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Pokémon Bench's Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Drabbles

A Cold, Bitter Future

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
A collection of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon drabbles I've made. Of varying canonicity to my main PMD fanfic, Eternal Shadows.
Originally "A Cold, Bitter Future".
Contains spoilers for all PMD games.

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

A Cold, Bitter Future

A drabble I wrote on a whim. Inspired by Deadheading. Contains spoilers for PMD: Explorers and Gates to Infinity.

Temporal collapse wasn’t the only disaster the Dark Future faced. All that frozen negativity had to go somewhere.

The Bittercold grew.

It began with small, floating pebbles. Then larger rocks started to rise. The landscape was marred as boulders began to levitate. Entire sections of land split apart as they rose up. The whole planet shattered.

Some unfortunate Pokemon that managed to defy time’s stagnant flow were carried away by levitating bits of land, never to be seen again. Others fell into the crevasses and cracks, disappearing into the darkness below.

And all the while, the Bittercold continued to grow.

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

Ever wonder why there's all those floating rocks and bits of land in the Dark Future in Explorers?

Ever remember that the Bittercold can make things float?
 
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Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
  2. custom/togekiss-nubushi
Hello, I’m here from the Review Blitz, wondering if I can legitimately make a review on a 100-word story 250 words long . . .

I am fandom-blind to PMD. But I do get from your author notes that this drabble exists to explain something in the PMD universe.

Now, I can say I definitely can understand how hard it is to write a coherent story, or even a coherent chapter in 100 words, having written a drabble collection myself. But I do think it is possible. Right now, I would say that your drabble does get the job done of conveying that the Bittercold is making these rocks and things rise up and float everywhere. It also successfully conveys some of the sense of devastation.

On the other hand, it also feels at times like it is just summarizing events that happen—again, the 100-word limit does make things difficult.

The second and third paragraphs do a good job of conveying a sense of an action starting, and continuing. In particular, I felt like “The Bittercold grew” gives off that storytelling sense of something happening that is going to have big consequences later on. There’s a sense of time progression starting with that, and then continuing with the time sequence with the sentences “It began . . .” and “Then . . .” On the other hand, I feel like the first paragraph comes across as a summary (telling rather than showing), and the fourth paragraph, while conveying an apocalyptic atmosphere, doesn’t really emotionally hit home, maybe because of the lack of specificity (“some Pokemon . . . others . . .”). (Though, now that I am looking at that paragraph again, I see that it has quite an impressive amount of alliteration! Three times in two sentences. Bonus trivia: weirdly, it can sound more natural to have three words starting with the same letter in the same sentence than just two.)

Then, at the end, we’re left with a sense of an action that is continuing. This gives the drabble a very inconclusive feel if it is something meant to stand by itself; on the other hand, it sounds like it could be the prologue to a larger story (or drabble collection), and overall it also has that storytelling-like voice that prologues of longer works often do have. So, for a drabble that is just supposed to explain something in-universe, it seems unfinished, but it would make a great lead-in or prologue to something else.
 

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Here I am for the blitz again, I kinda wanted to review ES again, but since I pretty much did a review on all eight chapters, I couldn’t. With that being said, I remembered you had a drabble, so here I am, reading and reviewing it. I know you’re a good writer and my expectations will be fulfilled, even if it’s super short, it’s a drabble, so it’s okay. Here I go.

Well, a 100-word limit makes you have to choose your words carefully, but honestly, few words can make quite an impact on the reader’s experience. I am well aware of the PMD lore, so this was a good take on it, at least for me. A story about how the Bittercold did its thing and froze everything. Overall, it’s a bittersweet(Oh God, this is not a pun) drabble that ends with melancholy. It works, and it works great, your lore is, as usual, very good. I think the part where they levitated into oblivion had the most impact for me. I mean, imagine that, the world is ending and your loved ones are sucked away into a place you cannot go to, must be terrifying to see, even thinking about it makes me shiver, this was a good experience, very short, but like I said, you made a good job with the low word count. Thanks for writing this, you should be proud of your skills! I’ll be looking forward to the next drabble you post, don’t give up Bench, you got this!
 
