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Thread: Bridging Dimensions - by Cyn

  1. #1
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    Post Bridging Dimensions - by Cyn

    Bridging Dimensions
    By: Cyn

    Summary:
    Mark is just an ordinary guy, living on Earth. You know, the one where Pokémon is just a video game, nothing more. Or is it?

    One day an unexpected Eevee appears out of nowhere, throwing them both into a strange, new adventure together. What will become of them? Only time will tell...

    Rating: PG-13
    Chapters: 8
    Word Count: ~36k
    Last updated: April 27, 2013

    Story Notes:
    -Comments, feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated; can't improve if I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
    -Like, please review. I really want to become a better writer. Give me your worst (in a helpful way, of course).
    -Just as an FYI, this is a long-term project of mine. Updates might be a bit sporadic, but they will come.
    -I was rewriting parts of this story a few months ago and ran right into the post character limit, so I decided to just create a new thread when I finished the next chapter instead of struggling with the forum post formatting/splitting (other people revealing spoilers in between, etc). The old thread with out-of-date chapters here can be closed by a mod, if desired.

    Table of Contents
    Ch 01 - When One Door Closes, Another Opens
    Ch 02 - A New Friend
    Ch 03 - A Fiery Surprise
    Ch 04 - Out of the Blue
    Ch 05 - The Art of Battle (Part 1) (Part 2)
    Ch 06 - Lost and Found
    Ch 07 - A Dangerous Game
    Ch 08 - Seeking Answers

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

    Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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

    Chapter 1 - When One Door Closes, Another Opens

    Thin beams of sunlight filtered through the window blinds, illuminating my entire bedroom in a soft golden glow. I grunted semiconciously, slowly pulling the covers over my head in a halfhearted attempt to delay the inevitable. A sudden, always-too-cheerful melody blared in my ear, jarring me awake. Groaning, I groped around on my nightstand for the culprit and brought the tiny cell phone to my ear.

    “S’ who’s there?” I mumbled.

    “MARK! Why’re you still asleep? Dude, It’s already past eleven, wake up!”

    I slowly sat up, rubbing my eyes with my spare hand. Why did he always have so much energy? It was finally the summer and for me, by default that meant sleeping in.

    “Ok, Kevin, I’m up, I’m up. Why’re you calling me so early in the morning?” I grumbled.

    “You’re wasting away your summer! We should get out and DO something, now that school’s finally finished,” he explained, “We won’t have many more chances like this after I leave for work.”

    I grunted my acknowledgement. Although Kevin was my best friend, he still drove me crazy sometimes with his incessant need for activity. However, this time, he made a good point. He had scored a job at a construction company a few hours drive away and had to start in a few days. Our time together was limited, and it might be the last for a long time.

    “Fine, meet you in the park later. We can, uh, skateboard or somethin’. How’s two o’clock sound?”

    “Great, see you then, don’t be late!” With a click the line fell silent. Yawning, I lazily stood up, stretched my arms and started heading towards the bathroom to get ready for the day.

    By the way, my name’s Mark Wayson, 18 years old and a fresh high school graduate. Currently a very groggy graduate, with messier than usual dark brown hair. I managed to tidy up and shower and - now refreshed - cheerfully made my way downstairs for what was now lunch.

    As usual, the house was empty; my dad still off traveling for work. He was almost never home, usually away for months at a time. My only contact with him was the weekly check in the mail so I could buy food and pay bills. I never knew either of my parents well, since their unfortunate divorce when I was a little kid. Although by now I’ve pretty much gotten used to it; I was always the independent type.

    Shaking these thoughts out of my head, I managed to whip together a quick lunch. Ok, I admit it was a microwavable frozen dinner, but I didn’t care. I had never had a keen sense of taste.

    Satisfied and no longer starving, I threw on some sneakers and set out to find my car keys. My hometown was relatively small, with suburban streets everywhere. Although most places were within walking distance, about a mile or two, having a car made life immensely more convenient.

    - - -

    It was a beautiful afternoon, crystal clear skies and a slight breeze. The willows around the pond swayed in unison, the dangling branches creating ripples that travelled across the central pond. A concrete path lined with benches encircled the banks, commonly pedestrian traffic. All around, I could hear the sound of chirping birds, the rummaging of squirrels searching the grass and trees for food in this time of plenty.

    A perfect harmony to be broken by the terrible skateboarding duo.

    “Take off the elbow pads, you’ll get a ton more flexibility,” Kevin suggested, frustrated at how long it was taking me to don my gear. He was already up and idling in a circle, his blond hair streaming in the breeze.

    From my seat, I sighed. “Unlike you, I value my safety and health. You should at least wear a helmet, if not the pads.”

    He rolled his eyes, ignoring me, obviously not thinking about the consequences and living only in the moment. Kevin always had a sort of recklessness about him. You think he would have learned his lesson when he broke his collarbone last summer attempting a kickflip down a set of stairs, but I knew he never would.

    A few rounds of the pond later, we retired to the shade of an oak tree for a break. Off in the nearby open grass, we watched a golden retriever play fetch with its owner, not a care in the world. After a several minutes, Kevin spoke up again.

    “How come we never thought of adopting a dog? It’d be fun, and we could train it to grab sodas and stuff from the fridge.”

    Once again, I wondered how his mind kept coming up with these crazy ideas; does he think his thoughts through, or just vomit them out off the top of his head? We both knew he was habitually irresponsible with pets, and his parents were neat-freaks, having a dog enter his house was totally out of the question.

    “You mean a dog that I would end up taking care of all the time? And I have no interest in that kind of responsibility by myself,” I responded.

    He paused, mulling over my predicament, before caving in. “I guess so, but it’d totally be worth it... Interesting idea, anyways.”

    I laughed, “Most of your ideas are interesting, but just as unrealistic. You should at least anchor yourself to reality.”



    We hung out for the rest of the afternoon, at least five more crazy thoughts spewing from Kevin’s mind, before we were hungry and had to return home for dinner. Since I had a car, I ended up giving him a ride home. The short drive was silent, trees and houses whipping past the windows as I sped along the road. Clearing his throat, Kevin broke the lull.

    “I’m going to leave tomorrow afternoon.”

    I pulled to an abrupt stop outside his driveway. “What? I thought you weren’t leaving until next week!”

    He stepped out of the car, closed the door and leaned back through the open window.

    “That’s when I have to start; my parent’s don’t have any other free time to drive me there, so I have to leave tomorrow. But I’ll see you tomorrow right before I head off, I promise.” With a slight wave, he turned and trudged up to his front porch.

    - - -

    Dusk crept up into the sky, fading to navy blue as the sun descended behind the trees. I didn’t expect to have this little time, I lamented, quietly heading home in solitude. Sighing, I pulled up into the driveway, once again to an empty home. Only now, I felt more alone now than ever.

    Another microwave dinner later, I trooped upstairs to my room. A click, and the bright flicker of my desk lamp illuminated my desk in a soft yellow glow, but left the far corners of the room in deep shadow. I wouldn’t say my room was particularly messy, but I admit you could clearly tell a teenage guy lived here. Various objects I’d meant to put away were strewn haphazardly across the carpet: books that were no longer needed were stacked in a few piles, a heap of clothes lay in corner of the room.

    Sitting down and waking up my computer, I started browsing the web idly. Kevin was right about one thing, I thought, I’m definitely wasting away my summer. I needed something worthwhile to occupy my time.

    Suddenly, my screen blinked for a second. Hm. That’s unusual. Sputtering, it then blacked out completely.

    Frustrated, I slapped the side of the monitor, hoping it would help. Nada. A couple seconds later the lamp next to me also started flickering on and off. I warily stood up only to be plunged into pitch black darkness. The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end, as if static was building in the air. What’s going on? I wondered. The night was silent; there certainly wasn’t a thunderstorm outside, but what else could explain the power failure?

    As my eyes adjusted, I realized that the room was not completely dark; I could see my dim fuzzy shadow on the wall and desk in front of me, gradually solidifying against a faint glowing light. A low hum rung in my ear, getting louder until it became a crackling buzz emanating from behind me. I slowly turned around, and immediately fell back into my chair.

    There, building and expanding in the center of my bedroom floor, a spherical shell of translucent blue-violet plasma glistened in the darkness.

    About a foot in diameter and growing rapidly, its hazy surface danced with small arcs of electricity. A strong glow radiated from its center, eerily casting uneven shadows on the walls and floor as the light rippled and swirled around inside. Pulsating rhythmically, this... thing... steadily grew to about a meter and a half, before suddenly flaring with a blinding white light. Stumbling back, I shielded my eyes and braced for what, I didn’t know.

    As suddenly as it had developed, the sphere of energy dissipated, imploding and leaving behind only a few bright wisps of fading energy. The room was cast back into darkness, the only illumination the faint moonlight struggling to pass through the window blinds. Temporarily blinded, my vision slowly adjusted to the dimly lit room, and I noticed something small in the middle of the floor among the rest of my familiar junk. Was that there before?

    The desk lamp hummed before flickering back on, and I could finally see clearly the small eevee slowly stirring on the floor.

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    Last edited by Cyn; 28th April 2013 at 10:13 PM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  2. #2
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    Chapter 2 - A New Friend

    The eevee raised its head and, spotting me, quickly stumbled to its feet and, with a startled “Vee!”, darted beneath my bed.

    I was completely shocked; of course I knew what it was, everyone my age had grown up with the pokémon games, but no one in their right mind thought that they actually existed.

    I must be seeing things. There’s no way an eevee is in my room. I bent down on my knees just to be certain. Peering under the bed, I spotted the shadowy figure huddled in the corner. Slowly reaching my hand out I beckoned, and was met with a fierce growl and bared teeth.

    Nope, not imagining that. What to do, what to do... The poor thing was scared out of its mind; there had to be some way to calm it down. What does everyone always do to calm down a small, scared wild animal?

    Food. Always food.

    I hurried downstairs to the kitchen, fumbling around in the dark for the light switch, before throwing it on. Opening the fridge, I wondered what kind of food might pacify it. Berries, of course! Quickly nabbing some ripe strawberries and a small plate, I closed everything and headed back up the stairs.

    “Come on out now, I’m not going to hurt you,” I cooed, placing a berry on the saucer and sliding it towards the crevice. I sat down cross-legged on the floor a good couple feet away and waited.

    Movement; a small dark nose peeked out of the shadow, sniffing the sweet fragrance. With baited breath, I watched as the creature cautiously poked its head out of its sanctuary, revealing coffee-tinted fur, followed by a bushy beige collar.

    “Veee...”

    Pointy ears laid back, its narrowed brown eyes focused on me, sizing up the potential risk.

    “I won’t hurt you, go ahead and have some food.” I tried my best to sit still, avoiding any sudden movements and smiled as warmly as possible. Seconds passed without either of us moving a muscle, just staring at each other.

    Apparently satisfied, its eyes now darted to the ripe strawberry. Scampering out, it began gobbling up the small fruit, large bushy tail wagging energetically. A beady eye was still trained on me, no longer frightened but still a little bit wary. However, it seemed curiosity was starting to overcome its unease. I shifted my legs to a more comfy position, and its diamond ears perked up at the noise.

    I wonder how an eevee even exists, let alone how it got into my house. I looked at the bare patch of carpet where eevee originally appeared and noticed for the first time a small electronic device that lay there. Reaching over, I cautiously picked it up.

    It looked sort of like a stopwatch, with what could be a small display screen in the center. No visible buttons adorned the front or sides; the only break in the black casing were small silver letters etched below the screen, ODT. No clue what this thing is, although it probably had to do with little eevee over there, I pondered.

    Within a minute the last remnants of the berry vanished, and eevee, licking its lips, was busy sniffing the air again.

    “All right, you can have another one.” I offered the second strawberry in the palm of my hand. Eevee glanced at my welcoming face before accepting it, lying down in front of me to devour it.

    Already so friendly, and we just met. I reached out slowly to pet it, and paused, waiting for a sign of approval, lest I quickly lose a finger. Eevee noticed my movement, and with a quick flick of its head, continued eating the fruit. Relieved, I slowly started petting it on the back, brushing my hands through the silky smooth fur.

    “Now let’s see, are you a boy or girl?” I moved lower, and started tickling it on the stomach. Rolling over involuntarily, Eevee giggled a muffled “Vee-hee-hee!” and continued to squirm helplessly on the ground. I could see clearly now, as she lay on her back, bouncing the half-berry on her little pink forepaws, still nibbling.

    A girl then. “What are you doing here, little one?” I muttered to myself, slowly scratching behind her ear as she crammed the last bit of food into her tiny jaws.

    Now calm and fully inquisitive, she flipped over and started exploring the room, starting with the messy half. Heh, there were probably a lot of interesting scents around for her acute sense of smell.

    “Well, I think you need a name. It doesn’t seem right to call you ‘Eevee’ all the time.”

    She stopped and turned to look at me, clearly interested in my proposition. “Vee,” she agreed, before continuing to wander.

    I sat there, pondering various names for a minute or two, as eevee cavorted her way around the bedroom, snaking around all the junk on the floor. As she attempted to reach the second shelf of the bookcase, I cleared my throat.

    “Okay, how do you like the name ‘Mira’?” I posed. She paused, reflecting briefly on my suggestion, before nodding with a quick “Eevee!” and bounded into my lap.

    I smiled, patting her on the head. “Mira it is, then.”

    I quickly got ready for bed, as it was already pretty late. Something like this, I should definitely tell Kevin about, I thought. I picked up my cell phone for a second, before placing it back down on the desk. He’s probably asleep by now, and besides, I can tell him all about this tomorrow.

    Carefully laying out some extra towels and blankets, I molded a small makeshift bed for Mira, who immediately dove right in to find the coziest spot. Yawning, she curled up into a small ball, melding with the blankets, looking absolutely adorable. Smiling, I tidied up, putting the strange ODT device on the desk next to the phone.

    Reclining in bed, I whispered, “Good night, Mira,” before switching off the light.

    - - -

    I was jolted awake by a large crash echoing through the house. Sunlight streamed through the window, illuminating the pile of linens I had prepared for Mira, but as my eyes scanned the room, she was nowhere to be found.

    Jumping out of bed, I glided downstairs to the source of the cacophony. Stumbling into the kitchen, it at first appeared that a small tornado had torn through the room; pots and pans that had been lined up neatly to dry were scattered across the countertops, while boxes of cereal lay on the floor, contents spilling out. The fridge door was slightly ajar, light casting faint shadows in the broad daylight.

    A blur of brown fluff attacked me from the side, and I was knocked back onto the stairs, only to find myself face to face with a grinning smile. Licking her blue-stained lips, Eevee jumped off me.

    “I see you found breakfast.” I sighed. She trotted back to her small box of blueberries, wearing smug expression on her face. Closing the fridge door, I began clearing the excessive mess and preparing breakfast for myself.



    Now satiated, I retrieved the mysterious device from my desk to examine it more carefully in the sunlight. I noticed now that a small green LED blinked periodically near the upper corner. Feeling around for any hidden buttons, my fingers brushed against a small indent on the front.

    Suddenly, the device started glowing, before shooting out a bunch of glowing green holographic planes. Floating in midair above the device, they formed a sort of menu interface.

    Woah, awesome! Holographic interface. The geeky part inside me was giddy with fascination, as I sat down on the floor and started poking at the floating buttons. I started navigating my way through the icons and menus, looking for some sort of help manual.

    A sharp creak behind me; I turned around to see Mira leaping towards me from the top of the bookcase, crying a triumphant, “Eevee!”. As she sailed through the hologram, I caught her safely in my arms. Giggling, she gave my cheek a playful lick. I patted her softly on the head then turned my attention back to the device.

    The floating interface had suddenly disappeared, to be replaced by a flashing red light on the front. The flashing began speeding up and a rumbling whine resonated from it, growing in intensity like a car engine reving up to speed.

    Uh oh.

    Suddenly, glimmering strands of blue light materialized around us, dancing in an intricate pattern. Before I could react, it rapidly solidified into a dense impenetrable web surrounding the two of us.

    “Eee Vee!” Mira ducked her head into my arms, quivering in alarm. Hugging her close, I closed my eyes before being engulfed by a brilliant flash.


    Author’s Note:
    My understanding is the name 'Mira' has two accepted pronounciations. In my mind, Mira is pronounced like 'Meera', not 'Myra'.

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    Last edited by Cyn; 18th November 2012 at 9:15 PM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  3. #3
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    I know you wanted crit, but I have none whatsoever. Every basic writing rule has been followed to the letter. You transition easily from the entirely human world to Eevee in the human world to who knows where. This device seems to have its own agenda... My only concern is that Eevee warmed up too quickly to Mark.
    Hope for more good chappies!
    Last edited by Darkened_Kingdra; 18th November 2012 at 5:11 PM. Reason: I had a watermelon up my nose.
    Formerly Grav.
    Quite inactive, but still available. If you have a fanfic that no one wants to review, PM/VM me and I'll give you a hand.

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    Chapter 3 - A Fiery Surprise

    I awoke to a forceful nudge to my head. As I stirred, I was suddenly greeted by a sloppy wet lick on my face. My eyes slowly opened, and I found myself face to face with a grinning Mira. Grunting, I sat up off the ground.

    “Eevee!” Mira jumped off me, wagged her tail, glad that I was awake.

    “Ugh, what happened?” It felt like my body was slightly sore all over.

    Looking around at my surroundings, I was shocked to find myself in a dense forest. The canopy towered overhead, shafts of light glistened down and illuminated disjoint patches of dirt and grass. It looked as if this forest was well aged, with tendrils of ivy climbing up the many tree trunks, vying for the faintest beams of sunlight. The refreshing smell of moss and trees permeated the crisp air, not a trace of pollution. I found myself sitting in some kind of small clearing, surrounded by thick foliage. I’m definitely not in Kansas anymore.

    I struggled to my feet. It had to be that strange device! I noticed that I was still holding the ODT device; however, it appeared to be inactive. No matter how much I prodded or fumbled around with it, the high-tech display remained inert.

    Oh well, I guess I might as well try to find my way out of this mess. There were no visible paths out of the clearing, just uninhabited wilderness. I bent down to Mira, who was busy chasing her tail around in a circle.

    “Do you know where we are?” I asked. Her ears perked up, and she looked around briefly, before slowly nodding at me. Mira bounded off into the shrubbery, before calling back, “Eevee!”, expecting me to follow. She apparently knew where to go, and I had no better idea than to follow.

    Trampling through bushes and clambering over rocks, we slowly trudged through the overgrown forest. It seemed to me like we were wandering around in circles, although Mira led forward with a bold confidence, bounding in and out of tree roots and through bushes as easily as a fish in water. I tried my best to keep up, but she still had to wait periodically for me to navigate the thick terrain.



    Soon we reached another small clearing, a little larger than the first. “Eeveeeee!” Calling out her name, Mira ventured forward. Glad to be out of those damned woods, I followed her out, hoping for a small break to catch my breath.

    “Quil!”

    The bushes on the far side rustled slightly then exploded in a cloud of thick, black smoke, enveloping the two of us. Coughing, I fell to my knees, trying to find clearer air.

    “Quil! Cynda!”

    I could hear a fierce cry from what I assumed to be our unknown assailant. The smoke slowly cleared, revealing a small creature in the clearing. Its dark blue fur covered most of its short stubby body, changing to tan on its belly. A few large red spots glowed dimly on its back. Wisps of smoke dribbled from its mouth as it menacingly stared at me.

    I can’t believe it, a Cyndaquil! Which means... It suddenly dawned on me: this must be the Pokémon world! The ODT device must have somehow transported both of us to Mira’s native realm.

    “Cynda-quil!” It reared on its hind legs, before charging towards me. Surprised, I didn’t have enough time to react before it tackled me square in the stomach, bouncing back acrobatically and landing on its feet. Gasping for breath, I fell backwards into the dirt.

    “Vee!”

    I lifted my head to see Mira jump into the fray, knocking the cyndaquil lightly to the floor. “Ee Eevee!” she yelled angrily.

    “Quil?” The cyndaquil stopped struggling for a second, as if recognizing something. Glancing around, its eyes fell on Mira, and a look of shock spread across its face. It excitedly tackled Mira, both of them rolling on the ground. “Da-quil!”

    “Eevee vee!”

    The two wrestled around playfully; clearly, they must have known each other. Somewhat relieved and a little bruised, I carefully stood up and brushed myself off. “Mira, is this cyndaquil your friend?” I inquired. The two stopped playing, and the cyndaquil reverted to a cautious stance one it remembered I was still there.

    “Eevee!” Mira nodded and bounded back over to me. Cyndaquil tensed noticeably at this and reverted back to his battle stance, warily keeping its eyes on mine.

    “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. I’m a friend of Mira over here” I bent down and gestured to Mira, who gave a reassuring smile before jumping into my arms and giving my face a lick.

    “Cyn!” Cyndaquil crept towards us slowly, stopping a couple of feet away. It looked torn deciding whether to trust me or not. I carefully placed Mira down, and turned to Cyndaquil, who immediately relaxed. After a moment of thought, it looked up at me smiling, and gleefully blew a noxious puff of smoke into my face. “Cyndaquil!”

    “Arg, Ack!” I descended into another fit of coughing, falling on my back a second time. I could hear Cyndaquil laughing hysterically as I cleared my lungs. It bounded up to my fallen form and sat directly on top of my chest, grinning triumphantly.

    “Feisty little guy, huh.” I indignantly sat up, making Cyndaquil lose his balance, and he fell down on his back. I glanced over at Mira who was sitting quietly on the sidelines, obviously amused at our antics.

