one of the Nidoran. Her body tensed up a bit as she prepared to use an attack, but only a bit of foam came out of her mouth.

"Oh, come on!" Azure shouted as the foam just harmlessly dripped down from her mouth.

"What were you trying to do?" Chiaki asked, wiping the foam away from her mouth with the baggy skin on his arm, seeing as the Azurill species did not have hands until it evolved.

"I was wondering if I could use a Bubblebeam attack, but I guess I'm not strong enough to pull that off yet," Azure explained. "I should've just used Water Gun, or even a simple Bubble attack."

"Of course you'll figure it out!" Chiaki responded. "You certainly seem pretty strong!"

"Strength isn't everything," Blitz commented, as he dodged the attacks from the female Nidoran that was trying to strike him with her claws. "You also need to keep your head cool, and think before you act."

"Yeah," Sera responded, using Helping Hand to power up her teammates yet again. "And know when to use your items."

"I'll definitely keep that in mind!" Chiaki said as he used Pound on the male Nidoran, weakening it quite a bit, Azure proceeding to finish it off with another strike from her tail.

Blitz continued dodging the female Nidoran's Scratch attacks, ducking from the swipes of her claws and occasionally jumping back. He soon ended up standing against a tree, with the Nidoran smirking, believing she had the Shinx where she wanted him. She raised her paw to attack, only to receive a nasty surprise as Blitz caught her paw, holding it between his front paws and delivered an electric shock to the poison type, knocking her out.

"Two down, one more to go!" Azure shouted, glancing over at the male Nidoran that was still asleep near the stairs.

The four of them slowly approached the sleeping poison type. Sera almost felt bad about having to wake it up, seeing as the Nidoran seemed rather content. She wondered what the Nidoran was dreaming about. Her best guess was that it probably involved a giant pink gummi. After all, who hadn't had a dream like that? Sera was pretty certain each of her five older siblings had had a dream involving their favorite type of gummi at one point.

Sera led her team over to the Nidoran, the poison type slowly opening his red eyes as the rescue team got close. The Nidoran quickly got to his feet and prepared to fight, even if he was likely aware of it was going to be a one-sided one, seeing as there was only one of him against four of them. And it was indeed a one-sided fight, as it just took being tackled by Sera, followed by being zapped by Blitz to bring it down. The rescue team than moved onto the seventh floor, now only having to find one last set of stairs before they reached the end.

----

After a fairly uneventful floor of just wandering, fighting off a few Pokémon and finding some items that would likely not be of any use to them until later, the four Pokémon finally reached the end of the dungeon.

"I-Is someone there?" a voice called out.

As the rescue team quickly moved over to the injured Pokémon, they discovered that it wasn't a dragon that Azure had seen, but it could easily be mistaken for one at a distance. It was a large gray Pokémon, with big bat-like wings. The Aerodactyl raised his head, looking over the four small Pokémon that were approaching him.

"Did you come to rescue me?" the Aerodactyl asked, looking over at his injured right wing.

"Yeah," Sera responded, walking up to the Aerodactyl. "The Azurill here saw you fall out of the sky, so she asked us to go investigate!"

"Thank you…" the Aerodactyl responded, looking over at Azure. "I was practicing for the annual flying tournament on Wyvern Island, but something went horribly wrong…"

"Don't worry; I'm sure nurse Giselle can fix that wing for you!" Sera responded, trying to give the Aerodactyl a reassuring smile.

"Well, at least the tournament is still a few months away," the Aerodactyl glanced at his injured wing again. "Hopefully, I'll still have enough time to practice after my wing heals…"

"Then we better get out of this dungeon," Sera said, holding up the rescue badge. "The sooner we get you to Giselle, the better!"

Chiaki watched in awe as the rescue team badge began to glow with a golden light, and the wings on the sides of it began to flutter and lift itself up into the air above the five Pokémon. The golden light soon enveloped the five Pokémon, and before he knew it, they were back at the rescue team HQ. With its job done, the badge floated back down into Sera's paws. Chiaki found it pretty amazing to see this magic in action, even though it was probably a common sight to the rescue teams.

----

Once Sera came running into her office and explained what had happened, Giselle did not waste any time in heading outside to check on the Aerodactyl's wing. Blitz, Sera, Chiaki and Azure watched the Audino carefully examining the wing.

"My, you sure seem to have suffered a pretty nasty injury, Mr. Aeron," she commented.

"Will he be okay?" Azure asked, seeming a bit concerned about the Aerodactyl.

"Oh, don't worry," Giselle responded, smiling to the other Pokémon. "Just leave it to me, and that wing will eventually be as good as new!"

"Thanks, to all of you," Aeron the Aerodactyl responded, managing a smile despite still clearly being in a bit of a gray mood due to what had happened to his wing. "If there is anything I can ever do to repay you, let me know."

----

The four young Pokémon headed back into town, so Giselle could have some time alone to work on Aeron's wing. All four of them seemed pretty satisfied to know that they had managed to help someone, as well as getting to go on an adventure and see what being a rescue team is about in Azure and Chiaki's cases.

"Well, I better go now, my mother is probably waiting for me," Azure said, happily bouncing on top of her tail. "Thanks for taking me on an adventure!"

"You're welcome!" Sera responded. "Maybe we can do it again sometime?"

"Sure! I'll go on another adventure with you guys anytime!" Azure replied. "See you later!"

The remaining three Pokémon waved good-bye to Azure as she bounced away, before turning their attention to another matter at hand.

"So, do you still wish to join our rescue team, Chiaki?" Sera asked.

"Of course I do!" Chiaki responded. "Sure, there's a lot to remember about fighting and items and stuff, but it's all so awesome! I want to see more! I want to learn more! I want it all!"

"Okay then!" Sera said, giggling a little at Chiaki's enthusiasm. "Welcome to our rescue team!"

"Thanks!" Chiaki replied, grabbing one of Sera's forelegs and excitedly shaking it. "I promise I'll be the best teammate I can be!"

"I know you will," Sera responded, smiling at her new teammate.

"Yeah, you seem to be picking up on this pretty quickly," Blitz added. "Probably won't take long before you've learned everything you need to know."

Chiaki smiled, happy to be on a rescue team. He was happy to know that he would get to go on adventures, go on missions with Blitz and Sera and help Pokémon in need. Perhaps he would even discover who he was that way?

"Should we take Chiaki to see Stella now?" Blitz asked.

"Hmm… I don't know, it's nearly evening," Sera commented. "If I don't go home soon I'll be late for dinner."

"Oh, good point… We'll do it tomorrow, then?" Blitz suggested.

"Yeah, we'll do it tomorrow morning, before we head over to the HQ to find a new mission," Sera responded, nodding her head.

Chiaki was already excited about tomorrow. He would get to meet the town oracle, and go on his first mission as an official part of Sera and Blitz's rescue team. He looked forward to learning new things, helping other Pokémon and making new friends. He had no doubt that being on a rescue team was going to be a fun experience, and every day he would have a new adventure to look forward to.

----

End of chapter 3.

----

Ugliduck99
27th May 2012, 11:04 PM
Woooooop!!!!!!
LUV IT



Wob-wobbuffet!

DarkerShining
27th June 2012, 10:02 PM
And so, chapter 4 is finally ready. Took a while to get it done, and it's probably not perfect, but I guess it's good enough. Hope you guys like it.

Read, review and so on.

---

Chapter 4: Okay, I may not be the smartest claw, but I certainly know how to fight!

----

The sun was slowly going down, and it seemed like it was going to be a nice and quiet evening. Most of the rescue teams had returned from their missions by now, but a few were still not finished with today's work. Sting and his rescue team were on a mission to track down an outlaw that had stolen several expensive TMs, and it was only now that they were getting close to finishing the mission. They had done a lot of climbing and walking, and had finally reached the floor where the outlaw was supposed to be.

"Are you two doing okay?" Sting asked his two teammates, a pink Pokémon with an oval body and rabbit-like ears and a Pokémon resembling a polar bear with an icicle beard.

"No need to worry about us, Sting," the polar bear responded, the Beartic somewhat enviously glancing up at Sting's wings. "You're lucky you can fly, though…"

"I suppose we can think of this as exercise, though," the pink Pokémon commented, bouncing up the cliffs.

Sting, the Beartic and the Wigglytuff moved onto the tallest cliff in the area, and from there spotted something moving down below. It was a big bipedal Pokémon with yellow fur with black lines and patterns relating to electricity. It also had two long black tails with red tips, and was carrying a sack.

"That's the outlaw described in the mission!" Sting buzzed, and began flying down to the Electivire at a high speed.

"Sting, wait up!" the Beartic shouted, before looking over at the Wigglytuff. "How are we supposed to follow him?"

"We climb down," she replied, and carefully began making her away down.

"More climbing, of course," the Beartic responded, following the Wigglytuff's lead. "At least this isn't Mt. Frostbite, or we'd probably be hit by an avalanche..."

Sting flew towards the Electivire, preparing to strike him with the poison stingers on his arms. However, the Electivire managed to step to the side and avoid his attack, much to Sting's surprise. It didn't take long before Sting realized that it was probably the buzzing sound of his wings that had given him away.

"So… What do we have here?" the Electivire asked, smirking. "Some rescue team leader who came to arrest me?"

"You got that right!" Sting buzzed, pointing a stinger at the outlaw. "Return those TMs!"

"Oh, you mean these TMs?" the Electivire said, holding up the sack.

The Electivire put the sack containing the stolen TMs on the ground, and began walking towards Sting, who was still hovering in the air a short distance away and pointing a stinger at him.

"Yeah, that's not going to happen," the Electivire said, not seeming particularly concerned about the situation. "So, why don't you just buzz off so I don't have to beat you up? Or are you really going to fight me, insect?"

Sting prepared to strike at the Electivire with a Poison Jab attack, only to be electrocuted by the Electivire's wire-like tails before he could make his move. Sting fell to the ground, his wings twitching in pain. Sting's teammates saw this happen while they tried to make their way down to him.

"Oh no, Sting's in trouble!" the Beartic exclaimed. "What do we do, Melody? We've got to get down there fast! This guy is too tough for Sting alone!"

"Hang on, Frosty…" the Wigglytuff replied, having noticed one particular cliff above the two Pokémon that was fighting below them. "I think I have an idea!"

Melody quickly climbed down to said cliff, Frosty following her down to it. He cast a worried glance down at Sting, who was trying to get back up, while the outlaw was slowly approaching him with a sinister smile on his face.

"So, what's the plan?" Frosty asked.

"Well, first of all, you need to step back for a moment," Melody said, before taking a deep breath. She continued to inhale, her rubbery, flexible body expanding as it filled with air. She quickly grew bigger and rounder, her body taking on a more spherical shape.

As Melody finished inflating herself, Frosty noticed a flash of light from below and heard Sting buzzing in pain as the Electivire electrocuted him again.

"Frosty! Quick, give me a push!" Melody shouted.

Below, Sting was once again trying to get back up, but found that he was unable to move. Things weren't going well for him, but he had no intention of giving up.

"Surrender yet?" the Electivire asked, smirking at his opponent, who at this point seemed to be having difficulty fighting back.

"N-No…" Sting muttered. "Besides, even if… you do defeat me… Someone else will come after you and…"

Sting trailed off, as he noticed something above them. Before the Electivire had time to react, he was knocked into the ground as a certain inflated Wigglytuff hit him from above and knocked him down. Melody bounced back up a bit after the impact, before body slamming the Electivire again as he tried to get back up, the second impact knocking the Electivire out.

"You okay, Sting?" Melody asked as she rolled down from the now unconscious Electivire's back.

"I will be," Sting responded, seeming rather worn out and relieved that the battle was over. "Thanks, Melody. I owe you one."

"You're welcome!" Melody cheerfully responded, lightly bouncing a little. "Besides, no one treats my friends that way and gets away with it!"

Frosty finally made his way down to his teammates, and walked over to the sack containing the TMs and picked it up.

"We did it, guys!" he said as he held up the bag. "Now we can return these TMs to their rightful owners, and hand the bad guy over to the police!"

"Yeah," Sting responded as he tried to get back onto his feet. "Thanks to us, things will be a little safer now as there will be one less outlaw to worry about!"

"This was a tough mission, though," Melody commented while deflating her body back to its normal size.

"You got that right…" Frosty replied. "Will be nice to get back to town and get some sleep…"

"Well, let's head back then," Sting commented, as he pulled out their team's rescue team badge, the top half of his team's badge was gold-colored. "So, let's just deliver the things, pick up the reward and call it a day!"

The rescue team badge released its golden glow, enveloping Sting, his teammates and the outlaw and teleporting them out of the dungeon. And so another day of work was over for Sting and his teammates, and they could all head home for some rest. It was going to be a quiet and peaceful night for the Pokémon of Fenix Town.

----

After the night came another bright and sunny morning. A red and white bird was going around town, delivering mail to the Pokémon of Fenix Town. The Delibird kept the newspapers and letters he delivered inside his white sack-like tail, and he gladly delivered the mail every morning. While it was a lot of work to do, he got to meet a lot of Pokémon through his job. Plus, it made him feel kind of important, since newspapers, letters and the occasional rescue mission addressed to particular rescue teams wouldn't make it to recipients without him. That all made it worth it, he thought.

The Delibird pulled out a scroll with the list of deliveries he had to make today, and smiled to himself upon realizing he was already ahead of schedule. The Delibird walked down the path leading outside of town and to where Stella the Gothitelle lived. He walked up the stone building, and was about to put a newspaper down in front of their door, when Stella happened to poke her head out, having sensed his presence with her psychic powers.

"Ah, hello Santos," she said, smiling sweetly at the Delibird.

"Oh, good morning, Stella!" he responded, before noticing the Gothitelle was holding an envelope in her hand.

"I'm glad you showed up, as I just finished this letter for a certain friend of mine," she explained, handing Santos the envelope. "Can you deliver this to my friend in Silver Woods?"

"Sure! I'll add to my list and deliver it as soon as possible!" Santos replied, storing the letter inside his tail.

"Thank you so much," Stella responded. "I really appreciate it."

"Just doing my job!" he replied, saluting Stella before flying off. Shortly after he had left, Blitz, Sera and Chiaki walked up to Stella.

"Oh! Hello there!" Stella greeted them. "I had a feeling I would get visitors today, but I didn't know it would be you."

"It's nice to see you too, Stella!" Sera responded. "We're not just here to say hi, though. We kind of need your help with something."

"Oh? Well then, come in and let's talk," Stella responded, pulling the curtain aside with telekinesis and motioning for the three Pokémon to enter. Upon entering, the three of them noticed that Bow was standing in a corner, seeming to be deep in thought.

"What was that vision?" Bow muttered to herself, trying to remember a vision she had last night. The Gothorita was soon distracted from her thoughts as she noticed the visiting Pokémon. "Oh! Hey guys!"

"Hi Bow," Blitz said. "How are you?"

"Fine, I guess," Bow responded. "Had this vision last night, but I can't remember what it was… Hey, who's your new friend?"

"Oh, this is Chiaki," Blitz explained. "He's kind of the reason why we're here."

"Yeah, we found him in Meridian Forest a couple of days ago," Sera added. "He doesn't remember anything about who he is."

"Is that so?" Stella asked, watching Chiaki curiously.

"Uh-huh, and nurse Giselle tried to help, but couldn't, so we came to you!" Sera explained.

"I see…" Stella responded.

"Can you help us?" Blitz asked, looking up at the Gothitelle with his golden eyes.

"I'll see what I can do…" Stella said, leaning down and placing her hands on the sides of Chiaki's head. "Don't worry, this won't hurt at all."

Chiaki closed his eyes, and let Stella take a look into his mind. The white ribbon-like feelers on Stella's body began to glow as she established the psychic link between herself and Chiaki. She began examining the Mienfoo's mind, but couldn't find any traces of anything would suggest someone else had done something to his mind. His only memories were the ones from the last two days. However, there was one thing that caught Stella's attention.

"You said you found him in Meridian Forest, correct?" Stella asked.

"Yeah, that's right," Blitz responded.

"Hmm… This reminds me of a vision I had not long ago…" Stella said. "I don't know if there's any connection, but it might still be worth bringing up…"

"What kind of vision was it?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

"I saw a small Pokémon fleeing from another Pokémon," Stella said. "I think I saw the Axis Tower in the distance at one point during the vision, which suggests that those Pokémon were in the Meridian Forest."

"Really?" Blitz asked. "What kind of Pokémon?"

"Unfortunately, I couldn't see the two Pokémon clearly in my vision," Stella explained.

"Oh…" Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

"Hey, what if he's a human?" Bow suggested.

"What's a human?" Chiaki asked.

"Strange creatures that live in another dimension," Sera explained. "They've visited our world a few times, and apparently there are even some types of Pokémon that first came to this world by tagging along with some of those humans."

"Uh-huh! And there were also at least two instances where a human came to this world, and became a Pokémon and saved the world!" Bow added. "Both of those humans also lost their memories, so I thought it might be worth bringing up!"

"Well, that is a good theory, but I'm afraid there's no evidence to it," Stella replied. "If he were a human, those previous events suggest that he'd at least remember his name and that he was a former human, but Chiaki seems to have no such memories…"

"Oh, okay," Bow said. "Now where was I? Oh, right… Trying to remember that vision…"

"So, I guess you don't know anything else?" Sera asked.

"No, but I will try to get more answers for you," Stella said to the rescue team. "If I have any visions that might give us some more clues, I'll let you know."

"Thanks, Stella!" Sera responded.

"I knew we could count on you!" Blitz added.

----

After saying good-bye to Stella and Bow, the three Pokémon headed up to the rescue team HQ to find a new mission. As the three of them arrived, they noticed Sting and his rescue team looking up missions on the rescue board.

"Ooh, how about this mission over at the Boiling Alcove?" Melody suggested, pointing to a mission posted on the board.

"No way, that place is way too hot!" Frosty protested. "Don't you remember? The last time we were there, my epic icicle beard almost melted!"

"Hey guys!" Sera greeted the other rescue team.

"Oh, hello there, Sera," Sting responded.

"I see you're looking for missions too," Blitz commented. "What are you planning on doing?"

"We haven't decided yet," Melody responded. "We had a pretty tough mission yesterday, so we're definitely going to take on something a bit easier today."

"Oh, what kind of mission was it?" Chiaki asked.

"Had to track down this outlaw who stole a bunch of expensive TMs," Melody responded, reading another mission on the board. "He was pretty tough, and gave Sting some nasty electric shocks."

"Ooh, sounds kind of scary…" Blitz commented.

"But don't worry, we managed to beat him and get those TMs back!" Melody said with a smirk. "Body slamming that guy into the ground felt so good!"

"Ah, I think I found our mission for today!" Sting buzzed, pointing one of his stingers at a mission put up by an Ampharos that was asking someone to help her find her missing abacus. While Sting and his teammates read through the mission, Chiaki glanced over at the outlaw board.

"Hey, maybe we should try catching an outlaw too?" Chiaki suggested.

"Huh? Y-You're suggesting we go after an outlaw?" Blitz asked.

"Well, why not?" Chiaki asked. "It would probably be a good experience for me."

"But… You only just joined our team," Blitz said, nervously rubbing his forelegs together. "And Sera and I haven't actually taken any outlaw missions yet…"

"Oh, you haven't?" Chiaki inquired, tilting his head slightly. "Well, I suppose sometime has got to be the first, don't you think?"

"Yeah, he does have a point there," Sera responded.

"But… do you really think we're ready?" Blitz asked, clearly still nervous about it.

"Don't worry, Blitz!" Sera said, patting the Shinx on the back with her paw. "We'll choose some outlaw that doesn't look too tough for us to begin with. I'm sure there's at least one of these guys that we can easily take down."

"Well… Okay then…" Blitz reluctantly agreed.

"All right then! Let's find us an outlaw to catch!" Chiaki beamed, and so the three Pokémon moved over to the outlaw board.

They began reading through some of the missions, which included such missions as one from the local police force requesting assistance in catching a trio of kleptomaniac Ducklett, or a mission from a Kadabra asking for someone to go get his spoon back from a Murkrow. There was also another mission from the local police force promising a large bounty for an Emolga that had apparently stolen many unusual things, the list even claiming she had stolen the moon at some point.

"Whoa, how'd she steal the moon?" Chiaki asked, staring in awe.

"Don't you think they're just exaggerating a little…?" Blitz responded.

"Um… Excuse me?" a voice called out, the rescue team turning to see a certain blue rabbit-like Pokémon. "Oh! Aren't you the rescue team that took my daughter on an adventure yesterday?"

"Oh, you're Azure's mother!" Sera responded. "What brings you here?"

"Well, I was working in the café as usual, when I heard some noises from the kitchen," the Azumarill explained. "So, I went to investigate, and saw one of the cooks chasing a Deino that had managed to sneak in through the back."

"A Deino?" Sera asked.

"Yes, a Deino," the Azumarill responded. "I'm guessing he must've found his way in by following the scent of freshly baked cupcakes, and he managed to eat almost an entire tray of cupcakes before he was caught and ran off."

"I see," Sera responded.

"The impression I got is that he didn't mean to do anything bad, but he also didn't try hard enough to stop himself," the Azumarill said. "So, all I really need is someone to go after him and bring him back to me so I can have a little talk with him."

"We could do that!" Sera said, looking over at Chiaki and Blitz. "Right, guys?"

"I suppose…" Blitz responded. "It doesn't sound that difficult…"

"Cool!" Chiaki exclaimed. "Yesterday, we helped Azure with a mission, and today we're helping her mother with a mission!"

"Huh, you're right," Blitz pointed out. "What a strange coincidence…"

"Well, I better get back to the café, so I wish you luck in finding the Deino," the Azumarill commented. "Unfortunately, I don't know where he ran off to, so you may have to ask a few Pokémon around town if they've seen him."

----

After receiving their mission, the three began taking a walk around town, looking for Pokémon that might know something. They began by asking the Pokémon running the various services, and it turned out the Togetic running the daycare had caught a glimpse of the Deino running towards the path leading to the mystery dungeons closest to town, but he couldn't offer any directions beyond that. They headed down the path, hoping to run into someone who might have seen which dungeon the Deino went into. They soon came across a blue bipedal Pokémon with webbed hands and feet, and a pointy duck bill.

"Excuse me, sir?" Blitz asked. "Have you seen a Deino anywhere around here?"

"Quack?" The Golduck responded, tilting his head slightly.

"We're looking for a Deino that was apparently headed in this direction," Sera explained. "Did you by any chance see which dungeon he went into?"

"Quack!" the Golduck replied, nodding his head.

"Oh, you did?" Sera asked. "Well, where did he go?"

"Quack!" the Golduck responded.

"Um… What?" Sera asked.

"Quack!" the Golduck said yet again.

"Uh… Sorry, sir, but we don't understand your accent…" Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

"Quack?" the Golduck thoughtfully held a webbed hand to his chin for a moment, before having an idea and pointing a claw at Sera's bag. "Quack!"

"Huh?" Sera responded, before realizing what the Golduck was getting at. "Oh! I get it!"

Sera pulled out the map and rolled it out on the ground, the Golduck then pointing a claw at a cave marked as a mystery dungeon on the map.

"So, he went into the Granite Grotto?" Blitz inquired.

"Quack!" the Golduck responded, nodding his head.

"Okay, got it," Sera said, rolling the map up again. "Thanks for your help, mister Golduck."

"Quack!" the Golduck cheerfully responded, waving good-bye to the rescue team as they headed off for Granite Grotto.

----

At the entrance to the cave the three Pokémon took a quick look at the supplies they had brought along.

"Hmm… This should be enough, shouldn't it?" Sera asked.

"I suppose," Blitz responded. "We don't really have any items that can cure confusion, though. Since this is a cave, I'm guessing there will likely be Zubat inside…"

"Well, we'll probably be okay," Sera said, closing the lid. "After all, how hard can it be to dodge a few of their sound wave attacks?"

"Depends on the situation, I think…" Blitz commented as the three of them entered the cave.

The three of them found themselves on the first floor of the cave, Blitz deciding to provide them with some light inside the dark cave by making his fur glow. They began walking down the rocky path, the walls of the maze also pretty much just consisting of rocks.

"So… How many floors is this place, again?" Sera asked as she led her team into one of the rooms.

"Ten," Blitz responded. "How far in do you think the Deino went?"

"There's only one way to find out!" Chiaki shouted, picking up some coins from the ground.

"Yeah, let's keep going," Sera replied.

The three of them kept on moving, Blitz serving as their living flashlight and illuminating their path to the stairs. Moving onto the next floor, they found a few more useful items on the ground, and added them to their supplies, the three continued heading over to another room, only to come across two blue bats with pointy ears and no eyes.

"Of course there had to be Zubat," Sera commented.

"Shame my Flash attack won't work on these guys," Blitz commented. "I don't really feel like fighting them, but I guess we have to…"

"Well, let's just finish them off quickly so that it won't be a long fight, then!" Sera commented, using her Helping Hand attack to give Blitz and Chiaki a power boost.

"If only they'd come a little closer to the ground…" Blitz muttered while waving his electrified paw at one of the two bats flying just out of his reach.

"Do we have any Blast Seeds?" Chiaki asked. "I bet if we threw one of those at them, they'd come tumbling right down so we could hit them with an attack!"

"Ooh, good idea, Chiaki!" Sera responded, looking through the bag. "Except we don't have any Blast Seeds with us at the moment…"

One of the Zubat screeched and swooped down, preparing to sink its fangs into Chiaki. Chiaki quickly knocked the Zubat to the ground with his paw, and then placed one of his feet onto one of the dazed Zubat's long thin legs to hold it down.

"Guess we'll just have to do it like this, then!" Chiaki responded, knocking the Zubat out.

Following Chiaki's lead, Blitz waited for the other Zubat to swoop down, before knocking it out with his electrified paw. The three of them continued exploring, the rest of the second floor being mostly uneventful apart from finding a few items and fighting a couple of more Zubat. On the third floor, the three of them began talking about how they would handle the Deino.

"While he may not be that bad of a Pokémon, he'll probably get frightened and start up a fight with us anyways…" Blitz commented. "Do you think we can use any of the items we have with us to make things easier?"

"I suppose the Sleep Seed we picked up earlier can be helpful," Sera replied. "Hey, Blitz? Don't you like; know an attack that works pretty well against dragons?"

"Huh? You mean my Ice Fang attack?" Blitz asked.

"Yes! That's the one!" Sera responded. "If I remember correctly, you also know how to use Fire Fang, right?"

"Whoa! That sounds awesome!" Chiaki chimed in. "Could you show me those attacks sometime?"

"Um… I guess I could…" Blitz responded. "I don't like using them in battle, though..."

"Why not?" Chiaki asked.

"… I'd rather not talk about it, if that's okay with you," Blitz replied.

"Oh, that's okay!" Chiaki responded. "You can tell me about it later!"

Blitz sighed, not really having anything to comment on Chiaki's obliviousness. Chiaki clearly didn't understand that Blitz had no intention of revealing why he refused to use his Ice and Fire Fang attacks on other Pokémon. There was only one Pokémon in all of Fenix Town that knew, and that was Hercules, the Heracross running the local dojo. Blitz's mother had apparently known Hercules when she was younger, and had sent Hercules a letter explaining the events that had lead to her deciding to send him to Fenix Town to train with him.

"Ooh, there's the stairs!" Sera called out, bringing Blitz's attention back to the mission.

After getting to the stairs and moving onto the fourth floor, the three Pokémon came across another Pokémon resembling a rock with arms. While the Geodude was a bit difficult to take out without any attacks that were effective against rock types, the rescue team was at least glad to have some variety after all the Zubat. Of course, there were still plenty more Zubat to fight.

"Still no sign of that Deino…" Sera commented, looking around. "Did he manage to get all the way to the end of the dungeon?"

"He might have…" Blitz responded while hitting another Zubat with his electrified paw as it swooped down at them.

"Well, at least we're almost halfway through this dungeon!" Chiaki optimistically replied.

"Right, so let's just keep on moving!" Sera said.

The fifth and sixth floors went by, more items found, a few wild Pokémon fought and not much else happening. Sera continued to lead her teammates through the seventh floor, keeping an eye out for any other items that would be useful in a battle against an outlaw, even if they had probably already picked up enough items for the fight. Maybe she too was a little nervous about the upcoming fight? Not as much as Blitz was earlier that day, but maybe just a little? Well, even if a tiny bit nervous, she still felt fairly confident and didn't have any doubts that her team could handle this little mission.

As they entered another room, they noticed a yellow snake-like creature with tiny wings on its back and a drill-like tail sleeping in a corner. The rescue team quietly snuck past the sleeping Dunsparce without much difficulty, and after quickly checking the room for items, moved onto the next room where they found the stairs leading to the next floor. Upon walking up to the eighth floor, they came across a small round Pokémon with metal armor covering most of its body except for its dark gray underbelly.

"Huh, didn't know there were Aron in here," Sera commented, as the small steel type walked closer.

"I think they only appear on the seventh-to-ninth floors of this dungeon, but I could be wrong," Blitz responded, blue sparks of electricity rippling through his fur as he began charging electricity for his next attack. The electricity building up causing his fur to stand up, as his body's glow gained an electric bluish tint to it.

"Do I have any other attacks I can use?" Chiaki wondered out loud while looking at his paws. "Just using Pound gets kind of repetitive…"

"I wouldn't be surprised if you did know another move or two that could be used to give you an energy boost or something like that," Blitz responded while zapping the Aron with his paw now being charged with extra electricity.

"Well, how do I use it?" Chiaki asked.

"Um… I doubt it would be a move I can use, so you'll have to figure that out on your own," Blitz responded.

"Oh, okay! I'll see what I can do!" Chiaki replied, knocking out the Aron with his Pound attack.

They continued moving through the eighth floor, Chiaki occasionally stopping to see if he could figure out how to use another one of his attacks. However, his attempts, which mostly consisted of grunting and making silly poses, didn't really do anything at all. He wasn't really sure how he would know what he was supposed to do to use an attack. Hadn't Blitz said something about a place in town where rescue teams could train? Chiaki made a mental note to ask Blitz about that later as they headed towards the stairs.

They moved onto the ninth floor, and there was only one more set of stairs to find before they reached the end of the dungeon. The long walk through the dungeon had given the three of them plenty of time to mentally prepare themselves for the battle that was probably ahead of them, but were they really ready?

----

At the end of the mystery dungeon, a small blue skinned dragon with black fur concealing most of his face except his mouth was trying to find his way out. Unfortunately for the Deino, there was nothing but walls in the direction he had been trying to go. The dragon Pokémon kept pushing his head against a wall as he tried to walk on, but eventually figured he wasn't going to be able to get anywhere.

"Yep… This is definitely a dead end," the Deino said to himself.

The young dragon attempted to move in another direction, only to end up bumping into another wall. He tried to walk a bit further while pushing his head against the wall, but still no progress.

"Another one?" he muttered, tilting his head in confusion.

He kept pacing around the cave, continuing to bump into the rocky cave walls. He eventually realized that he wouldn't be finding an exit this way, and laid down on the cave floor, unsure what to do.

"I'm really lost, aren't I?" the Deino muttered. "Is this how it ends for me? Stuck in a cave, forever alone?"

The Deino moved his head around, thinking he faintly heard something. Unbeknownst to him, Sera and her rescue team had just made it to the last floor.

"Oh, there you are!" Sera said.

"Ah! Who's there?" the Deino exclaimed, startled at the sudden sound of another Pokémon's voice. "Are you a ghost? Please don't eat me…"

"Huh?" Sera said, tilting her head in confusion. "No, I'm not a ghost…"

"Are you sure?" the Deino asked.

"Of course I'm sure!" Sera responded, taking a step forward along with the rest of the rescue team. "I'm the leader of a rescue team, which River sent to find you!"

"River?" Chiaki inquired. "Oh, is that Azure's mother's name?"

"Yes, it is," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

"Huh?" the Deino responded, before realizing what was going on. "Oh! Is this because of the cupcakes? Are you here to punish me!?"

"Hey, relax," Sera said, trying to keep the dragon calm. "We just-"

"Don't hurt me!" the Deino shouted, spitting a purple fireball at the rescue team. The three Pokémon quickly leaped out of the way, Blitz accidentally intensifying the glow of his body for a moment. However, the Flash attack failed to affect the Deino in any way, seeing as the dragon did not have very well developed eyes under the black fur and therefore was blind in his current form.

"Looks like your Flash attack won't have any effect," Chiaki commented, stating the obvious.

"Hey, where are you?" the Deino asked, firing another Dragon Rage attack in their general direction. Blitz and Chiaki managed to dodge the attack again.

"Well, it looks like we do have to fight…" Blitz commented. "So, let's all try attacking from different angles!"

"Okay!" Sera responded, as the three of them began moving closer to the Deino.

"Which angles will you be attacking from?" the Deino asked.

"Why would we tell you that?" Chiaki asked, while Sera used Helping Hand to power up him and Blitz.

"I don't know…" the Deino responded, sniffing the air in an attempt to pick up on the three Pokémon's scent and figure out their current positions that way.

Sera ran past the Deino, her tail brushing against the little dragon. He tried to hit her with another Dragon Rage, only to be tackled from the side by Blitz. Even though the attacks hadn't done that much damage, the Deino knew he was in a tough spot. The young dragon type Pokémon took a deep breath, taking a moment to concentrate, even as Chiaki hit him with his Pound attack. The Deino took a moment to listen in order to get a better idea of his surroundings and where his opponents were.

"Okay, I may not be the smartest claw, but I certainly know how to fight!" the Deino shouted, before exhaling a Focus Energy-boosted Dragonbreath attack which managed to hit and instantly knock Blitz out, much to Sera and Chiaki's surprise. With Blitz knocked out, he could no longer provide the light for his team and the cave went dark.

"No, Blitz!" Sera shouted. "This is really bad!"

"Don't we have an item that could provide some light, or something?" Chiaki asked.

"No, we don't…" Sera responded, her ears drooping slightly.

"Oh, I actually hit one of them?" the Deino said, seeming surprised. "Cool."

The Deino fired another Dragon Rage, which Chiaki managed to avoid by jumping out of the way and letting the ball of purple fire hit a wall. The purple flare of the fireball suddenly gave Chiaki an idea.

"You missed me! Try again!" Chiaki shouted.

"Oh, okay…" the Deino fired another fireball in the direction of Chiaki's voice, but Chiaki managed to dodge the attack yet again.

"Keep trying!" Chiaki shouted.

The Deino kept firing more purple fireballs at Chiaki, who kept evading the attacks and then telling the Deino to try again. After a few moments, Sera realized what Chiaki was doing and what she was supposed to do while he kept the Deino distracted. During the brief purple flashes where it was possible for her to see her surroundings, Sera ran over to Blitz's unconscious form and gave him a Reviver Seed.

"Blitz, wake up!" Sera whispered to him, hoping the Deino wouldn't hear her and figure out that Chiaki was just distracting him. The Shinx slowly opened his golden eyes, groaning a bit.

"Ugh… I think he got that phrase wrong…" the dazed Shinx muttered. "It's "sharpest claw", not "smartest"…"

"Blitz, are you okay?" Sera asked, still whispering as to not draw the Deino's attention away from Chiaki. "Come on, we need some light…"

"Just a moment…" Blitz said, before closing his eyes and letting his fur shine again.

The Deino didn't realize that Blitz's glowing fur was now lighting up the cave again, and that the rescue team now had regained a bit of an advantage. Chiaki grinned as he saw that his plan had worked perfectly. He continued keeping up his distracting of the dragon type while giving Blitz and Sera some time to quietly plan out their next move. Sera pulled a small seed out from the bag, showing it to Blitz.

"If we can just fling this into the Deino's mouth, then the battle should end pretty quickly," Sera said.

"Agreed," Blitz responded. "We may need Chiaki for that, though."

Sera nodded and waved her paw for Chiaki to come over. Chiaki quietly moved over to his teammates, letting the Deino fire a few fireballs at a random cave wall for a few moments.

"Chiaki, do you think you can throw this Vile Seed into the Deino's mouth?" Sera asked.

"Sure! Just leave it to me!" Chiaki responded, taking the seed.

"Hey, where'd you go?" the Deino asked, realizing the voices weren't coming from the direction he had been randomly firing in.

"Oh, I'm over here! Just turn around!" Chiaki shouted while Blitz and Sera moved out of the way.

The Deino turned around, and now Chiaki just had to wait for the right moment. The Deino soon opened his mouth to inhale in preparation for another attack, and at that point Chiaki quickly flung the seed right into the Deino's open mouth.

"Urk!" the Deino accidentally swallowed the seed. "What just flew into my mouth?"

"Now, attack!" Sera shouted, as she ran towards the Deino and tackled him, followed by Blitz doing the same and then finally Chiaki running up and hitting the Deino with his paw.

The Deino was knocked onto his back, and he realized that their attacks were now doing more damage to him than they had done earlier in the fight. It took a few seconds to realize the seed he had swallowed had to have been a Vile Seed, which had lowered his defenses as low as they could go.

"Maybe you'd like to give up now?" Chiaki asked, giving the Deino a friendly smile, even though the dragon could not see him. "We'd be fine with that."

The Deino considered his options for a moment. He could keep fighting, seeing as even though they had an advantage now, he was still stronger than they were. However, then it occurred to him that if he did defeat the rescue team, then how would he get out of the cave? Would he be trapped there forever, alone and with nothing to eat but rocks?

"… Okay, I surrender," the Deino said, turning over onto his stomach and sadly laying his head down on the rocky cave floor. "I guess you can go ahead and take me to jail… It's nicer than being stuck in a cave with nothing but rocks, I suppose. It'll be an awkward conversation with my mother though, since she works there as a psychiatrist…"

"Hey, relax!" Sera said. "We're not going to arrest you!"

"Oh, you're not?" the Deino asked. "Thanks, that's really nice of you…"

"Of course, we're not going to just let you off the hook either," Sera commented. "You'll have to come with us, and have a talk with River."

"Yeah, I guess…" the Deino replied. "I did something wrong, and have to make up for it…"

"Why'd you do it in the first place?" Blitz asked.

"Oh, you see… There were these Pokémon who wanted to find this treasure, but couldn't because it was like, hidden and stuff," the Deino explained. "So, they asked me to help them sniff out the treasure, but I kind of got distracted and ended up getting all of us chased out of a cave by an angry Ursaring who thought we were trying to steal her supply of delicious honey."

"Oh… I'm guessing those Pokémon weren't too happy about that, huh?" Sera asked.

"You got that right…" the Deino replied. "They got mad and yelled at me for messing it up, and that made me feel bad… I tend to eat when I'm upset…"

"Oh, I see…" Sera said, comfortingly patting the Deino's back.

"Can we head back now? I'm tired of this cave…" the Deino commented. "There's nothing to eat in here but rocks, and I don't think rocks are good for me..."

"Okay then, let's head back!" Sera said, as the rescue team badge began hovering above them.

"Thanks for finding me, whoever you guys are," the Deino said, smiling at the three Pokémon. "My name's Frederick, by the way."

"Oh, you're welcome!" Sera responded. "My name is Sera, and I'm an Eevee! And my teammates are Blitz the Shinx and Chiaki the Mienfoo."

"It's nice to meet you!" Blitz said.

"What they said!" Chiaki added, shaking the Deino's paw.

"It's nice to meet you too!" Frederick cheerfully responded.

The floating rescue team badge soon released its magical golden light, teleporting the four Pokémon out of the dark cave.

----

In the meantime, at the café, River had just taken a few customers' orders, when Bow suddenly came running into the building.

"River!" the Gothorita shouted, leaning on the counter and taking a moment to catch her breath.

"What is it?" the Azumarill asked.

"I had a vision last night!" Bow explained. "I saw a Pokémon sneak into the back and steal some cupcakes, so I thought I'd come over here and warn you!"

"Oh, um… I appreciate the thought, but you're a bit late," River responded. "That's already happened."

"Oh…" Bow said, sighing. "I did all that running for nothing, huh? If only I'd remembered sooner…"

"It's okay, Bow," River said. "Sera and her teammates are already out dealing with it for me."

"Oh, okay…" the Gothorita responded. "Well, that was all I came for, so… guess I'll head back home now. Bye!"

And with that, Bow left the café. Only a few moments after the Gothorita left, Sera, her teammates and Frederick stepped through the door.

"We're back!" Sera announced as they entered the café.

"Oh, welcome back!" River greeted them. "I see your mission was a success."

"Uh-huh!" Sera replied. "We found Frederick and brought him back here, just like you asked!"

"Well done!" River said, before looking over at the Deino in question. "So, your name is Frederick, huh?"

"Yeah…" he responded, nodding his head slightly. "Sorry about eating those cupcakes… You're not going to send me to jail, are you?"

"Oh, of course not!" River replied, petting the Deino on the head. "However, we do need to sort out what to do now, since you do owe me a bit of money for those cupcakes."

"Oh! I could work here to work off the debt!" Frederick suggested.

"Ah, so we had the same idea," River commented. "So, I'm guessing that's okay with you?"

"Sure, and even if it weren't, my parents would probably tell me to do it anyways," Frederick replied. "Hey, if I do a good job, do I get free dessert?"

"Hmm… We'll see about that," River responded, giving a small chuckle.

"Hey, where's Azure?" Chiaki asked, having noticed that the Azurill wasn't there at the moment.

"Oh, she went to buy some White Gummis, after she realized how much money she had saved up from her allowance," River explained. "Oh, and speaking of money…"

River picked up a small bag and produced 300 coins from it. She then handed those coins to Sera, since she was the leader of the rescue team.

"Here's your reward for finishing my mission!" River said.

"Wow, thanks River!" Sera responded, happily wagging her tail.

"We'll try to spend it wisely," Blitz added.

"Hey… Our rescue team badge looks different!" Chiaki exclaimed, pointing to the rescue team badge. The top half of it had changed color, and was now bronze colored.

"Hey, you're right… It does look different!" Sera responded, her ears perking up. "Wow, does that mean what I think it does?"

"Yeah, with that last mission, we must've gotten enough experience to advance to Bronze rank!" Blitz said.

"Awesome!" Sera shouted out, happily wagging her tail.

"Sounds good, but what exactly does it mean for us?" Chiaki asked.

"It means we can do tougher missions now!" Sera said, smiling proudly. "Also, we'll get a bigger treasure bag!"

"Ooh! Let's go pick that up right now!" Chiaki shouted excitedly.

And so, after saying good-bye to River and Frederick, the three of them headed back to the rescue team HQ to pick up their new treasure bag. With their new rank, bigger challenges were sure to come their way soon.

----

End of chapter 4

----

Strawberryflavored
27th June 2012, 11:10 PM
That last chapter was pretty good, DS. I liked those WAAPT references with the outlaws.

DarkerShining
28th July 2012, 9:11 PM
It took a while, but I think chapter 5 is ready now. Hope you like it!

---

Chapter 5: Sand Attack has officially become a lot more complicated than it has any right to be.

----

The sun was slowly rising in the distance as a small Pokémon made her way to Fenix Town, wanting to get there early before anyone woke up. There was someone she had to find, and she was pretty certain she would find that Pokémon somewhere in this town. However, she was rather tired, and she hadn't gotten much sleep in the last few days. Since no one was awake yet, she figured it was probably best if she got some rest and begin looking for the Pokémon she was looking for later in the day when everyone was awake. Then she would have to try to figure out what exactly to do about the current situation.

She crawled into some bushes, figuring they would hide her from view so that no one would notice her and disturb her sleep. She had a lot to think about, but it could wait until she had gotten some rest.

----

Sera smiled as she polished the bronze colored top of the rescue badge with her paw, before putting it onto the bigger treasure bag they had traded in the old one for. She was feeling pretty confident, and couldn't wait to get another mission done. After eating breakfast with her family, she said good-bye and promised to be back in time for dinner, before heading out to find her teammates.

"Sera!" Chiaki's voice called out, and Sera smiled as she saw him and Blitz just ahead.

"Hey guys!" she responded, excitedly running up to them. "So, should we head straight to the HQ and find ourselves a mission? I'm ready for anything!"

"Actually, Blitz and I had a little talk, and we thought that maybe we should all head over to the dojo to train instead of going on a mission today!" Chiaki said in his usual cheerful voice.

"Huh?" Sera responded.

"Well, I wanted to learn some new attacks, so I asked Blitz if I might be able to learn some new things by training at the dojo," Chiaki explained. "And Blitz thought it was a good idea, and suggested that we all go!"

"Yeah, since we're a bronze rank team now, I figured it might be a good idea to train, you know, so we could be better prepared for tougher missions…" Blitz said, smiling sheepishly while rubbing his forelegs together. "I hope you don't mind."

"Oh! Of course I don't mind!" Sera responded, wagging her tail. "You're absolutely right; we should totally go do that!"

And so, the three Pokémon began quickly moving over to the dojo. Chiaki was getting really excited about seeing the dojo from the inside, and was curious as to what kind of training they could get there.

----

The rescue team entered the building, where they were greeted by a large bipedal dark blue beetle with a big horn. The Heracross smiled as he saw Blitz.

"Hey, Blitz! Good to see you!" Hercules said. "How are you today?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Blitz responded, seeming a bit relaxed than usual. "Our team is doing pretty well."

"That's good," Hercules responded, noticing Chiaki. "I see you have a new teammate as well?"

"Yeah, this is Chiaki," Blitz explained. "He joined our team a couple of days ago."

"Ah, I see," Hercules responded. "Nice to meet you, kid."

"It's nice to meet you too!" Chiaki replied, excitedly shaking one of Hercules' hands.

"Wow, you seem to have a lot of energy, don't you?" Hercules responded, before noticing the color of the rescue team badge on the treasure bag Sera was carrying. "Oh, I see you've gotten the Bronze rank! Congratulations!"

"Thanks!" Sera responded, happily wagging her tail. "We reached Bronze rank just yesterday, so we thought we should train so we can handle tougher missions and stuff!"

"Say no more," Hercules responded, gesturing for the three of them to follow him down some stairs. "This way."

The rescue team followed Hercules down the stone stairs, leading them to a large underground complex. There were multiple training exercises and obstacle courses set up within for the Pokémon who came there to train, focusing on different things that were important for rescue teams to be able to do. There were also several other Pokémon working at the dojo as Hercules' assistants, helping the Pokémon to train and watching over some of the training exercises.

"Cool…" Chiaki commented, looking around at the underground training facility.

"I know, right?" Blitz responded.

"So, where would you like to start?" Hercules asked.

"Huh? Oh, I'd like to learn how to use some more attacks, please!" Chiaki said. "Just using Pound all the time gets kind of boring."

"Ah, I see," Hercules replied. "I think Lotus can help you with that."

Hercules gestured for a small blue humanoid Pokémon with a white onion shaped head to come over to them, the Meditite quickly floating over to them.

"The Meditite species happen to be able to learn several attacks that Mienfoo can also learn, so she can probably help you figure out the technique for a few of your moves," Hercules explained.

"Neat," Chiaki commented, smiling at Lotus. "So, you'll teach me some moves?"

"Yes," Lotus responded. "So, let's just get started right away, shall we?"

"Sure!" Chiaki replied, following the Meditite to another part of the training facility.

"So, what should we do?" Sera asked.

"I guess it couldn't hurt for us to learn some new moves either," Blitz suggested. "I think I've finally grown strong enough to be able to properly learn the technique for Spark, so I'd like to work on that."

"Ah, well, we should do that, then," Hercules responded, before turning to Sera. "Which attacks do you know?"

"Oh! Well, I know Tackle, Tail Whip, Helping Hand and Sand Attack!" Sera responded. "The basic Eevee stuff, even if I never seem to actually hit anything with that last one, though."

"I see," Hercules responded. "Perhaps you should work on improving your technique for Sand Attack, then."

"Isn't it just kicking sand in someone's face?" Sera asked, tilting her head in confusion. "How can that possibly require much?"

"Even simple attacks can have their techniques modified to make them more effective and work better depending on the situation," Hercules explained. "Sometimes, one has to be creative and think of new ways to use one's attacks."

"Oh, so it's one of those thinking outside the box things?" Sera asked.

"Yeah, pretty much," Hercules responded. "I think Riley might be able to teach you something there."

Hercules gestured to a small blue furred bipedal jackal Pokémon that was currently talking to a small round owl like Pokémon that was keeping track of how much time it took the Pokémon training there to get through certain obstacle courses. The Riolu seemed to be pretty amazed by how well the owl was able to keep track of time like that, even though he knew the Hoothoot species was known for their great sense of time.

"Are you sure?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly. "Riolu can't learn Sand Attack, can they?"

"No, technically they can't," Hercules responded. "But that doesn't mean they can't help you improve on your Sand Attack technique."

"If you say so," Sera replied, walking over to the Riolu.

"Well, we should get started on your training as well," Hercules said to Blitz. "I think I know just the right training exercise for you to practice your Spark attack. So, just come with me."

----

Hercules lead Blitz over to what appeared to be a small running course with a small wooden target set up in the center. Near the start line was a chubby yellow Pokémon that seemed to be the one currently in charge of the course. The Makuhita seemed to be adjusting what appeared to be strange knot-like thing at the top of his head, when he noticed Hercules coming over.

"Oh, hey Hercules," the Makuhita said. "Are you taking over here for now?"

"Might as well," Hercules responded, with a friendly smile. "If you want to take a short break, feel free to do so."

"Thanks, Hercules," the Makuhita responded, smiling back.

While the Makuhita walked away to go take a short break from work, Hercules decided to go over the course with Blitz.

"So, as you can see, it's not really a difficult course," Hercules explained. "Some twists and turns, and a target at the end which you'll have to hit with Spark."

"I see," Blitz responded. "So, is there anything in particular I need to do to get the technique just right?"

"It doesn't have to be perfect, but for the best result there are indeed some things you should keep in mind," Hercules responded.

"Like what?" Blitz asked.

"Well, I think, for now at least, that you need to get the timing right on when you begin charging up the electricity before you tackle the opponent," Hercules explained. "You need to charge up the electricity while running towards the target, but try not to begin too soon or you might use up your energy faster, or too late and not charge up enough electricity to make the attack as effective as possible."

"Oh, I see," Blitz commented, while looking over at the course and trying to get a basic idea of how he'd have to go through it.

"Considering how your species builds up electricity through extending and contracting your muscles, I don't know if it would really be that much of a problem for you," Hercules commented. "But keep it in mind for now anyways."

"Okay," Blitz said, nodding his head.

"And when you get stronger, you'll be able to build up more electricity faster and keep the charge for longer," Hercules said, smiling at Blitz. "So, naturally it gets easier the stronger you get."

"Right," Blitz responded. "But even the strongest Pokémon aren't invincible, so you can't underestimate your opponent even if you do have the advantage."

"That's true," Hercules replied. "And it's good to see that you've been paying attention to what I have taught you in our previous training sessions."

Hercules called over a Hoothoot to assist as a living stopwatch for Blitz when he would make his way through the training course. The brown owl Pokémon flew over, before landing next to them, quickly hopping from one leg to the other.

"Well, let's get to it," Hercules said. "Begin on the Hoothoot's signal."

Blitz moved over to the start line, waiting for the Hoothoot to give the signal to start. The owl Pokémon continued tilting its head and rhythmically hopping from one leg to the other, before giving Blitz the signal to start running. Blitz quickly began making his way through the training course, slowly beginning to build up electricity as he reached the halfway point and increasing the charge as he kept getting closer to the target. He hit the wooden target with an electrified tackle, and heard the Hoothoot hooting to signaling for him to stop.

"How'd I do?" Blitz asked.

"Hmm… Not bad," Hercules said. "But, I know you can do even better. Want to give it another go?"

"Sure," Blitz responded, moving back to the start line and waiting for the Hoothoot's start signal again.

----

Meanwhile, Lotus was trying to teach Chiaki how to use Meditate, which was proving somewhat difficult as the young Mienfoo wouldn't stay still. Chiaki kept looking around at all the other obstacle courses and training exercises around them, curiously trying to get a closer look, only for Lotus to stop him and try to get him to sit down and meditate with her.

"Wow, look at all those Pokémon running around!" Chiaki said, pointing to one of the obstacle courses. "It looks like so much fun! Can we go train over there?"

"Right now, we are trying to teach you how to use a move known as Meditate," Lotus responded. "It will temporarily increase physical attack power slightly."

"Do we have to sit still, though?" Chiaki asked. "I want to run around!"

"It's not the time for that," Lotus responded. "Now, sit down, and do what I do."

"Oh, okay!" Chiaki responded, sitting down and assuming the same position as the Meditite. "Can we go run around after this?"

"You sure have a lot of energy, don't you?" Lotus commented dryly.

"Uh-huh!" Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

"Well, that's… cute, but right now focus on learning this new move, okay?" Lotus asked.

"You think I'm cute?" Chiaki asked, with his usual cheerful smile.

Lotus sighed and hit the palm of her hand against her forehead. It seemed like this could possibly take a while.

----

Sera looked at the sand pit in front of her, waiting for Riley the Riolu to tell her to begin. The small blue jackal-like Pokémon walked to the center of the sand pit, feeling the sand between his dark gray furred toes.

"Okay, show me what you've got," Riley said, assuming a battle position.

"Um… Okay…" Sera responded, moving onto the sand and getting into battle position as well. "Here I go!"

Sera attempted to kick some sand into Riley's face with her hind legs, but the sand failed to hit its target.

"Hmm… Not bad for a beginner, I suppose," Riley commented. "But, you'll have to do better than that."

"Isn't that why we're doing this, so I can do better?" Sera asked.

"Of course," Riley responded, smirking. "First of all, you need to use more force if you're going to kick the sand that way."

"Okay, anything else?" Sera asked.

"Well, there is something that is probably more important than that," Riley responded.

"Oh? And what's that?" Sera asked.

Without warning, Riley suddenly kicked some sand into Sera's face.

"Hey!" Sera exclaimed, while trying to get some of the sand out of her fur.

"The element of surprise," Riley commented, smirking.

"Very funny," Sera responded, wiping some sand off her face. "What else can you do? I was kind of expecting something… a bit more impressive, maybe?"

"Oh, well in that case…" Riley said, pressing the palms of his paws together and concentrating. A blue aura began emanating from his body, and soon started lifting some of the sand up into the air. A small whirlwind of sand began to take form, and soon began moving in Sera's direction.

"Uh-oh," Sera said, as she realized what was going to happen next. She managed to take a breath and close her eyes, just before the sand came crashing down on her, leaving only her ears sticking out from under a small pile of sand.

"Was that impressive enough for you?" Riley asked, while Sera just gave the Riolu an annoyed look from inside the pile of sand.

----

Blitz rushed at the target yet again, blue sparks of electricity rippling through his fur as he charged at the wooden target. He rammed into the target again, while Hercules and the Hoothoot looked on. After the Hoothoot gave the signal to stop, Hercules checked with the owl Pokémon on how Blitz had done this time.

"Well done, Blitz," Hercules said to him. "You managed to do it a lot faster this time."

"Thanks," Blitz responded, smiling at Hercules while trying to catch his breath.

"Guess you could use a short break, huh?" Hercules asked, petting Blitz on the head.

"Yeah, sure," Blitz responded, sitting down on the floor.

The Hoothoot decided to take a break as well, hopping away to another part of the dojo. Looking around to make sure no one else was within earshot, Hercules decided to take this opportunity to have a little conversation with Blitz.

"So, good to hear that things have been going well lately," Hercules said.

"Yeah, Chiaki may still be inexperienced, but he seems to be picking up on things fast," Blitz commented. "He's a good addition to the team, and the fact that we've advanced to Bronze Rank is pretty neat too."

"I see," Hercules responded, again taking a quick look around to make sure no one else was listening, since he knew Blitz didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone but him about this. "Have you received any news from Lightning Plateau recently?"

"Huh?" Blitz responded. "Why do you ask?"

"I'm just curious," Hercules replied.

"Oh, well… No, I haven't received any letters from home recently," Blitz responded. "I'm guessing that means nothing out of the ordinary has happened recently."

"Ah, I see," Hercules replied.

"So, I guess my mother is still waiting for my father to come home, while embarrassing Lita with her antics as usual…" Blitz commented.

Hercules nodded, to let Blitz know he was listening. Hercules knew that Blitz looked up to him, and so felt the need to be supportive and a good role model to the Shinx. Blitz would often come to the dojo, but sometimes would just be there to ask Hercules for advice and not really train. Blitz had had a pretty tough time after his father disappeared, and Hercules hoped he was doing a good enough job helping Blitz find the strength to stand on his own and trust his instincts.

"I think I'm ready to continue training," Blitz said, looking up at Hercules.

"Okay," Hercules said, getting another Hoothoot to come over to take the time. Blitz had been making progress fast, and Hercules was certain the young Shinx would probably have mastered the attack well enough by the end of the day.

----

Lotus smiled as she had finally gotten Chiaki to pay attention to her, and successfully taught the Mienfoo how to use his Meditate move. Since Chiaki had proven to be a pretty fast learned once he stopped being distracted by everything else, Lotus decided she could try to teach him another attack he would probably find useful.

"Okay, you seem to have gotten Meditate down, so now I'll teach you another attack," Lotus said.

"Do I get to run around?" Chiaki asked excitedly.

"… No," Lotus responded. "While this move will require some movement, it mostly relies on sharp senses."

"Oh," Chiaki said. "What is it?"

"Detect," Lotus responded. "It will allow you to foresee your opponents next move, so may quickly move out of the way to avoid being hit."

"Oh," Chiaki replied, tilting his head slightly. "But why can't I just avoid attacks by running around?"

Lotus hit the palm of her hand against her forehead once again. Hopefully this time it would be easier to get the Mienfoo to stop getting distracted and pay attention.

----

Sera was getting increasingly annoyed as each of her attempts to take the Riolu by surprised failed, and only got the sand thrown back at her.

"Sand Attack has officially become a lot more complicated than it has any right to be." Sera muttered to herself, while kicking the sand with her paw.

"So, have you at least learned something about the importance of the element of surprise?" Riley asked.

Sera looked up at him, before smirking and shaking the sand out of her fur so that it got all over Riley, finally succeeding in catching him off guard. Sera smirked and felt pretty satisfied with this.

"… I'll take that as a yes," Riley commented, while trying to wipe some sand off his face.

----

Hercules led Blitz over to another section of the dojo, where a blue otter-like Pokémon waited. The Dewott held up its two shells and assumed a battle pose.

"Now I'd like you to fight this Dewott here in a short practice battle," Hercules explained. "The purpose is to test your Spark attack in battle."

"Um… Okay," Blitz responded, getting into a battle position himself.

"You get to make the first move, so begin when you're ready," Hercules said.

Blitz still had plenty of energy left even after all the training he'd already done today, and blue sparks began rippling through his fur as he built up his electricity for the attack. Blitz then began charging at the Dewott, who swiftly knocked Blitz aside with his shells, but not without taking some damage from the electricity in the process. Blitz quickly got back up, and observed his opponent for a moment.

As far as Blitz could tell, this Dewott was stronger than him, but probably not as strong as Frederick was. Based on how the Dewott knocked him aside suggested that the otter Pokémon didn't know any good methods of blocking an electric attack, so it wouldn't be too difficult of a battle.

Blitz used Flash to make his body glow brightly enough to blind the Dewott for a moment, long enough for him to deliver an electrified tackle to it and knock it down.

"Well done," Hercules commented, smiling at Blitz. "I think you can continue working on improving the technique without my help from here."

"Thanks," Blitz responded, smiling back at the Heracross.

----

Lotus eventually got Chiaki to listen to her again, so she could teach him how to use Detect. He did listen to each of Lotus' instructions, even if he did interrupt her a few times to ask her some questions. She did her best to answer the questions, and eventually managed to explain all Chiaki needed to know about Detect.

Although, even though Chiaki did listen to and say he that he did understand everything, Lotus still wanted to make sure he would be able to use the attack.

"Okay, if you really understood everything, then I guess you won't mind using Detect right now to dodge one of my attacks?" Lotus asked, smirking slightly.

"Sounds like fun!" Chiaki said, with a cheerful smile.

"All right, then," Lotus responded. "I shall unleash my Hidden Power!"

Lotus calmly closed her eyes and pressed the palms of her hands together, while Chiaki tried to focus on foreseeing Lotus' attack as instructed. Lotus' body began shining with a green glow as she called upon the Hidden Power inside her, and soon orbs of green light imbued with grass type energy floated in circles around Lotus. Opening her eyes, Lotus sent the green orbs flying at Chiaki.

Chiaki's eyes glowed for a moment, before the Mienfoo jumped out of the way so that the attack missed him and only hit the floor.

"Excellent," Lotus said with a smile.

"Yay! I did it!" Chiaki said, cheerfully jumping up and down. "Thank you for teaching me those two moves, Lotus!"

"You're welcome," Lotus responded, smiling at the Mienfoo. "There's probably more I can teach you as well, if you're interested in training with me again sometime."

"Really?" Chiaki asked, seeming very excited at this offer. "There's more you can teach me?"

"Yes," Lotus responded. "However, promise me that if you do come back for more training, that you will pay attention right from the start, okay?"

"I promise!" Chiaki said, eagerly shaking Lotus' hand. "Thank you!"

"You're welcome," Lotus responded, smiling somewhat awkwardly as Chiaki continued shaking her hand. "... You can let go of my hand now."

----

Somehow, Sera's training session with Riley eventually degenerated into just playing around in the sand. At least the two of them seemed to have a lot of fun while running around and tackling each other into the sand.

----

As the day was nearing its end, Hercules congratulated Blitz, Chiaki and Sera on how well they did during their training sessions. The three thanked him and his assistants for their help, and said good-bye before heading back outside. The sun was starting to go down in the distance.

"So, now that we've got some new moves, I guess we're ready for our first mission as a Bronze rank team tomorrow?" Sera said, smiling confidently.

"Uh-huh!" Chiaki said, cheerfully nodding his head.

"I guess so," Blitz responded, before he suddenly noticed another Pokémon standing a short distance away, curiously looking their way. "Hey, who's that?"

Sera and Chiaki looked over at the other Pokémon in confusion; it was a small green humanoid Pokémon with a big head. It had two small green oval eyes and three differently colored fingers on each of its hands, one green, one yellow and one red. The Elgyem just curiously looked at the three Pokémon, not saying or doing anything. For some reason, it seemed particularly interested in Chiaki, staring at him for several seconds.

Chiaki wasn't sure why, but the way the little green Pokémon was looking at him suddenly made him feel... strange. Before Chiaki had a chance to say anything to it, though, the Elgyem turned around and floated away, taking one last look over its shoulder at Chiaki before leaving.

"… That was weird," Sera said.

"I don't think I've ever seen her around town before," Blitz commented. "At least I think it might be a "her"."

"How can you tell?" Sera asked, tilting her head.

"He's right, she's female…" Chiaki somewhat distractedly responded, nodding his head slightly.

"Are you okay, Chiaki?" Sera asked, noting that the Mienfoo seemed a bit zoned out.

"I… don't know," Chiaki replied, rubbing his head with a paw.

"Maybe you're just tired from all the training you did today," Sera said, patting the Mienfoo on the back with her paw.

"Yeah, let's go home and get some rest," Blitz said.

"Okay…" Chiaki responded, still seeming a bit confused.

After the usual good-byes and "see you tomorrows", Sera went home to her family, while Blitz and Chiaki headed back to their house. As they walked home, Chiaki couldn't get that Elgyem off his mind. Why was she looking at him like that earlier, and why did he feel so strange when she did it? Was there some sort of connection between them?

----

End of chapter 5.

----

Strawberryflavored
29th July 2012, 11:44 PM
That was pretty good. My only issue is that some sentences containing descriptions of the Pokemon end up being run ons. For example,

"Hercules gestured to a small blue furred bipedal jackal Pokémon that was currently talking to a small brown owl like Pokémon that was keeping track of how much time it took the Pokémon training there to get through certain obstacle courses."

This sentence could use commas between some of the descriptive words. It would also probably flow better if the sentence was split after the description of the Hoot Hoot.

Agent Tectonic
31st July 2012, 1:34 AM
I'll edit this post accordingly once I've read this chapter and write up my review for the previous chapters, but I did want to comment Strawberry above me:

The sentence in question is not actually a run-on; it is grammatically correct. However, I do agree that it is rather verbose for being only one sentence. Break it up a bit. Have one sentence describe the guy then have the follow-up describe what he/she is doing.

DarkerShining
31st July 2012, 5:53 PM
Yeah, I know some of my sentences tend to be a little longer than necessary. Don't worry, I am working on trying to get better at dividing up sentences a bit.

DarkerShining
5th September 2012, 1:50 PM
Well, this took quite a while to finish, but I think it's finally ready. I'll admit that it's probably not my best chapter, but it's not bad either. Probably because part of it is a bit different from what I've written so far. The next one will probably be closer to how I usually write the story, and so that will hopefully be a bit easier to write. Anyways, I hope you do enjoy this chapter.

---

Chapter 6: Have you and I met before?

---

It was another bright and sunny day in Fenix Town, and the rescue teams were already busy making their preparations for their missions today. Wade had already sold a lot of items today, and there were still plenty of rescue teams wanting to buy something from him. Too bad he just didn’t have enough items for everyone.

“Sorry ladies, but I’m all out of Reviver Seeds,” Wade the Lombre said apologetically to a green snake like Pokémon with leaves on her backside and a chinchilla like Pokémon with light gray fur.

“Oh, that’s too bad,” the Servine responded, while her Minccino teammate used her fluffy tail to clean some dust off the leaves on her leader's back.

“I’ll try to get more,” Wade said. “So, come back tomorrow, I might have some in stock then. No promises, though!”

“Okay, we’ll stop by again tomorrow,” the Servine said, before turning her attention to Vic. “By the way; we need something from you too.”

“Eh?” Vic responded, looking up from polishing an orb. “Oh, what do you need?”

“Well, we’re going on a rescue mission today, and we’d like some orbs that can change the weather,” the Servine said. “Some of the Pokémon in the dungeon we’re headed to can whip up some pretty nasty sandstorms, so we’d like something to counter that.”

“Ah, I see,” Vic responded. “Lucky for you, I happen to have several Sunny and Rainy Orbs in stock right now.”

“Excellent, we’ll take a few of each,” the Servine replied.

Sera and her teammates had overheard the conversation between the shopkeepers and the Servine and Minccino duo. Sera seemed a bit disappointed to hear that the Reviver Seeds were already sold out, but Chiaki assured her they would probably do just fine with what items they did currently have. The three decided to go check on some other things before heading to the rescue team HQ, when Chiaki suddenly noticed something and stopped in his tracks.

“Chiaki, what is it?” Blitz asked. “Is something wrong?”

“It’s her again!” Chiaki said, pointing to the Elgyem that they had met outside the dojo yesterday. The green little Pokémon seemed to be looking in Chiaki’s direction, before floating away.

“Strange,” Blitz commented. “Why does she seem so interested in Chiaki?”

“Maybe she has a crush on him?” Sera said teasingly, but Chiaki didn’t seem to notice.

“I don’t know…” Chiaki responded. “I have a strange feeling about this… I felt this way when she was looking at me yesterday too…”

“Maybe it has something to do with your memory loss?” Sera suggested. “I hear Elgyem can use their powers to mess with the memories of others!”

“Yikes!” Blitz responded. “Y-You really think that Elgyem might’ve done something to make Chiaki lose his memories?”

“No, I don’t think she did…” Chiaki replied, seeming to be in deep thought. “There’s something else, something I can’t quite place a paw on…”

“Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen you be this serious!” Sera said. “It’s kind of weird, actually.”

“So… Was there anything we needed to do before heading to the rescue team HQ?” Blitz asked.

“Hmm… I forgot,” Sera responded. “But hey, no reason we can’t do it after stopping by the HQ!”

The three of them began heading over to the rescue team HQ, but as he followed shortly behind his teammates, Chiaki just couldn’t stop thinking about that Elgyem. The way she looked at him with those small green eyes, before just leaving like that. What did it mean? What was it about the Elgyem that made him feel so strange? He closed his eyes halfway, staring down at the ground as he followed Blitz and Sera, still deep in thought about the Elgyem.

“Elina…” Chiaki muttered under his breath, before suddenly stopping again.

“Huh?” Sera said, before she and Blitz turned to see Chiaki. “What was that?”

“Elina…” Chiaki said again, having some sort of strange epiphany. “That’s her name! That Elgyem’s name is Elina!”

“Wait, what?” Sera responded. “How do you know that? She never told us her name.”

“I don’t know…” Chiaki replied. “It sort of just came to me…”

“Okay, this just keeps getting weirder,” Sera said. “Blitz, do you have any idea what’s going on?”

“Well… Maybe Chiaki knew her before he lost his memory?” Blitz suggested, while rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

“Whoa, you really think so?” Chiaki asked.

“I don’t know, but it might be possible,” Blitz responded. “And perhaps she had left such a strong impression, that your subconscious still somehow remembered her?”

“Whoa, maybe you’re right!” Chiaki replied. “I mean, it’s not like I didn’t exist or something before I lost my memory, so I guess I must’ve known some other Pokémon before.”

Chiaki seemed to be getting pretty excited at this possibility, starting to act a bit more like the energetic and curious Mienfoo he normally was.

“Maybe I did know her! And if I did, maybe she might be able to give me some answers?” Chiaki grinned and his eyes seemed to be sparkling with excitement. “Maybe she can help me find out who I am?”

“Maybe,” Sera responded, shrugging slightly. “Well, let’s get to the HQ and find ourselves a mission!”

---

Sera excitedly looked over the rescue team board, trying to decide on what mission they would take today. There still seemed to be plenty of missions available for rescue teams at their level of experience.

“So, what will be our first mission as a Bronze rank team?” Sera cheerfully asked as she looked over the board. “Help some Bidoof gather wood to repair their dam? Or head into the Thorny Hollow to save this Drifloon? Or how about searching for a Dragon Scale for some Seadra that wants to evolve?”

“That last one looks a bit difficult,” Blitz commented.

“Hmm, I guess,” Sera responded, before looking over at Chiaki, who didn’t really seem to be paying attention. “What do you think, Chiaki?”

“Huh?” Chiaki replied. “Oh, um… Actually, can you do this mission without me today?”

“What? You don’t want to come along?” Sera asked.

“I need to speak to Elina,” Chiaki responded. “So, you two can handle this on your own, right?”

“Well, I suppose that’s okay,” Blitz replied.

“Thanks!” Chiaki said, and ran off. “I’ll see you later!”

“… So, guess we’re on our own today,” Sera said, looking back up at the board. “So, Blitz? Did you have any opinions on which of these missions here we should take?”

---

Chiaki quickly ran back into the main part of the town, his excitement building as he thought about the possibility of Elina being able to answer some of his questions. It was strange, until now he hadn’t cared all that much for learning his true identity, but right at this moment it was the only thing he could really think about. That and barely avoiding running into annoyed Pokémon yelling at him to watch where he’s going.

Perhaps it would’ve been wise to slow down, at least that way it might be easier to avoid crashing into someone. However, Chiaki ended up running into someone before this even occurred to him.

“Oh, I’m so sorry…” Chiaki said as he dusted himself off, only to realize the Pokémon he’d just crashed into was none other than Elina! “Oh, it’s you!”

The Elgyem got back up, looking up at Chiaki while shyly backing away from the somewhat hyper Mienfoo.

“Hey, I need to talk to you!” Chiaki said, excitedly approaching the Elgyem, who kept moving backwards to keep some distance between herself and the Mienfoo. “You see, I’ve lost my memories, and I was wondering if you might…”

The Elgyem suddenly turned around and began quickly floating away from Chiaki, much to the Mienfoo’s confusion.

“Wait, where are you going?” Chiaki asked. “You didn’t even let me finish my question! Come back!”

The Elgyem glanced over her shoulder at the Mienfoo, but continued moving further away from him.

“Wait up!” Chiaki shouted, and began running after the Elgyem. “I just want to talk!”

The Elgyem seemed didn’t know how to deal with the situation and tried to get away, but Chiaki wasn’t going to just give up on getting some answers from her.

---

Mirage and her two teammates had just finished depositing the money they had earned from their missions the previous day into the bank, and were now having a talk amongst themselves, trying to decide on what they would do today.

“I hope all the high-profit missions haven’t been taken yet,” Mirage commented.

“The mushroom hopes we don’t have to deal with angry fire types this time,” Cordyceps commented, before briefly shooting a glance at their Magmar teammate.

“Hey! Why are you looking at me like that!?” the fire duck shouted, waving a clenched fist at her Parasect teammate.

“Well, no offense, Megara, but you are kind of hot headed at times,” Mirage commented.

Before Megara had a chance to respond to Mirage, a certain Elgyem suddenly floated right over them in a bit of a hurry, followed by a certain Mienfoo running after it, jumping off the mushroom on Cordyceps back in an attempt to catch up to her. Being suddenly jumped on like that caused the mushroom to involuntarily release a cloud of spores, causing Mirage and Megara to break into a coughing fit.

“Hey, come back!” Cordyceps shouted at Chiaki, angrily shaking one of his orange claws. “The mushroom is not a springboard!”

However, Chiaki was already out of the Parasect’s earshot, and continued chasing after Elina, hoping to get her to stop and listen to him. They continued running, suddenly coming across a line of Pokémon delivering wares to the café. Elina just floated right over them, while Chiaki attempted to follow by jumping over them. However, despite his best effort, one of his legs happened to hit the top of a bottle of milk on top of several other bottles being carried by a Carnivine.

The green hovering venus flytrap-like Pokémon attempted to grab the falling bottle with a vine, but failed and it shattered against the ground.

“Oh, no!” the Carnivine exclaimed as he looked down at the broken glass bottle and the small puddle of milk.

“Sorry!” Chiaki shouted back to the Carnivine as he continued his pursuit of Elina.

The Carnivine continued to stare at the small puddle for a moment, to which the Pokémon behind him in the line, a muscular humanoid Pokémon with purple skin, suddenly spoke up.

“Dude, just hurry up and get the rest of the bottles safely inside,” the Machoke said. “It was just one bottle, so don’t cry over spilled milk.”

“You just had to say it, didn’t you?” a brown bear Pokémon behind the Machoke in the line said.

“Well, I couldn’t just pass up the opportunity, could I?” the Machoke said with a smile.

“Yes, yes you could’ve,” the Ursaring responded.

While the Pokémon continued delivering their wares, Chiaki had in the meantime nearly caught up to Elina. He made another impressive jump into the air, and managed to grab the floating Elgyem.

“I’ve got you!” Chiaki said as he landed on his feet, while Elina tried to wriggle out of his grip as he pulled her down with him. “Hey, relax; there’s just something I’d like to know.”

However, Elina suddenly vanished in a burst of light, having teleported herself out of Chiaki’s arms, much to the Mienfoo’s confusion.

“Hey, where did you go?” Chiaki asked, looking around for her. “Come back!”

---

Chiaki went back to the main part of Fenix Town, and soon caught up with the little green alien-like Pokémon. The chase began once again, and Chiaki kept getting close to catching her. However, the alien decided to try a different strategy this time, by teleporting Chiaki away.

“Hey!” Chiaki shouted, as he suddenly found himself reappearing on a shelf containing the weather changing orbs Vic was selling.

“Huh?” Vic said upon hearing Chiaki’s voice, looking up at the shelf with the startled Mienfoo on it. “How’d you get up there?”

Chiaki quickly jumped down from the shelf so he could follow Elina before she got too far away, accidentally knocking over and activating a Rainy Orb in the process. Chiaki ran off as a rain cloud appeared above the shop and began raining on the two shopkeepers.

“Hey!” Vic shouted. “Get back here!”

“Relax, it’s just a little rain,” Wade responded. “I don’t think it’ll damage the merchandise.”

Vic gave the Lombre an annoyed look.

“Relax? When that weasel just used up one of my orbs without paying for it? I don’t think so!” Vic said, jumping over the counter. “You can handle the shop on your own for a few minutes, right?”

“Vic, you can’t just…” before Wade could even finish the sentence, the Nuzleaf had already run off in pursuit of Chiaki. “… Well, tomorrow’s newspaper headlines should be interesting.”

---

Chiaki continued running after Elina, before a certain Zoroark and her two teammates spotted him.

“You!” Cordyceps said, suddenly moving into Chiaki’s path, forcing him to stop in his tracks. “The mushroom demands an apology!”

“Why are you running around like a crazed Tauros, anyways?” Mirage asked, grabbing the Mienfoo by the back of his neck and lifting him up.

“Um… I…” Chiaki wasn’t entirely sure how to explain the situation, and looked around to realize he’d lost track of Elina, who had probably taken the opportunity to teleport herself away. Before he had time to think of anything else, he suddenly heard another voice getting closer.

“There you are!” Vic shouted, as he ran towards them. The Nuzleaf jumped at and attempted to grab the Mienfoo, but ended up missing and accidentally landing on Mirage’s face instead.

The Zoroark gave a startled yell before dropping Chiaki, who ran off as fast as he could. Mirage managed to shake Vic off while her confused teammates watched on, and before she had the chance to ask Vic about what he was doing and why he wasn’t at work, the Nuzleaf had already run off in pursuit of Chiaki, much to her annoyance.

“Okay, I don’t know what is going on here, but I am going to find out!” Mirage shouted, giving chase.

“You punish the shopkeeper; the mushroom will punish the weasel!” Cordyceps said, before joining his leader.

“Oh, boy…” Megara said, before chasing after her two teammates. “I bet we’ll be reading something about this in tomorrow’s newspaper...”

---

Over at the café, River was feeling a bit unnerved by a customer resembling a cross between a cactus and a scarecrow that had been standing at the counter for a while. He wasn’t saying or doing anything, just standing there and staring. At least there wasn’t a line of increasingly impatient Pokémon behind him or anything, but still.

“… Aren’t you going to order anything?” she asked. The Cacturne just continued to stare.

“Hey, mom!” Azure shouted out, while standing on Frederick’s head and looking out of a window. “You have got to see this!”

“What is it?” River asked, joining her daughter over at the window, while the Cacturne just continued to stare. “What is going on out there?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s looking pretty crazy!” the Azurill commented excitedly, watching Chiaki being chased by Vic, who in turn was being chased by Mirage and her teammates.

"A rescue team member being chased by an angry shopkeeper, being chased by another rescue team..." River said, watching the strange scene going on outside. "I'm guessing it all makes sense in context, somehow."

“Do we have any popcorn?” Frederick asked, trying not to move around too much so that Azure wouldn’t fall off his head. “Even though I can’t actually see what’s going on, it would be nice to have some popcorn.”

---

Chiaki continued to run, even though he wasn’t sure where to go, as he couldn’t see Elina anywhere. Before he could resume his search, he probably had to figure out how to get away from the Pokémon chasing after him. But where would he go? Everything was suddenly so chaotic.

“I hope Blitz and Sera have had better luck than me today…” Chiaki muttered to himself, before suddenly tripping on a rock and falling. “Ah!”

Unbeknownst to Chiaki, Elina was currently sitting on the roof of the rescue team HQ building, watching him. She wasn’t entirely sure about what to do. She looked down to see that Vic, Mirage, Cordyceps and Megara were getting close to reaching the Mienfoo on the ground as he tried to get back up. Elina wasn’t really intending to intervene, but she also knew that this mess was sort of her fault…

In only a matter of seconds, the little green Pokémon teleported down from the roof, grabbed the Mienfoo in a tight embrace, and teleported away with him before the four Pokémon could get to him, much to their confusion.

“Hey! Where’d he go?” Vic said, looking around.

“This displeases the mushroom!” Cordyceps commented.

“Can somebody just explain what the heck is going on!?” Mirage asked, rubbing her head. “I’m so confused!”

---

Elina and Chiaki reappeared in a quiet area outside of Fenix Town, where no one was likely to disturb them. Elina felt she needed some rest after using so much of her energy, and soon realized she was still embracing Chiaki, and the Mienfoo suddenly wrapped his arms around her and hugged back.

“Thanks, Elina,” he said as he hugged her. “I owe you one.”

He pulled back slightly from the hug, to see that the Elgyem was staring at him in confusion. Elina didn’t understand how the Mienfoo knew her name, and tried to express that by pointing to herself with one hand quizzically.

“How I know your name?” Chiaki asked. “It sort of just came to me, which is why I wanted to know if perhaps we knew each other, or something.”

Elina blinked a few times, before tilting her head slightly. Chiaki seemed a bit confused at her reaction.

“Yes, that is what I wanted to ask,” he said. “What did you think I was trying to say?”

The Elgyem awkwardly glanced at the ground for a moment, before briefly touching Chiaki’s head with her hand. Chiaki had to think for a moment before he realized what the Elgyem was trying to communicate to him.

“Oh! No, I wasn’t accusing you of anything!” Chiaki quickly clarified. “I didn’t think you had anything to do with my memory loss!”

Elina blinked, before pointing to herself again and shaking her head, before looking up at Chiaki quizzically again.

“Of course I didn’t,” Chiaki said, holding Elina’s hands and gazing into her eyes. “You don’t seem like the kind of Pokémon that would do such a thing at all!”

Elina felt flattered that Chiaki would think of highly of her, even though he didn’t actually know anything about her. Elina and Chiaki continued to gaze into each other’s eyes for a few moments, before Chiaki began talking again.

“So, can you give me any answers?” Chiaki asked. “Have you and I met before?”

Elina looked away for a moment, unsure how to respond to this. Chiaki sighed, and redirected her gaze back to him.

“Although… I guess it might be a little difficult for you to tell me anything about that,” Chiaki said. “I mean, I can make guesses about some of your questions and stuff, but this would be a little different, and I’m guessing you won’t be able to really explain this very well this way, am I right?”

Elina nodded her head slightly, gazing up at the slightly disappointed Mienfoo.

“I thought so…” he replied, before looking into her eyes again. “But, you do know me, right? You know who I really am?”

Elina thought about it for a moment, before nodding her head again.

“Well, then I guess for now, that’s good enough for me,” Chiaki said, smiling and giving the Elgyem another hug. “It’s good to meet a friend I had from before I lost my memory.”

