• 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!

Exquisite Corpse 2020: Anything Goes

Negrek

Chill Certainty
Staff
It was a long time coming, but at last I can reveal the last of our exquisite corpses for 2020! It's the Anything Goes corpse, so anything can happen--even more so than in our other corpses. We had nine people writing for this corpse, including:

Chibi Pika
DelirousAbsol
Equitia
OldSchoolJohto
Pen
SparklingEspeon
Starlight Aurate
Tanuki
Windskull

The completed story appears below, and the author of each section is named under a spoiler tag so you can have fun trying to guess who wrote what part. Feel free to leave your comments or reactions in this thread!

Thanks to everyone who wrote for this corpse, and to everyone who joined us to read and guess the authors over Discord voice chat! I had a great time with this year's crop of corpses, and if you missed out on this set, don't worry--we'll definitely be doing this again next year!

Thousand Roads' Exquisite Corpse 2020
Anything Goes

It wasn’t an ideal situation, never was with Him. Kind of His schtick, which Nick knew better than anyone else. Indeed, Nick knew Him better than anyone else. That is to say, Nick knew nobody else any better; plenty of people knew Him better than Nick.

Nick didn’t care, though. This wasn’t about knowledge. This wasn’t about silly factoids someone read in a book, some quote from a professor, or some answer in the form of a question asked on a gameshow named after danger; this was about Truth. Not any truth of the mind, no, but Truth of the Heart.

If anyone knew that Truth, it was Nick. He clutched the bouquet tightly against his chest, inhaling its yeasty fragrance. The purest symbol of his feelings and His ideals. Nick’s heart throbbed at the scent. One hand bore the full burden of the bouquet so the other could still his sprinting heart.

His hand could only do so much, however, as the elevator up to His domain broke, forcing Nick to take the stairs. As he ascended story after story, he pondered his own. He’d heard many, told even more. Would his be one of triumph, or—

No. He needn’t even think of the alternative. The heart threatening to burst out of his chest loudly proclaimed how his story would end. His ears could hear nothing else, not that they would have if they could. Deep, though, in the darkest depths of his mind that he swore not to exist, was doubt. Could love bloom between a human and Him?

His knuckles thwacked thrice against the door, and soon after He stood at the entrance of his own studio apartment in all his flaming, white feathered, engine-assed glory. Reshiram gazed down at Nick’s sweaty, butter-chested form. Nick didn’t hesitate to make his intentions clear, holding up his symbol of Truth, Love, and True Love to the dragon of Truth: a bouquet of breadsticks from Olive Garden.

Tanuki

----​

Reshiram grimaced. “I’m sorry, but I’m not partial to breadsticks.”

Nick shuddered. “But… I thought…”

“Sorry.” Reshiram turned her back. “I’m busy. I have to be somewhere else.”

As Reshiram marched off, leaving Nick behind, the dejected necrozma lowered his wing, dropping the bouquet of breadsticks to the ground.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. His eyes flashed and a low chuckle left his throat. “If I can’t have you… no one can.”

He threw his four wings out to the side, and, with the sound of a nineties-AOL dial-up tone, glitch code expanded from his body. The world warped around him, tearing up buildings in a flurry of pixels.
Reshiram glanced back and let out a strangled gasp. She turned and bolted, weaving through the landscape as it twisted around her. She beat her wings and turned up towards the sky. A tangle of railway lines followed after her, weaving like metallic strings of DNA. The ‘bong-bong-bong’ of a railway crossing alert rang out around her, following her as she rose higher into the sky, breaching the o-zone.

Rayquaza almost dropped his tea. “Excuse me!”

“Pardon!” Reshiram zipped past him. “Coming through!”

The green snake-like dragon looked down towards the planet and his eyes widened. “What in the blazes?!”

Glitch code expanded from the planet like tentacles, snapping and whipping after Reshiram. Glistening wormholes expanded around her, dazzling as they swirled in an array of colours. Strange creatures that she could only describe as ‘not-quite-pokemon’ flowed out of them, making a bee-line for the planet.

The higher Reshiram flew, the harder it became to breathe. But there was no going back now. If she landed back on… that thing… then it might spell disaster.

A white wormhole appeared before her, and a small horned pokemon popped out to hover beside it.

“You might want to take this one, Ma’am.” The hoopa waved a paw at it and bowed.

