• Welcome to Thousand Roads! You're welcome to view discussions or read our stories without registering, but you'll need an account to join in our events, interact with other members, or post one of your own fics. Why not become a member of our community? We'd love to have you!

    Join now!

Pokémon 2/3

RJR Basimilus

Arceus is nice I suppose...
Location
the Lovely Planet
Partners
  1. arceus-fighting
  2. lurantis
  3. arceus-poison
This one is for chapters 3 to 5! It's been a while since I've read this, but rest assured I'm certainly still interested, and I'm glad to see that Arceus is still his quirky, amnesiac self. The following will be a stream-of-consciousness thought wall.

Wow! (❛‿❛✿̶̥̥) An unexpected review! I'm super lucky.

I wonder occasionally if I'm setting people up the wrong way with the earlier chapters. I don't really know how to explain it, but I guess if you keep reading, you'll see eventually. But that's fine, que sera sera.

I can't say if chapters from that point on have weird interactions or not because they seem normal to me- perhaps just a bit strange. I suppose I take a lot of inspiration at times from Suda51, among other people. If I were to make one observation about everything, I think that the first few chapters are me kind of feeling around to see what I like, because the progression is different from later. Huh...

No idea how the two intersecting story lines look to each other, because I literally added the expanded Darkrai part like two years after the fact. It's always interesting to see how other people see the things in the story! Definitely helps me see things differently than what I see from 3 years of writing this by myself. Maybe if I actually talked about it, then people would come over and tell me what's wrong with it, ha!

Anyway, thanks for everything! I don't often get to talk about my thinking (my fault!), even if it is from some time ago. Well, then it's not what I'm thinking, but what I was thinking... (insert Seyka here)
 
30

RJR Basimilus

Arceus is nice I suppose...
Location
the Lovely Planet
Partners
  1. arceus-fighting
  2. lurantis
  3. arceus-poison
New pokemon game?
I mean, I guess I like Arceus, so I'll pick it up. Not like the biggest fan or anything.

But like, that can wait! I'm hungry...


Chapter 30 - Counteroffer


Hanging upside down in the water, Jaruzaya floated at the edge of consciousness as he chewed on a handful of croutons.

“These taste so much better when they’re dry,” he muttered to himself, swimming over to the side of his tank. Grabbing a marker with his mouth, he stared at the wall in contemplation. “East 288 huh? Mugh, who even has time to know these kinds of things?”

Down the hall, he heard the door open. He continued writing for a moment before, floating back to look over his work. “Shogo!” he called, not looking, “When you go out next time, can you get more of these waterproof markers? These are great!” He turned to face her and could only stare as he saw the five guests accompanying her. “Err, did you make friends instead of fliers? I thought I was fairly clear in my instructions.”

“Yeah, no.” The Furfrou gestured to the group. “These are Mel’s friends. They’re going to help us find her.”

The Huntail let his gaze trail over the group. He stopped at Pasa, giving the Nidoking a strange look. “She has some interesting friends,” he said.

Pasa could tell the Huntail was on guard. “I’m assuming you know who I am,” he said, “I’ve heard of you, so I’ll say it up front. I’m retired, and Mel is my adopted daughter. If you aren’t responsible for her kidnapping, then I don’t care.”

Jaruzaya looked him over carefully. “Looks like you’re honest,” he said approvingly, “And yes, it’s kind of hard not to know who you are. Most Nidoking are usually keen to polish their scales.” Ignoring Pasa’s withering stare, he continued. “Anyway, who are the rest of you?”

Darkrai went next. “We’re friends too,” he said, gesturing to Mae, who flashed a peace sign.

“Yes? What do you do?” Jaruzaya asked.

Darkrai was caught off guard by the question. “What do you mean by that?”

Jaruzaya blinked. “I mean, what do you do for a living? It’s called expanding your network, you never know what the pokemon you meet might be good at.”

Pasa stormed up, pointing at the Huntail. “Well save it for later. If you know where Mel might be, then tell us.”

Jaruzaya seemed about to retort, but relented seeing the fierceness in Pasa’s expression. “Right, at least let me get everyone’s names.”

Darkrai and Mae introduced themselves, followed by Arceus and Goucie.

“Thank you. Here’s what we know.” Jaruzaya swam over to his notes. “When I last spoke to Mel, she mentioned spotting an indicator that read East 288.” He paused and looked at the group. “No hits so far? Anyway, I asked an acquaintance who is knowledgeable in these kind of affairs, and he informed me that it is a common system in aqueducts on the continent. Unfortunately, there are about six places that fit this.”

Goucie piped up from the back of the room. “Actually, we found something that might help with that. Mel was taken out of the city due north by the Watchog that attacked her. He handed her off to another party we couldn’t identify.”

“And you’re sure it was her?” Pasa asked, studying the Combusken.

“Positive. Missing left antenna right?”

The Nidoking nodded. “I’ll just have to believe your source was reliable at this point. It’s the best we got.”

Goucie considered telling Pasa that he was sure because he had seen it on film, but decided that telling the Nidoking about the CTB’s surveillance was a topic best saved for later.

Arceus looked back at Jaruzaya. “Does that narrow it down any?” he asked hopefully.

“It... does!” the Huntail exclaimed, “It’s down to two, Rioch and Weekday.”

“Weekday is the capital isn’t it?” Mae asked Darkrai. “Have you been there?”

Darkrai made a face. “One time years ago. Nothing special from what I remember.”

Arceus nodded. “So what are we going to do?”

“We’ll split up,” Pasa said, taking charge. He faced the group. “I’m sorry if I’m speaking for you guys without asking. But you are willing to help look right?”

Everyone in the room agreed, even Jaruzaya. Pasa smiled grimly. He pointed at Darkrai, Mae, and Shogo. “If you three could cover Rioch, then myself, Arceus, and Goucie will go to Weekday.” He looked over at Jaruzaya. “Can you keep us updated?”

“Mission control, huh?” Jaruzaya seemed intrigued. “Sounds like it’ll be a good experience.”

“Be serious,” Pasa growled.

Splitting off into their groups to plan, Goucie glanced over at Shogo, Darkrai, and Mae. “Will they be okay?” he asked, slightly worried.

“I think they’ll be fine,” Arceus said, “I don’t know how they fight if that’s what you’re asking, but still.”

“I agree with Arceus,” Pasa said, “I’ve gotten to know them a bit too, and they seem reliable. Can’t say anything about the Furfrou though.”

The Nidoking shook his head. “It’s the best we have to go on. I have one more thing I want to ask of Jaruzaya though.” He turned to walk back to the tank. “I’m sorry for making you guys work so hard while I did nothing. I’ll make up for it as best I can.”

Goucie turned to Arceus when they were alone. “Um, could you not tell Pasa about the CTB surveillance system if the topic comes up. It’s a bit of a sensitive topic.”

Arceus nodded. “Okay. I don’t think he’s thinking about that too much anyway.” He seemed a bit downcast. “Pasa seems really desperate.”

“Nothing we can do about it except help him out the best we can,” Goucie murmured.

--

“Hmmm?” Jaruzaya looked over as Pasa tapped on the glass. “Do you need something?”

“Is it possible for me to talk to Mel now?” Pasa asked.

The Huntail hummed. “It should be. I believe GSEL should have a call forwarding feature or whatever the term is. Let me try.”

Jaruzaya was silent for a moment as he contacted Mel.

“Mel, are you there? There’s someone who wants to talk to you. Let me put you through.”


==========


“Moomoo? Are you there?”

Mel stopped in place, shocked to hear the voice on the other line. “Pa? Is that... why are you?”

“Hiya. No time to explain, but we’re coming to get you. Stay safe, okay?”

Mel smiled. “I can handle myself just fine. I didn’t know you knew Jaruzaya though.”

“I don’t know him,” Pasa replied, “Your friends helped me out.”

The Lurantis’ spirits were immediately lifted. “Everyone’s been looking for me?” she said. “I mean, I didn’t doubt it, but...” she trailed off. “Just knowing helps a lot.”

“We should be there in just about two days,” Pasa said, “You might meet up with some friends of mine and that Furfrou. I believe you know her?”

Mel nodded to herself. “Shogo? I’ll keep an eye out then.”

“We’re off then. Love you Mel!” Pasa sounded relieved.

“Love you too, Pa.” As Mel hung up, she mused to herself. “Oh, I should have asked him if he knew exactly where I am. Well, it doesn’t matter now.”

She heard a sound behind her. The Lurantis turned to see Yuteraiko and Exdhroyhna.

“We were afraid you might get lost,” the Crawdaunt said.

“And it does get kind of boring down here sometimes,” Yuteraiko added, “Can we hang out with you?”

Mel shrugged. “I guess.” She was still uneasy about the two, but they seemed harmless enough.

--

“How did you end up down here anyway?” Exdhroyhna asked as they walked. The Crawdaunt was staring intently at the back of Mel’s head.

“It’s complicated,” Mel said lightly, “But I’m not too worried, someone is coming to get me.”

The Kingler and the Crawdaunt exchanged glances. “Get you?” Yuteraiko said, “Like, rescue you?”

The Kingler’s wording caught Mel’s attention. “Rescue me from what?” Mel asked, “It’s not like I’m in trouble or anything.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” Yuteraiko said innocently, “Pokemon just don’t tend to wander the tunnels much, not at all.”

“Maybe they’re going to rescue her from boredom,” Exdhroyhna suggested, grinning.

“Anyway, why are you down here anyway?” Yuteraiko asked, ignoring the Crawdaunt’s attempt at humor. “Taking a vacation and just wanted to explore Ghockya?”

“Y-yeah- just wanted to look around,” Mel lied, “It’s a nice city.”

“Mmm, I guess you’re not looking around hard enough because we’re not in Ghockya,” the Kingler replied with a smug look. She giggled. “Sorry for fooling you, but I’m just really curious, how did you end up here?”

Mel sighed in annoyance. “I told you, it’s complicated. I’d rather not talk about it.”

“What if I tell you where you really are?” Yuteraiko seemed to be enjoying verbally poking Mel.

They had come to a sharp L-bend in the tunnel. Mel regarded the Kingler suspiciously.

If I knew where I was, I could tell Pa, she thought, But from what he said, it seems like he already knows where I am. Plus, I just can’t trust these guys. They’re too... weird!

“I’ll figure that out myself,” Mel said finally, “It’s not like it’s hard to find out.”

Yuteraiko’s face fell. “Oh, can’t argue with that.” She rubbed her claws together.

“Don’t be so cruel,” Exdhroyhna chimed in. “She’s obviously had a rough time, so just tell her.”

Yuteraiko looked at the Crawdaunt. He winked at her. “Okay, okay.” She turned back to the Lurantis. “Sorry, Mel. Uhm, we’re actually in Rioch.”

“Thank you,” Mel said, feeling a bit better. “Can you guys wait here for a bit? I need a moment to be alone.”

“Sure,” Exdhroyhna said, pulling Yuteraiko into a hug. “We’ll wait right here,” he added cheerfully, ignoring the Kingler’s struggling.

As Mel rounded the corner, the Crawdaunt released Yuteraiko. “Hm,” he said, frowning, “I don’t think this is going too well.”

“I’m no interrogator,” the Kingler complained, shaking her head. “She’s not the type to let stuff slip I guess.”

“Either way, that double lie was pretty good,” Exdhroyhna said thoughtfully, “I think she might have a GSEL, so it’ll throw them off.”

“You think so?” Yuteraiko looked in the direction Mel had gone. “If someone is coming to get her now, then they probably have a good idea where she is now.”

“Granted, but Weekday is huge,” the Crawdaunt said, “We should be fine.”

The Kingler was unsatisfied. “We did tell her our names, sure. At least, I did.” She glanced at the Crawdaunt.

Exdhroyhna paused to think. “Not sure how that might help her. Still, I guess this is a bust. Want to go get her now?”

“Alright,” Yuteraiko said, “I’m getting tired of this anyway.”


=======


“Are we going to get Mallys before we leave?” Arceus asked.

“Hm, good thinking,” Pasa replied, “With everything going on, I didn’t think of contacting him.”

Standing outside of the brokerage, Arceus, Goucie, and Pasa were taking a moment to talk strategy before they left. The Nidoking was happy to see his companions raring to go.

“Have you talked to him at all since we started searching?” Goucie asked. The Combusken was staring at the sign over the building.

“No- that’s my fault,” Pasa said, “I probably should at least checked in.” A look of dismay crossed his face. “I have to apologize to Lozow too at some point. I cut my session with him short.”

Arceus was mildly curious, but was more concerned about calling Mallys.

“Uhm, I think I remember the number,” Arceus mumbled to himself. As it rang, Arceus felt a little giddy; he hadn’t talked to the Haxorus in a while and was eager to see him again.

When the call picked up, Arceus couldn’t contain himself. “Mallys, are you there?” he said quickly, “We know where Mel is!”

“A-arceus?” Mallys was caught off guard. “Slow down a bit.”

“We’re heading to where Mel might be right now,” Arceus said, standing still to try and contain his excitement. “Maybe you could meet us there!”

Overhearing Arceus, Pasa stepped over. “Wait. We have to consider our teams. Do you think it would be better for him to help the Rioch group or join ours?”

“Huh?” Put on the spot, Arceus scrambled for an answer. “I don’t know. Are Darkrai and Mae good at fighting?”

“Not sure myself,” the Nidoking admitted, “What I do know is that I am fairly proficient.”

In the back of his head, Arceus was pretty sure that it would be better to send Mallys with Darkrai and company. He also considered lying so Mallys would come with them, but decided against it.

“I think he should go with the other group,” Arceus said. “Did you hear that Mallys?” he asked.

“Enough of it to understand what I need to do,” Mallys replied, “Have Pasa contact me with the details. And uh, see you soon, Arceus.” There was a hint of happiness in his tone.

As Arceus wrapped up his call with Mallys, Pasa heard his own GSEL ring. “Hello?” he said, answering.

“Hey Pa,” Mel said, “I think I might have figured something out.”

“What is it?” Pasa asked.

There was a pause as Mel composed herself. “I think I’m in a place called Rioch.”

The Nidoking’s breathing quickened. “Are you sure?”

“No, not really,” Mel replied, “Someone I met told me.”

Pasa motioned for Goucie and Arceus to stand by him. “I didn’t get to tell you when we spoke a little while ago, but we’ve narrowed your location down to two places and Rioch is one of them.”

Mel sounded hopeful. “So I’m in Rioch?”

“No,” Pasa grunted, “We can’t assume that. Who told you you were there?”

“Uh, this Kingler, Yuteraiko. She’s been following me around with her brother, Ex- er, Exdhroyhna I think?”

“Can you trust them?” Pasa asked.

“I’m not sure,” Mel said.

Arceus was curious. “Is Mel with someone?”

“Apparently so,” Pasa said, looking at Arceus and Goucie. “Some pokemon named Yuteraiko and Exdhroyhna.”

“Wha-”

Goucie looked like he was in shock.

Pasa whirled to face him fully. “What? What’s wrong?”

The Combusken was silent, staring at the ground. Then, without warning, he grabbed the Nidoking. “Mel! If you can hear me, RUN!” he shouted, terrified.

“What is going on?” Pasa growled, “Explain yourself, Goucie!”

“I- I don’t know the first one,” Goucie stammered, “But Exdhroyhna is... he’s Cehdomu’s assistant.”

The Nidoking squinted. “Who?”

Arceus stepped back, feeling a cold pit in his stomach. “No,” he whispered, “They already found her?” He shot a glance at Pasa. “Cehdomu is... well, he’s dangerous! Goucie can explain later, but we have to save her!”

“What’s going on? Who is shouting?” Mel said on the other end of the line.

“Stop panicking you two,” Pasa roared. He pushed Goucie away with one arm, and bonked Arceus on the head with the other. “Tell me straight, does this mean that Mel is being misled by a hostile party?”

“Y-yes,” Goucie said, trying to regain his composure. “Exdhroyhna is definitely not on our side. We can assume the other one isn’t either.”

The Nidoking scowled, turning away. “Alright Mel, I need you to listen to me. They are likely lying to you. Get away from them as soon as you can, but don’t let them know. Find an opportunity to slip away.”

“Ugh, I knew something was up with them,” Mel replied, “How long until you can get here?”

“Remember,” Pasa said, “There’s a chance you’ll meet with Shogo instead. But it’s likely that you are in Weekday. The quickest we can be there is just over a day.”

“I’ll do my best then,” Mel said, “Weekday is a city, right?”

“Yes, the capital,” Pasa clarified, “If you can get out of wherever you are and into the city proper, you’ll have a better chance at hiding.”

“Okay then, I’m off.” Mel sounded confident. “I’ll tell you what happens.”

As Mel hung up, Goucie seemed to think of something. “Hey, didn’t Jaruzaya say that the only reason he could call her was because his GSEL was upgraded? How was Mel able to call him back- and you for that matter?”

“Maybe we got lucky,” Pasa said, brushing off the Combusken’s concerns. “We’ll worry about that later. Let’s get going.” He picked Goucie up and placed him on Arceus’ back. “Follow me,” he said to Arceus.

Shaking his head to clear the slight dizziness from when Pasa had hit him, Arceus nodded. “Go as fast as you can. I’ll keep up.”

--

Mel sighed. Things were complicated now, and she had a sinking feeling it wouldn’t be as easy as she thought it would be to escape. Sensing something, she turned around.

Yuteraiko and Exdhroyhna were watching her silently a little ways away, their expressions unreadable.

“Can you give me a head start?” Mel asked, backing away slowly.

“No can do,” the Crawdaunt said, mockingly apologetic.

The Kingler shrugged. “I mean, I would. It wouldn’t do you any good.”

“Oh,” Mel said weakly, “Fuck.”


========


Weekday was a fashionable city, if not an exciting one. The reason it was the capital of Ameycogura was singular- it was first, and it was too entrenched in that fact to suggest otherwise.

Stuffing figs in her mouth, Viytoya scowled at the crossword puzzle she was looking over.

