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Pokémon Dangerous Upgrade [GtI]

Act Ⅰ-Ⅱ

Venia Silente

For your ills, I prescribe a cat.
Hello everyone, I'm here with a new story about a game that deserves more love. That's right: some more new content for the average Gates to Infinity enjoyer!

This is yet another "Special Episode" of sorts that I have been working on for a good while and has had quite an... accidented development story. But at least the first part is ready now! Originally intended to be a oneshot, this will be posted in two-shot format instead much like Forever Catch was. It follows Gamañel, my (everyone now: our) DLC Attendant Foongus from Making the World Go 'Round after he has had a hard day at work due to a crossover with JoshtheWriter's "Pokémon:Legends Sinjoh".

This story is reference-heavy and mostly follows the events and timeline of the game "from the outside" , but those references are marked and links to related material are made available. Due to the lack of BBCode support in the engine, the reference markers might not look good right now, but I'll be in the work of raising a support ticket for that and will update the thread according to the results (forenotice: be on the lookout of support for my Furigana request for the upcoming chapter 2). Still, this should be no impedement upon the ability to read the story.

But enough words, time to read: have at ye!


Act Ⅰ​

It had been quite an arduous day of work back at Post Town, and Gamañel for one needed a break for a few days. The Foongus marched out of town via one of the southern trails, pulling a cart that contained the charred remains of the day's business.

Gamañel stopped for a moment to slurp on a berry and try to swallow the bitter experiences from back at work, right in front of his store, to boot. He turned to take a look at the remains of the embroideries and trinkets he would have usually sold to his clientèle.

The Foongus narrowed his eyes.

The trinkets; not his trinkets. He still did not understand well what had happened, but what had happened definitively was not part of his 9‑to‑5... at least, he seriously hoped it wasn't. Considering that he was still the one who had to clean everything up after weird gates suddenly spawned among his gates and then everything caught otherworldly fire.[sup][ref][/sup]

[ref] As seen in JoshtheWriter's Pokemon: Legends Sinjoh [Chapter 1]​

"...Just what kind of worlds were those, anyway?” he asked to no one in particular.

Gamañel's trinkets were of the most peculiar kind. Much like Espeon and Umbreon's magic card back at town, Gamañel's ones could open paths to separate, sometimes unexplored worlds.

Yet the similarities ended there, for Gamañel knew more about the fabric of the multiverse and what even meant for worlds to be connected than the cute little cat and dog could ever achieve with their cute little tabletop game.

Gamañel suddenly had an idea. He hopped up to his cart and quickly examined the surroundings: there was mostly sparse vegetation around him and nothing that looked like a cave or any other protected space. Just a creek and wooden bridge ahead, and the trail heading further to the south.

Gamañel had not had the time to inspect the trinkets back at the town; certainly, not while the entire pile of them was spontaneously spawning and burning into ashes. Not willing to wait until he got home to find out more, Gamañel hopped down and pushed his cart to beneath the nearest tree, just short of the bridge.

He took a very brief rest and hopped back up the cart, to check on the destroyed goods.

On top of the pile was a small envelope, formerly sealed with a now broken "N" seal. Merely looking at it brought the Foongus some feelings of disgust. «Just what I needed on top of this foreclosure notice, too,» he reminded himself grinding his figurative teeth.

Nothing he could do about that for now, he knew that. So the best thing Gamañel could do would be to mind the weird events of today.

He picked one of the tapestries at random. Many of the tapestries were completely burned to ashes, but some pieces had survived here and there if only in the form of small unburned strands and pages of wool and hide. The various AZTEC-style patterns[sup][ref][/sup] were something that Gamañel was intimately familiar with, but between the strangeness of the patterns that had popped up recently and the damage done to the various impressions from the fire, he was not sure he could pick anything useful out of them right now.

[ref] AZTEC Code is a kind of bidimensional code similar to QR Code.​

Still, he gave it a look. The marker square at the centre and the two principal layers going outwards were damaged, so he tried and interpreted it by ear. He could read very generic details about the nature of a world, but not much else, at least nothing of relevance at the moment.

Gamañel let out a dissatisfied harumph and put it back where it belonged, on the pile of Things That Should Not Be.

Trying another charred decoration, Gamañel was weirded out by the "information-fat", square patterns on the edges. Information on how to enter that world was scarce, but in comparison information on how to describe the world was aplenty and complicated. Here Gamañel raised an eyebrow at how meta it all went, as the information strands included instructions such as to "cut selection" to separate landmass of a world into a "layer", fill layer with a "color bucket", apply a "transparency mask" to layer, select layer for "trigonometric deformation", select "CMYK profile" and then, at the very end, a "print" selection pointing to a rectangular map object.

Gamañel rubbed his temple at the thought.

«What kind of backards Kecleon would want to print on a Mercator projection?»

Truly, in such a print the arctic zones would widen to egregious levels. Gamañel could only imagine how much extra bizarrely the Great Glacier area would look in such a map. Not at all like decentmap projections such as Winkel-Tripel, Gamañel thought with a snicker, or like the ornamental asymmetry of the AZTEC codes that adorned his wares... when they did not spontaneously combust out of control.

Gamañel decided to discard such meta, very distracting lines of thought for later and focus instead on the pieces of theorems and equations that made the tendrils of the code. As far as he could decipher, they apparently described the energy conversion process of a strange device, perhaps a weapon system. Gamañel raised an eyebrow; the scale had to be wrong, these numbers... from what he knew, only creatures like the mirage dragons could ever try and develop a machine of this kind, at the least capable of (if he was reading the magnitudes alright) casting a planet off its orbit in a single stroke.

Gamañel lifted two or three charred tapestries, put this tapestry under the others. Best Lake Afar or Dragons Gate never find out about this kind of world, the Foongus decided.

«Hmmm yes, best they not.»

After mulling it over for a bit more time, Gamañel put the tapestry out again, and then put the entire stack of charred remains on top of it so that it'd remain at the bottom.

The Foongus nodded to himself, extra sure and content in his good work.

Trying another charred decoration, Gamañel noticed that the data markers on how to open the gate to the world had been destroyed, and whatever instructions remained were duplicated, or rewritten, even scattered and corrupted, as if a looking glass had been shattered in small pieces and then the pointy ends sanded over so they could never attach into a full form again.

What made Gamañel shuffle uneasily as he checked the tapestry however was the instruction set that would have been encoded in it. The instructions spoke not only of a world, but of any world, and from what he could read even constructing the gate could only bring randomness. Danger resided everywhere in creation, starting from a particular world — and the only, remote chance of salvation for everyone and everything was that a woman of fate would unshackle the champion of the Primigenial One.

«...Champion?»

Gamañel squinted at some of the codewords, loose strands etched in the outer layers of their finite field polynomial. Some error correction data had survived the burning — to whisper its own threats of oblivion: for, as Gamañel knew, the Primeval Kin tended to pick their "champions" to champion their causes and their own desires to remake the universe, and not because of such things as the worthiness and honour of their subjects. ThePrimigenial One surely would be no exception... and Gamañel was not sure this chosen champion would fully understand that.

Certainly the pick of "champion" had to be relevant. Thus the narrative turned its focus on a region that was only mostly seen in older Pokémon Legends: Sinjoh, a land of myth and power that stretched some distance north from Johto, and saw the champion following the instructions of the Primigenial One...

...Already be captured as soon as their new quest started.

Gamañel held the remains of tapestry at more of a distance. «Yeah, a great start there, pal. Might as well place my bets on the Tepig.»