Reshiram inclined her head on one side. There was something about this hoopa she couldn’t quite put her claw on. His grin, perhaps. Or maybe the fact he could breathe in such a low atmosphere. Either way, where he was offering her to go was probably much safer than the chaos Nick was wrecking on her home world.

“Oh well.” Reshiram tucked in her wings and her tail erupted with flames. “What have I got to lose, really?”

The white dragon rocketed towards the wormhole, and it zipped shut behind her.

“You are now on the BackDoor Expressway!” came the hoopa’s voice. “Keep your wings in at all times, and don’t touch the code!”
Reshiram cast a sideways glance at the white walls of light careening past her. Strings of binary weaved along them, occasionally glitching and flickering. Warning or not, she didn’t want to touch them. Her heart raced. The code was very similar to the stuff Nick had infected her world with. Where was she even going? Was this… a trap?

She beat her wings to turn back, but the gravitational pull was too strong. It whipped her along the wormhole, picking up speed.

“Brace yourself for impact!” said BackDoor. “System going down in three… two… one…”

Light flashed before her eyes with blinding intensity, taking over her vision. She screwed her eyes shut and opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out but static. The wormhole spat her out and fresh air filled her nostrils. The static warped into a frantic scream as she twirled in the air. She was falling, belly up, towards the ground!

A flash of blue caught her eye and she turned her head to see a gigantic wishiwashi lurching towards her. It made a sound like a car honking its horn and she beat her wings to right herself. It narrowly missed her before chugging along through the air to be lost in the atmosphere.

“What on earth was that?” she gasped.

Another wormhole opened up above her, followed by a horrid screech of static. Loud electronic clangs echoed through it, and a glowing necrozma exploded through a flash of light. She let out an ‘eek!’ and tried to pick up her pace.

Wormholes opened all around her, making the air resemble some kind of sci-fi infected swiss cheese. More of those unusual creatures flooded out from them, their bodies warped and twisted with glitch code. It spread out to the world around her, twisting the clouds, trees, land…

Reshiram screamed and turned to fly upwards again, searching for the one she’d come from.

Something erupted from a wormhole beside her in a flurry of crimson feathers, and crashed into her side. Talons fastened around her wing, and she found herself dragged unceremoniously into a shimmering white wormhole. Nick dashed up behind her and lashed out with his claws, snagging the end of her tail.

“Not so fast!” he hissed.

The pokemon that had grabbed her flapped his crimson wings and squawked. She fixed one eye on the odd watch around his scaly ankle, the wormhole he was trying to drag her to, the red feathers that fluttered off his body with surprise. Then she let her tail flare into life, eliciting a scream of fury from the glowing dragon. Nick released her, and Reshiram righted herself in the air before following the talonflame into yet another wormhole.

Binary code streamed past them, clean and free from glitch code. Reshiram turned her head to address her rescuer and smiled.

“Thanks,” she said.

He gave a small nod.

“I’ve no idea where I am,” she explained.

“You’re not meant to be here,” he answered. “Somehow, you’ve crossed over into another universe.”

“Oh?” She quirked an eyebrow.

“Through Ultra Space.” The talonflame turned his head towards her. “You had no idea?”

Reshiram shook her head. “No. I just… I was trying to escape that… Necrozma. And a hoopa offered me a wormhole to escape.”

The talonflame clenched his beak. “Well. I guess we need to find you your way back home.”

Reshiram’s head feathers drooped. “I don’t think that’s an option anymore. He… I think he destroyed my world.”

“He destroyed it?”

“He did something to it. Warped it somehow.”

“That sound more like Distortion’s game than a necrozma.”

Reshiram blinked with confusion.

“Perhaps he’s no ordinary necrozma.” The talonflame gave her a smile. “Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out. The names Switch. You?”

“I just go by Reshiram.”

“Well, you’ll need a name where I’m taking you. Pokemon don’t refer to themselves by species.”

Reshiram looked confused and looked back at her blazing tail.

“How about Turbo?” Switch offered.

She grinned. “Okay! I think I can rock that name for a while.”

Switch returned her grin then tucked in his feathers. “We’re almost there! Follow me.”

He lead her towards a glistening blue wormhole that had opened up ahead of them. It accepted them quite happily.

‘Welcome to the Dimensional Gateway Offices. We look forward to serving you shortly.’

“Rather polite wormhole,” said Resh… I mean… Turbo.

