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Pokémon Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Liberators of Fate

Dungeon 37 - Mister Fear: Part 2

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 37 - Mister Fear: Part 2

A loud, electrical wave nearly hit Azumarill, who dodged by rolling to the ground, although she saw the effects behind her; the wooden wall was scorched.

Clefairy wasn't much better, she raised her arm, crackling with electricity, and released it on Aggron, hoping to paralyze it.

"Art thee well enow, Cleffa?"

"Somewhat!"

The large Pokémon roared in pain, its metallic armor spreading the electricity around its body. This gave them some time to think of a strategy to defeat the two, with Azumarill and Clefairy now side by side.

The blue Pokémon panted. "Good now, good now! Any ideas? It's like they're madeth to counter us!"

"None, my most humble apology…"

The canine barked, enveloped in a yellow, electrical aura. It snarled and charged towards them, the glow around it made a fizzling sound. Meanwhile, the metallic body of Aggron began to glow as it was polished.

"Well, anon it's time to bethink of something!" Azumarill said, fists wrapped in pink energy.

"I has't an idea. Let's switch targets!" Clefairy began to run, breathing deeply. She focused her aura in a pinkish sphere, and released it on the floor, sending her upwards into the air.

Aggron didn't stop. It got on all fours and roared, slapping its tail on the ground. Once it charged, it was way faster than before. Azumarill, feeling she had no choice, and created a wall of water around her body. She decided to fight Aggron head-on, and so rammed against its head.

Clefairy was falling, and aimed at Manectric, the canine suddenly stopping and sniffing the air, making it look up, when she released the beam of lunar energy on the electric Pokémon. The fairy soon landed on her feet, wiping sweat off her head.

Azumarill noticed the collar on Aggron's neck, distracting her for the right amount of time for her opponent to overpower her, sending her into the floor. Her friend ran to grab her, but only managed to make both crash against each other and fall.

The opponents were together again, both snarling like ferals, while the females stood up, their bodies filled with bruises and wounds.

"We must… we has't to winneth!"

Azumarill noticed the collars, the items glowing and spreading the energy to their bodies. Maybe those things were controlling them?

"We don't needeth to, all we needeth is to taketh those things off!" Azumarill pointed to the collars.

"What's that…? It looks like an emera, but I nev'r did see there."

"I'm… I'm not sure." Azumarill panted. "If 't be true only we hadst the gems, but the mistress only gaveth to Breloom."

Aggron charged again, stomping the ground and releasing an earthquake to stagger the two females. Manectric growled, releasing another thunderbolt on the water-type, and she tried to counter by using the fairy energy on her hands to hold off the attack.

It was successful, but Azumarill cringed due to pain on her now burnt hands. Sweat dropped off her body, and she barely felt anything on her arms.

"Azumarill! Art thee well enow?!" Clefairy looked at the burns and gasped, turning to face the two mega Pokémon. "How dare thee! The lady doesn't deserve this!"

Neither of them had any answer, other than growls and snarls. Clefairy inhaled, releasing a pulse of healing energy on her friend, hoping it would be strong enough to heal her.


Blaziken munched on an oran berry he found, sensing the healing properties of the fruit kicking in already. He sighed, cracking his knuckles.

"Well, this was surprisingly easy," he said, checking out his body. The strong and powerful form he now possessed. "It's perfect for me. I have to say, I'm glad I decided to work for this guy."

Water splashing got his attention, so Blaziken went to take a look at the lake, only to find Decidueye just outside of it, panting and with water dripping from him.

"Come on, do these guys ever give up? I'm not in the mood for another fight!"

Decidueye flapped his wings. "Thee fiend… thee hath killed Nidoking, thee did knock out Breloom… what doth thee wanteth from us? We liveth in peace!"

"Uh, I really don't care!" Blaziken prepared to fight, but to his surprise, Decidueye melted into the ground.

What? Blaziken rubbed his eyes and looked again; the ghost was gone. He heard some rumors about ghosts phasing through solid matter, but there was no way that was true! He heard hooting, a chill, ominous hooting on his back.

"Coward! Face me like a real mon!" Blaziken stumbled back, producing a flame around his left arm.

The ominous hooting continued and this time, it spoke. "Says the fiend who attacks innocents… don't you think you need to repent?"

"I said fuck off!" Blaziken fired the flames forward, hitting the tree. It merely grazed the wood, barely leaving a scratch mark.

"Oh, anon thee attack a sacr'd spot f'r us? You're disgusting."

From his back, Blaziken was hit by a dark ball. And then another, in front of him. Then another on his back. And so forth. Each time he tried to find the Decidueye, he was already gone.

This drove him mad. His blood boiled with anger and more flames appeared all around Blaziken the more he was hit by the spheres.

"Fuck off… fuck off… FUCK. OFF!" he exploded, releasing an enormous heat wave on the area, burning through the grass in a spherical shape.

As he did so, he let out a scream, and his voice slowly turned more… primitive. Reduced to a snarl, Blaziken stopped to catch his breath. That proved to be a difficult task, because, due to the previous attack, he was tired, and dizzy.

"I-I said fight me… like… like a mon. You… bitch."

"Thee burn'd yourself out, fiend," Decidueye showed up in front of Blaziken, pointing a feathery arrow to the fire Pokémon.

"That… that was your plan?! Your stupid plan?!" he snarled, stomping the ground until a small hole appeared. So, so angry. Blaziken looked at the ghost with rage on his eyes, and simply charged at him.

"W-Wha—" the punch was too fast to dodge, and before he knew it, Blaziken had grabbed Decidueye's face.

"Oh, you prick! You bastard! Wanna know what I'm doing with you! And your precious tree?! Wanna defend it so badly?! Fine by me!"

Decidueye shivered, trying to get away from the grasp, but screamed due to the heat surrounding Blaziken's hand. It burned his flesh and made an immense headache appear.

"R-Release me!"

"Alright, then!" Blaziken continued to charge, approaching the thick wood trunk the tree had. He threw Decidueye there with all he had, and the ghost crashed, bones cracking and popping, until he fell on the ground.

Meanwhile, the red Pokémon was still pissed, he was sweating, but it evaporated instantly on his arm, so he was surrounded by steam. Slowly, he calmed down as the energy of mega evolution left his body.

"D-Damn it… not now…"

"You… thee shall not win…" Decidueye coughed up blood, too weak to move. "The tree is indestructible. T's did connect to our mistress. As long as she's standing, the tree shall liveth!"

Blaziken tried to ignore it, but a nagging sensation on the back of his neck stopped him. Why… why was that tree so important?

"I'm asking you somethin', and you're listening!" he shouted to the ghost. "What's so damn holy about this thing? Or about Xerneas?"

"She's… she's the embodiment of life itself! We're only hither because the lady so desires. It's mine own duty to serveth her…"

"Oh, Arceus dammit. I don't care about your life story!" he rolled his eyes and walked off into the tree's entrance. Maybe Morgan needed his help during this entire mess.

Before he entered, however, Blaziken tried something a bit different. He tried burning the wood once more, but like his previous attempt, it didn't have any results. Weird.

"Well, I'm not paid to think about mystic stuff."


Gyarados landed on the island's shore, where he dropped off the team. The large water-type smiled at the passengers, a sharp contrast to how he acted before.

Lance was the first to step foot on the grassy terrain. He stretched his arms and inhaled. The tree could be seen in the distance, while the aura… the powerful aura of Xerneas made his sensors twitch.

"This is insane. How powerful is she?" Brian asked, climbing down Gyarados. "Good thing we're not her enemies, huh?"

"Exactly, congratulations," Meganium raised her head, but even she was trembling.

The others soon joined them, with Gyarados simply staring. Scar looked at the large Pokémon, to talk with him and arrange the way back.

"Mister Gyarados… I'm sorry, I don't remember your name. Will you wait for our mission to end? Our boat is still missing."

"Of course!" he said, slapping the tail on the water and splashing everyone but the Marowak. "I need to rest anyway, so I'll wait to bring you guys back! It's the least I can do after, well… after everything!"

"Good. We should be ready now," Scar raised his club. "All we need to do is travel across Primeval Forest, correct?"

"Urgh, I can't stand forests anymore. Not after that weird one with vines!" Meggie whined, looking down.

"Y'all got lucky back then," Lilith pointed out. "But it's best not to think about those things. Let's just move on!"

"Yeah! Move on and kick some Gallade ass!" Max clasped his fists together, chuckling.

Seemed like everyone was pumped for the mission, one way or the other, so Lance didn't worry much. It took nine years for this to happen, but he was going to do it. Get closure on the torture, move on, and protect the future.

I can do this. With my allies, with my friends… we can win this fight. I know it. I just… know this is true.

"Let's go." Meganium said. "I should probably warn you that, since I don't have my credentials, Primeval Forest might be a bit… aggressive towards us. It wards off intruders."

"Credentials?" Meggie tilted her head and waited for the explanation.

"Well, it's pretty simple, let me tell you about this… and please, pay attention!"

As Meganium said, the forest was protected against intruders by a badge, one that Morgan took out once he captured her. And that was only the first level of security the dungeon had. This was a bit of a shock so the team, but regardless, they went on inside the woods.

Lance waited for the others to go, leaving only him and Scar on the shore. Well, Gyarados was there too, but he was resting, so that wouldn't be much of a problem for him. With that in mind, he had to chat with the Marowak, so the two eyed each other.

"Hm. Good decision, speaking to me in private," Scar nodded. "However, my team knows all about this, you could have called them to this meeting, no?"

Lance shook his head in denial, sighing. "Well, you're my mentor here. I think it's only fair I talk to you, and you only."

"...Understandable, mister Williams," Scar smiled brightly, putting his club on his back. "Now, what would you like to talk about?"

The Lucario crossed his eyes and gave his mentor a smug grin. The events that happened in the forest were still fresh on his mind, and more importantly, they were important for his future.

"I've met the one you worship. Necrozma is on the island we were stranded in."

Scar nearly dropped his jaw in shock, but cleared his throat soon enough. That was a shocking revelation, but much like all the things Lance shared with him, he dealt with it with respect and trust. Despite all of this, Scar was unable to contain his smile.

"I-I cannot believe it, Mister Williams…" Scar let out a laugh, a genuine, heartfelt laugh. "H-How? We arrived at the place I was searching for almost my entire life! This is fascinating!"

"Right now, I'm not sure why," Lance shrugged, thinking about the options. One of them was that Necrozma himself drew them to the island, but that one seemed unlikely. The other one was… not one he wanted to believe in. "Perhaps… perhaps it was fate."

Scar continued with his cheerful expression. "I thought you were some sort of liberator of fate, judging by the name of your team and that speech your brother gave!"

"Oh, I don't like the idea of fate. I don't like not having control of my life," Lance explained, looking up at the tree. "That Gallade took it away from me, it's one of the reasons I'm fighting this battle."

Not wanting to lose control? That was interesting to Scar, but he didn't press on the subject further. He patted Lance's shoulder and walked towards the other, before looking back.

"I suppose once we're done with this mission, we will speed up our plans. I'm not sure what my lord talked about with you, but I know he's a benevolent legend. Now, shall we go?"

"Yes, let's go…"


Clefairy tried to dodge multiple attacks at once. Sometimes, it was Aggron charging at her, other times it was that Manectric letting out electrical charges. The only protection she had was a wooden barricade, where Azumarill was, still being healed.

"Come on, come on! This can't be that hard!" she pressed the wounds, using most of her energy to heal the burn scars.

Azumarill coughed. "Cleffa… thee shouldst alert the others. Those ferals… they're too stout f'r us to square!"

"I'm not leaving thee behin–" a loud explosion threw them both towards the walls. It was a fiery one.

Blaziken, with flames on his hand, let out a laugh. So the walls inside were weaker? That was pathetic, of course, but at the same time, fun for him.

"Ladies, I'm sorry I have to beat the crap outta you two, but a job's a job!"

"A-A Blaziken…?!" Clefairy stood up, even if it was barely, and entered combat position, aiming her fairy beam at Blaziken.

"Seriously? Come on, it's three against one! You cannot be that dumb, lady!" Blaziken snapped his fingers.

The other two Pokémon joined Blaziken, standing at both his sides, and on all fours. The fire-type laughed, activating the emera on his body once more and mega evolving.

"Coequal if 't be true kills me, I might not but defeat you…!" Clefairy panted and launched her moonblast, but all the injuries from before made her cry out in pain and miss the shot that hit the wooden wall instead.

"Gee, I don't even think I'll need to fight much in order to kill you two!" Blaziken chuckled, a feral look on his face as he drew more of the emera's energy.

Azumarill showed no signs of waking up, so Clefairy was all alone. Against three Pokémon, with a power she never saw before… the odds were certainly against her. How she found the inner strength to stand her ground and continue the fight was unknown to her. Whether it was adrenaline, pure willpower or a combination of the two, she didn't care.

"Putteth up a square? I'm putting up a square f'r me, and f'r mine own friend, and all of those thee did hurt, Blaziken!" she screamed, dashing towards the fire-type. As she did, her hand was enveloped in some form of energy, colored black.

Her main opponent didn't bother to dodge, letting her get near him. Once she did, he tried to punch the fairy. That attempt failed when Clefairy ducked and punched Blaziken's chest with the dark energy from before.

"F-Fuck!" he suddenly cringed, but kicked her anyway.

The fairy was dragged across the floor, injuring her more than ever before. Still, she remained awake, merely raising her eyes to look at Blaziken.

"Now, now. I really hate to hit a lady, but considering I did that already… it's fine by me!"

Blaziken was stopped by a massive pain on his chest, like his energy was being drained out. During the clash, he didn't notice what move Clefairy used on him, but now? Now he knew what it was: Knock-Off. She took out the emera from him, and now the energy he absorbed from it was being returned to the stone, turning the fire Pokémon back to normal, and exhausted.

"Huff…" she mumbled, holding the stone on her hand, almost like her life depended on it. And, judging by Blaziken's reaction, that was very much true.

The red Pokémon pointed to the fairy, ordering his servants to attack her. Without even questioning it, Aggron and Manectric went on their way to attack Clefairy.

She tried to move, to escape, or at the very least, to dodge. Her body didn't agree with that, and refused to move, no matter how much she tried to. Manectric was the closest one, she saw its fangs. Sharp teeth that could puncture her whole body. Clefairy closed her eyes.

A splashing sound forced her to snap her eyes open, seeing that Azumarill was back in the fight, ramming against Manectric and sending it all the way to Aggron, electrifying it and knocking the canine out.

"I-I'm my most humble apology. And, I'm back…!" Azumarill smiled at her friend, but held on to the wall. "Whoops, looks like I still can't walketh much."

"Don't worry about that… we're almost out of energy, and yond Gallade is nowhere to beest seen."

Blaziken was still lying down, unable to move. He still tried, and extended his arm, trying to grab the emera, but the distance was too long for that to happen, and soon his limb flopped down.

Aggron grabbed Manectric and tossed it to the side, roaring loudly. It still had enough energy to fight, and didn't plan to give up anytime soon.

"Wherefore didst thee doth? Why… wherefore risk thy life f'r this, Blaziken?" In that moment, Clefairy decided to reason with her enemy. It was what her mistress would want.

He snarled, forcing himself to stand up. "W-What…? I'm your enemy. I don't need your pity! All I need is power! And that's just what I was offered!"

"I've hath heard whispers about what yond Gallade doest. He kidnaps innocent mon, tortures those folk, abuses them… wherefore supporteth such a thing? F'r a feeble thing such as power? That's… pitiful."

The fire-type raged, enveloping his whole body in flames like he did outside the tree. He cracked his knuckles and began to walk towards Aggron and Manectric.

"What do you know? I'm a mercenary. This is the exact type of job I'm meant to do!"

"T hurts the balance of the world!" Clefairy shouted. "Why…? I don't understandeth!"

"You… you don't need to understand, Clefairy. None of you do. I'm just doing… what I need to do."

He yanked off the collar from Aggron, grabbing the emera. That beautiful, sparkling stone. It called out to him, like a light source called a Frosmoth. He smiled wider than it should be possible, deaf to all that occurred around him. As long as he had that stone, it would give him power!

Clefairy, meanwhile, held on to her friend's hand. "I'm too weak to doth aught, Blaziken. And thee haven't did answer any question so far. But if 't be true you're going to killeth us anyway… can thee answer me one thing?"

Hearing that call made him frown and shift his gaze towards Clefairy. Ah, another one of those stupid questions. He had no need to answer them, or even care for them. He didn't even need to care about that stupid job! He could take the three emeras and leave. Not like anyone could hope to stop him.

And yet, it was just like Clefairy said. Just a single question. He smiled. "Alrighty, then. What do you want to know?"

"Where… nay, I don't bethink thee did get those emeras on thy own. Whither didst Morgan receiveth those folk?"

"I still don't understand most of what you're saying, but... he said it was a remnant of his former world or something. Don't really know, something about… emera dust being a mega stone? Honestly, I don't really care about it."

Now that he answered it, Blaziken activated the emera one last time. Oh, how good it felt when he absorbed the energy. It flowed throughout his body and he couldn't help but laugh like some sort of maniac, drunk in the bliss and power it gave him.

"Well, I think you've gone on long enough with this nonsense. I don't care about the job anymore, but right now? I'm ending this. I need to taste the full extent of this power!"

He slowly approached Clefairy, and with each step he took, it left a burn mark on the shape of his feet on the wooden floor. During the entire way, he smiled. Blaziken was loving this.

The time had come. He was just a few inches from the two, and pointed a flaming hand towards them. Blaziken continued to smile, without a single care in the world. But first, he took the second emera from Clefairy. Its power wasn't needed at the moment, but he liked to keep that thing with him.

"Good..by–ARGH!" a powerful and devastating punch was blown on Blaziken's stomach. He looked down, only to see none other than… Azumarill.

She screamed as loud as she could, wrapping her body in water, and with both hands glowing pink. She pushed Blaziken backwards with as much power as she had, all while punching him. The combination of her fairy and water moves was too strong, and Blaziken ended up coughing up blood from the sheer impact.

"Y-You little… bitch!" unable to resist, he was dragged across the floor, sending both emeras he held into the wall beneath him, and finally resting.

The battle was over. At least for now. Azumarill collapsed on the floor, screaming for Clefairy, who didn't respond. Her mind thought of the worst, and so she crawled over to her friend, shaking her body.

She was breathing. Barely, but breathing nonetheless. Azumarill cried in joy, letting the tears drop as she hugged her friend.

To her complete shock, she heard a grunt behind. Blaziken held the emeras on both of his hands, and let out a primal, guttural roar, absorbing both their energies onto himself. The result was a massive rainbow light that covered the area.

Whatever was happening, it culminated with Blaziken on his mega evolution, topped with a blazing red aura and a wicked grin. He said something, but all that came out was a feral growl. His pupils were slit now, and his feathers seemed scruffier, giving him an almost ragged look.

Blaziken finally opened his mouth, and showed his teeth. Sharp, blade-like teeth. Azumarill trembled. If before she was barely able to defeat him, now? Now it was hopeless. She had no way of winning that battle and so collapsed on the floor.


Far away from there, the sudden rush of aura made Lance tremble on his feet, nearly falling over, if it wasn't for his brother holding him. A single drop of sweat fell on the grassy floor, and they continued. Their walk was cut short, as a massive wall of roots and trunks appeared in front of them, blocking their way.

"Ah, this is the countermeasure I mentioned before," Meganium sighed, giving one step forward. "Do not worry, this won't stop us anytime soon, I assure you. All it needs is… to analyse me, for lack of a better word."

"You mean like some sort of scan?" Brian raised his arm.

"...Yes, Brian. Like a scan," Oh, that one hurt her very pride. Meganium touched the roots with her vines and stood there, motionless and silent for what felt like hours to the others, when in reality, only a minute had passed.

The blockage retreated, and the team moved on into the forest. Lance could still sense the powerful aura from before, and clenched his fist. Whatever it was, he would meet it soon enough.


Morgan was done with all the resistance he was facing. Waves after waves of Pokémon trying to stop him, only for the Gallade to teleport away. Spending his energy fighting fodder was pointless, as he needed to be in his best shape for the next step of his plan.

So he went on another set of stairs. According to Morgan's calculations, this should be the last one before the top of the tree, where Xerneas was waiting for him. He barely remembered who was there the last time he visited this area of the world, but he knew it was someone, some… thing. Yes, a thing. Much like all the other creatures on the planet.

The room was large and empty, but possessed open windows where one could look at the entire forest. It was kind of… fascinating for him. On the end of the large room was a single door, where one Pokémon stood, waiting for Morgan.

It was a Noctowl, a single Pokémon, who didn't even look like he would put up much of a fight. The bird was just… staring at Morgan.

"Move. I don't have time to deal with you."

"And yet, you've dealt with all our forces, judging by how you managed to get here," Noctowl said. Or rather, sent the words to Morgan's mind.

His reaction was to put his hand on his forehead and growl. Morgan's other hand glowed once more, but he breathed and calmed down, removing the glow.

"I did what I had to. You wouldn't understand, none of you would! I just want to go back home! This place isn't for me!"

"This is not the point, Morgan Jones!" Noctowl squawked, flapping his wings. "Through your years in this world, you've tortured, murdered and kidnapped countless Pokémon. Your reason for doing this is not justifiable!"

"...So what? I'm superior to all of you! I deserve to rule!" Morgan slammed his hand against the wooden wall, releasing a loud noise.

Noctowl sighed, shaking his head in denial. "If only things were different… and my mistress wouldn't have hunted you. And neither would our forces be dead."

"Forces?!" Morgan scoffed, laughing loudly. "They were pitiful! Or rather… my scientific genius unlocked the secrets of mega evolution!"

"Incorrect," Noctowl retorted. "You stole the secret from our archives. No wonder one of your subordinates is going insane down below. You have the incomplete version."

Morgan ignored that little comment. He still had the advantage, and no, his work wasn't incomplete! He did not spend years for it to be unfinished.

"Are you trying to be on the moral high ground here? If your forces are so important, why are you letting them die in this battle?"

"Sacrifices are necessary for the sake of our mistress," Noctowl flapped his wings. "They know that, and accept it."

Ah, sacrifices. Something Morgan knew very well. That conversation wasn't leading anywhere, other than a few retorts from both of them. He stepped forward, towards the door.

Noctwol stepped out of the way, letting Morgan in. "I see. Well, I am not a fighter, Morgan Jones. My mistress will see you now. She told me this."

"Very well."


Her sanctuary didn't change over the years. A beautiful place, where the leaves from the top of the tree covered the ceiling, and where Xerneas stood, the large quadruped Pokémon was in front of what seemed to be a throne.

The pressure was very much still present. Just the simple imposing figure of Xerneas was enough for Morgan to flinch, even if it was slightly. And she never said one word. Not even one. Her eyes met Morgan's.

"You know why I am here, Xerneas," Morgan said, picking up the pokéballs. "I'm returning home, and you're helping me with it."

"The fact you've slaughtered countless lives just to get here… I pity you. You poor, poor soul."

"I don't need your pity, scum!" Morgan shouted, now raising his hand. "Don't think you can understand me! What I've lost! All of you can just die, for all I care!"

"And I cannot allow that. If you use force, I shall use it as well."

Her antlers began to glow, and Xerneas stepped forward, tapping one of her hooves on the floor. Morgan's heart thumped faster each second. He didn't know if it was fear, panic, or excitement, or somehow a mixture of all the three. All he knew was that he needed to do this.

"...Haha! You think you can best me? A human?! Don't be mistaken! I've prepared myself for this moment for all these years!"

"Morgan Jones. Today your crimes shall be punished as they should be. Do you think those souls you've murdered had peace? They do not."

From her antlers, Xerneas shot a pink beam on Morgan's forehead, and he soon fell to his knees, screaming in pain. Flashes of the pain each of his experiments went through went on inside his mind, until he was clawing on the floor, nearly throwing up.

"Do you repent?" Xerneas asked, but shook her head. "On second thought, you do not deserve this. No. Death would be too kind for you, Morgan Jones."

"I… do… not!"

He stood up and roared, raising his arm where he held an emera. The energy of the stone began to flow throughout Morgan's body and change him. His entire body turned white, except for his head, that continued to have shades of green in it. Two cape-like protrusions flowed behind him,flapping in the air. Finally, his blades extended and sharpened in the process.

"I… have no time for your petty mind tricks, Xerneas," the mega evolved Gallade said, letting out the final Pokémon he caught: a Glalie, a Blastoise and a Pidgeot. "This is what I've been waiting for… during all these years. Today is the day I get to go home! Today I leave this filthy world behind! And… it starts now."
 
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Dungeon 38 - Legend... wait for it

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 38 - Legend... wait for it

Other than a few feral Pokémon, the walk through the woods went as smoothly as it could. Every now and then, the team stopped to fight the occasional enemy, but at the moment, they were resting.

"We shouldn't stay too long here." Of course, Meganium urged them to keep going; after all, everyone knew what would happen to their minds in case time ran out. They could not risk that happening.

"I can see that," Lance pointed out. "And this aura… I'm not sure who it belongs to."

Scar smiled. "Why not try using your senses? If they're so strong, perhaps you can identify them?"

Lance stood, looking forward with all his sensors twitching in the air, and both eyes having a tint of purple in them. From afar, he could sense an enormous wave of aura, colored… pink. Alongside it was another, smaller aura, that was tainted in red. They seemed to be fighting, with three smaller auras, all of which were blue, attacking the pink one.

"I think… that's Xerneas. She's the one I feel more of, she's fighting a lot of Pokémon."

"It must be Morgan," Meganium gulped, stepping forward. "Come, we need to go!"

Attacking a legend… was that the reason you used me for your experiments? I was a child…

The Lucario clenched his fist and followed the others into the deeper parts of the forest.


Xerneas remained still. Her antlers began to glow like a rainbow, while her head slowly raised, not even bothering to look at Morgan. The Gallade still had his smug look and cracked his neck. With a snap of his fingers, the three Pokémon accompanying him roared, being enveloped in the light of evolution.

"You must be really proud of your power, Xerneas," Morgan said. "However, I can fight you on even ground. You're nothing against me now!"

"Cease, heathen!" Xerneas finally lowered her head, releasing a devastating rainbow wave towards the three opponents.

"This is nothing! Protect barrier, now!"

After his command, the three roared, creating an almost transparent barrier of energy, fending off the attack. It was still very powerful, managing to make Blastoise, Glalie and Pidgeot fall back after the impact shattered the barrier.

Morgan ignored this and walked towards Xerneas. He clapped both hands and laughed, fascinated by the events. He knew such a powerful move would have destroyed an ordinary Pokémon's protect, but with three megas? That was enough to defend against Xerneas' attack.

"You had to charge that move, didn't you? You're defenseless now!"

To Morgan's surprise, Xerneas smiled. What was she planning? Using her most powerful attack right away meant she drained most of her energy, right? His shock only escalated further once she sent out a thunderbolt towards Morgan, but he was able to teleport to the right before it struck him.

"...A trick?"

"I have no need for tricks!" Xerneas opened her mouth, forming a pink sphere in front of her snout.

"Very well. If that's what you want, then you'll get it!"

Blastoise stood up and fired a water shot from its cannon, which hit one of Xerneas' front hooves. She didn't react to it, and instead the sphere grew in size, along with producing a sparkling sound.

"Glalie, now!"

"What…?" Xerneas sensed something different about her front legs. They seemed… slower. Like they were paralyzed, and she looked down; ice was forming where the water once hit, and along with it was Glalie.

She decided to release the moonblast anyway, but her legs gave up, forcing her to fall on the ground and release a huge cloud of dust.

"Yes! I've done it! I defeated a legendary!" Morgan picked up the purple pokéball, ready to throw it at her.

A powerful electric shock ran across Morgan's whole body, forcing him to his knees due to the pain. He ended up dropping the ball on the ground and coughed.

"Insolent… fool! Why don't you just give up?!"

"I am the embodiment of life itself!" Xerneas stood up, stomping her hooves on the ground. It was so powerful it forced back the four mega Pokémon. "I will not yield to you, or to anyone! Face me if you dare!"

Morgan could barely move his body, but made an effort to do it anyway and checked his wounds. Besides the shock that he could still feel, he had bruises, and a few drops of blood fell on the ground.

"Hmph," Morgan took a deep breath. "I don't care that you're a legend. I shall defy the legends if that's what it takes to get me home!"

Xerneas stayed where she was, but glared at Morgan. It was intense, and the Gallade had to try hard to even stand up. He knew she was strong, strong enough. But he couldn't give up. His dream was right in front of him. So close, yet so far.

"Many have tried, yet none of them succeeded. What makes you think you can do it, human? You don't have the drive to fulfill your quest."

The pressure intensified, bringing Morgan back to his knees, along with his servants. Much like gravity, it pinned them down no matter what they tried. Morgan shed a single tear, and screamed, standing up and enveloping his blades with dark energy.

"Don't talk to me about drive! You don't know what I've done during my years here! I never wanted this…"

Morgan clenched his fist, snarling. The wind blew on his fur, that unnatural fur he shouldn't have. Along with blades. Oh, how he hated it.

"I'm a prisoner! I don't deserve it!"

"SILENCE!" Xerneas glared, sending a shockwave of energy that pushed them all back to the wall next to the entrance. "You deserve a fate worse than death, Morgan Jones. And I will grant it to you!"

Getting back on his feet, Morgan charged the blade with energy again. "You're welcome to try!"


Back on the lowest floor of the tree, Blaziken began to throw flames onto the walls, while laughing. His face seemed unhinged, fixed on a creepy and ominous smile. Azumarill had already collapsed, but despite her and Clefairy being easy targets, the fire-type never hit them, not even once.

Not that he didn't want to, but his mind screamed much like a primal voice, so loud it deafened him to everything else. His slithering eyes had veins spread across his sclera, and he threw another burst of flames into the wall. Sadly, it only left a small scorch mark.

Letting out a squawk, Blaziken panted. He could still do it. That wall was just… standing on his way! That was it. If he could take it down, he would be stronger. Strong. It was all he needed.

So, using all the power boost from the emeras, Blaziken tried to torch the trunks once more, laughing and raising his head. Ah, it felt amazing. The fire around his arm, crackling and expanding. And with it, the destructive force like he never saw before.

But it wasn't enough. The tree remained there, unharmed even with that devastating attack. How? Maybe Blaziken wasn't strong enough. Then he remembered the third emera, the one that was with Manectric. It was passed out already, so surely that Pokémon wouldn't miss the stone!

Blaziken hissed and yanked the stone out of Manectric's collar, when he heard footsteps. Loud footsteps, coming out of the tree. Who did they belong to? In the end, it didn't matter, he would defeat them! He crushed the emera, taking in all its energy.


Outside, Meganium did her best to heal the wounded. Her vines withered as she did, having to transfer energy to three Pokémon at once took too much out of her.

Meggie clenched her fist, seeing all the apparently deceased Pokémon. Morgan did that, she was sure of it. The Froslass hovered next to Meganium.

"They're… dead, right?"

"Well, yes and no," Meganium answered, putting more energy into the wounded. "Our life force is connected to Xerneas, as long as she's alive, we are too. They're in a… coma-like state."

Meanwhile, the others were staring at the beautiful tree, all but Lance, who fell on his knees, with one of his paws touching his head.

"H-Hey Lance, what's wrong?!" Brian asked his sibling, touching his shoulder.

"A massive aura spike… what the fuck is going on here?!" Lance forced himself to stand up, but his senses were overloading. Whatever it was, it was still growing.

Scar grasped his club. He wasn't as sensitive as Lucario, but even he could tell there was a strong enemy nearby. The green flames on the bone scorched higher. Lilith cracked her knuckles, preparing to strike, while Max snapped his finger, making his whole arm crackle with electricity.

From the entrance to the tree's inside stood Blaziken, who didn't say anything, and simply stepped towards them. His body was enveloped in a red, almost burning aura, and with each step that he took, the grass burnt beneath him.

"You're the one that took me!" Lance pointed to him, his own aura flaring up. He snarled, sensors now furiously twitching, and a purple sphere appeared on his hand. "I am taking you down… I'm not scared of you anymore!"

His opponent didn't respond, or rather, Lance didn't wait for an answer. He dashed forward, leaving only a dusty trail where he once stood. Blaziken seemed to understand that and did the same thing as Lance. The two exchanged blows, and were thrown in opposite directions. The Lucario ended up being tossed backwards, while Blaziken didn't even fall, using his claws on the ground to slow down the movement.

Brian looked back and went to his brother as soon as he could, to check his wounds. Lance now had burn marks around his stomach, and his brother smelled cooked flesh.

On the other hand, Blaziken now could not move his arm, since it was dislocated, until he inserted it back in place, all without a single complaint about the pain. No, it was quite the opposite. He cherished the pain and made a signal for them to attack once more.

"He has gone insane… this aura isn't… normal," Lance tried to stand up, when a vine wrapped around his arm, and began to heal his wounds.

"You bastard!" Brian turned back and got on all fours with his fur standing on end. "Nobody messes with my family, you hear me?!"

Scar remained quiet, merely gazing at Lilith and nodding. She apparently understood what he meant, and she sped up, jumping high into the air. Brian activated his gauntlet and lunged at Blaziken, only for his opponent to dodge by ducking, and proceeded to kick Brian's stomach.

"Well, asshole… I'm gonna show you something shocking!" refusing to let the kick throw him away, Brian touched Blaziken's chest, and the gauntlet heated up, beginning to burn through Brian's skin. He cringed, but ignored the pain and released a shock all across Blaziken's body.

The fire-type opened his mouth and yelled, even when he was forced on his knees due to the gauntlet. Brian stepped back, leaving Blaziken there, until, coming from the sky, Lilith kicked his cheek, sending the fire-type rolling across the area. She took a few drops of sweat off her face and panted.

"I'm… done with the healing, at least here," Meganium said, blinking. Her legs almost gave out, but she forced herself to stand. "We need to go to the tree."

The Marowak looked at everyone, tapping his chin, and then pointed to team Liberators, along with Meganium. "You four should move on. We can take care of Blaziken. I think he might have gone feral."

"Oh yeah, we got this!" Max agreed. "Now go! Kick that Gallade's ass!"

Lance got some help from Meggie to stand up, and nodded. They left the area just as Blaziken returned, only hearing the crackle of flames before entering the tree.


The inside was just as sad as the outside. Meganium gasped, running towards the two fairies on the ground. She touched them with her vines and began the healing process. Her flowers began to lose their colors, but she didn't care; helping them was more important.

"This place is huge!" Brian pointed at the ceiling, and then took a look. That floor was mostly empty, other than a few tables that were positioned in a barricade fashion.

"Pretty much!" Meggie hovered again, but her body shivered. The fight on the top of the tree was getting rougher, wasn't it? This only served to further her resolve to put a stop on Morgan's machinations.

Lance seemed to share their sentiment, but kept quiet, only looking up. His eyes had the same violet tone as before, and to him, it all looked like multi-colored waves of aura. Even the tree itself was filled with it. How beautiful.

But he had no time to take part in admiring the architecture, or the aura that place exhaled. He had a mission, probably the most important mission of his life, and he was going to succeed. With a long, deep breath, Lance looked at his friends.

"I think we need to go. Morgan is at the top, right? There's no time to waste walking around here, let's go."

They all agreed it was the best option, but leaving Meganium behind wasn't a good one. Luckily for them, she decided by herself to stay and heal the others, while the team continued along their journey. Team Liberators ran towards the stairs, and climbed them up.

For each of the three, that was the moment of truth, even if it was for different reasons. For Brian, he had to bring closure to the victims, and prove himself to not be a killer, even if he wanted to end Morgan's life. For Lance, it was the chance to finally let go of his past, and embrace the future he would create with his own hands. And for Meggie confronting Morgan was to bring an end to all the pain and suffering he caused to others.

Motivation was not an issue to them.


Despite his words, Scar was having a hard time dealing with Blaziken. Not only did that flaming aura stop anyone from touching him, the fact he seemed to not feel pain anymore made it difficult for the three to pinpoint how long until he passed out from exhaustion.

Nonetheless, they were still trying their best, with an emphasis on the "trying" part. Blaziken didn't let them get near him, constantly shooting flame projectiles at the three, who had to dodge them all.

"It seems like we're in a bit of a peculiar situation!" Scar aimed his club behind Blaziken, launching it.

He dodged, but the club went back, like a boomerang, and hit the berserk pokémon on his back, before falling to the ground. Blaziken grabbed the bone and looked at Scar with an unhinged smile.

Lilith used this opportunity to run and deliver two powerful kicks to Blaziken's stomach. This forced him a few feet back, and when he went to look at the bunny, he received another punch, this time an electrifying one. The triple attacks forced him to fall to his knees, but he soon stood up.

"This is quite the challenge, I must say," Scar let out a smile of his own. "However, I don't think I've shown the full extent of my abilities."

"What're you planning, boss?" Max asked, blowing wind on his hand to put out a flame.

"Yeah! We should know what ya planning!"

"When we were stranded, my intention was to use this technique against the Garchomp. As you know, it didn't happen."

Blaziken charged towards Scar, trying to hit the Marowak with the club, but he swiftly dodged and punched the opponent's left arm with a quick jab.

Once he noticed it, Blaziken tried to move his arm, but felt nothing. Before he could react more, Scar did the same thing to his right arm, and jumped back.

Scar's teammates were shocked, and kept staring at him. He didn't look back, merely scoffing.

"Aura blocking. A technique I've learned during my young days."

Blaziken roared a stream of flames from his mouth, desperately trying to move his arms. The aura around him grew more, and spread beyond his body. The three opponents he had staggered back as to not get hit.

"What can we do to block that guy?! At this rate, he's gonna explode!"

"Explode…? Oh! I have an idea!" Lilith picked something on her purse and dashed forward, dodging all the flamethrowers Blaziken fired at her, until she was running in circles around him.

"I don't understand… what is she doing?" Max blinked.

Scar remained in place. "Perhaps we should trust her. She is a valuable member of the team, after all."

With each strike Lilith dodged, it only made Blaziken angrier. He snarled, producing a feral sound, and opened his mouth to release more flames.

During that moment, that one moment, Lilith threw a seed in Blaziken's mouth, and jumped back. When it hit the flaming aura, the seed exploded, and even if it didn't send Blaziken away, it left wounds on him, and even blood dripped from him.

"This isn't over yet. Let's go! He must be weak by now!" Scar pointed his club at Blaziken and charged towards him.

The feral's response was another roar, and now that he could move his arms again, he ran in Scar's direction, with the aura spreading towards his arm. The Marowak jumped, punching the arm and blocking its movements, but not before Blaziken headbutted Scar into the floor, where the Marowak now cried out in pain.

Lilith and Max, meanwhile, were also charging. Despite the disadvantage, Blaziken smiled.


Xerneas stomped her hooves again, releasing a shockwave towards Morgan and his servants, but he managed to evade by looking up and teleporting.

Now mid-air, he unleashed a blade of dark energy on the legendary, but it had little to no effect, and Xerneas simply shrugged it off. Morgan quickly teleported back to the ground and panted.

Alright. Think, Morgan, think. If she resisted Night Slash, she isn't a psychic-type. She knows Moonblast… is she a fairy?!

He had no time to answer, as another lighting bolt was launched towards him, blocked only by another barrier created by the three mega Pokémon. Pidgeot screeched and flapped its tail. Its allies were enveloped in a sky-blue energy.

Morgan opened and closed his fists in a single second. His speed had been augmented. Hmph. Perhaps a change of strategy is required here.

The human focused, creating multiple afterimages of himself and the others, surrounding the area. Xerneas widened her eyes before releasing a wave of pink, fairy energy at the clones, until they had all disappeared, leaving only Morgan.

"If that was your strategy, it was pointless. What you're doing is sacrilege. And your comeuppance? I'm bringing it now!"

She stepped forward, and cringed in pain. Said pain spread to her other hooves, and she smelled blood coming out. What was that?

Glalie began to throw spikes into the ground, spinning around as it did so, and the legend had stepped on them, causing her pain. Once Xerneas noticed this, she raised her hoof to smash Glalie, but the ice-type speeded out of there, returning to Morgan's side.

"Do you still believe this is pointless? I know how to draw the best in Pokémon, for I am a human."

"Perhaps. But I am above you, fiend."

Xerneas raised her head, and her antlers glowed once more. Morgan knew what this meant; another one of the strikes. His heart skipped a beat and his mind sped up, thinking of a way to counter it.

For starters, Xerneas clearly had to charge the attack, which gave him the time to come up with some form of strategy. Now, he was part fighting-type, and even if he wasn't, an attack of this magnitude would certainly kill him and his servants. How to defend against something like that? It might even destroy that tree with such strength!

Wait. It was strong enough to take them all down. And most likely it could, at the very least, damage the tree's structure. He knew how bonded Xerneas was with the tree. That… that was interesting. A smile spread across Morgan's face.

"Very well. My servants, we will overcome this adversity!" Morgan looked at Xerneas' long neck, and laughed. The idea he was searching for came up after all. "Prepare your strongest attacks, and on my mark, we will fire!"

Xerneas finally finished charging her move, and lowered her head. Morgan smiled, snapping his fingers. Blastoise let out a triple water shot from its cannons, aiming at Xerneas' neck. Afterwards, Glalie shot a freezing beam in the same direction, while Pidgeot flapped its wings, and Morgan shot a psychic beam on the legend.

While she didn't get tossed out of the way, Xerneas was pushed back, if only by a few feet. Noticing this, Morgan put more pressure into the attacks, while ordering his subordinates to do the same. Slowly, Xerneas' neck was dragged the opposite way, and she was now aiming at the tree's wall.

"This… this is for my humanity, you scum! I'm not giving up until I get what I want! And no one, no one, legend or not, will stop me from reaching that goal!"

Xerneas screamed, her attack pierced the tree, puncturing a hole into it as the beam was released into the sky. Her limbs began to give in, forcing the legend to fall. The tree now had a massive opening to the outside world. Her breath became more raspy, while her body began to lose its bluish tone, and her antlers were becoming colorless.

The battle was over. Blastoise, Pidgeot and Glalie all collapsed on the floor, leaving only Morgan still standing. He raised his head and released a loud laugh. All his dreams were becoming true! Xerneas had fallen, and was now in the perfect position for him to capture her! Ah, how he savoured this moment!

Even if those pesky Pokémon were still following him, it didn't matter in the end. Morgan had won. Well, not entirely, but he was about to take care of that last part.

"You… might have won, Morgan Jones. But I'm not… yielding to you! I can still fight! I can still–"

He threw the purple pokéball, and once it hit Xerneas, it snapped open, releasing a red beam of energy that enveloped the legendary. It shook for a few times, before stopping with a click.

"...Finally."

Morgan won. He triumphed against all adversities and everything this world had thrown into his way, and even managed to defeat a legendary, although not without help. Ah, the assistance was irrelevant, now all he needed to do was teleport out of there.

"I would say I'm sorry, Xerneas, but you know me enough to realize I would be lying."

Picking up the ball, he laughed again, even shedding tears, promptly wiping them out. With a loud sigh, Morgan inserted the pokéball into the middle of his armor, where there was a circle-shaped hole.

He fell to his knees immediately, as the energy from Xerneas was transferred to his body. His veins bulged, colored blue, and he screamed in pain, but pressed on. Enduring that was nothing. At least compared to all the pain he endured over the years, he had to take this one. Just this one. And then he could go home.

"A-Ah… that's your last trick, isn't it, Xerneas? I-I've mentioned this to you before, but I'm not… I'm not giving up! I'd rather die than live in this primitive body!"

The pain slowly faded away, leaving Morgan alone with his thoughts. He opened his eyes, both glowing blue, and stood up. The Gallade was enveloped in a blue aura, much like the color of Xerneas' fur.

"Impressive, I have to admit. It's like I'm… filled with power! Teleporting home should be no problem! The power of a legend is amazing!"

Morgan moved to the right, dodging a black ball of energy being thrown into his way. He sighed, for he knew who did it.

Much like his suspicions said, there they were: Lance, Brian and Meggie. The three who decided to stand up against him.

"Ah, Meggie. So we did meet again. I'm not bothering to ask you to join me, and I don't care."

"Shut up," Lance stepped forward, aura flaring up. "You ruined me, you tortured me. The reason why I'm like this is you! And I'm done running away!" Your reign of terror ends now!"

"It's a shame I gotta destroy that armor, because… it looks sick!" Brian chuckled, putting his goggles on. "But yeah, time's up, asshole!"

Morgan's body glowed even more and he laughed. How pathetic. That resistance was pitiful. "You're not wrong. Time is up, but… you're not going to stick around to have any revenge on me!"

"Get back here!" Lance roared, charging towards Morgan, ready to punch his face.

The Lucario continued, but once it seemed like he would finally attack the Gallade, Morgan vanished into thin air.
 
Dungeon 39 - Human Being

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 39 - Human Being

Blaziken snarled, punching the ground beneath him just as Scar approached. From the ground, four stones were sent through the air, aimed at the Marowak.

"Ah, what a wonderful technique! But I'm afraid it will take more than that to strike me down!" Scar smiled, launching his club into the air.

The weapon struck all four stones, shattering them into pieces, leaving Blaziken dumbstruck at the sight; and distracting him long enough for Scar to give a series of quick jabs on the opponent's arms and legs, rendering him immobile for the moment.

"Well, that was quite fun, I must say," Scar backed away, grabbing his weapon.

"It was kinda overwhelming if you ask me!" Max sighed, lowering his head.

Against the others' wishes, Max went next to Blaziken, and poked him. It was funny, so he did it again.

Scar sighed. "Maxwell, stop. He's only immobile, if you keep this up, it will backfire!"

The mega Pokémon snarled again, grasping the grass with his hands; burning it. He closed his eyes and roared, bursting into flames once more. This pushed Max a few feet away, and Blaziken stood up.

His eyes were so red nobody could see his pupils or sclera, and he quickly got on all fours. His muscles tensed up, bulking, and he charged, trying to slash the Electivire.

Fortunately, Lilith noticed this and in the blink of an eye, kicked Blaziken's face. She smelled her fur burning, but remained there, putting more force into the kick.