“Je- Jen- Jer- haaaaa.” The Tranquil slumped in defeat.

“Having trouble?”

Viytoya looked up. A Toxicroak was sitting at the table next to her, staring into the distance.

“Not so much that I would ask for help,” Viytoya replied curtly, noting the large stack of crumb-littered plates in front of the Toxicroak. “Roach, was it? Sorry, I’m not the best with names.”

The Toxicroak smiled. “It’s Reecie. You can call me that if you like though.”

The Tranquill nodded. “Mmhmm. You got anything for me or did you come here to watch me struggle with a crossword.”

Reecie held up a letter. “I do have a letter. It’s more fun to watch you though.”

Snatching it from the Toxicroak, Viytoya shot Reecie a pointed look before opening it. Reading it, her eyes narrowed slightly.

“A grand gesture? That sounds like the kind of lofty trite the boss would come up with. But why here?” She looked at Reecie expectantly.

The Toxicroak shrugged. “Do you expect me to know? I’m just a rookie, right?”

“Well, you don’t act like one,” the Tranquill muttered, “Ugh, whatever. Did he only send you?”

“Uh-huh!” Reecie said happily, “But I’ll do my best to help you out.”

Viytoya turned away, rolling her eyes. “I appreciate it,” she said with obviously fake enthusiasm. “Here’s a task for you then- help me make a plan to send off this ‘grand gesture’.”

“Actually, I already came up with a plan,” Reecie said, triumphantly holding a dark purple slate up to Viytoya.

The Tranquill was unimpressed. “What is this?”

“It’s a plate,” Reecie said blankly, like it was an obvious statement. “It’s poisonous, kind of like you.”

Viytoya was about to retort when she paused. “Wait, you can tell?”

The Toxicroak nodded. “Of course. It’s hard not to notice what you’ve done with... well, yourself.”

The Tranquill gave Reecie a hard stare. “I’ll think of that as a compliment. Now tell me your plan.”

Reecie looked around surreptitiously before leaning in. “I was thinking about a large scale disruption. Something that really gets everyone talking.”

“What’s the point?” Viytoya frowned. “I get that the boss wants people to see KBA’s resurgence, but why?”

The Toxicroak ordered another plate of food. “I’m sure he’ll tell you if you ask him.”

The Tranquill was firm. “No, he won’t. So in lieu of that, tell me why you think it’s important.”

“I didn’t know I needed a reason.” Reecie sunk in her chair, sulking. “Isn’t listening to a leader enough?”

“Not when our cause is something to believe in,” Viytoya said, glaring at the Toxicroak. “We follow the same tenets as the KBA did originally, and that’s to fight for those left behind by so called modernity in Carigara. How does doing anything here make a statement?”

Reecie pulled herself upright as another plate was set on the table. “You’re asking me?”

“Yes, and if I don’t like the answer, you’ll know,” Viytoya said fiercely. As she spoke, black liquid ran in rivulets from her feathers.

The Toxicroak looked slightly amused. “Alright, I’ll answer, but only because I’d rather you not cause a scene here.” Reaching out, she ran a hand along Viytoya’s back. “So, before you spring a leak on me, consider this. Activism is our cause, yes?”

“I just said that,” Viytoya said, “Get to the point.”

Inspecting her hand, Reecie nibbled a piece of bread. “Do you take off the second you wake up and fly across the world? KBA has been dormant, it’s return is something best done in steps. Going on that, I think this ‘grand gesture’ is...” she paused, “There’s a word I heard recently that fits, ah, an overture!”

The Tranquill thought about the Toxicroak’s words. “An overture to who?” she asked.

“I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough,” Reecie replied.

Viytoya scowled. “That still doesn’t answer my question of how attacking here is relevant to us.”

The Toxicroak shrugged. “Politics? Or maybe it’s a way to get a feel for the opposition.”

“That’s a bit more reasonable,” Viytoya said, mollified somewhat. “Fine, I’ll go with it. But I’m watching you.”

“I thought we were working together as a team here,” Reecie said.

“Not if I can’t trust you.”

The Toxicroak stood up. Without warning, she swept Viytoya into her arms, swinging her from side to side.

“Oooh, Viytoya. I swear I’ll impress you, really!” Reecie smiled. “I know we haven’t been off to the best start, but you can count on me!” She set her back down and scooped up the purple plate. “I need to think about how I’m going to pull this off a bit more, but I’ll be ready soon.”

Viytoya looked away, struggling to contain her anger. “So much for me making a scene,” she murmured, noticing a few pokemon giving them side glances. “You follow me, alright? I got a call from Yuteraiko, she might need our help.”

“I keep hearing that,” Reecie said, rubbing her face. “This GSEL or whatever is pretty interesting. There was never anything like that in... well back then.”

“It is relatively new technology,” Viytoya said, flapping her wings in preparation.

The Toxicroak was only half paying attention. “That’s not quite what I-” She caught herself. “Er, nevermind. Do you still need help with that crossword?”

About to take off, Viytoya stopped. “I, uh, wasn’t thinking about that. Go ahead.”

Reecie slid the paper in front of her and wrote on it with the claw jutting out of her hand. “Well, I hope no one touches this after I’m done with it, aha.” She finished, proudly showing the paper to the Tranquill.

Viytoya stared at the filled in word. “Jeremiad?”

“Told you I wouldn’t let you down.” Reecie smirked. “Now lead the way.”


===================


“You know, we’re not really built for running,” Yuteraiko said, trying to catch her breath.

Exdhroyhna frowned. “I’m not so sure. Definitely not in my case- but can’t Kingler run fairly fast if you run sideways or whatever it is you do?”


“I can’t do that,” the Kingler replied, looking away.

The Crawdaunt stopped running and turned to face Yuteraiko. “No, I’m positive that you can. If there’s a reason you can’t, then tell me or I’ll break off this truce right now.”

“Look, she’s already outrun us,” Yuteraiko protested, “Let’s just forget about this, for sure.”

Exdhroyhna said nothing but snapped on claw threateningly, a metallic ring echoing through the tunnel.

“Hey, if you want to go, then just say so,” the Kingler shot back. “I’ll fight you any day.”

The Crawdaunt rolled his eyes. “You don’t need to be so dramatic about it.”

“Dramatic? B-but...” Yuteraiko sputtered angrily, “-you’re the one that started it! Argh, it’s just that it’s embarrassing okay? I feel stupid doing it.”

“And is that something worth fighting over?” Exdhroyhna asked dryly.

The Kingler replied immediately. “Yes!”

The Crawdaunt threw up his claws in defeat. “Fine. Lucky for you, I got her pretty good, so we can just follow that.” He pointed at a blood splatter on the ground. “Before you say anything, yes, I would have rather you catch her first than us having to play detectives.”

“Hmph,” Yuteraiko said, “We can’t get everything we want, no way.”

The Crawdaunt hummed thoughtfully. “You’d be surprised what you can accomplish if you just try.”

---

Mel tried to focus on the sound of her GSEL ringing as she ran. The pain in her side was steadily growing worse, and she could feel herself losing strength.

Pasa’s voice came through. “Mel, is that you?”

“You were right,” Mel replied, grunting, “They attacked me right after we talked. I’ve been running from them for a while, but one of them hurt me.”

The call disconnected.

Mel slowed her pace in confusion. Glancing at her GSEL, she heard a ring again.

“Sorry, accidentally hung up,” Pasa said, sounding strained. “Is it bad? Your wound I mean.”

“It’s not bad,” Mel said, unsure if it was the truth. “Any ideas for what I should do now?”

“Hm, I’m not sure. Have you- excuse me.” Pasa seemed to be speaking to someone else. “Yes. Yes, I know. No it’s not a problem, I said I’d pay for it. Listen to me, no- no, hey, LISTEN. I’ll pay for it!” There was a pause. “Um, sorry about that, Mel. Just a little problem on my end.” The Nidoking sighed. “What I meant to ask was if you’ve seen any exits yet.”

“One or two, but they were locked,” Mel said, “I probably could have forced them open, but I wasn’t sure if they were behind me.”

“Alright,” Pasa said with an icy calm. “It won’t do you any good to keep running at this rate. Next time you see an exit, do everything you can to break through. If you can get far enough ahead of them, you can make it out onto the street where you can hide. Do you think you can do that?”

“I can,” Mel replied, “Are you guys still a ways away?”

“Over a day, but don’t think about that. Focus on getting out of there and we’ll work it out from there.”

“Got it. I’ll call you soon.” As Mel hung up, she felt a wave of nausea and doubled over. Clutching at her wound, she listened in the silent tunnel for signs that the Kingler and the Crawdaunt were close.

“Ghk!” Mel grimaced as she accidently poked her wound with a scythe. The Lurantis was glad for once that they were blunted. “Just have to find an exit,” she whispered to herself.

“Heeeeeey!” A loud shout echoed from somewhere behind Mel. “Look, we have no interest in hurting you more than we already have. If you stay there, we’ll take you to get treated.” A brief pause. “I’m sorry about that by the way- I didn’t mean to go that deep!”

Mel guessed that they were a little ways back and felt confident that she had gotten a ways away. Up ahead, she spotted a ladder. Dashing up to it, she examined the locked hatch covering it.

“How can I break this?” she asked herself, sizing the slab up.

Exdhroyhna’s voice rang out again. “You really are losing a lot of blood, you know. Besides, if we wanted to kill you, wouldn’t we have already done it?”

Mel felt a flash of anger. “Fuck you!” she shouted back without thinking.

“Okay... have you at least considered our offer?” the Crawdaunt shouted back from somewhere.

Ignoring him, Mel wracked her head for a way to break open the hatch. She wasn’t sure she could manage enough strength to force it open with her scythes like she had done to the door from earlier.

Exdhroyhna said something else, but the Lurantis had completely tuned him out. Perched halfway up the ladder, Mel dimly recalled something Pasa had said to her a long time ago.

“Light?” Mel muttered, “Something about that.”

She was silent. Then as she stared at a rung of the ladder, she remembered.

--

“Did you get a lot of good work done today?” Pasa asked.

The Fomantis nodded happily. “Yeah! I’m already better at cutting than Kaeyo!”

The Nidoking chuckled. “That’s because you’re made for cutting, Moomoo. But, I don’t think it’s healthy for you to spend all day in the mine.”

“Why not?” Mel was confused.

“Pokemon like you need sunlight.” Pasa paused. “I’m... not exactly sure why, I never learned. But still, try and spend more time outside.”

The Fomantis shrugged. “I don’t feel any different. Are you making that up like you did with the story about the hungry Relicanth?”

“Not at all!” Pasa exclaimed, “Please just stay outside more, okay?”

Mel squinted at him. “Okaay, Pa.”

--

I didn’t do that at all, Mel thought to herself. Slowly, she climbed down from the ladder and tried to piece together her thoughts. She realized that she had been feeling a bit better than usual when she was traveling with Arceus and Mallys.

The gentle green light from the sides of the tunnel caught her attention.

Would these work?


Walking up to one, Mel looked at it uncertainly for a moment before slowly leaning towards it and pressing her face against it.

This is ridiculous,
the Lurantis thought, Come on! Something happen already.

Still distant, but perceptibly closer, Exdhroyhna called again. “We could set up a compensation plan, does that sound nice?”

“Shut up!” This time it was Yuteraiko, clearly angry. “She’s obviously not rolling over for us, okay?”

Mel grimaced. She was running out of time.

She rubbed her forehead against the light. Please!

Mel’s legs wobbled, panic and desperation setting in. Staring directly into the light, the Lurantis started to hope that Exdhroyhna would stay true to his word.

Then Mel felt something. A tiny sensation that she wouldn’t have noticed if she wasn’t focused.

“Hah?” Mel glanced one more time down the tunnel, then back at the light. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to envision the energy and was rewarded with the feeling suddenly becoming more intense.

Opening her eyes, Mel looked down to see her scythes glowing a gentle green. “I guess this is what he meant,” she whispered. The surge of energy was strong, but she could tell it was only enough for a single strike. Looking back up at the hatch, she had an idea.

--

As Exdhroyhna and Yuteraiko rounded the corner, they spotted Mel up on the ladder. The Lurantis’ head was glowing green, and she was focused intently on the ceiling.

“Are you alright?” the Crawdaunt asked, eyeing her warily.

Mel shot the two a brief glare before she abruptly rammed her head into the hatch, bursting it open. In an instant, she scrambled out and disappeared above.

“There you go,” Yuteraiko said in annoyance, “Now we’ll never get her.”

Exdhroyhna seemed unconcerned. “She’s still bleeding.”

“Yeah, but she’s in the sun,” the Kingler said, “She can just heal it.”

The Crawdaunt considered this. “Ah, right. That is a problem. Of course, that’s assuming she knows how to do that.”

The Kingler smacked the Crawdaunt with a claw. “That’s like saying I might not know how to swim.”

Exdhroyhna sighed. “Fair enough. Though if you wanted to catch her, why didn’t you just swim in the center canal?”

Yuteraiko stared at him. “You answer that first.”

The two stood in awkward silence.

“I guess neither of us was really invested in this, huh,” the Crawdaunt said thoughtfully.

“I have my own doubts,” Yuteraiko replied, “It’s none of your business though.”

Exdhroyhna laughed. “Of course it isn’t. As for me, I’m fine with letting her go. After all, that means I have some exclusive information all to myself.”

“Are you aiming for a promotion or something?” Yuteraiko asked, “What a joke.”

“Mmm, to each their own,” the Crawdaunt muttered, irked by the Kingler’s response. “How about we call it quits here and forget we ever saw each other.”

“Fine by me, yep.”
 
31

RJR Basimilus

Arceus is nice I suppose...
Location
the Lovely Planet
Partners
  1. arceus-fighting
  2. lurantis
  3. arceus-poison
Tokyo Vice vs. The Mole People
In the battle of exaggerated investigative accounts, who will win?

I've been slacking a little on my personal summaries of each chapter. I hope I don't forget anything important!
If I had a beta, they'd probably yell at me, ahaha.


Ch. 31 - Reject


The sun was rising and pokemon were out and about getting ready for the day. Near a gate leading out of town, three pokemon idled, sharing a pack of bagels.

“Sorry again about that Lurantis escaping yesterday,” Yuteraiko said, munching down on a bagel. “She just... well actually I just didn’t feel like chasing her, not at all.”

Viytoya shrugged. “I don’t blame you,” the Tranquill said, “The boss is so keen on keeping his plans secret. But really, I wish he wouldn’t compartmentalize us so much.”

“I wouldn’t mind as much if he just told us what’s going on sometimes,” the Kingler murmured discontentedly, “I know you haven’t been here long, Reecie, but don’t you think the boss is a bit too secretive?”

“Mmmmm,” the Toxicroak hummed, not really paying attention. “What is, is what will be. As long as the boss doesn’t hold me back from what I want to do, then I don’t care.”

“What is it that you want to do?” Viytoya asked, offput by the Toxicroak’s attitude. “Because that makes it sound like you’re just using us.”

Reecie turned to face the Tranquill. “I didn’t mean it that way,” she said, sounding distraught. “I’m committed to helping you guys one hundred percent! It’s just that I have something I really have to do on the side.”

Yuteraiko narrowed her eyes. “And that is?”

The Toxicroak looked away. “I just want to meet an old friend. I haven’t seen them in a long time and I don’t know where they are.”

“So how does you joining us help with that?” Viytoya asked, unconvinced.

“I have an idea, but it’s hard to explain,” Reecie replied unhelpfully.

Viytoya cursed and stalked away, Yuteraiko following behind, fruitlessly trying to placate the Tranquill. “Fine, we’ll leave it at that,” she said glowering, “But I’m watching you.”

“Come on, drop it,” Yuteraiko said quietly, the Kingler gently tugging on the Tranquill’s wing. “Let’s focus on our objective.”

For a moment, the Tranquill debated responding. Finally, she sighed. “Will you be fine heading back to Carigara by yourself, Yuyu?”

Yuteraiko nodded. “I’ll be fine. Tell me how it goes though, okay?” With a wave, the Kingler started down the road away from the city.

Viytoya watched Yuteraiko forlornly. She slowly turned back to Reecie. “So- have you figured out how you’re going to pull off your plan?”

“Pretty much,” the Toxicroak said airily, “Are you ready though? I know you’re... a bit different, but do you think you can handle it?”

“I’ll be honest, I think your plan is ridiculous,” Viytoya said simply, “I’m playing along because the boss has high expectations for you.” The Tranquill stared at the ground, troubled. “If you pull it off...”

Reecie smiled. “Vote of no confidence, huh? I understand.” She leaned in and pinched the Tranquill’s beak with two fingers. “Then you’re in for a treat.”

Pulling herself away, Viytoya tried to hold a neutral expression. “I’ll look forward to it,” she muttered before pivoting to a different topic. “It’s not particularly important, but I heard from Yuteraiko that the Lurantis is getting picked up by her friends.”

“That’s nice,” Reecie said, “I still need a little more time to find the best spot to start, so why don’t you go check on that if you’re looking for something to do.”

“I think I will,” Viytoya shot back. “Not that there’s much point to saying it, but don’t do anything stupid.”

The Toxicroak shrugged. “You’re the one who said you were going to watch me. Do what you want.”

Viytoya said nothing, but scowled. She took a short hop and took off into the air. Watching the Tranquill leave, Reecie stuffed another bagel in her mouth.

“I love eating,” she said to herself.


================


Mel awoke flat on her back. For a moment, she was unsure of whether or not she was really awake, a vague dread lingering somewhere in the back of her head.

“What’s up?”

Turning on her side, Mel glanced over to see the same Brionne she had met yesterday, reading the same magazine.

“Thanks for helping me out,” Mel said, looking around the room. After escaping the tunnels she had deliriously wandered the city, eventually stumbling into a building. The Brionne took one look at her before pointing to the couch, saying the Lurantis could sleep there if she wanted.

“Yeah, I let anyone sleep on the couch,” the Brionne replied idly, “Night shift is fucking boring. You might want to get that looked at though.” He pointed at Mel.