    Turning to them both, I said, “I never introduced myself properly; my name’s Mark.” They smiled at me curiously before bounding off around the clearing, chasing each other playfully. I could hear them bantering back and forth, but naturally, I had no clue what they were saying. Sitting down against a tree, I decided to take a closer look at the ODT device; perhaps I could figure out how to get back home.

    Fishing it out of my pocket, I saw the normal green LED blinking in the corner. It’s active again! At a single touch, the main display popped back in the air. I carefully browsed around and finally discovered a sort of help manual.

    - - - - - - -
    Omni-Dimensional Transporter

    (Summary)
    The Omni-Dimensional Transporter (ODT) is a teleportation device that enables macroscopic objects to quantum-tunnel from one dimensional point to another.

    (Usage)
    To initiate travel, select the desired location then press ‘Activate’. The ODT must recharge after each use, usually taking anywhere up to several hours, but can vary depending on the distance travelled. Each departure and destination point is recorded in memory, for quick access.

    Technology by Origin Labs™. All Rights Reserved.
    - - - - - - -


    So it IS a teleporter, I mused. Looking through the history log, I found the last departure location, supposedly my bedroom on Earth. Excited, I immediately tried activating it, only to find the message [Recharging]. I guess I just have to wait a while longer. Relaxing, I leaned back in the shade, watching the two pokémon dance around the beams of sunlight illuminating the clearing.


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


    I left the human, Mark, behind in the shade, and chased Cyndaquil around. I was so happy to be back home; finding myself suddenly in a strange place was pretty scary, but thank goodness everything turned out okay. I made a brand new friend, not to mention eating those sweet berries.

    “It’s so great to see you again! I thought you were gone forever after you disappeared yesterday!” Cyndaquil exclaimed, darting back and forth as I gave pursuit. Cyndaquil was my best friend; we had known each other our entire lives, growing up together in this forest. We would often leave our home area and explore the surrounding valley region, mostly due to my unending curiosity. He always claimed to enjoy seeing the new sights, but I think he went along just to make sure I was safe, and to get some new battle experience whenever we encountered trouble. I think it was sweet, him being protective over me, but I thought it a bit rash even for him to attack Mark unprovoked. I mean, how do you make new friends if you always attack first?

    “So how come he calls you ‘Mira’?” Cyndaquil posed to me, dancing just out of reach. Although he was a bit faster than me, I happened to be more agile, nearly pouncing on him whenever he slowed down to turn. Frustrated, I slowed to a stop, catching my breath.

    “It’s a name Mark came up with when I first met him yesterday,” I explained. “I like the name, so I think I’ll keep it.” Cyndaquil circled back, playfully nipping at my tail as I dodged out of his grasp. “If he’s going to refer to us by names, I hope it fits me properly,” he commented, “No way I’m going by any dumb name.”

    We rolled around in the grass for a few minutes, before Cyndaquil finally emerged from our scuffle, victorious. Exhausted, we adjourned to the quiet shade. I noticed Mark still sitting against a tree, staring intently at that glowing black stone he had.

    Cyndaquil stared at Mark for a while, then spoke, “I’m surprised you’re so friendly towards him. Weren’t we always told to never blindly trust humans?”

    “I tell you, he’s not like all the other humans we’ve seen or heard about; he’s actually really nice and caring,” I defended. Staring off into the sky, I continued, “You know I’ve always dreamed of exploring the world with a good trainer, and this might be the only chance I get.”


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


    I watched the two play for a bit, gamboling around before taking a rest in the shade nearby. They appeared to be close friends, with all their childish antics. Although I wondered, if this was Mira’s home, why lead me to it? It couldn’t be that Pokémon were innately friendly; Cyndaquil’s impulsive ambush precluded that. Regardless, I need to find my way out of this forest, find some people, figure out how I got in this mess. Rising, I walked over to the two. Mira happily bounded over to greet me, but Cyndaquil still seemed guarded, not budging from his spot. I guess he needed more time than Mira to warm up to me.

    “Okay, you two, here’s the deal. I need to find my way back to civilization, and I was wondering if you wanted to tag along with me?” At these words, Mira’s face visibly lit up. Crying out, “Eevee!!” she leaped onto me, crawling up my arm and settling on my shoulder.

    I reached my hand out to Cyndaquil, in an inviting gesture. “How about you?” I offered, hoping he was feeling friendly. Cyndaquil looked from me, to Mira, to my extended hand. “Cyndaquil?” he inquired, to which Mira replied in a firm tone, “Vee.” Sighing, Cyndaquil reluctantly stood up and nodded.

    “Great! Now, do either of you know which direction to go?” I asked embarrassingly. Cyndaquil chuckled to himself, before taking the lead and showing all three of us out into the forest.

    - - -

    The canopy gradually opened up, sunlight peeking through the cracks as we walked, the trees and bushes thinning to smaller clumps, replaced by grass. I could see for dozens of meters through the undergrowth, as opposed to in the heart of the valley, where my vision was clipped at a dozen feet. As we walked onward, the silence gave way to the calls of other pokémon: pidgey screeching from the branches, or the scampering of rattata hiding in the bushes. With the more manageable terrain, the forest started coming to life.

    A few creeks crossed our path, the rocky landscape cutting a scar across the woodlands. Gathered at the water were some of the larger forest inhabitants, like furret and stantler, having a refreshing drink. We, too, stopped for a snack and a drink, finding plenty of ripe berries growing on the trees; it appeared that the sweet fruit grew in great abundance in the forest. The water surged in energetic rapids, carving out the valley we now travelled through, and so we followed it onward, hugging the banks and being careful not to fall in.

    As the sun settled into mid-afternoon, we finally stumbled upon a well-worn dirt trail. Grassy banks lined the sides, obviously cut through on purpose by human activity.

    “All right, I think we made it out of there! Not long now before we find a town or city.”

    With renewed vigor, I set out at a brisk pace, itching to find some answers as to where I was exactly. Mira rode atop my head, sprawled lazily over my hair, admiring the change of scenery. Cyndaquil on the other hand, ambled back and forth across the path, examining the scents wafting in the air. Enjoying the fresh air, I struck up some conversation as we walked.

    “So, Cynadquil, do you want a name as well?” He glanced in my direction, before shrugging his shoulders and continuing to explore the grass on the side of the route. Thinking back, I remembered how confident Cyndaquil had been to attack me, even without the use of fire; he’d be quite a proficient fighter once he evolved. Determined and powerful, he seemed to have followed me just to be with Mira, an admirable friendship.

    “Hmm... What about the name ‘Pyro’?” Cyndaquil considered it for a moment, trying to decide if he liked it enough. “I think it fits your skill and abilities quite nicely,” I added.

    “Quil!” Agreeing, his back burners ignited as he puffed out a slender flame, causing a small clump of grass to shrivel up in charred embers.

    “Welcome to the team, Pyro.” Grinning widely, Pyro marched down the path, Mira and I at his heels.

    - - -

    Shadows lengthened and late afternoon approached as the sun slowly traced its arc across the sky. The trees around the path thinned as we rounded the top of a hill, affording us our first glimpse of a large, sprawling town below. “C’mon, race you both down the hill!” I urged, dashing forward with renewed vigor, Pyro and Mira hot on my heels.

    As we passed into the outskirts of town, the dirt route gave way to larger paved streets. I noticed there were quite a few trainers among the pedestrians, some of which were accompanied by their pokémon. Smaller types like pikachu and skitty were common, playing with their trainers and each other in yards and around storefronts. The few large species we saw were exceptionally fearsome; one glare from a tyranitar we passed, and Mira shrieked, scampering to hide behind me and Pyro.

    As we approached the center of town, we discovered a medium-sized park filled with thickets of small trees and open grass. The trainers were more numerous here, with both people and pokémon enjoying the sunshine. We entered the gate and I immediately noticed the large building in the center, with its distinctive red roof and pokéball logo.

    “Aha! A pokémon center. Just what I was looking for,” I exclaimed, making a beeline for the front doors.

    Mira and Pyro hung close behind me as we stepped into the spacious lobby. Sunlight streamed from a skylight, illuminating the many plants that lined the waiting benches. Being what I assumed to be a medium-sized town, I was surprised at how many trainers there were, milling around, many with their smaller pokémon out of their balls, interacting and playing with each other while their trainers waited.

    “Stay close, you two. The last thing we need is for some random trainer to try and catch you,” I warned, walking up to the front counter. Surprisingly, the nurse at the counter wasn’t Nurse Joy; her long blond hair was tied back in a knot as she casually typed away at a computer.

    “Welcome, how can I assist you?” the young woman asked, looking up at me with a wide smile.

    “This might sound like a strange question, but I was wondering if you could tell me where I am, and if there’s a pokémon laboratory near here.” I was still a little cautious about just flaunting the ODT device around, since I didn’t even know fully what I was dealing with. I figured the local professor, if he existed, would be able to answer my questions and help me out.

    “Not at all, we get travellers passing through here all the time.” Reaching down, she pulled out a guidebook from under the counter and opened it up to reveal a map of the region.

    “We’re here, at the base of these mountains.” She pointed to a small dot, next to some squiggly contours. “The nearest laboratory is a few dozen miles along the range.” She traced out the route on the map with her finger, before noticing Mira and Pyro as they struggled to climb up onto the counter. Mira finally managed to clamber up, turning around a few times and jumping unexpectedly onto my shoulder. I patted her softly on the head, and she purred softly in response.

    The nurse smiled. “Although, if you just want to register for a trainer’s license without a starter pokémon, you can do that here,” she added.

    I was intrigued at this possibility; I had intended to get answers as fast as possible, but becoming a trainer in the process hadn’t crossed my mind. It probably would be safer for Mira and Pyro if we were travelling through populated areas for a while. I would still need to visit the laboratory anyways, but I might as well be prepared for anything.

    “That would be awesome, I’ll register now then.”

    Grinning, she pulled out a huge stack of paperwork. “Begin here.”



    It took about an hour to finish the registration, and I was presented with a shiny red pokédex, six pokéballs, and a nice starter stipend. Apparently the League, wanting to draw as many new trainers as possible, decided to promote the sport with an incentive; all the better for me, as I didn’t have any money from this world. We booked a free room at the center for the evening, and Mira immediately jumped around playfully in the fluffy bed. Pyro on the other hand quickly settled down for the night, finding a cozy warm spot near the radiator.

    After we all settled down and relaxed for awhile, I called the two of them over and explained that I wanted to tag them with a pokéball so they wouldn’t be captured by other trainers, that I’d keep them out whenever they wanted. Both hesitantly agreed and timidly nudged the activators on two of my pokéballs, disappearing in a shimmer of red light. Releasing them again, I stowed the balls away on my belt before sitting down on the bed to take another look at the ODT device.

    The display illuminated as expected, only this time a blinking green indicator in the corner of the interface indicated a full recharge.

    This was it, I could finally go back home! Standing up excitedly, I was about to speak out before I noticed Pyro peacefully resting at the foot of the bed, and Mira just starting to settle down on one of the pillows. I guess one night wouldn’t do any harm. I’d hate to leave now after settling in and everything. Sighing, I quietly clambered onto the other side of the bed. Patting Mira softly between her ears, I turned out the lights.

    “Goodnight, you two.”

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    Last edited by Cyn; 19th November 2012 at 12:28 AM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  5. #5
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    Love it . Cynquindail had to show up didn't it. I am here and you can talk to me! I won't bite !
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    Quite inactive, but still available. If you have a fanfic that no one wants to review, PM/VM me and I'll give you a hand.

  6. #6
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    Chapter 4 - Out of the Blue

    A hint of golden sunlight peeked through a crack in the window shades, lighting the entire room in a deep shade of orange. I awoke just after dawn, sitting up and looking around in a moment of confusion before remembering where I was. Beside me, Mira lay curled up in a ball of fur, breathing in a peaceful rhythm. Sleeping next to her was Pyro, apparently having moved up onto the bed during the night, warmth radiating out from the glowing splotches on his back.

    I quietly climbed out of bed, trying not to disturb their peaceful slumber, albeit unsuccessfully. Pyro stirred slightly, opening one eye and noticing my departure, raised his head. I motioned to my lips for silence.

    “Shhh, I’m gonna get cleaned up, then we can all have breakfast.” Nodding, he slowly stretched out his legs, being careful not to wake Mira as I entered the adjoining bathroom.

    By the time I was ready, Mira and Pyro were fully awake, sitting on the windowsill and gazing out at the surrounding park. From the second floor, I could just make out a few buildings at the border to downtown, peeking through the dense canopy; you could probably consider the park more of a well-tended woodland than an urban green. Now well into morning, the sun shone brightly, just a few fluffy clouds visible in the azure sky.

    “You two ready for breakfast?”

    Crying out in enthusiasm, they jumped down from the sill and followed me out of the room.



    Interestingly, the pokémon center was not only a hospital, but also contained everything a trainer would conceivably need: a convenience store for supplies, a small café, even free rooms and food for any registered trainer. Starving, we passed through the sparsely populated lobby and headed straight for the café; I’d buy supplies after we ate. It wasn’t a hugely impressive establishment, only a dozen small tables and booths with minimal decoration, but it served its purpose keeping trainers and their pokémon fed. The breakfast rush almost filled the place, with most of the tables bustling with other trainers and their partners.

    After looking over the menu, I ordered some pancakes, and some pokémon food specialized for normal and fire-types. It appeared that regular pokémon food consisted of the generic granular ‘kibble’, although the higher-quality entrées looked almost tasty enough for a human to eat. Both Mira and Pyro seemed excited, bounding around the small booth, gazing at the other people and pokémon, mouths watering at the heaping bowls of food.

    I tried to catch their attention. “After breakfast, I want to try to travel back to my home. Do you both want to go with me?” Mira immediately nodded her head vigorously, while Pyro wore an indifferent expression; he probably agreed reluctantly, if only to accompany Mira.

    “Aw, don’t be shy, it’ll be an adventure!” I patted Pyro on the head and he glumly smiled. While we waited for our food, I quietly browsed the pokédex, watching them caper around in their seat out of the corner of my eye. I thought it would be a good idea to learn as much as I could about this world, starting with the pokémon.

    Eevee, the Evolution Pokémon
    Height: 0'11.8"
    Weight: 14.3 lb

    Eevee is able to adapt to a variety of environments, due to its unique ability to evolve to one of seven forms. Because of its rarity, Eevee living in populated areas are quickly captured; consequently, wild Eevee are only found in remote places uninhabited by humans.

    Like other pokémon that use elemental stones to evolve, some of Eevee’s evolution paths can only be triggered by exposure to the corresponding elemental stone. However, like any normal evolution, the process is still completely voluntary and can be resisted if the change is undesirable.


    Cyndaquil, the Fire Mouse Pokémon
    Height: 1'7.7"
    Weight: 17.4 lb

    Native to forests and grasslands, Cyndaquil is a good choice for starting trainers. Cyndaquil’s mood and strength can be judged by the amount of heat, or size of flames, on its back.

    Usually very shy, Cyndaquil usually become much more active and adventurous once they evolve. Until becoming proficient with fire, a Cyndaquil can rely on the flames on its back for protection.


    Our food finally arrived, a heaping plate of pancakes for me, and two medium-sized bowls of pokémon food. Mira and Pyro immediately began devouring their meal, almost finishing the breakfast within a few minutes. I smiled, watching them put it all away with gusto.

    “Kip!”

    A voice rang out, and all three of us looked down at the source next to our table. Reared up on the seat was a small adorable blue fish-like pokémon, its head fin and tail wagging as it smiled at us. “Mudkip!”

    Mira and Pyro looked expectantly back at me, lagging behind with breakfast only half-finished. “Go on and play, just don’t wander too far,” I responded, mouth half full. Grinning, the three bounded out of the café and off into the lobby. I wasn’t worried; the mudkip probably had a trainer nearby, being in a pokécenter and all. They’d all be under watchful eyes the whole time.

    I leisurely took my time eating, playing with the ODT’s settings under the table. As high tech as everything in this world was, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself with this unknown device. Eventually, I finished my meal and stepped out into the lobby. To satiate my curiosity and desire to prepare for anything, I decided to stop by the mart for a quick peek. I wonder what kind of pokémon supplies they have?

    Rows of shelves were packed full of merchandise: a broad selection of healing supplies, dozens of brands of pokémon food, even camping and trainer necessities, I didn’t know where to start. Not knowing what I’d be in for, I used up a good portion of my starting cash for some healing medicines, a few bags of pokémon food, and a nice-looking dark green backpack to carry everything.

    I ignored for now the assortment of training and battle gear; there was no need for that sort of stuff at the moment, not before I figured out what I was going to do. Curiosity now satisfied, I stepped back into the lobby and looked around for Mira and Pyro.

    Strange, I didn’t see them anywhere in the lobby. Glancing around, nothing seemed out of place, just a few random trainers milling about. Circling the lobby a couple times to make sure, I apprehensively approached the nurse at the counter.

    “Excuse me, have you seen an Eevee and a Cyndaquil around here?”

    She thought for a second, before a gleam of recollection sparked in her eyes. “Oh, those two and a mudkip. I saw them venture outside not too long ago,” gesturing to the front entrance’s sliding glass doors, “Quite a rambunctious trio, they couldn’t have gotten too far.” Thanking her, I meandered outside, calling out for Mira and Pyro.

    After a few minutes of searching, still no answer. Where could they have gone? Now concerned, I turned to head back inside, and was interrupted by a distant outcry.

    “Veee!”

    I turned in the direction of the sound, the woods bordering the main path. Soon after, a dark plume of smoke began rising from behind the trees. That has to be them! I raced into the woods, brushing aside branches and foliage, travelling maybe a hundred feet before stumbling upon a small grassy clearing.

    Before me stood Pyro, dark wisps of smoke dribbling from his mouth, facing off in battle against the previously-friendly mudkip. Behind them stood a hooded individual, clad in navy-blue, directing the skirmish. Panting heavily, it was clear that Pyro was losing this battle, being at a type disadvantage. But why didn’t he just run back to the center?

    I peered around the clearing and noticed a small metal cage beside the mysterious trainer, which contained... Mira!

    The hooded trainer pointed at Pyro. “Douse it again! Water Gun!”

    The blue mud fish smirked as it darted forward, closing in on Pyro before blasting him with a powerful jet of water at point-blank range. Pyro sailed through the air and painfully slammed against a tree. He needed my help, badly.

    Quickly, I called out, “Pyro, tackle the trainer and break open the cage!”

    Pyro struggled back to his feet, looking around in surprise for my voice. Recognizing me at the treeline, he nodded, exclaiming, “Cynda!” before barreling towards the cage, mudkip in hot pursuit. Just as he had done to me, Pyro slammed into the trainer’s chest, knocking him to the ground. Leaping up in the air to dodge another spout of water, he slammed back down onto the cage, denting the roof and dislodging several metal bars from the frame. He stood up on his hind legs and gave a triumphant victory pose. It didn’t last long though, as the mudkip took the opportunity to tackle Pyro to the ground.

    “Eevee!” Mira scampered out and ran to my open arms, narrowly escaping hands of the recovering trainer. The man scowled at me, clearly vexed. “Meddlesome little... Mudkip! Use Mud Bomb!”

    Grinning mischievously, the tiny mudkip summoned a large, dense sphere of mud, and hurled it straight at Pyro. With a loud crack, it collided with Pyro in the chest before exploding in a huge cascade of soggy earth. Crying out in pain, Pyro flew back and landed head-first in the dirt, knocked unconscious.

    “No! Pyro!” I tried to rush over to him, but was immediately obstructed by a torrent of water.

    The cloaked trainer laughed. “That’ll teach you not to mess with Team Origin’s plans. Now hand over that Eevee, or the Cyndaquil is finished!” The mudkip smirked at us and readied its stance, waiting for the command. Mira buried her head into my arms, tears welling up in her eyes, refusing to witness whatever would happen next.

    Thinking fast, I sized up my options. This guy meant business; I knew he wasn’t going to hold back, not after we attacked him directly like that. We were standing in the middle of the clearing, so I couldn’t return Pyro and make it to the treeline before getting nailed by an attack, and I certainly couldn’t give up on Mira or Pyro. That left... my only other means of escape. The ODT. Might as well be now or never.

    I swiftly pulled out the ODT and Pyro’s pokéball, activating both. Pyro glowed and dematerialized in a beam of red light, withdrawing to the ball just as the familiar cage of vivid blue light developed.

    “What the... Mudkip, attack!” The blue pokémon planted its feet firmly, and fired another mud bomb towards me; however, I was expecting the retaliation, and dropped to the ground. The attacked sailed harmlessly over my head and through the solidifying light I could see the mudkip charge directly at us. I held Mira close and the woods faded from sight as the flaring white light enveloped us both.



    This time I managed to stay conscious, my eyes adjusting to the dimmer environment. As I expected, I found myself on my bedroom floor and I immediately scrambled to my feet.

    Okay, alive, check, location, check. Mira? I looked down to see the eevee shuddering in my arms, clearly shaken by her experience. Safe, check. There was one more.... Pyro! I quickly pulled some of the medicine from my bag, and kneeling down on the floor and released Pyro from his ball. Reappearing, he groaned softly in pain, barely regaining consciousness.

