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Thread: Wings Have We

  1. #101
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    There's a reason. Oh, there's a reason.

    Also, making "Kh!" sounds is fun! 8D


  2. #102
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    {30} the most hateful and cursed

    Despite the fact that a large and (at first glance) pointless pair of sunglasses hid his eyes, his sunken face was nothing short of bitter. Hair fell in his face – long, oily strands which suggested they hadn’t seen a comb in a very long time. Sitting on his head, with empty and all-seeing eyes, there was a small green Natu. His clothes were faded and, in a few instances, ripped. Standing next to him was a Pokémon, a purple-and-gray shadow which seemed to be regarding Casey somehow. And then there was the whole matter of the wheelchair.

    In general, just the sort of thing that makes one stop and wonder, “What happened?”

    Of course, Casey did just this, but after a second he shook it off and hoped that he could ignore it for the duration of whatever horrendous battle was to ensue. He was also vaguely aware that Kaeo looked concerned, though for what reason was uncertain… was the Psychic-type reading his mind?

    “Challenger,” rasped the creature which was just barely recognizable as a human being. “Kh.”

    “W-what?” Casey swallowed his stutter, but regardless his adversary caught on to it.

    “I’m expected to recite a little speech to you now,” he continued. “It will explain all about how wonderful the Gym is and how I feel absolutely sanctified to have you in my pitiful presence. It will then go on to explain that I’m going to put all of my being into our battle, that I will do my very absolute best, that I expect you to do your very absolute best, etcetera etcetera etcetera. None of it will be true, and it will only serve to postpone the inevitable and make all of us feel ridiculous.” His scowl darkened further. “For that reason, I will condense that speech for both of our benefit.”

    Casey nodded. He… didn’t feel so awesome about this fight anymore.

    “I am the other Gym Leader of Raxi City, the one everybody knows nothing about and distrusts by default. You will ask no questions, and I will answer no questions. I train Psychic-types, and in the unlikely event that you defeat me, I dispense the Midlight Badge. My name is Rodney. I don’t care about yours.”

    Registering these fragmented sentences, Casey nodded again. “Right.”

    Casey was not previously aware that it was physically possible to Death Glare through a pair of sunglasses. He was proven wrong.

    As if on cue, a man with rather large glasses walked out of a side room. “He actually managed to get past Pumipuyu?” the Gymkeeper observed with some surprise.

    “Evidently.” Somehow, this served as a cue for Jordan to stop making conversation and do what he was supposed to. He did so, and turned to Casey with a much more personable expression than his boss. “Hello again, challenger. This will be a three on three fight, with all Pokémon within the battling ring counting as one of the three. Any Pokémon switched out constitutes as a faint. Do you agree with these terms?”

    “Yes… I do.”

    “Fine.” Jordan turned on his heel and walked to the appropriate referee position. “Then the battle may commence.”

    Without skipping a beat, the first Pokémon of the evening entered the field; a tall green bird, with multi-colored wings and large eyes. It actually bore a striking resemblance to the shrunken version now sitting on Rodney’s head, which led Casey to the conclusion that it was an Evolution of some sort. Well, it made sense, at least. This in mind, Casey decided to combat fire with fire and sent out his own flight attendant: Honchkrow.

    Rodney snorted in irritation. “Now how did I know that was going to happen,” he said drily. “You people are pathetic.”

    Caro, in the beginning, had raised eyebrows at the theoretical type immunity Dark had to the Psychic attacks that Xatu probably had in spades. Of course, he deflated again when Xatu’s eyes glowed a bright blue, and other lights of various colors began shining off of its body. Honchkrow didn’t look happy, but it took to the air anyhow, regarding Xatu with a sort of inferiority which had just been stomped on but remained legitimate.

    The move was Miracle Eye. Xatu knew to use it… without his Trainer saying a word. Some sort of code language?

    “Krow,” said the great dark bird.

    Caro winced.

    Casey thought for a moment and then said, “Um… Faint Attack?”

    One could practically hear Rodney willing himself not to wheel over to the wall and bash his head against it.

    Honchkrow, on the other hand, was happy to mow down the funny bird in front of him. He slipped quietly up to the Xatu, looking calm as one could in the middle of a Gym Battle, and suddenly launching a barrage of dark energy directly into his enemy’s face. Xatu hopped back in surprise, covering its face with large multi-colored wings, but the damage was done.

    “Now then,” said Rodney in obvious mockery of a conversational tone. “Let’s get this over with.”

    Xatu opened its wings, and this time its eyes were once again glowing blue. There was no visible change or shift for a few seconds, and then Honchkrow suddenly had a sort of mini-spasm, twitching violently and eventually glowing blue as well. It flapped its wings frantically, but to no avail – Xatu had complete control over its motions, and the Mystic Pokémon simply stood there, looking up at it. Honchkrow cursed in the Murkrow dialect, and it was a doozy.