"Bastard! I'm kickin' ya to orbit!"

She pressed on further, and launched Blaziken into the air. The fire-type screamed while flying through the sky, and Lilith fell down, rubbing her burnt feet.

"He's still coming! Lilith, rest for now! We'll take care of him!"

"Boss, I think I have an idea!" Max pointed out, crossing his arms in an "X" shape. "I'll bring him to you, and then we can finish this battle! That emera must be powering him up! Otherwise we'd have won by now!"

Scar blinked, but then nodded. Trusting his teammate, he decided to get into position for whatever plan Max had come up with in that split second.

Blaziken, while falling, enveloped his body in more flames, which slowed down his descent. He transferred the heat to his feet, and then came crashing down at a bigger speed. Max, meanwhile, waited for the right moment to strike him down.

He began to sweat. The heat was getting closer each second, and he had to focus. Max could not screw this up, and he knew it very well. The enemy was strong, of course, but at that point… Blaziken didn't even look like he had any idea what he was doing anymore.

He might have gone feral… which is a shame, but still! I'm kickin' some ass right now!

Blaziken roared, preparing to burst more fire into the Electric-type. Max just smiled and jumped, punching the enemy with both arms, he then turned around and dropped Blaziken, launching him towards Scar.

"W-W-Wait! I didn't think you meant this, Maxwell!" Scar sighed, and launched his bone right into Blaziken's stomach, before jumping back as the club went in his direction like a boomerang.

"Ouch! Fuck! It's too hot!" Max ran to the lake and dipped his arms in it, sighing in relief. "That was… that was something! But uh, we did win, right?!"

"I think we did," Scar panted, looking at Blaziken.

The fire-type remained still, but was still breathing. With death out of the way, they still had to deal with the emeras, or what was left of them. Scar eyed Blaziken, and frowned beneath his skull helmet. The emera dust was sparkled all around Blaziken, and some of it fell on the grass.

"I think I understood what happened. This is a large amount of emera dust, he must have used… three at once?" Scar scratched his chin, unsure. "Well, that seems like the reasonable option here."

Max finally took out his hands from the lake and shrugged. "What–"

A massive burst of energy from the top of the tree made them all look at it. The rainbow-colored beam shattered the walls and aimed at the sky, before slowly dissipating.

From the bottom, Scar saw the fight inside the tree. Morgan taking down Xerneas and… using some sort of device to capture her. His grasp on the club got tighter and the flames burned brighter.

Lilith blinked. "W-Whoa! That's unexpected… do y'all think the kids are alright?"

"They better be! We can't lose an ally right now!" Max screamed, gasping for air.

"Calm down, you two. We need to help, yes, but there are a few problems," Scar pointed out. "We need to deal with Blaziken, and try to help Meganium heal the others."

Reluctantly, the three agreed to this course of action, and Scar looked down at Blaziken. He was still passed out, but there was no telling when he would wake up.

"There are far too many witnesses here. We can't 'clean it up' the usual way, right?" Max rubbed the back of his head.

"That is correct," Scar said. "Maxwell, can you look after him? At this point, even if he does wake up, he'll be too weak to be a proper threat."

Max smirked, giving the Marowak a thumbs-up. He sat down next to Blaziken and yawned, stretching his arms.

"Don't worry, boss! You can count on me! And I get to check out those weird emeras up close! Well, the dust, but you get the idea!"

"Lilith, let's go. And… I hope they're okay. We can only put our trust on them right now."

"And if the Lucario isn't strong enough?" Lilith asked.

Scar raised a brow. "Well, then I might have lost my time mentoring him. I hope that's not the case."

"Gotcha, gotcha," Lilith smiled. "I do think he's got the right idea."

"He does."


Meganium had wrapped most of the wounded in vines, and at the moment was transferring energy to them. She panted, and was only conscious due to sheer willpower. But even she had limits, and from the looks of her leaves, weak and whittered, she was getting near it.

Which is why it was a surprise when she saw Scar and Lilith approaching her, with the first holding a yellow seed and the latter, an oran berry. She sighed in relief and let out a faint smile.

"I appreciate your support, but shouldn't you be helping the kids? They're already going upstairs."

"They can't bear to lose this fight, I'm well aware, and I will go help them," he handed the seed to her, and she chewed it right away. "You're in critical condition, Meganium. We can't afford to lose you, too."


Morgan had escaped. Lance had him right on his grasp, and he escaped anyway. The one who abused him, who tortured him and who broke him had gone away, back into the human world.

"He… he left!" Lance fell on his knees, punching the ground with his fist.

Lance should be happy. He was gone, he wouldn't hurt anyone else ever again. But something about that wasn't right. He couldn't quite put it into words, but there was something wrong about that entire conundrum.

Brian put his hand on his brother's shoulder and sighed. "Hey, Lance… maybe this is for the best, don't you think?"

"Not really!" Meggie looked around. "Xerneas is gone… didn't Meganium say that she was connected to the tree?"

"Oh, you're right…" Brian whined. "But I'm not sure what we can do to fix this."

Both of them were correct. There was no way to fix this in sight, but Meggie still wanted to hold on to hope, even if it was a faint one.

"We'll find a way!" Meggie cheered. "That's what we've done so far, right?! Guys, we can't give up!"

Lance sighed, clenching his fists. Perhaps revenge wasn't what he needed to move on. His friends were still with him, even… no. The things he did… they were the right things to do.

"I understand, Meggie," Lance stood up, taking a deep breath, and looking back at his teammates. "You're right. This isn't over."

And it really wasn't. Lance instinctively backed away, feeling his sensors twitch. Something was coming. Something powerful. He braced himself, and ordered the other two to do the same.

The wind inside began to blow and accumulate into a single point, that expanded in a pink sphere of light, until the sphere took a familiar shape: a Gallade.

Morgan gasped once the energy around him dissipated, and looked at himself. Still a Gallade, still a monster. His fur ruffled with the wind, and his arms trembled.

"N-No! NO! This shouldn't be happening! I should be home!" He snarled, punching the wall in anger. His fist drew blood.

Lance snarled, but twitched his ears. Why did Morgan's plan fail? They arrived too late to stop him from capturing Xerneas, but he should be long gone by now.

"If Xerneas is connected to the tree, and since it's damaged now…" Lance looked at the hole. "Maybe she got weakened, and that's why you couldn't do the jump."

"Silence, you freak of nature!" Morgan unleashed a blade of dark energy that nearly hit Lance. The Lucario dodged at the last second and saw the blade cutting through a part of his headband.

Meggie released a wind of ghost energy on Morgan, forcing him backwards. She then cracked her knuckles, producing water spheres on both hands.

"Well, looks like you're stuck with us, boss… and now? Now it's time we end all of this!"

"Oh, fuck yeah!" Brian put on his goggles and snarled.

Their opponent just laughed, lowering his head. A maniacal laughter. He smirked and met gazes with the three. How pathetic.

"Very well. If Xerneas is too weak to bring me home, I'll just take away your power!"

Lance adjusted the headband and inhaled, flaring his aura up. For years, he wondered how his final confrontation with his abuser would be. But now that he finally had the opportunity… Lance smiled.

"Every day I had a nightmare about you," he said. "I've lost my childhood, and the mon I am today… it's all thanks to you."

"Don't blame me for your problems, number ten," Morgan said, still holding his calm. "You're nothing to me. You're merely a tool that I had to use, and I'm not afraid of destroying you."

"We're with him, until the end of the world!" Brian snapped his fingers, creating a dark sphere on his hand.

"And your reign of terror ends here!" Meggie screamed, rushing towards her former boss and friend. Her face was furious, and she grit her teeth.

Morgan jumped, dodging Meggie's attack, but got hit by the dark sphere from Brian. He cringed in pain, and commanded the three mega Pokémon with him to stand up. In a second, they all were back in the fight.

Lance smirked. "But I'm no longer number ten. I'm me. I'm Lance Williams. I'm leaving this part of my past behind me today!"

The Gallade just scoffed and roared, drawing more power from the pokéball Xerneas was in. The pink glow around his body shifted into the shape of the legendary and he cracked his neck, rushing towards his enemies.


Morgan slashed through the three of them in a single instant, cutting their bodies in half. However, the team faded in a flash of red light; it was an illusion.

Lance was charging towards Morgan while he was distracted, using a bone of energy in his hand. He jumped, and was about to hit the Gallade.

"You pieces of shit! Setting me up like this!" Morgan said, gathering purple energy on his right palm. He turned around and released it on Lance, sending him to the air.

Brian snapped his claws, making them glow with dark energy. "Don't hurt him, asshole! I'm gonna–"

He was interrupted by a sudden stream of water, soaking him up and making the fox fall on his knees. Morgan smirked, raising his hand as it crackled with electricity.

"W-Wha?! What's up with you?! Psyshock, Teleport, Psychic and Night Slash! Four moves, how do you have Thunder–"

Morgan tapped Brian's head and unleashed the electric discharge, and his screams filled the air; the water on his body making it so much more painful. His body crackled, fizzled with the electricity coursing through him. And it suddenly stopped.

"I suppose absorbing Xerneas' powers had quite the effect on me…" Morgan said, and his eyes darted to Brian's gauntlet. "Oh? What's that? How did you find such an item?"

"...Made it myself! It works like this!" Brian pressed the gauntlet on the Gallade, and the shock sent him flying straight to the wall.

Meggie was trying to dodge the three mega pokémon attacking her. Pidgeot was by far the easiest one, as she froze its wings and it crashed. Blastoise and Glalie, on the other hand...

"Guys! A little help here?!" Meggie dodged a blast of water by freezing it with a few shards, and then releasing a devastating ghostly ominous wind on the Blastoise. Glalie crashed against her and she fell to the ground, struggling to get up.

With bruises all over her, Meggie panted. She used all her strength to stand up, not bothering to deal with the pain right now. In front of her, she saw the three pokéballs belonging to Morgan's subordinates, and an idea clicked on her mind.

"We're kinda in a hurry here, Meg!" Brian let out multiple dark balls towards Morgan, but he sliced them open with his bladed arms.

"Don't worry! I have an idea! You guys deal with him for now!"


Meggie inhaled, and floated once more. She grabbed one of the balls just as Blastoise tried to hit her using the cannons on its back, but she dodged and pushed a button on the center of the ball.

To her surprise, it did nothing to Blastoise. Instead, it released a red energy beam towards Pidgeot, locking it inside the capsule.

"O-Oh, of course! He didn't name tag these things! What an idio–" Another water blast, but this time she hovered upwards and clicked the second pokéball, capturing Blastoise inside it.

Great! All that was left was dealing with Glalie. It was a bit interesting to her, considering that could have been her, had she not used the stone.

Fighting Glalie was a different thing. For one, it continuously tried to crash its body into hers, and oh, she knew exactly what that move was. Rollout, of course! To slow it down, she released the same ghostly wind as before.

That attack wasn't as effective as she hoped, but nonetheless, Meggie still pushed. Glalie's movements, while fast at first, were slowing down with the strength of Meggie's resistance.

"Come on, body! Y-You can do this! Just… a little more!"

The mega Pokémon finally gave in, and Meggie was able to throw the final pokéball to capture it.

She hovered to the floor, panting in exhaustion. While her plan worked, there was still the chance that Morgan would release them again. In order to stop that, she froze the opening mechanism, rendering the pokéballs useless for the moment. She hoped Brian would be able to set them free after this was all over.


Morgan stumbled back, panting. His blades glowed with energy, and he unleashed two large energy slices through the air, aiming at the three.

"I'm done fighting with you all! Why don't you just die already?! Your lives are worthless!"

Lance was pushed backwards, getting his feet dragged on the wooden floor. He cringed and bit his lip due to the pain, but remained still.

"I have an idea…" Lance snarled, creating an aura sphere on his right palm. "Meggie, I need you to distract him right now! Brian, come with me!"

Meggie nodded and immediately charged at Morgan, releasing shards of ice that he promptly dodged or destroyed with both blades. She inhaled, wrapping water around her hands and shaping it into a sharp disc that was launched in the air towards Morgan, freezing in the middle of the way.

"This is pitiful!" Morgan dodged, although barely, as the disc cut through a part of his fur, that fell on the ground.

"Oh, come on! You're sounding like a broken record by now!"

"Shut up, Meggie! You rejected your humanity, do not talk to me like that!"

She ignored the insult and clasped her hands together. Meggie spun around in the air, unleashing a frozen version of her water pulse attack. This caught Morgan off-guard, and he tried to block the attack by crossing his arms, but got hit anyway.

"I'm doing the best I can, guys! But I'm not gonna hold on for much longer!"

Meggie used this opportunity to blow more wind into Morgan, using all her breath to do so. However before Meggie could hit him with another shard, he looked at the edge of the area, wrapping himself and teleporting out.

Lance inhaled, increasing the size of his aura sphere. Thanks to Meggie's help in slowing Morgan down, he could see where his gaze was. "Brian, let's tune our attacks… he can't dodge this combo!"

The fox seemed to understand and created his own dark sphere. He stood side by side with his brother, and their attacks combined. The result was a glowing ball of ghost and fighting energy that they launched at the opponent. Morgan, having just teleported to the side, still tried to dodge by launching another psychic beam, but the attack passed right through it, and he screamed, falling to his knees.

It couldn't be. How did they do that? The energy was too strong, and he ended up coughing up blood. Morgan got up again, albeit barely, and panted.

"Why do you keep fighting?! You're beasts, monsters! You shouldn't have this power!"

Meggie hovered once more, but she was visibly exhausted. Her body had bruises all over, and her breath was raspy. "Well, you don't understand this. They're not beasts, they're like us!"

"We suffer, we love, we push through adversities!" Lance shouted. "I don't know what humans are like, but… I'm not a monster. I never was. Even after all the experiments… I'm me!"

"SILENCE!" Morgan clenched his fists, raising Lance high up into the air. "I'm not listening to any of you! None of you, not even you, Meggie, understand! I'm superior! I'm a human! I'm a human being!"

"Let… my brother… go!" Brian dashed, slashing through Morgan's body. The Gallade screamed, releasing his hold of Lance, and blood dripped from his stomach. His armor cracked.

Years and years of hard work, of hardships, of efforts to go home, only for them to keep fighting and trying to stop him. How pathetic. How hilarious.

"Ha… ha… hahahahah!" Morgan laughed, despite the pain he felt, he couldn't help but laugh. "You're just too funny! I can't believe you three!"

Morgan was simply finding those three resisting him to be amusing. Primitive creatures, who dared to challenge him, a being so much more powerful. It was too funny not to laugh.

Lance got on the ground once more, but got up as soon as he could, aura sensors beginning to twitch. The eerie glow around Morgan burst, and his wounds healed. He continued to laugh all the way.

"This is it. Number ten, goodbye!" Morgan took hold of the Lucario once more, and with a single push, launched him out of the three, through the hole he opened before. Lance's headband fell to the ground as he was tossed outside.

Brian screamed, and lunged on Morgan again, punching him in the face. The Gallade didn't even flinch, releasing a beam of fairy energy directly on Brian, who fell in pain due to the effectiveness of the move, burning his body.


Lance yelled mid-air, seeing his friends and Morgan further away from him. He was about to fall, and had to think of something, fast!

A single branch drew his attention. Lance aimed at the ground and shot an aura sphere, propelling himself upwards, next to the branch, grasping it with his claws.

"Now… don't fail me now!" he climbed up and stopped to catch his breath.

Alright. I somehow survived. That's… great, but this battle isn't over yet. There has to be a way of stopping him!

Lance looked at the hole to check how the fight had progressed since he was thrown out, and his eyes glowed purple once more. Inside, he saw Morgan powering up using Xerneas' aura. He was absorbing it.

Wait. He's tampering with it, isn't he? Like I did… back then.

The words Scar once said to him in front of the hospital were now flashing inside his brain. Somehow, Morgan was doing the exact same thing he did back then. Maybe that armor he had was doing it. Regardless of the reason behind it, Lance clenched his fists. And on the back of his mind, an idea surged.

He checked the looplet around his left arm; it still had the emera. So far, Lance only used it three times, and that power… it was incredible. It was what he needed, wasn't it?

...Bingo.

Lance raised his arm and let the emera transfer its energy to him. No fear, nor regrets. Lance was going to win, for himself, for his friends, and for the world.

The Lucario's body changed. His sensors expanded, growing longer, his tail became fluffier, and his aura, once wild and untamed, now merely glowed around his body.

"It's… time for payback!" Lance rushed inside, taking a deep breath.


Brian was still collapsed on the floor, with Meggie moving his body in an attempt to wake him up, crying. Morgan laughed, slowly approaching them.

"C-Come on, Brian! Don't give up on me now! I need you! I-I can't do this by myself…!"

"How pitiful," Morgan said, pointing his blade at Meggie's neck. "His life is pointless, my dear. Don't you think it's better to end it? Let me take away his energy, and maybe we can escape this madness…"

"Go… away!" Meggie unleashed a powerful water pulse that Morgan had to hold off by clawing the floor. Her body frailed, and she tried once more to wake up Brian.

The fox was still breathing, slowly, but he was alive. Meggie shed tears and hugged him.

"W-Whoa, hold on!" Brian blinked, taken back by the sudden hug. "O-Okay Meg, I like that, but it still hurts! O-Ouch!"

"Whoops, sorry!" she quickly backed away, blushing.

Morgan panted. "How adorable. If you're done with the sweet reunion, I guess it's time to end this, I've had enough of this nonsense!"

Morgan charged more electricity into his arms, and just as he was about to hit the two, when he was hit by a sudden shot of silver, metallic energy on his cheeks. The attack didn't graze him, but left a stinging and burning sensation around his cheek.

Taking a look at the direction of the move, he scoffed when Lance pointed his arm at him, a small smoke coming out of it.

"I see, you mega evolved too. Delightful, are you here for a rematch, number ten?"

"It's not going to be much of a match…" Lance sighed, and in a split second, he ran, stopping right in front of Morgan.

The Gallade tried to cut through Lanc with the blade, but he responded by blocking with the spike on the back of his arm. It sparkled like metal once it collided, and Lance kept pushing, while Morgan tried to break the spike. To his surprise, the impact was hurting him instead of Lance.

"W-What, how?! What… what are you made of?!"

"Well, I am a steel-type, aren't I?" Lance smirked, and touched Morgan's chest with his paw.

His muscles weren't moving at all, almost like they couldn't. But he knew they weren't broken, or dislocated, or anything of the sort. Lance was doing this to him. That… that Riolu from so many years ago was doing it. And it terrified Morgan, down to his core.

Immediately the Gallade began to scream in pain, sensing his energy, his own life force being drained away into Lance's body. The Lucario kept doing it, and his grin grew wider as his wounds were beginning to heal.

Morgan tried to escape, or at least get away, but his body had no strength to do anything of the sort."L-Let me go, you fool! Release me!"

"Well, since you asked so nicely…"

Lance's palm burst with aura and he launched Morgan onto the wall, letting out a loud, cracking noise as the Gallade coughed up more blood and fell to the ground.

Brian slowly got on his feet, clearing his throat. He took a look at his sibling, and gave a loud gasp. Lance twitched his ears and approached the two.

"I'm… I'm fine. Don't worry about that. I just took the amount I needed to heal myself. Think of it as some sort of 'reverse Heal Pulse'. It's… complicated."

Brian gulped down, drooping his ears. "Uh, alright? But he's not dead, r-right?!"

"He's getting back up!" Meggie pointed out.

Morgan coughed more blood, and threw up on the floor. He grasped the wall with his hand and shakily stood up. His head was lowered, but Morgan raised it slowly, looking at the three Pokémon in front of him.

"You… you… what… what did you do… to me?!" Morgan asked, trying to move, but threw up again.

Lance merely closed his eyes and smiled. "I'm sensitive to aura. I noticed Xerneas' was getting drawn to you, so I decided to stop that. I took some of your aura to myself."

He grit his teeth. Morgan roared, screaming as loud as he could. The pokéball in the middle of his belt glowed in pink energy that was being transferred back to him.

"I'm not… dying here! I'll just take out all of Xerneas to myself! And you can't… s...t...o...p… me…"

Morgan fell on his knees, screaming more. His hands began to grow claws that he used to scratch the floor. His eyes glowed, and what looked like pink tears streamed down his face.

"W-What's happening to him?!" Meggie gasped, covering her mouth with both hands.

"He's… turning feral." Lance answered, crossing both arms.

He was right. Morgan looked at his clawed arm, and it trembled, his fur was becoming scruffier, more unkempt. His gaze darted from the arm to Lance, and he stuttered, struggling to speak.

"N-No… n-n-no! Y-You… you can't do…" the words stopped, and Morgan let out a growl. A feral growl. "S-Stop it! Stop… sto...p… I-I a human…!"

Lance simply stepped forward, still having both arms crossed. His smile grew wider, but he remained still. "I'm giving you exactly what you deserve."

Morgan fell on all fours, sensing his bones cracking and shifting. No! This was madness! He forced himself to get on two feet again, and snarled. The aura around him grew wider, and his teeth began to sharpen.

Those three… they were attacking him, his territory. How dare they do that?! Morgan snarled again, his mouth drooling.

"Brian," Lance looked back. "This battle is almost over. I need you to get Xerneas out of him! Just take off that armor! I'll handle him! Meggie, help me with this!"

Morgan snarled, lunging towards Lance. The Lucario's grin spread further and he simply punched the Gallade's leg, until he heard it cracking, and with a signal to Meggie, the ice-type dashed, launching a freezing wind on him, enough to slow down Morgan's movement.

"A-Alright!" Brian started his gauntlet once more, and dashed to his brother's right. He unleashed the full current on Morgan's armor, and the shock spread across his body. He grasped the pokéball with all his might and yanked it off, falling on his rear.

The Gallade yelped in pain, and stuttered back. He fell on all fours again, but this time, he didn't try to stand up. He opened his mouth and snarled, dripping drool on the ground.

"This is your fate. I'm not killing you, but… this is worse than death," Lance said, before Morgan lunged at him. He just punched the Gallade and he fell to the ground, passing out.


Scar finally climbed up the stairs. He had left Lilith down so she could help treat the wounded, and decided to give his assistance to the team.

To his shock, once he got inside, the battle was already over. Morgan was knocked out on the floor, while the team was panting, clearly exhausted from the fight, but alive, and triumphing over their enemy.

"You all… you did it!" Scar proclaimed, smiling beneath his helmet. "Congratulations…"

"No, this isn't over," Lance looked at Brian. "Can you take her off that… thing?"

"It's a pokéball," Meggie explained, sitting down. "And I think you just gotta click the middle of it!"

Nodding, Brian did as instructed, before throwing the ball into the air. In a matter of seconds, Xerneas was restored to her corporeal form, but collapsed, panting.

"Mistress Xerneas…" Scar bowed. "I am sorry that you had to deal with all of this. But we did our best to minimize the damage."

Even in her weakened state, the legendary made an effort to try and talk with them. At least to thank them.

"You four… no, you six, correct?" Xerneas said. "I… thank you for your services. If you had not intervened, I would be long gone. For that, you have my sincerest congratulations."

"I think you should rest, lady!" Brian fell on the ground, closing his eyes. "Honestly, all of us. I'm so fucking tired… I could use a beer right now!"

Lance walked to the hole on the side of the tree, and looked up at the sky. He shed a single tear. It took him seventeen years, but he finally found closure.

I did it. I… I won. I won against my past. I don't need to be afraid anymore. It's… over.

"I can't believe we did it…" Meggie said, sighing in relief. "We actually did it. Thanks, Lance, Brian. I'm happy… I'm happy I got to meet with you both."

Lance nodded, still looking away at the sky, the beautiful blue sky.

"Hey, shorty!" Brian shouted at him, and Lance looked back. "Alrighty… smile, dude! You earned this!"

Lance considered the option. It was like a weight was lifted off him, and he couldn't be prouder. A small part of him was sad that Morgan was still alive, but… he wasn't a threat anymore. He got what was coming to him, and became the one thing he despised the most.

"...Alright, Brian. You won this round."

He looked at his allies, his friends, and gave them the most genuine smile he could muster.


A whole week had passed since the climactic battle, and while the tree was still damaged, Xerneas was now doing her best to fix it, along with her fallen soldiers. For the moment, things looked well for them.

As for the team, they headed to the beach, where Gyarados was still waiting for them. Lance was the last to arrive, wrapped in bandages. On his hand, he held the headband, tattered because of the fight.

"We should go now," Scar smiled to the others. "This was a hard battle, but in the end, we got through it. We need to rest."

"I can agree! Lance, once we get back to Bright Dawn, I'm throwin' a party!" Brian cheered, raising his arm and clasping hands with Max.

"Suit yourself," Lance sighed. He looked back at the island, where he saw none other than Meganium walking up towards them.

She sported a smile, one none of them saw before. "I am in debt with you six. Your actions saved my mistress, and I am forever thankful."

Meganium bowed, and kept her smile. The others, except for Lance and Scar, were shocked to hear her saying such things. The Lucario stepped forward, crossing his arms.

"And what will happen with… him?"

"He will be released into the wild. I'm not sure how you did it, but Morgan is no longer a threat."

"Very well," Lance turned around, getting on Gyarados. "And… perhaps one day we will see each other again.

The rest of the team climbed up on Gyarados' back and waved to Meganium as they left the island. Lance closed his eyes, with his heart skipping a beat. It was… all over.
 
Special Episode 3 - The Path To a Smile

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Special Episode 3: The Path To a Smile
Author's note: This chapter wasn't written by me. The author of this lovely drabble is @DesertOdyssey, and I have his permission to post it! With that in mind, enjoy this little piece of fluff~

The beach was surprisingly calming. For a place which was so easy for a non water-type to drown, it made him forget about all the stress that plagued every second of his existence.

While Lance was no stranger to these negative feelings, he would try to suppress them if only for now. While his brother arranged things with the client, he would be all to himself, and he'd rather do it without a headache.

The lucario was leaning against a tree, right in the line that separated the sandy beach from the grassy outskirts of town. Much better to not get sand stuck on his fur. His arms and eyes were closed, allowing him to relax more easily

The sound of the waves and the wind did wonders for him. Team Liberators were known for being brave and bold, but as any introverted, Lance enjoyed these quiet moments of-

"Catch!" A high-pitched voice disturbed the Lucario's train of thought.

It was followed by a loud giggle, as well as the unmistakable sound of paws dashing across the sand, "No fair! You threw way too fast!" Came a different, albeit just as young and excited voice.

Lance's ears twitched. He cursed Brian for taking so long. It was so quiet here when he first arrived! Now these kids keep breaking his peace. While he could easily leave, the lucario had made the terrible mistake of making this beach their meeting point. He hoped Meggie could at least make his brother hasten up.

"Hah, that makes it 5 - 0 to me!" The first voice proudly declared.

"Grrr… I'll blow way past you, just you wait and see!" While the second voice could be mistaken as being angry, Lance was familiar with that tone… that competitive, jolly tone…

He opened his scarlet eyes to leer at the noisy children. When he did, his eyes widened in shock.


Before him, he saw a giggling zorua running after a ball on the floor, a smiling riolu right behind him. The beach's colors were morphed, the sand, the sky and the sea, they were all grey. The only colorful thing to Lance's eyes were the two playful pokémon.

The zorua bit the rubber ball, tossing it high to the air by flicking his neck. The Riolu jumped to catch it, using his little hands to punch the ball, tossing it back down.

The dark-type headbutted it in a desperate effort to not be the one to drop it, sloppily sending it back to the fighting-type, who backflipped and kicked it right back.

Stumbling on his paws, the zorua fell forward, facefirst into the sand barely managing to hit the ball with his tail. The round object then flew slowly to the riolu, who didn't even bother to jump, just tapping it, making it fall right on Zorua's side.

"That's 6 - 0." He stated, kneeling in front of Brian, offering a paw to help him up.

"Hmph! I toooootally meant for that to happen, it's all part of my master plan!"

"The plan to get your fur all covered in sand?" Lance's tone was serious, but clearly had signs of the same joyful playfulness as his brother.

"You talk like I never beat you in this game before!"

"Well, have you?"

"No… but hey, at least I'll score a point after… this!" He accepted his brother's paw, getting back up, only to have his tail suddenly hurl the ball to a random direction as soon as he spoke the final word.

It quickly started to fly to Lance's point of view.

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry mister!"

The lucario's eyes opened, only to see a stoic piplup carrying a bag staring his way. On his side, a embarassed rockruff stood.

"We didn't mean to wake you up!" The rockruff lowered his head in shame.

"What do you mean 'we'? That was all you!" The piplup put his flippers on his hips, staring daggers at the canine.

"Oh brother, shush!"

Even after waking up, the lucario couldn't help but stare at the two pokémon. Despite his indiferent-looking face, deep inside he had many feelings bubbling up on his chest.

By his side, he saw a rubber ball. The same one from his 'dream'. It was stuck on one of the tree's branches, just enough for the children to be unable to reach.

"I won't shush! You need to be more responsible, Luke!" The piplup bickered further.

"And you need to lighten up, Barry!" Fired back the rockruff.

The bickering duo didn't notice as Lance moved his arm to grab the ball, having to lean up to reach. He held it close to his lap, feeling its texture. The same memory flashed back in his mind's eye. The memory of simpler, happier times.

If such times even once exist for real anyway.

The child pokémon were silenced at last when Lance offered them both the ball, "It's fine. If you want to make up to me, go back there and have fun with your brother."

Both Barry and Luke had stars in their eyes, looking at Lance, while the adult looked away with his ever present stoic expression. It soon turned into one of surprise, however, when the two pokémon hugged him. Their fur and feathers pressed against Lance's blue fur.

"Thanks, Mister!" They said in unison, picking their toy and running back to the middle of the beach.

"Cute kids, aren't they?" Came a cheerful, comforting yet playful voice, "never knew you were good with kids!" .

Lance wasn't really surprised by it. He half-expected it, even.

"Eh. Sure. Just wanted them to leave me already."

"Hah. You can't hide your feelings this time 'mister'!" Brian smirked micheavously, one of his crimson claws pointing straight at Lance, "that doesn't lie!"

At first, Lance was confused, but he finally realised what his brother meant. In the corners of his muzzle, he was smiling.

"There's no shame in smiling, y'know!"

"But I do smile from time to time."

"Not nearly enough!" Brian pat him on the shoulder, "you should do it more often! The guys are gonna love it!"

"And you should try toning down a bit, but you don't hear me complaining."

"You always complain!"

"It's either that, or I punch you."

"Hah, we both know you could never punch this pretty face!" The zoroark laughed, and pointed to himself, putting his tongue out to tease Lance.

"You're right." The lucario lightly pressed his fist on the zoroark's stomach, "thank arceus I have other places to aim."

Brian dramatically feigned pain on the spot, "Owie! You hurt me, brother! That breaks my heart!"

Lance rolled his eyes, deciding to for once indulge the dark-type, "Oh no. I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do to make up?"

Brian's dramatic face soon turned into a smirk, his arm around Lance's shoulder, "Glad you asked! I know just the thing you can do: come celebrate with me and Meggie yet another successful mission for Team Liberators!"

Lance sighed, following his brother as he guided them back to the city.

"Oh yeah? And where are we 'celebrating'?

Brian giggled loudly, throwing his arms up, "On the bar of course! With BEEER!"

As the zoroark merrily laughed, Lance couldn't help but smile warmly as well. Sometimes, Lance thought, the best way to a smile was to appreciate the little good you had in an otherwise bad world.
 
Dungeon 40 - Covenant

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 40 - Covenant


The sticky and goopy drool forced Lance's eyes to snap open. How long did he sleep…? If he was drooling, it might have been for too long. To add insult to injury, he didn't feel like getting up, despite multiple efforts to pull himself together.

Clearly, he underestimated how tired he was, and for a moment, Lance gave up, snuggling with his blanket. His suspicions were confirmed once he looked at the window and saw it was way past midday due to the sun's position. Whoa.

"How?! I can't be slacking off like this…"

Despite his words, Lance yawned and stretched his arms, cracking his knuckles. Well, at least he didn't spend an entire day sleeping, for better or for worse.

Clutching his scar, Lance looked again at the city, breathing deeply. He regretted it as soon as he finished and coughed due to the smoke.

"Alright, that one's on me," he sighed, closing the window.

With that out of the way, Lance left his room, and went directly to the bathroom, yawning on the way.


Brian was ecstatic! It had been so long since he cooked breakfast! And it was an old family recipe: waffles. He fiddled around with the ingredients in the kitchen, mixing them in a bowl until they were done.

"Alright! I still got this, ha!" smirking, Brian put the mixture into the waffle maker and turned it on, whistling. Technology truly was wonderful.

To speed things up, Brian opened the fridge and took out some syrup, putting the bottle on the table. Nice! The fox continued to whistle while he prepared the table; putting plates and adjusting the chairs so they would be in their proper places.

He sniffed the air and licked his lips, the smell was intoxicating, and for a moment that felt like forever, he was entranced by it, only stopping to wipe off drool from his mouth and sat down, clicking his claws on the table as he waited for the waffles to be done.

Meanwhile, Lance had just left the shower and his nose was assaulted by the smell of the waffles. He blinked a couple of times and sniffed harder to confirm his suspicions. Once they were, he went to the kitchen.

As the auric Pokémon arrived, Brian stood up and took out the waffles, placing them on top of the multiple plates. Lance stared at his sibling, not saying a single word, but his somber look gave it away. It caused a shiver to run across Brian's body until the fox looked at Lance.

"Oh, heya, shorty! Good morning!"

"Morning, Brian," Lance yawned and sat down, still sniffing the air. "Waffles? I wasn't expecting this, to be honest."

"I think this should be great to start our day!" Brian beamed, giving him a thumbs-up. "That's not all! I'm making bacon too!"

Lance took a bite out of the waffle and nodded, proceeding to pick up the bottle of syrup. "Grumpig bacon or Pignite bacon?"

Brian opened the fridge again, taking out a plastic bag with the bacon pieces. Even while sealed, they looked delicious. Of course, frying them up would be way better.

"The latter! I heard it tastes quite crunchy and smoky, so I'm trying it out!"

"I see," Lance smiled. "Well, we both know you're the better cook here, so go for it."

Brian gazed at his brother and gasped, holding on to the frozen pieces of bacon.

"What? What is it now, Brian?"

"Dude!" he shouted. "You're acting so… nice! You're not grumpy or anything! What's going on?"

"...Brian, can't I be happy to have breakfast with my best friend? There's literally nothing wrong with that."

"Except this isn't how you usually act… well, I'm glad anyway," Brian smiled. "But seriously, what happened?"

"Scar forced me to go to a therapy session. It was… strange, because there were so many of my kind," Lance shrugged.

"Your kind? Like, Lucario?"

"Yeah, I met this Riolu that… explodes."

"...What?"

"His aura is explosive," he explained, munching more of the waffle. "And a Lucario who's so timid I barely even noticed he was there. Had to ask his name about... four times. It's Jay, and he's weird."

Brian ruffled his mane and forced a laugh. "Ooooh, okay! I think I got what you mean."

"Well, yeah. I'm not entirely sure it helped me, but it's fine. I'm not going there anymore."

"Gotcha."

Just as Brian was about to prepare the bacon, they heard someone knocking on the door. Lance nodded to his sibling and went on to answer. On the other side, Meggie awaited, floating as she usually did, and with her arms around her back. She sported a smile.

"Hey, Meg. Nice to see you," Lance got out of the way so she could enter, and afterwards, closed the door.

"Good morning! Ah… I was so tired from all the fighting we had to do!" Meggie explained, sitting on the couch and stretching. "What about you guys? Everything okay?"

"I'm fine, thanks for asking," Lance explained, pointing to the kitchen. "I didn't have breakfast yet, but Brian's cooking. Do you want some?"

"Well…" She scratched her chin in thought, but stopped and cheered. The sizzling noise of the bacon cooking, topped with the scent, made her decide. "Sure! I'm hungry, and this smell is amazing!"

"Considering how Brian is the only one of us that can actually cook edible things, it checks out. Let's go."


Who knew waffles and bacon belong together? I wouldn't!

Meggie chomped down on the crispy waffle, and then took a bite of bacon. Her eyes sparkled and she rubbed her cheeks, smiling brightly. She soon continued, taking bite after bite.

Brian had mostly the same reaction, and attacked the meal with ferocity. Lance was the only one who ate slowly, and made sure to chomp it properly. His friends seemed way too energetic for mons that had been in a death battle only a week ago.

"Oh! By the way, Lance…" He looked at his brother and smiled. "I'm throwin' a huge party for us this evening! You're staying this time!"

"Do I even have a choice?" he deadpanned, holding a fork in his paw.

"Nope!" Meggie snickered, having finished her meal, standing up. "Oh, I'll make juice for us! What do you guys want?!"

Lance nodded. "Oran should be fine."

Brian continued to smirk. "We're gonna buy the stuff for it later, but yeah! We need to celebrate our victory, don't you think?!"

Lance sighed, grasping the fork tightly. A party? The worst thing that could happen. Lots of Pokémon inside, drinking and eating. Lance could not dislike that more.

Which is why everyone was surprised when they saw that he agreed to the idea, even giving a genuine smile. Something… something was very wrong with Lance, but they assumed it was just the stress of the confrontation, and shrugged it off.

"That's great, shorty!" Brian opened his mouth and smiled, his cheeks flushing red.

"Honestly, I could use a distraction," Lance smiled. Meggie had finished making the juice and put it in a glass in front of the Lucario, who sipped it.

"No worries!" His brother drank a whole cup of the juice and licked his lips. "I get it. You got your closure, but… it's not so simple."

Lance didn't reply, merely nodding and drinking more of the juice. Truthfully, he wanted to tell his friends about the real reason behind his new attitude, but just couldn't do it. Not when he wondered what their reaction would be, especially after they finally made amends.

"Well, I guess we should be going out to buy our stuff!" Brian stood up, eating one last slice of bacon.

"You guys go," Lance said. "I'll stay here and wash the dishes, alright?"

Brian didn't wait for an answer, simply nodding and dashing out of there with Meggie. Lance watched them go and sighed, looking down at his paw.

Don't worry, guys. I'm… I'm doing this for us. For all of us.


After leaving the apartment, Brian and Meggie went downstairs and were met with their allies during that entire journey: Scar, Lilith and Max. From the look on their faces, they were waiting for the two.

Scar was the first to approach, sporting a smile. "Good morning. It's a pleasure to meet you, as always."

The fox snapped his claws and gave him a toothy grin. "No problemo! Oh, and don't ask what problemo is, Meggie said it's a human thing!"

He got a punch to his arm and yelped, rubbing where she punched him. Meggie rolled her eyes, but soon grinned to the other three.

"Oh, really?" Lilith asked, giving Meggie a hug. After she backed away, the bunny continued. "Are ya finally getting your memories back?"

"Not really," Meggie shrugged. "I got a few dreams here and there, but other than that, nothing…"

"Excuse me," Scar passed through them, heading towards the stairs. Before climbing them, he looked back. "Ah, my apologies. I just need to check something with mister Williams."

Max waved to the Marowak as he went upstairs, and kept a grin on his face, looking at Meggie and Brian.

"So! What are you guys doing? Had enough rest?"

"We're planning a party!" Brian said, nodding quickly. An idea came up, so he continued. "Meggie and I were about to go shopping, what do you guys think about going with us?"

Lilith and Max exchanged glances, nodding in acceptance. Brian's reaction was to wrap his arms around Max's shoulder and smirk.

"Well, what are we waiting for?! Let's go!"

"Oh, right. Where are we going, Brian?" Meggie asked.

"The mayor opened up a mall here! Seems like they're not as much of a prick as the one we had to take down…"

Max and Lilith stared at Brian, but he didn't answer, and instead he ran off to the exit, screaming about the party.


Scar knocked on the door, and after getting the news that he could enter, went inside, only to find Lance cleaning the dishes and whistling.

"Mister Williams," Scar said. "It's good to see you. How are you doing?"

Without looking back, Lance answered. "Better now that he's gone."

The Marowak helped himself sit in one of the chairs, tapping his fingers on the table. Lance ignored that and continued cleaning the dishes, although he felt a sting on his heart, which made him bite his lower lip.

"Well, I'm glad you are alright."

"Is this about our arrangement?" Lance asked, merely glaring back at Scar.

He let out a laugh, wiping down a tear. Of course Lance was as blunt as usual, Scar predicted that. After all, he was working with the Lucario for weeks.

"Correct. It is about our arrangement. Have you packed up already?"

Lance finished with the dishes and cleaned his arms with a towel, now looking directly at Scar.

"No, I didn't," he sat down. "I know you told me we were going today, but can you hold it off?"

"Is that so? Of course, but may I ask why?"

"...Brian is having a party. Normally I wouldn't want to be in it, but somehow… I want to spend time with my friends."

Scar nodded, closing his eyes. Lance had a point, and his well being was important for the Marowak. With all that, he agreed.

"Fair enough. We shall hold it off until tomorrow. But after then, no more delays. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"I understand your pain, mister–no," Scar shook off his head. "Now that we're on the next step of our journey, I'm going to ask you this: have you decided on an alias for yourself?"

"Percival."

After hearing Lance's answer, Scar stood up, giving a signal for the Lucario to follow him. Having nothing else to do there, Lance complied, and the two left.


Brian was a bit disappointed. He heard rumors about the so-called "mall", but it wasn't even finished yet! In fact, a few Machoke were carrying girders and positioning them to help with the construction.

"...Dammit! I was hoping it would be done!" Brian facepalmed, grumbling.

Lilith blinked. "Uh, since when is this thing on construction?"

"I dunno."

"Guess we gotta do it the old-fashioned way!" Max grinned, patting Brian's back.

"We go to the market? That… that's too bad. I was hoping to get inside a mall! I barely remember what one looks like!"

"W-Well, sure, I guess," Brian whined, drooping his ears. "And uh, I was gonna mention a train to you all, but this one I know for a fact it's still under construction."

"What's… a train?" Max muttered.

"I almost got hired to work in building it, but I refused the offer," Brian shrugged. "Anyway, it's… it's this transportation vehicle that doesn't need monpower to run! Ain't that cool?!"

"Ooooh!" Meggie gasped with her eyes sparkling. "I think I remember that!"

Lilith tapped her foot on the ground and pouted. "Anyway, since the mall isn't built, let's go!"


A cold and soothing breeze blew around Lance's body as he left the building. He breathed in the air, forcing a smile on his face. Only a few hours until the party started, from the looks of it. He had to admit it, agreeing to such a thing was hard to do, but his friends deserved it after everything.

If only he could talk with them about the proposal. Lance was well aware of what their reactions would be, and elected to keep them in the dark. It was for the best, after all.

"What do you want to do, mister Williams?" Scar suddenly said, having left the apartment alongside the Lucario.

Lance did not turn around. No, he looked up at the sky, remembering his journey. It all led him to that moment, and he wondered how things could have been different. Was he making the right decision? Or was it another one of the failures he was so used to by now?

"...I don't know," Lance answered, still not looking at Scar. "Look how far I've come. From the day I moved out of my house, to now. I can't believe it."

His words sounded empowering, but he wasn't looking like that at all, Lance trembled. Spending so much time thinking about the past affected him in a way that he couldn't think of the future anymore, even after overcoming his abuser.

Scar seemed to share his sentiment, and walked to his side. "Are you having second thoughts?"

"Maybe. I'm not sure yet. For now, I'm just wondering things."

Scar cleared his throat and began to recite something. "I've always viewed life from the side lines. Just watching it passing me by. In the past, too afraid to just let go and live. And lately too tired to try."

This finally made Lance face him, with a confused look on his face, and with eyebrows raised. "What was that?"

"A poem! Seems quite interesting, don't you think?" Scar smiled, offering a hand to him, that Lance accepted after a moment of hesitation. "Nobody has it all figured out, it's fine to worry about what the future holds. But as long as you have conviction and will, I think you can do anything."

Lance didn't answer, now with the words inside his head. The future was always a weird topic to think about, and this was no exception. It was, after all, an unknown scenario, something he couldn't predict. This scared him more than anything.

But those words Scar said… they were comforting, much like the Marowak, the only one who showed him support on the entire trip. He could trust him. Lance knew he could, Scar wouldn't let anything bad happen to him. He was his mentor and friend.

"...I guess I'm just tired, and I need something to rely on, someone I can rely on."


The sight of a Spinda passed out on the floor didn't help Meggie or Lilith enjoy that new place they were in. Sure, Brian said they were buying things for the party, but this? This was just a bar.

"Sure this is the place?" Meggie sniffed the air, nearly gagging from the smell. She took a quick glance around, seeing several Pokémon drinking and talking, while the bartender, a Toxtricity, rubbed a cup to clean it.

Lilith covered her nose. "...Disgusting."

"Don't worry, ladies!" Brian beamed, wrapping his shoulder around Max's. "We're gonna buy somethin' for the party, that's all! Nothing to worry about!"

The Electivire nodded. "You two can stay outside, I can tell both of you don't like this place, so we'll handle things here. It's probably not gonna take long, anyway!"

Before the two could answer, Max and Brian went right for where the bartender was, and the two girls decided to wait outside, for one reason or another.


Brian was used to the area, ao he simply sat down next to the bartender, flashing a grin to the Toxtricity, who ignored him.

"Come on, lady! I'm right here!" He continued to smirk, but the bartender didn't look.

Max answered by tapping Brian's back. "I think you're doing this wrong. Also, aren't we here to buy stuff for the party?"

"Well, yeah, but if I can score something, isn't that a win, too?"

Toxtricity ignored them, continuing to rub the glass. "If you ain't orderin' anything, don't bother comin' here, fellas."

"Be they botherin' ye?"

A deep-voiced Floatzel said, sitting next to them. He quickly tapped the table, smiling. Brain pouted, but once he took a look at the water-type, he gulped.

Floatzel's body was packed. His biceps looked like they could crush anything between them, while his legs were unbelievably thick. To make matters worse, that Floatzel had a few scars around his body, which made Brian gulp, smiling sheepishly.

"N-Nah! We're just here to buy some stuff for our party!"