    I carefully applied the medicinal spray before retrieving a first aid kit from a cabinet and gently wrapping his side and legs with clean bandages. Mira hovered around us as I worked, nervously pacing back and forth. Although I only saw a bunch of bruises, I couldn’t tell if there were any serious internal injuries; the potions would probably only heal superficial wounds and extremely minor fractures. I did the best I could, finally placing Pyro on some soft linens so he could rest up. A pulse of warmth radiated weakly from his back; at least that was a reassuring sign.

    “There, that’s all I can do for now.” I turned to Mira, who jumped up into my arms, still trembling. “He’ll be all right. Are you hurt at all?”

    She managed to shake her head, before burying it in my shirt, tears starting to stream forth. I tried to calm her down, softly stroking through the silky brown fur on her back. “Everything’s gonna be fine, I won’t let anyone lock you up ever again.”

    After a few minutes, Mira finally calmed down enough that I could put her down; she immediately settled down beside the resting Pyro, waiting like a sentinel for him to awaken.



    I left the two in my room, stepping out for a moment to compose my thoughts. An entire parallel world, where pokémon were real! It seemed right out of a dream, let alone reality. I have to tell someone about this... Kevin! I had completely forgot about my long-time friend, being caught up with Mira’s appearance, and now Pyro’s condition. I pulled out my cell phone, only to notice a long queue of texts and missed calls, all from his number.

    15:45 - “Hey, where are you? I’m at your place, but you’re not there. Gotta leave soon, msg me back”
    16:07 - “Can’t wait around for you any longer, call you when I arrive”
    22:36 - “What happened to you? You haven’t picked up for hours”
    07:43 - “You always answer my texts, starting to get worried. Call me back already”


    Aw man. I’d missed Kevin’s departure, and wouldn’t see him in person for quite a while. I immediately dialed my buddy’s number, the phone ringing barely once before picking up.

    “FINALLY! Now tell me, what happened to you? There’s no way in hell you’d normally skip out on me like that.”

    “You wouldn’t believe me, even if I told you.”

    “Nothing you say is ever unbelievable. Try me.”

    I sighed to myself. How to explain this properly? I cleared my throat, “I just discovered that Pokémon are real, they actually exist.”

    A pause on the other end. “Very funny. No, seriously, tell me what happened.”

    “I’m telling the truth! I said you wouldn’t believe me.”

    I heard Kevin sigh in frustration on the other end. “Look, if you don’t want to talk about it, I understand, just say so, but don’t make stuff up like that.” A short pause, then, “At least keep me in the loop next time, I was really worried when you disappeared off the face of the earth.”

    “Because I was inadvertently teleported to the pokémon world. Right, I’ll remember that next time.” I replied sarcastically.

    “You do realize you sound completely crazy, right?” A few voices called out in the background of the call. “I gotta go, call me back when you can spout common sense again.”

    “But I am-.... Fine, you just wait, I’ll prove it next time I see you.”

    “Of course you will. Okay, bye.”

    I hung up, and slumped against the wall. Figures he didn’t believe me, I wouldn’t believe myself either. I quietly sat down; Pyro probably wouldn’t wake for a bit, so I had time to think about what I was going to do next.

    Life, we’re told repeatedly, always seems to throw you curveballs. A little bit of an understatement in my situation, but true nonetheless. These turn of events would certainly change my summer, and I might actually do something worthwhile instead of idling away my life. I entertained the thought of being a pokémon trainer... it’s every kid’s dream, albeit in a fantastical sort of way. But now, at this very moment, it was a distinct possibility.

    Now that Kevin’s off being busy, there’s no reason to hold back.

    I got up and reentered my room, sitting myself down next to Mira, who was curled up and watching Pyro intently. “He’ll be fine by the time he wakes up.” She looked up at me, still wearing a worried expression, and jumped into my lap.

    I stroked her fur soothingly, “In the meantime, I’d like to ask a few questions, you know, get to know each other better.”

    Mira nodded, and our long session of twenty-questions began.

    - - -

    After an hour or two, I had learned quite a bit about the pair. Mira and Pyro had grown up together in the forest valley, where I had appeared the day before. They were both about six or seven months old which, consulting the pokédex, meant they were about the human age equivalent of twelve to fourteen. The dexter also stated that both species usually were dependant on their parents for only two months, so Mira and Pyro had been on their own for a considerable portion of their lives.

    As we conversed, I asked Mira how she originally arrived in my room. At the mention, her eyes opened wide, before snapping shut and she trembled with fear, ears laid back. Taken aback, I tried to calm her down again, but she refused to speak or move until I changed the subject. Apparently, I wouldn’t be getting answers out of her in the near future.

    The topic eventually drifted to battling, I noticed that Mira’s demeanor drastically shifted; she halted her pacing, merely resting in one spot as I stroked her fur, gingerly nodding yes or no. It seemed to me like she had little interest battling, and even less firsthand experience. Ah well, something I could help her work on; in light of her recent encounter, it would definitely be a good idea.

    I took some time to talk about myself, and Earth in general: how there were no pokémon, why they had to stay out of sight from other people. I had no doubt that nothing good would come of exposing them. If anyone else discovered how to travel between the two worlds, knowing how violent human nature was, I could see no other outcome besides war.

    Mira seemed curious, especially at my mention of the many variety of animals. Although the basic forms of many would be somewhat familiar to a pokémon, I cautioned against playful interaction; most wild animals wouldn’t hesitate to attack a persistent, unfamiliar foe. They just didn’t have that same level of intelligence.

    With regards to myself, I shared about my life in general. All about my high school and classmates, my best friend Kevin, even my lack of close family. At least I shared that in common with Mira.

    - - -

    It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that Pyro finally stirred. I was just about to prepare some food for myself and Mira, but I cracked a smile as we both rushed to his side. I let Mira in front, knowing that she could calm him down if he panicked about the drastic change in his surroundings. He wasn’t as familiar with my room as Mira was and I didn’t want him to inadvertently start a fire.

    Opening his eyes, Pyro first spotted Mira, then myself behind her, and he smiled weakly. Practically jumping for joy, Mira immediately nuzzled him on the cheek, relieved that her friend was finally all right. When he noticed the unexpected change of scenery, the spots on Pyro’s back glowed a dim red but he managed to hold his composure, focusing instead on Mira’s energetic greeting. I watched passively from the background, not wanting to interfere. It looked like the medicine had worked; the bruises had faded and he appeared to no longer be in pain. I figured he’d be a bit tired for a while, but that would only be a minor issue.

    “Nice to have you back,” I commented. Standing up and stretching, I gestured them both downstairs, finally ready to procure some lunch.



    Of course, my cooking skills were nothing to be desired, but it didn’t take an expert to serve up boxes of pokéchow, or to put together a somewhat edible sandwich. Even after his rest, Pyro was still taking it easy; an unexpectedly rough morning would do that to you. He casually meandered his way around the kitchen, much less energetic than usual. Mira kept circling around, keen on enticing Pyro to be more animated.

    After lunch, we all ventured out into the backyard for some light exercise. Encompassing about an acre, there was plenty of open grass, lined by some thick woods in the back and sides, giving us plenty of privacy. Although it wasn’t exactly a rural area, the houses were still spaced far enough away that I didn’t have to worry about nosy or disruptive neighbors.

    I called Mira and Pyro over. “Alright, I know that we all had a hectic morning, but I thought it might be fun to do a little bit of battle training. We’ll take it easy, for now.”

    Pyro nodded, listening intently to my discussion. Mira, on the other hand, lay reclining in the lush grass, batting at her tail lazily. I cleared my throat, “This means you too, Mira!”

    She jumped at her name, before rolling over and giving me an exasperated glare. “Eevee?”

    “You need to be able to battle too. C’mon, give Pyro a rest, you’re first.”

    Reluctantly, she followed me to the middle of the yard while I pulled out the pokédex and examined her moveset. Mira knew... only tackle and growl. Could use some work. I positioned myself a few yards in front of her.

    “Okay, use Tackle on me!”

    She coiled her legs slightly before pelting full speed at me. I held out my hands and braced for the impact. 15 feet, 10, 5...

    THUMP.

    Mira struck my outstretched hands and bounced off lightly, landing on her back in the grass. Pyro chuckled quietly in the background; my arms had barely moved an inch from the impact. I sighed, “Good, but try to put more power behind the impact.” Righting herself, Mira slowly returned to her previous position.

    “Quil, Cynda-quiiiil” Pyro called out what I assumed to be some advice from a more-experienced battler. Mira turned to me, concentrating clearly on the target and ran forward again. To my great surprise, she rocketed off much faster than last time and I had barely enough time to throw up my arms in defense. I slid back a foot, pinwheeling my arms to regain balance, as I watched Mira flip backwards and land on her feet, ready for more.

    “Much better, now let’s keep working on your speed and power.”

    - - -

    After a good while, Mira switched out with Pyro to take a break. She had improved a lot, not only becoming proficient with tackle, but I could swear it was taking on some of the traits of quick attack, with her focus on speed. Mira lay floundering in the grass, breathing heavily; I guess this kind of workout wasn’t in her daily routine.

    Consulting the pokédex again, I saw that Pyro knew... Tackle, Smokescreen, Ember. His tackle was already good and powerful, and smokescreen would be hard to get wrong. I guess we’d work on Ember, as to not put more physical strain on his healing injuries.

    Pointing to an open stretch of grass, I called out, “Okay, Pyro, show me your ember!”

    “Cynda...” Flames erupted from his hindquarters, as he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “Quil!” A large flurry of glowing cinders erupted from his maw, the thick stream fluttering around in the breeze heading... towards me!

    “Oh, shi-!”

    I dove to the side, barely avoiding the misguided coals. The heat was incredible, almost singing me as the attack glided a few inches above my legs. They sailed past, finally cooling and settling down on the grass. Fortunately, the bulk of the summer heat hadn’t hit yet so the vegetation still held considerable moisture and wasn’t going to catch fire. For now.

    Okay, ember not such a good idea.

    Sighing to myself, I stood back up. “We’ll work on that aim when we find a better location.” I went inside briefly to fetch some equipment, returning with some tennis balls. “Might as well give you a workout, make sure you’re healed.”

    Second on my list for Pyro, behind working on moves, was agility and evasion. He’d gotten pretty banged up by that mudkip, and needed to learn to dodge more attacks. I had Pyro try to dodge the balls as I tossed them in his direction, Mira helping out with retrieval. For the most part, Pyro seemed to be able to evade a head-on attack, but almost always failed when I hit from his peripheral vision. Oh well, something to practice.



    We continued until the sun began setting behind the trees before I put away our equipment and we returned indoors, all thoroughly exhausted. Thankfully, I never had to put in much effort for dinner, and we ate in silence. I was pretty busy wrapped up in my own thoughts. What am I going to do now? I had this amazing opportunity, to explore a brand new world, and be able to return home instantly whenever I wanted. It’s not like I would miss anything by leaving.

    My mind made up, I announced, “There’s not much reason to stay here for very long. I think we should go back to your world first thing tomorrow morning.”

    Mira’s ears perked at this, stopping to smile at me before resuming her dinner. I couldn’t see a noticeable reaction from Pyro; for a ‘mon with no visible ears, I was impressed he could hear me at all. I guess he was pretty indifferent as to where we ventured, as long as we were all together.

    As it got darker outside, I sat around and talked with Mira and Pyro, now that they were both awake. As I had done before, I began asking Pyro questions, trying to figure out more about him. As I suspected, his reaction to battles was very different than Mira, proudly puffing out his chest boastfully when I mentioned his battling strength. That is, until I commented on how powerful his first attack on me was, to which he winced apologetically.

    I studied the ODT for a while before bed. Digging through the almost-nonexistent documentation, I finally figured out how to set up a favorites menu, for quick labelled access to our previously travelled locations. I got the feeling that saving all of our travel locations would come in handy, just in case.

    We finally settled in to sleep, Mira and Pyro sharing the pile of blankets I laid out at the foot of my bed. I could barely contain my anticipation; tomorrow was bound to be a very exciting day.

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    Last edited by Cyn; 19th November 2012 at 4:32 PM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  7. #7
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    Hhh... Ya know, I really would like a response. I like to be friendly. That is what I do. If you have a prob, talk to Arceus.
    Anyways good chappie. So i herd evil lieks mudkipz(even though I don't get it)? You seem to have written a lot of chappies beforehand. And you dish them out at quite a fast pace.
    Eagerly awaiting next chappie!
    Doh, you dont have a PM LIST .
    Just PM anyone who askes to be on it when the next chappie is psted.
    Formerly Grav.
    Quite inactive, but still available. If you have a fanfic that no one wants to review, PM/VM me and I'll give you a hand.

  8. #8
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    Sorry for not responding, I'm not too big on idle chit-chat. And yes, I already do keep track of people who want PM's for updates.

    As for the rate of chapter posts, as stated in the table of contents, I have the chapters listed there written already, just takes a while to bbcode them up. The rest will be done in the next day or two.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  9. #9
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    (Part 2)

    Chapter 5 - The Art of Battle (Part 1)

    The next morning arrived, sunlight peeking through the thin gaps in the closed window blinds. I awoke to the playful cries of Mira and Pyro as they wrestled around playfully on the floor. I sighed grumpily, pulling the pillow over my head in a futile attempt to stay asleep. Unfortunately, the slight movement prompted the two to move their antics up onto the bed. Apparently, I wouldn’t be sleeping in very much this summer.

    “Alright, alright, I’m up.” Yawning and stretching, I made my way sleepily to the bathroom to clean up.

    Breakfast was a short and simple affair, a nice bowl of cereal for myself and the rest of the carton of strawberries for Mira and Pyro. At the mere sight of berries, Mira’s mouth watered as she yipped excitedly. I guess she really enjoyed them last time compared to whatever her normal diet was. She happily pounced on the box as I put it down, knocked a few over to Pyro then dove into the rest of her meal. Pyro nervously sniffed the berries and nibbled one gingerly. After a moment of contemplation his expression immediately brightened, and he joined Mira in the scrumptious berry genocide.

    I began packing all the gear I thought we might need on the road. Even though we could just return home if we needed to, it just didn’t feel in the spirit of adventure. What was the point of exploring a brand new world if you just returned home every evening? Plus, I wasn’t 100% sure how often we could actually teleport around, seeing as it took quite a while to recharge.

    Luckily, camping equipment was no problem; Kevin and I had gone camping quite a few times and, with me having more storage space lying around, I ended up with the bulk of our gear. A one-person tent, sleeping bag, even lightweight cooking supplies, all packed and ready to go. I was sure he wouldn’t mind me borrowing them in the least. Having gathered and packed everything I could think of, I finally beckoned to Mira and Pyro after they had licked their breakfast portions clean. “Come on, let’s get going.” Pulling out their pokéballs, I recalled them before activating the ODT. The shining sphere filled my vision as I stood there, stoked for our new adventures.



    My view cleared, vibrant green vegetation greeting me as expected. We were in the small clearing in the park; thankfully, there was no sign of our previous encounter with that crazy ‘Team Origin’ trainer. I hurried back through the trees to the pokémon center. Although it looked as if Pyro was recovering well, I still wanted to give him a checkup to make sure everything was alright.

    I approached the front counter, “Excuse me, I’d like to give my Cyndaquil a checkup to make sure he’s healthy”. I released Mira and sat Pyro’s ball on the counter. She sniffed curiously at the ball for a second, then jumped to a comfortable vantage point on my shoulder.

    The nurse glanced over and her eyes lit up with a wave of recognition. “Oh! You’re that trainer who registered the other day. I thought you had left town already.” She accepted Pyro’s ball and placed it on the scanner, then examined the data on the adjacent console. I fidgeted nervously in place, waiting for the results.

    “No, I didn’t leave, but something unexpected kinda came up.”

    A pause, while the pokéball in the scanner glowed brightly. “I do have a couple of questions though. Do you know anything about an organization called ‘Team Origin’?” She thought for a moment as Pyro’s results began scrolling down the monitor.

    “I’m sorry, but I haven’t heard of them.” The scanner beeped, and she handed me back Pyro’s ball. “It seem like you two’ve had quite a battle. Fortunately, your Cyndaquil appears to be recovering nicely. A few lingering bruises, but he should be completely healthy by the end of the day - just make sure not to engage in any rough battles in the meantime.”

    I thanked her and accepted the ball, thinking in place for a moment. If this place was anything like the games, there should be a pokemon professor somewhere in the region. There, I’d have the best chance of answering my questions about the ODT and the mysterious team Origin. “Could you also give me directions to the pokémon lab?”

    She happily pulled out a local map, indicating to me the location and route to the place. “The most direct path should be about a week’s worth of travel, but if you take the longer route here, you can stop at several towns a few days apart along the way.” Thanking her, I folded up the map and walked back out into the park.

    I looked over at Mira, still perched my shoulder. “Might as well get going,”

    She yipped in approval, and we set out along the road.

    - - -

    Nothing much happened that day; we made some good progress down the route, stopping a few times to rest and view the scenery. Unlike the suburban area I came from, we could travel through stretches of road that were completely devoid of any sign of human habitation, aside from the narrow dirt path. Lush trees lay on one side of the road and open grassland on the other, culminating in a few mountains that dotted the azure skyline in the distance. I had decided to stop at the first town right after the route forked to resupply, then head back down the scenic and more direct path. Besides, the scenery around us was absolutely beautiful. We set up camp for the night under a thicket of trees, Pyro lighting our campfire for dinner. I had kept him in his ball for most of the day so that he could rest and heal instead of wearing himself out by walking around with us. It looked like it was working, as he was back to his playful self by the end of the evening.

    We got up early the next morning and packed up, setting out with a breakfast of trail mix on the road. I wanted travel at a leisurely pace and enjoy ourselves, and so that we could make it to the next town by nightfall; although I enjoyed camping, nothing beat a soft bed to sleep in if I could help it.

    Around noon, we stopped on the bank of a quiet little stream crossing the road. The place seemed perfect for lunch - tall shady trees covering a nice grassy spot on the banks, plenty of fresh water, some berry bushes peeking out of the trees a bit downriver. I released Pyro, letting him stretch his legs and get some fresh air while I gathered and prepared our lunch. I had already let him out a few times along the way, but he had opted to just rest in his ball for most of the morning. Mira had spent the morning out of her ball, walking beside and riding with me and just enjoying the scenery.

    After a quick sandwich and some harvested berries, I decided that we had some time to spare, so I directed thw two of them to another round of battle training. With the wide open space by the river, it seemed we had enough room for me to safely observe the technique on Pyro’s ember attack. Standing a safe distance behind him, I pointed at some medium-sized rocks jutting out of the middle of the water. “Pyro, I want you to try hitting those rocks with ember.”

    “Cyn...” I watched as he focused on the target, breathing slowly and deeply.

    “-da!” Flames sprung from his back and a thick stream erupted from his maw, the glowing embers shooting forward and distorting the air with heat. However, they drifted off-target, hissing as they missed and landed harmlessly into the water. Frustrated, Pyro dug his feet into the ground and prepared to try again.

    “Try to focus on your aim and not so much on power. Hitting the target is much more important.”

    He nodded in response and continued on with the exercise as I turned to look at Mira. To my surprise, she was staring intently at Pyro, watching him practice. When she realized that I was watching, she averted her gaze and tried to look uninterested.

    I smiled, patting her on the head. “And as for you, let’s see if you can learn quick attack.” She rolled her eyes, nonchalantly standing up and taking the time to casually stretch her legs before she walked into position. I picked up a small stick and waved it around to get her attention. “Use tackle with as much speed as you can and try to catch the branch before it hits the ground.”

    I tossed it a few dozen yards and Mira streaked after it. As she neared the target, I could see the beginnings of a white vapor trail behind her as she jumped to catch the branch a few feet off the ground.

    “Great catch, Mira!” She walked back, grinning through the stick in her mouth. “You almost had it there.” I praised, “Let’s try it again.”

    After a few dozen attempts, Mira seemed to have gotten the hang of quick attack, at least when she was concentrating hard enough. We stopped to take a break and to check on Pyro’s progress at the river. However, we were surprised to find the target boulders completely charred black and smoking. Instead, Pyro was busy peering at a group of dark shadows underneath the flowing surface, firing shot after shot, each hissing as they struck the flowing river. Seems like he was satisfied with his success and had decided to move onto moving target practice with the river’s aquatic residents.



    I started packing up; that was enough for one day, we’d best get back on the road. I motioned for them to follow, but paused when I heard a soft rustle in the nearby bushes. I glanced over at Mira and Pyro, who shrugged. Nothing happened for a few seconds, so we began walking across the nearby bridge and down the path, sun still high in the cloudless sky.

    Suddenly, movement, behind us.

    A shadowy figure streaked across the water, leaping from stone to stone and landing on the other side. It had rosy pink skin, with a white cottony collar gleaming in the bright sunlight. It’s tail glittered a brilliant blue as it bent over to catch its breath.

    Shoot, don’t remember which one that is... been too many years since I played these games. I fumbled in my bag for the pokédex, which automatically responded.

    “Flaaffy, the Electric Wool pokémon. Its fluffy cotton stores vast amounts of electricity which it uses to paralyze foes.”

    I peered at the flaaffy, who was now cautiously taking a drink from the stream. Another rustle from the bushes and the electric type jumped at the sound. It peered around fearfully, especially at the side of the river it had emerged from. Another rustle, this time from the treetops, then a few bright green blurs sailed from the branches and landed on the opposite shore, crossing the river in a single leap.

    “Treecko and Grovyle, the Wood Gecko pokémon. No foe is able to outmatch their agility in the forest canopy.”

