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Pokémon Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Liberators of Fate

Summary and notes


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert

Follow this grand adventure with two brothers on a quest to start their own independence and bring freedom to Pokémon everywhere. Growing up in a world that wasn't always so kind to them, the duo knows one thing for certain: they must move forward. Along the way, the siblings need to deal with their trauma and past, while mysterious forces try to stop them.
  • An original PMD setting, inspired by the "Explorers" games, so a knowledge of that game would be the best.
  • Content warnings:
    - This fanfiction contains violence and gore. As a side note, not every chapter has these things, and some of them might have more than the others.
Notes for reviewers
  • I am well aware of the grammar errors, and I'm working on it with my betas. Therefore, I would appreciate if your review contained only stuff related to the general plot.
  • A few chapter are going through some heavy changes. As of today (03/31/2021), the last chapter I edited to fix some plot errors was chapter 18. With that in mind, if you read chapters after that one and you feel confused about something that you don't remember happening, it's most likely that I just added a plot point during a previous chapter. I am also adding a note to the start of each chapter that suffered heavy edits.
Chapter list
Arc 1: Age of Steel

Arc 2: Overcoming our past
Chapter 21: Hug all your friends
Chapter 22: Team Rebirth
Chapter 23: This is a test
Chapter 24: Smiles go for miles!
Chapter 25: Hourglass
Chapter 26: Machiavellian
Chapter 27: Blurring Together in Red
Chapter 28: Keep Holding On
Chapter 29: The Vengeful One
Chapter 30: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Chapter 31: Lowest Point
Chapter 32: Where Evil Grows
Chapter 33: Kickin' it to high-seas
Chapter 34: Stranded
Chapter 35: Forest of the Dead
Chapter 36: Mister Fear - Part 1
Chapter 37: Mister Fear - Part 2
Chapter 38: Legend... wait for it

Special episodes
Special Episode 1: Puppy Love
Special Episode 2: The taste of metal
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Dungeon 1 - Brotherhood


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 1 - Brotherhood

The void. A place that is devoid of any light and without anything in it. And yet, a small Pokémon was there. A Riolu walked around the nothingness, with sweat running through his blue fur. The canid trembled and looked around, trying to find an exit. A laugh echoed behind him and he gasped in shock, turning around.

Across the void, he could see two red eyes, staring at him. The figure opened its mouth and showed sharp teeth, giving another laugh.

"Stop, please, I-" The Riolu stammered, feeling a sharp pain in his chest.

"What are you going to do now, Number 10?" it said, smirking with its teeth. "You think running away will get rid of what happened?"

"A-AH! HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!" He fell to the ground, blood leaking from his torso.

Ignoring the pleas, the creature started to multiply, as multiple sets of eyeballs materialized themselves around the pitch-black place and a laugh echoed across the void, getting louder and louder until...

The Riolu woke up, gasping for air.

He was inside a bedroom, on the top of a bunk bed, safe from whatever was plaguing his dreams. The Riolu breathed deeply, coming down to the floor. In his room, he could see two tables, the first one contained a few books, tagged at specific pages. The Riolu stared at a corner, seeing a mirror.

"Lance, you're fine," he said, trying to convince himself. Gazing at his reflection, Lance put his paw on his chest. "It was just another nightmare."

On the Riolu's chest was a claw-like scar, so deeply ingrained that anyone could see it. Pondering for a few seconds about the nightmare, Lance noticed a bag on the floor. Moving his ears, the boy put it on, leaving the room by the door.

"My stuff is packed," he shrugged. "Hopefully, my brother's as well."

Lance descended the stairs to his living room, glancing around for any sign of his brother. The well-worn sofa in the corner was empty, the bookshelf beside it was neatly organized. Leave it to Brian to organize their bookshelf before he left. A radio in the center of the room sat untouched, covered in a layer of dust. It had been a gift from his Uncle James, but it ended up unused. Books had always interested him more than fancy technology.

"Brian must have already left," His stomach rumbled, reminding him of how hungry he was, so he made a beeline for the kitchen.

The kitchen had a table for five Pokémon and a fireplace in the back, wood already placed. Lance went to a corner, opening a refrigerator. After a moment of deliberation, he took an apple and ate it in silence. After finishing it, the Riolu then left the house, a stern look on his face.

Outside, the city seemed to be thriving, as most of the villagers were going about their daily jobs. The Riolu lived on a busy street, as there were several storefronts. One of the first was a market, where two Kecleon were talking to customers. Next, a black edifice with a line formed at the entrance, containing a Machop, a Meowth, and a couple of Wurmple. The weather was calm, with a light breeze filling the town.

"Man, the bank is full today," Lance sighed and looked up, on the distance he could see a large building, shaped like the letter H. Pinned to it was a large sign which read: Exploration Guild Hero. "Brian's probably at the guild, but it doesn't matter. I need to take time for myself." Shrugging, he walked to the left, towards a beach.

The Hero guild was famous for being a subdivision of a legendary team of the same name. Its leaders were four Pokémon: Shiron, Nick, Yukino, and James. Due to a high demand mission, James stayed in the guild to take care of the administration and recruitment of new members, while his companions went to perform the task in a distant continent.

James was in his office, looking at the village through the window, taking an ice cream made with an Oran Berry. The Typhlosion turned around, sitting at his desk and looking at the papers of the newly graduated team, Team Liberators. The team contained only two members at the moment, but both were already known to James: Brian and Lance were the sons of one of his companions.

"I hope they do a good job..." James mumbled to himself, licking the candy in his hand.

He heard a noise from someone knocking on the door. Curious, he swallowed the rest of the dessert and cleaned his mouth with a napkin.

"If you have an appointment, you can come in!" said James, waiting for the mysterious visitor. The door opened and a Zorua ran inside the office, a toothy grin on his face. "Good morning Uncle James!"'

"It's a huge coincidence, I was just looking at your team file. I must congratulate you, you graduated so fast!" James said with a smile, getting down on his knees and extending his hand to little Pokémon.

Brian shook James' hand with his paw, wagging his tail slightly.

"So, what are you doing here? Have you found your first mission?"

"Lance and I are leaving. I woke up early, so I decided to say goodbye!" He gave a faint laugh.

"Hoho, I see!" James chuckled, "And where are you two going?"

"We'll be going to Bright Dawn, the biggest city on Eutrios!" Brian said, transforming himself into a Metang. "It's gonna be so fun, we'll work by ourselves!" he shape-shifted again, becoming a Machamp, flexing his muscles.

"You're excited about this, aren't you?" James clapped at the show.

"Yes, yes! Lance is…" he went back to normal, ears drooping. "He's as neutral as usual, I guess."

"I understand. I wouldn't blame him for that, he's still thinking about the incident, right?" James sighed. "It's just that it's been so long. I thought he would have gotten better."

"The truth is, he was never the same." Brian shook his head sadly. "But I'm trying to help, so I'm leaving with him."

"It's not good to dwell on the past, but I understand that point of view. I don't think your father will be very happy with this decision, especially considering you're both only sixteen." James scratched his chin.

"I think I came to ask a favor too. Listen, if Dad comes back while we're traveling, let him know what we did, ok? I'll try to convince my brother to come back here for visits as soon as possible, but it might be hard to convince that dork..."

James laughed a little, rubbing his hand on little Zorua's head.

"All right, I can do that. And good luck to you both, you'll need it. As your uncle, I worry; be careful, okay? I know your brother trained for so long, but it's never too much."

Brian just nodded and left the room running. That was the decisive moment: if they were going to leave, it had to be now. And so he did. The boy ran and ran, the village's exit was right in front of him and with it, his and his brother's future.

Meanwhile, Lance walked around the town's beach, contemplating the ocean's waves that were splashing his feet. Far away, a few Lapras swam on the waves. He needed that moment, away from all problems and distractions. To forget what made the nightmares begin.

"I'm not Number 10 anymore," he snarled, clenching his fist. "And I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna make the world a better place so that nothing like that happens again."

Determined to fulfill that promise, the Riolu took a deep breath, wrapping a gray bandana around his head, and then walked away to meet his sibling.

Brian was waiting for his brother in front of the town’s welcome sign. He was ready to go, with a backpack on and goggles around his neck. He was thoughtful, but was sure that his decision was the best he could have made. Turning his head, he saw his brother approaching and waved to him.

"Lance! Our journey starts now, right?! Let's do it!" the Zorua wagged his tail as he waited for the Riou to approach.

"Yes... our journey begins now. Goodbye, Thornwell." Lance looked at the sign, a certain melancholy in his eyes. He then began to walk without even looking back.

Brian looked at the sign next to his brother, and at the village where they grew up. After hesitating for an instant, he shook his head, ignoring the thought and following his brother in silence.

"Dad will probably take a while to arrive, his team's mission seems to be dangerous... do you think he will come back in one piece?" he said, staring at the Riolu.

"He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself." Lance just shrugged. "He and his teammates are strong Pokémon, I wouldn't worry too much about that if I were you."

"Hehe, very well brother! We're gonna do it, right?!" Brain laughed, staring at the horizon. "We're gonna make our own destiny!"

To that, Lance gave a faint smile. The two did not know what the future would bring for them, but they were sure that the journey ahead would bring conquests and challenges for them both. And so, they left the place where it all began, prepared for whatever would happen next.
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Dungeon 2 - Heart of Steel


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 2 - Heart of Steel

In the middle of the night, a Druddigon ran through the streets, blood dripping from his arms as his heart palpitated. The Pokémon looked back to make sure there was no one following him before he stopped in an alley. Panting, he leaned against the wall, grumbling to himself about the situation he was in.

Suddenly, the Pokémon heard something crawling. Desperate, he opened his mouth, filling it with flames. He was prepared to attack whatever was chasing him.

"Whoever you are, I can make it up to you!" The reptile screamed, trembling with fear, looking around. "My job gave me a lot of money! I can give twice as much as your contractor promised! No... I'll give you triple! Please don't kill me!" He yelled, trying to reason with whoever was there.

In the air, a pair of black eyes appeared, and as soon as the Druddigon turned his face to see what had appeared, he was taken by an enormous fear; his body wouldn't move even if he tried with all his strength. He was paralyzed.

"Well, I could spare you, but... our team doesn't like to leave a job unfinished." He heard a voice, but he couldn't see anyone.

"T… team?! Who do you think you are?! I am Razor! I will be the next mayor of Bright Dawn! You don't know who you are messing with..."

Suddenly, a pink blade appeared in the air, produced by psychic powers, and hit the Druddigon's chest. The dragon, shocked by the blow, fell to the ground, his chest leaking with blood.

"Who... are you?" Razor trembled, barely able to stand up.

"The Heart of Steel Crew carefully chooses its targets... my name is Flint. Not that it matters." The owner of the voice spoke, coming out of the shadows and revealing himself.

Razor raised his head with the little strength he had left, looking at who had attacked him. The Pokémon in front of the politician was a humanoid being; his head was round and red and black colored, similar to a war helmet. A golden blade was fixed to his helmet, and only his eyes were visible through a gap on the front of it. The attacker's stomach was well defined, with two blades that made his abdomen look like a ribcage.

"Mercenaries... I've heard of you, all your members are Steel-type and do dirty jobs..."

Razor used all his strength to get up. The flames in his mouth grew and he let out a puff towards the Bisharp.

The dragon's sudden attack caused a big explosion, and he felt his heart accelerate. After the smoke dissipated, he saw a little doll where the criminal was.

"He used Substitute!" Razor said, feeling his body weakening with the loss of blood he suffered. Despite his weakness however, he remained alert.

"Your capacity for analysis is impressive. Then again, it's to be expected." Flint said, his voice was in the opposite direction of Razor, who turned, but, weakened, fell to the ground, his breathing was slower.

"Well, Psycho Cut is a move that has more chances to do critical damage... dragons may be powerful, but none are invincible," Flint said, smirking.

"Please... spare my life... I will reward you and your companions any way you want..."

"If you were talking with another companion of mine, maybe he would accept your proposal... But unfortunately for you, that's not the case for me."

In a simple move, Flint cut through the air, generating a wind blade. The attack was directed at the dragon's throat, who only had the time to scream. He had given his last breath. The murderous Pokémon disappeared in the shadows, his mission was now accomplished.

In another area of the city was a bar. The place was crawled with different Pokémon, and some of them were talking amongst each other, others were looking at a mission board. Unlike guilds, however, this place was used by mercenaries who wished to find jobs. Inside the pub, an Empoleon and Aggron were talking between sips of the beer.

"Napoleon! You know I couldn't have sent you on this mission, you can't see a coin without wanting it!" The white Pokémon spoke with a laugh, looking at his companion.

"And you, Atlas, are too scared... This is a unique opportunity! To end the competition for the mayor of this city!" The Empoleon grumbled, drinking some more of the beer.

"Flint is stealthy and effective, he will fulfill the task to perfection. Next time I'll let you go after our target..." Atlas said while placing the glass on the table.

"Whatever, the mayor paid us a huge amount of money..."

The two of them heard the bar door opening and with it, a hissing noise that they both recognized. As they turned back, they saw their companion, the Bisharp named Flint.

"If I had ears, they'd be burning. You were talking about me, right?" The Pokémon said as he approached the team, sitting in a chair.

"Yeah, apparently Atlas thinks I'm a money junkie..." The penguin said, taking another sip.

"And is he wrong by any chance?" Flint shrugged. "Anyway, Razor's dead, it was an easy job. Please, next time I go, get me a more challenging mission than that."

Atlas finished drinking before opening his backpack and throwing some coins onto the table. After that, he got up, facing his companions.

"Well, I'll take your two requests into consideration." The big reptile spoke to them.

"Understood, chief. " The penguin said with a laugh, waving to the Aggron as he left the establishment.

"I'm not carrying you out of here, I have to pick up the reward with our client," Flint mumbled, sighing.

"I'll stay here a little longer!" He laughed, waving to the waiter to order another glass.

Flint just shrugged and got up, leaving the bar. He left in silence, walking through the streets of the city.

The Bisharp made his way towards the city hall building, walking through the dark parts of the city and looking at the other residents. Due to the time, few Pokémon were out of their homes, and those who were out were in bars, so there wouldn't be many witnesses. If the police investigated, Flint would be safe.

"Well, if anything, I can blame that fat Empoleon." He muttered to himself.

The icy wind was blowing on his body while the Pokémon walked in silence, in the distance, smoke steamed from factories. Arriving at city hall, he went directly to the office, seeing a Gothitelle sitting on a chair. She wore a neutral expression.

"Do you have a reservation?" The Gothitelle spoke rigidly.

"Secretary Jane, tell the mayor that I'm Flint. He knows who I am."

The Psychic-type picked up a wired phone from the desk, typing some numbers on the keypad. Once she received an answer, she briefly described the Pokémon who had entered the building.

"You can go up the stairs, sir." She said, writing some things in a notebook.

Flint went up the stairs, reaching the floor of the mayor's office. He knocked on the door.

"You can come in!" A voice from inside the room said.

Flint opened the door, entering the office. The place was wide, having a painting of the mayor on the wall. The mayor, an Alakazam, was simply staring at the Bisharp with a neutral expression, rubbing his mustache. He held a glass of wine in his hand.

"Mayor Prometheus. As you requested, the job is done." The Bisharp said, his face blank.

"Very well... I assume there are no witnesses?" The Alakazam commented, taking some more of the drink.

"I threw his body in the sewers and there are not many Pokémon out in town." He nodded. "Well, except the mercenaries in that bar."

"Right... I thank you for the job well done, I see that I can count on you if needed." The mayor put the glass on the table, opened a drawer, and took out a closed envelope.

"Of course you can. If you wish to use our services, we will always be at your disposal." He answered. "Well, our boss is a little paranoid, but I'm sure I can convince him."

Flint then approached the table, taking the envelope and putting it in his backpack. He eyed his client.

"If you want to hire us again, you know where to find us." At that, the Bisharp left, going on his way.

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Dungeon 3 - Travelers


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 3 - Travelers

Two Pokémon walked along a road, flanked by a large forest filled with thick trees on both sides. It was dark, and the only light source was the moon, shining in the sky. One of them, a Riolu, was checking a map, grumbling to himself. The other one, a Zorua, stared at him.

"Lance... you have no idea where we're going, do you?" the Zorua said.

"We're going the fastest way. As I said before, Brian, I have a plan..." Lance said with a stoic look on his face.

"I've heard you say that so many times!" he grumbled. "Is this the right way to Bright Dawn?"

Lance sighed and stopped walking, showing the map to his sibling. On it was a town marked with an "X", and its distance from the boys' hometown was large.

"As you can see, it's gonna take a while," Lance shrugged. "At least by foot."

Brian smirked, turning into a Torkoal, walking slowly. "We're... gonna... take... so long... to get there..."

Lance grumbled and ignored his brother's antics.

"You know, we left the village two days ago, and you hardly said anything the whole trip..." Brian commented while walking, now back to normal.

"I don't like to talk and you know it," was all the Riolu said.

They continued to walk for some time. From afar, they could see a Pokémon with a wagon, which was turned upside down. Noticing this, the duo started to run, worried about what had happened.

The Pokémon was a Croagunk, who waved to the pair, realizing by the badges on their bodies that they were explorers.

"Good night, sir... what happened here?" Lance asked, approaching the group.

"A carriage... I never saw one in our village!" Brian said soon after, arriving after his brother. He looked at the vehicle, seeing some Pokémon with the shape of a gear where the wheels were.

"Thank you for admiring our vehicle, but we are not in a very good situation," the Croagunk said, clearing his throat.

"We are Team Liberators, my name is Lance and this Zorua is my brother. We'll be happy to help you." he took the team's crest, showing it to the frog.

"My name is Brian!" he waved.

"I'm Gama. We were driving along the road with Marty, the Zebstrika driving the carriage. Out of nowhere, we were attacked by a gang of Mightyena! They were crazy, caught Marty, and ran with him into the forest! I barely had time to react, I could only protect the little Klink!"

"I understand... those Mightyena must be wild," the Riolu scratched his chin, thoughtful. "Some scholars say that Pokémon lose their rationality if they stay too long in Dungeons."

"We have to go to… Dusk Woods, right?" Brian asked, gulping.

"Yeah…" Lance nodded, looking at the Croagunk and soon both entered the place.

Dusk Woods

Brian noticed the eeriness the dungeon had. The trees looked almost dead, someone could destroy them with a punch, and a heavy fog only served to amplify that eeriness. He could even see one of the trees distorted, probably due to the nature of mystery dungeons. Looking for someone here would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Despite that, the team pushed on. Sometimes they fought one or two feral Pokémon, but overall, it was a calm trip.

"This place is huge. Can't you use your aura to find him?" Brian stopped, stepping on a dark log and breaking it.

"I was going to do exactly that..." Lance sighed, closing his eyes and concentrating.

The Zorua stood in a combat position, attentive to every movement around then as his brother focused on his meditation. Riolu and its evolution, Lucario, were famous for being able to manipulate aura, a type of energy present in living beings, for several purposes. The little Pokemon's ears moved while he meditated, looking for the Zebstrika's aura in the forest. The process was slow and draining, so Lance was focusing as much as he could on the search.

Lance saw his surroundings in shades of black and blue. He concentrated even further, looking deeper into the dungeon for Zebstrika's aura. In this case, being near Mightyena, the zebra should be easier to find.

Eventually, Lance found him. The Zebstrika was close to three of the wild Pokémon. Lance opened his eyes, falling to his knees and panting. Brian, noticing this, approached his brother with a worried look on his face.

"Before you say anything, I'm fine... I found Marty, come on! We don't have much time!"

The two of them followed the forest inside, and as they approached the location, they smelled blood in the air, which only grew stronger and stronger. Brian shivered, the scent was nauseating to him. Lance, on the other hand, seemed normal.

"I don't think I'd want to spend much time here... We gotta go quick!"

"Imagine losing all your sapience just by… being here. So yes, we need to go."

Brian just gulped. This was their first official mission as a team and he wanted it to be a success. Even more importantly than that, he wanted to keep his brother safe; so he ignored the shivers and kept going.

Deep Dusk Woods

The dungeon became rockier. Lance took his time to survey his surroundings as he thought of a plan. As he walked, he could see a few skulls scattered on the floor; likely made by the pack of ferals.

On the ground, they could see the Pokémon they were supposed to rescue, wounded and covered with bite marks. Near him were two of the Mightyena, their teeth stained blood-red. Besides them was another, bulkier Mightyena. The leader of the pack.

One of the Mightyenas growled, licking its teeth. The feral lunged forward, towards Brian.

Lance extended his arm, firing a shot of energy. The Mightyena was sent towards a rocky wall, knocking it out.

Seeing the Force Palm, the pack leader snarled and lunged towards Lance. Behind the boys, another Mightyena lunged at them with fiery fangs.

Brian rammed against the Mightyena with a dark aura surrounding his body before it could hit his brother. Brian backed away, muttering to himself.

"Thanks for using Pursuit, Brian." Lance snapped his fingers, looking at the bulky Mightyena.

"Be careful, Lance!" Brian stood before the other Pokémon, his body glowing in a dark aura again.

The leader of the pack swiped his claws at Lance. Lance tried to block to protect his scar, and was knocked back a few meters. The Mightyena's tail shone a silvery, metallic tone. He swung it at Lance, hitting the Riolu. Lance crashed against the wall and fell down.


He got up, trembling for a bit. The impact was stronger than he thought, but he did his best to ignore the pain. He had a job to do.

Brian, on the other hand, dodged the fierce attacks of the ferals he faced. When he heard his brother hit the wall, he focused on him, worried.

"Lance! Are you... Argh!" he shouted in pain.

One of the Mightyena charged its fangs with electricity, biting the Zorua while he was distracted. Brian, even screaming and in pain, took advantage of this. He copied the Force Palm Lance used, firing a blue energy beam on the Mightyena. The feral hit the ground and fainted.

"I need to finish this…" Lance rubbed the sweat off his forehead. He faced the leader of the pack. His red eyes glowed blue, and his small feelers twitched.

Lance looked up, checking the rocky formation around them, and grinned. The Mightyena growled, running towards Lance.

Let's go, he thought.

Lance fired another beam, but it seemed to miss his opponent. Instead, the attack struck the wall behind the Mightyena. Large pieces of rubble broke off from the formation and began to fall. The Mightyena could barely react, other than desperately trying to avoid the falling rocks.

"Just like I thought," Lance chuckled, firing more beams in quick succession.

The shots hit the rocks mid air, sending them all down on the Mightyena. Unable to dodge them all, the feral leader fainted.

Brian approached his brother, panting, but at least they had won. All that remained was to take Zebstrika back. Lance opened his backpack, taking three Oran Berries and eating one, then throwing another to his brother.

"We're done here." Lance approached the Zebstrika, forcing the last berry down his throat.

Marty opened his eyes slowly, seeing the two strangers. He shook his head as his wounds were beginning to heal.

"Where… am I? Who are you?" he asked the two brothers.

"We are an exploration team. We were hired to rescue you. My name is Lance and this is my brother, Brian." He pointed to Zorua.

"That's right, we knocked out the Mightyenas, but they might wake up soon, we have to go now."

"Oh, thanks..." Marty got up, legs shaking.

The trio then went back through the forest, and the two brothers were alert the whole walk back. Although the pack was defeated, they could still find more enemies in the forest. And, now that a client was with them, it would be even more dangerous.

Fortunately, the trip back was quiet and they brought the zebra safely to the carriage. Upon noticing the trio, Croagunk's eyes lit up, surprised by the efficiency of the unknown team.

"Marty! You're all right!" Gama ran to help his friend.

"I am... thanks to those two." Marty gave Gama a light smile.

"Ah, our pleasure!" Brian blushed the compliment.

"It's our job. We gave him an Oran Berry, but I hope both of you take more care from now on." Lance spoke.

Lance began to walk off alongside his sibling, when he got pushed back by Gama. Lance's immediate reaction was to back away and growl.

"Boys! You deserve the reward! Where are you going?" Gamma spoke smiling.

"We are going to Bright Dawn! Why?" Brian asked with his eyes shining, already suspecting what the reward would be.

"I think I can speak for my friend and say that we would be happy to take you, but Bright Dawn is a bit far. What do you say we take you to the nearest village, instead? If you go on your way, it will take you a long time to reach your destination," Marty spoke while hitting his hooves on the ground.

"It's okay with me, I always wanted to travel in a carriage," said Lance with a nod.

"Very well boys, but we will have to leave tomorrow. Marty is still hurt, so let's set up a small camp, okay?" Gama asked.

The two boys agreed and went to get wood in the forest. Meanwhile, Gama helped Marty on the ground carefully so as not to open his wounds, and sighed.

At midnight, Lance was asleep leaning against a wooden log. The Zebstrika was lying there with his eyes closed, while Brian was looking at the sky in silence. Gama approached the Zorua, sitting beside him with a smile on his face.

"I wanted to thank you and your brother, but by the looks of it, he's already asleep."

Brian sighed, this kind of conversation could become common if his brother remained emotionally distant.

"Yeah, he doesn't like to talk a lot with anyone, beyond what is necessary. Sometimes I think he only talks to me because we are on the same team..."

"That could be bad for relations with your clients... Sorry to intrude, but can you tell me why he is like this? Or is it just how he is?" Gamma leaned against a log.

Brian looked away, reliving old memories. He then shook the thoughts from his mind.

"I don't like to talk about it," he said. Brian looked away, sighing.

"Well, that's okay. It's good for you to rest, I can tell that the fight you had was intense!"

Brian agreed, yawning and lying on the floor. Gama chuckled a little and moved away from Brian, closing his eyes and trying to sleep. Brian still couldn't fall asleep, his mind was full of what was to come for him and Lance. The challenges they would face, and whether or not he could protect Lance. Eventually, his tiredness overpowered these thoughts, and he drifted off to sleep.
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Dungeon 4 - Thunderstruck: Part 1


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 4 - Thunderstruck: Part 1

As the morning came, the brothers rode in the carriage they had rescued the other day. Brian looked out the window, watching the local landscape, while Lance read a book in silence.

"We're almost there..." Marty said to the passengers.

"We'll leave you here, this village is called Heavenwind. It's famous for its mountain, and a few explorers go there to check it out," The Croagunk grinned, facing the siblings.

"Oh, I've heard of it! They live near a mountain, and most of the residents are flying Pokémon!" Brian smirked, tail wagging.

"We are not going to climb the mountain..." Lance sighed.

Brian stuck his tongue out at his brother and continued to look through the window. Lance shrugged and went back to reading the book.

The vehicle stopped a few minutes later, allowing them to see the village they had arrived at. Lance kept the book in his backpack and got down from the carriage, stretching. He was soon followed by his brother, who was looking at the new location.