"Is that so? Shame this here be the first time we meet. I love parties," he chuckled. "Name's Dexter. Unless we're dating, then it's Dex. Say, aren't ye a little too young fer this here place? 'Ow old be ye?"

"I'm seventeen, I'm technically on drinking age. Isn't it sixteen?"

"...Ye got me there, fella," Dexter chuckled. "Well, if ye e'er need a drinkin' matey, I'm 'ere."

"Sure…?"

Toxtricity came back, putting a few boxes on the table. Max nodded to her and slided in a few coins to pay for the drinks, before carrying one of the boxes around his chest.

"Come on, Brian," he said, panting. "This is a lot, we should ask the girls for help."

Brian picked one of the boxes, and regretted it soon enough, nearly letting it drop, when he saw Dexter picking it up for him.

"Seems such as yerself fellas need some 'elp," Dexter explained, smiling. "What do ye say about lettin' me crash in with ye scurvy mon? An' in return, I 'elp ye carry them things."

Brian raised a brow, making a mental note to ask about his accent later. He could understand it… barely. Max, on the other hand, seemed excited to have some help with the baggage and agreed right away.

"You know what? Sure," defeated, Brian shrugged, picking up another box. "Now let's go."

"Nice! I think this here should be jolly."

As they left, Brian smiled, now thinking of another reason why they should bring the mon.


Soon enough, they managed to prepare the area. Brian, having asked the landlord before, was finishing setting up a table on the roof of the condominium. He looked at the sky and smiled, seeing the starry sky. Oh, how beautiful it was! He could stare at it forever.

Brian went downstairs to pick up a grill, and was back right away. Now all that was left was Dexter to get them the coal.

His Lopunny companion also helped, putting the bottles of beer around the table, while picking one for herself and already taking a sip from the drink.

"Leave some for me, will ya?!" Brian snickered, taking a drop of sweat and panting. "Whoa it sure is hot today. Sheesh."

"That might be me," said a Floatzel, having arrived there, flashing a grin. "Seems like yer didn't need me 'elp after all!"

Lilith pouted. "Oh, we do. Come here and help with this! Lance and Scar are comin' already!"

"What about the lass an' the Electivire?"

"Dunno," Brian shrugged. "Meg said she wanted some time to think and Max just kinda… followed her. Don't know where they went, though."

"Your accent is terrible," Lilith rolled her eyes, drinking more beer.

"'Ay, not me fault! Grew as a sailor an' it just stuck with me," Dexter rolled his eyes, opening a bag with his large arms, exposing the coal. He picked some of it up and put them as fuel on the grill.

"Oh, really?" Lilith quickly glanced at Brian. "Did ya invite him just because of that?"

The fox whistled, picking a chair and putting it in place. However, the bunny continued to look at him, as if trying to force an answer.

"Okay, okay, fine!" Brian finally shouted. "I just wanted to set someone up for my brother! That's not a crime!"

"...Whatever."

The Floatzel simply shrugged. "I feel flattered about that, Goggles, but we'll see 'ow it goes."

"Goggles?" Brian blushed, looking at his forehead. "I'll have you know my dad gave them to me!"

Lilith then smiled, sitting on a chair and extending her arm. Dexter, noticing this, didn't reply, merely repeating her gesture, and grasping her arm.

For the moment, the fox forgot about the nickname and looked at the two with sparkly eyes. "Wait, are you two making an arm wrestle competition?! That's so cool!"

"Again, ye flatter me~" Dexter winked to Brian, tightening his grasp on Lilith's arm. "Okay, Carrot, show me what ye got."

With a single, yet powerful move, Lilith put pressure on Dexter, and in shock, he saw his arm almost all the way down to the table, only inches from touching it. He knew it was close, and, to counter it, he pushed as hard as he could, managing to raise his arm and hers enough to get out of the danger zone.

"Huh? Seems like ya have some guts, kiddo!" Lilith grinned, not giving up either, and adding more pressure. The table cracked around their arms.

"I'm tough, ain't I? An' you're not so bad yerself!" Dexter teased.

At that point, both of them had bulging arms, and were evenly matched, only to be interrupted by the sound of footsteps towards them. Dexter, still grinning, looked back and saw a Lucario right behind him. This distracted the water-type long enough for Lilith to win, pummeling his arm on the table.

The result was a shocked face from Dexter, who stared at his arm, and then at Lilith; the bunny, in particular, was grinning. He stood up and smiled sheepishly, offering her a hand.

"You're really tough. I be likin' that there, Carrot."

She shook his paw. "Don't worry, darling. I'm sure you'll win… eventually."

More footsteps, this time from a Froslass, an Electivire and a Marowak. With everyone around, the party could begin.


First things first, Lance walked towards his brother and, to the Zoroark's surprise, he was smiling. Unfortunately for Lance, his smile came off as creepy, so Brian backed away.

"Oh, come on," Lance rolled his eyes. "I'm trying to talk with you!"

"U-Uh, sure! I just got a little bit scared!" Brian clicked his claws, smiling sheepishly.

"Well, I think I should ask the biggest question right now," the auric Pokémon pointed to Dexter, who was drinking a bottle of beer all by himself. "Who's… that?"

Brian couldn't help but chuckle and snicker. "That's Dexter! When we went to get the drinks, we met with him. He offered to help us with the baggage and stuff, so I said yes!"

To that, Lance raised a brow, crossing both arms. Brian knew exactly what that meant: he wanted an explanation. The fox sort of hoped his brother would just go along with it, but maybe he needed to know.

"...I set him up for you," Brian stated. "Figured you could use some company, don'tcha think?"

"Company?" Lance repeated, deadpanning. "You wanted to set me up for a date?"

"Seriously? That guy seems like your type! Y'know, big, strong, sharp fangs…"

The Lucario blushed, making a large pout, but, contrary to his expression, Lance's tail wagged. "I-I don't have a type."

"Suuuure you don't!" he teased, punching the Lucario's arm. "Go get him, dude! You deserve it!"

Lance sighed, smiling to his brother. After his last relationship, Lance thought he would be done with it. But right then, his brother did a nice thing for him, like he always did. Now that he thought about it, Brian was always doing those kinds of things, ever since he got kidnapped. And Lance never repaid. At least until now.

"Brian… about that job offer you got. Did you take it?"

"Hm?" he tilted his head and looked away. "Not really. Don't think I got the time for that kinda thing. We have a team to run!"

"Go for it," Lance said, touching Brian's shoulders with his paws. "You have dreams, don't you?"

"Y-Yeah? I do, but like… you're important to me!"

Lance was serious. He didn't even flinch. "Brian, don't give up on your dreams because of me. You deserve happiness, alright?"

"What's this all of a sudden? You don't… act like this."

His sibling smiled. "Maybe I can finally move on…"

Brian was stunned. Right then, hearing those words? He never thought the day would come when he heard that coming from his sibling. And now that it finally happened, he couldn't be happier. For himself, and for Lance.

He held back tears and nodded. "O-Ok! But really, go talk with the guy! I'll be fine, okay?!"

The Lucario seemed to be content with that resolution and pulled in for a hug. His brother gasped, but didn't pull away. No, they embraced in a long-overdue hug, not wanting to let go. Lance grasped Brian's back, as did the latter.

"Thank you… for always being there for me," he said.

"Always!" Brian replied. Even if he didn't see Lance's face, the fox knew he was smiling. And he was, too. "I… needed this. Thanks for being my brother. I know we have our differences, but I wouldn't want anyone else."


Lance walked away from his sibling and went straight to where Dexter was, sitting on a chair next to him. He quickly stared at the Floatzel's muscular body, eyeing it up from top to bottom, and it made him blush. Dexter noticed it, but kept it to himself, merely flexing his bicep and waiting for Lance to say anything.

Well, the Lucario was thinking the exact same thing, so neither of them really spoke a word with each other. The awkward silence reigned on them, and apart from a few sounds of both clearing their throats, nobody talked.

"Okay, I think that's enough o' whatever this here be," Dexter decided to speak something, and looked at Lance. "So, pup, yer brother said 'e been settin' us for a date. What do ye 'ave to say about that?"

Talk about a weird accent, Lance thought, offering his paw to Dexter. "That is correct. I'm Lance, not 'pup'."

"I'm Dexter, an' I'll call ye whatever I want, pup. Anyway, tell me more about yerself. I can see ye like this." Dexter bounced his pecs, causing Lance to stare at them again and stutter.

"U-Uh. S-Sure?" Lance, embarrassed and flustered, tried to keep it together by shaking his head. The blush faded away, and he could talk again. "W-Well, I like to read. Haven't really been able to do that because of my latest mission, but I do enjoy it. What about you?"

The Floatzel sipped more of his drink and sighed, his whole body shivered with the delicious flavor of the alcohol, and he burped some of it out. Lance, annoyed, rolled his eyes.

"I'm a simple mon," Dexter explained. "Like to eat, like to drink, an' oftentimes I 'ave a mission or two. Nothin' major."

Oh, so he was as simple as a mon could be. Lance raised a brow, snorting a bit. How long had it been since he had a chat and wasn't fighting for his life? He sort of missed it, those kinds of conversations were the best.

"Okay, pup. Mind if I ask ye another question?"

"Go ahead, beefcake. I'm all ears."

"Since yer brother wanted us to talk an' all that stuff, ye like males?"

Of course that would come up. Lance nodded. "Yeah. I dated an Electrike a few years ago, but we broke up. Didn't really have time for this dating thing after that."

"Oh, that sucks," Dexter sighed, offering a bottle of beer to Lance that he promptly refused. "Same fer me. Except me parents kinda… kicked me out when they found out, so I've been on me own fer a while."

"I'm… sorry," Lance's ears drooped. "My family was always supportive, so I don't know how that feels like."

"Eh, I've moved past that," Dexter shrugged. "'Onestly it's been years since I 'ad any sort o' 'real' relationship. I 'ad tons o' one-night stands, an' while it did make me feel jolly at first, it stopped after sometime."

Lance whined, like a sad puppy, and gazed at him again. His aura sensors twitched, and he felt Dexter's emotions. They were… like his own. A broken soul, like him. Maybe he could help, somehow. Perhaps by changing the subject.

"...If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?"

"I'm nineteen," the Floatzel snorted. "I know, I know. Don't really look like, with me bulk an' me 'eight."

"Well, I'm seventeen. And yeah, you look much older. Where did all that muscle even come from?"

"Parents were sailors, so I worked with them. After a while, they just… grew. Like this here thin' 'ere," to prove his point, Dexter flexed his bicep, and Lance saw it bulge.

"W-Whoa."

"Seems yer got a thin' fer muscular mon. Can't really blame ye. Most o' the guys I 'ad things with were the same way. All body, none really cared about me personality…"

"Well, I'm here to listen about your personality. Isn't that the whole point of this conversation?"

"...I suppose it be," Dexter drank more of the beer and sighed. "Alrighty, what ye want to know about me?"

Lance wondered. He barely knew this guy, and of course, he was trying to get to know him better, but the promise… the promise he made to Scar crawled inside his brain. He took a quick look around and, soon enough, saw the Marowak looking at the city. Scar glanced back, staring at Lance.

For the moment, he ignored. Ending the conversation there would be worse, if anything. "...What brings you to this town? You mentioned how your parents are sailors, but what about you?"

Dexter mumbled. "Well, after gettin' kicked out o' me 'ome because of me parents, I went 'ere. Figured a change o' pace would be for the best. Wanted to escape that life, y'know?"

Just like him. Lance found that they shared similar stories, and smiled. If things were different, maybe they could be friends.

"I see," Lance nodded. "It's harsh, and I moved here for similar reasons. Wanted to make a name for myself and my brother."

"Yer brother seems lovely, by the way," the Floatzel chuckled, offering a beer to Lance once more. This time, however, the auric Pokémon took it.

"He worries too much about me, but… I understand it."

"Gotcha. Are ye drinkin' that there, pup?" Dex pointed to the beer on Lance's paws. "Because I can still do it."

Blushing, he nodded. "Yeah. Just… don't call me pup."

"Sure thin', pup."


Meanwhile, Brian picked some of the bottles for himself, and went on to Lilith's side, smiling. The bunny was on the other edge of the table and accepted the drink.

The fox snickered and sat down, taking a sip for himself, and to top it off, he put a plate with a large piece of steak to eat. His mouth drooled, and Brian licked his lips.

"If you're here to court me, don't."

"Sheesh, is that what you think of lil' old me?" Brian drooped his ears. "I just figured we didn't interact all that much and wanted to change that. Is that a crime?"

"Oh, alright. That seems reasonable. What do ya want?"

"Meg told me you're an archeologist!" Brian said between bites on the steak he was eating, only giving enough time to swallow before speaking again. "How's it like?! Do you go around tombs kicking mercs and all that?!"

So that was his question. Honestly, where did he even hear those rumors? Lilith sighed, munching on a piece of steak herself. "No. I look for old relics, and decipher language. I can write and read Unown."

Brian tilted his head. "What's… Unown? Can you eat it?"

"I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that."

"That's fair," Defeated, Brian shrugged. "Wanna tell me more about yourself? I'm curious about your background."

"Well, aren't ya a curious Litten?" Lilith smiled, and then looked at Brian. She munched on another steak and savoured its flavor before continuing. "I always enjoyed knowing about the ancient, about legendaries. For some reason, so few of them are left, and almost none of them even act anymore."

"Oh, yeah. That's a bit weird. I just thought they were… gone," Brian whined. After the events in the Tree of Life, Brian wanted to meet more legends. But they just weren't around. "Kinda wished I got to be friends with one."

"Maybe they're just hidden. The world has tons of mysteries, don'tcha think? That's why you guys explore."

"...I guess that's fair. Thank you. You're a nice lady."


Meggie arrived just in time to see everyone already eating and drinking. To be honest, she didn't remember her exact age, but then again, she was a scientist. Even so, alcohol might not be a good option for her. Well, there was food, so she settled on that.

She sat down and picked a steak, swallowing it down. To her surprise, Max seemed to have the same idea, but his plate was gigantic, almost as big as her head! Meggie didn't want to comment on it, but couldn't stop staring at the huge plate.

"What's up? I like food."

"W-Well, I didn't expect to see… so much," Meggie gulped, not really feeling like eating anymore, even pushing her plate away from herself.

"You're gonna eat that, or can I do it?" Max asked between bites.

"S-Sure. Go ahead, eat it."

Without skipping a beat, Max put all the meat on his plate and munched on it, not caring at all, even dropping some of it on the floor. Meggie was disgusted, and raised her brow. How could someone like that even be a professor? It just didn't make any sense.

"Can I ask you a question?"

He burped and removed some of the juice from the meat on his cheeks. "Sure! What's gotten you down?"

"Nothing. I just wonder if you acted this way when teaching."

To that, Max shrugged. "Sorta? My students always liked me and I didn't really bother to put up a mask of seriousness."

"Why? Seems to me like you smile all the time. I just think it's weird."

"It's wise," Max stated, no longer grinning to her. "To smile, even in the face of adversity. It's a thing I learned from experience."

She almost fell on the ground, but floated right before it could happen, gasping.

"Oh by the way," Max grinned. "Did you ever ask Xerneas to get your memories back? Thought that was your goal."

"Nah," Meggie shrugged it off. "It was, at first, but now? I… I don't want to be defined by them. I want to make my own path."

"Seems like a wise thing to do."


After an unknown number of beers, Brian was more than happy to party! He felt better than ever before, and screamed some gibberish. Nobody understood, but they didn't complain about it.

Quite the contrary. Meggie cheered for him, raising her arm to drink another sip of the alcoholic drink. She sighed, licking her lips. As for the others, Max was right on Brian's side, drinking with him, while Scar ate a piece of steak in silence, and Lilith was passed out on the chair.

"I'm impressed!" Lance suddenly said, slamming a bottle of beer on the table and burping "Holy… something. It is good!"

"C'mon pup, don't tell me this here be the first time you've 'ad a beer," Dexter pouted, pulling Lance closer to him in an embrace. "Come 'ere~"

"W-Whoa, there!" Lance blushed, hugging the Floatzel as tight as he could. The soft fur warmed him, and he unintentionally barked, much like a happy puppy.

How long did he need… that? Meggie asked herself, only for her thoughts to be interrupted by Brian clearing his throat.

"Attention, party guests and voices inside my head!" Brian raised a bottle. "Today, we celebrate our victory against someone who hurt us!"

"And… we're gonna sing a victory song!" Max cheered, also clearing his throat.

"Oooooh. Brian's gonna sing!" Lance hiccuped, hugging Dexter. "He's a great singer, beefcake!"

"I'll be the judge o' that, pup."

The others turned their attention to the duo, and eagerly waited for the song to start. No instruments, so they had to use nothing but their voices. Normally, this would worry Lance, but at that point he was too drunk to care.

It started. Brian opened his mouth. "Somebody saveeeeeeeee me! Let your warm hands break right through!"

The audience nearly choked, Brian's voice was too distorted and sounded too drunk for them to enjoy the song. Regardless, the two didn't look like they were stopping anytime soon.

Max continued. "Somebody saaaaaaaveeeeee meeee! I don't care how you'll do it…"

After a small pause, the Electivire went on. "...Just stay! Stay! Come on! I've been waiting for you..."

"Ooooooooooh!"

"I've made this whole world shine for you…" As he said those words, Brian looked at his brother, and smiled at him.

"Just stay! Stay! Come on…"

The song ended. As expected, the two singers fell on the ground, passing out from sheer exhaustion and the drinks. Scar got out of his chair and checked on them, sighing in relief after finding out both were okay.

"This was certainly something," he said. "They were too off tune, but the lyrics were enjoyable."

Lance deadpanned. "...I kinda wanted to hear another song. Just one that isn't sung by someone who's drunk."

"I'm with the pup. Anyone care fer an encore?"

"You want another song? Very well." Scar cleared his throat and hummed a soft tune, adjusting his voice.

Meggie gasped. "Oh, I didn't know you could sing! Then again, I don't know everything about you…"

"The world now… changing everyday with my heart and each passing moment… I'll always keep it with me, I'll never let it go…"

Unlike Brian and Max, Scar's voice was… soothing. As it traveled through the air and into everyone, they were relaxing, doing nothing other than enjoying the melody.

"The pain that I just could never hide… burning like a flame that's deep inside… I know when…"

Lance twitched his ears. Somehow the lyrics were familiar, they almost sounded like a description of himself! For now, though, he just listened.

"I'm lonely, I worry. My troubles… they hold me. The only way to free them is to lean on me. When you said that… the word 'free'... I finally could see the way to go without any haze… deep in my hollow abyss where I'd never leave… your light shined a hope in my heart!"

He was certain now. Those lyrics were talking about him, about Lance. The drunken haze faded a bit, enough to sober him up.

"Looking above at the great sky, dyed in a brilliant , cerulean shade! I'll finally open up myself toward a brighter today! The world now… changing everyday with my heart and each passing moment… I'll always keep it with me, I'll never let it go!"

With that, the first part of the song was over, so Scar gestured for someone to bring him a cup of water, to which he drank in a single gulp. Now refreshed, he continued the song.

"The days, they go on, I cannot cope… Maybe there's a light that I can hope… I'll find a way!"

It was so soothing and relaxing that Lance's tensions disappeared, like his anxieties and worries simply didn't exist anymore. His back felt lighter, and he began to hum to the song's tune. He smiled.

"If, into the dark, there's a voice calling out to me, so gentle it heals my sorrow… I see you smile, shining brightly in the sunlight. Right then, I made a choice… that maybe I'd open up my heart to the comforting voice..."

"Amazing. You're an amazing singer, Scar," Meggie clapped her hands, and the Marowak nodded.

Scar now looked straight at Lance and gave him a smile of his own. "A soul without any darkness… with all the power to change the whole world… is standing right in front of me, before my very eyes…"

Lance stood up all of a sudden. "Looking above at the great sky, dyed in a brilliant, cerulean shade. I'll finally open up myself toward a brighter today! The world now… changing everyday and my heart with each passing moment. I'll always keep it with me, I'll never let it go…!"

Scar continued to grin. "Together, we can call upon the light, this I know! A soft wind… sweet in fragrance like the blue sky, blows into my own heart…"

The song was over, and Scar sighed, drinking another glass of water. Everyone that watched him sing began to clap and cheer, and Meggie even requested another song. However, the Marowak had his eyes on Lance, and he knew exactly why that was the case.

"I suppose this party is over," Scar said, looking back. "Anyone who's not drunk enough can help me carry them to their rooms?"

Lance, Meggie and Dexter all raised their arms in response, and they prepared to clean everything up from the party. It was undeniably fun for all of them, and after a few minutes, they managed to clean the rooftop.


Only Lance was left now, and he stood on the edge, looking at the city. In his hand, he had a paper with an address belonging to Dexter. He looked at it and a single tear fell on the paper.

"A soul without any darkness, huh?" he looked down. "I doubt that. This is the real me, isn't it?"

How troublesome. At the last moment, he was having second thoughts about the proposal. It played inside his head as he thought about it. That fateful day, where he was at his lowest point. He started to reminisce about it.


"Are you okay?"

That question. That damn question. Lance looked up, and Scar was right in front of him. The one who suggested all that, who played that stupid chess game with him, and who said he should try talking with his friends. There they both were, in front of the hospital.

His brain shut down all other thoughts and so, he said the only thing that seemed to matter at that point. "What do you think?!"

Scar didn't show much reaction, other than a frown. "It… didn't work out in the end, didn't it?"

Lance began to shake. No, it didn't turn out well, and he felt it in his soul. His sensors picked it up, and aura… aura never lied. He knew what they thought of him. How he was a monster. And they were right.

"They're scared of me. My family, my friends…"

The Marowak crossed his arms. "I see. Well… it looks like you're in the deepest pit of your life, aren't you?"

"...Yes," Lance couldn't agree more. After everything, he was in a pit. A dark, lonely pit. With no way out, and sinking deeper each second.

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. That reaction was expected, but really, why did Scar think it would work?! His teammates would never trust him again. "Well, it didn't. Now what?!"

The sphere soon faded into nothingness. Scar sighed, looking at Lance. He was on the verge of tears, barely able to keep it together anymore, and desperate. Desperate for something, anything that could help.

"Mister Williams… I have a proposal for you."

He didn't pay attention, too trapped in his own thoughts for it to matter anymore. It wasn't until Scar called him again that the Lucario noticed.

"What is it?" In that moment… Lance listened.

"Join us, mister Williams," Scar stated, smiling. "Join our cause, we fight for a better world. A world with justice, a world where we can all live in peace. Don't you want it?"

Lance tried to say something, but was cut short by Scar. "I know you. You confided on me, I know your fears, your insecurities, and I know that this is the best choice for you, mister Williams."

Each word stung. They made so much sense, but why? Why abandon everyone? His family… he couldn't just leave them. And yet, he found himself… humoring the idea. This was exactly what he wanted, wasn't it?

As he talked, Scar walked in circles around Lance, watching as the Lucario's resistance slowly faded, and his worried look became a faint smile.

"We shall bring justice to the world, mister Williams. My team and I… we are searching for a way to bring back someone very important to us, and that will surely be of help. This is who you are. Accept it, and join us."

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."


A sudden gust of wind on his face distracted Lance from the memory, and he was back in the present. The sky above him was filled with thunder clouds, and a storm was approaching. How fitting.

"Well, there's no going back now. I have to do this. For everyone."

"Do what fer everyone?" a voice behind him asked.

Was he speaking out loud? Lance felt stupid. But he couldn't let anyone figure out that, so he simply turned around, seeing Dexter again. The Floatzel was looking quite flustered, with his cheeks colored red.

"U-Uh, nothing. Just me talking about my motto."

"Gotcha. Pup, I've been thinkin' about somethin'," he rubbed his arm and nodded. "You're cute, I'll give ye that there, an' I'm in need o' some money. What do ye say about me joinin' yer team?"

"J-Join my team?!"

"I mean, why not? We'll get to see each other again, an' go on missions. Sounds fun, doesn't it?"

Oh dear. Yes, the idea was good, but it came at the worst time. Him joining right as Lance left? Bad, really bad. Or maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Lance quickly thought of something.

"Sure. I would love to see you more often. I'll tell the others about this, okay?"

"Really? Thanks, pup!" Dexter beamed, rubbing his head. "Yer a lifesaver! So… when can we meet again?"

"Meet me at the Hero guild tomorrow, midday. Is that alright?"

"It's a date, then."

Lance waved him goodbye and went back to his brooding session. He disappointed someone new right then, but… that was something his future self would have to deal with.


The sun shone brightly in a new day. As a matter of fact, it was early in the morning. Not many Pokémon were awake, other than a few merchants, and some exceptions.

One of these exceptions were Brian and Meggie, who dashed out of their apartment. They didn't even stop to breathe, and walked in a rush, nearly knocking over a Nuzleaf. The fox apologized quickly and went on his way, holding a large paper sheet on their hands, not letting go of it.

"What the fuck is he thinking?!" Meggie shouted, floating next to Brian. "He's an idiot or what?!"

"I have no clue! I-I just found this beneath my doorstep!" Brian shook the note, and tried to hold back tears, but was unable to. They fell on the ground beneath him, and he continued to run.

"We gotta find him, and fast!"

"I know, I know, I know!" Brian shook off his head, losing balance and falling straight into the ground, crashing against a cart with cabbages.

"M-My cabbages!" said a Tropius, gasping loudly.

"S-Sorry!" Brian didn't give him enough time to react, he was already gone.

Their sprint continued, and on the way, they had to dogge cart after cart, sometimes hitting them, but getting out before the merchants noticed it. It all led to the city's exit. The Zoroark stopped, finally catching his breath, and he saw it. His brother, on the other side, accompanied by Scar.

"L-Lance!" he shouted, gasping for air. "W-What are you doing? Aren't we a team? What's this all about?"

The Lucario turned to face him with no expression on his face. "Lance is gone. I'm going on my own way now."

"The fuck is that supposed to mean?!" Meggie asked, pointing to Scar. "What did he do to you?!"

"He didn't do anything. I am merely following my path. It's for the sake of the world," Lance looked down. "I am doing this… for you two. For the entire world."

"I don't care about the world! I care about my brother!" Brian snarled, creating a dark sphere on his hand, and looking at Scar. "You mother–"

He was interrupted by a sudden punch to his stomach, delivered by none other than Lance, and was strong enough to force Brian to fall down and get knocked out.

"L-Lance! What are you–" Meggie tried to resist, but she was hit by a metallic energy beam, and passed out as well.

Finally done with them, Lance walked away from his team, and next to the other three. He shed a single tear and bit his lip. It was for the best.


A few days later, a single boat arrived on an island with a forest nearby. Out of the vehicle came a Lopunny and an Electivire, who held a pokéball on his hand.

"Sure this is the place?" Max asked.

"Yeah, it is. Let's go."

The two entered the forest, ignoring how everything inside looked dead, and continued on their way until they came across a large, black crystal with vines surrounding it. Max stepped forward, holding the pokéball.

"Master Necrozma… we bring you a sacrifice, so that you can restore your power."

A single vine pushed out of the ground and wrapped itself on Max's free arm. He yelped, but didn't pull back, instead glancing at Lilith.

A sacrifice? Why, I must thank you… bring it to me, now.

"H-How do we open this thing? Did the Froslass explain?"

"Apparently ya have to click on the button in the middle, and it opens. Go on."

Max did as instructed and the ball opened, releasing a Garchomp. He fell on the ground and raised his head, staring at the two. With a snarl, he lunged on them, but vines grabbed his body before he could reach them.

This should be a nice meal for me. Yes… his light is quite delicious. Thank you, Necrozma removed his vine from Max's arm and wrapped more around Garchomp.

"W-Wha?! Who are you? Where am I? Let me go!" he exclaimed, trying to release himself from the vines, but it was too late.

The vines glowed and penetrated Garchomp's body. He screamed in pain as the vines began to suck on his life force, his very existence. It drained him, and he tried his best to escape. Flames, scythe, nothing helped. He was trapped, with nowhere to go, and forced to watch himself slowly die. As he did it, his body began to thin, never stopping.

It came to a point where Max and Lilith saw Garchomp's bones. His ribcage, his tissues, it was all visible, and as he was being absorbed, the crystal began to glow. Garchomp, still holding onto his life, tried once more to escape his predicament, but failed. Necrozma threw the dead body on the ground with the roots.

Max was disgusted at the sight, but forced a smile. "...Mission accomplished?"

"Mission accomplished," Lilith pointed out. "Master Necrozma, is there anything else you would like us to do? We will be on our next stage, so your resurrection… it draws near."

Another root rose, this time around the bunny's arm. She looked at it and smiled as well.

It pleases me that I still have followers, even after all these years. But there is a tiny problem. Once I'm out of this cocoon, I'll be weak. I will require sustenance. In case any of your allies fails to provide me it... well, I'm sure you know. Perhaps a vessel should suffice.

"A vessel?" Lilith scratched her chin. "Well, this complicates things, but… I think our boss should deal with that. I'll let him know."

Ah, I see. Very well. I would hate to be stuck here on this island, so I have an order to you. Once he has found someone, bring me to your base. I'm stuck inside this crystal… but only this crystal.

"Understood. But… why not go out earlier? If the crystal's the problem, then we can just move you now."

Impossible. I'll be drained of energy. I need to absorb the nutrients from this… island in order to sustain myself.

"Very well. We are at your service."

Yes, yes. Soon enough, I'll be free… and I'll show the world… my everlasting light!

End of arc 2


Author's notes: This has been a long journey, hasn't it? It's been such a long time writing this arc, and building up the foundations of the next one. I have to say that I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far, and what I have in mind for the next story. I hope everyone enjoyed this, I really do. Your support means a lot to me, and I'll keep writing this story. Until... next time!
 
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Dungeon 41 - Crusade

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 41 - Crusade


The tropical breeze blew over a Marowak's body, and for a moment, he wished he had fur so it could ruffle on this wonderful wind. Ah, how that would be delightful. But alas, the reality was far from it, so he merely hummed a tune.

The ground beneath him was full of dirt, and a few plants moved with the breeze. It brought him a sense of peace that he adored, so he picked one flower and smelled it.

"Well, I guess the botanists are, indeed, correct. Soil from a volcanic area is the best kind," Scar looked back, seeing a volcano far away from him. It showed no signs of erupting soon, and brought a sense of relaxation to the Marowak. "Fascinating."

He shoved the thought away, not wanting to drift from what he came there to do. And so, he turned again, now checking the ocean. He looked as far as his eye could see, but did not spot any land in the horizon.

"I know you are far, far away from my current location, master Necrozma," Scar raised his head and let out a prolonged sigh. "But I shall dedicate this meditation to you. It has been two months since we recruited a new member to our fraternity, and things… have been going well."

The Marowak sat down and closed his eyes. Focusing entirely on his master. Nothing else bothered him, not even the sound of waves, or flying-type Pokémon chirping. No, this was too important for any distraction.

"He is eager to learn, and I taught him so many things. New moves, mindfulness techniques, everything to help him on his… no, on our crusade."

Scar then opened his eyes, serenity filling his whole being. He smiled and looked over the horizon. "The day of your revival draws near, my lord. Please, be patient."

Having finished his session, Scar turned back to see two Pokémon he recognized; a Lopunny and an Electivire. His teammates. With a renewed smile, he soon approached them.

Scar put his hands on his back, smiling. "Greetings, Maxwell, Lilith. It is a pleasure seeing you two again."

"Ya talk like we don't see each other often," the bunny snorted, twitching her long ears. Scar noticed that she now wore gauntlets around her hands and had a large, western hat on top of her head, but paid it no mind.

"Yeah! Sup, boss! Didn't mean to interrupt your… thing, sorry!" Max rubbed the back of his head. He had a few sparkles on his hands. Scar assumed they were from a recent fight.

"That is not a problem. I had finished it anyway," Scar pointed out. "But you both have not answered me yet. What brings you two here? We agreed not to meet until we found more information on Necrozma."

"Actually, I kinda have a question," Max raised his arm. "Why's Percival not with us? Shouldn't he be doing the same thing? Lookin' for Necrozma?"

"...Ya big doofus. He's on a different mission," Lilith explained, looking at her friend and chuckling.

"Correct. Percival is doing a mission all by himself. I gave it to him as a testing ground," Scar began to walk away from the shore. "If you so desire, I can tell you details about it."

"Huh. Figured you'd keep an eye on him. Being your prote… pro… y'know, the thing!"

"Protégée, Maxwell," Scar replied, hiding a smile after the conversation's focus shifted to someone else. "And yes, in normal circumstances, Percival would be here with us. However, he noticed an intriguing case going on here, and asked me to investigate it. Of course, I was curious, and accepted his offer."

"Well, I'm all ears. What's he doin'?"

"One could say he is doing… a reconnaissance mission."


"Mister Evans! Get your fat, blue ass right here, right now!" A booming, feminine voice spoke.

"Y-Yes, mistress!"

A Lucario stood before a mirror, sighing. He looked at his reflection and took a deep breath. From the counter, he picked a hair clip and wrapped it around his dreadlocks, making it look like a ponytail.

"I said get your ass here!" She shouted again.

"I'll be right there, Miss Muller! Just suiting up!" The Lucario put his bag on the floor and picked a blazer to put it around his chest, but not before checking a claw-shaped scar in that area. He growled and finished his preparations by adding a trouser.

At last, he left the bathroom area. Now standing on the first floor of a mansion, said Lucario took a glance around, checking the never-ending hall on his right and left, and then the stairs right in front of him.

The very architecture of the house screamed "noble", from its polished floor to the sound of chefs cooking in the kitchen, not to mention the lightning. He recognized a luminous orb as the source in the ceiling as he climbed down.

Once he got to the floor, he walked towards the hall, rooms where employees could sleep lined at the sides, until he arrived at the living room; a space so big it could fit half a house inside it, and to top it off, there she was.

One Salazzle was sitting on her couch, holding a glass of wine. She moved the glass, before drinking its content. She then clicked her lips, savoring the flavor.

"Percival Evans. Truly an uncommon name around these parts, but I have to admit that you do the job well… when you feel like it," she sipped more of the wine and continued. "Remind me again, why do I pay you…?" she asked, almost dripping venom from her mouth with her glare.

"...To take care of your every desire, and to protect you, miss Muller," the Lucario answered.

"And remind me, who am I?"

Sighing, Percival answered. "Mistress Adelaide Muller. Owner of this mansion and prestige member of the high-class society of Cydonia."

"Thank you, darling. I appreciate it~" she laid down on the sofa, putting the glass on a nearby table. "I do have one more question for you, what took you so long? I got… very lonely."

...Damn it. She's doing this again, isn't she?, Percival thought, keeping his annoyance to himself, and smiled at her. He struck a pose, but inside, Percival was dying from embarrassment. "Miss Muller, aren't you the one who keeps saying your emp–pardon me, your servants have to be fashionable, stylish, and above all… desirable? I was making sure to be presentable to you."

She laughed, a smug, enticing laugh. Percival felt almost compelled to join her on the sofa, for some reason, but restrained himself. Not only was that unprofessional, but… she wasn't his type, honestly.

"Desirable is the proper word here, mister Evans," she replied, making a gesture for him to approach.

"Well, I'm here now. What do you want me to do, my mistress?" he pointed to the glass. "Would you like more wine, or can I clean that up?"

"...You're free to clean it, of course. I just wanted to see one of my most… stunning servants. If you don't mind, of course."

Percival blushed, turning around to grab the glass, when his aura sensors began to twitch, and he instinctively stepped to the side. He feared to know what that meant, but checked it himself by looking back.

As he suspected, Adelaide had tried to grab his bottom and was currently in the process of trying again, while looking at him with a smile.

"M-Mistress… this is wrong," too uncomfortable to stay like that, Percival tried backing away from her.

"It's only wrong when you resist~" she stuck out her tongue. "And you belong to me. Now, mister Evans, how abou–"

The two were interrupted by the doorbell ringing, which promptly made Percival escape from her clutches and recompose himself, clearing his throat.

"M-May I see who it is?" he asked.

"...Urgh, must be some kid wanting cash. Check it, if it's not anyone important, you are to come back here. Understood?"

Percival hoped that it was someone important, gulping as he walked away from the area. After a few minutes of strolling, he managed to get to the front door, opening it.


To his surprise, Scar had appeared on the other side, along with his two teammates. Percival was shocked, but kept his cool in case Adelaide returned anytime soon.

Max, in particular, had the biggest grin Percival ever saw on his face, and this made the Lucario pout.

"Dude! You're a butler now?!" He wrapped his arm around the Lucario's shoulder, still grinning. "When the boss told me, I couldn't believe it!"

"Yes, yes I am. And I hate it," Percival rolled his eyes, ignoring Max in favour of looking at Scar. "But that's besides the point, what are you even doing here?"

"We wanted to check on you," Scar replied. "Any useful information on her?"

"...Not right now, but I think I might get close enough to her and get it."

"Close, eh?" Max whistled, trying to get a peek at the mansion, while his body sparkled slightly. "I have to say, you're a lucky guy. I wanted to get this mission!"

"...Which is exactly why I gave it to Percival and not either of you," Scar sighed. "Salazzle are dangerous, be careful. She might have gotten you in her grasp."

"Hey, what does that even mean?! I could do this mission without any problem!" Max protested.

"He means we'd both focus more on her than the mission, doofus," Lilith facepalmed.

"Fine!" he walked away from Percival. "You're probably right, but can you blame me? She's really cute!"

"I agree!" Lilith cheered.

"Ahem," Scar cleared his throat. "I suppose we shall leave you here for now, Percival. But again… be careful, alright?"

Percival puffed out his chest. "Don't worry. Remember, I killed an Aggron and I turned a Gallade feral. I got this."

The trio soon left, and Percival looked up. Memories of a time long before now flooded his mind. He closed the door and went back inside, before Adelaide shouted at him again. The Lucario gulped and walked towards her.


This time, he made sure to be locking eyes with her when picking the glass. Of course, she noticed this and glared back at him. Percival ignored it and put the glass on a silver platter, ready to clean it.

"After I'm done with this, do you want something else with me?"

"I was hoping we could… share a drink," Adelaide said, waving to him. "Perhaps a cocktail? I heard it's quite enjoyable."

"I-I'm not sure. I barely–" Percival stopped, and an idea clicked on his mind.

"Barely what?"

"Barely remember how it tastes. I got knocked out pretty quick…" he smiled sheepishly.

"Hmph," Adelaide grumbled. "Males are really weak. No wonder they fall on my clutches so often…"

"W-Well, I'm sure there's other reasons for them to be in your clutches…" Percival grinned, dropping sweat.

"Perhaps," Adelaide stretched her body. "Anyway, I need to prepare myself. There is a party with other nobles today, and of course, I must attend."

"Do you need me to come with you? As a bodyguard, or a plus-one."

"Normally, I would say "yes" in a heartbeat, but…" Adelaide stood up, touching the Lucario's chin for a moment. "I'll have to decline. I can take care of myself, darling."

He shivered at the touch. "Alright. I still need to clean the mansion anyway. I'll see you soon, right?"

"Of course!" Adelaide stuck out her tongue. "When I get back… we'll have some fun. It might take a few hours, those parties are long."

She climbed the stairs to her bedroom, and Percival grinned to himself. If it took that long for her to return, it was the perfect opportunity to do what he came there to do in the first place.

Well done, Lan–Percival. You're in the Pyroar's den now. You'll have to be extra careful...


The rest of the team walked across the town. It was a common stroll for the three, but Max stopped to take a look around.

His first gaze was the large wall that surrounded the city. Max gulped, he was used to it, of course, but it was an odd decision, for sure.

"The king's crazy or what? Who the fuck puts a wall ar–"

"Watch your mouth, Maxwell," Scar glared at his companion, forcing the Electivire to shut up. "I am sure King Edgar has his reasons to build it. Perhaps it is to drive away foreigners."

"I'm aware this place's its own thing. Independent island, yada yada yada," he shrugged.

He soon looked again at the city, walking right past a restaurant with a couple sitting outside. They were eating a cake that smelled so nice Max stopped to sniff it, forcing Scar to drag him along.

Another thing he noticed were houses that looked aged, their architecture telling of how they've been around longer than those who inhabit them. On the stone-brick streets they rose, towering over the trio like two canyon walls.

"Gotta say, this is pretty sick!" Max cheered, his eyes were literally sparkling excitement at the view, small sparks coming out of them.

"Seems like ya're having fun," Lilith scoffed. "Anything important?"

"Honestly? This place's gotten some upgrades," he pointed out to the structures, more specifically, to pillars that sustained some of the multi-storey buildings.

"It makes sense," it was Scar who spoke this time, sighing as he did. "You see, it appears that this town got raided a few months ago, and the king was forced to employ one of the famous exploration teams to defend Cydonia."

Lilith nodded. "Gotcha! So they made the general architecture stronger in order to endure future threats!"

"Precisely."

Max continued to look around, but apart from some kids playing, he didn't think there was anything worth commenting on. Instead, he spent his time wondering where they were going exactly.

"Uh, boss?"

"We will meet with the king, Maxwell," Scar answered, already knowing Max well enough that he knew the question before it was even asked.

His two teammates glanced at each other. They barely arrived in town, and were already talking to the king?

"Huh. I mean, boss, we know the guy already, but aren't those things supposed to be scheduled?"

"I scheduled it before."

That shut down Max again, and he pouted. Scar was acting way grumpier than usual, for sure. "Fine, fine."


As they approached the castle, the scenario around them changed. Instead of tall buildings, all Max could see were trees on left and right, taken care of by some Kricketune.

Can't say this guy doesn't have style…

The castle was tall and well-designed. The walls were brand-new, not having that many cracks or anything of the sort. Overall, it was like the place itself was welcoming them.

And not just the castle. On the entrance, a single Haxorus stood, decked out with a bow-tie. He was smiling, his tail swished, and his scales, colored black, almost looked like they were shining.

Max looked at Lilith and whispered in her large ears. "Hey, psst… who's that?"

She rolled her eyes before responding. "Vulcan, right-hand mon of the king. Seriously, how out of the loop can you be?"

"Hey, not my fault if this stuff's not my thing!"

"Silence, the two of you," Scar said, glaring back at them.

The Marowak walked a tad bit faster than his companions, but wasn't quite running. He simply wanted to talk with the dragon as soon as possible.

As the two were face-to-face, Scar offered his arm for a handshake, one that Vulcan promptly accepted. The other two soon joined Scar, shaking hands with the dragon as well.

"Ahem," Scar cleared his throat. "I have to point out that it is great to see you again, Vulcan. I see you received a promotion!"

"Indeed, I have," the dragon nodded. "And yes, it's a pleasure seeing you three again."

"Wait, I thought you were the right hand before!" Max looked at Lilith, who was busy smelling some flowers, and snarled at her, to which she stuck out her tongue.

"No. I only got promoted recently," Vulcan replied. Despite the annoyance, he continued to smile. "You see, as much as I loved being part of the Royal Guard, getting this close to the king means I can protect him better."

"That king's a fluke if he needs protection…" Max whispered.

"Maxwell, please be more respectful to our hosts."

"Fine, fine, boss…"

"Now, where was I?" Scar touched his chin in thought. "Ah, yes! We scheduled a meeting to discuss our next plans."

"Hm, yes, I'm aware," Vulcan turned around and opened the door. "King Edgar is expecting you…"

The dragon tilted his head as he stared at the group, looking a little confused.

"I thought you had recruited another one?"

"Indeed, we have. But he is on another mission."

"...Well, that's fair. Come on in, we really shouldn't keep the king waiting."


Percival managed to dispatch the rest of Adelaide's servants. Oh, that word was a terrible way of describing employees, he hated even thinking about it.

Alright, now, if I were to hide evidence of money laundering, where would I put it…?

A rhetorical question. Percival closed his eyes and began to analyze. Catching her was obviously going to be difficult. Not only was she… charming(as much as he wanted to deny it), but she was a noble.

I can think about this later, he thought, now with open eyes. Where do I start? If she's laundering money, she needs to have more than what she says.

So all he needed to do was find concrete evidence that she declared a wrong quantity. Percival looked up, checking the stairs. Adelaide's room was up on the second floor, he decided to see if there was anything inside.

If there is proof, it shouldn't be hard to find it.

He was excited, with a wagging tail. It had been so long since Percival had done any investigation that he forgot just how good it made him feel. Like he could take on the entire world and not worry about anything.

Joining Scar and the others had been a good decision, after all. He felt it in his heart. He was helping the world.

Percival grinned. "Well, at least it's not a steel-type this time, can't say I miss those guys… especially the hotheaded one."


The dining room was lively and regal, with a distinct air of royalty. Max took in the place by checking it out. He was surprised by how well the table was set, despite it being one of those tables large enough for a whole family to dine in, and the windows that gave everyone inside a nice view of the town below them.

Not just that, but the wooden walls were glittering, full of life and so shiny anyone could see their own reflection when looking at them. An effect only made better by the chandelier hanging on top of the room.

And, of course, the room also had a painting of the king himself; a portrait of a Tyrantrum wearing a shiny, golden crown and a cape. Lilith glanced at it, and her eyes widened. Inside the crown there was a jewel, shaped like a prism. She found it to be beautiful, and somewhat familiar. As an archeologist, she felt compelled to study it.

He pointed at the area, checking it in with the bunny, until he drifted off again.

That guy's ego is huge. Sheesh.

Max's thoughts were interrupted by Lilith poking him. "Dork, can ya stop snoopin' around? They're waitin' for us!"

"Gotcha, Ears," Max soon sat on a chair, and used this opportunity to check the table. Instantly regretting it.

He gulped, not recognizing most of the silverware. They had too many forks and knives, were they expecting him to use one for each plate? Weird. Rich mons were so weird. Lilith was the second to sit down, followed by Scar, who sat in between the other two.

The same Haxorus from before walked in, standing in the middle of the room. He bowed and closed his eyes to greet them. "Guests, the king is here to join you. He shall arrive soon."

I wonder how this guy is, Lilith wondered. She could see the curiosity in Max's eyes, and assumed he had the same idea. Bet he's arrogant. Not sure why Scar's the only one allowed to talk with him.