Plastic

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Plastic
Made for the Drabble Tag thread. The prompt for this was "plastic".

It was a strange material, but a fascinating one. It could bend and twist without breaking, yet it was as hard as rock, and light as a Caterpie.

It even smelled delicious!

What could have caused this thing's creation, though? Nobody had ever seen it before, so it couldn't have been made by a mundane Pokemon, unless this was what made up the underside of a Diglett. Could it be from the humans of legend?

Either way, he should tell the others what he found.

The Garbodor turned around to face his colleagues. "Guys, I think I found something amazing!"
 
Too Late

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Too Late
Made for the Drabble Tag thread. The prompt for this was "Too Late".

CRUNCH!

Delcatty watched in horror as Accelgor's crumpled body slid down the wall she had been thrown into. She couldn't have survived that.

There wasn't any time to waste. Delcatty sprinted through the monster house towards Accelgor, weaving between dungeon Pokemon as he crossed the room.

Finally, he reached Accelgor. Hurriedly, he dug out the reviver seed from his bag, and shoved it in Accelgor's oral cavity.

He waited. And waited.

Accelgor didn't get back up again.

Delcatty was too late.

Sobbing, he pressed up against his partner's body one last time, waiting for the monster house to finish him off.
 

Equitial

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
  3. woobat
  4. ralts
Temporal Tower

I'm pretty sure I mentioned on the TR server that I really liked this--and I do. This grim take on the prompt was immediately compelling-- even if I thought I knew what was happening, I had to finish it immediately to find out. I how the repetition of "tick tock" leads to a feeling of urgency, which heightened the effect of the scant description of the paragraphs in between. I'm really impressed at how concise this drabble--this story feels like the perfect length.

Emera

This is more like worldbuilding. I don't have so much to say, but I like the concept. It actually makes sense, if you think about it. Orbs are kind of weird in PMD in that they don't get explained, but them coming from emera dust--a naturally occurring resource in dungeons--fits their magical functions in with the rest of the PMDverse.

Rainbows of Hope

Unfortunately, I'm not so familiar with Gates to Infinity so I don't really understand the significance of what's happening in this story. Sorry.

Lucario the Hero

Aw, I really enjoy this concept! I like how it ties these characters together, making it feel like a chain that leads to the protagonist team. Team ACT is the first team we get in Red/Blue to aspire to, look up to. In turn, Team ACT had Lucario, whom we also try to reach. It makes the PMD world feel more connected, and I'm going to officially make this headcanon because it's so nice :D


Then I decided to read your other drabbles because why not xD

A Cold Bitter Future

This is another worldbuilding drabble, and another one that connects characters/events in the PMDverse. For me, this kind of invokes a similar feeling as in Lucario the Hero, but in the opposite direction. The PMDverse faces a lot of disasters, and this ties them all together: if one disaster prevails, so do all the others. It makes the PMDverse feel more precarious, and I'm kinda reading this as a continuation of your Temporal Tower prompt, like seeing it as a mini "bad end" AU.

Plastic

This is a cute drabble focusing on something overlooked in the real world--the marvelous qualities of plastic! I generally like seeing alien species reacting to familiar-to-us objects, and I also like how the Pokemon in question was impressed by not only qualities we agree are useful, but something only a Garbador could appreciate. A nice fic ends with a humorous twist xD
 
Zinnia

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Zinnia
Made for the Drabble Tag thread. The prompt for this was Zinnia's theme from ORAS.

Every world had a Voice of Life. A being that was the embodiment of life as much as Xerneas, a soul made from bits of every other soul, the planet itself given a voice.

In one world, the world of only Pokemon, the Voice was a Hydreigon, summoning humans to combat the Bittercold. But what of the world of humans?

Some say that the Voice was Zygarde, the embodiment of balance. Some say it was the young green-haired man who could understand Pokemon.

One Magma grunt, with a Whismur she summoned herself, knew otherwise.