"Thanks, guys, if you need to travel, send us a letter! We are the Zebrunk transportation company," Gama spoke smiling brightly.

"I told him it was a stupid name, but he never listened to me," Marty grumbled, ashamed of his friend.

"I understand, well, we appreciate the service," Lance just agreed and walked out.

"Thank you, gentlemon!" Brian said, leaving right after the Riolu.

Before long, they found themselves in the village. It wasn't the largest town the brothers had seen, but the buildings were very tall. Flying Pokemon darted through the air from building to building. As they walked, they noticed some villagers on the street, some going to markets, and others just walking. Pidgeotto, Talonflame, and even Braviary populated the town. Further away, they saw part of the mountain, which extended as far as their eyes could view. Lance stopped and pointed to a large, red-colored building.

"It's a hotel. Let's go in and make a reservation," Lance said. "I know you want to explore this village, so you're free to do that after."

Brian jumped, turning into a Pidove and making some chirps; his brother wasn't amused, and simply ignored it.

"I'll see if I can find something to buy for us! And I'll send a letter to Uncle James," Brian grinned. "He deserves to know where we are."

With a sigh, Lance shrugged and kept walking, entering the hotel with his brother. On a chair was a Ledian, snoring and appeared to be on a deep sleep. Lance hit the table of the place, trying to get the insect's attention. The Pokémon woke up, falling from his chair and getting up in a hurry.

"Good morning. I would like to make a reservation here for me and my brother," Lance said pointing to Brian.

"We're Team Liberators!" Brian mentioned as he approached.

"My name is Beet and I'm the manager of this hotel. Hm, are you new? It's been a while since any team visited this village."

"Our team was formed a short time ago," Lance crossed his arms.

"How long will you stay here? We haven't received many visitors lately," Beet took a notebook in a desk drawer with one of his arms, and with another, he took a pen.

"We will stay only for one day. We are going to Bright Dawn and we decided to stop here," Brian spoke calmly, looking at the hotel.

"Bright Dawn? That place receives new Pokémon all the time, it's a good choice." Beet finished writing down their names, and yawned.

Suddenly, the three of them heard a bell ringing loudly. The Ledian looked at the door, making sure no one was around, and spoke to the boys.

"If I were you, I'd stay here. Something bad is about to happen..."

Hearing this, Lance rolled his eyes, heading to the door and opening it slowly.

Outside, the birds flew to their houses, except for one. A Corviknight just stared at the cave's entrance, as if he was waiting for someone to show up. Then three Pokémon left the entrance, a shiny Luxray, a Luxio, and a Graveler. The trio approached the Flying-Type, who stood firmly in place.

"Mayor Percival, it's very good to see you again," the shiny Luxray said, approaching the bird with a wide, toothy smile.

"I know the reason for your visit Teslan, the money is with me." Percival extended his wing, throwing a few coins on the ground.

The Luxio who accompanied Teslan picked up the coins, putting them in a backpack quietly and distancing himself from the two. The small Pokémon then began to count the money.

"Very good, Virgil," The Luxray said, turning his face to the subordinate.

"So, anything else?" Percival huffed. "Or will you extort more from us?!"

"Boss, the money he gave isn't enough," the Luxio said, showing the money in his backpack.

When Teslan heard this, he turned and growled at the Corviknight. Electricity sparked from his body.

"Do you think you can fool me like that, you worthless bird?" he growled, preparing to attack.

"We don't have enough money!" Percival glared at him. "If you want the rest, you'll have to wait!"

The lion roared, his whole body wrapped in an electric aura, he fired a bolt of lightning at the Corviknight, who cried out in pain, fainting. The Pokémon hiding in their homes left immediately, trying to rescue Percival.

"Hmph," Teslan growled, looking at the villagers. "Listen here! You have two days to bring the rest of the money! Your mayor will be an example of what will happen to anyone who disobeys!"

The three Pokémon left the town and entered the cave in silence. Meanwhile, the commotion from the attack on the mayor increased, and a Tropius helped carry him to the local hospital.

From the hotel, Lance had seen the scene through the door. He gnashed his teeth and clenched his fists. His brother was also agitated, looking to the floor and thinking about what to do.

"So... has this become routine for you?!" Lance asked Ledian, his anger evident in his voice.

"Hey, calm down kid! We don't like it, but we're used to it! I wouldn't pick a fight with them if I were you!" Beet crossed his four arms, looking seriously at Lance.

"W-What about the police?!" Brain asked, lowering his ears. "Won't they do anything?"

"Are you kidding me, kid?" The Ledian screamed at Brian, staring at him. "If we tried, we would either be fried or get lynched with rocks!"

"It doesn't matter! You are being oppressed and your plan is just to let it happen?! Not with me here! I'll fix it! Tell the mayor of this village that these Pokemon will no longer be disturbed!"

As he said that, Lance ran out of the hotel, a determined expression on his face. Brian ran behind him, worried about Lance and also angry about the situation.


"If you're not going to help, at least don't get in the way," Lance said, turning his face to his brother.

The two stopped running at the base of the mountain. Lance crossed his arms, thinking about the strategy they would use to face this new enemy. His brother, a little scared by the Riolu's attitude, followed him in silence. In front of them was a cave entrance, where they entered in silence.

Pebble Cave

The cave, as expected, was rocky. Strangely, parts of it seemed to be flooded, with water pooling in certain areas. Zubat hung sleepily from the cavern's ceiling.

"Impressive..." Brian spoke to himself.

"We have to concentrate Brian! Focus!" Lance kept running. His heart raced as he ran without looking back, focusing solely on finding the feline flock.

Lance's tunnel vision was enough for him to not notice the blow that came his way. A huge rock collided with him, spinning fast. He hit the wall hard, falling to the ground and struggling to breathe.

"LANCE!" his brother screamed, looking for who had done it.

The Graveler appeared, smirking as he cracked his rocky knuckles and stared at the two explorers.

"It's the one from before!" Brian spoke in a low tone, analyzing the situation.

"You're not from around here, right? I imagine you've seen our "show" from earlier. I'm the guard of the gang and my job is to stop you from finding the boss!" the rocky Pokémon said, still keeping his smirk.

"You know... I'm gonna love to break that stupid head of yours," Lance said, getting up despite his legs trembling. He took one Oran Berry from his bag and ate it.

Brian grinned; he ran as fast as he could, throwing himself into the Graveler's body, the fox's own covered in dark aura.

This didn't work, however. The Rock-type laughed as he grabbed Brian with his hand, squeezing him tight.

"If you want him alive, you two will leave this place and never come back!"

Raising his eyes, Lance gave a loud laugh, holding himself to the wall. The Graveler blinked, growling at Lance. He crushed Brian's body even more, to the point it was possible to hear the Zorua's bones beginning to snap.

"I'm serious! He's going to die!"

"He's not going to turn into a ghost... although sometimes he can attack like one..."

Brian blinked his eyes, understanding Lance's message. He opened his mouth and shot a black ball at Graveler, who dropped the Zorua on the ground. Brian panted even being released, he still felt his body sore from the pressure.

Graveler moved away, his rocky body had a small crack where the blow had hit. He curled up like a ball and threw himself at Lance

"Hm. Rollout?"

Lance fired an energy beam at the rocky mon, sending him across the area and knocking him out.

Brian, with all the strength he had, wobbled towards his brother. He was relieved to see him okay, but that relief soon turned into frustration.

"What the hell was that? I almost died! If I hadn't understood your message, I would have!" he growled at Lance.

"It was all planned, relax, I won't let you die and... here... you need it more than I do..." Lance took an Oran Berry from his backpack and gave it to the fox.

Hesitantly, Brian ate the fruit, feeling his strength returning little by little. He helped his brother up and the two looked at their fainted opponent.

"We have no time to waste..." Lance was serious, walking deeper into the cave.

His brother limped after him while his wounds healed. They continued along the path of the cave. As there were no more Oran Berries, they would have to be more careful. The path was getting rougher, and the corridors narrower as they walked.

Even so, they had to continue. The mission they were on was not official, but they needed to succeed. The birds that lived in this village did not deserve to live in fear, so the team pushed forward, determined to help those villagers.
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Dungeon 5- Thunderstruck: Part 2


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 5 - Thunderstruck: Part 2

Author's notes: As of today(01/11/2021) this chapter has been edited. No plot scenes were added, it was mostly fixing gramamr stuff.

The brothers continued on their mission through the cave. Lance ran forward with a serious look, his breaths short and fast. Brain followed behind, an apprehensive look on his face.. The tunnel they dashed through was illuminated only by a light at the end.

"We have to be careful not to be like Bouffalant at the end of that corridor," Brian said in an attempt to break the ice.

"Brian! We are on a serious mission! We don't have time to crack jokes!" his brother snapped, turning to face the Zorua.

As they approached the end of the tunnel, they could hear voices ahead. . The brothers stopped to catch their breath and listen in on their enemies.

"You left them in a very precarious situation!" one of the Pokémon said smugly.

"Well, that's what those useless birds deserve." the yellow Luxray said, eating a piece of unknown meat.

"They're not useless..." The newest voice belonged to Lance. The boy approached the cat burrow, his brother tailing behind.

When they heard the Riolu, the Pokemon turned around, seeing the little blue canine. Teslan stood up, analyzing the teenager.

"You two... you're not from around here, right?" he said flatly, thinking about what he was going to do.

"We are Team Liberators!" Brian said, taking one step forward. "And there's no way we'll just watch what you do to those villagers!"

The two brothers were suddenly surrounded by several felines, Pokemon called Shinx. The leader laughed; he was clearly having fun with the situation.

"Tell me... when did you graduate from the guild? How old are you? Children like you should be at home..."

Lance closed his eyes for a moment, ignoring the comment he had received, and opened them, staring at Luxray.

"From what I could see, you are an idiot who thinks you can command others based on your strength... the type of guy I hate the most!"

"What do you think you can do, kid?! You may have passed our guard, but know that I'm not kidding!" he growled, his body shining in a yellow tone.

"That's exactly what I'm talking about... but I'm willing to make a deal with you and your gang. Face me, only me, and if you win, you can do whatever you want with me and my brother," he pointed to the Zorua.

"Hey, Lance! What are you talking about? Do you want to face this guy alone?! There's no way I'm letting you do this!" the small fox rolled his eyes, protesting against the idea.

Seeing what the boy said, Teslan laughed until tears came out of his eyes, which he wiped with his paw. He then looked down, still laughing, and then turned his eyes to Lance.

"Are you serious, kid? Do you think you can beat me in combat?"

"You're pathetic, why use brawn when you can simply use your brain?" he pointed to his head.

Brian opened his mouth to protest but was barred by two Shinx who put themselves in front of him, blocking his way. Lance looked back, slowly tilting his head, as if he wanted his brother to understand. The Zorua then stopped moving, deciding to pay attention to the fight.

"Okay, kid! If you wanna die so badly, who am I to deny you that?!"" the Luxray stepped into fighting position, staring at Lance with a murderous look.

The two were 5 meters apart and remained a few moments in silence. The challenger put his backpack on the ground, taking out an item and enclosing it in his fist. The tension in the cave was immense; they could attack each other at any time, but it seemed that each competitor was waiting for an opportunity to start the fight. Then, suddenly, the lion fired an electrical discharge in the area, causing a huge flash. The spectating Pokémon instinctively covered their eyes. Lance, as he opened his eyes, noticed that the color of the burrow had changed to yellowish tones.

"Electric Terrain," Lance backed away and took a look around.

"Exactly... now, let's go!" Teslan roared, his body enveloped by an electric aura as he charged, ramming his body against Lance.

The Riolu hit the wall, falling on his face, and felt the air leave his lungs. On the opposite side, Teslan had paced the cave, shaking his head; his Wild Charge had resulted in recoil damage. Brian just watched, thinking about what he could do.

Lance stood up, spitting out a little blood and wiping his face with his hand. Then he ran, crossing his arms in an "X" shape, and leapt. Teslan saw that and immediately picked up his pacet, his body barely being able to be seen at such speed, hitting Riolu with his head before he could be hit by the Cross Chop.

Lance smiled as the lion hit him, throwing the item he had been concealing in his hand. It created an explosion upon reaching its target, throwing the combatants away from each other.

"Lance!" Brian shouted, trying to run to help his teammate, but he was held by the Shinx.

On the other side, the Luxray got up, panting, breathing in the scent of his burned fur. He growled with rage, furious that he had been deceived by a small child.

"Blast Seed. Who would have thought you had such a thing, huh, kid?!"

Lance stood up, his body visibly bruised, blood starting to flow from his chest. However, he remained standing, determined to end the fight.

His brother had an idea. Brian moved away from the Shinx and concentrated, using his illusionary ability to camouflage himself as one of the members of Teslan's pack.

"You did well, kiddo. But… Time to finish this!" he said, advancing against the child.

As he walked, he felt a blow to his back, making him stumble and fall face down on the ground. Getting up, he looked back and saw a Shinx staring at him. The feline had on his tail a small tuft of red hair.

"What the fuck are you doing?!" The Luxray growled.

Wait... that's... Lance thought as he took a deep breath. He had to trust his brother so they could do the job. After all, they were a team.

And part of the trust was going to be tested now. Lance gathered all the strength he had in his body and ran, ignoring the wounds and the pain he felt in his bones. He capitalized on his brother's distraction, raising a fist. He punched Teslan's back, blue energy pouring from his hand.

Lance released that energy in the form of a beam, hitting the Luxray with full force and throwing him in Brian's direction.

Seeing this, Brian jumped, opening his mouth and shooting a shadow sphere at Teslan.

The Luxray hit the ground with a bang, unconscious upon impact. Lance fell to his knees and his breathing accelerated; he was losing blood. Brian ran to rescue his brother, looking around.

The Shinx ran outside; without their leader, they didn't know what to do. The Zorua ignored the felines and dug through his backpack, taking some strips to wrap around Lance's wound. Teslan would wake up eventually, but the priority at the moment was to stabilize his sibling.

Placing his brother's arm around his body, the Zorua started to walk out of the cave. He had to be fast, or his brother would die. Without looking back, the boys left the cave.

Outside, the Ledian spotted them both and, realizing Lance was hurt, ran to take them to the local hospital. Arriving there, the Riolu was put to bed. Brian remained outside, pacing in panic.

"He's not going to die... he's not going to die..." he repeated the sentence to himself, walking in circles, time seemed to stand still while he waited.

Finally, after what to him seemed to be hours, a Doduo appeared at his side. One of its heads was smiling, while the other had a frown.

"Your brother is stable," one of the Doduo's heads said to the boy.

"He should recover completely in a few days," the other head spoke.

Listening to what the doctor said, Brian gave a broad smile, wagging his tail. He gave a long sigh, relieved that his brother was well.

"Thanks, doctor... doctors..." he said, lying down.

"You can visit him soon, and... we'd like to thank you for standing up to that gang..."

"Ah! The gang! Quick, can you give me a paper?! And pen made for quadruped Pokemon! I need to send a letter to Thornwell, my hometown, as soon as possible!"

"T-The post office is that way!" he pointed using his head. "But boy! You are also hurt, you need to go to the hospital! I'll warn the mailman!"

Reluctantly, Brian accepted and entered the office, being attended by some of the birds. Team Liberators had managed to remove the gang from the lives of these villagers, but at the moment, they could only think about their physical recovery and the next step in their journey.
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Dungeon 6 - The dawn of a new day


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 6 - The dawn of a new day

"Is anyone there?" one voice asked.

The Pokémon saw himself in an empty and tight space, the walls seemed to be made of metal, and there was only one door. He tried to open it by pulling the handle, but it was locked.

"Dad?! Mom?! It's Lance! Get me out of here!" he started knocking on the door, desperate. His eyes began to tear up as he tried to escape.

Suddenly, a loud bang sounded and the boy fell to the ground. The door crumbled, leaving only darkness. The Riolu moved away, trembling with fear. He tried to speak, but nothing came out.

"Lance!" he heard a voice screaming his name.

From the darkness, two red eyes appeared, staring at the crying boy.

"Lance!" the voice repeated.

The eyes seemed to approach Lance, and with that, more of the room disappeared into the darkness, which seemed to close in on the Fighting type.

"Stop it! Please!" he placed himself in a fetal position, crying and waiting for it to end.

Finally, the room was covered entirely by darkness, with Lance screaming as he was swallowed by the emptiness.

"LANCE!" the voice screamed again.

The Riolu woke up screaming, almost falling out of bed, and looked around. His brother was on his side, looking at him with a worried expression on his face. The two of them remained that way for a few moments, neither wanting to start the conversation. But Brian, gulping, decided to try.

"Did you... have a nightmare again?"

The Zorua's brother only nodded, placing a hand on his chest, right over his scars. He looked around the room, seeing that he was in the hospital of the village where they had arrived one day before.

"We beat that Luxray, didn't we?" Lance pondered, sitting up in the bed.

"Yeah, you got hurt pretty bad, and I had to bring you here!" he lowered his ears, worried about his sibling.

"Where is that Pokémon?" Lance took a deep breath, looking at his brother seriously.

"I sent a letter to our village and... half an hour ago, someone from dad's team came and took them. They're already out of Heavenwind."

Lance looked at the ceiling. He was still exhausted from the fight. Looking out the window, he saw that the flying Pokémon who lived in the village seemed to be happy, and the streets were peaceful.

"Hey, Brian..." the Fighting-type spoke, still distracted by the landscape. His face started to redden as he thought about what he was going to say.


"I was going to end up beating that Luxray without your help, but thanks," he said, blushing and looking away.

"No need to thank me, dork... I'm your brother! And your teammate!" he gave a slight laugh.

The morning passed quietly for the duo, who remained in the hospital beds. At noon, the two of them left, fixing their backpacks on their backs. In front of them was the mayor, with splints on his wings and his body bandaged. He looked at them with a smile on his beak.

"Thank you on behalf of everyone that lives here... we couldn't have thrown them out without you."

"We were just doing our jobs," Lance crossed his arms, staring at the Corviknight sternly.

"I'm glad you think so, but I can't let you leave without saying thank you at least a little!" the bird walked closer, showing a bag full of Oran Berries.

"Oh, we ran out of those! Thank you!" Brian accepted the fruit, putting it in his bag.

The two brothers waved goodbye to the village and went on their way to the road. The two continued along the trail surrounded by trees. Lance looked at the map he brought for the trip.

"Here, look," he called his brother.

Surprised by the gesture, Brian approached the Riolu, looking at the map. On it, there was an X marking a large city with several buildings drawn around it.

"Dad's team goes there from time to time," The Zorua commented.

"There is a local guild there. We can register, not as apprentices, of course, but just to get missions, nothing much. They are a means to an end," He said with a neutral tone.

"How long will it take us to get there?"

"Thanks to the wonders of technology, we took a ride and that shortened a lot. I think by the end of the afternoon we will be in town," he said, continuing in silence.

After an hour of walking they could see, in the distance, smoke coming from a series of buildings. The factory was a sign that they were arriving in town, and that they would be able to have a little rest from their hectic journey. Continuing forward, they saw a tall gate in front of the city, with a cabin. In the compartment, there was a wide Pokémon with brown fur and a yellow circle on his chest. When he noticed the duo approaching, the Ursaring turned on the speaker.

"Freeze! Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"Team Liberators. Formed in the exploration guild Hero. We moved here," Lance said, showing the team crest.

"Tsc," the bear grumbled, taking a paper and looking at a list of names. He, at last, opened the gate for the duo.

The two made their way inside the gates of Bright Dawn, and already they could see the difference. They were on a bridge that connected the entrance to the insides of the city. As he walked, the Zorua gazed on the sides of the overpass they were on, seeing a few pipes passing below. Brian could only look in awe at the city, where most of the buildings were made of with chimneys releasing fumes filled the area; setting a tone of industrialism.

"This place... is incredible!" Brian said as his eyes shined, impressed with the city. "Although I can't see the sun with all that gas. The Koffing must be having a party in those factories!"

"This is where we will spread our wings, brother," Lance said with a smirk. "Well, metaphorical wings anyway."

"I kinda wanna explore! I need to!" Brian couldn't contain his excitement, his tail wagged so hard it could break.

"We're going to the upper levels of the town. That's where the guild is," Lance said. "I can go by myself. You can go, just stay in the higher areas, and meet me in front of the guild. Okay?"

"See ya, Lance!" he smirked, dashing to the upper area.

Brian followed the streets of the city, looking at everything with rapt attention. He could see some light poles with what he believed were several Luminous Orbs on each of them, causing the Zorua to chuckle. He was always a fan of technology, after all. As he walked, Brian gazed on the wide street, where most Pokémon were walking to do their everyday tasks, coughing a little due to the vapors from the large factories in the background. The explorer finally stopped, staring at a store with a sign that read: "Watchog's Wares".

"If I'm not mistaken, Riolu evolves with the help of an item." Brian had an idea and decided to go inside.

"Hello young man, how can I help you?"

Looking where the voice came from, he saw the owner of the store: a Watchog wearing an apron. He had a toothy smile and waited for the boy to answer.

"I came to see some evolutionary items. Well, to see things in general, this store seemed interesting... sir..."

"Lumi," the Watchog answered with a smile. "And I have plenty of items. What are you looking for specifically?"

"Would you happen to have a Sun Ribbon?" he asked, sitting.

"Hmm... I think I do, wait here," Lumi left, entering a room. On his way back, he was carrying a chest. Placing it on the table, he opened it, showing a golden ribbon.

"That's exactly what I was looking for! How much will it cost?!" Brian gasped and stared at the ribbon.

"Considering it's a somewhat rare item... I'll make it for you for two thousand Poké."

"Two thousand?!" his eyes widened at the expensive price.

"Well, I bought them for four thousand... I'd say it's a reasonable price."

Brian opened his backpack, throwing the coins on the floor and grabbing the item. He ran, grumbling a little. Outside, he thought about what he would do with the rest of his free time.

At the guild headquarters, Lance was in the boss's room, sitting on a chair and drinking tea. Opposite him, also seated, there was a Swalot, who rubbed his yellow mustache. The room had a large bookshelf and a table filled with papers.

"Mr. Robert, I hope you understand my situation," Lance said after taking a sip of tea. "I heard about your guild while I was looking for where my brother and I were going to settle and I thought about coming here."

"But of course boy! You will be welcome!" the Poison-type laughed as he patted his large belly.

"Well, about our home, do you have any recommendations?" he put the glass on the table.

"In the building next to this one there is a condominium, I'll tell the landlord that you're coming, ok?" Robert grinned, looking at the Riolu's eyes.

"Right... so our discussion is over. I have to meet my brother and then we'll go there," Lance got up.

Robert extended his hand to the boy, who instinctively moved away from him. Despite finding that strange, the Swalot sighed and let the boy go his way.

As night came, clouds formed in the sky, and with them came the rain. Lance walked in silence, the water droplets fell on his fur. As he strolled, an Aggron passed right by him.

"Being Steel-type would be really useful with all this smoke," Lance sighed. "I can't wait to evolve.

"Hey! This is discrimination against me!" a voice said, coming from an establishment two blocks away.

Lance, recognizing the voice, ran to get closer. He saw his brother and in front of him, a Pangoro who had its arms crossed, looking at the Zorua.

"It is written here that Zorua and Zoroark cannot participate in the game to avoid cheating. Your illusions aren't allowed." the Pangoro pointed to a plate.

"So, that's discrimination!" the Zorua grumbled.

"We're here less than a day, and you're already getting into trouble..." Lance said, his arms crossed.

"Hey, Lance! This guy doesn't want to let me in just because I'm a Zorua."

"Sorry for my brother, sometimes he doesn't have a clue... come on, Brian, I've already talked with the guildmaster."

"Damn it," he grumbled, walking away. His brother was following right behind him.

"I got an apartment, well, the Swalot who runs the guild did, but that doesn't matter. Where did you go?"

"Well, I have a surprise for you," he laughed a little. "And I wanted to go to that casino, but they wouldn't let me in."

"A surprise? Okay, you can tell me inside our new home..."

After he said that, Lance stopped. They were in front of the building that would be their home for the foreseeable future. It was wide and like all the other places in the city, metallic and tall. The duo entered the building, going to the reception room. The receptionist was a Weavile, who stared at them.

"Lance and... Brian, right? Robert warned me that you would move in here. My name is Noir, and I'm the landlord of this condo," the Weavile told them.

While Brian looked at the place carefully, Lance nodded, waiting for the Pokémon to hand over the keys to the apartment. Noir then opened a drawer and threw the key to him, who took it and went to the stairs, looking at the number on the key. Brain trailed close behind. Their apartment was on the second floor, number 102, right at the beginning of the hall.

"Hehe, it looks like we found someone else who doesn't like to talk!" Brian said looking at his brother, laughing.

"You got the comedian of the year award..." he said as he opened the bedroom door.

The team's new home wasn't big, but it was comfortable. There was a sofa in the living room and on the left side was the kitchen, with a refrigerator turned off. At the end of the apartment, some doors led into the bedrooms and bathrooms. Lance locked the door behind them and threw the key on a table, stretching himself.

"I'm going to take a shower."

"Oh! They have a phone here!" Brian pointed to the table in the living room.

Ignoring his brother, Lance put his backpack on the floor and went to the bathroom calmly. Meanwhile, Brian put the item he had bought in his brother's backpack and laid down on the sofa, sighing with relief.

"Ah... that was a wonderful decision we made."

After turning on the shower, Lance sat on the bathroom floor, hugging his knees in silence. He hadn't demonstrated this to his brother, but the nightmare he had hadn't come out of his head yet.

I'm fine... I'm safe... I'm fine... I'm safe...

He remained wrapped in his thoughts for a while, crying alone and silently. The moon in the sky contrasted the rainy night and time seemed to stop for the boys, who had begun a new stage of their lives.
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Dungeon 7 - New challengers appear!


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 7 - New challengers appear!
Author's notes: This chapter had heavy edits added to it, as of today(01/10/2021)
I added a scene where Tyrunt goes with Lance and Brian to check the mayor's campaign manager. Also confirmed that the Druddigon is dead, and fixed the fighting scene at the end.

Brian woke up yawning; he had slept on the couch of his new apartment. The Zorua scratched his eyes and went to the kitchen, smelling pancakes. When he got there, he saw Lance sitting on a chair. Their kitchen was small, but comfortable, having a table for five Pokémon and the same number of chairs. They also had a refrigerator, which was now turned on.

"I didn't know you were a cook," he said with a laugh, sitting on one of the chairs.

"I asked them to deliver here. I think my knowledge of cooking comes down to juice," Lance said, drinking some tea from a cup.

"So what's the plan for the day, Mr. Masterchef?" The Zorua took a pancake, eating a few bites.