Mel looked down at herself. The spot where she had been hit by Exdhroyhna was wrapped tightly with bandages that were stained red.

“I don’t know anything about medicine or healing, but the least I could do was wrap you up,” the Brionne added, “Didn’t bother calling anyone because I assumed that you’re doing some shady stuff. Not judging by the way.”

“Um, thanks,” Mel said. She stood up, breathing deeply. “I... guess I’ll go now. If anyone asks, I wasn’t here.”

The Brionne nodded. “Even if you said nothing, I would tell no one. As I said, no judging.”

--

As she trudged through the street, Mel recalled a brief conversation she had with Pasa the day before. The Nidoking was relieved to hear Mel safe and had promised to meet her the next morning at the train station. Reading the street signs, she slowly made her way there.

For the first time in weeks, the Lurantis was relaxed.

Rounding a corner, she saw Pasa, Arceus, and Goucie standing at the corner. For a moment, her words caught in her throat and she wasn’t sure what to say.

“Hi,” she managed, waving a little. “How is everyone doing?”

Pasa’s eyes went wide, spotting her. The Nidoking bounded over and stopped in front of Mel. His claws were shaking slightly.

“Hey, Moomoo,” he said softly. His eyes traced over Mel’s wound and he seemed to be barely holding back from reaching towards her. “They messed you up good, huh?”

“Kind of,” Mel replied, looking at Arceus and Goucie. “Sorry about the trouble.”

Arceus shook his head. “We’re the ones who should be saying sorry,” he said, looking guilty. “You got stuck here because we couldn’t stop them.”

“But you tried,” Mel said, “I don’t blame you.” She looked around. “Is it just you guys?”

“We decided to split up to be safe,” Pasa explained, “Mallys, Shogo, Mae, and Darkrai are at Rioch.”

The Lurantis was taken aback. “Everyone was looking for me?”

Pasa nodded. “It was a bit of a team effort,” the Nidoking said, “But we’ll talk about it later. Right now, we need to get you fixed up.”

At his words Mel felt tired, the frantic energy that had sustained her finally starting to subside. “Uh-huh.” She looked up at the sky.

The Nidoking looked back at Goucie and Arceus. “We have to let the other group know that we found her at some point.”

“Goucie’s telling them right now,” Arceus replied, gesturing with his head at the Combusken.

Goucie waved at them, hanging back a little.

“Uh, actually, I have a question,” Mel blurted out. “Could I fix myself?”

“How would you do that?” Pasa asked, taken aback. The Nidoking thought about it for a second. “Now that you mention it though...”

Mel looked at her scythes. “I remembered that you told me that I needed sunlight. That helped me escape.” She stopped to consider something. “At least I think so. It wasn’t exactly sunlight, but I thought it might work anyway.”

“What did you do?” Arceus asked, glancing back at Goucie.

“I...” Mel struggled to find the right words. “I looked at a light and got stronger- like, I absorbed it. Maybe I could do the same thing, but heal myself with it?”

Pasa looked dubious. “That is something I’ve seen pokemon do, but I would feel safer if you went to a hospital. We can see if it works later, okay?”

The Lurantis rubbed her scythes together. “Yeah, I guess. I just got a bit excited thinking about it.”

“So that guy you met yesterday patched you up?” Pasa’s eyes trailed over Mel’s bandages. “That was very nice of him. You’ll have to tell me where to find him so I can thank him later.”

“If you’re all wrapped up, isn’t it harder to absorb sunlight though?” Arceus interjected, slightly concerned.

“I hardly think he did it on purpose,” Pasa said, holding out a claw towards Mel. “May I?” he asked.

Mel nodded, flinching slightly as the Nidoking gently brushed a claw against her wound. “So is knowing how to use energy from light something that pokemon are supposed to just know?”

“For some pokemon, I suppose,” Pasa replied. “I don’t really know though, I never thought to ask. I just wanted you to get more sun when you were younger. I guess I was... nevermind.” Pasa looked distant as he spoke.

Goucie walked over. “They have a question,” he said, looking at Pasa. “Are we going to leave immediately or stay here?”

“Oh, uh, let me think.” Pasa examined Mel closely again. “Tell them that we’re going to get Mel fixed up. The wound doesn’t look too bad, so she should probably be ready to go in a day. They can just head back to Carigara if they want.”

Goucie relayed the information before turning back to the Nidoking. “Darkrai, Mae, and Shogo are going to go back,” the Combusken said, “But Mallys says he’s going to meet us here.”

“That works. Tell him to call me when he gets here,” Pasa said, “Or just call any of us. We all have GSEL here right?”

Everyone else nodded.


===========


Shielding her eyes from the sun, Yuteraiko scuttled alone down a dirt trail. The Kingler was muttering to herself, unaware of the figure watching her from the trees.

“Well, it looks like you can walk just fine.” Exdhroyhna stepped out in front of Yuteraiko. “I know we said we would call it quits, but I had an idea,” the Crawdaunt said, smiling slightly.

“You... I hate you!” Yuteraiko cried, lunging at Exdhroyhna.

The Crawdaunt swatted her down with one claw. “I don’t have time to mess around right now,” he said to the stunned Kingler. “Have you ever considered being a double agent?”

“A what?” Yuteraiko asked, slightly dazed. Seeing Exdhroyhna looming over her, she scrambled away, taking up a defensive stance. “I’d never work for you.”

Exdhroyhna frowned. “You didn’t seem that committed before. Well, you’ll probably want to think about it. I’m sure you know where to find me.”

“Wait,” Yuteraiko said as he turned to leave. “Why were you here?”

“Same as you,” Exdhroyhna said, not turning around. “On call for someone who doesn’t tell me anything.”

The Kingler stiffened, faltering slightly. “You heard that...” she murmured.

“I’m an administrative assistant by trade, but I’ve picked up a few tricks for surveillance,” Exdhroyhna said, “You’re lucky it was me and not someone else.”

“Fine. Let’s say I sold out everyone I know.” Yuteraiko narrowed her eyes at Exdhroyhna. “What are you offering for that?”

“Total immunity,” the Crawdaunt replied, “That’s the basic guarantee. Depending on what you do for us, we will provide for you accordingly.”

Yuteraiko couldn’t help but let out a small gasp. “W- what is the extent of that?” she asked, trying to maintain her composure.

“I know I’m asking a lot from you- as such, we appreciate if pokemon choose to help us, despite significant personal risk,” Exdhroyhna said, “We can ensure that no one would ever know you were associated with KBA and give you everything you would need to have a comfortable life.” He looked at the Kingler appraisingly. “Having second thoughts?”

“No.” Yuteraiko scowled. “I just was surprised by how much-”

“Ah! I forgot to mention,” the Crawdaunt added, interrupting her. “Barring a few exceptions, we can extend this courtesy to select acquaintances if you would like.”

The Kingler stopped cold, one claw hanging in the air.

Exdhroyhna shrugged. “As I said before, think about it a little. You don’t seem like much of a rebel anyway, at least in my opinion.”

“I don’t care about your opinion,” Yuteraiko said angrily, looking away. “Your offer is surprising, but you’ll regret looking down on us.”

“Right, if you’re sure, then I’m obliged to make an effort to get rid of you,” Exdhroyhna said, “No hard feelings right?”

As a breeze blew through the trees, Yuteraiko took a deep breath. “None at all. Let’s do this.”


==========


The central hospital of Weekday sat in the corner of a large plaza. Pokemon bustled about, the lunch hour in full swing as groups congregated around the fountain in the center of the square. As Goucie walked out of the hospital, Arceus bounded up to him.

“How’d it go?” Arceus asked, “Mel’s gonna be fine, right?”

“She’ll be fine,” the Combusken replied, walking past Arceus. “She should heal from that injury pretty quickly- perks of being the type of pokemon that she is.” He pointed at an open spot along the fountain. “Let’s wait there.”

Trotting behind Goucie, Arceus was happy. “It’s finally over,” he said, “I hope Mel’s not too angry with us.”

Goucie cupped his beak in thought. “I wouldn’t think so, but I’m not Mel,” he replied, “I’m hesitant to say that it’s over though. The pokemon that took Mel in the first place are still out there. Something just doesn’t feel right.”

“Urgh.” Arceus looked down. “That’s true. But- but I’ll never let them get Mel again.”

The Combusken nodded awkwardly. “Now that Mel’s fine, are you going to look into your memories again?”

Arceus’ eyes widened slightly. “Ah! I completely forgot about that with everything going on. I guess so.”

Goucie hid a faint smile. “I’ll do my best to help out.”

Arceus nodded contentedly. Looking back at the hospital, he laid down, crossing his front hooves. “Sorry about that,” he said, feeling his ring brush against someone.

The other pokemon, a Tranquill, glanced at him for a moment. “Don’t worry about it,” Viytoya replied, returning to staring at her reflection in the water.

“Hey hey! Look what I got.” A Toxicroak bounded up to the Tranquill, holding two containers. “I found a place like you asked. Check it out.” As she handed Viytoya one, she glanced at Arceus for a moment. “This was actually a pretty good deal,” Reecie continued, “Can I keep the change?”

Goucie’s eyes flickered over to them and he sighed in annoyance. Arceus couldn’t help but stare at the Toxicroak, feeling vaguely unsettled.

I feel like I recognize that pokemon. But I... I don’t? he thought. Arceus forced himself to look away, but the unease remained.

“Yeah, whatever,” Viytoya murmured, “Do you have to make such a big deal about yogurt? You’re so embarrassing...”

“I’m just enjoying myself,” Reecie replied, rolling her eyes. “Are you incapable of doing that, Viytoya?”

The Tranquill froze, her expression morphing into an icy stare. “You idiotic-”

“Oh, what’s the point of codenames,” Reecie said, interrupting Viytoya. The Toxicroak held out her arms. “The world is a better place without subtlety!” she declared loudly.

Goucie gestured to Arceus, tilting his head slightly in the direction of the Tranquill and the Toxicroak. He pointed to a side street, slowly sliding along the edge of the fountain. By that point, a few pokemon were stealing glances at the Toxicroak, some leaving hastily.

Viytoya didn’t reply, too occupied with silently seething.

Arceus started to inch away from Viytoya, his hooves scraping along the ground. He couldn’t help but look over at the Toxicroak one last time, only to find Reecie staring back at him.

“Oh, are we bothering you?” Reecie asked. “I’m really sorry!” Her earlier jubilation had disappeared entirely and she sounded distressed. “I’m Reecie. This is my first time here, so I was just a bit excited.”

Viytoya winced, grumbling under her breath.

“Reecie?” Arceus unsteadily rose to his feet, looking over the Toxicroak. “That’s... have we met?”

The Toxicroak shrugged. “You’ll have to remind me if we did. Not sure I’d forget someone like you though.”

Arceus looked away. “No, I’m just being silly. I met someone with your name that sounded like you. But they were a different pokemon, and uh, it was a dream.”

The air was unnaturally still. Out of the corner of his eye, Arceus saw Goucie standing a little ways away. The Combusken was warily eyeing Reecie, his claws trembling slightly.

“A dream?” Reecie walked over, grinning. “Maybe it’s a sign. We could be soul mates, you know?” She started eating her yogurt, maintaining eye contact with Arceus the entire time.

“Soul- mates?” Arceus saw Goucie waving frantically to him. “I don’t know. Do you think so?”

The Combusken grimaced, his claws falling limply to his side.

Reecie stared into her yogurt. “Good question, let’s do some divination to find out.” She took another bite before slinging the remainder at Arceus’ face. Too slow to react, his head was covered in yogurt.

“Mmm, I don’t think so,” she said.

Arceus stood in place, feeling the yogurt running down his neck. “Was that supposed to be fortune telling or something?”

The Toxicroak shook her head. “My soulmate would’ve dodged that,” she said simply, “Among other things. But that’s neither here nor there. What brings you to the city anyway?”

“I’m er- meeting a friend,” Arceus said, his eyes flickering to the hospital. “It’s my first time here too.” He felt a tug and saw Goucie had sidled up to him.

The Combusken had a stony face. “Let’s go see how Mel is doing,” he said quietly, trying not to look at Reecie and Viytoya.

The Tranquill looked up, staring into space with a dark expression.

Arceus started walking away, letting Goucie lead him along. “I have to go, sorry about the confusion,” he said to Reecie. “It was uh, nice meeting you!”

“Mmmm, what’s the rush?” the Toxicroak replied, standing up slowly. She rolled her neck. “We can check out the city together. This is my partner, Viytoya, by the way.”

“Come on,” Goucie hissed, pulling on Arceus’ ring harder, his gaze flickering between Reecie and Arceus. He turned around and stopped dead in his tracks, an icy cold sensation piercing his stomach.

Viytoya was in front of Goucie now, staring intently at the Combusken. “Alright, I give up,” she said, shooting a glare at Reecie. “We’ll do things your way.”

Goucie released his hold on Arceus, his arms falling to his sides. “You guys are the ones who took Mel?” he asked quietly.

“Huh?” Arceus looked between Viytoya and Reecie with a mixture of fear and anger. “The two of you...”

“We didn’t do it per say, that was someone else,” Reecie offered unhelpfully. The Toxicroak shrugged. “If it makes you feel better, then say that we’re responsible by proxy. That’s technically true. Oh! You could also- woah!” The Toxicroak leaned back to avoid an orange sphere, falling into the fountain. The judgment orb flew over, passing through the brick centerpiece of the fountain before dissipating in the air.

“All of you hurt Mel, and it means nothing to you?” Arceus asked darkly, another judgment forming next to him.

Reecie popped up, eyeing Arceus’ attack with interest. “That’s a hard question. Plus, what if you killed me with that? I wouldn’t be able to answer.”

“Arceus,” Goucie said urgently, keeping his eyes on Viytoya. “If you kill them, we’ll almost certainly get arrested.”

“And? No one arrested them for hurting Mel,” Arceus replied angrily, “I... I can’t let them just get away with that.”

The Combusken hesitated. “I understand,” he said, “But you have to at least try not to kill them.”

“Look out, Viytoya, they’re going to kill us,” Reecie said in mock horror. “What are we going to do?”

Viytoya squawked. “I’m the one waiting on you, damn it! You said you had a plan.” The Tranquill glanced around. A few pokemon were watching from a distance, shocked, while more still were hurriedly running away from the plaza. “What a joke. If Yuyu were here, I’d die from embarrassment.”

“You should thank me then for coming up with a plan that doesn’t need her,” the Toxicroak said. She looked apologetically at Arceus and Goucie, leaning to the side slightly to avoid the second judgement. “She’s probably going to kill you two. Anything you want to pass on, like a secret treasure or something?” The Toxicroak stared expectantly at Arceus, receiving only a withering stare. “Alright then, I’ll get started.”

Holding her arms out wide, Reecie beamed as she brought them together in a thunderous clap. Instantly, a deep purple haze erupted from her, flooding the entire plaza. The few remaining observers tried to run, but were engulfed by the cloud. The Toxicroak let out a long breath before seemingly dissolving into the fog.

Goucie was unable to cover his mouth in time, the world starting to go dark around him. He stumbled backwards, turning away from where Viytoya was to reach for Arceus. “Ugh... Arceus,” he mumbled, collapsed to the ground.

Blinded by the haze, Arceus was frozen in panic. “Goucie? What happened?” he shouted, feeling the Combusken hit his back leg. Craning his neck downwards to look for him, Arceus felt a wave of dizziness hit him. “Auh-” He pitched forward, losing consciousness.

As the cloud hung in the air, someone clicked impatiently. “Alright, that was well done for once. What now?”

“Just wait a minute so we can see,” came the reply. After a short time, the haze became less dense, a Tranquill emerging from the purple.

Viytoya looked at Arceus and Goucie lying on the ground, then over to the pokemon nearby. They looked similar to Arceus, except that their eyes were a dark pink and their ring a deep purple.

The Tranquill eyed the other Arceus suspiciously. “You are?”

“Viytoya, it’s me!” Reecie said, stepping over to her. “Sorry if I surprised you. Like my look?”

“I really don’t care,” Viytoya said, frowning. “You’re a Ditto? You could have told me...”

“Hm, I could have done a lot of things,” Reecie replied. She looked down at Arceus, roughly planting a hoof in his stomach and pushing him away. “Ask next time.”

The Tranquill flapped her wings angrily. “It’s a matter of trust. When you work with someone, especially like this, you need to know who you’re working with.” She looked away, scanning the plaza. “Why am I even bothering? It’s not like you’re going to take it to heart.”

“This one is kind of cute, don’t you think?” Reecie asked, standing over Goucie. “Can we take him with us?” She glanced disdainfully over at Arceus. “Do whatever you want with this reject.”

Viytoya took off into the air, swooping around to smack Reecie in the face with a wing. “Idiot, look how much trouble we got caught up in already from doing that exact thing. Unless you can tell me a good reason in the next five seconds, then forget it!”

“Oh, you’re making it so hard for me,” Reecie said plaintively. The Arceus looked at the unconscious Combusken again before unceremoniously kicking him aside. “Ookaay! It’s your turn now, Viytoya. Look out for me please!”

“My turn to what? You barely explained what you were going to do,” Viytoya squawked in frustration. “Please just be straight with me for once.”

The Arceus tilted her head. “Alright, since you asked nicely.” Reecie gestured around her. “This poison covers a majority of the city, but only because I’m keeping it that way. If I’m hurt, killed, maybe even just distracted enough, it’ll fade away quickly.”

“Makes sense,” Viytoya muttered, “Who am I protecting you from then?”

“As you can guess, the tradeoff for such a wide area is effectiveness,” Reecie continued, “My poison is effective through contact alone, but even a baby Ekans wouldn’t feel a thing. Or you for that matter. Have I mentioned that you’re a freak?”

Viytoya shrugged. “Several times. So I’m looking out for anyone who can resist it? Can’t we just pretend to be ignorant? It’s not obvious that you’re managing the poison.”

“What’s obvious is that you’re not affected,” Reecie replied, “We could split up, but that would be risky, no?”

