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Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
In a world filled with Mana, the gears are always ticking.

Linus, Glade, and Nevada of Team Sharp Claw need strength to recover the Artifacts that ruined the land. Artifacts they cannot use.

And so does Kobi, one of their future Teammates, one who can use them. When more Artifacts and info on mana resurfaces, what will happen?

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Art made by me (Kiba Makuro)​

This Fanfiction is primarily in 1st Person. The POV swaps between characters are based on relevance in the plot.

Mainly set in a Continent in “Hemisphere with four other unique Continents” a short distance from the Continents (Water, Air, Grass, Sand, and Mist) mentioned in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. Which will be briefly brought up. Knowledge of events of the PMD games is not necessary, but understanding general gameplay would help.

Regions, Towns, and Important Trainers of the main line Pokémon Games Gen 1- the current Gen (as of 2023 Gen 9) shall be sparsely brought up.

This is my first fanfiction that I’ve ever written 70k words for, and promptly shelved and restarted based on feedback. So yeah, I was previously a bit over my head, I’m protective of this like everyone else.

I use my own magic system (Mana) that works with the PMD and Mainline Game mechanics of PPS, and stats. But is slowly introduced over the course of the first 100k+ words of the story.

Tone-wise, the story is dark, as an Adventure, Hurt/Comfort (Whump).

This is rated T for Teen, on FFN and AO3 it is also listed as Teen.

I don’t show lots of dark things “screen”, but I don’t shy away from hinting at atrocities, and showing their aftermath, psychologically. In a few chapters there will be brief dream sequences where characters re-live a dark-twisted version of their past, which I shall mark appropriately.


This first link is to some of the music I’ve made for Fanfiction.

View: https://soundcloud.com/makkuro_kiba/sets/gears-of-mana?si=d9ffa13e92cc4850bc7ea7da1646534b&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing



And the following links are to lyrical songs that other extremely talented musicians have made for different media, that I believe fit certain themes/characters in my Fanfiction.

Arc 1/Part 1
Prologue 1 Plant the Seed to The Future Will Be Ours


Arc 1/ Part 2
Interlude 2 to Grind the Gears


Arc 2/ Part 1
The Pale Shadow Fades to

 

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Prologue 1- Plant the Seed

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Uploaded
August 11th, 2023​


Chapter Summary

We always start from somewhere.
No matter how small.


Mana. What was it? Was it more than a power source? Why did it cause Pokémon to behave like this?



They fought over it. Fought wars. They killed each other, just for a chance at more power.



Why?



I never imagined I'd end up this way. Caught in a world of strife.



And I was one of the many Pokémon who were the key to fix this. We're the ones who turned the gears of change. Together.





Rich dark trees surrounded me on all sides as I rushed down a corridor. Four floors down and I thought it was over!




But of course it wasn't! If I wasn’t out of this Mystery Dungeon quickly, this mission would be another failure!




This was a Mystery Dungeon in a mountainside forest, so as far as the eye could see, there were massive coniferous trees that stretched on for kilometers in an almost endless labyrinth.




Normally I wasn't scared of this Mystery Dungeon, all of the Pokémon that lived here were usually the least of my concern. It was the outsiders who gave me a run for my money.




As I ran my foot nearly tripped over a root buried in the soil and. My muscles and tendons loosened and I leapt into the air, far over the path before me, parallel to the swath of branches that hung low around me. "Let's try it fer old time's sake!" I reached out to them with my fingers.




And it stung. With a grunt I nursed my sore digits. "If only that wasn't an impenetrable Mystery Dungeon wall!" I groaned. "'S ain't fair!"




I supposed I was naturally a great climber as a Treecko. An escape into the thick brambles would be nice but wasn't an option anymore.




"Mystery Dungeons were a double edge," my Captain's advice echoed in my head. "You found your foe easy in here. But just as easily your foe found you!"




There was a shrill cry that pierced the air. "She's caught me!" I gasped.




A volley of brown feathers struck the ground where I just was from a Gust of wind. Straight into the soil. Nearly took off my satchel too!




"You ain't getting away!" the Pidgeotto behind me screeched.




It was like a butter knife through my Pa's loaf of bread! The light-blue smoke of mana radiated off them stronger than any I've ever seen before.




Mana was the power we used to access our full potential as Pokémon. We used it for moves, abilities and evolution all across the Hemisphere. But something's wrong with that Pokémon!




This is the fourth outlaw I've run into today! But she wasn't on the bounty board! I took in a bit of the Normal-type Mana around me and thought of my options. Blend in! With a burst of white speedy energy, I shot through the air with Quick Attack to get a boost. With the new energy, I pivoted to the side and hurried down another gloomy path.




I've got to get outta here! Captain Obstagoon told us to take as many missions as possible in this Mystery Dungeon and get rich quickly.




But I'm in over my head, doing this by myself. I lost my Escape Orb in a Mystery Dungeon yesterday. Of course, I also don't have a badge that could warp me out of this Mystery Dungeon because Mercenaries don't have them. I wished I joined a normal Rescue Team or something anything but this!




"You think you can hide from me just because you are a Sentinel!?" the Pigeotto roared.




In this Hemisphere, everyone was either a Keeper or a Sentinel- both with responsibilities.




"Keepers are supposed to monitor mana and each other! Sentinels are supposed to watch over y'all and set everyone straight!" I yelled back.




"You're just a weak, insensitive brat!" she taunted. "Can't sense my amazing, overpowering presence that leaves weak Keepers begging on their knees!"




Of course the Pigeotto's that type of Keeper! I opened my mouth but shut it as I heard the rustling behind me get louder. She's nothing noble like the Keepers in my family or in the Mercenaries, they'd never do something like this!




But this was the real world. Sentinels and Keepers weren't always noble. None of them were. I knew it well.




"Just because you don't have a Keeper presence doesn't mean I won't find you!" In a flash, she rammed into me and knocked me off my feet. The Pigeotto's beak jabbed into my side with her Tackle and I cried out.




"Take this!" With a grunt, I shot at her with a Quick Attack and barely pushed her talons off the dirt. She pulled me by my black, green, and gold flannel jacket- a type of uniform Mercenaries wore to distinguish ourselves.




Shoot!




"You Mercs think you can take me now that I'm strong?" She held me down and spread her now glowing wings.




I struggled under the Pigeotto's grasp until I heard a whoosh through the air and ducked. "Nope!"




"I'm what a real Keeper looks like, little Treecko, unburdened by the chains of-"




"Enough!" a large brown and white figure crashed into the Pidgeotto with a torrent of huge rocks around them, sharp as a Stone's Edge."You disgust me! You terrible excuse of a Keeper!"




The stone shook the earth in a mighty boom and exploded into tiny pieces. Dust filled the air and my nose.


I scrambled backward to avoid the wave of boulders as they tumbled away from the two Pokémon. My savior was a Midday Lycanroc.




They had on a scarf with blue, green, and grey stripes, an odd triangular Platinum Rescue Team Badge, and a grey saddle-bag.




With a gasp, the Pidgeotto collapsed to the ground. She remained still as the Lycanroc restrained her wings with some netting, then sniffed her. They saved me!




I slowly stood up. "Thank ya so much!" I cried.




"No problem," they replied with a grin and reached into their bag. Soon an Oran Berry and a small set of bandages fell into my hand. "What's your name, Treecko?"




"I'm Linus," I replied.




"So why were you out here, Linus?"




I peeled the skin off the Oran and took a bite of the Berry. "I was trying to leave this Mystery Dungeon when all of a sudden that Pidgeotto outlaw attacked me." I pulled back my torn flannel jacket.




"So you must be a Mercenary," the Lycanroc sat down.




"Yeah, but I'm no good by maself."




"No good by yourself, eh? Well, I'm not good by myself either. That's why I'm in a Rescue Team."




I finished eating the Oran Berry and sighed as the healing properties went to work. The sting vanished, but the dull ache on my side still lingered. "What were you doing with your Rescue Team, Lycanroc?”




"We were researching the conditions of this Mystery Dungeon and others."




"Ooh, that's mighty swell!" I lit up. "I'va always wanted to just go researchin' and not worrying about getting requests worth the most poké."




"Yeah, we don't make much money in our Rescue Team," the Lycanroc sighed.




I glanced down at my side and applied the bandage to the wound. "Ya don't do requests or missions?"




“This was a request. There have been reports of a suspicious Pokémon nearby, so we League Pokémon had to split up to cover more ground."




"The League huh, I've always wanted ta join."




"The town of Bristberg isn't too far from this Mystery Dungeon," they said.




"Ah, yeah. Bristberg," I sighed. My eyes slowly widened as I glanced at their triangular badge. "Hold yur Horseas, that mountain settlement has a League!"




The Lycanroc brightened with a chuckle. "Oh, I forgot to mention it. I work on a Rescue Team for the Bristberg Mana Research League."




"So ya League Rescue Team Pokémon don't just research Mystery Dungeons! Ya also catch outlaws!”




"Yes. Could you write something down for me?"




"’Course." I watched as they pulled out an assortment of objects.




"This outlaw was one of the suspicious Pokémon," the Lycanroc got out a small notepad and charcoal pencil.




"How'd ya know that? Is it training from ta League?" I asked as I grabbed the pencil for them.




Their ears folded down as they prodded the Pidgeotto's side. "No. I'm also a Keeper, a Pokémon sensitive to the shifting of mana."




"Uhuh. Ya can probably tell I'm a useless Sentinel."




"That's not true. Sentinels have provided stability and have been quite the force to be reckoned with."




"What'cha want me to write down?"




"Another Pokémon outlaw clad in a black and white striped scarf." The Lycanroc looked side to side. "The scarf also had a patch of two black claw marks. A Keeper with a worrying presence. End."




I jotted down everything word for word and returned the notepad. "Hope ya ain't mind my Torchic Scratch writing."




"Don't worry. My Inteleon friend, a Pokémon with five fingers, has worse writing."




"If ya say so."




"These notes will be just fine."




I shivered as a brisk gust tore through the forest. "Do ya think we could head on out?"




The Lycanroc attached the netting on the Pidgeotto to something on their saddle-bag and stood up. "Yeah, the stairs are back this way." They turned around. "Let's get out of here."




We headed back through the hallway I ran through and went the other way, into a large empty clearing. Thankfully, the stairs were all the way in the back which meant I could finally leave!




"So those are notes for the League, huh?"




"Yes, and any other organization who supports us. By the way, I'll need you to come with me for a more detailed report to the Chief if you don't mind."




"I don't mind, just wondering if y'all could tell my old boss I quit." I wrapped the flannel around my waist and followed the Lycanroc.




"Our Coordinator can arrange that," the Lycanroc explained. "Gonna hand in your last requests for the Mercs, eh?"




I nodded.




"I remember when I handed in my last Expedition assignment, back then I was still supporting the League. I just didn't know it." They sniffed the ground as their tail raised.




"Our Mercenaries support your League… Do you think I could join you?" I asked as I took the first step up the natural Mystery Dungeon staircase, one made of dirt and lined with stone.




"With me?" The Lycanroc followed me up the stairs and we exited the Mystery Dungeon.




"Well, on any Rescue Team the League has." I pulled on my ragged flannel and looked at my satchel. "But I understand if you don't want another useless Sentinel like me."




"Linus, you aren't useless, normally I don't sense anything from Sentinels. And usually I only sense a regular presence from other Keepers. Well, not from that Pidgeotto, we'll have to figure that out later. But I sensed something special from you."




"Yur just saying that to make me feel better-"




"I'm dead serious. I'm especially sensitive to mana for some reason. There's so many things we don't know about Sentinels and Keepers. And having you along would be a needed addition. My teammates would agree."




In the distance there was a Boltund wearing a three-tone scarf like the Lycanroc, one who paced around the entrance of the Mystery Dungeon. "Are they with you?" I asked.




The Lycanroc gently nudged me. "Yeah, and soon you can too."




"So can I join the League?"




"Well, you'll have to pass the Entrance Exam." They added.




"Oh drat." I rubbed the back of my head.





"But don't worry, I'll get some help for you. It'll be a lotta hard work, as long as you do your best I know you'll do just great."




"My best huh? Maybe I could get my younger brother Hatchet and my younger sister Kobi to join me along with some other Pokémon. We could be Team Swift Claw!"




"I have a better suggestion." The Lycanroc wagged their tail as we approached their teammate.




"Oh yeah?" I smiled.




"Team Sharp Claw."





This was only the beginning. The beginning of our journey. Together.
 
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Prologue 2- Water the Crops

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Uploaded

September 5th, 2023​

Chapter Summary
We see things from a different perspective.
But discovery takes time.
All things do.
Kobi Espurr's POV


Why was I here?


Why was I a Keeper when others could also bear that burden just as easily?




I didn't want to go through those lands and fight all these Pokémon. I just wanted to learn about the land without getting my claws dirty. But to be a Pokémon was to fight. I knew it well.




Now it's time I stepped up to the plate. And deliver the world from our strife, but I need to learn more about what I'm capable of. Then I could really do it. Save the world, with them.







The dark teal mountains that made up the heartland always loomed over Hunter's Plains, the village I lived in. Previously I never had a chance to visit them myself- the Bristberg Mountains.


But now I finally got to take a trip into the town of Bristberg itself. And more importantly the League.




The League was one of the first buildings I've ever seen to be three stories and have so many windows. In our village, the biggest building was the Elder's meeting hall, a two-story one with only about eight. This thing had almost double that just on the entrance!




I still didn't believe it. This League was supposed to be this exciting place where Pokémon learned about mana and the intrigue of this world, dealing with requests and errands along the way in their research.



But Hatchet and I just stood in front of the front barred gate and waited. The Axew rang the buzzer only a few minutes ago.




I could have easily done it instead, albeit a bit slower, because I walked on four legs like a Skitty or Litten, not like the typical Espurr from what I've heard and seen. Not that I’ve ever been typical.




Not like what we're here for was typical either. We were both Keepers. Linus sent us a letter last week.




'Hey y'all let me tell ya something.'




'I quit being a Mercenary. Instead I joined the League. But it's not like that was easy, that Entrance Exam was no joke.'




'There were questions about all sorts of concepts I've never heard about but the Lycanroc who saved me asked a Squirtle and Pichu to help me out. I also got some assistance from a peculiar Lucario and Frogadier.'




'Anyhow with their help I passed the Entrance Exam this time so now I'm an official League member! I want ya two to come here and join Team Sharp Claw with me.'




'More details when you get there, love ya!



From Linus Treecko of the Bristberg Mana Research League!'




"Team Sharp Claw?" I asked.



"Yes," Hatchet replied.




"What's that?"



"That's what Linus wrote.” The Axew unraveled the letter.




"He wants us to try out for his new Rescue Team?"



Hatchet rubbed the back of his head just as the Treecko himself came out of the massive three-story building.




Linus ran through the cobblestone courtyard and stopped inside of a small tower.




The gates in front of Hatchet and I slowly parted and let us into the League courtyard. Linus poked his head out and the gates then closed.




"I'm so glad y'all could make it!" the Treecko sped toward us in the blink of an eye with a Quick Attack and nearly knocked me over.




I sat down on my haunches for a second to nuzzle against him. "Yeah mate, I haven't seen you in a long time."



"Howdy big bro." Hatchet patted his back. "So let's get started. What’re we here fer?"




As he said that, a Granbull walked out of the League building with a bundle of fabric in his arms. Immediately I tasted a soft sugary flavor all in my mouth. He’s a Keeper too. That must be how a fairy-type Keeper's presence was!




"Ah, Kobi, Hatchet." The Granbull smiled. “I'm happy to see you."



"Oh uh." I took a step back. Now he could taste Hatchet's presence and my presence. As a Dragon-type the Axew's had a strong sour flavor, but not like a sour berry. Keepers always gave him odd looks when they tasted his presence but this time was different.




This Granbull didn't mind Hatchet, but instead eyed me.




Linus ran up to the Granbull and held out a hand. "This is the League's Coordinator, Sir Cooper. He wants you guys to try out for the League and test out a new entrance Exam.”




"What about the old Entrance Exam?" the Axew rubbed his chin.




"It was a written and practical Exam." the Treecko sighed. "While it was mighty rough, I managed to pass this time with help from the other Rescue Teams."




"Yeah, you mentioned gettin' some help from the League before," I said.




"Don't tease us! The other Rescue Teams at the League?" Hatchet asked.




I shook my head. "He's not taking the mick Hatchet."






"It sounded like he was teasing! But isn't that kinda weird?"




"Who else would he get help from?"



Cooper extended a paw with a few cloths before he nodded. “Yes, with you two Linus could have a Team.”



“Our big bro’s gonna have us on his Team?” Hatchet grinned.



I purred at the thought. “And we can make that happen?”


The cloths were actually striped scarves, their blue, green, and grey lined fabric accentuated by a small dark brown wooden triangular badge. “Y'all gotta wear these to come with me!” the Treecko pointed to his head, where he wore his scarf.


I reached out for the scarf in the Granbull’s paw and Hatchet fastened it around my neck. “Come with you where?”


“A Mystery Dungeon!” Linus cheered and grabbed my shoulder.


“What?!”


Cooper chuckled. “You’ll go on a few different types of requests with him, and I’ll watch your progress to see if you are ready.”



Hatchet finally settled on a place to wear his scarf and we were back on the road, this time I followed Linus and Cooper through Bristberg.



There were all sorts of ice, fire, water, rock, and steel-types that roamed the streets of Bristberg at this hour of the day. This was incredible! I haven't seen some of these Pokémon in person in a long time.



"So while we're heading to the Bristberg Lowlands Mystery Dungeon, you should tell your siblings about the League," the Granbull said.



"So like in the letter I sent, the League's full name is the Bristberg Mana Research League." the Treecko explained. "Right now we are researching the various conditions of Mana."



"But you're a Sentinel?" I asked.



"Yeah I thought that was odd too, but it's not like we can't feel the world's Mana shift, and can't see when an attack has too much or too little mana."




"An attack?" Hatchet leaned close to me.




The Treecko halted his gait a little. "Well, there were reports of outlaw Pokémon wearing black and white stripes. They attacked me and now they have been reported to target Keepers."




My blood ran cold. "They've done what?"




"Our League helped me deal with the one that attacked me but we haven't seen any more."




"Well," the Axew shuddered out. "She and I, we ain't seen any either."




"I wanted y'all to join the League so we could keep an eye out for ya," Linus sighed.




"We?"




"Soon it won't just be me looking out for you if you join my Team ya know."




"What do you mean?"





"Well, y'all two aren't the only other Pokémon the League has scouted recently." The Treecko said as we walked through the bustling cobblestone streets.



“Is that so?” I tilted my head.



"Then why can't those others join yer Team?" the Axew asked.




"Fer starters, right now I work with a Rescue Team called Team Aegisdrip. It's not my Team and secondly, those two, a Totodile and Charmander, aren't ready to join a Rescue Team yet."



"Why's that?" I questioned.





The Granbull in front of us cleared his throat. "They are dealing with some things at the moment."




"I hope they'll be okay." Hatchet murmured softly.




I nodded. "Make sure ta lookout for them."




"Will do, anyway, back to what the Leagues do and we are going to do." Linus said as we exited town and headed southwest. "We go make sure the conditions of Mystery Dungeons and the surrounding areas are safe."




"This has to deal with the powers we use, right bruv? I never quite understood them well." I sighed as I followed them.



“Yes, Mana,” the Granbull explained.



Maybe we’ll learn something about it today? Not sure how that’ll work in a Mystery Dungeon but I trusted the League.



“Why are we going into a Mystery Dungeon?” Hatchet asked.



The Treecko smirked as we continued down the winding path.“Ya might not have realized it, but Mystery Dungeons have Mana inside them.”



“Wait what?!” I gasped.



“Mana that belongs to the land itself is stabilized inside Mystery Dungeons.” Cooper pointed to the mountainside.



Linus tugged on his bag.“It's why Mystery Dungeon Pokémon live inside of them to keep ta balance of the mana in check."




"In doing that some of them have developed a new culture." The Granbull explained. "One where they are extremely territorial and they may even speak a different language. But they're still Pokémon like the rest of us."




Coordinator Cooper took us down into a slight valley of the land, the gorgeous light teal Bristberg Mountains all around us. “Could you tell them what you are doing here Linus?”



“Today we are looking for a Pokémon who got lost on the 1st floor of Lowlands Mystery Dungeon here.” The Treecko reached into his bag. “It seems they are a Wooloo."



"Anything else?" My whiskers flickered. It was colder on this side of Bristberg.




"Nope."



We headed further off the incline of the path into town and into the depths of the Mountain Range. Eventually, we reached a wide stretch of Mountain with a signpost in front of it. Bristberg Lowland Mystery Dungeon.




Linus adjusted his Team bag and held out the request paper. Hatchet and I followed him toward the depths of the barely visible barrier: a darkened line of rock.



“I’ll be waiting outside!” The Granbull waved.



"Alrighty lets get 'em done!" The Treecko stepped inside.




I shuddered as the path behind us vanished behind a wall of stone, and the sky grew dark. "This is- this is what a Mystery Dungeon is like?" I flattened my ears further. The path before us showed only one exit to the east. As my eyes scanned the ground I tasted something.




It was almost like a Keeper presence. But something was off.




"It'll be okay Kobi." Linus led the way into the pathway before us.




"Wooloo!" Hatchet yelled. "Wooloo, where are ya!?"



There was this awful feeling in the air. "What are you bloody doing?" I growled, as my hackles rose.




The Treecko shook his shoulders. "Hatchet don't yell so loud!"




"Sorry."




I flinched as we headed into another room, it was a wide expansive mountainside, but in the corner was a white ball of fluff. It was the Wooloo. There were no other exits besides a pathway beside us.




"Okay y'all now," Linus stepped forward and beckoned us. "Follow me."





With an exhale I padded after him.




Just as we made our move the Wooloo opened their eyes. "Get away from me!" they bleated in a soft weak voice and dashed toward us.




The Treecko stepped in front of me and held out his arms."Stay back!"




The second the Wooloo got closer a wave of terrible presence crushed my entire body. "Shit!" A sharp pain tore through me and I collapsed onto the floor. "What is this!?"





"They're a Keeper like y'all?!" Linus questioned.




"Kobi?" Hatchet groaned as he dropped to the ground beside me.




I nodded. "I- I can't move, that Pokémon."




"Somethin's-" the Axew coughed and held his chest. "Something is wrong with 'em."




"Darnit!" The Treecko glanced at me as the Wooloo blindly rushed at us, in a bright white light. "We're here to help you! We're from the League!"




The mana from their attack, probably a Tackle, grew further and further than anything I've ever seen. "You what?" the Wooloo skidded into a halt and slammed into Linus.





Raw energy exploded off them and filled the air with the scent of a harsh vanilla. Normal-type mana. "We're leavin'!" the Treecko yelled as he held onto the Wooloo, and crashed into the two of us. That same power hit directly inside my core and I couldn't take it. I turned away from Hatchet just before I threw up.




My vision went blurry as the Wooloo's presence slowly shifted brighter and then dropped a little. It still wasn't like a regular Keeper’s.



There was a clicking noise and then a flash of blue. "That was a mighty Tackle bud. Wooloo, are you doing better?" Linus's voice rang out.



"I'm so sorry!" the Wooloo cried. I didn't mean it- I was just so scared."




The Treecko sighed."It's alright now, you're out of the Mystery Dungeon."




"No, but I hurt your friends too!"




"Oh shoot, Kobi, Hatchet!" Linus finally looked down at us. "What are you two doing!? Y'all okay?!"




My eyes lidded open. It was bright, like how it was outside the Mystery Dungeon. A shiver passed over me as I wiped my mouth with a paw and stood up. "No, I'm not."




"I." Hatchet grimaced as he also got up. "I ain't good either."




"Wooloo." While he staggered upright Linus held out his hand. "What happened to you?"




Their hooves clattered on the ground as they paced."You… you said you're from the League right?"




"Sir Cooper?" the Treecko asked as his Coordinator approached us.




"Who?"



"Yes, I'm the Coordinator. I need to know as well please." The Granbull spoke up and I shuffled away from him.



The Wooloo trembled as they looked at Cooper, and took a few steps back from Hatchet and me. They must have finally noticed our Keeper presences. "I was on a short little walk home from gathering items and… and I was attacked."



"I need to be able to help you further." The Granbull knelt down and gently handed them a biscuit. "Who attacked you?"




"Some Keepers," the Wooloo said. "Two wearing black and white striped scarves. They had something with them- but I couldn't see it before it was too late."




Cooper's ears raised but he lowered them with a sigh."It's okay now. Let us get you some specialized care on what to do with your presence from here on out."



"Okay."





Cooper escorted us back to the League where he said he'd get some help for the Wooloo.



Linus, Hatchet and I stood in the courtyard as the sunset, the sky a bright pink-orange, the gray clouds framed it perfectly.



"So, y'all don't want to try out more of the new League Entrance Exam?" the Treecko asked, his hands tight on his bag. "We have much more ta go over so you can form a Rescue Team with me."




"I'm not sure if I'm cut out for this League stuff partner," Hatchet sighed.



I stared at the fabrics as Linus took each scarf from our necks. "Yeah bruv, I'll have to think about this. I'm more interested in safer research rather than going into these Mystery Dungeons and fighting."



"I understand. I'll just come visit y'all. I bet Scabbard and the others want me ta come back and visit." The Treecko laughed.



"Yeah, I think we'll just spend time with the folks around Hunter's Plains." I walked toward the gate which surrounded and blocked the League. "I'll figure out some things and ask Ma and Pa what they know. Maybe I'll make a friend in the village!"



The gates began to part. "Alrighty, bye y'all!" Linus yelled.



"See you later Linus!" I called and I trotted out of the courtyard.



Hatchet waved his claw as the gate closed."Take care now!"





I never could avoid this, could I?


Matters of the League.



Of the World.


And matters of my new family. Foolishly trying to make friends.


But I'll figure it out, all the mysteries regarding Mana. No, not just me. We all will.
 
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Prologue 3- Harvest the Crops

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Uploaded
September 26th, 2023



Chapter Summary
Linus goes through trials and tribulations with the League but eventually gets what he's waited for.
Of course, it never could be without a caveat, there's something big they have to deal with- something bigger than themselves, and the League.

Linus Treecko’s POV


I should have never gone home. Even though it was supposed to be a celebration because I passed the Entrance Exam, and worked at the League for nearly a year, AND finally made a Rescue Team. But I was wrong.


After that.

I just wanted to forget about it .

I couldn't be him.


The one who filled the hole left in her wake.

I’ll never come home again.

Sorry Hatchet, and Kobi.



I failed you.


"Team Sharp Claw," I murmured to myself.


How could I keep my promise to that busy Lycanroc and all the others in the League? I tried to believe in myself and wanted to be a useful Sentinel. But no, I was just a solo rookie.




"Linus, you'll be with Team Aegisdrip," Coordinator Cooper explained. The Granbull gestured to the Pichu and Squirtle.




"Glad you're joining the team!" the two Pokémon cheered.




I grinned and flashed them a smile. "I'll do my best!"



We spent about ten months together before things started to change.




One day the Coordinator brought a miserable-looking Totodile home.




"Who's that?" I asked as I followed the Granbull toward the Med Bay.




Coordinator Cooper placed the Totodile down and ushered me out of the room. "Do not talk to her right now."




Just a week later, the Chief returned to the League with a frightened Charmander.




"Is that-"



The Stoutland must have noticed the look in my eyes. "Don't say anything to them," she sighed before and shut the Med Bay door.




I held my chest and leaned against it. "When would I ever see those two again?"


Maybe I'll ask Kobi and Hatchet to join me again? We went on one mission in the Bristberg Lowlands, and encountered a strange Keeper. They panicked, and said it wasn't for them. Those Keepers really were sensitive, but something was wrong with that poor Wooloo, maybe I'll figure it out. Perhaps the Espurr and the Axew could tell me.



It's been about two months since I last saw the Totodile and Charmander. Team Aegisdrip took me on wilder and wilder rides.



"Hurry up Linus!"



"I can't go any faster!"





"You need to do more damage! Hit HARDER!"



"What, My Leafage ain't strong enough?"





"Why did you faint from those attacks?"



"The Special Defense Band wasn't the right gear ta protect me?!"




Various scenarios repeated, usually in intense Mystery Dungeons, other times when we were outside trailing dangerous outlaws. Not the ones wearing black and white, as we at the League haven't seen them since my encounter. But our foes were still way over my head.




The Squirtle and the Pichu handled them like nothing. Those two were older and stronger than me, they even managed to evolve.



All the while I barely got better. I was just there to hold the Rescue Team bag for crying out loud!



My ‘good times’ couldn't last forever. Not at this rate.



"I'm getting kicked out of the Team?" I gasped. "Is it because you've evolved?"



The now-Pikachu rubbed the back of his head. "Yup, we need to get the others stronger too."



A Skorupi and a Shieldon of Team Aegisdrip were the ‘others’ in question, currently away and training with another Rescue Team.



"Sorry Linus." The now Wartortle patted me on the shoulder. "Maybe next time."


After Kobi and Hatchet left, I wouldn't be getting my Team. Not how I'd like it. I left the room. Tears of frustration clouded my eyes. "I hate it here."



"Team Aegisdrip just doesn’t want to be held back on dangerous missions," Chief McBone explained as we walked to her office.



"I know. I'm just a weak and useless Sentinel."




The Stoutland shook her head. "That's not true."




"But yur a Sentinel that everyone in the League looks up to as Chief,” I sighed. “The numerous other Sentinels are also doing their best at the League. And I'm the only one who held my Team back so bad I got kicked out."




Chief McBone let out a breath. "You need to sometimes change your outlook on League work, and especially on life. Linus, you have great potential."



"If I did, someone would want me."



"But someone does want to see you."



My eyes widened. "See me?"



We entered the room and there the Totodile and Charmander were. They sat on some low chairs beside her desk and fiddled with some scarves. Not just any! League scarves!



My jaw dropped. "What?"



Chief McBone gestured with her paw. "These two Sentinels are ready to meet you!"



I couldn’t believe my eyes! My chance to form a Rescue Team! This Totodile and this Charmander, I knew I felt something special about them!



"Howdy y'all." I ran over to them. "I'm Linus!"



"I'm Glade," the Totodile said in a rough voice as she flinched away.



The Charmander curled into their seat. "My name is Nevada." Their voice was soft yet a little deep.



I took a step back and bowed. "You wanted to see me?"



"Yeah," Glade clenched her arm. "We'd like to form a Rescue Team with you."



Nevada nodded. “We heard you were also a rookie at the League too.”



"But you two still need to actually pass your Entrance Exam." The Stoutland stepped in between us.



"Wait, Glade and Nevada haven't?"



The Totodile's maw went a bit red, and the Charmander buried their’s in their claws.



I stepped forward and held out my hands. "Do y'all need my help?"



Slowly Nevada reached out for me. "Well, uh, yeah."



Glade looked away but took it as well. "Ugh, it's a pain to admit it but yes."