Elina blinked for a moment, before returning the hug.

“Don’t worry, even if I don’t remember you, we’re still friends,” Chiaki said, patting the Elgyem on the back.

The two stayed that way for a moment, before pulling apart and wondering what to do next.

“… You think it’s safe to go back to town, yet?”

---

Blitz and Sera eventually returned from a successful mission, and picked up their reward from the rescue team HQ. The two were now looking for Chiaki, so they could tell him all about it. Sera was pretty proud of her and Blitz’s performance today.

“We sure did great today!” Sera said, happily wagging her tail. “Well, except when I got stuck in the Ariados web, twice. Thanks for getting me out of that, by the way.”

“You’re welcome,” Blitz responded. “At least there’s something I can use my Fire and Ice Fang attacks for, even if I don’t use them in battle.”

“Yeah,” Sera responded. “I bet Chiaki would’ve liked to see that.”

“Speaking of Chiaki, do you see him anywhere?” Blitz asked.

“Hmm… No,” Sera replied, looking around. “You’d think he would’ve shown up by now...”

“I’m over here!” Chiaki called, waving from behind his hiding spot in some bushes.

“Chiaki?” Sera said as she walked up to him. “Why are you hiding in a bush?”

“Is everything okay?” Blitz asked.

“Well, yeah,” Chiaki responded, crawling out from the bushes. “Except, I have a couple of Pokémon I need to apologize to, and you guys might have to help me pay Vic for an orb I accidentally used up.”

“… Chiaki, what exactly have you been doing all day?” Blitz asked.

“It’s a long story,” Chiaki replied, joining his two teammates as they were walking back to the main part of town. “You’ll probably be reading something about it in tomorrow’s newspaper.”

As the three walked off, Elina secretly watched from a distance. She thought about how this whole mess could’ve been avoided if she only knew how to properly use telepathy, so that she could’ve read Chiaki’s mind and known what he wanted to ask her instead of jumping to conclusions. However, at the same time, she was also a bit relieved that she couldn’t communicate that way yet, and so could keep the truth about Chiaki a secret for now.

She wasn’t sure how Chiaki would react, if he ever learned that truth…

---

In a forest near a large tower called the Axis Tower, there were several Pokémon gathering, all looking rather concerned.

“From the looks of your faces… I’m guessing you couldn’t find anything either?” a light purple weasel like Pokémon with long sleeve like fur on its arms asked the other Pokémon that had gathered.

“I’m afraid not,” a blue bird with white cloud-like wings responded.

“We can’t find them on our own!” a chandelier like Pokémon with purple flames said. “We have no choice but to inform everyone!”

“You’re right,” the weasel replied. “We need all the help we can get.”

The Mienshao looked around at the gathered Pokémon, who nodded in agreement. They decided to inform the Pokémon of Fenix Town tomorrow.

---

End of chapter 6.

---

Knightfall
6th September 2012, 1:48 AM
Why hello, I do believe I've found myself an excellent Mystery Dungeon story.

Anyways, I read this recently, and it is very, very good.
Characters, even the minor ones are well written and mostly fleshed out. Chiaki (loving the name), is my favorite character, his overall innocent personality and eagerness to learn, explore, and find out his past are just wonderfully portrayed in his dialogue and actions. Great job.

I love the way you've built the town and surrounding areas and dungeons, maybe I should take a few notes on that for my own story.

But what floors me the most if the surprising lack of proper reviews and comments this has gotten, there's simply no reason for it. There are no obvious grammar or spelling errors, the plot is interesting, and the characters are memorable, no reason for the dryspell of comments.

I don't see a PM list, but if you ever decide to create one, I'd like to reserve my spot on the top of it.

Wonderful story, I hope to see more soon. The only reason I can't leave a proper reivew is a crunch of time I'm currently experiancing, so I may be back with that one day.

Knightfall signing off ...;005;

Frost471
8th September 2012, 4:43 PM
If you are gonna start a PM list you should definitely put me on it as well. It's a pretty good story, to bad its getting so little attention

DarkerShining
9th September 2012, 6:03 PM
Thanks for your replies! I'm glad you enjoy the story. :)

Hmm, I hadn't thought of making a PM list. I guess I might consider making one in the future, if enough people are interested, or something.

SeekerofLight
16th September 2012, 7:44 PM
I've just read through your fanfic and it is amazing! The attention to detail and developement of characters is outstanding, I can't wait for the next part.
I'm in the process of writing my own Fanfic of Mystery Dungeon (one of the main reasons why I've signed up) and your work is just inspiring. My work feels inferior...
I would thouroughly enjoy writing a review for you.

Keep on Writing

Seekeroflight

P.S. I'd be happy to let anybody read my W.I.P fanfic if they wish.;255;;001;:495:

Chingchar
17th September 2012, 9:10 PM
Wow. Wow this is a very well written story and it keeps getting better with each chapter! The descriptions of the characters and the surroundings that they are in are very good thought it was clever how you got Lombre and Nuzleaf as the shopkeepers. Hope that the next chapter is as good as the rest. :)

DarkerShining
22nd September 2012, 3:50 PM
Wow, thanks for the positive replies! :)

So, glad you enjoy the story so far. Chapter 7 is ready, and I hope you will enjoy it.

---

Chapter 7: Do you think we can make a difference?

---

It was already morning, and Blitz was waiting for Chiaki to wake up. He was trying to be patient, knowing that the Mienfoo had used a lot of energy running around after Elina yesterday, but he also knew that Sera might already be waiting for them to show up at this point. It was a bit of a dilemma for the young Shinx, since he didn’t want to bother his sleeping teammate, yet also didn’t want to keep Sera waiting. He thought about it for a moment, before deciding it was better to wake Chiaki up now.

After all, if they waited too long, the shops would be sold out of the best items and most of the missions might already have been taken. Besides, Chiaki would probably not be too bothered being woken up now anyways.

“Hey, Chiaki?” Blitz said, carefully nudging the Mienfoo with his paw. “Wake up!”

“Hmm?” Chiaki opened his eyes slightly.

“You’ve kind of overslept a little…” Blitz said, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together. “Let’s hurry up and go meet with Sera, she’s probably waiting for us.”

“Oh, okay,” the Mienfoo said, rubbing his eyes.

---

As Blitz and Chiaki entered the main part of the town, they were surprised to find that a large crowd of Pokémon was gathered in the town plaza.

“Huh? What’s going on here?” Blitz asked, looking around. “It looks like every Pokémon in town is here…”

“Blitz, Chiaki! Over here!” Sera shouted, waving a paw at her teammates.

“Hi Sera!” Chiaki said, happily waving to her as he and Blitz approached.

“Do you know what’s going on here?” Blitz asked.

“No, not really,” Sera responded. “I think everyone is waiting for some kind of important news, or something.”

“Oh?” Blitz asked. “What could it be?”

“Wow, Fenix Town sure has a lot of Pokémon…” Chiaki commented, looking around at the many Pokémon in the crowd, trying to see if he could see anyone he recognized.

“You!” a certain Parasect’s voice called out. Cordyceps, Mirage and Megara walked over, Cordyceps angrily poking Chiaki in the chest with his orange claw as he spoke. “The mushroom is still waiting for an apology for yesterday!”

“Yeah, I’m really sorry about that…” Chiaki sheepishly responded. “I guess I got a bit carried away…”

“The mushroom accepts your apology,” Cordyceps replied. “Just don’t let it happen again.”

“You know, I still don’t quite understand what yesterday was about,” Mirage commented.

“Well, you see…” Chiaki was about to explain, when suddenly, a Mienshao stepped up to address the crowd of Pokémon.

“Hello, everyone,” the Mienshao said, clearing his throat. “You’re probably wondering why you’re all gathered here.”

There were a few murmurs from the crowd, the Pokémon were indeed wondering what was going on.

“Well… There’s a very serious situation on hand here, and at this point, we need all the help we can get,” the Mienshao explained.

“What is he talking about?” Megara asked.

“This doesn’t sound good…” Blitz commented.

“I guess I should just go ahead and say it…” the Mienshao said, taking a deep breath before continuing. “The Axis Tower crystals have been stolen.”

This statement seemed to be followed by a collective gasp from the crowd before the Pokémon began voicing their reactions to this unthinkable thing having happened.

“The crystals… were stolen?”

“It can’t be!”

“How is that even possible!?”

“The mushroom is appalled!”

“This is horrible!”

“What kind of Pokémon would be crazy enough to do such a thing!?”

“Everyone, calm down,” the Mienshao said, motioning with his arms for them to quiet down.

The Pokémon continued to speak amongst themselves for a few more seconds, before stopping and letting the Mienshao continue his explanation.

“We’re not quite sure how the thief was able to steal the crystals,” the Mienshao said. “It… did something that knocked all of us out, and when we regained consciousness, all eight crystals were gone!”

More gasps and worried mumbling from the crowd. Chiaki felt really confused since he had no idea what was so important about these crystals and why everyone was freaking out like this. He assumed it was probably something he would’ve known had it not been for his amnesia. He continued to look up at the Mienshao, who continued speaking to the crowd.

“We’ve tried to search for them on our own, but we haven’t had any luck,” the Mienshao explained. “That’s why we need everyone’s help now, to find the eight crystals and bring them back to Axis Tower!”

“Say no more,” Sting buzzed from within the crowd, flying up so that other Pokémon could see him. “The rescue teams of Fenix Town will do everything they can to find those crystals and ensure they are brought back to their rightful place!”

“Yeah!” Mirage spoke up, raising a paw. “We’ll definitely get those crystals back, and punish whoever thought it was okay to steal those things!”

More rescue teams joined in, shouting out how they would help search for and make sure the crystals were found as soon as possible. The Mienshao smiled at seeing how many rescue teams were promising to do their part to find the crystals.

“Thank you, everyone,” the Mienshao said. “If we all work together, there’s no doubt that the crystals will be found and safely returned to Axis Tower!”

The Pokémon in the crowd cheered, before the Mienshao and the other Axis Tower guards decided to take their leave, and let the Pokémon of Fenix Town return to their regular business, as well as begin the search for the missing crystals.

---

The Pokémon of Fenix Town returned to their regular business for the day, aside from the rescue teams beginning to attempt to plan out how they would search for the crystals. However, Chiaki still didn’t understand what was going on.

“So… Why are these crystals so important?” Chiaki asked.

“Oh, right,” Sera said, looking over at Chiaki. “You don’t know anything about this due to your memory loss, right?”

“Yeah…” Chiaki responded. “I have a feeling I should know this, though…”

“Well, its pretty common knowledge,” Mirage said, walking over along with Megara and Cordyceps. “The crystals serve a very important purpose.”

“Yes,” Sting buzzed, flying over to them along with his teammates, Melody and Frosty. “They help maintain the balance in this part of the world.”

“Maintain the balance?” Chiaki inquired. “What balance?”

“Well, you see, there are many, many worlds aside from this one,” Melody said. “And some believe that new worlds are always being created when certain things happen.”

“Oh, yeah, the elder of this ice Pokémon village where I grew up once told me something about that,” Frosty said. “She said that since so many universes exist, some of them were bound to be “incomplete” in some ways.”

“Incomplete?” Chiaki said, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, incomplete isn’t the right word, but…” Frosty said, stroking his icicle beard in thought.

“What he means is that in this world, the fabric of space has always been kind of… unstable,” Megara said. “And in order to correct that, the legendary Pokémon created special artifacts around the world, to keep things stable!”

“What are legendary Pokémon?” Chiaki asked.

“They’re powerful Pokémon that are responsible for watching over our world,” Sera said, wagging her tail. “Some watch over time and space, others have been said to have created continents, and there are several legendaries said to watch over the sea…”

“Different Pokémon tend to pray to legendaries that they feel closest to their hearts,” Blitz commented. “For example, back at my old home, the Luxray pride heard many tales of the legendary Pokémon Raikou, the legendary Pokémon of thunder.”

“At the village where I lived, we all listened to stories about the legendary Articuno,” Frosty said. “A majestic legendary ice bird that was said to appear to Pokémon lost in snowy mountains during blizzards.”

“I used to live in a volcano,” Megara spoke up. “For us, it was Entei, a legendary Pokémon believed to embody the passion of magma.”

“Cool…” Chiaki commented.

“It is said that Palkia, the legendary Pokémon in charge of the fabric of space created the crystals to keep space stable in this part of the world,” Mirage said. “It also made the Axis Tower, to keep the crystals safe.”

“Disciples of Palkia came to live in the tower, and keep the crystals safe,” Sting buzzed in. “Many of the current guards are likely descended from the original ones.”

“Okay… So, the crystals being taken away from the tower is a really bad thing,” Chiaki commented. “What exactly is going to happen?”

“We’re not sure,” Sting buzzed. “Normally, we only have to deal with minor distortions, in form of the constantly changing mystery dungeons, but who knows what will happen if the crystals are missing and the distortions start to get bigger…”

“Will we get more mystery dungeons, then?” Chiaki asked. “Or, will other places start behaving like a mystery dungeon?”

“Like Sting said, no one knows what might happen,” Mirage responded. “For all we know, things from other worlds might start leaking into our world, or something crazy like that.”

“Oh, I think Stella mentioned something about that,” Chiaki said. “She said something about creatures not native to our world coming here?”

“Yeah, some Pokémon were brought into this world along with human visitors, and stayed behind when the humans were returned home, or something,” Megara commented.

“The mushroom wonders how mushrooms in other worlds live their lives,” Cordyceps wondered.

“So, I guess what we do know is that anything might happen if the distortions grow too big and we don’t get those crystals back,” Melody commented.

“And to be on the safe side, we need to get them back as soon as possible,” Blitz said, while nervously rubbing his forelegs together.

“Yeah, we should probably get on that,” Mirage said.

“So should we,” Sting commented. “We’ll talk to you later, kids.”

And with that, Sting and Mirage went off along with their teammates to resume planning out the search for the eight missing crystals. The young rescue team was unsure what to do now.

“Are we going to help search for the crystals?” Chiaki asked.

“Well, we’re a rescue team, so I’m guessing we should help,” Sera responded.

“I doubt we’d really be able to do much help, with all those other more experienced rescue teams,” Blitz commented. “Still, I suppose we should do whatever we can…”

“Where do we begin, though?” Chiaki asked.

“I have no idea,” Sera responded.

“Me neither…” Blitz said. “Maybe we should just find ourselves a mission to do for now? Pokémon still need our help, even if searching for the crystals must also be a priority.”

“Good point,” Sera replied. “Let’s go find a mission!”

---

After stopping by the rescue team HQ and they picked up a mission put up by a Pokémon requesting someone to go into a river dungeon and retrieve an item. Said dungeon was known as the Tadpole River, named for the Poliwag and Tympole living in it. There were also other Pokémon living in it, but the two tadpole species were usually the most common sight within the dungeon.

“So, we need to go to the sixth floor, and retrieve a big apple for a Munchlax, right?” Sera asked. “That doesn’t seem too difficult.”

The rescue team began exploring the first floor, Blitz hoping that the water on the dungeon floor wouldn’t give him any difficulty with his electricity. The three explored as usual, picking up items and fighting wilds while trying to find the stairs leading to the next floor. However, due to the current situation, the mood wasn’t quite the same as usual.

Mystery dungeons were connected to distortions in space, and if the crystals weren’t found, what would become of them? Chiaki couldn’t help but worry about the mystery dungeons, and especially what would happen to the wild Pokémon living in them. Blitz and Sera were worried too. Not knowing what would happen, or what to do about it…

But as worrying as the situation was, they had to keep going on as usual. Like Blitz had said, the situation didn’t change that Pokémon were still in need of help from rescue teams. Even if finding the crystals was important, they couldn’t leave other missions alone.

“Do you think we can make a difference?” Chiaki asked. “I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could help find those missing crystals?”

“It certainly would,” Sera responded. “If I could do something like that, then there’s no way others wouldn’t take me seriously.”

“Still, there will be plenty of experienced, high-ranked teams out searching,” Blitz commented. “Even with us helping out, we’d have to be very lucky to even find any clues as to where they might be.”

“Oh, don’t say that,” Sera responded. “Every little bit counts. And we have just as much of a chance at finding something about it as anyone else, don’t we?”

“I guess…” Blitz replied.

The three moved on the next floor, where they fought some blue Pokémon with a black and white spiral pattern on their bellies and a white tadpole tail. The Poliwag went down easily to Blitz’s Spark attack, even if he still felt a little uncertain about using it in an area like this.

Chiaki found himself enjoying the feeling of the cool river water on his feet as they continued making their way through the dungeon. He glanced around at the deeper parts of the river, wondering just how deep it was. Could one bathe in it? Or would the wilds not like that? And how come none of the items seemed to be in those deeper parts of the water, unless a water type living in the dungeon had dropped it when being knocked out?

Chiaki continued following his teammates onto the next floor, deciding it was best to focus on the mission for now instead of being distracted by such random things.

“I wonder why the Munchlax wanted us to retrieve a Big Apple from this particular dungeon,” Chiaki wondered out loud. “I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense to search in a forest, or something?”

“Good question,” Blitz commented. “But like with so many other strange missions I’ve seen, I guess we’re just supposed to do it and not question it.”

“Also, why is he so sure we’ll find one on the sixth floor?” Chiaki asked. “Isn’t that kind of suspicious?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded.

“And why didn’t he just buy a big apple?” Chiaki wondered. “Didn’t he have enough money? Or did Wade not have any in stock?”

“Hey, quiet,” Sera said, pointing a paw at a blue amphibian Pokémon with no arms and two pinkish gray antennas on the sides of its oval head that was sleeping next to the stairs leading to the next floor.

“Huh, a Wooper,” Blitz commented. “Since those are part ground type, my electricity won’t be very useful…”

“Hmm… Maybe we don’t have to fight it,” Sera whispered. “I think there’s plenty of room for us to just sneak around it, and quickly make it up the stairs before it can wake up and attack us.”

The three tried not to make much noise as they moved towards the stairs, which was a bit more complicated than usual due to the watery floor. However, the Wooper didn’t seem to hear them, giggling a bit in its sleep and mumbling something about bubbles. The rescue team managed to quietly move up the stairs, without waking up the Wooper. As they moved onto the next floor, Chiaki suddenly stepped on something, causing some chestnuts to fall on him.

“Ow!” Chiaki shouted, the spiky shells of the chest nuts being particularly pleasant.

“Huh, didn’t know there were traps in this dungeon,” Blitz commented.

“Oh?” Chiaki asked.

“Yeah, some dungeons tend to have traps randomly appear in them,” Sera responded.

“What kind of traps?” Chiaki asked.

“Well, there’s a lot of different ones,” Blitz replied. “That chestnut trap you triggered is one of the most harmless ones.”

“It is?” Chiaki commented, dusting himself off.

“Yeah,” Sera commented. “I hear there are some pretty annoying traps, like one that confuses or puts you to sleep for a little while.”

“There are also traps that explode when you step on them, or causes some of the food you have with you to go bad,” Blitz added. “Or one that poisons you, or prevents you from using one of your attacks…”

“I hear there’s even a trap that turns items laying on the ground into Pokémon!” Sera said. “Isn’t that like, the strangest thing ever?”

“Wow, really?” Chiaki asked. “How is something like that even possible?”

“Who knows?” Sera said, as she continued walking. “It’s a weird trap.”

The rescue team continued moving on, exploring until they finally reached the sixth floor, where there was supposed to be a big apple lying around somewhere. Chiaki still wondered how the Munchlax could’ve been so sure that it would be on this particular floor on this particular dungeon, but figured it was best not to dwell on it too much.

“So, where is the apple?” Chiaki asked.

“Well, not in this part of the floor,” Sera said. “Guess we better keep looking around for it.”

The three moved down another path, moving on to another room. They picked up some coins, but there was no big apple in sight. They continued exploring the rest of the floor, but even after they had checked every part of the floor, they still couldn’t find the big apple that was apparently supposed to be there, much to their confusion.

“Where is it?” Chiaki asked. “This is the sixth floor, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” Sera said.

“Then why isn’t it here?” Chiaki asked. “Did the Munchlax get it wrong, or something?”

“Maybe a wild took it?” Blitz suggested. “They do sometimes pick up items lying around.”

“Oh, good point,” Sera responded. “So, if we just find the wild that took it, and knock it out, we can get the big apple!”

“How do we know which wild took it, though?” Chiaki asked.

“Well, I’m guessing it was that Tympole over there,” Blitz said, pointing a paw to another tadpole-like Pokémon that was carrying a big apple in its mouth. The tadpole, which unlike Poliwag did not have legs, was swimming some distance away in the deeper parts of the water.

“Oh, that makes sense,” Chiaki commented.

“So, what are we waiting for?” Sera asked. “Let’s take that apple from it!”

The three Pokémon chased after the small tadpole Pokémon with the two bumps on the sides of its face, the tadpole moving away from the rescue team since they could not reach it. Normally, Pokémon tended to just approach the rescue teams, but this situation was slightly different as the Tympole was moving on a part of the dungeon that the rescue team couldn’t reach due to the water being too deep.

“Okay, we should probably make sure Blitz is the one to fight this thing when we get close enough,” Sera commented. “His Spark attack should make quick work of it.”

“Good thing Tympole don’t gain the ground type as a second type before they evolve,” Blitz said.

They continued following the Tympole, waiting until the Tympole was close enough to make their move. However, Blitz suddenly noticed a slight flaw in the plan.

“Hold on,” Blitz said. “If we attack now, the apple might fall into the deeper parts of the water that we can’t reach!”

“Oh,” Sera responded. “Well, that would suck.”

“Why don’t we just do this?” Chiaki said, grabbing the Tympole and lifting it out the water.

The Tympole seemed very surprised and confused at suddenly being picked up like that.

“Do you mind if I take this?” Chiaki asked, taking the apple from the Tympole’s mouth.

The Tympole gave Chiaki an annoyed look, and spit out a stream of bubbles at him to get him to let go of him. Chiaki didn’t take much damage from the attack, but was certainly startled and dropped both the apple and the Tympole on the wet floor. The Tympole turned its attention to Blitz and Sera, watching them and waiting for them to make their move.

“Hungry?” Sera asked, using her tail to pick up a seed from the treasure bag. “Try eating this!”

Sera flung the seed at the Tympole, and the tadpole Pokémon caught the seed in its mouth, only to immediately be teleported away to another part of the dungeon.

“Whoa, that was cool!” Chiaki said. “What kind of seed was that?”

“It’s a Warp seed,” Sera responded, wagging her tail happily. “Can be used to teleport yourself or your opponent to another part of the dungeon at random.”

Blitz picked up the big apple lying on the ground, and handed it to Sera. Sera carefully dried it off with her paw before putting it into the treasure bag.

“Mission complete, I guess,” Sera said, watching the rescue team badge flutter into the air and hover above them. “Well, let’s not keep that Munchlax waiting any longer! Let’s go deliver that big apple!”

And so, the magical golden light spread from the badge, and the three Pokémon were sent back to Fenix Town.

---

The rescue team returned to the rescue team HQ, where they delivered the big apple to the Munchlax. They rewarded with a few items, which could probably be useful later. Afterwards, the three Pokémon began walking back into town, where they came across a certain Gothorita.

“Hi!” Bow said, waving to the rescue team.

“Oh, hello there, Bow!” Sera responded. “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” Bow said. “I just went to the shop to see if they had a certain TM I wanted, but they didn’t have it in stock.”

“What TM?” Chiaki asked.

“Oh, um… What was it again?” Bow asked, putting her hand to her cheek thoughtfully as she tried to remember. “Oh, right! Shadow Ball!”

“Ooh, my big sisters say that’s a pretty good move,” Sera commented.

“I guess I can go see if they have it tomorrow,” Bow said, only to frown as something occurred to her. “But knowing me, I’ll probably forget to check…”

“We could check it out for you!” Chiaki said.

“You will?” Bow asked, smiling at the Mienfoo.

“Sure!” Chiaki responded, smiling back.

“Oh, that’s so nice of you!” Bow replied.

“Hey, no problem,” Sera said. “It won’t take us too long to check the shop for the Shadow Ball TM, and then stop by your house to tell you if they have it or not.”

“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, then!” Bow said, and began walking away, only to stop and turn around as she remembered something. “Oh, I almost forgot!”

“What is it?” Blitz asked.

“I had a vision a few days ago in which Chiaki met this mysterious Elgyem,” Bow replied. “I get the impression she might know something about you, so when you meet this Elgyem, you should ask her if she might be able to help you solve the mystery about your memory loss!”

“Uh… Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind…” Chiaki responded, as Bow happily skipped back home.

“Didn't that already happen yesterday?” Sera asked.

“She seemed to be in a good mood,” Chiaki commented, smiling to Sera. “I didn’t want to risk ruining it.”

“Hello,” a certain voice buzzed, the rescue team turned to see Sting and his teammates come over.

“Any luck finding anything about the crystals?” Blitz asked.

“I’m afraid not,” Sting responded. “We did eventually handle some rescue missions, but we didn’t learn anything regarding the crystals.”

“Doesn’t look like anyone else did either,” Mirage commented as she and her teammates walked over to the other two rescue teams.

“Maybe we’ll have better luck tomorrow?” Melody said. “After all, if all the rescue teams keep working hard, we’re bound to learn something about the crystals eventually! Just like that Mienshao said!”
“The mushroom agrees with Melody,” Cordyceps replied. “Surely we will solve the mystery behind those missing crystals!”

“I know we will!” Chiaki joined in. “There’s no doubt about it!”

“Now, that’s the right attitude!” Mirage said. “But for now, let’s call it a day and get some rest.”

“Yeah,” Sting responded. “We’ll need our energy for continuing our search tomorrow!”

And so, the rescue teams went home to rest up, so they could be ready for tomorrow. Even though they were worried and didn’t know what would happen, they decided to hope for the best.

---

Bow was lying in her bed, a big purple pillow filled with fluff shed from Whimsicott. She looked up at the stars from the hole in the ceiling, smiling at the stars sparkling in the sky.

“The stars sure are beautiful tonight,” Bow commented.

Stella however, didn’t seem to hear her daughter. She was currently floating a few feet off the floor, the white ribbon-like feelers and her eyes glowing as she gazed up at the stars. She was currently having a vision, and was trying to understand what exactly she was seeing in it.

“Roots… are spreading fast…” she muttered. “That plant… isn’t native to the forest… Where did it come from?”

---

End of chapter 7.

---

SeekerofLight
24th September 2012, 7:39 PM
Wow! Excellent Story!

I love how each character has personalities and backstories that work wonders. Description is brilliant and I just can't wait for the next Chapter!

DarkerShining
6th October 2012, 8:57 PM
Thanks for your response. :)

Anyways, chapter 8 is done. I really enjoyed writing this one, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

---

Chapter 8: And remember, this is just a hypothetical question.

---

The night seemed almost longer than usual, at least for the rescue teams just waiting for the morning to come so they could go out and search for the crystals. Chiaki was having a dream, in which he was exploring the Meridian Forest at night. As he continued running past several trees that looked a lot alike, he suddenly spotted a tower in the distance. Deciding to get a closer look, Chiaki began running towards it. However, no matter how much he ran, he didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the tower.

“Huh, that’s strange…” Chiaki commented, as he realized this.

He looked at the tower in the distance, and tried taking a few steps backwards. However, he didn’t seem to be getting any further away from the tower either, much to his confusion. He kept walking backwards for a few more moments, before bumping into something fuzzy behind him. Chiaki nervously looked over his shoulder, to see a large brown bear with a yellow ring on its chest.

“Oh, you startled me…” Chiaki said, turning around and taking a few steps back.

As Chiaki put some distance between him and the Ursaring, he soon noticed that there was something very wrong with the bear Pokémon. The Ursaring seemed to be breathing heavily, and its eyes seemed to be glowing with yellow light.

“What is going on?” Chiaki muttered, nervously backing away from the Ursaring.

Suddenly, the Ursaring gave a terrifying roar, as if it was crying out in pain. Chiaki quickly began running away as the bear Pokémon clutched its head, the Ursaring’s roars echoing through the forest. Chiaki continued running until he could no longer hear the roars, taking a moment to stop and catch his breath. He soon realized he wasn’t safe yet, as he heard growls from somewhere near him.

Looking around, he soon spotted a pack of gray and black wolf-like Pokémon emerging from shadows. The pack of Mightyena had the same glowing eyes as the Ursaring, and they seemed to be foaming at the mouth as they continued growling. Chiaki quickly started running again, figuring it was best to get as far away from them as possible. However, the forest around him was starting to get distorted and seemed to be rearranging itself around him.

“What’s happening?” Chiaki muttered under his breath as he stopped running for a moment to look at the forest changing itself around him.

It looked like the trees were getting twisted, bending and changing sizes. Some parts of the ground appeared to be floating in mid-air, and some parts of the area seemed to be flickering in and out of existence at random. Chiaki looked around nervously at the strange surroundings, half-expecting the sky to fall down any moment. The sky seemed mostly unchanged, until a sudden gust of wind blew all the stars away.

While watching the stars being carried off by the wind, Chiaki suddenly heard a hiss and turned to see several beige cats with purple ears seeming to be emerging from the trees, literally walking through them as if they weren’t even there. The Delcatty also had the same glowing eyes and seemed to be in the same feral state as the Ursaring and the Mightyena.

“Okay…” Chiaki said, taking a few steps back. “Can this get any stranger?”

As if on cue, a pair of gray tentacles emerged from the ground and wrapped themselves around Chiaki’s leg, that particular part of the grass feeling like it had been replaced with water despite it looking exactly the same as the rest of the grass. Chiaki struggled to free himself as the feral Delcatty began slowly moving closer to him while hissing and glaring at him. Chiaki knew there was no way he could handle this on his own, he needed help.

“I need my friends, but where are they?” Chiaki asked himself, the tentacles holding him turning out to belong to a blue jellyfish-like Pokémon with something resembling red gems on its bell.

As Chiaki continued trying to free himself from the Tentacool, he suddenly heard an evil laughter from somewhere above him. He looked up to see what appeared to be a bird-like Pokémon composed of an orb like body with fork-like wings, talons and a fork-like tail, held up by strings that seemed to be just hanging down from the sky…

---

“Chiaki, wake up!” Blitz said, shaking Chiaki’s arm with his paw.

Chiaki opened his eyes, looking up at his concerned friend. Chiaki realized he must’ve been tossing and turning in his sleep, waking up Blitz.

“Oh, hey Blitz…” Chiaki mumbled, rubbing his head.

“You okay?” Blitz asked. “It sounded like you were having a bad dream.”

“Yeah…” Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly. “It was crazy… There was like, never ending forest, demonic Delcatty and this flying… thing that was laughing at me!”

“Well, it was just a dream,” Blitz said, comfortingly rubbing Chiaki’s back with his paw, careful not to accidentally zap him with his electricity in the process. “Try to go back to sleep now.”

“Okay,” Chiaki responded. “Sorry if I woke you up.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Blitz replied, curling back up onto his bed and going back to sleep.

Chiaki lay back down on his bed, thinking about that crazy nightmare he had. He figured it was probably just concern about what might happen if those crystals weren’t found and returned. Hopefully someone would be able to find them soon…

---

The next morning, Chiaki and Blitz went into town and met with Sera, noticing several rescue teams standing about discussing the current situation with the missing crystals. It didn’t seem like anyone had been able to find anything, but they were going to continue searching until they did.

“Looks like other rescue teams have the searching covered,” Sera commented. “So, anything we should do before stopping by the HQ to find a mission?”

“We promised Bow we’d check if Vic had any Shadow Ball TMs in stock, didn’t we?” Blitz asked.

“Oh, right,” Sera replied. “So, we’ll stop by the shop first.”

They walked up to the shop, and asked Vic about the TM.

“A Shadow Ball TM? Let me check…” Vic quickly looked over the TMs he had in stock. “… Nope, don’t have any in stock.”

“Oh, okay,” Sera replied.

“Anything else interest you?” Vic asked.

“No, we’re good,” Sera responded. “Thanks, anyways!”

And so, the rescue team decided to head over to Stella’s house, to let Bow know that there were no Shadow Ball TMs for sale at the shop today.

---

The three Pokémon walked up to Stella’s house. Sera peeked in through the door, looking around for Bow. The Gothorita was wandering around the room holding a notebook in her hand; she seemed to be looking for something.

“Hmm… I can’t find it…” Bow muttered, before noticing Sera and her teammates at the door. “Oh! Hey guys!”

“Hi Bow!” Sera replied.

“Hey, could you guys help me out? I can’t find my notebook, and…” before Bow could finish her sentence, she looked down at her hand and realized what she had been carrying the whole time. “… Never mind, I found it!”

“That’s great!” Chiaki responded, giving the Gothorita a friendly smile.

“Hey, Bow?” Blitz said. “We stopped by the shop to see if they had any Shadow Ball TMs in stock today, just like we said we would yesterday.”

“Thanks!” Bow responded. “Did they have any?”

“… No,” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Oh,” Bow said, shrugging her shoulders. “Well, I suppose it can wait.”

Suddenly, Stella came walking down the stairs, yawning and looking like she had just woken up. She rubbed her eyes for a moment, before noticing the visitors.

“Oh, hello there,” Stella said. “Didn’t realize it was already this late… I was up for longer than I had intended last night, because I had a vision I just had to try to understand.”

“What kind of vision?” Chiaki asked.

“Well…” Stella said, rubbing her eyes. “I think I know where one of the eight missing crystals is.”

“You do!?” the rescue team exclaimed in unison.

“Yes,” Stella responded. “The vision revealed to me the current location of it.”

“So, where is it?” Sera asked.

“It is hidden somewhere in the Harmony Forest,” Stella replied, looking a bit concerned. “However… There was something else in the vision that concerns me…”

“Oh?” Blitz inquired.

“A strange plant… One not native to the forest…” Stella explained. “I wonder if there might be a connection between it and the crystal…”

“Hmm, we’d better tell the other rescue teams about this,” Blitz commented.

“Yeah, I guess we should get going,” Sera responded. “Bye!”

“Bye-bye!” Bow said, waving good-bye to the rescue team as they left the house.

---

Blitz, Sera and Chiaki began walking up to the rescue team HQ; however, on the way there Sera suddenly stopped walking. Blitz and Chiaki stopped too, wondering what the young Eevee had in mind.

“Aren’t you coming with us, Sera?” Chiaki asked.

“I was just thinking…” Sera responded, a slight smirk on her face. “Should we really tell the other rescue teams about this?”

“Huh?” Blitz replied. “But, everyone’s looking for the crystals! We have to tell them!”

“I suppose that would be the right thing to do,” Sera commented. “But you have to admit, this is one heck of an opportunity for us.”

“What are you talking about?” Blitz asked.

“Don’t you see it?” Sera responded. “If we get that crystal back ourselves, there’s no doubt we’d earn some serious respect from the other rescue teams!”

“Get it back ourselves?” Blitz asked. “I don’t know… Sounds risky…”

“Oh, don’t be like that!” Sera said, wagging her tail. “I’m pretty sure rescue teams at our level can handle Harmony Forest.”

“What’s the Harmony Forest?” Chiaki spoke up.

“Oh, it’s a forest where the Pokémon live in harmony,” Sera responded.

Chiaki wasn’t really sure how to respond to that.

“What if the other Pokémon get mad that we kept the information from them?” Blitz asked.

“As long as one of the crystals is brought back, does it really matter?” Sera responded.

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together. “I still think it’s a bad idea to do this on our own.”

“Blitz, other Pokémon would be more likely to take me seriously if we did this!” Sera responded.

“Isn’t that kind of… selfish?” Blitz responded, looking down nervously.

“You think I’m selfish!?” Sera exclaimed, her ears folding back in shock.

“Well, um…” Blitz wasn’t sure what to say.

“Besides, it’s not like you and Chiaki wouldn’t benefit from it,” Sera added. “Not to mention that the crystal would be brought back. Is that really so selfish!?”

“Um…” Blitz began to nervously back away from Sera, worried he had made her mad. Worried that a fight was about to break out between his teammates, Chiaki decided to intervene.

“Don’t fight!” Chiaki shouted, causing them to stop and turn their attention to him. “Please, don’t fight each other! You two are so great together!”

“Huh!?” Blitz and Sera exclaimed in unison, staring at the Mienfoo.

“You’re such a great team,” Chiaki said. “You shouldn’t be fighting.”

“Oh, right,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “Teammates…”

“Yeah…” Sera replied, glancing around. “I totally knew that was what he meant.”

“So… How about we forget this for now, and go find a mission?” Chiaki suggested.

“… Sure,” Sera responded. “Let’s go.”

---

The three Pokémon went up to the rescue team HQ, and found themselves a mission to search for a Starly that had gone off to explore the Granite Grotto by herself. The mission request that had been put up by the Starly’s father, making Blitz wonder why the Staraptor hadn’t just gone off to search for his daughter himself. Regardless, the rescue team went into the Granite Grotto to find the missing bird Pokémon. However, despite Chiaki’s suggestion that they stop worrying about it for now, they couldn’t help but spend most of the mission thinking about what to with the knowledge about the location of one of the missing crystals.

“So… What will it be?” Sera asked. “Tell the other rescue teams, or keep it to ourselves?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded, keeping his gaze on the cave floor.

“What about you, Chiaki?” Sera asked. “What do you think we should do?”

“Well, both of you have really good points,” Chiaki said, not wanting to take sides. “Blitz has a good point about telling the other rescue teams probably being the right thing to do, but Sera also has a good point about this being a great opportunity for us.”

The rescue team continued exploring the dungeon, unable to figure out how to make their choice. They eventually came across the Starly, finding her repeatedly pecking a very annoyed wild Aron. They teleported out of the dungeon with her and returned her to her father. After receiving their reward, the three of them headed outside, still thinking about the crystal that only they knew the whereabouts of.

“Okay… How about this,” Sera said. “We’ll think about this until tomorrow, and make our decision on what we’ll do then, okay?”

“Okay…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Fine with me,” Chiaki replied.

“All right…” Sera said. “I’m heading home now. See you guys tomorrow.”

“Bye Sera,” Blitz and Chiaki said, waving good-bye to their teammate as she walked home.

“So… What should we do now?” Chiaki asked. “Head home, or do you want to go hang out somewhere?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded. “I think I’ll head down to the dojo and do some training.”

“You’re going to go train now?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Yeah…” Blitz said. “I’ll meet you back home when I’m done, okay?”

“Okay, I guess…” Chiaki responded as Blitz walked over to the dojo. “… Guess I’m on my own. What do I do now?”

Chiaki decided to head over to the café, and maybe get something to drink. On the way there, he happened to come across a certain Elgyem.

“Oh, hi Elina,” Chiaki said, smiling at the green Pokémon.

Elina waved her hand in response, her different colored fingers flashing for a moment.

“Hey, do you want to go to the café with me?” Chiaki asked. “I kind of need someone to talk to, and you do seem like someone who is good at keeping secrets…”

---

While Sera was eating dinner, she kept thinking about the crystal that only she and her teammates knew the whereabouts of. She glanced up at her five older siblings and their parents, who were also eating their dinner. Her father, a yellow fox-like Pokémon with green leaf-like ears and a leaf-like tail was talking to Sera’s oldest sister, a purple cat like Pokémon with a tail that had a forked tip. Sera’s other older sister, a blue quadruped Pokémon with a mermaid like tail and three blue fins on her head seemed to be jealous of the attention her older sister was getting, and kept trying to get her parents to focus on her instead.

One of Sera’s brothers, a dark furred Pokémon with red eyes kept skeptically looking at some of the berries on his plate. His mother, another fox-like Pokémon with light blue fur looked over at him.

“Don’t be so skeptical,” she said. “Those berries are full of vitamins, they’re good for you.”

“I don’t know, they're green and green berries are usually kind of bitter...” the Umbreon responded.

"They're not that bad," the Leafeon father said to his son. "You can't say you don't like them if you haven't even tasted them, you know."

“You’re the second oldest of your siblings,” the Glaceon mother said. “You should be setting a good example for them.”

“Yeah,” one of Sera’s other brothers, a yellow dog-like Pokémon with spiky fur responded with a mouthful of berries. “Set a good example by eating food you don’t like!”

“Volt, don’t talk with your mouth full like that,” the Glaceon said to her Jolteon son. “And don’t eat so fast. I know you have a high metabolism, but at least take the time to finish chewing before you swallow.”

Sera wondered if she should ask any of her siblings or her parents for advice on figuring out whether her rescue team should find the crystal themselves, or inform the other rescue teams and let someone else handle it. Of course, she didn’t want to tell them exactly what she was considering doing, as that way they’d tell her she was too young to do so for sure. She hated being told she was too young to do anything.

“Just because I’m the youngest it doesn’t mean I can’t have any good ideas…” she muttered to herself. “If only they would realize that and start taking me seriously…”

“Hey, it’s not like our parents don’t take the time to listen to you,” one of Sera’s brothers, a red furred fox-like Pokémon with a yellow fluffy tail said to her, having been just quietly eating his dinner until now. “At least you’re not completely invisible.”

“Volt, paws off the table,” the Glaceon mother said to her youngest son, the Jolteon sighing in annoyance.

“You say that like being invisible is a bad thing,” Volt commented in response to his Flareon brother.

“Hey, guys?” Sera said, looking to her Flareon and Jolteon brothers. “Say you came across this great opportunity, but there might be other Pokémon that should know about it and regardless of whether you do it yourself or leave it to someone else, everyone would benefit from it…”

“… What is this about?” the Flareon asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, it’s just a hypothetical question,” Sera said, hoping to keep her brother from getting suspicious. “That’s all, really.”

“Is it?” the Flareon responded, not entirely convinced.

“Yes, that is all it is,” Sera replied, nodding her head. “So, what would you do, hypothetically?”

“Is “hypothetical” another word you got Amethyst to teach you so you could sound smarter?” Volt asked, smirking at his younger sister.

“I didn’t ask you!” Sera responded, giving Volt an annoyed look.

“I know smart words too!” the Vaporeon chimed in. “Like sesquipedalian!”

“No one cares, Sirena,” Volt responded. “Besides, I bet you don’t even know what that word means.”

“Volt, don’t bother your sisters,” the Glaceon said, much to the Jolteon’s annoyance.

So, what would you do?” Sera asked her Flareon brother. “And remember, this is just a hypothetical question.”

“Very well,” the Flareon responded, deciding to just go along with it. “But I’m afraid I can’t really answer that.”

“Oh,” Sera replied.

“The only advice I can really give you is to do whatever you feel is the best option,” the Flareon said, smiling to his little sister. “I believe in you.”

“Thanks, Flare,” Sera replied, smiling back. “At least you take me seriously.”

“You’re welcome,” Flare responded.

Sera continued eating her dinner, feeling a bit more confident knowing that she had her brother’s support. She just hoped it would make the decision easier to take when she had to bring it up to her teammates tomorrow…

---

Blitz was making his way through one of the obstacle courses in the dojo while Hercules looked on. While Blitz was doing okay on the obstacle course, Hercules couldn’t help but notice that the young Shinx seemed to have something on his mind. As Blitz finished the course, Hercules walked over to him.

“Not bad,” Hercules said. “But I noticed your aim was a bit off at a few points.”

“Oh,” Blitz responded, sitting down and taking a moment to catch his breath.

“Is something bothering you?” Hercules asked, petting the Shinx on the head.

“You can tell?” Blitz asked.

“Blitz, you didn’t come here just to train, did you?” Hercules asked, giving a reassuring smile. “If you wanted advice, you could’ve just said so right away.”

“Okay,” Blitz responded. “I’m not sure how to explain it, though…”

“Just try,” Hercules said.

“Well… I guess you could say we found a potential mission,” Blitz said. “And I personally think it would be better to let another rescue team handle this one, while Sera feels that this is too big of an opportunity for us to pass up.”

“I see,” Hercules responded.

“And regardless of whether we do it or not, the result would be the same,” Blitz explained. “So, that might be making it even more difficult for us to decide what to do…”

“And you also don’t want to disappoint Sera, right?” Hercules responded.

“Of course not,” Blitz replied.

“Blitz, I know you don’t want to oppose your team leader, and more importantly, your friend,” Hercules said. “But you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when you know what the right thing to do is.”

“I don’t really know if there’s a right or a wrong thing to do here, though,” Blitz replied. “A lot of Pokémon would benefit from it regardless of who handles the mission…”

“I see…” Hercules responded. “If that’s the case, then I guess this is something you need to figure out on your own.”

“Oh…” Blitz replied, rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together.

“Actually… I think there’s still some advice I can give,” Hercules said, after taking a moment to think more about it.

“Go on,” Blitz replied.

“During our lives, we will likely come across situations we’re not ready for, situations we’d rather not deal with,” Hercules explained. “As much as we don’t want to, we sometimes have to face up to them.”

“So… Are you saying I should go on the mission?” Blitz asked.

“No, I’m just saying that having to deal with things we’re not prepared for is a part of life,” Hercules said, petting the young Shinx. “However, in this case, you and your teammates do have the choice of whether to deal with it on your own, or leave it to someone else.”

“I’m confused…” Blitz said.

“Well, just remember that you do get to choose whether to do it or not,” Hercules said, giving another friendly smile. “You might not have that privilege another time, so don’t feel bad if you do back out of it this time.”

“Okay, I guess…” Blitz responded, still not entirely sure what to make of this.

“Whatever you decide to do, know that you always have my support,” Hercules said. “And if you need any more advice, or you just need someone to talk to, you can always come to me.”

“Thanks, Hercules,” Blitz replied, smiling at the Heracross.

“No problem,” Hercules responded. “Is there anything else I can do?”

“No, I’m good,” Blitz replied.

Blitz felt more confident after the talk with Hercules, but he still hadn’t been able to make up his mind on which choice to make. Face a challenge he wasn’t sure if he was ready for, or let someone else handle it?

---

There were few customers in the café this evening, seeing as most of the regular customers were rescue teams and most of the rescue teams were still busy searching for any leads on the missing crystals. While this meant less business, River didn’t mind. It was nice to have some quiet days once in a while, as not having as many customers to tend to made things a little less stressful. The kitchen staff probably felt the same way.

River looked around at the customers sitting at the tables, which included two or three rescue teams, and a few lone customers. There was also a certain Mienfoo and Elgyem sitting at a table in a quiet spot where they could talk privately. Well, Chiaki was doing the talking, explaining the situation to Elina.

“And, that’s about it,” Chiaki said, finishing his explanation.

Elina nodded her head, to signal that she had listened to every word of Chiaki’s explanation and understood the situation. She had a concerned look in her eyes, but Chiaki couldn’t figure out what was on her mind. He figured it was best not to bother her about it, and focus on sorting out his own dilemma.

“What do you think, Elina?” Chiaki asked. “Do it ourselves, or let someone else handle it?”

The Elgyem thought about it, unsure how to respond. She had to take a few moments to think about it, before finally reaching a decision. She pointed a hand at Chiaki, much to his surprise.

“… You think we should do it ourselves?” Chiaki asked, to which Elina nodded in response. “Are you sure?”

Chiaki took a sip of the berry juice he had ordered, while Elina just watched him, not having ordered anything. It occurred to Chiaki that he couldn’t really tell where Elina’s mouth was, if she even had one. Perhaps she didn’t need to eat? Or did she eat something other than food? Or she just had different tastes in food that no one really understood? Chiaki realized that he was getting distracted again.

“It’s not that I don’t trust your good judgment or something,” Chiaki said. “I just don’t want to risk starting a fight by choosing one or the other… Do you understand?”

Elina nodded her head.

“But you still think we should do it ourselves?” Chiaki asked again. “You’re really, definitely, absolutely, one-hundred percent sure about that?”

Elina nodded her head again.

“Oh, okay then…” Chiaki responded. “Thanks, Elina.”

Chiaki hoped that following Elina’s advice wouldn’t start a fight, but surely he and his friends would reach an agreement, wouldn’t they? He decided it was best to have faith in his friends, both his two teammates and Elina.

---

Later in the night, Chiaki laid in his bed thinking, as Blitz finally came home after having spent a few hours at the dojo. The Shinx quickly walked over to his bed, and crawled into it, lying down. He then looked over at Chiaki, the two just looking at each other while they both waited for the other to speak. Chiaki was the one to finally break the silence.

“So… What do you think we should do?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded, taking a few seconds to think about it. “… We probably won’t be seeing an opportunity as big as this again anytime soon, right?”

“Does that mean we’ll go for it?” Chiaki asked, surprised at hearing Blitz say that.

“I guess,” Blitz replied.

“Cool,” Chiaki responded, smiling at Blitz. “Sera will probably be happy to hear that.”

“Yeah, probably,” Blitz replied. “… Good night, Chiaki.”

“Good night,” Chiaki responded, closing his eyes and trying to sleep.

He felt very relieved now that Blitz was willing to go along with taking the mission, and was looking forward to tomorrow. He wondered what the Harmony Forest was like, but figured it was best not to get too excited right now as he was supposed to be sleeping. He needed his energy for tomorrow, after all.

---

End of chapter 8.

---

Knightfall
7th October 2012, 5:42 AM
Very well done! This was a good chapter.

My favorite part would have to be Chiaki's twisted dream, I'm somewhat partial to those as they're in my story quite a bit. They're so fun to write since nothing has to make sense.

Oh, the decision. Will the team choose to scout out Harmony Forest on their own, or will they get help? I'm impressed at how you handled their disagreements, very believeable. And at how you wrote out what each of them was doing and how they got advice as they contemplated it.

Well, that's about all I have to say about this one. Again, very good. I look forward to the next chapter.

Knightfall signing off... ;005;

SeekerofLight
8th October 2012, 6:57 PM
Again, utterly Spectacular.

The twisted dream was brilliant. I love how it seems to link with the Prologue... Does this mean that the Orb with Fork wings is the Sigilyph and that Chiaki was the Grey Cloaked Pokémon?

Brilliant Brillaint Brilliant. Can't wait for the next adventure and the continuation of this amazing story.

Keep on writing DarkerShining

Seekeroflight

sixthhokage1
22nd October 2012, 8:53 PM
If any of DS's readers are Tropers, the TvTropes article (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/PokemonMysteryDungeonReflectingBalance) for this fic could use more love!

DarkerShining
23rd October 2012, 1:43 AM
Thanks for the positive response, guys! Glad you enjoyed the chapter. I'm working on the first draft on chapter 9, but I'm not sure how long it'll take. I'll try not to keep you guys waiting for too long, though.

Remember, if there is anything about my writing you see that I can work on improving for later chapters, just let me know. I keep it in mind and become a better write that way, you know. :)

And I am still considering putting up a PM list. Since this is the first time I will have done that, though, I'm not entirely sure on how I'd keep track of everyone on it. I see some authors have a list on the first page of their fic that they edit or something along those lines, but due to a weird glitch that occurs when I try editing or previewing posts, that probably isn't the best option since I don't want the text to get messed up. (has anyone else had problems with this glitch?) Then again, I suppose it is just as simple as keeping a list somewhere else.

DarkerShining
10th November 2012, 2:33 PM
Hey everyone! Chapter 9 is ready!

Hope you all enjoy it!

---

Chapter 9: So, you need some help with this plant problem?

---

Another new day had begun, and rescue teams were getting ready for another day of work. Blitz, Sera and Chiaki had already met up in a quiet spot where they could talk privately, and were now discussing the situation and the decision they were about to make. After several minutes of talking, it seemed the three of them had reached an agreement.

“So… We’re really going to do this, then?” Sera asked.

“I guess so…” Blitz responded, nervously rubbing his forelegs together.

“All right then…” Sera replied. “Let’s go make our preparations, then.”

The rescue team spent several minutes going around town making the necessary preparations, trying to figure out which supplies to bring along and rearranging the treasure bag several times before they were satisfied with the selection of items. After stopping by the bank to deposit the leftover money after they had bought some extra supplies at the shop, the three of them began heading up to the rescue team HQ.

Before reaching the HQ, Sera decided to fill Chiaki in on some more details about Harmony Forest, and pulled out the map.

“The Harmony Forest is there,” Sera said, pointing her paw at the map. “As you can see, it’s a little further away from here than the dungeons we’ve been to so far.”

“It is a somewhat unique place in that there are multiple small mystery dungeons within the forest, connecting the different areas of the forest,” Blitz explained. “We enter the forest through a regular mystery dungeon.”

“I see,” Chiaki said, looking at the map. “Are we going to walk all the way there? Because it looks like it would take a while to get there, even if we walked really fast...”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Sera said, winking. “There is another, much faster way to get there.”

“Ooh, what is it?” Chiaki asked. “Can you show me?”

“You’ll get to see once we get to the HQ,” Sera said, wagging her tail.

“Okay!” Chiaki replied.

The three continued heading up to the HQ, when Blitz suddenly noticed a certain Elgyem floating over in their direction.

“Chiaki, your friend is here,” Blitz said, pointing to the Elgyem.

“Oh, hi Elina!” Chiaki said, walking over to her. “Did you come to wish us good luck?”

The Elgyem shook her head, before pointing to herself with both hands, and then pointing to the rescue team.

“You want to come along?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly. “Oh, that’s nice, but I don’t think that’s really necessary.”

Elina looked down at the ground, seeming a bit disappointed.

“Hey, don’t worry,” Chiaki said, comfortingly patting the Elgyem’s shoulder. “We can handle this! So, you can just stay here and relax, and then I’ll tell you all about how it went when we get back, okay?”

Elina looked up at the Mienfoo, unsure how to respond.

“See you later, Elina!” Chiaki said, waving good-bye to her as he ran over to join his two teammates, as they walked into the wooden building.

Elina looked up at the rescue team HQ for a few moments, before floating back into the main part of town so she could make some preparations…

---

Blitz and Sera led Chiaki over to a purple curtain, and into a room behind said curtain. The first thing Chiaki noticed inside the room was a large map painted on the wall in the back of the room, with mystery dungeons marked on it similar to the smaller maps rescue teams carried. There was also a wooden desk in the room, but Chiaki couldn’t see anyone behind the counter. However, he could hear a light snoring, and Sera led him over to show him what was behind the desk.

And behind it was a yellow humanoid Pokémon with small pointy ears, sleeping on a somewhat worn-out looking dark green pillow. Sera carefully poked the brown armor-like pad covering the Abra’s shoulder, causing the psychic type to sleepily open her eyes and sit up.

“What day is it…?” the Abra sleepily mumbled while rubbing her eyes.

“Chiaki, this is Kala,” Sera said, pointing her paw at the Abra. “She can use her teleportation powers to help rescue teams reach destinations that are too far away to walk to when we need to get there fast!”

“Cool!” Chiaki responded.

“So, where do you want to go today…?” Kala muttered, yawning and stretching.

“Harmony Forest,” Sera replied, smiling and wagging her tail. “Can you send us there?”

“Sure, no problem…” Kala responded, closing her eyes and hovering in mid-air as she concentrated on sending the rescue team to their desired destination.

Soon the rescue team were enveloped by a green light, and disappeared from the room. With her job done, Kala lay back down onto her pillow, going back to sleep.

---

The rescue team materialized in front of the entrance to the Harmony Forest in a green orb of light, Chiaki looked around in awe at the sudden change of surroundings. As far as he could tell, there were many tall trees ahead. He wondered how different this forest was from Meridian Forest.

“Well, here we are!” Sera announced, wagging her tail happily. “So, should we just go ahead and get this search started?”

“I suppose…” Blitz replied, nervously rubbing his legs together. “Are you absolutely sure we have everything we need?”

“Nervous?” Sera asked, grabbing one of Blitz’s front paws with her front paws. “It’s okay; you’re not the only one.”

“Sera…” Blitz looked up at his teammate.

“I’m a little nervous too,” Sera said, giving a reassuring smile. “But as long as I’ve got you and Chiaki by my side, nothing will stop me!”

“Yeah, we’re in this together!” Chiaki responded, grinning. “Just think of this as another mission!”

“… You’re right,” Blitz responded, smiling back at his teammates. “Let’s do this.”

“That’s more like it!” Sera said, before entering the mystery dungeon with Blitz and Chiaki following closely behind.

Trees made up the walls of the maze; while the floor was mostly grass with occasional wild flowers visible. Sera noticed some coins lying in the grass, and picked them up, before leading Blitz and Chiaki down one of the paths leading to another room within the same floor. The Harmony Forest was a pretty big place, so finding the crystal probably wouldn’t be easy. Where within the forest could it be hidden?

And that wasn’t even the only question related to this strange situation. How and why had the crystal ended up here? Why had the Pokémon that stole the crystals not just kept it? But it was probably better to just focus on finding the crystal now, and ask questions later. Finding the stairs, and moving onto the next floor, the rescue team had to fight a small Pokémon covered in cotton, with two green leaves at the sides of its body.

They had to fight another one on the way to the stairs, and soon found themselves on the third floor. The third and fourth floors were fairly uneventful, only a few more items to be found and a few more battles. However, on the fifth floor, the rescue team came across a strange sight. Several strange, thick vines were blocking one of the paths out of the room they had just arrived in.

“Huh?” Sera said, tilting her head and poking the vine with her paw. “What’s this?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied. “There usually aren’t any obstacles like this one in mystery dungeons…”

“Can’t we just climb over it?” Chiaki asked.

“Nah, let’s just take the other path over there,” Sera responded, moving over to another path which wasn’t blocked off.

There didn’t seem to be anything else out of the ordinary on that floor, and the rescue team moved onto the sixth floor, where they had to fight off some round ladybug like Pokémon and some yellow green-spotted mushroom-like Pokémon. Chiaki discovered he could make an opponent flinch by striking it quickly. However, it seemed the attack only worked as long as he caught the opponent off-guard. According to Blitz, this attack was called Fake Out.

“Wow, I figured out a new attack all on my own!” Chiaki exclaimed happily.

“Congratulations,” Blitz replied. “It should be a useful move once you’re mastered it. Maybe we should head back to the dojo so you can practice once we’re done here?”

“Hey, how many floors is this dungeon, again?” Sera asked, looking around.

“Fifteen, I think,” Blitz responded. “And I think the smaller ones within the forest itself are at five floors, or so.”

“Okay…” Sera said, realizing that they might have quite a bit of walking around to do today. “How many of the smaller dungeons are there?”

“At least three,” Blitz responded. “I’m not entirely sure if that’s the exact number.”

“Oh,” Sera replied. “So, we might have to walk through at least thirty floors?”

“Possibly,” Blitz said. “Depends on where the crystal is.”

“Yeah…” Sera responded. “Good thing we brought a few apples in case we get hungry from all that walking.”

The rescue team continued travelling through the dungeon, Chiaki practicing his Fake Out attack more as they went along. On the tenth floor of the dungeon, they noticed several strange vines sprouting from the ground near the walls, similar to the ones blocking the path back at the fifth floor.

“Strange…” Blitz commented. “What’s up with these vines?”

“I don’t know…” Sera responded. “At least they’re not in our way this time.”

The rescue team continued heading through the floor, until they found the stairs and moved onto the next floor. Blitz was getting the feeling that these vines didn’t belong in the forest, and wondered where they might’ve come from. There was definitely something strange about it…

---

Back in town, Wade and Vic were going about their usual business. Mirage had just sold a Gold Ribbon to Wade, and gotten 2000 coins in return. The Zoroark briefly looked through the items in her treasure bag to see if there was anything else she could sell.

“Hmm… I guess there’s nothing else here really worth selling,” Mirage said, closing the bag. “Well, better go find myself some missions. I’ve still got to make some money even with the whole crystal crisis going on. I can’t let my family down, after all.”

And with that, Mirage and her teammates left the stall, just as a certain Elgyem hovered up to the shop, waving to get Vic’s attention. The Nuzleaf, however, seemed to be too busy polishing an orb to notice. Wade gave Elina a friendly smile, and then lightly shook Vic’s shoulder to get his attention.

“Hey, Vic,” Wade said. “I think you have a customer.”

“Oh,” Vic replied, putting the orb down on the counter. “Well, hello there. How may I help you?”

Elina pointed a hand to the orb on the counter.

“You want to buy that Blowback Orb?” Vic asked.

Elina shook her head in response.

“No?” Vic replied, thinking for a moment. “Oh, you want to see what other orbs we have for sale today?”

Elina nodded her head in the affirmative, and Vic brought out a selection of different orbs. Not that one could really tell the difference between them at first glance, since they all looked the same.

“As you can see, we have a nice selection of orbs today,” the Nuzleaf said. “See anything you like?”

Elina carefully looked over the orbs, until she saw something that caught her interest. She pointed her hand to one of the orbs displayed, and Vic took a look at it.

“Ah, you want this Mobile Orb?” he asked, picking it up. “That’ll be 150 coins.”

Elina produced a small bag, and telekinetically picked up the coins she had brought with her, hoping she had enough coins to afford the orb…

---

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki had reached the final floor of the mystery dungeon, and were getting close to the stairs. There was only one problem: Strange vines were blocking the path leading to the room with the stairs.

“Not this again!” Sera exclaimed. “How are we going to get to the stairs?”

“Is there another path?” Chiaki asked.

“I don’t think there is this time…” Blitz said, thinking for a moment. “But, maybe I can use my Fire Fang attack to burn these?”

“I thought you didn’t like using that attack?” Sera asked.

“Not on other Pokémon,” Blitz replied. “However, I’m okay with using it to get rid of this obstacle.”

“Go for it, then!” Sera said, wagging her tail enthusiastically.

Blitz walked up to the blocked path, getting onto his hind legs while holding onto the vines with his forelegs. He then opened his mouth, and his fangs began glowing with an orange light. Blitz felt heat quickly building up in his fangs, and bit down on the plant. To his surprise, the attack barely had any effect.

“It didn’t work?” Sera asked, tilting her head in confusion. “Why didn’t it work? Isn’t fire usually super effective on plants?”

“Yes, it is,” Blitz replied, examining the bite marks he’d left on the plant. “This plant, however, seems to have some sort of resistance to fire…”

“Cool,” Chiaki said. “You know, except the part about it being in our way, and all…”

“Hey, what about your Ice Fang attack?” Sera asked. “Ice is also super effective on plants, right?”

“It’s worth a try,” Blitz replied, and once again prepared to sink his fangs into the vine.

This time, his fangs began to glow with an icy blue glow, and there was visible mist from Blitz’s breath as his fangs got colder. Blitz bit down on the vine once again, and part of the vine quickly became coated in ice.

“I think its working!” Sera said, her ears perking up in excitement.

“Yeah, but they’re still in our way,” Chiaki pointed out.

“Not for long!” Sera replied, getting three Blast Seeds out of the treasure bag. “Here, let’s take one each, and then we’ll use them to break these vines apart!”

“Good idea, Sera,” Blitz said, as he and Chiaki each took one of the three seeds. “We’ll probably do the most damage if we use them all at the same time. Ready?”

The three of them walked up the frozen vines, popped the Blast seeds into their mouths and at the same time, spit the exploding seeds at the frozen vines. The explosion managed to break them apart to make an opening big enough for the three of them to walk through.

“We did it!” Sera said, happily wagging her tail as she ran over to the stairs along with her two teammates. “Now, let’s get moving and start looking for that crystal!”

The three Pokémon then walked up the stairs, exiting the dungeon and entering the deeper parts of Harmony Forest. However, they were surprised at what they saw as they entered the area, as several strange vines similar to the ones they came across inside the mystery dungeon appeared to be laying on the ground, with some of them seeming to have wrapped themselves around trees.

“What is with these vines?” Sera asked, poking at one with her paw.

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied, looking around. “This is really strange…”

The rescue team began looking around, not knowing that they were being watched from the trees. A trio of monkeys with green and yellow bodies and a small green bush like growth on their heads curiously watched the rescue team, before exchanging glances.

“Rescue team!” one of the three Pansage said, excitedly pointing to the three Pokémon below.

“Think they can help us?” asked one of the other two, scratching its head.

“Yes, they might be able to help us!” responded the third one, excitedly swinging on the branch it was holding. “We should take them to see the leader of our tribe!”

“Ooh, good idea!” the first Pansage replied, clapping its hands. “Let’s follow them!”

The three Pansage playfully started following the rescue team exploring the forest below by moving from tree to tree; by extending their green tails into long whip-like vines and using them grab onto branches and swing to the next tree. Blitz soon noticed the shadows of the three Pokémon above them, and stopped to look up at the three Pansage. Sera and Chiaki soon noticed as well, and the Pansage began making their way down to the rescue team.

“What’s up with them?” Sera wondered.

“Maybe they can help us find the crystal?” Chiaki suggested, smiling as the three Pansage made their way down from the trees.

“I suppose we should find out what they want…” Blitz said, as the monkeys reached the ground and approached the rescue team.

“Hi!” one of the three Pansage said, waving to the other three Pokémon. “You’re a rescue team, right?”

“Yes, we are,” Sera responded, tilting her head slightly. “What can we do for you?”

“A strange plant showed up in the forest a few days ago!” the Pansage said, jumping up and down.

“And its vines are like, growing and going all over the place!” one of the other two said, pointing to some strange vines that seemed to be slowly crawling up a tree.

“And they’re getting in our way, and that’s really annoying!” the third one said, stomping on the ground. “We can’t get to the Pansear and Panpour tribes or the place where we grow berries without taking a lot of detours, even having to go through mini-dungeons and have to deal with wild Pokémon slowing us down!”

“What can we do to help?” Chiaki asked, immediately jumping at the opportunity to help the Pokémon of Harmony Forest.

“Oh, you will help us?” one of the Pansage asked, happy at the Mienfoo’s eagerness to help.

“Thank you so much!” one of the other two Pansage said, clapping her hands.

“Come with us!” the third one said, motioning with his hand for them to follow. “You should come meet our tribe’s leader, and help us work out how to get rid of the plant with him!”

“Okay!” Chiaki replied, smiling at the trio of grass monkeys.

“Hold on a minute,” Sera said, looking over at her teammate. “Chiaki, we were supposed to be searching for the crystal, remember?”

“But these Pokémon need our help!” Chiaki replied. “And since we’re a rescue team, we should help them!”

“Well, I guess you have a point there…” Sera responded.

“And besides, if we help them, maybe they will help us?” Chiaki pointed out.

“I suppose having some Pokémon that know the forest help us search would make things a lot easier,” Blitz commented.

“Okay, then,” Sera said, smiling to her teammates. “Let’s help these Pansage sort out this plant problem!”

“All right, let’s go!” Chiaki said, and followed the Pansage trio.

---

The Pansage trio led the rescue team further into the forest, explaining that they were going to bring them to their village. There, they would meet with the Pansage tribe leader and try to come up with a way to get rid of the mysterious plant. On the way, the rescue team saw more vines laying across the ground, or wrapping themselves around trees. After a while, the Pansage trio stopped walking.

“We’re here!” one of the three Pansage said, grinning at the somewhat confused rescue team.

“Uh… What?” Sera responded, looking around. “I don’t see any village here.”

“Silly Eevee!” one of the other two Pansage said, pointing up towards the treetops above. “Our village is up there!”

“Your village is in the top of those trees?” Chiaki asked.

“Yep!” the third Pansage replied, nodding her head.

“Um… How exactly are we supposed to get up there?” Blitz asked, rubbing his forelegs together. “I don’t think we’re as good at climbing as you Pansage are…”

“Oh, don’t worry!” one of the Pansage responded. “We have another way to get you up there!”

“Just wait right here,” one of the other two said, and started climbing up a tree along with the other two Pansage. “We’ll be right back!”

The monkey Pokémon quickly made their way up the trees, while the rescue team waited for them to return, curious about how the Pansage were going to get them up there. Soon, the rescue team saw the three Pansage slowly making their way down to them by lowering what appeared to be a wooden cage-like structure held up by vines.

“What’s that?” Chiaki asked, as the bottom of the wooden cage-like structure touched the ground.

“Like it?” one of the Pansage asked, opening the wooden door. “We use this to bring visitors up to our village!”

“Assuming they’re around the same size as us,” one of the other two Pansage added, while holding onto one of two rotating levers on the sides of the wooden structure, which were used to make the vines pull it up. “We can’t really bring bigger, heavier Pokémon up there.”

“And even if we could, it would probably not be a good idea,” the third Pansage commented, giggling a little. “Well, get in, will you?”

“Um… Okay…” Blitz responded, and got onto the cart with Sera and Chiaki.

Once all three were on board, the Pansage shut the door and the other two began rotating the levers to pull the cart up. Blitz looked down at the ground, feeling more nervous the higher up they got. Chiaki on the other hand seemed to find this experience rather exciting, and found it pretty awesome that the Pansage had been able to build the contraption that was bringing them up to the treetop village out of things found in the forest.

Soon, they reached the village, with several small wooden huts built on thick branches, and several rope bridges connecting the village.

“Awesome!” Chiaki exclaimed upon seeing the village.

“Welcome to our village!” one of the Pansage said, opening the wooden door on the cart to let the rescue team out. “Follow us; we’ll take you to our leader!”

The six Pokémon stepped onto one of the rope bridges, the Pansage trio leading the way. Blitz couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous as he looked down and saw just how far away from the ground they were. The slight swaying of the bridge didn’t help, even though the rope bridge was secure. After walking across a few rope bridges, they finally found the tribe leader. He looked like a bigger Pansage, with a much bigger bush-like growth on his head.

“Ooh, is that a rescue team?” the Simisage asked, smirking.

“You must be the Pansage tribe leader,” Blitz said, still a bit nervous.

“That’s right,” the Simisage responded, giving the rescue team a thumbs-up. “The name’s Haru and it is your pleasure to meet me!”

“Right…” Sera replied, not particularly impressed. “So, you need some help with this plant problem?”

“Ah, seems the Pansage there have filled you in on some of the details,” Haru responded, the three Pansage covering their mouths with their hands and giggling. “Normally, such a situation wouldn’t be a problem for me, but the way this plant is spreading just isn’t natural.”

“Yeah, we saw,” Sera commented. “It even got into the mystery dungeon.”

“We’ve been at a loss of how to deal with the thing,” Haru said. “However, thanks to me, we may now have found the root of the problem!”

“This tribe sure is lucky to have a leader as humble as you,” Sera replied, rolling her eyes.

“Why, thank you!” Haru responded, not noticing the sarcasm in Sera’s voice. “Anyways, as I was saying, I sent a team of Pansage to search for the plant that all these freaky vines spread from, and not long ago, they found it in the middle of the forest!”

“So, what is the plan?” Blitz asked, rubbing his forelegs together.

“We’re still working on it,” Haru replied. “What we do have so far, is that we need to find a way to destroy the roots of that thing.”

“Hey, weren’t the vines we came across in the dungeon weak to ice?” Chiaki asked, looking over at Blitz.

“Ice, you say?” Haru responded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

“Uh-huh!” Chiaki replied, nodding his head. “Blitz here used his Ice Fang to help us break through some vines blocking our path!”

“Well, seems you kids may just have stumbled onto the solution to our problems!” Haru responded, snapping his fingers. “Thank you so much!”

“Ooh, really?” Chiaki asked.

“We need to use ice to break those roots, but surely that will be easier said than done,” Haru said. “First, let’s all head over to where the plant is.”

“Uh… Okay?” Sera replied.

“As long as that lets us go back down to the ground, I’m fine with that,” Blitz said, knowing he would feel less nervous once they got down from the tree.

---

Once the rescue team, Haru and the trio of Pansage got down from the tree, they began heading for the center of the forest. To get there, they would first have to walk through a mini dungeon with five floors. Haru decided to lead the way through the dungeon, which Sera only agreed to because he was more familiar with the forest than she was.

“So, what brings you guys into the forest, anyways?” Haru asked.

“Well, we are searching for something very important,” Sera replied. “And according to the town oracle, it might be hidden somewhere within this forest.”

“Oh, is that so?” Haru responded. “And what would this important item be?”

“One of the eight missing crystals of the Axis Tower,” Sera replied, causing Haru to stop in his tracks for a moment.

“Wait, what!?” Haru exclaimed. “The Axis Tower crystals are missing!?”

“Yeah,” Blitz replied, keeping his gaze on the ground as they walked. “Apparently some Pokémon stole them a few days ago…”

“Who would do such a crazy thing!?” Haru asked, clenching his fists. “I swear, if that Pokémon were to show itself around this forest, I would give it a piece of my mind!”

“Yeah, whatever,” Sera responded. “Anyways, maybe you and your tribe could, you know, help us search?”

“Of course,” Haru replied, grinning. “Once we’ve dealt with this plant, I’ll assist you guys in finding this crystal, and with my help, you’ll find it in no time!”

“I’ll help too!” one of the Pansage said.

“Me too!” one of the other two responded.

“Me three!” the third one said.

“Thanks!” Sera replied, wagging her tail. “Searching will be much easier with the help of Pokémon that know the forest like you guys do!”

“Yeah,” Haru responded. “I don’t like to brag, but I do know the forest pretty well.”

The other six Pokémon started snickering a bit at that statement, although Haru didn’t understand what it was they found so amusing. The Simisage did do a good job leading the group through the dungeon, knocking out some of the Pokémon they came across on the way with a kick or a strike from his thorny tail. He then proceeded to talk about the Acrobatics attack afterwards and how it was only one of the many attacks he had mastered.

“A tribe leader has got to know many different attacks to be able to defend his tribe, you know!” Haru said, confidently stepping up the stairs to the next floor.

“Is he always like that?” Chiaki asked one of the three Pansage, seeming a bit amused at the Simisage’s behavior.

“Oh, yes,” the Pansage responded. “But he’s still a very good leader.”

“Yeah,” another Pansage replied. “He really does care about our well-being, even if he does sometimes talk about himself too much.”

“The tribe elected him to be our leader for a reason, after all,” the third one added.

“All right, we’re here!” Haru said, pointing to the final set of stairs in the dungeon.

---

Haru led the Pansage and the rescue team up the stairs, where they found themselves in front of the large parasitic plant growing in the center of the forest. The rescue team was surprised at just how large the plant was. It almost looked like a huge green tree, except it had many vines sprouting from the top of it, and slowly growing longer and seeming to be crawling through the forest.

“What is that thing?” Sera asked, staring up at it.

“We have no idea,” Haru replied. “We’re not even entirely sure if it’s a real plant.”

“So, we need to destroy this thing before it spreads its vines any further, right?” Blitz asked, looking a bit discouraged. “How are we going to do that?”

“Don’t worry, kid,” Haru responded, smirking. “You see, I came up with a plan while we were walking through that dungeon!”

“Of course you did,” Sera replied, rolling her eyes slightly. “So, what’s your great idea?”

“I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but that is why I want you three to head over to the Pansear and Panpour tribes, and bring their leaders here!” Haru said, smiling at the rescue team. “I hope you don’t mind me asking this?”

“I guess not,” Sera responded.

“Of course, I could do this without their help, but things will go a lot faster if those two and a few members of their tribes help out,” Haru said, his eyes darting back and forth while a nervous smile seemed to cross his face for a brief moment. “Y-Yeah… That’s right…”

"That, and you can't use any ice type attacks," one of the Pansage pointed out.

"Yeah, that too," Haru responded, glancing around.

“Just give us some directions, and we’ll be on our way!” Chiaki said with his usual cheerful smile.

“All right,” Haru responded, pointing in a direction. “If you head that way, you will after a short walk come across another mini dungeon. And after clearing it, just keep walking straight ahead, and you should eventually reach the Pansear tribe’s village.”

“Okay, thanks,” Sera replied, before turning to her teammates. “Let’s go find this Pansear village!”

And so, the rescue team headed off to find and ask the leaders of the Pansear and Panpour tribes for help, while Haru and the Pansage stayed behind to bounce around a few ideas on how to deal with the plant while they waited for the rescue team to return. The rescue team had not come any closer to finding the crystal, and it remained to see if they would be able to help the tribes find a solution to the plant problem. It was now clear that their mission in Harmony Forest had only just begun.

---

End of chapter 9.

---

Knightfall
10th November 2012, 6:38 PM
Ah, another lovely chapter. Peaceful, in a sense.
Though I have to wonder why Elina needed to buy that Mobile Orb, is she planning on interferring in the Forest somehow?

Anyways, I liked the self glorifying Simisage, Heru. Fun minor characters are the best to write, in my opinion. If I may state the obvious, but what could plant be? I was thinking Carnivine in the beginning, but now I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I hope it gets "resolved" in the next chapter, I hate weeds.

Well, I hope the next chapter is out soon. I get the sense that the plot will be moving forward with these crystals.

Knightfall signing off... ;005;

SeekerofLight
11th November 2012, 5:06 PM
Spectacular as Always Darkershining.

I am loving the story so much, and also the obvious fatc you have spent SO much effort developing your characters. Even the most minor of minor Pokémon has a personality, and a personal favourite feature of mine is how you are cutting back to other Exploration Teams, not just focusing on the Main Character.

My only niggle really is... I'm incredibly impatient! I can't wait for the next chapter!

Best of Luck

Seeker of Light

DarkerShining
22nd November 2012, 7:58 PM
Thanks for the replies! Glad to see you enjoyed the chapter, and I promise to have chapter 10 ready as soon as I can. The first draft of the chapter should be finished soon at the very least. I got somewhat delayed because something's wrong with my laptop, though. But at least I've been able to borrow my mother's computer, and I was able to take a back-up copy of the most recent version of the fanfic chapter on a USB drive before the laptop stopped co-operating, so I've been able to keep working on it. :)

DarkerShining
24th November 2012, 3:26 PM
All right! As promised, here is chapter 10! Enjoy!

---

Chapter 10: Think we should be concerned about the fact that she apparently has a collection of weapons?

---

At the rescue team HQ, a certain Elgyem was quietly checking the items she had gathered, before heading inside the room where Kala the Abra was enjoying her nap. However, contrary to what the Abra may have had assumed, she wasn’t finished with today’s work. Elina lightly shook the Abra’s shoulder, until Kala drowsily sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“What is it now…?” the Abra mumbled groggily, before noticing Elina. “Oh, hi there… Weren’t you the Elgyem who came in here last night…?”

Elina just waved in response.

“So… What may I do for you…?” Kala asked.

Elina floated over to the large map painted on the wall, and pointed her hand to a certain forest on the map.

“Harmony Forest again…?” Kala asked, to which Elina nodded in response. “Okay, I guess… Seems to be a popular place to explore all of a sudden…”

---

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were making their way through one of the five floor mini mystery dungeons within the Harmony Forest, which according to Haru the Simisage would lead towards the Pansear village. More of the vines could be seen inside the dungeon, some proving to be a bit of an obstacle due to blocking off some of the paths. It was a little hard to believe these were all connected to the same plant, which was definitely not something that belonged in the forest. And the rescue team still hadn’t come any closer to finding the crystal which was supposed to be hidden somewhere within the forest.

“Okay, we’re almost through this dungeon,” Sera said, looking around. “And once we get out, we just have to keep walking straight ahead until we reach the Pansear village, right?”

“Yes, that is what Haru said,” Blitz replied.

“What do you guys think the other two tribe leaders are like?” Chiaki asked.

“I’m sure they’re as nice as Haru,” Sera replied. “I just hope they don’t talk as much as him…”

“I just hope these guys built their villages on the ground…” Blitz commented.

“Well, we’re going to find out very soon,” Sera said, pointing to the stairs.

The three of them walked up the stairs one by one, exiting the mini dungeon and entering another part of the forest. In the distance, they spotted what appeared to be several small stone huts built in a fairly open area.

“That must be the Pansear village,” Chiaki said.

“Guess they must’ve built it over there to reduce the risk of accidentally burning the forest down,” Blitz commented.

“Well, let’s go see them.” Sera said.

The three of them began walking towards the village, when Blitz suddenly heard the sounds of leaves rustling in the bushes nearby. He also caught a brief glimpse of something with red fur hiding within the bushes. He cautiously crept up the bushes to investigate, carefully pushing part of it aside with his paw, revealing a trio of red and yellow monkeys with a fire shaped tuft on their heads.

“We’ve been spotted!” one of them said, before it and the other two Pansear ducked down and covered their ears.

“Hey, relax,” Blitz said. “We’re not going to hurt you.”

“You three must be from the Pansear tribe, right?” Sera asked. “The leader of the Pansage tribe sent us here.”

“What?” one of the Pansear said and took his hands off his ears. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

“The leader of the Pansage tribe sent us here,” Sera explained. “He wants the leader of your tribe and the Panpour tribe to help with the plant problem this forest is having.”

“Ah, Haru sent you!” the Pansear responded, excitedly clapping his hands.

“And he wants help with the plant problem?” one of the other two Pansear asked, scratching her head. “Does that mean they’ve found a way to get rid of it?”

“Ooh, we can take you to our leader!” the third one said, jumping up and down in excitement.

The trio of Pansear ran ahead of the rescue team, leading the way into the village. While walking through the village to where the tribe leader was, the group saw several Pansear doing their jobs within the village. Some Pansear were busy forging weapons, others were using berries they had received from the Pansage tribe to make medicines.

The Pansear trio explained more about how each of the three tribes worked together, each providing something different. The Pansage were in charge of berries, the Pansear tribe made weapons and medicines, and the Panpour tribe was in charge of providing the tribes with fresh water.

“Our tribes work pretty well together,” one of the Pansear commented. “So, it is very frustrating for us to not be able to reach each other easily because our fastest, safest travel routes are blocked off!”

“Yeah, we understand,” Blitz responded.

“So, what can you tell us about your tribe leader?” Sera asked.

“Ooh, he’s a good leader,” one of the Pansear responded. “He’s very nice.”

“He tends to have us make weapons just so he can give those to Mizu, the leader of the Panpour tribe,” one of the other two Pansear commented, snickering a little. “We think he has a crush on her.”

“Luckily he isn’t the kind of guy who often gets distracted from his job while thinking about his crush,” the third one added.

The six Pokémon walked up to where a Pokémon looking like a bigger Pansear with a fire-shaped tail and a few fire shaped tufts of hair on his head was standing, looking a bit concerned.