“Hmph, I’d assume you would be excited for that kind of thing,” Viytoya retorted.

The Arceus nodded. “I considered it. But I’m trying to take your words to heart like you asked and work with you as a team.”

For a moment, the Tranquill’s expression softened. She opened her beak slightly, then seemed to reconsider, turning away.

“You probably just want to see me get hurt or something,” Viytoya said under her breath. “Thank you for being considerate,” she said emotionlessly, giving Reecie a pointed stare. “Now how are we supposed to connect this to our goals?”

“This is more than enough,” Reecie said, “I think the boss intends for this to be a message. Not obviously KBA, but, you know, a connect the dots sort of thing.”

“A declaration of war to the political sphere?” Viytoya thought about it. “I get it. How long should we keep this up then?”

Reecie seemed to brighten up. “The longer the better! You ready, Viytoya?”

Viytoya sighed. “Fine. Let’s get this over with.”

“Great!” The Arceus looked past the Tranquill. “Your first task then is to protect me from him.”

Hearing Reecie’s words, Viytoya scowled, whirling around just in time to dodge Pasa’s claw slamming into the ground. As the brickwork cracked under the force of his blow, the Nidoking fixed the two of them with a cold stare.

“O-oh, hi,” Viytoya stammered, recognizing Pasa. “This is the second time we’ve met.” The Tranquill was noticeably excited. “Are we going to continue where we left off last time?”

“Uh, Viytoya?” Reecie was completely caught off guard, staring dumbfounded at the Tranquill.

Pasa dashed to one side, Viytoya hopping backwards in the other direction. He kept his eyes on Viytoya a moment longer before quickly adjusting his angle and diving towards Reecie, aiming his horn at her neck. The Arceus scrambled away, shooting an accusatory glance at Viytoya.

“Hey! Help me out here,” she grumbled, moving again to avoid a wave of energy Pasa launched from his claws. “I can’t fight back right now, this is so unfair!”

Viytoya didn’t even look at her. “Shut up, Reecie. He’s not even trying to fight us.”

“Eh?” Reecie glanced over to the Nidoking. Keeping an eye on the two of them, Pasa had collected Goucie and Arceus, carrying the Combusken over his shoulder and dragging Arceus by his ring. “You made me scared for nothing,” she said, distressed, “At least try and make my life flash before my eyes!”

Pasa looked at her with a mixture of confusion and disgust. As he escaped across the plaza, Reecie looked back at Viytoya. “Aren’t you going to attack him?”

“He’s very heroic, isn’t he,” Viytoya said, her voice distant.

“Ghh, don’t ignore me,” the Arceus whined in irritation.


=><><><=====><><><===


Checking behind himself, Pasa felt some of the tension holding him up lift as he saw the plaza was empty, Reecie and Viytoya having disappeared somewhere. Entering the hospital, he knocked on a set of large doors with circular windows.

“It’s me,” he said, checking behind himself again. “I got some guys here with me.”

A purple face appeared in the window. “Ah, that was fast. Find anything out?”

Pasa grimaced as he adjusted the Combusken hanging over his shoulder. “Not sure, but it’s definitely not a good situation outside.” He pushed the door open as it clicked, entering an antechamber.

“Goodness,” the Vileplume said, spotting Goucie and Arceus. “Are they alright?”

Standing near a second set of doors a few feet away, a Durant looked at Pasa urgently. “Close that door quickly!”

“Got it,” the Nidoking replied, kicking the door behind him shut with one leg. “This one’s breathing,” he said, tilting his head at Goucie. “Not sure about him though.” He watched Arceus closely for a discernable sign of life but couldn’t find one. “I forgot to say earlier, but thank you- both of you. Has everything been alright here?”

The Vileplume nodded. “This poison is not particularly strong, albeit I can only speak for myself. What an unlucky time to take a vacation.”

“Poison doesn’t really affect me,” the Durant said, frowning. “But I can feel it. There’s something different about it.”

“Only a little bit entered when you came in,” the Vileplume added, “I took care of it already, so you can proceed ahead.”

“Thank you,” Pasa said, dragging Arceus towards the second door. “By the way, what are your names?”

The Vileplume walked back over to the first door, pushing a stepladder against it. “I’m Keuyyn. A pleasure to meet you.” He got up on the stepladder to peer out the window.

“Ilohma,” the Durant said curtly, “When do you think help will get here?”

Pasa shook his head. “Don’t know. Listen you two, if a Tranquill or someone who looks like this-” he pointed at Arceus with his free arm, “-tries to get in, don’t let them in, and let me know immediately. If I’m gone, then tell whoever is in charge.”

The two nodded and Pasa waved to them before heading through the second set of doors into a corridor. Pokemon milled about talking in hushed tones, some looking up in surprise as he entered.

From a little ways away, Mel ran up to him. The Lurantis looked between Pasa and the unconscious pokemon he was carrying desperately. “Are they okay?” she asked, wincing briefly, her eyes flickering down to her bandaged sides.

“I can’t say,” Pasa admitted, cursing silently as he saw Mel’s expression fall. “It looks like they’ve been poisoned, but not severely.”

A few pokemon hurried over to Pasa, rolling two gurneys. After a bit of maneuvering, they managed to awkwardly fit Arceus on one and rolled him away along with Goucie.

Mel watched them disappear down the hall. “What happened out there?” she asked, her scythes trembling. “One second everything was fine, then everything went pink.”

“It looks like some kind of attack,” Pasa murmured, trying to get his thoughts in order. “The air is filled with poison, but something is weird about it.”

“Everything is weird about it,” Mel said, “There’s nothing normal about it.”

Pasa blinked, then sighed. “You’re right, Moomoo. Sorry, I’m thinking about it like I’m still in the HCU.” He moved over, sitting down in an empty chair. “I’ll start from the beginning. There’s a poison cloud hanging over the plaza right now. I don’t know how far out or how high it is, but from what I could tell, it’s a fairly weak poison.”

“Weak?” Mel sat cross-legged on the floor, looking up at the Nidoking apprehensively. “It didn’t look that weak.”

“I should clarify, it’s weak for pokemon that have a natural affinity for poison,” Pasa replied, “It also looks like it doesn’t have much effect on metallic pokemon. As you saw however, Goucie and Arceus were affected. We’ll have to wait for the doctors here to see how bad it might be.”

Mel’s antenna drooped. “Ngh.” She stared at the floor. “Who do you think did this?”

Pasa’s expression darkened. “I’m not positive, but it’s likely the same group that took you. Arceus and Goucie were being attacked out there by a pokemon I fought a few days ago. There was also another pokemon that looked like Arceus.”

“Someone else like him?” Mel’s eyes widened. “Did you figure anything out about what species Arceus is?”

“No, but I heard their names. Viytoya and Reecie. I’m going to call Chocolate and have him see if they have anything on them.” The Nidoking leaned his head back against the wall. “For now though, we should probably stay put.”

“Reecie?” Mel frowned. “But that’s...”

Pasa glanced down at the Lurantis. “What is it?”

“Just thinking about something,” Mel replied, “I need to call Mallys and tell him what happened.”

“Alright. Just stay around here though. We’re still making sure the whole building is sealed,” Pasa said, “Actually, you need to rest still. You’ll agitate the wound walking around.”

Mel nodded. “Okay, okay, I’ll do that.” She fixed the Nidoking with a determined expression. “Promise me you’ll stay safe too, Pa.”

Pasa smiled slightly. “I promise!”


[}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{] [}{]


Mallys chewed his tongue, staring at the wall of pink in front of him. “Are you sure that’s what he said?”

“I’m sure of it,” Mel replied, “Pasa said that one of them was called Reecie, and she looked like Arceus.”

The Haxorus flinched from how loudly the Lurantis was talking. “It’s just a weird coincidence,” he said, shaking his head to himself. “More importantly, how are Arceus and Goucie? You were talking so fast, I couldn’t really understand fully.”

Mel was silent. “They were poisoned,” she said, her tone wavering. “A doctor is with them now, but I don’t know what will happen.”

“Nugh.” Mallys could barely contain his anger. “So the ones responsible are the Tranquill and the one that looks like Arceus?”

“Pasa wasn’t totally sure-” Mel started.

“I’ll ask them myself,” Mallys said, interrupting the Lurantis. “I’m outside the city now.”

“You’re here already?” Mel sounded momentarily relieved, “Wait, if you see a pink cloud, you can’t go in! You’ll get poisoned too.”

The Haxorus grinded his beak in irritation. “I understand. I’ll look around and see what I can do. I’m on the south side of town, where are you guys?”

“Somewhere close to the center,” Mel said, “But we don’t know for sure what’s causing this or where the source might be. Is there any poison near you?”

Mallys stepped closer to the wall of poison, experimentally sticking a claw close to it. Feeling a nauseating sensation run through his body, he jerked his hand back. “There is. It’s making a wall here, but not even a little is spilling out.”

“I’ll let Pa know,” Mel replied, “Don’t do anything dangerous, Mallys. I’ll call you again if anything comes up.”

“Right,” Mallys said, his attention elsewhere. As he heard Mel hang up, he made out a silhouette in the pink haze. An Amoongus emerged, balancing a tray full of bottles on its head.

“Hello sir!” it said, spotting Mallys. “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you. Folks are dropping left and right.”

“What are you doing?” Mallys asked suspiciously, his gaze drifting between the wall of poison and the Amoongus.

“Wine is very expensive you know,” the Amoongus replied with a knowing wink. “I just thought it was a good opportunity to expand my palate.”

Mallys hid his distaste. “Have you seen a lot of pokemon similarly inclined around the city?”

“Not many actually,” the Amoongus said thoughtfully, “It’s mostly panicking.”

“Mmm,” Mallys mumbled, not really listening. He looked down at his claws. “I’m going to go. I have business in the city.”

“Hey, I wasn’t joking earlier,” the Amoongus said, looking at Mallys like he was crazy. “There’s poison in the air or something.”

The Haxorus was quiet. “You can become immune from repeated exposure, right?”

“Uh, I believe that’s an overgeneralization,” the Amoongus said nervously, “You really shouldn’t try.”

Mallys strode over to the Amoongus and removed the tray from it’s head. Unceremoniously picking the other pokemon up by the cap, he placed the Amoongus in front of the fog. “I need your help here,” he said, his tone icy calm. “Count how long I can stay in, okay? I’m going to do it several times.”

“Wh- what are you doing?” the Amoongus asked fearfully.

“One of the few things I can do,” Mallys replied. WIthout waiting for another reply, the Haxorus strode into the poison, opening his beak wide and taking a deep breath.

“What have you done!” the Amoongus cried.

Mallys immediately staggered backwards, an intense vertigo washing over him. Forcing himself to stand, he closed his eyes. With a flash, one of his claws was engulfed in green flames. Holding it steady with his other arm, he raised his claw and abruptly plunged it into his throat, toppling over with a strangled exhalation.

The Amoongus screamed, falling back and scrambling away from the Haxorus. Frozen in shock, he watched as Mally’s body crumpled to the ground. As suddenly as it happened, Mallys’ body seemed to turn to dust, yellow-gold scales crumbling to nothing.

“I know it’s strange, but bear with me.”

The Amoongus whirled to see a Haxorus standing next to him. His mouth moved, but no sound came out.

“You know how Yamask are, right?” Mallys asked, walking towards the poison again. “I’m a little like that.” The Haxorus grimaced. “I wasn’t expecting you to count the first time, but try this time. I know I’m asking a lot of you, but lives are at stake here. Why don’t you drink some of that wine to calm yourself down.” The Haxorus nodded at the Amoongus.

“Don’t worry about me. I can’t die.”
 
32

RJR Basimilus

Arceus is nice I suppose...
Location
the Lovely Planet
Partners
  1. arceus-fighting
  2. lurantis
  3. arceus-poison
This chapter has lots of violent activities! As good a time as any to reiterate that this story is M rated.
Serious injuries are present but not described in depth.

Anyway, yay, I finished another chapter! Now I'm hungry...


Chapter 32 - Our Cue to Stop


A huge uprooted tree lay diagonally across the bridge, the water below filled with splinters and chunks of rock from the crumbling stones. Perched at the edge of the log hanging over the edge of the river, Exdhroyhna stared down at the Kingler lying in the water.

The Crawdaunt sighed. “Would you like me to reiterate my question?”

Yuteraiko stared at him, barely able to move. “You’ve already beaten me half to death. Not committed enough to finish the job?” The Kinger coughed loudly.

“If my job was to get rid of you, then I would have done it already,” Exdhroyhna replied, “I know this isn’t a very creative threat, but if you don’t want to work with us, then we’ll have to be forceful with your friends too. Viytoya and Reecie I believe?”

Yuteraiko didn’t feel the need to clarify that Reecie was barely an acquaintance. “I doubt you could do anything to them. I’m hardly a fighter in comparison, definitely not.”

“Who said I’d do the hard work?” Exdhroyhna sighed, “I’d rather be behind a desk.”

“Then why don’t you stay there and stop bothering us?” Yuteraiko started to drag herself to the riverbank with her claws. “Since you’re able to sit there and ignore all the pokemon in the world less fortunate than you.”

The Crawdaunt shrugged, leaning down to pick at the bark on the trunk. “That’s what desk jobs are for.” Idly crushing splinters of wood in his claws, Exdhroyhna looked at the Kingler almost apologetically. “I can sympathize with the KBA, I really can. But let’s leave it at that.”

As Yuteraiko pulled herself out of the water, her claws sunk into the dirt. “Leave it at that?” she said angrily, “You’re part of the problem if you’re just going to ignore it.”

The Crawdaunt leapt down from the bridge to where Yuteraiko was struggling to pull herself up. Gently grasping her arms, he pulled her up, unceremoniously dumping her on a patch of moss. “Up you go.” He grinned awkwardly. “How about another truce?”

“Do what you want,” Yuteraiko responded, looking away. The Kingler stretched herself out on the ground, dejected.

“Okay.” Exdhroyhna picked up Yuteraiko, the Kingler yelling in protest. “Calm down,” he said, “I know we said we’d let things be a day or so ago, but I would rather you get fixed up. I’d still like you to work with us.”

“Will you stop asking?” Yuteraiko asked, closing her eyes. She pulled her claws close, dangling uselessly from the Crawdaunt.

Exdhroyhna laughed. “No can do! Plus, you don’t seem like a hardcore rebel, ready to die at any moment. You’re lucky it was just me and not some of those crazy pokemon at the CTB.”

“Dying might be better than this,” Yuteraiko mumbled to herself. “I messed up, Viytoya. Sorry...”


[][][][][][][][][[]][][][][][][]][][][][][][]][][]


Clacking broken bottles together, the Amoongus leaned against an overturned wheelbarrow. “That was~ uuuhhhhh nineteen minutes! Woooo!” he slurred, holding up one of the broken bottles to his mouth. “Oh... it’s empty.”

“I’ve heard before that pokemon like you don’t get drunk,” Mallys said, watching the Amoongus. “And by that, I mean poisonous, or however you say it.” The Haxorus paused. “You are poisonous right? I don’t know if I remember correctly. Anyway, I guess I heard wrong.”

“Who cares?” the Amoongus replied, “You’re like, invincible. Why don’t you die?”

Mallys shook his head. “Good question. Now count.” He stepped into the purple cloud hanging in front of him.

The Amoongus waited patiently until Mallys staggered forwards, driving his claws into his own throat again. As the Haxorus’ body dissolved into ash, he reached around him for another bottle of wine, only to find glass. “You don’t know why that happens? How did you figure it out in the first place?”

“Dumb luck,” Mallys replied, stepping out from behind a wall. “I just happen to be immortal.”

The Amoongus nodded. “If you don’t want to say, that’s fine! I’ll probably forget this when I’m sober. By the way, that was twenty two minutes. Are you like, immune now?”

Mallys stared at the wall of purple and pink. “It’s just that the effect is delayed. I think I’ll be fine now though, I just need long enough to get going. Dying is a bit... disorienting.”

“Hey, good luck out there!” the Amoongus said, “Do you think you could bring me some more wine?”

“Get it yourself,” Mallys said, disappearing into the poison fog.

Aside from a slight breeze, everything was silent. The Amoongus took a second to register that Mallys was gone. “Oh, okay,” he said, slowly getting up and trudging away, only to fall over a discarded bottle. “Ooough, I need a drink... or something.”

==

Running one claw along a building, Mallys made his way through the silent city. Stepping over an unconscious Manectric, he strained to see through the fog to no avail. He had been wandering for what felt like hours, but still had no idea where he was.

“I’m going to have a hard time finding anything around here,” the Haxorus said to himself. He winced, recoiling as his claw ran along a glass window, a horrible screech echoing around him. “Maybe I could get someone to come here,” he murmured, “Then I can have them tell me how to get to the hospital.” Gritting his beak, he drew his entire claw across the glass, as slowly as possible.

Out of the fog, a hand emerged, grasping Mallys’ claw. “You don’t need to do that.” A Vileplume appeared, almost touching Mallys’ blades. “Oh? You’re not... are you not affected by whatever this is?”

Mallys stepped back in surprise. “I- I uh, have some immunity,” he said, caught off guard. “I lived around an environment like this when I was younger,” he lied.

“Ah, that makes sense,” the Vileplume said, nodding, “As I was saying a moment ago, I don’t think there’s a point in making such a racket. My name is Keuyyn by the way, I’m looking around to see if there’s anyone wandering around out here. I suppose I found you though.”

“I guess you did,” Mallys replied, half ignoring the Vileplume. The poison seemed to be thicker, and Mallys could feel himself growing slightly faint. “Egh, do you know where the hospital is around here?” he asked, hearing some distant shouting.

Keuyyn looked up at Mallys, trying to see the Haxorus’ face. “I just came from one as it happens. I’m none too confident I could guide you back, but I can give you the general direction.” He pointed off to the distance. “Can you see where I’m pointing?”

Mallys blinked. “No. Could you show me where?”

