Hello. Writing is by no means my strong point, but I felt really bad that there are almost no PMD: Gates to Infinity fics. Many people haven't even played it due to the less-than-favorable reviews. However, though the story is not as heart-wrenching as PMD2, I think that the characters have a ton more depth. So... I intend to showcase that through this fic! All characters based on canon. It's just that they have names. You know how it is. (Though the story is largely based on canon, it still deviates a bit throughout, and actually a lot towards the end.)
I'll try to update this often, but no promises. It's PG13? There will be violence (as expected), but nothing too heavy. Mainly, it's the themes dealt with that will up the rating. Of course, those won't show until really late into the story, so it's actually pretty PG at time of writing.
Sorry about the abysmal inconsistent quality of writing. I like to think it gets better as time goes on. :x
You are being.
You are being somewhere you've never seen.
You are being somewhere you've never seen and you don't know what to do.
A bright darkness surrounds you, as far as you can tell. The darkest light you've ever seen. You feels nauseous-- your feet aren't touching the ground. They're not touching anything. God, is there anything, even? You're gonna throw up. Conveniently, you just noticed you're not wearing clothes or anything. There's nothing but your body and your spirit. What's going on? It's not actually happening or anything right I mean come on how surreal is this it's just a dream just calm down calm down just
You know it. Something here, wherever here, is. Other than you, of course. There's something else. Here.
There it is again. It's a sound. A voice. It's calling out. And you know it's talking to you, because all it's saying is exactly that.
"Me?" you try to say, but there is no reason for you to speak, so your tongue is held.
"You can now hear my voice." Wave your hands in the air, that's you it's speaking to! It's a different voice now. Different, but still the same person speaking.
It's not a person. "Might you be--" Slightly wavering."-- a human?" You look down at yourself, and yes, you are indeed still a human. You wonder if you found yourself in a metaphorical prelude by accident. Is this what it is? Why do you have to be stark naked anyways? Your arms are crossed together and your legs drawn up to you as you bobble in the subspace. This omniscient voice could probably do anything it pleased, and see you from all angles anyways.
As if finished waiting for an answer, it continues on. "If you are, then please..." You brace yourself. "Listen to my plea."
That is exactly what you do, because there's no way you're even going near coherent thought at this point.
"I want you to save the Pokemon world."
Hmm, interesting. It looks like you're losing your marbles at an increasingly alarming rate.
"We need your --"
wait wait wait wait wait something's happening what is that what is that thing oh no stop stop stop stop stop no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
Your head blows up into a billion pieces. That's what it feels like, and that's what it is. Sanity flies right out the window.
You're hugging your knees now, for lack of a better description. You're hugging onto the only thing that you're mostly sure exists here. You're clinging onto your mind, or what remains of it.
What happened? You don't know (yet). I don't know (I pretend not to). No one knows (kind of).
Then, a cry for help. Loud as the screamer could muster, it sounds like.
And then you see.
You see something that for once isn't pseudo-existent. It's a vision, like in a dream, because surely it's a dream to have escaped that strange anti-space. And in this dream, things are happening. Many things at once. Not what you're used to. There's a Pokemon. Small and pink. Like a small green bean. But bigger. And pinker. It's hard to tell any details, as the angle changes in a matter of fractions of seconds. This had better not just be a video. Somehow, you know it isn't. If you're seeing an honest-to-god Pokemon, there's no way there'd be a rational explanation for it.
It's running. Slowly. As fast as it can, though. Rather, it seems to be floating over the dark brown ground. Some barren patch of moorland, or infertile farmland, maybe. Whatever. I mean, it's just dirt.
Then the angle switches once more, and it pans over to show a dragon. The two appear to be in a cave, and the stronger Pokemon chasing the other. Three heads. The dragon has three heads. Come on, that's not fair. Its brilliant daggers look like they're glistening, despite the darkness of the cave. Each tooth looks sharper than the last. Oh, honestly? If that little Pokemon is caught, it'll d-- A deafening roar that leaves your head spinning. In the few seconds the dragon had its mouth open, you caught a view of its unsightly jaws. If you ever see that sight again in your whole life, it'll be too soon.
Soaring on its feathered black wings, the dragon smiles again. Then, gaining a bit of altitude, swoops down towards you. You shut your eyes and bring up your arms, but instinct betrays you yet again. The vision had ended, and you're now back where you were before, drowning in the thick nothingness.
What'd just happened? A dragon attacks a small giant bean, probably kil-- wait, does this have anything to do with that plea for help? It was an omniscient voice, and this pink Pokemon seemed-- ahem, seems-- to have some sort of telekinetic powers, what with floating around and all. It makes sense! And, and, and... oh, and that whole 'save the Pokemon world' thing probably means that you need to protect Pokemon from that dragon! Which you can't do, because it'll end your lif-- no, wait, if you use the power of sanity, you can erase its existence! Yes! Perfect! You are a genius!
You've figured it out or something, because something fuzzy appears in the not-space in the not-front of you. It's dark blue, a stark contrast to the blank blank. It's in the shape of a human being. You reach your hand out to it. Hey, it's just a reflection of you! Hey, there, little Einstein!
From the flat reflection, a mass of darkness comes out from where the hand would be. You feel a shiver. It's a vague hand shape now, and is reaching out towards you. Shadows curl all around and inside it. Where's that strange voice when you need it? The hand keeps reaching. It nears yours, but stops there. What should you do?
Well, you shake hands with it, of course. It's only polite.
It's terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. It terrifies you, and there's nothing here anymore. No body, no spirit, no voice, no reflection. Just fear. Fear and terror, and fear. The hand is cold and hot and wet and dry and terrible, just terrible. It shouldn't be. You don't think it is, which is good. But you're still shaking it, oh my god you're still shaking it, and it won't let go, it won't let go oh my god
Heart speeding, stomach lurching, you see the reflection in front of you waver, and dim at the edges. What have you done, sealed a contract with the devi-- what was that just now? It shifted... the reflection... your reflection shifted! You move your other arm a bit to make sure it's still you. It is. And you don't know what to do.
It's flickering, oh my god, it's changing. You are changing. Into something entirely different.
Then the nether-hand drops yours and oh my god that's not your hand on your arm that's not your hand that's not even your arm that's not even something that should be an arm and then the reflection clears and it's you now, it's not your silhouette you're seeing but you, and you don't know what to say because that's you, that's really you and then you find your voice, and it's not even yours
*cough* Ahem, so I've broken too many rules to count in less than a day. I'm supposed to post the first chapter at most 15 minutes after the prologue, and I'm supposed to use proper grammar, always. Well, um... *cough* *cough* Let me just post this really short chapter to remedy some of that. Anyways, r and r, I guess. 0_0
Spoiler:- Chapter 1:
You keep laughing. You're running out of breath.
You're a Pokemon! A Pokemon. Really?! You'll never get used to having to waddle around, with arms shorter than... your hair? What is that, anyways? Some kind of horn. And your eyes are bloodshot and all-- no wait, no, they're just red. Boy, the things you would've done for cool red eyes as a human. Now you're stuck with them forever! With bags under them too! Are those sideways teeth? Tusks or something? You can't even bite down. Wait, you don't even have teeth. Oh my god. Yet you're wearing a scarf. No, wait, that's a giant donut-shaped collarbone. Oh, and you have a tail, too? And you're some kind of murky green all over, without an inch of hair over your entire body combined.
Though you've got to admit, scales are pretty cool too.
As you get used to your new body, your feet (paws?) touch something. Wait, there's something here again! You can't hear it, but you can feel it. No mysterious omnivoice, but something solid. Your front feet touch down as well, and you know then that you are now on the ground. It's a mysterious void of infinite blue you're standing on, as well as a glass-like cover over it.
Then, you feel the clouds gather around you, swirling, whirling, and getting steadily brighter. With fog pooling at your toes, you see a small light hovering in front of you, as if a firefly. Nothing happens, but you know you're expected to do something, specifically, realize something. And you do. That voice from earlier, you have a feeling, came from this little light.
You take a few steps towards it, unsteady on your new anatomy. Tendrils of smoke curl around you. The light doesn't move, but it looks almost as if it's still the same distance from you. Is it? You don't know anything about this strange subspace, so for all you know, it's entirely possible.
The light flickers, and you stop in your tracks instantly. What did you do?
It goes out.
You can still see, vaguely (was your eyesight always this good?). The clouds haven't dispersed, simply moved aside, parting in the middle, as if with a mind of their own. The temperature climbs just the tiniest bit, and the wind (there's wind here?) starts to stir, as if the entirety of this not-world is saying, 'lights, camera, action!'
On cue, the subspace brightens grandly, like opening the forbidden door. But then, narrowing your much bigger than usual eyes, you see that it's not brightened at all. There's something lighting it up, something underneath you. Eyes narrowed, doing your best to fight against your instincts, you look down at your feet at something brighter than the sun. You can't see anything. It's just light, pure and simple and golden pure. It takes the shape of the sun, with light reaching beyond your body towards the heavens. All around are blue, circular runic marks appearing on the ground. The clouds run laps around you as the earth groans in protest. You look around, but there is nothing beyond here but a darkness and an absence of everything. Truly, where is the voice when you need it?
You take a leap out of the light, but it simply follows you over to where you land, a few inches away. This body does you no favours. A rumble, louder than all the others, sounds, and you feel the ground almost giving way. A gale knocks you off your feet. The light below you flickers out, then surges back. It is electric blue now, the same colour as the runes all around. Speaking of which, were there always that many of them? And-- wait, they're rising up from the ground. They're encircling you now, and you can't close your eyes, you can't close your eyes even as you black out, as you scream even when you've stopped hearing.
Sorry it's short, just seemed like a good place to end it off. (it's shorter than the prologue is ;_; Though the prologue is like a chapter in itself)
Last edited by Keysmash; 28th May 2014 at 3:24 AM.
I'm gonna change it to a more conventional style of writing, I guess, since reading over the prologue again, it's pretty hard to understand...
There are going to be so many chapters it's not even funny. 0_0
Spoiler:- Chapter 2:
Clouds: no wait.
You love broccoli. Green, and ambiguously leafy, they're rough and soft. Yellow or deep green. A trunk with a texture far different than that of its own little mushroom clouds, which are considered its own flowers. Stems that branch out, and the space between them. The perfect blend of crunchy and spongy. A rougher, more wild taste, and a bitter, remorseful one. Broccoli keeps you alive. You love broccoli. It's odd to think that it is of the cabbage family. What, the mighty broccoli, lumped together with such peasantry?! Unthinkable. But yes, broccoli comes from the Italian word 'broccolo'. 'The flowering head of a cabbage'. You still have trouble believing that the broccoli is considered only a fraction of the lowest of the low. Incidentally, it originated in Italy, two millenia ago. It can be eaten raw or cooked, though it makes no difference to such a broccoli lover as you. You need no lovers but broccoli.
Below you, the broccoli floats in a stew. Browns and greens and blues and--
Wait, no, those are trees, and mountains, and water, and this can't possibly end well. How did you even know all that stuff about broccoli anyways?! You don't even like vegetables!
The wind is a tornado roaring in your ears. You're falling, fast. Your eyes are closed, but you can't say the same of your mouth, no matter how hard you try. Lips flapping back to reveal gum and tusks, if someone were to see you, you're sure you'd have no dignity left at all. Or life, for that matter. How high up are you, to see clouds?! There's no way you'll make it. You try to flip yourself front-side up to stop the spit from flying into your face, but it's no use. At least you're only about a third as heavy as when you were human, but that doesn't matter too much right now. You'll go splat as good as any.
You feel, rather than see, two green vines snaking up towards you at high speed. They're thin and wrap around your waist. They're warm, too. They feel as if they're trying desperately to support your weight. You feel sorry for whatever they are. Your momentum must make you as fast as a bullet right now. You stop feeling sorry for them and start feeling sorry for yourself as you can now see each individual blade of grass in front of you.
Wham. Right in the nozzle.
Your nose feels like it's exploding, but then you realize you don't have a nose, just a snout. You don't have time to dwell on that thought. Soon enough, the rest of your face gets the same treatment. The rest of your body collapses behind you. It aches. There are too many black spots in your vision to see anything properly, and your head hurts more than it ever has before. You're certain you've lost more brain cells than you can afford, especially consdering what you are at the moment. But you're alive. Oh my god, you're alive!
You slowly lift your head up-- oh god that hurts-- and, praying you aren't bleeding from your nose-- um, nostrils-- try to make out where you are. You can't see anything, but your ears have recovered from their earlier assault by the gale. And they tell you now that someone's here.
"Axew? Are you alright?"
Perfect. A perfectly ambiguous voice. Honey smooth yet a husky drawl, its timbre is unlike that of-- wait, why are you analyzing this voice? Just open your eyes before your sense get too heightened, this is kind of weird.
You do so. Big red eyes peer up at... oh. Okay. It's another Pokemon. Guess that fall just destroyed every last bit of brain you had left. You stare at it. It's green, mostly. You stare some more. Oh my god, it's a plant. This Pokemon is a plant. There's a leaf on its tail and everything. Two thin green vines snake back into its body. Then this Pokemon must be what saved you from leaving this world. But it only heightened your insanity.
"Hello. Axew, correct?" It opened its mouth, and yes, this was indeed the owner of the voice. You stop questioning it anymore.
Axew? What? Is that your species? You do suppose that you are different kinds of Pokemon. Naturally, it'd address you as that. And yet you can communicate with it... different types of Pokemon can communicate with each other. That's impressive. Humans can't communicate with animals. Some humans can't even communicate with other humans. Why, even humans that speak the same language are often hard-pressed to accept others with conflicting views without getting upset.
"Excuse me, are you injured?"
Hurt? What? No. You're fine, thanks to this Pokemon. Well, you may have had some sort of head injury, but it was less than a concussion, so it should be alright. You're just lucky to have escaped with your life. Speaking of which... what is this, even? Where are you? Are there any other people in this stir-crazy world? How do you go back?
"Hello, excuse me. Can you talk?"
Oh, that's you it's talking to! Quick! You scramble for words: "Yes."
"That's good." The worried look stays. "So you're not hurt?" (Oh, wow, it speaks English! Unless... your brain's just been rewired to speak and think in this new language? You are a Pokemon now, after all...)
"No. You saved me, right? With those vines of yours."
"Oh." A shy smile. "I didn't think that would do much. You're welcome."
"I must've been heavy. Sorry."
"It's fine. It was really strange, though, you fell right out of the sky!"
How do you explain that now?! "Oh, um... yeah. Sorry."
The Pokemon stares at you for a moment, undecided. Then grins. "You'll be nice to have around, I'm sure."
"What's that supposed to mean?" you say, pretending to pout. The other Pokemon pats you on the back lightly, amicably. Doesn't say anything. You take this chance to take it all in. You're in a pleasant forest, with flowers in bloom, lush green grass, and stunning trees. You are a Pokemon that fell out of the sky, and is now sitting next to another Pokemon. You were summoned here by a giant tiny flower pink bean Pokemon to save the Pokemon world. Alright, alright. Seems reasonable.
Not! What are you supposed to do now?! Do you brush this Pokemon off and try to find your way back?! Does this place even exist? Do you even exist? Does anything even exist? What happened, what's going on, and what's going to happen?! Can you trust this Pokemon? Is it even real? You don't even know its name, or its gender! Do Pokemon have genders?!
You sigh. The other Pokemon takes note of it. "What's wrong, Axew?"
Forgetting your reply to the question, "What's Axew?"
"You're a kidder, aren't you."
A pause. "You do know that no one likes it when someone does that."
"I'm sorry. But I'm..." You pause. Can you tell this Pokemon what you are? Pokemon are strong, right? You don't know how to fight, not even as a human. And this Pokemon... it was strong enough to stop you from dying, why, not even leaving a scratch on your body after such a freefall. If it turns against you, your hope's going down the drain.
"Nevermind." The Pokemon moves on, as if sensing that there was something behind that that didn't have to be told. "So, where do you come from?"
"You mean which country?"
"What is that?"
Oh, right. Oops.
The Pokemon stands up and moves away from you a little, apprehensively. You can't help but feel hurt, somehow more than you were when you fell.
"Please, I know you came from the sky, and that was really odd, but I mean where you live. Where your home is. And please do not tell me you live up there."
Well, you kind of do, don't you? You live on the other side of the sky. You can't just say that. But you can't lie, either. You can't afford to lose anymore of this Pokemon's trust. Besides, who knows what kind of connections such a strong Pokemon has? It could turn every Pokemon in this world against you.
There's no other way. You'll have to tell it the truth.
And as you open your mouth, you pray it will open its heart.
Last edited by Keysmash; 28th May 2014 at 3:25 AM.
You find it kind of hard to breathe when the look of contempt enters this Pokemon's eyes like that. Your chest hurts. You take the plunge, because there's no going back now.
"Please listen to what I have to say."
It doesn't reply.
"I am a human. My first name is Ned. I come from the human world. I don't know how, but somehow, I ended up in subspace. And a pink flowery Pokemon called for help. No, wait, that happened after. Sorry. It asked me to save the Pokemon world, since I was a human. I didn't get it. I still don't, obviously. And then, a big dragon started chasing it, and it cried for help. Then, there was a bunch of runes and light, and I was turned into a Pokemon. No wait, that's the wrong order. Well, either way, I became a Pokemon. And then I started falling out of the sky, and you caught me, and saved my life, and I'm sorry I sounded rude or disrespectful, because I meant none of it, and I owe you everything for me still being here."
You take a deep breath and wait. And wait. And wait.
'Okay'?! What's that supposed to mean?
"However, I have some questions."
"Oh." That isn't what you expected to hear. You can hear your voice shaking with a mixture of spent relief and impending anxiety. "Go ahead."
"What's a first name?"
"It's your given name. You can also have a middle name. Your last name is the one that matches up to your family members'." The Pokemon seemed completely lost. "It's like your naming system! The last name is the name of all Pokemon of that kind, like Axew, and the first and middle name are the names your parents give you."
"That's odd. Which name do you use, then?"
"All of them, but it depends. Usually, you'd call someone by their first name, or a shortened form of their first name."
"Should I call you E, then?"
"Uh, no, Ned itself is a short form of my first name."
"Oh. I see. So, do all humans have the same last name?"
"No, actually. It depends on their most recent ancestry...? Well, we are all one species, but we have all sorts of last names, so I'm not sure, actually. I guess, at some point, names just started branching off."
The Pokemon's soft smile wove itself back onto its face. You're glad to see it's more at ease again, though even to your own ears, your story is starting to sound weirder and weirder. It's the Pokemon blood flowing through you, it's got to be.
"Alright, here's my last question."
"You're only asking two? You made it sound like we'd be here all day!"
"Well, that's because I'm not interested in you."
You snicker to yourself mentally at the thought of a Pokemon rejecting your advances. "How come?"
"Well, I don't believe that you're a human at all."
Swallowing crushing disappointment, you mumble, "Figured." A pause. "So, what's your question?"
"Is your story what you have experienced, and to the best of your knowledge, true?"
"Are you asking me if what I said was the truth?"
"Not quite, but you can think of it that way, if you want."
"Then, yes. All I said is true."
"Then I believe you."
Your mouth opens, but you run out of words on the spot.
"I believe your story, Ned."
"What, are you crazy, too?!" It flinches back, as if that strikes something deeply painful. "Sorry. But how can you believe that?! Even I have trouble, now that I think about it."
It takes a deep breath, as if choosing its words carefully. "There are a lot of mysterious things out there, in the world.
But in my opinion, maybe those things aren't all that big of mysteries at all.
Maybe they're just things I've yet to know."
