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Thread: Chronicles of Unova (PG-15)

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        Spoiler:- Author's Notes:


    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 7: Adventures in Castelia City

    “There it is, kids! Castelia City!”

    David, Bianca and Cheren sat in the cab of a semi-truck, speeding along Skyarrow Bridge. They were heading quickly into Castelia City, driving through the famous bridge in light traffic. The city stood like a fortress, surrounded on all but the northern side by the ocean. Its high towers and skyscrapers seemed to jut straight out of the ground, rising proudly against the ocean swells. Five piers extended to the south, giving the city a footprint like a bear’s paw. It was the largest urban area in the world, rivaled only by Johto’s Goldenrod City and Unova’s own Nimbasa City. It was the hub of all trading and commerce in the civilized world, billions of dollars flowing through its businesses and corporate headquarters each year. It was the jewel of the Pokémon world.

    Skyarrow Bridge was not without its own grandeur and splendor either though. The Unova region extended south from one unified landmass in the far north and split into three peninsulas: Eastern, Central and Western Unova. Their hometown of Nuvema Town was the southern-most city in Eastern Unova, and they had slowly been trekking north. Upon reaching Nacrene City, their journey began to turn and they started heading west into Central Unova, leaving the eastern peninsula behind. The peninsulas were connected by a network of six bridges: Western Unova was connected to Central Unova by the Driftveil Drawbridge in the south and Tubeline Bridge in the north; Central Unova was connected to Eastern Unova by the Route 10 Bridge in the extreme north, Village Bridge in the lower north, Marvelous Bridge in the center, and Skyarrow Bridge in the south. Their trek across Skyarrow would put them in the southernmost point of Central Unova: Castelia City. Of the six bridges, Skyarrow was the longest and most grand. It was a suspension bridge with two large spans spreading across the water. It stretched for miles, providing the easiest and most direct means of entering and exiting the city.

    The sky was gray and had been threatening rain all day. In the distance, thunder and lightning lit up the sky, but for now the storm was still out at sea. The weather was chilly and the wind was brisk as the urban metropolis slowly changed from summer to autumn. The group arrived in the city and bade their new friend good-bye.

    “Thanks for the ride, mister!” Bianca said as she hopped down from the cab.

    “Oh, don’t’cha go mentioning it now, missy. I try to help out Pokémon trainers whenever I can. Reminds me o’ my own youth, hahaha!” the grizzled truck driver said with a hearty laugh. Bianca closed the door and waved as he drove off, honking his loud horn in acknowledgement.

    “What a nice old man.” she said cheerily, turning to her friends.

    “He kinda smelled like old fish…” Cheren said under his breath.

    “Jesus, you could complain about anything, couldn’t you, Cheren?” Bianca replied.

    “Someone could hand you that Lugia you always wanted on a silver platter and you’d complain it wasn’t gold.” David said, playing off Bianca’s lead and ribbing Cheren. Bianca laughed loudly. She seemed to be catching onto David’s meager advances at times lately; David worried that maybe he should rein it in, lest she suspect something. She never seemed to shy away though, so maybe this was a good sign. He was still unsure of what he fully thought of her though, let alone what she thought back. David longed for the days when Bianca was just another kid and he didn’t have to deal with this crap, even if there was a particularly large potential pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

    “Skyarrow Bridge has a pedestrian section, we could have walked. I just didn’t want to sit next to the Human Fish Warehouse for half an hour if I didn’t have to.” Cheren jabbed back.

    “Yeah, okay, that’s cool, Cheren, you go ahead and walk across Skyarrow Bridge with that storm coming in. We’ll stay dry, thank you.” David said back.

    “Whatever…” Cheren said, and began walking off through the city.

    David and Bianca shot each other a smirk, laughed, and the two began following him.

    * * *

    The group walked through the busy city streets, droves of people walking alongside them; the people all seemed to have somewhere to be, someone to talk to and something to eat that was all much more important than anything anyone else beside them had to do. It was a striking difference from the humble country folk of Nacrene and Accumula. The group was being bumped and pushed with every step and could hardly stay together. They certainly couldn’t hear each other over the drone of the people, so Cheren motioned toward a restaurant they were passing and ducked into it.

    “Man, what a bunch of self-important blowhards.” David said as they walked in. “I get businessmen being in a hurry if it is adversely affecting their company’s profit, but can we leave business in the businesses and act like real people if you’re just trying to get somewhere? I felt like I was about to get stabbed at any minute.” he continued.

    “You’re one to talk, David!” Bianca said, laughing. “You’re a big guy and you spent all that time back in Nuvema Town learning how to actually fight when we were younger; you proved that back in the Dreamyard. I’m a blonde girl and half your weight. How do you think I felt?!” she continued, chuckling.

    “What about me, Bianca? I’m not a girl.” Cheren said.

    “You might as well be.” David replied under his breath.

    OOH BUUUURN!” Bianca said, doubling over laughing.

    “Geeze, what is this, the pick-on-Cheren-hour?” Cheren said, folding his arms.

    “Aww, are we hurting your widduh fweelings?” David said. “You want me to buy us some ice cweam?”

    “One, screw you, but two, Castelia City is actually famous for its ice cream. They’ve got this restaurant called Castelia Cone that is known all around the world for its hand-churned ice cream. It’s said to even cure the wounds of Pokémon.” Cheren said back.

    David cleared his throat and pointed up. Cheren stepped back onto the sidewalk and read the sign above the restaurant they had ducked into: “Castelia Cone”

    “You know what? …I hate you guys…” Cheren said dejectedly. Bianca put her arm around David to support herself and laughed heartily. The group walked in and went to the counter to order.

    * * *

    Across the restaurant, two men sat with dejected looks on their faces. Small bowls of ice cream sat on the table between them, untouched and slowly melting. One of them reached for his spoon and fiddled with the flip of his frozen treat, but did not eat any. The other sighed.

    “McCartney, we haven’t had a successful job in ages. Ever since those stupid kids stopped us back at the cave, it’s just been one failure after another. I still support the movement whole-heartedly and I’m committed to it, Pokémon should not be under the control of us humans, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe Team Plasma itself is what’s screwed up. The whole bureaucracy of it all…” Lennon said. He had a tired tone in his voice.

    “I wouldn’t go that far, Lennon, I still think the organization is sound. But the movement’s never going to work if guys like us steal random Pokémon and set them free though. The power and influence the Sages wield is a valuable asset to our cause, but they never seem to use it. I’m still waiting for that one big strike to really get the ball rolling.” McCartney replied.

    “Yeah, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen. The Sages seem pretty committed to the way things are going now. I guess it’s just up to us to keep stealing Pokémon and setting them fre- …oh Arceus…” he said, stopping his train of thought short.

    “What? What is it?” his partner replied.

    “Be cool, man, be cool. No sudden movements, but guess who just walked in?” Lennon asked.

    “Lord Ghetsis?” McCartney answered excitedly.

    “Ye- wait, what? No! Those kids, McCartney, the kids from Wellspring Cave! They just walked in and they’re at the counter!” Lennon replied, whispering under his breath.

    “What?! They are?! What the hell are they doing here?!” McCartney stammered.

    “Shh! Keep your voice down, damnit. Don’t blow our cover.” Lennon said. “Here, use this and see for yourself, carefully.” He slid a menu over to his partner and McCartney held it up in front of his face, looking slowly behind himself.

    “I’ll be a Mankey’s uncle… it is them. What should we do?!” he whispered excitedly.

    “I tell ya what we’re gonna do, McCartney, we’re going to lay low and not draw attention to ourselves. If those kids recognize us, they’ll let the whole damn city know. Let’s just stay cool and see what they do.” he replied.

    The pair slouched in their seats and tried to act calm, blending into the crowded restaurant. Across the room, the group was just finishing ordering.

    “And what would you like, miss?” the young woman behind the counter asked.

    “Umm… I guess I’ll have the blueberry, please.” Bianca replied, putting a slender finger to her lips.

    “You two go get us a table, I’ll get the tab.” David said, waving his friends away. Bianca and Cheren left and sat down, leaving David on his own.

    “Hey uh, can you do something for me?” he said quietly to the server. “Can you make hers with two scoops? It’ll just be a little surprise.”

    The young woman smiled and piled an extra ball of ice cream into the cone, filling it to the brim and then some. She slid the three cones into the tray and handed them to him as David put the money on the counter. David nodded a “thanks” and walked over to his friends.

    “Alrighty, we’ve got the ball-of-crap flavored one for Cheren…” David said, handing one to Cheren.

    “David, it’s chocolate, stop being a prick.” he replied angrily, but this only made Bianca laugh again.

    “…the peanut butter cup one for me…” David said, setting his own cone down.

    “…and the blueberry for Bianca.” he continued, handing the last one to Bianca and sitting down.

    “Oh, wait… I think they made a mistake, David, this has two scoops.” Bianca said, concerned. “I thought I only ordered one.”

    David smiled to himself and took a bite from his cone. A big smile spread across Bianca’s face as she realized what had happened. She looked down at her lap and blushed, muttering a small “thank you” under her breath. David didn’t speak, but his smirk grew bigger, continuing to stare at his ice cream. Cheren looked between his friends and sighed, taking a bite of his own. “Barf…” he said under his breath.

    “David? Is that you?” they heard a man’s voice say from behind them. “Oh my gosh, it IS you! Hi!”

    The group turned and saw the imposing figure of Burgh walking up with a young woman in tow. He pulled up a chair from an adjacent table and sat down.

    “Hey buddy, how’s it going? Welcome to Castelia!” Burgh said excitedly. “I see you found our world famous Castelia Cone!”

    “Oh, hey Burgh. Fancy running into you here. You remember Cheren and Bianca, right?” David said, shaking Burgh’s hand as he sat.

    “Oh of course! How’s it going, kids?” he continued, still speaking excitedly.

    “We’re fine, Burgh, thank you. How are you doing?” Cheren replied.

    “Oh I’m just fabulous as always. I got all the inspiration I needed from my last trip to Nacrene thanks to you guys, and my painting is coming along super!” he replied. The girl he was with coughed politely and he turned to face her.

    “Oh my gosh, I’m super sorry, I totally forgot! Everyone, this is Iris. She’s the apprentice of the Opelucid City Gym leader, Drayden. She’s here visiting me.” Burgh said.

    The girl was dark skinned and had enormous purple hair. She had large eyes, but all her other features were comparatively small. She wore a tan gown with matching leggings and a large pink bow was tied around her skirt. She had a grin like David had only ever seen on Bianca before. She raised her outstretched hand and waved.

    “Hiya guys, I’m Iris. Burgh was just showing me around town. I’m normally a bit of a jungle wild child back in Opelucid, so this big city is so new and exciting. I’ve only been in town a day and I’m already meeting lots of new people.” she said.

    “So David, are you feeling excited for our Gym battle? We can do it later today if you want.” Burgh said.

    “Wow, that’d be great, Burgh. The sooner the better I guess.” David replied.

    “Oh this is going to be great! Three challengers in one day… I hope I’m stocked up on badges!” Burgh said.

    “Gee, Burgh… you sure seem more… ‘energetic’ here than you did back in Nacrene.” Cheren said.

    Burgh chuckled to himself loudly at the thought. “I go back to quiet little Nacrene to relax and get away from the big city. But when I’m here, it’s always ‘Go! Go! Go!’ You’re right though, I can be a little more open and loose when I’m here; Castelia is my home.” Burgh replied.

    David and Cheren were finishing the last of their ice cream, but Bianca still had most of hers left. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and put it to her stomach, slouching.

    “Oh man, I don’t know that I can finish all this. This ice cream is so rich.” she said.

    “World famous local specialty!” Burgh piped up.

    Bianca took out a Pokéball and opened it. Zubat flew out and landed on her shoulder, screeching happily and shining in the light.

    “You want to help me finish this, Zuzu?” Bianca said, offering the rest to her Pokémon. The Zubat screeched with joy, slowly working away at the berries and cream before it.

    “Oh wow, Bianca, that’s a really pretty Pokémon!” Iris said. “Where’d you find him?”

    “I met him in Wellspring Cave. Cheren says his coloring makes him really rare and valuable.” Bianca replied, patting Zubat on the head. It was devouring the ice cream rapidly, happily digging deeper and deeper into the cone. The small group continued talking and fawning over Zubat, but across the room, Lennon and McCartney began to stir.

    “Lennon, you see that?! That girl’s got a shiny!” McCartney whispered excitedly. “That’s got to be the rarest, most valuable Pokémon I’ve ever seen!”

    “I know, can you believe it?! That poor creature shouldn’t be getting fed ice cream from that twink girl, it should be famous and getting treated like a celebrity! That’s the kind of Pokémon we need in Team Plasma.” Lennon replied.

    “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?” McCartney replied.

    “Yeah, I sure am. Let’s get out of here and get our uniforms on.” Lennon replied. The pair rose and casually left the restaurant.

    * * *

    A while later, after they had finished their food, the group’s conversation again began to drift back to the Gym.

    “Well, you guys want to go on over to the Gym now? We can have our battle right away!” Burgh said.

    “Sure, that’d be great, Burgh. Oh, and hey Cheren?” David replied.

    “Yeah?” Cheren said lazily.

    “First dibs.” David shouted quickly.

    Cheren leaned forward quickly and started to speak, but Bianca beat him to the punch. “Second dibs!” she shouted, laughing to herself at Cheren’s defeat. Cheren sat back in his chair, scowling at his friends and folding his arms. Burgh and Iris laughed and waved for them to follow them to the Gym.

    Outside, Lennon and McCartney stood in the alley, waiting for them to pass. Lennon began to speak.

    “Alright, McCartney, you know the plan, right? I make a distraction, you grab the Zubat, then we split up and hightail it back to the base, got it?” he said.

    “Got it. We’ll complete our mission for the glory of Team Plasma!” McCartney shouted.

    “Okay, okay, keep your voice down… here they come…” Lennon replied.

    Thunder crackled as the group walked out of the restaurant and down the street; the storm was starting to come into port and strike the city. Zubat was still perched on Bianca’s shoulder, unaware of the danger. The pair moved into position and began their strike.

    Lennon dashed in front of them and ran to the other side of the road. He picked up the lids off some trash cans and began beating them together loudly. When the group turned to look at him, McCartney ran up from behind. He put a hand over Bianca’s mouth, stifling a scream, and grabbed the Zubat. A bolt of thunder boomed as he took off, illuminating the street in a blinding flash. He shoved her and began to run down the street, deeper into the city center. Lennon dropped his lids and started to run the other way, toward the wharves and down the adjacent street. Bianca fell into David just in time for him to turn and catch her. He helped her back up, realized what had happened, and took off after McCartney. The rest of the group took off after him a second later.

    McCartney ran as fast as he could, holding his new treasure tightly. Zubat struggled to get free but couldn’t. It bit down into McCartney’s gloved hands and he winced.

    “Zubat, hey, stop that! I’m trying to help you!” he said under his breath.

    STOP! THIEF!” David shouted, chasing after him. The people he passed in the streets heard him and turned to look, but none heard in time to stop McCartney as he ran. The throngs of people eventually became too great and David lost sight of him, unable to catch up. David kicked at the ground frustrated and waited for his friends to catch up.

    “David, what happened? Where’d he go?” Burgh shouted as they ran up.

    “Lost. The crowd was too thick and he got away… this Goddamn city and its self-important bastard citizens…” he said as he sat down on the corner. He was mad at the crowds for slowing him down, but he was more upset at himself for not being able to push through them. He had let Bianca down…

    “David, you did your best. Thank you for what you did. None of us even realized what had happened by the time you took off after him.” Bianca said, kneeling next to him and putting her arm around him. He looked at her, her concerned face frowning a terrible frown. Tiny tears began to well up in her eyes and he turned away. Sad over losing Zubat or sad over how he felt, he didn’t know nor care the reason why; he just knew he never wanted to see that look on her face again. He shook off her arm and stood up, putting his hands in his pockets and turning away. The group grew somber, the crowds of people continuing to swarm around them, unaware of their plight. Above them, the thunderstorm had reached the city and it began to rain. The downpour was instant and heavy, drenching them as they stood in silence. They were lost like spirits in the uncaring and soulless city.

    * * *

    McCartney ran with all his might. He pushed onward to the Team Plasma base, trying to put the pain Zubat was inflicting to his hand out of his mind. The crowds began to thin as he went deeper into the city, and he looked around to make sure he wasn’t being followed. He wasn’t, so he slowed to a walk, casually strolling through the city, looking for the base. Suddenly, he heard a voice speak from behind him.

    “McCartney.” Lennon said.

    “Wah! Geeze, Lennon! Don’t scare me like that!” McCartney said, almost jumping out of his skin. “You’re gonna give me a heart attack.”

    “Sorry. Come on; let’s get out of the rain. The HQ is right up ahead.” Lennon replied.

    They continued walking down the street, trying to stay in the shadows so their uniforms wouldn’t give them away. A handful of the people they passed turned their heads, but none stopped them. They eventually came to an office building, completely ordinary and like any other, and went inside. They walked up to the counter and spoke to the receptionist there.

    “We need to speak to a superior. Is there anyone here who can receive us?” Lennon asked her.

    She pressed a button on her desk phone and began to speak into it.

    “I need a supervisor in the lobby, please. Official request.” she said. She waited for a reply and then continued. “Yeah, hey Ben, this is Mary down in the lobby. I’ve got a couple of guys here who need a supervisor. Can you send someone down? …he’s what? …he’s here? …oh definitely, he’d be great. Thanks.” She hung up the phone and turned to look at the grunts.

    “Looks like you two are in luck. Bronius of the Seven Sages is here and will be coming down shortly to receive your request. I hope you guys have something important to show him…” she said, turning back to her computer.

    Lennon and McCartney turned to look at each other, smiles creeping along their faces. They thanked her and sat down in the lobby.

    “We just scored a shiny Pokémon and we’re about to give it to one of the Seven Sages?!” McCartney said excitedly, still holding the tired Zubat. “Lennon my boy, I think our luck is about to change.”

    A few moments later, the elevator doors opened and an elderly man stepped out. He was dressed much like Gorm had been in Pinwheel Forest. As he stepped out of the elevator, all the grunts bowed their heads and turned to face him. He approached Lennon and McCartney and began to speak.

    “You have something to report, noble operatives?” he said in a booming voice.

    “We do indeed, my lord. We have liberated this, a shiny Zubat, from an incompetent trainer here in town. We present it to you to determine how we shall proceed.” McCartney said, presenting the Pokémon to Bronius.

    Bronius adjusted his spectacles and looked at the tired Pokémon. It had been fighting to break McCartney’s grip the entire time and was too worn out now to fly away. He shone in the bright lighting of the room, its mossy green body complementing its fleshy pink wings. A bolt of lightning struck as Bronius began to speak.

    “You have done well, my servant. Team Plasma thanks you, this newly freed Pokémon thanks you, and soon, the world shall thank you. You both shall be promoted at once for this.” he said.

    Lennon and McCartney turned to look at each other, grinning huge grins. Maybe their luck really was changing…

    * * *

    The group walked down the street in silence, reaching the Castelia City Gym at last. They looked up at its splendor through the rain but felt nothing. It was a beautiful building with a façade of stain glass artwork Burgh had designed, but to the depressed group, it was just another soulless building.

    “This is such a bummer… I don’t even feel like battling anymore…” Burgh said, dejectedly.

    “I don’t even think I can anymore, Burgh. I was counting on Zuzu’s Flying type attacks to beat you. I don’t know that I can do it with just Pachirisu.” said Bianca, tears welling up in her eyes again. She was soaking wet from the downpour and frozen to the bone.

    “It’s alright, sweetie, I’ll battle you any time you’re ready.” said Burgh sympathetically. David felt sick; he must care about her more than he thought to be so emotionally invested though, it occurred to him. As they stood in the rain talking, David looked down the street and saw something. It must have been a hundred feet away, his vision obscured by the heavy rain, but he still saw perfectly clearly. He could feel his rage building as he looked on.

    “What is it, David?” said Burgh, noticing David’s stare. David stood still, the rage rising up within him. He shook in fury; he clenched his fists, grit his teeth, and took off running headlong at what he saw.

    “David, where are you going?!” Burgh shouted in shock.

    David was tall and could take massive strides when he needed to. He ran as fast as he could, taking three to four foot steps with each push. The cold air stung his eyes, the rain drenched his clothing, freezing him to the bone, but he didn’t care and kept running. The man he had spied saw him coming and doubled back in shock. David drew near and leapt into the air; he brought his fists up and then launched the blow with all his might. His knuckles struck the man squarely in the jaw, knocking him to the ground and landing in a puddle. He was dressed in the garb of a Team Plasma grunt. As David landed, two more ran out from inside. David pivoted to face the new enemies and threw himself at the nearest one. He grabbed the man with both hands by the collar and pinned him to the wall.

    WHERE ARE THEY, YOU SCUMBAG?! WHERE ARE YOUR STUPID GODDAMN FRIENDS WHO STOLE HER POKČMON?!” David shouted at the man. He tried to struggle free but could not break David’s iron grip.

    David caught a glimpse of the other man coming towards him out of the corner of his eye and spun away. The Plasma grunt threw his arm toward David in a loose and uncontrolled punch, but David had moved and the man fell over himself from the momentum of the clumsy strike. He fell into his partner, knocking them both to the ground.

    “David, what are you doing?!” Burgh yelled as the rest of them ran up.

    “They’re Plasma grunts! They’re all in here!” David shouted. His friends quickly understood what was happening.

    Inside the building, Bronius was congratulating Lennon and McCartney on their work. Seeing the scuffle outside, the pair ran out to see what was happening. They stepped into the street and saw three of their comrades laying on the ground in defeat. David turned to face them and recognized their faces.

    YOU TWO!” he shouted. “YOU’RE THE ONES WHO STOLE IT!

    Lennon and McCartney looked at each other in surprise and terror and instinctively drew their Pokémon. They threw out Trubbish and Boldore, as Lennon’s Roggenrola had evolved, and the Pokémon stood ready to defend them.

    Burgh and Iris began to draw their Pokéballs but David had already gotten Munchlax out. He shouted to it, “Munchlax, use Earthquake!”

    It leapt into the air and crashed back down with tremendous strength. The ground shook and did terrific damage to both of the opposing Pokémon, the Ground type Earthquake being very effective against both the Rock and Poison type opponents. McCartney’s Trubbish was knocked out instantly, but Boldore’s Sturdy body let it withstand the hit. It stood, barely, and awaited its trainer’s command.

    “Ack! No! Boldore, use Rock Blast!” Lennon shouted. It launched the flurry of stones towards Munchlax, but he was as enraged as David, fired up by his trainer’s passion, and dodged each one with grace atypical of his species. David ordered it to use Body Slam and it leapt into the air, landing on the opposing Boldore and KOing it. Lennon and McCartney both took steps back, unable to defend themselves a mere minute after they had put themselves into harm’s way.

    David ran up to Lennon and grabbed him by the collar. He pinned him against the wall and shouted again “Where is it, you scumbag?! What have you done with Zubat?!” Before Lennon could answer though, he heard a voice speak from inside the building.

    “That will be quite enough of that, young man. There will be no need for further violence. Come inside out of the rain at once and we’ll discuss this like civilized adults.” said the man. David turned, rage burning in his eyes, to see who would dare interrupt him at a time like this, and was taken aback by what he saw. Standing in the doorway, calmly staring at him with contempt and smug superiority, was Ghetsis himself. Ghetsis turned and slowly walked back into the building.

    David released his grip on Lennon and backed away, still glaring at him. The pair nervously gathered their fallen comrades out of the rain and followed Ghetsis. The whole group, including Burgh, Iris, Bianca and Cheren, walked into the lobby and faced off.

    “Well, young man, something has certainly sent you into a veritable tizzy. You physically attack three of my men and harm the Pokémon of two more in front of our headquarters?” Ghetsis asked him. “What have we done to deserve such behavior?”

    “Tell me, Ghetsis…” David spat with contempt, “…is stealing Pokémon from girls and then feigning innocence the ‘civilized adult’ thing to do?”

    The guards all moved angrily and uneasily towards him upon such brash use of their lord’s name, but Ghetsis silenced them and smiled.

    “We do not ‘steal’ like common petty thieves, my boy, we liberate Pokémon from those who cannot properly care for them. Your friend…” pointing to Bianca, “…could not possibly take proper care of such a rare Pokémon as this.” Ghetsis said, motioning to a grunt. The guard stepped forward, holding the unconscious Zubat in his outstretched hands.

    Zuzu!” Bianca shouted, but Iris put a hand on her shoulder and stopped her.

    “And what makes you think you can decide who is and isn’t capable of raising a Pokémon?!” David shouted in rage. “What makes you the arbitrary judges of whether a Pokémon is happier with its trainer or in the wild? What makes you above the law to say your stealing is different than that of ‘petty thieves?’” he continued. The venom and rage dripped from his voice and it reverberated around the room, bouncing off the walls and echoing.

    “My boy, I remember you from the speech I gave in Accumula Town a few weeks ago. Don’t you remember my words from that day? We of Team Plasma seek to create a better world for the Pokémon of this planet; one that is free of the tyranny and oppression of humans. As the old adage goes, ‘you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.’” Ghetsis replied.

    David started to speak again but Burgh spoke up before he could say anything. He stepped forward calmly, putting a hand on David’s shoulder and said “If I may… I’d like to interject something here.”

    David lowered his shoulders and Burgh nodded to him. He continued, “I was there that day in Accumula Town too. I was visiting friends and just happened to be passing through the park during your speech. I did listen to your words and I took them to heart. Your speech moved me and it made me reconsider my relationship with my Pokémon friends. But I didn’t reach the same conclusion as you; in fact, I reached quite the opposite. You asked what our responsibilities to these wondrous creatures was, and while you drew the conclusion that it was liberation due to our own shortcomings, I drew that it was to better ourselves and make an existence with humans better for the Pokémon. I vowed to be better than I already was to my Pokémon partners, and I have already seen results. If you have a machine and a piece isn’t working, you don’t take that piece out of the machine and hope the system as a whole still works; you try and fix that part of the machine and understand that all the pieces work together for the greater good.” he said.

    Burgh stepped back and stared at Ghetsis, a look of hope and sympathy spread across his face. Ghetsis lowered his head and stroked his beard, considering the Gym leader’s words. After a moment of silence, he began to speak and pace.

    “In my attempts to create the world for Pokémon that I seek, I brought together many of the brightest minds of our time. I crafted my council of elders, the ‘Seven Sages of Team Plasma.’ These men represent the best and brightest of our organization and help me to attain that end goal.” he said. “I respect people with intelligence, although, perhaps in hindsight, putting our headquarters just down the street from a Pokémon Gym was an unintelligent thing to do…” he said, shooting a look at Bronius. Bronius put his hands beneath his cloak and looked to the ground in embarrassment. Ghetsis continued, “…putting that aside, however, you have demonstrated good intelligence and reasoning here today, Gym leader, and I respect you for it. Though I still agree with my original conclusion, I can understand how you drew yours. As a sign of goodwill towards you, I will return the stolen Pokémon.”

    Ghetsis indicated to the grunt holding Zubat to move forward and give it back to Bianca. Lennon and McCartney stood dumbstruck as they watched their golden ticket to success slip away. The grunt was apprehensive, but gave the little bat back to its trainer. Bianca stepped forward and timidly took her Pokémon back, mumbling a frightened “T-t-thank you…” as she received him.

    Ghetsis closed his eye and smiled. He continued to speak. “Although I recognize you as an intelligent adversary, you are still just that: an adversary. Do not think for a moment this will change my views on our end goal; I still seek to create that perfect world for Pokémon, void of any human control. But I recognize now that brute force…” looking at David, “… is not the way to achieve it. Team Plasma operatives shall no longer steal Pokémon from trainers in an attempt to liberate them, so I decree. Instead, we must focus on changing the hearts and minds of trainers around the world, and convincing them to willingly release their Pokémon. We have a difficult task ahead of us, but with intelligent and reasoning people in the world like you, Mr. Burgh, I know we will be successful.”

    As he finished his statement, he looked at the receptionist across the room and mouthed something to her. She saw his gesture and flipped a switch on her desk. The lights began to dim and smoke began to pour into the room.

    “I’m afraid we must take our leave now, Gym leader. This headquarters shall be sold and we shall never return to it again. It was foolhardy to move in here in the first place, but true stupidity would be to stay once we have recognized that mistake. You have won this battle, and I congratulate you for it, but we shall win the war.” Ghetsis said calmly. By the time he had finished, the room was flooded in complete darkness and the smoke cover was very thick. They couldn’t see anything and choked on the noxious fumes. When the lights came back on and the smoke had cleared, all the Plasma members were gone.

    David stood, his fists and teeth still clenched. They had gotten Bianca’s Pokémon back, but Ghetsis had made a fool of him in front of her. He vowed he would stop Team Plasma some day, once and for all.

    “Well…” Burgh said with a sigh, trailing off.

    Outside, the rain was letting up and they began to walk silently back to the Gym. The sun was beginning to shine through the gray clouds, illuminating the city. It sparkled in the light, a glittering jewel of a city, but all that glitters is not gold. They prepared themselves for their Gym challenges and entered the building.

    * * *

    “This will be a 1-on-1 Pokémon battle between David of Nuvema Town, the challenger, and Burgh of Nacrene City, the Castelia City Gym Leader.” Iris shouted. “Each trainer will be allowed two Pokémon. I will be the judge of this match, and shall determine when a Pokémon is unable to continue. Everybody ready?” she continued, smiling during the last sentence. Burgh and David nodded, and the battle began.

    “Whirlipede, come out, my friend!” Burgh shouted. He threw his Pokéball into the field and a massive Whirlipede came out, landing on the ground with a resounding “thud!” It screeched menacingly and stared at David, rolling gently back and forth in anticipation.

    “Are you ready to go, Paula?” David thought to himself.

    “Yes, master.” she replied calmly. He took her Pokéball from his hip and threw it into the air to oppose the Whirlipede. She landed gracefully, singing a beautiful, clear note as she landed.

    “This should be a good matchup.” Cheren commented to Bianca. “Whirlipede’s Bug type attacks will be very effective against Kirlia since she’s a Psychic type, but Kirlia’s Psychic type attacks will be equally effective against Whirlipede since it is part Poison. They both have a type advantage over each other.” The Pokémon stood, sizing each other up, and waiting for their trainers to call out commands.

    “Paula, use Double Team!” David shouted. Paula sprang into action, creating many illusory copies of herself and surrounding the Whirlipede. It calmly stood still and looked around itself, sizing up the fakes and trying to determine the real one. The copies all closed their eyes and began to hum, concentrating and calming themselves in preparation to attack.