    So much so that Xatu looked mildly unnerved for a second, but quickly regained its hold once it sensed Honchkrow struggling to get power over himself once again. Xatu couldn’t let him escape the Psychic – once again played without a command. There was clearly something in Rodney’s bitter commentary tipping his Pokémon off.

    “Slam it around, I don’t care,” said Rodney with a hint of aggravation in his voice. “Didn’t I tell you already that you didn’t need to wait for me to do things like that?” Xatu didn’t make a futile move trying to respond, but instead commenced to do just what it was told to – Honchkrow went soaring to the left. With a flick of its wing, Xatu watched stoically as the Big Boss Pokémon was slammed into first one wall, then the other, then the ceiling, then the floor. Then the first wall, and the second, then directly into a corner, then slung across the room…

    Casey didn’t particularly want to focus on the screeches of pain that his Pokémon was giving off, so instead he looked somewhere else. Unfortunately, that somewhere else happened to be Rodney, who was drumming his fingers impatiently – and wasn’t regarding Honchkrow at all. Instead, it was Natu who followed the Pokémon’s path through the air, and even the young Psychic-type watched blankly.

    It was then that Casey noticed something might be wrong with this picture.

    Regardless, Honchkrow eventually was thrown to the floor, Xatu having become tired of tossing him around like a rag doll. He skidded for a while before coming to a halt, and it became obvious that the Pokémon had fainted a while ago. Casey returned it without a word, but merely with a rather unpleasant glance in Rodney’s direction.

    He still looked bored.

    “Having fun?” Rodney asked.

    “No,” replied Casey icily. “No, amazingly, I’m not.”

    “How terrible! Maybe sending out the next Pokémon will ease your pain?” His expression darkened once again.

    Despite the insolent overtones, the young Gym Leader had a point, and so Casey held up his next Pokéball and tossed it onto the field. “Larvitar, use Dark Pulse.”

    The small green dragon did just that, sending a visible wave of its own twisted thoughts hurtling towards Xatu. The Pokémon once again put its black wings up over its face, but this time the attempt failed; it couldn’t take the super-effective attack, and eventually it crumpled to the floor on its own time. Rodney didn’t say a word as he returned the Pokémon, but it was obvious that he was grinding his teeth.

    Casey smiled. Maybe while he had Larvitar around there was some hope of winning the fight.

    The purple-and-gray shadow slipped into the relatively bright lights of the battlefield, and it was revealed to be – of course – a Grumpig, looking rather displeased with itself but a Grumpig nonetheless. It worked without any sort of speech from Rodney… this was getting just slightly confusing.

    “Larvitar, use Thrash!”

    The small dinosaur gave a triumphant “Lar!” and punched the air a few times – for good measure, you’ll understand – before dashing madly towards the Grumpig, who seemed to be in defensive position already. It wasn’t the best possible shot for making a good long impression, but at the very least he would be able to get an attack in now. Casey watched as Larvitar continued to patter threateningly forward, little sparks of light following as it got ready to pummel the Psychic-type into next week.

    It was then that Casey learned how to skewer a Larvitar.

    Larvitar stopped mid-stride. A second later, out from the Pokémon’s back came a white spear of light, which had in actuality passed right through the Rock-type. As Larvitar staggered to the side, Casey noticed that the Grumpig had ducked its head, and now that the damage from the Power Gem had been done it was straightening up and back to its initial position.

    “Ack!” muttered Clyde.

    Caro huffed. “This is not cool. Casey must have fallen into, like, sixty traps by now!”

    “Yes, well,” said Jordan indifferently. “Welcome to the Raxi Gym.”

    Kaeo, on the other hand, was watching the fight with a somewhat concerned expression on his face. He had picked up on what was going on, and it was now a matter of determining whether he would be able to get the message across to Casey without being intercepted.

    While the Drowzee tackled its own difficulties, Larvitar hopped back up. Casey could see now that full-on physical attacks were obviously not the route he should be taking… but even then, Larvitar only had one move that didn’t fit the criteria, and that was a new one he had only just taught to Larvitar by way of a Technical Machine. Even so, it might be able to turn the tides – or at least postpone the inevitable. Casey’s mouth tightened into a line.

    ‘Alright then,’ he thought. ‘You can just have a taste of…’

    “Okay, Larvitar! Use that new TM we got, To… uh, what are you doing?”

    The Grumpig had its arms spread wide, forehead gems glowing. It was obviously concentrating hard on something. The relevance of the move was entirely lost on Casey, who figured that it was Light Screen or Barrier… but those shouldn’t affect a move like Toxic! The Gym Leader was obviously too learned to try using a move like that, especially after he had seen the purple gunk ball forming in Larvitar’s hands. Even so, the challenger decided that it probably didn’t matter too much anyway. So he let his Pokémon get on with the attack.

    “Now! Fire it!”

    Larviar pitched the gunk like a baseball towards the Grumpig and its barrier. The Pokémon stood up straight again, having finished its protective measures, and merely stood there blankly as the ball flew towards him. Casey crossed his arms and smiled smugly; this Rodney kid had obviously given up and was now trying all sorts of stupid attacks looking for something that would work.