“Quite.” Switch landed beside her on a welcome mat and wiped his claws.

Turbo watched him curiously.

“Manners,” he told her.

Turbo copied him and followed as he waddled through a tall, wide doorway. Reshiram let out a squeak of surprise as a lanky figure flopped into view before her.

“Please take a number.” It held out a limb like a cable, and a small red ticket popped out of a device held in its wiry claws.

Switch raised his talons, but he didn’t take the ticket. Instead, he pushed a button on his watch and his body morphed into that of a human. He thanked the strange creature and took the ticket in his
human hand.

Turbo stammered and took a step back, but he motioned for her to follow him.

“What a weird place,” she muttered as she shuffled past the cable-like creature. It ducked its spiky head in a bow and wished her a good day.

“Xurkitree,” Switch explained. “This place is run almost entirely by Ultra Beasts.”

Everywhere Turbo looked there were more of those strange creatures. Xurkitree took the coats of humans who had wandered in. Ones that looked like origami offered drinks. ‘Kartana’, Switch called them. One of them lead them into a waiting room where pokemon of all shapes and sizes, and humans of all races, sat and waited patiently.

Behind a counter sat several jellyfish-like creatures she soon learned were called nihilego. Turbo took up most of a bench and sat patiently. At the far side of the room was an odd creature - pokemon or Ultra Beast? - that was quite chimeric in appearance. It stretched out a hairy leg and began to groom it. Although it seemed oblivious to the huge helmet on its head that made the task impossible. After a short while it seemed to discover it was there and promptly bashed it against the tiled wall.

“Oi!” A zeraora poked her head out of a door marked ‘No Entry.’ “How many times I gotta tell ya to cut that out?”

The odd creature barked at her and turned its back to promptly groom its tail fin.

Turbo didn’t know how long she watched that strange creature for. She also lost track of how often the zeraora came out to scold it.

“Number Eighty Nine?” The voice was quite bubbly and seemed to project itself into the heads of everyone in the waiting room.

“That’s us!”

Turbo rose to follow Switch to the counter. The nihilego tapped at a holographic keyboard with a pair of tentacles.

“You’re lost in Ultra Space?” She raised her eye-less head towards Turbo.

The reshiram nodded. “Apparently. I’m not quite sure how it happened.”

“It happens more than one might think. Which world are you from?”

Turbo shrugged. “I’m from the Unova region.”

“My search brings up seven hundred and forty eight Unova regions.”

Turbo sat down quite heavily.

“Oi!” The zeraora glared at her from the door marked ‘No Entry’. “Watch the tiles, yo!”

The nihilego shrugged her tentacles. “Shall I pick one at random?”

Turbo scratched her head as she mulled over her options. She had a lot of friends. If she just went anywhere, she might never see them again.

But was her home even still there?

She let out a sigh. She needed to get away from Nick whatever the situation. Maybe she could… go to Switch’s world? She looked up at the human-formerly-talonflame and gave him the saddest puppy-look a
reshiram could muster.

“Don’t do that,” he said, blushing slightly and looking away. “I’ve lost too many biscuits that way.”

Turbo sighed again and turned back to the nihilego. “Are any of those Unova regions listed as ‘destroyed’?”

The nihilego tapped away at her keys. “Twenty five are listed as ‘destroyed’.”

“Perhaps mine was one of them?” Turbo choked back a sob. “What do I do, Switch?”

The human ran a hand through his untidy brown hair and leant his hip against the counter. “I don’t think we have many options. We could send you to one of those Unova regions, but they might already
have a reshiram just like you.”

“Or a complete mirror version of you,” offered the nihilego. “It’s a risk those lost in Ultra Space often have to deal with.”

“And what if they already have a me?” Turbo asked.

“Then… the Unova region will either implode, explode, du-plode, or you’ll get absorbed into your doppelganger.”

Turbo didn’t even want to know what ‘du-plode’ meant.

“We can offer you a place in a random universe, if that helps?” the nihilego offered.

“This doesn’t seem like a very efficient Gateway Office,” said Turbo.

“We do our best,” said the nihilego beside her with some offense.

Switch placed a hand on Turbo’s wing. “Come with me, then. We’ll sort something out. Perhaps we’ll be able to find a way back to your universe?”

“No.” Turbo pushed herself up. “I’ll take the risk. I’ll go to one of the Unova regions and see what happens.”

“Very well.” The nihilego tapped away again. “Any preference?”