The Vileplume reached up, finding Mallys’ claw and grasping it. Tugging the Haxorus in one direction, Keuyyn led him a short ways. “That’s the direction that it’s in. This is a main road too, so you should find it if you just head straight. If you hug a wall, make sure you don’t end up going down a side road, okay?”

“Yeah, thanks,” Mallys said, “Will you be okay on your own?”

Keuyyn smiled slightly, though the Haxorus couldn’t see it. “I appreciate the concern, but I’ll be okay. I suppose I should ask, do you know what’s going on?”

Mallys shook his head. “I’m trying to figure that out myself. I have to meet up with someone before that though.”

“Stay safe out there then,” Keuyyn said, “It’s dangerous out here.”

As quickly as he had appeared, the Vileplume disappeared into the poison, leaving Mallys alone. The Haxorus started off in the direction Keuyyn had given him, but doubled over, black spots appearing in the corner of his vision.

“Ugh, have to reset,” Mallys grumbled, looking around him. “No one should see me if I do it here.”


==================


The Politoed heard Mel before he saw her. The Lurantis sprinted down the hallway so fast, that she barely had time to register the other pokemon waving at her, sliding past him before sheepishly walking back.

“You must be Mel,” the Politoed said, nodding, “I was told you’d be by.”

“How are they?” Mel asked, slightly out of breath. Someone had taken to playing soft music in the halls, the initial panic from the poison subsiding into a subdued tension among the pokemon in the hospital. Mel had almost been able to relax slightly when someone had told her Arceus and Goucie were awake.

“A bit banged up, but it looks like whatever that poison was cleared out quickly. In fact, they seemed more worried about you,” the Politoed commented. “Feel free to- do that...” he said, trailing off as Mel pushed past him.

Goucie lay on his side, staring out the window with a pensive expression on his face. Arceus sat next to him, looking unsure of what to do. They both looked over as Mel entered.

“Mel!” Arceus bounded over to the Lurantis happily, “Are you better now?”

“Well I feel better,” Mel replied, “How about you guys?”

“Arceus doesn’t stay down,” Goucie said, smiling slightly, “He’s good to go. As for me-” The Combusken inspected one claw. “I’m a bit beat up, but nothing that will stick.”

Mel nodded. “Pasa told me about it. Wait, you two don’t know what happened, do you?”

The two looked at her expectantly.

“There was another pokemon like you Arceus, and they were called Reecie, just like in your dream,” Mel relayed, glancing past them at the window. “Along with that Tranquill, they’re responsible for what’s going on now.”

Arceus tilted his head, troubled. “Like me? We were attacked by someone named Reecie, but they were a Toxicroak.”

“They could have changed forms,” Goucie interjected, “Maybe they were a Ditto.”

“Then why did I dream about her?” Arceus asked, “Can pokemon enter dreams too?”

“I’ve heard it’s possible,” Goucie replied, “Not sure what that means though. How long have you been dreaming about Reecie?”

“Only twice,” Arceus said, “And now she’s here...”

Goucie frowned, sitting up. “Something sounds weird about that, but there’s no way to know unless we ask her.”

“We can’t now though,” Mel said, pointing at the window with one scythe. “The whole city is filled with poisonous gas. That’s what knocked you guys out.” She sighed. “Mallys said that he’s outside the city, but I don’t think he’d be able to get here.”

“Mallys is here?” Arceus stepped over to the window, trying to see past the haze. “I hope he’s alright.”

Mel hummed quietly. “He’s smart. He won’t get in any trouble, that’s for sure.”

Arceus thought for a moment. “All we can do now is wait for this stuff to go away. And if the HCU captures those pokemon that attacked us, we can ask them about me.”

“All we were here to do in the first place was get Mel back,” Goucie murmured, “I don’t know if we could handle those guys.”

Arceus thought back to Reecie dodging his attacks. “I’m ready to fight if we have to... but I hardly know how to.” Arceus groaned in frustration. “We’ve just been getting pushed around.”

“When this is over, let’s figure it out!” Mel said suddenly, “That way, we can stick together and things like this won’t happen.”

“Y- Yeah!” Arceus replied, emboldened by Mel’s words.

Mel smiled. “I’ll go call Mallys to make sure he’s alright. You two get some rest for now. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“Tell Pasa we said thanks!” Goucie said as Mel started to walk out.

Mel turned back to look at them. “I should be thanking you more. After all, you guys all came for me.”

==

Out in the hall, Mel rested her head against the wall, sighing.

“Arceus is right, we’ve just been pushed around,” she said to herself. The Lurantis felt a pit in her stomach. “My friends worked so hard to save me, and they got hurt for it.”

“We went in expecting as much, so don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Mel looked over. “Mallys?”

The Haxorus waved. “I found a way around the poison. I’ll... tell you about it later.”

“It’s only been a few hours since I called you,” Mel said, “You’re fast.”

Mallys shrugged. “Wouldn’t you want to get here as soon as you could too?”

“Yeah, I guess I would,” Mel admitted, “They’re awake now, and they’re doing fine. You can go talk to them, I need to do something.”

“Alright,” Mallys said, “You’re fine too? I haven’t seen you since then.”

“Yeah, I’m good,” Mel replied, “I heard about what you’ve been doing. Thanks for doing all that for me.”

The Haxorus’ expression softened. “Of course. We didn’t start off on the best foot, but things are different now. And even if they weren’t, do you really think I’d let Arceus be sad?”

“Mmmm...” Mel took a deep breath. “It’s funny to think I tried to kill you at one point.”

“We all have things we regret,” Mallys replied, a distant look in his eyes.

Mel looked at him strangely. “What makes you assume I regret that?”

The Haxorus looked at her in surprise before bursting into laughter. “Right, I’m sorry for putting words in your mouth, Mel!”

“I mean, you assume right, but I’ll accept your apology anyway,” Mel said, smiling, “Go ahead, I’ll be back in a little bit.”

Mallys was silent for a moment. “Alright. See you.”

==

Mel found herself by the front of the hospital after wandering aimlessly for a while. Her head swirled with thoughts and she didn’t notice the Durant until she bumped into him.

“Ah! Oh, sorry,” Mel said sheepishly, backing away from the other pokemon.

“Huh?” The Durant looked at Mel. “It’s no problem, I barely felt it. Are you okay? You look a bit stressed, although, I suppose everyone is.”

“Something like that,” Mel replied, unsure of how to communicate her frustration. “Anyway, how is it outside?”

The Durant grimaced. “Same as before. It’s poisonous by the way, if no one told you earlier. I’m watching the door to make sure no one goes out.” He frowned. “I had another guy helping me, but he ran off somewhere. Said something about wanting to check things out.” The Durant seemed to waver. “I mean, we are just volunteering, but this is a pretty extraordinary circumstance.”

“Huh, yeah,” Mel said, not really listening.

“Oh uh, sorry. Didn’t mean to bother you with all that,” the Durant said, looking off to the side. “Oh hey,” he said, addressing someone else. “How’s it going?”

An Araquanid walked over, nodding briefly at Mel. “Hey Ilohma. We finally finished sealing the whole place. That Nidoking told me to come help you out.”

“That’s great,” Ilohma replied, “Better a friend than another stranger like that Vileplume.”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” the Araquanid murmured, “Uh, can I help you?”

Mel was staring at the other pokemon, a strange expression on her face. “What’s that on your head?”

“This... is my bubble?” the Araquanid said, off put by the Lurantis’ question. “It’s just something we- pokemon like me- do. If it’s bothering you, I can take it off.”

“Can you make more?” Mel asked.

“Why would you? Err, I mean, I can? It’s full of water though, so it’s not like you could wear it.” The Araquanid looked thoughtful. “I guess I could make one that’s just a layer of water with air on the inside.”

“You don’t... have to do that,” Ilohma said from beside him. “Why do you want one?” he asked Mel.

“I was just curious about the air outside,” Mel said, her expression neutral. “If you could make one that covers my entire body, then I could walk around outside, right?”

The Araquanid shrugged.

“Excuse me?” Ilohma bristled, “You are not going to go out there wearing water like armor. It’s too dangerous. Just wait here until the authorities take care of whatever is going on.”

Mel looked at the Durant briefly before abruptly scooping him up in her arms and running off.

“Ah! Hey, what are you doing? Stop!” Ilohma cried as the Lurantis carried him somewhere. “What the heck are you- guh!”

The Araquanid was frozen to the spot, too surprised to do anything. Mel came back, looking pensive.

“Don’t worry, I locked him in a cabinet,” Mel said nonchalantly, “Anyway, you said you could make something like that? If so, I’d like to make a selfish request.”

“G- go ahead,” the Araquanid squeaked.


============================


“I was wondering, how long do we have to do this for?” Reecie asked thoughtfully. The Arceus was fidgeting, looking around as if waiting for something.

“If you think we got the point across, then finish up,” Viytoya said, “It’s your poison.”

Reecie perked up. “I get to decide? Haa, that’s a lot of pressure.” She sighed wistfully, “Bolero would know the perfect time. But I shouldn’t ask him. It’s more exciting to decide for myself.”

The Tranquill shrugged. “Do what you want,” she said. Any excitement or novelty had long since faded for Viytoya and she was more concerned with seeing Yuteraiko again. “I hope she gets back okay,” she murmured under her breath.

“Okay okay, how about this! We call it quits when someone can get a good hit in on me,” Reecie said, excited, “You still have to protect me like we talked about earlier too!”

Viytoya looked at the Arceus in exasperation. “Eh... fine. We’ll go home when you get hurt, however that might happen.”

“That’s not exactly what I said,” Reecie replied, “But I’ll agree to that. If I even scrape my knee, then that will be our cue to stop.”

Viytoya didn’t acknowledge her.


========================


Slowly, Mel pushed against the front door. The thin film around her scythe seemed to shrink slightly as she pushed, but it held, the door opening without protest.

“Uhm, you might want to hurry if you’re going somewhere,” the Araquanid said from behind her. “I made the seal as best I could, so there’s probably only about thirty minutes worth of air in there. Can I let Ilohma out now?”

“Wait until I leave,” Mel replied, “Cause he’s gonna go straight to Pa.”

The Araquanid paused. “Who?” he asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Mel said. She felt a little guilty, knowing Pasa would probably have a heart attack when he figured out what Mel was doing.

“On second thought, wait thirty minutes,” Mel said, steeling herself.

“Thirty minutes for what exactly?”

Mel froze, looking behind her. Mallys was standing next to the Araquanid, the other pokemon shrinking slightly in the Haxorus’ presence.

“What are you doing, Mel?” Mallys asked, “If it’s revenge, then there’s really no point.”

“Of course I’m angry that they locked me up in a box for a whole week,” Mel retorted, shooting a defiant look at Mallys. “But this is to pay them back for hurting Arceus and Goucie. Plus, if they are the ones causing this, then we can fix everything!”

“Sure, but won’t Pasa figure this out eventually?” Mallys asked, “We might be a bit out of our league here, don’t you think?”

The Araquanid slowly started inching away, completely lost as to what the two were talking about.

“He’s being too cautious,” Mel said, “And plus, if that Reecie is the same one that Arceus saw before, then I want to ask her some questions.” Mel stepped through the front door. “If you want to come with me, then ask that guy over there for a bubble.” She pointed at the Araquanid, who froze, waving awkwardly at Mallys.

Mallys glanced over before following Mel. “I don’t need it, I’ll explain why along the way.” The Haxorus shot Mel a small smile. “Honestly, I was going to go by myself, so I was trying to convince you to stay behind.”

“I figured as much,” Mel said, sighing, “But... the poison doesn’t affect you?”

“Not in any way that matters,” Mallys replied, “Now let’s go pay them back.”

“Uh-” Mallys and Mel turned to see the Araquanid. “You shouldn’t fight anyone like that. The layer will break under too much stress.”

Mel nodded. “Thanks for telling me. One hit should be all I need though.”

“Oh. Okay?”

=====

“Do you think we can win?” Mel asked. The two of them wandered past a storefront, struggling to see through the haze.

“I’d be happy to bring you back right now and do it myself,” Mallys replied, “You heard the guy, you only have one shot, and I hardly think once is enough. But you insisted, and I know you’d be upset with me if I made you stay.” The Haxorus shook his head. “As for me, I have as many chances as I need.”

Mel faltered. “Urgh. I might have gotten overconfident. And I didn’t want to back down either after going that far.”

“I understand, but Pasa sure won’t,” Mallys said, “So let’s decide what we want to do. Do we want to defeat them, or just get a good hit in. Yeah, it’s petty, but I know I’ll feel better if we do that.”

The Lurantis thought about it. “Me too. Let’s shoot for beating them if we can. It’s a Tranquill and another pokemon like Arceus. I guess the other one is making the poison and protecting the Tranquill from it at the same time.”

Mallys frowned. “I’m still not sure what Arceus can do in any capacity, so we’ll have to figure it out as we go. You should watch out for the bird though, they could probably pop that bubble around you.” He turned, looking at Mel. “So you stay hidden and I’ll handle it.”

“Hey! I’m committed to this,” Mel said angrily, “Even if I can’t fight per say, I’ll be there distracting them too.”

“Fine, fine! Just remember, Pasa will kill me if you get hurt any more.” Mallys coughed. “I... think it’s time I explain some things.”

Mallys hesitated.

“I am, for lack of a better word, immortal. The way I made it through the fog was by... resurrecting myself when it gets to me.” Seeing Mel’s dumbfounded expression, Mallys continued. “Watch closely.” He held his claw up and without preamble, pierced through the side of his head.

“Ah... Ma-” Mel stumbled backwards in shock, the Haxorus catching her from behind as his previous body crumbled to dust.

“See what I mean?” Mallys said, gently setting Mel upright. “If I die, I just come back nearby. I can’t explain the specifics of it.

“Y- you can’t just do that!” Mel yelled, on the verge of tearing up. “You scared me!” She took a moment to calm down. “But, how did you get that in the first place?”

Mallys stared into the purple fog. “My father gave it to me and my brothers. It was a- parting gift.”

“Oh...” Mel looked at her feet. “You’ve never mentioned your father or your brothers before.”

“The past is the past,” Mallys said, shaking his head. “Let’s leave it at that. Maybe I’ll tell you more some day.”

“Yeah,” Mel replied, unsure of what to say to the Haxorus. “So that’s what you meant when you said you had as many chances as you needed. But doesn’t it hurt to die?”

The Haxorus nodded. “Something like that doesn’t matter, so don’t worry about it. And uh, don’t tell Arceus or Goucie yet. I’m not sure how I want to tell them.”

“Alright. I won’t say anything,” Mel replied. She started walking again. “Let’s just focus on what we have to do now.”

“Right,” Mallys said, “So, now that you know, understand that I will not hesitate to let the enemy kill me to throw them off balance. If we know for certain one of them is making this fog, then you try to knock them out in one shot. Okay?”

“Got it,” Mel said.

“I got it too!” Reecie added from behind the Lurantis.

Mel cried out in surprise, whirling around to see the other Arceus standing right behind her.

“You want to stop the poison? Me too! Let’s fight to celebrate our agreement,” she said, a sickeningly dark purple orb forming next to her.

Mallys saw the orb and leapt forward, pushing Mel to the side just as Reecie launched it, the attack impacting the Haxorus point blank. Mallys fell backwards, parts of his body beginning to disintegrate. The Haxorus clenched his beak shut, trembling in pain.

Mel stared at him in horror, her mouth moving but making no sounds. Mallys glanced at her and nodded silently. Understanding, Mel quickly composed herself and scrambled away, putting distance between her and Reecie.

“Oh, sorry about the interruption, were you two still talking?” Reecie asked, “I only heard the end of it, but it sounded like you let him die. What kind of plan is that?”

“It’s...” Mel calmed herself, reminding herself repeatedly that Mallys wasn’t actually dead. “It’s a stupid plan, but a damn good one.”

Reecie was caught off guard, staring at the Lurantis dumbfounded. “Have you lost your- guh!”

Mallys crashed down on top of Reecie from above, smashing the Arceus into the ground. His entire arm was wreathed in a cyan-blue flame as he jumped off of Reecie, landing next to Mel.

“We can only expect something like this to work once,” he said, readying himself. “The other one might be nearby, so look out.” He paused. “Wait... I think the poison is clearing slightly!”

“Rrrrrrgh,” Reecie staggered to her feet. “I lost my focus, so the poison is lifting.” She shook her head, looking disoriented from Mallys’ attack. “I was going to drop it anyway when I got hit, but this works too.”

“Ugh, it doesn’t look like that did anything,” Mel said in frustration.

Mallys shook his head. “At the very least, we lifted the poison. It looks like it won’t be fully gone for a while, so stay in your bubble. You should have about ten minutes of air left, right?”

“Hey idiots, I can still hear you even if you’re talking quietly,” Reecie said from across the road. “The poison is only going away because I want it to! If I didn’t, I would have just hid somewhere.”

“We’ll take what we can get,” Mallys shouted back. “Who are you anyway?”

The Arceus paused. “Oh, I’m Reecie. It’s nice to have someone ask me for once.”

“How do you know Arceus?” Mel asked from beside the Haxorus. She looked around warily, expecting another attack at any moment.

Reecie tilted her head in confusion. “Huh? Oh right, that loser. Only in passing!” she called back. “But I’ve known about him for a long time.” She stepped towards them. “I don’t care about that though- I’m more interested in you.” Reecie stared at Mallys. “You just died and came back, didn’t you? Now how did you do that?”

Mallys scowled, but said nothing. He slowly started advancing on the Arceus, his claws erupting in a bright green flame.

“Ah, I see,” Reecie said, “I suppose anything is possible though, that’s just how this... how it is.” Reecie looked at the ground. “O-o-h, now I made myself sad again. Viytoya, can you kill him? I want to see him resurrect.”

“Ah, look out Mel,” Mallys said, his eyes widening, “The other one is here somewhere too!”

Reecie laughed. “You can look, but once she gets going, it’s tough to see her!”

