Raine's Wildlife Park
Son of Shadows: With survival instincts taking charge you breaststroke upward weighed down by your heavy clothes and the young juvenile wrapped tightly against your waist. The suns rays broke through the turquoise waters like a homing beacon, and it was that you’d focus on as you made your ascent. But there was a spanner in the works, and the Sharpedo you’d shrugged off in your escape wasn’t letting you go without a fight. The shark’s jaws locked tight around your ankle, sending a sharp pain ebbing from your sneaker up to your waist. Not looking to lose a foot you kick blindly at the predator, managing to bonk it on the nose after a few failed attempts. Strands of blood spool from its tiny nostrils as it lets go, lunging rearward in a sneeze as your leg throbbed in relief. This wouldn’t hold it off for long, and before making a break for the surface you inch for another Pokéball. The sphere loses altitude, chinking on the roof of the glass tunnel you’d just escaped from and cracking open to reveal Aegis the Squirtle. The turtle’s eyes home in on you before darting toward the shark whose gills were flaring as it prepped for another attack. You don’t need to explain, and with time scarce the word ‘Tackle’ leaves your throat in a muffled gurgle.
The seaturtle nods and you set your sights back on the sun just a beeline above. Not daring to look back you break into another swim, the low thud of Aegis veering into the Sharpedo setting your mind at ease. You keep your eyes fixed on the blurred ball of light up ahead, shrugging over the school of Luvdisc that’d just swerved past and blocking out the high-frequency resonance of the Lanturn pod’s echolocation. Your lungs crave the fresh air just meters ahead, each kick of your legs agonizing as a stitch seized a hold of your stomach. You feel lightheaded as consciousness starts to slip away, but cling desperately to the here and now. Just a few more lunges. Jamming your stinging eyes shut you finally break through to the surface with an almighty gasp of air. Water runs down your face as you frantically look around the blurred surroundings. The tracks of the Kyogre-Koaster snaked overhead, all of its carts lined up in the docking bay and out of action. A man donning a blue bandana was being pulled away from the scene with some struggle, and a blond haired man had dived into the waters and was headed in your direction. With a front crawl on par with a high level Poliwrath, Rain closes in on you and hoists the comatose Billy onto his shoulder. Pulling a U-turn back to the poolside he yells “Come on kid!” You prepare to doggy paddle the rest of your way back to safety before faltering in your tracks. Aegis was still underwater! A good dozen meters away the turtle was tucked into his resilient carapace, unable to flee as the Sharpedo flailed it around like a chew toy. Not looking to pick a fight with you’d have to work out how to incapacitate it so Aegis could get away. What will you do?
Balmund: As the mermaid attempted to saddle you away from the truth yet again you decide to call her out on your growing suspicions, which was either an incredibly brave or reckless course of action. You do this in hushed tones, concerned she was being manipulated by some evil puppet master who had the room tapped. As you pull away from her earshot you spot a growing smile on the woman’s face, and any hope burning within is extinguished by her icy cold words, “There is nowhere you can talk to her without me hearing. I have made certain she can never be hurt by another man” her evil stare seems to suppress any retort, the forming words dissipating like mist. She paces back toward the table, her red hair flowing down her back like wisps of flame. There’s no gauging her reaction from this view, but as the silence lingers on she starts playing with one of the knives sending a lump down your throat.
“You were much cleverer than the others. By the time they found out they were already in love”, the siren continues, spinning the blade in her hand, “And then I crushed their hearts before crushing them” She grasps a hold of the blade so swiftly your tail gives off a wince. Maybe now would be the time to test out your new powers... “You may be worthy of her after all...” her face suddenly contorts in some form of internal struggle. “Of course not. No man is good enough. And for spoiling my plans I will make sure that your pain is the deepest yet, and then I will kill you like you killed her!” She turns in one sudden, fluid motion. Her eyes as black as the Milotic’s and twice as Captivating. Your tailbone stiffens as she edges closer, your eyes darting around nervously as the rest of your body refused to obey. She kisses you on the lips, running her fingers through your hair as her nipples pressed softly against your bare chest. There was no love in the gesture - it was the kiss of death. As she breaks away you feel a sudden and sharp pain in your gut. Her spell breaks and you groan in agony, pressing your hand against the deep cut her knife left whilst hot blood gushed from the gaps in your fingers. The mermaid’s wicked laughing seems muffled with your head pounding, the pain starting to ebb through your whole body as you sink into oblivion...
