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Pokémon Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Liberators of Fate

Special Episode

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
I have a few notes about this chapter. The first one is that it isn't canon to the story, and more of a "what-if" chapter. The second one is a content warning for this chapter.
Gore

With that out of the way, enjoy this chapter!


Special Episode 2 - The taste of metal

Atlas was tired. Sure, that mission he got would help him get rid of those brats, but he was walking for what seemed to be hours on that infernal dungeon, and nothing seemed to be happening. His friends, Flint and Napoleon, were behind him, the Bisharp was panting, out of the three he was the one most susceptible to heat, and it showed by his slow pace.

"Guys. I don't think this is, uh, gonna work," Napoleon gulped. "We're running in circles, and there's no sign of those kids! I think we might've been tricked."

"How long have we been here?" Atlas asked, looking at Flint.

Flint took a moment to check his bag and its contents: a Blowback Orb, three Reviver Seeds, one Blast Seed, one canteen with water, three Rawst Berries, and finally, a pocket watch.

"About two hours, damn it!" Flint clenched his fist. "This stupid dungeon keeps changing!"

All they could see on the distance was the large stream of lava flowing like a river; luckily for them, they were standing on solid ground, and one of the rocky formations appeared to be a natural bridge connecting that area to the rest of the dungeon, located on top of the magma river.

"We can't stay here for long," Flint said, mumbling something to himself. "Otherwise we might risk… Losing it."

"Oh, shut up, Flint!" Atlas snarled, tail slapping on the floor. "There's no point in saying the obvious stuff!"

Flint hissed at that comment, his blade protruding. "I'd like to see you strategize, for once."

"Uh, yeah, he's right Atlas, Flint is the smartest one here, maybe you should listen to him," Napoleon blinked.

Flint raised his head. "Hmph. Then let's continue the mission, or find the exit. Whatever comes first."

They began to walk towards the bridge to the other area. Atlas shivered. That bastard Riolu must've tricked them, after all, why risk their sanity only for a few mercs?

"Let's just move out. This mission is a bust!" Atlas yelled again.

They all heard screeching. From the magma, five Slugma jumped, and as they landed, the ground beneath them sizzled, soon being followed by countless others. Flint backed away because of the heat and the ferals.

"What the fuck?!" Atlas blinked, roaring at one of the Slugma that jumped in his direction.

"Napoleon, I'd love for you to use your Liquidation move, we're on the clock here!" Flint hissed, arms glowing pink as he threw numerous psychic blades at some of the Slugma.

"They're pests, that's all!" Napoleon launched water blades on them, panting with each strike.

"There's too many of them!" Atlas' hand sparkled, sending an electric shock on the wild Pokémon.

Flint smirked when he heard that. Right, too many. Seems like the perfect opportunity!

"W-What about that bridge?! We can cross it!"

Just as he said that, the trio felt a massive earthquake around the cave. Atlas gulped, looking behind him: the dungeon was rearranging itself. That was natural, but he didn't expect it to happen now! Rocks shifted, and more of the ground began to be covered in lava, the whole area shook and it felt like that wouldn't stop so soon.

"Let's get out of here!" Atlas cried out to his team as they narrowly dodged a piece of rock that fell out of the ceiling.

The trio ran as fast as they could, yet the Aggron was behind his friends, having to dodge the Slugma and with all that weight, he was slowing down.

Soon, when Flint and Napoleon were finally on the other side of the bridge, they looked back and saw Atlas, running while trying to dodge all the lava and debris.

"Atlas, I apologize for this," Flint chuckled, his hand glowed in a pink tone and he slashed the air, a psychic blade was sent towards the bridge, breaking it down.

"Wh-What?! Flint, you…!" Atlas roared, backing away. With his only means of getting to the other side gone, he panted, panic taking hold of his mind.

"H-Hey, what's the point of that, Flint?!" Napoleon screamed, looking at the Bisharp, who simply chuckled.

"Dead-weight, my friend. And a bad one at that. Again, I'm sorry Atlas, but the strongest must survive!"

With that, Flint ran away with Napoleon, entering a corridor, dodging a Thunderbolt from Atlas in the process.

"T-They betrayed me… My childhood friends…"

The Slugma were still there, and they began to converge on Atlas to strike him down.

He wanted to cry, but was unable to. All that was inside his mind was rage, he roared like a beast, the sound echoing all around the area, making the Slugma retreat for the moment.

He fell to his knees, and punched the ground over and over again. Atlas didn't care about that anymore, all he wanted was to kill the Pokémon he once thought were his teammates.

"W-Why?! You all… I'll kill you! I'm not dying here!" He roared, firing another Thunderbolt, without any aim, the electric attack hit the lava and dissipated.

The earthquake stopped, leaving Atlas alone with his thoughts. His teammates, no. His enemies, that was right, they were his enemies now, and just like every time, he was going to survive. That's how it was for his entire life, and a simple dungeon wasn't going to best him.

"They're going to wish I'll spare them…" Atlas snarled, getting on all fours. For now, he needed to find a way back to those traitors.


Flint walked through that corridor, inspecting the place. The rocks that formed the walls and ground seemed stable enough, and he could see magma dripping through most of them, so much so that the entire place was painted yellow, but he could avoid those spots without much issue. He smirked, Atlas wouldn't be able to follow them so soon, not until the place changed again. And even if he did, that large body of his would have some trouble fitting in.

"Hey, Flint! You're so quiet! I get that it's your thing, but we just ditched our friend!"

Flint pondered about the times the three spent together, and despite enjoying the company, Atlas was too scared, always taking the easy missions, never risking too much. And look at where that got them, trapped inside a cave. That enough made Flint hiss for a bit, and he recomposed himself.

The Bisharp staggered back, gaze fixed on Napoleon. "So what? He's a worthless pile of Garbodor, we're better off without him in our way. You said it yourself, it's more money! Sharing just between us will mean a bigger part for you."

"You may be right, but still… I didn't know you had it in you! Would you do the same if I became dead-weight?"

Flint didn't answer that, choosing to continue his stroll, whether or not Napoleon agreed with him.

What am I thinking? I would do that to him… The Empoleon sighed.

The Bisharp panted, that heat was getting to him. "We need to leave. Since this place shifted, the exit might be closer than we thought."

"Flint, wait!" Napoleon pulled his friend back, just as a flaming rock hit the ground in front of them.

A Slugma appeared from the lava, staring at them. It hissed, before releasing a stream of flames towards both.

"Get away, stupid feral!" Napoleon screamed, launching water blades on each of his arms, aiming towards the fire.

The impact made the flames disappear, but also created more steam around the area where the moves collided. The feral Slugma hissed, opening its mouth to fire another attack.

"Hmph," Flint said, using the psychic blade once again. The attack hit the Slugma, cutting it in half and its remains melted into the lava.

"You're right," Napoleon gulped. "We can't become like that… Thing!"

Flint's retractable blades pointed out without him wanting to, and he soon retracted then again. "We won't. Now move, I don't want to take more time here than I need."

Both continued their stroll in silence; Flint, however, could feel a tingling sensation on the back of his head. He could only hope it wasn't what he thought.

Okay, I'm in control here. Good, now I just need to leave without going insane, panic will only make the process faster, Flint tried his best to remain calm to keep himself sane.

Napoleon, though, looked back every so often, trying to see if Atlas was near him. One small part of him wondered if what they did was wrong, since he knew the Aggron even as a kid, but considering all the crimes they committed so far, this was just another thing on the list.


"When I find them, I swear I'll… Urgh!" Atlas punched the floor again, this time with so much force it began to crack.

Betrayal. He didn't believe those guys were capable of such a thing, considering all they've been through together. But it seemed to be a thing of the past now.

Calm down, Atlas, this fine, he wondered, looking around.

He could see streams of lava flowing from the ceiling, and what appeared to be a huge river where that bridge once stood. Atlas began to think of a plan, but found himself struggling to think.

Urhg, must… Find them. But, jump? No, if I jump I'll just… Urgh, sink? Yeah, sink! Then, how? The words were escaping without him even realizing it.

Why… Can't think. Feel weird—

The ground shook again, and, where once was a stone wall stood another corridor.

"G-Good! Took too long! I find… W-Wait. Words escaping, o-oh no! NO!"

Atlas gulped when he realized what was happening: it had begun, he was getting his sapience stripped away, like a candle in the wind. That only served to make him panic even more, struggling to think of what to do there. Since Flint was the one who carried the bag, he couldn't use any orbs to escape.

"Find… Friends. No, find… Prey!" Atlas snarled and ran to that opening as fast as he could, which wasn't that much.

Regardless, his mind was focused on finding his former friends, as for what he would do once he found them, that thought made him lick his lips, drool coming out of his mouth.


Finally, after what felt like an endless walk, Flint and Napoleon could see the exit far away, and with it, the blue sky. Napoleon was ecstatic, prepared to run there.

"It took so long, but it's over now!" He said.

"Not quite," Flint crossed his arms. "We still need to deal with those children. I suggest we—"

The sound of metallic footsteps could be heard, getting closer every second, and with it came a loud, deafening roar.

"RAAAAAAWR!"

Flint turned around. "...You're here."

"Yes, I am! How… Dare you leave! We friends!" Atlas panted, his left hand fizzled with electricity.

"It's just business, Atlas, really! Sorry, but this is gonna end here!" Napoleon screeched, forming water blades on his arms.

Flint staggered back, that tingling had returned. "Napoleon, he's losing it. We can still be victorious."

"A-Are you oka—" Napoleon screamed, being hit by the Thunderbolt from Atlas. He fell, static coursing through his body and preventing him from moving.

"I. Murder. You. ALL!" Atlas roared again, falling on all fours. At that point, his drool fell to the ground, evaporating instantly.

"Hmph. So be it!" Flint readied his blade again, charging against Atlas.

The Aggron roared, turning around and slapping his thick tail against Flint's arm, launching him to the floor while he screamed in pain.

"I rrrreally… hate you!" Atlas flexed his claws, trying to hit Flint again.

Atlas could only focus on his enemy, his target, and his stomach began to growl. Hunger, that was it. Those two were an obstacle, one he needed to conquer. More drool fell on Flint's shoulder, Atlas got excited just by thinking of how he was going to finish them off.

"Cease it this instant, you monster! I am not dying because some stupid Aggron went insane!"

The Bisharp dodged every strike, trying to find an opening to counterattack. Eventually, he rolled, dropping the bag on the ground. Atlas chuckled, preparing another Thunderbolt.

"Orrrb and seed… Destrrrroy!"

"You idiot! Don't you have any sense of self-preservation?! You're gonna kill us all!"

"Atlas strrrrong. Not die!"

He fired the attack, hitting the bag. The resulting explosion propelled them all backwards, inside the depths of the dungeon once more. All of them fell down the ground, until they landed in another section of the cave.

"Urgh, damn it, Atlas, you idiot…" Flint stood up, his entire body ached from all that heat, and that tingling sensation returned once more.

This new section was scorch-red, and the rocks formed spikes all around it, and some Slugma were watching the whole battle from afar, too scared to interfere; the heat was almost unbearable for Flint, who snarled at Atlas, already fed up with him. His blades protruded once more.

"Atlas… Strrrrrong!" He said, getting up. Despite the explosion, his body armor was intact, protecting him from most of the damage before.

Napoleon, still paralysed, got up as well, cringing from all the static on his body. "Atlas! Stop this! Look, we're together again! Maybe we can, I dunno, rebuild our friendship?!"

"No frriends. Prrey! I… Defeat it!" Atlas roared, his speech deteriorated fast, replaced by a guttural, metallic sound. He got on all fours again and jumped at Napoleon, who couldn't move.

Flint's eyes widened as he saw what happened. Atlas bit down Napoleon's chest like a savage beast, without a care in the world other than hunting his prey, and he could even hear the Empoleon's bones snapping.

"A-ARGH! Stop it!" Napoleon begged him, tears in his eyes.

Atlas couldn't care less, only biting him harder. That moment was amazing, the Aggron kept chomping on his stomach, munching that delicious meat down his throat; the scent of blood filled his nostrils and was intoxicating, making him crave even more of that feeling.

"Atlas! Snap out of—" Napoleon's pleas slowed down. He couldn't take it anymore, looking at the savage Aggron, until his eyes closed forever.

Atlas was gone, his entire self now had the ferocity of a wild Pokémon, who didn't care for anything other than his own satisfaction and hunger, his mouth was covered in blood, so much that it dripped from him. The feral Aggron turned around, there was still one enemy left for him to maul, to show that he was the apex predator in that dungeon.

"...Look at you," Flint sighed. "A monster, in body and soul. It's… Too bad that it has come to this, but I'm not dying here! Not like this! Not by you!"

Aggron roared, his claws had a blue, draconic glow to them as he charged against Flint. The Bisharp roared, launching another blade at the feral, who simply ignored it, slashing all across Flint's chest.

"Argh!" He screamed, his body armor began to crack and blood spilled out from it. He sensed the tingling again, all over his head, and put his hands there, screaming in pain. "N-No, NO!"

For a moment, everything went numb for Flint. His past, his friends, it all seemed to crack like glass, and in its place, rage began to build inside his mind. How did that Aggron dare to challenge him, of all Pokémon? That Aggron needed the proper punishment, and he was going to give it to him.

Aggron backed away, tilting his head. What was his prey doing? It was then that he heard a sadistic type of laughter coming from the Bisharp, who stared at him. His eyes looked dead, and his mouth was fixed on a wide, feral grin. Flint, like his friend, went feral.

"RAAAAAWR!" Aggron charged once again, but this time, Bisharp was faster, holding Aggron's arm and squeezing it tight.

Aggron roared, charging electricity once more, only for Bisharp to lift his arm up, sending the discharge to the ceiling, the collision made that part of the dungeon unstable and rocks began to fall down there. He roared once again, trying to bite down Bisharp, who dodged, moving away from him.

"RAAAAWR!" Aggron screamed, creating a yellow energy sphere around his mouth.

Bisharp prepared the blades on both of his arms and ran towards Aggron, when a rock fell right in the middle of them.

Aggron unleashed the Focus Blast, destroying the rock and hitting Bisharp at full force, his enemy screamed and fell down, ashes were all over his body because of that move. The feral Aggron screeched, walking slowly towards Bisharp, drool falling down again.

More rocks fell down, but none of them hit the Steel-types, and Aggron continued to approach him, the loud, metallic clank of his feet was all Bisharp could hear.

For a brief moment, both seemed to recognize one another, friends since they were kids, and due to various events, the life they lived led to that place. Aggron shook his head in denial, before mauling the Pokémon he once was fond of.

A final rock came down on them, without warning, and the only sound that could be heard was that of metal breaking apart.
 
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spinaltapdancer3

Lost my cloud pfp pic. :(
Location
US - Central Time Zone
Pronouns
he, they
OK finally got to the end of the main story (chapter 23)

So overall you have a pretty decent fic. It starts off a little rough around the edges but it definitely improves as it goes along. A lot of "problems" with the story and formatting show up less as the story goes on, and by the end I was invested in your story. However they don't entirely disappear.

The good
1. Your characters are fairly consistent. Lance is moody and emo, and acts like it. Brain is happy go-lucky, and acts like it. Apollo gives off huge dad vibes wherever he goes. The characters are given personality, and they act in a way that is consistent with that personality.

2. The pacing is actually kind pretty good. Like it doesn't feel rushed in any way, while simultaneously not being too derailed by the obvious side quests. Each side quest is able to somehow able to tie in to the main story. This is good, it allows for decent pacing while always remaining relevant to the overall arc(which is as I understand it, dealing with Morgan.)

3. Dialogue definitely shines through from time to time. Weirdly enough this actually one of things I think that got worse as the story progresses. The earlier chapters have a much higher density of interesting/witty/humorous dialogue than the later ones. Granted this is partially due to the more serious tone of the more recent chapters, so I get the opportunity didn't come up as much.

Things that might be good criticism, but it might not(basically things that I'm not certain would actually improve the fic)
1. Generally speaking italics are used to denote thoughts. Which you do use. However there certain times when you used quotation marks and I wasn't certain if it was said aloud or just thought. for example:
"I used too much energy,"
It seems like a bizarre thing to say out loud, but makes sense if thought.

2. Your characters are massive Drama Queens. Its fine to have some, but for me, especially early on, it seemed they had the most emotionally drastic responses to any situation. It's good that your characters react dramatically, but when they do it all the time the impact lessens. However by arc 2 your characters have mellowed out, so this has basically been a non-issue since arc 2.

Things to improve
1. This is the big one. Your characters act on information that you have given us, but have not given the characters. This is especially jarring in the mercenaries arc, but it also showed up in the "overcoming the past arc". Its OK to have characters suspect the truth, but sometimes your characters pull the truth out of thin air, and then proceed with absolute certainty that they have the truth, even though they have no confirmation that what they suspect is the truth.
For example:
a. The team is dead convinced the mayor assassinated Druddigon despite having no clues or information that this is the case. I would buy that the mayor is a suspect, but the team acts like as if they are dead certain it is the mayor, and in fact go forward and make plans as if they already know the mayor is the culprit. It's kind of like putting the cart before the horse. The team should've found clues that it was the mayor, and then made the plan to get the confession, not gather evidence because the know the mayor is the culprit(because before the confession, there really is no evidence this is the case.)
b. Somehow Brian was able to intuite that pokemon opening the door was an assassin *from the mayor*.
c. The most recent example is Lycanroc guessing Lance "Brutally murdered" Aggron and is keeping it a secret from the team. How would Lycanroc know this? You explicitly state Lance goes about it in a way that covers up his actions so well that even his team mates don't know. Yeah the know two didn't come out alive, but how was Lycanroc able to figure out it was *specifically Lance* that was brutally murdering Pokemon, and on top of that how was Lycanroc able to figure out that *Lance was keeping this a secret from the team*?

2. Villains are insanely brutal, until they're not. For some reason your villains have a tendency to pull their punches at the strangest of times.
a. Gallade has no qualms in killing, he goes out of his way to kill and keep his operations a secret. Lance fails, and is weak and powerless. Morgan then decides not to kill Lance, which would take him like 3 seconds, and as we have already established has no qualms in killing. Instead he releases him into the dungeon, where he will "probably die". This seems like an incredibly stupid and merciful move for someone who is supposed to be smart and ruthless.
b. The mayor immediately sends a *hit squad* agaisn't two teenagers for merely thinking that the mayor was behind the murder. However when they learn Arcanine is investigating them, they send a polite bribe, and even inform that he can continue investigating if he wants. NGL I thought the threat would be more like "Your family won't see the dawn if you don't stop investigating us" not "here's a nice bribe if you want it", basically the "your actions have consequences" didn't feel all that threatening, and the muted response by the mayor in this situation seemed a little out of character.

3. I understand the cave fight was supposed to be somewhat confusing due to the illusions, but I had a lot of trouble keeping track of what was going on, and the Bisharp and Napoleon betrayal felt like it came out of nowhere. I could not see the motivation for their actions at all.

4. Character creep. Not as bad as some fics, mostly because you actually kill/jail a few. But I worry now that you have 3 seperate teams and more characters you're going to find yourself with cluttered character arcs. Even GoT, character extravangaza it is, has only about 10 characters it follows, and those books are some of the longest in existence even with that many.

5. I know you said you want to do character development later on, so I'll table this for now, but you really should consider starting the development sooner rather than later. There is a tendency for characters to develop/change views/grow in the course of a single paragraph as oppossed to the much longer time it should be. This felt like less of a problem in arc 2, and mostly this criticism is aimed at "the heart of steel" background chapters.
 
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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Hey Navar, this is going to be a review for chapters 4 through 8, beginning with our first two-parter, Thunderstruck!

Very fast pacing in setting up this conflict. Due to the pacing, it seems to be telegraphed as somewhat of a small villain due to just the reader expectations. Perhaps this is to establish the basics about your characters?

Some quick character eval, actually: From this chapter alone, it seems to me like Zorua is a bit of a prankster while Riolu is more serious. He also seems to take things a little far in terms of using his brother to get the upper hand, even if it puts him at risk. Lance is an amazing tsundere to his own brother and it's hilarious. "I was going to do it myself, but thanks. *Blushes*”

Other than that, I don’t yet have a FULL handle on their personalities, but due to how short these chapters are, I think we’re still fairly early in to make that kind of call. Their dynamic is cute, albeit troublesome with how Lance seems to not consider his brother’s feelings. Wonder if that’ll be a character beat later?

By the way, I’m not sure if it was a reference or not, but Luxray getting a laugh and then pausing, looking up, and asking, "Are you serious?" Got a laugh out of me. Really classic scene beat.

While reading through the chapters—and thinking back to the old ones—I’m actually pretty surprised at the relatively high lethality so early on. Or at least, potential lethality, aside from that politician. It really illustrates that this a high-risk job for kids to take on! Just a simple mission and they're already fearing death. I wonder if they're going to reflect on that at all—I certainly would, or have some of that more explored in the world itself.

This industrial feel for the story gives the setting an overall darker tone in general, though that’s also due in part to the characters. We have a lot of scheming in the background, political hit jobs, power-hungry gangs, and just random feral encounters. I wouldn’t necessarily call the world gritty, but it’s definitely a bleaker take on the world. Not to mention one of your protagonists is the stoic, utilitarian type, not really one for feelings or expressiveness in favor of cold practicality, even if there’s some clear hurt he’s burying down there.

It’s kind of funny, in a way, that your most prominent, bright character is the Zorua, one that has already been associated in-character as being a species of deceivers. Was that intentional? It’s such a roundabout thing that I can’t be sure, but I do really love the touch it has, and I’m wondering what more there is in their dynamic, both with each other and the world.

By the way, speaking of industrial technology and so on, hey! Luminous Orb street lights! Nice to see that bit here as well. Luminous Orbs and other technology like that is a good touch that sort of reminds me that it’s still Pokémon, even if that’s kind of genre-centric of me to say. I do like it, though.

Related to that, it's interesting how heavily industrial this place is. It reminds me of an advanced version of a story I beta read, Pathways of Aspiration, though the feel is completely different. If you ever want to get little ideas on what you think might fit in a world like yours, I’d suggest giving that one a read as well. The flavor isn’t quite the same and I imagine having cars wouldn’t really fit, but the stuff about factories and farms? I wonder if that would give you ideas. The world you have seems to have good hints at something that can be explored a lot more later.

And then, as the team gets their new mission to investigate… Oh shit! The Druddigon's kid! Okay, you know what, props for that. The random kill was important after all! Looks like I underestimated you from my last review. So that makes me think that there are already going to be other little details coming up later for that, huh?

Chapter 8 is continuing the pacing with trying to get through the mayor. It's really blistering how quickly these two kids are able to get through and make waves, and I'm wondering if that's going to be a theme going forward. Is this something of a symbol for new air washing out old stagnation, perhaps? Though that might be a little reaching on my part.

--

So! I think I’m going to stop there for now and read / catch up and review my overall thoughts once I get there. But for now, here are my first-ish impressions of the story, followed by my expectations on what I think will happen next, and my hopes for where it can go from there. The first thing is that the strongest point about this story is the fact that it doesn’t dally over the down time too much and it doesn’t feel like the plot is going nowhere. I really appreciate a story that knows where it wants to go in the micro-level, because it feels like I’m always going forward.

That is, however, also one of its weaknesses. I think that in an effort to keep things going forward pacing wise, the story is too fast and doesn’t let me really settle down for long to get to know the characters! The standout scene for me was the brief talk about how Lance wasn’t really someone to show his emotions that often. I kind of want more of that, and for longer, even if it’s a little while. If the plot keeps going forward without any time to have the characters think or unwind, it’s hard for me to feel invested in what they have going on. That’s especially true since the story as a whole open with a nightmare and general inner turmoil. If I want to get invested in that, I need to get to know the characters more for what they do when they aren’t trying to thwart the next villain.

As for the villains themselves, as of now this seems to be a story where I’m not sure if the villains will be short-term or long-term just yet. Considering the title, the nightmares, and so on, I don’t think I saw the true main antagonist yet—or if I did, the scope of their influence is not yet known. Best candidate there would be the mayor? Considering he’s the mastermind behind the political hit job, but even then, “Liberators of fate” seems like too large a scope to settle for just a corrupt mayor. There’s totally gonna be more to it.

As it stands, though, the villains seem to be very basic. Given how little time is spent on them, though, that’s to be expected. I’m hoping that if we do see a main villain, we’ll get to know a little more about them, though that, too, isn’t necessary. Some stories don’t need wishy-washy complex villains if the focus is more on the pair, which leads me to another want: A little more downtime with Lance and Brian!

Still, that’s all for now, but I do want to leave with one last comment. I know you’ve told me before that English isn’t your first language and that one thing you’re worried about is the mechanics of your prose. I’m not really one to focus much on line-by-line things like that when reading casually and reviewing, but I will say that in general I wasn’t too bothered. Your prose isn’t bad, though it is basic. But basic prose has its values as well, so overall I’d say good job! Thanks for the read, and see you next time.
 
Dungeon 24 - Smiles go for miles!

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 24 - Smiles go for miles!


Salty air filled Brian's mouth as he walked down a grassy road, behind him were an Electivire and a Lopunny, two members of the team Lance had allied with. He didn't know them very much, but trusted Lance's judgement enough to work with those two just fine.

Still, he worried about his sibling. "I hope Lance and the others are okay… And that they're enjoying my gifts!"

Lilith chuckled. "If ya're worried about them, I think they're fine!"

"Oh yeah, the bracelets and the tiara will work fine with their skills! I gave my best making those things!"

Brian mumbled something, then nodded. Thinking would only make him anxious, and he had a job to do. It was five days after their meeting, where they decided to split in order to have a more effective search: him, Lilith and Max were going for Treasure town, a village known for its guild. His brother, on the other hand, was heading towards Sandune, a city that some said was built on top of ancient ruins.

"Coome ooon! We're going so slow! A Torterra would've arrived before us!" Max said as he stretched. The Electivire was eager for action, and so many days of walking made his legs tired.

"Oh dear," Lilith said. "Don't ya think ya're being a bit too, I dunno… worked up over this?"

Brian put his goggles on, zooming in on the horizon. He could see the city, and of course, the guild, built like a Wigglytuff. Well, the guildmaster was known to be eccentric, wasn't he? He chuckled, taking off the goggles.

"Well, guys, we're closer than before! I mean, my mouth tastes like salt… So we gotta keep moving, right?!"

"Brian, you're a genius! So… Last one there is a rotten Exeggcute!"

Lilith tilted her head, as if to say something, only for the two to dash forward. She pouted before joining them, dealing with two big babies wasn't going to be easy, she could tell.


Brian stared at the crossroads right before the town square. To his right, he saw the guild, smirking. Perhaps in a different scenario, he and Lance would have trained there. That was meaningless right now, because he won the race! The Zoroark turned around and puffed his chest, his long mane moving with the wind.

Max finally stopped running, panting. "S-Shit! You won this one…"

"Dude, I'm used to doing those things!" Brian said, ruffling his hair. "When I was still at the guild, I used to have races with this Electrike."

"Oh, but did you win any?" Max chuckled.

"The same way I won this one." Brian stuck out his tongue.

Lilith joined them, panting much like Max. She wanted to give both of them a much needed slap, but contained herself, the mission came first.

"Alright. We should summarize what we're about to do," Lilith glared at them. "We received reports of a Treecko that went missing."

Brian's expression shifted to a more serious one. Another missing kid… He wondered if they were okay, and hoped for the best.

"Yeah! Of course there should be a mission report at this guild, don't you think?" Max answered, looking at Brian.

"So we're gonna get it?" The Zoroark asked. With a nod from his companions, they all went to the guild.

Before they could get inside, however, they had to pass through the gate, where a Diglett checked their footprints. Brian found that to be odd, but didn't want to question it, he heard rumors about Wigglytuff's rage… Brian gulped and soon climbed down the stairs.


To his surprise, the guild seemed way more… ancient than Brian assumed, living in that large city clouded his judgement, he guessed. Grass covered most of the first floor, where he could see a few Pokémon, checking out the mission board on the walls.

Lilith cleared her throat to get his attention, they weren't there to gaze at the place. Brian nodded, before climbing down another set of stairs.

This time, there were multiple rooms that Brian assumed were offices for the higher members of that guild. His eyes shifted their gaze to the window.

"Wow! We're two floors underground, but look! We can see the sea!"

"Ha, this place ain't bad, it's kinda charming… don't you think?" Max chuckled, before a sound of wings flapping got his attention.

A Chatot appeared before then, heald tilted. "Hello. I never saw any of you gentlemon before, where are you from?"

Even though that bird wasn't singing, the tone of his voice sure made it sound like he was. Lilith put her serious face on before continuing the conversation.

"Greetings. I'm Lilith, those are my teammates…"

"Brian!" The Zoroark said.

"And Maxwell!"

Chatot flapped his wings again. "Well, shoo! Leave this place! The guildmaster is very busy, so we don't have time for your surveys!"

"W-Wha? We're not here for that!" Brian said. "Look, we want to help this missing kid… A Treecko!"

Chatot blinked, having misjudged them. "...Oh my. That poor, poor child. I see, apologies for my actions. How can I help you?"

"Well, ya could start by giving us info! There's a mission, yeah?" Lilith asked him.

"Indeed, there is. Not with me, though. It's with one of our crew members, this Heracross. I'll go get—"

Brian snarled, his fur standing on end. "A Heracross?!"

Chatot squawked at him. "Yes, a Heracross. Is there any problem, child?"

Shit, jumping to conclusions again. I hope it isn't that guy, Brian thought, before bowing. "S-Sorry, sir! I heard something else!"

"You misheard me? Hmph, alright. Like I was saying, I'll go get him. The guildmaster and I have quite a wingful of paperwork to do, so I'll just let him deal with it."

"Sounds good to me," Lilith said.


Meanwhile, another Pokémon had arrived in that city: an orange Lycanroc. He sniffed the air, and when he found the scent, he growled.

"Shit! What am I going to do now?!"

His enemies were inside, and he knew that place very well, as one of the higher underlings of his boss worked there. Sirius snarled; since he wasn't exactly on the side of the law, entering had to wait.

Hm, I think I know a place…

Sirius chuckled, his tail swished around and the wolf dashed into hiding.


Soon enough, through one of the doors came a Heracross, carrying a bunch of papers on his right hand. He had a wide smile on his face as he looked at the others.

"Good morning, it seems you're gonna try and find that Treecko?" The bug asked.

"Yeah! We are!" Brian shouted. "Well, we can't just let that happen…" his ears dropped.

"Understandable," Heracross gave the papers to Brian. "This is a copy of our files, it should have all the info you need. Will that be enough for you guys?"

"Sure." Lilith gave him a thumbs-up.

"Yeeeah!" Max chuckled, sparkling with electricity.

"Well, if that's all, excuse me, I need to go back to my office," and with that, Heracross was gone.

The trio left the building, and Lilith soon looked straight at Brian, making him turn around in shock.

"W-What? What's up?"

"What were ya thinking? What's so bad about a Heracross?"

Brian gulped. So his brother didn't tell them the whole thing? Odd, but regardless, he still reacted badly.

"...A Heracross was the one who kidnapped Lance."

Lilith blinked. "O-Oh, sorry, I didn't know… Do you think he's the same one?"

Brian shrugged. "No clue. I mean, he works at the guild, just like that one, and there's a missing kid, just like—"

A loud bark interrupted the Zoroark. "B-Brian?! It's that really you?!"

Brian turned around, seeing a Manectric, wearing a collar with the letter "B" around his neck, alongside a wristband. The dog blinked as he approached.

"I-I'm sorry, but uh, who are you?" Brian tilted his head.

"Oh, come on! It's me! Blitz!" he said, tail wagging.

The Zoroark stared at him, as if to analyze him, and smiled, hugging the canine. "Blitz! Holy shit, it's been so long!"

The Manectric chuckled, embracing the hug. "Dude, I could never forget your smell! Don't underestimate us canine Pokémon!"

Both were still wrapped in the embrace for some time, not really caring. They needed to make up for the time lost!

"Are you telling me I stink?" Brian grinned, sniffing his arm. "Uh, no, I'm a clean mon!"

"It's a joke… But seriously! It's so good to see you again!"

Finally, Lilith glared at them, causing both to shiver. That bunny could be scary if she wanted to.

The dog's gaze shifted to the other two. "Oops! Sorry, I didn't see you there! Hi, I'm Blitz Shred! Nice to meet you two!"

"Any friend of Brian is my friend! And well, you're electric too!" Max said with a smile.

Blitz sat on all fours. "So what are you guys doing here? I didn't think you or Lance would visit me, after… we broke up."

"Oh yeah, that. Don't worry about it," Brian sighed. "We're here because of a missing kid, a Treecko…"

"Ah, that case… Yeah, nobody found him yet, and we really don't have any suspects," Blitz whined.

An opportunity presented itself to Lilith, and the bunny laughed.

"I have an idea," Lilith said. "Brian, why don't you and Blitz go talk with the kid's parents? The rest of us can search about… Ya know."

"Ah, right! Blitz, what do you think? Wanna crack this case together?"

"Just like old times, right?" the dog smirked. "Sure, why not? But I have a question! What do you mean by "ya know", miss Lopunny?"

Brian scratched his chin. "Here's the thing. That Heracross at the guild? He's kinda sus, reminds me of the one that took… Lance."

Blitz blinked, confused. What was Brian talking about?

"...Really?! What makes you think so?"

"Works at the guild like the one I know, and there's a missing kid, don't you think this is sus?"

"You have a point," Blitz said, turning to face Lilith and Max. "Okay, if Brian trusts you guys, then me too! You got this!"

"Alright! If that's settled, let's go!" Max stretched his body, getting ready for a fight. The others wanted this to be peaceful, but his body was itching for battles.

"Okay! Blitz, come on!"


The two used that opportunity to catch up. While Blitz was talking about his missions and life in that town, Brian looked at the buildings. For some reason, he assumed they would have the shape of whatever Pokémon lived inside, or maybe that Wigglytuff was simply too eccentric, like the rumors said. Blitz smirked at that; every tourist had the same reaction, it seemed.

"I gotta admit, this town is impressive. Not like the one I live in, of course, but still…"

"Oh yeah, where do you live? Still with your bro?"

"We moved to Bright Dawn. It was his idea, but to be honest, I like it!" if Brian had a tail, it would be wagging. But since he didn't, all he was doing was giving a wide, toothy grin. "I even had a course on engineering, so I can build cool stuff to help my team!"

"I see, cool! Have you had any big accomplishments?"

"As a matter of fact, we did! There was this town, I think it's called Heavenwind? Well, a Luxray was terrorizing its citizens, so Lance and I took them down!" Brian flexed his claws, transforming into a Golem. "See this big guy? We defeated him."

Blitz nodded, looking at Brian, now back in his normal form.

"And uh, we had quite the trouble with some mercs…" Brian whined; the thought of their deaths still haunted him, even six months after it happened.

"I… see."

"What about you, Blitz? Any big things?"

Blitz pondered and then continued.

"Let's see… Oh, Shao Shao and I took care of a lost baby, returning him to his parents!" The canine barked happily.

"Uh, who's Shao Shao?"

"My boyfriend. He's this Mienshao, who's super cool! He went on a solo mission at the guild's request, so I'm on my own for now."

Brian nodded. Blitz seemed to get over his sibling fast, huh? Well, it was none of his business. Soon, they found themselves in front of a big house. Blitz dropped his jovial expression, whining for a bit.

"This is… the Regios' house. They're the parents of that Treecko. We should talk to them, right?"

Brian sighed. "...We should. Let's go."


Heracross stared at the green orb he possessed. He wanted to use it to talk to his boss about that team that came earlier, but didn't feel like it was worth it.

Come on, Alder, it's gotta be a coincidence… right? It's not that same Zorua!

He couldn't get that thought out of his head. What if it wasn't? He would have sent an innocent team to their demise. Then again, kidnapping children was his job, after all. He shouldn't feel remorse, as long as he got paid the right money.

On the bright side, I still have… this.

Alder opened his drawer, looking at the Emera he possessed, given to him by his boss. It was precious and allowed him to become stronger, and that was all that mattered. This job paid well, so he would do it.

Still, that is a tad weird. I hope it's not that kid. How many years ago? Nine? Eh, don't care.

He looked at the clock: three in the afternoon. His shift was over, and he was tired, so Alder left that building to go home. Once he got into the crossroad, a Dusk Lycanroc approached him, and he instantly recognized the wolf.

"Sirius? What are you doing here? I thought your mission was to test the side effects of the Emera?"

"Change of plans, Alder," he growled. "There's a team looking for our boss. Apparently this… Lucario was one of his subjects, and he wants revenge."

Alder bit his lips. That was the worst outcome, his instincts were right in suspecting that the Zoroark was the same Zorua from years ago. He clenched his fists.

"Got it. What do you want us to do, then?"

"We can ambush them," Sirius said. "My brother is following the rest of the team, and if he doesn't screw it up, we should be done with this soon."

"Ambush… serves you right!"

A sudden voice left them on high alert, but it was too late, two Orbs hit them, knocking them to a hole nearby, where a cafe led by a Spinda used to be. Soon, two figures, a Lopunny and an Electivire, joined them.

Alder coughed, the area was filled with dust and it was dark, unused for years. He got up, before a seed hit both yet again, paralysing them. Sirius stood up as well, growling to his enemies.

"Alright! We gotta ask you a few questions, nice and easy, okay?!" Max chuckled, his hands crackled with electric sparks.

The door to the abandoned cafe, guarded by Lilith.

"Max, please don't take too long. This place makes me want to sneeze."

She threw a Luminous Orb around, and light filled that area.

"Now let's begin our investigation, shall we?"

Max chuckled again, ready to ask some questions.


Brian sat on a chair, gulping. A female Sceptile and a male Grovyle were both crying. Blitz and his friend waited for them to calm down, which wasn't easy, after all that time their child was gone, they began to lose hope they would find him again.

"Uh, excuse me, but we wanna help you two…" Brian whined. "My brother was kidnapped as well,so I know how you feel…"

"Y-You do?! Is your brother alive?!" the Sceptile said.

"Y-Yeah! Well, he did get a scar and all, but he's still alive! In fact, we're on the hunt for who did this!"

Brian nodded and smiled, trying his best to calm them down. There was no point to asking questions if they were too anxious to answer. Fortunately, it worked, as the couple slowly calmed themselves.

"O-Okay," the Grovyle said. "We last saw Anthony when he went to train at the guild…"

"Yes!" The other Grass-type shouted. "He went out to the Sharpedo Bluff, and then…"

"He vanished," Blitz whined.

Training at the guild?! That's… the same thing!

Brian growled, he was sure of it. That Heracross was the same one, and he did the exact same thing to that Trecko as he did to Lance. Who knows what was happening to the boy right now?

"I understand," Brian got up. "Blitz, we're done. Okay?"

"S-Sure!" he nodded, leaving with the Zoroark.

Once they got outside, Brain looked straight at Blitz.

"It's him. It's the exact… shit, what's the word? Mode, moda… something!"

The Manectric tilted his head. "You mean Modus operandi?"

"Thanks, that one! We gotta warn the guild, right?"

"...Yes, we do! I can't believe it… he was here the whole time, if I knew, I-I would have done something!" Blitz's whole body shivered when he thought, he knew that Lance went missing and that he was tortured, but he never told him everything.

"Maybe I could have stopped that bug of doing the same thing he did to Lance…"

Brian whined. "I… didn't know you cared so much."

"Look, Lance couldn't accept that I needed to move out, but… it's fine. I got over it and I'm happy with Shao Shao," Blitz said. "But this doesn't matter, I don't need to love him to know that what happened was wrong!"

"Thanks, now let's go! Warn the guild!"


The duo ran towards the guild, and once they got close enough, they saw what appeared to be a commotion, where two Magnezone had not only the Heracross, but the Lycanroc in handcuffs and muzzled. They also had several bruises around their bodies and Brian could see a few electrical sparks around them. A fight must've happened, but why? He ignored that and kept walking. Alongside them were Lilith and Max, both in silence.

"W-What?!" Brian blinked, stopping on his tracks. "Wait, you guys got a confession? And what's that Lycanroc?"

"BZZZ, both are charged with kidnapping and attempted murder," one of the Magnezone said.

"BZZZ, that is correct," the other one continued. "The Electivire and Lopunny had a fight with them, and during that fight, both confessed their crimes. That is enough for them to be arrested."

Brian then looked at Alder, his eyes had a fire, a fury inside them, if he didn't hold back, he would have attacked the bug already. "You… I'll find your boss, and he's gonna pay for what he did to Lance."

"Hmpff!" was all Alder said.

The Magnezone took them away into the prison, leaving the team and Blitz to talk alone.

Blitz sighed in relief. "...I'm in debt. Brian confirmed that he was related to Lance's kidnapping before, but it would take some time to have that confession! How did you do that?"

"They attacked us," Lilith said.

"But we did get something from those two!" Max said. Lilith opened her purse, taking out one green orb and one Emera.

"W-Whoa! Is that the item Lance said? The thingy that makes you evolve?"

"Evolve? I don't follow…" Blitz tilted his head. He felt that Emera calling to him, but shook the feeling off.

"Nothing to worry about!" Brian smirked. "And that green orb, what's it for?"

"Apparently, it teleports you to the Gallade's HQ," Max shrugged. "So look, we have two advantages now!"

Brian couldn't hold back his smile. "That's… amazing! How is this even possible?! Mind if I take a look at that orb?"

"I'll tell you what, Brian," Blitz said. "What if you and your friends came over to my house? You need to rest, I mean, if you travelled for so long, you must be starving, right?"