Gamañel groaned, feeling a bit tired. He looked up to see the sky had darkened. Almighty Sinnoh look at the time! Had he really been checking tapestries for this long...?

That particular latest remnants-of-a‑tapestry Gamañel was careful to separate from the others; he wrapped it in a towel and stored it under the carriage's seat. The Foongus mumbled all the while, unsure if it was a good or a bad thing that it had not been fully destroyed, and recalled that this very Mystery Dungeon world was soon enough to see the designation of a champion of the Primeval Kin.

Gamañel pondered for a moment. «I might have to consider offering that Prinplup a warning... for a price.»[sup][offer][/sup]

[offer] In the future of PMD, Dialga will attempt to recruit Dalvin for the Primeval Kin, as seen in [Beyond Today].​

Gamañel felt cold at various levels; he shivered and took a moment to check that it was the growing breeze and not just the ill omens from the parchment that were the cause. He picked up a small Foongus-sized wool vest and put it on, to stave off the wind.

The Foongus did not really notice it at first, when the ash from the remains of his stock started lifting up from the rising winds.

In the corner of his eye, Gamañel saw something move... eerily, tumultuously, as if it wanted to leave this world as much as his clients did. He turned and looked around more, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

The Foongus covered his cart with a mantle and returned to the front, grumbling all the while. He could only hope that the forces that had once created such realities, were still able to keep them sustained and thriving.

Gamañel had just finished tidying up the cart and covering and tying the various tapestries' remains so the wind wouldn't send them flying, when he noticed the wind, while still cold, had suddenly dulled down. Perhaps it was his tiredness seeping into his vision, but he thought it was pretty dark, almost at night already.

The Foongus hopped up the heap of assorted clutter and took a look around. The sky around him was quickly darkening and... closing in? Like the world was getting smaller and smaller by the minute, it was the best way Gamañel could describe it.

He could see a veil of light, flowing down from the sky from some sort of crack far above him, and eating at the ground around him as it inched closer and closer from all directions.

He really did not like the "from all directions" part.

Gamañel hopped down the cart and checked the trail he had come from; about fifty metres ahead he could see the white border between the ground and the light-veil, slithering closer as it phased through trees and rocks. And if he focused hard enough, he could distinguish some trails of smoke and hear guttural voices coming from whatever lay past the edge.

The Foongus frowned. «And to think this is not the weirdest thing I've seen today.»



Act Ⅱ​

Gamañel scurried to a random fallen tree nearby and got up the trunk; there he remained for a few seconds looking around as he saw the veil inching closer, slower and slower, until it finally froze about twenty metres from him in all directions.

Gamañel looked up at the sky, it had been completely darkened and replaced with something like a rocky cavern or as much of it as he could make out from past the light's edge. He could hear some creatures beyond the edge, but it was all muffled by an indistinct light and those guttural calls.

Thunder boomed somewhere nearby, the Foongus turned and looked around seeing nothing but dust lifting around.

Then a bolt of purple energy hit the ground closer by the bridge, and another one, and another one. As the bolts neared Gamañel's position he could see they scattered dust and pebbles, that tried to form into Pokémon — or into something — but they couldn't, for as soon as the light and sound from the bolts dissipated, the little dust they had lifted was also undone.

This lasted for about half a minute until a gust of wind carrying malevolent energy reached to where Gamañel was and he shielded himself for a moment as he could. He dug himself into his little refuge, and once the wind had subsided, he emerged from his spot.

He could now watch as the wind around floated down to the ground and remade itself into a spectre. One that was not instantly unmade like the others, but instead persisted and solidified its existence.

It took a few seconds before the spectre evolved, so to speak, into a silverish, hollow form, largely similar to the more recognizable form of a Hydreigon yet sporting some minute differences, broader wings, more ragged fur, a shining mark branding its lower neck that was only visible for a moment before the apparition's own fur of sorts materialized and grew to cover it.

«Great.» Gamañel tilted his head. «What's the problem this time?»

Gamañel dropped down from the tree to go meet the now fully realized spectre halfway as it approached the cart and came to rest a short distance from it. The lights that formed the eyes of this apparition turned to him, and the head of the Hydreigon-creature beckoned Gamañel to move forward.

For his part the Foongus groaned.

"I'll humour you and ask what brings you around town, sort of," Gamañel announced, looking up at the main head of the apparition.

The Hydreigon-being's arm heads seemed to examine the surroundings, and then they craned down on the Foongus. Finally, the apparition lifted herself up in the air and spoke with a whistling voice as she shaked her head-arms. "So it is you. Looking always so confident!"

Gamañel blinked. He had never got really used to how energetic the dragoness could be, even in telepresence form.

The Hydreigon apparition for her part inched closer just a bit. "Given that confidence I have to wonder if you are involved in this problem."

Had he had arms longer than a Foongus has, Gamañel would have made gesture to cross them in exasperation at the accusation. "Whenever you involve yourself around, my customers die, Erish. I'd say I'm not the problem around here."

For an answer the Hydreigon-being bared her fangs, eerily blue and unlit, down at the Foongus, who hopped just a step back. She then reared her heads up and took notice of the cart with the pile of burnt objects.

"You dare. That problem is something I am working on, mister, I can assure you."

"Like that's helped much," Gamañel spat back without thinking. He had enough sense of self-preservation to not make eye contact when one of the Hydreigon's heads glared down at him hissing all the while.

The Hydreigon-imitation meandered about for a few seconds then made way to the front of Gamañel's cart, where she took notice of the burnt materials lying on top of it.

She seemed to notice the ash spread around, and craned down to lick some of the remains with her main head. As soon as she did, the apparition reared up with a rather startled expression, her wings and tail ruffled, her body's light turned slightly more yellow ever so briefly. "What happened here?" she asked in acrimonious tone. "What unnatural things were you trying to do?"

Gamañel hopped ahead to catch up and sat besides the cart. "Take notice, Erish, I'm the victim here! If I didn't know better I'd be filing for damages."

The Hydreigon-like construct grumbled and observed patiently as the Foongus hopped up the cart and pulled the rug cover to reveal some of the remains of the tapestries that had burned back in town.

"There was an... incident earlier and I was forced to close the shop for the day."

The dragoness opened her luminous eyes wide. "You? Close shop?"

The Hydreigon-being's three heads seemed to converse to themselves for a moment, and the form of the Hydreigon even seemed to fade out into a gust of wind and then back in into a more solid existence in the blink of an eye when it was finished "talking" to herself. In the end, the dragoness seemed to relax.

"Walk me through this 'incident'. Make it brief," the central head commanded.

"Well, it started with Espeon's and Umbreon's gates not working correctly, and it ended with my crafts spawning with weird gate patterns that made them combust as soon as they realized."

"But those gates did still work?"

Gamañel shook his head and pointed to the pile of burnt stuff. "I did not exactly get a chance to test."

The Hydreigon-fascimile nodded, and prompted for Gamañel to continue his debriefing. Gamañel harrumphed at the curt gesture but still, he proceeded to explain how the incident went in more depth; he did leave some of the more private, customer-oriented details for himself, considering he was probably subject to such regulations as the GDPR. Just to emphasize the point and make sure the Hydreigon would get a clear picture of the events, he used some of the remains as visual aids, explaining how with the damage to the carpets, the full patterns could not be accessed to open the gates.

"So on that end, you don't have to worry," Gamañel stated, hopping proudly to nail down the point. "I've done my part to keep the business of life running, so to speak, and these gates should no longer be a problem."