Several Fraxure joined the dining area, holding trumpets in their hands. They soon formed at the sides of the entrance and blew on the instruments, producing a sound as regal as the place they were in.

The door opened, and from it came a huge figure. A Tyrantrum, who looked just like the one in the painting, walked towards the table. He held up his head , and the fluffy cape on his shoulders managed to touch the ground.

"All hail… King Edgar the first!" Vulcan said, bowing down.

"Hail to the king! Hail! Hail!" all the Fraxure spoke in union.

The monarch waved with his tiny arms as he sat down, before the cape was removed by two Fraxure. Then, Edgar sighed in relief, looking at his three guests.

"Greetings, my loyal subjects," he said. Edgar's voice sounded very different from how his appearance would suggest. It was soft-spoken and calm.

"Greetings, my king," Scar said, bowing. "We are here to discuss the latest update on our mission."

He pointed to his two companions and continued. "As you can see, I brought my teammates with me. I figured it was time for them to meet you."

"...I see," Edgar replied. He gazed at them, removing all softness from his voice. Now he almost seemed to be analysing them. In the end, he trusted Scar's judgement and smiled. "Well, I do not have problems with them. Any ally of yours is my ally as well."

"U-Uh, thanks, your majes–" Max began to speak, but a glare from the Haxorus shut him up.

"As for our meeting…" Edgar continued. "I would like to say that we will receive another guest. She is a member of royalty, like myself. Her name is Adelaide."

Without the king noticing, Scar snarled after hearing that name. The same Pokémon his protégée was investigating. However, that opportunity proved to be for their advantage.

Hmph. I already have a plan in motion. All I need to do is put the pieces in place.


Somehow, Adelaide's room was more... feminine, than Percival thought it would be. She had a large bed, enough to fit two medium-sized Pokémon, like himself, and the room was decorated with pomptuous, pink furniture.

Her window was open, and the Lucario took a peek. It was almost night, and since he didn't really know how much time she was staying away, he would have to rush, much to his annoyance.

"You've been through worse, Percival. Pull yourself together." He whispered.

His own words made him continue his investigation. He was almost angry at not being able to use his aura senses, as there was no living being inside for him to check out.

Like Scar taught you. In. Out.

As he checked the place, Percival didn't detect anything. At least, not at first. His feelers twitched once he looked at the cabinet. There was something, a fickle sign. That was all he needed.

Percival went to open the cabinet, and to his shock, there was no locker. No protection. Nothing. It was out in the open.

What…? Is Adelaide this stupid? Why not add a layer of protection?

Percival grumbled, knowing that his time was limited and he had to finish this as soon as possible. Regardless of why the locker was open.


Hearing the king talking about politics was incredibly boring for Max, so he just thought of other stuff to distract himself, as did Lilith. They both regretted coming to the meeting.

Scar, however, was eager to hear what the monarch had to say. He paid utmost attention.

"Our village has recovered from that attack eight months ago. I admit, having that team's help was essential to our survival, but I am glad we no longer need to rely on them."

"Of course! You did what was best for your people, your majesty. I am sure they think this way."

Edgar raised a glass with his tiny arm, and one of the Fraxure approached him, pouring wine into it, which he promptly sipped. "Hm, delightful! And yes, I did the best option for everyone."

"It has been far too long since we had a meeting," Scar said as another Fraxure poured wine to him. "And do not fret, I have news that I think you will enjoy."

"Please, feel free to tell me."

"We spent a few months gathering intel about Necrozma," Scar pointed out, and quickly glanced at Lilith. "During our travels, we managed to find an old book on Sandune."

"Oh, that old thing?" The bunny opened her purse, taking out a book that looked ancient, with a nearly destroyed cover and withered pages. She put it on the table. "Betcha wondering what's in it!"

"Ah, I'm afraid I never introduced myself to you, miss… Lilith, I presume?"

"Yup!"

The large dinosaur smiled. "I am King Edgar the first. Now, yes, I am curious about the book's contents."

"I'm an archeologist," she replied. "Graduated pretty far away from here, y'know Pokémon Square?"

"Hm, indeed. That town is on a different continent."

"Not really relevant to what I'mma say, but sure!" Lilith opened the book and showed it to the king. A few specks of dust fell on the floor, and the pages were a bit tattered.

Inside the pages there were various letters in odd shapes. Unown shapes. Edgar tilted his head, as he had no idea what those things were.

"Care to explain that? I am… curious."

"Don'tcha worry, your majesty!" she grinned, putting the book down. "This is easy for me! Now, what this thing says is–"

Lilith stopped. Inside the pages, she saw it. The same jewel as the one on Edgar's crown. There was no mistaking it, that was the same prism.

"What is it now, Miss Lilith? I would like to–"

The sound of smoke came out of the door, and drew everyone's attention to it. Lilith looked down, only to see pink gas coming out of the door as it opened.

It revealed a tall Salazzle, wearing rings around her fingers, and large shades. Along with her came a few Salandit, some of whom were whistling at her, and some others were clapping.

Almost like the tone of the meeting shifted, the Salazzle walked with grace and charm, stopping a few times to wink at the king and his subjects, some of them winking back at her.

Finally, she sat down, raising her head. "Well, hello, darlings. Please don't tell me you started the party without me~"

The king snorted. "Everyone, this is Adelaide. She is one of my close friends, and I want you all to be nice to her."

Adelaide set her eyes on Scar and slowly walked towards him, still smiling. "Ah, if it isn't the marvelous Marowak… it has been far too long, don't you think?"

"If anything, it's far too soon," Scar rolled his eyes, until he felt someone poking on his arm.

It was one of the Salandit, holding a paper and a pen. The lizard's tail wagged and Scar smiled at them.

"Mister, mister! My lady told me all about you, can I get an autograph?!"

He picked the pen and signed the paper with his name on it. The Salandit gasped in reply.

Adelaide couldn't help herself and looked at the signed paper as the Salandit walked next to her."Interesting. It looks a lot like my handwriting. Didn't know you were such a big fan~"

Scar raised his arm after the lizard backed away from him. "If that is already settled, then I request that my companion, Lilith, continues. The information we acquired is of uttermost importance."

Max nearly choked, and leaned in closer to Lilith, whispering. "I changed my mind. It was nice coming here. Like… whoa. She's just…"

"Y-Yeah." Lilith blushed and cleared her throat a few times before continuing on with her explanation. "During our journey, we managed to find Him. We found Necrozma."

An overwhelming silence fell upon the dining room as the others processed the information. A legend, and a very powerful one at that, had been found? It was amazing. It seemed so strange, yet fascinating.

Edgar spoke up first, grinning. "Oh, how glorious! Our village can thrive with His help! But… where is Him?"

Scar shook his head. "We seem to have a problem. He is sealed. He cannot leave the island, forever trapped inside."

"Yup!" Lilith pointed at her book again. "And this is where this little thing comes in. This book is old. Really old. It's gonna take me some time to translate it, but it tells how Necrozma was sealed."

"My, my. What an interesting detail, dear!" Adelaide grinned. "But here's the thing… what will that do for us, the nobles?"

"Not just that. I assume you will search for a way to bring Him back?" Edgar frowned. His teeth showed, if only for a second, and his breath became hotter, and a small puff of smoke came out of his mouth. "We have spent far too much time on this crusade of yours. We need evidence."

"Of course!" Scar spoke up, fiddling with his fingers. He expected such a thing to come out of this meeting, and was prepared for it. "Your majesty. While it is true that my team and I require your support, the opposite is also correct. You need us."

The monarch growled, his gaze meeting Scar's. He tried crossing his hands, but the tiny arms stopped him. "Is that so? Well, then by all means, enlighten me!"

Scar stood up, and began to walk in circles around the room, with his head raised. "Do I need to remind you of the constant attempts on your life? And how I managed to save you everytime?"

The majesty simply retorted. "And yet, I have royal guards, who are very capable of protecting me."

"The same guards who failed to protect this town during the invasion?"

His words were sharp, yet tranquilizing in a way that Edgar didn't think possible. He wanted to get angry, scream or even attack Scar, but as he heard those sentences, that explanation, his anger faded away.

"This has always been our deal. You support my cause, and in exchange, I protect you. Not to mention that when my Lord returns, He will bring peace to the world. Including, obviously, this place."

"Which is, of course, something I already do," the monarch growled, almost defiantly.

Scar hummed. "An appropriate statement. But don't you think that if we offer to bring that same peace to everywhere else, that will be good for your public image, your majesty?"

Adelaide clapped her hands, which caused all the Salandit with her to do the exact same thing. "Wow! I'm impressed, dear! Such a powerful speech!"

The Marowak sat down once more, ignoring Adelaide and focusing only on the king. "So… your majesty, what is your decision?"

"...I don't know yet."

A few Druddigon showed up in the room, carrying plates with food. The king sighed, his stomach growled.

"But. For now, we feast."


The Lucario took out a big sheet of paper from inside the cabinet. He sat down on Adelaide's bed and began reading.

She declared a different quantity. This is laundering. I can tell.

A wide smirk grew on Percival's face. He was right, after all. And Scar gave him a perfect mission to start this new journey.

I know what she's done. This is proof. But… How do I deal with her?

What a feeble question, because Percival knew exactly what to do with her. Something that would remove her from the equation entirely.

Perfect. Now, to make a few calls…

He glanced at a wired phone next to Adelaide's bed and began typing a number on it.


The phone call was picked up, but before Percival could do much, he heard a loud burping sound from the other line, followed by hysterical laughter.

...Disgusting.

"Sunset Salvation HQ!" said the voice on the line. "What can I do for you?!"

"Sunset Salvation? That's… new," shrugging off his annoyance, Percival continued. "I know you're a Gengar. This is Percival speaking, I'm in the middle of a mission and need some help."

"Oh, oh, Percival! Got it! What's the help you need?"

"I need this ready for tomorrow, got it? So, listen up…"


Scar and his teammates were leaving the castle, with the Marowak being the furthest away from it, and the other two soon followed him.

"Boss. Got a question for ya," Lilith spoke up. Scar glanced at her for a second, before turning back to his stroll. "So, I kinda recognized that jewel on the king's crown. It was… well, on the book, y'know?"

After hearing that, Scar stopped. "Is… is that so?"

"Yeah," Lilith showed the depiction in the book. "It's colored dark, has the same shape as the book's picture, and has the same engraving of a crescent moon with the crease facing upwards, looking vaguely like an eye."

Scar checked the drawing on the book; it was indeed identical, down to the symbol. A smile slowly spread across his bony mask.

"Hmph. Interesting," Scar pondered, scratching his chin. "I've been told Edgar's family is, well, royal. His ancestors were close to legends."

"Do you guys even know what the stone's for?" Max asked, not really expecting an answer.

Lilith shrugged. "Nah. I mean, I'll try to figure that out."

"Oh, right!" Max gasped. "Hey, boss, what's up with Adelaide? You guys had a history together or something?"

"...Damn, the dork's right. Did you score her?"

Scar glared at them once more. "No, I did not. As a matter of fact, I took an oath years ago. Do not focus on that. In the meantime, we should go home and rest. I will try to catch up on Percival's mission tomorrow."


The next day started out normally, with Percival taking care of Adelaie's needs for most of her time inside the house, only making a pause when she went for a meeting in town, much like the day before.

Now he was free to start his mission. Percival had planned the whole thing already, and was sure it would work. It had to.

First, the distraction. Adelaide's employees were nothing but that. Employees. He had nothing against them, and so, they were going to be fine.

That was why he called them all off the house, saying that Adelaide had requested an "intimate moment" between the two herself. And considering how she acted whenever she was with him, none of the employees questioned it.

Not that he enjoyed this particular situation. He did find Adelaide charming and beautiful, but her personality? Terrible, spoiled, arrogant, and the worst of all, condescending.

The second part of his plan needed her to be in the house, so he had to wait. Wait for long, tedious hours.


Finally, she let it be known that Adelaide was back by singing a soft, romantic tune once she got inside her mansion.

Obviously, she noticed the whole place was empty. Not a single servant, nobody but her was there. Not to mention how dark it was. She could barely see beyond her own snout.

Then, a single purple flame appeared before her. Its shine soon grew bigger, revealing a Lucario holding it on his paw.

"...Percival?"

He grinned. "Why, yes, that would be me."

The Salazzle hissed, showing her claws to her opponent. In her face, where once was a flirty, romantic mask now stood one of anger and bitterness.

"What the fuck are you doing?! Where are my servants?!"

"Your servants? Listen to yourself," he said, not moving an inch. "...They're free, Adelaide. Free from you! You're a noble, a pitiful and pathetic noble."

"Yes, I'm a noble! That's why I can do those things to them!"

Suddenly, Adelaide jumped, lunging in at the Lucario to slash him down. Before she could do that, the purple flame changed its shape to a sphere that was launched right on her chest, sending her across the room.

"A-Asshole…" she stood up, panting and hissing, before releasing a purple goop out of her mouth.

Percival just ducked to dodge as he created two bones made out of aura on both of his arms and dashed, stopping right in front of her.

Adelaide's tail swished, and venom dropped from her fangs, falling on some of the furniture and making a hole in it. "Who do you think you are?! You're nothing! I'm worth so much more than you!"

She tried slashing him again, but Percival dodged each strike. Adelaide grew weaker after every attempt, and the Lucario used this in his favor by striking her arms with the bones, before shooting another sphere that knocked her down once more.

"You disgust me, Adelaide. This is why I'm here. You said you're worth more than me, correct?"

Percival then turned his back on her, walking towards the mansion's exit.

"You couldn't be more wrong. The world will be a better place… without you."

As he left the mansion, Percival held onto a device with a single button on it, and pressed it down. A large explosion engulfed the mansion behind him, burning into the ground as he walked away.

And he could not be happier.
 
Dungeon 42 - Team

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 42 - Team

Without any doubt, Brian's favorite part of being a mechanic was welding. It was so satisfying to listen to the metal melting and cooling down, not to mention the smell. Some, if not most of his friends found his liking weird, but did Brian care? Nope. He was happy doing this.

More precisely, Brian was happy welding the internal machinery of a fridge. A client had asked him to fix it, and of course he said "yes". How could he not? Brian continued to weld, whistling and humming. Today would be a good day. And he wouldn't let anything or anyone change that. Not even his grumpy twin–

"...Lance," Brian stopped welding, a frown formed on his face. Almost everything tasted bitter now, and his frustration grew.

Right. His brother had left months ago, and he was all alone now. Well, not alone. The other team members were still there, but Brian had to admit… things just weren't the same without his brother around.

Did he do something that pushed Lance away? Their relationship was fine, mostly fine, apart from the revelation during that day in the hospital. Maybe Lance had expected him to shrug the whole thing off.

That wasn't possible! Brian still struggled to come to terms with his best friend being a killer, even if he stopped doing so, as far as Brian was aware.

He was going on a downward spiral of thoughts, not bothering to check his surroundings anymore, and failed to notice a familiar water-type entering his room.

Brian whined, drooping his ears. "Eh. What's the point? He's not coming back. I-I failed to help him."

Something touched his shoulders. "Boo!"

"YEOW!" Brian shouted, taken aback by the sudden nose and getting back to reality. His shock was such that he dropped the weld, making a drop of hot, molten metal fall on the floor and produce a hissing sound that caught his interest. Brian gasped, seeing it cooling down slowly.

The fox turned his back to see a Floatzel standing right behind him.

Said Floatzel blinked. "Shit, Goggles!"

"W-Wha?" Brian recomposed himself and cleared his throat. "H-Hi, Dexter. Whatcha doing here?"

Dexter shrugged. "I came 'ere to check on ye. An' also to talk about our next mission."

"Oh, right, a mission…" Brian was exhausted, barely moving enough to react, and sat down on his chair again, sighing. "Can't you and Meg deal with that? Not up for it."

"We could." Dexter shook his head. "But nah. Not fun when ye're not with us. So c'mon, Goggles!"

Brian looked up at his goggles and grumbled. A mission was the last of his priorities right now. Dexter knew that. Meggie knew that. His random neighbor knew that. So why insist on dragging him to it?

"...Wait a sec," Dexter tilted his head, almost analysing Brian. He then let out a laugh. "Goggles! Ye cut yer mane! gotta say, it looks a lot better now!"

He was right. Brian's mane, once extending down until reaching his ankles, was now got just a little bit below his neck. It had been cut in half, maybe even more.

Gah! He didn't care about that right now! Brian stared at Dexter and growled. "...Fine. I'll go. But I'm the leader on this mission! Now that Lance's not here, that's kinda my job…"

"Eh. Hope Pup's okay, wherever he is…"

Brian managed to smile a bit. "You simp."


Percival sneezed. He wiped it off, but not before getting a few looks of the passerby Pokémon. The Lucario rolled his eyes and continued to walk. Ahead of him was Scar, waiting for him to get closer.

"...May I ask where we are going today?"

"Of course," he turned around, walking as a puff of smoke came out of his nostrils. "But you are a smart lad, I am sure you can figure it out yourself."

Percival looked at the distance, seeing the king's castle. Was that it? A visit to the monarch. Of course it was. He should have figured it out sooner.

"Alright. What are we doing? Is this another part of the training?"

"Perhaps," Scar looked back, smiling. "Fret not, I took care of your little… incident."

"I knew you would," he shrugged.

Scar glanced around and whispered. "However, there is still a lot of talking about this subject. I suggest we discuss it elsewhere."

"You started it."

"And I am also finishing it."

Not wanting to discuss it any further, Percival shut up. Besides, meeting the king was far more exciting for him. He never did it, and monarchies in general tended to make him curious.

His tail wagged in anticipation. "Do you think the king and I can have a little chat?"

"I do not see why that would be a problem. If anything, Edgar is interested in meeting you."

"Understandable. And… is he a good king?"

Scar stopped. Unknown to Percival, he had a bigger smile now. "...I assumed he was, but recently I discovered some evidence that says otherwise."

The auric Pokémon's ears perked up at that. "Really?"

The Marowak wondered if that was a lack of trust in him. "Correct. I told you there was evidence against Miss Muller, and I was right."

"You were," Percival nodded. "I did find it a bit strange that she left it all unguarded."

Almost confirming his beliefs, Scar acted fast. "She is, or rather, was an arrogant woman."

"...I can agree with that."

Something told Scar that wasn't the end of it, but for the moment, it sufficed. After all, he did spend a lot of time on making sure that Lucario would follow the right path.

This is still odd, Percival thought, following Scar on the road towards the castle. I get that he was right the first time, but twice? It might be a coincidence, or it might be true.

He hardly noticed that Scar was getting far ahead of him until he was told so with a shout, and so Percival ran faster to catch up, deciding to think more about it later.


Brian's exit was met with the sun almost burning his skin. He hissed and backed away, before putting his goggles on. Dexter was staring at him, and Arceus forbid Brian let that Floatzel make fun of him.

"Uh, ye alright, Goggles?" Dexter asked, tilting his head.

"...I haven't left my apartment in weeks."

Dexter wrapped his long arm around Brian's shoulder and grinned. "Aight, aight. Let's get ye somethin' to drink, what do ye think?"

"Don't want it."

"And what about the mission?"

"Uh, yeah, I'm here for it? That's what you dragged me down to do!"

"Too bad, that's a bust," a voice said, coming from a Froslass that floated next to them. She smiled. "Sup, Brian. Nice haircut."

"H-Hey, Meg," he rubbed the back of his head. "T-Thanks."

Dexter pretended to pout, and turned his head away in the blink of an eye. "Oh, so when I compliment yer 'aircut, I get nothing, but when Popsicle does it–"

"Oh, please! I know I'm gorgeous and stunning!" To prove her point, Meggie spun while floating. She had the dexterity of a dancer.

"Guys!" Brian shouted, having had enough of the two. He panted, looking down. "What's up with the mission? I have a few more requests from clients."

Dexter and Meggie exchanged looks, and then glanced at Brian with evil grins, showing off their teeth. The Zoroark backed away again. He had no idea what they were about to do.

"Uuuh… guys?"

"Sorry, Brian! But today's a special day!" Meggie stated.

"Sure ye don't remember it, Goggles?" Dexter cracked his knuckles. "I'mma give ye a 'int."

"T-Today?" Brian stopped to think. What was special about that day?

"It 'as to do with yer job…"

"Mechanic?" Brian blinked. Something about him being a mechanic. That was it. It had to be.

"Yup! Y'know, fixing stuff and all that jazz!" Meg giggled, covering her mouth with her hand.

"...I still don't–Oh. The train! The stupid train!"

Brian remembered it. And the realization dawned upon him. His body shivered more.

"S-Shit! I forgot about that gig!" Brian facepalmed, muttering something to himself, some sort of swear.

Dexter crossed his arms. "Yarr. Mayor's pretty pissed at ye. Might want to check that out there."

"No need to tell me twice!" Brian dropped to all fours and ran away as fast as he could.

The ice-type watched her friend run and giggled a little more. She sort of missed that. The friendships she came to love in that world. The world she now called "home".

Still, I kinda miss… the other guy, Meggie began to wander off, but stopped herself. Lance was done with them.

"So, uh, Popsicle… do ye want to go on an actual mission?"

"I have a bit of trouble on my own here," Meggie looked at him. "I might have, uh… a job too. Other than the team. If there even is a team anymore."

"Right. 'Cause Pup did… that," Dexter scratched his chin. "An' what's yer job?"

"I got hired as an assistant on this greenhouse," she pointed at the smoky sky. "Turns out this isn't healthy for the folks."

"Heh. Unless ye be a Grimer."

"Yeah, I help some grass-types…" Meggie stretched her arms, dropping a few ice flakes on the ground. "I need to go on a shift now, do you want to help? There's a few boxes that need to be carried."

"As much as I wanna see Goggles work on that there construction o' 'is… eh, sure! 'Ard labor's me thing!" Dexter flexed his biceps, bulging them.

"Bet! C'mon!" Meggie walked with the Floatzel.


The garden was beautiful. Percival admired how the plants were organized, how the king's gardeners did their job, watering the trees and the flowers around. It was almost breathtaking.

"Admiring the view?" Scar asked, looking at him with a smile.

"Yes. I might not agree entirely with monarchies, but I have to admit," Percival nodded. "The king has a sense of style."

"I believe this is the second entrance to the castle," he said. "When I came with the others, we went through the other entrance. This one contains the garden."

"...Really?" Percival blinked. He looked up, gasping at the sight of a giant statue of the legendary Pokémon Zekrom. "The one who upholds ideals more than anything. Interesting."

Scar put his hands on his back. "King Edgar erected that statue to serve as a symbol. I can see why it resonates with you."

"...Maybe I was wrong? This visit might prove to be interesting after all."

The door in front of them opened, and a Haxorus with obsidian-colored black scales came out of it, slowly walking towards the other two.

Scar bowed at him. "Greetings, mister Vulcan."

"Greetings," the dragon then looked at Percival. "Is this your protégée?"

"I am, yes."

Vulcan extended a claw to the canine, smiling. "It's a pleasure meeting you. I can tell you're worthy of the praise Scar has given you."

"He praises me?" Percival was not surprised, given Scar's nature. It was still something to be proud of, though, so he flashed a grin as he shook Vulcan's claw.

"Why would I not praise you?" Scar hummed.

The dragon then nodded to the two and turned around to face the door. Scar and Percival knew to cut the chat short, and so followed him inside the castle.

There, Vulcan glanced at the Lucario. "Ah, my apologies. I forgot to ask you something. I want you to spar with me."

His ears twitched at the request. "Spar? I can do that. But I want to talk with the king first."

"There is nothing wrong with that," Scar said, scratching his chin. This spar should be fun to watch, and to see if Percival had really learned something during the last two months of training.

"Understandable," Vulcan smiled. The dragon still had his eyes on Percival. "Scar is a good judge of character, but I want to see it for myself. And as a dragon, fighting is in my blood."

Percival glared, his eyes glowing purple. "I see where you're coming from. I won't hold back. And I expect you to do the same."

"I wouldn't have it any other way."


The fox continued to dart across the city, thanking his past self for never forgetting the toolbelt. He just hoped the mayor wouldn't punish him, that gig was worth a lot of money, and Brian, despite having the allowance from his dad, wanted to make something by himself.

He coughed, having inhaled a bit of the smoke from the factories. If it wasn't for that detail, Brian would probably enjoy working there. But for real, fixing and building things was his dream. Too bad his brother wasn't there to support him. Sure, Meggie and Dexter were fine, but Lance was his family.

"They say family's forever, but… don't think that's true anymore. I miss him…"

Brian had no time to think of that, the mayor was waiting. This job paid too much for him to arrive late. Sure, he wasn't in it for the money , but had to admit that it was a good plus.

"Okay, now to stop talking to myself," Brian sighed, running again.

Memories of the day he evolved came flooding back; how he had to learn how to walk on two legs, and how proud he was of getting stronger. Strong enough to protect his friends.

What was that strength useful for now? Nothing. Not a single thing. His body twitched with the thoughts. Useless. His short hair ruffled, and Brian stopped.

He could have done something to help. If he hadn't overreacted with the revelation, maybe Lance would still be there. He was alone again, like all those years ago. Except this time it was Brian's fault. Only his.

Almost like someone was crushing him, he felt pressure. Pressure of the thoughts of what could have been, of the possibilities. It was too much, it was overwhelming. His breath became faster, and Brian trembled from fear.

W-What's going on…? Th-This… this is...

Panic attack. He recognized those symptoms, having helped his brother go through similar feelings so many times before. Now he could work on calming down.

Easy, easy. Just gotta distract myself… where am I?

Checking the streets, Brian saw the city hall on the end of the road, and nodded. Commercial district, it had to be. So he was closer to the rendezvous point. His body stopped shaking, and Brian found the strength to keep going.

He could even see it as he ran. A huge platform, with a few Conkeldurr and Machoke working on the construction. The rails on the floor were being put gently, while some of the engineers welded them to the ground. Brian could even smell the metal, he raised his head. This was the spot!

The fox stopped on his tracks, standing up. He shook off the dust and dirt off himself, walking towards the platform. Right away, one of the workers, a Rhydon, stood out, waving at him.

"Oh, hi there!" Brian waved back, adjusting his toolbelt. "Nice to meetcha!"

The Rhydon nodded, talking with a feminine voice. "Sup, kiddo. You're 'ere for the construction job?"

"Yup!" Brian smiled. "The mayor asked me to do it, and here I am!"

"Really? You look kinda young," she replied, checking a board. "Profile says you're what... sixteen?"

He pouted in response. Being judged was expected, at least. "Seventeen, actually. Seventeen and two months."

Rhydon stared at him, almost unmoving. "Well, you did get recommended by the mayor. Can't really argue against that. C'mon, we should start, I'll show you the blueprints."


Unlike Scar's last meeting with the king, this one was meant to be more quiet. Not having to meet with the nobles already made it better in his eyes. He was walking on a hallway alongside Vulcan and Percival, the latter was checking out the inside.

Like how many portraits of the king there were, spread across the whole room. Vanity, perhaps. In each of them, he smiled, showing off the sharp fangs he possessed. But there was something odd about it. While there were portraits of a family, they were all… black and white.

"...Curious," Percival said it out loud, much to his annoyance, as it drew the attention of the dragon standing in front of him. Damn it.

"If you have any questions, mister Percival, feel free to ask them," Vulcan said, nodding.

He stopped to think. Asking about the king's… private business was interesting, but could he do it? It might make things awkward. He eyed the portraits again, wondering.

"Oh," Vulcan noticed it, blinking. "Are you perhaps wondering about the king's lineage?"

"...Yes. Yes, I am."

The dragon snorted a bit. "That's fine. Most visitors do. We have nothing to hide about this, so don't worry."

Scar nodded. "He is right. If you so desire, ask it. There is no issue."

Percival sighed. Those words were quite reassuring, enough for him to do it. "Well, what's wrong with the portraits of his wife? Or his kid? Are… are they dead?"

To that, Vulcan stopped, staring at the Lucario with a blank expression. "I'm afraid… they are. Almost a year ago, our city was attacked, ravaged. It was… a slaughter. Amongst the casualties, the king's family..."

That was enough for him. Percival made a motion with his paw for Vulcan to stop talking. The whole scenario was too much to bear, and only served to remind him of his family and friends, left behind.

"Alright," Percival answered. Deep inside, he could sense the pain Vulcan felt, the aura around the dragon proved it. "...I'm sorry to ask it."

"It's… it's alright," Vulcan sighed. "It's a tragedy, but we're better today. The king is better. Sadly… this means that there's no successor here."

"In other words, in the event that king Edgar is not fit to rule anymore," Scar said. "...There is no royal line?"

"Correct," Vulcan pointed out.

The Marowak now had a small, almost imperceptible smile. If he was holding his club, it might have started flaming right there.

"Understood," Percival crossed his arms. He felt a small spike on Scar's aura, but gave it no mind, focusing more on the meeting.

Vulcan continued to walk on the hall, stopping right before a large door, turning to face the other two with a bow.

"My dear guests, our majesty is in this room. If you will, please be respectful towards him."

"I don't see why not," Percival pointed out with a deadpan tone.

"I agree with my protégée, let us go."


Walking inside the greenhouse, Dexter was able to tell how much different it was from the outside. For one, the air was far cleaner, the temperature was pleasant, and he felt at peace, almost yawning. His twin tails swished.

Not to mention the place had trees! It was almost like an artificial ecosystem, Meggie was lucky to work in that place.

Speaking of, she giggled at his reaction, covering her mouth. "Guess you liked it here."

"Sure did, popsicle," the weasel nodded, stretching his arms. "Now, what did ye need me to do 'ere? Carry stuff?"

"You could say that. There's a few boxes with fertilizers on the back," she opened her purse, picking up a key. "Could you help watering the plants too?"

"Popsicle, I came 'ere with ye to 'elp. What do ye think me answer be?" At the sight of Meggie glaring at him, he rubbed the back of his head. "...Me answer be aye."

"Y'know, sometimes I don't understand half of what you say."

He stared at her with a not-so-subtle annoyed gaze. "Oh, I be so sorry fer growin' up with this here accent o' mine." Dexter deadpanned at what she said.

"...Still joking?"

"I dunno, ye tell me."

"Let's just go," Meggie sighed, floating to the end of the area that led to a door.

On his way there, Dexter managed to recognize a few of the berry trees, such as Chesto, Oran, and even Tamato. The last one made him remember the sauce. Oh, the sauce was really good.

"Ay, Popsicle. E'er eaten tamato soup?" She only replied by shaking her head. "One o' the best soups I've e'er eaten. Ye should try it sometime. Ma did it a lot for me and Pa."

"I'm not really a fan of soup?" She wondered. Nope, she wasn't a fan, with her memory or not. "But maybe I'm just wrong."

"If ye say so."

Meggie stopped right before the door, unlocking it. The room inside was smelling like dirt, the rotten stench of fertilizer filling their nostrils. Dexter covered his nose and stuck out his tongue.

"Bleh. 'Ow can ye work in this here place?"

"Pays well," she shrugged. "C'mon. My manager didn't get here yet, we should work on it."

Dexter flashed a grin again. "Okay then. Where do ye want me to start?"

She touched her chin with her fingers in thought. "Depends. How many boxes can you carry?"

"About three or four, give or take."

"Then carry two of them, and I'll prepare the hose so you can water the plants. Got it?"

"Aye, aye, cap'n Popsicle," he bowed to her and looked at the boxes with a big grin, picking two of them between his large arms with ease. "Be right back!"


The king's office was fairly large, with open windows so he could see the whole town. As for the monarch, he stood on a rather large chair, smiling at the two visitors and his loyal guard as they entered the room. Percival returned the smile, and bowed to show respect.

"Greetings, your majesty. My name is Percival Evans, it's a pleasure meeting you."

"The pleasure is mine," he extended his stubby arms to the Lucario, who promptly kissed the draconic monarch's finger.

"Good afternoon," Scar said, bowing as well. "I have decided to introduce my protégée to you, your majesty."

The king checked Percival out, eyeing the Lucario from top to bottom with a grin. From the looks of it, Scar had made a good choice of apprentice. But appearances mattered little to him. No, he was interested in something else.

"Tell me, mister Percival. What was your reasoning to join Scar and his allies?"

He had expected such a question already, and sat down to answer. "...Seems you started this so-called interview with the big questions."

"You're correct," Edgar replied, more interested now.

"My reasoning? Your majesty, I believe there is too much evil in the world," he said, glaring at the king with a sharp gaze. "And it continues to show. Pokémon all around the globe suffer, they suffer from crimes, from the corruption that happens everywhere… I couldn't stay quiet and let it happen. And Scar showed me the truth."

This time, the monarch eyed Scar, and then shifted to Percival again. "Really? What is this… truth?"

"Action is necessary," with a snap of his fingers, Percival created a purple sphere on his paw. "To change the colors of despair to hope. Hope for a better future for us. All of us."

With such powerful and moving words, it was a little odd they came out of a teenager's mouth. But Percival looked so much older. The scars on his body made it appear, and Edgar pondered if that teenager had been forced to mature earlier than normal.

"...Sunset Salvation. Our organization's name. And like it states, I am going to save the world. I have gotten my hands dirty before, and…" Percival closed his fist, destroying the sphere he held. "I'm willing to do it again. All for the sake of justice."

"Justice, eh?" Edgar asked, taking a deep breath. "Bold words, I have to admit. Do they hold any power, though?"

"My words hold the power, yes. Because I'm working for the greater good. As I have before, your majesty. Do you remember the old mayor on Bright Dawn?"

The monarch scratched his chin. "...I don't remember his name, but I have vague memories. An Alakazam?"

"I took him down. He's rotting in jail because of me," Percival glared, smirking. "It was the right thing to do."

Now that he thought about it, Edgar had heard the rumors about the mayor's demise months earlier. Was this kid really responsible for it? If so, maybe he was reliable after all.

"...And I also prevented the fall of the Tree of Life, protected by the mighty Xerneas," Percival concluded, sighing. "My point is: there's nothing I wouldn't do if it meant I could make the world I grew up in a better place."

Edgar stopped talking. Percival's speech was convincing enough, and the fact that Scar put so much trust on that child was good as well.

Finally, he came to a decision. "I understand, child. I believe that we will have a great time working together. Can I count on you?"

"Of course you can," Percival extended his arm, shaking the king's hand.


Working outside, with all the smoke and heat was worse than Brian thought. Good thing he cut off the mane, his new mullet was much better.

Even so, his fur was beginning to smell bad, and he was sweating a lot. Nonetheless, the job wouldn't do itself, so he worked on building the rails, welding them to the ground. He focused on that and only that.

And he was good at it. In mere minutes, the part of the rails that was assigned to him was done. Sure, there was far more to do then, but for the day, it was over.

"H-Heh!" Brian could be proud of his work. This would make travelling so much easier. He was doing a good thing. For the common folk.

Unlike his brother, as far as he knew. He didn't even have a hint of what Lance was doing at the moment. That Lucario had been missing for… so long.

The uneasiness in his heart grew to the point it deafened him to everything else, except someone shouting at him. The Voice sounded familiar, brash and commanding. Was that… his brother?

"Hey!"

Somoene shouted at Brian's direction, making his ears perk up. He took a look at where the voice came from, and his eyes widened; it was a Lucario. A Lucario waving at him, calling to him.

Sadly, said canine was too far away for Brian to make out any details, but did he care? Nope! The fox simply dashed as fast as he could, ignoring the rest of the workers, he had already done his job anyway.

"C'mere!" The canine shouted once more, seeing Brian getting closer.

What a weird way of getting his attention. Lance would never speak like that, it was too informal. But hey, they hadn't seen each other in two months, maybe he had changed?

Brian stopped running to catch his breath, and he was close enough to actually check out who called him. He raised his head, panting.

It wasn't him. The Lucario looked nothing like Lance. No scars, no headband, no grumpy look, nothing. He only had a small band on his arm, but other than that, no. That wasn't his brother.

"Who… who're you?" Brian tilted his head, now flushing with embarrassment. How stupid! He should've known better.

"...Currently, an idiot," the Lucario facepalmed. "Shoot, I thought you were one of my friends."

"And I thought you were my sibling!" Brian raised his arms, a mix of anger and tiredness on him. "S-Sorry. Who are you looking for? Maybe I can help."

"Oh, uh, sure? I'm Rio," he nodded. "I'm lookin' for a Zoroark? He makes dumb jokes, eats a lot. Would probably eat rocks if someone gave them to him."

"...Huh," Brian wondered. He never saw anyone like that, so the fox shrugged. "Sorry, not familiar with this guy."

"Well, I figured as much," Rio deadpanned. "Uh, who were you looking for?"

"My brother. Lucario too, kinda grumpy, has this big-ass scar? He's very edgy."

Rio shook his head. "My bad, don't know any other Lucario, but I do know a Bisharp that's edgy, if that helps?"

How could it help? "Not really. Look… I need to get back. Hope you find that Zoroark."

Rio turned his back on Brian, nodding. "Y-Yeah. Hope you find your brother!"

Brian walked towards the construction again. He hoped Lance would come back soon...


A cold breeze brushed Percival as he walked out of the castle, towards a large, open area filled with grass as far as his eye could see. He took a deep breath. Vulcan and Scar were behind him, but they weren't alone. A few more dragon-types, like Faxure, Bagon and Druddigon were also there, on the sidelines. They were the royal guard, knights.

Some of them were cheering for Vulcan, while others, only a few, were chanting for Percival. He waved at the audience and turned his back, facing the shiny Haxorus.

"Let's see what you're made of, kid." Vulcan said, slapping his tail on the floor.

"I have a trick or two up my sleeve," he replied, grinning. "I assume this fight goes until one of us passes out?"

Scar walked where the others were standing, so he could have a better look at the fight. The Marowak sat down, not saying a word.

"That works," the dragon said. He glanced at the knights. "Another important detail: do you want a weapon? My tusks are tough, and my scales as well. Do you really think you can pierce them?"

"If this makes you feel better, I don't see why not."

To that, one of the Fraxure threw a spear towards Percival, the latter promptly grabbing the weapon and inspecting. The blade was sharp, and the spear was long enough for him to use it.

"...You gave me a lance?" His ears twitched, and a small smile spread on his face.

"Anything funny?"

"Not really," Percival grabbed the weapon and swished it around, before preparing himself for the fight, pointing the lance towards Vulcan.

The dragon lunged in, moving his tail to hit Percival with it ashe draconic appendage began to glow, enveloped in a pinkish aura.

Dragon Tail, Percival thought, dodging the move by moving to his right, and then pointing the spear at Vulcan's tusks. He knew those would not grow back if they broke, so he went in for the hit.

A metallic spark fizzled between the two fighters as they stared into each other's eyes. Vulcan then pressed on, his bulkier body put pressure onto Percival's own, forcing him to retreat slowly.

Vulcan broke contact, backing away. However, he gave Percival no opportunities to counterattack, as he punched the canine right away. The auric Pokémon tried to contain the attack with his arms, but only managed to scream from the pain, his bones even cracked.

"H-Heh! This is great!" Even with that move, Percival was ecstatic. His blood pumped, and he managed to laugh, launching a purple sphere into the ground and unleashing a cloud of dirt.

Blinded for the moment, Vulcan relied on his other senses to tell him where the Lucario was. He focused on the noise. Footsteps, to be precise. Focusing on where they were, he managed to dodge a few hits from Percival. Vulcan regretted not picking a more… convenient field, but it was too late for that.

As the cloud dissipated, Percival was shown to be further away from Vulcan, still holding onto the spear.

"Too scared to attack me, eh?" Vulcan panted. There was something else he could do. He punched the floor and roared.

Percival's ears twitched as he heard the ground shaking. Was that an earthquake? His mind raced and he looked down to see multiple vines sprouting around him, coiling around the canine's arms and legs and so, preventing his movement.

"H-Heh…" Vulcan snorted. "This place isn't the best for fighting, I admit. But I still have ways of using it to my advantage!"

"I didn't even know Haxorus could learn Grass Knot," Percival replied, trying to set himself free. Even with this, he still smiled. "But I'm afraid… I haven't lost yet. As a matter of fact, the one who's lost… is you!"

With all the strength he gathered, Percival managed to raise his right arm, and that's when Vulcan gasped at the sight; a rainbow-colored Emera inside a looplet on the canine's arm. His gaps only got louder as said Emera began to glow, burning through the knots that bound Percival.


When the glow faded, Percival was different. His demeanor seemed much more aggressive than before, and he soon dashed towards Vulcan, piercing his tusks once more.

"T-Tch! I have no idea what's going on with you, but not bad, kid!" The dragon replied, before opening his mouth, flames spewing from the inside.

"I appreciate the compliment. Coming from a dragon, it's a delight. But enough talk!" Percival drew his right arm backwards, a taint, silver aura spread across it, and before the flames could hit him, Percival punched the dragon's gut.

Vulcan squealed in pain, the punch produced a loud, cracking and nearly deafening sound. His first reaction was to back away, coughing up. A rookie mistake, as Percival lunged in, almost hitting the dragon's neck, except the spear landed on his side harmlessly.

"...What?" The dragon struggled to believe it. Percival had the opportunity to strike, but the kid refused to do it?

"I take it the fight is over," Percival threw the spear into the ground, panting. "...Did I prove my point? I can defend myself, I can fight."

Vulcan stood up, still coughing from the impact. He looked down; his scales were normal, without any cracks. So, why was that attack so painful?

"Y-You did," he finally said, nodding. "But… how? The Bullet Punch, while powerful, shouldn't do this much damage."

"This is Mega Evolution," Percival answered, crossing his arms. "A power-up of sorts. I found out about it during one of my missions. I get… stronger with it."

Vulcan eyed the Marowak, panting. "Scar… can we talk about this in private? This session's dismissed. You may all go home."

Percival raised a brow, but otherwise, paid it no mind. His body soon returned to normal, and left him panting. Despite having better control of this power, it was still exhausting.

The night dawned upon the city, and Brian walked towards his apartment, tired and grumpy. Sure, his job was done for now, but with no signs of his sibling, things were still… odd.

"I hate this," he said to himself, rubbing his arm. Never had he felt so… alone. Without anyone, anything. No family, since only Arceus knew where his father was. Probably on a mission, far away.

But his friends were there. Literally there. As the fox got near the place he called home, he saw them; Dexter and Meggie, waiting for him.

Things might be odd, and he might not be functioning well without his sibling, but maybe… he wasn't really alone.
 

Negrek

Whole of the Moon
Staff
Sup Navar! I’m here for one of your Blacklight prize reviews. I’ve seen a few of your characters around in various RPs, so it’ll be fun to see what the story they come from is like. I’m going to start out with the first five chapters, which I figure should give me a good feel for the story.

And at the end of those five chapters, I’m not sure where things are going to go! The structure so far has been fairly monster-of-the-chapter, with Team Liberators coming across people in distress and then, well, making with the liberating! It clearly can’t go on that way forever; Lance clearly has some heavy stuff in his past that I imagine is going to become relevant in the story’s future, if absolutely nothing else. A few simple rescue missions to establish character dynamics and worldbuilding, such as around freals, work just fine, but I do wish I had a better grasp on Brian and Lance at this point!

There’s a lot of mystery about those two, but what I’m most curious about is why they’re out doing what they’re doing! Dungeoneering seems like a good profession for Lance, who doesn’t like to interact with people much, but what about Brian? Is he just in it for the adventure, or does he feel a sense of obligation to his bother, or perhaps their parent(s)? Are they hoping to simply travel across the land, becoming ”the very best” rescue team, going for fame and glory? Or are they expecting to get something else out of it: answers about their pasts, the power to effect change in the world, that sort of thing? One way or another, I get the sense that their fun jouney’s going to get derailed! But these are some of the questions that interest me the most when I’m just getting to know characters: what matters to them, what makes them tick. These give a sense of what kind of story you want to tell and how the plot will unfold.

The sibling dynamic you’ve got going on is interesting, though—different than the unequal dynamics you see in a lot of rescue team pairs. It also seems like Lance’s standoffishness can cause friction with his brother, too, as with the bit where the graveler nearly crushed Brian. Brian seemed to shrug that one off pretty fast, not nursing a grudge, but I’m wondering how the relationship between these two will shape up—whether it will turn out to be a bit complicated. In general, I’m interested in learning more about Brian! He’s been in the background a bit compared to Lance. In general I’m interested in learning about your central characters and seeing how their relationship changes (or doesn’t!) as a result of the trials ahead.

I know you don’t want to go back and edit these early chapters again, so I’m not going to go in-depth about typos and such. In general, your mechanics are pretty solid! I think your edits have made a difference. One rule to watch out for in the future is that whenever a character is addressed by name or title in dialogue, you put a comma before that name. You have the right idea during the luxray fight, with a lot of “try it, kid” kind of stuff—note the comma! But elsewhere, when you’re using names there’s more “hey Brian” kind of sentences: you want the comma before ”Brian” there, too!

All in all, I’m curious to see where this story is going and what kind of PMD fic it will ultimately be. I get the sense that it may end up quite dark, but we’ve only seen flashes of that so far. Nice work, and I hope your writing is going well!
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
13
-Don’t think you need to describe a lucario when both brothers would know what one looks like.
-I don’t remember if Shiron’s popped up before now, but this is not the capacity I was expecting. He also seems a bit more of a goofball than his blacklight incarnation. Also is Shiron actually their uncle or just, like, a really close family friend?
-Pacing here felt a bit wonky for me. Like, Lance is kidnapped so quickly and so easily and the kidnappers and Gallade announce their intentions so boldly it puts James Bond villains to shame. Also feels reminiscent of what happened to the Winter Soldier. Intentional?

14
-Sounds like a family friend deal for Shiron.
-I was wondering what was up with the rare candy thing, but the friendship bit tells me Gallade is from the trainer world. Whether or not he was previously human I’m unsure. Probably human.
-I don’t really buy that Shiron could cheer Brian up with just a couple of sentences of encouragement, one of which being to train harder. ^^;
-Oh, jeez, even in a fight to the death someone’s calling out their attacks? Where’s the survival instinct?
-And I find Lance’s rescue equally as sudden and strange and his kidnapping. No explanation for how he got where James found him? Odd. I think you’re foreshadowing that when Lance evolves, Gallade is going to return to do… something.