“Two.”

“Number two it is.” The barrier beside the desk popped up and the nihilego motioned for Turbo to follow her.

The reshiram shuffled through with Switch in tow. The nihilego lead them towards a huge twirling golden ring at the back of the office.

“I’m having Sega vibes,” said Switch.

Turbo jerked her head back towards him. “Huh?”

He waved a hand. “Nothing.”

The nihilego typed something into the holo-computer beside it, and the ring began to spin faster. It warped out into a huge wormhole that flickered with various colours before settling on green.

“This will take you to Unova Number Two,” said the nihilego.

Turbo looked back at Switch and gave him a nod. “Thank you for your help.”

“Any time.” He placed his hands in his pockets and gave her a fond smile. “I hope you find your home.”

She turned back to the wormhole and grimaced. “So do I.”

With that, she shuffled inside. The gravity whipped her along at a mile a minute. Binary swirled around her, its lack of glitches a constant comfort.

It seemed to drag her along forever, and she found herself watching the windows that passed by. They reminded her of movie tape, each one showcasing an event that had happened in the universes she
passed. She didn’t recall seeing those in the other wormholes.

The walls began to flash and flicker, and the code morphed into something unintelligible. Her heart pounded and she faltered, but the gravity kept dragging her along regardless. A strange sound reached her ears. Static. Growing louder and louder until it became a deafening screech. Then there was the sound of breaking glass.

The walls of the wormhole shattered, bringing Turbo to a sudden stop. Glowing, yellow wings expanded out before her, and she found herself face to face with Nick. Only it didn’t look like Nick. Something was wrong with his face. It glitched and flickered, not settling on an expression, or the face she was familiar with. Sometimes it looked like a black prism. Others, a reshiram. Others a kyruem.

“What do you want with me?” she hissed.

Nick lowered his head to look at her. “What do I want? I want to keep you.”

“But you can’t have me!” Turbo barked. “Leave me alone! I want to go home!”

Nick chuckled and beat his four wings, rising slightly higher into the air. “Home? There is no home. I destroyed it. Your only choice is to come with me.”

Turbo shook her head. “I don’t want to come with you. I don’t even know who you are any more!”

The necrozma… or whatever it was… grinned wickedly. “Oh… you know me. I am Missingno, Destroyer of Worlds!”

With that, he gave a twisted, static cry, and binary fluttered from his four wings, forming black crystals in the air while the reshiram watched in horror.

DeliriousAbsol

----​

Too late, she sprung into action. The furnace in her chest lit; she spat gulp after gulp of flame against the black crystals swarming the sky. But for every crystal she incinerated another two formed. The sky was a sleek, shifting matrix now. The stars had vanished.

Panting, the reshiram looked down to see crystals beginning to solidify around her own body. They twined around her legs and wings, forming into a thick, dark chrysalis. It climbed up her neck, over her mouth, her eyes. She saw and knew nothing more.

One thing became another thing. This process occurred several hundred thousand times, but it also happened more quickly than a blink.

Missingno awoke.

He hovered in place, aware that something was different, but unable to determine what. His head. It didn’t hurt. The eternal migraine that screamed wrongwrongwrong against his mind until he almost began to wish he didn’t exist . . . had ceased. He felt light, airy, unshackled. Vision slowly returned, but no rush of ugly, unrelenting color blinded him. Opposite was a wall, constructed of gently oscillating black and white bars. He floated outside the structure, and was met with blank white terrain. In the distance, two missingno were flying upside down. When they saw him, they flipped themselves upright and said, “Greetings, Lord.”

What . . . what is this place? The information was waiting ready in his mind as soon as the question occurred to him. This was his world. He had made it, shaped it in his own image. It was perfect. Here, he was perfect. Not a monstrosity, a mistake, or a corruption of some arbitrary norm. Here, he belonged.

Giddy, Lord Missingno began to make a slow circuit of the place that might once have been called a town. Occasional black-and-white structures sprang out of the whiteness, fizzing and humming. Missingno floated on the multi-directional wind, their forms shifting from moment to moment. He reveled in the glorious, chaotic grayscale.

Hang on. What’s that?

There was red. Like a wound, the red gaped and bled over the beautiful black and white roof. Lord Missingno stared. A Memory. Yes. The world was still trying to fight back, trying to meld into its old form. That couldn’t be allowed.