"Okay."


Glade, Nevada, Chief McBone and I sat in the second story by the window with a pile of textbooks. "Alrighty," I started, "so y'all need to understand the difference between normal League work and casual rescue team work."



"I don't understand, shouldn't all organizations look out for our duties?" Nevada fiddled with the papers. "I can't tell them apart!"



"And I don't even understand a freaking thing about those organizations to begin with!" Glade groaned.



The Stoutland shook her head. "Leagues were made specifically to research Mana. We still do missions and requests but usually they are also involved with Mana."



"Can y'all list areas of importance we in the League check in or for?" I asked.



"There's something in Mystery Dungeons." The Totodile said.



"Yes Glade.” Chief McBone nodded. “Nevada?"



The Charmander stared at a page. "Strange activities regarding mana artifacts?"



"Good,” I smiled. “Can ya’ll each name something related to the mana artifacts?"



"Keepers." Glade crossed her arms.



Nevada hummed in thought. "And our power."



My tails touched the floor. "But what about them? Keepers, and our power."



"Our power is kept in balance because of all Pokémon and their relationship with Mana." The Charmander answered.



The Totodile pointed to a page. "But Keepers could change that if they aren't careful. Although it's not like the average one can do anything so we're fine!"



“Can you explain what you mean by that?” I closed our book slightly.



“Keepers can use the key and lock artifacts right? I’ve never seen them or heard anyone say they have, which is why no one’s probably done anything with them!”



"That's right!” I clapped my hands. “Mana has been properly balanced for centuries, so everything should be under control."



Nevada murmured. "Interesting."



Chief McBone got up from her seat. "However we don't know all of the details behind it. There is so much that all of us are trying to study and research together."



Glade rubbed the back of her head. "Aw shoot. I suck at this huh?"



"I'm sorry I'm not good enough." Nevada softly groaned.


"Don't worry, you know enough for the Entrance Exam.” I patted each of them on the back.


The Stoutland smiled at us from the doorway. “You think you'll be ready next week?"



"Yep!" the Totodile cheered.



The Charmander followed her. "I'll try!"



I had been done small requests for the League for the past week to stay active when I received a summons.



"Y'all have something to announce?" I walked down toward the patio with the Chief and Coordinator.



Chief McBone and Coordinator Cooper padded beside me as their tails wagged. We opened the sliding glass door.


There, everyone was. Team Aegisdrip, Team Blue Heroes, and the newly formed Team Whitelight. Everyone except Team Vanguard, the Lycanroc’s Team, who was away doing research, sat around the variously sized tables. While two particular Pokémon stood in the center of the deck.



"Glade Totodile and Nevada Charmander have passed their Entrance Exams!” the Granbull cheered.


The Stoutland gave each a wooden badge. “They are officially joining the League!”


I ran up to the Totodile and Charmander with a Quick Attack, my arms stretched out. “That means!”


“Yep!” Glade grinned, her massive jaw wide.


Nevada’s tail flame whipped brighter. “We’ve made our choice!”


“To join Team Sharp Claw!”




“So you’ll pick out our first mission?” I asked, as my dual tails waved in the air.


The Chief placed a piece of paper in my claws. “Yes, we are off to the Bristberg Mainlands. There is a Mystery Dungeon with only two floors.”


“So this request is to deliver an item to someone on the first floor.” Nevada peered at the page.


“And the last one is a joint-request,” Glade pointed to the fine print. “We have to retrieve an item and reach the second floor.”


I adjusted my League scarf and hopped around. “I’ma so excited to go out with my Team, Team Sharp Claw!”


The Charmander groaned to themself. “Is it okay to mention that I’m a bit scared?”


“You don’t need to be. To be alone that is. I am too.” the Totodile looked away.


Nevada’s eyes widened. “You’re scared?”


“Yeah.”


“I’m here with ya guys,” I held out my hands. “Don’t think you’re alone!”


“Um, Linus?” the Charmander choked out.


“Yes?”


“Thank you.”


“Yeah, thanks,” Glade said as she faced me. “You’re a good Treecko Linus.”


We sat in silence as the Stoutland approached us with something in her maw. She dropped it to the floor and sighed. “I have prepared your Exploration Bag.”


I tossed it onto my back, and smiled as the heft of the items inside comforted me. “Alrighty!”


Glade and Nevada nodded.


“Let's go Team Sharp Claw!”


We weaved through the quiet streets of Bristberg, the afternoon sky dreary with thick clouds. But that didn’t stop us as we reached the huge mountains in the center of town, that towered up into the heavens and even higher peaks.


“Here we are!” The Chief’s bark echoed through the narrow sections of mountain. “Bristberg Mainland Mystery Dungeon!”


“Follow me now y’all!” I fastened my bag straps and headed toward the darker patch of stone.


“Yeah!” Glade rushed through the boundary of the land and the Mystery Dungeon, with Nevada right behind her.


It’s so cool! Although we were on the infamous dark teal Bristberg Mountains, inside this Mystery Dungeon was bright, even with the clouds. “Let’s go together, careful now!” I called to the Totodile ahead of me.


The Stoutland behind us nudged the Charmander toward me. “I trust you know what to do?”



"Yes, we are going to give a Heal Ribbon to a Sewaddle and gather a Blast Seed on for a Blipbug!" I scanned the room.



For some reason there weren't any Mystery Dungeon Pokémon on the first floor at all, like something or someone made them hide away. If anything through the winding hallways and corridors we heard the rumbling of Pokémon above. Strangest thing I've ever encountered.



We entered a larger room with the stairs where a green and yellow Pokémon paced around back and forth.



"Oh, there's the Sewaddle!" I called as I noticed their features. Nevada pulled out the Heal Ribbon and Glade walked over to them.



"Here's the Heal Ribbon!" the Totodile wrapped it around the Sewaddle's body. "Er, whats wrong?"



They blinked. "Thank you for bringing this to me. As for my pacing, well, you guys aren't Keepers so you can't feel this but it feels like somethings wrong with this Mystery Dungeon. I'm not going to stay and figure out what."



I watched as the Sewaddle vanished in a ray of light and then sighed. "Whatever that means, let's be prepared."




The four of us walked up the staircase and I could see the Blast Seed, it was right near the entrance to another room. "We're almost done!" I dashed toward it.



"Alright!" Glade cheered.



Nevada yelped as I passed them. "Wait up!"



"You shouldn't run off so far ahead!" Chief McBone barked.



Right as I reached it a plume of purple smoke shot out from the hallway. I grabbed the Blast Seed and bolted backward with the added speed from Quick Attack.



Out came a Gothia, and a Stunky, but they couldn’t have been Mystery Dungeon Pokémon. Those Pokémon didn't live here!



"Outlaws!?"




"If you know what's good for you, you weaklings will submit and join our fresh new world order!" the two yelled.




"Team Sharp Claw, this is an unexpected test!" the Stoutland stood firm. "I'm right behind you! Do well!"



“Wait a minute,” Glade stepped back.


The Charmander beside her took in a deep breath. “It can’t be.”



On their necks was a sight that stopped me in my tracks. Black and white striped scarves, with two black claw marks in the center.


No, I can’t.



"Linus watch out!" Nevada pushed me out of the way of a psychic wave of Confusion. "We- we have to fight!"



I clenched my fist with a nod. "Right!"



The Gothia's attack wasn't like the Pigeotto's! It was normal!



"Are y’all Sentinels!?" I yelled as I shot out a burst of Leafage at him.



"Yep! But we aren't useless like you!"



“What!?” My leaves sliced right into the Gothia's side. "Your attack ain't glow like that Pidgeotto's!"



"What, you think every Keeper with us is unburdened like she was?" The Stunky rammed into the Totodile beside me with a Feint.



Glade stumbled to the side and shot a Water Gun at her. The pressure of the liquid sent the Stunky to the floor.



The Gothia blasted Nevada with Confusion, the Charmander gritted their teeth and fired back an Ember through the attack. He fainted from the heat of the flames, and left the other outlaw alone.



Through a slow limp the Stunky sprayed me with a sharp burst of Poison Gas, the potent toxic fumes choked my lungs and I sank to the ground. My vision blurred. No! I won't let them get away! My legs flared but I propelled off the ground with one last Quick Attack.



As soon as I knocked into the Stunky, she fell over in a daze. I slumped over. "We did it?"


"Don't relax just yet!" Chief McBone ordered as she rushed toward the outlaws, a net in her jaws.



"Let's help with tying them up," I said. Glade and Nevada came up next to me and held the links.


“Now you're done!” Glade smirked at our work.


Nevada finished their section and dropped the netting. “Yep, no more, uh attacks.”


Once firmly secured in the net, the outlaws had nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. “Don’t-” the Gothia coughed. “Think this is the end!”


The Stunky slowly lifted her head. “We’ll rule the world!”


"Just who are you vile fiends anyway?" the Stoutland asked, with a paw on her Diamond badge.


Instead of an answer they just laughed.


I couldn’t believe it.


The cackles from the two of them echoed along the Mystery Dungeon, before Chief McBone growled.


“I asked you a damn question!” she bore her fangs, ice energy charged on the tips. “Answer it!”


The Stoutland stood right over them as the two outlaws sighed. “Fine, don’t think you can stop us just because you’ll know our name.”


“Just tell us who you are!” I yelled. “I’ve encountered only one of you before, and the League will always triumph!”


“Always?”


Chief McBone narrowed her eyes at the Stunky and Gothia. “Hurry up and say it.”


With a smirk the outlaws gestured at their scarves.


Then their eyes glew.


"Wicked Blow."




That name.


That damn name!


Ruined not just my life.


But everyone else’s!


And of course that’s not all.


That’s not even close.


There was even more corruption out there, and I will punish them.


But I can’t do it alone, rather we can’t do it alone. Team Sharp Claw.


But we’ve got some help, the others at the League were right by our side. And everyone else who supported us. Even from the shadows.
 
Chapter 1- White Lightning

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Updated July 31st, 2023.

Chapter Summary

When white lightning strikes in the forest-​

Libra Riolu's POV




'Dear Master Dodrio.'





'Life in Bristberg was interesting. Well, from my perspective.'





Something crazy was always going on.





'There was something that made the Celestial Hemisphere special, and all the Continents within its boundaries special compared to the rest of the world.'





'It was the energy all Pokémon used to power their moves and evolve. This was called mana, the special thing was how each Pokémon had a different relationship to it. The relationship of a Keeper or one of a Sentinel.'





That same thing ruined my life.



“Now why was this so particularly interesting?” Master Dodrio had asked me in reply a few months ago.




'Bristberg was a town carved into and stationed around a glorious teal Mountain range. This town was nestled in the northern heartland of a Continent named Constellation. It laid far into the reaches above the equator of a Hemisphere distant from the chaos of the Sand, Air, Grass, Mist, and Water Continents.'

map of Constellation






'Pokémon who called this Hemisphere their home were all put into two categories: Keeper or Sentinel. It was not just Pokémon conceived and hatched out of their egg in these Continents who were either a Keeper or a Sentinel. Every Pokémon who was from the other Hemisphere would also find themselves belonging to one of these classifications. Just like my teammates, our friends, and numerous other Pokémon found ourselves in.'





'We belonged to the League now.'





At least this group was our light in the darkness. Our chance to strike back.





'The League was a group of organizations all across the Hemisphere that hosted numerous Rescue Teams and had them go on specialized missions. It was similar to Explorer’s Guilds, Pokémon Paradises, and Expedition Societies.'





'But the state of Keepers and Sentinels weren't as cut and dry as the textbooks would like us to believe. Some Pokémon were somewhere between Keeper and Sentinels. Some felt others as Keepers did, others could never be sensed as Sentinels or somehow neither qualities. I knew there were some like that from the day I met one of those interesting Pokémon at the League.'





That interesting Pokémon was right before me: Linus Treecko. I mean there wasn't anything too crazy about Linus, as he hatched as a Sentinel. The Treecko wasn't super strong or a member who joined our League long ago. But there was something about him, a subtle, very faint energy. Not just him, his teammates, Glade and Nevada had this as well.'





“I'm not entirely sure it was aura, but A-chan wanted me to be patient. I have to thank you Master Dodrio, all of my classmates could sense aura because of your years-long training regime.”



'Glade was a Totodile and Nevada was a Charmander, both joined in to make his Team. Linus was captain of this Rescue Team. Currently, five years after he made it, the Team was Silver Rank. Which was decent enough for our League.'





'Of course, we in the higher ranked teams weren't told to treat him or his teammates differently just because they were Fangs of the Fallen.'





This land was as complex as the first edition of the adventure guide book from Lively Town's Expedition Society. We barely made heads or tails of it ourselves.





'Fangs of the Fallen, another unique classification of Pokémon that this Continent had. Not much was known about it, like its existence in general, let alone what it even meant. The only detail we had was that it was something special that Legendary Pokémon called them and other Pokémon. However, Linus was not like me or my Froakie friend.'


'I had to get to the bottom of this.'




'Best wishes.'




'Libra Riolu of Bristberg Mana Research League in Constellation.'





Linus looked up at me the best he could and took in a deep breath. “So y’all are telling me ya feel something from me?”



“Yes.” I answered.



The Treecko looked away and rubbed the back of his head.



A-chan nodded. “I know it's weird like we aren’t Keepers and even they can’t feel anything from you three.”



“I see.” Linus looked down at his hands. “But I still have some questions.”



So why was he here?



A-chan, my Froakie teammate, and I had sat down at one of the tables on the second floor and were reading when he approached us.




"Hey Linus." the Froakie waved with a smirk.




The Treecko pulled up a seat and positioned himself across from A-chan and me. "Howdy Libra, A-san. How are y'all doing?" he asked.




"I'm doing alright." I closed my textbook and gave him my full attention. "Did you need something? You usually never come around us if you don't."




Linus gulped and leaned toward the Froakie. "Uh, is she mad at me?"






"I'm not mad." I clarified. "Just curious."




A-chan tapped my shoulder and shook his head. "Come on now Libra, take it easy."





"Fair. Continue Linus." I sat back.





"Well, ma younger siblings, Hatchet and Kobi asked about you two, so I thought I'd write up a letter 'bout our experience workin' together at da League." Linus explained.





"Hmm, the most notable experience we had working together?" the Froakie repeated.





"Yes," the Treecko replied.





"Are you sure? It's a long story from five years ago." I reminded him.





A-chan leaned toward us."Oh, you want me to remind you of what happened back in our trip to Wei Forest too?"





Linus pulled out a pencil to jot down on some paper. "I'd love ta hear it again!"




A Pokémon like me needed some fresh air. Being in a Mana Research League shouldn’t mean I stayed indoors all day.





With a labored sigh, I opened a cabin window slowly to take in the brisk early morning air. The wind today was full of moisture but still light and breezy and reminded me of back home.




The wind was just like the Water Continent. "Salty waters, dusty skies, Water O' you sure our pride." I sang. My tail drooped as if I had missed something. Hmm, maybe I should have brought my harmonica. Maybe there's a spare in the cabin I could have borrowed.




I glanced over to the small cots and beds that were in the rooms behind me and stretched. In the beds lay a Froakie, a Treecko, a Charmander, and a Totodile. Only the Froakie, Aquarius, or rather I called him A-chan was part of my team, Team Blue Heroes. I’m not the Captain but today I was excursion Co-Leader with A-chan!



As for the other Pokémon, they were the recently formed Team Sharp Claw. They had done well on their missions around town for the last month, so now we ramped things up a bit.


Linus, the Treecko had been here at the League for a year doing research and always aspired to become a leader, yet all he managed to do was to just let his Rescue Team run around. He didn’t know how to help or handle them. The Treecko barely helped himself.


Glade was the Totodile that was excitable and battle-hungry. She said she's been through so many Mystery Dungeons back down south, but without a team, she never really grew. I've always felt that she's seen an event that changed her… That poor Totodile must have been through something.


Then there's Nevada, the Charmander. I’m worried about them, they have a real fear of anyone that yells at them and are quite jumpy. This Charmander had bottled up their anger until it exploded in even minor scuffles or arguments. Nevada also seemed to have confidence issues. A tragedy must have plagued them, I'm sure of it.



I looked down at my paws and grumbled. So many things have changed since Aquarius, I, and others in our Team moved to our ancestors' birthplace, the Celestial Hemisphere. Unfortunately, I've been a Riolu almost the entire time.


Today marked another year of working in the Constellation Continent. These lands held such boundless power in Mana and strife among Pokémon called Keepers and Sentinels, we didn't know what we got ourselves into. Mana was the energy in the Celestial Hemisphere that allowed Pokémon to use their moves and evolve.


A rustle of covers meant someone, probably A-chan, had woken up. I should have talked to him before the others were up too.


"Morning doggy," the Froakie smirked as he shifted in bed.



"Good morning," I replied and turned around, just before a pillow flew over my head. "Team Sharp Claw?!"



"Mornin' Libra." the Totodile piped up. "You dodged that pillow pretty well."



"What?"



"You mean I dodged it well." the Charmander next to them yelped. "It was thrown back at me!"


“Back?”


"You started it." Glade climbed out of bed with a wild grin.



"Glade!" Linus yelled and launched out of bed with a Quick Attack.



The Totodile blocked the Treecko with a pillow that was tore straight through as his fist crashed into her side. "Oh?" she growled. "You want some too?"




I cleared my throat. "These aren't our pillows, I'll have to replace this one."




"Crap!" Nevada reached down to pick up their ruffled pillow.



"What a way to start a morning eh Team Sharp Claw? the Froakie chuckled as he stretched out in bed. "You're paying for it by the way."



"Sorry Libra, sorry A-san." The three apologized.



"It's time to head out isn't it?" I asked.



We cooked some breakfast, cleaned up, and got ready to hit the road. Outside in the forest! I always believed Pokémon who lived or worked in a busy town or city needed to get away to experience some of the finer things in life. It's the same. No matter which Continent or Hemisphere you're in.


That meant going outside to a forest, a nice normal one. “My paw pads feel amazing out here." I grinned.




"The soft grass of the Wei Region beats the cobblestone of Bristberg any day." Linus joined me as I basked in the sun.



The rich scent of an untouched forest. Dirt, pollen, grass, and dew. There are Mystery Dungeons that have this sort of vibe to them, but it was peaceful out here in the stray lands. No bright street lamps. Sure we had our lanterns but they weren't bright.


Being far from so many city Pokémon's overwhelming Aura for kilometers was a plus too. I was the only Riolu here, so only I was annoyed by that part, even if A-chan could also somehow sense it.




Team Sharp Claw had never felt the concept of feeling the energies of others, especially when you don't want to.




Half of the Pokémon in this Hemisphere seem to understand the concept though. Keepers. They're used to sensations. Well, not sensations, more like tastes. I wouldn’t know, I’m just a Sentinel.




The skyline morphed from dark violet to a warm tangerine, while clouds slowly built up.




There was the chatter and chitter of far-off bug-types and flying-types. It continued as we ventured through a primeval forest, and followed the trail marks left by other Pokémon.




“I could get used to this." I grinned.



“We got up at the crack of dawn to get stuff done. You could get used to this?” A asked.



“Well, doing requests of the Coordinator isn’t a bad thing ya know.” I waved him off.



The Froakie narrowed his eyes. "But could this foray into the woods really help us find the answer to all of our problems?"


The majority of other older Pokémon in the League didm't understand how it felt to have your progress stripped away like that, to upgrade, and then go get kicked back down. Devolution . A-chan, I, and a few of our friends evolved but recently went back to our old forms, just bigger.


The path we took started to widen. I pulled out my mini-map and ran a claw along the chart. "We are headed downhill to Bilei Ye Forest, home to our requests," I explained.


A-chan and I were asked by Coordinator Cooper to watch over another Rescue Team on their first mission out of town. Our joint request was to enter Wei.


"Remember we need to gather some rare items for our medical department." Linus explained.




"Which ones again?" Nevada tilted their head.



"Balm Mushrooms, Golden Berries, and Revival Herbs." Glade listed.



Now those items could be found in the Mori Region which was closer to our base out in Bristberg. But to find the ripest and highest quality of these items we had to go to the Wei Region.


The slow light of the sun approached as we made our way toward thicker patches of grass. After we walked a while there were the treetops that came into view. Ones with leaves I couldn't see the color of began to cast their shadows over us. As we walked towards the areas with smaller vegetation and fruit trees the three on the other Team latched their lanterns to their basket straps.


“This is gonna be a long day.” A sighed.


“How can you tell?” Glade asked.


I pointed over my shoulder. “One quick glance at the type of Berries growing said it all.” Even in the dim light of early morning, I saw the first layer of fruit.


“I used to do this back home in my cousin’s orchard.” Linus called.


“What is it?”


“A large rotund Berry… Oran.”


The Froakie beside me shook his head. “There's a low chance that even Sitrus Berries grow there.”


“Ah mon.” Nevada groaned.


Glade sifted through the brambles and leaned her head back. “You’ve gotta be freaking kidding me!”


“The items the medical department needs aren't present there.” I patted her on the back. ”But you’ll figure it out.”


"If you run into any trouble, call us!" A-chan called out.


"Got it!" the three replied.


The Froakie watched the little Rescue Team take their request papers out. He took a couple of hops back and stared out into the distance.


I crossed my arms and tried to get a good map of the area. Looking at my compass and taking a deep breath, I decided to cleanse my mind and focus.


Toward the North, I stared at large pillars that took up the majority of the forest. In the fog of the dawn, the figures seemed like the legs of giants, moss, and odd gashes in the rock like the ragged fur and marks of battle.


Linus rubbed his chin as he paused through his search in the bushes."Those aren't mountains, are they?"


"They can't be Mon-made either, right?" Glade pondered.



“What are these?” Nevada asked.


"I heard those were formed out of quartz-sandstone," A-chan explained. "From rain and ice erosion after thousands of years."


"I see,” I replied. “Kinda like karst."


We walked further through the forest eastward as the sun continued to rise in the sky.


“I was wondering.” Nevada started to dim their tail flame a tad as we walked through some thick grass. “Why did you guys come on this mission with us?”


“Just to watch us like we're little hatchlings, that's why!” Glade laughed.


“The two of us are on the lookout for some suspicious events or figures that could be in the area,” I waved my paw. “League business.”


"Ooh, like busting outlaws!” The Totodile slashed at the air.


A waggled his finger with a laugh. “We weren't gonna do anything besides note our findings and make sure regular Pokémon are safe.”


Every time that little Team went to another section of the forest we trailed behind them. This led us towards the north near the faux karst structures. They still stood magnificently in the air, as the wind blew through the moss and other plant tendrils that clung to them.


"You should definitely be able to find the Balm Mushrooms here." The Froakie pointed at the thick shrubbery.



Glade peered at the leaves and lifted one to claw at the dirt. "Why's that?"




"With the lack of sunlight patches from all the quartz-sandstone pillars and tall thick trees, there should be all sorts of Mushrooms," Nevada said.



"Correct." A replied.



"Ah, there would be lots of dead plant matter, which is a perfect condition for growth!" Linus cheered.


"It's still really dark here so we have to be careful." I reminded everyone and stepped over a raised tree root.


Every time we got close to the quartz-sandstone, I felt a strong pulse of energy resonate in the area. It was like an approaching thunderstorm. Two distinct thunderclaps. I tripped and hit myself against a huge rock that was hidden by some brambles. The sharp pain had shot up in a line all across my front that made me limp a tad bit. "Damnit!"


"You okay?" A-chan asked.


I took in a ragged breath and tried to contain my impulsive growling. But I should be able to take it. "Y-yeah, I will be." I sighed. Again I got lost in my senses.


"Well, let's continue to patrol and inspect the area." the Froakie smiled. "Watch where you're going doggy!" He giggled before he patted my back.


We walked past some more quartz-sandstone structures again as we studied the area.


“Even though we’ve seen them before, they are just so awesome!” Glade jumped around and pointed at the towering formation.


“Don’t let them distract you now.” I reminded. “We need to leave before dark.”


“I kinda have da urge ta climb them.” Linus clenched his fists.


“Why?” Glade snickered.


“Ta use them as vantage points.”


“Don't!” I yelled.


“Why not?” the Treecko leaned away.


Nevada pointed at the towering rock. “Well, first of all, you can't-”


“True.” Linus sighed.


“Second of all I won't be able to go up there with you if anything happens.” I placed my paw down.


“Huh?” The Totodile beside us gasped. “You, of Team Blue Heroes legend wouldn’t be able to?”


“I, uh well, I feel like that would curse me.”


“Mew, or Arceus, or even Xerneas don't curse Pokémon over climbing do they?”


“Water Continent teachings." A explained and patted me on the shoulder. "Lugia, Manaphy, Kyogre, and others of blue have blessed us too much for her to do that.”


We continued searching for what felt like a couple of hours later and spotted the Revival Herbs. They were on the edge of the land and a Toxicroak's field of crops.


"Look!" Nevada beamed and held their prize.



"That's great and all but be careful." A begged.


"Careful of WHA-" Linus tripped into his Teammates. As the three fell they got tangled up in the brambles and thickets.



I ran towards the nearest picket fence and stared at it down. This fence was only a bit shorter than me, and I was nearly at a Lucario's height! The only good thing about Devolution I swear. I put out my arms when I spotted the kids. "You guys better get outta there right now!" I yelled.




A got beside me and started making a rope out of his back frubbles. The white bubbles were sturdy enough when chained together so he tossed them over the fence. "Here! Climb on!"


Those three stood still and slowly turned to face us. "What? Why?" they asked.



"It's clear as day!" I shouted as I waved my paws. "That sign says it's a tender season for the crops!"


"What's that mean?"


"Just hurry up and come here!"


“Alright!”


A-chan helped me hold onto them. "Tender means the crops are fragile," the Froakie yelled. "If you damage them you'll pay a crap ton of money!"


“We weren’t gonna damage ‘em!” The Treecko protested.


“Who’s gonna know?” The Totodile yapped.


“Nobody will know.” The Charmander replied.


“They’ll know.” A deadpanned, as he struggled with the rope. “They’re gonna know.”


"I mean there's a Toxicroak standing right in the field!" I growled and pulled the three over the fence. "And I'm not letting them take you to Wei Court!"



Unfortunately, I yanked them kinda hard and the fence buckled under our pressure. It collapsed off the cliff and took us with it. My eyes flashed before me as I pulled Nevada and Glade in front of me while A-chan held Linus. We screamed as we tumbled off a hill into another patch of land.


With a thud we crashed through nature’s netting and collided into a pile of dirt. Linus fell onto the grass first, with A-san and Glade right after him. A large dangle of vines, moss, and decrypt trees surrounded me as I came to.


“Look over there!” Glade yelled.


I whipped around my head in her direction. “What?”


“There are the Revival Herbs!”


I beckoned A-chan over. “Something was weird about this area.” I whispered.


“What’s up?” He whispered back.


“There was lots of Aura. Not just the pulsing sparks.”


“Okay, don’t let them get startled, but just stay on your guard.”


"Alright guys I know we are almost done but we need to not get ahead of ourselves," I said as we climbed out of the natural enclosure.


"Understood!" the three happily replied.


"Since we are taking a while in our search, I propose we head West," A said. "Then we can investigate properly."


"Sounds good to me." I stretched my arms and shifted my back around.


"Hopefully we can find the last item," Glade said.



With every step we took I felt more and more of the pulsing, it started to get stronger and stronger. Amidst the rustling of leaves and foliage from the new team’s search, a chill ran down my spine.



What was going on? Where are all these odd emotions coming from? Who am I getting these from and how? My nose twitched as I narrowed my eyes, and peered between the cracks.


"A-san! Libra!" Glade called and waved her arms wildly. "There's some Pokémon following us!"




"Get behind me!" The Froakie ordered Team Sharp Claw.




The three followed as quickly as possible.




My feelers haven’t picked up anyone else nearby! "What?" I growled, and subconsciously I bared my fangs.




"Look out!" Nevada cried, and pulled me out of the way of something.




Where I once stood was a shadowy blanket and a ghostly orb, and energy flew every which way. It looked big but… the power behind them was weak. The only ones who could have done this were Pokémon nearby.



"Neheheheh!" A cackle erupted from the bushes. "Sorry~ We totally didn't mean to do that!"


Behind us was a trio of Pokémon, who wore purple, black, and red capes. A Gengar, a Dragapult, and a Midnight-Lycanroc. I don't understand, the three of them had flimsy, fraudulent auras for some fully evolved Pokémon. Something wasn’t right here.


"Travelers." The Dragapult's slimy child-like voice called. "We have some things to discuss with you!"


A and I stared at the scarlet, violet, and black colored patches on their coat and then over each of them.



"What is it?" I asked. "We've got some requests to do, so I'd appreciate it if you'd not fire attacks at us. Or it'll get ugly real quick."




"Have you seen any Legendary or Mythical Pokémon around here?" Asked the Lycanroc, as they stuck their tongue out their tongue and slowly circled us.




"No."




"Well onto the next topic." The Gengar pointed their claws and bared their ghostly fangs.




Really? Those little teeth? Nevada’s were bigger! Guess I haven't had a good enough workout- I'm ready to go wild!




"Froakie! Riolu! You are coming with us!"




"Excuse me?" A took a glance at me and questioned as he distanced himself from the Pokémon. "Why do you want us?"




I stepped forward and drew in a breath with a growl. "Answer him."



The Dragapult took that as a cue and leapt at me. They missed their swipe at me with a clumsy strike. "You two are a special pair! A pair we shall capture!"




"What's that supposed to mean!?" I pulled my arm back and collected fighting spirit into a red aura on it and landed a Force Palm on the Lycanroc's shoulder. That'll do it! When it connected they staggered backwards and nearly collapsed onto the floor.




"You don't understand do you?" The Gengar crashed into me from below with a Shadow Sneak, as it knocked me off balance and somehow toppled me over. It’s still weak?




A hopped forward and sliced at the Dragapult with a precise blade of Aerial Ace wings, which sent them backwards into the air. The Dragapult quickly darted around us and fired out Dragon Darts at Glade and Linus.



"Block them!" I ordered the two, as I got up and put myself in between them and the enemies.




The two complied and launched out a blast of Leafage, and a Water Gun at the move. It barely managed to destroy it.




On the floor, the Lycanroc struggled to get back up. "Foolish League slaves!" They cackled stupidly, and formed a Rock Tomb, directly over Nevada. "We know what you are!" The Lycanroc howled.




I sprang forward to push the Charmander out of the way but wasn't fast enough. The massive pile of stones crushed Nevada, and instantly trapped them.




"Nevada!" We all yelled as the dust settled.




"We'll get them!" Glade shot a Water Gun at the pile of rubble. Linus tossed a Mega Drain at the debris and pulled out the Charmander.


"Okay!" I replied. Below me, there grew a purple ring of energy. I rolled to the side to catch the Gengar.




“Watch out!’ I heard a warning from someone and my instincts took over and I dove to the side.