Brian agreed, and they all went back into the town again. A small victory, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, that might prove to be a bigger one than the team thought.

Lance, I promise… I'll help you in any way I can! We're gonna have our closure!
 
Dungeon 25 - Hourglass

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 25 - Hourglass


The scorching heat of the desert beamed down upon three figures, who walked with capes on to protect their bodies. Lance looked at the horizon, rocky arches covered most of the area, but it also had a few trees here and there, and the occasional feral that appeared, being defeated swiftly by either him or the Marowak that accompanied Lance.

Meggie was behind the others, and despite wearing goggles like them, she covered her face; a heavy sandstorm swept through the desert.

"Isn't this lovely, guys?" she coughed, the sand felt like tiny needles, not strong enough to pierce her skin, but they hurt. She mumbled something before running to catch up with her teammates.

"Hm, perhaps we could rest under that arch? The closest one," Scar said. "It has a natural ceiling, so we should be at least a bit safe from the heat."

"Yes, please! This heat is unbearable!" Meggie shouted, panting. "Look, I could really use some ice cream right now…"

"That would be lovely, miss Meggie," Scar nodded. "But you would just be dehydrated, don't you think?"

"We brought canteens, right? Also, Brain said that this tiara he gave me enhances my moves," she pointed to the item she wore on her head. "Something about a Never-Melt-Ice? Right, Lance?"

Lance didn't say anything, but he felt something. A presence that made his feelers twitch. He looked at his arms, checking the bracelets he got as a birthday gift. According to Brian, they served as aura enhancers, taking small amounts to allow him to shape his signature move, Aura Sphere, into whatever he wanted.

Hmph. Seems like a good opportunity to test this thing, Lance smirked, turning around. He focused aura on his palm, shaping it into a sphere. The bracelets glowed blue, and the move changed form, turning into a whip. Lance whipped the area where he sensed something, but nothing came out.

"Huh, Lance? What was that?" Meggie asked, blinking.

They all heard a screech, and from the sand came a feral Trapinch. It jumped towards Lance, but got hit by a Water Pulse and passed out. Lance looked back, seeing Meggie with a wide smile.

"No need to thank me!" she said.

Lance blushed. "S-Sorry, guess I was wrong. Let's just… go."

"You both seem to be good friends, that is adorable," Scar said, walking alongside them.


After a few more hours of walking, they ended up beneath one giant stone structure, shaped like an arc. Deciding that the best option would be to rest, the trio sat on the floor. Meggie drank from one large canteen to hydrate while Scar checked his map; they were going in the right direction.

"What time is it?" Lance stretched his arms, yawning.

Scar checked his bag, taking out a pocket watch. "Five in the afternoon. Interesting, I didn't think we would take this long to cross the desert."

"I mean, we did get those mirages," Meggie chuckled. "Aw, I really want to find an oasis!"

"We might not make it today," Lance said, looking at his companions. "What if we set up a camp?"

The Marowak nodded. That was a good idea; they wouldn't be tired and could use that opportunity to know more of each other. Scar, in particular, was interested in knowing more about Meggie, and to that end, an idea came up.

"Mister Williams, would you like to get supplies? If we're camping, we should have some fire and food."

"Understandable," Lance stood up. "Wait for me here, I'll go and get those things."

And with that, Lance ran away into the desert, leaving Meggie and Scar alone. The Marowak looked at her, smiling.

"Would you like to do something to pass the time?"

"Hm, sure!" Meggie said. "Any ideas?"

Scar's gaze was fixed on her.

"Alright. How about this: I ask you one question about yourself, you answer, and then you do the same for me. How does that sound?"

Meggie pouted. It's not like she would be able to answer all that much, having amnesia and all. Yet, she took the offer with a nod.

"Very well. Why are you so sure about the Gallade taking specific species?"

She flinched, not expecting that to be the first question. At the very least, it was something she could answer. "Well, think about it: nobody here had any idea that was possible, and it just so happens that a Mawile is able to do it, don't you think that's weird?"

"Ah, good idea. However, there's one flaw," Scar retorted. "Is there any guarantee that only those species are able to do it?"

She pouted again; the answer hurt. Well, she kept going. "Didn't Lance and Lilith say that they felt drawn to that Emera? I didn't, what about you?"

Scar chuckled, defeated. "That was the answer I was hoping for. You're smart, miss Meggie."

"Fine! Now it's my turn!" she grinned. "Why are you helping us?"

Scar sighed, scratching his arm. "You see, I believe we can change the world, and help others. Don't you think Lance deserves a good life? Not worrying about nightmares, panic, or anything that came with his kidnapping?"

Meggie tilted her head. "Okay, I get that, and I want to help him too, but like… Is there any specific reason you're doing this?"

Scar now had a somber look, his tail dropped. "If you really must know… I had a family, once. They're gone now, and I think… If I can help others, I might make up for letting my children die."

Meggie backed away, unsure of what to say. She wanted to help him, but at the same time, it wasn't something she saw coming.

"I-I… sorry! I shouldn't have asked that!"

"Don't worry, it's fine," Scar raised his head, smiling. "I now have the chance to make things right. There's one deity I believe in, and He's kind and benevolent."

"...You're religious? Huh."

Scar looked at the sides, checking out the vast desert they were in. That conversation went better than he expected, but talking about his past still stung.

"He is known as Necrozma. Many Pokémon believe Legends to be nothing more than that, a myth that helps children fall asleep. I am not one of them, I know Necrozma will help me, or rather, all of us."

"I see… Okay, it's your turn."

Scar shook his head. "Apologies, but I think I've had enough of this game. We should wait for mister Williams."

"Hm, I hope he's okay."


I hate sand, why does this thing stick to my fur so much?!

Lance, now carrying a few logs on his arm, mumbled to himself. He didn't have any luck finding ferals, and his aura sensors tingled every once in a while, although he couldn't quite tell what made him feel like that.

And of course this place is filled with ferals, but they all just love to dig!

Sensing one specific aura in that desert was proving to be difficult. Why couldn't he just focus? Maybe he was getting anxious, since they were near the town.

If he's there, I—

Another aura spike. This time, Lance heard flames crackling, and dodged just in time to avoid the attack, seeing one enemy he fought before: a red Lycanrock.

"You!"

"Nice to see you again, Lucario!" the wolf licked his lips. "This time I'll have my payback!"

"Hmph. Lunick, you continue to be pathetic, although…" he looked around. That whole desert was the perfect place to hide a body…

"Just shut up and fight me!" Lycanroc jumped, hands covered in draconic energy.

He charged towards Lance, but right before the attack could land, Lance thrust his arms forward, shaping two Aura Spheres into a big shield. Sparkles came out when the moves collided and Lunick stumbled back, dumbstruck.

"The fuck is that?! Some kinda aura enhancer?"

"Oh yeah, that is a cool name, not that it matters," Lance smirked, shaping another sphere into a blade.

"Tsc!" Lunick charged forward, his left fist shone red.

Lance jumped, shifting the blade into a whip, hitting the wolf with it. His opponent roared in pain, before tumbling down to check his wounds; his chest was bleeding from that attack.

"What the hell is your problem?! You could've killed me!" Lunick screamed, panting.

"I'm sorry, did you really think your life was worth it? You disgust me," Lance was on the ground again, preparing a regular Aura Sphere.

"A-Are you insane?! What the hell would your team think of this, you monster?!"

Monster, Lance shivered, but shook his head. It's pointless to think about that!

The fight was interrupted by a loud roar, enough to shake the ground and the sand. From the depths of the floor came a Bastiodon, its eyes were fixed on the other two, and it was drooling.

"Oh, great. Now a feral shows up, if it wasn't for yo—"

Lunick was already gone into the horizon, not wanting to continue that battle. Lance sighed, he couldn't get very far with that wound, could he? Regardless, his focus changed to Bastiodon again, as it charged, trying to strike Lance with its head.

"Argh!" Lance barely dodged, his chest got grazed a bit, and he fired his move, enough to land an aura burn on the Bastiodon's body.

The feral screeched, rocks began to appear from the ground and towards Lance.

"A smart one, huh?" Lance chuckled. Despite the danger, he was thrilled to fight, blood boiling in excitement.

He jumped, changing the spheres into blades, launching them at the rocks and destroying them. This made Bastiodon stumble back in fear.

"...How pathetic," Lance panted, his enemy went back into the ground.

With that out of the way, he noticed something: he lost the logs! With a scream, he kicked the sand, having to search for supplies once more.


"I don't think I understand this concept of… rock, paper, scissors."

Scar and Meggie were trying to play more games for most of the afternoon, although the Marowak had no idea what most of them were. Just what was up with that Snorunt?

She rolled her eyes. "Well, I'm not sure how I know about it myself… Guess we'll have to find something else to try, right?"

"Hm. What if we test that theory? I can try using the Emera on myself, and we see the results."

"Not a chance," Lance said, having just arrived, carrying a Sandshrew around his shoulder, and a few logs on the other one.

"Mister Williams, it's good to see you," Scar smiled. "I can see you got everything. Are you alright?"

Lance dropped everything on the ground. "Other than the fact I had to fight off a bunch of ferals and that stupid Lycanroc, yes."

"Huh, wait!" Meggie said. "Which one of the Lycanroc?"

"Midnight."

"That is a problem, for sure," Scar nodded. "With that in mind, perhaps we should continue travelling."

"He is wounded, I don't think he's a threat," Lance sighed. "And I'm tired, maybe we can take shifts to guard this area?"

"Understandable. I'll take the first shift, you take the second," he turned to Meggie. "And that leaves you with the final shift. Is that okay?"

They both nodded and began to set up camp. Lance, however, sat down, too tired to work anymore, so the job was instead done by Meggie and Scar.


Meggie had no idea where she was. Apparently a city? She saw a long road with buildings on either side, and on the end of the street, a large building that stretched as far as her eyes could see.

What…?

She looked at her hands and gasped. Unlike her usual Snorunt hands, they were human. Meggie took a look around her body, not only did she look taller, she had… fur? What was that?

Something inside said it was "hair". She touched it and brought it to her face, seeing it had orange color.

Why does this feel weird, but… it also feels right?!

Another closer look led Meggie to find out she had a lab coat on, although she wasn't sure how she knew that word.

A buzzing sound made her look down, seeing large pants. She took a phone out of her pocket, eyes widening.

Whoa, is this… a p-phone? Where did I even learn that word?

Suddenly, she heard laughter right next to her. Meggie turned around, seeing a couple of humans like her, chatting amongst themselves.

"So you're gonna challenge Clemont? With just a Gogoat? Don't you think you should have caught a ground-type?" one of them, a female, asked.

"Nope, I can kick that gym leader's ass with my Gogoat!" the other one, a man, answered.

Gym leader? Just what is going on?!

Meggie gulped, checking her phone again. She focused all of her strength to read what was on the screen, seeing it was a call from someone.

Doctor… Jones? Who is this?

The buzzing kept going, until she screamed.


She woke up in cold sweat. Was it her shift already? Nobody bothered to wake her up. Instead, her friends were also sleeping.

"H-Huh? Guys!" she shook them, and saw a seed next to Scar and Lance. "O-Oh no."

A snarl made Meggie turn around. It was already dark, and she could see two red eyes, glowing in the distance. That alone made her whole body shiver.

"You know, I need to make this quick, my chest still hurts," Lunick said, snarling. "I guess taking out the weakest member will be easy, hehe~"

Weakest member? So he knocked the others out? They didn't seem like they were waking up soon, so it was up to Meggie to fight.

"I may be the weakest, but that doesn't mean I can't fight! You hurt my friends!

She took one step, water forming between her hands.

Lunick chuckled, a chilling, genuine laugh. "My, my, don't you think you're getting carried away?"

She sniffed the air, picking up the scent of blood. "S-Says the one that is still hurt!"

The wolf growled, leaping at Meggie with his fangs coated in flames, only to be hit by the Water Pulse, falling to the ground and screaming.

Her mind was moving so fast in order to think of a plan. Meggie thought about her moves: Water Pulse, Frost Breath, Rollout and…

That's it!

"W-Why, you little piece of shit…!" Lunick snarled as he got up, charging with the same move from before.

This time, once he got near, Meggie looked at him, her eyes were glowing blue, and the move faded away. Lunick stumbled back.

"Y-You know Disab—"

Meggie rolled like a ball while also using her water move, crashing into Lunick and propelling herself to the air. As she fell to the ground again, she took a good look at Lunick. His fur stood on end, and his sharp fangs were showing.

"Y-You… I'll kill you!" he ran, but felt a sharp pain on his chest, that move made his wounds open. A loud thud drew his attention, and he saw an Oran Berry right in front of him.

"...Take it and leave," Meggie said. "This battle is getting drawn out, I think you should might be our enemy, but… I don't want to see anyone dying. Enjoy your second chance!"

Lunick whined, not understanding why she did that, he was her enemy, and would kill her if he had the chance! Despite that, the pain was only getting stronger, and if he took too long, not even that berry would work.

"Your Lucario friend will regret this. This wound?" Lunick barked. "He did it! I could have died!"

"Lance would never—"

"He said my life was worthless. Is that the kind of guy you call your friend?"

Meggie flinched. She only knew Lance for six months, but that Lycanroc had to be lying! Right? She couldn't trust the words of a criminal. She wanted to ask more, but Lunick had already left.

This world… I wonder how my world is. If it's so violent as this one.

Still unsure if what Lunick said was true, Meggie sat on the floor. For now, she decided to trust Lance, and hope for the best, even if did intend to kill Lunick, maybe that was just how things worked there. She looked at the sky, feeling uneasy.

Scar was right as well. I need to help others, and if I did that with Lance, then… Maybe I'll be able to go home eventually.

She looked at the Lucario, who was sleeping like a baby. Meggie smiled, feeling a bit better after that whole ordeal. Now that she had to guard, she had time to think about herself, and that made her remember the dream.

Was that my human life? I don't understand… What kinda city looks like that? Come on, brain!

Something stirred inside her, that name she saw on the call felt familiar, even if Meggie couldn't quite know what it meant. Another, creepier thought came to her head: she concluded that the missing Pokémon were related to Mega Evolution and was able to do that because she was human.

O-Oh. OH!

Morgan was also able to do that, since he was the one behind all the kidnappings.

"Is… Is he like me?!"
 
Dungeon 26 - Machiavellian

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 26 - Machiavellian

"Finally! No more walking in the desert for us!"

Meggie took her time to shake the sand off her body, giggling to herself. After days of travelling, they were now in front of the town they had been traveling to: Sandune.

"This is interesting… Are you sure your spies have leads?" Lance asked, looking at Scar.

"Correct. This town was supposedly built on top of ancient ruins, and they have the biggest library of Eutrios."

Lance gave a faint smile. "Hm, you like reading too? Interesting, I had no idea."

"I am a mon of literate, mister Williams."

Meggie soon joined them. "So! What's our plan?"

Scar looked at the gates. If they weren't in such a hurry, perhaps he could check the book section.

"One of my spies will meet us in a hotel. We also need to remove our weapons and keep them there, the place we're going is not… legal."

Lance shivered. After all those years, he was finally there, mere steps away from confronting someone that ruined his entire childhood. The entire reason he acted like he did.

Nature versus nurture…

A feeling came up, but he ignored it with a growl.


Meggie looked at the large buildings, comparing them with those of her dream the day before. Her human life must have been great if she lived in such a technological town! Then again, dreams could be random, maybe that wasn't an accurate description of her life.

Someone called her name, drawing her attention. She looked up, seeing they were in front of another building. Lance was staring at Meggie, as if to tell her to hurry. She could see he was anxious, even sweating.

"Okay, let's go!"

Going through the tedious process of checking in the hotel didn't take long, and they all went upstairs to their individual rooms.

Scar sat on his bed. That place was just comfortable enough for him not to complain, having a desk and a large window overlooking the city. He hoped that mission would prove to be successful; they needed at least some advantage over the scientist.

He heard knocking, taking him out of his trance. Once the others entered, they began to plan.

Lance crossed his arms, listening to every detail Scar was about to say. I can do this, he thought.

"Alright. First, we need to meet one of my Gengar, he said he would be waiting at this hotel's restaurant, so we won't draw attention to ourselves," he took a small pause and continued. "Once we're done with the meeting, we will go to the place where the bid's happening."

Lance clenched his fist, still trying to process. If Gallade's previous actions were anything to go by, he would be kidnapping someone again, and in a place like a black market, nobody would bat an eye.

I'll make him pay… I swear! He won't get away with this!

That infuriated him, and without Lance noticing, his feelers flared up, and a small, flaming aura sprouted on his hand. Only when he heard the others calling him did he stop, taking a deep breath.

Scar looked at him, trying to calm the Lucario down. "Mister Williams, I am aware you're feeling anxious, but please, we're doing this to stop him."

Meggie nodded. "Yeah! We're gonna kick his ass! No more kidnapping!"

Despite her words, Meggie had to think about what Morgan really waswas. That theory she had before made sense every time she stopped to think about it. Indeed, this was an important day for her as well.

"T-Thank you… Your support makes me happy. I'll try to calm down and focus on the mission, alright?"

"Good. Let's go, the Gengar should be down already."


Scar was correct. As soon as the trio stepped into the restaurant, they saw one Gengar with a lot of plates, eating like a beast. Lance sighed and sat on a table next to the ghost, and the others did the same.

"Heya, boss!" the ghost said, munching on a large pie. Lance could smell a bunch of berries in that dessert, but kept his mouth shut, not caring in the slightest.

"Greetings," Scar said. "Now, we should get straight to business. Where is the bid happening?"

"Oh, sure! YOu gotta follow the street until you see an alley. there's an Orbeetle guard in front of the place; just pay him and you're free to explore the market!"

"That's… It? Seems a bit easy, don't you think?" Meggie asked, tilting her head.

The Gengar continued. "Well, that place is pretty secure, but if you break the rules there… Well, you're gonna become a ghost pretty quick!"

Meggie blinked, confused at what he meant with her evolution. That didn't matter much, though, as long as they were safe and sound by the end of that mission.

"Ok. Looks like we got our goal, shall we move, then?" Lance questioned.

"I mean, I'm kinda hungry… We've been travelling for days, I need some food!"

Scar's stomach growled, and he blushed a bit. "Ah, I agree with her. Let us have a feast before the mission starts, alright?"

Lance reluctantly accepted the idea.


They all left the hotel satisfied with the food, and were now ready for the journey ahead. Following Gengar's instructions, the three Pokémon walked around the street, until they saw the first alley. Lance noticed a giant sign with the shape of a Orbeetle, so he assumed that was the place and went inside.

His assumption was correct, and at the end of the corridor, they saw the bug, folding all his arms. Orbeetle stared at them and mumbled something, but they couldn't hear.

Scar was the first to approach, wearing a friendly smile. "Greetings, I am Scar, and those are my companions. We're trying to get inside the black market, could you let us in?"

"400 poké each. Once you pay me, you're getting in."

Meggie stared in shock. That was too expensive! Enough to have a complete meal in a fancy restaurant back home. She pouted, when Scar took a bunch of coins from his bag, handling them to Orbeetle. "Is that enough?"

Orbeetle counted the money for a few minutes and nodded, opening a large, metallic door right behind him. "Enjoy your stay. Don't cause trouble and don't do anything suspicious. Got it?" He stared directly at Meggie, who gulped.

"Of course. Let's go." Lance said.


They went down a set of stairs and were now in a large corridor, where some Pokémon were walking in and out; each carried a bag. Meggie sniffed the air, smelling blood. That gave her a dizzy feeling, and she looked at her friends; none of them seemed bothered by that scent.

Huh, weird.

"I have a question, Scar," Lance said. "How do you have so much money? Brian and I have our allowances, but still, that was a bit much…"

Scar chuckled. "Ha. When you have powerful allies, money is not a problem. See, I have financial support from the king of Cydonia."

Lance blinked. "...Huh, I didn't expect that. Interesting."

Meggie rolled her eyes; geography wasn't her greatest strength, especially in this world, so she didn't even know what they were talking about. She raised her hand. "Okay, for those of us who have no idea what Cydonia is, could you explain?"

Scar looked at her, smiling. "A kingdom far in the west, led by a Tyrantrum. It's a rare case of government here, since it's a monarchy. But still, the king and I are good friends."

Lance sighed, he never liked monarchies. The leaders were prone to doing anything if it meant they would stay in power. If Lance was in that position of power, however… things would be different, he was sure of it.

They found themselves near another door, entering a new room.


More of the metallic scent of blood filled Meggie's nostrils, making her feel sick. How could anyone even stand a place like that? It felt unnatural, and was filled with those stands, she even saw an Emboar eating what she recognized as a hamburger. She looked around; seeing a lot of tents. The closest one to them had a Jolteon on the front, grinning at them.

"Hello, newcomers!" the Jolteon said with a feminine voice. "Would you like to have some of our specialty? We have the finest cuisine here!"

"...What?" Meggie sighed, she wanted to back away, but that might raise some suspicion. They had to act naturally.

Jolteon continued. "You see, today's special meal is a nice, roasted Archen! We're also making a special deal! If you buy this, you get a Buizel stew! I assure you, I am the best cook in the continent!"

"I'm flattered, but we had breakfast already. I'm sorry, we're here for the bid, alright?" Lance answered, walking away from the tent with his companions.

Meggie was trying her best not to vomit. In the way to the building, she passed through multiple tents, each having another form of trauma. She even saw someone selling organs. She couldn't believe this, how could they do something like that? The dream of getting back home was getting stronger every minute.

She saw herself back in the city, this time, inside a building, walking towards a machine… it felt odd, but her mind told her it was called an "elevator".

The machine started, raising her to the highest floors of the building, and her heart was racing, she wanted to scream and get out of there, but her body didn't move. With all her strength, Meggie looked down, she was still wearing that coat. But now something new came to her mind, who was that doctor Jones?

The elevator made a large noise and seemed to speed up, while she was still trapped. That was awful, it was like it was closing in on her, crushing her body until…


"Meggie!"

She snapped back to reality, and saw Lance staring at her. That was another vision, wasn't it? The closer she got to Gallade, the more she felt… weird. Meggie didn't know exactly what that meant, but knew she had to move forward to find out.

They were in front of a big line, next to a large building. That was where the bid was supposed to happen, right? At the end was a Kangaskhan. Strangely enough, she didn't have any child in her pouch.

"Hm, who are you three?" she turned around to face them.

Lance stepped forward."Nobody you need to know, we're on this bid as well, lady."

"Whatever, just don't get in my way," she growled.

I hope everything will be okay, Meggie looked down, still worried about the meaning behind her visions. She had a theory, but didn't want to believe in it.

The line moved as each of the Pokémon went inside that place. Lance was the last one to join, clenching his fists. It was now or never for him.


Scar looked at the hall, filled with chairs so they could sit, and a large stage where he assumed the host was going to be. He sat down with his allies and waited.

All the other Pokémon were talking amongst themselves, some theorized what the bid was all about, thinking that the host would ask for drugs, organs, or even some rare items nobody could find! That chattering continued without interruptions, until a Garchomp entered the stage. He cleared his throat to have their attention and smiled with a toothy grin.

"Hello, I'm Derek, and I'll be hosting this auction," he said. "I'm sure you all have questions, and I'll be answering them soon. First, I must tell you what I need from you."

More chattering, the rumors spread fast. Lance heard some of the conversations, and discovered that this particular Garchomp usually followed a Gallade around, said Gallade even set up a base in the market, it was a room in the back of the building they were in.

Son of a… I hate you, he growled, but kept himself together. That wasn't the time for panic.

Derek roared, stopping all the noise from the chat the Pokémon were having. Now that he had their attention again, he continued. "You see, my boss is a very busy mon, and he needs certain species for his project. Right now he's looking for any Pokémon that belongs to these evolution lines: Mudkip, Bulbasaur, and Pidgey. If any of you have, please tell me."

THe noises continued in a chaotic way. Arms were raised left and right, and Derek had to reject some of the offers, that was annoying, nobody had those Pokémon he was looking for? It felt unbelievable. Finally, another arm was raised, this time, a Kangaskhan did it.

"I have one, he's caged and has his wings broken, can't have them escaping, can I?"

Derek grinned. "Oh, thank you! My boss will be pleased with this. How much are you offering for that Pidgey?

Kangaskhan stomped on the floor in annoyance. "I'm sure your boss can make a deal with me, where can I meet him?"

"That's a bit complicated, but… I think we can arrange that. The rest of you are dismissed. As for you…" Derek pointed at Kangaskhan. "Follow me one hour from now, will that be enough time for you to get the Pidgey?"

Kangaskhan nodded. "Of course, that will suffice."

The audience dispersed in silence. Of all of those Pokémon, Lance was the most furious, although he restrained himself from doing anything harsh; he wanted to punch that Garchomp to death.

Another thought creeped Lance's head. This time, he wondered how different his life would be if he wasn't kidnapped. Maybe those mercs he took down six months ago would still be alive…

It's worthless to think that. I'm me, and I'm… like this. I'll have my revenge… no, it's for justice. For all those other innocents whose lives he ruined!


The team was in another alley, Gengar had brought them all their weapons, since he could walk on shadows and was the perfect stealth mon they had, since Brian was in another town.

Lance put his bracelets on while listening to what Scar was saying.

"Alright. Our best choice right now is to infiltrate Morgan's office. We have enough orbs to make us invisible, so we shouldn't have troubles with that part."

Meggie sighed, putting her tiara on. "Wait, there's another problem! If he's a Gallade, won't he just read our minds and know we're there?!"

"I doubt he's a good psychic. It takes years of practice to be able to read more than the external thoughts," Lance answered. "But you have a point. We can try to… not think too much, that might help."

Scar continued. "Correct. If we just stay calm, we can do this. Besides, It's harder for him to read my mind, as I'm half ghost."

Meggie looked down, still not convinced. "...If you say so."


Kangaskhan was walking around another corridor with the Pidgey inside her pouch. That bird had a muzzle on his beak, preventing him from attacking her, and like she said before, broken wings. He had no chance of escaping.

Once she was at the end of the hall, she saw Derek guarding the entrance to Morgan's office. He grinned at her

"Nice, you weren't lying. I was worried you were trying to trick us, but I guess I was wrong. The boss is waiting inside."

Kangaskhan nodded and got inside. Just as she did that, Derek found himself alone, until a Gengar appeared from inside his shadow, sticking out his tongue.

"W-What the…?"

Gengar ran away and Derek followed him, snarling and growling. That distraction worked, as the trio was now right in front of the office. Lance gulped, this was it. The moment he waited for since the kidnapping, he had to do this to move on and to ensure it wouldn't happen again. Yet, he froze, the anxiety getting the better of him.

Scar whispered. "...Mister Williams, now is not the time. We're nearly there."

The Kangaskhan walked out, they saw she didn't have the Pidgey anymore. When she was gone, they heard a warping sound. Lance looked at the door, it was still open, and he saw that Morgan had teleported the Pidgey.

That was the last straw, Lance fired an Aura Sphere right at the table Morgan was sitting at, exploding it into bits. The Gallade flinched, standing up.

Lance's heart pounded like it never did before, and the effects of the orb faded. He was now face to face with him.

Morgan stared at Lance, not recognizing him until he saw the scar. He smiled. "Number ten… you're alive? I'm impressed."

He couldn't move or do anything, anxiety kicking in, his body trembled in fear and his eyes widened. "Y-You monster!"

Meggie didn't waste any time and charged towards Morgan, only to hit the air as the Gallade teleported to the side, hitting her with a punch that drained her energy.

Scar was the next, jumping with his flaming club, he got shoved to the wall with telekinesis. Morgan chuckled again. "Was this what you expected, number ten? To have your friends hurt because of you? I used to think you were my best experiment, but you're still weak.

Lance gave one step forward, before his body shook again. "Y-You made me a monster…!"

He fell on his knees, no longer able to hold back the tears that streamed, crying out.

"Don't think even for a second that I'm one of you. I am superior to all of you… primitive creatures."

He found strength to raise his head and cry out. "Why?! Why did you do that? Why torture me?! I was a child!"

Morgan kept his cool and continued to talk. "I need to get back home. You and all my test subjects are means to an end. Nothing more than that. You think you're a monster? I merely let that side out. All of you are beasts that only care for your own survival."

Lance wanted to throw up, his body felt like it would explode at any second and at the lowest moment, he realized Morgan was right. All that killing he did was of his own free will. He truly was… a monster.

The Gallade looked him straight in the eyes. "You don't understand what it means to be a human."

The Lucario raised his head. "Human?! You're like… Meggie?!" he stared at the Snorunt.

Morgan tilted his head, looking at her. "Meggie? What? Is that… really you? I thought you died in the accident!"

Suddenly, she knew what was going on! She was his assistant, that man, that Gallade knew who she was. But even if he did, what he was doing was wrong. "I-I don't know you!"

Lance stood up with all his might, firing another Aura Sphere. This one landed, making Morgan stumble back and weakening his psychic hold on Scar.

"Mister… no, Lance! This is our only chance! Take it!" Scar threw the Emera backwards, the stone fell right in front of Lance.

Morgan squeezed his palm, grabbing hold of Scar once more. "Ah, so it was you who was messing with my plans! Meggie, join me! Those creatures are disgusting, we're better than this!"

That Emera called out to him, clouding his thoughts of everything else. Lance could feel its energy, its power, it urged him to do it! Power… that's what he needed! Lance growled, showing all his sharp fangs. If he could become more powerful, he could end that fight!

"I'm… not your puppet! I am me, and I've always been me!"

Lance touched the stone and felt a wave of energy flowing into him, it was intoxicating and he gave a sadistic laugh. However, that laugh turned into a roar of pain that filled the air.

Morgan just stared at him, curious. Perhaps he could finally test what a Mega Lucario could do. Maybe that experiment wasn't a failure after all.

"Ha...Ha… HA!"

The energy overtook him completely, his cries turned into pleasure, even if he still felt all that pain, nothing mattered anymore. His gaze was fixated on Morgan and Morgan only, he was his enemy!

Lance's body shifted, his feelers grew longer and his bones snapped, reshaping into new, stronger ones. His tail also changed, becoming fluffier and moving in the air. Even his skin was transforming, streaks of red fur appeared all over him. That energy dissipated, and he roared like a beast, ready to fight.
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
  3. custom/roserade-adam
Picked this story out at random and decided to give it a read and review before the forum goes down for upgrades. I've read just the first chapter and these are my thoughts on it.

I went into this story not knowing what to expect, and the first chapter doesn't say a whole lot either. However, it does leave behind some clues about what the story might be like in the later chapters.

Since the chapter opens with a traumatic dream sequence, we can discern that Lance overcoming that trauma and growing from it will be a significant aspect of the story. It makes me wonder what really happened back then or the significance of the whole 'number 10' thing. Was he being used as a test subject for something or is there more to it? Can't say for sure.

We also learn that Lance and his brother have famous parents, or a famous parent at the very least. I wonder what this will mean for them. Do they struggle with living in their dad's shadow or are they both walking right into his footsteps in a similar manner? I'm also curious about the high demand mission their dad went on. It's totally gonna go fine and nothing bad will happen I'm sure.

In any case, the first chapter did an okay job setting up some future plot threads and telling us a bit about the characters involved. I'd say my curiosity has been piqued as a result and I'll be sure to come back later to read the story again.
 
Dungeon 27 - Blurring Together in Red

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Author's notes: This chapter contains more violence than usual. Viewer's discretion is advised.

Dungeon 27 - Blurring Together in Red


Meggie watched as Lance's calm, collected demeanor crumbled apart. Her friend now stared at them, or more specifically, at the Gallade. Lance had the eyes of a crazy beast, his sharp fangs showed themselves as he grinned. The very air around him seemed to glow in a blue aura, much like his body. However, that glow changed into a purple color soon enough.

His blood-red eyes looked directly at Morgan. "For everything you did to me all those years ago… you'll pay!"

Lance dashed forward so fast dust rose from the floor. He thrust his paw forward, forming an aura sphere. Once Lance launched it, the weapon hit a pink, almost translucent barrier of psychic power.

"W-What?!" Lance stumbled back, his heart was racing again. That failure made him shiver.

"Do you think I am that stupid?" Morgan raised his head. "A Reflect barrier, it might not be indestructible, but should be more than enough to restrain a failure like you."

Gallade, however, flinched, seeing a small crack on his barrier. Maybe this was a good opportunity to test Lance's limits.

"He's… not a failure!" Meggie shouted, trying to move. Despite her best efforts, the telekinetic hold she was in stopped her attempts.

Morgan only glared at her, his crimson eyes had a nostalgic look to them, and Meggie gulped. Were they really close?

No, there's no way I know this psychopath…

Lance hunched, his head throbbed inside, but that didn't matter anymore. Nothing but his revenge did.

"I am going to tear your stupid body apart—"


A loud stomp drew his attention. Lance turned around to face his new enemy: the Garchomp from before. Like him, the dragon was mega evolved. Lance snarled. There was no way anyone was getting in the way of his revenge!

"Derek," Morgan declared, smirking a bit. "Destroy him."

"Yes, bo—"

Derek received a full punch to his gut, enough to make him stagger, but before he could properly react, he was hit by two canons of metallic energy, launching him even further back to the entrance of the building. He panted, looking ahead: Lance was staring at him; the Lucario's hands were glowing in the same purple hue.

"Tsc!" Derek opened his mouth, releasing a strong stream of flames on his opponent.

However, once the flames hit Lance, they dispersed, turning purple from the canine's aura. He was spinning a staff made of pure aura, and his bracelets were glowing in that same tone. His weapon soon dissipated and he lunged at Derek.

"You're… pathetic! No wonder the boss threw you away!" Derek dashed at Lance, trying to use his scythes to cut him. However, that was interrupted by two staffs of aura that Lance firmly held together.

"Interesting," Morgan paid attention to the bracelets Lance had around his arms. "Where did you get that, number ten?"

"Brother… gave me!" Lance cried out, doing his best to hold the scythes.

"Hm, this is curious. However, there's no time for this. Finish him, Derek."

Lance roared, kicking Derek on his belly. That was enough for the Garchomp to retreat, only to receive a bite on his arm. He screamed in pain, while Lance bit him deeper, enough to draw blood on his scales.

"Y-You…" Derek opened his mouth to release another flamethrower, but Lance took a chunk out of his skin, and Derek howled because of the pain.


Blood dripped on the floor, but Lance showed no signs of stopping, even after he spit out the piece of flesh, his teeth, now red, only made him look more deranged.

"I… can't decide," Lance finally said, slowly marching towards Derek. His fur stood on end, giving Lance the appearance of a wild Pokémon, and to make matters worse, he cackled in laughter all the way.

"What?!" Derek panted, slowly standing up. He could barely feel his left arm because of the bite from before, and his heart raced. There had to be something he could do!

"If you should live or die…" Lance continued. He created two more spheres, but they changed shape, turning into large blades.

"L-Lance, stop!" Meggie shouted, trying to move. With all her strength, she turned to Scar. "Can't you do something?!"

Scar kept quiet, thinking. Right now, they were both trapped, and Lance couldn't control himself anymore. For now, they were fine, but if Lance were to attack them…

"He lost it," Morgan looked back. "Like most others, he's berserk. It's a shame that most of you savages can't control this power, but at least he's gonna destroy himself."

Lance turned around, now pointing his blades to the barrier. "I am not a savage. You're a monster, Morgan!"

"Says the one who's fighting with his teeth."

Lance lunged again, his paws glowing, when he felt teeth around his legs; Derek was returning the favor and spun around, throwing Lance to the floor with enough force it cracked.

"A-Argh!" Lance cried out, his leg didn't move, even with his best efforts.

This time, Derek was the one to attack, biting Lance's arm. Even with the pain, the Lucario didn't quit. Instead, he took that opportunity to touch Derek's belly, making it glow purple.

"...Wha? NO!" Derek protested, but fell on his knees, it was like his energy was being sucked away into Lance. Even the mega evolution faded away.

"Mister Williams, no!" Scar protested, but the psychic pressure on him stopped the Marowak from moving.

"W-What's wrong?! What is Lance doing?!" Meggie asked, that scene made her spine shiver.

"He's absorbing aura! Lance, cease it this instant! You're going to die!"

Derek, on the other hand, began to panic. His thoughts slowed down, focused more on his survival, and he growled, the only sound that came out of his mouth.

Morgan blinked. "I didn't know this was possible…"

Lance's laughter filled the entire room, he didn't want to stop, that intoxicating sensation clouded his thoughts even more. His wounded leg began to heal, becoming another scar.

"Hm, he used the aura to heal himself? How amusing. Derek, we're leaving!"

Only when he saw Derek's body fading into red energy did he stop, confused at that. Morgan was holding a white and red capsule, where what once was Derek's body was sucked into.

"That's… a Pokéball!" Meggie cried out, recognizing that capsule from her visions.

"What is that abomination?!" Scar roared, looking at Morgan.

"It's really curious how long it took for me to make my own. Meggie, won't you join me?"

She didn't answer anything to that question. Morgan made the barrier disappear, approaching Lance.

Lance shivered, his body paralyzed in that one spot where all he wanted was to run away. He looked down, screaming his lungs away. Something grabbed his head, forcing him to look up; there, he saw Gallade, smirking.

"Even with all that power, you're still weak."

That distraction was enough for Scar to throw his club at Morgan's head. The Gallade turned around, and multiple clones of him appeared in the area, until a blinding light surrounded them.

"I'm sure we'll meet again, Meggie."

Once the glow faded, Morgan was gone.

"Weak…" Lance fell on his knees, punching the floor until his hands began to bleed.

Scar was the first to leave the office and run to Lance's side, and narrowly dodged a claw attack from the Lucario, who stared at him with dead eyes.

"Mister Williams, we're your friends… please, do not attack us!"

Instead of doing that, Lance collapsed in pain, like his entire body was burning apart from the excess aura he took, he thrashed around the floor, everything hurt no matter what he did to try and calm down.

Meggie was still trying to process it all. She began to cry, not knowing what to do. She looked ahead, and saw Lance passing out from exhaustion, his body was back to normal.

"We need to leave!" Scar shouted. Meggie ran towards them, and with the white light of an orb, they left that area.


Nothing could make Meggie leave that hotel room, even after hours passed after the battle. She stared at the building, too many things happened that day.

That ferocity… this world is always like this?

She clenched her fists. Maybe Morgan was right… but Lance was hurt. Right now, she tried to ignore those questions, and hoped that her friend was okay. However, there was something she just couldn't shake off.

What if I'm like him? That Gallade has his memories, but I don't… what if I recover them and end up like him?

"I…"

Silence. Nobody was there, and that only made things worse. Meggie didn't know what to do! If only she could talk to someone!

I don't know… if I wanna stay here anymore. But that man! He's insane!

Something stirred inside Meggie, some primal feeling of hopelessness, despite the lack of sound, it all felt deafening and that alone terrified her.

"Somebody help me!"

More silence. She plopped her face into the pillow and began to cry. Maybe that was for the best.


Lance woke up in a hospital bed. He was the only patient in the room, and somehow his head felt a lot heavier than it should be. Because of that, he didn't even move, the memories of today were already on his mind.

"He's still alive…"

He knew Morgan deserved to die. All the crimes he commited, all the pain he brought to countless innocents made Lance's stomach grumble, and he had to hold his vomit in place.

Why? Why couldn't I just… do it? He was right in front of me! I should have finished it right there!

Lance finally sat on the bed, taking time to organize his thoughts. He even went as far as to take someone's aura! That was a taboo for his species, or at least that's what he heard from his dad.

Right, if dad was here… I could talk to him about this.

He couldn't help but be ashamed of himself, because Morgan was still free, and worse of all: he knew Meggie.

Meg… how much does she know about herself? What if she's on his side?!

His mind wandered back to all the time he spent together, she didn't give any signs of being able to betray them.

Aura doesn't lie…

Lies. He lied so much to his team, none of them knew just how broken Lance was after everything. In that moment, Lance thought about what they would think of him if they found out. Would they abandon him? He didn't want to disappoint them, but he thought he was doing the right thing.

"Greater good, huh?"

Even if he had that sense of justice, the fact he couldn't even attack Morgan stung. What if… he was wrong? What if that wasn't the right thing? He shook his head, trying to ignore that. Doubts would only make things worse and he needed to focus on the mission.

...That's right, the mission! I still have a chance, I can put an end to him!

Trying to convince himself, Lance laughed at the madness of it all. His maniacal chuckling even made tears stream down. What was he doing with his life?

I did my best to make the world a better place, rid of filth like… him.

His thoughts shifted again. This time, he remembered that fateful day where he took the life of an Aggron he was searching for. That feeling of power, of being in control was amazing. However, if things were different, maybe Atlas would be his ally.

No! I am not like him! O-Or… am I?!

At that point, he didn't know anymore what to do or what he was. Was he always like this? Or was it his upbringing from his captive days?

"...Who am I?"

"Mister Williams, I assure you, everything will be alright."

Lance saw Scar standing in front of the door and closing it. At the very least, his friends were okay. But then he remembered something.

"Meggie… how is she?" Lance looked away in shame.

"She's fine. At least physically, although I want to know a few things, like how she knew about Morgan…"

"She's a human. That's all I know," Lance looked at him again. "I guess that means Morgan is a human as well, since he recognized her…"

Scar blinked, weren't humans a myth? Still, he was well aware of how myths could have some sort of truth in them.

"Ok. I got it, that explains a few things, still, I want to know more about what you're going through."

"What… why are you doing this? What do you gain from all of this?"