15
-I’m a bit perplexed at the significance Blitz is supposed to have with regards to Lance’s personality. I get the flirting thing in the flashback… but to not actually show anything about their relationship and just tell the reader they dated and broke up in a couple of sentences feels underwhelming. Yet I can’t think of a good way to implement it, since practically half the fic up to this point has been flashbacks.
-And Brian’s evolved. I suppose given how the past chapters brought up his desire to get stronger, I should’ve expected as much.

16
-I’m not really sure why Lance feels the need to “manipulate” Brian, as Apollo claims. If he understands Brian can make good illusions and he’s happy to do it, what’s the conflict, exactly? Trying to allude to an argument between the two later?
-Also, the thing where Atlas and Lance are thinking/saying things simultaneously really is something meant for a more visual medium. Not a prose fic.

17
-Shouldn’t that furret identify what press outlet he’s working for? Otherwise how do we know he’s really a reporter? :P
-Is Michael the garchomp a reference to something?
-Brian’s bait scene is very similar to how informants work in police shows like Law & Order and those kinds of sting operations. I appreciate the reference there. ;P
-Brian’s getting Flamethrower, I guess? Hope there aren’t any hitches to TM use.

18
-Really? A police officer indulging Brian’s childishness? Someone’s getting a write up to the commissioner.
-With a move like Liquidation, you really are better served describing what the attack looks like.
-Confession: I’m always one of those people who’s iffy about giving zoroark powers on the level of the one from the movie. Makes them seem rather overpowered, especially when their game counterparts can’t do any of it.
-Likewise, “four times weakness” is a game mechanic and really feels weird for Lance to drop. Something like “who’s extremely weak against my type” is more appropriate.
-Wait, really? Lance just had the item? I at least anticipated the item would be harder to come by than that. XD

19
-Wow, Lucario!Lance is kind of a jerk. XP
-Also, wow, those two lackeys turned on each other right quick. I’d have expected a bit more oomph from Napoleon’s death, though. ^^;
-Seriously, though, the fic is trying to take an anti-hero/morally-dubious approach to Lance here, right? That’s intentional? Because it’s kind of hard to see him as being very, y’know, heroic when he just brutally sends an aggron into a pit of lava.

20
-So, wait, they’re already leaving? No, like, resolution to this arc or anything? It’s just off to a new destination? I’m… not sure how I feel about that.
-Wigglytuff’s Guild? [blinks] Is this… the far future in the PMD world? Or some sort of modern technology AU?
-oh, hello random snorunt who’s definitely not going to be the froslass in the banner. And I don’t think I realized Shiron is a former human. And he’s with a chestnaught? Is he the PSMD hero, then?
[several paragraphs later]
-Are he and Nick… the explorers duo?
-Okay, so Gallade never kept any tabs on Lance? Really strange. Though it looks like he will be coming into play after Lance’s evolution anyway.

SE1
-This tasted like diabetes. I mean, yay that the two of them seemed happy together. But I think this would’ve made more sense placement-wise coming between 14 and 15. Here we already know they’re going to break up, so it takes away from the impact. And I do think the flirting between them is, uh, a bit too overdone. Like, they’re doing this stuff in public and I’m pretty sure they’d be the type of couple everyone finds obnoxious. ^^;

21
-Is their mother supposed to be an HoC reference? Also, how do a lucario and gardevoir produce a zorua egg? Or is Brian adopted?
-Wait, has there been a six month timeskip? Or just some sort of timeskip period? Might’ve done with at least a couple of paragraphs noting what’s happened in that time…
-Ah, so their therapist became their stepmother. That… doesn’t sound ethically concerning at all. :V
-Seems to me like this fic is taking more of a Gen VII pokedex approach to megas. Oh boy…

22
-A snorunt took out a mega mawile with Rollout? Interesting choice. And strange that we’re seeing Meggie hold her own against a mega when she claims to barely be used to her body, but I guess that’s what six months gets you?
-Wow, those lycanroc must not be that loyal if they’re willing to give up the identity of their boss that easily. So now Lance is going to be fueled by vengeance toward the guy who gave him PTSD. Very anime.
-Gengar and sableye spy network? Why do I sense a double-crossing down the road?

23
-I feel like we’re due an explanation as to what the difference is between rescue and exploration teams. Since, uh, most of Team Liberation’s work that we’ve seen in the fic has been of the rescuing variety. ^^;
-I have a bad feeling about Scar. Maybe it’s the name or the “be the change” line. But I get the feeling there’s something up. He’s sus.
-These lycanroc seem like our replacement goldfish for the mercenaries that got killed last arc. Which probably means they’ll be dying at some point, too.

SE2
-I know this is a silly what-if thing, but it’s funny it comes right after the lycanroc were talking about sapience and feral ‘mons. But it’s really hard to take the transformation seriously when he’s engaging in what’s essentially caveman speak. All the RRRs make him sound like he’s drunk and slurring his words.

24
-Suddenly Treasure Town! Not going to lie, if you’re integrating locales from canon PMD into what was previously a story in an original location, it would really help if you could give us an idea of where the original area is in relation to Treasure Town. Especially since everyone can reach it so easily. Or… is the guild transplanted into your original setting? There isn’t enough in the prose for me to tell.
-Also suddenly Blitz! As a manectric… which can mega evolve. I have a bad feeling about this.
-Don’t have your ‘mons say “sus,” please. XP
-Why would a world of pokémon have a Latin phrase like modus operandi?

25
-Oh. Aura weapons. Like what Namo does with Rhys. Heh.
-Okay, yeah, Scar definitely sus. I know for a fact your necrozma is not benevolent.
-If Lunick is calling Lance a monster then I really do get the distinct impression I’m not supposed to view him as a truly good guy. ^^;
-So, Meggie was a Kalosian trainer, then? Suppose that fits with the mega evolution stuff. I wonder if she actually knew Gallade when he was human?

26
-How can a marowak blush when it has a skull covering ts face? >_>
-Also how can Lance not like monarchies when he’s never experienced one for himself?
-Pfbt, Scar worships a big psychic light dragon and his best advice for mindreading is to not think too much? Good grief. XD
-Oh, hey, I was right. Meggie and Gallade knew each other.

27
-Eeyup. Gen VII lore mega interpretation it is. Though aura… absorption? I don’t think that’s supposed to be something he’s meant to be able to do.
-Meggie’s reaction is suitably visceral and appropriate for someone realizing just how messed up their present situation is.
-Oh, okay. Apparently lucario can just siphon aura in this story, then? That feels… absurdly overpowered for a non-diety.
-Scar’s still suspicious. I feel like he’s trying to convert Lance to, uh, Necrozmaism.

28
-Another evolution item swooped up. Convenient. Almost too convenient. ^^;
-I think Lance’s mental turmoil is shown pretty well along with the accompanying physical toll that it seems to take on him. I’m… not entirely sure about the conclusion he comes to with his dream state. Like, yeah, the aggron and servine could be considered justified self defense. But bringing about justice? I hope you’re going for a “those who fight monsters may become monsters” angle.
-Also Brian snapping at Meggie over her connection to Morgan felt a bit contrived for the sake of drama.

29
-Oh, goody, now Brian’s adopting the same justice mindset as Lance? [visible concern]
-I’m not entirely sure why Brian’s getting so stunned by what Lunick tells him when the last chapter had Scar and Meggie explaining that Lance had gone berserk. Brian builds a bunch of gadgets, so surely he should be smart enough to consider that perhaps Lance isn’t entirely right in the head.
-Suddenly Xerneas disciple!
-Also I’m glad Meggie’s Dawn Stone seems to need some other catalyst to work properly. Hopefully that means it’ll feel better earned than Lance’s evolution.
-So I guess Gallade’s plan is to catch Xerneas in a master ball and somehow use the, uh, life powers to get home or something? I feel like there are other gods whose powers would be much more useful if his goal is to return to Kalos. XD
-I’m surprised that the very same chapter had Brian kill Lunick a couple of scenes after he was using Lance to taunt Brian. I guess it’s meant to be poetic irony. If so… clever girl.

Overall up to this point, I do think the pacing of the first act made it hard for it to feel the emotional impact of anything that was really happening. There were reflection scenes, but they were very brief and Lance and Brian immediately moved into the next plot element without much further fuss. I think that changed with this second arc, where there are extended sequences of characters’ monologues parsing through all the actions. I think this is helped by the fact that, as these chapters go on, you seem to be sticking more to one POV character per scene rather than jumping around like you did earlier. It gives the main trio more weight, something which I feel the first arc lacked.

I do believe that, when it comes to translating this all into English, you could do with a proofreader to help you with the grammar and the mechanics for dialogue, which were frequently incorrect. Maybe that improves with other chapters, but I feel compelled to point it out anyway.
 
Dungeon 43 - Secrets

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 43 - Secrets


The hasty footsteps of a Salandit filled the ground as he hurried, carrying with him a brown paper bag. While he moved, the bag jiggled and from the bottle it even dropped a goopy, white-colored liquid on the floor.

The lizard stopped on his tracks, having barely avoided running into a Pancham and a Primeape, but continued right away without bothering to apologize to the two, his hurry growing exponentially by the second.

“Shit, she’s gonna kill me if I get late!” He exclaimed, panting. Just where was the place? That lady didn’t bother to explain. Oh, this was just the worst! He was glad to have a job, especially now that his mistress had… died. But he had his limits, and this was nearing them. He gulped, realizing he wasted time thinking about this when he could have gotten there already.

Now, to check where he was. The restaurant where he got the delivery was behind him, and from the rocky houses nearby, he figured out that he was on the right path. After all, his contractor told him she lived in the noble area of the city.

He could tell by the general tone of every passerby. He got a few stares every now and then, and the lizard ignored them as much as he could, focusing on continuing to move.

His feet were starting to hurt from all the walking, topped with the heat. The bag he carried was dripping more, and when he noticed that, he screeched, running faster than before.

“Where’s the fuckin’ house?!” He cried out. “Because of course she had to give the worst explanation possible! ‘Hey, I live in a noble area, in this huge ass house!’”

How annoying ! Couldn't she just tell the address like a normal mon?! He hissed, stopping again. He might as well give up, considering how every house there looked the exact same! Gray houses that looked like they were built from stones!

The thoughts filled his head and he got distracted, hitting what he thought was a wall. The impact bounced him back to the ground, and the lizard ended up letting go of the bag, sending it to the sky.

After realizing this, he stood up and grabbed the bag, albeit barely, to the point where he fell flat on his face with both arms raised, holding the delivery.

“You okay in there, buddy?”

Huh? The wall spoke? Salandit raised his head and coughed. A rather large Electivire was just… standing there. Had he hit the furry electric-type?

“Shoot, sorry, dude!” He said, rubbing his head and extending his yellow arm to the lizard, helping him stand up. The smell of whatever was inside the bag came to him, and he had to contain his drool.

“Y-Yeah. I’m okay, sorry! I’m the one who bumped into you!” Truth be told, he was sure it was the Electivire’s fault, but picking up a fight with someone so large would surely end badly for him.

“No worries, lil’ dude,” he smirked.

That’s when he noticed. That Electivire was familiar. The gruff, but also friendly demeanor reminded him of that one from the meeting in the castle. Were they the same one?

“C-Can I ask you something?”

“Go on,” the ape nodded.

“Are you with the Lopunny and the Marowak?” The lizard tilted his head. If he was right, things would be easier. He could deliver the package right then!

Max snorted at the question, giving him a thumbs-up. “That’s me alright. What’re you doing here?”

“That Lopunny kinda asked me to deliver something, and I…” Thank Gods he couldn’t blush. “...I don’t know where the house is.”

“Oh!” Max lifted the lizard up, putting him on his shoulder, much to the smaller Pokémon’s chagrin. “Good for you, ‘cause I know where my boss’ house is! C’mon, I’ll take you there!”

Scar’s house, while not as big as the mansion the king lived in, was still large enough to fit the four main members of the Sunset Salvation. A house made out of wood. Some might say it was an antiquity, and it certainly looked that way. The house had a garden with a tree so old it was barely able to stand, but regardless of it, Scar had left it there.

It had three floors; The bottom one, where all the spies worked. The second one, where most of the rooms were located. Finally, the top floor, one that belonged to Scar himself, and nobody else but him was allowed there. Max had even heard stories about a few Gengar who tried walking in, only to leave with horrifying bruises.

Meanwhile, the lizard was impressed at how big it was. Sure, the mansion he used to live in was better, but this one was beautiful as well. Not that he cared much about that in the end, he just wanted to get the job done as soon as possible.

“We’re here!” Max declared, stepping into the living room.

The place was empty, other than Lilith, who sat on one of the couches, colored dark-red. She had glasses on and was reading a book when the others arrived. Her gaze shifted to them as she put down the book, stomach growling.

“Sup, guys!” She waved, eager to eat. She left the couch and walked towards the electric ape, waving.

“H-Hello, miss Lilith! Thanks for hiring me!” The lizard gave her the bag, bowing repeatedly. “S-Sorry for not finding the house! It’s a little hard, I was used to working for Miss Adelaide…”

“Nah, I getcha,” Lilith opened the bag, revealing a chocolate cake with white frosting. She licked her lips. “I know y’all are lookin’ for jobs, since she’s… y’know.”

“...It was so sudden,” he sniffled, looking down as Max put him on the ground. “B-But me and my friends will be alright.”

“Just know we’ll always have jobs for you guys!” Max stated, nodding and sitting down.

“Here ya go,” the bunny opened a purse and gave the Salandit a few golden coins. “Ya know the way out, right?”

“Yessiree!”

As quickly as he came, the lizard was gone. Lilith then sat like her friend and took a bite out of the cake. Sweet, just like she liked it.

“I gotta say, I feel a lil’ bad for them…” Max said, looking at the exit where the Salandit had walked out.

“I don't. That girl got what was comin’ for her.”

He just shrugged. “...That, she did. And what’re you doing today?”

“Today, I’m translating more of the book. I could actually use your help on this. Wanna do me the honors?”

At that, Max chuckled. “You bet . Just gimme some cake while we’re doing this, alright?”

“Alright!”

Brian woke up curling on the ground, covered in his own drool. He blinked and yawned, sitting up. His mane had covered his eyes in his sleep, forcing the fox to push the fur aside to see.

“...Damn, what time is it?” He overslept. That had to be it. And his friends didn’t wake him up this time. Typical.

Leaving the room, Brian yawned again. He had no idea what day it was. Probably something boring like Mondays. God, he hated Mondays.

As he opened the fridge, Brian paused to consider. Was he hungry? Yes. But, did he have enough energy to make a full meal? Absolutely not. He just picked a berry and chomped it down, finishing with a glass of water.

Now, to actually do something productive that day. For some reason, Brian was eager to try a mission on the guild, and so he left his apartment. First things first, he knocked on Meggie’s door.

Although there wasn’t a response at first, she opened it after a few seconds had passed. Meggie looked tired, with a few cracks on her otherwise solid body.

“Morn. What’s up, Brian?”

Sheesh. Her voice sounded just as tired as she looked.

“Nothing much,” he said. “Just wanted to ask if you’re up for a mission today. But, uh… guess you’re not?”

“Oh, this?” Meggie checked herself. “I’m fine. Just had to carry some pretty heavy boxes yesterday, and our beefcake friend wasn’t available to help.”

“Right, that guy,” Brian blinked. The other member of the team. Dexter didn’t live with them, instead, he lived in a house a few streets away from them.

“Anyway, guess I’m up,” she floated out of the door, closing it behind her. “Wanna go now?”

“Sure.”

The duo stepped down the stairs. As they did so, Brian’s eyes widened. Right in front of the door were a Lucario and a Swampert, the latter adjusting a red scarf on his neck.

“Dad!” Brian exclaimed, climbing down faster to give his father a hug.

Taken by surprise, the canine moved so his spike wouldn’t hurt the fox and soon returned the hug, tail wagging. “Heya, kiddo. How are you doing?”

The amphibian waited for the hug to end, and managed to wave at Meggie. “Well, hello there! Fellow human, human fellow!”

“Mister Nick, mister Shiron!” Meggie waved. “Nice to see you two. It’s been too long!”

Brian continued to hug his father, but he started trembling. Tears fell down on his face as the hug went on. “H-Hey… hey, dad. S-Sorry. Lance… h-he’s… he left!”

“He what …?” The Lucario pulled away, dumbstruck. He eyed his Swampert friend and then his son. “Lance… left?”

“...I never had the time to explain to you, did I?” Brian looked back at Meggie. “Hey Meg, can you fetch Dexter while I explain everything here?”

“Don’t see why not!” As she floated towards the door, the amphibian followed her.

“Heya. Seems like those two will need some alone time. Mind if I join you?”

“Uh, no?” She blinked. It wasn’t like she needed the company, but it couldn’t hurt.

“Right. We can, uh, catch up!” The water-type beamed, eyes sparkling. “On human stuff, I mean!”

“Human… stuff. Sure.”

Said “human stuff” was easier on paper, considering Meggie barely remembered what her world was like.

This led to the two not talking all that much on the way to Dexter’s house. Shiron knew that, not needing to ask about it.

But Meggie? She wondered about the other way. Shiron was a human like her, and unlike the last one she encountered, he was far more friendly. Not to mention with years of experience living there. In that world.

“Mister… can I ask you something?”

He rubbed sweat off his forehead. “Phew! I was waiting for you to do that! Somehow, I didn’t know what to say.”

“Heh, okay!” Meggie laughed. “I… I just wanted to know if you remember what it was like. Being a human, I mean.”

Shiron stopped on his tracks. He looked at the town. Its appearance; Factorial, industrial. Things he knew from his time as a human. Then, he looked at himself. His new body. How naturally it fit him, almost like it was meant to be.

“...I do remember,” he answered without even looking at her. “I remember all my life, really. What abo–”

She interrupted him right away. “No.”

“I… Brian told me about your boss. A Gallade, right?” Shiron now gazed at her. The wind blew on his scarf as he stared into the ghost’s eyes.

“...”

“Look, if you want to talk about it, I’m… I’m here,” Shiron looked up, sighing. “I’ve been through so much here. I get how you’re feeling.”

“Did you ever want to go back?”

“Sometimes,” Shiron replied. “But most of the time? No. My life here… I li–No, I love it.”

“Got it,” she liked it too. But not as much as him, from the looks of it.

“Can’t say I miss my parents,” he continued, rubbing his arm. “Sometimes… you just gotta let go, y’know?”

“Let go?” Meggie sighed. She wasn’t expecting this answer. She wondered how Morgan was doing now. “...I’m not sure I want to do that, either. I really don’t remember my home. Just that it’s… this place called Lumiose?”

“Oh? You’re from Lumiose?!” The Swampert’s eyes sparkled more. “I never went there, but I kinda wanted to! I’m from a region far away from Lumiose city, though.”

“Region…?” What had she gotten herself into?

“Whoops, got carried away!” He rubbed the back of his head. “Look, my point is that my friends here, the family I found… they’re irreplaceable. Find your family, and I bet those struggles will go away. Got it?”

She wasn’t quite convinced with those words, but they were enough to make her smile right then. She began to float again and yawned. “Well, I guess we’ll find out, huh?”

“Maybe,” Shiron ran after her, laughing. “Oh, but you have to admit! Having all those cool powers is pretty sweet!”

“Did you say cool because I’m…” Meggie wondered, but shrugged. “Nah, doesn’t matter. But yeah, they are!”

Brian had let his father inside his home, and sat on the couch, sighing. His tears had dried by now, but he was still sniffling. Before the visit, he could pretend like the separation hadn’t been real. Like Lance was still there.

But with Nick there? It was too much. It was overwhelming to even think about it. And yet, he had to. He had to explain the whole thing, whether it hurt him or not.

“I’ll… make something for us to eat. You got cocoa powder?” Nick asked, twitching his ears and patting his son on the shoulder.

“Maybe? Lance’s the one who buys it. I’m not sure if he left some.”

“Then I’ll go check. Stay here, take deep breaths, alright?” The Lucario sighed, looking at Brian again.

The fox nodded and Nick left to the kitchen. He hit his face on the couch and grumbled. Everything stung. Not like needles, but like blades, piercing his skin. Brian trembled, trying to keep it together. He could do this! Just breathe! He had to breathe!

An act that he found himself struggling to do. Brian panted, trying to inhale, but nothing was working. On the contrary, his lungs were slowing down. He was slowing down.

Missing his brother, his best friend was hard. Not knowing where he was, what he was doing or even why he left was worse. Maybe it really was his fault. He wasn’t a good brother, was he?

Finally, Brian screamed. At the top of his lungs, the Zoroark cried out his sorrow and anguish, having kept it inside for months now. He was numb, unmoving now. All Brian noticed was his breath stabilizing. His panic attack was ending.

It was alleviating, relaxing in some bizarre way. He was getting better. He could feel it. Brian turned around, facing the ceiling. His ears flipped at the sound of the stove turning off, along with the distinct aroma of chocolate, which made him drool.

“Dad?”

“Yeah?!” He answered from inside the kitchen, before the noise of a pan falling down made the Lucario yelp.

“...I was gonna ask for marshmallows, but I don’t think we have ‘em.”

More pan noises, and Nick shouted. “No, but you have sprinkles! After it cools down, we could add those!”

“I’m not waiting for that to cool down!”

“...Remind me to punch your uncle,” Nick replied, walking into the living room with a plate.

On the plate was a large, brown and thick substance that gave off the smell of chocolate. Accompanying the dessert were two spoons, one of which Brian grabbed straight away to pick up a bit of the sweet.

“This is still great!” Brian chomped the chocolate down, but puffed out, gasping for air due to the heat.

His father smiled. “Shiron’s the one who brought this recipe to us. Guess we should thank the humans for creating this.”

“Name’s weird though. Breega… briga… brigadeiro? That’s it?”

“Yes,” Nick ate one spoonful of the dessert, licking his lips. “And it’s so easy! Even your brother could make it.”

“C’mon dad, you know he hates sweets. That and he's banned from cooking…” Brian pouted. “And… I know what you’re doing.”

Nick never replied, waiting for his son to explain.

“...You want to distract me from this.”

“Is it working?”

He sighed. “Y-Yeah, it is.”

“Good,” Nick patted his son’s short mane. “Nice cut, by the way. A mullet, right?”

“T-Thought it’d be cool.”

“I see,” he smirked. “Now, Brian. Can you tell me exactly what happened? I’m here for you, son.”

“I-I guess I can try,” Brian gulped, looking to the side. “It started after our mission with Xerneas…”

“Ya just had to order another cake, dork.” Lilith giggled.

Max had just gulped down an entire slice of vanilla cake by himself, and rubbed his stomach, satisfied. He checked Lilith with a smile.

“Of course! You said it yourself! Those lil’ guys could use the help. I mean, it is kinda our–”

Lilith shushed him, reading the book again. The page she was on had lots of drawings. One of them was familiar; the same jewel on the king’s crown.

“In the end, it won’t matter much,” Lilith put down the book and yawned. “Once this is over, everyone’s gonna be happy. It doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we’re still able to get the job done.”

“Speaking of gettin’ the job done,” Max waved to a passerby Gengar on the corner of the living room, asking for a snack. He laid down on the couch, smirking. “What did you find out?”

“Seems like this jewel contains some sorta power,” she pointed to the book, where Max managed to read one of the letters, a “z”.

“What does it say…?”

“Z-Power,” she answered. “From what I got, this thing’s made out of Necrozma’s energy.

“And it sealed our Lord, didn’t it?” Max said, scratching his chin. “Can’t we use this one to break ‘im out?”

Lilith went to another page. Alongside the black crystal, it showed two other ones. The first was colored green, and had a drawing similar to a Nincada being observed from above, but with four legs. The second one was purple and had a engraving looking like a flagellum with a sinister smile.

“They look kinda pretty… does it say the names?” Max observed, biting his lip, amazed at what he was seeing.

“Ya tell me,” she shrugged. "It's something ending with "ium-Z". Weird, wanna help me read it?"

“...I don’t know how to read Unown,” Max was stunned. If the three were required to break the seal, they’d have to be well-hidden. “Hm. is there anything you could say that’d give us a clue?”

“I haven’t finished the translation yet, but…” Lilith stopped to think. “The black one’s the closest we got. We should secure it first.”

The Gengar came back with a bag of chips and threw it at Max, who caught it without even looking. He quickly began to eat.

“Gotcha. Once you have more info on this, I’ll try to figure out where the other two are.”

“I think I’ll have that soon, actually,” she went back to reading, smiling. “This next part’s pretty interesting. It talks about the event that sealed Him.”

“If you want, we could, I dunno…” Max blushed, rubbing the back of his head and smiling sheepishly. “Like, grab some coffee and work on this together?”

At that, Lilith jumped out of the couch, hugging the electric ape with all she had. “Ya bet! I’mma prepare some snacks, and you grab the drinks?”

“Woohoo!” Max raised a fist. “Seems like this is our lil’ sleepover!”

“...As long as the boss and Percy don’t crash the party,” Lilith sighed. “Actually, where are they?”

“They said they’re busy with some stuff related to the king,” he shrugged. “Wish I could be there, honestly. There’s some stuff I could learn with the monarch.”

One of the rooms in the castle led to an area where one could look at the city. Percival was doing exactly that. His piercing gaze examined from right to left at the town he now lived in.

Honestly, maybe I should have started somewhere else. This place is good, but still… there has to be something else I can do. I'm basically doing the same as I was back home. Except... I don't have as many nightmares anymore.

He supposed that what he really wanted was a more active role, not staying in the shadows anymore. That had to be it.

“Percival.”

Someone called out to him. Percival knew who it was; Scar. His mentor was standing behind him with his arms behind his back. The Marowak smiled a bit.

“What’s up now?”

“I have great news for you! Come with me, please.”

Without any reason to object, he did as instructed. However, as soon as he was next to Scar, the Marowak lunged in with his club, preparing to strike.

Percival was faster, creating a bone made out of pure, purple aura. The two attacks striked each other, unbudging. Scar smiled and put the club on his back.

“Well done, mister Percival.”

The energy bone faded into the air while Percival crossed his arms and raised a brow. “Something was up, huh? Did you really have good news, or was that… another one of your tests?”

“Bit of both, I suppose,” Scar checked his surroundings. They were alone, good. “...Remember how I told you about the king’s true intentions?”

“Yes,” his ears perked up at the words, and it suddenly became more interesting.

Scar approached more and whispered. “I am conducting an investigation of my own about him. There should be enough evidence soon.”

How did he get that so fast? Percival wondered about it. He felt that something was off, but by checking Scar’s aura and seeing how normal it was, he ignored the feeling. What mattered right then was the king.

“But he doesn’t have heirs. What’s… going to happen?”

“Ha!” Scar laughed. He retained the smile as he answered. “My apprentice, I already have plans for the substitute.”

So soon? Odd. But he trusted Scar with this matter.

“...Right. I don’t see how this is of any concern to me.”

“About that, could you accompany me? I have… a gift for you, but you need to come personally.”

The duo left and went inside the castle in silence. Percival was eager to find out what Scar meant by that, and couldn’t help but smile.

Even from far away, Shiron could perceive the smell of beer. And not a recent one, no. The pungent scent was from, at least , a week. So, this fellow teammate was that irresponsible?

“Yuck,” Meggie had the same reaction, sticking her tongue out in disgust.

She stopped before a house that, to put it nicely, was in shambles. Bottles of beer were scattered across the door, the wooden door was scratched and had a few holes in it. To top it off, a plank fell in front of the duo, but didn’t hit any of them.

“This guy lives like this?” The amphibian asked, not waiting for an answer. He knocked on the door, still sniffing the air for the beer scent.

“I mean… yeah. This city’s tough if you don’t have money,” Meggie replied. No wonder Dexter was so eager to join their team, now that she stopped to think about it.

“Touché,” he shrugged.

After he said that, the door opened, revealing an interior that wasn’t much different from the outside.

Before Meggie could interject or do much, Dexter just stared and grumbled at them, a bottle of beer in his hand. The weasel then turned around and flopped towards the tattered couch he called a bed.

“What're doin' 'ere, Popsicle?” He asked, sipping from the bottle. Although he hadn’t noticed the Swampert at first, he did it now. “...And Gills? Who's that there? Me replacement?”

“Not even close,” Shiron rolled his eyes at the question. “I’m just making a visit to my nephew, and followed this lady here, since she’s part of his team and Brian… Well, he had to talk with his pops.”

“...Gotcha,” Dexter sat down. “Whatever. What brings ye two 'ere?”

“We wanted to check for a mission,” Meggie explained, leaning on the couch next to Dexter. “This time, we’ll let you have a bigger part of the reward. Might help reform your, uh… house.”

Dexter’s eyes sparkled and he nearly gagged on the beer. “Wait, really? Ye scurvy mons would do that there fer me?”

“I don’t see why not,” Meggie smiled. “You’re always having trouble with this, and I’d love to help.”

“She’s right, y’know.” Shiron nodded at them. “It’s the right thing to do, really.”

“Then, sure! I’ll join y’all on the mission!” Dexter jumped out of the touch. His twin tails wagged now. “An' Popsicle… thank ye.”

“You’re welcome,” she raised a hand for a high-five, to which Dexter replied the gesture.

Shiron raised his arm. “ After Brian’s done talking with Nick. They need it.”

Oh. He was right. Meggie bit her lip, now wondering how things were with her friend.

With the help of his father, Brian had calmed down a lot more. Maybe it had something to do with him describing the events that happened two months ago. How they defeated that Gallade and saved a legendary Pokémon.

How they returned home to celebrate, only for Lance to run away from them. It still hurt, but it was manageable.

Nick listened to his son’s words in silence. The only thing he did while the fox talked was nod. Things were complicated, but he was there to help. Or try to.

“A-And he didn’t even say goodbye… I miss him.”

“Brian,” Nick finally said something. He looked at his son and sighed, ruffling the teenager’s short mane. “I get that you’re upset with this, but… maybe your brother did what he thought was right.”

“W-What?!”

That took him aback. How could his father say such a thing?!

“Lance didn’t do anything wrong ,” he continued. “He just joined another team. You’re hurt, but... there’s nothing we can do.”

“But he didn’t even say where he’s living now!” Brian shouted, breath raspy. His eyes reddened from the tears and he sniffled. “I don’t know where he is, how he’s doing… Nothing!”

“I can find out,” the canine replied, gaze fixed on the fox. “Things no longer are how they were nine years ago. We can locate him.”

Nine years ago? Oh. That event.

“...Are you sure, dad?” Brian was still unnerved by this, but his father had a point.

“I give you my word, both as an explorer and as your father,” Nick nodded, smiling at him. “Besides, we both know how tough Lance is. He’s okay. I just know it.”

“Bah,” Brian snorted. “You’re just sayin’ that ‘cause he’s a Lucario like you.”

“Well…”

Maybe a change of subject would be a good idea for their conversation.

“Y’know,” Brian ruffled his mane. “Uh… I got a question. Would I ever get the hang of aura like you and Lance do? I’m a Zoroark, but…”

“Oh!” Nick twitched his ears and scoffed. “Good question. Maybe, maybe not. But… I thought you weren’t interested in this?”

“I’m not. Just askin’.”

“Hm. Hard to say. Probably not, since you’re supposed to learn it as a kid…” Nick answered. “When I was your age, I could hardly do anything with it.”

“Really?” Brian chirped. That was reassuring!

“It took me a while, but… I got it. If you want it, then… training’s the way.”

“Don’t wanna,” Brian stuck out his tongue. “...But hey, it’s nice to know.”

His father sighed again, leaning on the couch and yawning. “Good to hear. I’m still free for the day. You want to do something together?”

“I… don’t know. All this left me tired,” Brian shrugged, getting up right after. “Might wanna take a nap.”

“Really?” Nick asked. “Well, go ahead. Don’t worry about the dishes, I’ll do them for you.”

“...Huh. Thanks, dad.”

Very few times did this happen. It was always a surprise for Brian when his father acted this way, not that he could or wanted to complain. He deserved it.

As Scar and Percival walked further into the castle, the Marowak made a turn to the right, followed by his protégeé. They ended up in an area unknown to the Lucario.

It contained sets of armors fit all in different shapes decorating the walls, and Percival could hear the sizzling sound of metal in the distance, not to mention the heat coming from a rather sturdy-looking door.

“Is this a forge…?” He asked, curious. A smile spread on his snout as he approached the door.

“Precisely. I think someone like you could use an upgrade.” Scar pointed out, laughing. “I prepared it myself. The blacksmith is almost done with your armor. Do not worry, I made sure he took your looplet and emera in consideration.”

“Hm,” Percival smirked. This was interesting.

“And the blacksmiths here are top-notch! I am sure you will find the armor to suit your needs."

“I didn’t think about having one…” Percival hummed. “Until now, I suppose.”

“Well, you might want to get a weapon as well,” Scar said. “Perhaps… a lance?”

That last sentence had a tint of humor in it. Not much, but enough to make Percival cringe at the obvious pun.

“Please… don’t do that ever again,” he said with an eye roll. “And I don’t do weapons. I’m trying to come up with better strategies for my moves.”

“A wise choice,” Scar said. “Now, mister Percival, the blacksmith is inside. I need to deal with… personal matters. Can I leave you here?”

He pouted in response. “I’m not a child. Yes, I’ll be fine here.”

Left to deal with this by himself, Percival took a deep breath and opened the door to the forge. A Turtonator was waiting for him on the other side, wearing an apron that somehow, didn’t burst into flames. Probably reinforced with something fireproof.

Much like the room itself. The walls were bricky and black, and kept the heat contained inside. Percival looked up to see the forge, with the bright, orange light of the liquid inside it.

Working there would mean one had to be careful not to get burned. But really, Percival admired the courage to be in such a place.

“Hello. I’m Percival,” he waved at the dragon. “Pleasure meeting you. Are you the blacksmith?”

“Why, yes,” he answered, chirping. “Scar told me a lot about you.”

When didn’t he?

“Right,” Percival crossed his arms. “Well, what do you got for me?”

“Eager, aren’t you?” With a laugh, the Turtonator walked to the right of the room, motioning for Percival to follow him.

On a pedestal stood the armor. It had plates for Percival’s shoulder, wrists and legs. Colored in a bright silver, the armor shone brightly, so polished it had their reflections on it.

With a whistle, Percival stared at it. He had to admit, it looked good. Enough to make his tail wag a bit. And the armor was made for him . Scar really thought things through, didn’t he?

“Did you like it?”

“Absolutely,” Percival grinned. “It looks amazing, but why doesn’t it have protection for my chest?”

The Turtonator scoffed. “Well, I figured it would reduce the mobility quite a lot, and restrain your movements. Besides, your body —”

Suddenly, something clicked inside Percival’s mind and he gasped. “My body’s already resistant…!”

Was that why he had survived so many things during his entire life?

“Yes, that’s it. Your body is resistant, I merely amplified it with the armor. You should still move around fine.”

Dumbstruck, the Lucario could only nod and look at his armor. Whatever battles may come in the future, he could win.

Scar walked into the training grounds of the castle. Nighttime had already come, and the full moon shone in the sky accompanied by countless stars. Overall, a good view for anyone there.

Which was the case, as a black-scaled Haxorus stood, all alone, gazing at the stars. This time, though, Scar noticed Vulcan was wearing a fanny pack. The dragon heard the footsteps coming from behind him, and his tail thumped on the grass.

“Scar. Always a pleasure talking to you.”

“I could say the same, Vulcan.” He sat down next to the dragon, and proceeded to gaze as well. “I just came back from the forge. The boy should be checking out his armor by now.”

“Is that so?” Vulcan said, not changing where his eyes looked.

“As much as that child pleases me, I am not here to talk about him.”

“I suppose you’re here for our little… agreement.” Vulcan now looked at Scar with a blank expression, unmoving.

“Correct,” the Marowak nodded. “We will act soon. Therefore, I need all the… “evidence” for this to work.”

“Yes, yes. As sad as it is, the king is… unfit to rule,” Vulcan said bluntly, ending the sentence with a snarl. “But are you sure about your decision?”

“Our undertaking, you mean. I am.” Scar replied.

“Then… very well. I already forged the evidence you need,” Vulcan revealed a sheet of paper on a fanny pack, handing it to Scar. “It pains me that we’re going to do this to the king. Are you sure it’s the right thing?”

“Thank you,” Scar smiled, picking the sheet. “As for the evidence we’re planting… yes, it’s the right way.”

“Why?” Vulcan retorted.

Scar looked up and took a deep breath. “Even if we all have free will, it’s only a matter of time before any of us end up being corrupted. By preventing this from happening, we’re able to secure a better future.”

Vulcan wasn’t entirely convinced by that speech, especially because they were planting evidence. However, he wasn’t going to go on a philosophical debate with Scar. All he really wanted was the best for his fellow citizens.

“Alright, then. I… trust you, Scar.”
 

Spiteful Murkrow

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Partners
  1. nidoran-f
  2. druddigon
  3. swellow
Alright, finally uploading the aftermath of me making good on a sprint bet. So here we go with a review of Chapters 1+2 of Liberators of Fate. Full disclosure, but I didn't notice your author's note about not touching the first 20 chapters further until after my feedback already happened (and given the timepit nature of revisionitis, I can't really fault you), so consider all of the suggestions constructive criticism.

Chapter 1

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

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

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

Something about the presence's speech tag feels a little dry, also given that "teeth" was used just two paragraphs ago, it might make sense to drop in a synonym. One throwaway suggestion I can think of is something along the lines of "it sneered, flashing its fangs with a cruel smirk." But there's multiple ways of handling it, and it doesn't strictly need to be that.

Riolu: "N-Number 10? R-Running away? What is-?"

"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...

IMO things kinda skip a beat here from the prior segment given that it's immediately sequential. It might have merited showing Number 10 react a bit more and his nerves fail as he realizes "Oh. Oh crap, I'm bleeding." is the reason why his chest hurts so much.

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

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

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

Is the scar supposed to look like the one from the cover art? If so, it might have made sense to be a bit more descriptive of his scar. e.x. something along the lines of:

On the Riolu's chest were three parallel streaks that formed a claw-like scar, each cutting so deep that anyone could clearly see it against his pelt.

- Lance catches his breath and tries to compose himself -
Lance: "D-Deep breaths Lance, in and out. It was just a dream dreams can't hurt you."
- Beat moment -
Lance: "U-Unless if was literally Nightmare, but that doesn't count."
:fearfullaugh:


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

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

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

Aha, so we're in a higher-tech setting kinda like Path of Valor. Well, with less clothes, apparently. :V

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

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

If you ever revisit this chapter, you might want to spend some time expanding on the description of what exactly the buildings roughly look like and features of the surrounding environment. (For example, would Lance catch the smell of salt air given that he apparently lives in walking distance of a beach?) I assume from the H-shaped building in the distance, that they don't look like bog-standard PMD houses, though it's admittedly a bit hard to get a read on a specific vision just yet.

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.

Oh, so that's why it's 'H'-shaped. Though I'm not fully sure what exactly meant by 'high demand mission'. If it's saying that the rest of Team Hero is constantly in-demand for missions, I'd phrase it as something like "Due to his companions being in high demand for missions". Assuming that I read the intended meaning there right anyways.

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

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

A bit nitpicking, but ice cream generally isn't considered 'candy' in the Anglosphere. You probably want something like a more general 'treat' or 'dessert'. Though do Oran Berries have healing properties in this setting? If so, can one get medicinal effects from that Oran Berry ice cream cone there? o3o

"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 the little Pokémon.

Would make the additions in bold. Additionally, I think James' line might have benefitted from one or two sentences showing his reaction to the Zorua who I presume is Brian bursting in, since A: the text frames things as a bit of a surprise for James, B: it's your first chance to the audience to hint at what sort of relationship the two have (even if it becomes obvious that it's pretty warm by the end of James' first line).

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that this segment is one that would've benefitted from throwing in like two paragraphs that aren't dialogue to describe body language and maybe James' or Brian's thought process. Since just this part's a pretty solid stretch of dialogue with nothing intervening in between.

James: "... 'Neutral'?"
- Brian shuffles uneasily -
Brian: "Er... well, yeah. That's the nicest way of putting it, at least."

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

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

Oh boy, so that nightmare actually happened to Lance in the past. Yeah, I can see why he wouldn't be so gung-ho, since close calls have a way of sticking with people.

Brian: "Uh... you're not gonna keep me from leaving with Lance, are you Uncle James?"
:fearfullaugh:

James: "It'd be an awfully short story if I did, so..."

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

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

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

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

Brian: "Uncle James sure was supportive of an idea he was convinced dad wouldn't like."
- Beat moment -
Brian: "What am I doing? This is my lucky break here! I've gotta get Lance and get going while the iron's still hot!"

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.

Might make sense to add some clarification/hint as to who the promise was. e.x. if it was to himself, to Brian, or to some to be revealed past figure.

Lance: "I... uh... I'm not really sure what that's gonna entail right here and now, but I'm sure I can work that out with Brian!"

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

Aha, I see Brian made sure to pack protagonist attire there. :V

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

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

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

- Beat moment -
Brian: "Wait a minute, isn't this the end of the chapter as we're leaving town? Why are we just now bringing up its name?"
Lance: "I mean, we live here. It's not as if we'd be constantly thinking about it. Everything here's normal to us."
Brian: "Still, you'd think one of us would've thought about it while waxing poetic about this place and how we're about to leave it or something."
Lance: "Meh. Don't sweat it too much, we've got an adventure to kick off."

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

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

Lance: "Also, he's on Team Hero, Brian. I'm pretty sure they go on dangerous missions all the time as part of their job." >_>;
Brian: "Hey, I'm allowed to get a bit worried, alright?"

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

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

Brian: "Why, we'll liberate our fates, even!"
- Beat moment -
Lance: "That title drop was just painful. Let's just move onto the next chapter and never speak of that again."
Brian: "Oh come on, Lance! It wasn't that bad! Lighten up a little!" >.<

Chapter 2

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

Ah yes, perfect time to leave Thornwell. Right before an injured resident gets pursued through the streets by an unseen assailant. Maybe. Probably. Assuming this is still Thornwell.

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

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

Gee, at that rate, you might as well have gone "I-I'm a dragon, I'll give you my treasure!" there, Druddigon. :V

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

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

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

Whelp.
:unownF:


Nice knowing you, dodgy Druddigon.

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

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

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

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

Razor: "Also why on earth would you tell me this? Especially your name? How's that not a massive violation of operational security?"
Flint: "Bold of you to think that you're going to live to pass it along to anyone else."
Razor:
:uhhh:


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

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

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

- Cue knife shing SFX -
Flint: "After all, I've got a reputation to uphold."

Also
:unownF:
for real for Razor.

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

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

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

>Empoleon called Napoleon
>Aggron called Atlas

A little on the nose there, aren't we?
:charhaha:


Though the names do fit with their species archetypes, so I won't judge there. (Aside from the fact that Aggron's body is more primarily a slate/dark gray color.)

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

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

So just how tenuous is this mayor's hold on power for him to need to turn to contracting assassins to knock off electoral rivals for leadership of a city? o3o;;

Unless Bright Dawn is some sort of giant, strategically important place where becoming mayor sets you up for a glide path onto bigger fish to fry. That'd also be an option since I can think of a few IRL cities where the stakes of power are such that I wouldn't be terribly shocked to hear of mayors and mayoral candidates attempting to knock each other off.

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

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

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

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

Huh. Somehow I didn't peg that Atlas was the leader figure out of these three from their past interactions. Guess he's not the type to really stand on ceremony about his rank. Also, my judgement might be just a little tainted here by my own shifty Aggron who absolutely would not be able to pull off this sort of interaction outside of his daydreams and with significantly weaker peons. :V

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

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

Lovely teammate there. I'd heard of 'no honor among thieves' before, though I see that assassins aren't much better in this setting. o3o;;

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

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

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

A little surprised Prometheus isn't shaking that wine glass telekinetically as a flex, but good old-fashioned haptic grasping is probably a bit more reliable anyways.

Flint: "Mrph. My track record speaks for itself, Prometheus. Do I look like the sort of 'mon that'd leave a witness?"
- Prometheus says nothing and shakes his wine glass a bit -
Prometheus: "... Fair counterpoint."

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

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

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

Prometheus: "... Though how did you manage the sewer disposal when Razor weighed twice as much as you do?"
Flint: "... Trade secret. It was a bit of work, but nothing I haven't dealt with before."

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

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

Is that bar they like hanging around that well-known? :V

Part of me wishes I'd kept going since things were just starting to get engrossing, but will leave things here for this review @Navar . I had my share of nitpicks, but the juxtaposition between thematically light and dark corners of the world does a pretty good job at making me want to know more, especially to see when and how Lance and Brian wind up colliding with that whole other world in the shadows they're currently in the dark about.

Hope you enjoyed the review, and I doubt this will be the last I've seen of Liberators of Fate, or the last you'll hear from me about it.
 

Spiteful Murkrow

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Partners
  1. nidoran-f
  2. druddigon
  3. swellow
Here throwing some reviews your way from an off-site review tag. Admittedly, this is primarily banter and reactions, since you mentioned that you didn't see yourself touching the first 20 chapters again. I did point out a couple typos I found in the process, though.

Alright, let's get right into things:

Chapter 3

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

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

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

I like how Lance didn't answer the question. :V

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

>going to the city with the active underworld and mayor that's been very active lately rubbing out political rivals

tenor.gif


Totally won't end disastrously, totally.

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

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

Lance grumbled and ignored his brother's antics.

Lance: "Hey, if your illusions are that good, can't you turn yourself into a Dragonite or something so that we can get to-?" >_>;
Brian:


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

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

Brian: "... So what do you call that entire past scene?!" >_>;
Lance: "An exception."

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

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

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

Surprised the Croagunk took things that in-stride instead of being crabbier about the two Explorer kids' first reaction to be to gawk at his crashed ride.
:loltias:


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

Brian: "... I'm sorry, but how did the Mightyena manage to chase off the Zebstrika and just ignore you?" .-.
Gama: "To be fair, we Croagunk are poison dart frogs. Don't really want to be biting or nipping at us."
Lance: "And you didn't take advantage of that to shield this 'Marty' why?" -_-;
Gama: "Look, I'm one 'mon. What do you expect me to do against an entire pack?"