The Hydreigon-imitation remained silent and, in her minute gestures of rumbling and fretting, Gamañel thought for a moment that he read something worrying. In the face of a thing that as much as he could tell represented a dragon creature hiding elsewhere, the best way he could read it would be her figuratively biting her lip.

Gamañel's posture straightened.

"...I thought this would make matters clear," he inquired.

Wind started blowing, faintly, as had been doing before the dome had formed. The Hydreigon-esque being looked uneasy just for a moment.

"It does... however," the Hydreigon stated matter‑of‑factly, adding a shake of her head, "this turns out to not be our original concern."

"I'm not sure I follow. With 'our', you mean...?" The Foongus recalled details he knew about the dragoness's origins and raised an eyebrow. "You and...?"

The Hydreigon made a motion to look around, at the dome of light hiding them from the beyond. She narrowed her eyes at the finite sky, as if fearing it would fall, and she turned to Gamañel with a hint of disappointment.

"I'm here on borrowed time, so I shall wrap up this current matter and fall back."

"Aha." Gamañel hopped atop the pile of things on his cart and gave the Hydreigon a wave, then made a motion to move ahead of his cart. "Speaking of, I should be going home too. Business some other time?"

The Hydreigon-construct let out a warning roar and floated up. Her six wings fanned out, making her look even larger and more other-worldly than she already was in this form. "You are not in the clear yet, Gamañel. We would see these threats properly disposed of," she stated, pointing a head at the cart.

There was that plural again. The Foongus gulped, but otherwise remained in composure.

"Now now." Gamañel wiggled about, worked up at the prospect of a lengthened meeting. "That all‑you‑pointed‑to happens to be my livelihood and I'm responsible for it. Besides I could still try to work with them."

"You won't," the monster roared.

Thunder boomed once again, as if reminidng of the purpose of the Hydreigon-being's visit. She floated about the cart to reach the back, with Gamañel eyeing her all the while.

Gamañel found himself conflicted, he wondered what exactly could the dragon do via this remote apparition, yet at the same did not want to stay around to find out.

He saw how the Hydreigon-imitation craned up and breathed in — at least, he assumed she was breathing in. In as much as he could tell, it was the sign for dragon breath or somesuch.

Waving his little arms, Gamañel tried the first feeble excuse that came to his mind.

"Agh! Come on, this is all shrinkage. You really don't have to worry about lost stock!"

The Hydreigon-imitation didn't seem to be swayed though, and as she exhaled, Gamañel yelled and hopped down for dear life from his cart to the ground, landing hat-first and bouncing on the ground.

The Foongus rolled unceremoniously on the ground while the Hydreigon-imitation grumbled at the intact cart, her own form not being able to breathe out dragon fire.

Gamañel stood himself up and narrowed his eyes, watching how the Hydreigon-apparition made a second attempt at breathing out flame, to just about as much a nothing of an effect as the first attempt.

The Hydreigon-imitation harrumphed. One of the two arm heads looked back at the main one with a hint of disapproval.

"This usually works," she hissed.

Gamañel put on an indignant display of tidying himself up and loosening some dirt off his cap, while the Hydreigon-imitation traded dissatisfied glances with the two heads in her arms and gave sheepish grumbles for a moment. Half-grateful that at least his cart was still in one piece, the Foongus stared up the Hydreigon.

"I hope this counts as a labour accident for insurance," Gamañel said mostly to himself.

Other than the growing winds and the thunderbolts hitting every once in a while near the edge of the strange dome in the sky, there was no other sound that accompanied the two Pokémon.

So for a long while, they engaged in a stiff, patently cross-accusatory staredown, though they both knew with the winds blowing, that could not last for very long.



To be continued...

Proofreading credits go to community members such as @Fobbie and others I'm not recalling right now and that I'll have to edit later on for completeness. Thanks also to @Joshthewriter as well for the allowance and conformance checks on refering to their Legends: Sinjoh material.
 
Act Ⅲ

Venia Silente

For your ills, I prescribe a cat.
Apologies for the delays but it's all for the better, as once the fourth and final Act is published it all will fall into a happy coincidence.

In the meantime though, more story!




Act Ⅲ​

Darkness covered the crossing, whatever was going on in the outside world was a mystery for the Hydreigon and Foongus under the dome of darkness. The most they could see of it were the random lightning bolts here and there that the darkness unleashed.

Not that Gamañel cared that much right then. He had just avoided death by dragonfire, although at a cost.

"You just made me have a work accident," he spat at the comparatively gigantic Hydreigon. "And my insurance plan expires next March."[sup][ref][/sup]
[ref]The 3DS Nintendo eShop closes in March 2023, presumably also ending service for Gates's DLC shop.​

The Hydreigon — or rather, this Hydreigon-imitation, silverish and faintly luminous wrapping over nothingness that Gamañel would rather mistake for a giant chess piece, were its movements not so lifelike and hungry — circled and floated around the cart, looking down at its sides, and came to rest a few steps away from where Gamañel had fallen from his previous leap. The two Pokemon then looked at the completely intact cart in silence.

"For the record," the Foongus spat after a moment, "all that's happened from this 'accident' is not my fault."

The Hydreigon-imitation stopped her self-recrimination between her heads; the central head turned down at Gamañel but avoided making direct eye contact.

"It is a limitation upon my actions," mumbled the Hydreigon-being, "as I am only projecting my form here."

The Foongus carefully hopped back up on his cart and waved his arms for the Hydreigon's attention. "Is that so? Then you should take care of more important business, Erish," he said, assuming a more thoughtful posture, "Listen, as of recently I've got a Tepig customer who's been dying to meet you."

The Hydreigon-apparition tensed up and her luminous eyes opened wide. "Dying?" she asked in a tone half fearful, half demanding.

Gamañel opened his mouth... and for a moment found himself at a lack of words, limiting himself only to a groan. Remembering the dragoness was not used to some idioms, he narrowed his eyes for a moment and sorted out his thoughts. "Er... bad choice of words," he finally answered, unsure if he was reading the dragoness' expressions any well.

"He's safe in town, then?" the dragoness inquired.

Gamañel's mind momentarily wandered into a repeat reel of all the various misadventures he had seen the Tepig and his little band of losers go through. Lost children, thieves, kidnappers, outlaws, myths; at least Feremiz's team was no stranger to any kind of job offering, albeit with varied degrees of success. And while he couldn't be around to see it in person, he knew from hearing La Signorina talk that every once in a while the team would be brought back to Quagsire's stand by some travellers or even by some other team that had received a rescue notice.

"«Safe» is not the word I'd use," Gamañel explained in the end, adding a wave of a hand. "He and his little party of dweebs had an accident while trying to reach the Redlands, another while helping rescue the Umbreon researcher, and thenanother one two days ago, while exploring Kilionea,"[sup][ref1][/sup][sup][ref2][/sup] he explained. "I heard from Quagsire it wasn't even lunch time when Feremiz and his team were brought in to his stand in a cart pulled by Puruglys, who then tried to extort payment from him for that 'service'."
[ref1]The team explored the road to the Redlands
previously on Where We Live and Work.
[ref2]In a normal game run Kilionea opens up a plot flag.​

The dragon-apparition fussed about for a moment. As Gamañel eyed her up with hidden curiosity, the thought occurred to him that passing along news of the Tepig's misadventures might be a handy way for him to lead the luminous dragoness away from this unwelcome encounter.