"Nothing, I'm here to listen to what you have to say," Scar sat on one of the chairs, looking at Lance. "Obviously, you're not well. Would you like to share? I promise not to judge you."

He didn't know why, but Lance felt compelled to answer and tell him everything. Something about that Marowak made it easy for Lance to trust him, and just in case, he checked the aura, sensing it was normal.

"Please, go on, mister Williams. I've had my fair share of suffering, I can… take whatever you throw at me, for lack of a better word."

"...I wanted to kill him."

Scar didn't even flinch. "I see, can you elaborate?"

His ears twitched. Scar somehow didn't react to that? Regardless, that was a sign he could continue.

"I killed before. Six months ago, I was on a mission with my brother. I lured three mercenaries into a dungeon and… I killed one of them, dousing him in lava."

Scar blinked, nodding. Lance tilted his head and continued. "The thing is, I didn't regret that. I killed to survive when I was little, when that… monster kidnapped me, but those guys? It was different. I felt powerful."

"You feel conflicted," Scar finally said something. "You came here with the intention to do the same with Morgan, and yet—"

"I couldn't do it," Lance looked down, whining. "Even after everything, I didn't have the strength to do it…"

Scar looked at him straight in the eye. "Understandable. Mister Williams, you are a victim. I don't think you're entirely on the wrong here."

Lance's ears perked up. "Y-You mean it?! But… maybe I was wrong in thinking like this. Maybe I shouldn't have killed them."

"And what makes you think that?"

"If I spared someone that brought nothing but pain and suffering, why didn't I do it for those three? They were victims as well."

Marowak didn't have an immediate answer to that question. Instead, he took his time to think about what he would say.

"I understand. You need to think about the future, mister Williams… this battle was rough, I can tell. Not only did you lose control, but you're hurt."

Lance looked at the new scar he had, a bite mark on his leg. "Still, I took his aura, I… wasn't supposed to do that."

"Yet, you did it. Again, you're a victim. You need time to think," Scar stood up. "For what is worth, mister Williams, I'm not judging your decisions."

"Why?" Lance raised his head, whining again. "Why aren't you freaking out over this? I just confessed murders!"

Scar closed his eyes. For just one moment, Lance could see the faintest of smiles.

"In the end, everything will be forgiven. I'm… a firm believer of Necrozma. If you like, I could read you some of the things I gathered after many years of searching."

"Necrozma? Hm, I see…" Lance laid down again, looking at the ceiling.

"As a matter of fact, I would like to know more about your decision. Once you've made up your mind, tell me."

"...I'm not sure. I don't know what I'm going to do anymore."

Scar looked at him again, raising his head. "Let me tell you something, mister Williams. It's something I learned after years of life experience: when we're at our lowest point, we're open to the greatest change."

With that, Lance was left alone with his thoughts again. He was too tired to think properly, and soon fell asleep.


Morgan walked across the street with a cape covering his body to protect him from the heat. That last test was a failure, like he assumed, especially because someone he used to know didn't even recognize him.

Hmph. If she prefers this primitive world, then so be it. I need to go back home.

He stopped to see a red Lycanroc right in front of him. The wolf panted and sniffed the air, giving a toothy grin once he recognized the scent.

"Boss! I'm so happy to see you!"

Morgan had no expression. "Oh, it's you, Lunick. What brings you here? Did you finish your job?"

"Well, not really!" Lunick whined. "I-I mean, I followed my targets here, but they beat me up! There was this Lucario! Oh yeah, a Snorunt too, she healed me! I appreciate that, but we're still enemies!"

"...I know them. The Snorunt is my former assistant, while the Lucario is one of my old test subjects," a glare was all he gave Lunick. "So you're telling me that you failed."

Morgan's hand glowed pink, which made Lunick stumble back.

"N-No! Well, I did fail, but that's not the point! I have something that might be helpful!"

"Hmph. Tell me," his hand stopped glowing.

"T-That Lucario is a murderer, I think? He tried to kill me, even saying I'm worthless, maybe we can use that to our advantage?!"

"I suppose we can, if they're still after us… very well, you proved your worth," Morgan sighed. "Come with me, we're going back to HQ."

Lunick smiled. "Really?!"

"I need to get back to my second office to get the orb, but yes, we'll go back."

They walked away into another building. Morgan didn't really say anything on the way, but at least, he had another piece of canon fodder. Those creatures were only useful for that, anyway.

And if you stop being useful, I'll just throw you in the garbage like all the others...
 
Dungeon 28 - Keep Holding On

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 28 - Keep Holding On


The way back home wasn't as pleasant as Lance hoped. Where once he was ecstatic to visit that large city, he now stood with his head lowered after the events that happened days ago. He needed some time to think, and so did his team; Meggie was also silent, while Scar held a book in his hands.

Even the weather was somber, rain clouds were forming high in the air and they could hear thunder every so often. Still, they entered the city, that familiar smell of steam making Meggie cough. Suddenly, Lance stopped, getting the attention of his teammates.

"I'm… going back home. You can meet up with the others," he mumbled. "L-Look, I need some time for myself."

"It's alright, mister Williams. We'll explain everything at the meeting. You deserve rest after… all that happened."

Meggie nodded in agreement, and Lance walked away towards his apartment. As for the other two, they were now heading to the guild.


Away from everyone else, Lance was finally free to stop holding his emotions in. The more he approached the building where he lived, the more everything seemed to weigh on him. He was barely able to move at all, it was like a Steelix was sitting on his back.

I'm okay… this is just my brain saying things…! I'm gonna be okay!

He laughed to try and distract himself, but it was pointless. His mouth felt dry, and Lance bit his lips. Just a few more minutes of walking and he would get there! To somewhere safe, where could cry his heart out!

Just have to… keep holding… on!

Lance nodded, taking deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. If he kept doing that, his panic would settle down… right? At least it was what he hoped. He could still feel sweat running through his fur and dripping on the ground.

Eventually, he used one of the light poles to balance himself, nausea kicking in. No! Lance needed to move! The entrance was right in front of him, he just needed a little push.

Y-You… got this!

After what felt like hours, Lance finally got inside the building, going straight to his apartment.


Finding the rest of the group wasn't hard for Scar. As soon as he went inside the guild, he could see Max and Brian playing a card game. He sighed and sat on the chair next to them. Meggie soon joined him.

"Whoa, heya, boss!" Max waved, giving his usual smile.

"Good morning!" Brian continued, shuffling the cards back into his bag. They didn't need to know what he was playing, anyway.

Meggie looked down again. How would Brian react if he knew she was an acquaintance of Morgan? She didn't want to know, at least for now.

"Where's Lilith?" Scar asked.

"Oh, yeah," the Electivire answered. "She, uh, she went to the hotel we're in. Said she was tired."

Brian chuckled. "I mean, we're all tired, but sure! Anyway, what's the news?!"

Max nodded, taking out the rainbow stone and the sphere. "We arrested two of the lackeys Morgan has, and we got one green orb, alongside one Emera!"

Meggie frowned. "That's… great."

"Oh yeah, I have something for you, Meg! We bought it on the way back!"

Brian smirked, taking out a cyan-colored stone from his mane and handing it to Meggie. She stared at it and put it on her purse.

"That's a Dawn Stone! Perfect for your evolution!" He said.

"O-Oh, really? Thanks…"

"Anyway!" Brian shifted his look to Scar. "What did you guys find?"

Scar muttered something, and raised his head. Might as well tell the whole story.

"We found… Morgan. We had a fight, unfortunately, mister Williams… went berserk. He used the Emera and lost control of his… mega evolution," he said. "Not only that, we also discovered two important things. First: he's a human. And seco—"

Brian punched the table, his fur standing on end. "W-Wait. Lance went berserk?! Where is he?! Don't tell me he got kidnapped again!"

Meggie shivered. "W-Well, he said he wanted to be alone… he's home!"

"Just great! Did you get that Gallade?!"

Scar continued the explanation. "He got away. Lance, during his berserk state, began to absorb aura from one of his enemies. He—"

"Lance did what?!" Brian snarled. "What the fuck were you thinking?! He could've died!"

Scar looked directly into Brian's eyes. His club's flame burned brighter. "We are aware of that. It's why we sent him to the hospital right away. Right now, he recovered."

That made Brian calm down. He took a deep breath, when a thought came to his head. He had the means to break into Morgan's HQ. He could end that right now!

"Got it, got it. Lance is… fine, right? His life is not in danger? Did I get that right?!"

"Well, yeah!" Meggie agreed. She didn't speak much during the reunion, mostly because she didn't know what to say.

"Alright, then!" Brian took the orb from Max and dashed away without saying anything. Screw that! Defeating the Gallade was more important right now!

"H-He's getting away!" Max cried out.

That was the last straw. Meggie got out of the chair and followed him, running as fast as she could. Who cares if she knew the Gallade?! That was her friend!


The panic attack didn't stop, even when Lance went to his bedroom. His heart almost felt like it would explode, he heard the beats, the sound was so loud he couldn't hear anything else. With a slow pace, he jumped into his bed and turned around, staring at the ceiling.

Calm down, calm down, calm down! Please, nothing will hurt me!

His brain ignored that. Lance's aura sensors were twitching like crazy, and his eyes darted around the room. He tried screaming for help, but no words came out of his mouth. Everything was so stimulating it only made things worse!

"D-Dad, mom! Please, anybody, help… m… e…"

A new problem arised: Lance was breathing manually, and he couldn't stop it. All other thoughts shut down, and right now the only thing he could think of is to not stop breathing. Usually, that would mean a good thing, but the thought of death terrified Lance to the point he couldn't move.

It was like he was alone in a void, slowly losing his mind to that panic. There had to be something he could do to stop it. Something. Someone.

Dad… mom, Brian, Meg… Uncles…

The ones who always supported him, even with all the problems Lance has. His breathing calmed down a bit, he remembered a time where he was just a little kid, playing with his sibling and reading books.

Y-Yeah, books are good…

That was working. Slowly, Lance was overcoming the crisis. He felt his heart normalize its beating, and the entire ordeal made him even more tired. Maybe he needed some rest after all.


Scar tapped the table, thinking. Letting Brian charge into the unknown was dangerous and frankly, stupid. But he had the right idea, going there would be worth it in the grand scheme of things. If only the Zoroark had agreed on letting someone go with him…

"Hey, boss?" Max tilted his head.

Now back to reality, the Marowak looked at his teammate, sighing. Well, they had to at least try to put some sense in Brian's head.

"Maxwell. I need you to follow those two. I have a suspicion they want to raid whatever place that orb leads to."

"Alright! Sure, I can do it!" He said, body crackling with electricity.

With that, the Electivire also left the building. Scar stood up, looking at the book he was carrying. He opened one of the pages, but the words… they didn't make sense. Of course, it was an ancient book, written in a language he didn't know. To help with that, he went in the direction of the hotel they were in, to find Lilith.


Despite walking on literal lava, Lance didn't feel anything burning his feet. The worst part was that as far as he could see, there was only that burning magma. He kept walking, head lowered.

"What even is this place…?"

It came to him, that place was eerily similar to that one dungeon he was in months ago. The place where he killed one of the mercenaries he was chasing. If this was fate's idea of karma, it had nothing better to do; Lance didn't feel any remorse. He did the right thing.

"Or… did I?"

The lava moved, and before Lance could react, he felt something grabbing him. Looking down, he saw a rocky hand, much like an Aggron's. He gasped, trying to pull himself away, only for another hand to show up, this one was scaly and green: a Servine.

"G-Get off me! L-Leave me alone, please!"

More and more hands grabbed him, dragging Lance down the lava. He looked up, seeing the faces of his family and friends, they all looked down on him, disappointed in his actions.

Lance shivered while the lava drenched more of his body, and a small tear appeared on his face.

Something pulled him out of there and ragged Lance to solid ground. He coughed and saw his savior: a Tyrunt. The small Pokémon had a happy smile and was holding a paper with the mission request.

"Y-You're that one… that asked me to solve your dad's case…!"

"Thank you, mister! Daddy can rest in peace!"

Lance tilted his head. "I… did good?"


He woke up in cold sweat, screaming to himself. Lance groggily stood up, before dizziness hit him and he fell down to the bed again.

Was his dream trying to tell him something? To ease his pain, perhaps. Nonetheless, the murders he committed still stung to him, but right now, he felt a bit better.

I… maybe I'm not in the wrong. Maybe, just maybe… I am really doing the right thing. Am I?

His thoughts shifted to the hospital he was in a few days before, where he confessed everything. Scar seemed to be the only one who would support him.

Lance covered his face with his paw and closed his eyes, trying to sleep again.


Brian kept running as fast as he could, even with the heavy rain that began to fall on the city. His mane was damp, even covering most of his forehead. Brian shook the fur off his face and continued, stopping in the middle of a bridge.

"This should do it!"

He held the orb on his hand. This was it, wasn't it? He could just smash that thing and teleport to Morgan's HQ. Where he would find and beat the crap out of him! That was his goal, that Gallade had gone unpunished for too long!

If Lance was here, he would say that I'm being reckless… but I'm doing this for him!

Brian was smart, and would think of a plan eventually. He had to. Going in there blind wouldn't work, he knew it. Thunder struck again, and he flinched.

"W-Whoa! Geez, is Kyogre that mad?!"

Just him in that mission. It was crazy, but he'd done crazier things. Like pranking one of the teachers at the guild, leaving him with a suspension. Sure, his dad wasn't happy, but that was a fun prank.

"Oh well… enough with the memories!" Brian shook his head, and heard the sound of footsteps.

Behind him was Meggie. She looked down on the ground and was waiting for Brian to speak with her.

"H-Hey! You followed me, huh? Sorry Meg, but I have to do this by myself!"

"...No."

"What do you mean no?! That guy has kidnapped children again! I have to stop it!"

Meggie raised her head, showing the tears that she had. She approached Brian even more, rubbing the tears off her face.

"I-I… I know him. I know the Gallade. He's human… like me."

His response was a mix of shock and anger. Brian stared at her, eyes widening.

"You w-what? How?!"

She continued. "I don't… remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure I used to work for him."

He snarled, forming a ball of ghostly energy on his hand. He aimed at Meggie, the snarl got louder.

"You work for the mon that ruined my family?! Meggie! I thought I could trust you!"

She shivered. Of course that would be his reaction. Who would accept that? Who would accept… her? She didn't even flinch. Instead, Meggie stayed where she was, only looking at Brian.

"Sorry… I don't remember it, but for what is worth… I want that Gallade gone too!"

"S-Shut up!" Brian fired the Shadow Ball, but it hit the floor instead. He panted.

Meg backed away. "Brian, I saw what he does! I may have known him before, but… I'm nothing like him! Please! We've been friends for six months!"

She took the team's badge and showed him it. Her hands were shaky, and Meggie was barely able to hold the badge.

"Do you have any idea how much this hurt my brother?! He was never the same after that day!" Brian shouted, raising his claws in the air.

"I promise… I'll do everything I can to stop him! Lance knows about this, and… well, he's fine? I-I mean, not emotionally fine, but still…!"

Brian stopped. Even if she did work for him, she had no memories, and surely Lance would let him know if he sensed something weird about that girl, right? He was acting on impulse, she was his friend… Brian lowered his arm.

Meggie's purse glowed in a bright, blue light for a few seconds, before stopping. "I-I'll go with you! I don't want… anyone to die anymore. I don't want that scientist to harm anybody else ever again!"

But if she was a criminal, Brian could make the same mistake he did with the steel ones: trusting them. "I… let's make a deal, Meggie. I'll let you come with me, but if I see any signs of you betraying me… I'll take you out!"

Meggie sighed, defeated. "That's not exactly what I had in mind, but… thank you. I accept those conditions. Brian, We got this!"

"Congrats, y'all!"

Max was there with them as well. He clapped his long, yellow hands and approached the two.

"Oh, hey…" Brian said.

"I can see you're going to break in! I love that, can I come too?!"

Meggie frowned. "Oh, yeah. We are allies. Brian… what do you think?"

The Zoroark was already grinning. He planned to do that mission alone, but the more, the merrier! So Brian nodded, raising his arm that was holding the orb.

"Are we all ready to kick some ass?!"

They all agreed, and Brian smashed the orb into the ground, transporting them all away.
 
Dungeon 29 - The Vengeful One

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 29 - The Vengeful One

Trigger warning:
blood and violence

The sound of something breaking made Brian wake up. He got out of his bunk bed, cursing his quadruped stance and took a look around. Right in front of him, Lance was on his knees, and Brian saw him crying, smoke coming out of the Riolu's paw, and the carpet had scorch marks.

"L-Lance… are you okay?"

He raised his head, blue energy coming out of his paw. Lance backed away, but could hardly move before trembling in fear. Whatever happened with him, Brian could tell he was panicking.

Brian gave one step ahead, causing his sibling to back away again. "H-Hey! You're gonna be okay! We're safe in our house, Lance! Nobody's gonna attack you!"

"Leave me ALONE!" Lance cried out, his Force Palm dissipated and he fell on his knees again, crying.

"Did… you have a nightmare again?" his ears drooped.

No words came out of Lance's mouth, only serving to confirm Brian's suspicions. He bit his lip, pulling his brother in a tight embrace. That was exactly what Lance needed right now, Brian knew it.

The fox hugged him tighter. "Don't worry… I'll… protect you! Nothing like that will ever happen again!"

Lance nodded, but Brian knew he didn't believe him. At that moment, he could hear his brother's heartbeat. It was frantic, almost like Lance was running a marathon. Just… what happened in that place? Brian whined. He was still too weak. But maybe, just maybe… he could get stronger.


Brian's eyes snapped open, and he now found himself in a strange place. In the middle of a long corridor that had a divide from left to right. He could also hear faint, sobbing voices. His ears drooped. So the orb did work, and they were now in Morgan's HQ.

"Hey."

His mane got pushed by something, and Brian looked down to see that it was Meggie.

"What do you want?"

Meggie pouted. "Well… what's the idea? Where are we even going? It's not like we have a map of this place or anything…"

Brian rolled his eyes. "The fuck are you talking about? We just find the guy and beat him!"

Max tapped his foot on the floor. "She has a point, y'know? We can't just waltz in and expect to take him down. We need a proper plan and you know it!"

He hissed, fur standing on end. Maybe bringing those two with him wasn't a good idea. They would just get in the way of his revenge. No, it wasn't revenge. It was for someone he cared about, so it was justified.

"If you're not going to help me, then just… don't get in my way!"

With that, Brian stood on all fours, and began to run across the corridor, ignoring everything he could hear his companions saying. That didn't matter anymore, he had a job to do.


It was easier said than done. None of those corridors made any sense. Sure, he could read some of the signs on the walls, but mostly, Brian was just walking around. Eventually, his pace slowed because of a detail he saw on his left.

Claw marks. The wall had claw marks on it that seemed to continue all the way to the end of the hall. Brian gulped; he could only imagine the suffering everyone that got kidnapped had to deal with.

Flashes of his childhood came to mind, after his brother went back home. Lance had changed, he became a bitter version of himself. Oh, how awful that must have been. None of them deserved it!

This must be where he kept… his victims, Brian clenched his fists, walking again. Weird, though. I have no clue how long he's been doing this, but nobody seems to bat an eye…

He continued his strolling, trying to shake off feelings of guilt and sorrow, because he knew those wouldn't help. Instead, he focused on all the rage and bitterness he could muster, so he would have the strength to take that Gallade down.

I can do this. I can—

Brian stopped abruptly. One of the rooms drew his attention because of the number written on it: ten. Oh no. His reaction was to try and force the door open, but it was locked. Even so, Brian didn't stop his attempts to enter the room.

Lance, I'll get you back! You can count on me! I'll protect you! I'll… pro…tect you.

Snapping back to reality, Brian looked down, ears drooping. His mind thought about something else. What about all the other victims? Lance got lucky, but everyone else… every single one of them needed closure. And Brian was here to do just that.

"Yeah… this isn't just for Lance. All those victims. Everyone. They're… counting on me!"

Brian stood up, flexing his claws. With a newfound resolve, he put his goggles on. No more crying, no more regret. This day would end in his victory.

Or so he thought. Brian's ears twitched and he narrowly dodged a punch. His opponent came crashing down right in front of him. A red Lycanroc.

"Heya…" the wolf smirked. "I heard your little speech there. That Lucario a friend of yours?"

Brian sprung back, a black energy ball forming on his hand. "H-How do you know my brother?!"

His opponent smirked even more, rubbing his claws on the wall. Brian prepared to fire the Shadow Ball, but waited to see if he would get an answer.

"Oh? He's your brother? Damn! If my sibling was as much of a prick as yours I'd—"

Lunick got interrupted by a Shadow Ball crashing directly into his chest. The move made him trip and grunt in pain. He couldn't relax, however, as Brian was soon jumping towards him with his claws glowing crimson. The wolf's arm also glowed red, and he punched Brian's hand.

The clash didn't go on Brian's favor, as he was thrown across the floor, grazing his back. His opponent didn't waste any opportunities, however, and he dashed forward, arms glowing with draconic energy.

"Fuck off…!" Brian opened his mouth, releasing a stream of flames on the wolf. He dodged it by ducking, but was then hit by another Shadow Ball.

The wolf fell on his knees, screaming in pain. He began to claw on the floor. "You piece of shit! First your brother tries to kill me… and then you too!"

Brian panted. "I have… no clue what you're talking about! Lance would never do that! I-I mean… not without being forced to!"

"You're… an idiot!" Lunick got up, but an idea came to mind. He licked his lips.

"Maybe, but I'm not the one working for some random psycopath who likes to kidnap and torture others!" He snarled, preparing another Night Slash.

Lunick pointed to his chest, where the wound he received days before was, still fresh and now bleeding. Brian's eyes widened at the sight of the cut.

"...Who did that to you?!"

Lunick kept his smirk. "Gee, I don't know… maybe some crazy, bloodthirsty Lucario? Did I mention that he belittled me? Oh, what a wonderful sibling you have!"

Brian whined, not believing that to be the case. Sure, maybe Lance did hurt him, but he wouldn't go as far as to kill… right? That Lycanroc had to be lying about something. Brain couldn't believe it.

"Y-You're… lying!" Brian finally snapped. He charged at Lunick, using another clawed attack.

The wolf chuckled, dodging every attempt Brian made to hit him, while laughing all the way. How amusing that whole scenario was! He had complete control of the fight, and so wanted to toy with Brian a little longer.

"The boss told me everything… about the whole experiment! Would you like to know your brother's kill count?!"

"...Shut up! He was forced to do that!" Brian screamed, punching Lunick right on his face, who didn't even react, not even when he received another punch.

"Oh, sure!" Lunick laughed. "That might've been the past, but check this out… I'm sufficient proof, aren't I? Why is it so hard to believe in me? That Lucario wouldn't just change!"

Brian backed away. He began to ponder everything that happened during his journey. From the day they began to travel, to the point where they took down the mercenaries. That fateful day. Brian knew what happened with the Empoleon, but… he couldn't see the whole fight Lance had with Atlas. And in the end, the Aggron died too.

No… Lance… wouldn't! He shook it off, accidents could happen, after all. That Lycanroc was just trying to trick him!

"Are you done with the memory thing? Let's fight, asshole!"

Brian received a scratch on his cheek, seeing the blood droplets fall. Lunick was too close, so he used the chance to kick him in the stomach.

As expected, that made the wolf fall down, trying his best to breathe. The action terrified Brian, he used too much brute force!

Lunick, despite the pain he felt, still wanted to have the last laugh. "...Heh. Are you gonna leave me to die here, like your brother did?"

Brian snarled, clenching his fist. "He… didn't do that! I know him!"

More laughter. Somehow, what Lunick was saying… made a bit of sense, even with Brian's efforts to dismiss it. Doubt was already settled inside his brain.

"I have a sibling too, I know… how it works!" Lunick stood up. "They don't tell us everything, right? Y'know, secrets can be toxic! You might want to cut ties!"

"Shut up… Shut UP!" Brian then snapped his fingers, turning invisible.

Lunick felt a shiver running down his spine as everything went dark. Not a single thing could be seen by him, it was complete darkness. He knew the reason, that was an illusion! But even so… there was nothing he could do. His world went black.


"That idiot! Running off like this!" Max punched the wall. He was walking with Meggie through another one of the hallways that the building had.

Meggie whined and rolled her eyes. "...I kinda wanted to know where this place is. It just feels… weird. How did nobody come here after all these years? Especially with all the victims…"

Max just shrugged. "The Mawile said she saw rubble near the entrance. Maybe we're in some kinda ruins? I dunno."

"Well, that isn't very helpful…"

"Whatever," he sighed. "I also have a question. Are… you okay? As an ally, I need to make sure we're on the same page here."

Meggie stopped, looking down. Why didn't they stop with all the questions? Still, it was rude not to answer them, even if she wasn't exactly comfortable with the whole situation. Her memories were going on and off, and that monster… she used to know. She didn't want to deal with him, yet there she was, right at the eye of the storm.

"As okay as 'Hey, it turns out your former boss is the same Pokémon that hurt your friends and is kidnapping a lot of innocents!' can make me be."

Max raised an eyebrow. "Do… you need to vent?"

"Look, let's just move on," she bit her lips. "This won't do us any good, and I… I need to face this issue head-on, I think. Right?"

"Probably for the best… yeah."

As they finished the conversation, both heard a cry for help. Curious about the whereabouts of that, the duo began to run.


Brian could barely keep himself together. The Lycanroc was knocked out, so that problem was solved for the moment, but using all that energy made him exhausted. To make matters worse, his mind was still clouded with thoughts about his brother. He wanted to believe that Lance wasn't keeping secrets from him, he really did, but…

Lance didn't even say about what he experienced while captive until six months ago!

He punched the wall. It hurt, and he began to wave his hand, muttering about the pain to himself. Now distracted from his thoughts, Brian heard a faint voice, somewhere around those doors.

"I-Is anyone here?!" Brian asked, beginning to sniff the air.

"H...e...l...p…"

Brian ran to where the voice was coming from, or at least he assumed that's where he was going. "Where are you?!"

"...P...le...ase! Help!"

"I-I'm coming!" Brian stopped right in front of a door. Unlike the others, this one had no number in it.

Weird…

"A...re you… the...re?"

"Oh, right!" Brian fiddled on his belt, searching for his tools to help with lock picking.

"Not… now!" the voice said again, Brian noticed it was a soft, feminine one.

Brian tilted his head. "Wha…? What do you mean not now?"

"...At the… office… there's… the plans, you must get them, young one!"

"...I don't get it, miss. What do you want me to do?!"

She continued. "Papers… you must get them, they… are… more important!"

Brian pondered a bit more, and gasped. "O-Oh! I think I got it, you want me to get some papers from the Gallade's office? Is that it?"

"...Yes. They… are related to my Master… Xerneas. Please! You must… get those plans!"

Brian blinked. Did that lady just speak about a Legend? Oh no. Things got a lot heavier than he thought! But… there wasn't time for this, if she was telling the truth.

"Okay, fine! But I'll come back to you as soon as I can, alright?!"

"That… is not important."

Right now was his chance of proving how much stronger he was! Someone to rescue! He mumbled something and dashed forward, looking at the signs. He could only hope that everything would go as smoothly as possible.


As they got near the source of the sound, Meggie and Max heard something else. Flames crackling, alongside grass burning. The corridor they were in was also getting larger by the second.

"What do you think is on the other side?!" Meggie asked between breaths. She tripped, landing on the ground.

"...Uh. Are you okay?" Max blinked, offering to help her get up.

"Damn it! Why is this body so… weak?! If I was a Froslass already, I could just float!" She pouted, standing up.

Max sighed. "I mean, there's some rumors that you need to die for that stone to activate, I don't think you would want that…"

She shivered. "Yikes. Yeah, probably not!"

He chuckled. "I said rumors, but alright. Now let's go!"

Another shiver. But this one was something Meggie felt before, on that trip to the black market. Regardless of her fear and panic, she couldn't run away anymore.

On the other side, both of them saw a large room with its door opened. They couldn't quite tell what was inside without getting there, but, for now, Meggie saw two figures: a Grovyle and a Blaziken.

The first was running for his life, dodging every move his opponent was trying to land on him, but even so, he could hardly do it, his body was bruised and burning, making the air smell like burnt grass.

"I think I know who that is," Max gulped, biting his lip. "H-He… is from Treasure Town, and got kidnapped… well, he was a Treecko, but it looks like things… changed."

Meggie took a deep breath. "We need a plan. I have one move that can help against the Blaziken, what about you?"

"I'm not sure I can waltz in there without drawing attention to me. I'm… admittedly, not the sharpest tool in the shed. What do you have in mind?

She laughed, grabbing hold of her tiara. "I'll distract him, you will use that to fight him off, and then I'll get the Grovyle!"

Max's fists crackled with electricity. "Sounds like a plan. Let's do it!"


She began by running right to the entrance of the arena. Blaziken didn't react right away, and only really noticed Meggie when she put herself in front of the Grovyle. She took a deep breath and released frosty air around the area.

Blaziken, enraged by that, tried to hit Meggie, but was stopped by a fist enveloped in a yellow aura; it was Max, using his Thunder Punch to hold him off.

"Now, Meggie! Use the badge if you have to, but get away! I'll deal with this guy!"

"I have.. no idea who you are, but you're not getting away!" Flames surrounded Blaziken's body and he kicked Max on the leg, dropping his balance enough for him to stumble.

Blaziken then gave a headbutt, followed by a series of punches. The result of that was scorch marks all over Max's fur. Still the Electivire didn't give up, holding Blaziken's hands.

She nodded, looking at Grovyle.

"H-Hello! I'm here to help you escape this awful place, I'm Meggie. My friend is fighting for both of us right now, so can we run?"

Grovyle began to sob, but soon nodded, and the two left the arena. Their escape was interrupted, though, by the sound of a capsule opening, and a beam of red energy that passed right through them.

"W-What the hell?!" Max said, backing away from his opponent, or rather, at the sight of him turning into energy.

The beam enveloped Blaziken, transporting him outside, right where Meggie saw them: Morgan and Derek, the former holding a pokeball on his hand.

Morgan was holding six pokeballs with psychic energy, leaving them floating in the air. "Interesting. I didn't know you would come here willingly, Meggie. What… brings you here?"

"Y-You!" she said, a ball of water forming on her hand.

"I asked something, my dear. But… I suppose I can ask something else, instead. Tell me, Meggie, did you decide anything? Will you join me in my crusade to escape this… primitive land?"

As calm as ever, Morgan put his arms behind his back and forced a smile. Meggie looked at him with pure disgust at his actions and the fact he still wanted her to join him.

She shook her head and raised it. "I'm… no! I'm not joining you! You're a monster, and that little pet of yours too!"

Grovyle, meanwhile, was crying. Meggie turned around to comfort him as best as she could. Which wasn't much, since she was only hugging him.

Derek snarled. "Hey, I'm no pet! I'm with him because, frankly, all the battles make me strong! You wouldn't understand."

"Oh, shut up!" Max left the arena as well, panting and with his vision blurred.

"Looks like everyone's here. All the pathetic attempts of copying mankind… except my wonderful assistant, of course!"

Morgan dodged a Water Pulse coming from Meggie, and then frowned. Derek hunched, positioning himself to strike at any moment.

"As you can see, Derek is one of my closest allies, and the only one of the subjects that didn't go mad with power… not even my Blaziken can control his mega form," Morgan smirked. "Really, it's amazing how you all didn't go feral, considering how awful this world is."

Max gulped. There was no way they could defeat all of them right now, not without sacrifices. "Meggie… we need to leave!"

"B-But Brian's still here!"

"Yeah, I know! But right now… we don't have many choices here!"

Meggie's mind went on overdrive, jumping from one idea to another, however, none of them seemed to be doable.

Damn it. Think, think! If he lifts us with telekinesis, we're screwed. But there has to be a limit to his powers… come on brain, THINK!

"I'm giving you another chance, because I can't believe… you would choose this place over our home!"

Morgan's body flashed, disappearing and reappearing right in front of Meggie. She gasped, backing away, but still in front of the Grovyle, who continued to sob. She launched another Water Pulse, to which Morgan teleported again to dodge.

Wait… i-is that it?!

For the faintest of moments, she saw Morgan looking to his left, before teleporting away and reappearing right where his eyes were looking at. Her eyes widened again, a sense of pride filling her body. The only thing left was to test her theory.

Let's hope he's not reading my thoughts… but how to confirm that? Wait… I'll use Water Pulse again!

Instead, Meggie released a frosty breath again. Morgan's reaction wasn't like he expected the water move, he simply shrugged the cold off.

So he can't read my thoughts! I-Is it because of being half fighting…? Oh, that's not the point. I know his weakness!

Max was busy punching Derek, but the dragon didn't even feel all that much, at most, he sensed a tickle after getting hit by the electric attacks. For now, they were locked in combat.

"I'm never joining you…! Also, you might want to get some warmth!"

Meggie put her tiara in front of her, and released another Frost Breath. The tiara glowed, amplifying the move to the point a cloud of frosty air covered most of the area, blocking everyone's views except for her.

"Oh… this is our chance!" Max blinked.

"Follow my voice! And take the kid, I can't carry him!"

Max did as instructed, and they all left, leaving Morgan and Derek alone in that area. After he noticed how he was tricked, the Gallade roared in anger.


Whoa, this guy's ridiculously organized. It's kinda like Lance, but… evil.

Brian, now in Morgan's office, was shuffling through his papers. He was reading the contents of a folder with the title of "Tree of Life". That name brought back some memories to when Brian was a kid, hearing that this location was sacred, and nobody, not even the greatest explorers, dared to trespass, fearful of Xerneas' wrath.

How much a nut is this guy? Nobody would be crazy enough to go there…! But still, he's planning on doing just that.

Maybe humans were just that odd. Brian only knew two of them well enough, but those two were a bit weird for his standards. And there was the biggest revelation: that Meggie worked for the enemy.

Brian wanted to ignore that, but… he couldn't shake the feeling that she was a spy or something similar.

But if that's the case… why help us so much? Or why join us in the first place? I… I trust Lance with my life, maybe… I should do that with Meggie too, I don't think she means any harm to us…

He shrugged it off for the moment, focusing more on the plans he was reading. Texts explaining that Morgan wanted to defeat Xerneas, schematics about something called "Master Ball", and a bunch of references to a place Brian didn't even know existed.

I… need to bring this with me, it's the only way! M-Maybe Meggie knows what this is all about! And then… I can trust her again! He shoved the papers into his mane and left the room.

Now back at the corridor, he picked the tools again, fiddling with the door. The lock was weird, but he had some training to mess with that kind of thing.

"A...re you ba...ck?" the voice asked again.

"Yeah, miss! Well, I have no idea what's your name, but yeah, I'm getting you out!"

"...Me...ganium."

Brian whined. "You're really hurt, aren't you? Don't worry, I'll get you out! Lock picking is a bit hard, but nothing impossible!"

"Y-Yes… I am hurt."

He nodded, sighing and finally unlocking the door. It was then that he noticed he could see his breath, and that it was getting colder; looking to his right, Brian saw his teammates running for their lives, and with them, a Grovyle.

When Meggie was close enough, she slapped him on his leg.

He didn't even flinch. "...Heya."

"Brian, you idiot! You just left us alone! We barely escaped!"

"Well, I barely escaped some crazy Lycanroc! Oh, and also… there's a Meganium trapped here."

Meggie rolled her eyes. "Can't we use the badges to teleport out of here? I'm… really tired from everything. I need some sleep."

"Those things are brand new, we need to use them together for them to work, anyway," Brian answered, sighing.

Max looked at the door, opening it. Inside, like Brian said, there was a Meganium. Her body had cuts all over, her once beautiful flowers were now weak and fragile. It was like she didn't eat anything in days.

"What's… going on?" Grovyle said, raising his head.

Brian crossed his arms. "We need to leave. I'm not sure the badges will have power to get us home, depending on where we are. Where the fuck are we anyway?"

"No idea. Apart from the rubble thing," Max shrugged.

While the boys were arguing, Meggie got inside the room, giving an Oran Berry for Meganium to eat. Her energy was restored, and her bruises were beginning to heal, allowing her to get up.

Meganium left with Meggie and looked at the others. "We are… in Oreshard. Or rather, the remnants of it."

"Whoa, wait, that place? It… explains a lot, actually. Nobody would want to go to a ghost city," Brian turned to Meggie. "No offense, uh, even if you're not a Froslass yet."

"None taken."

"Guys, we really need to get out. Again, does anyone know the exit?"

"I'm aware of it," Meganium answered. "Please, follow me…"

The group followed her directions, and everyone hoped the way back would be smooth.


On the floor, Lycanroc woke up with a gasp. He was drenched in sweat, but didn't have enough time to rest, being lifted by psychic energy; Morgan had arrived as well.

"I told you… that if you failed, you would be killed. Tell me again, you pest… are you still useful to me?"

Lunick gagged, trying to say anything. The hold on him was broken and he fell to the ground. However, Derek pointed his claws at him. If he moved even an inch, he would be dead.

"O-Okay, okay! I-I think I put some doubt in that Zoroark, alright? I promise, I'll beat him next time!"

Morgan smirked. "Why say next time… when you can do it now? I have… one way that you can be useful. Don't worry, your life is safe."

"Boss," Derek sniffed the air. "They're getting away…"

"They won't get far. Let's go."


"Whoa," Brian heard of the stories about the town, but he didn't expect to actually visit it someday.

And there it was, devastated, houses destroyed, buildings turned to dust, and skeletons spread all across what once was a prosperous town. And the worst part was: Brian was partially responsible for one of the survivor's deaths.

"Is… that a cliff?" Meggie gulped, backing away from that part of the town.

Meganium simply raised her head. "What a tragedy, Cobalion always said that he felt sorry for what happened here…"

Max raised an eyebrow. "Hey, miss Meganium. What exactly is your deal, huh? And how the fuck do you know a Legend?"

She turned her face around. "Mistress Xerneas taught me everything I know about the higher beings. I owe her my life."

Brian sighed. "Now's not the time, guys…"

It really wasn't. From the building's exit came the three enemies, with Lycanroc on all fours. Morgan kept his cool, while Derek was already transforming into his mega form.

Max was less than happy. "Shit! We have two of ours wounded!"

Brian didn't even notice, his eyes were fixed on Morgan and Morgan only. That single Pokémon was the source of everything that went wrong in his life. And right now, he wanted nothing more than to pummel him into the ground.

"Max… take my badge, and Meggie's. Use all of our badges to get home! I'll deal with those guys! If you have to, charge them with your electricity! Just… get out!"

Max took the badge, but didn't accept the idea yet. "...Are you insane? You're gonna—"

He threw a Shadow Ball backwards. "I said get OUT! Leave!"

Meggie did the same thing, throwing her badge to Max. She then went right to Brian's side. "We're a team, right…? We work together!"

Brian's ears twitched after he heard that. "What…? Meggie, not to be rude, but you're too weak for this!"

She simply shook her head. "I don't care! This guy is hurting others, he's a monster, and… he needs to be stopped."

Morgan gave one step further, clapping his hands. "Oh, please. You actually think you have the strength to do that? You're pitiful."

"...You asked me if I decided what I'm gonna do," Meggie held her tiara again. "I have. I'm going to stop you!"

"You are welcome to try."

Brian lowered his head, but refused to back away, also moving forward, while a flash of golden light shone behind him, transporting his friends to safety. Now it was only him and Meggie against three. The odds weren't in his favor, but that wasn't going to stop him.

"I'm… going to end this right now!" Puffs of flame were coming out of Brian's mouth as he prepared to strike.

Nothing could or would stop him now. He charged on all fours and jumped, releasing a flamethrower, but at the last second, Lunick jumped, punching him on the chin and knocking Brian back to the ground.

Snarling, Brian went for another strike, but beneath him, a rocky formation emerged, hitting his chest with enough strength to make him fall back again. Lunick chuckled after using Stone Edge, and now ran again to finish Brian off.

Can't lose… can't lose…! Using all his strength, Brian stood up just in time to punch Lunick, but fell down once more.

Meanwhile, Meggie was running as fast as she could, dodging strike after strike from Derek, the Mega Garchomp only laughed, raising his scythes to cut her open, but her small stature made it easy to escape from the attacks.

Brian tried to stand up, but his body didn't answer him, even if he was putting all his might into it. He couldn't just let things end like that! He needed to win, to defeat those three! If only… he had the power to do it.

Lunick licked his lips, now right behind Meggie, the wolf pounced, trying to get a hit on her at the same time she was dodging Derek's attacks.

"NO!" Brian screamed. He finally snapped, a rush of adrenaline spread across all of his body, and, ignoring all the pain and all the wounds he felt, Brian ran, and ran, claws glowing with a crimson tone.

He didn't even command his body to do it, it was moving on its own. Brian's brain was fixated on Lunick, his enemy, the one that was about to hurt another one of his friends, and he wasn't going to let that happen. Brian closed his eyes and simply slashed.

"A-Arg…" was all Lunick said, falling to the ground with a large cut on his throat, blood oozing out of the wound, landing right on Brian's face.

Terrified at what he had done, Brian fell on his knees, not focusing on anything else other than what just happened. His eyes stared at Lunick, until he saw the wolf's body going limp; Brian had killed someone. He killed. Murdered. Murder. Murder.

N-No… He killed. Murdered. Murder. Murder. Murder.

Meggie looked back, distracted by that, and was hit by a headbutt coming from Derek. Her body rolled across the floor, until she was near the edge of the city, seeing the immense hole.

"N-No! Uh, Brian! Snap out of it! I need your help, now!"