At his cry, missingno poured from the white nothing and ringed around the advancing red. Black binary swirled between them. Where it met the red there was a high, tinny ring, and the air rippled. They were winning. The black swallowed the red until no trace of it could be seen.

“You’ve done well,” Lord Missingno murmured. At his words, they dispersed—all but one, who remained, staring up at the place the red had been. Lord Missingno floated over to them.

“What’s troubling you?”

“I am thinking about truth and order,” the missingno replied. “The world surely strives towards these principles.”

“Truth is flux,” Lord Missingno answered. “There is no principle here but my own.”

“I disagree.”

“That’s impossible. You are made in my image. There can be nothing that you think which I have not thought.”

“But I am not you. I am—” The missingno’s face distorted with concentration. It said, very carefully, “I am 643ReRAM.”

Lord Missigno squinted. Now that he was looking for it, he could see how the fuzz of the missingno’s body was fluxing into the shape of a white creature with broad-spreading wings. Another Memory, but localized. Festering the mind of one of his creations.

“Listen closely, ReRAM,” Lord Missingno said sternly to the missingno that has once been Reshiram. “I made this world in my image. It has no order except me. No truth except me. I am the sole principle by which it exists. If you oppose that principle, you become this world’s enemy. What do you say to that?”

Pen

----​

He couldn’t think of a way to answer this question. He didn’t want to become an enemy to the world—but he couldn’t compromise his principles. What was there left to do? Why stay in the world at all? If his only options were two unchoosable choices, why not just escape from the harsh reality of life altogether?

He walked down the lonely dirt road, his mind slowly mulling over the prospect. The scent of wind turned salty and the air became crisp. Looking up, he saw he reached the edge of the Atlantic. The great ocean stretched endlessly before him, its grey waves kissing the sharp rocks at his feet.

Taking out a Pokeball, he released his Kingdra. The hippocampus raised its great head and stared dolefully at its master while he waded onto the water and sat astride its back. At his command, the Pokemon dipped beneath the waves, leaving behind the breezy shoreline for a world of corals, polyps, and medusae.

The water was bitterly cold. He gazed into the depths, the awesome beauty of the natural world ensnaring his heart. In the northern waters, everything looked a sort of blue-green: the corals, sponges, even schools of fish all had that ethereal tint. Sea grasses swayed calmly in the ocean’s gentle push-and-pull motions. The sharp rocks quickly dipped down, leading to a black void whose wondrous contents were impenetrable to the human eye. All the same, he gazed steadily down into the Atlantean depths as if the forgotten city itself might appear before his eyes.

Kingdra sank deeper, its ability to traverse the deep ocean equalized the pressure around its master and gave him air to breathe in. His mind was captivated by the beauty of the seascape before him. How easy it would be to leave the world behind and stay in this marine realm forever; how easy would it be to forget all of life’s worries, to leave behind all of life’s questions and to just let himself become one with the element around him. To let go of the hustle and bustle, the stress, the pain, and unease—just let it all go and sink deeper, deeper into the ocean’s gentle embrace…

But would that, in itself, compromise another principle of his?

Starlight Aurate

----​

Piplup stood at the water’s edge, pensive as ocean waves lapped at his feet. He could just sit here, waiting for the tide to come in and wash him away. And then he would go to… where? Was it even right to try and run away like this when his very existence threatened the world?

“Piplup!”

He was momentarily shaken out of his thoughts by the shout of his name. Turning his head, he caught sight of Chimchar, bounding his way down the beach. His flame blazed strong as he leaped across the sand, closing the gap between them in no time at all. There was a fierce look in his eye as he looked his partner over. Then his gaze softened, and he looked out to the sea.

“Are you still thinking about what Cresselia said?” Chimchar asked, watching the simmering waves.

“I… yeah,” Piplup admitted. “How could I not? Knowing that we aren’t supposed to exist. That our very existence leaves the world in danger… It makes me wish I had just stayed disappeared. Maybe things would be better that way.”

Suddenly, Chimchar whirled around, grabbing Piplup by the shoulders. “Stop thinking like that! Do you have any idea how much it hurts to hear you say that? Especially after everything we’ve been through together!”

Piplup pulled away, his gaze on the ground. “But…”

“No buts! Listen, who does this ‘Cresselia’ gal think she is anyway? Having the gall to say that after it was Dialga that revived you. I say we march right up to Dialga and get his opinion on things. Because surely, he wouldn’t have restored you if it risked destroying the world, right?”