    “Whirlipede, use your Screech!” Burgh shouted. Whirlipede took in a large breath and began to cry, emitting a deafening whine. The copies all grasped their ears and slowly began to fade as Paula’s concentration broke. Eventually they all faded from view and the real Paula appeared, standing just to the side of the massive bug. Her Defense stat had been lowered and she was vulnerable to attack.

    “Excellent, now use Bug Bite!” Burgh commanded. The Whirlipede bared its fangs and leapt to attack. Paula shook off the disorientation from the Screech but stumbled as she saw it jumping towards her.

    “Paula, get out of there! Teleport!” David shouted. She shut her eyes tightly and vanished just as the enemy Pokémon landed where she had been. Whirlipede ate the dust and shook off the recoil as she appeared behind it; it turned for another strike, now facing its opponent on even footing. David commanded for Paula to use Confusion and the two forces met each other in midair. The giant bug was sailing through the air, baring its fangs and hissing menacingly at Paula as it moved in to strike; the blast from Confusion flew out from Paula’s body, rushing to meet its foe and protect her from the attack. When the two forces met, a massive explosion sent dust and debris flying; David and Burgh had to shield their eyes, unable to see the outcome of the struggle. When the dust settled, both Pokémon lay on the ground, unable to continue the fight.

    Iris spoke up, “Both Pokémon are unable to continue. The score is 1-1, with each trainer having one remaining Pokémon. The battle will be decided by the next round.”

    “Are you alright, Paula?” David thought, but she was already gone. He returned her to her Pokéball and refocused himself back on the fight. He drew Munchlax’s Pokéball and sent it flying out to the field.

    “Munchlax, go!” David shouted. Burgh responded with his final Pokémon a moment later.

    “Leavanny, please help me, my old friend!” he shouted. A tall, limber Leavanny leapt from the ball and struck a fighting position opposite David on the field. It brought its blade-like arms to bear and slashed them down powerfully and defiantly, breaking the air as they went. Iris looked at the two trainers to make sure they were prepared and then shouted for the match to begin.

    “Leavanny, use your String Shot!” Burgh commanded. Leavanny shot a thin, sticky string from its mouth toward Munchlax. It coated the little Pokémon, immobilizing it as it struggled to break free. Munchlax wriggled desperately, but couldn’t break the bonds. It slowed Munchlax down considerably and prevented the use of his arms.

    “Munchlax, try a Body Slam!” David shouted. Munchlax scuttled along, waddling more so than usual without the use of its arms to steady it, and leapt into the air towards Leavanny. The foe’s Leavanny was much too quick for the slow little Pokémon now though and it nimbly sidestepped, Munchlax landing like a sack of bricks to the ground. Munchlax rolled itself over and tried to stand, but couldn’t. It was stuck on its back, helpless.

    “Leavanny, use Slash.” Burgh said calmly. Leavanny struck quickly and decisively, swiping at Munchlax’s confined body. David ordered for Munchlax to hit back with Crunch, but snap as he might, he couldn’t bring his neck up far enough to reach the Leavanny’s body.

    Leavanny got careless and let its tail get too close to Munchlax’s snapping mouth. It took a mighty bite down and snapped at its hanging tail. Leavanny hissed in pain, rearing back and glaring at the still bound Pokémon lying on the ground. Burgh ordered it to finish Munchlax off with Bug Bite and it flew towards its opponent, passion burning in its eyes.

    David began to call out a command to his Pokémon, but he realized Munchlax was doing something on its own; a red energy was slowly starting to glow from beneath Munchlax’s bonds, smoking and burning away at them. David recognized Munchlax had a plan and shouted out to it.

    “Munchlax, it’s up to you!” he yelled. As the Leavanny drew close, Munchlax burst free from its bonds, breaking them with a mighty Fire Punch. It let Leavanny come and smashed into it with its inflamed fist. The Grass/Bug type Pokémon was sent flying back, taking severe damage from the flaming blow and landing with a resounding “thud!” Munchlax had revealed that it knew Fire Punch!

    Leavanny struggled to rise, but couldn’t. Burgh called out to it, but it was to no avail. Leavanny lifted its head slightly off the ground, trembled, and then fell back down, unable to continue. Iris called out “Leavanny is unable to battle. Munchlax and David are the winners!”

    Munchlax seared off the rest of its bonds and ran toward David, arms held wide. David bent down, not wanting to repeat his mistake from the Nacrene Gym and try to lift the heavy tike, and embraced his Pokémon on the ground. He took a handful of kernels of food from his bag and threw them into the air. Munchlax opened his mouth wide and caught each of them, chewing happily to itself and shouting an excited “Munch!

    Burgh recalled his Pokémon with a smile on his face and walked out to meet David on the field. The trainers shook hands and Burgh congratulated him. “You have done, excellent, my friend. You have proven that you are both an excellent battler, and a kindhearted lover.” Burgh said.

    “A what?!” David said, shocked by the last thing Burgh had called him. Burgh laughed and simply said “You don’t hide it well. She knows.” David blushed and looked at Bianca. She didn’t appear to have heard what Burgh had said and was clapping for her friend along with Cheren. David looked back to Burgh and smiled. David had won at the Castelia City Gym!

    * * *

    Later that night, David was lying on his bed in the Pokémon Center, trying to rest. Cheren and Bianca had gone on to win their battles too, each earning their Insect Badges from Burgh. Bianca had managed to sweep Burgh using Zubat’s powerful Wing Attack to make short work of his Bug types; Cheren had skillfully employed Eevee’s raw power and speed with advantageous timing of Wish to secure their victory. They were all up to 3 badges out of 8 at this point; they were making excellent progress.

    David lay on top of his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He couldn’t sleep though and looked at the clock: 10:30pm. He slipped into his shoes and took Paula’s Pokéball off the nightstand. He released her from it and she popped out.

    “Hey, Paula. I’m going to go for a walk, you want to come?”

    “Certainly, master. I love spending time with you.” she replied cheerily. The pair left the Pokémon Center quietly, heading into the damp evening streets.

    The roads were still wet from the storm earlier in the day. The streets were, for the most part, empty now that the sun had set; a stark contrast from earlier in the day when the crowds were so thick you couldn’t even walk through them. David grumbled under his breath at this fact as Paula walked alongside him. The pair walked without a direction, aimlessly going wherever their legs carried them. The crisp air felt nice and stimulated the mind. They eventually reached a very narrow street in the heart of the city and went down it.

    It was practically an alleyway, too narrow to fit a car down and with very few shops along its sidewalks. A flickering neon sign hung from one of the doors. It was flashing slowly in alternating colors, and one of the letters was partially burned out. David stopped and read it: “Café Sonata.” The pair entered and a bell chimed softly as he opened the door.

    The smoky lounge was almost empty. It had old hardwood floors and wood paneling along the walls. Shag carpeting covered one corner, flanked by a couple of old, worn sofas. Cigarette smoke drifted lazily through the air, and the smell of cheap beer and sweat filled the room. A few scattered patrons sat in one corner, drinking quietly to themselves and listening to a man gently strum his guitar from a barstool. The bartender stood behind the counter cleaning a dirty glass with an old rag, a haggard expression in his eyes. David stepped in and walked over to him.

    “Hey, um… I’m not 21. Is it okay for me to be in here?” he asked.

    “You see anyone who’ll stop you?” the bartender responded in a disinterested tone. David took a seat at the bar, Kirlia levitating up to the seat next to him on the left. David looked to his right and saw a man seated a few rows down from him, face down on the counter and loosely gripping a bottle. He was drunk, passed out and fast asleep in his seat. David shook his head and turned back to the bartender.

    “I can’t drink yet. Can I just have a bottle of Quinine water?” David asked. The bartender rolled his eyes and fetched David his drink, setting it down gently on the clean bar. David asked Paula if she wanted anything but she replied that she didn’t.

    David took his glass off the counter and turned around, looking into the empty room. He took a sip from his drink and sighed, looking at all the sadness around him. He spied a large, well worn grande piano sitting on a rug, unattended and with the lid closed. He took another sip as he looked at it.

    “Does anyone ever play that piano, sir?” he asked the bartender.

    “Nah… that poor thing hasn’t been played in years.” the bartender replied, not looking up from his glass. His rag was filthy and he wasn’t really making the glass any cleaner, but he kept it up out of boredom. He continued, “I keep it tuned though. Couldn’t tell ya why.”

    David took another sip from his drink as the guitarist in the corner finished his quiet song. He packed his guitar away in its case and left the bar. David turned back around to the bartender.

    “Do you mind if I play it for a while? I used to play when I was younger.” David asked.

    “Knock yourself out, kid. You can even collect tips if you’re any good.” he replied.

    David finished his drink and set the glass down on the counter. Paula put her hand in his and he helped her down from her high seat as he walked over to it. He sat down and opened the lid, inspecting the well worn keys. They were chipped and scratched, a thick layer of dust on them, but they all still appeared to work. Paula teleported herself up on top of the long back and lay down on her side with her knee bent upwards like an old film actress from the ‘20s. She sang beautiful, clear notes along with the melody David played when he began.

    David pressed one of the keys and it made a sound: C#. He checked the pedals, making sure they still worked too. Satisfied it was all in working order, he began to play quietly to himself.

    [Author’s Note: Sung to the tune of “ˇViva la Gloria!” by Green Day]

    ♫ Hey Bianca, tell me what I ought to think.
    Am I all that you deserve? I’m standing on the brink.
    Your innocence, do you or do you not know?
    The smile I see on your lips, is it just there for show?
    I do my best to stay the course, hoping you will see.
    But it takes just too much force now, you mean that much to me.
    Hey Bianca, is this what I ought to think?
    Should I tell you what I feel? This undying love… ♫


    David finished his song and closed the lid. He looked up at Paula, still lying on top of the aged old piano. She smiled at him warmly. He heard a slow clapping come from across the room and he looked up to see someone standing in the doorway. She stood with her feet together, quietly clapping for his little piece. He blushed when he realized who it was: Bianca.

    She stopped clapping and slowly walked up to him. She sat next to him on the bench and put her hand on top of his on the keys. She turned to look at him, staring straight into his eyes. Her big, bright blue eyes shone in the dim light of the bar, and she wore a calm smile on her lips.

    “That was really nice, David.” she said calmly. David muttered a thanks and she smiled bigger. She put her arm around his back and continued, resting her cheek on his shoulder.

    “I just wanted to thank you for what you did today. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my little Zuzu for good. You took off after that man before the rest of us had even realized what had happened. And then at the headquarters, you attacked those men so fiercely, you were trying to protect Zuzu and I. That was the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Thank you.” she said sweetly.

    She stared into his eyes for a few more seconds after saying this. David could feel a cold sweat break on his brow, and he could feel himself getting warm. Bianca smiled again, then leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek.

    “Thank you again.” she said quietly and stood up, leaving the bar.

    David sat there in shock for several more minutes, staring off into space at the door. Paula quietly watched him, a small smile spread across her face. Eventually, David turned to look at her. She gracefully rose, stretched, and levitated off the piano. She walked over to him and sat down next to him on the bench. She rested her head on his side and he put his arm around her. The two of them sat there until closing time, thinking calmly to themselves.
    Last edited by ChaosBlizzard; 25th November 2011 at 7:44 AM.

  2. #27
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    Geeze, what is this, the pick-on-Cheren-hour?” Cheren said, folding his arms.
    Yes, it is. cause I don't like you.

    “McCartney, we haven’t had a successful job in ages. Ever since those stupid kids stopped us back at the cave, it’s just been one failure after another. I still support the movement whole-heartedly and I’m committed to it, Pokémon should not be under the control of us humans, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe Team Plasma itself is what’s screwed up. The whole bureaucracy of it all…” Lennon said. He had a tired tone in his voice.

    “I wouldn’t go that far, Lennon, I still think the organization is sound. But the movement’s never going to work if guys like us steal random Pokémon and set them free though. The power and influence the Sages wield is a valuable asset to our cause, but they never seem to use it. I’m still waiting for that one big strike to really get the ball rolling.” McCartney replied.
    I like these guys. Reminds me of the members debating their loyalty, and these two are soem of the best personified grunts out there. Rock on. I may have to steal these guys, who knows, I'm no where near that point.

    “David, it’s chocolate, stop being a prick.” he replied angrily, but this only made Bianca laugh again.
    Chocolate is crap? Them's fightin' words. Paula, SIC Em'!

    avid finished his song and closed the lid. He looked up at Paula, still lying on top of the aged old piano. She smiled at him warmly. He heard a slow clapping come from across the room and he looked up to see someone standing in the doorway. She stood with her feet together, quietly clapping for his little piece. He blushed when he realized who it was: Bianca.

    She stopped clapping and slowly walked up to him. She sat next to him on the bench and put her hand on top of his on the keys. She turned to look at him, staring straight into his eyes. Her big, bright blue eyes shone in the dim light of the bar, and she wore a calm smile on her lips.

    “That was really nice, David.” she said calmly. David muttered a thanks and she smiled bigger. She put her arm around his back and continued, resting her cheek on his shoulder.

    “I just wanted to thank you for what you did today. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my little Zuzu for good. You took off after that man before the rest of us had even realized what had happened. And then at the headquarters, you attacked those men so fiercely, you were trying to protect Zuzu and I. That was the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Thank you.” she said sweetly.

    She stared into his eyes for a few more seconds after saying this. David could feel a cold sweat break on his brow, and he could feel himself getting warm. Bianca smiled again, then leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek.
    Cute use for that bar, I love it. Felt a bit randomly placed though.

    Also, a very solid gym battle. A bit short, I would think (not for the games, but for a realistic battle) but very well done, and as others have said, kudos on not making it a knockout skunking.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  3. #28
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    Ok. I have to say this before I start continuing. Green Day and Beatles references? You, sir, have a very good music pool. At least to NACHOE! standards.

    So, onto the review! Sorry it's a bit late; I've been busy this three-day weekend (hooray for having a job).

    I like your geographical description. The way you described the Unova region was actually a really cool way of putting it. Instead of just telling people "this is the map, we go here, here, and here and they all are just there", you explain how everything is connected, and why you go where and such. I don't know if it make sense, but I just like how you described Unova geographically. Most people ignore its geography and just trekk along. (sheepish; my fic does that too. whoops.)

    Cheren's personality is coming along nicely. That whole part where they're talking amongst each other actually seemed really nice. You let them actually be friends, instead of just forcing the reader to assume they travel with each other because they're friends. You let the friendship manifest itself and grow in the story.

    I will admit, sometimes the Bianca and David conversations (in the beginning) felt a little forced. But it's believable, and nicely placed. While I do agree that the bar scene (which was a clever idea) seemed a bit random, it still was ok. Bianca just randomly finding him also stretches it a bit, but it really could happen. I'm not about to go shooting you down for the coincidences that could happen.

    That part was cute, though. Bar scene = favorite part of the chapter.

    I don't know how I should take David's random anger at certain things (artists, busy working people), but I found it somewhat humorous. And it works well with the story; he seems to be the kind of person who has beliefs and holds to them. It fits him as the (assumed) hero counter to N, as well as adds some personality to him. Note to self: Never get David mad at me. It's a bit surprising that you included a more violent side to him, but it definitely seems to mesh nicely with his character.

    He's definitely in his teens though. haha.

    I like the interaction going on betweent he Pokemon. Some of them still seem a bit underdeveloped (Eevee and Pachirisu still seems like a fighting machine to me) but the others are slowly showing more personality, particularly Munchlax (Paula obviously has personality). But since the story focuses more on David, it makes sense for his Pokemon to be the most developed to the reader. But if you're limiting the teams to three, might as well add even a little more personality to the Pokemon. But it's improving, definitely. You're getting there.

    Lenon and McCartney are, like Glover stated, the best developed Plasma grunts I have ever met. Kudos. Their part of the story was actually a nice read. Most stories I tend to read less attentively when the teams are the main focus, but your grunts actually provide something to read.

    Burgh is definitely more flamboyant. I like your reason behind the sudden shift in personality, too. I never would have even caught that.

    And his conversation with Ghetsis was pretty good too. It's fine if you're pulling a chunk of the conversation from the game, but your additional comments are very nice. David should try to control his temper a bit more; he's giving Ghetsis a lot of chances to get him in some serious trouble. It'll be interesting to see what you do with this clash of personality/morals.

    And lastly, the battle scene is pretty good. I think I'm noticing some personality from the Pokemon involved. That's pretty cool (if I'm correct that is. I might be assuming more than feeling). Again, giving the Pokemon involved a little more personality would be a nice step forward, but you're still doing this right. No need to worry too much; it's preference.

    Overall, I liked this chapter. Very nice length; it's a good way to go before classes start. haha. Good job with it. Sticking with this story really wasn't a bad idea after all (honestly I figured that out a few chapters ago). I (have to patiently because you're going to school now) await the next chapter!

    Feel like you need a little more Pokemon in your life? Tune into our show!
    EPISODE 55 - SLOWPOKE HOLIDAY
    Looking for something Pokemon-related to listen to while playing through Pokemon XY? This episode is for you!!
    Released: 12/11/14


    Guess who claimed Luxray?!

  4. #29
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        Spoiler:- Author's Notes:


    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 8: Buried Alive…

    “Alright, guys, I guess this is it. Got everything you need for the road?” Burgh asked.

    David, Bianca and Cheren stood at the northern entrance of the city, their backs to the gatehouse. They looked at Burgh with determination and nodded, smiling. After winning at the Castelia City Gym, they had stayed a few more days, exploring the massive city with Burgh and Iris. Burgh had been a terrific tour guide and David was beginning to feel a connection to his new friend. It was sad to leave, but Route 4 and the next Gym beckoned. David spoke up in response.

    “Yep, sure do, Burgh. Thanks again for your hospitality.” David said. Burgh smiled a proud but disappointed smile and put his arms out. He leaded forward and hugged his new friend, perhaps a little more enthusiastically than David had expected.

    “Take care of yourself, buddy. Keep up the good work.” Burgh said. As he stood back up he whispered in David’s ear, “And take care of that girlfriend of yours, eh?” David smiled and nodded, playing along with Burgh’s quip.

    Burgh turned now to Cheren who was staring fixedly at him. Burgh folded his arms and smiled. Cheren held his hand out for Burgh to shake.

    “Thank you for showing us your city, Burgh. We appreciate your hospitality.” Cheren said very professionally. A curved smile spread across Burgh’s face, amused at Cheren’s rigidity.

    “You’re quite welcome, little sir. I most enjoyed showing it to you.” Burgh replied. Cheren maintained his stern gaze and looked away, putting his hands in his pockets.

    Burgh now turned to Bianca, putting his hands together in front of him and biting his lip. Bianca smiled back and the two friends embraced, both tearing up slightly.

    “Oh Bianca, I’m going to miss you most of all, sweetie! Don’t let these boys get into too big of trouble, okay honey?” Burgh said, laughing to himself.

    “I won’t, Burgh, I promise.” Bianca replied, grinning. Burgh stood back up and wiped his eyes, waving as the group walked off. They walked into the gatehouse and left Castelia City, for good and for bad, behind them. They stepped out into the sunlight and onto Route 4.

    “There go three of the finest trainers I’ve ever known.” Burgh said quietly to himself.

    * * *

    Route 4 was a desert wasteland; arid and dry with perpetual sandstorms blowing across its wide open plains. The transition from the coastal, urban metropolis began as just arid foothills initially, but they quickly reached the desert proper and found themselves wading through deep sand. The sky was clear and blue, the sun beating down powerfully on them like a heat lamp. Sandile rose and lowered themselves from the sand as they walked by and many Darumaka ran and played along the side of the path. It wasn’t, however, so much of a “path,” David thought, as it was a direction. They knew Nimbasa City was somewhere to the north, but the desert was almost entirely void of any kind of landmarks or roads; they simply had to follow the compass and hope for the best.

    “Are we still heading north, Cheren?” David asked. Cheren checked the compass and confirmed that they were. It was Cheren’s compass, so he was the one leading them through the desert; typically David was the de facto leader of the group, but today was Cheren’s time to shine.

    “So where is it that we’re going exactly?” Bianca asked.

    “We’re going to Nimbasa City. It’s just on the other side of this desert to the north. It’s a lot like Castelia in many ways, except that while Castelia is the business capital of the region, Nimbasa is the entertainment capital. There are lot of shows and sports games and stuff like that there.” Cheren replied. “That’s also where the next Gym Leader, Elesa, is. She uses Electric types.” he continued.

    The group continued walking, slowly plodding through the sand and heat. They tread on for what seemed like hours, sweating in the hot sun. David and Bianca followed Cheren blindly, not questioning the direction; for all they knew, however, he could be leading them down a wild goose chase. The sand dunes all seemed to stretch on for miles and seemed to all look the same. Eventually, just as they began to question their fearless guide, they saw something in the distance.

    “What is that?” Bianca asked. “Is that real or a mirage?”

    “Nope, it’s real alright. It’s exactly what we’ve been heading towards.” Cheren said excitedly. In the distance they could see some partially finished construction; large, strong support structures standing defiantly against the harsh sand. None of the buildings were finished and were clearly still under construction, but they were there, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere.

    “Cheren, what the hell are you talking about? Is that Nimbasa City?” David asked in shock.

    “No, David, it’s not. That…” he began to say, but waited to finish his sentence. The group had been walking up a steep sand dune and could only see the tops of the buildings, not the bases or anything around them. As they reached the top of the hill, they could see for many miles around them. They realized the buildings were situated directly in front of a path through some foothills leading farther into the desert. Many miles to the east, however, they could see a small gatehouse leading into Nimbasa City. They were at least a few hours too far west. Cheren finished his statement as they realized this fact, “…is the Desert Resort.”

    Cheren stood proudly with his hands on his hips and a grin on his face. David and Bianca’s mouths were ajar, staring dumbstruck at what they were seeing. Bianca hung her arms and sighed. David put his outstretched hand to his face, looking like he was about ready to strangle Cheren.

    “Cheren… it’s got to be 100° out here, Bianca and I are about ready to drop dead from heat stroke, and you’ve been leading us away from Nimbasa City so you could go look at some historical dig site?” David asked. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kick your Goddamn *** off this sand dune.” he continued incredulously.

    “Oh come on, you guys, aren’t you excited?” Cheren replied. “The Desert Resort is the remains of a once-great capital city of an ancient civilization. An entire underground castle was discovered there! Just think of all the cool artifacts we could see. It’s only a little bit out of the way anyway; trust me, it’ll be cool and worth it.”

    David stared at Cheren with a mixture of pity and disgust, and slowly began walking down the hill. Cheren grinned to himself and followed after him, revitalized by seeing the sight he had so long awaited. Bianca followed after them, still hanging her arms. The group slowly made their way to the construction site and entered the small, winding path through the rocks.

    * * *

    The group had been trekking through the mountain pass for around twenty minutes. The sand and heat was still extremely tiring, but the shade afforded by the tall cliffs surrounding them made the journey a bit more pleasant. They approached the end of the path and saw the desert open back up before them, a vast valley among the small mountains stretching out to the sea. They looked down at it and Bianca began to speak.

    “So this is the Desert Resort, huh? I’d heard of it, but I don’t really know what it is.” she said.

    “The Desert Resort is a famous archaeological dig site that was discovered a few years ago. A crew came to this valley to see if there was anything buried beneath the sand and, low and behold, there was! They discovered an entire castle buried here, and the excavation process is still underway even now.” Cheren replied. “They call it ‘Relic Castle,’ and it’s a bit of a tourist hotspot given how close to Nimbasa City it is.” he continued.

    The group set off down the path into the valley, continuing to head north toward the sea. The valley was surrounded on all but the northern side by the mountains they had passed through, and on the northern side they could see the ocean lapping against the shores. A few boulders and sand dunes dotted the corners of the valley, and two small towers stood opposite each other at the northern end. The group approached the towers, walking toward the excavation crew.

    “Steady with that crane! Don’t hit the tower!” a man shouted. He was dressed in worker’s clothes and was shouting orders to the excavation crews scattered around the dig site. The group walked up to him and Cheren began to speak.

    “Excuse me, sir, are you the foreman of the dig site?” Cheren asked.

    “Huh? What?” he asked, turning around in surprise. “Yeah, I am. Who the hell are you?”

    “We’re Pokémon trainers, sir. We’ve come to see the castle. Is it alright for tourists to go in?” Cheren replied.

    What?!” the man said in shock. “Is it alright for tourists to go in? No! Of course it isn’t! This is an excavation site, kid, it isn’t safe! We’re working with lots of industrial machinery and high explosives trying to uncover more of the structure; we can’t take on the liability of tourists running around exploring, especially not children.” he continued.

    “But I thought tourists came here all the time!” Cheren replied, shocked and dismayed by the news. “That’s why it’s called the Desert Resort!

    “Yeah, ‘Resort,’ as in a hotel. There are guided tours through some of the more exposed parts of the castle but tourists can’t just go wandering willy nilly, it is not safe.” the foreman replied, saying the final group of words carefully

    “But!” Cheren began to protest, but the man had already turned back to his work.

    “Look, kids, I’ve got a lot of work to do before winter sets in and I don’t have time to explain this to you. Just go on over to the Information Center and get in with a tour group; the nice lady there will be happy to help you.” he said as he walked off. Cheren folded his arms, sulking.

    “You heard him, Cheren, it’s a wash. Let’s just get going.” David said. “If we hurry, maybe we can still get to Nimbasa City by nightfall.”

    “Yeah, Cheren, I don’t want to try sleeping out here in the sand.” Bianca chimed in. “It’ll get all in the lining of my bag and I’ll never get it out. Besides, the wild Skorupi will be coming out once it gets dark and I don’t want a run-in with one of those.”

    Cheren began to protest but a voice from behind cut him off. “You kids want to get into the castle, do ya? I can get’cha in…”

    The group turned to look at whoever had said that, startled by the sudden interruption. They saw a hooded man in a robe walking up behind them. He was medium height but very malnourished. His skin was a ghostly white and he had disheveled, dirty gray hair. He spooked Bianca to look at, but Cheren was instantly interested in his offer.

    “You can?” Cheren asked excitedly. “How?!”

    “I know of a certain secret entrance I could show you kids… all I ask in return is a Pokémon battle from one of you. What do you say?” he said, his voice rasping out the words. Cheren started to speak up but David stopped him, pulling him aside.

    “Cheren, I know what you’re thinking. The foreman said it wasn’t safe and this guy has ‘creepy’ written all over him. It’s 2 to 1; Bianca and I want to go to Nimbasa City. Let’s just get out of here and forget about it.” David said.

    “Yeah… yeah okay, you’re right.” Cheren replied. “Let me just tell this guy we’re not interested.” He stepped away from his friend and walked up to the man.

    “Sir, I’ve talked it over with my friends and, as much as we appreciate your offer, we’re going to have to take you up on it.” he said, shooting David a smirk over his shoulder. David started to protest but Cheren kept talking. “I’ll battle you if that’s what you want.”

    A Cheshire grin spread across the man’s face and he stepped back. “Excellent…” he said. He drew a Pokéball and threw it to the ground, releasing a Cacnea from it. Cacnea bounced from side to side on its barbed feet, psyching itself up for battle.

    “Go, Eevee!” Cheren shouted. Eevee leapt from the ball and landed proudly, shimmering in the afternoon sun. Eevee looked, it occurred to David, as if it were bursting with power and energy; it exuded a startling strength that it had obviously gained by being Cheren’s only Pokémon for so long. David wondered if Cheren was ever going to catch something else or evolve it…

    The battle began and the foe’s Cacnea began to fade away, obscured by the shifting sand blowing in the breeze thanks to its Sand Veil ability. It was still visible, but it seemed to glide along the ground as if it were a spirit. Eevee tried to follow its movements but struggled.

    “Eevee, use Sand-Attack!” Cheren shouted. Eevee took aim, kicked a bundle of sand up and it sprayed Cacnea in the face. What had been an advantage quickly turned into a liability as Cacnea struggled to see. It returned clearly into view, fidgeting and flailing to try and clean its eyes. Cheren commanded Eevee to launch a powerful Tackle and it leapt towards Cacnea, slamming into it with tremendous strength. Cacnea flew through the air, landing in a heap before its trainer, taken down by just a single blow. Eevee seemed to glow and shine, exuding a blue aura as it leveled up, growing even stronger. David recognized Cheren as lacking for quantity, but he made up for it in terms of quality; he and Eevee seemed unstoppable.

    “Nice work, Eevee. Excellently done.” Cheren said, patting Eevee on the head. The man returned his Cacnea to its Pokéball and began clapping slowly.

    “Good work, young man. You are a strong one. Follow me to the entrance.” the man said. Cheren grinned and ran up to him, following in tow. Bianca and David looked at each other nervously, plodding along behind. Seeing the dig site would be interesting, but maybe Cheren was going too far with all this.

    “Yes… very strong indeed…” the man thought to himself. “You shall be excellent prey for the Dark One’s slave.”

    * * *

    The group followed the man back up into the foothills. They followed him through the winding path and eventually reached a cave. The man stopped and held up his hand.

    “We are here.” he said ominously. David and Bianca shivered with nervousness, but Cheren was positively beaming.

    “Wow, so this leads into Relic Castle, huh, mister? Thanks for showing us this, that’s so cool!” Cheren said excitedly. The man grinned silently to himself, motioning for them to enter.

    David and Bianca were apprehensive about going into the dimly lit cave, but Cheren was so adamant that they had no choice but to follow him in. They went a short distance and then noticed their guide was walking away.

    “Hey! Aren’t you coming with us?” David shouted out to him. He stopped to reply but did not turn back.

    “You are ‘adventurers,’ aren’t you? Go on an adventure.” he shouted back. David began to protest but Cheren was already well ahead of him and he wanted to keep up.

    They walked farther into the cave and eventually reached a wall. The cave seemed to end and go no further, ending simply in a large circular antechamber. However, there appeared to be no main room that it was connected to, simply stopping short. There were ancient markings along the back wall, forming a complicated, intertwined pattern. Cheren put his hand to it thinking it may do something, but nothing happened; the cold, unfeeling stone simply pushed back.

    “Well that’s a rip off. What the hell!?” Cheren said angrily.

    David began to speak, but Bianca spoke up before him. There was a subtle degree of panic in her voice. “Hey, um… random question… are you guys getting taller?!

    David wondered what she meant, but then the same thought occurred to him; Cheren seemed to be shrinking before his very eyes. He tried to lift his foot but was met with resistance. He looked down at his feet and realized he was sinking into the very sand below him. He looked up in panic and realized they were all sinking, very rapidly now.