"I'll look for some mission in the guild; we need to create a reputation."

"Well, there must be some Caterpie that got stuck in a hole out there," Brian smirked.

"By the way, today is your day to do the dishes. Mine's tomorrow," Lance said as he took his plate and put it in the sink.

"Hey! Who said you could decide that?!" Brian grumbled.

"For starters, I rented the apartment. Also, you're the one that will have to replace the Light Ball on our fridge once it runs out of power, I know you love fixing those things," he said, heading for the bathroom.

After they left the house, the brothers went into the streets of the city. As the day before, the streets were full of movement. In front of the guild, they saw a Tyrunt who was in a hurry. Curious, the duo followed the unknown Pokémon.

The guildhall was large and they could see a wide corridor with multiple doors leading to different areas of the building, alongside stairs that stopped at the guildmaster's office. On the first floor, the siblings saw the Rock-Type running to a large board containing missions. The Tyrunt jumped, trying to pin a paper to it.

"Excuse me, is everything ok?" Lance asked, approaching the Tyrunt.

"Hm?" the dinosaur turned. "Misters! Can you help me?" the child said, trembling a bit.

"That's what we're here for!" Brian said, trying to calm the kid down.

"My dad... he's gone... it's been four days!" on the paper was the image of a Druddigon.

Lance widened his eyes, the Tyrunt's words bringing up some memories. Brian noticed that and took a deep breath, keeping the friendly face to the Tyrunt.

"Nobody accepted your request for help?" the Riolu crossed his arms, looking at the boy.

"No... Daddy is a politician, someone must have made him disappear!" At that point, the Tyrunt had tears in its eyes.

"Kid... We will find your father, you can count on us!" Lance growled, clenching his fists.

The Tyrunt forced a smile, raising his head. "Thank you so much!"

"Lance, let's do it!" Brian nodded, preparing to leave the building, only for him to feel something grabbing his tail and when he looked back, Brain saw that it was his brother.

"Not yet, we need to ask more things first, charging into the unknown is pointless," Lance said. "Kid, what can you tell us about your dad, who was running his political campaign?"

"O-Oh, well, daddy worked in this big building, I can show you!"

Brian smirked. "Sounds like a plan, then."

They walked together through the streets. Brian decided to try and cheer up the child, turning into several different Pokémon, including an Aipom, even making the sounds of a feral one, until they had arrived at what appeared to be an old building.

"Oh, we're here!" Tyrunt shouted, smiling for a bit.

Brian continued to stare at the building. It appeared to be made from concrete, and its walls were cracked all around. How did a politician choose such a place for his campaign? He ignored that, thinking it wasn't that important; someone was missing.

Lance scratched his chin. "Got it, I'll take it from here, alright? Do you know the way home?"

"Y-Yeah, I do!"

"Alright. Brian," Lance said, looking at his sibling. "Can you escort him to his house? I'll meet you back at the guild."

Brian tilted his head, sighing. He turned around and left with the Tyrunt. Now alone, Lance wondered what the whole story was; something he would find out soon enough.

The inside of the building was even more hectic, countless piles of paper were on the ground, scrambled, while a Pikachu with glasses tried to collect them all, mumbling something to themselves. While there were tables and chairs, the latter were on the floor. Lance twitched his ears, waiting for them to say something; and since the Pikachu didn't look like they were doing that anytime soon, Lance cleared his throat.

"W-Wha…? A visitor? Oh my, I'm so sorry for this mess!" the Pikachu said, a feminine voice coming out from her mouth. She got up, trembling.

Lance raised a brow. "It's fine, I'm here for—"

"Oh, I know! With the police?!" Pikachu looked down. "L-Look, I already talked with them, I-I mean, detective Apollo came here earlier this week. Look, mister Razor is missing, but I have nothing to do with it! He was so good, even hiring my services, considering how this place looks, I couldn't be more happy…"

Her aura radiated anxiety, something Lance knew very well, even without being an expert in aura sense like Lucario were. He opened his bag, showing the explorers badge of his team. "I'm a member of an exploration team, hired to investigate the disappearance of Razor. I believe you, alright? I just need to have some idea of what I'm going to do."

Pikachu blinked. "Oooh! Oh! That's better. How can I help you, then?"

"Well, first things first. When did you last see him?"

She bit her lip, trying to think of the answer to the question; her cheeks crackling with electricity. "A-A few… A few days ago, he was so nervous! Saying that… Someone was watching him from afar. I told him to go to the police, but he panicked even more!"

Lance watched in silence, processing all that she was saying. No suspects so far, it seemed, so that was the next step he needed to take. "Alright. Next question, then. Did anyone threaten you or him? It might help to have some suspects crossed off."

Pikachu trembled even more, trying to speak something, but found herself struggling to do that. Lance, noticing this, tried to reassure her. "Me and my brother have training, you won't be harmed in any way."

"I-I know one suspect, but if he finds out I told you… I'll disappear too, I'm… Sorry, I can't tell."

Growling, Lance thought about his options. With no suspects, this will be a feral Ducklett chase…

"I… Can't r-risk my life like that! I'm sorry, I really am, what happened was a tragedy, but…"

Lance looked at her in the eye. "You mentioned a detective. What if I were to talk to him? Witness protection and all. I mean, you're not a witness, I think. Regardless, it's your best option."

"Y-You would do that?!"

Lance grinned, it worked out, after all. "Why not? It's part of the job. I promise you I'll be doing that as soon as possible."

The Pikachu smiled, her eyes were sparkling. "O-Okay! I'll do that!"

"Go on, I'm waiting," Lance crossed his arms.

"S-So! About a week ago, we got a visit from this Gothitelle, she's the mayor's secretary and, well, she tried to bribe mister Razor."

Lance's eyes widened. "...A bribe? Oh."

"Y-Yeah, mister Razor refused to do that, and the next day, it started. Every time he came here, he complained about being followed wherever he went!"

Lance scratched his chin, so the mayor and his secretary were suspects? If nobody saw Razor again, the chances of him being alive were not high.

"I got it. Thank you for your help, miss."

Pikachu nodded. "You're welcome! What are you going to do now?"

"First I need to meet my brother again, then we'll figure out our next move. Don't worry, like I promised, I'll talk to this detective."

Lance left the place, thinking about what he would do next.

On his way to the guild entrance, Lance could see his brother from afar, looking down. He felt a shiver all over his body and ran as fast as he could to the doorway. His mind raced, trying to think of what happened. Lance didn't assume the worst, considering his brother was still there, but nonetheless, he worried.

"Lance, thank Arceus you're here!" Brian shouted, running to meet his sibling. He seemed to be okay, Lance couldn't see any wounds or bruises on him, only a faint aura of uneasiness.

"I… Are you okay?"

"Me? Yeah, I'm okay. That Tyrunt… Lance, once we got to his house, he got some terrible news, his dad…"

Brian didn't even need to finish the sentence for Lance to understand what was going on. He clenched his fist, that case just went from missing Pokémon to murder.

"Did you find anything useful? I feel awful for that kid!" Brian lowered his ears, whining.

Lance growled, looking around. Once he saw there weren't many Pokémon, he continued. "We have two suspects: the mayor and his secretary. That Druddigon was being followed and even bribed by them."

Brian's fur stood on end, and he had to contain himself from exploding right there. He wanted to do something as fast as he could. He spent a few minutes slowing his breathing.

"I think we should try to see the mayor," Brian finally calmed down, flashing a small smile.

"Yeah, we can try that, but I don't think you can see the mayor without an appointment," Lance shrugged.

"Not if you're a member of a famous exploration team!" laughing, he turned into a Lucario, a copy of his father. The only indication of the illusion was the tail, which had a red tip.

"That's... not a bad idea, come on!"

Stopping at the entrance, the two entered in silence. The mayor's secretary was sitting at his desk, reading a book. Getting closer, the "Lucario" tapped his paws on the table, trying to get her attention.

"Excuse me... miss…"

"Miss Jane. What can I do to help you?" the Gothitelle said without even looking at them.

"I'm Nick Williams, a member of Team Hero. And this is my son, Lance," he pointed to the Riolu.

"Good morning... we need to talk to the mayor," the boy said with his arms crossed.

"Let me see if he is available." she turned on the phone, calling the mayor, and then nodded.

Climbing the stairs, they went into the mayor's office. The building was also large, filled with rooms for all of the Alakazam's employees. The mayor had to be a busy Pokémon, but those two were determined to get answers.

"To what do I owe this team's visit?" the Alakazam said to the two Pokémon, his gaze fixed on them. The Psychic-type was not an idiot and tried to read their minds, although for some reason it didn't work on the Lucario.

"We received a mission from a Tyrunt; apparently his father disappeared," the Lucario crossed his arms, looking at the Psychic-type.

"He mentioned that the missing Pokémon was a politician, and—" Lance began to speak.

"You suspect me of having something to do with this, right?" Prometheus kept his gaze on them without even flinching. "I can tell, even without reading your minds."

Brian began to sweat but tried to stay calm. His brother took a slight look at him and faced Alakazam again.

"Well, I can assure you it wasn't me," he got up, looking through his office window. "It's a tragedy, certainly, and someone else has asked me about this. You can talk to the police, I was their first suspect. They will confirm that I'm innocent."

Lance closed his fists. He couldn't tell if the Alakazam was lying through his aura. They would have to find evidence to connect him to the case.

"I understand... I'm sorry to disturb you..." Brian turned around, getting out of there with Lance.

While the two of them were leaving, the mayor saw the Lucario's red tail, realizing the illusion.

How did they know about me?! Who even are they? I can't bribe, not this time, it's too risky if they're already onto me!

Prometheus picked up the phone. "I need to silence those brats…"

Half an hour later, at the lower parts of the city, three Steel-type Pokémon were talking to each other in a bar that was filled with mercenaries. They had received the Alakazam's message and were now discussing what their next move would be.

"Well, which one of us will take care of the target this time? They're a Dark-type and a Fighting-Type," Atlas grumbled.

"I offer myself," the Empoleon raised his fin.

"You just want to get the money for yourself as usual," the Bisharp said, rolling his eyes.

"He has a point, y'know. We can't use Flint, the last time he was the one who murdered the client's target, he would be a suspect!" Atlas snarled, hopefully, this job would be easy.

"Well, both of you have a 4x weakness against the fighting one… and as always your cowardice prevents us from getting better jobs, Atlas," Napoleon nodded.

"Okay, so you'll take care of it, Napoleon. Do we know where they live?" Flint crossed his arms.

"The mayor said that they have affiliated with Black Skull, which means they must live in one of the apartments. If I pay the landlord, he should let me pass without problems," the water Pokémon pondered.

"It seems that your greed will finally be useful. You better not screw this up, or I'll cut you up like a steak," Flint said, pointing his blades at him.

The day passed and the duo continued looking for clues. They decided to interrogate some Pokémon close to the victim, but most did not reveal anything important. The biggest hint was that he disappeared at night and left his house alone. The two of them then went back home.

Lance was in his room, writing in a notebook. His brain was racing, thinking about several chances of what had happened to the Druddigon. Outside the house, rain was falling and the sky was dark.

"Is it already dark? I lost track of time again." stretching, he left his room, going into the living room.

His brother was on the sofa, eating some Oran Berry pie they had ordered. When he noticed the Riolu, he left the sofa, waiting to see what he was going to say.

"I'm still sure the mayor is involved in this, damn. He's resistant to my aura," Lance snarled to himself.

"I can infiltrate his office, I don't think he'll be there all night..." Brian sighed.

While they were distracted by the conversation, the doorknob started to spin. The noise made the boys turn around, staying in combat position. Then, the door opened, but there was nobody there. Brian camouflaged them both with an illusion that made them invisible. They went to the corridor of the building.

Not only did he try to deflect, but he must have sent someone to attack us, but who? Lance thought, his hand on his chin.

Suddenly, the place lit up, a silver gust of energy being fired. Barely having time to dodge, the illusion was undone, the two brothers looking at their enemy. On the other side was Empoleon hired to deal with them.

"My my, some new kids barely arrive and there's already that much trouble?" he gave them a smirk.

"Who hired you?!" Lance remained serious, standing in a combat position.

Brian shouted, body wrapped in a dark aura as he charged against Napoleon. Despite hitting him, the attack did little damage. His opponent laughed at the move, simply punching Brian with his fin, sending him across the hall, crashing into Lance.

I am not dying here! Lance got up, ignoring all the pain he felt from that attack, even removing the sweat off his face. Taking a look behind the Empoleon, he saw a window.

"Well, well, I gotta speed up, don't you think?" Napoleon's body glowed pink and he ran, the sheer speed making wind blow through the corridor.

Brian grunted, copying the move, increasing his speed as well, enough to shove himself and Lance out of the way.

"Wow, I'm impressed... you're not so bad kids!" he continued to smirk.

"Shut up!" Lance dashed forward, his arms in the X position and shining. He jumped, trying to hit the penguin.

The enemy took one step back, dodging the blow, and opened his mouth, a white energy inside. Brian ran, still with the speed increase of before, his paws were shining like Lance's.

"Argh!" Brian copied the Cross Chop his brother had used, hitting the Empoleon in full force at the same time that he fired the energy, pushing Brian to the other side of the corridor. He hit the wall and fell to the ground, struggling to move.

While the two exchanged blows, Lance prepared to hit the penguin. He closed his fists, which glowed in a blue tone, aiming at the steel Pokémon.

"I'm strong enough to defeat you, moron!" Lance fired a gust of blue energy at his opponent.

Despite his best effort, a barrier appeared in front of the penguin, protecting him from attack.

"Tsc…" grumbling, the Riolu jumped, trying to hit him with another Cross Chop, only for Napoleon to dodge at the last moment.

Seeing the room's window, Napoleon noticed an opportunity while Lance was distracted. His fins were wrapped in water, giving the impression that he had made blades. Then, with his increased speed, the Pokémon advanced against Lance, cutting him with the swords he had made.

"It's time to take out the trash…"

The impact was so strong that Lance was thrown through the window, falling from the height of two floors, falling into a garbage can. In the building, the Empoleon smiled, thinking that his work was done. Well, if the mayor wanted them dead, he should pay more for the Crew. In silence, he left the place.

"W-Wait, Lance!" Brian ran outside the building.

During his hectic running, he came across Napoleon, but ignored him, that wasn't important right now! Instead, he focused on finding his brother. Once he did, he found Lance on top of a trash bin, moaning in pain.

"H-Hospital…" Lance said, spitting a little blood, his vision blurring.
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Dungeon 8 - The fox and the hound


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 8 - The fox and the hound
Author's notes: This chapter went through heavy edits in some of its scenes, as of today (01/10/2021)

Brian was sitting in a chair in the city hospital, thinking. He had received the news that his brother was stable, but that he would need to rest for a while.

I'll need to do something by myself, sleeping in the hospital is awful. I wonder if the door's already fixed… Hm, maybe there's some info around the guild? That kid did post the mission there, after all! Brian pondered, leaving the hospital.

He walked around the streets in silence, planning what to do for the day. First, speak to the guildmaster, maybe they weren't the first team to find the mission, and he could get some intel about it. Then, go to the police station, Lance mentioned that he made a promise to put that Pikachu in witness protection, but Brian also needed to talk to the detective he heard about.

Got it! This seems like a good plan, nice! Brian smirked, he was at the guild's door. Taking a deep breath, he entered, going straight to the guildmaster's office. He stood on two legs, knocking on the door with his paws.

"You can come in!"

Brian got inside, prepared to make some questions, he wasn't sure if he could get any good info during this visit, but felt the need to try anyway.

"Oh, hello, child. What do I owe you the pleasure of this visit? Swalot patted his large belly, chuckling.

"Good morning!" he said, walking in circles. "Right, so, my brother and I got a mission about this Druddigon, you know, they found his body yesterday. We got a tip on a few suspects, so we talked to the mayor and shortly after, an Empoleon attacked us. Then I thought... you've been here longer than us, do you know this Pokémon?"

Robert rolled his eyes. "A lot of teams took that mission, but I assure you, it's not worth the risk, they gave up in the end. I'll tell you what, would you like to get the reward anyway?"

Brian growled, claws sticking out. "Now listen here, I'm the one that decides if it's worth it or not! My brother was hurt because of this!

Robert rubbed his mustache. "Well, I understand you're angry about that, but there's nothing I can do..."

"Well, FINE! I'll just do it myself then!"

Brian ran out of the room, thoughts scrambled. So that didn't work out very well, except that he now knows there were more teams; now he needed to go to the police, but before that, Brian wanted to test something. Focusing all his might, Brian hid himself again, tail included. He just needed to be careful and quick, hiding the tail took too much energy.

Okay, I really hope this won't be pointless in the end… He tried to bribe me, I'm sure!

Brian entered the room again, thankful that the door was still open, so he waited. Having no idea what time it was made him nervous, but eventually, Robert made a call.

"One of the boys came to ask me for answers!" Robert shouted at the phone. "Of course I tried to make him quit! We can't let our deal end!"

...Of course he's involved in this, but what does that have to do with those other teams? Brian wondered, still listening to that phone call.

"What do you mean I need to make a deal? Urgh, fine! I'll do that once the other kid wakes up," with that said, the Swalot hang up.

That's all Brian needed to know, he left the place again, and when he got far enough away, he undid the illusion, panting.

T-This took so much energy, but I don't have time to waste!

While walking, his mind created some theories. The guildmaster was involved in this whole thing, and having the support of the mayor only made things harder to solve. Brian questioned what authorities he could trust, but for the moment, he wanted to try.

What the Zorua first noticed on the interior was the number of desks the place had. The corridor extended for a while and Brian could see a Raichu handcuffed, being taken away by a Rhyperior.

Brian was now in the middle of the room, where some Pokémon were walking around, being the police, they were busy with their jobs. Yet, one of them, a Tyranitar, noticed Brian and walked towards him.

"How can I help you?" the Rock-Type questioned Brian.

"Hi! Uh, I need to talk to this detective, I think his name is Apollo?"

"Of course, Apollo is one of our finest detectives, a little weird, but a nice mon to be around. Follow me," he turned around, going through a hallway with Brian.

Entering the room, the two of them saw an Arcanine folding through some papers, a large glass containing what appeared to be coffee. The Tyranitar sighed, clearing his throat to catch the Arcanine's attention.

"Hm? What's up?" Apollo twitched his ears.

"Well, you have a visitor," Tyranitar shrugged.

"Oh, yeah, hi!" Brian said, waving with his front paw.

"Hm? " moving his ears, he looked at the boy who had arrived. "What do you want? I'm kind of busy right now."

"It's about the Druddigon," Tyranitar said.

"Oh, my bad then, sorry, kiddo!" Apollo laughed, watching the Tyranitar leave.

"S-Sure, I guess. Anyway, I'm Brian Williams, member of an exploration team with my brother! I need to ask a couple of things," he nodded, approaching Apollo.

"Alright, do tell! I'm all ears!" He said, twitching his large, fluffy ears.

"My brother went to see that Druddigon's manager, and, well, it seems that the victim was panicking a lot before he got killed," Brian gasped. "O-Oh yeah, that Pikachu! She told us everything, we need to put her in witness protection, right?"

Apollo tilted his head, whining. "Huh, she told you? She didn't say anything to me. Well, I'll do that anyway. Anything else?"

"She said that the mayor's secretary, this Gothitelle, wanted to pay them to stop the campaign. We tried to ask the mayor, but what happened was that he ignored and—"

"Sent someone to attack you both." Apollo finished Brian's sentence. "I see... listen, did you go to the guild?"

"I was there before I came here, but it was the same thing that happened with the mayor. He told me to ignore it," Brian tapped his paws on the ground, snarling.

Apollo barked. "Exactly! You're pretty clever, kiddo. See, they tend to operate like this, bribing Pokémon, and if they refuse, well… murder. I talked to some teams about this Druddigon case, not only they refused to comment, I checked their bank accounts."

Brian blinked. "...They took the bribe?! Why?!"

"Beats me. But things seem different now. Are you going to help me with this?"

"What about that Empoleon? He's a mercenary, right?" Brian took a deep breath, trying to calm down while waiting for an answer.

"Ah, yes, I also searched about him... I have some informants inside, and thanks to them, I got some important intel about the mercenaries," after talking about it, the Arcanine took some papers, putting them on the table.

"Wait a minute, "mercenaries" as in, there's more than one?" he said, jumping on the chair to take a better look at the papers.

There were pictures of some Pokémon: an Aggron, a Bisharp, and an Empoleon. Brian then realized that they were dealing with more than one criminal. Thinking, he concluded that the one responsible for the Druddigon's disappearance was somebody else and the Water-type was a diversion.

"Damn it…" he snarled.

"Yes. From what I was told, the Aggron is called Atlas and he is the team leader. The Bisharp's name is Flint and the Empoleon's is Napoleon. The group calls itself Heart of Steel Crew." he spoke, explaining to the boy.

"Ok! So I have an idea of who I'm facing, but can you tell me the reason for not having arrested the mayor with all this information?"

"Kid, things are not so simple... arresting someone so influential in this city is something that needs as much proof as possible. Things like a confession, you know?"

"If that's what you need, then that's what I'm going to deliver…" coming down from the chair, he had a determined look on his face.

"Hey, wait! You're not thinking of breaking into his office to ask?!"

"Of course I am!" turning around, he growled, irritated with that situation, his tail wagging quickly. "I tried my brother's way and he's all hurt now! If I do it my way, it might work!"

The Arcanine then sighed, looking at the Zorua directly, analyzing the boy. He then chuckled, closing his eyes. Brian, without understanding what was happening, slowly walked away.

"Listen, Zorua, your intentions are good, but if you go forward against any situation without any plan, you won't survive... it's a tip from me."

The boy started thinking. Since they left home, he tried to take the reins in the dungeons they went to. First, with Zebstrika, even though the two of them had controlled the situation, they still got hurt. Then with Luxray's gang, where Lance almost died. Internally, he hated having to admit that the detective was right.

"How to face an enemy protected by all who are the authority here then?! I have to protect Lance!"

"You understand how their mind works..." Apollo opened a drawer, taking an envelope from it.

"I never saw that many Steel-types together, it seems a bit odd for me, it's not effective since they all have the same weaknesses," Brian scratched his chin. "They'd have to know each other well for that crew to function properly. Kinda like… a well-oiled machine, you know?"

"Haha, that makes sense, kiddo, I never thought a Zorua would enjoy those things!"

Brian blushed, ears dropping. "U-Uh, well, I do want to take this engineering course I saw the other day. Our team needs a mechanic!"

"Fair enough, now back to our plans. I know where they came from and some things from their past. The question is: kiddo, will you help me?"

Brian shivered, a memory asserting itself on his brain. "I know what it feels like to… to worry about a loved one, thinking that they're… they're dead," Brian said, words escaping him as he did that. "That Tyrunt doesn't deserve this, and neither does everyone else. Of course, I will help!"

Apollo saw that scene, thinking about what Zorua had gone through to be like that. It wouldn't be a good idea to ask if he didn't want to talk, he had to have his reasons. He then opened the envelope with one of his paws.

"Have you ever heard of the city of Oreshard?"

"I... no..." Brian thought for a moment.

"So let me explain to you..."
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Dungeon 9 - Not all that glitters is gold: Part 1


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 9 - Not all that glitters is gold: Part 1

A little Aron played in front of his house, bouncing a ball with his head. Despite being all alone, the Pokémon was having fun.

"Son! Playtime is over," a female voice said, the Aron turning at her direction.

"Victoria, the boy has to play a little, it can't be training all day..." another voice commented.

In front of him were two Pokémon; a Nidoking with a large smile on his face, and a female Aggron, who was just staring at the boy without any emotion at all.

"Father, Mother!" the little Aron said, approaching them.

"Atlas, it's time for your training! Your father is too soft, I don't know how he got this job…" she said, looking at the explorer's crest on her chest.

"Clearly because I am good at it!" The Nidoking laughed, putting his hand on his gray belly.

"But I was going to call Napoleon to come here..." Atlas lowered his head.

Victoria grumbled in response. "That boy is a terrible influence on you, his father is addicted to gambling".

"It's okay..." His voice became weaker, he left the ball outside and entered the house before heading to the back of it, where his training area parents followed him in silence.

The boy reached the place, his parents going in right behind him. It was a wide room—the stone floor barely reflected the light coming from the sun. Atlas then went to the left end, waiting to see what his parents had planned for the training.

"Well, Atlas, today we will do things a little differently..." Victoria said, a slight smile on her face.

"Honey, I..." the Nidoking tried to talk.

"Quiet, Nate," she said, snarling at the Nidoking. "The boy needs to face all sorts of difficulties if he's going to become a decent explorer!"

"Alright... I'll get him at the police station..." with a sigh, Nidoking left the place.

"Get who? At the police station?" the little Aron questioned, shaking his head.

"Today you're going to have a practical class... but unlike the other times, you're not going to face me or your father. We caught a criminal, he's an Infernape and his name is... Wukong..."

The two Steel-type Pokémon waited for half an hour until Atlas' father came back, bringing with him an Infernape, handcuffed and staring directly at Atlas with an evil grin.

"Is the deal we made still standing?" Wukong said, analyzing the place before looking at Victoria.

"Yes..." she then looked at her son. - this Infernape is a very famous bandit... he killed many Pokémon and we made a deal with him. You two will face each other and... your job is to knock him out, or he will kill you, do you understand?"

Hearing that, Aron widened his blue eyes. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. His own mother had made a bargain that could cause his death! Trembling with fear, he began to recoil slowly. His mother, seeing this, frowned, angry with the boy.

"If you give up without even trying, I'll let him go immediately..."

"I... accept the challenge..." the boy said, swallowing dryly as he looked down.

The Nidoking known as Nate sighed, taking the cuffs off the Infernape. After being released, he smiled, his flames burning with more intensity than before. He then ran towards Atlas, his fist shining in a blue tone as he punched the Aron's face with so much strength that the steel armor started to crack, throwing him against the wall.

"That's it! Sorry kid, but Mach Punch is a move with priority..." he spoke, shaking his tail and smiling at the Aron.

Atlas stood up after the impact, but his vision was blurry, he could barely stand up. In his head dripped blood from Infernape's blow. Even with all his injuries, he began to walk back slowly. It was a matter of life or death for the boy.

"Sorry, kid, but I don't want to spend my life behind bars!" the monkey's body was surrounded with flames, he ran to finish the child.

Atlas was paralyzed with fear, he didn't know what to do. Ever since he was little, his parents made him go through intense training so that he could be like them. The boy had always imagined he had to fulfill their expectations, but not this time. Giving himself completely, he closed his eyes. For a few moments, he didn't hear anything. Until a drill noise appeared in the air.