    The three newcomers surrounded Flaaffy, menacingly baring their sharp fangs and claws. The single grovyle, which I assumed to be the leader, stepped forward and growled out a few words, probably some sort of threat or warning.

    “What’s going on here...” I wondered aloud. This gang didn’t seem to be the most friendly pokémon around, especially as the flaaffy was practically quivering in fear. We silently crept closer to get a better view. Hopefully there wouldn’t be any serious action; the flaaffy would be at a serious disadvantage in a 3-on-1 battle without a type advantage.

    The flaaffy took a few steps back, then realized it was backed up against the treeline, with no means of escape from the native treedwellers.

    “Gro-vyle!” The grovyle leapt forward and slashed fiercely at Flaaffy with its razor sharp claws. Flaaffy barely managed to dodge the strike but I knew it wouldn’t last long in melee combat while boxed in like that. After a few swipes Flaaffy stumbled back, sporting a fresh bleeding gash on its leg. Grovyle smirked, knowing that victory was inevitable. Although I desperately wanted to help, there was nothing I could do; with Mira lacking battle experience, we were still outnumbered and didn’t really have any options.

    Grovyle nodded at his pals and raised his claw, intending to finish the fight quickly.

    Suddenly, a barrage of flaming embers struck one of the flanking treecko, knocking it down and leaving some mild burns on its abdomen. Everyone turned to look at the source of the attack and our eyes all fell on... Pyro. What in the world is he doing? There’s no way he can handle a fight like this! Evidently, Pyro wasn’t content sitting on the sidelines and instead rashly decided to jump into the fray.

    The two treecko quickly recovered and, with a signal from Grovyle, ran over to engage the new threat, leaving Flaaffy and Grovyle some breathing room in their battle. Seeing as remaining hidden was pointless now, I abandoned my cover to give Pyro some direction; with two-on-one odds, we’d be lucky just to hold our ground. Mira rode on my shoulder with a deathly grip, gritting her teeth out of nervousness. The three of us faced off with our adversaries.

    The treecko split, one running around to flank us and the other rushing forward. Its heavy tail glowed white as it swung with a hefty pound attack. Pyro carefully dodged to the side and turned to retaliate with another searing fire attack, only to get blindsided by a tackle from the rear. He clambered back to his feet and growled fiercely, ready to continue the fight. The treecko skirted in tandem around opposite sides of the battlefield to regroup. After a moment’s nod they darted in again, leaping into the air and twirling their tails in unison with a double pound.

    “Quick! Defense Curl and flare your back!” I yelled.

    Pyro braced himself into a small ball, large bright orange flames erupting from the glowing vents on his back. Unable to change their trajectory, both treecko landed their attack straight into the flames, sending Pyro sliding along the ground. They immediately jumped back clutching their newly burned tails. Seeing them preoccupied, I called out, “Use ember again!”

    The treecko regained their composure just as Pyro fired a flurry of embers. One was able to dodge the stream but the other got nailed by the attack, knocking it unconscious with some severe burns. Seeing his comrade down for the count, the remaining foe retaliated with a blindingly fast quick attack. Pyro struggled to get back up after the impact, the wind knocked out of him. I could tell that he wouldn’t be able to keep going for much longer; one more direct hit and we would probably lose.

    Treecko bounded back to regroup with Grovyle, who was still combating the stubbornly defensive Flaaffy. No longer being pinned the odds were more even between the two, and Flaaffy had managed to get off a few retaliatory hits. Grovyle was now limping as the two circled each other, one leg partially paralyzed. Seeing as they were making little headway, Grovyle paused to reassess the shifting advantage, then sounded to retreat. Collecting their fallen teammate, the two hastily jumped back across the river and disappeared like shadows into the woods.

    “All right, good job Pyro!” He was pretty bruised up but at least he was still able to grin at the victory. Mira jumped down to congratulate Pyro, nuzzling him gently on the cheek. Meanwhile, I looked back at the Flaaffy, who was kneeling on the ground covered in lightly bleeding lacerations. I approached the figure cautiously, “Come on, let’s get you healed up.”

    Alarmed, it growled a warning, and a few small bolts of electricity arced from its fleece collar into the surrounding ground with a loud sizzle.

    I jumped back immediately. “Okay, okay, I’ll leave you alone.” Poor thing, must be scared out of its mind. Flaaffy seemed surprised at my acquiescence, but still eyed us warily. It slowly dragged itself to its feet and staggered into the forest, glancing back at us every few seconds to make it wasn’t followed. I continued to gaze as the figure slowly faded into the underbrush. I wonder what that was all about?

    I felt Pyro paw at my leg and, remembering the battle, I pulled out some healing potions and gently sprayed Pyro’s bruises. He winced at the touch, but in a matter of minutes his injuries looked visibly better. We slowly started back down the path, hoping to reach the next city before nightfall.

    - - -

    It wasn’t until early in the evening that we crested yet another hill, finally spotting the next town, it’s glowing lights beckoning in the dim twilight. I was thoroughly exhausted after walking straight for two days; if foot travel was going to be my primary means of transportation, I really needed to get back in shape! We didn’t encounter anything notable along the way, only a few practice battles for Pyro against some of the weaker pokémon like rattata. Each was a piece of cake for him, even though he was a little sore from those troublesome trio.

    Mira had fallen asleep sprawled atop my head, snoozing gently as I entered the town and made my way to the pokécenter. This town seemed to be a little bigger than the last, but still not a large metropolis. As we approached the center I noticed a large building next to it, inscribed with a large pokémon battle symbol. It appeared to be a battle hall, probably the kind of place where they would hold tournaments and other kinds of contests. In fact, as I handed over Pyro to the nurse, I spotted a poster for an upcoming pokémon battle tournament. Below it sat Mira, gazing up in wonder at the fierce battlers depicted: a ferocious Charizard facing off against a quick-footed Jolteon, fire and sparks flying between them.

    I bent down beside her and pat her gently on the head. “Interested in battles, huh?”

    She looked back at me and nodded timidly. It seemed like she was still unsure if it was a good idea, but I could tell she really admired Pyro’s prowess. I figured she could use some encouragement.

    I picked her up in my arms. “How about this: let’s us three enter in this tournament, and see how it goes from there?” She gave me a warm smile in agreement, her confidence boosted. I didn’t know how well we would do, but I guess there really wasn’t any harm in trying. Besides, I knew Pyro would totally be up for the challenge.

    As I received Pyro’s ball and released him, I inquired about the tournament poster. Evidently, the tournament was split into two days, with the qualification matches the next afternoon and the rest of the tournament the rest of the day after. Also, I found out that the each of the winners would receive a full set of elemental evolution stones! I didn’t how Mira felt about evolution, but the prizes would definitely come in handy should she want to.

    Sign-up was at the center, since all the trainers came through anyways. I ended up entering in the 2-on-2 singles bracket, as well as reserving a room for the duration of the tournament. Exhausted, we all retired to our room for the night.



    As evening crept in, I decided that we should all get a good night’s rest. However, before bed I ushered Mira and Pyro into the bathroom.

    “Alright, you two. After a couple days’ travel, you two desperately need a thorough bath.” I thought Mira might enjoy a nice soak, but I suspected getting Pyro to cooperate was going to be difficult. Pyro’s eyes widened, finally noticing steam rising from the adjacent tub. He attempted to avoid my grip as I tried to coax the stubborn fire-type, only giving up once I managed to catch and pick him up.

    “You don’t want to stay all dusty and filthy, right?” He wiggled a bit more in hopes that I would drop him and he could make a break. “I know you don’t like water, but think of it as training for any water-types we might face.”

    At this thought his struggling diminished, but he remained tense as I slowly lowered him gently into the water. Mira had already jumped in and was happily soaking her smooth fur. Once Pyro appeared satisfied with the warmth of the water, I began scrubbing both of them down, soap lathering up in frothy bubbles. Mira purred contentedly as I rubbed behind her ears and her thick collar, the dirt starting to seep out. The steam gave the tiny room a sense of calm, even Pyro began to relax a bit once he got acclimated to his surroundings.

    I managed to rinse out most of the grime in their fur, taking Mira out and drying her before she promptly shook water all over the bathroom. She fidgeted in my arms, trying to reach a comfortable position while I ruffled dry her damp brown fur. I was about to do the same to Pyro, but he gave me and the damp towel a sharp glare and immediately dried himself off with a quick burst of fire. I guess it helped to be a living hairdryer like that.

    I flopped down on the bed, ready for a good night’s rest. Mira crawled over to curl up next to me and I reached out to hug her close, keeping both of us nice and warm. A indignant poke on my arm told me Pyro didn’t want to be left out, and as he snuggled up next to Mira the four spots on his back glowed a dim warm red.

    I looked down at the two snuggling contently and closed my eyes. How did I get so lucky to have you two?

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    (Part 2)
    Last edited by Cyn; 19th November 2012 at 7:43 AM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  10. #10
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    (Part 1)

    Chapter 5 - The Art of Battle (Part 2)

    We woke up early, wanting to make sure we were prepared for what was going to be the toughest series of battles we’d faced so far. After a quick bite of breakfast at the center, we meandered out back to the training fields behind the battle hall.

    Considering that the tournament started later that day, I was surprised to find the field not crowded with trainers. A small group of people and their pokémon were spectating a practice battle between a sandslash and a totodile on one of the fields. After watching the battle wrap up, we settled down on a small patch of grass away from the other trainers to get some last-minute practice in. I had Pyro fire rounds of slow, cool embers at Mira to give her some practice with dodging and speed and for him, aim. Not powerful enough to actually hurt her, but at least realistic targets that would sting a little. She looked like the exercise was intimidating enough but with mine and Pyro’s shouts of encouragement it appeared that she was making steady progress. I could tell that Pyro really enjoyed helping Mira train, sharing such an integral part of his personality.

    We stopped to take a break and eat around noon, and I also wanted to check out who our opponent was for this afternoon. The first qualification match was a 1-on-1, so I already knew I was going to use Pyro to make sure we at least passed on to the next round. Some extra information on what we’d be facing wouldn’t hurt, though.

    It turned out our first opponent was a trainer a few years younger than me and his vulpix, so we were in for a tough type matchup. I asked Mira to wander around and try and learn from observing the other trainers that were starting to trickle in, while I discussed strategy with Pyro. I was sure that she wouldn’t mind straying far from us, as there was plenty of exciting action to keep her occupied.

    - - -

    Late in the afternoon, the fields were cleared so that the qualification matches could begin; the city didn’t have a huge league-scale stadium with multiple battlefields, so to get all of the matches out of the way, they needed to use some of the practice areas. Our match was scheduled just before sunset so we had some time to spectate the other trainers that, should we win, we might be facing the next day. Most of the trainers we saw seemed to have more battle experience than I, and possibly also Pyro, did. However, our bracket consisted of a lot of younger teens, so maybe we would have a fighting chance against a few of the more naďve trainers. Not that I was particularly any better, but Pyro would have a fighting chance.

    Finally, we were called up to the field. Like we had been earlier, there were a few trainers standing around and spectating the various matches so we had some audience, although not a huge crowd. Pyro stepped out onto the battlefield and Mira climbed up on top of my shoulder to get a better view of the field. We all waited as our opponent stepped up and released his pokémon.

    “Come on out, Amber!” The trainer yelled, throwing out his pokéball.

    The customary red light flashed out and solidified, revealing his vulpix. The rust-colored fox let out a high-pitched battle cry, either in anticipation or just trying to intimidate Pyro. Even if it worked, Pyro didn’t show it. Instead, the vents on his back began glowing bright red with heat, and he concentrated on staring down our opponents as we waited for the start signal.

    After making sure we were both ready, the referee called, “And, begin!”

    “Pyro, use tackle head on!” He charged forward with a speed I hadn’t seen in him before, but only managed to land a glancing blow to Vulpix’s flank as she nimbly dodged to the side. Pyro skidded to a stop and turned to face Vulpix, but was met with a quick counter attack as she let out a barrage of embers. Off balance, he was unable to do anything to dodge the move and got knocked back with a few stinging burns. With Pyro being a fire-type, I knew that it wouldn’t do much damage physically, but I was worried about multiple hits wearing down his concentration and morale. To make matters worse, Vulpix followed up with another move, leaving a blazing white trail as she bolted towards Pyro with quick attack.

    “C’mon, dodge it!” He got up to his feet, thoroughly annoyed with his singed fur. With amazing reflexes he deftly jumped above the oncoming fox. “Good, now try a smokescreen!”

    Black smoke poured out of his maw and obscured the two combatants from view. I could hear Vulpix cry out in alarm, not a clue in which direction Pyro had landed. Mira, too, gave a cry of dismay, unable to pick out her friend in the growing cloud. Suddenly, I heard a startled “Pix!” as a second burst of embers emerged from the smoke.

    “Good job, keep up the ember!” We had planned this beforehand, knowing that Ember would be the attack that would make it the most difficult to pin down Pyro’s position, while still dealing some damage and wearing down Vulpix. It seemed to be working for a while, as staggered outbursts of cinders kept flying out from the smoke.

    I heard a shouted command from the other side of the field. The heart of the black cloud glowed orange, before a huge spinning ring of fire expanded outwards, blowing back most of the obscuring fog and leaving Pyro and Vulpix panting on their respective halves of the field. It looked like the two were pretty evenly matched, as both were sporting some mild burns and a couple of small bruises.

    Not waiting a moment, the other trainer called out for Vulpix to use Dig. Vulpix smiled, burrowing into the ground in a puff of dust, faster than I thought was even physically possible.

    “Careful, Pyro, try to figure out where she’ll come up.”

    He stood still, trying to feel the vibrations in the earth below. After a few seconds of nothing, his eyes widened and he twisted to face the emerging Vulpix as she surfaced under his right side. She still flung Pyro up into the air with the powerful blow, but he was able to reorient himself and landed relatively safely on his feet. He stared down Vulpix as she emerged from the second hole and casually shook off the dust that was coating her fur. It seemed like we were at an even standoff.

    Suddenly, Pyro let out a loud cry and began glowing with a brilliant white light. I can’t believe it! Pyro was evolving, during a battle of all times. Luckily, our opponent was just as stunned and didn’t try counter attack while he was helpless to dodge. Pyro’s outline shifted and reformed, the light fading to reveal a larger but similarly-colored quadruped. Pyro opened his bright red eyes, making a quick inspection of his new body, then returned his concentration to the continuing battle.

    “Quilavaaa!” Pyro roared triumphantly and gave an intimidating leer at Vulpix, vigorous orange tongues of flame rippling out of his head and rear. Vulpix looked somewhat worried at this new development, backing up and shifting to a more defensive stance. Pyro’s pointed ears twitched at the slight sound and he prepared for the inevitable attack order.

    “Now, let’s finish this with a fast tackle!” He dug into the ground and immediately sped off towards Vulpix. To my surprise, he was accompanied by a glowing vapor trail, mutating the tackle into a quick attack. He struck a surprise blow to Vulpix, who could only brace herself against the speedy impact. “And once more!” I called. Pyro dashed towards her again. Instead of trying to dodge, though, she opened her jaw to try and soften the blow with her ember attack.

    “Spin and dodge it!”

    Not quite as I intended, he spun head-over-heels directly towards the oncoming attack, maybe to try and jump over or slide under the stream. However, he made no attempt to dodge the glowing embers and instead plowed directly into the heart of the attack. The spinning flames on Pyro’s head brightened and ballooned upon contact with the hot coals, then his entire body burst into a spinning inferno. The embers dissipated upon contact as he continued on towards Vulpix with his newfound Flame Wheel attack; I guess all quilava learned the move instinctively when they evolved. With such a surprising tactic, I could see why Vulpix was unable to do anything except take the powerful blow head on. She slid to a stop at the feet of her trainer and collapsed to the ground, knocked out.

    “Vulpix is unable to battle, so progressing to the tournament is Mark and his Quilava!”

    Mira and I both cheered for Pyro as he bounded over and knocked me over with his new size as he gave me a spirited lick on the face. I congratulated him on evolving, as did Mira. She was busy sizing up his new physique, now considerably larger than her, much to his amusement.

    Meanwhile, looked over to gaze at the other trainer. He bent down to pick up Vulpix. Smiling, I saw him give her a hug before recalling her back to her ball. He noticed us watching and gave a congratulatory salute before walking off. Although happy that we had won, I was relieved to see him take the defeat with good sportsmanship; we had to be pretty lucky considering that I had just began as a trainer a few days ago.



    We returned to the pokémon center for the rest of the evening. Although we all were in a celebratory mood, the tournament had just started so we were nowhere close to winning just yet. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to ignore Mira and Pyro’s excitement, eventually breaking down and buying them some sweet treats called ‘poffins’ from the center’s mart. We hung out in the main lobby for a while, me watching the other tournament-goers and Mira busy trying to balance on Pyro’s back as he ran around in a circle playfully, enjoying his new agility.

    “Hey, you! Mark!”

    I looked up to find my last opponent walking over, his Vulpix following by his side. She wore some light bandages around her front flank and neck due to our match, but it didn’t look too serious. The nurses at the center probably took care of these kinds of injuries all the time.

    “Oh, hi.” I didn’t know what else to say, since I didn’t even know his name. I had forgotten to introduce myself before or after our battle, but I guess he had looked me up in more detail afterwards.

    “I just wanted to say congrats, I thought we had a great battle. My name’s Tyler, by the way.”

    We talked for awhile, although I was careful not to gloat about us qualifying for the next round. He didn’t seem to mind a whole lot, as he explained that they entered into the tournament just for fun, to see how well they might stack up against other trainers before deciding if they wanted to take on the Gym Challenge. He asked how I came to own Mira and Pyro and I explained that I had befriended Mira first, then also Pyro before tagging them with pokéballs. Of course, I neglected to elaborate exactly how or where this happened, or where I was from.

    I heard a yelp off to the side and looked over; apparently Mira had playfully tried to pounce onto the unsuspecting Vulpix from above and had received a light smack to the head in response.

    “Come on you two, play nice.” Mira quietly muttered a small “Eevee” in apology and resumed playing with Pyro, with Vulpix just watching contently on the sidelines. Tyler merely smiled at the commotion, “Amber’s just a little bit wary of surprises, no harm done.”

    He explained that he had obtained Amber as a starter pokémon about three months ago. Up until now, they had been travelling around a lot, just journeying to see the world without much of a goal in mind. Amber casually began grooming her bronze fur and I noticed an odd-sized chunk of her ear was missing. When I asked about it, Tyler explained, “About a week in, Amber got a little too curious and accidentally provoked a group of wild rattata. We managed to get away, but not without injury.” He motioned to her ear, and a few thin scars on his own forearm. “That’s why she doesn’t like being caught off-guard.” Amber lifted her head at this comment and nodded, apparently listening in on our conversation.

    We talked for quite a while, even Pyro and Mira tired themselves out and settled down to relax and enjoy the company. As the lobby emptied of trainers, I bid farewell to Tyler and Amber before heading back to our room. They had decided to leave immediately and keep training on the road, since there was no point in staying for the rest of the event. However, we exchanged contact info so we could meet up sometime for a rematch. I didn’t know exactly how large the pokémon world was, or if we would ever see each other again, but I was glad to have at least one friend out here besides my companions.

    I made sure that Mira and Pyro got to bed early, since our next match was first thing in the morning. I figured that, at this point, rest was more important than worrying about who our opponents would be; regardless, we would all just try our best to win.

    - - -

    We woke bright and early and grabbed some breakfast amid the bustling lobby. I made sure Pyro didn’t eat too much; the last thing we wanted was to lose because of a full stomach. Mira, however, didn’t have much of an appetite, which I could only attribute to her being nervous. She’d only had a few sparring matches with Pyro as a Cyndaquil, so she had to be at least a little concerned about facing another pokémon that was focused solely on knocking her unconscious.

    A sizable crowd was already congregating outside the nearby battle hall, jostling for a place in line to buy tickets; I guess tournaments like these were the closest equivalent of professional sports in this world, which made up for the lack of entry fee for trainers. We bypassed the line and entered the lobby where the rest of the other trainers were already waiting. A few signs were posted on a bulletin board, showing the layout of each single-elimination bracket, each of about 8 - 16 trainers. I would be facing another trainer named Ashley, after which only two more victories away from winning our bracket.

    Next to the board stood a glass display, containing the tournament prizes. About a dozen cases lined the shelves, each filled with four small sparkling stones. An inlaid elemental symbol shone on each oval gem, color radiating out from the center almost like energy flowing to give the stones their distinctive hues. They seemed small for what I was expecting for elemental stones, each only about a third the size of my palm.

    I sat down with Mira and Pyro in a quieter corner of the lobby to give a little pep-talk before our match, mostly for Mira’s benefit. She kept pacing back and forth, peering at the other combatants as they loomed over her diminutive figure.

    “Okay, this is it. The big day, and an especially exciting one for you, Mira.”

    She hopped up onto my lap as I continued. “But I know that we’ve had quite a lot of practice, and I’m confident you can hold your own in battle.” A thin smile curled up at the corner of her mouth, and she gave me a cheerful lick on the cheek.

    “Quilava-la” Pyro chimed in, patting her on the shoulder with encouragement.

    - - -

    We didn’t have long to wait, as ours was the fourth match to begin. I stepped out of the entrance tunnel into the brightly lit field. A loud roar erupted from the crowd and I turned to wave at them. Mira anxiously ducked behind my legs for a moment, shielding herself from the cacophony and blinding lights as she gradually acclimated.