    “Eek! Help!” Bianca shouted. David tried to move over to her but he was stuck in the tight sand. The vortex was dragging him down into the ground below and there was nothing he could do to stop it. As the sand swarmed around his torso and neck, he took in a deep breath, shut his eyes tightly and cursed Cheren with all his might for leading them there. The sand came up over his head, completely submerging him. He could feel it rushing all around, swarming him, unable to breathe. Just as hope began to run out, he felt his feet begin to dangle and he felt himself fall. The last thing he remembered was his head striking something firm and then… nothing…

    * * *

    David could feel his memories swarm around him. They seemed to swim and float through his consciousness, almost tangible enough to reach out and touch. He remembered his childhood with Bianca and Cheren in Nuvema Town, he remembered the day they had started High School together, and he remembered taking Bianca to prom as a joke. More recent memories began to swim around him now, such as the day he got Paula from Professor Juniper or winning his badges. These memories floated around his consciousness and he could almost feel himself reliving them all at once; “am I dead?” he thought to himself.

    New memories he had not yet experienced slowly began to join the old ones. He heard Cheren say something about “unconscious” and “concussion,” he could smell the dank scent of a dungeon, and he could sense Paula, as if she was hovering over him. He began to feel a presence probing at him, trying to break through the realm of whatever reality he found himself in. Paula’s image in his head grew stronger and he could sense her more clearly. The other memories began to fade away and he slowly began to hear her voice calling out to him. It was smoky and disorienting, but it was distinctly her. A woman appeared before him out of the mist and began to speak.

    “Master?” she said. The voice warbled and shook, seeming to come from all directions at once. She spoke again, asking the same question, and he tried to respond.

    “Paula, is that you?” David said back.

    “Yes master, it is. Do you know where you are?” the woman replied.

    “Am I dead, Paula?” David asked. “The last thing I remember is falling through the quicksand and hitting my head.”

    “No, master, you are not dead, yet. You are unconscious and bleeding from the back of your skull. My Pokéball came loose in the fall and I was released from it. Mr. Cheren and I have determined you have a concussion. I am trying to determine the condition of your mind to see if you have any permanent damage.” the woman replied.

    The woman he was “talking” to was distinctly Paula, but did not look like her at all. She was 100% human, not a Pokémon, but there was still something other-worldly about her. She was very tall and very slender, with skin the color of a piece of paper. She wore no clothes, all of her body out in the open like the goddess Venus. Her body was very beautiful, but she looked as if a light breeze could topple her. Her face featured no visible mouth or ears, simply a petite nose and large green eyes. She had extremely long hair that flowed like a stream down her back, all the way beyond her feet. It was a deep, forest green color and seemed to glow with power and mysticism. Her bangs fell over her face and obscured her right eye, falling neatly to her shoulder. She seemed to radiate with energy and magic, and a small, brightly lit halo floated above her head. Although David tried not to look, her breasts were also very nice; he forced himself to not stare however.

    “Why do you look so… well… like that, Paula?” David asked.

    “Your mind is in a very fragile state right now, master. The person you see is my own mental image of myself, my ‘human form,’ if you will. I am utilizing it to speak to you as opposed to my Pokémon form so you have a point of reference, something you can innately understand. I do not want to put too much of a stress on your mind right now.” she replied.

    David stared at her, fixated on her eyes. They seemed to resonate with power, drawing him towards them. Her whole figure was extremely beautiful; he tried not to stare at her naked form, but with literally nothing else in all of existence around him, it was difficult not to.

    “I know what you are thinking, master, and I know it is uncomfortable for you, but please do not feel awkward about staring. I need you to concentrate on something as I do my work repairing your injury. Mr. Cheren and I are working to awaken you out in the physical world, but you must focus on something and stay alert.” Paula said abruptly. David was taken aback and felt even worse for looking, but he trusted Paula and knew he had to follow her advice. He looked on at the beautiful woman before him and focused, trying to keep his mind from wandering to any other thought. Though the memories swarmed around him and tried to distract him, Paula’s eyes shone and he stared at them intently, fighting off the distractions. After what felt like an eternity of this, she spoke again.

    “I am almost finished, master. You will feel this universe fade away in a moment and you will be returned to consciousness. I shall see you on the other side, master; continue to focus.” she said.

    The woman opposite him began to move for the first time, taking long, graceful steps towards him. Her long legs bent gently with each step, lightly walking on her petite feet and coming closer. David could feel the other memories and distractions fade away and the world slowly melt into nothing. Soon, nothing seemed to exist around him anymore except the beauty of the woman. Her presence expanded, taking control of the universe around him; he felt reality give way to her, and she became everything. She drew near and stopped. She looked straight into his eyes and he could feel his mind slipping. She reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder. Her touch felt like ice, freezing and searing him all at once; it did not hurt, it was simply a new sensation. She reached forward and embraced him, her whole body touching up against his now. He let himself fade away into the abyss and embraced her back, his whole body feeling the icy sting of her touch. The entirety of reality shattered and there was nothing but her. Slowly, he felt himself slip away, unsure of where he was going, but trusting of his companion to show him the way. The pair melted into nothing, and all was still.

    * * *

    “He is awakening, Mr. Cheren.” Paula said. He sat up from the rock he had been sitting on and walked over to his friend. David’s eyes fluttered and he opened them slowly, returning to consciousness.

    “Is he alright?” Cheren asked, but she silenced him. She looked intently into her trainer’s eyes as he awoke, continuing her healing process.

    “Welcome back, master.” Paula said sweetly as he became more aware of his surroundings.

    David looked around at the place he was in as reality faded back into his mind. He appeared to be in some sort of underground chamber, a part of a dungeon or tomb perhaps, and there were many ancient patterns lining the stone walls. He saw Cheren standing behind him, leaning over and looking at him with concern. He felt the cool sand beneath his back and his head lay resting on his bag; it ached, but not terribly. Paula was kneeling on his chest, leaning over him and resting her small hands against his collarbone. She stared intently into his eyes, the same look the woman in the dream had had. He remembered what he had experienced and realized that Paula had saved his life. He gingerly lifted his aching arms and wrapped them around his Pokémon, holding her tightly against him. She was taken slightly aback, but returned the gesture, throwing her small arms around his neck. The pair lay together in happiness for several seconds, David trying to express his gratitude mentally to her as much as he could.

    “You are welcome, master. Happy to have helped.” she said quietly in his head. David decided to bite the bullet and give her the sappy answer that he actually felt.

    “Thank you, Paula, you saved my life. I love you.” he replied emphatically in his mind. Paula was again taken aback, but continuing holding her trainer, a small grin spread across her face. Tiny tears welled up in her eyes, but she restrained them. “I love you too, master.” she said quietly.

    The pair separated and Cheren helped David stand. He was woozy and disoriented, but Cheren helped him keep his balance as he regained his footing. David noticed a dark stain of blood on the rock Cheren had been sitting on and noticed it lead in a small trail over to where he had been laying. He put a hand behind his head and felt a large, wet gash; it stung to the touch and felt raw.

    “You hit your head pretty hard, man. You were out for a long time. It’s been at least an hour according to the Xtransceiver. Paula never left your side though; you’ve got a pretty impressive Pokémon there.” Cheren said. David looked at Paula and she smiled.

    “How did she do it? What move was she using?” David asked. They were the first words he had spoken since he awoke, and it stung his raw throat.

    “It must have been Heal Pulse. I guess she learned a new move.” Cheren replied. Paula confirmed the sentiment a moment later.

    David was so caught up in the excitement of his fall that it didn’t even occur to him where their fourth member was. “Where’s Bianca?” David asked.

    “She went off deeper into the labyrinth. She left a while ago, actually. She was going to try looking for a way out.” Cheren answered him. As he said this, David heard her voice echo from down the hall.

    “Cheren? Is that you? Is he awake?” Bianca shouted. She ran back into the room and saw that he was. She ran to him and embraced him.

    “Oh David, I was so worried!” she shouted, grasping his cheeks with her hands. “We thought you might be dead!”

    David looked at her, seeing the concern in her face. It was quickly being replaced with a large smile though. He brought his hand up and gently brushed her bangs out of her face. She grabbed his hand and kissed the knuckles gently before stepping back. “I ought to fall on my head more often if this is how I get treated.” David thought. The group stayed there and rested for several more hours before beginning off into the rest of the maze.

    * * *

    Outside the group’s dungeon, night had fallen on the Desert Resort. The cool breezes blew the sand across the wide open plains and the excavation crew had gone home for the night. The temperature was beginning to drop rapidly, but the group couldn’t feel it inside their labyrinth. The cold, unfeeling stone walls seemed to stretch on forever, forming a maze as old as the sands themselves. The group had been resting for several hours and David was feeling much better, so they began to set off through the labyrinth.

    “The path is at least somewhat illuminated, so there must be light coming from somewhere. That either means an exit… or…” Cheren began to say, but he trailed off before he could reach the other logical conclusion of his statement. The three of them set off into the maze, simply trying to follow the light. They traveled for a long time, unsure of where they were going or if there even was an exit. Each room they came to seemed the same as the last, each with an entrance and three other doors along the other walls. It appeared to just be square room after square room, stretching on ad infinitum.

    Hey guys, let’s go to the Desert Resort, guys. Let’s follow this serial killer into a cave, guys. It’ll be fun, guys!” David said, mocking Cheren. “This is why Cheren isn’t normally the one giving directions, Bianca.”

    “I just wanted to see the old ruins! I didn’t know it would turn out like this!” Cheren replied. He was yelling fairly loudly all of a sudden and his voice carried through the halls. It hurt David’s already throbbing head. “You’re right though, I made this mess so I’ll fix it. Don’t worry, I’ll find us a way out of here.” he continued.

    “Cheren, don’t yell, I’m in enough pain as it is.” David replied.

    “Yeah, and we don’t want to disturb anything that might be down here.” Bianca chimed in.

    “Oh come on, Bianca, like what? What could possibly be down here?” Cheren asked incredulously. As he said this, a shriek broke the air around them.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    It pierced the quiet of the tomb and resonated through the halls. They all leapt out of their skin upon hearing it. As quickly as it had started though, it ended and was silent again.

    “Oh my god, what was that?!?” Bianca shouted in terror.

    “Sounds like you were right, Bianca. There must be something else down here.” David replied.

    “Okay guys, we need to stay in constant communication! None of us should stop talking for any reason. I’ll speak, then Bianca speaks, then David speaks; we need to make sure to let each other know we’re still here or if something has happened.” Cheren said, his voice cracking.

    “Okay, Cheren, I’m still he-” Bianca started to say, but she was cut off.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    Eek! There it is again! It sounds closer now!” Bianca screamed in terror.

    “You’re right, I think we’re going to have to fight whatever this thing is.” David said. “It sounds like it’s gonna find us before we find it.” he continued.

    Cheren drew his Pokéball and released Eevee from it. Eevee landed and stood ready to defend its trainer. “I’ve got this covered, guys. Eevee is the strongest of our five collective Pokémon, and it was my mistake that got us trapped down here. I’ll fix it.” he said.

    The scream broke the silence for a third time and now sounded like it was just in the next room. Bianca ran towards David and held him, burying her face in his chest and putting him between her and the door. She started to sob and scream uncontrollably, and was shaking with fear. David was scared too, but he held Bianca tighter trying to calm her down and decided to let Cheren handle it like he said he would. Cheren and Eevee struck fighting positions in the middle of the room and stared into the darkness opposite them. A pair of dark, glowing red eyes appeared from the next room and glared at him menacingly.

    “Eevee, use Quick Attack!” Cheren shouted. Eevee darted towards the eyes and they heard him smash into something. The eyes winked shut and it was silent for a moment, but then the shriek broke the silence again. Bianca dug into David tighter, still sobbing uncontrollably in panic. Eevee came flying back into the room and smashed into Cheren, knocking him into the wall.

    Black smoke came flooding into the room, covering the floor in darkness. A massive black shadow slowly floated in, the dark, glowing red eyes attached to it. It seemed to drip with malevolence and evil, having no definitive form other than just the amorphous energy before them. It hung there, awaiting another attack.

    Oh my god, Cheren, what IS that thing?!” David shouted in shock. He shielded Bianca from it, turning over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of the monster.

    “I don’t know! It isn’t any Pokémon I recognize!” Cheren shouted back. “Eevee, use Tackle!”

    Eevee launched itself fearlessly at the spirit but he fell right through its spectral form, landing on the ground on the opposite side. The ghost turned to look at him, growling menacingly. Eevee couldn’t even touch the creature, unable to fight back.

    The black smoke that filled the room started to swirl and crackle, forming a ball of dark energy in front of the creature. It reached a size comparable to that of Eevee and the monster shot the blast towards him. It washed over Eevee, but it appeared to do no damage.

    “Guys, that was a Shadow Ball attack. This thing must be some kind of Pokémon!” Cheren shouted to his friends. “I don’t know what it is, but if it’s a Ghost type, neither Eevee nor it can hurt each other.”

    Cheren turned back to Eevee and scanned his mind for a solution. Eevee knew nothing but Normal type attacks, which wouldn’t affect the Ghost type monster. The only thing he could do was… he had it!

    “Eevee, try and Bite it!” Cheren shouted. Eevee had never used the move before, but he bared his little teeth and leapt at it. The bite seemed to hurt the monster; it squirmed in pain, shrieking its terrible shriek again.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    The monster receded from the room, drifting back to whatever dark abyss it had spawned from. Cheren and Eevee let it escape, taking its dark smoke with it. It shrieked one final time as it escaped, now sounding very far away. The danger was averted and they were safe… for now.

    David and Cheren shot each other a determined look and nodded. Bianca was still crying and sobbing uncontrollably in David’s arms, terrified and shaking over whatever the monster had been. David held her tighter, brushed her hair with his hand and whispered sweet-nothings to her, trying to calm her from her panic attack. They let her collect herself and then started off back down the path. Bianca had to hold David’s hand tightly, but he certainly didn’t mind. They didn’t know what the monster was or how dangerous it might be, but one thing was certain: It was imperative they find a way out, now.

    * * *

    The group walked through the maze, quicker now than before, trying desperately to find a way out. Whatever light was illuminating the dim labyrinth was getting stronger now, so they knew they were getting close to its source. They took turn after turn, following the maze deeper and deeper into the tomb. They eventually came to the room that the light was coming from; a long flight of stairs lead down into a giant room, very different than all the others. It looked almost like a crypt with its high ceilings, ornate columns and ancient statues lining the floor. It was very long and what looked like a shrine was set up on the far wall. They approached it gingerly, looking around for any sign of the monster.

    Many candles lined the room, providing the light that had been guiding them. A large cluster of them were set up on the shrine, with others lining the walls and illuminating the whole room. How they had been lit remained a mystery to the group, but none of them appeared to be burning away any of the wick, as if they had stayed lit by magic since people last roamed its halls millennia ago.

    They walked up to the shrine and inspected it. There were three distinctive panels in the stone wall behind it, each with their own inscription telling a different part of a story. The first panel featured a large kingdom with a fancifully adorned man standing over it with his arms outstretched. The second panel featured a dark, black monster attacking the city and burning it to the ground; the monster was different from the one they had seen before, this one looking more like a giant snake than a ghost. The final panel featured the man and the monster doing battle with one another, but the monster was launching a blast of some kind that was causing the man great pain. No other panels were nearby to continue the story, leaving them in the dark about the specifics. On the shrine itself sat many treasures and artifacts; gold pieces and jewels of varying sizes, ancient tools and weapons, and sitting directly in the middle, almost as if on display, was a small white stone. It had the same markings as the one from the Nacrene City Museum, except it was white instead of black. It in particular caught Cheren’s eye.

    “Jackpot. This must be what that thing is guarding…” Cheren said. Bianca looked around timidly to see if the monster was coming back again, still clutching David’s hand tightly. David inspected the panels on the back wall.

    “What do you make of this story, Cheren? Could this be how the ancient city was destroyed?” David asked.

    “It looks like it. But what is that monster rampaging through the city? It doesn’t look like what we saw before. The thing from before was a ghost, but this thing looks more… solid.” Cheren replied.

    “Well, we found the source of the light, and it isn’t an exit. We need to come up with some way of defending ourselves from that thing in case it comes back. We’ve got the perfect cover to ambush it in here, so I say we make our stand here.” David said.

    “Yeah… we do… don’t we?” Cheren said, looking around and examining the layout of the room. He thought to himself for a moment, then spoke up again, “I think I’ve got a plan. It was my idea to come here, it was my idea to follow that crazy old man here, and now I’m going to fix it. You and Bianca hunker down and let me handle this!” Cheren said authoritatively. David was typically the de facto leader of the little group, but Cheren had such passion, and he had handled the creature before, so David let him try his idea. He took Bianca and the pair hid in the corner of the room, waiting for Cheren to begin his attack.

    Cheren took Eevee’s Pokéball and released him into the room. Cheren knelt down and whispered his plan to his Pokémon. Eevee nodded and ran behind one of the columns holding the room up. Cheren looked at his Pokémon and nodded back; he turned and took the little white stone off the table, quickly running behind the other pillar to get into cover. As he took the stone, they heard the monster’s shriek ring throughout the tomb, louder and angrier than before.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    The creature swarmed into the room, bringing the black smoke with it, now crackling and bursting with energy. It rose up into the room and looked around menacingly to see who had disturbed its treasure. It growled terrifyingly and seemed to seethe with rage. Cheren stepped out from behind the pillar and whistled fearlessly.

    “Hey! Over here! You looking for this?!” he shouted, holding up the stone. The monster shrieked again, shaking the whole room with its power. A crack formed in the ceiling, small grains of sand falling through it from the desert above. Cheren held fast and when it had finished, shouted “Eevee, NOW!

    Eevee burst from behind its pillar and took a mighty Bite out of the monster. It had taken the ghost by surprise and did tremendous damage. It roared in pain, again shaking the whole room, slightly widening the crack. It tried to shake Eevee free but he held firm, doggedly biting into it. It rose high up into the room and shook him free. Eevee fell and landed on the stone floor below with a “smack!” Eevee looked up at it in pain and growled as the monster prepared to attack back.

    Instead of the Shadow Ball Cheren had been expecting, it instead summoned small pieces of its ghastly smoke cloud and surrounded itself with them. The little wisps floated and danced in the air around it, glowing a bright blue: Will-o-Wisp. The monster launched them towards Eevee who tried to dodge, but they followed and bombarded it. They singed his fur, burning him and slowing his movements significantly. Cheren ordered Eevee to try and Bite again, but it couldn’t leap high enough, both due to the creature having moved up too high and the burns making it too painful. Eevee struggled to stand and couldn’t, falling to its side on the ground and looking up at its foe. Eevee seemed to be down for the count, and Cheren shouted out to it.

    “Eevee, now’s the time! Look up!” he shouted.

    The crack in the ceiling had turned into a small hole now under the extreme pressure of the sand above. Eevee could see the moon outside gleaming in the dark night sky, a symbol of power and strength to all the creatures of the night. Eevee closed its eyes, focused intently on the peace and serenity of it, and began to change. It allowed the sensation to wash over it, giving in to its metamorphosis.

    The ghost saw its enemy begin to glow a brilliant white, flooding the room in light. Its small body began to morph and change, surrounded by several blue rings that pulsated and wrapped around its body. The light began to strobe quickly, blinding the monster. As the lights became too fast to track, the bundle of light burst and a sleek, noble Umbreon lay in Eevee’s place.

    The golden rings on Umbreon’s body began to glow and the monster felt itself burn instantly. It roared in pain, the burn it had inflicted with Will-o-Wisp being transferred to it now by Umbreon’s new Synchronize ability. Enraged, it rushed towards the tired Pokémon. Umbreon lay still, not moving and seemingly defeated. Upon reaching it, the monster stopped and inspected the newly changed Pokémon. It growled and snarled just above its sleeping form, unsure if it was even alive or dead.

    “Come on… come on…” Cheren said under his breath. “Umbreon, NOW!” he shouted.

    Umbreon’s eyes opened in a flash and it leapt at the monster. All the strength and power it had called upon as an Eevee when performing a Tackle was now supercharged in the form of a powerful new Dark type Faint Attack. This new move was not only effective against the ghost where Tackle had not been, but seemed to hurt it terrifically. Umbreon leapt into the inside of the translucent beast and slashed with all its might. Its paws moved in a flurry, hacking and slashing with its claws at the monster. It roared and shrieked in pain, twisting and convulsing from the sneak attack. Umbreon delivered one final, mighty swipe and the beast fell to the ground, its dark black smoke fading away from view.

    Umbreon landed gracefully on its slender new legs and sat down, staring intently and calmly at its enemy. The ghostly monster didn’t seem so scary now that its smoke had disappeared and it lay on the ground in defeat. Its twisted, ghostly body began to morph and change, shrinking into something much smaller. Cheren walked over to his Pokémon as this metamorphosis was occurring to see what the big bad ghost really looked like. The monster faded away, slowly becoming a tired, defeated little Yamask. Its illusion had faded and it lay in defeat on the ground, unable to defend its crypt any further. Cheren drew an empty Pokéball and threw it at the little Pokémon. It zapped it inside and did not stir. Cheren had caught it without any further fight.

    “It’s safe to come out now…” he said stoically. He looked down at his new Umbreon, smiling proudly at how strong it had become. He leaned down to pick up the Pokéball and patted the slick, short black fur on Umbreon’s back in the process. David and Bianca rose from their hiding place and walked over to him.

    “So… you caught it?” David asked, confused. “What the hell is it?”

    “It’s a Yamask.” Cheren said. He released the little ghost from its ball as he said this; it hung in the air, timidly looking around in surprise and fear. Cheren continued, “What we saw was just an illusion it was creating to scare us off. They are a very rare species of Ghost type Pokémon; very few have ever been found in the world. It’s said that they used to be human, and the mask they carry with them was their human face from a previous life. This little guy must be a descendant of the civilization that built this place. There must be some pretty crazy memories in his head. I wanted to learn more, so I caught him.” he continued.

    Yamask floated in the air, looking around nervously. It took its mask in its hands and looked at it longingly. It gently began to weep as Cheren spoke.

    “Wow…” Bianca said, mystified by Cheren’s story. “The things we could learn from him…”

    “I’ve got to say, Cheren, I’m impressed.” David said. “You’ve been acting like an idiot all day, but you really stepped up to the plate. You’ve proven yourself to be a competent leader, and you solved your problem. Good job, man.”

    Cheren smiled, glad to finally be acknowledged for his intelligence. Umbreon began to purr as Cheren stroked his short black fur.

    “So an Umbreon, huh? Interesting choice…” David mused.

    “He was indicating that that’s what he had wanted for a while. I was just waiting for the right opportunity.” Cheren replied. “But I’m curious now… David, can you let Paula out?”

    David took her Pokéball from his hip and released her from it. She stood, looking at Cheren intently as he asked his request.

    “Paula, can you try to communicate with this Yamask? See why he was guarding this place and what’s going on in that head of his.” Cheren asked. Paula looked at the Yamask and it looked back with fear in its eyes. Paula closed her eyes and concentrated, but frowned after a few seconds.

    “I am sorry, Mr. Cheren, but I cannot reach him. His mind is blocked by a dark, malevolent energy, as if someone is trying to keep me out and him locked inside. Powerful, dark secrets must reside in there…” she replied a moment later. She had an ominous tone in her voice.

    Yamask heard a noise behind it and looked up in terror. It pointed at the ceiling and the group turned to look. It was creaking and groaning under the intense pressure of the sand above, and the crack that had formed during the battle finally gave way. A sizable chunk of the ceiling collapsed, blowing sand and debris all throughout the room. When the dust settled, a natural ramp from the stone ceiling was leading up to the outside world.

    “Well, enough standing around in here, let’s get going.” Cheren said. “David, do you want to keep this stone? It must be valuable if Yamask was defending it like that.”

    Cheren held out the little rock for David to take. It seemed to exude power and certainly didn’t look “not valuable” like Hawes had said of its black counterpart back in Nacrene. He took the stone from Cheren and it seemed to almost shake on its own upon feeling David’s touch. He put it in his bag and looked back up.

    The group walked up the ramp and out into the sands above. In the distance they could see the excavation site, and the ocean farther in the distance. The crazy old man had been right about one thing, the cave did lead into Relic Castle. They left behind their nightmare in the dungeon and headed for the tourist center.

    * * *

    The next morning, the group left the valley of the Desert Resort and headed back through the pathway in the cliffs they had entered it through. They reached the construction work they had seen the day before and could see Nimbasa City in the distant east.

    “So you two are going off to Nimbasa City I take it?” Cheren asked.

    “Yeah…? Aren’t you coming too though?” David asked in confusion.

    Cheren shook his head and continued. “Paula might not be able to get into that little guy’s head, but I bet I know someone who can. David, can I borrow Paula for a few days to go on a little personal trip?”

    “Why do you need Paula?” David asked, still confused.

    “I need to go back to Eastern Unova for a little while, so I need her to Teleport me there. I’ll catch up to you guys in Nimbasa in a few days after I’m done. What do you say?” Cheren replied.

    “What do you say, Paula? Do you think you can Teleport that far? You’ve done little jumps to evade attacks before, but never something quite that far, or with another person.” David thought to himself.

    “My Psychic powers are growing quite strong, master. I believe that if I can visualize my target destination, I can Teleport to it, even if I cannot see it physically. I will do my best.” she replied.

    David nodded his head and handed Cheren her Pokéball. He was reluctant to let her go after their bonding experience in the dungeon, but he knew it would help her grow. Cheren released her from the ball and put a hand on her shoulder.

    “Take good care of my girl, Cheren. Bring her back with a full tank of gas.” David said, smirking.

    Cheren smiled and nodded his head. Paula closed her eyes and began to concentrate.

    “Good-bye, master. I will see you in a few days.” Paula thought to David.

    “Good-bye, Paula. Thank you again; I love you.” David replied.

    Paula smiled and returned the sentiment. “I love you too, master.” In a flash, the pair was gone; for the first time since their adventure began, David couldn’t feel Paula’s mind connected to his. It was a sad, empty feeling, but he knew it would make her return that much more rewarding.

    David and Bianca took off through the desert toward Nimbasa City. Their trek took a little longer than expected, and they arrived in the city around mid-afternoon. They found the Pokémon Center and spent the day resting in it, recuperating from their adventure in Relic Castle the day before. They would explore the city tomorrow and prepared themselves for their Gym battle against Elesa. It had been a long adventure, and they were ready for some relaxation; Nimbasa City was the perfect place to do just that.

  5. #30
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    The woman he was “talking” to was distinctly Paula, but did not look like her at all. She was 100% human, not a Pokémon, but there was still something other-worldly about her...
    Umm, yeah. About this. I think we might have jumped off the deep end here...

    Good use of Paula medically, but...

    [QUOTE]“Hey guys, let’s go to the Desert Resort, guys. Let’s follow this serial killer into a cave, guys. It’ll be fun, guys!” David said, mocking Cheren. “This is why Cheren isn’t normally the one giving directions, Bianca.”[/QUOTE] Oh good, his sense of humor is back.

    The crack in the ceiling had turned into a small hole now under the extreme pressure of the sand above. Eevee could see the moon outside gleaming in the dark night sky, a symbol of power and strength to all the creatures of the night. Eevee closed its eyes, focused intently on the peace and serenity of it, and began to change. It allowed the sensation to wash over it, giving in to its metamorphosis.
    This, awesome.

    “It’s a Yamask.” Cheren said. He released the little ghost from its ball as he said this; it hung in the air, timidly looking around in surprise and fear. Cheren continued, “What we saw was just an illusion it was creating to scare us off. They are a very rare species of Ghost type Pokémon; very few have ever been found in the world. It’s said that they used to be human, and the mask they carry with them was their human face from a previous life. This little guy must be a descendant of the civilization that built this place. There must be some pretty crazy memories in his head. I wanted to learn more, so I caught him.” he continued.
    Love it! An excelent use for a Yamask.

    All in all, solid and pretty good. from a technical standpoint, David should probably still have a headache after they got going, but he didn;t do that much so it's also not neccesarily worht mentioning that he had a headache. I'm glad to see something done with the Relic Castle, too. Havign it haunted, a nice touch.

    Also, good call mentioning Skorupi. I'm still torn on the whole "Is there <5th Gen Pokemon in Unova" thing, and would probably gone with Dwebble were it me, but I'd also completely forgotten about Skorupi, and he fit in the desert so well.

    I feel like I should be nitpicking more, but there's just not enough nits to pick at.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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    Hi! Glover's beating me to all the first posts. *glares*

    But it's ok. I'm too slow. hahhaa

    Anyways, I would like to open with the "I love you"s exchanged by David and Paula are (despite how appropriate they are due to the type of Pokemon the Ralts line are) a little unnerving. The mental image of Paula (human form) appearing doesn't help. It's mainly unnerving because I kind of get a bit of foreshadowing going on, hinting that their will be some HumaxPokemon relations in this story.

    But that's not a big thing. Again, it's also appropriate. It's just the way it's being said is like when a guy loves a girl and they exchange their feelings before parting. Good for boyfriend and girlfriend; a little creepy for trainer to Pokemon. You can work on that, you don't have to, that's just my personal feelings. I kind of hope there's no HumanxPokemon in this story though. That's kind of creepy, no matter what the context.

    Second is I like Yamask. I don't know; when you started talking about creepy ghosts in the chapter, I remembered how Cheren was supposed to catch his first Pokemon here, and I instantly wanted it to be Yamask. Not that I'm particularly fond of Yamask; it just seemed fitting.

    Another good thing you did with that is you incorporated it into the story. That was actually pretty clever.

    Ok, now my favorite thing about this chapter is, drumroll...

    barararararararararararrrarararBAM!

    The Eeveelution (see what I did there?). That was a really nice evolution scene; probably one of the best that I've seen. It's also fitting, because he's been using Eevee a lot. I have to admit, for no real reason, I feel like Eevee has sort of a personality in this chapter. I don't know. But the evolution scene was really good.

    Cheren's personality was also fleshed out pretty nicely in this chapter. I think I emphasize this only because in the beginning you had a more difficult time with it and now it's spot on. Definitely see his intelligent side, but at the same time, you can see his more childish, naive side. Cheren's getting a lot of good developments in the past two chapters.

    Less Bianca/David action going on in this chapter, but there was still enough to show that it's actually part of the story as opposed to a time killer/space filler. So that's pretty good.

    Again, the thing with Paula, ehhh.... I have to agree with Glover on this one. Sorry. Creative, definitely. Original, clever. And it was a good way to establish the growing connection between trainer (David) and Pokemon (Paula). But sometimes, even when everything's good, sometimes it's a liiiittle too much. Hahaha.

    Overall, solid chapter. I quite enjoyed it. Make sure you take care of college, but I hope this story doesn't vanish. It's actually quite good. ^___^

    So, that's it then! I'll see you next chapter!
    Last edited by jstinftw!; 6th September 2011 at 12:57 PM.

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    EPISODE 55 - SLOWPOKE HOLIDAY
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    Anyways, I would like to open with the "I love you"s exchanged by David and Paula are (despite how appropriate they are due to the type of Pokemon the Ralts line are) a little unnerving. The mental image of Paula (human form) appearing doesn't help. It's mainly unnerving because I kind of get a bit of foreshadowing going on, hinting that their will be some HumaxPokemon relations in this story.