"Take this!" the voice came from Nidoking, his horn was spinning fast, he hit Infernape, which immediately fell to the ground, fainted.

"What do you think you are doing?" Victoria was screaming, snorting, and approaching her husband. "I said let it happen!"

"Are you an idiot by any chance, woman?! It's one thing to train the Atlas, but it's another to send him to his death since he's 15 years old! Boys his age should have fun with friends, not go through situations like this!"

Aron sighed. On one hand, he was happy to survive that. On the other hand, he was worried about what his parents would do now. Such fights were already beginning to become common in the boy's home.

"I'm sick of it... I'm sick of you!" Still snorting, the female Aggron left the place banging her feet on the ground so hard it was causing small tremors.

The Nidoking then turned to his son, looking at him firmly. Even if these Pokémon didn't have eyebrows, he seemed to be tired of all the fights he had with his wife.

"Is Mommy leaving?" the boy said before falling to the ground, exhausted from the fight.

"I don't know, but I'll stay here with you... we have to take you to the hospital and... and leave Wukong in jail."

"Alright..." nodding, Atlas thought about what was ahead. He had to be strong, for himself and for his father.

One day later, a Piplup was lying on a bed staring at the ceiling.. One of its eyes was swollen purple, but he kept it locked on the roof, not feeling well enough to do anything else.

"Napoleon! Your friend is here!" a male voice said and it was possible to hear the sound of the footsteps of its owner as he distanced himself.

"Atlas! You can come in!" the boy said in a loud voice, waiting for his friend.

The Aron entered his friend's room in silence, looking directly at him. He had a band in his head from where his armor had cracked the day before.

"Hey, man." the penguin said, sitting on his bed.

Atlas interrupted him "What happened to your eye? Was it your father again?"

"I ask the same about your face..." he said, staring at his friend's bandages.

"My mother made me face a criminal and he almost killed me..." the boy said, his voice carrying a tone of sadness.

"A toast... to dysfunctional families…" Napoleon let out a sarcastic laugh, rolling his eyes.

"I wanted to do something away from them, do you want to walk around?"

"Oreshard is not exactly a big city, but I'll take it. Anything to stay away from my crazy father!" he jumped out of bed.

After the kids left Piplup's house, they began walking around the city. It was located in a mountainous region, with an old, abandoned mine near the end of the road. Most of the houses were made of metal, particularly steel. White ivory peaks towering over the rushing white streams falling into the abyss as the mountains were as tall as their eyes could see.

"You know, you're the water type, and you still live in a place that has most of the steel, ground, or rock types." Atlas said, giving him a laugh.

"Well, my evolution is part steel." he said, shrugging.

"Ah, I want to show you where we are going today!" he pointed to a house on a hill, but unlike the others, it seemed bigger, like a mansion.

"Wait, are we going to break into the richest family's house here?!" Napoleon questioned his friend, suddenly raising his voice..

"Honestly I just wanted to see what it's like, to stay away from my family even if only for today?" he kept his head down.

"Curiosity killed the Meowth..." sighing, he walked next to Aron.

The walk along the hill was done in silence, Atlas had a lot to think about. His mother hadn't come home yet after the last fight she had with Aron's father and he was starting to worry.

"Hey, Atlas, will we get in?" The Piplup forced a smile, trying to bring up the subject with his friend.

"I wanted to at least take a look at this mansion... man, it must be nice to live in a place like that!"

When they arrived at the top, they saw that the house had a huge fence in front. A guard Pokémon standing in front of it, a Sandslash. However, it had a blue body with what appeared to be icicles on its back. Seeing that, Napoleon then ran towards them as fast as he could.

"What do you want, kids?" the blue Sandslash spoke, turning around to face them, his spikes emitting an icy noise.

"I've never seen a Sandslash like this before, where are you from?" the Piplup asked, his eyes shining with excitement.

"He's from another continent... my parents told me some Pokémon have variations," Atlas arrived, panting from all that walking.

"You did not answer my question. If you came to talk to this family, which I doubt considering you're children, you'll have to wait. They traveled."

"We just wanted to see the place!" Aron spoke, walking away slowly.

"Then you already did. Get out of here! Before I throw you both out myself!"

"They are my guests," the three of them heard a voice.

Behind the gate was a Pawniard, a teenager like the other two. He stared at the Sandslash, waiting for him to open the gate.

"O-Of course, Mr. Flint! Excuse my intrusion!" When he said that, he opened the door for the boys, who entered the place.

The garden they were in was wide, the house itself was still at the bottom and the place had an artificial lake. Waving to Atlas and Napoleon, Flint kept on walking, calling them. The two friends then followed the Pawniard.

"So, what brings you here? I'm used to having visitors, but never from Pokémon my age."

"Ah, we just wanted to see what it was like here," the Aron said, his face turning red with shame.

"Hm, you were going to get hurt pretty bad, that Sandslash isn't usually what you would call nice... or has he already done that to you, Piplup?" he said pointing to Napoleon's purple eye.

"Thanks for helping us and no, I was already with that from earlier today," he sighed, he didn't want to tell Pawniard the complete truth.

"Well, it was my pleasure. As I said, it's rare to see Pokémon my age. My parents insist that I should deal only with 'nobility'. My name is Flint, and yours?" he asked with a smile.

"I am Atlas."

"Napoleon! I'm glad to meet you!" the penguin extended his fin to Flint.

"My parents are traveling, so I can see you until the day they return. Business trip, so it may take a while," he greeted Piplup with a wave so as to not hurt him with his blades.

The newly formed trio of friends entered the residence, wanting to talk and get to know themselves better. For the rest of the day, they could forget about the family problems they had, relaxing and playing, like the teenagers they were.
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Dungeon 10 - Not all that glitters is gold: Part 2


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 10 - Not all that glitters is gold: Part 2
Author's notes: This chapter contains the following trigger warning:
Violence and mild swearing.
I should also mention this chapter has some edits. It's basically polishing the action scenes and adding a little bit of foreshadowing at the end.

The two months that had passed since Flint met the Aron and the Piplup represented a good time in his life. He had finally made friends, and during this period, he had helped them to train their skills. In fact, they were now in one of the training sessions. The Pawniard stood with arms crossed, watching the fight between Atlas and Napoleon, the water-type now had a different appearance, having evolved into Prinplup.

"You may have the type advantage and have evolved, but I won't give in so easily!" The Aron declared, advancing against his friend.

The Prinplup's body shone in a pink tone as he ran towards the other, his speed increasing before he fired a pulse of water from his beak, hitting Atlas and pushing him across the ground.

"The winner is Napoleon!" Flint announced, raising his arm to call the fight.

"Sorry man, but it seems I won this time!" laughing, the water Pokémon put his flipper on his head.

"Well, it was a good fight, thanks for helping me train, Flint!"

"Well, it wasn't for nothing." Flint closed his eyes. "Listen, my parents will be back in a few hours. So we won't be able to see each other that often. How about a party? To celebrate our friendship!"

Napoleon nodded. "Sure! We can have a lot of fun! We've already trained so hard in those months..."

Finally, Atlas answered"Sorry. I want to stay a little with my dad, he's still not taking it very well," the boy put his head down.

"Of course, Atlas..."

The three friends agreed and went their separate ways, anxious. Atlas went straight to bed when he got home, falling asleep as soon as he laid in his bed. His mind was calm. Although the boy's only wish was peace, fate seemed to have other plans for him.

The sound of an explosion woke Atlas, who fell from his bed. Disoriented, he peeked out the window, and the vision he saw made the boy widen his eyes in fear. Outside he could see only smoke, accompanied by the noise of fire, and something that sounded like mechanical steps. Then, the door opened hard. The boy's father was on the other side, panting.

"Atlas, we have to get out," the Nidoking was interrupted by another explosion, this time having hit their house, the two were knocked out immediately.

Away from the residence, Napoleon was running around, heart racing, trying to dodge the shots as he covered his head with his flippers. The boy didn't know what to do.

"Dad?! Where are you?!" he screamed in despair, trying to find his parent.

The Prinplup then heard a coughing noise and went towards the sound. As he walked, he saw that the other residents were running disorderly, the houses destroyed and on fire. When he got closer, he saw his father under rubble, his black body bleeding, he was trying to free himself, without success. Napoleon then pulled his father from there, pulling him out the ruins.

"Ah! Son! At last you were useful, how nice! We have to get out of here..."

"I don't know where my friends are! I have to find them!" he struggled to hold his father.

"Nobody cares about your friends! Let's get out of here!"

Then, they heard the sound of footsteps, and as both turned their faces towards the direction of the sound, they saw a Genesect standing there with a grin on its eyes, the cannon on its back shined. The smoke was all around it.

What kind of Pokémon is that? I don't recognize it from anywhere! Napoleon thought, his body was shaking with fear.

"W-Who are you?! I didn't do anything, you can take the boy, but leave me alone!" the Empoleon said as he stuttered away from his son.

"My name is Genesect, and... are you sure this is the choice you want to make? Are you going to let your son die to save your own hide?" the mysterious Pokémon said and the Empoleon nodded.

"Dad?! What are you talking about?" The boy was in shock and trembled, not wanting to believe what his father said.

"You can go then," Genesect crossed his arms, waiting.

Empoleon then ran, laughing happily that his plan had worked. He didn't even look back, too busy running away from there. The Prinplup's father didn't notice fast enough the lightning coming towards him, puncturing his stomach and leaving a smoking hole in the penguin's body.

"Hmph," Genesect calmly declared, the cannon's energy disappearing.

"DAD!" Napoleon screamed as he ran to his rescue, but when he got there, he could see that he was not moving or reacting to his calls. The prinplup tried everything, but his father had already died.

"I'm sorry boy, but don't worry, you'll join him..." his cannon shone again, creating a silver sphere, which was thrown against Napoleon.

In the blink of an eye, a quadruped Pokémon appeared in the middle of them, and in his head there was a sword of blue energy, which he cut the sphere, producing a huge explosion. After the smoke cleared, the Prinplup could finally determine who was the new arrival. A Cobalion. He tapped his hooves on the ground, staring at the bug.

"Boy... run away..." he said without even looking at Napoleon.

"Cobalion, you bastard!" Genesect gnashed his teeth, banging his feet on the ground, producing the same metallic sound as before.

"You are attacking this city without any purpose, it is my job as Sword of Justice to finish you off..."

Scared, the Prinplup ran away, carrying his father's body on his shoulders. Alone, the legendary Pokémon stared at each other for a few seconds and then advanced against each other with violence.

Flint woke up with a sore head, he felt as if someone had thrown an entire house on him. The boy looked around, seeing only ruins of what had been his house. He immediately cut through the debris with the blades in his arms, looking for his parents.

"Dad?! Mom! Where are you?!" The boy had a hoarse voice, he was desperate to find his family.

And at last he saw them, but not the way he expected. In front of him, the boy saw two Bisharp, they didn't move or scream, they just stood there. Flint widened his eyes, realizing what had happened. Without holding on, he let out a loud cry of pain and suffering, tears streaming down his eyes as the truth hit him.

Who did this? the boy thought, without knowing what to do now that his parents were dead. He fell on his knees, and screamed until he no longer had voice.

The two Legends were running around the city, each one trying to hit the other with their attacks. Genesect fired energy from his cannon while Cobalion deviated quickly to avoid it, they then stopped in front of a house, panting.

"You son of a bitch! Stand still so I can toast you!" the insect growled, his cannon glowing with yellow energy as _ prepared to fire again.

I'm getting tired and I have to dodge... the quadruped thought, then he was pushed aside by another Pokémon, who took the blow in his place.

The being in question was the Nidoking known as Nate, who by his typing, took no damage from Genesect's electrical attack. The equine widened his eyes, realizing what had happened.

"Don't worry, Cobalion! It's the first time I've seen a legend, sorry to intrude, but I had to help," the explorer said, his eyes shining with determination.

"You may have gotten help from someone else, Cobalion, but our fight isn't over yet! Signal Beam!" Genesect was charging another shot, green-colored, shooting at the quadruped Pokémon.

The Nidoking put himself in front of the shot, spreading his hands and generating a rainbow-colored Protect barrier, protecting them from the blow. He removed the sweat from his face, staying in a combat position.

If I hit a Horn Drill on that thing, this fight will be over, the Ground-type pondered.

Atlas woke up again, this time in the middle of the commotion. He could barely see, but in the little he could, he noticed his father standing together with one Pokémon, facing another. Genesect ejected the object in his cannon, taking a new one out of his backpack and inserting it. He laughed lightly, analyzing his enemies. The Aron then slowly left the remains of his house, shaking his head to clear it as he tried to think of something he could do. Then, the bug Pokémon spotted the boy and let out a small laugh.

"Cobalion, I'm sorry but this fight is over now," he said with a grin, charging the shot one more time, aiming at Atlas.

"Nidoking! Protect the boy! I'll deal with him! Work Up!" Cobalion's body shone orange, his Attack, and Special Attack status increasing.

Noticing this, the boy's father ran to rescue his son, jumping and grabbing him in his arms. The two enemies that were near him started to carry their blows. From Cobalion's mouth, red energy formed, while from Genesect's cannon a blue gust was fired.

"...I'm finishing this!" Cobalion shouted as their attacks collided

Atlas could not see anything else that happened, a huge explosion followed by a flash that both blinded him and knocked him out once again. The wind howled, pieces of houses, and other debris flew around due to the impact of the legendary blows, the city was devastated. Both the boy and his father were ferociously dragged away from the collision. From afar, Flint and Napoleon could see the strong wind that was approaching them, before it threw them both away. The trio's life would not be the same after the event.

One month later, Atlas ran through the streets of a city, he was followed by a humanoid Pokémon of defined muscles. The Aron from before was different, his body was now bigger, even though still quadruped, and his armor had become more resistant. Now a Lairon, Atlas tried to escape from the Machoke, but his speed left a lot to be desired. But the Fighting-type then received a sudden cut on its chest and fell to the ground.

"Flint, thank you... we couldn't lose his money..."

"I'm starving," the Pawniard came out of the shadows, panting.

"It's a miracle we can eat, I hate it... all of it... being the survivors all the time... I want to have control of my own life!" He took a handful of the Machoke's money.

"Hm, if you want that I have a suggestion, but let's see with Napoleon when we get to our… home."

The duo then left the alley. They wandered the streets in silence, glaring at the metal buildings. The city where they now lived was Bright Dawn, known for sheltering Pokémons from various places. They kept walking, going to a less noble area of the city, different from the upper levels. They were now in slums, where most of the crime was located. The friends entered one of the residences. When they arrived there, they saw the Prinplup laying on the floor with a bottle of beer on his flipper, assaulting it mercilessly.

"You'll be sick if you keep drinking like that," Atlas looked worried, he threw the coins on the ground.

"Screw you! I'm not in a good mood today," he said, ignoring the other's comment, before taking another swig.

"Well, gentlemon, I... have a suggestion for our problem," Flint said, sitting on the floor.

"Really?! What problem? Our poverty? Or was it the fact that everyone who mattered to us was killed in a stupid fight between two legendary Pokémon?!" Napoleon said in a sarcastic tone.

"I don't like things the way they are too, so... the idea I'm about to say is an extension of what we're doing."

"You mean the robberies?" Atlas questioned, rolling his eyes.

"Yes, the robberies... we can take a step further, and... we become mercenaries."

"Mercenaries?" Napoleon said, seeming interested in the idea, now looking at Flint carefully.

"The opposite of what I was born to be..." Atlas stopped to analyze the situation. During his whole life, he had been raised to be an explorer, but because of that. his mother left him and his father died trying to protect him. "Screw it, I'm in."

"I'm excited about this idea. I'm in as well!" Napoleon smirked.

"Then from this day forward, we shall be known as… the Heart of Steel Crew," Flint laughed.

"Means to an end for us, then!" Napoleon cheered.

Means to an end, eh? Good, that's all you'll ever be, my "friends", Flint thought. Yes, that was a good opportunity for him to improve his own skills. After all that happened, he needed to be strong, so he wouldn't suffer the same fate as his parents.
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Dungeon 11 - Setting the stage


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 11 - Setting the stage

"So that's what happened?" the Zorua said, having just heard the story that detective Apollo had told him.

"Yes, they are the only survivors of that city... it's a shame they suffered this way." The Arcanine frowned, shuffling the papers.

"Even if they have suffered, it doesn't justify what they are doing now," Brian took a deep breath, lowering his ears, despite all that had happened to the crew, the boy was determined to stop them.

"In fact, but my hands... well... my paws are tied," Apollo sighed, ears lowered. "But now that we're working together, maybe we can arrest them."

"I have another question; does anyone know why Genesect attacked that town?"

"He's a Pokémon who likes to test himself, they say it was a way to improve his techniques." Apollo looked elsewhere, pondering about the attack.

"Ok, I got it! Listen, I have to see if my brother has been discharged from the hospital, when can we see each other again?"

"Come here at the end of the day, we'll plan right what we'll do..."

Nodding, the boy then left the office. The story he heard was certainly tragic, and even if he could understand the suffering of the Crew, he had a job to do to prevent more families from being hurt. With a new objective, Brian went to the hospital where his brother was.

Lance was lying on the hospital bed, his body moved sharply, as if he was having a nightmare, his entire being as covered in heavy sweat, the liquid dripping on the bed that covered him.

Number ten... it seems that you have failed... you know what that means, don't you? the voice said inside Lance's mind. The boy saw himself in a dark room with an open door, and in the middle of the darkness, the Riolu could see two blood-red eyes staring at him, a wide grin showing up right after.

No... please! I'll get it right next time! Let me go! gasping for air, the boy screamed in terror, trying to run towards the exit.

The door then closed, and Lance fell to the ground. He got up and began to claw at the wall, tears streaming from his eyes as laughter began to fill the room.


The team leader woke up from his nightmare with an unstable heartbeat and a dizzy head, seeing his brother in front of him. Panting, he sat on the hospital bed.

"This scene is becoming common... it's already the second time in less than a week!" Brian was almost shouting, but the zorua's eyebrows were arched, he looked worried.

"I realized this on my own, genius..." he took a deep breath,before standing up.

"I'm glad you're okay Lance! The doctors said you got lucky…" Brian gulped. "I thought you were a goner…"

"Yeah, somehow I'm the luckiest mon here…" Lance rolled his eyes. "What did I miss while I was out?"

"I found an ally... he's from the police, but I think we should go home first and rest. I arranged the meeting to be at night!"

The brothers left the hospital and made the normal way back to the apartment. This time, Lance didn't say anything at all during their trip. Brian, despite not finding it strange, thought about asking what was in his mind, as the Riolu's nightmares were happening more often, but decided to leave his friend alone at the moment.

"I'll have to increase your rent... the property damage doesn't pay itself." the Weavile said, at first reading a newspaper, but stopping to look at them.

I... failed... it was a dream, but I failed... how am I still alive? Lance's mind was full of thoughts, he ignored the manager and just went to his apartment.

As they entered, Brian jumped on top of the couch, stretching himself before laying down on the sofa. He was exhausted from walking all day looking for clues from the team targets. His brother, however, seemed even more stressed than before. Lance's body was shaking and he seemed to be out of breath.

I can't fail... no... no! NO! Get a grip, Lance! You can't show weakness at all, if you do you will die!

"Hey, Lance?" noticing this, Zorua left the sofa, getting closer to his sibling.

"Get away from me!" He charged energy on his hand when the memories came back. This time, he couldn't hold on.

Lance fell to the ground, crying desperately,screaming as he punched the ground. Looking at that, Brian rushed to his brother, widening his eyes.

"Hey! What?! Breathe Lance! You're okay, we're both okay!" trying to calm him down, Brian put his hands on Riolu's shoulder.

"No, you don't understand... you don't understand anything! I can't fail! In that place I was, if I failed, I couldn't eat or drink for days! I… failed again."

"I understand that, but breathe! You will not die here! Look, you got hurt and I am to be blamed for it, I was hasty and...

"You! It's true..." Lance gritted his teeth. "It was your fault! It was your idea to pretend to be Dad and I failed because of you!" he then closed his fist, punching the Zorua.

Brian fell to the ground, rubbing his hand on his snout, where he was hit. Spitting, the boy faced his brother, breathing heavily.

"I said I took the blame, but that doesn't mean you can punch me out of nowhere!"

"Shut up... SHUT UP! I have everything planned, from the beginning to the end of our day, and you're just messing everything up!" Lance stood up, barely, and stepped on the ground with all his might, body shaking.

"We are living beings! Nobody is a machine without feelings waiting for you to order them to do something!"

"But I can't... fail..." the boy once again fell to his knees, crying loudly.

"Everybody fails! Even Dad and Uncle Shiron have failed several times! Everything will be fine! Breathe! Please, Lance, I want to help you!" His voice sounded shaky, even though he was trying to sound calm, it was obvious that he couldn't stay that way.

The Riolu inhaled, counting a few seconds, and held his breath, counting up to seven. Then he expired slowly, counting up to eight. The boy repeated the movement several times until he finally calmed down. Lance moved away, lying on the sofa and looking at the ceiling.

"Hey, listen here... I know you don't like to talk about that period of our childhood, but... if you need me I'm here. We're partners and I'm your brother, I care about you."

Brian put his paw on Lance's shoulder, looking at his sibling in the eye. That worked, as Lance nodded to him.

"So... who do we need to meet? " Lance asked the Zorua, still panting.

"A police detective who is investigating the mercenaries... ah, yes, there are three of them. Known as the Heart of Steel Crew, they are native of a town called Oreshard."

"I heard about it, it was destroyed, nobody survived... or that's what I read, apparently three Pokémon did."

"It was... well, we still have time until night, I'll order our lunch."

"Lasagna..." he said, covering his eyes with his hand.

"Then it will be lasagna!" Brian forced a smile, turning on the wired phone their house had.

After lunch, the two of them were sitting on the couch,planning their next step. Lance kept his eyes closed, focused. In his mind he listed which places he should go, considering the police station first.

"We can go to a store I came to when we got here, I... I think we can buy useful things for the next dungeons we go to." Brian said, remembering the Watchog from before.

Lance opened his eyes, gaze shifted to his brother. "Is that the place where you bought the item for me to evolve? Well, if they have more stuff than the Kecleon..."

"They have! It's full of items!"

"So let's go now." the boy left the couch.

With their backpacks on, Brian having special attachments, the team left their home, heading towards Watchog's market. The day seemed quiet, despite having been witness to an attack the night before. Many Pokémon could still be seen walking quietly through the streets, while some of them were entering stores. The sky was clear, with few clouds. Despite the sense of uneasiness, the day was calm.

"This place is very different from home... do you miss it?" The Zorua asked while walking, a faint smile on his face.

Lance thought for a moment and stopped walking. Despite some bad memories, he liked his village and the friends he made during the guild training.

"I... I think so, but I believe that getting out of there was a decision I needed to make." hesitating, Riolu began to move his legs again.

The market they wanted to go to was getting closer and closer and at the door, the Watchog seemed to hand out flyers to some Pokémon passing by.

"What is it, sir?" the dark type asked as he approached, analyzing the paper.

"Hm? Ah! It's the Zorua from before! You're an explorer, right? I have to advertise my business, boy!" Laughing, Watchog delivered one of the papers to Brian.

"We are not here to see flyers. We want to see the items in stock." Lance got closer, crossing the arms.

"Do you know him Zorua?" The salesman went to look at Lance from top to bottom, seeing that he had already entered the store.

"My brother, that's how he is... we came to look for some supplies for our next missions." Disappointed, the Zorua lowered his ears.

"Okay, when you're done, let me know, I'll be distributing more papers here..." the Pokémon turned back to the street, extending his arm with the pamphlets.

Nodding, Brian entered the scene. When he arrived, he saw his brother analyzing the counter, seeing the products available. He was standing with his tail wagging slowly, looking at the seeds.

"See? I said it was a good idea to come here!" Brian said as he approached, smiling and wagging his tail, energetic.

"Well, you were right, brother." Lance turned his face to look at Zorua.

"Look, you were a little rude to the salesman, so I would be careful. He might raise the prices just because of that... " the boy then turned to face where Riolu was looking. "What are you looking for?"

"These seeds can be very useful if used correctly... they help a lot in dungeons."

"Hm, that's true..." Brian then saw some something shining on another bench, heading there.

The products in question were a bunch of blue spheres, which seemed to be made of glass and were on top of pillows, also having an adhesive indicating the name on the counter. The Zorua stopped to think about what to do.

My moves are Pursuit, Copycat, Fury Swipes, and Shadow Ball. They are good moves, but with these spheres I could... the inspiration seemed to hit the fox Pokémon like the tail of a Salamence. Smiling, he took some.

"You may enter! The store is open, I'm just divulging," Watchog's voice on the other side could be heard by the boys.

"Thanks a lot..." the Pokémon answered, coming in. His body was tall, and his skin looked like armor.

The new client was looking at the items in another area when he noticed the brothers. Beating his tail on the ground, he narrowed his eyes. The Aggron had recognized his targets from the last mission.

Calm down Atlas, they shouldn't even know who I am... And I can't finish them here, it'll draw attention... thinking about what to do, he decided to pretend he was looking for something to buy.

"Ok Lance, I've decided! And you?" Brian said, storing the items at his open bag at the same time.

"You will fill our backpack with Orbs... but that's ok, they can be very useful, come on..." the boy left, followed by his brother.

Passing by the mercenary, the teenagers went on their way, until they reached the seller, who smiled, seeing that they had bought many things.

"The total will be of... 3000 coins," he spoke excitedly, waiting to be paid.

"You're lucky that money is not a problem for us." Lance said, opening his own backpack, handing the money to the other Pokémon. The Riolu, then, walked to the exit without saying a word, next to his brother.

Once outside, they noticed that it was already getting dark. The appointed time had arrived. Instead of going towards their home, they went in the opposite direction, going to the police station. In the sky, the Sun was beginning to disappear to indicate that night was approaching.

Detective Apollo was in his office, drinking tea and looking at some papers when he heard someone knocking on his door. Sighing, he wondered if it was that Zorua from earlier. A quick sniff on the air confirmed his suspicions.

"Boys, come in!" he looked at the door and screamed to the Pokémon outside.

The small explorers went into the room. Noticing the new Pokémon, the Arcanine saw the scar on Lance's body. For a moment, the policeman thought of asking but thought it better to bite his tongue and instead talk about the subject that they had agreed upon.

"So, you're the one investigating the mercenaries? My name is Lance." He crossed his arms, sitting on one of the office chairs.

"Yes, I'm Apollo! I see that your brother told you the news." The dog put the envelopes on the table.

"Well, I said there were three criminals, I just didn't say their species… " commenting, Brian sat down too.