    Our opponent walked out of her tunnel opposite us. She looked to be maybe 16 or 17 and stood pretty tall, a white cap covering her dark brown hair that ended around her shoulders. A determined look shone in her eyes as she sized up Mira and myself. I attempted to look as confident as possible, nudging Mira slightly with my foot to get her out from behind me.

    Pictures of both of us with our names lit up the scoreboard above the field: Mark versus Ashley, 2 on 2. The official motioned to start the match. I nudged Mira and she meekly strode out onto the field and widened her stance. A generic picture of an eevee lit up on the scoreboard next to my name. Ashley didn’t look surprised at my first choice, considering we had just entered onto the field together. However, I noticed a somewhat intriguing smile on her face as she twirled a miniaturized pokéball around in her hand with a flourish before expanding it and tossing it out.

    “Come on out, Chikorita!”

    The bright light flashed and reformed into the small green quadruped. The plant pokémon swished the vibrant green leaf on its head around with anticipation. Its bright red eyes gleamed brightly as it gave a loud, intimidating “Chika!” Mira stood her ground, trying to show absolutely no fear.

    “Participants ready? And, begin!”

    “Quick Attack, Mira!” I directed, trying to get the initial upper hand. Mira zigzagged across the field displaying some amazing agility. Chikorita tried to deflect the blow with a retaliatory smack from the leaf on her head, upon impact only skidding back to a controlled stop. Mira, however, staggered at the blow, unprepared for the stinging distraction.

    I heard Ashley call out to use Razor Leaf but there was nothing I could do besides yell for Mira to dodge. While Mira tried to regain her footing, Chikorita fired a volley of leaves that sliced through the air as they spun. She weaved expertly back and forth through the raining projectiles, avoiding the brunt of the attack. The few leaves that did impact didn’t look like they did a lot of damage, but some of them did leave some stinging cuts along the fur on her back.

    “Retaliate with a Tackle!”

    With an angry growl, she blew past the drifting remains of the attack and plowed into Chikorita and both of them sprawled clumsily to the floor. They rolled around for a moment, wrestling for the upper hand, until Mira finally managed to pin Chikorita underneath her, her tiny fangs bared fiercely. I had never seen her act so aggressive before.

    “Close range Tackle, now!” I called, hoping to press our advantage. Mira reared back to land another blow, but suddenly she relaxed and her eyes grew dull and disoriented. Chikorita scrambled away from her and I began to smell an intoxicating aroma wafting in the air. Sweet Scent! Mira couldn’t overcome the fascinating incense, so it wasn’t much of a contest when Chikorita rammed her to the ground with a tackle of her own.

    “No!”

    Mira slowly scrambled to her feet and shook her head, still a little muddled. “Come on, you can do it! Quick Attack!” She tried to execute the attack but wasn’t able to concentrate for more than a few feet. An order rang out and some vines extended out from Chikorita’s collar, snaking their way along the ground over to Mira.

    “Watch out!” The vines struck a few stinging blows to Mira’s head, making her even more dazed. Then they coiled around Mira, picking her up and launching her up into the air about 40 feet. “Veee!” I could tell this wouldn’t end well, already she could barely concentrate, let alone land without some seriously painful injuries. At this point, there wasn’t much hope of winning the round, and I didn’t want her to get any more hurt for no reason. As she arced parabolically and began her descent, I pulled out her pokéball and clicked the activator to recall her before she hit the ground.

    Nothing. Out of range.

    I desperately mashed the button as she fell, picking up some dangerous speed with each passing moment.

    30 feet.

    20 feet.

    Finally, the activator beam darted out to Mira’s falling form just before impact, absorbing her back into massless red light. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that she hadn’t been seriously hurt.

    “Eevee has been recalled! Therefore, the winner for this round is Chikorita!”

    Only now did I realize the crowd had been cheering louder with every attack, up to a roaring crescendo. Mira’s picture on the scoreboard went dark as I put her ball away, leaving me at an unfortunate 2-on-1 disadvantage. I rolled Pyro’s ball around in the palm of my hand before expanding it. Come on, Pyro, you can do this.

    I confidently tossed out Pyro’s ball for the next round; with a type and evolutionary advantage and Pyro’s abundance of experience, how could we lose to a leafy plant? As he materialized, Pyro roared to intimidate his opponent, his head bathed in a halo of flames. Chikorita back up slightly, but refused to show us any indication of apprehension.

    The bout began in earnest as Chikorita made the first move. She ran along the edge of the field, firing off a volley of leaves towards Pyro. Almost lazily, he eyed each projectile, and breathed out a few embers to burn each leaf to a crisp, well before they reached their target. Seeing as razor leaf wasn’t working, Ashley directed Chikorita to close the distance and use tackle.

    “Pyro, try a Flame Wheel,” I called. With a single sweeping motion, Pyro’s head flames broadened and engulfed his entire body in a crimson conflagration. He rolled forward to meet Chikorita head on, accelerating up to full speed in mere seconds. They impacted in the middle of the field and Chikorita, unable to maintain her momentum against the painful blow, sailed out from the flames, her leaf singed and smoking. Pyro returned in front of me, waiting for the next command. I gazed out to see where Chikorita was but, to my surprise, the judge ruled Chikorita unable to continue. I knew beforehand that it wouldn’t be a difficult round, but even I was surprised with Pyro’s new power.

    My joy was rather short lived; a moment later, Ashley released our second foe, and the bright white light faded into a long distinctive blue shape. White and cobalt fins adorned its length, as it almost casually stretched its legs and prepared for battle.

    Oh no... a Vaporeon.

    It let out a taunting cry, making Pyro tense up noticeably, his head and rear flames growing significantly in preparation; even he knew this was going to be a very tough fight. After making sure we were both ready, the official waved for us to start.

    I directed Pyro to try an ember, just to test the waters a little. He dug his feet into the ground and let loose a powerful head-on volley. Unfortunately, Vaporeon shrugged off the attack like it was a light rain, completely unfazed. It was time to change our tactics a little bit.

    “Circle around with Quick Attack and Smokescreen!”

    Pyro nodded and sprinted off, dodging a couple of water blasts. Thick smoke poured out from his mouth, forming a dense wall trailing behind him as he edged around the field. He was moving fast enough that Vaporeon was having a tough time aiming for any ranged attacks. I gradually lost sight of Vaporeon as the smog spread across the battlefield, but unfortunately the vaporeon didn’t look worried at all. In fact, its body shimmered a violet-blue color in the spotlights, giving it an almost watery-like appearance.

    Undeterred, I ordered, “Now attack with a Flame Wheel!” If ranged attacks weren’t strong enough, then we might as well try some direct physical force. With the smokescreen up, Pyro would have no trouble surprising Vaporeon from any angle.

    A bright orange light shone in the heart of the cloud, zigzagging left and right before I heard a loud crash, and a startled yelp, “Vap!” I started to cheer and call for Pyro to do it again. Suddenly, a second cry emerged from the field; for me, it was unmistakable.

    “Laaaava!”

    Pyro flew out of the haze and tumbled to the floor with a semicircle of bruises across one of his legs. That vaporeon must’ve had quite a strong jaw to hurl such a large foe across the field. Pyro wasn’t nearly out of the fight just yet and quickly scrambled to his feet. To both of our horror, a large plume of water rose up from the center of the field, swirling around in a vortex. Like a long appendage it twirled around then sliced down through the air, aimed right at Pyro. He quickly dove out from under the crosshairs, but that didn’t stop him from getting drenched as the ice-cold water hit the ground beside him and splattered everywhere. The attack also cut a path through the fog, blowing aside the bulk of the smokescreen.

    Vaporeon stood on its end of the field, watery skin still glistening with a purple hue as the blade of water receded back to its tail and evaporated. Intending to try to finish off Pyro, it rushed forward while opening its maw to fire a water gun at the tired and panting Quilava.

    “Counter with Ember!” I yelled in desperation, knowing that even though fire attacks were weak to water, we need to make a stand; he couldn’t keep dodging like this forever. Grounding his feet once more, Pyro reignited his flames with renewed vigor, smoke trickling out the corner of his maw as he let it loose. The two attacks collided in the center of the field, hissing in a huge cloud of steam. Through the mist I saw the fiery orange glow of his attack dim and flicker, then vanish with an accompanying yelp. As the moisture settled, their two forms gradually emerged. Pyro lay on his side breathing heavily, his vents extinguished. Vaporeon stood over him with one paw on his neck, ready to blast him again if he tried to resist. Clearly, the fight was over, and even Pyro knew when he was outmatched.

    The official called the round, and Vaporeon let up on Pyro and walked over to Ashley. Amid the rousing cheers from the crowd, I ran out onto the field and picked up Pyro. Thoroughly drenched, he was still conscious but vigorously shivering from the icy water. He looked a little bummed by the loss, avoiding my gaze.

    “Don’t feel bad, it’s the experience that counts, not who wins.” I gave him a warm hug, although his body was awkwardly a little too large to carry in my arms so I recalled him to his ball. Looking up, I found myself face to face with Ashley. She held out her hand, which I shook.

    “Good match. I hope your pokémon didn’t get hurt too badly.”

    I nodded back, “Some rest and they’ll be fine.” We both walked out of the stadium and headed back to the center to get our team healed and rested, Vaporeon tagging along at our heels.



    We handed over our pokéballs to the nurse at the counter and sat down to wait. Vaporeon curled up beside Ashley; from the looks of it, it hadn’t been noticeable hurt during our battle. Pyro could barely land a scratch with his fiery attacks. She struck up some conversation to pass the time.

    “I don’t think I’ve introduced us, my name’s Ashley, and this is Kai.” She motioned to Vaporeon, who lay motionless, probably just resting in preparation for their next few matches.

    “Mark, and you’ve already seen Mira and Pyro.”

    She nodded, and began stroking Kai along the back. “So you became a trainer not too long ago?” I told her just a few days ago and asked how she knew. “Your Eevee, Mira, was it? She doesn’t seem to have been in many battles.”

    “Yea. I figured we probably weren’t going win any prizes, but we’d at least get lots of experience.”

    She waved her hand dismissively, “Lots of trainers do the same. Although evolution stones aren’t that valuable.” She motioned to Kai, pulling into view a necklace around his neck that I hadn’t noticed earlier. A blue gem hung from it, sparkling in the light. “When he evolved, I had the water stone made into a necklace, as a keepsake. It’s still just as potent, though, since stones don’t lose their energy for hundreds of years. It’s never hard to find a trainer with the stone they’d let you borrow.”

    We continued chatting and a few minutes later, the nurse came back out and returned our pokémon, tired but healed. Ashley turned to leave, “I have to get back for the next round, but I hope you stick around for the rest of the tournament. Lots of cool action to see.”

    “Yep, not going anywhere today, we’ll be sure to cheer you three on. Good luck!”



    I let Mira and Pyro out of their balls. They seemed to be fine, just tired, although both were somewhat sluggish, probably just down from losing earlier.

    “Cheer up, you both were amazing out there.” I ruffled Mira’s fur and picked her up into my arms. Pyro would be fine, he’d seen plenty of victories and losses, but something like this could deter Mira from ever battling competitively again.

    I filled both of them in on what had transpired during the other’s match, making sure to emphasize Mira’s contribution to beating Chikorita. I think it lightened her mood somewhat, as she began attentively listening to my description of Pyro’s bout. When I got around to mentioning Kai, I saw her ears pique with interest.

    “I was wondering, what do you think about evolving, Mira?”

    Of course, I couldn’t tell exactly what her reply “Eevee, vee” meant, but I think it would be best if she didn’t rush that kind of decision; if the inclination came in the future, I’m sure she would let me know.

    We rested in the center and watched the bustling activity of trainers, eventually grabbing a bite to eat before heading back out to the stadium around midafternoon, this time as spectators. By now it was the third round with only about 20 trainers remaining, a few per bracket. I looked up the standings in the lobby, and was surprised to see Ashley at the finals for our group, to battle again in several minutes. Well, more impressed than surprised, as she had beaten me quite handily.

    We filed into some reserved seats for participating trainers near the sidelines of battlefield. The current match ended with a charmeleon toasting a scyther for the win, and Ashley and her opponent entered. A quick handshake, and they retreated to their respective halves, and released Chikorita and a Raticate. By this point in the tournament, the crowd’s cheering had risen to a cacophonous roar, and the battle began.

    Mira and Pyro eyed the two combatants, cheering vocally whenever Chikorita landed a hit; if we had to lose, we might as well lose to the eventual champion. Although wielding quite a bit of power with its fangs, Raticate was too slow to dodge Chikorita’s many ranged attacks, quickly ending in defeat for the large rat. She switched out for Kai when their opponent sent out a nasty-looking Fearow, and the experienced Vaporeon put the beat down on the bird with his icy water attacks, grabbing Ashley the win. The three of us probably cheered the loudest at this, as we watched the winners from all the brackets line up for their prizes. Mira appeared to enjoy watching the battles tremendously, having a great time relaxing and not brooding over our own battle.

    By this time it was already evening, so we ended up staying another night at the center, planning to continue our travel towards the lab the next day. Thankfully, the sport of battling was profitable enough that all participants that passed the qualification round got a consolation cash prize, enough to resupply us for the next few days.

    We hung out in the pokémon center lobby for the rest of the evening, letting the two socialize with the other trainer’s pokémon, while I kept a watchful eye; I was determined to not let this become a repeat of last time they roamed off by themselves.

    Eventually, we headed to our room for a good night’s sleep. Mira snuggled under the covers next to me, while Pyro sprawled out on top. The red spots on his body radiated dimly in the darkness, glowing with warmth in tune with his breathing. I stoked them both on the head gently, before dozing off.

    “Good night, my two champs.”

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    Last edited by Cyn; 19th November 2012 at 4:35 PM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  11. #11
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    Jan 2012
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    Chapter 6 - Lost and Found

    Surprisingly, I was able to sleep in that morning without being awoken abruptly by Mira or Pyro. I figured we could use the extra rest before hitting the road again. We were still several days travel from the lab and there wouldn’t be another town along the way, so I definitely was going to get as much as I could out of our stay here at the center.

    After a leisurely breakfast, we finally made it out onto the open road by late morning. Once again, the weather was perfect, not too hot or cool. And even though this region didn’t have a hot tropical climate, I had yet to see something other than cloudless sunshine. Pyro decided to walk outside of his ball with us, now that his larger build made it easier to run around. Mira rode with me, flopped out lazily atop my head admiring the scenery as we walked. Trees sprung up around us as the path veered off from the adjacent grasslands into the woods.

    Every now and then, we would run across some wild pokémon: a furret scurrying across the path or maybe a pidgey chirping in the nearby trees. Mostly, they just minded their own business; unlike the games I used to play, we weren’t in any danger whatsoever as long as we stuck to the dirt route. The few bold pokémon that did end up challenging us to a battle were quickly defeated by Pyro, most with only one or two volleys of ember. Needless to say, there wasn’t much in the woods here that could put up a good fight. Despite this, Pyro had managed to produce a vivid flamethrower a few times, but try as he might, he couldn’t repeat his feat intentionally. I guess we would have to keep working on that, or wait until he naturally developed the skill with age.

    - - -

    In the early afternoon, we reached a point where the path narrowed sharply, and the trees increased dramatically in size and density. The canopy overhead closed up what patches of sky tried to peek through, letting only a few tiny beams of dusty sunlight drift down through the leaves and light up the darker undergrowth. The path twisted deeper into the forest, the dense growth obstructing our view to a mere dozen or so yards. In the middle of the path stood a signpost, a clear warning to travelers.

    Plumera Forest Limit

    Distance to Exit: 15 km

    Warning: Be wary of any poison-types ahead, Antidotes or Pecha berries required. Not for inexperienced travelers, at least 1 Gym Badge recommended.

    Proceed at your own risk.


    Below was a large map, depicting a maze-like web of paths that wandered the area seemingly without direction. There weren’t any landmarks I could tell on the map, but if the forest stayed this dense, I wouldn’t be able to see them anyways. Not one of those goddamn unnavigable forests. It seemed like they always sprung up in the games when you were least prepared. I paused, evaluating our next move. Good thing I had thought to buy status healers at the pokémart, including an antidote, so that wouldn’t be a problem. My only concern was the warning about having gym badges. But how dangerous could it be? We hadn’t seen any highly aggressive pokémon so far today, and Pyro would have an edge against any bug and poison types we might encounter. Plus, we would hopefully be out the other side before we set up camp for the night. I looked to Mira and Pyro for their opinions.

    “The sign says the forest is more dangerous than the main road. You two think we can make it through?” Of course, Pyro stood on his hind legs, head ablaze and posed his usual ‘I can take on anything’. As for Mira, I could feel her holding onto me more tightly, wary of the path forward. “Eevee...” she murmured, burying her head in my hair.

    I patted her reassuringly, and began walking. “Don’t worry, we’ll be just fine.”

    - - -

    And, we were lost. Apparently, looking at a map isn’t the most helpful if you’re going by memory alone. This place had more twists and turns, forks and dead ends than Viridian forest. Particularly dead ends. I looked up at the only bit of sky I could see above us. We still had maybe an hour of daylight left, I was beginning to worry if we could find our way out before complete darkness fell. Traveling by night was out of the question; with the forest so thick, it’d be practically pitch-black, even with Pyro providing a source of light. Even now it was already getting quite dim, not a single ray of sunshine able to make it through the treetops.

    Not to mention the numerous attacks by angry bug-types, with frequent appearances of Weedle and Spinarak. Luckily, Pyro was usually quick to scare them off with a bit of fire, so no one was hurt... yet. But they were much more aggressive than I anticipated. Who knew what would become of us after nightfall? The forest was beginning to awaken, replacing the previous silence with sporadic jarring calls echoing through the trees, or creepy scuttling in the undergrowth. In general, we were all a bit on edge, with good reason.



    For the umpteenth time, we stumbled onto another wide path, I could have sworn we’d passed before. As I had grown to suspect, we were definitely walking in circles. Ahead of us, the trail branched in several directions, each looking identical to all the other forks we’d encountered. Sighing, I threw up my hands in resignation.

    “Alright, I’m out of ideas. You two got any?”

    Pyro shrugged unhelpfully, while Mira gave me an I told you so look, retaining her nervous grip on me as she peered worrisomely at the deep shadows of the surrounding trees. “Ah well, let’s try...” I twirled my finger around blindly, “that way.” Just as we started walking, I heard a nearby cry off in the trees. Usually, this meant that some aggressive pokémon was about to jump out of the bushes, and so Pyro took a fighting stance in the direction of the sound.

    The bushes bordering the path started rustling, something quickly approaching us on foot.

    A white blur streaked out of the thicket, stumbled forward and immediately plowed straight into Pyro, knocking them both to the ground with a confused crash.

    “Quill!” Pyro angrily untangled himself and shoved the newcomer to the side as he scrambled back up. At this point I realized that the pokémon in question was a tired and beat up Flaaffy. It’s tail was glowing a faint blue, casting an eerie light on our surroundings as it got back up. After quick glance at us three, Flaaffy dashed around to hide behind me, quivering and shying away from the opposite side of the path. A wavering “Flaaa” accompanied, its gaze, clearly afraid of something.

    Hmm, this feels familiar...

    Another dissonant commotion, then a few dark silhouettes emerged from the branches the trees above us, landing with a soft thump in the shadows. A pair of dim yellow eyes appeared, followed by a low growl. Step by step, the figure emerged, sporting bright green flowing leaves and a deep red underbelly. Standing upright, the Grovyle barked out a single order and motioned at us with a claw, presumably for us to step out of the way. Behind him, I could barely make out several inky forms lurking in the shadows, too hidden to accurately discern.

    Smoke began trickling out of Pyro’s growling mouth as he faced off against our foe, ready to defend. Even Mira gave a soft growl from on top of my head.

    I looked down at Flaaffy, who was still shaking in fear. It appeared much more seriously hurt than last time, with several deep cuts and numerous bruises. To my concern, it also look dangerously fatigued, as if it has been hunted restlessly for the past few days. As much as I wanted to stand and fight, with each passing second more shadows in the forest materialized into foes: a few nidoran stepped out of the bushes, a treecko jumped over onto a tree branch, a sizable black snake pokémon that I didn’t recognize coiled up at the base of the tree, with more undoubtedly on the way. Unlike last time, we were not only outnumbered but also undeniably outmatched.

    I whispered at Flaaffy out of the corner of my mouth, “Whatever you do, don’t shock me.”

    And to Pyro, “I know you want to fight, but I need you to use Smokescreen and run for it.” I received a reluctant nod as he too came to grips with the situation. “Right... NOW!”

    With a swift scoop I picked up Flaaffy, hoisting it into my arms and made a beeline down the first path I could see. Grovyle and company let out some muffled and confused shrieks as they were enveloped in a dense black cloud, courtesy of Pyro. Pyro then followed my lead and together we raced down the trail, trying to put as much distance as possible between us and them. As I expected, it only bought us a few seconds as I heard the bawls of our pursuers as they tried to reorganize. Hopefully it would at least take them a few minutes to figure out in which direction we had fled.

    We probably ran at least half a mile through half a dozen forks. I figured that now was as good a time as any to jump off the path and find a good spot to hide; if they were still chasing maybe they’d miss us. After searching the nearby undergrowth, we finally decided on a concealed hollow in a rather large tree. Quickly, we hid inside and waited silently, hoping to god that we had lost them. Pyro had extinguished his flames so the glow wouldn’t give us away in the growing darkness of the forest. With baited breath, I heard the chorus of pursuing calls grow, steadily getting closer along the path, then to my relief passing us without notice.