Mel backed up, her eyes darting around. The haze was clearing, but it was still hard to see. Straining her eyes, Mel watched carefully. For a moment she saw nothing. Then she spotted a barely visible black mass hurtling straight towards them.

“Mallys, they’re going for you!” the Lurantis shouted, glancing over at the Haxorus.

Hearing Mel, Mallys tensed up. Focusing forwards, he spotted the object coming towards him and he braced himself. The flames around his claws rippled, shrinking in size as the color intensified. At the last moment, he brought his claws together, grasping the object tightly.

A piercing screech rang out and Mallys looked down to see he had grabbed Viytoya. The Tranquill looked up at him with a furious glare, her entire body engulfed by Mallys’ powerful flames, her feathers burning away. The Haxorus barely had time to react before he felt a searing pain in his claws. He dropped the Tranquill, stumbling backwards with a roar of pain.

“Oh... shoot,” Reecie said, impressed, “You caught her. Are you alright, Viytoya?”

The Tranquill staggered to her feet, turning to the Arceus with a scowl. Her entire body was severely burned and her beak was partly melted. “What do you t-think,” she hissed, before falling to the side, unconscious.

“Mallys,” Mel said, seeing the seared Tranquill. “You just- gah!”

The Lurantis screamed and backed away, staring at Mallys. The Haxorus grit his beak, falling to one knee. Both his arms ended at the elbows, deep purple liquid dripping off the stumps.

“Acid?” Mallys said breathlessly, glancing at Reecie and Viytoya. “When did the other one attack me?”

“If you’re wondering, I didn’t do anything!” Reecie said. There was a flash of light and she was a Toxicroak again. “You’re pretty banged up Viytoya. I think we’ve done enough for now.” She hovered over the Tranquill, examining her with a frown.

“Mel,” Mallys grunted, “Get her, now!”

“Hey, don’t you think we should call it quits?” Reecie looked over to see the Lurantis running straight at her. “Ahh, wait, let me counter at least!”

Mel didn’t hesitate, and swung both her scythes at the unprepared Toxicroak. Though they were blunt from her earlier experiences, they were still edged, and her downward stroke struck true, raking Reecie across her face. As Mel struck, the bubble layer around her popped.

The Toxicroak’s head whipped back, but she didn’t make a sound. “Ooh-” Reecie murmured, “That stings.”

Mel backed away, holding her scythes defensively.

The Toxicroak slowly raised her head to look at them. Her face was marred by a bloody X, but Reecie was smiling.

“Good one,” she said, walking over to Viytoya. Gently picking up the Tranquill, Reecie looked Mel and Mallys over. “Let’s pick this up later, ‘kay? You two are fun!” Two large purple orbs formed around the Toxicroak, slowly orbiting her. “Please don’t follow me, or I’ll have to use these.” Winking at Mel and Mallys, the Toxicroak walked off carrying Viytoya.

For a moment, neither of them spoke. “I think... we were lucky that she wasn’t being very serious,” Mallys said breathlessly. He looked down at what was left of his arms, tears running down his face. “Damn it, this hurts.”

“Guh, the poison is going away, but I can still feel it,” Mel said, grimacing. “So Reecie was the one doing that?”

“I guess so,” Mallys said, “And from what she said, she might know about Arceus too.”

Mel coughed. “Does that- mean that we’ll have to go after her to figure out what happened to Arceus?”

“We don’t know that,” Mallys said, “And I’d rather it not be the case.” He looked down at what was left of his arms. “Mel... I need your help with this.”

The Lurantis looked away. “You- you’re uh, asking me to....” She couldn’t bring herself to finish.

Mallys held up his stumps. “The quicker we get this over with, the sooner we can forget about this whole thing.”

“Arrrgh,” Mel groaned, hiding her face. “How did everything turn out like this?”

“We both knew this was stupid,” Mallys said thoughtfully, “Now we both have to pay for it.” The Haxorus sighed, “At the very least, Arceus doesn’t have to know about any of this.”

“That shout came from over here!”

Mel and Mallys froze in place, horrified. “Mel, do it now!”

The Lurantis readied herself to attack, but it was too late. From around a corner, Pasa appeared, followed by Arceus and Goucie.

The Nidoking was looking back. “Are you sure you two are okay? You’re not feeling the poison anywhere?”

“We’re fine,” Arceus said, “Besides, you said it was going away right? Then we’ll be...” He stopped, seeing Mallys and Mel.

“What is it?” Pasa asked. He followed Arceus’ gaze, his eyes widening as he saw Mallys’ lack of arms. “Oh no,” he said quietly.

Everyone stared at each other awkwardly. Finally, Mallys waved a stump at them.

“Hey. I know it looks bad, but I’ll be fine,” he said. He looked at Arceus. “I have a few things to explain.”


=======================


“So, they finished up over there, have they?”

Sachozume hesitated. “I wouldn’t call it finished, but they are done.” The Simisage looked out the window. “Why were they sent there again?”

On the other side of the small room, the Tauros stared at the kettle as it heated. “We wanted to see what Reecie was capable of- so we can assign her to the right team. Normally it wouldn’t be such a big affair, but the boss insisted.”

“What was Viytoya and Yuteraiko’s role in that?” Sachozume asked, looking over at the Tauros. “I heard from Reecie that Viytoya was hurt pretty badly.”

“Is that so?” The Tauros seemed unconcerned. “Just have Che look at her.”

The Simisage hid a scowl. “Yeah, well she’s a member of my division, so I’d at least like a notice next time she gets sent somewhere dangerous.” He paused. “Are you listening to me?”

“Look, Sachozume, let’s just do our jobs,” the Tauros said, lightly, “We’ve barely started laying the groundwork for our plans, and there are bound to be losses.”

“We’re not starting a fucking bank,” the Simisage growled, “We’re trying to start a revolution, so how would it look to potential recruits if our members keep dying?”

“They’d see a martyr- maybe,” the Tauros replied without missing a beat. “If you want to go start a nonviolent protest so your pals won’t die, go ahead.”

The kettle started to whistle, and the Tauros looked at Sachozume expectantly. With a sigh, the Simisage walked over and moved it off the burner.

“If it’s just a test, then why risk losing anyone?” Sachozume fell silent, clenching his fists. “Unless you consider them expendable.”

“Bosses orders, not mine. But yes, expendable.” The Tauros shook his head. “She only has 2 bars.”

Sachozume cursed, slamming a fist against a cabinet on the wall. “Again with the damn hierarchy system. We’re all working towards the same goal, so why split everyone with these ratings?”

“Efficiency,” the Tauros said.

“We’re overthrowing the governing body of a major city,” Sachozume retorted.

The Tauros nodded. “Have you spared a thought to what comes after? We’re looking to fix an entire system, something that requires a lot of delegation, so we’re starting early.”

“Yes, but we’re fighting for pokemon left behind by the world. Isn’t it at odds with our own goal if we don’t care about our colleagues?” Sachozume grabbed the kettle and opened his mouth, pouring the hot liquid right into it.

“Pokemon will die, that’s a fact,” the Tauros said, raising his voice. “Losing someone hurts, but you can’t keep crying for everyone. If we have to watch a friend or two die along the way, then that’s what has to happen.” He seemed to regret his words, looking away. “I don’t think we’ll ever see eye to eye on this. Um, how’s the tea, Sachozume?”

Sachozume set the kettle down again, resting his head against the wall. “As usual, the Zakosyrama special doesn’t disappoint. You really do make the best tea.”

Zakosyrama smiled slightly. “Pleased to hear it. Anyway, the boss was very pleased by Reecie’s performance. It’s likely she will be promoted to third or fourth bar.”

The Simisage sighed. “She must really be something special. How about the other two that came with her?”

“We’re planning something,” Zakosyrama murmured, “If we’re going to fight the CTB, then we’ll need to tailor our strengths.”

“Do we need to fight?” Sachozume asked, “Couldn’t we just cut down everyone at the top? I mean, it would be fun to mow down every bit piece officer, but that would take a long time.”

The Tauros picked the kettle up with his tails. “And here I thought you cared about preserving life.”

“I care about those who can’t fight for themselves, and everyone here,” Sachozume said, looking annoyed, “Anyone who is against us or choses to work for the oppressors is worth nothing.”

Zakosyrama laughed. “Alright then. Since you’re the head of the enforcement branch, why don’t you stick to bashing heads in and we’ll work everything else out.”

Sachozume rolled his eyes. “Whatever. I’m going to head out. It won’t be a day or so until Viytoya gets back, so I’m going to go worry somewhere else so I don’t catch your cynicism.”

“We’ll keep you posted,” Zakosyrama said, “I think you might have a long break though, so enjoy yourself while you can.”


========[][][][][][][]========


“You can do what?” Pasa was incredulous. “I’m not even sure what to say.”

“It’s true!” Mel said, “Mallys can regenerate his entire body by dying.”

“But how?” Goucie asked, trying not to stare at where the Haxorus’ arms should have been. “I mean, I believe purely by the virtue that it would be absolute nonsense otherwise, but how did you get an ability like that?”

“I got it from my father, Ho-oh,” Mallys said, exasperated, “He didn’t know how it worked either, I just inherited it.”

“Um, wasn’t Ho-oh...” Arceus’ eyes widened slightly. “Back when I first met you, you had a statue.”

“Yeah, that was just a little tribute I made myself,” Mallys said, sounding self conscious. “And I wasn’t exactly keen on telling you the truth when we had just met each other.”

Goucie narrowed his eyes. “There has to be a drawback though, right? You don’t just come back to life for free, do you?”

Mallys shook his head. “Aside from the pain, no. That doesn’t mean much if it’s only temporary.”

“But you still feel the pain,” Arceus said simply. “I don’t want you to have to hurt yourself like that, but your arms...”

“You really don’t have to worry about me,” Mallys said, smiling gently. “Of course, I have to prove it, don’t I? Arceus, please close your eyes.”

Arceus shook his head. “I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry about me either.”

“W-wait, what are you going to do?” Pasa looked around at the others. “I just can’t believe something like that works!”

“I said I saw it,” Mel replied, “I didn’t believe it either until I saw it.”

The Nidoking relented. “Guh. I don’t- don’t have any reason to doubt your confidence.” He sighed. “I still need to talk to you two about what you did leaving the hospital. But- let’s get this out of the way first.”

Mallys looked from Arceus and Pasa, then Goucie. He took a deep breath, glancing around to see if anyone else was nearby. “Alright, when I come back, it always seems to be out of sight of anyone. I’m not sure what it looks like, I’m just conscious again.” He turned to Mel. “Let’s do it.”

Mel took a moment to compose herself. She smiled apologetically at Pasa. “Sorry we went out on our own, Pa. We’ll explain later.” Turning back to the Haxorus, she took a stance, then leapt at Mallys.
 

Spiteful Murkrow

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Partners
  1. nidoran-f
  2. druddigon
  3. swellow
Hey, here for the most recent round of Catnip. I’m… not fully sure what I’m going to be in for from that synopsis, but there’s only one way to find out. Let’s get right into the first chapter of this thing:

Chapter 1

“I am immortal, untouchable, eternal. No one can kill me, let alone harm me. Do you relish the fantasy of victory so much that you would throw away my mercy for your heroics?”

Wew somebody’s egotistical there. I’m assuming that this is the Arceus that the summary was talking about?

There was a long pause as the hero worked on a suitable retort.

“Your mercy is meaningless compared to true peace! No one would live happily under a mint.

-blinks-

I had to double-check that to make sure I wasn’t seeing things there, but a ‘mint’, huh? Will file that one away for the future.

The mint stared down the hero. “Bold words from a frail, sweet, piece of caramel. Do you know what makes everyone happy? How to satisfy every need equally and without bias? I doubt that.”

“Yes but- well, that is a good point.”

… This is an Adventure Squad fic, isn’t it? Since those names are making me think of the plot that is apparently the world’s most hilariously over-escalated dispute about cookies.

The Haxorus leaned on the brick wall, squinting in the sunlight. In one claw, he held a striped mint, in the other, a dark chocolate caramel nougat. Turning the mint over repeatedly, he took a long breath, deep in thought. He was alone in a small courtyard, a chest height brick wall running up against the tall building he was leaning against, topped with a pointed roof that sloped downwards.

Okay, I’m calling it. This is an Adventure Squad fic until the fic comes out and says otherwise. There’s just too much emphasis on sweets for it not to be.

“You cannot guarantee peace,” the Haxorus said in a low voice, bobbing the mint up and down. “No one can.”

“I believe in trying anyway,” he said again, this time in a higher voice while moving the nougat. “I... I might fail, but I would let everyone down otherwise.”

I’ll admit, I’m double-taking hard at how there’s this back-and-forth that feels like it would be fresh out of a grittier anime… over a dispute about sweets. Between that and the story’s posted rating, I can already tell that this story’s gonna be quite a trip.

The Haxorus paused, trying to imagine how to continue. His arms fell to his sides as he idly chewed his tongue, staring at the sky. Abruptly something felt wrong, and he looked down to see he had accidentally dropped the chocolate in the dust.

“Ack!” Nearly falling over, he swiped the fallen piece of candy off the ground, blowing on it quickly before popping it in his mouth.

I see that axeface there is an adherent to the five-second rule.

As he swallowed, he grimaced. “Ugh, I wanted to save that.” Glancing at the mint he still held in his other claw, he shrugged and ate it, shuddering at the bitter taste.

“I suck at storytelling,” he said quietly to himself, his shoulders sagging.

Oh hey, it’s this moment:

iu


But with candy. :V

A rustling sound caught his attention. Standing up straight, he walked over to the wall, peering over it at the road nearby. A strange pokemon was stumbling about as if drunk. Its white fur gleamed in the sunlight as it stood unsteadily on four spindly legs tipped with gold. The most striking feature though was the massive half circles attached to its torso, a golden ring that extended outwards from its belly.

Ah yes, Arceus has entered the chat. That was certainly quick.

As the Haxorus watched, the other pokemon swayed from side to side, green eyes blinking in the sunlight. Hesitantly stepping forward, the pokemon lurched sideways, having lost its balance. The Haxorus winced as it fell to the ground, legs flailing wildly.

“Are- are you okay?” he shouted, waving at the other pokemon.

“I don’t know,” it replied. The Haxorus realized it was a telepathic response, hanging in the air unnaturally.

… I’m not sure how it took me so long to realize it, but I just realized that the bit with the mint and the caramel was supposed to be the Haxorus narrating two sides of a story/exchange to himself. You… might want to find a way to make that a bit more obvious, since at first I thought he was speaking with another party present.

He waited a moment before talking again. “Do you need me to help you?” The Haxorus started to move slowly around the edge of the wall, watching the other pokemon curiously.

“Umm, yes please.” The pokemon staggered to its feet, turning to meet the Haxorus. “I can’t see well, there’s dust in my eyes.”

Haxorus: “... And how do you manage that when you’re that far off the ground again?”
Arceus: “Look, just help me with my eyes here, okay?”
807798727154728961.png


The Haxorus hurried over, wrapping an arm around the other pokemon’s neck. “Here, let me guide you.”

The pair carefully made their way into the building, the Haxorus guiding the other pokemon.

I’m… not sure what on earth I just read there in this opening scene, but let’s keep going, since this is certainly quite a trip.

The inside of the building was cavernous, stretching high up and far back. The Haxorus gingerly rubbed the white pokemon’s face with a small cloth, holding it carefully between its claws. It seemed to have no mouth, only its eyes and two small circles that the Haxorus assumed were its cheeks.

Arceus: “Being a divinity helps, you know.” >_>;

“There you go, that should be better,” the Haxorus said with a smile, stepping back to get a better look at it. “So how did you end up this far out? Long way from the city, you know.”

Filing it away that there’s apparently a ‘city’ in this setting.

The creature blinked and was silent for a moment. “I don’t know really, I just remember the dust.”

Ah, so this story’s about an amnesiac Arceus. That’s certainly one that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

The Haxorus looked concerned, “Does that mean you don’t remember before that?” He thought for a moment, looking away. “Better question then, what’s your name?”

“Uhm, uh, it’s Arceus.” The reply was hesitant.

Haxorus: “Arky… Us?”
592603469265764372.png

Arceus: “Look, my other localization name got shut down because it apparently made people think of butts, okay?” -_-;

“That’s a nice name, do you not like it?” the Haxorus asked, watching Arceus carefully. “On that note though, I’m Mallys, nice to meet you.”

“Ah,” Arceus said, nodding. “Thank you Mallys. And er, I think my name is fine.”

Arceus: “Wait, why does your name sound like ‘malice’?”
401085511176814613.png

Mallys: “It’s ‘Mall-eese’. Probably. Maybe. Look, the point is that it’s a normal name, okay?” >_>;
Arceus:
592603469265764372.png


Mallys shrugged. “It’s nothing. The least I could do for a stranger.” The Haxorus relaxed, the tension leaving his body. “Back to the first question though. Are you sure you don’t remember anything noteworthy?”

“Not really.” Arceus looked away awkwardly, scraping the floor with one hoof.

Wew, so Arceus doesn’t even remember who he is / what his nature is. That’s certainly going to make for an experience when he accidentally lazors a village from existence or something like that in a few chapters. ^^;

Mallys wasn’t sure how to respond. The Haxorus stared at Arceus, slightly unnerved. “What are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know,” said Arceus. “Where is this?”

Arceus: “And would it be too much of a bother if I stayed a while?” ^^;
Mallys: “... Sure hope that you don’t need food of some sort, since with your size, you’d eat me into the poor house overnight.” .-.

Mallys sighed. “I suppose I should have expected something like that. Did you get drunk recently perhaps?” He grimaced. “On second thought, you probably wouldn’t remember that either.”

Arceus totally got drunk recently, didn’t he? Since the overall tone of the story thus far has been sufficiently loopy that I could honestly buy him drinking himself into amnesia.

Arceus looked uncertain. “I- I guess not. Do you think you know why I’m here?”

