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Lost Jungles

Arc Angel: In the heat of a traumatising scuffle, you feel the mysterious heroine press you backwards with a disquieting glint of concern welling in her cerulean iris. The heavy downpour hammered against the thick canopy of shrubbery, beating its way through the murky foliage and pattering against your skull. Despite the cold chill your blood was boiled, a flood of tears trickling down your face from the moment the goddess released you from your spellbound state. The bottled emotions rattling through your mind where all let lose at once, your legs juddering as you continued to hold back the anger which was bursting to explode – even Impish would be torn apart by the near god-like antagonist. Despite the heartache you’d yielded to, the thought of further torture was just a few seconds in the making. Taking quite literally to her words, you withdraw the comatose bear and lifeless sack of toxins and dash to the nearest break in trees. It was tricky trying to make out the blurry branches camouflaged in a muffle of moss amidst the veil of tears masking your eyesight. You took whatever risk you had to, closing your eyes tight as you could, venerably rushing away from the skirmish and vowing never to look back. Desperately shambling over thick roots and waving past curtains of vinery, the sound of your own footsteps pounding against the damp soil giving you little else to think about. Less than a minute passes as you wrangle your way through the trickiest thicks of the Lost Jungle, the likes of which most trainers would shudder think of. Rolling up a muddy sleeve you wipe away the moist drips running down your cheeks, almost certain you’d gained enough leeway. You weren’t out of the woods just yet by any means, a collapsed block of timber catching your ankle as you scurried onward sending you flying off of your track!

The fall sends you tumbling face first against the spiked fragments of a buckled oak, fortunate that the torrential shower and sticky moss had weathered the blunt splinters to a point they shatter on your weight leaving less than a few grazes. You groan weakly, in need of a hero when all you had was an ethereal felon with a Dissociative identity disorder. Reaper settles his keystone on the log beside you, but he doesn’t bother to pick you up despite a familiar red fluid trickling down from your head onto the shattered remains of a lightning-stricken tree. You hadn’t fallen under however, the pitter-patter of rainfall still leaving you very much conscious as you weakly attempted to recompose yourself. You press your chafed fingers on the bits of log, digging your feet into the muddy thickets as you groaned in pain. Despite how physically and emotionally drained you felt there was no giving up now. You owed it to Pokémon who’d fought by your side. One leg at a time, you get to your feet, a distinct sensation of victory filling the air with the apathetic Spiritomb phasing to your side on queue. It doesn’t take long to sink in that you were still on a runaway, making your way through a small span of uneven terrain you’re left with another choice as for what to do next. You find yourself panting for air, scanning the leafy expanse for any source of life. There was something… a gentle crunching of dead leaves prickling your ears. A few low grunts cause your heart to skip a beat, but the noise was only that of a passing Stantler drinking from a shallow stream. There was a sharp silence, something didn’t feel right.

The strapping antelope’s eyes widen, its black pupils dilated as its rear stiffened. The cream coloured quadruped was less than subdued; breaking away from the hazy tributary as if scared out of its wits. You could only imagine the types of predator lurking in such dark stretches, with a distinct sense of empathy causing your body to instinctively curl into a defensive stance. The stag flinches at the very twitch of your limbs, you almost feel in a safe position until it crumples its face and fearfully stampedes forward in its own defence! Under usual circumstances you would’ve had a chance to swiftly react – perhaps send the mighty Macabre to telekinise a barrier – but is was all too quick for your all too tethered reactions. The antelope kicks through thickets of grass, mindlessly lunging forward in little less than the blink of an eye! A loud thump and you slam rearward down a drop of uneven terrain. The forest grows abruptly silent, you gasp in shock, wincing upward at the dusky sky unable to make a noise as blood pours up your throat. Your pale hands shake feebly, hovering over your blouse which was entirely severed and painted a deep red. Trying best not to succumb to the screaming pain you notice the Keystone rattle furiously beside you. More than it had ever had before. You could only hope Reaper would take away the pain, heal your broken bones and sew up your punctured lung - or at least scar the beast that had so chokingly rammed you against the toothed rocks of the cavernous valley. No such events happen under your witness. The pain grows too hard to bear, and you resist any further attempts of sitting up, the back of your head falling flat against the lifeless terra.