Now you're the one smiling from cheek to cheek. It really did open its heart to you. "You're pretty open-minded, you know that?"
"I need to be," the Pokemon mutters, quiet voice dripping with venom, but doesn't elaborate. It shakes it off, and continues. "Anyhow, that's why I want to see things and do things no one's ever done before. I want to be the one to make the fairy tales true, and defy the legends. I want to meet mythical Pokemon that no one has ever seen. I want to explore deep caves and plunder treasures. I want to bring others happiness. More than anything, I just want to have an adventure, no matter in which form it might come."
"You're really cool," you say, unsure of how to reply.
The Pokemon snickers, and you feel your embarassment turn up to eleven. "Well, thanks, Ned. 'You're really cool', too."
"Shut up," you mumble, not without good nature. "Seriously, though, you do things and want to do things I'd never even dreamed of. I was a pretty normal kid back on the other side of the sky."
"You're a child? How old?"
"What? No! Years!"
"Oh, my god, you're old!"
"How old are you?" You don't feel ready for the answer.
"No, in days."
"Why would you measure your age in days?!"
"How else would I do it?"
"Using a calendar? Keeping track of the year? Doing simple math?"
"Nevermind. I still have a lot of things to learn about your world, I shouldn't assume that things work the same way."
"Yeah. Uh, same here." The Pokemon still seemed dazed from the word 'math'. You would be too, if you still went to school. Oh, god, wait.
"Hey, how do I go back to my world?" you ask, panic rising. "I have friends and family and a life there and I should, you know, really get going now."
"I don't think you can go back, Ned. You flew out of the sky, for god's sakes."
"Am I stuck here?"
"Is that what you feel like?" The Pokemon's voice said nothing, but its eyes betrayed obvious hurt.
"Sorry. I just need to let them know I'm saving the Pokemon world. Well, I guess they'd never believe that, but still..."
"I'm sure we'll find a way back for you if we become adventurers. Explorers."
You look over, and see a trace of daring in the Pokemon's expressions. A mischievous glint, and a hint of a challenge. You suppose there's no way around it.
"Alright. I guess I'll stick with you, then."
"Fantastic!" The Pokemon sounded immensely relieved. To think that so much hinged on your word only minutes after you met...
"But first, I have a few questions for you."
"Oh." The Pokemon pauses. Both of you know that you're just mirroring what the Pokemon said earlier. Whether or not this will be mockery or genuine is entirely up to you. The Pokemon shrinks into the grass. "Go ahead."
"What's your name?"
That isn't what it expected to hear. You can hear its voice shaking with a mixture of spent relief and impending anxiety. "Oh, I suppose I never told you. I'm Snivy."
"Oh. That's good. Snivy. Alright, are you a boy or a girl?" It stiffens. "Sorry, I just... I'm new to Pokemon, and... I... you know... can't really tell... um...." You trail off. It stays silent for a few more moments, as if debating how to respond.
"I am a girl."
"Oh, okay." You think about this for a few seconds. "Alright. Cool. Now, here's my last question."
"Do you exist?"
She pauses. "As far as I know, yes."
"In that case, there is not a doubt left in my mind that my mission here is true."
"Because maybe the Pokemon world is just a mystery you've yet to know?"
"You catch on fast."
"And you're a little too obvious," she replies with a wink. You don't know what to say to that.
"So, what about you?" Snivy asks. "Do you have a gender?"
"Well, yeah. I'm a boy. Can you not tell?" you ask, motioning towards your body vaguely.
"That's not exactly the issue, but..."
"Man, Pokemon are weird." You see her face. "Sorry. I meant you're weird." Oh god. "No, wait. I'm sorry. None of you are weird. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." You really messed this up fast. "Just... sorry."
"Okay." You know you've done something wrong when they don't say 'it's fine'.
A long while passes. "So," you begin. "Do you live around here?"
"No, actually, I l-- oh, no."
You jump to your feet. "What is it? Is something wrong?"
"Ohhhhhhh no." Snivy jumps up and starts running towards the dirt path of the forest floor. She continues along it.
"Where are you going?" you call after her. "Wait! You're--" 'Too fast for me.' You bite back the words. You can't show weakness now! You start on a sprint, too, but you're no match for her. Curse these dainty little feet! But you know that even as a human, you wouldn't have been able to catch up.
Snivy slows down, hearing your calls. You can't thank her out loud out of pride, but you wish you could tell her how much you appreciated that. "Where are you going?" you pant.
"I've forgotten about the most important meeting of my life! Come on!"
"I'm not that fast!" You hesitate, and take a deep breath. "Just go on without me!"
"You're so weird," Snivy lets out a breathy laugh. She grabs your tiny little arm and pulls you along as you dash down the forest trail together. Your feet thump on the dirt and trampled grass. Were the trees always this tall, and the flowers that detailed? Could you always see the ground in this much detail? Look, there's a tiny bit of gravel there! Oh, wow, look at that blade of grass! It's a green to yellow radial gradient at ninety-one degrees!
"Ned!" Snivy's voice sounds from up front. "Look!"
You do. The trees are sparse now, the meadows mostly replaced by cobblestone road. Snivy must be leading you to a town somewhere nearby. A small waterfall rumbles off of the cliff, and a red sign stands alone on the side of the road, crooked and too faded to make out words. Boulders line the way, golden, bronze, brown, and everything in between.
"This is Ragged Mountain's Western Entrance."
"Mountain?! We've gotta climb this thing?!" You look farther down, to where you presume would be east. Fallen trees and boulders find themselves cluttered all around like party decorations. You can see that a small cave lies just to the left of where you two stand, and the bridge beyond it is collapsed. However, if you look up, you can see more caves, and maybe, just maybe...
"Oh, god! The bridge collapsed, and now I'm going to miss the biggest event of my life! And I wa so close to achieving everything! Ned!"
"Hey, calm down. Look. See it?"
"Yes, I see it. Don't act so haughty, you're not the one here that knows that that cave entrance is bursting with hostile Pokemon. Pokemon I know have died going into those."
You look down at your feet. "Sorry." You remind yourself to never, ever question Snivy, ever. You're in her world, after all, and you should know by now that you don't make the rules here.
She sighs. "I don't know. There's no other way, but it's unbelievably dangerous. I'll need your help, Ned."
"My help? You're fast and strong. You caught me and saved me from losing my life, even letting me leave without a scratch. All I did was slow you down on your way here."
"God, you're dumb." With a soft smile, she grabs your arm and pulls you into the cave with her.
Last edited by Keysmash; 28th May 2014 at 3:25 AM.
"Ragged Mountain's Western Cave," Snivy mumbles. She lets go of you as she takes the lead inside.
It's humid and dank. Light filters in through holes in the ceiling, which looks sturdy despite it. The ground is rough with a thin layer of smooth dirt on top. It can be brushed aside with a single foot. Just what kind of history does this place have? And how does its roof stay up like that? It appears to be supported by huge boulders, with spaces filled in with hard-packed dirt-- not unlike an igloo, you think. Light green moss grows in the cracks. The air is damp and cold, and you feel another air, one of unease. You hurry to try and catch up to Snivy.
You find her just in time to see her crashing into a little gray mouse. You're not sure whether you should stay out of the scuffle, or provide her support. But she was right-- there certainly are a number of hostile Pokemon if you two managed to get into a fight moments after entering.
"Ned! Come help!"
"I don't know how to fight!"
"Does it look like I do?" Another bodycheck.
"Yes! You have vines and speed and strength, all I have are nubby little hands!"
"I keep telling you you're an idiot!" Snivy cries. With a hard whip from a vine, the little mouse passes out.
Free from the immediate danger, you bounce up to her. "That was awesome! You took it out using your vine whip thing! You're so powerful, I don't know what you're so scared of."
She snorts. "If you think I'm powerful, I don't want to show you the rest of the world."
"Oh, please, you must be someone important."
"No, I really am not."
"The way you speak and everything? It's so eloquent or whatever."
"I am afraid I've only ever spoken this way."
"It gets even fancier when you lie!"
"Fine, have it your way, gangster bro yo."
You don't even bother trying to stop your laughter.
"Anyways," Snivy murmurs, burying her face in her hands. "That was a Minccino I just knocked out."
"Wait, are you expecting me to remember these names?"
"Well, if you're going to save the world and all."
"Me." Voice: completely flat. "Right. Well, either way, we should set up a strategy for higher efficiency, and therefore reduced time needed to leave this cave."
"You serious about me taking part?"
"Yes, I was thinking that since you are insecure--" "Hey!" "--about your fighting skills, we should have something that involves me making the first strike. So, how about a vine whip, and then you can edge in an attack that assures the Pokemon won't get in another shot?"
"Okay, I guess. So, Vine Whip, then... what should we call it? Assurance?"
"That sounds terrible, but okay."
"Alright. Sorry, princess," you mutter mockingly.
"The title I've always wanted," Snivy says, and continues her stride.
Soon enough, the two of you walk into another room in the cave. In the center is a sleeping little girl. She doesn't react even when you and Snivy begin to whisper.
"The Pokemon? They're called Gothita."
"Yeah, but why is it sleeping?"
"Pokemon are found asleep sometimes in these dungeons, too. It's their home, after all."
"We're going to kil-- attack it in its sleep?! That's playing dirty!"
"Yes. This is about survival. If the entirety of this cave were to come after us, we simply wouldn't leave alive."
"Fine. Go, then." Not waiting for you to finish your words, Snivy edges forwards and positions herself. You follow after her, poised to pounce should she not wrap up the job. A smooth sliding sound, and the vines are out. A brutal Vine Whip, and the Gothita is up and alert. And god, it looks angry.
"Ned, go!" Spurred on by Snivy's words and abandoned by thought, you dive headfirst into the fray. Thankfully, you remember you have a crest on the back of your head, and angle it so that you gore the Pokemon enough to render it unconscious. It does succeed, and it is quite the Assurance. You high-five Snivy, but you know this is just the beginning of it.
Continuing along, you spot some blue flowers growing on the side of the wall. Are you two finally nearing the exit of the cave? It feels almost too easy. Approaching the flowers, you notice some darker blue berries. They have the appearance of a cross of blueberry and orange. "Hey, Snivy, what's this?"
"Oh, Oran Berries. Bring them along. If you eat them when you're injured, they'll heal you."
"IF we get injured."
"When we get injured." You gulp at the unflinching way she says it, like it's inevitable.
"Well, where do we put them? We don't have a bag nor clothes."
"What are clothes?"
"Sorry, forgot again."
"Just hold them in your hand, I guess. They're still on the stem, so it's not too bad. Easy access and all. Doubt we'll need them for now, though."
"Yes, there's something odd about Mystery Dungeons that heal you as you walk, but if you stay for too long... well, who knows what might happen."
"Oh, crap, let's hurry then."
Snivy sticks out her tongue playfully. "Scaredy-cat."
"Mysteries are just things you've yet to know. Isn't that what you said?"
Snivy's eyes widen, but whether in mock or genuine realization, you can't tell. "Oh my god, you're right, let's go!"
It takes a while to navigate through the winding cave. The two of you fight through more Pokemon, and you add two more names to the memory bank: Woobat and Drilbur. You've improved the timing on your Vine Whip - Assurance combo, and developed new attacks. Snivy's basic Tackle has been worked on, and you've found that your nubby little hands do a surprising amount of damage, resulting in the new Scratch. Strange enough, it seems that both of your glares send shivers down opponents' spines, lowering their defenses with Leer. Along with this newfound repertoire, you also developed Focus Energy, which really helps before slugging a hard one. Snivy herself has discovered Pursuit, which she uses to chase down enemies you haven't completely subdued. All in all, you've fought enough Pokemon for a lifetime, seen way too many dead ends, and even drank out of an underground pond. You've also consumed altogether half of the Oran Berry bunch you picked. Out of hunger, rather than necessity.
"Snivy, over there!"
"Should we combo it?"
"No, dummy, it's the exit!" For once, you're the fastest runner amongst you two. Bursting through, you see sunlight in its full glory. So maybe you two didn't spend all that long in there. The waterfall gurgles brightly, and the grass is still a brilliant green. Ah, air. The real kind.
"Oh, my god!" Snivy exclaims. "I forgot again! I was rushing to get to the meeting!" She looks around, taking in her surroundings quickly. You marvel at it. "Okay, so it looks like we are on the Ragged Mountain Central Plateau. There's a fissure here in the centre, but if we cut down that tree, it should form a sturdy bridge for us to cross over to the east side."
"Cut the tree?"
"Is there a problem with that?"
"It's not good for nature."
"I AM NATURE."
You cough. Right. She's a plant. "Yeah, um, my bad. So how do we do it?"
"Here." With a single Vine Whip, the massive tree falls over, crossing over like Snivy said it would. "Okay, let's go. Hurry."
"That was sick, you went like 'nyoomph' once and the whole tree falls down."
"It was weak, old, and infested anyhow. Come along, make haste." Huh, she really does change speech patterns when she's flustered or embarassed. You watch her as she runs across the old tree without hesitation. You wish you were that brave. It makes a dry sound, like it's cracking under her feet. "Alright, come on, we must hurry to the Ragged Mountain Eastern Cave."
"Okay." Taking a deep breath, you step onto the tree. It groans under your weight. You imagine you must be heavier than Snivy. This can't go well. The groaning is getting louder. Snivy has only just turned around. Her eyes go wide and she opens her mouth to yell, but you're already going down. The tree is, too. Rolling, rolling, rolling down the cliff, you somehow manage to stay atop. Falling, now, falling, down. With a crack, the tree stops on a boulder. You somehow made it, again.
"Ned! Are you alright?" She's much too far up for her vines to reach you. Her voice barely reaches you, even. There's no way she could make it if she jumped. With the tree bridge gone, the only place to land from there is a mess of boulders and holes to the center of the world. And her vines couldn't possibly support her weight. You don't want to think about all the reasons she won't make it, but you can't stop. If she had only gone down the tree bridge with you, you would've both been down here. But there are no trees to cut up there, not anymore.
"I'm fine! Somehow not hurt, again," you call back up.
"Good! I guess I'll have to go through the Ragged Mountain Eastern Cave myself!"
A pause. "Yes."
With a wave of the hand you can barely make out, Snivy slips out of sight. You can only pray for her safety now, but you know she'll be fine. She's strong and fast, and beat that Minccino by herself. Maybe you should've given the Oran Berries to her, because you don't need them out here. But, then again, there's no way she'll need them. She won't take a single hit.
Snivy. She's not unlike some humans you know. Maybe the Pokemon world has more parallels than you'd thought.
The air around is getting colder. You blow into your tiny little hands to warm them up. Snivy had told you more about Pokemon than you could possibly digest in there, so maybe now's an opportunity to reflect on what you've learned.
Pokemon have types. There are seventeen different types. Or was it eighteen? Snivy's a Grass-type Pokemon. Figures. But you... you're a Dragon-type. Now that was cool. You, a little tusk-lizard thing, a dragon? It explains the scales, but come on. No way do you compare to that big three-headed dragon that attacked the little flower bean Pokemon.
Different types have different resistances, weaknesses and immunities. Both of you have a weakness against Ice-types, so you'd have to watch out for that. Not that you'd ever go to like a glacier or anything, so it's nothing to worry about. You are also weak to Fairy-types, and fairy tales. You suspect Snivy is weak to fairy tales as well.
As you gain experience in battle, you can get stronger and use new moves. You can also evolve into completely different Pokemon. You wonder what you'd look like all grown up. You wonder what Snivy would look like all grown up. You can't imagine her as anything other than what she looks like now.
Snivy has kept you alive so far. Taught you foods to eat, places to avoid, how to fight, how to evade, how to be cunning and honestly, saved your life when you first met. You need to thank her properly. You have not a doubt in your mind now that this place, the Pokemon world, is real. The other side of the sky is far too real to not be. And Snivy is someone too. There's no way she's just a figment of your imagination. You know it. And she knows it. And I know it.
The sun creeps a bit lower, but it's still a few hours until sunset. You suppose you arrived in the early morning. From the sounds of things, Snivy was expecting to arrive at her destination by noon. Welp. You guess that's kind of your fault, too, so you'll have to apologize on top of that. It's hard, being a Pokemon.
Something bursts through the cave exit. It's Snivy. She's out of breath, but grinning. "I'm back. Ragged Mountain Eastern Entrance, here we are."
"What took you so long?" you ask playfully.
"What? That was only a few minutes!"
"Yeah, you're incredible, to tell the truth. How'd you get here so fast?"
"I don't know. Lucky I found the exit right there."
"Too modest," you sigh. "Well, you ready?"
"Yeah, we're almost there." She points down the eastern path. "Just a little bit more."
"You sure you aren't late?"
"I know I'm late. But you can't give up until you try."
"Well, let's give it our all!"
Last edited by Keysmash; 28th May 2014 at 3:25 AM.
The sky is still light blue by the time you arrive.
It's hard to tell what kind of area this is. The path is a natural dark yellow, with coloured stones placed here and there. Dyed, no doubt. To further accentuate the imminent presence of civilization, a crossroads sits at the other side of the intersection, if it could be called that. Four winding yellow dirt roads.
The western road is the one you and Snivy have just emerged from. Small brown rocks line along the path, and fenced-off flowers and meadows abound.
The eastern road continues along the way you are walking. Small oak trees begin to sprout farther up, where the land turns to mountains and valleys. It is a grand sight, for sure. The clouds overhead serve only to make it an incredible landscape, the kind the human world could only dream of. If there's anything good about being here, it's the nature. Incidentally, you suppose that includes Snivy, too.
The northern road goes farther down. You can see and hear an interesting little area. But that's not where Snivy leads you to now.
She stops at the center of the crossroads, next to a small stone fountain. Amid the huffs and puffs coming from the both of you, she beams.
"We did it! We're finally here!"
"Somehow. So what's the meeting all about?"
"Right! We need to hurry. I'm pretty sure the letter said it was this way."
"Over there?!" Following Snivy's line of sight, you look down the southern path. It's a barren field of badlands, all rust-washed, more dust than there is air. There are no colours other than yellows and oranges. Rocks line up along the road, and even on it. The entire area is fenced off, and it goes without saying that there is not a sign of life to be seen. "Are you sure about this?"
"You can't chicken out now." Though she says it more with hope that you'll agree than her own determination.
"Okay. You saved me, and I won't forget that." And you don't want to let her down, either.
"Thanks. You saved me too."
After trekking for a while, you find it is not so much a wasteland as it is something of a savannah. Despite the empty lands, you can see small patches of bright green grass sprouting in the cracks of the dried earth. Short trees also find themselves no doubt where there are underground systems of water. You cough. This air, however, you were not wrong about. There's more than enough potential for a sandstorm. You narrow your eyes against the wind and watch Snivy. Her conviction is strong as ever. What kind of meeting is even happening out here? This had better not be a trap.
"Water," Snivy says. "I can hear water." And indeed, you two do happen to see a stream off in the distance, and a wooden plank bridge just over it. And, beyond the bridge, a Pokemon. "I think that's it!"
With a thumping of feet, the two of you pick up speed and dash across to the other side. There's no time to worry about whether the bridge would hold like the last one. With a late flood of relief, you find it's probably sturdy enough to hold a car.
"Quagsire!" Snivy yells. The big bloated blue figure turns around. He clutches a piece of paper in his hands. He smiles. Snivy mirrors it, and you can't help but feel relieved too. "Thank goodness! You're still here."
"Yes... that is me..." Quagsire says. His voice is a low, slow drawl, each word drawn-out. He hums happily. "I manage the land around here..."
What in God's name is Snivy planning to do?
"So... is it you, then...? You're... let me think..."
"Snivy. My name is Snivy."