The darkened dome flashed briefly around them, and the Hydreigon-apparition shook her heads. She hovered idly around the cart, brooding for a moment. Gamañel could only assume she was trying to find a shortcut around the limits the luminous avatar imposed upon her visit. As inconvenient for him as it was, it left him assured that the manifestation of the alternate gates was surely a matter that deserved attention from the "higher-ups".

"Look," Gamañel offered amicably, "it's not like you can do much in your... current state."

The form of the dragoness straightened up; her tail and neck swished around and the creature held a firm glare on Gamañel.

"You—" she hissed.

"Now now, I assure you I have these matters under control... more or less." The Foongus straightened himself and made sure to try and look about as sincere as he could, considering that this once he was genuinely trying to be. "I was already heading off to dispose of these embroideries anyway."

The mock-Hydreigon suddenly stopped and craned her two arm-heads; she inched up close to the Foongus, sniffing him, growling at him softly.

"What is what you seek?" the heads asked him.

Gamañel thought about the situation for a moment, and planted himself firmly on top of his wares.

"Simple. How about you do worry about your own job, and I do mine," he offered.

The dragoness grinned. Perhaps she could, somehow, sense how far away Gamañel wanted to be right now. And as if allured by the idea of the Foongus going so far as to do her job for her, and seeing where it all would lead, the dragoness lowered her head and glowered down at him, baring her clean, blue-ish fangs as a challenge. "I know what your business is, so what is mine?"

"You've put lots of time into bringing those “Pokémon” in yet you've not been able to meet most of them, so maybe you ought to be around when that Tepig comes asking." Gamañel narrowed his eyes in contemplation. "You can lodge somewhere nearby in the me— wait, yeah!"

Assured he had finally found a way to get the Hydreigon off his back, the Foongus waved his hands happily as he explained his idea.

"How about you move to the Jaws? It's currently unoccupied, you can even spend some time at your darling's..."[sup'][ref][/sup] He watched as the Hydreigon's form seemed to wilfully melt into nonexistence, as if admitting she really preferred to be elsewhere.
[ref]The Jaws of the Abyss, a dungeon location in the
postgame of Gates that does not have a boss fight.​

The imitation resumed her solid form and gave a pitiful shake of her main head, the other two languishing about as if commiserating.

Gamañel pressed on. "Not a bad plan, isn't it...? How's 'Gungi' doing, anyway?"

The Hydreigon apparition raised her head at the mention of the name. She briefly checked her own body, even if it was a falsehood, with her arm heads for a moment, as if wanting to make sure she was well materialized and presentable. Her eyes shone blue like her fangs; she tilted her head left and one of her arm heads pointed Gamañel to the near end of the bridge.

"Girŋ·neryá (JIR·ng·ner·YAH) is coming as well," she spat with a tint of mockery in her voice, "you can ask him yourself."

"He is—"

Gamañel's heart skipped a beat, he blurted something out then hopped in place; repeating the Hydreigon's message to himself to make sure he had heard it correctly. He turned around and followed the arm head's gaze, hoping against hope that the Hydreigon-apparition had just been teasing him.

At once his eyes tracked the the winds coming down to the ground the other side of the bridge, and assembling into a silverish form. Hollow at first, it quickly filled with light and substance and presence, distinguishing itself from the ethereal glow and sound around as it promptly took the more solid form of a large dragon Pokémon — even if still noticeably smaller than the Hydreigon's avatar — with two legs and two arms all fully covered in gray light.

The new creature took probing steps on two legs, and with each step those legs sprouted covers made of chains of hooked oval scales; then more scale chains sprouted on his arms, then on his chest and —to Gamañel' audibly gulped 's gulping dread — a set of four on the previously featureless tail that turned into a baleful Kommo-o club clanging and rattling its threats.

Whatever confidence Gamañel had built up on his attempt to get the Hydreigon to just leave him be, promptly vanished.

The Kommo‑o apparition approached menacingly as it took the more familiar form, so lifelike outside of some specific details here and there such as a couple of reversed bladescale chains on the arms. He seemed to loosen up as he passed the bridge and reached the small clearing where the cart was parked. The new dragon first eyed Gamañel and then the cart. He lingered for a moment, then let out an amused snarl as he noticed the carpet covering Gamañel's burned wares.

The Kommo-o turned his head at Gamañel and inched a bit closer, clanging the scales on his crown.

"Gamañel," he greeted in a tone that the Foongus supposed was intended to be friendly... yet was everything but.

"G-Girŋ·neryá, hey," the Foongus answered curtly, in a tone that he expected to come off as self-assured... yet was everything but.

The Kommo-o apparition turned then to the Hydreigon-apparition, craning his head up to look up at her for a moment, then bowed to her in greeting, arms spread to the sides.

"Eriš·keryá (Eh·RISH·kher·YAH) beloved," he greeted, "our connection here abates."

The Hydreigon-apparition gave a solemn nod back and flew to the cart, settling herself on the ground right ahead of it, all the while her mate tracking her dutifully. She unfurled her wings and made a gesture of pointing to the whole of the cart, as if wanting to surround it from all angles. "I need to make sure this matter gets settled, Girng."

The new dragon-being nodded in acknowledgement and eyed Gamañel and his cart. "Here I thought this was a matter about the humans crossing over that have been happening lately. Let us see..."

The Kommo-o figure then raised a foot and brushed the cart, in clear gesture to topple it and spread its contents; yet he stopped short of doing so, eyeing Gamañel's ever so slightly shaking form standing on top of it.

The dragon held his foot claw barely pressed against the cart, and pointed an arm at the Foongus' cap. "Do you still struggle with saying my name?" he teased with a draconic, bare-fanged grin.

Gamañel hopped on his post and looked away. "Seriously? Give people a break. Late Uruk era script is so out of vogue," he complained, in an openly judgmental tone before he could notice.

The Kommo-o apparition lowered his foot and looked up the sky dome for a while, with Gamañel echoing the motion.

Gamañel heard the Kommo-o apparition snicker and rattle his crown, and Gamañel assumed his oblique jab at the dragon's age had not gone unnoticed. He ventured a distraction. "I-I mean, is it really so unreasonable? Even the Nintendo Switch won't render extended Latin script fully, and I'm counting the Folder Update."

To Gamañel's surprise, "Gungi" drew his claw and relaxed his posture, resting his tail on the ground and dedicating a moment to scratch his arms against it. "And you thought such hurdles would keep me away, I wager? But this matter is important, see."

Gamañel frowned. He kept some thoughts to himself. «This is so not fair,» Gamañel demanded to whatever deity could hear him. «Kommo-o is not even a Generation 5 Pokémon... All of this is so out of bounds!»

Gamañel gulped and collected whatever bit of that confidence he had a minute ago. He hopped about and pointed to Erish. "And I've been telling Erish that I'm taking care of it. Look at her? Voice of Life or not, she is in no condition to—"

The Kommo-o raised a claw and added a very brief growl to silence Gamañel's complaint. He turned to the Hydreigon and grunted something in dragon-tongue; for an answer Erish gave an exasperated growl back for an answer and held her gaze upon the Kommo-o for a moment.

Girŋ·neryá hunched over and carefully approached Erish, growling softly and looking up at her. He held a claw up as if asking for permission, which with a marked crane of one of her arm heads she granted. The two dragon-avatars then circled around each other with guiding, purposeful steps, brushing and sniffing and pecking at each other's otherwise illusory feathers and scales for assurance.

Gamañel shrugged at the scene; he knew those dragon-tongue messages they had for each other were not for his ear to comprehend, so he pretended that the hissing winds were enough to drown them out and turned to look away at the encroaching, yet slowly dissipating dome of thunder and darkness.