"Hm, an Aggron and a Bisharp..." the team leader said, turning the pages of the document.

"Well, what do you suggest we do? We need a direct confession or we won't be able to arrest them..." Apollo took a sip of tea.

"The idea is very simple, we will..." the Riolu then got interrupted.

"Get their confession out personally." Brian finished the sentence his brother started while looking at the big orange dog.

"Didn't I say it would be risky? What are you thinking?" The detective said, bowing his eyebrow. He expected an answer.

"As I said, it is simple. Brian and I will split up. I will question the Swalot."

"I'm a Dark-type, I'd better take the Alakazam..."

"If we can take main support out of this trio, it will be easier…" the dog scratched his chin. "Okay, I understand your idea, but let's get one thing straight. I can't support you guys too much, so the most I can do is help record the conversation..."

"When will we execute this plan?" Lance asked, still looking at the documents.

"Give me two days to prepare and we'll start..." the canid consented with his head. He raised his paw to the duo and Brian greeted the cop with his own.

With the evening, the city of Bright Dawn seemed to fall asleep a little. However, in one of the local bars was the Aggron known as Atlas. He sat at a table and was eating a pie and next to him were his teammates and childhood friends, Flint and Napoleon.

"Those kids haven't given up on us yet... you worthless Pokémon! You were supposed to kill them when you had the chance!" The reptile shoved another piece of pie on his mouth, looking at the penguin.

"Well, it's the mayor's fault for not offering more money..." the Empoleon shrugged

"This petty attitude of yours will end up killing us and you know it... even so, I don't think they will be a problem, we could just consider an ambush." The Bisharp pondereded, nudging the table with his sword in his arm.

"I can help." the three mercenaries heard a voice from behind them, and turned in the direction of it.

Near them was a multi-colored Pokémon, with two cyan eyes on its torso, and a third one in its head , which shared the same color. Its body floated in the air and had several appendages floating around. The Sigyliph continued to talk, even without any sound coming out of his mouth.

"Tell me something… do you need help on this particular job?" the psychic Pokémon floated while asking them.

"What are you doing here? You don't even drink!" Atlas said, biting another piece of the pie he had been eating.

"Well, you seem to be in an unpleasant situation and I thought I'd give a friendly shoulder…"

"It is a good idea." Flint decided to talk. "If he goes after the kids, they won't know it had anything to do with us and will stay out of our glue, at least for now."

Stopping to consider this, the gang leader sighed and decided to agree. At best, they wouldn't have to deal with the explorers, and at worst, they would have more time to plan how they were going to finish them. The next day was going to be difficult for everyone involved.
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Dungeon 12 - Highway to Hell


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 12 - Highway to Hell
Author's note: This chapter went through some big edits as of today (02/23/2020)!

"A mission? Right when we're in the middle of another? Where did you get this?" Brian asked, sitting on the couch in his apartment. Next to him was Lance, holding a pamphlet.

"That Swalot gave it to me. To be honest, I thought it was suspicious, but... we'd better go, if it's true and we don't go, someone will remain missing..." Sighing, he read the paper. "Missing Pokémon named Harold."

In the document was the black and white image of a Snover. Placing the paper on the sofa, Lance got up, analyzing the situation.

"Man, you have to admit this is kind of weird... where was he last seen?" the fox Pokémon asked, staring at the drawing. He was still unsure what to do.

"In a dungeon outside this city, it's a cave, just like that Luxray's. Specifically, a magma cave." The Riolu tapped his feet on the ground while talking.

"Look, we have to make a quick decision, if it's true at all." Frowning, he jumped down from the couch.

"Come on, if it's a trap we'll be ready," he said putting his backpack on.

The duo then decided to take their chances and go search for him. After leaving the building, the two explorers went towards the exit of the city, at the south of the condominium where they lived. Walking along the road, Lance took the map, looking at the locations.

"In a few meters there is a divide, according to the map, we have to go east when we get there..." the boy put the paper in his bag, walking faster.

In contrast to the technologically advanced city of Bright Dawn, the road where the duo was located was more rural. Having only a few signs to indicate the nearby dungeons, the road was surrounded by trees and some Pokémon walking in the background. At their right the boys could see berry fields with some farms on them .

After walking for a few minutes, the team arrived at a path that branched in four separate directions.

"Endless Inferno, that's what this dungeon is known as." Lance looked at a sign indicating the directions and then turned his face to the left. He went on the eastern path.

"I should have bought a Rawst Berry..." Brian said, lowering his ears before following his partner.

Endless Inferno

As they entered the cave, they realized that it was illuminated by lava wells. The soil was mainly composed of magmatic rocks and extended even beyond the vision of the two Pokémon. Feeling the sweat dripping down their bodies, the duo decided to advance.

"I'll tell you, if this Snover is here, he was unlucky enough to end up in such a hot cave."

"Yes. With his fourfold weakness against fire-type moves, he made a bad… decision... but we don't have time to talk about that. I can see the hallway in front of us," the Riolu stated as they went ahead.

After they crossed the passage, they found a wide corridor, next to another gallery in the background. The temperature kept rising and they were sweating even more. Stopping to analyze the situation, Lance sighed.

"Something's wrong." Looking around, he growled. The feelers around his head were moving.

"What are you talking about?" Moving his ears, Brian tried to identify the enemy.

Lance concentrated, his eyes and his left paw shining in a blue tone, he moved that arm in a circle around him, trying to locate any Pokémon using his aura. Opening, Lance turned around in the direction they were first facing at. In front of them, there were three Pokémon similar to black haired dogs coming down the corridor. The biggest of them had large horns and their muzzle and belly had an orange coat. He let out a howl, looking at his enemies while showing his teeth.

"One Houndoom and two Houndour," the Zorua said, analyzing their foes before adopting a combat position.

"Brian, if you don't want to get hit, get out of my way!" Snarling, Lance began to charge energy in his paw, while looking at his foes.

Not even waiting to hear the fox's answer, the blue canine ran through the corridor, clashing against the dogs while rage filled the Riolu's body. He jumped and started to spin, releasing an energy wave from his hand all around that area.

...Force Palm! he declared as he landed on his feet, recoiling back after the move.

The other Pokémon that were in the place barely had any time to dodge. The enemy leader jumped back, narrowly avoiding being hit. One of the Houndour on the other hand, got hit first by Lance's attack and was immediately thrown against the wall, pushed away by the sheer force of the swing,fainting almost instantly. The remaining one advanced against Brian, narrowly dodging Lance's shot before charging at Brian with his fangs on fire.

"Urgh!" Grazed by the hit, Brian felt his fur starting to burn. The Zorua instinctively created an illusion that rendered him invisible,using the brief respite to distance himself from the dog.

One of the Houndour sniffed the air, searching for the smell of burned fur that came from Zorua. Suddenly, he took a full blow that made the pup lose his balance. Undoing the illusion, Brian reappeared behind the Houndour. The boy's claws seemed to grow larger as a white light shone of them, and then the dog was struck repeatedly by the small fox.

"Come on, now!" the Houndour was thrown away, after being hit by the consecutive blows. Brian panted, trying to stay on his feet.

On the other side of the corridor, Lance was now dashing towards the Houndoom, his arms crossing in X shape in front of him. His enemy growled at him in response, an aura of flames wrapping the dark type's body. The Riolu kept advancing without caring, his eyes focused on the black canine as if his sole goal in life was to finish the enemy in front of him. The Houndoom howled, shooting a stream of flames at the boy.

"Have to endure, argh!" A white aura surrounded the Riolu a second before he was hit by the fire, he cried out in pain, but kept holding on without fainting.

"Lance!" Brian ran to rescue his brother, just as the same Houndour from before appeared, his fangs with an electric charge. Thinking fast, the Zorua turned invisible again.

Lance fell to the ground,coughing. His body was in immense pain, he could feel the burns all over his skin, making him tremble with pain. Even so, he got up again, staggering as he stood back on his feet, determined to use all the strength he had left.

Meanwhile, Brian was planning how to knock out the Houndour. Attacks of the dark type would not be very effective, much less the ghost. In this case, he would have to improvise.

"I can just buy more Orbs in that store..." Pondering his options, with his snout, he took one of the blue spheres from his backpack, getting ready to shoot.

The cub was looking for the smell once more, his mouth oozed a purple liquid that was now covering his snout, he advanced towards the general direction he had tracked Brian to. Undoing his illusion, Zorua jumped, throwing the sphere against the Houndour.

Blowback Orb! Do your job! Brian shouted inside of his head. The sphere broke, releasing a strong gust of wind, throwing the dog against the wall, the canine pokémon slid to the floor, already unconscious before he hit the ground.

Falling to his feet, Brian saw his brother facing the Houndoom again, and soon he ran to help him. Lance, struggling to stand, carried energy in his hand to shoot the big dog again.

"That's enough, man! I'll take care of him, you can barely stand!" Brian Complained, "We're very lucky that our backpacks are fireproof... but you can't keep up like this!", The Zorua took a step forward.

"Shut up." Lance answered, taking an Oran Berry from his bag and eating it before heading towards the Houndoom again. "I have to finish this guy..." His voice became raspy as he talked. The Riolu's vision was getting blurry, but his eyes were still locked on the Houndoom.

"I won't let you die here, I swore I would protect you..." Brian too was looking at their enemy, who was getting ready to throw another blast of fire at them.

"So be it..." Looking at the Houndoom, the Riolu raised his paw, preparing to shoot.

"Two can play this game...!" Brian's body glowed for one second and he opened his mouth, which was also filled with the same energy as Lance's palm.

The Houndoom's flames collided with the dual blow the brothers had thrown, creating an explosion that threw everyone against the walls. The sound of the snap of the Houndoom's bones echoed through the chamber, and the dog fainted right after. On the other side, the boys fell, feeling a great pain in their spines, but remained awake. Panting, Lance began to slowly walk towards the Houndoom.

"Force Palm," he said, giving the dark pokémon another shot.

"Lance, what are you doing?! It already fainted, we have to move on!" Staggering, the Zorua went after his friend.

"Quiet..." he said while charging another shot, sweat running down his fur. "I'm. Finishing. This. NOW!" every time he said something, he shot Houndoom, looking desperate as he did.

Brian bit Lance's arm, pulling it back with all the strength that was left in Zorua's little body. Both brothers fell, unable to move or leave the place. They both started to hear a laughing voice in their minds, as a flying Pokémon came out of the same hole as the trio of dogs. The Sigilyph laughed, even without having a mouth, while looking at the boys with his three eyes.

"It was easier than I thought," he said with telepathy.

"Shit... it was a trap!" Gnashing his teeth, Lance clenched his fists.

"We fell like fools!" Raising his eyes, Brian just noticed what had happened. "Who sent you here?!"

"I owed those metal heads a favor..." the bird's eyes changed color, turning pink as he looked at Zorua.

"Well, it doesn't matter! I'm immune to his psychic attacks! You'll regret having deceived us!" he gave a toothy grin, ready to take the attack.

"You seem very confident in your ability, Zorua... I'm sorry..." the Pokémon's three eyes were glowing and he fired a beam in the shape of a triangle.

"That move from before... Brian! Dodge!" Screaming, Lance tried to run, but his body didn't have the strength for it anymore and he just fell face down.

"Hehe, relax bro! I'm gonna kick his ass..." The boy was hit by the attack, his eyes opened wide with surprise before he hit the ground, sleeping.

"You son of a bitch... Did you use Miracle Eye on him?!" Getting up, Lance was staggering.

"An insightful observation Riolu, but not insightful enough to save your brother. But don't worry, you'll join him soon enough." Laughing, he threw the same blow at the boy.

Unable to deflect, Lance fell to the ground, trying to resist as much as he could, even if his arms and legs didn't respond to the command. With his eyes almost closed, he saw only the psychic Pokémon in front of him, then he too fell asleep.
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Dungeon 13 - Unnatural Selection: Part 1


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 13 - Unnatural Selection: Part 1

Author's notes: This chapter contains scenes of child abuse and violence. As such, viewer's discretion is advised.

8 years ago

The sound of bird peeps signaled that it was morning. A Starly flew through the clear sky over the small village of Thornwell. The villagers started their daily chores as the sun rose, chatting among themselves and opening their stores. It seemed like it would be a good day.

Inside one of the houses, there was a small Pokémon lying on a bunk bed. He opened his eyes, rubbing them with his hands and yawned. He then leapt down from the top bed, still sleepy, and stretched his arms. On the bottom bed, another Pokémon was sleeping peacefully. The child, having woken up, approached and shook him.

"Brian! Wake up! This is the day!" he said in an excited tone, wagging his tail while giving him a broad smile.

"Five more minutes Lance…" His brother turned his back, wrapping himself in the blanket.

"We don't have five minutes!" He replied, pulling the Zorua's sheet.

Brian yelped and fell to the ground, but quickly got back on his feet, before yawning. Lance, seeing that his plan had worked, looked at him with a sincere smile on his face.

"The next time I'm excited for something I'll push you…" the Zorua scratched his own ears using his front legs.

"Ah! But come on! We'll start the training! I can't wait!" Lance gave his brother a grin.

"Maybe we'll make a world trip! Who knows?" Brian agreed, his face showing a light smile like that of his brother.

The boys left theirhis room, going down the stairs of the house. They could smell food in the air and went straight to the kitchen. Sitting on the chair was the boys' father. He was a black and blue furred canid, much like Lance. But, he was two heads taller, and unlike the Riolu, his arms had two white thorns instead of the metal plates in his son's, alongside a third spike in his chest, surrounded by a fluffy, yellow coating in his upper body. He put several pancakes on the plates.

"Good morning, Dad!" Lance said as he sat, looking at the Lucario.

"Good morning…" Brian then jumped on the chair, sitting on his hind legs, scratching his eyes.

"Good morning boys... it's today, right? The day that the guild training will begin…" Their father smiled slightly, the corners of his mouth pulling up in the side of his snout.

"Yes! Dad! You're coming with us, righ?!" Lance asked, starting to eat.

The adult sighed, lowering his head as he heard his son's question. He then quietly sat between the two, thinking about what he was going to say this time.

A few minutes passed without anyone saying a word, and the siblings' father whined, feeling like he just dug his own grave.

"Hey... aren't you going?" The Zorua finally said, staring at his parent.

"Unfortunately, your uncles and I were called on a mission... I don't know how long it will take for us to return, but we must leave today."

"You promised us..." The Zorua took one look at his brother and turned his face to his father.

"When will you get back?" Lance lowered his head, his smile and excitement from before were now replaced by sadness. "I really wanted your company…"

"I…" The Lucario tried to speak, but was interrupted by a noise.

Someone had knocked on the door of the house, and the auric Pokémon got up to open it, passing through another door on the way. Standing at the other side of the door was a Swampert, smiling as wide as his amphibian body could muster, and he then entered, wrapping an arm around the Lucario's shoulder.

"Good morning Nick! How are the kids?" the Swampert said, giving his friend a thumbs-up.

"Shiron... good morning, they just woke up and… I told them about the mission, they know." Nick sighed.

"Dude, you could have waited at least a little…" Shiron said, a little uneasiness visible in his eyes. "Well, I'll try to talk to them…"

The duo went back to the kitchen, seeing the two brothers finishing their meals in silence. When Lance noticed his uncle, the boy gave him a weak smile, waving to the Swampert.

"Hi Uncle Shiron!"

"And there you are, children! How are my favorite nephews?!" Shiron laughed, leaning away from Nick.

"Guess we'll have to wait for Dad to come back from the mission to celebrate." Brian still sounded sad as he said that, thoughtful.

"Kids, don't worry, a friend will take care of everything." Nick said, scratching his chin. "He's a Heracross."

"Dad? Are you leaving now?" Brian asked, sighing, with his ears still lowered.

"If we stay here any longer, Yuu will end up falling asleep in the middle of the road…" Shiron answered, rolling his eyes.

"Well, then... have a good trip…" Lance got off the chair, still looking sad, but forcing a smile to his father.

Nick hugged his kids and then took a deep breath, before looking at the Swampert. They were a very famous team, so they constantly had to go out on jobs around the continent, and sometimes even abroad. He just hoped that the relationship with his children would not worsen in spite of all this. The children kept watching the two adults as they left the house. For a few moments, neither brother wanted to say anything.

"I hate this..." Brian broke the silence, looking down. "Dad acting like it's no big deal every time he has to leave…"

"I'm sure he doesn't like it either…" Lance said.

"Says the guy who can see aura…" Brian rolled his eyes as he walked to the door. "Let's go!"

The siblings left their house. Far in the distance could be seen the guild headquarters where they would register as recruits. The building was medium size and appeared to be made out of concrete. Some Pokémon were outside doing renovations. The two boys entered the building without hesitation.

In the center, a Pokémon was talking to others, it was a bug type with a body similar to a beetle. They realized that it must have been the Heracross that their father had mentioned, getting closer to him.

"Good morning…" the small Riolu said, looking at the adult with a faint smile.

"Hello, mister!" Brian waved to him with his right paw, tail wagging.

"Well, hello! You must be the new recruits…" the Heracross then checked a paper on his hand. "You're both… eight years old? Don't you think you're too young to enter the guild?" Alder said, a smile on his face.

For one moment, Lance saw the bug staring at him and shivered.

"Well, I think if we start early we'll finish early!" Lance said, wagging his tail, his brother agreed with a nod.

"Well, let's register you, come on." He laughed a little, going into a room inside the building's main section.

Brian noticed that Alder's office was big, and his eyes sparkled when he saw a radio. Beyond that, he noticed a few windows, and of course, a desk with chairs. He sat down, and the brothers did the same. The Heracross took a pen and a notebook, looking at them.

"So... let's go from the beginning, what is the name of the team?"

"I honestly haven't thought about it yet…" Lance tapped his fingers on his chin, thinking.

At that moment, Brian raised his head pridefully. Now that they were registering, he could finally tell an idea he had! He let out a little laugh, showing his teeth on purpose and looking at his sibling. Lance nodded, a bit worried, because by that point, Brian's tail was wagging so hard it could break.

"I think we should call ourselves… Liberators! Lots of Pokémon need help, and… I thought this name would be cool!" the Zorua suggested to his brother, whole body trembling in excitement.

"Interesting, I liked the idea" Alder laughed, his eyes fixed on Riolu.

"Wow, that's so cool Brian! I love it!" the Fighting type said, wagging his tail. "By the way, Mr. Alder, I'll be the leader!"

"Got it. We'll start your training next week, one thing, you'll have to wake up early." He wrote on the paper, seeing that both of them had agreed.

Alder smiled again.

"Alright, the Zorua is dismissed, but you... Lance, right? Since you're the leader, I need to discuss some things with you."

"Hm... ok!" He thought that was a little weird, but trusting his father's judgment, Lance decided to trust the insect.

"See you guys soon. I need a nap." Brian got up, leaving the place.

Looking out the window, Alder saw the Zorua walking rather slowly, yawning a few times on the way, until the moment he opened the door to his house, leaving the bug's field of vision. A smile appeared on his face as he turned on the radio in the room.

"The operation was a success... we can take the boy. Send the message for the other members of the guild to leave." He said on the device.

"Mr. Alder? What are you talking about?" Lance asked, lowering his ears and starting to tremble a little.

"Well, kid... sorry, but your dreams of being an explorer will have to end here…"

Upon hearing this, Lance jumped out of his chair, desperately running to the door without thinking about anything, when he hit what looked like a red wall, falling to the ground. Looking up, he saw a red Pokémon, one he had never seeing before, but he still recognized the species: a Blaziken, that looked at him with a blank expression. The child moved away, crawling on the ground, when he was grabbed by Heracross and before he could say anything, the bug covered Lance's mouth.

"Let's take him away from here... I swear, this job was horrible. Working as a spy in a famous guild! If the guildmaster found out about this, we'd be dead!" He grumbled, going out with the Blaziken.

As they left, they saw that the place was already empty as planned. The two then proceeded to a back door, away from the view of the villagers.

Finally realizing what was happening, Lance started crying, trying to get rid of his kidnappers at all costs. Heracross, angered by his tries, just grabbed him harder. They then followed a forest road, south of the village.

"Stay still boy, it's nothing personal... but our boss needs a Riolu and you are an easy target…" Alder kept holding Lance as the boy struggled, trying to get free.

"Do you really believe that crazy mon managed to unlock an evolution that nobody has ever heard of?" The Blaziken commented while they were walking.

"I don't know, who cares? As long as we get paid, that's what matters…" he rolled his eyes.

"Hmph... Hm!" Lance tried to talk to them, but with his mouth covered, he couldn't say anything but grunts.

"Kid, I swear to Arceus, you're annoying…" Alder said, punching Lance in the back of his head, knocking him out. The kidnappers kept walking for another hour.

Meanwhile, Brian was laying in his bed, sleeping again. He woke up yawning loudly, before getting on his feet, stretching his body to get rid of the numbness on his muscles.

"That nap felt amazing… Now, where is my brother?" He then went down the stairs, looking for Lance. "I guess he's still in the guild… hehe! Must be working hard!" Brian ran off, heading towards the establishment.

The boy looked at the building from far away, seeing that there wasn't much movement, which was strange, there was only one Pokémon standing at the entrance. Usually there were several coming and going. Having a bad feeling, he ran as fast as he could, approaching and seeing a Quilladin with his arms crossed while looking at the interior, waiting.

"Uh, mister, hi?" The Zorua got closer, greeting the other Pokémon.

"What do you want?" The Quilladin turned around, facing the boy.

"Did everybody leave? My brother was there…" He spoke feeling a shiver run down his body, as if something bad had happened.

"That stupid manager gave the alarm for us to leave!" The grass type impatiently tapped his foot on the ground, "But there was no emergency! We came back and there was no one there!"

"No-nobody?! What are you talking about?!" He ran inside the building, seeing that it was in fact empty. He then went back outside, his face down and ears drooping.

"Kid, what happened?! You look like you saw a ghost!" he said approaching Brian.

"I told you! My brother was there! The manager said he had to discuss something with him in private and I left!"

The silence that followed only served to confirm the Zorua's suspicions. His brother was missing. He fell to his knees, desperate, not knowing what to do. In his mind, several questions were being asked. Where was Lance? What was the reason they took him? Was he ok? How could he tell his father?! The questions filled the boy's head who then started crying and screaming.

The Riolu woke up lying down on the floor, his body was exhausted from the trip and he opened his eyes slowly. Lance tried standing up, but quickly was shoved back down by a terrible headache. He decided to just look at the place he was in.

It seemed that the walls were made of metal with a locked door. Forcing himself to get up, Lance saw there was no way out and, on the corner of a wall, he could see a speaker. Feeling something on his neck, he looked down, seeing a collar in place. Scared, he started screaming, punching the walls.

"Get me out of here! Dad! Uncle Shiron! Uncle Yuu! Help! Help me, please!" He desperately clawed at the door, trying to leave the enclosed space.

Suddenly, the collar on the boy's neck activated and he felt a shock running all over his body, causing him to fall to the ground. Then, the speaker turned on, a voice coming out of it.

"I'm sorry kid... you will stay with us as long as necessary."

Lance didn't recognize who was talking and stayed on the floor without moving, feeling his whole body burning from the discharge. The door opened and the same Blaziken as before appeared, picking up the Riolu in his lap and taking him to another area of the place. With his blurred vision, the boy could barely discern where he was, seeing only gray walls. How long had it been since he was kidnapped? He couldn't answer, being carried by the red Pokémon. All he could do was wait and trust that his family would find him.

Eventually, they arrived in what seemed to be an operation room, with a hospital bed in the middle, where the Blaziken put Lance. On the other side of the room there was a tall Pokémon, it wasn't possible to see much of him, but he had white skin with some traces of green on his head and arms.

He was touching some utensils, only to feel their texture, almost as if he was used to it, when he noticed the boy, and smiled at him.

"Ah, the new test subject arrived!" He said and Lance noticed that was the voice that had spoken on the radio before. "My name is…"

The child couldn't hear his name right, lying on the stretcher. The scientist then pulled a syringe, before injecting it into Lance's arm.

"Don't worry... boy... you won't die... well, I don't intend to let you die, but if it happens…" the Gallade said. "There are many Riolu in the world! I'm just sedating you at the moment."

Lance wanted to scream, to run away, to call his father. He was scared, even if he couldn't move because of the sedative. Still, he remained awake, but unable to do anything. The boy wanted to stay conscious as much as he could to try to identify who had done this to him. The scientist just smiled, taking a bisturi and starting to cut Riolu's stomach slowly. Despite his efforts, he lost consciousness.

Waking up, the boy opened his eyes, noticing that he was in the same room as before, only this time there was a thatch bed.

I don't know how long I've been in this place... Dad... help me… he thought.

The routine was the same. He woke up, went to the room, was sedated and dissected by the doctor. Whenever he tried to escape, he was electrocuted by the collar. The more often this happened, the more the boy began to lose hope. Where was his father? Nick should have found this place by now.

At the current moment, he was being carried through the corridors again, but this time, he went to another room, wider, but with nothing but a knife on the floor and a fainted Pokémon, a Houndoom. The smell of blood hovered in the air, stirring up a feeling of nausea in the Riolu, who was then thrown to the ground by the Blaziken.

"Where... I am now?"

"Welcome to your new test, number ten." The doctor's voice spoke through the speaker, he never referred to Lance by name, only by numbers.

"Test? Please let me go!" the boy screamed, tears flowing from his eyes.

Although Lance couldn't see him, the Gallade smiled.

"I'll tell you something interesting about where I come from… we have a medicine, a pill that is able to make the Pokémon stronger. It's called 'Rare Candy'. Unfortunately, it has become a taboo and illegal."

Rare Candy? I've never heard of it... what is he saying? the boy thought, looking at the other Pokémon inside that place.

"Of course, being the genius that I am, I was able to recreate, despite these primitive lands." He gave a small laugh.

Lance tried to move, but looked at his collar. If he tried escaping again, he would only get hurt…

The scientist continued. "Of course, I haven't perfected yet. You see, this Houndoom... was another subject, unfortunately he's become unstable. Your mission will be... to survive. Kill this enemy and you may have a break from my experiments."

"Kill him?!" Lance couldn't believe what he was hearing.

As if it were the cue, Houndoom stood up, snorting smoke, before looking at Lance, showing his sharp teeth. He set off on the boy, shooting a gust of flames.

Lance barely had time to react, picking up the knife on the ground and rolling to the side, dodging the blow. Even so, the dog continued dashing, sharpening his claws. He jumped, slashing through the child's chest in a single hit. What followed was the sound of blood pouring from Lance, and an ear-piercing scream as he was thrown against the wall.

Barely being able to move, Lance used all the strength he had to stay on his feet, until he finally fell, his chest bleeding from the cut.