"Ah, yes... I thought so... thanks for coming all the way here..."
"Well, you do know what my goal is here."
"Of course... waiting here was worth it after all..."
"Sorry for keeping you here so long." Snivy bowed. You have no idea what to do, so you bow too.
Quagsire turns his passive gaze to you, then back to Snivy. "Your friend?"
Snivy gives you a glance. You don't know what it means. You shrug.
"Hmm... Nevermind, then... so... are you really sure about this...?" Quagsire motions with a hand towards the vast expanse of near-desert. You didn't notice before, but from here, you can see mountains in the distance. Just how big is this?! And Quagsire manages land, right? Does he own all of this? Quagsire sighs. "It's really... desolate, you know... and... there's nothing here... at all..."
You look at Snivy, but her face gives away nothing.
"And... worst of all... the Mystery Dungeons are really taking over in this area... you can't really count on anything going as expected... not in this kind of place..."
"I know." Snivy's voice is resolute. "That's what I am hoping for."
"Are you sure... you won't... regret this...?"
"I've made payments in advance, there is no going back for me."
Quagsire chuckles. "Yes... of course... I just wanted to see for myself... just how strong your resolve is..." Quagsire's eyes light up, as if remembering something from his past. And then it is gone again. "Well... then, here is your deed..."
The Pokemon steps forward and hands Snivy the paper. It is old, but not worn-out. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that not many would be interested in purchasing land like this. Wait, purchasing land. Why's Snivy buying this desert?!
"This land now belongs to you..." Quagsire hums happily. You're sure he's glad to have a few extra bucks, but he doesn't look the type to extort teenagers for money. "You can do what you'd like with it... I'll be looking forward to it..."
And with that, he gently pushes past the both of you, onto the bridge, and down the path back north.
You've never heard Snivy cheer that loudly before.
"So what are you planning to do?" you ask.
"From this day forth, this will be my Paradise!"
"Are you moving here now?"
"Yes, but that's not all. You remember how I said I wanted to experience all kinds of things in this world? How I wanted to be an adventurer?"
"How does this tie in?"
"This is the starting point for making it all come true."
You still don't get it.
"My dream is to make a paradise for us all."
"A Pokemon Paradise?"
"Yes. I'm going to make this the kind of paradise you could only dream about. And besides..." Snivy's eyes are holding a daring gleam now. "The Mystery Dungeons are spreading around here. You never know what might happen on land like this. There are a lot of Pokemon who hate that kind of uncertainty, but to me, it's just the birthplace of an adventure. I'm going to have all kinds of adventures and find others just like me. We're going to work hard together and make a life that'll really make you feel alive! You know what I mean, right?! A real paradise! That's my dream!"
"You're quite the fairy tale yourself."
"It could happen, Ned, and it will! I'll make it happen. I've been saving up all of my own money for this, and now I have the perfect land for it. Well, I mean, everywhere else was too expensive, but still! This is the start of all my dreams."
"I'll be rooting for you."
"But what about you?"
You hesitate. "My dream?"
"I suppose. What will you do now? You don't have anywhere else to go, do you?"
Snivy takes a deep breath. What's happening? "So, listen, if you have nowhere else to go... would you, maybe, consider staying with me? Would you help me make my Paradise?"
You don't know.
"There's no way I can do it all by myself, and I was planning to try and get others to help me anyways..." Snivy trails off. She looks at you hopefully. "What do you think? Will you stay?"
You look up. This morning, you fell from your side of the sky into this one. You transformed into a Pokemon, and a voice pleaded with you to save the Pokemon world. You have no more clues about any of it. And now you've got nowhere to go and with sunset already nearing dusk, and you know not a soul but this Snivy who's done nothing but save your life so far. She wants nothing more than to bring others happiness and go on adventures. Maybe, just maybe, it'll lead you to what you were summoned here to do. It's ridiculous, and yet your choice is nothing but obvious.
"Do you really have such little faith in me?"
Snivy beams. "Thank you, Ned. We'll be a great team."
"We already are."
"Yes. And though this place is pretty empty right now, this is it."
"Yeah. This'll be great."
You can see the moon now. All full up there, in the night. It's dark. Very dark. You'd never realized what it was like not to have streetlights and TV screens to light up the night. And it's getting cold, too. Maybe you two should look for shelter for now. Deserts get awful chilly after twilight.
You walk a little further south, and the two of you come to a small clearing amid dead trees, rock formations, and weeds. At least the tall boulders provide some relief against the wind and cold.
"Night sure comes fast around here, but there's nothing here at all," Snivy mumbles. "I mean, of course not. But, well..."
"Do Pokemon at least live in shelters?"
"What? Of course! You think we're that uncivilized?" Snivy pouts. "In all honesty, yes, we do build homes. But just for tonight, I suppose we'll have to camp out."
"I've never done camping before."
"I've been doing it for a while now, so it should be fine, though I can't say I'm used to finding enough material for two Pokemon. Come on then, we need to find some grass and wood."
After a few minutes of collecting dead plants (there were plenty), the two of you installed yourselves back into the clearing. "Just lay out the grass in a little bed like this." "Make sure to take out any sharp parts." "Here, put the wood here." "The things around this clearing will reflect the campfire's heat back at us, so this is a good place to camp." "Alright, that's good for tonight."
You've now installed yourself on your bedding next to Snivy's. The campfire burns weakly, but there isn't much either of you can do. Neither of you speak, and the only sound is the quiet crackling of the fire, and the whistle of the wind in the sparse trees. You turn onto your back.
You'd never noticed just how clear the sky was here. Even amid the clouds, the stars burn brightly. Millions upon millions of them, all up there. There are so many, you sometimes forget about the infinite darkness beyond them. Stars. They're incredible, really. They're so bright out here, on the countryside. They're so bright out here, on the other side of the world. With no artificial lights around, these stars are brighter here than they are anywhere on the earth you once knew. The fact that you can navigate by only the moon and the stars is something no human has experienced for centuries. Millenia. If the stars up there lead into infinity, what about the stars in the other sky, beyond the sky?
You don't know. You don't understand any of it. But everything here and everything there are made of stars and of the sun(s) in the sk(ies). You are made of stardust, and so is Snivy. And so is this beautiful natural world you now find yourself in, and have been summoned to save.
"It's cold," Snivy mumbles, and you can see her breath wafting out along with your own. "I suppose we need to build a house before anything else." The fire seems to crackle in agreement.
"It'd be real funny if it started raining right about now," you say, voice softened by the night.
"Don't give the sky any more ideas."
"It's thanks to the sky I'm here right now."
Snivy rolls over to face you. Her shape is hard to make out in the dark. "Hey, Ned."
"Are we friends?"
You pause. "Do you think we are?"
"I want us to be."
"Then we're friends."
"Stop using what I said against me."
"It's not against you, it's for you."
She lets out a little huff of indignation.
"Hey," you say. "Since we're friends, can I give you a nickname?"
"Is that what nicknames are for?"
"Okay. Since we're friends and all."
"How about Vee? For Sni-vee?"
She snorts. "Ned, what's your first name?"
"That sounds nothing like Ned."
"Yeah, it does!"
"Well, what's your point?"
"I want a nickname that sounds nothing like my name too. Besides, not like I have a first name."
"Okay. So you want a random name?"
"A girl's name."
"Well, yeah. Let's see... how about... Jennifer?"
"Then, just Jen?"
"Does it mean something for humans?"
"Yeah. I remember reading this somewhere before. It means 'white fairy'. And since you're someone straight out of a fairy tale and all..."
"That's good. You have a way with words."
"Thanks, but I don't speak like royalty like someone else here..."
She gives you a suspicious glare. God, just how do you keep messing up like this? "Well, anyways," she continues. "I really like that name. You should call me Jen from now on. Yeah, I'll ask everyone else to call me that too."
"Really? It's a nickname I just gave you."
"We just met today."
She sighs. Then, carefully, "I don't exactly have a lot of friends."
You look away. "Sorry."
"What about you? What does your name mean?"
"Like, 'guardian' or 'protector' or something."
"You're more like the one protecting me."
"Who said it was about me? You were brought here to protect this world."
"Do you really believe that?"
"If you exist, I see no reason not to."
You don't know how to reply to that.
Jen yawns. "Well, if this works out anything like it will, we'll have plenty of time to talk. I'm tired now, so... goodnight."
I started reading this fic and it's quite surprising. Writing in second person is pretty uncommon. But I think you handle it very well.
And a GTI fic. I've been waiting to see that. I will be lurking your fic to read the coming chapters.
I started reading this fic and it's quite surprising. Writing in second person is pretty uncommon. But I think you handle it very well.
And a GTI fic. I've been waiting to see that. I will be lurking your fic to read the coming chapters.
(yodeling) THANK YOU SIR but there won't be as much narration from here on out, mostly dialogue. Characterization and all...
Spoiler:- Chapter 6:
A shuffling sound.
You blink the sleep from your eyes and reach over to wake Snivy-- no, wait, it's Jen now. She wakes up with a huge yawn, eyes still half-lidded from sleep. You hurry and rub your eyes, so that you can see properly. Jen does the same, and you both turn to your visitor.
"Good morning... sleepyheads... I came... to see... how you two were... surviving..." Quagsire chuckles. "Did you... sleep well...?"
You yawn. "Morning."
Jen waves at Quagsire dimly. "Good morning. And no, not exactly. It was a little chilly."
"Just a little," you add.
"Turns out it's difficult to stay out of the wind when you've got no walls."
"We're thinking that we'd really like to build a house," Jen says with a nod. "But we don't really know where to begin."
"Well..." says Quagsire, in thought. "If it's... a house... you're after... I think... there should be a carpenter or three... somewhere... in Post Town..."
"Where's that?" you ask Jen. She shrugs.
"It's... to the north... of here..." Quagsire says. "You must've... seen it... on your way... here...?"
"Oh," you say. "Right, there was a crossroads, and the northern road led to a bustling little village or something. Right."
"If... you ask... the carpenters... they... should be able... to build you... a house..."
"Thanks, Quagsire!" Then, turning to you, "Come on, Ned, let's go find them."
"Alright... follow me..." Taking the lead, Quagsire turned back north, from the way he had come.
"Coming," you say. The fire had already been put out by the wind at some point during the night, but you had to do something about your bedding.
"It's fine, leave it. It's our land, after all, no one will mess with it."
"Our land," Jen insists.
As the two of you follow Quagsire out of Paradise, you notice a small red box by the stream, adorned with flowers and patterns. "Was that there before?"
"What is it?"
"We can come back and look at it later."
"Come along... now..." says the voice from up front, humming to himself. "And... since you two... are new... around here... I'll give you... a complimentary tour... hmm...?"
Jen smiles politely. "That would be much appreciated."
"Splendid..." Quagsire stops at the crossroads from where you had come the day before. "You've... traveled along... this route... to arrive here... correct...?"
You decide to let Jen do most of the talking from here on. She's a natural.
"Only on the southern path."
"Well... a lot of traveling Pokemon... come along... this highway here... and so... Post Town was built... as a nice... rest stop... for everyone..."
"That is interesting."
"Yes... this crossroads... you will become... familiar with... I'm sure... to the east... is your property... to the south... your original home... to the north... lands to explore... and to the west... is Post Town... let's go have a look... shall we...?"
As you and Jen follow in tow, the trees thin out along with the rocks, and the faded path winds through a pleasant meadow of grass and flowers. A large wooden structure arches over the entrance to the vilage, adorned by signs and tapestries. You imagine one of them must've read 'Post Town' once.
The inside of the village is just as lush as out, if not more. Numerous shops of creative shapes hold space all around. Pokemon vendors are seated all around, and other Pokemon wander around town, talking to each other.
You watch in awe. "It's really lively here."
"Yes... this town... is quite famous... for having... the best water..." Well, that certainly explains the streams, fountains, and waterfalls. "Visiting Pokemon... all drink their fill... and wash away... their fatigue..."
"I suppose that's why everyone tends to gather here." Jen nods.
"There are... a lot of... shops... and things... too... as you've... no doubt... noticed..." Too many, in fact. You and Jen would have to fully explore this town later. Your eyes can't remember all this information you're seeing. "Do you... see that... over... there...?"
You follow Quagsire's paw-hand-flipper and see an indigo box adorned with gold. It looks to be nothing more than a very fancy safe. "That... strange box..." says Quagsire. "Is a... Deposit... Box... you can... deposit... your items... and money... there... and then... take them out... later..."
"How do we know others won't steal anything?" Jen asks.
"Everyone... who opens it... has... different things... inside... it's... a mysterious box... of separate... realities..."
You nod, kind of understanding. "So, depending on who opens it, it only has their items, right? No one can access others' items? Everyone has their own 'account'?"
Jen sighs. "Well then."
"Let us... not make... a fuss... of things... now then... that... is... the general... store..." Beyond the Deposit Box, sitting behind a box of crates, is a wooden building, shaped like a hut. The roof is green and yellow, with a sign you can't read hanging off the front. You notice that the roof pattern looks an awful lot like that of the shop owner's face, who happens to be talking to a blue duck-like Pokemon. "You can... buy... all sorts... of things... there..."
"Ah, wait, please wait a moment," Jen says. "We do not have enough time to spare to visit each facility individually. This is indeed a town, correct?"
"You are correct... Snivy..."
"Oh, and that, too. Please call me Jen from now on. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Quagsire blinks, as passively as always. "Any... specific... reason... for... the change...?"
"Yes. I suppose I'd like to start anew."
"Always... a good... reason..." Quagsire nods in understanding. "Alright... Jen... and... ..."
"Ned... I'll be wrapping this up... so... I suppose... there's also... the inn.... and its restaurant... and... all kinds... of other places... feel free... to use... any of the shops... you'd like..."
"Quagsire, you say that like you own this land, too."
"Do you?" you add.
A screech cuts you off. "What are you doing?!"
In the plaza of white and blue and yellow tiles, a small crowd of Pokemon have gathered to watch the commotion. A talking rock looks to be fighting with the blue duck you saw talking with the general store's shopkeeper earlier.
"You just hit me on purpose, didn't you!" cries the rock in a shrill voice. "That hurt, you oaf!"
"All I did was brush you with my beak! What's the big deal?! Don't go throwing a fit over every little bump!"
The rock let out an indignant huff and turned away. The duck did the same, and waddled off. The crowd of Pokemon stared in shock.
"Who were they?" you whisper to Jen. "They seemed a bit touchy."
"The duck was Ducklett, the stone was Roggenrola. It was strange, huh?"
"What do you mean?"
"None of the other Pokemon even tried to step in. None."
Quagsire hummed in agreement. "Everyone's... a bit on edge... these days... the strife... between Pokemon... just keeps... growing... worse..."
"That's news to me," Jen said. "Please elaborate."
"Been away... for a long time? Well... from what I hear... it seems... everyone's nerves... are a bit...strained..."
"Is this because of...?" Jen trailed off.
"Yes... some Pokemon think... it's the spread... of the Mystery Dungeons... but... who can say... for sure...?"
"Well, from what we just witnessed, you're right about the relationships between Pokemon being more sour these days."
"It feels as if... more and more Pokemon... are only looking out... for themselves..." Quagsire's perpetual smile dropped a little. "You... two... must've seen... that no one... tried to stop... that fight... there's... just... no trust... between Pokemon... anymore..."
"Is that how it is now? I wish everyone would be friendlier, but that's easier said than done."
"The world... does seem... a bit dark... these days..." Dark? Really? To you, this seemed more like the essence of happiness, but with a crack of discontent showing through. Just what kind of world was this? Jen didn't need to build a paradise, this entire world was already paradise.
"Well... never mind... all that... you two... needed... a... carpenter... right...?"
"I'll go... have a look... around... while I... do that... you two... can check out... the town... how... does... that... sound...?"
"Sounds good. Thank you, Quagsire."
Smile back, Quagsire turned around and waddled off into town. Before you knew it, he'd slipped into a building and out of sight.
Jen stretches. "Alright, let's take a look around."
"Sounds good to me."
Last edited by Keysmash; 5th May 2014 at 11:15 PM.
"Yes... this crossroads... you will become... familiar with... I'm sure... to the south... is your property... to the west... your original home... to the east... lands to explore... and to the north... is Post Town... let's go have a look... shall we...?"
I'm afraid you made a mistake with the geography. The property is at the east, Post Town in the west, Explorations at the north and the group first arrived at the crossroads at the south.
I'm afraid you made a mistake with the geography. The property is at the east, Post Town in the west, Explorations at the north and the group first arrived at the crossroads at the south.
Other than that it looks good ^^
I was assuming that Post Town was in the north for some reason... I had a reason for this, I swear... well, I can't remember it now, so I'll just change it to the conventional directions. Thanks!
EDIT: I remember now! Since, when we began, it was like a straight path from left to right through Ragged Mountain. So, I assumed that Post Town and Paradise were farther to the east, and our characters came from the west (beyond Ragged Mountain). When we got out of there, I was like 'oh crap' and had to flip the entire map 90 degrees clockwise. Guess that won't really work out. D:
Last edited by Keysmash; 5th May 2014 at 11:17 PM.
Oops, time to go through and replace all the cardinal directions now D:
Spoiler:- Chapter 7:
With renewed vigor, you take in the village once again.
One word: water. There is water everywhere. Quagsire was not lying when he said the town was famed for its water. In fact, the village seeemed to be built in a miniature delta.
After exploring it in its entirety, you and Jen stopped at the entrance to discuss it.
"Three levels! Whoever heard of a three-story town?"
"Well, there isn't much other than the perpetually flowing well on the highest level, and a great sightseeing spot."
"Oh, you're right. I took a look from up there, and the view is dazzling. Lakes and forests and mountains! Wow, this world's nature is incredible!"
"Hey, don't say that too loudly."
"No one knows the context."
"Don't let them."
You cross your little arms. You're still not completely used to it. "Well, whatever. Anyways, they should really put safety fences up there. What if someone falls?"
"Do humans do that?"
"Have to be restrained to be safe?"
"Well, it's mostly for children, elders, and daring teenagers."
"So that includes you?"
"Whatever you say. Humans are weird."
"Look who's talking too loudly now."
"What were we even talking about?"
A groan escapes you. "Okay, so the second floor. Did you find anything on the second floor?"
"We both know there's nothing of interest there."
"Hey, that water-purifying windmill is absolutely of interest! Some humans need that to survive!"
"Do you not have them?"
"I don't know. I don't think so."
"What happens to the humans?"
"Oh, yeah, and there was the second floor of the inn, right? But you can't enter from the windows, so there isn't much point."
"Right, right! And the waterfall stream actually flows underneath the inn, which is super cool. I saw some Pokemon doing flips off the bridge and into the springs."
"Oh, on the first floor? I didn't get to see it."
"Yeah, it was just east of the plaza, I think. The main waterfall flows into it. The bridge on the second floor casts this shadow onto it, so it looks super mysterious."
"No, but it looks nice. Some of the townsfolk told me that nearly everyone takes their baths and showers there. Since the water flows from the infinite well on the third floor, all the water's always fresh. The old water flows out from under the bridge on the first floor and out into the river."
"But that would imply that water is constantly being supplied to this world, and that would've surely already resulted in a flood."
"See, that's the thing! They say that a legendary Pokemon sucks up all the water, purifies it, and brings it back to infinite wells all over the world!"
"That's quite interesting. All of the water that comes out is eventually going to go back in."
"Also, did you get to check out all the shops on the first floor?"
"Yes, except for the inn, which I wanted to go with you to see. It is the staple of Post Town, after all."
"Hey, I was thinking the same here. Which one's your favourite facility so far?"
"What were they again?"