«Figures...» the Foongus thought, complaining mostly to himself. «They all sappy and then they complain they are in a hurry...»

Not a moment after, the ruffling of feather and the clanging of scales stopped, and before Gamañel could turn around, he saw a faint shadow cover him. He sighed and slowly turned around only to see Girŋ·neryá towering above him and looking down at him; he looked past the dragon and could see the Hydreigon female hovering back at her place.

Gamañel looked up at the Kommo-o. The dragon tilted his head in reply, tapped the cart a few times with a foot and lifted a hand.

"Eriš·keryá beloved says she's healthy but..." the Kommo-o indicated in an unamused tone patently betrayed by his obviously content make-out grin, "insists that you have recently bitten more than you could chew..."

The Kommo-o craned his head lower to about Gamañel's level, letting his crown rattle, and he narrowed his luminiscent eyes at the Foongus. "Trader." He breathed out the word slowly and let his jaw hang open, giving Gamañel a full display of his fangs and the void they led into.

Gamañel knew he was small in the world, but still he felt his heart shrink further at the image. It took him a moment to recover composure and when he did he harrumphed at the emphasis on the last word. He looked past the Kommo-o apparition and locked eyes with the Hydreigon-apparition. The two of them traded eye-daggers for a few seconds, but in the end the Foongus sighed and returned his attention to his cart.

The Foongus sighed. "Well then..."

He hopped aside and carefully removed the covering over the cart, allowing the Kommo-o to inspect the charred remains of his tapestries. "I did not wake up today seeking trouble," he explained. "Trouble found me, not to mention a few others. And we three all know, those world passages are dangerous."

'Girng' grabbed one tapestry and tried to inspect it. He eyed the patterns, keeping his eyes narrowed as if trying to understand them. He discarded it and went for another, he grabbed it and sniffed the fabric, reacting with a brief gesture of revulsion, and then morosely traced it with a claw.

"We can sense they are dangerous," the Kommo-o conceded, "thus it is fortunate I came. Erish beloved regards this side matter as something to be dealt with today. Immediately." He stressed that last word with a clanging of his arm scales.

"Side matter?"

Gamañel blinked a couple times. He knew the Voice of Life had spent a few years researching a latent threat. It wasn't the usual affairs with meteors falling or rampaging time gods either; even he did not bother paying attention to those kinds of issues since they did not seem to merit a DLC shop.

But was the dragoness' task so big, that multiversal breakage would be considered a "side matter"?

"So... what is this costing you two?" He asked, facing the Hydreigon. "You are occupied with another subject."

Erish stepped around the cart. The Hydreigon had been digging info about this particular threat for about as long as Gamañel had been working his own business. Now, it seemed to him, she finally seemed sluggish and tired. "I feared this would be tied to the Rancor Worm," she spoke, "so I... spent my energy hoping I would come for the final battle."

The Foongus stared at the Hydreigon accusingly. "Well, it seems that was not the case."

She bitterly flicked her tongue. "I'm unsure if to feel happy or sad about that."

Gamañel frowned at the mention of the certain threat. He fumbled trying to approach the subject; it was certainly not one of his favourites. "The 'Rancor Worm'? That what you call...?"

Erish's form lost colour and wavered for a moment, and upon returning to reality she seemed to be more distraught and tired. In the corner of her otherwise blue eye, Gamañel could see for a moment a twitching movement. A heavy form of uneasiness, perhaps even dread.

Girng for his part gave a brief, worried look at the dragoness, then turned to Gamañel.

"A parasitic weapon planted in this world, yes," he explained. He pointed to some direction which, relative to the nearby bridge, Gamañel assumed was the north. "Stop me if this sounds familiar: people look drained and more apathetic every passing day. They lack willpower, and thus they lack power. They ignore each other and themselves, as if they would disappear..."

Gamañel tensed up. The description did indeed sound familiar to him, and for a moment his mind pulled a tally of customers no longer available to the forefront, one that the Foongus had to make an effort to make go away.

The Kommo-o seemed to sense Gamañel's uneasiness and huffed. "And once they don't care to fight back, they're made to disappear." He stressed that last part with a rattling of his arm scales.

Gamañel growled. His favourite clients certainly tended to disappear. To no one's care or notice as of late.

The drake could read Gamañel's discomfort quite clearly, he inched closer to the Foongus and leaned his head down besides him.

"You know of this hidden force too, trader?"

Gamañel shuddered. "I've only heard some concerns... I mostly go on about my business."

Erish behind the duo let out an angry snarl, and bared her fangs at the Foongus. "As if," she muttered.

Gamañel shot an angered look at the dragoness' callout, and would have made motion to go face her off; as soon as he noticed though he tried to regain his composure in front of the Kommo-o companion she had brought. He was already tired of the male dragon making him feel small and weak.

Girng for his part swung about his tail and tilted his head. He seemed to be pleased with Gamañel's failure to keep face. "So you merrily ignore that your best clients flatly disappear, trader?" Girŋ·neryá teased, adding a snort. "It's not just any death that they meet."

Erish snarled at Gamañel, even as her form seemed to once again fade out of existence for a moment. "Not like that costs you!"

As she spoke, lightning broke out up in the dome overhead.

Gamañel breathed hard. He knew exactly what had the dragoness involved herself with, for it was the source of Gamañel's own clientèle. "Say what?" He snapped back at her, waving his little arms in her direction. "The 'Bittercold' was your issue to handle in the first place."

The dragoness lifted into the air, violet strands of energy swirled around her, chasing her as she let out a thunderous roar; the summoned energy tried to reach her as she floated closer to the cart, but ended up bursting out into aimlessly wandering energy. Gamañel shuddered in his place as the angered creature approached.

"We are fighting this," Erish shouted, as she noticed the violet energy fade away. Her arm heads frowned. "And a constant fight it is."

The wind grew a bit stronger, the light under the dome a bit dimmer. Gamañel held his ground even as the shadow of the larger dragoness towered above him, even if it was technically an apparition. He didn't like what Erish was implying, considering one of the side effects was how long has Gamañel's business in this world lasted.

He scoffed in defiance. "T-this month will be what, ten years, of you... t-throwing bodies at the problem?"[sup][ref][/sup]
[ref] Gates to Infinity was first released on Nov. 2012.​

Girng raised an eyebrow and stepped aside, carefully walking around the cart to place himself on the side opposite from Erish. The dragoness meanwhile breathed in and out hard in front of Gamañel, her arm heads craning about and making patent desire to want to grab and crunch the Foongus for speaking out of turn.

"The people—" The dragoness's form briefly became less solid, less opaque; she had to visibly rein in her anger in order to retain her presence in the meeting, as more lightning bolts struck around.

"The strategy that works is summoning those people," she offered as a counter. She hissed at the Foongus. "We work to save this world, we don't make a profit out of its death."

Gamañel figuratively arqued his brows, and pointed at the dragoness with one of his arms.

"What you don't like is that I can offer the humans actual help in this unfair deal," Gamañel spat back at her.

The Foongus and the Hydreigon held murderous glares at each other for a while. Thunder boomed and the two Pokémon blinked as they thought they had heard a voice in the thunder.

"Hey!"

Gamañel and Erish turned to the other side of the cart where they saw Girŋ·neryá holding one of Gamañel's tapestries, rubbing it against the frame of the cart. The Kommo-o looked at his two interlocutors and let out a sardonic smile.

"If you darlings wish to waste your limited time bickering over an ongoing plan, just do so." He then held the tapestry up and crumpled it in his paw, licking his tongue all the while. "I'm here for these, and the death they bring."