    “You really are full of yourself, aren’t you?”

    While Casey was busy stroking his ego, Toxic had been continuing to make its way towards the opponent. But now that he looked again, the purple orb was gliding in exactly the opposite direction; i.e., directly back at Larvitar. Casey could only watch in confusion as the ball ‘o slop drenched his Rock-type, clinging to his armor and seeping into the soft skin below. The Pokémon sent him a death glare from over his shoulder for even daring to make him use such an attack.

    “Sorry?” said Casey weakly. ‘What on Earth was that?’

    “You couldn’t recognize that move at all?” hissed Rodney. “You must be some sort of imbecile…!”

    Casey figured that he was already dead meat and might as well get some information out of it, so he said, “Um… what was that attack you just used, then?”

    “That was Magic Coat, idiot,” the Gym Leader grunted, looking steamed just for having to stop the battle to explain what had just happened. “You know that Toxic you just used? It’s a status move. Take a wild guess what Magic Coat does, why don’t you.”

    “It… deflects status attacks?”

    Rodney whipped out a hand and pointed in Larvitar’s general direction. “Hello? Your Larvitar just got badly poisoned, moron!”

    “So it… redirects status attacks?”

    Rodney facepalmed without skipping a beat. He muttered a long sting of words which, judging from their intonation, were not pleasant, but eventually reality seemed to catch up with him. He looked up, looking not at all pleased with the general situation, despite the fact that he was sweeping the floor (which most certainly did need a good sweep) with Casey.

    “Yes,” he said slowly with a lot of compressed rage in his tone. “Yes. It redirects status attacks. And if you’ll recall what Toxic does, then within eight turns your Larvitar will be defeated… assuming I don’t do that first.” The Grumpig lurched into motion again. From its gems came another beam of light, hurtling right towards Larvitar. Of course the small dinosaur prepared to take the brunt of the attack.

    And it did. But when that happened, Casey merely said, “Rock Throw.”

    Larvitar, who didn’t have any rocks on hand, merely settled for the sand that was trickling slowly out of its body. The sand stream grew faster until there was quite a mound in front of him, and when that happened Larvitar merely pointed at it and said “Lar lar!” Using some kind of mystical Pokémon power, the sand hardened back into its original form: a pointy spear of rock. Larvitar then turned back to the Grumpig, who didn’t look happy.

    The rock flew swiftly towards him, and was just about to hit him in the chest when the Pokémon disappeared.

    He had been recalled.

    “Pokémon two on the Leader’s side has been recalled!” bellowed Jordan from the sidelines. “The Gym Leader is now—”

    “We know that!” The response was unanimous.

    Without another word Jordan got up from his seat, prompting a curious glance from Caro, and walked blankly out of the room into another door. It was done as if he knew what he was supposed to be doing without it being told – or screamed, as the case may be. This belief was reinforced when he returned, walking beside an old friend from floors past. One half of this newcomer looked around nervously, while the other looked like it wanted nothing more than to nom on Jordan’s head.

    “That’s the…” began Casey.

    “…Pumipuyu,” finished Rodney. “Yes.”

    The two-headed Pokémon regarded Casey in various different ways, as was to be expected for a creature with that amount of heads. The smaller, jittery head (referred to as Head A for future reference) was glancing confusedly between the two Trainers, presumably searching for a way to get out without further agitating the other head (this head shall referred to as Head B) and ignoring the fact that the two unfortunate bodies appeared to be joined at the hip.

    It stood there, shooting glares and demented smiles of various frequency at Larvitar. That is, it did that until some mysterious power reminded it that it was in the middle of a battle, and it fired a very dirty-looking wad of energy towards Larvitar. It didn’t need to be ordered to begin setting up a sand wall around it, but alas, it didn’t have time to harden and the Shadow Ball simply passed right through it. Just to rub it in Larvitar’s face, the sand splashed all over said face while the Shadow Ball set to work wiping out the rest of the Ground-type’s energy.

    Larvitar fell to the ground, mouth gaping open.

    “Hm,” said Rodney disinterestedly.

    Casey frowned – no matter what clever code messages this kid used to order his Pokémon around, it didn’t hide the fact that he was a jerk in a major way or that he would need to go down in defeat if Casey intended to get his Gym Badge in the next year. So he recalled Larvitar and sent out his final competitor – the newly evolved Poliwhirl, and the only conscious Pokémon who hasn’t been banned by Gym rules.

    Instead of ordering an attack, Casey turned to Jordan and asked, “May I have a time out, please?”

    “Go ahead,” the ref called back.

    Rodney “Kh!”d angrily.

    Casey crossed his arms, taking a good look around at the battle and its surroundings. The lighting was hardly enough for him to see, even with his hair pulled out of his face by the gravitationally rebellious hairdo. This brought him to his first point: it must be darn near impossible for Rodney to see anything wearing those sunglasses – and the hair over them as well. And yet he was able to tell when Honchkrow was sent out, and what species he was, before the Pokémon had even said a word.

