Well, I do need a good list of requests. Since I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, I need to build up a number of entries during October so that I can continue posting for POS during November. I should have just about enough now to cover October and November, but a few more wouldn't hurt. Going ahead and listing Lampent for Halloween too.
For my birthday, I go back to one of my favorite types, Psychics. Chingling always makes me think of PMD since Chingling shows up so often as an outlaw there! Very silly, especially when the client is a more powerful evolved Pokemon. And Beldum, I recently traded one over to a new Pearl game, since I've never trained that line before. While I had traded over two others as eggs, the Beldum wasn't, so it was also the first time I ran into a traded Pokemon that was leveled enough to be disobedient. It was half-entertaining and half-frustrating.
In process: Swadloon/Swoobat
On Deck: Simisear/Palpitoad, Swanna/Azurmarill, Barboach/Shelmet, Golett/Furret/Seadra, Vileplume/Trubbish/Amoonguss
Reserved: Lampent (Halloween)
Chingling and Beldum
The Golden Desert was warm, filled with yellow sand and glittering rocks. Tough plants like cacti and scrub brush were keeping themselves defensive until the next rainfall. Out here, there were said to be hidden treasures, but even more dangers: the heat could be relentless, the plants were all covered in spikes, the little insects were venomous and armed with natural weaponry, the paths were difficult to follow. Not only that, but the native Pokemon here were as tough as steel, even when they weren't Steel types. Many were troublesome ones as well, laying many traps to catch unwary outsiders. Still, the lure of rare stones and treasures were tempting to many explorers. Most turned back within a few hours.
She wasn't going to be like that, she kept telling herself. That pulled her through an entire day here. Still, her goal was nowhere to be seen. She had her Explorer Badge, so she could get help if there was trouble. Hopefully, she wouldn't have to use it.
The Chingling had taken a long time to prepare for this place, even getting a larger Pokemon's white head scarf to wrap on top of herself like a turban, in order to keep the sun deflected. Today wasn't too bad, although she still flapped her tail ribbons whenever she hopped. The motion would keep her aloft briefly, off the sun-baked ground. But even her Wonder Map couldn't pinpoint the location of the rarely visited dungeon she was looking for.
How long would it take? She didn't let herself wonder that too long, as then she'd get worried. For now, she focused on navigating the desert, watching for traps and aggressive wild Pokemon, and monitoring her supplies. As she looked around, she looked for signs of the place. Nothing so far.
Then, with no warning, the Chingling felt a severe sense of being alone and lost. It was almost enough to make her cry. But, why? She hadn't been thinking of that and she didn't mind working alone. Sure, it was more fun to work with other explorers. But this was... it was like when she had only been a hatchling and had been upset because her parents had left her alone for an hour. Only, not that immature.
She soon realized that it was a form of telepathy; some Pokemon was sending out its emotions strongly. The Chingling landed, then jumped as high as she could while fluttering her tail ribbons, so that she could look around from above. What kind of Pokemon was it? If it was orange, yellow, or brown, it might blend into the landscape.
Thankfully, it wasn't. She spotted a dark blue that at first looked like a rock, but the form of an eye hinted that it might be a Pokemon. She shifted her striped ribbons to land next to it. While it wasn't familiar, seeing it reminded her of an illustration in a book: a Beldum.
As it didn't seem to notice her at first, she jangled her bell orb to ring for attention. “Hello,” she said. “Do you need some assistance? I'm Chi, an explorer.”
The Beldum lifted off the ground. It was a strangely shaped Pokemon, like a large red eye in the grasp of a dark blue hand, which had hooks at the end instead of being connected to a body. Then again, she was probably strange-looking herself to those not used to Chinglings. Instead of speaking, it released a series of thoughts, muddled by feelings of sadness: ominous signs in the shifting of the sands, attack by some dark force under a starry sky, getting separated from others by the force of a powerful blast, being unable to reconnect to the group.