Whiteish energy flashed for a moment in the male dragon's hand. When he opened it, the dust that once was a broken tapestry vanished into the winds.





There's only one part pending... stay tuned, for an accidental Gates to Infinity 10th Anniversary story!
 
Act Ⅳ New

Venia Silente

For your ills, I prescribe a cat.
Alright, here it is! The conclusion to the mushroom story! The fourth and final act in the preservation of a world, just in time as we reasonably fall within an anniversary milestone. More shall be explained in the end, but for now, carry on as chad fanfiction enjoyer.




Act Ⅳ​



The wind within the dome grew stronger, the light dimming slowly. Gamañel’s annoyance at the visiting dragons’ insistence also grew moment by moment as he pointed his stubby little arm at Girŋ·neryá with a sort of pleading gesture.

“Hey! From a legal standpoint, those are mine!”

The Kommo-o flicked his tongue, then he stared Gamañel down from the corner of his luminous eye. “So, you take responsibility for these invasions?”

Gamañel visibly shrank back. “U-uh, well, I don’t mean it like that…”

The male dragon tore through the tapestry with his claws fpr a response, and then crushed the pieces in one of his hands until they burst into light. The dragon enjoyed the brief spectacle, bat his tail on the ground, and then reached for Gamañel’s cart with his free hand.

Gamañel waved his little arms, pleading with the dragon that had somehow burned up the already burnt embroideries into little more than dust and specks of whiteish ash.

“No! Not my garbages!”

All that Girŋ·neryá did in response was to open his palm, letting the growing winds scatter away what little remained of the tapestry. As everyone else stared dumbfounded, the Kommo-o simply reached besides Gamañel, picked up another parchment and repeated his procedure of crushing it and igniting it in white light.

Gamañel blinked at the spectacle. He admittedly didn’t know the portals could do that. He hopped. “I was using those!”

“Unlikely,” the dragon bluntly responded, accompanied of a wave of his hand to let the winds disperse yet another pile of whiteish dust.

Suddenly Eriš·keryá flew closer and came to stop besides Gamañel and his cart, eyeing her Kommo-o consort curiously. “How did you even get that to work? I was not able to,” she asked, craning her head.

The Kommo-o looked around, fixating his eyes on the top of the dome for a moment before turning to Gamañel and Erish.

“I’m as pleasantly surprised as you are,” he answered with a smile, dutifully ignoring the Foongus’s scowl. “Usually the authority imbued to me in this world allows me to destroy people, specifically.”

“Such is my luck,” fumed the Foongus under his breath, quietly wishing that the winds could just carry his draconic company away as well.

Eriš·keryá however seemed to pick up on the Foongus’s growing discomfort. One of her heads craned down to his level and gave a sort of disappointed shake of head at him.

“As it should be,” she reprimanded him.

“There you go again?” Gamañel yelled. He looked up at the dragoness and confronted her. “Big talk coming from you!”

A lightning bolt struck somewhere nearby. Neither the dragoness nor the mushroom Pokémon noticed, in their bickering, that the swirls of dust and wind that emerged from the spot and died before they could fully form themselves into a solid being.

Girŋ·neryá listened as the two feuded with and chided each other, their points made in accordance with the growing winds. The male dragon looked past the cart and to the world around him, and noticed that the winds were not only growing stronger and the lightning bolts more frequent, but the very edges of the dome were receding, ever so slowly.

The Kommo-o looked up for a moment, to the slowly dimming dome, and then turned to his right just in time to notice a bolt hitting a boulder past the creek.

A column of dust emerged from the point of impact. Furiously it swirled about, trying to fight against the winds, to stick to the ground; but like the others before it, it soon was vanquished and joined into the chorus of the gale, scattered into nothingness.

Girng raised a brow. He was sure their present situation was not going to last much longer.

“—Aaaaahh!”

“Wh-what’s going on?”

Girng felt a pang in his otherwise false, synthetic heart. He turned back to the cart and saw Erish’s body losing opacity, her wings even graying out and becoming all but completely transparent for a moment.

Gamañel stepped back, shaking. “I-is that you? Or is it this place?”

The dragoness looked at her arm heads. Shivering, she dropped to the ground. “My time here runs out faster than I expected.”

Gamañel seemed to realize that the dome was involved as well, and took a quick look around. “Does than mean-?”

The three looked around as the gale grew on the outer sections of the dome, slowly becoming a storm. Girng stiffened up and rattled his scales to call the other two to attention. “Whatever drained more of beloved’s power, her presence here is fading.” He pointed out the creek. “And with it, the dimensional bubble that she’s cast over this region. Look.”

The other two followed his direction, and they saw the various ghostly creatures attempting to form into their reality, from fallen bark pieces or from the dust. None lasted more than a few seconds, yet there were more and more by the minute.

The sight seemed to spur Erish back into action, her form even becoming more solid once again — if for a moment.

“Girŋ·neryá, you have to see this done, now!” she roared, pointing to Gamañel’s cart.

“H-hey!” Gamañel yelled at the dragoness while moving closer to the Kommo-o, using him as a makeshift shield against the winds. “Just because you’re losing you can’t just try and get medone to break even!”

The dragoness’s arm heads both growled at the Foongus. “At least I try to get things done, unlike you!”

Girŋ·neryá let out a scolding growl at both of them, bat his tail on the ground. “You two bicker, and two threats grow stronger as you speak.”

That seemed to faze Eriš·keryá enough that she lowered her arm heads and remained silent for a moment, if still tense. For his part, Gamañel fumed for a moment trying to find a way to talk his way out of his current predicament, something that grew more and more difficult as the winds grew also stronger and started pushing him around.

The Kommo-o seemed to notice, and he leaned down to speak to Gamañel. “Or do you want to still be around here when this dome collapses?” he asked.

Gamañel looked the dragon up, finally rolled his eyes. “Go on,” he growled.

Looking down at the cart and at Gamañel, Girŋ·neryá seemed to ponder why he was in such a hurry. “I was watching. And listening,” he said. He pointed a claw to the cart and flicked his tongue.

“You would concede that any potential for further multiversal intromissions could disrupt this delicate situation,” he warned the Foongus. “And as compensation for interrupting your business day, I would at once clean up this one mess of yours.”

Gamañel fumbled on his position atop his wares. He pouted. “I can take care of—”

“I insist.” Girng stretched his arms and clang his scale chains in reply, stating his eagerness as patently as he could.

Gamañel remained in his place for a moment, then he let out a sigh. He unceremoniously jumped down from the his cart, accepting finally that better it was destroyed than him. Once on the dirt patch, he stepped back.

Girŋ·neryá snickered and approached the cart. Gamañel watched as the Kommo-o swept the pile of charred tapestries off the cart and onto the dirt, and circled around it. Gamañel blinked and looked up at the drake, who just looked at him back, his head slightly tilted. By their side, Erish looked down with a mixture of curiosity and impatience, as her form ever so slowly lost its opacity.

“I told you I’m here for these specifically,” Girng explained himself as he approached the pile on the ground. He turned his sights to Erish. “A more claws-on and sincere approach works wonders sometimes, beloved,” he growled with a hint of amusement.

Gamañel heard Erish grumble and he could swear that, just for a moment, the Hydreigon-apparition looked so lively and eager to just bite the Kommo-o and gobble him up. The Foongus was quick to suppress his brain’s urges to laugh at that.

Girŋ·neryá then stretched his claws and toes, and sprang upon the pile with a ferocity that surprised Gamañel; for much as Gamañel knew the dragon’s role was to be a destroyer, he had never seen him in anything even remotely resembling a fight.