“I sure hope we find a way to get rid of all those vines before they spread any further,” the Simisear said, holding a hand to his chin in a thoughtful way. “This can’t be good for any of the Pokémon living in the forest.”

“Kojin!” one of the Pansear called out. “Haru sent this rescue team to find you!”

“Oh, is that so?” the Simisear responded, walking over and giving the rescue team a friendly smile. “Welcome, rescue team.”

“Hi,” Sera replied, waving her paw.

“So, what brings you to our village?” Kojin asked. “Haru had a favor to ask of me?”

“Pretty much,” Sera responded. “He’s working on a way to get rid of the plant problem, and he wants the help of you, the Panpour tribe leader and a few members of your tribes to help him with it.”

“Ah, he’s working on a solution?” Kojin asked. “Excellent! Of course I will do all I can to help!”

“All right,” Blitz said. “You just have to head over to the center of the forest with some of the Pansear, as well as tell us how we can get to the Panpour tribe.”

“Of course,” Kojin responded, pointing out a direction to them. “There may be some vines blocking off some paths, but if you can get past those, there’s a mini dungeon over in that direction.”

“And that leads to the Panpour tribe’s village?” Chiaki asked.

“Yes,” Kojin responded. “The Panpour village is built close to a big lake, a few of the buildings floating on the lake itself.”

“Okay, got it,” Sera replied. “Is there anything else?”

“Well, perhaps you could do me a favor?” Kojin asked, picking up a spear. “Could you deliver this to the leader of the Panpour tribe?”

Sera and her teammates just stared at Kojin for a moment.

“Actually, I think I’ll just deliver it to her in person!” Kojin said, and happily headed off with a few Pansear, taking the spear with him. “See you guys later!”

Kojin and the Pansear headed off towards the center of the forest, hoping the vines wouldn’t be too big an obstacle for them. The rescue team had to head off as well, and find the Panpour village. First they would have to find that mini-dungeon Kojin brought up.

“So, what do you think the Panpour tribe leader is like?” Chiaki asked.

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied. “Think we should be concerned about the fact that she apparently has a collection of weapons?”

“Nah, I’m sure there’s nothing to be afraid of,” Sera responded, keeping an eye out for the entrance to the mini-dungeon as they walked.

---

The rescue team wandered around for a while, still looking for the entrance to the mini-dungeon. Sera was starting to feel hungry, though, and was getting a bit tired from all the walking. She looked over her shoulder at her two teammates, but wasn’t sure whether or not they were getting tired as well. Chiaki was still as cheerful as normal; while Blitz had a thoughtful looked on his face, occasionally glancing around at vines clinging to trees and such. Eventually, she just had to stop and sit down on the grass.

“Whew, does anyone else need a short break?” Sera asked.

“Sure,” Blitz responded, sitting down. “I’m guessing the dungeon entrance shouldn’t be too far away from here.”

“The Harmony Forest sure is big,” Chiaki said. “If it has been able to spread to cover as much of the forest in vines after just a few days, I wonder what would happen if it was just allowed to keep spreading…”

“Hey, let’s not think about that, okay?” Sera responded, getting two apples out of the treasure bag and giving them to her teammates before taking out a third apple for herself. “We’re going to help those monkeys solve this mess, and then they’ll help us find the crystal!”

“Of course,” Chiaki said, taking a bite out of his apple. “I have no doubt we’ll succeed!”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded, glancing around nervously at some vines. “Chiaki has a point about the plant having covered a lot of the forest in just a few days… What if that’s not the only thing that plant is capable of?”

“Blitz, it’s a plant we’re talking about here,” Sera replied, taking a few bites out of her apple. “It’s not like it can actually fight back, or anything.”

“Hey, is that the entrance to the dungeon we were looking for?” Chiaki asked, pointing to a mystery dungeon entrance with several vines blocking it.

“Huh, how’d I not notice that?” Sera said, before looking over at Blitz. “Well, you know what to do.”

“I’m on it,” Blitz replied, finishing eating his apple before walking up to deal with the vines blocking the entrance.

---

A few minutes later, after freezing the vines with Ice Fang and shattering them, the rescue team began exploring the mini dungeon. Sera confidently led the team, imagining how proud her family and the Pokémon of Fenix Town would be once she returned with one of the missing crystals. She would earn the respect of all the other rescue teams in town, and no one would treat her like a little kid anymore.

Blitz on the other hand, felt nervous for several reasons. Even if Sera said there was no reason to worry, he still couldn’t help but worry that one of those vines was going to suddenly grab him and carry him away. He also worried about what would happen once they returned to Fenix Town with the crystal.

They had told Stella they would tell the other rescue teams about the location of the crystal, but they hadn’t. Would Stella be mad at them for not having done something they had said they would do for her? Not to mention that the possibility of the other rescue teams getting mad for withholding such important information was still a major concern of his.

And Chiaki was just happy to be on an adventure and to have made some new friends from the Pansage and Pansear tribe, and felt excited about getting to the Panpour tribe so they could make even more new friends. He then thought about Elina, hoping she wasn’t feeling too bad about not getting to come along to Harmony Forest with them.

---

Unbeknownst to Chiaki and his teammates, Elina was currently making her way through the dungeon leading into Harmony Forest. After Chiaki last night had told her where one of the missing crystals were, she had secretly gone off to Harmony Forest after Chiaki went home to sleep. However, because of the vines and because it was dark at the time, she hadn’t gotten very far. Things seemed to be going better this time, and hopefully she would catch up to Chiaki and the others soon. She had to be careful since there were wild Pokémon around, though. Especially with the bug types, that had a type advantage against her.

She wasn’t the bravest or strongest of Pokémon, but there was something only she could do…

---

The rescue team managed to get through the last floor of the mini dungeon, and began looking around for the lake where the Panpour village was supposed to be. They hadn’t gotten very far, when they suddenly heard a cry for help!

“What was that!?” Sera exclaimed, looking around for the source of the scream.

“It came from over there!” Blitz said, and started running in the direction the scream came from. “We have to hurry!”

Chiaki and Sera quickly went after Blitz, and soon saw a blue and yellow monkey with a blue tuft on its head that had been tied to a tree by some of the vines. Two other Panpour were pulling on the vine, trying to free their friend. However, the two of them weren’t strong enough to pull the vines off.

“Stupid plant!” one of the two Panpour said. “Release our friend!”

“Should one of us head back to the village and find Mizu?” the other one asked, before noticing the three Pokémon moving in their direction. “Is that a rescue team?”

Blitz didn’t even hesitate to run up to, and use his Ice Fang to freeze part of the vine. As it froze, the part of the vine which had been holding the Panpour trapped began to loosen its grip.

“Ooh, I can move!” the trapped Panpour exclaimed, and tried to free herself now that the vines holding her had loosened up a bit.

“Grab our hands!” one of the other two Panpour said, holding out her hand for the one held by the vines to grab.

“We can probably pull you out now!” the other one said, also holding his hands out.

The Panpour managed to get her arms loose from the plant’s grip, and grabbed onto the hands of her comrades. It didn’t take long before the two Panpour successfully helped their friend free herself.

“I’m free!” the Panpour exclaimed, before running over and hugging Blitz. “You’re my hero!”

Blitz was clearly surprised at the sudden hug, and didn’t even have the time to figure out how to respond before the other two Panpour suddenly ran up and hugged him as well.

“Thanks for loosening those vines for us!” one of the Panpour said.

“Yeah, that really helped a lot,” the other one replied.

“Y-You’re welcome…” Blitz responded, somewhat flustered at this.

“Is there anything we can do repay you?” asked the Panpour that had been rescued.

“Oh, um… My friends and I kind of need to get to your village and see the leader of your tribe…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“No problem! We can guide you there!” the Panpour replied. “It’s not far from here! So, let’s go!”

---

The Panpour village had wooden huts similar to the Pansage village in it, with some of them even being placed upon floating platforms on the lake itself. One on the floating platforms on the lake, the tribe leader, resembling a bigger Panpour with dreadlocks, was currently polishing a blade. The Simipour was hoping to find a way to use it to get rid of those vines that was bothering the Pokémon living in the forest.

She soon heard the sounds of a trio of Panpour, as well as three other Pokémon making their way across a bridge leading to the platform she was on.

“Mizu!” one of the Panpour called out. “This rescue team here wishes to speak to you!”

“A rescue team, huh?” Mizu inquired, taking a look at the three Pokémon the Panpour had brought. “Hmm… I see from your badge that you’re a bronze rank team?”

“Is that a problem?” Sera asked, sounding a bit annoyed. “I’ll have you know we can handle stuff just as well as any other rescue team!”

“Hey, relax,” Mizu replied, chuckling. “I’m not saying we don’t want your help.”

“You know why we’re here?” Blitz asked.

“I assume it has something to do with getting rid of that huge plant that has been getting in everyone’s way?” Mizu responded.

“That’s right!” Chiaki said. “Haru and Kojin sent us to find you!”

“Ah, you’ve already spoken to the other two tribe leaders?” Mizu asked. “This is sounding promising.”

“The main part of the plant is located in the center of the forest,” Blitz explained. “Haru thinks we can get rid of it if we can destroy the roots.”

“Ooh, sounds good!” Mizu said, holding up the blade she had been polishing. “Sounds like the perfect job for this here!”

Blitz and Sera backed away a little as the Simipour picked up the weapon, while the Panpour just shyly covered their eyes and giggled.

“Is that a sword?” Chiaki asked, curious about the weapon.

“Oh, do you like it?” Mizu responded. “The blade is a Skarmory feather. I got it one day when I was out exploring, and came across a Skarmory who had one its wings stuck under a rock. I felt bad for the metal bird, so I helped him out.”

"Ooh, really?” Chiaki asked.

“Yes,” Mizu replied, nodding. “One of his feathers came off in the process, though, so he let me keep it as a reward for saving him.”

“That’s awesome!” Chiaki responded.

“Oh, it was no big deal,” Mizu replied. “Anyways, you were saying something about destroying the roots?”

“Yeah,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “On our way into the forest, we discovered that the plants’ weakness seems to be ice.”

“Is that it?” Mizu asked. “How come I didn’t think of that? I even know an ice type attack I could’ve used against it!”

“Well, you can use your ice attack all you want when we destroy that plant!” Sera responded.

“Right,” Mizu replied, picking up her Skarmory feather blade. “Let’s go!”

---

Several minutes later, the rescue team, Mizu and a few of the Panpour finally made it to the center of the forest where Haru, Kojin and a few Pansage and Pansear had already gathered.

“All right, you made it!” Haru said, grinning at the rescue team.

“Hi Mizu!” Kojin said, holding up the spear. “I brought you a new spear!”

“Ooh, that nice spear is for me?” Mizu asked, smiling at the Simisear. “Thank you, Kojin! You always give me the best gifts!”

Kojin smiled and blushed at the Simipour, although the blushing wasn’t visible through his fur.

“So, now that everyone is here, it is time to deal with this plant!” Haru said. “We need to destroy the roots, but to do that; we first need to be able to reach the roots, right?”

“Right,” Mizu responded. “Better start digging.”

And so, the rescue team, the tribe leaders and the Pansage, Pansear and Panpour all began digging near the plant in hopes of reaching down to the roots. However, this task wasn’t going to be as simple as they had hoped. While helping the others dig, Blitz suddenly heard a strange sound from somewhere above them. Looking up, he saw that the vines growing out of the top of the strange plant had started moving around, and one of them was about to attack Sera.

“Sera! Watch out!” Blitz shouted, before pushing his teammate out of the way before the vine could strike her.

“Whoa, what was that!?” Sera asked, seeing the vine that nearly hit her.

The rest of the Pokémon present had also noticed the moving vines now, and quickly moved out of the way as more of them attempted to strike them.

“Well, this is new,” Mizu commented, while slicing off one of the vines with her blade. “Must have realized what we were doing, and is trying to defend itself.”

“It can do that!?” Haru exclaimed.

“Apparently,” Mizu replied casually, while slicing up more vines, only for more vines to grow back out. “… A little help here would be nice.”

“Don’t worry, Mizu!” Kojin said, trying to use the spear he had brought for her to cut up some of the vines. “I’ll help you!”

“I should help too,” Haru commented, looking up at the plant thoughtfully. “But how should I go about it?”

“You said you know a lot of attacks, right?” Chiaki asked. “Surely there must be at least one of those attacks you can use for this?”

“Oh, of course!” Haru responded, clenching his fist. “My Shadow Claw attack will surely be able to tear these vines apart!”

A shadowy aura surrounded the Simisage’s clenched fist, and Haru then started slashing at the vines with the dark energies surroundings his hands. Working together, the three tribe leaders and the other members of their tribes cut their way through several vines. However, not long after being cut, the vines would grow back out.

“We should help them!” Chiaki said, watching the monkeys try to cut through the vines.

“How are we supposed to do that?” Sera asked. “Those vines just keep growing back out, and Blitz is the only one of us three who actually knows some attacks that would be effective against that thing!”

“If only we could reach the roots…” Blitz said, while rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together. "But to get to the roots, we must defeat the plant, and we can't do that unless we get to the roots..."

“So, we need another way to reach the roots…” Chiaki muttered, trying to think of a possible way to get down to the roots. His train of thought didn’t get very far before he suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to see a certain Elgyem having arrived. “Elina?”

“Elina is here?” Sera asked, tilting her head. “When did she get here?”

Elina looked up at the plant, and the elemental monkeys currently fighting it.

“Did you come all the way out here to help us?” Chiaki asked, putting a paw on Elina’s shoulder. “While that’s really nice of you, I already told you that you didn’t have to go through all this trouble.”

“But since you’re here, maybe you could help us figure out what to do with that giant plant thing-y?” Sera asked. “We could really use some ideas, here.”

Elina touched a hand to her chin in a thoughtful way, while looking up at the plant and trying to think of a way to help the rescue team destroy it. It only took a few seconds before an idea popped into her head. She reached into the bag she had brought along, and pulled out an orb.

“Ooh, what’s that?” Chiaki asked, staring curiously at the blue sphere.

“I think it’s a Mobile Orb,” Blitz said, examining the orb closely. “It allows the user to walk right through walls, like certain ghost type Pokémon are capable of.”

“Cool!” Chiaki responded.

“What exactly are we supposed to do with it, though?” Sera asked.

The rescue team glanced over at the battle between the plant and the monkeys, both sides still seeming evenly matched the elemental monkeys tearing the vines of and the plant growing the vines back out.

“Oh, for the love of Virizion!” Haru exclaimed. “What does it take to beat this thing?”

“I don’t know,” Mizu replied, slicing off another vine and quickly using Ice Beam to freeze the part of the plant before it could grow back to slow it down a bit. “But I hope we think of something before I run out of energy for my Ice Beam attack!”

Elina placed the orb on the ground, pointing to the plant. The rescue team exchanged glances, before Chiaki realized what it was Elina suggesting.

“Oh, you think we can use this orb to get to the roots?” Chiaki asked, to which Elina nodded in response.

“Hey, that’s a pretty good idea!” Sera responded, wagging her tail. “Blitz, you ready to destroy those roots?”

“Huh?” Blitz asked. “You want me to use the orb?”

“Didn’t you hear me earlier when I said you were the only one who knew an attack that would be effective against this plant?” Sera responded.

“She’s right, you know,” Chiaki said. “You have to be the one to destroy those roots!”

“I-I don’t know if I can…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “And besides, how am I even supposed to get close enough without being attacked by that thing?”

“Leave that to us,” Sera said, winking at her teammate. “We’ll keep it busy.”

Blitz glanced down at the blue orb on the ground in front of him, and then looked up at his two teammates and Elina, as well as the elemental monkeys that were still trying to fight the plant. It looked like the three tribe leaders were starting to get tired, but they weren’t going to give up. And if they weren’t going to give up, Blitz knew he also had to do what had to be done to destroy the giant plant.

Blitz took a deep breath, before confidently pressing his paw onto the orb, activating it. The orb emitted a light which enveloped Blitz’s body, the glow briefly making him look transparent before the light faded.

“Okay, I’m ready,” Blitz said, looking up at the plant. “You guys just need to keep it distracted so I can get to it.”

“We’re on it!” Sera responded, running up the plant along with Chiaki and Elina. “Hey, Haru!”

“What is it?” Haru asked, while still slashing his way through the vines.

“We have a plan for how to get to the roots, but we need to keep the plant distracted,” Sera replied. “Can you and the other tribe leaders keep it busy for a little longer?”

“Well, it’s certainly not a problem for me!” Haru responded, grinning.

“I can keep fighting too,” Mizu said, using her Ice Beam to freeze over parts of the plant. “I’m not sure how many Ice Beam attacks I have the energy left for, though.”

“I should still have enough energy left to handle this,” Kojin said, trying his best to keep up with Haru and Mizu.

“All right, let’s do this!” Sera said, as she, Chiaki and Elina joined the monkeys in keeping the plant busy.

The Pokémon dealing with the plant worked together to keep the plant busy fighting them, while trying to make a big enough opening for Blitz to reach the plant. Blitz stayed close to the ground, slowly creeping up on the plant. With the path cleared of vines for him, he pounced at the plant. Thanks to the effects of the Mobile Orb, the young Shinx soon disappeared into the plant.

---

Blitz blinked a few times, realizing he was now inside of the plant. Making his body glow so he could see more clearly, he was surprised to see that the plant looked even stranger on the inside than it did on the outside. It vaguely resembled a green tunnel, with an unusual dark energy travelling through plant-like veins.

“What… is this thing?” Blitz said, staring at the strange sight around him. “I better hurry up and get to the roots…”

Blitz looked down at the ground, wondering if he could really get to the roots from there. He had to at least give it a try, and pressed his paw against the ground until it phased right through it. He pulled his paw back, before pressing it against the ground and letting it phase through again. At least now he knew he could indeed go through the floor, but how was he supposed to get his whole body through?

He thought about it for a moment, before an idea popped into his head. He took a few steps back, before jumping and diving right through the ground. Blitz now found himself floating underground, with the plant right above him.

“Whoa…” Blitz said, surprised at finding himself remaining still rather than falling or sinking further down.

Blitz wondered how he was supposed to move further down, and decided to experiment a little by flailing his paws around. Managing accidentally to turn himself upside-down, Blitz slowly started getting an idea about how to move around in his current position. He began moving further down toward the roots, as if swimming. As he made his way down, he briefly spotted something shiny out the corner of his eye. He made his way down to one of the roots, and made his fangs glow with an icy glow before biting down on it…

---

Meanwhile, in the forest above, the other Pokémon were still fighting against the plant. Elina was proving to be a good distraction as she was able to float around and hit the vines from a distance with multicolored beams from her eyes. The Psybeam attacks didn’t do much to the plant itself, but did keep it distracted so that one of the tribe leaders could jump in and slice the vine off.

“You think Blitz is doing okay?” Chiaki asked, jumping across the vines.

“I hope so…” Sera replied, seeming a bit concerned. “I thought we would’ve seen some results by now…”

They continued fighting the plant, until the vines on the plant abruptly started breaking off and falling to the ground. It didn’t take long for the main part of the plant to begin breaking down as well. The Pokémon that had been climbing or jumping on the vines quickly made their way back to the ground, except Chiaki who lost his balance, but was caught by Elina before he hit the ground.

“It’s falling apart!” one of the Pansage shouted.

“The Shinx must’ve successfully destroyed the roots!” one of the Pansear said, grinning as the main part of the plant collapsed and started dissolving.

“I knew he could do it!” one of the Panpour said, clapping her hands.

A few moments later a blue paw emerged from the ground, reaching for something to grab onto so he could pull himself up. Chiaki and Sera quickly ran over to help their teammate up.

“Blitz, you did it!” Sera said, hugging the Shinx.

“You’re so awesome!” Chiaki shouted, joining the hug between his teammates. “What was it like down there, and inside that plant thing?”

“Guys, calm down!” Blitz exclaimed. “I-I only just got back up!”

In the meantime, Elina was hovering above the remains of the plant, and seemed fascinated by something green and sparkly that was sticking out of the ground where the plant had been. The tribe leaders noticed Elina examining the mysterious object, and decided to go investigate.

“What’s that?” Kojin asked, tilting his head slightly.

“I don’t have a clue,” Mizu responded.

“Well, don’t just stand there, then!” Haru said. “Let’s dig it up!”

The tribe leaders called over the Pansage, Pansear and Panpour, who immediately started digging up the mysterious shiny object. Once they had dug it up, Kojin and Mizu were surprised to see what it was, while Elina seemed delighted.

“Hey, rescue team!” Haru said, motioning for the rescue team to come see what they had found. “I think we just found what you came here for!”

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki walked up, and saw that the elemental monkeys had indeed just dug up the crystal they had come to Harmony Forest to find. Chiaki stared in awe at the green crystal that had lain hidden under the giant plant.

“So, this is… an Axis Tower crystal?” Chiaki asked, reaching out to touch the crystal. As he touched it, he briefly felt an odd sensation of energy flowing through his body, while Elina watched him out of the corner of her eye.

“We did it… We really did it!” Sera exclaimed, ears perking up in excitement. “We really, really did it!”

“Yeah… I guess we did!” Blitz responded, a smile crossing his face.

“Well, on behalf of the Pokémon of Harmony Forest, we would like to thank the four of you for helping us get rid of that plant,” Haru said, grinning. “And as promised, we helped you get that crystal you were looking for.”

“No problem, Haru,” Sera responded, walking up and letting the Simisage shake her paw. “And thanks for all your help, as well, all of you.”

“Hey, it was the least we could do,” Mizu responded.

“Thanks to you guys, we’ll be able to easily get to and from our tribes again,” Kojin said, putting his arm around Mizu’s shoulders. “And we no longer have to worry about that plant consuming our forest.”

“Well, I guess you guys should head back home with that crystal now, and find somewhere safe to put it so it doesn’t go missing again before it can be returned to the tower,” Haru said.

“Put it somewhere safe, huh?” Sera responded, looking over at her teammates. “You guys got any ideas?”

All three members of the rescue team thought about for a few moments, before Blitz spoke up:

“I think I know of a good place…”

---

Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Elina returned to Fenix Town, Elina deciding to separate from the group before they reached Stella’s house. As Elina prepared to leave, Chiaki ran up to her and gave her a hug.

“Thanks for helping us out today,” Chiaki said, smiling at the Elgyem. “If you hadn’t had a Mobile Orb with you, I’m not sure how we would’ve destroyed those roots!”

Elina returned the hug, before floating away, waving good-bye at the rescue team as she left. The rescue team then continued on their way to Stella’s house.

---

Once at Stella’s house, the rescue team presented the Gothitelle with the green crystal, and told her the whole story about what had happened at Harmony Forest. Stella just listened to what the three of them had to say with an unreadable look on her face, occasionally asking a few questions.

“We thought you might be the best Pokémon to look after the crystal for us,” Sera explained, before giggling a little and wagging her tail. “You should’ve seen the looks on some of the rescue teams we passed by on the way back to town when they saw us with it!”

“So, that’s one of the eight crystals?” Bow asked, staring in awe at the crystal. “It’s so pretty…”

“Well, I will certainly make sure the crystal you brought back is kept safe,” Stella said, seeming to have something on her mind. “That plant… Is there anything else you can tell me about it?”

“Huh?” Sera responded. “I can’t think of anything we haven’t already told you… but Blitz did bring back a sample of what was left of it.”

“Do you want to take a look at it?” Blitz asked.

“Yes, I would very much like to see it,” Stella replied.

Sera found the plant sample in the treasure bag, and gave it to Stella.

“You can keep it if you want…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together. “We probably don’t have much use for it, anyways…”

“Thank you,” Stella responded absent-mindedly, examining the sample.

“Is something wrong?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Oh, nothing you need to be concerned about,” Stella responded. “You three should probably head home now, I have work to do.”

“… If you say so,” Sera replied. “Well, bye for now.”

“Bye Stella! Bye Bow!” Chiaki said, waving to the two as he walked out the door.

“See you later,” Blitz said, before following his teammates out the door.

Bow felt a bit concerned by the way her mother was acting, and could tell that something was clearly worrying the Gothitelle.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?” Bow asked.

“I’m sensing residue of a strange dark power from this sample…” Stella said, using her psychic powers to get a deeper look into the plant sample. “It would take some powerful dark magic to create such a plant with properties like that…”

“What do you mean?” Bow asked, unsure of what her mother was talking about.

“It’s almost like… but… that can’t be possible…” Stella muttered. “Or…? Could it really be...?”

“What’s not possible?” Bow asked. “What do you think it is?”

“… Bow, can you go look for Santos?” Stella said.

“You mean that Delibird that delivers our mail?” Bow asked.

“Yes, I need to have a letter sent to a friend of mine,” Stella responded. “And I need to have it done as soon as possible.”

“Oh, okay,” Bow said, heading outside. “I’ll be back as soon as I find him!”

“Thanks, sweetie,” Stella responded, smiling at her daughter.

However, the smile faded fast, and Stella quickly used her telekinesis to move the materials she needed to write a letter to her desk. She took a quill in her hand, dipped it in the vial of Octillery ink and started writing out the message to her friend on the paper. She also telekinetically placed the plant sample inside the envelope while still composing the message. She knew her friend was the only one who could confirm her suspicions…

---

End of chapter 10.

---

SeekerofLight
24th November 2012, 5:30 PM
Aaaaaaannnnd... CLIFFHANGER!

Again, the story is going fantastically. I am constantly being surprised by your writing prowess.

Darkershining, you are doing brilliantly with this story. The description, characters and story itself are way above several over Fanfics I've read... Although I havent read many myself...

Keep up the great work

Seekeroflight

Knightfall
24th November 2012, 5:58 PM
So it seems Elina was only helping the cause, making my suspicions about her wrong. I apologize to her, but I'm still keeping a close eye on her.

Anyways, this was a delightful chapter. I enjoyed how you explained the relationships between the various Pan-tribes. and of course more minor characters.

As SeekerofLight said above me, your description of the dungeon and characters is very well done. Though I did find this segment:


Unbeknownst to Chiaki and his teammates, Elina was currently making her way through the dungeon leading into Harmony Forest. After Chiaki last night had told her where one of the missing crystals were, she had secretly gone off to Harmony Forest after Chiaki went home to sleep. However, because of the vines and because it was dark at the time, she hadn’t gotten very far. Things seemed to be going better this time, and hopefully she would catch up to Chiaki and the others soon. She had to be careful since there were wild Pokémon around, though. Especially with the bug types, that had a type advantage against her.

She wasn’t the bravest or strongest of Pokémon, but there was something only she could do…

This part just seemed to jar the narration completely. The flow of the chapter was messed up by this. I just did not like how it was handled. I suggest editing this so that the narration doesn't change as much.

Well, other than that, the chapter was fine. I hope to see more of this soon.

Knightfall signing off... ;005;

InsaneTyranitar
22nd December 2012, 10:16 AM
Hey, DarkerShining. It's me, Umbra. Yes, I revived this old fossil of an account just so I could comment on your fic. :P

Unfortunately, it's late, and I have a hard time reading on this phone, so will edit in a proper review later.

DarkerShining
29th December 2012, 5:22 PM
Hello everyone! Thanks for your comments, reviews, constructive critiscm and such. I hope everyone has been having a nice holiday. Now, this took me a lot longer than I expected, but I finally finished up chapter 11!

Hope you guys enjoy it!

----

Chapter 11: It had to take a lot more than just luck to do what you did!

----

Sera smiled as she woke up, still feeling rather proud of herself for helping retrieve one of the missing crystals just yesterday. Her parents and siblings had been pretty surprised to hear of what she had done, and weren’t even sure if she was telling the truth until she had let her oldest sister, Amethyst, look into her mind and confirm that she was indeed telling the truth.

The young Eevee happily stepped into the dining room, where her siblings were already eating breakfast.

“Good morning!” Sera said, taking her seat at the table.

“Oh, good morning, Sera,” Amethyst responded, telekinetically pouring herself some tea. “Did you sleep well, little sister?”

“Pretty well,” Sera replied, happily eating some berries off her plate. “One probably does tend to have a good night’s sleep after finding a missing artifact and bringing it back to town.”

“Ah, yes,” Amethyst said, taking a sip of her tea. “It is really great that one of the crystals has been found, even if there are still seven more out there.”

“Yeah,” Sera replied, looking around and noticing that their parents weren’t present. “Mom and dad already went off to work?”

“Yes, they did,” Amethyst responded. “They did tell me to tell you that they’re very proud of you before they left, though.”

“Really?” Sera asked, wagging her tail. “Well, I suppose that’s only natural after finding and bringing back such an important item.”

“Oh, big deal!” Volt said, with his fur bristling and giving off sparks of electricity. “You and your rescue team just got lucky!”

“Excuse me?” Sera responded, glaring at her Jolteon brother.

“He does have a point,” Sirena commented, waiting for Amethyst to refill her bowl of water. “It was only luck that you were in just the right place at the right time to learn the location of that one crystal.”

“Still, we still did retrieve the thing,” Sera said, feeling rather annoyed at the Jolteon and Vaporeon’s comments. “You can’t deny that.”

“I got the impression from your story that it was Blitz who did most of the work,” the Umbreon responded.

“Yeah, if anything, Blitz deserves most of the credit for being the one to deal with the plant,” Volt said, smirking at Sera. “Maybe he should be the rescue team leader instead of you?”

“Do you really want to mess with me?” Sera asked, growling at her brother. “I swear, if I had had a Silence Orb on me right now-“

Before the fight could escalate any further, both Sera and Volt found their ears telekinetically being pulled at by Amethyst.

“Sera, don’t threaten to muzzle your brother,” Amethyst said, before turning to Volt. “And Volt, stop bothering your little sister.”

She then let go of their ears, before refilling Sirena’s water bowl a third time.

“Fine, whatever,” Volt responded, resuming eating his breakfast.

“Amethyst, you think it’s pretty cool that my rescue team found one of the crystals, don’t you?” Sera asked, looking over at her oldest sister.

“Well…” Amethyst said, trying to think of how to respond to the question. “There was a certain element of luck involved; I can’t really deny that…”

Sera sighed and finished eating her breakfast, before deciding to head out. Surely the other rescue teams would treat her with the respect she deserved. As she prepared to head out, Flare, who had been quietly watching the whole scene during breakfast, walked up to her.

“Heading out, I see,” Flare said. “Good luck today, sis.”

“Thanks…” Sera replied, looking up at the Flareon.

“Oh and… don’t be too disappointed if things don’t go your way,” Flare said. “Okay?”

“Okay, I guess,” Sera responded, unsure what exactly her brother was referring to. “See you later!”

----

Sera’s mood lightened a bit as she entered the main part of town, feeling that the other rescue teams would probably treat her the way she felt she deserved to be treated. She told herself that her older siblings were probably just jealous, and that she would eventually show them that she was so much more than just their little kid sister. She smiled as she saw her two teammates just ahead.

“Good morning, guys!” Sera said, cheerfully walking up to Blitz and Chiaki.
“Hi Sera,” Blitz responded.

“Sera, look!” Chiaki said, holding up a newspaper. “We’re in today’s newspaper!”

“Ooh, really?” Sera asked, grinning. “Let me see! Let me see!”

Chiaki laid down the newspaper on the ground, and the three of them all looked at the relevant page while Blitz read the article out loud for them.

“For the last few days, the rescue teams of Fenix Town have been putting in their best efforts to find and recover the stolen crystals of Axis Tower, but it was not until now that one of the crystals was found by a local bronze rank rescue team, following a tip from Fenix Town’s own town oracle. And with a bit of luck, and the help of the local Pansage, Pansear and Panpour tribes, the crystal was retrieved from Harmony Forest, while at the same time also dealing with a mysterious plant that was threatening to destroy the balance of the forest. The origins of the mysterious plant and the location of the other seven crystals remain unknown. The Axis Tower guards will further investigate the case with the help of the local rescue teams. Until then, a big thanks to the bronze rank team that brought the crystal back. Keep up the good work!”

“… That’s it?” Sera asked, ears drooping down slightly in disappointment.

“What do you mean?” Chiaki responded. “I thought it was a nice article.”

“… Never mind,” Sera said. “So, what are we doing today?”

“Chiaki and I are heading down to the dojo for some training,” Blitz explained. “Chiaki wants to practice his Fake Out attack some more. Do you want to come along as well?”

“… I’ll catch up with you guys later, okay?” Sera replied. “I feel like taking a walk around town.”

“Um… Sure,” Blitz responded. “Let’s go, Chiaki, and see you later, Sera.”

“Bye, Sera!” Chiaki said, waving to Sera as he and Blitz headed off to the dojo.

Sera waved back, before she started wandering around town. She figured the Pokémon that wrote the article hadn’t had all the details when they had to write the story, and did their best with what they had to work with. She wanted to hear what the other rescue teams thought.

There were several rescue teams near the various stalls, some just going about their business, while others were talking about how one of the crystals had been retrieved. Sera smiled and confidently walked up to Mirage and her two teammates, who were depositing some money into their team bank account.

“Oh, hey there, Sera,” Megara said as she noticed the Eevee approaching them.

“Hi!” Sera responded, wagging her tail.

“Hello, Sera,” Mirage said, smiling at the Eevee. “So, we heard you and your friends brought one of the missing crystals back from Harmony Forest yesterday?”

“We certainly did!” Sera replied, feeling rather proud of herself.

“Well, congratulations on being the first rescue team to get one of those crystals back!” Mirage said. “Not bad for a bronze rank team.”

“Why, thank you!” Sera responded, grinning.

“Yeah, didn’t expect a rescue team at your rank to beat us to the punch,” Megara commented, winking. “You were lucky this time, but next time, we’re going to be the ones to get there first!”

“The mushroom would like to point out to Megara that we have just the same chance of finding a crystal as anyone else in town,” Cordyceps said. “So the mushroom thinks you shouldn’t have too high expectations, because we are very likely to be beaten to the punch again by a different rescue team.”

“… You’re no fun,” Megara responded, crossing her arms.

“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Sera asked.

“There are other Pokémon saying Cordy is no fun?” Mirage responded, looking a bit puzzled.

“No, I meant the part about our rescue team being lucky,” Sera replied. “I mean, it took more than luck to retrieve that crystal.”

“Of course it did,” Mirage said. “But still, you did have luck on your side, and that’s good for you!”

“The mushroom would like to object to the claim of not being any fun,” Cordyceps said. “The mushroom can in fact be quite the fun guy.”

The other three Pokémon stared in complete silence for a few seconds.

“Get it?” Cordyceps asked. “It’s funny because it sounds like fungi.”

“… Let’s go find some missions,” Megara said.

“Good idea,” Mirage responded. “Bye Sera.”

“Where are you going?” Cordyceps asked as his two teammates started heading off without him, before crawling after them. “Wait up, the mushroom doesn’t want to be left behind.”

Sera watched the other rescue team leave, and continued her walk.

“… If having luck with this was a good thing, then why does everyone make it sound like a bad thing?” Sera muttered to herself. “Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way…”

While her annoying siblings had certainly meant it in a bad way, maybe the other rescue teams didn’t see it as such.

----

At the dojo, Blitz and Hercules watched Chiaki sparring against Lotus, practicing his Fake Out attack. While he was having difficulty catching Lotus off-guard, he seemed to otherwise have gotten the technique right.

“Not bad,” Lotus said. “You seem to be more focused than last time you visited here.”

“Thanks!” Chiaki replied, trying to charge at Lotus, only for the Meditite to sidestep him.

“Seems Chiaki has his new attack under control,” Hercules commented.

“Yeah,” Blitz responded. “He figured out how to do it during our last mission.”

“Ah, yes,” Hercules said. “I heard about how you and your teammates found one of the eight missing crystals in Harmony Forest.”

“Oh…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “You heard about that?”

“Yes, I did,” Hercules replied. “You know, if I had known all the details about what you were asking about the other night, I probably would’ve told you not to do it.”

“Oh… Is that so?” Blitz asked, looking down at the floor.

Hercules smiled, and gently petted the young Shinx.

“I don’t really know if you and your teammates made the right choice,” Hercules said, getting Blitz to look up at him. “But hey, you did bring back an important artifact, and that’s pretty good.”

“Thanks,” Blitz responded, smiling at his mentor.

“So, how is Sera today?” Hercules asked. “I noticed she’s not here with you and Chiaki.”

“I’m not sure,” Blitz replied. “It kind of seemed like she had something on her mind, but she didn’t seem upset or anything…”

“I guess everyone has those days once in a while,” Hercules said.

“I suppose…” Blitz responded, continuing to watch the sparring match between Chiaki and Lotus. “Should I go check on her?”

“For now, I’d say just give her some time to herself,” Hercules replied. “If she hadn’t wanted some time to herself to think, she probably wouldn’t have gone off on her own.”

“If you say so…” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together.

“You can talk to her later,” Hercules said, smiling at the young Shinx. “For now, how about we do some training?”

“Sure!” Blitz responded, following the Heracross to another part of the dojo, while Chiaki and Lotus was left by themselves to continue their training.

----

After walking around town for a bit, Sera had decided to head over to the café for something to drink. On the way there, she had passed by Sting and his rescue team. They did compliment her for having helped bring back a crystal, but they hadn’t had the time to talk because they had decided to help the Axis Tower guards with their investigation.

“Hey, Sera!” a familiar voice called out, and Sera turned to see Azure bouncing over to her.

“Oh, hey Azure,” Sera responded.

“We read about you and your rescue team did in the newspaper today,” Azure said, grinning at Sera. “It’s totally awesome that you were able to get that crystal back!”

“Oh, thanks!” Sera replied, smiling at the excited Azurill. “We were pretty lucky with that one.”

“It had to take a lot more than just luck to do what you did!” Azure said, bouncing a little.

“I know, right?” Sera responded, sitting down at a table. “For some reason almost everyone seems focused on the luck part, though.”

“Let me guess, the grown-ups not giving you the respect you deserve?” Azure asked, sitting down next to Sera. “The grown-ups are always like that, treating us like we’re too young to do anything awesome!”

“I guess…” Sera replied, ears drooping down slightly.

“And that’s why I’ve been eating a lot of gummis and drinking juice made from gummis to increase my IQ skill!” Azure said, bouncing happily. “Because the sooner I get that IQ skill up high enough, the sooner I can evolve!”

“You really think evolving will make the adults take you more seriously?” Sera asked.

“Well, I know mom will let me go on adventures on my own when I’ve evolved!” Azure responded. “What about you? Have you thought about evolving?”

“… Not really,” Sera replied. “And in my case, I haven’t really thought about what I would want to evolve into.”

“Well, if you had to choose right now, what would you become?” Azure asked.

“Hmm… I’m not sure,” Sera replied, thinking about it. “Maybe I’d become an Espeon, like my oldest sister Amethyst?”

“Any particular reason why?” Azure asked.

“Well… Amethyst has always been like the perfect sister,” Sera explained. “She’s my role model.”

“Good for you, I guess,” Azure responded. “I imagine living up to your sister’s perfect image would be pretty difficult, though.”

“What about you?” Sera asked. “Do you have any role models?”

“Not really,” Azure responded. “I don’t need to be anyone else. I’m me, and I’m proud of that!”

Sera couldn’t help but smile at Azure’s statement, finding it quite admirable. While most adult Pokémon probably thought Azure was perhaps a bit too overconfident, there was still the fact that Azure seemed to have complete faith in herself. Sera thought it had to be nice to have that kind of self-confidence.

“We should go on another adventure together sometime,” Sera said.

“Yeah, we should definitely do that!” Azure responded, bouncing excitedly. “If you ever need my help, I’ll be there!”

“Thanks, Azure,” Sera replied, wagging her tail.

“So, did you come here to get yourself something to drink?” Azure asked.

“Oh, right,” Sera responded. “I’d like some Oran berry juice.”

“Okay,” Azure said. “I’ll ask Frederick to get us some juice when he’s done serving those customers over there.”

The two female Pokémon glanced over at the Deino in question, as he tried to find the customers he was supposed to serve the drinks he was currently carrying on a tray he was holding in his mouth. At the table were the Servine and Minccino rescue team, and this time they had a third team member with them. The new member was a blue Pokémon that appeared to have long ear-like arms and a big smile on its face.

“You’re getting warmer,” the Servine said, the grass snake trying to help guide the dragon Pokémon. “It’s just a little bit further now!”

Frederick nodded his head slightly, only to remember what he was doing and stopping himself before the drinks spilled out.

“Be more careful!” the Minccino said, watching the Deino while dusting off the table with her tail. “If you drop those drinks, I will smack you with my tail!”

“Relax, he’s doing fine,” the Servine said to the chinchilla Pokémon, trying to calm her.

“Relax? One wrong move and those drinks will spill all over the floor!” the Minccino responded. “There’s no way I can just relax in a situation like that!”

At that point, Frederick gently set down the tray of drinks on their table without spilling a single drop.

“Here you go!” Frederick said, giving a friendly smile. “That’s one Leppa berry juice, one Rawst and Nanab berry smoothie and one iced Pecha tea!”

“See?” the Servine said, picking up the glass of Leppa berry juice with one of her vines. “I told you there was nothing to be concerned about.”

“Well, I suppose there weren’t any disasters this time…” the Minccino responded, picking up her smoothie. “Now I just need a straw so I can drink this without worrying about spilling anything all over my fur…”

“I’m on it!” Frederick said, and started making his way back to the counter, while Sera and Azure were still observing him.

“So, how is Frederick doing?” Sera asked. “Is he anywhere close to paying off his debt?”

“I have no idea,” Azure responded. “I know he’s been doing a good job, but I haven’t really been keeping track.”

“Oh,” Sera replied, scratching behind her ear with one of her hind legs.

“Hey, I just thought of something!” Azure said, bouncing on her tail. “You want the grown-ups to take you seriously, right?”

“Of course I do,” Sera replied.

“Well, your team was able to track down one of the crystals, which got you some compliments and stuff,” Azure said, smirking. “But to truly prove yourself, you should try to find the other seven crystals as well!”

“Whoa! That’s a really great idea!” Sera responded. “How would I pull that off, though?”

“Ask Stella if she has anymore visions of the other crystals, of course!” Azure said. “Oh, and you could help out the Pokémon investigating the case too!”

“I guess,” Sera replied, thinking for a moment. “Not sure if I’d be able to get Blitz to go along with that, though.”

“You’re the team leader, right?” Azure asked. “Your teammates have to do what you want?”

“It’s not that simple,” Sera responded. “According to other rescue teams, and big sister Amethyst, a good leader needs to listen to and always take their teammates’ opinions into consideration.”

“Well, if that’s what the grown-ups do…” Azure said, balancing on her tail.

“I wonder how those investigations are going,” Sera wondered, resting her head on the table, while Azure called Frederick over to take their drink orders. "Wait... Azure, why don't you just go get us some drinks? You help out in the café sometimes too, right?"

"It wouldn't be polite to just leave in the middle of a conversation, would it?" Azure responded, winking at Sera. "So, what were you saying about the investigations?"

----

In Harmony Forest, the Mienshao guard from Axis Tower was asking the leaders of the elemental monkey tribes some questions, while a rescue team duo consisting of a large four legged Pokémon seeming to be composed of blue metal and a silver colored X on its face and a yellow humanoid Pokémon with a long mustache and a spoon in each hand were examining the spot where the mysterious plant had been.

“Hmm, very interesting,” the Mienshao commented, taking a few notes. “Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.”

“So, do you think this will really help you guys find some clues as to the location of the other crystals?” Mizu asked, while polishing her Skarmory feather sword.

“We hope so,” the Mienshao responded. “We haven’t yet come across any distortions caused by the crystals’ disappearance, but we still need to aim to find those crystals as fast as possible.”

“Of course,” Kojin replied. “At least there’s no reason to panic just yet, since there hasn’t been any apparent distortions anywhere yet.”

“And you can count on us to help out in any way we can!” Haru said, grinning. “Of course, due to our tribe leader duties, we can’t really help much outside of the forest.”

“I understand,” the Mienshao responded, before turning his attention to the Metagross and the Alakazam duo. “What about you two?”

“There seems to be traces of some kind of dark energy left in this plant,” the Alakazam said while focusing psychic energy through his two spoons to analyze the plant. “We haven’t been able to identify just what it is, though.”

“I don’t think we’ve ever come across anything like this before,” the Metagross added. “But it is very likely that this energy is what caused the plant to grow so fast.”

“So, we still don’t know anything about where it came from, or who planted it here?” Mizu asked.

“I’m afraid not,” the Metagross responded. “However, we intend to find out.”

“There are many rescue teams helping investigate this case, so one would expect more clues to be found fairly soon,” the Alakazam said. “For some reason I get the feeling that we have may have overlooked something…”

“Well, I suppose we should just keep an eye out for anything unusual,” the Mienshao suggested.

The Pokémon gathered in the area continued looking for whatever information they could find, before eventually deciding to call it a day. The tribe leaders went back to their tribes, while the Mienshao and the assisting rescue team decided to go find the other guards and rescue teams investigating the case so they could compare notes.

----

On her way home, Sera again thought about the idea of evolving. If she became an Espeon, would she be anywhere as amazing as her big sister? She then thought about the other options she had, considering what the benefits of the other possible forms she could take might have.

Umbreon were pretty cool looking, but she wasn’t entirely sure what benefits she would want from that form. The first thing that came to mind was to be able to illuminate dark places, and Blitz already had that covered when it came to rescue team missions. The only other thing Sera could really think of that she would consider a benefit was to get to stay up longer at night.

As for Vaporeon, Sera knew that Sirena had some pretty cool abilities that she showed off whenever she wanted to take the attention away from Amethyst. Vaporeon were able to breathe underwater, use several strong water moves and could even make their own bodies melt into water. Sera imagined there had to be some pretty cool ways to travel that way, but also found the idea of being able to change her body like that somewhat scary.

She thought Glaceon were pretty, but hadn’t really seen much of what her mother was capable of doing with her ice powers. While freezing stuff was probably a neat power, Sera didn’t particularly like the cold. She preferred being warm and fuzzy.

With that in mind, maybe Flareon was a better option? Flare did sometimes let Sera sleep next to him and use his tail as a blanket on cold nights, and that always felt really nice and cozy. Then again, she also didn’t like getting too warm.

As for Leafeon and Jolteon, she wasn’t too sure she would want to be either of those. Sure, her father could use photosynthesis and use cool grass type attacks, but she couldn’t really think of anything she would want to do in that form. And sure, Volt could run pretty fast and zap other Pokémon with lightning, but she just couldn’t imagine herself as a Jolteon.

Evolution seemed like something one had to put a lot of thought into, especially as an Eevee. She wondered if her siblings had gone through the same routine when deciding on what they wanted to evolve into back when they were Eevee. For now, she figured it was better not to worry too much about it.

As Sera finally made it home and stepped inside, she noticed Amethyst lying on the floor. From what she could tell, Amethyst looked very tired and almost a little… sad. Sera had never seen her big sister in such a state before.

“Amethyst, is something wrong?” Sera asked.

Amethyst’s ears perked up in surprise at Sera’s voice, and the Espeon quickly got up. She seemed rather tense as she turned to face her younger sister.

“Oh, Sera,” she said, putting on a smile. “I was just… meditating.”

“Meditating?” Sera responded, skeptically tilting her head.

“Yes, when I had finished up all the chores, I realized I was ahead of schedule, and I thought I’d meditate a little before mom and dad comes home,” Amethyst replied, although Sera noticed that she seemed to be hesitating to make eye contact.

“You didn’t look like you were meditating,” Sera responded.

“Don’t worry about it,” Amethyst said, trying to remain calm. “There’s nothing to be concerned about.”

“Are you sure?” Sera asked. “You don’t sound sure.”

“I’m sure; there is nothing to be concerned about,” Amethyst responded, before hastily leaving the room.

“… What’s wrong with her? Why is she lying to me?” Sera wondered out loud, before noticing Flare peeking out from behind another doorway.

“I’ve seen Amethyst a few times when she thinks no one is watching,” Flare said.

“Do you know why she was acting so weird?” Sera asked.

“Well, have you ever thought about how much it must take to be the perfect daughter?” Flare responded. “Or how much effort it must take to maintain that perfect image all the time?”

“I… never really thought about that…” Sera replied, her ears drooping down slightly. “But, why doesn’t she just ask for help if that’s the case?”

“I guess she’s afraid of letting us know how she really feels,” Flare responded. “While she may feel overwhelmed by everything that is expected of her, she doesn’t want us to worry about her and keeps it to herself.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do for her?” Sera asked. “It’s not right for Amethyst to be so sad!”

“I don’t know, Sera,” Flare responded, petting the Eevee with his paw. “Maybe the two of us can think of something, but try not to worry about it too much. I have a feeling Amethyst wouldn’t want that.”

“Okay, I’ll try…” Sera said.

“Also, I think Amethyst would probably want you to enjoy being a kid while you can,” Flare added. “She probably misses the days where she could just be a kid, and not have to worry about what everyone expected of her.”

“Hold on, you’re saying Amethyst might be jealous of me?” Sera asked, tilting her head.

“Well, it’s possible,” Flare replied. “I wouldn’t know anything for sure, though.”

“… I’m going to go to our room,” Sera said. “I have some thinking to do.”

Sera walked up to the bedroom she and her siblings shared, unsure what to think about everything. She still thought that Amethyst was better than her in many ways, so even if she had a bit too much work on her paws, there was just no way that her big sister could be jealous of her. How else did this possibly affect their relationship? Was it possible that Amethyst didn’t want to be Sera’s role model? Would Amethyst stop giving her advice?

Sera hoped that wasn’t the case. While she would still have other rescue teams to ask for advice, she still wanted to have Amethyst as a role model too.

“Maybe it’s enough to just not ask her for advice for a few days…” Sera said to herself. “That at least gives her one less thing to worry about until I can think of something more to do for her…”

Sera thought about what Azure had said at the café earlier, and once again wished she had that kind of confidence that the young Azurill had. She then thought about Azure’s suggestion that her rescue team help search for the remaining seven crystals. Technically, they were already involved with the crystal search, even if all they could do was gather information, if anything at all.

After all, with other rescue teams on the case, the odds weren’t too good for them to find more of the eight crystals. But who knew? Maybe luck would be on their side again.

----

End of chapter 11.

----

SeekerofLight
11th January 2013, 5:29 PM
...
...
Seriously, how can you be such a brilliant writer?

This just goes to show that action does not make a great story. The way you have crafted not only the main characters, but also the minor, support characters in to lovable personalities. Fantastic.

The only niggle I could find with it is that certain phrases and actions are repeated in a short amount of text, a particular example would be Blitz' s habit of 'rubbing his forelegs together' was used a few times in one short paragraph.

Other than that, keep up the good work, I cannot wait for the next chapter, as always.

Best Regards

SeekerofLight

EDIT: DarkerShining, do you actually know how many words you've written? I copied the chapters into Word for keeps (it's that good), and the word count is something like OVER FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAAANNND!

*a-hem* Anyway, keep up the good work.

DarkerShining
31st January 2013, 11:21 PM
Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far!

I believe that I have had pointed out to me before that certain words have been a bit repetive. I've been trying to make it less so, but I guess there are still some instances. I'll keep working on that. :)

Anyways, I've been working on the first draft of chapter 12, but I've been having some problems with getting it done. Partially due to still not being very good with battle scenes, and partially due to stress and having been busy and such due to school having started back up. Hope you guys don't mind having to wait a little longer. I do want to get new chapters up as much as you guys want to see them, so I assure you I'll try to get it done as soon as possible. :)

And wow, that's a lot of words. Wonder how high that word count will be by the end of the story?

So, that's pretty much all I have to say for now. See you guys later, and when I do, I'll hopefully have chapter 12 ready for you guys. :)

DarkerShining
16th February 2013, 5:15 PM
Hey guys! It's me again, and as promised, I have a new chapter this time!

Yeah, I finally managed to get it done. It took a while, but I finally managed to finish it. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Also, I think I'm finally going to start a PM list, so if you want to be on that, let me know. One question, though; do I have to keep the list on the first page of my fanfic like I believe some other fanfic writers do or can I have it written down somewhere else? Due to this glitch I've been encountering when I try editing something, I'm worried editing it into the first page of my fanfic might mess up the formatting of it.

Anyways, here's the 12th chapter!

----

Chapter 12: It doesn’t specify what the reward is, but since it’s from a queen, I bet it’s something good!

----

At some point during the night, while the Pokémon of Fenix Town were asleep, a Sigilyph appeared, observing the town from a distance. The Sigilyph snickered to himself, having heard the news about one of the missing crystals having been found by a rescue team.

“So… They found one of the crystals and destroyed that plant, huh?” the Sigilyph said to himself, snickering some more. “Well, I guess that’ll just make things more interesting.”

The Sigilyph’s fork-like wings fluttered as it hovered back and forth while thinking about what exactly he had heard about how the crystal was found.

“Apparently, the town oracle helped that rescue team locate the crystal,” the Sigilyph said, thinking for a moment. “Cassandra’s great, great granddaughter, I presume.”

The Sigilyph snickered some more, his eye flashing with purple light for a moment.

“I should definitly think of a way to punish her…”

The strange bird Pokémon seemed to feel something, as it glanced down at the town below.

“What’s this? I feel a familiar presence… Is that little brat that prevented me from getting all eight crystals in this town too?”

The Sigilyph glared at the town below for a moment, before snickering some more.

“Well, I guess I’ll also have to think of a way to get back at that one as well for meddling in my plans…”

----

The next day, it was raining in Fenix Town. The rain seemed to put the water type Pokémon of town in high spirits, while the fire types weren’t as happy. Mirage and her two teammates were at River’s café, getting something to drink while reading today’s newspaper. Megara was looking out a window with a rather annoyed look on her face.

“Stupid rain…” Megara muttered.

“The mushroom does not mind the rain,” Cordyceps said, causing Megara to turn her head to look at him. “Besides, you did bring an umbrella. The mushroom advices you not to set it on fire like you did with the last one.”

“As if this cheap thing will protect me from the rain,” Megara said, holding up an umbrella made of a stick and some big leaves. “You really should’ve given me enough money to buy a better one, Mirage!”

“Well, maybe if you were a little better at saving up your share of the money from our missions or you hadn't burned up your last one, you wouldn’t have this problem,” Mirage replied.

“What’s that supposed to mean!?” Megara asked, sounding rather annoyed.

“Whoa, relax,” Mirage responded, offering Megara the newspaper. “Here, maybe reading this will help you get your mind off the rain. There are some interesting things here today.”

“Have they made any progress with the crystal search?” Megara asked.

“Not much,” Mirage replied. “But check this out; it’s an article about a Salamence that was raised by Purrloin.”

“How is that supposed to get me in a better mood?” Megara asked, as Sera, Blitz and Chiaki stepped inside the café. “Oh, look. More rescue teams trying to escape the rain.”

“Hi,” Sera said, as she shook the rain water out of her wet fur.

“Hey, don’t do that!” Megara shouted. “You’ll get water all over the place!”

“Sorry,” Sera replied, her fur having puffed up from being shaken dry. “I guess another advantage to being a Vaporeon would be that you never have to worry about wet fur.”

“You look even fluffier than usual now!” Chiaki commented, chuckling a bit.

“I hope it doesn’t rain for too long,” Blitz said, glancing at the rain outside. “We should be trying to get some missions done today.”

“Hey, at least it’s just a little rain,” Mirage responded, showing the younger rescue team the newspaper. “According to this, there have been some very harsh sandstorms over in Clarion Desert for several days now.”

“Is that so?” Megara asked in a somewhat bored tone.

“Yeah,” Mirage replied, pointing to the article. “Says here the sandstorms are so rough, that it’s pretty much impossible to get through them.”

“Meh, they'll have to stop eventually,” Megara responded, resting her head on her arms.

“Mirage has a point, the weather could’ve been much worse,” Sera commented, glancing over at Blitz. “So why should we let this rain delay us?”

“Yeah, it’s not even raining that much!” Azure said, having overheard the conversation.

“I guess if none of us minds getting our fur wet…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “Then there’s no reason we can’t head out right away.”

“Well, what are we waiting for, then?” Sera said, grinning. “Let’s go!”

“Ooh, can I come too?” Azure asked, bouncing over to the rescue team. “The rain has put me in an adventuring mood!”

“But Azure, you promised to help out in the café today,” River said, looking over at her daughter. “Did you forget about that?”

“Oh, I’ll come back and help out later!” Azure responded. “Please let me go adventuring with Sera and her team!”

“I probably shouldn’t be encouraging this,” River replied, sighing. “But, okay. I’ll let you go.”

“Thank you!” Azure responded, happily bouncing on her tail.

“Well, let’s go!” Sera said, and so the four Pokémon headed out.

“Azure sure takes after her father,” River commented, as she resumed her work.

Mirage glanced out the window as Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure were starting to head over to the rescue team HQ, before turning back to her teammates.

“Come on, Megara,” she said, looking over at the still annoyed Magmar. “Surely we shouldn’t let the rain stop us from getting our job done? Let’s follow that other rescue team’s example, and head out!”

“No,” Megara responded.

“But odds are that it’s not even raining inside the mystery dungeons!”

“The answer is still no.”

----

At the rescue team HQ, Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure began checking out the available missions on the boards. However, while the rescue team considered several of the missions, Azure didn’t seem particularly interested in any of them and instead wandered over to the board with the outlaw missions.

“Hmm… I bet we could easily beat one of these guys,” Azure commented while looking over the wanted posters.

“Azure, I don’t think your mother would approve of us taking you on that kind of mission,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together nervously. “Plus, this rescue team has only done one outlaw mission, and the outlaw in question wasn’t even really an outlaw!”

“Then isn’t it about time you guys go on another one of these missions?” Azure asked, winking at the three.

“When she says it like that, it does seem like a good point,” Chiaki cheerfully replied.

“I guess we can take a look at the missions, at least,” Sera said, and walked up to Azure along with Chiaki.

“Oh, o-okay…” Blitz said, walking over to the others. “But if you have to do an outlaw mission, at least pick one that doesn’t look too strong…”

“What about that one at the top right corner?” Azure asked, glancing up at a wanted poster depicting a Pokémon resembling a large purple scorpion. “He doesn’t look too tough.”

“You mean that Drapion up there!?” Blitz responded, seeming rather intimidated by the appearance of the scorpion outlaw. “We can’t fight that!”

“You’re really scared of him?” Azure asked, glancing up at the wanted poster with a confident smirk. “He’s just a big purple accordion! There’s nothing to be afraid of!”

“Azure, I think Blitz is right,” Sera responded, reading the mission rank on the poster. “This guy is way too tough for a Bronze rank team like us.”

“Oh, fine,” Azure replied. “But I still think we could’ve taken him.”

“What about this one?” Chiaki asked, pointing to a mission on the lower left corner of the board. “Apparently someone called Queen Miele from a place called Nectar Woods needs help dealing with some honey thieves!”

“Isn’t Nectar Woods where the honey we use at the café is from?” Azure said, looking over at the mission. “This queen must be the one in charge of the Combee that makes that honey.”

“This mission looks good to me,” Sera commented, looking over the mission. “It doesn’t specify what the reward is, but since it’s from a queen, I bet it’s something good!”

“I guess this mission doesn’t look too difficult for a rescue team at our level…” Blitz said.

“So, we’re all in!” Azure shouted, bouncing happily. “Let’s go, everyone!”

And so the four Pokémon headed into Kala’s room to teleport over to Nectar Woods, as a certain Beedrill who had been waiting for one of his teammates outside nurse Giselle’s office glanced over at them, having overheard part of their conversation.

“Queen Miele?” Sting said to himself, glancing down and twiddling the stingers on his arms. “I wonder how she’s been…”

----

In a flash of light, the four Pokémon appeared in Nectar Woods. According to the map, it was smaller than some of the other forests they had explored and it was mostly populated by bug type Pokémon. Some spider webs were visible in trees, which had a lot of berries growing on them as well. Some of the trees also had sap leaking out of them, which several of the bug Pokémon probably enjoyed.

“Whoa, this place is pretty!” Chiaki exclaimed, grinning.

“So, where do we begin?” Sera asked, looking around.

“I guess we should find that Vespiquen…” Blitz said, glancing around.

“Oh, right!” Sera responded.

“Where do we find her, though?” Azure asked, standing on top of the ball at the tip of her tail, looking around.

“Maybe we can ask them?” Chiaki said, pointing to some green spider Pokémon that were busy making a new web. “Hello, Spinarak?”

“What do you want?” one of the Spinarak asked. “Can’t you see we’re busy?”

“We are trying to make this new design more fabulous than any spider web you've ever seen!” one of the other Spinarak said, crawling around the web. “This’ll certainly show those Joltik who makes the best spider webs around here!”

“Oh, okay,” Chiaki responded, giving the spider Pokémon a friendly smile. “Good luck!”

“I wonder if there’s anyone else we can ask…” Blitz wondered out loud, before picking up on a sound which seemed to be getting closer to them. “Uh, guys? Do any of you hear a buzzing sound?”

The other three glanced around, before two Beedrill appeared and hovered over to them. Both Beedrill were wearing hats made from leaves with holes for their antennae to stick out, and matching shawls. Chiaki couldn’t help but stare at the hats, and quietly thought about how he wanted to try on one of those hats.

“Oh, hello,” Sera said, looking up at the two Beedrill. “May I help you?”

“We are royal guard Beedrill working for Queen Miele,” one of the two Beedrill said, curiously examining the four Pokémon. “Are you a rescue team?”

“Oh, yes we are!” Sera responded. “We saw the mission your queen sent, and came to help deal with the honey thieves!”

“Excellent,” the Beedrill said. “Follow us; we’ll escort you to her.”

----

The two royal guard Beedrill lead the rescue team to a large tree with an opening in it. Inside was the honeycomb where Queen Miele and many Combee lived. The rescue team could see many of the Combee flying around, the wings on each side of their honeycomb-like bodies giving off a buzzing sound as they fluttered. Each was focused on the tasks they had been assigned, and so they didn’t pay much attention to the visitors.

“Whoa, this place is awesome!” Chiaki said, grinning as he stared in awe.

A slightly different buzzing sound was heard, as a large queen bee with a dress-like body, including a honeycomb-shaped skirt around her abdomen.

“You must be the rescue team that accepted the mission I sent out,” the Vespiquen said, looking at them with her red eyes. “I am Queen Miele; it is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Hi!” Chiaki responded, happily waving at the Vespiquen. “I’m Chiaki!”

“H-Hi…” Sera said, nervously smiling. “My name is Serafina, but most people just call me Sera…”

“It is an honor to meet you,” Blitz said, bowing down to the Vespiquen. “I am Blitz.”

“And I’m Azure,” Azure said, glancing around. “So, um… You’re like, the queen of this forest?”

“Why, yes,” Queen Miele responded, nodding her head slightly. “While my main duty is to lead the Combee, I also try to find ways to make sure the Pokémon of Nectar Woods are happy.”

“It is admirable that you care for the wellbeing of all Pokémon in your territory,” Blitz said, still bowing down to the Vespiquen. “I bet your pride, I mean, swarm, all look up to you.”

“Why, thank you for the compliment!” Queen Miele responded, seeming flattered. “And yes, I can tell through the hive mind I’ve formed with the Combee that they love me very much.”

“Hive mind?” Sera inquired. “As in, you’re connected to and can control what they think?”

“Not exactly,” Queen Miele responded. “Yes, we are connected, but I wouldn’t go as far as to decide for them what they should think and feel. They’re all individuals, after all.”

“Yes! We are all individuals!” replied every single Combee in the hive in unison.

“Plus, it has some advantages, such as being able to receive information faster,” Queen Miele explained. “In fact one of the Combee has identified one of the honey thieves as a Butterfree, a female one judging by the black spots on the lower part of its wings.”

“So, we need to keep an eye out for a female Butterfree?” Sera asked.

“Yes,” Queen Miele responded. “She was pretty fast too, as she managed to flee before any of the Combee could stop her.”

“Okay, we’ll keep that in mind,” Sera replied. “Shame we didn’t bring any Quick Orbs or anything for this, though…”

“Well, at least we now have at least one lead to go on,” Azure commented, bouncing a little.

“There’s a mystery dungeon in this forest, right?” Blitz asked, looking up at the queen.

“Why, yes,” Queen Miele responded. “It is not far from here, actually.”

“Okay, we’ll go investigate there,” Blitz replied, looking over at this teammates. “Odds are the Butterfree and anyone working with her are hiding somewhere within.”

----

The four Pokémon walked up to the entrance of the dungeon, where they believed the honey thieves might be hiding. After quickly checking their inventory, they headed inside the mystery dungeon. A maze of berry trees appeared before them, Chiaki staring in awe at the different colors of the leaves of the different types of berry tree.

“So, how far into the dungeon do you think these guys went?” Azure asked, balancing on one foot on top of her tail.

“I’d assume we’ll find them at the very end of the dungeon,” Sera responded, glancing over at Blitz to make sure they were following the same line of thought. “Don’t you think?”

“Yeah, most likely,” Blitz replied.

“All right,” Sera said, looking around to see which path to follow. “Let’s get going, then!”

Sera began walking down on of the paths, followed by Blitz, Chiaki and Azure. The dungeon was at ten floors, and mostly inhabited by bug type Pokémon. There seemed to be more berries than usual to be found on the ground within the dungeon, possibly due to the presence of the berry trees.

“So, what kind of Pokémon do you think is working with the Butterfree?” Azure asked, looking around for wild Pokémon to fight.

“Pokémon that like honey, I guess,” Sera responded, sniffing the air.

“Teddiursa like honey,” Blitz said, glancing around. “Another bug or a grass type Pokémon may also be involved.”

“I like this place,” Chiaki commented. “It’s so pretty!”

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many different berry trees in one place,” Azure said, looking around. “I wonder if the café has berries imported from here too.”

“I’m not sure if there’s enough space in our treasure bag to gather all these berries,” Sera commented, checking the current contents of the bag.

“Guess we’ll just do this, then!” Chiaki said, picking up a Pecha berry from the ground and popping it into his mouth.

“Or we can just leave them there on the ground,” Sera responded, giggling a little. “But your method works too.”

----

The four Pokémon made their way through the dungeon, exploring, fighting some bug Pokémon along the way and so on, until they finally reached the stairs leading up to the final floor. So far, they hadn’t seen any signs of the honey thieves. Blitz just hoped that his feeling about the thieves hiding out at the end of the dungeon was correct, or else they’d have gone all that way for nothing. As he followed behind Sera as she walked up the stairs, Blitz thought he could faintly hear some voices coming from the floor above.

“Anyone else hear that?” Blitz asked, looking around as they walked up to the floor at the end of the dungeon.

“Yeah, I do,” Sera responded. “Think it’s the honey thieves?”

“Let’s find out,” Blitz said, slowly starting to make his way down the path. “The voices seem to be coming from further in.”

The rescue team and Azure quietly moved ahead, hoping the honey thieves wouldn’t hear them and run away. They soon spotted the white butterfly wings of a Butterfree, with black spots on the lower wings as Queen Miele described. There were two other Pokémon with her; a light brown bear cub with a crescent shaped spot on its forehead and a Pokémon with pink cherry blossom petals seeming to form a dress covering its body and five cherry blossom petals on its head.

“This honey is really great!” the Teddiursa said, happily licking some honey of his paws.

“Won’t we get in trouble with the queen for taking honey without permission?” the Cherrim asked, sipping some honey.

“Relax, there’s plenty of honey there,” the Butterfree responded. “Besides, we won’t get in trouble if we don’t get caught.”

“That’s what you think!” Azure shouted, getting the attention of the three honey thieves.

“Azure, what are you doing?” Blitz asked, looking a bit startled. “We were trying to sneak up on them!”

“… Okay, now we’re in trouble,” the Butterfree said.

“A rescue team!” the Cherrim exclaimed, looking rather frightened. “Oh, this can’t end well!”

“Now, let’s not panic…” the Butterfree responded, trying to think of a solution. “They don’t look too tough… We could probably beat them in a battle.”

“A battle?” the Teddiursa asked, exchanging concerned glances with the Cherrim.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” the Cherrim asked.

“We accept your challenge!” Azure shouted, pounding her tail against the ground. “You are going down!”

“Azure, you’re not really a member of our rescue team, so you shouldn’t really be the one accepting challenges on our behalf…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Well, if we’re going to fight, let’s get ready!” Sera shouted, while using her Helping Hand move to power up her teammates.

“So, you’re powering up?” the Cherrim asked, smirking. “Well, two can play at that game!”

The Cherrim twirled around, a ball of light forming between her hands. She spun around once more before releasing the ball of light and letting it fly up into the air. The sun’s rays intensified, making the petals on the Cherrim’s body glow with a soft pink glow.

“So, your Flower Gift ability is giving us a power boost now?” the Butterfree asked.

“Yes,” the Cherrim responded. “Want me to add my own Helping Hand to that?”

“Nah, I don’t think that’ll be necessary,” the Butterfree replied, while dodging a spray of bubbles aimed at her by Azure.

“Fury Swipes!” the Teddiursa shouted, charging at Azure and attempting to strike her with his paws. However, Azure simply swung her tail around and knocked the Teddiursa aside.

“You know, saying what attacks you’re going to use out loud kind of makes it easier for the opponent to avoid it,” Azure commented, looking unimpressed.

“Well, you can’t dodge this!” the Cherrim shouted, twirling around and sending several glowing multicolored leaves flying at Azure.

Azure attempted to bounce away from the leaves, but found that the leaves kept following her. Quickly figuring out that she couldn’t avoid the Cherrim’s Magical Leaf attack, Azure settled for swinging the ball on her tail into the path of the attack and letting it take the hit so she’d at least take as little damage from the attack as possible.

The Teddiursa had gotten back on his feet, and was now fighting against Chiaki. While Chiaki seemed to be able to dodge the Teddiursa’s attacks without much difficulty, the Teddiursa wasn’t as good at paying attention to the opponent’s movements.

Sera and Blitz were charging at the Butterfree, hoping to hit her with their combined attacks, but the butterfly Pokémon simply moved out of the way. Sera and Blitz made another attempt, but the Butterfree dodged their attack again.

“She really is fast…” Sera commented, looking over at Blitz. “What do we do?”

“Hmm… I’ll try to think of something,” Blitz responded. “For now, let’s focus on the other two.”

The Cherrim continued using her Magical Leaf attack on her opponents, not doing much else. Since it was an attack that would always hit opponents and she could keep using it from a distance, why use anything else? That way, her opponents that seemed to mostly rely on physical attacks that required them to get up close to attack couldn’t reach her. It certainly seemed like a good idea to her.

The Teddiursa wasn’t having as much luck as his teammates, as he himself only knew attacks that he had to get up close to use. The Teddiursa nervously took a few steps back from Chiaki, unsure of what to do. Before he could decide on his next move, Azure slammed her tail against him with enough force to send him flying through the air for a few moments.

“Ah, I give up!” the Teddiursa shouted as he hit the ground, whimpering a little as he looked up at the rescue team. “I won’t steal honey anymore! Tell the queen I’m sorry!”

“Well, that’s one down,” Azure said, using her tail to take another Magical Leaf attack from the Cherrim. “We’ve still got to do something about those other two, though.”

Blitz and Sera ran as a Magical Leaf attack followed them, trying to figure out how to get the Cherrim to stop her attacks so they could get close enough to fight back.

“Blitz, can’t you use your Ice or Fire Fang attacks against her?” Sera asked.

“You know I can’t do that,” Blitz responded, charging up electricity to power up his electricity and build up his special defense against the Cherrim’s and Butterfree’s attacks.

“Not even just this once?” Sera asked, nervously glancing at the glowing leaves following them.

Seeing as the two were too occupied running from the Magical Leaf attack while they at the same time were having a conversation, the Butterfree decided to take this opportunity to whip up a gust of wind by flapping her wings hard enough. The wind attack quickly tripped up Sera and Blitz, and allowed the Magical Leaf attack from the Cherrim to connect.

“Oh, you’re not getting away with that!” Azure shouted as she and Chiaki charged at the Butterfree, but the butterfly Pokémon simply turned around and whipped up another Gust to slow them down.

“Sera, you okay?” Blitz asked, looking over at his teammate as he got back onto his feet.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Sera responded, getting up and shaking some dust out of her fur. “Blitz, if you won’t use your Ice or Fire Fang to directly attack, can’t you use it some other way? They’re our only moves that will be super effective against that Cherrim, you know.”

“Use them some other way…?” Blitz replied, taking a moment to think about it.

Chiaki and Azure did their best to guard against the Magical Leaf and Gust attacks thrown at them. While the Magical Leaf didn’t bother him too much, the Gust attacks were quickly wearing Chiaki out as the flying attacks were super effective against him.

“You’d better think of something fast,” Sera said, watching their teammates. “I’m not sure how long Chiaki can stand up against those Gust attacks.”

“I think I have an idea…” Blitz responded, looking around for something. “I just have to find something I can use…”

Blitz glanced around, until he spotted a branch with a few dead leaves still on it lying on the ground. He quickly ran over to and picked up the branch with his mouth, and began moving towards the Cherrim, waiting for just the right moment to make his move.

The Cherrim continued throwing her Magical Leaf attack around; until Chiaki realized that he did have a way of dodging her attacks, and caught the Cherrim off-guard by using Detect to successfully avoid the glowing leaves. Blitz took this opportunity to use Fire Fang to set the branch he was holding on fire, and fling it at the Cherrim, making sure it would land where there weren’t anything the fire could spread through around it.

The Cherrim gave a startled yell, and tried to back away from the branch, at which point she got hit by Chiaki’s Fake Out attack, followed by Azure using Slam to send her flying in the direction of Blitz and Sera, so they could follow it up with their combined Tackle attacks.

“Okay, I give up…” the Cherrim said, dazed from all the attacks she had just taken.

With the Cherrim and Teddiursa having surrendered, there was now just the Butterfree left to deal with. While she was still faster than the four of them, the butterfly Pokémon was starting to look rather nervous, realizing her opponents had the upper hand now. However, she quickly regained her composure.

“Perhaps I underestimated you…” the Butterfree said, before flapping her wings fast enough to blow her opponents away. “But you still won’t be able to catch me!”

As the Whirlwind attack pushed the rescue team back quite a bit, the Butterfree attempted to flee, flying towards the nearest exit to the mystery dungeon. Once the winds calmed down, the rescue team chased after the Butterfree. The Butterfree made it out of the dungeon with the rescue team still in pursuit, but she was feeling pretty certain that she would be able to escape them now, as she still had a good lead.

She glanced back for just a moment to make sure they were too far behind to catch up, only to suddenly find herself colliding with and getting stuck in a large spider web.

“Hey! What was that just now?” a tiny yellow spider Pokémon said, feeling the spider web it was working on with the other Joltik shaking. “Is someone messing with our art?”

“Strange, some Butterfree appears to have gotten stuck in our web,” another Joltik said, watching the struggling butterfly Pokémon with its four blue eyes.

“Well, she’s not part of our masterpiece; get her out she breaks it!” one of the other Joltik shouted.

With that, several of the Joltik crawled on over and surrounded the Butterfree trapped at the center of the web, before hitting the strings of the web with a bolt of electricity, zapping the trapped butterfly Pokémon for super effective damage. The Butterfree was knocked out by the attack, her wings twitching slightly from the electricity. The Joltik then carefully made it so she’d fall out of the web without damaging their work of art.

The rescue team was quick to pick up the unconscious butterfly Pokémon as she hit the ground, and the Joltik resumed working on the spider web, talking about how their newest design would surely beat whatever the Spinarak were going to come up with and prove once and for all that the Joltik were the greatest artists in Nectar Woods.

“Well, guess that’s mission accomplished!” Sera said, wagging her tail happily. “Let’s take the honey thieves back to the queen.”

“Thanks, Joltik!” Chiaki said, cheerfully waving at the Joltik as he helped his teammates carry the unconscious Butterfree away.

The Joltik didn’t seem to hear Chiaki, nor did they care what he had to say as they were all too focused on their spider web.

----

The rescue team brought the honey thieves back to the honeycomb, where Queen Miele gave the honey thieves a chance to explain themselves, before taking a few moments to try to think of a punishment for them. After discussing it with some Combee, she finally thought of something.

“I want the three of you to gather some flowers for us,” Queen Miele said, while motioning for a Combee to bring her something.

“Is that it?” the Butterfree asked, tilting her head slightly. “That doesn’t sound too difficult.”

“However, the flowers we want you to get for us are ones not normally found in Nectar Woods,” Queen Miele responded, as the Combee returned with some paper and something she could write with. “I’ll give you a list of which flowers we want, and where they can be found.”

Queen Miele quietly wrote something down, before handing the directions to the Teddiursa, who held it up for his teammates to see.

“Some of the names of the places these flowers can be found sound kind of scary…” the Cherrim commented. “And what is this about a Venusaur?”

“Oh, there’s a kind of old and grumpy Venusaur in one of the areas that doesn’t particularly like sharing the flowers in that meadow with others,” Queen Miele explained, to which the honey thieves exchanged concerned glances. “… Good luck with that!”

“… Well, let’s get going,” the Butterfree said to her teammates, and so the three headed out.

“You sure I didn’t go too hard on them?” Queen Miele asked one of the Combee. “Should we ask some of the royal guard Beedrill to follow them and make sure they don’t get into too much trouble?”

“They’ll probably do fine!” Chiaki said with a cheerful smile. “They were pretty tough to beat during the battle we had earlier!”

“If you say so,” Queen Miele responded, giving Chiaki a friendly look. “Anyways, I would like to thank the four of you for dealing with my problem, and for your reward, you will each receive a week’s supply of honey!”

“Uh, thanks…” Sera responded, seeming a bit unsure what exactly she would do with this reward.

“Ooh, I bet Hercules would like that,” Blitz commented. “I should share that with him.”

“We can probably use this at the café!” Azure said, bouncing a little.

While Chiaki tried to think of something fun he could do with a week’s supply of honey, a familiar buzzing sound suddenly caught his attention.

“Queen, there’s a visitor here for you,” one of the royal guard Beedrill said, as a certain other Beedrill stepped forward.

“Sting, is that you?” Miele asked, seeming pleasantly surprised.

“Hi,” Sting responded, shyly twiddling the stingers on his arms. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Huh? You two know each other?” Sera asked, looking back and forth between the queen and the rescue team leader.

“I grew up here in Nectar Woods,” Sting explained. “Miele and I were really good friends when we were younger.”

“Wow, never knew you were friends with royalty,” Sera commented. “I’m impressed.”

“Oh, it’s no big deal…” Sting responded, still twiddling his stingers. “So, you helped Miele out with a problem today?”

“We certainly did!” Sera replied, wagging her tail happily. “But, I guess it’s time the four of us head back to town. Plus, that way you and Miele can talk privately.”

“Uh, thanks…” Sting responded, watching as the rescue team began heading out.

“Have fun!” Azure said, turning back and winking at the Beedrill, before bouncing after the rescue team.

“What was that all about…?” Sting muttered, seeming a bit embarrassed. Queen Miele seemed mildly amused, though.

“I’ll ask the Combee to prepare some pollen punch for us,” Miele said, flying over to Sting and carefully held the stingers on his arms. “And perhaps you could tell me about your experiences as the leader of a rescue team?”

“Oh, sure,” Sting replied, buzzing happily. “I’d like that.”

----

As Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure began heading back to town, some royal guard Beedrill following behind to help carry the honey Queen Miele had rewarded them with, they came across the artistic Spinarak once more. The Spinarak seemed rather frustrated about something.

“It’s no use, it won’t stick!” one of the Spinarak shouted. “We can’t complete our design like this!”

“Let’s move to another part of the forest and start over!” one of the other Spinarak replied.

“We can’t just do that!” another Spinarak shouted. “There’s no way we’ll find another location ideal for our design at such short notice!”

“Do we come up with another design?” another Spinarak asked uncertainly.

“Um, excuse me?” Sera said, getting the Spinarak’s attention. “What’s going on here?”

“We can’t finish our design because that branch up there won’t co-operate with us!” a Spinarak explained, glancing towards the branch in question.

Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure looked up at the branch, and were shocked to see that part of the branch seemed to be rapidly flickering in and out of existence.

“What is that? Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“I think we might be looking at a distortion caused by the crystals’ absence at Axis Tower…” Blitz responded, shivering a little.

“That can’t be good…” Sera commented, her ears drooping down a bit. “I hope those other crystals are found soon…”

----

After the rescue team made their way back to town and went home for the evening, Sting still remained at the honeycomb, telling Miele about the missions he and his teammates had been on during the past few months.

“... And that’s when Melody had the idea of basically turning herself into an improvised raft by inflating herself and letting the kids ride her down the river, while Frosty and I followed behind and helped keep the wild Pokémon chasing after us away from them,” Sting explained.

“My, it sounds like you have a lot of exciting adventures, don’t you?” Miele asked.

“Yeah,” Sting responded. “It comes with being a rescue team leader.”

“And you get to help so many Pokémon,” Miele said, gazing into Sting’s eyes. “It is nice to hear that you’ve been doing so well in Fenix Town.”

“Thanks,” Sting responded, meeting her gaze. “I’m glad to see that you’re doing well too.”

“Hey, Sting? Do you ever think about that offer I once gave you?” Miele asked. “You know, about becoming one of my royal guards?”

“Oh, well… Kind of,” Sting responded, twiddling the stingers on his arms.

“But I assume you haven’t changed your mind?” Miele asked, placing her hand on his arm-stinger.

“Yeah,” Sting responded. “While you may belong here in Nectar Woods, I have found my place in Fenix Town, as a rescue team leader.”

“I understand,” Miele replied, nodding slightly. “I just miss you, you know. You were my first true friend, after all.”

“I’ve missed you too,” Sting said. “I remember the time I was a Kakuna, waiting to evolve and emerge a Beedrill. Even though you had to learn many things in preparation of your own evolution and coronation, you still took the time to come see me whenever you could.”

“Of course I did,” Miele replied. “No one else understood me the way you did.”

The two bug Pokémon gazed fondly into each other’s eyes for a moment, before looking away, noticing it was getting dark outside.