"Uh, there was that coffin Pokemon with the scary face and four black arms. He loved gold or something."
"Yeah, and also, the general store, and the literal gift shop, and the box-opener."
"Right, with the shopkeepers Kecleon, Cinccino, and Rampardos."
"Spare me the names!"
"You'll have to learn them eventually."
"Well, enough dawdling, we should head to the inn."
"You two... good timing..." You two walk up to greet Quagsire as he steps out of the shadows.
"We were just on our way to go look inside the inn."
"Well... actually... those two Timburr... over there... are the carpenter's... apprentices..." He points a flipper in the direction of twin Pokemon, each carrying an identical wooden plank. Do all Pokemon of the same species look the same? It could be confusing if you managed to find another Axew, or Snivy, or Quagsire. "You... would do well... to ask them... about... your house... right... lads...?"
The two Timburr take notice of Quagsire as he approaches them, and they turn to face the three of you. You notice that the only thing different about them is a vague distortion of facial features and body shape, but not much else. This could be hard. They look at you and Jen the same way, an analytical gaze in their eyes. Neither speaks.
"Where is... your... master...?"
The pair give each other a puzzled look before turning to Quagsire. The stocky one speaks, and his voice is a thin, reedy sound. "Our master? Oh, you mean the boss?"
The lanky Timburr, on the other hand, speaks like a bass drum. "If you're looking for the boss, he's inside."
"Your boss is the carpenter, correct?" asked Jen. Taking charge. "We want to build a house. Could you take us to meet your boss?"
The Timburr give each other another glance, a different one. They nod. The stocky one speaks. "We certainly can."
"Come on," urges the lanky one, already starting to push you and Jen inside. He's surprisingly strong. "Don't dawdle or nothing."
Quagsire waves at you from behind. "Looks good... good luck... with the carpenter...I'll be waiting..."
"Thank you, Quagsire!"
You nearly trip on your feet as your four begin to descend the stairs. Once at the bottom, you find yourself in a well-lit room, ground patterned with an imprint and otherwise covered in fancy tapestries. Tables line the far wall, along with a counter stocked with food. A houseplant greets you at the entrance. The room gives you an overall impression of clean-cut, yet nostalgic inns. The wood is polished, but faded. It is quaint, but fancy. You feel at ease.
Once finished dusting herself off, Jen asks, "So where is your boss?"
"Is that him?" you ask, pointing towards the counter. A large white swan sits behind it, talking to Ducklett. You regret opening your mouth immediately.
"Huh? What are you talking about?! That's ain't the boss! In what world does that look like a carpenter?!"
"That over there's Swanna," the Timburr continues. "She owns this place. She's in charge." Oh god, it was the innkeep, and a lady, too!
The other Timburr raises his hand. "You'll see our boss just over there." He motions towards a large, humanoid Pokemon with a clown nose, carrying a metal beam. He must be at least twice as tall as both you and Jen. Yeah, that's a carpenter all right. He sits at a table with a bowl of water and a plate of untouched apples.
Seeing the look on your faces, the stocky Timburr grins. "THAT's our boss. Gurdurr." And, as if acknowledging your presence, Gurdurr begins
"What's up with that?" you whisper to Jen amid the sound storm.
"My goodness," she mumbles, but nothing more.
Once over, the lanky Timburr turns back towards you two, and as quietly as possible, warns, "Listen up, the boss has a bit of a vicious temper, so mind your manners." All four of you gulp, and take the plunge. Gurdurr begins
"What?!" he adds, just for the sake of having a word in there somewhere.
The two Timburr let out a squeak and jolt backwards. You can't help but feel that this isn't exactly a model example of how apprenticeships should go.
"What do you two want?" Gurdurr outright growled.
Nervously, "Hey, Boss. See, these folks here--"
Gurdurr cuts him off, a smile spreading across his face. "Hey? What's this? You got some kinda job for me?"
Jen steps forward warily. "Yes, we want to build a house, and we need a carpenter. We had gotten wind you were one, so that's why we're here."
Gurdurr says nothing. He stares at Jen menacingly, smile quickly dropping.
And then, that's the first time you hear Jen stutter. "We would of c-course be paying you for your services."
Gurdurr still says nothing. He's not scowling, but certainly not happy. You decide to step in.
"P-Please, we really need a place to live, and we would really appreciate your help."
No one dares move.
"So, uh..." One of the apprentices clears his throat. "What do you think, B-Boss?
The other Timburr twiddles his thumbs nervously. "Uh, B-Boss?"
Gurdurr screeches, and slams his metal pole into the floor. You're afraid it'll tear a hole in the wood. The apples on the plate fall onto the floor, and the water spills onto the table. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice Swanna and some townsfolk watching warily, but no one dares say anything. You feel a wave of shame wash over you that is quickly replaced by fear.
Gurdurr stares at the two of you in the eyes. His expression gives away nothing. "All right. I'll do it."
"Really?" asks Jen, still unsure after seeing the outbursts.
"Yeah, really." Gurdurr's voice is calm, but his face is guarded. "I'm a carpenter, ain't I? We craftsmen stick to our word."
"Thank you." You've no doubt Jen's kind of regretting all this now too. But now that you've persuaded him to help, there's no way to tell Gurdurr to back off. She turns towards you, a wariness clear in her eyes. You shrug. There's nothing either of you can do about it now.
"So," you say, clearing your throat. "We're going to need money to build a house, right? We can--"
Jen taps you on the shoulder. "We don't have any."
Seeing the expression on the carpenter's face, you think fast. "YET. But we'll work hard to save some up! Right?"
Jen narrows her eyes, which are still fixed on Gurdurr. "Yes."
"Nah," Gurdurr growls after a moment. "Don't need any money. I want you to bring me something else instead."
Jen hesitates. "If it's within our power."
"Well, there's this place nearby called Stony Cave. Just up the northern highway from the crossroads outside of town. Go all the way to the deepest part and get me some of the gems there."
You glance over at Jen, who returns it, just as puzzled. He may be looking to sell them, but why such a roundabout way of getting money?
"Yeah, that's it," Gurdurr hisses. "They're blue stones, got it? We're gonna need materials to build you that house."
"Are you implying you will be building the house out of gems? That is ridiculous."
"No," he snaps. "I'll need those blue gems to swap for building supplies at the lumberyard. You'll spot the gems if you go far enough into Stony Cave."
"Uh, lemme see..." Timburr and Timburr gather around him and talk in hushed voices. You frown, unsure of how to proceed. "Yeah," says Gurdurr. "About five little ones should do it, I'd say. If you go and get me some gems, I can trade them for whatever you need. Then we can build you your little house." His voice lilts unpleasantly at the last sentence.
"Alright," Jen says slowly. "We just need to get you five gems, right?"
"We should be leaving, then. Thank you, Gurdur, Timburr." Taking your arm, she leads you back up the stairs, though you felt less than resistance to the idea.
Emerging into natural light, you're greeted once again by a lazy drawl.
"How... did it go?"
Jen frowns. "Things should be looking up, since the carpenter accepted our offer and all. But I don't know."
"I'm not sure just yet, so I don't want to theorize. But see, he asked us to go to Stony Cave and get him these gems he wants. He says that he'll trade them for materials at the lumberyard and build us a house."
"Well... it sounds... peachy to me..."
"You know... how... to get to... Stony Cave...?"
"Yes, just off to the eastern highway, correct?"
A new voice appeared from behind. It was the stocky Timburr, an anxious look in his eyes. His buddy had the same expression. "Um, hey."
"What is it?" asked Jen, obviously still doubtful.
Neither of the Timburr speak. They don't exchange meaningful glances or employ body language. Neither moves a muscle, just stares into your eyes, pleading.
"Was there something you needed to tell us?" Eyes narrowed, suspicion growing. You'd be scared to face Jen like this too.
"No. It's nothing."
You bite back a retort of 'lies, obviously lies!' and watch.
"Yeah, forget it," mumbles the lanky Timburr. "Just go on and get those gems already."
"Alright." Curt, minimal. A reply with just enough substance to count as one. "Come on, Ned, we should get going."
"Okay." Giving the Timburr one last glance, you follow her out of the town, past the gate, and to the crossroads. You don't know what to think. It's obvious to anyone with half a mind that they're up to something, but whether it's good or bad, you can't tell. The Timburr seem to be remorseful, almost, and Gurdurr... well, who knows? You'll just have to assume if they're up to something, it's something bad, like you always have to when out in the wilds.
"Just... down this road... now..." Quagsire pauses for longer than usual. "There's only... one thing... to remember... I'm sure... you already know... Stony Cave... is a Mystery Dungeon..."
Okay, if you're knowingly walking straight into a trap, you want to at least know what that means. "So what is that, anyways?"
"Oh, I suppose I forgot to tell you," Jen says. "Mysterious things are always happening in Mystery Dungeons. For example, every time you go into one, the layout changes. Sometimes, an underground passage will lead to someplace you'd never expect. But there are sure to be adventures there."
"That's why you bought land here?"
"Well, mostly, yes."
"Sure sounds fun... when you put it... like that..." Quagsire sighs nostalgically. "Sometimes... you can find... rare treasures... and then... eveything's coming up roses..." He sighs, defeated. "And then... out of nowhere... you get viciously attacked... by wild Pokemon... they're very dangerous... so... be careful..."
You groan. "We're risking our lives to build this house?"
"There's no other way around it, Gurdurr and his apprentices are the only carpenters around, I think."
"Indeed..." Quagsire says, but his tiny black pinpricks of eyes are darting back and forth between the two of you.
"Jen, you know what we're walking into, right?"
A resolute huff. "Sure do. Might as well make the most of it."
"Yes... you might as well... try your best..."
You try and facepalm. "Honestly, you two. You're supposed to be wise! You do fully understand the danger that we're about to face, right?! For a house? And Quagsire, we could never be coming back! Aren't you at least a little bit concerned? Even about the land Jen bought? Won't there be legal troubles concerning it if she...?!"
Quagsire hums, and you start to feel apprehensive of him, too. "Nope... never bothered... to be concerned... about anything... in... my... life..." He chuckles. "Why... start now...? And besides..."
"What?" you mumble, voice barely more than a whisper.
Quagsire closes his eyes pensively. "I somehow get the feeling that you two can make it through anything together."
You jump, and Jen's eyes widen.
"Even if it's based on absolutely nothing at all," adds Quagsire. He opens his eyes, and his smile returns.
"What was that?!"
"What... do you... mean...?"
You exchange a glance with Jen. You mouth the word 'later'. She sighs. "Alright, then, I guess we'll heading out soon. Quagsire, are you coming?"
He shakes his head. "Go ahead... kids..."
"Alright, then, Ned. First, however, we should make sure we know what we're doing."
"Gurdurr wants us to go all the way into Stony Cave and get five blue gems."
"To do that, we need to go through Stony Cave, a Mystery Dungeon."
"So we should prepare ourselves first."
"Lead the way."
"Change it up a little."
You stick out your tongue. "Fine, whatever, leader."
"Is there anything we need to wrap up here before we go?"
"You say that like we'll d--"
"We won't, but still! Just... just in case."
"We survived Ragged Mountain just fine, didn't we?"
"That was a Mystery Dungeon?"
"Yes. We left without a scratch."
"Yeah, but this might be different! It's a different one, you can't just assume they're all the same!"
"Stop applying the logic from yesterday to every situation."
"Speaking of which, remember that thing in Paradise?"
"The red mailbox?"
"Let's go take a look!"
"Okay. Go ahead." She grins as she waits for you to start walking. This wasn't fair! She's taken charge this whole way, speaking enough for two, and now she makes you leader by abusing her own leader powers!
Once there, you see something sticking out of the mailbox. You got mail? "Was this here before?"
"I don't recall."
Jen takes it out carefully. It's a letter with no return address nor addressee. It must've been put here by hand. Or paw. Or whatever. Who could've been here in the short time you were gone?
Jen's slices it carefully with a vine, and takes out the sheet of paper inside. "Can I read it?" you ask.
- Notice -
Welcome to the Passerby Post!
The Passerby Post can be used to help others when they faint in a dungeon!
Many Pokemon are out there even now, adventuring in the dungeons of this world.
But some adventurers faint before finishing their journey through a dungeon...
But when that happens--!
If you have put a Reviver Seed in the Passerby Post...
You may save someone who fainted with StreetPass!
If you do manage to save someone, your good deed will be rewarded!
Life is all about give-and-take!
So how about placing a Reviver Seed in your Passerby Post?
- End of Message -
You try and decipher what the point of this letter is. An ad campaign? For what?
"Probably rubbish," Jen affirms. "Toss it."
"Where?" Before you can ask any further, she takes it out of your hands with a nimble vine and throws it into the stream. It floats away before you can snatch it back up.
"Honestly?" you mutter, but Jen's already started looking further in the mailbox. You waddle over. "See anything?"
Her vines are inside, reaching for something. "Got it! Look!" They snake back into her body and she holds a little golden seed in her hands. "A Reviver Seed!"
"If you faint in a Mystery Dungeon, it'll revive you instantly!"
"Like smelling salts?"
"Something like that. You don't even have to do anything, if you just keep it with you, it'll activate automatically. It's only one-use though, so we need to safeguard this one preciously."
"Do we have a bag?"
"No. I'll keep it with me. I can figt with just vines, anyways."
"Such a dinky little thing?"
"It saves lives, you know! If we both faint out there, it's over for us!"
"I guess. While we're at it, is there anything else we need to do in Post Town?"
"We're flat out broke, do you have to ask?"
"Oh, right, sorry."
"Not like you actually did any research on what each facility does, anyways..."
You huff. "Yeah, yeah. Let's go."
"What exactly do you think that Gurdurr and his apprentices are up to?"
"I don't know. We'll just have to walk right into their trap."
"Hopefully we'll be strong enough."
"You think it'll come to that?"
"It's entirely possible. You heard what Quagsire said. The tensions between Pokemon are growing."
"I don't know about Quagsire anymore. What he says isn't false, but there's something off about him. He shows no concern for our lives. Why did he come visit us this morning? Where does he live? Who is he? How old is he? What is his goal by helping us?"
"I don't know, Ned, I really don't. But you remember what he said, right? 'I somehow get the feeling that you two can make it through anything together. Even if it's based on absolutely nothing at all.' No matter what happens, we need to stick by each other."
"Meeting you here first was no coincidence, was it?"
"Maybe. We don't have answers, but we have means to attain them. And we need to start off slow."
Running out of extra chapters, I'm going to have to sit down and start writing again D:
Spoiler:- Chapter 9:
"North-east of Post Town, huge white cliffs. You can't miss it."
You don't. The map was spot-on.
"Well, Stony Cave. It looks like it leads underground. You ready to dive back in?" You nod back. "Alright, then, let's go. B1F."
You find yourself once again in the Mystery Dungeon, surrounded by a sense of wonder and danger. You decide, from that moment on, there is nothing better than being an adventurer. The cold rock under your feet makes you shiver, but there is nowhere else to stand. The uneven terrain of cobble makes it hard to run, so the both of you opt to tread carefully. Sparse mint green plants grow out the cracks in the stone walls. The light filters in from larger spaces in between boulders. And it's so much colder than Ragged Mountain was, almost as cold as last night. You wonder how cold this cave must be at midnight, if it's this bad at midday.
The quiet patter of feet is interrupted by Jen's quiet exclamation of, "Hey, look!"
You scamper over and see, in her hands, a light blue sphere, almost like a gem. "Is that the blue gem he wanted?"
"No, silly," she murmurs. "It's an Escape Orb. If we smash it, it'll activate, and bring us back to the place we last slept. We can use these if we're close to being defeated."
"It's like an alternative to Reviver Seeds, right?"
"Somewhat, but you have to leave the dungeon. That, and you have to be concious to use it."
"Do you think we'll be knocked out anytime soon?"
You draw in a sharp breath. If both of you are knocked out, like Jen said, you could...
"So, who's going to hold it?" Jen asked. "I can hold this, and you can have the Reviver Seed, since you need at least a hand free to attack."
"Wait, someone's here." The two of you quickly exchange items, and you clutch the Reviver Seed in your left hand like the potential saviour it it.
Two floating gears hover from around the corner. It spots you and Jen and comes charging forward. "Go!" Jen tells you repeatedly. But you just keep dodging back.
"That's a Pokemon?!"
"Yes! Klink! Now if you don't finish it, I will!" True to her word, Jen lunged forward.
"What are you doing?! Just use Vine Whip from back there!"
"Grass-Type attacks aren't effective against this Steel-type! Neither are Normal-type attacks. Our best bet, when fighting Steel-types, is to use Pursuit and Assurance, which are Dark-Type moves."
"Those are super effective?"
"No, they just hit like normal, but they're better than nothing. So how about it? A Klink combo?"
"Pursuit, then Assurance? Sounds good to me."
"Alright! Klink combo wombo!"
After felling yet another large number of Pokemon, you and Jen find yourselves breathing heavily in a long, narrow corridor. This can't possibly be the best ventilation. It's gotten really hot in here, or maybe it's just you. You've always been told not to go anywhere cold while sweating, or you'll catch a cold. Too late now, Mom.
"Gothita, behind us," Jen, still holding the Escape Orb in hand, sends out vines to attack. However, she is getting tired too. Just a bit too slow, Gothita sends out a psychic beam before the Vine Whip hits. Jen's head flies back, nearly dropping the Escape Orb.
"Be careful! Are you alright?" Jen doesn't respond. She seems to be in a daze. "Hey! Are you okay?"
Out of nowhere, she turns her vines towards you instead.
"What? Have an-- hey, ow!" She smacks you in the back of the head, hard. You don't see stars, you see black spots. "What's that for? That hurt-- hey! Stop that!"
She looks to be in a daze or something, eyes half-lidded. What did Gothita do to her? Hypnotize her? Gothita was currently still tackling Jen was all the strength in its tiny little body. And-- ow! Jen, my god!-- Gothita brought some friends, too!
"Jen! Stop!" There's no way. You're gonna pass out. It wouldn't be dangerous so much as painful, but god, she's hitting the back of your head as hard as she can...
She collapses before you do. Gothita and her horde of Gothita all stand around Jen, passed out. The Escape Orb is still firmly in her grip. You consider wrestling it out of her arms and smashing it, because you weren't far from sharing the same fate. You walked right into Gurdurr's trap! But before you can reach for it, your left hand begins to burn. What's happening? What did-- no, wait! The Reviver Seed! You were clutching onto it for dear life, and now here you are, using it, for dear life. You let go, and it weaves a golden arc around you, then Jen, and then a bright light and... my god! She's back, just like that!
You can hear the seed crunching in her mouth. "Just a Plain Seed now, huh?"
"Come on then, since I'm back, let's give them a taste of our power."
Once your lives are secured, you let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, that was weird. What?"
"Well, Gothita inflicted the Confusion status on me, so I became confused. To be honest, not so much confused as hypnotized. So, I started inflicting damage on you while Gothita and co. tried to end me. Efficiency and all. And the Reviver Seed, like I said, would revive any fallen teammate, but once used, it turns into a Plain Seed that doesn't have any special power, so I ate it. And now here we are. Hey, look, they dropped some dough!" Jen skipped towards the pile of Gothita on the ground, and picked up a few coins."Want to hold them?"
"Yeah, sure," you mumble. "Why can you find money and items just lying around in Mystery Dungeons anyways?"
"Well, it's still home to Pokemon, no matter how messed up. And really, they're Mystery Dungeons. Even the things you can find around here changes. They say there's a forest made entirely of money."
"Wait, wait... how do you not be confused? Can you heal it?"