    But that's not a big thing. Again, it's also appropriate. It's just the way it's being said is like when a guy loves a girl and they exchange their feelings before parting. Good for boyfriend and girlfriend; a little creepy for trainer to Pokemon. You can work on that, you don't have to, that's just my personal feelings. I kind of hope there's no HumanxPokemon in this story though. That's kind of creepy, no matter what the context.
    Lol, I knew this comment was coming. There will NEVER be a romantic relationship between David and Paula. Ever. And do you know why? Because David is a human and Paula is a Pokemon! XD Will they have a very strong connection by the end of the story? Yes. Will David be romantically involved with a main female character? He'll try his damndest to be. Will Paula come to replace Cheren or Bianca for the role of "best friend?" Possibly. But will David ever try to bone his Gardevoir? NO!

    The "I love you"s felt appropriate for the moment and help build their connection. It is meant to indicate a growing sense of mutual respect. Paula recognizes David as a great trainer and is faithfully devoted to her trainer, as she always has been, but David is starting to realize how much more of an important friend and confidant she can be. She is a friend to him just like Bianca or Cheren and not just a voiceless Pokemon. That does not have to mean XXX scene. Think of the relationship between the Master Chief and Cortana from Halo for context.

    Glad to see you guys like the rest of it though, especially Eevee's evolution. I had to re-write that scene in the crypt several times, so I'm glad it paid off. Thanks for reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post
    Lol, I knew this comment was coming. There will NEVER be a romantic relationship between David and Paula. Ever. And do you know why? Because David is a human and Paula is a Pokemon! XD Will they have a very strong connection by the end of the story? Yes. Will David be romantically involved with a main female character? He'll try his damndest to be. Will Paula come to replace Cheren or Bianca for the role of "best friend?" Possibly. But will David ever try to bone his Gardevoir? NO!

    The "I love you"s felt appropriate for the moment and help build their connection. It is meant to indicate a growing sense of mutual respect. Paula recognizes David as a great trainer and is faithfully devoted to her trainer, as she always has been, but David is starting to realize how much more of an important friend and confidant she can be. She is a friend to him just like Bianca or Cheren and not just a voiceless Pokemon. That does not have to mean XXX scene. Think of the relationship between the Master Chief and Cortana from Halo for context.

    Glad to see you guys like the rest of it though, especially Eevee's evolution. I had to re-write that scene in the crypt several times, so I'm glad it paid off. Thanks for reading.
    Hahaha, ok. I was just making sure. I was actually pretty sure i knew the answer anyways, I just had to say it. ^___^

    But I understand. Like I said, it's totally appropriate for the situation. Just. I guess the delivery was somewhat strange? I don't know. Doesn't really matter; there's nothing wrong with it. It was a personal thing. hehe.

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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    Hahaha, ok. I was just making sure. I was actually pretty sure i knew the answer anyways, I just had to say it. ^___^

    But I understand. Like I said, it's totally appropriate for the situation. Just. I guess the delivery was somewhat strange? I don't know. Doesn't really matter; there's nothing wrong with it. It was a personal thing. hehe.
    That's it exactly. The angle I suspectyou want is more of a parent/child, or that feeling of love you get fform your puppy. (Not that Paula's a pet, but it's the inter-species thing. COuld you tell her to put me down please?") It gets more difficult to tell it from that angle though, when you have speaking Pokemon.

    And in all honesty the concept of a mind's image of Paula's self is not that Far-Fetch'd. (Grins) If she wants to imagine herself as more radiennly beautiful than the world's Kirlia, and I would bet she's just cocky/vein/over- *OW* confident enough to think so, then by all means. But even on a humanoid Pokemon aside, let's leave out the blatently human anatomy, kay? Otherwise, David's a sick puppy.

    I just got smacked by a Kirlia.

    And NACHOEI, you'll have your day in the sun. I'm starting a job tomorrrow that requires me to be at work about the time I've been going to bed, so you'll have your chance.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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        Spoiler:- Author's Notes:


    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 9: I've Just Seen a Face
    Part 1 of 2

    David’s eyes fluttered open. He had been sound asleep in a warm, soft, comfortable bed in the Nimbasa City Pokémon Center. He and Bianca had arrived in the city during the late afternoon of the previous day. They had seen a little bit of the town, but had just made a beeline for the Pokémon Center to recuperate themselves and their Pokémon after their adventure in Relic Castle. The long night’s sleep left him feeling refreshed and ready to explore the city; he was also feeling prepared for his Gym battle against the Nimbasa City Gym leader, Elesa. He stretched and rose from his bed to meet Bianca in the lobby.

    “Excuse me, miss, did the girl I came in here with last night come down yet?” he asked the nurse behind the counter when he walked down.

    “Yes sir, she went into the dining room a few minutes ago.” the young woman replied, pointing down the hall behind her. He thanked her and walked to where she had pointed.

    David walked into the large dining hall and saw that it was packed with trainers, passing through the metropolis on their various journeys. There was a buffet against the far wall with all sorts of various pastries, deli meats and drinks spread across it; there were muffins and pastries, hot and cold cereals, coffees and juices, eggs and bacon, and of course a large assortment of Pokémon food. David walked over and filled up a plate, being sure to get an extra large helping of the Pokémon food for Munchlax. He turned back to the room, looking for a place to sit.

    “David! Hey! Over here!” he heard Bianca shout. He turned to where the noise had come from and saw her seated at a table with Pachirisu and Zubat. He smiled and walked over.

    “Hey David, I saved you a seat.” she said as he walked up. David set his tray down on the table and let Munchlax out of his Pokéball. He pulled out a seat and helped his Pokémon into it. The little Pokémon scrambled to get to the food, grabbing the overflowing bowl and beginning to devour its contents ravenously. Bianca giggled as David sat down.

    “How’d you sleep?” David asked.

    “Great! Much better than in the Desert Resort at least.” she replied. “You?”

    “Pretty good.” David said, taking a sip from his drink. He looked over at his Pokémon as the little tike finished devouring his food. He had gotten an enormous bowl of food for him but he was already finishing it.

    “Munchlax, you’re going to eat us out of house and home…” David said under his breath. Bianca giggled at the comment, covering he mouth; David grinning, continuing his train of thought. “How’d you ever survive in the wild? That’s got to have been more than what you could find on a daily basis out in Pinwheel Forest.”

    Munchlax had lifted the bowl and was licking it clean, trying to get every last crumb from it. Upon realizing his trainer was talking to him, he dropped the bowl, resting it on his head. The oversized bowl sat on top of Munchlax’s head, covering his eyes. He turned towards David and asked audibly “Munch?

    Bianca laughed heartily at the ridiculousness of the little tike. David smiled, glad to see her happy. He gently lifted the bowl off Munchlax’s head, tilting it back so he could see. Munchlax had a blank, confused look on his face, unsure what was so funny about his new hat. David tapped his nose and lowered the bowl, letting Munchlax be. Munchlax turned back around, obliviously leaving his impromptu cap alone as he contemplated what could be so funny about it. David looked back at Bianca as she laughed, admiring her smile.

    “So we’re in Nimbasa City, Bianca; anything you want to see while we’re here?” David asked.

    “Oh definitely! We should check out the sports stadiums, the Battle Subway, the amusement part, of course the Gym… ooh! And the Pokémon Musical for sure! They’re performing a stage rendition of ‘Help!’ tonight!” Bianca replied.

    “Sounds like we’ll have plenty to do until Cheren comes back.” David replied. “It’ll be a lot of fun- Munchlax! No!” David shouted.

    Pachirisu and Zubat had left a little bit of food in their bowls that they hadn’t finished yet, and Munchlax had been slowly reaching over to steal it from them. He had managed to procure a kibble from Pachirisu’s bowl and had it right in front of his mouth by the time David had noticed. Munchlax looked up at his scolding trainer, then back down to the morsel of food, weighing his options carefully, and then quickly ate it. Munchlax smiled a big grin, happily enjoying his stolen treat.

    “Munchlax, you little glutton, don’t steal food from other Pokémon! That’s a bad boy, no!” David said, leaning over his Pokémon. Munchlax was completely oblivious to his trainer’s yelling, proud of himself for his success. He had managed to get the food from the bowl to his mouth, the objective had gotten from point A to point B, so it was a win in his book; the details and logistics of the operation were of no real significance to him. David sighed, but Bianca just laughed again.

    “Pachirisu, Zubat, are you two done?” she asked them sweetly. Zubat ate a few last bites and then indicated that he was done; Pachirisu pushed her bowl forward and shook her head immediately, putting a hand to her stomach. Bianca took the two bowls and poured them into Munchlax’s ex-hat with a wink. An enormous grin slowly spread across Munchlax’s face and his eyes lit up as he dug in. David smiled at Bianca and thanked her. He stood up and helped her out of her chair, and the group returned to their rooms to get dressed.

    * * *

    A short while later, the pair left the Pokémon Center with their Pokémon in tow. Munchlax was following behind David, looking around anxiously for his next meal; Pachirisu sat on Bianca’s right shoulder and Zubat on her left. The pair walked to the sidewalk and David began to speak.

    “Well Bianca, we’ve got the whole day ahead of us. Where do you want to go first?” David asked.

    “Let’s go catch the baseball game at the Big Stadium!” Bianca said excitedly. “Does that sound like fun, guys?” she asked her Pokémon. The two squealed and screeched in agreement and they set off.

    It was a short walk to the stadium from the downtown Pokémon Center. The massive arena was covered in huge panels of lights, all changing and morphing into different colors. They displayed the logos and short promos for the two teams who were playing that day. Yellow and black stripes flashed across the panels and a massive bolt of lightning struck down the middle of the screen. An Electivire leapt down from above the panel and flexed its muscles, static bristling down its fur. “The Fighting Electivire” was displayed below it, concluding the team’s promo. It was replaced a moment later by a blue and red checkerboard pattern, scaling down the screen diagonally. A Druddigon stomped onto the field from off-screen and roared, slashing at the air in front of it. Its slashes tore away a part of the field behind it, revealing the logo of the opposing team, “The Dynamic Druddigon.” The lights from the screens lit up the surrounding city block and covered the huge stadium from top to bottom. The group walked up to the gate and bought tickets.

    “Okay, D79, here’re our seats, Bianca.” David said as they reached their row. They shuffled down the narrow path and sat down; Munchlax sat on the far left, then David, then Bianca, and then Zubat and Pachirisu shared a seat on the end. They had a clear view of the diamond, just off center field.

    “So who’re you rooting for, Bianca?” David asked.

    “I grew up a Druddigon’s fan; that’s why I wanted to see this game. The Electivire never win anyway.” she replied, giggling to herself. David had never followed baseball in the first place, but she was happy, so he was happy. The players took the field and the umpire called for the game to begin. The first few innings passed uneventfully, and at the bottom of the 5th it was tied up at 2-2.

    Peanuts! Cotton Candy! Soft Drinks!” a man was yelling from the stairs near their seats. He was carrying a huge tray of assorted foodstuffs and drinks, and was dressed in white and blue stripes with a large, colorful hat.

    “Do you want anything, Bianca?” David asked.

    “Ooh, I haven’t had cotton candy in years! That would be nice.” she replied.

    “I assume you’ll have anything I give you, huh Munchlax?” David asked sarcastically. Munchlax looked up at his trainer, his paws in front of his mouth, salivating and grinning with anticipation. David smiled and looked at the man.

    “Hey! Over here!” he shouted. The man noticed him and walked over.

    “I’ll have two cotton candies and a bag of peanuts.” David said. The man took the items off his tray and handed them to Bianca. David paid him and he went back to his work. Bianca handed one cotton candy and the peanuts to David and kept one for herself, sharing it with Pachirisu and Zubat. They took little bits of the airy sugar and ate them happily; the pink candy matched Zubat’s wings. Bianca took a bite herself and grinned a huge grin. David smiled to see her happy.

    “Here you go, Munchlax. These are called ‘peanuts.’ Please pace your-” David started to say, but he was cut off. Munchlax grabbed the bag, tore it open, and dumped the entirety of its contents into his mouth. It took him a few seconds to chew them at least, but he quickly had devoured the bag with a happy, satisfied look on his face. “-self… great…” David finished.

    Bianca giggled at Munchlax and continued taking small bites from her cotton candy. It melted on her tongue as she took each bite, melting away back into sugar. She smiled again and spoke up.

    “I haven’t had this stuff since I was a little girl. I had forgotten how good it is.” she said. “Thank you for getting it for me.”

    “You’re very welcome, Bianca. Glad you’re happy.” David replied. He was still holding his own cotton candy, but with a slack grip. Munchlax was eyeing it cautiously, waiting for his chance to strike.

    Down on the field, the 6th inning was starting and the Druddigon were up to bat. The batter stepped up to the plate and readied himself; he lifted his foot and tapped the dirt from his cleats with his bat, then did the same to the other foot. He stared down range at the Electivire’s pitcher, gripping his bat with determination.

    The pitcher lowered the brim of his cap and slit his eyes, looking at the catcher intently. He gripped the ball tightly, took in a deep breath and rose to his throwing position. He brought the ball behind his head, tightened his arm and launched it at the batter. The batter took a powerful swing but missed the ball. “Strike one!” the umpire called.

    The batter shook his head and sloughed off the disappointment. He’d get the next one, he thought to himself. The pitcher went through his wind-up again and let the ball fly. It flew so fast it looked as if a Magmortar had launched it. The ball looked high, it occurred to the batter, and he knew he couldn’t hit it. He let the ball glide in, not taking the swing. “Strike two!” the umpire called.

    “What?! That was a ball!” The batter said in shock.

    “Steee-rike two!” the umpire repeated. The batter shook his head in disgust and turned back to the pitcher, ready for the last throw. He grit his teeth in determination, seething with power and strength; he would hit the last one.

    The pitcher smirked. He spat on the ground and rubbed it into the dirt. The batter ignored his taunts and prepared himself for the swing. The pitcher went through his overly dramatic wind-up and launched the ball; it flew through the air straight and true like a missile toward its target. The batter shut his eyes, exhaled, and then swung with all his might. He heard the “crack!” of the ball hitting his bat and he bolted, running as fast as he could to first base. The crowd roared as the ball sailed through the air. The pitcher watched it fly over him, putting a hand to his hat to adjust the brim. It flew and flew, showing no signs of slowing down. It sailed into the crowd: a home-run.

    Back in the stands, David had let his grip on his cotton candy go slack as he watched the impressive hit in amazement. It drooped in front of Munchlax’s face, teasing him with its sugary goodness. Munchlax knew this was his chance and leapt up to take a bite from it. He opened his mouth wide, leaping into the air, but tasted something of an entirely different variety than the sweet treat he was expecting. The ball dropped and landed gracefully right into Munchlax’s mouth. He fell onto the ground in surprise, holding up the drool covered ball with a confused look on his face. The crowd roared for Munchlax’s amazing catch, David and Bianca yelling just as loudly for the confused little tike. He offered the ball to David in exchange for the cotton candy and happily sat back down with his new prize, enjoying his treat. The Druddigon had scored and were up 3-2, a victory now in sight. David wiped Munchlax’s spit off the ball and handed it to Bianca.

    “For you, milady.” he said with a smirk.

    “Oh wow, you mean it?!” she said excitedly. He held the ball out for her to take, still grinning to himself over their luck. She took it and hugged her friend, laughing audibly. The batter was just rounding home plate at this point and tipped his hat toward the distant pair. They went on to win the game, soundly defeating the Electivire; Bianca’s team had won!

    * * *

    “That was a lot of fun, Bianca; thanks for suggesting it. What’s next on your itinerary?” David asked as they left the stadium. Many fans were piling out of the large building and into the streets. It was still early afternoon, so they had plenty of time to see more.

    “We should go to the Battle Subway next. It’s designed to give Pokémon trainers competitively minded opponents to spar against; we can team up for the Multi Battle line!” Bianca replied.

    “That sounds great.” David said. They ambled through the brightly colored city to the subway station and walked down the dark, windy steps. A large, neon sign hung from the ceiling in the circular foyer; it read in bright, flashing letters “Welcome to Gear Station.” A giant clock hung below it, showing off the time in all the various regions. Rows of subway platforms spanned around the perimeter of the circular station, extending to the far corners of Unova; if viewed from above, they would look like the spokes on a gear, hence the name of the station. They walked through the crowds to the platform they wanted: The Multi Battle line. David bought their tickets and they waited for the car to arrive.

    “All aboard!” a man yelled over the roar of the crowd. The high-speed tram pulled up and the doors slid open audibly. The crowds shuffled onto the various cars, David and Bianca getting onto the farthest one in the back.

    “So how does this work, Bianca? How do we find opponents?” David asked.

    “We start in the back car, and with each win, we advance to the next one. Our opponents will be waiting for us each time we move to a new car. They say something special happens if you reach the front car!” she replied. The pair entered the first car and readied themselves.

    “Howdy, kids! How’re you two doing?” a young man asked them as they stepped in. The doors closed behind them and the train began to move. Next to him was a young woman, dressed in similar clothing. They both were dressed humbly and wore large backpacks.

    “We’re great! Are you our opponents?” Bianca asked excitedly.

    “Looks like it! I’m Melissa and this is my husband Mike; we’re newly-weds!” the woman replied.

    “This trip is our honeymoon.” Mike continued.

    “Aww, how sweet! Well, I’m Bianca and this is David. Are you two ready?” Bianca asked.

    The pair drew their Pokéballs and released them emphatically. A Cottonee sprang from Melissa’s Pokéball and a Timburr came from Mike’s. The Pokémon struck fighting positions, ready to battle.

    “You bet!” Mike replied.

    David and Bianca shot each other a determined look and drew their Pokémon. David released Munchlax and Bianca let out Pachirisu; the pair high-fived each other as they came out, striking a fighting pose, electricity bristling through Pachirisu’s tail. They looked much more prepared than their opponents; the battle began, each side launching their first strikes.

    “Timburr, use Wake-Up Slap!” Mike said with a grin. The little fighter leapt into the air towards Pachirisu, drawing its hearty log to strike with.

    “Pachirisu, Bide!” Bianca shouted back. Pachirisu curled itself up into a ball and bristled as the strike hit it. It began to glow faintly in a bright red as it endured the hit. Timburr kept up the attack unrelentingly.

    Across the room, David had begun his first attack. “Munchlax, use Fire Punch!” he shouted. Munchlax’s fists burst into flames and he leapt to strike the Cottonee. Munchlax was very slow however and Cottonee was much faster, jumping out of the way with ease. Cottonee dodged nimbly as Munchlax launched punch after punch. Cottonee had flawless footing, but Munchlax kept pushing it back farther and farther.

    “Cottonee, use Leech Seed!” Melissa shouted confidently. Cottonee took a large jump back and launched its spore toward Munchlax. The Prankster’s attack hit Munchlax squarely in the forehead, the vines spreading across his whole body, stopping his attack cold. Munchlax struggled to stand under the pressure of the sapping plant, trying valiantly to fight back.

    Timburr was continuing to wail on Pachirisu, striking over and over with his stout log. Pachirisu was holding fast, but clearly was in pain; the red energy that was glowing all over her body was shining quite brightly now. Timburr stepped back for one final strike, but Pachirisu saw her opportunity and struck back. She uncurled herself and launched the red energy towards the opposing Timburr. The wave of power flooded over her opponent, knocking it to the ground in defeat.

    Cottonee was very proud of itself over tricking Munchlax, laughing and hopping proudly. It drew in close to Munchlax, laughing in his face. Munchlax struggled to rise under the pressure of the Leech Seed, glaring at his enemy angrily. It tried to punch at Cottonee but couldn’t reach. Cottonee got careless and tripped over itself in its joy; Munchlax saw his opportunity and grabbed the little puff ball with its flaming fist. He flung it into the wall, searing its leaves with its intense fire. Cottonee fell to the ground in a slump. David and Bianca had won!

    The newly-weds returned their Pokémon and grinned in congratulations. They walked over to the pair and shook their hands happily.

    “Good job, you guys; you make a great pair.” Melissa said as she shook Bianca’s hand. “Yeah, great job.” Mike continued, shaking David’s. David and Bianca shot each other a look and smiled. They returned their Pokémon, wished the newly-weds well and continued into the adjacent car for their next battle.

    * * *

    “Pachirisu, Spark” Bianca shouted. Her Pokémon charged up its electricity and launched itself at the opposing Zorua. Its illusion had broken and it was disoriented from exhaustion. It took the attack head-on and slumped to the ground in defeat. David and Bianca returned their Pokémon and thanked their opponents.

    “That was six wins in a row, Bianca. We’re on fire!” David said, high-fiving his friend.

    “Yeah, we’re doing great! One more battle and the line is over.” she replied.

    The pair stepped through the final door and into the front car. There were no more opponents for them to battle, simply a pair of men driving the train. They didn’t turn to acknowledge the young trainers as they walked in, focusing on their task at hand.

    “Um… excuse me, sirs… are we-” Bianca started to ask, but they stopped her short. They flipped a switch on the control panel and turned to face her. They were dressed elegantly in matching suits, one black and one white. They wore large grins, almost ominous looking. The one in black spoke up.

    “Hello kids, my name is Ingo and this is my brother Emmet. We are the conductors of this rail line and we will be your final opponents. You have done well to make it here; a 6-win streak, as I understand. To win against us though, you must have a truly strong bond with your Pokémon and your Pokémon must have excellent coordination with each other; if you do win, however, you will be rewarded handsomely. Are you ready, Emmet?” the man said.

    “Certainly! Definitely! Absolutely, brother!” the man in the white suit said. “I shall battle with all of my strength!” he continued.

    “You’ll have to excuse him, kids. English is not his first language. Are you two prepared?” Ingo asked.

    David and Bianca looked at each other with determination and nodded, releasing Munchlax and Pachirisu. Ingo and Emmet released their Pokémon, sending out a powerful looking Klang and Dwebble respectively. The four Pokémon readied themselves with gleams in their eyes and the battle began.

    “Pachirisu, use Spark!” Bianca shouted. Pachirisu launched itself toward the Klang, bristling with electricity and energy. The blow seemed to glance off the Klang though, its thick steel body allowing it to take the hit with very little damage. It glared back at Pachirisu cunningly, now ready to strike back.

    Across the room, Munchlax was sparing with Emmet’s Dwebble. It was launching Fire Punch after Fire Punch, wailing on the little hermit crab powerfully. Its Bug side was weak to the Fire type move, but its Rock side was resistant to it, so the hits were doing a moderate amount of damage. Its thick, rocky shell was helping it take the brunt of the strikes though, so Munchlax was having a hard time pushing it back or gaining any ground. Seeing an opening, Emmet called for it to use X-Scissor, taking a strong swipe at Munchlax’s legs with its pincers. Munchlax toppled to the ground, inadvertently crushing the Dwebble with an accidental Body Slam in the process. The pair struggled to rise from the dual attacks.

    “Klang, Gear Grind!” Ingo shouted to his Pokémon. It began to spin very quickly, filling the air with a harsh screeching noise. It flew at Pachirisu, just nicking it. Pachirisu yelped in pain as the spinning gears stung it, but managed to speed away in time to avoid the full force of the attack. Bianca called for her Pokémon to use Hidden Power, but the freezing winds worked even worse than Spark had; Klang seemed to be an unstoppable wall that Pachirisu just couldn’t wear down.

    Seeing his partner’s plight, an idea came to David on how to end the battle quickly and decisively; he whispered it to Bianca, a smile slowly spreading across her face. Munchlax was the first to rise and managed to knock Dwebble back quickly; it landed on its shell, flailing to try and right itself.

    “Munchlax, throw Pachirisu into the air!” David shouted. The two Pokémon looked at each other in confusion, but followed their trainer’s commands. Pachirisu ran quickly over to Munchlax, who picked the ele-squirrel Pokémon up and threw her high into the air.

    “Now use Earthquake!” David continued. Munchlax understood the plan in a moment of realization and stomped powerfully and quickly on the ground. The shockwave struck both of the opposing Pokémon, but Pachirisu managed to avoid it thanks to their quick timing and coordination. Klang, being a Steel type, was weak to the Ground type attack and went down instantly; Dwebble had sustained enough damage from earlier in the match and couldn’t steady itself to defend against the strike, going down too. Pachirisu flipped in the air and landed gracefully in front of Munchlax. The two stood proudly before their defeated opponents, victorious over the brothers.

    “Excellent work, kids! That is the kind of coordination we love to see!” Ingo shouted. Emmet continued, “Marvelous! Stupendous! I love to see the trainers and the Pokémon who attack like that to arrive at the station of victory! Very most good!” David and Bianca grinned at his broken speech, but were ecstatic over their victory; very few passengers of the Battle Subway managed to make it that far, let alone win.

    The train was pulling back into the station at this point and the doors slid open. David and Bianca returned their proud Pokémon to their Pokéballs and walked up to the brothers to shake their hands.

    “As promised, you will be rewarded for your victory against us. We would like to present you with this TM; it contains Charge Beam, a very useful move indeed. We hope you will use this item to continue to excel and get stronger.” Ingo said as he congratulated them. He handed the small machine to Bianca with a smile. The pair stepped off the train and heard Emmet shout “Have the safety and please to be riding again!” from behind them. Bianca smirked at his remarks as the train began to pull away.

    “I bet Pachirisu could benefit from a Special Electric attack like that. You should teach it to her.” David commented. Bianca fired up the TM and gave it to her Pokémon.

    “Pachirisu, would you like to learn Charge Beam?” Bianca asked the ele-squirrel. Pachirisu bristled with electricity and grinned determinedly. It shut its eyes, let the machine do its work, and in a moment of clarity, Pachirisu learned Charge Beam. The group left the station and went outside to test out the new move.

    “Pachirisu, use Charge Beam!” Bianca said excitedly. Pachirisu bristled with electricity as it powered up the move, just like it did when using Spark, but instead of launching the electrified tackle at an opponent, it shot the blast of stored power in a thin, crackling beam. It struck the sidewalk and left a sizable scorch mark where it had hit.

    “Wow! That’s super!” Bianca said excitedly. Their trip to Gear Station had proven to be quite useful indeed.

    * * *

    The sun was just beginning to get low in the late afternoon sky as they walked down the street from Gear Station. David asked what Bianca’s next destination was and she spoke up in reply.

    “We should go to the amusement park next. The lights on all the rides should be coming on soon; it’ll look really pretty I bet.” Bianca answered. “Rondez-View Ferris Wheel is a famous tourist attraction of the city. They say it looks its best in the evening when it’s all lit up.” she continued.

    It was a short walk east from the subway station to the large fairground. A lush park was set aside in a corner of the city, full of rides and attractions. Children played and screamed with their parents in tow, and older couples were walking about and enjoying the atmosphere. The centerpiece of the park was the massive Ferris wheel in the back of the fairground; the sun was starting to set behind it, making the metal gleam in the evening light. Lights were woven into the support beams of the wheel, waiting for the sun to set to come on.

    “Oh wow, it’s so pretty! I didn’t realize it would be so big either; I bet if you went to the top you could see the whole city.” Bianca commented. They were passing by a large building with flashing lights adorning it as she said this, and they heard a woman’s voice speak from inside of it as they passed.

    “You can.” the woman said. She took a pause and then continued, “It’s the highest point in the city.”

    David and Bianca turned to see who was speaking to them and saw a woman leaning against the doorway of the building with her arms folded. She was tall and thin, and wore expensive looking clothing. She had short, tomboyish blonde hair with two long cords extending from her headband. She wore a disinterested look on her face but was still smiling cordially. Her clothing was fashionable, albeit slightly revealing, but she still had a classy air about her. She pushed herself off of the doorway with her shoulder and began walking slowly towards them, taking long, deliberate strides. She stopped when she had reached them and put her hands on her hips with an attitude. David began to speak up in response.

    “Really? It’s taller than the sports stadiums even?” he asked. The woman nodded. Her eyes had been closed when she spoke and walked over, but as she finished nodding her response, she opened them and shot David a cold, commanding look. She was staring directly into his eyes with a stern, confident gaze, practically dripping with a holier-than-thou attitude. David was taken aback by the confident young woman’s attitude and stare.

    “What’s your name, handsome?” the woman asked him aloofly. David was unnerved by her comment but she didn’t see his response as she had turned now to Bianca. “And who’s your plain Jane friend?” she continued.

    “I’m David and this is Bianca.” David replied. The woman had barely spoken five sentences to them and she was already in complete command of the situation. David tried meagerly to go on the offensive and asked her the same question. “How about you?” he stammered.

    The woman smiled to herself and brought her hand to her face, flicking her wrist. “My name is Elesa. I am the Gym Leader of Nimbasa City. However, you probably recognize me as-” she began to respond, but Bianca cut her off.

    “As a famous super model! I knew I recognized your face! You’re Elesa! The Elesa!” she said excitedly. Bianca had been silent during the entire short exchange, but she spoke up now, completely confident in front of the intimidating woman; David was surprised her aloof air wasn’t affecting Bianca like it was him. She continued, “I knew you were a model, but I didn’t realize you were the Gym Leader too!”

    Elesa was caught off guard to have been cut off, but she smiled and quickly regained her composure. “Always nice to meet a fan…” she continued. She put her hands back on her hips and lowered her head, still smiling smugly.

    “You’re really the Gym Leader? I didn’t envision you being so…” David started to say in surprised, but he struggled to find the word.

    “Feminine?” Elesa spoke up. She was really getting under his skin now, but that actually was a pretty good word for what he was thinking of. He mumbled something under his breath embarrassedly and Elesa laughed.

    “It’s alright, honey, I get that all the time.” she replied. “Pokémon battles are essentially just brute fighting on a high level of technical proficiency, and such fighting is typically viewed as a masculine activity in our society. The dresses and the make-up and the career… it is typically viewed as feminine in just the same way. Combining the two does seem a tad unorthodox until this frail body beats you.” she continued, chuckling to herself again.

    David’s uneasiness was starting to abate, but she was still intimidating. She had an air of confidence about her that was unmistakable. After a moment of silence, Bianca spoke up again.

    “You use Electric types, right?” she asked. Elesa nodded and replied.

    “This city is filled with lights and attractions and entertainment, and all of it runs on electricity. I embody that spirit in the way I battle.” she responded. “Why do you ask though, deary?” she continued.

    “David and I are Pokémon trainers. We’ve come here to challenge the Gym Leader, so I guess that means you!” Bianca said excitedly.

    “Challengers, huh? Guess you know my big secret now.” Elesa said with a wink. “When you’re ready to make your challenge, you know where to find me.”

    “Where’s that?” Bianca asked. Elesa pointed up and behind her to the building she had come out of, indicating it was her Gym. David and Bianca looked up at the shining, fanciful building in surprise, not expecting the colorful structure in the middle of the amusement park to be a Gym. Elesa anticipated their surprise and spoke up.