“It’s getting late,” Miele said, letting go of the stinger on Sting’s arm. “You should probably be heading back to town, right?”

“Yeah…” Sting responded, getting up. “It was nice to see you again.”

“We should do this again sometime soon,” Miele replied. “I’d love to hear more about your adventures with your rescue team.”

“Oh, sure,” Sting said, buzzing happily. “Maybe next time, I’ll bring my teammates so you can meet them.”

“That would be nice,” Miele responded. “I’ll look forward to it.”

“All right, then,” Sting said, heading outside. “Until then, take care.”

Sting began flying back to town, looking down at the forest below as he did so. Once it was out of sight, he started flying a little faster. He figured he would go to bed early this night, so he would have energy for whatever missions were waiting for him tomorrow. Perhaps he would even have a good story to tell the next time he saw Miele from whatever adventures awaited him and his teammates tomorrow?

----

Chiaki lay awake in bed and wasn't able to sleep until late that night, as he kept thinking about what was happening. Was everything going to vanish if the crystals weren’t returned to their rightful place in time? One crystal had already been found, so surely the other crystals would be found in time? While he was pretty certain that things would work out, it still made him feel uneasy for some reason…

----

End of chapter 12.

----

SeekerofLight
17th February 2013, 10:21 AM
Once again, exceedingly brilliant chapter.

What i love about this fic is how it is almost like an actual game. I mean that as the majority of chapters such as this one focus around little things such as going to the dojo or a random job request. Compared to several other Mystery Dungeon fics, mine included, you convey Sera, Chiaki and Blitz as a real Bronze Team.

For example, you have shown that they found the battle difficult as they are only weak pokémon, and at the moment they have had little effect or involvement in any huge events or story arcs. When you compare this to Seekers of Light, the main character, an apprentice called Torch has already fought huge enemies and is now involved in, well, i can't spoil anything. But Torch doesn't really seem like a young pokémon, instead a cool hero.

That's what i love about this story, the characters are truly believable.

Keep up the good work

SeekerofLight

Knightfall
17th February 2013, 12:45 PM
Very nice chapter. Once again, you really take the time to develop all the side characters like Sting. That's something I really like about this, every character has a story to tell and they're not just there to fill in space.

I enjoyed the fight against Butterfree and her cohorts; you describe it just like a normal boss fight. Oh, Whirlwind...

Anyways, as SeakerofLight said above me, I love how you make them battle at the skill level they have. They are still very new and can't hold their own against tougher enemies yet. I like the pacing for this as it's much more realistic than some other stories. I use it in my own story as well, and my team can't actually fight against a tough enemy and win. They've got to have some sort of help.

Well, excellent chapter, and I look forward to more.

Knightfall signing off... ;005;

DarkerShining
9th March 2013, 2:33 PM
Thank you so much for your reviews! It is nice to see that you're all enjoying the story! :)

I didn't really get any answers on how to organize a PM list, though. I guess it's not that difficult?

Anyways, chapter 13 is finished! It was a little easier to write than chapter 12, since I had a somewhat clearer plan for what would happen in this chapter when I began working on it. I hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 13: We overheard you saying something about a Desert Spirit?

----

In Axis Tower, a vaguely star-shaped pink Pokémon with long ears and small fairy-like wings was looking after one of the other guards, a brown Pokémon with a big head and his body somewhat resembling a coat. He had been asleep since the mysterious attack the night the crystals were stolen, and the Clefable had volunteered to stay behind at the tower and look after the Beheeyem while the guards went out to search for the crystals. It seemed like the Beheeyem had been drained of his psychic energy, and therefore had to rest to fully recover.

The Clefable looked out through the window, seeing that the morning sun was shining brightly outside. She wondered when she and the Beheeyem would join the other guards in their search. Of course, once the Beheeyem woke up, she knew he would first need to find something else that was much more important to him than the crystals.

“I wonder how the search is going?” the Clefable wondered out loud. “Oh Cresselia, please let this be a good day for them.”

“Cosmo, not to criticize, but wouldn’t it make more sense to pray to the legendary Pokémon representing the crescent moon and sweet dreams during nighttime?” a voice said to the Clefable through telepathy.

The Clefable turned to the Beheeyem, who had now opened his green eyes and was slowly getting up.

“Eltanin, you’re finally awake!” the Clefable said; glad to see the Beheeyem had recovered.

“Yes, I seem to have finally regained my strength,” the Beheeyem responded through telepathy while rubbing his head. “That Sigilyph sure was an unusual opponent…”

“Wait, you saw the thief?” Cosmo asked.

“Yes, but I have more important matters to tend to at the moment,” Eltanin responded, beginning to move towards the stairs.

“You’re heading out?” Cosmo asked, looking a bit concerned. “You just woke up, so maybe you should take it easy…”

“I appreciate your concern, but I must go,” Eltanin responded. “Even while I was asleep, I managed to use what little power I had to telepathically keep track of what was happening around me.”

“Ah, I see…” Cosmo replied. “So, then you already know…”

“Yes,” Eltanin responded, Cosmo didn’t even need to finish her question. “And then you probably understand why I must get going as soon as possible.”

“Of course,” Cosmo said. “We’ve all been very concerned, so I hope you find her quickly.”

“I will,” Eltanin responded, nodding his head. “Now that my powers have fully returned, I should be able to find her without too much difficulty.”

----

In Fenix Town, rescue teams were making their preparations for missions as usual. Sera was depositing some items at Lionel’s warehouse to make room for more items, since they had picked up quite a few berries during their mission in Nectar Woods yesterday. Shortly after finishing up at the warehouse, Sera met with her two teammates.

“Good morning, Sera,” Blitz said.

“Oh, hi,” Sera responded, happily wagging her tail as her teammates walked up to her. “I’ve already made some preparations, so let’s go find ourselves a mission!”

The rescue team began making their way towards the rescue team HQ; however, on the way there they spotted Mirage and her teammates talking to Stella.

“So, you're sure about this?” Mirage asked, sounding rather interested in whatever she was discussing with Stella.

“Yes,” Stella responded. “The vision was rather fuzzy, but I am certain of what I was able to gather from it.”

“All right,” Mirage replied, turning to her teammates. “We’re going to Clarion Desert!”

“Why?” Chiaki asked, walking up to them with his usual cheery smile.

“Because Stella just informed us that one of the missing crystals from Axis Tower is currently somewhere within the aforementioned desert,” Cordyceps responded.

“Cordy! Why’d you tell them that?” Megara asked.

“The mushroom was not aware it was supposed to be a secret,” Cordyceps replied.

“So, one of the crystals is in Clarion Desert?” Sera asked just to make sure she had heard correctly.

“Indeed,” Mirage replied, smirking at Sera. “And now I’m guessing you and your teammates are planning on heading there to search for it as well?”

“You bet we are!” Sera responded.

“We are?” Blitz asked, glancing around nervously.

“Well, then, let’s all head over to the rescue team HQ,” Mirage said, grinning. “We’ll see which team finds that crystal first!”

The two rescue teams began running in the direction of the rescue team HQ, catching the attention of Sting and his teammates on the way.

“Hey, what’s the rush?” Melody asked.

“One of the missing crystals is in Clarion Desert!” Chiaki explained. “We’re going to go find it!”

“Oh, is that so?” Melody responded, looking over at her teammates. “Should we get in on this too?”

“I’m up for it,” Frosty replied, looking over at Sting expectantly.

“Well, I suppose they could use all help they can get,” Sting said. “Let’s join their search.”

“Cool,” Melody responded, as they began running to catch up to the other two rescue teams. “Hey, wait up!”

----

At the rescue team HQ, the three rescue teams made their way into Kala’s room, the Abra being fast asleep as they entered. Mirage walked up to the sleeping psychic type, and lightly shook her shoulder. Kala slowly sat up and drowsily rubbed her eyes.

“What are all you Pokémon doing in here…?” Kala asked, sounding rather groggy. “Don’t you know that Thursday is my “sleep-until-Friday day”?”

“Kala, today is not Thursday,” Mirage responded. “And the reason we’re all here is because we need you to send us over to Clarion Desert.”

“Okay…” Kala replied, yawning and stretching. “Good luck with whatever you’re doing…”

And in a flash of light, the nine Pokémon disappeared from the room and found themselves in the sandy Clarion Desert.

“Wow… So much sand…” Chiaki commented, looking around. “Where do we begin?”

“If I remember correctly, there should be an entrance to a mystery dungeon around here somewhere,” Blitz responded, looking around.

“I see it!” Megara said, pointing to a mystery dungeon entrance between two rocks.

“All right, let’s go!” Mirage shouted, as she and her teammates entered the dungeon.

“Hey, why did they get to go first?” Frosty asked, crossing his arms. “They didn’t even call dibs or anything!”

“Neither did we, so what’s your point?” Melody responded. “Let’s just go after them so we don’t fall behind.”

“Yes, let’s go,” Sting buzzed, and so the three of them headed inside.

“We shouldn’t fall behind either,” Sera said, grinning. “Shall we?”

“Let’s do it!” Chiaki responded.

“Wait!” Blitz said, getting his teammates’ attention. “Do you really think this is a good idea? I mean, sure, we did manage to find the first crystal, but that time we had luck and some of the Pokémon of the forest on our side, but this time…”

“Blitz, we’re already here, so we might as well do this,” Sera responded.

“But… there will probably be a lot of ground types here, and my electric attacks won’t do much against them,” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together. “Plus, there are two rescue teams with higher ranks than ours on the case, so why not just leave it to them?”

“You do have some good points there,” Sera responded, thinking for a moment. “But, we can still try to help search, right? Every little bit of help counts when it comes to getting the crystals back, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, we should help out!” Chiaki said. “It’s not like any of us could make finding the crystals more difficult, after all.”

“Oh, okay…” Blitz replied, sighing. “Let’s go.”

“All right,” Sera responded, glad that she and Chiaki were able to convince Blitz to give it a try.

----

Mirage and her teammates quickly found their way through the first and second floors, and were now exploring the third floor. While they wanted to quickly get through all fifteen floors, Mirage also wanted to carefully search the dungeon for money or any items that might be worth something. Since this wasn’t a mission and they weren’t going to be paid for finding the crystal, she figured they could at least still try to obtain some money.

“Sure is nice and warm here,” Megara commented, enjoying the feeling of walking through the warm desert sand.

“The mushroom does not see the appeal of this place,” Cordyceps said. “The mushroom thinks this place is much too warm and dry.”

“If you think this place is hot, you should visit the volcano where I used to live,” Megara responded. “It is way hotter there.”

“The mushroom would rather not visit that place, then,” Cordyceps replied. “No offense.”

“None taken,” Megara responded. “Besides, non-fire types usually can’t handle the heat of that place unless they wear a special item.”

“Sounds pretty intense,” Mirage commented, panting a bit. “Oh, look, stairs.”

As they entered the room with the stairs, Mirage picked up a faint familiar scent, much to her confusion.

“Bear… with a hint of frost,” Mirage commented as she sniffed the air.

“You mean Sting and his teammates got here before us?” Megara asked. “How did that happen?”

“Well, since I managed to pick up on Frosty’s scent, they were probably here just a moment ago,” Mirage responded. “They can’t have gotten far, so let’s keep moving.”

----

Sting and his teammates were already close to reaching the stairs by the time Mirage and her teammates made it to the fourth floor. Sting thought about how this would probably be a good story to tell Queen Miele the next time he saw her, assuming they were able to find the crystal.

“I hope my beard doesn’t melt…” Frosty commented, gently stroking his icicle beard. “Why couldn’t the crystal have been hidden away in a cold place?”

“Relax,” Melody said, as they walked up to the fifth floor. “We’re already a third of the way through this dungeon.”

While Frosty wasn’t too fond of the heat, his ice attacks were proving to be very useful against the wild Pokémon in the mystery dungeon. Most of the wild Pokémon they encountered were ground types, with the occasional grass type in the form of the cactus Pokémon Cacnea.

----

Sera and her teammates were slowly making their way through the first few floors as well, having a somewhat easier time than usual since the other two rescue teams had already made it through, and knocked out most of the wild Pokémon on the floors on the way. Although, due to the strange nature of mystery dungeons, even if one were to presumably defeat all wild Pokémon on a floor, more tended to appear, seemingly out of thin air if one stayed on the same floor long enough.

“I guess the others already picked up most of the items around here…” Sera commented, looking around. “Oh well, we’ve already got what we need, so we’re good.”

“Do you think we’ll run into some strange things again?” Blitz asked, still seeming a bit uncertain about this.

“You mean like that giant plant thing in Harmony Forest?” Sera responded, noticing the stairs to the next floor and leading the rescue team to them.

“Yeah…” Blitz replied. “Think we’ll have to do deal with another thing like that when looking for this crystal?”

“I don’t know,” Sera responded, looking around as they arrived at the next floor.

“Hey, whatever awaits us, we can handle it, right?” Chiaki asked, walking along cheerfully. “Besides, this time Sting and Mirage’s teams are here too, they’ll help out!”

“Chiaki’s got a point there,” Sera commented, choosing which path to take. “It’ll be fine.”

“How can you be so sure?” Blitz quietly muttered to himself.

----

After a while, all three rescue teams eventually made it through the dungeon and met outside the dungeon. Now having gotten further into the desert, they tried to figure out where to go next. They didn’t really have that many leads to go on.

“So… Does anyone here like, happen to know anything about this place?” Mirage asked, looking around.

“Oh, we should find someone and ask for help!” Chiaki suggested, smiling and glancing at his teammates. “Remember how the elemental monkey tribes helped us get the first crystal from Harmony Forest?”

“Suppose that’s a good idea,” Melody responded. “But is there even anyone around here to ask?”

“I think I see something over in that direction…” Blitz said, squinting slightly as he pointed a paw in the direction specified. “I think it might be other Pokémon, as it seems to be moving slightly.”

“… Wow, you’re good,” Mirage commented, impressed by the young Shinx’s eyesight.

The three rescue teams began moving in the direction Blitz pointed out to them, and as they got closer, a few rather concerned looking Pokémon gradually came into view. There were two different cacti Pokémon, one smaller with two short legs, four needles on each arm and a yellow flower on the top of its body, and a taller one with two pink flowers on its head and which seemed to make a maracas-like sound whenever it moved.

The Cacnea and Maractus seemed to be discussing something, with a small sand colored crocodile with membranes around its eyes resembling goggles occasionally commenting on what the two cacti Pokémon were talking about. There was also a small yellow plated pangolin Pokémon sitting nearby, drawing something in the sand.

“You’re right, these sandstorms have lasted way longer than normal,” the Maractus said, making maracas sounds when nodding her head. “Is there really anything we can do about it, though? I mean, we can’t exactly control the weather.”

“No, we can’t,” the Cacnea responded. “But, I bet the Desert Spirit can dispel those sandstorms!”

“Aren’t the sandstorms blocking the way to the Desert Spirit’s cave?” the Maractus asked, tilting her head slightly and thus making more maracas sounds. “We can’t really reach the Desert Spirit if we can’t get through those sandstorms.”

“So, we need the Desert Spirit’s help to get rid of the sandstorms, but we can’t get to her cave because the sandstorms are in the way, and if we want to get rid of the sandstorms and get to her cave, we need her help…” the Sandile said, thinking about it for a moment. “It’s like an unsolvable riddle or something…”

“Isn’t there another way we can reach the desert spirit?” the Cacnea asked. "Aside from, you know..."

“Look!” the Sandshrew said, pointing to its scribbles in the sand. “I drew a Trapinch!”

“Oh, that’s cute,” the Maractus commented. “But it doesn’t exactly solve our problem in any way.”

“Um… Excuse me?” Sting buzzed as he and the other rescue team Pokémon approached the desert Pokémon. “We’re on a mission, and could use a little help. Do you mind answering some questions?”

“Oh, I guess not…” the Maractus replied, curiously looking over the three rescue teams. “What do you need to know?”

“Well, we’re investigating the case with the missing Axis Tower crystals, and we’ve been told that one of the missing crystals may be somewhere in this desert,” Mirage explained. “Would you happen to know anything about where we might find it?”

“Oh, a crystal from Axis Tower?” the Maractus asked, tilting her head slightly. “I believe I’ve heard something about this, but I’m afraid I don’t know anything about one in the desert, or where in the desert it would be.”

“Ah,” Sting responded, thinking for a moment. “We overheard you saying something about a Desert Spirit?”

“Well, the Desert Spirit is said to be the protector of Clarion Desert,” the Maractus explained, cheerfully swaying back and forth a little. “But it’s not really a spirit; it’s really just a Flygon and the “Desert Spirit” thing is a title.”

“The Flygon lives in a cave called the Sand-Veiled Sanctuary,” the Cacnea added. “Unfortunately, we can’t reach the entrance to said cave due to those harsh sandstorms blocking off part of the desert.”

“Wait a minute…” Blitz said, thinking for a moment. “Something just occurred to me…”

“What is it, Blitz?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“These sandstorms have lasted pretty long, even the native Pokémon of the desert finding it strange,” Blitz said. “So, if this situation is anything like how it was in Harmony Forest, then chances are…”

“I see,” Sting buzzed. “You believe the sandstorms may be our clue as to where the crystal is.”

“Yes, exactly,” Blitz responded, nodding his head.

“Ooh, that’s brilliant!” Mirage said, petting Blitz on the head, messing up his fur slightly. “I bet the crystal is somewhere within the area blocked by the sandstorms!”

All three rescue teams quickly agreed that this had to be the answer, and even the small group of desert Pokémon seemed to support the theory. Of course, none of them was sure who or what had the ability to make such long-lasting sandstorms, but right now the important thing was to figure out what to do about them.

“Maybe you should try to find a way to reach the Desert Spirit?” the Maractus suggested.

“How do we go about that if we can’t reach that cave you guys talked about?” Mirage asked.

“Well… There is another way in,” the Cacnea said hesitantly. “But it happens to lead right into a mystery dungeon that none of us really dare to enter…”

“Ah, I see,” Sting responded, thinking for a moment. “Now that I think about it, there is another mystery dungeon marked up in this area on our maps.”

“And while these guys won’t enter it, we could probably get through it,” Melody added.

“So, where is that other entrance?” Mirage asked, the desert Pokémon exchanging a few glances.

“Um… We don’t really remember exactly where it is,” the Maractus replied sheepishly.

“… You don’t remember?” Megara asked, looking somewhat annoyed.

“Relax, Megara,” Mirage said. “We can probably use our maps or something to get an idea of where we can find the entrance to this mystery dungeon.”

“Assuming the sandstorms aren’t blocking that too,” Megara responded, crossing her arms.

“Well, good luck,” the Cacnea said. “Sorry we can’t be of more help to you guys.”

“That’s okay!” Chiaki responded. “We’ll handle this, so don’t worry!”

“Ooh, let me know what the desert spirit is like!” the Sandile said. “I’ve never seen her in person, but I bet she has a colorful voice and a beautiful personality, or something like that!”

“Okay!” Chiaki responded, as he began following his teammates and the other two rescue teams further into the desert. “Bye!”

----

Eltanin was making his way towards Fenix Town, which was where a psychic trail was leading him. The Beheeyem had many things to think about, but the most important was to make sure his daughter was safe. She had been missing since the night the crystals were stolen, and none of the guards knew what had happened to her. Eltanin was relieved to find that she had apparently made it safely to Fenix Town, where the number of rescue teams and other Pokémon living in the town could help keep her safe.

While she hadn’t yet learned how to communicate via telepathy, he knew she was an intelligent young Pokémon and that she could probably look after herself until he or one of the other guards could find her and follow her back home to Axis Tower. The only thing he wasn’t entirely sure of was what had led her to Fenix Town, but he would probably find out soon…

----

The three rescue teams were now standing a short distance away from the harsh sandstorms blocking off a part of the desert, observing it and looking over their maps while trying to decide on how they would go about searching for the entrance to the Sand-Veiled Sanctuary.

“So, are we absolutely sure we can’t cross these sandstorms?” Megara asked.

“Megara, you’re not seriously thinking about trying to get through those things, are you?” Mirage responded.

“Well, I’m still pretty annoyed with how unhelpful those Pokémon were earlier,” Megara replied. “And if I’m angry enough, I’m pretty sure I can march right through those sandstorms!”

“Megara, that's ridiculous!” Mirage said. "Don't do this!"

“Relax, I’ll be fine,” Megara responded, starting to walk towards the sandstorms. “I’m not going to let some bad weather stop me!”

“That is not what she was saying when it was raining yesterday,” Cordyceps commented.

“Shut up, Cordy,” Megara responded, closing her eyes and trying to push through the sandstorm in front of her.

The other eight Pokémon watched the Magmar attempting to cross the sandstorms, only for the sandstorms to lift her off the ground and fling her through the air. Melody quickly moved over to where Megara would land, and inflated her body in order to soften Megara’s landing. Melody winced a little as Megara’s Flame Body ability activated as she landed on her.

“Whew… Thanks Melody,” Megara said, climbing down from the inflated Wigglytuff’s belly.

“You’re welcome…” Melody responded, deflating herself back to normal size while trying to fan herself with her nubby paws to cool off the spot where Megara landed.

“Did you get burned?” Frosty asked, handing Melody a Rawst berry. "Here, this'll help."

“Thanks, Frosty,” Melody replied, eating the berry to heal the burn.

“So, now that we're absolutely certain that we can't walk right through these sandstorms, what do we do now?” Mirage asked.

“Maybe we’ll have a better chance of finding the other cave entrance if we split up?” Sera suggested.

“Sounds good to me,” Mirage replied, grinning.

The three rescue teams quickly came up with a plan, and so each rescue team went off in a different direction, while still remaining close to the area where the map suggested the dungeon entrance would be, hoping to find the other cave entrance quickly.

----

Mirage and her teammates walked around the rocks and tried to find out where on the large rock formation the entrance would be. They tried to move as quickly as they could without that hindering their ability to observe everything around them, in hopes of finding the entrance first.

“So, did you guys see today’s newspaper?” Mirage asked, glancing over her shoulder at her two teammates. “Apparently small distortions have been spotted in some areas.”

“Well, at least it’s only a few small distortions in a few areas, right?” Megara responded. “It’s nothing too serious yet.”

“I know, but still…” Mirage replied, looking somewhat concerned. “I read that one of the distortions had been spotted in the forest where I lived before I came to Fenix Town.”

“The mushroom assumes you are concerned about your family?” Cordyceps asked.

“Yeah…” Mirage responded, nodding her head slightly. “I know there’s probably nothing to be concerned about as things are now, but…”

“Hey, I understand,” Megara replied. “Even though no distortions have been spotted around Mt. Caldera yet, I still got a little concerned about my friends back home when I read that. I’m sure things will be okay, though.”

“The mushroom agrees,” Cordyceps said. “Once we find the crystal, it’ll be one step closer to restoring the balance.”

“You’re right, Cordy,” Mirage responded. “So, let’s find that cave and get this over with as soon as possible!”

----

Sting and his teammates were moving along, Frosty occasionally using his ice attacks to cool himself and his teammates off. Melody seemed to be more bothered by the desert air rather than the heat, though.

“I hope it’s a bit cooler inside that cave,” Frosty commented.

“I’m a bit more concerned about that mystery dungeon the desert Pokémon talked about,” Melody responded. “I mean, the three of us can probably handle it, and I think Mirage and her teammates can too, but what about Sera’s team?”

“What do you mean?” Frosty asked. “They managed to get through the dungeon leading into the desert just fine, so why should this other one be much harder?”

“Yeah, but our team and Mirage’s team did most of the work, thus clearing a lot of the way for them, remember?” Melody replied. “While I know a bronze rank team probably can handle that particular dungeon without help if they’re strong enough, we don’t know exactly how strong Sera and her teammates are.”

“You think the mystery dungeon in the cave might be too much for them to handle?” Frosty asked.

“Don’t worry too much about it,” Sting buzzed. “After all, our team and Mirage’s team are here too.”

“Yeah!” Frosty responded, grinning. “If they get into trouble, we’ll just help them out!”

“Assuming we’re able to get to them in time,” Melody commented, still seeming a bit concerned.

“Hey, don’t say that,” Frosty said, patting Melody’s back. “I’m sure nothing that bad will happen.”

“And Blitz is a pretty smart cub, who can probably help keep them out of trouble,” Sting added.

“If you say so…” Melody replied.

----

Sera and her teammates were searching as well, Blitz keeping an eye out for anything that might be the entrance to a mystery dungeon. Chiaki kind of wished the desert Pokémon from before had come with them so they could get to know each other better, but since they did seem somewhat scared of going into the dungeon, he understood why that didn’t happen this time around. Maybe they could at least make friends with the Desert Spirit, or get to know Sting and Mirage’s teams a little better?

“See anything cave-like yet, Blitz?” Sera asked.

“Nope,” Blitz responded, looking around. “And I’m still kind of nervous about this…”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Sera replied. “I’m sure we can avoid fighting most of the ground types, if that’s the problem.”

“Yeah, and the other rescue teams are coming along too!” Chiaki said, grinning. “Maybe they’ll give us some rescue team advice on the way?”

“Ooh, that would be nice,” Sera responded, smiling and wagging her tail.

“I guess you two have made up your minds already, huh…” Blitz said, looking down at the sand.

Suddenly, they noticed several balls of fire being shot into the air and exploding in the distance.

“Whoa, what’s that?” Chiaki asked.

“I think its Megara sending some kind of signal…?” Blitz responded.

“Ooh, maybe they found the cave entrance!” Sera said. “Come on, let’s go check it out!”

----

Megara fired a few more Flame Burst attacks into the air to make sure that Sting and Sera’s teams would see it, while Mirage examined the cave entrance.

“Whew, that should be enough,” Megara commented as she stopped to catch her breath.

“Was it necessary to use your fire attacks for that?” Cordyceps asked, shuddering a bit.

“It’s not like you had any better ideas,” Megara responded.

“The mushroom was very nervous when you did that, and is still feeling rather shaken from the sudden use of fire attacks,” Cordyceps said, although his voice's usual monotone made it difficult to tell.

“Well, it’s not like the attack was targeting you, or anything,” Megara replied.

“So?” Cordyceps responded. “You’re afraid of rain.”

“Hey!” Megara replied, looking rather annoyed. “Do you want me to burn you?”

“The mushroom is just saying how it is,” Cordyceps responded, backing away from Megara a little bit. “Please do not roast the mushroom.”

“Okay, you two, that’s enough,” Mirage said, deciding to intervene before either of her teammates got hurt. “The other rescue teams should be getting here soon.”

“Do you think they saw my signal?” Megara asked. “Should I fire a few more Flame Bursts just to make sure?”

“Nah, I don’t think that’s necessary,” Mirage responded, shaking her head. “Save your energy for when we enter the dungeon.”

“Thank you, Mirage,” Cordyceps replied, looking over at the Zoroark.

It didn’t take long before they heard the familiar buzzing sound as Sting and his teammates made their way over to the cave entrance, with Sera’s team showing up shortly after. With all three rescue teams gathered, Mirage pointed to the cave entrance.

“We think this is it,” Mirage said, looking over at the other Pokémon gathered.

“I see,” Sting responded, examining the opening. “Good work.”

“Thank you,” Mirage replied, grinning. “So, now that we’re all here, should we go in?”

“Yes, let’s go find this Flygon,” Sting responded. “The sooner we find it, the sooner we can help the desert Pokémon with the sandstorm problem and find the crystal.”

And so, the three rescue teams entered the cave, where they hoped to get through the mystery dungeon waiting for them inside, and that they would reach the Desert Spirit.

----

End of chapter 13.

----

InsaneTyranitar
9th March 2013, 2:50 PM
Finally getting around to commenting on this...

Very nice work, as usual, and your characters continue to impress me. (Especially Cordyceps~)

Some of your style issues even seem to have improved with this chapter, so very good work overall.

And I can't wait to find out what's up with Eltanin.

DarkerShining
15th March 2013, 10:51 PM
Thanks for your reply! :)

Chapter 14 has been coming along nicely, so look forward to that whenever I finish it.

Also, from what I can tell, they seem to have fixed that glitch I was having some problems with a while ago. Maybe I will now at some point go back and fix some minor spelling errors and such now that I don't have to worry about the formatting being messed up in the process.

DarkerShining
23rd March 2013, 10:17 PM
Hi again! Well, I think chapter 14 is just about finished now. So, how about we just jump right in?

I hope you all enjoy it.

----

Chapter 14: We’re almost a third of the way there?

----

As the three rescue teams entered the cave known as the Sand-Veiled Sanctuary, Chiaki noticed a statue resembling a kangaroo Pokémon with her child in her pouch. He walked up to examine it, wondering what it could be for. The entrance to the mystery dungeon within the cave was also just ahead.

“What’s this statue for?” Chiaki asked, poking at it.

“Oh, that’s a Kangaskhan statue,” Sting explained, walking up to it. “It can be used to store and withdraw items that you currently have stored back in town.”

“Ooh, that sounds useful,” Chiaki responded. “Why a Kangaskhan, though?”

“We think it’s because in other places around the world, item warehouses are commonly run by Kangaskhan for some reason,” Mirage replied. “Of course, we’re not entirely sure where the statues come from or who or what it is that places them there.”

“Another mystery of this world,” Chiaki said, smiling. “Cool.”

“So, anyways, it looks like we can use this to make some more preparations for this if there’s anything more we need that we don’t have,” Mirage commented, walking up to deposit some items her rescue team had picked up while exploring the mystery dungeon in the desert.

“This is probably also the last chance to turn around if anyone has decided against going through this dungeon,” Melody said, giving a somewhat concerned glance over at Sera and her teammates.

“Why did you look at us when you said that?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“I just want to make sure you’re sure about this one,” Melody responded. “I mean, I don’t know exactly how strong your team is, so I’m just a little worried.”

“Hey, no need to worry about us,” Sera replied, trying to sound confident in order to convince the Wigglytuff that they were strong enough. “We can handle this!”

“Oh, okay, if you say so,” Melody responded, walking over to the statue as Sting moved over to withdraw some items. She didn't seem fully convinced, but it was at least enough to make her stop trying to talk them out of it.

As Chiaki watched the other two rescue teams make their preparations, Sera motioned for Blitz to come closer to her so they could talk privately for a moment, or as private as they could considering they were all still in the same room.

“Do you think we’re anywhere close to achieving Silver rank?” Sera asked, glancing at the rescue team badge.

“I can’t tell…” Blitz responded, looking at the badge. “Let’s see… How many missions have we been on since achieving Bronze rank, and what were their difficulty ranks?”

“… You expect me to remember that…?” Sera replied, glancing over at the other two rescue team leaders to see if they were done making their preparations yet.

“Let’s see… First, I believe, there was a mission we did without Chiaki because he was trying to get a chance to speak to Elina,” Blitz said, trying to think about what had happened over the past few days. “And then… We went on a mission on the day they announced the crystals had been stolen…”

“Okay, that’s two,” Sera replied. “Go on.”

“We also went on a mission the day after that, after finding out about the crystal in Harmony Forest from Stella…” Blitz said, still thinking over it. “Retrieving the crystal itself was technically not a mission, and we didn’t go on a mission the day after that, so the last mission we went on was the one in Nectar Woods yesterday…”

“So, we’ve only been on four missions since we got Bronze rank?” Sera asked.

“I guess…” Blitz responded, trying to figure out how many points that added up to. “So, with the number of points from each of those missions based on mission rank…”

“Well, how many points does that make?” Sera asked a bit impatiently. “And how many do we need to reach the next rank?”

“Hmm…” Blitz took a few more moments to try to add things up in his head, before responding. “I think we’re almost a third of the way there?”

“We’re almost a third of the way there?” Sera replied, ears drooping down slightly.

“Hey, that’s not too bad, right?” Blitz responded, while rubbing his forelegs together, before quickly glancing over at the Kangaskhan statue. “Oh, I think you can use the Kangaskhan rock now.”

“Oh, right,” Sera said, walking up to the statue to see what she could do. “Let’s see…”

The other two rescue teams waited at the entrance while Sera thought about what to bring and which items not to bring, until she finally decided to just deposit a few of the items she had picked up on the way and not spend too much time worrying about it.

“All right, it looks like everyone is ready,” Mirage said. “Let’s go in!”

The three rescue teams entered the mystery dungeon one by one, entering a labyrinth looking similar to the room they were just in, a sandy floor with rocky cave walls. There were three paths to choose from to begin with.

“I guess we’ll split up, taking one path each,” Sting buzzed, hovering to the path on the right.

“Sounds like a plan,” Mirage commented, walking up to the path on the left.

“See you guys later, then,” Sera said, moving over to the path on the top along with her teammates.

And with that, the three rescue teams went off in different directions, each hoping to get through the dungeon and find the Flygon living within the deepest parts of the cave.

----

Back in Fenix Town, Elina was taking a nap on the roof of the café, when she suddenly felt a familiar psychic presence. Opening her green eyes and glancing down, she quickly met the gaze of a certain Beheeyem.

“Elina!” Eltanin telepathically called out to his daughter. “I am so glad to see you’re safe!”

Elina quickly floated down to her father and hugged him tightly.

“You've been worried about me too, haven’t you?” Eltanin asked via telepathy, returning the hug. “It's okay, I'm here now.”

While the two were glad to be reunited, Eltanin sensed that his daughter still seemed uneasy about something. He figured it was probably because of the stolen crystals.

“Perhaps we should go home to Axis Tower, sweetie?” Eltanin asked via telepathy. “The other guards have been worried about you too.”

Elina looked up at her father for a moment, before shaking her head, much to Eltanin’s confusion.

“You don’t want to go home yet?” Eltanin asked. “Why?”

Elina held up her hands, the red, yellow and green fingers on her hand flashing in different patterns to answer her father.

“… What?” Eltanin responded via telepathy, his fingers flashing in confusion as well. “I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean here.”

Elina’s fingers rapidly blinked in a different pattern, Eltanin trying his best to understand what his daughter was trying to say.

“Slow down, dear, you’re going a bit too fast here…” Eltanin responded, waiting for a few moments to figure out what his daughter was communicating through the signals. “… Wait, the night the crystals were stolen? What happened then?”

----

Mirage and her rescue team were making their way deeper into the mystery dungeon, picking up more items and money and fighting off wild Pokémon on the way. None of them were entirely sure how many floors this mystery dungeon was, but they assumed it was most likely not more than fifteen floors.

“The wild Pokémon here aren’t too much of a challenge,” Megara commented. “But, at least they still give some decent experience for us.”

“Well, for us they’re not too difficult,” Mirage responded. “But I wonder how that Bronze rank team is doing? Think they can keep up?”

Mirage continued moving forward, when she suddenly felt something under her paws. Before she knew it, a hidden trap activated and sprayed her with mud.

“Oh, ew…” Mirage said, trying to shake some of the mud off.

“Looks like you just triggered a trap,” Cordyceps commented.

“I know,” Mirage responded, rolling her eyes. “Help me get this stuff out of my fur, will you?”

----

Sting and his teammates were exploring another part of the dungeon, also picking up any useful items they could find and fighting off some wild Pokémon. Once again, Frosty’s ice attacks were proving to be useful.

“I am so awesome,” Frosty said, grinning. “We’ll reach the end of this dungeon in no time!”

“Yes, your ice attacks have been very useful for this,” Sting responded. “But don’t let it go to your head.”

“Don’t worry; I’ll keep my head cool!” Frosty replied, snickering a little.

“I see you what did there,” Melody commented, rolling her eyes. “So, you think the other rescue teams are doing okay?”

“Since we haven’t seen any signs of trouble so far, I’m assuming they’re doing okay,” Sting responded, looking around for the stairs.

“I guess,” Melody replied, also looking around. “So, how far in do you think they are compared to us? I bet Mirage and her teammates probably want to get through the dungeon first.”

“Yeah, they are kind of competitive at times, aren’t they?” Sting responded.

“Ha, they’re not going to be the first ones there, because we’re going to beat them there!” Frosty said, grinning. “Let’s pick up the pace!”

“Okay, but watch your step,” Melody responded. “There might be traps around here.”

----

Sera and her teammates continued to carefully make their way through the dungeon, trying to avoid triggering any traps or having to fight an opponent that was too tough for them to handle.

“How can it be that we’re only almost a third of the way to the next rank?” Sera asked, still thinking about what she and Blitz talked about earlier.

“Well, like I said, we haven’t done that many missions since we achieved our Bronze rank,” Blitz responded. “Plus, we’ve only done one mission per day, while a lot of other rescue teams usually do multiple missions within the same dungeon in a single day.”

“I see…” Sera replied, ears perking up a little as she thought about it. “They probably earn a lot of points and experience from doing it that way.”

“Yeah, they probably do,” Blitz responded, not realizing that Sera was probably in the process of trying to come up with some sort of plan.

“They probably do lots of difficult, but not too difficult missions to get as many points as they can in one go,” Sera said, giggling a little.

“Yeah, I guess,” Blitz responded, still not picking up on Sera’s train of thought as he was mainly focusing on listening for wild Pokémon that could be lurking nearby.

“Ooh, and get a lot of rewards!” Sera said, seeming more and more excited as she spoke. “Like money and useful items for later missions!”

“Sera, you’re acting kind of weird,” Chiaki commented, wondering why Sera seemed so excited all of a sudden.

“Oh, it’s nothing you need to worry about,” Sera responded, wagging her tail happily.

Sera continued cheerfully moving along, not paying much attention to her surroundings as she was caught up in her own thoughts. She was suddenly snapped out of her thoughts as she suddenly felt the sandy ground disappear under her, having triggered a pit fall trap. Sera gave a startled scream as she fell down onto the next floor, but luckily wasn't hut as she fell onto the sandy floor.

“Sera! Are you okay?” Chiaki asked, looking down at his teammate from the floor above.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Sera responded, shaking herself off. “That was pretty unexpected, though… On the bright side, I guess I found a shortcut to the next floor.”

“Oh, okay!” Chiaki replied, smiling cheerfully. “We’ll be right there with you, then!”

Chiaki jumped down the hole, landing in the sand next to Sera. After a moment of hesitation, Blitz joined them too.

“All right, let’s keep moving!” Sera said, still cheerfully leading her team.

“I’m getting a bad feeling about this…” Blitz muttered under his breath.

----

Back in Fenix Town, Elina and Eltanin sat on the roof of the café as Elina through the flashing patterns of her fingers told her father the whole story. Eltanin carefully watched the shining patterns to make sure he didn’t miss any details, although he was a bit shocked at a few of the things that Elina explained to him and had to ask her to repeat those things to make sure he had understood her right.

“I see…” Eltanin responded via telepathy, nodding his head slightly. “That is… quite the story…”

Elina nodded her head slightly, sheepishly looking down.

“Well… I’m not really sure what to think of this,” Eltanin commented, looking rather concerned. “Something like this has never happened before…”

Elina looked up at her father, waiting for him to think things over for a moment and decide what they would do next. Eltanin thought about it, and eventually decided on something.

“Okay, considering the circumstances, I guess it probably would be best that you stay here for now.”

Elina looked surprised at this response for a moment, and had her fingers flash in a pattern as if to ask if he was really sure about this.

“Yes, it probably is best that you stay in town and keep an eye on things,” Eltanin replied, nodding his head. “However, there is something I would like you to do.”

Elina tilted her head slightly, wondering what her father’s request was.

“Only I and other Pokémon who use similar communication methods will be able to understand the blinking patterns of your fingers, and there are limits for what you can express through your body language,” Eltanin explained. “That is why I want you to find a Pokémon in this town that can teach you how to communicate via telepathy.”

Elina nodded her head in response, agreeing with her father that learning how to use her telepathy would probably be a good idea. After all, she would eventually have to learn to do so anyways.

“I wish I could stay here and teach you myself, but I need to return to Axis tower,” Eltanin said through telepathy. “I need to tell the other guards about what I saw that night, as well as letting them know that you’re safe and telling them of what you told me today.”

Elina suddenly grabbed her father’s arm and shook her head rapidly, much to his confusion.

“You don’t want me to tell them?”
Elina let go of her father, and began explaining her reasoning for not wanting the guards to know everything about the current situation.

“Ah… I understand,” Eltanin responded. “If too many Pokémon knew of that particular detail, it might put your friend in danger...”

Elina nodded her head.

“And if the thief were to learn of this, this whole town could be in danger...”

Elina nodded her head again.

“Okay, then. I won’t tell anyone else.”

Elina was relieved to hear that, and hugged her father tightly.

“Well, I’d better head back to the tower now,” Eltanin said, returning the hug. “Take care, and do your best.”

Elina knew there was one more issue neither of them had really addressed after she explained the whole story, but that was something she would rather not think about for now, even if she knew perfectly well that it would have to be dealt with sooner or later…

----

After exploring for a while, Sera and her teammates had finally made it to the last floor of the mystery dungeon. At this point, they weren’t sure if they had somehow gotten ahead of the other two rescue teams, or if they had already gotten to the end of the dungeon. Based on the number of items they had come across on this particular floor, Blitz assumed it was the former.

“Think we’ll make it to the end before the other two teams catch up?” Sera asked.

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied, looking around. “Something doesn’t feel right…”

“What do you mean?” Sera asked. “I mean, we’re nearly at the end of the dungeon! What could possibly go wrong when we’ve gotten this far?”

“Ooh, look over there!” Chiaki said, pointing to the section of the dungeon where they were currently heading towards. “Looks like there’s lots of items in there!”

“Hey, you’re right!” Sera responded, wagging her tail. “Ooh, there’s Gummis in there!”

As Sera and Chiaki walked over to the room, Blitz suddenly froze as he realized something.

“Wait… There are many items in one place, more than you’d expect to find in one room…” Blitz’s eyes widened as he realized what this possibly meant. “Isn’t that in most cases a sign that… that…”

Sera and Chiaki obliviously walked into the room, but as soon as Sera reached a paw out to pick up one of the items on the ground, a yellow arm with white claws suddenly popped out of the sand and tried to strike her. Sera gave a startled yell as the yellow Pokémon with the brown spikes on its back fully emerged from the ground, followed by even more wild Pokémon appearing by popping out of the ground or dropping down from the ceiling.

“It’s a Monster House…” Blitz muttered as he stared wide-eyed at the wild Pokémon surrounding his two teammates.

“Eek, stay away from us!” Sera shouted, using her tail to fling a seed at a Pokémon resembling a bigger Sandile standing on two legs.

The Krokorok caught the Warp Seed in its mouth seemingly by instinct, and was promptly teleported to another part of the dungeon. But even with one of them out of the way for now, there were still several more Pokémon moving towards them.

"Ah, we need more Warp Seeds!" Sera said, looking through the bag. "Do we have any more...?"

"Sera, won't sending them away one at a time take a while...?" Chiaki asked, trying to put up a Detect.

"Well, w-what do you suggest then?" Sera responded.

“Um... Do we have any orbs that can stop all of these guys?” Chiaki asked, using Fake Out on the Sandslash that had tried to attack Sera.

“I… I don’t know,” Sera responded, panicking somewhat and not being able to remember what orbs they had brought, if any. “I-I’ve never fought this many Pokémon at once!”

“Sera, pull yourself together!” Chiaki shouted. “W-We have to do something!”

“I… I…” Sera was unable to think of anything.

“Come on, snap out of it!” Chiaki shouted, shaking his teammate slightly.

The wild Pokémon prepared to strike, only to be distracted by a bright light courtesy of Blitz’s Flash. Blitz then quickly ran over to his teammates before the wild Pokémon could block off the path.

“Sera, let me have a look at the items we brought!” Blitz said.

“O-Okay…” Sera responded and turned around so that Blitz could get to the bag she was carrying.

“Let’s see…” Blitz said, examining the items.

“A-Anything we can use in there?” Sera asked, while dodging to avoid being hit by wild Pokémon’s attack.

Chiaki was also dodging moves, having an easier time thanks to his Detect move. He wasn’t sure how long he would be able to keep it up, though.

“Sera, didn’t you bring any orbs that affect all wild Pokémon in a room?” Blitz asked.

“I-I don’t know!” Sera responded, looking around. “How was I supposed to know we needed one of those!?”

“You never know, and that’s why you need to be on the safe side!” Blitz replied, using Flash again to momentarily blind the wild Pokémon to buy a little more time.

“Oh, right…” Sera responded, ears drooping down slightly. “I-I guess that’s something someone taught me, wasn’t it…?”

“Well, we need to try to find a way to get past these guys and reach the other path out of this room,” Blitz said, glancing over at the path. “But how do we do that…?”

“Leave it to us!” a male and a female voice called out, as the other two rescue teams came to the rescue.

“Sting! Mirage!” Chiaki called out, grinning.

“You guys okay?” Melody asked while getting into a fighting position as the wild Pokémon turned their attention to them.

“Yeah, we’re fine!” Chiaki responded, as both Blitz and Sera gave a relieved sigh.

“Well, let us deal with these guys, and go find the stairs!” Frosty said, forming a large icicle between his hands. “We’ll catch up with you when we’re done!”

“Okay,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “Clear the path for us, and we’ll be on our way.”

Frosty smirked as he lifted the large icicle that he had created over his head, before throwing it at the wild Pokémon. The wild Pokémon scattered as they tried to avoid the attack, only for the icicle to shatter upon impact with a dungeon wall, causing the wild Pokémon to be struck by the fragments. Sera, Blitz and Chiaki quickly made their way out of the room while the wild Pokémon were still taking a moment to recover from the attack.

“All right, my turn,” Megara said, firing an intense blast of fire from her beak to burn the wild Pokémon, and accidentally(?) frightening Cordyceps in the process.

“This shouldn’t take long,” Mirage commented, getting down on all fours. “Let’s finish this quickly so we can catch up to the others.”

“Agreed,” Sting responded, pointing his arm-stingers at some of the wild Pokémon.

----

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki managed to quickly find and make it up the stairs while the other two rescue teams took care of the wild Pokémon. Blitz was glad to be out of that mystery dungeon, although Sera still seemed somewhat stressed.

“Sera, are you all right?” Blitz asked.

“I… I couldn’t remember anything of what I had learned…” Sera responded, ears drooping down. “It was like I couldn’t think at all…”

“Hey, don’t feel bad,” Blitz replied comfortingly. “That can happen to anyone.”

“Yeah,” Chiaki said, with his signature smile. “None of us were really prepared for that Monster House.”

“But we should’ve been,” Sera responded, looking over at Blitz. “You said so yourself earlier, you know. A rescue team never knows what awaits them, so one always needs to be on the safe side, right?”

“Well, I guess I did say something like that, huh…” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together.

“I’m the leader of this rescue team, I should’ve remembered to bring some items that would be useful in the case of a Monster House back when I was making my last preparations at the Kangaskhan rock,” Sera said, looking down at the ground. “I failed …”

“Sera, don’t beat yourself up about it,” Blitz responded. “Everyone makes mistakes, and when we make mistakes, we learn from them.”

“Yeah, cheer up!” Chiaki said, petting Sera.

"Besides, in a way, it wasn't all your fault anyways," Blitz added. "Chiaki and I could've helped you look over the items when you were making those preparations at the Kangaskhan rock."

“Thanks guys…” Sera responded, her ears perking up a little. “I promise I’ll be better prepared next time.”

“Ah, there you are!” Mirage called out, as she, Sting and their teammates walked up to the three younger Pokémon. "Good to see you're all okay."

“Ooh, everyone’s here!” Chiaki exclaimed excitedly.

“Yes, and now that we're all gathered, I guess we should go find this Desert Spirit," Sting said.

The three rescue teams headed down the tunnel, surprised as they eventually spotted light shining from the end of the tunnel. They soon entered a section of the cave with a large opening in the ceiling to the sky.

“This must be the place,” Sting said, looking around. “But where’s the Desert Spirit?”

“Looking for me?” a rough-sounding, but still feminine voice called out.

The three rescue teams saw a winged green dragon Pokémon getting up and emerging from the shadows, curiously examining the rescue team.

“Are you the Desert Spirit?” Chiaki asked, staring in awe at the Flygon.

“That is correct,” the Flygon responded, nodding her head. “You may call me Rhythm.”

“It is nice to meet you, Rhythm,” Sting said. “Anyways, we need your assistance with something, and so do the Pokémon of this desert...”

“This is about the strange sandstorms, isn’t it?” Rhythm responded.

“You already knew?” Mirage asked, tilting her head.

“Yes, I’ve been aware of it for a while,” Rhythm replied. “I could sense something strange in the air, but I haven’t been able to do something about it yet.”

“Why not?” Sera asked.

Rhythm smiled, and gently used the tip of her tail to brush away some of the sand on the ground, revealing a few orange eggs.

“Are those Trapinch eggs?” Blitz asked.

“I laid my eggs pretty recently,” Rhythm explained. “I just needed some rest before I could deal with the sandstorm problem.”

“Ooh, when are they going to hatch?” Chiaki asked, curiously looking at the eggs.

“Not for a while yet,” Rhythm responded, spreading her wings. “But for now, I think I should deal with those sandstorms.”

“Is it okay to just leave the eggs alone?” Melody asked.

“Relax, they’re perfectly safe in here,” Rhythm responded, carefully covering the eggs with sand again. “So, let’s deal with that sandstorm problem.”

Rhythm motioned for the rescue teams to get onto her back, and then took off, carrying the rescue teams out of the cave through the opening in the ceiling. Once they were outside, she set them down on a cliff, and then quickly started flying towards the areas affected by the sandstorms. The sound of her wings flapping sounded like a mysterious song, which reached the other Pokémon of the desert, as if to tell them that the Desert Spirit had arrived.

The three rescue teams watched as Rhythm began flapping her wings hard enough to whip up some sandstorms of her own, moving in the opposite direction of the other sandstorms.

“Why is she making more sandstorms?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Look closely at those sandstorms,” Blitz said, pointing to the sandstorms Rhythm was whipping up. “They’re moving in the opposite direction of the other ones. Maybe they’ll cancel each other out?”

“I assume that is what she is trying to do,” Sting commented, watching the Flygon whip up more sandstorms, trying to make them just as strong as the other ones.

“Come on, Rhythm! You can do it!” Chiaki shouted, cheering the Flygon on.

The Pokémon of the desert were starting to gather to watch the Desert Spirit counter the mysterious sandstorms with her own, and it did seem like Rhythm’s plan was working. The sandstorms clashed, and soon canceled each other out, and Rhythm repeated the process until the sandstorms had subsided entirely.

“She did it!” Chiaki shouted, as Rhythm flew back up to the cliff where she had left the rescue teams.

“Need a ride back down?” Rhythm asked, letting the rescue team get onto her back again as she flew down to greet the desert Pokémon that had gathered.

“Desert Spirit, you did it!” a Sandile said, as Rhythm landed and let the rescue team climb off her back.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting,” Rhythm responded, taking a moment to catch her breath.

“That’s okay, Desert Spirit,” the Cacnea the rescue teams had spoken to earlier replied. “At least the problem is now solved, and we can now reach the oasis and the other parts of the desert that had been blocked.”

“That reminds me!” the Maractus from earlier said, turning to the rescue team. “You can probably find that crystal you were looking for now!”

“Crystal?” Rhythm inquired, tilting her head slightly.

“Oh, right,” Mirage responded, looking up at the Flygon. “The reason we came here in the first place was because one of the missing crystals from the Axis Tower is somewhere in this desert.”

“Ah, I see,” Rhythm replied, nodding her head while taking a quick glance at the area the sandstorms had previously been blocking off. “But, it’ll probably take a while for you to find it if you were to search on your own.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Sting responded. “Even if we limit our search to the previously blocked off areas, it’ll still take a while to search for it.”

“Yeah, and for all we know it might be buried under the sand somewhere…” Blitz commented, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Which is why the Pokémon of the desert should assist you,” Rhythm responded, smiling and turning to the gathered desert Pokémon. “I assume that is okay with all of you?”

“Of course!” the Maractus replied. “These rescue teams were willing to help us out, so it’s the least we can do for them!”

“So, you’re really going to help us out?” Chiaki asked, looking excited. “Awesome!”

And so the various Pokémon of the desert helped the three rescue teams search through the sands of the desert in order to help them find the crystal. Chiaki also took the opportunity to try to get to know some of the desert Pokémon better, and managed to befriend some of the younger Pokémon present. Eventually, a Sandshrew noticed something sparkly in the sand, and called over some other Sandshrew to help dig it up.

“Ooh, it’s shiny!” one of the Sandshrew said, picking up the yellow crystal. “This must be what the rescue teams wanted!”

The small group of Sandshrew ran up to the rescue teams, and presented the crystal to them.

“That’s it!” Sera said, excitedly wagging her tail. “We found the second of the eight missing crystals!”

“Which means there’s still six more out there,” Mirage commented, picking up the crystal. “But if we keep this up, we should have them all back in no time!”

“For now, let’s return to town and give the crystal to Stella for safekeeping,” Sting buzzed.

“Thanks for helping us out!” Chiaki said, happily shaking the hand of the Sandshrew that had found the crystal. “I hope we can all meet again someday!”

As the three rescue teams began to head back to town, they heard the mysterious humming sound of Rhythm’s wings flapping in the distance as she flew back to her cave. Perhaps it was saying good-bye to them, for now.

----

Cosmo was looking out at the sunset through a window, as Eltanin finally returned to the tower.

“Eltanin, you’re back!” Cosmo said, walking over to greet the Beheeyem. “Did you find Elina?”

“Yes, I did,” Eltanin responded through telepathy. “She will be staying in Fenix Town for the time being, as a situation has occurred and she needs to keep an eye on certain things.”

“Huh? What do you mean?” Cosmo asked, confused at this turn of events. “What has happened?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you,” Eltanin responded. “However, when the other guards get back, I do have some other information I need to share, regarding the identity of the Pokémon that stole the crystals…”

----

End of chapter 14.

----

DarkerShining
6th April 2013, 3:43 PM
So, tomorrow it'll have been one year since I put up the first chapter of this. Time sure flies, doesn't it? Thanks to all my readers who have enjoyed the story so far, and to those who have helped me improve my writing skills! :)

Anyways, here's chapter 15! I hope you all enjoy it, and feel free to let me know what you thought of it, what I could improve on, what I have improved on, and so on.

----

Chapter 15: You want us to do five missions in just one day?

----

It was another beautiful morning in Fenix Town, and Sera had just woken up and was ready for another day of missions. Last night, her family had been pretty surprised to hear that Sera and her teammates had once again had a part in bringing back one of the missing crystals, even if it was a smaller one due to the presence of two higher ranked rescue teams and the fact that it was Rhythm and the Pokémon of Clarion Desert that had ultimately found the crystal hidden under the desert sands.

Sera wasn’t too concerned about that, however, as there was currently something else on her mind. Blitz had yesterday pointed out to her how few missions they had actually done since reaching Bronze rank, and so Sera had decided to try to do something about that.

“Sis, are you going to eat that?” Volt asked, looking at the berries on Sera’s plate.

“Oh, right,” Sera said, realizing she had momentarily forgotten about her breakfast. “I’m going to need my energy.”

“And what do you need it for?” Volt asked, while trying to see if he could get any more food from his older siblings.

“Rescue team work, silly,” Sera responded, smirking.

“What kind of rescue team work?” Volt asked, trying to steal some berries off of Sirena’s plate.

“Well, I don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing today yet, but I certainly intend to get a lot of work done today,” Sera replied.

“Sounds to me like you’re probably going to get yourself or your teammates into trouble again,” Volt responded, while sticking his tongue out at Sirena for pulling her plate out of his reach.

“Hey, I know what I’m doing!” Sera replied, glaring at Volt.

“Are you sure about that?” Volt asked, smirking. “Didn’t you mention that those other two rescue teams had to save you and your teammates out of a Monster House yesterday?”

“That wasn’t my fault!” Sera responded.

“Oh? Whose fault was it, then?” Volt asked.

“Um…” Sera wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that, but before she could think of anything, Amethyst walked into the room, having just been outside and fetched the mail.

“Hmm, today’s newspaper looks interesting…” Amethyst commented, levitating the newspaper and a few letters with her telekinesis.

“Were there any letters for me?” Sera asked.

“Oh, yes,” Amethyst responded, levitating a few letters over to Sera. “There seem to be some missions here for you.”

“Ooh, let’s see what I’ve got here…” Sera said, looking through the missions. “… Oh! Two of these are in the same dungeon! Perfect!”

Sera added the missions to the job list for her rescue team, and finished eating her breakfast before heading out. She had some preparations to do, and wanted to get started as soon as possible.

----

At the town plaza, several rescue teams were looking at today’s newspaper and talking amongst themselves. Blitz and Chiaki looked around at the various rescue teams while they waited for Sera to show up.

“So, what is going on?” Chiaki asked. “Are they talking about the crystal we retrieved from the desert?”

“Well, the newspaper does mention it, but it seems they’re more concerned about something else,” Blitz responded, listening carefully while glancing at the newspapers. “It seems they’ve identified the Pokémon that stole the crystals?”

“Huh, they did?” Sera asked, as she walked up to her teammates.

“Apparently, the thief is a Sigilyph,” Blitz responded. “According to one of the Axis Tower guards, it seemed to possess some sort of strange, dark power… I guess that explains that giant plant and the sandstorms that were hiding the crystals, sort of…”

“Weird,” Sera replied. “What kind of dark powers allows anyone to create such things?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

----

A short distance away, Stella and Bow were observing the rescue teams, having come to town to do some shopping.

“… I don’t think things are what they seem to be,” Stella muttered under her breath.

“What do you mean?” Bow asked, carrying some apples in her arms.

“… Let’s go home,” Stella responded. “I need to write another letter.”

----

Elina was currently relaxing in a tree, quietly wondering to herself who could teach her how to communicate through telepathy. She glanced down to see Stella and Bow as they headed home. They were both psychic types, but Elina didn’t know if either of them could use telepathy or not.

Elina was starting to see a number of reasons why finding someone who could teach her how to use telepathy would be difficult. For one thing, she didn’t know how many psychic types there were in town, or how many of them could communicate via telepathy. And how did she know if she could trust them not to read her mind? The last thing she wanted was for someone to invade her mind in order to find the secret she was hiding…

But even if it wouldn’t be an easy task, she still had to find someone who could teach her. Someone who wouldn’t be interested in searching her mind for information… As she thought about it, a certain psychic Pokémon who did seem unlikely to be interested in such things came to mind. She wasn’t sure if that Pokémon would be willing to help her, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to try asking the Pokémon in question.

However, it was probably best to wait until after all the rescue teams were done for the day...

----

At the rescue team HQ, Sera eagerly ran up to the mission board, looking over the various missions on it. Once she noticed one which location matched two of the missions already on her job list, she eagerly jumped up and claimed the mission. She soon spotted another right next to it in the same dungeon and grabbed that one as well.

“All right, this is looking good,” Sera said, wagging her tail happily. “Now let’s see if there’s anything on the outlaw board.”

Sera walked up to the other bulletin board, and looked over the wanted posters, to see if there were any matching the location on the other missions she had picked out. Her ears perked up as she noticed that there was indeed one mission there in the same dungeon as the other missions she had picked out, and eagerly picked it off the bulletin board and added it to the job list.

“Now I’ve got five missions all in the same dungeon!” Sera said, wagging her tail. “That should be enough for one day, don’t you think?”

“Hold on, five missions?” Blitz responded, tilting his head slightly. “You want us to do five missions in just one day?”

“Blitz, don’t you remember what you told me yesterday?” Sera asked, pointing to their rescue team badge. “We’ve only done four missions since we achieved bronze rank, and we’ve only done one mission a day, while other rescue teams tend to do more than one mission a day.”

“Oh, right…” Blitz responded, rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together. “We did talk about that…”

“So, I decided that today, we were going to do a lot of missions in one dungeon,” Sera said, happily wagging her tail. “And that way, we’ll get a lot of points in one go, and a lot of rewards that we can probably use to prepare for our next missions! We’ll become a better rescue team much faster this way!”

“Yeah, I guess…” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly. “Are you sure we can do five missions in a row like this, though?”

“Why shouldn’t we be able to do it?” Sera responded, smiling at Blitz. “Relax, the mystery dungeon isn’t too difficult, and like I promised, we’ll be better prepared for anything this time!”

“Oh, okay then,” Blitz replied, managing a small smile. “Just don’t push yourself too hard.”

“Let’s do this!” Chiaki said, seeming excited as usual.

“All right, guys!” Sera replied, rolling out their map. “We’ll be heading to this dungeon here, the Green Ravine.”

“What are our missions?” Blitz asked, and Sera showed her teammates the five missions on their job list.

“Two Pokémon want us to find a particular item within the dungeon, one wants a Rainy orb delivered to him, and one Pokémon wants us to look for a friend who got lost in the dungeon,” Sera explained, pointing to the first four missions, before turning her attention to the outlaw mission. “And for this one, someone wants us to retrieve a stolen Pecha Scarf from a Mankey.”

“That doesn’t seem too difficult,” Chiaki commented, smiling. “We’re sure going to help a lot of Pokémon today!”

“Yes, I do think we can probably get all of these missions done,” Blitz said, examining the missions.

“All right, let’s look over our supplies,” Sera responded, opening the bag to reveal the items inside. “Does it look like we have everything we need?”

“Hmm… I don’t believe we had any Vile or X-Eye seeds anyways, so I think we’re as prepared as we can be,” Blitz replied, smiling at Sera.

“Good,” Sera responded, putting the lid back on. “What happened yesterday won’t be happening again!”

“What happened yesterday…?” Chiaki said, tilting his head slightly. “… Oh! You mean when we walked right into that Monster House?”

“Yes, that,” Sera responded. “So, since it seems we’re all ready, let’s get going.”

And so they walked into Kala’s room, and asked her to teleport them over to the Green Ravine. After complaining about how they had disturbed her nap, Kala sent them off to the entrance of the dungeon, before going back to sleep.

----

Arriving at the entrance of the Green Ravine, Sera quickly entered the dungeon along with her teammates. Looking over the missions again, she took note of what floors the missions were on, and asked Blitz to help her remember them. The first thing they had to do was get to the fifth floor of the dungeon, where they would have to find a pink gummi for a Roselia.

Sera confidently led the team through the first floor, fighting off wild Pokémon and occasionally collecting a few items as usual.

“Let’s pick up the pace, guys!” Sera said, as they walked up the stairs to the second floor.

“Aren’t we already moving at a pretty good pace?” Blitz asked. “I mean, we’re not in a hurry.”

“But it wouldn’t be nice to keep our clients waiting, would it?” Sera responded, looking around for the next set of stairs.

“I guess not,” Blitz replied, seeing that Sera did have a point there.

Blitz was starting to feel a little concerned about Sera, though. Was she really this energetic today, or was she still having doubts about herself over the Monster House incident the day before and was trying to cover it up? He couldn’t really tell which it was, and figured it was best not to bring it up to her. He also thought it wouldn’t really be any point in bringing it up to Chiaki, since the idea of Sera still feeling bad about what happened at that point probably hadn’t even crossed the Mienfoo’s mind.

So, Blitz just continued to quietly follow along, while helping Sera remember what five floors the five missions were on.

----

Stella had gone off to find Santos and ask him to deliver a letter for her, while Bow stayed behind to watch the house. She wasn’t sure why this was necessary, since her mother said she wouldn’t be away for long, and with all the rescue teams around, it was unlikely that anyone would be able to sneak into their home. Bow just wandered around in circles, before stopping next to a chest covered with a white tablecloth.

Looking around as if to make sure no one was watching, even though she knew there was no one else around at the moment, she decided to walk up and pull the tablecloth off the chest, before using her psychic powers to open it and take a peek inside. Inside the chest were the two crystals that had been retrieved so far, being kept safe until they could all be safely returned to Axis Tower.

“They’re so pretty,” Bow said, watching the green and yellow crystal, and reaching out to touch one of them.

Before the tip of the Gothorita’s arm reached the crystals, Bow suddenly felt a bit light headed and her vision was becoming blurry. She closed her eyes for a moment, images of a dark blue crystal and a whirlpool briefly flashing through her mind.

“Did I just have a vision…?” Bow said, rubbing her head and opening her eyes. “Strange, usually they happen at night, when the stars are out…”

Bow closed the chest, and covered it back up with the tablecloth. She then tried to think about what she had just seen in that brief vision she had.

“Something blue and shiny…” Bow said, closing her eyes and trying to think. “Hmm… Oh! Could it have been another one of those crystals?”

Bow tried to recall what the dark blue crystal looked like, and the shape did look the same as the green and yellow crystals. So, it probably was one of the remaining crystals, but where was it? Bow tried to remember what else was in her vision.

“Hmm… Wasn’t there a whirlpool?” Bow thought out loud. “Does that mean the crystal is underwater? I should probably tell someone about this…”

While Bow had been told to wait at home, she figured that it wouldn’t be a problem if she left for just a moment as it was important to let the rescue teams know about the crystals. She would probably also be back by the time her mother returned home anyways. So, she stepped outside, and began heading into town, only for a certain bouncing Azurill to crash into her.

“Ah!” Bow yelled as she fell down.

“Oh, sorry about that, Bow,” Azure said, trying to use the ball on the tip of her tail to help the Gothorita back onto her feet. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Bow responded, getting back onto her feet. “Where are you going in such a hurry?”

“I’m going to get more gummis!” Azure said, excitedly bouncing around. “I can feel that I’m getting really close to evolving now, I just need to eat a few more gummis, and then I should be ready!”

“Oh, that’s great!” Bow responded, smiling at the Azurill. “You’ve been looking forward to evolving for a while, haven’t you?”

“You bet I have!” Azure replied, smiling back. “Hey, what was evolving like for you? Do you remember?”

“Hmm…” Bow thought about it for a moment, trying to remember. “I suppose I do, even if it has been a while since I went through the ceremony at… um… what was the name of that cave again…?”

“It’s the Cave of Renewal, right?” Azure responded helpfully.

“Oh, right!” Bow said, smiling cheerfully. “It was so amazing, the cave walls were all sparkly and there were these blue lights…”

“Sounds pretty,” Azure commented. “But, I’m more interested in hearing about the ceremony, actually.”

“Oh, okay!” Bow responded, taking a moment to try to remember. “Let’s see… There was this voice, and it asked me to stand in the center of the circle carved into the cave floor, and then the pattern on the floor started to glow!”

“Interesting,” Azure replied. “That’s when the process of evolution itself started, isn’t it? How was it?”

“Ooh, it felt really good,” Bow said, smiling. “I felt my body changing, getting a little bit taller, and more powerful… I don’t even know how to really describe it actually…”

“Cool,” Azure replied. “I can’t wait! Well, I should get going. See you later, Bow!”

“Bye-bye!” Bow said, while waving good-bye as the Azurill bounced away.

Once Azure had left, Bow stood there on the path, suddenly looking around in confusion.

“… Why did I come out here…?” Bow wondered out loud, not remembering her original reason for going outside. “Wasn’t I supposed to do something…?”

Bow thought about it, but couldn’t seem to figure out what her errand was.

“Hmm… I’ll figure it out later,” Bow said, turning around and heading back home.

Unbeknownst to Bow, a certain Sigilyph was watching her from the shadows, snickering a little to himself.

“Cassandra’s great, great, great granddaughter…” the Sigilyph muttered to himself. “She doesn’t look too bright… Probably wouldn’t put up much of a fight either…”

He just watched the Gothorita walk back to her home, before flying off.

“For now, I should leave, but I certainly plan on seeing her again…” the Sigilyph said, with a sinister laugh as he flew off into the distance.

----

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were now on the seventh floor of the Green Ravine, having found the pink gummi on the fifth floor and brought it with them, and they were now looking for the Pokémon that had requested the Rainy Orb. Chiaki still did wonder why it wanted to meet them in a place like this just to receive an item, and then leave. Why not just meet in town?

“How hard can it be to find one Pokémon one wouldn’t expect to see in a place like this?” Sera said, looking around. “Are you sure we’re on the right floor?”

“The mission did say the seventh floor,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

As the three young Pokémon got around a corner, they suddenly spotted a big bipedal Pokémon resembling a rhinoceros with a gray body that made it look like it was partially made of stone. Blitz was a bit intimidated by the Rhydon, but still followed his two teammates as they walked up to it to deliver the Rainy Orb.

“You wanted this, right?” Sera said, pointing to Chiaki who held up the orb.

“Ah, yes,” the Rhydon responded, picking up the orb. “These make watering my plants so much easier. Thank you so much for bringing me one!”

“You’re welcome,” Sera replied.

“Well, I’ll head back to town now,” the Rhydon said. “I’ll come by the rescue team headquarters to give you your reward later!”

And with that, the Rhydon teleported out of the dungeon with a little help from the magic of the rescue team badge.

“All right, two down, three to go!” Sera said, wagging her tail. “The next one is on the next floor, right?”

“Correct,” Blitz responded. “According to the mission from the Kabuto, his friend Omanyte is lost somewhere on the eighth floor.”

“How does he know which floor she got lost on?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Who cares, let’s just go save her,” Sera responded, turning back as she remembered passing the stairs while looking for the Rhydon.

The three of them quickly made it back to where the stairs were, and moved onto the next floor, and started looking for the lost Omanyte. Chiaki liked how in most missions, they knew exactly where to look for the things they needed to find. It felt a lot easier to just focus on missions, rather than try to figure out his true identity. While he didn’t show it much, Chiaki was bothered by his amnesia, and the fact that he hadn’t been able to regain any of his memory.

However, since he didn’t know where to search for his lost memories, he figured there wasn’t really any point in trying to find them for now. The only lead he really had was Elina, and perhaps once she worked out a more effective way to communicate with him other than body language, she’d be able to tell him what she knew about him.

Despite all that, he didn’t mind waiting, even if it could possibly take a while. After all, there was plenty for him to do until then.

“I think I see her!” Blitz said, pointing to a blue Pokémon covered mostly by a very light brown shell.

“Good job, Blitz!” Sera responded, moving towards the lost Omanyte. “Let’s save her, and move onto the next one!”

The Omanyte was grateful that the rescue team had found her, and the magic of the rescue team badge sent her back to town so she could meet up again with her friend. With three missions done, there were only two more to go. First, they had to find a particular item on the tenth floor, and the outlaw that had the stolen Pecha Scarf they had to retrieve was on the eleventh floor.

“So, how much closer do you think we’ll be to Silver rank after this?” Sera asked.

“Hmm… Well, it’ll certainly bring us closer to it, but we’ll still have some way to go, I think,” Blitz responded.

“Good enough for me,” Sera replied, stopping for a moment to catch her breath. “Whew, I’m starting to feel a little tired from walking so fast…”

“Should we take a break, or slow down a little?” Blitz asked, sounding a bit concerned for his teammate.

“Sure, let’s slow down a little,” Sera responded, smiling at Blitz. “But not too much, though! We can’t keep our clients waiting!”

----

After quickly getting through the ninth floor, and searching the tenth floor until they found the item they were asked to find, the rescue team walked over to the stairs that would take them to the eleventh floor and their last mission for the day. Sera briefly stopped and set down their bag, and opened the lid to take another look at the items.

“All right, we’ll need to fight in order to get the stolen item back, so does it look like we’ve got what we need for this?” Sera asked.

“Hmm, I think so,” Blitz responded, looking over the items. “It would be easier if we had any Vile or X-Eye seeds, and while we do have a couple of Sleep seeds, I don’t know if they’ll be useful in this situation since the Mankey may have an ability that makes them immune… There is a Totter seed in here we might be able to use, though.”

“Think that’s enough?” Sera asked.

“We have a few orbs that can be used too,” Blitz responded. “We should probably avoid using the ones that affect multiple Pokémon in one room, though.”

“Okay,” Sera replied. “Let’s go.”

The rescue team headed up the stairs to the eleventh floor, where they came across a Pokémon with light brown fur, two short pointy ears, long arms and legs and a long tail, and a nose resembling a pig’s snout. The Mankey was holding the stolen Pecha Scarf, trying to figure out how he wanted to wear the pink scarf, seeing as he didn’t really have a neck.

“Hmm… Maybe tied around my tail?” the Mankey said, thinking out loud. “No, that’ll make me look like a girl…”

“Hey!” Sera shouted, startling the Mankey for a moment. “I believe you have something that isn’t yours, and we’re here to make you return it!”

“Oh, no way!” the Mankey responded, holding tightly onto the scarf. “This thing is going to help me get into Oddish territory so I can gather chestnuts there without needing to worry about the Poison Powder the Vileplume in that area spread to keep other Pokémon out!”

“Why’d you have to steal it?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly. “I’m pretty sure Pecha Scarves like that can sometimes be found lying around in dungeons, so why not try to get one of your own?”

“Shut up!” the Mankey shouted, charging at Chiaki.

Chiaki quickly used Detect to avoid the Mankey’s attack, and then followed it up with a Fake Out to make the Mankey flinch. Blitz then took the opportunity to charge up electricity and tackle the Mankey whilst coated in the electricity, knocking the Mankey onto its face. The enraged fighting type got back up, and charged at Sera, who quickly used her tail to fling some sand into its eyes while jumping out of the way.

As the Mankey brushed the sand off his face, Sera considered throwing one of the seeds at him. However, she wasn’t entirely sure where the Mankey’s mouth was, and thus wasn’t sure where to aim. Blitz hit the Mankey with another Spark attack, and Chiaki attempted to strike the Mankey, only for the Mankey to knock him aside.

“Why won’t any of you just hold still!?” the Mankey shouted.

Chiaki looked up to see the Mankey charging at him, and quickly had to block a Karate Chop from the Mankey by grabbing his paw at the right moment. The angry pig-monkey Pokémon simply picked up Chiaki while the Mienfoo was still holding onto his paw, and began swinging him over his head.

“Go away!” the Mankey shouted, throwing Chiaki at Sera, knocking them both to the ground.

As Sera and Chiaki tried to get back onto their feet, the Mankey began charging at them again, only to be tackled aside by Blitz.

“You’re in my way!” the Mankey screamed, attempting to strike at Blitz with Fury Swipes.

Blitz managed to dodge the attacks, and then made his fur shine in order to momentarily blind the Mankey, so he could hit him with Spark yet again. The Mankey tried to get up, only for Blitz to press his paw against the Mankey’s back and zap him with electricity, making the Mankey drop the scarf.

“So, I’ll just take this back now,” Blitz said, taking the Pecha Scarf that had fallen out of the Mankey’s hand.

“You did it, Blitz!” Sera said, happily running up to her teammate along with Chiaki.

“Are you two okay?” Blitz asked, looking a bit concerned. “It looks like you two got hit pretty hard.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll just eat an Oran berry and I’ll be fine!” Sera responded, wagging her tail.

“Yeah, same here,” Chiaki replied, giving Blitz a reassuring smile.

“Well, that’s a relief,” Blitz responded, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

Suddenly, the Mankey jumped up and landed on the ground a short distance from the rescue team, glaring at them.

“FINE! You can take that stupid scarf back, as long as it means I don’t have to deal with more of you!” the Mankey shouted, jumping up and down in anger. “I’ll go search the mystery dungeons for my own Pecha Scarf, and if anyone else tries to get in my way, I'll beat them up!”

And with that the Mankey ran off, angrily muttering something under his breath as he went off somewhere.

“Hey, he’s getting away!” Chiaki said, looking a bit worried. “Shouldn’t we go after him?”

“I think we should probably just return to Fenix Town and return this scarf to its rightful owner,” Blitz responded. “While I feel bad for whatever unfortunate wild Pokémon may end up in his path, I don’t think there’s much more we can really do about this.”

“And if he causes trouble for anyone again, maybe some other rescue team will be able to handle it,” Sera added.

“I guess…” Chiaki responded. “It doesn’t feel quite right to just leave him like that, though.”

“I know,” Blitz replied. “Let’s just hope another rescue team eventually deals with it once someone tracks him down.”

“Well, let’s go back to town,” Sera said, letting the power of the rescue team badge spread its golden light and teleport them back to the rescue team HQ.

----

After picking up their rewards at the rescue team HQ, the rescue team decided to head over to the café. While waiting for River to give them their drinks, the three looked over the rescue team badge and the rewards from the mission.

“Looks like we got a good amount of money from this one,” Blitz commented. “And I think we got some useful items out of it too.”

“Yeah, this was definitely a success,” Sera responded, looking somewhat worn out. “I don’t think we’ll be doing this many missions at once every day, though.”

“Agreed,” Blitz replied, chuckling a little. “Although, I guess we wouldn’t be likely to find five missions in the same location every day, anyways!”

“Wow, you really did five missions today?” Frederick asked, while cleaning the tables in the café.

“Yes, we did!” Chiaki responded, with his signature cheerful smile. “We got to help a lot of Pokémon today!”

“That’s nice,” Frederick replied, nodding his head slightly. “Hey, does this table look clean now? It smells clean, but I can’t really tell for sure.”

“I’ll be with you in a second,” River said, setting down the glasses of berry juice the rescue team had ordered on the counter. “There you all go!”

“Thanks, River!” Sera replied, immediately drinking up about half of the Leppa berry juice she had ordered in one gulp. “Ooh, I needed that.”

“Don’t drink it all up too fast,” River said, while looking over the table that Frederick had just cleaned. “After all, don’t you have to go home and eat dinner soon?”

“Relax, I won’t spoil my appetite,” Sera responded.

“If you say so,” River replied, while letting Frederick know she was satisfied with the table before guiding him over to the next table he had to clean.

While the rescue team enjoyed their drinks and Frederick continued cleaning the tables, Azure suddenly bounced into the café.

“I’m back!” Azure said, happily bouncing on her tail.

“Azure, where have you been?” River asked, pointing to a window at the position of the sun outside. “You were supposed to be back half an hour ago!”

“Sorry, I forgot to pay attention to the sun,” Azure responded sheepishly. “But I did manage to get a few gummis, and now I’m going to be even closer to evolving!”

“Azure, I know you want to evolve and go on adventures,” River replied, sighing. “But you do realize that if I’m going to allow you to go off on your own, you need to be back when I tell you?”

“I said I was sorry,” Azure responded. “And next time, I promise I’ll be back when I’m supposed to be!”

“Good,” River replied, patting Azure on the head.

River then went back to work, Azure went to help Frederick with the tables and the rescue team eventually finished their drinks and headed home for the day. After a day of a lot of missions, it was going to feel nice to get some sleep.

----

At the rescue team HQ, a certain Abra was asleep in her room as usual. Even after the day was over, she and a few of the others at the rescue team HQ would stay behind even when there were no more rescue teams coming in for the day. Nurse Giselle and some of the Pokémon assisting her would stay behind in order to look after patients or in case an emergency came up.

However, Kala wasn’t entirely sure why she chose to remain in her room at the HQ even after the day was over. While there had been instances of Pokémon showing up at night to ask her to teleport them somewhere, she wasn’t exactly too thrilled about the idea of having someone disturb her in her sleep when her work day was supposed to be over.

Then again, she wasn’t exactly too thrilled about her sleep being interrupted any other time either. While some might call her lazy, Kala was an Abra, after all, and so did need eighteen hours of sleep every day in order to keep her psychic powers strong. And as long as she did do her job, no one could really complain.

As Kala lay comfortably on her pillow, she suddenly felt something poking her head. She tried to ignore it, but whoever it was, they weren’t going away. Kala sleepily opened her eyes, and saw a certain Elgyem hovering next to her.

“Oh, it’s you again…?” Kala asked, yawning. “Do you have any idea what time it is…?”

Elina sheepishly looked down on the floor, as the Abra sat up, sleepily rubbing her eyes.

“Okay… So, where do you need to go at this hour…?” Kala asked, pointing at the map.

Elina just shook her head, much to Kala’s confusion.

“You don’t need me to teleport you anywhere…?” Kala asked, seeming as if she was about to fall asleep again any second. “Well, what do you want, then…?”

----

End of chapter 15.

----

DarkerShining
20th April 2013, 4:40 PM
Hi again, everyone! It looks like I'll be having a few busy weeks ahead of me, as I probably have a math exam somewhere at the end of May that I'll need to prepare for.

However, I do have another chapter for you guys, so let's just get right on that, shall we?

I hope you guys enjoy it!

----

Chapter 16: So, you’re considering joining Sera’s team?

----

Stella gazed up at the night sky, hoping she’d soon receive some answers that could confirm her theory, or perhaps reveal the location of another crystal, but it didn’t seem like the stars had anything to show her tonight. Bow was already asleep, tightly hugging a pink blanket while mumbling something in her sleep about candy. Stella looked at the envelope she was holding, having been unable to find Santos and get him to deliver her letter to Silver Woods.

He was probably delivering some mail out of town, and she would have to wait until morning when Santos would come to deliver their mail before asking him to send her letter. She telekinetically picked up the letter that her friend had sent her a few days back, and reread what she had found out about the plant sample Stella sent her.

“I need to get this new information to her as soon as possible…” Stella whispered, as she paced back and forth.

Stella decided it was probably better to just try to get some sleep, instead of staying up when there wasn’t really anything she could accomplish by doing so at the moment. She glanced up at the starry sky once more, just in case she did receive a vision. When nothing happened, she closed her eyes, trying to sleep.

----

At the rescue team HQ, Elina had managed to convey her message to Kala after several minutes of trying to find a way to make her request. The fact that Kala had nearly dozed off a few times while she tried to do so didn’t make it any easier.

“So, let me see if I got this right…” Kala muttered groggily. “You want me to reach you how to communicate through telepathy…?”

Elina nodded her head. Kala stared tiredly at the Elgyem for a moment, before falling back down on her pillow and returning to sleep, snoring lightly. Elina had to grab the Abra by her shoulders and shake her awake.

“I’ll think about it, okay…?” Kala mumbled, rubbing her eyes. “So, I’ll contact you later… if I don’t forget…”

Kala went back to sleep, and Elina figured it was best to just let her sleep for now. She knew trying to ask Kala of all Pokémon for help was probably a somewhat crazy idea, but hopefully it was just crazy enough to work. After all, it seemed very unlikely that Kala would be interested in searching through anyone’s thoughts on their personal lives and such, and thus Elina wouldn’t have to worry about her secrets being found out with Kala as her teacher.