Brian didn't react, too enveloped in his own thoughts about the killing, the blood that dripped from his face, the one that was on his hands, nothing mattered anymore.

Morgan crossed his arms. "Derek, finish her."

"Sorry, young lady! Boss said so!"

Stomping the ground, Derek shattered it, making Meggie fall down the cliff. Her screams filled the air.

"H...Huh?!" Brian snapped back to reality, but it was too late.

He heard something breaking again, and the screams stopped.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Helloooo Navar! And now I am fully caught up with Liberators of Fate! And I’ll definitely say that the story picked up quite a bit for the last few chapters in particular. I think that’s the first thing I’d like to note down about what I read—how focused it seemed to be on an actual endgoal and, therefore, gave a good sense of direction on what the story wanted to do with itself.

I know I had reviewed the earlier chapters before, but I will be referencing them now and then in this broad-strokes review. At the end, because I know you translate this from a different language, I’ll also take some time to point out some English mechanical points that might be helpful for you in future chapters.

The first thing that I want to note about your work, which lessened in recent chapters, is that the pacing of the story is blistering. In a lot of ways, this is a good thing. I don’t really have to wait that long for something to happen or for new things to develop. Questions get answers quickly and conflicts are resolved at a steadily fast pace.

However, the drawback—particularly in early chapters—is that because everything is happening so quickly, there is very little emotional weight behind what was happening. The grief and sorrow is absolutely present, but because the prose is so fast, I feel that I am rushed past it before the impact can really sink in.

Recent chapters have improved on this greatly. Things are a little slower. Characters can actually have extended conversations with each other, and there are some moments where they’re actually quiet and introspective for us to see, instead of the narration glossing over it. Big example here is Maggie. I’m loving the conflict that’s going on with how she’s feeling about her past, which she still doesn’t remember, and the present.

I think touching upon her fear of how ‘savage’ the Pokémon are when they fight, as opposed to how her former human life was, makes for a very believable internal conflict. This is even more true because one thing that I noticed about this story is how high the lethality factor is here. Despite how powerful Pokémon are, it seems like they don’t have very many defenses to naturally deal with the heightened power scale. It’s almost unbelievable that they can survive at all if that’s what a typical battle can do to someone. So, while I initially found that to be a flaw in the setting, I do at least appreciate that this is touched upon and acknowledged by another ‘fish out of water’ character.



One mechanical thing that I’d like to outline is how dialogue tags are treated. This is a minor error, and some people call it a stylistic choice for some of these things, but there are a few errors that can be corrected. First, if dialogue is finished by ‘Character said’ or something to that effect, the sentence must not end in a period. A comma would go in its place. An exclamation point or question mark is also fine, but here’s the tricky part: Even if it ends with ! or ?, if it’s ‘he said,’ you actually don’t capitalize.

So, “We need to go!” he said.

…is grammatically correct. Meanwhile:

“We need to go!” He said.

…is only grammatically correct if the person speaking is some kind of divine being whose pronouns are normally capitalized.

Another one—and this one some people say is stylistic, but all of my professors had told me otherwise so I roll with this—is that if an action is not a dialogue tag, but instead a full-sentence action, you hard-stop with a period, perform the action and hard stop with a period, and then continue the dialogue. Example:

“Be careful.” The Lucario gestured toward the uneven ground. “It isn’t safe to step here.”

This is correct, because the action is not describing the dialogue, but what the speaker is doing at the time. Meanwhile, if you have some kind of action that interrupts a fragment of a sentence, such that a period would not be correct, you can actually use the – to do it instead, literally interrupting the dialogue, like so:

“And then you kids”—he pointed at them—“always ruin my plans!”

Because of how much this type of prose jumps out, I’d recommend this only for very important mid-dialogue actions, since otherwise it might be tiring to look at all the time. Kind of like overusing a complicated word.

Also, one final nitpick (that I think has been corrected in recent chapters, so disregard if you’d already addressed it) but I don’t think “rolling eyes” is a phrase that normally indicates shock or terror. It’s usually meant for dismissal or nonchalant attitudes, like, “Oh, boy, this lecture again.”



Ah, and in the midst of me writing this review, you went and published another chapter, so some closing remarks about that: Overall, good stuff, nothing much that I haven’t already covered more or less, though it does seem like you telegraphed the ‘method’ of evolution pretty hard for Maggy, eh? That being said, I also want to remark that Brian has been oddly more gung-ho about things lately.

It’s weird compared to how he used to be a lot more hesitant, and I don’t really know if enough narrative time had passed to justify that change and aggression he seems to be having. I think this is one side effect of your pacing being so fast—changes in character are harder to grasp and convey effectively. Slowing down a little might help. I’m not really sure how much ground you’re hoping to cover here, but it does seem like the main antagonist has been revealed, so it’s hard to tell when it actually will end.

Anyway, it was a fun read, Navar! Hope to see more of it when I return from my reading cycles. See you then~
 
Dungeon 30 - A Hazy Shade Of Winter

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 30 - A Hazy Shade of Winter

It all happened so fast. Getting thrown into a cliff with such ferocity… that really was common in the world she was in, wasn't it? Meggie felt the cold breeze of the wind flowing all around her body, her purse flailing around her arm, and most importantly, the scenery of solid ground was getting closer every second. She needed to think, and fast!

Calm down! This is bad, but if you don't think of something, you'll die!

With her eyes darting around, she tried to get a hold of her surroundings before it was too late, looking for something, anything that would help her survive that fall.

Come on, come on!

Her fight-or-flight instincts were almost overloading her mind. Panic was setting in even more, but even amidst it all, her eyes locked on what could be her salvation: a tree!

The only bad part about it was that the tree was on the left side of the cliff, while Meggie was on the right side. With quick thinking, she blasted water into the rocky walls she was facing, propelling herself towards the tree.

Great! Now all that was left was fall on the leaves, and hopefully soften the impact! Meggie, however, noticed another problem with that idea: she was getting faster, and the crash would surely break her.

Oh, come on! There has to be somethi—

Meggie's tiara was falling right in front of her, something given to her by Brian, and that could boost… her ice-type move! If she could use that, she could slow down the fall and survive!

With a swift movement, she grabbed the accessory, aiming right at the tree. Then, with a long breath, she released a frosty wind, amplified by the item on her hand. That was enough to make her movement slow down. Yet, there was a limit to how long she could hold it, and she was getting close to it.

Come on!

Just a few more meters until impact. Her whole life flashed before her eyes. From the day she met that Sceptile, to when she joined the twins, and to their journey to search for Morgan. That man… who she once knew, but right now was nothing more than a monster.

Almost there!

Finally, she fell into the tree. Even if she slowed down the fall, it still hurt a lot, and her entire body ached. The pain distracted her for a few seconds, but soon Meggie held on to the tree's trunk, coughing up a few leaves. That entire thing drained her to the point she was using all her strength to not fall from the tree. Her vision blurred, tired from everything.

I can't die now… come ON!

Still clinging to life, Meggie noticed a blue glow inside her purse, that expanded until she felt a surge of energy all around herself. It was something so surreal, cold, but she didn't mind it in the slightest. No, it was almost like that feeling was natural to her.

What's… that?

She climbed down the tree, panting, and immediately opened her purse. Inside, she discovered the source of the glow: it was the dawn stone she got earlier that day. Whispers of what she heard back in the headquarters were coming to her mind.

...You need to die to use this? It was a rumour, right?

Nobody answered. Of course, she was all alone down there… oh no, Brian! Her friend was still up on the town, fighting against two opponents at once.

I… need to do something.

Biting her lips, she cursed her body. So fragile and useless. She couldn't even help her friends when they needed, and every battle up to that point was a chore to get through. She wondered how they could even survive all those fights.

It doesn't matter right now. I still have an enemy to face…

Her mind wandered back to what Morgan said about them. How they were brutal and savage creatures that she shouldn't associate with. But, throughout her adventure, all she found were beings that had hopes, dreams, sorrow and happiness. They wanted to live… just like her.

He's wrong. I know that, and… I can't continue being so weak.

Meggie couldn't afford to be a burden any longer. Even if Morgan was right, even if they were all brutal, they were her friends, the ones who helped her during the entire journey. And now… returning the favor was all she could think of. No longer would she be a weak damsel in distress, she would fight to help the ones she loved.

"Let's do this."

She touched the stone, and the glow expanded all around her body.


Brian was still paralyzed from what he did, and couldn't take his eyes off the Lycanroc. The blood was still falling from the corpse. He didn't feel anything, not rage, just… emptiness. His mind was entirely focused on the body, which made Brian fail to notice Derek dashing towards him, until the Garchomp turned around, tail enveloped in watery energy.

He didn't even react, being pushed back by the tail slap and giving a loud scream as he felt his body aching from the attack. Brian fell to the ground, coughing and panting. On the other side, Morgan was holding another one of those weird, capsule-like balls.

Brian raised his head. "W-What are you gonna do to me…?"

"I didn't expect to catch a Zoroark of all things… but perhaps you will be useful to me."

He had failed. Failed to avenge them all, failed to help his brother, and to top it off, he had murdered someone in the process. To make that even worse, Brian… felt no remorse over it. Maybe things just weren't meant to be, maybe they couldn't win, no matter how much they tried. There was a reason Morgan had survived all these years, after all.

"Well… you're going to make a fine pet, Zoroark."

"What… the fuck… are you saying?!" Brian protested, suddenly standing up. His body shivered, and he raised his hand, producing a black energy ball. Its usual spherical shape was changing to a more amorphous one.

He was struggling to stay up, vision blurring, but Brian remained focused on Morgan. One shot was all he needed.

"Since you're on your last moments of freedom, I might as well tell you. This is a pokéball, an item used by humans back in my world… they should make you an obedient pet for me."

Snarling, he fired the Shadow Ball directly at Morgan, but it faded mid-air. Brian's reaction was to stumble back and try to make an illusion of invisibility on himself. It almost worked, but soon the illusion dissipated.

"Hmph. Struggle all you want, you're too weak to do anything."

In the end, Brian was going to be reduced to a puppet to an insane Pokémon, and that alone scared him. How would his brother react? How would any of his friends react? He couldn't fight them! He tried to get up, but felt a sharp pain around his stomach. With his head raised, Brian saw that ball coming towards him, and closed his eyes, resigning himself to that fate.

"I'm… back!"

A familiar voice and a cold shiver made Brian snap his eyes open, seeing that device frozen in the ground. That wasn't the end of it, though, as he saw a Froslass standing right in front of him.

Brian looked at her. "...Meggie? Is that you…?!"

She simply turned her face around to Brian, smiling, but soon her gaze shifted to their enemies. Morgan clenched his fist, but remained calm and collected.

"I see… you evolved as well. Congratulations, my dear assistant."

"Don't call me dear! I'm done with you!"

Morgan closed his eyes. What a bothersome situation. Why couldn't she just realize how wrong she was? A snarl drew his attention, and he saw Derek in a combat position, but backing away slowly; perhaps it was an instinctual reaction.

"Very well. I mentioned this before, but since you're not interested in joining me… I'll have to part ways with you! Derek, kill her!"

The dragon roared and flew through the air, towards where Meggie was floating. He tried to bite her with his fangs, but she dodged. He quickly turned around and released a stream of flames towards her, and once the attack hit, her body vanished.

"Wha—"

A shiver ran down Derek's spine, until he felt a burning sensation around his back, followed by the hissing sound of ice. His entire body screamed at him to get away, and so he did. He flew away from the Froslass, until he stopped, seeing her right in front of him. Snarling, Derek tried to hit her with his scythe, but before he could do that, multiple copies of Meggie materialized all around him.

"What trick is this? Show yourself, coward!" Derek roared, firing stream after stream of flames across the copies, that simply dissipated in the air.

Morgan was less than amused, and screamed loud enough for Derek to listen. "You idiot! She's using Double Team! You won't hit her like that!"

"But I can!"

Morgan took a look in front of him, where he saw Meggie releasing a breath of purple, ghostly wind at him. The energy of the move made him fall back, groaning in pain.


Meanwhile, Brian could only watch the entire battle unfold. He cursed his body's lack of movement, trying to force himself to do something to help her. Anything, really.

It was then that he saw Derek diving down, while preparing another flamethrower to launch at Meggie, and Brian snapped. Right before he could release the fire, Brian focused all the energy he could muster, his eyes glowed and the fox fired a multicolored circular beam of psychic energy at the dragon.

Derek got hit point-blank by the Extrasensory and fell to the ground, knocked out by the move. His body was enveloped in red energy and was transferred back to one of Morgan's pokéballs.

"D-Derek, you moron…" Morgan panted, his collected demeanor was slowly crumbling apart. Not only was he hurt by the ominous wind Meggie used before, his ally had fainted. Still, he couldn't give up just yet.

Morgan took one step backwards before, from the ground, a large barricade of ice crystals appeared, freezing the area in front of him. He looked up and saw Meggie floating in the air, a black ball of ghostly energy around her fingers, while her mouth had a frosty breath around it.

"Like I said, I'm through with you!" Meggie snarled, making the ball expand in size. "Now I'm gonna talk, and you'll listen!"

"Hmph," Morgan returned Derek to his pokeball and crossed his arms, looking at the Froslass.

Brian, still exhausted, tried to get up again, but a jolt of pain kept him on the ground. "What are you planning? We need to leave this place, Meggie!"

"What… do you want with me?!" Morgan held on to a wall, still tired from the battle.

Meggie didn't even flinch, aiming at Morgan. "You're going to let us go, and you know why?! Brian, too bad we can't illusion ourselves out of this, since you're too tired to make a big one… well, show the papers!"

Brian's ears twitched. Well, I can still make a small illusion, I guess, but… the papers…? O-Oh!

He took the envelope from out of his mane and raised his hand. Morgan gasped at that, and his expression turned from exhausted to angry. His hand was glowing with psychic energy.

"Give me back that… NOW! You don't understand what you're holding, you fools!"

"Oh, really? Then that must be important!" Meggie smirked, now aiming at the papers. "Arrange us an Escape Orb, and we'll give you them back!"

"Are you trying to bargain with me, child?! You're in no position to—"

Meggie fired another shadowy ball right in front of Morgan, the attack only inches away from him. He cringed and nodded.

"I'm… sure we can reach an understanding."

Brian snarled, his blue eyes glowing red. "Oh, of course we can! You kidnap others, force them to become murderers, make them into weapons… and we can just fucking ignore all of that! I… despise you!"

Morgan, unfazed, stared at Brian. "A savage like you wouldn't understand me… none of you can," he looked up at Meggie. "Not even you, who I thought was someone close to me…"

"Escape Orb. Now!" Meggie screamed again, ready to fire the attack once more.

Morgan scoffed. "Hmph. Very well. If you allow me, I'll pick it up inside. You will allow me to do that, correct?"

She floated down to the ground and looked at Brian. "Stay here. I got this, okay?"

"Fuck no! You're not going alone with that psycho!"

"You're too hurt. Besides… I got this, okay? Trust me."

Brian whined and looked down, not doing anything but protest in silence. Meggie sighed and entered the building once more. Now with Morgan, she hoped everything would be fine.

After they left, the fox then looked at that frozen pokéball, it was shrinking. Brian blinked, an idea coming to his mind. But first, they needed to escape.


As they walked, Meggie didn't take her eyes off Morgan during the entire way, mostly because she wanted to make sure he wouldn't try anything funny, but also because he brought her a sense of nostalgia, even if she tried to shake that off.

She, for a faint fraction of time, wanted to ask him more about what they were like as humans. But then, the memories of all the atrocities he committed in that world made her rage return.

It appeared that Morgan also shared the same sentiment. Every so often, he looked at her, a mix of sorrow and sadness on his face. Meggie didn't fall for that, though, and remained on high alert for anything he might try.

Finally, Morgan broke the silence. "It's been… such a long time since I last saw you, Meg."

She raised an eyebrow, almost literally giving him the cold shoulder. "Really? Well, not enough, if you ask me."

Morgan sighed, continuing to walk. His attempts to keep the conversation going went on.

"You might not believe me, but I missed you. During all my years in this… prison of a body, I looked for you."

"That makes no sense…" Meggie pouted, refusing to believe in him. "I've been here for six months, not years!"

Morgan stopped and turned around to face her. Now with a confused look, the Gallade tilted his head.

"Interesting. It looks like we might have missed a few calculations on the portal… we might have been sent to different eras. I've been here… for almost thirty years."

The revelation almost made her lose focus, but Meggie still carried on, not wanting to show weakness. The end of the hallway was near, she only needed to keep stalling him a while longer.

"What portal?! What the fuck are you saying?!"

Morgan chuckled. "Of course, you have no memory. I don't blame you, it took me years to recover mine. I only did it because… well, my psychic abilities diminished when I achieved this form. It's quite pathetic, really."

"W-Well, I've been told that I needed to die to become a Froslass, but that wasn't the case…"

Morgan scoffed, grinning at her. "These monsters have lots of rumors. Ghost-types aren't actually dead, they're only called like that because of a so-called 'tradition'."

"Really? Then what—"

He interrupted her, raising his head.

"If you had your memories intact, you would know that the body of ghost-types possess large amounts of ectoplasma. Somehow, their aura expresses itself in that way."

"This feels like something Lance would talk about…"

Morgan squinted his eyes in frustration. "Again, had your memories stayed intact, you would know that Lucario are naturally attuned to aura, and it comes easy for them, even as children. It's one of the reasons I took number ten in."

Already fed up with it all, Meggie finally fired the ghostly ball, but it hit the wall, as a warning for Morgan. Scoffing, he went back to his stroll.

"Come. My office is at the end of the hallway, I'll give the orb to you there."


Brian was waiting for his friend, but he still had a lot on his mind. He could sense the blood, that metallic but cloying smell filled the air around him. It made him dizzy, but also scared of what he did.

C-Calm down, calm down…

In. Out. In. Out. He tried to use the breathing exercise his brother was so used to try and relax. Well, the most he could relax considering he murdered someone. He still couldn't fathom what happened, and why he did it. Flashes of the scene went on inside his head, never leaving.

M-Maybe I can… distract myself! R-Right?!

Brian looked at the frozen pokéball. Perhaps he could make some new tool based on that thing. Morgan was using it to, in his own words, "catch" others. That part was disgusting to him, so he focused on something else entirely: the mechanism through which the device shrunk. If he could somehow create something like that, what kind of gadgets could he make? That would certainly help his team.

That worked wonders for him, and he stopped thinking about the corpse, brain filled with thoughts and ideas about how that mechanism worked.

For the moment, that was enough.


Now at the door, Meggie was breathing deeply. She already used Shadow Ball so many times that day to the point of exhaustion. Of course, she couldn't let Morgan know about that. To keep the illusion, she was pretending to charge her Ominous Wind move while Morgan messed around the office, searching for the orb.

Morgan finally took the sphere and held it in his hand. He looked at Meggie. "You know, I'm going to ask again… will you join me?"

"Why do you keep asking me?! I already said no!"

"Call me an optimist if you will, but I just don't understand… the reason why you defend these people. Aren't you tired of all this fighting?"

He took a long sigh, and continued. "We're scientists, but also humans, above everything else, Meggie. We need to return to our people…"

Meggie looked down, tears began falling down, freezing before hitting the ground. "Can't we return there without all this bloodshed?!"

"They are means to an end. Nothing… more than that."

"No!" Meggie screamed. "T-They all have… something to fight for. My friends are fighting with all their might to stop you! And… they're right. You're a monster."

Morgan sighed again, clutching the orb tightly. His other hand began to glow with a pink tone. "I really didn't want things to come to this, but you leave me no choice…"

That was the last straw for her. Meggie opened her mouth to release the ghostly wind, knocking Morgan's balance and making him drop the orb, which she swiftly took before floating backwards.

"No…" Morgan got up and took one step forward.

However, Meggie soon released a freezing breath, powered by her tiara, making a wall of solid ice on the office's entrance. She floated back as fast as she could, not even looking back. She couldn't afford to do that, after all.

Morgan's body was filled with rage, and with a powerful punch, he shattered the wall. He began to run, following his former assistant, who constantly created more and more ice walls in order to stall him for as long as she could.

Almost there… Brian, we're gonna leave this place!

More and more sounds of ice shattering. "You can't escape me, Meggie! Since you don't want to accept your human life… I'll just take out your miserable Pokémon one!"

Morgan extended his hand to try and catch Meggie, but she dodged, twisting around. Once she was facing him, she unleashed another frosty wind, freezing the area in front of her.


Now free to escape that place, Meggie finally left the building, finding Brian right in front of the corpse, staring at it. She frowned, approaching him.

"Are… you okay, Brian?" she asked, lowering her body to the same level as his.

Brian only whined. "I-I tried to take my mind off this, but… I can't stop thinking about it."

She sighed, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Look, I know you're feeling bad about this, but we need to leave. Like, now. I managed to stall him, but we need to go!"

"Feeling bad? I—"

Meggie raised her hand, showing him the orb. "Come on, now, Brian!"

The fox whined again, and nodded. Meggie sighed in relief, smashing the orb in the ground. The duo got enveloped in a bright, white light and vanished from that place.

Morgan panted, having just gotten there, only to see them escaping. Filled with rage, he punched the ground until his hand began to bleed.


They reappeared right in front of the gates to Bright Dawn, where Brian saw the same Ursaring he met the day he moved to that city. But this time he didn't really feel like chatting with the bear, and rubbed his arm.

Meggie stopped floating, sitting on the ground. Her breath was raspy and fast. After all the battles, all she wanted was to rest. Fortunately, she was very close to being able to do that.

"Look, can I… can we talk?" Brian looked at her, ears drooping. He mumbled something and sat down as well.

Meggie tilted her head. "I mean, I could really use a nap, but… okay then. What's up?"

He reacted by fiddling with his fingers, unable to look at her. "I'm sorry. For doubting you and all that. I know I can be a bit, uh… weird and hyperactive sometimes. It's… kinda my thing, my way of coping with everything, y'know?"

Meggie looked to the sky, it was already dusk. How long did they stay there? It didn't matter. She soon answered. "Brian, it's fine. You had your reasons. To be honest, I… doubted myself too."

Instead of reassuring him, that sentence was more like a knife to his chest, making his stomach wrench. "But I fucked up! If I didn't doubt you, I wouldn't have ran from you and Max! A-And maybe, that Lycanroc would… still be alive."

"You don't know that! And you saved me!" she noticed Brian raising his brow and cleared her throat. "Okay, fair, I fell down, but… I evolved! I'm fine! We're fine! And we have his plans!"

Brian forced a faint smile. "...We do, yeah."

"Look, we're very near the city. Once we get there, what do you want to do?"

"I want to see Lance. I need to make sure he's okay, you guys found Morgan in the black market, right? After that… we check up on the rest of the team."

"There's… only one problem, though. We're both wounded. We could really use some medical help, y'know."

"...Oh."

Meggie nodded, and Brian stood up. He was a bit more relaxed than before, or maybe just distracted enough to ignore his worries. Whatever it was, he was just happy to be alive and well, and entered the gate with his teammate, asking for help from the Ursaring guard.


To say that Morgan was furious would be an understatement. He was throwing what one could call a temper tantrum, kicking chairs all around his office. How dare that stupid Froslass trick him like that… and even steal his notes! Oh, the audacity!

"I swear… I'm done with her! If she wants to do this, then… I'm not going to try and bring her back to my side again!"

He huffed and puffed, punching the wall with such strength it got a crack shaped like his fist. He muttered something, cursing his fighting instincts. Morgan couldn't allow himself to get on their level, not at all.

Right, the first thing he needed to do in that moment was calm down. Panicking would not be helpful, and neither would be destroying his workplace. The pokéballs fidgeted around him and soon he placed them on his table. Six of them, containing a perfect team for the mission ahead.

Damn it. I'll have to step things up… at least a month before my schedule, all because of some… stupid teenagers!

He sat down, covering his face with his hands. One step at a time. Careful and strategic thinking was his greatest weapon, one that he was prideful of.

Yes… my brain is my greatest ally. I'm not backing down. I need to go home…

Morgan stood up, leaving the room and heading towards another. He sighed in relief that nobody had entered that area of the building.

Of course… they were focusing on killing me, and didn't notice this. Lovely.

He smirked and opened the door. Inside was a purple pokéball, accompanied by some type of machine-like bag. Off to work he went.


Brian cringed in pain. A Slowbro nurse was using Heal Pulse on his stomach, and while he knew it was getting better, that wound still hurt like crap. He was thankful that Ursaring accompanied them to the hospital, and that he went on to call Lance on his home. Now all Brian needed to do was wait for his sibling to get there.

"Theee...re. It's… all patched… up. But… we might nee...d to… apply that… again," the nurse said in the slowest voice he could muster.

Brian rolled his eyes, annoyed by how slow he talked. Then again, that was in the species' name. "Sure, doc. But like, how long until I can get free from this place? I'm kinda in the middle of a mission."

"You're… luc...ky that the attack mi...ssed vital or...gans."

"Got it, got it. Can I have some privacy…? I mean, she's here, but you got the point."

Meggie was staring at him in amusement, covering her mouth with her hand.

"Suu...re," the nurse nodded and left the room, leaving the two alone.

His ears twitched. "What's so funny?"

Meggie ignored him and waved to the Slowbro. "Bye, it was ice to meet you!"

"O-Oh, a pun," Brian grinned. "Sorry, but you should have started with a better… ice breaker!"

She simply stuck out her tongue.

Brian laughed, but stopped once his wound stung, but he still continued the conversation. "If that's your idea of humor, I love it. Please keep it up, Meg!"

"Great. I know what your buttons are! And I have another one that might cheer you up!"

"Really? Do tell."

Meggie sat down on one of the chairs. "It's more of a question. How… does the escape orb know where we need to go?"

Her friend smiled. "Ah. That's a good one. I… nobody really knows where the orbs come from, but what we do know is that they react to our emotions."

She tilted her head. "What?"

"Basically, we just need to think where we need to go. Of course, that's just for the escape one. Warp Orbs don't have that."

"...Got it."

Brian looked at the ceiling, still smiling. "Also… thanks for saving my ass back there. I couldn't have done it without you."

Meggie opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by someone knocking on the door. Brian's ears perked up, hearing the footsteps. She ruffled her head, as if it had hair and went on to open the door.


Lance entered the room, and the first thing he did was look at his brother, whose stomach was wrapped in bandages and who was laying on the bed.

"Hi, Brian."

Meggie pouted. "Hello? I evolved, come on!"

The Lucario turned to face her. "Oh… congratulations, Meg."

Still grumpy as usual… but at least he seems better than when we left the market.

Brian forced himself to sit. "Lance! Holy shit, it's so good to see you! How are you holding up?!"

His sibling grumbled. "I have no idea. Look, I came here to see how you all were, but also… we need to talk."

Brian blinked in confusion. "Wait, like, now? I'm kinda on recovery, dude."

"Yeah," Meggie sat down again. "What's with this? We need to rest."

Lance snarled and crossed his arms. "If I don't come out now, I'll probably never do it."

The fox snickered. "Dude, I already know you're gay. You literally had a boyfriend!"

"Wait, really?" Meggie looked at Brian, giving a faint laugh.

Their friend blushed, grumbling to himself. "First, I'm pan, I just like guys a lot more. And secondly… it's not about that."

Brian shrugged. "Alright, you got me there. What's your way of coming out?"

Lance took a deep breath, and pondered if he should really do it. Their most likely reaction would be disappointment, but he also worried about them reacting way worse than that. His fears and doubts over the course of the day, and also the nightmares, contributed to the anxiety of telling them the entire thing.

"I… am a killer. I'm a murderer."

Brian's eyes widened in shock. He opened his mouth.

Meggie didn't even know what to say. Unlike Brian, she didn't know what Lance was talking about. Another example of them not explaining things to her, so it seemed. But… she wanted to hear it all instead of jumping to conclusions.

Brian finally said something. "Wait, what are you—"

"I don't mean the ones I did in self-defense. I mean… I killed Atlas in that cave. And I did it willingly."

His teammates didn't say anything after that revelation, taking the time to fully sink in. Brian… his mind immediately went to the aftermath of the battle, where he told his brother about what happened, and in that moment, he thought Lance felt the same way, they mourned together!

But now, Lance said it was all a lie?! How… just how many times did he lie? He couldn't believe it. It had to be a trick, a test, something. His mind tried to rationalize it all, but then… he heard Lycanroc's words echoing on his mind. How Lance also tried to murder him.

And it all hit him like a building collapsing on his body.

"L-Lance, what?! What the fuck are you saying?! Why did you do it?!"

Meggie just listened to the entire conversation. Like Brian, she refused to believe that, but Lance wasn't really trying to defend himself, or do anything to deny. Maybe he was really telling the truth. And if he was…

"At first, I thought he deserved to die. He was a criminal, Brian! He murdered others, and if I didn't stop him, he would—"

"Get out."

Lance looked at Meggie, confused. "I beg your pardon?"

"I said… get out! We… don't have time to deal with this, Lance! Leave!"

His eyes darted to Brian, but the fox didn't say anything. Defeated, Lance looked down and left the room as well.

"We need… some time to think," Brian finally said.


Now outside, Lance shivered. That was the worst thing that could happen! His friends rejected him… they told him to get away. But of course, who wouldn't do that? They heard him confess to being a killer!

I… really messed things up this time!

He fell on his knees. Lance really wasn't meant for relationships, wasn't he? First, his boyfriend, then his family, and then his friend.

They all leave eventually… I don't deserve anything like that.

Lance walked away from the building, tears swelling up on his eyes. He truly was… alone.
 
Dungeon 31 - Lowest Point

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 31 - Lowest Point

Lance charged out of the hospital looking down at the floor, rubbing his arm. What was he thinking?! Of course his friends wouldn't take that news well! And now… he messed everything up, just like he always did.

In a fit of rage, he prepared an Aura Sphere, but stopped before he fired, eyes widening. The sphere was purple. Lance stood there, watching it fade into nothingness, aura particles floating in the air.

"What… just happened?" he asked no one in particular.

"Seems like you're going through some issues, mister Williams."

Or so Lance thought. Scar was right in front of him, arms folded around his back, his bone club pinned to his spine. His posture shifted to a more serious one, and he even crossed his arms.

"What do you want from me?" truth be told, Lance didn't expect the Marowak, but… somehow he felt like he could share things with him. For starters, Scar never judged him for his murders.

Scar chuckled, raising his head to look at Lance. "Because the rest of the team returned, of course! I've come to visit them in the hospital."

Right. That was all, then. Lance nodded to him. "Okay. I'll go back to my apartment right now. I really don't feel like I'm welcomed here…"

He walked past Scar, but to his surprise, he felt a scaly touch on his arm. Turning around, he saw Scar was grabbing him, not wanting to let go.

"That was my reason for coming here, yes. But… you're not well mentally, mister Williams. I'd be happy to help you, if you so wish."

Lance, unable to believe that, pouted. "Oh, really? And how can you help me? Mom's a psychiatrist and look where I am."

"Well, considering you went as far as absorbing one's aura, and that it changed color, I'd say—"

Suddenly, a Machamp ran inside the hospital, carrying a scruffy, screaming Oshawott with all four arms. Alongside came a screaming treecko. The water-type was desperately trying to say something, but all that came out of its mouth were a bunch of "Shaaa". The three soon entered the building.

Lance couldn't help but tilt his head, a bit confused, but mostly intrigued by what had happened. Scar shared his curiosity, and cleared his throat.

"Interesting. This also serves as a good way of teaching you something. Do you know the risks of aura absorption?"

Lance just stared at him. "No…? Dad told me it can lead to my death. Is there anything else?"

Scar made a notion for Lance to follow him. At that point, he was curious about what the Marowak had to say to him, so he went on.

"For starters, do you know why dungeons tend to turn others feral?"

Lance rolled his eyes. A bookworm like him should know, but… there were just too many theories.

"I do not. What's this all about?"

"My companion, Max, might not look like it, but he was a professor in a university. It's on Post Town."

That name made Lance's ears perk up. "What? That's on another continent, isn't it? He came all the way here?!"

Scar laughed. "We're all from different continents. Rescue teams aren't common here in Eutrios… perhaps one day I might tell you about our story."

"R-Right."

He continued. "Anyway, a lot of scholars create theories about the feralization process. Before our team was formed, Maxwell was working on a thesis of his own. Very interesting, I might add."

Lance kept listening to him, although he found the idea of someone like Max to be a professor… laughable. He kept it to himself, though.

"His theory is based on aura interference. That ferals have a much more unstable aura compared to us, and so anyone that can manipulate it, well…"

He blinked, realizing what was going on. "Dungeons tamper with the aura of a Pokémon?"

Scar nodded. "Precisely. Well done, mister Williams."

He continued. "In a similar fashion, I think that's why you went berserk back then. That Emera must have similar effects."

Lance drooped his ears. "R-Right. When I mega evolved…"

Flashes of what happened back then appeared in his mind. He clenched his left fist, enraged at how stupid he was back then. If Lance just… took action, Morgan would be dead, like he deserved.

Unknowingly, his own aura flared up, colored purple. Once he noticed, Lance took a look at himself, and breathed to calm down. Slowly, the aura dissipated, leaving a shocked Lance to wonder about that incident.

Scar was unamused. "This is… interesting. I've never heard of a Lucario with purple aura before."

Lance looked away, sighing. "Dad said that sometimes… our aura can change to reflect our emotional state. It's weird, I know."

"I… see. Very well, mister Williams. I know something that might help you with this. Come with me, it's going to be fine."

"Hmph," Lance pouted, but went back to walking. "Fine, I'll go."


Brian was paralyzed. Not because of any move or something like that, he just couldn't believe what his brother told him. A murderer. Lance was a murderer for so long… of course, he understood that, in his captive days, Lance had to kill in order to survive. But that was something else! Back at the dungeon… it was willingly.

Meggie, on the other hand, seemed worried. She wasn't floating, just standing on the ground, to the point of it freezing around her body.

Neither really wanted to say anything; it wasn't a normal situation by any means, and they both knew that. Despite this, talking was the key to solving this issue, whether they liked it or not.

The fox gulped, fingers trembling as he recalled his own killing incident. Just like Lance once did, Brian killed in self-defense. But even so, he should feel something. Remorse, guilt, sorrow, anything. Yet, all he felt was emptiness. And the worst part of it all: he liked that. A thought came to mind, crawling, seeping into his brain until it almost became too loud to ignore.

Fortunately, something else came to distract them; someone knocked on the door again.

"...Is it him?" Meggie whispered, looking at Brian.

"I-I don't know."

"It's me, y'all!" the familiar voice of Lilith said from the other side of the wall. She seemed worried, but gentle at the same time.

"Oh… come on in!" Meggie said, now calming down again. That day was being rough.


The bunny entered, having the biggest, buck-toothed smile they saw on her. Brian closed his eyes, whining to himself, while Meggie waved at her and smiled sheepishly.

"Are y'all okay?" she asked, sitting down. "I've heard the news, but… I wanted to check on ya."

Meggie shook her head off in denial. "No, but also… what news?"

Lilith pouted. "Y'all returned from the raid! Lance told me and my companion about it!"

Brian finally spoke, eyes still closed. "R-Right. It was… something. I can't describe it, and don't want to bother you with details."

"Try me!"

He looked at Meggie, who nodded, and then took a deep breath. "Okay, let me explain this in the quickest way possible…"

Brian did his best, summarizing the events of the day. How they battled against Morgan and his lackey, how he almost got captured, how Meggie evolved. Everything that he found to be important, he told her.

The Lopunny watched it in a mix of amusement and fear. She sighed, noticing Brian was struggling to explain the next part.

Meggie blinked and approached him, nodding to try and reassure him.

Lilith also nodded. "Don't worry, kiddo! My lips are sealed…"

"Right. Lance told us something—"

Meggie interrupted him. "He told us he's a murderer."

The bunny blinked, opening her mouth to gasp. Oh, how awful that revelation must have been for them! No wonder they seemed so upset… anyone would in that situation.

Nonetheless, they had a mission to fulfill, and that was, for her, more important.

"I… understand. It's hard to trust him, yeah?"

Meggie and Brian exchanged looks, nodding to Lilith.

"Got it, got it. But here's the thing… he's your friend, right? Why not… trust him? Maybe there's a reason behind all this."

Brian snarled. Unable to hold anything else, he finally snapped. "He... he lied to me! I'm his brother, his best friend! A-And he lied about all those things! How… could he do this?!"

Meggie looked down, shivering. "I believed in him, I believed he wasn't a monster or anything, but… he is."

Lilith crossed her arms. "I think Lance is a complicated mon… he suffered a lot over the years, and… that might have broken him."

Brian growled, his fur standing on its end. "What do you know?! Lance is my brother! I know more about him than you! And yet, and yet…"

The bunny approached him, touching his shoulder and tilting her head. "This is a problem that you both need to figure out with him. For the moment, we still need to stop that mad scientist…"

He knew she was right. It was hard to swallow, but Lilith had the right idea. Then it all came to him. Why he didn't feel remorse at the murder he comitted. He stopped someone from doing the same to his friend. Just… like his brother did.

Meggie seemed to understand something too. Morgan… he was responsible for all of this, and she genuinely thought Lance was nice to her. That sweet Pokémon she knew, trapped in his own mind because of all that torture…

Lilith smiled. "In the end, what you decide to do is up to you… but what I'm suggesting is to redirect your anger to the bigger enemy here."

The ice Pokémon nodded. "Focus all our anger on the Gallade? I'm… all for that."

Brian looked at the Froslass, nodding. "Meg, I… understand that we should do this, but… I'm not sure if I want to talk with Lance right now. Maybe when this is over…"

"Maybe we can bring him back to how he used to be!" she declared, a bit excited at the idea, even floating in the air. However, the others were looking at her, and so she landed on the ground.

Lilith looked at the fox. "Right. And how long will it take until you're free, Brian?"

"Doc says I'll be free by the end of the day."

"At least the healthcare here is free…" Meggie gave a sheepish smile.

"Alright," she turned around, walking to the door. Before she left, she turned to face them once more. "I'd… consider thinking about what you'll do."


When Scar mentioned he knew something to help him, Lance didn't expect… a game. They were in the same park as the day he fought the Lycanroc, but this time, both were sitting on a chair, decorated with a chess board. On Lance's side were numerous black pieces, decorated like Pokémon. On Scar's side, the same pieces were decorated in white.

The Marowak tapped the board to draw Lance's attention. "Are you alright? You didn't even say anything."

Lance rolled his eyes. "Look, I just didn't expect… chess, of all things."

"Don't you know the rules of this game, mister Williams?"

"I've played chess before. Admittedly, it's not a game for me," he began to explain. "Using the king is a bad move… but if the king doesn't lead, how can he expect his subordinates to follow?"

"How… amusing," Scar hummed. "Do you know the pieces, at least?"

The canine grumbled, pointing to a line of Pawniard pieces. He identified those as the pawns. His finger then pointed to a Golurk, the rook.

"Well done, Lance. And the others?"

Lance then pointed to a Nidoking and a Nidoqueen pieces, followed by a Rapidash piece, the knight. Finally, he pointed to a Hatterene, the bishop. After the demonstration, he crossed his arms, grumbling.

"I don't understand the purpose of this, to be honest."

Scar sighed, looking at the board. He was hoping not to explain anything, but Lance was making that difficult with his usual crankiness. Still, Scar was a patient mon.

"Allow me to clarify," Scar pointed to himself. "I will give you a demonstration of how Morgan acts in battle, while you will play as… well, yourself."

Lance's teeth appeared as he snarled. "What does that have to do with my issues?!"

"By understanding your enemy, you're able to best him, correct? I am merely trying to help you."

Unbeknownst to them, the duo attracted quite a crowd. Perhaps it was due to how they were bickering amongst themselves, or maybe the passerby citizens were simply bored. Whatever it was, they were circling all around the two, waiting for the game to start.

Normally, Lance would refuse such a display. But if it meant helping him with his problems, then it should be fine. It's not like he had anything else to lose, anyway.

"Very well. Let's… begin."

Scar smiled, picking one of the pieces with his paw. "Alright, mister Williams. Be aware, I'm not going easy on you."

"I wouldn't want it any other way."


After leaving Brian's room, Lilith went into the hall, entering the second to last door on her right. Inside, Max's hand was being healed by a Blissey, when he noticed the bunny. With his free arm, he waved. Meanwhile, Blissey left the room in silence, leaving them alone.

"Yo! How are you doing?"

"I've talked with Brian and Meggie. A lot of things happened."

Max agreed. "Got it. Any new development?"

"They know the Lucario is a killer. He told them."

Max frowned, muttering something. He stopped and continued the conversation. "Shit. When boss told us, I didn't believe him… but eh, looks like this makes things easier for us!"

"Not really," she leaned onto the wall. "They almost wanted to quit, but I knocked some sense into the kids. We should be fine. For now, at least."

Max's frown turned into a grin. "And you came here to tell me that…?"

"I translated some of the Unown language from the book. We might have a genuine lead on… him."

"Great!" Max gave her a thumbs-up. "Now we're pretty close, right?!"

"Kinda, yeah," Lilith also smiled. "I swear, if anyone knew you were a professor, they wouldn't believe it. Look at how you act!"

The Electivire kept his grin. "Hey, my students liked this method of teaching! It has results, if you want, I can teach you some private lessons!"

Her face now had an annoyed expression. "Not interested. We should be planning our next move in this mission. The Gallade one."

"Got it!"

With that, Lilith left the room again.


The audience cheered as the match continued. Lance was as stoic as he usually was. Scar moved one of his pawns to the middle of the board. "E4," one member of the crowd said.