I took in dark energy and opened my maw, with my teeth hardened I used Crunch on the enemy in front of me. A jet of bubbles sped toward me, I let and dodged a Bubble Beam from the Froakie. It made its mark, instantly doused the Lycanroc, and caused them to faint from the damage.



The Gengar crashed into me with another Shadow Sneak and nearly knocked me over. At this range, I quickly landed another Crunch on them and they went down for good.




"Take this!” A-chan swung a blade of Aerial Ace at the Dragapult, which sent them onto the floor right into their buddies. “And stay down!”




I hunched over my knees and panted. "Ugh." I groaned.




"Those three gave us- ah." The Froakie paused to wheeze. "Put up quite a fight yeah?"




"Harder than I expected."



Nevada’s warm claw pulled on my paw and beckoned me closer. “Is it over?”




"Yeah, you’re safe now. We pummeled those brats into the ground in no time flat right?" I stretched my sides as I handed an Oran Berry to them.


"Yeah!" Linus pumped his fist. "That was so awesome!"



Just as I relaxed there was a squelching noise. "What in the world was that?"



"Look!" A pointed.




We all looked down at the Gengar, Lycanroc, and Dragapult slowly started to shrink. Their limbs disappeared and their skin turned a light lavender.



"Ditto?" Nevada asked, their flame brightened.




"The Gengar, Lycanroc, and Dragapult were Ditto!" Linus gasped.



"Disgusting purple creatures.” I growled before I coughed. “The bunch of them."



Glade kicked one of them. “Thought they could trick us?”



Once she did that something black and shiny rolled out. Besides the three Ditto was a thin metal cylinder. It had a red and purple etching engraved in a serpentine pattern across every side with a glowing button on the opening seal.




"There's a scroll?" the Totodile stepped back.



“Let’s open it.” I offered and held up the scroll.


A grimaced as he opened the hatch to unfurl its contents. "I'm a bit worried about all those things the Ditto mentioned, seeing Legendaries.”



"What does it say?"



"It's in Constellation- let me see," the Froakie lifted the rich brown parchment closer to his eyes.



There was a whole list of Pokémon names, organizations, towns, and Continents but there were a few that stuck out to me.


'A Riolu and a Froakie in the Bristberg League are [PENDING], Sentinels- a threat to balance and order we believe our Eternal Lord had in line for Keepers and Sentinels.'


I grasped my scarf tight in my paw and took in a trembling breath. Pending!? “A-chan and I are a threat to the order of Keepers and Sentinels."


"Xerneas's sake." Glade took a step back. "What does that even mean?"




"I have no clue." I groaned.




"There's something else!" A-chan pointed a little bit below and my jaw dropped.




'The Treecko, the Totodile, and the Charmander trio of the Bristberg League are Fangs of the Fallen Sentinels, a threat to our mission on behalf of the Eternal Lord.'




"What is it?!"




I took a deep breath. "On the scroll, it mentions that you three are something called the Fangs of the Fallen."



The Treecko beside me gasped. “Glade, Nevada, and I are what?”



“We are not just Sentinels, but Fangs of the Fallen?!” Nevada panicked, as their tail flame heated up.




"Whatever that means we'll have to find out later." I held my chest and took in another breath.



“What? But that’s about all of us!” Glade grumbled.



“It’s important stuff the Chief and Coordinator haven’t even told us about and you want us to wait?” Linus grabbed A-chan's shoulder.




"Remember we just fought those Ditto?" I rolled up the scroll.



"Yeah." The Charmander sighed.



The Froakie padded the Treecko on the back. "The real deal could be out here nearby. It's not safe in Bilei Ye Forest without backup," he explained.



"We need to hurry!" I barked.



"But what about the Ditto?" Nevada asked.



"I'll tie them up and send out a request for someone to pick these guys up through my badge," I explained and set down my bag and rummaged for some Nullifying Net.


Glade rolled her shoulders as she watched me. "So your team or another team will come and grab the Ditto punks?"


"Yeah, we don't have time to take them back," I replied, as my ears twitched. Some leaves rustled in the wind, as they swayed back and forth in a dance.


“This net can only work when the target has fainted and a Pokémon has charged the gear-like device on the side in a Mystery Dungeon.”



I put the three Ditto inside and then pulled my badge off my scarf. 'Calling all, we have some Ruffians that need retrieving, three Ditto with a Null Net beacon attached to them in Wei Forest.'



After I finished the call I put my badge away and stared off into the distance. Something was out there. My chest ached without it. What was it?



"Libra!" A-chan put a webbed hand on my shoulder.



There was a concerned and worried Aura that flowed off him. He looked into my eyes. It’s only logical he would feel it too. If the others were here-


"Did you not hear me?"


"What?" I questioned, as my heart rate spiked. There’s another spark.


The Froakie took his hand off me and then pointed to the left. “Those three said they heard something suspicious in the bushes!”


I raced over to where the rookies were. “What was it?!” I grabbed the shoulders of the Treecko and shook him. I took a glance into the bushes. Then I felt it. One of the small and faint pulses.


“I-I heard someone, a young voice.” Linus trembled as my anxiety peaked. More sparks.


"One of the Ditto brats?"


"No, this sounded a bit older, and there was something else."


“What about them?”


“They were crying.”


A flood of malice swept through the area as sparks danced in my mind. Whoever those Ditto worked for drew near. There were so many powerful auras. Too many for us to handle, and there was only one choice.


“Come with me!” I shouted and trusted my instincts. I dashed forward and grabbed the rookies. On impact, we tripped into the leaves, and branches and found our world flipped upside down. There was a small hole. Of course, there fucking was.


“A-aquarius!” I cried out, as I watched the Froakie hesitate.


Then he leapt.


Before I knew it I was flat on my back. The pulsing began to beat like a drum when I came to, and we aren’t alone. There was the scent of blood, it was only a small amount but it was blood. I opened my eyes.



The faint light of my lantern lit up our surroundings in a blur of oranges, yellows, and reds. A drip of water fell on my head. One after another the stream continued to flow. I felt no more fierce Aura. But what kind of Pokémon was down here?

“Is everyone okay?” A-chan groaned, and his ribbit echoed through the cavern. Or wherever the voids we are.


"Could be better." I mused.


The rookie Team stirred and staggered to their feet. “Yeah, I think so.” The Totodile grumbled.


The Charmander next to her flinched as they leaned against the wall. “N-no, I wanna go home.” They cried.


"Don't worry, we'll get you all out of here." I coughed.


“Arcueness gracious.” the Treecko sighed. “That was…” He paused for a moment to cough.

“Quite a fall right?” A hopped forward.


“Yes... Oh, wait!” The three lit up.


“Wait what?” A-chan and I asked.


“The crying!” The rookies ignited the fuel of their lanterns and the area lit up. There was a forked path, one with black scorch marks along the floor and the faint sound of sobbing, the other with nothing.


A-chan grabbed my arm. “Libra-”



“Sorry.” I apologized, and cut him off.



He slapped me across the chest and I reeled back. “Stay focused.” the Froakie lifted his lantern to my muzzle. “You felt it too ya know.”



Loud thunder crashed. Lightning followed behind as a flash in my mind. The familiar tingle of danger. Aura. It's those Pokémon from before. This feeling sucked. A pressure in my belly and head that makes me want to run away. I hated it. It made me want to-




I needed to continue the investigation.




I nodded as a residual throb of pain flashed through me, and I quickly made haste into the traveled path. The drumming inside my head grew louder with every little step we took. Soon we arrived.




Sounds of running water drowned out the panicked breath and crying sobs. I put my paw up to my temple. This was a passageway that held an underground river, a wide tunnel, and there was a bush to the wayside. A crackle of electricity whipped out of it. We need to wait. I took a single step closer.




When I did so a white snout stuck out from the leaves. I took a step back. The branches of the bush parted and out came a small white and grey Pokémon. Tears still dripped from their orange eyes as static filled the air. They were frozen, unwavering in thought. And so were we.




"It was odd… I've seen this Pokémon before in books. A feline-Esque Pokémon, one normally bright yellow and huge." I hummed as the thought bubbled in my mind.





"Huge?" Linus asked.





"Well, not this small." I whispered.




"These are familiar lightning bolt shapes on their muzzle and limbs. Along with the yellow teardrop-shaped crest on their head lit up." The Froakie gestured with his hands.




"You know what they are?" Glade leaned in close.




I nodded my head. "This is a Zeraora.”




The Zeraora held a shiny metallic scroll, with the visages and emblems of a ten-spoked gear.





"Could that be a mana artifact?" I questioned.




Time sat still as I focused on the target.





"What should we do?" Nevada begged.




"We need to practice our emergency protocol." I tried to explain calmly.




"That sounds good to me." A replied. "Listen up you three!"




"The first plan of action is to assess the situation, correct?"





"Yes!" The other Team cheered.





"Wait, that was too enthusiastic!" A narrowed his eyes.




"What do we do when we see a Pokémon in distress?" I asked.




The Zeraora growled as their fur bristled.




"There are many options but we have to choose the one that works in this situation." A-chan reminded.



"Do you guys know what that is?" I took another step back to look at the younger Pokémon.



I wasn't good enough. Wasn't fast enough. Team Sharp Claw had something special about them. I sensed it.


But I couldn't do anything.


Those rookies took another step too instead of an answer. One toward the Zeraora. One too fast for comfort. A wrong move. Sparks flew.




 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
After reading this, I'm pleasantly surprised!

I'll start off with what I liked most: The intrigue. There's a lot of unfamiliarity here, with Sentinels and a League, but the mystery dungeons and rescue teams help ground it, and let me be intrigued by the new stuff without being completely overwhelmed.

However, some of the narration feels a bit forced and exposition dump-y? Like the mention of mana, and how Linus brought up how sensitive they are to it out of complete nowhere. I feel like it could have been introduced a bit more naturally.

This here:

The light-blue smoke of mana radiated off them stronger than any I've ever seen before.

Mana was the power we used to access our full potential as Pokémon. We used it for moves, abilities and evolution all across the Hemisphere. But something's wrong with that Pokémon!

I feel could be reduced to something like "The light-blue smoke of mana radiated off them stronger than any I've ever seen before. If that was how powerful their mana was, then there was no telling what they could do. Something was wrong with them. Who knew how powerful their moves and abilities could be, powered by that much mana?"

Though that's only my personal opinion.

Other than that, though, it was pretty good!

Might come back for more of this during Review Blitz. Keep writing on!
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
Onto prologue 2!

Something that's starting to bother me a bit is the extreme amount of space between paragraphs. It's a bit disruptive to scroll over twice as often as I usually have to with fics.

Like with right here:
"What do you mean?"









"Well, y'all two aren't the only other Pokémon the League has scouted recently." The Treecko said as we walked through the bustling cobblestone streets.

That's nine blank lines between paragraphs. You don't need that many.

The mystery dungeon was a bit hard to follow because of this. Sometimes there's 8 line breaks, a single word, then another 8 line breaks.

The actual content itself is pretty interesting, though. Keepers wearing black and white striped scarves? Wonder what's up with them? I'm intrigued, and interested to find out what exactly Keepers are!

Keep on writing!
 
Chapter 2- Thunder Echoes Through the Trees

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted August 8th, 2023

Chapter Summary
Thunder echoes through the trees. But then-​



Aquarius Froakie’s POV




I heard it again.




"Aquarius!"



Libra always yelled my full name when she was worried about me.





I didn't like it.





I never did.




Master Dodrio wrote out the last set of letters on a jade tablet and carefully passed it on an altar. "Legendary Pokémon cloaked under water were called Aquarius by the Ancients of the Water Continent."




"You're giving it to me?" I asked and held the ornately crafted material.



"Zodiac: every type has a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon named for it," our Master explained further.





"Our namesakes, I accept it," Libra said slowly.





"Very well." Master Dodrio stood up. "Now go and bless the Constellation Continent in their light. More importantly, find your new selves in the Zodiac."





I looked away.





Master Dodrio bowed his center head to us. "You don't have to feel pressured to bear these names if you don't want to. You can still honor the Zodiacs with your good deeds and aura's will."





But the others and I weren't like- Riolu, we weren't like Libra. "Am I worthy of a name such as this?" We asked.





No.





I asked.





This time I couldn't blame her when she called my name.



"Look out!" I screamed.




The light of the Zeraora’a attack lit up the entire cavern. Instinctively, I closed my eyes, and anticipated a searing pain to rip through my body, just as the attack flew past me and Libra.


We couldn't stop it. All three of Team Sharp Claw was struck by the Plasma covered Fists; they were knocked against the ground.





My hands trembled. "By Kyogre!" I gasped. "Waters Ring, please keep them!"




"Team Sharp Claw!" Libra yelled, her pupils wide.



They each cried out in agony and they collapsed onto the ground, as Libra and I raced toward them.The Totodile fainted first, with the Charmander doubled over beside her, and last the Treecko who tried to hold out fell shortly after. Their scales toasted slightly with the glaze of raw electricity.




A shockwave and gust of energy from the attack struck the floor and paralyzed me for a brief moment. My skin shriveled up.



I regained control of my limbs and fell to the ground."Why? Why is this happening!?" I gasped.



"Calm down." The Riolu tried to comfort me. She trembled as her tail curled down. "I'm-I'm sure Team Sharp Claw will be fine. They'll be fine."




"You aren't doing a good job Libra!" I pushed her away.



"Sorry A-"




"Dangerous Pokémon followed us all the way down here for Volcaion's Depths! We can't deny it, they were probably the suspicious Pokémon we were looking for!"



Libra growled at the thought.




"Then there was a strange, powerful Pokémon who we found hidden away in a cave with an odd object."




"This was just yet another suspicious Pokémon."




"The ones chasing us and this one right," I pointed to the Zeraora. "Both might be possibly connected to something that not even the Chief could handle alone."





Libra gulped as her nose twitched.





"And now we have to pray for the best—our steps to be guided."





The Zeraora sunk back into the bushes for a moment, before they sniffed frantically. They sat still and continued to cry as their eyes darted across the room and their ears twitched.





"Just who are you?" I asked in a low quiet voice.




A low growl echoed throughout the cavern as the Zeraora got up. They stared towards the other side. On the other side was a slope that led into a pool of water. More specifically an underground river.





The Zeraora’a tail-thing curled between their legs as their breathing grew more ragged and intense. Tears continued to fall from their eyes.





"It seemed like we scared them just as bad as they scared us," I said softly as possible.




"You are a Zeraora, correct?" Libra added, and placed a paw on my shoulder.





"A small Zeraora!" I gasped.





The Zeraora cautiously eyed us, their orange eyes darting between us as their ears perked up, the Zeraora's breathing tense as they paced back and forth.





"A, can you do something?" Libra whispered, her tail low. "I'm not good with this."





"Oh right!" I lifted up one of the ends of my tie and showed it to the Zeraora.




On it, my Gold-Rank triangular winged League badge glistened in the light. "We," I paused to gesture at the Pokémon who fainted on the floor and Libra, “are League Pokémon.”


Zeraora's muzzle brightened a bit.


“You know what that is?” I asked. “We are Pokémon that help everyone across the Continent deal with various issues and requests!”



They held the scroll tighter as they nodded and their crying stopped.



Libra held out her paw. “Can we help you?”



“Yes.” The soft voice of the Zeraora slowly filled the room. They slowly padded towards Libra and I, as their whiskers twitched.





Oh no, they're so cute! "So why were you crying?" I asked as gently as possible.





Libra flinched and then I felt an approaching wave of fury from outside. It's those outside Pokémon! She growled and stamped her paws into the floor, which caused the stone to break.





"I was lost.” Zeraora started and their ears flattened. “Now I have to find my way back." They hissed.





"What's wrong?" I asked.




"I can sense our enemies approaching."



"You noticed it just like the two of us!"





"Yeah." the Zeraora nodded.



The vibrations of the enemy Pokémon pawsteps shook throughout the cavern and I glanced behind me.


“We first need to get out of this cave,” Libra said, as her tail slowly wagged. "Let’s go!”

I pulled my bag off my shoulder and dropped it to the ground. Libra and I can’t leave the rookies in this place nor can we let this Zeraora get caught by whoever is chasing us.


“Zeraora I need you to follow our lead okay!”




“Understood!” the Zeraora responded.|


I took out our Reviver Seeds and tossed them at the rookie Rescue Team members. On contact the three woke up and stared at me in shock.



"Are you three okay? I asked.


"Maybe?" Linus rubbed the back of his head.


“Ugh, what’s going on?" Nevada groaned. "Was this a secret tunnel?”



The Treecko shook his head. "I don't think so."


"Woah!" Glade immediately tried to get as far away as she could from Zeraora.



Her Treecko teammate gave her a glare and crossed his arms. "Where are you going?"


The Totodile crouched against a wall and pointed a finger.“T-that’s a beast of lightning! It attacked us!"


"Calm down guys," Nevada said as they stepped in between them.|

“You three!” the Riolu in front of them barked. “You need to hurry. We are going to escape with this Zeraora!”


"Ah, okay!" Linus grabbed his teammate's claws.


Glade glanced at the Zeraora and then took a deep breath. "They're on our side then." She chuckled. "They're gonna tear the enemy to shreds!"


"No no." Nevada yelped. "We're gonna run away with them!"



A loud rumble shook through the area.


"We no longer have much time to waste." I shook my head.


“The brats are down here somewhere!” A snarky voice's shout echoed through the cave.


Another voice called out. “They’re in one of these caves with the one with the scroll!”


I stared at the cave in front of us and then considered our options. “What if we got them off our trail by going through the river?”



Libra stepped forward and peered into the water’s edge. “Glade quickly check what’s on the other side!”



“What?” she questioned. "But how will you-"


“It'll be okay!” I yelled. “Just go!”


"I'll trust you!" The Totodile ran before she dove into the river. Droplets splashed into the air as she propelled into water.

"So why'd ya sent her?" Linus grabbed my frubbles.


"We sent her for one simple reason."

"Why?" the Zeraora asked.

"I wasn’t fast enough. Not yet anyway. Froakies aren’t known for our swimming speed. If only I was allowed to remain a Frogadier."


The four of us waited with baited breath. She didn’t return.


“Okay we’re going in, get ready!” I shouted, and surprised myself. I’m really loud!? There has to be something to help our resident fire-type. Maybe my frubbles can do something?!

“To escape those Pokémon we have to go through this river for a little bit, you’ll be okay Nevada?” I asked, holding the cream bubbles towards them.

“I’m sure I’ll be fine as long as it’s not too long, I think,” the Charmander took some of my frubbles.

I hopped forward into the pool. Everyone else dove in after me. The pleasure and relief I felt to be immersed in the water was astounding. It was like all the days stress and pressure went away.



Legendary Aquarius's blessing tried and true. I felt relieved. The dark waters and equally dark passages were illuminated by our lanterns in orange spots. Not the time to be mesmerized. We weren't clear yet, I needed to see everyone safe. I swung my arms and legs quickly, before I flew out of the river.



I landed next to Glade somehow. She laid on her stomach as she took in ragged breaths. The Totodile lifted her head to stare at me.



Wordlessly I placed my hand on her shoulder and sighed. "It's going to be okay," I tried to reassure her. "Libra and I will handle all the enemies. Take it easy."



All of the non-water-types soon made it to the other side of the underground river. They rose from the water to take a breath of fresh air, and noticed the two of us.


"You made it!" I cheered as Libra emerged from the river, Nevada in her arms. She placed the Charmander down and the flame on their tail shot out. The Zeraora also followed as they exited the water.

A green-webbed hand waved in the air.


"Linus needs help!" Nevada pointed to the river.


"Hold on!" I hopped over to the waterside and dove in.


"Alright Zeraora," the Riolu said as the group dried off. "We're going to stay with you until you find your way back."


They glanced back at her and their whiskers twitched. "You will?"

"Is that okay?"

I pulled out Linus. Quickly I pressed on his chest. A torrent of water came flooding out of his entire body and he took in a deep breath. He was awfully heavy compared to normal… The Treecko seemed to have absorbed too much water.


"Yes, I'm okay with that, I am a girl after all." Zeraora grinned.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Libra tilted her head.

“I don’t like to be called Zeraora. I mean I am one, but I have a name.” She crossed her arms.

“What should we call you then?” I adjusted my bag.

“My name is Xuě!” Zeraora answered with a smile.

Zway.

"Where are you from?" Glade asked.

“Uh, I’m not entirely sure, but I was named after the snow in Wei Tundra." Xuě explained.


"Ah, a Weian name!" Nevada cheered.

"Not too far north of here, but definitely not in this Mystery Dungeon." Libra nodded


"Okay Xuě, everyone let's go!" I called and hopped up. First, we needed to gather our bearings. The six of us looked up around the underground. The ceiling of the riverway was high enough to see an open cave by the shore.

"There's a faint green light over there,” Glade pointed at the distant wall.

"What's that?" Xuě asked.

"Perhaps a gemstone?" I realized something after I saw the shimmering.
Linus moved his hand across in an arc. “Look y’all! That there’s a reflection of a shiny surface.”

I turned my head to the opposite side. “Wow.” I gasped. There were chunks of geodes and gems in a large section of wall. “Truly gorgeous.”

We stood still for a while to take in the sight. “Let’s head that way.” As the six of us got closer, the path began to branch and split off. Four different tunnels stood before us.

Libra shook her head left, I shook mine right and Xuě nodded up.

"Let's follow Xuě here." I offered.

The Zeraora brightened up by the mention of her name and all of us headed inside. Hopefully, it won't be too long. The walls of each path were studded with small bits of minerals that sparkled in the light of our lanterns. We continued inside, the size and variety of gems in the cavern increasing as the tunnel widened out. Soon we were in an open stretch of cave.

A powerful gust of energy filled my entire body and the path behind us was swallowed up by earth.


Linus pointed at the massive stones. "We're in a Mystery Dungeon y'all!"


"That's not good!" Nevada tapped the rock on with their claws.


Glade grabbed those same claws and pulled them toward her. "That's not good, what do you mean? It's awesome!"

The Treecko beside them shook his head. "I dunno Glade, this Mystery Dungeon might be harder than anythang we faced in Bristberg."

"Xuě are you familiar with Mystery Dungeons?" Libra asked.

"Yes, Master had me train in various Mystery Dungeons every day."


"Have you been in this one?"


"No, not this one." the Zeraora answered.


"Hmm." Libra tapped her paws. "Could you come here?"


Glade clung onto Nevada’s shoulder when Xuě walked over to the Riolu next to me.


"Masters Riolu and Froakie-"

"Oh you don't have to call us Master, you can call me A or A-san ," I explained.


"And I am called Libra," the Riolu said.


"Alright," Xuě said.


"If necessary, can you fight?"


The Zeraora looked up and then at her large fists. Her claws extended and sparked with electrical energy before she nodded. "I could beat up everyone chasing us."


I breathed a sigh of relief. Xuě was a powerful Pokémon, one with strength I could have never obtained. All I needed was to respect and trust her. She was a Zeraora after all, even if she was young.


Libra yawned."Okay, let's get going everybody."

We looked to the left and the right. I noticed paths that led out of the massive room. “What do you guys see?” I asked.

“Nothing on the right,” Nevada said.

“On the left, there’s a Crustle sleepin’ near the exit.” Linus pointed.

Libra's tail dropped. “So let's go ahead the other way.”


The second I stepped into the narrow tunnel there was a dark-grey and black Raticate that started to barrel straight at us.There were little pathways on the sides of the tunnel but they didn't stop at the ones closest to us.

Libra and I spread out in front of the younger Pokémon behind us. “You guys hit ‘em from back there!”

On cue Linus shot forward with a Quick Attack but bounced back.


"Get behind me!" I ordered and took the brunt of the Raticate’s own Quick Attack.


It sent me flat on the floor and knocked the wind out of me. “Augh,” I groaned dizzly as I staggered upright.

From beside me Nevada fired out a quick burst of Ember and Glade blasted the Raticate with a Water Gun. The bursts of flame and water were heavy and hard. But it wasn’t close to doing a thing to that thick fur.

The Raticate didn’t budge one bit after I swiped across their muzzle with a wing of Aerial Ace. I tensed up as the Riolu behind me growled. She hit the Raticate with a Force Palm. The red energy exploded in the air just as the Raticate swung around and Crunched on the Riolu’s arm.With a cry Libra kicked against the Raticate’s maw. They let go and she crashed into me. The Raticate snarled at us as they reared up for another attack, fangs marred in a dark mana.

“Xue, we need you!” I screamed, eyes wide. The second the words left my mouth the earth shook as a blue light shot through the tunnel.


With a roar the Zeraora slammed her massive claws on the ground beside the Raticate and teal electricity flew every which way. Amazing! She wasn’t a Mythical for nothing.


The Raticate stared at Xuě and scampered away into another tunnel, with their tail between their legs.


"That was scary." Nevada crept out from behind me.


I gently patted them on the back. "Sorry 'bout that, I'll try to keep you safe no matter what."

"Yeah that Raticate was tougher than what I could make a dent into," Glade sighed.

Libra sighed. "Let's hurry along."

I hopped after the Riolu, turning to the rookie Team and the Zeraora behind me. "She's right ya know, we can't keep everyone waiting." I grinned.

We walked around further through the Mystery Dungeon and I hoped we wouldn’t encounter another Pokémon. Libra and I weren’t strong enough to defeat just one of them on our own, I don’t want to imagine what would happen if we ran into two or three or worse, a Monster House.


"Look!" Linus pointed down a room entrance.

"We found a staircase of stone!” Nevada waved and I hopped over to where the Team was.

Sure enough there was a staircase that led up to the ceiling here, tucked away in a corner.

Glade grabbed my hand and led me closer to it. "There's all sorts of gem shards inside it!"

“Yeah.” I smiled as Libra and Xue caught up to us. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”


All of us went up to the next floor.

"So Xuě, earlier you said you had to go back." I started as we made it to a long hallway stretch. "Where do you have to go back to?"

There were a few rooms that branched off from the path, and more bright gems along various sides. Some intensified inside one area that Team Sharp Claw ogled at. If this Mystery Dungeon wasn’t so dangerous I would have explored through every room.


The Zeraora flattened her ears and sighed. "To where Master Zeze, er Zeraora left me."


"Why did you leave where your Master left you?" Libra frowned.


"I-"


The rookie Team wasn’t behind us. I turned around and headed into one of those rooms and found them. Linus, Glade and Nevada each pulled on a crystal from a massive mineral deposit. "Hey, investigate the crystals some other time!"


The three jumped in their scales and hurried to catch up, as they nearly crashed into me in the process.


I rubbed my temples and sighed. "Sorry about them, continue?"


Xuě's whiskers twitched as she traced the pattern engraved in the scroll she held. "Master Zeze told me to hold onto the scroll for them."


"Why did your Master give you the scroll?" Libra questioned her.


"What does your Master look like?" I asked, and got a confused stare from them both.


The Zeraora glanced at the ceiling and rubbed her muzzle. "Uh, earlier I complained about not being taken seriously and doing anything important."


"So they gave you this scroll to take care of huh?" I smiled a bit.


"Yes, but I've kept it safe the whole time!"


"I see, now what does your Master look like?” I added.


“Master has the same features as me, but is yellow instead of white, they are also a bit bigger than you two." She gestured to Libra and I.


"Master Zeze said they would come back real soon and I was waiting by myself for a little bit before there were some big meanies who yelled at me.” Xuě explained.


Libra's ears shot up and she pulled out her journal. "Did you get to see those mean Pokémon?”


"They were all final stage Pokémon wearing black, purple, and red capes and they have big grey marks on their fur."


Just like those Dittos we fought earlier! "Is that all you know about them?" I tried to get more information. "What were they yelling about?"


"They were yelling about something called eturn-nitty, Wicked Blow and the scroll Master gave me," the Zeraora said, as she rubbed her head.


"You mean eternity?" Nevada asked.


"Yeah," Xuě replied.


The Charmander tilted their head."Who is Wicked Blow?"


"Master said not to talk about them."


"And so did our Chief," I reminded my fellow League members.


"At least until we get more solid info on them." Libra added. "Right now they are just a rumored organization."


Linus walked up to the Zeraora. "Do ya know what that them there scroll thingamajig does?"


"No, Master Zeze doesn't know either."


"Do y'all know what da gear means?" the Treecko glanced up.


"Sorry, we don't," Xuě apologized. "But-"


“Xuě can you show us something you do know?!” Glade jumped around.


"Hey!" the Zeraora growled. "There are somethings I'm not allowed to talk about with you Pokémon!"


"Just settle down now." I stepped in between them. I sat with my thoughts as we calmed down. Eternity? I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Wicked Blow… The Chief told us to be wary of them.


Libra sighed. "Back to what we're saying, we ran into some Pokémon working with the ones after you, they were weak Ditto so we were fine. However whoever they copied must have been nearby, so I'm glad we avoided the rest."


The six of us wandered around for a while and we headed up more stairs. An astonishingly bright light blinded my vision as we reached the top. We found ourselves in a rocky section of forest. I took a step to the side. There was a dirt path that led out toward a clearing and even further there were some more faux karst structures.


"We made it out of the Mystery Dungeon really quickly, didn't we?" Nevada asked as they cleared some brambles out of the way.


Linus scanned our surroundings. “Maybe it was just a small one."


"Now that we made it outside we can find Master Zeraora." I pulled out my map and stared at the darkened cloudy sky.


"How long were we in there for?" Glade questioned as she fiddled with her basket.


I closed my map. "Judging by the purple color of the sky its probably later in the day."


"Yeah." Xuě sighed. "And we don't have to worry about those meanies or getting lost in the Dungeon anymore!"


Libra took the initiative and walked forward toward the clearing."Where did you last see your Master?" the Riolu asked.


"I don't know, there were a ton of berry bushes around us though, I'll know it when I see it."


"Berries huh." Linus looked at the Zeraora. "Did you eat any?"

"Yeah, I accidentally fell in the brambles too so I probably smell like them.” She laughed.

Team Sharp Claw took out their baskets and shuffled around inside. “What are you guys doing?” the Riolu beside me panicked.

“Hey!” I grabbed their shoulders.”You’re going to mess with your requested items!”

"Just wait a second," the Treecko said as he beckoned Xuě over.


Nevada held a green and blue big round berry and took a chunk out of it.


Glade sniffed the berry while Linus took a bite of a piece. "Now uh Xuě, could you taste it?"


"Sure?" the Zeraora knelt down and took a bite. She hummed as the flavor, whatever it was probably jogged her memory. "Oh yeah I've had this before."


“We figured out what type of berry was near Xuě, it’s a Globe Berry!” Linus held up one of the berries.


"And what does that mean?" Libra asked.

"Those berries only grow in a certain part of Bileizhen Forest." Glade held up the fruit.


I tilted my head. "Yeah but I don't want you to go crazy and search the entire forest for them when we've got stuff to do."


"Ma cousin's have some notes about berry growth and the like in Heartland, and they have lists on ta Wei Region." the Treecko flipped through a small notepad.


"It says they grow on the far west, where we saw them earlier," Nevada said as their tail dimmed.


"Then somewhere near the large river that passes through and all along the nearby karst structures." Glade explained.