The Kommo-o tore at the various pieces with sharpened claws and teeth, slashing and swiping with his talons, cutting and crushing with the clangorous movement of his hands. With every swipe, the ghostly cries of the creatures around that tried to become, accompanied the tearing sounds of the tapestries also being unmade. Gamañel watched in awe as the drake had his way with the portal to a world Gamañel had found: one where a young Eevee was willing to go to the ends of the world to become a Dragon-type Eeveelution.

Gamañel sighed bitterly: it seemed that so far with the latest Switch games, the stockholders had been as unkind to the Eevee’s dragony desires as to Gamañel’s livelihood.

Girng just carried on in his merry way, yet another tapestry bitten down to pieces and then the remains shredded by the drake’s toes as he found himself more broken portals to busy himself with.

Another tapestry, describing one of many human worlds, and one that Gamañel had eyed it earlier for the particular champion of its story; though Gamañel was not sure if such hero was to be the child who wanted to become an Aura Guardian, or the half-breed Riolu than wandered looking for a goal in life.

Oh well, Girng had just ripped and torn through the charred portal with ease. Best for Gamañel to not get attached to those potential heroes after all; they were both Doomed by Canon anyway.

Still, the dragon’s destruction continued. His rattles of finality were joined in by the happy swinging and batting of his tail club, even if the sound of this violence was somewhat diminished by the whistling winds and the cackling dust. Girng’s grasp burned every embroidery he could reach into ash, and the swings of his arms and legs cast the remaining specks off to the closing-in gales, where the specks would be whipped up luminous, ephemeral display of white.

Crudely yet methodically, Girng reduced the pile of potential portals, of potential worlds, to nothing.

Gamañel watched the spectacle in silence. He knew full well how dangerous the portals were; he figured nothing less than the power to unmake reality, even if partially, would correctly get rid of them.

By their side, Eriš·keryá shivered and groaned. Her wings draped down to give her the closest thing Gamañel could relate to a defeated appearance — yet he was sure by now that was far removed from the truth.

The dragoness tried to float up, but after two attempts she unceremoniously flopped on the ground. She lay there for a moment, silently mourning as her remote body finally started dissipating.

“I really want to help. I do. But now I’m afraid I can’t.”

Girŋ·neryá turned to Gamañel and rested a hand besides the mushroom Pokémon. “Beloved was truly afraid that this could be the final day. As she said, she put much of her power to show up here.”

The dragoness closed her luminous eyes. Without their light, her body seemed even more ghostly now. “I brought the others, they were my responsibility, true,” she said; “but I can’t do much for them until I’m free from the Worldcore. Girng can only kill them. I couldn’t save them. No one could.”

Gamañel tried to speak, but for a moment nothing came. He let out a disgruntled huff, thinking of those good clients long gone, without a world to care for them. Eriš·keryá then opened her eyes, and she and Gamañel shared an uneasy glance.

As the Hydreigon’s form slowly faded away, she seemed to tense up, and made another effort to try and fully regain her form. “The Tepig,” she pleaded in a low tone. “Guide him until I can come. Soon.”

Gamañel furrowed his brow. “I don’t do charity, Erish. It is his choice to become my customer.” He instantly regretted those words, after remembering his best clients— not that he’d openly admit that.

The Hydreigon lowered her heads and grumbled in dissatisfaction. “That choice did not save the others. What you sell may be the luxury of help, Gamañel. But it can’t be salvation.”

Gamañel gave a half-hearted huff and turned away from the dragoness. He jumped down from the top of his cart to the seat, and took a look at the nearing barrier of light that marked the edge of the dome.

The Kommo-o consort noticed the souring mood and went to kneel down besides Erish and brush her left arm patiently. “His turn at the wheel of fate comes soon,” the dragon hushed.

The Hydreigon raised her arms. “But he—”

The male dragon answered in a soft voice, almost like he was singing. “The world that chose to host us may have turned cruel and its people unkind,” he grabbed carefully one of the Hydreigon’s arms, “but even if their souls are barren of dreams, their instinctual need to live will force them to persevere. Thus shall you.”

He inched a bit closer and caressed that arm’s head. “In due time, beloved shall walk him out of the desert of despair, and this world shall forestall our long-awaited reunion no more.”

Gamañel turned watched the two dragons say their goodbyes to each other as their bodies started fading and dissolving into wind; hers first and faster, although they still held their hand in each other’s. Under the buffeting winds, the lightning bolts whipping the grounds under the dome, and the growls and shrieks of tens of creatures trying to materialize, the two dragons seemed to find peace.

Gamañel certainly loved the idea of bolting out of there as soon as possible, but still, seeing Erish more relaxed, the Foongus allowed himself one moment of weakness.

“I… might have a contact on the Grass Continent that can get me access to Mount Travail…” he spat, not really thinking it through. “That would make a good special sale…” He just thought it would be sporting to respond to Erish’s last, more implied gesture of good-will with one of his own.

The two dragons turned to look at Gamañel. Erish beamed him a smile — draconic, full of blue translucent teeth but still a smile, and gave him a content nod.

Then she dissolved into silverish dust, and the growing winds instantly grew more tumultuous and carried the dust of nothingness away.

The Kommo-o let out a long growl of longing as he watched the specks of dust finally disappear. He clenched his still held hand, and stared at it for a moment.

The Foongus tilted his head. “For the record, I am glad that this intervention was not only hers. Not that I like seeing you, but.”

“I wouldn’t let her push this far alone,” the dragon said, approaching. “But as she said, she was spent, and for your safety you should go. Soon.”

It was right then that something cawed in the distance. Gamañel instantly felt his blood freeze. It was a misshapen, interrupted, sound coming from somewhere in the dome, but it was still something else trying to form within the dome.

Girŋ·neryá looked around. His sights locked on a nearby tree, where he saw a cloud of dust and cackling electricity finally managing to build a clawed hand, before it exploded into whiteish energy. He turned to Gamañel and held a stiff, serious posture. “Beloved’s presence has finally faded. The creatures that want to use this tunnel can no longer be contained.” he warned. “Only fought off by force.”

Gamañel hopped in place, noticing that the wind was strong enough that he now had to make an effort to stay standing. He got to his cart and readied to go. “I’m guessing we won’t be seeing you for a while?” he asked Girng.

The drake responded with a shake of head. “Maybe if your so-called Switch you speak of gets its upgrades. In the meantime, I trust that your little human will be alright.”

“Like I said, I don’t do charity.”

The Kommo-o sharply eyed the compartment under Gamañel’s seat. “But you would protect your business,” he answered.

Gamañel and Girŋ·neryá stared at each other for a moment. The sky dome flashed, letting in the light from the outside world, and the dragon’s body shone a bright purple light as his strength finally faltered and its rate of disintegration picked up.

The something that had cawed before, let out a shriek. And, to Gamañel’s worry, it was then accompanied by another, different one.

“Hmmmm, you’d best go,” hushed the drake. “Someone else has found out about your intromission.”

“U-uh, what are those?” the Foongus asked.

Girng pointed a claw to the top of a tree, and Gamañel followed it. Up there, the two saw a luminous cloud slowly materializing into what appeared to be a bird, with most features still fuzzy but certainly showcasing a growing, solidifying, set of claws on its wingbones.

Girng tapped his foot on the ground to call Gamañel to attention. “It seems the Balam have found their way in. They are still loyal to their orders to kill humans,” he pointed down at Gamañel, “and anyone who would give them aid.”