Lance responded by moving his pawn right in front of Scar's. E5, he thought.

Despite Lance's move blocking him, his opponent, not missing a beat, moved another pawn, landing it to the side of his previous one.

That's F4… he's playing king's gambit? Lance scratched his chin. Hmph. Scar's sacrificing a pawn and leaving his king open. He doesn't even pretend to care for his allies.

The Lucario countered by moving one of his bishops to another row. He heard another member of the audience say "C5", but didn't mind it.

"Oh? You noticed my strategy already?" Scar asked, hiding a smile.

"I'm not an idiot, alright? I know what you're doing…"

"Tell me, then."

Lance closed his eyes, lost in thought. Once he opened them he looked straight into Scar's face.

"You want me to realize that I still have a fighting chance against him… correct? It's why you're playing as if you're him."

Scar clapped his hands together. "Bravo. That's… partially correct. While I am playing like him, I'm also enjoying this as a game."

"A way for me to relax…"

Scar nodded. "And you don't want to lose your attachments to your allies. Much like your friends, am I right?"

"I told them…" Lance said, ears drooping.

"That makes sense. Well, I still support you."

Lance shook his head. "Let's just move on with the game, alright? I'm here to win."


Brian now sat down on the hospital bed, alone, since Meggie had left the room, but didn't bother to tell him where she was going. The fox was thinking about everything. He said those things in the spur of the moment, but now that he could ponder, he felt… conflicted, at the very least. Not sure how to think about his sibling.

Just how much had him changed after the kidnapping? Brian knew he wouldn't do such things back when they were younger. Oh, how he missed those wonderful days. The construct in how he acted when compared to the past was astounding.

I thought I got better, but in the end… I'm still as weak as I was back then!

His ears drooped, and a whining sound came out of his mouth. He started chewing on his lower lip and his eyes welled up with tears.

It's my fault…! I should've been a better brother!

Brian snarled, clenching his fists; a drop of blood falling into the back of his paw. His whole body shook, his tears dropping on the bed.

I-If I was, he wouldn't be like this!

The same feeling on his brain returned, the creeping one. He might have been fragile as a kid, but… Brian, in his own twisted way, was glad he had the courage to take down the Lycanroc. Because of that, Meggie was safe, and Morgan had lost an ally.

He hated having found joy in that hideous act. But there was nothing Brian could do to shake that feeling off. At least for now. So, instead, he laid down again, trying to fall asleep. Maybe in his dreams, he could find peace. It was the best option he had right now.


The Froslass stood outside of the hospital. After that troublesome day, all she wanted was to sleep for twenty-four hours. Sadly, that wasn't possible. Soon enough, her mind drifted back to her human memories… or what she could remember, anyway. She tried to recollect more events, without success.

She looked at the sky, seeing the full moon gleaming on top of her. Its beauty was striking, of course.

That was when she heard someone clearing their throat, along with the sound of four paws touching the ground. Returning to the real world, Meggie saw an Arcanine in front of her, the police badge making her recognize who it was.

"Oh… detective Apollo!" she said, forcing a smile. "What can I do for you?"

"Seems like your team returned from the road trip!" the canine chuckled, sitting down on all fours.

She sort of wanted to have feet again, floating wasn't as exciting as it appeared. Regardless, he was waiting for an answer.

"We… did," she looked at herself, now having a genuine smile. "I evolved earlier today, to be honest."

"Really? Congrats!" Apollo smiled, tail wagging slightly. "Evolving with a stone is weird, if you ask me!"

"Oh? You used a stone too? I think mine was called… dawn?" she scratched her chin, thinking.

"Yeah! That's the one! Mine was a fire stone. Let me tell you something… the rumors that everyone tells can be so weird."

Now curious, Meggie looked at him. "As in: 'hey, you gotta die to evolve!' weird?"

Apollo couldn't help but chuckle. "Oh, they told me I had to get burned! For Arceus sake, what's up with that?"

"I know, right?" she chuckled.

But then Meggie remembered something. She was asking him questions! She made a mental note not to get distracted again.

Meggie raised a brow. "Detective, what brings you here? I mean, you have a job, right?"

Apollo blinked and stood up, clearing his throat again. "S-Sorry! Well, I wanted to see how that Grovyle you rescued was. I need to set up an escort and all that…"

Unconvinced, Meggie crossed her arms. "Anything else?"

"Well, that was the cop reason for my visit," Apollo whined, looking down. "But yeah, I'm also here to check on Brian. I like the kid. He was surprisingly helpful during some of my cases."

Apollo continued on and on about that. Meggie, without much of a choice, listened to him praising the Zoroark for what felt like hours. She was waiting for a moment when he would shut up. When that finally came, it was her turn to ask questions.

"...How do you even know we're here?" she asked.

The canine smiled again. "The city's guard told me you returned."

"Okay… well, we're fine. For the most part. Lance—" before she spilled everything, Meggie stopped herself. It probably wasn't a good idea to tell the news.

Sadly for her, Apollo noticed, raising a brow. "Lance… what?"

Shoot. Well, the best way to lie is with the truth…

Meggie bit her lip. "He met up with his abuser. A Gallade named… Morgan. This devastated him. I'm not even sure where he is right now."

Apollo frowned, but believed her. He looked down once more, sighing. It really was a tragedy… Apollo wanted to do something more to help.

"I… do you know if Lance's home?"

"He visited us too, but stormed off," she looked into the street, searching for the Lucario, but found nothing.

"Got it. Thanks anyway, Meggie," he walked towards the entrance, turning his face back to look at her. "I'll handle things with the Grovyle for now, but… be safe. Alright?"

She nodded and waved as he entered the hospital.

Safe… I hope we'll all be safe. Whatever Morgan's planning, I hope we can stop it.


Lance and Scar walked away from the park, the Marowak holding a case with the chess pieces. Lance seemed to be better, smiling in the corner of his mouth. To make it clearer, his tail swished. But inside, Lance cursed that limb, annoyed that it did that everytime he was happy.

"I'm impressed with your skills, mister Williams," the Marowak smiled. "Honestly, you could be a pro player."

Lance continued to walk, grumbling. "I told you before… this game is not for me."

"...I have a question for you, mister Williams."

This time, he turned around. "What… is it?"

Scar looked at him straight in the eye and spoke."Do you believe that, to defeat evil, you must become a greater one? Or will you surrender to it?"

Lance's reaction was a silent one. He said no words, only gazing at Scar. Out of nowhere he dropped that question? But then again, he did confess about the murders he committed. Maybe this was Scar's way of reassuring him?

"...In either case, evil remains," he finally answered.

"Exactly. It's a paradox," Scar said, looking up at the sky. "What I mean is that… I understand why you're so conflicted, but I still think you're on the right path."

The Lucario growled, his aura sensors started twitching. "How? My friends rejected me…"

"I think they're just confused," Scar then scratched his chin in thought. "Have you tried taking things out to bring them back to your side?"

"Sure! Because that's totally going to work!" Lance shrugged, growling at Scar. "Why didn't I think of that?! It's such a great idea!"

Scar sighed. This was being harder than it should be. Nonetheless, he wasn't a quitter, not at all. If he was taller, he would have tapped Lance's shoulders. Since that wasn't the case, he went for a friendly smile.

"I think you should try. Brian's your brother, you've known him your whole life, mister Williams. And Meggie… she's a good girl. I'm sure she'll listen."

Lance's sensors were still twitching, feeling Scar's emotions. The aura waves he radiated were calm, normal. Too normal. But that wasn't important. For all intents and purposes, Scar wasn't lying to him. Either that, or he was a good liar. But… with how much helpful he was during that entire week, Lance decided to trust him.

"Alright. I'll give it a go. It's not like I have anything else to lose, anyway…"

A broken husk of a Pokémon. That was all Lance was. In his mind, anyway. The duo went back to walking, this time into the streets of the city, going towards the hospital. Despite his anxiety over that, Lance made a promise he intended to keep.


After having her moment to relax, Meggie went back inside Brian's room, finding him sleeping. Not wanting to wake him up, she slowly floated on top of a chair and lowered her body, sitting on it.

Why does this have to be so hard…? I didn't… ask for all of this. All this fighting.

Meggie looked at Brian, sighing.

And in the end, Lance was just like him. But… is he? I don't think he was born this way.

For one moment, just a single one… she thought about Morgan again. How he constantly tried to win her back, and she refused each time. What if she did? Would things be better that way? There was no way of knowing. And just the fact that he ruined the lives of so many innocents made her want to puke.

At least… at least they rescued one of the missing kids. Just that one child. It was like she was trying to tell herself something. What it was… she didn't know. Some kind of motivation to keep going.

I'm not a hero, I'm… just me. But my friends need me. I need to fight… even if I don't want to, I must…!

Another question came to mind. Something frightening. She shivered at the thought of it.

"What would I die for?"

"...I dunno."

Meggie jolted back. Brian was staring at her. He suddenly stood up. With a sigh, the fox approached her, smiling.

"I have no idea… what you would die for."

Meggie frowned, shaking her head. "I was just… thinking. About what we're gonna do in the future. How are we… handling the thing with Lance?"

"Heh," Brian laughed, ruffling his mane. "This hero thing… it's hard."

"Yeah, yeah. I don't know either."

Brian looked at the room's window, seeing the city. So many Pokémon, just… living their lives peacefully.

"Dad told me something once. That a true hero is one who acts… even without hope," Brian said, looking at himself.

He now looked at Meggie. "...Without witness."

She simply listened to him, without being really sure how to react to that.

"...And without reward."

"Are you saying we're like that?" she tilted her head.

Brian shrugged, sitting down on the bed again. This time, his ears drooped again.

"Look, I… I'm not sure how we'll handle Lance now. The things he did…"

"…What can we do?!"

Brian put his hands around his cheeks, standing up and walking in circles. "I don't know, I don't know! Lance… why did he turn out this way?!"

"I… can I tell you the truth?" she asked, and when she saw Brian nodding, she continued. "He's reminding me of Morgan. The way he's… a murderer."

Brian frowned. "You're scared of him too?"

"With everything I've seen him do? Yeah…"

They heard the door knocking one time, but the one who did that soon ran away, the footsteps were also heard by the duo.

Whatever that was, it was over. Meggie went on to Brian's side and tried to comfort him to the best of her abilities.


As it turned out, Lance had just gotten there. The walk from the park really didn't take too long, a few minutes, really. But now… he didn't even hear most of the conversation Brian and Meggie were having. He didn't need to. His aura sensors did all the job.

It was suffocating. Like being choked to death by someone. Lance held on to the wall as he walked to the exit. He was struggling to breathe as the feelings they felt were being drawn to him.

Being an aura user didn't mean positive things all the time. Right now, that same sense that Lance relied on was overwhelming him.

They were scared of him! Of course they were… why wouldn't they be? He was a monster. A monster. A murderer. Killer. Nothing good could come out of him.

I'm… not good.

Some of the nurses were running towards him, perhaps trying to help, but that hardly mattered right now. Lance ignored them, dashing forward with his eyes closed. Nothing and nobody mattered. Each step he took felt heavier than the other, until…

He was finally out, and once again, Scar was waiting, just outside the hospital. Lance raised his head, he would sigh if he wasn't so busy breathing after that crisis.

"Are you okay?"

"What do you think?!" Lance shouted, showing his fangs.

"It… didn't work out in the end, didn't it?"

"They're scared of me. My family, my friends…" Lance was shaking, trying desperately to hold on.

"I see. Well… it looks like you're in the deepest pit of your life, aren't you?"

"...Yes."

Scar frowned. "Oh, I'm… sorry. I'm really sorry. This shouldn't have happened. I really thought it would work, mister Wiliams."

Lance created an Aura Sphere and growled. "Well, it didn't. Now what?!"

The sphere soon faded into nothingness. Scar sighed, looking at him as he approached the Lucario. He was on the verge of tears, and Scar knew that. He needed to help.

"Mister Williams… I have a proposal for you."

Lance barely heard it the first time Scar said that. He had to say it again for Lance to pay attention.

"What is it?"

In that moment… Lance listened. His eyes widened after hearing everything Scar had to say. His trembling slowly diminished, until he calmed down. His tears, his frown… they all disappeared, leaving only the stoic look again.

Despite everything, Lance was still himself. "...I accept."
 

DragonD

Happy eevee
Pronouns
He/him
Hello there!

Glad to deliver a review of your fantastic fic, so grab a drink and some snacks because we will be here for a while.
The beginning of this particular story is a nightmare sequence. One that, while directly says nothing, does indeed a great job at implying many things, and all of it can have a meaning when you look enough into it:

The void. A place that is devoid of any light and without anything in it. And yet, a small Pokémon was there.

You mention that the place was devoid of light, not that it was full of darkness, because this part of the dream isn't meant to point out the presence of something, but the absence of anything. And Lance is trapped in there, only him, in a place with no light... no shine... no hope. In his mind he is alone, truly and completely alone in his moment of need, no one comes to his aid, just like there is nothing that reminds him there is something else that he could hope to see, to go back to, because at that point all that he perceives is his own loneliness.

A Riolu walked around the nothingness, with sweat running through his blue fur. The canid trembled and looked around, trying to find an exit.

There is nothing around him, but he does want to see a way out, out of the nothingness. And yet, he is not thinking about any place to go to, does he even care? all that matters is to escape that place, to be anywhere but there, because something is wrong and he can feel it. He is walking, yet he sweats with enough intensity for it to run down his fur and he trembles as if he is anxious or scared. Nothing had been defined at that point, not for us, nor for him, and yet everyone knows that something is off just because of those small details.

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.

The nightmare defines, and it becomes obvious that, he in some way wasn't expecting to hear that laugh, yet, he subconsciously did. The sound has a exact origin, the figure whose those eyes belong to, yet it doesn't only come from them. It echoes through the place, despite not having anything where it could actually echo at, surrounding him just like the consequences of the events that led to him having this nightmare now surround his life.

"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...

This is not an default stalker, he knows who it is because it causes a reaction on him. He feels pain in his chest exactly where his scar is located, already giving away the detail that that nightmarish being is the related to it, while the mention of a number implies that, by them, he was viewed as simply an item rather than a person, one they could use and then throw away right after. The number itself can mean many things, but for now it triggers mainly two ideas in the reader's head; Experimentation, and slavery, but the details won't be revealed yet. Just like before, the inetability becomes palpable. The sensation of being surrounded that until now had only been a perception now becomes literal, but the scene ends before anything else can happen, as if he had been overloaded by the memory and woke up as a result.

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.

His nightmare clearly affects him, yet he recovers rather quickly, showing that he, somehow, is already used to the horrible experience. Instead of dweling on it he establishes himself and then prepares immediately, as if that was his daily routine.

First scene after waking up and recovering gives away details of his personality just by describing how he has his room; two tables, one free of anything in case the need to use it comes because Lance likes to be prepared, and the other one has tagged books, because he likes to have everything organized, almost controlled.

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.

The mirror is visible from near his bed, wonder if it was always like that, or if he moved it later when he started to have the nightmares, as it seems to help him remember what is real. The scar is real, his nightmare no longer is.

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

Indirect depiction of Brian, really well done, and it shows that he can be organized too. Wonder exactly how does that radio look, since gifts tend to have at least something to distinct them from the others.

Its worth noting that Brian seems to sleep in the couch here as well, rather than just starting to do it on their new house later.

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

This here is a nice contrast, yes, its a team of renown that is so demanded the group even had to split up to cover more ground. However, they are also people that can enjoy something as simple as an ice cream, and this is shown early rather than later. At the same time the way of nudging to people several times that Lance and Brian are indeed sons of a famous explorers without saying it directly is good as well. Also shows something, that while Lance and Brian call him uncle, for now, James calls their father "companion" instead of brother, meaning that he may as well not be blood-related to them.

As you mention the window, that makes one picture him standing in front of the glass, looking outside while eating. Right after he sits however, there is no mention to the positioning of the ice cream, that could have made a teeny tiny detail, if he put it on the desk (assuming the thing had a flat end) just a mention would have done it, but if he instead read the documents while holding the candy there is a high chance it may have dropped a bit of it on top of the paper, making him clean it, and if he didn't then just mention him being careful not to do so. Having the focus instantly go into the description of the subject helps with focus, just like you did. But a interruption, before making the character immediately go back to what they were doing with renewed vigor also does so, and with the added benefit of making your world feel even more alive.

The only thing I'd wish there was, was a description of the world outside the window from James' eyes, as it would have been a interesting exercise to compare his perspective to Lance's at narrating the very same thing, from their different experience. That could reveal wether there are things they see the same, or if Lance's and his own past are too different to consider things by face value.


"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.

You have a pretty great eye for individual scenes as it has been shown this far, weaving both personalities and events really well, however, I have noticed that when a scene changes focus from a description to a interaction, you may sometimes forget little implications of the previous ones, that, while certainly unnecessary, could be a great addition to make everything even more detailed One of the first ones I can notice is right here, James licks the ice cream on his hand, cleans his mouth, and then greets brian right after. Just as mentioned earlier, there is a high chance that after the licks and the time spent reading his fingers are now covered in at least a bit of ice cream, and the possibility is incremented because of his fire type natural warmth, that would of course be extremely present on his tongue, causing each lick to melt the surface of the candy almost entirely, forcing him to eat real quick or lose it. A mention to either him doing the effort to not let any candy slip from the cup, or either trying to clean the remains with the naptkin/using his other hand to greet Brian (assuming he used the same one).

"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.

At this point of the story Brian is shown to shapeshift whenever he feels at ease or with family. Mostly avoiding these casual illutions when doing something else , where he didn't do that. Having him do it here, on the other side, aside from showing off his personality also helps show that he doesn't do that when with Lance only, as it can feel like that later on.

"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."

Shows that rather than something isolated in Lance, people close to him know about it, rather than only his brother, and leaves the matter open for their exact interaction on it. Well done!

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.

From this point, it's shown that lance has a firm Moral Compass, explaining what is the purpose of his newly formed team for him, and what his goal is. He wants to make the world better, something so simple yet such a strong goal. And he, as it has been shown, already knows that the world indeed needs to improve a lot. He both fights back his past in one hand, but also feeds off the experiences in the other. One to not break under what has happened, and the other to not ever forget why he does what he does.

"Yes... our journey begins now. Goodbye, Thornwell." Lance looked at the sign, a certain melancholy in his eyes.

He says "goodbye, Thornwell", not "Goodbye Uncle", not "Goodbye everyone". Lance has problems to bond with people, even with his own brother as its shown both earlier and later, when he needed to first set his own self straight, before being able to worry for someone else. And even so, he wants to make the world better for everyone. The melancholy in his eyes, instead of just being for the city, can be related to what he feels that is left in there. This is the place where it began, and where they were before things went wrong and he was scarred for life. Seeing back tells him that he won't ever be able to go back to that point. But yet his conviction will remain strong.


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

Yes, Brian, you are both going to.

Well Navar, that is all I have for your first chapter, as you may have noticed I decided to skip over any grammatical or punctuation mistakes because I am sure that, if there is anything, you will set that straight soon. It was a really enjoyable experience to both read your fic, and write this review of your first chapter, thank you a lot for sharing your content,I will wait patiently for your next upload. See you!
 
Dungeon 32 - Where Evil Grows

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 32 - Where Evil Grows

Rain clouds formed above the city of Bright Dawn. The wind howled and thunder struck, its noise reverberating in the air. Down on the ground, a few figures could be seen: an Arcanine, wearing a rain cape, specifically designed for his quadruped boy, alongside a Dewott and a Throh. Accompanying them was a Grovyle, head lowered. Every one of them wore capes.

Another sound drew their attention; someone stepped on the wet floor. Looking back, Grovyle saw a Zoroark, also wearing a cape, with goggles on his eyes.

"Don't worry, kid! You'll be fine!" Brian said, trying to reassure the reptile.

"O-Oh, hi, mister Brian!" Grovyle said, bowing. "Thank you for rescuing me."

Apollo turned around as well, grinning. He raised his left front paw and gave Brian a shake.

"I also need to thank you, Brian," Apollo nodded. "That was very reckless of you, but… it all turned out fine in the end."

The fox smiled sheepishly, rubbing his mane and muttering something to himself. Apollo chuckled, nodding to Brian. He pulled the Zoroark into a hug and backed away, swishing his fluffy tail.

"You're still going after the kidnapper, right?"

"It's the right thing to do," Brian clenched his fist. "I gotta stop him from doing this again…"

"Got it, kiddo!" Apollo barked, turning around again. "We'll be leaving now, so… take care of yourself. I hope it's gonna be okay!"

With a nod, Brian walked away from them, looking at the cloudy sky. He, too, hoped they won that battle. For his brother…

No. Not just Lance. It's not only about him anymore.

Sighing, Brian continued marching into the streets of the city.


The rain couldn't get inside the guild's training room. Because of that, Scar could practice all he needed, without having his fire attacks weakened. Right now, he was facing Lance, the Lucario seemed to be meditating, circled by swords of energy that he promptly absorbed.

"Let's see what you can do… I won't even need to use my club against you. Not even with that Swords Dance."

Lance growled. "Do not underestimate me."

Scar took a quick look at Lance. The Lucario now had a looplet around his right arm with an emera on it. He looked around. The room was large, and was surrounded by a large barrier. Scar figured it was made possible by a Counter Orb, but gave no more thoughts about that.

In the middle of the room, Lance saw a weird contraption with a circular-shaped hole in it. He remembered his brother explaining that it was to help with training, releasing a random orb every few minutes. He shrugged it off, focused only on the battle, he needed to get back in shape for the mission.

Let's… do this.

Lance charged, his swift movement leaving dust marks on the floor where he stood. In his right paw, the Lucario produced a purple sphere. Scar merely stood there, head raised and prepared to receive the attack. He knew that move wouldn't affect him, being a ghost-type and all, so he made no effort to dodge it, merely taunting Lance into hitting him.

"Come on! I don't know what you're planning, but using that won't work against me, mister Williams!"

The aura Pokémon merely smirked and, before he could hit the Marowak, Lance threw the sphere on the ground in front of him. The result of that was a medium-sized sandstorm, blocking Scar's view. Lance, however, still had his aura sense, and used that opportunity to create a large bone club made of energy, hitting Scar with it.

Scar cringed when the impact hit, being pushed back by it. Still, he stood up, seeing the wound on his abdomen.

"Well done! Using your surroundings to your advantage!"

"Hmph," Lance shrugged, hearing a clicking sound that made his ears twitch.

The contraption let out an orb that rolled on the ground until it stopped. Both combatants saw that and rushed to grab it first. Despite his usual quick movements, Lance had to back away before a wall of green flames hit him.

Said wall was actually Scar, using one of his moves to gain more speed and grab the orb. Lance put his hands in front of his face, growling to his opponent.

"Sadly, it seems like I won this little race, mister Williams!"

Or… maybe not! Lance thought, smirking again.

His paw flashed silver and he aimed at the orb, launching a metallic stream of energy towards it. When it hit the sphere, it shattered, knocking Scar to the wall until he fell to the ground.

Scar got up again, throwing back his head in a heartfelt laugh. He then approached Lance, smiling at him.

"Congratulations. You learned the lesson here! I think it's safe to say this little battle is over, mister Williams."

"Whatever," Lance scoffed.

"You used my strength against me! Impressive…" Scar continued to clap.

"Right, right… what now, then? I'm exhausted, and my aura isn't back to normal yet."

The two walked away from the training area, now strolling across a hall.

Scar continued. "Or perhaps that is the normal for you. Who knows? Did this training session make you relax a bit more?"

Lance shook his head. "It's been a week, my friends still don't talk to me… the last thing they said to me was that they're still on the mission, and will deal with me later."

The Marowak tapped Lance's shoulders with a friendly smile on his face. "Don't worry… I'm sure you did the right thing."

Lance frowned. "I know, I know, I accepted the proposal you gave me… I just wish they talked to me again."

"Well, perhaps one day you'll meet up with Jirachi… maybe he can help you."

"Hmph."

Not quite sure how to react, Scar merely tapped Lance's shoulders again as they walked. Today, they scheduled to meet up with the team, considering a week-long rest was more than enough time before they continued the mission.


Brian entered the guild, putting his long cape amongst the others on the cabinet. He fiddled with his bag, checking to see if one of his inventions was safe. Fortunately, it was, and he could show the others!

"Heh."

He soon walked to the left, following the corridor until he was in the cafeteria. There, he saw the other members of the team, along with Meganium, sitting and chatting with each other. His smile faded when he saw Lance there, but Brian tapped his cheeks to ignore it.

"Wassup!" he shouted, sitting as well.

Lance noticed it, but kept quiet, heart thumping in anxiety. Meganium turned her gaze to the Zoroark and smiled.

"Well, it seems everyone is here! Very well… I suppose now we can discuss what the next step is, correct?"

Scar confirmed with a nod, as did everyone else but Brian. He sighed and then confirmed too. He was a bit nervous, but tried his best to not let it grab his attention, after all, the mission was more important.

"I would like to tell you all about my mistress, Xerneas, and how that vile Gallade tried to take her powers away," Meganium said; her voice sounded strict to the others.

Brian scratched his mane. "You sure Xerneas really exists? I-I mean, don't want to sound like an idiot, but—"

"Silence," Meganium said. "As I was saying before being interrupted, I will talk about my mistress… I've served her during my entire life, and I devote myself to her."

The others listened in silence, but each reacted differently to that. Lance was a bit skeptical and crossed his arms. Meggie, curious like always, had her eyes on Meganium. Brian scratched his chin and waited. The other three were as casual as they could be, not expressing any emotion other than amazement.

"She is the embodiment of life itself, and anyone that tries to harm her is a threat to our very existence…"

Brian raised his arm. "Got it, lady! And what does this guy want with her, anyway?"

"You will know if you remain quiet," she said, and Brian could swear he felt the coldness of her voice.

"O-Ok, then…" his ears drooped.

She continued. "It all started fifteen years ago…"


A Kirlia walked around a forest, looking up at the sky. There, he saw just how big the trees were, covering most of the place. He stood there, mesmerized, until he heard a snarl that drew his attention.

From behind a few bushes came a Breloom, screeching and swishing its tail around. Kirlia growled, his attention unknowingly shifting to the clattering sound the tail produced. It distracted him enough that he didn't notice Breloom firing seeds at a high speed towards him. Kirlia stumbled back, dodging a few of them, until one hit his arm, exploding on impact, grazing him.

"You little pest…"

Kirlia's eyes were glowing pink and he extended his hand. Breloom hissed, jumping towards him. Before Kirlia could do anything, however, a few vines slapped Breloom, and it ran away, screeching.

"...Thank you." This time, Kirlia looked back and sighed, continuing his stroll.

As he marched, Kirlia saw a Meganium standing right in front of him. He bowed to her, nearly dropping the bag he carried. The grass-type scoffed.

Her eyes struck him like blades. "Hmph. It took you so long to follow me in the dungeon. Don't you know what happens if you stay too long there?"

"I would be faster, but that pest—" he was interrupted by a piercing glare from Meganium.

"Morgan, what have I told you about the ferals?"

He sighed. "Their life is just as important as ours…"

She raised a brow, not fully convinced that he meant it. But they didn't really have time to lose on that, so she continued.

"I also thought that the trees would jog my memory," Morgan bit his lip. "At this point, I'm desperate."

"Morgan, they won't. You lived here for fifteen years and they didn't do anything!"

Kirlia tapped the ground. "Don't act like this is my fault, Meganium. I've tried using my so-called 'psychic powers' to get them back, and it didn't work!"

"I know, I know…" Meganium sighed.

"Listen, I just want to get my memories back and go home… I never asked for any of this."

"Look, I know I said this a million times, but you needed to prove your worth before I could introduce you to my mistress."

"And it happened now?" Morgan raised a brow, seeing Meganium nod.

Morgan rolled his eyes and continued to walk. He abruptly stopped, gasping at the sight before him: a beautiful and large tree, with trunks that extended high in the air, and to top it all off, the leaves were rainbow-colored.

He couldn't believe the sheer beauty of it all, but shook his head. No! That didn't matter, he wanted to go back to his world and nothing more than that. Meganium, right behind him, frowned.


"H-Hold up, hold up!" Brian suddenly said, gasping. "Are you saying you knew him, that psycho—"

Meganium's stare was enough to make him shut up. She stood up, sighing. "Yes, even without his memories, Morgan was always… like that. Excuse me for a second, I'm a bit thirsty. I'll be right back."

As she left to get a refreshment, it gave the opportunity for the others to comment on the explanation they just heard.

Meggie was the first one to speak. "So… he went to that 'Tree of Life' thing to get his memories back? I… wonder if I can do that too."

"Not sure if that's the best course of action, Meg." Lance looked at her, being received by a grumble. Still, he continued. "I-I mean… sometimes it's best to forget about something."

"Fellas, fellas…" Max tapped Lance's shoulders. "Look, we're all on the same side here. Why don't we try to be nice to one another, eh? It sounds like a great idea!"

Meganium came back, carrying a cup of water with her vines. She sat down, now ready to get back to the explanation they desired.

"Now, where was I? Of course… see, Morgan was my protégée, so to speak. He landed on the island where the Tree of Life is located, and I took him under my wing… metaphorically speaking, of course."

The others listened to her in silence, still curious about the story.

"He said he was a human, but other than that and his age, he remembered nothing and wanted to go home."

Meggie grumbled. I'm a human too…

"I said he had a chance to get his memories and return to the human world if he met my mistress, but…"


Kirlia soon found himself standing at the roots of the large tree. He looked up; as he presumed, the plant was gigantic. How many feet was it? And just how strong was that wood? Well, since it housed a legendary, Morgan assumed it was resilient enough.

"Come on now, Morgan. We need to enter the tree. Don't touch anything, the walk will be long."

Hearing Meganium's words, Morgan followed her inside. His heart thumped in anxiety and excitement. He was ecstatic to meet Xerneas and finally go home. Something nagged on the back of his head, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. It was something about a woman… no, that wasn't important right now. Like Meganium said, he had to walk.

The inside of the tree was mostly hollow, with stairs made of wood and a few doors inside. Since Meganium worked for Xerneas, Morgan presumed that those doors were the rooms of other subordinates.

How wonderful it must be to have all those under your control… interesting. Xerneas must be incredibly powerful.

Meganium hushed so he would stop getting distracted by random things. Sighing, he continued to walk in the stairs, until he found himself on another floor.

This one had wooden tables and chairs, and Morgan saw a Simisage putting plates with berries on top of all the tables in the area.

That must be the cook… it seems they're all vegetarians. Hm, interesting.

Meganium stopped to chat with the monkey for a bit, and Morgan took the time to analyse the place. All he could think of was how a powerful fire-type Pokémon could ruin it all. Smirking to himself, Morgan wondered how strong someone needed to be to take the tree down.

"Let's go, Morgan."

He snapped back to reality and climbed the staircase again. As he did so, Morgan began to feel a heaviness on his chest. He stopped, grasping his chest with one of his hands. Meganium turned back and simply chuckled.

"Looks like my mistress is already checking your nature…"

"She's checking my what? What nonsense are you speaking?"

Meganium frowned. "Be respectful, Morgan. I'm merely trying to help you."

He shrugged. "I know, I know. We're here to get my memories back and find a way to bring me home…"


After what appeared to be hours walking up stairs, Kirlia arrived at the top of the tree. A long room, where he saw her. The legendary Pokémon Meganium had told him so much about. Mistress Xerneas was looking at the outside world through a gap in the tree. She turned around and fiercely looked at them.

Meganium bowed, but Morgan stood there. He felt an enormous pressure just standing there and gazing at the large Pokémon. She didn't say anything, merely exchanging looks with Morgan. The Kirlia felt his body weak and trembling like never before. Was that… the power of a Legend? A huge grin spread across his face, and a sudden rush of vines forced him to his knees.

"I'm sorry, my mistress. Morgan is not used to this, but he means well. We're here… as promised."

"Thank you, Meganium. This is the… human you mentioned before, correct?"

Morgan gulped, unable to stand up in the presence of Xerneas. As much as he hated to admit it, she was intimidating.

Meganium finally raised her head, standing up on all four legs. "Correct. This is Morgan, my protégée. I've been teaching him for about fifteen years."

Xerneas stepped forward, the very air around then shook for a second. She still looked at Morgan, not showing any expressions. It was like the aura around them exerted a force like gravity.

She finally spoke. "Human. You're here to recover your memories, correct?"

"Y-Yes, mistress. I am—well, was—a human. I want to go back home…"

Xerneas closed her eyes, but nonetheless, the pressure was still there. Morgan tried to move, but his body didn't answer him.

"I sense… that you weren't called here. In other words, you're here because you chose to be here."

"W...What?" Morgan blinked. "What do you mean?! I didn't choose to be here! Not with all those—"

"Silence."

Morgan immediately shut up and gulped. There he was, facing a being so much more powerful than himself, and unable to do much. Xerneas could very well end him right there, but she chose not to.

"What I mean by this, human, is that the reason you're here is because you brought yourself here. If I recover your memories, you might be able to figure out how you arrived here."

"Are you saying… you can make me remember everything?!" a faint smile spread across Morgan's face.

Xerneas continued staring at him. "I can help you with that. You're not a trained psychic, so there's a limit to how much you can recover on your own. Therefore, my assistance is necessary."


Now sitting down, Kirlia closed his eyes and meditated. As Xerneas told him, they would share a psychic link, and she would use that to help him restore his memories.

Hmph. Let's hope this works…

It will.

Morgan saw himself in a starry void, where his body glowed pink. He floated in the air, and looked in front of him; where he saw a massive rip in the fabric of space.

What's… that?

That is known as an Ultra Wormhole. Somehow, you must have come here through one. Curious, perhaps your world is on the other side.


Nodding, he stared at the wormhole and swam towards it. There was nowhere else to go, after all. Once he got close enough, Morgan touched it. Despite being incorporeal, he felt a sharp pain all across his body.

The worst was yet to come, as his body was slowly sucked inside the portal, with his screams filling the entire area.


Kirlia opened his eyes again, and nearly gasped. A whole city was beneath him, with streets and other creatures… humans like him! He saw a tower.

This is… Lumiose city!

Do you recognize it, human?

Yes. I… I live here, I was born here!

This is a construct based on your subconscious memories. Perhaps if you find your past self here, you might recover your memories.

Morgan did as instructed, hovering a few inches off the ground and checking every building, every corner he could think of. He felt a sense of urgency, like he needed to get that done as soon as possible.

Yet, nothing came to mind. He wasn't able to remember where he lived, where he worked, anything! Then, he thought of something. That nagging feeling he had before, about a woman… he tried to think about her, maybe it would help.

As he did so, a figure materialized in front of him. Human, much like him, a girl, with red hair and a lab coat. Her face was recognizable to him.

...Meggie! I-I remember you!

Is that someone you know, human?

My, my… assistant! I think I know where I need to go!

Then do it, it seems like we're nearly there.

Nodding, Morgan floated through the air, until he saw a large building, with scientists coming and going. That was it, that's where he would finally remember everything. With a deep breath, he entered the building.

Being incorporeal had its advantage, the biggest one being that he didn't have to worry about walls or anything of the sort. He simply phased through them. Flying across the floors, Morgan smiled wider and wider as he approached the top.

Almost… there!

He stopped inside a large room with what seemed to be a circular machine, connected to computers, something Morgan remembered right then. And right in front of the machine was a man, in his mid twenties, dressed in a lab coat.

He's me. This is… what I look like. Isn't it?

Morgan floated towards the man, extending his arm. This was his opportunity, but he struggled to do it. Why was he hesitating? It was right in front of him, all he needed was to touch his human self.

In a quick movement, Morgan did it. When he touched his past self, Morgan screamed, memories flooding to his mind. Family, work, friends, everything came back to him, tears streaming down.

Morgan backed away, panting and exhausted. His human counterpart began to type on the computer, as the woman he recognized entered the room.

"Good morning, doctor Jones."

"Ah, Meggie! It's great to see you! Looks like we're almost there…" he said, not even looking at his assistant, too busy with the computer to do that.

Meggie ruffled her hair. "Do you really think we should capture them? They're sapient, like us. I'm not sure if this is the right course of action…"

To that, he laughed. "Absolutely! Listen, Meggie, we're humans! We're built to capture those creatures, it's… natural selection, really."

"...Alright, doctor."

Still unconvinced, but not wanting to make her boss angry, Meggie sat on a table and also began to type.

The circular machine began to rumble and shake, producing a space-shattering sound as a wormhole appeared there. The two scientists stood up and looked at each other, hugging.

"We did it! We created a portal to another dimension!"

"Yes, doctor Jones!" Meggie jumped in happiness, clapping her hands together.

Morgan's human self decided to check the portal closely. That was his mistake; his happy expression turned into a scared one as the portal began to grow. Meggie, noticing this, tried to grab her boss, but was unable to, as he was sucked inside.

Kirlia watched in shock as his fragile and ghostly body began to crumble, as did the area around him, until he was in the void again. Paralyzed, Morgan stopped floating and began to fall.


Kirlia fell down with a gasp, seeing that he was still inside the tree. Xerneas looked at him with a rage in her eyes. Like him, she saw the memories too.

"You… you wanted to destroy us! I cannot allow this. I must eliminate you… now!"

Morgan stood up, barely, and panted. "Serves you right, you, all of you… savages! That's what you are! You pretend to be civilized like me, a human, but in the end… you're beneath us!"

Meganium stared at him, leaves beginning to form around her. Morgan, realizing they wanted to attack him, began to laugh.

"This is ridiculous! I want to go home! I don't care about this filthy and ridiculous place anymore! Bring me back!"

"...I cannot. The realm of space is off-limits."

"Oh, then bring me to the one who controls the realm! I'm through with every single one of you! I can't handle this any longer! This body… it isn't my own!"

"Silence. You will repent." Xerneas began to charge a glowing red beam.

Running out of options, Morgan focused all the energy he had and looked at the stairs, disappearing in a flash of light. Meganium took notice of this and ran towards the stairs, only to find him teleporting again.


Meggie crossed her arms. So legends were, in fact, real. She wondered why her friends never mentioned them, but… maybe they had a reason for that. She noticed Meganium stopping to catch her breath, and so, Meggie raised her arm.

"Yes, Froslass?"

"Okay, okay. I have a question… what exactly was the plan? I mean, does Xerneas have a portal to the human world or something?"

"That type of space manipulation is restricted, young lady," Meganium said. "Very few Legends are capable of opening Ultra Wormholes, you see."

Lance frowned. "I thought Legends didn't exist…"

Meganium laughed, lowering her head. "Ah, of course. You might not believe in them, but they do exist. They just.. don't act in our world. Very few of them do."

Meggie tilted her head in confusion. "Uh, you didn't answer my question. What was your plan back then? Couldn't Xerneas open a portal or something?"

"My mistress has no jurisdiction over the realm of space, as that is Palkia's job."

Lance grumbled. First, he had to digest that Xerneas was real. And now they were talking about Palkia?! He couldn't believe it unless he saw it for himself.

The Lucario crossed his arms. "And where is Palkia, anyway? If you're so versed with Legends, couldn't you just bring Morgan to Palkia?"

Meganium sighed. "Nobody has seen him, or anyone of the Creation Trio in eons. Not even my mistress knows where they are."

Brian was, to say the least, surprised at the whole story. It was like all his childhood dreams came true! He wished to see them, and maybe befriend them. Oh, how cool that would be! He twitched his ears. Something about that story didn't feel right, so he thought about what exactly was bugging him.

"Oh! Miss Meganium, question!"

"Yes?"

Brian clicked his claws and ruffled his mane. "Uh, how do you know what was inside his brain? Because, like… it was only him and Xerneas, right?"

Meganium sighed. "...No. As his caretaker, my mistress allowed me to enter the psychic link, but I was merely a watcher."

"...Oh."

The entire team looked at Meganium, who was now drinking another cup of water. After she finished it, she sighed.

"Despite my best efforts, he escaped. It took me years to track him down."

Meggie was shocked the most. She also wanted to recover her memories, but hearing that… it made things worse.

Scar set his gaze on Meganium. "I understand. And what exactly is he planning with Xerneas?"

"...He wants to take her power," she frowned. "He told me so, when I met him again, he captured me. He wants to capture my mistress and absorb her power so he can go home."

"That doesn't even make sense!" Brian said, scratching his chin.

Max nodded at Brian. "Yeah! Didn't Xerneas say space wasn't her deal?"

Meganium shook her head. "But Morgan can teleport. In his current state, he has limits. But if he were to take a Legend's power to himself…"

"He can warp between dimensions," Lance growled, punching the table in anger. After moving his paw away, he saw it left a mark on the table.

Scar stood up. "It appears this is getting a bit out of hand, gentlemon. But we must continue. It's been a week since our last encounter."

"Yeah, he has to be moving along too." Lilith agreed.

"In this case, I would be happy to guide everyone to my mistress' home."

Lance was quiet. On one hand, that was his mission, his way of overcoming his past. On the other, he wasn't sure he could handle it.

Meggie shared his sentiment, as the entire story only made her insecurities grow. "M-Maybe we should quit, I-I mean… maybe this is fate. We can't escape it."

The others exchanged worried looks, all but Brian, who was looking down, lost in thought.

"Come on, guys!" Brian finally got up, a serious look on his face. "We can do this! I don't believe in fate or any crap like that! But even if it does exist… we're gonna liberate ourselves from it!"

He extended his paw, waiting for the others. One by one, his friends touched it, except Lance. He felt nervous and didn't want to do it, until he saw Brian smiling at him. This made Lance touch the paw, along with everyone there.