The Charmander beside them then brightened. "Oh but it mentions an exit of a Gem Cavern Mystery Dungeon and being close!"

“Ah, good work guys!” I smiled. “Let’s go find some then!”


We searched through tangles and bunches of thickets for Globe Berries throughout the forest. In our luck, we found a perfect patch of Golden Berries. They were on a little inlet in the middle of a river that passed through the forest.


"How are you guys gonna get them?' Libra stared at the small patch of land. "That's too far for me to jump for sure."


"I could do it!" Xuě smiled as her whiskers twitched.


"Sorry Xuě, we want to figure this out ourselves," The Treecko replied.


"Oh, okay, good luck!"


"Those berries're like big ol sparklin' jewels above this water." Linus peered into the rushing water as debris sailed by. He dipped his hand in and pulled it out. "But that currents really fast."


Nevada watched as their Teammate pulled off her basket. "Glade, are sure you can reach them?"


"If I can't do this then, we won't be able to pass our mission," Glade said as rolled her shoulders, and held out her claw. "And I don't want you two trying it and getting hurt."


The Charmander nodded and held onto her claw. "Okay, I believe in you."


"Ya got this." Linus patted Glade on the back.

The Totodile swam out of a deep stretch of water and returned with a large cluster of Golden Berries in her claws.

"That's how you get it done!" she roared and passed them to Nevada and Linus. Glade then flopped onto the floor.


"Woo hoo!" the Charmander cheered as they held up the gilded fruit. "We've got enough for the medical department!"


"I didn't know these grew around here, I better mark this on my notes for my folks." the Treecko behind them scribbled something on his notepad.


Glade staggered upright and grinned. "I'm good to go now!"


"We'll definitely find them!" the Zeraora pounded her chest. "Master Zeze, here we come!"


It felt like hours before a breakthrough. Libra and I couldn't find it.


"Can you feel those thunderclaps?" I asked.


The Riolu shook her head. "No luck with sensing Xuě's Master. Their aura should be powerful as a Mythical, no?"


Glade kicked a loose pebble. "Maybe they are hiding their aura or whatever?"


"Ugh, where are they? I can't even sense them." Xuě groaned.


There was something off while we ventured past tons of eroded dark, jagged pillars of quartz sandstone. As we wadded through another patch of Globe Berries I felt a tingling sensation around my body.


The earth was damp with rain water, but there were pockets of electricity. It must have stormed while we were underground.


"Oh look!" Nevada called out.


"What is it?" I asked.


"There's Master Zeraora!" the Team cheered, pointed up.


"Master Zeze!" Xuě called at the top of her lungs.

"Master Zeraora?" Libra gasped.

I expected to feel a spark or thunderclap like before, but there was nothing. The yellow Zeraora stood on top of the tallest quartz sandstone pillar. So high up.


"I wonder what they're thinking?" the Riolu beside me whispered.


I narrowed my eyes and strained as hard as I could at the Zeraora. Their eyes blazed an emotion unbeknownst to me. "Not sure, if only I could read minds."


Just as I said that a spark jolted throughout my entire body. It wasn't energy from a move but from a being. Bileizen Forest meant Lightning Rod Forest! That's why they're here!


"We have to leave." I sighed.


Linus, Glade, and Nevada groaned.


"I wanted to meet Master Zeraora." The Treecko lamented.


The Totodile sighed. "Oh well, we got to meet Xuě though."


"We get to go home and tell everyone about all the good work we did today." Nevada yawned. "But another Zeraora meeting wouldn't hurt."


"We need to thank you!" Xuě bowed. "You don't want to meet Master Zeze?"


"Well, are they going to come down?" I asked.


The Zeraora flicked her ears and squinted. "Probably not, they'll let you come up though."


Beside me, the Riolu folded her ears."W-we cannot go up there."


"Alright." The young Zeraora softly nuzzled against us."I'll never forget your presence! Master Zeze can feel it too!"


I flinched at the thought of getting close to them. “Best wishes Xuě," we all said.


She tilted her head at us with a grin. "Thank you! Goodbye.” The Zeraora raced off towards the pillars. Xuě bounced towards the base of one before she hooked her huge front paws in a section of the sandstone. Her claws pierced into the tower like it was a thin piece of wood!



The Zeraora then did the same with her rear paws, and before I knew it a crash of lightning lit up in the sky. A large chunk of earth fell apart and a massive plume of dust clouded the air. She blasted up to the top. There was a streak of teal electricity.


"Had she been told to hold back? This whole time? "Well, there is no use dwelling on that, Libra would leave me if I spent all my time pondering it.


“Alright well that was something, let’s head on back before it gets too late,” Libra yawned, as she pulled her arms back and stretched.



"Hey." Linus reached out to me, and tugged on my bag straps. "We have a question."



I palmed at my temples once the rookie Rescue Team surrounded me. "A question huh?"



"Y-yeah, uh well did we pass?" Nevada squeaked.



"Don't worry guys, you got the required supplies so you passed." I patted Nevada’s back. "Let's just focus on moving forward with our experiences, life isn't going to get easier so you all need to be prepared."




“That’s the end of the story.” I finished.


The Riolu beside me nodded. “It’s been five years but I won't forget it.”


Linus stopped writing on his piece of paper and sighed. “Yep, and then after that, all Distortion went loose. I won’t hold y’all any longer. Thanks!”


“Bye!” I smiled as the Treecko headed out of the room.


Libra uncrossed her arms. “See you later Linus!” she waved.


Now we were alone.


“Before the Disruption hit we didn’t have to worry about all that.” I sighed.


I shifted in my seat and stared at my Platinum badge. My fist tightened as I glanced out the window. The Riolu beside me also stared at the world beyond that pane of glass. “You mean what you said?”


“Yeah.” I nodded. “Being prepared for the future. I never imagined it would be like this: the League’s, no, the entire world’s new enemy- Wicked Blow.”




“Why did I have to be right?” It’s a question I’ve always asked myself, ever since we got back home to the League and every single day for the next five years.


Who knew those last few weeks would be the calm before the storm? The massive Disruption building up in the mana we use for power had finally taken its toll and became unbalanced due to those Pokémon after Leagues; Wicked Blow.


And they won’t be satisfied with that, not until they have full domination over the land. Not that we'd let it stop us. We of the Bristberg League would never give up. Even if it killed us.




Just a few days prior~



The waves rocked us side to side, while the Wingulls', and Wattrels' cries filled the air. In front of us was one of the only indicators of land, a thin lighthouse that sat high in the sky. The visage of the beach blurred by the sea.


I've always been a sentimental Pokémon. Every important conversation, meeting, Mystery Dungeon, location, I take it all in and my thoughts occasionally brew on it. Some fade away by the next day, others take about a month or so. But there's some that stay for years.





It's been a while since we've met Xuě but I always think about it, even after so long. And it seems like more and more Pokémon are asking us about our encounters that day.


I sat in a boat with Libra, and our former classmates: Yoshiko, a Groyvle, and Austin, a Charmeleon along with some other Pokémon. We headed back up from the Southern Region of the Constellation Continent, and came from a briefing when this question was pressed again. By the ones who requested the League on this trip, a Datrix and a Noctowl. Both wore black vests with a claw-like design on the front.





"A, Libra, Yoshiko, Austin, you all mentioned running into all sorts of Pokémon because of your League work correct?" the Dartrix asked.





I stopped gazing dreamily into the deep blue ocean's depths and tasting the salt. "Something like that, yeah," I replied, as I shifted my seat back toward the others.





The Noctowl continued flapping their wings, and shifted the rudder with their talons as they turned their head over at us for a moment. "We haven't been out much, what have you seen?"





"We've encountered a Mythical Pokémon before." Libra leaned back.



The Dartrix shot forward, as their wings flapped faster. "Really?" they asked. "Which one?"



"We've met Xuě Zeraora, the pupil of Master Zeraora." I grinned.



"Mon, this blows!" Yoshiko crossed her arms with a pout. "You guys got to see all the cool shit without us! It should have been us instead of those stupid weak little brats."



Libra flattened her ears and placed her arm on the Groyvle's shoulder. "Do you remember why that is, huh?"




"Cause we didn't deserve to be weighed down by those guys when they were young?" Austin piped in. "Knowing they were too fast for me to catch them is why the Coordinator didn't put us together, right?"



With a shake of my head I kicked my legs out. "It's because you two don't have the patience to spend this long of a time with teenagers, maybe if it were for a couple of hours but we spend like two days with them out in Wei, alone."


"Well, we're doing some research on those words they called Team Sharp Claw, and trying to figure you two out more." The Dartrix took over. "We can pin-point yours and other immigrant Pokémon devolution to the Disruption."


"We're going to be sending out some thrilling new information in the coming week so look forward to it," the Noctowl hooted.


Austin rolled his shoulders with a sigh. "All this work will only be worth it if I can buy some high tier snacks and gear."


"With what the Expedition Society's projected payout I believe your Chief and Coordinator will be able to reward you handsomely. It's about the rediscovery of some artifacts."


“Really now, we get to do some big time League work too?” Libra asked, her tail wagging against my side and all over the place.“Mana research level stuff?”

"We've been doing that you stupid dog!" Yoshiko pushed the Riolu down.


"Shut up you ugly fat leaf!" Libra barked, and shoved back.”Let them finish."


Noctowl nodded. “In our research, we called in a special guest who wants to repay your League.”


“Ah.” I pumped my fist and smiled. “So we can’t leave all the work to Master Zeraora and Xuě Zeraora. We gotta head back home to help our League!"


"I wonder what she's doing now?" Libra tilted her head. "And what was that scroll she was carrying, was it a mana artifact?"
 

SparklingEspeon

Back on Her Bullshit
Staff
Location
a Terrace of Indeterminate Location in Snowbelle
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
  3. zoroark
Hello! I’m here for the first four chapters of this fic, which translates to the three prologues and chapter one.

Having read the original, I think there’s a lot of good improvement here over the last version. I found the prologues a lot more digestible this go around, and think it’s especially ambitious that there are not just one but three of them. It looks like we’ll be following a lot of character povs this time around… something I remember the original doing, but I think the way you’ve introduced things here helps the reader prepare for that a bit better.

One of the things that jumps out to me immediately is the concept of ‘mana’ – I’m sort of feeling it stands in for the canon ‘infinity energy’ here, being a powerful energy force in the world that needs to be balance and which pokemon seem to pull their magic from. That said, I’m not sure I really know much about it beyond that. I know pokemon who use it seem to be divided into ‘keepers’ and ‘sentinels’, and mana seems to automatically kick in and kick off when you enter or leave the Hemisphere (which is something else that made me think for a minute—by hemisphere, do we a full fourth/half of the planet spanning multiple landmasses, or do we just mean a continent? If we mean the latter, then you would just want to use constellation continent), but there’s no real meaning beyond some vague exposition yet assigned to any of these terms. Presumably it’s something that will get filled in as we go on, but given how much of a Big Deal it is and the big dramatic blurb leading into it, my guess/hope is that we’ll get a bigger dig into exactly what these things are and how they affect the world soon.

For the characters, it looks like we have a nice, budding cast up-front! The ones that stand out the most to me are Glade, Nevada, and Linus, who star in the first chapter. Kobi too, but she seems to be taking a backseat right now so I will be deprived of Proper Espurr Nourishment for a few chapters more unfortunately. I liked a lot of the goofing around they did in chapter one on their entrance exam; it helped establish their personalities and how they bounce off each other quite nicely.

It seems like we kick off immediately this time, with having them attacked not just once, but twice in the first chapter, and on their exam mission no less! It’s an interesting reversal to see Linus go from ‘a nobody who can barely join a team’ in the prologues to ‘prophesied person of interest for kidnappers’. I think it’s slightly unnerving that they all turned out to be goomy at the end; while it’s probably perfectly valid in-universe it reminded me a bit of when all the figures in Coraline turned to dust. Makes me wonder what kind of villain would have a gimmick like that… (probably someone ultra-shady/powerful)

The first chapter ends on them discovering Zeraora, who seems to be quite distressed – another big bombshell to end the chapter on tbh, and a good hook. I feel like you don’t get much more high-power than that for the first chapter. Unfortunately they’re not very good at approaching it, so it attacks them, but c’est la vie when you’re a rescue team I suppose. Rough for an opening exam (though they should get full marks for totalling those goomies tbh).

Overall, a good beginning and a solid improvement! Going forward, I think the things I’m looking forward to most are seeing what the story behind the zeraora/goomies are, and seeing Kobi make her non-prologue entrance into the story. I’m also interested to learn more about what Sentinals, Keepers, Artifacts, Keys, and Mana mean for the story – they feel like unique concepts that almost feel plucked straight out of an RPG than they do indigenous to PMD, so I’ll be really interested to see what you do with them going forward.

Overall, great work! Love to see the improvements!

~SparklingEspeon
 
Chapter 3/Interlude 0- Snow Continues to Fall New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted
December 4th, 2022

Chapter Summary
Still, snow continues to fall. Far forever into the future, no matter the odds, as long as it's cold enough.​



Xue Zeraora’s POV




Snowflakes danced in the sky, the chilly winds spreading them far. Nevertheless, they are fated to come crashing down, their performance unimpressive until they piled up high enough. Only once you felt the brisk air, and stepped into the frozen ground could you truly understand the seasons' change.




It’s been five long years since Master Zeze had spoken to me on good terms. I’ve grown to their height and a whole lot more confidence. They are still stronger than me by a long shot, but I stood a pretty good chance if we fought. Unfortunately we Zeraora still don’t see eye to eye.





It's all because of the Disruption that struck our Celestial Hemisphere five years ago, weeks after those five Pokemon from the League rescued me. That blasted Disruption happened because the mana of the Hemisphere had been knocked off balance.



This could have been prevented if those Leagues, Guilds, and other organizations across the Hemisphere were more vigilant. But I never blamed them, they weren't strong enough, and the enemy couldn't be stopped. Not that easily for non-Myths, especially when they shackled their true power instead of embracing it.



That Disruption was caused by Wicked Blow and other ruffians, who sought out not just power, but perhaps someone.



Master wanted everyone they considered ‘guilty’ to be punished, this included too many victims of injustice…. I just couldn’t have allowed it. I've found my own way. I still had that metal scroll with the gears after all.



Our own way. My Expedition Society and I were out in the North of the Wei Tundra doing research on Ether. Well, regular Pokemon and all the League folk called it Mana instead.



Mana was the energy in this Celestial Hemisphere that allowed Pokemon to use their moves and evolve. Five years ago, it had been Disrupted. Causing the Disruption. Back when I was still young and unsure of the uses of my power. But now I know, it was to stop this from happening, keeping this scroll safe is something I still tried to do.



This Disruption, harmed Keepers and Sentinels alike but not Myths and Legends, my Team has two Keepers and three Sentinels so I couldn't have forgotten about them. That stupid Disruption prevented and in some recent cases undid evolution, and weakened elemental attacks of all. Especially Keepers that were permanently harmed. And all this just happened because the mana of the Hemisphere had been tampered with. But how did that happen?



I mean those bastards in Wicked Blow were behind it, or at least claimed to do it! Who could have allowed it!? Was no one watching their actions? Couldn't the Pokemon in this Hemisphere have prevented this? Is this really tied to those stupid key and lock artifacts?




My Expedition crew and I along with lots of other Pokemon across our five Continents searched constantly for a way to return the Hemisphere to the way it used to be.



Earlier today our Team braved through the hailstorms of a Tundra Mystery Dungeon not to reach the other side but to find something hidden amidst the snow. The six of us sat on the highest balcony of a dilapidated, old building made of rich dark wood. This was a rooftop exit of it, there were numerous other wide pointed roofs, reaching towards the awning below like a staircase.




This wooden building was an ancient Mana Temple, one that was dedicated to that Legendary Pokemon Glastrier. At one point it held an object that both the Leagues and Wicked Blow still fight over; an elemental key and lock of mana. Ones specifically of ice used to sit on a decorated pedestal in the center of a small prayer chamber. Used to being the keyword, Pokemon in Wicked Blow had stolen it. I’m not sure why they think they could have more power without a hitch, but I guess I’ll have to ask. But there's something or somemon else out there I need to find before we go back.



"Xuě, this Mystery Dungeon run and exploration was a dead-end waste of time!" Passimian swatted my shoulder, bringing me back from my thoughts.



My nose twitched suddenly and I couldn't help but sneeze. Snow, my namesake, fell around all of us. "Guys, this Expedition wasn't a bust," I replied with a growl.




"What’s a bust?" Pangoro stuffed a bun ration into their maw, rolling up the map before them. "This place wasn't on the map by the way."



"It's a bust because we couldn't find the key and lock artifacts here though!" Cramorant shrieked into their wing.



Lurantis shivered and moved closer to me. "There aren't any fresh traces of Pokemon here either!" Their leaves had started to lighten a bit with how little sunlight we were getting these last couple of days.



I stood up and stretched, taking a moment to peer below us. In the snow-covered ground there used to be clear imprints of our tracks, now I can barely notice them.




"All we found was this abandoned Temple, and glyphs of ice and snow inside," Sandaconda hissed slowly, coiling her body even further. "And it's getting colder."




A chill blasted against my muzzle and I shielded my eyes. "Dangit! This stupid snowstorm is approaching faster than I expected, and there's still something really freaking odd about this area."




"Wherever you go we'll follow," suddenly Pangoro shoved a bun ration in my face.



I ripped off the wrapper and then stuffed the food into my mouth. "Let's go back down," I grumbled through bites, glancing at the massive structure of the Temple. It had a wide expansive sweeping roof, long shingles stemmed from the center, flaring like wings.



Soon we made our way outside on the ground level, all the Pokemon vulnerable to the brisk temperatures huddled beside the rest of us together. "Okay, now first we need to get out of this Mystery Dungeon, then I need to find whatever's bugging me," I said.




"Sounds good to me!" Cramorant squawked, picking up Sandaconda and carrying her off the ground.



I stood still as there was a break in the wind, my whiskers twitching as I felt an odd pulsing of darkness and the essence of fighting spirit. Not sure who that is. It can be dealt with later. We trudged through the arctic flatland for what felt like an hour or so. Mon it’s so fricking cold out here!


Eventually, as I was close to calling it quits getting out of the path of the blizzard I found something. My paw pads pressed up against an awfully hard bump in the snow. Suspicious. I swept the surface as clean as I could and noticed a square stone tile. One with a gear pattern! Noticing my efforts Pangoro, Lurantis, and Sandaconda helped me clear the surrounding area.



"There is something alluring about this slightly visible stone path in between the snow,” I rubbed my chin as the sky’s clouds started to darken. “Where did it lead?"



“That’s a good question,” Lurantis chirped.



"Is it another Pokemon, one with strength rivaling my own, trying to lure me? Or maybe it is the land itself?”



“Only time shall tell, we must continue our search,” Cramorant reminded me.



I scratched my ears with a sheepish grin. “Right.”



The thin line of the stone tiles wasn’t easy to follow, everymon of the Expedition Team had to act as a snowplow so we didn’t lose the trail.



“S-so what are we looking for Xue?” Sandaconda hissed, spitting out a pile of sand. “I’m kinda freeze-ing my tail off here if you haven’t noticed.”



I watched as her sand spread into the air and then fumbled with my bag. "There should be another mystical building hidden around here, I heard it straight from my Master's mouth."



"What did you hear Xuě?" Passimian asked.




"They mentioned something that might be nearby one of those Mana Temples, another building made by the Ancients, the chance of some clue of how to solve the Disruption inside."



Lurantis rubbed their claws together with a sigh. "Something that's not finding enough elemental keys and locks and restoring them?"



"I dunno, hopefully."



After a while of trudging blindly along a small stone pathway through the Winterland, all of our hard work came to fruition. There was an outline of a tall building in the frosty mist! “Guys look!” I pointed.



“Wooo!” Passimian cheered. “We did it!”


Our Expedition Team scoured the ruins of the stone building, what half called a chapel and the other a shrine. Honestly, I don't care, it's just really cool! Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side, the snowstorm grew to insurmountable heights. Winds tore across the land, flakes of ice coating everything in their path.


“Woah there were sections of the stone walls and ceiling that are somehow still up!” I yelled, pointing at the ancient foundation and structure of the building.


“Xuě that’s great but we need to get to some shelter!” Pangoro grabbed my shoulder. “The hail storm is taking Sandaconda and Lurantis out!”



Shoot! “I need to get them warm with my power!” I gasped, my breath forming into mist instantly. I slammed my claws to the ground and tried to draw in enough power. The two Pokemon weak to ice shivered next to me and I felt my ears fold down. Damnit!



The bleak white torrent consumed us in the gale and hail. Crap it’s too much for them! All of a sudden as I channeled my electricity into heat the Earth itself attacked us for our transgressions. I felt my teeth chatter once the ground shook, the raw elemental energy easily overpowering me.



There was a loud rumbling as the stone circular area we stood on sank slowly toward the unknown. Then there was a soft whirring noise, and the ground below us was smooth and snow-free, warm too. Not sure what happened but okay. In the darkness, I saw odd guidelines and designs sprawled out across the floor and along what could only be walls.



“Where are we?” Pangoro questioned, their voice echoing out.



“I don’t know,” Sandaconda huffed. “But this place is way warmer than outside and that’s for sure!”




With an eerie flicker, blue and purple colored lights began to turn on, illuminating the building in select pieces. Once enough of the lights turned it revealed an interesting sight.



There were gear symbols and markings of odd claw shapes on the far black walls, and the main room sat on a platform with a deep pit on the borders, towards the wall.




"This is way better than that empty Mana Temple!" I pumped my fist, racing toward the first wall in our way. I placed my head against it and heard the slow pulse of electricity inside along with a faint tick.




We walked forward through the dark granite maze and eventually found a gate resting near the ceiling up before us.




"Well, that's interesting," Passimian tried to pull and prod at the bottom of the gate.




Off to the side, a large ceramic ball was sitting inside a huge bowl. It had faded green and red lights pulsating slowly.



“We better write this all down!” Cramorant pointed their wing at the oddities. “Isn’t this something that can help with the Disruption?”



“Yeah,” I sighed, taking out my notepad and charcoal pencil. In another room there was a large tall diamond-shaped switch that sat slanted, it had a dull green and red beam of light coming off of it like the ball. “Doesn't it feel like we aren’t the first ones who’ve been here?”



“Maybe,” Passimian rubbed their head, placing her hand on the wall. “All the puzzles or whatever are already completed for us.”



In the last room, there was a blue and purple stained glass wall. “A Mystery, oooh. Oh and I guess that’s the exit huh,” Lurantis chirped, their antennae drooping.


In front of us was a set of stairs, similar to a Mystery Dungeons. The glass surrounded a statue of the strangest-looking Pokemon I’ve ever seen, like a Rhydon and a Kangaskhan. When I, because the others were too scared, touched the surface with my claw the barrier instantly shattered.



Small electric shards of now red and green glass flew into the air past me, and the statue's eyes flickered for a moment. Out came four small teardrop-shaped gems, their exterior a cloudy crystal. Cyan, Magenta, Green, and Red were each of the colors of the jewels or maybe used to be. I wonder what type of mana artifacts these are?



“Uh…,” I questioned as they floated into my claws as a door opened up in the wall. It led outside, where it wasn’t completely white but there was still snow. “What just happened?”



Pangoro placed a hand on my shoulder and pulled me close, “Don’t know but we better hold onto those, maybe they could get their old shiny colors back!”



“Yeah, maybe first we could go back to Wei Tundra Township and go to the sauna?” Sandaconda slapped me with her tail.



With a laugh, I flinched as the four gems seemed to phase directly into my body. “I don’t really know where we are but the weather is better now so we should be fine. Pangoro, can I see the map?” I asked, reaching out my paw. They handed it to me and we set out.



So it seemed we are near the base of one of the tallest mountains in the Region, not really sure if this terrain counts as a Tundra but whatever. We only have about an hour of heading southeast to get out of the wildlands. I don’t mind hanging around the stray Pokemon out here but my Expedition Team needed to rest after all our hard work. They aren’t Mythical Pokemon like me so, of course, they couldn’t go for days without modern comforts in this harsh climate easily.



Suddenly as we made our way up the icy mountain’s base the snow started to slide. “Uh, is there a battle going on near the top or something?” Sandaconda asked, tongue thrashing about.



“N-no,” Cramorant replied, taking to the skies in a panic. “I think something else is shaking the mountain!”



“Xuě! What should we do?” Pangoro shook my shoulder.



Lurantis sharpened their blades. “What is this a Volcano or something?”



"Xuě wouldn't take us to one of those so no," Passimian answered with a chuckle.


More clumps of snow crashed onto the ledge in front of us, my whiskers twitching in anticipation. Then the rumbling began. Shit. “It’s an Avalanche!” I screamed, turning around at the path behind us. “We need to head toward the bottom, quickly!”



I forgot what happened but as we were running I saw a large piece of mountain encased in the snow, that rolled toward us. And my body just flew. A fusillade of electricity launched out of me and I channeled it into fighting energy and boom.



A sea of snow and rocks engulfed me, covering me in white darkness as I fell. It cleared and below me, I saw the figures of the five members of my Expedition Society on the mountain. Phew all of my Team had been kept safe. A sharp burst of pain brought my attention back to what was happening and my eyes shot open. I had fallen off the mountainside! I took a glance down to notice the forest of trees below me. “Okay, we can nail this landing,” I hyped myself up, as I took in a quick breath before slamming my forepaws out.


I used Aura Sphere and a flash of teal lit up the area as I ripped through all the trees in my way and crashed into the snow with a thud, sliding for a couple of meters, taking down everything in my descent. Then I finally stopped. Ugh, I need to get out of here. I struggled upright against an almost fallen tree, the pain of everything hitting me weighing me down. Deep breaths and shallow breaths were the only sounds I heard besides the drumming of my heartbeat as I tried to reorient myself.



Suddenly something else crashed into me, forcing my eyes to shoot open and my claws to slide out; the feeling of another Mythical Pokemon nearby. A Spectral and Fighting presence… but from where? The saturation of trees covered the land in thick darkness, one I could barely pierce with my power, let alone make heads or tails of. If anything the elevation started to rise in the south so I'll go that way.



After a couple of minutes of walking, accidentally scaring away some Cetoddle, Bergmite, and white Vulpix strays I noticed something strange. There was an oddly dark shadow that seemed to be following me.




My whiskers twitched and I somersaulted to the left on instinct, dodging the oncoming ball of what appeared to be a Focus Blast. It tore through almost a dozen trees and melted away the snow, scorching the grass below. Okay, now I know a Pokemon was after me, and they're powerful too! I needed to be on guard and try to find out who this is.




My whiskers twitched again as I saw a flash of something dart out in front of me. "Augh!" I shouted, a strong attack nailing me in the belly. In the searing pain of the ghost-type attack, I retaliated with a move I inherited from my Master, Plasma Fists. Take that!




I punched them and "Fuck!" my target yelled, their form becoming visible as electricity crackled. The Pokemon was a small ghost-fighting type, one of the only ones; Marshadow. They keeled over into the snow and hunched down in agony.



Sparks! That hurt! I sank to the floor but willed myself to stand, panting as the aftershocks of the attack battered my body.




Eventually, the Marshadow staggered forward, clutching the burn mark representing their wound. I remained doubled over, slowly trying to get up. They noticed my struggle and their orange eyes narrowed.




"H-how'd you like my Spectral Thief attack Zeraora?!" Marshadow mocked me, sticking out their tongue and blowing a razzberry. "I'd gloat about how pitiful you look Zeraora, but I have something I need you to do."



I was barely holding up myself. I think that Marshadow jerk broke something! "The name's Xuě!" I growled, my ears flat against my skull.




"Yeah yeah whatever, let me cut to the chase," Marshadow reached down towards the scroll on my side.




"Back off!" I jumped up and pushed them away with Brutal Swing. "You can't have this scroll!"




Their arms shot up to block the attack with a Drain Punch, my vitality being sapped away on impact "Why's that!?"




"My Master entrusted it to me, they said it could help Pokemon!" I yelled.



They then rushed forward. "Don't you know we shouldn't infer with Keepers and Sentinels and their fight over the Mana Artifacts and Gears of Mana!?” Marshadow disappeared, dipping into the ground to use Spectral Thief again.



Like a flash of light, they reemerged right under me. Marshadow tried to strike again.“Give me all the artifacts you hold! Stop intermingling with destiny!”



“Never!” I punched down with my Plasma Fists, blocking the attack and catching them off guard. “Get out of my way!”



“Those Pokemon deserve to get out of their own mess, they did this to try and achieve our power!” Marshadow ordered, swinging their fist forward.



The Drain Punch hit me in the side and I went flying, crashing through a couple of trees and then into a clearing. I managed to crawl off the ground and my ears twitched. There was a loud roar as the wind whipped up. Oh no, another attack! There was a shadow that darted around in front of me. Marshadow! I front-flipped and channeled darkness energy in my arms to use Brutal Swing, swinging and deflecting another Spectral Thief attack from Marshadow.



“Why are you so defiant!?” they yelled standing between me and the clearing. Wait! That clearing led to a cliff, it’s right into that blizzard, but more importantly the Wei Tundra Township. “Answer me!” Marshadow fumed, the top of their head and neck wisp-collar turning dark green as their fighting spirit flared up in a Zenith of power. My eyes scanned the area behind Marshadow as they came at me one last time.



“I’m not like you, I’ve seen what those Pokemon are also capable of, they saved my life!”I placed my front paws on the ground and took in a deep breath. Then I jumped. Once released my electrical power produced a shock wave and a bright yellow hue, sending me soaring past Marshadow and into the abyss. A storm of snow blinded me as I barreled through the air.



How long was I going to fall for? Was this what Master would have done? Alone with my thoughts and the freezing blizzard, I finally crashed toward Earth. Instead of the pain of my bones breaking I found myself buried in a stalwart hill of snow, my injuries only mild after my cushioned slide across the ground.



“Ugh, what am I going to do?” I asked myself with a groan, climbing out of the pile of snow just to fall in again muzzle first. My arms and legs didn’t move the way I wanted them to.



Maybe I should just take a quick rest out here? Everything will be fine. Fatigue from today’s exploration and combat had hit me hard, I tried to get up but couldn’t.


As the ways of sleep dared to take me under a bright light came from the metal scroll slung across my front. Energy flooded into me like a spark of hope and I sat upright, pulling the object into my claws.“Wait, the real question is: what would those League Pokemon do?”
 
Chapter 4- Sharp New Day, Sharp New Chance New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted
January 9th, 2023

Chapter Summary
To understand what those League Pokemon would do, one must understand the League.
Team Sharp Claw and co are guided by the Chief and Coordinator of the League, who also have baggage from before the Disruption five years ago.
They are finding teaching a difficult task but are saddled with an even more dangerous one during an evaluation.



Coordinator Cooper Granbull's POV





A glimmer of sunlight crept through the blinds, and roused me out of the perpetual blanket of darkness that enclosed me. We were comfortable this way. Me and my mate. Sleeping in solid swaths of black.