    We waited quietly for a few more minutes until I was sure that we were totally alone. At this point, the Flaaffy in my arms began fidgeting uncomfortably, so I lay it down on the ground gently. It merely sat there, resting with its eyes closed, several bloody cuts and bruises dotting its rosy-pink skin.

    “You’re badly hurt, will you let me help?” I figured it’d be better to ask first, considering its reaction last time.

    Flaaffy opened an eye and stared at me and Pyro, considered my plea through a pained grimace. Slowly, it nodded once, then closed its eyes once more. Now that we were in no immediate danger, Pyro provided some light and I examined Flaaffy and its wounds. This Flaaffy was female, and from what I could tell from the pokédex, overexhausted and faint from loss of blood. Not to mention the rather severe battle wounds she had acquired. Most was taken care of by a few bottles of potion, but I only had enough to go over the most serious injuries. Finishing with a few wrapped bandages, she appeared to be in pretty good shape, merely in need of a lot of rest. I sat back, admiring my work.

    Suddenly Pyro let out a shrill, “Lava, quilava!” The flame on his head brightened considerably as he looked around the hollow frantically, poking his nose everywhere searching for something.

    I waved my hands, “No no no, dim that down, we don’t want to risk being seen.”

    He glanced back at me, a look of dread in his eyes, and he nudged a pokéball out my pack. It wasn’t one of the spare ones, this was Mira’s... MIRA! Amid all the chaos of our escape, it wasn’t until now that I noticed that she was nowhere to be found. And if she wasn’t here, that meant she was alone... out there in the dangerous forest.

    Making sure that Flaaffy was safely hidden in our little nook, Pyro and I raced back to the path and retraced our steps carefully, looking for any signs of Mira. From the looks of our surroundings we had only about half an hour until complete darkness, but the dense forest had already grown incredibly dark, Pyro’s light piercing the darkness for only a few feet.



    Desperately, we searched everywhere we could, both up and down the path as well as down several of the forks we had passed on our way. Unfortunately, to both our dismay, our efforts turned out fruitless. By now evening had passed, and the nocturnal forest was beginning to absorb all ambient light. We just barely managed to find our way back to the hollow tree.

    Pyro whined as we returned, wanting to keep up the search. However, even with his help lighting the way, I couldn’t see a thing in the lightless underbrush. Wearily, I began setting up camp.

    “There’s nothing more we can do tonight, I can barely see a thing.” Pyro’s whines sharply increased, alarmed that I could leave Mira out there, alone and vulnerable. I sighed, giving him a comforting pat on the head.

    “I know you’re worried to death, so am I, but I need you here at camp, for both of our protection.” I gestured to myself and Flaaffy, who was still sleeping peacefully in the corner. “We’ll start again first thing in the morning, and I promise you, we’ll find her.”


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


    We had been wandering around in these woods for hours now, and I was beginning to think we were lost. I mean, why would you even want to enter such a creepy place? I could see right from the start that it would be a bad idea, with the darkness and gloomy feeling that I felt everywhere. At least I had Pyro and Mark to keep me company; with them, I tried to assure myself nothing bad was going to happen. We slowly came to a stop, as Mark looked around at the surrounding trees. Even though I grew up in a forest, all the trees in this gloomy place looked identical.

    “Alright, I’m out of ideas. You two got any?”

    I looked down at his face from my perch. Didn’t I tell you this was a bad idea? It didn’t matter now, the forest was growing darker and we definitely weren’t leaving any time soon.

    A rustle in the brush nearby, and out of nowhere a whitish-pink blur flew out of the bushes and tumbled right into Pyro. To my surprise, I saw the Flaaffy from a few days ago untangle herself from Pyro, then stumble over behind Mark to hide. From what, I wonder? I didn’t have to wait long before a dark shape landed from the trees and pair of scary yellow eyes appeared. Slowly, the menacing Grovyle emerged from the shadows.

    “Out of my way,” he growled, gesturing with his razor sharp claws.

    More shadows lurked behind him, but I hoped that Pyro would be able to scare them all off with some of his amazing fire. I really wished that I could be as good at battling as he was, but after what happened last time I didn’t know if I could ever be that great.

    I must’ve not been paying attention to what Mark was whispering, because all of a sudden he picked up Flaaffy and started running down the path, leaving a black cloud of smoke in our wake. I didn’t expect such sudden action, and had trouble clinging to Mark’s head as he sprinted down the trail, jumping over roots and rocks and hills. With each passing moment, my paws slipped further and further. I called out for him to slow down, but to no avail.

    I just couldn’t hold on.

    With a small cry, I was flung off into the abyss of darkness, tumbling and rolling down a steep hill before gradually coming to a stop. The sounds of Mark running faded as I, dazed, slowly got up to my feet and started climbing back up the hill.

    “No, don’t leave me behind!” I cried out, hoping that Pyro or Mark could still hear me.

    Just as I cleared the top of the hill and scrambled back onto the path, I heard some voices approaching, and they certainly weren’t friendly. Cautiously, I hid in the roots of a large tree as a large group of shadowy pokémon ran past on the trail.

    “Come on, they went this way!”

    “Are you sure? Grovyle will have our head if we lose them!”

    “You dimwit, they must have stuck to the path, the forest is too thick for a large human to get very far.”

    The voices passed without noticing me, fading into the distance further down the trail. I waited a minute or two to make sure they were gone before I left my hiding spot and ran down the trail. I needed to catch up to Pyro and Mark before nightfall, so that... I didn’t even want to think about what might happen if I didn’t find them.

    I passed by a few forks in the road, picking whichever I thought Mark was most likely to pick. However, after about ten minutes of running the path practically faded into the surrounding brush. Exhausted, I persistently continued weaving in and out of the rocks and roots. The woods were really dark now, and every now and then I would hear a pokémon call in the distance, making me jump and hide in the nearby brush, in case any powerful angry pokémon happened to walk by. Even with my good night vision, I could barely see in the moonless shade. My hopes of finding them were starting to dissolve.

    My frantic pace slowed to a crawl and tears began welling in my eyes. What am I going to do? There’s no way I’m going to find Pyro in this forest.

    I rounded a boulder and noticed a tiny orange glow in the distant trees. My heart leapt at this and I rushed towards it. It has to be Pyro! The light grew brighter as I approached, streaming from a small cleared area in the woods. Tears of joy streaming down my face, I rushed straight into the heart of the clearing.

    And ran smack into a bright green body.

    Tripping, we both tumbled towards the source of the light, myself ending up resting head-first in the dirt. A loud cry, “Fire, fire!!!” and a moment later I felt a series of twisting vines wrap themselves around my legs and tail, lifting me upside down in the air. I found myself face-to-face with a rather angry Chikorita, the dark green leaf on her head singed and smoking. A growl emanated from her; apparently I had knocked her into what I now realized was a campfire glowing in the center of the glade. I began struggling to free myself of the firm vines holding me in place.

    “Hey, lay it off, Chikorita” A large shadow walked up behind me, and Chikorita reluctantly released the vines and plopped me back on the ground. I turned and bared my fangs, trying to look as ferocious as possible. Whatever I stumbled into, I wasn’t going down without a fight.

    A pair of hands picked me up, and I instinctively lashed out with my claws, resisting any attempts to contain me again.

    “Woah, just calm down!”

    I flashed a look at my captor, and realized that it was another human, not some hostile pokémon that roamed this nightmarish forest. I reluctantly quelled my fighting, but still fidgeted anxiously as the female trainer placed me gently in her lap.

    “Let’s see, what’s a little Eevee doing all alone in the middle of Plumera forest?” She inquired.

    I knew she couldn’t understand me, but I answered anyways, “I got separated from my friend and trainer.” No response, as I expected. She continued to brush my fur, which felt pretty nice and calming. Anything to get my mind off being lost in that godforsaken forest.

    “Help in translation, guys?” She asked.

    I turned and noticed for the first time a Vaporeon staring at me from the corner of the camp. He slowly got up and lazily walked over to us, then fished out a small pokéball from the trainer’s bag. He plopped it down next to me on her lap, then laid back down to rest.

    The trainer looked at the ball, then at me, “So I guess you’re not a wild Eevee, then?” I shook my head, my ears laid back thinking of Pyro and Mark. They were probably out there looking for me, too.

    “Got separated from your trainer?” A silent nod.

    She smiled reassuringly, “Well, you can stay with us for the night, then we’ll see about finding that trainer of yours in the morning.” A pause, as she thought for a moment. “You know, Eevee aren’t too common a pokémon in general, I wonder...” Her words drifted off, but I didn’t care as long as she kept scratching my back so nicely.

    “Oh, I almost forgot to introduce us.” She gestured to Vaporeon, “This is Kai, and I suspect that you’ve already met Chikorita before.” I took a closer look at the green plant-like pokémon. Could it be...? She was starting to look a lot like the Chikorita I had faced in battle previously. The more I examined her, the more sure of it I was.

    Seeing my reaction, the trainer laughed, “I’m Ashley, and I guess that settles it, tomorrow we’re looking for a feisty Quilava and a rather naďve trainer.”

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    Last edited by Cyn; 19th November 2012 at 8:46 PM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  12. #12
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    Jan 2012
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    Chapter 7 - A Dangerous Game

    The first thing I noticed when I woke up was the cold. If you’ve ever been camping, you know what mornings are like: chilly, brisk air, a fresh coating of dew, a thin layer of fog that hadn’t quite burned off yet lingering along the ground. A mound of cold charcoal from our campfire lay nearby, the tiny fire having smothered itself out sometime during the night. Yawning, I sat up and stretched; if I was going to be traveling like this more, I needed to get accustomed to sleeping out in the wilderness rather than in a nice soft bed.

    “G’morning, time to get up,” I murmured sleepily. In the corner of the hollow, Flaaffy still lay dozing, curled up into a tight ball next to the extinguished fire. I quietly crept over to double-check the bandages I had applied, just to make sure everything was healing properly.

    “Looks good, you shouldn’t need these much longer.” At that point my stomach gave a rather noticeable growl, and I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since the previous day’s lunch. With a sigh, I started to rummage through my pack for some food. “You hungry, Pyro?”

    No response.

    I turned to quickly scan the surrounding glade. Besides Flaaffy and myself, the clearing was completely empty, no sign of Pyro. A small depression of leaves lay in the corner where he had settled in for the night, now empty. A chilling feeling of dread crept into my mind. No... this isn’t happening... After our experience last night, I had begun to realize just how dangerous this forest was.

    And now I was totally unprotected.

    I slipped a peek at the surrounding forest, for any signs of where Pyro had headed. The woods appeared calm for now, no signs of any nearby pokémon. The sun wasn’t high enough in the sky to peek through the foliage overhead, but it was definitely brighter than it had been in the early evening. Off to the side, I spotted an unusually-shaped marking on a tree trunk and bent down to investigate. Around knee-height, three deep gouges dug into the thick bark, the edges surrounded with ashen burnt wood. A few yards away, another scarred tree, leading away from our camp.

    A path! Thank god Pyro didn’t forget completely about me, at least leaving a way to follow him. I quickly ducked back into our little campsite and began packing. Damn, why’d he leave me behind like that? I thought I had made it very clear that I couldn’t physically do any more good for the rest of the night, that I also needed him with me. Regardless, what was done was done, and I needed to catch up with him fast.

    As I turned to leave our little hollow, I stopped to decide what to do with Flaaffy. On one hand, I could leave her there, sheltered and hidden until she woke up and made her own way. On the other, I needed at least a modicum of protection against the wild forest inhabitants, and I would much rather have Flaaffy accompany me than head out alone. Cautiously, I reached over and tapped her on the shoulder to wake her up, trying to not make any sudden moves; I definitely didn’t want to get shocked by accident.

    “Come on, wake up.”

    After few more shakes she began to stir. A single eye opened slightly, then suddenly shot wide open. “Flaaaaffy!” The pink lamb bolted upright and instinctively retracted into a tight ball in alarm. I heard the soft crackling of static, and the hairs on my arms suddenly stood on end.

    “Ahh, no, it’s me!” I cried as I backed off.

    She eyed me for a few more moments as more static energy built up in the air, then finally relaxed when she remembered who I was. Sighing with relief, I poked out a plump dark blue berry from my pack that I had picked yesterday and offered it to Flaaffy. She looked up from examining the bandages I had applied earlier and accepted it, gobbling the sweet fruit down in a few quick bites. I smiled and gave her another, and as she ate I laid out my proposal.

    “So, Flaaffy, if you haven’t noticed already, Pyro, my quilava, kinda ran off without me. I really need to find the rest of my team.” She gave me a quizzical look and like I had scanned our campsite for my companions, then thoughtfully returned to munching on her food.

    “Please. I don’t want to leave them out there alone. I know you’re wild and all, but I really could use your help.” I pleaded.

    She finished up her meal and looked at me, then at the forest behind me, then back to me. I offered her a hand up, commenting, “Y’know, I have more berries...”

    “Flaaffy!” Deciding that it was worth the trouble to accompany me, she nodded and stood up ready to go. However, after a few steps she stumbled and I had to help her back up. “I guess you’re not fully healed yet.” I ended up carrying her gently in my arms so she could rest some more as we ventured out of our shelter and followed Pyro’s markers through the dense undergrowth.



    We trudged through the woods for at least an hour or two; apparently Pyro had quite a head start when I had woken up. By then Flaaffy had gotten fed up with the bumpy ride over tree roots and the like and felt rested enough to slowly walk by herself. She trailed behind me, careful not to overexert her injuries. The terrain wasn’t too treacherous for us, as Pyro too had to weave through the tangle in his meandering search. I admired his dedication to placing markers every few yards or so without fail. Not just for my benefit, of course; if Mira happened to stumble across the path, with her keen sense of smell she would no doubt figure out to follow it as well.

    We didn’t encounter any strong pokémon, but the few smaller species like Rattata knew enough to avoid any direct confrontations with Flaaffy. Good thing too, as I didn’t know how reliable she would be in battle.

    When the scorch marks began to feel warm to the touch, I knew we were closing in on Pyro. Sure enough, a few minutes later as we rounded some boulders, I heard a faint whimper ahead. We rushed forward, and my eyes finally fell on Pyro. The quilava lay at the base of a medium-sized oak, reaching up and trying to gouge into the bark with a feeble paw. I knew he was desperately trying to keep up his search, but his lack of food, sleep and overwhelming anxiety was definitely starting to take its toll.

    “Pyro!” I cried out.

    His head turned to look in our direction. I think I spied a relieved smile before he willingly collapsed, unable to continue. Rushing over, I sat down and cradled Pyro in a warm hug. Tears were welling up in his eyes as he gazed back at me apologetically. “Shh, it’s alright, everything’s gonna be okay.”

    Flaaffy edged closer to examine Pyro, the object of our search. Looking up at me, she gave me an annoyed look, as if to say We’ve been walking all morning just to find this? She prodded me gently for another berry.

    I sighed. Fishing out yet another snack, I tossed it to Flaaffy and pulled out some food and a bottle of water for Pyro. He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since last night, as we hadn’t passed any streams on our search. Pyro gratefully took a drink and nibbled on his meal as he peered curiously at Flaaffy. “Lava?” He inquired.

    “I was so worried when you left, I asked her to help me find you.” At this, Pyro avoided my gaze, eating quietly to himself. I softly stroked the dark blue fur behind his pointy ears, “I know that you care a lot for Mira, and I completely understand why you left to search. I don’t blame you at all.” A thin smile crept across his face, and he resumed his meal with renewed energy.

    We sat and rested for a while, letting Pyro recuperate while Flaaffy wandered around and explored the surrounding forest. I was beginning to wonder why she was hanging out with us even after I had found Pyro; maybe for the food? We had passed a few berry bushes along the way that I had gladly picked, so it couldn’t be just that. We did save her from Grovyle and his gang, so maybe she was thankful for our help.

    I quickly shelved my curiosity; not something I needed to worry about at the moment. Caring for Pyro and finding Mira was much more important. After Pyro rested a bit, we’d resume our search in earnest.


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


    “All right, everyone, let’s head out.”

    We set out much earlier in the morning than I would’ve liked. The woods were just beginning to brighten, and even though I really wanted to rejoin Pyro and Mark as soon as possible, I was sick and tired of this forest. I just wanted to get out of the creeping shadows that lined every nook and cranny. As I reached the edge of the campsite I stopped and watched Ashley and Chikorita set off into the trees, unsure if I wanted to follow.

    A comforting blue paw rested on my shoulder. “No need to worry, Mira, we’ve travelled through this forest several times before, and there’s nothing we can’t handle,” a level voice reassured me. Kai strutted past, then beckoned for me to follow, “Unless you’d rather stay behind, of course.”

    With a muffled, “Eek”, I followed their lead, plowing off into the unknown depths of the forest.



    You would think that I would feel at home clambering over roots and around tree trunks. And normally you’d be right, if it were a familiar setting. I’d spent months in my home valley forest, but every place is new and strange and different, one of the reasons I first wanted to travel. But now that I thought about it, exploring unknown places might not be my thing. This area was so much thicker and darker than my home forest, I just couldn’t get out of my mind that some big, scary pokémon could be lurking behind every corner. Ashley must have noticed my lack of confidence, striking up a conversation in the meantime.

    “So I guess you’re not from this area, huh?” she guessed, seeing me carefully observing my surroundings for danger as we walked. Knowing she couldn’t understand my speech, I merely shook my head, and tried to tell myself that we were perfectly safe. I had battled firsthand against Chikorita, who was leading our little party, and so was confident in her battling abilities. Furthermore, Kai was stronger in battle than even Pyro. But, try as I might, that creepy feeling just wouldn’t go away.

    “Don’t be afraid, I’ll make sure you get back to Mark safe and sound,” she tried to reassure me. I felt a little better, and as the day got brighter hopefully my mood would improve.

    She continued, “I can tell you and Mark haven’t been training together very long.” I nodded timidly, unsure where she was going with this. “But from what I’ve seen, you have a lot of potential. Don’t let our match the other day leave a bad impression on battling.” Glancing at Kai, who was bringing up the rear of our party, she smiled. “Especially once you evolve, you’d become quite the formidable fighter.”

    I screeched to a halt. Evolve? To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it a lot. There really wasn’t any need in back at home, being secluded from most other dangerous pokémon and relatively sparsely populated. Plus, I usually could count on Pyro whenever we both got into trouble. Of course while growing up, my mom and dad, an umbreon and a leafeon, had educated me about pokémon evolution, and my choices of form. They kept saying how it was one of the most important and permanent choices you could make in life, not to be made lightly. I was never one for making hard decisions; if the time came, hopefully I would know in my heart what the right choice was.



    We resumed walking for a while, myself silently deep in thought. To be honest, I hadn’t met any other eeveelutions since I parted company with my parents, and so was pleasantly surprised when I first met Kai. Perhaps he could give me some experienced insight on what to do.

    I fell back and timidly nudged Kai. “Hey, Kai? I was wondering if I could ask you something.”

    The vaporeon raised his eyebrows, “Sure, I guess. What’s on your mind?”

    “You were an eevee once, like me,” I replied. “How did you know when you were ready to evolve, and that you wanted to be a Vaporeon?”

    Kai smiled, staring off into the distance as we walked. “Ah, the age-old question. First of all, keep in mind that it’s your choice to make, and yours alone. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. As for me, that was quite a long time ago... yet it seems like it was only yesterday.” He paused, as if trying to figure out how best to answer. “I’m not quite sure when I actually decided, but I know that I’ve always felt comfortable around water. When I was a little Eevee, Ashley used to take me to this lake by her house all the time to swim and play around. I guess the water just felt natural to me, so when we finally started our journey, I already had my mind set.

    “Ashley’s parents actually gave me my water stone as a parting gift.” He motioned to the necklace bouncing gently against the white frill around his neck. A blue tear-shaped gem hung from it, shining brightly in the scattered beams of sunlight. It felt as if it was radiating some sort of energy, like a nice warm glowing aura. “At that moment, I knew in my heart that I was ready,” he concluded. We walked in silence for a moment.

    “Thanks for sharing, Kai,” I said, even though I wasn’t sure how much his response helped.

    “Don’t worry too much about it. When the time is right, you’ll know. Come on, let’s catch up with the others.”

    We hurried forward; Ashley and Chikorita had already turned around a large tangle of twisting roots ahead of us, we were lagging so far behind. However, something caught my eye as we passed the bramble: an unusually-shaped fire scar at the base. Although not common, many trees had scars like these, especially in areas that had experienced a mild forest fire in the recent past. This one, though, was shaped almost like a claw mark, as if a fire-type pokémon had carved it there on purpose. I paused to give it a sniff, trying to identify who might be the culprit... a quilava... but not just any one...

    Pyro!

    With a high-pitched squeal, I called for Ashley and Chikorita to backtrack. “Hey! Come check this out!”

    Some rustling on the other side, then Chikorita poked her head over the mass of roots. “Whatcha find?” she asked, her leaf twitching slightly as she gazed down at me.

    Ashley circled back around as I pointed out the burn to everyone. “Pyro passed through here! And...” I sniffed the air, searching for any other scents. A few dissipating smells, then I caught wind of a familiar one. A faint memory rose up, of Mark hugging me tightly after our incident with Mudkip. “And Mark too!”

    Ashley bent down to examine it closer, tracing her fingers over the burnt bark. “You can smell your friend, can’t you?” I nodded vigorously. She stood up and peered around for any other signs, finally stopping to point at the trees off on our left. “Over there, there’s another one. They’re marking a path for us! Let’s go.”