"Hm, disappointing... finish him off, Houndoom," the Gallade said.

Following the order, the black dog advanced, his mouth open and his teeth flaming. Lance screamed, holding the knife and shoving it into the enemy's eye after he approached.

Being hit, the dog whined, disoriented. The child wasted no time, stabbing him in the other eye. This time, it was Houndoom who fell. Lance, still angry, continued hitting his enemy in the rest of his body, no matter what happened. He realized that only this would make him survive.

After stabbing his enemy several times over, Lance fell to the ground, fainting from his wounds, the last thing he heard was the laughter of Pokémon who had made him go through it.

Waking up again, the blue Pokémon found himself on a bed of the medical wing, tied up. Moving his head to the side, he managed to identify the doctor who had tortured him all this time.

A Gallade...? he thought.

"I see you're awake, child." The scientist turned around, revealing a syringe filled with a blue liquid in his hand.

"What's that?!" Lance began to struggle, trying to escape.

"You think very bad things of me, I already told you what it is when I introduced my canine friend to you…" He was smiling in such a way that only made Lance panic more.

"Get away! I don't want that in me! Why are you doing this?!"

Hearing the boy's question, the Gallade stopped for a moment, reflecting on what he should answer. Shrugging, he continued on his way.

"Let's say... scientific curiosity, kid. I perfected the serum... probably. I can't be sure until I see the effects on someone, and I won't test it on myself." Smiling, he injected the contents of the syringe into Lance's arm.

Immediately the boy started screaming. Tears coming out of his eyes, he felt as if his bones were burning every second, his body moving uncontrollably, trying to get away, shaking his head while crying.

The Gallade just watched, his smile still on his face. Lance was already running out of voice, he just wanted to get out of there and go to the comfort of his home, where everything would be fine.

But even if that was what Lance wanted, nothing seemed to change. There was no sign that he was going to escape so early from the torture he was going through. Then, finally, he seemed to give up. His movements were weakening, the pain diminishing little by little, while he looked at the aggressor, panting, his body was exhausted from all that.

"It seems that the infusion experiment was a success... congratulations, number ten, you won a few days of rest, there won't be any tests for a week…"

The child was half-eyed, his vision blurred, and his mind tired. Would it be his fate to stay there until he died? The last time he saw his family, he had wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become an explorer. Help other Pokémon as much as he could.

But now everything seemed to have been taken at once. He would never see his father or brother again. He would never see the sunlight again. Lance started crying again, the tears coming down like a waterfall on his body, until the fatigue caught up to him, knocking him out.
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Dungeon 14 - Unnatural Selection: Part 2


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 14 - Unnatural Selection: Part 2
Child abuse, violence. Viewer's discretion is advised.
Author's notes: Another heavily edited chapter.

Nick was already used to receiving letters his children sent to him while he was on one of the missions with his team. But what he didn't expect was to receive the news that Lance had disappeared. Sweating, he was walking on the road to the city where he lived, next to his Swampert friend and a Sceptile following right behind them.

"Nick... are you ok?" The water-type asked his friend. "We'll find him…" He ensured,looking upwards, trying to decipher the Lucario's expression and maintaining his eyes at the level of his friend despite walking on four legs.

"Dude, Shiron's right, we'll find him!" The Sceptile said, approaching the Lucario.

"Says Yukino, the laziest Pokémon on our team." Nick paused to take a deep breath, before continuing; "I'm sorry, this is making me stressed."

"Really? I couldn't tell." Rolling his eyes, the Sceptile kept walking.

As the trio approached the village, a small Zorua came into their view at the exit. When he noticed the team, Brian ran towards them with tears in his eyes. Spotting his son, Nick ran to him too, getting down on his knees and hugging him tight.

"Dad! It's my fault, I left him alone! And now Lance is gone! I'm sorry!"

"It's gonna be okay... we're gonna find him, alright?" He caressed the little one, rubbing his hands through the boy's hair.

"But it's been a week! What if he's... dead?!" Brian was sniffing and his body trembled at the thought.

"He's not dead... you can leave it to us, we will find him!" The grass type got near them, smiling and showing his teeth to try and calm Brian down.

"Son, I need you to trust us on this, right? We'll find your brother…" Getting up, Lucario let out a sigh.

"Ok…" The boy lowered his ears and tail, lost in thoughts of what could be happening to his sibling as they spoke.

"We can go to your house and you tell us what happened right, what do you think?" This time, Shiron brought his face closer to his son', forcing a smile.

"A-Alright…" The Zorua just nodded.

The four of them followed, entering the city, being greeted by some looks of concern from the Pokémon who lived there. Feeling a knot of sorrow in his chest, Nick continued walking, trying to hide how distressed he was. His companions weren't unaware of this, and they continued to think about what they could do for him. Behind the group, the Zorua pondered the events inside of his mind.

It's my fault, I should have protected him... what kind of brother am I?!

After they arrived at Nick's house, the group sat on the kitchen chairs. The Lucario put his face behind his hands and took a deep breath, paying attention to what his son had to say. The other two members of the team turned their eyes to Brian, waiting.

"On the day we went to start the training, the Heracross who was taking care of the guild signed us up and after that he said he had to talk some things with Lance…" He sniffed, trying to calm himself down. "...and that was the last time I saw him!" Looking at the floor, the child was almost crying, but he was still trying to hold back his tears.

"Shit! I trusted him!" The voice came from the steel Pokémon, who hit the table with enough force it had a fist-shaped crack on it.

"Look, we should start looking through the forest near here... Yukino and I will go there, you can interrogate the guild members." The Swampert got up and sighed.

"We're gonna find your son, Nick…" This time it was the Sceptile who stood up.

"Please…" He trembled in fear.

Lance woke up in the same room as before, with no one around and nothing but the bed and to the previous attack from the Houndoom, he now had a claw-like scar on his torso, which covered most of the Riolu's chest.

"Please get me out of here…" He sniffed with a hoarse voice.

"I hope you enjoyed your rest, number ten." The Gallade said through the speaker, giving him a small laugh.

"I want my father…" Lance fell on his knees, covering his ears with his paws as he screamed out his suffering, fed up with all of that.

The device in Lance's neck activated, giving him a shock that ran through the child's whole body, making his screams grow stronger, mixing with the crying, until the sensation passed and he fell to the floor, groaning in pain.

I won't be able to see my family? Arceus, I want to leave…

Lance punched the wall, but regretted it as he heard his bones cracking. He tried pushing the thoughts away, but they crawled deeper and deeper into his mind, so he continued to punch, until his fists bled out.

They hurt me every time I resist, maybe I should give up… no one will save me.

"You're misbehaving, number ten. I guess you'll have to stay here a little longer…"

Two weeks later, the Gallade was inside his office, watching the boy's development reports, tapping the table with his fingers and gnashing his teeth. Behind him, the Blaziken coughed to draw the psychic type's attention.

"He's not evolving."

"Doctor Morgan," The fire type leaned against the wall. "you didn't even give the necessary item for that, what's the surprise?"

"Item? In this world, Riolus evolves with items?!" He snarled, staring at the Blaziken. "And nobody warned me?!"

"I thought it was common where you come from. How do they evolve there?"

"A strong bond, or rather, happiness. I've force fed one with Rare Candies and eventually it worked." Morgan took a deep breath and went back to analyse the report.

"Well, you need a Sun Ribbon for him to become a Lucario here, I can get one if you want…"

"No. I'm determined to do it without an item," The Gallade kept staring at the paper. "But get me one more prisoner, a Pokémon in the second evolutionary stage."

"Okay, boss." Turning around, the Blaziken left the room.

The efforts to find Lance were not over. The trio of explorers had left the village to search the nearby places. They searched in the forest, in caves and in neighboring towns. However, nobody seemed to know the whereabouts of the Riolu or the two kidnappers.

They all wanted Lance to be okay, to be alive and well, so he could return to them, but… with three weeks of disappearance, hopes had greatly diminished. Upon returning home, Nick went straight to his room, before lying down on his bed. He stayed there until, suddenly, someone knocked on the door.

"Come in." His fur was pale and messy, a clear sign that he hadn't been paying attention to it for a long time.

"Dad…" The Zorua came in, jumping on the bed with his ears lowered.

The Lucario sat down, looking at his son, having no idea what to say. Nick wasn't able to keep his promise and that hurt him a lot.

"We... won't see him anymore? Sorry, I should have stayed with him!" Brian started hitting himself in the face, frustrated for not having stopped it from happening. Until he was wrapped in a hug from his father.

"Hey, hey! It wasn't your fault! We'll find him, calm down…" both stayed like this for a few minutes, neither wanted to say anything about the situation.

After an hour, Nick had fallen asleep, lying again in his bed. His son was watching him in silence. The Zorua then created an illusion that he was invisible and left the house, determined to find his brother. Brian kept walking on the village, studying every detail that could help him.

"This is gonna be hard," Looking at the sky, Brian lowered his ears, still blaming himself for what happened. "Dad's team is an expert in this and they failed... but I have to try! Maybe if I can convince Uncle Shiron…"

The boy had an idea. Deciding to go to the local bar, he ran out. He knew that the Swampert used to go there to eat and chat with the other citizens. Even without knowing if his uncle would be there because of the search, Brian decided to take a chance and enter the place.

Inside, Brian saw that his uncle was in fact there, sitting at a table with two other Pokémons. To Shiron's left was a Sableye, a biped and purple-bodied Pokémon, with eyes that looked like gems. To the right was a Slowking, which took a sip of what appeared to be berry juice. Getting closer without them noticing, the fox paid attention in the conversation.

"You found no sign of him? Not at all?" the Slowking asked, taking another sip.

"Not really, we put up posters here and in three other cities, we even went to Bright Dawn and found nothing there. Nick is going crazy with this…" Sighing, the Swampert sipped a strong, alcoholic beverage.

"I can try to ask my team for help. A tragedy like this needs to be solved." The Sableye nodded.

"I guess that would be helpful, thanks." Shiron said, taking a deep breath.

"You have to consider the option that... he didn't survive, you know?" The Slowking stared at Shiron.

Upon hearing what he had said, Shiron punched the table. Brian screamed, shattering his illusion. The three adults turned to the little one, who ran out of the place as fast as he could. Eyes widening, Shiron opened his backpack, put some coins on the table and left to follow his nephew.

"Leave me alone Uncle! I want to be alone!" The boy ended up stumbling, rolling on the floor. After stopping, he coughed, shaking his body to take the dust off.

"I'm sorry... Are you okay?" The Swampert rubbed his own head, staring at Brian.

"Of course I'm not okay! My brother is missing for three weeks. Nobody can find him! And they say he's dead!" Without even breathing properly.

"I know, we're not doing a very good job on this…" He sat on the floor.

"And the worst thing is that it's all my fault! Dad said no, but I know he's just saying that so I don't feel guilty about it!" Brian snarled, kicking the ground while walking in circles.

"You look like me when I was your age," Shiron gave a small laugh. "I mean, I think I was 15 instead of 8? Honestly, not remembering my past can be hard sometimes."

"How can you laugh in a situation like that, Uncle?! I... don't know what to do…" Feeling his legs shake, Brian fell to the ground.

"Brian, you're 8 years old, there's nothing you can do about your brother," The Swampert turned his gaze to the starry sky. "But there's one thing you can do."

"What?" Getting up, Brian stared at his uncle.

"If you think you're not strong enough, train. By having the experience, you'll prevent it from happening again. And you will be able to keep Lance safe."

"Train... I couldn't protect him this time, but... from today I will!" The Zorua puffed his chest to show that he was serious.

"Ok, let's go to your house... your dad will think you're gone too." Shiron yawned and got up.

In the same city, a Pokémon looked at the guild missions, thinking about which one to accept. A Typhlosion, with bursting flames around his shoulder. He scratched his chin in thought.

"A kidnapped boy... James, it would be very good if you found him. Well, I have to stop talking to myself…" Typhlosion commented to himself, seeing a Riolu's picture on the missing part of the job board.

"Congratulations, number ten. You've been here for three weeks. Now, rise and shine" The Gallade was once again talking on the radio, waking the boy up.

"Again... what does he want me to do this time?" Lance got up, exhausted from everything he had been through for the four weeks he was in prison.

"Today's your final test." the voice had a rigid tone to it. "You will have to face another Pokémon… I presume you are aware of the consequences if you fail, correct?"

"I'm gonna die…" growling, he took a deep breath. During the time he stayed in this unknown place, Lance had already faced several opponents and, unfortunately, he had to kill all of them, or the Riolu would be someone else's food. No matter what happened, survival was his goal.

The door of the room opened and the Heracross from before entered, crossing his arms. Lance offered no resistance at all, he went with the kidnapper without saying anything on the whole path. After a few minutes, they arrived at the arena, Riolu was already getting used to that place. Sighing, he went inside.

"Look at him! Our little subject seems to be very excited today, you're not gonna complain or anything? - Laughing lightly, the Heracross watched the boy from afar.

"It's not like it worked the other times." Looking at the other side of the ring, he sees a slender Pokémon, with a cream-colored belly and a green-colored back. In its neck there was a yellow V-shaped structure, next to a collar. The Pokémon's red eyes stared Lance in silence.

"Very well, number ten. This is your last chance to redeem yourself. This Servine is called Maya and she will be your opponent today." the scientist said on the radio.

"I'm sorry kid, but I need to get back to my family…" the female said seriously, putting herself in a combat position.

"Wait, if I win, can I go back home?!" Gasping, Lance stared at the speaker.

"Who knows? If you lose, you die, but if you win, maybe something good will happen." Morgan let out a laugh.

"Then I won't lose…" He closed his fists, breathing deeply.

"You can begin." The Gallade said.

After the doctor's speech, Lance ran forwards as fast as he could, getting ready to hit the Servine. However, the female's speed was greater than his and she jumped over his head, deflecting, soon, turning around and shooting a gust of leaves at the boy, who was cut at several points thorough his body, sending the Riolu to the floor on his knees.

When Lance looked up he saw that the girl was falling, her tail had a metallic glow. Thinking fast, he crossed his arms, hitting her tail hard and letting both be dragged in opposite directions.

"Leaf Tornado. Iron Tail... this is no joke, but she has family too, I... can I really do this?"

"Hey kid, how old are you?" The grass Pokémon took the sweat off her face, staring at Lance.

"Eight... or I was when I was out of here, I don't know how long... Argh!" He stopped talking, feeling the shock coming from the collar again, causing him to stagger and fall.

"You're a child, I'm sorry, I don't want to…" her collar activated as well, making her also fall to the ground, moaning in pain.

"You don't seem to understand the purpose. It's a fight to the death, you don't have time to talk to each other."

"Sorry, lady…" Lance said, panting and tired from all of that.

"I can say the same to you... Aerial Ace!" As she ran towards the Riolu, her tail swung in small slashes through the air, sending wind blades towards Lance.

Endure! Lance braced himself and took the hit.

After he received the slash, Lance survived, and remained where he was, his body shining in a red tone. Pondering his chances, he decided to end that battle right there.

"I'm sorry!" Then, with his hand wrapped in a blue aura, he struck his opponent right in the neck, giving out twice the damage he had received. Throwing the Servine against the wall, the boy was able to hear the noise of bones breaking and the shattering of the collar.

The girl's body collided with the ground, without moving at all. That's when Lance realized what he did. He had just killed an innocent. Someone who had dreams and hopes like him, who had disappeared like the boy and whose relatives were likely searching for.

When he realized what he had done, he opened his mouth, vomiting on the floor and crying. The Riolu started to punch ground, desperate and wishing with all his strength that Arceus would reverse what had happened and ended up fainting. The Heracross looked at the scene, feeling a little sorry for him, but not enough to do anything about it.

"It seems that, despite the victory, the experiment was a failure. Well, he didn't evolve." The Gallade sounded disappointed, his sigh could be heard from the speaker.

"What are we going to do with him?" The bug-type said, approaching Lance.

"One final test. Ask Blaze to make preparations, I'm putting him in charge of this test."

Heracross raised a brow. "What test will it be this time?"

"Sadly, we couldn't get him to evolve with those rare candies, so I'm interested in seeing how he handles himself in the wild."

"Right." The bug caught Lance on his lap, being greeted with protests from him, sneezing and trying to let go, but without the strength to do so. They left the area until they got to Lance's room, when Heracross threw him inside.

Curling into a fetal position, the little Pokémon cried uncontrollably again, thinking what his family would think of him from now on, when he realized. If he had been stronger, this would not have happened to him. That little boy, that Pokémon Lance used to be, he died there. And now, the Riolu promised to get stronger.

If I survive this, I will get revenge on them... I swear… he thought, falling asleep due to fatigue.

"James, you only get the strangest missions, having to find an item here was not exactly what you wanted to do today, but it will have to do." he pondered while entering a forest.

The Typhlosion walked calmly, he was not in a rush in any way. Moving his ears around, he heard a noise, hiding behind one of the trees. On the other side there was a Blaziken, who threw a little Pokémon on the ground.

James gasped, tumbling back when he noticed that it was the same of the missing poster he had seen before. Thinking fast, he ran to rescue him. The red Pokémon noticed, quickly taking a sphere out of his backpack and breaking it on the ground, disappearing into a strong glow that followed the shattering. The boy, confused with what had just happened, remained on the ground when he saw Typhlosion approaching.

"Hey... boy…"

"Get away from me!" Lance shouted, growling at the adult who was right next to him.

"Hey! Take it easy! I'm an explorer! Look here!" James took the badge from his bag, showing it.

"Explorer…?" Moving his ears, the Riolu slowly approached.

"I saw the mission." James got on his knees. "I was here for something else, but I'll take you home, ok? You must be tired, I don't know what you've been through, but it must have been hard."

"Home…" sniffing, Lance ran to hug the Pokémon, trembling and crying. Even with the tears, he was at least a little bit relieved, and was smiling.

"It's okay... it's gonna be okay…" James got up, holding the child on his arms and left with him.

After half an hour, they arrived in Lance's hometown, walking towards the boy's house. The villagers looked at the duo in silence as they advanced through the streets, before starting to clap their hands, some of them cheering, glad that he was found. At his house, his brother was asleep when he awoke after hearing the commotion.

"What's all that noise?" Yawning, Brian looked out of his bedroom window and gasped, running to call his father.

Stopping at the door, James carefully put Lance on the floor just as the Lucario and the Zorua appeared on the entrance. Words were not necessary to describe how happy they were to be reunited, so the three of them simply hugged each other with strength.

"Lance" Lance! You're okay! Oh, I was so worried!" The boy's brother was wagging his tail as hard as he could.

"I'm... back…" The Riolu forced a smile.

"Welcome home, son…" Nick spoke, unable to contain his joy, turning his eyes to the Typhlosion who had made the rescue.

"No need to thank me, it was nothing." James blushed, looking elsewhere.

I survived... and now, I'm going to make nothing like this happen again. Pokémon like them have to pay… Lance was thinking about what the future would bring. Even so, he allowed himself to be happy that he was finally reunited with his family.

Six years after it happened, the boys' lives seemed to have returned to normal. But this was not the case. Now that they were officially enrolled in their father's guild, the siblings went through rigorous training to graduate and thus be explorers.

That day Lance and James were in the combat arena, watching a fight between his brother and another Pokémon, an Electrike. From his body came some sparks, while Zorua was invisible, using his illusions to conceal his location. The electric Pokémon smelled his opponent, running to where he had found it.

"It won't be that easy, Blitz!" Undoing the trick, Brian wrapped himself in a dark aura and collided with his opponent's body before the Electrike could do anything.

"That's where you're wrong!" After Blitz was hit by the dark type, he quickly charged electricity in his body,before releasing it on the Zorua, throwing him away and at the same time giving him the paralyzed status.

"Argh!" crawling on the ground, Brian coughed, getting up as he felt the electricity running through him.

"You seem to be losing it, brother." Lance said, crossing his arms.

"Hey! You should be cheering me on!" Brian stared at his brother before turning to face Blitz again.

"Well, I like to entertain the audience…" The Electrike laughed, staring at the Riolu.

"It's not my fault if he's good at it!" Lance looked away quickly, his face turning red like an apple, wagging his tail lightly.

"I'm glad to have such a fan." Blitz then turned his gaze to Zorua, d against him, firing a ball of electricity at him.

"I'm sorry, but I don't feel like getting hit…" Jumping, Brian copied the movement, shooting the same attack as his opponent.

The collision of the two attacks caused a small explosion, filling the area with smoke. Growling, Blitz was paying attention to his surroundings, but he couldn't see or smell properly, so he focused on the noise. Even so, the boy was surprised with a black ball that hit him.

"Okay, the fight is over!" James spoke, approaching them

"You were good, Zorua." smiling, Blitz took a deep breath.

"I can say the same about you! Hehe!" Giving a broad smile, Brian showed his teeth.

"You guys aren't hurt too bad, are you?"Lance questioned them both as he got near.

"No, it's just a friendly session, there's nothing to worry about... Well, I'm hungry, so, see ya soon!" The Zorua ran away to the cafeteria.

"I'll see you two there as well?" The Typhlosion looked at them with a smile.

"We'll be right there!" The Riolu said, helping the electric type stand up.

"Okay, see you later." The Typhlosion left.

"Thanks for your help, Lance." Wagging his tail, Blitz gave him a toothy grin. "I'm impressed, I heard you were very unsocial, but it seems like we're friends."

"Haha... yeah, they say that about me... but I... I liked you. That's it." He laughed, trying to calm down as he blushed.

"I mean, you're really cute. I like you." Blitz said with a nod.

"I'm not cute…" lowering his ears, he covered his face, embarrassed.

"That just makes you cuter... not that I mind. Try me. Maybe you'll get what you want. You're making this very obvious." The Electrike went out the door, leaving Lance alone, but winked at him before leaving.

"Ah... that wasn't as bad as I thought, he thinks I'm cute!" Trembling with nervousness, he started walking, but soon stopped. "That makes me feel good, it's been... a long time since I've been happy like this... "

Breathing deeply, he walked again. Remembering the promise he had made to become stronger, he was not so sure that he would be able to be happy with another Pokémon, but at least in the moment, he would take the chance. And if it didn't work out... maybe it wasn't the right thing. While approaching the door, he felt an enormous tremor. Scared, the Riolu started running, the ground crumbling behind him, until he fell into the limbo, screaming and pawing back at the darkness.
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voted most likely to be edgy
the middle of nowhere
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Hey there, I'm here from Catnip. I've read the first chapter and here are my thoughts. I apologize for a lot of them being about grammar and wording, but I just tend to be pretty pedantic when it comes to that stuff. As I went on FFN out of curiosity to see what the reviews on there were like, I noticed that one of the reviews said this was translated from another language, which would help explain some strange wording - but as it's in English now, I'll treat it as English writing and will give critique as I would give to any other work in English.

Sitting on the ground was a small blue animal, similar to a canid, but bipedal, its red eyes carefully watching the movement of the tides. On its torso could be seen a huge claw-like scar.
Behind him was an animal similar to a fox, with black hair and a small tuft of red fur on top of his head. He then stood up, crossing his arms. He recognized the Pokémon as his brother, Brian.
two reptile Pokemon, their scaly skin seemed to have been changed recently and their eyes moved independently, giving them the appearance of chameleons.

The way Pokémon species are described in the prose strikes me as kind of odd. It sounds like how someone in real life would describe Pokémon to someone unfamiliar with them, which is strange in a story definitely directed towards Pokémon fans who would already know what they look like. Using the word "animal" to describe Pokémon kind of takes the narration out of the world and hurts the immersion as I can't really see PMD Pokémon referring to themselves as such. "Canid" and "fox" are grayer cases, since there are multiple Pokémon that are canid or foxlike, so one could imagine them existing as words to describe these groups of Pokémon collectively... and now that I think about it, I suppose we also another chameleon Pokémon line outside Kecleon, so that could also work.

On an unrelated note, it seems that sometimes Pokémon is written with the accent on the e and sometimes not. I'm fine with either variant myself, but it would be better to stick to one or the other.

Lance turned his face to look at the owner of the voice

This phrasing is a bit clunky. I would personally go with something like "turned to look at the one who'd spoken" instead.

don't you think we are rushing too much?

"Rushing" by itself means that the action is done hastily, so it doesn't really pair up with "too much". You'd either say "don't you think we're rushing" or "don't you think we're moving too fast", having both is redundant.

"On the contrary, we'll have plenty of practice if we start soon. Learning the theory in the guild was good, but what counts is the experience! " the Riolu spoke with a happy tone, seeming to be excited about the idea.
"I'll... see you in a little while then." the Pokémon said with a visible expression of sadness, leaving the room in silence.

In places the prose gets a bit redundant when it comes to emotion and tells when it could show. To directly say someone is excited or their face was sad often comes across like it's spelling things out or talking down to the reader if it's something that the reader could have picked up by themselves from what's already there or a more subtle alternative.

In practice, what I mean is that Lance can already be understood as being excited due to his line sounding optimistic and ending with an exclamation point, and speaking with a happy tone only further establishes that. Adding that he seemed to be excited is not only overkill, but also quite bluntly put, which it has in common with the second example.

"Expression of sadness" feels... cold and clinical. Being so general, it's not very evocative. It tells the reader what it is, when it could instead show something that better paints a picture in the reader's mind and immerses them better. He could be frowning, or he could look at the floor - or as a canid, his ears could even flatten back! But the amazing thing is that you don't actually even need those to convey that he's saddened, since his hesitation in his words and silence upon leaving already imply that.

Lance continued walking with his brother, stopping to see the vendors.

This sentence seems to contradict itself, saying Lance was walking and stopping at the same time.

To their left, there was a store with various items
and taking some fruit from there, putting it in his mouth
He was thoughtful but was sure that his decision was the best he could have done.

Leaning on what I said just a bit ago - there's nothing actually wrong about these passages, but they're all rather vague in description, when they could be more specific about to make the scene more lively and engaging. "Various items" could be expanded to "scarves, goggles, berries and other items" or such, and "some fruit" could be... well, whatever the fruit he took out were.

The third example is more abstract, but provides a golden opportunity to make a character more fleshed out. What was he thinking about if he was so certain about his decision? Was he thinking about things important to him that he would miss once he was gone? Was he wondering about what would be ahead of them? Showing what a character thinks about and when can be a great way to show their values and motivations, which in turn makes them feel more like real people, which in turn makes them more engaging to read about.

"Yes, Mr. Spectra! What seeds do you have? My brother and I will travel tomorrow and we would like to prepare ourselves." Brian said as he ran towards the vendors' counter.

"Only Blast Seeds, unfortunately, the Reviver Seeds are unavailable, many exploration teams bought them already, I'm sorry." the other Kecleon spoke, crossing his arms.