“Oh dear, um, could you please speak up?” Chi asked, putting her small limbs near her ear holes. “I don't speak often with telepathy.”
“Sorry,” the Beldum said, sort of. It was still using telepathy, as nothing of its body moved save for a shifting of its eye. But instead of broad thoughts, it was aiming at the parts of her mind that interpreted speech. “We can't speak otherwise and we mostly speak like that.”
She bowed to that (since with her body, she couldn't nod). “I see. What happened to you?”
“Our swarm got attacked last night, by a force that we don't understand,” it said. “We had warnings, but were unsure of how to interpret the omens. Bad times are ahead. But for now, we,” its telepathy seemed to stammer for a moment, then the Beldum drooped downward. “Sorry, I am unable to find my swarm. I am not used to being alone, or even thinking alone. I do not know what to do.”
Chi gave a sad ring in sympathy. “That sounds bad. I have not seen any other Beldums today. But, I am searching the Golden Desert anyhow, so why don't you come with me? If they have not come across you yet, you may as well start looking too. Would they leave the desert?”
“Not at this time.” It flexed one of its fingers, but only a feeling of gratitude told Chi what that motion meant. “Thank you for letting me follow. It is better to be with an outsider than to be fully alone. What are you searching for?”
“A mystery dungeon, in particular the Tower of Saith,” she explained, hopping back up to keep traveling. The Beldum floated after her. “I'm looking for a treasure that's supposed to be there. I believe it will help me with my bigger quest.”
“The Tower of Saith has many treasures, but one may only take one of them out, ever,” the Beldum said. “If you choose to go looking for it, you must be certain that the one you take is the one you would want to keep. There are also accursed false treasures within the tower; if you try to take one of them, you will be turned into a jewel to be trapped there until a certain time of the year.”
“I've done my research, and I'm certain.” She looked over at it. “Do you know where the dungeon is? That is the only thing I could not find out in the books I read.”
It made a slow blink. “That is knowledge which I was entrusted to keep within my swarm. As you are certain of yourself and aware of the danger, we are allowed to tell you. I will show you; it will be this way.” The Beldum floated ahead and turned left.
Chi changed directions and followed it, smiling. “Thank you! It seems it was lucky for both of us that I found you. Let's keep an eye out for your swarm.”
“I will find their thoughts and know when we are close, but yes,” the Beldum said.
Although the trek to the Tower of Saith took a couple more hours, they neither saw nor felt anything of the Beldum swarm. The lone Beldum was stoic about it now. Apparently any company was enough to calm it down. In time, they came to a formation of eight stone monoliths, spread in a wide circle around an open area. Nothing was growing in that patch of yellow sand. The Beldum led Chi to the eastmost monolith, then attached its hooks to an indent near the top.
The sand in the middle of the formation shook, then parted as a stone building rose out from underground. It matched the monoliths, all made of stones from the Golden Desert, polished to smooth brilliance. Large arched openings were on all four levels; some mechanism was forcing sand to spill out of the building, making it pile up against the tower further. Then the sand got flung aside to reveal the largest opening, the entrance to the tower. There were some stone stairs coming down from it, but much of them were buried in the sand piles.
Chi looked up at it. “It's... not as big as I thought it would be. Only four levels?”
“That is correct,” the Beldum said, detaching itself from the monolith. “If we pass the first level, we are deemed worthy to pick one treasure each. Come.” It floated into the Tower, so Chi followed.
The first level was one open room, filling the whole space of the tower save for one wall that held two staircases, one up and one down. Despite being drained, there was still a coating of sand on the floor. Once they were both in, the entrance and the stairwells were gated off with steel bars. A shadowy form appeared in the center of the room, its outline like a mishmash of Pokemon: Chi thought she saw a Meganium's head-leaf, a Sandshrew's body, a Fearow's wings, a Raticate's feet, a Furret's tail... if that was even right. The two of them fought and defeated the strange creature.