The Voice departed, to find Rayquaza.
 
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Temporal Tower

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Temporal Tower
Made for the second anniversary drabble bingo. The prompt for this was Temporal Tower.

Tick, tock.

Pillars crumbled, the rubble freezing in midair as it fell. A Treecko and a Piplup ran past, determined to reach the summit in time.

Tick, tock.

A pure seed was consumed, warping the duo to the stairs. There was no time to waste.

Tick, tock.

Even with their determination, their movements began to slow. The blue gears in their bag were beginning to lose their glow.

Tick, tock.

At the top, a pedestal fell off the tower.

Tick, tock.

The Treecko and Piplup suddenly, froze, movement of any sort becoming an impossibility.

Tick.

Tick.

Temporal Tower had collapsed.
 
Emera

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Emera
Made for the second anniversary drabble bingo. The prompt for this was Emera.

An expeditioneer returned home after a dungeon trip, setting their bag down next to a bucket of water, in which a transparent sphere soaked.

They took out a bottle from their bag, filled to the brim with rainbow dust. Emera powder, the lifeblood of a mystery dungeon, and a powerful resource.

They dumped the bottle in, and then with their tail, stirred the water until all the emera powder was dissolved.

Already they could begin to see small emera crystals on the sphere, and a light became visible within the sphere.

Soon, the escape orb would be ready for use.
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Sup Bench. I'm trying (very slowly) to read through some of the mini bingo fills, so I figured I'd check yours out! I'm looking at Temporal Tower, Emera, and Rainbows of Hope (not yet in this thread, I know).

My favorite of these is Temporal Tower! I'm a sucker for interjections like the clock ticks that give a sense of rhythm and time passing--exactly what you want for this kind of prompt! I also loved the little detail of the "tick" and "tock" being broken across two lines the last time they appeared so you get a real sense of time itself slowing. It also worked well to add an additional layer of urgency to the story. All in all, I really love the pacing here; there's a real sense of desperation as time ticks down and the characters see the world slowing and crumbling around them. Perfect angle for a time-related prompt, and great execution on it, too!

Emera is a cute look at something we don't see directly in the PMD games--how magical items are created! I'm not familiar with Super, so I don't know how much of this info is pulled directly from the games, but I liked the descriptions of how the escape orb was grown from dust. This one creates a nice mental image.

Rainbows of Hope, on the other hand, leaves me wanting more. Having played Gates, this reads to me as something of a summary of what happens in the game--it's a series of events, and one that I'm familiar with, so I'm looking for the story to bring something else to the table! Maybe it's looking at some things that happened in the background of the Gates story but which we don't actually see happen in the game itself, or focusing more on the emotional dimension of some of these events. Or even simply juxtaposing them in such a way that something new about them is revealed. What I do like about this story is the sense of hope fading and dying, of things falling apart (kind of similar to "Temporal Tower"); I just would love to see more!

I like what you did with these prompts, and I hope you had fun putting the drabbles together. Thanks for sharing them!
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
  2. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong2
  3. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong3
  4. custom/skiddo-iametrine
Heya, Bench! Been meaning to give ES a shot but haven't quite had the time to dig into a new chapterfic yet, bah. But I figure I can at least get started with your PMD stuff here, eh?

A Cold, Bitter Future​

This is an interesting combination! It's been such a long time since I played either of these games that I can't remember the details of the Dark Future or the Bittercold's surroundings, but it absolutely makes sense that the Bittercold's got to get its despair from somewhere. GtI was fun, but one thing that did always bug me about it was how it would harp on about how negative the world was becoming... and the worst "negativity" you see from the townsfolk is, like, some mild rudeness. Gurdurr was pretty bad, sure, but beyond that I don't recall them doing a ton to back up the crisis they were claiming was afoot (though perhaps it's just that my memory is awful, heh). Regardless, this is a much stronger, and much more frightening way to have the Bittercold start snowballing (haha)!