Morgan took the goggles he had and put them on a table. His grin was wide, and he looked at his newest invention: a purple pokéball, with the letter "M" inscribed on it. The Gallade sighed in relief.

Derek knocked on the door and entered, eyes fixed on the ball.

"What's that, boss?"

"Derek, my right-hand… this is called 'master ball', a type of pokéball that never fails its target. With this, I will be able to catch Xerneas. That stupid Legend will have what it's coming for her… and I'll finally leave this wretched world."

Derek nodded. "Oh, I see… what about that team? They have our plans now, right?"

"That's where you come in, I finally assembled my team, and you will help me with this…"

Morgan got up, a regular pokéball on his hand. Derek was confused, but didn't question anything. Instead, he waited for his boss to answer.

"You will be in charge of handling those pests, I'm sure they know what I plan by now. I want you to intercept them on their way to the Sea of Wonders, alright?"

"Got it, boss!" Derek said proudly, puffing out his chest.

"Good…"

Derek scratched his chin. "And what about you?"

"I'm heading first, to make sure I can get to the island where the tree is located. I want you to know, Derek, that you play a very important part in my plan…"

"Alright, alright! I get it! I'm not failing you!"

"Good. Because you know what will happen if you do, right?"

"...Yes."


Still at the guild, Brian opened his bag, taking out a metallic gauntlet and facing a wooden mannequin. Max, right by his side, tilted his head. He knew the Zoroark was a mechanic, but wasn't expecting something like that. Curious.

"Alright! You must be asking why I called you here, right?!"

Max simply shrugged. "I assumed you wanted a friendly spar."

Brian stuck out his tongue and picked something from his bag: a small yellow sphere, that he inserted into a hole on top of his gauntlet. When he did so, it started to spark with electricity, leaving Max dumbstruck.

"Wait, you made a weapon? That's neat!"

"Heh," Brian smirked. "I saw how you used an electric punch, and decided to make something for myself! I call this baby… shocker! Ain't it cool?!"

Max returned the smile. "The name? Nah. But the weapon? Yeah! I'm impressed, little guy!"

"I'm using a light ball as the source of power! I figured it would be useful for this thing…"

To prove his point, Brian pointed at one of the mannequins the area had and punched it, releasing a shock wave around the doll and shattering it to pieces. Brian widened his eyes, falling on his butt.

"O-Oh, shit! I didn't think it would be this powerful!"

"Are you okay?" Max asked, helping Brian get up.

He removed the gauntlet, seeing his fur scorched. "Yeah! I might need to work on this a little more, regulate the voltage and all that…"

"You might want to add something to insulate this. A grounding cover or something?"

"I think I'll use Seismitoad scales. It might help…" Brian scratched his chin. "Oh! I had another idea!"

"Really? Well, go for it, kiddo! This might help us!"

Brian chuckled, putting the accessory back in his bag. He gave Max a fist bump and walked off to work on his next project.

The Electivire scratched his head and sighed, walking out of there as well.


Meggie stood on the roof of the condominium she lived in, rain droplets falling on her face. She didn't move, thinking about all she heard about her former boss and friend.

Biting her lip, Meggie clenched her fist. All she wanted right now was to scream, to hide in her bed. But she knew that wouldn't help anyone. She knew they needed her. And she needed them as well.

Sounds of footsteps were getting closer to her, and then a familiar voice. "Can I join you in the brooding session?"

It was the Pokémon she least wanted to see right now; Lance. The Lucario knew that, and so he didn't try to get close to his friend.

"What do you want, Lance? I think I made myself clear before, I need some time to think."

"I know, I know…" he rubbed his arm. "Is just that… I have an idea of what's on your mind right now."

"Oh yeah, what is it?" she asked without even facing him.

Lance looked away from her. "You're scared that if you get your memories back, you'll end up like him."

He was right. What if she was like him? And the fact she lost her memories was the only reason she didn't commit the same things he did?

"...Look, Meggie. I understand why you're upset with me. But trust me, you won't have to deal with that for much longer."

This time, she faced Lance. "What are you saying?"

"I… really can't answer this right now, so I'll focus on the thing that's bothering you."

She didn't say anything more, so Lance resumed his speech.

Lance sighed. "I don't think you're like him. Morgan… he was as much of a psycho as he is now, even without his memories. But you?"

"Yeah, what about me?"

"You're gentle, and strong, kind-hearted. You're nothing like him at all."

Hearing that, Meggie blushed. "T-Thank you, Lance. Maybe… maybe you're right."

"I don't know. It's just a thought," he looked up at the night sky. "At the beginning, I did think you were with him, but now? I know you're not. Like Brian said, we'll liberate our fate if we have to."

Meggie smiled. "Move forward, right?"

"Yeah, move forward…"

She smiled and floated, entering the building and leaving Lance alone.

Alone. Like he deserved. With a growl, Lance stared at the stars, hoping things were different, unable to hold back a tear from falling into the ground. His aura flared up, colored purple.

No. Calm down, Lance… you're not alone.

He took a deep breath to calm down and, to test something out, produced an Aura Sphere on his hand. Like he thought, it didn't go back to being blue.

Very well, then. Despite everything, I'm still me. And if this is the real me… then so be it.

The lavender glow around his body faded, and Lance raised his arm in the air, fist closed. He had to do this. Face his past and move forwards to the future. At some point, he would need to stand up against the Pokémon that made him who he was today, whether he was capable of doing that or not. He had to do it, not only for himself, but…

For the greater good. I am a harbinger of justice. That's… who I am.

He continued there, looking over the city. His new home. And, even if his friends didn't want anything with him anymore, Lance accepted that.
 
Dungeon 33 - Kickin' it to high-seas

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 33 - Kickin' it to high-seas


A single caravel ship sailed across the mysterious and wonderful sea. Its hull was colored burnt orange and it broke the waves with a bobbing motion, white water cresting at the bow. The salty wind blew over its occupants, and one of them stuck her tongue out, rubbing it with her fingers, trying to get the taste off her mouth.

"Why is salt so… salty?!"

"Don't worry, darling!" said Lilith, approaching her friend, Meggie. The Froslass pouted, turning around.

Meggie shrugged. "Honestly I'm glad I don't get seasick… for some reason I thought I would. Still, I hope this doesn't take that long."

"Ya could rest in the cabins, don't cha think?" She put her hand over Meggie's shoulder, and walked inside.

Meanwhile, Max was steering the ship's rail. It was a job perfect for someone like him, who had bulky arms. And it was exciting! Max raised his head, letting the breeze ruffle his fur.

Behind him came Brian, the fox snickering, not as excited as his friend, but he had other things in mind.

"U-Uh, Max? Can I ask you if you're doing this right?" he licked his fingers, ruffling his long mane.

"Of course, lil' buddy! I've done this before, it'll be fine!"

Unconvinced, Brian forced a laugh. "I-It's just that I don't really like the ocean… death by drowning isn't on my bucket list!"

The Electivire gave Brian a big, toothy smile. "Hm… think of it this way! When I'm nervous, I try to crack jokes! It's good to take your mind off this kinda stuff!"

To that, Brian blinked. Oh, so he was like him! That was great! And honestly, Max was right. Brian pondered for a bit and snapped his fingers, a bright, red light covering his body.

Max didn't move, of course, as he was busy with the rail. He didn't notice the Zoroark shapeshifting into a Chatot.

"Shiver me timbers, I mean, Timburrs! How about we look fer some loot, eh?"

Max answered with an accent of his own."...'tis by far the lousiest pirate accent I've ever heard o'!"

Now back to normal, the fox continued to smirk, wrapping his arm around Max's shoulder. "Well, but ye 'ave heard o' me!"

"Tell me, Brian, wha' do ye reckon about a wee chanty t' help?"

"Aye! Let's do it!"

The duo breathed deeply, glancing at each other. With both of them smirking, the singing started.

Max began. "Do wha' ye wants cause a pirate be free, ye be a pirate!"

Brian, on the other hand, put a hand on his chest and continued the lyrics. "Yarr har fiddle dee dee! Bein' a pirate be alright t' be!"

"Do wha' ye wants cause a pirate be free! Ye be a pirate!"

"Ye be a pirate! Aye!"

Away from them, under the sea, two figures swam side by side. The tripulants didn't notice as one of them, a Garchomp, rose to the surface to breathe.

"I'm not failing, boss…"


On the deck, Scar and Lance were sitting down on the floor with their eyes closed. The latter was specifically doing breathing exercises, as he was not a big fan of travelling by ship.

Well, if this is what I have to do, alright.

The two remained standing perfectly still, not even the wind made them stumble, instead it just ruffled Lance's fur and aura sensors. He continued to breathe deeply, until he felt his heart rate normalize. At that moment, he smiled.

Scar opened his right eye. "Now I want you to try something, mister Williams. I will instruct you into meditation, alright?"

Lance nodded, still with his eyes shut. "Ok. I've done this before with my dad, so I have… some idea. I should probably thank you anyway, though."

"Hm? What for?" he tilted his head, now with both eyes open.

"Helping me. Mentally, I mean," Lance mumbled, his face blushing red. "L-Look, it's not every day I do this, so just take it."

"Ha! You're funny, mister Williams. You're welcome. Now, shall we begin?"

The canine nodded and took a deep breath. "Okay, so I just focus on—"

Scar suddenly stood up, looking back to the edge of the ship. Without saying anything, he walked towards it. Lance, confused, followed him.

After they got there, Scar raised his head, feeling the breeze. He quietly hummed a beat, ignoring everything around him. Of course, Lance was more confused than before, and poked the Marowak's shoulder.

In response, Scar leaned back. "Alright, mister Williams. I would like you to do something."

Lance raised a brow. "What?"

"I would like to see how your aura is doing. I'm not an expert, I'm afraid, but I assure you, I know what I'm doing."

"Fine. And… how exactly are we doing this?"

With his bone club, Scar pointed to the sea. "We're surrounded by underwater life! And you, as an empath, can sense their aura. If everything is okay, your senses should still work."

Sighing, the teenager got near the edge of the ship and focused, closing his eyes. His entire body flared purple, glowing wildly, and Lance extended his right arm. The purple hue moved to his right paw. Lance's aura sensors picked up, and began to twitch, and he opened his eyes, both glowing the same color as his paw.

Meanwhile, Scar was simply observing. "I've made some research while we prepared for this trip. Would you like to know what I found out?"

Lance didn't answer, too focused on using his powers to care for what the Marowak had to say. He saw a lot of auras inside the sea, too many to keep count of.

"I think I figured out why it's purple. According to my research…" He heard a growl coming from Lance, but soon continued. "Some say it symbolises healing from traumatic events in one's life."

"..."

"Others say it's a way of relieving anxiety. Which seems to fit you quite well, I must say."

Lance stumbled back, panting. He turned his gaze back to Scar, growling at him. "Okay, okay, I get it! I have PTSD! I have panic attacks, anxiety and depression! No need to drop that on me!"

"Breathe, mis—no, Lance," he tried giving a reassuring smile. "I know you're hurting, but you need to give yourself time to heal. You won't help anyone staying this way, don't you think?"

His ears drooped. "...You're right. Fine, fine. I understand."

"What do you think about training with the emera?" Scar pointed at the looplet Lance was wearing. "While you were berserk last time, I think you can handle the power."

Lance looked away, sighing. "I understand you're helping me, I really do. And I'm thankful for it, but… sometimes it overwhelms me."

He clenched his fist. Noticing that Scar didn't say anything else, Lance went on with his speech.

"Also, I know I accepted your proposal… and I'll do it. After everything is over, I promise. I… have to. For everyone that lives on this planet. They deserve to live a happy life."

Even if my friends hate me for it…

"Lucario are strong and willed, mister Williams. I believe in you. You're a good Pokémon."

He didn't answer, the Lucario simply looked up at the sky, thinking. Maybe he should try the emera.

In the sea, the two figures from before swam faster, following the trail of the ship.


Inside one of the boat's rooms, Meggie got one of the things she so desperately needed: a massage. To her shock, Lilith was really good at it.

The frosty ghost lay on a bed, receiving soft punches from her friend. Meggie didn't complain at all, and was just enjoying the moment. In stressful times like these, she needed some way of relaxing.

She let out a sigh of pleasure. "O-Oh, my… did you do this professionally or something? Lilith, you're wonderful!"

Lilith just chuckled. "Nah! I am an archeologist, though! Working with rough areas is kinda my job."

"Really? That's cool! Pun… not intended!"

"Don't worry about it, darling! Honestly, not everyone would say that… so thanks!"

Meggie stretched her arms and yawned, almost drooling because that massage was just so good.

"So… what does an archeologist do?"

"We research ancient history!" the bunny smiled. "In my case, I graduated in the studies of the ancient Unown language."

"Oh? How can you graduate on something unknown."

Lilith couldn't help but chuckle. "Unown is an ancient Pokémon, darling. It's shaped like letters, but also… not really? It's a bit complicated to explain."

"Well, I'd love to hear some day!"

A few minutes passed, ending the massage. Meggie then sat on the bed and spread out her arms, yawning. That really worked, and she felt way more relaxed than before.

"Thank you! Guess I needed this."

"Y'all seemed so stressed! I'd offer Lance a massage, but something tells me he would… punt me, or worse."

Meggie shrugged. "Considering his deal, he probably would, yeah."

"Anything ya want to tell me about?"

"Just… thinking," Meggie looked down, frowning. "Thinking if I should ask Xerneas to try and get my memories back. I'm not sure if it's worth it."

"Hm. I understand that you're confused."

Meggie blinked, the sudden shift in Lilith's voice was huge, from a friendly one to something more… serious. She decided to shrug it off. Right now, Lilith was offering help.

"Of course! I'm not sure if I want to… but I'm scared. I'm scared that I'm just… like him."

Without warning, the bunny pulled Meggie into a deep hug. That was too much, and the Froslass began to weep, frosty tears streaming down. She embraced the hug and nodded.

Oh, it was so much for her. It was almost like her body would crack at any moment due to sheer pressure.

"I-I told myself I would be strong, for me and for my friends… I meant it! But now? Now I'm just… wanting to give up."

"There, there, everything will be alright? Okay~?" Lilith rubbed Meggie's head gently.

"What… what do I do, then? I don't want to be a burden…!"

"You don't need to be strong all the time. There's strength in weakness too, alright?"

"I… don't know."

Lilith continued to hug her friend and ally, for as long as Meggie wanted or needed.

"You… might need time to think about it, okay? Can you promise that?"

"...Yes."

Lilith nodded, pulling away from the embrace and standing up. Despite that, she managed to keep a smile on her face.

"Okay, then. Call me if ya need to!"

Meggie didn't answer, and the silence remained, even as Lilith left the room.


Brian kept hanging out with Max, both singing all the pirate songs each one could remember, ignoring the fact that neither had a good voice for songs. Suddenly, Brian plopped to the ground.

"...Okay, I'm tired of singing. And thirsty."

"I kinda need to stay here. Steering, y'know?" Max nodded with a drop of sweat running down his cheek.

"Yeah, yeah. By the way, how long until we get to the island? I was thinkin' of sleeping to sorta… skip time?" Brian shrugged. "I dunno."

Max sighed. "I guess… a few more days? Honestly, I hope that Morgan guy doesn't get there sooner than us. If he does the thing he wants to, who knows what'll happen?"

"Terrible things," said Meganium, having arrived next to them.

"Oh, miss Meganium! How are you?" Brian waved at her.

"Hmph. I was better before," she rolled her eyes. "Anyway, I'm preparing our lunch. I'm not sure if you know, but travelling on a ship requires a specific type of diet."

They both nodded, Brian having a bit of drool on his mouth. "Cool!"

"It should be ready in about thirty minutes, so I'll see you then."

With that, she left the area.


Lance released an Aura Sphere into the water, and as he thought, it was lavender. Just like everything aura-related these last few weeks. He found it to be a bit annoying, as if he had no control over his emotions.

"This is ridiculous! I'm okay, why is it… like this? I even tried to accept these feelings so it would go back to normal, but no! It doesn't work! Of course it doesn't!"

Scar crossed his arms. "I told you before, maybe it's what the 'normal' state is for you."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Research. Never underestimate knowledge," Scar tapped his skull as he talked. "It can be your greatest weapon, do you understand?"

"Whatever," out of nowhere, Lance's sensors twitched again, and he looked at the sea, focusing the best he could to try and find the source.

"What is it?"

"I recognize this aura… from somewhere. Damn it! There's too many ferals in here to locate it properly!"

Like he said, Lance didn't sense anything. Or rather, there were too many things for him to sense, like finding a needle in a haystack. He focused harder, eyes beginning to glow.

Come on, come on!

Scar decided to take a look, but saw nothing more than the water hitting the wooden ship. However, he trusted Lance's instincts.

"Should we warn the others? We might be under attack."

"...I can't focus!" Lance shouted, stumbling back and covering his eyes. Scar heard a hissing sound coming from him.

The Marowak put his hand around Lance's shoulder. "You shouldn't be overworking yourself like this! Are you okay?!"

"I'm fine! It's… the trace is gone. I can't feel it anymore."

"Let's go inside. You need to rest, and I bet you're hungry."

Unable to protest, the duo went to the kitchen.


They stormed in, finding the table set, filled with various berries and Meganium in the back, wearing an apron fit for her body. For some reason, she was smiling.

"Ah, you arrived early! I just finished setting up everything. Come! You all must be hungry!"

"R-Right," Lance blinked.

She raised a brow. "Is there a problem, Lucario?"

"...I was expecting something else. But it's fine."

Lance sat down, shoving his anxiety away. It somehow worked, but he thought food would get his mind off all the stress and chomped down an oran berry.

At the same time, Meganium was talking with Scar, and the Marowak nodded, leaving the kitchen to call the others, leaving Lance alone with the grass-type.

As expected, they didn't talk much, just exchanging glances here and there. Lance, though, was expressing rage, biting down an apple with all his might. Meganium took notice of this and just chuckled. To her, this was more of a childish act than anything else.

"What's so funny?"

Meganium shrugged. "I don't know, why are you so angry? We're going to take down your abuser, shouldn't you be excited about this?"

"I'm… not a believer in legends," Lance stared at her with cold eyes. "Or at least, I don't want to believe in someone that stands around doing nothing while others suffer."

She created a vine, slapping Lance's face and leaving a mark. "How dare you?! My mistress works very hard!"

Lance simply rubbed off the mark on his cheek and laughed. "Oh, of course! And where was she when I needed, huh? When a child, and I repeat, a child was tortured and abused?! Where was she?!"

Meganium laughed again. "Please, you can't put the blame of your problems on someone else. That's… petty."

That was the last straw. Lance's heart started to beat faster, and he unwillingly let out a growl, shattering an apple he held into tiny pieces.

He didn't believe that. How stupid was that Meganium? Why did she defend them? Maybe she was just as part of the problem as the Legends.

"Petty?! Listen here!" Lance stood up, aura flaring up again as he raised his voice. "I suffered because the Legends you so desperately want to create excuses for don't do their jobs! Aren't they supposed to protect us, common folk?!"

Lance fell to his knees, trembling and wrapping his arms around himself. Meganium stood there, watching the breakdown that was happening. He clutched his face with both hands, grasping tight; his blood was boiling with anger, and Lance felt dizzy, nauseous, even, unable to focus or breathe properly.

"I-It's all because… because—"

A loud thud drew their attention as someone dashed towards Lance, hugging him, taking care not to touch the spike, even if it was deformed. It was Brian, having heard the commotion from the ship's deck. He brushed off all the uneasy feelings about his brother for the moment, considering Lance's wellbeing more important.

"It's… it's gonna be alright, Lance… okay? You'll be fine, we'll be fine…"

The Lucario burst into tears, grabbing Brian's back with his paws. Right now, he felt like a kid again, like that small Riolu he once was, scared and hurt. But the warmth of the hug worked, slowly but surely, as Lance put his head on Brian's chest fluff, breathing quietly.

"Thank… thank you…"

Helping his brother stand up, Brian looked at Meganium, furious with her. The grass-type scoffed, walking to the table and sitting down on the ground. The other Pokémon soon joined them, to eat and relax. It seemed like they all needed it.


The meal went on for countless minutes, and even if it had no meat in it, everyone enjoyed the food. Brian, specifically, savoured the sweet and watery flavor of a watmel berry, spitting out the seeds on his plate.

"Yummy! Who knew berries could taste so good?!" Brian nodded, picking up another one and chomping down on it.

"Well, I am in touch with nature," Meganium raised her head. "It's only natural that I know how to properly serve berries."

Max swallowed an entire pinap berry, but regretted soon after, sticking out his tongue, a mix of spiciness and soreness on it.

"Okay, this is not for me! And uh, where did you even get it?"

Meganium pointed two vines at Lance and Scar. "Well, considering they rented this ship, I proposed to shop for groceries. Seems like it was the right call here."

Meggie blinked, nearly choking on a aguav berry, swallowing it just in time. "W-W-What?! You two rented an entire ship?! How rich are you guys?!"

They both exchanged looks and shrugged.

"Dad owns a guild, our allowance is huge. And this job pays well."

"What mister Williams said. As for me, I have financial support from a king, as I said before."

Meggie lowered her head and sighed. "I just wanted to confirm I'm not crazy…"

Lance stood up, picking an oran berry and biting it. "I'll be off, need to check on something. Don't wait for me."

He stormed off before any of them had the chance to reply.


Despite coming out to, as his brother would say, "brood", Lance was actually calm. Something about the wind reminded him of his town's beach, where he used to play with his father.

"Ah, the memories… of a time where I was actually happy."

Chomping down the last bit of the berry, Lance twitched his ears, hearing a loud thunder in the distance. He decided to check it out, and saw a few storm clouds headed north.

This time, however, it were his feelers that perked up, as Lance narrowly dodged an incoming scythe attack from the air. He stumbled back and looked up again, and there he saw it: the Garchomp from before!

"Heh! Looks like it's the failed experiment!" Derek chuckled, flying. He opened his mouth, fire coming out from inside his throat.

"Tsc," Lance focused, eyes glowing purple as he created an energy bone. His eyes darted around the ship as he calculated the trajectory.

He threw the bone into the air and it hit the mast, being ricocheted into Derek's snout. The result was the Garchomp swallowing his own move, making him lose his focus and crash into the sea again.

"He'll be back soon…" Lance took a deep breath and, with his red bracelet, created an aura gauntlet.

Lance heard the door to the kitchen opening, followed by all the others, now by his side in the deck. He didn't even need to explain the situation, as everyone was now in a combat position, forming a circle around each other.

"It's that Garchomp… everyone, be care—"

They were interrupted by a loud, deafening roar that made the waves rumble around the ship. Lance's sensors picked up again, and he shivered at what caused it; a powerful aura that only seemed to grow more by the second.

"What's going on?!" Meggie gulped, shards of ice in her hand.

From the sea, came a long, serpentine body, enveloped in rainbow energy; a Gyarados.

They could only watch as the enemy Pokémon became bulkier, the fins on its cheeks became longer and gained a yellow tint. Its crest grew larger and black, and its barbels also gained considerable length. A large spike extended downward underneath its chin, and it now had a black underside with a red stripe around the edges. The yellow spots along its body were replaced by raised red scales.

Gyarados' energy aura faded away and it roared, shaking the ship. Derek emerged from the water, flying right by Gyarados' side. He had a wide smirk on his face, even if it was scorched due to the previous attack.

"I-It mega evolved!" Scar pointed out, preparing his club to attack.

Lance looked back. "We need a plan… Gyarados is a water-type and flying-type, who here has electric moves?!"

Brian and Max raised their hands. Nodding, they both stepped forward, but stumbled back, seeing that Gyarados had wrapped part of the ship between its grasp.

"I'll distract it! You two strike with all you got!" Lance dashed, aura gauntlet in hand. He aimed at the beast's eye and fired the gauntlet. It homed in on its target, hitting the mega Pokémon, who proceeded to roar in pain.

This was the opportunity the other two needed, Max snapped his fingers, hands wrapped in electricity. Brian did the same, but using his gauntlet. They both punched the scaly hide in the middle of the ship, making the electrical current spread across that section of Gyarados and weaken its grasp on the ship.


Meanwhile, Meggie floated in the air, dodging most of Derek's strikes against her. However, this was exhausting to her, and she found herself falling down.

Meganium caught her using her vines, gently laying her down. Derek, though, continued to smirk.

"Whoa, when boss told me about you, I thought you would be… stronger? Heh. Guess I was wrong."

Meggie pouted, getting up. "If you're so strong, why do you need to take us down, anyway? It's not like we even have chances of winning!"

Meganium frowned. "Froslass, I don't think that's a good idea. Mocking him, I mean."

Derek widened his eyes and snarled, preparing to use his fire attack once more. However, a sharp pain on his head took his attention out of it, and launched him into the sea.

Lilith fell to the ship's deck, sighing in relief. She tapped the ground, taking some of the scales from her feet.

"Thank you," Meggie smiled. "It worked!"

However, the Garchomp arose once more, this time, his speech was reduced to growls and snarls. He was done with all the fighting and submerging, so he took a deep breath in, flames surrounding his mouth.

"S-Shoot! How are we supposed to defeat that guy?!"

To make matters worse, Gyarados wrapped its tail around the deck again, despite the efforts of the others, including Scar, who launched his bone club into the Gyarados' forehead.

"Mister Williams!" Scar jumped, picking up his club. "We're facing off against two megas, don't you think you should use the emera?!"

Lance didn't answer, and stumbled back, falling to his knees. The situation was terrible, both sides trying to contain the enemy forces, but failing to do so.

Perhaps Scar was right. Maybe… maybe he had to use the emera. He looked at the looplet, and the stone. It called to him, just like it did before. But this time, he hesitated. What if he hurt his friends? He wasn't a hero, of course not. And even if everything worked out, who was to say his friends wouldn't still be mad at him?

"...Without reward."

Words his father said to him and Brian, in a time when they were kids. Lance stood up, raising his arm in the air, and closed his eyes.


The emera glowed, transferring all its energy to Lance. Like the last time he did it, the auric Pokémon screamed in pain, feeling his body shift and grow. Soon enough, the aura shifted into lavender again, and Lance panted.

"..."

He opened his eyes, glowing much like his body. With one step forward, he left a crack on the ship's wood. Everyone was still fighting, although every now and then someone looked at him, whether it was fear or shock.

His gaze turned from Gyarados to the mast, and then to Derek, high up in the air. With a smirk that showed his fangs, Lance ran towards the mast, gathering distance until he jumped at it, kicking the wood with his legs.

Swiftly, Lance looked at the mega Pokémon his brother was up against, and in a quick movement, he jumped off of the mast, creating violet aura claws with his gauntlet. He landed on Gyarados' face and slashed it with the claw, forcing it to retreat and drop blood on the deck.

Still not done, Lance jumped from the water-type into the air, aiming towards Derek. The Garchomp, busy with the females attacking him, didn't notice, and received a punch to his face that shot him backwards.

Finally, Lance landed in the wooden deck, panting in exhaustion; using so many movements and so quickly drained him. But somehow, he felt he wasn't done yet. His aura sensors picked up, seeing everyone else staring at him.

To him, they were trying to attack him, and to that, he let out a snarl. No! He wouldn't be killed, not by them! Not by anyone! Yet, despite that, his body was failing him, and he fell on his knees.

"L-Lance?! A-Are you okay, buddy? Please, talk to me!" Brain tried to hug his brother again, but was received by a fearsome slash. He gasped, ears drooping.

Another roar came out, and Gyarados emerged with Derek on top of its head. The water Pokémon opened its mouth, charging a white energy beam.

Brian gasped, his fur standing on its end as he recognized that move: Hyper Beam. To his shock, the others had mostly the same reaction… except Lance.

Lance gave one step forward and raised his arm, creating an aura shield that wrapped itself around the others.

"Too bad. I kinda liked fighting you guys. Well… doubt that you'll survive, so… see you all in the Distortion World!"

Gyarados fired the move, and everything seemed to freeze in time, Lance staring at the attack as it drew near them. Once it hit, he nearly fell back, but instead, felt something holding onto him; his friends. They were helping him contain the blast.

Despite their best efforts, the ship was collapsing, wood breaking apart. Still, Lance kept holding on as best as he could, even if his body felt numb, even if everyone hated him… he had to.

"K-Keep… keep it up, Lance!" Brian shouted, struggling not to pass out. Or worse.

Even with the combined strength of everyone, the pressure was simply too much. The mast fell down behind them, breaking more of the wood, enough to give the ship a hole and making it start sinking.

"C-Come… on!" Lance's vision blurred and finally, they fell down on the sea.
 
Dungeon 34 - Stranded

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 34 - Stranded


A discomfort. Similar to a tingling, but it hurt, almost like it burned him. Opening his eyes, all he saw was the darkness that surrounded him; his vision blurred, while the discomfort spread all across his body.

Something wrapped itself around him. He took a look at it, it was… some sort of rope? No, this certainly didn't have the texture for it to be a rope, it was more like… a root? A root was pulling him?

He was dragged and gasped, opening his mouth. This was a bad idea, as he gagged on water. Cold, salty water. Now struggling to breathe, he tried to let go of whatever was pulling him, until he realized the direction of the pull; it was bringing him to the surface. He closed his eyes and allowed the root to do its job.


His gasps continued, coughing up all the water he swallowed. The roots, or actually, the vines that were wrapping him retreated into their owner: Meganium.

She raised her head, stepping on the soft sand as she approached the Pokémon.

"Are you alright, Scar?"

For a moment, the Marowak didn't bother to answer. He looked for his club and soon found it, hidden in the sand. He took it, rubbing it off. A green flame appeared on top of the bone.

"I'm fine. Where are the others?"

"I managed to rescue them all," she pointed to her back, where Scar saw the unconscious bodies of his teammates.

Right. So first things first, he had to make sure they were all okay. To do that, he checked their breathing, and thankfully, everyone was normal, as far as he could tell.

But there was something Scar was now concerned with; how were they getting to the island without a boat? He sat down, thinking.

"I know what's on your mind," Meganium joined the Marowak, sighing. A rare moment of kindness from her.

"Well, it is a bit obvious. Regardless, there has to be a way for us to continue the trip… I just need to think."

Meganium didn't answer. She couldn't. They were, by all accounts, stranded there. No ship, no means of travel. Not even a kind water Pokémon to carry them.

Their attentions were drawn to a loud cough, coming from Brian. The Zoroark gasped for air, and sat up, panting. His fur was dripping wet on the floor, making his mane cover most of his forehead. He shook his head to remove some of the liquid and stood up.

With his eyes darting around, Brian stopped once he saw his brother, running towards him without even stopping to catch his breath.

Lance's eyes snapped open, and he coughed. He was overcome by a dizzy sensation that forced him to stay down. Brian didn't say anything, just hugging his sibling with tears falling down from his eyes.

"Wait, stop… watch out for the spike!"

"I don't care, Lance! I'm glad you're safe!"

Scar and Meganium joined them, the first with a smile, while the latter simply nodded. The Lucario remained down, his body aching from the previous battle. Brian sat, rubbing his mane and smiling sheepishly.

"Heh. I'm glad everyone is okay… they are okay, right?"

Lance nodded. "I feel their aura. They're alive."

Scar sighed. "I'm glad you're awake. We… we might need to discuss things."

"Exactly, because right now, we don't have any transportation," Meganium pointed out.

The siblings looked at each other, both grumbing. However, Brian soon smirked, putting on his goggles.

"Well, glad you guys have a mechanic here! I never worked with wood before, but I can try!"

His brother facepalmed. "Are… are you kidding? Brian, it takes months to build a boat! We don't have the time!"

"Oh…" he sat down again, whining.

Scar scratched his chin. Brian's idea wasn't bad, it just wasn't doable in the tight schedule they had, now tighter because of the attack. Still, there had to be something they could do. Anything.

"Mister Williams, perhaps we should brainstorm some ideas? We shouldn't stay on this island forever."

"I'm… honestly tired," Lance raised the arm that had a looplet on it. "Guess what? Mega evolving drains a lot of energy."

Brian whined again. "And not to mention you kinda go out of control…"

Scar sighed, turning around. After the beach ended, there was a large, tropical forest, with tall bushes and trees. Somehow, the landscape gave him shivers.

"Where are we, anyway?" Brian asked, scratching the sand off his mane.

"You might need a bit more time to get rid of that," Lance rolled his eyes. "Seriously, why is sand so sticky?"

Meganium interrupted the conversation by pointing to a map on the sand. The paper was drenched in water and ruined.

"I'm not entirely sure… but I think we're close to our goal."

"Oh, really? And where do you think we are?" Lance said, sounding more like a growl.

"Of all the islands we could be stranded on, this is by far the worst one. Let's pray I'm wrong… for now, rest."


After a few hours passed, the rest of them woke up. They received a proper explanation on what happened after they fell into the sea, and what to do now. Which was basically "think about a way to get out of here, and fast!", as Brian said.

Still, they were all exhausted, and for the moment were mostly just resting. Meggie was throwing a few pebbles into the sea, not even bothering to float, and the ground around her froze.

It all went crumbling down. The plan, their ship, and now everyone was stuck there. Of course, she hoped they would think of something, and throwing rocks worked well to distract her from more depressing thoughts.

Someone poked her shoulder, and in an instinctual reaction, she blew a ghostly wind at whoever did it. As it turned out, it was just Brian, who sat next to her, shrugging the wind off.

"W-Whoops! Sorry, sorry! I didn't know it was you! A-And… sorry!"

He sported a toothy grin. "Heh. It's okay! I admit, I was kinda trying to scare you. It worked…"

Meggie couldn't help herself, smiling. "You know what, Brian? I want to thank you. For being my friend all this time, and… supporting me."

He looked up with a somber expression. "That's what this team is meant to be. Or… it was. As kids, I suggested the name because I wanted to help others… and Lance is—was—my best friend."

"Oh, yeah…" she bit her lip. The whole deal with Brian's brother was still going on, and during all these few weeks, they never even talked. Yet another thing that crumbled down…

"It's weird, y'know? I… I can't forgive what he did, but I don't want to lose my brother, too. And…"

Brian wrapped his arms around himself, whining. Just saying that stung like an actual blade pierced his chest. He didn't want to talk about it, and somewhat hoped Meggie ended the conversation.

"You… you did the same thing with that Lycanroc. To save me."

No! Why did she have to continue?! Brian gulped, nodding to her. "The worst part? I-I don't regret it because I saved you."

"This is all so complicated…" and then, an idea came to mind. She didn't entirely believe it would work, but it was worth a shot. "Maybe we should talk about things with Lance."

"W-What?!" Brian blinked, stuttering. "B-But… But…"

"No 'buts' or asses!"

"...Meggie, no."

"Fine, fine. I thought you would laugh," she pouted. "Anyway… maybe talking things out is the best way to handle this. I can't deny that both of you helped me, and I want to repay your kindness… by helping your brother."

"Does he even want to be helped?" Brian looked away, still unsure. But then he sensed something on his paw, seeing it was Meggie's hand. He quickly pulled it off, blushing.

"I'm… not really sure. But I want to try."

Brian mumbled. "Got it. Uh, can we change the subject? Like, I don't wanna think about this right now."

"Okay, then," she cheered. "What do you want to talk about?"

"...I have no idea."

"Huh. Well, I have a question! Why did you choose to be a mechanic?"

Brian smirked, tapping his goggles and gauntlet. Luckily, it was still functional. His attention went back to the question. Honestly, he was hoping someone would ask that. And it happened!

"Honestly, I like fixing stuff. As a Zorua, it was pretty hard," Brian chuckled, using his powers to turn into his previous form, a small, quadruped Zorua. "And… to be honest, I was always that kid that did the things others thought I couldn't do! To prove a point, kinda."

"Oh my! You're so cute!" Meggie gasped. She thought about petting Brian, but remembered it was just an illusion, not really shape-shifting. So, instead, she pouted.

"Thank you~! You are too!" Brian went back to normal, yawning. "Anyway, I was great, well, to the extent my quadruped body allowed, great at fixing stuff!"

He seemed so ecstatic and happy this way, constantly making poses as if he was actually using his tools right now, and had a big, goofy smile. Meggie smiled as well.

Brian continued. "Sadly, they didn't have any engineering courses back home… it's one of the reasons I accepted the offer to move out!"

"Oh yeah, to Bright Dawn."

"Yup. And…" his ears drooped, remembering all that happened. "W-Well, we didn't have time to search for that course, and I really wanted to help that Tyrunt…"

Meggie frowned. Although she didn't hear the full story of how they handled that mission, she knew a couple things. Like how it was a big conspiracy. And… it must have been hard for Brian. Such a gentle soul.

"Are you okay? We can talk about other stuff!"

"Y-Yeah. I think… I-I'm good. After the mission was over, we met you, and I finally sharpened my skills!" he said with a wide grin.

"Congrats, Brian!" Meggie cheered, clapping her hands. Seeing him so cheerful after the recent events was refreshing, and she hoped more moments like that would come.

"Aaaaand now?! Well, I'm glad I got to build items for you and Lance! Our team is stronger than… well, not 'than ever', but you get the point!"

Brian tried removing more sand from his mane, and Meggie watched it with an evil grin. She picked up a patch of sand and threw in his direction, making the fox stumble back, looking down at his stomach.

"Hey! This takes an awful amount of time to wash off!"

Meggie simply chuckled, beginning to float, and inhaled as much air as she could. Brian gulped, knowing what she was trying to do.

"Welp. You're not the only one with tricks, lady!" Brian grinned, launching a black ball on the floor, and splashing Meggie with sand as well. She chuckled in response, releasing a frosty wind on Brian.

At least for now, they could relax.


Max gulped at the sight: Lilith had just kicked the trunk of a tree with no issues. She was terrifying when she wanted to be.

The Electivire rubbed his head, smiling. "W-Well, I guess we have food now? It's a good thing!"

"Don't be melodramatic, Max. I'm not punching or kicking ya… yet!" she teased.

He forced a laugh and looked at the forest next to them. For some reason, he was barely able to see there, as darkness covered most of the area, and he saw nothing, not even a single feral to hunt.

"Say… you have any clue what's up with this island? 'Cause… it's creepin' me out."

Lilith shrugged, picking up as many berries as she could with her arms. "No idea."

Her friend gulped, sweat dropping on the ground. "...I hope this place isn't haunted, Y'know, by ghosts!"

To that, Lilith kicked his leg gently, and he only let out a grunt of pain. "Idiot, did ya forget we have ghosts on the crew? Also, aren't ya supposed to be our 'wise professor'?"

"Well, yeah. Look, I don't see anyone there," he pointed to the darkness. "And I doubt this is natural, either. This is why I said it was haunted."

He picked up a single leaf, crushing it with his finger, but not using any strength to do so.

"How is it haunted?"

Max gulped. "I… I feel like this place is calling me. It wants me to go inside."

He blinked a few times as he approached the forest. He almost looked like he wasn't in control of his body, not saying anything, simply walking.

"Uh, Max? Ya okay in there, buddy?"

The Electivire ignored, until he felt a sting on his hand. That made him come out of the trance he was in. Meanwhile, the forest's entrance warped, much like waves in water, and on the ground, a few vines retreated to the inside.

"Okaaaay… this is definitely not natural. What is that? It kinda looks like a portal. Do you think someone did this?"

"Like who?"

Max scratched his chin in thought. "...Maybe him? The one we're looking for? When I touched… whatever that is, it depleted my energy."

"I don't think so, but again, this place is devoid of light."

"Maybe you're right. In any case, let's report it to the boss later."

"Gotcha."

The bunny turned around, and left that area alongside Max. As they walked, they saw Brian and Meggie playing in the distance, across the shore. They decided to ignore them, as it was none of their business.


Everyone else wasn't as happy. Lance, in particular, crushed a rock in his paw to relieve some of the stress, letting the dust fall. Alongside him were Scar and Meganium, both equally as angry about the situation as him, but managing to hold it in better.

He finally spoke. "Alright, then. We're… really out of options right now. There's no way to fix the ship, right?"

Scar nodded, pointing to the wreckage. It was useless to try and fix things in that state, but he appreciated the sentiment regardless.

"If we stay like this, we won't go anywhere…" Meganium sighed, but suddenly gasped. She cleared her throat. "Perhaps we could try to get a ride with one of the ferals in the sea?"

"That… that might be something," Scar agreed.

Lance, too, thought that idea was worth a shot. Well, considering it was the only thing they could do, it was better than nothing, at the very least. Now all that was left was finding said ferals… and taming them.

To do that, they had to draw them out of the sea. Lance pondered a bit more, devising a plan. After he was done, he smirked, snapping his fingers.

"I got it. Already know how to do this. But I need some more supplies…"

Scar looked at him, tilting his head. "What are you suggesting?"

"I need to go there…" Lance pointed to the forest, gulping as he did so.

"No, absolutely not!" Meganium suddenly shouted, bringing the attention to herself. She smiled sheepishly, calming down. "I… I'm pretty sure this is the Forest of the Dead."

"I assume it's exactly what the name says…" the Marowak sighed.

Even with her usual stoicness, Meganium shivered. "You've seen nothing. You think those ferals can give trouble? Well, as it turns ou—"

"I'm sorry, Meganium, but I'm doing this. By myself. I… I need some time alone, and I planned everything out. I'll be fine."

Not wanting to wait for an answer, Lance ran towards the forest. His heart thumped, for unknown reasons. That place felt… to say the very least, it pulled him in.

I have no idea what this place is… but it's calling me. I need to go.