Once it was gone, a second appeared to fight them, a different mishmash Pokemon. Then two more. “This doesn't seem too bad,” Chi said. “But it must get harder, or else more would be able to get the treasures here.”
“It does escalate,” the Beldum said as three more forms appeared.
The next round was five, making it hard for the two of them to fight through. Then eight, and then thirteen! With so many foes against the two of them, it was a real struggle to take them down. Especially for the Beldum, as it seemed to have quite reckless moves. The Chingling had to give it some of her berries so that it did not faint and make them fail the challenge. “So the next is, twenty-one?” Chi asked, gasping a little. She had cleared monster houses before, but nothing like this.
After a minute of quiet, the steel gates parted. “Thank the spirits it does not go further for two visitors,” the Beldum said. “There should be no more battles from this point on, unless some other natives have snuck in. But I doubt that.” They headed up the stairs.
“What's in the basement?” Chi asked, glancing down those stairs. But it was dark.
“It should be nothing but the mechanism for raising and lowering the tower,” the Beldum said. “But then, none of us have been down there personally. We just know what we have been told: it is unnecessary to go down there unless there is a problem with hiding or revealing the tower.”
“Unnecessary, maybe, but it might be interesting to see such a device.”
The second level held many many jewels. Were they Pokemon that had taken the wrong treasures? They weren't shaped like Pokemon, but still, there were so many of them. Even if they were actual jewels, Chi didn't trust them. They were probably part of the cursed items. She told the Beldum so and they went to the third level.
Here, there were more jewels, but also a number of accessories and other things. Some of them were oddly normal, what one would find in other dungeons. Others were more exotic, like no other she had seen. But none were what Chi was looking for, so she moved to the next floor.
“You are greatly focused,” the Beldum said.
“I know that I have to be in a place like this,” she said. “It tries to trick us in any way it can. That's how it is, right?”
It did a slow blink again. “Correct. It will even present a normal item to make you think it was a safe choice, but it is not. Many jewels that are here are nothing but common rocks. Only the treasures it alone can produce are safe to take from the Tower of Saith.”
“Why is it that way?”
“We think it is because Saith liked to play dangerous games with other Pokemon when it was alive. Thus anything of Saith's legacy will do the same.”
On the fourth level, there were thirteen pedestals surrounded by piles of unusual items, gold coins, and precious jewels. On each of the pedestals, there was a colored orb. The trick she had learned from the books was to look for with a small crystal orb matching the larger orb on the pedestal nearest to it. There were some other items that were safe to take, presumably on lower levels, but the most powerful artifacts were the ones connected to this orb riddle. Knowing what she wanted, Chi went straight for a white orb and searched the area around its pedestal.
“Here it is,” she said, lifting up an item marked by a small white orb on its handle. The silver-white handle was shaped like down feathers, delicate and fluffy around a thin crosspiece. There was a red silk cloth around the other end, formed to fit the thin shaft of the weapon precisely. When she gingerly slid the cloth casing back, a small white blade was revealed. It was the perfect size and weight for her; but then, it was an enchanted sword that always was the size it needed to be.
“That is what you want?” the Beldum asked.
“Yes,” she said, sliding the cloth case back over the blade. “This sword can cut through anything, except for silk cloth and its partner shield. Silk thread, yes, as well as most cloths, but not silk cloth. And if it crosses with the shield, the bearer who has the strongest heart will win out.”
The Beldum twisted its eye about. “It is also a dangerous thing, even to its user.”
She bowed. “I know. But, there is another Chingling who has gotten the enchanted shield Saith made. He is using it to cause trouble and keep anyone from stopping him. He's giving a bad name to us Chinglings, as well as hurting many Pokemon. And, he knows the weaknesses of the shield. It will take someone wielding this sword to stop him for good. After that, I may never need to use this sword again. But I may; we will see what the future brings.” She attached the sword to her treasure bag, then turned to the Beldum. “Should we go find your swarm? Or did you want a treasure for yourself?”