    “Nothing in the city draws more power than this amusement park. It seemed like a natural place to put the Gym. Besides… the rides appeal to the kid in me.” she said with a smirk. David was quickly becoming more and more impressed and confused by the young woman, all at the same time.

    “How about tomorrow morning? Will that work for you, Elesa?” Bianca asked. Elesa nodded her head and smiled her confident smile again. Bianca thought for a minute, and then continued, “Hey! I’ve got an idea! Elesa, what would you say to a double battle with David and I? We just spent a long time at the Battle Subway on the Multi Battle line; David and I make great battling partners, so how about we combine our challenges and do a Multi Battle with you?”

    David looked at Bianca in shock, and even Elesa seemed a little taken aback by the request. David was worried Elesa would shoot her idea down instantly, but instead, she actually considered it for a moment. She looked up, putting a hand to her chin. She still wore her grin, but now it was a grin of intrigue and surprise rather than of condescension.

    “That’s actually… a really interesting idea…” Elesa said, still deep in thought. She snapped her fingers and continued, “I really like that idea actually. That sounds like a lot of fun!” David was surprised by her positive response, but he was actually pretty interested in the proposition himself. They had done really well at the Battle Subway, and it would be a way of spending more time with Bianca. Bianca giggled to herself over her success, clapping her hands in front of her.

    “So what’s the deal, are you two, like… together or something?” Elesa asked. A confused look spread across David’s face, but he quickly realized what she meant and shook his head “no” worriedly. Bianca was still confused, not understanding the connection.

    “‘Together?’ What does that mean?” she asked. Elesa chuckled to herself over David’s nervousness and Bianca’s naivety, waiving her hand dismissively.

    “Oh… never mind, love; I’ll see you two in the morning.” Elesa said. She flicked her wrist dismissively to wave good-bye and strutted back into her Gym. Bianca turned to David in confusion, but David dismissed the impending question out of fear. The two continued walking deeper into the amusement park as the sun continued to set behind them.

    * * *

    David and Bianca had gone on a couple of rides and were enjoying the large amusement park, but as dusk began to settle in, the massive Ferris wheel beckoned to them. They walked over to it, staring up at its majesty.

    “This really is a giant Ferris wheel, Bianca. Elesa probably wasn’t kidding about being able to see the whole city from on top of it.” David said, mystified at the giant structure in front of him.

    “Do you have the time, David?” Bianca asked.

    “It’s, uh… 7:50” he replied. “10 more minutes until they light it up.”

    “Let’s hurry and get tickets! Maybe they’ll turn the lights on while we’re on it!” Bianca replied. The pair bought their tickets and went inside. An empty cart was coming back around and the wheel slowed for them to get on. The carts sat two people a piece, designed for couples or for parents and children; David and Bianca had their car all to themselves. They entered it, heard the door latch shut behind them, and the wheel began to turn.

    Ooh!” Bianca squealed in excitement as the car began to rise. “This is so exciting! Look out at the city, David!”

    The sprawling evening city spread out before them, a million little lights glowing across the landscape. The city glowed in every color of the rainbow, stretching on as far as the eye could see. Compared to the likes of Castelia or some of the bigger cities of other regions, it was actually fairly small in terms of square mileage; but there was so much packed into the town that it was every bit as magnificent as those bigger ones. In the distance, they could see the Big Stadium, Gear Station, the Pokémon Musical hall, the Pokémon Center, and hundreds of other brightly shining buildings competing with the setting sun for the title of brightest light in the sky. The sun shone brightly for one last hoorah before it winked out and set behind the mountains in front of them. They had been slowly ascending through their arc and were coming to the top of the wheel’s path. Bianca began to speak in a hushed voice.

    “Wow…” she said in reverence. “This is such a great view…”

    The car had a steel bottom and a glass top, with the bottom painted red to look like an upside-down Pokéball. The bench seats on either side of the cart had enough room to comfortably seat one person each; Bianca’s seat was facing away from the city, so she had to turn around uncomfortably to look out. She spoke up again, “Do you mind if I come sit over by you so I’m not twisting my neck?”

    Before David could even process a reply, she had stood up and walked over to his side of the car. She tried to scrunch in next to him, but the bench was just a bit too narrow for them both to fit on it. Instead, she decided to sit on his lap, looking out at the city and holding onto his neck to steady herself. Bianca seemed to think nothing of it, captivated by the city lights, but to David it was every bit as awkward and nerve-wracking as it was uncomfortable in the tiny car. He could feel himself tighten up slightly and his pulse quicken as she drew so near.

    “This is way better; I can see really easily now.” Bianca said obliviously. David murmured something under his breath, but she didn’t seem to hear. She was seated gracefully on his left thigh, bracing herself against his neck with her right arm. She was blissfully unaware of how nervous her new cushion was; David tried his hardest to not think about how close she was, but it was an uphill battle.

    As they reached the zenith of the arc, the wheel abruptly jerked to a stop. The car shook for a moment and David inadvertently put a hand on Bianca’s leg and the other around her waist to steady her. The car stabilized itself in short time, but he didn’t bother to move his hands.

    “Why did we stop? Is there something wrong with the motor?” Bianca asked, a slight tone of concern creeping into her voice.

    “I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to wait and-” David began to say, but he was cut off. The whole Ferris wheel lit up in an instant, flooding the entire park in color. The lights that were intertwined with not only the railings and support beams, but also all of the cars, gleamed brightly in the night sky, twinkling in every color imaginable. It was a beautiful spectacle to behold, and they were inside of it all as it had been turned on. The pair gasped, looking around at the stunning new lights.

    “Oh David! It’s beautiful!” Bianca said in shock. She looked around with an enormous grin on her face at all the new color. The wheel had turned into one giant neon sign in the blink of an eye. The lights flooded the inside of their car too, casting shadows and dancing across their bodies. David couldn’t help but look up at Bianca’s smiling face as the light played across it.

    “…it’s not the only thing.” David murmured under his breath. He froze immediately, realizing he had inadvertently said that out loud. He felt his heart rate quicken as soon as the realization struck him and tried to stare straight ahead.

    “What did you say?” Bianca asked.

    “Nothing.” David replied quickly, but Bianca had heard.

    “Did… did you say ‘that’s not the only thing?’” she continued.

    David looked at his shoes uncomfortably; funny… one was looser than the other. Bianca placed her free, left hand over the one he was still resting on her leg; he had forgotten he was still cradling her like that. He looked up at her, a thin smile spread across her lips. The colorful lights of the Ferris wheel danced across her face and shone in her golden blonde hair. She had a blissful and knowing look in her eye.

    “Bianca… I…” David stammered. He couldn’t pull his eyes away from her gaze and he felt her hand clasp around his as they sat together. The lights were flooding the car in beautiful, twinkling colors and shadows, heightening the atmosphere. David tried to finish his thought but Bianca stopped him.

    “Shh…” she whispered sweetly. “Thank you.” She released his hand and placed hers around his shoulder. She embraced him gingerly, cupping his head under her chin. The pair sat together, cradling each other in the beautiful car, looking out at the nighttime city. David was still nervous and worried, but to be honest, he couldn’t think of a better setting.

    “…you know… don’t you?” David whispered.

    “Shh…” Bianca said again. She squeezed a little tighter for a second and continued to enjoy the moment. The wheel began to turn again a moment later and they road it down in each other’s arms, not questioning the act and simply enjoying it.

    * * *

    [Continued Below]

  11. #36
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    Jun 2011
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    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 9: I've Just Seen a Face
    Part 2 of 2

    A short time later, the pair left the park, heading back into the nighttime city. David was feeling a little nervous about their experience on the Ferris wheel, but Bianca seemed strangely calm and serene. She had a slight spring in her step and a faint but permanent smile etched on her face.

    “So where to now?” David asked meekly.

    “We’ve still got to catch the play at the Pokémon Musical, remember? They’re performing a stage rendition of The Heracross’ ‘Help!’ tonight; I thought that would be something fun for us to do together.” she replied. Bianca was referring to the fact that they had grown up on the music of The Heracross; their music was a special connection for them that Cheren didn’t share to as large an extent. It would be something they could do together that would hold a special meaning for them. David murmured something in agreement and they set off towards the theater.

    It was just a short walk north, but as they went, Bianca swung her arms happily. Her knuckles brushed up against the back of David’s hand and it startled him. Bianca just giggled and grasped it, taking the initiative for him. David was taken aback, but she just laughed and swung it cheerily in unison with hers. They walked hand-in-hand down the streets and finally arrived at the theater.

    They went in and were led to a table. The Nimbasa City Pokémon Musical was a large dinner theater that put on shows featuring trainers and their Pokémon as the actors. Audience participation was a huge part of the experience, and every night they would select one table to come up and perform the final number of the show. Tonight they were performing a theatrical version of the Heracross’ feature film ‘Help!’ As corny as it was, David knew all the words to the movie’s songs by heart and knew Bianca did too; he secretly hoped they would be chosen.

    “Hello and welcome!” a man shouted from the stage. “The Nimbasa City Pokémon Musical would like to welcome you all to our performance of the Heracross’ feature film, ‘Help!’ As you all know, one table from the audience will be chosen to come up on stage and sing the final number of the evening with us. Tonight… that table will beeeeeeee…” he continued. A spotlight shone around the room, tracing a pattern in the crowd. It made a few passes around the large dining hall and finally rested on one table in particular.

    “This table, with the lovely young couple! Why don’t you come on up here, kids!” the host shouted. The light had stopped on David and Bianca’s table; they had been chosen to perform the final song of the night.

    Eek! David! That’s us!” Bianca shouted. A grin spread across both their faces and they went up on stage to shake the host’s hand. The whole room cheered and clapped for them, anticipating the song to come.

    “Hey there, kids! What’re your names?” the man asked.

    “I’m Bianca and this is David!” Bianca said excitedly.

    “And where are you two from?” he continued.

    “Nuvema Town!” she replied.

    “Wow! That’s quite a ways away!” the man said in surprise. “And what Pokémon will be performing with you tonight?” he continued.

    The pair drew their three collective Pokéballs and released the Pokémon to the stage. Pachirisu and Munchlax both looked excited and handsome, but Zubat in particular shone in the stage lights. The whole room gasped at Bianca’s shiny Pokémon and applauded loudly.

    WOW! A shiny Pokémon! That’s not something we see here every day! We’re in for a real treat, folks!” the host shouted. “Well, you two go on back to your table; when it’s time for you to come on back and get ready, we’ll send someone to get you. As an added treat, your visit here is all-expenses-paid for the evening, so enjoy yourselves!” he continued.

    David and Bianca were ecstatic at this exciting news and returned to their table to the applause and cheers of the crowd. A short time later the play began and their evening passed swimmingly. As the play neared completion a few hours later, a man walked quietly through the large dining hall over to their table. He leaned over and whispered for them to follow him backstage.

    “Okay kids, time to get you in costume for your number. Miss, if you’ll follow this young lady to your dressing room, and young man, I’ll show you to yours.” the stage hand said. David and Bianca waved as they separated, both going to get ready for their number. David was led into an ornate dressing room where another aide was waiting.

    The man helped him into a tuxedo and helped clean him up for the number. He then put a little bowtie on Munchlax, preparing him for his role alongside his trainer. The process took around 15 minutes, but the time seemed to drag on to David. As it neared completion, he could hear the crowd outside applauding for the end of the show; it was almost time.

    “Okay honey, you’re going to go out on stage, the host is going to introduce you, and then you’ll do your number. Wait for the music to start, then you come out first, then your little lady friend, okay?” the man asked. David nodded and he continued. “The song you’ll be doing is ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face.’ You know that one, right?” he asked. David nodded again and the man sent him on his way.

    “Oh you look so fabulous! Go knock ‘em dead, hon!” he said. David smiled and thanked him, heading for the stage door. He and his Pokémon walked behind the curtain stage right and motioned to the host to see him. He nodded slightly and began the announcement.

    “Thank you, thank you! That concludes our feature presentation for the evening, and we hope you enjoyed it!” he said loudly and excitedly. The crowd continued to applaud, cheering for the actors and the excellent play. “As is customary, we now present you with our final song of the night, performed by two of our audience members and their Pokémon! Performing ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face’ from the soundtrack to the movie, here is… David and Bianca!” he shouted.

    David looked down at Munchlax and smiled. Munchlax had a determined grin on his face, clearly understanding what was happening; he looked like a million bucks in his little clip-on bowtie. The band began to play and the pair strode on stage.

    David and Munchlax walked in rhythm with the song, striding with the music and getting a big audience reaction. He was trying to work the crowd as the band played the intro, walking very flamboyantly and just acting silly with his goofy little Pokémon. As the intro began to conclude, he held out both arms towards the opposite side of the stage to give Bianca an introduction. On cue, she stepped out slowly, Pachirisu wrapped around her neck like a stole and Zubat flying above her; David’s jaw just about hit the ground when he saw her.

    She was dressed in a stunning, green evening gown, gently draping a pink parasol over her shoulder with both hands. She wore a calm smile on her lips, her eyes were closed and her head was very slightly bowed. The dress fit snugly, coming up to her underarms and leaving her shoulders and arms exposed; it fell to her feet gently in a long train, ruffling as she gently took each step. Her hair was down, falling in gentle, golden waves to her shoulders. She wore almost no makeup, looking flawless without it. Pachirisu lounged cheerily over her shoulders like a stole. Zubat flew to the beat of the music in figure eights above her, shining and shimmering beautifully in the light; Bianca’s dress and parasol were designed to match the little bat’s unique coloring, his shimmering form accenting her beauty. She stepped onto the stage opposite David and Munchlax and opened her eyes, staring commandingly into David’s. David almost lost the beat he was so taken aback by her gorgeous form, but he had certainly found motivation for the song. He began to sing.

    [Author’s Note: Sung to the tune of “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by The Beatles. I take no credit for creation of the song or the referenced feature film.]

    ♫ I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place where we just met,
    She’s just the girl for me and I want all the world to see we’ve met…
    Hmm mmm mmm, hmm mmm mm! ♫


    David danced and spun around the stage, taking Munchlax’s hand as he went, the pair jubilantly celebrating the beauty of his partner across the stage. Munchlax kicked up his legs and wore a big grin on his face, doing a little dance along with his trainer. His little bowtie was a big hit with the audience; they clapped and screamed for the pair, applauding Munchlax’s silly grin; the little goober could really command a crowd.

    Now it was Bianca’s turn to take a verse. She slowly, daintily approached center stage as David bowed out.

    ♫ Had it been another day I might have looked the other way and
    I’d have never been aware, but as it is I’ll dream of
    you tonight…
    Lai dai dai, dai’d-un-dai. ♫


    Bianca actually had quite a singing voice, and her notes rang throughout the room in a beautiful, crisp tone. She changed the “her” in the song to a “you,” accenting it and shooting a quick look at David. He caught it as she said it and grinned. The pair both approached center stage now for the chorus. They shot each other a look and grasped each other’s hands, spinning in a circle around their collective center with centrifugal force. Pachirisu and Munchlax ran around the edge of their circle at their feet, laughing and playing as their trainers danced. Zubat continued to fly overhead, spinning and performing aerial feats in time with the music. David and Bianca sang the chorus together, holding each other’s hands and spinning.

    ♫ Falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again! ♫

    The pair split and David ran up to the edge of the stage with Munchlax. Bianca pulled out a small red fan and covered her mouth with it elegantly, swaying her hips to the beat behind them. David and Munchlax rocked in rhythm back and forth with the music, singing the next verse directly to the crowd.

    ♫ I have never known the like of this, I’ve been alone and I have
    Missed things and kept out of sight, but
    other girls were never quite like this!
    Lai dai dai, dai’d-un-dai. ♫


    David turned back around to face Bianca as he sang the last phrase. He grinned and ran back to take her hands again for the chorus. They embraced each other and danced in a fast ballroom style, again singing together in harmony.

    ♫ Falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again! ♫

    As the band played their solo, David and Bianca danced and spun around the stage, putting on a remarkable show. The audience was completely in love with the pair, shouting and applauding for them as they moved. Munchlax and Pachirisu danced in the corner as well, spinning around each other and hamming it up for the crowd. Zubat continued to follow his trainer, glimmering in the light and shining down on her as a brilliant accent; if Bianca’s radiant beauty was that perfect 10˘ ice cream sundae in the soda shop you always eyed as a kid, Zubat was the shiny red cherry that sat on top. David and Bianca were completely in the moment, staring blissfully into each other’s eyes as the band played. When the solo ended, they sang another chorus in unison.

    ♫ Falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again! ♫

    Bianca took the final verse, stepping away from her partner and walking gracefully to the edge of the stage. She closed her eyes, straightened her stance, put her feet together, and gently spun the parasol over her shoulder.

    ♫ I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place where we just met,
    He’s just the guy for me and I want all the world to see we’ve met…
    Hmm mmm mmm, dai’d-un-dai… ♫


    David walked up from behind her and embraced his friend as they sang the final chorus. The dancing was over; they simply held each other and belted out the final chorus. The climax to the song was practically bringing the audience to the brink of insanity, and the roof seemed to be about ready to explode and launch into the night sky.

    ♫ Falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again.
    Falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again.
    Whoa falling, yes I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again! ♫


    As the lyrics ended and the band built up to the ending to conclude the song, David took a deep breath and committed to an action. He moved quickly and grasped Bianca behind the shoulder blades. He cupped his arm around the back of her knees and lifted her into the air. She had lost a little weight on the trip like she had hoped she would, but she was still a tad big; the feat was difficult, but he committed to it and persevered. As she left the ground, she threw her arms around his neck to balance herself and he fell to one knee, as if he was displaying her to the audience. As the band played the final note, Munchlax and Pachirisu poked out from behind their trainers on either side and Zubat landed on top of David’s head. The whole group struck a perfectly choreographed pose; David and Bianca rested their foreheads together, shutting their eyes and enjoying the moment of unity. The crowd roared for the pair, the applause nearly knocking the walls down. As the pair stood up and David gently helped Bianca stand again, they began to bow and Bianca whispered something under her breath.

    “That was really something, huh David?” she whispered

    “Just takes the proper motivation, Bianca.” David replied.

    They stood on the stage, taking their praise and applause for several more minutes. They had been an absolute smash success, and the theater thanked them fanatically for their performance. As a token of appreciation, they let them keep the clothing, and gave them a standing ovation before they left. After their long day, they headed back to the Pokémon Center, ready to retire and prepare themselves for their Gym battle in the morning. They would need their strength, and it had been a very full day.

    * * *

    The pair walked hand-in-hand back to the Pokémon Center, having earned a completely new understanding of each other over the course of the day. They walked into the empty lobby and began to part ways.

    “Well Bianca, I guess this is where we part for the night.” David said, releasing her hands. “I had a great time with you today. Thank you.” he continued.

    Bianca giggled to herself at his comment and began to respond. “No, David, thank you. This was a perfect day, and I’ll always remember it. Thanks for the perfect date, old friend.” she said.

    David took a moment to process what he had heard. As it dawned on him, he began to stammer.

    “D-d-d-date?!” he said.

    Bianca giggled to herself and wrapped her arms around his neck. She leaned up and gave him a very quick peck on the lips.

    “See you in the morning for our Gym battle, boyfriend.” she said. She turned to walk away, flashing him a quick wave as she went. She bounced happily up the stairs to her room, turning around to blow him a kiss as she went out of sight. David stood in the lobby, dumbstruck at the events of the day. He stood, thinking to himself for several minutes before taking her initiative and going to bed himself. He wore a giant grin on his face that would not abate, no matter how stupid it looked. He began to think something to himself as strongly as he could, projecting it as far as it would go.

    “Paula, I don’t know if you can hear me somehow, but… if you can… I did it…” he thought.

    He put his hands in his pockets and slowly strode down the hall and into his room, the events of the day swimming around in his mind. He didn’t know if she really could hear him, but he did know one thing for sure: he had done it; Bianca was his.

    * * *

    Soon the morning came, and with it came the time for the Gym battle against Elesa. The pair arrived at the fairgrounds, ready to face the opponent that commanded such strong respect and emotions. Elesa would not be a pushover, but the newly united pair was ready to face anything together. The high emotions of the previous night still coursed through their veins and heightened their confidence; they could do anything, they both now thought, with the other as a partner.

    “Hey you two lovebirds, how’s the cute country couple? Or are you still ‘just friends?’” Elesa asked with a laugh as they entered her Gym. David and Bianca grasped each other’s hands and she smiled, now out of affection instead of condescension. “Aww! You two really are together! How sweet!” she continued. “I swear, you two are right out of a story book… you guys sure aren’t like the hipsters at the clubs around here.”

    David no longer felt intimidated by Elesa’s quick wit and high society pizzazz like he had the night before; not with his new partner to support him. He shot back “At least she’s a natural blonde…” with a smirk. Bianca giggled softly to herself, scratching her shaggy hair.

    “Reow! Ffts ffts!” Elesa replied in mild surprise. “Someone brought their A-game. Let’s see if you can back that up, hotshot. You ready to battle?” she continued.

    David and Bianca silently drew their Pokéballs, and she waved them onto the battlefield. The trio took up their respective positions on the field and prepared for the match.

    “This will be a Double Battle between David and Bianca, the challengers, and Elesa, the Nimbasa City Gym Leader.” the judge shouted. He was an average man, already in his position on the field when the group had walked in. He continued, “Each side will be allowed two Pokémon, meaning every battling Pokémon will be sent out at the beginning of the match. When either side becomes unable to go on, victory shall be awarded to their opponent. I shall determine when a Pokémon is unfit to continue. Trainers ready?” The three of them nodded determinedly that they were, and he called for them to release their Pokémon.

    “Zebstrika, Emolga, go!” Elesa shouted. She threw their Pokéballs onto the field with a startling amount of strength, and the fearsome pair leapt out, bristling with power and electricity. Zebstrika whinnied and reared up on its hind legs, stomping back down with tremendous force; when its hooves reconnected with the ground, a flash of lightning shot out from under them, breaking the calm air in a flash. Emolga flew through the air joyously and effortlessly, performing a number of spins and tricks; it landed on top of its partner’s head, crackling and bristling with power to spare. They looked like an unstoppable pair, but David and Bianca shot each other a keen look and released their Pokémon defiantly in unison.

    Munchlax and Zubat flew from their Pokéballs, striking admittedly less intimidating fighting positions, but their small size belying their true strength. Zubat flew through the air, trying to outshine Emolga as the champion of the skies; its aerial feats were less impressive, but the little shiny seemed to radiate with a strength and determination that was its own shine altogether. Munchlax wore a determined look upon his face, knowing exactly what was expected of him; his goofy body and food obsession was cute and funny in the appropriate moment, but he was truly the powerhouse of David’s small team. The four Pokémon stared each other down, waiting for the match to begin.

    “Wha-how! Plain Jane’s got a shiny, huh? Interesting… very interesting…” Elesa said flippantly. The judge looked to the trainers and their Pokémon, confirming they were ready, and called for the battle to commence.

    “Emolga, Aerial Ace! Zebstrika, Flame Charge!” Elesa shouted. The aloof air she had worn the previous day was gone, replaced now with a determination and commitment to win. Emolga launched itself off Zebstrika’s head as he burst into flames, the pair flying towards their opponents with tremendous strength.

    “Munchlax, Fire Punch!” David shouted. “Zubat, Wing Attack!” Bianca commanded in unison. Their Pokémon ran out to meet Elesa’s in the middle of the field, the four of them all on a collision course that was sure to make sparks fly.

    Munchlax’s enflamed fist and Zebstrika’s explosive charge were based on the same power: Fire. The two unstoppable forces collided and appeared evenly matched at first. The initial crash sent a wave of heat flying, but the two Pokémon both held fast, trying to push the other one back. Munchlax was great at forcing his opponents to give up ground in exchange for momentary safety, but this Zebstrika was a force to be reckoned with, unwilling to give up an inch. The pair was caught in a struggle to overcome each other, pushing at each other with strength as powerful as the fire surrounding them was hot.

    Zubat and Emolga danced, flew, spun and twirled around each other in an impressive aerial battle, both trying to outmaneuver the other and land their blow without getting hit themselves. Zubat swooped in with his wings outstretched, trying to smack at Emolga, but Emolga took a dive and swooped out of the way; Zubat now had to go on the defensive as Emolga came around for another pass, pulling the same trick on the sky squirrel Pokémon as it had pulled on him and dodging with a turn. The two were deadlocked in an impressive struggle, neither one able to find a chink in the other’s armor.

    Elesa decided she had had enough of this stalemate. “Zebstrika, Emolga, use Volt Switch!” she commanded of both of her Pokémon. Zebstrika acted first; its short hair crackled with electricity and quickly overcame the fire surrounding it, replacing it with its natural element. It braced itself against Munchlax and then quickly pushed off of him, sidestepping out of the way. Munchlax tripped over himself and fell to the ground, landing flat on his face. Zebstrika again reared up and stomped on the little tike’s back, crushing him under his tremendous strength and electrical power. Emolga pulled the same trick on Zubat, covering itself in a strong electric charge and speeding up towards the little bat. Zubat was unable to keep up with Emolga’s newfound speed and took the shot dead on, reeling from the highly effective Electric type attack. Zubat fluttered to the ground, trying to compose itself and regain altitude before Emolga could build up too much momentum; if Zubat left the sky and let Emolga get on top of it, the battle would be lost for him. Suddenly, the tide had turned and the newly established couple found themselves in a dire straight.

    “See what happens when electricity is added to a situation?” Elesa shouted confidently. “Electricity is the power that makes the world go ‘round, kiddies!”

    “Munchlax, use Earthquake!” David shouted. Munchlax braced himself against the ground and then shook Zebstrika off, launching himself into the air and landing proudly and defiantly before his opponent. Zebstrika was caught off guard and fell to his side on the ground, flailing to stand before Munchlax could mount an offensive. Munchlax struck decisively though, taking a mighty leap into the air. He crashed to the ground with tremendous strength, ripping the ground apart with his powerful shockwave. Zubat and Emolga both flew high enough off the ground to be unaffected by it, but Zebstrika was struck hard by the terrible blow. The Ground type attack did crushing damage to the zebra Pokémon, still unable to defend himself from the surprise comeback Munchlax had mounted, and was defeated in a single blow.

    “Zebstrika is unable to battle!” the judge shouted.

    Munchlax looked back to his trainer with a big grin. David congratulated him, but the pair’s mind then returned to the battle and Zubat. Their partner was still in trouble, losing in the aerial battle to Elesa’s Emolga. The sky squirrel Pokémon was quickly gaining momentum and going on the offensive, preparing to strike with another Volt Switch. If Zubat let the blow hit, it would be all over.

    “Zubat, Wing Attack! Pull up! Pull up!” Bianca shouted in desperation. Zubat shook off the disorientation from the jolt it had received before, but Emolga was coming in hot. He turned to face his opponent and decisively took action. Zubat spun through the air in a barrel roll, narrowly dodging Emolga’s second Volt Switch. The electric current bristling over its short fur was close enough to singe Zubat’s wings, and he knew the attack had only just missed.

    “Z or R twice, eh Bianca?” David asked, a tone of concern creeping into his voice despite the joke. “Do you want us to help?”

    “I-” Bianca started to say, but something made her stop short. She saw a gleam in Zubat’s eye that reassured her, and she continued calmly, “No, no I think Zubat has everything under control…”

    Emolga and Zubat faced off, looking each other in the eye coldly and calculatedly, preparing for the final strike of the match. Emolga charged up its power and prepared for the Volt Switch; Zubat calmed itself and readied his response. Emolga flew at terrific speed towards its opponent, but Zubat remained calm and waited for the right moment to dodge.

    “Are you sure you’ve got this, Bianca?” David asked, growing more concerned. She simply nodded and folded her arms, knowing what her Pokémon was about to do. David turned back to the field, looking expectantly at the little bat. It was a shiny Pokémon and had an inherent gleam to it, but that gleam started to intensify. It seemed to glow from within, almost as if it were… their strategy dawned on him.

    Zubat slowed the rate of his flapping and concentrated. He had been with Bianca for a good while now and had been with her through two other Gym battles and many hours of training. He knew Emolga could outspeed him no matter what, and while it was charged up for Volt Switch, he couldn’t really even touch it. He knew what he had to do and let the sensation wash over him. A light began to glow from within his tiny body, feeding his shiny glow and making the whole room sparkle in his mossy green coloring. His form became a blinding white light, surrounded by several blue, pulsating rings that wrapped and morphed around his body. He began to change, slowly growing much bigger and much more muscular. As the pulsating light began to reach a feverish pitch, the flashing white and green bundle of light burst and a powerful Golbat took his place. Golbat opened his new eyes for the first time, screeching powerfully and spreading his enormous new wings in defiance. He raced towards Emolga, much faster now and ready to defeat his foe.

    Emolga was taken aback by Zubat’s evolution and faltered, losing a little speed and fluttering in the air. This small slip was exactly the opening Golbat had been looking for. He raced towards the squirrel, slashing at it with his now much more powerful wings. Emolga took the brunt of the Wing Attack head on and fell from the sky, landing in a slump on the ground. Golbat came back around, ready for another strike.

    “Alright Golbat! Great job!” Bianca shouted excitedly. Golbat’s massive green body and strong, imposing pink wings were a much more intimidating sight than Zubat had been; he was as pretty as he was powerful to his very feminine trainer. Bianca called for a Leech Life to finish the match.

    “Emolga, get out of there!” Elesa shouted in panic. Her voice was starting to crack as the façade fell. “Use Quick Attack!” she continued.

    Emolga steadied itself and shot off away from the giant bat as it swooped in to attack, but Golbat was much faster now than he had been before and doggedly followed Emolga. The two flew in circles around the Gym, playing their dangerous game of cat and mouse like fighter pilots from WWII. Golbat managed to catch up and bit into Emolga powerfully. Emolga shrieked in pain as the little bit of strength he had left evaporated and rejuvenated his opponent. He fell from the sky for a second time, landing in a slump on the ground in defeat. Golbat screeched proudly, swooping through the air for one final time before returning to his trainer.

    “Emolga is unable to battle! Elesa is out of usable Pokémon. David and Bianca are the winners!” the judge shouted.

    “Golbat, that was great! I’m so proud of you!” Bianca shouted as she ran out to meet her Pokémon. Golbat was nearly as tall as she was now and wrapped his giant wings around her in celebration, happy to have won for his trainer. Munchlax slowly walked up to David as the two of them looked on at the happy pair, standing before his trainer proudly for his part in the victorious battle. Elesa returned her Pokémon to their Pokéballs, sighed, and walked out to meet her opponents.