Lifted, all pain suddenly slips away, your spirit drifting through dark recesses almost through instinct. What you experienced now you where likely to forget, nothing felt right, but everything felt right. You look down at your former self, an empty carcass with no ties to you now. Not even your Pokémon could stop you from, transcending. Ahead, a bright light. Glorious warmth emanating from it. Your family, you feel your parents helping you break away from this world and into the next. There was so much light there, so much peace... Suddenly you feel your mystical journey grind to a halt. Your spirit faltering backward. It was a disgusting feeling. The warm light grew dimmer and colder, the sense of company from the two you had loved and lost weakening with it.

You start to feel again. Exhaustion, pain, misery, to name a few of the sensations now rattling through your mind. There was nothing motivating you to wake up, a thick quilt covering your body and you could only assume you’d been dreaming. The now dry locks of brunette drape softly against a plump pillow – you’d spend whatever time you could resting and face the burden of reality in the morning...

“Stacey...” a calm voice rasps faintly “Stacey, wake up my dear we don’t have much time”. With that, you feel a pair of warm hands caress your own motherly. You whimper jadedly, opening your eyes to what looked like a queen’s bedroom. Dawn had broken and the morning sun was serenely flickering against a stained glass window. The room was painted a chalky white, complimenting the dark brown oak of your four-poster bed and the adjacent dresser. As you look away from the extravagant features of the luxurious suite, you find yourself fixated on the cerulean eyes of the blonde goddess.

“I know what you’re about to ask, your Pokémon are fine”, she smiles, walking across the room gracefully unsure where to start, “What I’m more worried about... is you, Stacey”. Her weak smile suddenly slumps into a grave stare of concern, causing some confusion. You slowly slide away the silk duvet, terrified at what you may find. Inch after inch, you uncover the open wounds. The sight of a few sharp cuts sends you sick, but these scratches paled in comparison to the gaping puncture below your breast. Bones and organs you expected to never see where exposed so unnaturally. Tears begin trickling down your face as though you’d known all along, but you’d somehow repressed the sickening truth that things would never be the same. You’d come face to face with some of the most perilous feats, you had treasured a naive sense of invincibility for so long.

“I was lucky I managed to fend off those fiends before you crossed over, but I could not permanently revive you”, she pauses again, choosing her words very carefully which was all too difficult in this situation, “You’re dead Stacey, but you’ll remain here, with the living. I’m afraid you have unfinished business”. The woman paces to a door obscured by one of the oak trunks of your bed, turning its handle and letting in a warm breeze of fresh air.

“How about we have some tea, you’ve been up to so much in the past few days I think it’s time we have a chat”, the worry in her voice panics you somewhat, but alas you manage your way out of the cosy sheets and onto your feet. Your ragged attire had been replaced with a lavender nightie which gave a similar scent to its colour; thankfully it did a good job of covering your mortal wounds. You follow Iris into the bedroom’s balcony, where she was now sat at a circular table with two chairs. There was an ornate tea set laid out, small pots of sugar and honey complimenting a much larger teapot. Beyond the balcony you could hardly imagine the world was in such disarray, acres of blooming meadow flowing delicately against the soft breeze. You notice a cluster of Buneary peeking from their burrows, wheedling into wondering what’d become of Reaper and your other Pokémon.

“Please, sit down”, Iris gestures the bordering seat with a warm smile, “I can sense the cloud of confusion hazing in your mind. I’m sure you have many questions, so please, ask away”. Flashes of yesterday flutter back. A toothless hag muttering about destiny. A villainous shaman readying to destroy you for reasons you couldn’t possibly comprehend. You’d caught a glimpse of the Renegade Pokémon. Surely you’d need your questions answered before you went any further…
Emp, I just wanted to say thank you for continuing to provide me with updates, this was one of the best storylines I have encountered and I feel privileged that you chose to share it with me … oh and sorry for the late reply again ^-^;;;