On punctuation: in English, sentences that would normally end in a period end with a comma instead if they end the line of dialogue. I say "in English" specifically, because it's slightly different in my own language, so it might also be in yours. But in correct English punctuation, you'd get:

"Yes, Mr. Spectra! What seeds do you have? My brother and I will travel tomorrow and we would like to prepare ourselves," Brian said as he ran towards the vendors' counter.

"Only Blast Seeds, unfortunately. The Reviver Seeds are unavailable; many exploration teams bought them already. I'm sorry," the other Kecleon spoke, crossing his arms.

I also did some run-on sentence splicing again on the latter line as another example of that.

"You can have one, it's on the house! If by chance in your adventures you find some rare item, we will be happy to!"

Happy to... do what? I couldn't see any previous verb this could tie into. I'd assume they're saying they'd be happy to buy them, but the conversation only has to do with them selling things, so it doesn't fit into the dialogue.

the little blue Pokémon waved and walked away from there.
The door opened and the Zorua known as Brian entered quickly,

These phrases referring to the characters - epithets, as they're called - can sometimes feel contrived and needlessly complicated. Remember that it's alright to simply use a character's name. It might feel repetitive at first, but I assure you that it actually doesn't bother the reader as much as you fear they do. It's the same with the word "said": it's better to use it more often than trying to come up with a fresh verb every time.

Among the stores in the square, there was a bank, ruled by a gray Meowth, a building that looked like the head of a Machop, it was a training dojo, whose owners were a Machamp and a Hitmonlee and, further away from the village, a huge building with a visible sign.
"Dad will probably take a while to arrive, his team's mission seems to be dangerous, do you think he will come back in one piece?" Brian stared at the Riolu.
And good luck to you both, you'll need it, but as your uncle, I worry, be careful, okay?

Some of the lines in the prose and dialogue are pretty busy and hard to follow. In speech, it's more understandable - people do talk fast and jump from topic to topic in real life - but generally these so-called run-on sentences should be avoided. Proper punctuation helps people keep better track of where a sentence ends and where another starts. The first of these quotes was specifically confusing, since it's a list of buildings but also includes additional information right next to them, and I had to read it carefully to tell what clause was referring to what. I mean, one could technically read the end as the dojo being owned by a Machamp, Hitmonlee and a huge building.

The fix to run-on sentences is simple, however. Either split the sentence into as many parts as it needs to be to fix the problem, or add some more complex punctuation, like semicolons or dashes. Some commas may also be possible to drop. Example:

Among the stores in the square, there was a bank ruled by a gray Meowth, a building that looked like the head of a Machop — it was a training dojo whose owners were a Machamp and a Hitmonlee — and, further away from the village, a huge building with a visible sign.

Of course, the clauses can also be moved around to make splits work better. Here one option could be to separate the owners of the shops to their own sentences, for example: "The bank was ruled by a gray Meowth, while the dojo was owned by a Machamp and a Hitmonlee."

In it was written: "Exploration Guild Hero".

With signs, you'd use "on" rather than "in".

Brian lay down on the bottom bed, eating the fruit he had picked from the kitchen, and tried to call his brother. Realizing that he had slept, he sighed and closed his eyes, excited about what the future would bring for the duo. The two eventually slept, both with similar thoughts in their heads.

The prose here is kind of confusing, mainly due to the multiple "he"s referring to two different people. "Realizing that he had slept" after a sentence where Brian is the active agent would grammatically make the "he" point to Brian, when Lance is meant - and then after that, the "he"s do refer to Brian, adding to the confusion.

"He had slept", on the other hand, implies that the person had slept in the past and is no longer sleeping, which isn't true here... or I think so, but "the two eventually slept" makes it sound like neither of them were asleep before they were said to be sleeping.

Either way, here's a suggestion on making it clearer:

Brian lay down on the bottom bed, eating the fruit he had picked from the kitchen, and tried to call his brother. Realizing that his brother was sleeping, he sighed and closed his eyes, excited about what the future would bring for the duo. Eventually, he fell asleep as well, and the brothers' heads were filled with similar thoughts.

I'm actually not sure what the last part means, either, but I kept it in for the example.

"When I told him to pack his things, I didn't mean to do it on short notice ..." he said, yawning.
"Those scars will never come out... it's a mark that will stay forever with him and me. I couldn't help him then, but now I can..."

Something that often rubs me the wrong way in fiction is characters talking aloud by themselves. Sure, real people sometimes do it, but most of the time in fiction it comes off as if the character was talking to the camera. I'd rather put this dialogue in italics and have it be internal monologue rather than external, since external just makes me wonder what everyone else around thinks of this person that seems to be talking to dead air.

The second quote also felt jarring due to Brian seeming like he randomly knew his brother was thinking about his scars at the moment and so decided to think about them himself.

Good morning, brother!

Another pet peeve of mine - I've never actually heard anyone addressing their sibling as brother or sister in real life... although I am aware that this does happen in some cultures. If this was translated from the language of one that does do that, I apologize.

"You can go say goodbye to the guild, I'll have coffee and we'll meet at the village exit, okay?" he was talking with his arms crossed.

Typically -ing forms aren't used in dialogue tags. I suggest simply going for "he said" instead.

James was in his office, looking at the village through the window, taking an ice cream made with an Oran Berry.

Taking...? Does this mean eating, or did he physically take it out of something, like a refrigerator?

"I hope they do a good job..." James spoke to himself, licking the candy in his hand.

Ice cream really can't be referred to as "candy", in English at least. However, the later used "dessert" is fine.

extending his hand to little Pokemon.

*the little Pokemon?

It's been 8 years...
especially considering you're both only 16
let him know what we did, ok?
Brian just nodded and left the room running.
He then began to walk without even looking back.

All of these quotes have something in common, and it's tone or style that doesn't really fit prose writing or specifically prose writing with an objective(ish) 3rd person narrator. Numbers under twenty are better suited to be written out in letters in most contexts - putting them in as numbers comes across as somewhat lazy, even if that wasn't the intention. "OK" is an abbreviation of "okay" rather than a word by itself, so it'd be better off as written in all capitals or the word, preferably the latter.

In the remaining two quotes, my issue is with the words "just" and "even". Both come across as pretty colloquial, which works against the otherwise objective tone of the narration. "Just" could be replaced with the more neutral "only", and "even" could be dropped.

Brian went to another corner of the place,
its rays illuminating the place,

"Place" is another term that feels too colloquial in narration, at least in these contexts. The first could replace it with "room" (if it was the corner of a room) and the second with "area" or "scene".

looking at the sign that indicated to tourists who had arrived in the village,

Indicated what? I guess it's the fact that the tourists are in the village now, but grammatically this is incomplete.

Turning his eyes,

It's odd to have "turning" paired with "eyes"... It'd fit better with "head". "Moving" works better with "eyes", though "moving his eyes" then sounds like he's looking around aimlessly and happens to spot his brother, which might not be what you meant.


General Thoughts

I will be honest - I think this could be stronger as a first chapter. There currently isn't much for a reader to be invested in - there is the mystery behind Lance's scars, but it doesn't seem like it's going to be the focus, at least for a while.

A lot of this chapter is simply the two leads talking about leaving for their journey, which by itself is not very exciting. It can work, but with this chapter, I didn't feel like there was quite enough to learn from their talk to get interested in this journey or the two brothers as characters. The author's notes give a summary of both, but the prescribed personalities didn't come across to me very strongly from the text itself, which they ideally should, given it's the first chapter. A first chapter's mission is to introduce the audience to the story and its characters and give the reader some hook to make them want to continue reading. Here, though, the hook doesn't feel very strong - likely the draw is meant to be the journey the two leads are about to take, but in the end, we know pretty little about what it'll actually be like. They say they'll do missions and see new places... but again, it's very vague. Imagine a pamphlet for a spa that says they have baths and nothing else. It's a bit like that.

Oh, but I will say that something caught my curiosity here, and it's that this setting seems to have modern(ish) technology, with mentions of refrigerators and radios. That's an interesting contrast when most PMD fiction and the games themselves are largely pre-industrial, and it could go into an intriguing direction, combining more modern technology with the known PMD conventions.

I'm sorry that this review ended up being pretty critical, but I hope I've managed to be constructive about it. From your Discord messages, though, it sounds like you're eager to learn and get better, which is a good attitude - and with fourteen chapters already, you seem motivated about this story. So, good luck with writing further, and feel free to reply here or on the Discord if you've got any questions about the points in this review. See you around!


Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
Alrighty, *cracks knuckles* time to review chapter 1, revised! For starters, great improvements! This version is definitely better, in my opinion. I can tell you took critique and tried to adapt it, which is great! Opening with the dream is good. Some may say a dream sequence is cliche but honestly, I like it. It clearly has crucial ties to the character's motives and backstory, so I daresay it works well.

I also felt this version read smoother, in the sense that I got a little better idea who these brothers are and where they are headed. Less jarring and hard to follow.

You've also done good at making the two brothers feel distinct. Lance feels reserved and neutral, bordering on being bitter at times. Brian feels more upbeat and chipper, the positive one. This will probably make for a great dynamic down the road, exploring their contrasting views and personalities.

Mentioning the name number 10 is good, it gives a tease that there's something off about this Riolu. I'm glad you also mentioned where they are headed. That's important to establish. The best way to add to this is to also explain why they are headed there. Do they want to join a guild over there? Do they seek to become heroes, do they want wealth or fame? Even if motives change later as your characters develop, establishing a small goal can be very helpful.
For example, maybe they want to travel to Bright Dawn to make a name for themselves and become famous heroes like their father. But when they get there they find out no one respects them because they are young. Now you've given a small conflict.
It doesn't have to look exactly like this, of course. Do what fits your story. But giving them both a what and a why will help readers connect.

Now, a lot of readers have already commented on some awkward prose and grammar I think. I feel like a lot of that stems from not being a native English speaker? English is a ridiculously weird language so I assume some of the stiffness comes from that. I won't really harp on that, except to say a dedicated beta with native English writing skills will help. If not, make sure to keep reading plenty and trying to analyze what works.

I think you're doing a fantastic job for a first time writer!

Here's some quick tips to smooth this chapter. These aren't precisely criticisms, just some suggestions from a native English speaker to help things sound smoother.

"What are you going to do now, Number 10?" it just said,
Eliminate 'just'

The canid trembled and looked around, trying to find an exit. The Fighting-Type suddenly heard a laugh coming from behind him and gasped in shock, turning around.
The second sentence can be worded smoother by phrasing it like this 'A laugh echoed behind him and he gasped in shock, turning around.'

"Lance, you're fine," he said, trying to convince himself of that. Gazing at his reflection, Lance put his paw on his chest. "It was just another nightmare."
This is some pretty good dialogue mixed with character action. I liked it!

"Well, my stuff is packed, hopefully, my brother's as well." he shrugged.
Dialogue is always hard to punctuate. I constantly struggle with it too.
Here's a handy guide. View: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/354095589454212242/

As the door opened, a Zorua ran inside the office, a toothy grin on his face. He stopped, looking at the Fire-Type.

"Good morning Uncle James! It's me!"

You can move James's dialogue to the same line as his action takes place.
'The door opened and a Zorua ran inside the office, a toothy grin on his face. "Good morning Uncle James!"'
“We’ll be going to Bright Dawn, the biggest city on Eutrios!” Brian said, transforming himself into a Metang. “It’s gonna be so fun, we’ll work by ourselves!” he shapeshifted again, becoming a Machamp, flexing his muscles.

Great job adding where they are going. This detail helped a lot.

“You’re excited about this, aren't you?” James clapped at that show.

“Yes, yes! Lance is…” he went back to normal, ears drooping. “He’s as neutral as usual, I guess.”

Noice mixing dialogue and character emotes!
(Just change it from 'James clapped at that show' to 'the'.)

To say that he was in a small house was an understatement. In front of Lance, there was a staircase leading to the living room, where he went. After getting there, the Riolu could see a big sofa and a bookcase right in front, with a radio set on it. On the right, a corridor led to the kitchen, and on the other side, another corridor leading to guest rooms and bathrooms.

"Brian must have already left," Lance kept walking, headed towards the kitchen. After all, he needed to eat.

The kitchen had a table for five Pokémon and a fireplace in the back, wood already placed. Lance went to a corner, opening a refrigerator, and taking an apple, eating it in silence. After finishing it, the Riolu then left the house, a stern look on his face.
So this is a golden opportunity to remember to describe through your character's eyes. Instead of telling the reader what his house is like, show how Lance sees it. I will give you an example.
'Lance descended the stairs to his living room, glancing around for any sign of his brother. The well-worn sofa in the corner was empty, the bookshelf beside it was neatly organized. Leave it to Brian to organize their bookshelf before he left. A radio in the center of the room sat untouched, covered in a layer of dust. It had been a gift from his Uncle James but ended up unused. Books had always interested him more than fancy technology.
His stomach rumbled, reminding him of how hungry he was, so he made a beeline for the kitchen.'

Now, yours won't have to look exactly like mine, nor should it. But when you're in a scene, try to picture it in your head. Ask yourself, how does my character feel about this? Does he hate the sight of his living room? Maybe he can't wait to leave. What are his thoughts and opinions on the world around him? Is the living room untouched perhaps because the two brothers are always out exploring? Is it messy? Meticulously organized? If you intended to describe something, make sure to try and reveal something through the description.
Since you know your characters better than me, you can decide what details to include.
Don't go overboard, a sentence or two is fine. But I always find a small detail here and there can bring a world to life. It's a great way to link a character to the outside world.

Meanwhile, Lance walked around the town’s beach, contemplating the ocean’s waves that were splashing the Riolu’s feet and far away, a few Lapras swimmed. He needed that moment, away from all problems and distractions. To not remember what made the nightmares begin.
Lapras swam?
Also, this prose reads a bit odd. I think it's a run-on sentence and can be split into two. 'Meanwhile, Lance walked around the town’s beach, contemplating the ocean’s waves as they splashed his feet. In the distance, he spotted a few Lapras swimming through the ocean.'
This just the gist of it. As long as you are writing within the same sentence, you can generally just say 'he' instead of 'the Riolu'.

Determined to fulfill that promise, the Riolu took a deep breath, wrapping a gray bandana around his head and then walked away, to the place he had agreed with his brother.

Where did he agree to meet his brother? Unless there was an intentional reason to withhold their meeting place from the audience, you might as well say it. Alternatively, you could just say 'Riolu took a deep breath, wrapping a gray bandana around his head before walking away to meet up with his brother.' Unless you mentioned a specific spot, there's no need to say it here.

I think that settles my small commentary.

Now overall, I think you've done a good job making improvements! I can see a definite change from your first version. There is a marked improvement.

Strong points: Distinct characters and personalities. A few pieces of nice dialogue. Good development from your first version.

Points to work on: Keep working on that prose though! I think you're doing decent, considering that you said you're not a native English speaker, which is why some of it feels weird. Not bad, just weird at times. Mostly in the sense that there are minute grammatical errors and nuances which probably read a little awkward.
Work on establishing motive and scenes.
Here's another quick tip. If you can avoid it, don't use the same word to begin a sentence consecutively. It can make a paragraph feel repetitive. Just that small change, applied to the whole story, can really help!

Overall, I truly you're doing very well, heading in a good direction!! I think your biggest hurdle to overcome is just that icky language thing, cause English is just... awful. Really hard to learn. I think you have some very good potential, especially given how you improved even from your first to second revision.

Final note: I don't think you need the character descriptions at the top. Your first chapter says enough already and provides the very same details. :) So good job there, feel free to remove that since the story tells us.

I think that covers my first chapter thoughts. I'll try to review chapter 2 sometime in the next few days. If I forget, don't be afraid to remind me! And if you have any questions or want clarification, feel free to DM me.

Keep up the good work!
Dungeon 15 - The kids aren't alright


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 15 - The kids aren't alright
Dungeon 15 - The kids aren't alright

Lance woke up, seeing himself in the cave where he and his brother went in while following the Snover's call for help. There was the Zorua, who had just woken up in front of him. And, deeper down, the Sigilyph who had made them both remember those deep memories.

The Riolu got up, growling in anger. He stopped to collect his thoughts and realized he had gone through those terrible experiments and days again. With his whole body shaking, he threw up and fell to the ground, not knowing what to do.

"H-Hey!" Scared, Brian noticed what happened. However, his anger was greater than his fear and he turned to face the enemy Pokémon.

Sigilyph was still flying, but he stepped back, muttering something to himself.

"Ah, I wanted to kill you while you were sleeping, but it seems you got rid of the effect so fast…"

"Using a status move on us after we were weakened…" Lance panted, clenching his fist. "This strategy worked, but now?!"

"You made a very terrible mistake…" the Zorua's blue eyes started to glow as he put himself in a combat position. After eating one of the Oran Berries he had, he was ready to attack.

"Did I? And what would that be, little Zorua?" The Sigilyph mocked Brian, keeping himself in the air away from him.

"You hurt my brother... I don't know what he saw, but knowing that he saw something it's enough for me to kick your ass!" The boy's body was then wrapped in a red aura, and he disappeared, activating his illusion.

"Did you forget that you are no longer immune to my attacks?" the Psychic-type gave a small laugh directed nowhere in specific, as the zorua wasn't visible.

"Of course I know, but here's the thing... I think you need to taste your own medicine!" his voice came from behind the psychic Pokémon as the Zorua suddenly became visible.

Imitating the previous movement, Brian used Hypnosis on his fore, hitting the Sigilyph, who started sleeping.

The Zorua fell to the ground, growling, his fur standing on end as he stared at the enemy, still angry at him. Then Brian's body was surrounded by a dark aura as rammed against the Sigilyph. His claws also glowed, extending and sharpening.

"Nobody messes with my family! Nobody!" he declared as he attacked mercilessly, the Sigilyph could only get hit.

The psychic was still floating while asleep, but was slowly being dragged to the ground by Brian's attacks, until he woke up by the damage, screaming in pain.

"I'm not finished with you yet." Brian took another Orb and became invisible again.

"You idiot! You could have had a painless death, moron!" Flapping his wings, wind gathered around Sigilyph, morphing into the distinct shape of a blade, until he was hit by the orb, falling to the ground without being able to move even a muscle.

"Let's go…" Brian appeared behind his opponent, his body once again shining in a red tone. To finish the Sigilyph off, he shot a dark energy ball at point blank, knocking him out. Undoing the illusion, the boy fell to the ground, having spent all his energy in the fight.

"Brian…" his brother staggered when getting on his feet, seeming like he could fall at any moment, but even so, Lance decided to get closer.

"We won…" panting, the Zorua closed his eyes.

"You did all this for me? I can't believe it…" he murmured, lips trembling.

"Relax, you're important to me," Brian grinned.

Lance didn't know how to react. During all the years since he had been kidnapped, the boy closed off his emotions. But this time, it seemed he could finally feel something, some genuine happiness. Looking at the ceiling and pondering for a few moments, he then fell next to the other, exhausted. Thinking fast, he opened his backpack, taking the last Orb he had.

"Come on... we need to go back and leave this guy with the detective..." he said, poking the Sigilyph's body.

"Okay…" Brian agreed, leaning against the orb.

The Riolu hit the Orb against the ground, where it shattered, making the three of them shine, disappearing from there. Another battle was won by the duo, but not everything seemed to be fine.

A day had passed after the confrontation and the explorer duo were now at the police station, seeing their opponent being taken to jail. Lance looked at the Sigilyph with his arms crossed, until the psychic went out of the Riolu's field of vision when he heard the noise of someone pigeoning. When he turned around, he saw detective Apollo.

"Thanks a lot, guys," the Arcanine smiled at them, showing his teeth.

"You're welcome. But I'd like to warn you that we won't be able to execute the plan today, my brother and I are exhausted," the Riolu said, glancing at the Zorua.

"Yeah... we still need to talk about some things in private," Brian agreed, yawning and scratching behind his ears.

How cute. Apollo chuckled and nodded to them. To be honest, he was tired too, but those kids? They were still in a very bad shape, with bruises and a few cuts. Apollo wondered why they seemed to be taking all that so well, considering they were a newly-formed team.

"Hm, no problem! Oh, by the way, I already put Pikachu into witness protection, so you don't need to worry about her!" Apollo explained with glowing and sparkly eyes. "Anyway, meet me here tomorrow!"

The two siblings left the place, walking the streets of the city. During the trip to their apartment, they looked at the nearby citizens, who remained doing their activities normally.

"They don't seem to suspect about the dark side of things here," Lance sighed.

"Well, it's not as if those guys were killing indiscriminately…"

"They still have to pay," the Riolu clenched his fist, growling.

"I understand... by the way, I was serious at the police station, we need to talk!"

"I... know…" biting his lip, he kept walking.

When they arrived at their home, both of the siblings went straight to the apartment upstairs. After locking the door behind them, they sat down on the couch, staying a few moments in silence. Neither wanting to say anything.

"Ok! I'll start it here…" Brian said loudly, looking at his brother.

"Go ahead," hesitating a little, Lance averted his gaze.

"I kept remembering a few things because of that Sigilyph," lowering his ears, he didn't seem to want to talk about it, yet he built up the courage to continue. "From that time you disappeared."

Those words hit the Riolu like a stab in the boy's heart, and his scar stung. The subject of the conversation was very delicate, even after eight years of what happened.

"I also did. My dream ended with Blitz."

"Blitz?! Wow, I wish things had worked out between you two," Brian noticed that he had deviated from the subject and shook his head. "I never knew what happened when you got taken. If you want—"

"No," Lance cut his brother's sentence, breathing deeply.

This was supposed to be them both finally talking things out. In the end, it was awful that they had to endure all the trauma.

Forcing a smile, the blue Pokémon spoke again. "I'm sorry, I... I went through a lot there. I had to kill to survive, because of the crazy scientist who drugged and tortured me for a month…"

Killing? Lance had to kill? Oh. No wonder how much his personality changed after the events. Gone was the happy and carefree Riolu Brian once knew, and that… version of Lance replaced him. The fox bit his lower lip, a bit unsure what to say.

He couldn't blame his brother, it wasn't his choice. The other option was Lance dying in that lab, and this one felt like a big boulder crashing against Brian's head. No. He had to take things slow and be gentle.

"I'm sorry Lance, I shouldn't have asked," Brian gulped, ears lowered. Ah, how he wished things were different, that he could turn back time and fix everything. But it was impossible.

"That's ok. It was hard to go through all that alone, I... thought I had overcome it. The worst part is, it's the second time I thought that. The last time was when I was with the Blitz ... during the time we were together I felt happy," Lance looked down, his ears drooping as he reminisced. "I don't know what I was thinking."

"Using him to try to solve your problems was not a good thing to do, even if you both loved each other," Brian said, and his brother just nodded. "Even so, I know I can't make your trauma disappear, but... I hope I can help you get through it."

"T-Thank you, Brian," Lance blushed,embarrassed. "You're my partner on this journey and my brother on this life. I trust you, I just don't know how to show it."

"I also care about you, know that I will be here for whatever you need," Brian gave a faint smile, wagging his tail. "You don't need to hide anything from me!"

"Okay. I can't promise anything, only I guarantee I'll think about it. I'm really tired. I'll see you later," yawning, the boy got up, going into his room.

"Hopefully, everything will be fine," stretching, the Zorua did the same thing as his brother, entering the room and throwing himself into bed, immediately falling asleep.

While Lance was lying in bed, he began to reflect on the last part of the dream he had during the fight. The Riolu remembered the time they had spent together, where he was happy, despite all that had happened.

I loved you, but... I hurt you a lot... I wish it had worked out, I'm not good with relationships, I guess. Not with everything that happened to me.

The boy gnashed his teeth. I don't have time to think about it, I need to plan how to get rid of those three... for better or for worse. He closed his eyes, finally falling asleep.

In the other room, Brian was already sleeping, moving on his bed and sweating. In his mind, he could see himself at the exit of his city. The place was covered with a dense fog, and you could hardly see what was far away. Striving to see, the boy saw a silhouette with a familiar shape.

Squinting his eyes, he recognized it as his brother and started running, but he didn't seem to move from place, even if he tried, while Lance moved further and further away. The zorua fried in despair, unable to catch up with his brother.

"AH!" Brian gasped, waking up from the nightmare. With his body still trembling, he began to breathe slowly, in an attempt to calm down. "I have to be strong... as Uncle Shiron said, I will protect him and none of that will happen again!" Pondering this, he went back to sleep.

At dusk, detective Apollo was leaving the police station after a long day of work. The plan he had made with the two boys was about to be executed and until now, everything was in accordance. When he entered his residence, he saw, standing there, a Gothitelle, staring at him in silence and holding an envelope.

"The mayor's secretary!" narrowing his eyes, the Arcanine waited to see what she would do. Making enemies would not solve that conflict, only escalate it.

"My name is Jane, detective. But that doesn't matter much at the moment," she put the paper on a desk. "I know you're still conducting the investigation and the mayor would like to make a deal with you."

"He wants me to stop…"

"Well, you can continue if you want, after all, you're free to do it... however, I can't guarantee that everything will go the way you expect it to."

"And you think I'm just going to ignore a case of corruption that's in front of me?!" he shouted, growling and preparing to attack.

"The choice is yours, but like every choice, it has consequences... You have until tomorrow to decide," the woman walked out the door of the house in silence.

"Shit!" Apollo said, a puff of smoke coming out of his mouth.

After they woke up and had breakfast, the siblings were prepared to execute the plan, which meant they would have to go to the police station to pick up the recorders. And so, they left that way.

"Even after that last fight, we will still have to arrest the other three," Brian pointed out. "Which means… planning! Right?"

Lance nodded. "I had an idea that should allow us to settle the score with those guys," he smirked. "You helped me think this, actually. They need to get a taste of their own medicine."

Brian stopped walking, pondering about the meaning behind those words. He knew Lance didn't throw them in randomly into the conversation, so where did that come from? He had helped?

Wait. Back with the Sigilyph! That was it! The fox smiled, proud at himself for figuring it out and followed his sibling, giggling all the way.

"I think I know what you're getting at, but we're gonna have to get this right first…"

"Well, Brian, for this particular plan of mine, you're going to play a big role, I trust you with it." Lance's smile widened as he kept walking. "You do wanna help me, right?"

"O-Of course!" Brian had a goofy grin on his face.

The two of them stopped at the entrance and then went inside the place, going to the Arcanine's office. As they arrived, the explorers saw the policeman walking in circles, while he mumbled a few words to himself. When he noticed the boys, Apollo turned to face them.

"Good morning, and I have some... not very good news for you," he said, lowering his ears.

"What happened?" The Riolu asked, sitting on a chair.