    Now with a clear heading, Chikorita resumed her position at the front of our group, the rest of us trailing behind single-file in the dense undergrowth. My heart was pounding rapidly in my chest, excitement and relief almost overcoming me. We’re almost there!


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



    I ended up convincing Pyro to rest in his pokéball while Flaaffy and I continued to meander through the woods. Luckily, I had packed a pocketknife with the rest of my camping gear, and with Flaaffy’s help I was able to replicate Pyro’s markers, for if and when Mira found the trail. The electrical scorches weren’t exactly the same as with fire, but I think after some knife gouges in the bark they managed to do the job, at least from a purely visual perspective.

    After another hour or so of slow progress we stumbled across a wide open rock shelf next to a narrow river. A sheer rocky cliff towered on the other side of the flowing water and further downstream the rapids culminated in what appeared to be a small waterfall. With the lack of trees on the riverside, I could finally see the sun above us clearly, and what a welcome sight it was!

    It seemed like a good time to stop for lunch, or at least take a small break. I certainly didn’t want to dawdle for too long, as there was no telling what could befall Mira in the meantime, but the beautiful scenery and peaceful gurgling of the water was too good to pass up. I released Pyro, who blinked a few times in the bright sunlight before stretching his legs.

    “Come on, we should eat some lunch.”

    I began rummaging for the pokémon food in my pack, and something to eat for me. Flaaffy emerged cautiously from the treeline to join us on the rocky outcrop, her keen nose sniffing the air for food. She would have to deal with Mira’s normal-type diet for now, as that was all I had, and the few berries I still carried probably wasn’t enough for an entire meal.

    Pyro and I ate mostly in silence, Pyro clearly still concerned, although glad for the food. Flaaffy, however, after consuming her portion in the blink of an eye, began trying to start up a conversation with Pyro. Although he was clearly annoyed and didn’t really want to talk, Flaaffy still kept pestering him instead of me; I guess from her point of view, I wasn’t the best conversation holder. My guess, she was trying to find out more about the two of us and Mira, if she was going to follow us for the time being.

    A rustling sound emanated from behind us, and I turned to peer at the bushes behind us. Hidden in the leaves, a huge black snake lay coiled, eyeing us with bright red eyes. Yellow diamonds marked the length of its body, culminating in a bladed blood-red tail. I think it was the same species as the unidentified serpent I had seen last night, but under cover of darkness I couldn’t be sure.

    “Sssssev...”

    Noticing that its position had been given away, the 3-meter python uncoiled and slithered towards us blindingly fast, a surprising speed for such a large body.

    “Ahh, Pyro, attack!” I yelled frantically, backing away from the treeline and towards the river. Pyro looked up from his food in alarm, while Flaaffy shyed away from the advancing snake, quivering slightly.

    The quilava turned to face our adversary, fire sizzling and ready for battle. With a few wide glides, the snake closed the gap and bared its crimson fangs with a loud hiss. It lunged to take a bite out of my arm, but was intercepted by a blazing hot flamethrower from Pyro. Burned and angry, the snake swung around to engage him.

    “Seviper!” With a intimidating hiss, it lashed out with its tail. The blade glowed purple as it sliced through the air, jabbing right at Pyro’s face. The nimble quilava jumped back to dodge, then with a battle cry retaliated with a heavy-hitting quick attack. The serpent angled its coils away from the hit, and the blow glanced off its tough scales with a resounding smack, throwing Pyro off balance and tumbling into the bushes.

    Flaaffy gave a sharp cry at this and began sparking at the collar, slowly straightening up into a defiant pose. She raised her arms and released a giant bolt of electricity, probably a thunderbolt judging by its size. With a snarl of pain the snake cringed under the onslaught of electricity. The attack faded, leaving its hide smoking visibly. However, it merely gave an angry hiss and rapidly uncoiled to engage Flaaffy. Either its scales gave it more electrical resistance, or Flaaffy just wasn’t very strong. With a direct glare at Flaaffy, a bright yellow light flashed from its eyes. The same light also enveloped Flaaffy’s outline for a moment, then faded. The snake then casually circled around Flaaffy to strike from a different angle.

    “Shock him again!” I called, hoping she would listen to me.

    Flaaffy tried to turn and face the advancing serpent, but cried out when she realized she couldn’t move one of her legs. The yellow glow must have been a paralyzing attack! She stumbled and fell to the ground with a thud, an easy target. The snake reared back to deliver the final strike.

    “No!”

    Quickly, I picked up a smooth river stone laying nearby and threw it at the snake’s head. My aim was a bit off, striking it further down its body, but it had the intended effect. It immediately shifted its attention to me, and I frowned when I saw what I interpreted as a menacing smirk. Unfortunately, only then did I realized that I, too, was just as defenseless. I couldn’t back up any further, already at the river’s edge. The snake raised its bladed tail, then lashed at me with the purple tip.

    I ducked and dove to the side, the tip barely grazing me on the arm. I hit the ground with a thud as it reared back to strike again, this time with blood-red fangs. There was no way I could dodge this one.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Pyro charging, flames spinning around him with a flame wheel attack. Thankfully the serpent didn’t notice, and Pyro struck it dead-center on the head. It cried out in anguish, Pyro having left some heavy burns on its face.

    “Lavaa!” Skidding to a stop between us, Pyro growled a fierce warning. Smoke dribbled out of the corner of his mouth, and his head and rear flames blazed full power. Through the heat rippling the air, I saw the snake stare at Pyro, then at Flaaffy recovering from her paralysis, then at me, sitting up and clutching my arm. With one final hiss, it slithered back into the brush, disappearing completely in a matter of seconds.

    I breathed a sigh of relief, “Whew, thank goodness that’s over with. Good work, you two.” As I started to get up, a sudden wave of dizziness swept over me. The world appeared to be spinning around me and the next thing I knew, I was on my back staring up at the sky, feeling incredibly tired and weak. A dull pain throbbed on my arm where I had been grazed by the snake’s tail, but it felt like it was quickly fading. I looked at the cut, and was scared to see thin, web-like filaments of dark purple slowly seeping from the wound, deep under the skin. With each passing second, a numbing sensation slowly crept up and down the rest of my arm.

    Poison. ****.

    I tried to crawl over to my knapsack a few yards away, but the weakness quickly spread from my arm to envelop my entire body. I collapsed onto the ground a yard short, my arm stretched out but unable to reach the bag. The dark fuzzy silhouettes of Pyro and Flaaffy entered the edges my vision as everything began to blur together.

    “My bag... antidote...” I gasped, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe.

    Pyro retreated to search the backpack, while Flaaffy looked over me in confusion; being a while pokémon, she probably didn’t know what I was talking about. To be honest, I didn’t expect either of them to be able to operate the needle-like medicine if I lost consciousness.

    Pyro kept searching for a few minutes as the numbness seeped into every corner of my body. My vision grew darker and darker, and I tried with all my willpower to keep myself awake, but to no avail. The last thing I could hear was Pyro scrambling around frantically on the rocky ground, before everything faded to silence.


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



    Around late morning, we stumbled across a small clearing, the surrounding trees and bushes teeming with Pyro’s scent. I could even pick up the more unfamiliar scent of Mark, so it appeared that they were at least together and safe. They had stopped here for a while before moving on, so we had to be getting close. By now, Kai and Chikorita too had recognized Pyro’s smell enough to conclude the same. Running forward and back past the line of markers, I tried to urge the rest of the party to hurry up. I wanted to reach them as soon as possible, so we could finally get out of this unexpectedly rough forest.

    “Woah, slow down and try to stay quiet,” Ashley cautioned, “We don’t want to attract unwanted attention.” Reluctantly, I slowed my pace and fell back in line as Chikorita resumed the lead. I obviously didn’t want to encounter any other scary pokémon like Grovyle, so for now I figured it would be best to listen to Ashley. At least she, Kai and Chikorita seemed to confidently know what they were doing.

    Again, we set off through the trees following the trail. However, I began to notice that the markers weren’t exactly the same; masking them was a new unknown scent, although it did seem strangely familiar. I couldn’t recall where I’d smelled it before, but being with the group I wasn’t too worried.



    The trees began thinning as the midday sun passed overhead, letting scattered beams of sunlight reach the forest floor. As we walked, I noticed that the markers were beginning to feel warm, some even smoking faintly. We must be getting close! I dashed forward around the next corner, my heart beating rapidly with excitement.

    BAP!

    Dazed, I stumbled back and look up at whatever I had run headlong into. Immediately, my blood chilled; looming over me was a huge black pokémon, with red fangs and an enormous elongated body and tail. With an angry snarl and a flick of his forked tongue, he hissed, “Ssstay out of way, runt.”

    I almost tripped over my own feet as I backed away as quick as I could. Kai, Chikorita and Ashley rounded the corner behind me and abruptly stopped in surprise. “Move along, and don’t think about causing any trouble,” warned Kai.

    The serpent’s eyes narrowed, then slowly slithered around us to pass. He gave me one last glare and I noticed a few light burns all over its face. In a low voice, he muttered to himself, “They won’t last long anyways... like that other human...”

    “Wait! What do you know about Mark?” I cried out.

    I could almost swear he was smirking as the rest of his tail vanished into the undergrowth. Terrified, I rushed forward along the trail as fast as I could. Behind me, I ignored the cries of “Come back!” and “Wait up!”, too preoccupied with worrying about what could have happened to Pyro and Mark. Ahead of me there appeared to be some sort of break in the trees, with bright light streaming down from the sky and the sound of water crashing in the background.

    Hold on, I’m coming!

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    Last edited by Cyn; 28th April 2013 at 4:35 AM.

    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

  13. #13
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    Ah, a reply. I understand.
    Good chappies. Can you make an Error for me to fix already? There are none!
    Ah, the age old poison human day. So unenjoyable. Everyone's developing well. There doesn't seem to be any rivals arising...
    Chappie!
    Formerly Grav.
    Quite inactive, but still available. If you have a fanfic that no one wants to review, PM/VM me and I'll give you a hand.

  14. #14
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    Chapter 8 - Seeking Answers

    At first, I noticed a few tiny pinpricks of light in the darkness, twinkling through my blurry vision. I cracked my eyes open further before I realized that I was laying on my back and staring up at the night sky. A small window of serene sky was visible, framed by the towering shadows of the surrounding trees. It took me a few moments to remember what had happened before I blacked out, and to appreciate that since I was thinking, I must still be alive. I didn’t sense any pain or numbness anywhere, but I still felt extremely tired as if I had just finished a marathon.

    To my right I heard the soft crackling of a blazing campfire. Glancing over, I could make out another person sitting next to it, preoccupied with the delicious-smelling pot over the campfire. As I groaned and slowly sat up, she noticed and stepped over to give me a hand.

    “Good to see you’re back with us,” she said softly, “You gave all of us quite a scare.”

    I rubbed my eyes and examined my surroundings more closely. It appeared we were still in the forest, in a tiny clearing just big enough for us two to lay down around the fire. The bright orange light washed over us but quickly faded to an inky darkness by the time it reached the enclosing trees. At the foot of the sleeping bag I had been resting on lay Mira and Pyro, sound asleep curled up next to each other. I gave a small sigh of relief Thank god she’s alright. I then took a good look at my rescuer, and it took me a few moments to figure out why she looked familiar.

    “You’re... Ashley, right? From the tournament...?” I spoke hoarsely.

    She handed me a bottle of water and a bowl of savory stew and nodded. “Yeah. After stumbling across your eevee all by herself, I figured we would run into each other.”

    “Thanks so much for helping Mira, and me as well.” I gave the stew a few sips, letting the warmth flow through me. The night air was chilly, barely held at bay by the crackling fire. After I felt a bit stronger, I moved to get up and check on Mira and Pyro. Gently, I shook the duo awake. “Hey, wake up.”

    Pyro opened an eye first and noticing it was me, nudged Mira as well. The eevee stirred and flicked her tail a couple more times, then grudgingly sat up and yawned. The moment she opened her eyes though, Mira immediately sprang to life. Crying out a joyous, “Vee!”, she jumped on me to lick my face vigorously.

    I gave her a hearty pat her on the head, “I’m so glad to see you all safe and sound!” As she continued her joyous barrage, I noticed Pyro merely smiling off to the side. He only uttered a single, “Quil..,” clearly glad that I was alright, but giving Mira and me some space.

    All of a sudden, Mira jumped back and stood in front of us, her eyes wide with shock. Gradually, her body began to glow with an inner white light that rapidly blanketed her entire body.

    “Mira, you’re evolving!” I exclaimed, jumping up to watch. I was thrilled; first Pyro, now Mira evolving just a few days apart. For Pyro, I knew judging by his battle experience it was only a matter of time, but Mira... here she was, full of surprises. However, the evolutionary luminescence around her wasn’t glowing as brightly as Pyro’s did when he evolved. In fact, it even seemed to have stopped intensifying. Mira gave a shrill, almost frightened yelp as she lay down on all fours and wrapped her tail tight around her body. She seemed to be focusing inwards as she closed her eyes and hummed a low, “Veeeee...” The light shining from her body was definitely darkening, and after several long seconds Mira’s eevee form returned in the dim firelight. She remained sitting there, out of breath and panting slightly.

    She... stopped evolving?

    “You know, choosing to evolve is a huge leap for a pokémon. Eevee usually find it a tougher choice than most others. She’s probably just not ready for that kind of commitment,” Ashley chimed in.

    I almost jumped at her comment, forgetting that she was watching from the sidelines. However, this entire situation was puzzling for me. From the games I’d played as a kid and what the pokédex mentioned before, obviously the evolution process could be stopped. But what pokémon wouldn’t want to get stronger? Especially one as timid as Mira? I carefully got up and picked up her trembling form. Some form of comfort was in order, but I hardly knew what to say.

    “Shh, it’s okay, it’s over. You don’t have to evolve if you don’t want to,” I gently reminded her.

    Mira gave a small smile as she fell back asleep, exhausted. As I returned to my bedroll and lay Mira down next to Pyro, I decided to have a short chat with Ashley before we got some rest for the remainder of the night. It had gotten slightly darker while I was awake, so it couldn’t be too late in the evening yet. Plus, I was merely drained, not sleepy. I could plainly tell Ashley was a well-traveled trainer, at least compared to myself. She had already helped more than I could ever thank her for, both with me and for finding Mira; perhaps she could share some experienced advice. Besides, I was also dying to know her and Mira’s side of the story. I ladled myself another helping of stew, then laid back in a comfortable position.

    “So, Ashley, do you mind filling me in on what happened while I was out?” I spoke softly as I watched Pyro curl up around Mira to keep her warm in the evening air.

    “Mira stumbled across our camp last night. Since trained eevee are quite uncommon, I figured she must’ve belonged to you. We set out to look for you this morning, and if it hadn’t been for those markers you left we probably wouldn’t have found you in time.” She paused for a moment, then, “How did you three get separated anyways?”

    I recounted our two confrontations with Grovyle and company during the past few days, our search for Mira, then Pyro, and finally the battle with what the Pokedex said was a Seviper. In the meantime, I noticed that Flaaffy was nowhere to be seen. She must have run off before Ashley reached us. “The next thing I knew, I found myself lying here.”

    She eyed me sternly, before replying, “You know you’re an idiot for trying to cross Plumera forest alone, especially without a single badge, right?” I winced, hurt by her rebuke. I certainly am not! Although the recent consequences of my actions clearly indicated otherwise. She pulled out a metallic case and revealed two colorful badges that gleamed in the firelight. “I have two badges and have been through here many times before, and even I still have to be extremely cautious. One rule you should remember is this: don’t interfere with wild pokémon matters unless you know for sure you can handle the situation.”

    I sat silenced for a bit, enjoying what was left of the meal before speaking up again. “Yeah, I didn’t expect Pyro to just jump into the battle without warning, or for us to get lost so easily in here. Can we follow you guys out of here in the morning?”

    “Of course, there’s pretty much only two ways in or out, you might as well as we’re heading in the same direction.” She began cleaning up her cooking supplies as I finished the rest of my bowl. “We should get some rest, it’s already really late.” I agreed, and we settled in around the glowing campfire for the night.

    - - -

    I woke again around sunrise, at least as best I could tell with all the trees around us. The tiny patch of sky overhead glowed a warm orange, the light barely breaking through the treetops. Around our campsite the morning mist still hung thick, giving the forest a calm but sort of eerie atmosphere. A slight rustle in the nearby bushes caught my attention as I sat up and stretched, so I got up and crept closer to have a look. I brushed apart the low hanging branches to reveal a pink and white ball of fluff scrambling to hide behind an overturned log. A few seconds later, Flaaffy meeped timidly as she poked her head over the rotting bark to peer back at me.

    I reached out a hand, “Come on out, it’s alright.”

    Flaaffy eyed me for almost a minute before she slowly abandoned her cover and stepped out into the clearing, keeping her eyes on me all the while. I found my pack neatly sitting up against a nearby rock and pulled out the last of the berries, throwing it over to her. With a small cry of delight, she dove on the morsel and greedily gobbled it up.

    “So you ended up sticking around, huh?” I said as I gingerly pet her on the head. Flaaffy jumped slightly at the touch, but with her mind on food she decided to just tolerate me for now. I sat back down and leaned against a tree and took a breath of fresh forest air. Just by looking around, these woods definitely didn’t appear as dangerous as our previous encounters had painfully demonstrated.

    It wasn’t very long before the rest of the camp arose from their slumber. As soon as Mira woke Pyro up, the two energetically dashed back and forth around the clearing, poking Flaaffy every now and then to try and get her to join them. Flaaffy however seemed to keep a more serious demeanor; she merely sat on the sidelines with Kai and smiled at their antics as Ashley and I packed and cleaned up our campsite. I was feeling well enough that we could head out immediately, but before we started off I knelt down beside Flaaffy.

    “You’ve been tagging along with me for a while now, I was wondering if you wanted to join me, Mira and Pyro on our travels?” She pondered the request for a bit, neither giving a clear yes or no. Eventually, I rummaged through my pack for a spare pokéball. But as soon as Flaaffy spied the red and white orb she panicked and fled to hide behind Kai, who gave her an amused look.

    I guess she doesn’t want to be caught just yet, although I could tell she had at least considered the possibility briefly. “If you don’t want me to catch you, that’s fine with me.” At my acknowledgement she relaxed visibly, her timidness all but gone. We finished packing and set off, returning Pyro and Kai to their pokéballs and the five of us headed out into the forest.



    With Chikorita leading the way, Ashley claimed we’d be out of here in only a few hours. From further inquiry, I learned that she had caught Chikorita the first time she ventured through here with Kai. Also, the forest was located nearby her hometown so that’s why the three of them traveled through here often. In fact, she was from Kupera town, the same town that the regional pokémon lab was in so we were actually headed to the same place.

    It was just about lunchtime when we finally reached the exit of this godforsaken forest. Lost, chased, separated, poisoned, our time here wasn’t exactly a model example on how to survive in the wilderness. However, as the trees thinned and transitioned into sparsely forested meadows, I could feel Mira noticeably relax atop my head. I guess she had decided that was her favorite perch to sit an enjoy the ride. With her being so light, it wasn’t a problem if she was lazy and didn’t want to walk. Pyro on the other hand was glad to get out and stretch in the wide-open swaths of grass, running around in zig-zag patterns while being chased by a much slower Flaaffy. Yep, he was back to his energetic self.

    Ashley broke the silence, and asked where I was headed after we reached Kupera town. I explained to her that we were headed to the lab near town.

    “Any reason you want to go there? You already have two pokémon, so you don’t need a starter. You might even have a third already,” she inquired, glancing at Flaaffy who was taking a break walking next to me. She didn’t seem to notice herself implicated in the conversation, instead watching Pyro amble all over the path.

    “I have some specific questions that I need to find answers for. I figured there might be my best bet.”

    “Maybe I could answer some of them? I have traveled around longer than you have,” she responded.

    Although the technology of this world was far more advanced than on Earth, having pokéballs and healing machines and such, I still hadn’t seen anyone else with an ODT device. In fact, most of the equipment I’d seen was, in my opinion, far less advanced. I didn’t know who it belonged to, or if it was public knowledge if such a device existed, one that could travel between worlds. It’d probably be for the best if I kept it secret between as few people as possible, at least until I understood what I was dealing with.

    However, I did have something I could ask her. “Okay, have you ever heard a group of people who call themselves ‘Team Origin’?”

    She furrowed her brow in thought, before finally reaching a conclusion. “Nothing concrete, although there have been rumors about such a group. Petty criminals mostly, sort of like that old Team Rocket in Kanto.” So the regions in the games exist, just in a different part of the world. “Although the rumors of their activity have been more frequent as of the past month or so. Nothing too serious. Why do you ask?”

    “No reason. I heard someone mention it in the pokémon center and was wondering what they were talking about.” She just gave me a skeptical look as we continued to walk. “Oh, all right. We had a run-in with one of their team members, and they almost stole Mira. We barely managed to get away.” I gave Mira a pat on the head as we continued.

    “Oh, no! That’s horrible, you should definitely let the police know when we get to town.”

    “Sure thing.” I replied, halfheartedly. As much as I wanted criminals like that behind bars, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. If I just walked into a police station as I was, there was no way my made-up trainer registration information would stand up to careful scrutiny.

    - - -

    It took us a few days to read Kupera town as expected; the first day I was still tired overall so we slowed down and took lots of breaks. Even as the first night closed in on us, I was surprised that Flaaffy elected to stay with us despite her obvious distrust of humans. I could tell that she had gotten comfortable being around me, Mira and Pyro, but still she steered clear whenever Ashley tried to interact with her. I guess it would just take some time being around all of us.