    “Ugh… fine. You two win, I guess…” she said angrily. She wasn’t taking the defeat well, but she was a city girl at heart and that came with a certain attitude. She crossed her arms and tapped her foot, looking down and away, but a smile was slowly creeping across her face. She pouted a big sigh again and continued, “You two did do pretty well though, much as I don’t want to admit it… you’re alright… for a couple of country kids.”

    David and Bianca shot each other a look and grinned, knowing she was proud, even though she had lost and wouldn’t show it. The young couple embraced and laughed happily over their combined win, now one step closer to their dream of competing in the Pokémon League Championships. Elesa took two badges from her pocket and handed one to each of them, giving them their fourth badge in the Unova region out of eight.

    “Good job, you two. You’ve earned the Bolt Badge… both of you.” Elesa said. Their badges gleamed in the light like Golbat, still fresh, new and untarnished from travel. The pair took out their badge cases and placed their newly won badges in each other’s case, laughing to themselves at the simple gesture. Elesa’s smile finally broke out and she laughed, appreciating their simplicity and purity. After their many adventures in Nimbasa City and the radical paradigm shift in their relationship with one another, they had won their badges at the Nimbasa City Pokémon Gym.

    “Four down, four to go.” David thought to himself as he kissed his new girlfriend.

    * * *

    The two of them bade Elesa a kind farewell, warning her of Cheren’s impending challenge, and walked out of the Gym. They strode through the fairground hand-in-hand and hummed the melody to the previous night’s song in harmony. The sun was shining, a few puffy white clouds dotted the sky, and the sounds of children’s laughter filled the air around them in the amusement park. He had just won a Gym battle and the most beautiful girl in the world was wrapped around his arm, it occurred to David; how could the situation get any better?

    As they walked along contemplating this, a bundle of light appeared before them in a flash. The space twisted and skewed, bursting a split-second later into the forms of Cheren and Paula. Cheren wore a worried look on his face and looked around in shock for his friends. He saw them and ran up, stumbling over his words.

    “Hey Cheren, how was your trip?” David asked nonchalantly, but Cheren cut him off. He sounded winded and was tripping over his words.

    “Guys… guys… guys…” he rasped, but he couldn’t sound out the rest of his words.

    “Cheren, slow down. What’s wrong?” Bianca asked. Cheren caught his breath, stood up straighter and looked them in the eyes. He cleared his throat and spoke in a commanding, ominous voice.

    “You guys… boy have I got a story for you.

  12. #37
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    Jan 2011
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    Cebu, Philippines
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    CLIFFHANGER???

    NOOOOOO!!!

    And yes. Man. This was inevitable.

    Anyways, very solid chapter. One of your better ones, definitely. (Hey look, first poster!) I guess it's become somewhat of a tradition, but let's just go with it. These are the things that really hit me off the bat.

    1. Obviously, the cliffhanger. Very good use of the cliffhanger. Maybe a bit cliche, but it's cliche for a reason. I'm definitely curious as to what happened.

    2. The Beatles. Just. ^___^

    3. Bianca and David's romance in this chapter was actually very well placed. They're both still starting their journeys, essentially, so Nimbasa was a very good place for the romance to really take hold. Right in the middle, where they're still young and happy. I can't wait to see how you show the stresses the relationship will undergo (and hopefully overcome). The way you did it in this chapter was really good. For one, you used the most cliched romance pitch Unova gave us; the ferris wheel. But unlike most fics I've read that utilized it, you did a good job with it. I like how you made that storybook romance really come out in the scene.

    And two, the musical. Most times, it's overlooked. No one really likes the musicals apparently (dunno why, really.) They're either just briefly mentioned or ignored altogether. You used it to your advantage, and made it original. That was very good thinking on your part. Way to use everything to your advantage!

    4. Pokemon personality. I really like Munchlax. Definitely my favorite character. hahah. I don't know if it was my advice that brought you to bring it up, or if you just did it on your own, but whatever it was, it was good. In no way was it forced, slightly random but it's ok, and it was descriptive in a way that it wasn't just a plethora of description. It was a nice mix of description, action, and emotion. I really like Munchlax in your story.

    I do have some things to say about the battle scenes. They're improving, whether you notice or not. There's some flow in all your battles, although if I were Elesa, Zubat wouldn't have survived. (Discharge/Volt Switch? SPAM)

    But I agree with your earlier statement; this was your best gym battle writing. I do have one thing to say against it. You might want to limit the amount of 'evolve to save the gym battle' strategies that you're using. Allow an evolution to take place at random. Eevee's evolution was nicely placed, whereas Paula's was also nice in that you went with the cliche early on and in a believable manner. Zubat's was also ok, but you might want to watch that. Think of another, creative way for the others to evolve.

    And no, it was a good time for Zubat to evolve. It didn't really feel forced or anything; at most, it was a bit cliched. But the timing wasn't bad or anything, in my opinion.

    But other than that, really good gym battle. Barring a couple of typos here and there (unavoidable, really, unless you have eagle eyes or something), but nothing distracting. Another thing; the space that you're putting between chapters is actually doing some good. It seems to allow you to write better chapters, with good substance, and us readers some time to miss the story.

    So, with all that said, really good chapter. I really can't wait for the next one (cliffhangers....).

    Feel like you need a little more Pokemon in your life? Tune into our show!
    EPISODE 55 - SLOWPOKE HOLIDAY
    Looking for something Pokemon-related to listen to while playing through Pokemon XY? This episode is for you!!
    Released: 12/11/14


    Guess who claimed Luxray?!

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    See, I told ya NACHOEI youd get in ahead of me!

    “It’ll be a lot of fun- Munchlax! No!” David shouted.
    Ah, children.

    First off, I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you did with the Nimbasa attractions. Thank you, for making it work. Now, for a few ups (and a down, maybe a couple loopdey-loops)

    It was a short walk to the stadium from the downtown Pokémon Center. The massive arena was covered in huge panels of lights, all changing and morphing into different colors. They displayed the logos and short promos for the two teams who were playing that day. Yellow and black stripes flashed across the panels and a massive bolt of lightning struck down the middle of the screen. An Electivire leapt down from above the panel and flexed its muscles, static bristling down its fur. “The Fighting Electivire” was displayed below it, concluding the team’s promo. It was replaced a moment later by a blue and red checkerboard pattern, scaling down the screen diagonally. A Druddigon stomped onto the field from off-screen and roared, slashing at the air in front of it. Its slashes tore away a part of the field behind it, revealing the logo of the opposing team, “The Dynamic Druddigon.” The lights from the screens lit up the surrounding city block and covered the huge stadium from top to bottom. The group walked up to the gate and bought tickets.
    I know, I know, wrong evolution, but where's Casey when you want her?

    “I grew up a Druddigon’s fan; that’s why I wanted to see this game. The Electivire never win anyway.”
    As I was saying... Nice homage' to the anime there. The 'buzz never win either.

    “I assume you’ll have anything I give you, huh Munchlax?” David asked sarcastically. Munchlax looked up at his trainer, his paws in front of his mouth, salivating and grinning with anticipation.
    Hee. I think that's a definate yes. I like Munchy, and his actions are just awesome.

    “Here you go, Munchlax. These are called ‘peanuts.’ Please pace your-” David started to say, but he was cut off. Munchlax grabbed the bag, tore it open, and dumped the entirety of its contents into his mouth.
    Hey, Nascar's a pace.

    Munchlax knew this was his chance and leapt up to take a bite from it. He opened his mouth wide, leaping into the air, but tasted something of an entirely different variety than the sweet treat he was expecting. The ball dropped and landed gracefully right into Munchlax’s mouth. He fell onto the ground in surprise, holding up the drool covered ball with a confused look on his face. The crowd roared for Munchlax’s amazing catch, David and Bianca yelling just as loudly for the confused little tike. He offered the ball to David in exchange for the cotton candy and happily sat back down with his new prize, enjoying his treat. The Druddigon had scored and were up 3-2, a victory now in sight. David wiped Munchlax’s spit off the ball and handed it to Bianca.
    That's one for the recordbooks. A classic comedy routine, the old switcharoo, and still funny. Poor Munchy. Serves him right for trying to steal Cotton Candy.

    “All aboard!” a man yelled over the roar of the crowd. The high-speed tram pulled up and the doors slid open audibly. The crowds shuffled onto the various cars, David and Bianca getting onto the farthest one in the back.
    Fisrt off, thank you for calling it a tram Yeah, train does technically apply, but it's not really such a thing.
    -Train Fanatic

    Cottonee had flawless footing, but Munchlax kept pushing it back farther and farther.
    That's Impressive for a Pokemon who lacks feet.

    “This city is filled with lights and attractions and entertainment, and all of it runs on electricity. I embody that spirit in the way I battle.” she responded. “Why do you ask though, deary?” she continued.
    “Nothing in the city draws more power than this amusement park. It seemed like a natural place to put the Gym. Besides… the rides appeal to the kid in me.”
    Flashy trainer, flashy dress, flashy battle style. Makes sense. I like this Elesa.

    The woman smiled to herself and brought her hand to her face, flicking her wrist.
    However, this hand gesture doesn't make sense to me. I've read it, I've tried to do it, I don't understand if and or what her hand gesture means.

    Ow. My Wrist hurts...

    and holding onto his neck to steady herself.
    This is going to either be really affectionate, or the Ferris Wheel is going to shift and someone's gonna end up literally choking on young love...

    They went in and were led to a table. The Nimbasa City Pokémon Musical was a large dinner theater that put on shows featuring trainers and their Pokémon as the actors. Audience participation was a huge part of the experience, and every night they would select one table to come up and perform the final number of the show. Tonight they were performing a theatrical version of the Heracross’ feature film ‘Help!’ As corny as it was, David knew all the words to the movie’s songs by heart and knew Bianca did too; he secretly hoped they would be chosen.

    “Hello and welcome!” a man shouted from the stage. “The Nimbasa City Pokémon Musical would like to welcome you all to our performance of the Heracross’ feature film, ‘Help!’ As you all know, one table from the audience will be chosen to come up on stage and sing the final number of the evening with us. Tonight… that table will beeeeeeee…” he continued. A spotlight shone around the room, tracing a pattern in the crowd. It made a few passes around the large dining hall and finally rested on one table in particular.
    Yay for Dinner Theatres! And for stage in general!

    “Okay honey, you’re going to go out on stage, the host is going to introduce you, and then you’ll do your number. Wait for the music to start, then you come out first, then your little lady friend, okay?” the man asked. David nodded and he continued. “The song you’ll be doing is ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face.’ You know that one, right?” he asked. David nodded again and the man sent him on his way.
    And here's where I start getting a wee concenred. Please feel free to drag me off with a cane if I end up getting too literal, butthe stage techie in me is freaking out.

    Seriously? We're relying on a live audience to already know the lyrics? When is this a GOOD idea? I've seen month-logn rehearsals DIE in the spotlight, and a couple directors go bald from the stress of a show. And we're using lottery actors?

    That aside though, I enjoyed the trainer/Pokemon routine, and the chance for David and Bianca to have their first real dance. I'm still more in preference to the game version myself, as it's a ore PKMN based-opportunity than what is a simplified, more familial Contest scene, but it was a nice bit.

    At this point, I'll confess I sped-read through the dance number. For moi, and this is personal taste, I don't like seeing Fic where the song lyrics are printed. I tried writing one once, and I didn't even like my own work. it just disrupts the flow of the story. That being said, sneaking in the link so I can hear it is a nice touch, though I actually pulled it up on Grooveshark (Rhapsody works too) because Youtube crashes my video card (software problem) and I'd rather be reading the story than the video.

    Beatles::Heracross. I didn't get that when I read this last night.

    David looked down at Munchlax and smiled. Munchlax had a determined grin on his face, clearly understanding what was happening; he looked like a million bucks in his little clip-on bowtie. The band began to play and the pair strode on stage.
    You clean up good kid, for a slob.

    Munchlax’s silly grin; the little goober could really command a crowd.
    Love this line too.

    “Paula, I don’t know if you can hear me somehow, but… if you can… I did it…” he thought.
    Yes David, I'm pretty sure she just clapped and grinned sheepishly in her Pokeball. I think a little aside there woulda been cool to have read of her.

    “Hey you two lovebirds, how’s the cute country couple?
    Yay for alliteration! and for smart-aleck City Slickers...

    “At least she’s a natural blonde…” with a smirk. Bianca giggled softly to herself, scratching her shaggy hair.

    “Reow! Ffts ffts!” Elesa replied in mild surprise. “Someone brought their A-game. Let’s see if you can back that up, hotshot. You ready to battle?” she continued.
    Go David.

    Elesa decided she had had enough of this stalemate. “Zebstrika, Emolga, use Volt Switch!” she commanded of both of her Pokémon. Zebstrika acted first; its short hair crackled with electricity and quickly overcame the fire surrounding it, replacing it with its natural element. It braced itself against Munchlax and then quickly pushed off of him, sidestepping out of the way. Munchlax tripped over himself and fell to the ground, landing flat on his face. Zebstrika again reared up and stomped on the little tike’s back, crushing him under his tremendous strength and electrical power. Emolga pulled the same trick on Zubat, covering itself in a strong electric charge and speeding up towards the little bat. Zubat was unable to keep up with Emolga’s newfound speed and took the shot dead on, reeling from the highly effective Electric type attack. Zubat fluttered to the ground, trying to compose itself and regain altitude before Emolga could build up too much momentum; if Zubat left the sky and let Emolga get on top of it, the battle would be lost for him. Suddenly, the tide had turned and the newly established couple found themselves in a dire straight.
    You left a part out there. The whole switch thing. At the very least. Zeb and Emolga shoulda traded places, but I'm thinking there was a second Emolga in the games that gave me fits, and I'm thinking Volt Switch fails if there's no one ot switrch with.
    Last edited by Glover; 14th September 2011 at 3:09 AM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  14. #39
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    @Glover Volt Switch is just a normal attack if there is no one to switch to. It does make sense since Elesa wouldn't use a third (and illegal) pokemon.

    Ahh, to the story.

    First, I thought that the big leap of the relationship so "early" (How long is the fic going to be?) is a bit disruptive. I would have expected them to get 'real' towards the 6th or 7th gyms. But, if you can make it work and be as enjoyable as the rest of he fic, then knock yourself out.

    Next, Cheren just running off with Paula.

    "David, can I borrow half your team?"
    "Why?"
    "To go to Eastern Unova."
    "Sure."

    Derp.
    I mean, Munchlax is beast and all (sweeping 7 battles in a row), but I miss Paula and her spunk (Ex. Only on Tuesdays).

    Any other nit-picks or probs NACHOE! and Glover handled. That's what I get for respondng two days after reading it.

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    Hey everyone. Next chapter should be up some time this weekend. It is shaping up to be pretty good. Just wanted to respond to a few comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    CLIFFHANGER???

    NOOOOOO!!!
    :3

    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    4. Pokemon personality. I really like Munchlax. Definitely my favorite character. hahah. I don't know if it was my advice that brought you to bring it up, or if you just did it on your own, but whatever it was, it was good. In no way was it forced, slightly random but it's ok, and it was descriptive in a way that it wasn't just a plethora of description. It was a nice mix of description, action, and emotion. I really like Munchlax in your story.
    Yep, it was at you guys' suggestions. One big criticism I've been seeing is that the non-Paula Pokemon need their personalities more fleshed out, and this generally light-hearted chapter seemed like a good place to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by NACHOE! View Post
    But I agree with your earlier statement; this was your best gym battle writing. I do have one thing to say against it. You might want to limit the amount of 'evolve to save the gym battle' strategies that you're using. Allow an evolution to take place at random. Eevee's evolution was nicely placed, whereas Paula's was also nice in that you went with the cliche early on and in a believable manner. Zubat's was also ok, but you might want to watch that. Think of another, creative way for the others to evolve.
    Duly noted. Not to spoil anything, but we've got seven more evolutions until Part 2; I already know exactly how the next two are going to happen, and the other five I'll try and keep out of gym battles. Maybe we'll see one more when we're closer to the final gyms, but probably not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    I know, I know, wrong evolution, but where's Casey when you want her?

    As I was saying... Nice homage' to the anime there. The 'buzz never win either.
    Glad someone picked up on that. I intentionally advanced the evolution one step so it wasn't a direct reference; that, plus Electivire didn't exist the last time Casey was in the show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    That's Impressive for a Pokemon who lacks feet.
    It's a figure of speech. This comment still made me laugh though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    However, this hand gesture doesn't make sense to me. I've read it, I've tried to do it, I don't understand if and or what her hand gesture means.
    Like snapping your fingers, but... with your... wrist... I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    Ow. My Wrist hurts...


    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    Seriously? We're relying on a live audience to already know the lyrics? When is this a GOOD idea? I've seen month-logn rehearsals DIE in the spotlight, and a couple directors go bald from the stress of a show. And we're using lottery actors?
    That's how it works in the game! XD Blame Nintendo, not me, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    Yes David, I'm pretty sure she just clapped and grinned sheepishly in her Pokeball. I think a little aside there woulda been cool to have read of her.
    Um... she's off with Cheren right now, bro; hence why she wasn't in the chapter at all. I'll refer you to the line from Chapter 8, "In a flash, the pair was gone; for the first time since their adventure began, David couldn’t feel Paula’s mind connected to his. It was a sad, empty feeling, but he knew it would make her return that much more rewarding."

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    You left a part out there. The whole switch thing. At the very least. Zeb and Emolga shoulda traded places, but I'm thinking there was a second Emolga in the games that gave me fits, and I'm thinking Volt Switch fails if there's no one ot switrch with.
    I think Gegoory mentioned something about this, but in the games Volt Switch and U-turn switch you with a Pokemon in waiting, not with your partner in Doubles/Triples. Since Elesa had no other Pokemon except what was on the field, Volt Switch acted exactly as it would in the game. That, plus I didn't want to deal with trying to have Munchlax battle Emolga or Zubat battle Zebstrika. Putting Zubat vs Emolga gave me a chance to write a cool aerial battle, and it gave Munchlax a chance to use EQ to decimate Elesa's Electric types without hurting his teammate; if Bianca had used Pachirisu, they would have had to do that whole thing where he throws Pachirisu into the air again, and that wouldn't have been cool twice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gegoory View Post
    First, I thought that the big leap of the relationship so "early" (How long is the fic going to be?) is a bit disruptive. I would have expected them to get 'real' towards the 6th or 7th gyms. But, if you can make it work and be as enjoyable as the rest of he fic, then knock yourself out.
    If it had been just the Ferris wheel or just the Musical, then that would be one thing; but having both of those things back to back, I felt a little obligated to make Bianca voice her returned affections. The bar scene in Castelia was so significant because it was David really opening up about how he feels about her and wondering if he is good enough for her, only to have her answer immediately in the affirmative. It was also Bianca's way of coming to terms with the fact that she likes him back; how fiercely he fought to get Zubat back made her realize that. It only seemed natural to have them officially "get together" just a short time after that.

    More to the point, however, now we can focus on them being happy together instead of having to beat around the bush about it any more, and perhaps I can even work in some tensions and problems perhaps. We'll see.

    As for number of chapters... well... it took ~10 to get to 4 badges, so I would imagine it would be around 25-30, based on that trend. That's just for Part 1 though. Part 2 will cover the post game (as indicated in the OP's chapter list), and that'll probably be another good handful of chapters. We'll just have to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gegoory View Post
    Next, Cheren just running off with Paula.

    "David, can I borrow half your team?"
    "Why?"
    "To go to Eastern Unova."
    "Sure."

    Derp.
    I mean, Munchlax is beast and all (sweeping 7 battles in a row), but I miss Paula and her spunk (Ex. Only on Tuesdays).
    Yes, but by the same token, that means she and Cheren will be the two main characters of Chapter 10. Besides, they came back at the end of this chapter, so basically, she was absent for one chapter, gets a big role in the next chapter, and then she's back with the group. Basically, wait for Chapter 10 and then complain about those two leaving for a while; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    ----------------------

    Anyway, like I said, Chapter 10 should be out some time this weekend hopefully, and it will conclude Cheren's little mini-adventure. We'll find out where he and Paula went, and maybe learn a little bit more about his Yamask. This is also up on the OP's index, but the chapter is titled "The Legend of Gustavo Riviera." Who is Gustavo Riviera though??? Questions questions...

    *leaves thread before 'answers answers'*

    Edit: Looks likes this is post #40 for the thread, which means the next reply will begin Page 3. Who's it gonna be??? :3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosBlizzard View Post


    Um... she's off with Cheren right now, bro; hence why she wasn't in the chapter at all. I'll refer you to the line from Chapter 8, "In a flash, the pair was gone; for the first time since their adventure began, David couldn’t feel Paula’s mind connected to his. It was a sad, empty feeling, but he knew it would make her return that much more rewarding."


    Okay, I fogot the David couldn’t feel Paula’s mind connected to his. part in the line, but I did know Paula was gone. Even still, with as strong as she is, I was think she'd have felt something
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    Okay, I fogot the David couldn’t feel Paula’s mind connected to his. part in the line, but I did know Paula was gone. Even still, with as strong as she is, I was think she'd have felt something
    How do you know she didn't and David just didn't feel her response? We'll just have to wait for Chapter 10 to find out.

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    Great story! That was the worst cliffhanger ever. Can you add me to the PM list?

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    I have a problem with this story.....there's not enough of it! Give me mooooooore!!!

    -ahem-

    Sorry about that.

    Anyways, you're great at writing this stuff and you should definitely keep on making it. I have to avoid reading this stuff with a full mouth though because I tend to choke while laughing.

    However there are some things I would like to mention. I'd like to see a chapter where we get to see the Pokemon hang out and we can tell what they say. Also, would you mind not having the Yamask and Munchlax evolve before Cheron and David gets their fifth badge? You seem to rush the evolutions.

    also, feel free to add me to the PM list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AudinoGlitch View Post
    I have a problem with this story.....there's not enough of it! Give me mooooooore!!!

    -ahem-

    Sorry about that.

    Anyways, you're great at writing this stuff and you should definitely keep on making it. I have to avoid reading this stuff with a full mouth though because I tend to choke while laughing.

    However there are some things I would like to mention. I'd like to see a chapter where we get to see the Pokemon hang out and we can tell what they say. Also, would you mind not having the Yamask and Munchlax evolve before Cheron and David gets their fifth badge? You seem to rush the evolutions.

    also, feel free to add me to the PM list.
    You know, in that vein, I'm not sure ol' Munchy would be the same character if he were to ever evolve. I'd vote to not evolve him at all, but that's just me.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover View Post
    You know, in that vein, I'm not sure ol' Munchy would be the same character if he were to ever evolve. I'd vote to not evolve him at all, but that's just me.
    Yeah, let's keep the tiny black hole tiny.

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    Good day CB,

    I have an idea on who GR is (I'm not even going to try to spell his name), he is Yamask's former self! Heh? HEH?

    Edit: I really abuse edit.

    Edit 5: Derp

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    This chapter contains scenes of violence of a more graphic nature than is typically found in this story. The PG-15 rating is still applicable, but readers are cautioned to not read this chapter if torture or death are subjects of too graphic a nature for them to handle. Underage or offended readers are suggested to partake in more age appropriate content.

        Spoiler:- Author's Notes:


    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 10: The Legend of Gustavo Riviera
    Part 1 of 3

    Cheren walked through the foothills surrounding the Desert Resort, thinking to himself studiously as he plodded along. His newly caught Yamask had once been a citizen of the ancient civilization that had built Relic Castle thousands of years ago; communication with him could surely reveal answers to some of the greatest mysteries of the modern day, the least of which being what had happened to his civilization. Attempts at communicating telepathically via David’s Kirlia, however, had failed. The fact that they had failed simply made the prospect of communicating with his new Pokémon all the more tantalizing though; if someone had gone to the trouble of locking his mind shut to outside forces, then that must mean there were secrets in there worth guarding. The secrets his new Pokémon held filled Cheren’s thoughts as he walked along, straining his mind for a solution. Yamask was like a treasure chest, wanting only for a key. There must be a way to break the barriers and communicate with his new Pokémon, but how?

    The group reached the construction site they had seen the day before, the vast Route 4 desert spreading out before them to the horizon. In the distant east, they could see Nimbasa City shining in the late-morning sun. After their nightmare in Relic Castle the previous night, the sight of civilization was a welcomed one, but Cheren still couldn’t banish the puzzle of his new Pokémon from his mind. Surely there must be a solution, but it simply wouldn’t come to him. Maybe resting in Nimbasa City for a while would help it though; he could sleep on it and perhaps the answer would come to him in a… Cheren had found his solution.

    “So you two are going off to Nimbasa City I take it?” Cheren asked suddenly. A smile was creeping around the corners of his mouth as the logistics of the plan flooded into his mind. He didn’t know why it hadn’t occurred to him sooner, it was the perfect plan!

    “Yeah…?” David asked in confusion. “Aren’t you coming too though?”

    Cheren shook his head and continued. “Paula might not be able to get into that little guy’s head, but I bet I know someone who can. David, can I borrow Paula for a few days to go on a little personal trip?”

    David was taken aback by the request, his confusion only growing stronger. Cheren held fast though and smiled confidently. “Why do you need Paula?” David asked, still confused.

    “I need to go back to Eastern Unova for a little while, so I need her to Teleport me there. I’ll catch up to you guys in Nimbasa in a few days after I’m done. What do you say?” Cheren replied.

    David looked down at the Pokéballs on his hip. He was obviously communicating with his Kirlia telepathically, asking her what she thought of his proposition. Cheren couldn’t hear any of it himself, but he had seen his friend do it enough times to know what was going on. David looked up after a moment and nodded, taking her Pokéball off the holster.

    “Take good care of my girl, Cheren. Bring her back with a full tank of gas.” David said as Cheren took the ball from him. David had a lighthearted smirk on his face, so obviously she had agreed to Cheren’s proposal. Cheren smiled back and released his friend’s Pokémon from the ball. Kirlia landed gracefully in the soft sand and looked up at him expectantly. Cheren began to hear her voice in his head.

    “Hello Mr. Cheren. My master tells me you require my services for some sort of personal trip?” she asked. Cheren was well acquainted with her method of communication, but the sensation of hearing someone else’s thoughts in his own mind was still a little foreign and unsettling to him. Cheren thought to himself as if he were just thinking, but tried to project the thoughts towards her.

    “Yeah, that’s right, Paula. I need to go back to Striaton City for a few days and talk to that Fennel lady. I think she might be able to help me communicate with Yamask. Do you think you can Teleport us that far and back?” he replied.

    “I hope I can, but I suppose we shall find out, won’t we? I just need to visualize my destination in my mind and concentrate, but since I have been to Striaton City before, that shouldn’t be a problem. Anything I bring with me must be in physical contact with my body however, so if you are ready, then please hold on.” she answered.

    Cheren gently rested his hand on her shoulder and looked up at David. He nodded at his friend, smiling in thanks, and could feel Paula begin to concentrate. She shut her eyes and began to tremble slightly. She levitated off the ground a small amount with the strength of her psychic power and the space around her began to distort. Cheren saw the world vanish before him and felt weightless. The sensation was as if he was floating through a pool of water, but gravity had been turned off and he was simply set adrift. The feeling seemed to last for a long time, but in what was really just an instant, the world reappeared before him in a flash, materializing as the outskirts of Striaton City. The sandy desert was gone, replaced in an instant with the forests surrounding the city. He felt his feet return to solid ground and looked down at Paula.

    “Here… we are… Mr. Cheren…” she started to say, but she was tired and panting. She knelt over and was breathing heavily from the amount of force she had had to exert to Teleport them the long distance, but she didn’t seem to have sustained any permanent harm. She continued, “Striaton City… dead ahead…”

    “Wow! That was really great, Paula! Perfect work.” Cheren said to her excitedly. “You look like you could use a rest. It isn’t that far to the town, it looks like, and you look pretty light; you want me to carry you the rest of the way?” he asked unassumingly.

    Cheren tried to take her hand but she shook him free. She levitated off the ground up to his eye level and looked at him sternly.

    “Thank you, Mr. Cheren, I appreciate the offer, but I feel uncomfortable about anyone but my master holding me like that. No offense.” she said. Cheren apologized and the two of them set off for the town; Cheren walked and Paula levitated alongside him to recuperate. After a short trip, they reached the city center.

    * * *

    “So do you remember where her apartment is, Paula?” Cheren asked as they walked through the city center. “I never went there with you guys; I was at the Trainers’ School most of that day.”

    “Yes, Mr. Cheren, I believe I remember. Right up ahead.” Paula replied, leading him through the town. The pair walked through the quaint city, passing by familiar sights and landmarks. They eventually reached a worn, aged, brownstone apartment complex in the heart of the city and stopped. A row of trees lined the street, all slowly changing into their autumn colors; the one in front of the building they had stopped at, however, had no leaves on it.

    “We are here, Mr. Cheren.” Paula told him.

    “How can you tell?” Cheren replied. “All of these apartment buildings look the same.”

    “See that tree?” Paula replied, motioning towards the tree with its leaves stripped from it. Cheren nodded and she continued. “That tree is different than all the others because Ms. Bianca’s Pachirisu tested out her Hidden Power on it, freezing off all the leaves, after Ms. Fennel gave her the TM for it. Therefore, this must be Ms. Fennel’s building.”

    Cheren looked up at the tree in mild surprise, pondering her logic. It was distinctly different than all the others, obviously, so she must be correct, but it was a very astute observation; Paula was very intelligent, even for a Psychic type. The pair walked into the building and up the first few flights of stairs.

    As they walked down the second floor hallway, they saw a young woman entering one of the apartments. She wore a very short, pink sundress and had extraordinarily long, straight, purple hair. Cheren recognized her immediately.

    “Hey Fennel, long time no see. Remember me?” Cheren asked as he walked up. The young woman turned in surprise to look at him, adjusting her glasses as she scanned her memory for the stranger’s identity.

    “Oh my! ‘Cheren,’ right? Wow, hi! What are you doing back in Striaton so soon? Where’re your friends?” Fennel replied.

    “David and Bianca should be getting to Nimbasa City right about now. I’ve come alone to ask for your help with something. May I come in?” Cheren said.

    “Sure! I was just getting back from some errands. Make yourself at home.” she responded.

    Cheren and Paula followed her into the apartment, looking around and examining it as she set her purse and other items down on the kitchen counter. The small apartment was sparsely furnished but very tidy, with a very minimal “laboratory” feel to it. There was a modest kitchen opposite the door, a small living room to the right, and a single bedroom down the hall between the two a short distance. The only thing that set it apart from a typical young woman’s apartment was a single large piece of machinery tucked away in the corner of the living room, standing out among the modern, feminine décor. The machine appeared to be some sort of massive computer system with various sliders and knobs to control the inputs, featuring only a small console window for an output that was built into the structure itself. A large bundle of wires ran out from the far side, lying in a rat’s nest on a cot that was tucked away next to the window beside it. Cheren and Paula sat down and looked at the machine quizzically.