The drake did not even wait for Gamañel to voice any complaints. He picked the Foongus up and put him on the seat of his cart. “All those were the only gates, then?” he asked.

Gamañel huffed. “I’m a businessmon, what do you think?”

The Kommo-o eyed the compartment under cart’s seat. “That keeping a spare of anything important is good business practice. Now, get out of my sight.”

Before Gamañel could say anything else, Girŋ·neryá gave the cart a strong kick and sent it racing down the road in the general direction of the bridge. Gamañel yelled in surprise and held on to his seat for dear life as it rocketed forward, chased by the furious winds and the roars and phantoms of foreign beings trying to live.

A thing that looked like a moth tried to materialize by the road ahead, only to be blown away by a Morgrem attempting to form. Gamañel and his cart passed them quickly and the Foongus did not look behind to check on the Morgrem-being.

The dome started flashing, the lightning bolts pelting the grounds under. Gamañel could see the receding edge of the dome some distance past the bridge.

But before that, emerging from the creek, a whirlpool arose and flung the spectre of a Politoed against a tree, where it exploded into white particles and a cry of what was perhaps agony, barely distinguishable from the howling winds.

The bird-thing that was following after the cart let out a screech, much more recognizable and much closer right now. Gamañel dreaded looking back to check; for a moment, he believed he would not make it it to the other side of the creek. Instead Gamañel looked down to the creek as the cart entered the bridge, and saw the ghostly form of what appeared to be a fox Pokémon with the lower body of a snake, emerging from the whirplool and trying to claw its way up the bridge’s supports.

That distraction was all it took. Gamañel did not see it coming: a large, shining ball of green energy zipped past the cart and crashed right after the bridge, sucking in air and leaving a hole on the ground. As soon as Gamañel turned forwards to see, the cart bumped on the hole and Gamañel’s entire world spun out of control.

It took a few moments for Gamañel to fight off the pain and open his eyed. He found himself in an upside-down world, and knew at once he had to right himself up before the bird-thing or the fox-thing could catch up.

So the Foongus did, with some effort, and leaned back against a nearby tree to shield himself against the gale. His cart was stuck on the hole, but mostly undamaged. And in front of him, the bird-thing, suspended in mid-air, flapping its translucent wings and trying to fight against the gale, just so that it could reach for Gamañel.

Something then zipped right through the spectre and past Gamañel, embedding itself on the tree behind him, prompting Gamañel to cover himself. The spectre shone in white light, much like the portals that Girng had gotten rid of, and vanished into the winds.

Through his fear, the Foongus looked up the tree to find what appeared to be a luminous, blue-ish pointy scale. Gamañel blinked, then looked back at the direction the scale had come from and saw Girŋ·neryá fighting off a growing amount of wind spectres trying to form. As they tried to mob him, the dragon clutched a monkey-like apparition by the neck and exploded it into light, then swept three or four off the ground with his tail, before turning around and doing another tail sweep to bash a few other forming creatures just because.

White filled Gamañel’s eyes; he cried and shut them, fearing for a moment that he had been struck. He backed up against the tree and waited, breathing heavily.

But nothing came. Even the gale had been swallowed by the light.

Gamañel slowly opened his eyes and found himself under the tree, a solid dome of white light a few steps in front of him and slowly receding away.

His breathing slowed down, he blinked a few times. He looked around to see a few trees and rocks, and the road ahead.

He was outside.

Those scales Girng had fired had bought Gamañel precious few seconds so he could break free, and now when the Foongus let out a relieved breath and looked around, he could now see the clear, open sky and the trails past the bridge in the direction he had come from.

Other than a patch of charred soil where his crafts had been shredded before and the hole by the creek where his cart was now lying sideways, all had remained the same.

Gamañel stood up with some difficulty and got to his cart to right it uṕ. He was bruised and dirty so among the first things he did afterwards was to grab a napkin and tidy himself up a bit.

All the while in silence.

If it weren’t because of those remains and the one, potential gate he had saved from his meeting, no one ever would believe his story of what had happened today. Yet Gamañel also understood, as he composed himself to resume his way back home, there was no one to tell this kind of story to.

At least… No one here.

Gamañel checked into his bag and produced a small notebook. He quickly skimmed through it to find an unfinished grievance note he had tried to write since the incident back at the market, back when he was not so sure of what was going on.

But now he knew more, and he was sure of what was going to be lost — not just his livelihood, but the chance for his own story to reach a conclusion.

Furrowing his brows, and feeling he now had more to say on the subject, Gamañel put his little hands to the task of rewriting the grievance.

From scratch this time.

«Dear Nintendon’t,»

He fumbled somewhat as he wrote the words. The stockholders had definitively been unkind to him, and would not cease or desist to be unkind to any of the many Pokémon worlds that would exist; but until Gamañel could put any other plan forth, he would have to suck it up until March.

He stroke through a few characters on the tail end of the line and made mental note to give it a definitive polishment back home.

In the meantime, he continued to pour his thoughts.

«Regarding the RFC on the continuation of the Mystery Dungeon sub-franchise, recent events have exemplified the rationale for insisting in my previous requests to also include the possibility for bringing back old content.
«As touched upon on my Pro: Gates to Infinity remake statement form, some of my more loyal customer base have seen their adventure fatally curtailed, and the eventual cancellation of the eShop service for the 3DS may further increase the negative impact. But a number of measures may yet breathe life into a remake or upgrade. In this essay I will…»







Author Notes​


Phew. That took a bit long. Longer than expected, actually. What had been intended as a mostly comedic oneshot or a two-parter at most, grew into its own plot and its characters demanded more relevant screentime (if anyone can suggest a solution for that, I'm all ears).

But, as luck would have it, the stretching of the adventure allowed for me to hunt for quite a specific deadline, for today 2022-11-23 marks none other than the 10th Anniversary of the release of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity!

D0nZMoq.png


And Thousand Roads has the première release.

(me chasing anniversary deadlines is going to become a thing if things carry on like that)

Anyway, this story would not have been possible without bla blah blah woof woof woof, you know all the legal drill about how Nintendon't gives us more Mystery Dungeon games. We can all seethe about that. But there's also a bunch more people to give credit to. I'm likely forgetting someone or another, but I can always correct this for completeness afterwards:

  • @Spiteful Murkrow of the forum, for important amounts of proofreading and also for being one of the two entities responsible for not only giving the Voice of Life but also making him being a Kommo-o.
  • @Joshthewriter for the opportunity to build upon the whole multiverse crossover idea. This story would have been lots shorter (and more comedic, lol) without that.
  • NCH Productions' The Courtship video, the other entity responsible for giving the VoL a mate and making him be a Kommo-o.
  • The various stores of the seven seas, for continuing to provide access to good videogames and important parts of the history of the Pokémon franchise when Nintendon't.

This story also makes a number of choice references to other stories; thanks go to the various writers who have granted me the permission or even provided proofreading for a reference to their satisfaction: @Joshthewriter for a reference to "Pokémon: Legends Sinjoh", @canisaries for a reference to "Dragony", @Umbramatic for a reference to "Heroes After All"; these made it to production in this version, but thanks also go to other writers whose references did not make it to this release but will still be documented on the official wiki page.

The official wiki article is already up and will be completed with more information in time. An AO3 release is pending as well, to be completed before end of the month.

That would be all (I think), and really, I hope people enjoy this story and also that they can enjoy Gates. Honestly, I found it to be not a bad game and deserves some love.

Cheers, and happy 10ths!
 
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