I blinked my eyes before rolling over with a heavy sigh. "Oh Mew, I need some coffee," I yawned. With a subdued second yawn, I fully willed myself to crawl out of bed to start my morning routine. The sky was barely blue… My early morning routine. For five years it's been this way, how long will we endure this Disruption?






The blasted Disruption took everything from me, from us. Especially Team Sharp Claw and long-gone Team Vanguard, those two groups of Pokémon lost so much, like many Pokémon across the land. My family even lost someone, my brother in-law.






I wasn’t fast enough, I couldn't mobilize a battalion to counter Wicked Blow's efforts, and none of the League Coordinators across the Hemisphere could. That Gardevior and Honchkrow leading the organization still remained elusive, and out of my reach! They allowed too many artifacts to be misused. Unfortunately Wicked Blow managed to harm an innumerable amount of Pokémon all throughout the land. And forced a dangerous near irreversible status onto them, disrupting the world's mana balance in the process.






Ever since those weeks after Team Sharp Claw passed their introductory request in Wei Forest I've always required the caffeine boost to get me in top condition. Being the Bristberg Mana Research League's Coordinator I wasn't comfortable being anything less, and I won't be comfortable until I've found the mysteries behind every single Mana artifact. Every single one.







Number 1, a Keeper shall do everything in their power to protect the balance of the world's mana.






In a brightly lit office room, there was a single letter placed on a desk. The paper was unfurled gently, as the contents were very important. Though some of the words on the letter had been smudged the overall information was still readable.




Dear Stoutland,




This isn't just a game we Mana Research Leagues can send our Rescue Teams to play in. There are forces of absurd power lurking around every Mystery Dungeon, city, and wildland. These Wicked Blow ruffians are searching for more powerful Pokémon to recruit into their nefarious group. They've even recruited some stray and feral Keepers, so it's important we keep Pokémon safe, as many as we can.




Signed,


Centiskorch







"Oh dear, you've received yet another letter," I started, my deep and gentle voice reverberating throughout the room.




The window beside me reflected my old Granbull self, nothing new there besides some more tiny white fur streaks. More than a couple months ago for sure. I remember having none before the Disruption five years ago.



My ears folded when there was a loud crash and rumbling downstairs.




McBone, my Stoutland mate, glanced at me from her desk. "Can you check on them real quick?" she asked.




I shook my head as I spotted the figures far below us. A Treecko, a Totodile, a Charmander, okay Team Sharp Claw. Beside them was a Mienfoo and a Slowbro. The Slowbro had purple and yellow markings on him, which signaled he was one with poisonous powers. The two were prospective League Members, as long as they eventually managed to pass the Exam. It shouldn't be too difficult for Pokémon of their age.



Or so I hope, since the prospects were just a couple of years older than Team Sharp Claw. They passed their exam five years ago somehow by the grace of Mew, I'd say.




Thankfully the group of five was in the back practice field, not inside the League building. "Watch it or you'll never get in!" one of the Pokémon, either Glade or Linus yelled. Maybe it was both at the same time?




Ah, Team Sharp Claw is having trouble wrangling the prospectsI'll have to go check on them later. Back when those three were still teens they were like that… But these prospects have an added sense of urgency. They had a thirst for strength, to combat the horrors of the Disruption. Well, at least I hoped so.




That encounter with Master Zeraora’s pupil, looked like it was the catalyst, even though I know those Mythicals tried their best to avoid regular Pokémon. But we knew it wasn't their doing. Events across the Hemisphere all culminated in this matter, not theirs. We Keepers couldn't keep one another in check, we all didn't try hard enough to stop the Disruption from happening.




It got Team Sharp Claw to sharpen up, once they realized what happened to their families and our Teams. Nothing was just a separate incident, everything was connected.




Enough of that. I blinked to wipe the weariness from my eyes. I fixed my gaze on the supplies in the office room. With a fold of my arms I watched the river from the window.




“It’s the second letter from him this week,” the Stoutland barked. I glanced down at McBone again. She mulled over the contents of the paper at the singular desk.


It was the early hours of the morning, around seven, only about thirty minutes right after the post office delivered the mail. Bright rays of sunlight started to fill the dark blue sky, a lull of soft clouds slowly parting in the chilly breeze of morning. The post office was far outside the walls, over the mighty gates and fence of the League, past the mountains, across a wooden bridge over a section of the river in the town of Bristberg.




I hope she is finding the information well. I began to pace around the desk that enclosed the other Pokémon, occasionally peering over to check on her progress. After a while I glanced out the window, taking in the view of the mighty river below them.




The Stoutland placed her paw at the side of her desk, and fiddled with the wide knob on the drawer. “I understand Chief Centiskorch is looking out for me," she started speaking. I immediately approached her right flank, my ears perked to listen closer. "But could he not act like we are hatchlings ?” she grumbled, then gently nudged the paper towards me, presumably careful not to damage it as she reached for a folder.




"That Centiskorch is just trying to remind us of the issues and threats housed above the Heartland," I waved my paw. "Honestly I'm worried sick myself, I can't bear the thought of all the horrors the Pokémon in our Rescue Teams could face without my guidance and-"




The Stoutland next to me shook her fur, the badges on her harness loudly clanking. Posthaste I shut my trap and sheepishly tried to calm my anxiety. Deep breaths Cooper, it'll be alright. They are responsible adult Pokémon, they aren't alone. Our Teams are strong.




Once I settled down a tad she spoke again. “Why does he assume that I , as Chief of Bristberg Mana Research League, out of all Pokémon would be toying with my Rescue Teams?”


“Well if anything it was one of his Rescue Teams,” I rolled up the message, placing it somewhere safe. “Some Pokémon from his League were the ones that had a major accident off the island to the north of their League,” I then explained.


“Oh, how unfortunate,” the Stoutland at the low-rise desk raised an eyebrow at the markings across another page. "Well, this reminded me of something that you played a vital role in," she turned towards me.


"It reminded you of what in particular?" my tail sank to the ground.





A dark image swept through my mind as I stood still, the memory of five years ago. When the Disruption began. A dark blue mountain top; thick grief, and rage in the air. The sounds of a congregated depression, flowing tears, and sorrowful hearts. Fourteen monuments, eight gravestones, and six sets of statues. The black wind slowly warmed up the remains before engulfing them in its shelter.



The frustration and wrath of hurt Pokémon. A glimpse of primary colors; red, blue, and yellow. The dread of knowledge, knowing that not even the law will save you. A flash of white. No, it won't save you. Black and white lighting struck the ground twice. Laws were made to kill you.


This fresh reminder of the past drowned out my thoughts. "Could," I let out a shaky breath, letting my insecurities resurface in full. "Could it be like Team Vanguard? How I failed them? How I allowed them to be hunted like ferals of the past? How-”




"No," my Stoutland mate moved closer, and placed a forepaw on my side. “Cooper?”


I let out a choked cry, tears ran down my muzzle as the grief swelled within me. “Yes, Laty-" I almost slipped up."McBone?”


“Don’t fret it, my dear,” McBone embraced me. “I was only going to mention that Sharp Claw and Blue Heroes are the only Rescue Teams we have stationed here at the League today."



I laughed a bit, "Aren't Libra and Aquarius the only ones from Blue Heroes today though?" I rubbed the back of my head with a sigh.



"Their teammates aren't too far away. Also Team White Light and Team Aegisdrip can be called back at a moment's notice."



"Well, Aries and Virgo are out doing a mission close by. CJ, Anabel, and Bernard are working in the Medical Bay with Astesia. But alone they do not count, do they?”


"Nothing to fret over darling," McBone tried to comfort me. "Also, you meant Yoshiko and Austin right?"


“Oh right, their chosen names."


"Yes, all of those from the Tactics Branch and Defense Branch have new names. Times have changed in these past five years, you have to remember Wicked Blow and the others aren't specifically on the hunt for our Teams anymore," McBone added. "They are allowed to choose how they'd like to continue forward and follow in Team Vanguard's pawsteps. But it wasn't your fault. How could they've known our enemies would be on them like a Houndoom?"


"But you know as the Coordinator I feel responsible for everything that happened to Team Vanguard and their families!” I lamented, as I tried to contain my terror. “I should have stopped them. I should have told them not to research any further. I should have just-”


“As Coordinator, you need to try and focus on right now,” the Stoutland below me stared into my eyes. "Can you do that for me, my love?"


"But, what should I do?” I whined.


“You are already doing something, your guidance has taught and strengthened the next generation,” McBone nuzzled her head into my chest. “We’ve got to earn our reputation back and prove to our League colleagues that we are capable and trustworthy."


“That’s right,” I brightened before placing a paw on her head, with a sigh. The pounding in my chest stopped, and my nerves calmed. “Not all is lost, we can still recover.”


“That’s right, Team Blue Heroes, Team White Light, and Team Aegisdrip are off right now to secure our glory-” the Stoutland tried to rant but I moved suddenly, and sent her to the floor. Her reflexes were sharp and she just stamped her paws down. “What’s wrong?”


“I should have sent some more Pokémon from Team Blue Heroes out there quicker,” I groaned. “At this rate, they won’t catch up-"


“They’ll be fine, I was contacted by ‘those shored in black’ who sent Austin and Yoshiko on a little errand. Anyway, it’s time for you to go check in on Team Sharp Claw,” McBone interjected before standing up and trotting towards the exit.


"Ah yes, our little firecracker of a Rescue Team!" I clasped my paws together. "How could I forget?"


“Those three did very well on their last mission,” McBone smiled as she stared at one of the large cork boards in the room. She walked over to read the papers attached to the board and sighed. “They went down to Legend Eclipse and handled that case in no time flat!”





A few days ago in the sloping brown hills of sand in the South, three travelers tirelessly continued forward through the desert. The three were a Treecko, a Charmander, and a Totodile, the sole members of Team Sharp Claw.


A rope was tied to each of their waists as they towed a sandy sled behind them. Cuts, bruises, and marks adorned their scales. All of them had patches and bandages on their limbs. On the wooden, there were two Pokémon seated in it.


These Pokémon had fainted. They were knocked out the entire journey and were tied up in thick rope. One had their maw bound shut with a caged muzzle, and they both had black mesh nets that covered their bodies.

It was clear and obvious from their attire what their allegiance was. No Pokémon in a League could mistake it.

Black and white checkered scarves, emblazoned with two jagged claw marks of black, outlined in white meant that they were no ordinary criminals.


The two were members of Wicked Blow.



"That settles it, I'm going to need different Pokémon to help train the prospects dear," I opened the door. “Er, maybe you could go get River and Rio for me if you don’t mind.”


"I don’t mind, the twins should be on watch duty right?”



“Yes,” I replied.


"Ah, you're going to have Team Sharp Claw and Team Blue Heroes go somewhere?" McBone asked, following me into the hallway. "Isn't it time for a yearly progress evaluation? I need the rest of the teams to do theirs this week as well."



"Those three more mature Teams should pass with flying colors, I'm more worried about Sharp Claw… The young Pokémon are what they call Fangs of the Fallen, whatever that entails."


"Hopefully we shall find out soon enough, but let's worry about what they shall do during the evaluation."



I sighed and rubbed my paws. "Yes, we'll go do some requests in the town to the southern Bristberg Mountains range, Navy Valley."



"Why do you need the other Team though?"


"Those two wanted to see their growth the most so I'm putting them in charge."


I went into the small classroom in another room to go and gather the required supplies. A vanilla folder, with a couple of sheets of paper inside. "Okay now to get Libra and Aquarius, then go check on those three in Team Sharp Claw."


Okay so where are those two? I made a quick round across the third floor, the floor we were currently on. Then I took a trip down to the second floor. This was where the bedrooms for the Rescue Teams are, a long hallway with numerous doors awaited me. Only one door was open, which meant the Froakie and Riolu were inside.


“Libra, Aquarius, I have a request for you two,” I knocked on the door, before it opened. Once they were in front of me I realized my folly. “Oh, where are my manners? Good Morning!”


“Morning,” the Froakie gave me a wave, and adjusted his tie and scarf.


“Morning Sir. What type of request?” the Riolu yawned, as she opened out her paw.



“10,000 Poke, I’d like you to go with Team Sharp Claw into Navy Valley town for their annual evaluation, let them pick out some good requests and you be the judge of their growth,” I explained, and passed the folder to the Pokémon.



"I'll be down in the back practice field to settle down the prospects with them," I told the two, stepping back into the hallway. They each clarified they'll be there once ready so I hurried downstairs and out the patio.



"Oh would you look at that," I managed to hear Glade loudly scold the prospects. "Wanna repeat what you said in front of the Coordinator?"




Oh dear, please don't be fighting amongst one another, please. I closed the door and rushed over, through the thin strands of fern grasses, my body leaving a flattened trail in my wake.



The Mienfoo sheepishly rubbed the back of their head. "I said I forgot the difference between Keepers and Sentinels alright!"




Oh Mew, please help them. I tried to appear as relaxed as possible once I made up to the five Pokémon in the field. "All Pokémon of this Hemisphere are one or the other, with a slight lean towards Sentinels. Ever since the Disruption it's been vital for every League member to know the difference, could you help them out?" I asked.



"Eer, what really is the Disruption?" the Slowbro blinked slowly. "All I know is we can't evolve anymore."



"The mana we use to power our moves and bodies has been altered as well," Glade added. "Come on, you guys should know this! Has no one taught you anything?"



I crossed my arms at the thought.



Linus, finally willed himself to remind me he's Team Captain clapped his hands together. "You, Coordinator Cooper Sir, and Mienfoo are Keepers, you have mana presences and would be able to use the elemental keys and locks of mana that caused the Disruption."




"And we three are Sentinels," Nevada, the Charmander, said. "We aren’t able to sense presences, but we also don't have one. We aren’t able to use those specific mana artifacts but still feel their consequences. There are other artifacts we can use though, but we have to search for them."



The Totodile placed her hands on the Mienfoo’s and the Slowbro's shoulders. "Okay, let me recap. The Disruption happened because the mana of the Hemisphere had been tampered with."




"But mana is what we use," Mienfoo crossed their arms. "How did Pokémon manage to alter it?"



"This tampering was caused by the misuse of the key and lock mana artifacts. The keys and lock allowed a Keeper to unlock or lock a Pokémon that had the same type as the key they possess."


"Misuse of those artifacts is when too many Pokémon are unlocked and never locked back up again."



"Got it?"



"But-" the Mienfoo started, as they noticed the Totodile's claws release.



"I think it's time for us to take over huh?" Rio's bark came just when I needed it, and River followed right beside her.



The two Herdier put themselves in between the five Pokémon.



"Huh?" the Slowbro asked.



I watched as River smiled at them before he picked up the lesson plan from Linus. "Rio and I will help you with your League Placement Exam for now, alright," the Heirder explained.




"You will?"



"Yeah," Rio tilted her head at the pair of Pokémon.



The Slowbro frowned. "But you two aren't even on a Rescue Team!"



"Yeah, what do you two know?" Mienfoo questioned.



My eyes widened and I turned. Shoot. I didn't think they'd aim so low!



"Have ya got no manners!?" Linus yelled. Before I could blink he used Quick Attack to jump in between the prospects, and smacked both of them on the head.



River sighed, as he lowered his ears. "We were on a Rescue Team, we unfortunately had to disband it after the Disruption and for the League's safety we cannot form another Rescue Team here."



"Oh, okay," Slowbro sheepishly rubbed his head. "Sounds complicated."



"It is," Rio growled.


"Sorry about that. Thanks again kids," I ruffled the Herdiers' heads before I stepped away.



"See ya later Dad!" the twins barked back.


"We're ready guys!" Aquarius called out. "Team Sharp Claw, you're coming with us!"



Libra raced ahead of him. "Hope you're ready to show us what you're made of!"



I always believed that this Froakie and Riolu pair had impeccable timing. The three mentioned Pokémon followed my gaze and flinched in surprise.



"We're going somewhere with you guys?" Team Sharp Claw asked.



"Coordinator Cooper Sir is coming along too," Libra clarified.


"Team Sharp Claw, it is time for your annual evaluation, and I'm having Team Blue Heroes do the examination for me," I explained.



"Alright, we've got all our equipment with us, where to?" Nevada asked, and lifted up the exploration bag off their shoulders.


I rolled my shoulders in response. “We’re going out of town.”



“Awesome, no more Bristberg Mountain crawling!” Glade cheered.


We began to walk towards the side gates of the backfield. As a chilly gust of mountain wind rolled by, the six of us made it to the courtyard of the League Building.


"Um, Libra, A, which area are we going to?" Nevada questioned as the towering front gates opened. "Er, rather what's the general direction?"



"Just a little ways south," the Froakie grinned.



"Yeah, but how far south?" Linus pestered, and reached up to tug on Libra's paw. "We just want to know what's ahead and all."



"You'll see when we get there okay!" the Riolu shrugged him off.


We made our way across the bridge and through the southside of town, passing all sorts of cozy cobblestone, brick houses and buildings. Then the six of us finally entered the wildlands, where strays and travelers roamed alike. After a short trip in the stony land we stood below us was a breathtaking sight.



Dark aquamarine and blue stone reached deep into the depths of the land, peaks of lighter stone surfacing in random spots of the abyss. Where there are mountains, there are valleys just as well. The center was dotted with pallid specks of light from the settlement nestled inside, a multitude of pathways leading back to the heights of alpine beauties in the sky.


"We are going down into the Navy Valley everyone!" I explained carefully, leading us down the mountainside.


Linus flinched and made sure he was as far away from the edge as possible as we got closer, and the others tread lightly. "Guys we've gotta be careful, but we can't let everyone take all the good requests first!" the Treecko shouted, as he pointed down at the congregation of Pokémon figures


"Woooh hoo!" Glade cheered once we walked past the gates and started heading down an elaborate set of large black granite stairs. "Evaluation let's freaking go!"


Down by the center of town, there were numerous building complexes, some stacked directly on top of each other while others sat in carefully placed rows in a narrow space that was flat. I had not been here in a while but every time I visited there seemed to be some odd-looking building under construction. Despite the frigid gusts of wind, there was a large number of Pokémon out and about, of all different types and species.


Without a word Team Sharp Claw immediately scouted the square for the Request Board and got to work. They've been to this town before but they were following McBone, and our Herdier twins around the whole time so I'm glad they took the initiative.


"Okay, so the biggest Mystery Dungeon around here is called Navy Stone Valley," Nevada explained, shifting through a section of pinned requests.


Glade carefully plucked a claw full and showed them to her Team. "Okay so here's an outlaw request, for 500 poke, and a lost X-spec for 450 poke."


"I found another lost item request," Linus pointed. "It's a Twist Scarf and a Totter Orb for 950 poke."


The Charmander carded through the papers before stepping away from the board, and their eyes narrowed.


I perked my ears up and then noticed something peculiar going on throughout the crowd. There was a Fidough running fervently after something, er someone.


"Help!" he barked, "those Pokémon took my sister!"


Quickly, Team Sharp Claw shoved the various papers into their bag and watched as he approached. Nevada darted to the side and stared in front of Fidough. “There!” the Charmander yelled, “It’s Wicked Blow!”


Immediately the crowd of Pokémon scattered from the board and formed a path.


Libra and Aquarius stepped in front of Linus and Glade and I readied my paws as I scanned the area. There was a trio of small Pokémon wearing Wicked Blow scarves, black and white stripes! A Charcadet, a Finizen, and a Capaskid.


“I got you!” Nevada yelped, and ran forward faster than I could blink.


Suddenly a green blur darted behind them, "Glade let's go!" Linus yelled. "It's time for our signature technique!"


"What on Earth is that?" I asked, and stumbled backwards. "Guess I'll have to see."
 
Chapter 5- Rise to the Occasion New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted
January 23rd, 2023

Chapter Summary
Linus and his Team travel though the town chasing after Wicked Blow and end up in a Mystery Dungeon. How much have they grown these five years after the Disruption started?​

Linus Treecko's POV



I used Quick Attack to dart forward in front of Sir Cooper and the others. We've gotta catch this bastard! "Let's show 'em what we're made of!" I yelled, smacking Glade on the shoulder.



The Totodile flinched for a second but pumped her fist. "Yeah, grab 'em Nevada!"



"I'm on it!" the Charmander replied, dashing forward.




Okay, now where is that Fidough? The second I turned my head I saw him. "So what happened?!" I asked.




The Fidough slowed down slightly and turned my way. "That big old Charcadet took my little sister!"



In the sea of Pokemon the bright red, yellow and black Pokemon with a small set of armor and flaming top bun stuck out like a sore claw. I've heard of the falling out of two talented Expeditioners from the Jovian Continent who are the evolved forms of Charcadet, Armorouge, and Ceruledge. Beside them was a rather large Capaskid and bulky Finizen.



The Capaskid was usually a small two-legged dark green Pokemon. But this one was a big fella! From what I saw from my cousins a while back Capaskid had a giant tooth, and spicy crest leaves.



The Finizen was a bottle shaped Pokemon that looked like a mix between a Seel and a Wailmer, with little white markings on them. I’d heard they are very intelligent and crafty so I’m not too thrilled to see ‘em working with Wicked Blow of all groups.




All three of them wore black and white striped scarves with a similar toned claw mark of two. Arceus-damn Wicked Blow for sure! In the Charcadet's arms was a small Maschiff. She wriggled and fought hard, trying to claw her way out.




"Hey! Get the fuck back here!" Glade roared.



“No can do!” the Charcadet laughed. “We can’t let our grunts do all the work!”



Grunts? Are these guys in charge of other Wicked Blow Pokemon? “What work?!” I yelled.



“Recruitment!” the Capaskid cackled. “Our branch is looking a bit small, and is always in need of more Pokemon!”



“Especially ones like these!” the Finizen beside them gestured to the Maschiff. “Let’s ramp it up!”



The three broke off from the normal streets. With the fire-type, and water-type paired up, heading into an alleyway. Just before we split away, Libra and A turned to me and nodded. I guess they'll chase the Capaskid?




"I see 'em!" Nevada yelled, following suit.




"We're right behind you!" Glade called out, struggling after them. "I wish I was faster!"



Me too Glade, me too. Something else we needed to work on.



"Let go of her!" the Charmander growled, as they vanished out of sight, grabbing the Charcadet's arm.



Those guys sure are fast! We need to catch up! "Come on!" I squinted my eyes as the light of the back lanterns lit up. Navy Valley sure is a futuristic town, did those go automatically? Suddenly as they jumped over empty crates, and dashed across stairs I saw the Finizen pull something out of one of the bags they had and tossed it at Nevada.



"What in the world!?" I yelled, watching them pull back and forth.


Suddenly there was a loud whoosh. Then I heard Neavda scream. I shot forward through the alley with Glade and saw the Finizen and the Charcadet shoving our Charmander friend past something. That something was a railing! They were pushed over the railing and towards the river below!



"Shoot! Glade catch them!" I shouted, darting down to the edge of the river wall. The pads of my claws had tiny suction cups that kept me attached to the stone and I held my hand out.



Glade leapt into the river as Nevada fell and struggled a little bit in the fast current. As the Charmander reached the water, the Totodile caught them. With bated breath I watched as she held Nevada up, she propelled herself out of the river with a Water Gun.


She then Scratched the river bank wall to climb even higher. Then Glade threw Nevada towards me. I grabbed their claw and pried myself off the wall with a jump full of light, my Quick Attack flinging us way over the edge.



We landed on the floor with a thud, my thick tails cushioning me from most of the pain. I let go of Nevada as Glade climbed up from the river and we lay panting for a moment.



"Oh wait!" I shot up, narrowing my eyes to see the faint flames of the Charcadet running past another building. "Come on!"



Nevada, Glade, and I ran after them as they headed downtown and toward a dark deep pit. "What's those bastards hit 'cha with?" I huffed as we trailed after Wicked Blow.



"An X-Eye Seed!" the Charmander grumbled. "Tried to freaking drown me!"



Suddenly the Fidough from before ran up beside us with Coordinator Cooper and Team Blue Heroes. "Those guys are heading into a Mystery Dungeon!" he explained.



"Yeah!" Glade replied. "Doesn't look like the biggest one, this one is called Aquamarine Abyss right?!"



Nevada counted to three on their claws and shook their head. "Yup, it can lead to Navy Stone Valley though!"



"And I'm coming too!" the Fidough said.



"Are you sure?" the Charmander asked. "We can handle it for you, er-"



"My name is Hernando!" the Fidough barked.



The Totodile scratched her chin. "You know how to use your moves?"



"Yes!"



"Have you been inside a Mystery Dungeon before?" Nevada fixed their League sash.



"Yes!"



He sounded determined enough, and was able to keep up with us. "Alrighty fella," I grit my teeth to steady myself as we got closer to the Mystery Dungeons entrance. "Ya can come with us, just follow our directions okay!?"



"I got it!" Hernando replied, running closer to me.



Then without looking back we jumped inside the Mystery Dungeon. "Okay, ain't no turning back!" I yelled. A wall of dark teal earth slowly surrounded the area behind us, trapping us inside. Coordinator Cooper Sir, Libra, and A-san were right on our tails somehow.



Though we were inside a Mystery Dungeon called Aquamarine Abyss, the sky above was bright and cloudy. True to its name, the stone that made up the floor and walls had dark grey, black, and silver swirls and stripes in them, with specks of bright aquamarine gemstones inside them.


“Your evaluation is still in progress,” Libra said as we all got our bearings.


“These aren't the requests you were asked of, nor is this the Mystery Dungeon you were assigned, “A-san added. “However this is an urgent mission involving Wicked Blow, and could be treated as Extra Credit for the evaluation.”



“Understood!” I clenched my fist. “We won’t let you down!”



And then there was a cylinder of a Pokemon that flew through the air, the shiny glow of steel on where I presumed the head was. Headed straight from the Fidough beside me!



"Woah!" I yelped, picking up Hernando, and launching out a Mega Drain to block whatever steel-type move it was. My eyes could barely see the glint of metal in the dim light of the Mystery Dungeon. It's too dark in here! "Nevada, I need flames!"



The cylinder then dug into the cave and re-emerged on the other side of the walkway. "I don't know if I can hit them!"



"You won't know until you try!" I offered.



"Blast 'em now!" Glade called, when the majority of the Pokemon’s murky body seemed to be above ground.



"Here goes!" The Charmander stepped away from me and then fired out an Ember from where the steel came. The area lit up at that moment, as an Orthworm was revealed! They caught on fire instantly, a small blaze burning strong through their entire body.




"Okay this an Orthworm!” I yelled.



The Fidough in my arms shivered and pressed his head into my side. “Do you think you can put me down now?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.


“Yeah in a bit!” I replied.



Glade stepped beside me and took in a deep breath, then shot out a Water Gun at the Pokemon. The high intensity of the spray startled them, but not dousing the fire. Then the Orthworm shook their body and slapped the Charmander beside me with a small but thick torrent of mud with Mud Slap, trying to snuff out their flames.



Nevada yelped in shock and nearly collapsed onto the floor.


"Hang in there!" I put Hernando down before a burst of energy from Quick Attack sent me crashing into the Orthworm. I had to do something, even if they resisted most of my moves! "Nevada I need you!" I called.


Nevada was finally able to wipe all the mud off their front and spat out a final Ember at the Orthworm. The Pokemon struggled through the heat before they fainted.


“Where are we going to go now?” Hernando barked, sneezing a bit before shaking his fur.



"Through here,” I pointed at the straight opening in the room before our group. Just our luck there was a staircase leading down. "Next floor now y'all, come on!"




There was a Mudbray who stood in the room, a white and black scarf around her neck, and a rather large saddleback across her side. "You damn League brats!" I heard her shout loud and clear as she dashed forward, from my guess aiming directly towards Nevada. "Gamma 9 will reign forever!"



"Not so fast!" Glade yelled, stepping in front of the weakened Charmander and taking the brunt of the Bulldoze. "You're dealing with me!" the Totodile then took in a deep breath and shot out a large Water Gun at point blank instantly fainting weak Wicked Blow ruffian.



Just as we defeated her, two more Pokemon made their way into the room. A Nacli and another Orthworm, both wearing black and white scarves, albeit in interesting positions somewhere on their unique bodies. Wicked Blow bastards.




"How dare you!" the Orthworm said, crawling forward.




"Your reign of terror ends today!" I yelled. "Pokemon given the chance at obtaining power shall never abuse it, especially when that means misusing the Mana Artifacts!"




The Nacli next to them dragged themself along the ground quickly. "You think you're better than us?” they asked, spitting pebbles. “All you do is hold yourself back! You're not after true power!"




Enough with that bouf-shit for Arceus' sake! "Alrighty let's go y'all!" I yelled, tossing out a Mega Drain at the Nacli.




"Even me?" Hernando asked, moving from beside me.




"Yeah, I'll grab ya when that Orthworm gets close!" I said, watching Nevada pelt the Orthworm with an Ember.




The Nacli weakly stumbled forward and tossed out a white crystal mass of Salt Cure at Glade. Why would they do that? Wait, that Pokemon species we've fought before! They're aiming to drain her stamina with that sodium heavy attack! A small wave of pink speckled Fairy Wind from our Fidough client blocked the Salt Cure at the perfect time.




"Nice work Hernando! Gonna move you for a bit!" I cheered picking him up just as the barely conscious Orthworm set their sights on him. This Orthworm moved in close and captured me in a weak Wrap of their cold body. As they held me, Nevada was able to launch an Ember at them, their grip released and I jumped away from them as they fainted from the fire."You'll finish it?"




"You bet!" Glade roared, shooting one final Water Gun at the Nacli, who fainted once the spray subsided. Finally all the Wicked Blow Pokemon in the room had fainted.




I checked their belongings and then pulled out my Normal Rank Badge. After pressing on one of the wings a chime sounded. "Rescue Team Federation of Constellation Heartland! How can I help you?" a voice came out of the tiny speakers.




"Team Sharp Claw down in Aquamarine Abyss Floor… Floor 2, heavy Wicked Blow presence in the surrounding area. Requesting retrieval," I replied, trying my best to speak quickly.




"Understood," the voice noted. "A unit will be on its way."




I put back on my badge and headed into the room to be greeted with more stairs leading downward. We hopped down them one by one.



The Fidough narrowed his eyes before he raised his tail. “So you liked it when I put Wicked Blow in their place huh?"




"Ya, yer a great help Hernando!" I grinned.




"But what do you want me to do if we run into a Mystery Dungeon Pokemon who I’m strong against?” he asked.



“I want to see you give ‘em your best shot!” Glade said, rubbing his smooth head. “But you’d ought to wait for our instructions alright.”




“Okay,” he sighed.



“If any Mystery Dungeon Pokemon hit you, hit them back," I stepped into the next room. I scanned the area and noticed three branching pathways. “Let’s go!”



The whole lot of us ran down into a thin hallway, one that could only fit one Pokemon at a time. As Team Captain I’ll go first so we can save our client’s little sister. And fast.