Hesitantly, Piplup looked up to stare at Chimchar. But before he could say anything, the fire-type threw his arm around Piplup’s shoulders.

“Besides, nobody is gonna try and get rid of you on my watch,” Chimchar said, flashing a finger-gun at his friend. “If anyone tries to hurt you, I’ll do to them what I did to that Dusknoir.”

Windskull

----​

Mudkip smiled despite herself. "You didn't fight a dusknoir."

"Maybe I did and maybe I didn't. I'll never tell." He winked. "Come on. These berries won't harvest themselves, and the walk will make you feel better."

Chimchar was right about that part. The canopy shielded them from the sun's harsh rays, and the cool breeze carried with it reassuring smells of wet earth and cedar. Sounds of a stream, nearby but hidden, filtered through the calls of bird pokemon. Like home. Chimchar chittered for her to walk faster and joked he'd leave her behind, but he never stopped grinning and he kept bouncing back to her side.

He likes to hear himself talk, she thought, and she grinned too.

Eventually, they came to a break in the trees where generations of pokemon of all shapes and sizes had trod a path around the berry trees. They grew in irregular clumps, sprouting where the wind and chance had dropped their seeds, but the vines and chokegrass had been carefully cleared away again and again. Not a farm, but not quite wild either.

"I should bake a pie!" Chimchar said with a little hoot of delight.

Mudkip smiled wryly. "I thought these were for the village storehouse."

"Well, sure, but there are so many! You know Dame Purugly loves a pecha berry pie." He tossed the basket towards Mudkip, not waiting to see if she caught it. While Mudkip fumbled after the rolling basket, Chimchar called over his shoulder, "I'll climb up and toss the berries down to you, alright? You just have to scoot the basket under me."

But then a low, gruff voice called out, "You'd best not lay a paw on those trees."

An ursaring stood half-hidden in the shadows of the trees, arms folded. Her neckerchief bore an insignia that Mudkip didn't recognize.

Chimchar puffed up his chest, sparks leaping off his back. "Why not?"

"Because I said so."

Before Chimchar or Mudkip could get out another protest, there came a rustling and crunching through the trees. A mightyena and a shifty-eyed buizel broke into the clearing, wearing neckerchiefs that matched the ursaring's. She nodded a greeting to them before turning back to Chimchar and Mudkip. "Now are you gonna get gone, or do we have to make you?"

OldSchoolJohto

----​

Mudkip glanced at Chimchar, sweating. Suddenly their mission seemed a lot less doable. But they couldn’t give up now.

The shopowner had just turned to walk back into the store when Chimchar called out, “Wait!”

She turned back around, eyes flashing menacingly. “Do I need to call security?”

“Th-that won’t be necessary,” Chimchar said, quickly putting both hands up in a disarming way. “We just need to buy some potions, honest. We’ll be in and out in a second, no muss no fuss. Honest!” He hoped that his face looked innocent enough.

Mudkip nodded along fervently, though she had no clue at all what he was planning.

The shopowner put her hands on her hips. “The sooner I get you two out of my hair, the better. Alright, grab your potions. But I’m watching you, you hear me?” She stepped aside to let the two walk in. Mudkip and Chimchar tried not to look at her as they entered.

The store shelves were filled with an assortment of random objects. Far more than just the ordinary merchandise—it seemed that all the junk that any travelers sold just got put right back on the shelf to get resold at a steep markup. Hopefully that meant they could find what they were really looking for.

“So, uh, how are we supposed to do anything with her watching us the whole time?” Mudkip whispered.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan,” Chimchar muttered back, confident.

“Yes, well, I’d really like to know said plan,” the water-type hissed back to him.

“I’ll tell you as soon as I’m done coming up with it.”

Mudkip would have tripped him right then and there if they weren’t being closely followed by the still-irate shopkeeper, who was most likely looking for any excuse to throw them out again.

The two perused the packed shelves filled with odds and ends. Chimchar’s eyes flitted from left to right, taking it all in. An old tea set, a broken bicycle, bootleg plushies, seashells glued to shit, several chipped wine berry juice glasses. They were beginning to think it was a lost cause, but then—

“There it is!” Chimchar gasped under his breath, hardly daring to believe it.