    So he must be seeing through something else… like, say, the inconspicuous little ball of feathers atop his head? It had to be the Natu, or some other Psychic Pokémon in the building (Psychic-types were the only ones able to connect with humans on a psychological level, and vice versa – this Casey knew from a riveting discussion with Sheridan a while back). Kaeo was sitting there… but he wouldn’t allow a stranger into his head. And even Casey knew that all of his Pokémon were liable to faint at any time, so he would have nothing supporting him in the interlude between battles.

    Unless, of course, the Pokémon wasn’t used in battle at all and just stood there. Was it hiding somewhere in the rafters of this cavernous place? Casey began to glance around again, particularly up into the ceiling, but the answer soon became apparent to him; said answer was standing right there, just a short way across the field. It was small and green and had a big red feather sticking out of its head.

    So he was using Natu.

    ‘Good, one problem solved,’ Casey told himself. ‘There’s now two goals left to accomplish: figuring out how to exploit it, and why.’

    Well, why indeed… he could just take off those stupid sunglasses at any time and the entire deal would be foiled. Though if he was going to take them off later, why were the things on at all? Unless—

    Casey stopped his train of thought right there. This was mostly because Rodney’s expression had changed again, and it was not for the calmer. So instead of following that unfortunate thought bunny, he reverted his brain to working on the other problem. This worked a lot better, and the beginnings of a plan soon became apparent to him. Casey would work everything else out after he reassured himself that he was the only person in his head.

    ‘Kaeo,’ he thought as forcefully as he could in the Drowzee’s direction. ‘Cover me, won’t you?’

    The Pokémon brightened up; he really did seem to have figured it out on his own. There was no need to convey the plan now, so Kaeo merely followed his instructions and set up a mental barrier around Casey’s side of the field.

    Almost immediately, Rodney’s expression soured further (if that was even possible). “What?” he rasped.

    Casey smiled and thought, ‘I caught you.’

    But of course, his opponent didn’t hear it.

    He watched, wearing that half-smug grin of triumph, as he sent still another thought in Kaeo’s direction. ‘Kaeo, I need you for this.’

    ‘Hmm?’

    ‘I’ll give the attack order to you, and you’ll give it to Poliwhirl, all right?’

    ‘Poliwhirl is only a Water-type.’

    ‘Well, he can still get the messages, can’t he?’

    There was silence from Kaeo; he was apparently thinking it over. Finally another response came in, and with this one was a feeling of satisfaction, excitement almost. ‘Yes. Yes, I suppose she can.’

    ‘Good! Tell her to use Hypnosis.’

    Kaeo apparently delivered, as Poliwhirl only took a second to look back at him curiously before returning to the task at hand. Her eyes began glowing a pale blue – not blinding, but enough so that her pupils and whites couldn’t be distinguished from the other. Pumipuyu Head A had been watching Poliwhirl the entire time, and so found itself unable to look away from the sleep-inducing effects of Hypnosis. Head B, on the other hand, had been wandering his eyes around, having lost interest in the battle.

    By the time Head B realized the attack was going on, it was over, and with just a few body movements Head A was shaken into awareness again. The two took a battle stance, Head A having apparently grown a spine since drifting off.

    Unfortunately, the other Pokémon in Rodney’s arsenal did not have that luxury.

    Though of course human beings were unaffected by the Hypnosis rays, they could certainly feel them, in the form of a faint tingling in the back of their minds. Rodney had obviously picked up on this faint tingling, for his expression had changed yet again. For a second the thought crossed the challenger’s mind that maybe he had done something wrong, skipped a step, anything that could give this twisted Gym Leader an advantage…

    …but then Rodney became aware of a weight in his lap, and Casey knew that he had everything squared off.

    “What…” spluttered the Gym Leader amusingly, apparently unable to finish his sentence. Though it was not from rage; the anger that had been bristling around him like a physical fog had all but disappeared, and by now he looked precisely like what he really was – a thin and crippled teenage boy.

    Oh, wait, there went the fog again.

    “JORDAN!” he boomed, more than loud enough for the Gymkeeper to hear from his place next to Clyde, Kaeo, Saffron, and Caro from the stands. The aforementioned members of the Groupie Galaxy all started at the sudden noise, but Jordan didn’t flinch in the least.

    “He’s… he’s… the challenger has been using Pokémon outside of the battling ring!”

    Jordan bit back the obvious and more satisfying remark that was pushing at his brain, and instead delivered this shard of truth: “Ah… that rule is null and void in this Gym. I think we both know who we can thank for that.”

    He looked like he was enjoying himself immensely.

    This only enraged Rodney further; but of course, he could do nothing but scream, and after letting out a roar he returned his focus to Casey. “You know what? Fine. Fine! You only have one Pokémon lef! Even after your juvenile stunt I can still beat you!”