After a while the cave’s hallway started to widen. We had options, one pathway had three options, a path heading straight, and one left the other right. I decided on leading us through the left, the stone on the floor looked more traveled compared to the other side.


“So do you know why those Wicked Blow Pokemon took your sister?” Nevada asked, just when I thought the silence was getting unbearable.



“Well, she and I are Keepers,” Hernando barked. "That Charcadet said they are looking for as many Keepers as possible to capture and use.”



“Use them?” Glade grumbled. “Their boss definitely means forcing them to join Wicked Blow and get in Pokemon’s way!”



"Like they did today. I heard from those other League members that you were supposed to go to the other Mystery Dungeon," the Fidough said.


“Yeah, that's true," the Totodile groaned.



"One good thing is this Mystery Dungeon has the freshest mana," Hernando grinned before suddenly his ears perked up. "Speaking of mana, did Wicked Blow capture Pokemon to mess with the mana inside of us?"



"Yes, even Sentinels have mana from our elemental type and have to take in the worlds to use moves, we just don't have presences others can feel," Glade explained. "But the world's mana was unstabilized after the Disruption, so we all aren’t as strong as we used to be."



"Some Pokemon in Wicked Blow are fine though, right?" the Fidough asked.



"Only because some Keepers in Wicked Blow used those same Mana Artifacts on themselves to steal from the world and boost their moves strength at times!" I answered.



"They'll also use Pokemon to help Wicked Blow gain more power while everymon else suffers!” Nevada panicked, their tail flame bursting.




"Oh," Hernando let out a gasp. "So that's what those damn guys are doing."




I raised my brow at the Fidough's comment as we ventured into a large seemingly empty room. All seven of us spread out to cover ground more easily. We are wasting our time here! Stupid con'sarn Mystery Dungeon!




If we ran we'd be out of here and into the next room in no time flat. I picked up the pace and dashed forward towards one of the exits on the top corner of the room. The second I reached the pile of dirt, I was immediately thrown onto the floor adjacent to it, my vision blurry and head spinning.



"Watch it Linus!" Nevada grabbed hold of my claw and pulled me off the floor.



In my daze I Glade approached me and grabbed my shoulders. "Try not to do that again!"



"Yeah yeah," I groaned. "Let's, let's keep going."



"You mean step in Totter Traps right?" Hernando tilted his head as we walked through a winding pathway. "It's not his fault, that crap was buried deep."



"Yeah but he's Team Captain, he should know better than that," Glade jeered, clapping her claws together. She was right about the rushing part. I needed to be patient.



"You would have stepped in it too, you know Glade!" Nevada grumbled smacking the Totodile. They then glanced my way, flame dimming. "Let's change the subject."



"Yeah," I sighed, leading us up another set of Mystery Dungeon stairs and onto the next floor. "So what were you two out doing before Wicked Blow showed up?"



"We've, well my sister, I and the other younger teens have been busy doing jobs around town so we don't always know what's up," the Fidough explained as we entered a new room.



I ran my hand along the wall and sighed.I just noticed something interesting. The caverns down this deep were made up of a darker, and slightly harder stone than the previous floors, to make a dent in here you'd need a Blast Seed or powerful move.



When we passed through a tiny, cramped room, a Patrat sank their teeth into me. It took all four of our stronger moves to knock out that hardy Dungeon dweller, and left me limping a tad bit. "It'll be okay partner, the mana in Mystery Dungeons can heal wounds with every step ya take!" I tried to ease my Team's and Hernando's worries.



When we made our way into an opening in the pathways it was a dead end room, but more importantly there was a Pokemon waiting for us. There was a jet-black Tarous, digging his hooves into the dirt. But more importantly there was a black and white striped scarf under his neck. Another Wicked Blow son of a Ditto for us to deal with. I'm so sick of 'em.


“Okay Hernando we- er I am going to need your help,” I whispered, holding out my arms to keep everyone back. “What moves do you know again?”


The Fidough tilted his head to the side. “Fairy Wind, Lick, Tackle and Baby Doll Eyes.”



"Okay," Glade squeezed in close. "Use Baby Doll Eyes first to weaken his attacks for us cause Black fighting-type Tarous hit hard as fuck."



"Got it! Here I go!" Hernando waited for my Quick Attack to tag the Wicked Blow member before afflicting him with the status, a pink set of rings circling him and floating away.



"You think that can stop me!? Think again!" the Tarous fumed, shaking side to side and racing forward.



Just as planned, that Pokemon turned around and tapped me with one fierce kick after another from Double Kick. It barely put a dent in my stride.



I smirked and snapped my fingers. Nevada and Glade stepped back and then dashed forward. The Charmander sliced at the Tarous with a Scratch while the Totodile followed up with another fierce swipe of her claws in Scratch too.

To finish him off the Fidough jumped in with a burst of Fairy Wind, knocking the Wicked Blow grunt down onto the ground.



In the next room there were some more stairs, and the wall beside it looked battered down by some Pokemon. "This should be the end."




"Oh wait!" Nevada waved their claws down at me.



"Yeah?"



"There's a Seed on the ground over there, maybe we can use it on those Wicked Blow bastards!" they picked up the seed and clenched it in their claw.



"Will this be enough?" the Fidough beside us asked



"Don't worry Hernando," Glade patted his head gently. "We know how to use what's given to us. What type of Seed is it?"



Nevada held up the item and brightened their tail flame. A green sprout drooped from inside the seed, a spiral imprinted onto the skin. "A Totter Seed. It causes a Pokemon to get confused and dizzy when eaten or the sprout bursts from pressure."



I placed my foot on the first stair step and pumped my fist. "Alright, here we go!"


We dashed up the staircase and found ourselves in a dimly lit cave, one with two tunnels, one that led to the bright outside. Next to it there was an upward sloped path that sparkled and shimmered off the torchlight of the area, shiny yellow-orange crystals studded the rich navy stone walls of the Navy Stone Valley Mystery Dungeon.


As we headed outside we noticed a thin break in the rocks that led to a secluded area, it had a turn that possibly led to an opening so we crept through it slowly. "Let's stay cautious," I said as I leaned forward. Then I heard the voices of the Charcadet and the Finizen.




"You think we'll get a bonus for getting this dark-type?"



"Well she's a runt so we'll have to change that."



"She's also a Keeper, Captain Oinkologne and Captain Hawlucha will make perfect use of her if we find that dark-type mana key."



"It's not on this Continent dude."



"Not yet."



The Capaskid mumbled something and they busted into laughter.



I can't wait to set these Pokemon straight. They could be productive members of society. Voidlands, if things went another way they could have been our Leaguemates! Now their best fate is ending up at the reformation guild in some months.


Nevada tapped my shoulder. "I want to try and l lead," they whispered, holding the Totter Seed.



The Charmander jumped through the passageway and we hurried in one by one. Immediately the Pokemon inside fell off their makeshift saddlebag seats and onto the floor.


"They found us!" the three Wicked Blow members shouted, before spreading out across the ground, blocking our way to the Maschiff.


"Well come get some! We're vice captains! Gamma 9's forever strong!"


"Shut yer trap Wicked Blow scum!" I yelled, my voice echoing loud through the mountain.



"Make me!" the Charcadet got up first and ran towards us, the Finizen and Capaskid following behind.



Nevada tossed the Totter Seed directly in between the Charcadet's eyes, the sprout bursting on impact and dazing the Pokemon.


The Charcadet turned to face the Capaskid beside him and bellowed out a whip of flames, encircling them with the Fire Spin before collision ensued.



"Det' you idiot!" the Capaskid yelled, flailing around in the small fire. The Finizen turned away from us to try and put out the flames with a jet of water, failing miserably.



Now's my chance! I got beside the Finizen and launched out a Leafage, the thin burst of leaves cutting their skin.



"Here!" Glade yelled running up next to me. "Let me help you!" the Totodile fired out a Water Gun, drenching the Charcadet completely, the blow sending him tumbling over.



Capaskid pulled their head back and coughed a small Seed Bomb back at Glade in retaliation, the explosion of flora stabbed through the Totodile's scales, knocking her down. She groaned on the ground, struggling to rise. Drat, another one of those and she might faint!




Nevada rushed to the side to help her up before firing out an Ember at the Capaskid, fueling the flames around them further. But these guys weren't done. "Watch out!" I yelled, watching as the Finizen rushed towards the weakened Charmander in a watery cover of Aqua Jet.



We have enough Reviver Seeds but getting enough to afford them again is hard! I should've told them to stop attacking and go eat an Oran to recover! These Wicked Blow vice captains are tough!




Something unexpected happened. Just before the Pokemon rammed into Nevada, Hernando jumped in between them with a Tackle, neutralizing only some of the Aqua Jet, but taking part of the damage.



"No!" I yelled, racing towards the Fidough without second thought, a wall of flames from that Charcadet's Fire Spin burning through my scales instead of our client's body. I nearly sunk to the floor and collapsed as my vision blurred, all the grass mana I had inside me suddenly growing, my Overgrowth came in strong.



That bastard! "Keep him out of this!" I roared, using the last of my strength to toss a massive ball of Giga Drain at the Finizen, which knocked them out and revitalized me. Their energy was now mine.



Glade grabbed hold of the Charcadet as he was caught off guard and shot him point blank with a Water Gun, finishing the Charcadet off. Then there was a whistling sound and I glanced behind the Totodile in horror.



Three, no four Bullet Seed Rounds were fired directly at her, the super-effective move sure to make her faint. "Glade!" I yelled, warning her of the attack. She slowly turned around and suddenly a huge fireball of Ember blasted through the Barrage and straight into Capaskid. Nevada staggered up triumphantly as the Wicked Blow Pokemon fainted, before crumbling onto the floor.



"Delieza!" Hernando called. "It's safe now you can come out!"



"It is?" she questioned in a soft whine.



"Yeah," I followed the Fidough to the corner where his Machiff sister was. She looked at us and then crept forward, shivering all the while. "Don't worry, Team Sharp Claw took care of those Wicked Blow brutes, you can go back with your brother now."



Delieza sniffed my body for a moment and frowned. "Can you take us back into Navy Valley city?"



"Of course we'd escort you," I rubbed my shoulder before heading back towards the exit. "It's down this way, my Team and League mates will come too."



We did it. We saved Hernando's little sister from Wicked Blow. My Team and I walked the Maschiff and Fidough siblings, all the way up towards the city and waiting by the request board. Thankfully Glade and Nevada managed to perk back up as their energy returned.




A Dollive carrying a basket, appeared in the street, and waved his arms. "Hernando! Delieza! Mis amors!"




"This Dollive is your guardian?" I asked the two.




"Yes, he's one of the adults at the orphanage we stay at," Delieza answered.




"Thank you so much League Pokemon," he held out the basket before shuffling around inside it. "I only have 300 poke, and some assorted Berries to share, is that okay?"




"Yeah," I watched as the two siblings snuggled up to the Dollive who then presented an Oran Berry, a Sitrus Berry, a Cheri Berry, and a Pecha Berry along with the 300 poke in three pouches. "Wow, that was mighty generous of ya!"




"My pleasure," the Dollive replied. "Take care!"




We waved the three off and placed our rewards in our nearly empty Team bag. "Remember we're still here," some familiar voices called out of nowhere and I almost fell over.




It was A and Libra, oh and the Coordinator too. "Yes?" I replied, trying to compose myself.




"We've come to the agreement that you all have passed your evaluation," Libra smiled. "You've shown us your teamwork, willpower, and knowledge on proper League behavior."




Glade and Nevada both grabbed my claws. "We did!?" they screamed, earning a wince from our superiors.




"Yes," Coordinator Cooper Sir answered, clapping his paws. "We can go on back home to the League."




What? "But we didn't get to do our requests!" I looked down across the city. "I think we could do those before we came back."




"No, I have something I want to practice with you all, you may have passed the evaluation but you're still inexperienced," the Granbull patted my shoulder.



"But-"




"Hey!" another familiar voice called out. "There they are!"




"Huh?" I turned around to see a Groyvle and Charmeleon heading our way.




"Yoshiko and Austin of Team Blue Heroes?!" Glade yelled.




"What are you guys doing here in Navy Valley?!" Libra questioned.




"That's what I wanna know," A leaned back.




"We managed to catch up," the Charmeleon started, trying to catch his breath. "Yoshiko and I have some stuff we need to show you guys at the League."




"What? For real?" Glade sighed.




"Yes," the Groyvle narrowed her eyes. "The Chief called us to say that you will have a request in a couple of days."




"Who is the request for?" Neavda asked.




"The Committee, they would like Team Sharp Claw to escort one of their wards in a Mystery Dungeon. More details will come later," Yoshiko crossed her arms.




"And on top of that Team Aegisdrip and Team White Light wants you," Austin added.




"We're wanted now eh?" I smirked. "I told you we could do it, Team Sharp Claw will be the greatest Rescue Team since the-"



"Don't get full of yourselves now that you're busy," the two Pokemon grumbled. "If you want our respect then earn it!"
 
Chapter 6- Navy Start 1 New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted
March 10th, 2023
Chapter Summary
Team Sharp Claw and co make their way back to the Bristberg Mana Research League. What is waiting for them?​

Glade Totodile's POV


Yoshiko and Austin really pissed me off. They managed to somehow avoid Devolution unlike some of their peers but decided to take out all their frustrations on us still. What are they even upset about? They didn't lose anything like I did. Like we did.

"Let's get a move on, folks," Coordinator Cooper said and glanced up toward the path before us. I looked up as well. Right before us was the magnificent heights of the Bristberg Mountains: the teal, silver, and light blue sections of the earth shimmered in the morning sun. We then headed up the dark stone pathway out of Navy Valley City.

"You heard him Team Sharp Claw!" Yoshiko and Austin yelled, which caused me to jump back. Woah! Those guys are fricking loud!

"Whatever," I grumbled.

"Back off of those three, would you?" A-san tapped Austin on the shoulder.

The Charmeleon and Groyvle immediately flinched under their Teammates' grasp. "What? Why not?"

Libra growled and held up the League evaluation folder, "Because they've earned it. Just because they look the same doesn't mean they are the same Team Sharp Claw from 5 years ago."

"You and every Pokémon that doubts them, best keep that in mind," the Granbull who led our group ordered. "Now let's enjoy our walk."

As we made our way out of Navy Valley City the sun was still high in the sky. "This is good," I said as I grinned. "Judging by the horizon it's only around afternoon. I'm glad we didn't waste too much time out here."

Coordinator Cooper nodded. "We came here when the sun was a fair bit lower."

"The Time Dilation in that Mystery Dungeon wasn't so bad," Libra explained.

"O-oh no, that could have been awful!" Nevada panicked, and my mind went to work.

We didn't have to worry about lots of hours or days passing while we were inside. Only some Mystery Dungeons have heavy Time Dilation like that anyway.

If the Time Dilation were intense it would have to be marked in an Adventure Guide… Which we thankfully checked while at the request board down in Navy Stone Valley.

The wildland in the rough mountain range between Bristberg and Navy Valley was always a good workout, but I hate when it gets too slippery for my claws.

I had to dig my claws into the ground and hold Linus's hand for support, for Arceus's sake! If only there was a good river, I could just ditch everymon and swim back to the League.

Nah, Linus would be all whiny about it. And I don't want to leave him and Nevada alone with those assholes Yoshiko and Austin. We continued our way back northwest, the ground of the wildland path had more traction so I could relax a bit.

Unfortunately, this traction was only because we were going to scale cobblestone stairs up the Bristberg Mountains.

Eventually, we reached the town of Bristberg and walked all towards the three-story League Building, which was on the west side of town.

Then we stood in front of the towering gates of our Mana Research League, which every League in the Hemisphere had. We watched as the two watchtowers in the courtyard flashed green and the front gates and temporary airway barrier opened.

"Alright," Coordinator Cooper started as we passed the awning, placed our badges against the lock next to the metal doors, and got inside the building. "I'm going to check on Rio, River, and the Mienfoo and the Slowbro prospects."

"B-but… you said you were going to train us on something because we were still inexperienced!" Nevada added.

The Granbull rubbed his head. "Well, I didn't quite say I was the Pokémon that would teach you."

Linus shook a little in the warm air before he nodded. "Sounds good ta me, we'll be alright."

"Thanks, Sir Cooper!" I waved.

Libra and Aquarius took a step away from us. "We have to give Sir Chief McBone the report on the evaluation, though."

"Fair, I guess," Linus crossed his arms, and tapped the floor. "We'll hafta train with them some other day."

"Aw come on…" I groaned.

Yoshiko stretched her arms and leaned toward the Treecko. "Well, now Team Whitelight was supposed to tell you brats something."

"Excuse me?" Linus and I shot back.

"Yoshiko, quit irritating them. Go get everything you wanted to show Team Sharp Claw," Coordinator Cooper sighed. "Austin, you know better as well."

"But it was the other Teams who said they were gonna do it, not us!" Austin waved.

I stamped my feet on the ground and crossed my arms. "Sounds like you're scared!"

"Am not!" the Charmeleon grabbed my shoulders.

"Then why do you still avoid us?" Nevada asked.

Yoshiko flicked the Charmander's forehead with her claw. "Because I can tell you're still full of yourselves," then she lowered her voice to a whisper, "and I don't think we're ready."

"What was that?" Linus grumbled and moved in between the two.

Somehow I hadn't noticed Granbull who disappeared during our conversation until he loudly snapped his claws upon his return. "Oh right, can you train with them later?"

"Libra and Aquarius managed to slip away to the Chief. And Yoshiko and Austin don't want anything to do with us," the Treecko grumbled.

"Okay, let's see-" Coordinator Cooper rubbed his head.

"We of Team Whitelight will work on that, Sir!" Morág, a tall Pawinard, called from the hallway.

"Oh, you guys are back!?" I jumped back and nearly crashed into Linus.

Morág nodded. "We were talking with the Chief about our mission. The others are sparring outside, so it's just me and Devontay right now."

"Well we'll just take our leave-" the Grovyle and the Charmeleon across from us tried to leave the room, but were stopped.

"No. I need you two, and everymon here, to come by and help us out," the Pawinard gently stamped her foot down. "It'll only be a moment."

"You had something you wanted to show us?" the Treecko beside me pushed me away from him.

Morág leaned back, but the top of her head blade gently scraped against the wall and she hunched over. Wow, that Pawinard was still huge, definitely about a Bisharp's height… amazing! She was the captain of Team Whitelight despite suffering from Devolution.

"Oh hey, aren't you gonna train us?" I asked.

"Not just me," Morág stepped back behind a wall to get something. "We all will!"

I narrowed my eyes as she returned with a crate. And behind her, Devontay, the Whirlipede, scuttled behind her. "Good morning everyone!" he smiled before bowing to us. "We are doing a bit of an experiment. Then we of Team Whitelight shall train Team Sharp Claw."

The Pawinard in front of us opened up the crate and allowed everymon to see inside. It was a pitch-black sword, with a dull silver curved arrow shape in the handle. "This, and countless blades just like it, were found by the Expedition Society over to the East of Pebble Creek. Ways to the South of the Wei Region."

I watched as Coordinator Cooper immediately flinched and took a couple of steps back before he took a deep breath and hummed.I wonder why they're showing us these blades since it looks like it's bothering Keepers.

"They found these odd swords inside of an underwater Mystery Dungeon," the Whirlpede next to her nudged the crate. "We were told that it might be related to the Fangs of the Fallen."

"That's what Team Sharp Claw was called," the Granbull narrowed his eyes. "Why do you need the rest of us?"

"To see who can get close to the sword, who can hold it, and who can swing it," Morág explained before she tapped her hand blades together. "Despite being from the Air Continent, Devontay, I, and some other immigrants in our League are Keepers."

Yoshiko folded her arms. "Whatever, don't act like you Air Continent featherweights are better than us because you turned out to be Keepers!"

"Devontay and I never implied that you idiot!" the Pawnaird swung her blade-hands close to the Groyvle's shoulder.

"Yeah yeah we know we know," Austin blew a small cloud of smoke at Morág. "With the right gear and a little patience, we Sentinels could do a number on you guys. No matter how fast you are."

"Anyway…" Devontay perked up at the mention of his name and wobbled to the side. "Coordinator Cooper Sir is also a Keeper, while Austin and Yoshiko are Sentinels. Team Sharp Claw are technically also Sentinels."

"But those brats aren't regular Sentinels like us. They are Fangs of the Fallen, whatever that means," the Charmeleon sighed.

"Correct, the Expedition Society and another partner of the League ran some tests on these swords," the Whirlpede continued. "They determined they are safe. But they need data from all sorts of Pokémon because this could be an ancient mana artifact."

Austin smirked when I made eye contact with him and walked up to Morág and Devontay. "Could I try first?"

"Sure!"

The Charmeleon reached into the box and heaved with all of his might but could barely hold the sword in his claws. He tried to grasp it in two claws and swing but couldn't move a muscle and dropped the sword onto the ground.

"Heh, weakling," I said with a smirk.

Austin snapped at me. "What was that?"

Devontay shook his head. "Come on Glade, based on the newly translated mana scroll it should be different for each of us. The sword needs to be studied."

The sword slid towards Morág who then put her hand blades into their sheath and tried to approach it. When one of her three fingers got close enough to the sword she immediately collapsed to the floor.

"Woah…" Morág panted and tried to reach out again. The Pawinard couldn't get any closer so she eventually scooted back.

Hmm, is it really that heavy or something? "I'll give it a go," I leaned down and grabbed the handle of the sword. It was oddly heavy and I had to grit my teeth to lug it off the floor. Then I pulled it off the ground, held it in both hands, and swung it slowly. "I-I did it!" That was, uh… underwhelming.

"Hmm," Coordinator Cooper watched as I placed the sword back down in the crate. Then the rest of them tried to get near the sword, with basically similar results.

"Okay," Devontay sighed. "We- we all managed to try it."

"Now we need Libra and A-chan to try. Those two were called a threat to the balance of Keepers and Sentinels, so maybe it has something to do with these swords too." Morág held her chest. "Everymon in a Rescue Team needs to try it."

Linus and Nevada beckoned me over and I flashed the pair a thumbs-up. "Ya told them we'd be great!" I patted the Treecko on the back.

"Yea! Just because we're Sentinels doesn't mean we ain't gonna change the world!" Linus puffed out his chest.

The Charmander smiled and grabbed my claw.

"How'd you feel swinging that awesome sword, Nevada!?" I asked as I couldn't help but smile back.

"Today I feel more confident," Nevada pumped their fist. "Helping those Pokemon, passing our evaluation, and even swinging that sword! I feel like I really belong!"

"Fascinating…" Coordinator Cooper said from out of nowhere.I practically jumped backward. I forgot he was freaking here still!

Everymon else just looked at me like I was insane.

The Granbull took in a deep breath. "From both Team Blue Heroes' and Sharp Claw's reports those Ditto back in Wei Forest sounded particularly alarmed about the Fangs of the Fallen. However, you all could barely use the sword."

Morág closed the sword crate. "Still, you three could swing it. We couldn't."

"Does that mean we can take it out on missions!?" I wagged my tail as I watched her heave the crate.

"Unfortunately though if you took it with you then it would be a liability."

"We don't want Wicked Blow to steal it, because we don't know if any Pokémon could also be like you guys." The Whirlpede closed his eyes.

My jaw dropped at the thought.Could there be more Fangs of the Fallen? Those Ditto knew what we were, somehow, so it's not so Farfetch'd. Maybe that's why there are so many swords. But who made them?

"Well, if there is one thing we do know," Morág explained, "we know that whatever these different scrolls that other Leagues and Expedition Societies said were found outside our reach are related to mana artifacts."

"It seems like Keepers and Sentinels can't reach them, only Legendaries and Mythicals can grab them," Devontay added. "Apparently, they did get help from one, not sure who though."

A scroll… One like Young Master Xuě Zeraora had was translated in order for Pokémon to find those swords. Interesting. "I can't wait to swing that sword with full strength," I smoothed down my scales. "And bash Wicked Blow for all it's worth!"

"I think I can imagine it now!" Nevada joined me in the theatrics. "We'll put them in their place while you Keepers secure all of the keys and locks!"

"Team Sharp Claw'll become pros in no time and maybe we'll be able 'ta finish what Team Vanguard started!" Linus cheered.

The Granbull took a couple of steps back. "I admire your enthusiasm and commitment to the League. However, don't get ahead of yourselves just yet. It was difficult to use the swords because you three aren't strong enough yet," he gestured toward me, Nevada, and Linus. "You'll have to try it out after I deem you fit. I need you to be careful. "

"But when will that be?" Nevada's flame dimmed as they pouted.

"Yeah! I don't wanna wait forever!" I yelled.

The Treecko beside us sighed. "Come on, we managed to get the light on the handle to flicker. We need 'ta practice before it could ever really shine."

"Okay, okay," I sighed.

"Well, we're outta here," the Grovyle grabbed my arms and rubbed her knuckles against my head.

I swatted her and she reached over to noogie Linus's head as Austin slapped Nevada on the back. Then the Charmeleon nudged me over onto the floor before he and his Teammate left.

"Stupid jerks," the Charmander next to me growled, before they helped me up. "Let's show 'em!"

I smirked as their flame burned brighter. "Yep. It's off to train with Pokémon that actually like us, Team Whitelight!"

All of us, minus Yoshiko and Austin, headed out towards the patio and then to the League practice field. The air was still fairly cold, so it was gonna be a brisk training session. I hope Linus will be okay.

On the left side, right next to the patio, were the Herdier Twins River and Rio. Coordinator Cooper split off from us as he headed towards those Pokemon.

The two sat in front of the outdoor whiteboards with Mienfoo and Slowbro sitting on little lawn stools with a small folding table and a couple of varying-sized textbooks.

"How'd the requests go, Team Sharp Claw?" River stopped his lecture and called out.

"Mighty swell!" Linus yelled back.

Rio tilted her head at us as the prospects turned to watch. "What did you guys do?"

"We escorted a Pokémon through a Mystery Dungeon," Nevada explained in their same quiet tone, only after we got close to the patio.

"Can't forget how we saved that Fidough's Mastiff sister from Wicked Blow!" I shouted. "We beat the voidlands outta those guys, and they were vice-captains!"

The Herdier Twins wagged their tails as we passed. "Sounds good!" they barked. "Team Whitelight is waiting, have fun!"

"Will do!" I waved.

Then we continued through the tall blades of grass, and the spectacular view of Bristberg Mountain as we got closer.
 
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Chapter 7- Navy Start 2 New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted (Split)
March 10th, 2023

Chapter Summary
Team Sharp Claw has now experienced a new breakthrough at the League. But they aren't ready for everything yet, therefore it's time to learn some new moves and show their knowledge to the prospects.

Glade Totodile's POV

Four Pokémon stood in the back of the practice field, right beside the various-sized Substitute targets, and brightened when they saw us coming. The Quilava and the Oshawott nuzzled up next to each other while the Luxio and Rowlet chatted.

"Howdy folks!" Linus cheered. "Team Sharp Claw has finally made it!"

Nevada slowly nodded. "T-thanks for having us! We'll do our best!"

"It's time to learn some new moves and fuck shit up!" I patted my teammates on the back.

"Alright, our teammates will take it over from here. Here are some of the TMs Team Aegisdrip got from their missions," Morág pointed down to a box.

Devontay smiled and gave a little bow to the best of his ability. "That Team is busy right now, so these guys are taking over the training. Please behave yourselves and learn well!"

I put my arms behind my back as the Pawinard and the Whirlpede then walked through the practice field back to the League Building.

Angel the Quilava opened the box and pointed inside. "Here, we have Brick Break for Glade, Solar Beam for Nevada, and Energy Ball for Linus," she explained.

Linus, Nevada, and I leaned forward to gaze at the TMs. The wind grew a bit intense and we shuffled back.

"First things first!" Kairiharu the rather big Oshawott shouted, and Nevada jumped into Linus's arms. "Use all of your current moves on the Substitutes!"

"Now now, my love, don't startle them," the Quilava sighed.

"These three are fine, they knew they were going to be under the care of Team Whitelight," the Oshawott replied and lowered her ears. "But I'll relax and try not to get carried away."

"Kairiharu's just stoked to have some more competition, right~?" Ollie, the lanky Rowlet asked with a thrill hoot.

That's weird. "Competition?" I asked.

"I ain't expecting y'all to think of us like that!" Linus panicked, and his eyes darted around. "I've gotta live up 'ta that!"

"But- but what if we aren't good enough?" Nevada stepped away.

The Luxio, Enrique, padded up behind us and gently nuzzled Linus and Nevada. "Don't worry, just do your best!"

I crossed my arms and stifled a growl as he got close, but he remained an appropriate distance anyway.

Even if he's a fellow League mate, I still can't help it! I really hate that stupid side of me. He's not like them. Those are the only Pokémon I should hate. Wicked Blow.

"Hit 'em with everything you've got!" Ollie cheered. "Then you can get some new moves!"

After we practiced all of our moves on the Substitutes, Ollie flew up to each of us and perched on our heads. "Alrighty, you three! We've figured out the best move combinations for you~!" they chirped. The Rowlet was still fairly thin even after Devolution so we didn't mind. At least I didn't.

I lined up in front of the medium-sized Substitute and smirked to myself. Ooh, I'm so fucking hyped!

"Linus, you will swap out Leafage for Energy Ball! The rest of your moves are adequate for now!" Kairiharu ordered and gave the Treecko the Technical Manual.

Then Enrique picked up a similar green disk booklet in his teeth and passed it to the Charmander beside me. "I'd suggest exchanging Scratch with Solar Beam."

Angel then walked on her back legs for a moment and gave me a red-colored TM. "Brick Break allows you to cover more Pokémon elemental type weaknesses. You would find yourself in a good situation to remove Scratch as well."

"Team Sharp Claw! We should activate the discs now!" Linus cheered before he flashed a smile. Then we broke them.

The soft bread-like taste of normal-type mana left me and the rush of strong thick fighting-type mana flooded my body. "Let's go!" I roared and channeled Brick Break on my forearms before I chopped directly at one of the Substitutes. The attack sliced it clean in half.

Next to me, Linus dashed forward with his palm against his Substitute, and the green orb of Energy Ball tore the fabric.

"What the voidlands?!" I yelped as I distanced myself from the Treecko.

I glanced over to Nevada and saw their claws near their stomach, as green and yellow swirls of grass-type power spun around like Dragonair's Twister! Finally, after a couple of seconds, it fired, and the Solar Beam exploded the Substitute.

The three Substitutes took only a blink of an eye and reappeared, their damage fixed completely. "Good work Team Sharp Claw," the Luxio purred. "However, there are some other moves we think you should try learning."

Nevada nervously glanced at Team Whitelight. "W-what do you mean by trying to learn?"

I never really realized it but maybe we've neglected our true potential. I guess we aren't strong enough for everything that could come our way. I'm not strong enough to deal with them. The ones who made me this way.