"Frozen negativity" has such a good double-meaning here, and you've got a great combination of these stark descriptions of the world falling apart while not once openly stating the actual feelings of the affected future pokémon. Harsh and understated all at once is a nice mix to see.

Plastic​

Ahaha, I was just saying in another review how I love it when post-human societies are fascinated by the things we take for granted, and even using plastic as an example! They use it as money in the Pugmire tabletop RPG, which is adorable. And also kinda sad, considering what it means that the dogs are mining huge quantities out of the ground. Well, at least they're technically recycling it...

I'm sure that a garbodor could put it to excellent use, as well! Including as a snack. Snacks are always an excellent use of an item whenever feasible. The "underside of a Diglett" joke caught me off guard, but it still got a laugh out of me. Heck, why not, right? If only actually finding out were that simple.

Too Late​

Well that's sure some emotional whiplash coming right off of "Plastic", lol. Another simple one, but this time it's a straight, no-frills gut punch. It might've landed a bit harder if we had a bit more sense of how close Delcatty and Accelgor were, but I know well how hard it is to fit all the context that you need into a drabble, so it definitely happens. Still a very strong ending sting there!

The one thing I'd suggest tweaking is the "She couldn't have survived that" line—I'd assume as-is that Delcatty thinks she's already dead, and therefore wouldn't've expected the reviver to work anyway. Maybe, since "There wasn't any time to waste" already gives us plenty of snappy urgency, those five words could be repurposed into a quick glimpse of their closeness instead?

Zinnia​

Ah, I remember you asking about Zinnia being a Voice of Life! So this is part of what that went toward. Zinnia's definitely an interesting choice for this. I like how you imply that she'd even summoned Aster to help her. It took me a moment to realize that you probably meant that Aster was summoned from a PMD world, to help Zinnia save this one, which is an excellent touch and a lot of fun to think about. What other pokémon might've been brought over to help when humans needed it? A bit more detail on why you think Zinnia makes more sense as a candidate than N or Zygarde would've been nice, but even without that this still poses a neat little question.

Temporal Tower​

Oof, bad ending. :(

This one's very evocative, and a lot of weight is carried by those tick, tocks. I do think the "froze suddenly" hitches it a bit, given how gradually things are slowing down, but at the very least you do get a sense of how gradual it is, and it contrasts very nicely with the urgency you know the situation holds. I can't help but keep imagining that last line, "Temporal Tower had collapsed", because wow, what does that even look like when time has finally frozen? Has it really collapsed, or are its pieces just hanging there, suspended in midair like all of the little chunks that fell away first, with Treecko and Piplup forever standing on a little broken staircase, surrounded by their failure?

Emera​

Interesting! I've seen how you like to put thought into where items come from, and here's an example of putting that into practice. IIRC emera dust is canonically only used for making other emeras and can't be removed from dungeons, but using it as the source of power for a magical item is a neat take on that! At the same time you tie it into how dungeons themselves work, and I think that means it makes a good deal of sense for an escape orb in particular. If the dungeon can distort and warp and change, why not take that very same essence and use it to warp away, out of the dungeon? This is a fun little peek at how these sorts of things might come together.

---

All in all, these were a lot of fun! You've got a great range of tones here and handle them all well—like I mentioned, it gets a bit mood-whiplashy, reading them all in a row, but given that they're all meant to stand alone that's hardly an issue. Great, snappy, entertaining little reads here. Thanks for sharing them!
 
Lucario the Hero

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
Emera
Made for the second anniversary drabble bingo. The prompt for this was Lucario the Hero.

An Abra, a Charmander, and a Larvitar were lost in Oddity Cave, stuck on the fifth floor.

"I-is anyone there?" the Charmander asked. "I'm starving..."

"Come! Over here!" an unknown voice shouted.

The three, hesitant, but out of options, followed the voice, coming to a Lucario with an escape orb in paw.

He shattered the orb, and the group appeared outside the cave, safe and sound.

"Stay safe out there," the Lucario said, before running off before the trio could thank him.

Years later, following in the footsteps of the Lucario who saved them, the three formed Rescue Team ACT.
 
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