The storm continued to rage almost drowning out the sounds of sorrow and anguish produced by the lone human lost in the forest. To an outsider this picture was a strange one, it almost looked to be a beautifully haunting painting, depicting such deep emotions and colours, but to Stacey it was all too real. This was a nightmare she had been forced to endure from the very moment she entered Memory Lane to right now she had been played like a puppet. There was a greater force pulling on her strings watching her fight against it only to fail and dance for them in a depraved game. She was beginning to feel that she had been chosen to suffer from the start, given a chance of happiness for it to be robbed from her time and time again. If this was another test she had failed and she didn’t care, she no longer cared. She had picked up new friends along the way only to drag them down into her misery making them suffer all the evils coming to her did that make her any better than the wicked creatures torturing her? Stacey’s mind had drawn itself into the dark corners she saved all her fear, sorrow, negativity and horrid memories and she was struggling to get back out. With only Reaper available to bring her out of one of her depressions and not knowing how it looked like she could very well lie in the dirt and rain forever. This time however she felt something that drew her out, her head was throbbing and a thick liquid was trickling out of a gash there. Stacey frowned her tears slowing as she began to shake, her body very cold and suffering, it was acting to survive and wouldn’t let the feeble mind draw it to death. Stacey blinked and saw Reaper staring at her with a look of almost concern … he had never shown concern for anything before. As he saw her focus on him his expression changed to indifference as he searched the forest for any more dangers then telling Stacey to move.

Her whole body ached and pulling her wrist from underneath her Stacey pressed her fingers that were tingling from loss of blood flow to the log that had caused her injuries. Reaching her other hand to the wood she shifted legs into a kneeling position before slowly making it to her feet wobbling very unsteadily. Stacey felt a groan of pain escape her mud-covered lips and held a hand to her head drawing it away to see the blood dotting her palm. Stacey sighed now back to reality and out of the recesses of her mind as she tried to draw focus on what she was doing. Reaper was by her side immediately and was staring back at where they came, that’s right, they were running. Snorting Stacey felt a little comfort in anger as she came to the conclusion that she was good at that either, can’t even run without falling.

“Right,” she muttered quietly as she scanned the forest feeling the harsh rainfall batter her and in her weak state she nearly fell over again. Suddenly a noise filled the air, a soft grunt and the crunch of leaves under foot and Stacey felt her heart stop, had they caught up to her whilst she had been lying prone. Not daring to look she slowly moved her head knowing that any fast movement would sending her crashing to the ground again she saw the cause of the noise. A Stantler was drinking from a nearby stream but as a deadly silence suddenly filled the air, the sound of her increasing heart beat filing her ears Stacey had the awful feeling that something was dreadfully wrong. The Stantler brought its head up from its drink and its whole body stiffened as if sensing some deadly predator lurking in the undergrowth. Stacey felt her own body shift into a defensive position hoping to be ready to ward off any attack when Stantler turned to her seeing her movements and panicking. Its body shifts and it begins to stampede in defence … towards her! Stacey couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t save herself, all she could do was stare in shock and panic as the Stantler closed the distance between them in a heartbeat. She blinked and it happened, the Stantler rammed her, its antlers forcing into her abdomen the skin weaker than the hardened bone as they speared through the flesh. Stacey didn’t even feel the pain as she was thrown through the air and down a slope of uneven terrain her body breaking in new places with every impact she made with the ground.

She came to stop at the bottom sliding like a broken doll along the mud before she felt anything … the pain was excruciating. She couldn’t scream as blood began to force its way up through her throat her lungs and stomach punctured, the former trying their best to continue with their job futilely. Weakly and with shaking hands she reached up to her chest feeling the holes their blood pouring traitorously from her body staining the ground as a large puddle formed. All she felt was shock as the pain overwhelmed her and tears ran from her eyes again. She didn’t want to die, why did this happen? It had been so quick, so pointless, she had hoped when she eventually met her end she would be very old surrounded by those who loved her or die heroically in an act of bravery. But no, a startled Stantler had rammed her trying to defend itself, as if she could have caused it any harm in her previous state. Stacey felt her bones broken pushing through her skin, her legs bent in an awkward and ugly position that would leave her paralysed if she lived, not that was going to be an issue. Reaper quickly floated over to her and looked down in shock too not knowing what to do, soon he would be left alone with a dead trainer in a forest with the evils of the world hunting him down and he didn’t like that idea. He didn’t like or love anyone but this woman was tolerable at least and though he had seen many worse deaths this, caused many of them himself it seemed a waste, pointless just like his trainer had been thinking.