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

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

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

Brian: "... Speaking of which, where is Dusk Woods? Since I don't think the narration really gave any hints as to where it was relative to us."
Lance: "Uh... let's try looking at a map?"
:fearfullaugh:


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

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

Brian: "You know, it would've been really handy to show off that map more." >_>;
Lance: "Hey, I can only do so much with what canon gives us to work with. Plus is it really the end of the world to just cut to the chase with the first Mystery Dungeon in the story?"

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

Brian: "Wait, how do you even know what Marty's aura would feel like?"
Lance: "I assume it'd be the one that feels like an obviously terrified Zebstrika? They're not exactly woodland Pokémon, you know."

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

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

Lance: "See? Told ya."
Brian: "Yeah, yeah, you made your point. Come on."

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

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

Brian: "U-Uh... that's not Marty's blood we're smelling, is it?"
:uhhh:

Lance: "Doubt it, but if we keep dawdling, it probably will be soon enough!"

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

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

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

Brian: "Gee, no pressure there." ._.

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

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

Brian: "U-Urk... so that was Marty's blood we were smelling-"
:uhhh:

Lance: "More like we're smelling it now. Come on, he's still alive! ... I think."

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

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

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

Brian: "Y-You know, for guys who aren't supposed to be sapient, these guys are sure putting up a stiff fight."
:fearfullaugh:

Lance: "I think that's more our underleveling making things hard here."

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

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

"D-Damn…"

Lance: "O-Ow. Okay, maybe they are fighting better than I expected." @.@

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

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

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

Lance: "That was way too close."
Brian: "Uh... Lance? Not to undercut your moment, but maybe we should do something about the Zebstrika that's a bloody mess on the ground right now."
:fearfullaugh:


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

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

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

Brian: "Boy are we lucky not to live in a setting where Oran Berries are basically just painkillers. Marty really got torn up there."
Marty: "Torn up? Just what do you mean by-?"
- Marty looks over at the fainted Mightyena who all have visibly bloody snouts, with some extra red matter lying about the ground for good measure -
Marty: "U-Uhm..." O_O;
Lance: "Look, have your nightmares after we get to you safety, okay?"

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

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

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

Lance: "Oh come on, the story's not seriously going to make us go through another one of those gauntlets again, is it?"

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

Lance: "Whew, thank gods. I was getting worried there for a second."

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

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

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

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

You have a typo on 'Gama' there in the last paragraph.

Lance: "Wait, did you just step in our way to cut us off there before shoving me? How on earth is that not suspicious behavior?"
Brian: "Maybe he's just bad at trying to grab attention in a way that feels friendly?"

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

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

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

Brian: "... This feels kinda underwhelming given that we just saved this guy's buddy from becoming feral chow." >.<;
Lance: "Look, we're getting a fast-forward through part of our journey, Brian. Don't look the literal gift horse in the mouth."
Marty: "... I'm a zebra." >_>;

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

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

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

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

Brian: "... You could always try leaving a letter for him though if you feel that strongly about it."

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

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

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

- Gama raises brow -
Gama: "Are you going to at least give me a hint, or an implication, or...?"
Brian: "Nope. That's all you're getting from me."

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

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

Brian: "Things sure fell into place quickly there."
- Beat moment -
Brian: "Uh... almost too quickly, now that I think about it. I sure hope there isn't some sort of horrible catch to all of this." ._.;

Chapter 4

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

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

Lance: "... You sure don't seem to be finding much interesting out the window, Brian. Sure you don't want to read with me?"
Brian: "I mean, I'm sure I'm noticing something in the world going by..."

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

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

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

Brian: "But Lance! We have extra time! Surely that's worth taking a scenic detour-"
Lance: "Brian, no. We accepted this reward since it'd get us to Bright Dawn faster. We're going to Bright Dawn." >.<

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

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

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

You probably want to treat the 'transportation company' as being part of the title and capitalized with 'Zebrunk'. I mean, at least it's less pretentious than the 'Zebraiggru Transportation Company' :V

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

Mood:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD4r8ufspg0


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

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

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

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

Brian: "... Wait, he is behind a checkout counter of some sort, right?"
Lance: "It's honestly kinda hard for me to tell there. But hey, at least we got him up."

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

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

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

- Blink moment -
Brian: "... You mean like the edible root?" :?
Lance: "I think it's meant more like 'Beetle', Brian." -_-;
Brian: "... Oh. Still makes me think of the edible root though."

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

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

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

:sceptical:


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

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

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

Beet: "... You brother isn't one for following directions, is he?"
Brian: "Look, in our defense, if you didn't want us getting curious, you could've at least told us what you were worried would happen out there." >_>;

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

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

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

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

Lance: "I'm sorry, did we just watch an entire town get extorted by three Pokémon?"
Brian: "To be fair, this is a town full of Flying-types, they all have supereffective AOE moves, and for all we know they have a ton of buddies, so..."

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

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

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

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

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

Lance: "With all due respect, Mayor, but if you were going to yield to this blatant extortion, you should probably not be this confrontational about not having the goods." -_-;
Percival: "Silence from the peanut gallery! I'm the Mayor, I'm allowed to point out when demands are unreasonable!"

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

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

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

Brian: "Uh... so are they going to come back and kill him later? Since I dunno, looks like they already made a pretty strong example of him already."
:uhhh:

Lance: "... Okay, you know what? I think I'm ready to climb that mountain now."
- Brian double-takes -
Brian: "Huh?! But Lance! You just saw what those guys-!" O_O;

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

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

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

Brian: "Uh, Lance? Aren't you being a bit harsh there?"
Lance: "They were three Pokémon. Against an entire town."
Beet: "Three Pokémon with Discharge and Rock Slide, mind you." >_>;

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

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

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

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

"Lance!"

Brian: "Okay, seriously, think this through here. We're two Pokémon going after what's probably some sort of crime syndicate. Even without type weaknesses, we need to have more of a strategy than just storming the castle!"
:fearfullaugh:

Lance: "Works fine that way in the games."
- Beat moment -
Brian: "I mean... I guess it does... (Boy am I not feeling good about this right now.)"
:uhhh:


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

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

Ah, so they are climbing the mountain after all. :P

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

"Impressive..." Brian spoke to himself.

Brian: "... Well, maybe not the Zubat part. They tend to be annoying little buggers."

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

Pretty sure you want something like 'pack', since 'flocks' are for birds or sheep.

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

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

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

Lance: "... Ow." Brian: "Wait, how on earth did we not hear you coming?"
Graveller: "I'm a rock. We're in a rocky cave where I blend in well. Do the math."

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

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

Brian: "And you're just telling us this why?"
Graveller: "Because you're not going to be in any position to tell anyone about it."
- Brian feels a shiver go down his back -
Brian: "U-Uh, Lance? If you can still get up, doing so right about now would be nice!" O_O;

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

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

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

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

Lance: "... Shouldn't Brian be screaming bloody murder from this right about now-?"
- [Snapping intensifies] -
Brian: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
Lance: "Oh, there it is." -_-;

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

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

Lance: "Wait, so did you break anything, or...?"
Brian: "Nothing important if I'm still standing right now." >_>;

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

Wait, what exactly did Lance just use there for a move? Since it's admittedly not super clear from the text and I'm drawing blanks on beam spam that Riolu can do.

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

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

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

Brian: "You planned for me to go through that?!" >_>;
Lance: "Okay, I didn't plan for you to get snatched, but seriously, Brian. The 'mon would've broken your spine if he thought I was obviously making a move, cut me some slack here!" >.<

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

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

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

Brian: "I told you that we should've thought this through!" >.<
Lance: "Oh come on, we got one of 'em down. That's a start at least!"
Brian: "You realize the other two probably know Discharge and can drop us the moment we step into the same area as them, right?"
- Beat moment -
Lance: "... The story's not just gonna let us job to a Discharge. I'm not buying that."
:fearfullaugh:


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

I'm... actually a bit curious as to how those two are going to make this work. Or if they're going to make things work. Since that matchup they're walking into's kinda... ahem, disadvantaged. ^^;

Though that's a wrap @Navar . There's definitely some rough edges on these earlier chapters, though it still does a pretty good job at helping to get a feel for Lance and Brian's personalities.

If you do ever break your freeze on touching the first 20 chapters again, something I'd recommend would be to expand the description, since there were a lot of moments where I basically had to resort to using my imagination to fill in blanks from what the narration described.

Hope you still had fun with this review, since even if it was a bit rough, I still enjoyed reading through these chapters of LoF. ^^
 
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Dungeon 44 - Trust

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 44 - Trust

Another day living in a crumbling house. With the smell of rotten food filling the air and the fragile ceiling threatening to cave in above him at any moment, he thought that was the worst. But really, what could he possibly do to fix it?

Dexter had no idea, and so, he went with his routine as usual. He managed to broom some of the food outside before his ears perked up at the sound of a liquid dropping.

Too late to dodge, the Floatzel was splattered by a nasty and gunky substance. He smelled it and nearly puked: Trash! Someone had just thrown trash at him!

Enraged, he promptly dropped the broom and raised both arms, shouting. "Who threw this here over me?! Come aft 'ere an' fight me like a real mon!"

His house was between two rather large buildings, and the one where the trash was thrown frown happened to be on his left. The window was still open and out of there came an angry-looking Ampharos, who snarled at him.

"You got some problem there, mate ?! If you didn't want anyone throwin' garbage, then you should live somewhere else!"

The window closed, and Dexter shouted an unintelligible grunt, stopping himself before the trash entered his mouth. Gross. If only it was raining, or he had a source of water nearby. Things would be so much easier that way.

"Well, well. If it ain't our hunky friend!" A distinctively female voice said.

"Huh?"

Dexter turned to where the voice came from. In front of his house stood a Simisage and a Blissey. Both of them wore matching, gray bands wrapped around their arms. The Blissey stood forward, wrinkling her nose.

"...Huh? What's up with you?" She covered her nose. "That smells disgusting."

One of them, the Simisage, walked to the two and chuckled. "Boss' right. What happened here? I get you live in a shithole, but this ? It's even worse than usual, somehow."

"Well, things aren't lookin' good," the weasel blushed, picking the broom and throwing the trash far away from them. "I've been workin' with a few mates, but... money's a little 'ard to 'ave."

"If they're your mates, why not ask 'em for help?" The large, pink Pokémon asked.

"I did nay wanna depend on 'em so much."

"Choice's yours, dude," the Simisage replied, chuckling a little. He eyed Dexter with a piercing glare.

"Whatever. What do ye two want with me?"

"It's pretty simple!" Blissey clapped her hands together and smiled. "We heard some rumors about treasure in a dungeon nearby. Normally, we would go there ourselves, but…"

"Underwater dungeon," the chimp grumbled. "Pretty hard to get through when we can only dive for a few minutes."

Dexter then crossed his arms. "An' ye two want me to go there to grab the treasure?"

"You figured it out. Congrats," Blissey clapped her hands, chuckling as the grass-type next to her cheered.

The weasel groaned, crossing his arms. "Y'all do realize I am not a member anymore?"

Simisage nodded. "Well, yeah, you're super famous for abandoning every team you join, but—"

His teammate interrupted with a smile. "The time we spent together was great, maybe we should try again!"

Dexter stopped to consider his options. On one hand, he could get some cash and finally fix his damn house. On the other, he was against rejoining teams he dipped before. But the money…

As it turned out, he took time to wonder about this. Simisage tapped his foot on the ground. So much for patience. "Boss, we should probably get outta here! This guy's a waste of our time!"

And Blissey? Her patience too was short, shorter than Simisage's, and her previous smile was soon replaced by snarling teeth.

The Floatzel snapped back to reality and gasped. "What? Listen, 'old on. The only reason I 'aven't decided be because I 'ave teammates."

"Teammates you're gonna abandon, just like you did to us," Blissey said, shaking her head. She turned around and grabbed Simisage.

"Wait, I think I decided! I'll—"

"Don't talk with us again, Dexter." Simisage flipped him off as he and Blissey walked out of there.


He was left all alone to think about what they said. And although Dexter wanted to ignore it… he was unable to. Because they were telling the truth. He had left every other team before.

Trustin' others be 'ard. Not their fault I be... so weird.

Dexter looked at the sky, hearing thunder booming in the distance. Why was he feeling this now ? He had done that same gig plenty of times before, so why did it hurt to do it again with those two?

"Fuckin' damnit!" Dexter fell on his knees and panted. He hadn't found the answer he was looking for yet, but maybe if he talked to them, that'd help. "If anythin'... I'll tell 'em I be leavin' the team."

With that idea in mind, Dexter was somewhat relieved. A single raindrop fell on his snout, and he hurried to clean it up. After another look at the morning sky, he decided to talk with Brian and Meggie after the rain was over. It was far safer, after all.

But really, he could use some help fixing the house. Anytime soon, that thing would fall apart, and Dexter only hoped he'd not be inside when that happened.

Even inside the house, Dexter took a peek outside, breathing in the familiar scent of the rain on his nose. Despite having a broken home, almost no cash, and barely being able to call himself a member of a team, Dexter considered his current state to be good.

While he waited for it to pass, his mind wandered back to the past, when he was still with his parents, before moving out. A time where he wasn't even unsure he could describe as "pleasant". Not with how his folks were, anyway.

"I kinda wonder 'ow them two be doin'. Ma, Pa... be ye two alright?" And even if it was a time he would never go back to, the weasel was still worried about everyone he left behind, for better or for worse.


A Buizel was woken up by the sound of Starly chirping outside. However, he remained on his bed, wrapping himself with the blankets and yawning. The warmth that covered his fur was so pleasant he didn't want to leave or even move .

"Kiddo! C'ere! It be time to get up on deck!" Someone shouted at him, but the Buizel remained on his bed, yawning louder.

Then, someone knocked on the door. But he ignored that, covering his ears with the blanket and moving a bit. Maybe if he continued to ignore them, whoever was calling him would go away.

"Dexter, get yer arse here this instant!" The voice said again.

"Ma, don't wanna…" He pleaded, still wrapped in blankets. To his surprise, that was stopped by someone pulling off the cover and sending him crashing into the wooden floor.

A Floatzel was standing next to him, holding the blanket in her paws. "Yer father's waitin' fer ye. C'mon."

"But Ma…"

His mother glared, shutting Dexter up with that stare as she crossed her arms. "We wanna show ye some o' our products today."

"Why?"

"Get ye learnin' soon so ye can take o'er the business."

An' o' course ye don't ask me if I wanna take o'er… Dexter looked down and walked to the left side of his bed, opening a cabinet and picking up a rather large bandana, which he put it on, covering most of his head and ears.

The Floatzel grinned. "There ye go! it ain't so 'ard, eh?"

"Sure, Ma." Dexter sighed, going out with her.


Both of them were on an average-sized boat they also called home. Dexter rubbed his eyes as they walked into the sunlight, while his mother simply held his hand and pushed him.

The air smelled salty and fishy at the same time, and every so often they could hear some chopping. Dex assumed it was his dad doing the usual morning job. Typical, of course, and normally he wouldn't think much of it. But today? Today he was about to get dragged into it. The very thought annoyed him to no end.

"Ma?" Dexter looked down, his twin tails intertwining. "Do I really need to work fer 'im?"

What his mother did was hold Dexter's hand and slap it with her other arm, all while eyeing her child. "What kinda Tauros crap be ye sayin'?"

"M-Ma! S-Stop!" Dexter pleaded, and as he did, a crowd had started to circle around the two. The other Pokémon simply stared at them, forcing the Floatzel to stop and huff.

"Ye know followin' the family's business is the right thin' to do… c'mon, Dexter!" She pulled him away from the mob. Dexter tried protesting, but was shot down each and every time. If only he could run away! From them, from… Well, everything.

Dexter gave up in his attempts and simply let his mother guide him. There really was nothing else he could do. He sniffed the air, the fishy scent getting much stronger as they walked across the docks. "Oh, at least this here place looks nice...?"

"What're blabberin' about, lad?" She asked, dragging him with more force.

There were a few fishing stores spread across the shore, but the duo ignored them all as they made their way towards one that contained a giant Goldeen structure on top, and with a large line of clients, ranging from a small Tepig to a Rhyperior.

Dexter's eyes sparkled. "Pa's store be so, so… neat!"

"Think 'bout it, in a few years it'll be yer store!" She smiled, now holding her son in her burly arms as they entered the store, with Dexter waving to the customers. He may not have been enjoying what his parents were doing, trying to force him into this, but the happy clients were a nice sight for his eyes.

And Dexter's father had a similar line of thought, slashing away at a piece of Feebas, cutting bits and bits until they were small enough to be held by most of the clients outside. He didn't notice Dexter or his wife until she whistled. After which he stopped cutting and stepped out of the counter, giving the two a firm hug.

"Pa! G'morning!"

"Mornin', kiddo!" He said, ruffling through Dexter's bandana and fur. The Buizel giggled at that while his father leaned in closer to his wife, kissing her on the cheek.

"Dexter, sweetie, 'ow about we show ye around? I know it'll be great!" She asked, prompting a nod from the Buizel. The two walked towards an inner area of the store, going through a door as Dexter looked back to his father still cutting through the pieces.


When he came back to his senses, a loud thunder struck down somewhere in the city, making Dexter flinch. The rain had only grown heavier now, and certainly, going out to meet his teammates wasn't such a good idea for the moment.

But Dexter still considered it. If anything, he could just tell the two that he was leaving the team. Parting ways respectfully was something a grown mon like him should do, instead of just vanishing out of their lives.

"Hm. Very nice reasonin' there, brain. So—" A drop of water fell on Dexter's head, and he looked up to see multiple spots where the ceiling was broken. The weasel covered his face and ignored that, not bothering to get annoyed. "I can't fix it now, might as well go visit 'em."

Much like the weather, Dexter stormed out of his house and managed to put a few buckets underneath the holes. He just hoped that, once he got back, the place wasn't flooded. But oh well, that was something his future self should worry about.

"Popsicle an' Goggles should be on 'is 'ouse. Apartment… or whatever!" Dexter shook his head and continued on his way. "Now just gotta—oof!"

Dexter fell backwards, his rear splashing on the water beneath him. He quickly looked up to see a pink Oricorio, a Scolipede, and an Aipom. Since he lived in a poor area of the city, Dexter was used to mugging and that sort of thing. Of course, he assumed that was the case.

Said assumptions got confirmed as the Scolipede stepped forward with a grunt. "Hey there, mate. We're just passerby citizens, care to give us a bit of cash? 'Course, there's the easy way and… well, I don't wanna use the other way."

Dexter simply scoffed. "Well, why don't ye take that sassy lil attitude an' stick it up yer ar—"

"Now, now. We don't wanna get into trouble, do we?" The bug asked, hissing as the two surrounding him got closer to Dexter.

"Listen 'ere," Dexter invited them closer, bracing himself to fight and straightening his pose. "Ye better find some other punk to take money outta. Ye be not worth me time. Or patience."

"You…! Aipom, kick his ass!" Scolipede commanded and as he did, the monkey jumped with a spin, ready to pounce his tail on Dexter.

"Let me tell y'all about the three stupid mistakes ye mons did…" Dexter dashed back and took a deep breath, the raindrops around him suddenly covering both of his paws and shaping themselves into gauntlets. "First off! Tryin' to rob me!"

As the monkey grew closer, Dexter jumped and landed a single, watery punch onto his stomach, sending the Aipom flying through the street until he crashed on a few crates. Seeing this, the Oricorio ran away, leaving only the Scolipede, who trembled in fear.

"Second… tryin' to fight a damn water-type in the middle of rain !" Dexter cracked his knuckles, slowly walking towards the bug. "An' ye wanna know the third one?"

"Y-Yes…?" He answered, trying to run away. Just now he noticed how strong that Floatzel was, and how foolish he was for challenging him.

"Pissin' me off!" Dexter landed another punch, knocking out the bug. After making short work of the fight, he went on his way to Brian's home.


Lilith came out of a store holding a large piece of bread in her right paw, munching on it as she walked down the streets heading towards Scar's house.

The roads were peaceful, but she did see some of the citizens being given fliers, one of which she took herself. A smile spread across her face as she saw a portrait of the king, accompanied by a long text.

'It has been months since the raid on our city, and the king refused to take any definitive action to restore us to our former glory. Worse, he seems to be using his time and money towards himself, with no regards toward other mon's safety.'

We're gettin' closer to the coronation… I can't wait for it! She thought, looking around to see some of the royal guard walking. And we'll get that crystal we need, then we'll only need two more. Great!

Amidst her thoughts, Lilith managed to see a young and lonely Chewtle standing on the corner of the street, dancing for some other mons, who threw coins at the child as payment.

...Wait, wha? That kid's a hobo? But they're so… young !

That couldn't be it, could it? Lilith rubbed her eyes and took another look, still seeing the Chewtle, but the crowd surrounding had dissipated. Her eyes widened and she ate the rest of the bread in a single gulp, now deciding to see what was going on with that kid.

"Are ya alright, kid?" Lilith said, getting on her knees and looking at the child.

"O-Oh, hi miss!" She said, stuttering as she picked the coins and put them in a bag. "I'm sorry, but my show's done! I'll be here tomorrow, so if you excuse me… I need to go."

"Wait," Lilith said with a frown. She held the Chewtle's front paw to stop her from running away. "...I want to help. Can ya tell me what's goin' on?"

She shook her head, struggling to escape Lilith's grasp. "No! I don't need help! Me and mom are fine on our own! We'll be okay..."

"I'm a member of the Sunset Salvation," she replied, taking a deep breath and smiling at the child. "Helping out is our job."

"Sunset… Salvation? I never heard of you."

Lilith sighed, expecting this sort of answer. She let go of Chewtle and smiled more brightly. "We're trying to change the world. We wanna make it a nice place for all, including kids like you."

Hearing that, Chewtle gasped, not expecting this from her, but for some reason, she decided to stay and listen to the rest of her story.

"And I can't just… watch you ask for money on the streets. Not when I can do something 'bout it."

"Miss…" Chewtle frowned, looking down. "I-I… well, okay, you can help… can you come with me, miss?"

"Course, sweetheart!" Lilith replied, ruffling the child's head. This was good. She was helping. Scar was busy with his plans, Max was being the lazy one, and Percy… training, probably. Meaning she was the only one around.

Well, she was happy to help this Chewtle anyway. The kid began to run, and Lilith accompanied her, not even breaking a sweat as they ran around the city, passing through stores, some of which had customers waving at Chewtle. Lilith waved as well, but right now she only really cared about helping her.

"Can ya tell me what's goin' on exactly?"

"...Mommy's sick!" She answered, holding back tears and stopping on her tracks. "A-And daddy told me we didn't have money to pay for her treatment, so she… she…"

Before she could talk more about this, Lilith got on her knees and hugged the child while rubbing her head carefully, caressing Chewtle for a while, knowing full well what she meant to say about her mother.

"There, there… I'm gonna help ya, okay? I have friends who can help, but we need to visit your mom first…" Lilith said, still embracing the kid, who took her time answering, and in the end only nodded.

"Do you… do you mean it, miss?"

"Of course I do!" Lilith replied with certainty. She knew how that child felt, and her heart screamed at her to help in any way she could.

Her mind drifted to a time in the past where she was just as vulnerable as this Chewtle. She eventually got the help she needed, but not before experiencing despair. Lilith looked up at the clear sky and frowned. The two were still hugging, now more tightly than before, while Lilith continued to caress the Chewtle, sighing and thinking about what to do.


A young Lilith entered a room with a solid floor, without tiles or carpets on the floor, nor paint or paper on the walls, just the ground itself smoothed and carved to form the shape of the place.

From the floors and walls to the stairs and everything but the furniture made from what seems to be a single piece, with two doors, one up and one down the stairs. Various toys could be seen scattered around the floor here and there. She lived there all her life, and the young Buneary picked a Bulbasaur plush on the ground, hugging it.

"Don't worry, mister bulba! Mommy's just taking… her time getting here! We'll be fine by ourselves!"

Of course, the plush didn't reply, why would it? Lilith knew it, but still expected some sort of answer, at least to put some of her worries away. She sat down on the couch and frowned, drooping her ears as she waited for time to pass so her mother would arrive, and also thinking of ways to distract herself until then.

"Hm…I wonder where my book is, hopefully, mom didn't put it in the trash!" Lilith said, hopping out of the couch and taking a look under it.

Under the couch, Lilith found an old book, covered in dust. She picked it up and forcefully took it out of the spot it was in, panting from the effort. After a moment to catch her breath, she blew the dust away, revealing that the cover contained multiple legendary and mythical Pokémon, titled "Tales From Beyond The Voidlands: a history of legends".

"My favorite history book!" She giggled, looking at the plush on the floor right besides her. "Bulba! Do you want me to read it to you?"

Regardless of the lack of answer, she began to read, fully entranced in the stories about tales as old as time, and about the guardians of the universe itself. How Groudon and Kyogre constantly faced each other, and how the legends were gone during present time, turning their existence to mere rumors. Yet, Lilith still believed in them, in how they would help her and her mother.


For various minutes, nothing happened other than Lilith's stomach grumbling for something to feast on, almost like it talked to her, like it said "Feed me! Feed me!"

Except that the food never arrived. She began sobbing, grasping her belly and opening her mouth to wail. Just when she was about to cry, the door beneath the stairs opened, revealing an older Lopunny, wearing black leggings and smelling like she just came out of a bar. She barely even noticed Lilith until the child pulled on her mother's legs, screaming for attention.

"Mommy? Mommy!"

"Hello, dear!" She replied, holding her daughter up and giving her a bunch of kisses on her forehead, making Lilith giggle.

"I'm hungry, mommy… when are we eating?"

Lilith's mother frowned, putting her daughter down. "I'm… sorry, sweetie. Today was a bad day at work. Your mommy had no clients…"

"Aw." Lilith frowned. "It's okay mommy! I'll go out and help ya!"

She ignored her child, sitting on the couch, letting out a long sigh. "Yeah, yeah… I don't even need your help. If it weren't for you…"

"What?"

Neither of them could answer as a powerful explosion rocked the door open.


Soon, Chewtle stopped in front of a stone house, waiting for Lilith, who walked behind her. The bunny giggled, looking at the door with a smile. That house seemed to be nice, at least, and Chewtle might live a good life, all things considered.

"C'mon, miss! If you wanna help, then you should talk to my dad!"

"Of course, sweetheart!" Lilith answered, knocking on the door. As they waited for Chewtle's parents to open up, she looked at the child. Chewtle jumped around, eager to enter her house and finally help her mother, something Lilith could empathize with.

Following the door creaking until it was opened, Chewtle barged in, jumping to the arms of a Slowking, hugging him tightly. Her tears were rolling out, dropping to the ground, as were her father's. Lilith, though, had backed away a few feet, crossing her arms and looking at the two with a frown. They looked so happy together…

"Oh, yeah, daddy!" Chewtle pointed at the bunny with one of her paws. "She's here to help me! Say she can pay for mommy's bills!"

"Is that so?" The Slowking gasped, nodding. "Thank you, miss…"

"Lilith. Ya can call me Lilith." She replied, smiling and extending an arm, to which the Slowking shook it.

He walked to the side so Lilith could enter. "Come inside, please. Can I get you some water? Maybe a cup of tea?"

"If ya got, then I wanna have some sparkling water!" Lilith pointed out, walking inside the house and seeing the small living room, consisting of a couch and a table.

Chewtle ran to the couch and jumped on it, landing on all fours and waving for Lilith to join her, and the bunny soon did, while Slowking went to the kitchen to fetch the water.

"Your father seems to be doing a good job," she looked at the hall where Slowking went, smiling.

"He does? Thanks, miss! But it's still… not enough. Mom hasn't gotten any better…"

"I'm sorry about that," she ruffled the child's head. "I'll need to talk to your dad about this. Actually, scratch that. I'll talk to you both. Alright?"

"Okay!"

The two hugged again and waited for Slowking to return, but Lilith already had her own plans in mind for how to solve this. All she needed was time. And to comfort that kid. She caressed Chewtle's head again and sighed as she saw more tears falling.

The world wasn't perfect, and it certainly didn't shy away from bringing tragedy to even the most pure souls. Lilith bit her lips, frowning at the thought. But it would be over soon, after they freed their lord. The world would be perfect, then.


Dexter thanked whatever higher being was there(which he thought was Arceus, to be honest) that the rain had ended and he could walk without risking a nasty fall. He had managed to leave his street and walked into the central corner of the town, where most of the upper class lived, including his friends.

At this here time o' the day, wonder what they be doin'. Prolly some mission, or just... chillin', his thoughts were interrupted by a familiar smell, a Magikarp. And… one that wasn't roasted? Dexter licked his lips as drool dropped from his snout and he chuckled. Eh. I'll find out soon enough. Kinda 'ungry now.

Driven by nothing more than his hunger, Dexter followed the smell, landing next to a food cart. The owner, a Kricketune, slashed away at a Magikarp fillet, cutting it into tiny, bite-sized pieces. This only contributed to Dexter's stomach grumbling. Not to mention the other customers, happily eating bites of the fish.

I wanna 'ave a bite... but I don't 'ave the cash. Damn, what to do...? He wondered. Charms? No, that would probably backfire. Steal? He wasn't a thief. Beg? Beg. He could beg. It was humiliating, he thought, but he was used to doing worse things at this point in his life.

Shoving aside his embarrassment, Dexter leaned closer to the Kricketune, smirking and laughing. "Ahoy, mate. Could I ask ye what's today's special dish?"

"Good day, friend! Today we have Magikarp bits, and I got a special sauce from the sailors I got the food from, what do you think? Wanna have a grub?" Kricketune asked while sharpening his pincers. He cracked a smile and nodded.

"Eh? I been a sailor meself, so this here be interestin'," Dexter replied, eyeing the food. The cuts were all equal, and from what his eyesight told him, they were perfectly fit for anyone to grab with their limbs, if they had any. "Say, 'ow about a discount fer lil ol' me?"

After hearing those words, Kricketune's smile turned into a nasty frown. "Are you kidding me?"

"Me, kiddin'? No, mate!" Dexter smiled sheepishly and tried lightening the mood again. "I be just goin' through a tough time, an' if ye think about it, aren't we all?"

Kricketune continued to frown, but then let out a long sigh. "...One bag. You get one bag. And then get the fuck outta my business."

"I been plannin' just that!" Dexter grabbed the bag with the bits and hopped out of Kricketune's sight.

First, he took one of the pieces and swallowed it in a single gulp. Dexter coughed and widened his eyes; his mouth was exploding with flavor. The strong, raw flavor of the meat made him shiver, his body trembled, and his fur bristled as the food went down his throat and into his stomach. Such a nostalgic feeling for him, and if he had the money, he would buy more of this right away. It was just that good.


"It be fer yer own good!" A female voice said, followed by a guttural roar.

"O' course ! Because forcin' yer kid to work fer ye despite 'im not wantin' makes this here fer me own good!"

Dexter closed the door to his room in anger and locked it up, panting. That fight with his parents was terrible, why couldn't they just understand?! He wanted nothing to do with the family business! And him being a teenagrer only made things worse.

The fuck's wrong with them? He thought, plopping down on his bed and screaming onto his pillow. Screaming until his lungs gave out, but he still wanted more . I just want freedom. Freedom to be… Well, me…

Ironically, Dexter didn't even know who he was. Some sailor, some drunk teenager, some… No idea. He wanted to cry, but held in the tears. This was overwhelming, he was trapped and nobody wanted to help.

Ha! Trapped in me own 'ouse! what a joke… Dexter turned to the other side and looked out the window, staring at the vast sea. His gaze remained there, while his mind wondered what life out there could be, what treasures he could find… If only his parents supported him.

"Dexter, open this damn door!" Someone said. By the voice, Dexter recognized it as his father. The old sailor was practically roaring and nearly tearing the door open.

"Shuddup! Leave me alone!" He protested, screaming as loud as he could.

"Ye will work fer us, an' ye will love it!" This time, it was his mother. Dexter proceeded to ignore the call and merely covered himself with his blanket.

Struggling to deal with all that nonsense, Dexter shoved his head deep under the pillow, panting and closing his eyes. He wanted to leave. Escape to wherever. Anywhere would be better than this . But he couldn't do so.

Or could he? The window was open, and he was a good swimmer. Dexter suddenly realized that this was the perfect opportunity to run away and never come back.

Oh... I can't believe I be considerin' this here. They be fixin' to kill me. They sure will. But me freedom…

Freedom. Liberty. That's what he really wanted with his life. And if he needed to run away from family to do that… Then so be it. Dexter stood up, gasping for air as he threw a final look at the window, then at the door, and the window again. It was now or never, he thought. Just run away and move out. All the kids did that. And yet, he still struggled to do it.

"Dexter, if ye don't open this here damn door, I be comin' in meself!" His father shouted.

"Ye be still thirteen! Ye should do what we say!" That was his mother.

Well, that helped ease his worries. Dexter jumped out of his bed and took a deep breath, cracking both of his knuckles. He ran and crashed on the window, shards of glass shattering and spreading all over the ocean below as he fell, diving into the deep waters. And his tails swished, propelling him forward, to his freedom.


Booming thunder brought him back to reality. Dexter looked at the sky and frowned, seeing more clouds gathering. Rain was about to come back and he hadn't gotten to Brian's apartment yet, although he was closer now.

On the bright side, I still got grub to eat. Maybe even share with them too. Dexter sighed, checking the bag to confirm he had eaten more than half of the Magikarp bits there, and he didn't even know if Brian and Meggie liked this. Well, it didn't hurt to ask…

Still, he should really hurry. Getting wet wasn't on his plans, Dexter told himself. He walked across the street, focusing on hastening his steps while also eating the rest of the meal he got. At least it was a nice distraction from that reminiscence of his teenage years. Bah, I don't need to wonder 'ow me folks be doin'... I be better off without 'em.

They never trusted him. Always wanted him to follow in their footsteps, despite Dexter wanting the exact opposite. And… he thought about where he was now . No money, barely having a home, and about to lose some teammates. "It's the right thing to do," he told himself. "It's for the best". Maybe it was, they didn't really need him.

And he wasn't really sure he needed them either. Other than the fact he had no other friends, which was really pathetic, now that he thought about it. They considered him a teammate, maybe a friend too. They probably wouldn't do so anymore after he told them he planned to leave. Brian would take it easy, Meggie too, but it was getting harder to consider this an option, for some reason.

"Why... be I reconsiderin' this here?" Dexter clenched his fist, stopping on his tracks and looking down. "All the times I left them other teams... I ne'er 'ad second thoughts."

Except he was having exactly that, a feeling, deep inside his gut. Dexter bit his lip, trying to make sense of it all. He was sure about it; something bad was happening with his teammates. What was it? No idea. The weasel grunted and ran, now determined to face whatever was going on.

"I swearrr on Arceus' 'oly presence that if this here be some prank me brain's pullin' on me, I'mma end the day doing nothin' but drinkin' booze!"

As he approached the building, Dexter heard a window crashing and looked up, seeing a blast of ice out of the part of the building corresponding to Brian's home. A chill ran down his spine as he tried running faster to help them. Whether he left the team or not, none of it mattered. They needed his help, and he was gonna give them exactly that.


The Slowbro returned with two cups containing a steaming liquid. Lilith sniffed the air and concluded it was tea, despite her asking for sparkling water before. Oh well.

He probably didn't have it. That's alright, Lilith grabbed one of the cups and blew on it to cool it down a little, while Slowbro sat on the couch next to his daughter.

"What exactly are your intentions?" Slowbro asked as soon as he could, sipping from the drink.

"Daddy, she said she'd help!"

"I got that . I just wanna know how ."

"Good question," Lilith answered, smiling. "And… well, my team leader has a few contacts, I'm sure he could arrange to pay for whatever your wife needs."

"Y'know, you talk really big for someone who is not willing to show their cards," Slowbro pointed out, raising a brow as he let out a grunt. "How can you waltz in here without any proof that you can help?!"

Chewtle tilted her head. "Daddy, what does waltz mean?"

"It means I walked in here pretty fast. Anyway, if you listened to me, mister Slowbro, you'd know that I do have proof." She replied with a piercing glare. "For starters, I can't stand a child suffering like that. She could've been kidnapped or worse ."

"I'm aware!" Slowbro shouted, his grasp on the cup got tighter, and a crack appeared on it. "But we have no other choice!"

"If you really don't have a choice, then accept my offer!" Lilith stood up, putting the cup down and crossing her arms. "If not for yourself, for your daughter!"

"What makes you think we can trust you?!" Slowbro hissed, clenching his fists, while Chewtle tried hugging her father, only for him to push her away. "My wife has a rare disease, we tried searching for doctors, but they were so… So expensive!"

"...You're right. I come in here, promising the entire world, and expect you to trust me," she sighed, biting her lips and sitting down again. If only she could crack their stubborness. No, not their stubborness. Chewtle wasn't like her father, from what Lilith could tell.

And she could start with that. "I believe every child deserves to live a good life with a loving family. And seeing yours out there on the street, with nobody by her side… it hit home, y'know."

"What're you talking about?" Slowbro deadpanned. He was, admittedly, curious about where this would go.

"My family was a mess. Mom's…" Lilith huffed. "Well, I can't exactly explain what her job was, not with Chewtle here."

"What did I do?"

"Nothing, sweetie." Slowbro replied.

"Anyway, we had so little time together, I ended up learning how to do everything on my own. It was fine, though. I knew she was busy. She had clients that needed her."

"Oh, your mommy was a merchant?" Chewtle asked, her eyes sparkling. Slowbro, however, frowned, having an idea what kind of job Lilith was talking about.

"...Not exactly. She did sell something. But let's not focus on that, alright?" The bunny giggled, sipping more of her tea. "The point is: I was a fragile child, I know how you feel, Chewtle. Like the world is falling apart and you can't do anything about it."

"M-Miss…" Chewtle stuttered, realizing that Lilith was telling the truth.

"And, just like you, my whole life changed in the blink of an eye…"


Lilith hid under the couch by instinct, shivering and trembling from the noise the door made. She looked as far as her eyes could, seeing her mother next to a Gurdurr, who was smoking a large cigarette.

Who's that? She thought, panting and leaning towards the wall, away from them.

"Thought you could escape, eh?" The Gurdurr asked, punching through the wall and opening a hole on it. "A lil whore like you? You're lucky I still have some use for you…"

He's callin' mom a whore… but why?

"I'm sorry, nobody really needed me today, so I went back home…" She answered, giving Gurdurr a bow.

"That act of yours cost me some money, y'know?" Gurdurr exhaled some of the smoke and puffed it in a gassy cloud. He approached her and raised his head, making up for the height to match her eyes, before touching her chin. "Now, what am I gonna do with you?"

Lilith gasped. She knew something bad was about to happen. She had to do something about it! But, as a child, what could she possibly do? Try beating up someone far bigger and stronger than her?

"When someone asks you a question, you answer." Gurdurr's grip on her chin tightened. "What am I gonna do with you, huh? Because you used to have a purpose for me. And that's what kept you alive all these years… If you want to escape, said purpose is gone."

"...I don't want to work for you anymore," she said, eyeing the Gurdurr and trembling with fear. Even if she wanted to make a break for it, her body refused to listen. "B-But I don't want to die…"

Gurdurr let her go and laughed. "Ain't that a problem? What to do, what to do…"

Meanwhile, Lilith shook in silence. She closed her eyes, trying to ignore what was happening. Sadly, her adept ears were unable to not pick up all that was said by the two. The mention of her mother dying made the child gasp. This was the last straw for her.

"L-Leave… leave my mom… alone !" She cried out, rolling out of the couch and jumping at Gurdurr's direction, trying to go for a kick.

An attempt that was fruitless, as Gurdurr simply grabbed her by the ear before she could hit him, raising a brow. "And who's this child?"

"S-She's mine!" Lilith's mother answered, her eyes widening.

"Eh? Whoa. You hid her from me all these years…?" Gurdurr roared, looking at Lilith again. "How old is she?"

"Ten…"

"Leave mom alone!" Lilith cried, trying to free herself from Gurdurr's grip, but to no avail. Gurdurr continued to lock eyes with her, as if he was analysing her.

"Shut your trap, child." Gurdurr replied, now eyeing the Lopunny. "Congratulations, miss. You got yourself a way out of this life! All you gotta do is give me your child. Simple enough!"

The two bunnies gasped, and Lilith began to cry. Her mother backed away, covering her ears from the scream. What should she do?! Leave her daughter with that crazy mon, or risk living a life she never wanted?

"I'll even pay you for this!" Gurdurr said.

And that was the moment where she decided.


"I don't understand what happened to you, miss…" Chewtle frowned, tilting her head as she awaited for Lilith to reply.

"Sweetie, don't worry about the details," Slowbro replied, caressing his daughter's head as he nodded at Lilith. "I understand. How much money are we talking about here?"

"How much do you need?"

"A lot."

"Then you'll get a lot," she shrugged, taking another sip of tea and finishing the drink.

"R-Right. I'm sorry that happened to you, miss Lilith," Slowbro sighed, picking her cup. "If it helps, I know a psychiatrist or two."

Lilith shook her head. "Nah, don'tcha worry! It's been years now, this is probably just a scar at this point."

"Okay. When can we talk more about this?"

"I think my boss said tomorrow's gonna be a big, biiig day. Maybe by the end of the week we should have this whole thing figured out."

"Understood," Slowbro stood up, forcing a smile on his face. "Thank you for helping, I can't express my gratitude enough…"

"Me too! Thank you so much, miss!" Chewtle said, nodding multiple times and laughing happily.

"As for you... " He looked up at his daughter and grinned. "No more runnin' around looking for cash, got it? Let's have lunch!"

"Okay, daddy!"

Noticing that her time was up, Lilith stood up and bowed at them. At least she helped someone today, and that was enough for her. But there was still a nagging feeling on her brain, something she wanted to say to Chewtle, but not in front of her father.

"Can I have a few words with her?"

"Of course!" Slowbro nodded, walking to the kitchen again.

The two watched as he left their field of view, and Lilith soon looked down at Chewtle; her smile was no more, and the child noticed it.

"I gotta tell ya something, kid." Lilith sighed and got on her knees, clenching her fists. "It's about your dad."

"What about him?"

"...Careful with him. Ya never know who's gonna betray ya, especially if it's someone from your own family."

"What're you saying?" Chewtle shivered, taking a step backwards.

"Wanna know what really happened to me?" She asked, taking a deep breath and sighing. "...I got abandoned. And I ran. I ran a lot. Ran, and ran, and ran again. For my life. Didn't want it to happen, but it did. Sometimes the most trusted ones end up betraying ya."

"I don't get it…" She admitted, shaking her head.

"Maybe you will someday," Lilith stood up again and walked off outside the house. On the bright side, Chewtle and her family had hope now. But, remembering her mother? That had been the heavier side, and she required a drink now. And a damn strong one at that. Scar's gonna kill me… nah. Shouldn't worry about that now. I just need a break.

As she walked outside, Lilith's brain fiddled with the memories she once had forgotten.


"You can have her."

"Huh, that was fast," the Gurdurr said, blinking and checking Lilith again. "Are you sure? This is your daughter."

"Take her. Take her away. I need… I need to be alone." She replied, backing away and covering her face.

"Mom?! Mom!" Lilith cried out for her mother as Gurdurr took her away, trying to bite or claw her way out, but the fighting type Pokémon was too strong, and she continued on his clutches even as she looked at her mother and pleaded for mercy, for her to come rescue her.

"M-Mommy! Mommy, help me! Please, don't leave me! I'll be a good girl! I'll do anything you ask!"

No answer. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears, cancelling out all other sounds, and her whole vision of the world seemed to slow down. Lilith could only stare at her mother, the Pokémon who raised her, turning her back on her.

"Mommy… mommy, please…"

It hurt. It hurt as if her heart was being shattered, like someone punched right through it. And the worst part was that there was nothing she could do to escape this fate.

"Don't worry, kid. I'll treat you right," Gurdurr said, opening the door. The two entered a sandstorm, but Gurdurr managed to cover the child's eyes from the sand as they walked into the city.

Lilith still had a tint of hope left and screamed, before it was muffled by Gurdurr's hand. And she recognized this as an opportunity. She bit into it, causing Gurdurr to scream and let go of her.

"You little…!"

Even amidst the sandstorm, Lilith still desired to come back to her mother. But the betrayal hit her again, right in the heart, like an arrow, and she fell to her knees. She wanted to cry, to plead again, and were it not for the loud footsteps coming from Gurdurr, she would have done that.

Instead, she ran away as fast as she could. Lilith never bothered to check who was next to her or where she was going. All she focused on was escaping this place, escaping her mother and escaping Gurdurr.

I...I need to run, I gotta get help!

The sand beneath her pressed on her feet, pinching them, and Lilith ignored this at first. She was a natural runner, it shouldn't be much of an issue. It shouldn't, but it was. Lilith stopped soon after, not even sure where she was, just seeing sand and more sand all around. It stuck to her eyes and she rubbed them, trying to take it off.

"Stupid continent… we keep havin' those stupid storms!" She shouted, before coughing up some of the sand that got inside her mouth, and then rubbing it off her tongue.

It was becoming too much to bear. Lilith tried moving again, guiding herself only by what she remembered her town to be like. She knew there was a port, maybe she could get inside one of the boats and escape!

She tried navigating, twitching her ears to check her surroundings, and found out that, despite the bad weather, she was closer to the port. Lilith even heard some sailors screaming at her.

"Just… just a little more… and I'll… I'll…"

She collapsed right there.


Dexter looked up again, the broken glass was still there, so at least he wasn't hallucinating things.

"What did they do now?!" With a quick dash, the weasel got inside the building. The landlord was nowhere to be found, so he just climbed the stairs to the other floor.

Once he stopped, Dexter had to duck under an ice shard, nearly getting hit by the chilly attack. He looked to see a Houndoom dodging the exact attack he ducked from. Meggie was behind the canine, panting and rubbing sweat from her face.