An unknown amount of time passes until you finally come to, your eyes opening to pitch blackness with the days events like some forgotten dream. Then the realisation of your situation crashes against you like a stormy sea, your ears were still filled with the hum of ocean. That meant she had to be near, and all the colour washes out of your face. You then remember your mortal wound, and attempt to examine it with your fingers, but your hands were bound in shackles. They rub painfully against your wrists in your attempts to break free, leaving you with nothing but a tail you’d only had for a day. All hope seems lost until the room suddenly fills with light. Vivid reds and blues from the crystals growing on the floors and walls blind you for a few seconds, your eyes stinging as you attempt to strain ahead. You were being held captive in the largest chamber by far, this one eerily reminiscent of a coliseum. Straining just ahead you spot a great stalagmite ripping through the heart of the arena, two figures tied to it like bait. As your vision returns the two blurs quickly come into focus – Chong and Lily! The last of the hippie trio screamed in muffled silence as they looked toward you in a fusion of shock and terror. They’d also been transformed into merfolk, their Huntail and Gorebyss tails flickering feebly against their bounds. Your eyes dart around the coliseum, desperate for some sort of tool to help you out of this desperate situation. You spot it glimmering like a diamond in the rough, a cherry-hued sphere that you were somehow certain held Eriphaim just in your tail’s reach. Before you can act on this impulse a terrifying voice echoes down the cavern.
“Welcome back, honey” her words were filled with spite rather than lust this time, “I hope you enjoy your final hours as much as I will. Only a man with unmatched skill, wit and courage will be able to escape my games... So I guess that makes them unwinnable! Let the torture begin...” The voice rattles through your skull as you focus on the pair ahead. Did they know Moku was long dead? You wonder if things would have been different if you’d never met them. Of course they would. Your thoughts are shortly dashed by two new arrivals that break free from a pair of fissures on the roof of the cavern. The Sharpedo veered down toward the stalagmite and gracefully circled the prisoners in perfect symmetry, each waiting for the other to take the first bite whilst the traveller’s eyes grew wider. She’d promised to kill off another two of your friends, only this time she’d given you a front row ticket to the carnage. Or maybe this was a challenge, and maybe Eriphaim had been set in your reach to spare the hippies a gruesome death at the hands of the bloodthirsty sharks. Whatever it was, time was running out fast. What will you do?
Myahoo: Atop of the Hydro-Electric dam’s reservoir you quickly discover your fears were uncalled for as the generator’s failure was nothing more than driftwood clogging the turbine courtesy of a Bidoof colony upstream. The feeling of relief isn’t shared all around as Volkner storms around like a child, eventually slumping down to the floor using his Luxray as a headrest and throwing the problem on your shoulders. Arguing wasn’t going to get you anywhere, so you choose to shrug off the gym leader’s boyish behaviour and focus on the job ahead. You brandish a Pokéball and toss it into the pool, bubbles running off its surface as it looses altitude. Then with a flash of light a small butterflyfish emerges and bobs to the surface. With a chirp he sets off back downstream on your command, his fins shimmering neon pink courtesy of their luminescence. You watch on cautiously as he stops at the turbine which was easily ten times his size and start to worry if he’d be able to out speed its current when it reactivates. The shunt of the blades against the blockage doesn’t paint a pretty picture in your head and you look towards Volkner. The man didn’t seem to be paying any attention, playing with the apps on his Pokétch without sparing a second glance.
Back to the job ahead, Stream’s gills flare as she lets loose a Water Gun, the jet of pressure beating away at the clumps of wood. The showering manages to clean away the mud sharpish, but the wood and branches holds on for what feels like minutes. Finally a snap muffled by the water reveals one of the branches has given way, the propeller swinging with more leeway now. The Finneon’s eyes glint with determination as it powers on another torrent targeted at a large stump. The pressure pushes him back a few feet until the log shoots into the turbine and out of sight! Suddenly the turbine spins into motion and the rest of the blockage is pushed through it thanks to the fast building current. A low hum emanating from the whitewash walls of the dam makes you aware of its reactivation. With the blades spinning into one white blur the butterflyfish sees this as her queue to leave, but that’s easier said than done as the current tugs at her like an invisible fishing hook. The moment of panic soon passes as he narrowly breaks free of the violent flow, but resurfaces almost immediately as a loud crack pierces through the air. This seems to jolt Volkner to his senses too as you both zoom in on the lumber dam were several logs had just broken off. One stump was ferrying a small Bidoof squealing in terror as the driftwood picked up speed. It would surely drown without your help, but with Stream a considerable distance away seems to spot a problem. Still looking bored he remains lay on Luxray as he flings one of his Pokéballs into the water. A Lanturn resurfaces with a dazzling summersault, making a cheerful clicking sound toward its master.
“Save the ‘doof”, he calls impassively. The dolphin nods and tails toward the Bidoof at mach speed. Intercepting the lumber before it could crash into the dam, the Lanturn presses its nose against it and starts to swim the Bidoof toward safety until- BZZZZZZZZ Your attention is drawn suddenly back toward the dam, sparks flying up and down the power lines feeding from it. Suddenly the structure releases a bolt of lightning into the air, making Storm kick his forelegs in bewilderment, inadvertently throwing you off. The lightning penetrates the cloudy sky which releases a drum of thunder in retaliation. Luxray leaps to its feet and roars toward the dam whilst Volkner - who’d been rested against the cat – swears as he bangs his head on the ground. Whilst the two electric types were acting bewildered Wildfire seemed immune to its effects. You look back toward the reservoir and Stream didn’t looked fazed either, but your confusion would have to wait for now as Lanturn had released the Bidoof in its nonplussed stupor sending it hurtling back toward a watery grave! What will you do?