    “Would you guys care for something to drink?” Fennel asked them, but they politely declined.

    “What’s that big machine in the corner there, Fennel?” Cheren asked as she prepared herself a cup of tea. “Is that something for your research in dreams?”

    “Oh, that?” Fennel asked, turning to look. “Yes, it is. See those sensors on the cot?” she asked. Cheren nodded. “Those hook up to the sleeper as the dream is in progress, and with the aid of Musharna’s Dream Mist, you can view the dream remotely with full 3D camera controls from the console. It works as an alternative to actually going through the Dream Mist portal to interact with the dream directly, giving you the option to simply watch and observe from out here in the real world instead. It also monitors the dream and alerts the viewer if anything is going wrong, so that they can alert anyone who may be in the dream itself that there is a problem. It’s the system that tethers the whole process together, basically.” she continued. Her tea finished as she concluded her explanation; she took it out of the microwave and sat down with them, folding her legs and taking a polite sip as she sat.

    “Wow, that’s a lot of infrastructure. Did you design it yourself?” Cheren asked, looking at the machine with amazement.

    “No, not entirely. I have an assistant who co-designed it with me.” Fennel replied. “I built most of the hardware myself, but she helped me write the software that interprets the information it receives from Musharna’s Dream Mist. Her name is Amanita; she’s a student at the college Aurea and I went to.” she continued.

    “So how is your research actually going? Are you making headway?” Cheren continued to ask.

    “Yes, more or less. I’ve run into a little snag lately though…” Fennel started to say, putting a hand to her cheek and sighing. “You see… Amanita helped me build the machine this past summer, but school just started back up for her and she can’t be here as regularly anymore. I’ve been able to have the machine process my dreams, and I can verify that it works by reading the log files it generates when I wake up, but I have no one here to actually operate the machine while it is receiving dream data. Furthermore, I haven’t even attempted to send someone through the portal into an actual dream yet. I know it all works, but it is all just theoretical until Amanita gets back or I find another assistant…” she continued, trailing off. “It would essentially take three people to perform a full test of the system, Musharna herself not included; a sleeper, someone to operate the machine and monitor the dream, and someone to enter the Dream Mist portal and interact with the dream itself directly. Unfortunately, I am only able to perform the role of the sleeper as I have no one else here to help me, and the other two positions simply have to either work autonomously or not at all.” she concluded.

    Cheren sat in reflection of everything she had said, looking at the machine with reverence. Being given a bit more technical and practical explanation of the process had made it much more interesting now than it had seemed the last time he was there; everything was going according to plan.

    “But enough about me, what brings you back to Striaton?” Fennel asked as she took another sip from her tea. “What is it you need my help with?”

    Cheren turned his gaze away from the machine and looked her in the eye, grinning just slightly.

    “Well, actually, from the sound of things, I’m here to solve your testing problem. I have a Pokémon that I just recently captured, and I would like to enter his dreams.” he said, drawing Yamask’s Pokéball.

    “Oh my! You do?!” Fennel said excitedly. The fragile teacup rattled on its plate over her excitement. “Please, please, tell me more!” she continued.

    Cheren released Yamask from its Pokéball and the little ghost looked around the room curiously. It was markedly less timid and skittish than it had been in Relic Castle after being caught, but it still seemed to not be at ease. Cheren told her the story of their adventure in Relic Castle and explained his intentions as Fennel listened studiously, smiling radiantly to herself at her good fortune. When Cheren had finished, she began to speak.

    “And so, I’d like to try and enter his dreams and see if maybe I can learn a little about his past life as a human that way, since Paula was unable to communicate with him telepathically. Yamask would be the ‘sleeper,’ you could operate the computer, and Paula and I could enter the dream. What do you say?” Cheren said, finishing his story.

    “I say it sounds like the perfect time for a proper field test! I’m so excited you remembered my research and thought to come see me; this test of the system will be exactly what I’ve been needing to move forward.” Fennel replied. “We will run the test tonight.” she continued.

    Cheren rose to shake her hand and waited for night to fall. He looked at Yamask with a grin, anticipating the knowledge that would soon be revealed to him. What had Yamask’s life as a human been like? What was his role within the ancient civilization’s society? What had his human name been? And perhaps most tantalizing of all, how was Relic Castle buried and the civilization destroyed? He could hardly wait to begin the experiment.

    * * *

    After a few hours, night began to fall on the quiet city. The sun set, the moon rose, and the streetlights came on outside Fennel’s building. Hoothoot, Kricketune, and other creatures of the night sang their sleepy melodies and basked in the cool, autumn night air, but inside Fennel’s apartment, there was work to be done. They had just finished preparing Yamask for bed and were getting ready to start the test.

    “Okay Cheren, you know what to do, right?” Fennel asked him.

    “Yep. Paula and I just step through the portal when it opens and explore the dream. If there’s a problem, you’ll alert us through the machine.” he replied. Fennel nodded and turned back to the console, tweaking a few last minute settings. Cheren walked over to his Pokémon and knelt down beside him.

    “Alright Yamask, are you ready to do this?” he asked his Pokémon. It lay comfortably on the cot, tucked in snugly beneath the blankets, many sensors stuck to various parts of his body. The ghost looked up at his new trainer nervously, but nodded his head in affirmation. Cheren put a reassuring hand to Yamask’s head as he shut his eyes, preparing to drift off to sleep. Cheren stood back up and returned to Paula’s side.

    “He’s beginning to drift off. The medicine I gave him should be helping to speed up the process. Should just be a few minutes now.” Fennel said, staring intently at the readout on the console window.

    “How do you know he will dream about his past, Mr. Cheren?” Paula asked. She would also be journeying with him into Yamask’s dream and stood beside him, waiting to begin the experiment.

    “I think he wants to let us know whatever happened in his past, Paula; I can sense it in his behavior and his mannerisms. There definitely is some kind of secret in that head of his, or else it wouldn’t have been so well guarded that you couldn’t communicate with him. He’s also scared and timid all the time, like he’s afraid of something; I think he wasn’t in that crypt because he wanted to be, I think he was forced to be there, and now that he’s left, he’s worried about the ramifications. Whoever locked him down there is probably the same person who sealed off his mind like that. I think Yamask wants us to find out whatever happened to him, so I think he’ll dream about his past to let us know.” Cheren replied. Paula was content with his answer and continued to think quietly to herself in preparation.

    “Alright, he’s asleep. Are you ready?” Fennel asked. Cheren nodded and she released her Musharna.

    “Musharna, some Dream Mist, if you please?” Fennel said. The large Pokémon closed its eyes and focused, beginning to hum gently to itself. It faced towards Yamask, trying to connect with his dream, and began to produce the murky mist. It poured from its large body, filling the room in a smoky, mysterious air. The mist began to pool together in a spinning vortex, seeming to solidify almost, as it formed the dream portal. After a few seconds, Musharna stopped and opened her eyes, floating back over to her trainer. The remaining smoke assimilated into the portal and hung in the air, spinning and swirling in a purple hue. Cheren and Paula looked at it curiously, and Fennel motioned for them to enter.

    Cheren walked up and looked at it cautiously. He held out his arm and let the tips of his fingers enter the vortex. They didn’t come out the other side, having entered into Yamask’s dream. Paula walked up and took his other hand, looking up at him reassuringly. The pair took a deep breath, readied themselves mentally, and took the plunge. The world faded away from view and he slowly felt reality slip away. Cheren had entered Yamask’s dream, ready to uncover the secrets of his Pokémon’s past.

    * * *

    Cheren opened his eyes, letting the new reality slowly sink in. The sunlight was blinding, and it took him a minute to adjust his eyes to it. He slowly looked around at wherever it was he found himself, trying to get his bearings.

    He was back in the valley of the Desert Resort, but at the same time, it wasn’t the Desert Resort; he recognized the terrain, the mountains, the northern coast and the sandy desert, but what had been a big empty valley in his time was now a sprawling ancient metropolis. Hundreds of buildings lined the valley, all made of a sturdy yellow stone. People hustled and bustled around the streets, dressed in ancient linens and carrying primitive tools and baskets. The people were all mostly dark skinned and seemed much more muscular and toned than the people of his time. The massive city was surrounded on all sides by a sturdy guard wall, with towers and gates lining it in strong defense. Hundreds of Sigilyph flew overhead, aiding the guards along the wall’s many watchtowers as they looked out for any sign of danger. A heavily fortified entrance lay at the southeastern side of the city where his friends had entered the valley from just a day before, and a massive dock network lay on the northern end at the coast. The city seemed to flow naturally towards a point in the southwest where a grand palace lay, rising up out of the smaller buildings around it in a beautiful splendor. Massive stone steps rose up into the air and led into the building, which itself towered over the rest of the city. Cheren felt something pulling him there, as if by the force of gravity itself. He slowly felt himself gravitate toward it instinctively and had to restrain himself as he tried to understand the logic and physics behind this new reality.

    Cheren was flying high above the city, able to get a bird’s eye view of the ancient kingdom. In the dream, he was able to move freely in Euclidian space, unbound by the laws of gravity or the constraints of his earthly body. His body was semi-transparent and could move through objects freely, unrestrained by walls or doors. The tradeoff was that he was unable to interact with anything in the dream, and none of the people were able to see him, completely unaware of his presence. He turned and saw Paula behind him, subject to the same effects that seemed to be governing him; he could see the sun and the mountains behind her through her semi-transparent body. He began to try and speak to her.

    “Paula, can you hear me? Can you speak?” Cheren asked. He wanted to establish their basic motor and auditory functions first, trying to understand how the dream’s logic was affecting them before attempting to move on in the world.

    “Yes, I- Eek!” Paula said, startling herself and slapping her hands to her mouth. She had opened her mouth and actually spoken the words to him directly, as opposed to communicating telepathically. It was a new experience for the little Kirlia, and she was taken aback by the sound of her own voice in English. “I… I can speak!” she said excitedly.

    “Okay, well that’s one thing that’s different.” Cheren continued. “How are your motor skills?”

    Paula floated through the air gracefully, able to fly with ease and navigate her new environment effortlessly. She flipped in the air and giggled to herself, remarking “Oh my, Mr. Cheren, this is fun!

    “Well, I guess we should start exploring and try to find Yamask. Let’s go check out that palace.” he said. “I feel a kind of attraction to it, like that’s where we’re supposed to go.” he continued. She mimicked the sentiment and nodded, following behind him towards the giant structure. They were able to pass through its thick stone walls and heavily fortified doors with ease, reaching the center of the palace in short time.

    They eventually came to a room in the center of the palace, very large but also very bare and Spartan. A marked battlefield lay in the center of the room, lit only by a massive skylight in the ceiling, letting in the warm desert sun. An ornate throne was set back from the center of the field, but nothing else furnished the simple room, serving but one function: combat training. The imposing figure of a man sat upon the throne, looking down at a battle which was taking place on the field. The two opponents were a young boy and a middle aged man, with many elder onlookers standing around the battlefield and speaking amongst themselves in hushed tones about the technique of the expert battlers. The boy began to shout.

    “Aerodactyl, use Stealth Rock!” he commanded. The giant monster screeched and launched the rocks at its opponent, digging them into the ground below it. The opposing Pokémon had been falling through the air when Cheren and Paula reached the room, and it landed on the sharp stones forcefully, taking massive damage. It struggled to rise, but had simply endured too much damage and was unable to continue. Aerodactyl screeched and flew around the room on its massive wings, celebrating their resounding victory.

    The losing trainer recalled his Pokémon with a primitive Pokéball and turned towards the throne, bowing to the man seated upon it before stepping out humbly. The victorious boy ran out onto the field to meet his Pokémon and embraced it lovingly, being engulfed by its tremendous wingspan. He proudly began to speak, shouting to the room and anyone who would listen.

    “My name is Gustavo Riviera! I am the son of the mighty king of our land! And together with my faithful partner, Aerodactyl, I shall become the greatest trainer the world has ever known!” the boy shouted jubilantly.

    The boy was tall for his age, but appeared to be only around 13 or 14 years old. He had olive skin with a dark complexion, and had short, scruffy black hair sitting in a mop upon his head. He was very lanky and muscular, and seemed to have a shine to him like that of an ancient god. More than that though, he seemed to literally have an aura around him, as if the dream were trying to identify him as someone important. A bluish fire burned around the edges of his silhouette, highlighting his figure and pointing him out among the rest of the people in the dream. Cheren couldn’t help but feel a natural attraction towards him, as if he was meant to follow this young man.

    “Paula, what do you make of that kid? Do you see that glow around him?” Cheren asked.

    “I do, Mr. Cheren; perhaps he is your Yamask.” Paula replied. The pair moved in closer to follow the situation.

    The king rose to embrace his son as he ran up the stairs to his father’s throne in excitement. The two were the spit and image of each other, both physically very similar and dressed in very ornate clothing for the time. The man released his son and put a massive hand on his shoulder, smiling proudly.

    “My son, you do our kingdom proud with your prowess on the battlefield. Very few men could handle a Pokémon as powerful and feral as an Aerodactyl, but you, still in your adolescence, have honed your technique more finely than some of our greatest warriors. You shall someday rule our land and keep our people safe; I have no doubt you shall do so nobly.” he said, still gripping the boy’s shoulder and beaming. The boy looked up at his father, grinning a massive smile and seeming to drip with confidence and strength. It was a humbling scene to look on at the father and son. Cheren smiled at the pair, wondering what adventures would befall the boy as he grew older.

    As these thoughts swam in his head and the scene seemed to reach a natural climax, a blur jumped in through the skylight from above. A wild and terrifying beast landed with a “thud!” in the center of the room, looking down at the ground with shadows in its eyes. When the dust settled, it slowly lifted its head and stared coldly at the boy.

    “Mr. Cheren, what is that?!” Paula asked in surprised.

    “Wow, it’s an Absol!” Cheren replied, looking in wonder at the rare Pokémon. Everyone in the room gasped as the realization of what the creature was dawned on them.

    The Absol stood up straighter as it recovered from its dramatic entry. It walked up slowly and menacingly to the throne and came face to face with the young boy. It looked him squarely in the eyes as if to size him up and, satisfied with what he saw, bolted from the room in a flash, saying only a quiet “Sol…” before leaving. As the beast ran from the room as quickly as it had appeared, a hush fell upon the small crowd. A grim frown spread across the king’s face, still gripping his son’s shoulder tightly. The boy looked confused and scared, uncertain of what the omen had meant; the Absol had appeared suddenly and dramatically, only to leave as quickly as it had come after sizing him up. What could it have wanted?

    The world suddenly burst into a smoky haze and disappeared from Cheren’s vision. All of reality twisted and morphed in a purplish smoke, reforming itself into something new. The boy, the battlefield, the palace, the kingdom, all of it had vanished in an instant, morphing into the hellish smoke that twisted before Cheren’s eyes. Cheren tried to focus and stay alert, but the spinning vortex was too much. He let the sensation wash over and overcome him, unable to focus or stay awake. The dark, hellish smoke swirled around him, and he blacked out.

    * * *

    Cheren again opened his eyes. He found himself still in the palace battle-room where he had been before, but now it was nighttime and the moon shone in brightly through the skylight as a replacement for the sun. He shook off the disorientation and looked around to see what else had changed. All of the people who had been in the room just a moment before were gone; he and Paula were alone in the giant room with nothing but the moonlight to illuminate it or keep them company. He began to speak up and ask Paula what had happened, but he was cut off by the giant doors to the room slamming open. The sudden noise startled him and he remained quiet as he watched the events unfold.

    “Father, listen to me!” he heard a voice shout from down the hall. The king strode briskly into the room towards his throne, fists clenched and teeth grit. He wore a tired and angry look upon his face, trying to ignore his pursuer. He looked much older than he had before, with strands of gray hair now highlighting his face. He began to walk towards his throne, but a young man ran after him.

    “Father, you must let me go!” the young man insisted. He looked very similar to the boy who had won the battle just a moment ago, but now much older and much more mature, probably somewhere in his early twenties. He was very tall and very muscular, with a chiseled jaw and defined features. He had a deep, commanding voice, no longer the child who they had seen a moment before. He caught up to his father and grasped his shoulder, but the king shook him off and spun around in rage to face him, his face bright red.

    I must do no such thing, Gustavo!!!” he shouted in rage. “I am your father and I am the king of this land; you shall do as you are told!” he continued.

    The boy clenched his fists and puffed out his chest. “But father, there is no one else who can do battle with The Darkness. You yourself have said many times that I am our kingdom’s greatest warrior. Aerodactyl and I can defeat it if you give us a chance. If you don’t, our remaining forces will be obliterated and our kingdom will fall! Please!” he shouted back.

    OUR?!” the king bellowed. He was positively livid now, looking nearly ready to deck the young man. “What is all this ‘our’ you speak of? So long as blood courses through my heart and my mind is still sharp, I am the king of this land, and MY declarations and rulings are law! There is no ‘our’ here. You and your Pokémon are powerful warriors, but this land needs an heir, not a champion. You shall do as you are told and you will NOT do battle with The Darkness. Do I make myself perfectly clear?!” he commanded.

    The young man looked down and away, blinking away the tears from his eyes. His father stood towering over him, shouting lividly in his face. The boy unclenched and clenched his fists several times, trying to overcome his rage. He began to tremble, shaking with pain and confusion. He clenched his fists and threw a mighty punch at his father’s stomach suddenly, knocking him to the ground in pain. His father clutched at his abdomen, rolling on the ground in agony and shock.

    “No, father, I shall be silent and still no longer! The Darkness threatens to overcome this kingdom tonight, and I shall not sit by and let my people perish. Aerodactyl and I shall either defeat this plague tonight, or we shall perish along with the rest of our citizens and soldiers. Too many brave men and innocent women have died while we sat in here and played politics; this ends now, either by my hand, or its. Gustavo Riviera is no coward, and I shall end this monster tonight or die trying.” he shouted, his voice cracking under pressure. He turned and drew Aerodactyl’s Pokéball defiantly, running from the room and wiping the tears from his eyes. His father called after him in pain, but he did not stop.

    “Gustavo!” he shouted. “Gustavo! Come back here!” he commanded, but it was no use; he was gone. “NO!!! Tonight I lose my kingdom and my son!” the king screamed in agony. He began to weep and the world again burst into the dark, hazy smoke. Cheren let it wash over him this time, again feeling his mind slip away into the abyss.

    * * *

    [Continued Below]
    Last edited by ChaosBlizzard; 18th September 2011 at 4:53 AM.

  24. #49
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    This chapter contains scenes of violence of a more graphic nature than is typically found in this story. The PG-15 rating is still applicable, but readers are cautioned to not read this chapter if torture or death are subjects of too graphic a nature for them to handle. Underage or offended readers are suggested to partake in more age appropriate content.

    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 10: The Legend of Gustavo Riviera
    Part 2 of 3

    Cheren awoke for a third time, looking around to see where the dream had transported him now. He was back outside the palace, hovering high above the city like when he had first entered the dream. It was still nighttime, but the ancient kingdom did not suffer from want of light. Everywhere he looked, fires burned and illuminated the destroyed city, turning it into a raging inferno. Destruction and chaos were everywhere; nothing about the kingdom still stood intact. The great city wall had crumbled and cracked, completely gone in many places. The Sigilyph that had once flown over the city in the hundreds could now only count their numbers in single digits, having failed to protect their land from the attack. The few people who remained alive in the destroyed city cowered in their burning homes for fear of venturing out into the streets. The sickening stench of death and rotting corpses filled the air from the mass graves that lay on every street corner. Everything about the kingdom was simply obliterated, never to be rebuilt again. Cheren and Paula gasped as the full extent of the destruction settled in, shooting each other a horrified look. They turned back to the cesspool of chaos and saw two winged beasts flying high above it, doing battle with one another; one of the two creatures was Gustavo, riding proudly upon his Aerodactyl, but the other was something altogether different and… other-worldly.

    His opponent in the skies resembled some sort of terrible, mutated snake, flying menacingly upon six deformed, shadowy wings which sprouted from its back. The beast had gold colored armor plating running along its black and grey body, forming a point over its head. Its dark red eyes pierced the night, and its mouth seemed to be locked shut into a confident, defiant smirk. Spikes ran along the back end of its tail, a continuation of its armor plating, and red spirals ran along its lower belly. The creature was fully three times larger than Aerodactyl, and was easily more than ten times its weight; Gustavo and Aerodactyl were fighting valiantly, if not savagely, but the monstrosity was clearly just toying with them. The two were locked in an impressive aerial battle, high above the burning city.

    “Aerodactyl, use Fly!” Gustavo shouted from the back of his partner. Aerodactyl swarmed and flew around the monster’s twisting and constricting shadowy form, but it seemed to take the hits in stride, never breaking its devilish smirk. Aerodactyl slashed at it with its wings as it made each pass, but it seemed to be doing little damage.

    “Mr. Cheren, what is that creature?” Paula asked, a small amount of fear creeping into her voice. “Is that ‘The Darkness’ they referred to?” Cheren said nothing however. She turned to him after a few seconds of silence, but saw that his jaw was agape and he was stock still, staring at the raging battle.

    “That…” he started to say. “That… that…” he stammered. “That’s Giratina!” he finally managed to say in shock. “That’s one of the most powerful Legendary Pokémon in the world!”

    That is Giratina?!” Paula replied as the realization hit her too. “How can that be? I thought Giratina was banished to the Distortion World eons ago!” she continued.

    “He was. These must be the events that caused that to happen. Paula, do you realize what we’re seeing here?! We’re watching history unfold!” Cheren shouted. The two gazed silently on at the raging battle, staring in awe at the landmark events they were seeing in action.

    Aerodactyl was coming around for another pass; Giratina slithered through the air to meet it, the two rushing at each other head first. They were on a collision course, ready to strike. Gustavo and Aerodactyl showed no fear however, ready to meet their foe, literally, “head on.” Just before the two of them struck, Giratina opened its eyes wide and vanished; the giant, menacing beast had literally disappeared into thin air. Aerodactyl reared back in surprised, trying to slow itself from its charge. Gustavo and Aerodactyl hung in the air, looking around in terror for their foe. A dark, sinister portal opened behind them and Giratina flew out of it like a bullet, slamming into its foes as they were caught off guard: Shadow Force.

    The pair flew to the ground at terrific speed. Aerodactyl was temporarily knocked unconscious and was unable to slow their fall. The two of them crashed into the ground with a terrible “smash!” A giant dust cloud billowed up from where they had landed as if a bomb had struck; when the dust settled, Giratina drew in closer to inspect the damage.

    The two of them lay on the ground in a pile of rubble, bleeding and severely wounded. Aerodactyl was simply a crumpled mess, unfit to move, let alone battle. Gustavo had more cuts, bruises and lacerations on his body than Cheren had ever seen on a person; he was grimacing in pain, clutching his arm and squinting away the pain. Giratina drew in close and hung in the air above them, still smiling contently to himself.

    “Giratina!” Gustavo shouted in pain. “You… bastard…” he stammered, but could not finish his thought. He struggled to raise his neck enough to face his foe, trying valiantly to push through the pain. A booming voice rang throughout the city, speaking in a deep, echoing pitch; its mocking laughter filled the air.

    “Hahaha, foolish mortal. You dared to try and defy me, and expected a different outcome than this? You shall die like the rest of your pathetic, undisciplined species; no human shall ever stand in my way.” Giratina bellowed. His smirk did not abate. “Your weak-minded Pokémon ally shall meet the same fate as you. Pokémon who align themselves with humans prove they are no better than the scum they call ‘friends,’ and so deserve the same punishment.” he continued.

    Giratina closed his eyes and concentrated. He began to glow with a dark energy, rising slightly higher into the air. A flash shot out from a jagged, golden orb mounted on the crest of his armor, hitting Aerodactyl squarely. The giant bird shrieked in pain and agony, crying out for the pain to stop. Gustavo looked on helplessly as his Pokémon died, unable to stop or ease it. Aerodactyl began to slowly disappear, and in just a few short seconds, his body had completely vanished from sight.

    “YOU MONSTER!!!” Gustavo shouted through the tears. “YOU MURDERER! By the grace of Arceus, you shall not survive this night!!!” he continued, shrieking at the top of his lungs. The force he had exerted was too great and he doubled over on himself from the pain of his injuries. His lifelong partner was gone, and he could no longer feel the strength to go on. “Someday I will have my revenge, Giratina; mark my words…” he muttered under his breath.

    Giratina floated in the air above him, looking on at the broken and defeated shell that lay before him. Giratina could easily have killed him too, but did not for some reason. He looked on at Gustavo, pondering to himself.

    “You show grit, human…” Giratina said quietly after a moment of thought. “…I appreciate that.” he continued.

    “Kill me or release me, parasite, but do not waste my time with talk. You killed my only friend…” Gustavo replied, still struggling to resist the pain.

    “He is not dead, human. Simply… transported.” Giratina replied.

    Do not toy with me, you fiend.” Gustavo replied sharply, but Giratina cut him off.

    “Foolish human, you will not even hear the truth when it is favorable. Your… ‘friend,’ is not dead. He is gone, transported to another place and time, but not… dead. I will make you an offer, and if you fulfill our bargain, you shall see him again.” he replied. Gustavo lay in silence, waiting to hear what his foe had to say.

    “My control over this dominion is complete.” Giratina said proudly as he inspected the crumbling city. “Soon, this whole world shall bow to my will. But I shall need assistants; minions to do my bidding. You have shown one trait tonight which I shall need more abundantly in the new world order than anything else: loyalty. Become one of my dark assassins, and you shall soon see your partner again.” Giratina continued stoically.

    Cheren and Paula looked on as these events transpired. They were shocked, moved, disgusted, inspired and revolted all at the same time. Gustavo was a truly noble soul, but Giratina was even more evil than they had always been led to believe all their lives. Cheren spoke up as Gustavo pondered Giratina’s offer.

    “You don’t think he’s really going to go through with it, do you, Paula?” he asked.

    “I do not know, Mr. Cheren.” she replied. “I know one thing is certain now however… there is true evil in the world.” she continued. “I never knew a fellow Pokémon could demonstrate such spite and hatred. They say that Pokémon are always pure and good, and that humans are the ones encroaching on our habitats and waging wars that get our kind killed; but seeing this… my evolutionary line has nothing to do with Giratina, but I still feel ashamed for my species…” The pair continued to look on as Gustavo made his decision; the events were gripping to say the least.

    “Well, human? What do you say?” Giratina asked ominously. Gustavo struggled to rise and face his attacker, drawing a pained breath to respond with.

    “I have considered your offer, Giratina, and it is tempting. Aerodactyl was my greatest friend and ally in this world, and I do not know how I could live without him, but…” he began to say. He took a pause, sighing before continuing. “…you have destroyed my kingdom, slaughtered my people, and forced a divide between my beloved father and I. You are a fundamentally evil creature, and I will never serve you.” he replied calmly. Gustavo closed his eyes and lay back as he finished his final living act, waiting now only for death to yield its sweet release.

    Giratina closed his eyes. A low rumble began to shake the destroyed city, coming from all sides at once. It grew and grew, shaking the very ground below them and mountains surrounding them. It reached a fevered pitched, breaking the night air deafeningly. Giratina screamed at Gustavo’s defiance.

    RaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! FOOLISH HUMAN, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE!” Giratina bellowed. “If you will not join me willingly and be my dark agent, then you shall join me by force and be my dark slave!” he continued.

    The dark energy again surrounded Giratina’s body, glowing brighter than it had before. The beam shot forth from the orb atop Giratina’s head and hit Gustavo squarely. Giratina shook with rage as he struck his enemy, savoring the pain it brought. Gustavo screamed and writhed in agony, slowly beginning to morph and change. His body shrunk and his skin grew a deathly black; his legs receded into his body and his arms shortened; his screaming mouth slowly sealed shut and his face turned a shimmering gold. Slowly, the transformation completed itself and he lay in defeat in his new form: Giratina had transformed him from a living human into an undead Yamask – a deathly ghost just like himself.

    The ground beneath Gustavo began to rumble and shake. The rubble he still lay in from the crash twisted below him, sinking into the sand. A massive sinkhole formed, plunging him into the depths below. The ground resealed above him, trapping him beneath the sand.

    “If you will not be one of my Shadow Triad, then you shall be my Minotaur. All who show defiance before the might of Giratina shall know my wrath!” Giratina bellowed. He spread his six massive wings and took flight, heading over the mountains to the east and vanishing over them. Cheren and Paula looked on at the scene of complete destruction and chaos, sickened over what they had just witnessed. A crack like a gunshot rang throughout the air as the supports holding up the grand palace to the south gave way. The brilliant symbol of power for the once-great kingdom crumbled, falling to the ground in ruin. With that final act, the destruction of the city was complete and the world again vanished into the dark smoke. Cheren felt his mind slip. He let himself go as the dream again skipped ahead, wondering what could possibly top what they had just seen. He closed his eyes and blacked out.

    * * *

    “Giratina, my child… you have failed me.” a calm, soothing voice said.

    Cheren opened his eyes and looked around to see where he was now. This was the third time warp the dream had made, transporting them to a fourth place and time. The nighttime stars and moon were still out, but a blindingly brilliant bundle of light more powerful than even the daytime sun shone down from the heavens, illuminating the terrain. Cheren had to shield his eyes from its power in order to see. They were somewhere out in the desert, but no longer in the valley of the Desert Resort. Before him, Giratina hovered in the air, looking up at the ball of light in the sky. No other people or structures were around them; the desert spanned on for miles in every direction.

    “You no longer scare me, Arceus! This world belongs to me! It is my birthright!” Giratina bellowed back.

    “No, my child, it does not belong to you. Your brother Dialga controls the ebb and flow of time in this dimension, and your sister Palkia controls the grandeur of its space. The two of them are the masters of this dimension, and operate it as a team. You have once again proven to me that you are not yet mature enough to aid them in this task.” the voice from the light replied. “You shall be sent back to your dominion and you shall not return from it.” it continued.

    “No, Arceus! I will not let you!” Giratina screamed. “My siblings are weak and undisciplined, just like their father and just like the pathetic humans that roam this planet. I no longer fear you, I have power!” he continued.

    Giratina roared and launched himself towards the light. He flew like a bullet on his six dark wings, determination and rage burning in his eyes. He flew up high, but faltered as Arceus prepared his response. Giant meteors began to fall from the sky in droves, pummeling Giratina and launching huge waves of sand into the air as they struck the ground. Giratina crashed to the ground with a “smash!” A crater had formed from the impact of his fall. He struggled to look up at his attacker through the pain.

    “I have passed my Judgment, Giratina. You may try and defy me, but you will not succeed.” Arceus said, still sounding as calm and soothing as ever.

    “I… have power!” Giratina struggled to say, but he had taken a severe beating. “You… you can’t still…” he wheezed, but he could not finish his thought.