Houndoom snarled, lowering his head and preparing to launch some fire-type move. Before it could happen, Dexter lunged in, his fist wrapped in a fierce orange glow before he punched the dog's muzzle, sending the canine flying up into the ceiling and back to the ground.

"Y'all forgot to invite me to the party!" Dexter chuckled, cracking his knuckles. His arms bulged a bit after the attack.

"Oh, hey, Dexter!" Meggie waved, panting again. Boy, was she glad to see him. "I would hug you right now, but this isn't over yet…"

"Where's Goggles?!"

"Inside! C'mon, we don't have enough time!" Meggie pleaded, floating towards Brian's apartment.

"Alright, alright! I be comin' Popsi— Yargh !" Dexter grunted in pain, turning his head back and seeing the same Houndoom from before had bitten his shoulder hard enough to draw blood. "You, sunova…"

"You okay, Dex?!" Meggie had seen the attack, and was already on her way to help when Dexter screamed, calling her attention.

"Go 'elp... Goggles. I can take care o' this here mutt meself! I'll join ye as soon as I can!" Dexter clenched his teeth, grabbing the Houndoom with both of his arms. He began to pull the mutt away and yanked him off himself, throwing the dark type to the wall.

"Oh… oh wow." Meggie deadpanned. "I'm impressed."

"Try not to get too impressed, Popsicle." Dexter smirked and ran alongside her.

"Well, you did take your sweet time getting here," she shrugged, but didn't hide her smile.

"Gettin' bit by a 'Oundoom? Yup, I'd come 'ere earlier if I knew it been this here kinda party."

"Don't mention it, big guy!" Meggie burst Brian's door open with a shadowy punch and, besides her, Dexter was about to walk inside when a psychic force pulled him back. Meggie dodged and looked at who had done that; an Beheeyem.

"Ouch... what just 'appened?" Dexter pulled himself together, touching his forehead and grunting.

"Go ahead! I'll deal with this guy!" Meggie said, taking a deep breath as the air around her froze, forming snowflakes.

Dexter nodded and dashed under the Beheeyem, looking back at Meggie. "I don't wanna' ask if ye can 'andle it... good luck!"

"Take care over there, Dexter! Brian's gonna explain it, I think!"


Barging into the flat, Dexter's first priority was finding out where Brian was. A task made easier by the screams coming from one of the rooms. He had to move fast.

'Old on, Goggles! I'll get there in a minute!

Zzzzzzzip!

Dexter ducked as a metallic chain with a pointed end passed through the hallway, puncturing the wall from left to right.

What's... Goggles makin' 'ere?

Another door bursted apart as a Boltund came crashing down, panting and huffing. On the canine's belly a dark sphere whispered away into the air, and Brian finally walked out of his room.

"Never… do that again." Brian said, panting. On his right paw, the fox held a weapon, a hook that stretched out on a chain. "Don't mock my family."

Family? Sheesh, Goggles really takes family seriously… Dexter thought, clearing his throat. "Nice o' ye to invite me, Goggles."

"Huh?" Brian turned around and gasped. "Shit, Dexter! I didn't notice you, sorry dude!"

"Nah. Don't worry," he shrugged, and then pointed at the Boltund. "What's the deal?"

"Their team attacked us because we had a fight back at the guild." He stated, sighing.

Boltund slowly stood up again and snarled, his fur standing on end. Brian took a step back and pointed the hookshot again.

Dexter clenched his fists. "Another mutt tryin' to fight us. Wanna take 'im out together?"

"If you aren't fighting off folks, why are you even on the team, eh?" Brian chuckled.

"An' just when I been plannin' to make it like a tree an' leave," the weasel said. The Boltund jumped on Dexter's direction, but he dodged to the side, now standing next to Brian.

"What's that all about?"

"Not now, Goggles! Besides, I kinda changed me mind, so don't ye worry!" Dexter nodded.

"You're a bunch of wussies!" The dog replied, snarling again. "But I reaaally need to teach y'all a lesson!"

"Team up it is!" Brian got on all fours and put his goggles on with a smirk. "Let's kick his ass, Dexter!"

The canine ran towards the two, clearing his throat and opening to unleash a powerful roar. Brian, being closer to Boltund, was forced backwards, until Dexter managed to hold him in place.

This brought Boltund an opportunity to attack, this time by ramming his body onto Brian's belly, managing to force the fox to cough and grunt from the pain.

"Goggles, 'old 'im!"

"Got it!" Brian grabbed Boltund before the dog could walk away, and as a response, an electric surge surged across his body, but Brian endured it. He turned around, now facing Dexter directly.

"This might 'urt a little bit!" Bracing himself, Dexter lowered his arm and then punched Boltund's chest using all the strength he could muster. The dog screamed as he felt his bones crack from the impact, his consciousness fading soon after.

"Gah!" Brian dropped the dog and fell to his knees, panting and huffing. "O-oh wow… that electricity hurt more than I thought… But hey, we won, right?"

"Popsicle's still fightin' outside. Should we 'elp 'er out?"

"No need to tell me twice, and thanks for comin' here! Let's go!"

Dexter let Brian walk first, while he looked down. They really needed him… a smile spread on his face as he followed the fox.


He woke up on the shore, coughing up water. Dexter rubbed his eyes and took a glance on his surroundings, before recollecting the recent events in his head. He had run away from home. From his parents. The ramifications of such choice had sunk in now, and he groggily stood up, struggling to stay upright.

"I-i did it? 'Oly shite... I actually did it! I escaped from 'em!" Dexter giggled, touching his face and smiling before running around in circles. His excitement never seemed to fade, not even as he tripped and fell on the sand.

"But I be ne'er seein' them again. I be on me own now." He concluded, frowning. "...What's gonna happen?"

Dexter wondered. Being without his parents or any friends was surely going to be hard, and he had nobody to trust now. What to do? He had to move on somehow. Find his grounding and continue with his life. Yes. That made sense.

"It does suck to not 'ave any mates. Maybe I can find some... that there'd be neat."

But what if they were just like his parents? Dexter frowned. No. He had to think positively if he were to survive all alone in the world.

"Don't think I can trust anyone now. But maybe someday... someday I'll find someone to trust again. If I keep up like this, then… maybe."

The Buizel nodded to himself and looked at the distant shore, walking towards that direction. He was free now, for better or for worse. Something he hoped to find out soon.


Meggie huffed. Despite her type advantage, her opponent was faster and had managed to dodge her punches. She had no intention of giving up, of course, but this was getting frustrating at this point.

"C'mere and fight me!" She said, floating backwards. With another huff, Meggie wondered how to defeat this psychic. She could try freezing him, or wait for backup. Out of these two options, she thought the latter was more efficient, if Brian had managed to finish the fight he started of course. Arceus, why did Brian mess with these guys? Urgh, he can be such a pain sometimes…

Beheeyem's eyes flashed red and he charged electricity over his two arms. Meggie bit her lip and floated towards her opponent, holding two rods on her hands. With a click, the rods opened, revealing metallic fans, the two of which she threw at her opponent. Beheyeem, however, dodged once again.

"Bingo!" Meggie smirked. When Beheeyem dodged, she closed her right hand, focusing as a weil of dark, ghostly aura enveloped her fist. Beheyeem was still distracted by the fans, and didn't notice it until it was too late, right as Meggie punched him square in the face.

She certainly wasn't the most physically gifted of the team, but a point-blank move like that was effective regardless, and managed to force Beheeyem backwards.

"You don't give up so easily, and that's fine!" She huffed. "Well, except when I'm the one fighting, but whatever!"

The psychic-type tilted his head and lowered it backwards, before proceeding to headbutt Meggie until she no longer floated and landed on the floor. This time, he was charging electricity again, when he saw Meggie moving her finger.

Until then, Beheeyem hadn't noticed that she wore a pink bracelet, or rather, didn't know its true intention before now, when the fans that were behind him got attracted by said bracelet, and flew with such speed he hardly had any room to dodge, and even if he avoided a direct impact, Beheeyem got a cut on his face.

"Not so tough now, huh?!"

"Irrelevant. Even with your type advantage, I can still end this fight quickly. Your quips are unnecessary." Beheeyem's eyes flashed again as he unleashed a wave of electricity towards Meggie.

Once it hit the Froslass, she faded into nothingness. Beheeyem tilted his head in confusion; not just Meggie, but the landscape surrounding him was acting strange. The floor looked like it was melting, as did the ceiling, something he confirmed when he saw goop landing on his head. Strangely, however, he didn't feel anything at all..

"What… what is th—Urgh!" Beheeyem grunted in pain as something punched him, followed by a dark sphere lunging on his face. The combined attacks forced him to the ground, and he saw as the landscape went back to normal with the snap of Brian's fingers. The fox eyed him and snarled.

"Let this serve as a lesson. Don't piss me off, and don't ever make fun of my family!" Brian stated, crossing his arms.

"Aye! Show 'im, Goggles!" Dexter cheered.

Beheeyem trembled and looked at both of his unconscious teammates. He gulped and figured the best option was to leave while he still could. And so, he ran out of there, being too exhausted to even try teleporting, leaving the two canines behind.

"Well, all's well if it ends well," Dexter shrugged.

"I'm gonna call the police aaaand hope the landlord doesn't kick us out, this is gonna take a while to fix…" Brian grumbled, entering his flat again.


An hour later, Brian was back at doing what he got used to after his brother left: Moping on the couch, and also crying from time to time, judging by the noises he was making.

Except this time around Dexter and Meggie were there. The Froslass was the first one to do something, as she sat down next to Brian and caressed his short mane.

"There, there… it's gonna be okay, alright?"

"I-I don't even know how he is, Meg! What if he got hurt… I should've been a better brother than… this !"

Dexter crossed his arms and closed his eyes. Now that he was there, his decision to leave the team… Well, he couldn't follow through. He had changed his mind; They did need him after all.

And to start things off, he needed to help Brian get over this. He cleared his throat and tapped the fox repeatedly. "Shut it, Goggles. Can't stand ye wallowin' in self-pity."

"Huh?" Brian suddenly sat on the couch, rubbing his eyes. They were reddening from all the tears. "What're you saying? Can't I feel sad?"

"O' course ye can. But there's a line between sadness an'... Whatever's goin' on 'ere."

"I-I think he's got a point, Brian," Meggie stated, looking down. "Your dad said he was gonna look into it, so all we can really do is… Dunno, the normal stuff. Didn't you build that, uh, gizmo?"

"It's a hookshot!" Brian shouted, managing to crack a smile.

"By the way, what been the deal with them three?" Dexter asked.

"Oh, right." Brian smiled sheepishly. "We kinda got on a fight with them in the guild because they were talkin' shit about Lance, and… I might have thrown booze on them. One thing led to another and they tried taking revenge."

Dexter blinked and burst in laughter, sitting down next to them and tapping the two on their shoulders. "Fuck yeah! We really taught them a lesson! I be glad I joined y'all!"


Lilith finally entered Scar's mansion, and as she closed the door behind her, she sighed. The highlight of her day was helping that child, for sure. Now all she wanted was to take a break.

"It is a pleasure seeing you again, miss Lilith."

She looked up and saw Scar heading towards her, a slight smile on his face. Lilith rubbed sweat off her forehead and waited until he was close enough for her to give him a pawshake.

"It appears you have taken quite a bit of time outside. May I ask what was that about?" He soon turned around. "Of course, you can answer while I prepare us some calming tea."

"Geez, y'all enjoy hot leaf juice too much."

Scar let out a small chuckle. "Oh, pardon me, but how could you say such things? I never took you for an agelast."

"An age what?"

"Someone that has little to no sense of humor."

Lilith stared at him blankly and nodded. "I'm not that and ya know it."

Scar grinned. "Perhaps I do. Now, shall we go? And you can tell me all about your experience."

She sighed and surrendered herself to it. Scar always did like to talk with his teammates, and she missed those kinds of talks. They were, after all, what convinced her to join him all those years ago.

"Scar… wait. There's something I wanna say to you first."

He stopped and looked back. "Of course."

"Thanks… for takin' care of me. I needed someone after losing everything, and you were just that. So… I'm with ya until the end of the line."

"I appreciate it and thank you for this," Scar replied, nodding and smiling. "I should thank you as well. With you, Maxwell and Percival, I believe we can finally reach our goal. World peace."

"If we were to trust others with free will, then it would just lead to frustration and pain," Lilith said. "Necrozma… He can fix that, right?"

"After how far we have come, is this really a question you need to ask?"

"I was kidding!" She giggled, walking alongside him. "Let's go!"

"Yes, and tomorrow… tomorrow will be a special day for us all."
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
30
-Wouldn’t firing ice attacks toward the tree have frozen it and/or broken it and caused everything to be for naught?
-“Brutal and savage creatures.” I mean… [gestures to the messed up stuff Lance and Brian have done during the fic] the good guys are pretty edgy here.
-Oh, does this fic operate on the logic that poké balls force obedience upon someone? That’s— I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of that take, but you do you I suppose.
-You have Derek immediately going back into the ball after fainting… only to have Morgan return Derek several paragraphs later.
-Feels really stupid that Meggie wasn’t expecting Morgan to have another trick up his sleeve. And why she didn’t try to, y’know, knock him out while he was down and turn him over to the authorities? Or even catch him in a poké ball. It feels like she chose to grip the Idiot Ball because the plot needed to keep Morgan in the picture as an antagonist...
-Likewise, I don’t understand why Morgan continues to say he’s done with Meggie. Like, that should’ve been clear a while ago? She made it very clear. And he already tried to kill her multiple times.
-And I cannot fathom what would make Lance think the first thing he does when he goes to the hospital to visit his seriously injured brother is talk about the stuff regarding Atlas. Brian’s outburst also strikes me as a bit odd, considering everything he just went through...

31
-I can’t help but wonder if this extended chess metaphor was inspired by Namo’s fic. Because it certainly feels that way, though there’s considerably more talking and explaining the metaphor. It’s cute, I think? If the intention was to make me distrust Scar with this part, it definitely worked. I’ve always had a bad feeling about him just solely based on my guess that Necrozma is not a benevolent force in this fic. I get the impression the team will be separated for a bit because of this. I do, however, find it kind of strange that it seems like Meggie and Brian are flirting with being able to understand Lance’s broken mindset before doing a U-turn and going back the other way. It strikes me as if this is drama built on misunderstandings, which can be an iffy subject for many readers.

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but the direction of these past couple of chapters baffles me for the reasons I describe above. The current conflicts don’t feel like natural extensions of what came before them… rather like the characters are being railroaded down this path to reach a pre-set destination that you have in mind for them. I wish I had ideas to help with that, but it’s hard since these are older chapters. At the very least, you could’ve thrown in a more concrete reason as to why Meggie doesn’t incapacitate Morgan and instead falls for his very obvious trap. That’s at least somewhere to start...
 
Dungeon 45 - Undertaking

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 45 - Undertaking

Scar woke up feeling an unusual vigor. He prepared a piece of brioche bread and sat on a chair, before carefully cutting down the loaf with a knife. He munched on the piece, enjoying how crispy and crunchy it tasted on his mouth, taking time to fully savor the sensation. Today was a special day, after all.

“Scar! There you are!” Max came into the room, leaning onto the wall with his left arm, and carrying a bunch of fliers on his right one. “Today’s the day, right?!”

Behind the ape, Lilith pushed Max out of the way and entered alongside him, panting from the effort of having to shove someone as big as him. “Well… I think it is.”

“You two seem anxious about it,” Scar noted, humming as he munched more of the bread. “Yes. We are near the zenith of our plans. Soon, we will acquire the… Pardon me, miss Lilith. What is the name of the stone? Or is it still unknown?”

“Oh,” Lilith sat down and shrugged. “And don’t worry, it's called Darkinium-Z.”

Scar nodded, having finished his breakfast. He stood up and folded his arms on his back, smiling again. Everything was going according to plan. “There is no point of giving others the choice when they can stray off the proper path.”

“That won’t matter once we take ‘im outta the seal,” Lilith continued.

Max nodded. “And He’ll have the whole world on His knee—wait, does Necrozma have knees?”

“I hardly think that matters.”

“Dork’s got a point.” Lilith pointed out, flashing a grin. “Can’t exactly have the world on His knees if He ain’t got any.”

“Hmph.” Scar rolled his eyes. He turned around to look at an open window. “We should apace our steps. Have you two uncovered the locations of the other stones?”

“Yes. The Buried Wasteland and the Forest Chasm.” Lilith answered. “And the third dungeon is located here, it’s called Howling Shoal.

“Lovely names, eh? But there’s a problem, boss.” Max clicked his fingers and gulped. “Lillie, can you… y’know?”

“The legends that sealed Necrozma away all those centuries ago weren’t dumb.” She said. “We suspect there might be traps in the dungeons with the crystals. Some kinda failsafe so only the worthy can grab ‘em.”

“A bastion,” Scar replied. “And a valiant effort against us. I do not blame them for doing this.”

Max sighed, hiding a smile as he raised his hand. “This stuff works in our favor, too! Legends aren’t really all that present these days. And the few that are… well, they’re not very powerful compared to Necrozma.”

“Not to mention they lost their power in that event two decades ago!” Lilith completed, nodding. “So we’re on the best time to do this.”

“Very well. We should leave the dungeons to ourselves after the coronation is done.” Scar said bluntly, now looking at his subordinates.

“Gotcha! I’m gonna hand out more fliers, see y’all later!” Max declared, storming out of the room.

Scar sighed, looking at the window again and closing his eyes. “Soon. So very soon.”

In the garden, Percival trained against a wooden plank, hitting it with an energy bone. Every strike was swift and precise, cleanly tearing chunks off the board. He smirked, launching the bone up into the air. With a deep breath, the Lucario took aim at the plank and punched it, producing a deafening sound.

Unlike his previous strikes, this one was more direct and powerful, puncturing a hole in the middle that quickly split the wood in two halves that fell on the ground just as Percival caught the bone back, before dissipating it.

Aura training seems to be going well. Percival thought, sitting down and taking a deep breath. His ears twitched and he looked behind, seeing Brian and Meggie waving at him. He stared at the figures, until they faded.

Am I imagining things? He wondered, never having noticed how much he missed the two. Firmly closing his fists, he grunted. Sorry, you two. But I’m doing this for everyone!

Percival managed to make himself smile at that last thought, something he was glad Brian wasn’t there to see. Percival would never hear the end of Brian talking about the smile, for sure.

He touched the scar on his chest and sighed. When this is over, I promise I’ll see you again, Brian. I’m sorry I never got to say this before leaving, but… I love you.

Even with his head full of thoughts, his feelers detected two familiar auras close, and his smile widened. Percival didn’t even faze, waiting for them to say anything.

“Hi, Percy!” Lilith waved at him with one hand, holding a cup of steaming tea in her other one. From the smell, Percival assumed it was made from Oran.

“Good morning.” Scar said. “What made you wake up so early? Another nightmare?”

“Actually, I haven’t had nightmares for months!” Percival replied, sounding happy while he stood up. “All thanks to you.”

Scar hummed. “Would it be wise to make me the sole responsible for your development?”

“I… guess not,” Percival answered, looking down. Still, he had to admit that Scar played a big role, that much was undeniable.

“We’re not here to talk about this, remember?” Lilith protested, rolling her eyes. “Here's the thing, Percy. We got a mission to do, you and me. Are ya up for the task?”

“Hm. I was beginning to think I was to spend the rest of my days training and meditating. Not that I mind.” He answered with a smirk. “And of course I’m up for the task, what are we doing today?”

Scar walked towards him and nodded. “As you know by now, tragedy befell upon this town. Our economy lays in shambles, a mere shadow of its former self. Days of glory have been turned to dust before our very eyes.”

“I am well aware,” he retorted. “And I’m doing my best to help this city. To save it.”

“We all know,” Lilith said, looking at Scar.

“Right now I have a bigger mission for you, mister Percival. Something that will certainly act as a compass to a brighter tomorrow!”

“Get this over with, Scar.” Percival sighed.

“As always, you are quick to get to the point.” Scar hummed, giving the Lucario’s eyes a sharp glare. “We will dethrone the king.”

Monarchy. A system that Percival had always found to be flawed. Most of the time, kings and queens usurped the resources for themselves, while they let the common folk starve and rot. Simply unacceptable.

At least Scar followed a similar mindset, and it made things easier for Percival. Still, he wanted... no, he needed more proof of the king’s shortcomings before coming to a resolution.

With this in mind, he set out to discover, with Lilith by his side.

She walked behind him with a notebook in her hands. “Sooo… what do ya wanna check out first? Poverty, mons disappearing, food shortage?”

“All these sound awful,” he noted, eyeing the Lopunny as his ears twitched. “But if I had to pick… I’d say we start with poverty. I want to see how bad it is with my own eyes.”

“I kinda hoped you'd say that, ‘cause I got the perfect example!” She replied, frowning. “There’s a kid I met recently, her family’s fallin’ apart ‘cause of their poverty.”

“Really?” Percival locked eyes with Lilith, frowning. He remembered the time where he, too, was a lost child.

Oh wow. He’s really that gullible? Good to know, Lilith thought, before answering. “Yup. Didn’t get her name, but I remember where her house is at. C’mon.”

She turned around and began to walk on the opposite side of the street, with Percival following after her. “...Hey, Lilith. Do you really believe the king is… well, unworthy?”

“I thought this wasn’t your first rodeo against corrupt forces.”

“It isn’t, but I wanted a second opinion, since you know Scar better than me,” the canine replied, shrugging. “And while I trust him… I don’t know. There’s something odd about this.”

“There’s odd stuff about pretty much anything, dude.” Lilith retorted with a grin. “I trust ‘im with my life. He saved me. That’s all there is to it.

“Saved you…”

She looked around, the citizens of the city were going around on their daily tasks. Percival made a pause to do the same, eyeing the city. A Swellow and a Cramorant talked with each other with smiles on their faces; a Ilumise and a Perrserker walked, holding bottles of beer, until the feline fell to the ground, to which the bug began to laugh. Percival flahsed a small smile, seeing the citizens appearing to be happy.

“Oh? Didn’t know you could smile, Percy~” Lilith teased, punching the canine’s arm.

He rubbed his arm and felt heat rising on his face. “S-Shut it. I’m not smiling!”

“That’s not what I’m seeing,” she pointed at the grin on Percival’s face. “Anyway, the point’s that we’re doin’ the right thing, y’know? They might seem happy now, but it’s a facade. A mask, to hide the sorrow inside.”

“Let’s go,” Percival said. “I want to find out more about this. If there’s something I can do about it, then… I’ll do it.”

They ended up in an area Percival hadn’t seen before. Not weird, considering how much of his time in the city he had spent inside of Scar’s house. Until now, of course.

“W-What is this place?”

And just by standing there he could tell the difference. Despite being in an urbanized area, the slums could be barely called buildings thanks to the consistent neglect that had left them as crumbled shadows of the living spaces they were supposed to be.

Even the floor itself had been neglected to the point where it wasn't possible to see its pavement under the coat of dirt and grimace, among which a lonely Delibird slept on the concrete, shivering.

“Do you believe Scar now, Percy?” Lilith asked with a tired sigh. She was used to the sight, but it still hurt.

“...I can’t say I don’t believe him.” Percival looked around and frowned. “How long has this been going on?”

“A few months,” Lilith crossed her arms and shook her head, grunting. “Things haven’t been the same since the raid.”

“Speaking of this raid, what’s exactly up with it?” He asked. “I never heard of it before coming here.”

“That tends to happen when you’re an independent city,” Lilith shrugged. “We had some thugs tryin’ to break in and steal the king’s crown.”

“Why?”

She wondered for a moment before nodding and whispering. “That crown, or rather, the jewel on the crown is said to give incredible power. We’re actually after it ourselves.”

“Huh,” Percival’s eyes widened as he whispered back. “Wait, I thought we were going to dethrone him…”

“And we are ! Just, y’know, takin’ out two Pidgey with a single gravelerock.”

“I suppose… that makes sense. I got worried for a moment.” Percival scratched his chin. “Does that jewel have anything to do with Necrozma?”

“It’s one of the things we need to unleash him, so yes.”

Unleash a powerful legend into the world. That sounded like the best idea they had. And probably a dangerous one. A very dangerous one. Percival had mostly agreed to helping this because he thought it was the only choice. Not that he was fully believing in Necrozma. It was more like they could help him, and in turn, he would help them.

“Right. I’ll need to ask Scar about this later, but I hope Necrozma is as benevolent as you all seem to hope.”

Lilith raised a brow. “Is that doubt, Percy? Or should I call you Lance?”

“Percy is fine, even if I don’t like nicknames…” He rolled his eyes. “We should go find that child soon, there’s still other things to check, no?”

“Dude, you should really smile more, y’know? Not everything has to be dark and gritty with ya.”

“I can smile!” Percival pouted, crossing his arms. A wicked smile spread on his face, and it looked like he was putting a lot of effort into it.

“That’s cute!” Lilith chuckled, walking away from him, going to the same house she visited recently. Percival followed her.

While the two were busy investigating, Scar had time for himself, at long last. Now to find something to do, which wasn’t hard, no. In fact, Scar had a plan, a course of action, and something he was used to doing whenever he needed.

First, Scar stopped at the kitchen, opening a drawer and taking out three candles from it. His face was solemn, and there was a visible frown in it.

Fret not, I will pay my respects to you soon, Scar took a deep breath and walked out, climbing the stairs to the second floor of the house. His worried look only worsened with each step, and his heart thumped.

Like a heavy weight was on top of his back, Scar hunched towards his room, taking slow and deep breaths to calm himself down. His mind trembled with memories of a time far gone, one that would never return, no matter what he tried.

...I am sorry. You three escaped from my grasp, and it was all my fault. For that… I am truly sorry.

Scar entered his room. The atmosphere was somber, and the undecorated insides did little to lighten the mood. Scar passed by his large bed and into the northern part, where three portraits could be seen. The top one was a Tyranitar, and a text below it read: “Eve”.

My sunshine… you left me too soon. My days are no longer bright without you, Scar put a candle on the floor next to the wall and lit, the smell of incense immediately filling the area. I apologize for not being the best husband I could have been…

His gaze shifted to the other two pictures: one of a Larvitar with brown scales, and another with green ones. The names behind their portraits were, respectively, Joel and Ruth. Scar trembled, removing the helmet on his head and finally letting the tears fall as he looked at the portraits.

My children… please forgive me. Forgive your father. It pains me to spend the rest of my days without you, but I am doing the best I can. Scar lit the other candles and sat down, looking at the portraits. You three will be forever gone, but the memory of you keeps me alive. And maybe one day I will see you again. Until then… forgive me for what I am about to do. I assure you that it is… for you three.

He closed his eyes and his arms were enveloped by green flames. Scar then whispered, while more tears fell. He touched the candles and they were instantly lit, burning in green flames.

His heart continued to thump, and his lips trembled, like he struggled with what he was doing. The candles flickered in the air, before staying still once again. Why was he having so much trouble with this? Scar sighed.

F-Forgive me, sunshine. Joel, Ruth, you too… It appears that I am unable to finish my prayers today. Would you like to know what I am planning?

No reply, for a moment. The candles flickered again, making Scar smile once more. Well… once we free my Lord, he will use his power to liberate the world, to make a new reality where we will all be free of all pain. What do you think of it?

Wind howled as the candles flickered again. Scar sighed and stood up, the flames now disappearing. He turned around, facing the door. Well… I need to deal with a few things, I will talk to you later.

Much to his surprise, Scar was met by Maxwell, waiting just outside the Marowak’s room. They met eyes, with Max’s widening as he let out a loud gasp. Scar tilted his head, until he noticed that his helmet was being worn. Quickly, he entered his room and put it back, before returning to face Max again.

“You saw nothing,” he said, snarling.

Max noted how his voice sounded deeper and rougher, and he gulped. “N-Nah, don’t worry.”

“I said you saw nothing ,” green flames spread around Scar’s body for a moment, before he exhaled as they faded, his voice back to normal. “I am sorry… Maxwell. That was unlike me. I apologize.”

“I was just waitin’ for you, boss.” Max gulped. “C-Can I ask what happened back there?”

“Hmph.” Scar crossed his arms and sighed. “...My prayers. I needed to talk with my family again.”

“Sorry, boss,” noticing how awkward things turned out, he rubbed the back of his head, his fur tuning fuzzier from the electricity circulating around his body.

“My personal matters are not important right now. What brings you to my door?”

“Oh, uh… just a question. Who’s gonna take over the king? You?”

His weary eyes looked at Max and Scar shook his head. “Most of you would assume such a thing about me. However, the truth is that I was never supposed to be a monarch.”

“...Then who?”

“Maxwell, I believe the answer to this question is fairly obvious by now,” Scar replied.

“...Ooooh.” He gasped. The initial surprise turned into concern as he frowned. “Hold on. Are you sure about this?”

“That is a very interesting question,” Scar hummed. “The new king is a rough diamond, however, there is a reason why I chose who I did.”

“And that is…?”

“Once we release Him from the seal, Necrozma will be weak. He will need a vessel to survive. And what better vessel than a king?”

Max nodded, his eyes widening from the reveal. “You sly Vulpix… Can’t believe it! Well, well, well… this is a neat plan, I’d say.”

His boss simply sighed, approaching the large electric-type. Scar looked up and smiled. “Maxwell, your thirst for knowledge serves me well in this crusade. I appreciate that you have joined my ranks. It means… a lot to me.”

“No problem!” He nodded. “Oh, and I got some neat intel you might wanna hear about. We might’ve found more of the emeras that the Gallade had.”

“Is that so?” He nodded. “How about we discuss this over a nice cup of tea?”

“One day you’re gonna die from… tea poisoning? Is that a thing?”

Scar refused to answer the question, and merely rolled his eyes as they walked off the area.

After some more walking, Lilith arrived at the entrance to the house she was looking for, and Percival was behind her. The auric Pokémon put his hands on his back and waited as his teammate knocked on the door.

“Hold on! I’m comin’!” A voice said from inside the house, and Lilith walked back.

Meanwhile, Percival closed his eyes and waited. While distracted by his thoughts, he reminisced about his friends, so far away from him now. He wondered what they were doing, and if they were happy.

But I’m no longer with them… they don’t need to worry about me anymore. Of course they were. Now that he was out of their lives, they surely were happy. Percival bit his lip and sighed, shaking his head.

Eventually, the door creaked open, held by a Slowking. He eyed Lilith and smiled at her, soon waving at Percival, who retributed with a nod.

“Nice seein’ ya again, mister Slowking!” Lilith said, giggling. “We just came over for a visit, that alright?”

The water-type smiled. “Of course!”

“It’s a pleasure meeting you, sir. I’m Percival.” The canine said, offering a paw.

“Every friend of Lilith is my friend as well, alright?” Slowking replied, shaking Percival’s paw and then entering his own house.

This place is quite nice, Percival thought as he looked around, his eyes seeing the walls, the couch and, a little further, the kitchen. Lilith had said she helped them a little with money problems, and so he figured the house was in a better shape than when she had first been there.

“Miss Lilith!” Chewtle came running from her room, and jumped on the bunny’s arms, giving her a tight hug. “I missed you!”

“Well, if it ain’t my bestie!” The Lopunny said, holding the child in her arms and nuzzling her face. “Can I introduce you to my friend here?”

“Hi.” Percival waved.

“Ooh, I never saw a Pokémon like you before, mister!” Chewtle gasped, her eyes sparkling.

That’s a first. Everyone and their mother know Lucario, he mused to himself. “Well, I’m a Lucario. My name is Percival.”

“Ya can call him Percy like I do!”

“Actually, I would rather—”

“Percy!” Chewtle said, giggling.

Percival blinked and, much to Lilith’s surprise, he smiled, touching his chest fluff dramatically as he pretended to stumble backwards. “...I have been defeated by a child. My only weakness, cuteness!”

Slowking closed the door behind them and smiled. “Sweetie, can you go play in your room? Daddy needs to talk with these two…”

She hopped out of Lilith’s grasp and ran to her room. Percival sighed in relief, but cut off his smile once he saw Lilith was staring, and replaced it by a large pout.

“What brings you two here?” Slowking asked, sitting on his couch.

“Honestly, I just want to help,” Percival stated, crossing his arms. “Lilith told me things have been rough after the raid.”

The Lopunny frowned and nodded. “Yup!”

“I see. That much is true…” Slowking looked down and gulped. “My wife… She got sick during the invasion, and I can’t afford to treat her, not like this… Everything’s so expensive nowadays.”

The canine whined, not even needing his sensors to feel the aura of sadness of that father. It was clear enough in his eyes and voice. “...Have you tried asking the king for help?”

“Didn’t work. He said that it’s to be expected, since we’re still recovering…” he admitted. “But it’s been so long… When will this end?”

Percival grunted. Things were worse than he expected, and while he tried to maintain a rational view on all of this, he still had the impression that there was something else the king could do.

From starving Pokémon to distraught parents, Percival had enough of this. He was tired of sitting around doing nothing while all these innocents suffered. It made his blood boil, and his aura began to wrap itself like a veil around him while he flashed his sharp teeth.

“It ends… It ends today .”

As she heard him say those words, Lilith smiled in the corner of her face.

Scar finished preparing the tea, and filled two cups with it. Max sniffed it and sat down on one of the chairs, yawning. The Marowak didn’t talk much, and soon sat as well, grabbing his cup of tea.

“So, what did you find out about the emeras?” Scar asked, taking a sip.

“Aight, this shouldn’t take too long!” Max replied. “A few days ago, I saw a report of a thief goin’ berserk after finding a shiny stone. Sounds familiar, right?”

“Indeed.”

After another sip, Max continued. “The dude got arrested, so I went to see him. Turns out he described the stone as… well, rainbow emera. Kinda like the ones that we, well, that Percy has.”

“Fascinating!” Scar hummed. “I assumed that the one Percival possesses is the last one of its kind, but alas… it appears that I am wrong.”

“Thing is: I have no idea how he found it. He said it was inside a mystery dungeon.”

Scar scratched his chin in thought. “We all know that mystery dungeons are an abyss of randomness, what do you think about it?”

“I’d have to talk with Meganium again—not that I’d mind, considering how cute she is, and how she can kick my ass—but that’s not the point!” Max said before Scar could complain about this.

“Please go on with your thesis.”

“I don’t think this is a thesis, but sure,” he shrugged. “I think that the battle at the tree contributed to it. I mean, there were two megas there, right? Maybe during the whole Gallade teleporting time, part of the emeras' dust were spread over the continent. That dust then—”

“...Merged with other emeras, thus recreating the same as Morgan had. Interesting.” Scar completed.

“First, I think I’mma name ‘em awakening emeras,” Max finally concluded. “And yup! That’s my thought, and if we can grab more of ‘em, we might have more chances of actually unleashing Necrozma. Or at the very least, fight off any resistance!”

Hearing those words soothed Scar’s heart, and he could do little more than huff. “Thank you, Maxwell. I appreciate all the help you have given me during these hard times. I assure you, we will have world peace.”

“Don’t you worry boss, I trust you with my life! I’m sure everyone here feels the same way!”

Scar inhaled, nodding. “Alright. Maxwell, I would like to request that you work on finding the awakening emeras. I have… a visitor that’ll be here soon, so I might require some privacy.”

Max got out of his chair and drank the rest of the tea. “I’ll be back once I find more info on this, good luck with the coronation, boss.”

“I wish you good luck as well,” Scar said. Now, I just need to wait…

Citizens walked into their houses, most of them locking the doors, while others stared out of their windows to see a black Haxorus walking across the street, accompanied by two Fraxure. All the dragons wore armor pads on their arms and legs, with chest plates to match. They were colored silver and the light coming from the sun reflected on them, while Vulcan’s armor was adorned in a golden color.

Vulcan checked the houses and frowned. “I’m not sure why they seem to be so afraid of us. Are we really… that scary?”

“Dragons tend to be,” one of the Fraxure answered.

“Hm. I didn't expect this. Alas, it doesn’t matter. That’s not what we’re here for.” Vulcan stated, continuing his stroll until the point where he saw a large house, a smirk growing on his face as he recognized it as Scar’s home.

The larger dragon knocked on the door and was received right away, as Scar opened it with a smile. “Ah! Greetings, mister Vulcan! Why, come in!”

Vulcan motioned for his companions to follow him as the four entered the house. Scar walked to the living room, presenting the place, containing two couches, along with a table in the middle, holding in several berries.

“I hope this is to your liking,” Scar noted, sitting down. “You may not believe this, but it has been a while since I last cooked.”

“There’s no issue, Scar.” Vulcan replied, sitting as well, alongside his companions. “We’re here to gather our forces. We strike today.”

“And that is fine,” Scar picked a nanab berry and peeled it out, munching on the fruit. “What do you need me to do?”

“Our job as the royal guard is to protect the king. Don’t worry, we will be discreet and do this in his castle,” the Haxorus answered with a snarl, showing off his sharp fangs. “As for your organization, we would like you to call a town meeting, saying it’s of utmost importance that all citizens are present. There, we will announce our coup, as well as the new king.”

“I see.” Scar mused, swallowing another part of the berry. “That can be done.”

“And speaking of your organization, where is—”

The door to the house barged open and Percival walked inside, his body wrapped in purple aura and with a raspy breath. The Lucario exhaled, forcefully dissipating his aura, and soon enough, his gaze met the four reptiles talking in the living room.

Lilith closed the door and smiled sheepishly. “S-Sorry guys, he was running too fast for me to catch up…”

“I want to go with the royal guard,” Percival said. His eyes shone in the light of the day and his resolve was as hard as steel. “It’s my decision.”

“A wise one, mister Percival,” Scar stood up, nodding, and looked at Vulcan. “Is that alright?”

“Of course. The more, the merrier.”

Percival smiled, eager to go with them again, and extended his hand towards Vulcan, shaking the dragon’s own.

The dragons were now preparing for their trip, and Percival had to do the same thing. For him, though, preparations were different. He picked the armor left to him by Scar and put it on, checking himself out in a mirror. While he looked fine, he had a frown.

“...So this is it, huh? Things are changing from here on,” he told himself, sighing as he looked at his large bed. Next to it was a drawer that Percival decided to open. On it, there was his team badge and the headband he used to wear. Those two things combined gave him a somber kind of nostalgia, and his frown grew. “I wonder if they will find out about this once the coronation is finished. Maybe they’ll even come visi—what am I thinking…? They’re not coming. Why am I reminiscing about this now ?”

Struggling to come up with a reason, Percival instead ignored the feelings, shoving them aside on the back of his mind to focus back on the present. Yes, that made more sense. Focusing on his mission would surely help.

“Let’s see. Emera, check. Armor, check,” he took various looks at himself and nodded each time as he confirmed everything he could do to prepare was done already. All except for one, simple thing.

“Pep talk to raise confidence? Probably not checked… Well, here it is, then. Percival, calm down, this is for the good of the city.. It’s almost like my life led itself to this moment… All the pain I’ve been through, all the hardships I endured… They made me strong.”

Remembering the meeting of earlier , Percival wondered what exactly they would do once they got to the castle. This was a coup, and coups usually ended in bloodshed, right?

Percival looked at his paws, they were shaking. “I’ve had blood here before, but… c-can I kill the king if the coup is to succeed? I… I can. O-Of course I can. I’ve done it before, no reason I can’t do it again...”

Even with his affirmations, Percival wasn’t convinced. He took a deep breath and finally turned around, to fulfill his mission and help the city.

Not even the soldiers training outside was enough to disrupt king Edgar from his duties as a monarch. What was enough, however, was the portrait of a Tyrunt standing on the table next to him.

“Terrence,” he said. “...I miss you. I wasn’t supposed to be king, you know. Why did you have to—”

Someone knocked on the door. Typical. Not even in his personal time could Edgar actually enjoy it. He sighed again and closed his eyes, mentally preparing himself for what was to come.

“You may enter.” Edgar said, finally opening his eyes. Vulcan, two Fraxure and Percival had entered the king’s office. Strange, of course, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

Vulcan took the lead, raising his head. “King Edgar. You must be wondering what we’re doing here.”

Before Edgar could answer, or even ponder the question, Percival stepped in. “We are here because you don’t deserve the position you currently have.” The Lucario completed, crossing his arms.

Edgar tilted his head. What were those morons talking about? He was the king! The rightful ruler! But being the king meant that he had to be calm and collected. Edgar stared at them, not saying a single word.

“Did a Meowth get your tongue?” Vulcan snarled, his claws extending and smoke puffing out of his nostrils. “In case we weren’t clear enough, your Majesty, we are here to dethrone you.”

Oh. Edgar frowned. “A coup? Is that what this is all about?” The king snorted, laughing loudly. “Fools! None of you have what it takes to be a monarch, you weren’t even born with the right for that!”

Percival’s fur stood on end as he aimed an Aura Sphere at the king. “Drop the act. We know how this town has been suffering, and I cannot stand and watch this happen any longer!”

Vulcan agreed, preparing to attack at any moment. Edgar, on the other hand, barely flinched. For a moment, he stared at Percival, almost like he was searching for something. Then, his eyes widened. “...Interesting. Those fierce eyes, that ragged look… I’ve seen it before. Do you know a Lucario named Nicholas, by any chance?”

Despite not directly answering, Percival gasped, and that was enough confirmation for Edgar. The Tyrantrum stood up and eyed everyone in the room.

“So… you want to take my throne. This is treachery, Vulcan! And here I thought you were my right-hand mon…”

“I used to be, your Majesty.” Vulcan replied, shaking his head. He frowned, despite his firm words, his arms trembled. “But this was long ago. I can’t respect you anymore. You fail to act as a leader should. Your citizens are suffering and you refuse to take any action!”

Hearing this, Edgar roared, his tail slapping on the chair behind him with so much strength it broke the furniture. "I don’t take action? Moron! You are the one who keeps telling me that we should trust that religious buffoon!”

“Drop. It.” Percival fired another sphere, aiming at the window. The shattered glass fell right on Edgar’s side. “I’ve seen it myself. The state you left them in. A father, struggling to keep his family alive. Do you care about them? Your subjects?”

“How dare you ask me this?!” Edgar roared. His entire body shook, trembled. Percival’s feelers twitched, and he instinctively ducked, barely dodging a fireball aimed at him.

“King Edgar. We of the royal guard find you unfit to rule,” Vulcan said, pointing at the Tyrantrum. The Fraxure by his side roared. “Therefore, we will change things today!”

A burst of flames broke the office’s door into pieces and the four combatants did their best to dodge the attack. Percival, in particular, spun an energy bone between himself and the fire to dissipate the flames. Once he was done, he grasped the weapon and grunted.

“You will not take my place!” Edgar roared, his eyes focused on the four.

Percival grunted again, carefully looking at Vulcan. The dragon nodded and charged towards Edgar, the Haxorus’ claws were enveloped in purple, draconic energy as he tried slashing the monarch. Meanwhile, Percival stood up and took a deep breath, touching the emera in his arm.

“I will judge you myself if I have to!” Percival screamed, a rainbow aura enveloping his body. While still wrapped in energy, the Lucario dashed, launching the club in the air.

It spun with high speed, and Edgar, being distracted by Vulcan’s assault, didn’t see the projectile until it hit him square in the jaw. He stumbled backwards and roared, before Percival jumped in, uppercutting the king’s jawbone. The rainbow aura exploded, sending Edgar flying across the room until he entered his office again.

“Well done.” Vulcan pointed out, panting. “W-What’s this form again?”

“Mega evolution,” he answered, cracking his knuckles. “I can’t stay too long, otherwise I’ll go berserk, so let’s finish this quickly!”

The dragon motioned to his smaller companions. “Go grab the cuffs! Percival and I will deal with the king!”

Now left alone, the duo prepared to fight again. Soon enough, they heard the king’s heavy footsteps drawing near. Percival locked eyes with Vulcan and, together, the two ran towards the Tyrantrum.

“I’ll find you a breach and you’ll strike!” Vulcan shouted, turning his body around, the scales on his tail changed color to a silver tone.

“Get back here, you traitor!” Edgar lowered his head, opening his jaw and trying to strike the dragon with his sharp fangs. It was quick, and Vulcan soon screamed in pain, but otherwise remained where he stood.

That’s the best breach I’ll have… Percival thought, creating a second bone in his left paw. And that’s the one I’ll use!

“H-Hurry, Percival!”

With another long breath, he aimed at Edgar’s legs, launching the two bones he held. They struck with precision, hitting the dragon and forcing him to release Vulcan. Not just that, but his legs gave in and he fell on the ground grunting from the pain.

“Is this enough…?” Vulcan asked, panting. He hoped that was the case, but they could never be too sure.

As for Percival, he still sensed Edgar’s aura, and from how it looked, he could tell the monarch was furious . Nonetheless, he created a sphere in his paw and slowly approached the Tyrantrum.

“No, it wasn’t. But it will be now!” Percival aimed at the monarch, preparing to strike at any moment.

“Don’t! We’ll deal with him our way, there’s no need to kill Edgar!” Vulcan protested.

The Lucario didn’t flinch or look away. His arm, however, trembled ever so slightly, not enough for him to notice. Not at first. Yet, Percival failed to launch the move. Something inside him told him not to, despite the effort he was doing right now.

“What’s… wrong?” Percival asked himself, and suddenly he felt something grabbing his arm. He looked up and gasped; It was Brian. Brian was holding his arm tightly. Not knowing what to do, he closed his eyes and dissipated the move, falling to his knees.

A lot of time had passed since the dragons and Percival had left the house, Lilith noticed. Scar left too, and apparently Max was preparing for a mission faraway, so now she was alone inside Scar’s house.

Sure, she could stay there and do something fun, like reading. Or she could go out and check the coronation by herself. Oh yes. The second option was better! Exciting, even. Lilith giggled as she left the house, wondering how things were turning out now.

And if fate wanted, then maybe Chewtle’s family would be okay, too. Lilith had done everything in her power and could only hope now.

She walked in the streets, seeing the citizens leaving their houses and all of them walking in the same direction, towards the center of the city. That had to be where Scar had prepared the meeting. There were even a few reporters, judging by the recorders and the large quantity of electric-types. Though Lilith wasn’t sure exactly how it worked, she managed to recognize it as a magnetic wire recorder.