“I have no need for what is here,” it replied. “But I have proven my worth. If it comes to be that one of these things can defeat the dark force that attacked us, then we will come to claim it as my right.”
“Yes, that would be smart. I wonder what did attack you. Mind if I ask the others of your swarm some questions?”
“We should be willing if you return me.”
Since she had seen no Beldums on her way in, they went further into the Golden Desert after hiding the Tower of Saith once again. They traveled until evening with no luck, but then the Beldum sensed them. As they approached, Chi began to feel their telepathy as well, as random quiet feelings and thoughts that passed through her mind. It was much bigger than a single Beldum, an oppressive feeling of Psychic power even though she was Psychic herself. But right as she started to feel like it might give her a headache, the telepathy backed off. Presumably, the one she knew had asked the others to be mindful of her.
Then they appeared. It was an amazing sight; there had to be over a hundred Beldums in the swarm. However, they all moved in unison, each turning and shifting precisely like the rest. They didn't even feel like a hundred minds gathered together and sharing thoughts. They felt like one giant mind, working as a whole.
“That is the correct assessment of us,” the Beldum swarm said. “We are ever together as one. We came back together as one. However, you are no longer a part of the one.”
“I am not?” the Beldum she knew said. Chi couldn't tell it apart from the rest, save for the fact that it was not moving as the rest were. “But I am meant to be part of us. Being alone was terrifying.”
“We know,” the swarm replied. “But you started to think of yourself as singular. You traveled with one not of the swarm and became disassociated. You would not be able to rejoin the swarm.”
“We didn't travel together for long, only a few hours of today,” Chi said. “Why would you hurt one of your own like this?”
The swarm disagreed. “It cannot be helped. You both spent long enough together for it to disassociate. While it will be sad for all, it will be counterproductive to attempt reintegration. Child of the swarm, we wish you the best in your search for your single identity.”
“I do not know how to live alone,” the Beldum said.
Was it her fault that this Beldum could no longer be a part of its swarm? Chi felt bad about doing that. But then, the answer presented itself quickly. “I can help you,” she said. “You became disassociated by traveling with me, so it is only right that I stick with you while you try to find yourself.”
“You're a noble Pokemon, Chi,” it said. “Thank you. I will do my best, trying to be myself.”
“But first, we need you to give us the knowledge entrusted to you,” the Beldum swarm said. “In return, we will give you what knowledge we have in living alone. There is some kept with us. And do not be sad. It is said that when one leaves the swarm to be an individual, one learns the secrets to our true potential.”
“Certainly.” the Beldum floated into the presence of its former swarm, silently exchanging the knowledge.
Thinking of something, Chi rang her bell orb. “Before we go, if you do not mind... this one told me that you had seen a strange omen, and then were attacked by a dark force. Would you tell us what you know of it? When the two of us get back into town, we can see if anyone there knows about it.”
“That would be of great service to us,” the swarm said. “We will let you know what we know.”
Later that night, it was just Chi and the lone Beldum. They made a camp near the shelter of a boulder and shared some dinner. “You know, you're going to need your own name by the time we get back to town,” she said.
The Beldum twisted its eye. “I will?”
She bowed. “Yes. After all, I need to introduce you to my other friends and allies.” Chi smiled at her new partner.
“My own name.” It floated around. “That is truly the mark of my being independent. The swarm had no name.”
“What would you want to be called?”
The Beldum paced around mid-air, considering it. “I think... I should be called Saith.”
“Are you sure?” Chi asked. “After all, you said that the old Saith was trouble.”
“True. But, the Tower of Saith is how I met you.”
And so it was that Chi and Saith became partners.
Chingling Diamond entry: It emits cries by agitating an orb at the back of its throat. It moves with flouncing hops.
Emerald entry: When Beldum gather in a swarm, they move in perfect unison as if they were but one Pokemon. They communicate with each other using brain waves.