While Kala most likely just wanted to sleep and focus on her job, Elina still hoped that Kala would be willing to teach her, and that they would be able to set aside some time for that. For now, she decided to leave the rescue team HQ, and see if she could find a good place to sleep.

----

After a fairly uneventful night, the sun rose into the sky, signaling the start of another new day. River the Azumarill got up, and did her usual morning routine, waking up Azure and getting ready for another day of work at the café. After making breakfast, she went to fetch the mail. Inside the mailbox were today’s newspaper, and a letter from Azure’s father.

“Oh, he finally sent another letter!” River commented, smiling as she held the envelope. “I guess he’s been too busy with work to really write… I really wish he’d come home more often.”

River brought the letter inside for Azure to read, while making a mental note to herself to write a letter back when she got back home from work. Once she and Azure had finished their breakfasts, they headed off to the café. They met up with the other Pokémon that worked in the kitchen outside the café, and then they headed inside to start preparing for when it was time to open the café.

The Pokémon working in the kitchen went to bring in the supplies that would be arriving soon, and to get things ready to prepare the food and drinks that customers would order. Frederick was probably going to show up soon to help out in the café too. The young Deino only had to work a couple of more days to fully pay off his debt, and it seemed he had enjoyed helping out. He also seemed to get along well with Azure when they were both helping out in the café.

River had no doubts that Frederick would probably continue to be a regular visitor to the café even after he had finished working off his debt.

“Can I go look around town for ways to get gummis when we’re done setting up things and stuff here?” Azure asked, bouncing on her tail. “I don’t know if I already have enough IQ skill to evolve, but I want to gather some more just in case!”

“Azure, you don’t have to be so impatient,” River responded, patting her daughter on the head. “I know you want to evolve soon, but you don’t have to spend every day until it happens preparing for it.”

“Well, what else am I supposed to do, then?” Azure asked.

“How about just taking it easy?” River suggested. “You don’t have to be in such a rush all the time.”

“I can take it easy after I’ve evolved,” Azure responded, bouncing around. “Please? Can I go take a look around town for ways to get more gummis later?”

“Oh, okay,” River replied. “Just remember to keep track of time.”

----

Once everything was in place, and the café was open for customers, things went the way they usually did on a normal day. And once Azure had permission to head out, she immediately headed for the town plaza. As she bounced her way into the main part of the town, she noticed Sera and her teammates over at the shop, buying some items. Azure smiled, and decided to go over to them and say hi.

“Hey guys!” Azure said, cheerfully hopping over to the bronze rank team. “Getting ready for another day of adventures, huh?”

“Uh-huh!” Chiaki responded, nodding his head and smiling. “Sera wanted to buy some Reviver Seeds before they all got sold out!”

“One can never have too many Reviver Seeds, after all,” Sera said.

“We should probably put some of those away in storage,” Blitz commented. “You know, just in case.”

“Right, let’s get right on that,” Sera responded, finishing paying Wade for the purchased items before heading over to Lionel’s item warehouse.

Azure continued following the rescue team as they made their preparations, figuring that perhaps she could go on another adventure with them if she did. She wondered if they had already decided on what mission they were going to handle today.

“So, what’s the plan for today?” Azure asked.

“Sera received another mission with the mail this morning,” Chiaki explained. “Apparently, some Buizel got lost while exploring Harmony Forest.”

“Harmony Forest, huh?” Azure responded, balancing on her tail. “Same place where you found one of the missing crystals?”

“That’s the one!” Chiaki replied, smiling. “I look forward to visiting it again, even if we won’t get to see the monkey tribes this time since the Buizel didn’t reach the main part of the forest.”

“Ah, I see,” Azure responded, bouncing a little. “Mind if I come with you?”

“Oh, you want to join us on this one?” Sera asked.

“Well, I was going to try to get myself some more gummis, but an adventure sounds fun,” Azure responded. “That is, if you’re fine with letting me come along.”

“Sure, why not?” Sera replied, smiling and wagging her tail.

“Great!” Azure responded, happily bouncing around. “When do we head off?”

“Well, I think we’ve almost gotten all our preparations done,” Sera said. “We just need to go over a few more things, and then we’re good to go!”

Azure smiled and followed the three as they made their last few preparations, before walking up to the rescue team HQ. Walking right past other rescue teams who were looking at the bulletin boards and trying to decide on today’s missions, they entered Kala’s room. Sera lightly nudged the sleeping Abra with her paw, waking her up.

“What year is it…?” Kala mumbled, as she sat up, rubbing her eyes.

“Hello, Kala,” Sera said, with a friendly smile. “Mind teleporting the four of us over to the entrance of Harmony Forest?”

“No, I don’t mind…” Kala responded, nodding off.

“Um…” Sera shook Kala again, waking the Abra up again.

“Oh, you meant right now, didn’t you…?” Kala said, yawning and stretching. “All right… Here goes…”

And with a flash of light, the four Pokémon disappeared from the room and Kala could resume her nap until another rescue team showed up. She then remembered that a certain Elgyem had been there last night, asking for her help.

“Right, I should probably think about what to do about that…” Kala said, yawning. “Hmm… I’ll sleep on it.”

And so, Kala resumed her nap.

----

Azure followed the rescue team as they explored the first floor of Harmony Forest, which had changed since the bronze rank team was there last. Aside from the vines that were spreading throughout the forest no longer being an obstacle, the entire layout of the floor had changed entirely. Chiaki seemed pretty amazed at how different it looked from the last time they had been there, despite having been told before that mystery dungeons did change like this.

The only things that stayed the same were the number of floors and what kinds of wild Pokémon might appear within them. The lost Buizel was apparently somewhere on the ninth floor of the dungeon. Sera had asked Blitz to remember what floor it was on, and to help keep track of what floor they were currently on.

“So, what Pokémon are there to fight around here?” Azure asked, swinging her tail around a little.

“Well, there are some Ledyba, which I believe we may also have seen in Nectar Woods,” Blitz responded, trying to remember which wild Pokémon inhabited this dungeon. “There were also Shroomish here, and I think there might’ve been Bellsprout…”

“I see,” Azure replied, bouncing along. “Do you remember anything else?”

“Hmm… I think there are either Taillow or Starly in here,” Blitz said, thinking for a moment. “Some kind of small bird Pokémon, can’t remember which one at the top of my head… and I believe there are Pachirisu on the later floors.”

“Doesn’t sound too difficult,” Azure replied.

“I know I missed a few, though,” Blitz said, looking around. “And remember to be careful with the Shroomish, since they might release spores that can induce sleep, paralyze or poison you.”

“Yeah, I know about Effect Spore,” Azure responded. “I’ll be careful.”

The four Pokémon continued exploring the maze of trees, picking up items and fighting off wild Pokémon on the way. As always, Azure was enjoying the chance to explore with Sera and her teammates, and getting to fight. She didn’t think she would ever get tired of going on adventures. Sometimes, when she would look out the windows while helping her mother out in the café, it felt like every part of her just wanted nothing more than to head out and explore.

This was the third time she had joined Sera and her teammates on a mission, and with her love of adventures, she’d probably make a good rescue team member. Perhaps once she had evolved, she could join their rescue team for real? Azure figured her mother probably wouldn’t mind that, as long as she remembered her curfew.

Would the rescue team be interested in having her join their team, though? She knew at least that they probably considered her a bit too impulsive and impatient at times. While Sera and Chiaki probably wouldn’t mind letting her join, she wasn’t too sure about Blitz. Sure, he was a nice Pokémon and liked having Azure as a friend, but would he want her as a teammate?

From what Azure had seen from the interactions between the three of them, Sera often looked to Blitz for advice when it came to the rescue team stuff, as he probably knew more than she did about it. However, Blitz also seemed like he could easily be talked into something by his two teammates if they wanted it enough.

Was that something Azure could take advantage of? Was it something she wanted to take advantage of?

“We’re doing pretty well so far,” Blitz commented as they eventually got to the fifth floor of the dungeon. “We’re already over halfway there.”

“Yeah,” Azure responded, still following along. “This is going by pretty fast.”

“Well, we did do five missions yesterday,” Sera said with a cheerful smile. “So, I suppose one kind of short mission today is a lot less stressful.”

“Shame I didn’t meet up with you guys in time to join you on your missions yesterday,” Azure responded, giggling a little. “I probably would’ve enjoyed that.”

“I guess you would!” Chiaki replied, with his usual cheery attitude. “I bet yesterday’s missions would’ve been even more fun if you had come along!”

“You really think so?” Azure responded. “Because, I was sort of thinking, that maybe…”

“Oh, there are the stairs!” Sera said, spotting the stairs to the next floor. “Let’s go!”

Azure followed the rescue team up the stairs, and attempted to figure out how to ask about the possibility of joining their team at some point. However, she couldn’t seem to figure out what to say, or how to say it. She found this odd, since it wasn’t like her to get all flustered and not be able to get her thoughts across. Maybe this just wasn’t the right time to bring it up.

“Hmm… Maybe after I evolve…” Azure whispered to herself.

“Did you say something, Azure?” Chiaki asked, looking over his shoulder at her.

“Uh… No, I didn’t say anything,” Azure replied, giggling a little.

“Oh, okay!” Chiaki responded, turning back to helping his teammates keep an eye out for items, wild Pokémon and the stairs.

Azure decided that she would wait to ask about joining their team until after she had evolved. It seemed like a good idea, at least. For now, she tried to focus on the mission.

----

Elina was sitting under a tree, wondering when to head back to the HQ to see Kala. Kala had told her she would think about it, but had admitted she might not remember to do so. And even if Kala did remember, Elina wasn’t sure if Kala had given it any thought yet. She wasn’t sure what she would do if Kala decided not to teach her to communicate through telepathy.

If that happened, she’d have to find another Pokémon that could teach her, but she didn’t really know of anyone else who could. She really hoped Kala would agree to help her…

Suddenly, Kala herself appeared next to Elina in a flash of light, startling the Elgyem.

“All right, I’ve been thinking about it…” Kala said, still sounding rather sleepy. “And I think I’ve made my decision…”

Elina tilted her head slightly, and moved a bit closer to the Abra as she anticipated the response. Kala cleared her throat, as if about to speak… only to fall asleep again, leaning against Elina. Elina stared blankly at the snoring Abra for a moment, before shaking her by the shoulders in order to wake her up.

“Zzzz… Oh! Sorry about that…” Kala responded, rubbing her eyes. “Anyways, about the whole telepathy thing… I’m willing to give it a try…”

Elina instantly perked up, and looked to Kala to make sure she had heard right, only to find that the Abra had nodded off again. Elina tapped Kala’s shoulder, and the Abra woke up again.

“Yeah… I’ll try…” Kala said again, yawning. “Not sure if I’ll be any good at it, but whatever…”

Elina excitedly hugged Kala, who nearly dozed off again, but managed to somehow stay awake this time.

“You’re welcome…” Kala said, smiling. “But for now, I need to get back to work… See you later…”

And with that, Kala teleported back to her room in the rescue team HQ and went back to sleep. Elina was relieved that Kala had agreed to help her, and that she didn’t have to worry about it anymore. However, Kala hadn’t specified when her telepathy lessons would begin, so Elina wasn’t sure how that would go. She just hoped that Kala wouldn’t just randomly appear out of nowhere again whenever she decided to start the lessons.

----

Sera and her teammates had now reached the eighth floor of the mystery dungeon leading into the deeper part of Harmony Forest, Azure still following closely behind them. They were only one floor away from the Buizel who needed rescue. Azure kept taking note of how each of the three rescue team members handled the situation at hand; trying to figure out what she could contribute to the group if she joined the team for real.

Even if she had been doing a decent job while helping them out on a few missions, she would have to change her battling style regardless once she evolved. It was a bit difficult to fully plan ahead when she didn’t yet know the full extent of how her body changing would affect the way she battled.

“All right, there are the stairs!” Sera said, wagging her tail happily as she walked up to the stairs leading to the next floor. “The client is on the next floor, correct?”

“Correct,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “So, let’s go help him.”

The four Pokémon walked up the stairs, and began looking around for the orange otter Pokémon that was lost somewhere on the floor. Azure tried bouncing as high as she could, in hopes of being able to get a glance over the walls and possibly catch a glimpse of where the Buizel was. Despite her best efforts, she wasn’t able to get a good enough view of the dungeon.

“If only I could bounce a little bit higher…” Azure muttered. “And stay up in the air a little longer, too…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Sera said, wagging her tail. “Let’s just look around like usual.”

Azure followed the others, keeping an eye out for the Buizel. After a short while, Blitz was able to pick up on the Buizel’s scent, and helped Sera find out which way it must’ve gone. Following the trail, they soon found the room where the Buizel was. As the Buizel spotted them, he motioned for them to be quiet as there were two white squirrel Pokémon with blue ears and yellow pouches on their cheeks asleep nearby, blue sparks of electricity occasionally rippling through the fur of the sleeping Pachirisu.

“I think I can get to him without waking the Pachirisu,” Blitz whispered to the other three Pokémon in the group. “Sera, can I borrow the rescue team badge for a moment?”

Sera gave Blitz the badge, and so the Shinx began making his way towards the Buizel. He made sure to not make much noise as he walked through the grass, and even seemed to have a way to control his breathing to move as quietly as possible. He soon reached the Buizel, and held out the rescue team badge.

“Thanks,” the Buizel whispered, smiling at Blitz. “I’ll give you your reward at the rescue team HQ later.”

And with that, the rescue team badge teleported the Buizel out of the dungeon and Blitz made his way back to his teammates.

“Well done, Blitz,” Sera whispered, taking the rescue team badge back. “Now, let’s get back to the HQ.”

As the four Pokémon were sent back to the rescue team HQ, the golden flash of light from the rescue team badge as it teleported them out woke up the two Pachirisu. The two electric squirrels sat up and looked around for the source of the light, and when they didn’t see it, decided to move to a different part of the floor.

----

River was taking some customers’ orders when Azure returned to the café. Azure had said goodbye and left right after the rescue team picked up their reward from the Buizel, and gone back to the café so she could tell her mother and Frederick about today’s adventure.

“So, you’re considering joining Sera’s team?” Frederick asked, while he and Azure cleaned some spilled berry juice off the floor.

“Yep,” Azure responded, balancing on her tail.

“Sounds nice,” Frederick replied. “They seem like a good team. Maybe I should try going on a mission with them sometime?”

“I bet you would enjoy that,” Azure responded, bouncing around cheerfully. “I wouldn’t mind seeing you in action myself, actually.”

“Oh?” Frederick replied, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, you’re a dragon,” Azure said. “So, I’m assuming you must have some awesome moves!”

“Oh, I don’t know if I’m really that awesome,” Frederick replied, with a somewhat sheepish smile. “But thanks anyways.”

The two continued talking amongst themselves while helping out in the café, until Frederick had to head home. Eventually, it got dark outside, and soon it was time to close up the café for the night and head home. Thanks to a few light crystals set up in certain spots in their house, it wasn’t completely dark when they returned home. Azure began heading to her room, only for River to stop her.

“Wait just a moment, Azure,” River said, smiling. “I brought something back from the café for you!”

River then held out a white gummi, which instantly brought a smile to Azure’s face.

“I saved it just for you!” River said, handing Azure the gummi. “You can go ahead and eat it before you go to bed, if you’d like.”

“Thanks!” Azure responded, happily eating the white gummi before bouncing over to her room.

River smiled, and went to write a letter for Azure’s father. She took a blank paper from the top of a stack of blank papers and put it down on the small wooden writing desk in front of her, and then got out the quill and ink. Dipping the quill in the ink, she began writing the letter.

As she wrote about how Azure was getting close to evolving, and would probably be a Marill the next time her father saw her, she thought about how it was kind of sad that he wouldn’t get to witness his daughter’s evolution. She wondered if Azure felt that way too. Then again, Azure probably wouldn’t let it bother her that much, as she would probably just look forward to telling her father all about whenever he came home.

River then thought about Azure’s father probably felt about it, since he probably felt bad that he wouldn’t be able to see his daughter evolve. River sometimes forgot to take his feelings into consideration when she thought about how much she wanted him to come home and spend time with them.

River then looked down at the letter she was writing, taking a few moments to figure out what else to write.

“… I hope we can all see each other again soon,” River said, reading what she was writing to herself out loud as she continued working on the letter. “But until then, I suppose as long as we keep each other in our hearts, we’re never truly far apart. So, keep up the good work, and I will do the same with my job at the café.”

It didn’t take much longer before River had finished the letter, and smiled as she looked over it, deciding she was satisfied with it. She left the letter on the desk, deciding to send it when Santos came to deliver the mail the next morning before heading off to work. For now, it was time to sleep.

----

End of chapter 16.

----

DarkerShining
18th May 2013, 4:08 PM
Hello again! Sorry for the wait, but you know, I have that math exam coming up on the 27th that I need to study for, so I'll probably have to work on that this week. However, I've still managed to finish chapter 17.

Also, my fanfic can now also be read on Fanfiction.net, where so far, I've put up revised versions of the four first chapters. So, feel free to check that out, if you're interested.

So, anyways, time for chapter 17. Read, review and all that, but most importantly, I hope you enjoy the chapter!

----

Chapter 17: If you had to choose, would you rather be a rock, or a tree?

----

Another new day had begun, and the Pokémon of Fenix Town was going about their regular morning routines. Sera and her older siblings were eating breakfast together as usual, making small talk about recent events and things like that. During the breakfast, Sera had noticed that Sirena had kept looking at her.

“… Do I any food stuck in my teeth, or something?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Oh, I was just wondering if you had any plans for today,” Sirena responded, with a smile on her face.

“Um… Okay?” Sera replied. “I’m guessing I’ll be going on some mission with Blitz and Chiaki, but we haven’t decided on anything in particular yet. Why do you ask, anyways?”

“Well, it’s occurred to me that we never really do anything together, you know?” Sirena responded. “So, I was thinking that, maybe we could go somewhere together?”

“… Do you want something from me?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly. “What is this about?”

“Oh, Sera, don’t be silly!” Sirena responded, giggling a little. “I just thought it might be nice to spend some time with my little sister!”

“… No seriously, what do you want from me?” Sera asked, looking somewhat confused.

“Come on, Sera! It’ll be fun!” Sirena said, with a cheerful smile. “Take a day off from the rescue team stuff; I’m sure your teammates will understand!”

“… Yoru, Flare, Volt? Do any of you know what’s going on?” Sera asked, looking around at her older brothers for answers.

“I don’t know, but she’s definitely up to something,” Volt responded. “She’s acting way weirder than she normally does.”

“Maybe she has a fever?” Yoru said, pressing his paw against Sirena’s forehead. “… Nope, her scaly, yet surprisingly soft skin feels just as cool as it normally does.”

“Oh, come on, guys,” Sirena said, pushing the Umbreon’s paw away from her forehead. “Is it really that strange that I want to spend some quality time with my little sister?”

“Yes,” Volt responded bluntly.

“I’m really confused here…” Sera muttered, unsure what to do.

“It can’t really do any harm to spend the day with your sister,” Flare said, giving Sera a reassuring smile. “I’m sure you and Sirena will have fun.”

“You really think so, Flare…?” Sera responded. “Well… Okay, then …”

“Yay!” Sirena replied, with a happy smile. “Today is going to be fun; I promise you won’t be disappointed!”

“Uh… Okay,” Sera responded, trying to smile back. “I guess we’ll go once I’ve talked to Blitz and Chiaki.”

“Be careful, Sera,” Volt whispered. “We don’t know what she’s really after.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Sera whispered back. “I’m sure I’ll be able to find out what she wants from me once we’re on our own.”

“Go for it,” Volt responded, smirking.

----

After finishing her breakfast, Sera headed out to see her teammates, albeit leaving the rescue team badge and treasure bag at home. She almost felt it was a little strange to go out without those. She found Blitz and Chiaki, and explained the situation to them.

“So, Sirena wants to spend some quality time with you?” Blitz asked.

“Yeah, isn’t it strange?” Sera responded. “What could she be up to?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Blitz replied, smiling at Sera. “But I hope you have fun.”

“Thanks,” Sera responded, smiling back. “And since you two are getting the day off, go do whatever you want. Anyways, see you later!”

“Bye Sera!” Chiaki said, and waved good-bye as Sera left. “Have fun!”

“Tell me how it went later!” Blitz said.

After Sera had left, Blitz and Chiaki were left wondering exactly what to do with their day off. They walked around town for a bit while trying to figure that out.

“Maybe we can head over to the dojo for some training?” Blitz suggested. “I haven’t really had a chance to talk to Hercules these past few days.”

“You sure that’s what you want to do?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Oh… Well, if you don’t want to…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“No, it’s fine!” Chiaki responded, smiling at Blitz. “If you want to head over to the dojo, go ahead! I can look around on my own, and see what else there’s to do!”

“Are you sure?” Blitz asked.

“It’s no problem, really!” Chiaki replied, still smiling. “I’ll be fine on my own!”

“Okay, if you say so,” Blitz responded, starting to head over in the direction of the dojo. “See you later.”

Chiaki began walking around town, wondering what he could do while Sera was spending time with her big sister and Blitz was training at the dojo. As he looked around, he came across a certain Deino.

“Hi Frederick!” Chiaki said, happily greeting the Deino.

“Oh, hello,” Frederick responded.

“So, why aren’t you at the café?” Chiaki asked. “Did River give you the day off?”

“Yeah, she did,” Frederick responded, nodding his head. “She apparently had to take Azure somewhere, so the café is closed today.”

“Oh? Where did they go?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“I don’t know,” Frederick responded. “River told me they’d probably be back sometime in the evening, though.”

“Oh, okay!” Chiaki said, smiling. “I’ve got the day off too!”

“Cool,” Frederick responded. “So, what are you doing?”

“I don’t know yet,” Chiaki replied. “What about you?”

“I don’t really have any plans either,” Frederick responded.

“So, if you don’t have any plans, and I don’t have any plans, why don’t we try to think of something together?” Chiaki asked, smiling cheerfully.

“Sounds good to me,” Frederick replied, smiling too.

The two Pokémon began to walk around together, trying to see if there was anything for them to do. As they looked around, they noticed two other Pokémon, who seemed to be looking for something or someone. One was a blue Pokémon resembling a turtle with a brown and beige shell, and a white tail which vaguely resembled a wave. The other was a small green Pokémon with two red flowers on its head and something resembling a skirt made of green and yellow leaves.

“Oh, where did he get off to this time?” the Wartortle asked, looking rather frustrated.

“I really hope we find him soon,” the Bellossom said, trying to stay calm. “It wouldn’t really be a good idea to go on this mission without him…”

“Excuse me, but is there a problem?” Chiaki asked, walking up to the two Pokémon.

“Well, we’re heading out on a mission soon, but our teammate seems to have wandered off somewhere again,” the Wartortle responded, looking rather annoyed.

“Need any help finding him?” Chiaki asked, giving a friendly smile.

“Oh, that would be nice,” the Bellossom said.

“What does he look like?” Chiaki asked.

“He’s a Sudowoodo,” the Wartortle responded. “Basically, a rock type Pokémon that somewhat resembles a tree. So, if you see any moving trees, odds are it’s him.”

“Got it,” Chiaki replied, looking over at Frederick. “Should we split up to go look for him?”

“Sure,” Frederick said, nodding his head. “I sort of know what rocks smell like, and if I wander around, I might bump into him!”

“All right, let’s go!” Chiaki said, and so the two headed off in different directions to help the other rescue team find their missing teammate.

----

Sirena was cheerfully leading the way as she and Sera were making their way over to a lake where Sirena liked to relax. Sera wasn’t too surprised that the water type in the family liked to spend time near a body of water. She still wasn’t sure why Sirena had all of a sudden decided to spend some quality time with her, even inviting her along to her favorite spot.

“I think you’re really going to like this, Sera!” Sirena said, grinning. “It’s really pretty there!”

“Yeah, sure…” Sera responded, looking at her older sister suspiciously.

“Ooh, there it is!” Sirena said, running up to some bushes. “Through here!”

Sera walked up, and peeked through the bushes, and saw a clear blue lake sparkling in the light of the sun.

“Wow, that is pretty,” Sera said, taking in the view.

“It is, isn’t it?” Sirena responded, smiling at Sera. “I bet Amethyst has never taken you anywhere this pretty, huh?”

“Wait, what was that?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Oh, nothing,” Sirena said, giggling a little. “Come on, let’s go swimming!”

“Oh, now I know what this is about!” Sera commented, smirking. “You’re jealous of how much I admire Amethyst, and this is yet another one of your attempts to get attention!”

“What? Where would you get that idea from?” Sirena asked, trying to look innocent.

“Oh, so this isn’t about Amethyst at all?” Sera responded, with a smug smile.

“Okay, maybe a little,” Sirena replied, looking down sheepishly. “But I really do want to spend time with you! I can be a cool big sis too!”

“So, you want to be a cool big sis, huh?” Sera asked. “Well then, let’s see how you do. So, what did you have planned for us to do?”

“Ooh, well, we can relax by the lake, or I can teach you how to swim!” Sirena responded. “I can also show you some really cool things I can do!”

“Sounds fun,” Sera replied, following her sister over to the lake.

----

Chiaki had ended up wandering out of town while searching for the Sudowoodo, and was now looking around near the area leading into the Lush Valley. He briefly wondered if the Sudowoodo might’ve wandered into the mystery dungeon, but soon noticed what appeared to be a moving tree standing between two regular trees.

“That must be him,” Chiaki said, as he walked over to investigate.

The strange tree was indeed the Pokémon he was looking for, a brown rock type Pokémon with a body vaguely resembling a short thin tree. The Sudowoodo had three green orb-like fingers on the end of each arm, and kept tapping one of them against the side of his face while seeming to be in deep thought.

“Um… Hello?” Chiaki said, waving to the Sudowoodo. “Are you on a rescue team with a Wartortle and a Bellossom?”

“And you are?” the Sudowoodo asked, looking down at Chiaki.

“I’m Chiaki,” Chiaki responded. “I’m part of a rescue team too.”

“Hmm… Interesting,” the Sudowoodo replied. “I’m Arbolith, and it seems you have met my teammates?”

“Well, yes,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head. “They’re looking for you.”

“Hmm… Interesting,” Arbolith said, sighing. “I suppose I should head back to town, then…”

“Why are you out here, by the way?” Chiaki asked.

“Oh, I was just thinking to myself, wondering who I really am,” Arbolith responded. “Things like that.”

“You don’t know who you are?” Chiaki inquired, tilting his head slightly. “What do you mean?”

“Well, look at me,” Arbolith said, gesturing to himself. “I look like a tree; yet, my body is made of rock. So, what am I? Am I a rock, or a tree?”

“Oh, so you’re wondering who you are in a different way than me, then,” Chiaki responded. “You see, I seem to have lost my memories some time ago, and I haven’t really regained much of it.”

“Hmm… Interesting,” Arbolith responded. “So, you don’t know who you really are either.”

“No, I don’t,” Chiaki replied, shrugging slightly.

“I see…” Arbolith responded, thinking for a moment. “So, who do you think I am? Do you think I’m a rock, or a tree?”

“Uh… You’re a rock type that just happens to kind of resemble a tree…?” Chiaki replied as best as he could.

“Hmm… Interesting,” Arbolith said, nodding slightly. “I suppose that is a good answer…”

“Glad I could help?” Chiaki replied, trying to put on a friendly smile. “Well, should we head back to town, then?”

“I suppose we should,” Arbolith responded. “Lead the way.”

The two Pokémon began walking back into town, however, Arbolith suddenly stopped for a moment. Chiaki stopped as well, wondering what was going on.

“Is something wrong?” Chiaki asked.

“I was just wondering…” Arbolith said. “What would you rather be?”

“Huh?” Chiaki responded, tilting his head slightly.

“Would you rather be a rock, or a tree?” Arbolith asked, looking thoughtfully at the young Mienfoo.

“Um… What kind of question is that…?” Chiaki responded, understandably confused at this random question out of the blue.

“I’m just curious,” Arbolith replied. “If you had to choose, would you rather be a rock, or a tree?”

“Uh… I don’t really want to be either of those things,” Chiaki responded, shrugging slightly. “I’m fine with being a Mienfoo.”

“Hmm… Interesting,” Arbolith replied, as he and Chiaki continued walking back to town.

----

At the dojo, Hercules watched while Blitz had a practice battle against Lotus and Riley. In mystery dungeons, one would often have to deal with multiple wild Pokémon at once, and in some situations one couldn’t always expect ones teammates to be able to help. Hercules watched how Blitz waited for the right moments to dodge the opponents’ attack, and then using Flash to momentarily blind them and give himself an opportunity to attack.

“Very good,” Hercules commented, observing the battle. “Have you learned any new attacks recently?”

“Not that I know of,” Blitz responded, dodging a kick from Riley. “I’ll probably start practicing some new techniques soon, though.”

“I believe you are strong enough to properly use a Bite attack,” Hercules said.

“Oh, well…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “I suppose I can at least practice the technique for that one, although I doubt using my fangs in battle is a good idea…”

“Not if you master the technique,” Hercules said, giving a reassuring smile.

“I know,” Blitz responded, looking down at the ground. “My father told me that I had to be careful when using my fangs in battle…”

Hercules motioned for Lotus and Riley to take a break and let him and Blitz have some privacy so they could talk alone.

“Heard anything from home recently?” Hercules asked.

“Well… I got a letter from my little sister, asking me if she could come visit me,” Blitz responded. “I haven’t mentioned it to Chiaki yet, and I haven’t figured out what to write back to Lita…”

“I guess Lita misses her big brother, huh?” Hercules replied.

“I miss her too,” Blitz said, looking down at the floor. “But… I just don’t know if it’s a good idea to have her come here. Sera and Chiaki are probably going to ask questions, and… I-I don’t know if I’m ready to…”

“Still afraid of what will happen when your friends find out about the events that led to you coming here?” Hercules asked. “Blitz, you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “You don’t know what it’s like for others to have already decided what your future will be, and treating you as if that’s the only possible path for you…”

Hercules glanced down at the floor, unsure what to say to Blitz. He just comfortingly put his hand on Blitz’s shoulder, not knowing how else he could show the Shinx his support.

“Other Shinx might say I’m lucky, and wish they had my destiny,” Blitz said, his ears drooping down slightly. “But, I’m really just a regular Shinx like them, there’s nothing really special about me…”

Hercules occasionally nodded his head slightly, to show Blitz he was listening. Blitz needed his support, but at times like these Hercules just didn’t know what to say to him to make him feel better.

“Why does it have to be me?” Blitz asked, sadly looking down at his own paws. “I’m not like my father, and I’m not any more qualified than any of the other Shinx… So, why do I have to be the one?”

“Blitz… I know it must be difficult for you to have to deal with the high expectations other have of you, and feeling you can’t live up to them,” Hercules said, comfortingly petting the young Shinx. “Having others decide your life for you because they think that is the best path… I understand that it must be hard for you.”

“I can’t change my destiny, I can only delay the inevitable,” Blitz muttered, sounding as if he was on the verge of crying. “I’m pathetic, really…”

“Blitz, that’s not true,” Hercules responded. “You’re an intelligent and brave young Shinx, and you’re always trying to do your best.”

“I’m not brave,” Blitz replied, sighing. “If I were brave, wouldn’t I be able to face this instead of trying to hide from it?”

“It’s a complicated situation, and I understand that it must be difficult to deal with,” Hercules responded, giving a reassuring smile. “Even I don’t know how to deal with it, but I’m sure in time, you will find a way.”

“You think so?” Blitz asked, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Yeah,” Hercules replied, patting Blitz on the head. “I’m sure another path will open up, just give it some time.”

“I don’t think that’ll happen,” Blitz responded, looking up at Hercules. “But thanks, anyways.”

“Anytime, kid,” Hercules replied, smiling at Blitz. “Feeling better now?”

“A little,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

“Good,” Hercules said. “Let’s take a short break before resuming your training, okay?”

“Okay,” Blitz replied, giving a small smile.

Blitz sat down to rest for a moment, while Hercules went to check on some of the other Pokémon that were training at the dojo this day. He was glad Hercules was willing to take the time to listen to him and give him advice, and acted as his mentor without treating it as preparations for the future that had been chosen for him…

----

Sera watched as Sirena swam around, moving swiftly, yet elegantly through the water. Sera had to admit that she was interested in seeing a side of Sirena that she had never seen before now, even if she knew that Sirena was doing it partially out of her usual desire for attention.

“Hey, Sera? You want to come in now?” Sirena asked, cheerfully swimming up to her younger sister. “Your big sis can teach you how to swim!”

“You sure I’m able to do that?” Sera responded, tilting her head slightly. “I mean, I don’t really have the fishy tail and all the other stuff that makes you move so fast in the water.”

“Don’t worry,” Sirena replied. “Even if you can’t swim as fast as me, I can still teach you a few things.”

“Well… Okay then,” Sera responded. “I’ll give it a try.”

Sera carefully stepped into the water, Sirena offering to let Sera hold onto her tail if she had trouble staying floating. Sera somewhat clumsily moved around the water, not entirely sure how to move forward. While her instincts at least gave her some clue as to what she was supposed to be doing, she found herself moving slowly.

“Don’t worry if it goes a little slow at first, that’s normal,” Sirena said, smiling at her little sister. “When swimming, you should make every movement count.”

“Well, what do I do, then?” Sera asked, splashing around a little.

“First of all, don’t splash around like that,” Sirena responded, giggling a little. “You’ll just use up your energy that way.”

“Oh,” Sera replied, calming down a little.

“Try following my lead,” Sirena said, smiling at Sera. “Feel free to hold onto my tail if you need to.”

“Okay,” Sera responded, trying her best to follow her sister.

----

After bringing Arbolith back to his teammates, Chiaki met up again with Frederick. He had found the Deino bumping his head against a rock, asking it if it was the Sudowoodo. Chiaki and Frederick walked around town, wondering what else they could do.

“So, Sera is spending time with her big sister today?” Frederick asked.

“Yeah,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly. “I hope they’re having fun.”

“And Blitz is training at the dojo?” Frederick asked.

“Yep,” Chiaki replied. “Hercules is his mentor, after all!”

“Huh, that’s cool,” Frederick responded. “There must be something special about Blitz if Hercules is training him personally.”

“Why do you think that?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, I don’t know this Hercules very well, but if he really is Blitz’s mentor, then there must be something special about him, right?” Frederick said, pausing to think about whether what he was saying made sense. “Do Pokémon running dojos normally take on apprentices like that?”

“Hmm… I don’t really know,” Chiaki responded, shrugging slightly. “Blitz says that he’s just like any other Shinx.”

“Maybe I’m just overthinking things?” Frederick wondered out loud. “That seems so unlike me, though…”

“I’m sure there’s nothing to be worried about,” Chiaki responded.

Even as he said it was probably nothing to be worried about, now Chiaki couldn’t help but wonder just why Hercules had taken on the position as Blitz’s mentor. All Blitz had said on the matter was that he came to train because he was having trouble getting proper training back home, but was that really all there was to it?

The more he thought about it, the more he wondered how well he really knew Blitz. It hadn’t occurred to him earlier, but it seemed Blitz was avoiding answering certain questions, saying he would answer them later only to not bring it up again. Maybe Sera knew why he acted that way?

“Azure has been telling me about the adventures she’s had with you guys,” Frederick said.

“Oh?” Chiaki replied, looking at the Deino.

“Yeah, and it sort of makes me want to go on a mission with you guys sometime,” Frederick responded, nodding his head slightly.

“Ooh, that would be fun!” Chiaki replied, smiling cheerfully.

“You think Sera and Blitz would be okay with that?” Frederick asked.

“Of course they would!” Chiaki responded.

“Well, maybe when I’ve got time, we can try to make that happen?” Frederick asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Sure we can!” Chiaki said, excitedly jumping around.

“Cool,” Frederick responded, smiling. “So… I guess we’ll do that sometime, then.”

----

At the lake, Sirena helped Sera back onto land, as Sera had gotten tired after swimming after Sirena for a while. Sirena got out of the water as well, and lay down to relax on the grass next to her little sister.

“I have to admit, spending time with you was fun,” Sera said, smiling at her older sister.

“It was?” Sirena asked, grinning. “So, does that mean I’m your new role model now, instead of Amethyst?”

“Well, Amethyst is better at giving me advice about other things,” Sera responded. “But it seems you can teach me some things that she can’t, so I guess you can both be my role models.”

“Meh, I suppose that’s good enough for me,” Sirena replied.

“You know, Sirena, I think I like you better when you’re not always trying to one-up Amethyst,” Sera said. “Maybe you should spend less time trying to be like Amethyst, except better than her, and instead just do what you can do that she can’t do?”

“You think so?” Sirena asked, tilting her head slightly. “Amethyst is like, everyone’s favorite.”

“Well, that’s because Amethyst is awesome,” Sera replied, wagging her tail. “But you can be awesome too, in a different way.”

“Thanks, Sera,” Sirena responded, smiling. “You know, I had fun today too, we should spend time together more often!”

“Yeah, we should,” Sera agreed, smiling back.

While Sirena could be annoying at times, Sera had to admit, she wouldn’t mind spending more time with her. Plus, learning how to swim would probably be useful for rescue team missions. Of course, with rescue team work and such, it could be difficult to find time for that, but hopefully she and Sirena could work something out.

----

End of chapter 17

----

InsaneTyranitar
2nd June 2013, 9:00 PM
No reviews since Chapter 13? Pity...

Anyway, I'm still really liking what I'm seeing. One thing I've noticed is you pace yourself really well in terms of revealing things about the story and the world - You keep us guessing while revealing just the right amount of info at a time.

And your characters continue to excel. (Arbolith~)

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

DarkerShining
14th June 2013, 8:03 PM
Thanks for your review! Glad you're enjoying it. ^_^

I've been working on chapter 18, and I'm hoping to have it done soon. Being able to write without having to worry about math and stuff feels nice, although I still haven't been able to get the new chapters done as fast as I'd like. I'm also working on a few other fanfiction projects of mine, including a possible entry for the Interpretation one-shot contest, assuming I can get it done before time runs out.

So, yeah. Just a little update on things. I promise to have a new chapter up soon, so I hope you'll look forward to that!

DarkerShining
15th June 2013, 4:26 PM
Hello! So, didn't expect me to show up again this soon after my last post? Well, Chapter 18 was pretty close to being finished, and I wasn't sure if I'd have it done today or not, but I managed to finish it, so yay!

Anyways, hope you all enjoy this chapter!

----

Chapter 18: I have to admit, I’m kind of curious about these Deep Sea Charms too!

----

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were going around Fenix Town, making their preparations for today’s missions as usual. Sera cheerfully told her teammates about how she and Sirena had spent yesterday by the lake, and Blitz seemed happy to hear that Sera had been able to bond with Sirena. The three of them walked past Stella’s house, just as Stella stepped outside.

“Good morning, Stella!” Sera said.

“Oh, hello,” Stella responded somewhat absentmindedly. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to talk.”

“Are you in a hurry?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, not exactly,” Stella replied. “But I had a vision revealing the location of another crystal, so I thought I’d head up to the rescue team HQ to inform the rescue teams.”

“Oh, that’s what it was!” Bow suddenly exclaimed, peeking out of the window. “I had a vision of a crystal underwater, at the bottom of this huge whirlpool!”

“Yes, I believe that is the same crystal I saw,” Stella said, nodding her head slightly to Bow.

“So, there’s a crystal underwater?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Yes, that’s what we just told you!” Bow responded.

“I believe it must be somewhere in the Sapphire Sea,” Stella said, thinking for a moment. “Specifically, somewhere near the end of a mystery dungeon called the Radiant Reef.”

“There are mystery dungeons underwater?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Yeah,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “There are several mystery dungeons underwater, and apparently there’s also a deep sea branch of rescue teams.”

“Ooh, a deep sea branch?” Chiaki asked, wanting to know more.

“It consists of Pokémon that live in the sea, naturally,” Blitz explained. “They even have their own little rescue team headquarters, I’ve heard.”

“That is correct,” Stella responded. “Anyways, I’ll head up to the rescue team HQ now. Hopefully they can send a message to the deep sea branch so they can send some of their rescue teams to search for the crystal.”

Stella began walking towards the rescue team HQ, Sera, Blitz and Chiaki coming along since they were headed there anyways. Bow stayed behind to look after the house, and waved good bye as they left.

“I’d sure like to check out some of those underwater rescue teams,” Chiaki said, looking rather excited at the thought. “Is there a way we can get there?”

“Hmm… I think there is a way for non-water type rescue teams to go there,” Sera replied, looking over at Blitz. “Isn’t there, Blitz?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, there is,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “One needs a special item, though, that will allow non-water types to breathe underwater.”

“Ooh, what kind of item?” Chiaki asked, looking at Blitz curiously.

“Some sort of amulet, if I remember correctly…” Blitz responded, trying to remember what it was called.

“It’s called a Deep Sea Charm,” Stella said. “It’s a necklace made from magical pearls and seashells.”

“Cool!” Chiaki exclaimed, looking up at Stella. “Where can we get one of those?”

“Hmm… I have a friend who knows how to make them, but I know there’s also a Pokémon working at the rescue team HQ that makes Deep Sea Charms and other special items,” Stella responded. “I hear items like that can also be found in treasure chests found in mystery dungeons sometimes, if you’re lucky.”

As they reached the rescue team HQ, Stella went off to see if someone could send a message about the crystal to the deep sea branch’s HQ.

“Either of you know where we can find the Pokémon that Stella talked about?” Chiaki asked.

“You mean the one who can make Deep Sea Charms and other special items like that?” Blitz replied. “Well… Let’s see…” Blitz looked around, checking the differently colored curtains covering the entrances to the other rooms. “Nurse Giselle’s room is behind the pink curtain, Kala’s is the purple one… Oh, maybe it’s that green one, over there?”

The three young Pokémon walked up to the curtain, peeking behind it. However, it didn’t seem like anyone was inside the office behind the green curtain at the moment. There was a note pinned to a wall, reading: “Out gathering materials for making more items. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause. ~Couture.”

“Hmm, this seems to be the right place,” Sera commented, looking at the note. “It doesn’t seem like this “Couture” is here today, though.”

“Aw, I wanted a Deep Sea Charm,” Chiaki said, pouting.

“You looking for Couture?” a female voiced asked, and the rescue team turned around to see a Servine from one of the other rescue teams.

“Huh? Oh, yeah, sort of,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Well, I actually ran into her yesterday, and she mentioned that she would be heading to Tidal Shores to gather some special seashells and pearls that tend to wash up there,” the Servine said.

“Wow, really?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly. “As in, the ones needed to make Deep Sea Charms?”

“Yeah, I think so,” the Servine said, nodding her head slightly.

“Huh, what a strange coincidence…” Blitz responded. “That’s the item we were just talking about.”

“Anyways, I’ve got to get back to my teammates,” the Servine said, looking over at a Minccino and Wynaut that seemed to be having trouble agreeing on what mission to take. “They look like they need some help. Bye!”

“Oh, bye Regina,” Blitz replied, waving at the Servine.

“Well, I guess we should be finding ourselves a mission too,” Sera said.

Sera and Blitz began walking up to the rescue board, but Chiaki seemed to have something else in mind.

“Wait up, guys,” Chiaki said, thinking for a moment. “We were just told where Couture is!”

“So?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“I think we should head over to Tidal Shores and go meet her!” Chiaki responded, grinning.

“Or we can just wait until tomorrow,” Blitz said. “She’ll probably be back by then.”

“Why wait until tomorrow to do things we can do today?” Chiaki asked, still smiling. “Ooh, maybe she’d get things done faster if we offer to help her find the materials she needs!”

“I like the sound of it, but it doesn’t really count as a mission,” Sera said, looking at the bronze colored half of their rescue team badge. “We need to do more missions if we want to reach the next rank.”

“Oh, right…” Chiaki responded, looking disappointed. “I guess I was being kind of selfish there…”

“… Oh, all right, let’s head over to Tidal Shores,” Sera said, wagging her tail.

“You really mean it?” Chiaki asked, instantly perking up again.

“Yeah,” Sera said, smiling. “I have to admit, I’m kind of curious about these Deep Sea Charms too!”

“Well, I suppose the mystery dungeon on Tidal Shores might be a good place to train,” Blitz commented, rubbing his forelegs together.

“All right, let’s go!” Chiaki said, excitedly running towards Kala’s room. “Come on, guys!”

The bronze rank rescue team went through the purple curtain into Kala’s room, where they found the Abra asleep as usual. Sera walked up to Kala, and used the tip of her fluffy tail to tickle the sleepy psychic type in an attempt to wake her up.

“Don’t worry, daddy, I’ll get your spoons back from the Krabby…” Kala mumbled in her sleep, before turning over on her side.

“Hey, wake up, Kala!” Sera said, shaking the Abra’s shoulders when tickling didn’t work.

“Don’t use hot wax to soothe enraged Krabby…” Kala muttered, as she sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“Are you awake now?” Sera asked, poking Kala’s shoulder.

“Yeah, sure…” Kala responded, nodding her head sleepily. “So, where do you guys want to go today?”

“We want to go to Tidal Shores!” Chiaki said, smiling at Kala.

“Sure, no problem…” Kala responded, yawning and stretching. “You three sure have been coming here a lot lately…”

There was a flash of light and… Kala had disappeared.

“Wait, what?” Sera said, looking around in confusion. “Where did she-“

Before Sera even had the chance to finish talking, she and her teammates were enveloped by light and they found themselves on a beach.

“… That was strange,” Sera said, looking around. “But at least now we’re here at Tidal Shores.”

“Ooh, is that the Sapphire Sea?” Chiaki asked, looking out at the beautiful blue ocean sparkling in the light of the sun.

“Yep, it is,” Sera responded, wagging her tail. “Wow, I bet Sirena would love this.”

“It’s so pretty…” Chiaki said, staring in awe at the sea.

“So… Where do you think Couture is?” Blitz asked, looking around.
“Actually… Do we even know what kind of Pokémon she is?”

“Hmm… I guess we should take a look around,” Sera replied, poking at the sand with her paw. “We’ll probably find her sooner or later.”

“Oh, okay,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together for a moment. “Where do you guys think Kala went earlier?”

“I have no idea,” Sera replied, still rather confused about the whole thing. “She doesn’t really seem like the type who would be in a hurry to go anywhere…”

----

Meanwhile, back in Fenix Town, Elina was taking a nap in a tree. Or at least, that is what she had been doing before Kala suddenly teleported right onto the branch she was asleep on, causing Elina to fall off it. Kala held onto the branch, lazily watching Elina fall into some bushes below them.

“… You okay…?” Kala asked, as the young Elgyem crawled out from the bushes. “Hold on…”

Kala teleported down from the tree, and helped Elina back on her feet. Elina seemed a bit dazed, but didn’t seem to have taken too much damage from the fall.

“So, are you like, ready to begin the telepathy lessons and stuff…?” Kala asked, nearly dozing off as she finished the question.

Elina shrugged her shoulders slightly, before nodding her head.

“Okay, then…” Kala responded, yawning and stretching. “Mind if we do it in my office at the rescue team HQ…?”

Elina shook her head to let her know that she didn't mind.

“All right, let’s head back there, then…” Kala said, grabbing Elina’s arm and teleporting back to her office.

----

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were looking around on the beach, hoping to find the Pokémon they were searching for. Blitz wasn’t sure why, but something about the place was giving him a really bad feeling.

“Guys… Something feels off…” Blitz said, looking around nervously.

“Oh?” Sera replied, stopping and turning around.

“Don’t you guys feel it too?” Blitz asked. “There’s something in the air… Something isn’t right here…”

“Now that you mention it, I feel kind of strange…” Chiaki said, rubbing his head.

“I don’t think I can feel anything, but I did just realize we haven’t seen any signs of other Pokémon yet,” Sera commented, looking around. “At a place like this, one would expect to see some other Pokémon…”

The three young Pokémon carefully looked around, trying to figure out what was causing this sense of unease. Chiaki kept an eye on his surroundings while moving forward, until he suddenly felt as if the ground was disappearing under one of his legs, and was stepping into an empty space that felt like it was simultaneously burning and freezing his leg.

“AH!” Chiaki quickly pulled his leg out of a strange ripple in the sand, his scream startling his teammates.

“Chiaki, are you okay!?” Sera asked, concerned.

“I… I think so?” Chiaki responded, as he examined his leg. It appeared to be unharmed, although Chiaki could’ve sworn it had been transparent for a split second as he pulled it out of the sand.

“Hmm… This isn’t good,” Blitz said, taking a closer look at the spot. “It’s another distortion.”

“Yeah, that’s definitely bad,” Sera commented, tilting her head slightly. “Is that all there is to the bad feelings about this place?”

“I don’t know…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “I think we’re close to the mystery dungeon in this area…”

“Should we check it out?” Chiaki asked, while quickly glancing at his leg one more time to make sure it was normal.

“We might as well,” Sera responded. “Who knows? Couture might be in there.”

The three Pokémon entered the mystery dungeon, and began to look around. They were surprised to see that some sections of the walls in the mystery dungeon appeared to be distorted.

“Huh, there’s even more distortions in here?” Sera said, looking around.

“I guess it wouldn’t be unusual for mystery dungeons to be more affected by this,” Blitz responded, keeping an eye out for wild Pokémon. “At least the distortions are still small, even if there are more of them here…”

“Do you think it’s affecting the wild Pokémon in any way?” Chiaki asked.

Blitz could hear something moving towards them through the sand, as well as what sounded like an angry gurgling sound.

“I think we’re about to find out…” Blitz said, getting into a battle position.

Five angry looking red crab Pokémon with large pinchers entered the room the rescue team was in, clacking their claws as they walked sideways towards the rescue team.

“They look angry…” Chiaki said, taking a few steps back.

“So, the distortion stuff is making the wild Pokémon more aggressive?” Sera asked, looking over at Blitz.

“I suppose it’s not that surprising the distortions would affect them this way,” Blitz commented, waiting for the right moment to attack the Krabby. “From the stories I’ve heard, wild Pokémon in mystery dungeons tend to be really sensitive to things like this…”

“So, what do we do about it?” Sera asked, glancing around. “Do we just fight them like usual?”

“Hey, didn’t Kala say something about enraged Krabby?” Chiaki said, thinking for a moment. “Do you think she knew this was going to happen?”

“I doubt that,” Sera responded, rolling her eyes.

“Guys, focus!” Blitz said, watching the Krabby move closer. “While my electricity will be super effective, I still need a little help here.”

“Okay, what do you need us to do?” Chiaki asked.

“Well, you’re the fastest of us three, so you’ll be the most difficult target for the Krabby to hit,” Blitz said, while charging up some electricity. “Take advantage of that, and try to get some good hits in.”

“Got it,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

“Sera, could you give us a Helping Hand?” Blitz asked, moving out of the way as a few of the Krabby tried to pinch him.

“I’m on it!” Sera replied, giving Blitz and Chiaki some extra power.

“All right,” Blitz said, knocking a Krabby aside with his electrified paw. “Let’s take these out quickly!”

Chiaki ran around, knocking the Krabby aside with his paws, allowing for Blitz to knock them out with Spark. Sera used her Helping Hand and Sand Attack to assist her teammates. It didn’t take long before all five Krabby were knocked out, allowing the rescue team to move on.

“That wasn’t too bad,” Sera commented. “Still, I don’t look forward to fighting the other wild Pokémon in this dungeon if they’re like this too.”

“Agreed…” Blitz responded, looking around. “Do you guys think the wild Pokémon may have trapped Couture in here?”

“I hope not,” Chiaki said, smiling confidently. “But if they did, no need to worry! We’ll just rescue her!”

“As usual, that’s probably going to be easier said than done,” Blitz responded, sighing. “But since it’ll probably be a while before all eight crystals have been gathered, and the distortions likely will continue to spread… I have a feeling we’ll need to get used to fighting wild Pokémon like these…”

----

Kala sat down on her pillow, taking a few seconds to get into a comfortable position as she prepared to begin Elina’s lessons in communicating through telepathy. Once comfortable, Kala cleared her throat and decided to begin the lesson.

“So… To communicate via telepathy, you have to like… establish a psychic link with whoever you want to speak to…” Kala said, sounding somewhat tired. “And then… you talk to them, except it’s more like thinking than talking… Loud thinking…”

Elina nodded her head slightly, to show Kala that she was listening and hoping showing some interest would help the Abra stay awake. Kala didn’t say anything else for a while, just staring at Elina. For a moment, Elina wondered if the Abra had dozed off again and waved her hand in front of her face in an attempt to get her attention.

“Hear anything…?” Kala asked, startling the Elgyem somewhat.

Elina shook her head, as she hadn’t heard anything out of the ordinary.

“So… You couldn’t hear my voice, like… talk to you in your head?” Kala asked, tilting her head slightly.

Elina shook her head again.

“Hmm… Okay, let’s try again,” Kala said, yawning. “So, let’s try to make that psychic link, and… well, let me know if you hear anything.”

The two psychic types sat there, gazing into each other’s eyes for a few minutes while attempting to communicate via telepathy. However, nothing seemed to be happening.

“You’re not doing it right…” Kala said, rubbing her eyes. “You must open up your mind… you’re not doing that…”

Elina tilted her head slightly. Was her need to keep her secrets preventing her from being able to learn to use her telepathy properly?

“Maybe you’ve been too stressed lately… I suggest trying to relax…” Kala said. “It’s easier to make progress if you have a calm mind…”

Elina shrugged her shoulders slightly, before looking up at Kala as if to ask what she recommended.

“… Let’s take a nap!” Kala cheerfully said, before plopping down on her pillow and instantly falling asleep.

Elina stared blankly at the snoring Abra for a moment, and then quietly left the room.

----

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki continued making their way through the mystery dungeon, collecting items and fighting wild Pokémon as usual. With the distortions making the wild Pokémon more aggressive, things were proving to be a bit more difficult than it normally would’ve been.

Eventually, they reached a floor where they noticed some dark blue pearls and white seashells that seemed to have been scattered down one of the paths.

“Hey, are these the pearls and seashells used to make a Deep Sea Charm?” Chiaki asked, picking up one of the seashells and examining it.

“I think it might be…” Blitz said, poking at one of the pearls with his paw. “They shouldn’t be lying around like this, though… It looks like someone might’ve dropped them…”

“You think Couture was here, then?” Sera asked, looking around.

“Probably, since we don’t know of anyone else who would be gathering these items,” Blitz responded. “Based on the way these items are scattered, I guess the wild Pokémon must’ve attacked her, and she was in a hurry to escape…”

“Well, let’s hurry up and find her, then!” Chiaki said, while quickly trying to gather up some of the pearls and seashells from the ground.

“Yeah, let’s go!” Sera replied, nodding her head slightly. “Come on, this way!”

----

In the deepest part of the dungeon, a yellow bipedal bug Pokémon wearing clothes made from green leaves and an orange otter-like Pokémon with two tails and a yellow floatation device of sorts on his body were trying to fight off several wild Pokémon, including a brown crab Pokémon resembling a bigger Krabby.

“How many of them are there?” the bug Pokémon said, trying to keep a satchel made of leaves away from a small flock of white seagull-like Pokémon that kept trying to grab it. “I didn’t come here to fight…”

“Don’t worry,” the Floatzel responded, while knocking aside some orange hermit crab Pokémon with rocks for shells. “Even if they’re more aggressive than they normally would be, I should still be able to handle them without much difficulty. After all, what kind of lifeguard would I be if I couldn’t deal with the wild Pokémon on this beach?”

The Floatzel and the Leavanny continued fighting off the wild Pokémon, when Sera, Blitz and Chiaki finally reached the end of the dungeon. There were two Krabby, three Dwebble, five Wingull and the one Kingler to fight, the Kingler seeming to have indirectly become the leader of the wild Pokémon.

“Oh, it’s a rescue team!” the Leavanny said, smiling.

“Neat, now we’ve got some back-up,” the Floatzel commented, smirking.

“Are you Couture?” Chiaki asked, looking over at the Leavanny.

“Why, yes. That’s me,” the Leavanny responded, smiling at Chiaki. “If there’s anything you need, I’ll see what I can do when we’re done here!”

“Cool,” Chiaki replied, getting into a battle position. “Let’s try to get this done fast, then!”

Sera used her Helping Hand to give the other four Pokémon present a power boost, while Chiaki decided to take a moment to use Meditate to further increase his attack power. Blitz charged up some electricity, before deciding to try to take out the Wingull.

“So, I’m guessing you live around these parts?” Sera asked the Floatzel.

“Yeah, sort of,” the Floatzel responded, while knocking the Dwebble aside. “My name is Jet; I work as a lifeguard here.”

“Cool,” Sera replied, head-butting a Krabby that tried to pinch her ears.

Blitz managed to finish off the five Wingull quickly with his charged up Spark attack, while Chiaki helped Couture take out the other Krabby. Jet quickly took out the Dwebble by coating himself in water and charging through them. The Kingler began advancing on the rescue team, and Blitz began charging up more electricity.

The Kingler raised his big claw, which began to glow with a blue light as it began charging up a Crabhammer attack that it intended to strike Blitz with before he could finish charging.

“I’m not going to let you do that!” Sera shouted, flinging a Blast Seed at the Kingler with her tail.

However, the Kingler just blocked it with his claw, not seeming to take much damage. On the other hand, it did distract the Kingler long enough for Chiaki to come in from the side and strike him with a Fake Out. As the Kingler flinched, Blitz finished charging and immediately hit the Kingler with his Spark attack.

“Nice one!” Jet said, grinning.

“I don’t think they are quite finished yet, though…” Couture replied, noticing that the Kingler was still standing.

The crab Pokémon seemed to be quite angry now, foaming at the mouth as he suddenly struck all three members of the rescue team with his Crabhammer attack. The force of the attack sent the three flying through the air for a moment, before falling down on the sand. The Kingler began approaching the three, preparing to knock them out with another Crabhammer before they could recover.

Chiaki tried to get back up, only to see the shadow of the Kingler’s claw above him as he prepared to bring it down. Chiaki tried shielding himself with his arms as he prepared for the impact, only for some strings of sticky silk to suddenly hit the claw and try to pull it away, much to the Kingler’s annoyance as he tried to get it off.

“This is your chance!” Couture shouted, having used String Shot to latch onto the claw and stop the Kingler’s attack. “Hurry, before he manages to cut the string!”

Chiaki quickly got to his feet, and ran over to help his teammates while the Kingler attempted to cut the string holding his big claw using his other, smaller claw. Luckily for the rescue team, Couture’s strings were quite strong, but they would likely still only last for a few more seconds against the Kingler’s claws.

“Okay… We’ll hit him at the same time,” Blitz said, charging up for one more attack.

“Got it,” Sera responded, taking a few steps back.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” Chiaki said, taking a deep breath and using Meditate to boost his attack power a little.

“Ready?” Blitz asked, glancing at his teammates as he finished charging. “Go!”

All three began running towards the Kingler, Sera running faster than usual in order to do a Quick Attack, Blitz running with his body coated in electricity as usual, and Chiaki preparing to punch the Kingler. The three rammed into the Kingler just as it managed to free itself from Couture’s String Shot, and the impact knocked the crab Pokémon onto its back, before it fainted.

“Whew… I think we did it, guys!” Sera said, happily wagging her tail.

“Yeah,” Blitz responded, sighing in relief. “Man, that Kingler was tough…”

“Are you all okay?” Couture asked, walking over to the rescue team.

“Yeah, we’ll be fine,” Chiaki replied, with a friendly smile.

“Thanks for helping us out,” Jet said. “Things have been kind of chaotic around here these past few days with the distortions that have been appearing and its effect on the wilds.”

“I can see that…” Blitz commented, glancing around.

“Well, let’s get out of this mystery dungeon before we have to deal with any more of them,” Jet said.

“Agreed,” Couture responded, looking at her satchel. “I still need to gather some more seashells and pearls before I head back to town.”

“Oh, that reminds me!” Chiaki said, before handing Couture some of the pearls and seashells she had dropped earlier. “I found these in the mystery dungeon!”

“Thank you,” Couture replied, taking the pearls and seashells and putting them into her bag. “I knew I dropped some of the things I had already gathered when the wilds chased me here… I still don’t think I have enough, though.”

“We can help you find some more!” Chiaki said.

“Oh, that is really not necessary,” Couture responded, smiling at the Mienfoo. “I appreciate the offer, but I can do the rest on my own.”

“Are you sure?” Chiaki asked, smiling at the Leavanny. “We don’t mind helping out!”

“Oh, but you’ve already helped me out a lot today!” Couture responded. “So, why don’t the three of you head home and get some rest, and tomorrow you can stop by my room at the rescue team HQ and I’ll give you a free special item each as a reward for helping us?”

“Sounds good to me,” Sera said, shaking some sand out of her fur. “A battle like that is enough work for one day, if you ask me.”

“Agreed, let’s head back,” Blitz replied.

“Bye, then!” Chiaki said, and waved good-bye to Jet and Couture as the rescue team badge teleported him and his teammates back to town.

----

Elina thought about what Kala had said, and wondered how she could possibly relax herself enough to be able to learn how to communicate through telepathy. She figured that with all the stress relating to the missing crystals, she hadn’t been able to fully relax. However, it wasn’t exactly easy for her to just forget about all of that, even if it only had to be for a few moments.

She had to find a way to at least stop worrying enough so that she could learn to properly use her telepathy to communicate, like she had promised her father. Elina thought about her father, thinking about how he in addition to helping locate the stolen crystals also had to be worried about her…

Elina shook her head. This was not the time to be worrying about these things. She had to find a way to overcome these worries, so she could learn from Kala how to communicate via telepathy. Not only that, but she had to help find the remaining crystals. There was also the whole issue with Chiaki, but she would deal with that later.

The first thing she needed to do was figure out how she would overcome her worries.

----

As the sun eventually went down, Couture decided she had gathered enough seashells and pearls, and said good-bye to Jet before heading back to town. It had gotten dark by the time Couture returned to the HQ, and went inside her room behind the green curtain to make some items with the supplies she had collected.

She searched through a basket for a special type of string, and began making a necklace from the pearls and sea shells, with one white seashell between five blue pearls on each side of it. She carefully examined each finished necklace, and put them in a bowl of water. Couture grinned as the pearls and seashells began to glow upon touching the water, and continued to glow as long as they remained underwater.

“Success,” she whispered to herself, taking the necklace out of the bowl and putting it away for later.

The Leavanny quietly continued her work until late in the night, when she finally decided to get some sleep. Things had gotten a bit stressful when the wild Pokémon attacked her while she was searching for seashells and pearls washed up on the beach, but she was glad things had turned out okay. She was grateful to the rescue team that had helped her out, and she hoped they would find a good use for the reward she planned on giving each of them.

----

End of Chapter 18.

----

DarkerShining
22nd June 2013, 11:39 AM
Wow, I can't believe how fast I finished Chapter 19, but hey, I'm not complaining! ^_^

I'll be going on vacation tomorrow, but I will be bringing my laptop so I can continue working on the first draft of Chapter 20 and stuff, even if I probably will be doing other things and not focus as much on writing during the two weeks I'll be on vacation. Just letting you guys know!

Also, with this chapter, I figured I'd bring up the fact that due to some recent Gen VI reveals that affect my characters, I thought about whether to incorporate them somehow or not. However, since there's still little known about these things, I will choose not to include them for this story, and will wait until any eventual other Pokémon fanfics I might write after Gen VI has come out to incorporate any elements from it.

So, yeah. Anyways, here's Chapter 19! Hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 19: Why don’t you guys pick on someone your own type?

----

Two jellyfish-like Pokémon with crown-like tufts on their heads were locked up inside a dark and quiet underwater cave. One was female with a pink body, and was cheerfully swimming around despite the situation she and her twin brother were in. Her twin brother had a blue body, and was just staring at one of the walls with a frown on his face.

“Maybe I can squeeze through these bars?” the female Frillish said, glancing over at her brother.

“Don’t bother,” the male one responded, staring at the wall. “We’re going to be trapped in here forever.”

“Aw, don’t say that!” the female one replied, cheerfully wrapping her tentacles around her brother and hugging him tightly. “I’m sure mommy and daddy have sent out somebody to rescue us! We’ll get out of here soon!”

“No one is going to find us here,” the male one responded, not even reacting to how his sister was squeezing his body.

“Oh, don’t be so silly!” the female said, giggling a little. “Someone will come and release us soon, I just know it!”

“And then those guys that kidnapped us will show up and beat them up,” the male one replied, managing to slip out of his sister’s grip.

“Come on, cheer up!” the female one said, cheerfully twirling around. “I know this place is kind of boring, but at least we still have each other!”

“Yeah, that way you can eat me if these guys forget to feed us,” the male one responded, going back to staring at the wall. “Then again, I don’t think our species is edible, nor do I think I’d taste good…”

“You’re so silly!” the female one replied, giggling and tightly hugging her brother again.

The male Frillish just sighed, as his sister continued cheerfully swimming around inside the cell they were locked in.

“Shame Frillish are not among the ghost types that can turn intangible and phase through walls,” the male Frillish muttered to himself. “But even if we could, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to save us anyways…”

----

It was looking to be another busy day in Fenix Town. At the rescue team HQ, several rescue teams were looking over the missions on the billboards and trying to decide on which ones to tackle. Behind a certain green curtain, Couture had just handed Sera, Blitz and Chiaki a Deep Sea Charm each.

“Wow, they’re so pretty!” Sera said, wagging her tail as she held the necklace in her paws.

“I’m glad you like them!” Couture responded, smiling at the three.

“So, the magic in these will really let us breathe underwater?” Blitz asked.

“That’s right!” Couture replied. “On contact with water, the Deep Sea Charm will surround you with a magical aura that allows one to breathe underwater.”

“Cool!” Chiaki said, looking rather excited. “I can’t wait to try them out! Thank you so much!”

“Oh, it’s the least I can do after the three of you helped me deal with those wild Pokémon yesterday,” Couture responded, before stopping to think for a moment. “Come to think of it, maybe I should make something for Jet too, since he did help me before the three of you showed up. What would a Floatzel want, though…?”

After thanking Couture for the Deep Sea Charms and saying good-bye, the bronze rank team left the room.

“So, what should we do now?” Sera asked. “I guess we need to try to find a mission.”

“Shouldn’t we try out these Deep Sea Charms, though?” Chiaki said, looking rather excited.

“Hmm… How do we go about that, though?” Sera asked, thinking about it for a moment.

“Maybe we could… no, maybe not…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“What was that, Blitz?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly. “Come on; let us hear what you were going to say!”

“Oh, I was just thinking, that… maybe we can head down underwater, and check if the underwater rescue teams have received Stella’s message about the crystal, and if they’ve started looking into it?” Blitz suggested uncertainly.

“Hey, I like the sound of that!” Sera responded, wagging her tail happily.

“Y-You do?” Blitz asked.

“I like it too!” Chiaki said, smiling. “We should totally go check that out!”

And so, the rescue team headed through the purple curtain and went to wake up a certain Abra again.

“Hey, Kala?” Sera said, lightly nudging the psychic type with her paw.

“I’m not dead, I’m just sleeping…” Kala muttered, opening her eyes slightly. “Oh, it’s you again.”

“Could you teleport us to Tidal Shores?” Sera asked.

“Again…?” Kala responded, rubbing her eyes. “Didn’t you three go there yesterday…?”

“We did, but we’d like to go there again,” Sera replied.

“Okay, fine…” Kala responded, yawning. “I’m not going to question it…”

----

In a flash of light, Sera, Blitz and Chiaki appeared in Tidal Shores once more. This time, they were greeted by a certain Floatzel upon arriving.

“Hey guys!” Jet said, walking over. “Thanks for helping out yesterday!”

“Oh, it was no problem,” Sera replied, smiling at the Floatzel.

“So, what brings you here again today?” Jet asked.

“Well, we wanted to try out our Deep Sea Charms,” Chiaki said, smiling. “We figured this was the best place to start.”

“Ah, I see,” Jet replied, nodding. “Any particular areas underwater you had in mind?”

“We were thinking of checking out the HQ of the deep sea rescue team branch,” Blitz explained. “We wanted to see if a certain message for them had arrived…”

“I think I can help you guys get there,” Jet responded, smirking. “If you want, I give you a ride.”

“Hmm… That would be nice,” Sera replied.

“All right, then!” Jet responded, getting down on all fours and stepping into the water. He then inflated the yellow floatation device on his body slightly to make more room for his passengers. “Okay, hop on!”

The trio quickly climbed onto the Floatzel’s back, and held on tightly as his tails began spinning and propelled him forward. He moved quickly through the water, and it didn’t take long before he started slowing down before stopping in a certain spot out at sea.

“Okay, I think this is a good spot,” Jet said. “You should be able to reach your desired location from here.”

“Thanks, Jet,” Blitz responded, as he, Sera and Chiaki put on their Deep Sea Charms.

“How does it look on me?” Sera asked, giggling a little.

“Huh? Oh, it looks good on you,” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together for a moment.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Chiaki said, smiling at his teammates. “Let’s jump in!”

Sera and Chiaki then jumped into the water, Blitz carefully lowering himself into the water shortly after. As the necklaces touched the water, they began to glow with a soft light.

“Ooh, I think they’re working!” Sera said, giggling a little.

The three Pokémon then dove down, and found that the Deep Sea Charms were indeed working, allowing them to breathe underwater.

“Wow, they’re really working!” Chiaki said, excitedly looking around. “This is so cool!”

“So, which way do we go?” Blitz asked, trying to figure out how to move in the water.

“I see your magic necklace things are working right,” Jet said, sticking his head into the water and pointing a paw in a direction. “Just swim that way, and you should reach the HQ of the underwater rescue teams.”

“Thanks again, Jet,” Sera responded, smiling at the Floatzel. “Let’s go, guys!”

“Okay!” Chiaki said, flailing about somewhat.

“Chiaki, you’ll use up your energy that way,” Sera commented, swimming over to him. “My big sister Sirena said that when it comes to swimming, you need to make every move count.”

“Not sure how to do that, but I’ll try!” Chiaki responded, smiling at Sera.

Once they had somewhat figured out how to move through the water, the three of them began swimming in the direction Jet had specified.

----

River was working at the café as usual, taking a few orders and telling the kitchen staff what their customers wanted. A certain Gothorita suddenly entered the café, walking up to the counter.

“Hi River!” Bow said, looking around. “Is Azure here?”

“Oh, she’s training at the dojo,” River responded. “Is there a message you’d like me to give her?”

“That’s fine!” Bow replied, smiling. “I can just go over to the dojo and tell her myself!”

Bow headed back outside, and began heading towards the dojo. She tried to hurry, as she was worried she might otherwise forget what she wanted to say before reaching Azure. As she ran, a strange shadow suddenly appeared above her. Bow froze in fear as she heard a strange laughter, and after a moment of hesitating, looked up. However, once she looked up, there was nothing there, and the shadow she saw had disappeared as well.

“Was it only my imagination…?” Bow wondered out loud, looking around. “… Oh! I have to get to the dojo!”

Bow quickly continued her run to the dojo, and once she was just outside the dojo, stopped for a moment to make sure she remembered what she had come for.

“… Good, I still remember it,” Bow said to herself, sighing in relief.

Bow then stepped inside, and looked around. A certain Heracross noticed the Gothorita and walked over to greet her.

“Hello there, Bow!” Hercules said, giving the Gothorita a friendly smile. “What brings you here?”

“I wanted to talk to Azure,” Bow responded. “River said she was here?”

“That’s right,” Hercules replied, patting Bow on the head. “I’ll go find her for you, just wait here.”

“Okay!” Bow responded, while Hercules went to go find Azure.

The Gothorita glanced around at the various Pokémon doing different exercises, while trying to make sure she still remembered what she wanted to tell Azure.

----

As the rescue team swam deeper under water, their view got darker the further away from the surface they got, forcing Blitz to make his fur glow to provide some extra light. Chiaki stared in awe at the colorful aquatic plants and such that they swam past on their way. They soon spotted a blue light in the distance, and began swimming towards it. They eventually came across what appeared to be a small underwater cave, which the Pokémon had remodeled into the HQ for the deep sea branch of rescue teams.

The source of light appeared to be several blue light crystals, which decorated much of both the inside and outside of the cave, and allowed the Pokémon to read the words carved into stone signs and stone plates attached to a wall inside the cave serving as the mission board for the underwater rescue teams.

“This must be the right place,” Sera commented, looking around.

At that moment, a blue oval fish-like Pokémon with an antenna on its head with two glowing yellow bulbs on it exited the cave; along with a big blue seahorse-like Pokémon and a light blue and black fish-like Pokémon with large fins shaped like butterfly wings.

“So, what area should we check next?” the Lanturn asked, the bulbs on its head flickering for a moment as he looked over at his teammates.

“What’s the point?” the Kingdra responded, looking rather bored. “Can’t we just let one of the other rescue teams do this?”

“Oh, sure!” the Lumineon replied in a sarcastic tone, smirking at the Kingdra. “And then you can tell the king that we couldn’t find his kids because you didn’t want to.”

“Um, excuse me?” Sera said, swimming up to the three water type Pokémon.

“Oh, hey, a Pokémon from the surface,” the Lanturn commented. “What brings the three of you all the way here?”

“We just wanted to make sure a certain message from the surface regarding one of the Axis Tower crystals had made it here,” Sera responded.

“Ah, yes, we did hear about a crystal supposedly being near the Radiant Reef,” the Lanturn replied. “We plan on investigating that once we’ve dealt with another mission currently requiring our attention.”

“What mission is that?” Chiaki asked.

“The royal Frillish twins, prince Somber and princess Blithe have been kidnapped,” the Lanturn explained.

“Oh?” Chiaki inquired, tilting his head slightly.

“Somber and Blithe are the children of king Snorkel and queen Hypotenuse, and the heirs to the Kingdom of the Sapphire Sea,” the Lanturn explained. “Some Pokémon kidnapped them, and is holding them for ransom. The highest ranking rescue teams of the sea, including ourselves, are searching the ocean for wherever the kidnappers are keeping the twins.”

“I see,” Blitz replied. “Good luck with that.”

“Thanks,” the Lanturn responded, before turning to his teammates. “Come on, guys. Let’s go!”

The three water types swam off to continue their search, while Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were left to wonder what to do next.

“So… What should we do now?” Sera asked, looking around.

“I suppose we could explore some more,” Chiaki responded, smiling. “I bet there’s even more cool stuff to see around here!”

“Yeah, I guess so!” Sera said, looking over at Blitz. “What do you think, Blitz?”

“I guess it is fine with me,” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

“All right, let’s explore, then!” Sera said.

The three decided to first go inside the HQ for the deep sea branch, where a map with underwater mystery dungeons marked on it was carved onto a wall. They checked the map to see if there were any particularly interesting places they could explore.

“Hey, there’s the Radiant Reef!” Chiaki said, pointing to one of the marked up mystery dungeons on the map.

“Hmm… Maybe we should go check it out?” Sera asked. “Even if we don’t find the crystal, that place does sound pretty.”

“Well… I guess it couldn’t hurt to take a look…” Blitz responded.

And so the three headed out, and began swimming towards the Radiant Reef.

----

In a different, much bigger underwater cave in the darker parts of Sapphire Sea, a blue-belled jellyfish with red orbs on its bell and many long gray tentacles was swimming back and forth, seeming to be in deep thought. There was also a shark Pokémon shaped like a missile swimming around in a circle, and a purple sea star Pokémon with ten points and a ruby in the center of its body standing in a corner.

They turned to see a pink sunfish Pokémon with a heart-shaped body and hand-like fins enter.

“Ah, there you are, Soapy,” the Tentacruel said, swimming over to the Alomomola. “How did it go?”

“First of all, my name is Sophie,” the Alomomola responded, looking somewhat annoyed. “As for the situation outside, there are quite a few rescue teams searching for those twins.”

“Hmm… I see,” the Tentacruel replied, sighing. “Those rescue teams might ruin everything…”

“This is why you should’ve let me be the one in charge of our plan,” the Starmie said smugly, the ruby in his core flashing briefly. “My plan would’ve been flawless, unlike yours.”

“Well, then why didn’t you actually do anything during the planning stage?” the Tentacruel asked, glaring at the Starmie.

“Because my ideas would’ve been wasted on the likes of you,” the Starmie responded.

“Yeah, right,” the Tentacruel replied, rolling his eyes. “You’re all talk.”

“So, what are we going to do about the rescue team situation?” Sophie asked. “If they find our hideout and discover that we’re the ones who kidnapped those Frillish, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

“Ooh, I have an idea!” the Sharpedo said, still swimming in circles. “We’ll put up a sign outside the cave saying that this is not a secret hideout, and there are no kidnapped Frillish in here! That’ll keep those rescue teams away!”

“No one asked you, Missile,” the Tentacruel responded, giving the Sharpedo an annoyed look.

“You don’t like my idea?” Missile asked, looking somewhat confused for a moment.

“Oh no, we loved that brilliant idea of yours,” the Starmie replied sarcastically. “There’s no way that would’ve been suspicious at all!”

“Aw, thanks!” Missile responded, smiling.

“And you are so great at detecting sarcasm,” the Starmie said, in the same sarcastic tone.

“Can you guys be quiet?” the Tentacruel asked, looking rather annoyed. “I need time to think.”

“Sure!” Missile replied, continuing to swim around.

“And when you fail to come up with a plan, let me know,” the Starmie said, swimming away.

“Ugh, remind me again why I work with these guys…” the Tentacruel muttered, before looking over at Sophie. “Hey, Soapy? Could you go check on the royal brats?”

“It’s Sophie!” Sophie responded, sighing. “But fine, I’ll go check on them.”

“Thank you, Soapy,” the Tentacruel replied.

The Alomomola just rolled her eyes, and swam off to another part of the cave to check on the Frillish, while the Tentacruel tried to figure out what to do if rescue teams were to find them.

----

The beautiful pink and orange corals of Radiant Reef were truly a magnificent sight, and Sera and her teammates couldn’t help but stare in awe. They had reached the entrance to the mystery dungeon, and were wondering whether or not to go inside and explore it.

“This place sure is pretty…” Chiaki said, looking around at the corals.

“So, do we check out the mystery dungeon or not?” Sera asked.

“Well, I suppose we did bring a good selection of items,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together. “But how will we fight underwater?”

“You have a point there,” Sera responded, thinking for a moment. “We’re not really used to this type of environment, and we move around differently here than we do on land…”

“So?” Chiaki said, looking at his teammates. “It’s still a mystery dungeon, and we’re a rescue team. It can’t be that hard to figure out how we’ll use our moves here!”

“Hmm… I guess you have a point there,” Sera responded, thinking about it for a moment.

“I don’t know…” Blitz replied, glancing around.

“It is a mystery dungeon, and we’re a rescue team,” Sera said. “Exploring mystery dungeons is something rescue teams do.”

“Well, that’s true, but…” Blitz muttered.

“Come on, let’s give it a try!” Chiaki said, smiling at Blitz.

“And if things get too tough, we’ll just use an Escape Orb to get out!” Sera added.

“Oh, okay,” Blitz said. “We’ll explore it.”

The rescue team entered the mystery dungeon, which had its maze walls made of pink and orange coral. As they began to explore the dungeon, they encountered a few wild Pokémon, such as a pink and white coral-like Pokémon and a blue clam-like Pokémon that’s head was a sentient pink pearl kept safe inside the shell.

Blitz was a bit uncertain whether it was safe to use his electric attacks underwater, but reached the conclusion that if the part electric typed Chinchou and Lanturn could use their electric attacks underwater without hurting anyone other than the intended targets, so could he. His Spark attack gave his team an advantage against the water type wild Pokémon of the dungeon.

Well, with the exception of the Chinchou, anyways, as the ones with the Volt Absorb ability could just absorb his electricity to give themselves more energy. The ones with the Illuminate ability were also a bit of a bother, as the yellow bulbs at the end of their two long antenna would flash whenever they got hit, summoning more wild Pokémon into the dungeon.

Staryu with the Illuminate ability were annoying for the same reason, with the red core in the center of the five pointed orange sea stars would light up and summon more Pokémon when hit by an attack.

However, through teamwork and with the help of a few healing items, the rescue team were managing to get pretty far into the mystery dungeon.

“Okay, we seem to have reached the eleventh floor,” Blitz said, looking around. “I believe the map said this dungeon has fifteen floors, so only a few more floors to go.”

“Good,” Sera responded, panting.

“Need to take another break?” Blitz asked.

“Swimming and fighting underwater sure can make one tired…” Sera said, sighing. “I wonder how water types do it without getting tired…”

Sera took a moment to relax, only for a trap under her to suddenly squirt a green sticky substance onto the treasure bag Sera was carrying.

“Oh, gross!” Sera exclaimed, looking rather annoyed. “How did I even trigger that trap? My feet weren’t even touching the ground!”

“M-Maybe the tip of your tail brushed up against it?” Blitz responded, also wondering how this had happened.

“Ugh, let’s just keep going,” Sera said, managing to get some of the sticky stuff off the bag.

“Wait, Sera!” Blitz responded, as Sera began swimming towards the next room. “Shouldn’t we check which of our items that Glue Trap may have affected?”

However, Sera didn’t seem to listen, and so Blitz and Chiaki couldn’t do much else but continue to follow her. Things went rather well on the next floor, and things seemed to be going well when they got to the thirteenth floor as well.

“Hmm… Where are those stairs?” Sera asked, looking around.

“Maybe we missed them?” Chiaki suggested. “Or we were going in the wrong direction?”

“I don’t know…” Sera responded. “But, let’s try to go a little further this way. There are still a few places we haven’t checked in this section.”

They continued looking around, checking the rooms for items and the stairs.

“Oh! I think I see the stairs!” Chiaki exclaimed, while pointing to one of the rooms they hadn’t entered.

“Hold on, guys…” Blitz said, swimming up a little to get a better view of the room. “Take a look at the items in there.”