Kaisap: Love was in the air above as you peered through the leafy canopy, the Hoothoot crooning affectionately in a lovesick trance. Both fighters were looking worse for wear; the owl’s feathers ruffled and singed as it hung feebly in the air whilst Kitty’s downy fur was mottled red peck marks. With a window of opportunity swung open you’re quick to take advantage of the bird’s incapacitated state, volleying what looked to be the last set of orders. Smiling just enough to show her pointy fangs, the kitten loosens her grip on the branch - her back curved and her tail raised high as she prepared to pounce. You strain your eyes with baited breath, the treetops rife with action as the Skitty suddenly springs from her position and made for Hoothoot! The feline Tackles into the bird sending them in a freefall through the leafy mesa. Kitty wrows as the owl hoots hysterically, the two pecking, scratching and swinging for each other as they hit every branch on the way down. It’d be fair to say that romance is dead as they crash land on a net of vines just a reach from your position. The Hoothoot balances lop-sidedly on one foot, hanging on by the skin of its teeth. With one dive forward it gouges Kitty’s eye with a Peck, the cat screeching in mangled pain and fury. Going in for the kill, the feline churns up another inferno which Incinerates the lattice of ivy as it parries toward the enemy. You watch on with a glint pride as the cat’s beady eyes flicker in the dancing flames, the ebbing cinders unveiling a KO’d Hoothoot. Level Up for Kitty!
The kitten paws at the unconscious owl like a ball of twine before stuffing it in her mouth. At a safe height she bounds light-footedly down to the forest floor, dropping the bird at your feet like a present... Gross! Before you can even summon the words for it a nervous gruff courtesy of the Donphan momma dashes your thoughts. There was a bewildered look in her darting eyes as she suddenly started pushing her babies into the woods with her tire-like snout. Your questions are quickly answered by a low ‘chopping’ sound prickling your ears. You strain for a better listen as the Donphan trumpets, rallying the parade of Phanpy further into the safety of the undercanopy. The noise was homing in, the watering hole completely deserted now aside from the thunder of the crashing cascade. Your heart starts to race as Kitty nuzzles between your legs, its head curiously following the growing ‘chopping’. Suddenly a harsh wind starts to blow down on your position, the gale blustering through the trees, their branches bending and foliage shedding. You look up through the opening in the canopy, spotting a jet black apache helicopter with a red R painted on its doors. Recognising the scarlet insignia as the sign of Team Rocket, you instinctively scoop up Kitty and dive out of the criminal’s line of sight. The chopping of the helicopter blades starts to move toward the lake which was now rippling in the blustering wind of the apache. From what you can see through the trees the doors had whooshed open to let loose a Wheezing which spiralled downward belching a thick Smokescreen over the fresh air. As the black haze carpeted the lake you catch one last glimpse of the Donphan bellowing and stomping its feet, it must have hung back to protect its babies! The billowing smoke quickly consumes the Donphan, forcing you to rely on your ears for what happens next. Two pairs of feet land on the bank, the elephant trumpets becoming muffled as it struggled into submission followed by a loud crash as it toppled over on its own weight.
“Tranquiliser darts loaded with Seviper venom”, a female voice states amidst the smokescreen.
“Nice”, the male voice replies, “Looks like this one’ll sell for a lot. Really long tusks”
“We’re not out of the woods yet Ted, wasn’t there a Ranger spotted in the vicinity?”
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Bundy. Our intel tells us he’s the worst ranger in the academy!”
The two guffaw as their voices lift off into the air, drowned out by the chopping of the helicopter setting course toward the waterfall. With the smoke starting to thin you manage to make out its spinning silhouette as it disappears over the cascade, Donphan in its mitts. You feel a sudden pang of guilt for not doing anything. It was over in such a flash that you didn’t have a chance, and if you didn’t act fast the Phanpy calfs would be left without a mother. Before you could even gather your racing thoughts and begin to formulate a rescue plan, your attention is dashed by the snapping of branches from behind. Suddenly a young man donning black overalls and a red ranger jacket breaks out of the forest, wheezing as he bends down to his legs to gather his breath. You take one look at the teen, beads of sweat trickling down his forehead and leaving a patch on his chest, his glasses askew and his combed hair looking windswept and ruffled. After a long minute of panting he raises his head, his green eyes locking on yours as he struggles to string together a sentence, “Have you se-se-seen a Team R-r-rocket helicopter? I-I-I’ve been following it for hours! My n-names Deadalus by the way” He says, outstretching a hand for you to shake before quickly deciding to comb the dark strands of hair out of his face instead. What will you do?