    A piercing roar broke the night. The sound waves shook the air so violently that they were actually visible. The shot pummeled Giratina farther into the crater as he writhed in pain. The sharp form of Dialga descended from the light in the sky, blasting his terrible shout: Roar of Time. The demi-god landed gently in the sand and walked ominously towards his brother.

    “You seek to destroy all those who you view as ‘weak’ and ‘undisciplined,’ but it is you who is undisciplined, my child.” Arceus shouted authoritatively.

    The space behind Giratina rippled and distorted as a massive tear formed in the air. The claws that had ripped the tear struck Giratina as he cried out in pain again. The imposing sight of Palkia stepped from the portal as it resealed, her claws still glowing with a bright pink energy: Spacial Rend. The goddess of space shot her younger brother a disgusted look and joined her elder brother at the top of the crater.

    “You thought you could escape my sight by journeying to this faraway land, far from the shores of Sinnoh and the peak of Mt. Coronet. But you forget that I created everything not only on this planet, not only in this dimension, but in every dimension and the entirety of the universe.” Arceus continued to bellow.

    The bundle of light pulsated several times. It flashed brilliantly then dimmed as the majestic form of Arceus himself descended from it. He flew on his golden hooves and landed delicately in the sand to join his children. He strode calmly to where Giratina lay, flanked on either side by his eldest son and daughter.

    “I want for you to bear the same responsibilities as Dialga and Palkia, Giratina, I truly do. But you have proven yourself to be too violent to be around my other creations. For your crimes against both humans and Pokémon, and for your outright violent and destructive nature, you will be banished to the Distortion World, never to return. Dialga, Palkia, I am entrusting you two with making sure he cannot return; unless you both are brought together and at the time do so will it, he will be unable to cross the dimensional lines. Only with your combined powers may this decree be broken.” Arceus said sternly, but with a touch of sadness in his voice. His children flanking him nodded in affirmation of their father’s order.

    “Arceus, you can’t do this! This world should be mine!” Giratina bellowed, but the contempt and authority that had dripped from his voice a moment before was now gone, replaced by panic and fear.

    “I am sorry, my child. It is time.” Arceus said.

    Arceus shut his eyes and focused. The jagged, golden orb that rested in Giratina’s crest began to shake, shattering a moment later. Giratina began to morph as the crystal fell in shards around him. The spikes along his tail grew into centipede-like legs and his six wings melded into two. A dark, shadowy portal to the Distortion World opened beneath him, slowly sucking him in. He screamed in defiance as he returned to his dominion, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. He slowly descended into his abyss and the portal closed over him. Giratina was gone forever.

    “It is done…” Arceus said with a defeated tone in his voice. He hung his head and sighed, his other children doing the same in a show of respect. The three titans parted ways, returning to the peak of Mt. Coronet in Sinnoh, and the desert was again calm and still.

    Cheren and Paula floated in silence in the air, trying to process what they had just seen. The silence was shortly broken by a quiet weeping though, coming from somewhere below them. They looked down and saw a small slab of stone sticking out of the sand. A dirty porthole was carved into it, looking up at the night sky. Gustavo was underneath it, looking out at the events that had unfolded. He was gently crying, looking at the mask he held gingerly in his hands. He was all alone in the cold desert, forgotten by the whole rest of the world.

    His civilization was destroyed. All the citizens he and his father had ruled over were dead. His faithful Aerodactyl was gone, lost to the eons of time in some sort of limbo. The only creature that even knew he existed had just been banished to the Distortion World. He was trapped in the undead form of a Yamask, powerless to do anything to change his situation. The cold desert winds blew some sand across his exposed tomb and covered it, blocking his only window to the outside world. He was trapped in this existence with no way to change or end it, for all of eternity.

    I have not forgotten about you, my slave.” the voice of Giratina whispered quietly from the ether. “We will rebuild.” he continued.

    Gustavo continued to weep softly to himself as the dream faded away for the final time. The dark, swirling smoke again destroyed everything around them, but this time did not disorient Cheren. A bright portal instead opened and beckoned for them to enter it. The dream had run its course and it was time for them to return to the real world. Cheren and Paula looked at each other and slowly stepped though, hanging their arms in sorrow and defeat at the story they had just experienced. Cheren had gotten his answers about Yamask’s past, but he now wished he hadn’t…

    * * *

    [Continued Below]
    Last edited by ChaosBlizzard; 18th September 2011 at 4:53 AM.

  25. #50
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    This chapter contains scenes of violence of a more graphic nature than is typically found in this story. The PG-15 rating is still applicable, but readers are cautioned to not read this chapter if torture or death are subjects of too graphic a nature for them to handle. Underage or offended readers are suggested to partake in more age appropriate content.

    Chronicles of Unova

    Chapter 10: The Legend of Gustavo Riviera
    Part 3 of 3

    Fennel’s apartment was shrouded in darkness. The only light illuminating the room was the light from the console window of the large machine. It reflected off her glasses as she stared intently at its content. For the first time in hours, she moved back in her chair and rested. She lay back and took off her glasses, massaging the bridge of her nose. Her bloodshot eyes stung from staring at the tiny display for so long, but the experiment had been largely successful, so she was content. She rose from her seat as Cheren and Paula slowly stepped through the portal again, removing her heavy lab coat and throwing it haphazardly over the cot. She stretched as she greeted the pair.

    “Welcome back, you two. Looks like your hunch about Yamask, or should I say ‘Gustavo,’ was more than correct, Cheren.” she said with a strained, tired voice.

    “Yeah, I guess so…” Cheren replied, but he sounded sad and defeated. His poor Pokémon had suffered so much and for an incalculable length of time; it was depressing to try and comprehend just what he had endured. He looked out the windows and noticed it was still dark out.

    “What time is it, Fennel?” he asked.

    “Aaaaahh… around 10:30 or so…” Fennel said with a loud yawn.

    “What? 10:30? It was like… 9:00 when we started.” Cheren said with surprise.

    “9 o’clock on Friday, Cheren; it’s 10:30 on Saturday right now.” Fennel corrected him, still mumbling sleepily. “You two were in there for over 24 hours.” She continued.

    What?! It’s Saturday?!” Cheren exclaimed in shock. “Did it really take that long? It only felt like an hour” he continued.

    “Typically, time in dreams moves faster than in the real world, which is why you can have dreams about entire days or weeks in an 8-hour night’s sleep, but something about the Dream Mist seems to reverse that effect. I don’t really feel like explaining the science behind it to you right now though. I’m too tired… I’m going to bed…” Fennel replied. She began to shuffle off down the hall to her room, wiping her eyes as she went.

    “Wait, so you were awake manning the computer for over 24 hours straight?!” Cheren asked in surprise, following after her.

    “Yep…” Fennel replied.

    Jesus! Aren’t you tired?” he continued.

    Yep…” she said again, more pronounced this time.

    “Well do you… do you need any information from us?” he asked

    “Nope…” she said as she reached her room. She stepped behind an ornate folding dressing screen and removed her small dress, throwing it over top of it lazily. She stretched her bare arm towards the nightstand to reach for a night gown and began to expound on her statements.

    “The computer recorded all the relevant data I need, and I was taking notes of my own as I observed your interactions with the dream. I learned a lot actually, and I now know what I need to begin working on. For instance, I need to find a way to toggle the option to interact with physical objects in the dream; being able to bring things from the dream back into the real world would be impossible if you couldn’t touch any of the objects in the world. You all are free to use whatever you want in the apartment, and you can leave whenever you want. Just don’t wake me up; I’m going to bed…” she explained. Cheren heard the sound of a zipper and she stepped out into view, dressed in her silk gown. She tiredly slid into the clean, well-kept bed and pulled the covers over her head, turning on her side away from him.

    “Aaaaahh… good night…” she yawned. A few seconds later, a loud snore came from beneath the covers and Cheren sighed, shutting the door and stepping out quietly.

    “Mr. Cheren, Gustavo is awakening.” he heard Paula say from the other room. He walked back down the hall and rushed to his Yamask’s side. The little ghost’s eyes fluttered open and he looked up at Cheren with sadness, knowing he now knew his terrible history.

    “Gustavo… I’m so sorry…” Cheren whispered quietly, putting a hand on his Pokémon’s shoulder. Gustavo sat up and pulled off the covers. He gingerly took his mask off of his lower body and looked at it, tears welling up in his eyes. It had just looked like a generic golden mask to Cheren before the dream, but now he distinctly recognized it as the face of the young man who had defied Giratina so many eons ago. Cheren embraced Gustavo as he began to weep softly. Cheren sympathized with his pain and tried to console him. The pair sat on the cot in each other’s arms, trying to come to terms with the meaning of the end of his endless sentence. It was a sad and touching sight.

    The pair separated after a moment and Gustavo composed himself. Cheren blinked away the tears that were beginning to well up in his own eyes and looked at Paula fiercely. He spoke with determination and grit.

    “Paula, I know what we have to do. We’re going back to the Desert Resort and we’re going to find that Aerodactyl. I won’t rest until Gustavo gets his end of the bargain; it’s the least we can do.” he said authoritatively.

    Paula nodded and smiled, preparing the immense amount of energy she would need to Teleport them the long distance. Cheren returned Gustavo to his Pokéball and rested a hand on Paula’s shoulder. Paula looked up at him and smiled, taking his hand in her own. Cheren grinned at the small gesture, feeling a closer connection to the young Kirlia after their adventure in the dream than he had before. Paula closed her eyes and began to concentrate.

    The space around them began to distort. The light from their impending Teleport began to resonate from Paula’s body. As Paula’s concentration reached its peak and she prepared to make the jump, she heard a sound coming from somewhere in the ether. It was hazy and disorienting, almost sounding unearthly. It sounded like speech, but was so mangled and distorted that it almost just sounded like noise; the voice was familiar enough to her though that she was still able to make out what it had said.

    “Paula, I don’t know if you can hear me somehow, but… if you can… I did it…” she heard her trainer say.

    The jump had occurred and she was lost in the ether, neither here nor there. She was both infinitely close and infinitely far from him all at once, but the distance in her mind seemed insurmountable. Hearing the simple line brought a sheepish smile to her face. She surmised what he was talking about and grinned at his success.

    “Good for you, master…” she thought quietly and proudly to herself. The world around her stabilized itself and she felt the ground settle beneath her feet.

    * * *

    The Desert Resort was quiet and still. The piercing moonlight broke the darkness and illuminated the terrain, but the light diffused too much to light any of it very brightly. The excavation crews had gone home for the night and the exposed portions of the underground castle were still. The sound of the water gently lapping at the northern shore softly echoed through the valley. At the foot of the mountains flanking the large clearing, a bright light burst into existence as Paula and Cheren’s forms landed in the sand below.

    “Here we are, Mr. Cheren.” Paula said softly. She was tired, but not as exhausted as after the first jump; she was getting better at making the long warps. She stood up and straightened her skirt, sighing audibly. Cheren nodded in thanks and silently started heading off into the cliffs. Paula floated along behind him inquisitively.

    “Where are we going to begin our search, Mr. Cheren?” Paula asked, struggling to keep up with him.

    “We’re going back into Relic Castle the only way I know how to: through the cave.” Cheren replied with determination in his voice. Paula shuttered as she remembered her trainer’s almost-deadly fall through the quicksand, but followed behind him devotedly. The pair trekked through the foothills and eventually reached the ominous cave.

    The wind howled into its depths, echoing like a deep, bellowing beast. The cave wasn’t illuminated at all, the moonlight unable to pierce into the abyss. Paula showed a faint sign of fear, but Cheren continued in bravely. Paula followed him into the darkness, hoping he had some sort of plan.

    Cheren drew Gustavo’s Pokéball and released him from it. Cheren rested a hand on his shoulder and look at him calmly.

    “Gustavo, can you use Will-o-Wisp to try and light the path?” he asked. His Pokémon nodded timidly and the small balls of ghostly fire burst around him. The shadowy blue flames didn’t provide very much light, but it was enough to see by. The group ventured farther into the cave, eventually reaching the quicksand pit.

    “Mind the bump…” Cheren said, pointing at the ground in the antechamber. Paula levitated and hovered over it, Gustavo following suit. Cheren stayed back at the edge of the pit, looking on at the giant stone wall opposite him. He pondered the mysterious inscriptions lining it and wondered.

    “Look at how this area is shaped, Paula. It seems to be an antechamber based on the design and layout of it, but it just stops; there’s no main room it appears to connect to. Those inscriptions on the back wall resemble the markings that were on the walls in Relic Castle though. Do you suppose it’s just a façade?” Cheren asked.

    “It is possible, Mr. Cheren. I agree with your assessment however, the design of this section of the cave is peculiar.” Paula replied.

    “Gustavo, you lived in Relic Castle for millennia, and your people are the ones who built this place. Can you try interacting with it? Maybe you can figure it out.” Cheren said.

    The skittish Yamask nodded and faced the back wall. Levitating well above the quicksand trap below, he hovered over and inspected it. The inscriptions were a mystery to Cheren and Paula, but they appeared to mean something to Gustavo. They formed a rough spiral, singling out a point in the middle of the wall that was bulging out just slightly; he gently laid a hand on the center point and waited. A dark, shadowy energy like that which had surrounded Giratina in the dream began to flow from his arm, spreading over the markings in the wall. They flowed through the carvings slowly like water through a trench, highlighting the paths that were carved in the stone. The energy eventually reached the edge of spiral and formed a circle. A loud hissing sound filled the air as steam began to slowly escape from behind it; that section of the wall was actually a large, circular slab of stone, sealed into place to block a hole in the wall. Gustavo moved back gingerly as the giant slab fell forward onto the ground. It landed in the pit of quicksand, forming a safe bridge across to the hole. A dank, eerie passageway stretched on beyond the wall, leading farther into the cave. Gustavo looked back at his trainer, as if to say “Well, there it is, then.” Cheren nodded and carefully walked over the impromptu bridge, stepping through into the catacombs. The group entered the hidden passageway and continued on.

    The catacombs were filled with a dark, eerie mist. It was thick enough to obscure the path and seemed to disorient one’s vision if you looked at it directly for long enough. The sound of running water rang throughout the cave as if a stream were right up ahead, but no matter how far they went, they never seemed to reach it. Time seemed to drag on, and despite walking at a steady pace, they never seemed to advance any farther into the cave. Something was clearly manipulating the flow of space and time in this mysterious place, twisting the dimensions, but the manipulation seemed more whimsical than malicious, as if they were just being toyed with for fun. After journeying on for what seemed like an eternity, they eventually saw the smoke start to disappear and the passageway reach a head. They ran towards it and found themselves in another crypt like the one that had been in Relic Castle. They carefully approached the alter in the back of the room, looking around cautiously for any traps or danger.

    Whereas the one in Relic Castle had been long and ornate, with many treasures lining the floors and the shrine, this one was much more simple, with only one object sitting upon the ornamental table. The floor was set with cobblestone tiles like Relic Castle had been, but the walls and ceiling were the unchanged and unfinished stone of the cave around them; many sharp stalactites hung from the ceiling over the entrance of the room menacingly. The three adventurers wandered in and approached the shrine along the back wall to inspect the object sitting on it. The object was a roughly carved wooden ball, just the right size to fit in one’s palm. The top half of the ball was a mossy green color, but the bottom was white; it resembled a Pokéball, except very crude and rudimentary. Cheren picked it up and inspected it, turning it over in his hand.

    “Do you know what that is, Mr. Cheren?” Paula asked.

    “Yeah, I think so. It looks like an Apricorn Ball. It’s a primitive ancestor to the modern Pokéball, carved out of a type of fruit called an Apricorn. Craftsmen used to hollow them out to be used to store Pokémon in, but I’ve never heard of them being used outside of the Johto region. This could represent proof that the technology actually spread in ancient times.” Cheren mused as he looked at the little ball in his palm. “This one is green, so it was made from a Green Apricorn and is a ‘Friend Ball,’ as they’re called. I’ve read that any Pokémon caught in one of these develops a stronger bond with their trainer.” he continued.

    Cheren set the ball back down on the shrine and turned to look at Gustavo, beginning to speak. “Well Gustavo, should we see what’s inside? We’ve come all this way for this thing, so something must be inside of it.” The Yamask had a nervous look on his face and hung frozen in the air, staring at the ball. He slowly turned towards Cheren and nodded. He and Paula stepped back a few feet as Cheren stepped forward to open it. He set his index finger against the mechanism and gently pushed it in. The latch clicked and the ball slowly creaked open after millennia of being shut. Cheren stepped back to join the Pokémon as the energy inside the ball drifted out. A small white wisp of light drifted out and hung in the air for a moment. It suddenly and dramatically burst into the form of a massive Pokémon. The giant beast spread its enormous wings and screeched terrifyingly, finally free of the prison it had been in for so long; they had found Gustavo’s Aerodactyl, but there was something distinctly wrong.

    Aerodactyl lowered its head and stared coldly at the group. Its pupils were nothing more than tiny slits, filled with rage and insanity. The feral dinosaur shrieked again and began to thrash about the tiny room, shaking the walls and smashing everything there was to break. It was on an irreconcilable outrage and couldn’t be calmed. It thrashed and flailed about the room, shrieking at the top of its lungs and hitting anything it could find to hit. Cheren had to take action and calm it.

    Cheren began to call for Paula to use an attack on it, but seeing his old partner in such distress, Gustavo rushed forward to try and console it. He flew towards it, trying to hold it down, but his tiny body was too frail. Aerodactyl took a mighty swing at him and launched him across the room; he landed in a slump on the ground, dazed and in pain. He shook off the disorientation and rushed back, but he didn’t know how to calm his rampaging friend.

    “Gustavo, use Shadow Ball!” Cheren shouted commandingly. He knew he had to find a way to calm the beast before it caused a cave-in and killed them all. The Yamask charged up the energy to launch the dark blast, but he couldn’t bring himself to fire. It had been millennia since he had last seen his old friend, and he couldn’t bring himself to hurt it. He shut his eyes and trembled, trying to decide what to do. He turned and launched the blast at the wall behind them, rushing up to try and hold his Pokémon down again. He grabbed onto Aerodactyl’s neck, desperately trying to reason with it and try to make it remember, but it was in vain. Aerodactyl bucked Gustavo off of him again, flinging him across the room. Aerodactyl was going insane, unaware of where he was or what was even going on.

    Gustavo rushed forward again, unwilling to give up on his friend. He tried again to calm the beast, but it was no use, he was just too small. Cheren caught him this time as he was shot across the room and held him down to keep him from hurting himself anymore.

    “Gustavo, you’ve got to stop! You’re going to get yourself killed!” Cheren shouted. Gustavo wouldn’t hear it though and tried desperately to wriggle free. He couldn’t break Cheren’s grip, so he shrieked his deafening scream in an attempt to break Cheren’s concentration.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    The Astonish attack brought Cheren to his knees. He grasped his ears in pain, releasing Gustavo from his grip. The startling shout had temporarily stopped Aerodactyl too, giving him just enough of a chance to grab on again. Aerodactyl thrashed at the little Pokémon, throwing him across the room. Gustavo slammed into the wall for a final time, falling to the ground in a slump. He was badly beaten and in terrible pain. He grimaced as he rose, unwilling to give up.

    “Gustavo, stop!” Cheren shouted. Gustavo floated in the air, watching his old friend kill himself in confusion. The Aerodactyl seemed to not realize where it was or what was happening; he was in such a state of rage and confusion that he simply lashed out at everything around him. The cave shook from the force of his continual strikes as if it were about to cave in; Aerodactyl’s wings were getting bruised and bloodied, but he seemed to not even notice, the pain fueling his rampage even more. Gustavo was so close to being rid of his curse after thousands of years, but it was all slipping from his grasp so quickly. He took the mask from his lower body and stared at it, beginning again to cry in pain.

    “Mr. Cheren, we need to get out of here! The cave is unable to support itself, it is going to crash!” Paula shouted. Cheren acknowledged the sentiment and ran to grab Gustavo so they could Teleport away. He ran up and tried to take his hand.

    “Come on, Gustavo, we’ve got to get out of here! We have to leave Aerodactyl behind or else we’re going to die!” he shouted. He tried to grab his Yamask’s hand but he shook him free. Gustavo shot him an angry look through the tears, moving back away defiantly. Cheren stepped in to try and grab him again but Gustavo floated away. Gustavo’s rage was building and he blinked away the tears. Gustavo shut his eyes and shook with rage and pain. After millennia of abuse and suffering, he was not about to give up when he was so close. In one final, climactic act, he raised his hands high above his head and threw the mask to the ground in a fit. The golden plate clattered on the ground, landing face down. Gustavo was breathing heavily, feeling the rage and determination course through his veins. He wiped away the tears and began to scream again.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    This time it wasn’t a scream to incite fear or induce pain, but instead was a defiant scream, almost a howl. He shouted as loud as he could, bellowing to the walls around him. He shut his eyes and screamed louder, releasing all the energy in his tiny body. The mask on the ground began to shake from the intense sound waves, clattering against the stone floor. Gustavo bellowed and screamed as powerfully and loudly as he could… and began to change.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    His small black body began to glow. The light resonated from inside of him, emanating power and strength. The bright light engulfed him, turning his whole body a brilliant and blinding white. His feral howl grew louder as his form began to morph, growing much larger and much more solid. Several blue rings wrapped around his body, pulsating around his new form. His tiny body grew into a massive rectangular box, with four giant arms sprouting from the sides. The light began to pulsate, filling the room in a strobe effect. His shriek reached a fevered pitch and the bundle of light burst. An ornate sarcophagus floated in the air for a moment before falling to the ground. It landed with a “thud!” upon the stone floor, and then was still. His shriek had stopped and the transformation was complete; Gustavo had evolved into a Cofagrigus.

    The unmoving coffin lay on the ground. Cheren opened his eyes and uncovered his ears, walking up to it curiously. As he drew in near, the ornate pattern on the top slowly came to life. One dark, sinister eye opened, then the other. A terrifying Cheshire smile of razor sharp teeth spread across it, looking at Cheren intently and savagely. The sarcophagus rose into the air, and four giant, shadowy arms seeped out from inside of it, striking an imposing form. The newly evolved Cofagrigus turned to face Aerodactyl, grinning his terrible grin and preparing to strike. It slowly floated through the air over to it, arms outstretched.

    Aerodactyl was still thrashing violently on the ground, shrieking and grunting with each hit. The Cofagrigus approached it slowly and grabbed it with one of its mighty arms. Aerodactyl was startled by the strength of the new enemy and tried desperately to free itself, but could not. Slowly, Gustavo brought another arm forward and grabbed at another part of Aerodactyl; then another arm, then the final one, pinning him to the wall and embracing him tightly. Aerodactyl shrieked and tried to break free, but Gustavo was too strong now. His four massive arms held Aerodactyl tightly, keeping him from hurting himself. Aerodactyl couldn’t break his grip and eventually wore himself out, his sanity returning to him. As Aerodactyl finally calmed himself, his eyes undilated and his understanding of where he was returned to him. He looked around in surprise as the realization set in. He looked at the massive Pokémon holding him and realized who it was. Gustavo slacked his grip just enough for Aerodactyl to shift positions and the two old friends embraced each other. The pair wept with joy at being reunited after millennia apart. Cheren walked slowly over to Paula’s side and rested a hand on her shoulder, smiling at the pair proudly; she looked up at him and smiled, hugging his leg cheerily. They looked on at the reunited pair with proud grins on their faces, happy to see the conclusion of their age-old curse. Cheren sighed.

    “Gus the Cofagrigus… has a nice ring to it…” Paula mused. Cheren chuckled and picked up Gus’ mask. The pair separated and he handed it back to him. Gus looked at it stoically for a moment and then set it upon his forehead as the centerpiece of his regal crown. There was a slot specially designated for it and it fit into place perfectly. Gus and Aerodactyl looked at Cheren respectfully, smiling at him in thanks. Cheren smiled back, saying softly “Welcome to the team, Aerodactyl. Gus, your curse is over.

    “Not by a long shot, mortal.” an eerie voice said commandingly from behind them. The four of them turned in shock to see who had spoken and saw a familiar face standing at the entrance of the room. He wore a long, filthy robe and had a diseased look to his skin and eyes. Cheren recognized him instantly: the man who had tricked them into the cave.

    YOU!” Cheren shouted angrily. He took a step forward menacingly, but the man just laughed. “You tried to kill us, you bastard! You trapped us in Relic Castle sent Gus to attack us! What were you thinking?!” he continued.

    “I was thinking you would die, stupid mortal. I was serving The Dark One by bringing sacrifices to his slave, as I have done for centuries. But you three… you proved to be more than I expected.” he said with a raspy laugh. “Just because you threw your weak, pitiful human machine at that Pokémon does not make him yours however, fool. That miserable wretch owes his life to The Dark One and will continue to fulfill his sentence. Hand him over.” he continued.

    “Not on your lif-” Cheren started to say, but Aerodactyl decided to take matters into his own hands. He shrieked and stomped on the cave floor, shaking it again with an astonishing might. The razor sharp stalactites that hung from the ceiling over the entrance shook and dropped free, falling like bullets towards the man. He looked up to see his fate but could do nothing to stop it. The group of razor sharp stones impaled him, crushing him beneath their weight. He screamed in agony as they pinned him to the ground, a pool of dark blood staining the ground in the dark cave. When the dust settled, he looked up to face his attackers.

    “You… you…” he rasped, but he couldn’t find the strength to continue his statement. He was losing blood and quickly dying; his sickly condition didn’t help his situation any either. Cheren looked at Aerodactyl in shock at what he had done.

    “Jesus, Aerodactyl, you didn’t need to kill him! Paula, can you use Heal Pulse on him? Try to keep him alive a little longer.” Cheren shouted. Paula ran up and began trying to heal his wounds with her Psychic powers, but he screamed in even greater agony as her powers struck his body.

    “The light! The light in your eyes offends me! STOP!” he shrieked. Paula stepped back in shock as he said this, stopping her treatment. The man caught his breath and began to speak in a strained voice, coughing up blood occasionally.

    “You… you win this round, mortal… but the war… the war…” he started to say, but he was in terrible pain. “The Dark One beckons for my spirit. I shall be with you soon, Giratina.” he continued. A terrifying grin spread across his face and he laid his head down on the cobblestone floor, the blood staining his dirty hair. He continued to speak. “The Dark One commands allegiance from that Pokémon, mortal, and his will shall be done. You will meet three dark assassins during your continuing journey: The Shadow Triad. They are the fearless actors of our lord Giratina in this world, and they will try to take that Pokémon back. Do not defy them, or you shall meet the same fate as he did. Mark my words, mortal: The Dark One shall rise again, and no one, not even that detestable Arceus, will stop him. Praise be to Giratina; The Dark One cometh…”

    As he finished his speech, a portal opened below him in the floor. The dark, shadowy, twisting abyss slowly engulfed the man, dragging him to the Distortion World to be with his master. His body slowly melded into the shadows and the portal closed, leaving nothing but the stalactites, still dug deep into the ground, and the pool of blood which stained the cobblestone floor. The four of them stood in shock and awe at what they had just heard, deeply troubled. Paula was the first to speak, and quietly said with determination, “In the words of Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe… nuts.

    For the first time since Cheren had opened the Apricorn ball, the shadowy room was silent. Nothing moved, nothing screamed, nothing thrashed and rampaged, the room was silent and still. The quiet was almost eerie, but it didn’t last long. As they stood in reflection of the events that had transpired, a low rumbling came from deep inside the walls of the cave and shook the room. More rocks began to fall from the ceiling around them and the cave finally began to crumble. It had sustained too much abuse and couldn’t support itself anymore. The cave-in threatened to kill them all under an even bigger rock slide, and the only way out was blocked by the stalactites that had killed the man. They looked around in shock, trying to assess the situation. Cheren, however, quickly drew Gus’ Pokéball and lunged for Aerodactyl’s, still sitting on the shrine. He returned his Pokémon to their Pokéballs, one in each hand, and then turned to face Paula. He leapt at her, embracing her with both arms and pinning her to the ground, shielding her from the falling rocks with his body.

    Paula, get us out of here!” he shouted. “I know I’m not David, but just-”

    “Mr. Cheren, it’s fine! Extenuating circumstances call for the impromptu embrace. Just shut up and let me concentrate!” she screamed, cutting him off. Cheren shut his eyes and hoped they would make it out before the falling rocks crushed them.

    Paula didn’t have time to build up the energy and concentration for another big jump. She had to just get them somewhere far away and fast. She shut her eyes and focused intently on her trainer, trying to find him in the world. She concentrated as hard as she could on him and made the jump blind.

    Guide me, master…” she said quietly in her mind.

    The pair vanished in a bundle of light, just in time to avoid being crushed by the collapsing ceiling. The walls caved in on themselves and crushed the room, filling it with rocks, debris and smoke. Outside in the Desert Resort, the whole cave collapsed on itself, sealing the entrance and locking away the distorted pathway forever. The crash was loud enough that even the excavation crew noticed, turning in surprise towards the mountains. The shadowy pathway was gone forever, and everything inside it was destroyed…

    * * *

    David and Bianca walked in the bright, warm sunshine after their Gym battle, enjoying the sights and sounds of the amusement park around them. Everywhere they looked, children played and laughed, filling the air with their joy. The pair was walking hand-in-hand, finally able to be the romantic couple they had both been wanting for so long. They looked at their bright, shining new badges and smiled at each other happily. Bianca began to hum the melody to the song they had performed the night before, drawing a big smile from David. He bent down and gave her a quick peck on the cheek as she giggled. The two were as happy as could be, and nothing seemed like it could spoil their day.

    A flash of light materialized into existence a few feet in front of them, distorting the space around it as it warped into view. The bundle of light materialized into Cheren and Paula, still holding each other and grimacing in terror. They fell to the ground and looked around in shock to see where they were. Cheren had to squint his eyes to adjust himself to the light; it had been the middle of the night when they had entered the cave, but their trip through its catacombs seemed to have distorted their perception of time. He looked around in shock and spied his friends walking towards him, a confused look on their faces. He rose to stand, wobbly at first, and ran towards them, still gripping Gus and Aerodactyl’s Pokéballs.

    “Hey Cheren, how was your trip?” David asked nonchalantly, but Cheren cut him off. He was still in shock from his near-death experience and was tripping over his words.

    “Guys… guys… guys…” he rasped, but he couldn’t sound out the rest of his words. His clothes were disheveled, he had a wild look in his eyes, and he was covered in dirt and dust. He looked like he had been through hell and back; his appearance frightened Bianca.

    “Cheren, slow down. What’s wrong?” she asked. Cheren caught his breath, stood up straighter and looked them in the eyes. He cleared his throat and spoke in a commanding, ominous voice.

    “You guys… boy have I got a story for you.
    Last edited by ChaosBlizzard; 18th September 2011 at 4:53 AM.

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