"Some berries, like Persim berries, can heal it. Some items do too. If you faint, like I did, it'll be cured. And it also goes away over time, like your health gets restored. See? You're feeling much better now than you were right after I attacked you. But sheesh, do we really have to have a FAQ session in a Mystery Dungeon? "
"I need to know as much of this world as possible if it's something I'm going to save. And besides, I don't want to cut it that close again. We're only on the first floor of this cave, and the blue gems are supposed to be at the very bottom. We're never going to make it."
"Don't say that. At the very least, this experience will make us stronger."
"Yeah. Come on, there are a set of stone stairs leading down."
"Wait, what? Is this place artifically fabricated?"
"Maybe. But this particular feature is by no means natural."
You both go down the steps carefully. A few pieces of loose gravel crumble underneath your combined weight. The coins in your hands make no sound as you grip them tightly.
"What's that?" There's a shining panel on the ground. It has a large green arrow on it. "That's not natural. At all."
"Wow, I've never seen one before." Jen jumps down and stares at it. Its luminous glow reminds you of that of the Escape Orb she holds. "It's a Wonder Tile. If your attack, defense, or speed has been lowered or raised, stepping on this will return it to normal. Of course, it goes for enemies too."
"Do we really need something like that?" You waddle over to the large patch of dark green grass, which has somehow managed to thrive down here.
"We certainly don't need it, but it's there. Oh, watch out for traps, too."
You stop fidgeting. "Traps?"
"Yes, they have different effects, but you probably want to stay away from all of them. You can't see them, either, not without special items we don't have."
"Mystery Dungeons just get worse and worse."
Jen doesn't reply. "Stony Cave B2F is awful quiet."
Quiet, maybe, but not empty. Out of the shadows, a larger shape emerges. "Duck!"
Just in time, Jen bends down, and the claws brush just over her. The shape swoops upwards and stays afloat, debating how to proceed from there. "That's not a duck! It's a bird!"
"Spare me the formalities!" you yell back. "What's it called?"
"Braviary!" The massive bird is over twice your size, even taller than Gurdurr. Its talons and beak seem to glint even in the weak underground lighting. Now, how exactly were you going to get out of this one?
"Whatever! Run!" Jen commands, and dashes past it, down the narrow corridor. "Here!" You both slide into an even smaller space, barely more than a crack in the wall. Braviary is too big to fit here.
"Good thinking," you say. "We--ow! Something just shocked me!"
"Hold still, that's a Joltik!" With a crunch, Jen brought down a vine near your forearm. You spot it just in time to see a little yellow bug skittering off.
"We just can't catch a break."
"Ned, look. Another orb, in that room."
"Can we really carry another?"
"I can. I'm more adept with vines than hands. Here, let me go have a little look-see." You follow her out into the expanse of rock.
"What is it?"
"A Rollcall Orb. If you smash it, your teammate or teammates will teleport back to you."
"When would we need that?"
"Some traps warp you elsewhere, as well as attacks, or complications. Anything can happen in these dungeons, so really, always assume something bad is a possibility. But don't assume nothing good can come of it."
"Let me tell you, good things to come: look, stairs!"
"Do you think B3F will be Stony Cave's final floor?"
"Maybe." You take a look around. "Nevermind. Not a single blue gem to be seen."
"They may be further in."
"Hey, more money!" You scamper over and pick up a few more coins.
"Don't get too greedy, now," says Jen, and takes the lead again. "But look at all these Wonder Tiles. Maybe it was just by chance we didn't see any in Ragged Mountain. They feel like part of Mystery Dungeons, like just another randomly generated feature."
"Randomly generated, alright. Look how close the stairs were this time!"
"Theoretically, it may be possible to traverse an entire dungeon without facing a single enemy."
"Theoretically. Come on, let's go, since they're there."
"Do you think Stony Cave B4F is our final destination?"
"Must you really say that every time? Can't you just say 'this floor'?"
Jen sticks her tongue out. "No. Formalities suit Mystery Dungeons."
"All of them have official titles, and I must say them out loud every time."
"Picky." But you don't mean it, as you follow Jen's weaving path around the floor. "Maybe it's karma, since we nearly got wiped out on the very first floor."
"You believe in that?"
"I don't know. No. Maybe."
You bite your lip. "This small talk is kind of weird."
Jen looks at you, but doesn't reply. You don't either, and drop it.
"Think Stony Cave B5F will be our lucky star?" You look up to see Jen has already led the two of you to the stairs.
"Don't jinx it."
"We'll find the end eventually, so me saying it changes nothing but your expectations." And, with a large stride, two orbs in hand, Jen stepped down deeper into the cave. You clutch your money and follow.
Jen whips around to face you, eyes blazing. She thrusts out a vine and points at your hand. "Ned! The coins!"
"What about them?" Panicked, you open your hand. They're all there, still. You count and recount 7 times.
"My bet... was RIGHT ON THE MONEY!" She grins and turns around. "Look!"
You jump down from the last step, and see something shining at the end of the corridor. It's blue and indigo. This could only be one thing. You run towards it, Jen hot on your heels, still winded from the beauty of her joke.
The corridor opens into a small room, the final room, with grass and flowers amid the rocks. A small pond shines a vivid blue, reflecting the hue of the massive crystals in the wall. The biggest one is three times as big as you are. How does the sunlight even reach this far down, much less illuminate them so brightly? They must be all kinds of special!
"Awesome! We found the blue gems!" You high-five one of Jen's vines. "But..."
"Yeah," she murmurs, also remembering how strange the request had been. "I don't know. How will the trap activate?"
"If we pick them up, will we be ambushed? Get that Escape Orb ready."
"You're going to have the honours, huh? Go ahead." With that, Jen positions the Escape Orb high above her head.
"Alright." You walk forward. One step. Two.
The gem is right there, a brilliant blue.
You pick one up. Nothing happens.
"Hurry, it may be delayed!"
You pick up four more. Nothing happens. You back away slowly.
"Wait, even if this isn't a trap, how do we go back? Up the stairs?"
"No, they disappear once you've gone down. Usually, adventurers would have a special badge that teleports them back to their home base, but we're just two kids trying to build a house. Maybe I should've thought of that before we came in, we're lucky we have this Escape Orb."
"We could've been in that much danger?!"
"Sorry." And, with a force strong enough to create wind, Jen smashes the Escape Orb on the stones.
Anyways, I've planned most of this out, and it'll more or less follow canon until the post-post-game, where things will get... *ahem* different
Spoiler:- Chapter 10:
You blink open your eyes and reach to rub sleep from them, but it isn't there. If you weren't asleep, why were you just lying here, doing nothi--
The Escape Orb. You turn over and sit up, seeing Jen sitting on her bedding next to you.
"You're so rash. How could you forget something like that?" You can't stop the words from tumbling out.
"I'm sorry. I just did. Can we talk about this later? We have to meet with Gurdurr."
You scowl. "Fine."
"Don't be like that, we're walking right into this trap, we need all the cooperation we can get with each other."
You don't even know why you're mad. "Okay. Whatever. Let's go."
"We made it back alive," says Jen, and takes the lead back north to Post Town. The walk is silent, save for the leaden pattering of feet and the rustle of leaves in the breeze. Your eyes are glued to the path. Wow, this road sure is weird-- the yellow stones are almost like coagulated forms of the dirt encircling them, only lighter. And, wow, that gravel is much looser than you expected!
"Over here," she calls, and you look up. You're in town already. "Let's put our things in the Deposit Box first."
"Okay." The Rollcall Orb is put in, along with the coins you picked up. You keep the blue gems in your arms.
"Pass me some, I'll help you carry them." You catch her eye, and there is nothing but genuine concern. You feel bad for being angry. You still don't know why you're angry. But you can't concede now.
"No, it's fi--" Something bumps into Jen and knocks her off her feet. She trips forwards, accidentally pushing you down. You fall on your head, dazed. A figure hovers over her, jittery and nervous.
"Please watch where you're going," Jen says. You pick yourself up and dust yourself off. You really don't need any more head trauma after the past two days.
"Sorry, I'm just really in a hurry!" squeaks the figure. Even its voice seems to fidget. "Please excuse me!" And with that, it bursts out of town, and away. You watch it go, not sure what to make of it.
"What was that?" Jen mumbles. "Honestly, it's like I was pushed on purpose, rather than bumped into."
"This is kind of like what happened in the plaza this morning, huh?"
"I suppose. Perhaps we misinterpreted that."
"Never judge a book by its cover."
"Well, anyhow," says Jen, dusting herself off too. "We should go to the inn."
"Okay," you say, and gallop after her on all fours.
You hear Gurdurr before you see him. "Are they back?"
"Yes, we're here," calls Jen. She begins to descend the stairs. Her voice is guarded once again.
"You got the blue gems?" Gurdurr growls.
"Yes, it was fierce, but we did make it through."
"Good for you," the Pokemon sneers. "Well, a promise is a promise. I'll build you that house of yours."
"Thank you." Jen's voice softens, and she smiles.
"Where are the gems?"
"Of course." Jen turns towards you. "Ned?"
"What is it?" snarls Gurdurr.
Jen tilts her head. A hint of panic leaks into her voice. "Did you...?"
You gulp, and look at anything but eyes, judging eyes, worried eyes, betrayed eyes, bloodthirsty eyes.
Gurdurr lets out a low, guttural sound, and you wish you never came back from that cave.
"I was carrying them on the way here, I know I was."
Gurdurr lets out a roar and pounds the ground with his metal beam.
And then he laughs.
"You're messing with me, right? You never even went to get them, did you?" His smile looked almost like a snarl. "Then I guess I can't build you any house, now can I?"
"We really did get the blue gems, you have to believe us," Jen says, as calmly as one could possibly be in this situation.
"Where are they, then?" He snorts when neither of you answer. "I guess you'd better just go get some more. Good luck."
Jen draws in a sharp breath. "But--"
She looks at you, eyes a pool of despair. You want to say something, anything. But you don't. Then, without warning, she scowls, grabs your arm and wordlessly drag you up the stairs, out of town, and into the clearing with the beds and the campfire.
"Did you do it to get back at me?"
"Get back at you for what?"
"You know what. I led us into Stony Cave, which could've not only been a trap, but also a dead end, for the dungeon and for our lives."
"Why would I make a worse situation worse?"
"Why wouldn't you? I don't even understand why you were so angry."
You snarl, and regret it immediately when she shrinks back, but there's no stopping now. "You think I do?! You think I understand any of this?!"
"Why are you so upset?"
You look away. "I don't know...! What do you think?"
"I think you were really scared back there."
"In Stony Cave? Well, yeah, we almost..."
"You were scared afterwards."
"Don't psychoanalyze me."
"And now you're scared of me finding out why you were scared."
It's probably best if you don't say anything, so you keep your mouth shut and wait.
"You were scared of losing your life."
You nearly burst out laughing. "Well, yeah."
"That was so simple," Jen groans. "Should've seen it right away. Sorry. I'm still sorry I did that. I'll do my best not to from now on."
You shake your head, and can't help but smile a little. "It's alright."
"But why did you do it? Where are they?"
"The gems? I don't know. Maybe I really did lose them."
Jen sighs. "Well, I guess this is a lesson learned. We both make mistakes, so we should forgive, rather than get upset."
"It's alright. There's no way around it... we'll just have to go back and get some more."
You swallow a groan. It was your fault you're going through this again, you've no right to complain. "Yeah, sounds good."
"Alright, then let's go back into town and get ready for our second outing."
It doesn't take long to get back to the plaza. It's become a pattern by now, after only two days, walking back and forth, up and down across the road. You don't look at the highway or think about having to face the cave again. Or any Mystery Dungeon at all. Dangerous, far too dangerous. Of course, you're not preparing to go into another one right away.
"Let's ask around to see if anyone knows where they could be," Jen says.
"The blue gems?"
"Yes. How about Roggenrola?"
"But the fight earlier..."
"I know, but we need all the help we can get. Roggenrola!"
The rock patters over on tiny little brown feet you never noticed before. It begins to speak, but you can't see its mouth, or any distinct body part, save for its legs. "What is it? Who are you?"
"Have you seen any small blue gems around here?"
"The one in your hand?"
"No, no, not like an orb, more of a crystal. And smaller."
"Then no, nothing like that. I wish! You know, I am blue, and I am only just an imperfect jewel..." The Pokemon lets out a tin can laugh. You had to admit, it would've been a good joke if it told it like one. "Wait, a blue gem? Like, the kind in Stony Cave?"
"Yes, you've seen one?"
"No, no. It's just that if something like that were lying around, I'd have scooped it up in a flash!" Roggenrola nods, and skips off. You guess you're not getting anything else out of it.
"Think Roggenrola took them?" you say.
"I doubt it. Remember? We still don't know exactly what Gurdurr's planning, and I don't think it'd be something as luck-based as us losing the gems midway."
"I guess. Should we keep asking around?"
"Alright, but I have a feeling we won't find anything of use." Jen trods over along the side of the plaza, where most of the Pokemon you see talking together.
"Since we're here, we should buy something." You point at the general store.
"Alright," Jen says. "We should get a bag, it would certainly be better than carrying all our items in hand."
"Okay. Mr. Shopkeeper, sir!" You spot the sign beside the counter, 'Service with a smile! -The Kecleon Shop'. "Mr. Kecleon!"
The grinning shopkeeper emerges from the shadows at the back of its shop. You try not to show how you feel about its long tongue flicking in and out, curling on itself and whipping around, as if subconsciously. Kecleon ***** its head. "Welcome to the Kecleon shop! How can I help you?"
"Can we get a bag to hold our things in?"
It hums. "I'm not sure if we have any left in stock. You're welcome to come in and browse the wares."
"Um, thank you very much."
Kecleon's colour flickers for a second. "Take all the time you like."
Behind the counter are rows upon rows of items. Orbs of every kind imaginable, Berries in containers, seeds in jars, ribbons and capes and scarves, bottled drinks, rocks, needles, and... are those glasses? It's dark in the hut, but natural light filters in through cross-hatched holes in the roof, like a metal grate. You can see dust in the rays that pool onto the floor, but it's not unpleasant.
"I don't see any bags," Jen calls all the way from the back. "Just our luck."
"Maybe if we ask him."
"Ask him what?" A flash of colours, and Kecleon is perched atop a shelf. Something is hanging on its long tail, longer than you recalled. It's wrapped around a brown leather bag, though it's hard to tell in the lighting. It hangs above you, just in reach.
"We were just looking for a bag like that, may we buy it?" you ask hopefully. The golden buckle on it is glaring as the sun bounces off.
"Of course, I picked it out just for the two of you. You are adventurers, correct?"
"How can you tell?"
It shrugs. "Well, it is a no-brainer. I heard you and Roggenrola outside, talking about the blue gems that can only be found in a Mystery Dungeon. As if that weren't all, you come into my store clutching on an orb! Now for what reason would two children be carrying one like that in town? Admittedly, it is a Rollcall Orb, but I'm certain that your parents would consider you old enough to not have tight security measures such as that."
Jen stiffens, and Kecleon catches it. "Family troubles?" "No." "Whatever you say."
"Excuse me, sir, we're in a bit of a rush, so if we could buy that bag, that'd be helpful."
"Right, right. See, I took out this bag from the very back because it is ideal for explorers such as yourself. Though I must say, I still think you are much too young for that."
"Of course. See, not many explorers arrive at Post Town unprepared. They are usually veterans, as this place is more of a large pit stop than a full-fledged town. Thankfully, I still had one of these. These adventurer's bags are special, because they have an undetermined volume."
"As you see it now, it is empty, but as we add items, it'll remain like this. About the size of your head. You can put up to twenty-four items in it at the moment, and it will not expand. You can think of it not unlike the Deposit Box down the street, but instead of separate realities for everyone, there are two planes, and whenever something is put into this bag, it goes into another plane of existence until you take it back out. Of course, you can't put in anything bigger than the opening at the top, so no disposing of bodies unless they're very small." Kecleon smiles jokingly, but you're sure that that is certainly a possibility.
"Sounds good. How much will it cost?"
"I'd normally charge something like this for a lot, as it's close to being last in stock, but seeing as you kids are so young, I'll charge a hundred. Sound reasonable?"
Jen scratches the back of her neck. "Ned, what do you think? How much do we have?"
"Hey, we could buy it twice over!"
"Perfect. Kecleon, what else do you think we'll need?"
"I'm sure you already know, but a Reviver Seed, Oran Berries, and an Escape Orb are considered the essentials for any expedition."
"How much will that cost?"
"Over a thousand, so I wouldn't consider it. At the very least, you can purchase an Escape Orb for a hundred and fifty."
"Barely enough, but yes, we can afford it."
"Will that be all?" Kecleon leans in, holding out the bag with one hand and the orb in the other. "Anything else I can help you with?"
"No, thank you." Jen pays it, and you miss the chill of metal on your palm. "Until next time."
"I see, thanks for your business. Come back anytime!"
Reading it now, all this is actually really boring. -_-;
Also, I know blue spots actually mark the DLC, but just pretend it's Post Town, because it makes more sense.
Spoiler:- Chapter 11:
You narrow your eyes coming out of the backroom. The air is less musty out here, and the air itself brighter.
You yawn. "So, does every adventurer just have to buy Escape Orbs everytime they go out? How do they produce them in such mass?"
"Well, usually explorers have licenses."
"Are we not of age?"
"Well, no, but that's not the problem," Jen says. "Anyways, come on, we need to hurry. Do you want to gather some more information, or should we set off?"
"Better safe than sorry. I'd rather spend a bit more time asking around than going straight in and risk our lives again."
"Well, that was my fault, so I'll let you make the choice." With that, you two set off at a brisk pace, dashing from Pokemon group to huddled Pokemon group. Big packs or lone wolves, none too hostile nor too warm. You repeated the question so many times you weren't sure you were speaking words anymore, but none of the advice you received was of much use.
"How about the third floor again?" you suggest.
"What would we gain from climbing up there again? The last time we went, Mienfoo talked about how clear the air was up there, and talked about her traveling journey as a martial artist."
"That wasn't all!"
"Well, Sandile introduced himself as well, the little gangster."
"Yeah, you're right, there wasn't much up there... then the inn?"
"Swanna doesn't want us to call her maybe."
"Come on, Ned, this is no time to be saying hello to everyone in town. We need to get moving before the sun sets!"
You sigh. "Yeah, I know, okay? I just... don't want to go."
"You'd rather freeze again?"
"No, but it's really not worth it!"
"Maybe so, but I just want a roof over my head again. Come on, we'll have to do it eventually!"
"No!" The dirt on your heels is building as Jen drags you out of town by the tusks. "Wait, stop!"
She stops. You pick yourself up and wipe off the grime. "What is that?" she murmurs. A jittery Pokemon looks around. You can almost hear its teeth chattering. You're about to step forward, ask what it's doing, when it pulls up its skin flaps further and runs off, leaving nothing behind.
Jen smiles, like she's figured it out. "Don't they look familiar?"
"Wait, that's it!"
"From the time we left the dungeon and the time we entered the inn, what did we do?"
"Yes, but what else? Involving that Pokemon?"
"Well, they bumped into you."
"More like ran into on purpose, but yeah. So, he might have seen them or something."
"You want to go after them?"
"Why do you say 'them'? It's only one Pokemon."
"It's gender-neutral, I thought it'd be easier for you if you don't know what to call a certain Pokemon."
"Huh. Yeah, sure. So are we going after them?"
Jen starts to speak, but is cut off by a quivering voice, one you've both heard before. You turn around and see the owners, eyes low to the ground. "Wait... please wait right there!"
"Timburr and Timburr, we've no time to talk," Jen says, not even turning to face them. "We're in a hurry. For your boss."