“What about them?” Sera asked, as she and Chiaki swam up to Blitz in order to see what he was talking about.

“There seems to be a lot of items in that room, particularly gummis,” Blitz explained. “Odds are we’ll walk right into a Monster House if we go in there.”

“But the stairs are in that room!” Chiaki said.

“Oh, don’t worry about it!” Sera responded, wagging her tail. “I came prepared for this.”

“Okay…” Blitz said, taking a deep breath. “Watch your step, guys. There might be a few traps in there as well.”

The three Pokémon entered the room, and thus several wild Pokémon appeared. There were two Chinchou, three Staryu, two small pink heart-shaped fish Pokémon; two rather annoyed looking blue puffer fish Pokémon with spikes on its body and a small blue seahorse Pokémon.

“Yep, it’s a Monster House,” Blitz said, looking around and trying to mentally count how many wilds there were. “There seems to be ten wild Pokémon here in total.”

“Well, I’ll just use the Petrify Orb I brought to freeze these guys, and then we can move onto the next floor!” Sera responded, reaching into her bag. “… Huh? Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!”

The Petrify Orb was covered in the green glue that had sprayed out from the Glue Trap from earlier, preventing Sera from using it.

“… That’s not good,” Blitz said, staring at the orb.

“O-Okay, let’s not panic,” Sera responded nervously. “W-We can still beat these guys…”

“All we have to do is reach the stairs,” Chiaki pointed out.

“Well, let’s give it a try…” Sera said, using her Helping Hand to power up her teammates.

“Those Luvdisc may not look tough, but their Agility attack will cause a lot of trouble for us if we don’t take them out fast,” Blitz muttered, as he used Spark on one of the two pink heart-shaped fish Pokémon.

“Take this!” Chiaki said, using Fake Out to make the second Luvdisc flinch.

After making their moves, the rescue team found themselves having to dodge the attacks of eight out of the nine remaining wilds. Dodging water attacks were more difficult here since they were mostly just various streams of pressure when used underwater. The different attacks hitting them from different angles took off quite a bit of the rescue team’s energy.

“I have a feeling those Reviver Seeds I brought may need to be used…” Sera muttered, pulling out an Oran berry from the bag. “For now, use this to heal up, Blitz.”

“Thanks, Sera,” Blitz responded, eating the Oran berry to restore some of his energy. “I’ll finish off the second Luvdisc now.”

“Hmm… Which one of these guys is the biggest threat right now…?” Chiaki said, looking around at the opponents, unsure which one to attack first.

“I’d say the Chinchou or the Qwilfish might be our biggest problem,” Blitz responded. “The Qwilfish might have the Poison Point ability, so be careful.”

“Okay, got it,” Chiaki said, and proceeded to quickly slap one of the Chinchou five times in succession, knocking it out. “All right, it worked!”

The remaining seven water type wilds attacked again, and while the three rescue team members managed to dodge some of the attacks this time, they were still weakened even more.

“Ugh… Somehow we’re all still conscious…” Sera said, looking through her bag. “Sadly, it seems we are out of Oran berries.”

“Seven more Pokémon…” Blitz muttered, panting. “What do we do?”

“I brought three Reviver Seeds, one for each of us, just in case,” Sera said, frowning somewhat. “But if we all get knocked out and we use them up, then what? Is there a way out of this without needing to use all of them?”

Blitz tried to think of something, when suddenly what appeared to be a blue ball seemed to come rolling fast through the water into the room, and slammed into one of the Staryu, knocking it out. It then stopped rolling, revealing itself to be a round blue mouse Pokémon with a thin black tail with a small blue ball on it.

“Why don’t you guys pick on someone your own type?” the Marill said, smirking as she slammed her tail against one of the remaining two Staryu, knocking it into the other and simultaneously knocking both of them out. “Come on; show me what you’ve got!”

With the wild Pokémon turning their attention to the newly arrived Marill, the rescue team took the opportunity to make their moves. First, Sera and Chiaki teamed up using Quick Attack and Double Slap respectively to knock out the remaining Chinchou. Blitz meanwhile charged up some electricity, and knocked out one of the two Qwilfish with his Spark attack.

The Qwilfish and the Horsea both tried to attack the Marill, but the aqua mouse Pokémon just snickered as she dodged both of their attacks without much difficulty, and then slammed her tail against them, so Blitz could finish them by pressing his electrified paws against them.

“Whew, looks like I caught up to you guys just in time!” the Marill said, swimming up to the rescue team.

“You certainly did,” Sera responded, sighing in relief. “Thanks.”

“No problem!” the Marill replied, grinning.

“You… remind me of someone,” Chiaki said, curiously looking at the Marill.

“Yeah, the way she fought…” Blitz replied, before realizing something. “Wait… Azure? Is that you?”

“Yep!” the Marill responded, giggling a little as she swam in a circle around her three friends. “As you can see, I’ve evolved!”

“Cool,” Chiaki said, smiling at Azure. “I like your new look!”

“Thanks!” Azure replied, smiling. “So, how about we all keep moving onto the next floor?”

----

With Azure’s help, they managed to get through the next floor without having to use up their Reviver Seeds, gradually regaining their energy as they moved along. As they reached the final floor, they walked amongst themselves as they looked for the stairs leading out of the dungeon.

“How did you know we were down here?” Blitz asked, glancing back at Azure.

“Bow told me,” Azure responded. “While I was training at the dojo, she came over and told me you guys would be in trouble here, so I hurried up to the rescue team HQ and asked Kala to send me where she went you.”

“I see,” Blitz replied.

“And then, when I got there, this Floatzel dude offered to give me a ride, and so he took me out to where he dropped you guys off, and then I went down here to look for you,” Azure explained. “I decided to go straight here, since I knew you’d be here from what Bow had told me.”

“Cool,” Chiaki responded, smiling at Azure. “So, what is your new body like?”

“Well, I like it a lot, although I’m still getting used to it,” Azure responded, looking at her stubby hands. “For one thing, I have hands now, and my body is less bouncy.”

“I guess you were training at the dojo in order to get used to fighting in your new body?” Blitz asked.

“Correct,” Azure responded, smirking. “I’ve found that while the blue thing on my tail got smaller as the rest of my body got bigger, I can still hit pretty hard with it!”

“That’s nice,” Chiaki replied.

“Also, my ears allow me to hear much better now,” Azure explained, glancing up at her round ears. “I can hear things from pretty far away, which was how I managed to figure out where you were once I got to the same floor you guys were on!”

“Wow, that’s really cool!” Chiaki responded.

“I know, right?” Azure replied, grinning.

“Guys, I can see the stairs!” Sera said, wagging her tail happily. “Come on!”

----

The four Pokémon exited the mystery dungeon, and looked around. From what Stella and Bow had said, the crystal they had seen was somewhere around here.

“Anyone see a whirlpool?” Sera asked, looking around.

“Uh… Is it that vortex thing over there?” Chiaki said, pointing to a large whirlpool that seemed to be coming up from a chasm.

“Wow, the crystal is somewhere at the bottom of that thing?” Sera asked. “How is anyone supposed to even get to it?”

“I believe there’s a certain water type attack that might allow one to do that…” Blitz responded, looking over at Azure. “You wouldn’t happen to know that attack, would you?”

“Nope, sorry,” Azure replied, shrugging slightly.

“Well, looks like there’s not much we can do here, then,” Sera said, glancing around.

“… So, what do we do now?” Azure asked.

----

End of Chapter 19.

----

InsaneTyranitar
22nd June 2013, 3:39 PM
Alright, here I am again...

Chapter 18 was good, and I particularly liked Kala's antics.

Chapter 19 was excellent, had more that stood out to me compared to Chapter 18. Particularly Missile and Azure's evolution.

I know you haven't been getting much feedback lately, but keep it up!

DarkerShining
20th July 2013, 1:15 PM
Thanks!

Anyways, chapter 20 has been taking longer than expected. While the chapter is only a few scenes away from being finished, I've been having some difficulty sorting out the details of a battle scene in it. Good writing takes time, and some chapters take longer than others to write. I promise I'll have it done as soon as possible, so just wait a little longer, okay? :)

Until then, you can check out revised versions of the 13 first chapters on FF.net (well, the revisions are probably only really noticeable with the first few chapters or so, since later chapters have only required a few minor changes such as fixing spelling errors and such) and for any readers that are also Tropers, you could help add to the trope page for my fanfic on TV Tropes. If you're interested in any of that, that is.

So, yeah. Just a little update on the status of chapter 20 and stuff.

Spiteful Murkrow
26th July 2013, 1:42 AM
Hi, I finally caught up and can write a review for this thing.

All in all, I found the fic as it was to be a rather engaging read so far. The characters have some rather nicely defined interactions with each other, and you do a pretty good job at pacing the team's hunt for crystals with their need to do practical sidejobs to stay afloat.

There's a couple things that I'm unsure whether or not happened by design, or just turned out as they did by circumstance. They're not necessarily bad things, just things that I'm hoping will be addressed later down the road. There's a few weird phenomena that Sera and the rest of her team have encountered, such as the sentient plant attacking the forest, but these seem to not really have that much context behind them. Although it's a little weird to see everyone so unfazed by stuff like that that simply doesn't happen on a normal basis, I take it that there is a deeper explanation for such things that will be revealed later?

Also, I'm a little curious as to when it is that Chiaki's lost memories and past are intended to resurface in terms of narrative importance. They seemed to be consistently alluded to within the first 10 chapters, but have been dialed back a bit recently. How is he taking things when he literally can't remember anything before his first meeting with Sera and her teammates, and does it present any complications for how he'd interact with others?

Aside from that (which is ultimately resolvable in future chapters anyways), it seems like Reflecting Balance like a really well-crafted fic, and I look forward to seeing where you go with it.

DarkerShining
27th July 2013, 4:10 PM
Thanks for your review! Glad you're enjoying the story so far, and don't worry, I do intend to explain some of those things in upcoming chapters. Look forward to it!

Anyways, I finally managed to finish up chapter 20, and I've even gotten the first draft of chapter 21 done, so that's something you guys can probably look forward to next week! But, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. For now, it's time for chapter 20!

Hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 20: There was no way I was missing out on that!

----

Princess Blithe cheerfully swam around in circles, while her brother prince Somber was quietly brooding in the corner. She was certain someone would come to save them soon; they just had to wait a little longer. As she cheerfully hummed to herself while swimming around, she noticed a certain Alomomola swimming towards their cell, carrying a few blue and purple gummis.

“Thought I’d bring you some gummis,” Sophie said in a bored tone, placing the gummis on the floors where Blithe could reach them and pull them in through the bars with her tentacles. “Don’t eat them up all at once.”

“Yay! Thanks, Soapy!” Blithe responded, happily picking up the gummis.

“It’s Sophie,” the Alomomola replied, looking rather annoyed.

As Sophie swam away, Blithe swam over to her brother, showing him the gummis.

“Look, Somber! Soapy brought us our favorite gummis!” Blithe said.

“She did that just because these guys need us alive,” Somber responded, taking one of the purple gummis. “Once they’ve gotten what they want, they’ll get rid of us.”

“Oh, cheer up!” Blithe replied, smiling at her brother. “I’m sure a rescue team is coming to rescue us as we speak!”

Blithe happily began eating one of the blue gummis, while Somber slowly began eating the purple gummi. While the Frillish prince wouldn’t admit it, the taste of the purple gummi did lift his moods, even if it was only a little.

----

Out by the Radiant Reef, Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure were still staring into the whirlpool, being careful not to get too close as they tried to figure out what they were going to do now. They knew a crystal from the Axis Tower was located somewhere at the bottom of the chasm the whirlpool was blocking off, but had no means of getting there.

“Hmm… Maybe one of those underwater rescue teams knows the move?” Sera asked, figuring that it would only make sense for the rescue teams of the deep branch to know the attack that could allow them to deal with the whirlpool.

“Probably,” Blitz responded, having reached the same conclusion. “Odds are one of those higher ranked rescue teams, like the one we met with earlier, might have at least one Pokémon that knows what to do.”

“But aren’t they out looking for the missing prince and princess?” Chiaki pointed out. “How are we supposed to find them and bring them here?”

“Hmm… What exactly happened to this prince and princess you’re talking about?” Azure asked.

“They were kidnapped, and some Pokémon is apparently holding them for ransom,” Blitz explained.

“Ah, well in that case, finding them shouldn’t be too difficult!” Azure responded, grinning.

“Huh?” the other three Pokémon said in unison.

“Well, bad guys tend to hang out in dark places, right?” Azure replied, smirking. “So, if we head into the deeper, darker parts of this ocean, we might come across one of the rescue teams that are searching for the kidnapped Pokémon and the kidnappers’ hideout!”

“Are you sure about that, Azure?” Blitz asked, rubbing his forelegs together. “While you may be onto something, your logic seems a bit flawed...”

“Maybe, but I don’t see any of you three coming up with anything better,” Azure responded.

“I guess that’s true,” Sera replied. “We don’t really have any better leads in regards to where to look…”

“So, let’s try my idea, then!” Azure said, grinning. “Trust me; I’m sure there will be at least one rescue team there.”

“Oh, okay, let’s go,” Blitz responded, sighing.

And so, the four began swimming away from the Radiant Reef and the whirlpool, and began heading towards the darker areas in the deeper parts of the Sapphire Sea.

----

Meanwhile, in the underwater cave, the Tentacruel was attempting to come up with a plan for how to deal with any rescue teams that might come across their hideout. All he had was a vague idea of defeating the rescue team, and then relocating to a different area. Except how would they get to another area unnoticed, not to mention the problem that they didn’t even have another location in mind that they could relocate to if something went wrong?

“Still trying to think of a way to deal with the possible rescue team threat?” the Starmie asked, snickering a little. “I can’t believe you haven’t just given up and delegated the task of coming up with such a plan to me yet.”

“Shut up, you oversized purple throwing star,” the Tentacruel responded. “I didn’t ask you for your opinion.”

“Does anyone want to hear my opinion?” Missile asked, smiling at the other two.

“Your opinion on what?” the Starmie inquired. “Do you even know what we are talking about?”

“… Are we talking about yogurt?” the Sharpedo responded. “I like mine with fruit at the bottom!”

“And that’s why you’re not in charge,” the Starmie replied, turning away.

“Both of you, shut up,” the Tentacruel said, glaring at the two.

“What’s going on in here?” Sophie asked, as she swam back into the room.

“Not much, Soapy,” the Tentacruel responded, rubbing the two big red orbs on the sides of his bell with two of his many tentacles. “These two idiots are getting on my nerves.”

“Which two idiots?” Missile asked, looking around. “There’s nobody else but us in here!”

“I see…” Sophie replied, rolling her eyes.

“I’m just saying that I could come up with a plan much quicker if you guys would let me be the leader of this group,” the Starmie said.

“If you’re so intelligent, then how come you’ve barely done anything to contribute to this plan?” Sophie asked, giving the Starmie an annoyed look.

“I came up with the trap we used to trap those two,” the Starmie responded. “And I helped out when we set it into motion, didn’t I?”

“And after that?” Sophie asked. “Seriously, even Missile has been more helpful than you have!”

“I like to help!” Missile said, grinning.

“Oh, fine,” the Starmie replied. “Since you admit to so desperately needing my help with your plans, I will provide a list of locations where we can move to if any of those rescue teams force us out of our hideout.”

The Starmie swam into another part of the cave, causing the Tentacruel to sigh in relief.

“Thank you, Soapy,” the Tentacruel said. “Now I can finally have some peace and quiet while sorting out our plans…”

“You’re welcome,” Sophie responded, looking somewhat annoyed. “But seriously, how many times do I have to tell you guys? It’s Sophie!”

“Isn’t that what he said?” Missile asked, tilting his entire body quizzically.

----

Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure were now searching through a darker area of Sapphire Sea, Blitz having to gradually increase the brightness of his glowing fur as things gradually got darker the further they went. So far, they hadn’t seen any signs of any other rescue teams.

“Maybe this was a bad idea…” Blitz muttered, looking around nervously.

“Hey, since we’re here, let’s keep looking around some more first before giving up,” Azure responded, glancing around. “Surely there has to be at least one rescue team around these parts… I mean, if I were a bad guy, a place like this is where I’d put my hideout.”

“Unless the bad guys thought it was too obvious, and put it somewhere else?” Chiaki commented. “Or, they did put it here, because the rescue teams thought it would be too obvious to put it here, and thus they haven’t bothered to check this area yet?”

“Again, do either of you guys have any better ideas?” Azure asked, looking around at the other three Pokémon. “… So, let’s keep exploring a little more.”

The four Pokémon continued moving forward, when suddenly the scenery changed to that of a dark underwater maze, with many rocky walls.

“… Did we just enter a mystery dungeon?” Sera asked, looking around.

“Yeah, looks like it…” Blitz responded.

“Well… At least we’ve all recovered our energy from the last one,” Sera said, taking a quick look at their items. “And we still got some good items here, even if we’re a little low on healing items.”

“Don’t worry,” Azure responded, smiling. “There are probably some healing items in this dungeon for us to find.”

“Let’s keep going then,” Sera said.

The four Pokémon moved further into the mystery dungeon, fighting more wild water Pokémon and gathering more items. As she added the items to their inventory, Sera noticed that they had somehow ended up with quite a few Quick Seeds. She wasn’t sure if they even needed that many, but figured that as long as there was still room for more items, it wasn’t really a problem.

They continued going deeper and deeper into the dungeon, unsure of what they would find on the other side…

----

After ten floors of tough battles against wild water type Pokémon, gathering up some random items and general exploring, the four Pokémon found themselves in front of a hole leading into what appeared to be an underwater cave. The four were unsure of whether to enter it, or continue exploring another part of the area.

“I get a bad feeling about this place…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“That’s a good sign that we’re on the right track, isn’t it?” Azure asked.

“That’s… an interesting way to look at it, I guess…” Blitz responded.

“Still, we don’t know what awaits us if we enter the cave,” Sera said, looking around. “Then again, I suppose we also don’t know what awaits us if we explore more of this area and don’t enter the cave…”

“So, how do we decide, then?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Hmm… Let me try something,” Azure said.

Azure closed her eyes and tried to use her ears to determine which way to go. She listened for anything that might be worth investigating. After a few moments, she managed to pick up on something.

“I think… I hear voices coming from inside the cave,” Azure said, peeking inside the cave entrance. “Can’t hear what they’re saying, though.”

“Okay…” Sera responded, glancing around. “So… Should we go investigate that, or…?”

“Sounds risky…” Blitz commented, rubbing his forelegs together.

“So?” Azure asked, shrugging slightly. “It’s not like we’ve got any other leads.”

And with that, Azure swam inside the cave before the others had the chance to stop her. After exchanging a few concerned glances, the rescue team went in after her.

----

The Starmie was in the process of making the list of other possible places they could relocate to if a rescue team were to find their hideout, when it suddenly sensed something with its psychic powers. The ruby in the center of its body flashed, as the Starmie realized what it had picked up on.

“Intruders…” the Starmie muttered, the ruby flashing once more.

“What!?” The Tentacruel said, turning towards the Starmie.

“It’s a rescue team, although they don’t seem particularly powerful,” the Starmie explained, the ruby flashing once more. “From what I can tell, it’s just some surface dwellers that don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into.”

“I don’t care who they are!” the Tentacruel responded. “Just get rid of them!”

“I’ll get right on that,” the Starmie replied, turning to Missile. “Come on, Missile. Let’s give those intruders a warm welcome.”

“Ooh, sounds nice!” Missile responded, swimming alongside the Starmie as the two headed into one of the tunnels. “What kind of snacks should we serve?”

“Not that kind of warm welcome,” the Starmie replied.

----

Sera, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure swam deeper into the cave, the rescue team having caught up to the Marill by pointing out to her that they couldn’t swim as fast as she could, and without Blitz to provide some light, Azure wouldn’t be able to see very well in the darkness if she went too far ahead in this area. As they continued going further, Azure’s ears began to pick up on the sound of cheerful laughter.

“This way, guys,” Azure said, pointing in the direction the giggling was coming from.

The four Pokémon continued swimming down the tunnel, following the sound of laughter. Eventually, they reached the cell where Somber and Blithe were kept.

“Yay! It’s a rescue team!” Blithe said, cheerfully twirling around. “We’re saved!”

“Are you sure?” Somber asked, looking over his shoulder at the four Pokémon. “They don’t look particularly powerful… They probably can’t get us out of here.”

“You two must be the royal twins we heard about from one of the underwater rescue teams earlier,” Sera said, curiously looking at the two jellyfish behind the bars.

“Guess my intuition was right,” Azure commented, looking around. “Although, I expected there’d be at least one rescue team around here…”

“Well, we’re here,” Chiaki pointed out.

“Oh, that’s right…” Azure responded, blinking. “I… guess that counts?”

“Are you going to save us now?” Blithe asked, smiling at the rescue team.

“We would, but…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “How do we do that?”

“I don’t think I’m strong enough to break these bars,” Azure said, examining the bars. “And we don’t have a key, so…”

“We’re going to be stuck in here forever,” Somber muttered, staring at a wall. “There’s no way we’re ever getting out…”

“Hey, relax,” Sera said, glancing around. “We’ll think of something, okay?”

“Oh, don’t mind him!” Blithe responded, smiling cheerfully. “My brother is just being silly!”

“What are we supposed to do, though?” Blitz asked.

“We’re not going to let you do anything,” a voice said, and all six Pokémon turned to see a certain Starmie and Sharpedo emerging from the other direction.

“I knew we were doomed,” Somber commented, looking at the Sharpedo and Starmie with a rather bored look on his face. “The rescue team doesn’t stand a chance against them.”

“Don’t listen to him!” Blithe shouted, giggling a little. “I know you can take them down!”

Blitz and Sera exchanged nervous glances, while Chiaki and Azure assumed a fighting position. The ruby in the Starmie’s center flashed as he prepared to deal with the intruders, while Missile was just there next to him with a goofy grin on his face.

“Blitz, what do we do?” Sera asked, hoping her teammate would have any ideas of how they could get themselves out of this situation.

“Hmm… I don’t know…” Blitz responded, observing the opponents. “They look tough, but… if we use the items we have wisely, then we might have a shot.”

“Good enough for me!” Azure said, smirking. “Let’s take them down!”

“Not if we take you down first!” the Starmie responded, the second star on his back spinning fast as he began charging up an electric attack.

The Starmie then fired a bolt of bright blue electricity from the ruby in his center, aiming for Azure.

“Watch out!” Chiaki said, swimming in front of Azure and using Detect to block the attack.

“Whew, thanks,” Azure responded, sighing in relief. “Hey, can I borrow some Quick Seeds? I sort of have an idea.”

“Sure,” Sera replied, getting three Quick Seeds out from the bag and handing them to Azure with her tail.

“Thanks,” Azure responded, smirking as she ate the seeds and then with the increased speed swam up to Missile and carefully tapped him on the nose before quickly swimming away. “Tag, you’re it!”

“Ooh, I love this game!” Missile said, before cheerfully chasing after the Marill.

While Azure kept the Sharpedo distracted, the other three Pokémon had to figure out how to deal with the Starmie. Chiaki managed to keep his Detect up as the Starmie began trying to hit him with Psychic attacks, but was uncertain of how long he could maintain it. Luckily Sera and Blitz didn’t waste any time, Sera using Helping Hand to power up her teammates and Blitz trying to find an item to throw at the Starmie to distract it long enough for them to get some hits in.

Azure seemed to be enjoying herself as she let the Sharpedo chase after her, even if it was a bit difficult to keep swimming faster than him even with the speed boost from the Quick Seeds. However, as Missile started closing in on her, she realized that the effects of the Quick Seeds were starting to wear off.

“Uh-oh,” Azure said to herself as she realized she was slowing down.

“I’ve got you now!” Missile cheerfully announced, and used Aqua Jet to propel himself towards the Marill.

Azure quickly moved to the side, while Missile was moving too fast to slow down and continued shooting forward until he crashed into a wall.

“Ooh, that must’ve hurt,” Azure said, wincing slightly.

Azure turned around to check on how the rescue team was doing. While they were making a good effort, the three were certainly having some difficulty fighting the Starmie. The Starmie’s long-ranged attacks made it difficult for them to get closer to attack, and they had to move quickly to dodge the various attacks.

“Hmm, I’ve got to help them somehow…” Azure said to herself, thinking about it for a moment before she suddenly heard something moving behind her.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Missile asked, seeming somewhat dizzy, but otherwise didn’t seem too fazed by hitting the wall. “The game’s not over yet!”

“Huh?” Azure responded, before smirking as she thought of something. “Oh, right! Come and catch me, if you can!”

“I’ll get you this time!” Missile said, swimming somewhat wobbly towards the Marill.

With what was left of her speed boost, Azure quickly began moving towards the other four Pokémon, occasionally glancing behind her to make sure Missile was able to keep up with her. She carefully observed the fight between her friends and the Starmie, trying to get closer and to find just the right moment.

“Hey, aren’t you going to come and get me?” Azure asked, turning around and wiggling her tail at the Sharpedo. “Come on, you’ve got a clear shot here!”

“Ooh, I wish I had a cute tail like that…” Missile muttered, distractedly watching Azure’s tail for a few moments.

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki were struggling to move fast enough to dodge the various psychic, electric and ice attacks fired from the Starmie’s ruby. Blithe was watching the battle, while Somber didn’t really seem to care.

“Looks like they could use some help,” Blithe commented, glancing over her shoulder at her brooding brother. “Maybe we can do something?”

“I doubt it,” Somber responded, glancing at his sister. “Besides, it doesn’t really matter what we do, since we’re doomed anyways.”

“Oh, stop being so silly and come help me!” Blithe said, cheerfully grabbing one of her brother’s tentacles and pulling him over. “All right, let’s do this!”

Blithe and Somber’s eyes began turning dark as they both started charging up ghost energy for an attack. They then both simultaneously fired black beams of ghost energy from their eyes at the Starmie, but their combined Night Shade attacks didn’t seem to do much other than annoy the Starmie.

“And just what do you two think you’re doing?” the Starmie asked, his ruby flashing in annoyance as he turned towards the Frillish.

“Told you it wasn’t going to work,” Somber said to Blithe, leaning against the bars with a resigned look on his face.

The Starmie realized he was leaving himself open to attack as long as he faced the Frillish, and was confused upon realizing his opponents didn’t seem to be taking the opportunity to attack. He quickly turned around to see the three of them, as well as a certain Marill swim out of a path as a certain Sharpedo sped through the water towards him. The Starmie only had time to register what was about to happen, before Missile collided with him and continued propelling them forward until they both crashed into a wall.

“Awesome! It worked!” Azure said, grinning. “Can’t wait to tell Frederick about how I beat a psychic type by hitting it with a shark!”

“Good job, Azure!” Chiaki commented, smiling at the Marill.

“So… Now that that’s over with, how do we free those two?” Sera asked, looking over at the two still imprisoned jellyfish.

“Maybe one of those baddies has a key?” Azure suggested, and began swimming down to the two water types.

However, she quickly turned around and swam away as Missile suddenly began moving and turning around. Apparently, only the Starmie had been knocked unconscious by the impact, while Missile was still up, albeit seeming rather disoriented.

“Ugh… That wasn’t fun…” Missile mumbled, before glancing back at the unconscious Starmie with a slightly confused look on his face. “Is he it now?”

“I suppose he would be, if he hadn’t fainted,” Azure said, shrugging slightly. “But hey, why don’t you give it another try? The effect of the Quick Seeds has worn off, so you can probably catch me this time!”

“All right…” Missile responded, trying to keep his balance. “Third time’s the charm!”

Azure swam in front of the locked door to the cell, and the Frillish quickly caught on to Azure’s plan and moved to the side. Once Missile attempted his Aqua Jet attack for the third time, Azure moved out of the way once again, causing the Sharpedo to ram into the door on the cell, knocking it down.

“Yay! We’re free!” Blithe exclaimed, cheerfully twirling around.

“For now, at least…” Somber muttered, glancing around.

“Hehe… I can feel my teeth growing back…” Missile mumbled, chuckling a little before losing consciousness.

“Well, let’s get out of here before he wakes up again,” Azure said, sighing in relief. “Man, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to dodge him a third time, but I pulled it off!”

“And you did it awesomely!” Blithe responded, swimming up and happily wrapping her tentacles around the Marill, hugging her tightly.

“You’re welcome,” Azure replied, trying to push the Frillish off her. “But loosen your grip a little; you’re kind of hurting me.”

“Come on, guys,” Sera said, motioning for the other Pokémon to follow her further into the cave. “We need to get moving!”

“Isn’t the exit the other way?” Blitz asked, quickly glancing around as the others began following Sera. “… Or is it? I could’ve sworn that’s the way we came from, but now I’m not so sure…”

“Blitz, hurry up!” Sera said, looking back at him. “We need your glowing fur to see the way ahead!”

“Oh, right!” Blitz responded, quickly swimming up to the others. “Hope there’s a way out of this cave up ahead…”

----

The six Pokémon eventually reached a larger room within the cave, with a few tunnels they could swim through. However, they weren’t sure which one would lead to an exit. And before they could figure it out, many gray tentacles suddenly shot out from above them and formed a cage around the six of them.

“Hey, what’s happening?” Sera asked, glancing around as the tentacles surrounded them, before looking up and noticing the Tentacruel above them.

“I knew we wouldn’t be able to escape from here…” Somber muttered, not really seeming to be alarmed by the situation.

“The blue Frillish is correct,” the Tentacruel said, snickering. “You are not going anywhere.”

“Don’t be so sure about that!” Blithe responded, grinning. “We’ve already beaten the Starmie and the Sharpedo!”

“Shut up!” the Tentacruel replied, before noticing that a certain Alomomola was starting to make her way towards one of the tunnels. “Soapy! Where do you think you’re going!?”

“Well, since these guys found our hideout, and apparently beat those other guys, I can already tell things aren’t going to end in our favor here,” Sophie responded, glancing back for a moment before entering one of the tunnels. “Also, I’m tired of you guys getting my name wrong, so I’m out of here! … Good luck!”

“Soapy, get back here, you coward!” the Tentacruel shouted as the Alomomola fled. “Ugh… Whatever… I don’t need her help to take care of such a weak looking rescue team!”

“Who are you calling “weak”?” Sera asked, glaring up at the Tentacruel.

“Sure wish I had another shark to launch at this guy now,” Azure muttered, kicking one of the tentacles.

“Quiet!” the Tentacruel shouted, seeming rather annoyed. “Perhaps a taste of one of my poison attacks will shut you all up…”

Blitz realized they had to get out of there quickly, before the Tentacruel could fire his attack at them while they were unable to avoid it. While he normally didn’t like using his fangs against other Pokémon, he decided to make an exception this time and bit down on one of the Tentacruel’s tentacles. The Tentacruel screeched in pain and flinched for a moment, allowing the group of six to get out of the tentacle cage.

“Good job, Blitz!” Sera said, grinning.

“Thanks,” Blitz responded, wiping his tongue with his paw in an attempt to get rid of the taste.

“Now, let’s take this guy down!” Sera shouted, using Helping Hand to power up her allies.

“I’ll try out one of my newest attacks!” Chiaki said, smiling.

Chiaki then closed his eyes for a moment, and clenched his paw. The paw began glowing, and shot out star shaped rays at the Tentacruel.

“Nice shot, Chiaki!” Azure said, smirking as she charged at the Tentacruel and prepared to slam her tail against him.

“Enough!” the Tentacruel exclaimed, and grabbed Azure’s tail with one of his many tentacles before it could strike his bell.

“Hey, let me go!” Azure shouted, trying to pull her tail out of the Tentacruel’s grip.

The Tentacruel began extending his many, many tentacles, trying to grab onto the other five Pokémon. They moved as fast as they could through the water in an attempt to dodge the tentacles, but it was proving difficult when there was so many of them.

“We need to find a way to stop him from waving those around!” Sera said, glancing towards Blitz. “Do you have any ideas?”

“First of all, cover your eyes!” Blitz responded, before intensifying the glow of his fur to a brightness that momentarily blinded the Tentacruel and made it loosen its grip on Azure’s tail enough for her to free herself.

“Thanks!” Azure said, grinning.

“You’re welcome,” Blitz responded, before turning back to Sera. “Sera, do we have any more Quick Seeds?”

“I think so…” Sera replied, checking their items. “There’s not many left, though.”

“Do you think it’s enough to- Sera! Watch out!” Blitz quickly swam over and pushed Sera out of the way as a blob of poisonous sludge nearly hit her.

“Hey, leave my friends alone!” Chiaki shouted, and fired more star shaped rays from his fist at the Tentacruel.

“Sera, you okay?” Blitz asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Sera responded, using Helping Hand to power up her teammates some more. “Thanks.”

Azure and Chiaki continued doing their best to keep the Tentacruel busy, while Blitz attempted to figure out how to distribute the remaining Quick Seeds.

“Only three left…” Blitz muttered, thinking for a moment. “What would be the best way to use these?”

In the meantime, the Tentacruel had managed to force Chiaki and Azure up against a wall, using his tentacles to trap them. Chiaki used Detect to protect himself as the Tentacruel began firing more of his long ranged attacks at him and Azure. Chiaki just hoped he could keep himself and Azure safe until Sera and Blitz had decided on their plan.

“Looks like Chiaki and Azure are in a bit of a pinch,” Sera said, glancing over at them. “We better make up our minds fast!”

“All right, I think I have an idea…” Blitz responded, whispering something into Sera’s ear.

“Hmm, sounds good,” Sera replied, nodding her head.

“Can we help too?” Blithe asked, swimming over to them while dragging Somber with her.

“Shouldn’t you two be hiding?” Blitz responded, looking at the two.

“Oh, we may not be as strong as you guys, but if there’s any way we can help, we’ll gladly do it!” Blithe replied, giggling a little. “Isn’t that right, Somber?”

“Does it matter if we help?” Somber asked, still in the same morose tone as before. “We’re probably going to be defeated anyways.”

“You’re so silly!” Blithe responded, cheerfully hugging her brother. “Come on, let’s help the rescue team!”

The Tentacruel was firing Water Pulse attacks at Chiaki, knowing the Mienfoo wouldn’t be able to dodge them for much longer. Azure was preparing to take the attack for Chiaki once his Detect failed; knowing that being a water type herself would allow her to resist the attack somewhat. However, she then noticed Blithe and Somber swimming up behind the Tentacruel.

“What are you two doing?” Azure asked. “You should let us handle this!”

“Hmm?” the Tentacruel said, ceasing his attack for a moment and turning slightly to get a look at what was behind him. “Ah, there you are.”

“That’s right!” Blithe shouted, cheerfully waving a tentacle. “Come and get us!”

“This won’t end well…” Somber muttered, not seeming to have much faith in their plan.

The Tentacruel snickered, and began turning around to grab the Frillish twins, allowing for Chiaki and Azure to swim away unnoticed. However, before the Tentacruel could wrap his tentacles around them, Blitz used Flash to momentarily blind him once again. The Tentacruel screeched in frustration again, and covered its eyes with a tentacle. Once the brightness had faded somewhat, the Frillish twins were out of sight.

“Where did they go…?” the Tentacruel muttered, looking around.

“Hey!” Azure shouted, swiftly swimming up to the Tentacruel. “This battle’s not over yet!”

The Tentacruel attempted to trap Azure again, but the Marill quickly evaded his tentacles, swimming a little faster than she did earlier. Sera and Chiaki swam past as well, also seeming to be swimming faster now. The Tentacruel tried firing off a few Water Pulse attacks at them, but they managed to swiftly dodge his attacks.

“Hmm, where’s the fourth one and the Frillish twins?” the Tentacruel said, looking from side to side.

The Tentacruel suddenly cried out in pain as Blitz suddenly rammed into his bell from above, hitting him as hard as he could with his Spark attack. Blue sparks of electricity were still arcing off the Tentacruel even after Blitz’s attack was done, and it seemed the jellyfish Pokémon was now having difficulty moving his tentacles.

“Look! It seems he can’t move!” Sera said, smirking. “Let’s get him!”

Sera swam towards and tackled the Tentacruel at a high speed, seeming a bit surprised at how well she was able to pull off a Quick Attack since it wasn’t exactly an attack she was meant to use underwater. Azure followed up with her Rollout attack, striking the Tentacruel while rolling at a high speed, and then hitting him again with more force. Chiaki decided to stick to his Swift attack for now since it let him attack from a distance, and continued firing star shaped rays at the Tentacruel.

Once the other three had finished their attacks, Blitz finished the Tentacruel off with another Spark attack from above. The unconscious Tentacruel sank to the floor, as the Frillish twins came out from their hiding spot.

“You did it!” Blithe exclaimed, swimming up and hugging Blitz tightly. “That was so awesome!”

“Ugh… Thanks…” Blitz responded, wheezing slightly as Blithe squeezed him a bit too tightly. “But don’t do that, please… I-I need most of my internal organs to live…”

“I’m just glad the fight’s over,” Sera said, sighing in relief.

“Yeah, I suppose that battle did take a lot of energy on our part,” Azure commented, grinning. “That was certainly some awesome teamwork we pulled off at the end there, though!”

“Everyone okay in here?” another voice called out, and the six Pokémon turned to see the Lanturn from the rescue team Sera and her teammates had met with earlier.

“Oh, we’re fine!” Chiaki responded, smiling and waving at the Lanturn.

“Well, that’s good to hear,” the Lanturn replied, smiling as his teammates swam over carrying Missile and the Starmie. “It also looks like you managed to get most of the work here done before we got here, so good job!”

“Thanks!” Sera responded, wagging her tail happily.

“There was one more Pokémon working with the Tentacruel,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together. “But she chose to flee rather than stay and fight.”

“Hmm, I see,” the Lanturn responded. “What species?”

“An Alomomola, sir,” Blitz replied.

“All right, then,” the Lanturn responded, nodding slightly. “We’ll keep an eye out for her.”

“Finding her probably won’t be easy,” Somber commented, looking away. “There are many Alomomola in the sea, after all.”

“Dude, can’t you cheer up a little?” Azure asked, giving Somber a somewhat annoyed look. “I mean, we just saved you and your sister! At least show some gratitude, if nothing else!”

“Oh, don’t listen to him!” Blithe said, cheerfully twirling around. “We’re both very grateful that you saved us with your awesome rescue team skills!”

“Anyways, my team will take it from here,” the Lanturn said, as his teammates picked up the Tentacruel. “We’ll bring these outlaws in to the deep sea police, and escort the Frillish twins back home to their parents.”

“However, we will make sure you are rewarded for helping us with this case,” the Lumineon said, with a friendly smile. “If there’s anything we can help with, let us know!”

“Hmm…” Sera said, exchanging glances with her teammates. “Well… Do any of you happen to know the Whirlpool attack?”

----

After leaving the cave and dropping off the outlaws at the deep sea police force’s office, the two rescue teams and the Frillish twins headed over to where the whirlpool and the third crystal was. The Kingdra went down to the whirlpool in order to retrieve the crystal, while the other eight Pokémon waited for the sea horse Pokémon to emerge from the abyss.

“Is he okay down there?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Don’t worry, he can handle it,” the Lanturn responded. “He knows what to do when it comes to whirlpools.”

“That’s a pretty big vortex,” Blithe commented, watching it intently. “Look at it going round, and round, and round, and round…”

The Pokémon continued observing the whirlpool, and soon noticed that it seemed to be getting smaller, and eventually it subsided completely, at which point the Kingdra swam up from the abyss, carrying the blue gem in his tail.

“All right, got it,” the Kingdra said, handing the crystal over to Chiaki. “Here you go.”

“Thanks!” Chiaki responded, smiling at the Kingdra.

“So, that’s three of the Axis Tower crystals retrieved,” Sera said, grinning.

“It’s so pretty!” Blithe commented, giggling a little.

“There’s still five more out there, right?” Somber said. “And if those aren’t found… we’re all doomed.”

“You really are a “glass half-empty” kind of guy, aren’t you?” Azure responded.

“Well, thanks again for your co-operation,” the Lanturn said, smiling at the rescue team before turning to the Frillish twins. “All right, time to take you two back home.”

“Okay!” Blithe responded, cheerfully waving to Sera and her friends as she and Somber began swimming away with the underwater rescue team. “Bye-bye!”

“Try not to get into too much danger on your next missions,” Somber said, half-heartedly waving a tentacle.

And after waving good-bye to the underwater rescue team and the royal Frillish twins, Sera and her friends decided it was time to return to the surface and hand the crystal they had retrieved over to Stella for safe-keeping.

----

It felt good to be back on the surface, even if took them a little while to get their fur dry after getting out of the water and back on land. After heading back to Fenix Town, and dropping off the crystal at Stella’s house, the four Pokémon decided to head over to the café to relax a little before calling it a day.

“We sure had a lot of fun today!” Chiaki said, smiling at his friends.

“Well, it was certainly quite the adventure…” Blitz responded, sighing. “I’m pretty tired from all that swimming and fighting underwater, though…”

“Yeah, me too,” Sera replied, nodding her head slightly. “Maybe I’ll allow myself to sleep in tomorrow…”

“And Azure, I’m really glad you showed up when you did!” Chiaki said. “We probably couldn’t have done all this without you!”

“Hey, it was the perfect opportunity for me to try out the new moves and such that I gained when I evolved into action!” Azure responded, grinning. “There was no way I was missing out on that!”

“Well, I look forward to seeing more of what you can do now,” Chiaki commented, smiling. “We should go on another adventure together again soon!”

“Oh, yeah, about that…” Azure said, nervously tapping her hands together. “There’s something I kind of wanted to ask…”

“Oh? What is it?” Sera responded, as she, Blitz and Chiaki all looked at Azure expectantly.

“Well… I was wondering…” Azure took a deep breath, before finally managing to ask the question that had been on her mind. “Can I join your rescue team?”

“Huh? You want to join our rescue team?” Sera asked, seeming a bit surprised.

“Well, we’ve had so much fun when going on adventures together, and so I’ve been thinking about becoming a full time member for some time now,” Azure explained.

“Why haven’t you mentioned this before?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“For some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to ask about it,” Azure replied, chuckling a little. “Probably wouldn’t expect me of all Pokémon to have trouble with that, huh?”

“I admit, that seems a bit unlike you,” Blitz responded.

“Yeah…” Azure replied, clearing her throat. “But anyways, now that I’ve evolved, I feel that I’m ready. So please, let me join your rescue team!”

“What do you guys think?” Chiaki asked, looking to Sera and Blitz with a hopeful look. “She can join, right?”

“Well, the four of us worked pretty well together today,” Blitz responded, smiling at Azure. “I guess the experience she already has from previous adventures with us might’ve helped her figure out what to do so quickly, even though she was in a new body she was still getting used to.”

“Good point,” Sera said, nodding her head. “If one thinks of it like that, then I guess she’s practically a member of our team already!”

“Does that mean I’m in?” Azure asked, grinning while looking expectantly at the other three Pokémon around the table.

“You’re in!” Sera responded, grinning and holding out her paw. “Welcome to the team!”

“Yes!” Azure replied, high-fiving Sera. “Oh, this is going to be so awesome!”

“Since you have some skills the rest of us don’t have, I have a feeling having you on our team will open up some new opportunities for us,” Blitz said, smiling.

“All right, that Silver rank is looking closer than ever now!” Sera commented, grinning. “The four of us will take this rescue team to new heights, I’m sure of it!”

“I bet missions will be even more fun now that Azure is with us!” Chiaki said, cheerfully clapping his paws.

“Aw, thanks guys!” Azure responded, blushing somewhat. “I promise I won’t let you guys down!”

And so, Sera’s rescue team had earned a new member, and another one of the Axis Tower crystals had been retrieved. It had certainly been a good day for the Bronze rank team, and with the cheerful laughter and conversation between them, one might almost think that those four friends didn’t have anything to be concerned about.

It was just too bad that things weren't as well as they seemed.

----

End of Chapter 20.

----

DarkerShining
3rd August 2013, 1:12 PM
Hello again! So, it's time for Chapter 21. I really enjoyed writing this one, and I believe things should be getting even more interesting from here on out.

Anyways, as usual, I hope you all enjoy the chapter!

----

Chapter 21: You never told me you had a sister.

----

With every new day, there were letters and newspapers containing the latest news and interesting articles to deliver. For Santos the Delibird, there was always much work to do, but he didn’t mind. After all, the letters and newspapers couldn’t deliver themselves; someone had to do it. And Santos the Delibird was just the right mail-mon for the job. He went around Fenix Town, delivering letters and today’s newspaper with the headline letting the readers know that yet another crystal from Axis Tower had been found.

It was important to let the Pokémon know what was happening in their world, and keep them updated on the whole situation regarding the stolen crystals. That way, they would be reassured knowing that rescue teams were sorting the situation out. After finishing his rounds around the main parts of Fenix Town, Santos headed towards the west exit of town to deliver the letters to the Pokémon living just outside of town.

However, as he was making these deliveries, he suddenly noticed a shadow appear over him.

“Excuse me,” he heard a female voice say, echoing slightly in a light purr as he felt her breath on his neck.

Santos shivered slightly, and slowly dared himself to turn around and look at who or what was behind him. As he did, he suddenly found himself face to face with a beast with blue and black fur and glowing yellow eyes.

“Hello, little bird,” the beast said, gazing down at the small red penguin Pokémon. “You seem to know your way around here.”

Santos was shaking and couldn’t bring himself to say anything; he barely managed a small stutter under the gaze of the terrifying beast before him. He wanted to run, but was frozen in fear.

“I’m here to visit someone,” the beast said, leaning down and grinning widely, giving Santos a good view of her sharp teeth. “Perhaps you could tell which house he lives in?”

After staring right at the sharp teeth that were now in front of his face for a few more seconds, Santos finally managed to get his sound out, and screamed at the top of his lungs as he ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. The Luxray just watched him run away with a confused look on her face.

“… Was it something I said?” the electric lion Pokémon wondered, before shrugging it off. “Oh well, I guess I’ll just use my eyes then!”

----

Blitz and Chiaki were asleep, but were quickly woken up when they heard the terrified Delibird’s screams outside as he ran past their house. Chiaki quickly got onto his feet and looked around, while Blitz still seemed a bit groggy.

“What was that!?” Chiaki said, wondering what could’ve scared the poor mail-mon so much.

“Someone screaming in terror…?” Blitz muttered tiredly for a moment, before perking his ears up and getting to his feet. “Oh! My mom must be here!”

“Huh?” Chiaki responded, scratching the back of his head.

Blitz walked up to the entrance to the hut to keep an eye out for his mother, and Chiaki curiously followed behind him, wondering what exactly was going on.

“Mom, I’m over here!” Blitz shouted, waving a paw at the Luxray outside.

“Ah, there you are, my little prince!” the Luxray responded, walking up to the stone hut, causing Chiaki to leap back in surprise as he saw her smile, or rather the sharp teeth that were visible when she smiled. “Oh, your mommy has missed you so much! How have you been?”

“I’ve been doing okay,” Blitz replied, smiling back at his mother, although of course his smile wasn’t anywhere near as frightening as his mother’s. “And you?”

“Oh, I’ve been fine, more or less,” the Luxray responded, still smiling.

“Blitz!” another female, much younger voice called out, as another Shinx suddenly stepped out from behind the Luxray. She was smaller than Blitz, and the fur her hind paws were blue instead of black like Blitz’s. She also had a smaller tuft of hair on her head than Blitz did, and was currently smiling sweetly at him. “I’ve missed you too, big brother!”

“Lita!” Blitz replied, seeming delighted to see his little sister again. “It’s so good to see you again!”

“So… That’s Blitz’s little sister…?” Chiaki said, watching as the younger Shinx walked up to her brother and affectionately nuzzled him, before Blitz’s mother suddenly moved her grinning face into view, startling Chiaki once more. “Yikes!”

“Hello there!” Blitz’s mother said, not seeming to realize she’d frightened him. “What’s your name?”

“Uh… It’s Chiaki,” Chiaki responded meekly. “It’s n-nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you too!” Blitz’s mother replied, nodding her head slightly. “I am really glad to meet one of my son’s friends!”

Chiaki nervously smiled back at the Luxray, realizing that she was actually quite friendly, even if she had an intimidating gaze paired with a set of fangs that together could probably even send shivers down a Beartic's spine.

“So, what brings you here?” Blitz asked, looking at the two female electric lions. “I wasn’t expecting either of you.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that,” Blitz’s mother responded. “But I need someone to look after Lita for a few days as I’ll be going on a little trip with some of the other members of the pride.”

“Ah, I see,” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly. “Food supply’s running short?”

“Exactly,” Blitz’s mother responded, nodding her head. “I know this is short notice, but you wouldn’t mind looking after Lita for a few days, would you? She has really missed you, and I was thinking this might be a good time for the two of to spend some time together…”

“Of course I’ll look after her!” Blitz replied, smiling warmly. “I’ve really missed spending time with my little sis!”

“Thank you, big brother!” Lita responded, jumping for joy.

“All right, it’s settled then!” Blitz’s mother said, leaning down at nuzzling her daughter. “Be good and listen to your big brother, okay?”

“Okay!” Lita responded, nodding her head. “I’ll be good, and listen to big brother!”

“I know you will, my little princess,” the Luxray replied, before turning back to Blitz. “So, I guess you can show her around town, tell her about what you’ve been doing and introduce her to your friends.”

“Yeah, sure,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together for a moment.

“Well, I guess I should get going then,” Blitz and Lita’s mother replied, turning around and getting ready to leave. “Have fun, you two!”

“Bye mom,” Blitz said, waving good-bye to his mother. “Good luck on the trip!”

“Bye-bye!” Lita said, also waving good-bye. “Try not to scare any small children on your way home!”

“Uh… Bye!” Chiaki said, joining the two siblings in waving good-bye, until the Luxray was out of sight. “Whew… That was unexpected…”

“Yeah…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

“Why’d you rub the rings on your legs together like that when my mother talked about you introducing me to your friends?” Lita asked, looking up at her brother.

“Huh?” Blitz responded, meeting his sister’s gaze.

“I know you do that when you’re nervous, you know,” Lita replied, smiling at her brother.

“Uh… I do?” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Uh-huh!” Lita said, nodding her head. “So, what’s wrong with me meeting your friends?”

“Um… T-There’s nothing wrong, really…” Blitz responded, nervously glancing around.

Even Chiaki could tell something wasn’t right here, but he had no idea what was going on with his friend right now. It seemed like Blitz was hiding something, but Chiaki couldn’t think of any reason why Blitz would be keeping secrets from his friends. He decided that he would have to ask Sera about it later. After all, Sera was Blitz’s best friend, and so Chiaki figured that she would likely know if anything was bothering Blitz.

“Relax; I won’t embarrass you or anything!” Lita said, smiling up at her brother. “Come on, let’s go!”

“O-Okay…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “Chiaki and I will show you around town.”

“Yay!” Lita replied, and ran outside. “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

“Hey, wait for us!” Blitz shouted, and quickly ran after his sister along with Chiaki.

----

It didn’t take long before the three of them reached the town plaza, where the Pokémon were going about their business as usual. Lita excitedly looked around, while Blitz explained to her what each shop was for. Chiaki couldn’t help but smile a little as he watched the two Shinx siblings, the way Blitz was showing her around town kind of reminded him of the time when Blitz gave him a tour around town the day after they first met.

“This place is very different from home!” Lita said, looking around in awe. “This place has lots of buildings and shops, while Lightning Plateau doesn’t really have any of that!”

“Yeah,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “It’s pretty different, but one gets used to it.”

“Oh? What was your old home like?” Chiaki asked.

“We live in a cave!” Lita responded, smiling. “But it’s a really nice cave, so it kind of feels like a house! Blitz and I even have our own rooms!”

“Cool!” Chiaki replied, smiling back at the younger Shinx.

“The Lightning Plateau is Luxray territory, so Blitz and I didn’t often see other species of Pokémon around,” Lita said, looking around at some of the other Pokémon wandering around town. “There were plenty of other Shinx for us to play with, though.”

“Sounds nice,” Chiaki responded.

“Oh, it is!” Lita replied. “Or at least, things were really great, until our father lef-”

“Hey, Lita,” Blitz said, interrupting his sister before she could finish her sentence. “If you don’t pay attention, you’ll fall behind!”

“Huh?” Lita responded, tilting her head slightly. “I wasn’t falling behind! I’m right next to you, see?”

“Well, that’s good,” Blitz replied. “Come on, I still need to show you the dojo and the café, oh, and the rescue team HQ!”

“Blitz, are you okay?” Lita asked.

“Of course I am,” Blitz responded, smiling at his sister. “Also, I need to introduce you to my mentor, Hercules, and my other teammates, Sera and Azure!”

“Okay…” Lita replied, following her brother and Chiaki as they headed for the café.

----

At the café, Azure was helping out her mother at the café, and was bringing a drink over to Sera, who was sitting at one of the tables and looking rather tired. Sera yawned as Azure put the glass of berry juice in front of her.

“There you go, one glass of Chesto berry juice,” Azure said, winking at Sera. “That should help you feel more awake!”

“Thanks, Azure,” Sera responded, rubbing her eyes. “I was hoping to sleep in today, but Volt and Sirena’s arguing over which one of them was responsible for the mess in the living room was just so loud…”

“Mess in the living room?” Azure inquired.

“I don’t know what happened in there,” Sera responded, drinking some of the berry juice. “I was so tired I didn’t even bother to check…” Sera’s ears started perking up slightly as she drank the Chesto berry juice and started to wake up more. “Ah… That feels much better!”

As Sera finished her drink, Blitz, Chiaki and Lita entered the café. Azure noticed and waved the three over.

“Hey guys!” Azure said.

“Hey there, Azure,” Chiaki responded, walking up to the table along with Blitz and Lita.

“Who’s this?” Sera asked, noticing Lita.

“I’m Lita!” Lita responded, smiling at Sera. “I’m Blitz’s little sister!”

“Oh? Well, it’s nice to meet you,” Sera replied, before looking over at Blitz. “You never told me you had a sister.”

“Well, um… You never asked,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “Anyways, she’ll be staying with me and Chiaki for a few days.”

“I see,” Azure said, petting Lita on the head. “Does that mean you’ll be too busy to go on any missions?”

“Hmm…” Blitz thought about it for a few moments. “Don’t worry, I can probably ask Hercules to look after her while we go on missions.”

“Oh, can’t I come along?” Lita asked. “I’d like to see what you and your friends do!”

“Sorry Lita, but I think it’s a little too dangerous for you,” Blitz responded. “Besides, only four Pokémon can enter a dungeon at a time.”

“Aw, that’s not fair!” Lita replied, pouting. “I wanted to see you fight and stuff.”

“Hey, don’t be upset,” Blitz said, smiling at his sister. “Even if you might not get to see me battle, we’re still going to have a lot of fun, right?”

“I guess…” Lita responded. “Oh! What about watching you train? Can I watch you train with your mentor?”

“Uh… I guess that’s okay,” Blitz replied.

“Yay!” Lita responded, the four pointed star-shape on her tail flashing for a moment from her excitement.

“The little cutie adores you, doesn’t she?” Azure commented, looking over at Blitz.

“Well, yeah, I guess,” Blitz responded, blushing slightly. “Lita and I have always been very close.”

“Uh-huh!” Lita said, nodding her head. “We’re not just siblings; we’re also true friends and can tell each other everything!”

“How nice,” Azure responded, petting Lita again.

“Wish I had that kind of relationship with one of my siblings,” Sera commented. “Not that I don’t have good relationship with most of my siblings, but I don’t really know if I’d consider any of them a true friend.”

“Well, I think that’s enough talking for now!” Azure said, grinning. “So, how about we drop off the little cutie at the dojo so Hercules can look after her, while the four of us head out on a mission?”

“Sounds good,” Sera responded, stretching her legs. “Let’s go.”

“Okay!” Chiaki said.

“All right,” Blitz said.

“Tell me all about the mission when you get back, okay?” Lita asked, looking up at her brother.

“Yeah, I will,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “Now, let’s go.”

----

After stopping by the dojo, introducing Lita to Hercules and asking him to look after Lita, the rescue team headed to the rescue team HQ. After checking the boards and discussing the available missions amongst themselves, they eventually decided on two missions in the same dungeon. The first request was from a Happiny, who wanted a rescue team to go retrieve the Oval Stone she had lost, and the other was from a Tropius who wanted them to look for her Nidorino friend who had gone missing while exploring the dungeon.

“All right, if Blitz’s calculations are correct, then these two missions should give us just enough points to reach the Silver rank!” Sera said, wagging her tail happily.

“Then, what are we waiting for?” Azure asked, smirking. “Let’s get going!”

And so, the four Pokémon hurried over to the room behind the purple curtain and asked Kala to teleport them to the mystery dungeon they needed to go to. In a flash of light, the four appeared at the entrance to the mystery dungeon. They entered the dungeon, and began exploring as usual.

“Hear any wild Pokémon, Azure?” Blitz asked, looking around.

“Hmm…” Azure walked up to one of the paths they could follow, listening for any wild Pokémon approaching.

Chiaki noticed that Blitz and Azure seemed to be busy trying to decide on where to go, and decided that this would be a good time to speak with Sera. The only problem was that even if Blitz and Azure weren’t paying attention, the fact that they both had good hearing might make it difficult for him and Sera to talk privately. Still, Chiaki decided to quietly walk up to Sera.

“Hey, Sera?” Chiaki whispered into Sera’s ear. “Could we talk privately? I need to ask you about something.”

“Oh?” Sera responded, glancing around. “Sure, I guess… but not here. We’ll wait until we’re out of the dungeon.”

“Okay,” Chiaki replied, nodding his head slightly.

“Guys, come over here!” Azure said, waving to Sera and Chiaki before pointing to one of the two paths. “Blitz thinks we should head this way.”

“All right, thanks,” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly. “Let’s keep going, then!”

----

Meanwhile, at the dojo, Lita was talking with Hercules and watching a few of the rescue teams training at different things. Hercules told the young Shinx what she wanted to know about her brother’s time in Fenix Town, and helpfully answered the questions she asked. Lita seemed to be happy that Hercules was willing to share what he knew with her, although there were a few things that surprised her.

“So… Blitz hasn’t told any of them?” Lita asked, tilting her head slightly. “Not a thing?”

“Well… Blitz is afraid of what everyone will think,” Hercules explained, petting Lita’s head.

“Why?” Lita asked. “I don’t get it. Why is he afraid?”

“Back at Lightning Plateau, you and Blitz told each other everything, didn’t you?” Hercules responded. “Told you how he felt, what was happening in his life, how much he wanted the other members of the pride to just accept him the way you did, without demanding anything else of him?”

“Oh…” Lita replied, thinking for a moment. “I think I get it… But, this place isn’t like Lightning Plateau! There are lots of buildings, lots of different types of Pokémon and they do things differently here than we do in Lightning Plateau!”

“You have a very good point there,” Hercules responded, smiling at the young Shinx. “From what I understand from what Blitz has told me, Lightning Plateau is indeed very different from Fenix Town. I know that Blitz probably wouldn’t experience the exact same things he went through with the other members of the pride with the Pokémon here, but I guess he still hasn’t fully recovered from the events back at Lightning Plateau…”

“Yeah…” Lita replied, her ears drooping slightly. “He hasn’t really been the same after our dad left, and the stuff that happened after that…”

“I hope Blitz will be able to open his heart to his friends someday,” Hercules said solemnly, while scratching Lita behind her ears. “I want to help him, but I don’t know what I can really do to help him trust in his friends enough to be able to tell them the truth…”

“He trusts you, doesn’t he?” Lita asked, looking up at Hercules. “You know everything, and he can talk to you?”

“That’s right,” Hercules responded, nodding his head slightly. “I do everything I can to support him and try to help him find the right path.”

“You mean like parents do?” Lita asked, smiling at Hercules.

“Huh?” Hercules responded, blinking a few times as he thought about what Lita said before giving a slightly flustered smile. “Oh… I guess it is kind of like that, isn’t it...”

“I think that’s really nice!” Lita replied, giggling a little.

“Uh… Thanks,” Hercules responded, rubbing the back of his horn. “Still, I think he needs more than just me for support.”

“Ooh, maybe I can help?” Lita suggested. “I can be very persuasive!”

Lita then decided to demonstrate, and lowered her head slightly while gazing up at Hercules while making her golden eyes look as big as she could. She then added in a small smile and started purring softly.

“I suppose that is a pretty compelling argument you’ve got there,” Hercules commented, chuckling a little.

“Everyone will bow down to my superior cuteness!” Lita said, giggling and winking.

“I’m sure they will,” Hercules responded, smiling at Lita. “Not sure if it is what it’ll take to convince your brother, though.”

“It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Lita asked, looking at Hercules with the same look she demonstrated earlier.

“Well… I suppose it can’t hurt to try,” Hercules responded, chuckling a little. “Anyways, let’s talk about something else for a bit. Want to hear about how exactly this dojo works?”

“Sure!” Lita replied, with a cheerful smile.

----

After two successful missions, Sera and her teammates returned to the rescue team HQ, and picked up their rewards for the missions. To Sera’s dismay, it turned out they were a few points short of reaching Silver rank, but she cheered up a little once Azure pointed out that they would likely hit Silver rank on their next mission. Leaving the HQ, they went to the dojo to pick up Lita, and then decided to head over to the café to enjoy some refreshments while telling Lita all about their adventure.

“So, Chiaki wanted to talk to me about something, so could the three of you just go ahead to the café?” Sera asked. “Chiaki and I will catch up to you later.”

“Uh… Okay, I guess,” Blitz responded.

“Fine with me,” Azure said, smirking. “Just don’t keep us waiting too long!”

And with that, Blitz, Azure and Lita headed off to the café, while Sera and Chiaki decided to go find a quiet spot where they could talk in private.

“So, what’s the matter?” Sera asked.

“Well, Blitz was acting kind of strange earlier this morning,” Chiaki explained. “So, I was wondering if you might know if something is bothering Blitz, since you’re his best friend and all.”

“Oh? Blitz hasn’t really mentioned anything that’s bothering him…” Sera responded, tilting her head slightly.

“So, you haven’t noticed anything?” Chiaki asked.

“Not really…” Sera replied, shaking her head.

“Maybe I’m just worrying for nothing, then…” Chiaki responded, shrugging slightly. “I just can’t shake off the feeling that Blitz might be hiding something from us…”

“Well, then…” Sera said, thinking for a moment. “Maybe Hercules knows something?”

“Hercules is his mentor,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly. “I guess it is likely that Blitz may have told him something he hasn’t told us.”

“All right, then,” Sera said, and started walking away.

“Where are you going?” Chiaki asked.

“To the dojo, of course,” Sera responded.

“But, weren’t we supposed to meet the others at the café?” Chiaki said, pointing in the other direction. “They’re kind of waiting for us, you know…”

“I know, but this is more important right now!” Sera replied, nodding her head slightly. “I have to get to the bottom of this, so I’m going to the dojo to get some answers!”

“Oh, okay…” Chiaki responded, following Sera. “Guess I’ll come with you, then.”

----

After a short walk back to the dojo, Sera and Chiaki began looking around for Hercules. They soon spotted the Heracross giving Frosty some advice on how to improve his throwing technique so he could make the icicles he threw hit the targets more accurately. Chiaki waved to Hercules to get his attention, and once he noticed them, Hercules decided to leave Frosty to continue his target practice while he went to speak to them.

“Hello there,” Hercules said as he went up to them. “What brings you two here?”

“Well, we’re kind of concerned about Blitz,” Sera responded. “And so we were wondering if you might know if anything is bothering him?”

“Oh, um…” Hercules glanced around. “What gives you the idea that something is bothering him?”

“He was acting kind of strange earlier today,” Chiaki replied.

“And based on your reaction there, I assume you know something?” Sera asked, trying to make eye-contact with the Heracross. “You do know something, don’t you?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you anything,” Hercules responded, shaking his head. “The conversations I’ve had with Blitz are just between the two of us, and Blitz doesn’t want anyone else in town to know certain things about him.”

“What things?” Sera asked, refusing to drop the subject.

“I really can’t tell you,” Hercules replied, sighing. “It would be better if you waited until Blitz is ready to tell you everything himself.”

“But… I don’t understand!” Sera responded. “Why would Blitz keep secrets from us? We’re his friends!”

“It’s not like I haven’t been trying to convince him to tell you guys…” Hercules replied.

“Please, tell us!” Sera pleaded, her ears drooping down slightly. “I need to know!”

“Listen, Blitz had a pretty difficult time before coming here to Fenix Town,” Hercules explained. “There are still some things he hasn’t fully understood yet…”

“What do you mean?” Sera asked, growing more and more distressed as Hercules refused to directly answer her questions. “That isn’t enough! I need to know more!”

“Sera, please calm down,” Hercules responded, patting her on the head. “I know you’re concerned, but I’ve already said too much.”

“I tell Blitz everything, so why is there something he won’t tell me?” Sera asked, looking up pleadingly at Hercules. “Tell me what happened to Blitz before he came to town!”

“Can’t it wait for another time?” Hercules responded. “Besides, you haven’t really shown much interest in Blitz’s background or asked him about any of this before, have you?”

“Hey, that’s not…” Sera started, until she recalled something from earlier that day.

“You never told me you had a sister.”

“Well, um… You never asked.”

“I… I…” Sera stuttered, realizing that Hercules was right. She often told him about how she felt about certain things, like how her siblings often got on her nerves, how she hated it when others didn’t listen to her or take her seriously because of her age, but she had rarely asked him about his feelings on things not related to their rescue team business.

“Sera…” Chiaki said, unsure of what to say to his teammate.

“Hercules, I… please! I have to know!” Sera pleaded.

“… You’re not giving up on this, are you?” Hercules responded.

Sera looked up at Hercules and shook her head. Hercules sighed and motioned for Sera and Chiaki to follow him.

“All right… I’m probably going to regret this later, but I’ll explain the situation,” Hercules said. “It’s kind of a long story, but… basically, this is what happened.”

----

End of chapter 21.

Tangent128
5th August 2013, 2:05 AM
Hey! I'm slowly catching up, reviewing as I do. Chapter 17 was a nice breather, showing that people have lives besides rescue missions.


“Well, that’s because Amethyst is awesome,” Sera replied, wagging her tail. “But you can be awesome too, in a different way.”

This is good advice.

Chingchar
8th August 2013, 1:38 PM
Not had Internet for months so I've not been able to read any of the recent chapters D:
But now that I've caught up I can't wait for the next chapter I very much like how the story strongly relates to the actual games in how you make the characters fight in dungeons! Keep writing and good luck ^^

InsaneTyranitar
11th August 2013, 9:13 PM
Main highlights these past two chapters:

20: Missile! He's awesome and I want to see more of him.

21: Basket/Maekirte cameo. Just... YES!

Will post a more useful review once we get past that cliffhanger.

Ej190
12th August 2013, 6:45 AM
This is a great chapter. Please put me on the pm list

DarkerShining
17th August 2013, 7:47 PM
Thanks for your replies! ^_^

Chapter 22 is coming along nicely, and although there's only a few scenes left, I'm not entirely sure when it'll be done. Hopefully it won't be too long, so just wait a bit longer and I'll try my best to have it done as soon as possible. Hope you'll all look forward to it!

DarkerShining
24th August 2013, 11:00 AM
Hey guys! So, school started up for me on Tuesday, which likely means I'll have less time to work on this and other things, as my schoolwork needs to take priority. However, I'm still going to do my best to keep this story moving.

And on that note, I think it is time for Chapter 22! I've really been looking forward to putting this one up, and I hope you'll all enjoy it. So, let's get right into it, shall we?

Also, as you may notice, there are two forms of narration in this chapter. The parts in italics are Hercules' narration (with Sera and Chiaki occasionally asking a few questions), while the normal text is normal narration of the events that occured in the past.

I probably didn't need to explain it, but I decided to do so anyways, just to avoid any confusion. (also, italics are also used in the way I'd normally use them, to put emphasis on certian words and to show a character's thoughts.)

This probably won't be the only chapter where I'll be using this narration style, so yeah. Anyways, with that out of the way, here's chapter 22.

----

Chapter 22: I’m really not all that special; I’m just a Shinx like the rest of you!

----

“Lightning Plateau is very different from Fenix Town in many ways. Here, we are used to seeing many different types and species of Pokémon every day, but at Lightning Plateau, there aren’t really any other Pokémon around other than the Luxray pride, as it is their territory, and they would rather not share it with anyone.

There also aren’t really any buildings there, as the Luxray pride prefers to stick to the lifestyle they have always led, and so they prefer to sleep out in the open or live in caves. The only real thing you’ll see that was built at some point is a shrine carved out of stone, dedicated to the legendary Pokémon Raikou, whom is said to have been spotted running through the area during stormy nights, and is worshipped by the Luxray tribe.

Blitz, Lita and their parents lived in a cave. They were a happy family of four, and were all respected within the Luxray pride.”

----

On a nice and quiet morning, Blitz and his father were heading out to do some training, as the two of them often did when they could. Other members of the pride greeted them as they walked past, and some of them reminded Blitz’s father of a meeting regarding an upcoming hunting trip.

“You sure have a lot of responsibilities, don’t you?” Blitz asked, looking up at his father.

“Well, yeah,” the Luxray responded, smiling at his son. “But right now, we have some time to ourselves, and can continue where our last training session left off!”

“And this time there won’t be any interruptions, right?” Blitz asked, smiling back at his father.

“Don’t worry, we have a few hours at least before I am needed somewhere,” Blitz’s father replied. “So, remind me where we left off last time?”

“You were telling me about the Fire and Ice Fang attacks!” Blitz responded, grinning. “Will I get to try them out today?”

“Now, there’s no need to rush, is there?” Blitz’s father replied. “And besides, these attacks can be dangerous if you don’t get the technique just right.”

“What do you mean?” Blitz asked.

“Well, our fangs alone be pretty dangerous just because of their sharpness,” Blitz’s father explained. “Add ice or fire to it, and well, that should speak for itself.”

“Oh, right,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “I get it.”

“Good,” Blitz’s father replied, smiling at his son. “Unlike Thunder Fang, the Ice and Fire Fang moves are not learned naturally by our species, and thus a Shinx will only be capable of performing the move if their father knows how to use them.”

“And since you know those attacks, that must mean you learned them from your father, didn’t you?” Blitz asked. “And since you know those attacks, that means both Lita and I are capable of using them?”

“You got it spot on,” Blitz’s father responded, nodding his head.

“Does that mean you’ll teach Lita those attacks too someday?” Blitz asked.

“Maybe,” Blitz’s father replied. “Of course, with my responsibilities as leader of the pride, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll have the time to train you both.”

“Being leader of the pride doesn’t sound like much fun,” Blitz commented, tilting his head slightly.

“It is a lot of work, but someone has to do it,” Blitz’s father responded, smiling at Blitz. “But for now, let’s focus on these lessons.”

“Okay!” Blitz replied, nodding his head. “So, how do I do this?”

“It’s kind of complicated, but once you know it, it’s not that hard,” Blitz’s father responded, picking up a branch that fallen from one of the trees during a lightning storm and putting it down in front of Blitz. “I think we’ll start with Fire Fang, so listen closely.”

Blitz nodded his head, listening closely to his father’s instructions on how to perform the attack, and using the branch to practice on.

----

“So, Blitz’s father was the leader of the Luxray pride? Wait, so does that make Blitz… a prince, or something?”

“Well, you’re certainly not that far off, Sera. Blitz was expected to take over his father’s position as leader once he was old enough. And so, there were many things Blitz was expected to learn. Luckily, he was a fast learner, and seemed to be well in touch with his instincts. He had sharp senses, and seemed to possess many qualities that would seem to give him good leader potential.

Yet, Blitz preferred to think of himself as just any other Shinx in the pride.”

----

After their training session, Blitz’s father had work to attend to. Blitz decided to go see what some of the other Shinx around his age were up to. He eventually came across a group of Shinx that were doing some training of their own, taking turns fighting each other.

“Hey guys!” Blitz said, walking up to the other Shinx.

“Oh, hi Blitz!” one of the Shinx responded, walking up to him. “What’s up?”

“Dad taught me some new moves,” Blitz replied.

“Cool!” one of the other Shinx responded. “Could you show us?”

“Sure, I guess,” Blitz replied, looking around. “Just need to find a branch or piece of bark, since dad says it might be dangerous to use on other Pokémon if you don’t get the technique just right.”

“Oh! I’ll go look for something you can use!” one of the female Shinx said, running off.

“I’ll help!” one of the other female Shinx said, joining the first one.

“I’ll go too, in case the girls need any help carrying the stuff back,” one of the males commented, before following the two female Shinx.

“Oh, uh… Thanks, I guess,” Blitz responded, tilting his head slightly. “I probably could’ve done it myself, though.”

“Yeah, he has a point, you know,” said a voice from behind them, and they turned to see what looked to be a bigger Shinx with two yellow rings on his forelegs and a black mane, albeit his mane weren’t as impressive as that of a Luxray. The young Luxio had a smug look on his face as he approached the Shinx.

“Oh, hello,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“What do you want, Charge?” one of the Shinx asked, glaring at the Luxio.

“Nothing at all,” Charge responded, smirking. “Just wondering what the big deal about Blitz is all about. I mean, sure, his father might be the leader of this pride, but Blitz himself… he hasn’t really ever done anything all that impressive or noteworthy.”

“And just what have you done?” one of the female Shinx asked.

“Yeah, you’re just jealous!” one of the male Shinx said, pointing a paw accusingly at Charge.

“Guys, calm down!” Blitz said, moving in-between Charge and the Shinx group. “I’m really not all that special; I’m just a Shinx like the rest of you!”

“Exactly,” Charge responded, nodding his head. “I know that, and you know that, but they don’t seem to have caught on.”

“Blitz, you don’t have to listen to what Charge says!” one of the Shinx said. “You know he’s just after attention!”

“I know he’s not the nicest member of the pride, but really, there’s no need to fight,” Blitz responded, trying to keep things calm.

“Hey, I’m not looking for a fight,” Charge said, turning away. “Or at least, I’m not looking for a fight against any of you. I’m way too tough for you kids.”

“Blitz could take you on!” one of the Shinx commented, smirking. “He’s been training with his dad!”

“Oh, is that so?” Charge asked, looking back over at Blitz. “You think you could take me on?”

“Now, I never said that…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together and glancing around nervously at the other Shinx. “You guys aren’t really helping here…”

“Well, maybe I’ll test you later, see if those fans of yours are right or not,” Charge replied, smirking. “For now, I’ll be off. See you all later.”

And with that, the Luxio left, and Blitz sighed as the other Shinx gather around him.

“Hey, Blitz?” one of the Shinx said. “Sorry if we put you in a bit of a difficult spot there.”

“Yeah, we didn’t mean to,” one of the other Shinx added. “But you know, since Charge is always bothering us and telling us all about how everything we can do, he can do better…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Blitz responded, managing a small smile. “You meant well, so… just try not to let Charge’s mere presence get the better of you next time, okay?”

“Okay!” the other Shinx replied, nodding their heads.

“All right, so… I guess I’ll show you those moves my dad taught me, then,” Blitz said, looking at some pieces of bark some of the other Shinx had found for him. “These will do just fine.”

----

“Sounds like Blitz had a lot of friends, didn’t he?”

“It may seem that way, Chiaki, but… Well, while Blitz got along well with the other Shinx, they weren’t necessarily particularly close. Blitz liked to play together with them, but they weren’t really his close friends.

However, there was one Shinx whom he could always talk to, that understood him better than any other Shinx in the pride. It was none other than his little sister Lita.”

----

As Blitz returned home to the cave later in the evening, he noticed that Lita was watching their mother sorting some things around the cave.

“You sure you don’t want any help, mommy?” Lita asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Nice of you to offer, but I’ve got it covered,” their mother replied, smiling. “So, don’t worry about it, my little princess!”

“If you say so…” Lita responded, before her mood considerably brightened as she noticed Blitz walking over. “Big brother, you’re back!”

“Hey, Lita,” Blitz said, smiling at the younger Shinx. “How have you been?”

“Fine, I guess,” Lita responded, shrugging slightly. “How was your day?”

“Well, dad finally taught me how to use the Ice and Fire Fang moves,” Blitz said.

“Ooh, really?” Lita responded. “Can you show me?”

“Sure,” Blitz replied, nodding his head. “Maybe I’ll even teach you how to use them yourself someday!”

“You’d really do that?” Lita asked, smiling at her brother.

“Of course, once I’ve fully mastered the attack myself, that is,” Blitz responded, smiling back.

“Yay!” Lita replied, hugging her brother. “You’re the best big brother ever!”

----

“Um, sorry to interrupt, but you said Blitz had been through a difficult time before coming to our town, didn’t you?”

“Well, I’m getting to that part, Sera. You see, Blitz’s father had to go and lead the hunting trip the Luxray had planned. He and the other Luxray were only supposed to be away for a few weeks, but they all seemed to be away for longer than the rest of the pride expected. They considered sending out a search party, but the Luxray did return before it got to that point… or most of them did, anyways.”

----

Blitz and Lita’s mother had gone to figure out exactly what had happened when she heard the hunting party had returned. As she came across the Luxray that had gone on the hunting trip she noticed that several of them looked to be recovering from some sort of injury, and she felt concerned as she realized her mate was nowhere in sight.

“Ah, Lightning Fangs,” one of the Luxray said, walking up to Blitz and Lita’s mother. “Looking for the leader, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, where is he?” Lightning Fangs asked, looking around. “Is he okay?”

“Well, last time I saw him he was okay, but…” the Luxray responded, and then explained how something during the hunting trip had gone wrong, resulting in an accident that injured many of the Luxray. Their leader, Lightning Mane, was not among the Luxray that were injured, but he hadn’t taken what happened well, and he blamed himself for what had happened.

He had helped the other Luxray treat the wounds of the injured Luxray, but once they were in good enough shape to head home, he had run off, apparently too ashamed to face the rest of the pride.

“What do you mean!?” Lightning Fangs shouted.

“I-It’s like I said,” the Luxray responded, shivering slightly under Lightning Fangs’ intimidating gaze. “He ran away, and we don’t know where he went off to…”

“But… He can’t just run away, he’s the leader of our pride!” Lightning Fangs replied, growling angrily.

“We were shocked too,” the Luxray responded, shaking his head. “We never thought Lightning Mane could abandon us like this...”

“Of all the irresponsible…” Lightning Fangs growled, the Luxray she was talking to seeming rather unnerved as she was scary enough when she wasn’t angry. “I swear, whenever he gets back here, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind!”

“A-Anyways…” the Luxray responded, clearing his throat. “We must figure out what to do while Lightning Mane is missing…”

“Well, Blitz is supposed to be the next leader of the pride,” Lighting Fangs replied, shaking her head slightly. “But he’s too young to take up his father’s position.”

“I guess we will need to choose a temporary leader until either Blitz is old enough to take up the position or Lightning Mane returns,” the other Luxray responded. “We will also need to do what we can to prepare Blitz to take on the role as our leader.”

“I will do what I can,” Lighting Fangs replied, nodding her head. “For now, I should probably go home and tell the kids what has happened…”

“We’ll discuss this further at a later time, then,” the Luxray said.

----

“So… Blitz’s father left… just like that?”

“Yes… I understand that it is very difficult to understand; even Blitz couldn’t understand why his father would do such a thing. And as if that wasn’t enough, some of the Luxray decided that they needed to begin preparing him for what they all expected of him once he was old enough, to become their new leader.”

----

Blitz carefully crept through the grass, listening for anything that might be waiting to ambush him. He glanced around, trying his best not to rustle any of the grass too much or step on anything that might give away his position. A Luxray was observing him, nodding his head as Blitz met his gaze.

“Good, you’re in tune with your instincts,” the Luxray said. “But you’re breathing a little too hard.”

“Oh…” Blitz responded, his voice barely a whisper.

“You just need to find a way to relax more, otherwise you did really well,” the Luxray said.

“Thanks…” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together.

“You really do have great potential,” the Luxray said, smiling at Blitz. “We all believe you’ll make a great leader someday!”

“Leader… right…” Blitz muttered, lying down in the tall grass as if he didn’t want to be noticed. “As if I hadn’t already heard that four times already today…”

“Well, I think that’s all the training for today,” the Luxray said, glancing at the sun setting in the distance. “You can go home now.”

“Okay, thanks…” Blitz said, nodding his head slightly.

The Luxray walked away, but Blitz stayed right there in the tall grass for a little longer. He seemed to relax a little as he realized he was now by himself, the tall grass helping to hide him from sight just a little.

“Pathetic, aren’t I?” Blitz muttered to himself. “I have no choice, so I might as well just accept it…” Blitz glanced up at the evening sky, even if he couldn’t see the sunset clearly from his position. “I have to become the leader of this pride someday… I must… I guess… This must be what they call… destiny?” Blitz nodded his head slightly, resting his head on his paws. “Yeah… Becoming the leader of the pride… is my destiny… Whether I want it to be or not…”

----

Blitz opened his eyes, noticing that it had turned dark. He quickly got up to his feet, realizing that he had to have dozed off in the tall grass and that he had to hurry home. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been out, but he hoped it wasn’t too far past the time he was supposed to have been home. He hurried back to the cave, where he found Lita waiting for him.

“There you are!” Lita said, cheerfully greeting her big brother.

“What took you so long?” Lightning Fangs asked, looking over at Blitz.

“Sorry I’m late…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Oh, it’s okay,” Lightning Fangs replied. “I saved you some dinner.”

Blitz nodded, and walked up the flat rock serving as their dinner table. He looked down at the piece of meat in front of him, poking at it with his paw. This red, soft piece of meat had probably been part of a wild Pokémon until recently, but it was difficult to determine species or what part of the body the meat came from by how it looked and felt to the touch alone.

“Blitz? Aren’t you going to eat?” Lightning Fangs asked.

“Huh? Oh, sorry…” Blitz responded, sniffing the meat. “It smells really nice, but… I guess I’m not all that hungry…”

“But you’ve barely eaten today!” Lightning Fangs replied. “Surely you must be hungry?”