"In the next week, we think you should learn and try using the following moves: Flamethrower instead of Ember. You're a big strong Charmander, ya know Nevada? You gotta have flames to match it. And Glade, those Totodile teeth of yours are made for bigger things. Learn Crunch instead of Bite," Ollie hooted.

"Don't yell at me!" Nevada's tail flame sparked out.

The Rowlet darted away at that moment and landed on Enrique's head. "What's wrong?" the Luxio's ears fell as he spoke.

"O-oh, you sounded like h-him for a second," the Charmander grabbed Linus's hand and looked down. "But he's not here. Sorry for yelling."

Shit! Talking about Nevada's species like that brought back some bad memories… That used to not be a trigger for them. Wordlessly I placed my claw in theirs and they gripped it slightly.

"No no no," Ollie hooted softly. "I'm sorry for saying it that way. I believe in you."

"Those are obvious move upgrades, they allow you to unleash more of your latent power," the Quilava placed her head against the Charmander's shoulder. "Nevada, though… We think you could benefit from trying out another long-range move like Heat Wave. We'll have to see if you can really work well with it instead of close combat."

"We'll have to see?" I asked, and folded my arms. "See after what?"

Team Whitelight exchanged some coy looks with each other and whispered something. "The coming week."

"Okay. Let's go!" Linus yelled and then he formed another Energy Ball and tossed it at a Substitute.

As we practiced the rest of our moves near Team Whitelight, I heard a little noise behind us and turned my head to get a quick glance. There was a Granbull who headed our way.

"Hello. Team Sharp Claw, you have a request," Sir Cooper explained. "It's from me, 360 poke. Can you help teach the rest of the material with me?"

Nevada, Linus, and I looked up from our opponents. I groaned as I let the fighting-type mana leave my arms. "Gah, I wanted to test out my new moves some more!"

"All of you will be able to do so soon. Come on," the Granbull started to lead us back to the patio. "Even more importantly, though… you know how Team Aegisdrip helped you with your Entrance Exam?"

"Y-yes, we definitely needed their assistance to pass," the Charmander next to me lamented.

"Yeah, I was a bit of a dumbass so I barely passed," I sighed.

Linus patted me on the shoulder. "I guess I'm also a dumbass, I actually failed the first time I took the exam."

"Oh right, that's why you didn't join the League right away!" I laughed.

"Remember how Team Aegisdrip helped you all. Help their younger siblings, Mienfoo and Slowbro," Coordinator Cooper urged us.

"Y-younger siblings!?" we gasped.

"Yes," he answered.

"Those two?" I asked. "Why don't we know more about them? Like their names?"

"Their names are withheld for Disruption safety procedures, but once they pass you best remember them. Just as everymon did for you."

"Understood," we all replied.

Soon we made it back in front of the prospects. "Okay, you two, feel free to ask us anything!" the Granbull explained.

"Keepers and the world's balance…" Mienfoo started to say, while they looked off to the side. "We as Keepers know what they are, but what do they mean to Sentinels?"

"Well," Coordinator Cooper sighed, "this was supposed to be a simple lesson, but I guess we can humor you."

"Who really are Keepers?" Slowbro rubbed underneath his chin.

"Keepers are Pokémon that are in tune with the world's balance of mana," Nevada repeated slowly.

'"What does that mean?" Mienfoo grumbled. "There's a balance to all this?"

"You all know that there is the mana that we use for elemental typing in our bodies and in our moves, right?" Linus asked.

"Yes," Slowbro and Mienfoo answered.

"There is also mana, the same mana that is in the outside world, all across the Celestial Hemisphere," I gestured to the sky.

"So the mana that is in the world is called the balance?" Mienfoo questioned. "How does the balance of mana really work with Keepers?"

"The balance is something Keepers can understand in their body." The Charmander started writing on the board. "How equal the energy of each elemental type is."

"What else exactly?" Slowbro tilted his head. "We know you've told us you felt this terrible pressure in odd Mystery Dungeons before."

"Oh, and bad tastes from other Keepers' presences. What about mana levels by themselves?"

"We can tell if other Pokemon's mana levels are unequal only if they are unlocked," the Coordinator explained.

"Unlocked means that someone used the key artifact of one of their types on them, correct?" Mienfoo asked.

"Yes," Linus answered. "Now for the world's balance, it gets tricky, as there are factors based on where you are, either inside a Mystery Dungeon or just in a normal area."

"Inside a Mystery Dungeon, there is an average amount of mana pressure that we Keepers can feel," the Granbull explained. "Normally it is firm, but if it is 'crushing'," he then paused. "Or too 'loose', this means the Dungeon is unbalanced."

"The unbalanced state of the world meant Keepers of Wicked Blow messed with the mana artifacts," I pointed at the board.

"The artifacts…" the Slowbro grumbled and clenched his eyes in concentration.

Nevada sighed. "Don't fret about it, you'll search for them with the League in no time. Well, I hope. M-most Keepers don't know where exactly, it could be here or on another Continent."

"Oh, I see," Slowbro nodded. "Hopefully Keepers and Sentinels can work together and find possible locations for them."

"What are the locations called?" Mienfoo asked. "So we can go inside, go beat up Wicked Blow, and save the world!"

"Mana Temples," the Coordinator finished wiping down both boards. "They are hidden away inside Mystery Dungeons."

"What?!" those two Pokémon shouted. "Just like that!? In places, we go daily?!"

"Yes, Mystery Dungeons," Coordinator Cooper smiled.

The pair of Pokémon finally closed their notebooks. The Mienfoo rubbed their shoulders while the Slowbro absent-mindedly picked at the shell attached to his tail.

"Team Sharp Claw, Cooper, just the Pokémon I wanted to see!" a muffled voice called out.

I snapped my jaw shut as I realized the Pokemon. "Sir Chief McBone!?" I gasped.

The Stoutland had a sealed letter tube in her mouth and then released it. "You can read the contents here. Team Sharp Claw and everymon should be aware."

Team Whitelight, as if on cue, rushed over to the patio and stood behind us.

"Master Zeraora will reach the Mohz Dunes 'soon'. Estimated time is around 1 or so months of travel after going up through the Hunter's Plains villages to the west of Bristberg," I listened closely as Sir Cooper repeated the information from the letter Sir McBone received.

He continued. "They will be on the lookout for Keepers who don't take their responsibilities seriously, particularly ones who should know better…"

The Granbull glanced over at our shocked expressions. "That's definitely just a fear-mongering tactic, but we can never be too careful. Especially with Pokémon that have not received any education on proper Keeper behavior."

Then he watched as his mate pulled out another letter. "This one's for you specifically," the Stoutland said through the plastic tube in her teeth. So the Granbull took it.

Coordinator Cooper sighed as he read the contents of the letter and then looked toward us. "So the 'Tiger' of the Committee will be here in a few weeks, and actually wants to meet with me while Team Sharp Claw goes with that their ward to Brist Mountain Mystery Dungeon."

"Remember to use those tone inflections and speech patterns from the Legend Roche City," the Stoutland added. "Helps with formality, especially with Committee members and the Heads apparently.

"I know there's definitely a reason, but why?" Sir Cooper asked, and his tail lowered.

"When Chief Centiskorch used his regular Red Rock accent with some Committee staff members, they asked if the Committee would let any city slicker be a Chief. When he used elocution from Lg. Roche, they praised him for his brilliant articulation."

"That's frankly asinine."

"And so is that supposed ward protection and assessment program the Committee is hosting. We know absolutely nothing about those Pokémon at the moment."

"I've never heard of this ward-business before… I need to have some Pokémon help me investigate, covertly. Lest what happened with Team Vanguard happens again."

The pair looked back over to us just when I tapped my foot against the ground. "You all are now free to ask some questions," Chief McBone explained.

"Are we going to go somewhere on a request again?" Nevada chimed in with their claw raised.

"Well, at least at the place I told you I need you to escort a client through. Brist Mountain Mystery Dungeon."

"That never-ending maze?!" I groaned. "But we just went there last week!"

Coordinator Cooper chuckled. "Well, now we will have a guest in a few weeks. Where else did you think you were going? Especially with your countless regular requests, sparring, and helping the prospects in the next weeks?" the Granbull then walked over to us. "Your new Keeper teammates will arrive sometime in the next month. Understand, Linus, Nevada, Glade?"

I can't believe this! I sucked in my teeth. "But you only have us listed for some damn boring missions that are just outside of town!"

"Well tough shit," Linus patted me on the head. "Just finish 'em' like we always do."

Nevada tugged on the Treecko's arm. "Glade's right, it's so tiresome going to the same place doing requests over and over against mainly the same Pokémon day in and day out!"

"I need you all to prepare," Coordinator Cooper sighed. "Just as I will do my part, I need you to do yours."

He's right. I need to become stronger. Not just for myself. But for everymon. Especially for Linus and Nevada. We don't know what'll happen with the Committee, Head Tiger, that ward, and Wicked Blow.

Even then, there's always unknown wildcards that could get in our way. Whoever it is, we'll deal with them. It's who we are. Team Sharp Claw.
 
Interlude 1 Part 1 War Is Over New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted
March 23th, 2022

Chapter Summary
Team Sharp Claw and Coordinator Cooper talk about some artifacts and other things as they travel down to meet with the League Committee Head and their ward.
Then the three Rescue Team members learn more about the ward and explain a bit of their mission as they travel towards Brist Mystery Dungeon.

Third Person POV

Celestial News Issue Number # 412

Jovian Continent Headlines. Expeditioner Jones Purrloin and the Admirals have discovered another ancient city's ruins, this time rumored to house shrines for the Mythical Leader Volcanian.

Nebula Continent Headlines. A new massive Mystery Dungeon in the Starry Outback has just been charted by the Strike True Guild's rising stars, Josephine Midnight Lycanroc, and Chiave Zoroark.

Twin-Star Continent Headlines. Tensions heightened as Master Arceus demanded all Enforcers' and Scholars' branches have additional members placed into individual squads to deal with the unruly Pokemon of the Mysterious Zone.

Constellation Continent Headlines. Palm Shore City Mana Research League broke records on monthly recruitment averages, over twenty and catching Pokemon of Wicked Blow Gangs, over fifty.

Uncharted Galactic Zone Headlines. ERROR [CODE DARK] 250637 FREQUENCY DENIED OR UNAVAILABLE. PLEASE DIAL AGAIN OR FIX THE CONNECTION.



Only a few days of training and trials later the sounds of wind howling outside shook against the walls of the Bristberg Mana Research League. Chilled air-hardened the iron bars that lined the gate and fence on the perimeter of the building as dark clouds shifted in the sky above. The radars fastened to the corners of the towering barriers sat still amidst the wind. In the front courtyard, the watchtower remained firm, even as snow piled high on its roof.

With the early morning ending, it was time to get to work. If the machines and equipment couldn't make out any traces of importance outside then it would be up to the Pokemon of the League to discover it. The Granbull Coordinating Rescue Teams operations understood this all too well. It was time for some mana research.

"Now that training is over I need you all to hurry. You need to get ready for exploration inside a Mystery Dungeon," Cooper explained, opening the classroom door for Team Sharp Claw. "You'll be on your own with the ward, so ask me everything you need to know right now before it's too late," he reminded the three Pokemon. "I don't want anything going wrong and you all getting in trouble alright."

"Where are we going again with the ward?" Glade questioned. The Totodile then rubbed the back of her head. "I forgot after thinking about those important artifacts you mentioned."

"I suppose I could explain more," the Granbull sighed, as the four of them walked down the hallway. "You are going to Brist Mountain Mystery Dungeon."

"Ah yeah, that's right," Nevada perked up. "Aren't there multiple parts to it?" the Charmander asked.

"Yup," Linus nodded, turning to face them. "Mystery Dungeons like Brist Mountain are great," the Treecko rubbed his arms together. "They have numerous sections to it, this should mean there will be plenty of requests we could do while we give the ward an escort."

"Do we have to go to the one you choose, Sir Cooper?" Nevada glanced up at the Granbull.

"No, you all can pick from the three Mystery Dungeons that make up the Bristberg Mountain Range: the lowland, mainland, or highland," the Coordinator waved his paw before entering a staircase to the third floor. "Now go and figure out what supplies you'll need to purchase while I go get ready for my meeting with Head Tiger, one of the League Committee Heads."


Cooper, Linus, Glade, and Nevada left the league building and entered the nearby town of Bristberg, a large settlement nestled in a range of expansive teal, aquamarine-colored Mountains.

Pokemon bustled in the cobblestone streets as a gust of late Winter wind chilled the air. A few grass-types bundled up in long scarves and wooly coats as they tried to venture out in the town. Numerous water, ice, and fire-types enjoyed the weather as it was. Some flying-types stayed close to the ground for warmth, while ground-types and dragon-types remained mostly indoors, buried under blankets. Swarms of snowflakes and flurries flew in the cloudy sky, signaling an approaching storm. It wouldn't be best to stay out late today, the sleet fall would be torrential.

The League members' route had them headed towards a Cafe in a higher uptown district, so they had to trek to the other side of town. The southeast part of Bristberg, towards the reaches that lead to Midori Mori City. Then the four Pokemon had to head up a long, narrow cobblestone pathway to the meeting place, named Indeedee Cafe.

"I almost forgot, Sir Cooper," Linus started. "You were talking about the various important things in Mystery Dungeons. Could you tell us more about what to look out for?"

The Granbull rubbed his forepaws together and exhaled. "Oh right, most Pokemon don't know this, but Sentinels have an important job to do in place of Keepers."

Nevada grinned. "Really? What is it!?"

"You have something of an artifact of your own that is usually inside of the hidden depths of a Mystery Dungeon to check on," Cooper shielded his eyes from a cloud of dust as some rocks crumbled from a hill above.

"Yeah but what does that really mean?" Glade groaned. "The Sentinels Code mentions us needing to fix something, but there are so many different types of stupid crap called artifacts."

"Well you are right, I wouldn't necessarily call it an artifact. Although it is an ancient device," Sharp Claw's Coordinator admitted, taking the Team beside some various stores.

"So what is it that we are dealing with?" Linus shivered, getting closer to the Charmander behind him.

"There is always a lever or wheel that is inside a Mystery Dungeon that controls the mana balance of the Dungeon," the Granbull coughed, placing his elbow over his maw.

"Where is the wheel generally located?" Nevada asked as they allowed their Treecko teammate to snuggle up to them.

"It is hidden away, usually by a passageway to a secret room near the very top or very bottom of a Mystery Dungeon," the Coordinator took the group out of the alleyway and pointed towards a building resting atop a small teal mountain.

"We're almost at the Cafe!" Glade cheered, pushing past Linus and Nevada. "Race ya up the steps!" the Totodile dashed up the faded cobblestone pathway that spiraled up a mountain face.

"Get back down here!" Linus yelled. "It's too cold for all that running!" the Treecko then took after her.

"Oh Mew," Cooper chuckled, watching the two chase after each other. "Anyway in turn the valve or lever affects the pressure that only Keepers can feel and are sensitive to."

"I see," the Charmander carefully followed him up the steps as it began to snow.

Eventually, the two made it to the top, marveling at the grand view of the rooftops and streets below. Glancing behind them, the Granbull and the Charmander took in the foreboding jagged edge of the earth beside them, the Bristberg Alps southeastern slope, trailing into the frigid skyline above.

"But only you Sentinels can touch the artifacts and return them to their natural state…" the Granbull wiped his paws off on the doormat of the awning covering the Cafe. "Or in the case of Wicked Blow or other ruffians, they change them off balance."

Glade, who was sitting on a chair at one of the outside tables, waved to the two of them and pointed to Linus. The Treecko was sticking to a Cafe window with its blinds closed, trying to stay warm as a brisk bellow of air flew around the bend.

Their Charmander teammate waved back, hurrying up the pathway to help Linus. "Why would anyone do something like that in the first place?" Nevada dusted some snow off their scales, hugging the Treecko. "To go out of their way and be a jerk."

"Usually to mess with Keepers in Guilds and Leagues who try to go and follow them," Coordinator Cooper reached forward to pat Linus on the head. I'm going to go check if Head Tiger and the ward are waiting up there for us, sit tight and don't cause trouble okay?"

The Granbull then gently opened up the door, the sound of a bell signaling his entrance. Team Sharp Claw glanced down at the townscape below, watching as all sorts of Pokemon peacefully went about their morning.

After a few minutes, Coordinator Cooper returned, carrying a bag of warm fried eggs inside some bread and a cup of coffee. "I'm sure the two will arrive soon, but now we have time to relax," he explained, patting the backpack on his side. Linus took that cue to reach inside the backpack and pulled out his folded Rescue Team bag.

"Can you explain the other artifacts, the ones in that mana Temple?" Glade asked, through a mouth full of food.

"You should let him explain what a mana Temple is first," Nevada waved.

The Granbull finished eating his breakfast and took a sip from his cup. "They are deep inside a Mystery Dungeon, either the very bottom for a descending Dungeon or at the top for an ascending one."

"That's just like the wheel or levers we can use," Linus realized. "What else?"

"They can also be hidden away in smaller Mystery Dungeons," Cooper explained. "Finding a trap door or some sort of secret pathway."

"Ooh," Team Sharp Claw gasped.

"There is one mana Temple for each elemental type on every Continent." The Granbull scratched his chest fur.

Linus crossed his arms. "So Pokemon built that many? What does that imply? That there could be eighteen keys on each Continent at a given time and we just don't know?"

"Don't fret so much, that's my job, remember?" Cooper sheepishly laughed. "In the Constellation Continent, there are currently only four mana keys and four locks."

"Really? We have four of those things just fricking lying around somewhere?" Glade roared.

"You know it's not that simple so calm down!" Her Treecko teammate pushed her.

"All of the pairs reported to be matching as of now, but that could change," the Coordinator sighed. "And then there are old Churches that look just like Mana Temples, but you know they aren't."

Nevada tilted their head."How do we, as Sentinels of the League, understand this?"

"This is because only two or more Keepers can enter into an actual Mana Temple," the Granbull explained. "The pressure and lack of mana presence inside a Sentinel's body will not allow them to walk in."

There the storefront door opened. "Coordinator Sir," an Audino waiter started garnering the attention of the Pokemon. "Your guests have arrived."

"Alright," Cooper stood up and waved his paw. His team followed him through the Cafe. There was a small number of customers waiting in line at the counter, and an even smaller amount lounging around the booths of the warm and cozy shop.

The Coordinator and Team Sharp Claw gave their leftover food to one of the waiters to hold on to and finally made it towards the VIP staircase, one that led to the top floor. Once the four League members arrived the door was shut tight and locked.

The view up at Indeedee's Cafe was amazing, one was able to see almost all of the town of Bristberg and the green mountains surrounding the north.

"Hello, and good morning Committee Head Tiger," the Granbull called out to the Pokemon silhouette directly across from him. "It is I, the Coordinator of the Bristberg Mana Research League, Cooper McBone Granbull."

Sitting on the edge of the balcony fence was Tiger. They slouched backward with their legs wide open, under a purple and red cloak, their hot breath immediately forming steam as the freezing bursts of wind blasted through the mountain tops. Below Tiger sat a much smaller Pokemon silhouette, one hidden in a purple and red-colored hood. The Committee Official, still while concealing themself reached down and pulled the cloth off the smaller Pokemon, revealing them completely.

What kind of condition is that? Linus thought as his eyes drifted.

Nevada's tail flame shot up and their face went slack. Oh wow, so unusual.

Glade jumped backward but clamped her mouth shut. What is up with this Pokemon!?

"Now, now," Coordinator Cooper sighed. "Behave."

The four League members managed to conceal their surprise at the Pokemon's appearance, a ghostly pale Zorua. One with light grey fur, on his main body, white on his head fur tufts, and melancholically droopy yellow eyes. He brightened up when he saw the Pokemon standing before him.

"I need everyone, except the Granbull to leave," the Committee Head demanded in a low roar.

The three younger adults nervously looked up at their Coordinator. He sighed and shivered for a moment as he watched them head towards the exit.

I need to be strong, they'll be okay. Cooper thought before he took in a deep breath. "I know you all will do well out there, take care of each other," he pointed two of his finger paws to the side and waved, his team nodded in acknowledgment.

"If you need help don't hesitate to call for Chief Mcbone or me with your badges."

Linus waved his hand. "We've got it Sir!"

Team Sharp left the balcony, leaving the Granbull all alone with the two foreign Pokemon. "Didn't you want your ward to go out with my Rescue Team?"

The cloaked Pokemon stared down at Cooper, their red eyes glowing through the darkness. "Why yes of course, Jin?"

"Yes, Head Tiger?" the Zorua immediately replied.

"You are to follow all directions given to you by those Pokemon," Tiger ordered the Zorua. "Under no circumstances are you to be disobedient."

"Yes Head Tiger," he answered solemnly.

Cooper sighed as the little white Zorua left the balcony. "I don't want to talk for too long."

"My ward can stay with your Rescue Team the entire day or longer if they have to," the Tiger replied.

What? The Granbull pondered as he tried to calm down his nerves. "So what have you summoned me here to discuss, Head Tiger?"

Tiger sighed and revealed underneath her hooded cloak, she was an Incineroar with strange grey markings alongside her stripes. "I need your assistance in developing some tools."

"What kind of tools?"

"Mana tools, tools that can control and limit mana. Specifically for unlocked Keepers."

"Interesting." Cooper sat across from the Incineroar. "But first could I brief you on some of my equipment findings?"

"Why of course." Tiger placed her paws underneath her chin and stared down at the Granbull. "Go ahead, Coordinator of the Bristberg League."


Right outside the VIP staircase, Team Sharp Claw decided to take the leftover food and sit down at a table with the Keeper Committee ward. A strange white, grey, and red Zorua. Before they left, Coordinator Cooper signaled that the foreign Zorua was a Keeper and for them to be on the lookout. So the three had to do their best to make him as comfortable as possible.

"Now that we're free to speak, howdy there! We're Team Sharp Claw," Linus waved to the Pokemon. The Treecko then tried his best to give a friendly smile. "My name's Linus, what's yours?"

"Jin!" the Zorua gave a sheepish grin back. "If I may, my good friend, what Pokemon are you?"

"I am a Treecko, of the Sceptile line," Linus answered. "I'll admit, we've never seen a Zorua that looks like ya Jin. Is it albinism?"

The Zorua shook his head. "Do Zorua and Zoroark usually not look like this in this land?"

"No," Treecko replied.

"Who are these other Pokemon?" the ward gestured with his forepaws to the Charmander and Totodile, both scarfing down some of the remaining food. "I've never seen any of you guys from my homeland."

The two Pokemon both paused awkwardly to wave before they continued eating. Linus chuckled to himself. "That orange Pokemon over there is a Charmander, named Nevada, and the blue Pokemon, the Totodile next to them is Glade."

"I see, I see, Nevada and Glade, interesting names," Jin smiled, staring at the breaded eggs and wagging his tail. "Where I'm from they wouldn't have names like that."

Linus smiled and tapped the table, signaling for his teammates to get ready to leave. "Welcome to Bristberg, and the Azulo Region Jinchuriki! Team Sharp Claw and I'll give you a little tour as we go to look for requests."

Glade and Nevada gave the last two breaded eggs to Jin as they got out of their seats. The younger Pokemon took them happily, his ears curling down and his tail wagging in glee.

"Unfortunately and perhaps fortunately, the board where most of the local job requests that don't get picked right away is on the northwest side of town," the stocky Treecko explained, walking up to the counter. Linus then got the clerk to get to his side and whispered something to her before they exchanged two bags.

While this happened Jin finished eating and nudged the remaining League Members with his snout. "So Nevada, and Glade," he started, continuously avoiding eye contact. "Could I know if you have any friends… in your group?"

"What's that supposed to mean, Jin?" the Totodile tilted her head.

The Charmander was the first to answer. "In our 'group', the Bristberg Mana Research League, we have all sorts of Rescue Teams and some other Pokemon that work with us."

When Nevada said this, Linus waved and everyone followed him outside of the Indeedee Cafe. The winds from earlier were somehow less prominent, even as the sky grew more and more bleak, rich dark clouds swirling together. It was still cold however, and the Treecko decided to get himself a coat from the clerk somehow. Linus then pulled the cloak on Jin's shoulders over his head, making sure others couldn't see him.

Then all four of them traveled back down the cobblestone pathway. They passed by an assortment of different Pokemon trying to brave the weather conditions, some Guild Members and some other groups, judging by their different patterned armbands and scarves. This caught Jin's attention. "So you are Rescue Team Sharp Claw… could you tell me what the other names are?"

"The other Rescue Teams here at our League?" Linus repeated, before he gazed into his eyes. "We have Team Blue Heroes, Team Whitelight, and Team Aegisdrip as our other Rescue Teams."

"Only those three?"

"Yes," Nevada added. "They are the only other Rescue Teams that are active at the moment."

"Active? I beg your pardon… Could you elaborate? I seem to not understand," Jin noticed the somber tone in the Charmander's voice.

"It sucks that some of our other League mates are stuck unable to help us because of the stupid time it takes for their injuries to heal, especially ones from Wicked Blow!" Glade complained, rubbing her arms. "Those bastards keep managing to cause too many damn problems for the Pokemon I care about."

I'd like for more Pokemon to come join our League quickly. The Team Captain thought before he sighed. "Don't worry, we'll make them give back what they stole from us. They'll pay, one way or another."

The group walked closer to their destination, the Zorua noticing the relief oozing from them as they crossed a bridge that led to a street with wide open pathways and more prestigious establishments. "My friends, your status as a Rescue Team must really be noteworthy, especially to take on this journey with me."

"Yep," the Totodile yapped. "We've been given the mission to take care of you until League Committee Head Tiger is ready."

"Tiger is not special, she's just one of the League Committee Heads," Jin scoffed. "Something in my heart hates when I call her by that moniker… Tiger."

"Let's save all that stuff for later, we're near other folks now," the Treecko demanded, pulling the cloak further over the Zorua's body. "The academy that's over there hosts a tutoring center for moves, they have lessons in the courtyard and can hear us."

"Right," Glade adjusted her bandages along with her scarf. "Committee Head Tiger told our Coordinator, the pink Pokemon called Granbull, Sir Cooper that we were to take you through the Brist Mountain Range."

"If I may, what are we going to do there?" the Zorua followed the three Pokemon towards the request board stationed by an academy.

"In the Brist Mountain Range there're things called requests for us ta do while explorin' the area," Linus yawned.

"Requests?" Jin tilted his head.

"Yea, requests. They are missions where we as a Rescue Team go to the place or a certain location to deal with a problem or look into something for another Pokemon," Nevada pointed to a slip of paper pinned down on the corkboard.

"We'll be taking ya on yer first Mystery Dungeon trip today huh?" Linus questioned.

"Yes," Jin nodded.

"Alright, let's see," the Treecko reached over to pat the younger Pokemon on the shoulder. "You aren't some kid so I'd assume you've used your moves before right?"

"Yes."

Linus looked over the board for a couple of minutes and then said, "That sounds like a deal, I've found some decent requests for us to take on, we are going to the Highland Mystery Dungeon."

"Alright! Wooo!" Nevada and Glade cheered in excitement and headed towards a path that led to the town gates. The group began to hike up the mountain steps.

Eventually, they made it through the chilly weather and frosty path, which was too dangerous and slippery for other travelers who waited at around the middle point to the Mystery Dungeons. Team Sharp Claw decided to melt it with Nevada's Heatwave. Now traffic was clear and everyone went along their merry ways, thanking the Rescue Team with some spare berries.

"So pray tell my boon companions, what is this Mystery Dungeon place? Neither me or my fellow comrades from Hisui have never heard of such a phenomenon." Jin asked as the sky cleared up a tad bit as the four of them reached a higher elevation. They were almost at the entrance to the Mystery Dungeon.

"A Mystery Dungeon is a labyrinth that exists as a natural way to travel across each Continent," Linus pulled out his map. "Usually they are shortcuts that allow us to make it to places quicker or safer in some circumstances."

"You have more friends that look like weird Pokemon?" Glade asked, with a wag of her tail. "Are they cool?"

The Zorua peered at her from his cloak and giggled. "I heard the same thing about my Sneasel friend, apparently the Committee Heads and staff think it's strange that she and her older brother are this light grey and purple color with dark purple claws."

"Woah, I'va heard that their shiny form could have their fur pink and feathers yellow but I'va heard nothing about light purple!" Linus panicked, suddenly beckoning for everyone to hurry towards the natural shelter as some sleet started to form in the atmosphere. "All that's from Hisui?"

Jin followed them up the mountainside and nodded. "Where I'm from this is commonplace, we are all normal."

"That's so freaking awesome!" Glade shouted as they made it to the top of the trail. "After this Dungeon run you've got to tell us more!"

"I'd like to know too!" Nevada smiled.

Stopping to rest and catch their breath, the four Pokemon finally sat down around the base of the Highland Mystery Dungeon. "Welcome to your first Mystery Dungeon, Brist Mountain!" Team Sharp Claw cheered.

"Before we enter we have to go over what we are doing here and what to expect," Linus grinned. "Are you ready?"
 
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Interlude 1 Part 2 Bury the Hatchet New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted (Split)
March 23th, 2022

Chapter Summary

We finally get to take a look at Kobi and her companion for a bit before a twist of fate separates them.​


Third Person POV


A small envelope holds a letter.

Inside this envelope is a letter addressed to:

All requested Keepers to a League-Bound Organization.

Forwarded from:

The Chief of the Bristberg Mana Research League.

The Coordinator of the Bristberg Mana Research League.

All Rescue Team Members and other members of the Bristberg Mana Research League.

A new mandate from Tiger and Dragon of the Keepers Committee.

Attention all Mana Research Leagues, Rescue Teams, and League-Bound organizations located and stationed in the Constellation Continent!

All able-bodied and able-minded Keepers, of any status, Domestic, Stray, and Feral, shall go to any League or other League-Bound Organizations they were summoned to within two to four weeks of their agreed contract. If not, then the Wicked Blow Police Department will be called and the Keepers will be left at their fate. Other prospective League Pokemon must find their way to their summoned League as soon as possible, as Sentinels are always needed.

If any Keeper of a League or League-bound Organization suspects another Keeper from anywhere to be unlocked please alert the Keepers in the Chief or Coordinator position.

That is all for now, may the Eternal Lord grant you his power.



There was a forest to the North-West of Bristberg, the teal-colored mountain heartlands of the Constellation Continent. This entire region, named Hunter's Plains, had homes of various sizes sprawled about a vast distance, making it called a village. On the western side, the foliage blended into dark brown and orange colored sandy bases of numerous mountains; this was considered the outskirts and less ventured side of the village. In the empty wildland, there was a shack nestled by a pond.

This shack had two beds, a table, and some chairs, with a fire pit outside. Inside two Pokemon lay on each bed, facing the ceiling. An Axew and an Espurr, two Keepers the Bristberg Mana Research League needed.

Two Pokemon that two humans, soon to be Pokemon needed. They were Keepers who the world needed.