The lanky one folds in on himself, the low pitch of his voice shaking. "We know... You're going after Scraggy, aren't you?"
"Yeah." Jen says, and, to you, "The one who just left."
"Yeah. We can tell you where he's going."
Jen narrows her eyes and hesitates before turning around. She plays with the tag of the bag slung across her shoulder, eyes fixed on the Timburr. "Alright."
"He's headed for Hazy Pass."
"Yeah," adds the other Timburr half-heartedly. "So you little punks had better go after him. Take back what was stolen from you."
"What a surprise." Jen shows a slight grin, but it displayed everything but happiness. You shudder a little. "So you guys thought the same?"
"No, we know the same!" Timburr yelled defensively.
"Tell me more."
The Timburr that had just spoken gulped. The other one looked no less pale. "Look, we're sorry, alright?! We didn't mean nothing by it!"
"That was interesting," Jen says as she watches the pair run off. The breeze blows as merrily as always, and the townsfolk keep chatting. Do they have any idea what just happened? Do they even know anything just happened?
"Jeez, that was cold," you mutter. "They were obviously guilty enough."
"Sorry." Jen rubs the back of her neck. "It's just how I was raised."
"What kind of childhood did you have?!"
"Oh, you know." She shrugs. "That aside, Scraggy."
"I was doubting he did it because it seems unlikely he could just up and steal five gems so quickly. He was pulling up that weird cover over himself as he left, though, so it's possible."
"No, I think you're right. No Pokemon should be that adept at crime. We need to track him down."
"Do you know where Hazy Pass is?"
"Should be accessible from the highway."
You look farther south, at the crossroads just out the entrance. "So we're going back, then?"
"Into another Mystery Dungeon, yes. We were planning to anyways."
"We don't know how much tougher this one'll be."
"How are you sure it will be tougher?"
"I don't know. Let's just go." You go.
A clap. "So... you kids... are back...?"
"Hi, Quagsire," you say, stopping just short of the crossroads. "We're going to Hazy Pass now."
He hums. "I see... where is that...?"
"I was hoping you'd know."
"Well... I do... see here... I put up a map..." And yes, you do see a larger wooden signboard behind him, just behind the one that welcomes visitors to Post Town. It's large and juts out, but at least there's no way you'll miss it now. You lean over and look. It's a detailed map, almost like a painting, underneath a plate of glass. Some sections are marked, with a legend on the right. Purple for Mystery Dungeons (hey! There's Ragged Mountain in the west, surrounded by the forest you fell into, and the path that leads out here! And whoa! That's Stony Cave all the way in the northeast!), blue is for Post Town, and red is for unexplored dungeons. There are a lot of those, all places you've never been. None of the names are marked.
"Which one is Hazy Pass?" you ask.
"This one..." Quagsire points a flipper at an orange, rust-coloured area near Ragged Mountain, in the north-west. It doesn't look very different from what Paradise looks like on the map.
But. "Why don't you just mark them?"
"Did I... not do that...?" Quagsire blinks, but otherwise gives no reaction. "Well... I suppose... I'll fix that... by the time... you two... come back..."
"Thanks, Quagsire," you say. "Hey, Jen, let's go."
She nods. "Of course."
So how're readers (if any?) feeling about the characters' names? 0_0 I mean, just don't call them maybe.
Last edited by Keysmash; 24th May 2014 at 1:10 AM.
Also: current wordcount of chapters written (not all posted yet) is about 50k. And we've only met our first new Paradise members. Oh boy. We're on our way to a loooooooong story. 0_0
Spoiler:- Chapter 12:
That's the only way to say it. It's different.
You'd always known it was different. It was always different, between being in Post Town or paradise, and being out in a Mystery Dungeon. It's not just the danger that makes you more fast, blunt, and efficient. It's the sense of just being there.
But this is different, even by those standards.
The sun looks to be setting soon, if that is really the sun. You've never seen it this big before, not even in this world, not yet. It is a desert sun, the kind that eclipses the sky, the air, and the sand themselves. The sky around it is the same yellow, and you can't tell where the star ends and where the world begins. The bright is reflected on the earth all around you: the mountain range, seemingly purely made of hardened mud, extends forever. Its light browns mix with bronze, gold, and the occasional colour, where moss, grass, or even a flower may have sprung up. The colours don't last long out here in the mountain deserts. Wooden barriers line the edges of cliffs and hold up the entrances to caves. You don't dare look beyond them.
A large wooden sign, faded as usual, greets the two of you as you enter. Jen has her head down behind you, kicking at balls of dirt. The bag slips down her shoulder, but she makes no move to readjust it. It's ironically empty without any empty chatter. The wind blows for a moment, and you close your eyes as you see the sand sweeping along the ground.
You keep walking, painfully aware of leaden footsteps behind you, and see a tree stump. It is low to the ground, or so you would've said, but at present it is taller than you are. Climbing on, squirming, you see that it is perfectly cut, artificial. All along the wall are three more, though you can't tell whether these are stumps or very strange mud circles. They are much lower to the ground.
"Hey, Jen, what do you think about this?"
She doesn't reply, but you didn't expect her to. That doesn't stop your disappointment.
You try and catch her eye. Tentatively, "Are you mad at me?"
"Are you upset with me?"
"Stop." Jen sighs heavily. "I should be sorry. And I am."
Can we save this for later? You hold your breath.
"Alright, listen," she says. "I've been pushing you to go to Mystery Dungeons with me and risking your life out here to build a house for me. I've been forcing you to do things you don't want to for selfish reasons. You don't even have to stick around with me. Anyone else could've found you that day, and not led you astray. So, I'm sorry. You don't have to do this."
"Well, I don't care. I've invested too much time and effort into this to not see to it being finished."
"That's hogwash, and you know it."
"There you go with the words again. It's not like I care if you curse or anything. But come on, let's leave this for later. The day is trickling away, and we've got to settle this. You didn't want to freeze, right?"
Defeated. "Fine. But don't think I'm going to let you let me get away with this that easily."
"I won't let you get away with letting me get away with letting you get away with it."
"You're ridiculous." A fluid jump onto the stump, and then a long stride, taking the lead. "If you're so insistent on forgiving me, I'll just have to let you."
"Please don't make this into some kind of debt game."
"I won't. Come on."
"Wait, Jen, we can't get up there, this stump isn't high enough. I think we need to figure out a puzzle here."
"Yes, but we're still in their trap, so we can't play right into their hands. Come on, my vines can reach that, easy." Done just as easily as said, Jen finds herself on top of the cliff in mere moments. She extends her vines to you. You grab on, hoping you're not burdening her too much.
"We really did get stronger," you say. "You can lift me now, no problem!"
"Well, yes, but you were falling very, very fast the first time."
"Don't dash my pride." A small shape appears at the edge of your vision, but the movement is the first thing you notice, and the last. "Jen, behind you." She turns, only to get an eyeful of water as the torrent pushes you both back. It's strong, emitted by a machine or something, no doubt. You can't manage to hold onto the edge of the cliff anymore, and the both of you fall. There's enough time to look down and see what lies below. You two are both headed straight for the stump, along with the rushing current.
With an impact hard enough to knock your teeth loose if you had any, you make it onto firm land. A second later, you hear a click above the sound of the newly-created waterfall below, and realize that the stump is sinking into the ground. "Jump off," Jen calls, but the two of you are already about to land back on the dirt. With a final click, the stump sinks in fully, like a round, ringed disc in the earth. The other three discs, revealed to also be stumps, rise up out of the ground on the side of the cliff wall, leading a straight path up.
"So that's the ideal solution, huh."
The last trickle of water sounds far below, and you step off of the frankly quicksand-like consistency the baked earth has become. Your feet are wet and dirty, but there're far worse things to worry about.
"What was the thing up there?"
"Wooper," Jen responds. "A Water-type Pokemon. They can spray water and the like."
"What? No way! No fair!"
"I can understand. All Pokemon are equal, but some Pokemon are more equal than others."
"What's that from?"
"I heard someone say that once."
"So, back to your concerns?"
"Right, how are we going to get rid of that Wooper up there?"
"We go beat it."
"Uh... yeah. Of course."
Two new oceans and thirty-three seas later, the nuisance is eliminated. You already know what happened, so no recap is needed, save for 'it was tedious and boring and salty'.
Now, as the two of you duck into a mine entrance, the description still applies. In here, the air is more damp than the pseudo-desert outside but just as warm. You can almost see some sort of foggy steam in the dim light. It makes you no small amount of uncomfortable. Small, frail shoots of grass grow in the nooks and crannies of the cave. A small puddle lies in a pit in the ground, where the two of you relieve yourselves of 'salty' in the description and add 'oh god this tastes even more disgusting'. The rocks and gravel all around you are stained red. From rust, you presume. There's no way walking on all fours in this is healthy. It feels like an abandoned mineshaft, too. You're more concerned for your health than your life.
"Get down!" You do, but something still hits you in the back of the head. It's small and light and... sticky. You frantically rub your hands on the dirt. You're going to need a few thousand tetanus shots after this.
Jen dodges around, nearly jumping off the walls. Her speed, combined with her agility, makes her dangerous, you know. And the Pokemon knows it too. The small leaf-worm twitches and turns to run. It's no match at all.
"One Sewaddle, down." Jen lands lightly on small feet. "Dropped some money, too." She paws it into the bag matter-of-factly, and turns to look at you. "That web is common of Bug-types. It'll harden and fall off eventually, so trying to get it off by force won't really do anything." She pauses. "Are you angry?"
"You haven't said anything."
"I've been thinking."
"Everything. All of this."
"I know it must be strange. It's only been two days, after all."
"Feels like nothing short of forever."
"Really? Time feels like it's going faster for me."
"Well, me too. It feels like it's going too fast, and yet, this is all I've ever known."
She points at the crest on your head. "The web is beginning to fall. I think you can get rid of it now."
You do. "Thanks. Let's keep going."
With hands and head a faded rust, the two of you continue to trudge on, the air getting less humid with each step. It's less strain on the eyes, too. Your feet sink more and more as you continue up the floors, slowing you down.
"The ground's more loose here," you say, tapping your foot on the dirt. It nearly goes through "Think we're getting close?"
"To the top? Yes."
"We'd better. I'm tired from crawling through this gravel."
Jen tilts her head for a moment. "You're an Axew, though. Axew are good at climbing walls."
"Fine." You stand next to one, and look it up and down. You put your hands against it. It's dusty, and cold. You try and climb. You fail utterly, butt landing on the dirt with a thud and a small puff of dust.
"I guess not," Jen says, and you can hear the smile in her voice. She's not frantically holding back laughter, but she's not exactly composed either.
"Yeah, yeah. Let's go." Before you can take another step, you spot three Sewaddle crawling around the corner. They meet your eyes, but you can't really tell past the faded blank look in them. Their intent, however, is obvious as they slowly gain speed, attention fixed on you and Jen.
"This is fair," you mutter, and charge in headfirst. You don't see what you're hitting, but you feel satisfaction like you feel something soft getting pummeled. It's a fistfight, really, the schoolyard ones you'd never gotten to take a part of. Outnumbered and outmatched, you watched the underdogs flip the big ones right over.
Though that's not exactly a fitting recount, it's still more and less what happened. Kneeling over them, you check if the Pokemon are carrying anything of value. You hand over a small handful of money to Jen, who puts it into the bag dutifully. "Look, I found a Health Orb."
"How many orbs are there, exactly?"
"Kinds of them? A lot. I've yet to see all of them."
"Oh boy. I have to memorize all of them?"
"If you want. But I'll do my best to stay with you. A helping hand, if you want."
"I do want. So, what's this orb do?"
"The Health Orb makes us healthy. We won't suffer from status effects like when I was confused earlier. We won't be affected by stat changes, either. Best of all, it cures them if we're already inflicted."
"Well, guess we'll be good to go if we get confused again."
"If you can get into the bag without me unwittingly stabbing you, yes."
You stick out your tongue because you don't know what to think of that.
You wander around some more, though it's really Jen leading you places. It looks like she knows what she's doing, upright and regal. You don't believe that for a second. The two of you get into a few more scuffles, and where there aren't rusty stains, there are bruises. You wonder how Christmas-themed you two would be by the time you tasted real air again.
Speak of the devil. A luminous glow from down the corridor, and you know it's the exit. You watch as Jen scrambles excitedly out underneath the wooden planks.
"Still not there?" you ask when you hear her sigh from outside. You crawl out more slowly. It's bright, even this late. That cave did no wonders for your skin, lungs, nor eyes. They're still functional, though, and you look around. It looks to be about the same as when you first arrived: a treestump puzzle. The solution is more than obvious. Jen jumps onto the highest one, and beckons you to follow.
"We're not going out of our way this time?"
"Sal****er isn't a delicacy, I'll have you know."
Pounding down on the treestump (almost) simultaneously, it activates, and you proceed higher. The ground is nearly crumbling here, and you can see why this mine was almost surely evacuated. You try to take light steps like Jen does. You should've known you were more heavy, though, and a foot goes right through, hitting something hard.
"Are you alright?" Jen comes back, hearing your yelp. Then, she narrows her eyes. "What is that?"
"What is what?" You wrench your foot out of the pit, and see something glimmering. You begin to dig like a dog, throwing up loose dirt behind you. You take out the marvel you unearth, slowly.
"Is that a Gold Bar?" Jen asks, eyes nigh glittering.
"Really? Why is it in this shape out in nature?"
"I'm not sure. We should keep it for now."
You give it to her to tuck it away safely. "Doesn't that one Pokemon in town want them or something?"
"Cofagrigus? Yes, I heard from some gossipers. They say we can trade these for rare items."
"We can't sell them?"
"Well, money is made of gold, after all."
"Not in the human world, I presume?"
"No way! The world would go bankrupt! We make them out of paper and metals."
"You need a lot of it?"
"Yeah. I don't know much, but yeah. There are trillions in solid form, but most of it is just 'yeah, I'll pay you later's."
"How does that work?"
"I don't know. Humans are weird."
Jen puffs out her chest. "Right?"
"So about the gold?"
"Right. So, since money is made of gold, it'd be like selling money. There really is no point to that. So, what I'm guessing is, Cofagrigus only accepts gold bars because they're important to him somehow."
"The fact that they're already made into the perfect shape is pretty weird, huh. Maybe someone just stole them and buried them everywhere, or something."
"Possibly. Look, there's another entrance into the cave again."
"Do we have to?"
"Seems to be the only path forward."
You groan. "Obligations."
This new cave is much like the last, with gravel slightly less compact. You're certain there isn't a speck of green left on your body anymore. Why, even your irises are red too! Probably made just for this purpose. You trudge on, though it's less trudging and more tip-toeing around crumbling sections. You need to wrap this up before the whole mound comes crashing down, but that doesn't mean you can't stop along the way to pick up more money and an Oran Berry or two.
You perk up. "Stairs, over there."
"How much farther, can you tell?"
"No. You would've thought we'd made it by now."
"Maybe it's a longer Mystery Dungeon."
"It is. Is the number of floors randomly regenerated too?"
Jen pauses. "No, it's set IN STONE." She pats the rocky wall twice for emphasis, and bursts into laughter. You know she was never laughing at her joke, but at your reaction. You can't not smile, either.
Up the stairs, and you find yourself in something else entirely. It's a large room, wider than any of the ones you've encountered in any of the Mystery Dungeons so far. The grass is considerably greener, and the floor is surprisingly stable, the gravel, you notice, almost uniform. All around the room are walls, and directly in front, a long corridor. Right beside it is a familiar sight.
"Isn't that the Deposit Box?" you ask.
"Has someone moved it here?"
"No, I think there're a lot of them here. In Mystery Dungeons, I mean."
"I suppose. Maybe explorers set them in dungeons to store their things."
"Yeah, that makes sense. But why?"
Jen pauses. "Well, since it is like an otherworldly network, I'd imagine that it connects to all other Deposit Boxes, like you said. And, if we are to both lose consciousness, we'd still be able to access our things from Post Town."
"But wouldn't we already be goners?"
"Oh," she says. "Did I not tell you? If the whole team faints in a Mystery Dungeon, the explorer's badge will automatically teleport you back to safety, but it doesn't guarantee you will escape with all of your items, and the money you carry will be halved."
"We'd be home-free if we had that, huh."
"Well, having no fallback makes us tougher, don't you think?"
"Yeah, I guess. And did you just call us a team?"
"Yeah, we are, huh. Two days."
"Necessity is the mother of invention."
"Yeah, I guess. So, should we deposit anything?"
"No, there'd be no point for us specifically."
"So, we're gonna keep going?"
"Yes, we're almost there. I can feel it. You up for it?"
How long has it been now? Though the surface area is now considerably smaller, you're still convinced that every inch of your body is caked with dirt, save for your eyes-- and even that is starting to get kind of ambiguous. You can't imagine all this climbing is doing wonders for you, not when you're not simply doing it as a workout.
And that's not the only tiring thing, either. The two of you had encountered more Pokemon as you'd ascended, including an Audino (they remind you of peaches and cream), which had taken forever to take down. Even now, you can still feel the bruises sting. It was worth it, though, you're sure of it. When you look over and see the blue band adorning Jen's neck (you're pretty sure it was intended to be a wristband, but it was far too big to be worn as one) you know you did something right. A Power Band, she called it. 'These increase physical strength to whoever wears it. They're very useful. Wait, you don't want it? Why not?' Then, 'Fine. I guess that makes sense. But the next time we find any item such as this, it's all yours.' You'd told her that though she was significantly faster, her raw strength wasn't as high, so you should even out the playing field for what you're sure is an impending battle.
That wasn't the only enemy in these upper floors, though. You had come across more Wooper and Sewaddle-- in gangs, they had proven to be much stronger, not at all unlike you expected. You thank whoever is up there that you don't have a fear of water or bugs. The puddle situation is getting progressively worse, especially with the loosening dirt. From the skirmishes, though, you managed to get a Health Orb and some Chesto Berries, ones that apparently cause insomnia. You're not sure why you would need that, but Jen insisted on bringing some in case.
Best of all, though, your biggest reward from all the fighting wasn't an item: it was learning to unleash some of your newfound strength. 'Demon Flame', you named it. No reason. It just sounded cool. And looked even better.
The first time you used it you thought you'd unleashed the netherlord. Flames so hot they burned white, dying off in purples at the ends. The Sewaddle had shrieked and passed out instantly. Everyone in the battle stopped and stared. You did too: jaw already dropped to the floor and everything. You swear you heard Jen's eyes widen in the utter silence.
"Look," Jen says. You do, and up ahead is a square of (relative) light, bordered with familiar wooden planks.
"Are we at the top?"
"I don't think so."
And indeed, she is right, when you stumble out the entranceway. It is even dimmer in the sky than you remembered, and you're seeing stars, though you can't tell whether they're actually in the sky or just swimming in front of your eyes. The land is as barren up here as always, grasses rustling faintly in the cool evening breeze. Where's the next entranceway or set of stairs? Not to the right, nor to the left, nor to--
But there is something else there, to the left. Not something, you realize: someone. Pulling up skin flaps like low-ride jeans, you spot a familiar Scraggy pacing about nervously, skitterish. You brace yourself. He hasn't spotted you yet, so maybe you could sneak up on him with a Demon Flame: and then it'll all be over.
Jen hushes you quietly, voice muffled by the Power Band. "There's someone else. Coming towards us."
She doesn't say anything, but you have a good feeling who it is anyways. Wordlessly, you follow her into a hiding place behind a large boulder, nearly three times your height. From here, you can catch a good view of Scraggy and of the entraceway from whence you came. Two Pokemon coming from both directions: now you'll finally get to see what this is all about, provided you don't get caught-- of which the chances are very high. You shrink against the rock. Dusty and cold. You stifle a cough and hold your breath.