To the untrained eye, it probably just looked like some wonky clay project from a kid’s art class. Which was probably how it had ended here in the first place. However, it was actually the legendary Azure Flute (which was not azure at all, but rather violet for some reason). Or at least it was a replica, which was good enough for them.

Time to make that plan, then. Chimchar glanced around until his eyes fell on exactly what he needed at that exact moment—a container of Gak. The wondrous goop was capable of so many feats, he’d definitely be able to think of some way to use it in his clever and ingenious plan that he just now thought of.

Thinking fast, Chimchar snatched the container from the shelf, whipping the lid off.

The shopkeeper’s eyes lit up with anger. “What are you—?!”

Chimchar drew his arm back and hurled the Gak forward, letting it fly through the air, splattering right into her face.

“Ha ha! Just as planned!” Chimchar called out triumphantly.

“In what way was that planned?!” Mudkip retorted.

“Because I said so, alright?” Chimchar huffed. “Now hurry up and grab the thing!”

“Me?!” Mudkip protested. “You’re the one with hands!” But Chimchar was already halfway to the door before the words were out of her mouth. Grumbling to herself, Mudkip scooped the flute up in her mouth and bolted after him. She tried to hurl more indignant commentary at her shortsighted partner-in-crime, but unfortunately failed to take into account the fact that she was still holding the flute in her mouth. Her words came out as a shrill high-pitched note instead.

The ceiling exploded. Chunks of wood and plaster rained down all around, forcing Chimchar and Mudkip to skid to a stop as the path in front of them was suddenly cut off. Hearts pounding, the two glanced around frantically, looking for an alternate exit, when suddenly a piercing beam of light shone down from above.

Mudkip and Chimchar were both frozen as Arceus descended a golden staircase through the gaping hole in the ceiling. Really, did anyone ever know what to do when God manifested inside a thrift shop?

Chibi Pika

----​

Arceus’s hooves made no sound as the Pokémon stepped lightly down the gold steps. The long white and gray protrusion which flowed from the back of her head rippled slightly; the circular golden horns around her abdomen radiated with a soft light. As she descended, so did a deep, powerful aura onto the shop. It invigorated Mudkip, filled her lungs and blood with lush energy.

Unfortunately, that energy translated into a rising panic.

She looked to Chimchar, who was staring with his mouth agape. What have you done? she thought at him, though she didn’t dare say a word. Near the counter, the manager Heliolisk watched blandly, her arms crossed.

Arceus stepped into the building. She shook her head, and the stairs behind her dissolved into motes of light, the hole in the ceiling repaired itself. "Here am I, the creator of all worlds, the guardian of all Pokémon." Her genderless voice was vast and full of power, seeming to visibly charge the air around her. She cast her gaze toward Mudkip and Chimchar. Mudkip flinched. “Which of my creations have summoned me, and for what purpose?”

Mudkip scooted hastily away. Chimchar remained rooted in his spot. Arceus bore the full weight of her gaze upon him. He stammered, “Well, I – um, there was just this issue – an issue with this store, and I –“

“You weren’t so timid before,” commented Heliolisk from the counter.

Chimchar blanched and looked down. "Ah," Arceus said. She looked toward Heliolisk, who still stood unperturbed at the scene. "Is this another situation?"

"Yuppp." Heliolisk gestured her head at Chimchar. "Yelled at the poor kid at the register. Demanded the manager so I came along, but he still wasn't satisfied. He wanted someone higher up, so…" Helioisk trailed off, flicking her tongue.

Arceus nodded. "I see.”

She turned back to Chimchar, who cowered in return. "State your grievance, young Chimchar,” said Arceus imperiously. The energy in the room grew heavy, an imposing gray. “Surely, it must be serious, that you have summoned God from their place on high."

A long, overbearing silence. Chimchar looked to Mudkip. Mudkip turned her head away.

You did this to yourself.

“Well, I –“ Chimchar eventually said. “My friend and I are explorers. Important. We rescue people! We’re currently on an expedition and had an issue in the last dungeon. We lost our supplies, and are restocking, and I saw that bag over there –“ Said bag had been tossed on the counter. It was a good bag, made of heavy material, but… “I wanted to buy it but it is clearly over-priced!”

“So,” Arceus said. “You summoned God over a pricing dispute over a bag in a thrift shop.”

“An improperly priced bag!” Chimchar objected, but wilted when Arceus’s eyes flashed.