    Casey crossed his arms and said nothing, wearing that same smile of triumphant New-Casey-Logic that had been gracing his features for the last few minutes. He didn’t say anything.

    “Well? Don’t just stand there! ATTACK!!”

    “It’s your move,” offered Casey pleasantly.

    “You know that I can’t do that!”

    “Oh really?” Casey uncrossed his arms, putting them at his sides. “Why is that?”

    “Because Pumipuyu is ASLEEP!”

    The last word echoed throughout the stadium, causing massive confusion for the majority of creatures in the room. Pumipuyu, because both heads were obviously not asleep, and Clyde, Saffron, and Caro, who weren’t following at all. That left four people who understood – Rodney and Jordan, who had known since even before the battle began, Kaeo, who had realized it soon after, and Casey, who was calling him out on it.

    And, in proper call-out fashion, he pointed one gloved finger in the ragged Gym Leader’s direction. Though of course he could not see it.

    “I got you!” he began. “That was impressive there, I gotta admit. Very clever and stuff like that. But I still got you.”

    “What are you—” Rodney seemed to realize mid-sentence what was going on, and this stopped him cold.

    Casey pulled down his arm. “Now, I don’t understand your reasoning behind doing this even with all those complications, and I don’t think now is really the time to ask you. But I also don’t think it’s something that really needs to be taken advantage of, and I’m not going to let you get completely frazzled trying to find out what’s going on. So I’ll tell you now: Pumipuyu is awake. The brown head told the yellow head to wake up, and it did.”

    “Why does he need to tell him that?” muttered Clyde to the hoodie-clad youth beside him.

    Caro, who had seen what was going on (if only vaguely), continued to blink at the events transpiring on the battlefield.

    “And with that,” the challenger concluded, “I’m afraid that you’re kinda in the dark.”

    This left the Gym Leader speechless for quite some time, a feat which Jordan would later recall Casey fondly for (among other things). But finally he collected his bearings from receiving all these mixed signals at once, and Rodney said something that hadn’t come out of his mouth in a very long time.

    “…Okay. Fine. The battle continues.”

    Casey smiled. And though his blind adversary didn’t know that had happened, just for a brief shining moment the corner of his mouth twitched as well.

    And then it was gone.

    “Poliwhirl, Body Slam.”

    The Water-type didn’t need to be asked on why she had gotten her orders verbally, nor did she want to hear it. Instead, she fired herself towards Pumipuyu, each footfall sending dust up into the air as she grew closer to the Psychic-type. It didn’t have time to respond, and both Trainer and Pokémon knew that; so Rodney remained silent as Head B turned to absorb the brunt of the attack, being the larger and more muscular of the two.

    “Psychic!”

    While Poliwhirl was still inches away from the tip of Pumipuyu’s muzzle, the Pokémon glowed a bright blue, and Poliwhirl was slung right back to her starting position. The attack had been an effective one, even if there had been no walls involved. But Poliwhirl brought herself to her feet for the next command. At the words ‘Mud Shot’, a thick spray of gunk was sent hurtling for Pumipuyu, who in turn used another Psychic to fling it back at Poliwhirl.

    Casey, being Casey, told Poliwhirl without hesitation to make a bigger Mud Shot and sent it at the first one.

    This, she did.

    Pumipuyu received the attack directly to the face, and being unable to absorb the blast of two attacks at once, shook for a few seconds and fainted.

    At this point, the little green ball of feathers still sitting in Rodney’s lap stirred back into motion. Upon realizing what had just transpired, the Natu gave a chirp of alarm and quickly righted herself on the head of her owner.

    Jordan stood up. “The Gym Leader’s third Pokémon has been defeated! Victory goes to the challenger!”

    Casey nodded to the Gymkeeper and began walking across the battlefield, recalling Poliwhirl with a smile and a “Thanks” as he went. About halfway across, he became aware of a small object flying in his general direction, and he quickly and instinctively reached up to catch it. The object was obtained right before it was to hit his forehead – it didn’t even occur to him to make a parallel to the whole Rotom Pokéball fiasco – and upon taking a good look, he found it to be an octagon with a raised center.

    He thought he saw a small blue glow flare around it, and then turn off.

    “The Midlight Badge,” called Rodney from across the room.

    Casey smiled. “Thanks!” With that, he took a step backwards and turned around, his intention being getting to the door without being attacked by anything. Sadly, this was not to be.

    Without warning, Casey suddenly became aware of somebody placing their full body weight on him, and a few seconds later he heard the excited cry of the culprit. “THAT WAS AWESOME, MAN!”

    Caro was hugging him. Tightly. Of course, when he realized what he was doing, the sixteen-year-old squeaked in embarrassment and hopped off of his traveling companion, firing apologies a mile a minute.