Stacey turned her head weakly to see Reaper as tears clouded her eyes. ‘Reaper, please can you not heal me? Help me I.. I don’t want to die!’ she begged mentally, not able to speak. She knew he couldn’t and it was pointless asking but she had to try for if a miracle occurred and she had missed the opportunity for it she would regret it later. She felt that next, only a minute had passed and her body was drawn closer to death, but she felt and thought so much in such a short space of time. She regretted so much, not spending more time with her Pokemon, watching them grow old, finding a partner of her own, someone to spend the rest of her life loving and caring for. She regretted the wrongs she had never made right, the things she had never dared to try, she regretted dying As her heart pumped the last of her blood uselessly away from her body to the ground she felt the pain disappear. She whispered goodbye to Reaper as blood ran from her mouth and she was gone.

She was floating, away from her body, away from the harsh cold and cruel world and into the bright sky. It felt so wrong but so right at the same time, she could see her body on he ground below her, a picture of death and suffering but no longer felt anything for it; she had severed all ties to that now. She knew that she was leaving her Pokemon behind but she no longer cared where she was going was bright and warm and peaceful. Tears of joy ran from her non-existant eyes as she felt her parents, her brother drawing her to them, she would see them again, oh how she had longed for that.

“Mummy, Daddy … I’m coming home,” she called to them feeling like a child all over reaching out her hands wanting to embrace them feeling close just for the action. Suddenly her journey grinded to a halt and she felt herself moving away from the light. A sick feeling filled her and the light grew cold and distant.

“No … NO I want to be with you, let me be with you!” she yelled as she felt them slip away and darkness surround her.

Her senses began to re-awaken, her hearing first as light noises filled her ears followed by touch, her skin prickled at the familiar sensations. It felt like she had a thick quilt covering her body warm and heavy, it provided little comfort as her misery and exhaustion quickly followed. She must have been dreaming, what a cruel dream for her mind to conjure up, that was the closest she had felt to her family in the longest of times, she was even torturing herself how ironic. She remembered dying, had that been a dream too, she didn’t feel like she was dying. Too tired to think anymore Stacey decided to just rest and leave the thinking till morning. Just as she had begun to drift off again she heard someone calling her name and wrinkled her nose and brow hoping they’d see she was asleep and leave her alone. No such luck as they called to her again rubbing her hands with their own, they were warm she could feel that much but she didn’t care to wake up. The female voice tried again alerting her that they had little time to act, act for what? Groaning in annoyance Stacey opened her eyes blinking the sleep from them only see sunlight as dawn greeted her, it was morning? How typical. As she became more alert she saw that she was in a gorgeous bedroom in a luxurious bed, the room was light and airy and light beautifully by the sun pouring through the stained glass windows. Stacey turned to see the culprit behind her too early awakening when she saw the beautiful blonde from before, she looked like a goddess perhaps she was one and had she saved her? What about her Pokemon, were they alright?

As if sensing her concerns she eased them by telling her that her Pokemon were safe, that was a relief if nothing else. “What I’m more worried about... is you, Stacey” she said looking weakly at her as Stacey frowned, what about her? It was as if her words had triggered something inside her as the door to her memories opened and she was flooded with the pictures and sounds of the past day. Shaking and already feeling tears prick at her eyes again she pushed the quilt off her body revealing a lavender coloured nightie and pulling it up inch by inch she began to feel discrepancies in her shape and soon she discovered why. No longer soaked in blood she could see the damage caused by the Stantler in its attack, there were gaping holes under her breast and in her abdomen, not covered by bandages to hide them no her wounds reveal her organs and bones were on show for all to see. Staring at them she felt herself shake more and more as she hyperventilated before roughly shoving the material back down her body and pulling the quilt up to her neck. She cried again, it felt that was all she was good for as she realised that she had died, no-one could be walking around with a wound like that and still be alive. She remembered dying, it had hurt, it was pointless, but then, she hadn’t been dreaming, she was torn away from her family to be like this, what was she? Deep down she knew the truth but had hoped it was a lie, part of her had felt invincible, she had been thrust into the harshest situations and had come out on top and she had her Pokemon with her but this had truly made her realise how vulnerable and weak she truly was.