"The mayor's secretary tried to bribe me, and honestly, I don't know what to do now," he sighed.

"Do they even know our plan?" this time, it was the Zorua who asked the question.

"I don't know, but messing with the most powerful Pokémon here is pretty dangerous," Apollo grumbled, still unsure what to do about that.

"No. That's how they win," Lance closed his eyes, analyzing the situation. "If we fall into their game, nothing will change."

"My brother's right, I don't want to see someone like that get away with murder!" Brian stared at the cop.

"Right," Apollo scratched his chin. "I understand, so let's get on with it. Will you two go to your positions now?"

"Exactly," Lance nodded.

Well, that went better than he expected it, and he was glad it did! Apollo's tail wagged as he heard the two saying those sweet and gentle words.

"Ok. So let's do it," opening the drawer with his mouth, he took two devices, delivering them to the duo.

The devices were rectangular-shaped, and had a few buttons on the side of them. On the front, there was a large microphone, and a few areas of the devices had holes in them.

Brian took notice of what they were meant for and smiled wider than he ever did before, now wagging his tail.

"Oh! Oh! That's a recorder, isn't it?! That's so cool!" he proclaimed, yelping and turning into a Loudred, beating his chest. "DO YOU GUYS KNOW HOW THIS THING WORKS?!"

Apollo wasn't as amused as Brian, but to humor him, he decided to fake ignorance about the subject. "No clue, kiddo. How does it work?"


Lance elected to shut up his brother, knowing very well how he could go on those explanations for hours, a time which they didn't have at the moment.

"Our plan... will not fail," he put the recorder in his backpack and left with his brother.

"Good luck, kids!" Apollo gulped, hoping for the best.

After leaving the police station, they both went in opposite directions, Lance going to the Black Skull guild, while Brian went to the city hall. Determined to solve the case, the boys wanted to accomplish their task nicely.

"I wanna kick that guys' ass, but I'll have to control myself," sighing, the Zorua ran, getting closer and closer to the building. Once he arrived and entered, he saw the Gothitelle on the desk.

"Good morning, do you have an appointment?" she asked without even looking at the boy.

"For him, I will make an exception. It's always good to see what explorers have to say to me," the Alakazam spoke, head raised and rubbing his mustache with his left hand. He came down the stairs.

Let's do this Brian, you can't screw it up! For that Tyrunt… taking a deep breath, he went up next to the psychic Pokémon's office, sneakily turning on the recording device and putting it back on, where it slowly moved.

"So, can you tell me what you came here for, boy? I'll have to get used to all of these visits," he said, sitting on the chair.

"I've been here before if you didn't know!"

"Yes. Dark-types. You are immune to my psychic attacks," he got up, looking at the city through the window. "Well, let me ask you something. What do you think you'll gain by continuing on this journey? Recognition? Fame? Things like that come and go."

"At the moment, bringing closure to someone who is suffering... but the question. I want to know... the reason behind this. What led you to hire those mercenaries?" Brian's ears dropped as he backed away, hoping that the recorder was working properly.

"Whoever controls the city controls a lot of things, kid. He was an obstacle that had to be eliminated."

"So he only got killed for being in your way?! He had a family!" That was the last straw. Brian snarled, his body glowing red.

If only he were more powerful… then that fiasco in the cave would be avoided, if he evolved… he could face up against more powerful opponents, like the Alakazam standing in his way.

"And you're the one who's going to end up losing someone if you keep this up," the Alakazam turned around, staring at the Zorua. "Next time, they won't fail."

"That's what I needed... thanks!" Becoming invisible, the boy ran outside the room, turning off the recorder.

The mayor squinted his eyes at that, without understanding why he just ran away.

"Strange, there's no reason he did that, unless... the police!" he clenched his teeth, calling the secretary. "Don't let him escape, he must have recorded the conversation!"

Brian was almost leaving the place, when something grazed the Zorua's head, causing a small explosion that distracted him, making him visible again. Looking back, he saw the Gothitelle standing before him, holding some seeds in her left hand. Extending her right arm, the boy's backpack shone, being lifted in the air by telekinesis.

"I'm sorry, but I can't let you get away with this…" she said as the bag got near.

"Shit! Lady, I don't have time for this!" Brian dashed forward, enveloping his body on that black aura from before, and he colli with the female, decentralizing her and making her backpack fall to the ground.

After the collision, the secretary threw another seed at Zorua, which exploded on contact, throwing him to the ground. As he tried to get up, he realized that his body was not responding correctly, making an effort not to fall on the ground due to the dizziness.

"You may be immune to my attacks, but you are not invincible," she took the backpack with her free hand, moving inside.

"Totter... Seed... shit... !" Brian tried to use Pursuit, but instead, he hit himself, losing balance and falling to the ground.

When he got up, concentrating as much as he could, he fired a dark energy ball into the seeds that Gothitelle was carrying. Some of the seeds exploded in her hand generating another burst that knocked her out.

Suddenly, one of the seeds shone and Gothitelle got up, her energy restored.

"You had a Reviver Seed?!" he gasped, shaking his head. "Focus, Brian! The effects are already diminishing!"

"Tsc... Brick Break should do it!" seeing that her items no longer worked, she stood up, her arms shining. Then, the woman advanced against the boy.

Without having time to react properly, Brian was hit with the full force of the impact, falling to the ground with his body sore from the attack. Even so, he didn't plan to give up on that fight and got up with difficulty, his eyes shining in a red tone, determined to overcome that obstacle.

"I c-can't let you… keep doing… this!"

The shine intensified, covering the boy's entire body as he ran in the direction of the opponent. As he walked, he grew in size and his paws developed claws. The hair clump on his head stretched out on his back, becoming a full crimson mane.

"I… I'm finishing this now! We're not giving up!" Brian declared, jumping back after approaching. "This is what our team stands for! Whenever there is corruption and crime, we'll strike it down!"

Brian dispersed the red aura that was on his body. Despite trying to dodge, the Gothitelle wasn sent flying until she collided with the wall and fell to the ground, fainting.

Panting, the newly evolved Zoroark took his backpack, and, before the mayor could return, he ran out of there. Stumbling and falling flat on the ground, Brian got up, running again.

"Okay, I'll need to get used to walking on two legs... but at least I made it! I hope Lance made it too…"

So, the boy went back to the police station with the recorded conversation, stumbling a few times while getting used to his new shape. Until now, everything was going as planned. It was up to the boy to trust that his brother would fulfill his part of the strategy too.
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Dungeon 16 - Unwavering Actions


Exploration Team leader
  1. swampert
Dungeon 16 - Unwavering Actions

The intense and cold wind blew, ruffling Lance's fur as he went inside the Black Skull guild's building. Stoic as always, he kept focus on the task at hand, going straight to the guildmaster's office. Lance had already planned how he was going to get the Swalot to reveal everything and showed a light smile on his muzzle while opening the door.

"Well, if it isn't the young explorer... to what do I owe the pleasure of his visit?." The Swalot was in his chair and turned his eyes to Lance. "I have to say that I heard the news and I'm sorry about what happened in your apartment–"

"Shut up." Lance cut him off, sitting on the chair to face the Swalot. "Cut the crap. Anyone with enough neurons would realize that this situation is too convenient for you."

"Excuse me?!" Looking away, he shuddered slightly, but kept pretending ignorance. "I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"Is that how you want to play it? Fine. Let me explain it for you," sighing, Lance stared into the eyes of the guildmaster.

His aura exhaled lies, and was agitated. Lance saw it colored blue and smirked at the tip of his lips.

"Evidence number one: you wanted to interrupt our investigation. Number two: shortly after we confronted Alakazam, we were attacked in our apartment."

As he confronted Swalot, the guildmaster began to sweat, drops and drops of it fell on the ground beneath him. Lance, of course, noticed this, but chose to continue pointing out what he found out.

"Number three: while I was in the hospital, my brother decided to talk to you again... and of course, he has the element of stealth with him. Who would have thought that he would get a chance to listen to your conversation on the phone?"

That nearly made Swalot gag. He choked on his own saliva for a few seconds, while Lance just stared at him with cold eyes. He calmed down, and growled.

"Listen here, kid! Stop being an idiot and an idealist! This is how the adults deal with things! You don't know how it–"

"Shut up! Don't assume for one second that I don't know how things work!" Lance pinched the table, snarling to the Swalot.

The Riolu bared his teeth, but a deep breath, Lance put his hands on his face to calm down before continuing the conversation.

"You are a despicable being, Robert."

"As I said, that's how we work here! Don't come with that idealistic crap to me! Those who don't have the power need to find ways to get it... it's survival!"

"Silence. I understand perfectly. You want to talk about survival? Fair enough. I am a survivor."

Lance snapped his fingers, producing a blue glow around his palm. He aimed at Swalot and then continued.

"You're pathetic, a Pokémon like you shouldn't be running this guild... an accomplice to murder," he stood up, eyes fixed on the guildmaster. "I can't stand around doing nothing. Only justice can bring peace."

The Swalot trembled, breath and heart rate accelerated. He couldn't believe that this kid, who had just arrived to the town, was already trying to get him in jail. However, there was still something Robert could do to prevent that.

"So what?!" he grinned. "You can't do anything, the police have no proof of my involvement!"

Oh blue glow around Lance's palm faded away and he stuttered. No words came out, even if he tried to.

"Shit!" Lance's eyes squinted and he backed away. "I hadn't realised... I came here for nothing." The boy lowered his ears and closed his fists.

"Exactly! I work with them and in exchange the mayor finances me! But you can't do anything, you're powerless... Fortunately, I'm in a good mood. I'll let you out, but if you keep doing this, the mercenaries won't be the only Pokémon you'll need to worry about," after finishing the sentence, the purple Pokémon started laughing out loud.

"N-No…" Lance said in a low tone and left the building.

After leaving the guild, the boy walked towards the police station, smiling and grabbing the recorder in his backpack. Swalot fell into the trap as planned. Happy that his plan worked, Lance went on to meet his brother.

Okay, if he did his part, then I'll have to use Brian's strengths again…

Speaking of him, Lance managed to see a Zoroark standing right at the entrance to the police station.

"Heya, shorty! I'm sorry, I almost couldn't see you!" Brian gave a broad smile, making the peace sign with his fingers.

"You evolved... congratulations."

"Thanks," he said scratching his head. "Oh, I have my recording. And you?"

"What do you think?" Lance showed him the device.

"So come on, Apollo's waiting for us!" so the two of them entered the scene, heading to the Arcanine's office.

The Arcanine was sitting on a chair built for quadruped Pokémon, waiting for the boys to show up. When he heard the door opening, the canine's gaze shifted to the entrance.

"Kids! How was it? Did everything go well?!" Apollo said as he jumped down the chair to approach them.

"We have the necessary proof. So, answering your question... yes." Lance put his recorder on the table and soon after, his brother did the same.

"You... really did it," the Arcanine gasped as his tail began to quickly wag behind him.

"We never had any doubts about our ability," the fighting-type let a light smile show on his face.

"That's right... but what now? You still have those three," Brian said, looking at them.

"Well, without the political support, I think it should be much easier to arrest them."

"I have a suggestion," the Riolu raised his arm.

"Let's listen carefully, kid." Apollo nodded.

"My brother and I will arrest them personally. After all, it was us who received the mission from that Tyrunt," Lance squinted his eyes. "They are yet to receive proper punishment."

"I don't see any problem with that, but... do you happen to have a plan?" Apollo looked at them, trying to understand what they were going to do.

"Actually, they gave me the idea... we're gonna do it their way…"

Brian realized what his sibling's plan was, based on all the conversations they had after the battle with the Sigilyph. "Wait! You want to forge a mission for them?!" Brian gasped, surprised at his brother's idea.

"Exactly," Lance crossed his arms. "Detective, you have informants on the dark side of town, correct? Brian can pretend to be a client. Now that he's a Zoroark, his illusionist skills are even better than before."

Apollo was unconvinced and raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, but... don't you think it's dangerous? Your brother may end up being discovered, even with the support of my informant…"

"Oh, that's right. I'm sorry, Brian," the kid frowned, looking at the Zoroark. "Well, I can try to do it myself then... but maybe it would be more risky…"

"No! I will do it! I'm the best fit for that!" Brian declared, worried about what could happen to Lance if he went to do that part of the mission.

"Okay, so, detective, do we have a deal?" he said stretching his hand towards the Arcanine.

"Yes," Apollo shook Lance's hand with his paw. "You guys can go home, I have to mobilize the cops to arrest the two of them, and probably make an announcement to everybody... come here tomorrow and I'll give you more instructions, ok?"

"Ok!" Brian agreed and walked away from there.

Lance decided to do the same, when he heard Apollo clearing his throat. Turning back, he saw that the detective was tapping his front paws on the ground again and again.

"You know, after a few years on the force, you understand how to manipulate mons," Apollo pointed out. "What I mean is… I understood what you did, kid... it wasn't very nice... especially with someone close to you…"

"Yes I know, I manipulated him so he would accept it. He's very protective, and that can be useful sometimes." Lance walked out of the room. He forged a blank expression, but his heart thumped. Involving his brother was the best call right then, but that didn't mean Lance wasn't guilty.

"I hope this doesn't turn against you, kid," he said, watching the Riolu leave.

On the way home they both looked happy, After all, they just accomplished a successful mission. Brian was getting used to using two legs and his new height.

"Hey, now that we've taken the mayor out of office... Do Pokémon have elections here? It's not like we're citizens here... I think," Pondering, the Zoroark scratched his chin.

"I didn't have time to think about that part because of all the mess with those mercenaries. But I believe that if Apollo tried, he'd be able to run... it would be good for him. He's an honest cop and after all we've seen around here, I'm surprised."

"Yeah... we've only been living here a short time, but it doesn't feel like it. How do you think things are at home?"

"Knowing Dad, he must still be on his mission... they went to the extreme northwest of our continent... I heard it's an island run by a monarchy."

"Monarchy... we hardly see that around here anymore…"

"Indeed. Well, I'm starving... we can order food today too," Lance looked up, smiling at his brother.

Brian could not miss an opportunity to make fun of his sibling and smirked.

"Or you could learn to cook, you know?" Lance's brother laughed at his own joke for a while.

"Your tongue grew along with that evolution of yours," he sighed.

"Relax, mister shorty, someday you'll become a Lucario!" Brian nodded, stretching his body.

"Obviously. I can't be a Riolu forever, my aura skills wouldn't be good enough," entering the building, he went upstairs to the apartment.

"Oh! I noticed an engineering course the day we arrived here! Once this is over… I'm gonna apply to it!"

"Congrats, and good luck. You got this, Brian."

Away from the two's house, Mayor Alakazam hit his table with his mind, even kicking the furniture, knocking it to the floor. On the first floor of the building, the Arcanine came next to two Pokémon: one Dewott and one Throh.

"Lee, be careful, he might try something and has type advantage." Apollo said to the Throh and turned his look to the Dewott. "Jack, prepare your shells in case the force is needed. We'll take him into custody as soon as possible."

The three policemon followed, seeing the fainted secretary in the ground. Signaling Lee to take care of her, he went up to the Alakazam room next to Dewott.

When they got there, the mayor recoiled away from the entrance, trembling with fear while at the same time clenching his teeth in frustration, all because he had been exposed by a simple Zorua.

"Please, I'll pay you…"

"Mayor Prometheus. You're under arrest on a charge of murder," unable to hide his smile, Apollo faced the Alakazam. "Anything you say can and will be used against-"

"No! You can't do this to me! You can't do this to me!" he started to float, eyes glowing in a pink tone. "You little, insolent brats-"

Before he had time to finish the sentence, the psychic Pokémon was hit by a seed and fell to the ground, sleeping. The Dewott closed his bag after having done the deed.

"Okay, boss, now we can take him... we'll have to report it," the Water-type said, staring at the detective.

"The others must have taken the Swalot by now, they'll be great cellmates. Now only the mercenaries are missing," he grinned.

"Are you really gonna trust these two to catch those criminals? I mean, their plan is good, but risky."

"It was because of them that we managed to arrest those two, they're no better than the mercenaries," he explained. "Anyway, I'll have to believe the brothers, even though I don't like that Riolu's idea," he shrugged.

"Alright," the Dewott turned around. "Anything else we should do, boss?"

"Jack, I'd like you to investigate this building for more evidence, it may be necessary. I have to prepare things for the press... okay, I admit it's gonna be horrible to do, but it'll be worth it!"

As night fell, three Pokémon were in their natural habitat, a bar. Aggron, Empoleon and Bisharp were sitting at the table, talking among themselves about the last days.

"You heard the rumors, right? Delphis was captured," Atlas said, rolling his eyes.

"Well, it means he was weak if he couldn't handle two boys," Flint said, scraping the blades of his arms on the table.

"If you blame me again, I swear I will leave this group, it's not all my fault that I wish to be able to pay for the things I want!" The aquatic Pokémon angrily yelled at his companions.

"Nobody said anything, and what's this idea of leaving? We've been together since we were teenagers!" Atlas growled, angry at what he heard.

Napoleon shrugged that last part off. "Anyway, it's just rumors. We have to be patient, maybe they're still in that cave."

"Oh, they better be!" Atlas closed his fists, his tail hitting the ground hard enough to make the table shake.

Thinking about the next actions, the two rival groups wanted to give everything to prevent the other from succeeding in combat, in their own different ways. But one idea was common to both leaders.

I'll win... even if I have to… the Riolu thought while having dinner.

"Kill them," Atlas pondered, confident in his decision.
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Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
Heart of Steel
First. Good title. Love titled chapters. And I like this one quite a bit!

Alrighty! Chapter 2! Now to begin, I say, good job! The overall story here is good, characters solid for the story setting. You've set up an interesting second chapter. We have a pokemon seemingly running to be mayor of a town, running afoul of some shady characters. We get to meet a shady group of mercenaries, hired by the current mayor to eliminate the competition. This mercenary guild may be bad news later... I stayed interested the whole time, from opening with the assassination to closing with Flint leaving the current mayors office. Kinda gives me the vibes of a cop show where somebody dies in the first 5 min, lol.

I don't have any complaints about story beats so far. Your main struggles seem to fall under the grammar/syntax category, which is good. I figure the longer you write the better it will get. Syntax is something that simply takes time, patience, and practice to develop, which you seem to be doing a good job with. You are showing steady improvement.

That said, I'll dive straight into some loose critique! This is mostly going to just be me offering insight into smoothing over prose and such.

In the middle of the night, a Druddigon was running through the streets, blood dripping from his arms and heart palpitating. The Pokémon looked back to make sure there was no one following him and stopped in an alley. Panting, he leaned against the wall, grumbling to himself about the situation he was in.
This piece of prose is pretty good!

He panted, trying to reason with whoever was there.

our team doesn't like to leave an unfinished job
This wording feels a bit awkward, 'a job unfinished' might be better.

A voice spoke, but he couldn't see anyone on the spot.
Try 'He heard a voice, but he couldn't see anyone.'

chest filled with blood.
So technically, someone's chest is already filled with blood. If he's bleeding, you might want to describe him getting sliced and blood leaking from his chest.

"Mercenaries... I've heard of you, all members are steel type and do several dirty jobs..."
type-coded villains I see ;)

Razor used all his strength to get up, in his mouth the flames grew and he let out a puff towards the Bisharp.
a puff of flames gives the impression of a very weak attack. If this is what you want to convey, good. If you want to show he's using a stronger attack, you might try describing it with a more forceful word. Like 'shot a fireball' at Bisharp or 'a stream of flames at the Bisharp'.

"He used Substitute!" Razor said, feeling his body weakening with the loss of blood he suffered, but remained alert.
I'd split this into two sentences.
"He used Substitute!" Razor said, feeling his body weakening with the loss of blood he suffered. Despite his weakness however, he remained alert.

But unfortunately for you, I always do my jobs..."
this dialogue reads a bit weird. Unless you intentionally do want Bisharp to have unusual dialogue. There's a lot of free reign when it comes to wording dialogue.
That said, I don't think there's a need to make jobs plural.

In another area of the city, an Empoleon and Aggron talked between sips of the beer they were drinking. They were in a place where mercenaries used to go in order to find jobs for them to fulfill.
Since you just switched scenes, and POV, try adding some sentences to set the mood and tone. My general rule of thumb when describing an area is to start big and work my way in.
For instance, if I start a chapter with my character in a cafe, I might begin by describing sunlight filtering through the windows. This means it's daytime. Then I describe how the cafe is small and crowded. Finally, I describe a single tasty pastry in the display case.
This helps the reader build a mental image of the area. It can be jarring if a reader thinks a scene is in the daytime when its really a night.
As it was, I struggled in this particular sentence because they could have been standing anywhere and drinking a beer. And what place do the mercenaries go to find jobs? Is at an office building? A seedy bar? A fancy hotel that secretly gives mercenaries jobs? This is your chance to do some world building!

"Napoleon! You know I couldn't have sent you on this mission, you can't see a coin without wanting to get it!" The white Pokémon spoke with a laugh, looking at his companion.
Haha! An Empoleon named Napoleon? I like it.

"And you, Atlas, are too scared... This is a unique opportunity! End the competition of the mayor of this city! We were going to win a huge amount of money!" The Empoleon grumbled, drinking some more of the beer.
Do you mean 'End the competition for the mayor of the city?'
Also, the use of 'were' in this sentence throws me off. I take it maybe Napoleon and Atlas didn't accept the job? They had the chance to but missed it? There are three tenses present in this sentence, so I'm not sure what exactly was trying to be said.

"Flint is stealthy and effective, he will fulfill with perfection. Next time I'll let you go after our target..." Atlas said while placing the glass on the table where the two were.
So it's unnecessary to mention the detail of saying 'placing the glass on the table where the two were.'
The part in bold is something the readers can assume for themselves. Especially if you establish earlier in the scene that they are sitting at a table. You can just stick with saying he placed his glass on the table.

Atlas finished drinking, opening his backpack, and throwing some coins at the table. He would get up, facing his companions.
So it's important to note that '-ing' verb forms indicate present tense. This means the action is happening right NOW. Grammatically, you are kinda saying he finished drinking, opened his bag, and took coins out, all at the same exact time.
But since it seems Atlas opened his back then took out some coins, you would have to change tense.
'Atlas finished drinking, opened his backpack, and threw some coins on the table.'
'Atlas finished drinking before opening his backpack and throwing some coins onto the table.

Atlas finished drinking, opening his backpack, and throwing some coins at the table. He would get up, facing his companions.
Also, saying 'would get up' is actually future tense, which is very very confusing to a reader. Generally, you want to stick to the same overall tensed for the story. This helps reduce confusion make reading smoother.
'He got up and faced his companions.'

"Well, if anything, I can blame that fat Empoleon." He talked to himself.
Good dialogue. Just a small tweak:
the word 'muttered to himself' feels more natural. In which case you would end the sentence inside the quotation marks with a comma, not a period.

Gothitelle sitting on a chair, a neutral expression on her face.
no need to say 'on her face', since one can only wear an expression on their face anyway.

"Do you have a reservation?" The Gothitelle spoke rigidly, facing the Bisharp.
Personally, I'd say it's not necessary to mention that she's facing Bisharp, since earlier descriptions imply she's looking in his direction already.

The woman picked up a wired phone from the desk, typing some numbers on the keyboard, and when answering, she talked about Pokémon who had entered the building. After a few minutes of conversation, she kept the phone
I've always found calling a pokemon a 'woman' is really weird. Of course, that's up to you. But usually, a woman describes a human only.
Also, the latter half of this sentence feels somewhat run-on. You could probably split it in two.
'The woman picked up a wired phone from the desk, typing some numbers on the keypad. Once she received an answer, she briefly explained the pokemon who had entered the building

"You can go up the stairs, sir." She spoke, writing some things in a notebook.
I'd replaced spoke with 'said' in this case.

And so, Flint did it, he went up the stairs of the place, going quietly and finally, reaching the floor of the mayor's office, knocking on the door.
I would recommend against starting a sentence with 'And so'. Instead, just jump straight to the action. '
Flint climbed the stairs quietly. Finally, he reached the floor of the mayor's office and knocked on the door.'

"You can come in!" The voice from inside the room said.
So someone once gave me this solid piece of advice. If you use the word 'the' to refer to something specific, such as 'the voice', it usually only applies when you've mentioned it before. Using 'a voice' would be more appropriate.

This is a bit hard to explain but I'll try my best. Here's a simple example.

'Sally walked down the street. The boy across the road waved. She smiled and waved back, then jogged towards the boy.'

Now reading this in English will make the reader say 'hang on, what boy?' However, if you write:
'Sally walked down the street. A boy across the road waved. She waved back, then smiled at the boy.'
See how I switch to 'the' the second time? That's because we started with 'a' as a general reference to the boy.

The place was wide, having a painting of the mayor on the wall and, sitting at a table in the background, was the client of the company's mission.
I would separate the room description from the description of the pokemon in the room, to make things simpler for the reader. So one sentence describing the room, one describing/mentioning the pokemon inside.

The Bisharp spoke, his face with a blank expression.
Same advice as earlier, no need to specify in this way. You can pick two and cut out the third. So either 'face' or 'expression' can be cut. Like so:

'The Bisharp spoke, his face blank'
'The Bisharp spoke with a blank expression'
Or something to that effect. You actually do this earlier when describing Alakazam, which is good!

Flint then approached the table, taking the envelope and putting it in his backpack. The Bisharp eyed his client.
Usually in the same sentence and after the character has been named, you can use 'he' instead.
'Flint then approached the table, taking the envelope and putting it in his backpack. He eyed his client.'
If not, saying 'The Bisharp' again might make the readers think there's three pokemon in the room;
Bisharp, Flint and Alakazam.
Lastly, I did feel the wording of the ending felt a bit off. A jarring or abrupt ending is good, but the wording feels a teensy bit weird to me.

Well, that covers it I think. I apologize if it seems overwhelming! Even looking it now seems daunting but thats cause english is... hard. I still think your story is coming along very well!

Strengths!: Characters, improvements, side characters, intrigue, chapter titles
Work on: Prose and tenses. Tense is tricky in English, especially in fiction. As a rule of thumb, try to stick to the same tense. Past tense is the most common. Stay away from future tense.

Advice: Read read read! The more English book you read, the more familiar you can hopefully become with the language and its ridiculous amount of nuance. Try to also find some basic foundational type grammar exercise you can read/practice. The more familiar you are with those simple details, it can really help!

Again, I want to stress that you are in a great position right now! You're surrounded by good writers, good content, and good feedback. I can tell you are thriving, and you have already learned a lot! Continue to try to take the broad concepts here and apply them throughout.

If you have any questions or would like clarification on anything, feel free to respond here or on the discord! Great job, and keep writing. Never give up!
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