Mallys looked him over before reaching out to poke Arceus’ ring. “I can’t really think of anything, but you don’t look like any pokemon I’ve seen before, so you’re probably a tourist. See, the thing is, I’ve heard of this affliction or something of tourists going into shock when the place they’re visiting isn’t what they expected.” He stopped momentarily before continuing, “That was a bit complicated. Sorry, it’s just something I thought of.”

I see that this setting has a generally low awareness of what Arceus is and looks like. It’s definitely a bit of a trip, since a lot of fics in this fandom run way, way off into the other direction, and it’s a bit funny to see Mallys shooting the breeze with this being of great power who isn’t all there.

“It makes sense though,” Arceus replied, sounding hopeful. “What’s around here that tourists come to see?”

“If anything, the Grand Harvest Temple in the city, though it must have been a real disappointment if you wandered all the way out here,” Mallys replied. “I’ve heard it’s not really something worth writing home about. Just an opinion.”

I’ll admit, I didn’t notice it until just now since I was getting caught up in the exchange, but… there’s a really strong lack of interleaving description right now and I actually don’t think it was ever really described what the room Mallys and Arceus were in was like. It might make sense to every 5-6 paragraphs at least, to drop in some sort of description paragraph highlighting some combination of one of Mallys/Arceus displaying body language, interacting with their surroundings, or their internal thought process to keep things from getting too “talking heads”.

“I... guess so.” Arceus was upset that something like that would be the case, but tried not to show it.

“Hopefully if anything, you’ll remember what happened if you go back. Before you go though, take a moment to rest, it’s better for you.”

Arceus nodded. “That’s a good idea.”

Arceus: “... Wait, where am I supposed to rest again?”
Mallys: “... Try looking around for a comfy place?”
720106605982646283.png


Walking a few feet away, Mallys stepped carefully around a brilliant jade statue of a huge bird in the center of the room, polishing it with a greater care than he had taken with Arceus’ face. Arceus watched with fascination as Mallys’ claws moved rapidly, covering every inch of the surface with a forceful yet delicate energy leaving a complete sheen. “I don’t mind if you take a nap,” the Haxorus said softly, “Just let me know.”

“Is this a temple too?” Arceus asked, standing slightly straighter as he looked around in wonder. Unlit candles lined the walls, the cavernous ceilings creating a dull reverb. Colonnades carved from a dark wood were precisely spaced down the length of the room. Arceus experimentally poked one with a hoof, captivated by the detail. “It kind of feels like one.”

I… kinda wonder why more of this description wasn’t brought up earlier in this scene. Since it helps paint a picture of what’s going on in this place that Mallys / Arceus along with some ideas of how it’s laid out that I honestly had trouble getting from the opening.

If you go back to make further edits, trying to frontload more of your description might be something to consider, since unless the environment inherently is sensory-inhibiting, you generally want to set the stage of where your story scene is happening as soon as you for the sake of helping your readers visualize what’s going on.

“Once upon a time, yes.” Mallys spoke idly as he continued to polish. “Nowadays I’m just a historic preservationist, in a manner of speaking.” He stared down, considering something.

I… kinda wonder if this should’ve been brought up more in the first scene. Maybe not necessarily flatly stated, but at least implied or foreshadowed or something like that. Since something about this reveal of Mallys’ day job feels at once sudden and more delayed than it ought to have been.

“A temple for uh-” Arceus gestured towards the statue. “The bird?”

Mallys nodded. “Yes, the bird.” He stepped back from the statue to look it over. “This is a pokemon known as Ho-Oh.” He looked back at Arceus. “I’m a big fan. Can’t say I’m a great choice to represent them.”

Oh, so Mallys doesn’t know any fire attacks, huh? Since you’d think that if he did, he’d at least mention that he has that going for him. [loltias]

Arceus could only admire the statue of Ho-Oh. It was exquisitely detailed, the curves of the talons were perfect, complemented by angular lines depicting a fearsome avian face. The feathers were separated from lifelike quality only by being sculpted out of jade, splayed outwards in a triumphant wave.

Surprised that the creator didn’t opt for a more fiery-looking gemstone, but eh. Jade’s cool, so I won’t knock it. And jade carvings can get really impressive in reality.

“It would be really something to meet a pokemon like that someday.” Arceus looked thoughtful. “Have you ever met Ho-Oh?”

“Not at all,” Mallys said, making a strange smile. “That’s why I said I’d make a bad representative. If I did though, I’m sure I would have some words for them.

Considering Mallys’ storytelling he displayed. I’m not sure those words would turn out too hot for him or not. He’s kinda giving me major “klutz” vibes. ^^;

“How long have you been taking care of this place anyway?”

“Some thirty-five odd years, and I’d say it’s been something I would do again-” Mallys looked away. “-but I won’t say it.”

“You just said it?” Arceus was confused.

“Manner of speaking.”

the-incredibles-spit-out-water.gif


How on earth has this guy just been sitting around here in a job that he hates for thirty-five years? .-.

Arceus nodded. He didn’t really understand what Mallys meant but decided it was the best he would get. For a time, the two of them simply looked at the statue. As fantastic as it was, the fading daylight cast a shadow across the face, giving it a rather somber expression. In the small chapel, Arceus felt an unshakable sense that something was wrong.

Narrator: “Because something was wrong.”

Mallys looked exasperated as he leaned against the green brick wall. “As far as I’m concerned, leaving in the middle of the night flies in the face of common sense.” The moon was high in the sky, reflecting off the tiles on the rooftop. Arceus had tried to sneak out, but ended up making noise as the ring around his body clattered loudly as he fumbled about. When Mallys confronted him, he had sheepishly explained himself.

Arceus was apologetic. “I didn’t want to be a hassle for you.”

I… honestly did a double-take here, since this felt really sudden as a jump from where we left off between Mallys and Arceus. Almost as if there was a missing scene or part of a scene before Mallys caught Arceus trying to sneak out.

Mallys shrugged. “I understand, but I can’t help but be a little concerned. Plus, with how you move around, I just want to make sure you’re careful, you know?”

“Kind of you for someone you’ve just met,” Arceus said half jokingly.

… Wait, Arceus is still staggering around like he’s drunk right now? I didn’t get that vibe at all in the last scene.

“As I said earlier,” Mallys started, “It’s the least I can do. This road is hardly travelled nowadays.” He looked bashful. “And as much as I would like to think I’m modest, it’s nice to have someone appreciate the work I do to make my little world look nice.” Something flickered across his face. “Alright, that was a bit of a lie too, I just enjoy the company.”

I mean, I guess it’d make sense that being stuck in a dead-end job in a shrine in Podunk for 35 years would get a bit lonely.

“Well, it’s the least I could do for someone who would help me out,” Arceus said, turning Mallys words right back at him.

Mallys smiled, yawning. “If you ever need a place to stay...” He left the words hanging in the air for a moment. “-I can accommodate if you happen to be around.”

Ah yes, so this is how the premise to this story unfolds. Must say that Arceus as a roommate feels like it’d lead to some really wild shenanigans.

Arceus nodded. “Maybe sometime.

W
ith that, he walked off into the night as the Haxorus watched. The moon was only a sliver in the sky as Arceus walked, the only sounds were the gravel under his hooves and the distant chirping of Kricketune. ‘I guess’ he thought to himself, ‘-if this Harvest Temple was apparently disappointing enough that I had a mental shutdown, I shouldn’t expect much.

E
ven as he thought this, he couldn’t help but feel a morbid anticipation for whatever it would be. Unavoidable he supposed.

I would recommend splitting your paragraph here up like so. You also probably want to come up with a way to differentiate Arceus’ thoughts from his normal dialogue in some capacity to make it stand out more. In this case, I opted to roll with italics for this example.

Mallys watched Arceus disappear into the night. A part of him wanted to run, to go with Arceus. The Haxorus fought down back his sudden desires, biting his tongue a bit harder than he’d meant to.

“Oww,” he muttered, stumbling. Recovering his balance, he ran a claw across one of the blades running alongside his head. “Wow- I’m pathetic,” he said quietly to himself.

He’s totally gonna bail on his Ho-Oh shrine in about 5 minutes, isn’t he?

Arceus had walked through the night, filled with energy, half excitement, half nerves. The sun was rising again as tall walls came into view. Arceus stared at the seemingly endless stretch of sun-bleached stucco, broken only by a wide arch under which pokemon streamed in both directions. Arceus noted he was approaching from a side road branching off from a main thoroughfare that shot away elsewhere; one of many unkempt and downtrodden paths. Making his way through the throng, he received some glances, more so disapproving than anything else as the half-wheels along his back disrupted the flow of the crowd.

Oh, so this is the city that Mallys was talking about earlier. Unless this is just some random town on the way.

The street was lined with double story mud brick houses with grass curtains for doors. Smaller pokemon could be seen leaning out of windows, either watching the crowds below or affixing miscellaneous ornaments to strings stretching across the road overhead from building to building. The lines stretched from side to side along the avenue, hanging with formless colorful material that hung so low at points that Arceus could touch it. There was a scent of something sweet baking, for a moment Arceus almost stopped walking just to take it all in.

Oh, so some sort of festival is being prepared right now. Or else just a particularly busy market day.

“Hi, do you have a moment?”

A Watchog, sidled up to Arceus, panting. A sturdy rope was tied around his midsection, securing a Pupitar against his back like a sack of flour. The Pupitar seemed to be asleep.

… How is that guy not destroying his back right now? Since I could’ve sworn Pupitar weighed like 300 pounds. .-.

“Really sorry to bother,” the Watchog continued, smiling apologetically, “I’m... we’re out fundraising for disadvantaged families in Carigara. I’m Qiyoha, and this-” He gestured to the Pupitar on his back. “This is Postcard. She likes to sleep a lot, so I carry her around.”

Those are certainly some names there. Very much in the ‘Aerith’ school of naming. Is there any story in particular behind how you came up with them?

“Oh, hi.” Arceus looked at the Pupitar, then back to the Watchog. The former was almost as tall as the latter, but Qiyoha didn’t seem to be affected by his package. “She looks heavy.”

“Yeah, she is. But I’ve gotten used to it.” Qiyoha glanced over his shoulder at the sleeping Pupitar. “Anyway, as I was saying, we’re fundraising today. Do you have anything to spare?”

… I would’ve thought that there would be limits to how much relative weight one could get used to, but Watchog can lug around Pupitar in this setting with practice. Filing that one away for later.

Arceus shook his head. “Sorry, uh... I have nothing. I’m in a bit of a rough spot myself.”

Qiyoha glanced around. “No, I understand. Everyone has their own problems.” The Watchog grinned, paws on his hips. “On the off chance, do you know anywhere or anyone that might be a bit charitable? Honestly, we haven’t had much luck lately.”

Arceus: “Qiyoha, I literally just got here…” >.<
Qiyoha: “... Is that a ‘maybe’?”

“I’m new in town too,” Arceus admitted, “But I’m headed to the Grand Harvest Temple- I think that’s the name. They might be able to help.”

“Thanks for the tip.” Qiyoha exhaled heavily. “I’ll head by later, I have to take a break.” He gestured at Postcard. “I’ve been carrying her on my back for a week straight now.”

“A week?!” Arceus was dumbfounded. “You didn’t untie her when you went to sleep?”

“And have to tie it myself again in the morning? No way. I can handle it.” The Watchog puffed himself up. “I hope she wakes up soon. It’s lonely on the road.”

Small typo there, though I kinda wonder if this bit about lugging around Postcard ought to have come earlier on, since it feels a bit weird to talk about getting charitable donations, and then to veer into a joke about “how have you not destroyed your back?” about Postcard when it feels like something that ought to have happened very shortly after Arceus and Qiyoha’s mutual introductions.

Arceus stared at the Pupitar. “How long does she sleep for?”

“Depends. I think she’s saving energy to evolve.” Qiyoha made a face. “Don’t tell her I told you this, but she’s kind of a runt compared to other Pupitar.”

Arceus: “... She’s a runt?!
401076862924750848.png

Qiyoha: “Well, yeah. How do you think I’m lifting her without throwing out my back?”

“I won’t,” Arceus said, thinking about how he wouldn’t likely meet them again. “Sorry again for not having anything.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine.” The Watchog waved. “Bye!”

Arceus watched the Watchog as he maneuvered through the crowd, disappearing deep into the throng.

Arceus: “Well that was weird. Wonder if I’ll ever run into those two again…”

“I hope he can get some money,” Arceus muttered to himself.

A little while later, following some directions he had been given by a passerby, Arceus arrived at the temple. A gigantic obelisk rose into the sky in the center of a modest pavilion. Directly behind it was a dome, ringed with white pillars heavily contrasting the red surroundings. Terraced steps lead up to the entrance, the white stairway covered in pokemon engaged in lively conversation as well as the occasional merchant sorting wares on ragged carpets. Arceus attracted more attention this time walking up the steps, his white and gold colors playing off the white of the stairs accidently creating an almost regal aura.

Needless to say, Arceus felt uncomfortably embarrassed.

Arceus: “... Seriously, can you all stop staring at me? It’s getting uncomfortable.” >///<

The air in the temple was stiff. Though a breeze blew through the entrance, it seemed to disperse before it left the antechamber. Soft voices floated through the hall as Arceus entered. A lopunny wearing a yellow sash over its left shoulder hurried over to him.

“Many warm welcomes traveller to the Grand Temple of the Fourth Harvest. I am Mae Chee, a humble believer in prosperity for the world, what brings you to this sanctuary?”

… Why is this giving me creepy vibes that makes me suspect that this temple is secretly evil or something like that? Like something about the phrase ‘humble believer in prosperity for the world’ just inherently makes me [absus] about the speaker.

Arceus hid a sheepish look, “I’m sorry Miss Mae Chee, I don’t quite know myself”.

She smiled at him, “No need for such formalities, it’s unbecoming; and it’s ok that you don’t know, guidance for the unknown is always a reason.”

Arceus: “Cool, where do I sign up? Since I… could frankly use a lot of guidance right now.” ^^;

Arceus nodded and made a move to go in before Mae Chee stopped him.

“Full apologies, but I must ask, do the-,” she hesitated, “ -ornaments attached to your back come off?”

Arceus: “Those… aren’t ornaments. Or at least I’m pretty sure they’re not.” .-.

Arceus looked down for a moment in thought. “I uh, I don’t know, why do you ask?”

“Oh oh, it’s not a bad thing.” Mae Chee was quick to appear apologetic. “It’s simply that this temple’s corridors are somewhat thin and I fear they may cause undue stress in passage”.

Arceus: “‘Undue stress in passage’?”
401085511176814613.png

Mae Chee: “Translation: they’re wide enough that others are going to have trouble passing you in said corridors.” -_-;

“You don’t need to be sorry,” Arceus was quick to respond. “I get it, but I really don’t know.” He craned his head to look back at the ring. “If you want you can try”.

de7.png


Mae Chee approached somewhat apprehensively. She looked at Arceus several times, reaching and retracting her paws several times. He nodded at her and she finally, tentatively grasped the outer edge and pulled. Arceus swayed slightly, but the rings did not budge.

I’d be more concerned if they did budge, honestly. ^^;

“Ugh, damn it,” she murmured under her breath. Arceus looked strangely at the Lopunny.

She pulled experimentally a few more times from different angles and both sides before returning to face him.

“It looks like they’re firmly a part of you,” she said. “Oh well, what will be will be. Also, sorry for the uncouth language.” She shot a strained smile at him. With that, she led Arceus into the temple proper.

tenor.gif


Getting the popcorn, since I can already tell this is going to lead to shenanigans.

The walls were unusual, sharp pearly-blue surfaces that curved and jutted outwards at uneven points. Vague murals of lines and circles dotted the walls, many drawn unevenly. Aside from a few scattered pokemon that Arceus assumed to be tourists like him, the majority of pokemon inside wore similar yellow sashes in various places. The temple’s style he supposed. In one corner, a group of yellow sashes were in what looked like a prayer. Others wielded a sharp looking instrument, carving into boards of wood, the scratching sound dimly echoing throughout.

… ‘Pearly blue,’ huh? Not sure what that one’s supposed to evoke, since it doesn’t quite sound like Dialga there…

Most importantly was at the far end of the room. A large symbol was etched into the wall, an arrangement of straight lines forming an intersected triangle. Underneath it, two pokemon were having a conversation, a floating shield with two swords crossed behind it and a mass of blackness, save for a strand of white along the top. Though he tried not to, Arceus could not help but stare. At a point, the black mass turned and Arceus suddenly felt a pressure as it stared him down with a steely blue eye. Though he averted his gaze, he felt frozen in place as the two approached.

“Greetings to you.” It’s voice was smooth. Arceus was enraptured by the voice of the dark as it continued, “We do not usually play host to such exquisite-looking pokemon such as yourself, so I fondly hope you can understand my immediate interest.”

Arceus: “I’m… just going to take a few steps over this way and away from you.”
701630550720512120.png


Arceus was lost for a moment before coming back to himself. “Ah, I don’t look that great, I’m just a visitor, no one special.” He inwardly grimaced for sounding like a fool in front of the clearly eloquent pokemon. “”I’m Arceus, and I just came to ask a few questions”.

Arceus: “Namely, could you be a bit less creepy there-?”
Darkrai:
bdd.jpg


The dark pokemon seemed intrigued, “An unusual name to be sure, but a fine one regardless.” It affixed Arceus with both eyes, “I am Darkrai, the head of this temple, and if it’s questions you have, I can answer them to the best of my ability.”

I… actually didn’t realize that this was Darkrai until just here. You probably want to throw in some additional description a couple paragraphs earlier. Or at least also bring up the ‘red’, since it took me a while to pick up on this.

“Thank you Darkrai,” Arceus said. “It’s, well, not really an important question or anything, so sorry in advance.”

“Don’t be. We all have our own problems.”

Arceus: “Well… uh… what are you doing here anyways?”
Darkrai: “Here to strike up conversations at a temple? Got a problem with that?”
:gardeshrug:


Arceus looked at Darkrai for a moment before looking away. “I was wondering if I’ve been here some time before.”