    Casey started laughing. “Hey, it’s alright…”

    “Well… well, whatever!” proclaimed Caro loudly. “We should get moving! Um… yeah! We need to go! That’s what we should do!” And without another word, he grabbed Clyde by the arm and pulled him out, grinning like a maniac. Casey turned around and shrugged to Jordan, who was now standing on the floor of the battlefield. He noticed that Rodney, once again, was frowning – at first, Casey assumed it was just his crabbiness returning after the fight had ended, but he then noticed a few important differences. It wasn’t a scowl or a death snarl, the two default expressions that Rodney seemed to wear.

    “Come on, Casey, we gotta go!”

    He didn’t get more than a second to see it, but as Caro came back and dragged Casey along too, he could have sworn that the blind Gym Leader looked kind of sad.


  3. #103
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    {31} casey and the amazing mirror

    The room was decently lit, but it still managed to convey an uncomfortable feeling for the three people currently going through the proverbial shredder.

    “Well, Miss Solana, see,” offered one of them, a woman with brown gravity-defying hair and a rather tight catsuit under her BDV stake-out cloak. “We were doing our best, you know, to get the notes back. But that refugee and his friends… well, they keep evading us.”

    The other two – a man with green, rather feral-looking hairspikes, and a Delcatty – nodded in agreement.

    “Oh, right, they kept evading you.” Solana, a rather plump woman of around twenty-eight and dressed in gray, leaned back in her chair. Only a desk separated the two parties, but Billy, Kidd, and Aerith would swear that it was the single most intimidating desk they’d ever seen. “Of course. It must be so dreadfully difficult to catch a spineless Grunt, two blathering children, the only Pokémon hunter on Earth who doesn’t like conflict, and a lazy musician. You three have really got your work cut out for you.”

    The trio was silent.

    As was Solana.

    Finally, she seemed to grow bored of the trio’s badly-suppressed squirming, and continued. “We asked you to do something very simple: reclaim the first set of notes. We don’t need them anymore, per se, but they are definitely to be kept secret. And according to your latest reports, they seem to have lost possession of the notes.” Solana’s expression was not inspiring. “Is this true?”

    “…It is,” said Kidd, a tad uncertainly.

    Solana nodded to them in the same way a sadistic trigger-happy Honchkrow nodded to his underachiever of a lackey. “Well, as you can plainly see, you three are failures. Dupes. Botch-ups. But unfortunately, we’re required to keep two of you around…” She glanced to Aerith and Billy. “…and somehow I doubt the third has anywhere else to go.” Kidd gulped. “You three are stuck here, and the Boss isn’t going to tolerate anyone lying around in a prison cell while they’re still capable of getting work done.”

    All three of them nodded uncomfortably.

    “Which is why we’re allowing you to try again with the meddling brats. It’s also why you’ve been sent to this base, considering it is the closest to where they are.” The way Solana put this out made it sound like she was grudgingly doing the three a favor – and she was. “However, we also want to ensure that you don’t get… distracted again. I have decided to assign another person with you three on this mission. Consider it a make-or-break. If you succeed, and your accompaniment agrees that you have pulled your weight, then you will be forgiven and sent back into the force. If you fail, well… expect to take quite a few liberties in your future.” Her expression turned from the evil deadpan to a similarly evil smile.

    “Y-yes, Miss Solana,” the three stammered in unison. Including, amazingly, Billy.

    “Goooood.” Solana pressed her gloved finger on a nearby button and spoke into it. Soon after, the door behind them slid gracefully open, and in walked a man wearing the BDV underling’s uniform. The helmet visor was down, shielding the top half of his face.

    “…But Miss Solana!” exclaimed Aerith as soon as she saw him. “He’s only a Grunt!”

    The Grunt in question looked down at her, his mouth never turning from an expressionless line. He easily topped six feet, with an utterly chilling presence about him that dwarfed even Solana’s.

    “This one is relatively new, yes,” said Solana. “But he is more than capable of handling the likes of you. Despite your ranks as agents, I expect him to be treated as an equal.” They hastily nodded in agreement, which brought a smirk to the woman’s face. “Good. I’ve already given instructions to our friend here, and he should be able to explain them to you. I expect preparations to begin immediately. Are we clear?”

    All four BDV underlings nodded.

    The Grunt turned on his three comrades. “My designation is 507786,” he remarked. “Follow me.”

    And they did, right out of Solana’s office.



    With the relatively catastrophic events of the Raxi City Gym well behind them, the Groupie Galaxy set off for their next adventure. Namely, the city of Sigma, nestled comfortably on the side of an ominous giant volcano (dormant, thank you very much, the townspeople weren’t that stupid). It had clearly taken its toll on the nearby ecosystem – the dirt all around was reddish and dry, and only hills of the same coloring managed to break the monotony.

    Regardless, this wasteland was the place that they would all discover a number of interesting and quite alarming things… in due time. Before they could do that, however, the merry band of travelers would need to get some other minor difficulties out of the way.

    These ‘minor difficulties’ included the small matter of crippling migraine headaches.

    “Are you sure you shouldn’t have, y’know, seen a doctor or something before we left?” asked Saffron uncertainly, quite concerned for the wellbeing of her pipe-wielding companion. Grant seemed strangely sure of himself today, a strange parallel to the unusually empathic Mime Jr.