You can't say you're surprised when you see him finally come, but your heart still drops like a stone. Against Scraggy, maybe, but there's no way you'd win a battle against this one. The I-beam he carries everywhere would crush you into bits within seconds. Now, the scowl on his face is not the usual, but you can't tell whether that's good or not. Jen stiffens beside you.
Gurdurr's appearance, it seems, had not surprised Scraggy in the least. In fact, he looked frustrated at the much bulkier Pokemon, running up to greet him impatiently, pulling up skin flaps all along the way. You crane your head to get a better look.
"Sorry for the wait," Gurdurr grunts.
"Took you long enough," Scraggy sneers, voice tinted with a hint of boredom, so typical of all the gangsters you'd heard back in your world. "I want to get down to business."
"Don't be like that. I've got to make sure I'm not followed either." Gurdurr wrinkles his nose. "It takes a lot of work to keep up a scam like this, you know?"
You feel a low growl rise in the depths of your throat. But you keep watching, and think desperately of some way to put these two lowly crooks to justice. The Pokemon beside you is nigh shaking, too, eyes blazing. These kinds of souls don't deserve anything!
"You haven't lost your touch, though," Gurdurr continues, eyes slightly narrowed. "Still quite the skillful little thief."
Scraggy's face twists into a grin, but says nothing.
"So..." A pause. "Where's the cash?"
Scraggy spits on the ground and waves a hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. I've got what I promised you." A beat. "Getting a little greedy, aren't we?"
Gurdurr's eyes flare, but he keeps his composure. That isn't something you thought him capable of. Maybe there's something more to the story. "I'm not the greedy one here," he says carefully. "Those blue gems will pay you back big time if you sell them in the west. Compared to that, the money you pay me is like a drop in the bucket."
Scraggy flashes a wicked grin. "True enough."
The other Pokemon narrows his eyes. Stays quiet.
"Of course," continues Scraggy, mostly to himself. "I could just go into Stony Cave myself and get some, but it does get pretty dicey in there." To, Gurdurr, with a mocking edge, "Having you lend your particular expertise to that problem is just plain expedient. Ain't no other way about it."
Gurdurr nods, but seems lost in thought. Then says, not without a hint of cruelty, "I'm going to get those two fools to bring me some more gems. I'll be counting on the usual amount when they do."
At this point, you're starting to feel sick.
"What?!" Even Scraggy seems a bit surprised. "You're going to have them get you even more?! Those little losers?!"
"That's right," Gurdurr chuckles. "After all, they're still dumb enough to believe I'll build them a house. At this rate, I'll be able to send them after more gems for the rest of their lives!"
Scraggy's disgust is now nearly as plain on his face as yours. "You serious?! Dude, you're cold! It's their dream to build their own home, ain't it? They're going to keep believing in that dream and just keep bringing you gems forever!"
Gurdurr is roaring with laughter now. "Exactly!"
"They'll keep doing that, never knowing it won't come true?" Scraggy chews on his lip, uncertain. "Man, ain't you got any heart left? That's cruel, even for me."
Gurdurr snorts, unfazed. "You want me to cry over this or something, oh great Scraggy, one of the worst criminals of the west?"
Scraggy sticks out his tongue. "Just wanted to have see if you'd go back on your word. You're no fun to play with, though." A pause. Then, accompanied by a snorting fit of giggles, "Though THEY are." Gurdurr joins in a second later, a low, rumbling bass. You watch the pair laugh and cheer, and you can't take it anymore.
"Hey!" you shout, as loudly as you can after the day-long hiking and fighting. But this time, you feel energy pulse through the entirety of your body, and the adrenaline pounds in your ears even harder when you see the duo's eyes widen.
"We followed Scraggy here," Jen cuts in, words encased in ice. "Quite the act you two had going on here, this whole time. Though I regret to inform you that we never believed you for a second." When the crooks' jaws hang open, speechless, you see her allow herself a smile.
"What will you do now?" you taunt, drawing out the moment a little longer.
Gurdurr is the first to compose himself, and he snarls, eyes cold. "Anyone who expects honesty in this world is a fool. That's what you'd get for trusting me. Dream big, and you lose big."
"So I'm assuming you've done this to plenty of others in the past?"
"It's their own fault for getting tricked."
You're utterly speechless. Jen seems no better off, eyes wide, as if not believing what she is hearing.
Scraggy hesitates, putting on a mock uncertainty. "You mean you were tailing me this whole time? You actually saw through me? I'm almost impressed. But, I mean, what are you going to do now? You want to fight against the two of us?"
Your stomach does thirty somersaults despite your best efforts.
"I'm warning you now, I've been tussling on the wrong side of the route my whole life. The battles I've been through, little squirts like you couldn't imagine. It'd be best for you to just toddle off home to your mamas, you hear?"
The sheer irony almost pushes you on by itself. "Of course, mister, we'll head back right now. Sorry for the trouble, we promise we won't do it again."
Scraggy narrows his eyes. "My, my, my, and even after I went to the trouble of warning you."
"So you really want to fight?" Gurdurr repositions his steel beam, and you hope that won't be repositioning through you any time soon. "You don't have a bit of sense between the two of you, do you?"
Enough to figure out a plot as transparent as yours, you think to yourself.
Scraggy's voice is flat now, hands emptying the money and assorted gems from his skin pockets onto the ground. "Fine, then. Why don't we show you just how big of a mistake you're making?"
The two Pokemon glance at each other. "Let's roll."
I enjoyed this chapter a lot. The Audino's where indeed annoying. And the name of Dragon Rage made me laugh. And why do we have to wait 'till the battle?
I hope some others will read this story. It brings back memories of the GtI games. ^^
I would like to give my compliments for your new banner. Kyruem looks really dangerous and awesome there.
I enjoyed this chapter a lot. The Audino's where indeed annoying. And the name of Dragon Rage made me laugh. And why do we have to wait 'till the battle?
I hope some others will read this story. It brings back memories of the GtI games. ^^
I would like to give my compliments for your new banner. Kyruem looks really dangerous and awesome there.
Ridiculous HP, those Audino... D: It'd be cool to see more people reply/review as well. It feels a little lonely in this thread... ;_;
And many thanks for noticing the banner! Things like that certainly attract attention. And, of course, no foreshadowing here whatsoever (cough).
There isn't even a second's time from when Scraggy finishes talking to when you're suddenly on the ground, eyes unable to focus, head spinning. You hear a thud from somewhere and you don't know what happened. You try to get up but you feel something hard in your gut, and there's no way you can get back up now.
You hope Jen is faring better, though for a second there you don't remember anyone with that name. She's fast, after all, and combined with a Power Band, she should be able to take them, easy.
She doesn't, and the adrenaline wears off, all at once.
Two kids against full-grown adults, full-fledged con artists, no less. Hardened criminals, one a brute twice your size with a metal beam, and one a little devil with kick power greater than the heat of the flames you pride yourself on. Within seconds, you're up against the edge of the cliff, head still swimming.
"Ned!" Jen yells, tottering dangerously. "Demon Flame!"
"I don't think it'll do much," you try to say, but you're not sure you'd have enough strength left to actually attack, so instead of noise, you make fire.
A brilliant white, illuminating the rapidly darkening sky. This time, you're sure those are stars up there. But they don't seem so bright compared to the light of the flames. Curling into purples and violets, and finally into smoke without time to rise, you concentrate as much of your force as you can towards the two Pokemon. You're going to pass out.
"Right, like that'll do much," Gurdurr growls. The metal pole he holds to shield himself doesn't so much as seem to heat up. You feel a lump in your throat, and it isn't whatever the flame is coming from.
Gurdurr lunges forward at Jen with the pole. She narrowly avoids it, but you're not smiling anymore when she's knocked down by Scraggy, waiting on the side. They laugh, and the sound triggers something that makes your eyes fuzzy. They tower over her, then bring you and kick you down too. They keep laughing. The only tears you shed are those of anger.
"Talk big, and pretty good at staying unnoticed, but you two aren't very good at fighting."
"Figures. Just pampered little brats that want their own little cottage."
"Like you'll ever get one."
"You guys say you knew all about our plan, but you still walked right into the trap? Right. Of course."
"All words and no action."
"Though I'm glad this happened, haven't gotten to vent my frustrations in a while." Scraggy giggles.
Jen coughs, but her voice does not break when she speaks. "Do you do this for fun?"
"Not always to little kids, if that's what you mean. I'm not that cruel. I only do it if the opportunity presents itself." Gurdurr smiles innocently.
"You call yourselves adults?" The cold fury in your voice satisfies you. "You are the scum of the earth. What kind of p-- Pokemon does this to others just for their own pleasure?"
"Aww, you're stuttering. How cute."
"Shut up," you say. "Stop talking."
"Shut up. Stop. Talking."
"No, I think you should, little punk."
When they open their mouths again, you do too, because god, they are so annoying, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so annoying.
A gunshot. Silence. And then the open fire. And then the bombs. And the screaming. And then the silence again.
That's what it's like this time around. The fire crackles loudly, and the two Pokemon are taken aback for a moment. But when they retaliate with all the disbelieving anger of you trying to usurp their power role, they can't. The fire is brighter this time, hotter, and you have to squint your eyes or the tears will boil. The two outlaws shy away from it, and even Gurdurr's iron beam is dropped on the ground, when it had become too hot to hold. Good. You advance slowly, keeping your fire at as much of a consistent rate as possible. You don't think about what could happen if they were to circle around behind you and attack you from there.
"Ned!" Jen yells, and takes something out of the bag. It's an Oran Berry, your last one. She throws it. "Go!"
You're not the one who catches it.
Scraggy takes his spot next to Gurdurr once again, chewing slowly, irritatingly. "Didn't think I'd need one of these, but I didn't see that fire coming either. Good thing you had one of these on you. Thanks."
That's the word that drops the bomb.
That's the last word before the screaming starts, at which point there are no words left to say.
(changes avatar to the current situation of my fic like the trash I am)
Spoiler:- Chapter 15:
Scraggy picks up the gems and the money and runs, tails tucked between his legs. You don't even think of stopping him.
Gurdurr's low curses thunder in the quiet. You're all breathing heavily, and you don't even care anymore. Jen stands up and totters over to stand side by side with you. Gurdurr leans heavily on the cooled metal beam, on his knees. His skin is covered in burns. He probably deserves worse.
"I won't lose here," he growls, face contorted into a scowl of hate and pain. "I won't lose to you fools!"
"Just give up," Jen says. You can't muster up any more energy to fight were he to get back up.
He does, and with the loudest roar you've heard yet. He slams the dirt with the beam. A small cloud of dust pools at your feet. You can't do this, and consider just lying down and passing out.
"Come on!" Gurdurr bellows. He charges forward, and this is it. Can't even survive for two days as a Pokemon.
And then, a reedy voice you recognize. Could this get any worse?
"Boss! Please, just stop!"
"What?!" Gurdurr's eyes widen when he sees the two Timburr dash in, out of breath, a leather bag jostling on each of their waists. They look at you with pity. You're too tired to question it, much less hate it. You just grin weakly and look away. They glance at Jen, too, then turn their attention back to Gurdurr.
"Boss, we're begging you!"
"Please stop doing these things!"
Gurdurr doesn't relent. "Why are you two...?! No... no way. You didn't. You wouldn't!"
The Timburr's eyes are full of fear, but they do not shy away from the furious glare boring into them.
"So you two are the ones who sold me out," Gurdurr says. He laughs wildly, hysterically. "The backstabbers appear at last! It was your meddling!" The Pokemon raises the metal beam above his head to smash it down, but the lanky Timburr steps forward, barely shaking.
"Boss! Please! Let this be the last time you do this sort of thing!"
"We don't want to do this anymore," Timburr says. A gulp. "We never work. All we do is bad stuff. We don't want to watch anymore of this."
The other Timburr steps up. "You never used to be like this, Boss. You were nice! And you loved your work!" Hesitation. "You're not the boss we knew. Not anymore."
Gurdurr snorts. "You think you little runts can defy me, is that it?"
The Timburr don't give in, either. "We don't want to do bad things anymore, Boss!" There's a hint of tears in their voices, and suddenly you don't know what to think anymore. "Please, Boss! We're begging! Can't we just do honest work together like we used to? Can't you just have fun working with us again?!"
Gurdurr wrinkles his nose and scowls. "Work like we used to?! You guys know better than anyone that there's no way that can happen ever again!" He screams, a guttural sound, and smacks the Timburr aside with two swings of the beam. They fall over, winded, with a yelp.
"Are you really so pig-headed as to not accept a proposal you don't even deserve?!" Jen's shaking, silent fury trailing down her cheeks. She blinks to clear it. "Those Timburr are good, kindred spirits. They forgave you for everything you've done and offered to start anew. And you refused?!"
Gurdurr turns around, and for the first time, you notice a large scar across the whole of his back. That's what he gets for committing such crimes: karma sure works its magic. But when he speaks, his voice is soft, wistful, and you're scared, because maybe he's not perfectly evil anymore. "It's time you guys learned that you can't just go back to the way things used to be."
You watch him walk into the mineshaft leading higher up into Hazy Pass, everything you'd thought up until now completely flipped upside down. The groan of pain of Timburr brings you back.
"Are you guys okay?" you ask. Though you weren't sure whether the two of you were in the position to be asking this question, taking the utter beating from earlier into consideration.
"Yeah, fine," says stocky Timburr, wincing. "It's a good thing we brought Oran Berries and Health Orbs. We kind of figured you'd gotten into some pretty deep trouble with the Boss."
"Here," lanky Timburr says, handing you and Jen some of the berries in question. You eat them ravenously, and feel a bit better. Still, though it restores your health and heals most wounds, it doesn't alleviate your exhaustion. Jen, too, looks completely worn, but glances at you and smiles slightly, as if saying, 'Just a little more!'
"Thank you," she says to the Timburr.
"It's fine. It's our fault, so this is the least we can do."
Jen hesitates. "It seems there's more to this story than what we've heard. Is it alright if you would tell us what happened?"
The Timburr look at each other and sigh. "Yes. It'll change what you think of the Boss, I'm sure of it."
"He's not what he seems, I suppose."
"No, he isn't. Our boss used to be a great carpenter. Like, really!"
"Go on," Jen urges, voice soft. "It's not unheard of for Pokemon like that to fall from grace."
"Yeah, everyone loved his work back then! We were in awe of his skill and that's why we wanted to work with him. We're brothers, you see. And being his apprentices was really, really fun!"
Timburr gulps. "But then... one day, the boss got injured. It was his back. And after that, he couldn't move the way he used to... his body just wouldn't listen. So he couldn't build the way he used to, either. And, because of that, he couldn't practice his building skills, so they went downhill."
The other Timburr cuts in indignantly. "But even then! Even without his old skills, the boss kept doing the best he could, you know?! He still had pride in his work! But! Then. It... happened."
"May I ask what this event was?"
"A certain Pokemon had asked us to build him a house. Work had become pretty scarce by that time. We were so happy, all three of us. We poured our hearts into that house. We used up every last drop of energy we had to build it!"
"How did it turn out?"
"That Pokemon, he started by bashing the quality of our work. And then he destroyed the house. Right before our very eyes."
"Who would do such a thing?!"
"At first we thought he'd torn it down because our work wasn't good enough, but that wasn't it. From the very start, he was just--" A scowl twists Timburr's features. "-toying with us."
"What do you mean?"
"He had us build that house with every intention of tearing it down afterwards. He was planning from the start to complain about the work as an excuse not to pay us. That Pokemon called the boss' house a piece of garbage! And then he smashed it over and over until there really was nothing but garbage left..."
The other Timburr snarls. "The boss had no confidence in himself after that day. He gave into his despair and stopped working at all. Eventually, he started cheating other Pokemon."
"Wait," you say. "But if that Pokemon was just planning to say those things from the start, that means it had nothing to do with how good or bad your work was."
Timburr nods solemnly. "We tried saying that, too. But the boss just wouldn't listen to a word we said."
The other Timburr squeezes his eyes shut. "That house! He tried so hard to do a perfect job, and then it all got torn down, right in front of him!"
"I don't think it's unreasonable to give up after seeing that," Jen says softly.
"But still!" The lankier Timburr starts shaking. "That doesn't mean he should become a criminal! We don't want the boss to keep doing these bad things! We thought maybe we could change things this time."
"How long has this been going on?"
"Years, now. That's why we tried warning you guys about Scraggy. But I guess that, in the end, the boss isn't going to change, is he?" A sad laugh.
"We just want to work together with the boss again, for him to go back to being the same old boss who loved his work, doing what he did," the other Timburr says. "I know we've said this a million times, but that's all we want."
"Deep down, I think that's what he wants, too," Jen whispers.
"Really. And you know what?"
She looks at you, as if asking for approval. You smile. "Anything you want, I'm alright with."
"Well, then, that makes two of us."
"What is it?" asks a Timburr, teary-eyed.
"Our house is definitely going to be built by Gurdurr!"
The Timburr's eyes widen in surprise. You can nearly hear their jaws drop to the floor. "Wait, what?!"
"We mean it."
"Even after he's been so terrible to you?! Why would you--"
"No one can help him now but us. And besides, we've already decided."
"Yeah," you add. "We don't want anyone else to build it. Gurdurr's our guy. And you two, as well!"
Jen smiles. "We want to see the house the three of you will build together, a house with all your heart and soul poured into it."
"But what if the boss says no?"
"There's nothing else to it, we'll just keep on asking him to help us until he agrees!"
"Thank you." The two Timburr are looking at you two now, all tears and smiles. "Thank you so, so much."
"Don't sweat it!" Jen smiles back, and so do you. "And besides, now's not the time for that just yet: we've got ourselves a carpenter to find!"
This is a great fic. I like how you keep the plot developing in each chapter, which doesn't always happen. I also like the twists and turns that you keep putting in. The banner looks great, too, and portrays Kyurem as being a powerful Legendary that he is, not just another enemy.
I made myself cry when I played through this part, but it's too sappy here imo
EDIT: Thanks for the feedback, Mulan! Hope you'll keep reading. :P
Spoiler:- Chapter 16:
Adventuring with Timburr and Timburr is different.
With Jen, it was simple. A tag-team duo that watched one another's back, with a single bag and sharing items, you asking questions and Jen answering as best as she can.
Now, it's strange. An odd tension-- you were mortal enemies with their boss only minutes ago, for god's sakes-- and knowledge that the two of you are hiding something, and that they are as well. Having to be too polite when deciding who to keep items, and general confusion on battle tactics and on who should lead the way. But the glances she gives you are what really drives it home, tells you that there really isn't anyone on this side of the sky you can trust but Jen. 'Don't ask what this item is,' is what the look says, and you look away because you realize just how strange you would seem. So you just wonder and wonder and wonder as you pick up more money and seeds and orbs, saying, 'No, Timburr, you can have it,' the whole way through. You do thank the almighty no new Pokemon have made an appearance so far-- oh, how you'd be ridiculed for using wrong non-effective moves. And you need to talk to Jen in private: about the fight, is she alright, the new evolution of Demon Flame, Gurdurr's story, should you actually trust these Timburr (of course, you do, but that doesn't mean you're making the right decision) and thank you thank you thank you for the freedom of speech I didn't realize I had until now.
The enemies are not a sweat with a team of four-- the Timburr prove to be able fighters (they must be, to have made their way here alone) and deal a lot of damage with sweeping kicks and wooden plank smacking. This ease of battle is one thing you'll be missing.
Soon enough, the four of you come across another perfectly uniform room with a Deposit Box.