The inside was so much worse. Lance, using his natural senses, checked for any aura, but found nothing. Not even the trees looked alive, and that wasn't even the biggest issue with that place.

He left the area to confirm his suspicions. And, as he thought, the entrance was almost like a different dimension. While the outside looked lively, once someone got inside, they saw the striking difference. Lance thought they were just optical illusions, a trick of the mind, but he smiled, a bit happy to be proven wrong.

Sighing, Lance continued his journey. A part of him wanted to know why this area looked so different from most dungeons he was in, but he shrugged it off as being caused by whatever greater power created the universe.

With that being said, he saw… nothing. A thick fog covered the area, and the flora was dead; he even saw a skeleton that looked like an Aron.

"There's nothing wrong with this pla—"

"Hi, Lance."

Recognizing the voice, he turned back; Brian was standing behind him, with Meggie floating next to him. His teammates, friends— or former friends—, showing up at the worst possible time.

"...What do you want with me?"

THey both exchanged looks, as if asking who was going to speak first. Brian cleared his throat and looked at his sibling. Lance noticed that the Zoroark was acting way more serious than he normally did.

"Listen, first, what's up with 'I need to do this alone' thing? Aren't we a team?"

Lance stomped the ground. "What?! You two haven't spoken to me in days! Don't come talk to me about our 'team'!"

"Because you told us you're a murderer!" Meggie screamed out, panting afterwards.

Lance fired a warning shot. "I have a reason to do it! You just… don't understand! Leave me alone!"

Brian whined, a mix of anger and sorrow on his bright-blue eyes. It was painful, having to confront Lance like this, and his heart skipped a beat because of it. Even if he got hurt… he wouldn't give up on his brother.

"The thing is… I do understand. Lance, I killed too…"

After hearing that, Lance blinked. "When did that happen?"

"Right when we raided Morgan's HQ. A Lycanroc was gonna hit Meggie…"

"He saved me," she said, putting her hand on her chest.

He stumbled back, tripping on the skeleton he saw before, and falling to the ground. Lance grunted in pain, cursing his carelessness.

However, when he tried to throw away the skeleton, his eyes widened: it wasn't there anymore. He blinked a few times, maybe his mind was playing tricks with him, or maybe Brian was using his illusions again… the latter option seemed much more natural.

"Brian! What were you thinking?! I tripped!"

He snarled. "Hey, don't change the subject! And it's not my fault you fell on nothing!"

"...What do you mean, 'nothing'?"

Meggie pointed to the ground. "There's nothing there, Lance."

He took a look again, and saw the skeleton once more. This time, though, it changed, from an Aron to a Lairon. He stumbled back and got up, with sweat running down his face.

Brian attempted once more to reason with his brother. "Lance, come on! We're here to talk with you!"

"G-Get away!" Lance panted, running away from them, not even caring about the reason he was there anymore. He needed to be alone, right then, right now!


Back at the shore, everyone was uneasy. Mostly because Lance didn't bother to explain what his "plan" was, and they had to fill in the pieces by themselves.

"Hm, but how do we get their attention?" Lilith asked, rubbing her head.

"I have an idea…" Max snapped his fingers, enveloping his right hand in electricity.

The Marowak quickly got near his electric teammate to warn him about the dangers of doing that.

"Wait, don't! You might kill them this way!" Scar explained.

"Come on, the sea is huge! I doubt I'm gonna commit feral genocide!"

"I don't like this… but we don't have any other options." Meganium raised a brow.

Defeated by democracy, Scar sighed, letting Max go on his way. The Electivire punched the water, spreading an electric current across a small area. He hoped that would be enough to make the ferals show up. To be precise, he hoped for a big one, like the Gyarados from before.

His attempt wasn't successful, and only made a few Feebas and Magikarp rise to the surface, dead. Noticing that, he facepalmed. Scar rolled his eyes in annoyance; having warned them of that exact scenario.

Lilith was just as unamused, sitting down. "...Back to square zero, then. What's the plan now?"

Scar wondered, and gazed at Meganium. "You know this area, correct? What's the closest place we can go that's inhabited?"

Meganium tapped her chin using her vines, thinking. Even before the crash, they had to be near this island, and since they were on the way to the Tree of Life…

"I think we're close to Prism Bridge and Altar of Ice… this island is between them."

"And who even lives there? Another Legend?" Scar asked.

"I'm… not sure. There's not many Legends still acting on this world."

"Great. So how long would we have to walk until we get there? I assume it's not exactly a walk in the park."

Meganium rolled her eyes. "I am a caretaker, not a navigator. I'm not sure, miles?"

"Uh, what are ya planning?"

Scar smirked. "Once team Liberators is back from their trip into the woods, I will ask miss Meggie to make an ice bridge using her powers," he was ecstatic, explaining the plan, even raising his head. "There, we will cross to the next island. It's a bit crude, but I think it's doable."

Max tapped the Marowak's head. "That's great! So all we have to do is wait?"

Suddenly, Lilith's ears twitched and she pointed to the sea. "We might not need to!"

In the distance, two faint figures could be seen: a Garchomp and a Gyarados. They were heading in the island's direction, faster every second.

Scar furiously raised his club, setting it ablaze. "It's only a matter of time before they get here! We need to bring back the others!"

Meganium frowned. "If that forest truly is the one I'm thinking of… let's hope they make it back."


As Lance walked into the woods, it stayed mostly the same. Patches of dead grass, tree trunks fallen on the ground, and… skeletons. The Lairon skeletons kept reappearing every few seconds, and that annoyed him to the point he blasted them into pieces with his Aura Sphere.

"What is wrong with this place?!"

And, of course, nobody answered. Because, in his rush, Lance left his friends behind. That shouldn't sting, but it did. He gasped, stumbling back as another skeleton appeared in front of him. Lance, fed up with it already, blasted it off to dust.

"Just… leave me alone!"

What he didn't expect was the dust gathering around into a familiar shape. Lance gulped, feeling a cold, almost ghostly shiver down his spine.

The dust reformed into the form of a Servine, that had an evil grin. Lance immediately fell to his knees, head lowered, recognizing that Servine; one that had shown up in so many nightmares he had as a kid. Instead of the normal color, this one had black scales, and heterochromatic eyes; one red and one blue.

"Are you scared, child?"

Lance prepared another sphere, but his hand trembled too much to aim. "Who… are you?!"

"Me?" it laughed, filling the air with its distorted voice.

"I asked a question!"

Servine burst into laughter, walking towards Lance, footsteps sounding more like crystals. In its face was a wide grin, wider than it should be physically possible.

"Oh, who I am does not matter right now. I know what's on your mind, and I'll be important… later, I suppose. But for now, I deem you… worthy."

Lance fell to the ground, and Servine exploded into dust once more, leaving the boy panting and confused about what just happened.

His ears twitched, hearing someone calling his name. In front of him, the scenario changed to a lava pool. A roar came out of it, and a big, clawed hand punched the ground. It burned and melted off, filling the air with the scent of hot metal.

"...I know who you are. You don't scare me anymore!"

The rest of the body came out; an Aggron with burnt body armor and flames all over its body. Like the Servine before, it had heterochromatic eyes.

"Why… why are you doing this?!"

"I'm merely testing you, to see how you might be useful. Of course, I said you were worthy, and I meant it. Consider this another test. With that being said… this is how your mind works, isn't it? Fascinating, indeed."

Lance tried to fire an Aura Sphere, but nothing came out of his paw. Then, he tried using the gauntlet his brother gave him, but it failed as well.

Running out of options, Lance fell back. Aggron grinned, stomping its tail on the ground and lunging at Lance. He dodged and at the last second, grabbed the Aggron's tail, launching it as far away as Lance could.

"I… I did it. It's over."

His words could not be more wrong. Two vines sprouted from the dirt, grabbing Lance's arms, and before he knew it, more appeared, trapping him.


Brian screamed at the top of his lungs for his sibling, but there was no answer. He continued regardless, walking and looking around; the scenery didn't change, only having a thicker fog, and vines on the ground. He nearly tripped on one of them, but it was fine.

"Meg, how I wish I could float like you. It's so practi—"

But nobody came. Neither of his friends was there, and it just dawned on Brian that he was completely alone. He gulped, looking around and calling them once more. Maybe if he did, they would show up.

"Lance! Meggie! Where are you?!"

Fed up with calling, Brain got on all fours and sprinted, searching for them.

When all seemed to be hopeless, he finally heard a voice calling him. It sounded… feminine! It was Meggie! With a smile on his face, Brian dashed towards the direction, twitching his ears.

"I'm coming! Don't worry! We'll get out of here!"

And once he found Meggie, they would crack a few jokes together. Nothing was better to take one's mind off problems than fun! Well, as much fun as they could have while stranded on some random island, which probably wasn't much.

Brian stopped to catch his breath, and heard the voice again. He smiled, putting on his goggles. With such thick fog, he needed them.

But… nobody was there. It was just a flat area, with dead trees and vines. Maybe Meggie was hiding? Brian continued to walk, screaming her name.

During his last attempt to call her out, the voice spoke again, coming from an unknown direction. Brian took a look around, but something stopped him. A cold sensation around his leg, with the added smell of a rotten corpse.

"W-W-W-What?!"

He couldn't even move to look at what that was, not without some heavy effort. Slowly, but surely, Brian lowered his head, and the sight made him scream.

It was a paw. It barely had any flesh on it, nothing but a few patches of fur and the skeleton, with vines coming out of it.

"G-Get… get off me!" Brian released a flamethrower on the paw, setting himself free. He crawled back, heart racing.

The paw dug itself out of the ground, and as it, Brian stared in shock. Much like the paw, the rest of the body was a rotten corpse, with blood dripping from its neck and an unhinged grin on its face. It was the body of a Midnight Lycanroc. Its eyes were different, colored red and blue.

"You… it's you!"

"You MURDERED me! I could've… done so much more…"

As the corpse talked, more vines appeared beneath him, trying to get Brian. The fox noticed this and slashed them with dark energy, stumbling back.

"I'm sorry! I-I didn't mean to…"

"LIAR!" Lycanroc howled, a howl of pain and sorrow that gave Brian shivers. Its body deteriorated more, to the point an arm fell on the ground.

Brian snapped his fingers, rendering himself invisible to the vines and Lycanroc. For the moment, it was all he could do. Now what was left was calm down and think of a plan. He had to survive!

Come on, think… what is this place? I don't think that Lycanroc is real. But it still scares me…

"I smell your fear, little Zoroark…"

His rest was cut short, as Lycanroc jumped at him, trying to claw the fox. Brian dodged, running to the side and dropping the illusion, since it was useless.

A distraction. He needed a distraction now! A quick glance at his gauntlet gave Brian an idea to run away. He punched the ground and activated the weapon, sending an electrifying wave across the floor, hitting his enemy.

This gave Brian the perfect opportunity to run away. To where? He didn't know yet. He tried to, but tumbled down; something grabbed his leg! Looking at it, Brian saw a black vine. It continued to take a hold of his entire body, no matter how much he tried to shake it off.


Meggie wandered around, floating in the air. Since the fog was too dense, she didn't notice much, other than cries of help from her friends. She hovered faster than before, determined to find them.

That whole forest was cursed or something, it had to be. Oh, why did Lance drag himself into this? Not only were they stranded, but now lost! "Urgh, once I find him I'm kicking his blue ass…"

She stopped to breathe, cursing the lack of experience of being half-ghost. After resting for enough time, she continued following the voices.

"I can do this, I can do this…"

Meggie gasped, covering her mouth with both hands at the sight: Brian and Lance, side by side, wrapped around in vines. Their bodies were frailing, greying, even, while the roots that bound them were glowing with energy.

"I-It's sucking their life force…!"

At the top of the area, a large black crystal could be seen, where most of the vines were coming out of. So this was the culprit?

"Calm down… I can save them!"

Meggie prepared a water pulse, while inhaling deeply. She released the water at the same time of her frosty wind, freezing it into ice blades that cut through Brian's vines, making him fall to the ground.

The fox coughed, not even getting up. He was still a bit groggy, and his vision blurry. Meggie held his paw and helped him stand, right before more roots attacked them.

Reacting as quickly as he could, Brian torched them, but fell to his knees, panting.

"T-Thanks… Meg!" Brian forced himself awake, to fight those things off.

"I'll wake up Lance, be careful! I think those vines suck your energy!"

"Got it!" with his goggles on, Brian smirked, ready to fight.

He dodged a few of the roots, slashing or burning them. Meanwhile, Meggie froze the ones around Lance carefully. The Lucario, even in his sleep, was in pain. Tears, sweat, shivers, all at once. She sighed, rubbing his face gently, and cutting out the vines.

The crystal glowed and screeched with a distorted voice as she did so. Meggie wondered who or what was inside, but ignored, not thinking it was too important right now, and focused only on saving her friend.


Lance's eyes snapped open, but for some reason, he couldn't scream. That's where he saw black vines surrounding his body and mouth, ripped open by none other than Meggie. Despite not looking particularly happy doing that, she kept going on, until Lance was free, falling to the ground.

"Are you okay…?"

"Y-Yes?" he gasped for air.

Brian was also there, firing multiple streams of flames as more and more vines surrounded them. He took a quick glance at the other two, grinning.

"Okay! Guess you broke free from that! Welcome back, shorty!"

"Brian! What… what just happened?"

The fox dodged a few vines, they didn't seem to stop coming, not for one second. He barely had time to answer. As far as Lance could tell, he was in front of a tree, surrounded by thick vines and roots.

"Uh, after you ran away, we followed—get off!" Brian slashed at a vine.

"Those things grabbed you and… Lance, what did you see?!" Meggie fired an icicle at a root next to her.

"...A nightmare."

"Okay! Look, we need to leave! I don't know what you planned coming back here, but there's no time!"

Lance agreed. No time. No time at all… they would never win, not against such a formidable opponent. His body looked more frail, and before he knew it, more vines grabbed him.

"Why bother? It's… pointless…"

Meggie tried pushing him away from the roots, but more grabbed her, wrapping itself around her body. Panic kicked in, and she tried to freeze the roots, but only made more appear. Brian was struggling to fight the plants as well, and stopped to breathe. That was his mistake, as they grabbed him too, and he let out a scream.
 
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Dungeon 35 - Forest of the Dead

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 35 - Forest of the Dead
Author's note: This chapter contains body horror, reader's discretion is advised.

For some reason, the sandy texture got to him again. Covering his fur. Eventually, some of it got on his tongue, and he coughed it off, getting up. He yawned; it felt as if he had woken up from a terrible sleep, and his back ached. He stretched his body to get rid of the soreness and rubbed his eyes.

"W-What…?"

The world around him looked much bigger than it was supposed to. An ocean and a shore extended as far as his eyes could see. He squinted them, trying to focus more, and took one step forward before stumbling his face on the sand again.

"Oh, for fuck's sake!" he shouted, raising his head and shaking the sand. Luckily it didn't get on his mane. His mane? How did the sand not get on it? That thing was huge! Zoroark had such big manes! Wait…

A shiver ran down his spine and he dashed towards the water to check on his reflection. To his shock, his body wasn't the same as before. Where once stood a Zoroark now stood his previous form, a Zorua.

Brian blinked repeatedly, in hopes that he was wrong and that was just a random dream. It wasn't, it didn't matter how many times the boy blinked, all he saw was a Zorua.

"O-Okay, okay! C-Calm down, Brian…! This must be some form of dream, r-r-right? I didn't… devolve! That's not possible!"

He slapped his cheek with one of his front paws and inhaled. Panicking wouldn't help at all and right now, he needed to think, so he took a glance at the beach, its salty wind blowing on his face, along with the smell of water Pokémon.

Shivering, Brian noticed that while the whole area looked relatively normal, such as a few Lapras swimming in the ocean, there was something odd: the whole place seemed to be tainted in yellow, like there was a light source Brian couldn't see.

"Okay, okay… that's weird. But alright! There has to be a way out of here! I got this!" He put on his goggles and sprinted to the exit, determined to get back to reality.

But as soon as he approached the exit, Brian stumbled back; a Zorua exactly like him was walking to the beach, with a bright smile and a wagging tail. Unlike Brian, this Zorua looked much younger, was shorter and didn't have goggles. In addition to that, two of his front teeth were missing.

He recognized what was happening in an instant. "W-Wait… isn't this when I—"

The smaller Zorua continued his stroll, while Brian frantically ran after him. He was faster, and stopped in front of his doppelganger.

"H-Hey, Brian! Don't do this! You're gonna—"

His mirror image phased right through Brian, leaving the older Zorua dumbstruck. The young one dipped his paws on the water, shivering because of how cold it was.

"I'll show those bullies at school… I'm not afraid of some water!"

After the initial shock, the child went farther in; while the water was freezing, he smiled, jumping into it and rolling around the ground.

"Stop that! Stop it!" Brian shouted, his four legs trembling in fear. He tried to catch up with his younger self, but didn't move one inch, too paralyzed with fear to do so.

The young fox continued dipping in the water, playing and making small waves with his paws. "Oh, cool! I'm not afraid… I can swim!"

His older self was still terrified at the prospect of seeing that scene happening again. It was so long ago he had blocked the memories. But now, seeing it made his heart thump. Oh, he was so young when that happened. How old was he? Seven? No, six… he was six years old. And the memory of that incident was so repressed he didn't think of it until that moment, when he was forced to.

"Brian, I'm coming for you! Get away from the water!" he sprinted, as fast as he could, to try and save his doppelganger.

However, once he got near the ocean, he hit what felt like a wall, although it was invisible. Brian fell down, dizzy to the point of being unable to stand up.

"No… please, whoever is doing this… make it stop!"

As his child self swam on the ocean, he got distracted, and didn't see a figure lurking beneath the depths. It screeched underwater, slowly emerging until he saw the small Zorua's paws.

It arose, revealing itself to be a Barbaracle. The sudden appearance made the child swim faster in order to get back to the shore. The feral, though, screeched, grabbing the fox's hind paw and pushing him underwater.

"No!" Brian screamed, running and hitting the wall again. He continued to do so, but felt weaker each time, like he was gasping for air.

He coughed up water, staring at it with wide eyes. Somehow, he was connected to what his past self was doing, and shared his pain. His heart felt like it would explode in panic. He extended one of his paws in another attempt to reach the ocean, but the shortage of breath was getting to him.

"No… someone… he-help me! Someone help me!"

Brian's life flashed, not to the present, but to the future. He pictured his corpse, lost in the depths of the ocean, where nobody would find him. His family would think he disappeared without a trace, and the simple thought terrified him to his very core.

"I don't want to lose them… someone help me!"

He was going to die right then and right now. He didn't accomplish anything in his short life. Didn't make any inventions that changed the world, never got engaged, didn't have children… he simply lived to try and fix something that wasn't even his fault. Maybe that was the reason he liked engineering so much, to mend what got broken in his childhood.

Brian screamed, trying once more to reach for something, anything to help his current state. Much like the previous attempts, it had failed. His vision blurred, and everything went black.

His eyes snapped open, gasping for air. Brian darted around, and saw his younger self in the arms of his uncle, a Swampert named Shiron. They were leaving the depths and passed right through him, although they didn't notice Brian.

He was alone now, for better or for worse. Brian's ears drooped as he, too, left the area.


The bright sun rays entered one apartment, waking a girl who slept inside. She yawned, rubbing her eyes and getting up. Although with soreness and tired eyes, she went to her bathroom; after all, that was a busy day.

She passed through a cabinet and nearly tripped on a few clothes on the floor, but moved on, opening her window to take in the intensity of the rays and fully wake up.

But the sight was confusing. The sun was there, sure, but it looked… blue. It was colored blue and somehow the light was stronger, making the general hue of the area the same color.

Today's the big day… I get to work on the portal again. I just hope doctor Jones is… reconsidering some of his ideas.

She brushed her hair, humming a soft tune. However, the woman soon frowned. Hair? Portal? What was going on? She looked at the mirror and screamed, backing away from it immediately. On the glassy surface was a Froslass, that seemed to mimic her every movement.

"W-W-Who… who are you?!" she pointed a brush to the mirror, and her copy did the same.

The doppelganger didn't answer, simply repeating movement after movement and lip syncing with her. The girl frowned.

"I-I'm… I'm Meggie. And who are you?"

This time, the Froslass smiled. A creepy, wide grin and let out a laugh as her mouth grew wider each second. Her eyes also began to glow red and blue.

"Wait… I know who you are!" Meggie blinked, looking at herself and realizing the truth. "I-I'm reliving my human memories… this is the day I ended up in the Pokémon world!"

Froslass continued her insane fit of laughter, as the mirror around her began to freeze and crack. Meggie gasped and threw the brush at the glass, shattering it to pieces.

She gasped for air after the experience, sitting on the floor to think. How did she end up there?

Okay, okay, calm down! What is the last thing that happened…?

Flashes of the forest and the vines came to her. Good, so she didn't lose her memories. But now that she was here, she had to find a way to escape!

Those things captured Lance, no, they got all of us, Meggie got up, tying her hair. She wasn't letting any of them down.

Now determined, she changed her clothes, putting on a black skirt with leggings, a white coat and sneakers. She took another glance at her human self, even feeling her hair. She also found that to be a bit nostalgic, although she quickly ignored it.

Let's do this… time to save my friends!

Walking around as a human was easier said than done, considering how she was used to being a Snorunt, and then a Froslass that could float. Using slow steps, she got the hang of it, smiling to herself, and was soon climbing down the stairs of her apartment.

Okay, to be honest, I have no idea where I should go… I don't even know where "here" is.

As she left the building, her mouth let out a gasp. All of the citizens were frozen, barely moving at all, they didn't even say anything, looking more like statues than anything else.

"W-What's going on?!"

"Meggie, why did you abandon us?"

Startled by the sound, Meggie jumped back to see who was talking to her. It was a man, in his thirties, wearing a white shirt and blue pants, he simply stared at her while tilting his head. His eyes flashed in various colors, and apart from them, his face had no features, no mouth, no nose, nothing. She looked at him with wide eyes, struggling to make sense of the situation and say anything.

Eventually, she was able to speak again, but not without stuttering. "Who are you? I-I don't know you, get off!"

"My lady, please… come back to us!" as he said that, he approached the woman. His body made cracking noises at each step, and he just stared at her, unmoving.

That featureless face was unnerving, and it only got worse with the man laughing like he was insane. It was almost like he was some form of living mannequin, walking with crunching sounds and, every now and then, something on his body seemed to crack. He tried to grab her, but at the last second, Meggie dodged.

"Lady, you shouldn't have done that…"

She replied by punching him on his face. "Get off me! I don't know you!"

To her surprise, his face flattened by the impact of the punch, while his neck had a massive cut on it, which made his face fall to the ground. His body went limp, but still. He picked up the face, putting it back in its place with a loud cracking sound.

"Meggie, you belong here. Please, come back to us…"

Taking a better look, the man's body almost looked like it was made of rubber. What the hell was that?

"I said… leave me alone!" she kicked him right on his legs, with enough force she cut them in half, leaving the man to fall on the ground and crawl towards her.

The man continued, his face melting as he did so, movements slowing down. "You belooong… he...r...e."

She screamed, backing away from the man, who's body melted into the floor, now a pile of black goo. She fell down on the ground, panting and tired. The day had barely started and it already turned into some kind of horror story.

Her heart raced, and her body urged Meggie to stay, that it was safer, that she shouldn't have attacked him, but at the same time, another part of her knew that wasn't right, and as soon as she was able to, she stormed off, not even bothering to look back.

C-C-C-Calm down! I'm sure this is nothing bad! I-I just need to find somewhere safe! Then I'll think of a plan and get out of this nightmare land!

Another shout came on her right, where a woman, featureless like the man before her, tried to jump on Meggie. In response, she kicked the female and continued running. She desperately wanted to stop to breathe, but more and more of those creatures were coming after her.

What is even going on… I just want to get back!

One of them, a woman wearing a huge red dress, although the blue tone of the area made it a bit difficult for one to notice the color, tried to grab Meggie's hair. She reacted with a headbutt, and even if that worked out, she stumbled back, sensing a dizziness in her head.

Okay, okay! I can't remain still here! I need to get out of here… but how?!

Meggie eventually stopped to catch her breath, when she heard footsteps. She prepared to run, but once she raised her head, Meggie saw a Lucario. A scarred Lucario, with a gray headband.

"Lance! That's you?! Oh, thank goodness! I was so worried! I have no idea where I am, and—"

"Join us."

"W-What?!"

"Join. Us."

While Meggie tried to run away, something grasped her back, a fluffy creature… Brian! Meanwhile, Lance's jaw unhinged and he grabbed Meggie's shoulders with his paws, pressing tight. His mouth twisted into a wide smile, and his eyes flashed.

"Let me go, Lance! Let me go!"

He ignored her, arms beginning to glow purple. She felt weaker, like her energy was being absorbed each second, and nearly closed her eyes.

"Join us. Join us. Join us. Join us. Here we are free. Here we are… safe. Nothing wrong will happen. Join us."

A chant was heard around them, where tons of the featureless humans were circling in all over Meggie, singing the same sentence over and over again.

"N-No… no!" she screamed, releasing a stream of blue ghostly wind onto the Lucario, freezing him in place.

She still had her powers! And maybe… if she focused, she could float again. But first, deal with those humans!

They walked towards her, most saying things like "Why did you reject humanity?", or "You belong here." Brian snarled, jumping towards her. She inhaled as much air as she could and released it, freezing the humans and the Zoroark where they stood.

Now free to move around, Meggie didn't waste any time, getting out of that area as soon as she could. She wondered what was really happening. After the vines got to her, she woke up like this, and Lance said he had a nightmare.

I really hope this isn't some sort of purgatory…

The blue tone around the city remained, while Meggie raised her head. She saw another big building, a laboratory. Something inside her stirred, screamed at her to get away from that place.

Well, sometimes in life, you gotta take risks, and considering I'm a human with powers on… whatever this is, I have to do it.

So she did the exact opposite of what her mind told her, breathing deeply and running to that edifice. If anything, that place would have the answers she was looking for. And in the worst case scenario, it would prove to be a good place to hide from the creatures she faced before.

Okay, okay… calm down. In. Out. You got this, alright? Just get to that weird-looking building, meet whoever is inside and hopefully, since it's a lab, they can find a way to snap me out of this dream! Even if it does look more like a nightmare than anything…

Meggie sighed again, stopping in the middle of an alley. Now that she had time to think, her memories came back to her. That town was named Lumiose city, she was born there, her parents were…

Who are my parents?

She struggled to remember who they were, despite her best efforts to do it. Maybe it was pointless.

I think I already rested enough. Let's go.

Meggie slapped both of her cheeks and nodded to nobody in particular. She stormed off, resuming her sprint.


Lance walked around. Where was he going? He had no idea, but he couldn't care less. Lance was getting out of that forest, no matter what. As the Lucario passed through the countless dead trees, he saw the sky beginning to change color, shifting to a violet tone. That made him grumble a bit, since that was also the color his aura appeared as in the last few days.

"Well, whoever trapped me here, they clearly have a sense of style for picking that color," he said, and regretted almost instantly, covering his face. "Oh, why did I say that?"

He took a deep breath, and tried using his aura senses to track the other two. Estranged with them or not, he still cared for their lives. His paw flared up with purple, and he scanned the area while his feelers twitched. Nothing, just like before; this place was dead.

"If I have to use my tooth and claw to get out of here… I'm prepared for it."

For now, since Lance didn't find anything, he thought it was best to conserve energy, considering how weird that whole area was. And as he walked, more thoughts went on his head. Maybe his friends were trying to make amends… no! He had made a decision, his path was the right one! Even if they patched things up, nothing would be the same anymore.

"..." Lance stopped, holding back tears. "Why can't things go back to normal? I-I'm not wrong, am I?"

Nobody answered. Of course, he was all alone there, with only his thoughts to keep him company. Lance sat down, wondering where he had gone wrong. His mind drifted to a better time in his life, when he was just a playful kid, with his brother and dad.

"Oh, those were the good old days…"

If Brian was there, he would have called Lance a "boomer". To that, the Lucario chuckled. Somehow, despite being annoyed at most of his sibling's antics, they entertained him.

"He's still my brother, and… I can't deny that I love him. My best friend…"

An earth-shattering roar took away Lance's attention and he stumbled. Before he knew it, a massive, almost wall-like surface crashed onto him, sending him flying across the air, only to tumble down and roll on the ground.

He struggled to get up, feeling a sharp pain around his stomach when he tried. He only had enough strength to see who did it. It was the same flaming Aggron from before! Its body melted, dripping liquid metal on the ground.

"What… what are you doing here?!" Lance asked, slowly standing up with his hand on his stomach.

"Murderer."

"...Atlas?" he blinked. "Oh, of course it's you! Because why can't I have a normal dream for once in my life?!"

"MURDERER!"

The flaming Aggron roared, spewing out a stream of lava from his mouth. If he got hit with that, it would be over. So he countered by launching a sphere in front of him, sending Lance backwards. His opponent, enraged, punched the ground, releasing an enormous shockwave throughout the area.

"Y-You moron! This is gonna hit you too!" Lance struggled to keep himself standing, until the wave collided with him, and he let out a cry of pain.

Now on his knees, Lance cringed. There was no way he was going to die right there, because of some stupid mercenary. He stood up, creating an energy blade with his gauntlet, while his body was enveloped in purple energy.

"Murderer. Me… kill you!"

Lance laughed at that sentence, smirking so much it showed his fangs. "Oh? It's been six months since I killed you. I've trained since then, what will a pathetic creature like you do? Roar?"

The Aggron charged on all fours, but Lance had an advantage; he was much faster than his opponent. With a grin, he jumped right before Aggron could hit him, and with a spin in the air, stabbed his metallic foe on the heart, putting all the strength he had to do it.

His opponent fell limp, blood splattering all over Lance's body, who was ecstatic from that, his own blood pumped like it never did before, and his smile never wavered. Oh, how good that felt! He was the stronger one in the battle and, more important than that, he was the survivor.

The Aggron's figure melted and quickly reformed. Lance watched that, prepared to fight if he needed to. However, the figure changed into a Tyrunt, who wagged his tail and smiled.

"Thank you, mister! Now my dad can rest in peace!"

Lance smiled, remembering his mission, the reason why he murdered Atlas before. It was for the world, because it would be a better place without criminals like him.

"I… I did the right thing," Lance looked at his bloodied paws and smiled.

Meanwhile, the Tyrunt slowly approached him, with his eyes closed. Even if that was a dream, Lance was proud of what he did, and decided to pet the small dinosaur on his head.

When he did that, Tyrunt opened his eyes, flashing in red and blue like that Servine he had fought before. Lance staggered, preparing another aura weapon, until he heard the child chuckle. The voice that came out of him wasn't his own, it almost sounded ancient, primal, and even a bit distorted.

"Well, well. I didn't think you had it in you. I've been scanning your mind for as long as you've been in my realm… It seems like you're not confused anymore. Or… are you?"

"Cut the crap," Lance snarled. "I need to know who you are. Release my friends."

"You want me to release them?" Tyrunt tilted his head with a loud pop, smiling wider than it was possible. "Oh, so you still have your attachments to them. Perhaps another test will be necessary."

A test? What was he going on about? And who was he?

"I'll see you later… Lance Williams."

Suddenly, Lance fell into a hole, looking up at the sky, where Tyrunt was staring, his face almost seemed to glitch for a split second. During that fraction of time, he saw… black crystals?

He didn't have much time to think about that before he heard his back snapping.


Walking to the town took longer than it should have. But eventually, Brian made it! His hometown, where he grew up, had friends, trained and… saw his best friend being kidnapped.

That last part still stung, even after all those years. He bit his lip, whining, even if nobody could hear him. His uncle passed on his left, carrying Brian's younger self.

"I don't know what this place is all about… but I'm gonna get to the bottom of this!"

He nodded, following the Swampert. As Brian presumed, this was his home the way it looked when he was a kid. For one, the guild's building was far smaller, and the streets weren't as crowded as they were in the present.

That was still very nostalgic, well, he knew the sky wasn't yellow, and neither were most of the things enlightened by that strange golden hue. Even the scent that filled the air was pleasant to his nose, and his tail wagged a bit. Oh, that was weird! He had gotten used to not having one after evolving, so it was more like a phantom limb right now.

"Enough distractions! I… I need to find out what's going on."

He strolled on, following the Swampert to his and his brother's house. If his memory was right, that was one of the days he got grounded. Ouch.

After his uncle opened the door, Brian entered before it was closed. He stood on all fours, watching Shiron put his doppelganger on the couch. The smaller Zorua coughed up water and opened his eyes.

"I-I'm… home?" he quickly noticed the Swampert. "Uncle! What are you doing here?"

Shiron remained silent, looking to his side, where Brian's dad was, his arms crossed. Nick raised a brow and picked up his son, hugging him tight. Of course, he did it without hurting the boy with his spike.

"D-Dad! Calm down, I'm okay!"

"Oh, really?!" Nick put him down on the couch again. "Brian, you could've died! You're only six! This wasn't supposed to happen! Why did you do it?!"

The small Zorua's ears drooped. "I-I wanted to win a bet in school… they told me that you didn't love me, and that's why you're away all the time!"

Nick huffed. "Oh, so you thought that endangering yourself like this would prove a point?! I don't want to lose you!"

His breath was raspy, and the Lucario whined. He got on his knees, rubbing his son's head with his paw.

"Y-You're not mad at me?"

"Of course I'm mad at you!" Nick explained. "It's just… I'm glad you're alive."

Brian watched with a faint smile on his face. He did that little prank to get his dad's attention, and it worked. But seeing that memory again? It was… comforting, at the very least.

Nick continued. "You're grounded. For one month, okay? Go to your room…"

"W-What? But I nearly died!" he protested, pouting. "C-Can't I have some… uh, what's the word, dad?"

"Brian, just go to your room."

The child gasped and climbed down, going upstairs to his room. Meanwhile, Brian was still confused about the scene. If it was simply a flashback or a dream of him as a kid, why didn't he wake up already? Then again, it did feel more real than a dream.

"Maybe I need to follow him. At this point, there's no other option."

It was better than nothing, so Brian also climbed the stairs, almost at the same time his child self did. He smiled a bit, maybe he could enjoy that, even if it was only for a bit.

His house changed little over the years, the second floor was just as he remembered it, and so was his room. As Brian entered, he saw his other self jump into the lower bunk bed, putting his hand on a pillow.

"Oh, I think I know where this goes…"

The top bed moved a little, until Lance dropped from it, falling on his feet. The Riolu turned around, looking at his brother and poking him.

"Brian, Brian! Are you okay? Dad said you nearly drowned!"

"Not now, Lance…"

Lance whined. "A-Are you okay…? C-Can I help you?"

"I'm grounded!" he suddenly said, crying on the pillow. "I try to get dad to spend more time with us, but he doesn't do it!"

The Riolu pouted, hugging his brother tightly. "I'm… here for you. Y-You're my best friend, Brian! I love you…"

He continued to cry, embracing the hug. "I-I just wanted dad to be with us…"

"I-I'm… not sure if we can fix this."

That sentence sparked something on the small Zorua. "Fix? Fix! Lance! You gave me an idea! Thank you!"

"What…?"

Ouch. That was tough to watch. Brian looked at both of them, chatting and comforting one another. How long had it been since they talked like this? He knew this was before the kidnapping, but he missed it… a small tear dropped from his face.

"Why can't we do this anymore…?"

"Simple." Lance said.

"He is a murderer. And so are we."

The two siblings now stared directly at Brian, their eyes glowing. They got out of bed, still embraced, and extended their arms to him. Their bodies were a mess, meshing together into an amalgamate of both of them.

"Huh?!" Brian stepped back, gulping at the fusion of flesh. It dropped black goo at the floor, and only mutated further, becoming a monstrosity of flesh and bone, although it now had a more recognizable form: it looked like a fleshy Midnight Lycanroc.

Brian trembled in fear, producing a black ball on his mouth and firing at the thing. The amalgamate simply let the attack be absorbed into its body, and raised its fleshy arm to slap Brian.

He screamed, being trapped by all that flash, a gooey and amorphous blob of mass making him unmovable. The amalgamate continued to smile, showing rows of sharp teeth.

Lycanroc grinned, drooling on the floor. "Can you forgive him? Can you forgive yourself?"

He struggled to move, trying to get out of the grasp. "I-I don't know what you're talking about…!"

"Forgive him. Forgive a murderer. Only then will you be free."

"F-Forgive…?" Brian whined. Could he do it? Lance was a killer… but Brian was one too, in self-defence, of course, but still… he wanted to heal from that. And maybe… maybe Lance wanted to, deep down.

"Do you forgive? Do you? Do… you?"

Tears rolled down on Brian's face as he wondered what he was going to answer. He knew how Lance was, before it all fell apart. He missed those days dearly, and perhaps they could return… with a little bit of help.

Still struggling to come up with something, Brian was feeling weaker each second. Was that creature absorbing his energy? It seemed like the right idea then. He blinked and finally answered.

"I-I do…!"

Lycanroc laughed more and more, as its body expanded in mass, covering most of the room, Brian screamed as it happened, until… the Lycanroc exploded, and the fox passed out.


Dodging more and more of those weird humans, Meggie wondered if they would ever stop coming, and why they were like that. That was her hometown, wasn't it? So she should be remembering it.

Well, I know the sky is blue, but… I don't think the sun is. So this might just be some weird dream space.

Thinking too much about that wasn't really helping her, so Meggie elected to ignore it and move on. She could see the building, and luckily, no humans near it. Perfect!

She went along the streets of Lumiose, filled with buildings and trees on both sides, and a few food stands, but they were empty. Ominous. Meggie continued on, wondering about other things. Such as: who would be inside the lab? If what Morgan told her was true, he was her boss, so maybe she would find him there? The building was closer, and she could already hear the buzzing of some machines, along with several Pokémon cries.

I hope this is some twisted nightmare, and I'm making it through alive.

It was ironic, considering that she was half-ghost. But then again, it didn't mean she was dead. She snickered at the thought.

Nice one, brain. Good way of distracting me!

Now at the front door, Meggie stretched her muscles. This was the moment of truth for her, and she went closer, until she saw that the door was crystalline, almost like a mirror. Then, she finally saw what her human self looked like.

Oh.

Meggie looked like a woman in her early twenties, with bright orange eyes, red hair that extended all the way to her back, and white skin. She touched the glass, watching as the mirror image did the same movement. It was all so familiar, yet… it was not, like she was a stranger on her own body.

So… this is what I lost? She took some time to feel the texture of her skin, her hair and her face. One tear dropped from her left eye.

A single crack appeared on the glass door, making her blink in confusion. The mirror image smiled, although Meggie herself wasn't.

"Is… is that thing again! Back off! I need to leave this place!"

"Are you sure you want to leave, Meggie Treesea?" the mirror asked, still smiling.

"Who are you…?"

The cracks spreaded and it continued to grin. "I am the one who trapped you three here. It seems you and Lance are the only ones who did not pass their test. So I ask you again… Meggie. Do you want to leave?

"That's not what I asked…" she pouted, but had a serious look on her face, with eyes squinted. Asking who the mirror… thing was didn't seem to work. "I… I want to leave, yes. This is the human world, but somehow… I don't think I belong here. That's what I think, and yet… I still feel nostalgic."

"Now that is hilarious!" it burst into laughter, the glass nearly shattering. "If you enter this door, you will leave this realm. As for the second option, should you choose to stay, you'll find out all about yourself, and recover all your memories of the human world. Do you want to stay… or would you rather leave?"

It was a difficult decision. For all Meggie knew, she could be just as bad as her former boss. THe thought of torturing Pokémon never once crossed her mind, and she really hated all the violence Morgan was causing. All the sorrow, all the pain… it was too much for her to bear. What if she was like him after all? Would her friends still accept her? They helped her up to this point.

"I am waiting for an answer, Meggie. The humans will get here soon, what do you choose?"

"...What will happen to me? To who I am today? Will this person, all these experiences I got… will they disappear?"

The voice laughed again. "You're very entertaining, lady. I understand your concerns, so let me raise you a question!" the mirror glowed in all colors of a rainbow. "Would you rather suffer in the real world, or will you stay here? Happy like all the humans you saw before?"

What was it with that thing asking so many questions? This didn't help at all! Meggie clenched her fist. Recovering her memories, at the cost of her free will? That was inexcusable. Her experiences as a Pokémon helped her understand the world better, and… she was glad. She was glad to meet new friends, be a hero!

The other choice would be becoming like them. Just another piece of a giant puzzle, all created by this weird… being. A Legend, she supposed. And also, her friends would surely miss her. She was important to the world, and to the ones she loved.

"I made my decision. But first… can you tell me your name?"

"In due time, in due time. I'm not exactly available for conversation right now. But, if everything works out… I will be."

Meggie smiled, opening the door. All she saw inside was a giant blue light, but this didn't scare her. She went on, happy with her decision.


The painful snap on his back still hurt, and Lance struggled to move. This was a dream, so why was he feeling any pain at all? That… wasn't how dreams worked.

"At least this is better than my nightmares…" he sighed, holding onto a wall to balance himself. The ground's texture was also weird, as it looked like… some sort of bone?

He seemed to be in a big hole. The walls weren't very wide, and that was almost claustrophobic to him. He created a violet sphere on his hand to make the place feel less dark. Lance jumped in shock after he did, because he discovered what was on the floor.

Skulls. The entire floor was filled with skulls. They didn't move or react, of course, but that still scared Lance. After the initial jumpscare, he sighed in relief.

"Right. Calm down, be rational. This is nothing to be afraid of. Whoever trapped you here is just playing tricks on your mind."