    “Yes, I should be fine,” he stated. “Really.” Though her uncharacteristic concerns were rather irritating after prolonged exposure, Grant didn’t feel that he really needed to complain about it – after all, at any given time of his life before the past few months, he would have called himself delusional to have someone fuss over him like that. Though he wasn’t at all aware of it, the man’s expression soured as he walked, and yet nobody bothered to point it out. This was primarily because they had moved on to another distraction.

    “…Hey!”

    Without any prior warning, Rotom had stopped his cheerful orbit of the group. This was strange enough as it is, but just to make everything that much better, the small Pokémon immediately began drifting slowly in another direction, his face(s) totally blank. Casey didn’t notice soon enough to grab the Ghost-type out of thin air, and once anyone had noticed, Rotom was flying too high in the air for any of them to reach (even the towering Clyde).

    “Rotom, come back here,” called Casey. “We’re not going… there.” He couldn’t make out what exactly the Pokémon was heading for, but it most certainly wasn’t their next destination.

    The little orange ball paid him no mind.

    Shooting a confused glance with Caro (who shrugged), the redhead set off after his Pokémon, of course leading the others to follow suit. Eventually, though, they became aware that the nearby area had become somewhat brighter due to some unusual force – whatever it was, they certainly couldn’t see it. But Rotom floated on, out of any of their range, and calling him back soon proved to be fruitless. It was at times like this when Casey really, really hated himself for…

    …well…

    …how had Rotom lost his Pokéball again…?

    Shaking the thought out of his head, Casey decided that he really didn’t need to concern himself with that right now; currently, the most important problem was the fact that his Pokémon was floating off into the dark unknown without any emotion or hesitation whatsoever. Casey wasn’t sure which part of that scared him more. Regardless, they continued to follow the little creature.

    Eventually, though, they were forced to squint.

    Standing in front of them was some giant wall of light, sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow but unfortunately in too close proximity to admire. After Casey had moved directly out of the beam, he realized that it was in fact coming from a… mirror.
    In the middle of a volcanic wasteland.

    Well, okay.

    Rotom made a soft mumbling noise and continued to proceed towards the mirror. ‘What does he think he’s going to do with it?’ wondered Casey, not knowing whether he should be concerned or not at the sheer randomness of the situation. ‘It’s not as if Rotom cares a whit about what he looks like…’ Casey found himself incapable of finishing the sentence, as right before his eyes the mirror proceeded to swallow Rotom.

    Alright, so it didn’t swallow him per se, but Rotom simply moved directly into the mirror as if entering a vertical wall of water. Without any hesitation at all, Casey hopped in after him. He wasn’t quite sure if the others had followed suit, but to be honest, his mind soon moved on to bigger things – such as the fact that he was now being sucked into a bizarre rainbow vortex following after a deranged Pokéball.

    From behind a rock there could be heard the sound of snickering, and the three BDV agents ran off to regroup with 507786.

    He had been standing behind a larger rock (there wasn’t a lot of hiding places to choose from in the middle of a desert, after all), and when they came up to him, it took a few seconds to pick him out from the shadow of the thing. He was apparently quite good at hiding.

    “Now we follow them, right?” asked Aerith.

    507786 took his time staring at the mirror they (mostly he) had rigged up using a number of frazzled Mismagius. Eventually, though, he bothered to respond. “Yes. Now we follow.” And with that, he walked over to the mirror (which had now reduced itself to a pleasant glow) and tapped its surface with one finger, immediately sucking himself in after the Groupie Galaxy.



    Once everything had slowed down to a pace where Casey could open his eyes without feeling nauseous, he looked around. The place he had landed in looked something like the Route he had been in earlier, but it was considerably more mountainous, with many caverns popping up. Not to mention the fact that at this point, the volcano appeared to be… active… oh dear. Casey nearly walked into a stream of lava that crossed directly over his path – not a good end to the adventure, to be sure.

    “Guys?” he called nervously. “Anyone here?”

    No response.

    “Um… hello?”

    Again, nothing.

    “Darn it,” Casey muttered, looking around. “Caro? Sheridan? Anyone?”

    His response was the sound of flowing lava. It was not a pleasant sound.

    Great. Now he was alone in this volcanic wasteland, without even Rotom for company – and it was unlikely that anyone else in his party would want to come out to this rather ugly environment anyhow. He would just keep them inside their Pokéballs until some understanding could be made. Giving a rather defeated sigh, Casey continued to walk, only stopping when he saw something small and black on the path in front of him.

    Upon further inspection, it turned out to be a Pikachu, albeit one with glowing red eyes and black fur. The unPikachu looked up at him silently.

    “Er… hi, there,” offered Casey competently.

    The Pikachu snarled and gave him an electric shock. This Pikachu’s electricity appeared to be blue instead of the usual yellow, noted Casey before he received the (relatively weak) blast. Stunned, Casey took a step backwards – it was all he could do to keep himself from tumbling into the dust. Meanwhile, the Pikachu hissed menacingly at him and darted off to some unknown destination.