“Geez, this thing’s really important, eh?” Lilith told herself, gulping down. “...Well, I trust Scar.”

“Whaddya think this is all about?” A Grumpig nearby asked, talking with someone else.

“No idea. Guess only time will tell.” Answered a Mr. Rime, shrugging.

Oh. He didn’t even tell everyone? Scar, sometimes you’re just lazy… Lilith sighed, walking further to the center of the town, paying attention to what the townsfolk around her said.

“I bet this has to do with that noble that got killed a while ago!” This time, a Carracosta said, talking to a Bagon.

That Salazzle lady. Didn’t realize how important she was. But Scar had to have a reason to order her death.

Lilith finally stopped, right in the middle of a whole crowd. She took a look around, still not finding Scar anywhere. Until she heard the sounds of trumpets, the same sounds she heard when she visited the king in his castle.

Oh shit. The bunny ran, shoving aside the Pokémon around her, trying to get closer to where the sound came from. It was getting closer! Not just the sound, but the coronation as well. Gotta get there!

With several jumps, she made her way to the frontline, placing herself between two Graveler. After all that effort, Lilith panted, only raising her head to see what was in front of her.


Scar was surrounded by several Fraxure, as well as Vulcan himself, who stood by the Marowak’s right side. The ghost-type took a single step forward, putting his hands behind his back and clearing his throat.

“It is without so much as a shred of a doubt that you must be wondering why I called everyone here,” Scar started his speech, extending his arm to show off the royal guard. “These knights of Cydonia have been working with me for the past few months to achieve a singular purpose: We have dethroned the king.”

Total silence. Nobody really knew what to say when confronted with that truth. But there were whispers. Every now and then, someone whispered, asking questions such as “Why?”, “They did what?”, and similar. Scar couldn’t help but smile, everything had fallen according to plan. A Gumshoos approached him, carrying a microphone.

“Reporters, eh?” Scar mused, smiling. “Very well. Then I wish you to record what I am about to say.”

All eyes were set on Scar, but there was no noise, the trumpets had silenced everything other than the Marowak. He took one step forward and ordered the trumpeteers to stand down.

“Attention, world! Hear my proclamation!” Scar started, touching his chest. “Many of you know me as Scar, but my name, my true name… is Asher. A father to some, a husband to someone else. But they no longer exist!”

More whispers spread over the crowd, unsure of what was going on. Lilith nodded, waiting for the speech to continue.

“...For years, I have searched everywhere to find peace, to find a mere remnant of hope to hold on to. And I found it. I found my calling!” Scar raised his club into the air, closing his eyes.

“A creature, a God that was cast aside and buried, all because of the fear, the fear inside the Legends of ancient times. But they never realized what He truly wanted. That is: A world without famine, a world without war, a world… where we can be free. Where nobody will die due to prejudice, to disease, to hatred.”

A loud gasp came from the audience, who watched the events unfold. Scar stood there, eyes closed as he let the common folk take in what he said.

“And because He is still trapped, the war rages on. We cannot stand by and let it happen again. Therefore, me and my companions of the Sunset Salvation have taken action into our own hands!” The Marowak showed the guards again, each of them having a blank expression on their faces. “We have taken away the king’s throne, so never again will he cause pain and suffering to you all!”

Gumshoos gulped, raising the microphone. “S-Sir… let me see if I understand… You carried out a coup? D-Do we need to fear you and your companions?”

Scar shook his head. “Hear me and rejoice! Citizens! Fear us or rely behind us as you see fit! For we… We are the Sunset Salvation!”

The reporter gasped, making sure to record what Scar said.

“We of the Sunset Salvation stand with everyone who has suffered, who is suffering, and who will suffer. Whether they are poor or rich… it does not matter! The king cowardly let you all be made hostages from the aftermath of the raid… and without a shred of mercy, did nothing to assist you!”

The citizens started talking amongst themselves, some nodding, some shaking their heads, but most of them agreed with what Scar was saying.

“It was a meaningless act, and neither I nor my teammates could let it happen again. Therefore, the king has been punished!”

Those words caused another gasp across the audience, but this time, some of the Pokémon began to clap and cheer for Scar.

“Just as the noble mistress Adelaide has been punished for her hideous acts towards her own employees,” this caused a few Salandit in the audience to cry. Scar simply continued.

“We cannot stand by and allow such cruelty to be carried out, so both of them have been properly dealt with. And we will not let this become a one-sided massacre to the weak by the strong! Because, in truth… only those who are willing to be killed can kill.”

Scar then snapped his fingers, and behind the knights came a figure, a Lucario dressed in armor, and wearing a cape and a crown. The citizens shouted, some grunted, some cheering as they applauded the canine.

“And because of this, we have elected a new, better king to rule over this city!” Scar stood by the Lucario’s side, tapping the auric Pokémon’s shoulder.

“It is with great honor that I accept this responsibility,” Percival said, nodding and waving at the citizens. His citizens. “I will do all I can to help this city prosper.”

Scar then raised the Lucario’s arm high in the air. “All hail the king! All hail Percival!”
 
Dungeon 46 - Calling

Navar

Professional Mudkip Lover
Location
Brazil
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
  2. custom/chesnaught-apron
Dungeon 46 - Calling


Buzzing and whirring noises were all Dexter could hear, standing before the door to Brian's apartment. He grunted for a moment and knocked, hoping that this time, the Zoroark would open up. But there was no reply.

"...I would've 'ad better chances with Popsicle. The fuck be Goggles doin'?"

With a grunt, the Floatzel knocked on the door again, only that this time he used some more force. Luckily, it worked, as he heard footsteps and soon enough, Brian came out of the door.

"Heya! What took you so long?" The fox asked, rubbing sweat off his face. Dexter couldn't see it through the goggles Brian wore, but the Zoroark had dark circles under his eyes.

"Oh, I wonder what made me take so long to get 'ere," Dexter rolled his eyes, then took another, better look at Brian. "Ye look like crap. What 'appened?"

Confused by that question, Brian took a look at himself. His fur seemed messy and scruff, shiny spots of grease stuck around it and on his goggles. His position was permanently hunched as he fiddled with a hookshot, and he smelled like he hadn't taken a bath in days.

None of that mattered to him, as Brian just shrugged it off. "Eh. I don't need sleep, I just need to finish this project."

"What project? The train?"

"That one's already finished. At least my part, anyway." Brian waved at him to come inside. "Alright, enough chit chat. Are you helping me or not?"

Dexter didn't really want to let him stay that way. With a sigh, he responded. "Only if ye take a shower. Before or after, whichever works fer ye."

"I will not make any promises."

Is that what friendship was like? Dexter had experienced so few that he wasn't sure, even if his gut told him to help in any way he could. Most of the time, that involved beating someone up, but with feelings? That was a whole different story. Still, he had to try.

"Fine, fine. Goggles, walk me through whatever it be that there ye be workin' on."

"Ah, don't worry! I just need brute strength, and maybe a volunteer?"

The interior of Brian's apartment wasn't in much better shape than the zoroark himself, there were leftovers scattered on the ground, accumulated from various days, the couch smelled funny, and there were so many things spread across the floor that it was a miracle anyone could walk inside without tripping.

"Scratch the shower. Ye need to clean this here place."

"I will, don't worry!" he grabbed Dexter's hand, pulling him further into the flat. They passed the small hallway and stopped next to Brian's room. The smell of grease was stronger coming from there, making Dexter gulp and cover his nose.

"What're ye workin' on exactly?"

His eyes sparkled like stars and Brian giggled, excited to show off his work. "Remember those weird spheres that Morgan—oh, right! You didn't join the team by then!"

"...Glad ye figured it out."

"Yup! Back to the main course—kitchen joke, I tried baking a cake yesterday, but didn't work out, very greasy—"

"Goggles."

"Ahem!"


As they went inside, Brian fiddled around his room, throwing some of his tools to the opposite side, along with towels on a nearby chair, surprisingly clean, compared to the rest of the room. Eventually, he turned around, facing Dexter. On his right paw, the Zoroark held a tiny spherical object, colored red and black. In the middle of the s was a small button, shaped like a circle.

"I think Meg called this a… poké ball?"

Dexter raised a brow. "What does it do?"

With a click, the sphere expanded. Now it could be held by Brian's entire paw. He threw it in the air and caught it when it came down. He did all this while showing his signature toothy grin.

"From what I could tell, the guy that created this used 'em to catch Pokémon. Don't know exactly how that works."

"Catch? What do ye mean?"

"That's honestly a very long thing to explain, but basically he trapped us inside this ball."

The weasel snorted at the last world and shrugged. "Aight, I believe ye. What're ye plannin' on doin' with the ball?"

"Not with the ball itself," Brian stated. "I was more interested in the shrinking mechanism. Figured we could use that to better hold any item we wanna."

"Do ye know 'ow that there works?"

"I do, actually! It works by compressing space, and—"

Dexter shook his head. "I be no longer interested in the explanation. What do ye want me 'ere fer?"

"Uh, you're my friend? I just wanted to show off what I've been working on?"

To that, the weasel frowned. "So what ye be sayin' be that there ye spend a week workin' on that there, instead o' 'elpin' yerself?"

Brian tilted his head. "Helping myself?"

"Goggles, I'mma be 'onest with ye," the Floatzel grunted, crossing his arms and giving his teammate a stern look. "It be about time someone gave ye this here talk."

"W-Wha?"

"Ye be doin' all this here... fer what?" Dexter sighed. "Ye be distractin' yerself. Not wantin' to think 'bout yer brother. Because it 'urts whenever ye do."

Brian remained in silence, but he looked down, not really having any quips or other things to say. Suddenly, returning to his abandoned projects seemed much more tempting, and he no longer wanted Dexter inside, even if he knew the Floatzel was trying to help in any way he could.

"Point be: I be yer mate. An' I wanna 'elp ye. But ye need to 'elp yerself, too."

Brian snarled, closing his fist. "...How? I miss my brother, he's my best friend in the whole world! We were supposed to be on this journey together, y'know?"

"Great question. 'Ow's about we figure it out t'gether?"

"You just answered my question with another one!" Brian pouted, but couldn't hide a chuckle. "What do you want me to do anyway?"

Dexter nodded. "We could visit yer brother. Wherever 'e be. Just gotta figure that out before, eh?"

Find Lance. No problem. No problem at all! Brian laughed again, covering his face and sitting on his bed, choosing to leave the sphere where it was. The sheer absurdity of that statement caused him to calm down for the moment.

Something that Dexter appreciated as well. This "friendship" thing was new, but it had its perks, and helping Brian out did give him that bubbling feeling in his gut. A good one, not those that he got whenever he was sick.

The door to Brian's room opened with a loud thud, and Meggie came rushing into his side. She was panting, and immediately floated down to the ground, shaking to her very core.

"B-Brian! I gotta show you something!" Only now noticing Dex, she turned to his side. "C'mon, you too! You guys gotta see this!"


The trio climbed down the stairs, going towards the reception. The landlord was nowhere to be seen, but a group consisting of a Drampa and a Volbeat listened to a radio, intrigued.

"What's goin' on exactly, Meg?" Brian asked, panting. Curiosity got the better of him, because of course it did.

Meggie gulped. "Uuuh… you might wanna get closer. C'mon!"

They soon approached the duo, who continued to listen to the radio. Brian frowned, unsure what to expect. If it was serious enough for her to call him, then he really needed to pay attention to the conversation.

"...To the shock of all in this city, the king has been taken down!" Said the announcer.

"What does that have to do with—" Brian started, only to be interrupted by the others there. He forced a gulp and shut up.

"I repeat, a coup has occurred! It appears that this Marow—pardon me, this fire-type Marowak is behind all this!"

Fire-type Marowak? Brian thought, his mind flashing to the events that had taken place months ago. Could it be him…?

Meggie looked at him in silence, nodding. Dexter scratched the back of his head, unsure what made them so shocked. He wrapped his arms around them and smiled.

"Aight, mates. Let's 'earrr the rest o' the announcement, eh?"

"Don't have anything better to do anyway," Meggie shrugged.

"Y-Yeah." Brian added. Please be him, please be him, please be him!

They heard static coming from the radio, but it soon returned to normal. "And it seems the new king is a Lucario!"

Brian's heart stopped. His eyes widened, and even his breathing slowed down, coming to a halt. Did he hear it correctly? A Lucario as king, a fire-type Marowak… It couldn't be a coincidence, could it?

More static came up, before they heard someone clearing their throat. "I promise to do my best for the city!"

"L-Lance…" Brian fell to his knees, his heart seemed to shatter into a million pieces. His brother. His brother was alive and well.

Dexter's face had a mix of shock and smugness in it. "Wha? Pup's... Pup's become king? I didn't know ye two was royalty."

"I-I… w-we're not?" Brian panted, what was he going to do now? This was… Oh no! It was a crime! Lance couldn't just do that!

Meggie pulled her teammates away from the group, getting far enough that they could talk in peace. Dexter grumbled, but followed. Brian didn't say anything other than grunts and was out of it, dissociating with everything that was going on.

Dexter looked back at the radio, frowning. "What're goin' to do? I mean... it be an awful thing, but what can we do about it?"

Brian remained quiet. "..."

"He brought this on himself, let's be real," Meggie said, sighing. "...I wanna help him too, but what worries me the most is some stuff I've heard before you guys came in. Something about a legendary called Ne—"

Brian was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving the two behind.


Never in his life was Brian so conflicted about his own feelings. The shock was strong, too strong.

What can I do? What can I do?! What can I do?!

Brian fell to his knees, drawing a crowd near him. Right now he wanted nothing to do with them, so he quickly put on an illusion of invisibility and ran away, dropping it once he was far enough from the crowd.

"...I wish I could've helped you."

Nobody was there. Brian simply talked to himself. He sat down on the ground and looked down, snapping his fingers. In front of him, an illusion of him and his brother as kids showed up. They were playing, having fun with each other. Something that he missed, now that they were so apart from one another, and not just physically.

"Was I a good brother to you?" Brian whined, his ears drooping. The Riolu stepped forward, standing in front of him.

"I-I always tried to be supportive… I… I only wanted you to be happy, even if it meant I wasn't. T-The team… It was your idea, Lance. I never wanted to leave home, no. I did it for you."

Riolu stood motionlessly, staring at Brian as the Zoroark shed tears, looking at his hands.

"...I killed someone too. I-I know that it's a bad thing, and I know you do too. But what did you do, Lance? You overthrew someone? Why? Because the kidnapping made you this… this mons—"

Before finishing that sentence, Brian caught himself. He shook his head, denying the idea that his sibling, his best friend, was a monster, a merciless beast.

"But… I can't keep making excuses for this, Lance. I just… I-I can't. It's not right!"

Unconsciously, Brian made the Riolu nearby approach and give him a hug. He gasped, and returned the gesture. He felt nothing, it was a simple illusion, nothing more than that. But, even if it was for just a moment, he could pretend Lance was there.

These things hurt. They hurt so much. How could this happen? They were going so fine before meeting… that other team.

"...I'm gonna find out more about this. It's all because of that Marowak guy, right? I don't know what happened, but I need answers."

Brian dissipated the Riolu into thin air and stood up, taking a deep breath to calm down. His heart still raced, he wasn't sure if this was the right course of action. "Just you wait! I'm bringing you back! And I'm gettin' to the bottom of this!"


Dexter finally got to see the inside of Meggie's house, and it looked much better than his own, he thought. Every piece of furniture was neatly placed, giving him and any other who went inside a nice feeling of comfort. The smell of hot chocolate only contributed to this, making his stomach growl.

And it was all so clean! He didn't see any dirt or dusty parts around, and while the flat was small—the kitchen was merged with the living room!—Dexter still enjoyed the place. And the company. Mostly the company.

"Uuuh… what're you doing, dude?" Meggie asked, tilting her head.

"Nuthin'. Just curious about this here place," he replied, walking towards her.

The ghost nodded, sitting at a table. Or, well, she floated above the chair, having grown used to being a ghost now. She held a blue mug and blew on the chocolate to cool it down.

"Thanks fer invitin' me 'ere, Popsicle," he said, sipping the chocolate down. It was too hot, but he was able to chug it without much of an issue.

"I figured we should let Brian take it easy. Us too, maybe. I guess. I dunno…" with each word, Meggie lowered her head, sipping more of the now cold drink.

"...Just know I be 'ere fer ye an' Goggles," Dexter sighed, putting down the mug. "I don't know Pup as much as ye two do, but it be 'ard, ain't it?"

She bit her lip and looked away. "Well, as long as he's alright… I just wish I knew how to help. I know what his captor did to him, I knew him personally… and I wonder if things could be different."

Pressing her to talk more about this wasn't exactly Dexter's plan for the day, but he was getting more curious about their situation.

"What do ye mean?"

"In a way… I think I feel responsible about it," she sighed, finally managing to sit down. "And… after our last battle, I thought I'd stopped wondering about my human life. Just—"

Dexter nearly choked, paying close attention to what she just said. Those words rung in his ears, making his curiosity spike to the maximum. "Wait. Ye be a 'uman? A real 'uman?"

I thought I told him about this before. Shit. Meggie shrugged. "Well, I used to be. Not anymore, as you can prolly tell. I had an accident and ended up here."

Her friend was staring with the biggest dumbstruck face she ever saw, almost embarrassing. She turned away and pouted. "Okay, okay! It's nothing that big dude! No need to keep eyeing me like that!"

Dexter eventually rubbed the back of his head. "Aight, aight. Look, I've always thought 'umans was a myth, y'know? Stuff o' legends. Can't believe I be actually seein' one fer real."

"And that's where the trouble begins," she replied, now staring at the liquid chocolate in the mug. "If I never worked with that man… then I wouldn't have arrived here, and neither would him. All the lives he ruined, Lance… he would have a normal childhood. I'm responsible for it."

Dexter shook his head, holding Meggie's hand as they locked eyes. "I don't think ye be responsible, Popsicle. Can't pretend I understand much o' what ye've been through, but I've spied the kindness ye 'ave."

Those words sounded like they were true, and Meggie knew that Dexter was right. Even so, how could she believe it? There was a living proof of her failure, after all. Despite the fact they stopped Morgan, the trauma he inflicted on so many innocent lives never disappeared.

"I bet Pup's doin' whatever 'e's doin' 'cause 'e wants to," Dexter replied, sighing as they held hands. "Y'know, we can find out where 'e be, an' go there ourselves. Find out the truth. What do ye say?"

Beautiful words. They spoke to her, to what Meggie wanted. Find some closure to this. Because of it, it was no surprise that she nodded in agreement.


What better thing to do than call his father? Even if Brian knew he was most likely unavailable. He had to try regardless.

After getting inside the guild, he ignored some of the recruits that were staring at him; his team got famous after all these adventures, Brian thought. That didn't matter. All he wanted was to talk with whoever was in charge.

Which was a Mawile, sitting at her desk and reading a book, one about gossip, from what Brian could tell as he approached the table. Clearing his throat, he drew her attention, and a smile spread on her face.

She put down the book and smiled again. "Good morning, Brian! How's your day going?"

"Honestly? Could be better," he replied, shrugging and leaning in closer to her. "Jean, I wanna make a call. Is it free now? The phone?"

"Y-Yes!" Jean replied, feeling heat rising up on her face. She could only hope that she wasn't blushing. The fairy quickly looked to her side, pointing at a wired phone on the desk. "F-Feel free to use it. I owe you and your team a lot, y'know."

"Didn't mean it like that, but sure."

Weird. Brian elected to ignore it and began to type a number. With each digit he typed, the frown on his face grew. "C'mon, dad! Pick up the phone!"

"Tough times?" Jean asked, looking at him, to which Brian nodded. "...Well, I'm sure things will be better soon."

"Hope you're right," Brian sighed, tapping the desk as he waited for his father to answer, but to no avail. "...Damn it."

Brian walked away from the desk and crossed his arms. What to do, what to do? He had his arms tied, metaphorically.

"What's troubling you so much?" Jean asked.

"I kinda heard my brother did some… messed up stuff," he replied, gulping down. It was probably for the best if he didn't go into details about what exactly Lance did.

"Really…? He seemed so nice when he visited me in the hospital that one time," the Mawile sighed. "Hope he's okay…"

"Sorry that you got kidnapped," Brian said, turning around. "Thanks for trying, though. I'll figure something out. See ya later!"

The fox ran off, but not before waving at Jean with a smile.


To make the wait for Brian to return more fun, Dexter decided to spice things up. Which meant he fiddled through the fox's belongings until he found a cd player, before storming back to Meggie's room with the biggest grin she ever saw on his face.

"What're you planning now?"

"I figure, since we be fixin' to plan the trip, an' since Goggles ain' 'ere yet... we might as well 'ave some fun, eh?"

Meggie spread her own smile. "Bet. What's the mixtape today? I listened to a few of his, but by all means, surprise me."

Dexter turned the device on and waited. Not long after, the sound began playing and he quickly nodded. "We can plan too. Ye got any notebook or somethin' like it?"

"Just a sec!" Meggie floated away from the living room, going inside her room.

The weasel, meanwhile, began moving his head back and forth as the music blasted onto his ears.

'Load up on guns, bring your friends

It's fun to lose and to pretend

She's over-bored and self-assured

Oh no, I know a dirty word'

"Hello, hello, hello, how low!" Dexter sang, making the gestures of an air guitar with his arms. "Hello, hello, hello, how low! Hello, hello, hello, how low… hello, hello, hello…"

Bursting from her room, Meggie began to scream the lyrics. "With the lights out… it's less dangerous! Here we are now… entertain us! I feel stupid and contagious…"

The two sang to one another, moving around and dancing to the rhythm of the song, laughing in between lyrics. Meggie raised her arm, showing the notebook.

"Turns out I know where that puppy is!" Meggie pointed out in the middle of her dancing. She threw the book in the air and curled around graciously, before picking it up. "Seems like it's an island named Cydonia, at least that's what the reporter said…"

Dexter snapped his finger and shook his hips, grinning. "So we gotta go to that there town? Neat. 'Ow farrr be it?"

"No fucking idea!" She put the book on a couch nearby and floated towards it, still dancing. "Sorry, the song's catchy and made me wanna swear."

"Ye ain't seen nothin' until ye live with two sailors," he chuckled, managing to break the ice(luckily, not Meggie) as he sat down. The radio still played, fixed on a shelf in the kitchen nearby.

"So we just need to plan our next steps… alright, shouldn't take too long!" Meggie said, holding a pencil in her hand. "First, go to the island, second… find out exactly what's going on there, and hopefully Lance can get back to the team."

"I sure 'ope so! Pup's not a bad mon by any means."

"You're being very defensive over someone you met for just one night," she teased, smirking at him.

She thought the grin Dexter had when he entered the room was big, but this time, he surpassed her expectations with a very smug smile. "Two nights, actually. But I won't bother ye with the details o' 'ow I first met 'im."

"What?"


Truthfully, Brian needed to talk to someone. Not with his friends(at least not yet), but with someone who understood him. Sadly, his father was gone, as usual, and in the big town he lived in, he didn't know many Pokémon well.

One exception sprung into his mind, making him walk towards the police precinct. He could visit that Arcanine. Yeah, it made sense. Visit Apollo, talk with him a little, maybe ask for guidance, that kind of thing. It wasn't a plan, mostly because Brian never bothered to think more than that.

As he entered, the fox greeted whoever came close to him with a wave or a nod, and sometimes both. He smiled nervously, trying his best to remain calm.

"Where's detective Apollo?" Brian asked a passerby Hawlucha.

"The Cap'n? He's at his office."

Well, that wasn't very helpful. Brian passed by the Hawluch and then looked around. If Apollo got promoted, then his office might be bigger.

"Where is him?"

Fortunately, Brian managed to see the canine walking out of a room with a Dewott by his side. The fox quickly raced to his side, waving to the large Pokémon.

"Heya, kiddo!" Apollo barked, giving Brian the best hug his quadruped body could give. "Haven't seen you in a while! How's things?"

"Sir, we have a meeting soon," the Dewott said.

"...Nevermind, you're a busy mon," Brian backed away, frowning.

"I can always have time for you, kid." Apollo grinned, turning to face the otter. "I'll be there soon, lemme just talk with him."

With a nod, they were alone. Apollo then walked inside his office again, but Brian followed him. The place was comfy, with a chair made for quadrupeds, along with a table and sturdy windows. Brian specially looked at the latter, wondering how they were made. And how many hits it took until they broke.

"Ahem," the fluffy fire-type cleared his throat, sitting down on the chair. "So! What brings you here? Another case for me to crack?"

If only you were a therapist… Brian thought. He didn't sit down because there was only one chair, but really, he didn't mind it. This was supposed to be brief, anyway. "So, uh… I might visit my brother soon. In… wherever he is."

"Hmmm," Apollo tilted his head, humming. "Well… if you're here, I take it you're having some trouble with this. And you wanna talk about it."

"You hit the jackpot!" A small chuckle came out of Brian's mouth.

Apollo frowned. He felt sorry for that kid. Brian seemed to be having a hard time. What could he do to help? Maybe he just needed to listen.


Brian stood up, looking at the window of Apollo's office and wondering how he should start. A lump formed on his throat, and he struggled to say anything.

"Lance has left the team," he finally said, still not looking at the canine. "It's been three months now, and I don't know why he did it. I'm worried, am I in the wrong here…? He's family, and he's my best friend, too."

"Family, eh?" Apollo barked. He smiled at Brian before continuing. "Hm, as they say: the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb."

"Huh?"

"Bonds forged are stronger than those related by blood," he stated and scratched his chin. "Then again, I'm not really a follower of this saying. I'm very close to my family, and there's even a nephew of mine that's visiting."

Brian turned around, his ears perking up. "Oh, I knew that. And I get it. But my family's important to me too."

"Then… go find him! Follow your heart, kid!" The canine said, smiling brightly. Brian looked at him and then leaned in for another hug, prompting Apollo to return the gesture. "...I'm sure you'll do good, alright?"

They remained close to one another for a moment that seemed to go on forever for them. Brian began to shiver, and tears fell from his face into Apollo's fur, causing him to pat the fox's head slowly, caressing him softly.

"There, there… you'll be fine, alright? You and your brother. You both have… a brave heart."

Brian gulped and continued there for many minutes to come.


Even before entering Meggie's flat, Brian had heard the songs inside that place. He frowned and knocked on the door as loud as he could, so she could hear him.

"One sec!" Meggie said from inside and opened the door. She waved at Brian. "Hi dude! Sailor and I are having a meeting, wanna come?"

He blushed deep beneath his fur. "What?"

"Not like that. More like… planning what we're gonna do."

Brian crossed his arms. "Uh, sure."

After he walked in, he saw Dexter scribbling on a large whiteboard, but there were so many words splattered around he could hardly discern what was written. Not to mention that his nose managed to sniff out beer on Dexter's fur.

"What's going on here?" Brian asked, still with his arms crossed.

"Oh, 'owdy, Goggles!" Dexter turned around, waving as quickly as he could. His fur was bristled, and the more he talked, the more the nasty stench of alcohol filled Brian's nostrils. "Plannin' our next move! Popsicle 'ere 'eard more o' the announcement!"

"I did," Meggie agreed.

That doesn't explain why there's a board and why he sounds so weird. more than usual, Brian sighed. "Hm. Meg, you know where he is?"

"Yup! Cydonia, apparently." She replied, nodding. Meggie had sparkling eyes, almost excited for what was to come.

Dexter grinned. "We can go there. It might take a while by foot, but I be sure we can find someone to take us there. This here be the biggest town in the 'ole continent."

"Brian, this might be more than what meets the eye," the Froslass said, now frowning. "...Scar talked about this Necrozma guy before, and I have a bad feeling about this. The last time someone wanted something to do with a legend, well…"

"I know," Brian said. "We had to put an end to it. Buuut we don't know the whole thing. I just want to see my brother again."

He sighed. Finally talking about his feelings lifted an incredible weight off him, he was feeling lighter, better, even. And with the support of his friends, then maybe things would be alright after all. Brian looked at them and smiled.

"Thanks, everyone."

Dexter approached Brian, tapping his mane. "Don't mention it, mate. I've wanted to see the world e'er since I been little. Just got an opportunity, that be all. An' with mates like y'all, it'll be great."

"My curiosity is high right now!" Meggie explained, smiling as she leaned in for a hug. "I still have many things to see, and since I'm living here already, I better enjoy my time!"

Brian returned the hug, soon finding out that Dexter had joined the two. The fox whimpered for a moment, but soon hugged both of his friends. In the end, he was sure that things would be alright.
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
Merry Blitzmas
Disclaimer: This is mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Take it as you will.

I guess it’s time for Lance’s descent into Necrozmafied villainy.

32
-I don’t remember if we’ve seen Scar using fire moves before, but giving him green fire for that whole ghostly vibe thing is cool.
-Having once used “Mistress” to be the female equivalent to “Master,” I’m admittedly not a huge fan of it b/c it gaves enslavement vibes. If Meganium was serving willingly, “Lady” might be a more appropriate title for Xerneas.
-I suppose I should’ve expected Meganium to have met Morgan if she claimed he tried to steal Xerneas’ power. But I can’t say I was expecting them to have… worked together? That’s what it seems like from their initial exchange in the dungeon. I’m also not sure if it took him fifteen years to convince Meganium to let him see Xerneas or if he’d lived on his own for a portion of that time. The timetable’s not entirely clear for me.
-It also feels redundant for Meganium to call Morgan here protege when the flashback shows that and the audience can (likely) assume Meganium should’ve told the group, since she isn’t giving the flashback to them verbatim to what the reader gets.
-Ah, okay, so they have been working together for fifteen years. That… seems like an awfully long time needed to convince Meganium.
-How is Xerneas able to tell the means through which Morgan arrived? Also, seems a bit strange she’s the one who can do memory stuff. As opposed to, y’know, any of the many psychic-type legends in the canon.
-I’m similarly a bit baffled with the chain of events surrounding Morgan regaining his memories. How does Xerneas so quickly assume destruction from what she sees? Why does Morgan immediately snap to “It’s what you deserve?” Surely he’d have had some good memories from his time as a pokemon that he’d still remember? And, of course, how he manages to escape from Xerneas given he’s supposedly weak as a kirlia. Lot of gaps missing, in my opinion.

33
-Shiver me timburrs? No. Bad boy. You sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.
-Also, I’m still baffled as to how a canon PMD locale like the Sea of Wonders is mixed in with your original settings that are a lot more technologically advanced than PMD canon.
-Unsure of what the purpose behind the second scene with Lance and Scar is, though. Feels like it’s mostly retreading things we already know related to Lance’s current inner turmoil. The bit with Lilith and Meggie after also seems to be retreading stuff she talked about with Lance.
-By the way, how does one massage a ghost-type? [chuckle]
-I guess Brian isn’t still upset enough with Lance to not do the random hug when he breaks down in front of Meganium.
-Meggie’s attempt at mocking Derek sounds more like a self-own than anything. I, uh, hope that was the intent, ha ha.
-And so the ship is sunk. I hope Lance and Brain can swim. The latter’s comments to Max suggest to me he’s not a proficient swimmer in the slightest.

34
-I don’t know why you don’t tell us it’s Scar getting rescued by Meganium until he’s on land. The ambiguity feels… unnecessary.
-Similarly, Brian keeps flipflopping between his usual love for Lance and being terrified of his current mental state and I’m not sure which one feels more genuine at this point. Especially since Meggie (thankfully) points out Brian’s hypocrisy, to which he completely deflects. I know the exposition about his love for building and tinkering is supposed to make him sympathetic but it’s a bit… hard for me to feel that way with his inconsistent actions. I’d have focused more on his personal conflict of emotions to make it feel more genuine but, alas, this is all in the past, I suppose.
-A place devoid of light that seems to be calling out to Max? My prism senses might be tingling.
-If this forest was really so different than other mystery dungeons, it would’ve been nice to see some more details showing those differences. Feels a bit glossed over as is.
-I also don’t buy Lance saying he hasn’t spoken to his teammates in days. He was, y’know, literally talking with Meggie about her fears over the memory restoration thing.
-I will give you credit though, things were suspicious enough for me to question if those were the real Brian and Meggie or some sort of dungeon illusions to mess with Lance.
-Huh, okay, these prism zombies are genuinely freaky. Nice job.

35
-Devolution for the nightmare trip. A classic. How would Brian put on his goggles without hands, though?
-Still can’t tell if Brian can really swim or not. But this does explain why he was that terrified of water. Though, in all honesty, if his fear is really that primal, why did he even agree to get on the boat in the first place? And how was he not freaking out when they got shipwrecked? I think there’s a bit of inconsistency with that, I’m afraid.
-I do like Meggie’s nightmare scenario and some of the glass-like phantasms she witnesses in it. If this is all related to Necrozma, the shattered glass imagery used is a nice little nod toward its base design.
-Lance’s feels the weakest of everything because it’s just, again, retreading things we’ve gone over in previous chapters. I’m pretty sure he already accepted that he made the right choice regarding Atlas, making his acceptance here redundant in my opinion. Especially when he does the same thing in his second scene. Perhaps the only difference there is he seems to be renouncing any ties to his team but, like, he’s already made similar comments before. It gives me the same vibes as Shadow the Hedgehog saying “This is who I am!” in every one of the endings in his game. Which is prooooobably not what you want?
-Aha ha… it’s admittedly hard not to read Lance saying “I love you” to Brian as the family variant and not the romantic variant. I guess I’m too used to thinking of more casual ways of saying that phrase to a family member.
-Still like some of the prism imagery in Meggie’s bit, though it’s a bit contradictory to have Necrozma say he’s not available for conversation when he’s, well, conversing with Meggie.
-It seems the little skirmish with Derek after is supposed to show how they’ve grown from this… affair. Although it’s a bit tempered with knowing Lance is going down a dark road.

36
-I see you’re trying to make Morgan look like as much of a dick as possible before his (potential) swan song. The weedle bit was enough, in my opinion. Continuing past it brings it almost to a comical point where it’s hard to take him seriously as a villain. Also pretty sure monster houses need more than three ‘mons. :P
-Why does Torterra have a… Scottish brogue? I think that’s what it is, but it’s way too heavy to actually make out. I’m not sure it’s fixed by having blaziken lampshade the terrible accents, either.
-Similarly, I’m very confused why a breloom needs or even has a sword. Decidueye using arrows makes sense, but the weapon for Breloom is very… odd. Also, are they armored like in the Lucario movie? Or do you refer to Nidoking’s hide as being armored?
-I’d like to think Decidueye talking about things getting thrown into chaos is referencing the planet hurtling into the sun from Super.

37
-I still think these Primeval accents are a bit too ridiculous, especially since Meganium also serves Xerneas but has no evidence of a similar accent.
-Also, I confess by the time Blaziken is fighting Decidueye I’d gotten a bit… numb to all the fighting b/w Morgan’s goons and the Primeval people. The fights keep following this pattern of rallying cries, then a skirmish, then Morgan’s goons tapping into their collars, then the troops expressing disbelief at their powers and emeras, and getting thrashed. I can’t help but find it a bit samey and wish it was mostly glazed over in favor of getting to the part where the heroes actually catch up with Morgan. Not helping the mindlessness of it is Blaziken’s own admission that his motivations are threadbare at best.
-Ayy, Scar with the title drop. Roll credits!
-It’s a bit weird to have Morgan go on about the things he’s lost and sacrifices he’s made when one scene earlier he was telling Noctowl that he deserved to rule. He’s not a sympathetic villain and having him spout occasional lines like that comes off as more empty than sincere. Hopefully that’s the point.
-I’m still unsure if the events of Super happened or not. It seems that Xerneas should be more cautious given what she’s dealing with. Or, y’know, seize the opportunity when Morgan’s a bit incapacitated from her initial mind attack. I do think she’s holding the idiot ball a bit when she says death is not good enough for him, giving him the time to mega evolve.

Will probs be back for other things later.
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
Blitzy New Year!
Disclaimer: This is mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Take it as you will.

38
-Is that a How I Met Your Mother reference? I’m not sure how to feel about this.
-Many have tried to defy Xerneas? So, uh, did a variant of PSMD happen here or not? Because Dark Matter technically succeeded in defying her.
-See, if you’d leaned harder on Morgan just doing whatever it takes to get home, he might seem more sympathetic and Xerneas might look like more of a jerk. But since we’ve seen what he’s like and his comments about how pokemon are savages and he deserves to rule them it’s… kinda hollow.
-Blaziken’s still up, too. I have to admit, this and the chapters leading up to it have a lot of battling in them. Almost nothing but fighting, too be honest. It’s making me just want to skim over everything, particularly Blaziken’s sections because of how repetitive they feel for me.
-If Blaziken’s flaming aura is supposed to stop people from making contact with him, why is Lilith able to land punches on him? Also, if Blaziken has been Mega Evolved for this long, shouldn’t Speed Boost have made him faster than all three of his foes put together?
-At this point, I did actually just skim over the remainder of Morgan vs. Xerneas. Only little bits I picked up on were Xerneas (foolishly) calling her attacks and… relying too much on Thunderbolt, I think? Was the charging thing supposed to be Geomancy? Which is, y’know, not really an attack? The most devastating fairy attack I can think of is Light of Ruin so maybe it was that? I find it baffling she wouldn’t use Moonblast on Morgan instead, though. It’s like the fic needed her to lose to move the plot forward, so it had her hold the idiot ball and grip it tight. ^^;

39
-🦀BLAZIKEN IS DEADKO’d🦀(I don’t exactly find his resolution to be all that satisfying really just because of how numb I’d grown to all the battle scenes involving him just in the last three chapters plus the start of this one.)
-lmao Morgan’s plan to weaken Xerneas in the fight wound up making her too weak to give him the necessary power. Delicious irony. I’m less thrilled that it takes us right back to fighting, though. At least something that makes it slightly different from the usual flurry of attacks is Meggie just grabbing the flunkies’ poke balls and recalling them. Though if Morgan has all this power, why didn’t he just levitate them away from her?
-Combined powers or not, an Aura Sphere shouldn’t hurt a gallade that much and you know it. :P
-Uh, how would a gallade move around on all fours? They’re not really built that way and the prose isn’t indicating he’s been morphed into some other species. Judging by Lance’s line, this is supposed to be poetic justice for Morgan’s attitude, but at this point you’d still want to turn the guy into the proper authorities given what he’d done. They’re not leaving him, right?
-... or they are. Releasing him into the wild, huh? Yeah, there’s totally not the possibility that whatever happened to him could somehow be reversed rendering this all moot. I assume that’s not going to happen because we’re shifting gears to deal with Necrozma in the next arc. If your current self is thinking of doing it (and you haven’t already), I’d encourage you not to, since it would make your protagonists look really stupid.
-This isn’t the end of the fic, either. I guess it’s supposed to be the climax of an arc. But as I’ve said, this was four chapters of nothing but battling and that made them exhausting to read. I’ll admit I’ve written strings of chapters with lots of action, but I usually tried to break them up with something calmer. I wasn’t seeing that here, so I did feel compelled to just start skimming. I imagine others would be, too.

SE3
-Barry and Luke? SiNNoH ConFIRMeD!
-From a choreography perspective I do enjoy someone spacing out at a particular scene and flashing back to something nearly identical from their life. It’s something that relies heavily on visual elements to pull off, though, so I’m not sure if it translates all that well into pure writing. Still, it’s generally cute.
-Man, it’s weird to see Brian act so childish one second and then declare he’s going to go drink some beer. How old is he supposed to be, again? Like, some of his comments make him sound like the equivalent of someone in elementary school. I know teens can be immature (and drink) but it’s a different kind of immaturity.

40
-What kind of waffles? If it’s an old family recipe, there’s gotta be something special about them. :P
-“Technology truly was wonderful.” So, Brian is the pokesona of the “technology is amazing!” guy in every main line pokemon game confirmed?
-To be honest I’d have liked to have read the therapy stuff instead of just getting a recap about it.
-Wait, didn’t they already have a party? Now they’re having another one?
-But he’s not gone, Lance. You guys let him out into the forest! >:(
-Oh, Brian’s seventeen. I’m… not sure he acts his age, to be honest. [nervous laugh]
-Laying that floatzel’s pirate accent on real thick, ain’t ya?
-Brian is trying to be Lance’s wingman with Dexter? I’m not sure how to feel about this, because the fic makes it pretty clear Lance is nothing like Dexter.
-[reads a bit more] Lance is into bara. Duly noted.
-It’s painful (in a good way, I think?) to read Brian sensing something’s off with Lance but not pushing hard enough to really figure out what it is. Perhaps they could’ve avoided whatever’s to come if Brian did.
-So, does homophobia exist in this PMD world, then? That’s the impression I’m getting from Dexter. Though their conversation does feel like it has this awkward energy to it. Is that intentional?
-I see Max subscribes to the Phoenix Wright school of “the worst of times are when lawyers have to force their biggest smiles.”
-Seeing the cast drunk was also awkward. I think you might’ve been leaning a bit too much on drunken stereotypes, like what you see in other media.
-I’m not sure if this flashback to a scene you’ve already written contains new information or just got copy-pasted over. Can’t remember.
-Hey, I did Cabbages Guy references first! >:(
-You should not have written Necrozma’s dialogue in dark text. It’s unreadable on the darker forum backgrounds, I’m afraid.
-What’s this, a necrozma sucking the life force out of pokemon? Where have I seen that before? :V

41
-Well, aside from the opening scene confirming that the ally trio of the last arc are actually working for the (presumed) villain of this arc, we’ve got another time skip, it seems. Also, Lance is in a James Bond situation? The outfit and the sultry salazzle noble would certainly point in that direction.
-Salazzle lady’s a furry???? OwO
-It’s a bit weird that, after the graphical violence, multiple F-bombs, and actual groping of Lance, you’re having Salazzle awkwardly dance around the fact that she wants to sleep with him.
-I believe Scar had said early on he served some sort of king and I was wondering when we were actually going to get the chance to meet him. Wasn’t expecting him to be a tyrantrum, namely because of the whole “fossil ‘mon” thing. Though I suppose there is Archen in PSMD.
-I think you meant to have Edgar say, “Where is He?” when asking about Necrozma.
-Ah, interesting, so Edgar isn’t really a follower of Necrozma so much as a patron for Scar’s holy mission. Kinda like some royals contributing to religious holy wars in history.
-Crescent moon with a crease in a crystal? Is that… Lunalium Z? That’s what it sounds like, anyway.
-Lance fully embracing the edgelord routine with a “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” moment. But, also, how the heck did he blow up a mansion? What sort of technology exists in your PMD fic to make that achievable?

42
-Short-haired Zoroark? This is a crime. Brian must be punished.
-If monarchies make Lance curious, are you implying there are multiple in this world? Honestly, I’d just like a sense of the general scope of this planet, since you have both canon locations and original ones.
-The juxtaposition of Lance on this holy crusade with his old teammates working various odd jobs amuses me. Can’t tell you why, it just does.
-It speaks to… something about the dynamic between Scar and Edgar if the latter is willing to go along with the former just taking on this random kid who seems to act a bit unusually. Also, not sure if it was smart for Lance to drop the cultcrusade’s name so casually. Could be used against them at some point down the road.
-I don’t know what’s up with Brian finding that other lucario. Did you cameo someone’s else’s fic characters or something?
-Nothing to say about the spar since it’s another fight that doesn’t do much to advance the plot.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Hey Navar! I'm here to do a bunch of reviews as I read through Liberators of Fate where I had left off, for Blacklight review rewards. You sound pretty excited about these incoming arcs, so I'm hoping my feedback will help. Here's my review of the first two chapters since then -- 30 and 31.

First thing I noted was that the scene transition from the battle to Brian's perspective of watching the battle was a little odd. It was the same scene and you were already going for something of a third person omniscient, so either you weren't intending to go in third person in that way, of the scene break wasn't necessary, I think. It seemed a little more on the jarring side.

Also, the team deciding that it was okay to go alone even after the fight was also a little odd. She seemed too ready to do that and I don't think it was an act either, you know? As in, an act to get alone with Morgan to do another betrayal. It was a little too trope-y, if that makes sense. At least nothing too crazy came out of it or it'd feel too contrived a conflict.

Saying that Morgan was "furious" was said several times, so it got a little redundant. At some point you could probably hold off and show his actions instead of telling them, otherwise it probably takes away from the weight of the word.

It's too bad that Brian and so on seemed to instantly abandon Lance, so to speak, over everything that happened. Of what they knew of him, and the fact that he had approached them to talk about it, it seemed almost like a contrivance for them to yell at him to go away. It definitely felt like a conflict ball for the sake of sending Lance away. Surely they understand the kinds of things he's gone through, right? There's more to the story and I feel that their sudden abandonment was hard to believe.

Hoping that can resolve itself when they realize it, or something. Hard to tell. But until then, I'll be reading more!
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Back at it again, this time for chapters 32 and 33!

Wow, talk about exposition. Meganium is here, bringing up Xerneas out of the blue. And apparently Morgan had landed in the Sea of Wonders, and upon gaining all of his memories, instantly flipped to who he is today. What a switch! Tough he always had shades of it... Though, I am a little puzzled by his motivations. If he comes from a world of Pokemon and humans and then winds up in a world without humans, he seems like he would see how they are either different or sapient, you know? I suppose that's what happens when you have to have a villain, but he's very 'flat earth' about denying the sapience of Pokemon.

Another thing that confused me was, if Meganium thought this guy was a psycho all this time, why did she trust him to see Xerneas? A better one is, if Xerneas was a powerful psychic, or could study Morgan's nature, why help him if it was so clear that he was crazy? It seemed like a huge oversight to make.

Lots of strong emotions going on during the ship trek. It's kind of crazy how much they can burst into tears in such a rapid pace. That was definitely a point where I think it would have helped to add some extra prose or something like that to indicate more time passing so their emotions didn't feel too rapid. As it stands, the emotions came too suddenly, I think.

Still, by the end of that, it was nice to see them fight alongside Lance! I just wish there was more heart to heart to explain what helped them turn it around, instead of quietly accepting that Lance is their bud rather than talk it out at least a little.

Good two chapters!
 
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