“I see your aura, Chimchar,” Arceus said. “It betrays your petty entitlement, your resistance to compromise, your refusal to better yourself. Well, Chimchar, I will force your hand!”

Chimchar yelped as a force lifted him into the air. Arceus declared, “Because of your self-centeredness, I will curse you, Chimchar, unless anyone speaks on your behalf.” Chimchar looked desperately to Mudkip; Mudkip stepped forward, but a lump blocked her throat. I thought we were friends…

Equitia

----​

But the gripping question of Chimchar and Mudkip's friendship would never be answered, because the author was too lazy to answer it. Chimchar and Mudkip suddenly found themselves in a white, featureless room, sparse of detail because it hadn't been written yet. Punctuation and abstract letters floated all around them, but neither Chimchar nor Mudkip could see the ground, because it was as blank and white as everything else..

Mudkip stepped forward again, this time in confusion. "Where's the rest of the story?" she asked.

Chimchar looked around, studying the white in the distance. "I don't think the author wrote it yet."

"But this is the last part of the corpse!" Mudkip complained. "It didn't need to be anything special! All we needed was 250 words for eternal happiness!"

"The ending kind of has to be something special, though," Chimchar deadpanned. Mudkip couldn't debate that.

"So where is the author, anyway?" she asked. Chimchar pointed behind her, to a bed sitting in the distance. So that was why the story hadn't been finished yet, the author was too lazy to write it!

Well, not any longer. Mudkip marched forward

"Hey, author-person!" she yelled loudly. "Get up! You have to finish our story!"

The author tossed and turned in bed, pulling the pillow over their ears.

"It's 5 AM on a Saturday," the author groaned. "Let me sleep, dammit."

"You were supposed to write us--" the mudkip glanced at a handy calendar next to the author's bed, with days scratched off in red marcker "--ten days ago!"

"I'll do it tomorrow," the author mumbled.

Mudkip hit the author with a water gun, but the author deflected it into a plot hole with their pen.

Mudkip growled. "So that's how it is..."

She stomped back to Chimchar, who was watching the whole display with a dumbstruck look on his face.

"If that lazy author won't write us, then we'll just have to do it ourselves," she said.

"But how?" Chimchar asked.

Mudkip pointed into the abstract distance to the left. "That's a cottage."

And all of the sudden, there was a cottage. Or, the scribblings of one.

"It's got a roof with rustic shingles, and pretty vines with flowers all up and down the sides. The windows have shutters and glass, and the door is made of wood with bark from a tree. The walls are made of bricks covered in white paint, and the inside is nice and cozy, perfect for two pokemon such as ourselves. There's a chimney on the top, and a garden with a pond outside, and a lattice fence all around the house."

With each detail that Mudkip provided, the cottage got more and more detailed, until it was almost like real life. Chimchar felt a giddy grin begin to spread across his face.

"And..." he began. "We're in the middle of a forest. There's tall trees everywhere, but not the kind that burn easily. All kinds of yummy fruit hangs from the branches, just a hop, a skip and a climb away."

"It's a rainforest!" Mudkip added, "So there are rainstorms often!"

"But for every rainy day, there's a nice sunny one too," Chimchar added with a shudder. And then it was.

The rainstorm hit the sleeping author in bed. They sat up with a jolt, startled by the sudden downpour of water.

"Wha..." the author looked at the cottage and the rainforest around them in disgruntled shock. "What are you doing..."

"You wouldn't write our story, so we're writing it ourselves," Mudkip said in a sing-song taunt. "You snooze you lose. Now help us out, since you're awake! We could use a good ending."

The dripping author sighed, and reluctantly provided two words to end off the corpse:

THE END

SparklingEspeon
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Okay this was absolutely fantastic! Well worth the wait! =D Thanks, everyone! I especially liked the ending. That was so imaginative and fun XD I also have a soft-spot for Pen's Missingno part. I was pretty excited to see what someone might do with that continuation XD
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partner
purrloin-salem
I had a lovely time reading this with the rest of the folks who made it to the voicechat. I broke at a few points and had to laugh while reading, props to the authors who managed that. I wasn't early enough for the first few pieces, but I've since read and enjoyed them, and in particular I have to say that the yeasty bouquet was fucking hilarious. Shout out to the shells glued to random shit for providing additional, supplementary laughs once I found the origin of that joke. Thanks to everyone who participated! Perhaps next time we run a corpse, I'll even participate~
 
Last edited:
Top