    Once Casey had regained full mobility of his limbs, he attempted to chase after the unPikachu, but found that it was not where he had assumed it had been. There was no evidence that the little creature had been there at all. Thoroughly confused but not seeing any reason to dive deeper into the mystery, Casey continued on his way. If there was any luck left, he would be able to find someone he knew wouldn’t attack him… at least they would be together then.

    And then, somewhere from the east, he heard the sound of a drum.

    Rather confused at the presence of a drum in the middle of this wasteland, Casey followed the steady beats, which every so often deviated into another song. Casey didn’t pretend to know much about instruments, but when he wasn’t attempting to locate the music that had somehow veered him off track, he was kind of enjoying it. The player was good.

    Finally, behind a rather large boulder, Casey thought he had the noise cornered. With catlike tread he peered over the side of the rock, trying to get a good look at what was making the noise, mind already whirling on who it could be. One of his friends? Another person here? Some kind of Pokémon…? He pushed his head in farther; he could only see the drum itself, not the person playing it.

    Suddenly, the object and the noise disappeared, and a gruff voice demanded, “Who’s there?”

    Casey promptly lost his balance and fell.

    Sufficiently startled, Clyde hopped up from his previous spot, with his ashiko drum shoved back into Hammerspace. Upon realizing that the facefaulting intruder was in fact his ‘friend’ Casey (Clyde refused to think of them as friends, even now), he relaxed – if only slightly – and slowly walked forward. He decided to ignore the fact that Casey would likely look up to find a six-foot-tall gorilla of a man who he wouldn’t be able to identify from that vantage point.

    Casey did just that.

    “…Ack!” Only after he had put some space between himself and Clyde could he see the man’s true identity, and once that happened, Casey attempted to get to his feet while trying to retain the few scraps of self-respect he still had.

    “So this is where you went off to?” asked Clyde, arms crossed. “…Whatever. At least you’re alive.”

    “Same. Good to see you.”

    The ex-Go-Rock Quad nodded. “You alright? Rotom ran off, I guess, but is everything else in order?”

    Casey nodded. “I think so. You?”

    His expression hardened; evidently, Clyde hadn’t checked this himself. After shoving his hand into his pocket and feeling around for a second, the thirty-year-old nodded, signifying that he was in fact clear as far as possessions went. Instead of responding immediately, Clyde began looking around, clearly not amused with the place they had landed in now. “…So. You got any idea where we are?”

    “Not in the least,” deadpanned Casey. “Apparently a place with demonic Pikachus in, but that’s all I got.”

    He received a funny look for his trouble.

    “…Right,” said Clyde. “Have you at least made an attempt to… you know… get out?”

    “Into where?” responded Casey, gesturing to the volcanic wasteland surrounding them both. “I don’t see any other magic mirrors around here, do you?” And he was right; there were actually no magic mirrors to be found in the immediate area.

    “Magic mirror.” Clyde didn’t look amused. “You think we got here by way of a magic mirror.”

    “Well… yes?”

    Clyde snorted. “You’re such a kid sometimes. There’s no way we could have been brought here by a mirror. Even I know that mirrors don’t do that. We probably got caught by a Kadabra that knew Flash or something.” From the expression on Casey’s face, he remained unconvinced, but he didn’t pursue the subject any longer.

    This was mostly because a third figure had intruded on their little meeting, and it wasn’t another member of the Groupie Galaxy. Mostly.

    The newcomer had the stature of a preteen, but was dressed in a black hooded robe that covered his face. Despite this, a few spikes of black hair managed to poke into the air from under it – and more importantly, sitting on its shoulder was a smug-looking black Pikachu.

    It took a few seconds for Casey to notice him, but once he did, the whole situation changed dramatically.

    Pulling his hood back, the shadowy boy showed his face – and, more importantly, his distinctive hairstyle. Beneath the hood was jet black hair, divided into two distinct clumps of spikes. One of them hung from the bottom of his head, tilted slightly to the right, and the other stuck out at a ninety-degree angle from the left side. Casey would have recognized that ‘do from a mile away, and the presence of a little electric rat only made the similarity more striking, but… there was a problem. He had a serious face on, almost a scowl.

    Ash never scowled.

    Happy day!


  4. #104
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sword Valley
    Posts
    437

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    *blinks* huh? You're NOT dead?

    Aaaaanyway, either my memory is going bad or... but when did Ash appear? *gets confusified*

    A mirror made of Mismagius? Never woulda thought of THAT... on the other hand, Mismagius Mirror! Yay!
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Never-Turn-Back
    Posts
    362

    Default

    No, hilariously, I am not dead. Just... severely lacking in the writing department. XD And the mirror wasn't physically made of Mismagius... they just got their otherworldly power forced out of them or... something. I don't pretend to understand 507786's trains of thought. ._.


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