“Well… I suppose I shouldn’t let this go to waste…” Blitz responded, taking a bite out of the meat.

“That’s better,” Lightning Fangs replied, smiling.

Lightning Fangs went into her part of the cave while Blitz ate his dinner, however, Lita just watched Blitz with a concerned look.

“You okay, big brother?” Lita asked.

“Not really…” Blitz responded, shaking his head.

“Want to talk about it?” Lita asked, giving a small supportive smile.

----

After Blitz had finished his dinner, he and Lita went to their room to talk in private. Blitz sometimes wondered if it was really okay for him to tell Lita these things, but he knew his little sister was mature for her age, and besides, he knew she would just worry about him if he didn’t talk to her about whatever was on his mind.

“So, what’s wrong?” Lita asked, tilting her head slightly. “Is it that Luxio that’s bothering everyone again?”

“You mean Charge?” Blitz responded, before shaking his head. “No, I haven’t even really seen him around lately…”

“Oh,” Lita replied. “What is it, then?”

“It’s just… ever since dad left, everyone’s been going on about how I’m someday going to be their next leader,” Blitz explained, looking down at the floor. “But, I…”

“You don’t want to be the leader?” Lita asked.

“Huh… You’re the only one to ask that,” Blitz responded, giving his sister a small smile, before sighing and shaking his head. “No… I don’t, but… it doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice…”

“Maybe dad can do something about it?” Lita suggested. “You know, when he gets back from… wherever he went.”

“… You really think he’s coming back?” Blitz asked.

“Of course I do!” Lita responded, nodding her head. “Don’t adults sometimes need time to themselves to think about things?”

“… I’m not really sure if that’s what’s going on,” Blitz replied, sighing again. “I just don’t know what to do about everyone having decided my future without even asking me what I want, or giving me a choice in the matter…”

“Hmm… They want you to be the leader because our dad is the leader, right?” Lita asked.

“I guess so,” Blitz responded, glancing around at the cave walls.

“Then, maybe… I could become the leader?” Lita suggested, smiling at her brother.

“You, become the leader of the pride?” Blitz inquired, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, why not?” Lita asked, rubbing her head against Blitz. “That way, you wouldn’t have to!”

“Lita… That’s probably the nicest thing anyone has ever offered to do for me,” Blitz responded, smiling at his sister. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome!” Lita replied, grinning. “All right, I’ll work hard and become the leader of this pride!”

“I doubt it’s as easy as that,” Blitz responded. “I mean, everyone wants me to do it, and… well, I don’t think we’ve ever had a female Luxray as the leader before.”

“That doesn’t mean a female can’t be leader, though?” Lita asked, smirking. “Well, either way, I’m going to try my best for your sake, big brother!”

“… You’re the best little sister ever,” Blitz responded, rubbing his head against Lita.

----

“Even with Lita around for support, things didn’t get any better for Blitz. When he had time, he would go play with the other Shinx as he had always done. However, he couldn’t help but feel jealousy and resentment towards the other Shinx, since none of them had to deal with the burden of being the chosen one. They didn’t understand how much stress he had to suffer, or how much he just wanted to be just another Shinx like them.”

----

Blitz was having trouble keeping up with the other Shinx as they ran around, playing their games as usual. Tired from his training earlier in the day, Blitz had to stop and take a moment to catch his breath.

“You okay, Blitz?” one of the female Shinx asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “Just a little tired from today’s lessons…”

“Oh, right!” one of the other Shinx said. “You’ve got to know a lot of things in order to become our leader, don’t you?”

“Yes, there certainly is,” Blitz responded, forcing a smile while thinking to himself. “You have no idea how lucky you all are…”

“Being the leader seems like a lot of hard work,” one of the other Shinx commented, smiling at Blitz. “But if anyone can handle it, it has to be you!”

“I’ve been getting that a lot,” Blitz replied, still hiding his true thoughts behind a fake smile that none of the other Shinx seemed to see through. “Why does it have to be me? I never asked for any of this!”

“You seriously think he has what it takes?” a certain Luxio’s voice asked, and they all turned to see Charge walking over. “If he’s anything like his father, he’ll probably just run away the moment things get rough!”

“Charge, why are you here?” one of the Shinx commented, giving the Luxio an annoyed look.

“I hadn’t seen Blitz in a while, wanted to see how he were doing,” Charge responded, turning to Blitz with a smug look on his face. “So, how have you been?”

“That’s… really none of your business, Charge,” Blitz replied, trying to remain calm. “Oh, for the love of Raikou… As if these oblivious Shinx weren’t enough, now I have to deal with him too!?”

“Oh, what’s the matter, Blitz?” Charge asked, leaning his face closer with a smug smile. “I bet you must feel kind of embarrassed that your dad just ditched his responsibilities like that.”

Blitz glanced down at the ground, hoping Charge would just go away.

“I do wonder why he just left like that,” Charge said, walking back and forth in front of Blitz as he thought to himself. “Are the meetings with the other Luxray or whatever just that boring and he just needed an excuse to get away?”

Blitz just continued staring into the ground, hoping Charge would just leave. He was aware that the other Shinx were probably glaring at the Luxio, but he just hoped they wouldn’t say or do anything that would get him into trouble or make Charge stay longer.

“Or maybe it didn’t even have anything to do with him being the leader,” Charge said, smirking at Blitz. “Maybe you and your sister were being so annoying he decided to leave?”

Blitz narrowed his eyes, and glared at Charge. How dared he bring Lita into this?

“Oh, I know! He’s probably hiding from your mother!” Charge said, snickering. “I mean, seriously. You’ve seen those teeth of hers, right? I’d run away too if I had to wake up to that every day!”

“SHUT UP!” Blitz shouted, startling all the other Shinx present.

“Oh, dear,” Charge responded, seeming a bit startled himself momentarily before regaining his composure. “Maybe I went a little too far?”

“Charge, you can say whatever you want about me, but leave my family out of this!” Blitz replied, giving Charge a nasty glare.

“Huh, this suddenly got interesting,” Charge commented, smirking. “And here I thought you were just a coward who’d rather avoid a fight.”

“Well, he isn’t!” one of the other Shinx said. “Now, get lost and leave Blitz alone!”

“Now, hold on…” Charge responded. “I’m not done here yet.”

Blitz looked down at the ground, growling and hoping that Charge would just go away already. However, the Luxio suddenly leaned down to try to meet Blitz’s gaze.

“Hey, do you remember the time I suggested we have a battle to see which one of is stronger?” Charge asked, and smirked as Blitz’s eyes widened in fear. “What do you say?”

“I… I…” Blitz stuttered, rubbing his forelegs together. “I don’t know if…”

“Come on, I’m just asking for one battle,” Charge responded. “How about… we meet up near the shrine tomorrow night, before moving over to a suitable spot for our battle?”

“Charge, I really don’t think that’s a good idea…” Blitz muttered, glancing around at the other Shinx who were now just watching their conversation.

“Okay, how about this? If you win, I promise I’ll take back everything I've said and leave you alone,” Charge said, with a smug smile. “Does that sound good?”

Blitz tried to respond, but the words weren’t coming to him. He had no idea what to do now. Charge just smirked, turned around and started to walk away.

“Well, I guess I’ll go take a look around and find the best spot for our battle,” Charge said, glancing over his shoulder at Blitz. “Remember, tomorrow night, meet me at the shrine!”

And with that, the Luxio left.

“Wait, I don’t…” Blitz said, but Charge was already out of earshot. “… This can’t end well…”

“Don’t worry about it, Blitz,” one of the other Shinx said.

“Yeah, we’re sure you can beat him!” another Shinx commented, grinning.

Blitz just sighed and lied down in the grass, covering his ears with his paws and shutting his eyes while thinking to himself: “Why me?”

----

When Blitz got home later in the evening, he told both Lita and his mother about Charge’s challenge, and asked them for advice on how to deal with the situation.

“Hmm… Tough one,” Lightning Fangs commented. “You don’t want to fight him, but you’re worried he’s going to keep bothering you if don’t show up, right?”

“Yeah…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “Not to mention that the other Shinx seem to want me to defeat him…”

“Maybe I should have a talk with him?” Lightning Fangs suggested, smiling so that all of her sharp teeth were showing. “And if that Luxio won’t listen to reason, maybe I can frighten him a bit with my Scary Face attack?”

“You mean that isn’t your scary face?” Lita asked, tilting her head slightly as she looked up at her mother’s grin.

“What do you mean, dear?” Lightning Fangs responded, looking over at Lita.

“Oh, never mind,” Lita replied, looking down sheepishly.

“Mom, I don’t think it’ll help if you try to talk to him,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Well, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know,” Lightning Fangs responded.

Blitz sighed and decided to go to his room, Lita following closely behind.

“You’re not really going to fight Charge, are you?” Lita asked.

“I don’t know, Lita…” Blitz responded, shaking his head slightly.

“We don’t actually know how strong Charge is, do we?” Lita asked, giving her older brother a concerned look. “I don’t want you to get hurt…”

“Lita, don’t worry about me,” Blitz responded, looking away. “I’ll think of something…”

“Are you sure?” Lita replied, tilting her head slightly.

“No, but since it’s my problem, I guess I’ll have to sort it out myself,” Blitz responded.

----

“That night, Blitz lay in bed trying to think of a solution, but none came to him and he eventually fell asleep. Blitz went through the next day as usual, and when the evening came, Blitz began heading for the stone shrine. He wasn’t sure what he hoped to accomplish, nor did he know what he would do once he got there. However, it was as if something inside him was guiding him, as if there was no other way and it was too late to turn back…”

----

Blitz crept through the grass, occasionally glancing around. Dark clouds were starting to fill up the night sky, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it started raining at any moment. Blitz just kept on moving through the tall grass, staying low as if he didn’t want to be spotted. He could see the stone shrine in the distance, getting closer and closer. Blitz took a deep breath, and continued moving forward, towards the shrine dedicated to Raikou, a legendary Pokémon of thunder and lightning.

As he reached the shrine, he sat down next to it, looking around. Blitz hadn’t seen any signs of Charge yet, but he figured it wouldn’t be long before the Luxio showed up.

“Sure is dark tonight…” Blitz muttered to himself, glancing up at the cloudy night sky.

“Ah, there you are,” a familiar voice called out. “I was worried you wouldn’t show up.”

Blitz flinched slightly, before nervously looking over at the Luxio walking over with a smug smile on his face.

“Are you ready?” Charge asked, glancing over in a direction. “I think I’ve found just the perfect spot for our battle.”

Blitz reluctantly followed Charge as he led the way towards the location he had chosen for their battle. They eventually arrived at a fairly open area, with only a few trees surrounding them.

“What do you think? Good spot for a battle, isn’t it?” Charge asked, smirking.

“I-I guess…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

Charge took a few steps forward, then turned around and tried to pounce on Blitz. Blitz made his fur glow, momentarily startling the Luxio, and giving Blitz time to move out of the way. Blitz ducked into some of the tall grass, hoping he would stay hidden from Charge’s sight for at least long enough to come up with a plan.

“Oh, Blitz? Where did you go?” Charge said, snickering a little. “You do know that this is a battle and not a game of hide-and-seek, right?”

Blitz remained quiet, trying to make as little noise as he could. However, Charge still seemed to be headed in his direction.

“Come on, don’t be a coward,” Charge said, smirking as he moved closer and closer to Blitz’s hiding spot. “Surely you don’t want to let those Shinx down like your dad did with the entire pride, do you?”

Blitz growled, and leaped out to attack Charge, only for the Luxio to easily sidestep the attack.

“You’re going to have to do better than that,” Charge commented, snickering.

The two rings on Charge’s forelegs began to glow, and he proceeded to swipe at Blitz with an electrified paw, only for Blitz to dodge it. Yellow sparks of electricity were rippling through Charge’s fur, mainly around the yellow rings on his forelegs. He smirked and attempted to strike Blitz with his electrified paw once more, only for Blitz to block it with his own electrified paws.

The two kept going back and forth trying to hit each other with their electrified paws, yellow sparks of electricity streaming off of the yellow rings on Charge’s legs, while blue sparks flew out from each strike of Blitz’s paws. The two kept this going for a while, until Charge managed to knock Blitz onto his back.

“Are you even trying?” Charge asked, trying to step on Blitz only for Blitz to stop him by pressing paw back with his own paws. “Everyone keeps treating you like you’re something special, but I think we both know that you’re not!”

Blitz noticed that Charge seemed to be holding back, and realized that the Luxio had just been toying with him so far. Then again, considering how Charge normally was, it shouldn’t really have come as such a surprise.

“You know, they say you’ve got a lot of potential to be a great leader, but I’m just not seeing any of that,” Charge commented, with a smug smile. “Maybe I should’ve challenged your sister instead? I bet she’d be able to pose a real challenge!”

Blitz made his fur light up, momentarily blinding Charge so he could slip out of his grip.

“That trick again?” Charge asked, shaking his head. “Didn’t you train with your dad, you know, before he ran off like a coward?”

Blitz tried to keep his rising anger under control as Charge looked around for him in the tall grass.

“You can’t beat anyone by just doing that shiny thing and running, you know,” Charge said, circling Blitz’s hiding spot. “I thought you had like, some special moves or something. Was I wrong?”

Blitz took a deep breath, trying to think of a way to win the battle while carefully observing Charge’s movements.

“Come on, don’t you have anything to say?” Charge asked, rolling his eyes. “I mean, shouldn’t you like, come up with something to say about why I’m wrong and why you are qualified for the leader position?”

Blitz waited until Charge was in front of him, before leaping out and trying to tackle him, only to be knocked aside from another strike of Charge’s electrified paw.

“Nice try, but nothing leader-worthy,” Charge commented, approaching Blitz. “If you want to live up to what everyone expects of you, then I suggest you train some more!”

Blitz got back onto his feet, staring down at the yellow rings on his forelegs for a moment, before looking over at Charge’s forelegs. He was having trouble thinking clearly with all the bottled up negative emotions threatening to burst forth. Each comment about what everyone expected just made his anger rise, making it difficult to remain calm.

“Hey, is it okay if I watch when you admit to your friends that you’re not as great as they think you are?” Charge asked, snickering. “I’ll look forward to seeing the look on their faces… Oh, and what will your adorable little sister think when she finds out just how weak her brother is? Poor little Lita is going to be so disappointed!”

With that, Blitz could no longer contain his feelings, and lunged at Charge, seeming to be aiming for the Luxio’s throat.

“Whoa!” Charge said, managing to dodge the attack. “So, you do have some fight in you? Well, bring it on!”

Blitz seemed to fighting much more aggressively and recklessly now, growling as he rapidly attempted to strike Charge with his electrified paws. Charge was actually the one who had to react quickly in order to block Blitz’s vicious assault, and the Luxio actually seemed a bit unsettled by the sudden change in his opponent’s behavior. It was like all the frustration, resentment and anger that the young Shinx had kept bottled up for the past few days was now being released in every attack.

However, even in his state of rage, Blitz seemed to have just enough awareness to notice an opening, and made his fur glow brightly to momentarily blind his opponent. As Charge flinched, and covered his eyes with one of his paws, Blitz promptly leaped forward and with red glowing fangs bit down on the Luxio’s other foreleg.

“AH! Hey, what are you-!?” Charge shouted, screaming in pain as a pair of sharp fangs hot as fire dug deep into his leg.

Despite Charge’s screams of pain, Blitz wasn’t letting go. He didn’t even seem to hear the Luxio’s wails, nor did he seem to react when Charge tried to shake him off other than bite down even harder.

“P-Please stop!” Charge shouted, desperately trying to push Blitz off of him with his other foreleg. “O-Okay, you win! Please, stop this… Ah!”

Blitz’s fangs cooled down slightly as he seemed to run out of energy for his Fire Fang attack, and Charge managed to muster up enough strength to make Blitz lose his grip and throw him aside before collapsing.

Lightning flashed in the distance, and Blitz seemed to come to his senses as the sound of thunder caught up. He got up onto his feet, seeming a bit dazed and looked over at his opponent. Charge was lying in the grass, panting and wincing in pain as he tried to move the damaged leg. The area around the yellow rings on Charge’s left foreleg looked burned, and there was blood coming from the wounds Blitz had left right on the yellow rings.

Blitz gasped as he felt something wet and warm land on his leg, and looked down to see that drops of Charge’s blood were dripping from his fangs onto the grass.

“W-What have I done…?” Blitz muttered under his breath, trembling as he fully realized what had just happened. “N-No, this wasn’t supposed to… I didn’t mean to-!”

Blitz fell to the ground as drops of rain began falling from above, and a group of Luxray ran over to see what was going on.

----

“With the events of that night, Lightning Fangs realized just how bad the situation had gotten, but wasn’t sure what to do for Blitz. Charge did recover, but his leg never healed completely. Apparently, he limps a little when he walks, and seems to have difficulty charging electricity with that leg, leaving him with only half electric power.

The other Shinx talked about what had happened, some of them shocked at what had happened to Charge during the duel, never having imagined Blitz was capable of that. Some said it was Charge’s own fault for pushing Blitz too far, while others pointed out that while Charge was a bit of a jerk, he probably didn’t deserve having that happen to him.

And Blitz, well… As you can probably already guess, the accident was what left him with such an aversion towards using his fangs in battle. He spent most of the day after the battle with Charge crying in his room, and for the few days after that refused to go out.

Lightning Fangs thought hard about what to do, and eventually reached the conclusion that it would probably be best for Blitz to train somewhere other than Lightning Plateau. And so, she sent me a letter, explaining the situation and asking if I would be interested in helping Blitz train. Feeling sorry for the kid, I decided to do more than just that.”

----

It was early in the morning as Lightning Fangs and Lita were following Blitz over to the border of Lightning Plateau. Blitz didn’t want to run into any of the other Shinx, and so they had decided to do this while most of the pride was most likely still asleep.

“Okay, Blitz, this is it,” Lightning Fangs said, pointing a paw straight forward. “Just keep going in that direction and you should reach a dirt road. The one called Hercules said he would come meet you, so just keep heading down the road until you meet with a Heracross.”

“Mm-hm,” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

“You know what a Heracross is, right?” Lightning Fangs asked.

“Yes,” Blitz responded, nodding his head.

“Good!” Lightning Fangs replied, grinning. “Well, then, I wish you luck, my little prince. I don’t know too much about this Fenix Town, but from what I’ve heard, it should be a good place for you to continue your training.”

“Okay,” Blitz responded, nodding his head.

“Big brother…” Lita said, sadly looking up at Blitz. “I don’t want you to leave…”

“Lita…” Blitz responded, hugging his sister. “I’m going to miss you too, but… while I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, I do think mom is right about one thing; I need to get away from Lightning Plateau…”

“O-Okay…” Lita replied, wiping away some tears. “You’ll write to me, right?”

“Of course,” Blitz responded, smiling at his sister, who smiled back at him. “Well, I guess I should get going then… Good-bye, for now.”

“Bye-bye!” Lita replied, waving good-bye as her brother began walking away in the direction Lightning Fangs had pointed to.

“Take care!” Lightning Fangs said, also waving good-bye.

Blitz continued walking, relaxing a bit once he noticed that Lightning Plateau was out of sight. He reached the dirt road, and continued walking down it by himself, until he finally spotted a blue beetle Pokémon ahead.

“Ah, you must be Blitz,” the Heracross said, walking over and extending his hand for a handshake. “I am Hercules; I run the dojo in Fenix Town where rescue teams train.”

“N-Nice to meet you,” Blitz responded, reaching out his paw.

“So, are you nervous?” Hercules asked while shaking Blitz’s paw.

“A little…?” Blitz responded. He probably would’ve rubbed the rings on his forelegs together if Hercules wasn’t still holding one of them.

“Well, there’s nothing to worry about,” Hercules replied, giving Blitz a friendly smile. “The Pokémon of Fenix Town are quite friendly for the most part, and I’m sure you will fit right in once you get used to living there! I’ve already arranged so you have a place to stay.”

“Oh?” Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Yep,” Hercules responded. “A nice cozy stone hut, which I thought would be perfect for you.”

“Wow… You really did that for me?” Blitz asked. “We don’t even know each other yet…”

“Well, I guess it is a bit more than what most mentors do,” Hercules replied, smiling. “But I figured it’d help you get comfortable.”

“Oh, um… Thanks,” Blitz responded, unsure what to say.

“Now, when it comes to training, we will do things at your pace,” Hercules explained, as the two began walking down the dirt road together. “We’ll only train whenever you feel like it, and there’s no pressure. Take as much time as you need.”

“Okay,” Blitz replied, nodding his head.

“Also, if you have any other problems, you can come to me anytime,” Hercules said.

“I’ll keep that in mind, thanks,” Blitz responded, smiling.

For the first time in a while, Blitz felt as if things were looking up for him. Once he got to Fenix Town, he would be surrounded by Pokémon who didn’t know him or his father, and that weren’t expecting anything of him. While he probably wouldn’t be able to escape his destiny, at least here he could be just an ordinary Shinx for a while, and he wanted to enjoy that for long as it lasted.

----

End of chapter 22.

Nivinxus
24th August 2013, 1:29 PM
I was never a huge fan of PMD, but your fic has something about it that makes me quite interested in it. If you have PM list, please put me on it.

SeekerofLight
25th August 2013, 7:59 AM
Good day, DarkerShining!

I've been away from Serebii for quite a while, and my, have I missed this!
As always, your attention to detail in your actions, dialogue, story and characters is impeccable. With the recent chapters, even the minor characters have defining personalities, which is something I love about your style of writing.

Also worth mentioning is the central character development of the story itself. I've said this before, but the Team really feels like a Team, in a way that they are just young Pokémon on an Exploration Team who struggle with obstacles rather than using Super Powers to get over them, yet in recent chapters, they have shown themselves to be stronger.

And also I love the general flow of the story, how it feels like an actual PMD game with a gradual unfolding of the plot and a slow pace which reflects the life of the Team. I know how most stories in general merely throw out the action fast and churn out the story line in a couple of chapters. With 22 chapters down, and no signs of the end drawing too near, I forsee great things for this fic.

As always, best of luck on future chapters
All the best

SeekerofLight

DarkerShining
31st August 2013, 4:22 PM
Thanks for your reviews! I am really glad to see you guys are enjoying my story so far! :)

I wasn't sure if I was going to put up chapter 23 today, or wait until next week and focus on my homework, but I figured I might as well put it up now since it wouldn't take too long to do so.

Hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 23: Aren’t true friends supposed to be able to be honest about their feelings?

----

Chiaki had just quietly sat there while Hercules told him and Sera about the events that had transpired at Lightning Plateau, which had led to Blitz coming to Fenix Town. Chiaki had been observing Sera while listening to the story, as Sera’s ears had kept drooping down a bit, only to perk back up as she tried to pay attention. When Hercules got to the part where Blitz used his Fire Fang on Charge and accidentally damaged the Luxio’s leg, Sera’s ears had been pointing straight up in shock and had stayed that way until he was done telling them about the battle.

While a lot of things about Blitz now made much more sense, Chiaki had been surprised to hear just how bad things had been for Blitz in his old home after his father had abandoned the pride.

“… And, that’s about it,” Hercules said, having finished the story.

“No way…” Sera said, her ears drooping down. “Blitz… never told me any of that…”

“Like I said earlier, Blitz didn’t want anyone to know,” Hercules responded, sighing. “He was afraid that the situation from Lightning Plateau would repeat itself if anyone other than me found out…”

“But, the Pokémon of Fenix Town aren’t like that!” Chiaki replied.

“I think he knows that, but he was still afraid it would change the way the Pokémon here saw him,” Hercules explained. “He doesn’t think anyone would understand his feelings…”

“Understand his feelings…?” Chiaki responded, thinking about it for a moment. “I guess I don’t really understand it, but I’m sure there are other Pokémon that would! Right, Sera?”

Sera didn’t respond.

“… Sera? Are you okay?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“… I’m going home now,” Sera said, getting up and walking away.

“Huh?” Chiaki said, briefly turning and waving good-bye to Hercules before chasing after Sera. “Sera, wait for me!”

Hercules sighed, and returned to his work, hoping that things would turn out okay.

----

As Chiaki followed Sera outside, he expected her to be heading towards the café. However, it didn’t seem like she was headed in that direction.

“Sera, where are you going?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Didn’t you hear me?” Sera responded, not looking at him. “I’m going home now.”

“But… Blitz and the others are waiting for us at the café, remember?” Chiaki asked, grabbing onto Sera’s tail in an attempt to keep her from leaving.

“Chiaki, let go of me,” Sera said, her voice carrying almost no emotion.

Chiaki reluctantly let go of Sera, and watched her walk away.

“… See you tomorrow, then,” Chiaki said, before deciding to head over to the café.

----

As Chiaki reached the café, he wondered just how he was going to explain what had taken so long and why Sera wasn’t with him. He stepped inside, noticing Blitz, Lita, Azure and even Frederick sitting at a table, talking. As he walked over to join them, he realized that Azure seemed to be telling the other three a story.

“… And to this day, whatever reasons he had for jumping into that barrel of tree sap remain a total mystery,” Azure said, shrugging slightly.

“Sounds like that must’ve been a crazy day, huh?” Blitz asked.

“Yeah…” Azure responded, nodding. “I’m not sure if I’ll ever get all the details on whatever it was that happened that day.”

“Did you at least find out whether they found that missing slingshot that apparently started that whole mess?” Lita asked.

“Apparently it turned up a few days later in a mystery dungeon on the other side of the continent,” Azure responded. “As for how it ended up there, I’m guessing there’s an even longer story behind that one…”

“Weird,” Blitz commented, before noticing Chiaki. “Oh, there you are!”

“Hey, guys,” Chiaki said, joining them at their table.

“What took you so long, buddy?” Azure asked, taking a sip of her berry juice.

“Oh, um… Just… got held up by… some stuff,” Chiaki responded, having trouble thinking of an explanation. “Yeah… stuff…”

“Where’s Sera?” Blitz asked, looking around.

“Oh, she went home,” Chiaki responded.

“Why?” Blitz asked, looking concerned. “Is something wrong?”

“Oh, no… I don’t think so,” Chiaki responded, not wanting his friends to worry. “I think she was just tired.”

“Oh,” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

“Azure, are you going to tell that story you told us again now that Chiaki is here?” Frederick asked.

“But I’ve just told it,” Azure responded, shrugging slightly.

“Yeah, I know,” Frederick replied, smiling sheepishly. “But I wanted to hear it again!”

“Maybe some other time,” Azure responded.

“Oh, okay,” Frederick replied, nodding his head. “Maybe you could tell another story, then?”

“Hmm…” Azure thought about it for a moment. “Oh, right! I’ve got another good one!”

“Yay,” Frederick responded, smiling.

“All right, so it all began on a Tuesday morning,” Azure explained, motioning for the other four Pokémon to pay attention. “It was raining outside, and we’d just discovered that our Oran berry delivery was late. Then all of a sudden, this Vigoroth comes charging into the café, slams his paws on the counter and shouts: “Have any of you seen the guy who stole my ukulele!?””

Chiaki sat there as Azure told her story, thinking about how everyone probably had their stories. Things like where they were from, things that happened to them, things they had been witness to… But Chiaki didn’t really have any of that, at least nothing from before he was found by Sera and Blitz that day in Meridian Forest. Aside from Elina, he still hadn’t regained any memories.

With no memory of where he was from, any family he might have, any experiences he’d made prior to meeting Blitz and Sera… Chiaki felt bad for his friends, and wanted to help them, but with no such memories, how could he truly help them with their problems since he didn’t have any experience with the things they’d experienced?

Chiaki thought about it for a moment, not really paying attention to Azure’s story, and then remembered what he had said to Hercules earlier.

“I guess I don’t really understand it, but I’m sure there are other Pokémon that would!”

Of course! If he couldn’t truly understand what his friends were going through, then all he had to do was find someone who did! Surely there had to be someone in Fenix Town who had similar concerns and experienced something similar. All he had to do was ask someone with that kind of experience for advice, or ask if they could talk to his friends so they’d understand they weren’t alone!

However, who would he ask about such a thing? And since Blitz hadn’t wanted anyone to find out about his problems, then perhaps Chiaki would run into a similar problem with other Pokémon? He figured that most Pokémon probably wouldn’t want to open up about their personal thoughts to someone they barely knew.

“So much for that idea…” Chiaki thought, sighing. “Maybe I should ask Elina for advice…”

He wondered what Elina had been up these past few days, as he hadn’t really seen the Elgyem around lately. Perhaps she had been busy with something? He looked over at Azure, and since he hadn’t really been paying much attention to her story, he wasn’t really sure what was going on. From what he could tell from the context, it apparently involved Azure having secretly tagged along with a rescue team on a mission, and watched them fight an outlaw over the Vigoroth’s stolen ukulele.

He wasn’t entirely sure why there also seemed to be a Qwilfish that spoke backwards involved in the events of Azure’s story, though.

----

At the rescue team HQ, Kala was currently massaging Elina’s shoulders in an attempt to get her to relax, but it didn’t seem to be helping. They hadn’t exactly made much progress with the telepathy lessons, but neither of them planned on giving up despite the lack of results.

“Maybe we should call it day…?” Kala asked, yawning. “I don’t think we’re getting anywhere…”

Elina looked up at Kala, feeling a bit embarrassed about her lack of progress.

“Hey, don’t feel bad…” Kala said, giving Elina a supportive pat on her shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll pick up on things quickly once we get past this stage…”

Elina nodded her head slightly, but before she could do anything else, Kala had fallen asleep on top of her.

“Mm… Might need another spoonful of sugar before we can reach the moon…” Kala muttered in her sleep, snoring lightly.

Elina just shook her head, and tried her best to move the sleeping Abra over onto the somewhat worn out looking dark green pillow she always rested on.

----

Blitz, Chiaki and Lita eventually headed back for the night, and Blitz and Chiaki began dividing up parts of the straw that made up their beds to make a bed for Lita.

“I hope it’s comfortable enough for you,” Blitz said, doing his best to make the small pile of straw into a bed. “Since Chiaki’s bed was already made up of half of mine, it might be a little small…”

“It’s okay, big brother,” Lita responded. “I’m sure it’s all right.”

“Oh, okay then,” Blitz replied, smiling to his sister. “We can probably look for something to make it more comfortable tomorrow if it’s not enough.”

Chiaki quietly watched the way Blitz and Lita talked to one another, while once again finding himself wondering if he too had a family somewhere.

Blitz had Lita and his mother, Sera had her parents and older siblings, Azure had her mother… His teammates all had families, but Chiaki couldn’t even remember if he had ever had one. Perhaps he could ask Elina about it, even if her ability to communicate was limited. Still, she was the only one he knew of who could tell him anything about his life prior to his memory loss.

It occurred to Chiaki that he had never really asked if Elina knew how he had lost his memories. Perhaps she knew that too.

“Chiaki, you okay?” Blitz asked, looking over at the Mienfoo. “You’ve been sort of quiet for a while there.”

“Oh, sorry,” Chiaki responded. “There was just something on my mind. Nothing serious, though!”

“If you say so…” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

----

Sera was sitting in the bedroom she and her older siblings shared, staring out of a window. Flare the Flareon noticed that his younger sister had been acting strangely since she got home, and had decided to go check on her. He walked up and sat down next to her, taking a look through the window to see if she was looking at anything in particular, but there didn’t seem to be anything out there at this moment.

“Sera? Is something wrong?” Flare asked. “You barely had any dinner.”

“I’m not hungry…” Sera muttered, continuing to stare out the window.

“Sera, I can tell something must’ve happened today,” Flare responded. “Come on, tell me. I won’t tell anyone else if you don’t want me to.”

“It’s nothing, really…” Sera replied, shaking her head. “Just found out that I didn’t know Blitz as well as I thought I did, that’s all…”

“Oh?” Flare responded, tilting his head slightly.

“He kept all this stuff about his old home and stuff hidden from everyone…” Sera explained, her ears drooping down slightly. “He didn’t even tell me…”

“Hmm… But doesn’t everyone have their secrets?” Flare asked. “Some things that they prefer to keep to themselves?”

“You don’t understand!” Sera responded, shaking her head slightly. “I always tell Blitz about things that happen, about my feelings and stuff, but apparently Blitz didn’t even trust me enough to tell me he has a younger sister!”

“Oh…” Flare replied, realizing what was going on. “So, you’re worried about what this means for your friendship with Blitz, aren’t you?”

“Aren’t true friends supposed to be able to be honest about their feelings?” Sera asked, a few tears falling from her eyes. “Does this mean… that Blitz and I aren’t true friends?”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad…” Flare responded, comfortingly wrapping his tail around Sera.

“Did I do anything wrong?” Sera asked, looking up at her brother. “Is it because I didn’t show enough interest in Blitz’s feelings outside of our rescue team work?”

“I’m sure it’s not your fault,” Flare responded, hugging his sister. “It’s nobody’s fault, okay?”

“But… maybe if I had been a better friend, Blitz would’ve been able to trust me…” Sera said, sighing. “All I ever cared about was my own problems…”

“Sera, I think we both know that’s not true,” Flare responded.

“Huh?” Sera asked, looking up at Flare.

“While you may be a bit self-centered at times, your feelings for Blitz are real, right?” Flare responded, smiling at Sera. “Your friendship with him clearly means a lot to you.”

“I guess…” Sera responded. “Still… How do I know if it means as much to him as it does for me?”

“I’m sure the friendship between the two of you is important to him too,” Flare replied. “So, don’t worry, sis. I’m sure you and Blitz will work things out.”

“I hope you’re right…” Sera responded, looking out the window.

“I’m sure things will look a little brighter tomorrow,” Flare commented, patting Sera’s back reassuringly. “If you have trouble sleeping, you can use my tail as a blanket, if you want to.”

“Thanks, Flare,” Sera responded, managing a small smile.

Sera continued to look out through the window, hoping that Flare was right and that things would be better tomorrow.

----

Elina was sitting on the roof of the café, looking up at the night sky. She was glad that Kala was willing to keep trying despite the lack of progress they were making. Elina still hadn’t figured out how she could make herself relax enough to get into the right state of mind for the telepathy to work. There had to be something she could do, but what?

She then thought about Chiaki, realizing she hadn’t really seen him around much in the past few days, even if she had heard about how he and his teammates had helped retrieve two of the crystals from Clarion Desert and the Sapphire Seas. Elina hoped all eight crystals would be brought back together soon, and returned to their rightful place.

Although, thinking about it, she found it a bit strange that the crystal thief hadn’t tried to interfere directly with the rescue teams’ work yet… Thinking about that Sigilyph made Elina shudder, and she decided to go find a secluded spot to sleep.

----

Deep inside a forest full of plant life with a shimmering silvery color was a cottage where a purple witch-like ghost Pokémon and her younger apprentice lived. The apprentice, a smaller dark blue ghost Pokémon resembling a floating head with red beads around her neck and hair with pink tips, was watching the older ghost Pokémon chant an incantation while focusing her energies on a small black box made of stone with purple gem stones adorning the sides.

A shadowy purple aura was surrounding the box as the Mismagius chanted her spell, but it watched in anticipation as the Mismagius began chanting the last part of the spell.

The Mismagius focused all her energy into the spell as she finished the last part of the incantation, only to be knocked back from the purple aura exploding.

“Oh, not again!” the Mismagius said, floating down to the stone box to make sure that the explosion hadn’t broken it.

“Wow, that was a really great explosion!” the Misdreavus commented, giggling a little.

“Malefica, this is not a laughing matter!” the Mismagius responded, sighing. “I just don’t understand… We’ve gathered all the necessary materials and built the box after the instructions on the scroll, and I am pretty sure I pronounced every part of the incantation right…”

“What do we need the box thing-y for?” Malefica asked, cheerfully floating around. “It has something to do with something your pen-pal told you, right?”

“… Malefica, haven’t you been paying attention?” the Mismagius responded.

“Um… Paid attention to what?” Malefica asked, smiling sheepishly.

The Mismagius just sighed, and decided to just call it night. It would be easier to look over that old scroll again during the day when the sun was out. If she kept trying, she would hopefully be able to successfully cast the spell.

“Maybe I should ask Stella if she can help me figure out why this isn’t working…” the Mismagius muttered, telekinetically picking up the stone box and putting it on a shelf.

She then closed her eyes, and went to sleep so she could regain her magical energy.

It had been a long day, and even if some things hadn’t gone as well as some would’ve hoped, at least there would be new chances to get it right tomorrow.

----

End of chapter 23.

SeekerofLight
1st September 2013, 6:09 PM
Hooray! New Chapter!

As always, excellent work. You never cease to use your talents in description and most importantly development.
What i find outstanding about this chapter is that there is little actual Story Development, no Dungeons, no Battles. However, the attention to detail as regarding the Character Development is outstanding. The entire chapter (until the very end) was devoted to the thoughts and feelings of the Main Characters. As I always say, the attention to detail really works well toward the general laid-back flow and progression of the Story.
Compared to most fics, which cannot wait to throw plot twists and Battles at the reader, the way 'Reflecting Balance' is progressing is a sign of true writing prowess!... I can keep complimenting people for long periods of time you know?

Anywho, best of luck, and I await Chapter 24 with bated breath

Happy Writing

SeekerofLight

DarkerShining
7th September 2013, 3:58 PM
Thanks for the review! It's always nice to hear that I'm doing things right so that my readers will enjoy the story! :)

Anyways, it's time for chapter 24. I'm really surprised at how fast I was able to finish both this and chapter 23, but hey, I'm not complaining. Some chapters just seem easier to write than others, after all.

So, here's chapter 24, and as usual, I hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 24: Trust you? What do you mean?

----

The sun was slowly rising in the sky to signal the start of a new day, and the Pokémon working at the various shops in Fenix Town were in the process of getting everything ready before the various rescue teams were up. Marietta the Ledian was nearly done setting things up, as she seemed to usually be one of the first Pokémon to arrive at the town plaza early in the morning.

As she was looking over things to make sure she had gotten everything ready, she noticed a certain dark blue beetle Pokémon walking by.

“Good morning, Hercules!” Marietta called out, waving one of her four hands.

“Oh, good morning to you too, Marietta,” Hercules responded, waving back.

“So, what are you doing out here?” Marietta asked. “Shouldn’t you be at the dojo by now?”

“Well yeah, but I think Lotus and the others have it under control,” Hercules responded, shrugging slightly. “I just kind of needed some fresh air, and felt like going for a little morning walk…”

“I see,” Marietta replied, nodding her head slightly. “Is there anything on your mind?”

“Sort of,” Hercules responded, sighing. “I got talked into revealing something to someone that someone else would’ve preferred to keep a secret…”

“Oh?” Marietta inquired, tilting her head slightly.

“Yeah…” Hercules replied. “Part of me felt it would be best if they knew, but I wanted the one who told me to keep the secret to tell them themselves…”

“I see…” Marietta responded, nodding her head slightly. “Well, I’m sure you’ll be able to sort things out.”

“You’re probably right,” Hercules replied, giving a small smile. “I’m just not sure how, yet.”

“Words can bring you a long way, you know,” Marietta responded, winking. “They may not listen at first, but just try a few more times and I’m sure you’ll get through to them.”

“… Thanks, Marietta,” Hercules replied, smiling at the Ledian.

“No problem,” Marietta responded, grinning. “Glad to help out another bug type.”

“Well, I guess I should head over to the dojo, then,” Hercules said, waving good-bye to Marietta. “Nice talking to you!”

“Have a nice day!” Marietta responded, smiling as she watched the Heracross fly away in the direction of the dojo. “I’m sure he’ll have those problems of his sorted out quickly. He’s such a nice guy.” Marietta giggled a little. “And he’s quite handsome too! Of course, this isn’t the time for that. Right now, I’ve got some work to do!”

And so, Marietta took one more quick look to make sure that everything was in its place, and that the bank was ready to open. The Ledian had a good feeling about this day.

----

Lita had woken up as the sun’s bright and warm rays shone in through the windows, and had decided to wake up her older brother as well. She carefully grabbed onto one of Blitz’s ears with her teeth, making sure not to accidentally hurt him in the process by biting him too hard as she started playfully pulling at his ear. Blitz eventually opened his golden eyes and looked over at his sister.

“Okay, okay… I’m awake,” Blitz said, getting up.

“Good morning, big brother!” Lita said, smiling at her brother. “Slept well?”

“I suppose,” Blitz responded, yawning and stretching. “And you?”

“I slept pretty well,” Lita replied, nodding her head slightly.

“That’s good,” Blitz said, smiling at Lita.

Lita then ran up to Chiaki, and started shaking his shoulder with her paws.

“You should get up too now!” Lita said, giggling a little.

“All right…” Chiaki responded, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “So, what are we going to do today?”

“Well, I guess the first thing we should do is head over to the town plaza and see if Sera has gotten there yet,” Blitz said.

“Oh, right,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

Chiaki hoped that Sera was feeling better today. She’d seemed pretty upset when she went home the day before after learning of the things from Blitz’s past that he had never told her about. He wasn’t really sure what to say to her, or if there was a way he could help her and Blitz.

As the three of them headed into the town plaza, they began looking around for Sera, while other rescue teams were going about their preparations as usual. Sting and his teammates were buying some items at the item shop, Frosty and Melody seeming to be in a bit of a disagreement on which items would be more important on their next mission.

Mirage and her teammates were over at the bank, Marietta waiting for Mirage to decide on how much money she would deposit into their team account, how much she would send to her family and how much they would use to buy items today.

Lionel the Linoone was looking through the items Regina the Servine had stored away, as she and her teammates had received a request from a Pokémon wanting a particular item. Zap the Rotom was currently talking to Arbolith, asking if the Suduwoodo was interested in linking a few moves. Based on the impatient look of Calder the Wartortle, leader of the rescue team Arbolith was on, it seemed the Sudowoodo was taking a long time to decide.

Bijou the Sableye seemed to have a small pebble stuck between her teeth, and was currently attempting to use the lock-picking tool she used to open treasure boxes as a tooth pick while waiting for customers to show up, and Celio the Togetic was looking after a Pokémon egg one of the other rescue teams had asked him to look after.

“Anyone see Sera yet?” Chiaki asked, looking around.

“I don’t see her,” Lita responded, shrugging slightly.

“Maybe she’s at the HQ or the café?” Blitz suggested, thinking for a moment. “Let’s check the café first. That way we can also bring Azure along if she’s not already at the HQ with Sera.”

----

As Blitz, Lita and Chiaki arrived at the café; they tried looking around for Azure and Sera, but couldn’t see either Pokémon. Frederick didn’t seem to be there either. While they assumed they were at the rescue team HQ, they decided to ask River first to make sure, once River was done talking to a vulture-like Pokémon with a bone-like skirt that was currently standing at the counter.

The Mandibuzz looked a bit disappointed as River finished saying something, and left the café while River waved good-bye. Once the Mandibuzz had left, River shuddered slightly and looked somewhat disturbed.

“Ugh, dealing with customers of mainly carnivorous species is always such an awkward experience…” River muttered. “Although this was probably the strangest yet…”

“You okay, River?” Chiaki asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine…” the Azumarill responded, nodding slightly. “So, I’m guessing you guys are looking for Azure?”

“That’s right and we’re looking for Sera too,” Blitz replied, nodding his head. “I’m guessing they’re already at the rescue team HQ?”

“Yes, Azure headed over there just a little while ago,” River responded. “I think Frederick decided to tag along as well.”

“Okay, thanks,” Blitz said, turning to Chiaki and Lita. “Let’s head to the HQ, then.”

----

Nothing seemed different than usual at the rescue team HQ, with rescue teams looking at the various boards and choosing their missions for the day. Blitz finally spotted Sera, Azure and Frederick near the regular mission board, waiting for the rescue team that was currently selecting some missions off the board to finish. Blitz, Chiaki and Lita quickly went over to their friends.

“There you guys are!” Chiaki said, smiling. “We’ve been looking for you guys!”

“Well, we’ve just been waiting for you guys to show up, and waiting for these other rescue teams to finish choosing their jobs for the day,” Azure responded.

“I just came along because I felt like it,” Frederick commented.

Chiaki looked over at Sera, noticing that she seemed to be unusually quiet at the moment. He wondered if she was still upset.

“So, see any good missions on there?” Blitz asked, looking up at the mission board. “One more mission should be enough to earn us that Silver Rank.”

“That’s great,” Sera responded, not sounding particularly excited.

“… You okay, Sera?” Blitz asked, feeling concerned by the lack of enthusiasm in Sera’s reply.

“I’m fine,” Sera replied in the same tone.

“Are you sure?” Blitz asked, still concerned for his friend.

“So… How about we try that mission up there in the top right corner?” Chiaki said, trying to distract Blitz.

“Oh? Let’s see…” Blitz responded, taking a few moments to read through the request. “Hmm… It’s an escort mission, and which means one of us would have to stay behind to make room for the Pokémon needing to be escorted.”

“Oh, I didn’t think about that,” Chiaki replied, stopping to think for a moment. “I guess whoever stays behind can look after Lita, then, so maybe-“

“All right, then,” Sera said, nodding her head slightly. “Azure will stay and look after Lita, while the three of us do this mission.”

“Uh, okay…” Chiaki responded, glancing around.

“Wait, why do I have to stay behind?” Azure asked, looking rather surprised. “I mean, Lita is a cute kid, and all, but I didn’t join this team so I could be a babysitter, you know!”

“Don’t worry, Azure,” Frederick said, smiling. “I’ll help you look after her!”

As Azure reluctantly agreed to stay behind with Lita, Chiaki felt a bit uncomfortable as he, Sera and Blitz headed out to meet with the client. He was going to suggest that Blitz stay behind so he and his sister could spend some time together, while Azure came with him and Sera, but Sera had interrupted him before he could get that far. Chiaki had hoped to discuss the situation with Sera, but that would be difficult if Blitz was with them.

He could tell that Blitz was already suspecting something was wrong by Sera’s behavior, and Chiaki was worried that he would find out that they had talked Hercules into revealing his secret and get mad at them. Maybe he could just keep Blitz distracted by changing the subject whenever it came up, and continue doing so until he and Sera had discussed how to deal with the situation.

It didn’t seem like the most reliable plan, though. Still, it was the only thing he could think of, and it would have to do until he could come up with a better plan.

----

The trio eventually came across the entrance to the mystery dungeon, where a small blue penguin Pokémon was waiting for them.

“Ah, you must be the rescue team that took on my job?” the Piplup asked.

“That’s right!” Chiaki said, smiling. “So, you need our help to find a certain item?”

“Yeah,” the Piplup replied. “So, I made this bet with some Pokémon, and unless I can get that Joy Ribbon from the ninth floor of this dungeon, I’ll have to only use my left wing to write for a month. Now, the punishment itself isn’t that bad, since I’m actually left-winged and so that’s the one I use to write with anyways, but my species is known for having quite a sense of self-pride, and so, I’d be really mad if I lost the bet.”

“Understood,” Blitz said, nodding his head. “So, you need our help to retrieve it because the wild Pokémon are too much for you?”

“Pretty much,” the Piplup responded, nodding. “But don’t tell anyone, okay? If anyone asks, I did this without any help.”

“Isn’t that kind of cheating?” Chiaki asked.

“Hey, they never said anything about not being allowed to bring help,” the Piplup responded, winking. “But again, if anyone says anything, I’ll deny it. So, let’s get going, shall we?”

----

It didn’t take long before the four Pokémon were exploring the first few floors of the mystery dungeon, although Sera didn’t seem to be particularly interested in what was going on even as she led the group. Chiaki could tell that Blitz could tell that something was wrong, and even the Piplup seemed to be making a note of Sera’s behavior.

“So, the Eevee is your leader, right?” the Piplup asked. “Is she always this quiet?”

“Not really…” Blitz responded, shaking his head.

“She’s probably just a little tired today,” Chiaki commented, trying to distract the two Pokémon. “Or maybe she’s just concentrating really hard on guiding us through this dungeon? Better not disturb her, then!”

“… Chiaki, is something wrong?” Blitz asked, glancing over his shoulder at the Mienfoo.

“Uh… Where would you get an idea like that?” Chiaki responded, chuckling nervously. “So, um… Let’s all be quiet so Sera can focus!”

Chiaki’s attempts to convince Blitz that there was nothing wrong only made the Shinx even more suspicious. He could tell that Chiaki was hiding something, and it had something to do with why Sera seemed so out of it today. Had something happened the previous night while the two of them had gone off somewhere else while he, Lita and Azure went to the café?
This wasn’t the right time to confront them about it, though. It’d have to wait for after their current mission was finished.

----

Azure, Frederick and Lita were taking a walk, telling Lita more about themselves since they hadn’t been able to come up with much else to do.

“Wow, you only joined their team two days ago?” Lita asked.

“That’s right!” Azure responded, grinning. “But I’d been on a few missions with your brother and his friends a few times before, so I already had some experience with how they do things.”

“I’d like to join too,” Frederick said. “Except I don’t know if I’d be any good at it… I also haven’t been on any adventures with them like Azure has…”

“Don’t worry, buddy,” Azure responded, patting the Deino on the back. “I’m sure you’d do just fine!”

“You’re all really good friends, aren’t you?” Lita asked, giggling a little.

“Well, yeah,” Azure responded, shrugging slightly. “What about you? Do you have any friends back home?”

“Aside from my big brother, I don’t really have all that many friends back home,” Lita admitted. “I may not seem like it, but I’m actually kind of shy towards the other Shinx in the pride. I never know how to approach them, or what to say.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Azure said, patting Lita on the head. “Everyone has a few such moments throughout their lives where they just don’t know how to break the ice.”

“For breaking ice, I recommend fire or fighting moves,” Frederick commented.

“Not that kind of ice, silly!” Azure responded, giggling a little.

“I have been spending some time with a Luxio in the pride lately, though,” Lita explained. “A few days after my brother left, I ran into the Luxio by accident, and he took me to this mystery dungeon in an attempt to help me overcome my shyness.”

“Oh, is that so?” Azure asked.

“Yeah,” Lita responded, nodding her head. “At first, it felt a bit strange, but once we’d spent some time together in that dungeon, we realized that we were getting along pretty well.”

“Good for you,” Azure said, smiling at the young Shinx. “I assume he’s a bit older than you, seeing as he is evolved?”

“Yes, he is,” Lita replied. “His age isn’t what was strange about him and me becoming friends, though.”

“Oh?” Azure inquired. “What was it, then?”

“I can’t tell you,” Lita responded, shaking her head.

“Oh, okay,” Azure replied, shrugging slightly. “If it’s a bit too personal, I’ll stay out of it.”

“I’m getting kind of hungry…” Frederick said. “Can we head back to the café?”

“Sure, why not?” Azure responded, grinning. “Are you feeling hungry too, Lita?”

“Not really,” Lita replied. “I am a bit thirsty, though!”

“Well, let’s go, then!” Azure said, grinning as she started running ahead. “I’m going to get there first!”

“Oh, we’ll see about that!” Lita responded, giggling as she started running after Azure.

“Huh? Hey, wait up!” Frederick said, trying his best to keep up with the two girls.

----

On the ninth floor of the mystery dungeon, the Piplup snickered to himself as he ran up and picked up the Joy Ribbon. Holding the ribbon in his two small blue wings, the Piplup ran up to the rescue team.

“Thanks for helping me out!” the Piplup said, grinning. “And if anyone of those guys I made the bet with sees me giving you your rewards at the rescue team HQ later, just tell them that they must’ve gotten me confused with another Piplup, okay?”

And with that, the rescue team badge shone with a golden light and teleported the Piplup back to the HQ.

“Okay, let’s go back…” Sera said, preparing to use the rescue team badge to return to town.

“Hold on, Sera,” Blitz responded, stopping her before she could use the badge. “I need to talk to you.”

“Uh, Blitz? Maybe we should wait until we’re back in town?” Chiaki suggested.

“I need to talk to both of you!” Blitz said, looking at his teammates. “What is going on?”

“W-What are you talking about?” Chiaki asked.

“Don’t lie to me!” Blitz responded, glaring at Chiaki. “You two are hiding something from me, and I’d like you to tell me what’s going on!”

“Uh…” Chiaki wasn’t sure how to respond. He didn’t want to lie to Blitz, but he didn’t want to hurt his feeling either by telling him the truth. So, what could he possibly say?

“… Blitz,” Sera said, looking up at Blitz. “… Do you trust me?”

“Huh?” Blitz responded, tilting his head slightly. “Trust you? What do you mean?”

“Well, I’ve been sharing details about my family, and my feelings with you,” Sera said, making eye-contact with Blitz. “However, apparently you didn’t trust me enough to do the same.”

“Wait… What?” Blitz responded, blinking a few times. “Where… is this all coming from…?”

“I talked to Hercules,” Sera explained, glancing down at the ground. “He… told me and Chiaki everything…”

Blitz went silent, and stared wide-eyed at his two teammates in disbelief. He started breathing heavily as he processed this information, shaking his head and taking a few steps backwards as he looked back and forth between his two teammates.

“Blitz, I’m sorry,” Sera said, looking away. “I just… had to know, and… if you don’t trust me enough to even tell me-“

“And why would I trust someone who doesn’t even respect me enough to keep their noses out of where they don’t belong!?” Blitz growled, glaring at Sera.

“B-Blitz…” Sera stuttered, visibly frightened at his sudden anger. “I didn’t mean to-“

“Shut up!” Blitz snarled back at Sera, before turning away from his friends. “Both of you… Just… leave me alone!”

Blitz ran off, running deeper into the dungeon. Sera and Chiaki stood there in a stunned silence for a few moments, before giving chase. However, they couldn’t see Blitz anywhere, and it seemed the Shinx had already gotten far away from them.

“Did he already make it to the end of the dungeon?” Chiaki wondered, stopping for a few moments to think. “So, if we get to the end of the dungeon, we can…”

Chiaki’s train of thought was interrupted as Sera fell to the ground, curling up and burying her face in her forepaws.

“Hey… Don’t give up!” Chiaki said, petting Sera. “I’m sure we can still catch up to him!”

“There’s no point…” Sera muttered, shaking a little. “Let’s just… head back to town…”

“Huh? But we can’t just leave without Blitz!” Chiaki exclaimed. “He’s our friend, after all!”

“I don’t think he wants to be friends with us anymore…” Sera said, looking up at Chiaki with tears in her eyes. “… And it’s all because of me.”

Chiaki was unsure what to do, as Sera began sobbing. The Mienfoo realized that right now, Sera needed him more, and sat down next to her, gently petting the Eevee, unsure of what else he could really do for her.

“I should’ve been a better friend…” Sera sobbed, wiping away some tears with a paw. “If I had been acted like a true friend to Blitz, then this wouldn’t have happened! It’s my fault… all my fault!”

“Sera… That’s not… You’re haven’t…” Chiaki wasn’t really sure what to say to comfort his teammate, although it didn’t seem like Sera was listening anyways. Still, he had to try to say something. “Sera, don’t give up… I… I’m sure Blitz will forgive us!”

“No, he won’t…” Sera responded, shaking her head slightly. “Because… I was such a bad friend… and I’ve ruined everything…”

“Hey, things may seem bad now, but… I’m sure he’ll forgive us,” Chiaki said, even if he wasn’t sure if he was right or not. “We’re still friends; we’re still a team… It’ll be all right…”

----

Blitz was running as fast as he could, not particularly paying attention to or caring about where he was going. Teardrops were falling from his eyes as he ran, further and further away from everyone else.

“How could Hercules betray me like that…?” Blitz muttered. “And Sera… and Chiaki… How could they…?”

Even as he bumped into or tripped over things, Blitz just continued running without paying much attention to his surroundings.

“Still… I shouldn’t have said those things to Sera…!” Blitz wheezed, more tears streaming down his face as he continued running.

----

After returning to town and picking up their rewards, Sera and Chiaki had a bit of a difficult time explaining to Azure, Frederick and Lita why Blitz hadn’t come back with them. They eventually decided that if Blitz hadn’t returned by the morning, they would all head out to look for him. And so, Sera returned home, while Chiaki followed Lita back to Blitz’s stone hut.

“I hope big brother will be okay…” Lita said, sadly lying down on her bed.

“Me too,” Chiaki replied, sighing. “It doesn’t feel right to leave him out there like this…”

“Yeah…” Lita responded, nodding her head slightly.

The two Pokémon were quiet for a moment, before Lita spoke up again.

“Don’t worry, big brother is never angry for long,” Lita said, giving Chiaki a small smile. “If you and Sera just tell him how you feel, then I’m sure he will understand.”

“Thanks, Lita,” Chiaki responded, smiling back. “I just hope that we all work things out quickly, for Sera’s sake…”

----

Sera was sitting in the bedroom, staring at the rescue team badge. The top half of the badge was now silver colored, and they had received a bigger treasure bag that would allow them to bring more items.

“So… We did get that Silver Rank…” Sera muttered, sighing. “But… it doesn’t really matter… if Blitz and I are no longer friends…”

Unbeknownst to Sera, Flare was quietly watching her with a concerned look on his face. The Flareon felt sad to see his younger sister in such a state, but figured she’d probably prefer to be alone right now. However, Flare definitely intended to do whatever he could to help his little sister.

----

End of chapter 24.

SeekerofLight
7th September 2013, 9:39 PM
Hello yet again, DarkerShining. I am here to distribute even more compliments!

I know I've said this SO MANY TIMES already, but you've shown yourself time and time again to be talented in your character development. While I usually make this comment with chapters that hold brand new characters with fun personalities (by the way, i noticed the return of Arbolith), but this chapter has been just superb. You've really demonstrated how much the personalities of the three protagonists differ. Whereas Chiaki (who I think is a fantastic character in general) is a very friendly individual, Blitz is slightly hotheaded yet can be understanding, and Sera is curious about things while being truly devoted to her friends and their feelings.

I won't spend too long on the fact that the flow of the story is excellent (little to no 'storyline' progress in this chapter, unless I'm missing something underlying), i can tell that a lot of effort has been put into this chapter to help develop the characters even more. Demonstrated by how the falling out occured on a normal mission, not in a stormy battle of the fates as I know some stories have done.

As always, keep up the good work. By looking at the number of chapters and the total Word count (I've got down just shy of 120,000 words), compared to the position in the storyline, I forsee this fic going on for a LONG time. And I look forward to every new chapter.

Best of Luck

SeekerofLight

DarkerShining
14th September 2013, 1:19 PM
Thanks again for your review! I really appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad to see that you're enjoying my story! :)

Well, I managed to finish chapter 25 earlier this week, so I guess it's time for that. Hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 25: That is the future that has been decided for me.

----

Sera had gotten up early the next morning, and didn’t even bother waiting for breakfast to be ready before heading for the town plaza. She impatiently paced back and forth while waiting for the others to show up, until she finally spotted Azure and Frederick, and Chiaki and Lita walking over.

“So… Since Blitz isn’t with you guys, I assume he didn’t come back at any point during the night?” Sera said, looking over at Chiaki and Lita.

“I’m afraid not,” Chiaki responded, shaking his head.

“Guess we need to head out and start looking for him, then,” Azure said. “So, where do we begin?”

“I’m not sure…” Sera responded, her ears drooping down slightly.

“I don’t think the five of us will be enough, even if we do split into teams,” Chiaki said. “So, we should probably get more Pokémon to help us search before we do anything else.”

“That’s a really good idea, Chiaki,” Azure responded, smiling at the Mienfoo. “I’m sure the other rescue teams will gladly help out!”

“Someone should tell Hercules too!” Lita added.

“All right… So, the first thing we need to do, is go around town and ask for help,” Sera said, nodding her head. “We’ll get it done faster if we split up, so I’ll head up to the rescue team HQ!”

“I’ll try at the café!” Azure said, smirking.

“I can go to the dojo and tell Hercules!” Lita suggested.

“Need anyone to follow you there?” Chiaki asked.

“No, I think I can find the way on my own,” Lita responded, shaking her head.

“All right, then,” Chiaki replied, looking over at Frederick. “Then I guess maybe the two of us should just ask around town?”

“Sounds good to me,” Frederick responded, nodding his head.

“Okay, now that everyone knows what to do, let’s go!” Sera said.

And with that, the five Pokémon went off to let other Pokémon know what was going on and ask them for help in finding their missing teammate.

----

Blitz groggily opened his eyes, raising his head slightly and looking around at his surroundings. Judging from the appearance of the place he was in, he had somehow ended up inside a mystery dungeon. He slowly got onto his feet, trying to remember how he had gotten there in the first place.

“Which dungeon is this…?” Blitz wondered, looking around for a moment before remembering the events of yesterday. “Oh… right… Sera and I… we... we got into a fight…”

Blitz began walking around, unsure of what he was supposed to do now. Lita was probably worried about him, so he had to at least get out of this dungeon, and find a way back to Fenix Town. But what was he going to say to Sera and Chiaki? And he didn’t know what to say to Hercules either.

However, before he could really give the matter any further thought, a sudden breeze caught the Shinx off-guard. Watching several leaves and pebbles being carried away by the wind, Blitz began to panic as he realized what was happening around him and that he had to find the stairs to the next floor as soon as possible.

As the wind calmed down, he began running through the dungeon, looking for the stairs. Complicating things were the wild Pokémon, who would walk into his path.

Blitz tried to quickly fight his way past them, and continued running. The wind was starting to pick up again, and it seemed to be getting stronger. The stairs were still nowhere in sight, and Blitz was starting to feel a bit disoriented. Was he getting anywhere closer to the stairs, or had he just been moving further away from them? Was he even going anywhere, or was he just going in a big circle?

He kept running, until the wind got so intense he couldn’t stay on his feet… and everything went dark.

----

Sera had returned to the town plaza, looking around to see if any of the other four Pokémon had finished their rounds around Fenix Town. Chiaki and Frederick, accompanied by a certain Elgyem, soon showed up, with Azure closely behind.

“Okay, I talked to the rescue teams,” Sera said. “While most of them had missions to do, they did at least say they’d keep an eye out for Blitz.”

“That’s good,” Azure responded. “I didn’t have as much luck on my end, though.”

“Neither did me or Frederick,” Chiaki said, shrugging slightly. “Although I did run into Elina, and it seems she wants to help out.”

“Is Lita here?” Frederick asked, sniffing the air.

“Here I am!” Lita shouted, as she ran up to the others, along with a certain Heracross.

“I asked Lotus and the others to keep an eye on the dojo,” Hercules said. “I’ll help you guys look for Blitz.”

“We’re willing to help out too!” another voice called out, and Sera turned around to see all five or her older siblings walking up, to her surprise.

“Huh?” Sera said, tilting her head slightly. “What are you guys doing here?”

“It was Flare’s idea,” Amethyst explained. “He suggested that all of us help search for your friend.”

“Flare… You did that for me?” Sera asked, smiling as she looked at her siblings. “And… all of you decided to come along?”

“Well, I didn’t have anything better to do today,” Volt responded, smiling.

“And I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing when my little sister needs help,” Sirena said.

“I was just planning on taking a nap or something, but this was more important,” Yoru added, shrugging slightly.

“And I decided the chores I was going to do could wait,” Amethyst said, smiling at Sera. “I’m sure mom and dad will understand.”

“Isn’t this great, Sera?” Flare asked, grinning. “It’s been a while since we all did something as a family, hasn’t it?”

“Flare… Everyone… Thank you!” Sera responded, wagging her tail happily.

With Sera’s older siblings joining the other gathered Pokémon, Sera felt more confident that their search would be successful. She cleared her throat, and was about to say something, when a certain Gothorita suddenly came running.

“Everyone, I have something important to say!” Bow shouted, before tripping and falling on her face.

“What is it, Bow?” Chiaki asked, while he and Elina helped her back onto her feet.

“I had a vision!” Bow responded. “I saw Blitz… he was lost in a mystery dungeon, and this powerful blast of wind sent him flying!”

“Wait, you saw Blitz?” Sera asked, running up to Bow. “Where was he? What was the mystery dungeon like?”

“Hmm…” Bow thought about it for a few moments, before sighing and shaking her head. “I can’t remember… Sorry everyone…”

Sera sighed, but didn’t say anything about Bow’s forgetfulness. It was irrelevant at the moment, and for now, they had to just keep the focus on finding Blitz.

“Okay… So, what do we do now?” Sera asked, looking at the gathered Pokémon.

“Split up into groups?” Azure suggested.

“Oh, good idea,” Sera responded. “Let’s see… We’ve got Chiaki, Azure, Frederick, Lita, Hercules, Elina, my older siblings and Bow… So, that means there are twelve of us!”

“Uh, Sera?” Lita said. “You forgot to count yourself.”

“Oh! Uh, right…” Sera responded, giggling a little. “So, um… That means there are thirteen of us!”

“Good to see I’m not the only one who forgets stuff once in a while,” Bow commented, feeling a little better about herself.

“All right, let’s decide who will go together!” Sera said, grinning.

----

After a few minutes of discussion, they decided on what the groups would be. Lita had decided to team up with Sera, insisting they be a team until Sera eventually agreed. Chiaki and Elina were also going to be searching together, which would also be an opportunity for the two to spend some time together as they hadn’t seen each other in the past few days.

Azure had decided to go with Frederick, as the two simply just got along pretty well. To Sirena’s surprise, Amethyst had chosen her as her partner for the search. Flare and Volt had also decided to search together. That just left Yoru, Hercules and Bow, the three of them forming the last group.

“All right, that’s six groups,” Sera said, nodding her head and looking satisfied, before rolling out the map. “So, I guess the next course of action is figuring out where we’ll search…”

“I think we last saw Blitz here,” Chiaki commented, pointing to the point on the map representing the mystery dungeon they had escorted a Pokémon through the day before. “So, I guess that’s a good place to start…”

“Let me take a look…” Amethyst said, examining the area on the map for a moment.

“So, what do you think, sis?” Volt asked, scratching behind his ear.

“Well, from the looks of things… Blitz may have ended up either here,” Amethyst explained, pointing to a place on the map, before moving her paw to a different spot. “Or here, depending on where he went from this fork in the path, here.”

“All right, then,” Hercules said, nodding his head. “I suggest we send three of the teams to search one area, while the other three search the other area.”

Everyone agreed this was the best course of action, and headed up to the rescue team HQ, so they could ask Kala to teleport them to the fork in the path that Amethyst had pointed out, which would be the starting point for both sets of groups.

----

Blitz groaned and rubbed his head, slowly coming to his senses. Looking around at his surroundings, he was no longer in that mystery dungeon, but he wasn’t entirely sure where that mysterious force had dropped him off. He got onto his feet, and began looking around. He figured that if he explored the area, he might come across something that’d give him an idea of where he was.

----

After arriving at the fork in the road, the six groups had decided on which three would take one path, and which three would take the other. Sera wasn’t sure exactly why Lita had insisted on going with her, since it would’ve seemed more likely that Lita would choose to go with Hercules, since he was both older and the mentor of her older brother. Although, if Lita’s senses were anywhere as good as her brother’s, then hopefully they would be able to track him down soon.

Sera was sure Blitz would be able to take care of himself until they could find him, but she still worried about him. And when they did find him, what was she going to say to him? She knew she had to apologize, but what was the best way to do that?

“Hey, Sera?” Lita said, looking up at the Eevee.

“What is it?” Sera asked.

“You seem worried,” Lita responded.

“Oh, well… You know, Blitz is missing, and I just want to find him,” Sera said.

“I see,” Lita replied, smiling. “I’m glad Blitz has a good friend like you.”

“I’m not so sure if I’ve been that great of a friend, really…” Sera responded.

“What do you mean?” Lita asked. “From what I can tell, my big brother is someone important to you, and I think he feels the same way about you.”

“Why do you think that?” Sera replied, looking at Lita curiously.

“Well, it’s just a feeling I’m getting,” Lita responded, smiling.

“Uh… Thanks, I guess,” Sera replied, looking around. “Although, right now I’m not even sure what I’m going to say to him when we find him…”

“Don’t worry about that right now,” Lita said. “Right now, we have to find him, and then you can think of what to say!”

“Oh, right,” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly. “So, um… Let’s try looking over here.”

Lita really was mature for a Shinx her age, or at least she seemed to understand and pick up on things quickly. It made Sera feel a bit more at ease in some ways, and it meant that having to look after Lita while they looked for Blitz wouldn’t be too difficult for her. Sera and Lita were both younger siblings in their families, but for once Sera could get a feel of what being an older sibling was like.

Maybe that was part of the reason why Lita had chosen Sera as her partner for this search?

“I wonder if the other groups have found anything yet…” Sera muttered.

----

Chiaki and Elina were exploring another area, but they hadn’t seen any signs of Blitz yet either. Chiaki was glad to have Elina along and hoped to get a chance to talk to her about some of the things that were on his mind. However, he hadn’t yet figured out where to begin, and Elina seemed to be deep in thought about something as well.

“So, um… I’m really glad you came along to help us look for Blitz,” Chiaki said, smiling at Elina. “Haven’t seen you in a while, so I kind of wanted to talk with you…”

Elina turned her head and looked at Chiaki, curiously tilting her head.

“While I’m not in a hurry to get my memories back, I find it a bit difficult to help my friends with their problems…” Chiaki explained, sighing.

Elina would’ve liked to talk about her own problems as well, but there wasn’t really any way for her to do so as she was now. At least she could still listen to Chiaki, even if she felt a bit nervous when he brought up his lack of memories.

“Since I don’t remember anything from before Blitz and Sera found me, I don’t really have any previous experiences of my own that would help me relate to the experiences they’ve gone through…” Chiaki said, looking at Elina. “Do you understand what I mean?”

Elina nodded her head slightly.

“So… Is there anything you can tell me about myself?” Chiaki asked. “Like, where I’m from, or something about what my family is like?”

Elina’s three fingers flashed erratically for a brief moment, before the Elgyem shook her head.

“… Really, is there nothing you can tell me?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly. “Then again, I guess it is a bit difficult to explain via body language, huh…”

Elina just nodded her head, relieved that he didn't try asking for any further explanation.

“Oh, okay…” Chiaki responded, sighing. “I was just sort of hoping to remember something that would let me help my friends…”

Elina patted Chiaki on the back to comfort him, feeling a bit bad about not being able to answer his questions. Then again, she wasn’t really sure how she would’ve answered his questions if she could.

“Thanks, Elina,” Chiaki said, smiling at Elina. “Guess I’ll just have to think of another way to help my teammates out, huh?”

Elina shrugged her shoulders slightly, not really sure how to respond.

“So, how have you been, anyways?” Chiaki asked. “You look like you also have things on your mind.”

Elina looked down at the ground, tapping her hands together.

“Ah, so something’s been bothering you too, huh?” Chiaki asked, patting Elina on the shoulder. “Do you have any way of expressing it, that is, if you want to tell me?”

Elina shrugged her shoulders slightly.

“Maybe later, then,” Chiaki said, looking around. “Let’s focus on the search.”

Elina nodded, and the two of them continued looking for Blitz.

----

Hercules hoped that they would find Blitz soon, feeling partially responsible for his running away. He hoped Blitz wasn’t too mad at him for breaking his promise. As he and Yoru were looking over the area, the Heracross realized that someone was missing from their group.

“Uh… Where did Bow go?” Hercules asked.

“I don’t know,” Yoru replied, shrugging slightly. “I could’ve sworn she was right behind us.”

“… Well, guess there are now two Pokémon we need to find,” Hercules commented, sighing.

“Where do you think she wandered off to?” Yoru asked, glancing around.

“I’m not sure…” Hercules responded. “Depends on when we lost track of her…”

“She’s probably not that far away,” Yoru said. “So, let’s just look around for a bit until we find her, and then we can continue searching for that other guy.”

Hercules nodded, and the two began looking around for Bow. He hoped that Yoru was right, and that Bow wasn’t too far away.

----

Bow was wandering around on her own, as she had gotten separated from the rest of the group at some point. She had been walking around, looking at the scenery, until she had remembered why she was there. Bow was now looking around for the others, but couldn’t see any signs of any of them.

“Oh, where did everybody go?” Bow muttered, sighing. “I can’t believe I got myself lost like this… Why must I be such a scatterbrain at times?”

Bow continued looking around, and was about to call out for her friends when she suddenly noticed a shadow flying overhead. She glanced upwards, but couldn’t see anyone.

“Who’s there?” Bow asked, looking around nervously. “Is that you, H-Hercules?”

Bow jumped as an ominous laughter suddenly echoed around her, and shivered as she looked around for the source of the sound, but still couldn’t see anyone else there.

“N-No! Leave me alone!” Bow shouted, and ran off.

The ominous laughter continued echoing as Bow ran, making it difficult for her to tell whether she was actually getting further away from whatever Pokémon it belonged to.

“Are you scared, Bow?” a voice said, and Bow’s eyes widened as a shadow flew past overhead just as she heard the voice.

“W-Who are you!?” Bow screamed, closing her eyes. “And how do you know my name!?”

As she only heard more laughter, Bow covered her closed eyes with her hands and continued running blindly in the same direction, until she tripped over something and fell over.

“Ah, n-no…” Bow muttered, shivering as she lay there in the grass, still covering her eyes.

“... Bow, is that you?” a different voice asked, and Bow realized she could no longer hear the ominous laughter. She opened her eyes to see a familiar Shinx looking at her with a confused look on his face.

“Oh, Blitz! Thank goodness I found you…” Bow said, hugging the Shinx tightly. “There was this shadow, and this creepy voice, and it kept following me and it was really, really scary!”

“Whoa, calm down!” Blitz responded, comfortingly patting Bow’s back while glancing around to see if there was anything unusual in the area. “I can’t see any creepy shadows, so I guess whatever frightened you must’ve left.”

“That’s a relief…” Bow replied, sighing. “That was really strange, though… It knew my name… Have I heard that voice somewhere before…?”

“I wouldn’t know that,” Blitz responded, shrugging slightly. “But what were you doing all the way out here anyways?”

“Huh? Why am I here?” Bow replied, thinking for a few moments before remembering the reason why she had come. “Oh, that’s right! We were looking for you!”

“Who’s “we”?” Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.

“Well, you see, Sera and your other teammates were worried about you since you didn’t come home last night, so they gathered up a bunch of us to help them look for you!” Bow explained, smiling at Blitz.

“… They did?” Blitz responded, blinking a few times.

“They sure did!” Bow replied, nodding her head. “They’re all looking for you as we speak!”

“… They were really worried about me, huh…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Didn’t I just say they were?” Bow responded, tilting her head slightly. “Hey, why’d you run away, anyways?”

“You wouldn’t understand…” Blitz replied, looking away.

“Well, I know I won’t understand if you don’t tell me,” Bow responded.

“... All right, I guess since the secret is already out, I might as well tell you,” Blitz replied, and then explained everything about the current situation.

“… Wow, you’ve had it pretty tough, huh?” Bow asked, as Blitz finished his explanation.

“Yeah…” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “You probably don’t understand my feelings on the matter, though…”

“Hmm… Maybe not on everything,” Bow said, before moving a bit closer to Blitz. “But I can sort of relate to the whole “destiny” thing, though.”

“Huh?” Blitz responded, looking up at Bow with a surprised look.

“Well, there’s the whole town oracle position that has been passed down for generations, and being the only child of my mother, I’ll have to become the next town oracle someday,” Bow explained. “That is the future that has been decided for me.”

“Ah…” Blitz replied, blinking a few times. “So, like me, your future has also been decided by someone else…?”

“Pretty much,” Bow responded, shrugging slightly. “I guess we’re kind of similar in that aspect, huh?”

“I… guess…” Blitz replied, nodding his head.

“Of course, our situations aren’t exactly the same,” Bow said, sighing. “Unlike you, I’m okay with my destiny to become the next town oracle, but… I just don’t think I’ll be any good at it.”

“What do you mean?” Blitz asked.

“Well, the oracle is supposed to be all wise and help guide others,” Bow responded. “I don’t really think someone as forgetful as me would fit the role…”

“Ah, I see…” Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

“Still, even with my doubts about whether I’ll be a good oracle or not, I kind of just have to accept it as my destiny,” Bow said, looking up at the sky.

“Yeah, I guess…” Blitz responded, also glancing up at the sky above them.

The Shinx and the Gothorita just sat there for a while, neither of them saying a word. They just kept looking up at the blue sky, watching as it slowly began gaining a hint of orange as evening approached. While they were both aware that several Pokémon were still looking for them, it didn’t seem to bother them much. At this moment they were both feeling a sense of ease being in each other’s company, watching the sky together.

“Hey, Blitz?” Bow said, still gazing at the sky.

“What is it?” Blitz asked, also continuing to look up at the sky.

“Why do you think some Pokémon have the ability to see into the future?” Bow responded. “I mean, if the future is already decided, why warn us?”

“That’s a good question…” Blitz commented.

“Some Pokémon say to listen to your heart when you don't know what to choose... but can one really trust in ones own heart?” Bow asked, lying down in the grass as she continued to look at the sky. “Or are all of us, even you and I, just part of one big plan?”

“Who knows,” Blitz responded, lying down next to Bow. “Some probably say that the only one that can truly decide ones destiny is oneself, but I don’t think it works that way…”

“… Blitz, what do you want to do?” Bow asked, glancing over at Blitz.

“What do you mean?” Blitz responded, looking over at Bow curiously.

“If you could change your destiny and do anything you wanted…” Bow said, smiling at the young Shinx. “What would you do?”

“What I want the most…?” Blitz responded, thinking for a moment. “I think… I want the freedom to try many things, until I find something I like and want to do.”

“Ooh, I like the sound of that!” Bow replied, giggling a little.

“Bow… Thank you,” Blitz said, smiling back at her.

“Huh? What did I do?” Bow asked, looking a bit confused.

“I just… feel a little better, knowing I’m not the only one who has felt this way,” Blitz explained.

“Felt about what?” Bow asked, before hitting her hand against her head and giggling a little as she realized. “Oh, duh! You mean that destiny thing!”

“Yes, the destiny thing,” Blitz responded, chuckling a little.

“Well, I’m glad I could help!” Bow replied, smiling.

As the two sat there smiling at each other, they suddenly heard a familiar voice calling out to them.

“Blitz, there you are!” it was Azure, who walked up along with Frederick. She grinned at Bow as she noticed she was with him. “Bow, you found Blitz? Well done!”

“Uh, thanks!” Bow replied, giggling a little.

“Hey guys,” Blitz said, smiling sheepishly at the Marill and Deino.

“Hi!” Frederick replied, grinning. “We were looking for you!”

“And now that we’ve found you, we should let the others know,” Azure said.

“How should we do that?” Bow asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Hmm… Maybe we can signal them with an attack?” Blitz suggested. “That’s how Megara let us know that her rescue team had found the entrance to the Sand-Veiled Sanctuary back when we were looking for the crystal in Clarion Desert.”

“Ooh, that might work!” Azure responded, grinning and turning to Frederick. “How far up can you make that Dragon Rage of yours go when firing straight up?”

“Um… I don’t know,” Frederick replied, shaking his head.

“Well, let’s try it anyways,” Azure said, patting the Deino on the head. “Just lift your head up, aim upwards and give it your best shot!”

“Okay!” Frederick replied, nodding his head.

The young dragon Pokémon raised his head, and fired a purple fire ball into the air in an attempt to signal the other groups. They then decided to wait for a while, and if they thought the other groups hadn’t seen the signal, they would have Frederick fire another Dragon Rage.

----

After a while, the groups were eventually gathered again, and Blitz could reunite with his friends and sister. While Sera could’ve used her rescue team badge to teleport everyone home, they instead decided to walk.

“Sorry to worry you all,” Blitz said.

“Well, at least you’re okay!” Lita responded, smiling at her older brother. “And that’s the most important part, right?”

“Right,” Blitz replied, nodding and smiling back at his younger sister.

Sera still wasn’t entirely sure what to say to Blitz, but listened to her older siblings talk about what they had seen and talked about during their search.

“Flare?” Sera said.

“Yes?” the Flareon replied, looking over at Sera.

“I… I just wanted to thank all of you for coming along for my sake,” Sera said, looking up at her older siblings.

“Didn’t you already thank us once?” Flare asked, smiling at Sera.

“Well, now you can’t say I’ve never done anything for you,” Volt said, winking. “But seriously, it’s no problem.”

“It was important to you, so as your older sister, how could I refuse?” Sirena said.

“Like I said before, I had nothing better to do today,” Yoru commented.

"No, I said that," Volt responded, giving Yoru an annoyed look. "You said something different."

“I can’t really think of anything to say that the others haven’t already covered,” Amethyst said, giggling a little.

Chiaki was happy to see that his teammates seemed to be feeling better, although it still worried him that still seemed to be a bit of an awkward tension between them. He hoped things would get better again soon. He glanced at Elina, still wondering if he’d be able to help his friends more if he had his memories. Then again, even if he did, would he have any memories even remotely similar to what his friends had experienced before?

Perhaps it was best not to dwell on these questions now, and instead try to support his friends to the best of his ability.

Much like Sera, Hercules wasn’t entirely sure what to say to Blitz, but was relieved that the Shinx was okay. He looked over at Bow, making sure she was keeping up with the group.

“Hey, Bow?” Hercules said. “From what I understand, you really helped Blitz out today?”

“Oh, I didn’t really do all that much,” Bow responded, shrugging slightly. “We just talked about some things we had in common.”

“Well, it may not have seemed like that much to you, but to me it seems like what happened between you two was something Blitz needed,” Hercules said, smiling at Bow. “So, thank you for talking to him.”

“Oh, um… You’re welcome!” Bow replied, smiling back.

It was starting to get dark as they finally saw Fenix Town in the distance. Blitz had been found, but that didn’t mean that everything was fine. There were still several things needing to be sorted out, and they knew that very well, even if they didn’t know how they would do it.

“We better hurry home,” Amethyst said, looking up at the sky. “I did leave a note for our parents before we left, but they might still be concerned about us.”

Amethyst and her younger siblings began walking home, although Sera briefly stopped and ran back over to Blitz.