"Good, a checkpoint," chirps the stocky Timburr. "I guess it'll be the final floor soon, where we'll find the boss."
"How come?" you ask.
"Well, these checkpoints are usually placed at halfway points or just before critical floors in Mystery Dungeons. Not by explorers, either! They say that they mysteriously appear, just like the inside of Mystery Dungeons, but the floor they're at never changes. These checkpoints and other special places are the only floors in Mystery Dungeons that never change. Are you two new to adventuring?"
"Yeah. Kind of."
"I see. You two are still young. Wouldn't expect you to know everything about it. Do you not have your explorer's badge?"
"No, we're just starting out," Jen says. "We want to learn the ropes first."
"Still, it's probably best to have one. I trust you have an Escape Orb then?"
Jen exchanges a glance with you, then looks away quickly. "Of course. Are you two adventurers as well? You seem to know a lot."
"We've been training in secret from the boss so that we could prevent him from doing this one day. So... today, I guess."
"I see." The two of you wait a few moments in silence as the Timburr put away their things in the Deposit Box. They must've brought a lot of things with them.
"We're nearly to the peak now," you say. "Ready?"
"I hope we can settle this peacefully," Jen mumbles.
"Well, let's go."
Just down the hallway is another exit, wooden plank squares and all. A rectangle of indigo lies beyond. It really is nighttime now. You take a step outside, and breathe in the night air. It's cold, and you'd shiver, but the emotions inside keep you warm.
"Maybe you should stay here," you tell the Timburr. "Seeing you two might make him angry again. We'll try talking some sense into him first."
The Timburr nod slowly. "Alright. Fine." And with that, they slink back into the relative warmth of the mine.
Up here is a ledge overlooking the valleys and mountains beyond. The stones that line the path are more blue than gray in the night's light. Small patches of grass shimmer under the roundest, brightest moon you've ever seen. You can nearly see each crater, each individual mountain on it in its ice blue shimmer. If it wasn't for the salt and pepper stars and the whipped cream clouds, you could swear that this moon takes up the entirety of the sky.
And there, gazing up at it, on the very edge of the cliff, stands Gurdurr.
Jen calls out to him first.
His expression warps when he turns to face the two of you. He looks tired, incredibly tired. "What? You two again?"
Jen chooses her words carefully. "We've been looking for you, Gurdurr."
"So you're still angry, are you? Fine, let's do this."
Gurdurr pounds his metal beam on the stone and screeches, but this one is more pain and longing than anything else. "I can't build houses anymore. Even if I wanted to build something, I ain't got the strength."
"Gurdurr, you can still--"
"Yes, exactly. I've still got more than enough strength for fighting! Good-for-nothing power that can't create a thing! You thought your flames of fury attack was tough stuff, eh? I'll show you what real rage looks like!"
Gurdurr's beam misses Jen by a hair. But he keeps attacking, just swinging and kicking, all the fuel on reserve being dumped into the fire all at once. He swings, again and again, and there's no way Jen will be able to dodge all of those.
You jump into the fray as well and give the Pokemon a good chugging of your flames, but they're not as powerful as before. Gurdurr isn't even fazed. You try scratching him over and over, tackling, kicking, biting, but he doesn't even turn around, just spares you a heel and sends you flying into a boulder. You lie, winded. Of course that wouldn't do anything. There could be no worse injury for Gurdurr now than the scar on his back.
You see Jen jumping, slightly slower now, and just barely out of reach. Her bag had dropped within your arm's reach a while back. It's impossible for her to strike back in that amount of time, so you're the only one that can do anything. But with embers out of commission and even weaker hand-to-hand, is there anything you can actually do to hurt him?
"Ned, the Totter Orb!" she exclaims, out of breath. You can barely make out the words, but you totter over to the bag yourself and try to find the item in question, until you realize you'd already collected two orbs you hadn't yet identified.
You've got to make a decision, and fast. She tells you to use the Totter Orb, but what does it do? Which one is it? Will using the other one have some negative effect? But then why would you take it with you in the first place? Out of the corner of your eye, you see Jen getting pulverized by Gurdurr. That's it, that's just it. You take the one in your right hand and smash it on the ground.
You feel a surge of energy course through you. No, wait. You're still tired. Then it must be adrenaline. But you already have that too. It's...
"Well, I guess that works too!" Jen says, and she's fast again, dodging Gurdurr's tiring swings without a sweat.
"What was that?"
Gurdurr snarls. "Oh, came prepared to fight, did you? Just wanted to tear me down right from the very beginning?"
"We came to talk, Gurdurr!" you yell. "Can we please stop fighting?"
"Doesn't look like you want to!" And he's coming towards you now, knowing you're slower than Jen is. But he's slower, too, and maybe this plan would work out just fine either way. Totter Orb or not, this had tired out Gurdurr long enough so that he couldn't fight. You find yourself avoiding his thrusts with ease, despite yourself.
"Give it up!" you tell him, and ram into his gut. Despite your size, he crumples in on himself like he'd just been shot. Jen bounces down from atop her perch on a boulder and binds Gurdurr in a tangle of vines. His metal beam which had hurt so many Pokemon so badly sits a few steps away, finally stopped. Gurdurr heaves.
"Gurdurr," Jen begins. "We need to talk."
He sneers, though he looks like he's having trouble getting enough air. "Finally satisfied now?"
"That's not what we're seeking anymore."
"I don't know what you're talking about, but don't you see it now? It doesn't matter. None of it does. It doesn't matter how much you rage against it. Now matter how much you hate it, some things can't be changed."
Jen stiffens, but lets Gurdurr continue, because he finally looks like he'll stop and speak.
And he does. "This world we live in. It's all about who's doing the lying and who's being lied to. Honest folks just look like fools. You just have to look at yourselves from a criminal's perspective. And you know, try looking at me from another perspective too. But it's my fault. And yours. In a world like this, we're the ones who get blamed for being tricked. So you can't get mad at the one who tricks you. It's just the way this rotten world works."
When Jen speaks, it's not what you expect to hear. "You know, you may be right about the world."
"So why do you keep blaming me?"
"We're not, Gurdurr. We didn't come all the way to the summit just to try and pummel you. I said that you were right about this world being rotten."
"And that's exactly why I can't accept this sort of thing. Do you know what our dream is?"
"Build a house?"
"That's the first step, but I want to create a paradise, where all Pokemon can live in fairness and happiness. And that's why we came after you."
"So go back, now that you know what I am."
"Exactly," Jen says. "We know what you are now. Or what you used to be. And that's why we continued to hare you. Gurdurr, we want you to build us a house."
The Pokemon's face contorts. "After what I did, you still want me to build your home?"
"So you acknowledge what you were doing was wrong?"
Gurdurr says nothing.
"Anyhow, yes, we do. We'll get together the money and the materials somehow. Gurdurr, please: won't you help us build ourselves a home?"
"For Paradise?" he asks.
Gurdurr smiles, then bursts into laughter. The nasty grin returns on his face a few moments later. "I swear, you're some kind of prize fools, aren't you? Don't you even realize I've been lying to you this whole time?!"
"Of course. But fools are just honest folk."
Gurdurr frowns, not liking your reactions. "It doesn't matter anymore. I've got no hope left for this world."
"That's not true."
"You're accusing me of lying?!" Gurdurr thunders, and turns around angrily. "Look at this scar, why don't you?! Thanks to this stupid injury, my body won't even do what I want it to do anymore! I can't build anything!"
"That's not true."
"What, you think I can build you a house?!" A barking laugh. "I can't make nothing but junk anymore! Don't you get it? You're asking an old washout who can't build anything anymore to build your house!"
Jen is glaring at him when he turns back to face you. "That's not true!"
"Why don't you listen to reason, you little runts?!"
"Boss, we all know that's not true!"
On cue, the two Timburr burst out of the mine from where they'd been watching. Their eyes are blazing, and their stances scream of determination. This time, this time they wouldn't fail. You stand up a little straighter and look at Gurdurr right in the eyes. He narrows his as he scans over the little circle of Pokemon around him.
"Yeah!" adds a Timburr. "These two 'little runts' already knew about your injury!"
"You two told them?" Gurdurr snarls. "Great to see you trust two imbeciles more than your own boss."
The Timburr stand strong this time. "But even so, Boss, even knowing that, these two still want you to build their house."
Gurdurr chuckles. "True, their naivety is beyond comprehension."
"Maybe so," Jen cuts in. "But the flipside of naivety is courage to do what others haven't."
You think it's about time to say something, too. "Gurdurr, you just said you can't build anything but junk, right?"
"Making fun of me now?"
"What's wrong with building just that? You just need to work on getting better again. We want you to build our house, Gurdurr. No one else. No matter how much it looks like plain old garbage, it'll be our home. It'll be something you built that will help someone else. Isn't that what you're looking for?"
"Boss, they're doing this for you."
You continue. "If you just put your heart into building like you used to, we don't need a fancy house. We don't want to live in some perfectly built masterpiece that has no heart."
"Nothing I build has a heart anyways."
"Stop lying to yourself. We want a house built by someone who pours their heart into what they do, who loves doing what they do. And we know that that heart is still inside of you, just aching to get back into the craft again. Gurdurr, our house will have no heart but yours, because you're the only carpenter for us. You deserve to be the carpenter for everyone."
Jen smiles softly. "And besides, Timburr and Timburr would follow you to the ends of the world."
"Boss, no matter how many times you stray from the path."
"No matter how many time you lash out at us, we won't give up, Boss."
You look Gurdurr in the eye, and you see a twinge of emotion. "These guys will go on believing that you can have fun working together again someday. They've stuck with you all through these years, knowing that this isn't what you really are, deep down. You've still got them, and it's only fair to care for them as much as they've cared for you all this time."
"They've seen the worse of me already, don't see why they still bother."
"They still stick with you BECAUSE they've already seen the worse of you, Gurdurr."
Gurdurr bites his lip.
"Boss!" The stocky Timburr steps forward, teary-eyed. "Let's go back to work!"
"Let's all work together again!"
"Like the old days, when we used to have fun working together."
Gurdurr looks down at the ground, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Gurdurr!" you yell. "Please! Build our house, the house that no one but you could make!"
"We'll catch that Pokemon," Jen says softly. "We'll catch the Pokemon that did this to you, and bring them to justice one day. We promise."
"Shut up!" Gurdurr screeches. "I'm a criminal, I don't deserve to be treated like this."
"If you're so insistent, consider this your punishment. Build something, doing the thing you hate the most."
"But I don't hate it!"
"We know. You love your craft, your work. That's why it has to be you."
Gurdurr smiles sadly, and you can see his eyes water in the blue of the moonlight. "You kids make no sense at all."
"Yeah, I'll do it."
"Yeah, really. I'll put everything I've got into it." He pulls the Timburr into a hug. "I'm sorry, you two. I've been the worse boss, haven't I?"
The first night you all headed back with the Escape Orb the Timburr had brought.
"We'll start first thing tomorrow morning," Gurdurr had said. With teary eyes and tired lids you bid your goodnights and parted ways.
With Jen in the lead, the only thing you remember is blue moon and endless yawning. Anywhere to sleep would do for the night. Your temporary beds back in Paradise, the floor, the river. You end up settling for the first option, with exhaustion strong enough to fight off the chill of the night. The cold straw felt like the most heavenly bed in the world. You fell asleep almost instantly.
The next morning was the planning. Gurdurr and the Timburr had come at the first crack of dawn, still wiping sleep from their eyes, but bright and cheery as never before. Gurdurr smiled slightly, still unsure. You yawned and told him this would be the best thing ever. Everyone cheered, and set to work.
A small house, you'd all decided. A single room would be all you need, with simple walls and a simple roof. And windows to let in the light and air. Minimalistic, Gurdurr had put it. Neither of you tell him it's because you want to let his creativity and soul show through.
Afternoon brought Quagsire's arrival and a gathering of supplies. I was worried when you two weren't back yet last night, he tells you. Good to see whatever problem there was is solved. Yeah, you say. It's good to see.
When the only things Gurdurr ask for is wood, mud, and leaves, you're not sure what to expect. You brought them to him, and he sets to work with Timburr and Timburr immediately.
"Can you put this plank over there?" he asked occasionally. "Can you give me that big leaf?"
By the end of the first day, you had misshapen wood in two colours and a cleared area on the ground. You didn't understand how things would go from there, but Gurdurr told you to rest up. We're going to need your help in erecting all this tomorrow, he laughed.
That night, you and Jen headed to the inn, as suggested by Quagsire. You can't just sleep in an empty lot, he said. So when Swanna greets you warmly that evening (and reminds you not to call her maybe) you find yourself on the second floor, looking out over Post Town and its flowing waters under the stars. There were no clouds that night, but the moon was nowhere as bright.
Counting the money you'd paid Gurdurr and the Timburr brothers in advance and the fee for the hotel stay, Jen shuffled through the bag, mouthing numbers. It'd been a while since you've gotten to talk to her alone, and though this room had no door, it was fine, because there were no other guests tonight.
"So?" you said.
"What do you think?"
"Of these past two days? It's been quite the ride."
"Tell me about it. Aren't you glad we got to help them, though?"
"Yes, however, I cannot help but wonder where Scrafty ran off to."
"Probably back to the west, where the little crook belongs. Doubt he has any tragic tale to tell."
Jen rolled over in her bed. "Anyhow, that battle with them was very tough. I guess we're still weak if we lost to petty liars like them."
"What was that orb I used?"
"Oh, right. The All Power-Up Orb. It gives everyone on the team strength."
"Right, I did feel that. So what's the Totter Orb do?"
"It makes all the hostile Pokemon in the vicinity confused, like when Gothita attacked me way back in Ragged Mountain. Or was it Stony Cave?"
"Yeah, I hear you. I can see why that would've helped with our situation back there. What about those seeds?"
"Blast Seeds. Eat one, and you breathe fire, though I suppose you can already do that."
"Right, about the Demon Flame."
"So, did you find out anything more about it?"
"That's the thing I wanted to ask. Why does it do that? It's only powerful sometimes, but not at other critical moments."
"It seemed like you were very angry when it was at its strongest. Maybe it's fueled by emotion, and not something physical?"
"It's like pure rage. Dragon Rage."
"That sounds like a good name for it."
"You think?" Jen sighed. "Anyways, we can't rely on that attack anymore. It's certainly not a good idea to get you riled up just to use it. We need to get stronger ourselves and use our own strength to fight, if ever needed again."
"Our own strength?" You paused. "You know, when we were fighting side by side with the Timburr, it felt really weird. Like I couldn't ask you the names of any items or anything, and it just... I don't know. It was kind of this awkward tense feeling."
"I know what you mean. That's because we're a team, right? Partners."
"Something wrong with that?"
You smiled. "No. Not at all."
"Well, then, goodnight. We'll be doing quite a bit of physical labour tomorrow, from the sounds of it."
You groaned. "Yeah, yeah. Don't remind me."
The second morning, the five of you had met up at the empty lot just after breakfast at Swanna's. Gurdurr had asked that you two take care of the more detailed workings while he and the Timburr built up the framing itself. For a few hours, you worked on window frames, and for a few more hours, you began to wonder why anyone would ever willingly go into such a trade. After a lunch break too short, it was all you could do to not ask Gurdurr why he'd fallen in love with carpentry, of all things.
Again, in the afternoon, Quagsire came. With him he brought some pots and bowls. Didn't know you were into pottery, you'd said. He smiled. 'Think of it as a welcoming gift.'
By the end of the day, the foundation was already laid down, and most of the framing done. Things were starting to look good. The Timburr seemed pleased. Even Gurdurr did, at least a little. You all went home with a smile on your face.
The third morning, while mulling over how much you'd be charged if you kept staying at the inn, everyone gathered at the house in record time, before the sun had even risen. Quagsire was still nowhere to be found, but everyone present set to work immediately. Since the two of you had finished all the window frames the day before, you were now tasked with making glass. There was, thankfully, a lot of sand on the road to Hazy Pass.
The trip there and back went without a hitch, with not a single Pokemon attacking you. You do suppose it was to be expected, since it wasn't a Mystery Dungeon, like the actual Hazy Pass. Maybe the Pokemon world wasn't as bad as you thought outside of the Mystery Dungeons, save for its corruption of other Pokemon: maybe, just maybe, that was what drove Gurdurr over the edge. And maybe Scraggy, too.
Lugging back the heavy bag was no easy feat, however, and it felt like you were losing more sand than bringing back. A trail of rusty red followed you all the way home.
Once back, you'd told everyone that your Dragon Rage only worked if you were unbelievably angry. Gurdurr nodded, and sent the Timburr off to get some Blast Seeds. We have some too, Jen had proposed, but Gurdurr had brushed her off. We should be the ones who are grateful to you for giving us a second chance.
As you and Jen breathed almighty fire onto the sand (god, was that SPICY), you watched it slowly but surely turn to a strange, uneven glass, so unlike the perfect, artificial kind back on the other side. It was blurry, more translucent than transparent, and tinted a dusty colour, but you loved it all the same. This was something you'd made for your home, and you were keeping it no matter what.
By the end of the third day, you were way too sweaty for your own good, and so was everyone else. A little cooling-off by Quagsire later (No fair! He can shoot water too?!) and you're all standing, dripping wet, looking at the acorn frame of what will be your home.
That night, you dream of sailing, the wind at your back. The ocean, rough yet calm, stretches into the sunrise. Jen smiles.
When you wake the fourth day, Gurdurr and Timburr are already up and building. Two or three days left, they tell you. We're almost there.
That afternoon, after having installed the windows into the walls, Quagsire had come and begun on the interior decorating. All in all, things were moving well. Very well. The carpenters were working on finalizing the roof, and then getting ready for some details the day after. You tell them you're looking forward to it. They say yeah, we're looking forward to it, too.
That night, all six of you sat inside the house, a little fire already started in the make-do fireplace. They'd still have to waterproof everything and take care of finer details, but they were pretty much done. The roof was already up, and thank god there hadn't been any rough weather lately.
The last night in the inn, and you said sorry to your wallet. The fifth morning, you all got to the home a little later than usual. You and Jen worked together on placing decorations on the outside. She'd climb up and place little leaves and flowers, while you'd decide the best positions from down on the ground. By noon, the outside was already ready for presentation, save for the chimney, which had to be taken care of last, because it involved fixing the inside.
That night, you all said your goodbyes when it was nearly the sunrise, and went home blearily. It'd taken a little longer than expected, but everyone powered through with sheer adrenaline and excitement to see the final product. It was time to head home now, and admire the work later. You realized then that this was your home, and that there was no need to leave. You fell asleep with a sheepish grin. There was no need to leave now.
And now, as all six of you stand before your home, you're speechless.
Brown and a slightly darker brown, the house looks something like a cross between an acorn, a tree, and a mushroom. Branches sprout out of the sides, making it seem like a ground-level treehouse. It's nothing like you'd though it'd be, but way better than anything you would've imagined. Carpenters indeed, they have a real passion for their craft. And you love what they do because you can tell they do as well.
"Sorry it's so bad," Gurdurr mumbles, scratching the back of his neck. "I'm afraid this is the best I can do right now."
Timburr shrugs. "Well, even if it doesn't look very pretty, I had a good time doing this job."
"You said it," his brother adds. "This has got to be the most fun I've had in a long, long time."
"Yeah! It's like... it's kind of shabby, but it's not REALLY shabby..."
"It has a certain kind of warmth to it," Jen says, beaming.
"Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the work we did," says Timburr. "In an odd sort of way."
The lanky Timburr smirks. "Though it really isn't much to look at."
"It doesn't matter," you say, finally finding your voice. "I love it. We all love it. Every single one of us put our hearts into it, and that's what counts."