"Hatchet," the contralto voice of the Espurr said to the Axew across from her. "We need to start taking our Keeper responsibilities seriously," she then sat upright on her bed, brushing her dark grey-furred chest. "This means looking for things on our own, like Wicked Blow or the mana artifacts, we're Keepers just like the others in the League," the Espurr had the same grey fur on her muzzle and snout.

"Yea yea I know Kobi," Hatchet, the Axew replied before he rolled over on his side to face her. "Living here and staying local isn't gonna cut it anymore," the Axew ran his claws over the unique thin dark green stripe marks on his torso and his head.

"It can be life or death when we make mistakes," Kobi explained, opening a small saddlebag with her forepaws. "Or if we don't understand our roles in society, to restore and maintain the balance."

"I've known this longer than you, we'll be fine," the Axew waved his claw. "Once I go get us some more seeds and berries it'll be okay to head out," Hatchet sighed, narrowing his light red eyes as he rummaged through his satchel. "We'll be fine."

The Espurr across from him sighed, closing her saddlebag. "Are you sure?"

"Maybe," Hatchet stretched. "Anyway with that new mandate, I guess we've really gotta play our part outside of the village."

"But y-... our parents never told me anything about that," Kobi groaned, gingerly dropping to the floor on all fours. "First the Vanguard's mana artifacts research, and now this," she got up on a stool adjacent to the sole table of the shack. "Do I have to figure out everything myself?"

"You shouldn't have to, don't sweat it," the Axew turned to face Kobi. "Ma and Pa didn't tell me about mandates for League prospects, it was a Keeper from over the orange and tan mountains in the west," Hatchet winced before yawning. "From New Withered Savannah."

"Oh," the Espurr on the table narrowed her eyes when her companion winced. "Hey," she faced the Axew. "What's up with you?"

Hatchet stared past her and out the window. "I'va been having these crazy mood swings," he placed his arms under his chin. "And then way too many bad thoughts, what do you call them?"

"Intrusive," Kobi answered.

"Yeah, intrusive thoughts," the Axew looked down, his eyes darting left to right. "Could this have something to do with the balance?"

"Well the balance hasn't changed much since five years ago, during the Disruption," the Espurr grumbled, her tail lowering. "It's not the balance, it's you. Your presence is the thing that's changing day-to-day."

"Oh, it has?" Hatchet's eyes widened for a second. "Well, I think this may have something to do with my dreams then."

"What do you mean?" Kobi blinked at her 'brother'."Nightmares or something?"

"No, much better than that; I had a Dream Mark," he explained. "It's still a tad bit blurry right now, but this means I'm going to meet another Keeper soon!"

"Really, I remember you explaining those! I had one too!" the Espurr across from him jumped over to the bedside. "What's a Dream Mark look like for you?"

"First two days ago I saw lots of yellow fruit, like Pinap and Sitrus Berries," Hatchet grinned. "Then the next dream they came back, this time heaps of them were in the dream," he paused to open his claws, spreading his arms wide. "And then just last night there were these glimpses of a yellow Pokemon talking to me!"

"Wow, I had dreams that started last week, first it was just brown and light blue blobs, some sort of strong breeze that felt so real," Kobi explained, brightening her eyes. "Then it became clear over the next few days it was a specific town, I understood it was a place with a massive river and tons of brown rocks," the Espurr put on her saddlebag. "Pebble Creek matching this description to the tee."

"What about the Pokemon?"

"I know for certain they are a light brown rock-type, I remember the taste of each type of Keeper, rock-type is like cocoa," Kobi grinned. "Yours should be like a nice sour berry."

"I see, thanks for reminding me," Hatchet grinned before he reached over to pick up his satchel. "Anyway these Keepers are bound to help us and we will help them, which means we'll have to make sure it's safe for them."

"And that leads into your plans?" Kobi questioned, getting on the floor once again.

"Maybe, I'm planning on going back home to work on the building of the grain silo and the fruit preserve," Hatchet sighed. "Then I'll head south through the mountainside little Mystery Dungeons to Ventura Woods before I reach the Bristberg Underpass and that Mystery Dungeon."

"Mine is to hurry over to Pebble Creek," Kobi answered. "Then train the Keeper and then use the Vanguard's research to look for the artifacts."

"Who are they, this Vanguard ya keep mentioning," the Axew placed a claw on Kobi's shoulder. "How'd ya get their research?"

"They were a legendary Rescue Team. Dad gave it to me," the Espurr narrowed her gaze, darting her eyes back and forth. "It's kinda complicated, Hatchet."

"What did you find?"

"By reading their findings I found leads on two separate locations of some mana artifacts."

"You said that they were nearby where you need to go and where I want to go, correct?" Hatchet rubbed at his arm strap.

"Yeah, one by Pebble Creek where I'm heading off to find the Keeper of my Dream Mark," Kobi said as she used Psychic to pull out a dungeon map of the Continent from her saddlebag. "These three Mystery Dungeons are possible sites: Stoneskip Hill, Timberreed Seep, and Mist Ravine."

Her brother peered at the map before tracing a line through the three dots.

"And the other in either Needlemaw Peak, Brittlesand Sierra, Twistbolt Summit," the Espurr pointed. "They are Mystery Dungeons that count as the shortcut to Bristberg."

"Alrighty, that sounds fine by me," the Axew laughed before leaning towards the window. "As long as you take me with you that is."

"Nope. Not gonna happen."

"Why not? There might be dangerous ferals!"

"Most of the time ferals don't approach me," the Espurr sighed. "And I'm not going through too many Mystery Dungeons by myself."

"Exactly," her brother grabbed her foreleg. "I'm coming with you!"

"No you don't seem to understand where I'm coming from, my Dream Mark is specific," Kobi growled. "It calls me to a town where I'll find another Keeper- your Dream Mark is vague, you can find plenty of yellow things on the way to Bristberg."

"But then why don't you just come with me after you find your Keeper?" the Axew begged. "I can leave early and go through all across Hunters Plains fighting ferals and we can forget about those artifacts till we're in the League-"

"I'm going to be researching the Vanguard's findings, something you should be doing," the Espurr sighed. "And teaching the Keeper I will find. You should try to do the same, not worrying about ferals."

"But what if Wicked Blow finds ya?" Hatchet pestered.

"Stop trying to change ta subject, you know both of us can't miss the appointment with the League!"

"But-"

"You've known how to read much longer than I have," Kobi grumbled. "The Wicked Blow Police will get us! Not just the normal Pokemon Police, we'll be treated like those bastards again!"

"Okay," Hatchet lamented. "After our family finishes that construction project I'll go to Bristberg, to tell them what you're up to."

"Thanks," the Espurr smiled, opening the front door. "I've got to leave right away so I can try and hurry back before the four weeks are up, take care now!"
 
Chapter 8- Dawn Stone's Forge New

Kiba Makuro

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/Him, They/Them
Originally Posted,
February 12th 2022

Chapter Summary
Who is the Pokemon of Kobi's Dream Mark?
Who were they before they crossed paths?
Is Hatchet the only Keeper who has something wrong with their presence?


Third Person POV​




Another smudged letter, this time attached to a clipboard. It was fastened to a low-rise desk for a Pokemon often close to the ground.





Dear Red Rock Chief

Don't worry my dear friend. We have sent out our finest Rescue Teams to safely follow through with Pokemon requests far out into the land. Well, we are a little understaffed back at the base but we'll keep in touch. Also, I feel like one of the Keepers under me; Astesia is correct, and will we have more Pokemon to help keep the promises intact. I hope your subordinates are doing well.


Love Bristberg Chief





Faraway in the human and Pokemon World, a Trainer was about to go through a transformation that would change their life for the better.

In the Region of Johto near the tall peaks of Blackthorn City, Humans and Pokemon bustled about in their everyday lives.

Young Trainers prepared for a venture inside the depths of Ice Cave. Fans got tickets to a Gym Challenge Match of an uprising star and Clair, the beloved Dragon-Type Gym Leader.

Families went for a stroll on the nearby Route. All of these humans lived their lives with Pokemon right by their side.

Far away from the reach of the cityscape, there were three particular Trainers, atop a flat mountain surrounded by hills. A Student, the Sensei who he battled, and the Sensei who judged him. They were all on a peak that hosted a battle ring.

There were bleachers adorning the ring with Pokemon Trainers all dressed in teal, orange, and black sweatshirts, and joggers, the same colors the three Trainers also wore. One Trainer, an older man, one of the Sensei stood across from the middle of the ring where the other two stood inside, and valiantly judged the actions of and inside the Pokemon battle.

There was a frigid burst of wind as the younger Trainer, a novel student under the Ace Trainer Senseis', called out his last command. "Typhlosion! Use Earthquake!"

The Sensei judging the battle stepped back to glance over at his pupil, in his eyes: a rather short and oddly built, foreign young…wo... m- person. Still nevertheless, one of the judging Sensei's most promising students.

This simple, yet extremely powerful ground-type move is… my big shot. The student Trainer reasoned with themself. It was the only moderately effective attack that could have a chance in taking down our final opponent, Sensei's Furret.

The Ace Trainer Sensei who battled against him, an older woman cautiously eyed over at her Pokemon, and her opponents before she laughed happily. "That's your last chance huh Alola boy!?" the battling Sensei half-mocked.

"You know it, Teach!" he cheerfully replied. This has to hit! The student Trainer pleaded as the earth roared and shook under their Pokemon’s power.

"That's Sensei to you!" the judging Sensei called, as he jumped back from the ring. "Island Hopper!"

"It's Makkuro Teach!" the Ace Trainer student waved back. He backtracked after he noticed the lack of enthusiasm in the older man."... er Sensei."

The battle ring rumbled as massive teeth of like jagged stones coursed towards their destination, the battle Sensei’s Furret. And promptly missed. "Ooh!" the students on the bleachers cried out in unison.

Can we make it to the next turn?! Makkuro thought, as he gripped his belt, on it five Ultra Balls filled with fainted Pokemon. Not just any Pokemon, the Senseis’ granddaughter's old team.

"Furret Roll Out once more!" the Battling Sensei called out without missing a beat. Her Pokemon let out a cry of joy and curled up in a ball before they spun quickly.

"Typhlosion!" the student warned their Pokemon with a shout. Roll Out is on its second strike here. He refreshed his memory and tried to calm his nerves. The move shouldn't be able to knock out Typhlosion based on their stats. Actually Roll Out may not even hit, it's at a less than ninety percent hit rate… Wait!

"Typhlosion-" Before Makkuro could even make another command it was over. He lost.




"Don't beat yourself up about this dearie," the battling Sensei said, as she sipped from a mug of green tea. The three Trainers were back inside the meeting room of the Ace Trainers School. "If we didn't have to abide by those darn regulations from the Indigo League, Elite Four, and Champion you would have passed on effort alone," she sighed, pushing aside some paperwork and pulling out a thick rectangular case.

"You've done very well this semester," the judging Sensei handed Makkuro a mug of tea. "Now do be a dear and hand in your rental Pokemon, my girl," he opened up the case. There were ten round foam slots, a perfect shape for practically every type of Pokeball.

"I'm not a girl Sensei," Makkuro drank from the ceramic mug and frowned. They grabbed the five Ultra Balls from off their belt and placed each one inside the box.

"Eh?" the judging Sensei glanced over at the younger Trainer. "Er, uh, thank you for letting our granddaughter's Pokemon battle with you and your Typhlosion. You girls could have been friends if she was still here."

"Sensei-" Makkuro shifted his stance, stood up taller and tried to suck in his chest. "I've been trying so hard to change just so all of this wouldn't happen."

"You young people need to learn how to accept compliments …" The battle Sensei rubbed underneath her chin. "Anyhoo, you can come back next semester to try at the Ace Trainer School." She brought up a large container and a small duffle bag. "I want you to take these farewell gifts as a token of our appreciation."

"Thank you," the young disgruntled Trainer took the items as they waved, and grabbed their backpack. "I'm off to plan for taking on something new," they made it toward the exit before opening the sliding doors. "See you later Sensei!"

"Take care now Island Hopper!" the judging Sensei shouted.

"Bye-bye dear!" the battling Sensei called out.





An early evening sunrise loomed over the windows and paper doors of a Minka, a traditional ancient Johto-styled house.

"Hmm," Makkuro hummed in thought, as he sat on a tatami mat with his laptop on a wooden slab.

My folks and friends back home must be wondering how I'm doing. He realized as he checked the date. It's been three months since I left after failing the Poni Canyon Island Trial.

"Alrighty, I'll tell them I didn't pass the Ace Trainers Exam but I'm okay," they said as they began typing out the message to their various group chats. He got up and started to sweep the hallway.

"My roommates really need to help out more around here,” the trainer made it to the front room and stared at the spot beside the door; there were missing shoes that usually filled the empty space. “We only get to live at this house to keep it tidy and neat."

When those two get back home from Azalea we can talk about what I should do next, either go through the Elite Four or back home. “Which option allows me to help more Pokemon?” they said, staring at the now empty dustpan. Pokemon always need help… and so do I.

"I should check if Typhlosion is okay, he did really well in today's battle," Makkuro said as a dim light began to glow from around him.

I’m fine. They thought as they reached over to a Pokeball in their jacket pocket and opened the capsule.

"Hey buddy," the trainer leaned upon the tips of his toes to hug his Typhlosion as he stood on the wooden floor. He’s fine. “I’m sorry for failing you again,” Makkuro cried.

“Time and time again you always put up with me, especially when Decidueye couldn’t make it past the border along with our other team members.”

The Pokemon folded his ears down and embraced Makkuro as they buried their face into his fur.

We are fine.

"When I finish these chores I can't wait to go find some Pokemon to help train with you!" The light from the trainer's body illuminated the entire room.

“Wait, what’s going on?”




Just moments earlier in the world of Mysterious Dungeons, a decision was made. Floating off the eastern shore of the Grass-Continent of the Terrestrial Hemisphere there was a heavily fortified fortress.

There were gold banners of a black branch with three main limbs sticking out and then one smaller limb fashioned like the thumb of a claw, each changing color every second.

Deep inside the chambers, numerous Pokemon worked. They toiled all for their Leaders, Cresselia and Darkrai.

"It is time," Cresselia suddenly declared aloud.

"Really now?" Darkrai asked, blinking their eyes as they turned around.

"The Dawn Stone shall be the first to form," Cresselia explained, mulling further over a large clear stone. "The human is ready to be summoned."

"Nice." Darkrai smiled the best they could. "They need to be a stable force in the relationship."

"What about the other group?" Cresselia pondered. "Doesn't the Mjolnir need to have the hammer reforged?"

"The lightning that will be embedded inside will fuel the flames of change and their bond will be tested time and time again," Darkrai asserted. "I will order Zeraora to instill some advice and perhaps if necessary strike fears into their hearts."

"I see," Cresselia said. "Follow in accordance with the dream marks you sent to the one already here."

Darkrai held up a thin slab of pearlescent material and swiped upward. "The strength of the voltage will seem weak at first but then the current will realize its true power spirals within."

"Hmm, the scratched surface of the axe hammer is worrying," Cresselia tilted their head. "Also, the key-shaped hole needs to be filled or else it will overflow with mana."

"The lightning will also have a fragment that needs to be aligned," Darkrai scrolled to another page. "Only, it will be less visible until the moment is right."

"Ah, this is enough preparation," Cresselia floated back to their station. "Let us send a human to be this Pokemon."

"Let me find the right candidate for the Mjolnir," Darkrai offered. “It will be hard filling through all the possible contenders.”

"Very well," Cresselia used some psychic energy to lift some papers off their desk. "But both of the Pokemon; the Axew Domestic and the yellow one we need to summon aren’t ready to join the Mjolnir yet, either. "







In a mountainous forest of the Constellation Continent, in the Celestial Hemisphere, there was a stretch of dry land that declined towards a massive forest. “Okay, it’s been about an entire two days since I left home,” Kobi sighed as she rose from the edge of a stream, she then stared at the expansive bamboo forest before her.


“I can’t afford te avoid Mystery Dungeons forever,” the Espurr sighed, looking down at her reflection. She never really realized how big she was, not until she got stares from almost every Pokemon she passed and couldn’t fit things made for her species.

She was also not as normal-looking as a typical Espurr. Kobi had three claw-shaped scars on her left eye and stood on four legs.


“There are two Mystery Dungeons to get past Midori Mori City and to Pebble Creek. It will only take about a day. Instead of three, the one I am in front of is called Bamboo Palace,” she flipped through her adventurer’s guide and sighed. “They haven’t updated this Mystery Dungeon’s stats in a while, I have no idea what I’m in fer.”


The Espurr placed all of her belongings inside her saddlebag before she pulled out a Special Attack scarf and formed a Psychic wave to wrap it around her neck. Then she entered the gates, a row of bamboo appearing behind her, locking her inside.


Bamboo Palace Mystery Dungeon had a thick carpet of grass as the floor, corridors were lined with stalks that stood high, and almost endlessly into the sky. The walls were fashioned from tightly packed bamboo and dark brown wood. There was a thick fog that obscured details of view of anything not directly beside a traveler.

Kobi felt uneasy as if she was swimming in an ocean of air with every step she took. “Something’s wrong with this Mystery Dungeon,” she groaned, trying to regain her balance and enter the adjacent room.

I know any other Keeper wouldn’t be able to stand this so I can’t imagine the ferals living here are doing well. the Espurr noticed the lack of other nearby Pokemon. Some could be heard scurrying around on the upper floors, the creaking of the wood evident as the sound of heavy paw steps.


She made her way into a hallway and saw that the grass was adorned with red tape and glowing yellow stones that led her straight to a little hideaway hosting the stairs.

A staircase made of bamboo somehow shined bright amidst the plume of fog in the area and called out to Kobi. Her first step towards the next floor was her last inside the Bamboo Palace, an enormous figure suddenly sped towards her.


What in the world!? The Espurr scampered backward from the path of the Pokemon, somehow through the toxic haze of the Mystery Dungeon Kobi saw who they were.

A Bewear who wore a red cap and scarf with the infamous Pokemon Police symbol on them. A six sided star.

Wait, they have a Keeper presence? It’s so faint! Before she could even say a word to the Officer everything went black as she collapsed onto the floor.




The tinking of a clockstone, the sound of papers being torn to shreds. Pokemon arguing over an out-stretched pile of journals and notebooks. Enough time had passed, she was ready.

Kobi slowly blinked open her eyes.


Arceus damnit, where the bloody voids am I? She looked all around her, noticing her surroundings, some sort of front office, she was laying out on a chair obviously made for a larger Pokemon.


“Eh, where’s my bag?!” the Espurr panicked, leaping out of her resting place, only to see her saddlebag sitting on a circular wooden table. Next to it was a note, an Oran berry, and an apple. She glanced towards the left and found a hallway that led into a room with a large windowed door, the exit.


The Espurr inspected her belongings and looked to see whatever this pitiful apology could ever say: ‘When you first arrived in the Mystery Dungeon I noticed your odd presence right away and thought that you were a Wicked Blow member who was trying to conceal their identity so I was advised by my partner to act swiftly.’


So that Bewear bloke knocked me out cold tha second ey’ saw me, huh? Kobi thought as her claws sunk out in rage.
‘We checked your belongings and found nothing of that sort and in fact a letter of acceptance into the Bristberg Mana Research League along with research into matters we don't really deal with here at the Police Force. Sorry.’


Kobi placed the fruit inside her saddlebag and sighed as she quickly exited the Police Station. Once outside the door, she looked at the sign on the building.


“Focking Zacian.” the Espurr was now inside the massive city of Midori Mori, “This makes my plans bloody useless!” she growled, walking towards a large board with a map. Other Pokemon crowded around the area and blocked her sight. With a groan Kobi lifted herself off the ground with a carefully controlled Psychic and read the map.


She ended up vomiting in an alleyway about five minutes later, but it was worth it to figure out where she needed to head.


“It’s gonna take a whole day just to get through this place mon,” Kobi groaned, wiping her maw. But my real problem is what that note said... Is my presence really that suspicious? Something’s wrong with me too? The Espurr thought as she passed the pavilion of the Midori Mori Guild. I still have to keep going, I can’t leave the Pokemon of my Dream Mark all alone.




After traveling outside the city of dense woodlands Kobi checked her travel guide and found that she didn’t need to take any Mystery Dungeons to reach Pebble Creek, as either way it would still end up taking her the same amount of time, approximately two days.


"Hmm, I'm pretty sure, it looks like the place," Kobi purred to herself as she stood atop a gravelly hill before suddenly sliding down the small pathway, clearly meant for first form Pokemon.

The Espurr yawned, glancing up and down from her map and the scene in front of her. It was a bowl-shaped town beside a wide river and stone-land, there was no mistaking it, this was Pebble Creek.

"After I find this Keeper, and figure out what they know then I'll have to test my merit as a teacher," the Espurr entered the town gates, making her way to a park of some sort. Tired, she then sat down at a low bench to rest and plan out her next steps.

"I wonder how Hatchet is holding up without me? Hopefully, he isn't flipping his maw on and on about ferals to all those poor folks over there at the village," Kobi sighed, stretching. "Or wasting time by going through every Mystery Dungeon he sees-Oh?"

The Espurr’s ears flicked at the sound of rustling when a sweet milky scent filled the air. There's another Keeper close by, which type of Pokemon can make this smell with their presence? She thought as she stood up, and scanned her surroundings.

A Miltank and a Mudbray wearing red and brown armbands walked by and then the Miltank locked her gaze on the Espurr traveler. Kobi watched as the Miltank placed a hoof on the Mudbray she waved.

"Stay safe out there, there's a new mandate that we have to follow!" Miltank before she headed off toward a large building. "Check the bulletin board in the courtyard if you don't know, or just ask one of us!"

"Thanks!" Kobi replied just before the doors closed. "Will do!"

Those two must be from the Guild stationed here, how interesting. Kobi thought. How nice of that Miltank to care about the random Keeper she saw in her town. ‘Hatchet would have been like 'Kobi ya gotta ask them their status! We can't just talk to or take care of anyone ourselves! Leave that to the Leagues!' She mused, putting away her belongings. Doesn't he remember that’s our responsibility too?

Ah, whatever. The weather is great over here, it must be whatever that river is called, perfect. It'll make tracing scents even easier. “I really did end up traveling almost all the way across the Continent, just a little bit more and I'd be in a different time zone," she fathomed, glancing at the sun.

The sections of town led down the mighty path of a river, while the other parts of the settlement were based on a rocky stretch of land leading to a valley. Alrighty' I need to be careful, I don' want to attract any unnecessary attention. The Espurr thought as she passed a Building with police insignia. Some of those blokes aren't worth my time, especially their Keeper officers.

Now to look for a rock-type Pokemon with a Keeper presence down by the banks. Kobi thought and began to walk down the dock and bridge that lead to the Riverbanks.

Now on the west outskirts of town, she had a far stretch of land to search through. The Espurr bent her nose to the rocky and sandy ground, and checked for traces of Keepers through the more popular side of the shore first. There's bound to be plenty of Keepers out of the crowds over there. She thought to herself. The secluded part on the very edges would come last.

After a couple of run-ins with other Keepers and just normal rock-types, she found it. A rich, thick chocolate scent amidst the salty river breeze.

The Espurr knew it right away, the scent of a rock-type Keeper. Hopefully, they had mostly brown on them too. Their Keeper energy was strangely strong as if she was bathed in the material. What could be the reason why this Pokemon possesses such a presence?

Makkuro from Bograbbit.jpg
A Rockruff. One with some grey streaks on their otherwise light-brown coat of fur. They were grooming themselves. Well, I think, otherwise, I think I'm going to have a problem. Kobi thought to herself as she got closer to the other Pokemon.

With Psychic the Espurr picked up a large number of pebbles and then dropped them on the side. The noise brought the Rockruff to up as he tilted his ears.

"Ello, I'm Kobi, nice to meet you," Kobi started once she had eye contact with the Rockruff.


They looked down at their compromising position, their belly was exposed and they jolted upright. The Rockruff sheepishly adjusted themselves, nearly falling over trying to sit properly on their haunches.


The Espurr then cringed. “Didn’t mean to catch you off guard.”

"What, why is this Espurr talking to me!?" the Rockruff asked themself, looking back and forth between Kobi and the pile rocks she dropped.

"Did you just tell me your name was Kobi?!"

They're definitely a former human, no hatched Pokemon would act like this. Kobi thought and smiled to herself. "Yes I told you my name,"

she explained sitting down across from the Rockruff. "Don't be too alarmed mate. We don't need any attention."

"Holy Tapu, I can talk to Pokemon now!" the Rockruff cheered, wagging their tail. "First I found out I'm a Pokemon."
"Yes," the Espurr acknowledged. "That sounds about right."

"Next I realize I'm a Rockruff,” they say before spinning. “Then I check and see I'm finally in a body that matches my gender! I’m physically more like how I want now!"

"You weren't before?" Kobi questioned, with a lick her maw. “Don’t be cheeky with me alrigh’.”

"Nope," the Rockruff stood up and studied her before he stamped his paws on the ground. "Oh right!" he exclaimed. “I shouldn’t just tell that to anyone, I don’t know how receptive people... Er Pokemon are.”


Kobi hummed in thought. "Do you have any other memories?" the Espurr asked, scratching one of her ears.

"Yeah!" The Rockruff wagged his tail, leaning forward.

"Okay,” Kobi said as she stood up and stretched. "What else do you remember?"

"My name, my preferred name; I'm Makkuro!" the Rockruff smiled, tilting his head.


"That's a nice name mate," the Espurr replied. "Sounds foreign," she added.

Makkuro folded his ears. "You sound foreign!" he shot back.

"Where are you from?"

"The Galar Region."

Makkuro's eyes widened. "That sounds familiar," he said, and licked his chops.

"Good, follow me," Kobi said, walking back up the stony riverbank.

"Okay, I don't have anywhere else to be or anything particular to do," the Rockruff sighed. "I feel like I can trust your judgment and I feel like you are like me: you want to help Pokemon."

"You can?" the Espurr lifted a paw in the air.

"Yeah," Makkuro said. "I can get that just by being near you ya know?”


“Really?” Kobi stared down at the Rockruff with widened eyes. “You know, I think you’re something special.”


“Just don't do anything sneaky or I'll tell the Pokemon police!” Makkuro smirked at the Espurr. “Or whatever they have!"

“You don't need to get involved with those folks," Kobi's tail pointed upward and her fur bristled. "They already don't like Keepers like me so they wouldn't like you."

"Really?" the Rockruff tilted his head. "Well, I guess my friends told me that too, but I don't know anyone else."

"I will not betray your trust,” the Espurr declared.

"If you say so Kobi,” Makkuro’s tongue lulled out of his maw as he panted.

Kobi sighed. "If I do, you need to strike me down instantly."

The Rockruff in front of her lowered his tail to the ground. "That sounds like a bit of an extreme measure.”

"We have extreme stakes here,” the Espurr walked across the first planks of a bridge. “Once I know a bit more about you I can adjust my plans.”

“What did you want to know?” the Rockruff followed her. “I may or may not have the answer.”

“That’s fine bruv,” Kobi continued her trek, and chuckled to herself. "Where are you from?"

"Hmm?” the Rockruff noticed he was being left behind and hurried after her. “Oh, that's right, I used to live in Alola!"

The Espurr turned to the side. "What did you used to do in Alola?

"I...I used to train with Pokemon," Makkuro struggled to keep up with the other Pokemon.

"Were you perhaps a Pokemon Trainer?" Kobi asked, and slowed her pace as they went downhill.

"Right!" Makkuro grinned. "Yeah, I was a Pokemon Trainer trying to take on the gym challenges!"

"But I thought you were from Alola mate?" the Espurr flicked her tail.

"I am," the Rockruff said.

"But didn't Alola decide not to have their Trainers go through the gym challenge?” Kobi questioned. “Did ya fancy the idea or somethin’?”

"I had finished most of the Island Trials but couldn’t get past this one part so my friends told me I should go train in Johto,” Makkuro admitted. “That’s the last thing I can seem to remember, everything else is a bit fuzzy.”

“Ah, I see,” the Espurr replied. Then she continued leading the way back. Makkuro’s gait and stride were fine, it seemed like had quickly acclimated to his new body. But maybe he practiced moving about before we met. I'll have to ask about it during battle training tomorrow. Kobi thought.

Some time had passed until the two approached the active parts of the settlement. “Woah, all sorts of Pokemon have made their own place to live here!” the Rockruff barked, and picked up his pace, his pawsteps firmer on the ground. "We get to see this Kobi!"

“Yeah, it’s amazing to see everything they have to offer here," she replied. "But remember we are supposed to be here too Makkuro, to these Pokemon, it is not a surprise."

"So uh, where are we exactly?" Makkuro looked back at her.

"Hmm I'll start big,” Kobi flicked her tail. “We are on the Constellation Continent of the Celestial Hemisphere."

"Do we have a Region name for this area?" the Rockruff asked.

"Yes, but in name only, the Azulo Region," the Espurr tilted her head as the pair made it into town. “Well, right now we are in a Pokemon Town called Pebble Creek. Also, we can’t talk about all that old Trainer stuff right now.”

“Aw, I guess Pokemon here don’t like it?” Makkuro whined. “But I just want the best for them!”


“Yeah, me too mate, instead we can talk about my plan,” Kobi explained. “Sounds good? We can chat about it later.”


“Well, I’ve got nothing better to talk about,” the Rockruff yawned. “So what’s this plan?”


“My plan involves following the research notes of Team Vanguard to find artifacts around here.”


"What?”

“I guess I’ve got to teach you how this world works Makkuro,” the Espurr stopped to gesture to the various townsfolk. “We have a mission as Keepers to restore the world's balance.”


“Oh, is this Keeper thing like how I could taste all these strange foods?” Makkuro asked as he and Kobi walked under a storefront.


“Yes, it is!” her eyes lit up as she stared at Makkuro.


“I knew it wasn’t just anything relating to being a Rockruff!” he wagged his tail.


“Wow, you are making this easy mate,” Kobi unfurled her map. “You, I and about forty-five percent of all Pokemon in this Hemisphere are Keepers.”


“So you all have these flavors, probably based on type or something?" the Rockruff questioned.

"Correct.”

"Do you personally know them by heart?" Makkuro questioned.

Kobi narrowed her eyes. "By heart?"

"Yeah," Makkuro walked around the area. "Also how long have you been here?"

"I've been here for almost five years," Kobi sighed, gathered up her belongings and stood up.

"So you haven't been a Trainer for so long," Makkuro followed her towards a forest. He gagged and began to cough. “I’m tasting some more flavors again,” the Rockruff stuck out his tongue. “But they aren’t right, not like yours or others at the shore.”

“Hmm, that is odd,” The Espurr hummed in thought. “ I can’t seem to pick up anything myself.”

“Could you tell me what this means?” The Rockruff questioned.

"Yeah, but you were asking about elemental-type flavors right?" Kobi questioned, flicking her ears. "I can explain that after we go over some battle basics. Do you want to do this?"

"I do!" Makkuro smiled. "Tell me about this Keeper stuff and let's have some fun!"
 
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