“I was lucky I managed to fend off those fiends before you crossed over, but I could not permanently revive you”, she said pausing as I choosing her words carefully. “You’re dead Stacey, but you’ll remain here, with the living. I’m afraid you have unfinished business”. Stacey turned to face her again wiping the tears from her eyes tired of feeling so weak. So it was her that had stopped her crossing over, going to what could be considered Heaven to be with her family. She couldn’t be too mad her after all the evil ones had been the ones to cause all this and she had tried to revive her fully but been unable to do so. She was dead, she had said that much but was walking with the living with unfinished business, she felt she had a lot of that did that mean she would be like this forever, a walking corpse? The woman walks over to an oak door and pulls it open letting the warm air from outside the room to breeze in.

“How about we have some tea, you’ve been up to so much in the past few days I think it’s time we have a chat”, she suggests still sounding worried and concerned. Stacey guessed that she was concerned about Dim Sun, he made Stacey concerned too but now she was dead he didn’t seem to matter, she felt like nothing mattered. Sighing she pushed the covers from her body and slipped out of bed thankful that her wounds were covered by her new attire and followed the woman out onto the balcony. There was a large circular table set out with chairs for the two of them and upon its surface there was an ornate tea set with milk, honey and sugar ready to be served. Turning away from the table Stacey walked to the edge of the balcony and looked out at the acres of woodland stretching as far as the eye could see, it was beautiful and a far cry from the turbulent vicious jungle she had been running through not long ago. She wondered how far away this sanctuary was from where she had died when the woman, Iris if she recalled correctly, interrupted her thoughts. She offered her a seat offering to answer any questions she had and she had many not all of them relevant or pertinent. She walked over to the chair and sat down gently, feeling fragile wondering if she could damage her deceased body further. Stacey’s mind wandered back to the beginning, from whence this all started it all seemed to link together somehow and perhaps Iris could shed some light on it all. She stared at the tea set and wondered if she could even eat or drink in this state, she didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, she just felt …

“I feel numb,” she voiced her end train of thought still staring at the tea. “I don’t know if I can feel anything other than numb, no that’s not true, I am jealous. I see the life out there and feel envious, why do they get to live and I don’t? Why should I die, what did I do deserve this?” she asked wanting to vent her frustrations. It was a selfish question but right now she wanted to be selfish, why not after all. Most people who died were done and didn’t have to suffer this, but not her, she had to walk amongst the living, a fraud, something so unnatural she felt as if the world would rat her out and she would have to meet death all over again. After composing herself she ran her fingers round the empty tea cup enjoying the sensation of feeling knowing that she shouldn’t be.

“I suppose I should ask something a little more relevant. How do you know who I am? How does that demon who I am? Who are you both you have abilities no human should?” she started with and as soon as she started she felt she could stop, she had wanted answers for so long now and someone had offered to give her answers, she would ask her everything; it wasn’t as if her dead lungs would require the oxygen so could keep talking forever.

“This all started in a different country altogether, I walked along a road of memories and met an old woman, she told me of a destiny in a new world,” and Stacey proceeded to tell her tale. As she move through her recollection of events hoping it would help Iris answer her questions she remembered a sonnet that had been spoken before she came here. Stopping her tale she spoke the words,

“Commemorations are in order,
Relieve your anxiety,
Welcome new member,
To the Dim Sun Society…”

Stacey frowned before continuing on with her story explaining the events that led up to this point stopping to catch breath on habit.

“How is it my destiny to die? Especially like that, seems like a pointless destiny to me.” She said bitterly before sighing, she needed to get off this pity train. “Dim Sun mentioned Giratina, I saw it when I first came here, it charged right past me. I remember feeling amazed, it was beautiful, a ghost I thought I’d never see. What does he want with it?”

“You mentioned unfinished business, I feel one part of that would be finding a safe home for all my Pokemon as I will be gone permanently again I need to know they’re safe. There are many things I feel I still need to do but perhaps my real unfinished business is to find my destiny, and if it is to stop this demon, to help you do that.” Stacey finished talking leaning back in her chair hoping that she could some answers already prepared for the possibility that they wouldn’t be what she wanted to hear.