-blinks-

… Now I’m curious as well. I kinda doubt it since nobody here seems to recognize Arceus beyond finding that he looks a bit weird, buuuut…

“Here before?” Darkrai said curiously. “As in, if you have visited the temple in the past and you do not remember doing so?”

“Yes, yeah that’s it.”

Darkrai was silent for a moment. “No, you have never been here”.

Sceptical_Heliolisk_Scarf_Fix.png


Can’t tell if this is an earnest answer or if Darkrai’s jerking Arceus around.

Arceus looked at him in surprise, “Really? Not at all?”

Darkrai spoke directly. “There’s no way I’d forget someone like you.” He paused, grimacing. “Er, please excuse me, that came out wrong. I have never seen you before. Since that is the case-” Darkrai continued, “What precipitated the brought on this question?”

Arceus explained the entirety of the past day to Darkrai who listened intently. The entire time, the other pokemon, the shield, simply looked straight at Arceus, its gaze unwavering. Around them, the activity of the temple continued, heedless of the exchange.

Darkrai: “That’s… quite a story there, really.” .-.

“A strange situation to be sure,” Darkrai said matter-of-factly. “If it is any consolation to you, I can offer the resources of this temple to assist you in undoing this affliction.”

… Wait, this is Darkrai’s temple here? I kinda wonder if that ought to have been hinted at a bit, since I already was a bit blindsided by Darkrai’s presence, and him being a figure of import for whatever reason doesn’t feel really intuitive with the way that the temple was described earlier, since there’s not anything really described that transparently gives off “Darkrai” vibes to it.

Arceus was taken aback. “Thank you very much Darkrai, though-” he stopped, “It’s only been a day, I don’t think it will be a long term thing. It’s just an intuition, I guess?”

Narrator: “It will absolutely be a long-term thing.”

Darkrai simply nodded. “If you decide otherwise, my position will remain unchanged.”

Arceus blinked. “You’re very generous.”

The harvest exists to provide for all. I would do the same for anyone because it’s simply right.”

I kinda wonder if that should’ve been talked about more earlier on in the temple sequence. Since I get that this is supposed to be the Grand Harvest Temple, but for whatever reason, it didn’t really feel like that was played up an awful lot when we actually got to see it.

Exiting the temple was like waking up in front of a window in direct sunlight. Arceus looked back at the temple, admiring the gleaming dome. The disparity between the exterior and interior was strikingly confusing, it bothered Arceus a little.

You sure that’s not just your eyes needing some time to adjust to the lighting, Arceus? :V

Taking a moment to get his bearings again, Arceus was surprised to see a flash of yellow scales, a familiar face in the plaza.

“Mallys?” Arceus said hesitantly. The Haxorus was leaning rather unceremoniously on the base of the obelisk; hearing Arceus he looked at him and waved. In one claw he held a bar of chocolate.

“You know it’s not hard to find someone like you around here,” Mallys said.

Arceus: “... Don’t you have that shrine out in the boonies to be watching right now?” .-.
Mallys: “Nah, it’ll be fine. Not like anybody actually visits the place anyways.”

“That makes sense,” Arceus replied, looking himself over. “I suppose you just asked about something big and white.”

“Could’ve worked,” Mallys shrugged. “Actually I just asked if anyone had seen a pokemon that looked like a god”.

-Beat moment-
Arceus: “I’m sorry, what did you just say? Where is that one coming from when you’ve never hinted at this in the past?” .-.

Arceus was incredulous, “What- You mean?” He glanced around, “I mean, I don’t think... ah.”

Mallys almost laughed, but caught himself. “Sorry, not sorry, I just asked the questions.” He looked behind Arceus at the temple. “-and it looks like the answers agreed with me.” The Haxorus stuffed the rest of the chocolate in his mouth. “I uh, thought you might need some help, that’s all.”

And cue the Ho-Oh shrine burning to the ground the one time that Mallys decided to ditch it for a day.

“I’m going to die.”

“You’re not going to die.”

“Yes, I am!” the Lopunny said. “If I have to talk like this for another year, I am going to kill someone. Are you going to let me kill someone, Darkrai?”

701630550720512120.webp


Mae Chee is sure sounding healthy and well-adjusted right now.

Darkrai blanched. “Please don’t do that Mae. I know it sucks, I have trouble doing it too. But we’re doing well, plus- we’re actually helping pokemon.”

Mae was unconvinced. “Is that what you want to do? Help others? Remember, we still have a debt to pay.”

… That must be quite the debt there considering the tone that these two are taking with each other. .-.

“I know, I know,” Darkrai said despairingly, “Just hold on for a bit longer okay? I’ll make you some cheesecake later, would that help?”

The Lopunny narrowed her eyes at Darkrai, regarding him silently. “It would.”

Wasn’t expecting these two to have an intimate relationship with one another, but filing that one away with each other.

Darkrai walked away, idly examining a bookshelf. “Remind me though, how much do we owe?”

Mae rubbed her head. “Three million plus interest to the Cobicuran mob. Given how long it’s been, I’d say that interest is worth another four million- if they’re generous.”

Oh joy, so this town’s religious acolytes, including a Legendary are in debt to mobsters. That… is a terrible omen for how things are going to go for their temple, really.
780304054227435550.png


“It’s not that bad,” Darkrai replied. “We’re an entire continent away after all.

Mae Chee: “Darkrai, could you tempt fate any harder right now?!” >_>;

“That’s how we always get in trouble,” Mae protested, “You always underestimate other pokemon.”

“That’s...” Darkrai didn’t finish.

Mae Chee: “Again, you were literally doing the textbook definition of tempting fate. So can you not?” >.<
Darkrai: “... Yeah, I should probably stop for a while.” ._.;

Mae grabbed Darkrai by his shoulders, staring intently into his eyes. “Look, I’ll be with you whether we pay up or run for the rest of our lives. Just let me do the crazy stuff. I wouldn’t be able to handle losing you.”

I’m pretty sure that that’s an absolutely terrible idea there, but okay then.

“Hey! I feel the same way about you,” Darkrai said indignantly.

“Yeah, well you’ll just have to manage if it happens,” Mae shot back playfully, “I can’t help dying.”

D’aww, how cute. Which is why I’m pretty sure these two are going to promptly do something seriously uncute and concerning in like a chapter.

Some time later, Mallys and Arceus left the city, walking along the outer wall of the town on a quiet path in the shade of a line of trees.

“So no luck [ ]?” Mallys asked.

“Nothing.” Arceus shook his head in frustration. “I even got to ask the head of the temple-”

I think that it probably makes sense meta-wise to have Mallys spell out specifically what he’s asking if Arceus had luck with or not, since I admittedly blanked for a moment there. I assume this is supposed to be about his memories.

“Wait.” Mallys cut Arceus off with an exclamation. “You got to meet Darkrai?”

Caught off guard, Arceus took a moment to reply. “Oh, yea, yes I did.”

Arceus: “Why? Was he supposed to be important?”
720106605982646283.png


“Huh...” Mallys nodded to himself. “You’re lucky then ya know? I’ve heard he’s really smart, usually always doing business with dignitary types and royalty. How did you get to talk to him anyway?”

“““Dignitaries””” and “““royalty””” is certainly a new way of referring to mobsters. ^^;

“I think he noticed me because I was staring at him.”

Mallys: “Well, yes. That would help others notice you too.” -_-;

Mallys’ eyes narrowed. “Seriously? I mean, I could pick you out from a crowd a mile away, so I can see it, but that just sounds silly.”

Arceus sighed. “You’re the one who got the idea that I look like a god.”

Arceus: “Seriously, Mallys. Where is that even coming from? You didn’t bring this up at all back at your shrine.”
401085511176814613.png

Mallys: “Dunno, really. I just had the weirdest feeling about you. But it’s probably nothing.”

“Fair point.” Mallys trailed a claw along the brick wall for a moment. “But, if he didn’t know, then we’re back to square one.”

Arceus was thoughtful. [ ]

Well if anything, Darkrai said I could use the temple’s resources I don’t remember sooner or later.”

IMO, you should take a bit to dwell on Arceus’ thought process here. Like how is he reacting to the idea that he’s no closer to remembering who he is than when he started today? It might be interesting to show off.

Mallys looked at Arceus strangely, “I’m sorry, what?”

“Yea,” Arceus started, looking at the trees. “Darkrai said that they offer the temple’s help to anyone in need.”

“Then uh, why didn’t you take him up on that?”

-Beat moment-
Arceus: “I… assumed that I didn’t have to make an urgent decision?” ^^;
Mallys: “Arceus, seriously!” >.<

Arceus looked at Mallys. “I mean- I think- well, I’d think the temple really has a lot more to do than help out with a minor memory problem-” Arceus was cut off suddenly as Mallys smacked him lightly with a claw.

“Idiot, what are you putting yourself down for?! You literally don’t know why you ended up eating dust in the middle of nowhere!” Mallys paused for a moment. [ ]

And- and, I never even asked you what you remember before any of this happened,” he sighed. “What do you- what did you do before this?”

IMO, it might make sense to have Mallys trail off and pause and have an “oh right” sort of moment. Helps better sell the sense of the wheels turning in his head a bit.

Arceus couldn’t focus. “I don’t remember?” he said in a daze.

Arceus: “I mean, I thought we both firmly concluded that I had amnesia earlier on in this chapter, so…” ^^;

Mallys looked at Arceus, jaw agape. “So you don’t remember anything?” Seeing Arceus nod, he covered his face with his claws. “I don’t know what to say.”

I mean there’s “why me?”, but let’s be nice to Arceus here. :V

“You still think it could be the tourist thing?” Arceus asked, rubbing his head with one hoof.

“The what?” Mallys looked at him confused for a moment before remembering. “Right, uh, I guess?”

“I must have had the worst day then.”

Wait, what tourist thing is Arceus talking about here? Since I honestly didn’t follow that myself.

Mallys had to take a moment to compose himself. He leaned against the wall as Arceus slowly sat in the grass. “Sorry for hitting you, it’s just, you know, you already were acting foolish when you left last night, and now you’re just letting this opportunity pass. What were you thinking?”

I… didn’t get the impression that Mallys struck Arceus with more than a light swat, really. You might want to be more explicit about if he gave an outright slap or something like that earlier on.

“I was thinking about it for a while,” Arceus said. “If it was really just memory lost from some disappointment somewhere, I thought maybe it would just go away after a while.”

That must be one hell of a disappointment to wipe your memories over it. Though somehow that actually feels like it’d be shockingly fitting as an outcome here considering how off-beat this story is in vibe thus far.

Mallys shook his head. “I might have agreed with you if I didn’t know you don’t remember a thing. Makes me wonder if you were this thoughtless before.”

Narrator: “He was absolutely that thoughtless in the past.”

“Maybe, maybe not.” Arceus groaned. “How do you hit so hard?”

Mallys: “Wait, but the text explicitly mentioned that I smacked you lightly and you weren’t really depicted recoiling from it-”
Arceus: “Yeah, well it didn’t feel ‘lightly’ there, alright?” >_>;

Mallys flexed a claw. “I really only wanted to give you a little smack” there was something of regret across his face. “Suppose it’s muscle memory or something.”

Not really convincing, Arceus thought to himself. Mallys probably didn’t know his own strength from living alone in the small temple for so long. “Yea Mallys, I’ll go back to see what they have.”

I still say that “Mallys hit Arceus harder than intended” should’ve been depicted a bit more, since I honestly didn’t pick up on that being the intent until Arceus complained about how hard Mallys hit him.

“Go for yourself, not for me,” the Haxorus replied, “I mean, I want to see you get better; it’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to me in a long time.”

Arceus: “So… are you going to come along with me, or…?”
720106605982646283.png

Mallys: “Arceus, I have duties! I need to get back to…”
916590061942894602.png

-Mallys trails off-
Mallys: “My dusty, half-abandoned bird god shrine.”
916590116670144542.png

Arceus: “... Is that a ‘maybe’, then?” ^^

Arceus knew Mallys was right. He felt uncertain again, he still didn’t know anything about himself, but he didn’t feel extremely concerned by the fact either.

Is something wrong?

Do I not care about myself?

IMO, you should make it obvious in formatting that those two lines are Arceus’ internal thoughts, since I kinda did a double-take there at them being the same as the rest of the narration.

Mallys watched Arceus, who looked deep in thought. “You haven’t slept since yesterday have you?”

Arceus looked up in surprise. “I- no”.

I actually didn’t realize that myself. It might have made sense to acknowledge that in earlier scenes through things like mentioning in passing that Arceus didn’t sleep or else that he’s feeling tired, but that’s just me.

Mallys shrugged. “The temple aint going anywhere. If you don’t mind, you could sleep right there if you wanted”.

Arceus looked at Mallys for a long time, before simply nodding and spreading out on the soft grass.

Mallys was bemused. “He really doesn’t have anything to lose huh?

The Haxorus was quiet. “Now that I think about it, neither do I.”

Whelp, I’ll take the under on Mallys going back to dust off his bird god statue anytime soon. Makes for a more interesting story, too. :V

Alright, onto the postmortem for this thing:

I’m not fully sure what on earth I just read, but it’s definitely got a nicely offbeat vibe of “normie with boring life runs into an improbable stranger and gets into hijinks”. I mean, I’m pretty sure that things are going to get
401074476474957834.png
in short order from the posted rating and how there’s already been hooks for bringing violent mobsters into the plot exposed, but the chapter does a decent job at getting readers interested and wanting to know about what will come next.

As for stuff I didn’t like a whole lot… I think there’s a couple recurring structural issues that hold your chapter back, primarily revolving around description. The biggest problem that I can see offhand is that you seem to be a bit light on description in a number of scenes, which makes it hard to visualize or follow certain sequences. It leads to things like Mallys smacking Arceus harder than intended not being apparent until Arceus states “hey, you hurt me” in a way that would be obvious if it had been described upfront. You also want description of stuff like body language and internal thought process to give hints as to the emotional state of different characters, which helps to liven up dialogue sequences that would otherwise very quickly get “talking heads” in nature that can be a bit hard to digest.

A related but separate issue is that you seem to have a number of moments where you have some decent description of an area or the like, but it’s sandbagged fairly deep into the scene. The temple scenes in particular were where I noticed this most. As a general rule of thumb, you usually want to frontload description in scenes, since it helps readers visualize the area things are happening in, and allows you to skip later on in the scene after establishing the readers’ mental image. Doing that would’ve likely helped me a lot for getting a grasp on the setting of some of these scenes.

Things admittedly turned out a bit more critical than I’d have hoped @RJR Basimilus , but on balance, I had fun with this chapter, even if I felt it could stand to have a few rough edges polished at some point. Hope the feedback helps with your writings, and good luck pushing along with Mallys and Arceus’ Misadventures. ^^
 
Last edited:

RJR Basimilus

Arceus is nice I suppose...
Location
the Lovely Planet
Partners
  1. arceus-fighting
  2. lurantis
  3. arceus-poison
Thanks for the check out! I actually agree with a lot of what you said and I think I'm still working things out myself.
For one, while I have edited the early chapters once, they still feel at somewhat of a disconnect past a certain point in the story - granted that's not something you would have known. Honestly the first few chapters or so are something of a "figuring it out" phase where I still wasn't positive of the direction, nor of my actual drive to write the thing. Not that it excuses anything, I could stand to go back and add lots of description, it's something I've actually been kind of wondering about recently with chapters, but it's really on me as I never actually make a point to talk about my story, let alone mention it in conversation - hence why I've probably shot myself in the foot here writing in silence for years with no real outside input. Ha, but that's just how it is, I can definitely work on adding more descriptions!

Other notes I'd really have to think about myself. Truthfully, I've never really laid down an exact pronunciation for Mallys' name, but I seem to say Mal-ees frequently. I didn't think about the 'malice' thing until now though, funny how that is! As for what he does - that's just one of those things. It's probably a good idea to make it more clear that something is off about it, but I'll think on it.

One thing that probably creates the whiplash you noted in my writing is that I am generally not a super serious person. I follow two different approaches when writing a scene I think, is it fun or is it funny (to me). I think there's a disconnect in this that I create because I veer between tones in a scene because that's the most fun to write. That's a me problem I guess - I'd have to do a read through to see if it's just because it is an earlier chapter or if I'm still doing it : 0
Qiyoha for example. Him carrying Postcard is just because he's really really strong, but I never explained that, so it's on me! Genetic anomaly or whatever... and as for their names, it only gets worse from here. I don't have any particular inclination for names, so sometimes they'll be meaningful, sometimes they'll be odd, my process can sometimes boil down to throwing sounds together until I hit something I like. Then I blend it with the occasional decently normal sounding name and characters named after objects, such as Postcard or a later character, Chocolate. Recently, I've hit a particularly long winded patch, with some of the names I came up with recently being Goughlemulda, Veivelgrezki, and Degazhachtsa (no pronunciation guide included). It's very strange, but I can't help doing it. I've noticed I tend to favor softer sounds and names ending in a vowel too.

Fun fact: the whole deal with disappointment and Arceus came because I happened upon the wikipedia article for Paris Syndrome. That thread has kind of started to get away from me in the later chapters, but I'm trying to make an effort to bring it back to the fore. I have a feeling my writing is starting to lack focus - but I'm still having lots of fun and if the story's scope and purview suffers as a result, it's on me. But that doesn't really mean anything, after all you just read the first chapter. I'm sure you'd have many choice words for the later chapters if you ever come back, haha!

As you guessed, it gets a lot weirder. So much so that the latest chapter I'm about to post later is completely incomprehensible on it's own, but I guess that's how a story works. If anything, the opening was actually better than it used to be - Negrek set me straight on that years ago, but it's still a work in progress.

Personally, I didn't think your review rung overly critical at all @Spiteful Murkrow ! Maybe I'm just happy to have a review as my average rate to get one is twice a year if I'm lucky (again, entirely my fault!). But your points are definitely something to look into for me, and hopefully put into practice sometime soon! If you happen to stop by again and had any particular questions about why I do something, we could always talk on discord too.

Thanks again!
 
Top Bottom