After he said those words, the skulls began to chuckle and move, and even expand. More and more of them appeared each second, rising to the surface. Lance shivered and jumped again, clenching his claws on the wall. The skulls were still expanding, and he needed to do something!

"Think, think…"

With a deep breath, Lance created another aura blade, using it to climb the walls as quickly as he could. WIth zero idea of what would happen if the skulls got to him, he had no time to waste wondering about it.

Slowly, he made his way to the top, but it still wasn't good; the purple light from the surface diminished, and Lance knew exactly why: the exit was being covered by rocks. He was being buried alive!

Despite the momentary panic, Lance hadn't been defeated yet. "Nice trick, but I can still blow a hole through that thing!"

The auric Pokémon jumped, launching a silver, metallic wave of energy into the exit, before landing on the opposite side of the wall. The collision resulted in a smoke cloud, which Lance eagerly waited to dissipate. As it did, his smirk changed into a frown; the wall didn't have a single scratch on it!

"I'm not dying here! I'm not!" he was unable to calm down and frantically shot more flash cannons into the rocky ceiling, getting more desperate each time.

Even with all the attacks, the ceiling didn't budge. His panic set in, almost making him fall into the skull pit, which was almost near him at that point. He continued shooting more and more, energy being drained slowly.

"Can't… die… here…"

Lance fell on the skulls, screaming in pain. Flashes of memories flooded his brain. Each kill, each victim, he saw their final moments inside his mind. This was torture, and he struggled, trying to get off the trap, but only managed to sink deeper into the bones. Meanwhile, a familiar voice laughed.

"Oh, number ten. You really are pitiful. Truly, a worthless being. I should have finished you off when I had the chance!"

"I-I'm not… pitiful! You did this to me!" Lance screamed, finding enough strength to launch a sphere at the top of the area.

"Oh? Yes, I can agree. I made you better than you were before. Tell me… don't you like the way you are now? You're, as you said so yourself, a 'harbinger of justice'."

Lance didn't react, firing more spheres. His movements were aggressive, and he tried climbing the wall again, but the skulls just pinned him down more and more.

"I… I did bring peace to someone. I took out criminals who wouldn't think twice before killing innocents. That was the right thing to do…"

To his surprise, the skulls stopped moving, sinking down and making Lance go up. He twitched his ears, a bit confused. Was… was that his way to freedom?

"I'm not in the wrong. I'm Lance Williams. I am a vigilante, someone that brings justice to everyone."

He went up again, now closer to the ceiling. The rocky surface began to crumble apart, making the Lucario smile.

"My friends won't want anything to do with me anymore, after… after this mission is over. But I'm doing this for them. For the world. If I have to say goodbye… then I will."

This particular thought hurt, deep inside his heart. He, for one moment, regretted it, somewhere on his mind, he knew it was wrong. But that part of him was quickly shut down, thinking of how he could make the world a better place. For the greater good, as Scar once said to him.

"Yes. Yes. For the greater good. I will do this. I will bring peace to the world, I will… and if those are my last moments with my team, then I'll appreciate them as best as I can. It's the least I can do for my friends… my best friends."

Lance felt like a heavy toll was lifted from him, and his body was lighter. He couldn't help but smile. It was the right choice to make. And he was ready to face the consequences, whatever they might be.

Finally, he fell to the ground again, free from the hole. He panted, gasping for air, and got up. He looked at his paws, still bloodied, and his ears perked up. Behind him was the Tyrunt from before, still with the creepy smile.

"It seems you made the right choice, Lance. Congratulations, you passed your test, and I can finally free you now."

"...Who are you? And why did you do this?"

"I know who you're up against, once I scanned your mind. At first, I was just going to absorb you three. But once I realized the threat… I knew I had to help."

Lance raised a brow, unconvinced. "Are you the one trapped in those crystals?"

"Yes. I am trapped, so I can't help physically. However, I am a benevolent Legend."

Those words… Lance finally realized who he was talking to. The Tyrunt's body glowed, changing shape to a vaguely humanoid Pokémon whose body appeared to be constructed out of a black crystalline material, with a large protrusion attached to its head, which had a row of three large spikes along the top. Its thin arms had disproportionately large hands with three claws.

He finally said something. His eyes glowed red and blue. "My name… is Necrozma. I know your mentor is searching for me, as is his team."

"I see… and you do know what Scar proposed to me, correct?"

Necrozma smiled. "Yes. I am eager to see what you will accomplish, Lance. I'm sure you and I will meet, soon enough. For now, go. You have someone to defeat, don't you?"

The Lucario agreed, moving back to where he came from, a large smile was present on his face.


Brian woke up with a loud gasp, only to see some vines wrapped around his mouth, they slowly retreated. He took a quick glance on his surroundings, seeing both of his friends being freed.

Eventually, he was able to distance himself from the vines, still panting, with both his paws on his knees.

"Holy shit… this was… the weirdest dream I've ever had!"

The roots around Lance exploded as the Lucario set himself free, taking the sweat off his face. He looked at his sibling and nodded. Finally, Meggie was freed, and glanced at her body. It was still a Froslass' body.

"Guys!" she screamed, giving them a smile, "You won't believe how I missed you all!"

"It's…" Lance took a deep breath, blushing. "It's good to see both of you."

"Lance!" Brian suddenly pulled his sibling into a hug, crying at the same time. "I… I forgive you! I-I forgive… the killing. Okay?!"

Unable to pull away from the hug, he saw Meggie joining in on that. His frown turned into a soft smile, and he hugged them as well. Time seemed to come to a halt as neither of the three wanted to leave the embrace.

After some minutes, Lance pulled away. He still had his smile, one that was genuine. "Thank you. Both of you… I love you all."

Brian cheered. "After this is over, we're gonna work on that killing thing! I… I know you have good in you, Lance!"

Meggie clapped her hands and nodded. "Our team is closer now… we need to get out, though! The others are waiting for us."

The Lucario agreed, but saw one root rising into the air. It wiggled around, and Lance approached it. The vine lunged in on him, but he held it with his paw, cringing in pain. He heard a chuckle inside his mind, and noticed the black crystal glowing. Telepathy.

Ah. Nice reflexes, Lance.

What do you want, Necrozma? We're leaving. I suppose I should… thank you. I know who I am now.

Well, I love the praise! You're welcome. I'm sure we'll meet each other again. I'm also impressed by this. You're not saying goodbye to them?

Not… now. After this mission is over.


See you soon, Lance Williams.

He let the vine drop to the ground, checking to see if his paw had blood on it; it didn't. Lance turned around, smiling to his friends.

"Alright," Lance raised his head. "Brian, Meggie… I'm happy to be on a team with you. We've been together for months. So far, we've triumphed over every battle."

"But it's not over yet…" Brian said.

"Yeah…" Meggie agreed.

"Not at all, brother. This will be the hardest we've ever faced. Are you with me?" he extended his paw to them.

The three shook their paws (or, in Meggie's case, hand), each of the members having a bright smile. Lance was right. Together, they could win each battle, each adversity, whether it was internal or external. They were a team, but they were friends. Best friends.

As they left the forest, Lance shed a single tear at the thought of his friends, but none of them noticed this.


Scar raised his club, seeing the Gyarados getting closer each second. Mounted on its head was Derek, the Garchomp who attacked them a few hours before. He hoped this would be a better battle than the last one, but without the other three, it would be difficult.

Scar closed his fist, and took a quick look at it. "I might need to use my blocking here…" he then took a look at the others. "Everyone, be ready. They're nearly here."

Max clapped his hands together, electricity flowing through them, while Lilith tapped the ground, posing like a wrestler, and Meganium raised her vines.

The distance between them got shorter, and they saw Gyarados opening its mouth to release a roar, charging the same beam that took everyone down.

"How are we supposed to stop that thing?!" Max asked, looking at the Marowak, who remained quiet.

"It's aiming at us, so all we need is to disrupt its vision! It won't hit us!" Scar proclaimed, hitting his club on the ground and raising some of the sand into the air.

"Ooooh! Got it!" Max punched the sand with both of his fists, expanding the cloud higher. The two females did the same with their moves, and soon a massive sandstorm protected them from Gyarados' vision.

The beast roared, dissipating its attack. Derek was fed up with that, so he jumped, flying in the air and activating his emera, mega evolving. He threw one Pokéball into the air and held it using his tail.

"I'll end this now!" he shouted, landing in the middle of the storm, pointing his scythes.

The cloud dissipated, revealing that each of the members were now on separate spots, circling around Derek. The Garchomp snarled, scythes enveloped in draconic energy. He charged towards Meganium, trying to hit her.

A fearsome icy punch hit his face, launching the dragon in the middle of the sand and dropping the pokéball. Meggie, having arrived at the scene, had two water spheres on her hands, and frowned at the dragon.

"Sorry for taking so long!" Brian said, running on all fours with his goggles on.

"Nice to see you too, kiddo!" Max gave him a thumbs-up, and looked at Gyarados. The beast snarled.

The final one arrived; Lance walked with a serene expression, he even had a smile.

"We were caught up on something… and you'll want to know more about it later, Scar. For now, let's end this fight."

"Oh? Well, let's go."

Derek got up, snarling at them. He was surrounded by strong opponents, and while that was exciting to him, it also scared the dragon. How to deal with the group?

Gyarados roared, launching into Marowak, until it got hit by another aura gauntlet, coming from Lance. The Lucario's body glowed and changed into his mega form, maintaining his serene look.

"I'm sorry, but I'm better than I was before!" he chuckled. "Brian, give me cover! Meggie, take care of the Garchomp! Let's show them our teamwork!"

Team Rebirth and Meganium stepped down, leaving the fight for the other three, since they asked for it. Lance cracked his knuckles, showing off his sharp fangs.

His aura flared up. "I'm still in control of this, but… honestly, it's fun to just have no inhibitions, don't you think?"

Brian snapped his claws and covered his brother in an illusion, rendering him invisible. Lance used this opportunity to dash, leaving only the sand trail behind him. He created a hammer made of aura and jumped, hitting Gyarados' large, serpentine body with it.

"Thanks!"

"You're welcome, Lance! And please, I like this praise, so keep it up!"

The water-type screeched in pain, falling flat on the ground. Derek finally stopped staring at the three and shot out a stream of flames towards Brian, until he got hit by another punch coming from Meggie, followed by a water pulse on his stomach. It burned, despite being cold, making Derek hiss in pain.

"I don't get it… boss said you worked for him? Why are you fighting me?"

"I reject that. I'm no longer that person. I'm a new me, if you don't mind!" Meggie smiled and floated towards Derek. She took a deep breath and phased right through him, landing on his back.

The Garchomp couldn't react, seeing his body freeze up. Meggie fell to the ground, panting, and saw a pokéball in front of her. She picked it up, and looked at Lance.

"I need some help here! Can you tie the Garchomp up?!"

Nodding, Lance created a rope using his gauntlet, he threw it at Derek, tying him up. Lance began to spin around, until he threw Derek into the ground with so much force it spread even more sand, knocking him out.

After Derek passed out, Meggie threw the pokéball at him. It snapped open, enveloping the dragon in energy, trapping him inside. Now all that was left was to take care of Gyarados, so Lance went on to do just that.


Lance continued using all his aura moves on the water-type, until it could barely move. At that point, he saw the emera around its neck, and smirked.

"Brian, I need some cover again! I think I know what's wrong with this guy!"

"Got it!" Brian nodded, launching a shadow ball on the water-type.

As the fox distracted it, Lance chuckled, creating a bow made of aurea, along with an arrow. He aimed at the stone, launching it and shattering the emera into pieces. Gyarados roared in pain, flopping into the floor once more, with its body glowing and returning to normal.

"We… we did it!" Brian fell on his knees, panting in exhaustion. His brother hugged him, shocking the Zoroark, who blushed.

The three heard clapping from their allies, except for Meganium, who retained her stoic expression.

Scar smiled. "Congratulations. Well… I suppose we should go back to focusing on how to get to the tree."

Lance twitched his ears, seeing that Gyarados was still there. He approached the huge Pokémon, listening to what it had to say.

To his surprise, the Gyarados spoke with a masculine tone. "U-Urgh… where am I? What's going on?"

Maybe that was the answer they were looking for.
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
I warned you I’d be back. >:3 Anyway, I’m going to avoid repeating anything from the last review; mainly the grammatical stuff. Just focusing on the actual plot.

Part 6: 72 Hours Remain
-[Thanks to the wonders of technology] THE POWER OF SCIENCE IS AMAZING!
-That watchog selling the Sun Ribbon at a loss doesn’t make much sense business-wise. If he can’t profit, he’d lose his shop. I was honestly surprised Brian could just afford it. Seemed like you were setting up for a goal of sorts. XD
-A swalot is a very unconventional guildmaster choice. I hope he’s not evil, because then he’d be a literal mustache-twirling villain.
-Lot of one-off characters showing up. At least… I think they’re one-offs? Or this is a transitional chapter, I guess.

Part 7: HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER
-“He’s a politician.” And then they turn down the job.
-It’s wild to me that Lance would just be able to investigate this case when the scene before talks about the team needing to build a reputation of sorts. If Druddigon was a politician, wouldn’t Tyrunt be able to get more reputable help? Seems a bit convenient to me. :P
-Also, wouldn’t an alakazam be able to sense energy well enough to realize Brian was a dark-type? Illusions around psychic-types are always a bit tricky and it helps to have the universe’s logic behind them spelled out at some point.
-Ah, so Brian’s one of them edgy foxes that can do external illusions, too. Like in the anime. Balancing that level of power can be quite tricky…
-Oh, hey, they actually lost. I could tell the moves being used for the most part, even without explicit names.

Part 8: That Disney movie everyone forgets about
-Say whaaaat? The mustache-twirler was evil? Oh nooooo. Also invisibility OP pls nerf.
-I just remembered that Brian Williams is a US news anchor with a bit of a… dubious reputation. @_@
-This arcanine is very willing to cooperate with a literal child over this stuff. Which either means he’s desperate or just a loose cannon who doesn’t play by any rules. Also the species choice doesn’t surprise me since all the Officer Jennies tend to have growlithe or arcanine in the anime. Yes, I’m going to keep bringing that stuff up.

Part 9: Hey now, you’re an all star
-Backstories for the mercenaries, huh? Well that’s quite sudden… and a bit unexpected. So two are from abusive households. I can understand the gambling addiction, but the “fight a criminal to the death” thing stretches past my disbelief limits. And I guess Flint was a rich kid. I assume Brian isn’t getting this from Apollo, because he shouldn’t really know anything about how they met.

Part 10: Hey now, you’re a rock star
-If your POV characters don’t know what a genesect is, I personally don’t think it makes much sense to call it a genesect in the prose until after it introduces itself. It’s a bit contradictory. ^^;
-Well, I was wondering what sort of tragedy would lead them to become mercenaries and it was apparently some sort of apocalyptic legend fight? I’m not really sure how it ties into the bigger picture here, because it was extremely sudden and seemingly resolved off screen, anyway. We don’t even see how they become so desperate. Surely there were shelters or something they could’ve tried first? Help from the police? I dunno. Might’ve helped to show that off, but maybe that’s just me.

Part 11: no stages, i’m disappoint
-Oh, so the whole place got destroyed? That… wasn’t my exact takeaway, perhaps because of things being resolved offscreen. Which leads me to wonder how they ended up in their current location. XP
-A million miles an hour, here. Lance has a (brief) anime breakdown and gets snapped out of it a bit too quick for my tastes. The shopping stuff is odd because I think you need scene transitions to switch POVs to Atlas, because you’re not really doing third-person omniscient with the narrator in everyone’s heads.
-Also wow this police force must be useless if Apollo can’t actually do anything to help XD

Part 12: suddenly AC/DC
-“Ha! You better have BURN HEAL!”
-Second dungeon crawling segment and the bulk of it was spent on this houndour/houndoom scuffle that I guess was part of Sigilyph’s trap? It still read like a glorified mook battle to me so it kinda felt like it didn’t need to be as long as it was? Seems like almost every fight these two are in is a gruelling struggle but the fic also seems to be leading me to believe they’re both supposed to be on the stronger side. In my mind, you can’t have it both ways, but maybe there’s some subtlety that’s easier to spot in your primary language? I don’t know. But rip in spaghetti Lance and Brian. Hopped on the snooze cruise. o7
 
Dungeon 36 - Mister Fear: Part 1

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 36 - Mister Fear : Part 1

A small boat landed right before the edge of an island. In it was a Gallade, who put on pieces of armor around his chest, arms, and legs.

"The road to Primeval Forest is right there, and next, the Tree of Life. I fled from this place fifteen years ago… but now? Now I arrive, as a conqueror. Exactly how humans should be."

He put on a belt, holding six pokéballs on it, smirking. He looked up, seeing the infamous tree in the distance. He got out of the vehicle, keeping the grin on his face.

"Well. This is it. The day I return home, and leave this wretched world. I can't believe it took me this long to finally get where I wanted to go, but better late than never."

The cold air blew on his fur, and the grass he touched tickled his feet. He took a look at his body. That disgusting, pathetic excuse of a body. Each second that he stayed with it was a second wasted. But he was in a good mood today.

"I'm wasting my time here. If Derek was useful in the end, then those pests won't bother me."

He strolled out of the boat, grabbing a single pokéball. With luck, he wouldn't need it. Not like the beasts he was so used to would have much of a reaction to being captured. For him, that was their fate.

Morgan walked across the shore until he entered the forest, still smiling, hoping that this day would be a good one.


Primeval Forest

Ah, how long it had been since the last time he went inside that place. The memories of his first years in that world came to mind, and the way Meganium cared for him.

"What a fool she was."

Exactly. Meganium, much like all the so-called "sapient" Pokémon were nothing but failed attempts at recreating humankind. Their feelings? Pitiful. Their self-control? Nonexistent. Their reasoning? Irrational. They represented the lowest point of the hierarchy, and deserved to be led by superior beings, such as Morgan himself.

A cracking twig drew his attention, and before Morgan knew it, a Weedle jumped towards him.

"Hmph. You're not even worth the effort, scum." He raised the bug with psychic energy, sending it crashing against a tree.

The Weedle screeched, now with a tear on its insides. It struggled for a second before collapsing, dead. Morgan didn't even flinch, and simply went on his way, not caring for the feral.

The trees were lively, and some of them even had leaves colored other than green. The forest also had bushes, where Morgan heard a few rustles, but ignored them. He had more important things to do in the moment.

As he stepped forward, Morgan had vivid memories of his life as a human. How he was a scientist, a doctor. Things that were stripped away by that ferocious world. Disgusting. And yet… the one person that could understand where he was coming from ignored and rejected his ideals. Meggie. She chose to stay there, with those savages. He nearly threw up at the thought, but continued on.

"I'm better than them… I am. I truly am."

And those he tortured? Means to an end. They should be happy that Morgan took the time to groom them into better versions of themselves. Especially number ten. That Riolu had such potential, but it was wasted. A shame, really.

Morgan stopped to take a look in front of him. The trees were almost joined together, looking like some sort of entrance to the next area of the dungeon. He knew they changed shape; that wasn't how it looked like the last time he was there.

"Fascinating. If I wasn't so desperate to go back home, I'd investigate those things," Morgan chuckled to himself. "Ah, it would probably be a waste of time anyways."

So he walked on, never again losing focus. Staying too long there meant he would turn into the very things he hated, and that was not an option.


The vegetation in the next part of the dungeon was much thicker than the previous ones, and it was at this point that he was forced to cut through some of the foliage using his arm blades. A boring task, for sure, but it was necessary to keep advancing.

"Damn it. It's almost like the forest is against me. Nobody… nobody in this world is on my side. I am alone."

He sighed. Some part of Morgan hoped he'd find more humans like him, that shared his ideas and goals. Instead, all he got was a bratty adult. Morgan went on again, ignoring those thoughts. He was better than that, certainly.

This time, Morgan stopped in the middle of the way, where the trees circled around him, and heard a snarl. Followed by several others and glowing eyes from behind the bushes.

"I suppose… this is what the natives call a 'monster house'?" Morgan clapped, somewhat excited by the idea of showing his power over others.

It didn't take long for the ferals to appear. One Beedril, one Ivysaur, and one Braviary. Three opponents, versus a single one. The odds were not in his favor.

"I know none of you will understand what I'm about to say, but you will regret crossing paths with me," his eyes glowed with pink, psychic energy. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, will stop me from getting home!"

He cracked his knuckles, ducking to dodge an incoming aerial strike from the Beedril and Braviary. His taunting was cut short, as the Ivysaur wrapped its vines around Morgan's arm. The vines released some type of spore, to which Morgan moved his arm, launching the Ivysaur into the other two enemies and finally, cutting the vine with his blades.

"Oh, is that all you got? You live here, beasts. You thrive here, don't you have better ways of attacking me? How pitiful."

None of the three responded with worlds, just releasing growls and snarls. Morgan simply scoffed at that. He then took out one of his pokéballs, holding it in front of himself with telekinesis.

"I'd love to stay here and chat… well, I really wouldn't. Regardless, I'm a bit busy at the moment, so I'll have to cut this short!"

Beedril charged once more, readying its lance-like arm to pierce through Morgan. The Gallade threw the pokéball into the air and, as it opened, flames came out of it, burning through the Beedril until it fell to the ground. The fire vanished, revealing a Blaziken in combat position. His feet left scorch marks on the ground beneath him, and he had a wide grin on his face.

The bug screeched once more, flapping its wings and producing a loud buzzing sound that distracted Blaziken for a second, making him stumble back. At that moment of hesitation, Beedril struck, rushing with its pincer pointed at its opponent.

"This should be simple. That thing is near you, so use that to your advantage. You cannot afford to waste energy here, this is too important."

Blaziken nodded and ducked, punching Beedril's abdominal area. The feral released a roar of pain and anguish as the flames burnt through its skin like it was paper, fully enveloping the bug. Its opponent wasn't done yet, punching the bug two more times with the same fierce intensity, until Beedril fell on the ground, not moving at all.

After the deed was done, Morgan returned the Blaziken to his pokéball and stared at the other two ferals. "Would you still like to battle, or do you know what's best for you?"

The two screeched, hiding in the bushes again. He was free to go once more, so Morgan laughed a bit and continued walking. According to his memories, he was almost at the exit.

"You did good, Blaziken," he sighed. Things were working out so far, so Morgan smiled. "Now, now… just because I'm winning, it doesn't mean I can get cocky. Time to get out of this filthy place, and go back home."


Deep Primeval Forest

Little by little, Morgan began to see beams of sunshine breaking into the woods. The sky was now visible, even if it was just a part of it. Regardless, that was a good sign, something that showed he was close to leaving the dungeon.

"I can taste it… my freedom!"

And he was right. He could feel it in the very air around him as it blew on his fur, bringing with it a sensation of peace, of joy. Morgan wanted more of it, and he went on. On the end of the hall, he saw the trees forming a sort of passage leading to the outside area, where the light shone so much stronger.

It was so bright, so exhilarating. Almost as if Morgan was drunk or in ecstasy. Ah, how wonderful that all was! The plan was in its final stages, and if everything worked out, he would soon be back in Kalos, back to Lumiose city.

How much had his world changed? He began to wonder. For starters, Morgan had no way of knowing how much time had passed since he was stuck on this alien world. For all he knew, decades or even centuries could have passed, all in a single instant. Time truly was a fickle thing.

Philosophy will not help me right now. What I need is power. Power that will free me of this… prison. Of this disgusting, rotten body.

He smiled. A wicked smile, splattered all across Morgan's face, and he only wished for more. The exit was getting closer and closer, he could feel it. Morgan ran, ignoring his previous warnings to himself of taking things slowly, fed up with it all.


"I… I did it. I got out of the dungeon. I'm… I'm almost home!"

Getting out was incredible and as perfect as Morgan assumed it would be. The tree was there, in all its might and glory, with the leaves rustling in the wind. He even saw a small lake near the entrance to the tree, where a lone Magikarp splashed peacefully.

Morgan let out a heartfelt laugh that expressed his joy. He let his voice reverberate across the area, until tears began rolling down his face; tears of joy.

"Ah… well, I think this moment has gone on long enough. Time to finish this, I'm not taking this easy. If I have to destroy this place… so be it. It's not like they will miss it."

Morgan was about to give another step forwards when he heard a loud, thumping noise followed by a rumble, and more importantly, another obstacle to his escape appearing; a Torterra. And a big one, even by Torterra standards. He growled, and with each step he took, he shook the earth beneath him.

"I suppose we haven't met before, creature," Morgan bowed. "I am Morgan Jones, a human, and I shall escape this wretched world. None of you heathens can stop me!"

"Och, I've heard o' ye, a'richt," Torterra explained. "Ye kidnapped yin o' oor caretakers, 'n' oor mistress is… sae disappointed in ye! Ye cuid hae dane stoatin hings 'ere, if ye simply tried!"

Morgan scoffed when he heard the Torterra's elaborate ramble, picking up a single pokéball from his belt. "Sadly, I don't have time to pretend I'm cultured, like everyone else here seems to!"

"We aren't pretending!" Torterra stomped again, sending a shockwave towards Morgan.

He tried to dodge it by jumping, but something was tying him to the ground; vines, wrapped across his legs, they climbed up his stomach as he watched. Ingrain. A wave of silver washed over Torterra's body, polishing away all impurities on its surface that could have held it back in a single cleansing fashion, and he charged now faster than before.

First Ingrain, then Rock Polish? He's taking this very seriously. But no problem, I can still win!

As Torterra ran, he opened his mouth, focusing on making a ball of green energy to shoot at the Gallade while he was still ingrained. Morgan, meanwhile, was trying to get rid of the vines before they spread further.

"If you think that's enough to stop someone like me, then you're a fool!" He threw the pokéball high into the air, and it opened, revealing a Glalie with a large metallic collar wrapped around its body.

Glalie roared, not in anger, but in pain, until the collar on its neck released a shock to the Pokémon, silencing it.

"W-What is that thing?! Whit did ye dae tae th' Glalie?!" Torterra blinked. He stepped back, the large tree on his back seemed to be frailing. "Ah demand answers, noo!"

"Nothing important, or rather, nothing you would understand… Glalie, you'd better do your job right now!"

The ice Pokémon rushed towards Torterra, and blew a long, freezing breath around the turtle. He was too slow to dodge, but before the ice covered his body, Torterra launched the same green energy ball from before, aiming at the sky this time. He drew his last breath, as his whole form became nothing but an ice statue.

Glalie returned just in time to freeze the vines around Morgan, to which he broke free easily, taking the ice off his fur with a wide grin. It was a disgusting sensation, topped with that ridiculous body he possessed, but he had to bear it for the time being.

"You did well, Glalie," he returned the ice-type to its confinement and continued to walk, eyeing the tree's entrance.

And it wasn't long until Morgan saw more Poémon coming out of that very entrance. Torterra must've alerted them with that energy ball from before. With a sigh, the Gallade continued, clenching his fists.

"Very well, if a fight is what you want, then that's what you're getting. This should be the perfect opportunity to test the rest of my servants."


This time, the army was larger. Way larger than Morgan had first thought it would be. He saw a few of them staring at him, those pokémon were a Breloom, a Decidueye and a Nidoking.

When Morgan's eyes crossed with those of the bird, he noticed that the ghost had already vanished. One would normally be worried of such an event, but not him.

It was then that Breloom marched forward, holding a sword, eyeing Morgan up and down. The Gallade scoffed, not bothering to deal with such a petty thing. It wasn't like they could even hope to stop him.

"Morgan Jones. A former human, and an evil one," Breloom said with a feminine voice. "At which hour mistress Xerneas did see thy true intentions, the lady did want to destroyeth thee. But thee did escape!"

"Please, enough already!" Morgan laughed. "I know that old hag told you all about me. And honestly? I couldn't care less! I have power beyond your comprehension! I'm unstoppable right now!"

Breloom raised her sword and screamed, ordering the troops to attack. They all charged at Morgan, who seemed calm like usual. He released a single pokéball in the air that let out Blaziken, with flames wrapped around his whole body.

"Deal with them, I have better things to do."

The Pokémon roared, enveloped by a bright, rainbow-colored energy aura; his features changed into a more powerful form, ones that caused a loud gasp from Xerneas' forces: mega evolution.

As his servant began fighting, Morgan teleported to the front door. So close, he was closer than before, and his confident grin spread further than before.


Despite the initial shock, Breloom continued to charge, aiming her sword at Blaziken. Of course, he had the type advantage, and Breloom knew that. But it wasn't going to stop her.

"I ask thee to cease this! Doth thou not realize this is wrong, blaziken?! I doth not wish to square thee, but I shall if 't be true behoveful!"

Blaziken grinned, cracking his knuckles. "Honestly I barely understood what you're saying. Is this some form of archaic language? But to be fair, I don't really care! Morgan gave me power, so I'll be happy to use it!"

"If 't be true that's what thy decision is, then I has't nay choice… prepare to square, fiend!"

"This is madness, that gent hast the typeth advantage!" Nidoking pleaded. "We shouldst visage him together!"

"Lord decidueye is counting on me to doth this, so f'r mine own honor, I'm going to square him!"

With that, Breloom charged. She jumped, aiming her sword at Blaziken, who heard a clicking sound. The blade stretched, nearly hitting him, but he was able to dodge it with a high jump. Breloom landed, looking around to find Blaziken, when she heard someone shouting a warning at her.

By the time she reacted it was too late; Breloom was hit by a powerful kick, the impact sent her rolling across the floor and made her drop her sword. Blaziken just chuckled, running towards her. A faint red glimmer came from Breloom's weapon.

"Yond fiend hitteth me" she got up, panting. "I'm not giving up, thee fiend! I'm stopping thee even but now!"

Blaziken laughed, both of his hands were wrapped in flames, and he continued until reaching her, punching Breloom multiple times before jumping back. A cloud of smoke appeared after the fire hit, but once it dissipated, he saw that Breloom looked… weird.

Her body was almost transparent, and he could see right through it. Blaziken blinked, was that a substitute? Before he could answer, the fire-type received multiple slashes across his body in an instant, falling to his knees.

As he tumbled down, Blaziken raised his head slowly. There she was, Breloom, holding the sword. He took a better look at the weapon right now, seeing a golden hilt with a bright red diamond inserted on it.

"As thee can seeth, fiend, typeth advantage isn't ev'rything!" when Breloom noticed him staring at her sword, she scoffed. "This is a fighting gem! A rare jewel yond mine own mistress gaveth me, as vaward of that lady forces."

"Shut up with that weird language of yours, I don't give… a single fuck!" Blaziken stood up, trembling and with blood dripping down to the floor.

"Very well, then alloweth's continueth our hurlyburly, I shalt strike thee down whither thee standeth, fiend!"

Breloom charged against her foe, trying to hit him with the weapon once more, but all the sword struck was a rainbow-colored barrier of energy that repelled her backwards.

"You're not the only one with tricks up your sleeve, bitch!" Blaziken wrapped his hands in fire once more and dashed towards Breloom.

After falling down, the female used her quick thinking and launched dirt right into Blaziken's eyes, blinding him for the moment. This allowed her to fill her left hand with red energy and deliver a powerful blow at him with enough force that she heard his bones crack.

"N-NO!" he cried out, roars of pain filling the area. But that's when he realized that Breloom was closer than before, so he smiled, lowering his arm.

"Doth thee surrender, fiend?!"

"Thanks, but no, thanks!" Blaziken raised his flaming hand into Breloom's chin, launching her high into the air with a loud scream.

He fell on his knees, exhausted from the battle and fell down, not noticing Nidoking grabbing Breloom after she began to fall back into the ground.

The big poison-type carefully placed her on the ground and stared at Blaziken, giving him a loud snarl. His bulky tail slapped the ground, and he flexed his claws.

"Thee hadst the advantage ere, but now?! Now I'm taking thee out! Behold what you've done to that lady!"

Breloom had burn marks all across her body, and her breathing had become raspy. She was barely moving, and the few times she tried to, she was stopped by a jolt of pain.

"You mean like, my job?" Blaziken smirked, cracking his knuckles once more.

The fire-type charged, hands encased in fire again. He knew that any ground move would be tough to resist, but his willpower burnt brighter than ever before. Blaziken refused to die right now.

Nidoking roared when he looked down to see Blaziken and vomited a purple, sludge-like liquid over the fire-type. His opponent cringed, but still found enough strength to punch the big Pokémon on his chin, knocking him backwards.

It wasn't for nothing. Blaziken panted, checking the damage dealt to him. He was covered by the sludge, and in those areas, it burned. Not like fire, but rather, like some form of acid.

"Well, I thought you were some kinda brute. Guess I was wrong, huh?"

Nidoking didn't answer. Instead, he punched the ground with a faint brown glow around his hands. A shockwave was delivered across the floor, and once it got below Blaziken, it exploded into a wave of brown energy, surging across his body. Despite his resolve, the earthen attack was successful at bringing him down.

"Ha! In the end, thy type wast thy downfall! I shalt avenge mine lady!"

Blaziken got up again, spitting blood on the floor beneath him. "Shut up, I don't give a shit about your chivalry, honor or whatever! I'm here to do my job!"

"Then thee wilt falleth, fiend!"

Nidoking roared, charging at Blaziken with both arms extended. His opponent responded by grabbing Nidoking's arms with his own, trying not to get thrown back by the sturdy and scaly limbs.

"I'm… not dyin'! You and your little mistress are the ones getting killed here! Do you hear me?!"

"You're a nuisance, and a bastard pokémon. Wherefore would thee doth such a thing? F'r wage? thee would sacrifice the balance of the ordinary f'r some golden coins?!"

"For the love of… stop with the archaic language! And by the way, you hit the jackpot, asshole!" Blaziken managed to push Nidoking backwards, although he was using most of his physical strength to do so. He set his arms ablaze once again, and the flames climbed up Nidoking's own limbs.

"Ha! Mine own encave is too tough f'r yond bawbling flame to did hurt me!" to prove his point, Nidoking crushed Blaziken's hands, making the red pokémon scream in pain.

"Oh, shut up, you pretentious moron!"

Nidoking opened his mouth, charging another purple sludge, while still holding on to Blaziken's arms. The bird, however, had an idea, considering they were side by side. He kicked Nidoking right on his chin, forcing the large Pokémon to almost choke on his own move.

This caused the poison-type to stumble back, coughing some of the sludge, and Blaziken didn't waste the opportunity. Even with both arms hurting like crap, he could do something. Said something was to turn around, kicking Nidoking on his cheek and knocking him backwards into the ground.

He tried standing up, still coughing the poison, but felt his horn being grabbed by Blaziken's arms. The fire Pokémon was furious, and Nidoking swore he saw flames in his eyes.

"Now, now, who was the heathen here?!"

"Y-You are!"

"Wrong," Blaziken kicked his opponent again, but still held on to the horn. With a series of powerful punches, Nidoking's body armor began to crack. He wasn't able to defend from the hits, only being able to bleed out until finally, Blaziken let him go.

Nidoking fell, body cracked, wounds bleeding, and utterly defeated. There was nothing else he could do to slow down Morgan or his forces.

"My… my mistress… shall prevail!"

It was so pitiful. Blaziken only had a simple job, so why was that Nidoking making things so hard for him?! Regardless of what the reason was, he didn't care. He poked the purple Pokémon, exposing his neck.

"I'm sure that armor of yours is already… pretty damaged. So do me a favor and… fuck off!"

A loud crack was heard, and Nidoking was no more, gone in a moment.


Just as Morgan was about to enter the tree, a ghostly arrow flew in front of him, only grazing his cheek, but it was enough to draw blood.

"What… who did this?!" he touched his cheek, seeing the red liquid and turning around.

He saw the same Decidueye from before, aiming another arrow at the Gallade, while staring at him with a blank expression. Morgan clenched his fist, ready to grab another pokéball, throwing them up in the air, only for three arrows to hit each of the spheres, knocking them into the ground.

"Oh. You want to fight me one on one, is that so?" Morgan laughed, right hand glowing with psychic energy.

"For my mistress, I must. I will strike you down, Morgan Jones."

Morgan snarled, now with both eyes glowing in the same, pinkish psychic aura as his hand. "You're free to try, beast! I will not yield!"

With a single slash, Morgan released a blade of energy, one that Decidueye dodged, only scoffing once he saw the attack. The bird squawked, flapping his wings to take flight. He maneuvered through the air, riding the winds around in circles, but not attacking Morgan at any point. His body was enveloped by a sky-blue energy the more circles he made.

"I'm not sure what you're planning right now, Decidueye, but regardless of what it is, I'll be the winner!" He extended his arm, glowing with a black, dark energy.

"I wouldn't count on it, heathen! You cannot reach the sky, while I am capable of fighting in both areas!" Decidueye dived straight into Morgan.

The Gallade unleashed the blade of dark energy towards his opponent, but the bird dodged, merely being cut on his feather, and rammed his body against Morgan's. The psychic-type screamed as he was slammed. However, that was his chance.

Both were now close to each other, and Morgan took advantage of that, enveloping the bird in his psychic energy and launching him into the air for the moment. Morgan fell on his knees and panted, gasping for air. He had no time to rest, however, and picked up the other pokéballs, putting them on his belt.

"I survived, like I always do, and like I always will."

Morgan looked up after hearing the sound of multiple arrows being fired at him; leaf arrows. They descended from the sky, followed closely by the bird himself.

"You idiot! Can't you just give up already?! What's so important about this stupid tree or Xerneas, anyway?!"

"This lodging is sacr'd to us, Morgan Jones!" Decidueye explained, stopping himself in the air with multiple wing flaps. "If 't be true thee disrupt the balance, our home shall beest thrown into chaos! I cannot allow this!"

Morgan focused, eyes glowing pink, and in a burst of psychic energy, countering the arrows using all his strength. This quickly drained him, but Morgan still held on, until he was able to shape the shockwave into a spherical barrier around himself.

"There's a limit to that psychic of yours!" Decidueye continued to fire a volley of arrows, creating a few cracks across Morgan's barrier, and forcing him to focus more.

A rush of blazing flames hit the ghost, taking away his concentration and making him fall on the lake with a loud hissing sound. Blaziken smirked, looking at his boss.

"Thank you…" Morgan stood up, holding himself on the tree's trunk. "You did your job well, Blaziken. Now finish it."

"Alright, alright. Sure thing, boss!" he threw an oran berry towards the Gallade, who picked it up. "Found this on the way here, and you seem to be in a pretty bad shape."

Morgan looked at the berry in disgust and chomped it down in just a few bites. He nearly threw up, but managed to keep it together, wiping the juice off his face.

"Disgusting. This is hideous. How do you even eat those things? Urgh. I don't deserve this."

"Right, right," Blaziken crossed his arms. "Are you gonna go beat up a legend or not?"

"Don't get cocky, Blaziken. Now do your job."

Blaziken nodded and ran towards the lake again. Morgan watched him go away and took a deep breath, entering the tree. His heart thumped in a mix of anxiety and excitement.

"Almost there…!"


Ah, the inside was just as hollow as the last time Morgan was there. An empty room, with a set of stairs leading to the higher areas of the tree. And, to no one's surprise, more Pokémon were trying to stop him. This time it was a Clefairy and an Azumarill.

"Two fairies, huh? And one of them is a water-type. In this case…"

Azumaril stepped forward, encasing her body in water. "Cease this instant! Thee might has't taken out our main forces outside, but this battle is not ov'r yet!"

"How cute," Morgan threw two pokéballs into the air, and from them came out a Manectric and an Aggron, the latter landed on the wooden floor with a loud thud.

Both pokémon had collars with a rainbow-colored emera wrapped around their necks that began to glow, enveloping them in energy. Azumaril and Clefairy both stared, dumbstruck by what was happening. Morgan scoffed, eyeing the stairway and teleporting to it in the span of a second.

Time was of essence, and he still had… three pokéballs on his belt. Good, they should be enough to win, considering the mega evolution forms all his team possessed.

Left with no other choice left, Azumaril and Clefairy headed to battle with two powerful opponents. They charged towards the enemies as Morgan got away.


Travelling on a Pokémon's back was, unsurprisingly, not comfortable. And that was saying something, because Lance held on tight to Gyarados' scales. Well, as tight as he could without hurting his ride.

Everyone else was holding on as best as they could. Meganium had her vines wrapped on her mount, Scar used his hands, as did Max and Lilith. Brian had Meggie inside his mane, while he held on with his gauntlet alone.

The waves sometimes tipped against their bodies, but it wasn't the most creepy thing about that journey. Instead, it was how peaceful Gyarados seemed, when just a few hours earlier, he was attacking them.

I wonder if he was aggressive because of the emera and collar, Lance thought, a shiver running down his spine. Of course, Morgan must have upgraded those collars.

He gulped down and looked at the horizon, seeing the tree. Lance bit his lower lip, sensing his heart thumping and his aura feelers twitching. Even from afar, he knew that Xerneas had a powerful aura.

So this is it. We're near the eye of the storm. And… Lance looked back at his team, who smiled at him. He proceeded to look forward again. Near our farewell.

Brian cheered with his free arm. "Alright, everyone! This is our visit to, uuuh… Meganium, where is here?"

She rolled her eyes. "Primeval Forest. After it there's the tree. And thank you for the obvious comment, child."

He pouted and shut his mouth. Damn, that Meganium was so bitchy sometimes. And by "sometimes", Brian meant always.

"He is right. Near the end of this mission…" Scar smiled. "This was a long journey, everyone. We had ups and downs, but I'm proud of where we are now."

Lance nodded, eyes having a tint of purple glow. "Yes. Team… this is our final battle!"
 
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