“Blitz, about yesterday… I…” Sera said, but couldn’t quite figure out how to phrase things.

“I-It’s okay… We can talk about it later,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Sera, are you coming?” Amethyst called out.

“O-Okay,” Sera said, nodding her head. “Guess I’d better get going… See you later!”

Sera quickly caught up to her older siblings, and they walked home together.

“Wait, did I remember to tell my mother where I was going…?” Bow wondered, suddenly looking a bit worried after hearing Amethyst talk about having left a note for her parents. “I’d better hurry home too! Bye!”

And with that, the Gothorita ran as fast as she could to get home.

“I’ll go with her and make sure she doesn’t get sidetracked on the way home,” Hercules said, flying after the Gothorita.

“Come on, Frederick, let’s head back to the café,” Azure said.

“Okay,” Frederick responded, nodding his head.

As Frederick and Azure headed off, there was only Blitz, Lita, Chiaki and Elina left.

“Guess it’s time for us to head home too,” Chiaki said, looking over at Elina. “Bye for now, Elina.”

Elina nodded her head slightly, and began turning around to leave, only for Chiaki to suddenly wrap his arms around her and pull her in for a hug.

“I really hope we see each other again soon,” Chiaki said, smiling cheerfully. “I enjoy spending time with you, and I think we should do so more often!”

Elina blinked in surprise, but then her expression softened and she returned the hug.

“Yeah… That would be nice.”

“Huh?” Chiaki said, looking around while Elina gave him a puzzled look. “… Did you also hear a voice just now?”

Elina gave him a confused look.

“You didn’t hear anything?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly. “… Maybe it was just my imagination?”

“Chiaki, we should go now,” Blitz said. “Lita is getting tired.”

“No, I’m not…” Lita replied, before yawning.

“Oh, okay,” Chiaki responded, before turning back to Elina. “Well, let’s meet again soon!”

And so, Blitz, Lita and Chiaki headed home, as Elina suddenly realized that the voice Chiaki might’ve been hers! Elina wasn’t entirely sure how that had happened though, since she until now had failed at projecting her mental voice during her lessons with Kala. As she floated through town looking for a spot to sleep, she continued thinking about it and trying to make sense of how it had suddenly worked.

----

Lita had cuddled up to her brother, and seemed quite content. Blitz hadn’t fallen asleep yet, and was looking out the window trying to see the stars in the sky. Quietly, he wondered to himself if Bow was watching the stars as well? The stars were what gave both her and Stella their visions of the future, so it wouldn’t surprise him.

“Maybe she’ll be able to see how things will turn out between Sera, Chiaki and I…?” Blitz wondered, before closing his eyes so he could try to get some sleep.

While it certainly would’ve been nice to know ahead of time what to say to his friends in order to make things better, it would probably be something he had to figure out himself.

----

End of Chapter 25.

InsaneTyranitar
3rd October 2013, 4:42 PM
Poor Blitz. In so many ways. ;_;

And that voice is creepy.

Wonder what's up with that Mismagius/Misdreavus pair.

In terms of actual reviewing all I can say is I agree with SeekerOfLight: Your characterization is excellent and keeps getting better.

Looking forward to the next chapters.

DarkerShining
20th December 2013, 10:31 AM
Hey everyone! Been busy with school for a while, and the fact that certain circumstances made things a bit more complicated than they should've been didn't help. But, things seem to be sorting themselves out now.

But, enough about that! Today is my 22nd birthday, and I thought, why not celebrate with a new chapter of Reflecting Balance? Yes, that's right! Chapter 26 is finally done! Hope you all enjoy it!

----

Chapter 26: I think he’s really sorry about what happened back then.

----

Another day had begun in Fenix Town, and things were busy as usual. It was looking to be a somewhat cloudy day, with a chance of rain. Understandably, Megara the Magmar wanted Mirage to hurry up and finish preparations so their rescue team could head out before it could start raining.

“Calm down, we don’t even know for sure if it’s going to rain today,” Mirage said. “For all we know, it might not rain until tomorrow.”

“The mushroom wouldn’t mind some rain,” Cordyceps commented.

“All right, but I still want to get going soon,” Megara said, looking around and noticing two Shinx and a Mienfoo walking by. “Oh, hey guys!”

“Hi!” Chiaki replied, waving to the other rescue team.

“Blitz, good to see you,” Mirage commented, smiling. “I heard from your teammates that you’d gone missing the day before.”

“Yeah,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together.

“Well, good to see you made it back okay,” Mirage said, before turning back to her teammates. “All right, let’s get going!”

“Finally,” Megara muttered as the three of them left.

Blitz, Lita and Chiaki also kept walking towards the café, where they were pretty sure that Sera and Azure would be waiting for them. And as they stepped through the door, they spotted the two girls, plus Frederick, sitting and talking at one of the tables.

“Ah, there you are!” Azure said, grinning. “Good morning, guys!”

“Good morning!” Chiaki responded, smiling back.

“Hi Blitz,” Sera said, seeming a bit unsure of what to say. “So, um… Did you… sleep well?”

“Uh, yes… Very well,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly and rubbing his forelegs together. “And you?”

“Sort of, I guess,” Sera replied, nodding her head with a bit of a nervous smile.

“That’s… good,” Blitz said, clearing his throat. “So… What’s the plan for today?”

“Oh, well… I was sort of thinking that maybe… maybe you should take today off, and spend some time with Lita?” Sera suggested. “You know, since she’s only really staying for a few days, I figured it might be nice for the two of you.”

“That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it, big brother?” Lita asked, smiling up at her brother.

“Hmm… Well, I certainly would like to spend some quality time with Lita,” Blitz said, looking somewhat doubtful. “But Sera, will you be okay without me?”

“I’m sure I can handle it!” Sera replied, nodding her head.

“Are you… sure?” Blitz asked.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Sera responded, doing her best to reassure her teammate. “I’ve got Chiaki and Azure with me, and Frederick offered to come along as well!”

“Is that so?” Blitz asked, looking over at Frederick.

“Uh-huh,” Frederick responded, nodding his head. “Azure convinced me to give it a try!”

“Hmm… Okay, then,” Blitz said, giving Sera a small smile. “Just… um… when looking over missions, don’t pick anything that looks too difficult…”

“Sure, if that makes it easier for you to relax,” Sera responded.

“All right,” Blitz replied, before turning to Lita. “So, what do you want to do today?”

“Ooh, there’s a lot we could do, but I don’t know what I want to do the most,” Lita said, smiling at her brother. “Of course, as long as I get to spend time with you, it’s not that important what game we play.”

“So, how about we go for a little walk then while you think about what you want to do?” Blitz suggested.

“Okay!” Lita responded, nodding her head before following Blitz out of the café.

“Have fun, you two!” Sera said, waiting until they were out of earshot before sighing. “I just hope I really can do one mission without Blitz…”

“Don’t worry, you’ve got me, Chiaki and Frederick with you,” Azure commented. “I’m sure that we can handle this one together.”

“All right…” Sera responded, taking a deep breath. “Well… Let’s head up to the HQ and find ourselves a mission.”

Sera, Chiaki, Azure and Frederick began heading for the rescue team HQ. Azure noticed that Sera seemed a bit lost in thought, walking slowly and somewhat unsteady.

“Hey, Sera?” Azure said. “Did you give Blitz the day off so you wouldn’t have to talk to him about what happened just yet?”

“Huh?” Sera responded, looking over at Azure. “Oh, um… Not really, although I do need some more time to think about what to say to him…”

“All right, just checking,” Azure replied, nodding slightly.

“I know I should talk to him soon, but it’s not easy figuring out what to say,” Sera said.

“Well, he probably hasn’t figured out what to say to you either,” Azure responded. “Don’t worry about it too much.”

“I’ll try,” Sera replied, nodding. “It’s kind of difficult not to think about it, though…”

----

For once, Amethyst was not doing the various chores to be done alone, as Sirena had offered to help her. Amethyst was surprised Sirena had offered, but was grateful for the extra help as it would likely allow for things to be finished sooner. Still, despite being a psychic type, Amethyst wasn’t entirely sure about what had compelled Sirena to help out all of a sudden.

“Hey, why do you keep giving me that confused look?” Sirena asked, having noticed how Amethyst kept glancing over her shoulder at her.

“Huh? Oh, I’m sorry,” Amethyst responded. “I was just wondering why you suddenly decided you wanted to help me with the chores today… I figured you’d have better things to do.”

“Well, don’t you remember what you said to me when we were out looking for Sera’s friend yesterday?” Sirena asked.

Amethyst blinked a few times, trying to remember what the two of them had talked about yesterday…

----

Despite her psychic powers, Amethyst wasn’t having any better luck than the other groups at tracking down Blitz. Sirena kept enviously looking up at her older sister, Amethyst eventually glancing at Sirena as she noticed the stares her sister was giving her.

“… Is there a problem?” Amethyst asked.

“No,” Sirena replied, looking away. “I just wish I had your life, you know? I mean, you’re like, the favorite of the family because you’re good at like, everything!”

“Well, I suppose my life seems pretty nice,” Amethyst responded, sighing. “Of course, being the favorite can be difficult at times… Always having the most responsibility, always having to look good… It can be a burden.”

“Is it?” Sirena asked, tilting her head slightly. “You don’t look like you have any problem with it.”

“I hide it pretty well,” Amethyst responded, before suddenly stopping. “Oh, I’ve said too much…”

“Um… Hey, don’t worry about that now,” Sirena said, somewhat unsure of what to make of this.

“You’re right… We need to focus on finding Sera’s friend,” Amethyst responded, nodding her head slightly. “Let’s keep looking around for any traces of him.”

“All right,” Sirena replied, nodding and helping Amethyst look for anything that might lead to the missing Shinx.

----

“… Ah, that’s right…” Amethyst said, blinking a few times as she remembered what she and Sirena had talked about yesterday.

“Well, don’t you worry about it, big sis!” Sirena exclaimed, grinning. “You don’t have to carry that burden all by yourself!”

“Sirena… I appreciate the thought, but you really don’t need to do this,” Amethyst said. “I’ve been able to handle it myself all this time, after all…”

“Hey, it’s no problem,” Sirena responded, smirking. “I take half the burden from you, and in return I get to take half the credit for the work!”

“But… I…” Amethyst stuttered, unsure of how to handle the situation.

“Well, I intend to help you out whether you want it or not!” Sirena said, grinning. “So, you might as well just accept it!”

Amethyst sighed as Sirena cheerfully continued cleaning up around the living room, feeling rather upset that she had admitted to her weakness after trying to hide it away from her family for so long in order to keep the image they had of her intact. However, Sirena’s reaction wasn’t quite what Amethyst had expected. In fact, her current behavior was almost the exact opposite of Amethyst’s expectations.

With how much Sirena seemed to resent her for being “perfect”, Amethyst would’ve thought this revelation would make things between her and her sister worse, but that wasn’t what was happening. In fact, it seemed as if Sirena liked her better now. Amethyst didn’t really understand it, but at the same time, it was somewhat of a relief.

“Sirena… Thank you,” Amethyst said, smiling to her sister.

“It’s no problem,” Sirena responded, grinning.

“This is… just between the two of us, right?” Amethyst asked. “There are some things that I need to think about… Until then, don’t tell anyone else what we talked about yesterday?”

“If that means you’ll let me help so that you don’t get all the credit, sure,” Sirena responded.

“Okay, I guess that works for me,” Amethyst replied, nodding her head slightly.

The two sisters continued doing the work together, not noticing that a certain Flareon had been listening to their conversation, with a small smile on his face.

----

Chiaki and Azure were looking over the bulletin board, and were eagerly discussing amongst themselves trying to decide on what mission they would do. Frederick just listened to the two of them, trying to hear if there were any of the missions that sounded good to him.

“Gee, I wish I could read those missions too,” Frederick thought to himself, while occasionally nodding his head to Chiaki or Azure when they suggested another mission.

Sera wasn’t really paying attention, seeming rather lost in thought. It was difficult for her to focus on anything else as the current situation between her and Blitz kept consuming her thoughts. She just had to think of something she could say, some way she could prove to Blitz just how much their friendship meant to her.

“Sera? Hey, Sera!” Azure shouted, shaking Sera. “Snap out of it, will you?”

“Huh? What?” Sera responded, looking over at her teammates. “Oh, I’m sorry. What is it?”

“We can’t make up our mind on what mission to take,” Azure said, pointing to the board.

“Sera, what do you think?” Chiaki asked, looking at Sera expectantly.

“Oh, um… Let me take a look,” Sera said, looking up at the various missions on the board.

There were plenty of missions at their current skill level to choose between, but the letters on the different missions just seemed to blur together as Sera began losing focus again.

“I wish Blitz was here,” Sera thought to herself, before shaking her head and trying to clear up her clouded mind. “No! I can do this… I’ve picked out missions without Blitz’s help before, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m doing…”

Sera sighed, and looked closely at the various missions. She could tell just how used she was to Blitz’s presence that she caught herself almost wanting to ask him for advice. Instead, she took a deep breath and mentally told herself that she couldn’t rely on Blitz all the time.

“So, anything look good to you?” Azure asked.

“Well, um… There are two up there in the corner that are in the same dungeon,” Sera said.

“Ah, yes,” Azure responded, nodding slightly. “Chiaki, can you reach those?”

“Yep!” Chiaki replied, cheerfully jumping up and grabbing the two missions off the board. He then looked over them. “Let’s see… The first one is a request from a Shieldon, asking to find a missing Cranidos, and the other is from a Skitty who apparently got lost after escaping some wild Pokémon.”

“So, we’ve got two rescue missions,” Azure said, glancing over at the outlaw board as another rescue team walked away from it. “Should we check the other board too?”

“Huh?” Sera responded, before shaking her head. “No, I think these two rescue missions will be enough for today.”

“Okay, then,” Azure said, grinning. “Well, if everyone’s ready, let’s head out!”

The four Pokémon headed over to the room behind the purple curtain, where a certain Abra seemed content with dreaming the day away as usual. Of course, she also had work to do, so she simply had to accept that rescue teams would shake her by the shoulders until she woke up for them.

“All right, tell me where you want to go so I can get back to my dream…” Kala muttered, rubbing her eyes. “I was just about to knock the moon out of the sky with a giant spoon…”

“Let us know how that turns out,” Azure responded, before showing Kala the missions and pointing out the location to the sleepy Abra.

“Okay, no problem… Good luck, be careful and all that…” Kala mumbled, before teleporting the four Pokémon out of the room and going back to her nap. “… Yes, I know… I’ve only got one shot, so if the moon misses its target…”

Kala snickered a little in her sleep as she turned over on her side, mumbling something in a satisfied tone.

----

Blitz and Lita were taking a walk, neither of them really saying much. Blitz wasn’t really sure what to say, and from the looks of things, Lita wasn’t sure what to say either. It looked she wanted to say something, though. Perhaps she was just trying to think of how to say what she wanted to say? Blitz noticed that they were walking right past the dojo, but just looked away from it.

He knew that just like he and Sera would have to properly talk about what had happened, he would also eventually have to talk to Hercules about it. Hercules had broken his promise and revealed Blitz’s secret, but had done so out of concern for him… Blitz wasn’t really sure what to really make of that. So far, he didn’t see how anything good was going to come out of it.

“Hey, Blitz?” Lita said, looking up at her older brother.

“What is it?” Blitz asked, meeting his sister’s gaze.

“I, um… Back home, Charge has been asking about you,” Lita responded, looking away.

“Huh?” Blitz replied tilting his head slightly.

“He wondered how you’ve been doing since… that incident,” Lita explained. “I think he’s really sorry about what happened back then.”

“Wait, how would you know that?” Blitz asked, looking rather confused.

“Well… You see, it’d been a while since you left, and I was having trouble finding the courage to approach the other Shinx,” Lita said, blushing slightly. “I was just too shy…”

“Um… I see,” Blitz responded, still rather confused. “But what does Charge have to do with any of this?”

“I kind of ran into him, and when I told him about my problem, he said the best solution was to find a certain item in a mystery dungeon,” Lita explained. “He said it’d build my confidence, and offered to go with me to help me get that item.”

“He did?” Blitz asked, surprised at this sudden turn of events. “Why would he do that?”

“I wondered why he’d do that too,” Lita responded. “I thought it might be a trick, but he really did help me get that item, and then I thought that maybe he felt sorry for what he did to you, and was trying to make up for it by helping me be more brave?”

“Huh… I thought that Charge would’ve hated me for what happened back then,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together.

“While I don’t know if I’ve really gotten any less shy around the other Shinx, I become friends with Charge, surprisingly enough,” Lita replied, smiling at her brother.

“That… certainly is surprising,” Blitz responded, blinking a few times.

“So, when he heard I was going to be visiting you, he asked me to let him know what you’d been up to and how you were doing over here,” Lita explained. “I think the other Shinx miss having you around as well, from what I’ve heard.”

“Oh, um…” Blitz glanced around, before looking down at the ground and rubbing the rings on his forelegs together again. “I guess when you go home, you can tell them that I’m doing okay, and that my training has been going well?”

“Sure, I can do that!” Lita responded, grinning. “Of course, I want to make sure that you really are okay before I leave, though!”

“What do you mean by that?” Blitz asked.

“Since I’m your sister, don’t I have to make sure my brother is okay?” Lita responded, tilting her head slightly. “

“Oh, um… You really don’t have to worry too much about me,” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together.

“You think I should leave all the worrying to you just because you’re the older sibling?” Lita asked, shaking her head. “I don’t think so.”

“I’m sorry…” Blitz responded, looking away. “A lot has happened lately, and I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with it all…”

“Well… How about you forget about that just for a moment?” Lita asked, smiling up at her brother. “Come on, let’s play together like we used to! How does hide-and-seek sound?”

“Uh… Sure, sounds like fun,” Blitz replied, giving a small smile.

“All right, then!” Lita said, smiling. “Close your eyes and count to twenty-two, while I find a good hiding spot!”

“Okay, sis,” Blitz responded, nodding his head and closing his eyes as Lita ran ahead and began looking for a hiding spot. “One, two, three…”

----

Sera, Chiaki, Azure and Frederick were slowly making their way through the mystery dungeon, and were getting close to the floor where the Pokémon of the first mission needing rescuing was. While things were going well, Sera couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Everything that had happened over the course of the past few days had been rather stressful for her.

She had to push the thought of how to solve things between her and Blitz out of her mind so she could focus on the mission. At least Azure’s good sense of hearing and Frederick’s good sense of smell allowed them to help alert her to possible dangers.

“I see the stairs!” Chiaki exclaimed, cheerfully pointing to the stairs leading to the next floor.

“Oh, okay,” Sera replied, nodding her head slightly. “Let’s go, guys.”

The four Pokémon moved onto the next floor, and began looking around for the first of the two lost Pokémon in the dungeon. Azure listened closely, while Frederick tried to pick up the missing Pokémon’s scent. It didn’t take long before they had a lead, and were able to track down and send the lost Pokémon back to Fenix Town.

“All right, just one more to go,” Sera said, taking a deep breath. “We can do this…”

Sera felt somewhat reassured by the fact that one Pokémon was now saved, and they just had to find one more. Of course, she still had to stay alert, and focus on the mission. After all, she had experienced before that even if the mission was close to being completed, things could still go wrong on the way there.

It didn’t take them too long to reach the floor where the Skitty they had to rescue was, however, they soon noticed something rather odd about this particular floor.

“Hey, Sera? Don’t those walls look kind of strange?” Azure asked, glancing around.

“They look… distorted…” Chiaki said, noticing that a few of the walls looked much like water rippling.

“Huh, I guess this floor must’ve been affected by the distortions,” Sera commented, looking around. “Hope the Skitty we must rescue is okay.”

“Yeah…” Azure responded, nodding and looking a bit nervous as her ears picked up on something in the distance. “Um… How do you think this might be affecting the wild Pokémon on this floor…?”

Before Sera had the chance to respond, she noticed several shadows flying above them, and glanced up to see several black crow-like Pokémon with features on their head in a top hat-like shape. It didn’t take long before eight Murkrow landed in front of the rescue team, staring at Sera and her teammates.

“Those Murkrow… don’t look so well…” Chiaki said, feeling rather unnerved by the almost empty look in the wild Murkrow’s eyes.

“Maybe we can walk right past them…?” Azure suggested, glancing around. “I mean, even though they’re looking right at us, I’m not entirely sure if they actually know we’re here?”

“I don’t get it, what’s going on?” Frederick asked, not really understanding what the others were talking about since he couldn’t actually see that there was anything wrong with these Murkrow.

“Um… Let’s go, guys…” Sera said, slowly starting to make her way towards one of the other paths. “We need to find that Skitty.”

Before Sera could reach the path, one of the Murkrow flew over and blocked it. Sera nervously stared into the Murkrow’s eyes for a few moments, before the crow Pokémon suddenly cried out and attempted to peck her. Sera gave a startled yelp as she barely dodged the Murkrow’s attack, and as she glanced around she noticed that the other Murkrow were headed for her teammates.

“Sera, we could use some help here!” Azure said, using her tail to swat one of two Murkrow currently trying to nip at her ears aside.

“Oh, right!” Sera responded, nodding her head before using her Helping Hand move to power up her three friends.

“Thanks!” Azure replied, smirking as she knocked the other Murkrow out of the way.

“I could use a little more help here…” Chiaki said, trying his best to use Detect to dodge the attempts of three of the Murkrow to Peck or hit him with a Wing Attack.

“I’ll be there in just a second!” Frederick responded, while attempting to hit a Murkrow he was fighting with Dragon Rage, but it continued to dodge his attacks. “Hmm… Or maybe two seconds?”

“Hey, Sera? Don’t you have an item or something that can take care of these guys?” Azure asked, trying to fight off the two Murkrow that had gotten back up and were trying to grab her ears again. “Like, an orb, maybe?”

“Oh, right… Good idea,” Sera responded, trying to get enough distance between herself and the Murkrow that kept trying to hit her so she could check what items she had. Luckily for Sera, one of Frederick’s stray Dragon Rage attacks hit the Murkrow, knocking it down. “Oh, thanks, Frederick!”

“Uh… You’re welcome!” Frederick replied, nodding his head. “I… totally meant to do… whatever it was I did!”

Sera quickly looked through her bag, hoping to find something she could use to stop the Murkrow.

“Hmm… Petrify Orb? Nah, I should save that one for a bigger emergency…” Sera muttered to herself while examining an orb before putting it back into the bag. “I know one of these other orbs should work, though… Ah, maybe this will do!”

Sera smirked as she pulled out an orb, and tossed it on the ground. Upon activating, the orb sent out a wave of sound that made the Murkrow stumble around dizzily, while Sera and her teammates were unaffected.

“All right, it worked!” Sera said, happily wagging her tail.

“Well done, Sera!” Azure responded, nodding her head slightly. “Now let’s get moving before the effects of the Totter Orb wears off!”

And so, the four Pokémon quickly exited the room, and kept moving, only to run into even more wild Pokémon in the next room they entered.

“Oh, no…” Sera muttered, as she glanced at the wild Pokémon.

“Hey, I think I can smell the Skitty…” Frederick said, sniffing the ground. “Yeah, I think he or she is in here somewhere…”

“Well, in that case… I guess you should go find them while the rest of us deal with the wilds?” Sera suggested, sounding uncertain about whether she thought it was the best course of action or not.

Frederick began moving forward, sniffing the ground to find out where the scent trail would lead, with Azure walking next to him on one side, and Chiaki on the other, with Sera following shortly behind them. As wild Pokémon began moving closer, Sera used her Helping Hand to power up her teammates, while Azure used her Bubble Beam attack to hit opponents from afar to keep them from getting closer and Chiaki did the same using his Swift attack.

“Just a little further…” Sera muttered, only to feel something snag onto her tail. “Ah, let go!”

A Pokémon appearing to be a spherical mass of blue vines had grabbed onto Sera’s tail by extending two of its vines, and was attempting to pull her back. There was a pink Pokémon with flower-shaped spots on its body floating next to the Tangela, its small oval eyes having a multicolored glow as it charged up a psychic attack.

“We’re coming, Sera!” Azure shouted, glancing over at Frederick. “You find the Skitty while Chiaki and I help Sera!”

“You’re talking to me, right?” Frederick asked, tilting his head slightly. “Wait, of course she’s talking to me. I mean, she mentioned herself and the other two guys, so by process of elimination, I’m the only one she could be…”

“H-Hello?” a soft female voice called out. “I-I’m over here…”

“Oh, right!” Frederick said, making his way over to the source of the sound, a tree with a small opening in it that the pink kitten Pokémon had crawled inside.

“You came to rescue me, didn’t you?” the Skitty asked, peeking out from her hiding spot.

“Yeah, sort of,” Frederick replied, nodding his head. “My friends will be here in just a moment to do the teleport thing with the badge!”

Chiaki moved to dodge multicolored beams of psychic energy fired from the Munna’s eyes, before Azure eventually managed to hit the floating psychic type with a Bubble beam attack. While the Munna took a moment to recover from the attack, Chiaki took the opportunity to run up to the Tangela, and managed to successfully catch it off-guard with a Fake Out attack while the grass type was distracted trying to drain Sera’s energy.

The Tangela flinched from Chiaki’s attack, and let go of Sera.

“Whew… Thanks, Chiaki…” Sera said, stumbling a bit. “That Tangela drained some of my strength, but I think I’m okay.”

“Are you sure?” Chiaki asked.

“Yeah,” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly. “Let’s just finish this and get out of here, already.”

Sera then quickly tackled the Tangela before it could grab her again, sending it stumbling back. Chiaki was quick to follow up with a Swift attack, knocking out the Tangela around the same time as Azure managed to finish off the Munna by hitting it with her tail.

“That was fun!” Azure said, smiling. “Wouldn't mind fighting a few more, actually!”

“Uh… I think we’ve had enough battles for one day,” Sera responded, sighing and letting her ears droop down slightly.

“Guys, I found the Skitty!” Frederick said, cheerfully walking back over to his friends with the pink kitten Pokémon following him.

“Thank you for coming all the way here to rescue me!” the Skitty said. “All of a sudden, the wild Pokémon here started acting really weird, and I had to get away, but I couldn’t find the way out. So, I had to send out a request for help, and find a place to hide.”

“Well, let’s get out of here before any other wild Pokémon show up, then,” Sera responded, seeming tired, but also relieved that the mission was over.

And so, all five Pokémon disappeared from the dungeon in a flash of golden light.

----

After picking up their rewards at the HQ, Sera and the others met up with Blitz and Lita, and went to the café to talk about the events of the day. Blitz watched as Sera quickly drank up a glass of berry juice, before giving a content sigh with her ears drooping down slightly.

“Whew, I needed that…” Sera said.

“You don’t usually get as worn out as this after a mission,” Blitz commented looking somewhat concerned. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine…” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly. “Just… those wild Pokémon kind of caught us off guard…”

“I see…” Blitz replied, rubbing his forelegs together. “Guess that’s something one couldn’t really have predicted… As the distortions keep spreading, I guess it’ll only get harder to predict what might happen…”

“Hey, let’s talk about something else,” Sera said, with a small smile. “How was your day off?”

“Oh, yeah… It was nice,” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “Lita and I talked about some stuff, and then we played hide-and-seek.”

“Yeah, and Blitz kept finding me pretty quickly,” Lita said, giggling a little. “He’s always been good at that game.”

“Glad to hear you had fun,” Sera commented, smiling.

“So, Frederick, did you enjoy going on a mission with us?” Azure asked, nudging her Deino friend.

“Yeah, it was pretty exciting, getting to go on a mission with everyone,” Frederick responded.

“I know, right?” Azure replied, grinning. “You should totally join the rescue team too!”

“Helping that Skitty did feel nice…” Frederick commented, thinking for a moment. “All that walking made me hungry, though…”

“Oh, but doesn’t food taste better after a day of adventuring?” Azure asked.

“Um… Maybe,” Frederick responded, shrugging slightly.

Chiaki was glad to see that Blitz seemed to be in a better mood now after his day off, which he had probably needed. Still, Blitz and Sera hadn’t yet sorted everything out between themselves, so things weren’t quite back to normal for the rescue team just yet. At least they were talking, and seemed to be getting along well enough.

“I hope they’re able to talk things out soon,” Chiaki thought, with a small smile as he looked at his teammates.

Eventually, the six Pokémon had to head home for the night, and they managed to get to their homes before it started raining. Sera was greeted by Flare upon returning home, but she barely had anything to say. She just went straight to bed, and fell asleep.

“Today’s mission must’ve been a tough one,” Flare whispered to himself, smiling as he walked up to Sera and gently petted her on the head with his paw. “Sleep well, sis.”

----

End of Chapter 26

InsaneTyranitar
20th December 2013, 9:58 PM
It's aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!

Amethyst and Sirena were sweet. Fredrick is adorable.

I am curious as to when the main plot will pick back up, though.

SeekerofLight
23rd December 2013, 12:45 PM
Huzzah! It's back! I was VERY happy to hear that this hadn't died for some reason (not that I thought that, of course, I had faith)

As always, the plentiful, colourful and diverse characters make this story amazing. Yet again, we have a chapter focusing on Character development, rather than blindly following a story.
Loved the chapter, with the interaction between the Eevee family members, and of course, it's awesome to see Frederick having some action!

Keep up the good work, and Merry Christmas.

SeekerofLight

DarkerShining
18th January 2014, 6:15 PM
Hey again, everyone! And thanks once again for your reviews, I really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone who's been following the story so far.

Chapter 27 is finally ready, but before we get to that, here's a fun fact:

Hercules the Heracross was originally only going to be a minor character who barely appeared at all, and his debut chapter was originally going to be later into the story, instead of chapter 5. However, once I had the idea of making him Blitz's mentor, he became the important supporting character we know him as.

I have to say, I'm really pleased with how that's turned out so far, and I think the story became a lot better than it would've been if I hadn't expanded his role. :)

So, now that that's out of the way, I hope you'll all enjoy this chapter!

----

Chapter 27: If only I hadn’t broken my promise, none of this would’ve happened…

----

At some point during the night, it had started raining. The sound of many raindrops falling from the sky and splashing against the ground, rooftops and plants ended up waking up Hercules, despite the fact that he was not normally a light sleeper. Looking out the window at the pouring rain, the sleepy Heracross could tell that the weather probably wouldn’t clear up until tomorrow morning. Or maybe tomorrow afternoon, he wasn’t sure.

While there was no sign of thunder or lightning, the way it was pouring down outside reminded him of the dark and stormy night three weeks ago…

----

Hercules hadn’t quite expected the weather that night to be quite as bad, but luckily he had managed to make the necessary preparations by covering up all the windows and the front door so the rain wouldn’t be blown right into his house. He’d been sleeping for a while already, when there suddenly was a sound at the front door that he had to investigate. Removing the cover slightly, he discovered that a certain Shinx was sitting outside with a frown on his face.

“Blitz, what are you doing here!?” Hercules asked, quickly removing the cover for a moment so the young Shinx could quickly make his way inside. “Why would you come all the way here on a night like this? Is something wrong?”

“I… I’m sorry…” Blitz said, shaking the water out of his fur. “I… I had a nightmare…”

“Ah, I see…” Hercules responded, petting Blitz on the head.

The two Pokémon headed into Hercules’ kitchen, where the Heracross began preparing some tea for the two of them.

“Was it another dream about things back at Lightning Plateau?” Hercules asked, glancing over at Blitz while the water for the tea began to boil.

“Yeah…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

“I see,” Hercules replied, looking through a cabinet filled with jars of honey.

“I’ll have to go back someday, but… I’d rather not…” Blitz said, sighing. “I don’t want to deal with everyone’s expectations…”

“I understand,” Hercules responded, nodding his head slightly while looking through another cabinet filled with nothing but jars of honey. “I wish there was something I could do to help you with that…”

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together. “I mean, you’ve already done a lot for me since I got here, and… well, it’s not like you can change my destiny…”

“I’m not really sure if I’d call it destiny…” Hercules replied, finally finding the tea leaves he was looking for. “But, enough about that… How are things with you and Sera? I hear you two formed a rescue team a few days ago?”

“Well, yeah…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “She’d been asking me for a while to form a team with her, and I finally agreed to do it…”

“I see,” Hercules replied, placing two teacups on the table and pouring in the tea. “Sera does seem like the kind of Pokémon that doesn’t give up once she sets her mind to something.”

“She certainly is,” Blitz responded. “But at least she doesn’t ask me to tell her more about where I’m from, or why I moved here and stuff like that…”

“Really?” Hercules inquired, getting a jar of honey out from one of the cabinets. “Isn’t she interested in getting to know you better?”

“Oh, I prefer it this way,” Blitz explained, blowing on his tea. “I don’t want anyone in this town aside from you to know. That way, I can get to be just a normal Shinx… at least for a while…”

“Blitz, I think I’ve told you this before, but I don’t really think you need to worry about what the Pokémon of Fenix Town would think of you if they knew the truth,” Hercules said, beginning to pour the contents of the honey jar into his tea.

“I’m not taking any chances,” Blitz replied, shaking his head.

“Well, you don’t have to tell her yet if you’re don’t want to,” Hercules said. “So, how is the rescue team business going, anyways?”

“Okay, I guess,” Blitz responded, giving Hercules an odd look. “Um… Aren’t you putting a bit too much honey in your tea?”

“What do you mean?” Hercules asked as he scraped out the rest of the honey from the bottom of the jar with a spoon.

“Oh, never mind,” Blitz replied, looking down at his own cup of tea. “Anyways, as I was saying… Sera and I only formed our rescue a little over a week ago, so I don’t really know how good a rescue team we are yet…”

“But I’m guessing your missions so far have been successful?” Hercules asked.

“Well, yeah,” Blitz responded, nodding his head.

“I thought so,” Hercules replied, smiling. “You’re a fast learner, and I have no doubt that you can put your skills to good use when you and Sera explore mystery dungeons.”

“Thanks,” Blitz responded, taking a sip of his tea. “Again, sorry about coming here this late just for this…”

“It’s okay,” Hercules said. “Are you feeling better now?”

“I… guess so…” Blitz responded, drinking up the rest of his tea. “So, I guess I should be heading home now…”

“Are you sure?” Hercules asked, looking a bit concerned. “You can stay over for the night, if you want.”

“No, it’s okay…” Blitz replied, starting to walk towards the door. “This kind of weather doesn’t really bother me all that much.”

“Well, if you say so…” Hercules responded, nodding his head slightly and opening the door for Blitz. “Good night, Blitz.”

“Good night,” Blitz replied, before heading outside.

----

Hercules sighed as he looked out at the rain, thinking about Blitz and wondering how the young Shinx was feeling now. He knew that Blitz hadn’t taken it well when he found out that Sera and Chiaki had learned the truth about why he came to Fenix Town. Hercules felt awful about breaking his promise not to tell anyone, while he also believed that it couldn’t stay a secret forever.

Still, he had wanted Blitz to trust his friends enough to tell them himself. All Hercules could do now was hope that things would work out, and that Blitz would be okay.

“I have to talk to him soon…” Hercules muttered to himself, sighing. “Will he want to talk to me, though?”

Hercules was the only Pokémon in Fenix Town that Blitz had fully trusted with everything. Hercules knew that, and yet he’d still betrayed that trust by telling Sera and Chiaki about the events that led to Blitz coming to town to train at the dojo. He only hoped that he’d be able to regain that trust, and that this wouldn’t have any lasting negative effects on Blitz’s trust in anyone else…

----

Eventually, it stopped raining and a new day began. Even if he was tired, and felt like he’d barely gotten any sleep, Hercules had to get up and head over to the dojo. The ground was still wet from the rain, but while fire types might not enjoy walking on it in this state, Hercules thought it looked kind of pretty when parts of it glistened in the light of the sun.

“Hey, Hercules!” a female voice called out, and Hercules turned to see a certain Ledian already having finished setting things up for today’s work.

“Oh, good morning, Marietta,” Hercules said, giving a friendly smile. “I see you’ve already set everything up.”

“Well, you know me,” Marietta responded, smiling back. “I always get up early, and I’m always ready to assist rescue teams with keeping their money safe!”

“That’s good to hear,” Hercules replied, nodding his head. “Keep up the good work.”

“You know I will!” Marietta responded, grinning.

Hercules smiled, and continued heading for the dojo, before Marietta suddenly called out to him again.

“Hercules, wait!” Marietta said, waving to him.

“What is it?” Hercules asked, tilting his head slightly.

“I was just wondering if you might be… I mean, if you’re free tonight, after work, I was thinking... that maybe the two of us could head over to the café for some refreshments or something?” Marietta asked, smiling. “You’ve seemed kind of stressed lately, so I was just thinking it might help to get out and spend some time with a friend, and just, relax, you know?”

“Oh?” Hercules replied, thinking about it for a moment. “… Yeah, I suppose that might help… Okay, I’ll meet you at the café after sunset, then.”

“All right, I’ll see you then!” Marietta responded, waving good-bye to Hercules.

She continued watching him flying off in direction of the dojo, until he was out of sight. Once she was certain he couldn’t see or hear her, Marietta did a fist pump with her upper left hand and grinned. “Yes!”

----

Hercules tried not to think too much about it while at work, but found himself occasionally glancing over at the entrance to the dojo. Part of him probably hoped a certain Shinx would show up, but he knew he probably shouldn’t expect it considering the current circumstances. Other than that, things were as usual at the dojo. The other Pokémon working at the dojo assisted the rescue teams who came in to train.

Lotus and Riley were currently having a sparring match as part of a demonstration on the importance of being able to predict your opponent’s moves in battle. So far, they appeared to be evenly matched.

One of the Hoothoot was keeping its eyes on one of the obstacle courses, and keeping track of the time it took for each of the Pokémon on the rescue teams going through it to reach the end. A Makuhita was taking notes as the Hoothoot told him the time.

“Everyone seems to be doing their jobs well,” Hercules thought to himself. “Maybe I could step out for a bit, and try to talk to Blitz…” Hercules considered it for a moment, before shaking his head. “No… At this point, he and his teammates have likely already headed out to their next mission…”

Hercules decided to just keep focusing on his work, and not think too much about it for now.

----

After a while, Hercules did notice a familiar Shinx enter the dojo. He quickly noticed that it wasn’t Blitz, though, but rather Blitz’s younger sister Lita. Hercules smiled and went over to greet the young Shinx.

“Hey there,” Hercules said. “What’s going on?”

“Well, my brother and his friends are out on a mission, so I decided to come here!” Lita replied, smiling.

“I see,” Hercules responded, nodding slightly. “But, isn’t someone else supposed to be looking after you?”

“Frederick was supposed to, but then something came up, and I asked him if it was okay if I went here while he sorted it out,” Lita explained.

“Ah, okay,” Hercules said, petting Lita on the head. “So, how is Blitz?”

“I guess he’s feeling a little better,” Lita responded, thinking for a moment. “I don’t think he and Sera have sorted out their issues yet, though.”

“I’m guessing they still don’t know what to say to each other on the subject?” Hercules asked.

“Probably,” Lita replied, nodding her head. “Chiaki and Azure aren’t really helping that much either, since whenever they try to approach the subject, Sera or Blitz just changes the subject…”

“Hopefully, Sera and Blitz can figure out how to sort things out on their own…” Hercules said, sighing. “If only I hadn’t broken my promise, none of this would’ve happened…”

“Oh, don’t feel bad,” Lita said, looking up at Hercules. “I’m sure everything will be sorted out.”

“Yeah, but… I’m worried Blitz won’t want to talk to me again,” Hercules responded, looking away. “I’m the only Pokémon in this town that Blitz fully trusted with any of his concerns, and yet I ended up betraying him by telling his secret to Sera and Chiaki…”

“… You did make a big mistake,” Lita replied, nodding slightly.

Hercules just remained silent for a while.

“… I’m sure Blitz will forgive you,” Lita said, after thinking for a few moments.

“How do you know that?” Hercules asked, looking at Lita.

“Well… You want to make things right again, don’t you?” Lita responded, smiling at him.

“Of course I do,” Hercules replied, nodding his head. “I just don’t know if Blitz will listen to me anymore…”

“I don’t think Blitz really is mad at you, to be honest,” Lita said. “I’m not really sure how feels, though… Then again, he might not even know it himself…”

“So, in other words, you think he has mixed feelings about this?” Hercules asked.

“I guess so?” Lita replied, tilting her head slightly.

“… You know what? You’re right,” Hercules said, giving a small smile. “I need to show Blitz that I’m still here for him, and maybe I’ll be able to help him figure out how to sort things out with Sera.”

“Yay!” Lita responded, grinning.

“I just need a chance to talk to him,” Hercules said, thinking for a few moments.

“No problem!” Lita said, smirking. “I’ll just stay here, and then he’ll have to come here to pick me up later!”

Hercules chuckled and petted Lita on the head again.

“You’re really clever,” Hercules commented, smiling at Lita. “Just like your big brother.”

“You really think so?” Lita asked, looking really excited. “Thanks!”

Lita cheerfully followed Hercules around as he went back to work, and now all they had to do was to wait.

----

After a few hours, when things were beginning to quiet down in the dojo as rescue teams were beginning to head home, Blitz entered the dojo to look for his younger sister. After getting back from their mission, Blitz and the others had met up with Frederick, who explained that Lita was over at the dojo. He soon spotted the younger Shinx, who happily walked up to her brother.

“There you are, Lita,” Blitz said, sighing.

“Was today’s mission a difficult one?” Lita asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Kind of,” Blitz responded. “Had to catch this outlaw…”

“Was he difficult to beat?” Lita asked.

“Well, no, he wasn’t all that strong, actually,” Blitz responded. “However, he was really fast, and it took us a while to catch up to him… We did manage to keep him from reaching the stairs, and eventually managed to get him in a corner…”

“I’m assuming you used your hunting knowledge to corner him?” Hercules asked, stepping forward.

“Um… Yeah…” Blitz responded, glancing down at the floor and rubbing his forelegs together. “How’d you know?”

“Because I’ve gotten to know you pretty well during your time here so far,” Hercules replied.

“Oh, right…” Blitz responded, still not looking directly at Hercules.

“I’m going to go wait outside while you talk!” Lita said, before cheerfully walking outside.

Hercules and Blitz were quiet for a few moments, before Hercules finally spoke up.

“Blitz, I’m really sorry I broke my promise not to tell anyone,” Hercules said, sighing. “I wanted you to tell Sera and Chiaki yourself when you were ready, and I was hoping I could help you with that…”

“I know…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “You kept encouraging me to tell her, but I kept thinking it was a bad idea… I thought she would think of me differently if she knew who I really was…”

“Does she?” Hercules asked.

“… I have no idea,” Blitz replied, shaking his head slightly. “I don’t really know what to think anymore… Maybe you were right all along…”

“Huh?” Hercules responded, surprised to hear this.

“I mean, after the conversation I had with Bow…” Blitz said, thinking for a few moments. “I never realized that… she and I felt so similarly about things…”

“She understood how you felt about your situation, and could relate to it,” Hercules commented, smiling.

“Hercules… I won’t forgive you for telling Sera and Chiaki the truth about me just yet,” Blitz said, looking up at the Heracross. “But… I need you…”

Much to Hercules’ surprise, Blitz suddenly ran up and hugged him.

“Blitz…” Hercules said, smiling and gently petting him on the head. “I’m still here for you, anytime. Whenever you want to train, or you need advice, I’ll do my best to help you.”

“Thank you…” Blitz replied, giving a small smile. “Well… I guess I should get going now.”

“Good-bye for now, then,” Hercules said, nodding his head slightly.

Blitz then headed outside, briefly glancing back over his shoulder before disappearing out the door. With a sigh of relief, Hercules went to finish what little work was left before he was done for the day.

----

Marietta was humming to herself while waiting outside the café for a certain Heracross to show up. She occasionally glanced around, and seemed quite pleased once she finally spotted Hercules flying over to the café.

“Ah, there you are!” Marietta said, grinning.

“Sorry if I kept you waiting,” Hercules responded, smiling at the Ledian.

“Ooh, you seem to be in a good mood,” Marietta commented, as the two of them headed into the café. “Good day at work?”

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Hercules replied. “And how was your day?”

“Pretty good,” Marietta responded, taking a seat. “Of course, I guess my work isn’t as interesting as yours.”

“Maybe not, but I’d say your job is probably more important than mine,” Hercules said, smiling at Marietta.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Marietta responded. “I mean, sure, keeping money safe for rescue teams is important, but I’d say the way you help Pokémon train is important too.”

“Well, of course,” Hercules replied, nodding his head slightly.

“So, how’d you end up in charge of the dojo, anyways?” Marietta asked.

“Oh, well, it’s kind of a long story,” Hercules responded. “But if you’re interested, I’ll gladly tell you.”

“Sounds good to me,” Marietta replied, nodding her head slightly. “Let me just go order us some drinks first. You like your berry juice sweet, am I right?”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Hercules responded, nodding his head.

“All right, I’ll be back in just a moment!” Marietta replied, cheerfully flying up to the counter to order the drinks.

Hercules smiled as he watched the Ledian talk with River, and thought to himself about how he hoped Blitz would be able to sort things out with his teammates soon. Things were starting to seem like they were only going to get better from here… but then again, perhaps it was a bit too soon to be thinking that way.

----

End of Chapter 27.

----

DarkerShining
25th January 2014, 3:45 PM
Hi, it's me again! Thanks to everyone who's been reading the story so far, and I hope you're all enjoying it!

Things might be getting more busy with school and such again pretty soon, but I'm going to keep doing my best to get new chapters done and keep this story moving! For now, here's Chapter 28!

----

Chapter 28: Have you been doing anything suspicious lately?

----

Blitz, Chiaki and Lita were sleeping soundly as the morning sun slowly spread its light across the area… that is, until they were suddenly woken up by the sound of Santos the Delibird’s terrified screams. Blitz got up, and looked outside just in time to see Santos running past his house in a panic. Blitz however, remained perfectly calm, since he had a fairly good idea of what was going on.

“Lita, I think mom is here to pick you up,” Blitz said, looking over at his younger sister.

“Aw, I have to go home already?” Lita asked, pouting. “I want to spend more time with you, big brother!”

“I know, I wish we could spend more time together too,” Blitz responded, nuzzling Lita. “I promise I’ll try to write to you more often, though.”

“Okay…” Lita replied, sighing. “It’s not the same, though…”

“Hello!” Lightning Fangs said, as she suddenly showed up at the front door, smiling widely.

“Hey, mom,” Blitz replied, waving a paw slightly.

“Oh, um… Hi, Blitz’s mom,” Chiaki said, timidly waving a paw while trying not to look directly at the many sharp teeth exposed by the Luxray’s smile.

“So, how has my little princess been?” Lightning Fangs asked, walking up to Lita. “Did you enjoy spending these past few days visiting your brother?”

“Yeah, it was a lot of fun!” Lita responded, nodding her head.

“Good to hear,” Lightning Fangs replied, before turning to Blitz. “What about you, my little prince?”

“Oh, um… It’s certainly been nice having Lita over,” Blitz said, glancing around as he rubbed his forelegs together. “Other than that, I guess the past few days have been rather uneventful.”

“What are you talking about?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly. “Our rescue team reached Silver rank, remember?”

“Ooh, Silver rank? Congratulations!” Lightning Fangs commented, patting Blitz on the head.

“Uh… Thanks,” Blitz responded, looking a bit embarrassed.

“Well, I should get going now,” Lightning Fangs said, grinning. “So, you and your friends keep up the good work!”

“Yeah, we will,” Blitz replied, nodding his head. “Bye for now, mom. Bye for now, Lita.”

“Bye, Blitz!” Lita said, waving her paw. “Don’t forget to write soon!”

“Okay, let’s head home, Lita!” Lightning Fangs said.

The Luxray and her daughter began heading off, and soon had disappeared from sight.

“Well, I guess we should be going somewhere too,” Blitz said, looking over at Chiaki. “Sera and Azure may already be waiting for us in the town plaza.”

Chiaki nodded his head, and followed Blitz into the main part of the town.

----

After meeting up with Sera and Azure, the four of them headed for the rescue team HQ to look for some missions. However, when they got into the main room of the HQ, they noticed Mirage’s rescue team discussing something. Wondering what was going on, they decided to go investigate.

“The mushroom says no,” Cordyceps said, looking up at Megara with his blank white eyes.

“But guys, this is the perfect chance for you two to get to see where I’m from!” Megara protested. “I could introduce you two to my old friends!”

“My apologies, but the mushroom’s answer is still no, and as usual, I have to take the mushroom’s side,” Cordyceps responded. “As you know, we don’t particularly like fire, strong heat and similar things of that nature.”

“While I don’t have the same weakness to fire as Cordyceps does, I’m with him on this one,” Mirage said, sighing. “It’s not that I don’t want to help, but… well, it’s a volcano!”

“Oh, come on!” Megara said, looking somewhat annoyed. “Would you be saying the same thing if there was money to earn on this mission?”

“What are you implying?” Mirage asked, crossing her arms.

“Um… What is going on over here?” Azure asked, walking up to the three. “What are you guys arguing about?”

“We talked to Stella this morning, and apparently one of the Axis Tower crystals is hidden somewhere within Mt. Caldera,” Mirage explained. “And since that is where Megara is from, she wants the three of us to go retrieve it, but…”

“The mushroom doesn’t want to go because our species and fire go together about as well as a Magcargo and the ocean,” Cordyceps added.

“You guys don’t know what you’re missing out on!” Megara protested.

“I’m really sorry, Meg,” Mirage said, shaking her head. “But I think it’s better if Cordy and I take care of another mission while you go handle this. After all, you know your way around the volcano, so I’m sure you can handle this just fine without our help!”

“Okay, fine,” Megara responded, sighing. “I would’ve liked to introduce you two to some of my friends back home, though…”

“Maybe you can ask them to come visit you here sometime?” Mirage suggested, giving a comforting smile. “Anyways, I guess Cordy and I should go find ourselves a mission, so good luck with finding the crystal!”

“Thanks,” Megara responded, nodding her head slightly. “Good luck to you too.”

As Mirage and Cordyceps went to look at the mission boards, Megara turned to Sera and her teammates.

“So… You guys have helped retrieve some of the crystals already, right?” Megara asked.

“Uh… Yeah,” Sera responded, nodding her head.

“Well, maybe you guys would like to come with me, then?” Megara asked, glancing over at her teammates. “I figure that since Mirage and Cordy didn’t want to come, I might as well invite someone else.”

“Oh, um… Kind of sudden, but… sure, we’ll come along,” Sera said, nodding her head slightly.

“Wait, what?” Blitz responded, looking over at Sera. “How are we supposed to explore a volcano without our ears burning off, or something?”

“I think Couture might have something that’ll protect you from the heat,” Megara said, pointing to the green curtain.

“Well, let’s go get that item from Couture, then!” Azure said, grinning. “My water moves will take care of any wild fire Pokémon that think they can mess with us!”

“Uh… Okay,” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly. “Come on, guys.”

And so, they headed through the green curtain, where the Leavanny was in the process of making a scarf.

“Oh, it’s you!” Couture said, smiling as Sera and her teammates came in. “Were you pleased with the Deep Sea Charms I made for you?”

“Yeah, they worked really well!” Chiaki responded, grinning.

“That’s good to hear!” Couture replied, still smiling. “So, what may I help you with this time?”

“Well, Megara invited us along on a mission to Mt. Caldera,” Azure explained. “So, we’re going to need something to protect ourselves from the heat.”

“Ah, I have just the thing!” Couture said, looking through a box and pulling out four silver-colored headbands from it. “Here, try these on!”

“Um… How exactly do these help?” Blitz asked, while trying on his.

“They’re made with a special fabric infused with a type of magic that makes it so a Pokémon can explore even extremely warm areas and barely feel the heat!” Couture explained, smiling as the rescue team put the headbands on. “They won’t protect you from direct fire attacks, nor do they protect from lava.”

“Cool,” Azure commented, nodding slightly.

“Thanks, Couture!” Chiaki said, grinning.

“You’re welcome!” Couture responded, smiling back and waving as the four Pokémon left her room. “When you need anything else, just let me know!”

The four Pokémon quickly met up with Megara, and headed into Kala’s room. The Abra was asleep, but that didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“Hey, wake up!” Megara said, shaking Kala’s shoulder.

“Not now, I’m tired…” Kala muttered in her sleep. “I’ll teach you more about telepathy later, okay…”

“Kala, wake up! We need you to send us over to Mt. Caldera!” Megara said, continuing to shake the Abra’s shoulder.

Kala slowly sat up and opened her eyes, sleepily looking at the five Pokémon before yawning.

“Oh, I thought you were someone else…” Kala said, rubbing her eyes. “Okay, teleporting… Sure… I’ll do that…”

Using her power, the five Pokémon disappeared in a flash of light as Kala’s power sent them to their desired destination. With her job done for now, Kala plopped back down onto her pillow, and went back to sleep.

----

Megara grinned as best as a Pokémon with a beak could, as she looked around at the familiar surroundings of the place where she grew up. While there was not much other than rock and magma to see, the way some of the rocks were shaped and the different elevations still made it an impressive sight.

“Whoa…” Sera said, looking around. “This place is really big, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” Megara responded, nodding her head.

“Hmm… Probably won’t be easy to find that crystal, then,” Blitz commented, rubbing his forelegs together. “Not to mention that a lot of these areas can probably only be reached by fire type Pokémon…”

“Don’t worry,” Megara said, grinning. “Just leave those areas to me!”

“So, where should we go?” Chiaki asked, looking around.

“I’ll lead the way,” Megara responded, motioning for the rescue team to follow her. “Come on, let’s go!”

Sera and her teammates followed Megara, seeing as she was the one who knew her way around this place. They occasionally passed by a few fire type Pokémon that Megara greeted as they looked around, and soon they come across a red bipedal clawed lizard and a monkey with orange fur as well as a blue and red pattern of fur on his face that made it look like he was wearing a mask. Both Pokémon’s tails had a flame burning at the tip of it, similar to Megara’s own tail.

Megara seemed to recognize this Charmeleon and Monferno, and excitedly ran over to them.

“Drake! Inferno! Long time no see!” Megara shouted, getting their attention.

“Megara?” Drake the Charmeleon said, seeming surprised to see the Magmar.

“That’s right!” Megara responded, grinning. “Sorry to show up unannounced like this, but I’m sort of on a special mission!”

“Hey, that’s fine,” Inferno the Monferno said, smiling at Megara. “I certainly don’t mind surprise visits, especially not from our old pal Megara!”

“Oh, I’ve missed hanging out with you guys so much!” Megara said.

“We’ve missed you too, Megara,” Drake responded, smiling at the Magmar.

“Yeah, things are more fun when all three of us are together,” Inferno commented, smirking as he looked up at Megara. “By the way, Megara… You look hot.”

Drake gave a slight groan, while Megara just chuckled.

“How long have you been waiting to use that one?” Drake asked, shaking his head.

“Oh, come on, look at her!” Inferno said, grinning. “I can tell she’s just burning with passion for her rescue team work! Isn’t that right, Megara?”

“You haven’t changed one bit,” Megara responded, chuckling.

“He certainly hasn’t,” Drake commented, rolling his eyes. “So, anyways… What is this mission you mentioned?”

“Well, it turns out one of the Axis Tower crystals may be hidden somewhere in Mt. Caldera, so I came to investigate,” Megara explained.

“Whoa, one of the Axis Tower crystals is here?” Inferno asked, staring wide-eyed at Megara.

“Yeah, apparently,” Megara responded, shrugging slightly. “I tried to convince my teammates to come along, but they weren’t too fond of places as warm as this…”

“So, who are they, then?” Drake asked, pointing to Sera and her teammates, who had been watching the conversation.

“Oh, they’re another rescue team I invited along,” Megara responded. “They’ve been doing a pretty good job helping track down the other crystals so far, so I figured they could help us out.”

“Uh… Hi!” Sera said, waving a paw. “I’m Sera, the leader of this rescue team. And these are my teammates, Blitz, Chiaki and Azure.”

“Ooh, nice to meet you all!” Inferno said, grinning.

“It’s nice to meet you too!” Chiaki responded, smiling.

“So, I’m guessing neither of you have heard anything about this crystal?” Megara asked.

“No, we have not,” Drake responded, thinking for a moment. “We should probably let Aidan know about this.”

“Yeah, definitely,” Megara replied, nodding her head. “Do you guys know where he is right now?”

“This way,” Drake said, pointing to a nearby tunnel.

The seven Pokémon began heading through the large tunnel, even if Sera and her teammates were a bit lost as to what was going on.

“So, who is this Aidan?” Azure asked.

“Oh, he’s an Arcanine who is kind of in charge around here,” Megara explained. “He and a Blaziken named Blaze look after things, making sure all the Pokémon here are happy and things like that.”

“Huh, so those Pokémon are sort of like… a pride leader?” Blitz asked, looking down at the ground.

“Something like that, yeah,” Megara responded, shrugging slightly.

“Blaze has been acting kind of strangely lately, though…” Drake commented.

“Huh? What do you mean?” Megara asked, looking over at the Charmeleon.

“Well, it’s… kind of difficult to explain,” Drake responded, thinking for a moment. “He doesn’t seem to listen to anyone’s concerns these days… and it seems like… I don’t know… like he has something on his mind, but whenever someone tries asking him about it, he refuses to answer…”

“Also, the other day, I saw him sneaking around near one of the tunnels,” Inferno added, tilting his head slightly. “I tried following him, but I lost sight of him before I could find out where he was going…”

“That is really strange…” Megara responded, looking rather confused.

“Sounds awfully suspicious to me,” Azure commented. “I bet he’s hiding something.”

The seven Pokémon soon reached another section of the area, where a large dog with orange fur with black stripes was talking to some other fire type Pokémon. Once the other fire types had left, he noticed Megara and the others and turned his attention to them.

“Ah, Megara, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you around,” Aidan said, giving the Magmar a friendly smile. “So, how have things been for you since you went to Fenix Town? I’ve heard that you joined a rescue team?”

“That’s right!” Megara responded, nodding her head. “I’ve been doing pretty well, with a lot of successful missions and stuff!”

“Good to hear,” Aidan replied, before his expression changed to a slightly concerned one. “I get the feeling that you didn’t just come here to visit, though. Is something the matter?”

“Your intuition is pretty much correct there,” Megara responded. “Turns out one of the crystals that went missing from Axis Tower might be hidden somewhere inside of Mt. Caldera.”

“Is that so?” Aidan asked, stopping to think for a moment. “This is the first I’ve heard about this… If this is true, we must find that crystal as soon as possible.”

“You’ll help us find it, then?” Megara asked.

“I’ll do what I can,” Aidan responded, nodding his head.

“So, um… Have you noticed anything unusual in the past few weeks?” Blitz asked, rubbing his forelegs together as he looked up at the larger Pokémon. “Like, any strange things happening with the volcano…?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Aidan responded, shaking his head. “As far as I can tell, nothing is wrong with the volcano…”

“Ah…” Blitz replied.

“Are you absolutely sure about that?” Sera asked.

Aidan was about to say something, when a bipedal Pokémon with red feathers covering most of his body walked over. The Pokémon also had gray talon-like hands with three fingers, beige hair-like feathers behind its head and its mouth looked similar to a beak. The Blaziken didn’t seem to pay much attention to the Pokémon present as he walked over.

“Oh, there you are, Blaze,” Aidan said, looking over at the Blaziken. “Have you seen anything unusual around here lately?”

“… No, nothing unusual at all,” Blaze responded, his voice sounding oddly flat. Megara couldn’t help but think about Cordyceps when she heard Blaze speak.

“Are you sure?” Aidan asked, giving the Blaziken a concerned look. “According to these Pokémon, there might be a crystal from Axis Tower hidden here somewhere.”

“I have seen no such thing,” Blaze responded, continuing to walk. “Don’t bother me, I’m busy.”

The other Pokémon exchanged confused glances, except Azure, who wasn’t quite satisfied with the Blaziken’s answer and tried running up to him before he could leave the area. Blaze didn’t seem to acknowledge her presence, however.

“Are you hiding something?” Azure asked, smirking as she looked up at him.

Blaze ignored her and just continued to walk away. Azure just ran a bit further, trying to get his attention.

“Have you been doing anything suspicious lately?” Azure asked.

The Blaziken just continued walking away without even seeming to notice Azure, much to her annoyance.

“Hey, I’m talking to you, chicken-breast!” Azure shouted as the Blaziken disappeared into one of the tunnels. “How rude…”

“I don’t know what is up with him these days…” Aidan said, sighing. “I guess I’ll go ask around and see if any of the others have noticed anything unusual.”

As Aidan went off to another part of the volcano to ask the fire type Pokémon there if they’d seen anything out of the ordinary, the other seven Pokémon pondered what to do now.

“I think we should help Aidan ask around,” Drake said.

“Good idea,” Megara replied, nodding her head. “We might be able to learn something faster that way.”

The three fire type Pokémon went off to help Aidan, while Sera and her teammates stayed behind, pondering what to do now.

“So… What exactly are we going to do now?” Azure asked. “Without Megara to show us around, we won’t exactly know where to go.”

“I guess we can explore and look for anything that might seem unusual?” Chiaki suggested.

“Um… We don’t exactly know all that much about this place,” Sera commented, glancing around. “I mean… Even if we came across something unusual, we might not even realize it since we don’t really know all that much about this place…”

“Actually… I think there’s something kind of obvious that we’re overlooking here,” Blitz said. “Megara’s friends say the Blaziken is acting different from how he usually acts, right?”

“You think the Blaziken has something to do with this?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head.

“Well, even though I don’t even know him… something certainly seemed off about his behavior…” Blitz said, looking down at the ground.

“But… doesn’t he help Aidan look after the Pokémon here?” Chiaki asked. “I mean, surely he wouldn’t be up to something not good…?”

“Even the most reliable of leaders could…” Blitz said, but stopped before he could finish whatever he was about to say.

Sera looked over at Blitz, wanting to say something, but wasn’t sure what to say.

“I think Blitz is on to something,” Azure said, nodding slightly. “There’s definitely something suspicious going on with that guy.”

“So… I guess we should go investigate, then…?” Sera asked, seeming a bit uncertain.

“It’s the only lead we’ve got,” Azure commented. “So, we might as well check it out, and see if we can find out what’s going on.”

“Okay… Let’s do that, then…” Sera said, nodding her head slightly. “… Where do we begin?”

“Um… The Blaziken went that way, right?” Blitz asked, pointing his paw towards the tunnel which the Blaziken had left through.

“Yeah, he did,” Azure responded.

“Oh. Well, I guess we should also go that way, then…” Sera said, slowly beginning to walk towards the tunnel.

----

Blitz tried his best to track the Blaziken’s scent, although it was difficult to do considering the smoke and smell of sulfur that were mixed in with the air in the volcano. Blitz figured that the Pokémon living there weren’t bothered by it, and tried his best to ignore it and focus on trying to follow the Blaziken’s scent. Eventually, he lost the trail, and realized that he and his friends were probably lost now, unless Megara or one of her friends happened to find them.

“So… I’m guessing by the look on your face that you can’t figure out where he might’ve gone from here?” Sera asked, looking somewhat concerned.

“Pretty much,” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “I’m surprised I was even able to get us this far.”

“Ugh, maybe I shouldn’t have suggested this…” Sera said, sighing. “I’m so sorry, guys… I’ve gotten us all lost…”

“Hey, it’s not your fault, Sera!” Blitz responded, looking around. “Maybe we should just go back the way we…” Blitz trailed off as he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.

“What is it?” Chiaki asked. “Did you find something?”

“There’s a Kangaskhan rock over there,” Blitz responded, pointing a paw at the rock shaped like the kangaroo Pokémon.

“Oh, there is!” Chiaki said, nodding his head. “That’s a good thing, right?”

“Well, since Mt. Caldera is marked on our map and Kala can teleport us here, then there must be a mystery dungeon here,” Blitz explained, looking around. “And since this Kangaskhan rock is here, then that mystery dungeon is probably very close by.”

“Ooh, right,” Azure said, nodding slightly. “But how does finding the mystery dungeon of this place help us in this situation?”

“Hmm… Remember how Inferno said he tried following Blaze, but eventually lost sight of him?” Blitz asked, glancing around. “I sort of have a hunch, but…”

“Well, what is it?” Chiaki replied.

“I might be completely wrong here, I mean, we don’t even know if this is the area Inferno was following Blaze into…” Blitz said, rubbing his forelegs together. “But if it is… then maybe he lost sight of Blaze because Blaze went into the mystery dungeon?”

“Huh, I guess that kind of makes sense…” Azure commented. “Although as you said, you are just making a wild guess here.”

“I know…” Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. “Maybe I shouldn’t even have brought it up…”

“So, what do we do from here, then?” Chiaki asked, looking around at his teammates.

“Um… I really don’t know,” Sera said, sighing. “I’m not doing a very good job as a rescue team leader today…”

“Sera, don’t feel bad,” Blitz responded, gently patting Sera’s back. “None of us really know what to do at the moment…”

“Hmm… Guess we should try to figure out whether this mystery dungeon is worth exploring or not,” Azure said, thinking for a moment. “Man, if only there was some kind of thing we could use to like, talk to Pokémon far away so we could talk to Megara and her friends, or if we could somehow send them a picture of this area with a short message like, “Hey, is this the place you lost sight of Blaze?” and then they could send a message back and say if it was or not…”

“Ooh, such a thing sounds like it’d be quite handy indeed,” Chiaki commented, nodding his head slightly.

“We should’ve just followed Megara and her friends…” Sera muttered, her ears drooping slightly. “Why didn’t I suggest that instead of bringing us out here…?”

“Sera, this is my fault just as much as it is yours,” Blitz said, sighing. “After all, if I hadn’t brought up Blaze’s strange behavior as a possible clue as to how to find the crystal…”

“At least you actually did figure something out, though,” Sera replied.

“Guys, we can discuss our mistakes after the mission is over,” Azure said, glancing at the tunnels. “I say we do explore the dungeon. I mean, the other crystals required us to explore mystery dungeons to get to them, so maybe we need to do that here too?”

“Well… I suppose that makes sense, as whoever hid them would make them difficult to reach from what we’ve seen so far,” Blitz responded. “But… just like my theory, we can’t know anything for sure.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Chiaki said, nodding his head. “I mean, what if the crystal-stealer decided to hide this one in a place that didn’t require going through the mystery dungeon to reach, since the rescue teams would naturally assume that they’d have to go through the mystery dungeon after finding other crystals that way?”

“Um… You know, it’s only a coincidence that our rescue team has been involved in getting back all the found crystals so far,” Blitz commented, rubbing his forelegs together. “We only happened to be in the right place at the right times to learn about Stella’s latest visions of a crystal location, and thus going to investigate those places…”

“Oh, right…” Chiaki said, looking down sheepishly. “I suppose the odds of the same rescue team finding all the crystals are kind of slim, huh?”

“Hey, what’s going on here?” another voice asked, and the rescue team turned to see Megara and her two friends.

“Megara!” Chiaki exclaimed, looking happy to see her.

“Sorry I left you guys behind…” Megara said, rubbing the back of her head. “I decided to go check on you once I realized that without you guys, I won’t be able to get back to Fenix Town since I don’t have Mirage’s rescue team badge with me…”

“Really, that’s your only reason?” Azure asked, giving Megara a look.

“No, of course not,” Megara replied, looking down sheepishly. “I’m sorry; I guess you guys were kind of lost without a guide, huh?”

“We were,” Chiaki responded, smiling. “But everything is fine now that you’re here!”

“Uh… Thanks,” Megara replied, returning the smile.

“So, what were you talking about just now?” Drake asked.

Blitz decided to let Megara and her friends know about his suspicions regarding Blaze’s strange behavior, and the possible connection to the crystal. The three fire types listened closely, and exchanged concerned glances as Blitz finished explaining.

“What do you guys think?” Megara asked.

“I… suppose it makes sense,” Drake responded, sighing. “I guess we didn’t really notice before because… well, I guess we didn’t want to believe that Blaze would do something like that.”

“Inferno, is this the place where you lost sight of Blaze that time?” Azure asked, looking over at the fire monkey.

“As a matter of fact, it is!” Inferno responded, nodding his head. “I guess he must’ve gotten into the mystery dungeon just before I reached this area.”

The seven Pokémon present exchanged glances, and looked towards one of the tunnels.

“Is that the mystery dungeon entrance?” Blitz asked.

“It is,” Megara replied, nodding her head. “You guys make preparations, and go ahead into the dungeon. Drake, Inferno and I will go find Aidan, and explain to him what you just told us.”

“Okay,” Blitz responded, nodding his head.

“We’ll catch up to you as soon as we can,” Megara said, giving a determined smile.

“Yeah, and when we catch up, things are really going to heat up!” Inferno added, grinning.

“… Good luck, you guys,” Drake said, while rubbing his head and sighing at Inferno’s attempt at a joke.

The three fire types went off to find Aidan, while Sera and her teammates were left behind to make their preparations for exploring the mystery dungeon. Hopefully, it would lead them closer to finding out where the crystal was hidden, and what Blaze’s strange behavior was all about.

----

End of chapter 28.

----

InsaneTyranitar
3rd February 2014, 9:34 PM
I really like how Chapter 27 is a Day In The Limelight for Hercules.

And yay, main plot advancement!

DarkerShining
8th February 2014, 10:05 PM
Glad you liked it!

So, I wasn't sure if I'd have it done by today, but I managed to get Chapter 29 done! Isn't that great?

Can't really think of anything else to say at the moment, so I'll just say that I hope you guys will enjoy the chapter, and feel free to let me know what you think!

----

Chapter 29: I… I don’t know what’s wrong with me today…

----

Mt. Caldera was an unfamiliar place to Sera and her teammates, but at least mystery dungeons felt more like familiar territory. Of course, before they could enter the dungeon, they needed to make a few preparations. Sera was standing in front of the Kangaskhan rock, and seemed to be having difficulty deciding on which items to bring.

“Um… Considering this is fire type territory, maybe we should bring Rawst berries in case we get burned?” Blitz suggested, having noticed that Sera seemed to be unsure what to retrieve from their item storage.

“Oh, right… Rawst berries…” Sera said and nodded her head slightly, before looking through the berries they had in storage. “… Ah! We barely have any Rawst berries in here!” Sera sighed and leaned her head against the rock. “Why haven’t I bought more…?”

“Sera, there’s no need to freak out!” Azure commented, shrugging slightly.

“Hmm… I guess we can bring some Heal Seeds,” Blitz said, thinking for a moment. “If we don’t have enough Rawst berries, then Heal Seeds will work too.”

“Right, Heal Seeds…” Sera said, sighing. “Why didn’t I think of that…? Oh, but how many do I bring?”

“Yeah, there’s always that dilemma there…” Blitz responded, rubbing his forelegs together. “Bring along an item that would be useful, or save it for later?”

“I don’t know what to do!” Sera exclaimed, her ears twitching.

“Whoa, calm down!” Blitz said, surprised at Sera’s sudden outburst.

“Sorry!” Sera responded, turning to Blitz. “I… I don’t know what’s wrong with me today…”

“… Do you want me to handle the items for you?” Blitz asked, looking somewhat concerned.

“O-Okay…” Sera replied, nodding her head and moving aside so Blitz could get to the Kangaskhan rock. “Here you go…”

Sera set down the treasure bag so Blitz could look through it and the items in storage, and determine which to bring and which to save for another time. While Blitz was managing the items, Sera took a deep breath and tried to calm herself down.

“Come on, Sera, you’re the leader of this rescue team,” Sera said to herself, lightly hitting one of her paws against her head. “You’ve got to pull yourself together!”

“Why are you talking to yourself?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“It’s nothing to be concerned about,” Sera replied, shaking her head.

“Sera, the last few days have been kind of stressful for you,” Azure said. “So, we understand if you’re feeling a bit out of it today.”

“Thanks for the concern, but I’ll be fine, really,” Sera responded, managing a smile at her teammates. “So, Blitz? How is the item management going?”

“Almost done,” Blitz replied, placing a few items into the bag.

“Good!” Sera responded, nodding her head. “I guess we’re almost ready to get going, then!”

Sera, Chiaki and Azure waited for Blitz to finish sorting out the items, and soon Blitz closed the lid on the treasure bag and returned it to Sera.

“Here you go,” Blitz said. “I think I picked out a good selection of items.”

Sera nodded, and opened the lid to see which items Blitz had picked out for her. After looking over everything, she closed the lid again and smiled at Blitz.

“Yeah, this probably looks good,” Sera said, nodding her head slightly. “Thanks for helping me out, Blitz.”

“No problem,” Blitz responded, looking around. “So… I guess we should start exploring the mystery dungeon, then?”

“I’m ready!” Azure said, raising her hand.

“So am I!” Chiaki said, smiling and waving his paw.

“Okay, let’s go, then!” Sera said, walking up to the entrance to the mystery dungeon.

She waited for her three friends to gather together at the entrance, and then the four of them entered the mystery dungeon together.

----

Meanwhile, Megara and her two friends, Drake the Charmeleon and Inferno the Monferno had managed to find Aidan the Arcanine, and were currently explaining to him what Blitz had explained to them earlier. Aidan listened closely to what they had to say, and nodded his head as they finished explaining.

“I feared something like that might be the case…” Aidan said, sighing.

“Come on, Aidan!” Megara said, looking up at the Arcanine. “We need to get to the bottom of this!”

“You’re right…” Aidan responded, nodding his head slightly. “I need to find out exactly what is going on with Blaze, even if it means possibly having to fight him…”

“Whoa, could it be?” Inferno said, staring wide-eyed. “Will we finally get our answer to the question of who would win in a battle between Aidan and Blaze?”

“Possibly,” Drake responded, looking over at Inferno. “However, the situation is quite serious.”

“I know!” Inferno replied, grinning. “But you have to admit, the thought of a battle between those two is quite exciting!”

“I suppose it is…” Drake commented, thinking about it for a moment.

“So, the rescue team you brought along with you is over at the mystery dungeon right now, right?” Aidan asked, looking over at Megara.

“Yeah, they’re probably exploring it as we speak,” Megara responded, nodding her head.

“Let’s get going, then,” Aidan replied, running ahead.

“Hey, wait for us!” Inferno shouted, running after him. “I don’t want to miss out on whatever’s going to happen!”

----

Sera and her teammates were making their way through the mystery dungeon, Azure seeming to be having the time of her life as her water attacks made quick work of the wild fire type Pokémon they came across. Blitz was still amazed at how well the silver-colored headbands Couture gave them to protect them from the heat worked, since he doubted they would’ve been able to withstand it otherwise.

Sera was doing her best to focus on leading her team through the mystery dungeon, but she kept getting distracted by the thoughts that kept swirling inside her head.

“What’s with me these days…?” Sera thought to herself. “I am the leader of this rescue team… I need to focus!”

Sera’s ears twitched slightly as she glanced around, trying to decide which way to go.

“As leader, I must… look out for my teammates’ well-being, right?” Sera thought, slowly leading her team forward. “And I… really messed things up when I made Hercules tell me Blitz’s secret… I need to make things right, but how?”

Sera gave a quiet sigh, and glanced over her shoulder. She was certain Blitz and the others could tell she was concerned, but she had to try to stay strong to convince them that it was nothing they needed to be worried about.

“I have to think of something, but for now… my team needs me to get them through this dungeon,” Sera thought, nodding her head slightly. “I can do this… right? I’ve been a good leader for my team, right?”

Walking up the stairs to the next floor, the rescue team moved further into the mystery dungeon. How many floors was this mystery dungeon anyways? Sera wasn’t sure, but maybe Blitz knew? She was about to ask him if he knew how many floors were left, but closed her mouth and remained quiet as she kept on leading the way.

“Do I… depend too much on Blitz?” Sera thought, looking down at the floor as she kept walking. “While I did go on a mission without him a few days back… Didn’t I just end up looking to Azure or Chiaki when I couldn’t think of anything?”

Sera’s ears drooped down slightly, and she stopped walking for a moment.

“I’m the leader of this rescue team… but do I really have what it takes?” Sera thought, blinking a few times as she contemplated this. “A leader is supposed to have confidence and the knowledge to handle any situation that might come up… Do I have either of those things?”

“Sera, what’s the matter?” Azure shouted. “Shouldn’t we keep moving?”

“Oh, right!” Sera responded, nodding her head. “Sorry!”

Sera continued marching on, glancing around as her ears continued to twitch slightly.

“Blitz is the one with the knowledge, and when he’s around, I can be confident because I know he’s there for me,” Sera thought. “But… is that really the only reason I’ve made it this far?”

----

Eventually, Sera and her teammates reached the end of the mystery dungeon. Sera sat down and took a moment to catch her breath, while Blitz, Chiaki and Azure began looking around at their surroundings. It seemed the mystery dungeon had led them into another part of the volcano, but they weren’t entirely sure how far this area was from the previous one.

“So… Do we explore further, or wait for Megara and the others to get here?” Azure asked, glancing around.

“I think we should wait…” Blitz responded, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together. “I mean, we don’t know what might await us if we keep going…”

“Blitz has a point,” Sera commented, nodding her head slightly. “Let’s just rest for a bit and wait for the others to catch up…”

The four Pokémon sat down and waited for Megara and her friends to show up, however, Azure suddenly heard something.

“Something wrong, Azure?” Chiaki asked, looking over at the Marill.

“Quiet, I hear something…” Azure responded, trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from.

“Is it Megara and the others?” Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

“No… I think it’s coming from over there,” Azure said, pointing towards a nearby tunnel.

“Um… Maybe it’s just the sounds of the volcano?” Blitz suggested, nervously rubbing his forelegs as he began to realize what this would likely lead to. “Volcanoes probably make quite a few sounds that aren’t really worth investigating, with all the magma and stuff that’s in it…”

“Hey, be quiet!” Azure said again, taking a few steps towards the tunnel and listening closely to try to identify the sounds. “Hmm… Nope, these aren’t volcano sounds!”

“I was afraid she’d say that…” Blitz commented, sighing.

“What is it, then?” Chiaki asked, walking up to Azure and trying to listen to the tunnel.

“Hmm… Footsteps…” Azure said, listening closely. “… Claws or talons scratching against the rocky floor…”

“Whoa, you’re awesome, Azure!” Chiaki exclaimed.

“Thanks!” Azure responded, grinning. “It’s probably that Blaziken that’s walking around in there.”

“Okay, that’s good to know,” Blitz said. “Now, let’s wait until Megara and the others get here before we do anything about it.”

“Why?” Azure asked, tilting her head slightly. “It couldn’t hurt to just go take a look, could it?”

“… Azure, if you say something like that out loud, chances something bad might happen increase by twenty percent,” Blitz commented, sighing.

“Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have said that…” Azure responded, looking down sheepishly. “If we don’t go check it out, though, we might lose our chance to figure out what’s going on.”

Blitz was about to say something, but Sera suddenly stepped in.

“Azure, don’t…” Sera said, and it seemed like she was going to say more, but suddenly froze.

Sera stared at her friends, trying to say something, but even though her mouth moved slightly, she couldn’t get any words out. Her teammates looked at her with confused glances, which soon turned to looks of concern as they waited for her to say something.

“I… I think we should wait…” Sera finally managed to get out, trying to regain her composure. “Like Blitz said… it’s probably better to wait for Megara and the others.”

“Okay, you’re right,” Azure responded, nodding slightly. “I’ll be right back!”

And with that, Azure cheerfully ran inside the tunnel. Her teammates stared blankly at the tunnel, taking a moment to register what had just happened.

“Did she…?” Chiaki said, pointing at the tunnel.

“She did,” Blitz responded, sighing. “Well, guess we’d better go after her.”

Sera, Blitz and Chiaki walked through the tunnel, and soon saw Azure looking at the various walls in the room, although the Blaziken was nowhere to be seen.

“Guys, check it out,” Azure said, motioning for her friends to come closer.

The rocky walls in the area seemed to be partially distorted, parts of the walls occasionally turning transparent.

“So, it’s spread even here…” Blitz said, looking around.

“Do you think this is what caused the Blaziken’s strange behavior?” Chiaki asked.

“No way,” Azure responded, shaking her head. “There has to be something more… Let’s go a bit further. I think I know which way the Blaziken went.”

“Azure, what part of ‘this is a bad idea’ don’t you understand?” Blitz asked, sighing.

“This is the perfect chance to figure out what’s going on, though!” Azure responded, grinning. “Come on, where’s your sense of adventure?”

Azure did have a point, but Blitz still wanted to wait until the others got there. That, and he was getting the feeling that being in an area where most of the Pokémon around were weak to her water attacks was making the adventure-loving Azure feel a bit too confident.

“… Sera, it’s your call,” Blitz said, looking over at Sera. “Investigate now, or wait for the others to show up?”

“Um… Am I really the best Pokémon to make that decision?” Sera asked, glancing around. “I mean, I know I’m the leader of this team and all, but…”

“Come on, Sera,” Chiaki said, patting Sera on the back and smiling at her. “You can do this!”

Sera’s ears twitched slightly, and she nervously looked to Blitz and Azure, trying to make a decision. However, before she could say anything, Azure’s ears suddenly twitched as she picked up on something.

“Huh? Is something going on over there?” Azure wondered, before running towards the tunnel to investigate.

“Ah, wait up!” Sera exclaimed, chasing after Azure.

“… Well, I suppose now we have to go over there, huh,” Blitz commented, sighing.

“Yeah, I guess we do,” Chiaki responded, nodding.

“Let’s hurry up and catch up to the girls, then,” Blitz said, beginning to move towards the tunnel. “But be careful, and try to be as quiet as you can.”

“Okay!” Chiaki replied, with a cheerful smile as he followed Blitz.

The two soon caught up to the girls, who were hiding behind some rocks, watching the Blaziken move about. It almost seemed as if he was patrolling the area, but why?

“What’s going on?” Blitz asked, whispering as he and Chiaki moved over to Sera and Azure.

“We’re not sure,” Azure replied, narrowing her eyes. “He’s definitely up to something, though.”

“So…