    Not much happened during our trip. Mira would always sit atop my hair, and I periodically let Pyro out of his ball to stretch his legs. Every time, Flaaffy would perk up at his flash of light and the two would run around in circles, calling out to each other and having a grand old time. Mira, being too lazy to get up and play with the two just sat around and watched with me as we walked. Kai and Chikorita for the most part rested in their pokéballs. Being older, they probably didn’t have as much pent-up energy as my duo, although Ashley did ask to stop several times to battle with some wild pokémon.

    She was also kind enough to have a couple of sparring matches with me. Obviously I had no hope of beating her but that didn’t mean that they couldn’t help Mira with the basics of battling and give Pyro a hefty workout. I was relieved that Mira agreed to practice with us; after her first battle, I was afraid she might give up the sport altogether. But this time, with encouragement from everyone and a variety of practice partners, she was becoming more comfortable and coordinated on the battlefield. With time and experience, Ashley commented, she would be just as proficient as Kai.

    Even Flaaffy joined in when Ashley asked if I wanted a short double-battle, immediately running over and teaming up with Pyro. She didn’t always listen to what I commanded, but she knew her way around a battle just like Pyro. Even though we had the type advantage against Chikorita and Kai, Kai was no slouch and was able to nimbly dodge each and every one of Flaaffy’s electric attacks.

    Since the first night I woke up, Mira hadn’t shown any other sign of evolving. According to Ashley and what I remembered, Eevee would only evolve when exposed to an evolution stone, or from an intensely emotional event. Finding me almost dead and being overjoyed when I finally awoke probably tipped her over the edge, but since then everything had gone smoothly. There was no telling when she would be ready or get the chance again, but whenever that was, I would be there to support her decision.

    In the chilly evenings we would sit around the campfire and just talk, getting to know each other a little better. Well, mostly me asking Ashley about her travels. Whenever the conversation drifted towards my past, I tried to answer what I could without revealing where I was from. No doubt she wouldn’t believe a word I said.

    - - -

    Soon, we finally glimpsed the sparkling lights of Kupera town. It was almost the third evening since we left Plumera forest, with the setting sun grazing the mountaintops behind us in the distance. From what I remembered from the games I’d played, the town with the professor’s laboratory was usually quite small; not so for Kupera town, as a rather wide area of sprawling suburbs surrounded the small town’s center.

    “Come on, we’re almost there,” Ashley called out, and we all continued down the path in earnest.

    As we entered the town limits, I noticed that Flaaffy was looking around nervously at the increase in human habitation. I almost wanted to reach out and comfort her, to say that she had nothing to worry about, but she was still wild after all. If she didn’t want to become accustomed to having lots of humans around, I wasn’t going to force it upon her. Besides, she already made it clear she didn’t want me to catch her at the moment, even if she still wanted to hang around.

    Sure enough, as we neared one of the pokémon centers on the outskirts of town, she spotted all the trainers inside as Ashley entered the building. With a sharp cry she fled into the nearby bushes, but not before stopping to look back at us. Pyro gave out a call, as if to ask her to come with us inside. With a forced turn she sped off into the darkness before she could change her mind, leaving the three of us us standing by ourselves in the brisk night air. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted, I lamented and with a sigh we all headed into the center for the night.

    Ashley said her goodbyes and departed shortly after getting everyone checked out healthy to head home on the other side of town, but not before exchanging contact details with me. Maybe next time we ran into each other, we could have another rematch.

    We settled in for the night, Mira and I glad that we had a nice comfortable bed to sleep. Pyro, however, elected to curl up on the window sill, gazing out at the surrounding town buildings. Of the three of us, he had gotten to know Flaaffy the most, so I guess he just missed her being around. Still, there was nothing I could do but stroke him gently on the back and reassure him, “Come here and get some sleep, I’m sure you’ll feel better in the morning.” After a minute or two he reluctantly joined us, but as I shut the lights I could tell his mind was still elsewhere.

    - - -

    The laboratory was easily the largest building in and around town, a rectangular concrete structure that rose a good four or five floors up. It sat atop a wide cliff face on the edge of town, with several side greenhouse-like wings and a wide expanse of forested woodland behind it. If I remembered correctly, the outdoors area would be where local trainers could leave their extra pokémon instead of the PC box if they wanted to. I quickly approached the sliding glass doors to find a crowd of people standing around in the main lobby. A few trainers here and there had their smaller pokémon out with them, but the vast majority just stood around chatting excitedly with one another. Mira was a bit intimidated by all the commotion and simultaneous conversations around us and clung to my head tightly on her usual perch.

    An automated announcement blared over the speakers, “The next tour will begin in a just few minutes! New trainers, make sure to sign up at the front desk beforehand. Professor Hawthorne will be around for Q&A, after which new trainers can receive their starter pokémon.”

    Ah, so they give tours of the lab, and some of the trainers are here for their starters. I figured I might as well go on the tour; I was here to ask questions after all, and perhaps I would learn something new.

    A dark-haired female assistant emerged from the back doors and greeted all of us before leading everyone around the first floor of the building. Most of the projects down here were low-level, and the researcher gave us an introduction to the kinds of research that were performed here and on the upper floors. From what I could tell, Hawthorne studied pokémon energy and evolution: how pokémon were able to use attacks, what made them evolve, why certain kinds of energy can heal or hurt different types of pokémon, etc. All quite fascinating stuff, but of course I didn’t have enough background knowledge to make much sense of all of it beyond what I already knew.

    I did learn that they had discovered three distinct types of evolution in terms of what kinds of energy were involved: when a pokémon grew older and naturally evolved by age, when a pokémon grew stronger in battle, and when triggered by something, such as being exposed to evolution stones. However, these three kinds of energy proved elusive to control except by pokémon themselves, hence the need for more research in that area.

    The tour ended in a large room that appeared to be the lab’s main communal work area. In fact, the professor was waiting for the group as we entered. With a small cough he cleared his throat.

    “Thank you all for taking the time to learn all about the research we do around here. It’s always nice to see people taking an interest in learning about pokémon. This is the end of the tour, so if you have any remaining questions feel free stick around and ask. For the rest of you who I’m sure are anxious to begin your pokémon journey, please follow my assistant here to meet your starter pokémon.” The crowd split up either to follow the lab tech or mill around the room before making their way to the exit. After just about everyone had left, I walked up to the professor and timidly asked if we could speak in private. He gave me a funny look but seeing how fidgety I was and how no one had any real questions he agreed and we entered his personal lab and closed the door.

    “Alright son, what’s your name and what can I do for you?” he asked. I wasn’t exactly sure how to broach the topic, but I figured I should just dive right in. Perhaps he’d help me make heads or tails of my predicament.

    “I’m Mark, and I wanted to ask if you knew anything about other dimensions.”



    I explained what had happened to me over the past several days, about the world I came from, how I had arrived here. He studied me throughout my explanation with a level gaze, showing neither excitement nor doubt in my very unusual account. As we talked, Mira jumped off of my head and carefully wandered around on one of the desks strewn with papers before curling up in a small ball to watch us. Aside from saying my world was somewhat different from this one, I left out many of the details; hopefully the fact that I knew quite a bit about pokémon would deter any further questions. Finally I finished my story and looked back at the professor expectedly.

    After a long pause he gave a small chuckle, which expanded into a large, hearty laugh as he answered, “I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous story before. Are you sure you’re feeling all right?”

    “Aw, Come on! I trudged through the forest to find your lab, almost getting killed along the way, and all you can do is make fun of my story!?” I turned to leave, Mira getting up with surprise and scurrying to my side. “I guess you don’t want to take a look at this, then,” I replied, twirling the ODT between my fingers.

    “Oh, I’m just joking with you. Although there isn’t any proof of parallel worlds existing, and I haven’t heard of anyone else experiencing this ‘dimensional travel’ before, I suppose it’s possible that what you say is true. Let me take a look at that device.”

    I handed over the ODT and he booted it up and started browsing through the system like I had before, muttering to himself under his breath. After some time examining the software he placed it under a scanner on the desk, which swept a plane of blue light across the device. Hawthorne shifted to analyze a newly rendering schematic on his computer screen.

    “Anything yet?” I asked, peering over his shoulder as the program digitally broke apart the components inside.

    “Amazing! I’m not sure how they did it, but all the components inside here point directly towards the function you described. I had no idea Origin Labs did product research in this area.”

    I recognized the name from the ODT’s summary page earlier, but didn’t take notice of it before. “Origin Labs? What’s that?” I asked, genuinely curious. It sounded like Hawthorne knew of them, and if they made the ODT, it’d help to know more about them too.

    “They’re the biggest tech producer in the region, making all of our scientific equipment here. But you might be more familiar with their pokéball products and the healing machines that pokémon centers use. All of it designed and produced by Origin Labs.” Hawthorne explained. He examined the ODT under the lamp again, flipping it back and forth in the bright light. “This seems polished like one of their products, but there hasn’t been any announcement for it yet, not even rumors.”

    “Anything you can tell me about the device itself, that I don’t already know?”

    He handed it back to me, replying, “You have it mostly figured out, although the fusion battery tech it a little bit outdated compared to others on the market already, which would explain why it takes a while to recharge. Luckily, the power core’s output is sustainable, so don’t worry about running out of juice.” He leaned back in his chair, thinking. “No one does research about this whole ‘fabric of space’ stuff, so I’m not exactly sure how it actually opens a bridge between dimensions. It’s possible that there may be side-effects that aren’t immediately noticeable, either to you or to the surrounding environment. Clearly it was created for this purpose, and you’ve already used it three times without any ill effects so I think it’s safe, but all the same be careful.”

    He got up to show me and Mira out, adding, “I know this is your only way home, so I’m not going to ask you to leave the device here. I have enough data to work with,” he motioned to his console, “and I’m sure you don’t want to be held up exploring our fine region.”

    I thanked him several times before asking, “Oh professor? If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep this between us. I don’t want others to know about where I’m from, not to mention losing my new trainer’s license.”

    Hawthorne chuckled and winked, “I won’t say anything if you don’t.” Waving, I stepped back out into the lobby.

    “Well, it looks like I got my answers,” I said, scratching Mira behind her ear as we made our way out. Although I was dejected to find that Hawthorne didn’t know anything about the device, at least I knew that whoever likely made it was a well-known company and that it wouldn’t run out of power. I could keep using it travel back and forth between this world and home.

    Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a duo of dark-blue clad trainers walk confidently up through the front glass doors ahead of us. Seeing their identical uniforms, I quickly ducked behind a nearby pillar. ****, not more of those guys! They approached the front desk and the receptionist seemed somewhat intimidated by their demeanor. My mind flashed back to our last encounter with Team Origin, with the same uniform and probably same nefarious motives. I plucked Mira off my head and held her close, motioning to be silent.

    At this point, there was no doubt in my mind that they were here for me; arriving barely an hour just after I had gotten here couldn’t be a coincidence, and there was no way in hell I’d let them capture Mira. But how’d they find me so quickly? I ducked back into the main laboratory. “Uh, professor, do you think you could show me some of the outdoor areas of the lab? I’m curious as to what kinds of pokémon you take care of here,” I made up on the spot. Hopefully there would be a second exit, and I could jump a fence or something once we got outside.

    Hawthorne paused for a moment, then replied, “I was just about to go outside and feed some of the pokémon anyways. If you want to watch, I’d be glad to introduce you.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him all I wanted was a backdoor exit, but at the same time meeting more of the pokémon around the lab seemed like a pretty good bonus.

    - - -

    As we walked out through the enclosure, Hawthorne kept droning on and on about the various pokémon that he took care of here. I kept an eye behind me, in case the Origin grunts managed to make their way outdoors to follow me. After we lost sight of the main building behind the trees, I breathed a sigh of relief. No sign of anyone tailing us.

    Mira was enjoying the return to green scenery, after being around the urban streets for a while. That is, until a huge Ursaring jumped out of the bushes next to us with a thunderous roar. I reflexively jerked back in surprise, ready to run until I realized that the Ursaring was sporting a wide grin and began to chuckle. Poor Mira was scared out of her mind, she almost fell off her perch as she scrambled to find somewhere to hide. Hawthorne gave a smile and pat the now-tame Ursaring on the head.

    “Don’t worry, none of the pokémon in here are wild, so you’re perfectly safe. Ursaring just likes to mess with visitors,” Hawthorne explained. Mira gave a timid peek back at the Ursaring and yipped an angry retort. Obviously, she was not happy with his tomfoolery.

    Ursaring joined us as we kept following the trail through the enclosure. We stumbled across several more pokémon during our walk through the various habitats, Hawthorne pulling out a bag of food and introducing me and Mira to the lab’s inhabitants. A group of wooper cheerfully greeted us at the nearby pond, and we encountered a lovely zigzagoon couple lounging in the open meadow. The pokédex was quite handy at filling in my gaps in knowledge and I promised myself that I would set aside some time later to familiarize myself with all the new pokémon I might encounter.

    We stumbled across a tan-colored leafy pokémon that I didn’t recognize, but at the sighting Mira’s ears perked up and jumped down to sniff the four-legged creature. When I asked Hawthorne, he explained that this was one of the more recently discovered evolutions of Eevee, a pokémon named Leafeon. In addition to evolution stones and emotions, he explained, Eevee could also evolve when they lived in an environment long enough; so far, forested and icy areas had confirmed effects, in which an Eevee might evolve into a Leafeon or Glaceon. Mira didn’t seem to be taking any note of this, as she froliced around with Leafeon as we continued our walk.

    After about half an hour, I spotted a service entrance in the enclosing fence. “Professor, this has been a great walk, but if you don’t mind, Mira and I’d like to explore the forest around here for a while before heading back to town. Can I get out through that way?” I asked, pointing to the fence gate.

    Hawthorne smiled, “Of course. To make your way back to town, just follow the slope downhill for a couple of miles to the base of the cliff.” I thanked him again for all of his help and petting Mira on the head to make sure she was okay, we set off.



    About five minutes after we left the lab’s enclosure, we were starting to make our way back. The forest was quiet aside from the ambient noise of the wind and the occasional chirp from a pidgey. With the sun casting glorious beam of light and vivid shadow from the upper canopy, it was so calming that I almost forgot why we were taking this detour in the first place.

    Suddenly, I heard voices off the the side of the natural trail we were following. Cautiously, I picked up Mira, ducked down behind some bushes and froze, trying to pinpoint where the voices were coming from and what they were saying.

    “... called all of us... track down one measly trainer.”

    “... under no circumstances ... get away.”

    A few yards to my left I heard a pair of footsteps slowly trudge through the underbrush, the owners of the voices. From what I could see through the leaves, it was two trainers with the same blue uniform; possibly the same two from the lab, but given an organization as organized as Team Origin, there was no telling how many of them were out here searching for me. The two grunts began walking away and Mira and I gave a sigh of relief and quietly crept out of the bush.

    And just at the worst possible time, stepped on a branch with a startlingly loud CRACK.

    The voices sounded again, “What was that? I thought I heard something.”

    The grunts turned around and spotted the two of us standing there, frozen in terror. They yelled out, “Stop right there!” and immediately started running over and throwing out their pokéballs. “Bravo team to HQ, we found him, about a click south of the lab.” With a dual flash of white light, a Heracross and a Poliwhirl emerged. The blue bug-type buzzed back and forth in the air, ready to prevent my escape. Mira let out a pitiful wine and dug deeper into my hair as I turned to release Pyro. Obviously she didn’t want to fight at all, so Pyro would have to face this by himself. A horrible type and number disadvantage, but if I could get out of this without resorting to using the ODT right in front of these crooks again, I’d try. No telling what they would do once they knew I had such a device.

    “Come on, Pyro, you can do this!”

    Pyro flared his crest flames and let out his battle cry, but blinked once in the brightly lit forest before it died in his throat. He stared at his opponents and then looked back at me incredulously. Two-on-one odds against a water type?

    I tried to suppress the pang of guilt building in my stomach. “Sorry, but we don’t have much choice.” He nodded grimly and prepared for the tough battle ahead, a dribble of smoke trailing out of his growling maw.

    The battle began in earnest. Heracross kept flying around the clearing and poking in towards Pyro with fighting-type jabs and thrusts, but Pyro was barely able to keep the bug at bay with huge swirls of flames. However, he wasn’t able to get in any direct attacks as Poliwhirl kept harassing him with spout after spout of icy water. Luckily he was nimble enough to weave all around the clearing and after a short bout, all three pokémon regrouped on our respective sides of the battlefield.

    Heracross had flown into a few streams of fire and was slightly singed. But that Poliwhirl was relentless. Pyro hadn’t been directly hit yet, but he was tiring fast and it was only a matter of time before he ran out of steam.

    I whispered to Pyro, “We need to be more offensive, otherwise this won’t last much longer. See if you can take out the Heracross first, and we can make a break for it with smokescreen.” He nodded his agreement, panting for breath.

    “Quick Attack into Flame Wheel!” I called out. Pyro rocketed towards the recovering Heracross, closing the gap in a mere second. With a flaming crunch, Pyro slammed into the bug’s chitinous armor and sent him flying into a tree where he slumped to the ground. The bug was still conscious but in no condition to fly, so Pyro would have the huge upper hand in agility and range.

    “Good job, Pyro!” I cheered, and he turned his attention to the still-strong Poliwhirl. However, the water pokémon took advantage of Pyro’s lowered guard to fire a glimmering stream of bubbles, completely encircling the quilava. With no way to avoid the attack, I cringed as I watched the orbs close in all at once in a deafening impact. When the mist cleared Pyro was still standing, but only just; his fur was thoroughly soaked and it seemed like a single tackle would be enough to bring him down. To make matters worse, his combined attack had taken a lot of concentration and energy, I didn’t know how many attacks he had left in him.

    At the command of its trainer, Poliwhirl dashed in for a physical attack at close quarters. I yelled for Pyro to dodge to the side, but before he could react a bolt of lightning flew out of the nearby bushes to strike the charging Poliwhirl. Everyone turned to see what pokémon it was, but I was relieved to see a familiar looking Flaaffy stepping out into the fray. Thank god she really likes to stalk us.

    Flaaffy appeared to be on our side, with an angry scowl on her face as she yelled at Poliwhirl. Sparks were jumping from her cottony wool and her tail was pulsating with a deep shade of blue. With her arrival, the odds were finally looking even; that is, until I heard another grunt running up from behind us. I twirled around just in time to see him release a third pokémon, the white light resolving into a dark gray elephant-like creature standing about a meter tall or so. It gave a low growl as it and its trainer closed in on us.

    “Donphan, rollout!” the incoming grunt ordered, pointing at Flaaffy and Pyro. The Donphan gave a fearsome “Phaaaaan!” as he spun towards us at breakneck speed.

    Pyro dove out of the way in time, but Flaaffy stood her ground a unleashed a huge arcing lightning attack at the spinning pokémon. The sizzling blue-white bolt made direct contact, but Donphan shook it off like it was nothing and plowed directly into Flaaffy, kicking up a small cloud of dust. Through the settling debris I saw the silhouette of Flaaffy slump to the ground and could still hear Donphan rolling around for another pass.

    My mind was racing, trying to assess our options. With Donphan’s arrival, it appeared we still were outmatched. Maybe we could run? It seemed to work pretty well against Grovyle, although these woods were nowhere near as dark or dense. After a smokescreen, we could run for it and hide in the forest. If it really came down to it, we could escape with the ODT, but I would rather not risk using it in front of the grunts.

    “Don’t fight them, Pyro use smokescreen and let’s get out of here!” I yelled. As the black smoke billowed forth, Pyro joined up with me and we started running through the trees, myself holding Mira close to make sure she didn’t fall again. We only got a few steps before we realized that Flaaffy was also trying to follow us, but was struggling to keep up; after taking that hit from Donphan, she was barely conscious. I didn’t have time to decide if it was a good idea or not before picking her up and the four of us running through the trees and bushes. Good thing the local pokémon forged a dense network of trails, as we quickly fled down one of the well-worn paths with ease.

    After about a few hundred meters and several different forks, I stopped to backtrack a bit and jump off to the side, hopefully to throw them off our tracks. We huddled underneath an overhang of tree roots, myself trying to keep everyone as quiet as possible. No more than a minute later I heard the sound of shuffling feet as Donphan lumbered past us, its elongated nose sniffing the ground. Following it were now four grunts, whispering frantically to themselves.

    “Thanks for the brief, so that’s why we’re out here. You’re sure he knows how to use it?”

    “That’s what Intel said. Luckily they gave us that disrupter relay. As long as we’re close enough, he won’t be getting away.”

    “Where the hell did he get his hands on a transporter anyways? I thought all devices were all tracked and accounted for.”

    “It must’ve been one of the earlier untraceable prototypes. Hurry up, he can’t have gotten too far.”

    Their footsteps faded into the shrubbery, and my heart froze as I realized why they were here. They’re not here for Mira, they know I have the ODT! I swiftly pulled it out to see the flashing light keep switching randomly between green and red. It wouldn’t work as long as we were close to them, so we needed to put some distance in before we could really escape safely. With no better options, I decided we should get back to town before the grunts realized we had backtracked.

    For peace of mind, I recalled Mira and Pyro to safety in their balls before picking up the semiconscious Flaaffy and fled as quickly as possible through the trees in the direction of town.

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    Bridging Dimensions, reviews wanted

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